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THIRD DIVISION 1.

Gonzales is a “complete stranger


to the intestate estate” of the
G.R. No. L-44888 February 7, 1992 deceased;
2. He is not even a creditor of the
PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM estate but a mere employee of an
CORPORATION, petitioner, alleged creditor (Shell Philippines,
vs. Inc.) and so “he would not be able
FIDEL P. DUMLAO, Judge of the Court to properly and effectively protect
of First Instance of Agusan Del Norte the interest of the estate in case of
and Butuan City, BONIFACIO conflicts”; and
CANONOY, Judicial Administrator of 3. He is a resident of Davao City, and
the Estate of Regino Canonoy, thus if appointed as administrator
CARMEN VDA. DE CANONOY, of the estate, the bulk of which is
TEODULO CANONOY, REGINO located in Butuan City, “he would
CANONOY, JR., MARIANITA CANONOY not be able to perform his duties
GUINTO and GLORIA CANONOY efficiently”.
BASA, respondents.
The heirs instead propose and pray that
Dominguez & Paderna Law Offices Co. for BonifacioCanonoy, one of the deceased’s
petitioner. sons, be appointed administrator of the
said intestate estate and that the
Wenceslao B. Rosales for private corresponding letters of administration be
respondents. issued in his favour. The trial court, after
due hearing, appointed BonifacioCanonoy
as administrator of the estate of the
deceased.
DAVIDE, JR., J.: Petitioner Shell filed its claim against the
estate of the deceased. Upon joinder of
the issues on the said claim, the trial court
Facts: set the pre-trial. The administrator filed a
Motion to Dismiss the claim alleging that
Ricardo Gonzales, District Manager of the court did not acquire jurisdiction over
Shell Philippines for Mindanao, filed a the subject matter and nature thereof
petition entitled, “In the Matter of the because the petitioner therein, Mr.
Intestate Estate of the Deceased Gonzales, is not the “interested person” as
ReginoiCanonoy, Petition for Letters of contemplated by Rule 79, Section 2 of the
Administration, Ricardo M. Gonzales, Rules of Court. Petitioner Shell countered
Petitioner” with the RTC of Agusan del the motion, contending that the interest of
Norte and Butuan City, praying that he be Mr. Gonzales in the estate is not a
appointed as judicial administrator of the jurisdictional fact that needs to be alleged
estate of the deceased ReginoCanonoy. in the petition.

Judge Echavez Jr. issued an order setting Respondent Judge granted the motion
the hearing on the petition and directing and dismissed the case.
the hearing on the petition and directing
that said order be published and copies of Issue:
the same be sent by registered mail or
personal delivery to each of all known Whether or not the jurisdictional facts that
heirs of the deceased. need to be stated in a petition for letter of
administration under Rule 79, Section 2 of
The heirs of the deceased opposed the the Rules of Court include the specific
issuance of letters of administration filed assertion that the petitioner therein is an
by Gonzales based on the following “interested person”
grounds:
Ruling: Private respondents’ failure to move for a
dismissal amounted to a waiver of the
No. Rule 79, Section 2 of the Rules of abovementioned ground. Rule 15, Section
Court provides: 8 of the Rules of Court provides that:

Section 2. Contents of petition of letters of “A motion attacking a pleading or a


administration – A petition for letters of proceeding shall include all objections
administration must be files by an then available, and all objections not so
interested person and must show, so far included shall be deemed waived.”
as known to the petitioner:
By proposing that BonifacioCanonoy be
a) The jurisdictional facts; appointed as administrator instead of Mr.
b) The names, ages, and residences Gonzales, private respondents have in
of the heirs, and the names and fact approved or ratified the filing of the
residences of the creditors, of the petition by the latter. There can be no
decedent; dispute that the trial court had acquired
c) The probable value and character jurisdiction over the case.
of the property of the estate;
d) The name of the person for whom
letters of administration are
prayed.

But no defect in the petition shall render


void the issuance of letters of
administration.

The jurisdictional facts alluded to are: the


death of the testator, his residence at the
time of his death in the province where the
probate court is sitting or, if he is an
inhabitant of a foreign country, his having
left his estate in such province. These
facts are amply enumerated in the petition
filed by Mr. Gonzales.

Clearly, the allegation that a petitioner


seeking letters of administration is an
interested person does not fall within the
enumeration of jurisdictional facts. A
Motion to Dismiss may lie not on the basis
of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the
court, but rather on the ground of lack of
legal capacity to institute the proceedings.

In Saguinsin vs. Lindayag, the Court


defined an “interested party” as one who
would be benefitted by the estate, such as
an heir or one who has a claim against the
estate, such as a creditor; this interest
must be material and direct, not merely
indirect or contingent. As an exemption,
an objection to a petition for letters of
administration on that ground may be
barred by waiver or estoppel.