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RAMON S. CHING AND PO WING PROPERTIES, G.R. No.

192828
INC.,

Petitioners,
Present:

CARPIO, J.,
- versus -
Chairperson,

BRION,

PEREZ,
HON. JANSEN R. RODRIGUEZ, in his capacity
as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court ARANAL-SERENO, and
of Manila, Branch 6, JOSEPH CHENG, JAIME REYES, JJ.
CHENG, MERCEDES IGNE AND LUCINA
SANTOS, substituted by her son, EDUARDO S.
BALAJADIA,

Respondents

Promulgated:

November 28, 2011

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

RESOLUTION

REYES, J.:

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
assailing the December 14, 2009 Decision[2] and July 8, 2010 Resolution[3] of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 99856. The dispositive portion of the assailed
Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by
us DENYING the petition filed in this case and AFFIRMING the assailed Orders dated
March 15, 2007 and May 16, 2007 issued by the respondent Judge of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 6, in Manila in Civil Case No. 02-105251.[4]

The assailed Resolution denied the petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.

The Factual Antecedents

Sometime between November 25, 2002 and December 3, 2002,[5] the respondents
filed a Complaint[6] against the petitioners and Stronghold Insurance Company, Global
Business Bank, Inc. (formerly PhilBank), Elena Tiu Del Pilar, Asia Atlantic Resources
Ventures, Inc., Registers of Deeds of Manila and Malabon, and all persons claiming
rights or titles from Ramon Ching (Ramon) and his successors-in-interest.

The Complaint, captioned as one for "Disinheritance, Declaration of Nullity of
Agreement and Waiver, Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement, Deed of Absolute Sale,
Transfer Certificates of Title with Prayer for [the] Issuance of [a] Temporary Restraining
Order and [a] Writ of Preliminary Injunction," was docketed as Civil Case No. 02-105251
and raffled to Branch 8 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC).

In the Complaint, the respondents alleged the following as causes of action:

First Cause of Action. They are the heirs of Lim San, also known as Antonio Ching /
Tiong Cheng / Ching Cheng Suy (Antonio). Respondents Joseph Cheng (Joseph) and
Jaime Cheng (Jaime) are allegedly the children of Antonio with his common-law wife,
respondent Mercedes Igne (Mercedes). Respondent Lucina Santos (Lucina) claimed that
she was also a common-law wife of Antonio. The respondents averred that Ramon
misrepresented himself as Antonio's and Lucina's son when in truth and in fact, he was
adopted and his birth certificate was merely simulated. On July 18, 1996, Antonio died
of a stab wound. Police investigators identified Ramon as the prime suspect and he now
stands as the lone accused in a criminal case for murder filed against him. Warrants of
arrest issued against him have remained unserved as he is at large. From the foregoing
circumstances and upon the authority of Article 919[7] of the New Civil Code (NCC), the
respondents concluded that Ramon can be legally disinherited, hence, prohibited from
receiving any share from the estate of Antonio.

Second Cause of Action. On August 26, 1996, prior to the conclusion of the police
investigations tagging Ramon as the prime suspect in the murder of Antonio, the
former made an inventory of the latter's estate. Ramon misrepresented that there were
only six real estate properties left by Antonio. The respondents alleged that Ramon had
illegally transferred to his name the titles to the said properties. Further, there are two
other parcels of land, cash and jewelries, plus properties in Hongkong, which were in
Ramon's possession.

Third Cause of Action. Mercedes, being of low educational attainment, was sweet-talked
by Ramon into surrendering to him a Global Business Bank, Inc. (Global Bank)
Certificate of Time Deposit of P4,000,000.00 in the name of Antonio, and the
certificates of title covering two condominium units in Binondo which were purchased
by Antonio using his own money but which were registered in Ramon's name. Ramon
also fraudulently misrepresented to Joseph, Jaime and Mercedes that they will promptly
receive their complete shares, exclusive of the stocks in Po Wing Properties, Inc. (Po
Wing), from the estate of Antonio. Exerting undue influence, Ramon had convinced
them to execute an Agreement[8] and a Waiver[9] on August 20, 1996. The terms and
conditions stipulated in the Agreement and Waiver, specifically, on the payment by
Ramon to Joseph, Jaime and Mercedes of the amount of P22,000,000.00, were not

complied with. Further, Lucina was not informed of the execution of the said
instruments and had not received any amount from Ramon. Hence, the instruments are
null and void.

Fourth Cause of Action. Antonio's 40,000 shares in Po Wing, which constitute 60% of the
latter's total capital stock, were illegally transferred by Ramon to his own name through
a forged document of sale executed after Antonio died. Po Wing owns a ten-storey
building in Binondo. Ramon's claim that he bought the stocks from Antonio before the
latter died is baseless. Further, Lucina's shares in Po Wing had also banished into thin
air through Ramon's machinations.

Fifth Cause of Action. On October 29, 1996, Ramon executed an Affidavit of Extra-
Judicial Settlement of Estate[10] adjudicating solely to himself Antonio's entire estate to
the prejudice of the respondents. By virtue of the said instrument, new Transfer
Certificates of Title (TCTs) covering eight real properties owned by Antonio were issued
in Ramon's name. Relative to the Po Wing shares, the Register of Deeds of Manila had
required Ramon to post a Surety Bond conditioned to answer for whatever claims which
may eventually surface in connection with the said stocks. Co-defendant Stronghold
Insurance Company issued the bond in Ramon's behalf.

Sixth Cause of Action. Ramon sold Antonio's two parcels of land in Navotas to co-
defendant Asia Atlantic Business Ventures, Inc. Another parcel of land, which was part
of Antonio's estate, was sold by Ramon to co-defendant Elena Tiu Del Pilar at an
unreasonably low price. By reason of Ramon's lack of authority to dispose of any part of
Antonio's estate, the conveyances are null and void ab initio.

Since Ramon is at large, his wife, Belen Dy Tan Ching, now manages Antonio's estate.
She has no intent to convey to the respondents their shares in the estate of Antonio.

The respondents thus prayed for the following in their Complaint:

1. x x x a temporary restraining order be issued restraining the defendant RAMON
CHING and/or his attorney-in-fact Belen Dy Tan Ching from disposing, selling or
alienating any property that belongs to the estate of the deceased ANTONIO CHING;

xxx

4. x x x

a.) Declaring that the defendant RAMON CHING who murdered his father ANTONIO
CHING disqualified as heir and from inheriting to (sic) the estate of his father;

b.) Declaring the nullity of the defendant RAMON CHING transfer (sic) of the six [6]
parcels of land from the name of his father ANTONIO CHING to his name covered by
TCT No. x x x

c.) Declaring the nullity of the AGREEMENT and WAIVER executed by plaintiffs x x x in
favor of x x x RAMON CHING for being patently immoral, invalid, illegal, simulated and
(sic) sham;

On July 30. the petitioners filed their Consolidated Answer with Counterclaim. e. On May 29.) Declaring the nullity of the DEED OF SALES (sic) executed by x x x RAMON CHING (i) over two (2) parcels of land x x x to defendant ASIA ATLANTIC BUSINESS VENTURES. On April 22. The petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration filed to assail the aforecited Order was denied by the RTC on May 3. the petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss[18] the respondents' Amended Complaint on the alleged ground of the RTC's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Complaint. 2005. The respondents filed an Amended Complaint[14] dated April 7. the petitioners filed their Consolidated Answer with Counterclaim to the respondents' Amended Complaint.[11] The petitioners filed with the RTC a Motion to Dismiss[12] alleging forum shopping. 2005 impleading Metrobank as the successor-in-interest of co-defendant Global Bank. f. x x x. 2004. 2005. and (ii) one (1) parcel of land x x x sold to x x x ELENA TIU DEL PILAR for having illegally procured the ownership and titles of the above properties. the RTC issued a pre-trial order.[17] On January 18. litis pendentia. 2006. 2006. The RTC stressed that Metrobank had already filed Manifestations admitting that as successor-in-interest of Global Bank.000. res judicata and the respondents as not being the real parties in interest. The respondents prayed that they be declared as the rightful owners of the CPPA and that it be immediately released to them. Inc..00 originally issued by PhilBank to Antonio. it now possesses custody of Antonio's deposits. On August 11. 2006.d. Alternatively.) Declaring the nullity of the transfer of the shares of stocks at (sic) PO WING from the names of ANTONIO CHING and LUCINA SANTOS to the defendant ANTONIOCHING's name for having been illegally procured through the falsification of their signatures in the document purporting the transfer thereof. 2007. [15] On October 28. the RTC issued an Omnibus Order[13] denying the petitioners' Motion to Dismiss. The petitioners argued that since the Amended Complaint sought the release of the CPPA to the respondents. the RTC issued an Order[16] admitting the respondents' Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint also added a seventh cause of action relative to the existence of a Certificate of Premium Plus Acquisition (CPPA) in the amount of P4. the latter's .) Declaring the nullity and to have no force and effect the AFFIDAVIT OF SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE executed by x x x RAMON CHING for being contrary to law and existing jurisprudence. Metrobank expressed willingness to abide by any court order as regards the disposition of Antonio's deposits. the respondents prayed for the issuance of a hold order relative to the CPPA to preserve it during the pendency of the case.000.

which were all allegedly executed by defendant Ramon Ching to defraud the plaintiffs. an examination of the Complaint would disclose that the action delves mainly on the question of ownership of the properties described in the Complaint which can be properly settled in an ordinary civil action. it appearing that their allegations were substantially for the enforcement of their rights against the alleged fraudulent acts committed by the petitioner Ramon Ching. the RTC issued an Order[19] denying the petitioners' Motion to Dismiss on grounds: In the case at bar. And at this stage. and the propriety of Ramon's disinheritance. Deed of Absolute Sale. 2009. The above Order. the issue of disinheritance. and a subsequent Order dated May 16. As regards the issue of disinheritance. docketed as CA-G. became the subjects of a petition for certiorari filed with the CA. it has not been sufficiently established whether or not there is a will.[20] (Emphasis supplied. the action seeks to declare the nullity of the Agreement. The private respondents also instituted the said amended complaint in order to protect them from the consequence of the fraudulent acts of Ramon Ching by seeking to disqualify Ramon Ching from inheriting from Antonio Ching as well as to enjoin him from disposing or alienating the subject properties. raised the issue of whether or not the RTC gravely abused its discretion when it denied the petitioners' Motion to Dismiss despite the fact that the Amended Complaint sought to establish the status or rights of the respondents which subjects are within the ambit of a special proceeding. And as pointed out by the defendants.And as emphasized by the plaintiffs. one of the issues raised by the defendants Ramon Ching and Po Wing Properties is: Whether or not there can be disinheritance in intestate succession? Whether or not defendant Ramon Ching can be legally disinherited from the estate of his father? To the mind of the Court. 2007. 2007 denying the petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration. the CA rendered the now assailed Decision[21] denying the petition for certiorari on grounds: Our in-depth assessment of the condensed allegations supporting the causes of action of the amended complaint induced us to infer that nothing in the said complaint shows that the action of the private respondents should be threshed out in a special proceeding. 99856.R. the suit partakes of the nature of a special proceeding and not an ordinary action for declaration of nullity. SP No. On December 14. in itself poses an issue of ownership which must be proved by plaintiffs by substantial evidence. Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement.declaration as heirs of Antonio. the court notes that during the Pre-trial of this case. Waiver. With regard [to] the prayer to declare the plaintiffs as the rightful owner[s] of the CPPA and that the same be immediately released to them. can be fully settled after a trial on the merits. The petition. The relief of establishing the status of the plaintiffs which could have translated this action into a special proceeding was nowhere stated in the Amended Complaint. the Amended Complaint was intended to implead Metrobank as a co-defendant. which is one of the causes of action in the Complaint. jurisdiction pertains to a probate or intestate court and not to the RTC acting as an ordinary court. On March 15. Transfer Certificates of Title. Hence. including the P4 Million deposit with .

2010. the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint without regard to whether or not the private respondents (plaintiffs) are entitled to recover upon all or some of the causes of action asserted therein. The petition at bench apparently cavils the subject amended complaint and complicates the issue of jurisdiction by reiterating the grounds or defenses set up in the petitioners' earlier pleadings. under the circumstances of the present case. 02-105251.Metrobank. The petitioners argue that only a probate court has the authority to determine (a) who are the heirs of a decedent. (C) DETERMINATION OF THE EXTENT OF ANTONIO'S ESTATE. Notwithstanding. The intestate or probate court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate such issues. LUCINA AND MERCEDES. the extent of Antonio's estate.[26] Further. the jurisdiction of the court does not depend upon the defenses pleaded in the answer or in the motion to dismiss. (c) the status of each heir. (A) FILIATIONS WITH ANTONIO OF RAMON. which must be submitted to the court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction as a regional trial court. the lower court should proceed to evaluate the evidence of the parties and render a decision thereon upon the issues that it defined during the pre-trial in Civil Case No. (B) RIGHTS OF COMMON-LAW WIVES.[22] Hence. there being no compelling reason to still subject the action of the petitioners in a special proceeding since the nullification of the subject documents could be achieved in the civil case. lest the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the petitioners (defendants). given the undisputed fact that there was no will to be contested in a probate court. The Issue The instant Petition for Review on Certiorari[25] is anchored on the issue of: WHETHER OR NOT THE RTC SHOULD HAVE GRANTED THE MOTION TO DISMISS FILED BY THE PETITIONERS ON THE ALLEGED GROUND OF THE RTC'S LACK OF JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT. Furthermore. JAIME AND JOSEPH. we focus our resolution on the issue of jurisdiction on the allegations in the amended complaint and not on the defenses pleaded in the motion to dismiss or in the subsequent pleadings of the petitioners. TO WIT. . (b) the validity of a waiver of hereditary rights. AND (D) OTHER MATTERS WHICH CAN ONLY BE RESOLVED IN A SPECIAL PROCEEDING AND NOT IN AN ORDINARY CIVIL ACTION. In this regard. In fine. and (d) whether the property in the inventory is conjugal or the exclusive property of the deceased spouse. TO BE CONSIDERED AS HEIRS OF ANTONIO. the status of the contending parties and the respondents' alleged entitlement as heirs to receive the proceeds of Antonio's CPPA now in Metrobank's custody are matters which are more appropriately the subjects of a special proceeding and not of an ordinary civil action.[23] (emphasis supplied) The petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the CA through a Resolution[24] issued on July 8. we agree with the trial court that the probate court could not take cognizance of the prayer to disinherit Ramon Ching.

02- 105251 was proper. 2011. and not a special proceeding pertaining to a settlement court. disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefor shall be specified.[29] both involving the contending parties in the instant petition were filed by the petitioners and are currently pending before this Court. or a particular fact. The respondents opposed[27] the instant petition claiming that the petitioners are engaged in forum shopping. Under Article 916 of the NCC. G. Further. Specifically.[31] The Court's Ruling We resolve to deny the instant petition. no reversible errors were committed by the RTC and the CA when they both ruled that the denial of the petitioners' second motion to dismiss Civil Case No. or the prevention or redress of a wrong. the petitioners filed their Manifestation that they will no longer file a reply only on October 10. This Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that while the respondents in their Complaint and Amended Complaint sought the disinheritance of Ramon. a petition and not a complaint should be filed. partake of the nature of a special proceeding. While the prescribed period to comply expired on March 15. Nos.[33] It is distinguished from an ordinary civil action where a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right. Hon. which concomitantly requires the application of specific rules as provided for in the Rules of Court. 175507[28] and 183840. Further. the disinheritance of Ramon and the release in favor of the respondents of the CPPA now under Metrobank's custody. despite the prayer for Ramon's .[30] the SC declared that whether a particular matter should be resolved by the RTC in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or its limited probate jurisdiction. a right. among others. An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a civil action. Even without delving into the procedural allegations of the respondents that the petitioners engaged in forum shopping and are already estopped from questioning the RTC's jurisdiction after having validly submitted to it when the latter participated in the proceedings. Hence. The petitioners failed to comply with a lawful order of this Court directing them to file their reply to the respondents' Comment/Opposition to the instant Petition. no will or any instrument supposedly effecting the disposition of Antonio's estate was ever mentioned. having validly submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the RTC and having actively participated in the trial of the case. Teh. Although the respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint sought. the petitioners. Besides. 02-105251 remains to be an ordinary civil action. in Mendoza v.R. 2011 or after the lapse of almost seven months.[32] A special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status. are already estopped from challenging the RTC's jurisdiction over the respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint. Civil Case No. is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of procedure. whereas matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as advancement of property made by the decedent. the denial of the instant Petition is still in order.[34] To initiate a special proceeding.

The petitioners also argue that the prayers in the Amended Complaint. necessarily require the determination of the respondents' status as Antonio's heirs. 02-105251 was not instituted to conclusively resolve the issues relating to the administration. In the event that the RTC will find grounds to grant the reliefs prayed for by the respondents. In sum. the only consequence will be the reversion of the properties subject of the dispute to the estate of Antonio. this Court agrees with the CA that the nullification of the documents subject of Civil Case No. which in this specific case was instituted to protect the respondents from the supposedly fraudulent acts of Ramon. It bears stressing that what the respondents prayed for was that they be declared as the rightful owners of the CPPA which was in Mercedes' possession prior to the execution of the Agreement and Waiver. Further. and the TCTs issued upon the authority of the said affidavit. Civil Case No. 02-105251 does not partake of the nature of a special proceeding and does not call for the probate court's exercise of its limited jurisdiction. Marites Carrion and Gemma Hugo. the respondents have the standing to seek for the nullification of the instruments in the light of their claims that there was no consideration for their execution. it also has to be emphasized that the respondents were parties to the execution of the Agreement[35] and Waiver[36] prayed to be nullified. the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant. the respondents then claimed that the Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Antonios estate executed by Ramon.disinheritance. Ramon's averment that a resolution of the issues raised shall first require a declaration of the respondents' status as heirs is a mere defense which is not determinative of which court shall properly exercise jurisdiction. and not on the declaration of their status as Antonio's heirs. 02-105251 could be achieved in an ordinary civil action. seeking the release in favor of the respondents of the CPPA under Metrobank's custody and the nullification of the instruments subject of the complaint. Consequently. are null and void as well. As a necessary consequence. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted. not the proper subject of a special . and that Ramon exercised undue influence and committed fraud against them.[37] the Court declared: It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. Hence. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. In Marjorie Cadimas v. hence. the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss. The respondents also prayed for the alternative relief of securing the issuance by the RTC of a hold order relative to the CPPA to preserve Antonio's deposits with Metrobank during the pendency of the case. even without the necessity of being declared as heirs of Antonio. It can thus be said that the respondents' prayer relative to the CPPA was premised on Mercedes' prior possession of and their alleged collective ownership of the same. for otherwise. Civil Case No. liquidation and distribution of Antonio's estate.

proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person under Rules 73-91 of the Rules of Court. in the exercise of its general jurisdiction. the instant petition is DENIED. WHEREFORE. Be that as it may.[38] and (b) Manifestation[39]through counsel that they will no longer file a reply to the respondents' Comment/Opposition to the instant petition are NOTED. The respondents' resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically sound. the RTC. cannot be restrained from taking cognizance of respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding. The petitioners' (a) Opposition to the respondents' Motion to Admit Substitution of Party. if their intent is to recover from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. SO ORDERED. . because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow.

and considering further that under the appealed order of the lower court. ASUNCION MARAVILLA.G. Poblador. Jose Gutierrez David for petitioners. been found that the Court of Appeals had no appellate jurisdiction over the case.. Lopez came to this court for relief. rendered a decision setting aside the appointment of Lopez as co-special administrator. Nevertheless. ruled that the question involved being one of administration of the entire estate valued at more than P200. petitioners. respondent.00. Cruz and Nazareno for respondent. JOSE F. RE S O L U T I O N* BARRERA. the findings contained in its decision could not be the basis for the setting aside of the order of the trial court. On December 23. FERNANDEZ. 1964. Lopez filed a motion for reconsideration and this court. questioning the propriety and necessity for the appointment of a special co-administrator. In the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental where this case originated. this Court issued a resolution to the following effect: Considering the second motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners. This Court. J. the appointment of Eliezar Lopez as special co-administrator would bring no material damage to respondent special . The Court of Appeals. After the disallowance of the probate of the will by the trial court wherein Herminio Maravilla was named as executor. Herminio Maravilla. set aside the order of the trial court appointing Lopez as co-special.R. the surviving spouse. and the petitioners' rejoinder. HERMINIO MARAVILLA. Digna Maravilla. No. vs. a second motion for reconsideration was filed predicated on the contention that it having. L-18799 March 26. Herminio Maravilla. on May 22. Paredes. this Court exercising its own jurisdiction. administrator. filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. ET AL. The trial court granted the petition and extended an appointment in favor of Eliezar Lopez as special co- administrator. was appointed special administrator pending the appointment of a regular administrator. the respondent's opposition thereto.000. Lopez answered the petition contending that the Court of Appeals cannot take cognizance of the case as it is not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction inasmuch as the properties involved in the administration are worth more than P200. 1964.000. Judge of Court of First Instance. some of the intestate heirs of the deceased petitioned the trial court to appoint Eliezar Lopez as special co-administrator to protect their interests during the pendency of the appeal taken by Herminio Maravilla against the disallowance of the will. Subsequently.00 the matter came within its exclusive appellate jurisdiction. 1965 HON. acting adversely on the contention of Lopez. denied the same.: The present case concerns merely a question of the propriety of the appointment of Eliezar Lopez as co-special administrator of the estate left by the deceased. in its original decision. Negros Occidental.

1äwphï1. the matter of appointment of co-special administrator being primarily within the sound discretion of the trial court." it would seem justifiable to reconsider the entire matter in the face of the subsequent developments that have supervened. Maravilla's counsel vehemently contended that the lower court acted hastily and harshly in depriving counsel full opportunity to present his side of the case. Inc. the Court required Eliezar Lopez to present his answer and later set the incident for hearing. main case. SO ORDERED. No. in order to be able to pay the disbursements due and to deposit the balance thereof. (2) to sue for the annulment of all contracts that are allegedly illegal and invalid entered into by Maravilla during or before his administration.R. would justify another action by this Court in the.R. to sustain the aforesaid order. No. 1965. or until a different set of circumstances than those alleged by petitioners as now prevailing. Maravilla in turn filed a motion for reconsideration of this resolution. pending final determination of the main case (G. 1965 to expire on March 15. G. and (3) to receive free quedans from the Hawaiian Philippines. the decision of this Court is hereby amended. In view of this Last motion for reconsideration. L- 23225) or until a different set of circumstances than those alleged by petitioners as now prevailing. would justify another action by the court. 1964 sustaining the appointment of Eliezar Lopez as co-special administrator only "pending final determination of the main case. He also called attention to an order of the lower court dated February 15. and for the first time represented to this Court that in the appointment of Eliezar Lopez. L-23225. the lower court acted arbitrarily and in abuse of its discretion in not affording Maravilla the opportunity to be heard and to present evidence to show why Eliezar Lopez should not be appointed as co-special administrator. 1965 directing Eliezar Lopez: (1) to file a supplemental inventory within a period of thirty (30) days from February 15. During the oral argument. Considering all circumstances of this case.ñët During the hearing. However. with the suggestion that due consideration be given to the offer of Maravilla to withdraw as special administrator in . It being apparent that confusion will result if this order is implemented thus defeating the purpose of co-administration which presupposes joint and coordinative action. we deem it proper to remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings. counsel for Maravilla offered to withdraw from the temporary administration of the estate in favor of an impartial third party if only for the sake of saving the entire estate from the confusion which will necessarily result if the present hostile special co-administrators are permitted to remain.administrator Herminio Maravilla. this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the implementation of said order pending the resolution of this incident by this Court. and in view of the resolution of this Court dated December 28. supplying the alleged omission committed by Maravilla in the inventory that was filed by him in the proceedings. reference was made to the manner in which the lower court proceeded in the matter of the appointment of Eliezar Lopez.

No. So ordered. this case is hereby ordered remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings in consonance with the views herein expressed.R. WHEREFORE. G. 133743 February 6. which would seem to be a fair and just solution of the controversy and would amply protect the interest of both parties. 2007 .favor of an impartial third party.

Los Angeles. His first marriage was with Virginia Sulit on March 17. Branch 134 in SP. On December 17. an American citizen. 1973.R. 134029 February 6. FELICIDAD SAN LUIS. Five years later. before Rev. William Meyer.A.178. 1993. Edgar. with whom he had a son. Tobias. Minister of the United Presbyterian at Wilshire Boulevard. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. filed a Complaint for Divorce 5 before the Family Court of the First Circuit. then surnamed Sagalongos. No. No. U. Metro Manila. his six children by his first marriage. Respondent alleged that she is the widow of Felicisimo. Respondent prayed that the . 1974. Fr.A.S. 1998 Resolution 4 denying petitioners’ motion for reconsideration.EDGAR SAN LUIS. that the decedent left real properties. State of Hawaii. M-3708 which was raffled to Branch 146 thereof. Proc. 52647. and its May 15. Linda. 1998 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. who was the former governor of the Province of Laguna. respondent sought the dissolution of their conjugal partnership assets and the settlement of Felicisimo’s estate. on October 15.S.). FELICIDAD SAGALONGOS alias FELICIDAD SAN LUIS. namely: Rodolfo. Merry Lee. Emilita and Manuel. 1942 out of which were born six children. 1996 3Resolutions of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. United States of America (U. which reversed and set aside the September 12. Respondent. 6 On June 20. New Alabang Village. Felicisimo married respondent Felicidad San Luis. docketed as SP. at the time of his death.: Before us are consolidated petitions for review assailing the February 4. 7 He had no children with respondent but lived with her for 18 years from the time of their marriage up to his death on December 18. The instant case involves the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo T. both conjugal and exclusive. Proc. During his lifetime. 2007 RODOLFO SAN LUIS.x G. Virginia predeceased Felicisimo. on May 1. M-3708.R. 1995 2 and January 31. San Luis (Felicisimo). Felicisimo contracted three marriages. Alabang. Mila. vs. valued at P30. 1992. Thereafter. and son by his second marriage. the decedent was residing at 100 San Juanico Street. that. that the decedent’s surviving heirs are respondent as legal spouse. California. 1971. CV No. On August 11. 1968. Petitioner.00 more or less. 1963. However. which issued a Decree Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody on December 14. she filed a petition for letters of administration 8 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.304. Felicisimo married Merry Lee Corwin. Petitioner. that the decedent does not have any unpaid debts. Respondent. J. vs. No. x ---------------------------------------------------.

Meanwhile. On October 24. On February 15. she claimed that Felicisimo had the legal capacity to marry her by virtue of paragraph 2. respondent filed on March 5. 1994. Unaware of the denial of the motions to dismiss. He further claimed that respondent has no legal personality to file the petition because she was only a mistress of Felicisimo since the latter. 1994. the trial court issued an Order 17 denying the motions for reconsideration. Rodolfo claimed that the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in the Province of Laguna because this was Felicisimo’s place of residence prior to his death. 1994. she presented the decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit. She submitted documentary evidence showing that while Felicisimo exercised the powers of his public office in Laguna. 1994. Tensuan pending the resolution of said motion. 14 Thereafter. Edgar also filed a motion for reconsideration 20 from the Order denying their motion for reconsideration arguing that it does not state the facts and law on which it was based. 1994. On even date. State of Hawaii to prove that the marriage of Felicisimo to Merry Lee had already been dissolved. 1994. another daughter of Felicisimo from his first marriage. was still legally married to Merry Lee. Jr. possessed the legal standing to file the petition and that venue was properly laid. Alabang. Metro Manila which they bought sometime in 1982. Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be given retroactive effect to validate respondent’s bigamous marriage with Felicisimo because this would impair vested rights in derogation of Article 256 16 of the Family Code. 1994. Judge Tensuan issued an Order 21 granting the motion for inhibition. filed a motion to disqualify Acting Presiding Judge Anthony E. It ruled that respondent. one of the children of Felicisimo by his first marriage. Thus. The case was re-raffled to Branch 134 presided by Judge Paul T.conjugal partnership assets be liquidated and that letters of administration be issued to her. On February 28. 15 They asserted that paragraph 2. 1994 her opposition 12 thereto. . Mila. On November 25. Rodolfo and herein petitioner Edgar San Luis. petitioner Rodolfo San Luis. Linda. On April 21. Santos from hearing the case. Romillo. Mila filed a motion for inhibition 19 against Judge Tensuan on November 16. Further. at the time of his death. separately filed motions for reconsideration from the Order denying their motions to dismiss. Linda invoked the same grounds and joined her brother Rodolfo in seeking the dismissal10 of the petition. he regularly went home to their house in New Alabang Village. 13 Article 26 of the Family Code and the doctrine laid down in Van Dorn v. Arcangel. On February 4. as widow of the decedent. the trial court issued an Order 11 denying the two motions to dismiss. filed a motion to dismiss 9 on the grounds of improper venue and failure to state a cause of action. the motion for disqualification was deemed moot and academic 18 because then Acting Presiding Judge Santos was substituted by Judge Salvador S.

As a result. 1994 are REINSTATED. the Orders dated September 12. the petition should have been filed in Sta. 1995. 30 and Pilapil v. 28 Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed and set aside the orders of the trial court in its assailed Decision dated February 4. for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate. 31 It found that the marriage between Felicisimo and Merry Lee was validly dissolved by virtue of the decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit. Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. 22 the trial court required the parties to submit their respective position papers on the twin issues of venue and legal capacity of respondent to file the petition. thus. Muntinlupa. refers to the personal. Article 26. the trial court dismissed the petition for letters of administration. Respondent moved for reconsideration 26 and for the disqualification 27 of Judge Arcangel but said motions were denied. It held that. 1995 and January 31. On September 12. Edgar manifested 23 that he is adopting the arguments and evidence set forth in his previous motion for reconsideration as his position paper. or actual residence or place of abode of a person as distinguished from legal residence or domicile. It also ruled that respondent was without legal capacity to file the petition for letters of administration because her marriage with Felicisimo was bigamous. On May 5. Ibay-Somera.On April 24. 1995. Romillo. 1995. actual or physical habitation. It also ruled that paragraph 2. 25 1995. Laguna and not in Makati City. Article 26 of the Family Code and the rulings in Van Dorn v. Felicisimo was the duly elected governor and a resident of the Province of Laguna. Respondent and Rodolfo filed their position papers on June 14. 227.O. he actually resided in Alabang. The Court of Appeals also held that Felicisimo had legal capacity to marry respondent by virtue of paragraph 2. Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be retroactively applied because it would impair the vested rights of Felicisimo’s legitimate children. and the reason and philosophy behind the enactment of E. and the records of the case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. Felicisimo was capacitated to contract a subsequent marriage with respondent. respectively. under paragraph 2. the Orders dated February 28 and October 24. No. void ab initio. Article 26. at the time of his death. Pilapil. the petition for letters of administration was properly filed in Makati City. Hence. the term "place of residence" of the decedent. of the Family Code of the Philippines. Jr. the doctrines in Van Dorn. Thus – With the well-known rule – express mandate of paragraph 2. State of Hawaii. It found that the decree of absolute divorce dissolving Felicisimo’s marriage to Merry Lee was not valid in the Philippines and did not bind Felicisimo who was a Filipino citizen. Thus. 1996 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 1998. — there is no justiciable reason to . It noted that although Felicisimo discharged his functions as governor in Laguna. 29 The appellante court ruled that under Section 1. the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE. Cruz. 24 and June 20.

Therefore. All that the courts should do is to give force and effect to the express mandate of the law. and Rodolfo filed separate motions for reconsideration 34 which were denied by the Court of Appeals. They claim that a person can only have one domicile at any given time. Cruz. 38 "residence" is synonymous with "domicile" which denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent. the petition for letters of administration of the estate of Felicisimo should be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the province "in which he resides at the time of his death.sustain the individual view — sweeping statement — of Judge Arc[h]angel. respondent cannot be considered the surviving wife of Felicisimo. Article 26 cannot be retroactively applied because it would impair vested rights and ratify the void bigamous marriage. hence. Cruz. 1992. par. 2 of the Family Code. 39 Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. Felicisimo was a resident of Sta. They contend that pursuant to our rulings in Nuval v." In the case of Garcia Fule v. Edgar and Rodolfo insist that the venue of the subject petition for letters of administration was improperly laid because at the time of his death." Indeed. The issues for resolution: (1) whether venue was properly laid. Laguna." like the terms "residing" and . As such. Linda. Under Section 1. 1998. On July 2. that "Article 26. under Article 130 of the Family Code." This term "resides. RTC. x x x 33 Edgar. 40 we laid down the doctrinal rule for determining the residence – as contradistinguished from domicile – of the decedent for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate: [T]he term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence or domicile. The petition lacks merit. the petitioner as the surviving spouse can institute the judicial proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased. Edgar appealed to this Court via the instant petition for review on certiorari. and (2) whether respondent has legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration. the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in Sta. one intends to return. Tacloban City. 35 Rodolfo later filed a manifestation and motion to adopt the said petition which was granted. Br. Since Felicisimo never changed his domicile. For this reason. the marriage between the deceased and petitioner should not be denominated as "a bigamous marriage. The foreign divorce having been obtained by the Foreigner on December 14. Court of Appeals. 7. she has no legal capacity to file the petition for letters of administration. They argue that paragraph 2. courts cannot deny what the law grants. contravenes the basic policy of our state against divorce in any form whatsoever. Petitioners also contend that respondent’s marriage to Felicisimo was void and bigamous because it was performed during the subsistence of the latter’s marriage to Merry Lee.32 the Filipino divorcee. "shall x x x have capacity to remarry under Philippine laws". 36 In the instant consolidated petitions. Laguna. Guray 37 and Romualdez v.

Consequently." for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo. The subject petition . while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one’s domicile. however. Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place. respondent proved that he also maintained a residence in Alabang." Respondent also presented proof of membership of the deceased in the Ayala Alabang Village Association 46 and Ayala Country Club. that is. meaning. Ayala Alabang Village. 41 (Emphasis supplied) It is incorrect for petitioners to argue that "residence. the fixed permanent residence to which when absent. In election cases. 1983 showing that the deceased purchased the aforesaid property. Muntinlupa. the term means merely residence. Laguna. it is possible that a person may have his residence in one place and domicile in another. the personal. actual or physical habitation of a person. that is. Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature – residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. one has the intention of returning. actual residence or place of abode. Inc. Sta. the residence must be more than temporary. Even where the statute uses the word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. and the deceased’s calling cards 49 stating that his home/city address is at "100 San Juanico. She also presented billing statements 45 from the Philippine Heart Center and Chinese General Hospital for the period August to December 1992 indicating the address of Felicisimo at "100 San Juanico. or actual residence or place of abode. Muntinlupa" while his office/provincial address is in "Provincial Capitol. the "residence" of a person is his personal. there is a distinction between "residence" for purposes of election laws and "residence" for purposes of fixing the venue of actions. 42 However. 43 Hence. In the application of venue statutes and rules – Section 1. Muntinlupa. In the instant case. Muntinlupa for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate. and convey the same meaning as the term "inhabitant. Respondent submitted in evidence the Deed of Absolute Sale 44 dated January 5. Cruz.. 47 letter- envelopes 48from 1988 to 1990 sent by the deceased’s children to him at his Alabang address. the subject petition for letters of administration was validly filed in the Regional Trial Court 50 which has territorial jurisdiction over Alabang." is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed." The rulings in Nuval and Romualdez are inapplicable to the instant case because they involve election cases. Some cases make a distinction between the terms "residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue."residence. for purposes of fixing venue under the Rules of Court. Needless to say. No particular length of time of residence is required though. In this popular sense. while petitioners established that Felicisimo was domiciled in Sta. Ayala Alabang. "resides" should be viewed or understood in its popular sense. It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat." From the foregoing." In other words. Cruz. we find that Felicisimo was a resident of Alabang. Muntinlupa from 1982 up to the time of his death. Laguna. not legal residence or domicile. personal residence. "residence" and "domicile" are treated as synonymous terms. is synonymous with "domicile. which may not necessarily be his legal residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency. the terms are synonymous. actual or physical habitation.

however. that. Anent the issue of respondent Felicidad’s legal personality to file the petition for letters of administration. 1974. private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. 1993. Claiming that the divorce was not valid under Philippine law. When the law provides. the alien spouse alleged that his interest in the properties from their conjugal partnership should be protected. The case of Van Dorn v. Further. Thus: In this case. that the guilty party shall not marry again. 45 L. under which divorce dissolves the marriage. As stated by the Federal Supreme Court of the United States in Atherton vs. 53 As to the effect of the divorce on the Filipino wife. is still absolutely freed from the bond of the former marriage. as well as the other. 794. under our laws. that party. The marriage tie. par.was filed on December 17. 1988. As he is bound by the Decision of his own country’s Court. He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner’s husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. Ed. considering that Felicidad’s marriage to Felicisimo was solemnized on June 20. the subject petition was validly filed before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. which validly exercised jurisdiction over him. the Court ruled that she should no longer be considered married to the alien spouse. in the nature of a penalty. Muntinlupa was still a municipality and the branches of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region which had territorial jurisdiction over Muntinlupa were then seated in Makati City as per Supreme Court Administrative Order No. we must first resolve the issue of whether a Filipino who is divorced by his alien spouse abroad may validly remarry under the Civil Code. Romillo. A husband without a wife. as private respondent does. and whose decision he does not repudiate. the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of American law. she should not be required to perform her marital duties and obligations. 51 Thus. or before the Family Code took effect on August 3. 799: "The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of matrimony by a competent jurisdiction are to change the existing status or domestic relation of husband and wife. Atherton. At that time. particularly Art. recognized the validity of the divorce and held that the alien spouse had no interest in the properties acquired by the Filipino wife after the divorce. The Court. 26. we need not retroactively apply the provisions of the Family Code. ceases to bind either. he is estopped by his own representation before said Court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property. 52 involved a marriage between a foreigner and his Filipino wife. pursuant to his national law. is unknown to the law." Thus. In resolving this issue. Jr. (2) considering that there is sufficient jurisprudential basis allowing us to rule in the affirmative. which marriage was subsequently dissolved through a divorce obtained abroad by the latter. when thus severed as to one party. and to free them both from the bond. or a wife without a husband. 3. petitioner has to be considered still married to private respondent and still subject to a wife's . It held: To maintain.

1988. the divorce in the said case was obtained in 1954 when the Civil Code provisions were still in effect." 59 In Garcia v. and 39 of the Family Code. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. In his treatise." 56 Likewise. Orbecido III. shortly after the signing of the original Family Code. 36. 26. observe respect and fidelity. Court of Appeals. shall also be valid in this country. As so amended. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. and valid there as such. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. On July 17. 36. The significance of the Van Dorn case to the development of limited recognition of divorce in the Philippines cannot be denied. She should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served." which took effect on August 3. the ruling in Van Dorn applies. (5) and (6). Ibay-Somera 55 where the Court recognized the validity of a divorce obtained abroad. to wit: Brief Historical Background On July 6. otherwise known as the "Family Code. . 1998. it was held that the alien spouse is not a proper party in filing the adultery suit against his Filipino wife. In the said case. hence the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 37 and 38. except those prohibited under Articles 35.obligations under Article 109. and render support to private respondent. Dr. 62 the historical background and legislative intent behind paragraph 2. Article 26 thereof states: All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. of the Civil Code cannot be just. 54 (Emphasis added) This principle was thereafter applied in Pilapil v. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). Petitioner should not be obliged to live together with. 209. The ruling has long been interpreted as severing marital ties between parties in a mixed marriage and capacitating the Filipino spouse to remarry as a necessary consequence of upholding the validity of a divorce obtained abroad by the alien spouse. Article 26 of the Family Code were discussed. shall also be valid in this country. Arturo M. 1987. Executive Order No. 1987. seq. and valid there as such. The Court stated that "the severance of the marital bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses from each other. in Quita v. and 38. amending Articles 26. Tolentino cited Van Dorn stating that "if the foreigner obtains a valid foreign divorce. 61 In the recent case of Republic v. Recio. 60 the Court likewise cited the aforementioned case in relation to Article 26. (4). 37. 227 was likewise signed into law. it now provides: ART. 58 Although decided on December 22. et. 57 the Court stated that where a Filipino is divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse.

we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance with justice. there are some laws that. being a mutual and shared commitment between two parties. when the object of a marriage is defeated by rendering its continuance intolerable to one of the parties and productive of no possible good to the community.net Indeed. a member of the Civil Code Revision Committee.1awphi1. Romillo. while generally valid. as in this case. relief in some way should be obtainable. according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. may seem arbitrary when applied in a . Thus. after obtaining a divorce. It is a cardinal rule that. (Emphasis supplied) xxxx Legislative Intent Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. the Van Dorn case is sufficient basis in resolving a situation where a divorce is validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse. 63 (Emphasis added) As such. 64 Marriage. and likewise. TheVan Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. and we must keep them so. we may add. Such is the state of affairs where the alien spouse obtains a valid divorce abroad against the Filipino spouse. cannot possibly be productive of any good to the society where one is considered released from the marital bond while the other remains bound to it. is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. However. To be sure. Jr. for we presume the good motives of the legislature. in seeking the meaning of the law. Interestingly. in light of this Court’s rulings in the cases discussed above. With the enactment of the Family Code and paragraph 2. 68 the Court stated: But as has also been aptly observed. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. Law and justice are inseparable. and consequently. Article 26 thereof. is to render justice.Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines. An indispensable part of that intent. we test a law by its results. the Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. the law should never be interpreted in such a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. Intermediate Appellate Court. Petitioners cite Articles 15 65 and 17 66 of the Civil Code in stating that the divorce is void under Philippine law insofar as Filipinos are concerned. the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the intent of the lawmaker. in fact. our lawmakers codified the law already established through judicial precedent. Unquestionably. 67 In Alonzo v. the Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in his own country if the ends of justice are to be served. by its purposes.

presuming that it was the intention of the lawmaker. to begin with. As judges. "where these words import a policy that goes beyond them. 71 With regard to respondent’s marriage to Felicisimo allegedly solemnized in California. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded. nevertheless. as she may be considered the co-owner of Felicisimo as . we interpret the law in a way that will render justice. we are not bound.A.S. such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office. However. Justinian defined justice "as the constant and perpetual wish to render every one his due. the Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws as they must be alleged and proved. It held that presentation solely of the divorce decree is insufficient and that proof of its authenticity and due execution must be presented.particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. that the law be dispensed with justice. a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of the document. Even assuming that Felicisimo was not capacitated to marry respondent in 1974. in slavish obedience to their language. this case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence on the divorce decree obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo. Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132. "Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law. 69 Applying the above doctrine in the instant case. the records show that there is insufficient evidence to prove the validity of the divorce obtained by Merry Lee as well as the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo under the laws of the U. In such a situation. to apply them just the same. that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed.A." xxxx More than twenty centuries ago. we find that the latter has the legal personality to file the subject petition for letters of administration." so we are warned. the divorce decree allegedly obtained by Merry Lee which absolutely allowed Felicisimo to remarry. As stated in Garcia. U. she submitted photocopies of the Marriage Certificate and the annotated text 72 of the Family Law Act of California which purportedly show that their marriage was done in accordance with the said law. because only of our nature and functions. Recio. Justice is always an essential ingredient of its decisions. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will. would have vested Felicidad with the legal personality to file the present petition as Felicisimo’s surviving spouse.S.." That wish continues to motivate this Court when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision. yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its cause and consequence. If the record is not kept in the Philippines. we are not automatons. Thus when the facts warrants. 73 Therefore. In Garcia v. however. 70 the Court laid down the specific guidelines for pleading and proving foreign law and divorce judgments. by Justice Holmes again.

unless the contrary is proven. Contents of petition for letters of administration. Hence. but who nonetheless live together as husband and wife. Section 6.regards the properties that were acquired through their joint efforts during their cohabitation. applies to properties acquired during said cohabitation in proportion to their respective contributions. their contributions and corresponding shares shall be presumed to be equal. or their marriage is void from the beginning.A. 74 Rule 78 of the Rules of Court states that letters of administration may be granted to the surviving spouse of the decedent.S. 75 In the instant case. Rule 79 thereof also provides in part: SEC. efforts and industry. xxxx In the cases of Agapay v. if respondent fails to prove the validity of both the divorce and the marriage.. as far as known to the petitioner: x x x. 79 we held that even if the cohabitation or the acquisition of property occurred before the Family Code took effect. Co-ownership will only be up to the extent of the proven actual contribution of money. 2. property or industry. but fails to prove that her marriage with him was validly performed under the laws of the U. Article 148 governs. An "interested person" has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate. 77 Meanwhile. In a co-ownership. Fernandez. and Tumlos v. such as an heir. which involved the issue of co-ownership of properties acquired by the parties to a bigamous marriage and an . Any property acquired during the union is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. the existence of which was not denied by petitioners. it is not necessary that the property be acquired through their joint labor. and not merely indirect or contingent. 78In Saguid v. or one who has a claim against the estate. The interest must be material and direct. the portions belonging to the co-owners shall be presumed equal. Court of Appeals. However. the applicable provision would be Article 148 of the Family Code which has filled the hiatus in Article 144 of the Civil Code by expressly regulating the property relations of couples living together as husband and wife but are incapacitated to marry. such as a creditor. then she may be considered as a co-owner under Article 144 76 of the Civil Code. respondent would qualify as an interested person who has a direct interest in the estate of Felicisimo by virtue of their cohabitation. It provides that the property acquired by either or both of them through their work or industry or their wages and salaries shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. Absent proof of the extent thereof. Section 2. Palang. If she proves the validity of the divorce and Felicisimo’s capacity to remarry. – A petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested person and must show. This provision governs the property relations between parties who live together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. 80 The Court described the property regime under this provision as follows: The regime of limited co-ownership of property governing the union of parties who are not legally capacitated to marry each other.

as determined by the pleadings or the nature of the case. . SO ORDERED. asserts an affirmative issue. x x x As in other civil cases. 1994 Order of the Regional Trial Court which denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss and its October 24. Let this case be REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings. respectively. we find that respondent’s legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration may arise from her status as the surviving wife of Felicisimo or as his co-owner under Article 144 of the Civil Code or Article 148 of the Family Code. Contentions must be proved by competent evidence and reliance must be had on the strength of the party’s own evidence and not upon the weakness of the opponent’s defense. 1994 Order which dismissed petitioners’ motion for reconsideration is AFFIRMED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals reinstating and affirming the February 28.adulterous relationship. the petition is DENIED. the burden of proof rests upon the party who. we ruled that proof of actual contribution in the acquisition of the property is essential. x x x81 In view of the foregoing. WHEREFORE.

