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1. G.R. No.

193161 August 22, 2011 beyond the reglementary period and was not considered by the MTC. Thus,
DIOSDADO S. MANUNGAS, Petitioner, the MTC issued a summary judgment in favor of Engracia Manungas,
vs. ordering the spouses to vacate the premises and to restore possession to
MARGARITA AVILA LORETO and FLORENCIA AVILA Engracia Manungas. The Decision was appealed by the spouses Salinas to
PARREÑO, Respondents. the RTC of Tagum, Davao City which affirmed in toto the Decision of the
DECISION MTC.8 On appeal to this Court, defendants’ petition was denied for having
VELASCO, JR., J.: been filed out of time in a Resolution which became final on April 20, 1998.9
The Case Thereafter, on August 7, 1998, Diosdado instituted a petition for the issuance
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 seeks the reversal of the of letters of administration over the Estate of Engracia Manungas (Estate of
April 30, 2009 Decision1 and July 21, 2010 Resolution2 of the Court of Manungas) in his favor before the RTC, Branch 2 in Tagum City, Davao. He
Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 74531-MIN, entitled Margarita Avila Loreto alleged that he, being an illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas, is an heir
and Florencia Avila Parreño v. Hon. Erasto D. Salcedo, Acting Presiding of Engracia Manungas.10 The petition was opposed by Margarita Avila Loreto
Judge, RTC (Branch 2), Tagum City, and Diosdado Salinas (Manungas). The (Loreto) and Parreño alleging that Diosdado was incompetent as an
CA Decision set aside as null and void the Order dated November 4, administrator of the Estate of Manungas claiming that he was not a
20023 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 2 in Tagum City, Davao del Manungas, that he was not an heir of Engracia Manungas, he was not a
Norte, in Special Proceedings No. 708 entitled In the Matter of the Intestate creditor of Engracia Manungas or her estate and that he was in fact a debtor
Estate of the Deceased Engracia N. Vda de Manungas, Diosdado of the estate having been found liable to Engracia Manungas for PhP
Manungas, petitioner, wherein the RTC reversed its appointment of 177,000 by virtue of a Decision issued by the MTC in Civil Case No. 5196-
respondent Florencia Avila Parreño (Parreño) as the special administrator of 96. On May 15, 2002, the RTC issued an Order appointing Parreño as the
the estate of Engracia Manungas and appointed petitioner Diosdado Salinas administrator of the Estate of Manungas, the dispositive portion of which
Manungas (Diosdado) in her stead. reads:
The Facts WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Florencia A. Parreño is hereby
Engracia Manungas was the wife of Florentino Manungas. They had no appointed as Special Administrator of the property of the late Engracia N.
children. Instead, they adopted Samuel David Avila (Avila) on August 12, Vda. de Manungas. The Special Administrator is hereby directed to post a
1968. Florentino Manungas died intestate on May 29, 1977, while Avila bond in the amount of P200,000.00 pursuant to Sec. 4 of Rule 81.
predeceased his adoptive mother.4 Avila was survived by his wife Sarah SO ORDERED.11
Abarte Vda. de Manungas. Diosdado filed a Motion for Reconsideration with a Prayer for Temporary
Thereafter, Engracia Manungas filed a Motion for Partition of Estate on Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.12 In his motion, Diosdado
March 31, 1980 in the intestate estate proceedings of Florentino Manungas, argued that Parreño’s appointment as special administrator of the Estate of
of which she was the administratrix. There, she stated that there are no other Manungas was by virtue of her being the judicial guardian of the latter but
legal and compulsory heirs of Florentino Manungas except for herself, Avila which relation ceased upon Engracia Manungas’ death, concluding that her
and a Ramon Manungas whom she acknowledged as the natural son of appointment as special administrator was without basis. He added that
Florentino Manungas.5 Meanwhile, Avila’s widow executed a Waiver of Parreño was not fit to become a special administrator having already been
Rights and Participation on October 29, 1980, renouncing her rights over the fined by the court for failing to render a timely accounting of Engracia
separate property of her husband in favor of Engracia Manungas. Thereafter, Manungas’ property as her judicial guardian. Diosdado also reasoned that
a Decree of Final Distribution was issued in the intestate estate proceedings Parreño is a mere niece, a collateral relative, of Engracia Manungas, while
of Florentino Manungas distributing the properties to Engracia Manungas he is the illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas.
and Ramon Manungas, the surviving heirs.6 On November 4, 2002, the RTC issued an Order reversing itself and ordering
On October 25, 1995, the RTC, Branch 4 in Panabo City, appointed Parreño, the revocation of its earlier appointment of Parreño as the administrator of
the niece of Engracia Manungas, as the Judicial Guardian of the properties the Estate of Manungas while appointing Diosdado as the Special
and person of her incompetent aunt.7 Administrator.13
Engracia Manungas, through Parreño, then instituted Civil Case No. 5196-96 Parreño and Loreto appealed the ruling of the RTC to the CA. The CA issued
against the spouses Diosdado Salinas Manungas and Milagros Pacifico for its assailed April 30, 2009 Decision finding that the RTC acted with grave
illegal detainer and damages with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in Panabo abuse of discretion in revoking its earlier appointment of Parreño as the
City. In their answer, the spouses Salinas claimed that Diosdado is the administrator of the Estate of Manungas and appointing Diosdado instead.
illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas. However, the answer was filed
The CA further reinstated Parreño as the special administrator of the estate. denying a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules x x x. Unlike a final
The dispositive portion reads: judgment or order, which is appealable, as above pointed out, an
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Order interlocutory order may not be questioned on appeal except only as part of
dated November 4, 2002 setting aside the appointment of Florencia Parreño an appeal that may eventually be taken from the final judgment rendered in
as special administrator of the estate of the late Engracia Vda. de Manungas, the case.
and denying the property bond posted by Florencia Parreño [is] hereby The Court has considered an appointment of a special administrator as an
declared NULL and VOID and SET ASIDE as having been issued by Public interlocutory or preliminary order to the main case for the grant of letters of
Respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum City, Davao administration in a testate or intestate proceeding. In Ocampo v.
del Norte with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of Ocampo,21 the Court succinctly held, "The appointment or removal of special
jurisdiction. administrators, being discretionary, is thus interlocutory and may be assailed
SO ORDERED.14 through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court."
Diosdado assailed the CA Decision in a Motion for Reconsideration dated With such categorical ruling of the Court, the Order dated November 4, 2002
May 15, 200915 which the CA denied in the July 21, 2010 Resolution. is clearly an interlocutory order. As such, the order cannot be the subject of
Hence, We have this petition. an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as argued by petitioner. The
The Issues proper remedy is the filing of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65. Thus,
Diosdado raises the following issues: Section 1(c) of Rule 41 states:
The Court a Quo utterly disregarded the jurisprudence that certiorari cannot Section 1. Subject of appeal.
be a substitute for an appeal where the latter remedy is available.16 An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely
The Court a Quo in denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration grossly disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these
violated the rule that once a decision or order is final and executory, it Rules to be appealable.
becomes immutable and unalterable.17 No appeal may be taken from:
The Court a Quo committed a grave error when it ruled to annul the xxxx
appointment of petitioner, Diosdado Manungas as judicial administrator and (c) An interlocutory order;
reinstating the appointment of Florencia Parreño as special administrator. 18 xxxx
The Court a Quo gravely erred in [giving] due course to oppositors’ petition In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not
that is flawed.19 appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action
The Court’s Ruling under Rule 65.
The petition must be denied. Verily, respondents made use of the proper mode of review by filing a
The RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is an interlocutory order petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA. Respondents filed the
The first two issues raised by Diosdado revolve around the issue of whether petition well within the prescribed period under this rule.
the RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is an interlocutory order. There was no necessity to file a motion for reconsideration
Diosdado alleges that, following the ruling of this Court that Certiorari cannot As properly noted by petitioner, the general rule is that a motion for
be the substitute for a lost appeal, Parreño should have appealed the RTC reconsideration is required before a decision may be appealed through a
Order dated November 4, 2002 to the CA through a petition for review on petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Under the rule, there must be no other
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Diosdado contends that the plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a
Order dated November 4, 2002 became final and executory, Parreño having motion for reconsideration, to justify the filing of a petition for certiorari. Thus,
failed to file the petition within the reglementary period; thus, the Order petitioner argues that respondent’s failure to move for the reconsideration of
cannot be the subject of review even by this Court. However, Diosdado’s the Order dated November 4, 2002 is fatal to an appeal from it. Such general
position assumes that the RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is a final rule, however, admits of exceptions as explained in Delos Reyes v. Flores: 22
order instead of an interlocutory order. We have held in a litany of cases that the extraordinary remedies of certiorari
In Philippine Business Bank v. Chua,20 the Court stated what an interlocutory and mandamus are available only when there is no other plain, speedy, and
order is: adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a motion for
Conversely, an order that does not finally dispose of the case, and does not reconsideration. The writ of certiorari does not lie where another adequate
end the Court’s task of adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining remedy is available for the correction of the error. x x x However, there are
their rights and liabilities as regards each other, but obviously indicates that several exceptions where a petition for certiorari will lie without the prior filing
other things remain to be done by the Court, is "interlocutory", e.g., an order of a motion for reconsideration, to wit:
xxxx While the RTC considered that respondents were the nearest of kin to their
i. where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is deceased parents in their appointment as joint special administrators, this is
involved. (Emphasis supplied.) not a mandatory requirement for the appointment. It has long been settled
The instant case is clearly an exception to the general rule. An examination that the selection or removal of special administrators is not governed by the
of the issues raised by respondents in appealing the Order dated November rules regarding the selection or removal of regular administrators. The
4, 2002, reveals that the issues are only questions of law. Ergo, there is no probate court may appoint or remove special administrators based on
need for a motion for reconsideration. grounds other than those enumerated in the Rules at its discretion, such that
In addition, the Court has even allowed the filing of a petition for certiorari the need to first pass upon and resolve the issues of fitness or unfitness and
despite the existence of an appeal or other appropriate remedy in several the application of the order of preference under Section 6 of Rule 78, as
instances, including when the court a quo acted with grave abuse of would be proper in the case of a regular administrator, do not obtain. As long
discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the as the discretion is exercised without grave abuse, and is based on reason,
assailed order.23 equity, justice, and legal principles, interference by higher courts is
Thus, while respondent failed to move for the reconsideration of the unwarranted.25 (Emphasis supplied.)
November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC, a petition for certiorari may still While the trial court has the discretion to appoint anyone as a special
prosper, as in this case. administrator of the estate, such discretion must be exercised with reason,
The RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion guided by the directives of equity, justice and legal principles. It may,
The lower court stated in its November 4, 2002 Order that: therefore, not be remiss to reiterate that the role of a special administrator is
After carefully scrutinizing the arguments and grounds raised by both to preserve the estate until a regular administrator is appointed. As stated in
petitioner and oppositors, this Court finds merit in the contention of petitioner. Sec. 2, Rule 80 of the Rules:
In the case of Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 298 SCRA 324, the Supreme Section 2. Powers and duties of special adminsitrator. — Such special
Court ruled: administrator shall take possession and charge of the goods, chattels, rights,
The presence of illegitimate children precludes succession by collateral credits, and estate of the deceased and preserve the same for the executors
relatives to his estate; or administrator afterwards appointed, and for that purpose may commence
Diosdado Manungas, being the illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas and maintain suits as administrator. He may sell only such perishable and
inherits the latter’s property by operation of law; other property as the court orders sold. A special administrator shall not be
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing the order appointing Florencia liable to pay any debts of the deceased unless so ordered by the
Parreño as special administrator of the estate of the late Engracia Vda. de court.1avvphi1
Manungas is ordered set aside. Given this duty on the part of the special administrator, it would, therefore, be
Such reasoning is a non sequitur. prudent and reasonable to appoint someone interested in preserving the
The fact that Diosdado is an heir to the estate of Florentino Manungas does estate for its eventual distribution to the heirs. Such choice would ensure that
not mean that he is entitled or even qualified to become the special such person would not expose the estate to losses that would effectively
administrator of the Estate of Manungas. diminish his or her share. While the court may use its discretion and depart
Jurisprudence teaches us that the appointment of a special administrator lies from such reasoning, still, there is no logical reason to appoint a person who
within the discretion of the court. In Heirs of Belinda Dahlia A. Castillo v. is a debtor of the estate and otherwise a stranger to the deceased. To do so
Lacuata-Gabriel,24 it was stated that: would be tantamount to grave abuse of discretion.
It is well settled that the statutory provisions as to the prior or preferred right Hence, the CA ruled that the trial court erred in issuing the November 4,
of certain persons to the appointment of administrator under Section 1, Rule 2002 Order, acting with grave abuse of discretion in appointing Diosdado as
81, as well as the statutory provisions as to causes for removal of an the special administrator of Engracia Manungas’ estate:
executor or administrator under section 653 of Act No. 190, now Section 2, In any case, the trial court erred in revoking the appointment of Florencia
Rule 83, do not apply to the selection or removal of special administrator. x x Avila Parreño as Special Administrator on the ground that it found merit in
x As the law does not say who shall be appointed as special administrator Diosdado’s contention that he is the illegitimate child of the late Florentino
and the qualifications the appointee must have, the judge or court has Manangus. The evidence on record shows that Diosdado is not related to the
discretion in the selection of the person to be appointed, discretion which late Engracia and so he is not interested in preserving the latter’s estate. On
must be sound, that is, not whimsical or contrary to reason, justice or equity. the other hand, Florencia, who is a former Judicial guardian of Engracia
(Emphasis supplied; citation omitted.) when she was still alive and who is also the niece of the latter, is interested in
This principle was reiterated in the Ocampo case, where the Court ruled that: protecting and preserving the estate of her late aunt Engracia, as by doing so
she would reap the benefit of a wise administration of the decedent’s estate. Judge, RTC (Branch 2), Tagum City, and Diosdado Salinas (Manungas). The
Hence, the Order of the lower court revoking the appointment of Florencia CA Decision set aside as null and void the Order dated November 4,
Avila Parreño as special administrator constitutes not only a reversible error, 20023 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 2 in Tagum City, Davao del
but also a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of Norte, in Special Proceedings No. 708 entitled In the Matter of the Intestate
jurisdiction. In the instant case, the lower court exercised its power in a Estate of the Deceased Engracia N. Vda de Manungas, Diosdado
despotic, arbitrary or capricious manner, as to amount to an evasion of Manungas, petitioner, wherein the RTC reversed its appointment of
positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all respondent Florencia Avila Parreño (Parreño) as the special administrator of
in contemplation of law.26 (Emphasis supplied.) the estate of Engracia Manungas and appointed petitioner Diosdado Salinas
To reiterate, the subject of the intestate proceedings is the estate of Engracia Manungas (Diosdado) in her stead.
Manungas. It must be remembered that the estate of Florentino Manungas The Facts
was already the subject of intestate proceedings that have long been Engracia Manungas was the wife of Florentino Manungas. They had no
terminated with the proceeds distributed to the heirs with the issuance of a children. Instead, they adopted Samuel David Avila (Avila) on August 12,
Decree of Final Distribution.27 With the termination of the intestate estate 1968. Florentino Manungas died intestate on May 29, 1977, while Avila
proceedings of Florentino Manungas, Diosdado, as an illegitimate heir of predeceased his adoptive mother.4 Avila was survived by his wife Sarah
Florentino Manungas, is still not an heir of Engracia Manungas and is not Abarte Vda. de Manungas.
entitled to receive any part of the Estate of Manungas. In fact, Diosdado is a Thereafter, Engracia Manungas filed a Motion for Partition of Estate on
debtor of the estate and would have no interest in preserving its value. There March 31, 1980 in the intestate estate proceedings of Florentino Manungas,
is no reason to appoint him as its special administrator. The trial court acted of which she was the administratrix. There, she stated that there are no other
with grave abuse of discretion in appointing Diosdado as special legal and compulsory heirs of Florentino Manungas except for herself, Avila
administrator of the Estate of Manungas. The CA correctly set aside the and a Ramon Manungas whom she acknowledged as the natural son of
November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC. Florentino Manungas.5 Meanwhile, Avila’s widow executed a Waiver of
Consequently, with the setting aside of the November 4, 2002 Order of the Rights and Participation on October 29, 1980, renouncing her rights over the
trial court, reversing its May 15, 2002 Order and appointing Diosdado as the separate property of her husband in favor of Engracia Manungas. Thereafter,
special administrator of Engracia Manungas’ estate, the May 15, 2002 Order a Decree of Final Distribution was issued in the intestate estate proceedings
is necessarily reinstated and Parreño’s appointment as special administrator of Florentino Manungas distributing the properties to Engracia Manungas
is revived. and Ramon Manungas, the surviving heirs.6
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The CA’s April 30, 2009 On October 25, 1995, the RTC, Branch 4 in Panabo City, appointed Parreño,
Decision and July 21, 2010 Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 74531-MIN the niece of Engracia Manungas, as the Judicial Guardian of the properties
declaring as null and void the November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC in Special and person of her incompetent aunt.7
Proceedings No. 708 are AFFIRMED. Consequently, the Order dated May Engracia Manungas, through Parreño, then instituted Civil Case No. 5196-96
15, 2002 of the RTC is hereby REINSTATED and Florencia Avila Parreño is against the spouses Diosdado Salinas Manungas and Milagros Pacifico for
REINSTATED as the special administrator of the estate of Engracia illegal detainer and damages with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) in Panabo
Manungas. City. In their answer, the spouses Salinas claimed that Diosdado is the
SO ORDERED. illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas. However, the answer was filed
2. G.R. No. 193161 August 22, 2011 beyond the reglementary period and was not considered by the MTC. Thus,
DIOSDADO S. MANUNGAS, Petitioner, the MTC issued a summary judgment in favor of Engracia Manungas,
vs. ordering the spouses to vacate the premises and to restore possession to
MARGARITA AVILA LORETO and FLORENCIA AVILA Engracia Manungas. The Decision was appealed by the spouses Salinas to
PARREÑO, Respondents. the RTC of Tagum, Davao City which affirmed in toto the Decision of the
DECISION MTC.8 On appeal to this Court, defendants’ petition was denied for having
VELASCO, JR., J.: been filed out of time in a Resolution which became final on April 20, 1998.9
The Case Thereafter, on August 7, 1998, Diosdado instituted a petition for the issuance
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 seeks the reversal of the of letters of administration over the Estate of Engracia Manungas (Estate of
April 30, 2009 Decision1 and July 21, 2010 Resolution2 of the Court of Manungas) in his favor before the RTC, Branch 2 in Tagum City, Davao. He
Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 74531-MIN, entitled Margarita Avila Loreto alleged that he, being an illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas, is an heir
and Florencia Avila Parreño v. Hon. Erasto D. Salcedo, Acting Presiding of Engracia Manungas.10 The petition was opposed by Margarita Avila Loreto
(Loreto) and Parreño alleging that Diosdado was incompetent as an Hence, We have this petition.
administrator of the Estate of Manungas claiming that he was not a The Issues
Manungas, that he was not an heir of Engracia Manungas, he was not a Diosdado raises the following issues:
creditor of Engracia Manungas or her estate and that he was in fact a debtor The Court a Quo utterly disregarded the jurisprudence that certiorari cannot
of the estate having been found liable to Engracia Manungas for PhP be a substitute for an appeal where the latter remedy is available.16
177,000 by virtue of a Decision issued by the MTC in Civil Case No. 5196- The Court a Quo in denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration grossly
96. On May 15, 2002, the RTC issued an Order appointing Parreño as the violated the rule that once a decision or order is final and executory, it
administrator of the Estate of Manungas, the dispositive portion of which becomes immutable and unalterable.17
reads: The Court a Quo committed a grave error when it ruled to annul the
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Florencia A. Parreño is hereby appointment of petitioner, Diosdado Manungas as judicial administrator and
appointed as Special Administrator of the property of the late Engracia N. reinstating the appointment of Florencia Parreño as special administrator. 18
Vda. de Manungas. The Special Administrator is hereby directed to post a The Court a Quo gravely erred in [giving] due course to oppositors’ petition
bond in the amount of P200,000.00 pursuant to Sec. 4 of Rule 81. that is flawed.19
SO ORDERED.11 The Court’s Ruling
Diosdado filed a Motion for Reconsideration with a Prayer for Temporary The petition must be denied.
Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.12 In his motion, Diosdado The RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is an interlocutory order
argued that Parreño’s appointment as special administrator of the Estate of The first two issues raised by Diosdado revolve around the issue of whether
Manungas was by virtue of her being the judicial guardian of the latter but the RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is an interlocutory order.
which relation ceased upon Engracia Manungas’ death, concluding that her Diosdado alleges that, following the ruling of this Court that Certiorari cannot
appointment as special administrator was without basis. He added that be the substitute for a lost appeal, Parreño should have appealed the RTC
Parreño was not fit to become a special administrator having already been Order dated November 4, 2002 to the CA through a petition for review on
fined by the court for failing to render a timely accounting of Engracia certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Diosdado contends that the
Manungas’ property as her judicial guardian. Diosdado also reasoned that Order dated November 4, 2002 became final and executory, Parreño having
Parreño is a mere niece, a collateral relative, of Engracia Manungas, while failed to file the petition within the reglementary period; thus, the Order
he is the illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas. cannot be the subject of review even by this Court. However, Diosdado’s
On November 4, 2002, the RTC issued an Order reversing itself and ordering position assumes that the RTC Order dated November 4, 2002 is a final
the revocation of its earlier appointment of Parreño as the administrator of order instead of an interlocutory order.
the Estate of Manungas while appointing Diosdado as the Special In Philippine Business Bank v. Chua,20 the Court stated what an interlocutory
Administrator.13 order is:
Parreño and Loreto appealed the ruling of the RTC to the CA. The CA issued Conversely, an order that does not finally dispose of the case, and does not
its assailed April 30, 2009 Decision finding that the RTC acted with grave end the Court’s task of adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining
abuse of discretion in revoking its earlier appointment of Parreño as the their rights and liabilities as regards each other, but obviously indicates that
administrator of the Estate of Manungas and appointing Diosdado instead. other things remain to be done by the Court, is "interlocutory", e.g., an order
The CA further reinstated Parreño as the special administrator of the estate. denying a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules x x x. Unlike a final
The dispositive portion reads: judgment or order, which is appealable, as above pointed out, an
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Order interlocutory order may not be questioned on appeal except only as part of
dated November 4, 2002 setting aside the appointment of Florencia Parreño an appeal that may eventually be taken from the final judgment rendered in
as special administrator of the estate of the late Engracia Vda. de Manungas, the case.
and denying the property bond posted by Florencia Parreño [is] hereby The Court has considered an appointment of a special administrator as an
declared NULL and VOID and SET ASIDE as having been issued by Public interlocutory or preliminary order to the main case for the grant of letters of
Respondent Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, Tagum City, Davao administration in a testate or intestate proceeding. In Ocampo v.
del Norte with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of Ocampo,21 the Court succinctly held, "The appointment or removal of special
jurisdiction. administrators, being discretionary, is thus interlocutory and may be assailed
SO ORDERED.14 through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court."
Diosdado assailed the CA Decision in a Motion for Reconsideration dated With such categorical ruling of the Court, the Order dated November 4, 2002
May 15, 200915 which the CA denied in the July 21, 2010 Resolution. is clearly an interlocutory order. As such, the order cannot be the subject of
an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as argued by petitioner. The Thus, while respondent failed to move for the reconsideration of the
proper remedy is the filing of a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65. Thus, November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC, a petition for certiorari may still
Section 1(c) of Rule 41 states: prosper, as in this case.
Section 1. Subject of appeal. The RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion
An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely The lower court stated in its November 4, 2002 Order that:
disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these After carefully scrutinizing the arguments and grounds raised by both
Rules to be appealable. petitioner and oppositors, this Court finds merit in the contention of petitioner.
No appeal may be taken from: In the case of Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals, 298 SCRA 324, the Supreme
xxxx Court ruled:
(c) An interlocutory order; The presence of illegitimate children precludes succession by collateral
xxxx relatives to his estate;
In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not Diosdado Manungas, being the illegitimate son of Florentino Manungas
appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action inherits the latter’s property by operation of law;
under Rule 65. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing the order appointing Florencia
Verily, respondents made use of the proper mode of review by filing a Parreño as special administrator of the estate of the late Engracia Vda. de
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA. Respondents filed the Manungas is ordered set aside.
petition well within the prescribed period under this rule. Such reasoning is a non sequitur.
There was no necessity to file a motion for reconsideration The fact that Diosdado is an heir to the estate of Florentino Manungas does
As properly noted by petitioner, the general rule is that a motion for not mean that he is entitled or even qualified to become the special
reconsideration is required before a decision may be appealed through a administrator of the Estate of Manungas.
petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Under the rule, there must be no other Jurisprudence teaches us that the appointment of a special administrator lies
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a within the discretion of the court. In Heirs of Belinda Dahlia A. Castillo v.
motion for reconsideration, to justify the filing of a petition for certiorari. Thus, Lacuata-Gabriel,24 it was stated that:
petitioner argues that respondent’s failure to move for the reconsideration of It is well settled that the statutory provisions as to the prior or preferred right
the Order dated November 4, 2002 is fatal to an appeal from it. Such general of certain persons to the appointment of administrator under Section 1, Rule
rule, however, admits of exceptions as explained in Delos Reyes v. Flores: 22 81, as well as the statutory provisions as to causes for removal of an
We have held in a litany of cases that the extraordinary remedies of certiorari executor or administrator under section 653 of Act No. 190, now Section 2,
and mandamus are available only when there is no other plain, speedy, and Rule 83, do not apply to the selection or removal of special administrator. x x
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, such as a motion for x As the law does not say who shall be appointed as special administrator
reconsideration. The writ of certiorari does not lie where another adequate and the qualifications the appointee must have, the judge or court has
remedy is available for the correction of the error. x x x However, there are discretion in the selection of the person to be appointed, discretion which
several exceptions where a petition for certiorari will lie without the prior filing must be sound, that is, not whimsical or contrary to reason, justice or equity.
of a motion for reconsideration, to wit: (Emphasis supplied; citation omitted.)
xxxx This principle was reiterated in the Ocampo case, where the Court ruled that:
i. where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is While the RTC considered that respondents were the nearest of kin to their
involved. (Emphasis supplied.) deceased parents in their appointment as joint special administrators, this is
The instant case is clearly an exception to the general rule. An examination not a mandatory requirement for the appointment. It has long been settled
of the issues raised by respondents in appealing the Order dated November that the selection or removal of special administrators is not governed by the
4, 2002, reveals that the issues are only questions of law. Ergo, there is no rules regarding the selection or removal of regular administrators. The
need for a motion for reconsideration. probate court may appoint or remove special administrators based on
In addition, the Court has even allowed the filing of a petition for certiorari grounds other than those enumerated in the Rules at its discretion, such that
despite the existence of an appeal or other appropriate remedy in several the need to first pass upon and resolve the issues of fitness or unfitness and
instances, including when the court a quo acted with grave abuse of the application of the order of preference under Section 6 of Rule 78, as
discretion amounting to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the would be proper in the case of a regular administrator, do not obtain. As long
assailed order.23 as the discretion is exercised without grave abuse, and is based on reason,
equity, justice, and legal principles, interference by higher courts is terminated with the proceeds distributed to the heirs with the issuance of a
unwarranted.25 (Emphasis supplied.) Decree of Final Distribution.27 With the termination of the intestate estate
While the trial court has the discretion to appoint anyone as a special proceedings of Florentino Manungas, Diosdado, as an illegitimate heir of
administrator of the estate, such discretion must be exercised with reason, Florentino Manungas, is still not an heir of Engracia Manungas and is not
guided by the directives of equity, justice and legal principles. It may, entitled to receive any part of the Estate of Manungas. In fact, Diosdado is a
therefore, not be remiss to reiterate that the role of a special administrator is debtor of the estate and would have no interest in preserving its value. There
to preserve the estate until a regular administrator is appointed. As stated in is no reason to appoint him as its special administrator. The trial court acted
Sec. 2, Rule 80 of the Rules: with grave abuse of discretion in appointing Diosdado as special
Section 2. Powers and duties of special adminsitrator. — Such special administrator of the Estate of Manungas. The CA correctly set aside the
administrator shall take possession and charge of the goods, chattels, rights, November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC.
credits, and estate of the deceased and preserve the same for the executors Consequently, with the setting aside of the November 4, 2002 Order of the
or administrator afterwards appointed, and for that purpose may commence trial court, reversing its May 15, 2002 Order and appointing Diosdado as the
and maintain suits as administrator. He may sell only such perishable and special administrator of Engracia Manungas’ estate, the May 15, 2002 Order
other property as the court orders sold. A special administrator shall not be is necessarily reinstated and Parreño’s appointment as special administrator
liable to pay any debts of the deceased unless so ordered by the is revived.
court.1avvphi1 WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The CA’s April 30, 2009
Given this duty on the part of the special administrator, it would, therefore, be Decision and July 21, 2010 Resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 74531-MIN
prudent and reasonable to appoint someone interested in preserving the declaring as null and void the November 4, 2002 Order of the RTC in Special
estate for its eventual distribution to the heirs. Such choice would ensure that Proceedings No. 708 are AFFIRMED. Consequently, the Order dated May
such person would not expose the estate to losses that would effectively 15, 2002 of the RTC is hereby REINSTATED and Florencia Avila Parreño is
diminish his or her share. While the court may use its discretion and depart REINSTATED as the special administrator of the estate of Engracia
from such reasoning, still, there is no logical reason to appoint a person who Manungas.
is a debtor of the estate and otherwise a stranger to the deceased. To do so SO ORDERED.
would be tantamount to grave abuse of discretion.
Hence, the CA ruled that the trial court erred in issuing the November 4, 3. G.R. No. 183053 October 10, 2012
2002 Order, acting with grave abuse of discretion in appointing Diosdado as EMILIO A.M. SUNTAY III, Petitioner,
the special administrator of Engracia Manungas’ estate: vs.
In any case, the trial court erred in revoking the appointment of Florencia ISABEL COJUANGCO-SUNTAY, Respondent.
Avila Parreño as Special Administrator on the ground that it found merit in RESOLUTION
Diosdado’s contention that he is the illegitimate child of the late Florentino PEREZ, J.:
Manangus. The evidence on record shows that Diosdado is not related to the The now overly prolonged, all-too familiar and too-much-stretched imbroglio
late Engracia and so he is not interested in preserving the latter’s estate. On over the estate of Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay has continued. We issued a
the other hand, Florencia, who is a former Judicial guardian of Engracia Decision in the dispute as in Inter Caetera.1 We now find a need to replace
when she was still alive and who is also the niece of the latter, is interested in the decision.
protecting and preserving the estate of her late aunt Engracia, as by doing so Before us is a Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent Isabel
she would reap the benefit of a wise administration of the decedent’s estate. Cojuangco-Suntay (respondent Isabel) of our Decision2 in G.R. No. 183053
Hence, the Order of the lower court revoking the appointment of Florencia dated 16 June 2010, directing the issuance of joint letters of administration to
Avila Parreño as special administrator constitutes not only a reversible error, both petitioner Emilio A.M. Suntay III (Emilio III) and respondent. The
but also a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of dispositive portion thereof reads:
jurisdiction. In the instant case, the lower court exercised its power in a WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
despotic, arbitrary or capricious manner, as to amount to an evasion of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74949 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Letters
positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all of Administration over the estate of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay shall
in contemplation of law.26 (Emphasis supplied.) issue to both petitioner Emilio A.M. Suntay III and respondent Isabel
To reiterate, the subject of the intestate proceedings is the estate of Engracia Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment by each of a bond to be set by the
Manungas. It must be remembered that the estate of Florentino Manungas Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan, in Special Proceeding
was already the subject of intestate proceedings that have long been Case No. 117-M-95. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan
is likewise directed to make a determination and to declare the heirs of really lives more in fancy than in reality, a strong indication of schizophernia
decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay according to the actual factual milieu as (sic).4
proven by the parties, and all other persons with legal interest in the subject Intent on maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren, Federico and
estate. It is further directed to settle the estate of decedent Cristina Isabel filed a complaint for visitation rights to spend time with Margarita,
Aguinaldo-Suntay with dispatch. No costs.3 Emilio II, and Isabel in the same special lower court. The Juvenile Domestic
We are moved to trace to its roots the controversy between the parties. Relations Court in Quezon City (JDRC-QC) granted their prayer for one hour
The decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay (Cristina) died intestate on 4 June a month of visitation rights which was subsequently reduced to thirty minutes,
1990. Cristina was survived by her spouse, Dr. Federico Suntay (Federico) and ultimately stopped, because of respondent Isabel’s testimony in court
and five grandchildren: three legitimate grandchildren, including herein that her grandparents’ visits caused her and her siblings stress and anxiety. 5
respondent, Isabel; and two illegitimate grandchildren, including petitioner On 27 September 1993, more than three years after Cristina’s death,
Emilio III, all by Federico’s and Cristina’s only child, Emilio A. Suntay (Emilio Federico adopted his illegitimate grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita.
I), who predeceased his parents. On 26 October 1995, respondent Isabel, filed before the Regional Trial Court
The illegitimate grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita, were both reared from (RTC), Malolos, Bulacan, a petition for the issuance of letters of
infancy by the spouses Federico and Cristina. Their legitimate grandchildren, administration over Cristina’s estate docketed as Special Proceeding Case
Isabel and her siblings, Margarita and Emilio II, lived with their mother Isabel No. 117-M-95. Federico, opposed the petition, pointing out that: (1) as the
Cojuangco, following the separation of Isabel’s parents, Emilio I and Isabel surviving spouse of the decedent, he should be appointed administrator of
Cojuangco. Isabel’s parents, along with her paternal grandparents, were the decedent’s estate; (2) as part owner of the mass of conjugal properties
involved in domestic relations cases, including a case for parricide filed by left by the decedent, he must be accorded preference in the administration
Isabel Cojuangco against Emilio I. Emilio I was eventually acquitted. thereof; (3) Isabel and her siblings had been alienated from their
In retaliation, Emilio I filed a complaint for legal separation against his wife, grandparents for more than thirty (30) years; (4) the enumeration of heirs in
charging her among others with infidelity. The trial court declared as null and the petition was incomplete as it did not mention the other children of his son,
void and of no effect the marriage of Emilio I and Isabel Cojuangco on the Emilio III and Nenita; (5) even before the death of his wife, Federico had
finding that: administered their conjugal properties, and thus, is better situated to protect
From February 1965 thru December 1965 plaintiff was confined in the the integrity of the decedent’s estate; (6) the probable value of the estate as
Veterans memorial Hospital. Although at the time of the trial of parricide case stated in the petition was grossly overstated; and (7) Isabel’s allegation that
(September 8, 1967) the patient was already out of the hospital, he continued some of the properties are in the hands of usurpers is untrue.
to be under observation and treatment. Federico filed a Motion to Dismiss Isabel’s petition for letters of
It is the opinion of Dr. Aramil that the symptoms of the plaintiffs mental administration on the ground that Isabel had no right of representation to the
aberration classified as schizophernia (sic) had made themselves manifest estate of Cristina, she being an illegitimate grandchild of the latter as a result
even as early as 1955; that the disease worsened with time, until 1965 when of Isabel’s parents’ marriage being declared null and void. However, in
he was actually placed under expert neuro-psychiatrist (sic) treatment; that Suntay v. Cojuangco-Suntay, we categorically declared that Isabel and her
even if the subject has shown marked progress, the remains bereft of siblings, having been born of a voidable marriage as opposed to a void
adequate understanding of right and wrong. marriage based on paragraph 3, Article 85 of the Civil Code, were legitimate
There is no controversy that the marriage between the parties was effected children of Emilio I, who can all represent him in the estate of their legitimate
on July 9, 1958, years after plaintiffs mental illness had set in. This fact would grandmother, the decedent, Cristina.
justify a declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 85 of the Civil Undaunted by the set back, Federico nominated Emilio III to administer the
Code which provides: decedent’s estate on his behalf in the event letters of administration issues to
Art. 95. (sic) A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes after Federico. Consequently, Emilio III filed an Opposition-In-Intervention,
(sic) existing at the time of the marriage: echoing the allegations in his grandfather’s opposition, alleging that Federico,
xxxx or in his stead, Emilio III, was better equipped than respondent to administer
(3) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party, after coming to and manage the estate of the decedent, Cristina.
reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband or wife. On 13 November 2000, Federico died.
There is a dearth of proof at the time of the marriage defendant knew about Almost a year thereafter or on 9 November 2001, the trial court rendered a
the mental condition of plaintiff; and there is proof that plaintiff continues to decision appointing Emilio III as administrator of decedent Cristina’s intestate
be without sound reason. The charges in this very complaint add emphasis estate:
to the findings of the neuro-psychiatrist handling the patient, that plaintiff
WHEREFORE, the petition of Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay is DENIED and the In this motion, Isabel pleads for total affirmance of the Court of Appeals’
Opposition-in-Intervention is GRANTED. Decision in favor of her sole administratorship based on her status as a
Accordingly, the Intervenor, Emilio A.M. Suntay, III (sic) is hereby appointed legitimate grandchild of Cristina, whose estate she seeks to administer.
administrator of the estate of the decedent Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay, who Isabel contends that the explicit provisions of Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules
shall enter upon the execution of his trust upon the filing of a bond in the of Court on the order of preference for the issuance of letters of
amount of ₱ 200,000.00, conditioned as follows: administration cannot be ignored and that Article 992 of the Civil Code must
(1) To make and return within three (3) months, a true and complete be followed. Isabel further asserts that Emilio III had demonstrated adverse
inventory; interests and disloyalty to the estate, thus, he does not deserve to become a
(2) To administer the estate and to pay and discharge all debts, legatees, co-administrator thereof.
and charge on the same, or dividends thereon; Specifically, Isabel bewails that: (1) Emilio III is an illegitimate grandchild and
(3) To render a true and just account within one (1) year, and at any other therefore, not an heir of the decedent; (2) corollary thereto, Emilio III, not
time when required by the court, and being a "next of kin" of the decedent, has no interest in the estate to justify
(4) To perform all orders of the Court. his appointment as administrator thereof; (3) Emilio III’s actuations since his
Once the said bond is approved by the court, let Letters of Administration be appointment as administrator by the RTC on 9 November 2001 emphatically
issued in his favor.6 demonstrate the validity and wisdom of the order of preference in Section 6,
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the decision of the Rule 78 of the Rules of Court; and (4) there is no basis for joint
RTC, revoked the Letters of Administration issued to Emilio III, and appointed administration as there are no "opposing parties or factions to be
respondent as administratrix of the subject estate: represented."
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the assailed decision dated To begin with, the case at bar reached us on the issue of who, as between
November 9, 2001 of Branch 78, Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan in Emilio III and Isabel, is better qualified to act as administrator of the
SPC No. 117-M-95 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the letters of decedent’s estate. We did not choose. Considering merely his demonstrable
administration issued by the said court to Emilio A.M. Suntay III, if any, are interest in the subject estate, we ruled that Emilio III should likewise
consequently revoked. Petitioner Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay is hereby administer the estate of his illegitimate grandmother, Cristina, as a co-
appointed administratrix of the intestate estate of Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay. administrator. In the context of this case, we have to make a choice and
Let letters of administration be issued in her favor upon her filing of a bond in therefore, reconsider our decision of 16 June 2010.
the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (₱ 200,000.00) Pesos.7 The general rule in the appointment of administrator of the estate of a
As previously adverted to, on appeal by certiorari, we reversed and set aside decedent is laid down in Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court:
the ruling of the appellate court. We decided to include Emilio III as co- SEC. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. – If no executor
administrator of Cristina’s estate, giving weight to his interest in Federico’s is named in the will, or the executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the
estate. In ruling for co-administration between Emilio III and trust, or fail to give bond, or a person dies intestate, administration shall be
Isabel, we considered that: granted:
1. Emilio III was reared from infancy by the decedent, Cristina, and (a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or
her husband, Federico, who both acknowledged him as their both, in the discretion of the court, or to such person as such surviving
grandchild; husband or wife, or next of kin, requests to have appointed, if competent and
2. Federico claimed half of the properties included in the estate of willing to serve;
the decedent, Cristina, as forming part of their conjugal partnership (b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or
of gains during the subsistence of their marriage; the person selected by them, be incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband
3. Cristina’s properties, forming part of her estate, are still or widow, or next of kin, neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the
commingled with those of her husband, Federico, because her share person to apply for administration or to request that administration be granted
in the conjugal partnership remains undetermined and unliquidated; to some other person, it may be granted to one or more of the principal
and creditors, if competent and willing to serve;
4. Emilio III is a legally adopted child of Federico, entitled to share in (c) If there is not such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be
the distribution of the latter’s estate as a direct heir, one degree from granted to such other person as the court may select.
Federico, and not simply in representation of his deceased Textually, the rule lists a sequence to be observed, an order of preference, in
illegitimate father, Emilio I. the appointment of an administrator. This order of preference, which
categorically seeks out the surviving spouse, the next of kin and the creditors an estate desires to have another competent person associated with him in
in the appointment of an administrator, has been reinforced in jurisprudence.8 the office.18
The paramount consideration in the appointment of an administrator over the In the frequently cited Matias v. Gonzales, we dwelt on the appointment of
estate of a decedent is the prospective administrator’s interest in the special co-administrators during the pendency of the appeal for the probate
estate.9 This is the same consideration which Section 6, Rule 78 takes into of the decedent’s will. Pending the probate thereof, we recognized Matias’
account in establishing the order of preference in the appointment of special interest in the decedent’s estate as universal heir and executrix
administrator for the estate. The rationale behind the rule is that those who designated in the instrument who should not be excluded in the
will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and economical administration of the administration thereof. Thus, we held that justice and equity demands that
estate, or, in the alternative, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence the two (2) factions among the non-compulsory heirs of the decedent,
or mismanagement, have the highest interest and most influential motive to consisting of an instituted heir (Matias) and intestate heirs (respondents
administer the estate correctly.10 In all, given that the rule speaks of an order thereat), should be represented in the management of the decedent’s
of preference, the person to be appointed administrator of a decedent’s estate.19
estate must demonstrate not only an interest in the estate, but an interest Another oft-cited case is Vda. de Dayrit v. Ramolete, where we held that
therein greater than any other candidate. "inasmuch as petitioner-wife owns one-half of the conjugal properties and
To illustrate, the preference bestowed by law to the surviving spouse in the that she, too, is a compulsory heir of her husband, to deprive her of any hand
administration of a decedent’s estate presupposes the surviving spouse’s in the administration of the estate prior to the probate of the will would be
interest in the conjugal partnership or community property forming part of the unfair to her proprietary interests."20
decedent’s estate.11 Likewise, a surviving spouse is a compulsory heir of a Hewing closely to the aforementioned cases is our ruling in Ventura v.
decedent12 which evinces as much, if not more, interest in administering the Ventura21 where we allowed the appointment of the surviving spouse and
entire estate of a decedent, aside from her share in the conjugal partnership legitimate children of the decedent as co-administrators. However, we drew a
or absolute community property. distinction between the heirs categorized as next of kin, the nearest of kin in
It is to this requirement of observation of the order of preference in the the category being preferred, thus:
appointment of administrator of a decedent’s estate, that the appointment of In the case at bar, the surviving spouse of the deceased Gregorio Ventura is
co-administrators has been allowed, but as an exception. We again refer to Juana Cardona while the next of kin are: Mercedes and Gregoria Ventura
Section 6(a) of Rule 78 of the Rules of Court which specifically states that and Maria and Miguel Ventura. The "next of kin" has been defined as those
letters of administration may be issued to both the surviving spouse and the persons who are entitled under the statute of distribution to the decedent’s
next of kin. In addition and impliedly, we can refer to Section 2 of Rule 82 of property (citations omitted). It is generally said that "the nearest of kin, whose
the Rules of Court which say that "x x x when an executor or administrator interest in the estate is more preponderant, is preferred in the choice of
dies, resigns, or is removed, the remaining executor or administrator may administrator. ‘Among members of a class the strongest ground for
administer the trust alone, x x x." preference is the amount or preponderance of interest. As between next of
In a number of cases, we have sanctioned the appointment of more than one kin, the nearest of kin is to be preferred.’" (citations omitted)
administrator for the benefit of the estate and those interested therein. 13 We As decided by the lower court and sustained by the Supreme Court,
recognized that the appointment of administrator of the estate of a decedent Mercedes and Gregoria Ventura are the legitimate children of Gregorio
or the determination of a person’s suitability for the office of judicial Ventura and his wife, the late Paulina Simpliciano. Therefore, as the nearest
administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound judgment of the court of kin of Gregorio Ventura, they are entitled to preference over the illegitimate
exercising the power of appointment.14 children of Gregorio Ventura, namely: Maria and Miguel Ventura. Hence,
Under certain circumstances and for various reasons well-settled in under the aforestated preference provided in Section 6 of Rule 78, the
Philippine and American jurisprudence, we have upheld the appointment of person or persons to be appointed administrator are Juana Cardona, as the
co-administrators: (1) to have the benefits of their judgment and perhaps at surviving spouse, or Mercedes and Gregoria Ventura as nearest of kin, or
all times to have different interests represented;15 (2) where justice and equity Juana Cardona and Mercedes and Gregoria Ventura in the discretion of the
demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management Court, in order to represent both interests.22 (Emphasis supplied)
of the estate of the deceased; (3) where the estate is large or, from any In Silverio, Sr. v. Court of Appeals,23 we maintained that the order of
cause, an intricate and perplexing one to settle;16 (4) to have all interested preference in the appointment of an administrator depends on the attendant
persons satisfied and the representatives to work in harmony for the best facts and circumstances. In that case, we affirmed the legitimate child’s
interests of the estate;17 and when a person entitled to the administration of appointment as special administrator, and eventually as regular
administrator, of the decedent’s estate as against the surviving spouse who
the lower court found unsuitable. Reiterating Sioca v. Garcia24 as good law, that she, too, is a compulsory heir of her husband, to deprive her of any hand
we pointed out that unsuitableness for appointment as administrator may in the administration of the estate prior to the probate of the will would be
consist in adverse interest of some kind or hostility to those immediately unfair to her proprietary interests." The special status of a surviving spouse in
interested in the estate. the special administration of an estate was also emphasized in Fule v. Court
In Valarao v. Pascual,25 we see another story with a running theme of heirs of Appeals where we held that the widow would have more interest than any
squabbling over the estate of a decedent. We found no reason to set aside other next of kin in the proper administration of the entire estate since she
the probate court’s refusal to appoint as special co-administrator Diaz, even if possesses not only the right of succession over a portion of the exclusive
he had a demonstrable interest in the estate of the decedent and property of the decedent but also a share in the conjugal partnership for
represented one of the factions of heirs, because the evidence weighed by which the good or bad administration of the estate may affect not just the
the probate court pointed to Diaz’s being remiss in his previous duty as co- fruits but more critically the naked ownership thereof. And in Gabriel v. Court
administrator of the estatein the early part of his administration. Surveying of Appeals we recognized the distinctive status of a surviving spouse
the previously discussed cases of Matias, Corona, and Vda. de Dayrit, we applying as regular administrator of the deceased spouse's estate when we
clarified, thus: counseled the probate court that "there must be a very strong case to justify
Respondents cannot take comfort in the cases of Matias v. Gonzales, the exclusion of the widow from the administration."
Corona v. Court of Appeals, and Vda. de Dayrit v. Ramolete, cited in the Clearly, the selection of a special co-administrator in Matias, Corona and
assailed Decision. Contrary to their claim, these cases do not establish an Vda. de Dayrit was based upon the independent proprietary interests and
absolute right demandable from the probate court to appoint special co- moral circumstances of the appointee that were not necessarily related to the
administrators who would represent the respective interests of squabbling demand for representation being repeatedly urged by
heirs. Rather, the cases constitute precedents for the authority of the probate respondents.26(Emphasis supplied)
court to designate not just one but also two or more special co-administrators In Gabriel v. Court of Appeals, we unequivocally declared the mandatory
for a single estate. Now whether the probate court exercises such character of the rule on the order of preference for the issuance of letters of
prerogative when the heirs are fighting among themselves is a matter left administration:
entirely to its sound discretion. Evidently, the foregoing provision of the Rules prescribes the order of
Furthermore, the cases of Matias, Corona and Vda. de Dayrit hinge upon preference in the issuance of letters of administration, it categorically seeks
factual circumstances other than the incompatible interests of the heirs which out the surviving spouse, the next of kin and the creditors, and requires that
are glaringly absent from the instant case. In Matias this Court ordered the sequence to be observed in appointing an administrator. It would be a grave
appointment of a special co-administrator because of the applicant's status abuse of discretion for the probate court to imperiously set aside and
as the universal heir and executrix designated in the will, which we insouciantly ignore that directive without any valid and sufficient reason
considered to be a "special interest" deserving protection during the therefor.27
pendency of the appeal. Quite significantly, since the lower court in Matias Subsequently, in Angeles v. Angeles-Maglaya,28 we expounded on the legal
had already deemed it best to appoint more than one special administrator, contemplation of a "next of kin," thus:
we found grave abuse of discretion in the act of the lower court in ignoring Finally, it should be noted that on the matter of appointment of administrator
the applicant's distinctive status in the selection of another special of the estate of the deceased, the surviving spouse is preferred over the next
administrator. of kin of the decedent. When the law speaks of "next of kin," the reference is
In Corona we gave "highest consideration" to the "executrix's choice of to those who are entitled, under the statute of distribution, to the decedent's
Special Administrator, considering her own inability to serve and the wide property; one whose relationship is such that he is entitled to share in the
latitude of discretion given her by the testatrix in her will," for this Court to estate as distributed, or, in short, an heir. In resolving, therefore, the issue of
compel her appointment as special co-administrator. It is also manifest from whether an applicant for letters of administration is a next of kin or an heir of
the decision in Corona that the presence of conflicting interests among the the decedent, the probate court perforce has to determine and pass upon the
heirs therein was not per se the key factor in the designation of a second issue of filiation. A separate action will only result in a multiplicity of suits.
special administrator as this fact was taken into account only to disregard or, Upon this consideration, the trial court acted within bounds when it looked
in the words of Corona, to "overshadow" the objections to the appointment into and passed upon the claimed relationship of respondent to the late
on grounds of "impracticality and lack of kinship." Francisco Angeles.29
Finally in Vda. de Dayrit we justified the designation of the wife of the Finally, in Uy v. Court of Appeals,30 we took into consideration the size of,
decedent as special co-administrator because it was "our considered opinion and benefits to, the estate should respondent therein be appointed as co-
that inasmuch as petitioner-wife owns one-half of the conjugal properties and administrator. We emphasized that where the estate is large or, from any
cause, an intricate and perplexing one to settle, the appointment of co- 1. Emilio III, despite several orders from the probate court for a
administrators may be sanctioned by law. complete inventory, omitted in the partial inventories 34 he filed
In our Decision under consideration, we zeroed in on Emilio III’s therewith properties of the estate35 including several parcels of land,
demonstrable interest in the estate and glossed over the order of preference cash, bank deposits, jewelry, shares of stock, motor vehicles, and
set forth in the Rules. We gave weight to Emilio III’s demonstrable interest in other personal properties, contrary to Section 1,36paragraph a, Rule
Cristina’s estate and without a closer scrutiny of the attendant facts and 81 of the Rules of Court.
circumstances, directed co-administration thereof. We are led to a review of 2. Emilio III did not take action on both occasions against Federico’s
such position by the foregoing survey of cases. settlement of the decedent’s estate which adjudicated to himself a
The collected teaching is that mere demonstration of interest in the estate to number of properties properly belonging to said estate (whether
be settled does not ipso facto entitle an interested person to co- wholly or partially), and which contained a declaration that the
administration thereof. Neither does squabbling among the heirs nor adverse decedent did not leave any descendants or heirs, except for
interests necessitate the discounting of the order of preference set forth in Federico, entitled to succeed to her estate.37
Section 6, Rule 78. Indeed, in the appointment of administrator of the estate In compliance to our Resolution dated 18 April 2012 requiring Emilio III to
of a deceased person, the principal consideration reckoned with is the respond to the following imputations of Isabel that:
interest in said estate of the one to be appointed as administrator. 31 Given 1. Emilio III did not file an inventory of the assets until November 14, 2002;
Isabel’s unassailable interest in the estate as one of the decedent’s 2. The inventory Emilio III submitted did not include several properties of the
legitimate grandchildren and undoubted nearest "next of kin," the decedent;
appointment of Emilio III as co-administrator of the same estate, cannot be a 3. That properties belonging to the decedent have found their way to different
demandable right. It is a matter left entirely to the sound discretion of the individuals or persons; several properties to Federico Suntay himself; and
Court32 and depends on the facts and the attendant circumstances of the 4. While some properties have found their way to Emilio III, by reason of
case.33 falsified documents;38
Thus, we proceed to scrutinize the attendant facts and circumstances of this Emilio III refutes Isabel’s imputations that he was lackadaisical in assuming
case even as we reiterate Isabel’s and her sibling’s apparent greater interest and performing the functions of administrator of Cristina’s estate:
in the estate of Cristina. 1. From the time of the RTC’s Order appointing Emilio III as
These considerations do not warrant the setting aside of the order of administrator, Isabel, in her pleadings before the RTC, had
preference mapped out in Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. They vigorously opposed Emilio III’s assumption of that office, arguing that
compel that a choice be made of one over the other. "the decision of the RTC dated 9 November 2001 is not among the
1. The bitter estrangement and long-standing animosity between judgments authorized by the Rules of Court which may be
Isabel, on the one hand, and Emilio III, on the other, traced back immediately implemented or executed;"
from the time their paternal grandparents were alive, which can be 2. The delay in Emilio III’s filing of an inventory was due to Isabel’s
characterized as adverse interest of some kind by, or hostility of, vociferous objections to Emilio III’s attempts to act as administrator
Emilio III to Isabel who is immediately interested in the estate; while the RTC decision was under appeal to the Court of Appeals;
2. Corollary thereto, the seeming impossibility of Isabel and Emilio III 3. The complained partial inventory is only initiatory, inherent in the
working harmoniously as co-administrators may result in prejudice to nature thereof, and one of the first steps in the lengthy process of
the decedent’s estate, ultimately delaying settlement thereof; and settlement of a decedent’s estate, such that it cannot constitute a
3. Emilio III, for all his claims of knowledge in the management of complete and total listing of the decedent’s properties; and
Cristina’s estate, has not looked after the estate’s welfare and has 4. The criminal cases adverted to are trumped-up charges where
acted to the damage and prejudice thereof. Isabel, as private complainant, has been unwilling to appear and
Contrary to the assumption made in the Decision that Emilio III’s testify, leading the Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44 of
demonstrable interest in the estate makes him a suitable co-administrator Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, to warn the prosecutor of a possible
thereof, the evidence reveals that Emilio III has turned out to be an motu propio dismissal of the cases.
unsuitable administrator of the estate. Respondent Isabel points out that after While we can subscribe to Emilio III’s counsel’s explanation for the blamed
Emilio III’s appointment as administrator of the subject estate in 2001, he has delay in the filing of an inventory and his exposition on the nature thereof,
not looked after the welfare of the subject estate and has actually acted to partial as opposed to complete, in the course of the settlement of a
the damage and prejudice thereof as evidenced by the following: decedent’s estate, we do not find any clarification on Isabel’s accusation that
Emilio III had deliberately omitted properties in the inventory, which
properties of Cristina he knew existed and which he claims to be 7. Section 1,43 Rule 90, which allows "any person interested in the estate" to
knowledgeable about. petition for an order for the distribution of the residue of the estate of the
The general denial made by Emilio III does not erase his unsuitability as decedent, after all obligations are either satisfied or provided for.44
administrator rooted in his failure to "make and return x x x a true and In addition to the foregoing, Emilio III may likewise avail of the remedy found
complete inventory" which became proven fact when he actually filed partial in Section 2, Rule 82 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
inventories before the probate court and by his inaction on two occasions of Sec. 2. Court may remove or accept resignation of executor or
Federico’s exclusion of Cristina’s other compulsory heirs, herein Isabel and administrator. Proceedings upon death, resignation, or removal. – If an
her siblings, from the list of heirs. executor or administrator neglects to render his account and settle the estate
As administrator, Emilio III enters into the office, posts a bond and executes according to law, or to perform an order or judgment of the court, or a duty
an oath to faithfully discharge the duties of settling the decedent’s estate with expressly provided by these rules, or absconds, or becomes insane, or
the end in view of distribution to the heirs, if any. This he failed to do. The otherwise incapable or unsuitable to discharge the trust, the court may
foregoing circumstances of Emilio III’s omission and inaction become even remove him, or, in its discretion, may permit him to resign. When an executor
more significant and speak volume of his unsuitability as administrator as it or administrator dies, resigns, or is removed, the remaining executor or
demonstrates his interest adverse to those immediately interested in the administrator may administer the trust alone, unless the court grants letters
estate of the decedent, Cristina. to someone to act with him. If there is no remaining executor or
In this case, palpable from the evidence on record, the pleadings, and the administrator, administration may be granted to any suitable person.
protracted litigation, is the inescapable fact that Emilio III and respondent Once again, as we have done in the Decision, we exercise judicial restraint:
Isabel have a deep aversion for each other.1awp++i1 To our mind, it we uphold that the question of who are the heirs of the decedent Cristina is
becomes highly impractical, nay, improbable, for the two to work as co- not yet upon us. Article 992 of the Civil Code or the curtain bar rule is
administrators of their grandmother’s estate. The allegations of Emilio III, the inapplicable in resolving the issue of who is better qualified to administer the
testimony of Federico and the other witnesses for Federico and Emilio III that estate of the decedent.
