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L-51291, May 29, 1984


As early as 1961, Marciano Cuizon applied for the registration of several parcels of land in Mandaue City docketed as
L.R. Case No. N-179. In 1970, he distributed his property between his two daughters, Rufina and Irene, to whom the
salt beds subject of the controversy was given. In 1971, Irene executed a Deed of Sale with Reservation of Usufruct
involving the said salt beds in favor of petitioners Franciso et al.

Although the decision in L.R. Case No. N-179 was rendered way back in 1972, the decree of registration and the
corresponding O.C.T. was issued only in 1976 in the name of Marciano Cuizon. In that same year, T.C.T No. 10477
covering the property in question was issued to Irene. The latter died in 1978.

During the extrajudicial settlement of the estate, Rufina, the mother of Francisco et al., adjudicated to herself all the
property of Irene including the salt beds in question. She then executed a deed of Confirmation of Sale wherein she
confirmed and ratified the 1971 deed of sale and renounced and waived whatever rights and interests and participation
she may have in the property in question in favor of the petitioners. The deed was annotated in T.C.T. No. 10477.
Subsequently, T.C.T. No. 12665 was issued in favor of the petitioners.

In 1978, Domingo Antigua, who allegedly was chosen by the heirs of Irene to act as administrator, was appointed
administrator by the CFI of Cebu. Antigua included the salt bed in the inventory of Irene’s estate and asked the Cebu
CFI to order petitioners to deliver the salt to him. The Cebu CFI granted the same.

ISSUE: Whether a court handling the intestate proceedings has jurisdiction over parcels of land already
covered by a TCT issued in favor owners who are not parties to the intestate proceedings if the said parcels
of have been?


No. It is a 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 said court could do is to determine whether they should or should not be included in the inventory
of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is dispute, then 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.

In the instant case, the property involved is not only claimed by outside parties but it was sold seven years before the
death of the decedent and is duly titled in the name of the vendees who are not party to the proceedings.

In Bolisay vs. Alcid, the Court held that “if a property covered by Torrens Title is involved, the presumptive
conclusiveness of such title should be given due weight, and in the absence of strong compelling evidence to the
contrary, the holder thereof should be considered as the owner of the property in controversy until his title is nullified or
modified in an appropriate ordinary action.”

Having been apprised of the fact that the property in question was covered by a TCT issued in the name of third parties,
the respondent court should have denied the motion of the respondent administrator and excluded the property in
question from the inventory of the property of the estate.

Doctrine: Probate court cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be part of the estate and equally
claimed to belong to outside parties.