Rollo). J.£îhqw⣠I purposely have made no provision in this will for my daughter. died at 78 in the Makati Medical Center on November 27. Concepcion. 1978 in Probate No. vs. or my daughter. Antecedents. AQUINO. 43-47. Maxine Tate Grimm and their two children. LaVar Tate on March 7. Angara. The two children of the first marriage were given their legitimes in the will disposing of the estate situated in this country. pp. the second wife and two children were favored. Utah. 1977. LEONIDAS. JUDGE TOMAS R. Elsa Grimm McFadden (Ethel Grimm Roberts).R. — Edward M. approved in anintestate proceeding by Branch 20 of the Manila Court of First Instance. Branch 38. can be entertained by its Branch 38 (after a probate in the Utah district court). respondents. N. (First clause. In the will dealing with his property outside this country. petitioner. 1984 ETHEL GRIMM ROBERTS. No. Juanita Grimm Morris of Cupertino. California and Mrs. 3720 of the Third Judicial District Court of Tooele County. In both wills. Regala and Cruz for respondents. Court of First Instance of Manila. named Edward Miller Grimm II (Pete) and Linda Grimm and by Juanita Grimm Morris and Ethel Grimm Roberts (McFadden).: The question in this case is whether a petition for allowance of wills and to annul a partition. the testator said: têñ. Rollo). MAXINE TATE- GRIMM. Juanita Grimm Morris. 36- 47. J. EDWARD MILLER GRIMM II and LINDA GRIMM. California. Abello. Quisumbing and Associates for petitioners.G. The two wills and a codicil were presented for probate by Maxine Tate Grimm and E. Grimm an American resident of Manila. his two children by a first marriage which ended in divorce (Sub-Annexes A and B. L-55509 April 27. Roberts of . He was survived by his second wife. One will disposed of his Philippine estate which he described as conjugal property of himself and his second wife. He executed on January 23. 1959 two wills in San Francisco. because I have provided for each of them in a separate will disposing of my Philippine property. pp. The second win disposed of his estate outside the Philippines.

Quezon City were notified of the probate proceeding (Sub-Annex C. Rollo). Testate case).three days after Grimm's death. it was stipulated that Maxine. Juanita Grimm Morris and Juanita Kegley Grimm. LaVar Tate. it should be stated that forty. 5). Two weeks later. appointed them joint administrators. and Ethel. It was also stipulated that Maxine's one-half conjugal share in the estate should be reserved for her and that would not be less than $1. Reyes and. with knowledge of the intestate proceeding in Manila. Macaraeg. Annex.500. 49-61. In that agreement. The agreement indicated the computation of the "net distributable estate". On March 11. Salisbury and Donald B. Rollo). Holbrook. It recognized that the estate was liable to pay the fees of the Angara law firm (par. Rollo). 53. E. Intestate proceeding No. It was stipulated in paragraph 6 that the decedent's four children "shall share equally in the Net Distributable Estate" and that Ethel and Juanita Morris should each receive at least 12-1/2% of the total of the net distributable estate and marital share. She also moved that she be appointed special administratrix. through lawyers Deogracias T. She submitted to the court a copy of Grimm's will disposing of his Philippine estate. F-1.000 plus the homes in Utah and Santa Mesa. Edward Miller Grimm II. She was named special administratrix. filed with Branch 20 of the Manila Court of First Instance intestate proceeding No. 113024for the settlement of his estate. 113024. filed an opposition and motion to dismiss the intestate proceeding on the ground of the pendency of Utah of a proceeding for the probate of Grimm's will. pp. as lawyers of the parties. the Third Judicial District Court admitted to probate the two wills and the codicil It was issued upon consideration of the stipulation dated April 4. 49. 78. In its order dated April 10. his daughter of the first marriage. Macaraeg. the second wife. 48-55. Maxine admitted that she received notice of the intestate petition filed in Manila by Ethel in January. through a new lawyer. Juanita Kegley Grimm (first wife). 1978. Pete and Ethel would be designated as personal representatives (administrators) of Grimm's Philippine estate (par. Ethel. 1978 "by and between the attorneys for Maxine Tate Grimm. 1978. Gerardo B. Manila (par. Maxine and her two children Linda and Pete. through the Angara law office. Limqueco (partner of Gerardo B. entered into a compromise agreement in Utah regarding the estate. testate case withdrew that opposition and motion to dismiss and. 1978. 1978 (p. p. 4). It was signed by David E. A supplemental memorandum also dated April 25. or January 9. Juanita Grimm Morris and Ethel Grimm Roberts" (Annex C. Apparently. Maxine. pp. pp. 75-76. by Pete and Linda and the attorney-in-fact of Maxine and by the attorney-in-fact of Ethel. It is found in pages 58 to 64 of the record. The intestate court in its orders of May 23 and June 2 noted that Maxine.15 C. Linda Grimm. or on April 25. as the first parties. at the behest of Maxine. Benitez Street. Horseshoe Village. William C.-At this juncture. pp. 2). 1978 was executed by the parties (Sub-Annex F. Ethel and Pete. 48-51. Juanita Grimm Morris and their mother Juanita Kegley Grimm as the second parties. this was done pursuant to the .

was incorporated by Ethel and her husband. The three administrators submitted an inventory. Record).992. when the Palawan Pearl Project was sold: that it was Maxine's son Pete who negotiated the sale with Rex Roberts and that he (Limqueco) was going to sue Maxine for the lies she imputed to him (Annex H. Record).546. After November. there was no movement or activity in the intestate case. On April 18. Record). As already noted.233. 90. The court ignored the will already found in the record.. 1979 alleged that he was no longer connected with Makiling Management Co. testate case). Inc. Rex Roberts. and by lawyer Limqueco (Annex L. 149. they sold for P1. No mention at all was made of the will in that order. 140-142. Ethel submitted to the court a certification of the Assistant Commissioner of Internal Revenue dated October 2. The court considered the motion moot considering that it had already approved the declaration of heirs and project of partition (p.69 as estate tax and penalties and that he interposed no objection to the transfer of the estate to Grimm's heirs (p. they sold for P75. or on August 2. 1979. p. p. Inc. Six days later. 1980 Juanita Grimm Morris. Makiling Management Co. Maxine and her two children replaced Limqueco with Octavio del Callar as their lawyer who on August 9. 1979 or for a period of more than five months. Judge Conrado M. 1979 adjudicated to Maxine onehalf (4/8) of the decedent's Philippine estate and one-eighth (1/8) each to his four children or 12-1/2% (pp.267 shares of RFM Corporation (p. 135. 153. 120-129. a business owned by the deceased. . filed a motion for accounting "so that the Estate properties can be partitioned among the heirs and the present intestate estate be closed. Linda and Juanita allegedly conformed with the sale (pp. Linda and Pete. 78. Before that motion could be heard.aforementioned Utah compromise agreement. Also with the court's approval and the consent of Linda and Juanita. when it filed a motion to dismiss the intestate proceeding and furnished the court with a copy of Grimm's will. 1979. through Ethel's lawyers. 1978.000 on March 21. Acting on the declaration of heirs and project of partition signed and filed by lawyers Limqueco and Macaraeg (not signed by Maxine and her two children). Maxine's lawyer was notified of that motion. the firm was then superseded by lawyer Limqueco. 1979 the so-called Palawan Pearl Project. Lawyer Limqueco in a letter to Maxine dated August 2.. It was stated therein that Maxine paid P1. testate case). With the authority and approval of the court. It should be recalled that the firm had previously appeared in the case as Maxine's counsel on March 11. The court noted the certification as in conformity with its order of July 27. Record)." Del Callar. Molina in his order of July 27. 1980.. moved to defer approval of the project of partition. or on June 10. It turned out that the buyer. Record).136 to Joseph Server and others 193. the Angara law firm filed again its appearance in collaboration with Del Callar as counsel for Maxine and her two children.

that the 1978 Utah compromise agreement was illegal. Morris. The temporary restraining order is dissolved. Ruling. Grimm's second wife and two children alleged that they were defraud due to the machinations of the Roberts spouses. sec. alternatively that the two proceedings be consolidated and heard in Branch 20 and that the matter of the annulment of the Utah compromise agreement be heard prior to the petition for probate (pp. Baluyot vs. or. Vinluan of the Angara law firm in behalf of Maxine. Juanita G. 1980. May 7. amounting to lack of jurisdiction. filed in Branch 38 of the lower court a petition praying for the probate of Grimm's two wills (already probated in Utah). Rollo). L-42088. Judge Leonidas denied it for lack of merit in his order of October 27. No costs. Rules of Court). in denying Ethel's motion to dismiss. Therefore. Ethel may file within twenty days from notice of the finality of this judgment an opposition and answer to the petition unless she considers her motion to dismiss and other pleadings sufficient for the purpose. 1. Ethel then filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition in this Court. — We hold that respondent judge did not commit any grave abuse of discretion. SO ORDERED. Pete and Linda. It is anomalous that the estate of a person who died testate should be settled in an intestate proceeding. 134559. A testate proceeding is proper in this case because Grimm died with two wills and "no will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed" (Art. 479 and 98 Phil. Rogelio A. 25-35. The probate of the will is mandatory (Guevara vs. WHEREFORE the petition is dismissed. the intestate case should be consolidated with the testate proceeding and the judge assigned to the testate proceeding should continue hearing the two cases. 1980. 71 SCRA 86). that the 1979 partition approved by the intestate court be set aside and the letters of administration revoked. 249. Guevara. who appeared in the intestate case. Rollo). notices and other papers in the testate case. Panio. 838. that Maxine be appointed executrix and that Ethel and Juanita Morris be ordered to account for the properties received by them and to return the same to Maxine (pp.Petition to annul partition and testate proceeding No. praying that the testate proceeding be dismissed. should be served with copies of orders. Ethel filed a motion to dismiss the petition.ñët . Rule 75. that the intestate proceeding is void because Grimm died testate and that the partition was contrary to the decedent's wills. 1976.1äwphï1. 74 Phil. 22-23. Civil Code. — On September 8.

Teehankee & Carreon for respondents.. L-21938-39 May 29. THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (12th Judicial District) THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF MANILA.: On October 3. J. petitioner. and the order of 1 July 1963 (Annex 'K') of respondent Manila court denying petitioner's omnibus motion to intervene and to dismiss the later-instituted Special Proceeding No. 51396. 51396. 1963 petitioner Vicente Uriarte filed an original petition for certiorari — docketed as G. Reasons in support of said petition are stated therein as follows: 6. respectively — praying: . Tañada. and consequently annulling all proceedings had in Special Proceeding No. supra. and the Courts of First Instance of Negros Occidental and of Manila.G. DIZON. JUAN URIARTE ZAMACONA and HIGINIO URIARTE. 1970 VICENTE URIARTE. of the respondent Manila court as all taken without jurisdiction. and failing to declare itself 'the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the . BRANCH IV.. both special proceedings pertaining to the settlement of the same estate of the same deceased. Norberto J. supra. supra. vs. L-21938 — against the respondents Juan Uriarte Zamacona. Juan Uriarte Zamacona and Higinio Uriarte from proceeding with Special Proceeding No. 6344. 51396. Quisumbing for petitioner. For the preservation of the rights of the parties pending these proceedings. that after due proceedings judgment be rendered annulling the orders of 19 April 1963 (Annex 'H') and 11 July 1963 (Annex 'I') of respondent Negros court dismissing the first instituted Special Proceeding No. until further orders of this Court. supra. Nos. petitioner prays for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining respondents Manila court.R. 6344. who will be referred to hereinafter as the Negros Court and the Manila Court. Branch IV. Higinio Uriarte. respondents.R. Respondent Negros court erred in dismissing its Special Proceeding No. supra.

R. On October 21. 1961 and two days later it set the date for the hearing of the petition and ordered that the requisite notices be published in accordance with law. Upon petitioner's motion the Negros Court appointed the Philippine National Bank as special administrator on November 13. On December 19. as the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite had left a last will. 1961. he was his sole heir. . L-21938) is taken up on the merits. he not being an acknowledged natural son of the decedent." and further questioning petitioner's capacity and interest to commence the intestate proceeding. It appears that on November 6. and (2) that petitioner Vicente Uriarte had no legal personality and interest to initiate said intestate proceedings. Juan Uriarte Zamacona. however. The writ of preliminary injunction prayed for was granted and issued by this Court on October 24. Respondent Manila court erred in failing to dismiss its Special Proceeding No. L-21938 filed their answer traversing petitioner's contention that the respondent courts had committed grave abuse of discretion in relation to the matters alleged in the petition forcertiorari. No. the first disapproving his record on appeal and the second denying his motion for reconsideration. one of the two private respondents herein. 6142 in the same Court for his compulsory acknowledgment as such natural son. a duly authenticated copy whereof has been requested and which shall be submitted to this Honorable Court upon receipt thereof. On April 22. for the reasons therein stated. for one reason or another. 1963 the respondents in G. 1961 petitioner filed with the Negros Court a petition for the settlement of the estate of the late Don Juan Uriarte y Goite (Special Proceeding No. that. and that. the Philippine. there was no legal basis to proceed with said intestate proceedings. 1964. the other private respondent. and further commanding said court to approve his record on appeal and to give due course to his appeal. 51396 in the Manila Court for the probate of a document alleged to be the last will of the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite. National Bank never actually qualified as special administrator. 1964 petitioner filed against the same respondents a pleading entitled SUPPLEMENTAL PETITION FOR MANDAMUS — docketed in this Court as G. 6344 of the Negros Court a motion to dismiss the same on the following grounds: (1) that. On July 15. that judgment be rendered annulling the orders issued by the Negros Court on December 7. L-21939 — praying. commenced Special Proceeding No.R. in the Negros court. The record discloses. 6344) alleging therein. A copy of the Petition for Probate and of the alleged Will were attached to the Motion to Dismiss. as a natural son of the latter. during the lifetime of said decedent. On August 28. 1962. petitioner had instituted Civil Case No.estate of' the deceased Don Juan Uriarte y Goite as prescribed in Rule 75 section 1 of the Rules of Court. 1963 and February 26. filed an opposition to the above-mentioned petition alleging that he was a nephew of the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite who had "executed a Last Will and Testament in Spain. Higinio Uriarte. supra. notwithstanding proof of prior filing of Special Proceeding No. and on the same date he filed in Special Proceeding No. supra. 1964 We issued a resolution deferring action on this Supplemental Petition until the original action for certiorari (G. that.R. 1963. inter alia. 6344. 51396.

after proper proceedings were had in Special Proceeding No. and under date of December 7. it as the last will of Juan Uriarte y Goite. as well as when he commenced the aforesaid special proceeding. On April 15. appeal bond and record on appeal for the purpose of appealing from said orders to this court on questions of law. It appears further that. 51396 pending in the Manila Court.Petitioner opposed the aforesaid motion to dismiss contending that. the Negros Court sustained Juan Uriarte Zamacona's motion to dismiss and dismissed the Special Proceeding No. as stated heretofore. L-21938. No. 6344 pending before it. bringing this case squarely before the Supreme Court on questions of law which is tantamount to petitioner's abandoning his appeal from this Court. The administrator with the will annexed appointed by the Manila Court in Special Proceeding No. it had acquired exclusive jurisdiction over same pursuant to Rule 75. 6142 to obtain judgment for his compulsory acknowledgment as his natural child. 51396. as alleged in the basic petition filed in Special Proceeding No. On the other hand. Vicente Uriarte filed in the same court. Clearly inferrable from this is that at the time he filed the action. 1963. he had not yet been acknowledged as natural son of Juan Uriarte y Goite. be dismissed for having been filed out of time and for being incomplete. WHEREFORE. G. Section 1 of the Rules of Court.. The record further discloses that the special proceeding before the Negros Court has not gone farther than the appointment of a special administrator in the person of the Philippine National Bank who. failed to qualify. it is not disputed that. 6344 of the Negros Court. 1963 the Negros Court issued the following order: Oppositor prays that the record on appeal filed by the petitioner on July 27. In view of the above-quoted order. Civil Case No. before the said record on appeal was approved by this Court.R. It is admitted that. et al. petitioner filed the supplemental petition for mandamus mentioned heretofore. as the Negros Court was first to take cognizance of the settlement of the estate of the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite. for the dismissal of the petition and the annulment of the proceedings had in said special proceeding. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. petitioner proceeded to file his notice of appeal. in order to give way to the certiorari. In the meantime. the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court entitled Vicente Uriarte. 1963 Vicente Uriarte filed an Omnibus Motion in Special Proceeding No. asking for leave to intervene therein. the record on appeal filed by the petitioner is hereby disapproved. 1963. during the lifetime of Juan Uriarte y Goite. no final judgment to that effect appears to have been rendered. the petition for probate appearing not to have been contested. the order issued by . His motion for reconsideration of said order having been denied on July 27. This motion was denied by said court in its order of July 1 of the same year. 51396 objected to the approval of the record on appeal. vs. 1963. Petitioner. as stated heretofore. the Manila Court admitted to probate the document submitted to. Up to this time. On April 19.

51396. Under the Judiciary Act of 1948 [Section 44. Courts of First Instance have original exclusive jurisdiction over "all matters of probate. that almost from the start of Special Proceeding No. on the one hand. as the Negros Court had first taken cognizance of the special proceeding for the settlement of the estate of said decedent (Special Proceeding No. if in the course of intestate proceedings pending before a court of first instance it is found it hat the decedent had left a last will. 51396 notwithstanding proof of the prior filing of Special Proceeding No. whether a citizen or an alien. 6344). while the second court similarly erred in not dismissing Special Proceeding No. Vicente Uriarte's Omnibus Motion for Intervention. . whether in accordance with the law on intestate succession or in accordance with his will. Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court. which provides that the estate of a decedent inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death. Section 1 of the Rules of Court. While their jurisdiction over such subject matter is beyond question. Likewise. the matter of venue. The principal legal questions raised in the petition for certiorari are (a) whether or not the Negros Court erred in dismissing Special Proceeding No. In the case before Us. It can not be denied that a special proceeding intended to effect the distribution of the estate of a deceased person. From this premise petitioner argues that. 1963 denied petitioner. over special proceedings for the settlement of the estate of deceased persons — whether they died testate or intestate. 6344. and that consequently. it is not denied that to the motion to dismiss the special proceeding pending before the Negros Court filed by Higinio Uriarte were attached a copy of the alleged last will of Juan Uriarte y Goite and of the petition filed with the Manila Court for its probate. Dismissal of Petition and Annulment of said proceedings. Accordingly. 6344 in the Negros Court. It is clear. (b) whether the Manila Court similarly erred in not dismissing Special Proceeding No. 6344.the Manila Court on July 1. the first court erred in dismissing Special Proceeding No. testate proceedings. paragraph (e)]. 51396 intended to settle the estate of the same decedent in accordance with his alleged will. is a "probate matter" or a proceeding for the settlement of his estate. these Courts of First Instance are the Negros and the Manila Courts — province and city where the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite left considerable properties. and on the other." that is. or the particular Court of First Instance where the special proceeding should be commenced. for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person take precedence over intestate proceedings for the same purpose. the Manila Court no longer had jurisdiction to take cognizance of Special Proceeding No. is regulated by former Rule 75. that in accordance with settled jurisprudence in this jurisdiction. 6644. however. the court of first instance of any province in which he had estate. when the estate to be settled is that of a non-resident alien — like the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite — the Courts of First Instance in provinces where the deceased left any property have concurrent jurisdiction to take cognizance of the proper special proceeding for the settlement of his estate. now Section 1. and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. therefore. It is equally true. Thus it has been held repeatedly that. the Negros Court and petitioner Vicente Uriarte knew of the existence of the aforesaid last will and of the proceedings for its probate. shall be in the court of first instance in the province in which he resided at the time of his death.

in effect. 6344. he had submitted to the Negros Court a copy of the alleged will of the decedent. in the Manila Court. that petitioner likewise was served with notice of the existence (presence) of the alleged last will in the Philippines and of the filing of the petition for its probate with the Manila Court since August 28. Upon the facts before Us the question arises as to whether Juan Uriarte Zamacona should have filed the petition for the probate of the last will of Juan Uriarte y Goite with the Negros Court — particularly in Special Proceeding No. 6344. Juan Uriarte Zamacona. the proceeding shall continue as an intestacy. he had expressly promised to submit said will for probate to the Negros Court. from which fact it may be inferred that. It is well settled in this jurisdiction that wrong venue is merely a waiveable procedural defect.proceedings for the probate of the latter should replace the intestate proceedings even if at that stage an administrator had already been appointed. like Higinio Uriarte. The following considerations and the facts of record would seem to support the view that he should have submitted said will for probate to the Negros Court. when respondent Higinio Uriarte filed an opposition to Vicente Uriarte's petition for the issuance of letters of administration. either in a separate special proceeding or in an appropriate motion for said purpose filed in the already pending Special Proceeding No. it seems quite clear that in his opposition to petitioner's petition in Special Proceeding No. But the fact is that instead of the aforesaid will being presented for probate to the Negros Court. and when the other respondent. 1961 when Higinio Uriarte filed his opposition to the initial petition filed in Special Proceeding No. of which a copy had been requested for submission to said court. was the result of the submission of the will aforesaid to the Manila Court. it is not in accord with public policy and the orderly and inexpensive administration of justice to unnecessarily multiply litigation. he had already informed the Negros Court that the deceased Juan Uriarte y Goite had left a will in Spain. in the light of the circumstances obtaining in the instant case. filed his motion to dismiss Special Proceeding No. is understood to be without prejudice that should the alleged last will be rejected or is disapproved. In the first place. however. In the second place. This. and. As already adverted to. This. this is a clear indication that proceedings for the probate of a will enjoy priority over intestate proceedings. that petitioner has waived the right to raise such objection or is precluded from doing so by laches. We can not accept petitioner's contention in this regard that the latter court had no jurisdiction to consider said petition. Juan Uriarte Zamacona filed the petition for the purpose with the Manila Court. especially if several courts would be involved. 6344 — or was entitled to commence the corresponding separate proceedings. As far as Higinio Uriarte is concerned. It is enough to consider in this connection that petitioner knew of the existence of a will executed by Juan Uriarte y Goite since December 19. 6344. 6344. he knew before filing the petition for probate with the Manila Court that there was already a special proceeding pending in the Negros Court for the settlement of the estate of the same deceased person. albeit we say that it was not the proper venue therefor. as he did. and so hold. 1962 when Juan Uriarte . we are of the opinion. the latter being required to render final account and turn over the estate in his possession to the executor subsequently appointed.

6142 until it is finally determined. worse still. for indeed his supposed interest in the estate of the decedent is of his doubtful character pending the final decision of the action for compulsory acknowledgment. it must be remembered that this Court is not inclined to annul proceedings regularly had in a lower court even if the latter was not the proper venue therefor. Moreover. Coming now to the supplemental petition for mandamus (G. 6142 for compulsory acknowledgment by the decedent such action justifies the institution by him of this proceedings. Said orders being. 6344.Zamacona filed a motion for the dismissal of Special Proceeding No. it was only on April 15. All these notwithstanding." We believe in connection with the above matter that petitioner is entitled to prosecute Civil Case No. and Jimoga-on vs. If the said supplemental petition is successful. Judge Fernandez of the Negros Court said that he was "not inclined to sustain the contention of the petitioner that inasmuch as the herein petitioner has instituted Civil Case No. 1963 dismissing Special Proceeding No. or intervene in Special Proceeding No. L-21939). 227. . 1963 and February 26. 343. in its capacity as a probate court.R. If the petitioner is to be consistent with the authorities cited by him in support of his contention. Conde vs. Lopez. 51396 of the Manila Court. the first being the order of said court dismissing Special Proceeding No. Severino vs. so as to be able to submit for determination the question of his acknowledgment as natural child of the deceased testator. Lopez vs. G. the proper thing for him to do would be to intervene in the testate estate proceedings entitled Special Proceedings No. In his order of April 19. No. that in view of the conclusions heretofore stated. it will only result in compelling the Negros Court to give due course to the appeal that petitioner was taking from the orders of said court dated December 7. and so hold. 1962. as a result of what has been said heretofore beyond petitioner's power to contest. more so in a case like the present where the objection against said proceedings is raised too late. 1957 Ed. 1119). the same has become moot and academic. on October 31. 249. the conclusion can not be other than that the intended appeal would serve no useful purpose. jurisdiction to declare who are the heirs of the deceased testator and whether or not a particular party is or should be declared his acknowledged natural child (II Moran on Rules of Court. or more specifically. We are of the opinion. 6344. if the net result would be to have the same proceedings repeated in some other court of similar jurisdiction. 1964. and the second being an order denying petitioner's motion for the reconsideration of said order of dismissal. p. said court having. 476. 1963 that he filed with the Manila Court in Special Proceeding No. if it is still open. Belmonte. 51396 an Omnibus motion asking for leave to intervene and for the dismissal and annulment of all the proceedings had therein up to that date. 47 O. To allow him now to assail the exercise of jurisdiction over the probate of the will by the Manila Court and the validity of all the proceedings had in Special Proceeding No. 68 Phil. Abaya. 44 Phil. thus enabling the Manila Court not only to appoint an administrator with the will annexed but also to admit said will to probate more than five months earlier. Severino. or to ask for its reopening if it has already been closed. 51396 in the Court of First Instance of Manila instead of maintaining an independent action. or.. 6344. 13 Phil. 51396 would put a premium on his negligence.

No. Mariano Jesus. the petition for certiorari filed in G.: Petition for certiorari to review the decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. judgment is hereby rendered denying the writs prayed for and. and Jesus Salvador. He was survived by his widow. Lourdes Cuenco. Carmen Cuenco. vs. and by his children of the first marriage. as a result. both surnamed Cuenco.R. petitioners. respondents. and their two (2) minor sons.R. No. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS. and TERESITA CUENCO GONZALEZ. (the 9th day after the death of the late Senator) 1 respondent Lourdes Cuenco filed a Petition for Letters of Administration with the court of first instance of Cebu (Sp. and that he left real and personal properties in Cebu and Quezon . Sta. the herein petitioner. CONSUELO CUENCO REYES. L-21938. No. CARMEN CUENCO. namely. as well as the supplemental petition formandamus docketed as G. The writ of preliminary injunction heretofore issued is set aside. No. that he was a resident of Cebu at the time of his death. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. 1973 ROSA CAYETANO CUENCO. On 5 March 1964. promulgated 21 November 1964. Mesa Heights. respondents herein. Jr. MANUEL CUENCO. THIRD DIVISION. Quezon City. Manila. that the late senator died intestate in Manila on 25 February 1964. CONCEPCION CUENCO MANGUERRA.R. Ambrosio Padilla Law Office for petitioner.R. Jalandoni and Jamir for respondents. TEEHANKEE. G. all residing at 69 Pi y Margal St. and its subsequent Resolution promulgated 8 July 1964 denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration. Consuelo Cuenco Reyes and Teresita Cuenco Gonzales. Manuel Cuenco. With costs against petitioner. Proc. J. alleging among other things. L-24742 October 26. LOURDES CUENCO. No. L-21939.would enable petitioner to circumvent our ruling that he can no longer question the validity of said orders. all of legal age and residing in Cebu. Concepcion Cuenco Manguera. 34104-R. 2433-R). are hereby dismissed. The pertinent facts which gave rise to the herein petition follow: On 25 February 1964 Senator Mariano Jesus Cuenco died at the Manila Doctors' Hospital..

" 4 The said court further found in said order that theresidence of the late . 2433-R. Proc. as the surviving widow and executrix in the said last will and testament. in view of the fact that the petition was to be heard at Branch II instead of Branch I of the said Cebu court. respondents filed in the Quezon City court an Opposition and Motion to Dismiss.opposing probate of the will and assailing the jurisdiction of the said Quezon City court to entertain petitioner's petition for probate and for appointment as executrix in Sp. or specifically on 12 March 1964. 2 In the meantime. as well as an Opposition to Petition for Appointment of Special Administrator. On the same date. the requisite publication of the notice of hearing not yet having been complied with. the Cebu court issued an order setting the petition for hearing on 10 April 1964. In its order of 11 April 1964. directing that due notice be given to all the heirs and interested persons. dated 10 April 1964. Q-7898. Proc. giving as reasons the following: It will be premature for this Court to act thereon." 3 Such order of the Cebu court deferring to the probateproceedings in the Quezon City court was neither excepted to nor sought by respondents to be reconsidered or set aside by the Cebu court nor did they challenge the same by certiorari or prohibition proceedings in the appellate courts. petitioner Rosa Cayetano Cuenco filed in said Cebu court an Opposition and Motion to Dismiss. Moreover. The said proceeding was docketed as Special Proceeding No. a newspaper of general circulation in the City and Province of Cebu. however. copies of the petition have not been served on all of the heirs specified in the basic petition for the issuance of letters of administration. a third order was further issued stating that respondent Lourdes Cuenco's petition for the appointment of a special administrator dated 4 March 1964 was not yet ready for the consideration of the said court. On 10 April 1964.City. giving as a principal reason the "precedence of probate proceeding over an intestate proceeding. Proc. Q-7898 be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and/or improper venue. Said respondent prayed that Sp. No. the Cebu court issued an order holding in abeyance its resolution on petitioner's motion to dismiss "until after the Court of First Instance of Quezon City shall have acted on the petition for probate of that document purporting to be the last will and testament of the deceased Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco. dated 30 March 1964. (a week after the filing of the Cebu petition) herein petitioner Rosa Cayetano Cuenco filed a petition with the court of first instance of Rizal (Quezon City) for the probate of the deceased's last will and testament and for the issuance of letters testamentary in her favor. Having learned of the intestate proceeding in the Cebu court. Instead. No. and ordering the requisite publication thereof at LA PRENSA. the Quezon City court denied the motion to dismiss. it not having yet regularly acquired jurisdiction to try this proceeding. On the same date. dated 8 April 1964. Q-7898 in view of the alleged exclusive jurisdiction vested by her petition in the Cebu court in Sp. was later suspended and cancelled and a new and modified one released on 13 March 1964. The aforesaid order. No.

the aforesaid petition filed by Rosa Cayetano Cuenco on 12 March 1964 was not filed with the proper Court (wrong venue) in view of the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 73 of the New Rules of Court ." If a party has two residences. Annex A (Last Will and Testament of Mariano Jesus Cuenco) of the petition for probate of the will shows that the decedent at the time when he executed his Last Will clearly stated that he is a resident of 69 Pi y Margal. that could not also be entertained as proper because paragraph 1 of the petition for the probate of the will indicates that Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco at the time of his death was a resident of Quezon City at 69 Pi y Margal.m. Sta. The petitioner. the intestate proceedings in Cebu City should prevail over the probate proceedings in Quezon City. (b) That the will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary or some other persons for his benefit.senator at the time of his death was at No. with the hearing in their absence. 5 Respondent Lourdes Cuenco's motion for reconsideration of the Quezon City court's said order of 11 April 1964 asserting its exclusive jurisdiction over the probate proceeding as deferred to by the Cebu court was denied on 27 April 1964 and a second motion for reconsideration dated 20 May 1964 was likewise denied. 69 Pi y Margal. As per the order issued by it subsequently on 15 May 1964. follows the first choice of residence of the decedent and once this court acquires jurisdiction of the probate proceeding it is to the exclusion of all others. the hearing for probate of the last will of the decedent was called three times at half-hour intervals. in thus filing the instant petition before this Court.". but notwithstanding due notification none of the oppositors appeared and the Quezon City court proceeded at 9:00 a. Mesa Heights. (c) That the testator's signature was procured by fraud and/or that the testator acted by mistake and did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time he affixed his signature thereto. On 11 May 1964. The pertinent portion of said order follows: On the question of residence of the decedent. From the aforequoted allegation. paragraph 5 of the opposition and motion to dismiss reads as follows: "that since the decedent Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco was a resident of the City of Cebu at the time of his death. Quezon City. If the last proposition is the desire of the oppositors as understood by this Court. but that the probate proceedings should be filed in the Cebu City Court of First Instance. pursuant to its earlier order of 11 April 1964. Sta. the one will be deemed or presumed to his domicile which he himself selects or considers to be his home or which appears to be the center of his affairs.. the Court is made to understand that the oppositors do not mean to say that the decedent being a resident of Cebu City when he died. He made the former as his first choice and the latter as his second choice of residence. Mesa Heights. because as stated above the probate of the will should take precedence. and also of the City of Cebu. 6 .. Quezon City. the Quezon City court noted that respondents-oppositors had opposed probate under their opposition and motion to dismiss on the following grounds: (a) That the will was not executed and attested as required by law.

and of the notary public.. Proc. Ojeda. instead of invoking the jurisdiction of another court.. The respondents try to make capital of the fact that on March 13.R. At all events. in which the petition for probate was filed by the respondent Rosa Cayetano Cuenco (Special Proceeding Q-7898). Rule 73. acting in Sp. No. the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of respondents (petitioners therein) and against the herein petitioner. it follows that the said court must exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the Rizal CFI. .The Quezon City court further noted that the requisite publication of the notice of the hearing had been duly complied with and that all the heirs had been duly notified of the hearing. Arriola. respondents filed a special civil action of certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction with respondent Court of Appeals (docketed as case CA-G. 34104-R) to bar the Rizal court from proceeding with case No. 2433-R.. namely Atty. which fixes the venue in proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. Considering therefore that the first proceeding was instituted in the Cebu CFI (Special Proceeding 2433-R). it is that court whose jurisdiction was first invoked and which first attached. diplomatic passport. The said respondent should assert her rights within the framework of the proceeding in the Cebu CFI. Dr. 1964. Braulio A. who ratified the said last will. . Instead of appealing from the Quezon City court's said order admitting the will to probate and naming petitioner-widow as executrix thereof. Picache and Dr. covers both testate and intestate proceedings. and after receiving the testimony of the three instrumental witnesses to the decedent's last will. Sp. Guillermo A. and the documentary evidence (such as the decedent's residence certificates. It would be premature for this Court to act thereon. jurisdiction is conferred and determined by law and does not depend on the pronouncements of a trial judge. 2433-R of the Cebu CFI having been filed ahead. Q-7898. income tax return. the Quezon City court in its said order of 15 May 1964 admitted to probate the late senator's last will and testament as having been "freely and voluntarily executed by the testator" and "with all formalities of the law" and appointed petitioner- widow as executrix of his estate without bond "following the desire of the testator" in his will as probated. not to jurisdiction itself which is acquired from the moment a petition is filed. It is that court which can properly and exclusively pass upon the factual issues of (1) whether the decedent left or did not leave a valid will. deed of donation) all indicating that the decedent was a resident of 69 Pi y Margal St. stated that the petition for appointment of special administrator was "not yet ready for the consideration of the Court today. it not having yet regularly acquired jurisdiction to try this proceeding . Jose P. Atty. Jr. Judge Amador Gomez of the Cebu CFI. " It is sufficient to state in this connection that the said judge was certainly not referring to the court's jurisdiction over the res. holding that: Section 1.. Quezon City. Florencio Albino. On 21 November 1964. as also affirmed by him in his last will. but only to theexercise of jurisdiction in relation to the stage of the proceedings. Proc. and (2) whether or not the decedent was a resident of Cebu at the time of his death.

The Court finds under the above-cited facts that the appellate court erred in law in issuing the writ of prohibition against the Quezon City court from proceeding with the testate proceedings and annulling and setting aside all its orders and actions. to wit. shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. theretofore. All orders heretofore issued and actions heretofore taken by said respondent court and respondent Judge. Tengco to refrain perpetually from proceeding and taking any action in Special Proceeding Q-7898 pending before the said respondent court. Branch IX. The principal and decisive issue at bar is. Quezon City. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution of respondent Court of Appeals. commanding and directing the respondent Court of First Instance of Rizal. for the following considerations: — 1." On the other hand. whether the Quezon City court acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in taking cognizance and assuming exclusive jurisdiction over the probate proceedings filed with it. both of testate and intestate estates. section of the Rules of Court lays down the rule of venue. and the respondent Judge Damaso B. whether the appellate court erred in law in issuing the writ of prohibition against the Quezon City court ordering it to refrain perpetually from proceeding with the testateproceedings and annulling and setting aside all its orders and actions. and in order to prevent conflict among the different courts which otherwise may properly assume jurisdiction from doing so. as the very caption of the Rule indicates. particularly its admission to probate of the decedent's last will and testament and appointing petitioner-widow as executrix thereof without bond in compliance with the testator's express wish in his testament. the Rule specifies that "the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent. No pronouncement as to costs. are hereby annulled. Rule 73.The dispositive part of respondent appellate court's judgment provided as follows: ACCORDINGLY. The Judiciary Act 7 concededly confers original jurisdiction upon all Courts of First Instance over "all matter of probate. therein and connected therewith. particularly its admission to probate of the deceased's last will and testament and appointing petitioner-widow as executrix thereof without bond pursuant to the deceased testator's express wish. The writ of injunction heretofore issued is hereby made permanent. toproceed with the hearing of the petition and to admit the will to probate upon having been satisfied as to its due execution and authenticity. dated 8 July 1965. This issue is tied up with the issue submitted to the appellate court. once it denied respondent Lourdes Cuenco's motion to dismiss the probate proceeding for alleged lack of jurisdiction or improper venue. in pursuance of the Cebu court's order of 10 April 1964 expressly consenting in deference to the precedence of probate over intestate proceedings that it (the Quezon City court) should first act "on the petition for probate of the document purporting to be the last will and testament of the deceased Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco" .which order of the Cebu court respondents never questioned nor challenged by prohibition or certiorari proceedings and thus enabled the Quezon City court to proceed without any impediment or obstruction. the writ of prohibition will issue. hence the herein petition for review on certiorari." The cited Rule provides: .

Manila Railroad Company. (Attorney-General vs. have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the court and the case is therein completely finished except for a claim of a creditor who also voluntarily filed it with said court but on appeal from an adverse decision raises for the first time in this Court the question of jurisdiction of the trial court for lack of residence of the deceased in the province. Tanunchuan vs. Act No. shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. 5 — confers upon Courts of First Instance jurisdiction over all probate cases independently of the place of residence of the deceased. 190. however. in the original case. (Rule 73) 8 It is equally conceded that the residence of the deceased or the location of his estate is not an element of jurisdiction over the subject matter but merely of venue. .Section 1. 190.) The law of jurisdiction — Act No. Co Ho 9 as follows: We are not unaware of existing decisions to the effect that in probate cases the place of residence of the deceased is regarded as a question of jurisdiction over the subject- matter. or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record. and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. No. his will shall be proved. The jurisdiction assumed by a court. Thus.. For instance. 136. because such legal provision is contained in a law of procedure dealing merely with procedural matters. 523. G. as we have said time and again.R. the Court of First Instance of the province in which he had estate. 11 Section 56. That this is ofmischievous effect in the prompt administration of justice is too obvious to require comment. a probate case has been submitted in good faith to the Court of First Instance of a province where the deceased had not resided. except in an appeal from that court. December 31. 10 providing that the estate of a deceased person shall be settled in the province where he had last resided. 20 Phil. If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death. If we consider such question of residence as one affecting the jurisdiction of the trial court over the subject-matter. the Law of Procedure. procedure is one thing and jurisdiction over the subject matter is another. section 600 of Act No. The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent. so far as it depends on the place of residence. And it is upon this ground that in the new Rules of Court the province where the estate of a deceased person shall be settled is properly called "venue". section 600. in the Court of First Instance in the Province in which he resides at the time of his death. shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding. whether a citizen or an alien. however. 1942) Furthermore. the effect shall be that the whole proceedings including all decisions on the different incidents which have arisen in court will have to be annulled and the same case will have to be commenced anew before another court of the same rank in another province. and his estate settled. No. Where estate of deceased persons settled. or of the location of his estate. All the parties. Dy Buncio & Co. the place of residence of the deceased is not an element of jurisdiction over the subject-matter but merely of venue. fixes the venue or the place where each case shall be brought. This was lucidly stated by the late Chief Justice Moran inSy Oa vs. Since. But we decline to follow this view because of its mischievous consequences. including all the creditors. and. of the decedent. 48206. could not have been intended as defining the jurisdiction of the probate court over the subject-matter. there are many courts of First Instance in the Philippines. (Cf. or letters of administration granted.

neither could the Quezon City court be deemed to have acted without jurisdiction in taking cognizance of and acting on the probate petition since under Rule 73. the Cebu court could not be held to have acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of jurisdiction in declining to take cognizance of the intestate petition and deferring to the Quezon City court. by the Quezon City court. the Cebu court left it to the Quezon City court to resolve the question between the parties whether the decedent's residence at the time of his death was in Quezon City where he had his conjugal domicile rather than in Cebu City as claimed by respondents. shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. and leave the exercise of jurisdiction to the Quezon City court. to the exclusion of all other courts. The Rule precisely and deliberately provides that "the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estateof a decedent. then it would definitely decline to take cognizance of Lourdes' intestate petition which would thereby be shown to be false and improper. the Cebu court must first take cognizance over the estate of the decedent and must exercise jurisdiction to exclude all other courts.It should be noted that the Rule on venue does not state that the court with whom the estate or intestate petition is first filed acquires exclusive jurisdiction. said rule only lays down a rule of venue and the Quezon City court indisputably had at least equal and coordinate jurisdiction over the estate. Necessarily. awaiting its action on the petition for probate before that court. which the Cebu court declined to do. may decline to take cognizance of the petition and hold the petition before it in abeyance. 3. and that the allegation of the intestate petition before it stating that the decedent died intestate may be actually false. and instead defer to the second court which has before it the petition for probate of the decedent's alleged last will. Upon petitioner-widow's filing with it a motion to dismiss Lourdes' intestate petition. The Cebu court thus indicated that it would decline to take cognizance of the intestate petition before it and instead defer to the Quezon City court. Implicit in the Cebu court's order was that if the will was duly admitted to probate. unless the latter would make a negative finding as to the probate petition and the residence of the decedent within its territory and venue. may upon learning that a petition for probate of the decedent's last will has been presented in another court where the decedent obviously had his conjugal domicile and resided with his surviving widow and their minor children. 2. Conversely. such court. it issued its order holding in abeyance its action on the dismissal motion and deferred to the Quezon City court. Furthermore." A fair reading of the Rule — since it deals with venue and comity between courts of equal and co-ordinate jurisdiction — indicates that the court with whom the petition is first filed. Likewise by its act of deference. This exactly what the Cebu court did. as is undisputed. must also first take cognizance of the settlement of the estate in order to exercise jurisdiction over it to the exclusion of all other courts. section 1. Under these facts. .