Isabel and her siblings were estranged from their grandparents further drive Thus, our disquisition in the assailed Decision:
home the point that Emilio III bears hostility towards Isabel. More importantly, Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that judicial restraint impels us to refrain
it appears detrimental to the decedent’s estate to appoint a co-administrator from making a final declaration of heirship and distributing the presumptive
(Emilio III) who has shown an adverse interest of some kind or hostility to shares of the parties in the estates of Cristina and Federico, considering that
those, such as herein respondent Isabel, immediately interested in the said the question on who will administer the properties of the long deceased
estate. couple has yet to be settled.
Bearing in mind that the issuance of letters of administration is simply a Our holding in Capistrano v. Nadurata on the same issue remains good law:
preliminary order to facilitate the settlement of a decedent’s estate, we here The declaration of heirs made by the lower court is premature, although the
point out that Emilio III is not without remedies to protect his interests in the evidence sufficiently shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. The
estate of the decedent. In Hilado v. Court of Appeals,39 we mapped out as estate had hardly been judicially opened, and the proceeding has not as yet
among the allowable participation of "any interested persons" or "any reached the stage of distribution of the estate which must come after the
persons interested in the estate" in either testate or intestate proceedings: inheritance is liquidated.
xxxx Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court does not depart from the foregoing
4. Section 640 of Rule 87, which allows an individual interested in the estate admonition:
of the deceased "to complain to the court of the concealment, Sec. 1. When order for distribution of residue is made. - x x x. If there is a
embezzlement, or conveyance of any asset of the decedent, or of evidence controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased
of the decedent’s title or interest therein;" person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under
5. Section 1041 of Rule 85, which requires notice of the time and place of the the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
examination and allowance of the Administrator’s account "to persons No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations above
interested;" mentioned has been made or provided for, unless the distributees, or any of
6. Section 7(b)42 of Rule 89, which requires the court to give notice "to the them, give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the
persons interested" before it may hear and grant a petition seeking the payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs.45
disposition or encumbrance of the properties of the estate; and Lastly, we dispose of a peripheral issue raised in the Supplemental
Comment46 of Emilio III questioning the Special Second Division which
issued the 18 April 2012 Resolution. Emilio III asseverates that "the
operation of the Special Second Division in Baguio is unconstitutional and If there are pleadings, motions or incidents subsequent to the denial of the
void" as the Second Division in Manila had already promulgated its Decision motion for reconsideration or clarification, the case shall be acted upon by
on 16 June 2010 on the petition filed by him: the ponente on record with the participation of the other Members of the
7. The question is: who created the Special Second Division in Baguio, Division to which he or she belongs at the time said pleading, motion or
acting separately from the Second Division of the Supreme Court in Manila? incident is to be taken up by the Court. (Emphasis supplied)
There will then be two Second Divisions of the Supreme Court: one acting As regards the operation thereof in Baguio City, such is simply a change in
with the Supreme Court in Manila, and another Special Second Division venue for the Supreme Court's summer session held last April.48
acting independently of the Second Division of the Supreme Court in WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is PARTIALLY GRANTED.
Manila.47 Our Decision in G.R. No. 183053 dated 16 June 2010 is MODIFIED. Letters
For Emilio III’s counsels’ edification, the Special Second Division in Baguio is of Administration over the estate of decedent Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay shall
not a different division created by the Supreme Court. solely issue to respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment of a bond
The Second Division which promulgated its Decision on this case on 16 June to be set by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan, in Special
2010, penned by Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, now has a different Proceeding Case No. 117-M-95. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 78,
composition, with the advent of Justice Nachura’s retirement on 13 June Malolos, Bulacan is likewise directed to settle the estate of decedent Cristina
2011. Section 7, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court provides: Aguinaldo-Suntay with dispatch. No costs.
Sec. 7. Resolutions of motions for reconsideration or clarification of decisions SO ORDERED.
or signed resolutions and all other motions and incidents subsequently filed;
creation of a Special Division. – Motions for reconsideration or clarification of 4. G.R. No. 92999 October 11, 1990
a decision or of a signed resolution and all other motions and incidents REYNALDO MENDIOLA, petitioner,
subsequently filed in the case shall be acted upon by the ponente and the vs.
other Members of the Division who participated in the rendition of the COURT OF APPEAL, REDENTOR A. MENDIOLA, FLORENTINA M.
decision or signed resolution. MENDIOLA, ERNEST'INA A. MENDIOLA, EDGARDO M. MENDIOLA,
If the ponente has retired, is no longer a Member of the Court, is disqualified, MANUEL M. MENDIOLA, ENRICO M. MENDIOLA RICARDO A.
or has inhibited himself or herself from acting on the motion for MENDIOLA and MARILOU M. MENDIOLA, respondents.
reconsideration or clarification, he or she shall be replaced through raffle by a Rodrigo Law Office for petitioner.
new ponente who shall be chosen among the new Members of the Division Antonio M. Pagsibigan for private respondents.
who participated in the rendition of the decision or signed resolution and who
concurred therein. If only one Member of the Court who participated and GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
concurred in the rendition of the decision or signed resolution remains, he or This is a contest between two brothers for appointment as executor of their
she shall be designated as the new ponente. father's estate. The petitioner assails the decision dated February 12, 1990
If a Member (not the ponente) of the Division which rendered the decision or of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 19373 the orders of the Regional
signed resolution has retired, is no longer a Member of the Court, is Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila in Sp. Proc. No. 10027 removing him as
disqualified, or has inhibited himself or herself from acting on the motion for executor of the estate of his father, the late Carlos Mendiola, and appointing
reconsideration or clarification, he or she shall be replaced through raffle by a his brother, Redentor Mendiola, in his stead .
replacement Member who shall be chosen from the other Divisions until a The facts, as stated in the decision of the Court of appeals, are quoted
new Justice is appointed as replacement for the retired Justice. Upon the below:
appointment of a new Justice, he or she shall replace the designated Justice The petitioner and private respondents are the surviving
as replacement Member of the Special Division. heirs of the late Carlos Mendiola who died on December 28,
Any vacancy or vacancies in the Special Division shall be filled by raffle from 1984. Florentina Mendiola is the surviving spouse while the
among the other Members of the Court to constitute a Special Division of five petitioner and all the private respondents are the children of
(5) Members. the.
If the ponente and all the Members of the Division that rendered the Decision A petition for probate of a will was filed by the petitioner on
or signed Resolution are no longer Members of the Court, the case shall be March 30, 1987 in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro
raffled to any Member of the Court and the motion shall be acted upon by Manila entitled 'Probate of the Will and Testament of
him or her with the participation of the other Members of the Division to which Deceased Carlos Mendiola' Sp. Proc. No. 10027 which was
he or she belongs. set for hearing on August 18, 1987.
On October 9, 1987, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 166 judgment of the court exercising the power of appointment
presided by Judge Eutropio Migrino rendered a decision and said judgment is not to be interfered with on appeal
allowing the will and issuing letters testamentary in favor of unless the said court is clearly in error. (Abad vs. Court of
the petitioner who was declared executor of the estate of the Tax Appeals, 18 SCRA 371.)
deceased in the will. After the petitioner took his oath on The removal of an administrator under Section 2 of Rule 82
October 14, 1987 letters testamentary was issued in favor of lies within the discretion of the court appointing him. (Id.)
the petitioner on October 20, 1987. WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the questioned decision dated
On April 28, 1989, the private respondents filed a motion for February 12, 1990 and the order dated April 25, 1990 of the respondent
the removal of the executor and another motion on May 2, Court of Appeals, the petition for review is denied for lack of merit, with costs
1989 for the appointment of Redentor Mendiola of (sic) against the petitioner.
executor. SO ORDERED.
On May 22, 1989, the respondent-Judge granted the motion
and ordered the removal of the petitioner as executor and 5. G.R. No. 164108 May 8, 2009
revoked the letters testamentary. On May 23, 1989, the trial ALFREDO HILADO, LOPEZ SUGAR CORPORATION, FIRST FARMERS
court ordered the appointment of Redentor Mendiola as HOLDING CORPORATION, Petitioners,
executor. vs.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by the petitioner which THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE HONORABLE AMOR A.
was opposed by the private respondents and the trial court REYES, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 21 and
denied the motion for reconsideration. (p. 26, Rollo.) ADMINISTRATRIX JULITA CAMPOS BENEDICTO, Respondents.
On Appeal, the Court of Appeals aimed the judgment of the trial court, hence, DECISION
this petition for review. TINGA, J.:
Petitioner maintains that the Court of Appeals erred in not annulling the The well-known sugar magnate Roberto S. Benedicto died intestate on 15
probate court's order removing him as executor for: (a) no evidence had May 2000. He was survived by his wife, private respondent Julita Campos
been adduced by the respondents in support of their motion for his removal, Benedicto (administratrix Benedicto), and his only daughter, Francisca
and (b) that he was not given his day in court. Benedicto-Paulino.1 At the time of his death, there were two pending civil
There is no merit in the petition. Sufficient evidence was adduced in the cases against Benedicto involving the petitioners. The first, Civil Case No.
proceedings in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, that petitioner failed to pay 95-9137, was then pending with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bacolod
the estate tax. Petitioner's own counsel, Atty. Gregorio Ejercito, admitted in a City, Branch 44, with petitioner Alfredo Hilado as one of the plaintiffs therein.
Manifestation that his client indeed has no proof or receipt of payment of the The second, Civil Case No. 11178, was then pending with the RTC of
estate tax (Annexes "C" and "L", pp. 69 & 84, Rollo, respectively). Petitioner Bacolod City, Branch 44, with petitioners Lopez Sugar Corporation and First
also failed to render an accounting of the estate and settle the same Farmers Holding Corporation as one of the plaintiffs therein.2
according to law. Furthermore, he involved the heirs in a transaction with On 25 May 2000, private respondent Julita Campos Benedicto filed with the
Villarica Pawnshop which, because of petitioner's failure to honor his part of RTC of Manila a petition for the issuance of letters of administration in her
the bargain, resulted in the filing of a suit by Villarica against the heirs (Civil favor, pursuant to Section 6, Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court. The
Case No. 58450). The case is still pending in the Regional Trial Court of petition was raffled to Branch 21, presided by respondent Judge Amor A.
Pasig. Reyes. Said petition acknowledged the value of the assets of the decedent to
The removal of the petitioner is in accordance with the provisions of Section be ₱5 Million, "net of liabilities."3 On 2 August 2000, the Manila RTC issued
2, Rule 82 of the Rules of Court that: an order appointing private respondent as administrator of the estate of her
If an executor or administrator neglects to render his account deceased husband, and issuing letters of administration in her favor.4 In
and settle the estate according to law, or to perform an order January 2001, private respondent submitted an Inventory of the Estate, Lists
or judgment of the court, or a duty expressly provided by of Personal and Real Properties, and Liabilities of the Estate of her deceased
these rules, or absconds, or becomes insane, or otherwise husband.5 In the List of Liabilities attached to the inventory, private
incapable or unsuitable to discharge the trust, the court may respondent included as among the liabilities, the above-mentioned two
remove him, or in its discretion, may permit him to resign ... . pending claims then being litigated before the Bacolod City courts. 6 Private
The determination of a person's suitability for the office of respondent stated that the amounts of liability corresponding to the two
judicial administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound cases as ₱136,045,772.50 for Civil Case No. 95-9137 and ₱35,198,697.40
for Civil Case No. 11178.7 Thereafter, the Manila RTC required private the Bureau of Internal Revenue to assist in the appraisal of the fair market
respondent to submit a complete and updated inventory and appraisal report value of the same.15 Third, petitioners moved that the intestate court set a
pertaining to the estate.8 deadline for the submission by the administrator of her verified annual
On 24 September 2001, petitioners filed with the Manila RTC a account, and, upon submission thereof, set the date for her examination
Manifestation/Motion Ex Abundanti Cautela,9praying that they be furnished under oath with respect thereto, with due notice to them and other parties
with copies of all processes and orders pertaining to the intestate interested in the collation, preservation and disposition of the estate. 16
proceedings. Private respondent opposed the manifestation/motion, The Court of Appeals chose to view the matter from a perspective solely
disputing the personality of petitioners to intervene in the intestate informed by the rule on intervention. We can readily agree with the Court of
proceedings of her husband. Even before the Manila RTC acted on the Appeals on that point. Section 1 of Rule 19 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
manifestation/motion, petitioners filed an omnibus motion praying that the Procedure requires that an intervenor "has a legal interest in the matter in
Manila RTC set a deadline for the submission by private respondent of the litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both,
required inventory of the decedent’s estate.10 Petitioners also filed other or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other
pleadings or motions with the Manila RTC, alleging lapses on the part of disposition of property in the custody of the court x x x" While the language of
private respondent in her administration of the estate, and assailing the Section 1, Rule 19 does not literally preclude petitioners from intervening in
inventory that had been submitted thus far as unverified, incomplete and the intestate proceedings, case law has consistently held that the legal
inaccurate. interest required of an intervenor "must be actual and material, direct and
On 2 January 2002, the Manila RTC issued an order denying the immediate, and not simply contingent and expectant."17
manifestation/motion, on the ground that petitioners are not interested parties Nonetheless, it is not immediately evident that intervention under the Rules
within the contemplation of the Rules of Court to intervene in the intestate of Civil Procedure necessarily comes into operation in special proceedings.
proceedings.11 After the Manila RTC had denied petitioners’ motion for The settlement of estates of deceased persons fall within the rules of special
reconsideration, a petition for certiorari was filed with the Court of Appeals. proceedings under the Rules of Court,18 not the Rules on Civil Procedure.
The petition argued in general that petitioners had the right to intervene in the Section 2, Rule 72 further provides that "[i]n the absence of special
intestate proceedings of Roberto Benedicto, the latter being the defendant in provisions, the rules provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as far as
the civil cases they lodged with the Bacolod RTC. practicable, applicable to special proceedings."
On 27 February 2004, the Court of Appeals promulgated a We can readily conclude that notwithstanding Section 2 of Rule 72,
decision12 dismissing the petition and declaring that the Manila RTC did not intervention as set forth under Rule 19 does not extend to creditors of a
abuse its discretion in refusing to allow petitioners to intervene in the decedent whose credit is based on a contingent claim. The definition of
intestate proceedings. The allowance or disallowance of a motion to "intervention" under Rule 19 simply does not accommodate contingent
intervene, according to the appellate court, is addressed to the sound claims.
discretion of the court. The Court of Appeals cited the fact that the claims of Yet, even as petitioners now contend before us that they have the right to
petitioners against the decedent were in fact contingent or expectant, as intervene in the intestate proceedings of Roberto Benedicto, the reliefs they
these were still pending litigation in separate proceedings before other had sought then before the RTC, and also now before us, do not square with
courts. their recognition as intervenors. In short, even if it were declared that
Hence, the present petition. In essence, petitioners argue that the lower petitioners have no right to intervene in accordance with Rule 19, it would not
courts erred in denying them the right to intervene in the intestate necessarily mean the disallowance of the reliefs they had sought before the
proceedings of the estate of Roberto Benedicto. Interestingly, the rules of RTC since the right to intervene is not one of those reliefs.
procedure they cite in support of their argument is not the rule on To better put across what the ultimate disposition of this petition should be,
intervention, but rather various other provisions of the Rules on Special let us now turn our focus to the Rules on Special Proceedings.
Proceedings.13 In several instances, the Rules on Special Proceedings entitle "any
To recall, petitioners had sought three specific reliefs that were denied by the interested persons" or "any persons interested in the estate" to participate in
courts a quo. First, they prayed that they be henceforth furnished "copies of varying capacities in the testate or intestate proceedings. Petitioners cite
all processes and orders issued" by the intestate court as well as the these provisions before us, namely: (1) Section 1, Rule 79, which recognizes
pleadings filed by administratrix Benedicto with the said court.14 Second, they the right of "any person interested" to oppose the issuance of letters
prayed that the intestate court set a deadline for the submission by testamentary and to file a petition for administration;" (2) Section 3, Rule 79,
administratrix Benedicto to submit a verified and complete inventory of the which mandates the giving of notice of hearing on the petition for letters of
estate, and upon submission thereof, order the inheritance tax appraisers of administration to the known heirs, creditors, and "to any other persons
believed to have interest in the estate;" (3) Section 1, Rule 76, which allows a trial court ordered the increase of the bond and took cognizance of the
"person interested in the estate" to petition for the allowance of a will; (4) pending civil case, the administrator moved to close the intestate
Section 6 of Rule 87, which allows an individual interested in the estate of the proceedings, on the ground that the heirs had already entered into an
deceased "to complain to the court of the concealment, embezzlement, or extrajudicial partition of the estate. The trial court refused to close the
conveyance of any asset of the decedent, or of evidence of the decedent’s intestate proceedings pending the termination of the civil case, and the Court
title or interest therein;" (5) Section 10 of Rule 85, which requires notice of affirmed such action.
the time and place of the examination and allowance of the Administrator’s If the appellants filed a claim in intervention in the intestate proceedings it
account "to persons interested;" (6) Section 7(b) of Rule 89, which requires was only pursuant to their desire to protect their interests it appearing that
the court to give notice "to the persons interested" before it may hear and the property in litigation is involved in said proceedings and in fact is the only
grant a petition seeking the disposition or encumbrance of the properties of property of the estate left subject of administration and distribution; and the
the estate; and (7) Section 1, Rule 90, which allows "any person interested in court is justified in taking cognizance of said civil case because of the
the estate" to petition for an order for the distribution of the residue of the unavoidable fact that whatever is determined in said civil case will
estate of the decedent, after all obligations are either satisfied or provided necessarily reflect and have a far reaching consequence in the determination
for. and distribution of the estate. In so taking cognizance of civil case No. V-331
Had the claims of petitioners against Benedicto been based on contract, the court does not assume general jurisdiction over the case but merely
whether express or implied, then they should have filed their claim, even if makes of record its existence because of the close interrelation of the two
contingent, under the aegis of the notice to creditors to be issued by the court cases and cannot therefore be branded as having acted in excess of its
immediately after granting letters of administration and published by the jurisdiction.
administrator immediately after the issuance of such notice. 19 However, it Appellants' claim that the lower court erred in holding in abeyance the closing
appears that the claims against Benedicto were based on tort, as they arose of the intestate proceedings pending determination of the separate civil
from his actions in connection with Philsucom, Nasutra and Traders Royal action for the reason that there is no rule or authority justifying the extension
Bank. Civil actions for tort or quasi-delict do not fall within the class of claims of administration proceedings until after the separate action pertaining to its
to be filed under the notice to creditors required under Rule 86. 20 These general jurisdiction has been terminated, cannot be entertained. Section 1,
actions, being as they are civil, survive the death of the decedent and may be Rule 88, of the Rules of Court, expressly provides that "action to recover real
commenced against the administrator pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87. or personal property from the estate or to enforce a lien thereon, and actions
Indeed, the records indicate that the intestate estate of Benedicto, as to recover damages for an injury to person or property, real or personal, may
represented by its administrator, was successfully impleaded in Civil Case be commenced against the executor or administrator." What practical value
No. 11178, whereas the other civil case21 was already pending review before would this provision have if the action against the administrator cannot be
this Court at the time of Benedicto’s death. prosecuted to its termination simply because the heirs desire to close the
Evidently, the merits of petitioners’ claims against Benedicto are to be settled intestate proceedings without first taking any step to settle the ordinary civil
in the civil cases where they were raised, and not in the intestate case? This rule is but a corollary to the ruling which declares that questions
proceedings. In the event the claims for damages of petitioners are granted, concerning ownership of property alleged to be part of the estate but claimed
they would have the right to enforce the judgment against the estate. Yet by another person should be determined in a separate action and should be
until such time, to what extent may they be allowed to participate in the submitted to the court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction. These rules
intestate proceedings? would be rendered nugatory if we are to hold that an intestate proceedings
Petitioners place heavy reliance on our ruling in Dinglasan v. Ang Chia, 22 and can be closed by any time at the whim and caprice of the heirs x x
it does provide us with guidance on how to proceed. A brief narration of the x23(Emphasis supplied) [Citations omitted]
facts therein is in order. Dinglasan had filed an action for reconveyance and It is not clear whether the claim-in-intervention filed by Dinglasan conformed
damages against respondents, and during a hearing of the case, learned that to an action-in-intervention under the Rules of Civil Procedure, but we can
the same trial court was hearing the intestate proceedings of Lee Liong to partake of the spirit behind such pronouncement. Indeed, a few years later,
whom Dinglasan had sold the property years earlier. Dinglasan thus the Court, citing Dinglasan, stated: "[t]he rulings of this court have always
amended his complaint to implead Ang Chia, administrator of the estate of been to the effect that in the special proceeding for the settlement of the
her late husband. He likewise filed a verified claim-in-intervention, estate of a deceased person, persons not heirs, intervening therein to protect
manifesting the pendency of the civil case, praying that a co-administrator be their interests are allowed to do so to protect the same, but not for a decision
appointed, the bond of the administrator be increased, and that the intestate on their action."24
proceedings not be closed until the civil case had been terminated. When the
Petitioners’ interests in the estate of Benedicto may be inchoate interests, but judge, praying that they be allowed access to the records of the intestate
they are viable interests nonetheless. We are mindful that the Rules of proceedings, which the respondent judge had denied from them. Section 2 of
Special Proceedings allows not just creditors, but also "any person Rule 135 came to fore, the provision stating that "the records of every court
interested" or "persons interested in the estate" various specified capacities of justice shall be public records and shall be available for the inspection of
to protect their respective interests in the estate. Anybody with a contingent any interested person x x x." The Court ruled that petitioners were "interested
claim based on a pending action for quasi-delict against a decedent may be persons" entitled to access the court records in the intestate proceedings.
reasonably concerned that by the time judgment is rendered in their favor, We said:
the estate of the decedent would have already been distributed, or Petitioners' stated main purpose for accessing the records to—monitor
diminished to the extent that the judgment could no longer be enforced prompt compliance with the Rules governing the preservation and proper
against it. disposition of the assets of the estate, e.g., the completion and appraisal of
In the same manner that the Rules on Special Proceedings do not provide a the Inventory and the submission by the Administratrix of an annual
creditor or any person interested in the estate, the right to participate in every accounting—appears legitimate, for, as the plaintiffs in the complaints for sum
aspect of the testate or intestate proceedings, but instead provides for of money against Roberto Benedicto, et al., they have an interest over the
specific instances when such persons may accordingly act in those outcome of the settlement of his estate. They are in fact "interested persons"
proceedings, we deem that while there is no general right to intervene on the under Rule 135, Sec. 2 of the Rules of Court x x x26
part of the petitioners, they may be allowed to seek certain prayers or reliefs Allowing creditors, contingent or otherwise, access to the records of the
from the intestate court not explicitly provided for under the Rules, if the intestate proceedings is an eminently preferable precedent than mandating
prayer or relief sought is necessary to protect their interest in the estate, and the service of court processes and pleadings upon them. In either case, the
there is no other modality under the Rules by which such interests can be interest of the creditor in seeing to it that the assets are being preserved and
protected. It is under this standard that we assess the three prayers sought disposed of in accordance with the rules will be duly satisfied. Acknowledging
by petitioners. their right to access the records, rather than entitling them to the service of
The first is that petitioners be furnished with copies of all processes and every court order or pleading no matter how relevant to their individual claim,
orders issued in connection with the intestate proceedings, as well as the will be less cumbersome on the intestate court, the administrator and the
pleadings filed by the administrator of the estate. There is no questioning as heirs of the decedent, while providing a viable means by which the interests
to the utility of such relief for the petitioners. They would be duly alerted of of the creditors in the estate are preserved.1awphi1
the developments in the intestate proceedings, including the status of the Nonetheless, in the instances that the Rules on Special Proceedings do
assets of the estate. Such a running account would allow them to pursue the require notice to any or all "interested parties" the petitioners as "interested
appropriate remedies should their interests be compromised, such as the parties" will be entitled to such notice. The instances when notice has to be
right, under Section 6, Rule 87, to complain to the intestate court if property given to interested parties are provided in: (1) Sec. 10, Rule 85 in reference
of the estate concealed, embezzled, or fraudulently conveyed. to the time and place of examining and allowing the account of the executor
At the same time, the fact that petitioners’ interests remain inchoate and or administrator; (2) Sec. 7(b) of Rule 89 concerning the petition to authorize
contingent counterbalances their ability to participate in the intestate the executor or administrator to sell personal estate, or to sell, mortgage or
proceedings. We are mindful of respondent’s submission that if the Court otherwise encumber real estates; and; (3) Sec. 1, Rule 90 regarding the
were to entitle petitioners with service of all processes and pleadings of the hearing for the application for an order for distribution of the estate residue.
intestate court, then anybody claiming to be a creditor, whether contingent or After all, even the administratrix has acknowledged in her submitted
otherwise, would have the right to be furnished such pleadings, no matter inventory, the existence of the pending cases filed by the petitioners.
how wanting of merit the claim may be. Indeed, to impose a precedent that We now turn to the remaining reliefs sought by petitioners; that a deadline be
would mandate the service of all court processes and pleadings to anybody set for the submission by administratrix Benedicto to submit a verified and
posing a claim to the estate, much less contingent claims, would unduly complete inventory of the estate, and upon submission thereof: the
complicate and burden the intestate proceedings, and would ultimately inheritance tax appraisers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue be required to
offend the guiding principle of speedy and orderly disposition of cases. assist in the appraisal of the fair market value of the same; and that the
Fortunately, there is a median that not only exists, but also has been intestate court set a deadline for the submission by the administratrix of her
recognized by this Court, with respect to the petitioners herein, that verified annual account, and, upon submission thereof, set the date for her
addresses the core concern of petitioners to be apprised of developments in examination under oath with respect thereto, with due notice to them and
the intestate proceedings. In Hilado v. Judge Reyes,25 the Court heard a other parties interested in the collation, preservation and disposition of the
petition for mandamus filed by the same petitioners herein against the RTC estate. We cannot grant said reliefs.
Section 1 of Rule 83 requires the administrator to return to the court a true Acting on the Motion For Allowance dated June 30, 1982
inventory and appraisal of all the real and personal estate of the deceased filed by Victor, Rodrigo, Anselmina and Miguel, all surnamed
within three (3) months from appointment, while Section 8 of Rule 85 Santero, thru their guardian, Anselma Diaz, the Opposition
requires the administrator to render an account of his administration within thereto dated July 8, 1982 filed by the oppositors, the Reply
one (1) year from receipt of the letters testamentary or of administration. We to Opposition dated July 12, 1982 filed by movant Anselma
do not doubt that there are reliefs available to compel an administrator to Diaz and the Rejoinder dated July 26, 1982 filed by the
perform either duty, but a person whose claim against the estate is still oppositors, the Court was constrained to examine the Motion
contingent is not the party entitled to do so. Still, even if the administrator did For Allowance filed by the herein movant last year wherein
delay in the performance of these duties in the context of dissipating the the ground cited was for support which included educational
assets of the estate, there are protections enforced and available under Rule expenses, clothing and medical necessities, which was
88 to protect the interests of those with contingent claims against the estate. granted and said minors were given an allowance prayed for
Concerning complaints against the general competence of the administrator, in their motion.
the proper remedy is to seek the removal of the administrator in accordance In the Motion For Allowance in question guardian-movant
with Section 2, Rule 82. While the provision is silent as to who may seek with Anselma Diaz only followed the precedent of the Court which
the court the removal of the administrator, we do not doubt that a creditor, granted a similar motion last year to be spent for the school
even a contingent one, would have the personality to seek such relief. After expenses of her wards. In their opposition the oppositors
all, the interest of the creditor in the estate relates to the preservation of contend that the wards for whom allowance is sought are no
sufficient assets to answer for the debt, and the general competence or good longer schooling and have attained majority age so that they
faith of the administrator is necessary to fulfill such purpose. are no longer under guardianship. They likewise allege that
All told, the ultimate disposition of the RTC and the Court of Appeals is the administrator does not have sufficient funds to cover the
correct. Nonetheless, as we have explained, petitioners should not be said allowance because whatever funds are in the hands of
deprived of their prerogatives under the Rules on Special Proceedings as the administrator, they constitute funds held in trust for the
enunciated in this decision. benefit of whoever will be adjudged as owners of the Kawit
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, subject to the qualification that property from which said administrator derives the only
petitioners, as persons interested in the intestate estate of Roberto income of the intestate estate of Pablo Santero, et al.
Benedicto, are entitled to such notices and rights as provided for such In the Reply filed by the guardian-movant, she admitted
interested persons in the Rules on Settlement of Estates of Deceased some of her children are of age and not enrolled for the first
Persons under the Rules on Special Proceedings. No pronouncements as to semester due to lack of funds but will be enrolled as soon as
costs. they are given the requested allowances. She cited Article
SO ORDERED. 290 of the Civil Code providing that:
Support is everything that is indispensable
for substance, dwelling, clothing and
6. G.R. No. L-61700 September 14, 1987 medical attendance, according to the social
PRINCESITA SANTERO, FEDERICO SANTERO and WILLIE position of the family.
SANTERO, petitioners, Support also includes the education of the
vs. person entitled to be supported until he
HON. COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CAVITE, ANSELMA DIAZ, completes his education or training for some
VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA, MIGUEL, all surnamed SANTERO, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of
and REYNALDO EVARISTO, in his capacity as Administrator of the majority.'
Intestate Estate of PABLO SANTERO, respondents. citing also Section 3 of Rule 83 of the Rules of Court which provides:
Allowance to widow and family. The widow
PARAS, J.: and minor or incapacitated children of a
This is a Petition for certiorari which questions the order of the respondent deceased person, during the settlement of
court granting the Motion for Allowance filed by private respondents. Said the estate, shall receive therefrom, under
order reads as follows: the direction of the Court, such allowance as
provided by law.'
From the foregoing discussion alone, the Court cannot
deviate from its duty to give the allowance sought by the
wards, the fact that they need further education which should
have been provided to them if their deceased father were
alive.
On the allegation that the funds from which the allowance
would be derived are trust funds, the Court, time and again
had emphasized that the estate of the Santeros is quite big
and the amount to be released for allowances is indeed
insignificant and which can easily be replaced from its (pp. 35-36, Rollo)
general fund if the so-called trust fund is adjudicated to the It appears from the records that petitioners Princesita Santero-Morales,
oppositors. Federico Santero and Winy Santero are the children begotten by the late
WHEREFORE, Victor, Rodrigo, Anselmina and Miguel, all Pablo Santero with Felixberta Pacursa while private respondents Victor,
surnamed Santero are hereby granted an allowance of two Rodrigo, Anselmina and Miguel all surnamed Santero are four of the seven
thousand (P2,000.00) pesos each for tuition fees, clothing children begotten by the same Pablo Santero with Anselma Diaz. Both sets
materials and subsistence out of any available funds in the of children are the natural children of the late Pablo Santero since neither of
hands of the administrator who is ordered to reimburse to their mothers, was married to their father Pablo. Pablo Santero in turn, who
them the said amount after this order shall have become died on November 30, 1973 was the only legitimate son of Pascual Santero
final to enable the oppositors to file their appeal by certiorari who died in 1970 and Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who died in 1976.
if they so desire within the reglementary period. Meanwhile before We could act on the instant petition private respondents
SO ORDERED. filed another Motion for Allowance dated March 25, 1985 with the respondent
Bacoor, Cavite, July 28, 1982. court to include Juanita, Estelita and Pedrito all surnamed Santero as
children of the
I late Pablo Santero with Anselma Diaz praying that an order be
granted directing
L the administrator Reynaldo C. Evaristo, to deliver the sum
of P6,000.00D to each of the seven (7) children of Anselma Diaz as their
allowance fromE the estate of Pablo Santero. The respondent Court granted
the motion F of the private respondents but oppositors (petitioners herein)
asked the court
O to reconsider said Order.
On September N 10, 1985, an Amended Order was issued by respondent
Court directing
S Anselma Diaz to submit her clarification or explanation as to
the additionalO three (3) children of Anselma Diaz included in the motion. In
compliance therewith Anselma Diaz filed her "Clarification" stating among
others that M in her previous motions, only the last four minor children as
represented . by the mother, Anselma Diaz were included in the motion for
support and her first three (3) children who were then of age should have
been included B since all her children have the right to receive allowance as
advance payment
L of their shares in the inheritance of Pablo Santero under
Art. 188, of the
E New Civil Code.
On October Z 15, 1985, petitioners herein filed their Motion
to Admit Supplemental
A Petition opposing the inclusion of three (3) more
heirs. We denied
E that "Motion for Extension of Time to file their Supplemental
Petition" as per
x Our Resolution dated October 23, 1985.
On November e 11, 1985, another Order was issued by the respondent court
directing thecadministrator of the estate to get back the allowance of the three
additional recipients
u or children of Anselma Diaz apparently based on the
t
oppositors' (petitioners herein) "Urgent Motion to Direct the Administrator to The present petition obviously lacks merit.
Withhold Disbursement of Allowance to the Movants." The controlling provision of law is not Rule 83, Sec. 3 of the New Rules of
The issues now being raised in this present Petition are: Court but Arts. 290 and 188 of the Civil Code reading as follows:
1. Whether or not respondent court acted with abuse of Art. 290. Support is everything that is indispensable for
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in granting the sustenance, dwelling, clothing and medical attendance,
allowance to the respondents Victor, Rodrigo, Anselmina according tothe social position of the family.
and Miguel-P2,000.00 each despite the fact that all of them Support also includes the education of the person entitled to
are not minors and all are gainfully employed with the be supported until he completes his education or training for
exception of Miguel. some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of
2. Whether or not respondent Court acted with abuse of majority.
discretion in granting the allowance based on the allegations Art. 188. From the common mass of property support shall
of the said respondents that the abovenamed wards are still be given to the surviving spouse and to the children during
schooling and they are in actual need of money to defray the liquidation of the inventoried property and until what
their school expenses for 1982-83 when the truth is that they belongs to them is delivered; but from this shall be deducted
are no longer schooling. that amount received for support which exceeds the fruits or
3. Whether or not respondent Court acted with abuse of rents pertaining to them.
discretion in granting the motion for allowance without The fact that private respondents are of age, gainfully employed, or married
conducting a hearing thereon, to determine the truth of is of no moment and should not be regarded as the determining factor of
allegations of the private respondents. their right to allowance under Art. 188. While the Rules of Court limit
Petitioners argue that private respondents are not entitled to any allowance allowances to the widow and minor or incapacitated children of the
since they have already attained majority age, two are gainfully employed deceased, the New Civil Code gives the surviving spouse and his/her
and one is married as provided for under Sec. 3 Rule 83, of the Rules of children without distinction. Hence, the private respondents Victor, Rodrigo,
Court. Petitioners also allege that there was misrepresentation on the part of Anselmina and Miguel all surnamed Santero are entitled to allowances as
the guardian in asking for allowance for tuition fees, books and other school advances from their shares in the inheritance from their father Pablo Santero.
materials and other miscellaneous expenses for school term 1982-83 Since the provision of the Civil Code, a substantive law, gives the surviving
because these wards have already attained majority age so that they are no spouse and to the children the right to receive support during the liquidation
longer under guardianship. They further allege that the administrator of the of the estate of the deceased, such right cannot be impaired by Rule 83 Sec.
estate of Pablo Santero does not have sufficient funds to cover said 3 of the Rules of Court which is a procedural rule. Be it noted however that
allowance because whatever funds are in the hands of the administrator with respect to "spouse," the same must be the "legitimate spouse" (not
constitute funds held in trust for the benefit of whoever will be adjudged as common-law spouses who are the mothers of the children here).
owners of the Kawit properties from where these funds now held by the It is not true that the Motion for Allowance was granted by respondent Court
administrator are derived. without hearing. The record shows that the "Motion for Allowance" dated
In this connection, the question of whether the private respondents are June 30, 1982 contains a Notice of Hearing (p. 2, Annex "A") addressed to
entitled to allowance or not concerns only the intestate estate of the late the lawyers for the petitioners and setting the hearing thereof on July 8, 1982
Pablo Santero and not the intestate estates of Pascual Santero and Simona at 9:00 in the morning. Apparently a copy of said motion was duly received
Pamuti, parents of their late legitimate son Pablo Santero. The reason for this by the lawyer, Atty. Beltran as he filed an opposition thereto on the same
is Art. 992 of the New Civil Code which states that "An illegitimate child has date of hearing of the motion. Furthermore even the instant petition admits
no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his that the wards, (petitioners and private respondents as represented by their
father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same respective guardians) "have been granted allowances for school expenses
manner from the illegitimate child." The question of whether or not the for about 8 years now." The respondent court in granting the motion for
petitioners and private respondents are entitled to inherit by right of allowance merely "followed the precedent of the court which granted
representation from their grandparents more particularly from Simona Pamuti a similar motion last year." (Annex "F") However in previous years (1979-
was settled by Us in the related case of "Anselma Diaz, et al. vs. Felisa 1981) the "wards" (petitioners and private respondents) only received
Pamuti-Jardin" (G.R. No. 66574-R) wherein We held that in view of the P1,500.00 each depending upon the availability of funds as granted by the
barrier present in said Art. 992, petitioners and private respondents are court in several orders. (Annex 1 to Annex 4).
excluded from the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
WHEREFORE, in the light of the aforementioned circumstances, the instant was denied on April 24, 1961, the trial judge stating that the contract in favor
Petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed judgment is AFFIRMED. of Escanlar was executed in bad faith and was fraudulent because of the
SO ORDERED. imminence of Nombre's removal as administrator, one of the causes of which
was his indiscriminate pleasant, of the property with inadequate rentals.
7. G.R. No. L-19265 May 29, 1964 From this Order, a petition for Certiorari asking for the annulment of the
MOISES SAN DIEGO, SR., petitioner, Orders of April 8 and 24, 1961 was presented by Nombre and Escanlar with
vs. the Court of Appeals. A Writ of preliminary injunction was likewise prayed for
ADELO NOMBRE and PEDRO ESCANLAR, respondents. to restrain the new administrator Campillanos from possessing the fishpond
A. R. Castañeda and M. S. Roxas for petitioner. and from executing a new lease contract covering it; requiring him to return
Amado B. Parreño Law Office for respondents. the possession thereof to Escanlar, plus damages and attorney's fees in the
PAREDES, J.: amount of P10,000.00 and costs. The Court of Appeals issued the injunctive
The case at bar had its origin in Special Proceedings No. 7279 of the CFI of writ and required respondents therein to Answer. Campillanos insisted on the
Negros Occidental wherein respondent Adelo Nombre was the duly invalidity of the contract in favor of Escanlar; the lower court alleged that it
constituted judicial administrator. On May 1, 1960, Nombre, in his capacity did not exactly annul or invalidate the lease in his questioned orders but
was judicial administrator of the intestate estate subject of the Sp. Proc. suggested merely that Escanlar "may file a separate ordinary action in the
stated above, leased one of the properties of the estate (a fishpond identified Court of general jurisdiction."
as Lot No. 1617 of the cadastral survey of Kabankaban, Negros Occidental), The Court of Appeals, in dismissing the petition for certiorari, among others
to Pedro Escanlar, the other respondent. The terms of the lease was for said —
three (3) years, with a yearly rental of P3,000.00 to expire on May 1, 1963, The controlling issue in this case is the legality of the contract of
the transaction having been done, admittedly, without previous authority or lease entered into by the former administrator Nombre, and Pedro
approval of the Court where the proceedings was pending. On January 17, Escanlar on May 1, 1960.
1961, Nombre was removed as administrator by Order of the court and one Respondents contend that this contract, not having been authorized
Sofronio Campillanos was appointed in his stead. The appeal on the Order of or approved by the Court, is null and void and cannot be an obstacle
Nombre's removal is supposedly pending with the Court of Appeals. to the execution of another of lease by the new administrator,
Respondent Escanlar was cited for contempt, allegedly for his refusal to Campillanos. This contention is without merit. ... . It has been held
surrender the fishpond to the newly appointed administrator. On March 20, that even in the absence of such special powers, a contract or lease
1961, Campillanos filed a motion asking for authority to execute a lease for more than 6 years is not entirely invalid; it is invalid only in so far
contract of the same fishpond, in favor of petitioner herein, Moises San as it exceeds the six-year limit (Enrique v. Watson Company, et al., 6
Diego, Sr., for 5 years from 1961, at a yearly rental of P5,000.00. Escanlar Phil. 84). 1
was not notified of such motion. Nombre, the deposed administrator, No such limitation on the power of a judicial administrator to grant a
presented a written opposition to the motion of Campillanos on April 11, lease of property placed under his custody is provided for in the
1964, pointing out that the fishpond had been leased by him to Escanlar for 3 present law. Under Article 1647 of the present Civil Code, it is only
years, the period of which was going to expire on May 1, 1963. In a when the lease is to be recorded in the Registry of Property that it
supplemental opposition, he also invited the attention of the Court that to cannot be instituted without special authority. Thus, regardless of the
grant the motion of the new administrator would in effect nullify the contract period of lease, there is no need of special authority unless the
in favor of Escanlar, a person on whom the Court had no jurisdiction. He also contract is to be recorded in the Registry of Property. As to whether
intimated that the validity of the lease contract entered into by a judicial the contract in favor of Escanlar is to be so recorded is not material
administrator, must be recognized unless so declared void in a separate to our inquiry. 1äwphï1.ñët
action. The opposition notwithstanding, the Court on April 8, 1961, in effect On the contrary, Rule 85, Section 3, of the Rules of Court authorizes
declared that the contract in favor of Escanlar was null and void, for want of a judicial administrator, among other things, to administer the estate
judicial authority and that unless he would offer the same as or better of the deceased not disposed of by will. Commenting on this Section
conditions than the prospective lessee, San Diego, there was no good in the light of several Supreme Court decisions (Jocson de Hilado v.
reason why the motion for authority to lease the property to San Diego Nava, 69 Phil. 1; Gamboa v. Gamboa, 68 Phil. 304; Ferraris v.
should not be granted. Nombre moved to reconsider the Order of April 8, Rodas, 65 Phil. 732; Rodriguez v. Borromeo, 43 Phil. 479), Moran
stating that Escanlar was willing to increase the rental of P5,000.00, but only says: "Under this provision, the executor or administrator has the
after the termination of his original contract. The motion for reconsideration power of administering the estate of the deceased for purposes of
liquidation and distribution. He may, therefore, exercise all acts of militates in favor of this view. While it may be admitted that the duties of a
administration without special authority of the Court. For instance, he judicial administrator and an agent (petitioner alleges that both act in
may lease the property without securing previously any permission representative capacity), are in some respects, identical, the provisions on
from the court. And where the lease has formally been entered into, agency (Art. 1878, C.C.), should not apply to a judicial administrator. A
the court cannot, in the same proceeding, annul the same, to the judicial administrator is appointed by the Court. He is not only the
prejudice of the lessee, over whose person it had no jurisdiction. The representative of said Court, but also the heirs and creditors of the estate
proper remedy would be a separate action by the administrator or (Chua Tan v. Del Rosario, 57 Phil. 411). A judicial administrator before
the heirs to annul the lease. ... . entering into his duties, is required to file a bond. These circumstances are
On September 13, 1961, petitioner herein Moises San Diego, Sr., who was not true in case of agency. The agent is only answerable to his principal. The
not a party in the case, intervened and moved for a reconsideration of the protection which the law gives the principal, in limiting the powers and rights
above judgment. The original parties (the new administrator and respondent of an agent, stems from the fact that control by the principal can only be thru
judge) also filed Motions for reconsideration, but we do not find them in the agreements, whereas the acts of a judicial administrator are subject to
record. On November 18, 1961, the Court of Appeals denied the motions for specific provisions of law and orders of the appointing court. The observation
reconsideration. With the denial of the said motions, only San Diego, of former Chief Justice Moran, as quoted in the decision of the Court of
appealed therefrom, raising legal questions, which center on "Whether a Appeals, is indeed sound, and We are not prone to alter the same, at the
judicial administrator can validly lease property of the estate without prior moment.
judicial authority and approval", and "whether the provisions of the New Civil We, likewise, seriously doubt petitioner's legal standing to pursue this
Code on Agency should apply to judicial administrators." appeal. And, if We consider the fact that after the expiration of the original
The Rules of Court provide that — period of the lease contract executed by respondent Nombre in favor of
An executor or administrator shall have the right to the possession of Escanlar, a new contract in favor of said Escanlar, was executed on May 1,
the real as well as the personal estate of the deceased so long as it 1963, by the new administrator Campillanos. who, incidentally, did not take
is necessary for the payment of the debts and the expenses of any active participation in the present appeal, the right of petitioner to the
administration, and shall administer the estate of the deceased not fishpond becomes a moot and academic issue, which We need not pass
disposed of by his will. (Sec. 3, Rule 85, old Rules). upon.
Lease has been considered an act of administration (Jocson v. Nava; WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby
Gamboa v. Gamboa; Rodriguez v. Borromeo; Ferraris v. Rodas, supra). affirmed, in all respects, with costs against petitioner Moises San Diego, Sr.
The Civil Code, on lease, provides:
If a lease is to be recorded in the Registry of Property, the following 8. G.R. No. 118671 January 29, 1996
persons cannot constitute the same without proper authority, the THE ESTATE OF HILARIO M. RUIZ, EDMOND RUIZ, Executor, petitioner,
husband with respect to the wife's paraphernal real estate, the father vs.
or guardian as to the property of the minor or ward, and the manager THE COURT OF APPEALS (Former Special Sixth Division), MARIA
without special power. (Art. 1647). PILAR RUIZ-MONTES, MARIA CATHRYN RUIZ, CANDICE ALBERTINE
The same Code, on Agency, states: RUIZ, MARIA ANGELINE RUIZ and THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE
Special powers of attorneys are necessary in the following cases: REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG, respondents.
(8) To lease any real property to another person for more than one DECISION
year. (Art. 1878) PUNO, J.:
Petitioner contends, that No. 8, Art. 1878 is the limitation to the right of a This petition for review on certiorari seeks to annul and set aside the decision
judicial administrator to lease real property without prior court authority and dated November 10, 1994 and the resolution dated January 5, 1995 of the
approval, if it exceeds one year. The lease contract in favor of Escanlar being Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 33045.
for 3 years and without such court approval and authority is, therefore, null The facts show that on June 27, 1987, Hilario M. Ruiz1 executed a
and void. Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that there is no holographic will naming as his heirs his only son, Edmond Ruiz, his adopted
limitation of such right; and that Article 1878 does not apply in the instant daughter, private respondent Maria Pilar Ruiz Montes, and his three
case. granddaughters, private respondents Maria Cathryn, Candice Albertine and
We believe that the Court of Appeals was correct in sustaining the validity of Maria Angeline, all children of Edmond Ruiz. The testator bequeathed to his
the contract of lease in favor of Escanlar, notwithstanding the lack of prior heirs substantial cash, personal and real properties and named Edmond Ruiz
authority and approval. The law and prevailing jurisprudence on the matter executor of his estate.2
On April 12, 1988, Hilario Ruiz died. Immediately thereafter, the cash Petitioner moved for reconsideration alleging that he actually filed his
component of his estate was distributed among Edmond Ruiz and private opposition to respondent Montes's motion for release of rent payments which
respondents in accordance with the decedent's will. For unbeknown reasons, opposition the court failed to consider. Petitioner likewise reiterated his
Edmond, the named executor, did not take any action for the probate of his previous motion for release of funds.
father's holographic will. On November 23, 1993, petitioner, through counsel, manifested that he was
On June 29, 1992, four years after the testator's death, it was private withdrawing his motion for release of funds in view of the fact that the lease
respondent Maria Pilar Ruiz Montes who filed before the Regional Trial contract over the Valle Verde property had been renewed for another year.7
Court, Branch 156, Pasig, a petition for the probate and approval of Hilario Despite petitioner's manifestation, the probate court, on December 22, 1993,
Ruiz's will and for the issuance of letters testamentary to Edmond ordered the release of the funds to Edmond but only "such amount as may
Ruiz,3 Surprisingly, Edmond opposed the petition on the ground that the will be necessary to cover the expenses of administration and allowances for
was executed under undue influence. support" of the testator's three granddaughters subject to collation and
On November 2, 1992, one of the properties of the estate — the house and deductible from their share in the inheritance. The court, however, held in
lot at No. 2 Oliva Street, Valle Verde IV, Pasig which the testator bequeathed abeyance the release of the titles to respondent Montes and the three
to Maria Cathryn, Candice Albertine and Maria Angeline4 — was leased out granddaughters until the lapse of six months from the date of first publication
by Edmond Ruiz to third persons. of the notice to creditors.8 The court stated thus:
On January 19, 1993, the probate court ordered Edmond to deposit with the xxx xxx xxx
Branch Clerk of Court the rental deposit and payments totalling P540,000.00 After consideration of the arguments set forth thereon by the parties
representing the one-year lease of the Valle Verde property. In compliance, the court resolves to allow Administrator Edmond M. Ruiz to take
on January 25, 1993, Edmond turned over the amount of P348,583.56, possession of the rental payments deposited with the Clerk of Court,
representing the balance of the rent after deducting P191,416.14 for repair Pasig Regional Trial Court, but only such amount as may
and maintenance expenses on the estate.5 be necessary to cover the expenses of administration and
In March 1993, Edmond moved for the release of P50,000.00 to pay the real allowances for support of Maria Cathryn Veronique, Candice
estate taxes on the real properties of the estate. The probate court approved Albertine and Maria Angeli, which are subject to collation and
the release of P7,722.00.6 deductible from the share in the inheritance of said heirs and insofar
On May 14, 1993, Edmond withdrew his opposition to the probate of the will. as they exceed the fruits or rents pertaining to them.
