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1. Borja vs Borja G.R. No. L-6622.

July 31, 1957

Facts:

Quintin, Francisco, Crisanta and Juliana, all surnamed de Borja, are the legitimate children of
Marcelo de Borja, who, upon his demise sometime in 1924 or 1925, left a considerable amount
of property. Quintin de Borja (brother of Marcelo) was the executor of the will, but after some
time, he died. Crisanto de Borja (nephew of Marcelo), son of Francisco de Borja, was appointed
and took over as administrator of the Estate. The Intestate remained under the administration of
Crisanto de Borja until the outbreak of the war. From then on and until the termination of the
war, there was a lull and state of inaction of the intestate proceedings. The other heirs
questioned the administration of Crisanto for alleged maladministration of the properties of the
estate. The administrator showed the accounts, which were strongly opposed by the heirs of
Quintin. The administrator filed a reply to said opposition containing a counterclaim for moral
damages against all the heirs of Quintin de de Borja including their counsel for the alleged
defamatory acts, manifestations and utterances.

The lower courts order was issued dismissing the administrators counterclaim for moral
damages against the heirs of Quintin de Borja and their counsel for the alleged defamatory acts,
manifestations and utterances, and stating that granting the same to be meritorious, yet it was a
strictly private controversy between said heirs and the administrator which would not in any way
affect the interest of the Intestate, and, therefore, not proper in an intestate proceedings. The
Court stressed that to allow the ventilation of such personal controversies would further delay
the proceedings in the case which had already lagged for almost 30 years, a situation which the
Court would not countenance.

Issue:

Whether a claim for moral damages may be entertained in a proceeding for the settlement of an
estate

Ruling:

No. Special Proceedings No. 6414 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasig branch) was
instituted for the purpose of settling the Intestate Estate of Marcelo de Borja. In taking
cognizance of the case, the Court was clothed with a limited jurisdiction which cannot
expand to collateral matters not arising out of or in any way related to the settlement
and adjudication of the properties of the deceased, for it is a settled rule that the
jurisdiction of a probate court is limited and special (Guzman v. Anog, 37 Phil. 361).
Although there is a tendency now to relax this rule and extend the jurisdiction of the probate
court in respect to matters incidental and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers (14
Am. Jur. 251-252), this should be understood to comprehend only cases related to those powers
specifically allowed by the statutes. Probate proceedings are purely statutory and their functions
limited to the control of the property upon the death of its owner, and cannot extend to the
adjudication of collateral questions.

It was in the acknowledgment of its limited jurisdiction that the lower court dismissed the
administrators counterclaim for moral damages against the oppositors, particularly against
Marcela de Borja who allegedly uttered derogatory remarks intended to cast dishonor to said
administrator sometime in 1950 or 1951, his Honors ground being that the court exercising
limited jurisdiction cannot entertain claims of this kind which should properly belong to a court of
general jurisdiction. From whatever angle it may be looked at, a counterclaim for moral
damages demanded by an administrator against the heirs for alleged utterances,
pleadings and actuations made in the course of the proceeding, is an extraneous
matter in a testate or intestate proceedings. The injection into the action of incidental
questions entirely foreign in probate proceedings should not be encouraged for to do
otherwise would run counter to the clear intention of the law, for it was held:The
speedy settlement of the estate of deceased persons for the benefit of the creditors
and those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance or legacy after the debts and
expenses of administration have been paid, s the ruling spirit of our probate law"
But with regard to his liability for maladministration, the SC ruled that the probate Court is
justified in finding him guilty of acts of maladministration and in holding him accountable for loss
or damage to Intestate.
2. Eusebio vs Eusebio G.R. No. L-8409 December 28, 1956

Facts:

Andres Eusebio, who died on November 28, 1952, residing, according to said petition, in the City
of Quezon. His son, Eugenio Eusebio filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal, a petition for
his appointment as administrator of the estate of his father. The illegitimate children sought for
the dismissal of the petition on the ground that the venue was improperly filed for Andres was
domiciled in San Fernando, Pampanga.

It is not disputed that up to, at least, October 29, 1952, Andres Eusebio was, and had always
been, domiciled in San Fernando, Pampanga, where he had his home, as well as some other
properties. Inasmuch as his heart was in bad condition and his son, Dr. Jesus Eusebio, who
treated him, resided at No. 41 P. Florentino St., Quezon City, on October 29, 1952, Andres
Eusebio bought a house and lot at 889-A Espaa Extention, in said City (Exhibit 2). While
transferring his belongings to this house, soon thereafter, the decedent suffered a stroke
(probably heart failure), for which reason Dr. Eusebio took him to his (Dr. Eusebio's)
aforementioned residence, where the decedent remained until he was brought to the UST
Hospital, in the City of Manila, sometimes before November 26, 1952. On this date, he
contracted marriage in articulo mortis with his common law wife, Concepcion Villanueva, in said
hospital. Two (2) days later, he died therein of "acute left ventricular failure secondary to
hypertensive heart disease", at the age of seventy-four (74) years (Exhibit A). Consequently, he
never stayed or even slept in said house at Espaa Extention.