14 The Court likewise therein upheld the jurisdiction of the second court. 6344. Juan Uriarte Zamacona filed the petition for the purpose with the Manila Court. the proceeding shall continue as an intestacy. Under the facts of the case and where respondents submitted to the Quezon City court their opposition to probate of the will. proceedings for the probate of the latter should replace the intestate proceedings even if at that state an administrator had already been appointed.Since the Quezon City court took cognizance over the probate petition before it and assumed jurisdiction over the estate. In said case. whether in accordance with the law on intestate succession or in accordance with his will. to exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. 4. the Cebu court] either in a separate special proceeding or in an appropriate motion for said purpose filed in the already pending Special Proceeding No. however. the Quezon City court) although opining that certain considerations therein "would seem to support the view that [therein respondent] should have submitted said will for probate to the Negros Court. We can not accept petitioner's contention in this regard that the latter court had no jurisdiction to consider said petition. this is a clear indication that proceedings for the probate of a will enjoy priority over intestate proceedings. As already adverted to. is a "probate matter" or a proceeding for the settlement of his estate. Thus it has been held repeatedly that. the Court upheld the doctrine of precedence of probate proceedings over intestate proceedings in this wise: It can not be denied that a special proceeding intended to effect the distribution of the estate of a deceased person. by the same rule of venue of said Rule 73. that in accordance with settled jurisprudence in this jurisdiction. testate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person take precedence over intestate proceedings for the same purpose. the latter being required to render final account and turn over the estate in his possession to the executor subsequently appointed. (in this case. The relatively recent case of Uriarte vs. the Quezon City court should be left now. is understood to be without prejudice that should the alleged last will be rejected or is disapproved. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental 12 with facts analogous to the present case 13 is authority against respondent appellate court's questioned decision. . It is equally true. the Quezon City court cannot be declared." 15 thus: But the fact is that instead of the aforesaid will being presented for probate to the Negros Court. albeit we say that it was not the proper venue therefor. [in this case. if in the course of intestate proceedings pending before a court of first instance it is found that the decedent had left a last will. This however. but failed to appear at the scheduled hearing despite due notice. to have acted without jurisdiction in admitting to probate the decedent's will and appointing petitioner-widow as executrix thereof in accordance with the testator's testamentary disposition. as the appellate court did. with the consent and deference of the Cebu court.

thus enabling the Manila Court not only to appoint an administrator with the will annexed but also to admit said will to probate more than five months earlier. and. The last paragraph of said Rule expressly provides: . To allow him now to assail the exercise of jurisdiction over the probate of the will by the Manila Court and the validity of all the proceedings had in Special Proceeding No. more so in a case like the present where the objection against said proceedings is raised too late. . Under Rule 73. On the question that Quezon City established to be the residence of the late senator. Tan 17 that. it was only on April 15. in the light of the circumstances obtaining in the instant case. the appellate court while recognizing that "the issue is a legitimate one" held in reliance on Borja vs. (Rule 73) The exception therein given. All these notwithstanding. or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.. the Quezon City court's assumption of jurisdiction over the decedent's estate on the basis of the will duly presented for probate by petitioner-widow and finding that Quezon City was the firstchoice of residence of the decedent. it must be remembered that this Court is not inclined to annul proceedings regularly had in a lower court even if the latter was not the proper venue therefor. had such deference in comity of the Cebu court to the Quezon City court not appeared in the record. 1962. who had his conjugal home and domicile therein — with the deference in comity duly given by the Cebu court — could not be contested except by appeal from said court in the original case. the Court of First Instance . section 1 itself. that petitioner has waived the right to raise such objection or is precluded from doing so by laches. if the net result would be to have the same proceedings repeated in some other court of similar jurisdiction. 6344. except in an appeal from that court. viz. so far as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent. 51396 an Omnibus motion asking for leave to intervene and for the dismissal and annulment of all the proceedings had therein up to that date.in this case. The jurisdiction assumed by a court. that petitioner likewise was served with notice of the existence (presence) of the alleged last will in the Philippines and of the filing of the petition for its probate with the Manila Court since August 28.It is well settled in this jurisdiction that wrong venue is merely a waivable procedural defect. 1963 that he filed with the Manila Court in Special Proceeding No. It is enough to consider in this connection that petitioner knew of the existence of a will executed by Juan Uriarte y Goite since December 19. "when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record" could probably be properly invoked. 16 5. or had the record otherwise shown that the Cebu court had taken cognizance of the petition before it and assumed jurisdiction. The issue of residence comes within the competence of whichever court is considered to prevail in the exercise jurisdiction . or more specifically.. 6.. Moreover. 1961 when Higinio Uriarte filed his opposition to the initial petition filed in Special Proceeding No. 1962 when Juan Uriarte Zamacona filed a motion for the dismissal of Special Proceeding No. on October 31. in the original case. and so hold. 6344. 51396 would put a premium on his negligence.. or of the location of his estate. shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding. we are of the opinion.

G. With more reason should the Quezon City proceedings be upheld when it is taken into consideration that Rule 76. even against the State. where the Court. the Borja ruling would seem to have no applicability. as held by the Court in Fernando vs. we note that the question of the residence of the deceased is a serious one. and when probate is granted. as his residence. section 2 requires that the petition for allowance of a will must show: "(a) the jurisdictional facts." 19 The Quezon City court acted regularly within its jurisdiction (even if it were to be conceded that Quezon City was not the proper venue notwithstanding the Cebu court's giving way and deferring to it. We reiterate that this matter requires airing in the proper court. 1955. The Quezon City court having thus determined in effect for both courts — at the behest and with the deference and consent of the Cebu court — thatQuezon City was the actual residence of the decedent who died testate and therefore the proper venue. is a constructive notice to the whole world. only then to allow petitioner-widow after years of waiting and inaction to institute the corresponding proceedings in Quezon City. or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. as so indicated in the leading and controlling case of Borja vs. Parenthetically." This tallies with the established legal concept as restated by Moran that "(T)he probate of a will is a proceeding in rem. or its contrary finding reversed on appeal. Bienvenido Tan.The probate of a will by a court having jurisdiction thereof is conclusive as to its due execution and validity. July 27. however. In the case at bar. L-7792. besides Quezon City.R. and should instead be sustained in line with Uriarte. The notice by publication as a pre- requisite to the allowance of a will.) in admitting the decedent's last will to probate and naming petitioner-widow as executrix thereof." Such "jurisdictional facts" in probate proceedings. et al. particularly in view of the fact that the deceased was better known as the Senator from Cebu and the will purporting to be his also gives Cebu. supra. Hence.. his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting. the Quezon city court's action should not be set aside by a writ of prohibition for supposed lack of jurisdiction as per the appellate court's appealed decision.of Cebu as held by this Court. his having left his estate in such province. if the Borja ruling is to be held applicable and as indicated in the decision under review. in dismissing the certiorari petition challenging the Manila court's action admitting the . Crisostomo 18 " are the death of the decedent. Hon. to determine for itself the actual residence of the decedent (when the Quezon City court had already so determined Quezon City as the actual residence at the Cebu court's behest and respondents have not seriously questioned this factual finding based on documentary evidence) and if the Cebu court should likewise determine Quezon City as the actual residence. the judgment of the court is binding upon everybody. 7. Cebu or Quezon City. the Cebu court declined to take cognizance of the intestate petition first filed with it and deferred to the testate proceedings filed with the Quezon City court and in effect asked the Quezon City court to determine the residence of the decedent and whether he did leave a last will and testament upon which would depend the proper venue of the estate proceedings. requiring both factual and legal resolution on the basis of ample evidence to be submitted in the ordinary course of procedure in the first instance. It would not serve the practical ends of justice to still require the Cebu court.

their community property and conjugal estate have to beadministered and . section 2. if the net result would be to have the same proceedings repeated in some other court of similar jurisdiction. and despite the fact that the Cebu court (where respondent Lourdes Cuenco had filed an intestate petition in the Cebu court earlier by a week's time on 5 March 1964) deferred to the Quezon City court where petitioner had within fifteen days (on March 12. section 1 provides only a rule of venue in order to preclude different courts which may properly assumejurisdiction from doing so and creating conflicts between them to the detriment of the administration of justice. then the established jurisprudence of the Court that Rule 73. would be set at naught. If the question of jurisdiction were to be made to depend only on who of the decedent's relatives gets first to file a petition for settlement of the decedent's estate. supra. where the decedent and petitioner-widow had their conjugal domicile." 8. 9. "the mischievous effect in the administration of justice" of considering the question of residence as affecting the jurisdiction of the trial court and annulling the whole proceedings only to start all over again the same proceedings before another court of the same rank in another province "is too obvious to require comment. it would be converted into a race as to who can file the petition faster in the court of his/her choice regardless of whether the decedent is still in cuerpo presente and in disregard of the decedent's actual last domicile. money and effort to have to go from Quezon City to the Cebu court everytime she has an important matter of the estate to take up with the probate court. It would be an unfair imposition upon petitioner as the one named and entitled to be executrix of the decedent's last will and settle his estate in accordance therewith." As stressed by Chief Justice Moran in Sy Oa. 1964) timely filed the decedent's last will and petitioned for letters testamentary and is admittedly entitled to preference in the administration of her husband's estate. Such dire consequences were certainly not intended by the Rule nor would they be in consonance with public policy and the orderly administration of justice. the proper venue for the testate proceedings. who under all the applicable rules of venue. It would doubly be an unfair imposition when it is considered that under Rule 73. 21 since petitioner's marriage has been dissolved with the death of her husband. and that venue is waivable. held that "it must be remembered that this Court is not inclined to annul proceedings regularly had in a lower court even if the latter was not the proper venue therefor. the fact that he left a last will and testament and the right of his surviving widow named as executrix thereof. and a disregard of her rights under the rule on venue and the law on jurisdiction to require her to spend much more time. It would finally be unjust and inequitable that petitioner-widow.decedent's will to probate and distributing the estate in accordance therewith in the second proceeding. as per the facts of record and as already affirmed by the Quezon City court is Quezon City. As between relatives who unfortunately do not see eye to eye. 1964) after the decedent's death (on February 25. 20 would be compelled under the appealed decision to have to go all the way to Cebu and submit anew the decedent's will there for probate either in a new proceeding or by asking that the intestate proceedings be converted into a testate proceeding — when under the Rules.

and the proper venue of the testate proceeding was in Quezon City and the Quezon City court properly took cognizance and exercised exclusive jurisdiction with the deference in comity and consent of the Cebu court. in the light of the settled doctrine that the provisions of Rule 73. as already determined by the Quezon City court on the strength of incontrovertible documentary evidence of record. and said court concededly has jurisdiction to issue said order. 10. that venue was properly assumed by and transferredto the Quezon City court and that it is the interest of justice and in avoidance of needless delay that the Quezon City court's exercise of jurisdiction over the testate estate of the decedent (with the due deference and consent of the Cebu court) and its admission to probate of his last will and testament and appointment of petitioner-widow as administratrix without bond in pursuance of the decedent's express will and all its orders and actions taken in the testate proceedings before it be approved and authorized rather than to annul all such proceedings regularly had and to repeat and duplicate the same proceedings before the Cebu court only to revert once more to the Quezon City court should the Cebu court find that indeed and in fact. section 1 lay down only a rule of venue. It is noteworthy that respondents never challenged by certiorari or prohibition proceedings the Cebu court's order of 10 April 1964 deferring to the probate proceedings before the Quezon City court. Since respondents undisputedly failed to appeal from the Quezon City court's order of May 15. . not of jurisdiction. thus leaving the latter free (pursuant to the Cebu court's order of deference) to exercise jurisdiction and admit the decedent's will to probate. 1964 admitting the will to probate and appointing petitioner as executrix thereof. Quezon City was the conjugal residence of the decedent. neither could the Quezon City court be held to have acted without jurisdiction nor with grave abuse of discretion in admitting the decedent's will to probate and appointing petitioner as executrix in accordance with its testamentary disposition. Under the appealed decision. For the same reasons. since the record before it (the petitioner's opposition and motion to dismiss) showed the falsityof the allegation in the intestate petition that the decedent had died without a will. 11. notwithstanding that petitioner resides in Quezon City. as it has done in the case at bar. the said order of probate has long since become final and can not be overturned in a special civic action of prohibition.liquidated in the estate proceedings of the deceased spouse. Finally. 22 it may properly determine. such proper exercise of jurisdiction would be nullified and petitioner would have to continually leave her residence in Quezon City and go to Cebu to settle and liquidate even her own community property and conjugal estate with the decedent. The Court therefore holds under the facts of record that the Cebu court did not act without jurisdiction nor with grave abuse of discretion in declining to take cognizance of the intestate petition and instead deferring to thetestate proceedings filed just a week later by petitioner as surviving widow and designated executrix of the decedent's last will. it should be noted that in the Supreme Court's exercise of its supervisory authority over all inferior courts.

34104-R) is ordered dismissed. Salas & Villareal for private respondent. No. 83484 February 12.. No.R. concurring: I concur in the main opinion of Mr. . in order to prevent the holding therein of any proceeding and trial. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and CONCORDIA JAVELLANA VILLANUEVA. and their having filed therein a formal opposition to the probate of the will. the failure of respondents to question within a reasonable time the laying of the venue in the Quezon City Court of First Instance and the assumption of jurisdiction by that court. 1990 CELEDONIA SOLIVIO. makes them guilty of laches. for which reason they are not entitled to the equitable relief prayed for in the present petition. Justice Teehankee. Separate Opinions BARREDO. Rex Suiza Castillon for petitioner. judgment is hereby rendered reversing the appealed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals and the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction originally filed by respondents with the Court of Appeals (CA-G. G. respondents. No costs. vs. I only want to stress that in my view. petitioner.R.ACCORDINGLY. J. after the Court of First Instance of Cebu deferred in its favor.

(pp. Jr. Jr. awards. but no conjugal property was acquired during her short-lived marriage to Esteban.000.MEDIALDEA. brothers. sisters.. Iloilo covered by 24 titles) which she had inherited from her mother. sister of his deceased father. Sr. SO ORDERED. where she. within thirty (30) days from receipt of this judgment. Salustia died. and her sister lived.' b) Directing the defendant to submit an inventory of the entire estate property. Esteban. Esteban Javellana. be divided into two (2) shares: one-half for the plaintiff and one-half for defendant. reconveyance of ownership and possession and damages.00 for and as attorney's fees plus costs. Gregoria Celo. author of the first post-war Filipino novel "Without Seeing the Dawn. 325. c) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P5. the spinster half-sister of his mother. and (2) the private respondent. Sr. Esteban Javellana. P10. 09010 (Concordia Villanueva v. mausoleum and related expenditures." who died a bachelor. 1959. Engracio Solivio's first wife (p. petitioner Celedonia Solivio. expressed to his aunt Celedonia and some close friends his plan to place his estate in a foundation to honor his mother . including a house and lot in La Paz. Jr. Celedonia (daughter of Engracio Solivio and his second wife Josefa Fernandez). Esteban. had. Salustia Solivio. judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff and against defendant: a) Ordering that the estate of the late Esteban Javellana. brought up Esteban. de Javellana Memorial Foundation.00 as expenses of litigation. the titles of all these properties were transferred in the name of Esteban. 1916 to Salustia Solivio and four months before Esteban. Against the share of defendants shall be charged the expenses for scholarship. In due time. one-half (1/2) of this produce shall belong to plaintiff. 13207 for partition. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. J. more than once. Concordia Javellana- Villanueva. On October 11. Jr. donations and the 'Salustia Solivio Vda. Jr. was born. a teacher in the Iloilo Provincial High School. Salustia and her sister. Iloilo City. without descendants. During his lifetime. Rollo) This case involves the estate of the late novelist.. He was a posthumous child.000. 1988 of the Court of Appeals in CA GR CV No. Record). Jr. His only surviving relatives are: (1) his maternal aunt. nephews or nieces. Jr. Salustia brought to her marriage paraphernal properties (various parcels of land in Calinog. including but not limited to. leaving all her properties to her only child. His father died barely ten (10) months after his marriage in December. ascendants. 42-43. her son. From both shares shall be equally deducted the expenses for the burial.: This is a petition for review of the decision dated January 26. specific items already mentioned in this decision and to render an accounting of the property of the estate. Celedonia Solivio) affirming the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No.

Concordia and Celedonia talked about what to do with Esteban's properties. Jr. Celedonia Solivio" for partition. On October 27. 115. Unfortunately. Later. 2540. This fact was admitted by her in her "Motion to Reopen and/or Reconsider the Order dated April 3. 1978.. Rollo). her motion was denied by the court for tardiness (pp. filed on March 8. (p. Jr. Civil Case No. or on August 7. Jr. That petitioner knew all along the narrated facts in the immediately preceding paragraph [that herein movant is also the relative of the deceased within the third degree. Record). Concordia agreed to carry out the plan of the deceased. Salustia Solivio. the court (Branch II. After due publication and hearing of her petition. recovery of possession. 234.1977 without having set up the foundation. 1978" which she filed on July 27. ownership and damages. 1978 in Special Proceeding No.) Pursuant to their agreement that Celedonia would take care of the proceedings leading to the formation of the foundation. Proceeding No. because prior to the filing of the petition they (petitioner Celedonia Solivio and movant Concordia Javellana) have agreed to make the estate of the decedent a foundation. that she be declared sole heir of the deceased. the estate be adjudicated to her (p. 0100027 (p. No. now Branch 23. because she too was an heir of the deceased. 2540 for her appointment as special administratrix of the estate of Esteban Javellana. Rollo). Instead of appealing the denial. Emphasis supplied. entitled "Concordia Javellana- Villanueva v. where she stated: 4. (Exh. Concordia Javellana Villanueva filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order declaring Celedonia as "sole heir" of Esteban. Concordia filed on January 7. Celedonia in good faith and upon the advice of her counsel. DE JAVELLANA FOUNDATION" which she caused to be registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 17. 13207 in the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo. She explained that this was done for three reasons: (1) because the properties of the estate had come from her sister. from whom his properties came. she sold properties of the estate to pay the taxes and other obligations of the deceased and proceeded to set up the "SALUSTIA SOLIVIO VDA. she being the younger sister of the late Esteban Javellana. 2). .and to help poor but deserving students obtain a college education. Celedonia told Concordia about Esteban's desire to place his estate in a foundation to be named after his mother. she filed an amended petition (Exh. Four months later. father of the decedent herein]. besides they have closely known each other due to their filiation to the decedent and they have been visiting each other's house which are not far away for (sic) each other. the disposition of the properties of the estate to fund the foundation would be facilitated. he died of a heart attack on February 26. for the purpose of helping indigent students in their schooling. (2) that she is the decedent's nearest relative on his mother's side. 1977 Spl. 80-81. On April 3. as well as her amended petition.1981 under Reg. she was declared sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana. 98. 1978. RTC) declared her the sole heir of Esteban. Branch 26. 1980 (or one year and two months later). and (3) with her as sole heir. Thereafter. 1978. Record. and that after payment of all claims and rendition of inventory and accounting. CFI. Jr. 5) praying that letters of administration be issued to her. Two weeks after his funeral.

Celedonia averred that the properties of the deceased had already been transferred to. and 4. No. In the meantime. distributing the residue of the estate to the heir.On September 3. and notwithstanding the fact that conformably with said agreement. 09010). while the probate proceedings (Spl. 2540) were still pending in Branch 23 of the same court. the trial court ordered the execution of its judgment pending appeal and required Celedonia to submit an inventory and accounting of the estate. his relative within the third degree on his mother's side from whom he had inherited them. even while the probate proceedings (Spl. and terminating the proceedings (p. On January 26. whether Concordia may recover her share of the estate after she had agreed to place the same in the Salustia Solivio Vda. 1988.Hence. 13207 for partition and recovery of Concordia Villanueva's share of the estate of Esteban Javellana. Proc. In her motions for reconsideration of those orders. 1974. the 'Salustia Solivio Vda. Escolin. No. Proc. Proc. Branch 26. On Concordia's motion. Jr. whether Branch 26 of the RTC of Iloilo had jurisdiction to entertain Civil Case No. in favor of Concordia Javellana-Villanueva. whether the decedent's properties were subject to reserva troncal in favor of Celedonia. Celedonia perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA GR CV No. the said trial court rendered judgment in Civil Case No. No. 2540) for the settlement of said estate are still pending in Branch 23 of the same court. the Foundation has been formed and properties of the estate have already been transferred to it. 56 SCRA 266). the Court of Appeals. . 31. The question of jurisdiction— After a careful review of the records. 68 Phil. 367. this petition for review wherein she raised the following legal issues: 1. and were in the possession of. whether Concordia Villanueva was prevented from intervening in Spl. there being as yet no orders for the submission and approval of the administratix's inventory and accounting. Eleventh Division. puts an end to the administration and thus far relieves the administrator from his duties (Santiesteban v." The trial court denied her motions for reconsideration. Record). L-27860. de Javellana Foundation. et al. 2540 through extrinsic fraud. Santiesteban. I. de Javellana Foundation. 13207. we find merit in the petitioner's contention that the Regional Trial Court. lacked jurisdiction to entertain Concordia Villanueva's action for partition and recovery of her share of the estate of Esteban Javellana. It is the order of distribution directing the delivery of the residue of the estate to the persons entitled thereto that brings to a close the intestate proceedings. Jr. Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. 1984. 3.. 2. rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial court in toto. March 29.

Administratrix of this estate. it appears from the record that despite the notices posted and the publication of these proceedings as required by law. in the exercise of its jurisdiction to make distribution. a court should not interfere with probate proceedings pending in a co-equal court. His nearest relative is the herein Administratrix. Her remedy when the court denied her motion. was properly filed by her in Spl. 1978]. is hereby declared as the sole and legal heir of the late Esteban S. However. instead of availing of that remedy. an elder [sic] sister of his late mother who reared him and with whom he had always been living with [sic] during his lifetime. did not toll the end of the proceedings. has power to determine the proportion or parts to which each distributed is entitled. Iloilo City. a separate action for the same purpose in Branch 26 of the court. Proc. As regards the second incident [Motion for Declaration of Miss Celedonia Solivio as Sole Heir. 1978. where a daughter filed a separate action to annul a project of partition executed between her and her father in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of her mother: The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. In the interest of orderly procedure and to avoid confusing and conflicting dispositions of a decedent's estate. 1977. did we rule in Guilas v. The Administratrix is hereby instructed to hurry up with the settlement of this estate so that it can be terminated. and without any surviving parents." The pertinent portions of the order are quoted below: 2. dated March 7. . The power to determine the legality or . without any known issue. 43 SCRA 111. (pp. xxxxxxxxx 2. Thus. who died intestate on February 26. Jr.. Javellana. No. It further appears that herein Administratrix is the only claimant-heir to the estate of the late Esteban Javellana who died on February 26. Miss Celedonia Solivio. and to have herself (Concordia) declared as co-heir and recover her share of the properties of the deceased. Concordia's motion to set aside the order declaring Celedonia as sole heir of Esteban. As a matter of fact. January 31. L-26695. No. 2540 declaring Celedonia as the sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana. Record) In view of the pendency of the probate proceedings in Branch 11 of the Court of First Instance (now RTC. Branch 23). was to elevate the denial to the Court of Appeals for review on certiorari. 117. Proc. The finality of the approval of the project of The probate court.. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga. 2540. 1972. no other heirs came out to interpose any opposition to the instant proceeding. she filed more than one year later. During the hearing of the motion for declaration as heir on March 17. 1977 at La Paz. the last paragraph of the order directed the administratrix to "hurry up the settlement of the estate. We hold that the separate action was improperly filed for it is the probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just and legal distribution of the estate. 14-16. it was established that the late Esteban Javellana died single.The assailed order of Judge Adil in Spl.

Antonio. Timbol v. To hold that a separate and independent action is necessary to that effect. supra. April 24. since the estate proceedings had been closed and terminated for over three years. Tecson. and that the latter was his only heir. supra). April 29.. Bonilia. (Litam v. 2071. that the properties in question were paraphernal properties of his wife. and. the estate proceedings are still pending. Daluz. L-15445. (Ramos v. 364. Emphasis supplied) In Litam et al. 100 Phil. we ruled that "such declarations (that Marcosa Rivera was the only heir of the decedent) is improper. 455. Roman Catholic v. in the Guilas case. Palanca. On appeal to this Court. 107 Phil. 70 Phil.illegality of the testamentary provision is inherent in the jurisdiction of the court making a just and legal distribution of the inheritance. 1082. the probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated Siguiong v. 92 Phil. provided the prescriptive period therefore has not elapsed (Mari v. hence. expensive. 89 Phil. Espiritu. (p. Cano. Marcosa Rivera. .. 388) A judicial declaration that a certain person is the only heir of the decedent is exclusively within the range of the administratrix proceedings and can not properly be made an independent action. 1276. March 29. supra. v. (Marcelino v. or for reopening of the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already been closed. dilatory. 1 SCRA 1271. because a judicial partition is not final and conclusive and does not prevent the heirs from bringing an action to obtain his share. L-14710. 137). and impractical. 1961. 83 Phil. in issue until the presentation of the project of partition. As long as the order of the distribution of the estate has not been complied with. Agustines. 30). Siguiong v. however. in issue. for the heir who has not received his share. ordinarily. in Civil Case No.which would be tried by another court or Judge which may thus reverse a decision or order of the probate or intestate court already final and executed and re-shuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of. 1537. However. Rivera. 378). . Considering that in the instant case. where despite the pendency of the special proceedings for the settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased Rafael Litam the plaintiffs-appellants filed a civil action in which they claimed that they were the children by a previous marriage of the deceased to a Chinese woman. 436) partition by itself alone does not terminate the probate proceeding (Timbol v. 741-742. the action for annulment of the project of partition was allowed to continue. and not through an independent action. L-5107. but nonetheless. 100 Phil. (Pimentel v. 364) A separate action for the declaration of heirs is not proper. Jingco v. 1953. the trial court in the civil case declared that the plaintiffs-appellants were not children of the deceased. entitled to inherit his one-half share of the conjugal properties acquired during his marriage to Marcosa Rivera. will not be. Concordia had lost her right to have herself declared as co-heir in said proceedings. and is further. 730. 89 Phil. 28. would be contrary to the general tendency of the jurisprudence of avoiding multiplicity of suits. 460-461. is to demand his share through a proper motion in the same probate or administration proceedings. in which it is not as yet. Ortuzar. it being within the exclusive competence of the court in Special Proceedings No. Tecson. 5 Phil. Cano. The better practice.. pp. 1960. We have opted likewise to proceed to discuss the merits of her claim in the interest of justice.

II.. 13207 setting aside the probate proceedings in Branch 23 (formerly Branch 11) on the ground of extrinsic fraud. is any act or conduct of the prevailing party which prevented a fair submission of the controversy (Francisco v.G. . therefore. Jr. were improper and officious. which connotes any fraudulent scheme executed by a prevailing litigant 'outside the trial of a case against the defeated party. 248) A judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or collateral fraud. and declaring Concordia Villanueva to be a co-heir of Celedonia to the estate of Esteban. and . Villanueva. She admitted in her complaint that she and Celedonia had agreed that the latter would "initiate the necessary proceeding" and pay the taxes and obligations of the estate. in Civil Case No. as a ground for annulment of judgment. by Moreno. 1972. that extrinsic fraud was alleged for the first time. at the lowest possible cost and the least effort. It was only in her amended complaint of March 6. however. Varela v. 27-29.The orders of the Regional Trial Court. The overriding consideration is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court or from presenting his case. ordering the partition of the estate. 1969. whereby said defeated party is prevented from presenting fully and fairly his side of the case. for these matters he within the exclusive competence of the probate court. is one that affects and goes into the jurisdiction of the court. unwarranted for the following reasons: 1. The fraud.. Concordia was not unaware of the special proceeding intended to be filed by Celedonia.. not to the judgment itself... October 31. 1971). 714). 1980.. the plaintiff and the defendant agreed that the defendant shall initiate the necessary proceeding. 30 SCRA 318. (cited in Philippine Law Dictionary. et al. Branch 26. attorneys or witnesses. to submit an inventory and accounting of the estate. such that the aggrieved party was deprived of his day in court through no fault of his own. July 31. 13207. Extrinsic fraud. L-21163. and requiring the administratrix. 323) The charge of extrinsic fraud is. 45 SCRA 17. but to the manner by which such judgment was procured so much so that there was no fair submission of the controversy. 96 Phil. David. Ruiz. and to do everything else required by law. 38 O. Gil. or one which operates upon matters pertaining. A fraud 'which prevents a party from having a trial or presenting all of his case to the court. The question of extrinsic fraud— Was Concordia prevented from intervening in the intestate proceedings by extrinsic fraud employed by Celedonia? It is noteworthy that extrinsic fraud was not alleged in Concordia's original complaint in Civil Case No. 1972 Ed. as distinguished from intrinsic fraud. Celedonia. . v. if through fraudulent machination by one [his adversary]. Sumagui. L-30694. the equitable relief against such judgment may be availed of. a litigant was induced to withdraw his defense or was prevented from presenting an available defense or cause of action in the case wherein the judgment was obtained. (Yatco v. or his agents. (Libudan v. to say the least. 44623-R. Sterling Investment Corp. cause the payment of taxes and other obligations. For instance. Jr. Thus paragraph 6 of her complaint alleged: 6. for the purpose of facilitating the settlement of the estate of the late Esteban Javellana. May 17.

Notice of the time and place of hearing of the petition is required to be published (Sec. 20) Celedonia's allegation in her petition that she was the sole heir of Esteban within the third degree on his mother's side was not false. 3. Smith.. Record). (Bedwell v. p. The rule is stated in 49 Corpus Juris Secundum 8030 as follows: Where petition was sufficient to invoke statutory jurisdiction of probate court and proceeding was in rem no subsequent errors or irregularities are available on collateral attack. As pointed out by the probate court in its order of October 27. 1978: .] (p.J. Rule 79. is the rightful heir to them. Failure to disclose to the adversary. Record) The court noted that Concordia's motion did not comply with the requisites of a petition for relief from judgment nor a motion for new trial. of King City v. or to the court. as well as constructive notice of the same. 182-305. Similarly. notice of the hearing of her amended petition of May 26. 1149) . Rules of Court). matters which would defeat one's own claim or defense is not such extrinsic fraud as will justify or require vacation of the judgment. citing Young v. and she had agreed with Celedonia to place it in a foundation as the deceased had planned to do.Besides. was filed about five months after Celedonia Solivio was declared as the sole heir. Moreover.. . . secure the partition of the estate between her and the plaintiff. Notice of the hearing of Celedonia's original petition was published in the "Visayan Tribune" on April 25. Young. First National Bank & Trust Co. June 3 and 10. (49 C. Rule 76 in relation to Sec. by order of the court. for their agreement was to place the estate in a foundation. 2. despite which the present movant only came to court now. The move of Concordia Javellana. Dean 132 So. not his father. She stayed away by choice. then she is guilty of laches for sleeping on her alleged right.S. as Esteban's nearest surviving relative on his mother's side. Price v. Considering that this proceeding is one in rem and had been duly published as required by law. she. Record. [although Celedonia denied that they agreed to partition the estate. Salustia Solivio. 2 SE 2d 622. 2. 15 SW 2d 842. however. May 2 and 9. 1977 (pp. Record). published in "Bagong Kasanag" (New Light) issues of May 27. 109 SW 2d 1144. (p. she knew that the estate came exclusively from Esteban's mother. 489. 1977 (Exh 4. It would have been self-defeating and inconsistent with her claim of sole heirshipif she stated in her petition that Concordia was her co-heir. emphasis supplied) Evidently. 197. The publication of the notice of the proceedings was constructive notice to the whole world. 1977 for the settlement of the estate was. 3. Concordia was not deprived of her right to intervene in the proceedings for she had actual. Concordia was not prevented from intervening in the proceedings.thereafter.. . The probate proceedings are proceedings in rem. 22. it was made in good faith and in the honest belief that because the properties of Esteban had come from his mother. Bowman. Her omission to so state did not constitute extrinsic fraud..

illegitimate children. 2. ascendants. he did not hold his inheritance subject to a reservation in favor of his aunt. III.It should be remembered that a petition for administration of a decedent's estate may be filed by any "interested person" (Sec. (p.) Clearly. The reserva troncal applies to properties inherited by an ascendant from a descendant who inherited it from another ascendant or 9 brother or sister. or a surviving spouse. from whom he inherited the properties in question. ascendants. Rules of Court). 1009. who is his relative within the third degree on his mother's side.. Jr. 1956 Ed. is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant. the reverse of the situation covered by Article 891. On the question of reserva troncal— We find no merit in the petitioner's argument that the estate of the deceased was subject to reserva troncal and that it pertains to her as his only relative within the third degree on his mother's side. brothers. the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate. 692. 891. The propositus—the descendant who received by gratuitous title and died without issue. 1003. is not reservable property. sisters. The person obliged to reserve is the reservor (reservista)—the ascendant who inherits by operation of law property from his descendants. The reserva troncalprovision of the Civil Code is found in Article 891 which reads as follows: ART. Jr. If there are no descendants. . The persons involved in reserva troncal are: 1. The persons for whom the property is reserved are the reservees (reservatarios)— relatives within the third degree counted from the descendant (propositus). the property of the deceased. 3. and belonging to the line from which the property came. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters. but the descendant of his mother. what should apply in the distribution of his estate are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code which provide: ART. ART. surviving spouse. died without descendants. or a brother or sister. 2. nephews or nieces. Esteban Javellana. Jr. Vol. was not an ascendant. the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles. It does not apply to property inherited by a descendant from his ascendant. Civil Law by Padilla. Since the deceased. Celedonia Solivio. The filing of Celedonia's petition did not preclude Concordia from filing her own. making his other ascendant inherit by operation of law. II. Salustia Solivio. for Esteban.. nor children of brothers or sisters. Esteban Javellana. Rule 79. illegitimate children. Therefore.

Encipido. Her husband confirmed the agreement between his wife and Celedonia. during his lifetime. 2. 0100027 for the following principal purposes: 1. Sept. planned to set up to honor his mother and to finance the education of indigent but deserving students as well.. L-23023. significantly. 234. Therefore. it is conclusive and no evidence need be presented to prove the agreement (Cunanan v.R. Granada v. People v. an agreement which she ratified and confirmed in her "Motion to Reopen and/or Reconsider Order dated April 3. G.. 1988. 1966. (p. 31. That . Amparo. prior to the filing of the petition they (petitioner Celedonia Solivio and movant Concordia Javellana) have agreed to make the estate of the decedent a foundation. of her share to the foundation (p. but only one-half. Her admission may not be taken lightly as the lower court did. G. actively participated in the trial. 227. 323. Maliwat. 29. May 20. Only her husband. de Javellana (from whom the estate came). Philippine National Bank. Record). Proceeding No. did not even testify in the case. the Court of Appeals correctly held that: Both plaintiff-appellee and defendant-appellant being relatives of the decedent within the third degree in the collateral line. therefore. 146 SCRA 478. Rollo) IV. de Javellana Foundation" which Esteban. 2540: 4. besides they have closely known each other due to their filiation to the decedent and they have been visiting each other's house which are not far away for (sic) each other.70091. 18 SCRA 1. Narciso. Juanito Domin. and Rodillas v. Record. Dec. 1968. To provide for the establishment and/or setting up of scholarships for such deserving students as the Board of Trustees of the Foundation may decide of at least one scholar . Emphasis supplied) she is bound by that agreement. 58652. 24 SCRA 1018. 80 Phil. Sta. Sandiganbayan. she did not waive her inheritance in favor of Celedonia. 57. each.R. The question of Concordia's one-half share— However. 1978" which she filed in Spl.. No. de Javellana Foundation" was established and duly registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission under Reg. but he endeavored to dilute it by alleging that his wife did not intend to give all. and son-in-law. 161 SCRA 347). Ana v. 1986. It is true that by that agreement. Salustia Solivio Vda. inasmuch as Concordia had agreed to deliver the estate of the deceased to the foundation in honor of his mother. (p. but she did agree to place all of Esteban's estate in the "Salustia Solivio Vda. Aug.The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. The records show that the "Salustia Solivio Vda. The admission was never withdrawn or impugned by Concordia who. L-20745. shall succeed to the subject estate 'without distinction of line or preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. Being a judicial admission.' and is entitled one-half (1/2) share and share alike of the estate. although she could have done so by deposition if she were supposedly indisposed to attend the trial. Jr.

and upon domestic corporation of like nature in particular. donations. and encourage activities that will promote the advancement and enrichment of the various fields of educational endeavors. develop. or otherwise. Clements Redemptorist Community for a deserving student who has the religious vocation to become a priest. 8. transfer. and Requiem masses every February 25th and October llth. Rollo) As alleged without contradiction in the petition' for review: The Foundation began to function in June. To acquire. in perpetuation of his Roman Catholic beliefs and those of his mother. hold. invest. and three (3) of its eight Esteban Javellana scholars graduated in 1986. suitable or proper for the accomplishments of any of the purposes herein enumerated or which shall at any time appear conducive to the protection or benefit of the corporation. Javellana which has made this foundation possible. one was a Cum Laude and the other was a recipient of Lagos Lopez award for teaching for being the most outstanding student teacher. To maintain and provide the necessary activities for the proper care of the Solivio- Javellana mausoleum at Christ the King Memorial Park. authorities and attributes concerned upon the corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines in general. and the Javellana Memorial at the West Visayas State College. Jaro. endowments and financial aids or loans from whatever source. one (1) from UPV graduated Cum Laude and two (2) from WVSU graduated with honors. (pp. 9-10. in any manner permitted by law. To provide a scholarship for at least one scholar for St. contributions. 3. including the exercise of the powers. 1982. and the University of the Philippines in the Visayas both located in Iloilo City. To direct or undertake surveys and studies in the community to determine community needs and be able to alleviate partially or totally said needs. To foster. 7. or deal. To receive gifts. Gregorian masses or their equivalents will be offered every February and October. mortgage. in real and personal property of every kind and description or any interest herein. their death anniversaries. exchange. collect the income thereof and pay or apply only the income or such part thereof as shall be determined by the Trustees for such endeavors as may be necessary to carry out the objectives of the Foundation. 4. 2. Also. as a token of appreciation for the contribution of the estate of the late Esteban S. lease. 5. Iloilo City. pledge. sell. trade. . especially in literary arts. operate. as part of this provision. To do and perform all acts and things necessary. develop.each to study at West Visayas State College. own. Scholarships provided for by this foundation may be named after its benevolent benefactors as a token of gratitude for their contributions. purchase. 6. legacies. to invest and reinvest the funds.

the entire estate of the deceased should be conveyed to the "Salustia Solivio Vda. The Foundation likewise is a member of the Redemptorist Association that gives yearly donations to help poor students who want to become Redemptorist priests or brothers. The petitioner. However. (p. who would be ordained this year. 10.R. Celedonia Solivio. as administratrix of the estate. 45904 September 30. comformably with the agreement between her and her co-heir. 1938 . Javellana Multi-purpose Center at the West Visayas State University for teachers' and students' use. amongst other's. Concordia J. and has likewise contributed to religious civic and cultural fund-raising drives. the Foundation had constructed the Esteban S. The Foundation has a special scholar. Jr." of which both the petitioner and the private respondent shall be trustees.The Foundation has four (4) high school scholars in Guiso Barangay High School. Francis Xavier Major Regional Seminary at Davao City. the petition for review is granted. No. It gives yearly awards for Creative writing known as the Esteban Javellana Award. Villanueva is declared an heir of the late Esteban Javellana. The decision of the trial court and the Court of Appeals are hereby SET ASIDE. The School has been selected as the Pilot Barangay High School for Region VI. He studied at St. entitled to one-half of his estate. Elbert Vasquez. Further. and each shall be entitled to nominate an equal number of trustees to constitute the Board of Trustees of the Foundation which shall administer the same for the purposes set forth in its charter. the site of which was donated by the Foundation. de Javallana Foundation. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. Concordia is obligated to honor her commitment as Celedonia has honored hers. G. Rollo) Having agreed to contribute her share of the decedent's estate to the Foundation. shall submit to the probate court an inventory and accounting of the estate of the deceased preparatory to terminating the proceedings therein. Fr.

in the order established in the section. Utulo and during the pendency of the administration proceedings of the said deceased. stating in his petition that her only heirs were he himself and his mother-in-law. 1936. the oppositor. trial was had and the court. As to the first question. Patrocinio Garcia and Luz Garcia who. with the consequent appointment of an administrator. 1. J. his property should be judicially administered and the competent court should appoint a qualified administrator. there was no occasion for the said judicial administration. Feliciano B. The latter commenced in the same court the judicial administration of the property of his deceased wife (special proceedings No. Leona Pasion Vda.: This is an appeal taken by the oppositor from the order of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tarlac appointing the applicant as judicial administrator of the property left by the deceased Luz Garcia. and asking that he be named administrator of the property of said deceased. oppositor-appellant. Gardiner for appellant. named Juan Garcia. . 3475). 4188). her only forced heirs being her mother and her husband. opposing the judicial administration of the property of her daughter and the appointment of the applicant as administrator. jr. This rule. Luz Garcia married the applicant Pablo G. we have section 642 of the Code of Civil Procedure providing in part that "if no executor is named in the will. The said deceased left legitimate children. Juan Garcia Sanchez. on August 28. UTULO. The oppositor-appellant assigns five errors allegedly committed by the trial court. are the presumptive forced heirs. the surviving spouse and the herein oppositor. Juan Garcia Sanchez died intestate. Gerardo S. finally issued the appealed order to which the oppositor excepted and thereafter filed the record on appeal which was certified and approved. but these assigned errors raise only two questions for resolution. with the widow. After the required publications. de Garcia. applicant-appellee. LEONA PASION VIUDA DE GARCIA. and that the only property left by the deceased consisted in the share due her from the intestate of her father. vs. administration shall be granted" etc. The oppositor objected to the petition. and in the proceedings instituted in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac for the administration of his property (special proceedings No. but she stated that should the court grant the administration of the property. she should be appointed the administratrix thereof inasmuch as she had a better right than the applicant. PABLO G. she died in the province without any legitimate descendants. was appointed judicial administratrix. This provision enunciates the general rule that when a person dies living property in the Philippine Islands. or in case he had left one should he fail to name an executor therein. Limlingan for appellee. namely: whether upon the admitted facts the judicial administration of the property left by the deceased Luz Garcia lies. and whether the appellant has a better right to the said office than the appellee.Intestate estate of the deceased Luz Garcia. or if a person dies intestate. IMPERIAL. She alleged that inasmuch as the said deceased left no indebtedness. in case the deceased left no will..

The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death. they may do so.Alaras Frondosa. In enunciating the aforesaid doctrine. According to the first. 34 Phil. In the case of Ilustre vs. Bondad vs. 46 Phil. 17 Phil. after the required publications. 321. They are co-owners of an undivided estate and the law offers them a remedy for the division of the same among themselves. In the absence of debts existing against the estate. the heirs may apply to the competent court. The Code of Procedure in Civil Actions provides how an estate may be divided by a petition for partition in case they can not mutually agree in the division. If they desire to partition it among themselves and can do this by mutual agreement. when all the heirs are of lawful age and there are no debts due from the estate. the rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death. Fule vs. it was said: Under the provisions of the Civil Code (arts. is subject to the exceptions established by sections 596 and 597 of the same Code. they may agree in writing to partition the property without instituting the judicial administration or applying for the appointment of an administrator. supra. 232. or that they intervened in any way whatever in the present actions. there is no reason why the estate should be burdened with the costs and expenses of an administrator. There is nothing in the present case to show that the heirs requested the appointment of the administrator. there is certainly no occasion for the intervention of an administrator in the settlement and partition of the estate among the heirs. 34 Phil. 659 and 661 of the Civil Code under which the heirs succeed to all the property left by the deceased from the time of his death. his heirs. this court relied on the provisions of articles 657. The property belonging absolutely to the heirs. 367. this court repeatedly held that when a person dies without leaving pending obligations to be paid. . they have their remedy by petition for partition of the said estate.. in the absence of existing debts against the estate. without instituting the judicial administration and the appointment of an administrator. 19 Phil. the heirs succeeded immediately to all of the property of the deceased ancestor. When the heirs are all of lawful age and there are no debts. to partition all the property constituting the inheritance among themselves pursuant to law. If there are any heirs of the estate who have not received their participation. to proceed with the summary partition and. as finally amended.. Bondad. they also have that privilege. Alaras Frondosa. Ignacio. if the property left does not exceed six thousand pesos. When there are no debts existing against the estate. 434. in other words.. Baldemorvs. Malahacan vs. after paying all the known obligations.however. According to the second. If they desire to administer it jointly.. the administrator has no right to intervene in any way whatever in the division of the estate among the heirs.. are not bound to submit the property to a judicial administration and the appointment of an administrator are superfluous and unnecessary proceedings (Ilustre vs. Fule. whether of age or not. 317). Malangyaon. 657 to 661). the heirs may enter upon the administration of the said property immediately. Construing the scope of section 596.

. 434. their relation to the property left by their ancestor is the same as that of any other coowners or owners in common. Marin vs. 34 Phil. Baldemor vs. in other words. the rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the moment of his death.Malangyaon.. The Code of Procedure in Civil Actions provides how an estate may be divided by a petition for partition in case they cannot mutually agree in the division. 4 Tex. who dies intestate. Alaras Frondosa. is transmitted immediately to his heirs. Malangyaon. Bondad vs. 19 Phil. Nable Jose vs. the same as any other coowners of undivided property. 232). 17 Phil. Del Rosario. supra. 367. In the absence of debts existing against the estate. the same doctrine was reiterated. this court amplified and ratified the same doctrine in the following language: Upon the second question — Did the court a quo commit an error in refusing to appoint an administrator for the estate of Saturnino Fule? — it may be said (a) that it is admitted by all of the parties to the present action. 73. they also have that privilege. Malahacan vs. supra. 57. they may do so. 34 Phil. 8 Phil. vs. and 596 of Act No.. 321. Alaras Frondosa. Bondad.) If then the property of the deceased. and Baldemor vs. and they may recover their individual rights. real and personal. supra. Bondad. Ignacio. of a deceased person who dies intestate. Uson. And in the case of Fule vs.. Ilustre vs. The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death.Nacianceno. If they desire to administer it jointly. 19 Phil. Ann.In the cases of Malahacan vs. Mcintyre vs. Wood et ux.. what reason can there be for the appointment of a judicial administrator to administer the estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their possession to which they are immediately entitled? In the case of Bondad vs... Fule.. and there are no debts. 502. discussing this question.. The administrator has no right to intervene in any way whatsoever in the division of the estate among the heirs when they are adults and when there are no debts against the estate. supra.) . the heirs may enter upon the administration of the said property immediately. Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano. If they desire to partition it among themselves and can do this by mutual agreement. Bondad. Malangyaon. 546. 187. passes immediately to his heirs. 659 and 661 of the Civil Code.. Baldemor vs. Bondad (34 Phil. 190. said: Under the provisions of the Civil Code (articles 657 to 661). Bondad vs. supra. Ford. 196. 29 Miss. 232. 3 La.) When there are no debts and the heirs are all adults. In this jurisdiction and by virtue of the provisions of articles 657. (Succession of Story. all of the property. 27 Phil.) When the heirs are all of lawful age and there are no debts there is no reason why the estate should be burdened with the cost and expenses of an administrator. (Sections 182-184. 238. supra. Ignacio.Chappell. (To Guioc-Co vs. (Ilustre vs. as owners.. the heirs succeed immediately to all of the property of the deceased ancestor. that at the time of his death no debts existed against his estate and (b) that all of the heirs of Saturnino Fule were of age. supra. Bondadvs.

xxx xxx xxx

The right of the heirs in cases like the one we are discussing, also exist in the divisions
of personal as well as the real property. If they cannot agree as to the division, then a
suit for partition of such personal property among the heirs of the deceased owner is
maintenable where the estate is not in debts, the heirs are all of age, and there is no
administration upon the estate and no necessity thereof. (Jordan vs. Jordan, 4 Tex. Civ.
App. Rep., 559.)