Consequently, the probate court, on May 18, 1993, admitted the will to As to the release of the titles bequeathed to petitioner Maria Pilar
probate and ordered the issuance of letters testamentary to Edmond Ruiz-Montes and the above-named heirs, the same is hereby
conditioned upon the filing of a bond in the amount of P50,000.00. The letters reconsidered and held in abeyance until the lapse of six (6) months
testamentary were issued on June 23, 1993. from the date of first publication of Notice to Creditors.
On July 28, 1993, petitioner Testate Estate of Hilario Ruiz, with Edmond Ruiz WHEREFORE, Administrator Edmond M. Ruiz is hereby ordered to
as executor, filed an "Ex-Parte Motion for Release of Funds." It prayed for submit an accounting of the expenses necessary for administration
the release of the rent payments deposited with the Branch Clerk of Court. including provisions for the support Of Maria Cathryn Veronique
Respondent Montes opposed the motion and concurrently filed a "Motion for Ruiz, Candice Albertine Ruiz and Maria Angeli Ruiz before the
Release of Funds to Certain Heirs" and "Motion for Issuance of Certificate of amount required can be withdrawn and cause the publication of
Allowance of Probate Will." Montes prayed for the release of the said rent the notice to creditors with reasonable dispatch.9
payments to Maria Cathryn, Candice Albertine and Maria Angeline and for Petitioner assailed this order before the Court of Appeals. Finding no grave
the distribution of the testator's properties, specifically the Valle Verde abuse of discretion on the part of respondent judge, the appellate court
property and the Blue Ridge apartments, in accordance with the provisions of dismissed the petition and sustained the probate court's order in a decision
the holographic will. dated November 10, 199410 and a resolution dated January 5, 1995.11
On August 26, 1993, the probate court denied petitioner's motion for release Hence, this petition.
of funds but granted respondent Montes' motion in view of petitioner's lack of Petitioner claims that:
opposition. It thus ordered the release of the rent payments to the decedent's THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED
three granddaughters. It further ordered the delivery of the titles to and GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR
possession of the properties bequeathed to the three granddaughters and EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN AFFIRMING AND CONFIRMING
respondent Montes upon the filing of a bond of P50,000.00. THE ORDER OF RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF
PASIG, BRANCH 156, DATED DECEMBER 22, 1993, WHICH
WHEN GIVEN DUE COURSE AND IS EFFECTED WOULD: (1) Respondent courts also erred when they ordered the release of the titles of
DISALLOW THE EXECUTOR/ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE the bequeathed properties to private respondents six months after the date of
OF THE LATE HILARIO M. RUIZ TO TAKE POSSESSION OF ALL first publication of notice to creditors. An order releasing titles to properties of
THE REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTIES OF THE ESTATE; (2) the estate amounts to an advance distribution of the estate which is allowed
GRANT SUPPORT, DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE only under the following conditions:
SETTLEMENT OF AN ESTATE, TO CERTAIN PERSONS NOT Sec. 2. Advance distribution in special proceedings. —
ENTITLED THERETO; AND (3) PREMATURELY PARTITION AND Nothwithstanding a pending controversy or appeal in proceedings to
DISTRIBUTE THE ESTATE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF settle the estate of a decedent, the court may, in its discretion and
THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL EVEN BEFORE ITS INTRINSIC upon such terms as it may deem proper and just, permit that such
VALIDITY HAS BEEN DETERMINED, AND DESPITE THE part of the estate as may not be affected by the controversy or
EXISTENCE OF UNPAID DEBTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE appeal be distributed among the heirs or legatees, upon compliance
ESTATE.12 with the conditions set forth in Rule 90 of these Rules.17
The issue for resolution is whether the probate court, after admitting the will And Rule 90 provides that:
to probate but before payment of the estate's debts and obligations, has the Sec. 1. When order for distribution of residue made. — When the
authority: (1) to grant an allowance from the funds of the estate for the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration the
support of the testator's grandchildren; (2) to order the release of the titles to allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax if any, chargeable to the
certain heirs; and (3) to grant possession of all properties of the estate to the estate in accordance with law, have been paid, the court, on the
executor of the will. application of the executor or administrator, or of a person interested
On the matter of allowance, Section 3 of Rule 83 of the Revised Rules of in the estate, and after hearing upon notice shall assign the residue
Court provides: of the estate to the persons entitled to the same, naming them and
Sec. 3. Allowance to widow and family. — The widow and minor or the proportions or parts, to which each is entitled, and such persons
incapacitated children of a deceased person, during the settlement of may demand and recover their respective shares from the executor
the estate, shall receive therefrom under the direction of the court, or administrator, or any other person having the same in his
such allowance as are provided by law. possession. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are
Petitioner alleges that this provision only gives the widow and the minor or the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive
incapacitated children of the deceased the right to receive allowances for shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the
support during the settlement of estate proceedings. He contends that the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
testator's three granddaughters do not qualify for an allowance because they No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations
are not incapacitated and are no longer minors but of legal age, married and above-mentioned has been made or provided for, unless the
gainfully employed. In addition, the provision expressly states "children" of distributees, or any of them, give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the
the deceased which excludes the latter's grandchildren. court, conditioned for the payment of said obligations within such
It is settled that allowances for support under Section 3 of Rule 83 should not time as the court directs.18
be limited to the "minor or incapacitated" children of the deceased. Article In settlement of estate proceedings, the distribution of the estate properties
18813 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the substantive law in force at the can only be made: (1) after all the debts, funeral charges, expenses of
time of the testator's death, provides that during the liquidation of the administration, allowance to the widow, and estate tax have been paid; or (2)
conjugal partnership, the deceased's legitimate spouse and children, before payment of said obligations only if the distributees or any of them
regardless of their age, civil status or gainful employment, are entitled to gives a bond in a sum fixed by the court conditioned upon the payment of
provisional support from the funds of the estate.14 The law is rooted on the said obligations within such time as the court directs, or when provision is
fact that the right and duty to support, especially the right to education, made to meet those obligations.19
subsist even beyond the age of majority.15 In the case at bar, the probate court ordered the release of the titles to the
Be that as it may, grandchildren are not entitled to provisional support from Valle Verde property and the Blue Ridge apartments to the private
the funds of the decedent's estate. The law clearly limits the allowance to respondents after the lapse of six months from the date of first publication of
"widow and children" and does not extend it to the deceased's grandchildren, the notice to creditors. The questioned order speaks of "notice" to creditors,
regardless of their minority or incapacity.16 It was error, therefore, for the not payment of debts and obligations. Hilario Ruiz allegedly left no debts
appellate court to sustain the probate court's order granting an allowance to when he died but the taxes on his estate had not hitherto been paid, much
the grandchildren of the testator pending settlement of his estate. less ascertained. The estate tax is one of those obligations that must be paid
before distribution of the estate. If not yet paid, the rule requires that the Petitioner did not deposit its succeeding rents after renewal of the
distributees post a bond or make such provisions as to meet the said tax lease.29Neither did he render an accounting of such funds.
obligation in proportion to their respective shares in the Petitioner must be reminded that his right of ownership over the properties of
inheritance.20 Notably, at the time the order was issued the properties of the his father is merely inchoate as long as the estate has not been fully settled
estate had not yet been inventoried and appraised. and partitioned.30 As executor, he is a mere trustee of his father's estate. The
It was also too early in the day for the probate court to order the release of funds of the estate in his hands are trust funds and he is held to the duties
the titles six months after admitting the will to probate. The probate of a will is and responsibilities of a trustee of the highest order. 31 He cannot unilaterally
conclusive as to its due execution and extrinsic validity21 and settles only the assign to himself and possess all his parents' properties and the fruits thereof
question of whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed it in without first submitting an inventory and appraisal of all real and personal
accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.22 Questions as to the properties of the deceased, rendering a true account of his administration,
intrinsic validity and efficacy of the provisions of the will, the legality of any the expenses of administration, the amount of the obligations and estate tax,
devise or legacy may be raised even after the will has been authenticated.23 all of which are subject to a determination by the court as to their veracity,
The intrinsic validity of Hilario's holographic will was controverted by propriety and justness.32
petitioner before the probate court in his Reply to Montes' Opposition to his IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in
motion for release of funds24 and his motion for reconsideration of the August CA-G.R. SP No. 33045 affirming the order dated December 22, 1993 of the
26, 1993 order of the said court.25 Therein, petitioner assailed the distributive Regional Trial Court, Branch 156, Pasig in SP Proc. No. 10259 are affirmed
shares of the devisees and legatees inasmuch as his father's will included with the modification that those portions of the order granting an allowance to
the estate of his mother and allegedly impaired his legitime as an intestate the testator's grandchildren and ordering the release of the titles to the
heir of his mother. The Rules provide that if there is a controversy as to who private respondents upon notice to creditors are annulled and set aside.
are the lawful heirs of the decedent and their distributive shares in his estate, Respondent judge is ordered to proceed with dispatch in the proceedings
the probate court shall proceed to hear and decide the same as in ordinary below.
cases.26 SO ORDERED.
Still and all, petitioner cannot correctly claim that the assailed order deprived
him of his right to take possession of all the real and personal properties of 9. G.R. No. 156407, January 15, 2014
the estate. The right of an executor or administrator to the possession and THELMA M. ARANAS, Petitioner, v. TERESITA V. MERCADO, FELIMON
management of the real and personal properties of the deceased is not V. MERCADO, CARMENCITA M. SUTHERLAND, RICHARD V.
absolute and can only be exercised "so long as it is necessary for the MERCADO, MA. TERESITA M. ANDERSON, AND FRANKLIN L.
payment of the debts and expenses of administration,"27 Section 3 of Rule 84 MERCADO, Respondents.
of the Revised Rules of Court explicitly provides: DECISION
Sec. 3. Executor or administrator to retain whole estate to pay debts, BERSAMIN, J.:
and to administer estate not willed. — An executor or administrator The probate court is authorized to determine the issue of ownership of
shall have the right to the possession and management of the real as properties for purposes of their inclusion or exclusion from the inventory to be
well as the personal estate of the deceased so long as it is submitted by the administrator, but its determination shall only be provisional
necessary for the payment of the debts and expenses for unless the interested parties are all heirs of the decedent, or the question is
administration.28 one of collation or advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of
When petitioner moved for further release of the funds deposited with the jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third parties are not
clerk of court, he had been previously granted by the probate court certain impaired. Its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or collateral to the
amounts for repair and maintenance expenses on the properties of the settlement and distribution of the estate, such as the determination of the
estate, and payment of the real estate taxes thereon. But petitioner moved status of each heir and whether property included in the inventory is the
again for the release of additional funds for the same reasons he previously conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased spouse.
cited. It was correct for the probate court to require him to submit an
accounting of the necessary expenses for administration before releasing Antecedents
any further money in his favor.
It was relevantly noted by the probate court that petitioner had deposited with Emigdio S. Mercado (Emigdio) died intestate on January 12, 1991, survived
it only a portion of the one-year rental income from the Valle Verde property. by his second wife, Teresita V. Mercado (Teresita), and their five children,
namely: Allan V. Mercado, Felimon V. Mercado, Carmencita M. Sutherland,
Richard V. Mercado, and Maria Teresita M. Anderson; and his two children parties to present evidence and for Teresita to be examined to enable the
by his first marriage, namely: respondent Franklin L. Mercado and petitioner court to resolve the motion for approval of the inventory.7cralawred
Thelma M. Aranas (Thelma).
On April 19, 1993, Thelma opposed the approval of the inventory, and asked
Emigdio inherited and acquired real properties during his lifetime. He owned leave of court to examine Teresita on the inventory.
corporate shares in Mervir Realty Corporation (Mervir Realty) and Cebu
Emerson Transportation Corporation (Cebu Emerson). He assigned his real With the parties agreeing to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court
properties in exchange for corporate stocks of Mervir Realty, and sold his on the issue of what properties should be included in or excluded from the
real property in Badian, Cebu (Lot 3353 covered by Transfer Certificate of inventory, the RTC set dates for the hearing on that issue.8cralawlawlibrary
Title No. 3252) to Mervir Realty. Ruling of the RTC

On June 3, 1991, Thelma filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu City After a series of hearings that ran for almost eight years, the RTC issued on
a petition for the appointment of Teresita as the administrator of Emigdio’s March 14, 2001 an order finding and holding that the inventory submitted by
estate (Special Proceedings No. 3094–CEB).1 The RTC granted the petition Teresita had excluded properties that should be included, and accordingly
considering that there was no opposition. The letters of administration in ruled:
favor of Teresita were issued on September 7, 1992. WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing premises and considerations, the
Court hereby denies the administratrix’s motion for approval of inventory. The
As the administrator, Teresita submitted an inventory of the estate of Emigdio Court hereby orders the said administratrix to re–do the inventory of
on December 14, 1992 for the consideration and approval by the RTC. She properties which are supposed to constitute as the estate of the late Emigdio
indicated in the inventory that at the time of his death, Emigdio had “left no S. Mercado by including therein the properties mentioned in the last five
real properties but only personal properties” worth P6,675,435.25 in all, immediately preceding paragraphs hereof and then submit the revised
consisting of cash of P32,141.20; furniture and fixtures worth P20,000.00; inventory within sixty (60) days from notice of this order.
pieces of jewelry valued at P15,000.00; 44,806 shares of stock of Mervir
Realty worth P6,585,585.80; and 30 shares of stock of Cebu Emerson worth The Court also directs the said administratrix to render an account of her
P22,708.25.2 administration of the estate of the late Emigdio S. Mercado which had come
to her possession. She must render such accounting within sixty (60) days
Claiming that Emigdio had owned other properties that were excluded from from notice hereof.
the inventory, Thelma moved that the RTC direct Teresita to amend the
inventory, and to be examined regarding it. The RTC granted Thelma’s SO ORDERED.9ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
motion through the order of January 8, 1993.
On March 29, 2001, Teresita, joined by other heirs of Emigdio, timely sought
On January 21, 1993, Teresita filed a compliance with the order of January 8, the reconsideration of the order of March 14, 2001 on the ground that one of
1993,3 supporting her inventory with copies of three certificates of stocks the real properties affected, Lot No. 3353 located in Badian, Cebu, had
covering the 44,806 Mervir Realty shares of stock;4the deed of assignment already been sold to Mervir Realty, and that the parcels of land covered by
executed by Emigdio on January 10, 1991 involving real properties with the the deed of assignment had already come into the possession of and
market value of P4,440,651.10 in exchange for 44,407 Mervir Realty shares registered in the name of Mervir Realty.10Thelma opposed the motion.
of stock with total par value of P4,440,700.00;5 and the certificate of stock
issued on January 30, 1979 for 300 shares of stock of Cebu Emerson worth On May 18, 2001, the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration, 11 stating
P30,000.00.6 that there was no cogent reason for the reconsideration, and that the
movants’ agreement as heirs to submit to the RTC the issue of what
On January 26, 1993, Thelma again moved to require Teresita to be properties should be included or excluded from the inventory already
examined under oath on the inventory, and that she (Thelma) be allowed 30 estopped them from questioning its jurisdiction to pass upon the issue.
days within which to file a formal opposition to or comment on the inventory Decision of the CA
and the supporting documents Teresita had submitted.
Alleging that the RTC thereby acted with grave abuse of discretion in
On February 4, 1993, the RTC issued an order expressing the need for the refusing to approve the inventory, and in ordering her as administrator to
include real properties that had been transferred to Mervir Realty, Teresita, for certiorari because the order of the RTC directing a new inventory of
joined by her four children and her stepson Franklin, assailed the adverse properties was interlocutory; that pursuant to Article 1477 of the Civil Code,
orders of the RTC promulgated on March 14, 2001 and May 18, 2001 by to the effect that the ownership of the thing sold “shall be transferred to the
petition for certiorari, stating: vendee” upon its “actual and constructive delivery,” and to Article 1498 of
I the Civil Code, to the effect that the sale made through a public instrument
was equivalent to the delivery of the object of the sale, the sale by Emigdio
THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT JUDGE HAS COMMITTED GRAVE and Teresita had transferred the ownership of Lot No. 3353 to Mervir Realty
ABUSE OF JURISDICTION (sic) AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF because the deed of absolute sale executed on November 9, 1989 had been
JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE REAL PROPERTY WHICH WAS notarized; that Emigdio had thereby ceased to have any more interest in Lot
SOLD BY THE LATE EMIGDIO S. MERCADO DURING HIS LIFETIME TO A 3353; that Emigdio had assigned the parcels of land to Mervir Realty as early
PRIVATE CORPORATION (MERVIR REALTY CORPORATION) BE as February 17, 1989 “for the purpose of saving, as in avoiding taxes with the
INCLUDED IN THE INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE difference that in the Deed of Assignment dated January 10, 1991, additional
EMIGDIO S. MERCADO. seven (7) parcels of land were included”; that as to the January 10, 1991
II deed of assignment, Mervir Realty had been “even at the losing end
considering that such parcels of land, subject matter(s) of the Deed of
THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT JUDGE HAS COMMITTED GRAVE Assignment dated February 12, 1989, were again given monetary
ABUSE OF JURISDICTION (sic) AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF consideration through shares of stock”; that even if the assignment had been
JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT REAL PROPERTIES WHICH ARE IN based on the deed of assignment dated January 10, 1991, the parcels of
THE POSSESSION OF AND ALREADY REGISTERED IN THE NAME (OF) land could not be included in the inventory “considering that there is nothing
PRIVATE CORPORATION (MERVIR REALTY CORPORATION) BE wrong or objectionable about the estate planning scheme”; that the RTC, as
INCLUDED IN THE INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE an intestate court, also had no power to take cognizance of and determine
EMIGDIO S. MERCADO. the issue of title to property registered in the name of third persons or
III corporation; that a property covered by the Torrens system should be
afforded the presumptive conclusiveness of title; that the RTC, by
THE HONORABLE RESPONDENT JUDGE HAS COMMITTED GRAVE disregarding the presumption, had transgressed the clear provisions of law
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF and infringed settled jurisprudence on the matter; and that the RTC also
JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONERS ARE NOW ESTOPPED gravely abused its discretion in holding that Teresita, et al. were estopped
FROM QUESTIONING ITS JURISDICTION IN PASSING UPON THE ISSUE from questioning its jurisdiction because of their agreement to submit to the
OF WHAT PROPERTIES SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE INVENTORY OF RTC the issue of which properties should be included in the inventory.
THE ESTATE OF THE LATE EMIGDIO MERCADO.12
The CA further opined as follows:
On May 15, 2002, the CA partly granted the petition for certiorari, disposing In the instant case, public respondent court erred when it ruled that
as follows:13 petitioners are estopped from questioning its jurisdiction considering that they
WHEREFORE, FOREGOING PREMISES CONSIDERED, this petition have already agreed to submit themselves to its jurisdiction of determining
is GRANTED partially. The assailed Orders dated March 14, 2001 and May what properties are to be included in or excluded from the inventory to be
18, 2001 are hereby reversed and set aside insofar as the inclusion of submitted by the administratrix, because actually, a reading of petitioners’
parcels of land known as Lot No. 3353 located at Badian, Cebu with an area Motion for Reconsideration dated March 26, 2001 filed before public
of 53,301 square meters subject matter of the Deed of Absolute Sale dated respondent court clearly shows that petitioners are not questioning its
November 9, 1989 and the various parcels of land subject matter of the jurisdiction but the manner in which it was exercised for which they are not
Deeds of Assignment dated February 17, 1989 and January 10, 1991 in the estopped, since that is their right, considering that there is grave abuse of
revised inventory to be submitted by the administratrix is concerned discretion amounting to lack or in excess of limited jurisdiction when it issued
and affirmed in all other respects. the assailed Order dated March 14, 2001 denying the administratrix’s motion
for approval of the inventory of properties which were already titled and in
SO ORDERED. possession of a third person that is, Mervir Realty Corporation, a private
corporation, which under the law possessed a personality distinct and
The CA opined that Teresita, et al. had properly filed the petition separate from its stockholders, and in the absence of any cogency to shred
the veil of corporate fiction, the presumption of conclusiveness of said titles in the merits is yet to be held and the judgment rendered. The test to ascertain
favor of Mervir Realty Corporation should stand undisturbed. whether or not an order or a judgment is interlocutory or final is: does the
order or judgment leave something to be done in the trial court with respect
Besides, public respondent court acting as a probate court had no authority to the merits of the case? If it does, the order or judgment is interlocutory;
to determine the applicability of the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate otherwise, it is final.
fiction and even if public respondent court was not merely acting in a limited
capacity as a probate court, private respondent nonetheless failed to adjudge The order dated November 12, 2002, which granted the application for the
competent evidence that would have justified the court to impale the veil of writ of preliminary injunction, was an interlocutory, not a final, order, and
corporate fiction because to disregard the separate jurisdictional personality should not be the subject of an appeal. The reason for disallowing an appeal
of a corporation, the wrongdoing must be clearly and convincingly from an interlocutory order is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single
established since it cannot be presumed.14 action, which necessarily suspends the hearing and decision on the merits of
the action during the pendency of the appeals. Permitting multiple appeals
On November 15, 2002, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration of will necessarily delay the trial on the merits of the case for a considerable
Teresita, et al.15 length of time, and will compel the adverse party to incur unnecessary
Issue expenses, for one of the parties may interpose as many appeals as there are
incidental questions raised by him and as there are interlocutory orders
Did the CA properly determine that the RTC committed grave abuse of rendered or issued by the lower court. An interlocutory order may be the
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in directing the inclusion subject of an appeal, but only after a judgment has been rendered, with the
of certain properties in the inventory notwithstanding that such properties had ground for appealing the order being included in the appeal of the judgment
been either transferred by sale or exchanged for corporate shares in Mervir itself.
Realty by the decedent during his lifetime?
Ruling of the Court The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an
appropriate special civil action under Rule 65, provided that the interlocutory
The appeal is meritorious. order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.
I
The assailed order of March 14, 2001 denying Teresita’s motion for the
Was certiorari the proper recourse approval of the inventory and the order dated May 18, 2001 denying her
to assail the questioned orders of the RTC? motion for reconsideration were interlocutory. This is because the inclusion of
the properties in the inventory was not yet a final determination of their
The first issue to be resolved is procedural. Thelma contends that the resort ownership. Hence, the approval of the inventory and the concomitant
to the special civil action for certiorari to assail the orders of the RTC by determination of the ownership as basis for inclusion or exclusion from the
Teresita and her co–respondents was not proper. inventory were provisional and subject to revision at anytime during the
course of the administration proceedings.
Thelma’s contention cannot be sustained.
In Valero Vda. De Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals,17 the Court, in affirming the
The propriety of the special civil action for certiorari as a remedy depended decision of the CA to the effect that the order of the intestate court excluding
on whether the assailed orders of the RTC were final or interlocutory in certain real properties from the inventory was interlocutory and could be
nature. In Pahila–Garrido v. Tortogo,16 the Court distinguished changed or modified at anytime during the course of the administration
between final and interlocutory orders as follows: proceedings, held that the order of exclusion was not a final but an
The distinction between a final order and an interlocutory order is well known. interlocutory order “in the sense that it did not settle once and for all the title
The first disposes of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates a to the San Lorenzo Village lots.” The Court observed there that:
particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing more to be done except to The prevailing rule is that for the purpose of determining whether a certain
enforce by execution what the court has determined, but the latter does not property should or should not be included in the inventory, the probate court
completely dispose of the case but leaves something else to be decided may pass upon the title thereto but such determination is not
upon. An interlocutory order deals with preliminary matters and the trial on conclusive and is subject to the final decision in a separate action
regarding ownership which may be instituted by the parties (3 Moran’s
Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, pages 448–9 and (c) Allows or disallows, in whole or in part, any claim against the estate of a
473; Lachenal vs. Salas, L–42257, June 14, 1976, 71 SCRA 262, deceased person, or any claim presented on behalf of the estate in offset to
266).18 (Bold emphasis supplied) a claim against it;

To the same effect was De Leon v. Court of Appeals,19 where the Court (d) Settles the account of an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian;
declared that a “probate court, whether in a testate or intestate proceeding,
can only pass upon questions of title provisionally,” and reminded, (e) Constitutes, in proceedings relating to the settlement of the estate of a
citing Jimenez v. Court of Appeals, that the “patent reason is the probate deceased person, or the administration of a trustee or guardian, a final
court’s limited jurisdiction and the principle that questions of title or determination in the lower court of the rights of the party appealing, except
ownership, which result in inclusion or exclusion from the inventory of the that no appeal shall be allowed from the appointment of a special
property, can only be settled in a separate action.” Indeed, in the cited case administrator; and
of Jimenez v. Court of Appeals,20 the Court pointed out:
All that the said court could do as regards the said properties is determine (f) Is the final order or judgment rendered in the case, and affects the
whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of substantial rights of the person appealing, unless it be an order granting or
properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is a dispute as denying a motion for a new trial or for reconsideration.
to the ownership, then the opposing parties and the administrator have
to resort to an ordinary action for a final determination of the Clearly, the assailed orders of the RTC, being interlocutory, did not come
conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so. (Bold under any of the instances in which multiple appeals are permitted.
emphasis supplied)
II
On the other hand, an appeal would not be the correct recourse for Teresita, Did the RTC commit grave abuse of discretion
et al. to take against the assailed orders. The final judgment rule embodied in in directing the inclusion of the properties
the first paragraph of Section 1, Rule 41, Rules of Court,21 which also in the estate of the decedent?
governs appeals in special proceedings, stipulates that only the judgments,
final orders (and resolutions) of a court of law “that completely disposes of In its assailed decision, the CA concluded that the RTC committed grave
the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be abuse of discretion for including properties in the inventory notwithstanding
appealable” may be the subject of an appeal in due course. The same rule their having been transferred to Mervir Realty by Emigdio during his lifetime,
states that an interlocutory order or resolution (interlocutory because it deals and for disregarding the registration of the properties in the name of Mervir
with preliminary matters, or that the trial on the merits is yet to be held and Realty, a third party, by applying the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate
the judgment rendered) is expressly made non–appealable. fiction.

Multiple appeals are permitted in special proceedings as a practical Was the CA correct in its conclusion?
recognition of the possibility that material issues may be finally determined at
various stages of the special proceedings. Section 1, Rule 109 of the Rules The answer is in the negative. It is unavoidable to find that the CA, in
of Court enumerates the specific instances in which multiple appeals may be reaching its conclusion, ignored the law and the facts that had fully warranted
resorted to in special proceedings, viz: the assailed orders of the RTC.
Section 1. Orders or judgments from which appeals may be taken. – An
interested person may appeal in special proceedings from an order or Under Section 6(a), Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, the letters of
judgment rendered by a Court of First Instance or a Juvenile and Domestic administration may be granted at the discretion of the court to the surviving
Relations Court, where such order or judgment: spouse, who is competent and willing to serve when the person dies
intestate. Upon issuing the letters of administration to the surviving spouse,
(a) Allows or disallows a will; the RTC becomes duty–bound to direct the preparation and submission of
the inventory of the properties of the estate, and the surviving spouse, as the
(b) Determines who are the lawful heirs of a deceased person, or the administrator, has the duty and responsibility to submit the inventory within
distributive share of the estate to which such person is entitled;
three months from the issuance of letters of administration pursuant to Rule The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a probate
83 of the Rules of Court, viz: court or an intestate court, relates only to matters having to do with the
Section 1. Inventory and appraisal to be returned within three months. – probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of deceased persons, but
Within three (3) months after his appointment every executor or administrator does not extend to the determination of questions of ownership that arise
shall return to the court a true inventory and appraisal of all the real and during the proceedings. The patent rationale for this rule is that such court
personal estate of the deceased which has come into his possession or merely exercises special and limited jurisdiction. As held in several cases, a
knowledge. In the appraisement of such estate, the court may order one or probate court or one in charge of estate proceedings, whether testate or
more of the inheritance tax appraisers to give his or their assistance. intestate, cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a
part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties, not by
The usage of the word all in Section 1, supra, demands the inclusion of all virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to
the real and personal properties of the decedent in the inventory. 22 However, that of the deceased and his estate. All that the said court could do as
the word all is qualified by the phrase which has come into his possession or regards said properties is to determine whether or not they should be
knowledge, which signifies that the properties must be known to the included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the
administrator to belong to the decedent or are in her possession as the administrator. If there is no dispute, there poses no problem, but if there is,
administrator. Section 1 allows no exception, for the phrase true then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to
inventory implies that no properties appearing to belong to the decedent can an ordinary action before a court exercising general jurisdiction for a final
be excluded from the inventory, regardless of their being in the possession of determination of the conflicting claims of title.
another person or entity.
However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by expediency
The objective of the Rules of Court in requiring the inventory and appraisal of and convenience.
the estate of the decedent is “to aid the court in revising the accounts and
determining the liabilities of the executor or the administrator, and in making First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or a
a final and equitable distribution (partition) of the estate and otherwise to testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the
facilitate the administration of the estate.”23 Hence, the RTC that presides inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to final determination
over the administration of an estate is vested with wide discretion on the of ownership in a separate action. Second, if the interested parties are all
question of what properties should be included in the inventory. According heirs to the estate, or the question is one of collation or advancement, or
to Peralta v. Peralta,24 the CA cannot impose its judgment in order to the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate
supplant that of the RTC on the issue of which properties are to be included court and the rights of third parties are not impaired, then the probate
or excluded from the inventory in the absence of “positive abuse of court is competent to resolve issues on ownership. Verily, its jurisdiction
discretion,” for in the administration of the estates of deceased persons, “the extends to matters incidental or collateral to the settlement and distribution of
judges enjoy ample discretionary powers and the appellate courts should not the estate, such as the determination of the status of each heir and whether
interfere with or attempt to replace the action taken by them, unless it be the property in the inventory is conjugal or exclusive property of the
shown that there has been a positive abuse of discretion.” 25As long as the deceased spouse.27 (Italics in the original; bold emphasis supplied)
RTC commits no patently grave abuse of discretion, its orders must be
respected as part of the regular performance of its judicial duty. It is clear to us that the RTC took pains to explain the factual bases for its
directive for the inclusion of the properties in question in its assailed order of
There is no dispute that the jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate court March 14, 2001, viz:
is special and limited. The trial court cannot adjudicate title to properties
claimed to be a part of the estate but are claimed to belong to third parties by In the first place, the administratrix of the estate admitted that Emigdio
title adverse to that of the decedent and the estate, not by virtue of any right Mercado was one of the heirs of Severina Mercado who, upon her death, left
of inheritance from the decedent. All that the trial court can do regarding said several properties as listed in the inventory of properties submitted in Court
properties is to determine whether or not they should be included in the in Special Proceedings No. 306–R which are supposed to be divided among
inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. Such her heirs. The administratrix admitted, while being examined in Court by the
determination is provisional and may be still revised. As the Court said counsel for the petitioner, that she did not include in the inventory submitted
in Agtarap v. Agtarap:26 by her in this case the shares of Emigdio Mercado in the said estate of
Severina Mercado. Certainly, said properties constituting Emigdio Mercado’s
share in the estate of Severina Mercado should be included in the inventory certification issued by the Cebu City Assessor’s Office on October 31, 1991
of properties required to be submitted to the Court in this particular case. (Exhibit O).28
In the second place, the administratrix of the estate of Emigdio Mercado also
admitted in Court that she did not include in the inventory shares of stock of Thereby, the RTC strictly followed the directives of the Rules of Court and
Mervir Realty Corporation which are in her name and which were paid by her the jurisprudence relevant to the procedure for preparing the inventory by the
from money derived from the taxicab business which she and her husband administrator. The aforequoted explanations indicated that the directive to
had since 1955 as a conjugal undertaking. As these shares of stock partake include the properties in question in the inventory rested on good and valid
of being conjugal in character, one–half thereof or of the value thereof should reasons, and thus was far from whimsical, or arbitrary, or capricious.
be included in the inventory of the estate of her husband.
Firstly, the shares in the properties inherited by Emigdio from Severina
In the third place, the administratrix of the estate of Emigdio Mercado Mercado should be included in the inventory because Teresita, et al. did not
admitted, too, in Court that she had a bank account in her name at Union dispute the fact about the shares being inherited by Emigdio.
Bank which she opened when her husband was still alive. Again, the money
in said bank account partakes of being conjugal in character, and so, one– Secondly, with Emigdio and Teresita having been married prior to the
half thereof should be included in the inventory of the properties constituting effectivity of the Family Code in August 3, 1988, their property regime was
as estate of her husband. the conjugal partnership of gains.29 For purposes of the settlement of
Emigdio’s estate, it was unavoidable for Teresita to include his shares in the
In the fourth place, it has been established during the hearing in this case conjugal partnership of gains. The party asserting that specific property
that Lot No. 3353 of Pls–657–D located in Badian, Cebu containing an area acquired during that property regime did not pertain to the conjugal
of 53,301 square meters as described in and covered by Transfer Certificate partnership of gains carried the burden of proof, and that party must prove
of Title No. 3252 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cebu is still the exclusive ownership by one of them by clear, categorical, and convincing
registered in the name of Emigdio S. Mercado until now. When it was the evidence.30 In the absence of or pending the presentation of such proof, the
subject of Civil Case No. CEB–12690 which was decided on October 19, conjugal partnership of Emigdio and Teresita must be provisionally liquidated
1995, it was the estate of the late Emigdio Mercado which claimed to be the to establish who the real owners of the affected properties were,31 and which
owner thereof. Mervir Realty Corporation never intervened in the said case in of the properties should form part of the estate of Emigdio. The portions that
order to be the owner thereof. This fact was admitted by Richard Mercado pertained to the estate of Emigdio must be included in the inventory.
himself when he testified in Court. x x x So the said property located in
Badian, Cebu should be included in the inventory in this case. Moreover, although the title over Lot 3353 was already registered in the
name of Mervir Realty, the RTC made findings that put that title in dispute.
Fifthly and lastly, it appears that the assignment of several parcels of land by Civil Case No. CEB–12692, a dispute that had involved the ownership of Lot
the late Emigdio S. Mercado to Mervir Realty Corporation on January 10, 3353, was resolved in favor of the estate of Emigdio, and Transfer Certificate
1991 by virtue of the Deed of Assignment signed by him on the said day of Title No. 3252 covering Lot 3353 was still in Emigdio’s name. Indeed, the
(Exhibit N for the petitioner and Exhibit 5 for the administratrix) was a transfer RTC noted in the order of March 14, 2001, or ten years after his death, that
in contemplation of death. It was made two days before he died on January Lot 3353 had remained registered in the name of Emigdio.
12, 1991. A transfer made in contemplation of death is one prompted by the
thought that the transferor has not long to live and made in place of a Interestingly, Mervir Realty did not intervene at all in Civil Case No. CEB–
testamentary disposition (1959 Prentice Hall, p. 3909). Section 78 of the 12692. Such lack of interest in Civil Case No. CEB–12692 was susceptible of
National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 provides that the gross estate of the various interpretations, including one to the effect that the heirs of Emigdio
decedent shall be determined by including the value at the time of his death could have already threshed out their differences with the assistance of the
of all property to the extent of any interest therein of which the decedent has trial court. This interpretation was probable considering that Mervir Realty,
at any time made a transfer in contemplation of death. So, the inventory to be whose business was managed by respondent Richard, was headed by
approved in this case should still include the said properties of Emigdio Teresita herself as its President. In other words, Mervir Realty appeared to
Mercado which were transferred by him in contemplation of death. Besides, be a family corporation.
the said properties actually appeared to be still registered in the name of
Emigdio S. Mercado at least ten (10) months after his death, as shown by the Also, the fact that the deed of absolute sale executed by Emigdio in favor of
Mervir Realty was a notarized instrument did not sufficiently justify the
exclusion from the inventory of the properties involved. A notarized deed of inclusion in the inventory of the properties subject of that deed. This is
sale only enjoyed the presumption of regularity in favor of its execution, but because the RTC as intestate court, albeit vested only with special and
its notarization did not per se guarantee the legal efficacy of the transaction limited jurisdiction, was still “deemed to have all the necessary powers to
under the deed, and what the contents purported to be. The presumption of exercise such jurisdiction to make it effective.” 37
regularity could be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the
contrary.32 As the Court has observed in Suntay v. Court of Appeals:33 Lastly, the inventory of the estate of Emigdio must be prepared and
x x x. Though the notarization of the deed of sale in question vests in its favor submitted for the important purpose of resolving the difficult issues of
the presumption of regularity, it is not the intention nor the function of the collation and advancement to the heirs. Article 1061 of the Civil
notary public to validate and make binding an instrument never, in the first Coderequired every compulsory heir and the surviving spouse, herein
place, intended to have any binding legal effect upon the parties thereto. The Teresita herself, to “bring into the mass of the estate any property or right
intention of the parties still and always is the primary consideration in which he (or she) may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime
determining the true nature of a contract.(Bold emphasis supplied) of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it
may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the
It should likewise be pointed out that the exchange of shares of stock of account of the partition.” Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court also
Mervir Realty with the real properties owned by Emigdio would still have to provided that any advancement by the decedent on the legitime of an heir
be inquired into. That Emigdio executed the deed of assignment two days “may be heard and determined by the court having jurisdiction of the estate
prior to his death was a circumstance that should put any interested party on proceedings, and the final order of the court thereon shall be binding on the
his guard regarding the exchange, considering that there was a finding about person raising the questions and on the heir.” Rule 90 thereby expanded the
Emigdio having been sick of cancer of the pancreas at the time. 34 In this special and limited jurisdiction of the RTC as an intestate court about the
regard, whether the CA correctly characterized the exchange as a form of an matters relating to the inventory of the estate of the decedent by authorizing
estate planning scheme remained to be validated by the facts to be it to direct the inclusion of properties donated or bestowed by gratuitous title
established in court. to any compulsory heir by the decedent.38

The fact that the properties were already covered by Torrens titles in the The determination of which properties should be excluded from or included in
name of Mervir Realty could not be a valid basis for immediately excluding the inventory of estate properties was well within the authority and discretion
them from the inventory in view of the circumstances admittedly surrounding of the RTC as an intestate court. In making its determination, the RTC acted
the execution of the deed of assignment. This is because: with circumspection, and proceeded under the guiding policy that it was best
The Torrens system is not a mode of acquiring titles to lands; it is merely a to include all properties in the possession of the administrator or were known
system of registration of titles to lands. However, justice and equity demand to the administrator to belong to Emigdio rather than to exclude properties
that the titleholder should not be made to bear the unfavorable effect of the that could turn out in the end to be actually part of the estate. As long as the
mistake or negligence of the State’s agents, in the absence of proof of his RTC commits no patent grave abuse of discretion, its orders must be
complicity in a fraud or of manifest damage to third persons. The real respected as part of the regular performance of its judicial duty. Grave abuse
purpose of the Torrens system is to quiet title to land and put a stop forever of discretion means either that the judicial or quasi–judicial power was
to any question as to the legality of the title, except claims that were noted in exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or
the certificate at the time of registration or that may arise subsequent thereto. personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a
Otherwise, the integrity of the Torrens system shall forever be sullied by the positive duty, or virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in
ineptitude and inefficiency of land registration officials, who are ordinarily contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal or board exercising
presumed to have regularly performed their duties.35 judicial or quasi–judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as
to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 39
Assuming that only seven titled lots were the subject of the deed of
assignment of January 10, 1991, such lots should still be included in the In light of the foregoing, the CA’s conclusion of grave abuse of discretion on
inventory to enable the parties, by themselves, and with the assistance of the the part of the RTC was unwarranted and erroneous.
RTC itself, to test and resolve the issue on the validity of the assignment.
The limited jurisdiction of the RTC as an intestate court might have WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition for review
constricted the determination of the rights to the properties arising from that on certiorari; REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision promulgated on
deed,36 but it does not prevent the RTC as intestate court from ordering the May 15, 2002; REINSTATES the orders issued on March 14, 2001 and May
18, 2001 by the Regional Trial Court in Cebu; DIRECTS the Regional Trial inheritances authorized by the court to be given to the widow
Court in Cebu to proceed with dispatch in Special Proceedings No. 3094– and the heirs.
CEB entitled Intestate Estate of the late Emigdio Mercado, Thelma Aranas, On October 7, 1963, respondent Socorro Manalo moved for the execution of
petitioner, and to resolve the case; and ORDERS the respondents to pay the the decision of July 31, 1963, and the respondent Judge issued on October
costs of suit.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary 16, 1963 an order requiring, within ten (10) days from the receipt of the order,
the administratrix Iluminada de Gala-Sison (1) "to file an amended inventory
SO ORDERED. including therein the pieces of jewelry listed in Socorro Manalo's Exhibit 'Y' ";
and (2) "to deposit with any reputable banking institution the remainder of the
10. G.R. No. L-24584 October 30, 1975 amount of P40,938.56, which may be in her possession, after deducting the
ILUMINADA DE GALA-SISON, As Administratrix of the Intestate Estate expenses approved by the court and the allowances and inheritances
of the late Generoso de Gala, petitioner, authorized by the court, as specified in its order issued in this case dated
vs. July 7, 1950, to be given to the widow and the heirs of the deceased
HON. MANOLO L. MADDELA, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Generoso de Gala."
Quezon and SOCORRO MANALO, respondents. Under date of November 29, 1963, the petitioner filed an Amended Inventory
Norberto J. Quimsibing for petitioner. in compliance with the said order. However, the petitioner-administratrix did
Agcaoili and Dimaano for private respondent. not comply with the portion of said order which required her to deposit the
remainder of the amount of P40,938.56 which may be in her possession.
ANTONIO, J.: Instead, she filed on November 29, 1963 a Manifestation stating that "there is
Petition for certiorari to annul the orders, dated August 21, 1964 and May 10, really no necessity for any deposit to be made with a banking institution
1965, in Special Proceeding No. 2887 of respondent Judge Manolo L. which the probate court then believed was necessary way back on August
Maddela of the Court of First Instance of Quezon insofar as said orders 29, 1952 when the accountable fund was still a sizable one," since from the
require petitioner-administratrix to deposit the amount of P39,240.15 in her remainder of said amount of P40,938.56 ordered to be deposited, several
possession with a reputable banking institution. deductions should be made consisting in the following:
Prior to the afore-mentioned orders in question, the Court of First Instance of (a) additional expenses in the sum of P1,698.41 which was
Quezon, then presided over by Judge Vicente Santiago, issued an order on approved by the probate court per order of 3 August 1950;
August 29, 1952, in Special Proceeding No. 2887, directing the administratrix (b) advances and allowances to petitioner as heir (she being
(a) to include in her inventory of properties left by the deceased certain the only surviving child of the late Generoso de Gala in the
pieces of jewelry described in Exhibit "Y" of oppositor Socorro Manalo, and sum of P22,000.00 (the other heirs through respondent-
(b) to deposit cash in her possession amounting to P40,998.56 with a oppositor and the surviving widow have already been given
reputable banking institution. On appeal, the Court of Appeals in its decision similar advances and allowances in the sums of P21,815.88
of February 2, 1961 in case CA-G.R. No. 10711-R,1 affirmed the lower and P19,151.39);
court's order of August 29, 1952. However, on a petition for certiorari,2 this (c) expenses of litigation and attorney's fees already incurred
Court, finding that the amount of P1,698.41 was spent by the petitioner and paid since 1952; and .
Iluminada de Gala-Sison, as administratrix, which expense was approved by (d) compensation of petitioner as administratrix of the
the court on August 2, 1950, so that the amount ordered to be deposited intestate estate.
should be reduced by P1,698.41 to P39,240.15, rendered on July 31, 1963 a On August 21, 1964, the respondent Judge issued an order, the pertinent
decision modifying the appealed order of August 29, 1952 to read as follows: portion of which reads:
Considering that the balance of P40,938.56 existing at the To resolve the foregoing contention of the administratrix, this
time of the issuance of the order appealed from, dated court examined carefully the records and finds that there is
August 29, 1952, may no longer exist by virtue of the fact no merit in her contention. First: The decision of the
that the administratrix must have already paid to the heirs Supreme Court authorized the deduction of expenses,
their respective allowances and shares in the inheritance, allowances and inheritance already approved by the court;
the disputed order should be modified to include only such whereas the amounts now sought to be deducted have
balance of the original amount of P40,938.56 as may be in never been so authorized by this court; and Second: It now
the possession of the administratrix, after deducting the appears that the present contention of the administratrix was
expenses approved by the court and the allowances and already raised by her in the Supreme Court, and in spite of
such claim, the decision of said court did not authorize such Felisa Alabastro; and that she be granted allowance and payment of her
deduction. administratrix' compensation and fees for her administration of the intestate
An examination of the records also reveals that from the estate.
amount of P40,935.56, only the sum of P1,698.41 must be Before action could be taken by the lower court on petitioner's motion for new
deducted specially considering that from the manifestation trial and/or reconsideration, petitioner interposed the present petition
aforesaid the administratrix failed to assert any other for certiorari before this Court, alleging that respondent Judge acted with
deductions as justified by the decision of the Supreme Court. grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
Hence, the amount that must be deposited by the issuing the challenged orders. The gist of petitioner's contention is that she
administratrix is the amount of P39,240.15. cannot be compelled to deposit in a bank what she no longer has,
WHEREFORE, this court orders the administratrix to fully considering that she is entitled to the deductions which she made from the
comply with its order dated August 16, 1963 by depositing original amount, for (a) as sole surviving child of decedent, she is entitled to
with any reputable banking institution the amount of advances and allowances from the inheritance, and (b) as administratrix, she
P39,240.15 within ten (10) days from the receipt of this is to be reimbursed for her expenditures and to deduct her fees as such
order. administratrix.
On September 17, 1964, petitioner filed simultaneously (1) a motion for The instant petition must be dismissed. In the case at bar, there is pending
reconsideration of the order of August 21, 1964; (2) a motion for payment to before the court a quo a motion for new trial and/or reconsideration filed by
herself the amount of P22,000.00 as her advance or allowance against her the petitioner-administratrix. In said motion, she prays for a chance to submit
distributive share and for the approval thereof; (d) a petition for allowance "receipts proving the disbursements itemized in her verified accounting, and
and payment, from the properties and assets of the estate, of the sum of therefore begs leave for a new trial to offer such evidence". She also alleges
P20,000.00 as her fees and compensation as administratrix; and (4) a therein that she will submit evidence which will show that her disbursements
verified accounting of the petitioner-administratrix for approval by the court. "are properly and legally chargeable to the estate". She therefore prayed for
On May 10, 1965, the respondent Judge issued an order the dispositive the reconsideration of the denial of her motion for payment of P22,000.00 "as
portion of which reads: her advance or allowance against her distributive share" and the payment of
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration dated her fees as administratrix. It is very obvious that the court a quo should be
September 17, 1964 is hereby denied, and the administratrix given an opportunity to act on these matters because the correctness of the
is hereby ordered anew to fully comply with the order of this order requiring petitioner to deposit the amount of P39,240.15 with a banking
court dated August 21, 1964 by depositing with any institution is dependent upon the ascertainment by the court of the
reputable banking institution the amount of P39,340.15 correctness of the account of the administratrix. Contrary to petitioner's
within a period of ten (10) days from receipt of this order. contention, the matters relating to the advances to her as heir, her
The motion for payment of advances, dated September 17, compensation as administratrix and her other disbursements cannot be
1964 and the petition for allowance and payment of considered separately from the order to deposit the amount of P39,240.15,
compensation, also dated September 17, 1964 are both for as the respondent court observed: "It is ... very obvious that should said
denied; and the accounting dated September 10, 1964 is petitions be granted, she shall be relieved thereby of her obligation to deposit
hereby disapproved. the amount of P39,314.15 as ordered by this Court." Our decision of July 31,
On May 26, 1965, the petitioner filed a motion for new trial and/or 1963 which modified the appealed order of the Quezon Court of First
reconsideration of the order dated May 10, 1965, alleging, among others, Instance in effect reaffirmed the authority of the probate court to pass upon
that the lower court erred in holding that the disbursements itemized in her the correctness of the disbursements made by the administratrix, as clearly
verified accounting are unsupported by receipts and that her payments of shown by the dispositive portion thereof, which directed the deposit of the
attorney's fees were for her benefit as heir; and praying that said order of balance of the original amount of P40,938.56 in the possession of the
May 10, 1965, be set aside and reconsidered to the end that the administratrix after deducting the expenses, allowances and inheritances
administratrix among others may be granted a day in court for the approved or authorized by the court.
presentation of her evidence or receipts supporting her verified accounting Pursuant to Section 7 of Rule 85 of the Rules, 3 a judicial administrator is
and disbursements itemized therein and that thereafter her said accounting entitled, by way of compensation as such, to either (a) P4.00 per day "for the
be approved; that she be allowed payment of P22,000.00 as her advance or time actually and necessarily employed" by him as such administrator, or (b)
allowance against the distributive share as similar advances and allowances a "commission upon the value of so much of the estate as comes into his
had been granted by the oppositor Socorro Manalo and the surviving spouse possession and was finally disposed of by him" according to the schedule
therein provided. The administrator may be allowed a greater or additional first be exhausted. Thus, a petition for certiorari may not be granted where
sum "where the estate is large, and the settlement has been attended with there is an appeal or other adequate remedy, like a motion for
great difficulty, and has required a high degree of capacity on the part of the reconsideration, which is pending in the court below. 6The lower court must
executor or administrator". It must be noted that petitioner is seeking as her be granted by the aggrieved party sufficient opportunity to correct the error it
compensation as administratrix an amount greater than that ordinarily may have committed.7 It is true that there are several exceptions to this rule,
allowed under the rules on the ground that the estate is large, its settlement such as where the order complained of is void for being violative of due
"having been attended with great difficulty (since 1947 or almost 17 years process;8 or there are special circumstances which warrant immediate and
ago) and required a high degree of capacity". In order to entitle the executor more direct action;9 or where execution had been ordered and the need for
or administrator to additional compensation, the estate must be large, the relief is extremely urgent; 10 or the lower court has taken an unreasonably
settlement extraordinarily difficult, and a high degree of capacity long time to resolve the motions before it and further delay would prejudice
demonstrated by him. The amount of his fee in special cases under the the party concerned; 11 or where the motion will raise the same point which
Rules is a matter largely in the discretion of the probate court, which will not has already been squarely stated before the court; 12 or the proceeding in
be disturbed on appeal, except for an abuse of discretion. 4 Whether or not which the order occurred is a patent nullity as the court acted without
the probate court abused its discretion would depend on the attendant facts. jurisdiction. 13 However, the case at bar does not fall within any of the above
We do not have before Us any competent evidence on the basis of which We exceptions.
can ascertain the veracity of petitioner's claims. Upon the other hand, such WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed, with costs against
evidence could be presented before the court a quo. Similarly, any review of the petitioner.
the order of the probate court denying petitioner's motions on the ground that
the different disbursements contained in her accounts "are not only 11. G.R. No. L-50277 February 14, 1980
unsupported by receipts but likewise not properly and legally chargeable TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE DOMINADOR TUMANG, MAGDALENA
against the estate of the deceased ..." would involve a consideration of the A. TUMANG, administratrix-appellee,
supporting evidence which We do not have before Us. Indeed, petitioner vs.
alleges in her petition that it is for the purpose of submitting the "supporting GUIA T. LAGUIO AND HER MINOR CHILDREN, movants-appellants.
proofs" to her account that she filed the motion for new trial with the court a
quo. It likewise appears from the records that the court below was given ANTONIO, J.:
almost no time to pass upon the motion, the same being dated May 26, 1965 This case was forwarded to this Court by the Court of Appeals on the ground
and this petition for certiorari being dated June 1, 1965. On the basis of the that it involves purely legal issues. The factual background, as found by the
foregoing facts, the present petition for certiorari is indeed premature. We Court of Appeals, is as follows:
consider it pertinent to state that: In Special Proceeding No. 1953 involving the estate of the late Dominador
"... The office of the writ of certiorari has been reduced to the Tumang and pending before the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, the
correction of defects of jurisdiction solely and cannot legally widow of the deceased, namely Magdalena A. Tumang, administratrix and
be used for any other purpose. It is truly an extraordinary executrix of the will, filed a petition to declare the testate proceedings
remedy and, in this jurisdiction, its use is restricted to truly definitely terminated and closed with respect to herself and two of her
extraordinary cases-cases in which the action of the inferior children — Melba Tumang Ticzon and Nestor A. Tumang. The petition was
court is wholly void; where any further steps in the case premised on the fact that the aforesaid heirs had already acknowledged
would result in a waste of time and money and would receipt of the properties adjudicated to them, and in order for such properties
produce no result whatever; where the parties, or their to be transferred in their names, there was need for an order of the court
privies, would be utterly deceived; where a final judgment or declaring the proceedings closed with respect to the aforesaid heirs. The
decree would be naught but a snare and a delusion, petition was opposed by appenee's daughter, Guia T. Laguio and her
deciding nothing, protecting nobody, a judicial pretension, a children on the ground that appellee, as administratrix and executrix, had not
recorded falsehood, a standing menace. It is only to avoid yet delivered all properties adjudicated to them. Moreover, the oppositors
such results as these that a writ of certiorari is issuable, and contended that there could be no partial termination of the proceedings.
even here an appeal will lie if the aggrieved party prefers to Thereafter, the administratrix withdrew the aforementioned petition.
prosecute it."5 During the hearing of the motion to withdraw petition, Magdalena Tumang, as
And We have emphasized that before a petition for certiorari can be brought required by the court, filed a pleading captioned "Compliance", alleging that
against an order of the trial court, all remedies available in that court must as shown by the attached receipts issued by the BIR, the estate and
inheritance taxes had been fully paid; that as certified by the Deputy Clerk of interests of all the parties will be better served and the conflict between
Court, no claim has been presented that has not already delivered all the petitioners and respondent will be resolved if such additional accounting is
properties and dividends of the shares of stock adjudicated to her and her made. Further, "it has been held that an executor or administrator who
minor children since the approval of the original and amendatory projects of receives assets of the estate after he has filed an account should file a
partition; and that with such admission, the court no longer has jurisdiction to supplementary account thereof, and may be compelled to do so, but that it is
entertain the motion under consideration. only with respect to matters occuring after the settlement of final account that
Resolving the foregoing, the court a quo issued the first questioned Order on representatives will be compelled to file supplementary account." 4 It is only
February 5, 1971, stating in part, the following: in a case where the petition to compel an executor to account after he has
Considering the opposition well founded, the court hereby accounted and has been discharged fails to allege that any further sums
considers the motion to require administratrix to render an came into the hands of the executor, and the executor specifically denies the
accounting untenable, as the final accounting of the receipt of any further sums that the accounting should be denied. 5
administratrix was already approved and therefore denies There is no question that in the instant case, the fact that the executrix
the motion of oppositor and counter-petitioner dated Jan. 25, received funds of the estate after the approval of her final accounts and
1971. 2 before the issuance of an order finally closing the proceedings is admitted.
A motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Order was filed by Guia T. She must, therefore, account for the same, in consonance with her duty to
Laguio and her minor children. On August 16, 1971, the court a quo issued account for all the assets of the decedent's estate which have come into her
the second questioned Order denying the motion for reconsideration in the possession by virtue of her office. 6 An executor should account for all his
following manner: receipts and disbursements since his last accounting. 7
After a careful consideration of the grounds relied upon by We disagree with the lower court's finding that petitioners, by receiving the
the movant counter-petitioner, this Court resolves to deny dividends without requiring an accounting, had waived their right to do so.
the motion for reconsideration for the reason that in view of The duty of an executor or administrator to render an account is not a mere
said counter-petitioner's receipt of the cash dividends in incident of an administration proceeding which can be waived or disregarded.
question without first requiring the administratrix the It is a duty that has to be performed and duly acted upon by the court before
accounting now being sought to be rendered for purposes of the administration is finally ordered closed and terminated, 8 to the end that
determining the correctness of the cash dividends no part of the decedent's estate be left unaccounted for. The fact that the
constitutes already a waiver on her part to question such final accounts had been approved does not divest the court of jurisdiction to
correctness of the aforesaid cash dividends. The counter- require supplemental accounting for, aside from the initial accounting, the
petitioner is being assisted by counsel in the person of her Rules provide that "he shall render such further accounts as the court may
own husband, and who being well-versed in such legal require until the estate is wholly settled." 9
process, could have rejected receipt of the said cash WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Orders of the lower court
dividends on the shares of stock if the correctness of the dated February 5, 1971 and August 16, 1971 are set aside, and respondent
same was at that time being doubted. To say the least, executrix is hereby ordered to render a supplemental accounting of all cash
therefore, the grounds for the motion for reconsideration are, and stock dividends as well as other properties of the estate which came into
in the honest opinion of this Court, unmeritorious, and all the her possession after the approval of her final accounts.
motion, in effect, is hereby denied. 3 SO ORDERED.
The sole issue is whether or not the court should have required the executrix
to render an accounting of the cash and stock dividends received after the
approval of her final accounts. A corollary issue is whether or not petitioners 12. G.R. No. 120880 June 5, 1997
have waived their right to demand such accounting. FERDINAND R. MARCOS II, petitioner,
Section 8 of Rule 85 provides that the "executor or administrator shall render vs.
an account of his administration within one (1) year from the time of receiving COURT OF APPEALS, THE COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF
letters testamentary or of administration ..., and he shall render such further INTERNAL REVENUE and HERMINIA D. DE GUZMAN, respondents.
accounts as the court may requite until the estate is wholly settled."
In the instant case, further accounts by the executrix appear to be in order, in TORRES, JR., J.:
view of the fact that the dividends sought to be accounted for are not In this Petition for Review on Certiorari, Government action is once again
included in the final accounts rendered by the executrix. It appears that the assailed as precipitate and unfair, suffering the basic and oftly implored
requisites of due process of law. Specifically, the petition assails the properties of the late President, as was done by the respondent
Decision 1of the Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
No. 31363, where the said court held: WHEREFORE, premises considered judgment is hereby
In view of all the foregoing, we rule that the deficiency rendered DISMISSING the petition for Certiorari with prayer
income tax assessments and estate tax assessment, are for Restraining Order and Injunction.
already final and (u)nappealable-and-the subsequent levy of No pronouncements as to cost.
real properties is a tax remedy resorted to by the SO ORDERED.
government, sanctioned by Section 213 and 218 of the Unperturbed, petitioner is now before us assailing the validity of the appellate
National Internal Revenue Code. This summary tax remedy court's decision, assigning the following as errors:
is distinct and separate from the other tax remedies (such as A. RESPONDENT COURT MANIFESTLY ERRED IN
Judicial Civil actions and Criminal actions), and is not RULING THAT THE SUMMARY TAX REMEDIES
affected or precluded by the pendency of any other tax RESORTED TO BY THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT
remedies instituted by the government. AFFECTED AND PRECLUDED BY THE PENDENCY OF
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby THE SPECIAL PROCEEDING FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF
rendered DISMISSING the petition for certiorari with prayer THE LATE PRESIDENT'S ALLEGED WILL. TO THE
for Restraining Order and Injunction. CONTRARY, THIS PROBATE PROCEEDING PRECISELY
No pronouncements as to costs. PLACED ALL PROPERTIES WHICH FORM PART OF THE
SO ORDERED. LATE PRESIDENT'S ESTATE IN CUSTODIA LEGIS OF
More than seven years since the demise of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, the THE PROBATE COURT TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL
former President of the Republic of the Philippines, the matter of the OTHER COURTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES.
settlement of his estate, and its dues to the government in estate taxes, are B. RESPONDENT COURT ARBITRARILY ERRED IN
still unresolved, the latter issue being now before this Court for resolution. SWEEPINGLY DECIDING THAT SINCE THE TAX
Specifically, petitioner Ferdinand R. Marcos II, the eldest son of the ASSESSMENTS OF PETITIONER AND HIS PARENTS
decedent, questions the actuations of the respondent Commissioner of HAD ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE,
Internal Revenue in assessing, and collecting through the summary remedy THERE WAS NO NEED TO GO INTO THE MERITS OF
of Levy on Real Properties, estate and income tax delinquencies upon the THE GROUNDS CITED IN THE PETITION. INDEPENDENT
estate and properties of his father, despite the pendency of the proceedings OF WHETHER THE TAX ASSESSMENTS HAD ALREADY
on probate of the will of the late president, which is docketed as Sp. Proc. BECOME FINAL, HOWEVER, PETITIONER HAS THE
No. 10279 in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 156. RIGHT TO QUESTION THE UNLAWFUL MANNER AND
Petitioner had filed with the respondent Court of Appeals a Petition METHOD IN WHICH TAX COLLECTION IS SOUGHT TO
for Certiorari and Prohibition with an application for writ of preliminary BE ENFORCED BY RESPONDENTS COMMISSIONER
injunction and/or temporary restraining order on June 28, 1993, seeking to — AND DE GUZMAN. THUS, RESPONDENT COURT
I. Annul and set aside the Notices of Levy on real property SHOULD HAVE FAVORABLY CONSIDERED THE MERITS
dated February 22, 1993 and May 20, 1993, issued by OF THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS IN THE PETITION:
respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue; (1) The Notices of Levy on Real Property
II. Annul and set aside the Notices of Sale dated May 26, were issued beyond the period provided in
1993; the Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 38-
III. Enjoin the Head Revenue Executive Assistant Director II 68.
(Collection Service), from proceeding with the Auction of the (2) [a] The numerous pending court cases
real properties covered by Notices of Sale. questioning the late President's ownership
After the parties had pleaded their case, the Court of Appeals rendered its or interests in several properties (both
Decision 2 on November 29, 1994, ruling that the deficiency assessments for personal and real) make the total value of
estate and income tax made upon the petitioner and the estate of the his estate, and the consequent estate tax
deceased President Marcos have already become final and unappealable, due, incapable of exact pecuniary
and may thus be enforced by the summary remedy of levying upon the determination at this time. Thus,
respondents' assessment of the estate tax
and their issuance of the Notices of Levy On July 26, 1991, the BIR issued the following: (1)
and Sale are premature, confiscatory and Deficiency estate tax assessment no. FAC-2-89-91-002464
oppressive. (against the estate of the late president Ferdinand Marcos in
[b] Petitioner, as one of the late President's the amount of P23,293,607,638.00 Pesos); (2) Deficiency
compulsory heirs, was never notified, much income tax assessment no. FAC-1-85-91-002452 and
less served with copies of the Notices of Deficiency income tax assessment no. FAC-1-86-91-002451
Levy, contrary to the mandate of Section (against the Spouses Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the
213 of the NIRC. As such, petitioner was amounts of P149,551.70 and P184,009,737.40 representing
never given an opportunity to contest the deficiency income tax for the years 1985 and 1986); (3)
Notices in violation of his right to due Deficiency income tax assessment nos. FAC-1-82-91-
process of law. 002460 to FAC-1-85-91-002463 (against petitioner
C. ON ACCOUNT OF THE CLEAR MERIT OF THE Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos II in the amounts of P258.70
PETITION, RESPONDENT COURT MANIFESTLY ERRED pesos; P9,386.40 Pesos; P4,388.30 Pesos; and P6,376.60
IN RULING THAT IT HAD NO POWER TO GRANT Pesos representing his deficiency income taxes for the years
INJUNCTIVE RELIEF TO PETITIONER. SECTION 219 OF 1982 to 1985).
THE NIRC NOTWITHSTANDING, COURTS POSSESS THE The Commissioner of Internal Revenue avers that copies of
POWER TO ISSUE A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY the deficiency estate and income tax assessments were all
INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN RESPONDENTS personally and constructively served on August 26, 1991
COMMISSIONER'S AND DE GUZMAN'S ARBITRARY and September 12, 1991 upon Mrs. Imelda Marcos (through
METHOD OF COLLECTING THE ALLEGED DEFICIENCY her caretaker Mr. Martinez) at her last known address at No.
ESTATE AND INCOME TAXES BY MEANS OF LEVY. 204 Ortega St., San Juan, M.M. (Annexes "D" and "E" of the
The facts as found by the appellate court are undisputed, and are hereby Petition). Likewise, copies of the deficiency tax assessments
adopted: issued against petitioner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos II
On September 29, 1989, former President Ferdinand Marcos were also personally and constructively served upon him
died in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. (through his caretaker) on September 12, 1991, at his last
On June 27, 1990, a Special Tax Audit Team was created to known address at Don Mariano Marcos St. corner P.
conduct investigations and examinations of the tax liabilities Guevarra St., San Juan, M.M. (Annexes "J" and "J-1" of the
and obligations of the late president, as well as that of his Petition). Thereafter, Formal Assessment notices were
family, associates and "cronies". Said audit team concluded served on October 20, 1992, upon Mrs. Marcos c/o
its investigation with a Memorandum dated July 26, 1991. petitioner, at his office, House of Representatives, Batasan
The investigation disclosed that the Marcoses failed to file a Pambansa, Quezon City. Moreover, a notice to Taxpayer
written notice of the death of the decedent, an estate tax inviting Mrs. Marcos (or her duly authorized representative or
returns [sic], as well as several income tax returns covering counsel), to a conference, was furnished the counsel of Mrs.
the years 1982 to 1986, — all in violation of the National Marcos, Dean Antonio Coronel — but to no avail.
Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). The deficiency tax assessments were not protested
Subsequently, criminal charges were filed against Mrs. administratively, by Mrs. Marcos and the other heirs of the
Imelda R. Marcos before the Regional Trial of Quezon City late president, within 30 days from service of said
for violations of Sections 82, 83 and 84 (has penalized under assessments.
Sections 253 and 254 in relation to Section 252 — a & b) of On February 22, 1993, the BIR Commissioner issued
the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). twenty-two notices of levy on real property against certain
The Commissioner of Internal Revenue thereby caused the parcels of land owned by the Marcoses — to satisfy the
preparation and filing of the Estate Tax Return for the estate alleged estate tax and deficiency income taxes of Spouses
of the late president, the Income Tax Returns of the Spouses Marcos.
Marcos for the years 1985 to 1986, and the Income Tax On May 20, 1993, four more Notices of Levy on real property
Returns of petitioner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos II for the were issued for the purpose of satisfying the deficiency
years 1982 to 1985. income taxes.
On May 26, 1993, additional four (4) notices of Levy on real Petitioner goes further, submitting that the probate court is not precluded
property were again issued. The foregoing tax remedies from denying a request by the government for the immediate payment of
were resorted to pursuant to Sections 205 and 213 of the taxes, and should order the payment of the same only within the period fixed
National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). by the probate court for the payment of all the debts of the decedent. In this
In response to a letter dated March 12, 1993 sent by Atty. regard, petitioner cites the case of Collector of Internal Revenue vs. The
Loreto Ata (counsel of herein petitioner) calling the attention Administratrix of the Estate of Echarri (67 Phil 502), where it was held that:
of the BIR and requesting that they be duly notified of any The case of Pineda vs. Court of First Instance of Tayabas
action taken by the BIR affecting the interest of their client and Collector of Internal Revenue (52 Phil 803), relied upon
Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos II, as well as the interest of by the petitioner-appellant is good authority on the
the late president — copies of the aforesaid notices were, proposition that the court having control over the
served on April 7, 1993 and on June 10, 1993, upon Mrs. administration proceedings has jurisdiction to entertain the
Imelda Marcos, the petitioner, and their counsel of record, claim presented by the government for taxes due and to
"De Borja, Medialdea, Ata, Bello, Guevarra and Serapio Law order the administrator to pay the tax should it find that the
Office". assessment was proper, and that the tax was legal, due and
Notices of sale at public auction were posted on May 26, collectible. And the rule laid down in that case must be
1993, at the lobby of the City Hall of Tacloban City. The understood in relation to the case of Collector of Customs
public auction for the sale of the eleven (11) parcels of land vs. Haygood, supra., as to the procedure to be followed in a
took place on July 5, 1993. There being no bidder, the lots given case by the government to effectuate the collection of
were declared forfeited in favor of the government. the tax. Categorically stated, where during the pendency of
On June 25, 1993, petitioner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos judicial administration over the estate of a deceased person
II filed the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition under a claim for taxes is presented by the government, the court
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, with prayer for temporary has the authority to order payment by the administrator; but,
restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. in the same way that it has authority to order payment or
It has been repeatedly observed, and not without merit, that the enforcement satisfaction, it also has the negative authority to deny the
of tax laws and the collection of taxes, is of paramount importance for the same. While there are cases where courts are required to
sustenance of government. Taxes are the lifeblood of the government and perform certain duties mandatory and ministerial in
should be collected without unnecessary hindrance. However, such character, the function of the court in a case of the present
collection should be made in accordance with law as any arbitrariness will character is not one of them; and here, the court cannot be
negate the very reason for government itself. It is therefore necessary to an organism endowed with latitude of judgment in one
reconcile the apparently conflicting interests of the authorities and the direction, and converted into a mere mechanical contrivance
taxpayers so that the real purpose of taxation, which is the promotion of the in another direction.
common good, may be achieved. 3 On the other hand, it is argued by the BIR, that the state's authority to collect
Whether or not the proper avenues of assessment and collection of the said internal revenue taxes is paramount. Thus, the pendency of probate
tax obligations were taken by the respondent Bureau is now the subject of proceedings over the estate of the deceased does not preclude the
the Court's inquiry. assessment and collection, through summary remedies, of estate taxes over
Petitioner posits that notices of levy, notices of sale, and subsequent sale of the same. According to the respondent, claims for payment of estate and
properties of the late President Marcos effected by the BIR are null and void income taxes due and assessed after the death of the decedent need not be
for disregarding the established procedure for the enforcement of taxes due presented in the form of a claim against the estate. These can and should be
upon the estate of the deceased. The case of Domingo vs. Garlitos 4 is paid immediately. The probate court is not the government agency to decide
specifically cited to bolster the argument that "the ordinary procedure by whether an estate is liable for payment of estate of income taxes. Well-
which to settle claims of indebtedness against the estate of a deceased, settled is the rule that the probate court is a court with special and limited
person, as in an inheritance (estate) tax, is for the claimant to present a claim jurisdiction.
before the probate court so that said court may order the administrator to pay Concededly, the authority of the Regional Trial Court, sitting, albeit with
the amount therefor." This remedy is allegedly, exclusive, and cannot be limited jurisdiction, as a probate court over estate of deceased individual, is
effected through any other means. not a trifling thing. The court's jurisdiction, once invoked, and made effective,
cannot be treated with indifference nor should it be ignored with impunity by supervisory and police power conferred to it by this Code or
the very parties invoking its authority. other laws.
In testament to this, it has been held that it is within the jurisdiction of the Thus, it was in Vera vs. Fernandez 12 that the court recognized the liberal
probate court to approve the sale of properties of a deceased person by his treatment of claims for taxes charged against the estate of the decedent.
prospective heirs before final adjudication; 5 to determine who are the heirs Such taxes, we said, were exempted from the application of the statute of
of the decedent; 6 the recognition of a natural child; 7 the status of a woman non-claims, and this is justified by the necessity of government funding,
claiming to be the legal wife of the decedent; 8 the legality of disinheritance of immortalized in the maxim that taxes are the lifeblood of the
an heir by the testator; 9 and to pass upon the validity of a waiver of government. Vectigalia nervi sunt rei publicae — taxes are the sinews of the
hereditary rights. 10 state.
The pivotal question the court is tasked to resolve refers to the authority of Taxes assessed against the estate of a deceased person,
the Bureau of Internal Revenue to collect by the summary remedy of levying after administration is opened, need not be submitted to the
upon, and sale of real properties of the decedent, estate tax deficiencies, committee on claims in the ordinary course of administration.
without the cognition and authority of the court sitting in probate over the In the exercise of its control over the administrator, the court
supposed will of the deceased. may direct the payment of such taxes upon motion showing
The nature of the process of estate tax collection has been described as that the taxes have been assessed against the estate.
follows: Such liberal treatment of internal revenue taxes in the probate proceedings
Strictly speaking, the assessment of an inheritance tax does extends so far, even to allowing the enforcement of tax obligations against
not directly involve the administration of a decedent's estate, the heirs of the decedent, even after distribution of the estate's properties.
although it may be viewed as an incident to the complete Claims for taxes, whether assessed before or after the death
settlement of an estate, and, under some statutes, it is made of the deceased, can be collected from the heirs even after
the duty of the probate court to make the amount of the the distribution of the properties of the decedent. They are
inheritance tax a part of the final decree of distribution of the exempted from the application of the statute of non-claims.
estate. It is not against the property of decedent, nor is it a The heirs shall be liable therefor, in proportion to their share
claim against the estate as such, but it is against the interest in the inheritance. 13
or property right which the heir, legatee, devisee, etc., has in Thus, the Government has two ways of collecting the taxes
the property formerly held by decedent. Further, under some in question. One, by going after all the heirs and collecting
statutes, it has been held that it is not a suit or controversy from each one of them the amount of the tax proportionate to
between the parties, nor is it an adversary proceeding the inheritance received. Another remedy, pursuant to the
between the state and the person who owes the tax on the lien created by Section 315 of the Tax Code upon all
inheritance. However, under other statutes it has been held property and rights to property belong to the taxpayer for
that the hearing and determination of the cash value of the unpaid income tax, is by subjecting said property of the
assets and the determination of the tax are adversary estate which is in the hands of an heir or transferee to the
proceedings. The proceeding has been held to be payment of the tax due the estate. (Commissioner of Internal
necessarily a proceeding in rem. 11 Revenue vs. Pineda, 21 SCRA 105, September 15, 1967.)
In the Philippine experience, the enforcement and collection of estate tax, is From the foregoing, it is discernible that the approval of the court, sitting in
executive in character, as the legislature has seen it fit to ascribe this task to probate, or as a settlement tribunal over the deceased is not a mandatory
the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Section 3 of the National Internal Revenue requirement in the collection of estate taxes. It cannot therefore be argued
Code attests to this: that the Tax Bureau erred in proceeding with the levying and sale of the
Sec. 3. Powers and duties of the Bureau. — The powers and properties allegedly owned by the late President, on the ground that it was
duties of the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall comprehend required to seek first the probate court's sanction. There is nothing in the Tax
the assessment and collection of all national internal Code, and in the pertinent remedial laws that implies the necessity of the
revenue taxes, fees, and charges, and the enforcement of all probate or estate settlement court's approval of the state's claim for estate
forfeitures, penalties, and fines connected therewith, taxes, before the same can be enforced and collected.
including the execution of judgments in all cases decided in On the contrary, under Section 87 of the NIRC, it is the probate or settlement
its favor by the Court of Tax Appeals and the ordinary courts. court which is bidden not to authorize the executor or judicial administrator of
Said Bureau shall also give effect to and administer the the decedent's estate to deliver any distributive share to any party interested
in the estate, unless it is shown a Certification by the Commissioner of the period mandated in Revenue Memorandum Circular No.
Internal Revenue that the estate taxes have been paid. This provision 38-68. These Notices of Levy were issued only on 22
disproves the petitioner's contention that it is the probate court which February 1993 and 20 May 1993 when at least seventeen
approves the assessment and collection of the estate tax. (17) months had already lapsed from the last service of tax
If there is any issue as to the validity of the BIR's decision to assess the assessment on 12 September 1991. As no notices of
estate taxes, this should have been pursued through the proper distraint of personal property were first issued by
administrative and judicial avenues provided for by law. respondents, the latter should have complied with Revenue
Section 229 of the NIRC tells us how: Memorandum Circular No. 38-68 and issued these Notices
Sec. 229. Protesting of assessment. — When the of Levy not earlier than three (3) months nor later than six (6)
Commissioner of Internal Revenue or his duly authorized months from 12 September 1991. In accordance with the
representative finds that proper taxes should be assessed, Circular, respondents only had until 12 March 1992 (the last
he shall first notify the taxpayer of his findings. Within a day of the sixth month) within which to issue these Notices of
period to be prescribed by implementing regulations, the Levy. The Notices of Levy, having been issued beyond the
taxpayer shall be required to respond to said notice. If the period allowed by law, are thus void and of no effect. 15
taxpayer fails to respond, the Commissioner shall issue an We hold otherwise. The Notices of Levy upon real property were issued
assessment based on his findings. within the prescriptive period and in accordance with the provisions of the
Such assessment may be protested administratively by filing present Tax Code. The deficiency tax assessment, having already become
a request for reconsideration or reinvestigation in such form final, executory, and demandable, the same can now be collected through
and manner as may be prescribed by implementing the summary remedy of distraint or levy pursuant to Section 205 of the NIRC.
regulations within (30) days from receipt of the assessment; The applicable provision in regard to the prescriptive period for the
otherwise, the assessment shall become final and assessment and collection of tax deficiency in this instance is Article 223 of
unappealable. the NIRC, which pertinently provides:
If the protest is denied in whole or in part, the individual, Sec. 223. Exceptions as to a period of limitation of
association or corporation adversely affected by the decision assessment and collection of taxes. — (a) In the case of a
on the protest may appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals within false or fraudulent return with intent to evade tax or of a
thirty (30) days from receipt of said decision; otherwise, the failure to file a return, the tax may be assessed, or a
decision shall become final, executory and demandable. (As proceeding in court for the collection of such tax may be
inserted by P.D. 1773) begun without assessment, at any time within ten (10) years
Apart from failing to file the required estate tax return within the time required after the discovery of the falsity, fraud, or
for the filing of the same, petitioner, and the other heirs never questioned the omission: Provided, That, in a fraud assessment which has
assessments served upon them, allowing the same to lapse into finality, and become final and executory, the fact of fraud shall be
prompting the BIR to collect the said taxes by levying upon the properties left judicially taken cognizance of in the civil or criminal action for
by President Marcos. the collection thereof.
Petitioner submits, however, that "while the assessment of taxes may have xxx xxx xxx
been validly undertaken by the Government, collection thereof may have (c) Any internal revenue tax which has been assessed within
been done in violation of the law. Thus, the manner and method in which the the period of limitation above prescribed, may be collected
latter is enforced may be questioned separately, and irrespective of the by distraint or levy or by a proceeding in court within three
finality of the former, because the Government does not have the unbridled years following the assessment of the tax.
discretion to enforce collection without regard to the clear provision of law." 14 xxx xxx xxx
Petitioner specifically points out that applying Memorandum Circular No. 38- The omission to file an estate tax return, and the subsequent failure to
68, implementing Sections 318 and 324 of the old tax code (Republic Act contest or appeal the assessment made by the BIR is fatal to the petitioner's
5203), the BIR's Notices of Levy on the Marcos properties, were issued cause, as under the above-cited provision, in case of failure to file a return,
beyond the allowed period, and are therefore null and void: the tax may be assessed at any time within ten years after the omission, and
. . . the Notices of Levy on Real Property (Annexes O to NN any tax so assessed may be collected by levy upon real property within three
of Annex C of this Petition) in satisfaction of said years following the assessment of the tax. Since the estate tax assessment
assessments were still issued by respondents well beyond had become final and unappealable by the petitioner's default as regards
protesting the validity of the said assessment, there is now no reason why Moreover, these objections to the assessments should have been raised,
the BIR cannot continue with the collection of the said tax. Any objection considering the ample remedies afforded the taxpayer by the Tax Code, with
against the assessment should have been pursued following the avenue the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Court of Tax Appeals, as described
paved in Section 229 of the NIRC on protests on assessments of internal earlier, and cannot be raised now via Petition for Certiorari, under the pretext
revenue taxes. of grave abuse of discretion. The course of action taken by the petitioner
Petitioner further argues that "the numerous pending court cases questioning reflects his disregard or even repugnance of the established institutions for
the late president's ownership or interests in several properties (both real and governance in the scheme of a well-ordered society. The subject tax
personal) make the total value of his estate, and the consequent estate tax assessments having become final, executory and enforceable, the same can
due, incapable of exact pecuniary determination at this time. Thus, no longer be contested by means of a disguised protest. In the
respondents' assessment of the estate tax and their issuance of the Notices main, Certiorari may not be used as a substitute for a lost appeal or
of Levy and sale are premature and oppressive." He points out the pendency remedy. 19 This judicial policy becomes more pronounced in view of the
of Sandiganbayan Civil Case Nos. 0001-0034 and 0141, which were filed by absence of sufficient attack against the actuations of government.
the government to question the ownership and interests of the late President On the matter of sufficiency of service of Notices of Assessment to the
in real and personal properties located within and outside the Philippines. petitioner, we find the respondent appellate court's pronouncements sound
Petitioner, however, omits to allege whether the properties levied upon by the and resilient to petitioner's attacks.
BIR in the collection of estate taxes upon the decedent's estate were among Anent grounds 3(b) and (B) — both alleging/claiming lack of
those involved in the said cases pending in the Sandiganbayan. Indeed, the notice — We find, after considering the facts and
court is at a loss as to how these cases are relevant to the matter at issue. circumstances, as well as evidences, that there was
The mere fact that the decedent has pending cases involving ill-gotten wealth sufficient, constructive and/or actual notice of assessments,
does not affect the enforcement of tax assessments over the properties levy and sale, sent to herein petitioner Ferdinand
indubitably included in his estate. "Bongbong" Marcos as well as to his mother Mrs. Imelda
Petitioner also expresses his reservation as to the propriety of the BIR's total Marcos.
assessment of P23,292,607,638.00, stating that this amount deviates from Even if we are to rule out the notices of assessments
the findings of the Department of Justice's Panel of Prosecutors as per its personally given to the caretaker of Mrs. Marcos at the
resolution of 20 September 1991. Allegedly, this is clear evidence of the latter's last known address, on August 26, 1991 and
uncertainty on the part of the Government as to the total value of the estate September 12, 1991, as well as the notices of assessment
of the late President. personally given to the caretaker of petitioner also at his last
This is, to our mind, the petitioner's last ditch effort to assail the assessment known address on September 12, 1991 — the subsequent
of estate tax which had already become final and unappealable. notices given thereafter could no longer be ignored as they
It is not the Department of Justice which is the government agency tasked to were sent at a time when petitioner was already here in the
determine the amount of taxes due upon the subject estate, but the Bureau Philippines, and at a place where said notices would surely
of Internal Revenue, 16 whose determinations and assessments are be called to petitioner's attention, and received by
presumed correct and made in good faith. 17 The taxpayer has the duty of responsible persons of sufficient age and discretion.
proving otherwise. In the absence of proof of any irregularities in the Thus, on October 20, 1992, formal assessment notices were
performance of official duties, an assessment will not be disturbed. Even an served upon Mrs. Marcos c/o the petitioner, at his office,
assessment based on estimates is prima facie valid and lawful where it does House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa, Q.C.
not appear to have been arrived at arbitrarily or capriciously. The burden of (Annexes "A", "A-1", "A-2", "A-3"; pp. 207-210,
proof is upon the complaining party to show clearly that the assessment is Comment/Memorandum of OSG). Moreover, a notice to
erroneous. Failure to present proof of error in the assessment will justify the taxpayer dated October 8, 1992 inviting Mrs. Marcos to a
judicial affirmance of said assessment. 18 In this instance, petitioner has not conference relative to her tax liabilities, was furnished the
pointed out one single provision in the Memorandum of the Special Audit counsel of Mrs. Marcos — Dean Antonio Coronel (Annex
Team which gave rise to the questioned assessment, which bears a trace of "B", p. 211, ibid). Thereafter, copies of Notices were also
falsity. Indeed, the petitioner's attack on the assessment bears mainly on the served upon Mrs. Imelda Marcos, the petitioner and their
alleged improbable and unconscionable amount of the taxes charged. But counsel "De Borja, Medialdea, Ata, Bello, Guevarra and
mere rhetoric cannot supply the basis for the charge of impropriety of the Serapio Law Office", on April 7, 1993 and June 10, 1993.
assessments made. Despite all of these Notices, petitioner never lifted a finger to
protest the assessments, (upon which the Levy and sale of IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court RESOLVED to DENY the present petition.
properties were based), nor appealed the same to the Court The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 29, 1994 is hereby
of Tax Appeals. AFFIRMED in all respects.
There being sufficient service of Notices to herein petitioner SO ORDERED.
(and his mother) and it appearing that petitioner continuously
ignored said Notices despite several opportunities given him 13. G.R. No. 134100 September 29, 2000
to file a protest and to thereafter appeal to the Court of Tax PURITA ALIPIO, petitioner,
Appeals, — the tax assessments subject of this case, upon vs.
which the levy and sale of properties were based, could no COURT OF APPEALS and ROMEO G. JARING, represented by his
longer be contested (directly or indirectly) via this instant Attorney-In-Fact RAMON G. JARING,respondents.
petition for certiorari. 20 DECISION
Petitioner argues that all the questioned Notices of Levy, however, must be MENDOZA, J.:
nullified for having been issued without validly serving copies thereof to the The question for decision in this case is whether a creditor can sue the
petitioner. As a mandatory heir of the decedent, petitioner avers that he has surviving spouse for the collection of a debt which is owed by the conjugal
an interest in the subject estate, and notices of levy upon its properties partnership of gains, or whether such claim must be filed in proceedings for
should have been served upon him. the settlement of the estate of the decedent. The trial court and the Court of
We do not agree. In the case of notices of levy issued to satisfy the Appeals ruled in the affirmative. We reverse.
delinquent estate tax, the delinquent taxpayer is the Estate of the decedent, The facts are as follows:
and not necessarily, and exclusively, the petitioner as heir of the deceased. Respondent Romeo Jaring1 was the lessee of a 14.5 hectare fishpond in
In the same vein, in the matter of income tax delinquency of the late Barito, Mabuco, Hermosa, Bataan. The lease was for a period of five years
president and his spouse, petitioner is not the taxpayer liable. Thus, it follows ending on September 12, 1990. On June 19, 1987, he subleased the
that service of notices of levy in satisfaction of these tax delinquencies upon fishpond, for the remaining period of his lease, to the spouses Placido and
the petitioner is not required by law, as under Section 213 of the NIRC, which Purita Alipio and the spouses Bienvenido and Remedios Manuel. The
pertinently states: stipulated amount of rent was ₱485,600.00, payable in two installments of
xxx xxx xxx ₱300,000.00 and ₱185,600.00, with the second installment falling due on
. . . Levy shall be effected by writing upon said certificate a June 30, 1989. Each of the four sublessees signed the contract.
description of the property upon which levy is made. At the The first installment was duly paid, but of the second installment, the
same time, written notice of the levy shall be mailed to or sublessees only satisfied a portion thereof, leaving an unpaid balance of
served upon the Register of Deeds of the province or city ₱50,600.00. Despite due demand, the sublessees failed to comply with their
where the property is located and upon the delinquent obligation, so that, on October 13, 1989, private respondent sued the Alipio
taxpayer, or if he be absent from the Philippines, to his agent and Manuel spouses for the collection of the said amount before the
or the manager of the business in respect to which the Regional Trial Court, Branch 5, Dinalupihan, Bataan. In the alternative, he
liability arose, or if there be none, to the occupant of the prayed for the rescission of the sublease contract should the defendants fail
property in question. to pay the balance.
xxx xxx xxx Petitioner Purita Alipio moved to dismiss the case on the ground that her
The foregoing notwithstanding, the record shows that notices of warrants of husband, Placido Alipio, had passed away on December 1, 1988. 2 She
distraint and levy of sale were furnished the counsel of petitioner on April 7, based her action on Rule 3, §21 of the 1964 Rules of Court which then
1993, and June 10, 1993, and the petitioner himself on April 12, 1993 at his provided that "when the action is for recovery of money, debt or interest
office at the Batasang Pambansa. 21 We cannot therefore, countenance thereon, and the defendant dies before final judgment in the Court of First
petitioner's insistence that he was denied due process. Where there was an Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the manner especially
opportunity to raise objections to government action, and such opportunity provided in these rules." This provision has been amended so that now Rule
was disregarded, for no justifiable reason, the party claiming oppression then 3, §20 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
becomes the oppressor of the orderly functions of government. He who When the action is for the recovery of money arising from contract, express
comes to court must come with clean hands. Otherwise, he not only taints his or implied, and the defendant dies before entry of final judgment in the court
name, but ridicules the very structure of established authority. in which the action was pending at the time of such death, it shall not be
dismissed but shall instead be allowed to continue until entry of final
judgment. A favorable judgment obtained by the plaintiff therein shall be Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied on June 4,
enforced in the manner especially provided in these Rules for prosecuting 1998.6 Hence this petition based on the following assignment of errors:
claims against the estate of a deceased person. A. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE
The trial court denied petitioner's motion on the ground that since petitioner ERROR IN APPLYING CLIMACO v. SIY UY, 19 SCRA 858, IN
was herself a party to the sublease contract, she could be independently SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE PETITIONER WAS NOT
impleaded in the suit together with the Manuel spouses and that the death of SEEKING THE DISMISSAL OF THE CASE AGAINST REMAINING
her husband merely resulted in his exclusion from the case.3 The Manuel DEFENDANTS BUT ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE CLAIM FOR
spouses failed to file their answer. For this reason, they were declared in PAYMENT AGAINST HER AND HER HUSBAND WHICH SHOULD
default. BE PROSECUTED AS A MONEY CLAIM.
On February 26, 1991, the lower court rendered judgment after trial, ordering B. THE RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE
petitioner and the Manuel spouses to pay private respondent the unpaid ERROR IN APPLYING IMPERIAL INSURANCE INC. v. DAVID, 133
balance of ₱50,600.00 plus attorney's fees in the amount of ₱10,000.00 and SCRA 317, WHICH IS NOT APPLICABLE BECAUSE THE
the costs of the suit. SPOUSES IN THIS CASE DID NOT BIND THEMSELVES JOINTLY
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals on the ground that the trial court AND SEVERALLY IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT JARING.7
erred in denying her motion to dismiss. In its decision 4 rendered on July 10, The petition is meritorious. We hold that a creditor cannot sue the surviving
1997, the appellate court dismissed her appeal. It held: spouse of a decedent in an ordinary proceeding for the collection of a sum of
The rule that an action for recovery of money, debt or interest thereon must money chargeable against the conjugal partnership and that the proper
be dismissed when the defendant dies before final judgment in the regional remedy is for him to file a claim in the settlement of estate of the decedent.
trial court, does not apply where there are other defendants against whom First. Petitioner's husband died on December 1, 1988, more than ten months
the action should be maintained. This is the teaching of Climaco v. Siy Uy, before private respondent filed the collection suit in the trial court on October
wherein the Supreme Court held: 13, 1989. This case thus falls outside of the ambit of Rule 3, §21 which deals
Upon the facts alleged in the complaint, it is clear that Climaco had a cause with dismissals of collection suits because of the death of the defendant
of action against the persons named as defendants therein. It was, however, during the pendency of the case and the subsequent procedure to be
a cause of action for the recovery of damages, that is, a sum of money, and undertaken by the plaintiff, i.e., the filing of claim in the proceeding for the
the corresponding action is, unfortunately, one that does not survive upon the settlement of the decedent's estate. As already noted, Rule 3, §20 of the
death of the defendant, in accordance with the provisions of Section 21, Rule 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure now provides that the case will be allowed to
3 of the Rules of Court. continue until entry of final judgment. A favorable judgment obtained by the
xxx xxx xxx plaintiff therein will then be enforced in the manner especially provided in the
However, the deceased Siy Uy was not the only defendant, Manuel Co was Rules for prosecuting claims against the estate of a deceased person. The
also named defendant in the complaint. Obviously, therefore, the order issue to be resolved is whether private respondent can, in the first place, file
appealed from is erroneous insofar as it dismissed the case against Co. this case against petitioner.
(Underlining added) Petitioner and her late husband, together with the Manuel spouses, signed
Moreover, it is noted that all the defendants, including the deceased, were the sublease contract binding themselves to pay the amount of stipulated
signatories to the contract of sub-lease. The remaining defendants cannot rent. Under the law, the Alipios' obligation (and also that of the Manuels) is
avoid the action by claiming that the death of one of the parties to the one which is chargeable against their conjugal partnership. Under Art. 161(1)
contract has totally extinguished their obligation as held in Imperial of the Civil Code, the conjugal partnership is liable for ¾
Insurance, Inc. v. David: All debts and obligations contracted by the husband for the benefit of the
We find no merit in this appeal. Under the law and well settled jurisprudence, conjugal partnership, and those contracted by the wife, also for the same
when the obligation is a solidary one, the creditor may bring his action in toto purpose, in the cases where she may legally bind the partnership. 8
against any of the debtors obligated in solidum. Thus, if husband and wife When petitioner's husband died, their conjugal partnership was automatically
bound themselves jointly and severally, in case of his death, her liability is dissolved9 and debts chargeable against it are to be paid in the settlement of
independent of and separate from her husband's; she may be sued for the estate proceedings in accordance with Rule 73, §2 which states:
whole debt and it would be error to hold that the claim against her as well as Where estate settled upon dissolution of marriage. ¾ When the marriage is
the claim against her husband should be made in the decedent's estate. dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community property shall
(Agcaoili vs. Vda. de Agcaoili, 90 Phil. 97).5 be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in
the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse. If both spouses
have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or in the dismissal of the case as to him but not as to the remaining defendant
intestate proceedings of either. Manuel Co.
As held in Calma v. Tañedo,10 after the death of either of the spouses, no With regard to the case of Imperial, the spouses therein jointly and severally
complaint for the collection of indebtedness chargeable against the conjugal executed an indemnity agreement which became the basis of a collection
partnership can be brought against the surviving spouse. Instead, the claim suit filed against the wife after her husband had died. For this reason, the
must be made in the proceedings for the liquidation and settlement of the Court ruled that since the spouses' liability was solidary, the surviving spouse
conjugal property. The reason for this is that upon the death of one spouse, could be independently sued in an ordinary action for the enforcement of the
the powers of administration of the surviving spouse ceases and is passed to entire obligation.
the administrator appointed by the court having jurisdiction over the It must be noted that for marriages governed by the rules of conjugal
settlement of estate proceedings.11Indeed, the surviving spouse is not even partnership of gains, an obligation entered into by the husband and wife is
a de facto administrator such that conveyances made by him of any property chargeable against their conjugal partnership and it is the partnership which
belonging to the partnership prior to the liquidation of the mass of conjugal is primarily bound for its repayment.17 Thus, when the spouses are sued for
partnership property is void.12 the enforcement of an obligation entered into by them, they are being
The ruling in Calma v. Tañedo was reaffirmed in the recent case of Ventura impleaded in their capacity as representatives of the conjugal partnership
v. Militante.13 In that case, the surviving wife was sued in an amended and not as independent debtors such that the concept of joint or solidary
complaint for a sum of money based on an obligation allegedly contracted by liability, as between them, does not apply. But even assuming the contrary to
her and her late husband. The defendant, who had earlier moved to dismiss be true, the nature of the obligation involved in this case, as will be discussed
the case, opposed the admission of the amended complaint on the ground later, is not solidary but rather merely joint, making Imperial still inapplicable
that the death of her husband terminated their conjugal partnership and that to this case.
the plaintiff's claim, which was chargeable against the partnership, should be From the foregoing, it is clear that private respondent cannot maintain the
made in the proceedings for the settlement of his estate. The trial court present suit against petitioner.1âwphi1 Rather, his remedy is to file a claim
nevertheless admitted the complaint and ruled, as the Court of Appeals did in against the Alipios in the proceeding for the settlement of the estate of
this case, that since the defendant was also a party to the obligation, the petitioner's husband or, if none has been commenced, he can file a petition
death of her husband did not preclude the plaintiff from filing an ordinary either for the issuance of letters of administration18 or for the allowance of
collection suit against her. On appeal, the Court reversed, holding that ¾ will,19 depending on whether petitioner's husband died intestate or testate.
as correctly argued by petitioner, the conjugal partnership terminates upon Private respondent cannot short-circuit this procedure by lumping his claim
the death of either spouse. . . . Where a complaint is brought against the against the Alipios with those against the Manuels considering that, aside
surviving spouse for the recovery of an indebtedness chargeable against from petitioner's lack of authority to represent their conjugal estate, the
said conjugal [partnership], any judgment obtained thereby is void. The inventory of the Alipios' conjugal property is necessary before any claim
proper action should be in the form of a claim to be filed in the testate or chargeable against it can be paid. Needless to say, such power exclusively
intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse. pertains to the court having jurisdiction over the settlement of the decedent's
In many cases as in the instant one, even after the death of one of the estate and not to any other court.
spouses, there is no liquidation of the conjugal partnership. This does not Second. The trial court ordered petitioner and the Manuel spouses to pay
mean, however, that the conjugal partnership continues. And private private respondent the unpaid balance of the agreed rent in the amount of
respondent cannot be said to have no remedy. Under Sec. 6, Rule 78 of the ₱50,600.00 without specifying whether the amount is to be paid by them
Revised Rules of Court, he may apply in court for letters of administration in jointly or solidarily. In connection with this, Art. 1207 of the Civil Code
his capacity as a principal creditor of the deceased . . . if after thirty (30) days provides:
from his death, petitioner failed to apply for administration or request that The concurrence of two or more creditors or of two or more debtors in one
administration be granted to some other person.14 and the same obligation does not imply that each one of the former has a
The cases relied upon by the Court of Appeals in support of its ruling, right to demand, or that each one of the latter is bound to render, entire
namely, Climaco v. Siy Uy15 and Imperial Insurance, Inc. v. David,16 are compliance with the prestations. There is a solidary liability only when the
based on different sets of facts. In Climaco, the defendants, Carlos Siy Uy obligation expressly so estates, or when the law or the nature of the
and Manuel Co, were sued for damages for malicious prosecution. Thus, obligation requires solidarity.
apart from the fact the claim was not against any conjugal partnership, it was Indeed, if from the law or the nature or the wording of the obligation the
one which does not survive the death of defendant Uy, which merely resulted contrary does not appear, an obligation is presumed to be only joint, i.e., the
debt is divided into as many equal shares as there are debtors, each debt HON. FRANCISCO Z. CONSOLACION, CFI of Davao and LUIS TAN alias
being considered distinct from one another.20 CHEN YEH-AN, respondents.
Private respondent does not cite any provision of law which provides that Rogelio A. Barba for petitioners.
when there are two or more lessees, or in this case, sublessees, the latter's Oscar Breva for private respondent.
obligation to pay the rent is solidary. To be sure, should the lessees or
sublessees refuse to vacate the leased property after the expiration of the GANCAYCO, J.:
lease period and despite due demands by the lessor, they can be held jointly This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the Order of
and severally liable to pay for the use of the property. The basis of their June 1, 1979, of the then Court of First Instance of Davao * dismissing
solidary liability is not the contract of lease or sublease but the fact that they petitioners' claim against the estate of the late Dominga Garcia, and
have become joint tortfeasors.21 In the case at bar, there is no allegation that questioning the legality of the Order of the same court dated July 17, 1979
the sublessees refused to vacate the fishpond after the expiration of the term which denied due course to the petitioners' notice of appeal to the Court of
of the sublease. Indeed, the unpaid balance sought to be collected by private Appeals and directed them to file instead a petition for review before this
respondent in his collection suit became due on June 30, 1989, long before Tribunal.
the sublease expired on September 12, 1990. Petitioners are the oppositors in Special Proceeding No. 2116 in the then
Neither does petitioner contend that it is the nature of lease that when there Court of First Instance (CFI) of Davao City Branch II, for settlement of the
are more than two lessees or sublessees their liability is solidary. On the estate of the deceased Dominga Garcia, filed by private respondent herein,
other hand, the pertinent portion of the contract involved in this case reads: 22 Luis Tan alias Chen Yeh-An.
2. That the total lease rental for the sub-leased fishpond for the entire period The records disclose that on August 12,1977, Luis Tan filed a verified petition
of three (3) years and two (2) months is FOUR HUNDRED EIGHT-FIVE with the CFI of Davao for the issuance of letters of administration in favor of a
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (₱485,600.00) PESOS, including all the certain Alfonso Atilano. The petition alleged, among others that private
improvements, prawns, milkfishes, crabs and related species thereon as well respondent is the only surviving son of the deceased Dominga Garcia who
all fishing equipment, paraphernalia and accessories. The said amount shall died intestate sometime in 1930 in Canton, China; that the deceased left a
be paid to the Sub-Lessor by the Sub-Lessees in the following manner, to parcel of land 1 located at C.M. Recto Avenue, Davao City; and that the said
wit: lot is in the possession of the heirs of Ramon Pizarro, 2 petitioners herein.