Issue:
1) Situs of the residence of Andres Eusebio on November 28, 1952

Ruling:

1) San Fernando, Pampanga.

It being apparent from the foregoing that the domicile of origin of the decedent was
San Fernando, Pampanga, where he resided for over seventy (70) years, the
presumption is that he retained such domicile, and, hence, residence, in the absence of
satisfactory proof to the contrary, for it is well-settled that "a domicile once acquired
is retained until a new domicile is gained . Under the circumstances surrounding the case at
bar, if Andres Eusebio established another domicile, it must have been one of choice, for which
the following conditions are essential, namely: (1) capacity to choose and freedom of choice; (2)
physical presence at the place chosen; and (3) intention to stay therein permanently
Admittedly, the decedent was juridically capable of choosing a domicile and had been in Quezon
City several days prior to his demise. Thus, the issue narrows down to whether he intended to
stay in that place permanently.There is no direct evidence of such intent. Neither does the
decedent appears to have manifested his wish to live indefinitely in said city. It is well settled
that "domicile is not commonly changed by presence in a place merely for one's own health",
even if coupled with "knowledge that one will never again be able, on account of illness, to
return home."

2) In a related issue:
"What will happen if this case be dismissed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction or improper venue?"

Background:
November 17, 1953- docketed as Special Proceedings for the settlement of the "Intestate
Estate of the late Don Andres Eusebio in CFI Pampanga.
Dec.21, 1953- the court dismissed owing to the pendency of Nov.16, 1953 case before CFI
Rizal relying upon the above Rule 75, section 1, of the Rules of Court, pursuant to which
"the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall
exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts."

Said order did not pass upon the question of domicile or residence of the decedent. Moreover, in
granting the court first taking cognizance of the case exclusive jurisdiction over the same, said
provision of the Rules of Court evidently refers to cases triable before two or more courts with
concurrent jurisdiction. It could not possibly have intended to deprive a competent court of the
authority vested therein by law, merely because a similar case had been previously filed before a
court to which jurisdiction is denied by law, for the same would then be defeated by the will of
one of the parties.

If proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased resident are instituted in two or
more courts, and the question of venue is raised before the same, the court in which the first
case was filed shall have exclusive jurisdiction to decide said issue . Should it be decided, in
the proceedings before the said court, that venue had been improperly laid, the case
pending therein should be dismissed and the corresponding proceedings may,
thereafter, be initiated in the proper court.

In conclusion, we find that the decedent was, at the time of his death, domiciled in San
Fernando, Pampanga; that the Court of First Instance of Rizal had no authority, therefore, to
appoint an administrator of the estate of the deceased, the venue having been laid improperly;
and that it should, accordingly, have sustained appellants' opposition and dismissed appellee's
petition.
3. Reyes vs Mosqueda G.R. No. L-45262 July 23, 1990

Facts:

Dr. Emilio Pascual died intestate and without issue on November 18,1972. He was survived by
his sister, Ursula Pascual and the children of his late sisters.
Ursula filed a motion to exclude some properties from the inventory of Pascual's estate and to
deliver the titles thereto to her. Ursula alleged that Dr. Pascual during his lifetime or on
November 2, 1966 executed a "Donation Mortis Causa" in her favor covering properties which
are included in the estate of Dr. Pascual and therefore should be excluded from the inventory.
The trial court issued an order excluding from the inventory of the estate the properties donated
to Ursula without prejudice to its final determination in a separate action.

Issue:
WON the trial court was correct in excluding from the inventory of the estate the properties
donated to Ursula without prejudice to its final determination in a separate action

Ruling:
Yes. The provisional character of the exclusion of the contested properties in the inventory as
stressed in the order is within the jurisdiction of the probate court.

It is well-settled rule that a probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or
intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and
which are equally claimed to belong to outside parties. All that the said court could do as regards
said properties is to determine whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or
list of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is no dispute, well and good;
but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an
ordinary action for a final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate
court cannot do so. Similarly, in Valero Vda. de Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, (91 SCRA 540)
we held that for the purpose of determining whether a certain property should or should not be
included in the inventory, the probate court may pass upon the title thereto but such
determination is not conclusive and is subject to the final decision in a separate action regarding
ownership which may be instituted by the parties.
4. Valera vs Ofilada G.R. No. L-27526 September 12, 1974

Facts:
Civil Case No. 64, R-1 of the Court of First Instance of Abra is a special proceeding for the
settlement of the intestate estate of Francisco Valera. Virgilio Valera was the administrator of the
estate, He died on March 21, 1961. He was survived by his widow, Angelita Garduque Vda. de
Valera and their ten (10) children.

Adoracion Valera Bringas who claimed to be an acknowledged natural child of Francisco Valera,
was appointed administratrix. She filed on April 16, 1964 in the intestate proceeding a petition
to require "Celso Valera and family and Angelita de Valera and family to pay P100.00 as monthly
rental for the one-third pro-indiviso portion of the Valera residence located in Bangued, Abra.
Such was granted by the trial court. A motion for reconsideration was made by the Valeras.
Before the motion for reconsideration was resolved, Mrs. Bringas filed a motion for execution
and for an Order Directing Delivery of the Fruits of the Properties or Value and Monies of the
Estate to the Administratrix. It was granted.