It is difficult to conceive of any class or item of property susceptible of being held in
common which may not be divided by the coowners. It may be of personal property as
well as of real estate; of several parcels as well as of a single parcel, and of non-
contiguous as well as of adjacent tracts; or of part only of the lands of the coowners as
well as of the whole. (Pickering vs. Moore, 67 N. H., 533; 31 L. R. A., 698;
Pipes vs.Buckner, 51 Miss., 848; Tewksbury vs. Provizzo, 12 Cal., 20.)

We conceive of no powerful reason which counsels the abandonment of a doctrine so
uniformly applied. We are convinced that if the courts had followed it in all cases to
which it has application, their files would not have been replete with unnecessary
administration proceedings as they are now. There is no weight in the argument
adduced by the appellee to the effect that his appointment as judicial administrator is
necessary so that he may have legal capacity to appear in the intestate of the
deceased Juan Garcia Sanchez. As he would appear in the said intestate by the right of
the representation, it would suffice for him to allege in proof of his interest that he is a
usufructuary forced heir of his deceased wife who, in turn, would be a forced heir and
an interested and necessary party if she were living . In order to intervene in said
intestate and to take part in the distribution of the property it is not necessary that the
administration of the property of his deceased wife be instituted — an administration
which will take up time and occasion inconvenience and unnecessary expenses.

2. In view of the foregoing, there is no need to determine which of the parties has
preferential right to the office of administrator.

The appealed order should be reversed, with the costs of this instance to the applicant-
appellee. So ordered.

G.R. No. 92436 July 26, 1991

MARIA VDA. DE REYES, EFREN REYES, ELVIRA REYES-TIMBOL, ERLINDA REYES-VALERIO,
ERNESTO REYES, ELIZABETH REYES, ALEX, RAFAEL II, EMELINA and EVELYN, all
surnamed REYES, represented by their mother, MARIA VDA. DE REYES, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS AND SPOUSES DALMACIO GARDIOLA and ROSARIO
MARTILLANOrespondents.

De Lara, De Lunas & Rosales for petitioners.

Santos, Pilapil & Associates for private respondents.

DAVIDE, JR., J.:p

Assailed before Us in this appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the
decision of the respondent Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 11934, promulgated on
20 October 1989, 1 reversing the decision of 1 October 1986 of Branch 21 (Imus,
Cavite) of the Regional Trial Court of the Fourth Judicial Region in Civil Case No. RTC-
BCV-83-17 entitled Maria vda. de Reyes, et al. vs. Spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and
Rosario Martillano, and Spouses Ricardo M. Gardiola and Emelita Gardiola, 2 and the
resolution of 1 March 1990 denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

As culled from both decisions and the pleadings of the parties, the following facts have
been preponderantly established:

During his lifetime, one Gavino Reyes owned a parcel of land of approximately 70
hectares, more or less, located at Sangayad, Ulong-Tubig, Carmona, Cavite. He sought
to bring said land under the operation of the Torrens System of registration of property.
Unfortunately, he died in 1921 without the title having been issued to him. The
application was prosecuted by his son, Marcelo Reyes, who was the administrator of his
property.

In 1936 the above property was surveyed and subdivided by Gavino's heirs (Exh. "6").
In the subdivision plan, each resultant lot was earmarked, indicated for and assigned to
a specific heir. It appears therein that two lots, one of which is Lot No. I A-14 (Exh. "6-
A"), were allotted to Rafael Reyes, Sr., one of Gavino's children. Per testimony of Juan
Poblete, the children thereafter secured tax declarations for their respective shares.

In 1941, or about twenty (20) years after the death of Gavino, the original certificate of
title for the whole property — OCT No. 255 — was issued. It was, however, kept by Juan
Poblete, son-in-law of Marcelo Reyes, who was by then already deceased. The heirs of
Gavino were not aware of this fact.

On 3 December 1943, Rafael Reyes, Sr. sold a parcel of land with an area of 23,431
square meters, more or less, to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola (Exh. "5").
According to the vendee, this parcel corresponds to Lot No. 1-A-14 of the subdivision
plan aforestated. The deed of sale, however, did not specifically mention Lot No. 1-A-
14. The vendee immediately took possession of the property and started paying the
land taxes therein.

In 1945 or thereabouts, Juan Poblete "revalidated" the original Certificate of Title. As
reconstituted, the new title isOCT (0-4358) RO-255 (Exhs. "4" to "4-A").

On 21 October 1967, when the heirs of Gavino Reyes executed a Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement of Estate (Exh. "D") based on the aforestated subdivision plan (Exh. "6"),
the lot that was intended for Rafael Reyes, Sr., who was already deceased, was instead
adjudicated to his only son and heir, Rafael Reyes, Jr. (the predecessor-in-interest of the
petitioners herein). Private respondent Rosario Martillano signed the deed in
representation of her mother, Marta Reyes, one of the children of Gavino Reyes.

As a result of the Extrajudicial Settlement, OCT RO-255 was cancelled and in lieu
thereof, several transfer certificates of title covering the subdivided lots were issued in
the names of the respective adjudicatees. One of them is TCT No. 27257 in the name of
Rafael Reyes, Jr. covering Lot No. 1-A-14. The Transfer Certificates of Title were,
however, kept by one Candido Hebron. On 10 January 1969, some of the heirs of
Gavino Reyes filed a case of Annulment of Partition and Recovery of Possession before
the Court of First Instance of Cavite City, which was docketed therein as Civil Case No.
1267. One of the defendants in said case is herein private respondent Rosario
Martillano. The case was dismissed on 18 September 1969, but Candido Hebron was
ordered by the trial court to deliver to the heirs concerned all the transfer certificates of
title in his possession. 3

After obtaining the Transfer Certificate of Title for Lot No. 1-A-14 from Hebron, pursuant
to the aforesaid order in Civil Case No. 1267, petitioners herein, as successors-in-
interest of Rafael Reyes, Jr., filed on 14 March 1983 with the Regional Trial Court the
above-mentioned Civil Case No. RTC-BCV-83-17 against private respondents
(defendants therein) for recovery of possession or, in the alternative, for
indemnification, accounting and damages. They allege therein that after "having
definitely discovered that they are the lawful owners of the property," (Lot No. 1-A-14),
they, "including Rafael Reyes, Jr., during his lifetime, made repeated demands to (sic)
defendants to surrender the possession of and vacate the parcel of land belonging to
the former, but defendants refused to vacate and surrender the possession of the said
land to herein plaintiffs;" the last of the demands was allegedly made on 8 October
1982. They further allege that they have been deprived by said defendants of the
rightful possession and enjoyment of the property since September 1969 — which
coincides with the date of the order in Civil Case No. 1267. 4

In their answer, private respondents deny the material averments in the complaint and
assert that they are the owners of the lot in question, having bought the same from
Rafael Reyes, Sr., that the issuance of TCT No. 27257 is null and void, for such sale was
known to Rafael Reyes, Jr.; that they have been in possession of the property and have

The conclusion of the trial court is based on its finding that (a) there is no evidence that the heirs of Gavino Reyes entered into any written agreement of partition in 1936 based on the subdivision plan. Jr. Sr. If there was fraud. to the defendants covered the land in question — Lot No. "5") does not tally with the description of the former. that the sale made by Rafael Reyes. the description of the latter as indicated in the deed of sale (Exh. Gardiola and Emerita Gardiola. T-27257 in favor of the plaintiffs. For their failure to redeem the mortgage the same was foreclosed by the bank. All other claims and/or counterclaims of the parties relative to this case are dismissed for lack of proper substantiation. . . 8 the trial court concluded that petitioners' "title over the subject property is valid and regular and thus they are entitled to its possession and enjoyment. (b) there is no identity between Lot No. and that petitioners are barred by prescription and/or laches. again. Gardiola. T- 27257 was obtained by means of fraud.been paying the land taxes thereon. the claim of the defendants is also barred. 6 The prayer of the amended complaint now contains the alternative relief for indemnification for the reasonable value of the property "in the event restitution of the property is no longer possible. The corresponding redemption was effected through a deed of conveyance. T-27257 to Rafael Reyes. 10. 1-A-14 — and that Transfer Certificate of Title No. Action for reconveyance prescribes in four (4) years from the discovery thereof. 5 Petitioners amended their complaint on 21 March 1985 to implead as additional defendants the spouses Ricardo M. or otherwise stated. Sr. the claim of the defendants over the said property is already barred. within the period of one(1) year from such foreclosure the questioned land was redeemed by the original defendants' son in the person of Ricardo M. Let us grant further that the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. From . on the basis of the following claims: xxx xxx xxx 9." 7 In its decision of 1 October 1986." and accordingly decided thus: WHEREFORE. However. during the presentation of the defendants spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and Rosario Martillano's evidence the former testified that they mortgaged the subject land to the Rural Bank of Carmona Inc. the defendant could have discovered the same in 1967 when the partition was made in as much as defendant Rosario Martillano was a party to that partition. Meanwhile. 1-14-A and the land sold to private respondents by Rafael Reyes. the defendants or anyone acting for and in their behalf are hereby ordered to relinguish possession or vacate the property in question which is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. arguendo. and (c) moreover: Granting. who was knowledgeable/aware of the pendency of the above captioned case. . created a constructive or implied trust in favor of the defendants.. .

extrajudicial partition can be done orally. In its decision of 20 October 1989. It must also be remembered that when Gavino Reyes died on March 7.A.1967 to the filing of their answer (let us consider this as an action for reconveyance) to this case sometime in July. 11934. the property was already registered. which it found to have started in 1943. which under the law is valid and binding. 6). 9 Private respondents appealed the said decision to the Court of Appeals which docketed the appeal as C. as it was only in 1941 when said properties were brought into the application of the torrens system. and from the uncontroverted testimony of appellants' witness. Prescriptibility of an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust is ten (10) years. 255 and that no actual partition was made in 1936 by the decedent's children. We can only infer that at least an oral partition. 49 O. We believe that the lower court committed a reversible error when it declared that the landed estate of the late Gavino Reyes was partitioned only in 1967 by the latter's grandchildren. Belen. With the existence of a subdivision plan. and that no actual partition was made in 1936 by the decedents' (sic) children. the late Rafael Reyes. thus: On the first issue. his property was admittedly not yet covered by a torrens title. II Whether or not the lower court erred in concluding that the parcel of land sold by the appellees' predecessor-in-interest. Sr. the respondent Court of Appeals formulated the issues before it as follows: I Whether or not the lower court erred in declaring that the property of the late Gavino Reyes consisting of 70 hectares was partitioned only in 1967 by his grandchildren after discovery of the existence of OCT No. March 1953). CV No. 10 and resolved such issues.G. As held in a long line of decisions. to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was not the same parcel of land under litigation. the lower court itself recognized the fact that the property of the late Gavino Reyes consisting of 70 hectares was surveyed and subdivided in 1936 as evidenced by the said subdivision plan (Exh. it can also be concluded that his heirs have indeed settled. The trial court further held that the continued possession by private respondents. In like manner. The evidence on record bears out the existence of a subdivision plan (Exh. a period of about sixteen (16) years had already elapsed. subdivided and partitioned Gavino Reyes' landed estate without formal requirements of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court when a parcel of land is covered by a . did not ripen into ownership because at that time. 6) which was not controverted nor denied by the appellees.R. was entered into by the heirs of Gavino Reyes regarding his properties in 1936. 997. 1921. With this factual milieu. The reason for this is because a partition is not exactly a conveyance for the reason that it does not involve transfer of property from one to the other but rather a confirmation by them of their ownership of the property. 1983.-G. and the same would be valid if freely entered into (Belen v. hence it cannot be acquired by prescription or adverse possession.

sold the property in dispute to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola on December 3. Sr. the land inherited by him was two (2) parcels of land known as Lots Nos. the only evidence of title to the land then available in so far as Rafael Reyes. the presence of the Subdivision Plan (Exh. the discrepancy in the description was due to the fact that the description of the land sold in the Deed of Sale was expressed in layman's language whereas the description of Lot No. which states: xxx xxx xxx Moreover. 78 Phil. 6) undisputedly showed on its face that the 70 hectares of land belonging to the late Gavino Reyes was subdivided and partitioned by his children in 1936. Coming to the second issue. 27257 was done in technical terms. 3 and 4. 1-A-14 in TCT No. It must be pointed out that the identity of the parcel of land which the appellees sought to recover from the appellants was never an issue in the lower court. Decision). in the case of Rafael Reyes. 1-A-14 in TCT No. 5). 27257 was issued. 1-A-3 and 1-A- 14 described in the Subdivision plan of 1936 (Exh. As told earlier. in the same manner that it concluded that the property was already surveyed and actually subdivided in 1936 (page 3. 4766. in favor of appellant Dalmacio Gardiola. from Gavino Reyes in representation of his father. Sr. Sr. 6) is an (sic) evidence of such partition which appellees failed to controvert not to mention the fact that the lower court itself recognized the existence of said plan. because at that time. D) executed by the grandchildren of the late Gavino Reyes in 1967 is of no moment considering that the property subject of the partition in the deed was already partitioned in 1936 by the children of Gavino Reyes." This alone would confirm the contention of the appellants that there was already an actual partition (at least an oral partition) of the property of Gavino Reyes in 1936. the land in litigation. 176. Hence. when Rafael Reyes. 255 . was concerned was Tax Declaration No. 6).torrens title.. the land's description does not tally with the description of Lot No. however." As correctly pointed out by the appellants however. the lower court likewise erred when it concluded that the parcel of land sold by appellee's predecessor-in-interest to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was not the same parcel of land under litigation. Jr. This was so because. the land sold therein was described as "na aking minana sa aking ama. Despite this admission. pursuant to the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate for which TCT No. It is for this reason that the lots supposedly inherited by the grandchildren named in the deed of 1967 were the same lots inherited and given to their respective fathers or mothers in 1936 while the land was not yet covered by the torrens system. 4766. the partition of the said property even without the formal requirements under the rule is valid as held in the case of Hernandez vs. From the foregoing considerations it is evident that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate (Exh. 1-A-14. pars. As aforestated. Sr. in the Deed of Sale dated December 3. which were the same parcels of land allegedly inherited by Rafael Reyes. 1228 and 1235 described in Tax Declaration No. 1943. 5) executed by Rafael Reyes. neither he nor appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was aware of the existence of OCT No. because the litigants had already conceded that the parcel identified as Lot No. 27257 was the same parcel of land identified as Cadastral Lot No. the lower court declared that "as described in the deed of sale (Exh. Andal. 1943 (Exh. On this score. the Subdivision Plan (Exh.

11 It concluded that the trial court erred when it ordered the private respondents or anyone acting in their behalf to relinquish the possession or vacate the property in question.R. However. petitioners allege that said court has decided questions of substance in a way not in accord with law or applicable jurisprudence when it held that "the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate (Exh. The court cannot disregard the binding effect thereof Finally. We required respondents to comment on the petition. without obtaining prior leave of the Court. he could have easily indicated Lot No. 6) of 1936. 27257 covers two parcels of land. the appealed Judgment is ordered REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered declaring appellants to be the lawful owners of the lot identified as Lot No. What they were denying only was the sale made by Rafael Reyes. The petition does not implead original new defendants Ricardo Gardiola and Emelita Gardiola. petitioner. 13 petitioners filed the instant petition on 6 April 1990 after having obtained an extension of time within which to file it.as in fact TCT No. the description of the land appearing in the Deed of Sale (Exh. was the one now in litigation. It thus decreed: WHEREFORE. 5) was exactly the same land identified as Lot No. the appellees never denied the identity of the subject lot during the hearing at the lower court. . No costs. Interestingly enough. they claim that (a) TCT No. Accordingly. No. the assumption of the lower court that "if the land sold by Rafael Reyes."14 and allows reconveyance which is not tenable since the action therefor had already prescribed. In the resolution of 7 May 1990. as stated in the decision of the trial court. Sr. the land subject of the Deed of Sale was described by the vendor in the manner as described in Tax Declaration No. 27257 was issued only in 1967. to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola which does not hold true because of the document denominated as Deed of Sale (Exh." In support thereof. 1-A-14 in TCT No. But even before it could do so. the lot described in paragraph 1 thereof is owned by petitioners and that ownership was confirmed by this Court in G. 12 Their motion to reconsider the above decision having been denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution of 1 March 1990. hence. (b) private respondent Rosario Martillano was a party to the extrajudicial settlement of estate which was duly registered in the Registry of Deeds in 1967. Consequently. 1-A-14 in the Subdivision Plan (Exh. 79882. the Court of Appeals should have affirmed the decision of the trial court. 4766. the pronouncement of the Court of Appeals that private respondents are the lawful owners of the lot in question "militates against the indefeasible and incontrovertible character of the torrens title. 5). said registration is the operative act that gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land and also constituted constructive notice to the whole world. 1-A-14" is bereft of merit under the foregoing circumstances. Sr. As ground for their plea for the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals. "D") executed by the grandchildren of the late Gavino Reyes in 1967 is of no moment considering that the property subject of the partition was already partitioned in 1936 by the children of Gavino Reyes. 27257.

92811 entitled Spouses Artemio Durumpili and Angustia Reyes vs. It was only on 15 June 1990 that private respondents filed their Comment. Attached as Annex "A" to private respondent's Memorandum. the partition thereof among his children in 1936. transmission. 2 Phil. modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property must appear in a public instrument is only for convenience and not for validity or enforceability as between the parties themselves. . sold the same to respondents. It should be mentioned that in the Durumpili case before the Third Division. 17 We required petitioners to reply thereto. we have not yet received any resolution to our Motion For Leave of Court To Refer Case To The Honorable Supreme Court En Banc. the same had already prescribed and is now barred. No. the latter. among others. which also involves the property of Gavino Reyes. and the extrajudicial settlement in 1967. . the Court of Appeals relied on the alleged confirmation of the sale executed by . which they complied with on 8 August 1990. Moreover. although oral. 18 A rejoinder was filed by private respondents on 29 August 1990. in turn. which was filed on 10 December 1990. we agree with the Court of Appeals that the latter lawfully acquired the property and are entitled to ownership and possession thereof. even if it is allowed. In answer to the charge of private respondents that petitioners deliberately failed to cite this resolution. allege: Our failure to mention the aforementioned resolution before this Honorable Court is not deliberate nor with malice aforethought. We gave due course to the petition on 19 September 1990 and required the parties to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda which they complied with. Considering that Angel Reyes sold this property to Basilio de Ocampo who. The reason is that to date. The Court of Appeals and Spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and Rosario Martillano. this Court held: . In said resolution. that: (a) the findings of facts of respondent Court are contrary to those of the trial court and appear to be contradicted by the evidence on record thus calling for the review by this Court. we honestly feel that the resolution that will be issued therein will not be applicable to the case before this Honorable Court's Second Division. 16 (b) it also committed misapprehension of the facts in this case and its findings are based on speculation. Que Bentec. The requirement in Article 1358 of the Civil Code that acts which have for their object the creation.filed on 29 May 1990 a so-called Supplemental Arguments in Support of The Petition For Review On certiorari 15 wherein they assert.R. in their reply-memorandum dated 15 March 1991 and filed three days thereafter. 561 (1903)] The subsequent execution by the heirs of the Extrajudicial Partition in 1967 did not alter the oral partition as in fact the share pertaining to Angustia Reyes corresponded to that previously assigned to her father. (c) private respondents' attack on petitioners' title is a collateral attack which is not allowed. The partition made in 1936. is the Resolution of this Court (Third Division) of 20 August 1990 in G. [Thunga Hui vs. was valid. conjecture and surmises.

The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others. in the partition agreement.Angustia Reyes. to private respondents is not identical to Lot No. it admits that there was a survey and subdivision of the property and the adjudication of specific subdivision lots to each of the children of Gavino." even going to the extent of "graphically" illustrating where such similarities lie. it is competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an agreement for distribution in a manner and upon a . was a party thereto. No. yet. the remedy open to the vendee was an action for reconveyance. which should have been brought within four (4) years from the discovery thereof in 1967 when the Extrajudicial Settlement was executed since private respondent Rosario Martillano. supra. which reveals the following: (a) On 18 September 1990. It follows then that the intrinsic validity of partition not executed with the prescribed formalities does not come into play when there are no creditors or the rights of creditors are not affected. held that the requirement that a partition be put in a public document and registered has for its purpose the protection of creditors and at the same time the protection of the heirs themselves against tardy claims.R. although oral. Rafael Reyes. 92811. 20 c) On 17 November 1990. petitioners therein. Jr. Sr. The Court of Appeals correctly held that the partition made by the children of Gavino Reyes in 1936. there was no sale that was executed by the petitioners Reyes' predecessor-in-interest. 24 InHernandez vs. Copy thereof was furnished the attorneys for petitioners. this Court. the issues raised. petitioners therein. Jr. We find none. There is no law that requires partition among heirs to be in writing to be valid. the lot specified for and adjudicated to Rafael Reyes. filed a Motion For Leave Of Court To Refer Case To The Honorable Supreme Court En Banc And/Or Motion For Reconsideration 21 wherein they specifically admit that said case and the instant petition have "identity and/or similarity of the parties. while in the Reyes case before this Second Division. The reversal of the trial court's decision is inevitable and unavoidable because the legal and factual conclusions made by the trial court are unfounded and clearly erroneous. 22d) This motion was denied in the resolution of 28 November 1990. T-27257 was obtained through fraud. interpreting Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. The foregoing claim is not supported by the rollo of G. (b) the land sold by Rafael Reyes. to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola is indeed Lot No. through the same lawyers. and (c) if the land sold by Rafael Reyes. De Lunas and Rosales. What comes out prominently from the disquisitions of the parties is this simple issue: whether or not respondent Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court. 1-A-14. 19 b) This motion was denied in the resolution of 1 October 1990. Sr. wife of Dalmacio. Andal. who are the lawyers of petitioners in the instant case. filed a motion for the reconsideration of the resolution of 20 August 1990. Where no such rights are involved. The trial court erred in holding that: (a) there was no partition among the children of Gavino Reyes in 1936 since there is no written evidence in support thereof. represented by De Lara.23 e) Entry of judgment had already been made therein and a copy thereof was sent to petitioner's counsel per Letter of Transmittal of the Deputy Court and Chief of the Judicial Records Office dated 20 December 1990. the facts. was valid and binding. The Court of Appeals was not bound to agree to such conclusions. 1-A-14 and that TCT No.

it is to be stressed that Rafael . 92811. In the case at bar. to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola is his share in the estate of his deceased father. except as to purely personal rights. No. the property had already been partitioned and said lot was adjudicated to him. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership.. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage. provides the reason why oral partition is valid and why it is not covered by the Statute of Frauds: partition among heirs or renunciation of an inheritance by some of them is not exactly a conveyance of real property for the reason that it does not involve transfer of property from one to the other.. but the effect of any such transfer is limited to the portion which may be awarded to him upon the partition of the property. It is the same property which was eventually adjudicated to his son and heir. except when personal rights are involved. the lot sold by Rafael Reyes. 1-14-A. with respect to the co-owners. moreover. 25 But even if We are to assume arguendo that the oral partition executed in 1936 was not valid for some reason or another. et al. and he may even substitute another person in its enjoyment. et al. Sr. Jr. on his observation that the description of the former does not tally with that of the latter. Barcelona. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides: Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. an oral partition is valid. the validity of such oral partition in 1936 has been expressly sustained by this Court in the Resolution of 20 August 1990 in G. The co-heir or co-owner may validly dispose of his share or interest in the property subject to the condition that the portion disposed of is eventually allotted to him in the division upon termination of the co-ownership.plan different from those provided by law. Bautista. In respect to the issue as to whether the property sold by Rafael Reyes. 1-14-A. Accordingly. represented in turn by his heirs-petitioners herein-in the extrajudicial settlement of 1967. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. Barcelona. but rather a confirmation or ratification of title or right of property by the heir renouncing in favor of another heir accepting and receiving the inheritance. In addition to the contrary findings and conclusion of the respondent Court on this issue to which We fully agree. Sr. the trial court based its conclusion that it is not. his heirs automatically became co-owners of his 70- hectare parcel of land. In Ramirez vs. assign. 27 this Court held that every co-heir has the absolute ownership of his share in the community property and may alienate. 26 The estate of the decedent would then be held in co- ownership by the heirs. Additionally. Rafael Reyes. or mortgage the same. he should have specifically stated it in the deed since at that time. Gavino Reyes. if Rafael did intend to sell Lot No.R. is identical to Lot No. supra. We would still arrive at the same conclusion for upon the death of Gavino Reyes in 1921. vs. There is nothing in said section from which it can be inferred that a writing or other formality is an essential requisite to the validity of the partition.

1-14-A. Dalmacio Gardiola. since he never had any title or right to Lot No. Jr. Upon the execution of the deed of sale. vendee of the share of Rafael Reyes. An extrajudicial settlement does not create a light in favor of an heir. 1-14-A. died. 28 it is but a confirmation or ratification of title or right to property. 27257 by Candido Hebron to them. Neither did petitioners bring any action to recover from private respondents the ownership and possession of the lot from the time Rafael Reyes. Jr. vendee — herein private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola — immediately took possession of the property. Marta Reyes. Sr. Thus. Petitioners' immediate predecessor-in-interest.had this property declared for taxation purposes and the tax declaration issued was made the basis for the description of the property in the deed of sale. and the subsequent registration of the deed did not create any right or vest any title over the property in favor of the petitioners as heirs of Rafael Reyes. As stated earlier. the original complaint was filed in the trial court on 14 March 1983. Petitioners. never took any action against private respondents from the time his father sold the lot to the latter. The issuance of TCT No. T- 27257. . As categorically admitted by petitioners in their complaint and amended complaint. Sr. And yet.. Rafael Reyes. could transmit to them upon his death. it was only about thirteen and one-half (13 1/2) years later that they decided to file an action for recovery of possession. in the estate of Gavino. There is one more point that should be stressed here. she signed it in representation of her deceased mother. The instant petition then is without merit. is none other than Lot No. was clearly erroneous because he never became its owner. 1-14-A. The latter cannot give them what he never had before. T-27257. son of Rafael Reyes. The same did not operate to divest the vendee of the share of Rafael Reyes. can only acquire that which Rafael. in so far as Lot No. This is the very same property which is the subject matter of this case and which petitioners seek to recover from the private respondents.. As this Court stated in the Barcelona case. The participation of private respondent Rosario Gardiola in the Extrajudicial Settlement did not place private respondents in estoppel to question the issuance of TCT No. Jr. There was then absolutely no basis for the trial court to place the burden on private respondents to bring an action for reconveyance within four (4) years from their discovery of the issuance of the transfer certificate of title in the name of Rafael Reyes. 1-14-A is concerned.. after the delivery of TCT No. They therefore admit and concede that the property claimed by private respondent. Jr. the mere execution of the settlement did not improve his condition. Jr. As correctly maintained by private respondents.. Jr. Jr. The latter never became the owner of Lot No. 1-A-14 because it was sold by his father in 1943. as mere successors-in-interest of Rafael Reyes. Nemo dare potest quod non habet. Sr. the certificate of title covering Lot No. She did not sign for and in behalf of her husband.. a daughter and an heir of Gavino Reyes. which was acquired by sale from Rafael Reyes. T-27257 in the name of Rafael Reyes. Sr. that they definitely discovered that they were the owners of the property in question. it was only in or about September 1969 when. despite full knowledge that private respondents were in actual physical possession of the property. The main evidence adduced for their claim of ownership and possession over it is TCT No.

to the facts found by the Court of Appeals. Clodualdo P. L-10474 February 28. petitioners. vs. widow Leoncia de Leon. Third Division. lots Nos. 9). the legitimate wife of the deceased. and several nephews and nieces. to recover from defendants one-half share of the aforesaid parcels of land. it is alleged belong to the deceased Teodoro Tolete. the one and only person to inherit the above properties" (Record on Appeal. p. On the same day. judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the petition with costs against petitioners. Pangasinan He left as heirs his widow. but the. declaring plaintiffs owners of one-half portion of four parcels of land described in the complaint. Leoncia de Leon. J. without any judicial proceedings. According. The judgment was rendered in an action instituted by Felisa Sinopera. G. 1945. 1946. Teodoro Tolete died intestate in January. Moises B.R. THE COURT OF APPEALS and FELISA SINOPERA respondent.: Certiorari against decision of the Court of Appeals. 1958 BENNY SAMPILO and HONORATO SALACUP. 119967. she executed a . children of deceased brothers and sisters. which. SO ORDERED. 12006. nephews or nieces. Ramos for respondents. Surio for petitioners. On July 25. This affidavit was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan. No. administrative of the estate of Teodoro Tolete. sisters. with costs. 14352 and 12176 of the cadastral survey of San Manuel.WHEREFORE. affirming with slight modification a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan. his widow executed an affidavit stating that "the deceased Teodoro Tolete left no children or respondent neither ascendants or acknowledged natural children neither brother. He left for parcels of land. LABRADOR.

for disposition according to the law. 1950. "B". which took place on June 17. had no right to execute the affidavit of adjudication and that Honorato Salacup acquired no rights to the lands sold to him.000. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeals. 1950. This sale was also registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan. On June 17. one-half of the lands described in the complaint. sold the said parcels of land to Honorato Salacup for P50. After trial the Court of First Instance rendered judgment for the plaintiff. brought the present action on June 20. This court held that the annulment of the affidavit of adjudication. intended to harass and inconvenience the defendants. Hence. and the deed of sale Exhibit "C".000 and this sale was also registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan (See Annexes "A". however. in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of Teodoro Tolete. Felisa Sinopera instituted proceedings for the administration of the estate of Teodoro Tolete (Special Proceeding No. it ordered the defendants to deliver to the plaintiff. declaring plaintiff owner of one-half portion of the four parcels of land in question. is premature. and in adjudicating one-half of the same to the heirs of the deceased. but reserved to Honorato Salacup the right to claim and secure adjudication in his favor of whatever portion of said properties may correspond to Leoncia de Leon and also his right to bring an action for the damages that he may have suffered against Leoncia de Leon and Benny Sampilo. attached to the complaint). "C". insofar as one-half of the properties. conveyed is concerned. 1950. In March. it modified the judgment. the deed of sale Exhibit "B". was subsequent to the registration of the deed of sale. Benny Sampilo. Benny Sampilo and Honorato Salacup have appealed to this Court by certiorari and have assigned the following errors in their brief: I . Felisa Sinopera. This notice. that defendants are innocent purchasers for value. and having secured her appointment as administratrix. Notice of lis pendens was filed in the Office of the Register of Deeds and said notice was recorded on certificates of title covering the said properties on June 26. are all null and void. and that neither had Benny Sampilo acquired any right to the said properties. The complaint alleges that the widow Leoncia de Leon. Sampilo and Salacup filed an amended answer alleging that the complaint states no cause of action. 1950. frivolous and spurious. and that the complaint is malicious. declaring that Exhibits "B" and "C" are null and void only insofar as the properties thereby conveyed exceed the portion that the responds to Leoncia de Leon. in turn. 3694. that if such a cause exists the same is barred by the statute of limitations. Exhibit "A". Therefore. and finally declaring that the usufructuary rights of Leoncia de Leon to said properties are terminated. 1950. declaring that the affidavit of adjudication Exhibit "A". in favor of Honorato Salacup.deed of sale of all the above parcels of land in favor of Benny Sampilo for the sum of P10. by the trial court was correct but that the annulment of the deeds Exhibits "B" and "C". Pangasinan).

. the parties may. 211 and Ramirez vs. the first referring to a case in which there are two or more heirs interested in the estate of a deceased person. and the second in which there is only one heir. as amended by Act No. they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. Sy Conbieng. 855 869. 190. the right of action of the administratrix has prescribed and lapsed because the same was not brought within the period of two years as Prescribed in Section 4 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. — If the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age. In support of the first assignment of error. Liability of distributees and estate. and should they disagree. Said Section 596 as amended. was registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds Of Pangasinan. he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. III The Court of Appeals erred in aiming the lower court's denial of petitioner's motion for new trial. . Section 4 of Rule 74 provides. It shall be presumed that the decedent left no debts if no creditor files a petition for letters of administration within two years after the death of the decedent. in part. reads as follows: SEC. as follows: SEC. Exhibit "A". 1. divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds. It will be noted that the provision next above-quoted contains two parts.. without securing letters of administration. or the minors are represented by their judicial guardians. — If it shall appear at any time within two years after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule. The section was taken from Section 596 of the old Code of Civil Procedure (Act No.The Court of Appeals erred in affirming that respondent Felisa Sinopera's right of action to recover her and her co-heirs' participation to the lands in question had not prescribed at the time the action to recover was filed. that an heir or other has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation of the such heir or such other person may compel the settlement estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation. 2331). Section 1. it is argued that as the action was instituted almost four years after the affidavit of adjudication. 21 Phil. which is mentioned in Section 4. Gmur. Extrajudcial settlement by agreement between the heirs. 4. If there is only one heir or one legatee. and as decided in the cases of McMickingvs.. . was as follows: . 42 Phil. II The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the petitioners are innocent purchasers for value.

But as to those who did not take part in the settlement or had no notice of the death of the decedent or of the settlement. would be violative of the fundamental right to due process of law. the "distributees and estate" are indicates the persons to answer for rights violated by the extrajudicial settlement. and both the distributes and estate would be liable to them for such rights or interest. Settlement of Certain Intestates Without Legal Proceedings. to those who did not take part or had no knowledge thereof. In Section 1. apportion and divide the estate among themselves. In the case of Ramirez vs. Gmur. had without notice by personal service or by publication. supra.SEC. of such application. as they may see fit. they may demand their rights or interest within the period of two years. We have examined the two cases cited by appellants and there is no similarity at all between the circumstances on which the ruling therein had been predicated and those of the case at bar. therefore. without proceedings in court. both or all of them should take part in the extrajudicial settlement. The proceeding. As will be seen our law is very vague and incomplete. The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 of extrajudicial settlement. 754) provides that the order of distribution may be had upon the application of the executor or administrator. can be conclusive upon minor heirs who are not represented therein. is to all intents and purposes ex parte. or by affidavit. We notice two significant provisions in Sections 1 and 4 of Rule 74. they are the persons in accordance with the provision. On the other hand. without any express legal provision to that effect. Act No. by publication or otherwise. or all the debts have been paid the heirs may. by agreement duly executed in writing by all of them. and certainly it cannot be held that a purely ex parte proceeding. and not otherwise. either directly or by implication. we held: It will be noted that while the law (see. or of a person interested in the estate. 190) by the addition of the clause "and not otherwise. As to them the law is clear that if they claim to have been in any manner deprived of their lawful right or share in the estate by the extrajudicial settlement. no provision is made for notice. . cited by the appellants in this case. the prejudice to their rights within the two-year period. There cannot be any doubt that those who took part or had knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement are bound thereby. there is no direct or express provision is unreasonable and unjust that they also be required to assert their claims within the period of two years. It cannot by any reason or logic be contended that such settlement or distribution would affect third persons who had no knowledge either of the death of the decedent or of the extrajudicial settlement or affidavit. Evidently. 596. may seek to remedy. This requirement is made more imperative in the old law (Section 596. To extend the effects of the settlement to them. is an ex parteproceeding." By the title of Section 4. especially as no mention of such effect is made. — Whenever all the heirs of a person who died intestate are of lawful age and legal capacity and there are no debts due from the estate. by which the court undertakes to distribute the property of deceased persons. it is also significant that no mention is made expressly of the effect of the extrajudicial settlement on persons who did not take part therein or had no notice or knowledge thereof. it is required that if there are two or more heirs.

it is still unavailing to the defendants. The next contention of appellants is that plaintiff's action is barred by the statute of limitations. upon which this contention is predicated. Article 1146. Civil Code).e. Judicial proceedings where instituted in March.. that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians. (2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 have been strictly complied with. Pangasinan.e. does not appear to have lapsed the action was instituted. 3. that the defendants-appellants are innocent purchasers for value was rejected as unfounded by the court of Appeals. there is nothing therein. 190.. therefore. which is their defense. nephews and nieces living at the time of his death. In the first Place. 190. Plaintiff's right which is based on fraud and which has a period of four years (Section 43. is applicable only (1) to persons who have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition. fails to support the contention. deceased. as the widow of the deceased owner of the lands had declared in her affidavit of partition that the deceased left no nephews or niece. barring distributees or heirs from objecting to an extrajudicial partition after the expiration of two years from such extrajudicial partition. The origin of the Provision (Section 4. i. In the second place. Gmur. four years had already elapsed from the date that the interested parties had actual knowledge of the fraud. and that he was not aware that they were nephews and nieces. But even if Section 4 of Rule 74 is a statute of limitations. In any case. 190. The action is one based on fraud. It is only a bar against the parties who had taken part in the extrajudicial proceedings but not against third persons not Parties thereto. the statute of limitations is contained in a different chapter of Act No. As regards defendant Benny Sampilo. or other heirs except herself. of the deceased Teodoro .Following the above-quoted decision of this Court in the case of Ramirez vs. the Court of Appeals having found that the decedent left aside from his widow. or in its source which shows clearly a statute of limitations and a bar of action against third person's. Said court said. Both Benny Sampilo and the heirs of the deceased who are claiming the property are residents of San Manuel. and. The second assignment of error. over the land in question does not find support in the evidence of record. i. The case at bar fails to comply with both requirements because not all the heirs interested have participated in the extrajudicial settlement. it would naturally have been included in the chapter which defines the statute. children of the deceased brothers. the defendants have the burden of proof as to their claim of the statute of limitations. we are of the opinion and so hold that the provisions of Section 4 of Rule 74. and they have not proved that when the action was instituted. It is hard. The claim that defendants-appellants did not have sufficient knowledge or notice of the claim of the heirs of Teodoro Tolete. par. it is an admitted fact that he is a nephew of Leoncia de Leon and he had been living with the latter. and if Section 596 of the Act had been meant to be a statute of limitations. supra. Act no. Rule 74). 1950 and these proceedings must have been instituted soon after the discovery of fraud. to believe that Benny Sampilo did not know the existence of said heirs. in addition. Chapter XL. which is Section 596 of Act No.

coupled with the fact that there is no sufficient showing that the consideration for the conveyance of P10. Vargas..000 had in fact been paid.R. DECISION AZCUNA. 2006 JOSEPH CUA. G. It is well-settled rule in this jurisdiction that a purchaser of registered lands who has knowledge of facts which should put him upon inquiry and investigate as to the possible defects of the title of the vendor and fails to make such inquiry and investigation cannot claim that he as a purchaser in good faith for value and he had acquired a valid title thereto. both of which she acknowledged before said notary public. when the later saw Notary Public Ladislao Villamil. So ordered. vs. And as regards Honorato Salacup.R. L-4106. AURORA VARGAS. while the claim that no notice of lis pendens appeared annotated in the certificates of title issued to Benny Sampilo when he acquired the property might be true. nevertheless. and the deed of conveyance Exhibit "B" by which on the same date she conveyed to Sampilo all the property which she had adjudicated to herself. J. 2002.R. Strong Machinery Co. petitioner. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. to have him prepare the affidavit of adjudication Exhibit "A". Joseph Cua.. Leung Yee vs.Tolete. Aurora Vargas. EDELINA VARGAS AND GEMMA VARGAS. SP No. RAMON VARGAS. 2002. 37 Phil. we hereby affirm it in toto. for he purchased the property on June 17. Pangasinan." The facts are as follows: . and the notice of lis pendens was noted on said certificates of title on June 26. Finding no error in the decision of the Court of Appeals. G. and that the immediate conveyance thereof to him was a strategem concocted to defeat the former's rights. and the resolution2 dated December 17. VARGAS. 59869 entitled "Gloria A. Dayao vs. respondents. 1950. 1950.: This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the decision1 dated March 26. May 29. No. 644. Ramon Vargas. The fact furthermore that Benny Sampilo accompanied his aunt Leoncia de Leon to Sison. MARITES VARGAS. Diaz. GLORIA A. he cannot claim that he was a purchaser in good faith for value of the property. Edelina Vargas and Gemma Vargas v. with costs against the petitioners. 1952. Marites Vargas. 156536 October 31. who was the former's uncle. strengthens our belief that said Benny Sampilo knew that the deceased Teodoro Tolete had other heirs who may claim the property.

1994 only when the original house built on the lot was being demolished sometime in May 1995. Once more. Gloria Vargas.6 After knowing of the sale of the 55 square meters to petitioner. Ms. Juan. a notarized Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs was executed by and among Paulina Vargas' heirs. Visitacion. Only Ester. Matienzo. Zenaida and Rosario signed it. Visitacion Vargas. however. Virac. Catanduanes Sir: This is in behalf of my client. Gloria Vargas tried to redeem the property. Catanduanes was left behind by the late Paulina Vargas. Florentino. Tablizo) one of the lawful heirs of the late Paulina Vargas. 1994.3 On November 15. Prospero V. Antonina Vargas and Florentino Vargas. the widow of Santiago Vargas and one of respondents herein. Forteza. Visitacion. did not sign the document. original owner of Lot No. 214 of Virac. According to Gloria Vargas. namely Ester Vargas. Antonina and Gloria. This is to serve you notice that my client shall exercise her right of legal redemption of said five (5) shares as well as other shares which you may likewise have acquired by purchase. 031-0031 in her name. Zenaida V. Andres. an Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs with Sale4 was again executed by and among the same heirs over the same property and also with the same sharings. Juan Vargas. petitioner herein. And you are hereby given an option to agree to legal redemption within a period of fifteen (15) days from your receipt hereof. 1994.A parcel of residential land with an area of 99 square meters located in San Juan. she came to know of the Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs with Sale dated November 16. Zenaida and Rosario signed the document and their respective shares totaling 55 square meters were sold to Joseph Cua. only Ester. I understand that a document "Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs with Sale" was executed by some of my client's co-heirs and alleged representatives of other co-heirs. Aurora Vargas. Poblacion covered by ARP No. with the following letter7 sent to petitioner on her behalf: 29th June 1995 Mr. by virtue of which document you acquired by purchase from the signatories to the said document. partitioning and adjudicating unto themselves the lot in question. . On February 4. Juan.8 (c/o Atty. each one of them getting a share of 11 square meters. Joseph Cua Capilihan. five (5) shares with a total area of fifty-five square meters of the above- described land. The Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs was published in the Catanduanes Tribune for three consecutive weeks. 1994 involving the same property had been published in the Catanduanes Tribune. Rosario V. Andres Vargas. Virac.5 She likewise claimed she was unaware that an earlier Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs dated February 4.

the MTC rendered a decision13 in favor of petitioner. Very truly yours. Subsequently. they claimed that the Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs and the Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs with Sale were null and void and had no legal and binding effect on them. The CA reversed the ruling of both lower courts in the assailed decision dated March 26.Should you fail to convey to me your agreement within said 15-day-period.) JUAN G. declaring that the Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs and the Extra Judicial . Catanduanes against petitioner and consigned the amount of P100. this deficiency was cured by respondents' actual knowledge of the sale. Edelina and Gemma. and Gloria Arcilla. They likewise alleged that the 30-day period following a written notice by the vendors to their co-owners for them to exercise the right of redemption of the property had not yet set in as no written notice was sent to them. the MTC ruled that respondents failed to establish by competent proof petitioner's bad faith in purchasing the portion of the property owned by respondents' co-heirs. Catanduanes affirmed the MTC decision in a judgment dated November 25. ATENCIA When the offer to redeem was refused and after having failed to reach an amicable settlement at the barangay level. so that the latter action came too late. The MTC upheld the sale to petitioner because the transaction purportedly occurred after the partition of the property among the co-owner heirs. (Sgd. heirs of the alleged primitive owner of the lot in question. dismissing the complaint as well as the complaint-in-intervention for lack of merit. proper legal action shall be taken by my client to redeem said shares.000 which is the amount of the purchase with the Clerk of Court on May 20. and their consignation of the purchase price with the Clerk of Court. all surnamed Vargas. Pedro Lakandula. of Virac.11 Respondents claimed that as co-owners of the property. Finally. The matter was thereafter raised to the Court of Appeals (CA).12 After trial on the merits. Jr. the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Aurora. 1999.9 Gloria Vargas filed a case for annulment of Extra Judicial Settlement and Legal Redemption of the lot with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Virac. Thank you. which was more than 30 days before the filing of their complaint. In effect. they may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him the price of the sale. Marites.10 Joining her in the action were her children with Santiago.15 On appeal. The MTC opined that the other heirs could validly dispose of their respective shares. Moreover. Branch 42. 2002. Carlos Gianan. the MTC found that although there was a failure to strictly comply with the requirements under Article 1088 of the Civil Code14 for a written notice of sale to be served upon respondents by the vendors prior to the exercise of the former's right of redemption. and declaring the Deed of Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs with Sale valid and binding. 1996. intervened in the case. namely. Ramon.