A. Three hundred thousand (₱300,000.00) Pesos upon signing this contract; On October 4, 1977, petitioners filed an opposition to the said petition
and claiming that they are the heirs of Ramon Pizarro who died intestate on June
B. One Hundred Eight-Five Thousand Six-Hundred (₱185,6000.00) Pesos to 16, 1974; and that the deceased was the vendee of one-half (1/2) of the
be paid on June 30, 1989. aforementioned lot by virtue of an extrajudicial settlement of estate and deed
Clearly, the liability of the sublessees is merely joint. Since the obligation of of absolute sale executed by Vicente Tan in Hongkong on May 27, 1966.
the Manuel and Alipio spouses is chargeable against their respective Petitioners prayed that letters of administration of Dominga Garcia's estate
conjugal partnerships, the unpaid balance of ₱50,600.00 should be divided be issued in favor of anyone of them.
into two so that each couple is liable to pay the amount of ₱25,300.00. The respondent court set the petition for hearing. Said order and the petition
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Bienvenido Manuel and Remedios were duly published in the Mindanao Times. ** The City of Davao 3 was
Manuel are ordered to pay the amount of ₱25,300.00, the attorney's fees in likewise served with a copy of said petition. On December 6, 1977, after
the amount of ₱10,000.00 and the costs of the suit. The complaint against private respondent had begun presentation of evidence in support of his
petitioner is dismissed without prejudice to the filing of a claim by private petition, the parties herein entered into a compromise whereby petitioners
respondent in the proceedings for the settlement of estate of Placido Alipio agreed, among others, to withdraw their opposition to the appointment of
for the collection of the share of the Alipio spouses in the unpaid balance of private respondent's recommendee and for the intestate proceedings to
the rent in the amount of ₱25,300.00. proceed in due course. Said agreement was approved in the order of
SO ORDERED. respondent court dated December 6,1977. 4
Accordingly, on March 27, 1978, after the judicial administrator had qualified
and his inventory of the assets of the late Dominga Garcia was approved,
14. G.R. No. L-51278 May 9, 1988 respondent court issued an order requiring the filing of creditors' claim
HEIRS OF RAMON PIZARRO, SR., petitioners, against the said estate within the period of six (6) months from the date of the
vs. first publication. 5 Copy of said order was received by petitioners through
counsel on March 28, 1979. 6
Meanwhile, on January 23,1979, private respondent and the City of Davao of the notice down to the twelfth month. 11 They argue that to require filing of
filed a joint motion asking respondent court to take notice of their agreement claims within the sixth month from publication of notice will shorten the period
which in substance provides for an agreement to file a joint motion in the CFI in violation of the mandatory provisions of Section 2, Rule 86, which
of Davao to proceed with the determination of the heirs of the deceased provides:
Domingao Garcia which shall be determinative of their respective claims Sec. 2. Time within which claims shall be filed. — In the
against the estate. On February 19, 1979, petitioners filed their opposition to notice provided in the preceding section, the court shall state
the said joint motion on the sole ground that it is without procedural basis. the time for the filing of claims against the estate, which shall
Private respondent filed his reply thereto on February 21, 1979. On February not be more than twelve (12) nor less than six (6) months
22, 1979, respondent court issued an order taking note of the agreement after the date of the first publication of the notice. However,
between private respondent and the City of Davao. at anytime before an order of distribution is entered, on
On February 28, 1979, private respondent filed a motion to drop and exclude application of a creditor who has failed to file his claim within
the petitioners on the ground that they do not even claim to be the heirs of the time previously limited, the court may, for cause shown
the deceased Dominga Garcia and that the extrajudicial deed of partition and and on such terms as are equitable, allow such claim to be
deed of absolute sale allegedly executed in Hongkong in favor of the filed within a time not exceeding one (1) months.
petitioners' deceased father is spurious and simulated. On March 5, 1979, We agree. The range of the period specified in the rule is intended to give the
petitioners filed their opposition to said motion. They likewise filed a claim probate court the discretion to fix the period for the filing of claims. The
against the estate of the deceased Garcia in the amount of P350,000.00 probate court is permitted by the rule to set the period provided it is not less
representing services allegedly rendered by their deceased father in favor of than six (6) months nor more than twelve (12) months from the date of the
Vicente Tan. On March 8, 1979, private respondent filed a reply to first publication of the notice thereof. Such period once fixed by the court is
petitioners' opposition and a motion to strike out or dismiss the claim on the mandatory.
ground that it is spurious and barred for having been filed beyond the six (6) The purpose of the law, in fixing a period within which claims against an
month period set in the notice for the filing of creditors' claim. On March 29, estate must be presented, is to insure a speedy settlement of the affairs of
1979, petitioners filed another claim against the estate for P200,000.00 the deceased person and the early delivery of the property to the person
allegedly advanced by their deceased father for the payment of realty and entitled to the same. 12
income taxes of the said lot sometime in 1936, to which claim private In Sikat vs. Vda. Mafincode Villanueva, 13 this Court ruled that the speedy
respondent filed an opposition on the ground that it is barred for having been settlement of the estate of deceased persons for the benefit of creditors and
filed beyond the six (6) month period and that it was merely intended to delay those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance or legacy after the debts
the proceedings. and expenses of administration have been paid is the ruling spirit of our
In the Order of June 1, 1979, respondent court dismissed both claims of the probate law.
petitioners on the ground that they are barred for having been filed out of However, in this case the trial court set the period for the filing of the claims
time. 7 On June 26, 1979, petitioners filed a notice of appeal stating that they within six (6) months from the date of the first publication of the notice. It was
are appealing the order of June 1, 1979 to the Court of Appeals in so far as it obviously short of the minimum limit of six (6) months provided for by the law.
declared their claims barred. 8 On July 5, 1979, private respondent filed an Petitioner correctly observed that the trial court thereby shortened the period
opposition to the projected appeal on the ground that the appeal involves a set by the law.
pure question of law and thus, the same should be directed to the Supreme Since the notice issued and the period set by the trial court was not in
Court. 9 On July 17, 1979, respondent court issued an order dismissing accordance with the requirements of Section 2, Rule 86 of the Rules of
petitioners' appeal and directed petitioners to file instead a petition for review Court, what should then apply is the period as provided for by the rules which
on certiorari before this Court.10 is not less than six months nor more than twelve (12) months from the date
Hence, the present petition. *** of first publication of notice. The first publication of the notice in the Mindanao
It is the position of the petitioners that the order of June 1, 1979 of the Times was on March 30, 1978. Thus the two claims of petitioners against the
respondent court, which directed that the filing of claims against the estate of estate which were filed on March 5, 1979 and March 29, 1979 respectively
the late Dominga Garcia be filed within six (6) months after the first were filed on time.
publication of the notice thereof, is null and void in that it is violative of The other issue raised in the petition is the authority of the trial court to
Section 2, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court. They contend that said determine whether the appeal involves a question of law or both questions of
provision mandates that the filing of such claims should be for a period of six law and facts. The petitioners cite Section 3, Rule 50 of the Rules of Court,
(6) months starting from the sixth month after the date of the first publication which provides as follows:
Sec. 3. Where appealed case erroneously brought. — which the proceeding is pending, a notice to all persons with money claims
Where the appealed case has been erroneously brought to against the deceased to file their said claims within six months, was duly
the Court of Appeals, it shall not dismiss the appeal, but published, the first notice appearing in the August 13, 1958 issue of the
shall certify the case to the proper court, with a specific and Manila Chronicle. On January 27, 1959, the administrator filed an inventory
clear statement of the grounds therefor. of the estate, showing assets amounting to P139.596.77 and liabilities in the
Petitioners contend that it is the Court of Appeals which has the authority to sum of P33,012.95. The period provided in the published notice having
determine whether the issue in the appeal is purely a question of law in expired without anybody filing any claim against the deceased, the
which case it shall certify the same to the proper court, which in this case is administrator, upon order of the court, submitted a final account of the estate
this Tribunal. and a project of partition, which were approved on May 12, 1960. Under date
In the present case, when the lower court found that the order sought to be of June 7, 1961, however, Cherie Palileo petitioned the court for permission
appealed was its order of June 1, 1979, wherein it held that the claims filed to file a claim in the proceeding, alleging that on the decision of the Court of
by petitioners against the estates were barred having been filed beyond the Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 2256-R, promulgated on May 6, 1961, she obtained
period fixed by the trial court in the notice, which appeal involves an a money judgment against the deceased Beatriz C de Rama; that although
interpretation of Section 2, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court, instead of giving the lower court decided in her favor the question of ownership and
due course to the notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals filed by petitioners, possession of a real property involved in the case, it was only the Court of
the petitioners were instructed to file a petition for review with this Court as Appeals that granted money judgment, when the case was decided on
the issue is a pure question of law. appeal. The administrator opposed this petition on the ground that the claim
We find the action taken by the trial court to be well-taken. Certainly, it is was filed beyond the period provided in the notice to creditors.
within the competence and jurisdiction of the trial court to determine whether By order of August 8, 1961, the lower court sustained the claimant and
the appeal interposed was based on pure questions of law or involves both allowed her to file her claim within one month from receipt of said order, it
questions of law and facts in considering the appeal.14 The provision of appearing that no final decree of distribution has as yet been entered in the
Section 3, Rule 50 of the Rules of Court applies only when the appeal is case. This appeal from the aforesaid order, brought by the administrator,
already brought to the Court of Appeals at which time it may, instead of raises the issue of when money claims against a deceased person may be
dismissing the appeal, upon determination that it involves a pure question of filed in the proceeding for the settlement of the estate of such deceased
law, order that the case be certified to this Court. person.
It must be noted that in the notice of appeal it is not even required that the Section 2 of Rule 87 of the old Rules of Court (now Rule 86) provides:
appellant indicate the court to which its appeal is being interposed. The Sec. 2. Time within which claims shall be filed. — In the notice
requirement is merely directory and failure to comply with it or error in the provided in section 1, the court shall state the time for the filing of
court indicated is not fatal to the appeal. 15 claims against the estate, which shall not be more than twelve nor
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the orders of the respondent less than six months after the date of the first publication of the
court of June 1, 1979 and July 17, 1979 are reversed and set aside in so far notice. However, at any time before an order of distribution is
as the claims filed by petitioners were found to be barred, the same having entered, on application of a creditor who has failed to file his claim
been timely filed, without pronouncement as to costs. within the time previously limited, the court may, for cause shown
SO ORDERED. and on such terms as are equitable, allow such claim to be filed
within a time not exceeding one month.1äwphï1.ñët
15. G.R. No. L-18935 February 26, 1965 It is clear from the foregoing that the period prescribed in the notice to
IN RE: INTESTATE ESTATE OF BEATRIZ C. DE RAMA, deceased. creditors is not exclusive; that money claims against the estate may be
ANGELO O. DE RAMA, petitioner-appellant, allowed any time before an order of distribution is entered, at the discretion of
vs. the court, for cause and upon such terms as are equitable. 1 This extension
CHERIE PALILEO, claimant-appellee. of the period shall not exceed one month, from the issuance of the order
Amelia G. de Castro and Domingo D. Sison for petitioner-appellant. authorizing such extension.2
Jose P. Bengzon Law Offices for claimant-appellee. It is not controverted in the instant case that no order of distribution of the
BARRERA, J.: estate has as yet been made. Appellant, however, charges that the lower
The facts of this case are not disputed: In connection with the proceeding for court committed an abuse of discretion in issuing the disputed order without
the settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased Beatriz Cosio de sufficient ground or cause therefor. The petition of claimant-appellee, for
Rama, and pursuant to the order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal before permission to file a claim in the proceeding, was based on the fact that the
award of damages in her favor, against the deceased Beatriz C. de Rama, mortgage; however, she prayed that the contingent claim be denied because
was contained in the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 22556- it had no basis for the mortgage had not yet been foreclosed and ergo there
R which was promulgated on May 6, 1961 or after the 6-month period was no deficiency.
provided in the notice to creditors had already elapsed. It is her contention Notice was given by the Clerk of Court on July 26, 1974, that the hearing on
that she could not have filed a money claim against the estate before the the contingent claim would be held on September 2, 1974, and in fact there
promulgation of said decision because although the lower court in that case was such a hearing on that day wherein only the claimants in the person of
upheld her right to the ownership and possession of the building subject Ines Vitug Manalansan appeared. Atty. Juanito I. Vitug, counsel for the
thereof, no damages were adjudged in her favor. Considering this argument, administratrix, did not appear because according to the interpreter he was
the lower court found it sufficient to justify the relaxation of the rule and sick or attending to his fishpond which had overflowed according to a son of
extension of the period within which to file her claim. In the circumstances, the administratrix. At the request of Atty. Lorenzo P. Navarro who
the action taken by the lower court cannot be considered an abuse of represented the Manalansans, the court allowed the claim to be heard
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction to justify its reversal by without prejudice to the right of the administratrix to present rebuttal
this court. evidence. In that hearing, Mrs. Manalansan testified that she and her
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the order appealed from, the husband had a final judgment against the Danans for P62,574.80 with 12%
same is hereby affirmed, with costs against the appellant. So ordered. interest compounded annually, 10% of the amount due and unpaid for
attorney's fees and moral damages in the amount of P5,000; that on June 6,
16. G. R. No. L-57205 December 14, 1981 1974, the debt had grown to P264,121.17; and that if the market value of the
THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF DOMINADOR DANAN, represented by its properties mortgaged and the P5,000 award for moral damages be deducted
Administratrix, ADORACION F. VDA. DE DANAN, and the HEIRS of the from P264,121.17, the net amount due would be P98,411.17. The following
late DOMINADOR DANAN, et al., petitioners, exhibits were marked during the hearing: The Record on Appeal in CA G.R.
vs. No. 49109-R, Exhibit A — Contingent Claim; the decision in said case,
HON. FELIPE V. BUENCAMINO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Exhibit B — Contingent Claim; Notice of Judgment attached thereto, Exhibit
the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Branch II, Guagua, Pampanga, B-1- Contingent Claim; Motion for Reconsideration, Exhibit C — Contingent
BENITO MANALANSAN, et al., respondents. Claim; and Denial of Motion for Reconsideration, Exhibit D — Contingent
Claim. Atty. Navarro, however, asked that the presentation of the exhibits be
ABAD SANTOS, J.: made during the next hearing wherein the administratrix shall be given the
The proceedings in the lower court which are narrated below were culled opportunity to present rebuttal evidence. Accordingly, the court set the next
mostly from the expediente of the case because the annexes to the petition hearing to October 3, 1974, but was re-set to November 18, 1974, at the
are not well organized. request of the administratrix who said that her lawyer had an urgent personal
Dominador Danan died on November 7, 1970, in Lubao, Pampanga. He did engagement in Baguio City on the first setting. On November 18, 1974, the
not leave a will. Service Engineers, Inc. which claimed to be a creditor of the following order was given in open court: "Counsel for the administratrix is
deceased filed a petition dated November 12, 1971, in the Court of First given ten (10) days upon receipt hereof within which to interpose objection, if
Instance of Pampanga praying that letters of administrative of the intestate any, to the exhibits offered by Atty. Navarro." From the tenor of the order
estate of Dominador Danan be issued in favor of Engineer Carlos B. which gave Atty. Vitug ten days "upon receipt hereof" to interpose objection,
Navarro. The petition was docketed as Special Proceeding No. G-22. It was, he did not appear on November 18, 1974. The record does not show that an
however, Adoracion F. Vda. de Danan, widow of the deceased, who was objection was ever interposed.
appointed administratrix of the estate. On February 28, 1979, the court held in abeyance the claim of the
On November 13, 1973, the court issued an order directing all persons Manalansans pending the resolution by this Court of a motion for
having money claims against the estate to file them within six (6) months reconsideration in Manalansan vs. Castaneda, G.R. No. L-43607 which was
after the date of the first publication of the order which was December 10, decided on June 27, 1978, 83 SCRA 777, on an ancillary question.
1973. On June 12, 1974, Benito Manalansan and Ines Vitug Manalansan On November 12, 1979, the court set the hearing of the contingent claim of
filed a contingent claim in the amount of P98,411.17 plus interest in the Manalansans on January 28, 1980, but the record does not show that a
anticipation of a deficiency after the spouses shall have foreclosed a real hearing was actually held on that date.
estate mortgage which the deceased and his wife had executed in their On October 28, 1980, the Manalansans filed a Motion to Resolve Claim
favor. On July 11, 1974, the administratrix filed an answer to the contingent Against the Estate, dated October 24, 1980. Attached to the motion is a
claim wherein she admitted the existence of the debt which was secured by a Statement of Account stating that the amount of the deficiency judgment
which the administratrix should be ordered to pay as of November 2, 1980, is claimant, such direct testimony not subjected to the rigid test
the sum of P 294,298.26. The motion contained a notice that it would be of cross examination by the adverse party, the documentary
submitted for the consideration and approval of the court on November 5, evidence or exhibits presented by the claim in the course of
1980, but the record does not show that it was so considered on that day. In such direct testimony not having been formally offered nor
an order dated November 18, 1980, the court gave the administratrix ten (10) formally admitted by the Court and such claimant not having
days from receipt to file her comment on the aforesaid motion. The same formally rested his/her case; and that the adverse party
order stipulated that, "After the submission of the same [comment], the against whom the claim is being asserted not having had the
instant motion is deemed submitted for resolution." The record does not opportunity to adduce controverting or rebutting evidence?
show that the administratrix submitted a comment as required. On January 3, III. Can a claim against the Estate in an Intestacy
1981, the court issued the following order: Proceeding that is not supported by the evidence on record
Acting upon the Motion to Resolve claim against the estate be awarded?
filed by the claimnants Benito Manalansan and Ines V. On the first issue, there is no question that the contingent claim was filed two
Manalansan dated October 24, 1980, based on the grounds (2) days beyond the six-month period stipulated in the order which directed
therein stated which the Court finds to be well-taken, the all persons having money claims against the estate to file them. However, it
said claim of P 294,298.26 as of November 2, 1980 is is to be noted that the claim was filed on June 12, 1974, whereas the
hereby approved and ordered to be paid, pursuant to timeliness of its filing was raised only on January 8, 1981, in the Opposition
Section 5 and 1 1, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court and for to the Contingent Claim against Estate. In the interregnum the administratrix
failure of the administratrix to comply with the order of this had acquiesced to the entertainment of the claim by filing an answer thereto
Court dated November 18, 1980. on July 11, 1974, and again by asking for postponement of the October 3,
It was only on January 8, 1981, that the administratrix filed an Opposition to 1974, hearing wherein she was to present her rebuttal evidence. She is not
Contingent Claim against Estate. There the administratrix questioned the only estopped by her conduct but laches also bar her claim. (See Tijam vs.
jurisdiction of the court to entertain the claim "for being exorbitant and Sibonghanoy, L-21450, April 15, 1968, 23 SCRA 29; Rodriguez vs. Court of
shocking to the senses and that the same was filed out of time or beyond the Appeals, L-29264, August 29, 1969, 29 SCRA 419.) Moreover, Rule 86, Sec.
reglementary period provided by law." 2 of the Rules of Court gives the probate court discretion to allow claims
In the meantime, Ines Vitug Manalansan died in a vehicular accident on presented beyond the period previously fixed provided that they are filed
December 22, 1980, so she was substituted by her co-claimant Benito within one month from the expiration of such period but in no case beyond
Manalansan and their children, namely: Elsa, Gil, Anita, Jesus, Luz and the date of entry of the order of distribution. The contingent claim of the
Martin. Manalansans was filed within both periods.
On January 27, 1981, the administratrix filed a Motion for Reconsideration of The second and third issues are impressed with merit.
the Order of January 3, 1981 (which ordered payment of the claim of P True it is that the probate court gave opportunities to the administratrix to
294,298.26) on the ground that the claim was "exorbitant, shocking to the contest the contingent claim. Thus she filed an answer thereto on July 11,
senses and that the same was filed out of time or beyond the reglementary 1974; a hearing was held on September 2, 1974, but she did not appear; the
period provided by law." hearing on October 3, 1974 was re-set to November 18, 1974 at her request
After an exhange of comments and reply to the Motion for Reconsideration, but she failed to appear on the latter date; she did not interpose objection to
the Court issued an order, dated May 30, 1981, as follows: "For lack of the exhibits offered by the Manalansans as stipulated in the order of
merits, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby denied." November 18, 1974; and lastly the administratrix was given ten days within
The administratrix now wants Us to review the actuations of the lower court which to file her comment to the Motion to Resolve Claim Against the Estate.
by raising the following issues: These notwithstanding, We believe that the opportunities given to the
I. Can a trial Judge legally and validly consider, take administratrix were not ample enough and do not meet the minimum
cognizance of and render judgment on a claim filed against requirements for due process. On June 12, 1974, when the claim was filed it
the Estate in an Intestacy Proceeding when said claim was amounted to only P98,411.17. However, on January 3, 1981, when the
filed outside the period prescribed by Section 2, Rule 86 of probate court approved the claim it had ballooned to the enormous amount of
the Revised Rules of Court? P294.298.26. Noteworthy by is the fact that the order approving the claim
II. Can a trial Judge adjudicate and render judgment on a does not explain how it reached that amount. The probate court should not
contingent claim against the Estate in an Intestacy have been satisfied with merely asking for objections or comments from the
Proceeding on the basis merely of the direct testimony of a
administratrix but it should have conducted a full dress hearing on the claim progress billings accounted for only 7.301% of the work supposed to be
by using its coercive powers if necessary. undertaken by x x x JDS under the terms of the contract.
WHEREFORE, the orders of the court a quo dated January 3, 1981 and May "Several times prior to November of 1989, [respondent’s] engineers called
30, 1981, are hereby set aside and it is directed to conduct a thorough and the attention of x x x JDS to the alleged alarmingly slow pace of the
full dress hearing on the claim of the private respondents. No special construction, which resulted in the fear that the construction will not be
pronouncement as to costs. finished within the stipulated 240-day period. However, said reminders went
SO ORDERED. unheeded by x x x JDS.
"On November 24, 1989, dissatisfied with the progress of the work
17. G.R. No. 147561 June 22, 2006 undertaken by x x x JDS, [respondent] Republic-Asahi extrajudicially
STRONGHOLD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., Petitioner, rescinded the contract pursuant to Article XIII of said contract, and wrote a
vs. letter to x x x JDS informing the latter of such rescission. Such rescission,
REPUBLIC-ASAHI GLASS CORPORATION, Respondent. according to Article XV of the contract shall not be construed as a waiver of
DECISION [respondent’s] right to recover damages from x x x JDS and the latter’s
PANGANIBAN, CJ: sureties.
Asurety company’s liability under the performance bond it issues is solidary. "[Respondent] alleged that, as a result of x x x JDS’s failure to comply with
The death of the principal obligor does not, as a rule, extinguish the the provisions of the contract, which resulted in the said contract’s rescission,
obligation and the solidary nature of that liability. it had to hire another contractor to finish the project, for which it incurred an
The Case additional expense of three million two hundred fifty six thousand, eight
Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, hundred seventy four pesos (P3,256,874.00).
seeking to reverse the March 13, 2001 Decision 2 of the Court of Appeals "On January 6, 1990, [respondent] sent a letter to [petitioner] SICI filing its
(CA) in CA-GR CV No. 41630. The assailed Decision disposed as follows: claim under the bond for not less than P795,000.00. On March 22, 1991,
"WHEREFORE, the Order dated January 28, 1993 issued by the lower court [respondent] again sent another letter reiterating its demand for payment
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let the records of the instant case be under the aforementioned bond. Both letters allegedly went unheeded.
REMANDED to the lower court for the reception of evidence of all parties."3 "[Respondent] then filed [a] complaint against x x x JDS and SICI. It sought
The Facts from x x x JDS payment of P3,256,874.00 representing the additional
The facts of the case are narrated by the CA in this wise: expenses incurred by [respondent] for the completion of the project using
"On May 24, 1989, [respondent] Republic-Asahi Glass Corporation another contractor, and from x x x JDS and SICI, jointly and severally,
(Republic-Asahi) entered into a contract with x x x Jose D. Santos, Jr., the payment of P750,000.00 as damages in accordance with the performance
proprietor of JDS Construction (JDS), for the construction of roadways and a bond; exemplary damages in the amount of P100,000.00 and attorney’s fees
drainage system in Republic-Asahi’s compound in Barrio Pinagbuhatan, in the amount of at least P100,000.00.
Pasig City, where [respondent] was to pay x x x JDS five million three "According to the Sheriff’s Return dated June 14, 1991, submitted to the
hundred thousand pesos (P5,300,000.00) inclusive of value added tax for lower court by Deputy Sheriff Rene R. Salvador, summons were duly served
said construction, which was supposed to be completed within a period of on defendant-appellee SICI. However, x x x Jose D. Santos, Jr. died the
two hundred forty (240) days beginning May 8, 1989. In order ‘to guarantee previous year (1990), and x x x JDS Construction was no longer at its
the faithful and satisfactory performance of its undertakings’ x x x JDS, shall address at 2nd Floor, Room 208-A, San Buena Bldg. Cor. Pioneer St., Pasig,
post a performance bond of seven hundred ninety five thousand pesos Metro Manila, and its whereabouts were unknown.
(P795,000.00). x x x JDS executed, jointly and severally with [petitioner] "On July 10, 1991, [petitioner] SICI filed its answer, alleging that the
Stronghold Insurance Co., Inc. (SICI) Performance Bond No. SICI- [respondent’s] money claims against [petitioner and JDS] have been
25849/g(13)9769. extinguished by the death of Jose D. Santos, Jr. Even if this were not the
"On May 23, 1989, [respondent] paid to x x x JDS seven hundred ninety five case, [petitioner] SICI had been released from its liability under the
thousand pesos (P795,000.00) by way of downpayment. performance bond because there was no liquidation, with the active
"Two progress billings dated August 14, 1989 and September 15, 1989, for participation and/or involvement, pursuant to procedural due process, of
the total amount of two hundred seventy four thousand six hundred twenty herein surety and contractor Jose D. Santos, Jr., hence, there was no
one pesos and one centavo (P274,621.01) were submitted by x x x JDS to ascertainment of the corresponding liabilities of Santos and SICI under the
[respondent], which the latter paid. According to [respondent], these two performance bond. At this point in time, said liquidation was impossible
because of the death of Santos, who as such can no longer participate in any
liquidation. The unilateral liquidation on the party (sic) of [respondent] of the "On January 28, 1993, the lower court issued the assailed Order
work accomplishments did not bind SICI for being violative of procedural due reconsidering its Order dated October 15, 1991, and ordered the case,
process. The claim of [respondent] for the forfeiture of the performance bond insofar as SICI is concerned, dismissed. [Respondent] filed its motion for
in the amount of P795,000.00 had no factual and legal basis, as payment of reconsideration which was opposed by [petitioner] SICI. On April 16, 1993,
said bond was conditioned on the payment of damages which [respondent] the lower court denied [respondent’s] motion for reconsideration. x x x."4
may sustain in the event x x x JDS failed to complete the contracted works. Ruling of the Court of Appeals
[Respondent] can no longer prove its claim for damages in view of the death The CA ruled that SICI’s obligation under the surety agreement was not
of Santos. SICI was not informed by [respondent] of the death of Santos. extinguished by the death of Jose D. Santos, Jr. Consequently, Republic-
SICI was not informed by [respondent] of the unilateral rescission of its Asahi could still go after SICI for the bond.
contract with JDS, thus SICI was deprived of its right to protect its interests The appellate court also found that the lower court had erred in pronouncing
as surety under the performance bond, and therefore it was released from all that the performance of the Contract in question had become impossible by
liability. SICI was likewise denied due process when it was not notified of respondent’s act of rescission. The Contract was rescinded because of the
plaintiff-appellant’s process of determining and fixing the amount to be spent dissatisfaction of respondent with the slow pace of work and pursuant to
in the completion of the unfinished project. The procedure contained in Article XIII of its Contract with JDS.
Article XV of the contract is against public policy in that it denies SICI the The CA ruled that "[p]erformance of the [C]ontract was impossible, not
right to procedural due process. Finally, SICI alleged that [respondent] because of [respondent’s] fault, but because of the fault of JDS Construction
deviated from the terms and conditions of the contract without the written and Jose D. Santos, Jr. for failure on their part to make satisfactory progress
consent of SICI, thus the latter was released from all liability. SICI also on the project, which amounted to non-performance of the same. x x x
prayed for the award of P59,750.00 as attorney’s fees, and P5,000.00 as [P]ursuant to the [S]urety [C]ontract, SICI is liable for the non-performance of
litigation expenses. said [C]ontract on the part of JDS Construction."5
"On August 16, 1991, the lower court issued an order dismissing the Hence, this Petition.6
complaint of [respondent] against x x x JDS and SICI, on the ground that the Issue
claim against JDS did not survive the death of its sole proprietor, Jose D. Petitioner states the issue for the Court’s consideration in the following
Santos, Jr. The dispositive portion of the [O]rder reads as follows: manner:
‘ACCORDINGLY, the complaint against the defendants Jose D. Santos, Jr., "Death is a defense of Santos’ heirs which Stronghold could also adopt as its
doing business under trade and style, ‘JDS Construction’ and Stronghold defense against obligee’s claim."7
Insurance Company, Inc. is ordered DISMISSED. More precisely, the issue is whether petitioner’s liability under the
‘SO ORDERED.’ performance bond was automatically extinguished by the death of Santos,
"On September 4, 1991, [respondent] filed a Motion for Reconsideration the principal.
seeking reconsideration of the lower court’s August 16, 1991 order The Court’s Ruling
dismissing its complaint. [Petitioner] SICI field its ‘Comment and/or The Petition has no merit.
Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration.’ On October 15, 1991, the Sole Issue:
lower court issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: Effect of Death on the Surety’s Liability
‘WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Reconsideration is Petitioner contends that the death of Santos, the bond principal, extinguished
hereby given due course. The Order dated 16 August 1991 for the dismissal his liability under the surety bond. Consequently, it says, it is automatically
of the case against Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc., is reconsidered and released from any liability under the bond.
hereby reinstated (sic). However, the case against defendant Jose D. As a general rule, the death of either the creditor or the debtor does not
Santos, Jr. (deceased) remains undisturbed. extinguish the obligation.8 Obligations are transmissible to the heirs, except
‘Motion for Preliminary hearing and Manifestation with Motion filed by when the transmission is prevented by the law, the stipulations of the parties,
[Stronghold] Insurance Company Inc., are set for hearing on November 7, or the nature of the obligation.9 Only obligations that are personal10 or are
1991 at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. identified with the persons themselves are extinguished by death. 11
‘SO ORDERED.’ Section 5 of Rule 8612 of the Rules of Court expressly allows the prosecution
"On June 4, 1992, [petitioner] SICI filed its ‘Memorandum for of money claims arising from a contract against the estate of a deceased
Bondsman/Defendant SICI (Re: Effect of Death of defendant Jose D. Santos, debtor. Evidently, those claims are not actually extinguished. 13 What is
Jr.)’ reiterating its prayer for the dismissal of [respondent’s] complaint. extinguished is only the obligee’s action or suit filed before the court, which is
not then acting as a probate court.14
In the present case, whatever monetary liabilities or obligations Santos had or its sub-contractors shall promptly make payment to any individual, firm,
under his contracts with respondent were not intransmissible by their nature, partnership, corporation or association supplying the principal of its sub-
by stipulation, or by provision of law. Hence, his death did not result in the contractors with labor and materials in the prosecution of the work provided
extinguishment of those obligations or liabilities, which merely passed on to for in the said contract, then, this obligation shall be null and void; otherwise
his estate.15 Death is not a defense that he or his estate can set up to wipe it shall remain in full force and effect. Any extension of the period of time
out the obligations under the performance bond. Consequently, petitioner as which may be granted by the obligee to the contractor shall be considered as
surety cannot use his death to escape its monetary obligation under its given, and any modifications of said contract shall be considered as
performance bond. authorized, with the express consent of the Surety.
The liability of petitioner is contractual in nature, because it executed a "The right of any individual, firm, partnership, corporation or association
performance bond worded as follows: supplying the contractor with labor or materials for the prosecution of the
"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: work hereinbefore stated, to institute action on the penal bond, pursuant to
"That we, JDS CONSTRUCTION of 208-A San Buena Building, contractor, the provision of Act No. 3688, is hereby acknowledge and confirmed."16
of Shaw Blvd., Pasig, MM Philippines, as principal and the STRONGHOLD As a surety, petitioner is solidarily liable with Santos in accordance with the
INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. a corporation duly organized and existing Civil Code, which provides as follows:
under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines with head office at Makati, "Art. 2047. By guaranty a person, called the guarantor, binds himself to the
as Surety, are held and firmly bound unto the REPUBLIC ASAHI GLASS creditor to fulfill the obligation of the principal debtor in case the latter should
CORPORATION and to any individual, firm, partnership, corporation or fail to do so.
association supplying the principal with labor or materials in the penal sum of "If a person binds himself solidarily with the principal debtor, the provisions of
SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY FIVE THOUSAND (P795,000.00), Philippine Section 4,17 Chapter 3, Title I of this Book shall be observed. In such case
Currency, for the payment of which sum, well and truly to be made, we bind the contract is called a suretyship."
ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, xxxxxxxxx
jointly and severally, firmly by these presents. "Art. 1216. The creditor may proceed against any one of the solidary debtors
"The CONDITIONS OF THIS OBLIGATION are as follows; or some or all of them simultaneously. The demand made against one of
"WHEREAS the above bounden principal on the ___ day of __________, them shall not be an obstacle to those which may subsequently be directed
19__ entered into a contract with the REPUBLIC ASAHI GLASS against the others, so long as the debt has not been fully collected."
CORPORATION represented by _________________, to fully and faithfully. Elucidating on these provisions, the Court in Garcia v. Court of
Comply with the site preparation works road and drainage system of Appeals18 stated thus:
Philippine Float Plant at Pinagbuhatan, Pasig, Metro Manila. "x x x. The surety’s obligation is not an original and direct one for the
"WHEREAS, the liability of the Surety Company under this bond shall in no performance of his own act, but merely accessory or collateral to the
case exceed the sum of PESOS SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY FIVE obligation contracted by the principal. Nevertheless, although the contract of
THOUSAND (P795,000.00) Philippine Currency, inclusive of interest, a surety is in essence secondary only to a valid principal obligation, his
attorney’s fee, and other damages, and shall not be liable for any advances liability to the creditor or promisee of the principal is said to be direct, primary
of the obligee to the principal. and absolute; in other words, he is directly and equally bound with the
"WHEREAS, said contract requires the said principal to give a good and principal. x x x."19
sufficient bond in the above-stated sum to secure the full and faithfull Under the law and jurisprudence, respondent may sue, separately or
performance on its part of said contract, and the satisfaction of obligations for together, the principal debtor and the petitioner herein, in view of the solidary
materials used and labor employed upon the work; nature of their liability. The death of the principal debtor will not work to
"NOW THEREFORE, if the principal shall perform well and truly and fulfill all convert, decrease or nullify the substantive right of the solidary creditor.
the undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions, and agreements of said Evidently, despite the death of the principal debtor, respondent may still sue
contract during the original term of said contract and any extension thereof petitioner alone, in accordance with the solidary nature of the latter’s liability
that may be granted by the obligee, with notice to the surety and during the under the performance bond.
life of any guaranty required under the contract, and shall also perform well WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of
and truly and fulfill all the undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions, and Appeals AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
agreements of any and all duly authorized modifications of said contract that SO ORDERED.
may hereinafter be made, without notice to the surety except when such
modifications increase the contract price; and such principal contractor or his 18. G.R. No. L-33006 December 8, 1982
NICANOR NACAR, petitioner, CLAIM AGAINST THE ESTATE NICANOR NACAR THE
vs. LATE ISABELO NACAR WITH Defendant. PRELIMINARY
CLAUDIO A. NISTAL as Municipal Judge of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, ATTACHMENT x ---------------------------------x
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF of Agusan del Sur, ILDEFONSO JAPITANA and COMPLAINT
ANTONIO DOLORICON, respondents. COMES NOW the undersigned plaintiff and before this
Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. for petitioner. Honorable Court, respectfully avers:
Ildefonso Japitana and Antonio Boloricon for respondents. xxx xxx xxx
That at various dates since the year 1968, the defendant
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: have (sic) incurred indebtedness to the plaintiff in the total
Nicanor Nacar filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with sum of TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY ONE
preliminary injunction to annul an order of the respondent judge of the (P2,791.00) PESOS, which said amount had long been
municipal court of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur directing the attachment of overdue for payment, and which the defendant up to this
seven (7) carabaos, to effect the return of four (4) carabaos seized under the date have (sic) not been able to pay, despite repeated
questioned order, and to stop the respondent judge from further proceeding demands from the plaintiff;
in Civil Case No. 65. That the defendant Isabelo Nacar died last April, 1970
Respondent Ildefonso Japitana filed the complaint in Civil Case No. 65 and leaving among other things personal property consisting
entitled it "Claim Against the Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar With seven (7) heads of carabaos now in the possession of the
Preliminary Attachment:" On the basis of this complaint, including an defendant Nicanor Nacar;
allegation "that defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the above- That plaintiff herein file a claim against the estate of the late
named property (seven carabaos) with intent to defraud plaintiff herein", and Isabelo Nacar to recover the aforementioned sum of
considering that Mr. Japitana had given security according to the Rules of P2,791.99;
Court, Judge Nistal issued the order commanding the provincial sheriff to That defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the
attach the seven (7) heads of cattle in the possession of petitioner Nicanor above mentioned property with intent to defraud plaintiff
Nacar. Actually only four (4) carabaos were attached because three (3) herein;
carabaos had earlier been slaughtered during the rites preceding the burial of That plaintiff is willing to put up a bond for the issuance of a
the late Isabelo Nacar. preliminary attachment in an amount to be fixed by the
Nicanor Nacar filed a motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary Court, not exceeding the sum of P 2,791.00 which is the
attachment, and to order the return of the carabaos. Private respondent plaintiff's claim herein;
Japitana filed an opposition to this motion while intervenor Antonio Doloricon WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the
filed a complaint in intervention asserting that he was the owner of the hearing of this case, a writ of preliminary attachment be
attached carabaos and that the certificates of ownership of large cattle were issued against the properties of the defendant to serve as
in his name. security for the payment or satisfaction of any judgment that
The respondent Judge denied the motion to dismiss prompting Mr. Nacar to may be recovered herein; and that after due hearing on the
come to the Supreme Court. principal against the defendant for the sum of P 2,791,00
In a resolution dated January 12, 1971, this Court, upon the posting of a with legal interest from September 15, 1970 plus costs of
bond in the amount of P1,000.00, directed the issuance of a preliminary this suit. (Annex "A", p. 7 rollo).
mandatory injunction. The respondents were enjoined from further enforcing In his motion to dismiss, the petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction
the writ of attachment and to return the seized carabaos. The judge was and absence of a cause of action. Mr. Nacar averred that the indebtedness
restrained from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 65. mentioned in the complaint was alleged to have been incurred by the late
We find the petition meritorious. Isabelo Nacar and not by Nicanor Nacar. There was, therefore, no cause of
The pertinent portions of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana with the action against him. The petitioner also stated that a municipal court has no
municipal court read as follows: jurisdiction to entertain an action involving a claim filed against the estate of a
ILDEFONSO JAPITANA Civil Case No. 65 Plaintiff, deceased person.
FOR: The same grounds have been raised in this petition. Mr. Nacar contends:
— Versus — xxx xxx xxx
9. That the respondent judge acted without jurisdiction.The omission of the defendant in violation of plaintiff's right with
municipal courts or inferior courts have NO jurisdiction to consequential injury or damage to the plaintiff for which he
settle the estate of deceased persons. The proper remedy is may maintain an action for the recovery of damages or other
for the creditor to file the proper proceedings in the court of appropriate relief. ( Ma-ao Sugar Central Co., Inc. vs.
first instance and file the corresponding claim. But assuming Barrios, et al., 79 Phil. 666, 667; Ramitere et al. vs.
without admitting that the respondent judge had jurisdiction, Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L-19751, February 28, 1966,
it is very patent that he committed a very grave abuse of 16 SCRA 251, 255). On the other hand, Section 3 of Rule 6
discretion and totally disregarded the provisions of the Rules of the Rules of Court provides that the complaint must state
of Court and decisions of this honorable Court when he the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's cause of action.
issued an ex-parte writ of preliminary attachment, when Hence, where the complaint states ultimate facts that
there is no showing that the plaintiff therein has a sufficient constitute the three essential elements of a cause of action,
cause of action, that there is no other security for the claim the complaint states a cause of action; (Community
sought to be enforced by the plaintiff; or that the amount Investment and Finance Corp. vs. Garcia, 88 Phil. 215, 218)
claimed in the action is as much as the sum for which the otherwise, the complaint must succumb to a motion to
order is prayed for above all legal counterclaims; There was dismiss on that ground.
no bond to answer for whatever damages that herein Indeed, although respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an
petitioner may suffer; (Rollo, pp. 3- 4). indebtedness due him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no correlative legal duty
xxx xxx xxx to pay the debt for the simple reason that there is nothing in the complaint to
The respondent judge tried to avoid the consequences of the issues raised in show that he incurred the debt or had anything to do with the creation of the
the motion to dismiss by stating that although the title of the complaint styled liability. As far as the debt is concerned, there is no allegation or showing that
it a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar, the allegations showed the petitioner had acted in violation of Mr. Japitana's rights with
that the nature of the action was really for the recovery of an indebtedness in consequential injury or damage to the latter as would create a cause of
the amount of P2,791.99. action against the former.
The rule cited by the judge is correctly stated but it is hardly relevant to the It is also patent from the complaint that respondent Japitana filed the case
contents of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana. against petitioner Nacar to recover seven (7) heads of carabaos allegedly
It is patent from the portions of the complaint earlier cited that the allegations belonging to Isabelo Nacar which Japitana wanted to recover from the
are not only vague and ambiguous but downright misleading. The second possession of the petitioner to answer for the outstanding debt of the late
paragraph of the body of the complaint states that the defendant (herein Isabelo Nacar. This matter, however, is only ancillary to the main action. The
petitioner Nicanor Nacar) at various dates since the year 1968 incurred debts ancillary matter does not cure a fatal defect in the complaint for the main
to the plaintiff in the sum of P2,791.00. And yet, in the subsequent action is for the recovery of an outstanding debt of the late lsabelo Nacar due
paragraphs, one clearly gathers that the debts were actually incurred by the respondent Japitana, a cause of action about which petitioner Nacar has
late Isabelo Nacar, who died several months before the filing of the nothing to do.
complaint. The complaint which the respondent judge reads as one for the In fact the fatal defect in the complaint was noticed by the respondent court
collection of a sum of money and all the paragraphs of which are incidentally when it advised respondent Japitana to amend his complaint to conform with
unnumbered, expressly states as a material averment: his evidence and from the court's admission that it was inclined to dismiss
xxx xxx xxx the case were it not for the complaint in intervention of respondent Doloricon.
That plaintiff herein file (sic) a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Respondent Doloricon filed his complaint for intervention on the ground that
Nacar to recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.00; the four carabaos, subject of the writ of attachment, were actually his
xxx xxx xxx carabaos. Thus, the respondent court in its Order denying the petitioner's
Under the circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no cause of motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment and in order the
action against petitioner Nacar. Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust return of the carabaos said:
Company (58 SCRA 559) gives the elements of a valid cause of action: ... Antonio Doloricon manifested before this Court that he is
A cause of action is an act or omission of one party in filing a third-party complaint alleging that he is the true and
violation of the legal right of the other. Its essential elements lawful owner of the carabaos in questions.
are, namely: (1) the existence of a legal right in the plaintiff, IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, this Court for the
(2) a correlative legal duty in the defendant, and (3) an act or interest of both parties will not for the meantime dismiss this
case. Antonio Doloricon is hereby given 10 days from receipt Appropriate actions for the enforcement or defense of rights
hereof within which to file his third-party complaint. The must be taken in accordance with procedural rules and
plaintiff who in his opposition to defendant's motion to cannot be left to the whims or caprices of litigants. It cannot
dismiss pray (sic) for the custody of the carabaos. This Court even be left to the untrammeled discretion of the courts of
further requires plaintiff to put up the additional bond of P justice without sacrificing uniformity and equality in the
I,000.00 after which the latter may be entitled of (sic) the application and effectivity thereof.
custody of the carabaos subject of litigation pending final Considering the foregoing, the respondent court's denial of the motion to
termination of this case. (Rollo, pp. 18-19) dismiss the complaint and its issuance of a writ of attachment based on the
The respondent court's reason for not dismissing the case is contrary to allegations of the complaint are improper. With this conclusion, we find no
applicable precedents on the matter. We ruled in Mathay v. Consolidated need to discuss the other issue on whether or not the procedural rules on the
Bank and Trust Company, supra: issuance of a writ of attachment were followed by the respondent court in
Section I, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, providing in part issuing the subject writ of attachment.
that: WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The preliminary mandatory
Within the time for pleading a motion to injunction issued on January 13, 1971 is made permanent and the cash bond
dismiss may be made on any of the filed by the petitioner in connection therewith is ordered returned to him.
following grounds; ... SO ORDERED.
(g) That the complaint states no cause of
action. ...
explicitly requires that the sufficiency of the complaint must be tested 19. G.R. No. L-30453 December 4, 1989
exclusively on the basis of the complaint itself and no other should be ANGELINA PUENTEVELLA ECHAUS, in her own behalf and as
considered when the ground for motion to dismiss is that the complaint states Administratrix of the Estate of Luis Puentevella, assisted by her
no cause of action. Pursuant thereto this Court has ruled that: husband, RENE ECHAUS, petitioner,
As a rule the sufficiency of the complaint, vs.
when challenged in a motion to dismiss, HON. RAMON BLANCO, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo,
must be determined exclusively on the basis and PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL BANK, as Administrator
of the facts alleged therein' (Uy Chao vs. De of the Testate Estate of the late Charles Newton Hodges, AVELINA A.
La Rama Steamship Co., Inc., L-14495, MAGNO, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of the late Linnie Jane
September 29, 1962, 6 SCRA 69, 72. See Hodges, respondents.
also De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino et al., 95 Sarmiento, Guatelara & Associates and Nepomuceno, Hofileña & Guingona
Phil. 365, 371; Dalandan, et at. vs. Julio, et for petitioner.
al., L- 19101, February 29, 1964, 10 SCRA Rizal R. Quimpo & Cornelio P. Ravena for respondents A.A. Magno & Judge
400; Ramitere et al. vs. Montinola Vda. de R. Blanco
Yulo, et al., L-19751, February 28, 1966, 16 T. U. Benedicto & Associates for respondent PCIB.
SCRA 250, 254; Acuna vs. Batac Producers
Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc., et MEDIALDEA, J.:
al., L-20338, June 30, 1967, 20 SCRA 526, This is a petition for mandamus seeking to compel respondent presiding
531) judge of the then Court of First Instance of Iloilo (now Regional Trial Court) in
Hence, it was error for the respondent court not to dismiss the case simply Special Proceedings No. 1672 to issue an order directing respondent
because respondent Doloricon filed the complaint for intervention alleging Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (PICB) as administrator of the
that he owned the carabaos. estate of the late Charles Newton Hodges (C.N. Hodges) to pay herein
Moreover, even assuming that respondent Japitana had a legal right to the petitioner the amount of eight hundred fifty-one thousand four hundred
carabaos which were in the possession of petitioner Nacar, the proper seventy- two pesos and eighty-three centavos (P851,472.83) with legal
procedure would not be to file an action for the recovery of the outstanding interest, adjudged in Civil Case No. 6628.
debts of the late Isabelo Nacar against his stepfather, the petitioner Nacar as The antecedent facts of the instant case are as follows:
defendant. As we said in Maspil v. Romero (61 SCRA 197): Herein petitioner Angelina Puentevella Echaus, in her own behalf and as
Administratrix of the intestate estate of her deceased father Luis Puentevella,
assisted by her husband, Rene Echaus filed a complaint on May 30, 1962 IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the defendant, in its
against Charles Newton Hodges (C.N. Hodges) praying for an accounting of capacity as Administrator of the Estate of Charles Newton
the business covering the Ba-Ta Subdivision, the recovery of her share in the Hodges is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiffs the sum of
profits and remaining assets of their business and the payment of expenses EIGHT(Y) HUNDRED FIFTY-ONE THOUSAND FOUR
and moral and exemplary damages (p. 10, Rollo). The complaint was HUNDRED SEVENTY-TWO PESOS and EIGHTY THREE
docketed as Civil Case No. 6628 of the Court of First Instance of Negros CENTAVOS (P851,472.83) with legal interest thereon from
Occidental. date of judgment until paid. All other claims arising from the
On July 20, 1962, C. N. Hodges, through counsel, filed his Answer (p. counterclaim, and third-party complaint, not otherwise
10, Rollo). adjudicated, are hereby dismissed, with costs against the
Trial on the merits commenced on December 7, 1962, with the testimony of defendant,
Angelina Echaus (p. 12, Rollo). Sometime thereafter, counsel for C. N. IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hodges manifested that defendant C. N. Hodges died on December 25, Bacolod City, Philippines, December 5, 1966.
1962. No motion to dismiss was filed by C. N. Hodges' counsel. On February (
14, 1964, the trial court ordered the substitution of the Philippine Commercial S
and Industrial Bank (PCIB), as administrator of the estate of deceased C. N. G
Hodges, as party defendant. No objection to the order was interposed by D
PCIB. )
A petition for the settlement of the estate of C. N. Hodges was instituted
before the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, the date of which does not appear E
in the records, and docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1672. A notice to D
creditors was published in "Yuhum" a newspaper of general circulation in its U
issues of March 13, 20 and 27, 1963 (p. 190, Rollo). A
On November 12, 1966, the parties in Civil Case No. 6628 submitted a R
stipulation of facts and submitted the case for decision on the basis of said D
stipulation of facts (p. 12, Rollo). The parties also agreed in the stipulation of O
facts that:
1. The parties, being duly represented in the panel of D
Commissioners constituted by this Honorable Court, shall be .
bound by the Commissioners' findings on the questions of
facts presented to them for determination, if such findings E
are accepted by this Honorable Court in its Decision. N
2. With a view to the, speedy settlement and termination not R
only of the Estate of C. N. Hodges (Special Proceedings I
1672 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo pending since Q
1962) but also of the estate of Luis Puentevella (Special U
Proceedings 1968 of the Court of First Instance of Negros E
Occidental pending since 1951), in accordance with the Z
letter and spirit of the Rules of Court, and relying upon the
wisdom and impartiality of the Presiding Judge of this J
Honorable Court who is now on the point of closing a brilliant u
and exemplary career on the Bench, the parties shall accept d
its Decision herein as final. g
xxx xxx xxx e
(p. 20, Rollo) (p. 41, Rollo)
On December 5, 1966, judgment was rendered by the trial court in favor of On January 21, 1967, the same trial court issued an order granting plaintiff's
plaintiff Angelina F. Echaus, the dispositive portion of which states: motion for the issuance of a writ of execution (p. 43, Rollo) against PCIB.
However, the writ was not enforced as plaintiff opted to file a motion dated The pertinent portion of said Order states:
February 20, 1967 (pp. 44-46, Rollo) in Special Proceedings No. 1672 In G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, PCIB vs. Blanco, the
(estate proceedings of deceased C. N. Hodges) for the payment of the Supreme Court on August 12, 1967 issued a writ of
judgment. Herein respondent Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix of the preliminary injunction restraining the presiding judge of this
estate of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges (wife of C. N. Hodges) opposed Branch V from hearing Sp. Proc. 1307 and 1672 of the Court
the motion (p. 3, Rollo). Meanwhile, in Civil Case No. 6628, Avelina Magno, of First Instance of Iloilo entitled 'Testate Estate of the late
filed a petition for relief from judgment on March 27, 1967 and a motion to Linnie Jane Hodges and Testate Estate of C. N. Hodges'
intervene dated April 24, 1967 (p. 57, Rollo). On June 6, 1967, the heirs of C. which writ of preliminary injunction was clarified by the
N. Hodges filed a motion to intervene in the same Civil Case No. 6628. On Supreme Court in its resolution of October 4, 1967 to the
July 20, 1967, respondent Judge Ramon Blanco, presiding judge of the Court effect that the presiding judge of this Branch V is not
of First Instance of Iloilo City, Branch V, taking cognizance of Special restrained from approving final deeds of sale executed by
Proceedings No. 1672, issued on Order (pp. 52-56, Rollo) holding in the administrator PCIB covering properties of the said estate
abeyance the resolution of the motion of Angelina Echaus for payment of the and that the presiding judge of this Branch can act on such
judgment rendered in her favor in Civil Case No. 6628, until after the other routinary administration matters necessary for the
resolution of the "Petition for Relief from Judgment" filed by Administratrix gathering and preservation of the estate.
Magno before the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental in Civil Case In view therefore of the said writ of preliminary injunction, it is
No. 6628. the considered opinion of the undersigned presiding judge
On November 23, 1967, the petition for relief from judgment was denied on that he cannot act, meanwhile, on the motion or motions and
the ground that Magno, as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges the oppositions thereto taking into account that the said
was not a party to the case (p. 58, Rollo). The twin motions to intervene filed motions involve substantive and mandatory procedural,
by the heirs of C. N. Hodges and Avelina Magno, as administratrix of the requirements considering that the decision of the Court of
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges were likewise denied on the ground that First Instance of Negros Occidental of Civil Case 6628 is
pleadings in intervention are allowed only before or during the trial and not being questioned by the oppositors as a money claim and as
when a final and executory judgment had already been rendered (p. such should have been prosecuted in the probate court.
61, Rollo). WHEREFORE, unless allowed by the Supreme Court to
In a motion (pp. 66-68, Rollo) dated November 25, 1968, Angelina P. Echaus resolve the instant motions and oppositions thereto thus
prayed for the resolution of her previous motion to direct payment of the further clarifying the writ of preliminary injunction which was
judgment credit which was held in abeyance, stating that the petition for relief issued on August 12, 1967, the resolution on the said
from judgment filed in Civil Case No. 6628 was dismissed by the trial court motions and oppositions thereto is thereby held in abeyance.
which dismissal has become final and executory in view of the failure of SO ORDERED.
Avelina Magno to file a record on appeal on time. In a manifestation (pp. 69-71, Rollo, Annex "H" of Petition) dated February
On February 26, 1969, respondent Judge Ramon Blanco issued an Order 28, 1969, petitioner manifested that private respondent Avelina Magno's
(pp. 72-74, Rollo) reiterating his position that the motion to direct payment of petition for certiorari and mandamus (G.R. L- 30013) filed before this Court
the judgment credit cannot yet be resolved and holding in abeyance the questioning the validity of the decision in Civil Case No. 6628 was dismissed
resolution thereof in view of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the for lack of merit on January 15, 1969 (p. 109, Rollo). Still, petitioner failed to
Supreme Court in G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, (PCIB v. Blanco), obtain an affirmative response to their motion.
enjoining respondent judge from hearing Special Proceedings Nos. 1307 and Petitioner then filed the instant petition for mandamus dated April 21, 1969
1672, entitled "Testate Estate of the late Linnie Jane Hodges" and "Testate seeking: a) to set aside respondent judge's order of February 26, 1969; and
Estate of Charles N. Hodges," respectively. It is noted that in the same b) to order PCIB to pay the judgment credit in Civil Case No. 6628.