Issue: Whether the lower court, sitting as a probate court in the intestate proceeding for the
estate of Francisco Valera, could hold the heirs of Virgilio Valera answerable for certain supposed
monetary liabilities of the latter to the estate and enforce said liabilities against the properties of
the deceased Virgilio Valera

Ruling:
No. We hold that the trial court, as a probate court, erred in adjudging in the said intestate
proceeding the monetary liabilities of the late Virgilio Valera to the estate of Francisco Valera and
in issuing a writ of execution against his properties to enforce the supposed liabilities.

Judge Ofilada specifically directed that the execution be issued "against the heirs of Virgilio
Valera". The Deputy Sheriff literally followed that directive by levying upon "the goods and
chattels of the heirs of Virgilio Valera". The procedure followed by the Sheriff was erroneous. The
decedent's heirs are not liable personally for the debts of his debts. Thus, it was held:
It happens, however, that the plaintiffs are not under obligation to pay the debts of their late
father. It does not appear that they personally bound themselves to pay them, and the mere fact
that they are the deceased's heirs does not make them answerable for such credits against their
predecessor in interest. The error becomes more glaring in the light of Section 7, Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court which allows execution in case of the death of a party only "where a party dies
after the entry of the judgment or order". The implication is that if a person, before his death, or
the legal representative of his estate was never a party to a case, no execution can be issued
against his properties after his death. In this case, the Sheriff seems to have proceeded on the
assumption that the properties levied upon belonged to the deceased Virgilio Valera and that the
said properties were in the possession of his heirs.

Furthermore, there is merit in the petitioners' contention that the probate court
generally cannot issue a writ of execution. It is not supposed to issue a writ of
execution because its orders usually refer to the adjudication of claims against the
estate which the executor or administrator may satisfy without the necessity of
resorting to a writ of execution. The probate court, as such, does not render any
judgment enforceable by execution.The circumstance that the Rules of Court expressly
specifies that the probate court may issue execution (a) to satisfy the contributive
shares of devisees, legatees and heirs in possession of the decedent's assets (Sec. 6,
Rule 88), (b) to enforce payment of the expenses of partition (Sec. 3, Rule 90), and
(e) to satisfy the costs when a person is cited for examination in probate proceedings
(Sec. 13, Rule 142) may mean, under the rule of inclusion unius est exclusion alterius,
that those are the only instances when it can issue a writ of execution.
5. Vda de Lopez vs Lopez G.R. No. L-23915. September 28, 1970

Facts:

Saturnina M. Vda. de Lopez, judicial administratrix of the estate of the Emilio Lopez filed with the
lower court a project of partition adjudicating the whole estate to herself and her legitimate
children with the deceased. It was approved and declared the intestate proceeding "terminated
and closed for all legal purposes. Seventeen days thereafter, the minors Dahlia and Roy, both
surnamed Lopez, represented by their mother, Lolita B. Bachar, filed a motion to reopen the
proceeding, together with a petition claiming that they were illegitimate children of the deceased
and asking that their rights as such be recognized and their shares in the estate given to them.
The trial court said reopening of the case is not the proper remedy.

Issue:
WON the reopening of the estate proceeding is proper

Ruling:
Yes.

1. "A judicial partition in probate proceedings (and the same thing can be said of partition in
intestate proceedings) does not bind the heirs who were not parties thereto. No partition, judicial
or extrajudicial, could add one iota or particle to the interest which the petitioner had during the
joint possession. Partition is of the nature of a conveyance of ownership and certainly none of
the co-owners may convey to the others more than his own true right. A judicial partition in
probate proceedings is not final and conclusive, and not being of such definitive
character to stop all means of redress for a co-heir who has been deprived of his
lawful share, such co-heir may still, within the prescriptive period, bring an action for
reivindication in the province where any of the real property of the deceased may be situated.

Having been omitted in the partition presented by the judicial administratrix and approved by
the Court, they were not bound thereby.

2. The motion to reopen was not too late. The courts order declaring the intestate proceeding
closed did not become final immediately upon its issuance. It was no different from judgments
or orders in ordinary actions. And judgments or orders in ordinary actions become final after
thirty (30) days from notice to the party concerned. In this case appellants motion to reopen
was filed only seventeen (17) days from the date of the order of closure. The remedy was
therefore invoked on time.

3. The better remedy is to file a reopening of the case rather than an independent action. "The
only instance that we can think of in which a party interested in a probate proceeding may have
a final liquidation set aside is when he is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control
or through mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence. Even then, the better practice
to secure relief is reopening of the same case by proper motion within the reglementary period,
instead of an independent action the effect of which, if successful, would be, as in the instant
case, for another court or judge to throw out a decision or order already final and executed and
reshuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of.

There are two alternatives for an acknowledged natural child to prove his status and interest in
the estate of the deceased parent, to wit: (1) to intervene in the probate proceeding if it is still
open; and (2) to ask for its reopening if it has already been closed.