Assuming a published extrajudicial settlement and partition does not bind persons who did not participate therein. The publication of the same constitutes due notice to respondents and signifies their implied acquiescence thereon. that persons who do not participate or had no notice of an extrajudicial settlement will not be bound thereby. the appeal to the CA should have been dismissed as it was not properly verified by respondents. Fourthly. however. Moreover. petitioner is a possessor and builder in good faith. the acquisition by petitioner of the subject property subsequent to the extrajudicial partition was valid because the partition was duly published. The CA held that. Secondly. petitioner filed the present petition for review. The complaint should have been filed with the RTC. Petitioner argues.Settlement Among Heirs with Sale. Gloria Vargas failed to indicate that she was authorized to represent the other respondents (petitioners therein) to initiate the petition. Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. pursuant to Section 1. were void and without any legal effect. His motion for reconsideration having been denied. dated February 4. The petition lacks merit. Fifthly. Thirdly. respectively. the MTC had no jurisdiction over the complaint because its subject matter was incapable of pecuniary estimation. The issues are: Whether heirs are deemed constructively notified and bound. 1994 and November 15. as follows: Firstly. respondents no longer have the right to redeem the property. there was a non-joinder of indispensable parties. Considering that the partition was valid. the co-heirs who sold their interest in the subject property not having been impleaded by respondents. The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 is an ex parte proceeding. regardless of their failure to participate therein. and. 1994. whether the written notice required to be served by an heir to his co-heirs in connection with the sale of hereditary rights to a stranger before partition under Article 1088 of the Civil Code17 can be dispensed with when such co- heirs have actual knowledge of the sale such that the 30-day period within which a co- heir can exercise the right to be subrogated to the rights of a purchaser shall commence from the date of actual knowledge of the sale. The rule plainly states. by an extrajudicial settlement and partition of estate when the extrajudicial settlement and partition has been duly published.18 It contemplates a notice that has . Respondents are therefore estopped from denying the validity of the partition and sale at this late stage. 16 the extrajudicial settlement made by the other co-heirs is not binding upon respondents considering the latter never participated in it nor did they ever signify their consent to the same. the verification was inadequate because it did not state the basis of the alleged truth and/or correctness of the material allegations in the petition.

Based on the provision. which included the sale to petitioner of their pro indiviso shares in the subject property. respondents are given the right to redeem these shares pursuant to Article 1088 of the Civil Code. must be notified of the sale. and not after such an agreement has already been executed19 as what happened in the instant case with the publication of the first deed of extrajudicial settlement among heirs. The requirement of publication is geared for the protection of creditors and was never intended to deprive heirs of their lawful participation in the decedent's estate.e. The law gives the co- heir thirty days from the time written notice of the actual sale within which to make up his or her mind and decide to repurchase or effect the redemption. Nevertheless. its terms and its perfection and validity. provided they do so within the period of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by the vendor. and quiet any doubt that . there being no alternative provided by law. The right to redeem was never lost because respondents were never notified in writing of the actual sale by their co-heirs. these extrajudicial settlements do not bind respondents..21 Though the Code does not prescribe any particular form of written notice nor any distinctive method for written notification of redemption. that respondents' co-heirs cannot validly sell their hereditary rights to third persons even before the partition of the estate. as is often the case. are bound by the same.) It bears emphasis that the period of one month shall be reckoned from the time that a co-heir is notified in writing by the vendor of the actual sale.20 actual knowledge of the sale acquired in some other manner by the redemptioner notwithstanding. the presence of outsiders be undesirable and the other heir or heirs be willing and in a position to repurchase the share sold. the records of the present case confirm that respondents never signed either of the settlement documents. which is to keep strangers to the family out of a joint ownership. Written notice is indispensable and mandatory. The publication of the settlement does not constitute constructive notice to the heirs who had no knowledge or did not take part in it because the same was notice after the fact of execution. any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale.been sent out or issued before any deed of settlement and/or partition is agreed upon (i. In this connection. thus: Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before the partition. if.23 It should be kept in mind that the obligation to serve written notice devolves upon the vendor co-heirs because the latter are in the best position to know the other co-owners who. the method of notification remains exclusive. a notice calling all interested parties to participate in the said deed of extrajudicial settlement and partition). there is a need for written notice to start the period of redemption. The heirs who actually participated in the execution of the extrajudicial settlements. though. (Emphasis supplied. This is not to say. Following Rule 74. It cannot be counted from the time advance notice is given of an impending or contemplated sale.22 This proceeds from the very purpose of Article 1088. under the law.24 This will remove all uncertainty as to the fact of the sale. having discovered their existence only shortly before the filing of the present complaint. and the partition made without their knowledge and consent is invalid insofar as they are concerned.

that there is a non-joinder of indispensable parties. he cannot.28 Petitioner's fourth argument. Despite this glaring fact. He was very much aware that not all of the heirs participated therein as it was evident on the face of the document itself. there cannot be a resolution of the controversy before the court which is effective.30 In relation to this. or equitable.the alienation is not definitive. under the peculiar circumstances of this case. Likewise untenable is petitioner's contention that he is a builder in good faith. just to secure affirmative relief against one's opponent or after failing to obtain such relief. This is because the alienation made by respondents' co-heirs was limited to the portion which may be allotted to them in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. In the absence of such indispensable party. complete. therefore. similarly lacks merit. An indispensable party is a party-in-interest without whom there can be no final determination of an action and who is required to be joined as either plaintiff or defendant. and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse.29 The party's interest in the subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought is so inextricably intertwined with the other parties that the former's legal presence as a party to the proceeding is an absolute necessity. only if favorable. As to the issue of lack of jurisdiction. it must be kept in mind that the complaint filed by respondents ultimately prayed that they be allowed to redeem the shares in the property sold by . Hence. Having failed to seasonably raise this defense. petitioner is estopped from raising the same for the first time on appeal. frowned upon the undesirable practice of a party submitting a case for decision and then accepting the judgment. an exception arises where estoppel has already supervened. petitioner still constructed improvements on the property. an indispensable party is one whose interest will be directly affected by the court's action in the litigation. be permitted to challenge the jurisdiction of the lower court at this late stage. no particular portion of the property could have been identified as yet and delineated as the object of the sale. For this reason. Petitioner actively participated in the proceedings below and sought affirmative ruling from the lower courts to uphold the validity of the sale to him of a portion of the subject property embodied in the extrajudicial settlement among heirs. there is no legal impediment to allowing respondents to redeem the shares sold to petitioner given the former's obvious willingness and capacity to do so.25 As a result. Good faith consists in the belief of the builder that the land the latter is building on is one's own without knowledge of any defect or flaw in one's title. time and again. 1994. and over the protests of respondents. Because the property had not yet been partitioned in accordance with the Rules of Court. 26 Considering. One cannot belatedly reject or repudiate its decision after voluntarily submitting to its jurisdiction. that respondents' co-heirs failed to comply with this requirement. the party notified need not entertain doubt that the seller may still contest the alienation. While it is a rule that a jurisdictional question may be raised at any time. The Court has. his claim of good faith lacks credence.27 Petitioner derived his title from the Extra Judicial Settlement Among Heirs With Sale dated November 15. Estoppel sets in when a party participates in all stages of a case before challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court.

In order not to defeat the ends of justice. Respondents concede that the other heirs acted within their hereditary rights in doing so to the effect that the latter completely and effectively relinquished their interests in the property in favor of petitioner. Significantly. The general rule is that the certificate of non-forum shopping must be signed by all the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case and the signature of only one of them is insufficient.R. petitioner contends that the petition filed by respondents with the CA should have been dismissed because the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping appended to it were defective. Jr. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. 161220 and COLUMBA CUYOS-BENATIRO substituted by their heirs. Finally. . the signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the rules. As a result. citing specifically the failure of respondent Gloria Vargas to: (1) indicate that she was authorized to represent her co-respondents in the petition. BENATIRO. BENATIRO and Present: ROSIE M. it is not jurisdictional. only petitioner's presence is absolutely required for a complete and final determination of the controversy because what respondents seek is to be subrogated to his rights as a purchaser. Rosadelia and Gorgonio. SO ORDERED.34The co-respondents of respondent Gloria Vargas in this case were her children.33 Thus. the right of the other heirs to sell their undivided share in the property to petitioner is not in dispute. surnamed Benatiro. and SPOUSES RENATO C.32 Under justifiable circumstances. the rules on forum shopping. No. Strict compliance with the provisions regarding the certificate of non-forum shopping merely underscores its mandatory nature in that the certification cannot be altogether dispensed with or its requirements completely disregarded. Costs against petitioner. should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert their own ultimate and legitimate objective. Respondents. namely: Isabelita. SPOUSES GORGONIO BENATIRO G. the Court deems it sufficient that she signed the petition on their behalf and as their representative. Renato. which were designed to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice. Petitioner thus stepped into the shoes of the other heirs to become a co-owner of the property with respondents.. WHEREFORE. and (2) state the basis of the alleged truth of the allegations. when all the petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense.their co-heirs.31 Nevertheless. the Court has relaxed the rule requiring the submission of such certification considering that although it is obligatory.

Evaristo died leaving six parcels of land located in Tapilon. and Patrocenia Cuyos-Mijares. . Both counsels manifested that the parties had come to an . 24-BN entitled In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of EvaristoCuyos. REYES. 000728. and Enrique. who was represented by Atty. Chairperson. Branch XI. In the hearing held on January 30. namely: Francisco. Gloria. Victor Elliot Lepiten (Atty.R.: Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by petitioners seeking to annul the Decision[1] dated July 18. Promulgated: Respondents. Jesus Yray (Atty. Numeriano. filed before the Court of First Instance (CFI) now Regional Trial Court (RTC). Daanbantayan. HEIRS OF EVARISTO CUYOS. all under the name of Agatona Arrogante. a petition[4] for Letters of Administration. The petition was opposed by Glorias brother. 000732. represented by their attorney-in-fact. Salud. OnAugust 28. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. On July 13. one of the heirs. 65630. 2003 of the Court of Appeals (CA) and its Resolution[2] dated November 13. 000730. Victoria. and Enrique Cuyos. 000731. Patrocenia. 000729. 1966. July 30. Francisco. Cebu covered by Tax Declaration (TD) Nos. SP No. CHICO-NAZARIO namely: Gloria Cuyos-Talian. petitioner.[3] Spouses Evaristo Cuyos and Agatona Arrogante Cuyos were blessed with nine children. Salud Cuyos. 2003 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration issued in CA-G. both parties together with their respective counsels appeared. J. Numeriano Cuyos. Gloria Cuyos-Talian. 000725. JJ. docketed as Special Proceeding (SP) No. Columba. 2008 x----------------------------------------------------------x DECISION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Lepiten). YNARES-SANTIAGO. NACHURA.versus . Cebu. Gloria Cuyos-Talian (respondent Gloria) represented by Atty. Lope. 1971. Yray). 1973.

was administering the properties of the estate (without appointment from the Court) as having been properly and duly accounted for. manifested that the parties had come to an agreement to settle the case amicably. The trial court on even date issued an Order[5] appointing Gloria as administratrix of the estate. Atty. Atty. they decided to go ahead with the scheduled meeting. Agreed to consider all income of the properties of the estate during the time that Francisco Cuyos. Gloria Cuyos Talian who may qualify as such administratrix after posting a nominal bond of P1.00. appeared. letters of administration of the estate of the late Evaristo Cuyos and including the undivided half accruing to his spouse Agatona Arrogante who recently died is hereby issued in favor of Mrs.agreement to settle their case. Daanbantayan. that Atty. only respondents Gloria. In his Commissioner's Report[8] dated July 29. 3. the Court of First Instance (CFI) appointed Atty. 5. 1976.000. where the properties are located. as having been withdrawn. the CFI stated that when the Intestate Estate hearing was called on that date. the rest of the eight (8) heirs will just receive only Four Thousand Pesos (P4. one of the heirs. 1975. Atty.[9] . Agreed to consider all motions filed in this proceedings demanding an accounting from Francisco Cuyos and Gloria Cuyos Talian. Taneo (Atty.000. Agreed to consider all income of the properties of the estate during the administration of Gloria Cuyos Talian. Salud and Enrique Cuyos failed to attend.00. In the same Order. Agreed to equally divide the administration expenses to be deducted from their respective share of P4. Taneo declared in his Report that the heirs who were present: 1.000. Andres C. 2. Yray.00) each. respondent Gloria and her brother. oppositorFrancisco. Agreed not to partition the properties of the estate but instead agreed to first sell it for the sum of P40. Cebu. in the Order[7] dated December 12. Franciscos counsel.[6] Subsequently.00 subject to the condition that should any of the heirs would be in a position to buy the properties of the estate. these three heirs could not be located in their respective given addresses. 1976 in Tapilon. (duly appointed by the Court) also one of the heirs as having been properly and duly accounted for. Taneo and ordered him to make a project of partition within 30 days from December 12. that out of the nine heirs. for a conference or meeting to arrive at an agreement. be appointed to act as Commissioner to effect the agreement of the parties and to prepare the project of partition for the approval of the court. that both counsels suggested that the Clerk of Court. that per return of the service. Taneo). that since some of the heirs present resided outside the province of Cebu. Taneo stated that he issued subpoenae supplemented by telegrams to all the heirs to cause their appearance on February 28 and 29. together with their respective counsels. 1975 for submission and approval of the court. 4.000. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE.

to which everybody present agreed. Taneo explained that the delay in the submission of the Report was due to the request of respondent Gloria that she be given enough time to make some consultations on what was already agreed upon by the majority of the heirs. 1976. The Court hereby orders the Administratrix to execute the deed of sale covering all the properties of the estate in favor of Columba Cuyos Benatiro after the payment to her of the sum of P36. 20-14130. the CFI appointed Lope Cuyos (Cuyos) as the new administrator of the estate. and considered her the buyer. and that later on.000. Atty. 000728. but after all the claims and administration expenses and the estate taxes shall have been paid for. the CFI issued the assailed Order[10] dated December 16. 20-14132. as the same had been allegedly disregarded by the heirs present during the conference. The said sum of money shall remain in custodia legis.The Report further stated that Columba Cuyos-Benatiro (Columba). 1976 that the letter of respondent Gloria was handed to Atty.00. 20-141131. 000729.Benatiro and Rosie M. since one of properties of the estate was mortgaged to her in order to defray their father's hospitalization. respectively.570. provided she be given the sum of P5.00. namely: Gloria Cuyos- Talian. namely. Salud Cuyos (respondents). Sometime in February 1998.00 as her share of the estate. son and daughter-in-law. 20-14129.. for which transfer certificates of title . 000731 and 000732. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. 000725. the remainder shall. Taneo.as it appeared that she was already residing in Central Luzon and her absence was detrimental to the early termination of the proceedings. Benatiro. Patrocenia Cuyos-Mijares. of petitioners Gorgonio and Columba. finding the terms and conditions agreed upon by the heirs to be in order. Quoting the Commissioners Report.000. 2014133 and 20- 14134. administrator Cuyos executed a Deed of Absolute Sale[13] over the six parcels of land constituting the intestate estate of the late Evaristo Cuyos in favor of Columba for a consideration of the sum of P36. the same being not contrary to law. upon order of the Court. Numeriano Cuyos and Enrique Cuyos.00.570.with the information that respondent Gloria was amenable to what had been agreed upon. one of the heirs. represented by their attorney-in-fact. Original Certificates of Titles covering the estate of Evaristo Cuyos were issued in favor of Columba. said compromise agreement as embodied in the report of the commissioner is hereby approved. 000730. 1978. [11] The CFI disapproved the claim of respondent Gloria for the sum of P5. were issued in Columbas name. informed all those present in the conference of her desire to buy the properties of the estate. be divided equally among the heirs. that some of these parcels of land were subsequently transferred to the names of spouses Renato C. allegedly learned that Tax Declaration Nos. were canceled and new Tax Declaration Nos. the heirs of Evaristo Cuyos. 1979. which were all in the name of their late mother AgatonaArrogante. On May 25. purportedly on the basis of the motion to relieve respondent Gloria. that it was only on July 11. In an Order[12] dated January 11.

that Numeriano executed an affidavit in which he attested to having received his share . that Patrocenia Cuyos-Mijares executed an affidavit. filed with the CA a petition for annulment of the Order dated December 16. since the CFI which issued the assailed order did not appear to have been furnished a copy of the Deed of Absolute Sale. thus. as directed in its Order so that it could divide the remainder of the consideration equally among the heirs after paying all the administration expenses and estate taxes.[14] Salud Cuyos brought the matter for conciliation and mediation at the barangay level. clearly showing that extrinsic fraud caused them to be deprived of their property. 2000 dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.[17] and Enrique. the same being based on a Commissioner's Report. as respondents were represented by counsel in the intestate proceedings. that they have been in possession of the six parcels of land since May 25. thus. which on June 13. that this was only a ploy so that they could claim that they filed the petition for annulment within the statutory period of four (4) years. which was patently false and irregular. should the same be approved by the probate court. Patrocenia. that the intestate case had not yet been terminated as the last order found relative to the case was the appointment of Lope as administrator vice Gloria. notice of Order to counsel was notice to client. 1979. namely: Gloria. 1976 and the Deed of Absolute Sale dated May 25. that no extrinsic fraud attended the issuance of the assailed order. that they subsequently discovered the existence of the assailed CFI Order dated December 16. but was unsuccessful. 1976 only in February 1998 was preposterous. who stood to be benefited by the Commissioner's recommendation. in SP No. that the report was done in close confederacy with their co-heir Columba. Herein petitioners contend that respondents' allegation that they discovered the assailed order dated December 16. as well as the unnotarized statement of Gloria stating that no meeting ever took place for the purpose of discussing how to dispose of the estate of their parents and that they never received any payment from the supposed sale of their share in the inheritance. that the CFI was not in custodia legis of the consideration of the sale.were subsequently issued. They alleged that the CFI Order dated December 16.[15] On July 16. and that the act of petitioners in manifest connivance with administrator Lope amounted to a denial of their right to the property without due process of law. 24-BN under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court. Salud Cuyos. for herself and in representation[16] of the other heirs of Evaristo Cuyos. 1976 was null and void and of no effect. Branch XI. 1979 when the same was sold to them pursuant to the assailed Order in the intestate proceedings. 1976 of the CFI of Cebu. that since the report was a falsity. that the issuance of the certificates of titles in favor of respondents were tainted with fraud and irregularity. Numeriano. Respondents filed a complaint against petitioner Gorgonio Benatiro before the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems (COSLAP) of the Department of Justice. that such report practically deprived them of due process in claiming their share of their father's estate. any order proceeding therefrom was invalid. that they never received their corresponding share in the inheritance. 2001.

Case No. 24-BN is hereby ordered reopened and proceedings thereon be continued. the same may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence to prove the contrary. the CA ruled that the Certificates of Titles obtained by herein petitioners were procured fraudulently. that the initial transfer of the properties to Columba Cuyos- . if not even more important. The CA noted some particulars that led it to conclude that the conference was not held accordingly. that respondents were estopped from assailing the Order dated December 16. lawyers of Gloria and Francisco Cuyos. than the names of those who were absent.of the sale proceeds on May 18. which was used by the trial court as its basis for issuing the assailed Order. 1988. Further. the same cannot be taken as notice to the other heirs of Evaristo Cuyos. when the names of those who were present were equally essential. On July 18. Rule 133 on the Rules of Evidence. (2) the Report also failed to include any proof of conformity to the agreement from the attendees. such was not the scenario since in their separate sworn statements. such as letting them sign the report to signify their consent as regards the agreed mechanisms for the estates settlement. Butalid. as it had already attained the status of finality. Lepiten and Atty. that although under Section 3(m). since what was required was the special authority to compromise on behalf of his client. the compulsory heirs of the decedent attested to the fact that no meeting or conference ever happened among them. citing Quiban v. the CA granted the petition and annulled the CFI order. The CA then concluded that due to the absence of the respondents' consent.[18] The CA declared that the ultimate fact that was needed to be established was the veracity and truthfulness of the Commissioners Report. SP Proc. The CA further observed that although it appeared that notice of the report was given to Atty. there was a need for all the concerned parties to be present in the conference. 1976 as well as the Certificates of Title issued in the name of Columba Cuyos-Benatiro and the subsequent transfer of these Titles in the name of spouses Renato and Rosie Benatiro are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. to wit: (1) the Commissioners Report never mentioned the names of the heirs who were present in the alleged conference but only the names of those who were absent. however. the assailed Order had no legal effect. the Order issued by the Court of First Instance of Cebu Branch XI dated December 16. that a lawyers authority to compromise cannot be simply presumed. there is a presumption of regularity in the performance of an official duty.[19] that being a void compromise agreement. Yray. respectively. the dispositive portion of which reads: FOR ALL THE FOREGOING REASONS. (3) there was lack or absence of physical evidence attached to the report indicating that the respondents were indeed properly notified about the scheduled conference. 1976. the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. that a compromise agreement entered into by a person not duly authorized to do so by the principal is void and has no legal effect. Thus. 2003. Accordingly. The CA held that to arrive at an agreement. the legal existence of the compromise agreement did not stand on a firm ground.

the certificates of title and the transfers made by petitioners through fraud cannot be made a legal basis of their ownership over the properties. petitioners filed a Manifestation that they were in possession of affidavits of waiver and desistance executed by the heirs of Lope Cuyos[21] and respondent Patrocenia Cuyos-Mijares[22] on February 17. since the compromise agreement which served as the basis of the Deed of Absolute Sale was void and had no legal effect. Hence.00 to the administrator as consideration for the sale. were tainted with fraud.an official act which enjoys a strong presumption of regularity -based merely on belated allegations of irregularities in the performance of said official act. and that it was also evident that the fraud attendant in this case was one of extrinsic fraud. Whether or not upon the facts as found by the Court of Appeals in this case. herein petition raising the following issues: Whether or not annulment of order under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court was a proper remedy where the aggrieved party had other appropriate remedies. which they failed to take through their own fault. or petition for relief. that the Certification dated December 9. upon order of the Court. which included the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale. such alleged payment was incomplete and was not in compliance with the trial courts order for the administratix to execute the deed of sale covering all properties of the estate in favor of Columba Cuyos-Benatiro after the payment to the administratrix of the sum ofP36. the CA concluded that the compromise agreement. that said sum of money shall remain in custodia legis. since to do so would result in enriching them at the expense of the respondents. The CA elaborated that there was no showing that Columba paid the sum of P36. appeal. Moreover. that even so. the CA found that the copy of the Deed of Sale was not even furnished the trial court nor was said money placed under custodia legis as agreed upon. cancellation of Tax Declarations and the issuance of new Tax Declarations and Transfer Certificates of Title.00. the transfer of the parcels of land. the remainder shall. 1998 issued by the Clerk of Court of Cebu indicated that the case had not yet been terminated and that the last Order in the special proceeding was the appointment of Lope Cuyos as the new administrator of the estate. be divided equally among the heirs. [20] Subsequent to the filing of their petition. extrinsic fraud existed which is a sufficient ground to annul the lower court's order under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.Benatiro by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Lope Cuyos was clearly defective. . since respondents were denied the opportunity to fully litigate their case because of the scheme utilized by petitioners to assert their claim. except for the testimony of Numeriano Cuyosadmitting that he received his share of the proceeds but without indicating the exact amount that he received. but after all the claims and administration expenses and the estate taxes shall have been paid for. such as new trial.000. Consequently.000. Whether or not the Court of Appeals misapprehended the facts when it annulled the 24 year old Commissioner's Report of the Clerk of Court . all in favor of petitioners. thus.

The overriding consideration when extrinsic fraud is alleged is that the fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party from having his day in court. Numeriano had issued a certification[24] dated May 18. appeal. which could be the reason why he refused to sign the Special Power of Attorney supposedly in favor of Salud Cuyos for the filing of the petition with the CA. or could have been availed of. respondent Numeriano Cuyos.ground therefor. The remedy of annulment of judgment is extraordinary in character[25] and will not so easily and readily lend itself to abuse by parties aggrieved by final judgments. In addition. Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 47 impose strict conditions for recourse to it. The issue for resolution is whether the CA committed a reversible error in annulling the CFI Order dated December 16. in a motion for new trial or petition for relief.2004 and December 17. viz. 1976. that he had already received P4.[27] Extrinsic fraud exists when there is a fraudulent act committed by the prevailing party outside of the trial of the case. 2004. 1988. stating that the subject estate was sold to Columba and that she had already received her share of the purchase price on May 18.[28] Fraud is regarded as extrinsic where it prevents a party from having a trial or from presenting his entire case to the court. Although Section 2 of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that annulment of a final judgment or order of an RTC may be based "only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. which was not refuted by any of the parties.: Section 1.[26] An action to annul a final judgment on the ground of fraud will lie only if the fraud is extrinsic or collateral in character. Extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground if it was availed of. Coverage. respectively. since the subject estate properties had been bought by their late sister Columba.00 in payment of his share. or where it operates upon matters pertaining not to the judgment itself but to the manner in which it is procured. which approved the Commissioners Report embodying the alleged compromise agreement entered into by the heirs of Evaristo and Agatona Arrogante Cuyos. and they had already received their share of the purchase price. This Rule shall govern the annulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or final orders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial. 2001. In both affidavits. Grounds for annulment.[29] . We rule in the negative.Another heir. whereby the defeated party was prevented from presenting fully his side of the case by fraud or deception practiced on him by the prevailing party. petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. Section 2. the affiants stated that they had no more interest in prosecuting/defending the case involving the settlement of the estate. The annulment may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction." jurisprudence recognizes denial of due process as additional .000. had also earlier executed an Affidavit[23] dated December 13. 1988.

the Commissioner's Report. Thus. since they were not even required to sign anything to show their attendance of the alleged meeting. as the CA aptly found. the Commissioner did not state the names of those present. Thus. It bears stressing that the purpose of the conference was for the heirs to arrive at a compromise agreement over the estate of Evaristo Cuyos. supplemented by telegrams. Taneo to set a time and place for the first meeting of the heirs. In fact. and that she had already received her corresponding share of the purchase price. it was imperative that all the heirs must be present in the conference and be heard to afford them the opportunity to protect their interests. 1976. but only those heirs who failed to attend the conference. it was incumbent upon Atty. Taneo stated that he caused the appearance of all the heirs of Evaristo Cuyosand Agatona Arrogante Cuyos in the place. but there was nothing in the affidavit that retracted her previous statement that she was not called to a meeting. there was no evidence showing that the heirs indeed convened for the purpose of arriving at an agreement regarding the estate properties. In fact.While we find that the CA correctly annulled the CFI Order dated December 16. based on the return of service. 2004 an Affidavit of Waiver and Desistance[31] regarding this case. Moreover. where the subject properties were located for settlement. the veracity of Atty. as she was not mentioned as among those absent. Thus. only six attended the conference. for the heirs to appear in the scheduled conference were indeed sent to the heirs. could not be located in their respective given addresses. one of the heirs. we find that it should be annulled not on the ground of extrinsic fraud. 1998 attesting. however. to the fact that she was not called to a meeting nor was there any telegram or notice of any meeting received by her. Considering that no separate instrument of conveyance was executed among the heirs embodying their alleged agreement. it was . had executed an affidavit[30]dated December 8. 1976. by sending them subpoenae supplemented by telegrams for them to attend the conference scheduled on February 28 to 29. respondent Patrocenia Cuyos-Mijares. did not bear the signatures of the alleged attendees to show their consent and conformity thereto. namely: respondents Gloria. as there is no sufficient evidence to hold Atty. it was only for the reason that the subject estate properties had been bought by their late sister Columba. but on the ground that the assailed order is void for lack of due process. who was presumably present in the conference. as stated in the Report. Taneo or any of the heirs guilty of fraud. However. In his Commissioners Report. Clerk of Court Taneo was appointed to act as Commissioner to effect the agreement of the heirs and to prepare the project of partition for submission and approval of the court. Taneos holding of a conference with the heirs was doubtful. While Patrocenia had executed on December 17. Salud and Enrique who. Respondent Gloria also made an unnotarized statement[32] that there was no meeting held. Atty. which embodied the alleged agreement of the heirs. It was also alleged that out of the nine heirs. there is nothing in the records that would establish that the alleged subpoenae.

Vargas. under the general rule. It contemplates a notice that has been sent out or issued before any deed of settlement and/or partition is agreed upon (i. that persons who do not participate or had no notice of an extrajudicial settlement will not be bound thereby. Branch Clerk of Court of the RTC. regardless of their failure to participate therein.[35] in which the issue was whether heirs were deemed constructively notified of and bound by an extra-judicial settlement and partition of the estate. when the extra-judicial settlement and partition has been duly published. Thus.[34] In Cua v. the records of the present case confirm that respondents never signed either of the settlement documents. such presumption may be overcome by evidence to the contrary. however. We find the instances mentioned by the CA. and the partition made without their knowledge and consent is invalid insofar as they are concerned[36] (Emphasis supplied) . The requirement of publication is geared for the protection of creditors and was never intended to deprive heirs of their lawful participation in the decedent's estate. 2003 issued by the Officer In Charge (OIC). a notice calling all interested parties to participate in the said deed of extrajudicial settlement and partition).necessary that the Report be signed by the heirs to prove that a conference among the heirs was indeed held. we find no reversible error committed by the CA in ruling that the conference was not held accordingly and in annulling the assailed order of the CFI. as well as to Attys. we held: The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 is an ex parte proceeding. to show that copies of the Commissioners Report were sent to all the heirs. The publication of the settlement does not constitute constructive notice to the heirs who had no knowledge or did not take part in it because the same was notice after the fact of execution. as well as absence of evidence showing that respondents were notified of the conference. The rule plainly states. having discovered their existence only shortly before the filing of the present complaint. In this connection. Following Rule 74. and not after such an agreement has already been executed as what happened in the instant case with the publication of the first deed of extrajudicial settlement among heirs. Branch 11. it is to be presumed that everything done by an officer in connection with the performance of an official act in the line of his duty was legally done. Section 3(m) of the Rules on Evidence. such as absence of the names of the persons present in the conference.. Petitioners point out that the Commissioner was an officer of the court and a disinterested party and that. to be competent proofs of irregularity that rebut the presumption. except Salud and Enrique. and that they conformed to the agreement stated in the Report. Lepiten and Yray as enumerated in the Notice found at the lower portion of the Report with the accompanying registry receipts. Petitioners attached a Certification[33] dated August 7.e. absence of the signatures of the heirs in the Commissioner's Report. While. under Rule 133. these extrajudicial settlements do not bind respondents. there is a presumption that official duty has been regularly performed.

because his interest in the estate is represented by the judicial administrator who retains the services of a counsel. We also find nothing in the records that would show that the heirs were called to a hearing to validate the Report. While the trial court's order approving the Commissioners Report was received by Attys. they could not have taken an appeal or other remedies. 1976. the other heirs who were not represented by counsel were not given any notice of the judgment approving the compromise. . any one of the respondents could have taken the appropriate remedy such as amotion for reconsideration. the parties lawyers were duly served said copies of the Order on December 21. were canceled. 2003 of the RTC OIC. 1973. legatees. and not whether they were notified of the Commissioner's Report embodying the alleged agreement afterwards. The CFI's action was tantamount to a violation of the constitutional guarantee that no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law.Thus. they were the lawyers of Gloria and Francisco. a motion for new trial or a petition for relief under Rule 38 at the proper time. The CFI adopted the Report despite the statement therein that only six out of the nine heirs attended the conference. what matters is whether the heirs were indeed notified before the compromise agreement was arrived at. We find that the assailed Order dated December 16. is a void judgment for lack of due process. service of notices of orders and pleadings shall be made upon the lawyer. We are not persuaded by petitioners contentions that all the parties in the intestate estate proceedings in the trial court were duly represented by respective counsels. The CFI adopted and approved the Report despite the absence of the signatures of all the heirs showing conformity thereto. that notices to lawyers should be considered notices to the clients. Clerk of Court. that when the trial court issued the assailed Order dated December 16. 1976 as shown by the Certification[37] dated August 7. but they failed to do so without giving any cogent reason for such failure. Lepitenfor petitioners-heirs and Atty. they manifested such intention through their lawyers. which was not established. Lepiten was Glorias counsel when she filed her Petition for letters of administration. while Atty. and new Tax Declarations were issued in Columbas name. that an heir in the settlement of the estate of a deceased person need not hire his own lawyer. thus. Yray for the oppositors-heirs. 1976 approving the Commissioner's Report. effectively depriving the other heirs of their chance to be heard. Yray and Lepiten. if a party is represented by counsel.and Original Certificates of Titles were subsequently issued in favor of Columba. Thus. as stated in the Order dated January 30. It was only sometime in February 1998 that respondents learned that the tax declarations covering the parcels of land. namely. and creditors whose interest he represents. since. which approved a void Commissioner's Report. As can be seen from the pleadings filed before the probate court.Applying the above-mentioned case by analogy. Yray was Franciscos lawyer when he filed his opposition to the petition for letters of administration and his Motion to Order administrarix Gloria to render an accounting and for the partition of the estate. that a judicial administrator is the legal representative not only of the estate but also of the heirs. respectively. Atty. which were all in the name of their late mother Agatona Arrogante. that upon receipt of such order by counsels. Atty. but not the lawyers of the other heirs. that when the heirs agreed to settle the case amicably.

It cannot affect.Considering that the assailed Order is a void judgment for lack of due process of law. and the situation is the same as it would be if there were no judgment. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. unless barred by laches. warrants a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. ordinarily. before it is barred by laches or estoppel. In Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewerage System vs. that void decision is deemed non-existent. it is no judgment at all. there was no effective or operative judgment to appeal from. It. Cavite. [40] (Emphasis supplied) The CFI's order being null and void. a void judgment is regarded as a nullity. a void judgment is no judgment at all. It is attended by none of the consequences of a valid adjudication. but may be entirely disregarded or declared inoperative by any tribunal in which effect is sought to be given to it. thus: A void judgment never acquires finality. to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier. leaves the parties litigants in the same position they were in before the trial. accordingly. while admittedly. or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head. impair or create rights.[38] In Nazareno v. it may be assailed anytime. It has no legal or binding effect or efficacy for any purpose or at any place. this Court held that: x x x [A] void judgment is not entitled to the respect accorded to a valid judgment. It cannot be the source of any right or of any obligation. Thus. it cannot be deemed to have become final and executory. Sison. collaterally or in a direct action or by resisting such judgment or final order in any action or proceeding whenever it is invoked. or the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time. if based on lack of jurisdiction. Section 3. the compromise agreement and the Order approving it must be declared null and void and set aside. for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time.[42] . It is not entitled to enforcement and is. Court of Appeals. Rule 47 of the Rules of Court provides that an action for annulment of judgment based on extrinsic fraud must be filed within four years from its discovery and. It cannot be the source of any right nor of any obligation. no protection to those who seek to enforce. Hence. Hence. In contemplation of law. The principle of laches or "stale demands" ordains that the failure or neglect. All proceedings founded on the void judgment are themselves regarded as invalid. the petitioner in the case at bar failed to appeal timely the aforementioned decision of the Municipal Trial Court of Naic. Thus.[41] Consequently. In other words.[39] we stated the consequences of a void judgment. it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void: "x x x it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight. We find no merit in petitioners' claim that respondents are barred from assailing the judgment after the lapse of 24 years from its finality on ground of laches and estoppel.

It is the better rule that courts. the execution of the Deed of Sale by Lope in favor of Columba pursuant to said void judgment. SO ORDERED. 2003 and Resolution dated November 13. . the petition is DENIED and the Decision dated July 18. it has no legal and binding effect. force or efficacy for any purpose. Hence. and the subsequent transfers are void ab initio.There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand. we find that respondents' right to due process is the paramount consideration in annulling the assailed order. 24-BN for the settlement of the Estate of Evaristo Cuyos. considering that the assailed CFI judgment is void. its application is controlled by equitable considerations. being an equitable doctrine. 2003 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.[44] In this case. No costs. Branch XI. In contemplation of law. It bears stressing that an action to declare the nullity of a void judgment does not prescribe. a manifest wrong or injustice would result. respondents learned of the assailed order only sometime in February 1998 and filed the petition for annulment of judgment in 2001. it is non- existent. the issuance of titles pursuant to said Deed of Sale.[43] The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court and. Moreover. will not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches when to be so. WHEREFORE. The Regional Trial Court. No reversible error was thus committed by the CA in annulling the judgment. each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances. Cebu and the Heirs of Evaristo Cuyos are DIRECTED to proceed with SP Proceedings Case No.[45] Finally. It cannot be used to defeat justice or perpetrate fraud and injustice. under the principle of equity.

The Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition covered fourteen parcels of land covering a total area of 224. respondents Rodriguezes were able to secure new Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) and were able to transfer some parcels to the other respondents herein. VICTORIO S. ROSALINA RODRIGUEZ. INC. the private respondents appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals. MERCEDES & RAMON. respondents. OZ-1397. PATERIO N. of Ozamiz City in Civil Case No. HUBERT CHIU YULO. petitioner and Rosalina entered into an extrajudicial settlement of Miguel's estate. MATEO TAN TE. DETALIA. Armed with the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition. COURT OF APPEALS. QUISUMBING. 1974.567 square meters and 24. 1946. vs. de Rodriguez initiated proceedings before the CFI of Ozamiz City for the legal adoption of herein petitioner. the spouses Miguel Rodriguez and Rosalina J. with petitioner and herein respondent Rosalina as defendants docketed as OZ 349.2 . On August 28.883 square meters. all surnamed RODRIGUEZ. J. 1946. LAO. PETRONILO S. Pilar. TE ENG SUY. PADILLA.457 square meters of parcels 7 and 9. On August 1. Mercedes. 2001 MARIA ELENA RODRIGUEZ PEDROSA. On November 21. Thereafter. the Rodriguezes entered into an extrajudicial settlement with respondent Rosalina for the partition of the estate of Miguel and of another sister. Pilar had no heirs except his brothers and sisters.250 square meters.G. CARMEN. THE HON.R. IMMACULATE CONCEPCION COLLEGE AND LILIAN EXPRESS. On March 11. the CFI denied the petition and upheld the validity of the adoption. 1972. represented solely by Rosalina. The facts of this case are as follows: On April 8. Ramon and the heirs of Miguel. Carmen. and TIO TUAN. JOSE.: This petition assails the decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 23. Miguel died intestate. adjudicating between themselves in equal proportion the estate of Miguel. LORETA TE. 1994 which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court. while said appeal was pending. private respondents filed an action to annul the adoption of petitioner before the CFI of Ozamiz City. respectively. Rosalina acted as the representative of the heirs of Miguel Rodriguez. The heirs of Miguel were given 226 square meters of parcel 2. 1983. These properties were divided among Jose. and 9. On April 29. the CFI granted the petition and declared petitioner Pedrosa the adopted child of Miguel and Rosalina. Maria Elena Rodriguez Pedrosa. LORENSITA M. petitioner. CHAN LUNG FAI. 1972. 118680 March 5. Branch 15.1 The total land area allocated to the heirs of Miguel was 34. JEROME DEIPARINE. No. DETALIA. Thereafter.

The remaining portion. Lot 560-B with 500 square meters was transferred to respondent Petronilo Detalla5 and was later transferred to respondent Hubert Chiu Yulo who registered it under his name under TCT No.6 On June 19. Loreto Jocelyn. Said complaint was later amended on March 25. Lot 560-D was sold to and subsequently registered in the name of Lorensita M. were transferred to respondents Chuan Lung Fai.Lots 504-A-6. 1986. Its ruling was premised on the following grounds:8 1) that the participation of Rosalina has already estopped her from questioning the validity of the partition. is likewise estopped. . portions of Parcel 3. were transferred to respondent Lilian Express. The appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court."7 The Regional Trial Court dismissed the complaint. T-10208. designated as Lot 504. 1987 to include the allegation "that earnest efforts toward a compromise were made between the plaintiffs and the defendants. Lot 560-E consisting of 43. T-10207. The said complaint was filed on January 28. T-11337. Lot 560-A covering 500 square meters was transferred to respondent Victorino Detall4 and was subsequently transferred to Jerome Deiparine who registered it under his name under TCT No. Thereafter. the parties in the appeal which sought to annul the adoption of petitioner Pedrosa filed a joint Motion to Dismiss. The latter refused saying that Maria Elena and Loreto were not heirs since they were not their blood relatives. was subdivided among Ramon. the Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal but upheld the validity of the adoption of petitioner. 1986. Parcel 6. Petitioner. 560-B. filed a complaint to annul the 1983 partition. to claim their share of the properties from the Rodriguezes. Jose. 560-C. her successor-in-interest.3 but not included in the Deed of Settlement and Partition. Padilla under TCT No. petitioner sent her daughter. then. Carmen and Mercedes and was designated as Lots 560-A. On June 25. applying Article 1439 of the Civil Code. but the same failed. Lot 560. 504-B-3 and 504-C-4.608 square meters was bought by respondent Immaculate Concepcion College and was registered in its name under TCT No. 560-D and 560-E. and since she is already estopped. T-10206. 1987. T-11305. Lot 560-C was transferred and registered under the name of respondent Paterio Lao with TCT No. 2) that the appeal of Maria Elena and her claim that the partition is null and void is weakened by her inconsistent claim that the partition would have been alright had she been given a more equitable share. Inc. T-10706. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals.9 4) that fraud and/or bad faith was never established. 3) the action is essentially an action for rescission and had been filed late considering that it was filed beyond the 4 year period provided for in Article 1100 of the Civil Code. it naturally follows that Maria Elena. and are now registered under TCT No.

the party .10 Hence. ……SUSTAINING THE DEFENDANT-APPELLEES' CLAIM THAT AS THEY HAVE NOT AS YET RECOGNIZED PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT AS AN ADOPTED DAUGHTER OF MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ IT WAS NOT NECESSARY FOR THEM TO HAVE HER PARTICIPATE IN THE EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT. Ayson. 1994. 4 SCRA 69 (1962). ……AWARDING PLAINTIFF–APPELLANT DAMAGES FOR THE INCOME OF HER SHARE IN THE PROPERTIES IN QUESTION11 In sum. ……CONCLUDING THAT THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT HAD NOT CONCLUSIVELY SHOWN THAT MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ WAS A CO-OWNER OF THE LANDS SOLD AND HENCE IT FOLLOWS THAT SHE HAS NO RIGHT OF REDEMPTION OF THOSE LANDS VI. 504 AND 560 SOLD TO THE OTHER DEFENDANTS–APPELLEES WERE CLEAN AND FREE FROM ENCUMBRANCES OR ANY FLAWS HENCE WERE VALID VII. She also avers that Sec.…CONCLUDING THAT THE CLAIM OF PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT IS BARRED OR ESTOPPED IN FILING THIS CASE (sic) IN VIEW OF THE DISMISSAL OF THE APPEAL IN CIVIL CASE NO. OZ 349 INTERPOSED BY HEREIN DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES WHO WERE THEN PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS IN AC [C]-G. EXHIBITS "S" AND "I" V. ……FINDING THAT PORTION OF LOTS NOS. this petition wherein the petitioner asserts that the following errors were allegedly committed by the Court of Appeals in - I. SP-00208 IV. Petitioner argues that the complaint for annulment of the extrajudicial partition has not yet prescribed since the prescriptive period which should be applied is four years following the case of Beltran vs. . ……FINDING THAT THE EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT AND PARTITION ENTERED INTO BY DEFENDANT JUREDINI AND DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS RODRIGUEZES WAS VALID AND BINDING UPON THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT WHO DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN SAID TRANSACTION II. and two. ……FINDING THAT THE PLANTIFF–APPELLANT NEVER APPEARED IN COURT TO TESTIFY OR REBUT THE ASSERTIONS OF THE DEFENDANTS–APPELLANTS THAT THERE WAS A VALID PARTITION VIII. 4. the party assailing the partition must have been given notice. One. and (3) whether or not the petitioner is entitled to recover the lots which had already been transferred to the respondent buyers. the issues to be resolved in our view are (1) whether or not the complaint for annulment of the "Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition" had already prescribed. NO..Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. (2) whether or not said deed is valid.. ……CONCLUDING THAT THE CLAIM OF PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT HAVE ALREADY PRESCRIBED TWO (2) YEARS AFTER PUBLICATION OF THE EXTRAJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT AND PARTITION IN THE NEWSPAPER OF GENERAL CIRCULATION III.R. which was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated December 20. Rule 74 which provides for a two-year prescriptive period needs two requirements.

assailing the partition must have participated therein. Petitioner insists these
requirements are not present in her case,12 since she did not participate in the "Deed
of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition." She cites Villaluz vs. Neme, 7 SCRA 27, 30
(1963), where we held that a deed of extrajudicial partition executed without including
some of the heirs, who had no knowledge and consent to the same, is fraudulent. She
asserts that she is an adoptive daughter and thus an heir of Miguel.13

Petitioner also contends that the respondent buyers were buyers in bad faith since they
failed to exercise the necessary due diligence required before purchasing the lots in
question.14 In the alternative, petitioner wants to redeem the said lots as a co-owner of
respondent Rodriguezes under the provisions of Article 1620 of the New Civil Code.15

Lastly, petitioner asserts that she will suffer lesion if the partition would be allowed. She
asks for the rescission of the said partitioning under Articles 165-175 of the Civil
Code.16

Respondents, in response, claim that the action of petitioner had already prescribed. In
addition, they argue that petitioner, Maria Elena, and Rosalina already have their
shares in the estate of Miguel Rodriguez reflected in the compromise agreement they
entered into with the respondent Rodriguezes in AC- G.R. SP 00208. Finally,
respondents aver that the non-participation of Maria Elena in the extrajudicial partition
was understandable since her status as an adopted child was then under litigation. In
any case, they assert that the shares of Miguel's heirs were adequately protected in the
said partition.17

Section 4, Rule 7418 provides for a two year prescriptive period (1) to persons who
have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition, and in
addition (2) when the provisions of Section 119 of Rule 74 have been strictly complied
with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the
extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.20

Petitioner, as the records confirm, did not participate in the extrajudicial partition.
Patently then, the two-year prescriptive period is not applicable in her case.