Order, respondent judge mentioned that the writ of preliminary injunction It is the contention of petitioner that the judgment in Civil Case No. 6628 is
issued by the Supreme Court was clarified in another resolution dated now final and executory and the execution thereof becomes a matter of right
October 4, 1967 to the effect that he (respondent judge) is not restrained under Rule 39, Section 1 of the Rules of Court. The duty to order the
from approving final deeds of sale executed by the Administrator PCIB execution of a final and executory judgment is ministerial and the failure of
covering properties of the respective estates and that he can act on such respondent judge to issue such order is a proper case for mandamus.
other routinary administrative matters necessary for the gathering and On the other hand, private respondents contend that the judgment rendered
preservation of the estate (pp. 73-74, Rollo). in Civil Case No. 6628 is null and void for having been rendered without
jurisdiction. Money claims against a defendant who dies without a judgment filed with the probate court, one thing is certain: no
having been rendered in the Regional Trial Court shall be dismissed and substantial rights of the parties are prejudiced.
prosecuted as a claim in the estate proceedings as laid down under Section 2. ... . Now that the judgment has become final, the estate
21, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. This procedure was not followed in Civil cannot be heard to say that said judgment-reached after a
Case No. 6628. Also, even, if it is assumed that the judgment in the said civil full dress trial on the merits-will now go for naught. The
case is valid, the claim presented in the estate proceedings is already barred estate has thus waived its right to have Pambusco's claim
by the statute of non-claims. re-litigated in the estate proceedings. For, though
It must be noted that Civil Case No. 6628 which is a money claim, was presentment of probate claims is imperative, it is generally
Instituted during the lifetime of C. N. Hodges. During its pendency and before understood that it may be waived by the estate's
a decision could be rendered by the Regional Trial Court hearing the case, representative. And, waiver is to be determined from the
C. N. Hodges died. Upon his death, he was substituted by PCIB as administrator's 'acts and conduct.' Certainly, the
administrator of his estate. Being a money claim, said civil case should have administrator's failure to plead the statute of non-claims, his
been dismissed and instituted as a money claim in the intestate estate of C. active participation, and resistance to plaintiff's claim, in the
N. Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1627) in accordance with Section 21 of Rule 3 of civil suit, amount to such waiver.
the Revised Rules of Court, which provides: 3. Courts are loathe to overturn a final judgment. Judicial
Sec. 21. Where claim does not survive.-When the action is proceedings are entitled to respect. Non quieta movere.
for recovery of money, debt or interest thereon, and the Plaintiff's claim has passed the test in three courts of justice:
defendant dies before final judgment in the Court of First the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeals and this
Instance, it shall be dismissed to be prosecuted in the Court. The judgment in plaintiff's favor should be enforced.
manner especially provided in these rules. Appellant's technical objection-after judgment had become
However, this is not to suggest that because the claim of petitioner was final in the civil case that plaintiff's claim should have been
pursued to its conclusion in Civil Case No. 6682 instead of being dismissed litigated in the probate court does not impair the validity of
and filed as a money claim in Special Proceedings No. 1672, the judgment said judgment. For, such objection does not go into the
rendered therein is null and void. The case of Ignacio v. Pampanga Bus Co., court's Jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Inc., L-18936, May 23, 1967, 20 SCRA 126, is in point. In the said case, Moreover, when PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges was
Pampanga Bus Co., Inc., (Pambusco) filed a suit to collect P105,000.00 ordered to be substituted as defendant, it registered no objection to the
against defendants Valentin Fernando and Encarnacion Elchico Vda. de order. Thus, even if We admit for the sake of argument that the trial court,
Fernando. The latter died during the pendency of the case. On Pambusco's after the death of C. N. Hodges has no jurisdiction to render a judgment
motion, the court ordered Jose Nicolas, then Administrator, to substitute for therein, the argument must fail. PCIB, participated actively in the said case. It
deceased Encarnacion Elchico Vda. de Fernando as one of the defendants. did not appeal the decision rendered therein, neither did it raise the issue of
No objection to the order was registered. A judgment was rendered therein jurisdiction ion at any stage. It has been consistently held by this court that
which became final. Pambusco then moved in 'the intestate proceedings of while lack of jurisdiction may be assailed at any stage, a party's active
the deceased for the payment of the judgment credit. The administratrices participation in the proceedings before the court without jurisdiction will estop
opposed. Pambusco's motion was granted. This order admitting Pambusco's such party from assailing such lack of jurisdiction (Tajonera v. Lamaroza,
claim was brought to us. We ruled therein that: (1981), 110 SCRA 438; Nieta v. Manila Banking Corp., (1983), 124 SCRA
1. xxx xxx xxx 455, cited in Sps. Antonio Martinez and Benedicta Balatbat v. The Hon.
The philosophy behind the rule which provides for the Judge de la Merced, et al., G.R. No. 82039. June 20, 1989).
dismissal of the civil case is that, upon the death of a Of more importance is the fact that the validity of the decision in Civil Case
defendant, all money claims should be filed in the testate or No. 6628 had been passed upon by us with finality in G.R. No. L-30013
intestate proceedings 'to avoid useless duplicity of (PCIB v. Blanco). In that case, the estate of C. N. Hodges and Linnie Jane
procedure.' Obviously, the legal precept just quoted is Hodges questioned the decision of the trial court dismissing the petition for
procedural in nature. It outlines the method by which an relief from judgment. We dismissed the petition for lack of merit on January
action for recovery of money, debt or interest may continue, 15, 1969 (p. 109, Rollo).
upon the terms therein prescribed. whether the original suit Private respondent Avelina Magno, in her memorandum in lieu of oral
for the recovery of money as here-proceeds to its argument. alleged that the Judgment sought to be enforced is barred under
conclusion, or is dismissed and the claim covered thereby the Rules of Court (p. 180, Rollo,). The proceedings for the settlement of the
estate of C. N. Hodges was opened in 1962 and the notice to creditors was estate itself nor any property therein for the satisfaction of a claim against the
published in "Yuhum" a newspaper of general circulation in its issues of decedent:
March 12, 10, and 27, 1963. Under Section 2, Rule 27 of the Rules of Court, Sec. 7. Attachment of real and personal property; recording
the time provided for filing claims against the estate shall be stated by the thereof. -Properties shall be attached by the officer executing
court in the notice, which shall not be more than twelve (12) months nor less the order in the following manner:
than six (6) months after the date of its first publication. Since petitioner filed xxx xxx xxx
her motion to direct payment only on February 20, 1967, which is more than (f) The interest of the party against whom attachment is
four years from the publication of the notice then, it is already barred. issued in property belonging to the estate of the decedent,
The above argument of private respondent is not correct. The Rules of Court whether as heir, legatee or devisee, by serving the executor
allows a creditor to file his claim after the period set by the court in the notice or administrator or other personal representative of the
to creditors, provided the conditions stated in the rules are present. The rule decedent with a copy of the order and notice that said
provides: interest is attached, ... . (Rule 57, Rules of Court)
Sec. 2. Time within which claims shall be filed.-... . However, While the judgment in Civil Case No. 6628 has become final and executory,
at any time before an order of distribution is entered, on execution is not the proper remedy to enforce payment thereof. The ordinary
application of a creditor who has failed to file his claim within procedure by which to settle claims of indebtedness against the estate of a
the time previously limited, the court may, for cause shown deceased person, ..., is for the claimant to present a claim before the probate
and on such terms as are equitable, allow such claim to be court so that said court may order the administrator to pay the amount
filed within a time not exceeding one (1) month. (Rule 86) thereof (Domingo v. Garlitos, L-18994, June 29, 1963). This was the
It is clear from the foregoing (Section 2 of Rule 87 [now Rule 86]) that the procedure correctly chosen by petitioner. In Aldamiz v. Judge of the Court of
period prescribed in the notice to creditors is not exclusive; that money First Instance of Mindoro, L-2360, December 29, 1949, We held:
claims against the estate may be allowed any time before an order of ... a writ of execution is not the proper procedure allowed by
distribution is entered, at the discretion of the court for cause and upon such the Rules of Court for the payment of debts and expenses of
terms as are equitable (Quisumbing v. Guison, 76 Phil. 730; Edmands v. administration. The proper procedure is for the court to order
Phil. Trust Co., G.R. No. L-2670, September 29, 1950, 48 O.G. 139; Paulin v. the sale of personal estate or the sale or mortgage of real
Aquino, G.R. No. L-11267, March 20.1958: Afan v. de Guzman, G.R. No. L- property of the deceased and all debts or expenses of
14715, April 28, 1960). At the time petitioner's motion to direct payment of administration should be paid out of the proceeds of the sale
the judgement credit was filed, no order of distribution was issued yet. Also, it or mortgage. The order for the sale or mortgage should be
is worthy to cite herein a situation, similar to the case at bar. which was issued upon motion of the administrator and with the written
considered by this court as a good excuse for the late filing of a claim against notice to all the heirs, legatees and devisees residing in the
the decedent: Philippines, according to Rule 89, Section 3, and Rule 90,
Here the claim filed in the probate court on February 25,1959, while the Section 2. And when sale or mortgage of real estate is to be
defendants in the civil case were still perfecting their appeal therein. The made, the regulations contained in Rule 90, Section 7,
record does not show that the administrator objected thereto upon the should be complied with.
ground that it was filed out of time. The pendency of that case, we are xxx xxx xxx
persuaded, to say is a good excuse for tardiness in the filing of the claim. (In And in the case of Domingo v. Garlitos, p. 446, supra:
pari materia: De Rama v. Palileo, L-18935, Feb. 26, 1965). An the order of The legal basis for such a procedure is the fact that in the
the final distribution is still to be given. (Ignacio v. Pambusco, supra.) testate or intestate proceedings to settle the estate of a
It is also petitioner's contention that properties under custodia legis may be deceased person, the properties belonging to the estate are
reached for the satisfaction of a judgment, citing the case of Reganon v. under the jurisdiction of the Court and such jurisdiction
Imperial, G.R. No. 24434, January 17, 1968; Fores v. Santos, G.R. No. L- continues until said properties have been distributed among
24538, May 4, 1968 and De Borja, et al. v. De Borja, et al., L-14951, August the heirs entitled thereto. During the pendency of the
31, 1961. A cursory reading of the text of the above-cited cases will reveal proceedings all the estate is in custodia legis and the proper
that what is involved therein is the attachment for purposes of execution of procedure is not to allow the sheriff, in case of a court
theinterest of an heir (to answer for claims against such heir) in the estate of judgment, to seize the properties but to ask the court for an
the decedent which is allowed by the Rules; and not the attachment of the order to require the administrator to pay the amount due
from the estate and required to be paid.
Nevertheless, while We hold that the judgment credit should be admitted as The facts, as culled from the records, follow.
a claim against the estate of C. N. Hodges, the question of whether an order On February 14, 1995, a Decision was rendered in NLRC Case No. RAB-11-
to direct payment thereof is compellable by mandamus is doubtful. At the 07-00608-93 entitled, Patricio Sereno v. Teodoro Gasing/Truck Operator,
time the second motion for payment was filed by petitioner, respondent finding Sereno to have been illegally dismissed and ordering Gasing to pay
judge's hands were "tied" by an existing writ of preliminary injunction issued him his monetary claims in the amount of ₱43,606.47. After the Writ of
by Us in G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896 (PCIB v. Blanco) restraining him Execution was returned unsatisfied, Labor Arbiter Newton R. Sancho issued
from hearing Special Proceedings Nos. 1307 (Testate Estate of Linnie Jane an Alias Writ of Execution3 on June 10, 1996, directing Fulgencio R. Lavarez,
Hodges) and No. 1672 (Testate Estate of C. N. Hodges where the motion to Sheriff II of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), to satisfy the
direct payment was filed). While this writ was clarified by a subsequent judgment award. On July 23, 1996, Lavarez, accompanied by Sereno and his
resolution issued on October 4,1967 to the effect that respondent judge is not counsel, petitioner Atty. Rogelio E. Sarsaba, levied a Fuso Truck bearing
restrained from approving final deeds of sale executed by the administrator License Plate No. LBR-514, which at that time was in the possession of
PCIB covering properties of the estate and from acting on such other Gasing. On July 30, 1996, the truck was sold at public auction, with Sereno
routinary administration matters for the gathering and preservation of the appearing as the highest bidder.4
estate, it is clear that an order to direct payment is not embraced under the Meanwhile, respondent Fe Vda. de Te, represented by her attorney-in-fact,
clarificatory resolution. Even if petitioners' judgment credit allowed as a claim Faustino Castañeda, filed with the RTC, Branch 18, Digos, Davao del Sur, a
against the estate. immediate payment thereof by the administrator of the Complaint5 for recovery of motor vehicle, damages with prayer for the
estate, is not a matter of right. A judgment against the executor or delivery of the truck pendente lite against petitioner, Sereno, Lavarez and the
administrator shall be that he pay, in due course of administrator, the amount NLRC of Davao City, docketed as Civil Case No. 3488.
ascertained to be due, and it shall not create a lien upon the property of the Respondent alleged that: (1) she is the wife of the late Pedro Te, the
estate, or give the judgment creditor any priority in payment (Sec. 13, Rule registered owner of the truck, as evidenced by the Official Receipt6 and
86, Revised Rules). The time for paying debts (and legacies) is to be fixed by Certificate of Registration;7 (2) Gasing merely rented the truck from her; (3)
the probate court having jurisdiction over the estate of the deceased (Sec. Lavarez erroneously assumed that Gasing owned the truck because he was,
15, Rule 18). In the absence of any showing that respondent judge who is at the time of the "taking,"8 in possession of the same; and (4) since neither
taking cognizance of the estate proceedings had already allowed the she nor her husband were parties to the labor case between Sereno and
administrator to dispose of the estate and to pay the debts and legacies of Gasing, she should not be made to answer for the judgment award, much
the deceased, a writ of mandamus will not issue to compel him to order less be deprived of the truck as a consequence of the levy in execution.
payment of petitioner's claim. Petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss9 on the following grounds: (1) respondent
It is essential to the issuance of the writ of mandamus that the (plaintiffs) has no legal personality to sue, having no real interests over the property
should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded and it must be the subject of the instant complaint; (2) the allegations in the complaint do not
imperative duty of the defendant to perform the act required (Province of sufficiently state that the respondent has cause of action; (3) the allegations
Pangasinan v. Reparations Commission, 80 SCRA 376). in the complaint do not contain sufficient cause of action as against him; and
ACCORDINGLY, the petition for the writ of mandamus is DISMISSED for (4) the complaint is not accompanied by an Affidavit of Merit and Bond that
lack of merit. would entitle the respondent to the delivery of the tuck pendente lite.
SO ORDERED. The NLRC also filed a Motion to Dismiss10 on the grounds of lack of
jurisdiction and lack of cause of action.
Meanwhile, Lavarez filed an Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim and
20. G.R. No. 175910 July 30, 2009 Third-Party Complaint.11 By way of special and affirmative defenses, he
ATTY. ROGELIO E. SARSABA, Petitioner, asserted that the RTC does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter and
vs. that the complaint does not state a cause of action.
FE VDA. DE TE, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, FAUSTINO On January 21, 2000, the RTC issued an Order 12 denying petitioner's Motion
CASTAÑEDA, Respondents. to Dismiss for lack of merit.
DECISION In his Answer,13 petitioner denied the material allegations in the complaint.
DEL CASTILLO, J.: Specifically, he cited as affirmative defenses that: respondent had no legal
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari1 with prayer for preliminary personality to sue, as she had no interest over the motor vehicle; that there
injunction assailing the Order2 dated March 22, 2006 of the Regional Trial was no showing that the heirs have filed an intestate estate proceedings of
Court (RTC), Branch 19, Digos City, Davao del Sur, in Civil Case No. 3488. the estate of Pedro Te, or that respondent was duly authorized by her co-
heirs to file the case; and that the truck was already sold to Gasing on March There is a "question of law" when the doubt or difference arises as to what
11, 1986 by one Jesus Matias, who bought the same from the Spouses Te. the law is on certain state of facts, and which does not call for an
Corollarily, Gasing was already the lawful owner of the truck when it was examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-
levied on execution and, later on, sold at public auction. litigants. On the other hand, there is a "question of fact" when the doubt or
Incidentally, Lavarez filed a Motion for Inhibition, 14 which was opposed15 by controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Simply put,
respondent. when there is no dispute as to fact, the question of whether or not the
On October 13, 2000, RTC Branch 18 issued an Order 16 of inhibition and conclusion drawn therefrom is correct, is a question of law.27
directed the transfer of the records to Branch 19. RTC Branch 19, however, Verily, the issues raised by herein petitioner are "questions of law," as their
returned the records back to Branch 18 in view of the appointment of a new resolution rest solely on what the law provides given the set of circumstances
judge in place of Judge-designate Rodolfo A. Escovilla. Yet, Branch 19 availing. The first issue involves the jurisdiction of the court over the person
issued another Order17 dated November 22, 2000 retaining the case in said of one of the defendants, who was not served with summons on account of
branch. his death. The second issue, on the other hand, pertains to the legal effect of
Eventually, the RTC issued an Order18 dated May 19, 2003 denying the death of the plaintiff during the pendency of the case.
separate motions to dismiss filed by the NLRC and Lavarez, and setting the At first brush, it may appear that since pure questions of law were raised,
Pre-Trial Conference on July 25, 2003. petitioner's resort to this Court was justified and the resolution of the
On October 17, 2005, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss the aforementioned issues will necessarily follow. However, a perusal of the
Case on the following grounds:19 (1) lack of jurisdiction over one of the petition requires that certain procedural issues must initially be resolved
principal defendants; and (2) to discharge respondent's attorney-in-fact for before We delve into the merits of the case.
lack of legal personality to sue. Notably, the petition was filed directly from the RTC which issued the Order
It appeared that the respondent, Fe Vda. de Te, died on April 12, 2005.20 in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. The question before Us then is:
Respondent, through her lawyer, Atty. William G. Carpentero, filed an whether or not petitioner correctly availed of the mode of appeal under Rule
Opposition,21 contending that the failure to serve summons upon Sereno is 45 of the Rules of Court.
not a ground for dismissing the complaint, because the other defendants Significantly, the rule on appeals is outlined below, to wit:28
have already submitted their respective responsive pleadings. He also (1) In all cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original
contended that the defendants, including herein petitioner, had previously jurisdiction, appeal may be made to the Court of Appeals by mere
filed separate motions to dismiss the complaint, which the RTC denied for notice of appeal where the appellant raises questions of fact or
lack of merit. Moreover, respondent's death did not render functus officio her mixed questions of fact and law;
right to sue since her attorney-in-fact, Faustino Castañeda, had long testified (2) In all cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original
on the complaint on March 13, 1998 for and on her behalf and, accordingly, jurisdiction where the appellant raises only questions of law, the
submitted documentary exhibits in support of the complaint. appeal must be taken to the Supreme Court on a petition for review
On March 22, 2006, the RTC issued the assailed Order 22 denying petitioner's on certiorariunder Rule 45.
aforesaid motion. (3) All appeals from judgments rendered by the RTC in the exercise
Petitioner then filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion for of its appellate jurisdiction, regardless of whether the appellant raises
Inhibition,23 in which he claimed that the judge who issued the Order was questions of fact, questions of law, or mixed questions of fact and
biased and partial. He went on to state that the judge's husband was the law, shall be brought to the Court of Appeals by filing a petition for
defendant in a petition for judicial recognition of which he was the counsel, review under Rule 42.
docketed as Civil Case No. C-XXI-100, before the RTC, Branch 21, Accordingly, an appeal may be taken from the RTC which exercised its
Bansalan, Davao del Sur. Thus, propriety dictates that the judge should original jurisdiction, before the Court of Appeals or directly before this Court,
inhibit herself from the case. provided that the subject of the same is a judgment or final order that
Acting on the motion for inhibition, Judge Carmelita Sarno-Davin granted the completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when
same24 and ordered that the case be re-raffled to Branch 18. Eventually, the declared by the Rules to be appealable.29The first mode of appeal, to be filed
said RTC issued an Order25 on October 16, 2006 denying petitioner's motion before the Court of Appeals, pertains to a writ of error under Section 2(a),
for reconsideration for lack of merit. Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, if questions of fact or questions of fact and law
Hence, petitioner directly sought recourse from the Court via the present are raised or involved. On the other hand, the second mode is by way of an
petition involving pure questions of law, which he claimed were resolved by appeal by certiorari before the Supreme Court under Section 2(c), Rule 41, in
the RTC contrary to law, rules and existing jurisprudence.26 relation to Rule 45, where only questions of law are raised or involved.30
An order or judgment of the RTC is deemed final when it finally disposes of a often as a trial court is perceived to have made an error in any of its
pending action, so that nothing more can be done with it in the trial court. In interlocutory rulings. x x x.
other words, the order or judgment ends the litigation in the lower court. 31 On Another recognized reason of the law in permitting appeal only from a final
the other hand, an order which does not dispose of the case completely and order or judgment, and not from an interlocutory or incidental one, is to avoid
indicates that other things remain to be done by the court as regards the multiplicity of appeals in a single action, which must necessarily suspend the
merits, is interlocutory. Interlocutory refers to something between the hearing and decision on the merits of the case during the pendency of the
commencement and the end of the suit which decides some point or matter, appeal. If such appeal were allowed, trial on the merits of the case would
but is not a final decision on the whole controversy.32 necessarily be delayed for a considerable length of time and compel the
The subject of the present petition is an Order of the RTC, which denied adverse party to incur unnecessary expenses, for one of the parties may
petitioner's Omnibus Motion to Dismiss, for lack of merit. interpose as many appeals as incidental questions may be raised by him,
We have said time and again that an order denying a motion to dismiss is and interlocutory orders rendered or issued by the lower court. 36
interlocutory.33 Under Section 1(c), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, an And, even if We treat the petition to have been filed under Rule 65, the same
interlocutory order is not appealable. As a remedy for the denial, a party has is still dismissible for violating the principle on hierarchy of courts. Generally,
to file an answer and interpose as a defense the objections raised in the a direct resort to us in a petition for certiorari is highly improper, for it violates
motion, and then to proceed to trial; or, a party may immediately avail of the the established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of
remedy available to the aggrieved party by filing an appropriate special civil courts.37 This principle, as a rule, requires that recourse must first be made to
action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. Let it be the lower-ranked court exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a higher court.
stressed though that a petition for certiorari is appropriate only when an order However, the judicial hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad rule. A strict
has been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of application of the rule is not necessary when cases brought before the
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. appellate courts do not involve factual but legal questions.38
Based on the foregoing, the Order of the RTC denying petitioner's Omnibus In the present case, petitioner submits pure questions of law involving the
Motion to Dismiss is not appealable even on pure questions of law. It is worth effect of non-service of summons following the death of the person to whom
mentioning that the proper procedure in this case, as enunciated by this it should be served, and the effect of the death of the complainant during the
Court, is to cite such interlocutory order as an error in the appeal of the case pendency of the case. We deem it best to rule on these issues, not only for
-- in the event that the RTC rules in favor of respondent -- and not to appeal the benefit of the bench and bar, but in order to prevent further delay in the
such interlocutory order. On the other hand, if the petition is to be treated as trial of the case. Resultantly, our relaxation of the policy of strict observance
a petition for review under Rule 45, it would likewise fail because the proper of the judicial hierarchy of courts is warranted.
subject would only be judgments or final orders that completely dispose of Anent the first issue, petitioner argues that, since Sereno died before
the case.34 summons was served on him, the RTC should have dismissed the complaint
Not being a proper subject of an appeal, the Order of the RTC is considered against all the defendants and that the same should be filed against his
interlocutory. Petitioner should have proceeded with the trial of the case and, estate.
should the RTC eventually render an unfavorable verdict, petitioner should The Sheriff's Return of Service39 dated May 19, 1997 states that Sereno
assail the said Order as part of an appeal that may be taken from the final could not be served with copy of the summons, together with a copy of the
judgment to be rendered in this case. Such rule is founded on considerations complaint, because he was already dead.
of orderly procedure, to forestall useless appeals and avoid In view of Sereno's death, petitioner asks that the complaint should be
undue inconvenience to the appealing party by having to assail orders as dismissed, not only against Sereno, but as to all the defendants, considering
they are promulgated by the court, when all such orders may be contested in that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of Sereno.1avvph!1
a single appeal. Jurisdiction over a party is acquired by service of summons by the sheriff, his
In one case,35 the Court adverted to the hazards of interlocutory appeals: deputy or other proper court officer, either personally by handing a copy
It is axiomatic that an interlocutory order cannot be challenged by an appeal. thereof to the defendant or by substituted service.40 On the other
Thus, it has been held that "the proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary hand, summons is a writ by which the defendant is notified of the action
appeal from an adverse judgment on the merits, incorporating in said appeal brought against him. Service of such writ is the means by which the court
the grounds for assailing the interlocutory order. Allowing appeals from may acquire jurisdiction over his person.41
interlocutory orders would result in the `sorry spectacle’ of a case being Records show that petitioner had filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds of
subject of a counterproductive ping-pong to and from the appellate court as lack of legal personality of respondent; the allegations in the complaint did
not sufficiently state that respondent has a cause of action or a cause of
action against the defendants; and, the complaint was not accompanied by Sarsaba, Fulgencio Lavares and the NLRC, were validly served with
an affidavit of merit and bond. The RTC denied the motion and held therein summons and the case with respect to the answering defendants may still
that, on the basis of the allegations of fact in the complaint, it can render a proceed independently. Be it recalled that the three (3) answering defendants
valid judgment. Petitioner, subsequently, filed his answer by denying all the have previously filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint which was denied by
material allegations of the complaint. And by way of special and affirmative the Court.
defenses, he reiterated that respondent had no legal personality to sue as Hence, only the case against Patricio Sereno will be DISMISSED and the
she had no real interest over the property and that while the truck was still same may be filed as a claim against the estate of Patricio Sereno, but the
registered in Pedro Te's name, the same was already sold to Gasing. case with respect to the three (3) other accused will proceed.
Significantly, a motion to dismiss may be filed within the time for but before Anent the second issue, petitioner moves that respondent's attorney-in-fact,
the filing of an answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a Faustino Castañeda, be discharged as he has no more legal personality to
claim.42 Among the grounds mentioned is the court's lack of jurisdiction over sue on behalf of Fe Vda. de Te, who passed away on April 12, 2005, during
the person of the defending party. the pendency of the case before the RTC.
As a rule, all defenses and objections not pleaded, either in a motion to When a party to a pending action dies and the claim is not extinguished, the
dismiss or in an answer, are deemed waived.43 The exceptions to this rule Rules of Court require a substitution of the deceased. 44 Section 1, Rule 87 of
are: (1) when the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, (2) when the Rules of Court enumerates the actions that survived and may be filed
there is another action pending between the parties for the same cause, or against the decedent's representatives as follows: (1) actions to recover real
(3) when the action is barred by prior judgment or by statute of limitations, in or personal property or an interest thereon, (2) actions to enforce liens
which cases, the court may dismiss the claim. thereon, and (3) actions to recover damages for an injury to a person or a
In the case before Us, petitioner raises the issue of lack of jurisdiction over property. In such cases, a counsel is obliged to inform the court of the death
the person of Sereno, not in his Motion to Dismiss or in his Answer but only of his client and give the name and address of the latter's legal
in his Omnibus Motion to Dismiss. Having failed to invoke this ground at the representative.45
proper time, that is, in a motion to dismiss, petitioner cannot raise it now for The rule on substitution of parties is governed by Section 16, 46 Rule 3 of the
the first time on appeal. 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.
In fine, We cannot countenance petitioner's argument that the complaint Strictly speaking, the rule on substitution by heirs is not a matter of
against the other defendants should have been dismissed, considering that jurisdiction, but a requirement of due process. The rule on substitution was
the RTC never acquired jurisdiction over the person of Sereno. The court's crafted to protect every party's right to due process. It was designed to
failure to acquire jurisdiction over one's person is a defense which is ensure that the deceased party would continue to be properly represented in
personal to the person claiming it. Obviously, it is now impossible for Sereno the suit through his heirs or the duly appointed legal representative of his
to invoke the same in view of his death. Neither can petitioner invoke such estate. Moreover, non-compliance with the Rules results in the denial of the
ground, on behalf of Sereno, so as to reap the benefit of having the case right to due process for the heirs who, though not duly notified of the
dismissed against all of the defendants. Failure to serve summons on proceedings, would be substantially affected by the decision rendered
Sereno's person will not be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint against therein. Thus, it is only when there is a denial of due process, as when the
the other defendants, considering that they have been served with copies of deceased is not represented by any legal representative or heir, that the
the summons and complaints and have long submitted their respective court nullifies the trial proceedings and the resulting judgment therein.47
responsive pleadings. In fact, the other defendants in the complaint were In the case before Us, it appears that respondent's counsel did not make any
given the chance to raise all possible defenses and objections personal to manifestation before the RTC as to her death. In fact, he had actively
them in their respective motions to dismiss and their subsequent answers. participated in the proceedings. Neither had he shown any proof that he had
We agree with the RTC in its Order when it resolved the issue in this wise: been retained by respondent's legal representative or any one who
As correctly pointed by defendants, the Honorable Court has not acquired succeeded her.
jurisdiction over the person of Patricio Sereno since there was indeed no However, such failure of counsel would not lead Us to invalidate the
valid service of summons insofar as Patricio Sereno is concerned. Patricio proceedings that have long taken place before the RTC. The Court has
Sereno died before the summons, together with a copy of the complaint and repeatedly declared that failure of the counsel to comply with his duty to
its annexes, could be served upon him. inform the court of the death of his client, such that no substitution is
However, the failure to effect service of summons unto Patricio Sereno, one effected, will not invalidate the proceedings and the judgment rendered
of the defendants herein does not render the action DISMISSIBLE, thereon if the action survives the death of such party. The trial court's
considering that the three (3) other defendants, namely, Atty. Rogelio E. jurisdiction over the case subsists despite the death of the party. 48
The purpose behind this rule is the protection of the right to due process of Records reveal that the Attorney-in-fact has testified long before in behalf of
every party to the litigation who may be affected by the intervening death. the said plaintiff and more particularly during the state when the plaintiff was
The deceased litigants are themselves protected as they continue to be vehemently opposing the dismissal of the complainant. Subsequently
properly represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal thereto, he even offered documentary evidence in support of the complaint,
representative of their estate.49 and this court admitted the same. When this case was initiated, jurisdiction
Anent the claim of petitioner that the special power of attorney50 dated March was vested upon this Court to try and hear the same to the end. Well-settled
4, 1997 executed by respondent in favor of Faustino has become functus is the rule to the point of being elementary that once jurisdiction is acquired
officio and that the agency constituted between them has been extinguished by this Court, it attaches until the case is decided.
upon the death of respondent, corollarily, he had no more personality to Thus, the proper remedy here is the Substitution of Heirs and not the
appear and prosecute the case on her behalf. dismissal of this case which would work injustice to the plaintiff.
Agency is extinguished by the death of the principal. 51 The only exception SEC. 16, RULE 3 provides for the substitution of the plaintiff who dies
where the agency shall remain in full force and effect even after the death of pending hearing of the case by his/her legal heirs. As to whether or not the
the principal is when if it has been constituted in the common interest of the heirs will still continue to engage the services of the Attorney-in-fact is
latter and of the agent, or in the interest of a third person who has accepted another matter, which lies within the sole discretion of the heirs.
the stipulation in his favor.52 In fine, We hold that the petition should be denied as the RTC Order is
A perusal of the special power of attorney leads us to conclude that it was interlocutory; hence, not a proper subject of an appeal before the Court. In
constituted for the benefit solely of the principal or for respondent Fe Vda. de the same breath, We also hold that, if the petition is to be treated as a
Te. Nowhere can we infer from the stipulations therein that it was created for petition for certiorari as a relaxation of the judicial hierarchy of courts, the
the common interest of respondent and her attorney-in-fact. Neither was same is also dismissible for being substantially insufficient to warrant the
there any mention that it was to benefit a third person who has accepted the Court the nullification of the Order of the RTC.
stipulation in his favor. Let this be an occasion for Us to reiterate that the rules are there to aid
On this ground, We agree with petitioner. However, We do not believe that litigants in prosecuting or defending their cases before the courts. However,
such ground would cause the dismissal of the complaint. For as We have these very rules should not be abused so as to advance one's personal
said, Civil Case No. 3488, which is an action for the recovery of a personal purposes, to the detriment of orderly administration of justice. We can
property, a motor vehicle, is an action that survives pursuant to Section 1, surmise from the present case herein petitioner's manipulation in order to
Rule 87 of the Rules of Court. As such, it is not extinguished by the death of circumvent the rule on modes of appeal and the hierarchy of courts so that
a party. the issues presented herein could be settled without going through the
In Gonzalez v. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation,53 We have established procedures. In Vergara, Sr. v. Suelto,54 We stressed that this
laid down the criteria for determining whether an action survives the death of should be the constant policy that must be observed strictly by the courts and
a plaintiff or petitioner, to wit: lawyers, thus:
x x x The question as to whether an action survives or not depends on the x x x. The Supreme Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is
nature of the action and the damage sued for. If the causes of action which to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the fundamental
survive the wrong complained [of] affects primarily and principally property charter and immemorial tradition. It cannot and should not be burdened with
and property rights, the injuries to the person being merely incidental, while the task of dealing with causes in the first instance. Its original jurisdiction to
in the causes of action which do not survive the injury complained of is to the issue the so-called extraordinary writs should be exercised only where
person the property and rights of property affected being incidental. x x x absolutely necessary or where serious and important reasons exist therefor.
Thus, the RTC aptly resolved the second issue with the following Hence, that jurisdiction should generally be exercised relative to actions or
ratiocination: proceedings before the Court of Appeals, or before constitutional or other
While it may be true as alleged by defendants that with the death of Plaintiff, tribunals, bodies or agencies whose acts for some reason or another are not
Fe Vda. de Te, the Special Power of Attorney she executed empowering the controllable by the Court of Appeals. Where the issuance of an extraordinary
Attorney-in-fact, Faustino Castañeda to sue in her behalf has been rendered writ is also within the competence of the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial
functus officio, however, this Court believes that the Attorney-in-fact had not Court, it is in either of these courts that the specific action for the writ’s
lost his personality to prosecute this case. procurement must be presented. This is and should continue to be the policy
It bears stressing that when this case was initiated/filed by the Attorney-in- in this regard, a policy that courts and lawyers must strictly observe.55
fact, the plaintiff was still very much alive. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED. The Order
dated March 22, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Digos, Davao
del Sur in Civil Case No. 3488, is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the opposed by herein petitioners as well as by Marta Chivi on the ground that
petitioner. the decision of this Court was clear enough on the questions raised and
SO ORDERED. could be complied with without the necessity of adducing evidence. A reply to
this opposition was filed by respondent executrix and a rejoinder thereto
21. G.R. No. L-19270 March 31, 1962 presented by petitioners.
MANUEL GERVACIO BLAS, On October 3, 1961, plaintiff again filed a motion to enforce the final
THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED MARIA GERVACIO BLAS, ET judgment in the above-numbered case in accordance with Sec. 10, Rule 39,
AL., petitioners, to which motion defendant executrix filed an opposition reiterating the
vs. necessity of a hearing before the judgment of this Court could be executed.
HON. CECILIA MUÑOZ-PALMA, as Judge of the Rizal Court of First In the meantime, or on August 29, 1961, Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa
Instance; Avendaño presented a complaint in intervention, alleging that they are
ROSALINA SANTOS, as Executrix of the testate estate of the late legatees named in the last will and testament of the deceased Don Simeon
Maxima Santos; Blas as well as in that of the deceased Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas, and
MARTA GERVACIO BLAS CHIVI, LUDOVICO PINPIN and TOMASA that they are, therefore, entitled to participate in the one-half share of Maxima
AVENDAÑO, respondents. Santos in her conjugal partnership with Simeon Blas. Petitioners opposed the
Teofilo Sison and Nicanor Sison for petitioners. admission of the intervention complaint on the ground that Pinpin and
Jose T. de los Santos and Rodolfo M. Caluag for respondent Rosalina Avendaño have absolutely no interest in the case, not being the heirs and
Santos. legatees contemplated in the document Exhibit "A", signed by the late
Pascual and Felizardo for respondent Marta Gervacio Blas Chivi. Maxima Santos, nor in the will and project of partition covering the estate of
Dominador L. Reyes for respondents Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa Simeon Blas nor in the decision rendered by the Supreme Court sought to be
Avendaño. executed; and that the admission of the intervention complaint would violate
LABRADOR, J.: the rule of res judicata and the doctrine of "law of the case". A reply to the
Petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition against the order of the opposition was filed by the claimants-intervenors and a rejoinder thereto
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Judge Cecilia Muñoz Palma, presiding, dated presented by plaintiffs. After considering the allegations of the parties in their
October 25, 1961, which (1) granted the motion of respondent executrix respective pleadings, respondent judge issued an order dated October 25,
Rosalina Santos to set Civil Case No. 4395 of said court, appealed to this 1961, wherein the motion for intervention was admitted, the motion for
Court as G.R. No. L-14070, for hearing to determine certain factual issues hearing granted, and the motion to enforce the judgment of this Court was
before proceeding with the execution of the judgment rendered therein by denied. A motion for reconsideration of this order presented by petitioners on
this Court, (2) admitted the complaint in intervention of intervenors Ludovico October 31, 1961 was denied by respondent judge on December 7, 1961.
Pinpin and Tomasa Avendaño, and (3) denied the motion filed by plaintiffs, Hence, the present action was brought before this Court.
petitioners herein, to enforce the judgment of this Court in the above- The pertinent parts of the order against which the present petition has been
mentioned case without the necessity of further hearing. instituted is, for the sake of clarity, hereby quoted:
The events that led to the present petition may be summarized as follows: In pages 27 to 46 of said Project of Partition, an enumeration was
On July 26, 1961, plaintiffs, petitioners herein, filed before the Court of First made of the properties constituting the entire share of Maxima
Instance of Rizal, a motion for the execution of the decision of this Court in Santos on the basis of the above-quoted distribution. It is, therefore,
G.R. No. L-14070, dated March 29, 1961 (Civil Case No. 4395, Court of First incorrect to state that all these properties listed in pages 27 to 46 of
Instance of Rizal), which motion was granted by the respondent judge in an the Project of Partition constitute the one-half share of Maxima
order dated August 16, 1961. Pursuant to said order, a writ of execution was Santos in the conjugal properties for as already indicated, said
issued by the clerk of the lower court on August 24, 1961, and notice thereof enumeration includes: (a) the one-third portion devised to her by her
served upon respondent Rosalina Santos on August 29, 1961, giving the husband, Simeon Blas in his will; (b) the one-third portion
latter 10 days within which to comply the same. Instead of complying with the constituting the share of Lazaro Gervacio Blas; and (c) her one-half
order, respondent executrix, on September 15,1961, filed a motion to set the share in the conjugal properties. In view of this, there is need of
case for hearing, alleging that it would be difficult to comply with the court's segregating in that list of properties found in pages 27 to 46 of the
order unless the following questions were first resolved: (1) what properties Project of Partition, those which constitute the one-half share of
to be conveyed by the executrix; (2) to whom conveyance is to be made; and Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas in the conjugal properties from those
(3) in what proportions conveyance should be effected. This motion was
portions which she inherited from her husband as well as those method or plan of distribution and partition of estates is provided for in
which she bought from Lazaro Gervacio Blas. section 1 of Rule 91, which reads thus: .
As regards the allowance of the intervention of several parties in this Section 1. When order for distribution of residue made. Testimony
proceeding, this Court is simply guided by that portion of the taken on controversy preserved. — When the debts, funeral charges,
Decision of the Supreme Court which states that considering that all and expenses of administration, the allowances to the widow, and
heirs and legatees designated in the will of Simeon Blas have not inheritance tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with
appeared in this Civil Case, the said heirs and legatees may file law, have been paid, the court, on the application of the executor or
adversary pleadings to determine the participation of each and every administrator, or of a person interested in the estate, and after
one of them in the properties to be conveyed. hearing upon notice, shall assign the residue of the estate to the
For a proper understanding of the case at bar, we hereby quote the persons entitled to the same, naming them and the proportions, or
dispositive part of the decision of this Court in G.R. No. L-14070:. parts, to which each is entitled, and such persons may demand and
... the defendant-appellee, administratrix ... is ordered to convey and recover their respective shares from the executor or administrator, or
deliver one-half of the properties adjudicated to Maxima Santos as any other person having the same in his possession. ...
her share in the conjugal properties in said Civil Case No. 6707, ... to It might be pertinent to recall, in order to show the propriety of this method of
the heirs and the legatees of her husband Simeon Blas. partition by determination of the aliquot portion pertaining to each heir, that
The objection to the execution of the above-quoted dispositive part of the the original action, G.R. No. L-14070, was instituted to obtain a judicial
decision lies, as contended by counsel for respondent executrix Rosalina declaration that one-half of the properties of Maxima Santos assigned to her
Santos and as found by the trial court, in the supposed impossibility of as her share in the conjugal properties of herself and her husband, be
pointing out from among the properties adjudicated to Maxima Santos in the conveyed to the petitioners, because of a document signed by Maxima
project of partition of the estate of her deceased husband, the properties that Santos (Annex "H" of complaint) in which she promised to convey to the
should be conveyed and delivered. heirs of her deceased husband one-half of the properties that she would
It must be borne in mind that it was not the intention of our decision in the, receive as her share in the conjugal properties of herself and her husband.
previous case (G.R. No. L-14070) which was ordered executed, that of the The action was expressly based on said document, Annex "H" of complaint,
very numerous properties adjudicated to Maxima Santos in the project of in which the promise to convey said one-half portion was made. There was
partition, those that should be conveyed and delivered to the petitioners no demand that said one-half be expressly and actually segregated in the
herein, petitioners also in the previous case, be specifically pointed out action, or that the conjugal properties be actually divided or partitioned. The
separately from the rest of the properties that should remain as Maxima defendants in that case contended that the document Annex "H" was not
Santos' share. It was not expected, in view of the fact that the project of executed by Maxima Santos and that if it was so executed, the same was
partition of the estate of Simeon Blas does not indicate the properties null and void as constituting a promise to convey future inheritance. There
adjudicated to Maxima Santos as her share in the conjugal partnership was no intent to designate or point out the properties to be conveyed. The
separately from those received by her from her husband as devisee of the properties appear in the inventory filed in the proceedings for the settlement
free portion of his estate, or those acquired by purchase, that the properties of the estate of Simeon Blas but no demand was made for their
constituting the one-half to be conveyed out of Maxima Santos' share in the determination in the case. In view of the nature of the claim, which was to
conjugal partnership, be expressly singled out from the others. What was compel conveyance in accordance with the written contract or promise, and
expected to be done by the court executing the judgment, in order to carry the nature of the defense, which is the supposed invalidity of the promise, the
out the decision of this Court, was to determine what undivided portion or decision could not be other than a mere declaration of the validity of the
aliquot part of all the properties adjudicated to her in various capacities instrument, coupled with an order for the conveyance and delivery to the
should be conveyed by virtue of the judgment, and then to have said petitioners of the said one-half share as promised in the document Annex
undivided portion or aliquot part conveyed in an appropriate deed and "H". All of the above circumstances would have been ascertained had the
delivered to the petitioners, without need of actually partitioning the bulk of court below taken pains to read even the decision and the project of partition
the properties and pointing out which of them belongs to petitioners and alone.
which belongs to the widow Maxima Santos.1äwphï1.ñët It is true that objection was also raised by the defendants in the previous
The practice in the distribution of the estates of deceased persons is to case to the action on the ground that the deceased Maxima Santos had
assign the whole of the properties left for distribution to the heirs in a certain received in one single mass of properties, not only her share in the conjugal
definite proportion, an aliquot part pertaining to each of the heirs. This estate but also a devise of one-third of the free portion of the estate of her
husband Simeon Blas, as well as the share of one of the latter's heirs. But
such objection could not prevent compliance with the promise made the conveyance shall be authorized until notice of the application for that
deceased Maxima Santos (to convey to the heirs of her husband one-half of purpose has been given personally or by mail to all persons
what she received of the conjugal properties of her husband and herself). interested, and such further notice has been given, by publication or
And the objection then raised was opportunely denied. otherwise, as the court deems proper; nor if the assets in the hands
The project of partition mentioned in the dispositive part of our decision of the executor or administrator will thereby be reduced so as to
sought to be enforced, which is the project of partition in Civil Case No. 6707 prevent a creditor from receiving his full debt or diminish his
of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, contains the following resume of the dividend.
properties received by Maxima Santos in various capacities in the settlement The above-quoted section is applicable because the deceased Maxima
of the estate of her husband Simeon Blas: Santos had agreed and promised to convey in her will one-half of her share
in the conjugal assets to such of the heirs of her husband as she may
1/2 of all properties left by the deceased, as her
designate. If the administratrix Rosalina Santos is reluctant to execute the
share in the conjugal partnership property . . . . . . . . . P339,440.00
deed as ordered by the Court, the deed of conveyance and delivery of the
1/3 free disposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113,146.66 properties may be executed by the clerk of court, in which case, as declared
by the rule, the deed shall be as effectual to convey the property as if
1/3 of strict legitime devised to Lazaro Blas executed by the deceased in her lifetime.
and sold by the latter to the widow . . . . . . . . . . . 37,715.56 We note that the petitioners prepared a deed of conveyance to be signed by
the clerk of court, but the error in the said deed of conveyance lies in that it
includes all of the properties mentioned in the project of partition, adjudicated
TOTAL .......... P490,302.22 to Maxima Santos which, as above indicated, should not be the case,
The properties received by Maxima Santos as her share in the conjugal because what was actually adjudicated to her in the project of partition
partnership properties is expressly stated to be P339,440.00. In accordance included not only her share in the conjugal property, but also what she
with the promise made in Annex "H", to convey and deliver to the heirs of the received from her husband out of the free portion, and what she had
deceased husband one-half thereof, the value of the properties that she was purchased from an heir of her husband.
obliged to convey and deliver is one-half of said properties, or P169,720. It is to be noted further that in order to have the document executed and
Following what we have stated above, that the practice in the settlement of approved by the court, the specific steps prior to the execution of the deed of
assets of deceased persons is to assign to each heir or participant a certain conveyance as pointed out in the last part of the above-quoted section must
aliquot portion, undivided if division is difficult to carry out, the share to be be strictly followed.
assigned by Maxima Santos is P169,720 divided by P490,302.22 or With the above explanations, there should be no difficulty for the court below
approximately 34.61-1/3%. In order to carry out the decision of this Court, to proceed with the execution of the decision in accordance with its terms.
therefore, the administratrix should have been compelled or ordered to Our attention has been called to the fact of the properties included in the
convey and deliver the 34.61-1/3% of the total amount of the properties that inventory of the estate left by the deceased Simeon Blas, certain properties
she received in the project of partition. listed in Annex "2" of the petition in the case at bar, are not included in the
The procedure to be followed is that outlined in section 8 of Rule 90 which project of partition. We have checked the said properties and have found that
reads as follows: . the same are actually included in the inventory of the estate left by Simeon
Sec. 8. When court may authorize conveyance of realty which Blas but do not appear among those adjudicated to any of the heirs in the
deceased contracted to convey. Notice. Effect of deed. — Where the project of partition. Without making a final pronouncement as to the effect of
deceased was in his lifetime under contract, binding in law, to deed such conveyances, it is possible that such conveyances violated the express
real property, or an interest therein, the court having jurisdiction of promise made by Maxima Santos in Annex "H" that she convey one-half of
the estate may, on application for that purpose, authorize the her share in the conjugal properties to the heirs of her deceased husband.
executor or administrator to convey such property according to such On the other hand, the persons who may have purchased the same may
contract, or with such modifications as are agreed upon by the have acquired them in good faith, without knowledge of the existence of the
parties and approved by the court; and if the contract is to convey promise made by the deceased Maxima Santos in Annex "H". The only just
real property to the executor or administrator, the clerk of the court ruling regarding these properties would be to reserve to the petitioners herein
shall execute the deed. The deed executed by such executor, the right of action to claim from the administratrix of Maxima Santos, or from
administrator or clerk of court shall be as effectual to convey the the persons to whom they have been transferred, or from both, their one-half
property as if executed by the deceased in his lifetime; but no such share therein as promised by Maxima Santos in Annex "H".
The above considerations dispose of the main issue submitted to this Court term "ipinagkakaloob" refers to persons who are not related to him, on his
in the case at bar. One minor matter remains to be considered, and that is, heirs at law. Accordingly, in the document Annex "H" which reads as follows:.
the petition for intervention filed by Ludovico Pinpin and Tomasa Avendaño MAUNAWA NG SINO MANG MAKABABASA:
alleging that they have interest in the action as legatees of the deceased Na akong si MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS, nasa hustong
Simeon Blas. This petition was opposed by the petitioners herein, but was gulang, kasal kay SIMEON BLAS, taga bayan ng Malabon,
finally admitted by the court a quo. Rizal, Philippines, sa pamamagitan ngkasulatang ito ay
These intervenors appear to have received legacies in the will of the malaya kong ipinahahayag:
deceased Simeon Blas. The portion of said will containing the legacies to Na aking nabasa at naunawa ang testamento at huling
these intervenors are as follows:. kalooban na nilagdaan ng aking asawa, SIMEON BLAS, at
IV ipinahahayag ko sa ilalim ng aking karangalan at sa harap
"Ang isang ikatlong bahagi, etc. ng aking asawa na igagalang at pagpipitaganan ang lahat at
x x x x x x x x x bawat isang bahagi ng nabanggit na testamento at
4. Ipinagkakaloob ko kay TOMASA AVENDAÑO, etc. ipinangangako ko pa sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito na
x x x x x x x x x ang lahat ng maiiwang pag-aari at kayamanan naming mag-
6. Ipinagkakaloob ko kay LUDOVICO PINPIN, etc." asawa, na nauukol at bahaging para sa akin sa paggawa ko
(Pp. 254-255, Record on Appeal, G.R. No. L-14070, Maria naman ng aking testamento ay ipinagkakaloob ko ang
Gervacio Blas, et al. vs. Rosalina Santos.). kalahati (1/2) sa mga herederos at legatarios o
The question at issue, therefore, is whether these intervenors are embraced pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na asawa, SIMEON
within the term "herederos at legatarios o pinamamanahan ng aking BLAS, sa kaniyang testamento na ako'y makapipili o
nabanggit na asawa, SIMEON BLAS, sa kaniyang testamento," to which makahihirang sa kahi't kangino sa kanila ng aking
persons Maxima Santos had obligated herself to convey one-half of her pagbibigyan at pamamanahan sang-ayon sa pag-galang,
share in the conjugal properties. paglilingkod, at pakikisama na gagawin sa akin.
A study of the testament of Simeon Blas (Record on Appeal, pp. 249-257, SA KATUNAYAN NG LAHAT NG ITO, ay nilagdaan ko ang
G.R. No. L-14070) and the promise or contract executed by Maxima Santos, kasulatang ito ngayong ika 26 ng Diciembre ng taong 1936,
Annex "H", shows that the two terms (herederos and legatarios) are used in dito sa San Francisco del Monte, SanJuan, Rizal,
the devises or legacies to the various heirs and legatees. With respect to the Philippines.
legitimate heirs of Simeon Blas, to whom he devised the strict legitime and MAXIMA SANTOS DE BLAS
the mejora, he used the expression "ibinibigay ko at ipinamamana sa aking the words "herederos at legatarios o pinamamanahan ng aking nabanggit na
apong Maria Gervacio Blas, Marta Gervacio Blas at Lazaro Gervacio Blas" asawa," mean the heirs at law or relatives of the deceased Simeon Blas and
(Chapter II, paragraph 2 of the testament of Simeon Blas). With respect to not other persons who are not heirs but had received legacies in money or
the mejora he uses the same term "ipinamamana" and he says thus:"Para sa otherwise. Consequent to this conclusion, intervenors Ludovico Pinpin and
aking mga apong Luding at Leoncio Blas ay ipinagkakaloob ko Tomasa Avendaño cannot claim any right by virtue of said document Annex
at ipinamamana ang halagang SAMPUNG LIBONG PISO (P10,000) sa "H" and their petition for intervention should be, as it hereby is, disallowed.
bawat isa sa kanila." In the last or fourth chapter where the one-third subject IN VIEW THEREOF, the order sought to be reviewed is hereby set aside and
to the free disposal are disposed of, he uses only the term "ipinagkakaloob". the court below is ordered to proceed with the execution of the judgment in
This term is used for Andres Pascual, Leoncio Santos, Catalina G.R. No. L-14070 in accordance herewith. With costs against the respondent
Blas, Tomasa Avendaño, Justo Garcia, Ludovico Pinpin, and Fermin Rosalina Santos.
Santiago, all of whom are not relatives of the deceased. Taking into account
the fact that both the will of the deceased Simeon Blas and the document 22. G.R. No. L-26695 January 31, 1972
Annex "H" executed by Maxima Santos were prepared by the same persons JUANITA LOPEZ GUILAS, petitioner,
and at about the same time, both bearing date of December 26, 1936, and vs.
are attested by the same witnesses, and the further fact that it was the JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF PAMPANGA AND
deceased Simeon Blas that had asked for the execution of the document ALEJANDRO LOPEZ respondents .
Annex "II", it stands to reason that the word "ipinamamana" refers to devices Filemon Cajator for petitioner.
made legal heirs (heirs at law) of the deceased Simeon Blas, whereas the Eligio G. Lagman for respondent Alejandro Lopez.