The applicable prescriptive period here is four (4) years as provided in Gerona vs. De
Guzman, 11 SCRA 153 (1964), which held that:

[The action to annul] a deed of "extrajudicial settlement" upon the ground of
fraud...may be filed within four years from the discovery of the fraud. Such discovery is
deemed to have taken place when said instrument was filed with the Register of Deeds
and new certificates of title were issued in the name of respondents exclusively.21

Considering that the complaint of the petitioner was filed on January 28, 1987, or three
years and ten months after the questioned extrajudicial settlement dated March 11,
1983, was executed, we hold that her action against the respondents on the basis of
fraud has not yet prescribed.

Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court is the applicable rule on publication of
extrajudicial settlement. It states:

The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a
newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the next succeeding
section; but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not
participated therein or had no notice thereof.22

Under said provision, without the participation of all persons involved in the
proceedings, the extrajudicial settlement cannot be binding on said persons. The rule
contemplates a notice which must be sent out or issuedbefore the Deed of Settlement
and/or Partition is agreed upon, i.e., a notice calling all interested parties to participate
in the said deed of extrajudicial settlement and partition, not after, which was when
publication was done in the instant case. Following Rule 74 and the ruling in Beltran vs.
Ayson, since Maria Elena did not participate in the said partition, the settlement is not
binding on her.

The provision of Section 4, Rule 74 will also not apply when the deed of extrajudicial
partition is sought to be annulled on the ground of fraud. A deed of extrajudicial
partition executed without including some of the heirs, who had no knowledge of and
consent to the same, is fraudulent and vicious.23 Maria Elena is an heir of Miguel
together with her adopting mother, Rosalina. Being the lone descendant of Miguel, she
excludes the collateral relatives of Miguel from participating in his estate, following the
provisions of Article 1003 of the Civil Code.24 The private respondent Rodriguezes
cannot claim that they were not aware of Maria Elena's adoption since they even filed
an action to annul the decree of adoption. Neither can they claim that their actions
were valid since the adoption of Maria Elena was still being questioned at the time they
executed the deed of partition. The complaint seeking to annul the adoption was filed
only twenty six (26) years after the decree of adoption, patently a much delayed
response to prevent Maria Elena from inheriting from her adoptive parents. The decree
of adoption was valid and existing. With this factual setting, it is patent that private
respondents executed the deed of partition in bad faith with intent to defraud Maria
Elena.

In the case of Segura vs. Segura, the Court held:

This section [referring to section 4, Rule 74] provides in gist that a person who has been
deprived of his lawful participation in the estate of the decedent, whether as heir or as
creditor, must assert his claim within two years after the extrajudicial or summary
settlement of such estate under Sections 1 and 2 respectively of the same Rule 74.
Thereafter, he will be precluded from doing so as the right will have prescribed.

It is clear that Section 1 of Rule 74 does not apply to the partition in question which was
null and void as far as the plaintiffs were concerned. The rule covers only valid
partitions. The partition in the present case was invalid because it excluded six of the
nine heirs who were entitled to equal shares in the partitioned property. Under the rule,
"no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated
therein or had no notice thereof." As the partition was a total nullity and did not affect
the excluded heirs, it was not correct for the trial court to hold that their right to
challenge the partition had prescribed after two years from its execution in 1941.25

To say that Maria Elena was represented by Rosalina in the partitioning is imprecise.
Maria Elena, the adopted child, was no longer a minor at the time Miguel died. Rosalina,
only represented her own interests and not those of Maria Elena. Since Miguel
predeceased Pilar, a sister, his estate automatically vested to his child and widow, in
equal shares. Respondent Rodriguezes' interests did not include Miguel's estate but
only Pilar's estate.

Could petitioner still redeem the properties from buyers? Given the circumstances in
this case, we are constrained to hold that this is not the proper forum to decide this
issue. The properties sought to be recovered by the petitioner are now all registered
under the name of third parties. Well settled is the doctrine that a Torrens Title cannot
be collaterally attacked. The validity of the title can only be raised in an action
expressly instituted for such purpose.26

Petitioner asks for the award of damages. No receipts, agreements or any other
documentary evidence was presented to justify such claim for damages. Actual
damages, to be recoverable, must be proved with a reasonable degree of certainty.
Courts cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the
fact and amount of damages.27 The same is true for moral damages. These cannot be
awarded in the absence of any factual basis.28 The unsubstantiated testimony of
Loreto Jocelyn Pedrosa is hearsay and has no probative value. It is settled in
jurisprudence that damages may not be awarded on the basis of hearsay
evidence.29 Nonetheless, the failure of the petitioner to substantiate her claims for
damages does not mean that she will be totally deprived of any damages. Under the
law, nominal damages are awarded, so that a plaintiff's right, which has been invaded
or violated by defendants may be vindicated and recognized.30

Considering that (1) technically, petitioner sustained injury but which, unfortunately,
was not adequately and properly proved, (2) petitioner was unlawfully deprived of her
legal participation in the partition of the estate of Miguel, her adoptive father, (3)
respondents had transferred portions of the properties involved to third parties, and (4)
this case has dragged on for more than a decade, we find it reasonable to grant in
petitioner's favor nominal damages in recognition of the existence of a technical
injury.31 The amount to be awarded as such damages should at least commensurate to
the injury sustained by the petitioner considering the concept and purpose of said
damages.32 Such award is given in view of the peculiar circumstances cited and the
special reasons extant in this case.33 Thus, the grant of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
(P100,000.00) PESOS to petitioner as damages is proper in view of the technical injury
she has suffered.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The "Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition"
executed by private respondents on March 11, 1983 is declared invalid. The amount of
P100,000.00 is hereby awarded to petitioner as damages to be paid by private
respondents, who are also ordered to pay the costs.

SO ORDERED.

vs. FELISA DELGADO CAMPO-ENCINAS and MELINDA DELGADO CAMPO-MADARANG. and HEIRS OF GORGONIO DELGADO. 2002.4 in SP Case No. which was reversed and set aside by the Court of Appeals in its decision5 dated October 24. namely. CARLOS DELGADO CAMPO. HEIRS OF ROMAN RUSTIA. HEIRS OF MARCIANA RUSTIA VDA. HEIRS OF LUISA DELGADO VDA. between petitioners and respondents. and GUILLERMINA RUSTIA. The claimants to the estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado may be divided into two groups: (1) the alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado. 2006 IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATES OF THE DECEASED JOSEFA DELGADO AND GUILLERMO RUSTIA CARLOTA DELGADO VDA.R. . DE AREVALO. HORACIO R. J. nephews and nieces. as Intervenor. No. However. SR. LETICIA RUSTIA- MIRANDA. JOSEFINA RUSTIA ALBANO.8 his illegitimate child. namely.2 Respondents. HEIRS OF CONCHA VDA.G. CAROLINA DELGADO-ARESPACOCHAGA. 97668. DE DE LA ROSA and other HEIRS OF LUIS DELGADO.9 and the de facto adopted child10 (ampun-ampunan) of the decedents. and grandnephews and grandnieces. JOSEFINA CRUZ-RODIL.7 his nephews and nieces.3 DECISION CORONA. CLARITA DELGADO CAMPO-REIZA. TERESITA CRUZ-SISON. HEIRS OF HORTENCIA RUSTIA CRUZ. CRUZ.: In this petition for review on certiorari.and full- blood siblings. his sisters. particularly. DAMIAN. Branch 55. namely. namely. RAMON DELGADO CAMPO. FACTS OF THE CASE This case concerns the settlement of the intestate estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado.. GLICERIA DELGADO and CLEOFAS DELGADO. 155733 January 27. RODOLFO DELGADO. as Oppositors. CRUZ. namely. VIRGINIA RUSTIA PARAISO.. DAMIAN and JOSE R. BENJAMIN DELGADO. SERGIO RUSTIA.1 and GUILLERMA RUSTIA.. YOLANDA DELGADO ENCINAS. Petitioners.6 The main issue in this case is relatively simple: who. JR. TERESA DELGADO PERLAS. 1990 decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. and (2) the alleged heirs of Guillermo Rustia. it is attended by several collateral issues that complicate its resolution. are the lawful heirs of the decedents. JR. DE DAMIAN. ROMAN RUSTIA. GUILLERMO R. DE DANAO. petitioners seek to reinstate the May 11. FRANCISCO RUSTIA. AMELIA CRUZ-ENRIQUEZ and FIDEL R. ANGELA DELGADO ARESPACOCHAGA. consisting of her half.

. Moreover. when Luis got married. Felisa Delgado was never married to Lucio Campo.15 significantly omitting any mention of the name and other circumstances of his father. He and his heirs would be barred by the principle of absolute separation between the legitimate and illegitimate families.16 Nevertheless. namely. petitioners point out that no record of the contested marriage existed in the civil registry. Later on. Jacoba. Josefa and her full-blood siblings were all natural children of Felisa Delgado. her son with Ramon Osorio. on June 15. The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado Sometime in 1917. Jose. What is clear. According to petitioners. However. the two eventually lived together as husband and wife but were never married. all surnamed Delgado. Edilberta. not even so much as an allegation of the date or place of the alleged marriage. oppositors (now respondents) insist that the absence of a record of the alleged marriage did not necessarily mean that no marriage ever took place.The alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado The deceased Josefa Delgado was the daughter of Felisa11 Delgado by one Lucio Campo. the petitioners herein. five other children were born to the couple. But.13 If Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado had been validly married. Luis Delgado. a baptismal certificate naming Josefa Delgado as one of the sponsors referred to her as "Señorita" or unmarried woman. and Gorgonio. his Partida de Casamiento14 stated that he was "hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the natural child of Felisa Delgado). 1973. Conversely. Guillermo Rustia proposed marriage to Josefa Delgado17 but whether a marriage in fact took place is disputed. if the couple were never married. The question of whether Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio ever got married is crucial to the claimants because the answer will determine whether their successional rights fall within the ambit of the rule against reciprocal intestate succession between legitimate and illegitimate relatives. Guillermo Rustia executed an affidavit of self- adjudication of the remaining properties comprising her estate. as they would all be within the illegitimate line. however. Aside from Josefa. In support thereof. 1972 without a will. So did Luis. Luis Delgado and his heirs would be entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado’s intestate estate. unlike her relationship with Lucio Campo which was admittedly one without the benefit of marriage. hence. then their only child Luis Delgado was a legitimate half-blood brother of Josefa Delgado and therefore excluded from the latter’s intestate estate. Lucio Campo was not the first and only man in Felisa Delgado’s life. Nazario. the legal status of Ramon Osorio’s and Felisa Delgado’s union is in dispute. Josefa Delgado died on September 8. Several months later. She was survived by Guillermo Rustia and some collateral relatives. is that Felisa retained the surname Delgado. Petitioners allege that Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado were never married. they assert that no evidence was ever presented to establish it. Before him was Ramon Osorio12with whom Felisa had a son. To prove their assertion.

Rustia on June 25. 1919 and from then on lived together as husband and wife until the death of Josefa on September 8. 3. Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation for Disability Resulting from Service in the Active Military or Naval Forces of the United States. insist that the absence of a marriage certificate did not of necessity mean that no marriage transpired. more than a year after the death of Josefa Delgado. According to Guillerma. He stated under oath "[t]hat he ha[d] no legitimate. they took into their home the youngsters Guillermina Rustia Rustia and Nanie Rustia. 1944] issued to Mrs. The alleged heirs of Guillermo Rustia Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado never had any children. with one Amparo Sagarbarria. Guillermo Rustia did manage to father an illegitimate child. named the intervenor-respondent as one of their children. 2. 1972.18 4. C-4. acknowledged natural . Josefa Delgado’s obituary which was prepared by Guillermo Rustia. Guillermo J. Guillermo Rustia filed a petition for the adoption22 of their ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia. 004. oppositors presented the following pieces of evidence: 1. Rustia by Carlos P. legitimated. her report card from the University of Santo Tomas identified Guillermo Rustia as her parent/guardian. then Resident Commissioner to the United States of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. 1974.Claim No. Philippine Passport No. Guillermo Rustia treated her as his daughter. To support their proposition. never legally adopted by the couple. During his life with Josefa.19 the intervenor-respondent Guillerma Rustia. 9592 dated [December 1. 4767 issued to Josefa D. Rustia himself [swore] to his marriage to Josefa Delgado in Manila on 3 June 1919. 1947. Titles to real properties in the name of Guillermo Rustia indicated that he was married to Josefa Delgado. Guillermo J. Guillermo J.21 On January 7. In fact. however. During this period spanning more than half a century. Also. and she enjoyed open and continuous possession of that status from her birth in 1920 until her father’s demise. With no children of their own. on the other hand. Certificate of Identity No. Romulo. his own flesh and blood. they were known among their relatives and friends to have in fact been married. They contend that her right to compulsory acknowledgement prescribed when Guillermo died in 1974 and that she cannot claim voluntary acknowledgement since the documents she presented were not the authentic writings prescribed by the new Civil Code.The oppositors (respondents here).20 Oppositors (respondents here) nonetheless posit that Guillerma Rustia has no interest in the intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia as she was never duly acknowledged as an illegitimate child. These children. Rustia wherein Dr. 503 (VA Form 526) filed with the Veterans Administration of the United States of America by Dr. were what was known in the local dialect as ampun-ampunan. They maintain that Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado were married on June 3.

and thus. de de la Rosa as administratrix of both estates.. in view of all the foregoing. On March 14. Luisa Delgado vda. Rustia is hereby declared as the sole and only surviving heir of the late Dr. entitled to the entire estate of the said decedent. Roman Rustia. Marciana Rustia vda..27The dispositive portion of the decision read: WHEREFORE. to the exclusion of the oppositors and the other parties hereto. filed the original petition for letters of administration of the intestate estates of the "spouses Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia" with the RTC of Manila. Despite the objections of the oppositors (respondents herein). Francisco Rustia and Leticia Rustia Miranda. oppositors (respondents herein) filed a motion to dismiss the petition in the RTC insofar as the estate of Guillermo Rustia was concerned. and (3) the ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia. namely. the intervenor Guillerma S. de Danao.24 ANTECEDENT PROCEEDINGS On May 8. Similarly. 1972. de Danao and the other claimants were barred under the law from inheriting from their illegitimate half- blood relative Josefa Delgado. Luisa Delgado vda. the motion was granted. Jr. de Danao. In November of 1975."23 The petition was overtaken by his death on February 28. Guillerma Rustia filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings. petitioner and her co-claimants to the estate of the late Josefa Delgado listed in the Petitions. Josefina Rustia Albano. the original petition for letters of administration was amended to state that Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia were never married but had merely lived together as husband and wife. deDamian and Hortencia Rustia-Cruz. and by the children of his predeceased brother Roman Rustia Sr.25 This petition was opposed by the following: (1) the sisters of Guillermo Rustia. On January 24.children or natural children by legal fiction. de de la Rosa substituted for her sister. Like Josefa Delgado. are hereby declared as the only legal heirs of the said Josefa Delgado who died intestate in the City of Manila on September 8. Carlota Delgado vda. Virginia Rustia Paraiso. Sr. the RTC appointed Carlota Delgado vda. The opposition was grounded on the theory that Luisa Delgado vda. Guillermo Rustia. who had died on May 18. 1978. 1974. the daughter of Luis Delgado. 1988. 1987. 1980. . and enumerated elsewhere in this Decision.26 (2) the heirs of Guillermo Rustia’s late brother. Branch 55. On May 11. Roman Rustia. On April 3. 1990. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia-Cruz. claiming she was the only surviving descendant in the direct line of Guillermo Rustia. Sergio Rustia.. Guillermo Rustia died without a will. and entitled to partition the same among themselves in accordance with the proportions referred to in this Decision. namely. The motion was denied on the ground that the interests of the petitioners and the other claimants remained in issue and should be properly threshed out upon submission of evidence. 1975. He was survived by his sisters Marciana Rustia vda.

and. xxx xxx xxx The respondent court likewise pointed out the trial court’s pronouncements as to certain matters of substance. However. 1990.The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of the estate of Josefa Delgado executed by the late Guillermo J. Finally. a single administrator therefor is both proper and necessary. On October 10. which were to be . petitioners assailed the resolution of the Court of Appeals. a delay in the filing of an appeal may be excused on grounds of substantial justice. The same oppositor is hereby required to render an accounting of her actual administration of the estates in controversy within a period of sixty (60) days from receipt hereof. DE DE LA ROSA.00).28 On May 20. under exceptional circumstances. 1973 is hereby SET ASIDE and declared of no force and effect.32 In a petition for review to this Court. 1997. oppositors filed an appeal which was denied on the ground that the record on appeal was not filed on time. and is likewise ordered to turn over to the appointed administratix all her collections of the rentals and income due on the assets of the estates in question. Accordingly. this Court allowed the continuance of the appeal. and their settlement [is] considered consolidated in this proceeding in accordance with law. immediately upon receipt of this Decision. on the ground that oppositors’ failure to file the record on appeal within the reglementary period was a jurisdictional defect which nullified the appeal.29 They then filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus30 which was dismissed by the Court of Appeals. Rustia on June 15. de dela Rosa has established her right to the appointment as administratrix of the estates. SO ORDERED. RUSTIA. GUILLERMO J. oppositor GUILLERMINA RUSTIA RUSTIA is hereby ordered to cease and desist from her acts of administration of the subject estates. the Court hereby APPOINTS her as the ADMINISTRATRIX of the intestate estate of the decedent JOSEFA DELGADO in relation to the estate of DR. As the estates of both dece[d]ents have not as yet been settled.000. DE DE LA ROSA upon her filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500. let the corresponding LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION issue to the petitioner CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. records and titles pertaining to such estates to the petitioner and appointed administratix CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. periods prescribed to do certain acts must be followed. the Court of Appeals reversed itself and gave due course to oppositors’ appeal in the interest of substantial justice. on motion for reconsideration and after hearing the parties’ oral arguments. relating to the determination of the heirs of the decedents and the party entitled to the administration of their estate. The pertinent portion of our decision33 read: As a rule. including all documents.31 However. as the petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. papers.

Rustia as ineligible to inherit from the late Dr. 1991 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. SP No. Guillermo Rustia.) the oppositors-appellants as the legal heirs of the late Dr. in view of the foregoing considerations. Consequently. records and titles pertaining to such estates to the appointed administrator. Rustia in accordance with the proportion referred to in this decision. Guillermo Rustia. A new one is hereby RENDERED declaring: 1.00). but were barred absolutely by the denial of the record on appeal upon too technical ground of late filing. 1990 decision.36 The dispositive portion of the amended decision read: With the further modification. and 4.000. Guillermo Rustia and thereby entitled to partition his estate in accordance with the proportion referred to herein. xxx xxx xxx A review of the trial court’s decision is needed.) the intestate estate of Dr. for the APPROVAL of the private respondents’ Record on Appeal and the CONTINUANCE of the appeal from the Manila. 2. Acting on the appeal. xxx xxx xxx In this instance. xxx xxx xxx WHEREFORE. Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado Rustia to have been legally married. SO ORDERED. immediately upon notice of his qualification and posting of the requisite bond. the decision of the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Jacoba Delgado- Encinas and the children of Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) entitled to partition among themselves the intestate estate of Josefa D. the Court hereby AFFIRMS the Resolution dated November 27. and to render an accounting of her (Guillermina Rustia Rustia) actual administration of the estates in controversy within a .R. our assailed decision is RECONSIDERED and VACATED. the Court of Appeals34 partially set aside the trial court’s decision. Upon motion for reconsideration.35 the Court of Appeals amended its earlier decision. The letters of administration of the intestate estate of Dr. Branch LV Regional Trial Court’s May 11. private respondents’ intention to raise valid issues in the appeal is apparent and should not have been construed as an attempt to delay or prolong the administration proceedings.raised in the appeal.) Dr.) the intervenor-appellee Guillerma S. thus revoking her appointment as administratrix of his estate. including all documents. 3. 23415. Oppositor-appellant Guillermina Rustia Rustia is hereby ordered to cease and desist from her acts of administration of the subject estates and to turn over to the appointed administrator all her collections of the rentals and incomes due on the assets of the estates in question. papers. Guillermo Rustia in relation to the intestate estate of Josefa Delgado shall issue to the nominee of the oppositors- appellants upon his or her qualification and filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500.

period of sixty (60) days from notice of the administrator’s qualification and posting of
the bond.

The issue of the validity of the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by Dr. Guillermo
Rustia on June 15, 1973 isREMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings to
determine the extent of the shares of Jacoba Delgado-Encinas and the children of
Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) affected by the said adjudication.

Hence, this recourse.

The issues for our resolution are:

1. whether there was a valid marriage between Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado;

2. who the legal heirs of the decedents Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado are;

3. who should be issued letters of administration.

The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado

A presumption is an inference of the existence or non-existence of a fact which courts
are permitted to draw from proof of other facts. Presumptions are classified into
presumptions of law and presumptions of fact. Presumptions of law are, in turn, either
conclusive or disputable.37

Rule 131, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides:

Sec. 3. Disputable presumptions. — The following presumptions are satisfactory if
uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence:

xxx xxx xxx

(aa) That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered
into a lawful contract of marriage;

xxx xxx xxx

In this case, several circumstances give rise to the presumption that a valid marriage
existed between Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado. Their cohabitation of more than
50 years cannot be doubted. Their family and friends knew them to be married. Their
reputed status as husband and wife was such that even the original petition for letters
of administration filed by Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao in 1975 referred to them as
"spouses."

Yet, petitioners maintain that Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia had simply lived
together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. They make much of the
absence of a record of the contested marriage, the testimony of a witness38 attesting
that they were not married, and a baptismal certificate which referred to Josefa Delgado
as "Señorita" or unmarried woman.39

We are not persuaded.

First, although a marriage contract is considered a primary evidence of marriage, its
absence is not always proof that no marriage in fact took place.40 Once the
presumption of marriage arises, other evidence may be presented in support thereof.
The evidence need not necessarily or directly establish the marriage but must at least
be enough to strengthen the presumption of marriage. Here, the certificate of identity
issued to Josefa Delgado as Mrs. Guillermo Rustia,41 the passport issued to her as
Josefa D. Rustia,42 the declaration under oath of no less than Guillermo Rustia that he
was married to Josefa Delgado43 and the titles to the properties in the name of
"Guillermo Rustia married to Josefa Delgado," more than adequately support the
presumption of marriage. These are public documents which are prima facie evidence
of the facts stated therein.44 No clear and convincing evidence sufficient to overcome
the presumption of the truth of the recitals therein was presented by petitioners.

Second, Elisa vda. de Anson, petitioners’ own witness whose testimony they primarily
relied upon to support their position, confirmed that Guillermo Rustia had proposed
marriage to Josefa Delgado and that eventually, the two had "lived together as husband
and wife." This again could not but strengthen the presumption of marriage.

Third, the baptismal certificate45 was conclusive proof only of the baptism
administered by the priest who baptized the child. It was no proof of the veracity of the
declarations and statements contained therein,46 such as the alleged single or
unmarried ("Señorita") civil status of Josefa Delgado who had no hand in its
preparation.

Petitioners failed to rebut the presumption of marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa
Delgado. In this jurisdiction, every intendment of the law leans toward legitimizing
matrimony. Persons dwelling together apparently in marriage are presumed to be in
fact married. This is the usual order of things in society and, if the parties are not what
they hold themselves out to be, they would be living in constant violation of the
common rules of law and propriety. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. Always
presume marriage.47

The Lawful Heirs Of Josefa Delgado

To determine who the lawful heirs of Josefa Delgado are, the questioned status of the
cohabitation of her mother Felisa Delgado with Ramon Osorio must first be addressed.

As mentioned earlier, presumptions of law are either conclusive or disputable.
Conclusive presumptions are inferences which the law makes so peremptory that no
contrary proof, no matter how strong, may overturn them.48 On the other hand,
disputable presumptions, one of which is the presumption of marriage, can be relied on
only in the absence of sufficient evidence to the contrary.

Little was said of the cohabitation or alleged marriage of Felisa Delgado and Ramon
Osorio. The oppositors (now respondents) chose merely to rely on the disputable
presumption of marriage even in the face of such countervailing evidence as (1) the
continued use by Felisa and Luis (her son with Ramon Osorio) of the surname Delgado
and (2) Luis Delgado’s and Caridad Concepcion’s Partida de

Casamiento49 identifying Luis as "hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the natural child of
Felisa Delgado).50

All things considered, we rule that these factors sufficiently overcame the rebuttable
presumption of marriage. Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio were never married. Hence,
all the children born to Felisa Delgado out of her relations with Ramon Osorio and Lucio
Campo, namely, Luis and his half-blood siblings Nazario, Edilberta, Jose, Jacoba,
Gorgonio and the decedent Josefa, all surnamed Delgado,51 were her natural
children.52

Pertinent to this matter is the following observation:

Suppose, however, that A begets X with B, and Y with another woman, C; then X and Y
would be natural brothers and sisters, but of half-blood relationship. Can they succeed
each other reciprocally?

The law prohibits reciprocal succession between illegitimate children and legitimate
children of the same parent, even though there is unquestionably a tie of blood
between them. It seems that to allow an illegitimate child to succeed ab
intestato (from) another illegitimate child begotten with a parent different from that of
the former, would be allowing the illegitimate child greater rights than a legitimate
child. Notwithstanding this, however, we submit that succession should be allowed,
even when the illegitimate brothers and sisters are only of the half-blood. The reason
impelling the prohibition on reciprocal successions between legitimate and illegitimate
families does not apply to the case under consideration. That prohibition has for its
basis the difference in category between illegitimate and legitimate relatives. There is
no such difference when all the children are illegitimate children of the same parent,
even if begotten with different persons. They all stand on the same footing before the
law, just like legitimate children of half-blood relation. We submit, therefore, that the
rules regarding succession of legitimate brothers and sisters should be applicable to
them. Full blood illegitimate brothers and sisters should receive double the portion of
half-blood brothers and sisters; and if all are either of the full blood or of the half-blood,
they shall share equally.53

Here, the above-named siblings of Josefa Delgado were related to her by full-blood,
except Luis Delgado, her half-brother. Nonetheless, since they were all illegitimate, they
may inherit from each other. Accordingly, all of them are entitled to inherit from Josefa
Delgado.

We note, however, that the petitioners before us are already the nephews, nieces,
grandnephews and grandnieces of Josefa Delgado. Under Article 972 of the new Civil
Code, the right of representation in the collateral line takes place only in favor of the
children of brothers and sisters (nephews and nieces). Consequently, it cannot be
exercised by grandnephews and grandnieces.54 Therefore, the only collateral relatives
of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to partake of her intestate estate are her brothers
and sisters, or their children who were still alive at the time of her death on September
8, 1972. They have a vested right to participate in the inheritance.55 The records not
being clear on this matter, it is now for the trial court to determine who were the
surviving brothers and sisters (or their children) of Josefa Delgado at the time of her

1001.death. a will. Rule 74. however. (3) when the child was conceived during the time when the mother cohabited with the supposed father. recognition may be compulsory or voluntary. a statement before a court of record or in any authentic writing.59 She. This draconian edict was.63 . Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower. Adjudication by an heir of the decedent’s entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit is allowed only if he is the sole heir to the estate: SECTION 1. If there is only one heir. As such.60 Recognition is compulsory in any of the following cases: (1) in cases of rape. 1974 at which time it was already the new Civil Code that was in effect. when the period of the offense coincides more or less with that of the conception. later relaxed in the new Civil Code which granted certain successional rights to illegitimate children but only on condition that they were first recognized or acknowledged by the parent. – If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. illegitimate children absolutely had no hereditary rights. divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds. 1950). Guillermo could not have validly adjudicated Josefa’s estate all to himself. they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. Section 1 of the Rules of Court is clear.56 they are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado in accordance with Article 1001 of the new Civil Code:57 Art. or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose. and should they disagree. she may be entitled to successional rights only upon proof of an admission or recognition of paternity. voluntary recognition may be made in the record of birth. Under the new law. x x x (emphasis supplied) The Lawful Heirs Of Guillermo Rustia Intervenor (now co-respondent) Guillerma Rustia is an illegitimate child58 of Guillermo Rustia. (2) when the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father (or mother)61 by the direct acts of the latter or of his family. claimed the status of an acknowledged illegitimate child of Guillermo Rustia only after the death of the latter on February 28. the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other one-half. 62 On the other hand. abduction or seduction. Together with Guillermo Rustia. Under the old Civil Code (which was in force till August 29. however. Since Josefa Delgado had heirs other than Guillermo Rustia. the parties may. he may adjudicate to himself the estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. (4) when the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his father. without securing letters of administration.

which [created] between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. intervenor Guillerma’s right to claim compulsory acknowledgment prescribed upon the death of Guillermo Rustia on February 28. The report card of intervenor Guillerma did not bear the signature of Guillermo Rustia. is understood as a genuine or indubitable writing of the parent (in this case. or in pursuance with the procedure laid down under Rule 99 of the Rules of Court is valid in this jurisdiction. The claim of voluntary recognition (Guillerma’s second ground) must likewise fail. Only an adoption made through the court. the statutory requirements must be strictly carried out. but must be affirmatively [proven] by the person claiming its existence. while witnesses testified that it was Guillermo Rustia himself who drafted the notice of death of Josefa Delgado which was published in the Sunday Times on September 10. To establish the relation. The same misfortune befalls the ampun-ampunan. the action for compulsory recognition can no longer be filed. compulsory recognition through the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child and second. a proceeding in rem.67 Did intervenor’s report card from the University of Santo Tomas and Josefa Delgado’s obituary prepared by Guillermo Rustia qualify as authentic writings under the new Civil Code? Unfortunately not. for purposes of voluntary recognition. we rule that two of the claimants to the estate of Guillermo Rustia.64 Furthermore. not the newspaper clipping of the obituary.Intervenor Guillerma sought recognition on two grounds: first. We affirm the ruling of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals holding her a legal stranger to the deceased spouses and therefore not entitled to inherit from them ab intestato. Guillermina Rustia Rustia. The fact of adoption is never presumed. this did not constitute acknowledgment but a mere ground by which she could have compelled acknowledgment through the courts. any (judicial) action for compulsory acknowledgment has a dual limitation: the lifetime of the child and the lifetime of the putative parent. It is not of natural law at all. in the handwriting of Guillermo Rustia himself and signed by him.66 In this case. who was never adopted in accordance with law. intervenor Guillerma Rustia and the ampun-ampunan Guillermina . Similarly. the adoption is an absolute nullity. voluntary recognition through authentic writing. There was apparently no doubt that she possessed the status of an illegitimate child from her birth until the death of her putative father Guillermo Rustia. otherwise.65 On the death of either. This includes a public instrument or a private writing admitted by the father to be his. 1972. What could have been admitted as an authentic writing was the original manuscript of the notice. but is wholly and entirely artificial. The fact that his name appears there as intervenor’s parent/guardian holds no weight since he had no participation in its preparation. We quote: Adoption is a juridical act. that published obituary was not the authentic writing contemplated by the law. 1974. namely. However.68 Premises considered. An authentic writing. Guillermo Rustia). The failure to present the original signed manuscript was fatal to intervenor’s claim. it never came to fruition and was dismissed upon the latter’s death. Although a petition for her adoption was filed by Guillermo Rustia.

71 The order of preference does not rule out the appointment of co-administrators. in the persons of Carlota Delgado vda. the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for administration or to request that the administration be granted to some other person. if competent and willing to serve. 6. or a person dies intestate. Under Article 1002 of the new Civil Code. In the appointment of an administrator. or to such person as such surviving husband or wife. the lawful heirs of Guillermo Rustia are the remaining claimants. or fail to give a bond. 1990 decision of the RTC Manila.Rustia Rustia. It is in this light that we see fit to appoint joint administrators. When and to whom letters of administration granted. consisting of his sisters. specially in cases where justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of the estates. or the executor or executors are incompetent. illegitimate children. The remaining half shall pertain to (a) the full and half-siblings of Josefa Delgado who survived her and (b) the children of any of Josefa Delgado’s full. as the case may be.70 Entitlement To Letters Of Administration An administrator is a person appointed by the court to administer the intestate estate of the decedent. it may be granted to such other person as the court may select. requests to have appointed. de de la Rosa and a nominee of the nephews and nieces of Guillermo Rustia. refuse the trust. or next of kin. 1973 affidavit of self-adjudication is hereby ANNULLED.or half- . Therefore. or next of kin. (b) If such surviving husband or wife. They are the next of kin of the deceased spouses Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia. Guillermo Rustia’s June 15. as the case may be. the intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia shall inherit half of the intestate estate of Josefa Delgado. or next of kin. be incompetent or unwilling. if competent and willing to serve. Rule 78. respectively. or the person selected by them.72a situation which obtains here. WHEREFORE. The assailed October 24. or if the husband or widow or next of kin. Section 6 of the Rules of Court prescribes an order of preference in the appointment of an administrator: Sec. or surviving spouse. it may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors. are not lawful heirs of the decedent. Branch 55) is hereby DENIED. – If no executor is named in the will. 2. administration shall be granted: (a) To the surviving husband or wife. ascendants.69 nieces and nephews. (c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve. the petition (which seeks to reinstate the May 11. in the discretion of the court. 2002 decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the following modifications: 1. or both. if there are no descendants. the principal consideration is the interest in the estate of the one to be appointed.

No pronouncement as to costs. Sr. In this connection. (who survived Guillermo Rustia and whose respective shares shall be per stirpes). Letters of administration over the still unsettled intestate estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado shall issue to Carlota Delgado vda. 3. 4. the trial court is hereby ordered to determine the identities of the relatives of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to share in her estate. upon their qualification and filing of the requisite bond in such amount as may be determined by the trial court. as joint administrators. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz are now deceased. de de la Rosa and to a nominee from among the heirs of Guillermo Rustia. also surviving at the time of her death. . Josefa Delgado’s grandnephews and grandnieces are excluded from her estate.siblings who may have predeceased her. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz (whose respective shares shall be per capita) and the children of the late Roman Rustia. their respective shares shall pertain to their estates. Considering that Marciana Rustia vda. Guillermo Rustia’s estate (including its one-half share of Josefa Delgado’s estate) shall be inherited by Marciana Rustia vda. SO ORDERED.

(2) Aurea. What a person becomes in adulthood. 1983 Rafael Marquez. Sr. Thirty years later or in 1982. 47572. executed a Deed of Donation Inter Vivos[3] covering the land described in TCT No. JR.. vs. respondents. (3) Herminigildo. Jr. The facts of the instant case illustrates the inglorious and unedifying spectacle of a "family feud.[1] wherein they constructed their conjugal home. he invariably turns to his family for security. namely: (1) petitioner Rafael Jr. AUREA M. As a result of the donation. poetry and song. (8) Rafael. and RAFAEL F. MARQUEZ. In the family one imbibes desirable values and personality traits. 33350 was cancelled and TCT No. Thereafter.. MARQUEZ. petitioners herein. TCT No.[G. No matter how far one roams. MARQUEZ. MARQUEZ and BELEN F. It is thus heartrending to find members of the same family at odds with each other. MARQUEZ. on December 29. is attributed to the influence of the home and family during his formative years. the spouses Rafael Marquez. In 1952." all because of a property dispute. SALVADOR F. (9) Belen. to the exclusion of his other children. Jr. Rafael Marquez. 1998] RICARDO F. members of the family stand solid as Gibraltar. both private respondents herein. for good or ill. (5) Exequel. 47572 was cancelled and TCT No. (4) Filomena. 47572. Against the whole world. (11) Ricardo. Rizal. Felicidad Marquez died intestate. each playing one against the other. tradition and law enshrine the family as a basic social institution.: In our society.. and Felicidad Marquez begot twelve children. 33350 as well as the house constructed thereon to three of his children. CABEZAS. (2) Alfredo. approbation and love. executed an Affidavit of Adjudication vesting unto himself sole ownership to the property described in TCT No. (6) Salvador. Sr. more particularly described in TCT No. During their lifetime. (7) Guadencio. ANTONIO F. (10) Alfredo. Consequently. In prose. 33350[2] was issued in his name on June 16. COURT OF APPEALS. EXEQUIEL F. TCT No. it is lyrically extolled. 125715. DECISION ROMERO. namely: (1) Natividad. and (3) Belen. MARQUEZ. ALFREDO F. MARQUEZ. Sometime in 1945.R. . petitioners. J. No. 1982. 47572 was issued in private respondents name. the spouses acquired a parcel of land with a lot area of 161 square meters in San Juan Del Monte. and (12) Antonio. December 29.

. Private respondents.. filed a complaint on May 31. efforts to settle the dispute proved unavailing since private respondents ignored petitioners demands. the trial court on April 29. when appellees complaint was filed in court. 33350 and 46461 issued pursuant thereto. Sr. when petitioners learned about the existence of TCT No. record). since the same should have been filed within four years from the date of discovery of the alleged fraud. In their Answer. Such discovery is deemed to have taken place in the case at bar on June 16. Sr. In view of the private respondents' indifference. 1982. Sr. 157.[9] Forthwith. Therefore. private respondents were in actual possession of the land. On April 29. 47572 they immediately demanded that since they are also the children of Rafael Marquez. de Guzman. assert that by virtue of the fraudulent Affidavit of Adjudication and Deed of Donation.From 1983 to 1991. private respondents argued that petitioners action was already barred by the statute of limitations. a constructive trust was created. page 16.[8] Hence. Both the Affidavit of Adjudication and the Donation Inter Vivos did not produce any legal effect and did not confer any right whatsoever. thus:[7] In line with the decision of the Supreme Court in Gerona v. dissatisfied with the trial courts ruling. rendered its decision[6] in favor of the petitioners. are likewise null and void ab initio. in contending that the action had not yet prescribed. when TCT No. they maintain that an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten (10) years. However. is eight (8) years. 1991 for Reconveyance and Partition with Damages before the trial court[4] alleging that both the Affidavit of Adjudication and Deed of Donation Inter Vivos were fraudulent since the private respondents took advantage of the advanced age of their father in making him execute the said documents." Petitioners motion for reconsideration proved unavailing. wherein they were allegedly deprived of their just share over the parcel of land. 1996. eleven (11) months and fifteen (15) days. appellants action to annul the deed of self-adjudication is definitely barred by the statute of limitation. 33350 was issued in the name of Rafael Marquez. 1993. 11 SCRA 143. petitioners. 33350) was issued in the name of Rafael Marquez. the inexistence of these documents and certificates of title is permanent and cannot be the subject of prescription. 1991. they are now before this Court to raise the issue of whether their action for reconveyance had prescribed.[5] After due proceedings. the action therefor may be filed within four (4) years from the discovery of the fraud. Equally. now joined by Rafael Jr. Unfortunately. Considering that the period from June 16.. the said court reversed the trial courts finding. when the affidavit of self-adjudication was filed with the Register of Deeds and new certificate of title (No. Transfer Certificate of Title No. (Exhibits E and 5. in this wise: Prescription cannot set in because an action to set aside a document which is void ab initio does not prescribe.. they are entitled to their respective share over the land in question. to May 31. 1982. Petitioners. sought recourse before the Court of Appeals.

Since implied or constructive trust are obligations created by law. [12] Prescinding from the foregoing discussion. de Guzman. in 1982. 1982. then the prescriptive period to enforce the same prescribes in ten years. Marquez. as held by the Court of Appeals? In this regard. 1950. with the effectivity of the present Civil Code on August 30.. did the action for reconveyance filed by the petitioners prescribed. the provisions on prescriptive period are now governed by Articles 1139 to 1155. To bolster the foregoing position. succession to her estate is governed by the present Civil Code. They arise contrary to intention against one who.[19] . and managed to secure a transfer of certificate of title under his name. as expressly provided in Art. the prescriptive period shall start to run when TCT No. in equity and good conscience..[17] Cognizant of the fact that the disputed land was conjugal property of the spouses Rafael Sr. Rafael Marquez. 736. her compulsory heirs are her legitimate children. misrepresented in his unilateral affidavit that he was the only heir of his wife when in fact their children were still alive. Sr. Guardian and trustees cannot donate the property entrusted to them.It must be noted that Felicidad Marquez died in 1952. thus.[14] is misplaced. thus: Art. the next question is whether he can validly donate the other half of the property which he owns? Again.[10] As such. the Court of Appeal's reliance on Gerona v. or approximately nine years later. 736 of the Civil Code. obtains or holds the legal right to property which he ought not. and her spouse. validly donate this portion to the respondents? Obviously. nobody can dispose of that which does not belong to him. duress or abuse of confidence.[18] Be that as it may. Thus. However. Moreover. it is settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribed in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property.[15] we ruled that the doctrine laid down in the earlier Gerona case was based on the old Code of Civil Procedure[16] which provided that an action based on fraud prescribes within four years from the date of discovery. by fraud. when Rafael Marquez.[13] For the purpose of this case. Under Article 887 thereof. considering that the action for reconveyance was filed on May 31. Bagumbaran. petitioners and private respondent herein. ownership of the same is to be equally divided between both of them. 1991. In Amerol v. and Felicidad. a constructive trust under Article 1456 was established. Sr. for one reason or another. to hold. the query need not detain us at length for the Civil Code itself recognizes that one of the inherent rights of an owner is the right to dispose of his property. Prescinding therefrom. Sr. 33350 was issued which was on June 16. he cannot. decided to adjudicate the entire property by executing an Affidavit of Adjudication claiming that he is the only sole and surviving heir of his deceased wife Felicidad F. it is evident that prescription had not yet barred the action. can Rafael Marquez Sr. Rafael Marquez.[11] Constructive trusts are created in equity in order to prevent unjust enrichment. as trustee of his wifes share. Now.

[21] WHEREFORE. 41214 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Similarly. the judgment of the trial court in Civil Case No. SO ORDERED. we cannot grant their plea for moral damages and attorneys fees[20] since they have not satisfactorily shown that they have suffered mental anguish as provided in Article 2219 and Article 2290 of the Civil Code. the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the plea for attorneys fees must likewise be denied because no premium should be placed on the right to litigate.Whether this donation was inofficious or not is another matter. CV No.R. in view of the foregoing. . while we rule in favor of petitioners. 60887 is REINSTATED. No costs. which is not within the province of this Court to determine inasmuch as it necessitates the production of evidence not before it. Except as to the award of attorneys fees which is hereby DELETED. Finally.

TINGA. ATTY. 55330.. CV No....... 1991....... CARPIO... which affirmed the Order[3] dated September 29.. Rogelio P.. WERNER KARL JOHANN NITTSCHER (Deceased). M-2330 for the probate of a will.R.. and VELASCO.. DR. Dr. No.. The facts are as follows. NOGALES and THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI (Branch 59)... 2007 x.... 1990. Makati City.. JJ... November 20. G... 2003 and Resolution[2] dated October 21.. On September 19.. the probate court issued an order allowing the said holographic will... ROGELIO P. Nogales..: For review on certiorari are the Decision[1] dated July 31. in SP Proc....-x DECISION QUISUMBING... NITTSCHER. . CARPIO MORALES. Promulgated: Respondents. No..R. thus: ... JR.. Present: QUISUMBING.versus . after hearing and with due notice to the compulsory heirs. 1995 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Branch 59.... 160530 Petitioner. CYNTHIA V. J.. Werner Karl Johann Nittscher filed with the RTC of Makati City a petition for the probate of his holographic will and for the issuance of letters testamentary to herein respondent Atty. On January 31... J. Chairperson.. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.

Philippines. Atty.WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. BOTH THE CA AND THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING OUTRIGHT THE PETITION FOR LETTERS TESTAMENTARY FILED BY ATTY. is GRANTED. 1994. Nogales of the R. Nittscher. The petition for the issuance of Letters Testamentary. In the case at bar. Nogales filed a petition for letters testamentary for the administration of the estate of the deceased. However. without a bond.[4] On September 26. if he is competent. Hence. SO ORDERED. being in order. Dr. the foregoing considered. and proved in accordance with the provision of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court is hereby allowed. the court in its September 29. Werner J. accepts the trust and gives a bond as required by these rules. Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals alleging that respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary should have been dismissed outright as the RTC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter and that she was denied due process. Atty. the Holographic Will of the petitioner-testator Dr. Rogelio P.[6] Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the aforequoted decision was denied for lack of merit. As prayed for. Nogales Law Offices has been named executor under the Holographic Will of Dr. Nittscher. On May 9. thus: WHEREFORE. let Letters Testamentary be issued to Atty. provides when a will has been proved and allowed. OBVIOUSLY. the appeal is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed Order is AFFIRMED in toto. Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court. Nogales was issued letters testamentary and was sworn in as executor. petitioner Atty. Section 4. Nogales. 1995 Order denied petitioners motion to dismiss. IT . 1996. Werner J. the motion to dismiss is DENIED.P. SO ORDERED. but her motion was denied for lack of merit. NOGALES WHEN. Nittschers surviving spouse. the court shall issue letters testamentary thereon to the person named as executor therein. Nittscher executed pursuant to the provision of the second paragraph of Article 838 of the Civil Code of the Philippines on January 25. herein petitioner Cynthia V.[5] Petitioner moved for reconsideration. and granted respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary. the executor named in the Will. The court a quo is ordered to proceed with dispatch in the proceedings below. premises considered. Nittscher died. Dr. 1990 in Manila. to wit: In view of all the foregoing. the present petition anchored on the following grounds: I. The appellate court dismissed the appeal. moved for the dismissal of the said petition. Rogelio P. Hence.

THE CA ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE PETITIONER WAS NOT DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW BY THE LOWER COURT. If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death. the petition for the issuance of letters testamentary is not an initiatory pleading. in this case. Respondent points out that petitioner even appeared in court to oppose the petition for the issuance of letters testamentary and that she also filed a motion to dismiss the said petition. As to the first issue.[7] Petitioner contends that respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary lacked a certification against forum-shopping. Respondent maintains that the petition for the issuance of letters testamentary need not contain a certification against forum- shopping as it is merely a continuation of the original proceeding for the probate of the will. She adds that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case because Dr. THE CA ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT SUMMONS WERE PROPERLY ISSUED TO THE PARTIES AND ALL PERSONS INTERESTED IN THE PROBATE OF THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL OF DR. However. II. respondents failure to include a certification against forum-shopping in his petition for the issuance of letters testamentary is not a ground for outright dismissal of the said petition. Metro Manila.WAS FILED IN VIOLATION OF REVISED CIRCULAR NO. Where estate of deceased persons settled. his will shall be proved. neither did he leave real properties in the country. Anent the second issue. Nittscher was allegedly not a resident of the Philippines. 28-91[8] and Administrative Circular No. Revised Circular No. He stresses that petitioner was duly notified of the probate proceedings. Hence. but a mere continuation of the original petition for the probate of Dr. She insists she was denied due process of law because she did not receive by personal service the notices of the proceedings. 04- 94[9] of the Court require a certification against forum-shopping for all initiatory pleadings filed in court. counters that Dr. Rule 73 of the Rules of Court provides: SECTION 1. 28-91 AND ADMINISTRATIVE CIRCULAR NO. Petitioner claims that the properties listed for disposition in her husbands will actually belong to her. THE CA ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE LOWER COURT [HAS] NO JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE PRESENT SUIT. III. Nogales. however. whether a citizen or an alien. IV. We resolve to deny the petition. or letters of administration granted. in the Court of First . and his estate settled. Nittschers will. 04-94 OF THIS HONORABLE COURT. Section 1. NITTSCHER. Respondent Atty. Nittscher did reside and own real properties in Las Pias.

Unless there is a showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are glaringly erroneous. Metro Manila. Dr. 55330. Metro Manila at the time of his death. Petitioner even appeared in court to oppose respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary and she also filed a motion to dismiss the said petition.[12] Thus. petitioners allegation that she was denied due process in the probate proceedings is without basis. applying the aforequoted rule. Time and again we have said that reviews on certiorari are limited to errors of law. notice shall be sent only to his compulsory heirs. No pronouncement as to costs. records show that petitioner. which affirmed the Order dated September 29. with whom Dr. we note that Dr. WHEREFORE. and Dr.[11] The authority of the probate court is limited to ascertaining whether the testator. Nittscher had no child. petitioner should realize that the allowance of her husbands will is conclusive only as to its due execution. this Court will not analyze or weigh evidence all over again. Section 4. 2003 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. (Emphasis supplied. She likewise filed a motion for reconsideration of the issuance of the letters testamentary and of the denial of her motion to dismiss. devisees. Nittscher was a resident of Las Pias. Nittscher asked for the allowance of his own will. in SP Proc. 4. the petition for the probate of his will and for the issuance of letters testamentary to respondent. which then covered Las Pias. In this connection. 2003 and Resolution dated October 21. No. Makati City. should no longer be disturbed. which we find supported by evidence on record. petitioners claim of title to the properties forming part of her husbands estate should be settled in an ordinary action before the regular courts. We are convinced petitioner was accorded every opportunity to defend her cause. by registered mail. the RTC and the Court of Appeals are one in their finding that Dr. .Instance (now Regional Trial Court) in the province in which he resides at the time of his death. and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. The assailed Decision dated July 31. Branch 59. and executors to be notified by mail or personally. Therefore. legatees. If the testator asks for the allowance of his own will. Regarding the third and fourth issues. Rule 76 of the Rules of Court states: SEC. the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of any province in which he had estate. Nittscher correctly filed in the RTC of Makati City. Such factual finding. As a final word. of the probate proceedings. M-2330 are AFFIRMED.R. SO ORDERED. In this case. freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. CV No. Nittschers children from his previous marriage were all duly notified. being of sound mind.[10] Hence. Heirs.) In this case. 1995 of the Regional Trial Court. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

. instituted intestate proceedings with the Court of First Instance-Branch XI. petitioners. I do not consider Nonoy as my adopted son. HON. On July 25. as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal and BERNARDO S. PRONOVE. No. Q- 23304. No. presided by respondent Judge. Hon. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. MANINANG. 1977.. Clemencia Aseneta. 1977. as the adopted son. and Bernardo S. Maninang and her husband Pamping have been kind to me. Respondent Bernardo then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Testate Case on the ground that the holographic will was null and void because he. petitioner Soledad Maninang filed a Petition for probate of the Will of the decedent with the Court of First Instance-Branch IV. hereinafter referred to as the Testate Case). Ricardo Pronove. J. Soledad L. 1981 of respondent Appellate Court in CA- G. Aseneta". called hereinafter the Intestate Case" for brevity). No. Proc. RICARDO L. single. vs.R.R. respondents. Quezon City (Sp. herein respondent Bernardo Aseneta. who. Albay and Legaspi City and all my personal properties shagllbe inherited upon my death by Dra. . Rizal (Sp. 8569. On December 23. Pasig. I am not incompetent as Nonoy would like me to appear. Maninang and Soledad L. . He has made me do things against my will. I have found peace and happiness with them even during the time when my sisters were still alive and especially now when I am now being troubled by my nephew Bernardo and niece Salvacion. COURT OF APPEALS. MELENCIO-HERRERA.: A Petition to Review the Decision of April 28. 1977. Pertinent to the controversy are the following antecedental facts: On May 21. Branch XI. died at the Manila Sanitarium Hospital at age 81. claims to be the sole heir of decedent Clemencia Aseneta. I know what is right and wrong. MANINANG and SOLEDAD L.. Maninang with whose family I have lived continuously for around the last 30 years now. Maninang vs. She left a holographic will. Pasig. No. the Testate and Intestate Cases were ordered consolidated before Branch XI. as the only compulsory heir. 1982 RAFAEL E.G. ASENETA. JR. I can decide for myself. 12032-R entitled "Rafael E. Proc. 1977. Quezon City. Dra. L-57848 June 19. Makati. xxx xxx xxx On June 9. the pertinent portions of which are quoted hereunder: xxx xxx xxx It is my will that all my real properties located in Manila.

1980. On December 19. therefore. the petition for probate of will filed by Soledad L. the right of a person to dispose of his property by Will may be rendered nugatory. Maninang and which was docketed as Sp. 4 The law enjoins the probate of the Will and public policy requires it. Aseneta which the Court finds meritorious. the lower Court denied reconsideration for lack of merit and in the same Order appointed Bernardo as the administrator of the intestate estate of the deceased Clemencia Aseneta "considering that he is a forced heir of said deceased while oppositor Soledad Maninang is not. 2 On September 8.. Continuing. Akutin (72 Phil. therefore. 5 Normally. and considering further that Bernardo Aseneta has not been shown to be unfit to perform the duties of the trust. and Ramos vs. the Court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of and resolution on the extrinsic validity of the will. 1980. No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court. respondent Bernardo cited the cases of Neri vs. without pronouncement as to costs. 2nd. the lower Court ordered the dismissal of the Testate Case in this wise: For reasons stated in the motion to dismiss filed by petitioner Bernardo S. it said that even granting that the lower Court committed errors in issuing the questioned Orders. Proc. appeal was the proper remedy. It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency (sic) of the provisions. Nuguid vs. those are errors of judgment reviewable only by appeal and not by Certiorari. We find that the Court a quo a quo acted in excess of its jurisdiction when it dismissed the Testate Case. Q-23304 is DISMISSED. . the probate of a Will is mandatory. The authentication of a will decides no other question than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of wills. 1 In her Opposition to said Motion to Dismiss. because unless the Will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole world. 1981.. petitioner Soledad averred that it is still the rule that in a case for probate of a Will. 'Thus.was preterited and. this Petition before us. On April 28. 322). the probate of a Will does not look into its intrinsic validity. In support of said Motion to Dismiss. which petitioners failed to avail of. these may be impugned as . No. and that respondent Bernardo was effectively disinherited by the decedent. " Petitioners Maninang resorted to a certiorari Petition before respondent Court of Appeals alleging that the lower Court exceeded its jurisdiction in issuing the Orders of dismissal of the Testate Case (September 8. respondent Court 3 denied certiorari and ruled that the trial Judge's Order of dismissal was final in nature as it finally disposed of the Testate Case and. Generally. 878). Baldovino (2 CA Rep. intestacy should ensue. 1980) and denial of reconsideration (December 19. 1980). Nuguid (17 SCRA 449).

" (Justice J. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. the Court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of. the due execution thereof. in fact. either because they are not mentioned therein. citing cases) Disinheritance is always "voluntary". and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated .C...L. "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heirs of his share in the legitimate for a cause authorized by law. they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited.. Reyes and R. However. private respondent had been preterited or disinherited. Hon. though mentioned. this Court ruled that the Will was intrinsically invalid as it completely preterited the parents of the testator. whether it was a valid disinheritance. the extrinsic validity of the will. Nuguid 8. reading: In a proceeding for the probate of a will. p. notwithstanding its authentication. the parties in that case "shunted aside the question of whether or not the Will should be allowed probate. III. the court should meet the issue. The probate of a will might become an Idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void. 325). Akutin. for the parties in the Nuguid case. 6 Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will cannot be entertained in Probate proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance with the requirements of the law. "An Outline of Philippine Civil Law". The que0stions relating to these points remain entirely unaffected. in the Nuguid case. even before it is probated. In the instant case. where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon.B. The intrinsic validity of the Wills in those cases was passed upon even before probate because "practical considerations" so demanded. Moreover." (Neri vs. Martinez 9 had a similar thrust: The trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been established. and if the latter.. Where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon. or. 8. The Nuguid and the Balanay cases provide the exception rather than the rule. is . in turn. relies on the pronouncement in Nuguid vs. 7 Respondent Bernardo. . the "meat of the controversy" was the intrinsic validity of the Will. Disinheritance. and resolution on. Puno. however. the testatrix's testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law.. preterition upon the other hand.being vicious or null.. 1956 ed. even before it is probated. 72 Phil. a crucial issue that calls for resolution is whether under the terms of the decedent's Will. the Court should meet that issue. Moreover. Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them. (Emphasis supplied) Our ruling in Balanay vs." Not so in the case before us now where the probate of the Will is insisted on by petitioners and a resolution on the extrinsic validity of the Will demanded. Vol. Preterition and disinheritance are two diverse concepts.

11 By virtue of the dismissal of the Testate Case. that conclusion is not indubitable. Pretention under Article 854 of the New Civil Code shall annul the institution of heir.. Special Proceeding No. Rizal. therein to be reinstated and consolidated with Special Proceeding No.. . . the Decision in question is set aside and the Orders of the Court of First Instance-Branch XI. As held in the case of Vda. a petition for certiorari may be entertained. 10 The effects of preterition and disinheritance are also totally different. This annulment is in toto.. 8569 for further proceedings. Narciso 12 . Q-23304 is hereby remanded to said Court of First Instance-Branch XI. WHEREFORE. Better stated yet. Rizal. Volume 2. we harken to the rule that in the broader interests of justice. certiorari is a proper remedy. 1131). which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition (III Tolentino. dated September 8. The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code. it is as important a matter of public interest that a purported will is not denied legalization on dubious grounds. We gather from the assailed Order of the trial Court that its conclusion was that respondent Bernardo has been preterited We are of opinion.. are nullified. Coming now to the procedural aspect. such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs".. but only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited"..o p. Civil Code of the Philippines. 1961 Edition. No pronouncement as to costs. An act done by a Probate Court in excess of its jurisdiction may be corrected by Certiorari. testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. the very institution of testamentary succession will be shaken to its foundation. Estudios de Derecho Civil 2nd edition. Otherwise. unless in the wail there are. . 1980 and December 19. 172). that from the face of the Will. p. SO ORDERED. in addition. particularly where appeal would not afford speedy and adequate relief. the determination of that controversial issue has not been thoroughly considered. suffice it to state that in view of our finding that respondent Judge had acted in excess of his jurisdiction in dismissing the Testate Case.presumed to be "involuntary" (Sanchez Roman. in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived. 1980. 13 And even assuming the existence of the remedy of appeal. however. de Precilla vs.

PROSPERO ALUAD. 674. J. Respondent. Matilde executed a document entitled Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter Vivos[2] (Deed of Donation) in favor of petitioners mother .R.[1] On November 14. 176943 DIVINA ALUAD. No. J. and BRION. Present: QUISUMBING. CARPIO MORALES. ZENAIDO ALUAD. 676. Capiz. Maria Aluad (Maria). 675. and CONNIE ALUAD. Crispin was the owner of six lots identified as Lot Nos. LEONORA ALUAD. JR. Petitioners.DANILO ALUAD. JJ. Promulgated: October 17. and respondent Zenaido Aluad were raised by the childless spouses Matilde Aluad (Matilde) and Crispin Aluad (Crispin). G. 680. Chairperson. 677.: Petitioners mother. TINGA. After Crispin died. his wife Matilde adjudicated the lots to herself. . VELASCO. 1981.. 2008 x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION CARPIO MORALES.. and 682 of the Pilar Cadastre.versus .

Provided. On August 26. 677. to become effective upon the death of the DONOR. 675. however. by these presents. plaintiff[s] possessed the two (2) parcels of land above-described until January 1991 when defendant entered and possessed the two (2) parcels of land claiming as the adopted son of Crispin Aluad who refused to give back possession until Matilde Aluad died in [1994] and then retained the possession thereof up to and until the present time. 674 to respondent. 1992.[4] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) On September 30. the plaintiffs succeeded by inheritance by right of representation from their deceased mother. and her remaining properties including Lot No. Maria Aluad who is the sole and only daughter of Matilde Aluad[. alleging: That in 1978. for and in consideration of the love and affection of the DONOR [Matilde] for the DONEE [Maria]. 1994. 1995. unto the DONEE the property above-described.[11] (Underscoring supplied) Petitioners later filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint Already Filed to Conform to Evidence[12] to which it annexed an Amended Complaint[13] which cited the donation of the six lots via Deed of Donation in favor of their mother Maria. 1991.[14] . These two lots are in his possession as true owners thereof.[8] for declaration and recovery of ownership and possession of Lot Nos. the latter being adopted and hav[ing] been brought up by the former the DONOR. 682. 676 to respondent by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property.][9] To the complaint respondent alleged in his Answer. that anytime during the lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them who should survive. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect. transfer and convey. but in the event that the DONEE should die before the DONOR. and 680 to Maria.[5] Subsequently or on January 14. and damages against respondent. 674 and 676. BY WAY OF DONATION. depriving the plaintiffs of the enjoyment of said parcels of land x x x. The Deed of Donation provided: That. Matilde executed a last will and testament. That after the death of Matilde R. 674 and 676 were issued in Matildes name. Matilde died on January 25. they could use[. [7] On August 21. Matilde sold Lot No. thus. 1986.] encumber or even dispose of any or even all of the parcels of land herein donated. Aluad. Marias heirs-herein petitioners filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Roxas City a Complaint. while Maria died on September 24 of the same year.Maria[3] covering all the six lots which Matilde inherited from her husband Crispin. [6] devising Lot Nos. Branch 15 of the RTC granted the motion and admitted the Amended Complaint.[10] That Lot 674 is owned by the defendant as this lot was adjudicated to him in the Last Will and Testament of Matilde Aluad x x x while Lot 676 was purchased by him from Matilde Aluad. Original Certificates of Title over Lot Nos.

2. and as such it had to. in view of the foregoing.[20] Possession of the subject lots appears to have in fact been taken by petitioners. Twenty thousand pesos (P20. 674.000. notinter vivos. Declaring the plaintiffs as the rightful owners of the subject Lots Nos. 2006. the trial court directed the issuance of a writ of execution pending appeal. a year from 1991 up to the time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs. the same was already revoked by Matilde when [she] exercised all acts of dominion over said properties until she sold Lot 676 to defendant and until her death with respect to the other lots without any opposition from Maria Aluad. Defendants counterclaim is ordered dismissed for lack of merit. Thirty thousand pesos (P30. representing the income from the subject Lot No.000. comply with the formalities of a will. by Decision[18] of September 20. 674 and 676.00). Ten thousand pesos (P10. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs: a. it holding that the Deed of Donation was actually a donation mortis causa.000. 674 and 676 to respondent. plus legal interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid. a year from 1991 up to the time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs. and d. that the Deed of Donation is forged and falsified and petitioners change of theory showed that said document was not existing at the time they filed their complaint and was concocted by them after realizing that their false claim that their mother was the only daughter of Matild[e] Aluad cannot in anyway be established by them. b. 1996. but did not.00) as attorneys fees. Pilar Cadastre. Thus it disposed: WHEREFORE. she having previously alienated them to Maria via the Deed of Donation. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. SO ORDERED. the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision.[16] and that if ever said document does exist. held that Matilde could not have transmitted any right over Lot Nos. inter alia. it found that the Deed of Donation was witnessed by only two witnesses and had no attestation clause which is not in accordance with Article 805 of the Civil Code.[17] The trial court. other than a holographic will. Ordering the defendant to deliver the possession of the subject lots to the plaintiffs. must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testators name written by some other person . The costs of the suit. 805. 3.[19] On petitioners motion. representing the income from subject Lot 676. reading: Art. c. Thus. Every will.00).Respondent filed an Amended Answer[15] contending. By Decision[21] of August 10. together with the interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid.

SO ORDERED. While the appellate court declared respondent as the rightful owner of Lot No. and damages is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.00 to defendant-appellant as attorneys fees and litigation expenses.000. it did not so declare with respect to Lot No. The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. Accordingly. as Matildes last will and testament had not yet been probated. as aforesaid. plaintiffs-appellees are directed to return the possession of the said lot to the defendant-appellant. dated 20 September 1996. 676. and the fact that that testator signed the will and every page thereof. and of one another. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will shall. in Civil Case No. Thus the Court of Appeals disposed: WHEREFORE. Branch 15. V-6686 for declaration of ownership. 676 AS LOT BUYER ON THE BASIS OF A DEED OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE DONOR WHO HAD NO MORE RIGHT TO SELL THE SAME. Costs against plaintiffs-appellees. Moreover. recovery of ownership and possession. except the last on the left margin and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page. finding the instant petition worthy of merit. Branch 15. and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another. also sign. Roxas City) HOLDING THAT THE DEED OF DONATION INTER VIVOS IN FAVOR OF PETITIONERS MOTHER IS IN FACT A DONATION MORTIS CAUSA. If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses. in the presence of the instrumental witnesses.in his presence. 674. under his express direction. and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator. or caused some other person to write his name. plaintiffs-appellees are ordered to pay P40. II X X X WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT IS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO.] 676 of the Pilar Cadastre. A new one is entered in its stead declaring defendant-appellant as the lawful owner of Lot [No. underscoring supplied) Their Motion for Reconsideration[23] having been denied. . and by his express direction.[22] (Emphasis in the original.[25] contending that the Court of Appeals erred I X X X WHEN IT REVERSED THE DECISION OF THE COURT BELOW (RTC. each and every page thereof. it shall be interpreted to them.[24] petitioners filed the present Petition for Review. the same is hereby GRANTED and the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Roxas City.

IV X X X WHEN IT HELD THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL IS IN VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH (a) SECTION 2.III X X X WHEN IT FAILED TO DECLARE PETITIONERS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO. reasoned: . For the Deed of Donation clearly stated that it would take effect upon the death of the donor. 674 AFTER HAVING RULED WHEN IT HELD THAT RESPONDENT CANNOT BE DECLARED OWNER THEREOF.[26] As did the appellate court.[28] The statement in the Deed of Donation reading anytime during the lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them who should survive. the transfer should be revocable by the transferor at will. it having the following characteristics: (1) It conveys no title or ownership to the transferee before the death of the transferor. that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or naked) and control of the property while alive. ad nutum. For the right to dispose of a thing without other limitations than those established by law is an attribute of ownership. [27] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The phrase in the earlier-quoted Deed of Donation to become effective upon the death of the DONOR admits of no other interpretation than to mean that Matilde did not intend to transfer the ownership of the six lots to petitioners mother during her (Matildes) lifetime. because she was the only surviving spouse at the time the donation was executed on 14 November 1981. hence. (2) That before the death of the transferor. encumber or even dispose of any or even all the parcels of land herein donated[29] means that Matilde retained ownership of the lots and reserved in her the right to dispose them. but revocability may be provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties conveyed. in holding that the donation was inter vivos. they could use. RULE 39. the Court finds the donation to petitioners mother one of mortis causa. thus: x x x [I]t is well to point out that the last provision (sentence) in the disputed paragraph should only refer to Matilde Aluad.[30] The phrase in the Deed of Donation or anyone of them who should survive is of course out of sync. the donor. OF THE RULES OF COURT (AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO RETURN POSSESSION OF LOT 676 TO RESPONDENT) AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO PAY ATTORNEYS FEES AND COST[S] OF SUIT. Petitioners themselves concede that such phrase does not refer to the donee. or what amounts to the same thing. and (3) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should survive the transferee. said phrase could only have referred to the donor Matilde.[31] The trial court. as her husband Crispin Aluad [] had long been dead as early as 1975.

and applied for free patents for which OCTs were issued under her name. thus: x x x [P]etitioners contend that the stipulation on rescission in case petitioners [donee] die ahead of [donor] Cabatingan is a resolutory condition that confirms the nature of the donation as inter vivos. one of the decisive characteristics of a donation mortis causa is that the transfer should be considered void if the donor should survive the donee. the same became effective immediately and shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect upon the arrival of a resolutory term or period. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect.[34] (Underscoring supplied) As the Court of Appeals observed.e. certainly what donation is there to be rescinded and rendered of no further force and effect upon the arrival of said resolutory term or period if there was no donation which was already effective at the time when the donee died?[32] (Underscoring supplied) A similar ratio in a case had been brushed aside by this Court. Mosqueda. When the donor provides that should the DONEE xxx die before the DONOR.. the death of the donee which shall occur before that of the donor.[33] xxxx x x x The herein subject deeds expressly provide that the donation shall be rescinded in case [donees] the petitioners predecease [the donor] Conchita Cabatingan. she would not have expressed such proviso in the subject deeds. and not by reason of her death. Understandably. i. the formalities of a will should have been observed[36] but they were not. however. This is exactly what Cabatingan provided for in her donations.[37] Further. So the Court has emphasized: x x x Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that the instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will from the requisite that the will be attested and . appropriated the produce. the arrival of this resolutory term or period cannot rescind and render of no further force and effect a donation which has never become effective.[35] The donation being then mortis causa. because. not three or more witnesses following Article 805 of the Civil Code. but in the event that the DONEE should die before the DONOR. If she really intended that the donation should take effect during her lifetime and that the ownership of the properties donated to the donee or independently of. x x x The donation in question is subject to a resolutory term or period when the donor provides in the aforequoted provisions. Petitioners arguments are bereft of merit. x x x [t]hat the donation is mortis causa is fortified by Matildes acts of possession as she continued to pay the taxes for the said properties which remained under her name. the witnesses did not even sign the attestation clause[38] the execution of which clause is a requirement separate from the subscription of the will and the affixing of signatures on the left-hand margins of the pages of the will. As stated in Reyes v. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect the logical construction thereof is that after the execution of the subject donation. as it was witnessed by only two.

hence. however. as already discussed. as mentioned earlier. An unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested will. Petitioners nevertheless argue that assuming that the donation of Lot No. open. 674 to respondent by her last will and testament. and not the testator.[39] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Furthermore. one of mortis causa.[42] Matilde thus validly disposed of Lot No. The requirement that all the pages of the will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page was not also followed.[43] Petitioners failed to raise the issue of acquisitive prescription before the lower courts. theories. subject of course to the qualification that her (Matildes) will must be probated. More. it is void and transmitted no right to petitioners mother. Even if the instrumental witnesses signed the left-hand margin of the page containing the unsigned attestation clause.subscribed by [the instrumental witnesses]. the attestation clause is separate and apart from the disposition of the will. [40] which is not in accordance with the requirement of Article 806 of the Civil Code that every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. adverse. With respect to Lot No. since the signatures that do appear on the page were directed towards a wholly different avowal. The signatures on the left-hand corner of every page signify. the same had. among others. Indeed.[41] The Deed of Donation which is. such signatures cannot demonstrate these witnesses undertakings in the clause. On the other hand. points of law. The only proof in the will that the witnesses have stated these elemental facts would be their signatures on the attestation clause. 674 and 676 was transmitted to Maria. who are required under Article 805 to state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. not having followed the formalities of a will.As a general rule. The respective intents behind these two classes of signature[s] are distinct from each other. the lot should nevertheless have been awarded to them because they had acquired it by acquisitive prescription. 676. since it was not probated.[44] For a contrary rule would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to present further evidence . and that they witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. 1991. the witnesses did not acknowledge the will before the notary public. But even assuming arguendo that the formalities were observed. and public possession of it in good faith and in the concept of an owner since 1978. that the witnesses are aware that the page they are signing forms part of the will. been sold by Matilde to respondent on August 26. x x x It is the witnesses. the signatures to the attestation clause establish that the witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the attestation clause itself. they having laid their claim on the basis of inheritance from their mother. 674 in favor of their mother is indeed mortis causa. Matilde could devise it to respondent. the fact that the testator had signed the will and every page thereof. uninterrupted. and issues not brought to the attention of the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. no right to Lot Nos. they having been in continuous.

UNTALAN. . ROMULO P. to the exclusion and prejudice of his brother. 1966.: This petition seeks the nullification of the Order of respondent Judge Romulo P. 1 dated July 16. petitioner. through Judge Perfecto Quicho. vs. This motion was denied. excluding from the probate proceedings sixty-three parcels of land. No. respondents. SARMIENTO.material to the new theory. 564. leaving nothing to his other son. Ruben R. 564). The petition's beginnings are traced to January 27. 1989 PABLO RALLA. In the same year. a widower. HON. upon his death during the pendency of this petition. (The latter court agreed with the lower court's conclusion that. the petitioner reiterated his lack of interest in the probate of the subject will. Basa for respondents. 2 denying the petitioner's motions for reconsideration of the same Order of Judge Untalan dated July 16. 1981. Paz Escarella. Untalan. which it could have done had it been aware of it at the time of the hearing before the trial court.R. when Rosendo Ralla. Rosendo Ralla. Nos. J. DOMINGO CORONEL REYES. as well as the Orders issued by respondent Judge Domingo Coronel Reyes. the petitioner stood to gain if the testate proceedings were to be dismissed because then he would not be compelled to submit for inclusion in the inventory of the estate of Rosendo Ralla 149 parcels of land from which he alone had been collecting rentals and receiving income. the petition is DENIED. 2023. HON. indeed. L-26253). and the denial was denied by the Court of Appeals.R. AND LEONIE RALLA. who was being deprived of his successional rights over the said properties.) The denial of this motion to dismiss was likewise affirmed by this Court (in G. PETER RALLA AND MARINELLA RALLA. this was docketed as Civil Case No. Rafael Triunfante for the Heirs of Pablo Ralla. 3 On the scheduled hearing on November 3. G. In the course of the hearing of the probate case (Special Proceedings No. filed a petition for the probate of his own will in the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Albay. for its probate would no longer be beneficial and advantageous to him. Pablo Ralla filed a motion to dismiss the petition for probate on the ground that he was no longer interested in the allowance of the will of his late father. SO ORDERED. which was docketed as Special Proceedings No.1981. L-63253-54 April 27. Pablo (the petitioner herein who. Pedro Ralla. Consequently. was substituted by his heirs). Pedro. In his will he left his entire estate to his son.[45] WHEREFORE. Pedro Ralla filed an action for the partition of the estate of their mother. and thereupon converted the testate proceedings into one of intestacy. 1959. declared Pedro and Pablo Ralla the only heirs of Rosendo Ralla who should share equally upon the division of the latter's estate. the court.

however. son-in-law of the petitioner. 1979. the private respondents filed a "Petition To Submit Anew For Consideration Of The Court The Exclusion Of 67 (sic) Parcels of Land Subject Of The Project Of Partition In Civil Case No. 1981.000. 1106. the heirs of Pedro Ralla (the private respondents herein) moved to exclude from the estate of Rosendo Ralla the aforesaid parcels of land. thereafter. Likewise. therefore. brother-in. In an Omnibus order dated August 3. apparently forming the estate of their deceased mother. 1967.1967 by Judge Ezekiel Grageda. they entered into a project of partition whereby sixty- three parcels of land. However." 5 In his Order of July 16. he filed a "Motion to Intervene as Petitioner for the Probate of the Will. over and above the objection of the heirs of Pedro Ralla. likewise from the administration of Special Administrator Teodorico Almine. 564 and Special Proceedings No. 1978.Meanwhile. or on June 11. Eleven years later. On December 18. Teodorico Almine. the petition for probate was granted. 4 respondent Judge Romulo P. which were ordered consolidated by this Court) should proceed as probate proceedings.law of the petitioner (Pablo) filed a petition. for the probate of the same will of Rosendo Ralla on the ground that the decedent owed him P5. a second motion for reconsideration was filed. that the sixty-three parcels of land should be included in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Rosendo Ralla and that said proceedings (both Special Proceedings No. Still. the same. This project of partition was approved on December 19. Teodorico Almine also took possession of the sixty-three parcels of land covered by the project of partition mentioned earlier. 1 1 06 were apparently transferred.1981. The first argument is stated as follows: . be respected and upheld. Joaquin Chancoco.00. to wit: Premises considered. 2023. Order is hereby issued reconsidering the Omnibus Order of this Court dated August 3. The Project of Partition should. 2023). Judge Untalan reconsidered his earlier Order. or on February 28. Hence. inter alia. 1106. 6 Thereafter. were amicably divided between the two of them. 8 In assailing the aforesaid Order of July 16. Jr. 564 and No. the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the foregoing order but the same was denied 7 by respondent Judge Domingo Coronel Reyes. SO ORDERED. more particularly paragraph 3 of the dispositive portion thereof. About two years later. the sixty-three (63) parcels referred to therein should be excluded from the probate proceedings and. to whose sala Special Proceedings No. Pablo Ralla then filed a manifestation stating that he had no objections to the probate. Consequently. 1981. was also denied. docketed as Special Proceedings No.1979. the following arguments are raised in the present special civil action for certiorari. the brothers agreed to compromise in the partition case (Civil Case No. Untalan ruled. Paz Escarella. in taking possession of the properties belonging to the estate of Rosendo Ralla." This motion was heard ex parte and granted despite the written opposition of the heirs of Pedro Ralla. was appointed special administrator.

for purposes of these proceedings. 1979 Order would reveal that the same resolved a number of divergent issues (ten as enumerated) 11 springing from four separate special proceedings. it is alleged that by flip-flopping. is a NULLITY. the special proceedings for the probate of the will of Rosendo Ralla... Judge Untalan committed a grave abuse of discretion. of course. 1979. 74 Phil. each involving the estate of a different person (Paz Escarella and Rosendo Ralla.. This. Two closely related orders are the following quoted portions of the said August 3. Thus the rule invoked is inapplicable in this instance where there are two separate cases (Civil Case No. Thus. Reports. by petitioner intervenor Pablo Ralla thru counsel in Special Proceeding 1106 and the motion for exclusion filed by the heirs of Pedro Ralla thru counsel in Special Proceedings 564 and 1106 are hereby Denied. 2 as well as the 63 lots also mentioned therein all of which may be summed up to 212 parcels. conveyed. An examination of the August 3. a distinction must be made between those directives that partake of final orders and the other directives that are in the nature of inter-locutory orders. and Special Proceedings No. there can be no valid partition among the heirs till after the Will had been probated. except those already validly disposed. 1979 mentioned earlier could no longer be validly reversed by the court two years after it was issued. there are at least nine 13 specific directives contained therein. at least provisionally. (Emphasis supplied.12 all of which were pending in Branch I of the then Court of First Instance of Albay. Vol. 9 The above argument is obviously flawed and misleading for the simple reason that the aforementioned partition was made in the civil case for partition of the estate of Paz Escarella. 564 originally for the probate of a will). presupposes that the properties to be partitioned are the same properties embraced in the win. Guevara. 14 xxx xxx xxx . Rosario Guevara et al. and before said Will was probated.. or transferred to third persons. accordingly. However.. vs. which is distinct from. the rule is that there can be no valid partition among the heirs till after the will has been probated. Hence. The extrajudicial partition of the 63 parcels made after the filing of the petition for the probate of the Will. considering that as already decided by this Court in the case of Ernesto M. 1979 Order of respondent Judge Untalan: xxx xxx xxx 2. should be submitted. to the probate or testate proceedings.. is hereby stripped of its judicial recognition. 2023 for partition. . The 149 parcels referred to in our elucidation on issue No. 10 the petitioner claims that the Order of August 3. The Project of partition. the Motion to exclusion the 149 parcels filed on June 2. respectively) comprising dissimilar properties.) 3. Verily. and independent of. In his second and third arguments.

Consider the following undisputed facts: the properties involved in the present petition were the subject of the project of partition signed by both the petitioner. 1981. the lower court approved the said project of partition on December 19.) Based on the foregoing pronouncements. In fine. consequently. it attained finality. which reversed the aforementioned interlocutory order and upheld the project of partition. 1967. There is. the late Paz Escarella. are. Furthermore. and Pedro Ralla in Civil Case No. 2023 is valid and binding upon the petitioner and Pedro Ralla. there was no appeal made from this decision within the reglementary period to do so. the Order of August 3. 1979 setting aside the project of Partition was clearly erroneous. 2023. the partition barred any further litigation on said title and operated to bring the property under the control and jurisdiction of the court for proper disposition according to the tenor of the partition . the partition in Civil Case No. 17 Likewise: Where a piece of land has been included in a partition. It is elementary that interlocutory orders. They are duty bound to respect the division agreed upon by them and embodied in the document of partition. subsequently. respondent Judge Untalan issued the questioned Order of July 16. a more important reason why we do not find any grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of the questioned Order dated July 16. 18 (Emphasis supplied. Pablo Ralla. especially as this was accompanied by delivery of possession to them of their respective shares in the inheritance from their mother. as well as upon their heirs.1981. in issuing the questioned Order dated July 16. the Court had occasion to rule that Where a partition had not only been approved and thus become a judgment of the court. at any time.As regards the abovequoted paragraph 2. Realizing this and the fact that it was not yet too late for him to correct his mistake. and the heirs had received the property assigned to them. . subject to such corrections or amendments as the court may deem proper. as they are trying to do in this case. but distribution of the estate in pursuance of such partition had fully been carried out. Thus. respondent Judge Untalan acted well within his jurisdiction and without grave abuse of discretion.15 The foregoing order of inclusion of the subject parcels of land was a mere incident that arose in the settlement of the estate of Rosendo Ralla. . and there is no allegation that the inclusion was effected through improper means or without the petitioners' knowledge. this Court finds that the same is interlocutory in character because it did not decide the action with finality and left substantial proceedings still to be had. Pablo and Pedro Ralla jointly manifested that they had already received "the ownership and possession of the respective parcels of land adjudicated to them in the said project of partition. however. they are precluded from subsequently attacking its validity or any part of it." 16 and upon their motion Judge Ezekiel Grageda declared the partition case closed and terminated in its Order of December 29. 1967. .1981. They can not attack the partition collaterally. prior to the rendition of the final judgment.

L-5618 and L-5620 (unpublished). The petition was set for hearing. No. It appears from the record that on January 19. Eusebio Reyes and Luisa Reyes and one month later. R. vs. L-23662 October 12. EUSEBIO REYES and LUISA REYES. respondent. all surnamed Reyes. LEONOR REYES and PACIENCIA REYES. 831 of said Court. but deferred resolution . admitting to probate the alleged last will and testament of the deceased. and in due time. but which conveyances were finally set aside by this Supreme Court in a decision promulgated on August 3. C. Costs against the petitioner. ---------------------------------------- G. in Special Proceeding No. 1930. Antonio Barredo and Exequiel M. Cesar.: The heirs intestate of the late Benedicta de los Reyes have petitioned for a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals (in CA-G. REYES. The will instituted the petitioner as the sole heir of the estate of the deceased. all claiming to be heirs intestate of the decedent. No.L. the petition is hereby DISMISSED. No. 1955. After trial on the formulated issues. Nos. by decision of June 20. J. Jose D. petitioners. ISMAELA DIMAGIBA. in cases G. Grounds advanced for the opposition were forgery. now respondent. submitted to the Court of First Instance a petition for the probate of the purported will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes. and annexed to the petition. filed oppositions to the probate asked. Dionisio Fernandez. Leonor and Paciencia. ISMAELA DIMAGIBA.R..Thus. the Court of First Instance. Actg. petitioners. and overruling the opposition to the probate.J. estoppel by laches of the proponent and revocation of the will by two deeds of conveyance of the major portion of the estate made by the testatrix in favor of the proponent in 1943 and 1944.B. respondent. vices of consent of the testatrix. 1954. 1967 DIONISIO FERNANDEZ. G. Zaballero for respondent. Mariano. found that the will was genuine and properly executed. Villena for petitioners. CESAR REYES. vs. the petitioner could no longer question the exclusion of the lands subject of the partition from the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Rosendo Ralla. Could it be that the petitioner's keen interest in including these lands in the estate proceedings is directly related to the fact that his son-in-law is the administrator of the said estate of Rosendo Ralla? WHEREFORE. L-23638 October 12. 31221-R) affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan. 1958. 1967 MARIANO REYES. Ismaela Dimagiba.R.R. executed on October 22. SO ORDERED.

oppositors-appellants contend that the order allowing the will to probate should be considered interlocutory. 1962. 1944. because it fails to resolve the issues of estoppel and revocation propounded in their opposition. and/or new trial. the oppositors elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. the probate order is final and appealable. admitting the will to probate. that contrary to the claim of oppositors-appellants. irrespective of whether its provisions are valid and enforceable or otherwise. 676. (Montañano vs. As such. that the same was appealable independently of the issue of implied revocation." Whereupon. (b) whether or not the order of the Court of origin dated July 27. because the latter had been made in favor of the legatee herself. Mercado vs. and this was done on February 9. the trial Court resolved against the oppositors and held the will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes "unaffected and unrevoked by the deeds of sale. 1958.on the questions of estoppel and revocation "until such time when we shall pass upon the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will or when the question of adjudication of the properties is opportunely presented. but "reserving unto the parties the right to raise the issue of implied revocation at the opportune time. Crisostomo. Oppositors then appealed to this Court. made in 1943 and 1944. It is elementary that a probate decree finally and definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of his last will and testament. 215. had become final for lack of opportune appeal. In this instance. overruling the estoppel invoked by oppositors-appellants had likewise become final. both sets of oppositors-appellants pose three main issues: (a) whether or not the decree of the Court of First Instance allowing the will to probate had become final for lack of appeal. 1960. 1959. 710). the Court of First Instance appointed Ricardo Cruz as administrator for the sole purpose of submitting an inventory of the estate. 66 Phil. there had been no legal revocation by the execution of the 1943 and 1944 deeds of sale. 869 of the Civil Code of 1889). 14 Phil. Suesa. on July 27. after receiving further evidence on the issue whether the execution by the testatrix of deeds of sale of the larger portion of her estate in favor of the testamentary heir. and (c) whether or not the 1930 will of Benedicta de los Reyes had been impliedly revoked by her execution of deeds of conveyance in favor of the proponent on March 26. 1943 and April 3. 1959. On February 27. that specifically prescribes that "any interested person may . 1960. and affirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance. and it is so recognized by express provisions of Section 1 of Rule 109." On January 11. The appellate Court held that the decree of June 20. Santos. had revoked the latter under Article 957(2) of the 1950 Civil Code (Art. whereupon. 89 Phil. Trillana vs." Oppositors Fernandez and Reyes petitioned for reconsideration. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the appellant's stand is untenable. the Court overruled the claim that proponent was in estoppel to ask for the probate of the will. As to the first point. insisting that the issues of estoppel and revocation be considered and resolved. subsequent to the execution of her 1930 testament.

the revocation would not affect the will itself. ." Appellants argue that they were entitled to await the trial Court's resolution on the other grounds of their opposition before taking an appeal. expressed wishes. we have already ruled in Guevara vs. It would be a non sequitur to allow public policy to be evaded on the pretext of estoppel. or its probate is denied. Thus.). unless the reacquisition shall have been effected by virtue of the exercise of the right of repurchase. 957. as otherwise there would be a multiplicity of recourses to the higher Courts. Evidence of it is the duty imposed on a custodian of a will to deliver the same to the Court. if the will is not entitled to probate. Whether or not the order overruling the allegation of estoppel is still appealable or not. Guevara. The legacy or devise shall be without effect: (1) . there is no such will and hence there would be nothing to revoke. The last issue. all questions of revocation become superfluous in law. As such. . the appellate courts may no longer revoke said decree nor review the evidence upon which it is made to rest. that the presentation and probate of a will are requirements of public policy. . again. Hence. Crisostomo. and the fine and imprisonment prescribed for its violation (Revised Rule 75). the appeal belatedly lodged against the decree was correctly dismissed. For one. expressly enumerates six different instances when appeal may be taken in special proceedings. the same had become final and conclusive. Only the total and absoluterevocation can preclude probate of the revoked testament (Trillana vs. . which recites: Art. Then. it being understood that in the latter case the legacy or devise shall be without effect only with respect to the part thus alienated. the defense is patently unmeritorious and the Court of Appeals correctly so ruled. since Rule 109. the legacy or devise shall not thereafter be valid. There being no controversy that the probate decree of the Court below was not appealed on time. . 869 of the Code of 1889). section 1. is predicated on paragraph 2 of Article 957 of the Civil Code of 1950 (Art. The alleged revocation implied from the execution of the deeds of conveyance in favor of the testamentary heir is plainly irrelevant to and separate from the question of whether the testament was duly executed. the revocation invoked by the oppositors-appellants is not an express one. even if it be by reason of nullity of the contract. that of revocation. being primarily designed to protect the testator's. where such order or judgment: (a) allows or disallows a will. This contention is without weight. but merely the particular devise or legacy. If after the alienation the thing should again belong to the testator.appeal in special proceedings from an order or judgment . . but merely implied from subsequent acts of the testatrix allegedly evidencing an abandonment of the original intention to bequeath or devise the properties concerned. 249. which are entitled to respect as a consequence of the decedent's ownership and right of disposition within legal limits. (2) If the testator by any title or for any cause alienates the thing bequeathed or any part thereof. supra. As to the issue of estoppel. 98 Phil.