MAKASIAR, J.:p submit a statement of accounts of all the crops and to deliver immediately to
It appears from the records that Jacinta Limson de Lopez, of Guagua, Juanita lots nos. 3368 and 3441 of the Bacolor Cadastre, which were
Pampanga was married to Alejandro Lopez y Siongco. They had no children. allocated to her under the project of partition (p. 132, rec.).
On April 28, 1936, Jacinta executed a will instituting her husband Alejandro Meanwhile, in Testate Proceedings No. 1426, Juanita filed a petition dated
as her sole heir and executor (pp. 20-21, rec.). July 20, 1964 praying that Alejandro Lopez be directed to deliver to her the
In a Resolution dated October 26, 1953 in Sp. Proc. No. 894 entitled "En el actual possession of said lots nos. 3368 and 3441 as well as the 1,216
Asunto de la Adopcion de la Menor Juanita Lopez y Limson" (pp. 92-94, 103, caverns of palay that he collected from the ten (10) tenants or lessees of the
rec.), herein petitioner Juanita Lopez, then single and now married to said two lots (Annex "H", pp. 42-44, rec.).
Federico Guilas, was declared legally adopted daughter and legal heir of the In his opposition dated August 5, 1964 to the said petition, Alejandro Lopez
spouses Jacinta and Alejandro. After adopting legally herein petitioner claims that, by virtue of the order dated April 23, 1960 which approved the
Juanita Lopez, the testatrix Doña Jacinta did not execute another will or project of partition submitted by both Alejandro and Juanita and directed that
codicil so as to include Juanita Lopez as one of her heirs. the records of the case be archived upon payment of the estate and
In an order dated March 5, 1959 in Testate Proceedings No. 1426, the inheritance taxes, and the order of December 15, 1960 which "ordered
aforementioned will was admitted to probate and the surviving husband, closed and terminated the present case", the testate proceedings had
Alejandro Lopez y Siongco, was appointed executor without bond by the already been closed and terminated; and that he ceased as a consequence
Court of First Instance of Pampanga (Annexes "A" and "B", pp. 18-23, rec.). to be the executor of the estate of the deceased; and that Juanita Lopez is
Accordingly, Alejandro took his oath of office as executor (Annex "C", p. 24, guilty of laches and negligence in filing the petition of the delivery of her
rec.). share 4 years after such closure of the estate, when she could have filed a
Nevertheless, in a project of partition dated March 19, 1960 executed by both petition for relief of judgment within sixty (60) days from December 15, 1960
Alejandro Lopez and Juanita Lopez Guilas, the right of Juanita Lopez to under Rule 38 of the old Rules of Court (Annex "I") citing A. Austria vs. Heirs
inherit from Jacinta was recognized and Lots Nos. 3368 and 3441 (Jacinta's of Antonio Ventenilla, L-100808, Sept. 18, 1956 (pp. 45-48, rec.).
paraphernal property), described and embraced in Original Certificate of Title In her reply dated November 17, 1965 to said opposition, Juanita contends
No. 13092, both situated in Bacolor Pampanga — Lot 3368 with an area of that the actual delivery and distribution of the hereditary shares to the heirs,
68,141 square meters and Lot 3441 with an area of 163,231 square meters, and not the order of the court declaring as closed and terminated the
then assessed respectively at P3,070.00 and P5,800.00 (Annex "D", pp. 27- proceedings, determines the termination of the probate proceedings (citing
36, rec.) — were adjudicated to Juanita Lopez-Guilas as her share free from Intestate estate of the deceased Mercedes Cano, Timbol vs. Cano, 59 O.G.
all liens, encumbrances and charges, with the executor Alejandro Lopez, No. 30, pp. 46-73, April 29, 1961, where it was ruled that "the probate court
binding himself to free the said two parcels from such liens, encumbrances loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of
and charges. The rest of the estate of the deceased consisting of 28 other all the taxes, and after the remaining estate is delivered to the heirs entitled
parcels of lands with a total assessed valuation of P69,020.00 and a to receive the same"); that the executor Alejandro is estopped from opposing
combined area of 743,924.67 square meters, as well as personal properties her petition because he was the one who prepared, filed and secured court
including a 1953 Buick car valued at P2,500.00 were allotted to Don approval of, the aforesaid project of partition, which she seeks to be
Alejandro who assumed all the mortgage liens on the estate (Annex "D", pp. implemented; that she is not guilty of laches, because when she filed on July
25-37, rec.). 20, 1964, her petition for he delivery of her share allocated to her under the
In an order dated April 23, 1960, the lower court approved the said project of project of partition, less than 3 years had elapsed from August 28, 1961
partition and directed that the records of the case be sent to the archives, when the amended project of partition was approved, which is within the 5-
upon payment of the estate and inheritance taxes (Annex "E", p. 38, rec.). year period for the execution of judgment by motion (Annex "J", pp. 49-52,
Upon ex-parte petition of the adjudicatees Alejandro Lopez and Juanita rec.).
Lopez-Guilas dated August 25, 1961 (Annex "F", pp. 39-40, rec.), the lower In its order dated October 2, 1964, the lower court after a "pre-trial" stated
court in an order dated August 28, 1961, approved the correction of clerical that because the civil action for the annulment of the project of partition was
errors appearing in the project of partition (Annex "G", p. 41, rec.). filed on April 13, 1964, before the filing on July 2, 1964 of the petition for
On April 10, 1964, herein petitioner Juanita Lopez-Guilas filed a separate delivery of the shares of Juanita Lopez, "the parties have agreed to suspend
ordinary action to set aside and annul the project of partition, which case was action or resolution upon the said petition for the delivery of shares until; after
docketed as Civil Case 2539 entitled "Juanita Lopez-Guilas vs. Alejandro the civil action aforementioned has been finally settled and decided", and
Lopez" in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, on the ground of lesion, forthwith set the civil action for annulment for trial on November 25, and
perpetration and fraud, and pray further that Alejandro Lopez be ordered to December 2, 1964 (Annex "K", pp. 53-54, rec.).
On June 11, 1965, Juanita filed an amended complaint in Civil Case 2539 heirs entitled to receive the same. The finality of the approval of the project of
(pp. 78-110, rec.), where she acknowledges the partial legality and validity of partition by itself alone does not terminate the probate proceeding (Timbol
the project of partition insofar as the allocation in her favor of the Lots Nos. vs. Cano, 1 SCRA 1271, 1276, L-15445, April 29, 1961; Siguiong vs. Tecson,
3368 and 3441, the delivery of which she is seeking (pp. 106-107, rec.). 89 Phil., pp. 28-30). As long as the order of the distribution of the estate has
In her motion dated November 17, 1965, Juanita sought the setting aside of not been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed
the order dated October 2, 1964 on the ground that while the said order and terminated Siguiong vs. Tecson, supra.); because a judicial partition is
considered her action for annulment of the project of partition as a prejudicial not final and conclusive and does not prevent the heir from bringing an action
question, her filing an amended complaint on June 11, 1965 in civil case No. to obtain his share, provided the prescriptive period therefor has not elapsed
2539 wherein she admitted the partial legality and validity of the project of (Mari vs. Bonilla, 83 Phil., 137). The better practice, however, for the heir
partition with respect to the adjudication to her of the two lots as her share, who has not received his share, is to demand his share through a proper
rendered said civil case No. 2539 no longer a prejudicial question to her motion in the same probate or administration proceedings, or for re-opening
petition of July 20, 1964 for the delivery of her share (Annex "L", pp. 55-59, of the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already been closed,
rec.). and not through an independent action, which would be tried by another
Alejandro filed his opposition dated December 1, 1965 to the aforesaid court or Judge which may thus reverse a decision or order of the probate on
motion of Juanita to set aside the order dated October 2, 1964 (Annex "M", intestate court already final and executed and re-shuffle properties long ago
pp. 60-61, rec.), to which Juanita filed her rejoinder dated December 6, 1965 distributed and disposed of (Ramos vs. Ortuzar, 89 Phil., 730, 741-742;
wherein she stated among others that pursuant to the project of partition, Timbol vs. Cano, supra.; Jingco vs. Daluz, L-5107, April 24, 1953, 92 Phil.
executor Alejandro secured the cancellation of OCT. No. 13093 covering the 1082; Roman Catholic vs. Agustines, L-14710, March 29, 1960, 107 Phil.,
two parcels of land adjudicated to her under the project of partition and the 455, 460-461).
issuance in his exclusive name on August 4, 1961 TCT No. 26638-R Section 1 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964 as worded, which
covering the said Lots Nos. 3368 and 3441 of the Bacolor Cadastre (Annex secures for the heirs or legatees the right to "demand and recover their
"N", pp. 62-71, rec.). respective shares from the executor or administrator, or any other person
In an order dated April 27, 1966, the lower court denied Juanita's motion to having the same in his possession", re-states the aforecited doctrines.
set aside the order of October 2, 1964 on the ground that the parties The case of Austria vs. Heirs of Ventenilla (99 Phil. 1068) does not control
themselves agreed to suspend resolution of her petition for the delivery of the present controversy; because the motion filed therein for the removal of
her shares until after the civil action for annulment of the project of partition the administratrix and the appointment of a new administrator in her place
has been finally settled and decided (Annex "O", p. 72, rec.). was rejected by the court on the ground of laches as it was filed after the
Juanita filed a motion dated May 9, 1966 for the reconsideration of the order lapse of about 38 years from October 5, 1910 when the court issued an order
dated April 27, 1966 (Annex "P" pp. 73-77, rec.), to which Alejandro filed an settling and deciding the issues raised by the motion (L-10018, September
opposition dated June 8, 1966 (Annex "Q", pp. 112-113, rec.). 19, 1956, 99 Phil., 1069-1070). In the case at bar, the motion filed by
Subsequently, Alejandro filed a motion dated July 25, 1966 praying that the petitioner for the delivery of her share was filed on July 20, 1964, which is
palay deposited with Fericsons and Ideal Rice Mill by the ten (10) tenants of just more than 3 years from August 28, 1961 when the amended project of
the two parcels in question be delivered to him (Annex "R", pp. 114-116, partition was approve and within 5 years from April 23, 1960 when the
rec.),to which Juanita filed an opposition dated July 26, 1966 (Annex "S", pp. original project of partition was approved. Clearly, her right to claim the two
117-121, rec.). In an order dated September 8, 1966, the lower court denied lots allocated to her under the project of partition had not yet expired. And in
the motion for reconsideration of the order dated April 27, 1966, and directed the light of Section 1 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court of 1964 and
Fericsons Inc. and the Ideal Rice Mills to deliver to Alejandro or his the jurisprudence above cited, the order dated December 15, 1960 of the
representative the 229 cavans and 46 kilos and 325 and 1/2 cavans and 23 probate court closing and terminating the probate case did not legally
kilos of palay respectively deposited with the said rice mills upon the filing by terminate the testate proceedings, for her share under the project of partition
Alejandro of a bond in the amount of P12,000.00 duly approved by the court has not been delivered to her.
(Annex "T", pp. 122-127, rec.). Hence, this petition While it is true that the order dated October 2, 1964 by agreement of the
for certiorari and mandamus. parties suspended resolution of her petition for the delivery of her shares until
The position of petitioner Juanita Lopez-Guilas should be sustained and the after the decision in the civil action for the annulment of the project of
writs prayed for granted. partition (Civil Case 2539) she filed on April 10, 1964; the said order lost its
The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only validity and efficacy when the herein petitioner filed on June 11, 1965 an
after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate delivered to the amended complaint in said Civil Case 2539 wherein she recognized the
partial legality and validity of the said project of partition insofar as the Pedro died in 1964, while Anastacia died in 1993. Although Pedro’s estate
allocation in her favor of lots Nos. 3368 and 3441 in the delivery of which she was judicially partitioned among his heirs sometime in the 1970s, no similar
has been insisting all along (pp. 106-107, rec.). settlement and partition appear to have been made with Anastacia’s estate,
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: which included her shareholdings in Zenith. As of June 30, 1990, Anastacia
1. Granting the writs prayed for; owned 136,598 shares of Zenith; Oscar and Rodrigo owned 8,715,637 and
2. Setting aside the orders of the respondent court dated October 2, 1964 4,250 shares, respectively.3
and April 27, 1966, as null and void; and, without prejudice to the On May 9, 2000, Zenith and Rodrigo filed a complaint 4 with the Securities
continuance of Civil Case No. 2539, which, by reason of this decision, and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Oscar, docketed as SEC Case
involves no longer Lots 3368 and 3441 of the Bacolor Cadastre, . No. 05-00-6615. The complaint stated that it is "a derivative suit initiated and
3. Directing. filed by the complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes to obtain an accounting of the
(a) the Register of Deeds of Pampanga to cancel TCT No. funds and assets of ZENITH INSURANCE CORPORATION which are now
26638-R covering the aforesaid lots Nos. 3368 and 3441 of or formerly in the control, custody, and/or possession of respondent [herein
the Bacolor Cadastre and to issue anew Transfer Certificate petitioner Oscar] and to determine the shares of stock of deceased
of Title covering the said two lots in the name of herein spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes that were arbitrarily and fraudulently
petitioner Juanita Lopez Guilas; and appropriated [by Oscar] for himself [and] which were not collated and taken
(b) the respondent Alejandro Lopez into account in the partition, distribution, and/or settlement of the estate of the
(1) to deliver to herein petitioner Juanita Lopez Guilas the deceased spouses, for which he should be ordered to account for all the
possession of lots Nos. 3368 and 3441; income from the time he took these shares of stock, and should now deliver
(2) to deliver and/or pay to herein, petitioner all the rents, to his brothers and sisters their just and respective shares."5 [Emphasis
crops or income collected by him from said lots Nos. 3368 supplied.]
and 3441 from April 23, 1960 until the possession of the two In his Answer with Counterclaim,6 Oscar denied the charge that he illegally
aforementioned lots is actually delivered to her, or their value acquired the shares of Anastacia Reyes. He asserted, as a defense, that he
based on the current market price; and purchased the subject shares with his own funds from the unissued stocks of
(3) to pay the costs. Zenith, and that the suit is not a bona fide derivative suit because the
So ordered. requisites therefor have not been complied with. He thus questioned the
SEC’s jurisdiction to entertain the complaint because it pertains to the
23. G.R. No. 165744 August 11, 2008 settlement of the estate of Anastacia Reyes.
OSCAR C. REYES, petitioner, When Republic Act (R.A.) No. 87997 took effect, the SEC’s exclusive and
vs. original jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 of Presidential
HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MAKATI, Branch 142, ZENITH Decree (P.D.) No. 902-A was transferred to the RTC designated as a special
INSURANCE CORPORATION, and RODRIGO C. REYES, respondents. commercial court.8 The records of Rodrigo’s SEC case were thus turned over
DECISION to the RTC, Branch 142, Makati, and docketed as Civil Case No. 00-1553.
BRION, J.: On October 22, 2002, Oscar filed a Motion to Declare Complaint as Nuisance
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court or Harassment Suit.9He claimed that the complaint is a mere nuisance or
seeks to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)1 promulgated harassment suit and should, according to the Interim Rules of Procedure for
on May 26, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No. 74970. The CA Decision affirmed the Intra-Corporate Controversies, be dismissed; and that it is not a bona
Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 142, Makati City dated fide derivative suit as it partakes of the nature of a petition for the settlement
November 29, 20022 in Civil Case No. 00-1553 (entitled "Accounting of All of estate of the deceased Anastacia that is outside the jurisdiction of a
Corporate Funds and Assets, and Damages") which denied petitioner Oscar special commercial court. The RTC, in its Order dated November 29, 2002
C. Reyes’ (Oscar) Motion to Declare Complaint as Nuisance or Harassment (RTC Order), denied the motion in part and declared:
Suit. A close reading of the Complaint disclosed the presence of two (2)
BACKGROUND FACTS causes of action, namely: a) a derivative suit for accounting of the
Oscar and private respondent Rodrigo C. Reyes (Rodrigo) are two of the four funds and assets of the corporation which are in the control, custody,
children of the spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes. Pedro, Anastacia, and/or possession of the respondent [herein petitioner Oscar] with
Oscar, and Rodrigo each owned shares of stock of Zenith Insurance prayer to appoint a management committee; and b) an action for
Corporation (Zenith), a domestic corporation established by their family. determination of the shares of stock of deceased spouses Pedro and
Anastacia Reyes allegedly taken by respondent, its accounting and stockholders, partners, members of associations or
the corresponding delivery of these shares to the parties’ brothers organizations registered with the Commission.
and sisters. The latter is not a derivative suit and should properly be b) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate or partnership
threshed out in a petition for settlement of estate. relations, between and among stockholders, members, or
Accordingly, the motion is denied. However, only the derivative suit associates; between any or all of them and the corporation,
consisting of the first cause of action will be taken cognizance of by partnership or association of which they are stockholders,
this Court.10 members, or associates, respectively; and between such
Oscar thereupon went to the CA on a petition for certiorari, prohibition, corporation, partnership or association and the State insofar
and mandamus11 and prayed that the RTC Order be annulled and set aside as it concerns their individual franchise or right to exist as
and that the trial court be prohibited from continuing with the proceedings. such entity; and
The appellate court affirmed the RTC Order and denied the petition in its c) Controversies in the election or appointment of directors,
Decision dated May 26, 2004. It likewise denied Oscar’s motion for trustees, officers, or managers of such corporations,
reconsideration in a Resolution dated October 21, 2004. partnerships, or associations.
Petitioner now comes before us on appeal through a petition for review The allegations set forth in Rodrigo’s complaint principally invoke Section 5,
on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. paragraphs (a) and (b) above as basis for the exercise of the RTC’s special
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS court jurisdiction. Our focus in examining the allegations of the complaint
Petitioner Oscar presents the following points as conclusions the CA should shall therefore be on these two provisions.
have made: Fraudulent Devices and Schemes
1. that the complaint is a mere nuisance or harassment suit that should be The rule is that a complaint must contain a plain, concise, and direct
dismissed under the Interim Rules of Procedure of Intra-Corporate statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff’s cause of action and
Controversies; and must specify the relief sought.13 Section 5, Rule 8 of the Revised Rules of
2. that the complaint is not a bona fide derivative suit but is in fact in the Court provides that in all averments of fraud or mistake, the
nature of a petition for settlement of estate; hence, it is outside the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake must be stated with
jurisdiction of the RTC acting as a special commercial court. particularity.14 These rules find specific application to Section 5(a) of P.D.
Accordingly, he prays for the setting aside and annulment of the CA decision No. 902-A which speaks of corporate devices or schemes that amount to
and resolution, and the dismissal of Rodrigo’s complaint before the RTC. fraud or misrepresentation detrimental to the public and/or to the
THE COURT’S RULING stockholders.
We find the petition meritorious. In an attempt to hold Oscar responsible for corporate fraud, Rodrigo alleged
The core question for our determination is whether the trial court, sitting as a in the complaint the following:
special commercial court, has jurisdiction over the subject matter of 3. This is a complaint…to determine the shares of stock of the
Rodrigo’s complaint. To resolve it, we rely on the judicial principle that deceased spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes that were
"jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and is arbitrarily and fraudulently appropriated for himself [herein
determined by the allegations of the complaint, irrespective of whether the petitioner Oscar] which were not collated and taken into account in
plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the claims asserted therein."12 the partition, distribution, and/or settlement of the estate of the
JURISDICTION OF SPECIAL COMMERCIAL COURTS deceased Spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes, for which he should
P.D. No. 902-A enumerates the cases over which the SEC (now the RTC be ordered to account for all the income from the time he took these
acting as a special commercial court) exercises exclusive jurisdiction: shares of stock, and should now deliver to his brothers and sisters
SECTION 5. In addition to the regulatory and adjudicative functions their just and respective shares with the corresponding equivalent
of the Securities and Exchange Commission over corporations, amount of P7,099,934.82 plus interest thereon from 1978
partnership, and other forms of associations registered with it as representing his obligations to the Associated Citizens’ Bank that
expressly granted under existing laws and decrees, it shall have was paid for his account by his late mother, Anastacia C. Reyes.
original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving: This amount was not collated or taken into account in the partition or
a) Devices or schemes employed by or any acts of the board distribution of the estate of their late mother, Anastacia C. Reyes.
of directors, business associates, its officers or partners, 3.1. Respondent Oscar C. Reyes, through other schemes of
amounting to fraud and misrepresentation which may be fraud including misrepresentation, unilaterally, and for his own
detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the benefit, capriciously transferred and took possession and
control of the management of Zenith Insurance Allegations of deceit, machination, false pretenses, misrepresentation, and
Corporation which is considered as a family corporation, and other threats are largely conclusions of law that, without supporting statements of
properties and businesses belonging to Spouses Pedro and the facts to which the allegations of fraud refer, do not sufficiently state an
Anastacia Reyes. effective cause of action.15 The late Justice Jose Feria, a noted authority in
xxxx Remedial Law, declared that fraud and mistake are required to be averred
4.1. During the increase of capitalization of Zenith Insurance with particularity in order to enable the opposing party to controvert the
Corporation, sometime in 1968, the property covered by TCT No. particular facts allegedly constituting such fraud or mistake.16
225324 was illegally and fraudulently used by respondent as a Tested against these standards, we find that the charges of fraud against
collateral. Oscar were not properly supported by the required factual allegations. While
xxxx the complaint contained allegations of fraud purportedly committed by him,
5. The complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes discovered that by some these allegations are not particular enough to bring the controversy within the
manipulative scheme, the shareholdings of their deceased special commercial court’s jurisdiction; they are not statements of ultimate
mother, Doña Anastacia C. Reyes, shares of stocks and [sic] facts, but are mere conclusions of law: how and why the alleged
valued in the corporate books at P7,699,934.28, more or less, appropriation of shares can be characterized as "illegal and fraudulent" were
excluding interest and/or dividends, had been transferred solely in not explained nor elaborated on.
the name of respondent. By such fraudulent manipulations and Not every allegation of fraud done in a corporate setting or perpetrated by
misrepresentation, the shareholdings of said respondent Oscar C. corporate officers will bring the case within the special commercial court’s
Reyes abruptly increased to P8,715,637.00 [sic] and becomes [sic] jurisdiction. To fall within this jurisdiction, there must be sufficient nexus
the majority stockholder of Zenith Insurance Corporation, which showing that the corporation’s nature, structure, or powers were used to
portion of said shares must be distributed equally amongst the facilitate the fraudulent device or scheme. Contrary to this concept, the
brothers and sisters of the respondent Oscar C. Reyes including the complaint presented a reverse situation. No corporate power or office was
complainant herein. alleged to have facilitated the transfer of the shares; rather, Oscar, as an
xxxx individual and without reference to his corporate personality, was alleged to
9.1 The shareholdings of deceased Spouses Pedro Reyes have transferred the shares of Anastacia to his name, allowing him to
and Anastacia C. Reyes valued at P7,099,934.28 were illegally become the majority and controlling stockholder of Zenith, and eventually,
and fraudulently transferred solely to the respondent’s [herein the corporation’s President. This is the essence of the complaint read as a
petitioner Oscar] name and installed himself as a majority whole and is particularly demonstrated under the following allegations:
stockholder of ZenithInsurance Corporation [and] thereby deprived 5. The complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes discovered that by some
his brothers and sisters of their respective equal shares thereof manipulative scheme, the shareholdings of their deceased mother,
including complainant hereto. Doña Anastacia C. Reyes, shares of stocks and [sic] valued in the
xxxx corporate books at P7,699,934.28, more or less, excluding interest
10.1 By refusal of the respondent to account of his [sic] and/or dividends, had been transferred solely in the name of
shareholdings in the company, he illegally and fraudulently respondent. By such fraudulent manipulations and
transferred solely in his name wherein [sic] the shares of stock misrepresentation, the shareholdings of said respondent Oscar
of the deceased Anastacia C. Reyes [which] must be properly C. Reyes abruptly increased to P8,715,637.00 [sic] and becomes
collated and/or distributed equally amongst the children, [sic] the majority stockholder of Zenith Insurance Corporation,
including the complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes herein, to their which portion of said shares must be distributed equally amongst the
damage and prejudice. brothers and sisters of the respondent Oscar C. Reyes including the
xxxx complainant herein.
11.1 By continuous refusal of the respondent to account of his [sic] xxxx
shareholding with Zenith Insurance Corporation[,] particularly the 9.1 The shareholdings of deceased Spouses Pedro Reyes
number of shares of stocks illegally and fraudulently transferred to and Anastacia C. Reyes valued at P7,099,934.28 were illegally
him from their deceased parents Sps. Pedro and Anastacia Reyes[,] and fraudulently transferred solely to the respondent’s [herein
which are all subject for collation and/or partition in equal shares petitioner Oscar] name and installed himself as a majority
among their children. [Emphasis supplied.] stockholder of ZenithInsurance Corporation [and] thereby deprived
his brothers and sisters of their respective equal shares thereof or minimizing the value of the nature of the transactions which gives rise to
including complainant hereto. [Emphasis supplied.] the dispute.
In ordinary cases, the failure to specifically allege the fraudulent acts does Under the nature of the controversy test, the incidents of that relationship
not constitute a ground for dismissal since such defect can be cured by a bill must also be considered for the purpose of ascertaining whether the
of particulars. In cases governed by the Interim Rules of Procedure on Intra- controversy itself is intra-corporate.22 The controversy must not only be
Corporate Controversies, however, a bill of particulars is a prohibited rooted in the existence of an intra-corporate relationship, but must as well
pleading.17 It is essential, therefore, for the complaint to show on its face pertain to the enforcement of the parties’ correlative rights and obligations
what are claimed to be the fraudulent corporate acts if the complainant under the Corporation Code and the internal and intra-corporate regulatory
wishes to invoke the court’s special commercial jurisdiction. rules of the corporation. If the relationship and its incidents are merely
We note that twice in the course of this case, Rodrigo had been given the incidental to the controversy or if there will still be conflict even if the
opportunity to study the propriety of amending or withdrawing the complaint, relationship does not exist, then no intra-corporate controversy exists.
but he consistently refused. The court’s function in resolving issues of The Court then combined the two tests and declared that jurisdiction should
jurisdiction is limited to the review of the allegations of the complaint and, on be determined by considering not only the status or relationship of the
the basis of these allegations, to the determination of whether they are of parties, but also the nature of the question under controversy.23 This two-tier
such nature and subject that they fall within the terms of the law defining the test was adopted in the recent case of Speed Distribution, Inc. v. Court of
court’s jurisdiction. Regretfully, we cannot read into the complaint any Appeals:24
specifically alleged corporate fraud that will call for the exercise of the court’s To determine whether a case involves an intra-corporate
special commercial jurisdiction. Thus, we cannot affirm the RTC’s controversy, and is to be heard and decided by the branches of the
assumption of jurisdiction over Rodrigo’s complaint on the basis of Section RTC specifically designated by the Court to try and decide such
5(a) of P.D. No. 902-A.18 cases, two elements must concur: (a) the status or relationship of the
Intra-Corporate Controversy parties; and (2) the nature of the question that is the subject of their
A review of relevant jurisprudence shows a development in the Court’s controversy.
approach in classifying what constitutes an intra-corporate controversy. The first element requires that the controversy must arise out of
Initially, the main consideration in determining whether a dispute constitutes intra-corporate or partnership relations between any or all of the
an intra-corporate controversy was limited to a consideration of the intra- parties and the corporation, partnership, or association of which they
corporate relationship existing between or among the parties.19 The types of are stockholders, members or associates; between any or all of them
relationships embraced under Section 5(b), as declared in the case of Union and the corporation, partnership, or association of which they are
Glass & Container Corp. v. SEC,20 were as follows: stockholders, members, or associates, respectively; and between
a) between the corporation, partnership, or association and the such corporation, partnership, or association and the State insofar as
public; it concerns their individual franchises. The second element requires
b) between the corporation, partnership, or association and its that the dispute among the parties be intrinsically connected with the
stockholders, partners, members, or officers; regulation of the corporation. If the nature of the controversy involves
c) between the corporation, partnership, or association and the State matters that are purely civil in character, necessarily, the case does
as far as its franchise, permit or license to operate is concerned; and not involve an intra-corporate controversy.
d) among the stockholders, partners, or associates themselves. Given these standards, we now tackle the question posed for our
[Emphasis supplied.] determination under the specific circumstances of this case:
The existence of any of the above intra-corporate relations was sufficient to Application of the Relationship Test
confer jurisdiction to the SEC, regardless of the subject matter of the dispute. Is there an intra-corporate relationship between the parties that would
This came to be known as the relationship test. characterize the case as an intra-corporate dispute?
However, in the 1984 case of DMRC Enterprises v. Esta del Sol Mountain We point out at the outset that while Rodrigo holds shares of stock in Zenith,
Reserve, Inc.,21 the Court introduced the nature of the controversy test. he holds them in two capacities: in his own right with respect to the 4,250
We declared in this case that it is not the mere existence of an intra- shares registered in his name, and as one of the heirs of Anastacia Reyes
corporate relationship that gives rise to an intra-corporate controversy; to rely with respect to the 136,598 shares registered in her name. What is material
on the relationship test alone will divest the regular courts of their jurisdiction in resolving the issues of this case under the allegations of the complaint is
for the sole reason that the dispute involves a corporation, its directors, Rodrigo’s interest as an heir since the subject matter of the present
officers, or stockholders. We saw that there is no legal sense in disregarding controversy centers on the shares of stocks belonging to Anastacia, not on
Rodrigo’s personally-owned shares nor on his personality as shareholder stockholders. In the present case, each of Anastacia’s heirs holds only an
owning these shares. In this light, all reference to shares of stocks in this undivided interest in the shares. This interest, at this point, is still inchoate
case shall pertain to the shareholdings of the deceased Anastacia and the and subject to the outcome of a settlement proceeding; the right of the heirs
parties’ interest therein as her heirs. to specific, distributive shares of inheritance will not be determined until all
Article 777 of the Civil Code declares that the successional rights are the debts of the estate of the decedent are paid. In short, the heirs are only
transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. Accordingly, upon entitled to what remains after payment of the decedent’s debts; 29 whether
Anastacia’s death, her children acquired legal title to her estate (which title there will be residue remains to be seen. Justice Jurado aptly puts it as
includes her shareholdings in Zenith), and they are, prior to the estate’s follows:
partition, deemed co-owners thereof.25 This status as co-owners, however, No succession shall be declared unless and until a liquidation of the
does not immediately and necessarily make them stockholders of the assets and debts left by the decedent shall have been made and all
corporation. Unless and until there is compliance with Section 63 of the his creditors are fully paid. Until a final liquidation is made and all the
Corporation Code on the manner of transferring shares, the heirs do not debts are paid, the right of the heirs to inherit remains inchoate. This
become registered stockholders of the corporation. Section 63 provides: is so because under our rules of procedure, liquidation is
Section 63. Certificate of stock and transfer of shares. – The capital necessary in order to determine whether or not the decedent
stock of stock corporations shall be divided into shares for which has left any liquid assets which may be transmitted to his
certificates signed by the president or vice-president, countersigned heirs.30 [Emphasis supplied.]
by the secretary or assistant secretary, and sealed with the seal of Rodrigo must, therefore, hurdle two obstacles before he can be considered a
the corporation shall be issued in accordance with the by-laws. stockholder of Zenith with respect to the shareholdings originally belonging to
Shares of stock so issued are personal property and may be Anastacia. First, he must prove that there are shareholdings that will be left
transferred by delivery of the certificate or certificates indorsed by the to him and his co-heirs, and this can be determined only in a settlement of
owner or his attorney-in-fact or other person legally authorized to the decedent’s estate. No such proceeding has been commenced to
make the transfer. No transfer, however, shall be valid, except as date. Second, he must register the transfer of the shares allotted to him to
between the parties, until the transfer is recorded in the books make it binding against the corporation. He cannot demand that this be done
of the corporation so as to show the names of the parties to the unless and until he has established his specific allotment (and prima
transaction, the date of the transfer, the number of the facieownership) of the shares. Without the settlement of Anastacia’s estate,
certificate or certificates, and the number of shares there can be no definite partition and distribution of the estate to the heirs.
transferred. [Emphasis supplied.] Without the partition and distribution, there can be no registration of the
No shares of stock against which the corporation holds any unpaid transfer. And without the registration, we cannot consider the transferee-heir
claim shall be transferable in the books of the corporation. a stockholder who may invoke the existence of an intra-corporate
Simply stated, the transfer of title by means of succession, though effective relationship as premise for an intra-corporate controversy within the
and valid between the parties involved (i.e., between the decedent’s estate jurisdiction of a special commercial court.
and her heirs), does not bind the corporation and third parties. The transfer In sum, we find that – insofar as the subject shares of stock (i.e., Anastacia’s
must be registered in the books of the corporation to make the transferee- shares) are concerned – Rodrigo cannot be considered a stockholder of
heir a stockholder entitled to recognition as such both by the corporation and Zenith. Consequently, we cannot declare that an intra-corporate relationship
by third parties.26 exists that would serve as basis to bring this case within the special
We note, in relation with the above statement, that in Abejo v. Dela commercial court’s jurisdiction under Section 5(b) of PD 902-A, as amended.
Cruz27 and TCL Sales Corporation v. Court of Appeals 28 we did not require Rodrigo’s complaint, therefore, fails the relationship test.
the registration of the transfer before considering the transferee a Application of the Nature of Controversy Test
stockholder of the corporation (in effect upholding the existence of an intra- The body rather than the title of the complaint determines the nature of an
corporate relation between the parties and bringing the case within the action.31 Our examination of the complaint yields the conclusion that, more
jurisdiction of the SEC as an intra-corporate controversy). A marked than anything else, the complaint is about the protection and enforcement of
difference, however, exists between these cases and the present one. successional rights. The controversy it presents is purely civil rather than
In Abejo and TCL Sales, the transferees held definite and uncontested corporate, although it is denominated as a "complaint for accounting of all
titles to a specific number of shares of the corporation; after the corporate funds and assets."
transferee had established prima facie ownership over the shares of stocks Contrary to the findings of both the trial and appellate courts, we read only
in question, registration became a mere formality in confirming their status as one cause of action alleged in the complaint. The "derivative suit for
accounting of the funds and assets of the corporation which are in the Matters which involve settlement and distribution of the estate
control, custody, and/or possession of the respondent [herein petitioner of the decedent fall within the exclusive province of the probate
Oscar]" does not constitute a separate cause of action but is, as correctly court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction.
claimed by Oscar, only an incident to the "action for determination of the xxxx
shares of stock of deceased spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes allegedly It is clear that trial courts trying an ordinary action cannot resolve
taken by respondent, its accounting and the corresponding delivery of these to perform acts pertaining to a special proceeding because it is
shares to the parties’ brothers and sisters." There can be no mistake of the subject to specific prescribed rules. [Emphasis supplied.]
relationship between the "accounting" mentioned in the complaint and the That an accounting of the funds and assets of Zenith to determine the extent
objective of partition and distribution when Rodrigo claimed in paragraph and value of Anastacia’s shareholdings will be undertaken by a probate court
10.1 of the complaint that: and not by a special commercial court is completely consistent with the
10.1 By refusal of the respondent to account of [sic] his probate court’s limited jurisdiction. It has the power to enforce an accounting
shareholdings in the company, he illegally and fraudulently as a necessary means to its authority to determine the properties included in
transferred solely in his name wherein [sic] the shares of stock of the the inventory of the estate to be administered, divided up, and distributed.
deceased Anastacia C. Reyes [which] must be properly collated Beyond this, the determination of title or ownership over the subject shares
and/or distributed equally amongst the children including the (whether belonging to Anastacia or Oscar) may be conclusively settled by the
complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes herein to their damage and prejudice. probate court as a question of collation or advancement. We had occasion to
We particularly note that the complaint contained no sufficient allegation that recognize the court’s authority to act on questions of title or ownership in a
justified the need for an accounting other than to determine the extent of collation or advancement situation in Coca v. Pangilinan33 where we ruled:
Anastacia’s shareholdings for purposes of distribution. It should be clarified that whether a particular matter should be
Another significant indicator that points us to the real nature of the complaint resolved by the Court of First Instance in the exercise of its general
are Rodrigo’s repeated claims of illegal and fraudulent transfers of jurisdiction or of its limited probate jurisdiction is in reality not a
Anastacia’s shares by Oscar to the prejudice of the other heirs of the jurisdictional question. In essence, it is a procedural question
decedent; he cited these allegedly fraudulent acts as basis for his demand involving a mode of practice "which may be waived."
for the collation and distribution of Anastacia’s shares to the heirs. These As a general rule, the question as to title to property should not be
claims tell us unequivocally that the present controversy arose from the passed upon in the testate or intestate proceeding. That question
parties’ relationship as heirs of Anastacia and not as shareholders of Zenith. should be ventilated in a separate action. That general rule has
Rodrigo, in filing the complaint, is enforcing his rights as a co-heir and not as qualifications or exceptions justified by expediency and convenience.
a stockholder of Zenith. The injury he seeks to remedy is one suffered by an Thus, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate
heir (for the impairment of his successional rights) and not by the corporation or testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion from,
nor by Rodrigo as a shareholder on record. the inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to its final
More than the matters of injury and redress, what Rodrigo clearly aims to determination in a separate action.
accomplish through his allegations of illegal acquisition by Oscar is the Although generally, a probate court may not decide a question
distribution of Anastacia’s shareholdings without a prior settlement of her of title or ownership, yet if the interested parties are all heirs,
estate – an objective that, by law and established jurisprudence, cannot be or the question is one of collation or advancement, or the parties
done. The RTC of Makati, acting as a special commercial court, has no consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court and the
jurisdiction to settle, partition, and distribute the estate of a deceased. A rights of third parties are not impaired, the probate court is
relevant provision – Section 2 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court – that competent to decide the question of ownership. [Citations
contemplates properties of the decedent held by one of the heirs declares: omitted. Emphasis supplied.]
Questions as to advancement made or alleged to have been made In sum, we hold that the nature of the present controversy is not one which
by the deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by may be classified as an intra-corporate dispute and is beyond the jurisdiction
the court having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings; and the of the special commercial court to resolve. In short, Rodrigo’s complaint also
final order of the court thereon shall be binding on the person raising fails the nature of the controversy test.
the questions and on the heir. [Emphasis supplied.] DERIVATIVE SUIT
Worth noting are this Court’s statements in the case of Natcher v. Court of Rodrigo’s bare claim that the complaint is a derivative suit will not suffice to
Appeals:32 confer jurisdiction on the RTC (as a special commercial court) if he cannot
comply with the requisites for the existence of a derivative suit. These complaint before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 142, Makati, docketed as
requisites are: Civil Case No. 00-1553, is ordered DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.
a. the party bringing suit should be a shareholder during the time of SO ORDERED.
the act or transaction complained of, the number of shares not being
material;
b. the party has tried to exhaust intra-corporate remedies, i.e., has 24. G.R. No. 83484 February 12, 1990
made a demand on the board of directors for the appropriate relief, CELEDONIA SOLIVIO, petitioner,
but the latter has failed or refused to heed his plea; and vs.
c. the cause of action actually devolves on the corporation; the THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and CONCORDIA JAVELLANA
wrongdoing or harm having been or being caused to the corporation VILLANUEVA, respondents.
and not to the particular stockholder bringing the suit.34 Rex Suiza Castillon for petitioner.
Based on these standards, we hold that the allegations of the present Salas & Villareal for private respondent.
complaint do not amount to a derivative suit. MEDIALDEA, J.:
First, as already discussed above, Rodrigo is not a shareholder with respect This is a petition for review of the decision dated January 26, 1988 of the
to the shareholdings originally belonging to Anastacia; he only stands as a Court of Appeals in CA GR CV No. 09010 (Concordia Villanueva v.
transferee-heir whose rights to the share are inchoate and unrecorded. With Celedonia Solivio) affirming the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No.
respect to his own individually-held shareholdings, Rodrigo has not alleged 13207 for partition, reconveyance of ownership and possession and
any individual cause or basis as a shareholder on record to proceed against damages, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
Oscar. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered for the plaintiff
Second, in order that a stockholder may show a right to sue on behalf of the and against defendant:
corporation, he must allege with some particularity in his complaint that he a) Ordering that the estate of the late Esteban Javellana, Jr.
has exhausted his remedies within the corporation by making a sufficient be divided into two (2) shares: one-half for the plaintiff and
demand upon the directors or other officers for appropriate relief with the one-half for defendant. From both shares shall be equally
expressed intent to sue if relief is denied.35 Paragraph 8 of the complaint deducted the expenses for the burial, mausoleum and
hardly satisfies this requirement since what the rule contemplates is the related expenditures. Against the share of defendants shall
exhaustion of remedies within the corporate setting: be charged the expenses for scholarship, awards, donations
8. As members of the same family, complainant Rodrigo C. Reyes and the 'Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Memorial
has resorted [to] and exhausted all legal means of resolving the Foundation;'
dispute with the end view of amicably settling the case, but the b) Directing the defendant to submit an inventory of the
dispute between them ensued. entire estate property, including but not limited to, specific
Lastly, we find no injury, actual or threatened, alleged to have been done to items already mentioned in this decision and to render an
the corporation due to Oscar’s acts. If indeed he illegally and fraudulently accounting of the property of the estate, within thirty (30)
transferred Anastacia’s shares in his own name, then the damage is not to days from receipt of this judgment; one-half (1/2) of this
the corporation but to his co-heirs; the wrongful transfer did not affect the produce shall belong to plaintiff;
capital stock or the assets of Zenith. As already mentioned, neither has c) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P5,000.00 as expenses
Rodrigo alleged any particular cause or wrongdoing against the corporation of litigation; P10,000.00 for and as attorney's fees plus costs.
that he can champion in his capacity as a shareholder on record. 36 SO ORDERED. (pp. 42-43, Rollo)
In summary, whether as an individual or as a derivative suit, the RTC – This case involves the estate of the late novelist, Esteban Javellana, Jr.,
sitting as special commercial court – has no jurisdiction to hear Rodrigo’s author of the first post-war Filipino novel "Without Seeing the Dawn," who
complaint since what is involved is the determination and distribution of died a bachelor, without descendants, ascendants, brothers, sisters,
successional rights to the shareholdings of Anastacia Reyes. Rodrigo’s nephews or nieces. His only surviving relatives are: (1) his maternal aunt,
proper remedy, under the circumstances, is to institute a special proceeding petitioner Celedonia Solivio, the spinster half-sister of his mother, Salustia
for the settlement of the estate of the deceased Anastacia Reyes, a move Solivio; and (2) the private respondent, Concordia Javellana-Villanueva,
that is not foreclosed by the dismissal of his present complaint. sister of his deceased father, Esteban Javellana, Sr.
WHEREFORE, we hereby GRANT the petition and REVERSE the decision
of the Court of Appeals dated May 26, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No. 74970. The
He was a posthumous child. His father died barely ten (10) months after his rendition of inventory and accounting, the estate be adjudicated to her (p.
marriage in December, 1916 to Salustia Solivio and four months before 115, Rollo).
Esteban, Jr. was born. After due publication and hearing of her petition, as well as her amended
Salustia and her sister, Celedonia (daughter of Engracio Solivio and his petition, she was declared sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr.
second wife Josefa Fernandez), a teacher in the Iloilo Provincial High She explained that this was done for three reasons: (1) because the
School, brought up Esteban, Jr. properties of the estate had come from her sister, Salustia Solivio; (2) that
Salustia brought to her marriage paraphernal properties (various parcels of she is the decedent's nearest relative on his mother's side; and (3) with her
land in Calinog, Iloilo covered by 24 titles) which she had inherited from her as sole heir, the disposition of the properties of the estate to fund the
mother, Gregoria Celo, Engracio Solivio's first wife (p. 325, Record), but no foundation would be facilitated.
conjugal property was acquired during her short-lived marriage to Esteban, On April 3, 1978, the court (Branch II, CFI, now Branch 23, RTC) declared
Sr. her the sole heir of Esteban, Jr. Thereafter, she sold properties of the estate
On October 11, 1959, Salustia died, leaving all her properties to her only to pay the taxes and other obligations of the deceased and proceeded to set
child, Esteban, Jr., including a house and lot in La Paz, Iloilo City, where she, up the "SALUSTIA SOLIVIO VDA. DE JAVELLANA FOUNDATION" which
her son, and her sister lived. In due time, the titles of all these properties she caused to be registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission on
were transferred in the name of Esteban, Jr. July 17,1981 under Reg. No. 0100027 (p. 98, Rollo).
During his lifetime, Esteban, Jr. had, more than once, expressed to his aunt Four months later, or on August 7, 1978, Concordia Javellana Villanueva
Celedonia and some close friends his plan to place his estate in a foundation filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order declaring Celedonia as
to honor his mother and to help poor but deserving students obtain a college "sole heir" of Esteban, Jr., because she too was an heir of the deceased. On
education. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack on February 26,1977 October 27, 1978, her motion was denied by the court for tardiness (pp. 80-
without having set up the foundation. 81, Record). Instead of appealing the denial, Concordia filed on January 7,
Two weeks after his funeral, Concordia and Celedonia talked about what to 1980 (or one year and two months later), Civil Case No. 13207 in the
do with Esteban's properties. Celedonia told Concordia about Esteban's Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Branch 26, entitled "Concordia Javellana-
desire to place his estate in a foundation to be named after his mother, from Villanueva v. Celedonia Solivio" for partition, recovery of possession,
whom his properties came, for the purpose of helping indigent students in ownership and damages.
their schooling. Concordia agreed to carry out the plan of the deceased. This On September 3, 1984, the said trial court rendered judgment in Civil Case
fact was admitted by her in her "Motion to Reopen and/or Reconsider the No. 13207, in favor of Concordia Javellana-Villanueva.
Order dated April 3, 1978" which she filed on July 27, 1978 in Special On Concordia's motion, the trial court ordered the execution of its judgment
Proceeding No. 2540, where she stated: pending appeal and required Celedonia to submit an inventory and
4. That petitioner knew all along the narrated facts in the accounting of the estate. In her motions for reconsideration of those orders,
immediately preceding paragraph [that herein movant is also Celedonia averred that the properties of the deceased had already been
the relative of the deceased within the third degree, she transferred to, and were in the possession of, the 'Salustia Solivio Vda. de
being the younger sister of the late Esteban Javellana, father Javellana Foundation." The trial court denied her motions for reconsideration.
of the decedent herein], because prior to the filing of the In the meantime, Celedonia perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA
petition they (petitioner Celedonia Solivio and movant GR CV No. 09010). On January 26, 1988, the Court of Appeals, Eleventh
Concordia Javellana) have agreed to make the estate of the Division, rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial court in
decedent a foundation, besides they have closely known toto.Hence, this petition for review wherein she raised the following legal
each other due to their filiation to the decedent and they issues:
have been visiting each other's house which are not far away 1. whether Branch 26 of the RTC of Iloilo had jurisdiction to
for (sic) each other. (p. 234, Record; Emphasis supplied.) entertain Civil Case No. 13207 for partition and recovery of
Pursuant to their agreement that Celedonia would take care of the Concordia Villanueva's share of the estate of Esteban
proceedings leading to the formation of the foundation, Celedonia in good Javellana, Jr. even while the probate proceedings (Spl. Proc.
faith and upon the advice of her counsel, filed on March 8, 1977 Spl. No. 2540) were still pending in Branch 23 of the same court;
Proceeding No. 2540 for her appointment as special administratrix of the 2. whether Concordia Villanueva was prevented from
estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. (Exh. 2). Later, she filed an amended petition intervening in Spl. Proc. No. 2540 through extrinsic fraud;
(Exh. 5) praying that letters of administration be issued to her; that she be 3. whether the decedent's properties were subject to reserva
declared sole heir of the deceased; and that after payment of all claims and troncal in favor of Celedonia, his relative within the third
degree on his mother's side from whom he had inherited 2. Miss Celedonia Solivio, Administratrix of this estate, is
them; and hereby declared as the sole and legal heir of the late
4. whether Concordia may recover her share of the estate Esteban S. Javellana, who died intestate on February 26,
after she had agreed to place the same in the Salustia 1977 at La Paz, Iloilo City.
Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation, and notwithstanding The Administratrix is hereby instructed to hurry up with the
the fact that conformably with said agreement, the settlement of this estate so that it can be terminated. (pp, 14-
Foundation has been formed and properties of the estate 16, Record)
have already been transferred to it. In view of the pendency of the probate proceedings in Branch 11 of the Court
I. The question of jurisdiction— of First Instance (now RTC, Branch 23), Concordia's motion to set aside the
After a careful review of the records, we find merit in the petitioner's order declaring Celedonia as sole heir of Esteban, and to have herself
contention that the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, lacked jurisdiction to (Concordia) declared as co-heir and recover her share of the properties of
entertain Concordia Villanueva's action for partition and recovery of her the deceased, was properly filed by her in Spl. Proc. No. 2540. Her remedy
share of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. while the probate proceedings when the court denied her motion, was to elevate the denial to the Court of
(Spl, Proc. No. 2540) for the settlement of said estate are still pending in Appeals for review on certiorari. However, instead of availing of that remedy,
Branch 23 of the same court, there being as yet no orders for the submission she filed more than one year later, a separate action for the same purpose in
and approval of the administratix's inventory and accounting, distributing the Branch 26 of the court. We hold that the separate action was improperly filed
residue of the estate to the heir, and terminating the proceedings (p. 31, for it is the probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just and
Record). legal distribution of the estate.
It is the order of distribution directing the delivery of the residue of the estate In the interest of orderly procedure and to avoid confusing and conflicting
to the persons entitled thereto that brings to a close the intestate dispositions of a decedent's estate, a court should not interfere with probate
proceedings, puts an end to the administration and thus far relieves the proceedings pending in a co-equal court. Thus, did we rule in Guilas v. Judge
administrator from his duties (Santiesteban v. Santiesteban, 68 Phil. 367, of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, L-26695, January 31, 1972, 43
Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. Escolin, et al., L-27860, March SCRA 111, 117, where a daughter filed a separate action to annul a project
29, 1974, 56 SCRA 266). of partition executed between her and her father in the proceedings for the
The assailed order of Judge Adil in Spl. Proc. No. 2540 declaring Celedonia settlement of the estate of her mother:
as the sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. did not toll the end of The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under
the proceedings. As a matter of fact, the last paragraph of the order directed administration only after the payment of all the debts and the
the administratrix to "hurry up the settlement of the estate." The pertinent remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the
portions of the order are quoted below: same. The finality of the approval of the project of The
2. As regards the second incident [Motion for Declaration of probate court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction to make
Miss Celedonia Solivio as Sole Heir, dated March 7, 1978], it distribution, has power to determine the proportion or parts
appears from the record that despite the notices posted and to which each distributed is entitled. ... The power to
the publication of these proceedings as required by law, no determine the legality or illegality of the testamentary
other heirs came out to interpose any opposition to the provision is inherent in the jurisdiction of the court making a
instant proceeding. It further appears that herein just and legal distribution of the inheritance. ... To hold that a
Administratrix is the only claimant-heir to the estate of the separate and independent action is necessary to that effect,
late Esteban Javellana who died on February 26, 1977. would be contrary to the general tendency of the
During the hearing of the motion for declaration as heir on jurisprudence of avoiding multiplicity of suits; and is further,
March 17, 1978, it was established that the late Esteban expensive, dilatory, and impractical. (Marcelino v. Antonio,
Javellana died single, without any known issue, and without 70 Phil. 388)
any surviving parents. His nearest relative is the herein A judicial declaration that a certain person is the only heir of
Administratrix, an elder [sic] sister of his late mother who the decedent is exclusively within the range of the
reared him and with whom he had always been living with administratrix proceedings and can not properly be made an
[sic] during his lifetime. independent action. (Litam v. Espiritu, 100 Phil. 364)
xxxxxxxxx A separate action for the declaration of heirs is not proper.