Court of Appeals and Dimagiba. "no consideration whatever was paid by respondent Dimagiba" on account of the transfers. XV. (Decision. 7th Ed. unlike in the French and Italian Codes. the annulment of the conveyances would not necessarily result in the revocation of the legacies.. es necesario que medien actos del testador que la indiquen. if we bear in mind that the findings made in the decision decreeing the annulment of the subsequent 1943 and 1944 deeds of sale were also that it was the moral influence. the basis of the quoted provision is a presumed change of intention on the part of the testator. does not apply to the case at bar. originating from their confidential relationship. expressed in her 1930 testament. but even if it were applicable. dando lugar a la presuncion de que ha cambiado de voluntad. appellee Dimagiba. As observed by the Court of Appeals. then the transferor was not expressing her own free will and intent in making the conveyances. se desprende de la cosa por titulo lucrativo u oneroso. but as pointed out by Scaevola (Codigo Civil. is rendered doubtful by the circumstance that the subsequent alienations in 1943 and 1944 were executed in favor of the legatee herself. Mas para que pueda presumirse esa voluntad. promulgated on July 31. Si la perdida del derecho sobre la cosa ha sido independiente de la voluntad del testador.xxx xxx xxx It is well to note that. If the annulment was due to undue influence. it can not be concluded. As pointed out by Manresa in his Commentaries on Article 869 of the Civil Code (Vol. el legado podraquedar sin efecto. we believe. that in the circumstances of the particular case. que exige siempre actos voluntarios de enajenacion por parte del mismo testador. Article 957 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. 324-325) the "nullity of the contract" can not be taken in an absolute sense. that if a testator's subsequent alienation were avoided .1Revocation being an exception. with the Courts below. L-5618 and L-5620. hace desaparecer su derecho sobra ella. the existence of any such change or departure from the original intent of the testatrix. Not only that. y no quiere que el legado se cumpla. Vol. that such conveyances established a decision on her part to abandon the original legacy. either. pp. p. Si este. it could not be maintained. 1954).. which was the only cause for the execution of Exhs. True it is that the legal provision quoted prescribes that the recovery of the alienated property "even if it be by reason of the nullity of the contract" does not revive the legacy. as found by the Court of Appeals in its decision annulling these conveyances (affirmed in that point by this Supreme Court in Reyes vs. for example. L-5618 and L-5620). mas no en virtud del numero 2 del articulo 869. In fact.2 Certainly. Hence. A and B (the 1943 and 1944 conveyances). despues de legar. 743) — Este caso se funda en la presunta voluntad del testador. 6. thereby rendering it even more doubtful whether in conveying the property to her legatee. the testatrix merely intended to comply in advance with what she had ordained in her testament. as the quoted passage implies. rather than an alteration or departure therefrom. 4th Ed.

The court ruled in favor of probate. an alienation through undue influence in no way differs from one made through violence or intimidation. the revocatory effect ordained by the article should still ensue. As such. the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby affirmed. . They argued that they were entitled to await the other grounds for opposition before appealing. And the same thing could be said if the alienation (posterior to the will) were avoided on account of physical or mental duress.3 and it can not be held that there was in fact an alienation that could produce a revocation of the anterior bequest. probate order is final and appealable. but it was beyond the reglamentary period. the transferor is not expressing his real intent. Costs against appellants Reyes and Fernandez. Fernandez et al appealed. In either case. Yet.because the testator was mentally deranged at the time. So ordered. In view of the foregoing considerations. They do not have to await the resolution of its other oppositions since the Rules of Court enumerates six different instances when appeal may be taken in special proceedings. Issue: Whether the probate of the will become final for lack of appeal Ruling: Yes. et al. A probate decree finally and definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of the will. Such petition was opposed by Dionisio Fernandez. CASE DIGESTED Fernandez v. Dimagiba Facts: Ismaela Dimagiba filed a petition for probate of the will of Benedicta de los Reyes.

petitioner and appellant. Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. a resident of Quezon City. Federico. Custodio O. oppositors — who are compulsory heirs of the deceased in the direct ascending line — were illegally preterited and that in consequence the institution is void. Lourdes and Alberto. 1966 REMEDIOS NUGUID. On June 25. L-23445 June 23. Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. before a hearing was had on the petition for probate and objection thereto. some 11 years before her demise. without descendants. 1951. Petitioner prayed that said will be admitted to probate and that letters of administration with the will annexed be issued to her. On September 6. 1962. 1963. . A motion to reconsider having been thwarted below. is that by the institution of petitioner Remedios Nuguid as universal heir of the deceased. 1963. J.1äwphï1. 1963. Partade for petitioner and appellant. petitioner came to this Court on appeal. FELIX NUGUID and PAZ SALONGA NUGUID. 1963. held that "the will in question is a complete nullity and will perforce create intestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario Nuguid" and dismissed the petition without costs. oppositors moved to dismiss on the ground of absolute preterition. No. vs. died on December 30.ñët The court's order of November 8. On August 29. SANCHEZ. and six (6) brothers and sisters. petitioner registered her opposition to the motion to dismiss. all surnamed Nuguid. entered their opposition to the probate of her will. Conrado.: Rosario Nuguid. Beltran and Beltran for oppositors and appellees. petitioner Remedios Nuguid filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal a holographic will allegedly executed by Rosario Nuguid on November 17. single. legitimate or illegitimate. On May 18. oppositors and appellees. Beltran. Surviving her were her legitimate parents. namely: Alfredo. concededly the legitimate father and mother of the deceased Rosario Nuguid. 1963.R. inter alia. Remedios.G. Ground therefor.

probability exists that the case will come up once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. Reproduced hereunder is the will: Nov. If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will. 854. Said court at this stage of the proceedings — is not called upon to rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will. Normally. in the court below and here on appeal. the meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of the will.1. in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will. . having amassed a certain amount of property. the testatrix's testamentary capacity. expense. a procedural aspect has engaged our attention. ROSARIO NUGUID. The case is for the probate of a will. by the court. The parties shunted aside the question of whether or not the will should be allowed probate. On the contrary. residing with me at 38-B Iriga.. travelled on the issue of law. some.) Illegible T/ ROSARIO NUGUID The statute we are called upon to apply in Article 854 of the Civil Code which. and bequeath all of the property which I may have when I die to my beloved sister Remedios Nuguid. And for aught that appears in the record. The preterition or omission of one. the legality of any devise or legacy therein. being of sound and disposing mind and memory. this litigation will be protracted. 17. shall annul the institution of heir.1 A peculiar situation is here thrust upon us. 1951 I. and to be acted upon. effort. Result: waste of time. The due execution thereof. and resolution on. are the questions solely to be presented. in part. Q. but the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. The court's area of inquiry is limited — to an examination of.. this comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. provides: ART. 2. This exacts from us a study of the disputed will and the applicable statute. whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator.C. Right at the outset. there exists a justiciable controversy crying for solution. For them. (Sgd.3 After all. Petitioner's sole assignment of error challenges the correctness of the conclusion below that the will is a complete nullity. devise. or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line. do hereby give. These are the practical considerations that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head-on the issue of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. . nineteen hundred and fifty-one. to wit: Is the will intrinsically a nullity? We pause to reflect. I have signed my name this seventh day of November. In witness whereof. age 34. nothing will be gained. plus added anxiety. and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities by law prescribed.2 But petitioner and oppositors. the extrinsic validity of the will.

204 Pa. con arreglo al articulo 814. On this point Manresa comments: La pretericion consiste en omitar al heredero en el testamento. 54 A. Perforce.. Rosario Nuguid died intestate.7 ANNUL.. 774. 614. to nullify. to abolish. 123 W. Se necesita. a) Que la omision se refiera a un heredero forzoso. thus — Art. dando caracter absoluto a este ordenamiento referring to the mandate of Article 814. In re Morrow's Estate. they were deprived of their legitime. legitimate or illegitimate. to make void . in so far as they are not inofficious.S.9 The one-sentence will here institutes petitioner as the sole. Says Manresa: . to make void or of no effect. It may now appear trite bat nonetheless helpful in giving us a clear perspective of the problem before us.E.. to abolish. back to the facts and the law. blot out. 283.J. the foregoing is a reproduction of Article 814 of the Civil Code of Spain of 1889. Para que exista pretericion. which is similarly herein copied. whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator. 343. 136 N. to make void or of no effect. now 854 of the Civil Code. 40 A. 771. shall void the institution of heir.Except for inconsequential variation in terms. but the legacies and betterments4 shall be valid. But she left forced heirs in the direct ascending line her parents. neither were they expressly disinherited. pues.. Madden vs. This is a clear case of preterition.. 14 S. No specific legacies or bequests are therein provided for. O no se le nombra siquiera o aun nombrandole como padre. to have on hand a clear-cut definition of the word annul: To "annul" means to abrogate. 2A:34-35).. The deceased Rosario Nuguid left no descendants. A comprehensive understanding of the term preterition employed in the law becomes a necessity. .6 The word "annul" as used in statute requiring court to annul alimony provisions of divorce decree upon wife's remarriage means to reduce to nothing. the will completely omits both of them: They thus received nothing by the testament. to nullify. hijo. etc. The preterition of one or all of the forced heirs in the direct line. 342. to annihilate. que el heredero forzoso nada reciba en el testamento. annihilate. tacitly. resultando privado de un modo tacito de su derecho a legitima. no se le instituya heredero ni se le deshereda expresamente ni se le asigna parte alguna de los bienes. b) Que la omision sea completa. 132. Va.8 And now. obliterate. Madden.J. And. to do away with. 814. 484. It is in this posture that we say that the nullity is complete. obliterate. basta que en el testamento omita el testador a uno cualquiera de aquellos a quienes por su muerte corresponda la herencia forzosa. 2:50 — 38 (now N. 2d.A. now oppositors Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. Such preterition in the words of Manresa "anulara siempre la institucion de heredero.J Eq. N. Ex parte Mitchell.S. To reduce to nothing. universal heir — nothing more. 2d 611.

814. Article 854 offers no leeway for inferential interpretation. en todo o en parte? No se añade limitacion alguna. el de que "anulara la institucion de heredero. as we analyze the word annul employed in the statute. en el que se expresa que se anulara la institucion de heredero en cuanto prejudique a la legitima del deseheredado Debe. mas o menos equitativa. desvirtuando y anulando por este procedimiento lo que el legislador quiere establecer. "the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not . pues. 10 The same view is expressed by Sanchez Roman: — La consecuencia de la anulacion o nulidad de la institucion de heredero por pretericion de uno. there is no escaping the conclusion that the universal institution of petitioner to the entire inheritance results in totally abrogating the will. en materia de testamentos. 814. Sera total.. y consiguientemente. correspondiente a 1908". es la apertura de la sucesion intestada total o parcial. 12 3. Sanchez Roman cites the "Memoria annual del Tribunal Supreme. siendo tanto mas obligada esta consecuencia legal cuanto que.. es obligado llamar a los herederos forzosos en todo caso. viz: . por lo que constituiria una interpretacion arbitraria. cuando el testador no hubiese distribudo todos sus bienes en legados. sera esto razon para modificar la ley. al determinar. Carefully worded and in clear terms. y en algun caso pudiera ser. hay razon para convereste juicio en regla de interpretacion. con repeticion. reputar como legatario a un heredero cuya institucion fuese anulada con pretexto de que esto se acomodaba mejor a la voluntad del testador. We should not be led astray by the statement in Article 854 that. which in our opinion expresses the rule of interpretation. the nullification of such institution of universal heir — without any other testamentary disposition in the will — amounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written. entenderse que la anulacion es completa o total. pero no autoriza a una interpretacion contraria a sus terminos y a los principios que informan la testamentifaccion. hubiese dispuesto de todos los bienes por titulo universal de herencia en favor de los herederos instituidos. varios o todos los forzosos en linea recta. como habria que llamar a los de otra clase. Lo que se anula deja de existir. 11 Really. annullment notwithstanding.. Because. cuando el testador que comete la pretericion. y que este articulo como especial en el caso que le motiva rige con preferencia al 817. dentro del derecho positivo. segun tiene declarado la jurisprudencia." . se anula. que no basta que sea conocida la voluntad de quien testa si esta voluntad no aparece en la forma y en las condiciones que la ley ha exigido para que sea valido y eficaz. en un testamento donde falte la institucion. no consiente interpretacion alguna favorable a la persona instituida en el sentido antes expuesto aun cuando parezca. cuya institucion se anula. Giving it an expansive meaning will tear up by the roots the fabric of the statute. El art. On this point. debiendo por lo tanto procederse sobre tal base o supuesto. pues no porque parezca mejor una cosa en el terreno del Derecho constituyente. como en el articulo 851. que preceptua en tales casos de pretericion la nulidad de la institucion de heredero. porque una nulidad no significa en Derecho sino la suposicion de que el hecho o el acto no se ha realizado.. pues aun cuando asi fuese. porque asi lo exige la generalidad del precepto legal del art.En cuanto a la institucion de heredero. sabido es. como efecto de la pretericion.

intestate succession ensues.. is null and void. 15From this. Said will rather than be labeled ineffective disinheritance is clearly one in which the said forced heirs suffer from preterition. desheredados. or. This annulment is in toto. 19 Express as disinheritance should be. the forced heirs. in turn. in commenting on the rights of the preterited heirs in the case of preterition on the one hand and legal disinheritance on the other." 16 Disinheritance. . As to him. now 854.. in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived. a testamentary disposition granting him bequests or legacies apart and separate from the nullified institution of heir. is presumed to be "involuntaria". put only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited".23 . It simply omits their names altogether. " 17 In Manresa's own words: "La privacion expresa de la legitima constituye la desheredacion. "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heir of his share in the legitime for a cause authorized by law. adquiren el derecho a todo.inofficious". There must be. 14 As aforesaid. testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies.. 21 Better stated yet. in addition. petitioner draws the conclusion that Article 854 "does not apply to the case at bar". solo les corresponde un tercio o dos tercios. they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. but added (in reference to legacies and bequests) "pero subsistiendo . 4. And. 22 el caso. upon the other hand. Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly given as such in a will. by itself. unless in the will there are. either because they are not mentioned therein. there is no other provision in the will before us except the institution of petitioner as universal heir. in addition to such institution. Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them. which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition." 18 Sanchez Roman emphasizes the distinction by stating that disinheritance "es siempre voluntaria".. "shall annul the institution of heir". That institution. states that preterition annuls the institution of the heir "totalmente por la pretericion". the will is inexistent. mejora o donacion. annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance including "la porcion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto en virtud de legado. This argument fails to appreciate the distinction between pretention and disinheritance. we repeat. 20 The will here does not explicitly disinherit the testatrix's parents. Sanchez Roman. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code. though mentioned. Petitioner's mainstay is that the present is "a case of ineffective disinheritance rather than one of preterition". On top of this is the fact that the effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. La privacion tacita de la misma se denomina pretericion. Manresa's expressive language. Nothing in Article 854 suggests that the mere institution of a universal heir in a will — void because of preterition — would give the heir so instituted a share in the inheritance. Preterition under Article 854 of the Civil Code. speaking of the two component parts of Article 814. runs thus: "Preteridos. 13 As Manresa puts it. such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs". todas aquellas otras disposiciones que no se refieren a la institucion de heredero . preterition. the same must be supported by a legal cause specified in the will itself.

No costs allowed. declares the will in question "a complete nullity". however. the result is the same. Legacy refers to specific property bequeathed by a particular or special title. 25 The disputed order. we would be destroying integral provisions of the Civil Code. The destructive effect of the theory thus advanced is due mainly to a failure to distinguish institution of heirs from legacies and betterments. But again an institution of heirs cannot be taken as a legacy. will result in a complete abrogation of Articles 814 and 851 of the Civil Code. And they are separate and distinct not only because they are distinctly and separately treated in said article but because they are in themselves different. be absolutely meaningless and will never have any application at all.5. it must be observed that the institution of heirs is therein dealt with as a thing separate and distinct from legacies or betterments. Upon the view we take of this case." although the inheritance of the heir so instituted is reduced to the extent of said legitimes. 1963 under review is hereby affirmed. but that the institution of heir "is not invalidated. we observe.viz: But the theory is advanced that the bequest made by universal title in favor of the children by the second marriage should be treated as legado and mejora and. Chief Justice Moran in the Neri case heretofore cited. which is the only provision material to the disposition of this case. .. accordingly.. and a general from a special provision. would. If every case of institution of heirs may be made to fall into the concept of legacies and betterments reducing the bequest accordingly. This theory. Petitioner insists that the compulsory heirs ineffectively disinherited are entitled to receive their legitimes. 24 This is best answered by a reference to the opinion of Mr. that the will before us solely provides for the institution of petitioner as universal heir. And the remaining provisions contained in said article concerning the reduction of inofficious legacies or betterments would be a surplusage because they would be absorbed by Article 817. it must not be entirely annulled but merely reduced. then the provisions of Articles 814 and 851 regarding total or partial nullity of the institution. instead of construing. Considering. With reference to article 814. The entire will is null. Thus. and nothing more. if adopted. the order of November 8. Article 854 of the Civil Code in turn merely nullifies "the institution of heir". So ordered. . Institution of heirs is a bequest by universal title of property that is undetermined.

dated March 30. respondents.G. fraud or undue influence. CV No.: This is an appeal by certiorari from the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1 in CA-G. 1983. not acting under duress. . and the petition for probate is hereby DISMISSED. Arong. Fe Sand. Sand. The earlier Decision was rendered by the RTC of Quezon City. Meriam S. 1988 of the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In the will. 2 in Sp. They alleged that at the time of its execution. PREMISES CONSIDERED. and their children.. Edgar Sand. Miguel D. 22840. and was in every respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will. No. she was of sound and disposing mind. who died on November 25. as she was not its sole owner. Sr. J. Jose Ajero. and Dr. and the instrument submitted for probate is the holographic will of the late Annie Sand. and.R. He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by decedent in its entirety. petitioners instituted Sp. Proc. the following: petitioners Roberto and Thelma Ajero. Q-37171. He contested the disposition in the will of a house and lot located in Cabadbaran. No. private respondent Clemente Sand. No. Leah Sand. the will was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue influence. it contained alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by decedent. Branch 94. 106720 September 15. Jose Ajero. Q-37171. Lilia Sand. Montilla Law Office for private respondent. PUNO. Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither the testament's body nor the signature therein was in decedent's handwriting. for allowance of decedent's holographic will. the questioned decision of November 19. Agusan Del Norte. 1994 SPOUSES ROBERTO AND THELMA AJERO. 1982. decedent named as devisees. 1992. petitioners. vs. On January 20.R. Proc. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND CLEMENTE SAND. No costs. The petition was likewise opposed by Dr. the dispositive portion of which reads. Lisa S. Larida for petitioners.

And considering that she had even written a nursing book which contained the law and jurisprudence on will and succession. its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix. Given then the aforesaid evidence. this probate court finds no reason at all for the disallowance of the will for its failure to comply with the formalities prescribed by law nor for lack of testamentary capacity of the testatrix. Hence.Notwithstanding the oppositions. are that the will was not written in the handwriting of the testatrix which properly refers to the question of its due execution. It found. . dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been complied with. The only objections raised by the oppositors . it is sufficient that the testatrix. knew the value of the estate to be disposed of.e. however. (private respondent) Clemente Sand himself has testified in Court that the testatrix was completely in her sound mind when he visited her during her birthday celebration in 1981. .. To be of sound mind. dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been disputed. the petitioners. In this wise. No other will was alleged to have been executed by the testatrix other than the will herein presented. have satisfactorily shown in Court that the holographic will in question was indeed written entirely. at the time of making the will. Three (3) witnesses who have convincingly shown knowledge of the handwriting of the testatrix have been presented and have explicitly and categorically identified the handwriting with which the holographic will in question was written to be the genuine handwriting and signature of the testatrix. She even identified the lot number and square meters of the lots she had conveyed by will. dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix. inter alia: Considering then that the probate proceedings herein must decide only the question of identity of the will. The will itself shows that the testatrix even had detailed knowledge of the nature of her estate. the requirement of the law that the holographic will be entirely written. the identity of the will presented for probate must be accepted. no evidence was presented to show that the will in question is different from the will actually executed by the testatrix. i. the proper object of her bounty. xxx xxx xxx While the fact that it was entirely written. The objects of her bounty were likewise identified explicitly. in the light of the evidence adduced. xxx xxx xxx As to the question of the testamentary capacity of the testratix. at or around which time the holographic will in question was executed by the testatrix. the will submitted in Court must be deemed to be the will actually executed by the testatrix. . the question of identity of the will. the trial court admitted the decedent's holographic will to probate. there is more than sufficient showing that she knows the character of the testamentary act. and thecharacter of the testamentary act . and not to the question of identity of will. . its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix has to be resolved in favor of the allowance of probate of the will submitted herein. For one. .

Considering then that it is a well-established doctrine in the law on succession that in case of doubt. or the influence of fear. . such date validates the dispositions preceding it. While it was alleged that the said will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. the testator must authenticate the same by his full signature. (c) If it was executed under duress. as follows: Art. "the holographic will fails to meet the requirements for its validity. Hence. and the fact that no convincing grounds were presented and proven for the disallowance of the holographic will of the late Annie Sand.. The Court of Appeals found that. (b) If the testator was insane.) On appeal. i.Likewise. whatever be the time of prior dispositions. It alluded to certain dispositions in the will which were either unsigned and undated. It was also established that she is a very intelligent person and has a mind of her own. or signed but not dated. all show the unlikelihood of her being unduly influenced or improperly pressured to make the aforesaid will.e. her sense of superiority. under the circumstances. 3 (Citations omitted. 814: In case of insertion. and the last disposition has a signature and date. said Decision was reversed. 813: When a number of dispositions appearing in a holographic will are signed without being dated. which has been testified to in Court. or threats. at or around the time of her birth anniversary celebration in 1981. which read. the evidence adduced have not shown any instance where improper pressure or influence was exerted on the testatrix. It must be noted that the undue influence or improper pressure in question herein only refer to the making of a will and not as to the specific testamentary provisions therein which is the proper subject of another proceeding." 4 It held that the decedent did not comply with Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code. no evidence was presented to show sufficient reason for the disallowance of herein holographic will. testate succession should be preferred over intestate succession. Art. at the time of its execution. Section 9. Her independence of character and to some extent. It also found that the erasures. cancellation. Rule 76 of the Rules of Court provides that will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: (a) If not executed and attested as required by law. (Private respondent) Clemente Sand has testified that the testatrix was still alert at the time of the execution of the will. or otherwise mentally incapable to make a will. erasure or alteration in a holographic will. and the petition for probate of decedent's will was dismissed. alterations and cancellations made thereon had not been authenticated by decedent. Thus. the aforesaid will submitted herein must be admitted to probate. this appeal which is impressed with merit. this Court cannot find convincing reason for the disallowance of the will herein.

We reiterate what we held in Abangan vs. also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence.(d) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence. 839: The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases. 6 In the case at bench. on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. 479 (1919). and. the decedent's last will and testament. useless and frustrative of the testator's last will. (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud. on the other hand. any other interpretation whatsoever. no other grounds can serve to disallow a will. ante. at the time of its execution. that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary. But. or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will. (e) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick. that: The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud. and he did not intend that the instrument should be his will at the time of fixing his signature thereto. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends. It held that Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code. These lists are exclusive. on the part of the beneficiary. respondent court held that the holographic will of Anne Sand was not executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. Abangan. 476. (2) If the testator was insane. This is erroneous. or the influence of fear. In the same vein. to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. indeed. were not complied with. (4) whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent. . in a petition to admit a holographic will to probate. hence. the only issues to be resolved are: (1) whether the instrument submitted is. Article 839 of the New Civil Code reads: Art. Therefore. (3) If it was executed through force or under duress. must be disregarded. 40 Phil. or threats. (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with. (2) whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto. 5 Thus. it disallowed the probate of said will. or of some other person for his benefit. (3) whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed.

10 The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes. the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Likewise. . attestation. these formal solemnities include the subscription. unless the unauthenticated alterations. on the other hand. dated. cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on testator's signature. Relova 132 SCRA 237 242 (1984). but at most only as respects the particular words erased. the Will is not thereby invalidated as a whole. . from which the present provisions covering holographic wills are taken. and need not be witnessed.) Thus. 678: A will is called holographic when the testator writes it himself in the form and with the requisites required in Article 688. and signed by the hand of the testator himself. . however. 9 their presence does not invalidate the will itself. this Court held: Ordinarily. a holographic will can still be admitted to probate. but not its probate.) Failure to strictly observe other formalities will not result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is unquestionably handwritten by the testator. and acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code. when a number of erasures. Manresa gave an identical commentary when he said "la omission de la salvedad no anula el testamento. notwithstanding non- compliance with the provisions of Article 814. In the case of Kalaw vs. The distinction can be traced to Articles 678 and 688 of the Spanish Civil Code. (Emphasis supplied. It is subject to no other form. It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810). . and interlineations made by the testator in a holographic Will have not been noted under his signature. thus: A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written. They read as follows: Art. In the case of holographic wills. corrections. corrected or interlined. segun la regla de jurisprudencia establecida en la sentencia de 4 de Abril de 1985. what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally autographic or handwritten by the testator himself. A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained in the holographic will. Such failure. does not render the whole testament void.For purposes of probating non-holographic wills. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions. and may be made in or out of the Philippines. Art." 8 (Citations omitted. 7 as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code. 688: Holographic wills may be executed only by persons of full age.

The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and must contain a statement of the year. This is correct and must be affirmed. 1992. No.R. courts are not powerless to do what the situation constrains them to do. as correctly held by respondent court.In order that the will be valid it must be drawn on stamped paper corresponding to the year of its execution. 11 In the case at bench. written in its entirety by the testator and signed by him. . she cannot validly dispose of the whole property. Sand (which led oppositor Dr. Agusan del Norte. IN VIEW WHEREOF. 1988. except with respect to the invalidity of the disposition of the entire house and lot in Cabadbaran. 22840. dated March 30. the testator must identify them over his signature. Branch 94 in Sp. SO ORDERED. If it should contain any erased. corrected. admitting to probate the holographic will of decedent Annie Sand. Q-37171. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. the instant petition is GRANTED. Foreigners may execute holographic wills in their own language. John H. is hereby REINSTATED. This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code — and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code — are essential to the probate of a holographic will. However. Jose Ajero to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety). CV No. month and day of its execution. which she shares with her father's other heirs. As a general rule. or interlined words. dated November 19. Proc. in its entirety. decedent herself indubitably stated in her holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late father. The Court of Appeals further held that decedent Annie Sand could not validly dispose of the house and lot located in Cabadbaran. Agusan del Norte. and pass upon certain provisions of the will. No costs. in exceptional instances. Thus. courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. with the above qualification as regards the Cabadbaran property.

CARLOS R.. Nicolas Galing. entitled. sailing the orders 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig.dresses of herein petitioners as legatees and devisees. Quezon City. ANTONIO R-INFANTE. 86 10th St. Branch 166. RAMON R-INFANTE. petitioners vs.G. petitioners. dated 12 May 1986 and 30 May 1986. Petitioner. Makati. PRESIDING JUDGE. respectively. ALFREDO R-INFANTE." On 3 March 1986. in Sp. . New Manila.. METRO MANILA AND JOAQUIN R- INFANTE. JOSE R-INFANTE LINK and JOAQUIN R-INFANTE CAMPBELL. Metro Manila." dismissing petitioners' petition for certiorari and prohibition as-.. 9995. Infante. Abiera and Associates for petitioners. 1988 JOAQUINA R-INFANTE DE ARANZ. No. entitled "Joaquina R-Infante de Aranz. Branch 166. private respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig. Belo. 09622. THE HON. Metro Manila. FLORENCIA R-INFANTE DE DIAS. 77047 May 28. dated 13 January 1987. SP No. as follows: Joaquina R-Infante Roxas de Aranz residing at No. North Forbes. Antonio R-Infante Roxas residing at #91 Cambridge. et al. 166. Hon. respondents. a petition for the probate and allowance of the last will and testament of the late Montserrat R-Infante y G-Pola The petition specified the names and ad. BRANCH NO. PASIG. NATIONAL CAPITAL JUDICIAL REGION. respondents. Proc. Lagman for respondents. PADILLA.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals. MERCEDES R-INFANTE DE LEDNICKY. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. TERESITA R-INFANTE. vs.R. NICOLAS GALING. INFANTE.R. No. MARTIN R-INFANTE. etc. Miguel J. "In the Matter of Petition for Approval of the Last Will and Testament of Montserrat R-Infante y G-Pola Joaquin R. et al. in CA-G. J..

Metro Manila. 15 Briones. SO ORDERED. Alfredo R-Infante Roxas residing at #27 A Scout Tobias St. Rule 76 of the Rules of Court and they prayed that they be given a period of ten (10) days within which to file their opposition to the probate of the will. Cubao. The hearing was then reset to 12 May 1986. Ramon R-Infante Roxas residing at #27 B Scout Tobias St. no notices were sent to them as required by Sec. Said order was published in the "Nueva Era" A newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks. the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision dismissing the petition.. issued an order denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. no oppositor appeared. Metro Marta. 4 On the same day (12 May 1986). Quezon City.. Quezon City.. Metro Manila.Carlos R-Infante Roxas residing at #46 Washington St. the probate court issued an order selling the petition for hearing on 5 May 1986 at 8:30 o'clock in the morning. On 14 May 1986. Quezon City. private respondent presented his evidence ex- parte and placed Arturo Arceo one of the testamentary witnesses.. On 30 May 1986. the instant petition. petitioners filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition which was. on the witness stand.. Florencia R-Infante Roxas de Diaz residing at Calle Sancho Davila. Makati. petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of 12 May 1986 alleging that. private respondent was appointed executor. as named legatees. New Manila. Metro Manila. San Juan. however. . Thereafter. 13-19-D. as prayed for. Greenhills. On the date of the hearing. On 13 January 1987. 4. Metro Manila. on which date. Mercedes R-Infante Roxas de Lednicky residing at #386 P. San Juan. During the proceedings. Metro Manila. Quezon City. Metro Manila. Madrid. Teresita R-Infante Roxas residing at #121 9th Street. 3 On 12 March 1986. 5Hence. the oner to-receive Branch Clerk of Court is hereby designated Co evidence ex-parte of the petitioner. Guevarra St.. Joaquin R-Infante Campbell C/O Pilar Campbell. referred to the Court of Appeals. the probate court. the probate court issued the following order: There being no opposition to this instant case. San Juan. 28028 Spain. Jose R-Infante Link residing at 174R-Pascual St. Martin R-Infante Roxas residing at #2 Bongavilla St. acting on the opposition of private respondent and the reply thereto of petitioners. Metro Manila.

Nable 8 cited by the Court of Appeals in its assailed decision to support its theory is not applicable in the present case. Manila. Contrary to the holding of the Court of Appeals that the requirement of notice on individual heirs. 83. Rule 76 of the Rules of Cof reads: SEC. if such places of residence be known. legatees. petitioners claimed that their residence was not Dagupan Street No. Manila. legatees. Heirs. The case of Joson vs. he the petition included the residence of petitioners as Dagupan Street No. In other instances. then notice upon them individually was not necessary.It is the view of petitioners that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that personal notice of probate proceedings to the known legatees and devisees is not a jurisdictional requirement in the probate of a will. if he be not. There the Court said: Petitioners maintain that no notice was received by them partly because their residence was not Dagupan Street No. petitioners allege that under Sec. the petitioner. The requirement of the law for the allowance of the will was not satisfied by mere publication of the notice of hearing for three (3) weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. and devisees of the testator resident in the Philippines at their places of residence. and devisees residing in the Philippines at their places of residence. 83 as alleged in the petition for probate. — The court shag also cause copies of the notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will to be addressed to the designated or other known heirs. The petition for the allowance of the wig itself indicated the names and addresses of the legatees and devisees of the testator. legatees. In that case. 6 We grant the petition: Sec. legatees and devisees is necessary only when they are known or when their places of residence are known. individual notice upon heirs. 4. 7 But despite such knowledge. If the allegation of the petition was wrong and the true residence of petitioners was not known. A copy of the notice must in like manner be mailed to the person named as executor. said requirement of the law is mandatory and its omission constitutes a reversible error for being constitutive of grave abuse of discretion. if such places of residence be known. to any person named as co-executor not petitioning. and deposited in the post office with the postage thereon prepaid at least twenty (20) days before the hearing. 4 of Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. the probate court did not cause copies of the notice to be sent to petitioners. 83. also. 4. such notice is not . It is clear from the aforecited rule that notice of the time and place of the hearing for the allowance of a will shall be forwarded to the designated or other known heirs. devisees. Personal service of copies of the notice at least ten (10) days before the day of hearing shall be equivalent to mailing. if their places of residence be known. legatees and devisees is merely a matter of procedural convenience to better satisfy in some instances the requirements of due process. Under the provision abovequoted. and executors to be notified by mail or personally. There is no question that the residences of herein petitioners legatees and devisees were known to the probate court. petitioners Purificacion Joson and Erotica Joson failed to contest the will of Tomas Joson because they had not been notified of the hearing of the petition for probate.

hearing of 24 February 1948).n. 503-4. 10 the Court. Consequently. cannot be deemed and accepted as proceedings leading to the probate or allowance of a will and. 474. Justice Sabino Padilla... may be likened to a deposition or to a perpetuation of testimony. 481. said: . . China. 11 WHEREFORE. the will referred to therein cannot be allowed... China. t. and even if it were so it does not measure or come up to the standard of such proceedings in the Philippines for lack of notice to all interested parties and the proceedings were held at the back of such interested parties. xxx xxx xxx . filed and recorded by a competent court of court. In view thereof. speaking thru Mr. 9 In Re: Testate Estate of Suntay. the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 13 January 1987 is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The interested parties in the case were known to reside in the Philippines. It is a proceedings in rem and for the validity of such proceedings personal notice or by publication or both to all interested parties must be made. . SO ORDERED.. 476. The proceedings had in the municipal district court of Amoy. therefore.. No costs. the authenticated transcript of proceedings held in the municipal district court of Amoy. the will and the alleged probate thereof cannot be said to have been done in accordance with the accepted basic and fundamental concepts and principles followed in the probate and allowance of wills.s.. The evidence shows that no such notice was received by the interested parties residing in the Philippines (pp.necessary and the court may acquire and exercise jurisdiction simply upon the publication of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation. The case is hereby ordered remanded to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig for further proceedings in accordance with this decision.

J. 166520 and GERALDINE TAN...... FRANCISCO C. BRANCH 12.-x DECISION ..... No.. IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Petitioners... Present: .. and ROMUALDO LIM...... ORMOC CITY... REPRESENTED BY NACHURA. VILMA C. REYES....... ROGELIO LIM SUGA and HELEN TAN RACOMA. TAN. Chairperson.....versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO........... CHICO-NAZARIO... Respondents. REPRESENTED BY EDUARDO NIERRAS... Promulgated: March 14.R..... JR. GEDORIO. 2008 x. JJ... JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. GERARDO JAKE TAN G. THE HON..

The Petition was docketed as Special Proceeding No. the RTC. . 4014-0 and was raffled to Branch 12. done in the past or is presently harvesting or about to undertake. if any. b.) requiring the same administratrix to deposit in the same account the proceeds of all sugarcane harvest or any crop harvest. On 31 October 2001. Romualdo D. private respondents. be appointed as the special administrator. Again. The factual and procedural antecedents of this case are as follows: Gerardo Tan (Gerardo) died on 14 October 2000. to wit: b. 79335. Petitioners filed an Opposition to private respondents Motion for Appointment. who are claiming to be the children of Gerardo Tan. claiming to be legitimate heirs of Gerardo Tan. J. Petitioners. in her capacity as de facto administratrix.R.CHICO-NAZARIO.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision[1] dated 29 July 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the expenses incurred in course of her administration and other relevant facts including that of the proceeds of the sugarcane/crop harvest. which belong to the estate of the decedent. Petitioners contend further that Romualdo does not have the same familiarity. no compliance has been made. as court-appointed commissioner. b.) requiring the de facto administratrix Ms. experience or competence as that of their co-petitioner Vilma C. Clinton Nuevo (Nuevo). Atty. No. Private respondents then moved for the appointment of a special administrator. Lim (Romualdo). On 18 March 2002. acting on the private respondents Urgent Ex-parte Motion to resolve pending incident. Nuevo. Tan (Vilma) who was already acting as de facto administratrix of his estate since his death. gave Vilma another 10 days to comply with the directive of Atty. They prayed that their attorney-in-fact.2.3. Vilma Tan to deposit in the fiduciary account of the Court all money and or cash at hand or deposited in the bank(s) which rightfully belong to the estate of the decedent within five (5) days from receipt hereof. PROC. Lim as special administrator to the estate of the late Gerardo Tan. leaving no will. asserting the need for a special administrator to take possession and charge of Gerardos estate until the Petition can be resolved by the RTC or until the appointment of a regular administrator. arguing that none of the private respondents can be appointed as the special administrator since they are not residing in the country. issued directives to Vilma. filed an Opposition to the Petition.1. if any. 4014-0 denying reconsideration of its Order dated 12 June 2003 whereby it appointed Romualdo D. SP No. filed with the RTC a Petition for the issuance of letters of administration.[3] More than a year later or on 23 May 2003. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals affirmed the Order[2] dated 17 July 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Ormoc City in SP.) relative to the foregoing. the same de facto administratrix is also required to submit a financial report to the Commission as regards the background of the cash at hand or deposited in bank(s). which submission will be done upon deposit of the foregoing with the court as above-required.

Consequently, on 12 June 2003, RTC Judge Eric F. Menchavez issued an
Order[4] appointing Romualdo as special administrator of Gerardos Estate, the fallo of
which states:

Foregoing considered, the motion for the appointment of a special administrator is
hereby GRANTED. Mr. Romualdo D. Lim is hereby appointed as Special Administrator
and shall immediately take possession and charge of the goods, chattels, rights, credits
and estate of the deceased and preserve the same for the executor or administrator
afterwards appointed, upon his filing of a bond in the amount of P50,000.00 and upon
approval of the same by this Court.[5]

Petitioners filed on 19 June 2003 a Motion for Reconsideration of the foregoing Order,
claiming that petitioner Vilma should be the one appointed as special administratix as
she was allegedly next of kin of the deceased.

On 17 July 2003, respondent Judge Francisco Gedorio (Gedorio), in his capacity as RTC
Executive Judge, issued an Order[6] denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.

Petitioners instituted with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
assailing the 17 July 2003 Order, again insisting on petitioner Vilmas right to be
appointed as special administratix. Petitioners likewise prayed for the issuance of
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin Romualdo
from entering the estate and acting as special administrator thereof.

On 29 July 2004, the Court of Appeals issued a Decision denying petitioners
Petition. On 6 December 2004, the Court of Appeals similarly denied the ensuing Motion
for Reconsideration filed by petitioners, to wit:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises, judgment is hereby rendered by us
DENYING and DISMISSING the petition filed in this case and AFFIRMING the assailed
order in Special Proceeding No. 4014-0.[7]

On 22 January 2005, petitioners filed the instant Petition for Review
on Certiorari assigning the following errors:

I.

THE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE COURT A QUO BOTH GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN
DENYING PETITIONERS PLEA TO BE GIVEN PRIMACY IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THEIR
FATHERS ESTATE.

II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS LIKEWISE ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS PLEA FOR THE
ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND/OR A TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST PRIVATE RESPONDENTS AND THEIR ATTORNEY-IN-FACT.
[8]

On 14 February 2005, this Court issued a Resolution[9] denying the Petition on the
ground of late filing, failure to submit an affidavit of service of a copy of the Petition on
the Court of Appeals and proof of such service, failure to properly verify the Petition,

and failure to pay the deposit for the Salary Adjustment for the Judiciary (SAJ) fund and
sheriffs fee. Upon Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioners, however, this Court
issued on 18 July 2005 a Resolution[10] reinstating the Petition.

Petitioners contend[11] that they should be given priority in the administration of the
estate since they are allegedly the legitimate heirs of the late Gerardo, as opposed to
private respondents, who are purportedly Gerardos illegitimate children. Petitioners rely
on the doctrine that generally, it is the nearest of kin, whose interest is more
preponderant, who is preferred in the choice of administrator of the decedents estate.

Petitioners also claim that they are more competent than private respondents or their
attorney-in-fact to administer Gerardos estate. Petitioners Vilma and Gerardo Jake Tan
(Jake) claim to have lived for a long time and continue to reside on Gerardos estate,
while respondents are not even in the Philippines, having long established residence
abroad.

Petitioners additionally claim that petitioner Vilma has been acting as the
administratrix of the estate since Gerardos death on 14 October 2000 and is thus well
steeped in the actual management and operation of the estate (which essentially
consists of agricultural landholdings).[12]

As regards the denial of petitioners plea for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction and/or TRO, petitioners argue that such denial would leave Romualdo,
private respondents attorney-in-fact, free to enter Gerardos estate and proceed to act
as administrator thereof to the prejudice of petitioners.

The appeal is devoid of merit.

The order of preference petitioners speak of is found in Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules
of Court, which provides:

SEC. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted.If no executor is named in
the will, or the executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give
bond, or a person dies intestate, administration shall be granted:

(a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or both, in the
discretion of the court, or to such person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of
kin, requests to have appointed, if competent and willing to serve;

(b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or the person
selected by them, be incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband or widow, or next of
kin, neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for
administration or to request that administration be granted to some other person, it
may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing to
serve;

(c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be granted to
such other person as the court may select.

However, this Court has consistently ruled that the order of preference in the
appointment of a regular administrator as provided in the afore-quoted provision does

not apply to the selection of a special administrator.[13] The preference under Section
6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court for the next of kin refers to the appointment of a regular
administrator, and not of a special administrator, as the appointment of the latter lies
entirely in the discretion of the court, and is not appealable.[14]

Not being appealable, the only remedy against the appointment of a special
administrator is Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which was what
petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals. Certiorari, however, requires nothing less
than grave abuse of discretion, a term which implies such capricious and whimsical
exercise of judgment which is equivalent to an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse
of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty
or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of
law.[15]

We agree with the Court of Appeals that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the
part of respondent Judge Gedorio in affirming Judge Menchavezs appointment of
Romualdo as special administrator. Judge Menchavez clearly considered petitioner
Vilma for the position of special administratrix of Gerardos estate, but decided against
her appointment for the following reasons:

Atty. Clinton C. Nuevo, in his capacity as court appointed commissioner, directed
oppositor Vilma Tan in the latters capacity as de fact[o] administratrix, to deposit in the
fiduciary account of the court all money and cash at hand or deposited in the banks
which rightfully belong to the estate within five days from receipt of the
directive. Oppositor Vilma Tan was likewise directed to deposit in the same account the
proceeds of all sugarcane harvest or any crop from the estate of the decedent. She was
likewise directed to submit a financial report as regards the background of the cash on
hand, if any, the expenses incurred in the course of her administration. The directive
was issued by Atty. Nuevo on March 18, 2002 or more than a year ago. OnMay 23,
2003, this Court, acting on the urgent ex parte motion to resolve pending incident,
gave Vilma Tan another ten days to comply with the directive of Atty. Nuevo. Again, no
compliance has been made.

This Court is called upon to preserve the estate of the late Gerardo Tan for the benefit
of all heirs be that heir is (sic) the nearest kin or the farthest kin. The actuation of
oppositor Vilma Tan does not satisfy the requirement of a special administrator who can
effectively and impartially administer the estate of Gerardo Tan for the best interest of
all the heirs.[16](Emphases supplied.)

Assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner Vilma is indeed better suited for the
job as special administratrix, as opposed to Romualdo, who was actually appointed by
the court as special administrator of Gerardos estate, the latters appointment, at best,
would constitute a mere error of judgment and would certainly not be grave abuse of
discretion. An error of judgment is one which the court may commit in the exercise of
its jurisdiction, and which error is reviewable only by an appeal. On the other hand, an
error of jurisdiction is one in which the act complained of was issued by the court,
officer or a quasi-judicial body without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
of discretion which is tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction.[17] The Court of
Appeals could not have reversed a mere error of judgment in a Certiorari petition.

for the same cannot be said as regards their attorney-in-fact.R. It is undisputed that Romualdo resides in the country and can. If the estate truly did not have any income. as we are now resolving the case in favor of private respondents. as in the Petition at bar) occasioned by any cause. who is. thus. . Furthermore. they should already pursue the appointment of a regular administrator and put to an end the delay which necessitated the appointment of a special administrator. so that petitioner Vilma as the supposed next of kin of the late Gerardo may take over administration of Gerardos estate. whereby it appointed Romualdo D. Romualdo. in SP. Petitioners submit the defense that petitioner Vilma was unable to comply with the directives of the RTC to deposit with the court the income of Gerardos estate and to provide an accounting thereof because of the fact that Gerardos estate had no income. petitioners were not able to sufficiently substantiate their claim that their co-petitioner Vilma would have been the more competent and capable choice to serve as the special administratrix of Gerardos estate. 4014-0 denying reconsideration of its Order dated 12 June 2003. Contrary to petitioners bare assertions. instead of continuing to disregard the courts orders. SP No. The Decision dated 29 July 2004 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. after all. If petitioners really desire to avail themselves of the order of preference provided in Section 6. the person appointed by the RTC as special administrator. is AFFIRMED. when the necessity of appointing one has been brought about by her defiance of the lawful orders of the RTC or its appointed officials. It would certainly be unjust if petitioner Vilma were still appointed special administratix. both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found that the documented failure of petitioner Vilma to comply with the reportorial requirements after the lapse of a considerable length of time certainly militates against her appointment.[19] In the case at bar.[18] The principal object of the appointment of a temporary administrator is to preserve the estate until it can pass into the hands of a person fully authorized to administer it for the benefit of creditors and heirs. Finally. private respondents were constrained to move for the appointment of a special administrator due to the delay caused by the failure of petitioner Vilma to comply with the directives of the court-appointed commissioner. personally administer Gerardos estate. This defense is clearly specious and insufficient justification for petitioner Vilmas non-compliance. there is no longer any need to discuss petitioners arguments regarding the denial by the appellate court of their prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or TRO. Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. testamentary (in case the decedent leaves behind a will) or administrative (in the event that the decedent leaves behind no will. WHEREFORE. 79335 affirming the Order dated 17 July 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Ormoc City. The appointment of a special administrator is justified only when there is delay in granting letters. PROC. We find immaterial the fact that private respondents reside abroad. the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED. No. Lim as special administrator of the estate of Gerardo Tan. petitioners should have simply filed a manifestation to that effect.