(Pimentel v. Palanca, 5 Phil. 436)
partition by itself alone does not terminate the probate the ground of extrinsic fraud, and declaring Concordia Villanueva to be a co-
proceeding (Timbol v. Cano, 1 SCRA 1271, 1276, L-15445, heir of Celedonia to the estate of Esteban, Jr., ordering the partition of the
April 29, 1961; Siguiong v. Tecson, 89 Phil. pp. 28, 30). As estate, and requiring the administratrix, Celedonia, to submit an inventory
long as the order of the distribution of the estate has not and accounting of the estate, were improper and officious, to say the least,
been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot be for these matters he within the exclusive competence of the probate court.
deemed closed and terminated Siguiong v. Tecson, supra); II. The question of extrinsic fraud—
because a judicial partition is not final and conclusive and Was Concordia prevented from intervening in the intestate proceedings
does not prevent the heirs from bringing an action to obtain by extrinsic fraud employed by Celedonia? It is noteworthy that extrinsic
his share, provided the prescriptive period therefore has not fraud was not alleged in Concordia's original complaint in Civil Case No.
elapsed (Mari v. Bonilia, 83 Phil. 137). The better practice, 13207. It was only in her amended complaint of March 6, 1980, that extrinsic
however, for the heir who has not received his share, is to fraud was alleged for the first time.
demand his share through a proper motion in the same Extrinsic fraud, as a ground for annulment of judgment, is
probate or administration proceedings, or for reopening of any act or conduct of the prevailing party which prevented a
the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already fair submission of the controversy (Francisco v. David, 38
been closed, and not through an independent action, which O.G. 714). A fraud 'which prevents a party from having a trial
would be tried by another court or Judge which may thus or presenting all of his case to the court, or one which
reverse a decision or order of the probate or intestate court operates upon matters pertaining, not to the judgment itself,
already final and executed and re-shuffle properties long ago but to the manner by which such judgment was procured so
distributed and disposed of. (Ramos v. Ortuzar, 89 Phil. 730, much so that there was no fair submission of the
741-742; Timbol v. Cano, supra; Jingco v. Daluz, L-5107, controversy. For instance, if through fraudulent machination
April 24, 1953, 92 Phil. 1082; Roman Catholic v. Agustines, by one [his adversary], a litigant was induced to withdraw his
L-14710, March 29, 1960, 107 Phil. 455, 460-461; Emphasis defense or was prevented from presenting an available
supplied) defense or cause of action in the case wherein the judgment
In Litam et al., v. Rivera, 100 Phil. 364, where despite the pendency of the was obtained, such that the aggrieved party was deprived of
special proceedings for the settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased his day in court through no fault of his own, the equitable
Rafael Litam the plaintiffs-appellants filed a civil action in which they claimed relief against such judgment may be availed of. (Yatco v.
that they were the children by a previous marriage of the deceased to a Sumagui, 44623-R, July 31, 1971). (cited in Philippine Law
Chinese woman, hence, entitled to inherit his one-half share of the conjugal Dictionary, 1972 Ed. by Moreno; Varela v. Villanueva, et al.,
properties acquired during his marriage to Marcosa Rivera, the trial court in 96 Phil. 248)
the civil case declared that the plaintiffs-appellants were not children of the A judgment may be annulled on the ground of extrinsic or
deceased, that the properties in question were paraphernal properties of his collateral fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud, which
wife, Marcosa Rivera, and that the latter was his only heir. On appeal to this connotes any fraudulent scheme executed by a prevailing
Court, we ruled that "such declarations (that Marcosa Rivera was the only litigant 'outside the trial of a case against the defeated party,
heir of the decedent) is improper, in Civil Case No. 2071, it being within the or his agents, attorneys or witnesses, whereby said defeated
exclusive competence of the court in Special Proceedings No. 1537, in which party is prevented from presenting fully and fairly his side of
it is not as yet, in issue, and, will not be, ordinarily, in issue until the the case. ... The overriding consideration is that the
presentation of the project of partition. (p. 378). fraudulent scheme of the prevailing litigant prevented a party
However, in the Guilas case, supra, since the estate proceedings had been from having his day in court or from presenting his case. The
closed and terminated for over three years, the action for annulment of the fraud, therefore, is one that affects and goes into the
project of partition was allowed to continue. Considering that in the instant jurisdiction of the court. (Libudan v. Gil, L-21163, May 17,
case, the estate proceedings are still pending, but nonetheless, Concordia 1972, 45 SCRA 17, 27-29; Sterling Investment Corp. v. Ruiz,
had lost her right to have herself declared as co-heir in said proceedings, We L-30694, October 31, 1969, 30 SCRA 318, 323)
have opted likewise to proceed to discuss the merits of her claim in the The charge of extrinsic fraud is, however, unwarranted for the following
interest of justice. reasons:
The orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, in Civil Case No. 13207 1. Concordia was not unaware of the special proceeding
setting aside the probate proceedings in Branch 23 (formerly Branch 11) on intended to be filed by Celedonia. She admitted in her
complaint that she and Celedonia had agreed that the latter errors or irregularities are available on collateral attack.
would "initiate the necessary proceeding" and pay the taxes (Bedwell v. Dean 132 So. 20)
and obligations of the estate. Thus paragraph 6 of her Celedonia's allegation in her petition that she was the sole heir of Esteban
complaint alleged: within the third degree on his mother's side was not false. Moreover, it was
6. ... for the purpose of facilitating the settlement of the made in good faith and in the honest belief that because the properties of
estate of the late Esteban Javellana, Jr. at the lowest Esteban had come from his mother, not his father, she, as Esteban's nearest
possible cost and the least effort, the plaintiff and the surviving relative on his mother's side, is the rightful heir to them. It would
defendant agreed that the defendant shall initiate the have been self-defeating and inconsistent with her claim of sole heirship if
necessary proceeding, cause the payment of taxes and she stated in her petition that Concordia was her co-heir. Her omission to so
other obligations, and to do everything else required by law, state did not constitute extrinsic fraud.
and thereafter, secure the partition of the estate between her Failure to disclose to the adversary, or to the court, matters
and the plaintiff, [although Celedonia denied that they which would defeat one's own claim or defense is not such
agreed to partition the estate, for their agreement was to extrinsic fraud as will justify or require vacation of the
place the estate in a foundation.] (p. 2, Record; emphasis judgment. (49 C.J.S. 489, citing Young v. Young, 2 SE 2d
supplied) 622; First National Bank & Trust Co. of King City v. Bowman,
Evidently, Concordia was not prevented from intervening in the proceedings. 15 SW 2d 842; Price v. Smith, 109 SW 2d 1144, 1149)
She stayed away by choice. Besides, she knew that the estate came It should be remembered that a petition for administration of a decedent's
exclusively from Esteban's mother, Salustia Solivio, and she had agreed with estate may be filed by any "interested person" (Sec. 2, Rule 79, Rules of
Celedonia to place it in a foundation as the deceased had planned to do. Court). The filing of Celedonia's petition did not preclude Concordia from
2. The probate proceedings are proceedings in rem. Notice filing her own.
of the time and place of hearing of the petition is required to III. On the question of reserva troncal—
be published (Sec. 3, Rule 76 in relation to Sec. 3, Rule 79, We find no merit in the petitioner's argument that the estate of the deceased
Rules of Court). Notice of the hearing of Celedonia's original was subject to reserva troncal and that it pertains to her as his only relative
petition was published in the "Visayan Tribune" on April 25, within the third degree on his mother's side. The reserva troncal provision of
May 2 and 9, 1977 (Exh 4, p. 197, Record). Similarly, notice the Civil Code is found in Article 891 which reads as follows:
of the hearing of her amended petition of May 26, 1977 for ART. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant
the settlement of the estate was, by order of the court, any property which the latter may have acquired by
published in "Bagong Kasanag" (New Light) issues of May gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister,
27, June 3 and 10, 1977 (pp. 182-305, Record). The is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired
publication of the notice of the proceedings was constructive by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within
notice to the whole world. Concordia was not deprived of her the third degree and who belong to the line from which said
right to intervene in the proceedings for she had actual, as property came.
well as constructive notice of the same. As pointed out by The persons involved in reserva troncal are:
the probate court in its order of October 27, 1978: 1. The person obliged to reserve is the
... . The move of Concordia Javellana, however, was filed reservor (reservista)—the ascendant who inherits by
about five months after Celedonia Solivio was declared as operation of law property from his descendants.
the sole heir. ... . 2. The persons for whom the property is reserved are the
Considering that this proceeding is one in rem and had been reservees (reservatarios)—relatives within the third degree
duly published as required by law, despite which the present counted from the descendant (propositus), and belonging to
movant only came to court now, then she is guilty of laches the line from which the property came.
for sleeping on her alleged right. (p. 22, Record) 3. The propositus—the descendant who received by
The court noted that Concordia's motion did not comply with the requisites of gratuitous title and died without issue, making his other
a petition for relief from judgment nor a motion for new trial. ascendant inherit by operation of law. (p. 692, Civil Law by
The rule is stated in 49 Corpus Juris Secundum 8030 as follows: Padilla, Vol. II, 1956 Ed.)
Where petition was sufficient to invoke statutory jurisdiction Clearly, the property of the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., is not
of probate court and proceeding was in rem no subsequent reservable property, for Esteban, Jr. was not an ascendant, but the
descendant of his mother, Salustia Solivio, from whom he inherited the Esteban, Jr., during his lifetime, planned to set up to honor his mother and to
properties in question. Therefore, he did not hold his inheritance subject to a finance the education of indigent but deserving students as well.
reservation in favor of his aunt, Celedonia Solivio, who is his relative within Her admission may not be taken lightly as the lower court did. Being a
the third degree on his mother's side. The reserva troncal applies to judicial admission, it is conclusive and no evidence need be presented to
properties inherited by an ascendant from a descendant who inherited it from prove the agreement (Cunanan v. Amparo, 80 Phil. 227; Granada v.
another ascendant or 9 brother or sister. It does not apply to property Philippine National Bank, L-20745, Sept. 2, 1966, 18 SCRA 1; Sta. Ana v.
inherited by a descendant from his ascendant, the reverse of the situation Maliwat, L-23023, Aug. 31, 1968, 24 SCRA 1018; People v. Encipido,
covered by Article 891. G.R.70091, Dec. 29, 1986, 146 SCRA 478; and Rodillas v. Sandiganbayan,
Since the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., died without descendants, G.R. 58652, May 20, 1988, 161 SCRA 347).
ascendants, illegitimate children, surviving spouse, brothers, sisters, The admission was never withdrawn or impugned by Concordia who,
nephews or nieces, what should apply in the distribution of his estate are significantly, did not even testify in the case, although she could have done
Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code which provide: so by deposition if she were supposedly indisposed to attend the trial. Only
ART. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, her husband, Narciso, and son-in-law, Juanito Domin, actively participated in
illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral the trial. Her husband confirmed the agreement between his wife and
relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased Celedonia, but he endeavored to dilute it by alleging that his wife did not
in accordance with the following articles. intend to give all, but only one-half, of her share to the foundation (p. 323,
ART. 1009. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters, nor Record).
children of brothers or sisters, the other collateral relatives The records show that the "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation"
shall succeed to the estate. was established and duly registered in the Securities and Exchange
The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or Commission under Reg. No. 0100027 for the following principal purposes:
preference among them by reason of relationship by the 1. To provide for the establishment and/or setting up of
whole blood. scholarships for such deserving students as the Board of
Therefore, the Court of Appeals correctly held that: Trustees of the Foundation may decide of at least one
Both plaintiff-appellee and defendant-appellant being scholar each to study at West Visayas State College, and
relatives of the decedent within the third degree in the the University of the Philippines in the Visayas both located
collateral line, each, therefore, shall succeed to the subject in Iloilo City.
estate 'without distinction of line or preference among them 2. To provide a scholarship for at least one scholar for St.
by reason of relationship by the whole blood,' and is entitled Clements Redemptorist Community for a deserving student
one-half (1/2) share and share alike of the estate. (p. 57, who has the religious vocation to become a priest.
Rollo) 3. To foster, develop, and encourage activities that will
IV. The question of Concordia's one-half share— promote the advancement and enrichment of the various
However, inasmuch as Concordia had agreed to deliver the estate of the fields of educational endeavors, especially in literary arts.
deceased to the foundation in honor of his mother, Salustia Solivio Vda. de Scholarships provided for by this foundation may be named
Javellana (from whom the estate came), an agreement which she ratified and after its benevolent benefactors as a token of gratitude for
confirmed in her "Motion to Reopen and/or Reconsider Order dated April 3, their contributions.
1978" which she filed in Spl. Proceeding No. 2540: 4. To direct or undertake surveys and studies in the
4. That ... prior to the filing of the petition they (petitioner community to determine community needs and be able to
Celedonia Solivio and movant Concordia Javellana) have alleviate partially or totally said needs.
agreed to make the estate of the decedent a 5. To maintain and provide the necessary activities for the
foundation, besides they have closely known each other due proper care of the Solivio-Javellana mausoleum at Christ the
to their filiation to the decedent and they have been visiting King Memorial Park, Jaro, Iloilo City, and the Javellana
each other's house which are not far away for (sic) each Memorial at the West Visayas State College, as a token of
other. (p. 234, Record; Emphasis supplied) appreciation for the contribution of the estate of the late
she is bound by that agreement. It is true that by that agreement, she did not Esteban S. Javellana which has made this foundation
waive her inheritance in favor of Celedonia, but she did agree to place all of possible. Also, in perpetuation of his Roman Catholic beliefs
Esteban's estate in the "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javellana Foundation" which and those of his mother, Gregorian masses or their
equivalents will be offered every February and October, and contributed to religious civic and cultural fund-raising drives,
Requiem masses every February 25th and October llth, their amongst other's. (p. 10, Rollo)
death anniversaries, as part of this provision. Having agreed to contribute her share of the decedent's estate to the
6. To receive gifts, legacies, donations, contributions, Foundation, Concordia is obligated to honor her commitment as Celedonia
endowments and financial aids or loans from whatever has honored hers.
source, to invest and reinvest the funds, collect the income WHEREFORE, the petition for review is granted. The decision of the trial
thereof and pay or apply only the income or such part court and the Court of Appeals are hereby SET ASIDE. Concordia J.
thereof as shall be determined by the Trustees for such Villanueva is declared an heir of the late Esteban Javellana, Jr. entitled to
endeavors as may be necessary to carry out the objectives one-half of his estate. However, comformably with the agreement between
of the Foundation. her and her co-heir, Celedonia Solivio, the entire estate of the deceased
7. To acquire, purchase, own, hold, operate, develop, lease, should be conveyed to the "Salustia Solivio Vda. de Javallana Foundation,"
mortgage, pledge, exchange, sell, transfer, or otherwise, of which both the petitioner and the private respondent shall be trustees, and
invest, trade, or deal, in any manner permitted by law, in real each shall be entitled to nominate an equal number of trustees to constitute
and personal property of every kind and description or any the Board of Trustees of the Foundation which shall administer the same for
interest herein. the purposes set forth in its charter. The petitioner, as administratrix of the
8. To do and perform all acts and things necessary, suitable estate, shall submit to the probate court an inventory and accounting of the
or proper for the accomplishments of any of the purposes estate of the deceased preparatory to terminating the proceedings therein.
herein enumerated or which shall at any time appear SO ORDERED.
conducive to the protection or benefit of the corporation,
including the exercise of the powers, authorities and 25. G.R. No. 94005. April 6, 1993.
attributes concerned upon the corporation organized under LUISA LYON NUÑAL, herein represented by ALBERT NUÑAL, and ANITA
the laws of the Philippines in general, and upon domestic NUÑAL HORMIGOS, petitioners,
corporation of like nature in particular. (pp. 9-10, Rollo) vs.
As alleged without contradiction in the petition' for review: THE COURT OF APPEALS and EMMA LYON DE LEON in her behalf and
The Foundation began to function in June, 1982, and three as guardian ad litem of the minors HELEN SABARRE and KENNY
(3) of its eight Esteban Javellana scholars graduated in SABARRE, EDUARDO GUZMAN, MERCEDEZ LYON TAUPAN,
1986, one (1) from UPV graduated Cum Laude and two (2) WILFREDO GUZMAN, MALLY LYON ENCARNACION and DORA LYON
from WVSU graduated with honors; one was a Cum Laude DELAS PEÑAS, respondents.
and the other was a recipient of Lagos Lopez award for SYLLABUS
teaching for being the most outstanding student teacher. 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; JUDGMENT; ONCE IT
The Foundation has four (4) high school scholars in Guiso BECOMES FINAL, MAY NO LONGER BE MODIFIED IN ANY RESPECT;
Barangay High School, the site of which was donated by the EXCEPTIONS. — In the case of Manning International Corporation v. NLRC,
Foundation. The School has been selected as the Pilot (195 SCRA 155, 161 [1991]) We held that ". . ., nothing is more settled in the
Barangay High School for Region VI. law than that when a final judgment becomes executory, it thereby becomes
The Foundation has a special scholar, Fr. Elbert Vasquez, immutable and unalterable. The judgment may no longer be modified in any
who would be ordained this year. He studied at St. Francis respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be
Xavier Major Regional Seminary at Davao City. The an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the
Foundation likewise is a member of the Redemptorist modification is attempted to be made by the Court rendering it or by the
Association that gives yearly donations to help poor students highest Court of land. The only recognized exceptions are the correction of
who want to become Redemptorist priests or brothers. It clerical errors or the making of so-called nunc pro tunc entries which cause
gives yearly awards for Creative writing known as the no prejudice to any party, and, of course, where the judgment is void."
Esteban Javellana Award. Furthermore, "(a)ny amendment or alteration which substantially affects a
Further, the Foundation had constructed the Esteban S. final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction, including
Javellana Multi-purpose Center at the West Visayas State the entire proceedings held for that purpose."
University for teachers' and students' use, and has likewise 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REMEDY OF AGGRIEVED PARTY. — In the case at bar,
the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 872 has become final and
executory. Thus, upon its finality, the trial judge lost his jurisdiction over the On July 30, 1982, the order of partition was affirmed in toto by the Court of
case. Consequently, any modification that he would make, as in this case, Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 57265-R. The case was remanded to the court of
the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin would be in excess of his authority. The origin for the ordered partition. 2
remedy of Mary Lyon Martin is to file an independent suit against the parties On May 17, 1984, an order for the issuance of the writ of execution was
in Civil Case No. 872 and all other heirs for her share in the subject property, issued by the court a quo. 3
in order that all the parties in interest can prove their respective claims. On July 17, 1984, Mary Lyon Martin, daughter of the late Frank C. Lyon and
DECISION Mary Ekstrom Lyon, assisted by her counsel filed a motion to quash the
CAMPOS, JR., J p: order of execution with preliminary injunction. In her motion, she contends
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision ** dated February 22, that not being a party to the above-entitled case her rights, interests,
1990 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 14889 entitled "Emma Lyon ownership and participation over the land should not be affected by a
de Leon, et al., plaintiffs-appellees versus Luisa Lyon Nuñal, now deceased judgment in the said case; that the order of execution is unenforceable
herein represented by Albert Nuñal, et al., defendants appellants," dismissing insofar as her share, right, ownership and participation is concerned, said
petitioners' appeal and affirming the trial court's order *** dated January 9, share not having been brought within the Jurisdiction of the court a quo. She
1987 for the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin as one of the heirs who shall further invokes Section 12, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. 4
benefit from the partition. On June 26, 1985, the trial court issued an order revoking the appointment of
The facts as culled from the records of the case are as follows. the three commissioners and in lieu thereof, ordered the issuance of a writ of
This case originated from a suit docketed as Civil Case No. 872 filed by execution. 5
Emma Lyon de Leon in her behalf and as guardian ad litem of the minors On February 4, 1986, the said court issued an order appointing a Board of
Helen Sabarre and Kenny Sabarre, Eduardo Guzman, Mercedes Lyon Commissioners to effect the partition of the contested property. 6
Taupan, Wilfredo Guzman, Mally Lyon Encarnacion and Dona Lyon de las On May 28, 1986, the trial court dismissed the motion to quash order of
Peñas, (herein private respondents) against Luisa Lyon Nuñal, now execution with preliminary injunction filed by Mary Lyon Martin and directed
deceased and herein represented by her heirs, Albert Nuñal and Anita Nuñal the partition of the property among the original party plaintiffs and
Hormigos (herein petitioners), for partition and accounting of a parcel of land defendants. 7
located in Isabela, Basilan City. Subject parcel of land was formerly owned On September 24, 1986, the Commissioners manifested to the trial court that
by Frank C. Lyon and May Ekstrom Lyon, deceased parents of Helen, Dona, in view of the fact that the name of Mary Lyon Martin also appears in the
Luisa, Mary, Frank and William James. Private respondents claimed that said Transfer Certificate of Title, she could therefore be construed as one of the
parcel of land, formerly covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3141 in heirs. A ruling from the trial court was then sought. 8
the name of Frank C. Lyon, has been in possession of petitioner Luisa Lyon On September 29, 1986, the lower court issued an order directing the
Nuñal since 1946 and that she made no accounting of the income derived counsel of Emma Lyon de Leon to furnish the court within five days from
therefrom, despite demands made by private respondents for the partition receipt thereof all the names the of heirs entitled to share in the partition of
and delivery of their shares. the subject property. 9
On December 17, 1974, after trial and hearing, the then Court of First On October 1, 1986, the petitioners filed a manifestation praying that the
Instance (now Regional Trial court) rendered its judgment in favor of private court issue an order directing the partition of the property in consonance the
respondents and ordered the partition of the property but dismissing private decision dated December 17, 1974 of the trial court the order of said court
respondents' complaint for accounting. The dispositive portion of the dated May 28, 1986. 10
judgment reads as follows: Without ruling on the manifestation, the lower court issued an order directing
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the partition of the the Board of Commissioners to immediately partition the said property. 11
land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3141 among the plaintiffs On January 3, 1987, the private respondents filed motion for clarification as
and defendant. The parties shall make partition among themselves by proper to whether the partition of property is to be confined merely among the party
instruments of conveyance, subject to the Court's confirmation, should the plaintiffs and defendants, to the exclusion of Mary Lyon Martin. 12
parties be unable to agree on the partition, the court shall appoint On January 9, 1987, the lower court issued the assailed order directing the
commissioners to make the partition, commanding them to set off to such inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin as co-owner with a share in the partition of the
party in interest such part and proportion of the property as the Court shall property, to wit:
direct. Defendant is further ordered to pay plaintiffs attorney's fees in the sum "After a perusal of the decision of the Court of Appeals CA-G.R. No. 57265-
of P2,000.00." 1 R, where this case was appealed by the unsatisfied parties, there is a finding
that Mary now Mary Lyon Martin is one of the legitimate children of Frank C. property and that the decision rendered in said case has long become final
Lyon and Mary Ekstrom. (Page 3 of the decision). and executory.
In view of this finding, it would be unfair and unjust if she would be left out in Petitioners contend that the trial court's decision dated December 14, 1974 in
the partition of this property now undertaking (sic) by the said court appointed Civil Case No. 872 ordering the partition of the parcel of land covered by
commissioners. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3141 among plaintiffs and defendants has
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court appointed commissioners is long become final and executory. Hence the trial court has no jurisdiction to
hereby directed to include Mary Lyon Martin as co-owner in the said property issue the questioned Order dated January 9, 1987 ordering the Board of
subject of partition with the corresponding shares adjudicated to her. Commissioners to include Mary Lyon Martin to share in the partition of said
SO ORDERED." 13 property despite the fact that she was not a party to the said case. Said
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration 14 of the aforesaid order was denied Order, therefore, resulted in an amendment or modification of its decision
by the trial court. 15 rendered in Civil Case No. 872.
On February 22, 1990 the Court of Appeals rendered its decision dismissing We find merit in the instant petition.
petitioners' appeal, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: In the ease of Manning International Corporation v. NLRC, 19 We held that ".
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, there being no legal impediment to . ., nothing is more settled in the law than that when a final judgment
the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin by the court-appointed Board of becomes executory, it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. The
Commissioners as one of the heirs who shall benefit from the partition, the judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification
instant appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit. is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or
NO COSTS. law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by
SO ORDERED." 16 the Court rendering it or by the highest Court of land. The only recognized
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied on June 6, 1990. 17 exceptions are the correction of clerical errors or the making of so-called
Petitioners filed this petition for review alleging that the Court of Appeals has nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party, and, of course,
decided questions of substance contrary to law and the applicable decisions where the judgment is void."
of this Court, for the following reasons: Furthermore, "(a)ny amendment. or alteration which substantially affects a
"1.) BY SUSTAINING THE ORDER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction, including
DIRECTING THE COURT APPOINTED BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO the entire proceedings held for that purpose." 20
INCLUDE MARY L. MARTIN TO SHARE IN THE PARTITION OF THE In the case at bar, the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 872 has
PROPERTY IN LITIGATION DESPITE THE FACT, OVER WHICH THERE become final and executory. Thus, upon its finality, the trial judge lost his
IS NO DISPUTE, THAT SHE HAS NOT LITIGATED EITHER AS A PARTY jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, any modification that he would
PLAINTIFF OR DEFENDANT IN CIVIL CASE NO. 872, IT HAS REFUSED make, as in this case, the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin would be in excess
TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS NO of his authority.
JURISDICTION TO AMEND OR MODIFY THE JUDGMENT IN CIVIL CASE The remedy of Mary Lyon Martin is to file an independent suit against the
NO. 872 AND THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT'S ORDER DATED 28 MAY parties in Civil Case No. 872 and all other heirs for her share in the subject
1986 WHICH HAS BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY. property, in order that all the parties in interest can prove their respective
2.) WHEN THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS CATEGORICALLY STATED claims.
THAT MARY L. MARTIN "NEVER LITIGATED AS ONE OF THE WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Order dated January 9, 1987
PLAINTIFFS IN SAID CASE," AND HER ONLY PARTICIPATION THEREIN of the trial Court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED
WAS SIMPLY CONFINED "AS A WITNESS FOR DEFENDANT-SISTER and SET ASIDE. The decision of the trial court dated December 17, 1974 in
LUISA LY ON NUÑAL," AND TO ALLOW HER TO SHARE IN THE Civil Case No. 872 is hereby REINSTATED.
PARTITION THIS LATE WITHOUT REQUIRING A PROCEEDING WHERE SO ORDERED.
THE PARTIES COULD PROVE THEIR RESPECTIVE CLAIMS, IS
TANTAMOUNT TO DENYING THE NUÑALS OF THEIR RIGHT TO DUE 25. G.R. No. 44347 September 27, 1938
PROCESS. 18 FELIX PAULINO, plaintiff-appellee,
The crux of this case is whether of not the trial court may order the inclusion vs.
of Mary L. Martin as co-heir entitled to participate in the partition of the ALEJANDRO SEVA, defendant-appellant.
property considering that she was neither a party plaintiff nor a party Callera, Sierra and Salazar for appellant.
defendant in Civil Case No. 872 for partition and accounting of the aforesaid Gregorio A. Sabater for appellee.
CONCEPCION, J.: the publication of the petition and set the same for hearing before itself on
This case was certified by the Court of Appeals to this Supreme Court for October 9, 1957.
proper action in accordance with the provisions of section 145-H of The evidence shows that the properties sought to be escheated originally to
Commonwealth Act No. 3, as it was discovered that it was originally Charles J. Fallon, an American citizen, married to Rosario Santaromana.
commenced in the justice of the peace court of Oas, Albay, and judgment Fallon died in Manila on March 25, 1935, so his wife acquired by inheritance
having been rendered therein, an appeal was taken to the Court of First one-half of the said properties as owner, and the other half as usufructuary.
Instance of said province. The judge of the Court of First Instance delegated The value of the properties of Charles J. Fallon in 1936 is estimated at
the case to the justice of the peace of the capital and the latter, by virtue of P46l,105.41 (Exhibit "H"). His wife Rosario Santaromana died in 1943, and
said delegation, tried the same and decided it. From his judgment, an appeal thereupon the properties which she held in usufruct were transmitted to the
was taken to the Court of Appeals. brother and sister of her deceased husband, namely, Thomas Fallon and
It was sought to collect from the defendant-appellant the sum of P210, plus Anne Fallon Murphy. The value of the estate belonging to both Thomas
42 cavans of palay, or in lieu thereof, the sum of P84. By reason of the Fallon and Anne Fallon Murphy were residents of the United States and as
amount of the demand, the action was properly instituted in the justice of the nothing was known about them from their relatives in the United States, the
peace court of Oas, Albay, so that the case was brought to the Court of First petitioning municipalities believed that they had died without heirs. Hence the
Instance of Albay on appeal. Such being the case, the judge of the Court of petition for escheat.
First Instance could not delegate the trial thereof to the justice of the peace of At the hearing of the petition, evidence was submitted that Anne Fallon
the capital, because, according to the provisions of Act No. 4090, he is Murphy died on March 12, 1936 in San Francisco, California (ROA p. 21),
empowered to make such delegation only in cases originally cognizable by while Thomas Fallon, died on May 26, 1936, also in San Francisco,
him (Dumlao vs. Asuncion, G. R. No. 37027 [58 Phil., 904]). Wherefore, California (ROA p. 25). Julia Fallon, on the other hand, died in San
inasmuch as the delegation made by the judge of the Court of First Instance Francisco, California on December 2, 1944 (ROA p. 26).
in favor of the justice of the peace of the capital of the Province of Albay is Opposition to the petition for escheat was filed by Ignatius Bezore. Elwood
null and void, and as all the proceedings conducted by said justice of the Knickerbocker and Mary Irene Fallon McCormick Henry Bezore claims that
peace, including the judgment rendered by him, are null and void, this case is he is the a nephew of the decedents because his mother was their sister.
ordered remanded to the Court of First Instance of Albay so that it may Elwood Knickerbocker also claims to be the sole legatee of his wife Loreta
conduct the trial and render its decision by virtue of its appellate jurisdiction, Knickerbocker, who in turn, was the residuary legatee of Anne Fallon
without costs. So ordered. Murphy. Mary Irene Murphy McCormick likewise claims that she is the niece
of the decedents as her father was a brother of said decedents. Conformably
26. G.R. No. L-14157 October 26, 1960 to their petitions, all the oppositors pray that the petition for escheat be
In the matter of escheat proceedings of the estate of the deceased dismissed and that the properties of the decedents be disturbed among
Anne Fallon Murphy and Tomas Fallon married to Julia Fallon. them.
MUNICIPALITIES OF MAGALLON, ISABELA and LA CASTELLANA, The court, after hearing, found that Anne Fallon Murphy died in San
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, petitioners-appellees, Francisco on March 12, 1936 and Thomas Fallon, also in the same city on
vs. May 26, 1936; that Thomas Fallon was survived by his wife Julia Fallon, who
IGNATIUS HENRY BEZORE, ET AL., oppositors-heirs appellants. in turn, died in San Francisco on December 22, 1944; that Ane Fallon
Martiniano O. dela Cruz for appellant. Murphy executed a will on February 7, 1935, which was admitted to probate
Assistant General Antonio A. Torres and Solicitor Conrado T. Limcaoco for on May 7, 1937. Considering these facts the court denied the petition for
appellees. escheat of the properties of the deceased Anne Fallon Murphy and Thomas
LABRADOR, J.: Fallon, for the reason that Thomas Fallon died with an heir his wife Julia
These are escheat proceedings instituted by the Municipalities of Magallon, Fallon, and Anne Fallon Murphy, for her part, died leaving a will, in which she
La Castellana and Isabela, Province of Negros Occidental, in the Court of disposed of all her properties.
First Instance of that province, praying that the estates of the deceased Anne As to prayers contained in the opposition asking that the oppositors be
Fallon Murphy and Thomas Fallon the latter married to Julia Fallon, declared heirs of the deceased Thomas Fallon and Anne Fallon Murphy, the
consisting of agricultural lands and residential lots, as well as accrued rentals court declared that the evidence submitted was not competent or sufficient to
deposited with the Warner, Barnes and Co., Ltd., be escheated in favor of sustain the claim of the oppositors and, therefore denied said prayers.
the above-named municipalities, respectively, wherever the real estates are The petitioning municipalities presented no appeal, but the oppositors did
situated. Finding that the petition was in order, the judge of the court ordered appeal, claiming that the lower court erred in not rendering judgment in their
favor and in not declaring them heirs of the decedents Anne Fallon Murphy and that the petition was irregularly docketed as the applicants had paid at
and Thomas Fallon. the docket fees which the clerk of court should collect. Subsequently the
This appeal can not be entertained. While it is possible for the estates of the attorneys for both parties filed another motions of minor importance, almost
deceased Anne Fallon Murphy and Thomas Fallon, who at the time of their all of which contains the arguments advanced in support of their contentions.
death were residents of San Francisco, California, to be settled here, or more On October 29, 1936, the court overruled the objection to the appearance
especially in Negros Occidental where they had properties, these and intervention in the case by the Colegio de San Jose and Carlos Young,
proceedings were instituted as escheat proceedings and not for the entering the order which is one of those appealed from. And on the 30th of
settlement of the estate of deceased persons. The court acquired jurisdiction the same moth the court entered the resolution, also appealed from,
to hear the petition for escheat by virtue of the publication of the petition for dismissing the petition for escheat, with the costs to the petitioners.
escheat. The jurisdiction acquired can not be converted into one for the The petitioners attribute to the court the following errors: "(1) In overruling the
distribution of the properties of the said decedents. For such proceedings (for objection of the appellant of September 2, 1936, and in not excluding the
the distribution of the estate of the decedents) to be instituted, the proper appellees Carlos Young and Colegio de San Jose, Inc., from these
parties must be presented and the proceedings should comply with the proceedings. (2) In sustaining definitely the appellees' petitions to dismiss,
requirements of the Rule. Hence, the court of First Instance did not have the without previous hearing and in derogation of the right to amend in any case.
power to order, or to proceed with, the distribution of the estates of the (3) In improperly and unseasonably taking judicial notice of certain facts in
decedents in these escheat proceedings, and adjudicate the properties to the other judicial records to reinforce the appealed resolutions, and in
oppositors. erroneously distorting those facts judicially taken notice of. (4) In holding that
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be, as it hereby is, the municipality of San Jose has neither right standing to file a petition for
affirmed, without costs. escheat; that the petition does not state facts sufficient a cause of action and
that the same does not lie, and that the Court of First Instance of Laguna is
27. G.R. No. L-45460 February 25, 1938 without jurisdiction to take cognizance of and decide said petition. (5) In
THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA, ET finally dismissing the petition upon the dilatory exceptions thereto, and the
AL., applicants-appellants, ordering the payment of costs when no hearing has yet taken place."
vs. 1. The sworn petition which gave rise to the proceeding is based upon the
COLEGIO DE SAN JOSE, INC., ET AL., oppositors-appellees. provisions of section 750 and 751 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the English
Juan S. Rustia for appellants. text of which reads:1ªvvphïl.nët
Araneta, Zaragoza and Araneta for appellee Colegio de San Jose, Inc. SEC. 750. Procedure when person dies intestate without heirs. —
Francisco Alfonso for appellee Young. When a person dies intestate, seized of real or personal property in
IMPERIAL, J.: the Philippines Islands, leaving no heir or person by law entitled to
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Laguna of the same, the president and municipal council of the municipality
October 29, 1936, which denied the applicants motion questioning the where the deceased last resided, if he was an inhabitant of these
appearance and intervention in the case of the oppositors Colegio de San Islands, or of the municipality in which he had estate, if he resided
Jose and Carlos Young, and from the resolution of the 30th of the same out of the Islands, may, on behalf of the municipality, the file a
month which denied the petition for escheat filed by the said petitioners, with petition with the Court of First Instance of the province for an
the costs against the latter. inquisition in the premises; the court shall there upon appoint a time
This case was commenced in the said by a petition filed by the petitioners in and place of hearing, and deciding on such petition, and cause a
behalf of the municipality of San Pedro, Province of Laguna, wherein they notice thereof to be published in some newspaper of general
claim the Hacienda de San Pedro Tunasa by the right of escheat. The circulation in the province of which the deceased was last an
Colegio de San Jose, Inc., appeared specially and assailed the petition upon inhabitant, if within the Philippines Island, and if not, some
the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to take cognizance and decide newspaper of general circulation in the province in which he had
the case and that the petition does not allege sufficient facts to entitle the estate. The notice shall recite the substance of the facts and request
applicants to the remedy prayed for; and asked that the petition be finally set forth in the petition, the time and place at which persons claiming
dismissed. Carlos Young intervened and filed a motion asking for the the estate may appear and be heard before the court, and shall be
dismissal or the petition upon the ground that the Code of Civil Procedure, published at least six weeks successively, the last of which
under which the same was filed, is not applicable because it was not yet in publication shall be at least six weeks before the time appointed by
force when the original owner of the hacienda died, which was in April, 1596, the court to make inquisition.
SEC. 751. Decree of the court in such case. — If, at the time escheat. In the present case the Colegio de San Jose, Inc., and Carlos
appointed for the that purpose, the court that the person died Young appeared alleging to have a material interest in the Hacienda de San
intestate, seized of real or personal property in the Islands, leaving Pedro Tunasa; and the former because it claims to be the exclusive owner of
no heirs or person entitled to the same and no sufficient cause is the hacienda, and the latter because he claim to be the lessee thereof under
shown to the contrary, the court shall order and decree that the a contract legality entered with the former. In view of these allegations it is
estate of the deceased in these Islands, after the payment of just erroneous to hold that the said parties are without right either to appear in
debts and charges, shall escheat; and shall assign the personal case or to substantiate their respective alleged right. This unfavorably
estate to the municipality where he was last an inhabitant in the resolves the petitioners' first assignment of error.
Islands, and the real estate to the municipality in which the same is 2. The final dismissal of the petition for escheat decreed by the court is
situated. If he never was a inhabitant of the Islands, the whole estate assigned by the petitioners as the second error committed by it upon the
may be assigned to the several municipalities where the same is contention that the demurrer, to which amount the motions for dismissal, is
located. Such estate shall be for the use of schools in the not a pleading authorized by law in this kind of proceeding and because, in
municipalities, respectively, and shall be managed and disposed or any event, the court should have given them an opportunity to amend the
by the municipal council like other property appropriated to the use of petition.
schools. Chapter XXXIX of the Code of Civil Procedure, relative to the escheat of
Accordingly to the first of the said sections, the essential facts which should properties, does not in fact authorize the filing of a demurrer to the petition
be alleged in the petition, which are jurisdiction because they confer presented for that purpose, and section 91 and 99 permitting the interposition
jurisdiction upon the Court of First Instance, are: That a person has died of demurrers to the complaint and answer, respectively, are not applicable to
intestate or without leaving any will; that he has left real or personal property; special proceedings. But is no reason of a procedure nature which prevents
that he was the owner thereof; that he has not left any heir or person who is the filing of a motion to dismiss based upon any of the grounds provided by
by law entitled to the property; and that the one who applies for the escheat law for a demurrer to a complaint. In such case, the motion to dismiss pays
is the municipality where deceased had his last residence, or in case should the role of a demurrer and the court should resolve the legal question raised
have no residence in the country, the municipality where the property is therein. When, for instance, a petition for escheat does not state facts which
situated. entitle the petitioner to the remedy prayed from and even admitting them
The following section provides that after the publications and trial, if the court hypothetically it is clear that there are nor grounds for the court to proceed to
finds that the deceased is in fact the owner of real and personal property the inquisition provided by law, we see no reason to disallow an interest party
situated in the country and has not left any heirs or other person entitled from filing a motion to dismiss the petition which is untenable from all
thereto, it may order, after the payments of debts and other legal expenses, standpoints. And when the motion to dismiss is entertained upon this ground,
the escheat, and in such case it shall adjudicate the personal property to the the petition may be dismissed unconditionally and the petitioner is not
municipality where the deceased had his last place of residence and the real entitled, as in the case of a demurrer, to be afforded an opportunity to amend
property to the municipality or municipalities where they are situated. his petition.
Escheat, under sections 750 and 751, is a proceeding whereby the real and 3. The petitioners assign as third error the judicial notice which the court took
personal property of a deceased person become the property of the State of the complaint filed in civil case No. 6790, docketed and pending in the
upon his death without leaving any will or legal heirs (21 C.J., sec. 1, p. 848; same court, wherein the petitioner recognized the personality Colegio de San
American L. & T. Co. vs. Grand River Co., 159 Fed., 775; In re Miner, 143 Jose, Inc., and Carlos Young and the latters' interest in said action of
Cal., 194; Johnston vs. Spicer 107 N.Y., 185; Wright vs. Methodist Episcopal interpleader and in the Hacienda de San Pedro Tunasan which is the same
Church, Hoffm. [N.Y.], 201; In re Linton's, 198 Pa., 438; State vs. Goldberg, subject matter of the instant proceedings.
113 Tenn., 298). It is not an ordinary action contemplated by section 1 of the In general, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice, in the
Code of Civil Procedure, but a special proceeding in accordance with the adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of the records of
said section and Chapter XXXIX, Part II, of the same Code. The proceeding, the other cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the
as provided by section 750, should be commenced by petition and not by same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been
complaint. heard or are actually pending before the same judge. (U.S. vs. Claveria, 29
In a special proceeding for escheat under section 750 and 751 the petitioner Phil., 527.) The rule is squarely applicable to the present case, wherefore, we
is not the sole and exclusive interested party. Any person alleging to have a hold that the assignment of error is tenable.
direct right or interest in the property sought to be escheated is likewise and 4. In the appealed resolution the court held that the municipality of San
interest and necessary party and may appear and oppose the petition for Pedro, represented by the petitioners, has no personality to institute the
petition for escheat that the latter does not state sufficient facts, and that the Civil Procedure. We, therefore, hold that the court did not commit the error
court is without jurisdiction either to take cognizance of the proceeding or to assigned in ruling that the petition does not allege sufficient facts justifying
grant the remedy sought. These legal conclusions are the subject matter of the escheat of the hacienda in favor of the municipality of San Pedro and in
the fourth assignment of error. finally dismissing the same. Having reached this conclusion we do not
According to the allegations of the petition, the petitioners base their right to believe it necessary to go into further considerations regarding the
the escheat upon the fact that the temporal properties of the Father of the personality of the municipality of San Pedro and the court's lack of
Society of Jesus, among them, the Hacienda de San Pedro Tunasan, were jurisdiction.
confiscated by order of the King of Spain and passed from then on the Crown 5. The last assignment of error does not require any further consideration.
of Spain. The following allegations of the petition are important and specific The questions raised therein have already been passed upon in the
and clearly the theory maintained by the petitioners: "11. As a result of the preceding considerations, with the exception of the order to pay costs. With
perpetual expulsion of the Jesuits in their dominions, the King also decreed respect thereto, there is no reason why they should not be taxed against the
the confiscation of all their properties, estate, rents, foundation, etc., in favor petitioners, they being defeated party (section 487, Code of Civil Procedure).
of the Crown of Spain, and the order of the King was thus complied with here That no trial was had is not a bar to the imposition of costs under the
in the Philippines. The Hacienda de San Pedro Tunasa from then on passed provisions of section 492.
to the Crown of Spain under the administration and management on its For the foregoing reasons, the appealed order and resolution are affirmed,
respective here, the Governor-General of the Philippines Islands. 12. As a with the costs of this instance against the petitioners and appellants. So
result of the war between Spain and the United States, the latter acquired by ordered.
way of transfer, all the properties of the Crown of Spain in the Philippines,
under articles III and VIII of the Treaty of Peace entered into in Paris on 28. G.R. No. 141273 May 17, 2005
December 10, 1989, and among which properties was included the Hacienda JOSE RIVERO, JESSIE RIVERO and AMALIA RIVERO, petitioners,
de San Pedro Tunasan. 13. That the said hacienda thereafter passed to the vs.
Government of the Philippines Islands by virtue of the Act of the United COURT OF APPEALS, MARY JANE DY CHIAO*-DE GUZMAN, and
States Congress of July 1, 1992 (Philippine Bill), by mere administration for BENITO DY CHIAO, JR., represented by his uncle HENRY S. DY
the benefit of the inhabitant of the Philippines; and there after, under the CHIAO, respondents.
Tydings-McDuffie law approved by the same Congress on March 24, 1934, DECISION
section 5, the United States, in turn, have ceded to the Commonwealth of the CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Philippines, upon its inauguration, all the properties, estate, etc., ceded by This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of
Spain to the United States as above stated, among them being the Hacienda Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 44261 annulling the decision of the
de San Pedro Tunasan. Said Commonwealth was inaugurated on November Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga City, Branch 19, in Civil Case No.
15, 1935." RTC'96-3612.
If the hacienda de San Pedro Tunasan,, which is the only property sought to The Antecedents
be escheated and adjudicated to the municipality of San Pedro, has already On August 27, 1996, Benedick Arevalo filed a Complaint2 against Mary Jane
passed to the ownership of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, it is Dy Chiao-De Guzman, Benito Dy Chiao, Jr., and Benson Dy Chiao, in the
evident that the petitioners cannot claim that the same be escheated to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Naga City, for compulsory recognition as the
said municipality, because it is no longer the case of real property owned by illegitimate child of their father, Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., and for the
a deceased person who has not left any heirs or person who may legality administration and partition of his estate as he had died intestate on July 27,
claim it, these being the conditions required by section 750 and without which 1995. Since Benedick was a minor, his natural mother and guardian ad
a petition for escheat should not lie from the moment the hacienda was litem, Shirley Arevalo, filed the complaint on his behalf. Concepcion, Benito
confiscated by the Kingdom of Spain, the same ceased to be the property of Sr.'s wife, was not impleaded as she had died on July 7, 1995. The case was
the children of Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa, the Colegio de San Jose or docketed as Civil Case No. RTC ′96-3612 and raffled to Branch 19 of the
the Jesuit Father, and became the property of the Commonwealth of the court.3
Philippines by virtue of the transfer under the Treaty of Paris, alleged in the Benedick, whose counsel was Atty. Amador L. Simando, made the following
petition. If the municipality of San Pedro believes that it has some other right allegations in his complaint:
to the hacienda, distinct from the escheat relied upon in its petition which During his lifetime, Benito Dy Chiao, Sr. was engaged in business, under the
gave rise to this proceeding, it should bring the proper action, but it cannot business name Benito Commercial in Naga City. He courted Shirley Arevalo
avail itself successfully of the remedy provided by section 750 of the Code of (Benedick's mother) in 1991, assuring her of his sincere love, likewise
promising that her college education would be financed and that she would assisted by counsel, Atty. Amador L. Simando; and Mary Jane Dy Chiao-De
be provided with a better life. Blinded by his promises and assurances of his Guzman, assisted by counsel, Atty. Adan Marcelo B. Botor, purportedly for
love for her, Shirley agreed to an amorous relationship with Benito, Sr. True and in behalf of her brothers.
to his word, Benito, Sr. then provided her with a residential house and lot Appended to the agreement was a photocopy of a Special Power of Attorney
located in Canaman, Camarines Sur, where they cohabited and resided; he (SPA)8 dated September 20, 1995, notarized and certified by Atty. Edmundo
also financed her college education in midwifery. On October 5, 1995, L. Simando, purportedly signed by the Dy Chiao brothers, who were then still
"Benedick Arevalo Dy Chiao, Jr.," the plaintiff, was born, the product of the confined in the hospital. Mary Jane was therein appointed to be their
amorous relationship, whom Benito, Sr. acknowledged as his son. He also attorney-in-fact, with the following powers:
continued to give Shirley and their son financial and moral support. 1. To represent us in negotiations and be our representative with
It was also alleged that the Dy Chiao siblings recognized Benedick as the power to sign Agreements or Contracts of Lease involving property
illegitimate son of their father. Moreover, when he died intestate, Benito, Sr. and/or assets belonging to the estate of our late father Benito Dy
left behind residential lands and commercial buildings Chiao, Sr. while said estate is not yet settled between (sic) all heirs;
worth P100,000,000.00, more or less; as such, there was a need for the as well as to collect rentals and other money due to the estate by
appointment of an administrator of the estate to preserve his (Benedick's) reason of said agreements or contracts;
rights over the same before its partition. It was prayed that upon the filing of 2. To file or cause to be filed the necessary proceedings for the
the complaint, Benedick's mother be appointed as his guardian ad litem, that settlement of the estate of our late father, and to ask for letters of
an administrator of the estate of the deceased be appointed, and that after administration in her favor as a next of kin or as someone selected
due proceedings, judgment be rendered in favor of Benedick, as follows: by us, next of kin, to be the administrator.
a. declaring the Plaintiff as the illegitimate son of the late Benito Dy On December 13, 1996, the trial court approved the agreement and rendered
Chiao. judgment on the basis thereof, quoted as follows:
b. ordering herein Defendants to recognize and acknowledge the Before this Court is a COMPROMISE AGREEMENT entered into by
Plaintiff as the illegitimate son of the late Benito Dy Chiao. and between the parties in this case which is herein below quoted,
c. ordering the Partition of the Estate of Benito Dy Chiao and thus:
distributing the same in favor of the Defendants and herein Plaintiff in "COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
a manner provided for by law. Plaintiff and defendant Maryjane Dy Chiao-De Guzman duly
d. granting the Plaintiff such other reliefs as may be just and assisted by their respective counsels hereby submit the
equitable under the law.4 following Compromise Agreement:
In an answer to the complaint, Mary Jane, through counsel, for herself, and 1. That the defendant Maryjane Dy Chiao-De Guzman
purportedly in behalf of her brothers, denied the allegations that Shirley and hereby recognizes the plaintiff as the illegitimate son of her
her father had an amorous relationship and that Benedick was the illegitimate deceased father Benito Dy Chiao, Sr.;
son of their father for want of knowledge or information; the allegation that 2. That in full satisfaction and settlement of plaintiff's claim
they had recognized Benedick as the illegitimate son of their father was, from the estate of the late Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., defendant
likewise, specifically denied. Finally, she alleged that the plaintiff's action was Maryjane Dy Chiao De Guzman for herself and in behalf of
for a claim against the estate of their father, which should be filed in an action her brothers, who are likewise defendants in this case,
for the settlement of the estate of their deceased parents.5 hereby agree and bind herself to pay the plaintiff the amount
On October 28, 1996, Benedick filed a Motion,6 praying that the court order a of P6,000,000.00 which shall be taken from the estate of the
mental examination of the Dy Chiao brothers, who were patients at the Don late Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., which amount shall be payable
Susano J. Rodriguez Mental Hospital, and for the appointment of their sister under the following terms and conditions:
as their guardian ad litem in the case. It was, likewise, prayed that the a. The amount of P1,500,000.00 shall be payable
director of the hospital be summoned to appear before the court to inform it upon signing of this Compromise Agreement;
of the mental condition of the Dy Chiao brothers. b. The balance of P4,500,000.00 shall be payable
On December 6, 1996, Benedick filed a Motion7 set for hearing on December within the period of one year from the date of signing
9, 1996, reiterating his plea for the appointment of Mary Jane as guardian ad of this Compromise Agreement and for which the
litem of her brothers. That same day, however, the plaintiff, through counsel, defendant Maryjane Dy Chiao-De Guzman shall
filed a "Compromise Agreement" dated November 24, 1996, with the issue twelve (12) checks corresponding to the said
following signatories to the agreement: Shirley Arevalo, for the plaintiff and balance in the amount of P375,000.00 per check;
3. That the parties hereby waive other claims and On April 18, 1997, Benedick terminated the services of Atty. Simando since
counterclaims against each other; he was Mary Jane's counsel in Special Proceedings No. 96-684.
4. That any violation of this Compromise Agreement shall On April 28, 1997, the sheriff issued a Notice of Sale on Execution of Real
render the same to be immediately executory. Property13 over five parcels of land titled under Benito Dy Chiao, Sr.,
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable including the improvements thereon.
Court that the foregoing Compromise Agreement be The Dy Chiao brothers, represented by their uncle, Henry S. Dy Chiao, then
approved and a decision be rendered in accordance filed with the CA a Petition for Annulment of Judgment with Urgent Prayer for
therewith. the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order dated May 27, 1997,
Naga City, Philippines, November 24, 1996. assailing the decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612, as well as
(SGD.) the writ of execution issued pursuant thereto. The petition alleged that the Dy
BENEDICK AREVALO Chiao brothers had no legal capacity to be sued because they were of
Plaintiff MARYJANE DY unsound GUZMAN
CHIAO-DE mind, which impelled their uncle Henry to file a petition for
Defendant guardianship over their person and property, now pending in the RTC of
Naga City, Branch 61, docketed as Special Proceedings No. RTC'97-695.
represented by: They did not authorize their sister Mary Jane to execute any compromise
(SGD.) agreement for and in their behalf; yet, in confabulation with Benedick's
SHIRLEY AREVALO counsel, she was able to secure a judgment based on a void compromise
Natural Guardian & Guardian agreement. It was further alleged that the Dy Chiao brothers were unaware
Ad Litem of the complaint against them and that they did not engage the services of
Assisted by: the law firm of Botor, Hidalgo & Fernando Associates to represent them as
(SGD.) (SGD.) counsel in said cases. As such, the said counsel had no authority to file the
AMADOR L. SIMANDO ADAN MARCELO answer to the BOTOR
complaint for and in their behalf. It was further pointed out that
Counsel for the Plaintiff Counsel for the Defendants" less than a month before the said compromise agreement was executed by
WHEREFORE, finding the foregoing Compromise Agreement to be their sister, she filed purportedly in their behalf, on November 22, 1996, a
the law between the parties, not being tainted with infirmities, petition for the settlement of the estate of their parents in the RTC of Naga
irregularities, fraud and illegalities, and the same not being contrary City, with the assistance of Atty. Simando (Benedick's counsel), as well as
to law, public order, public policy, morals and good customs, for the issuance of letters of administration in her favor, docketed as Special
JUDGMENT is hereby rendered APPROVING the same. Proceedings No. RTC'96-684.14 There was thus collusion between Mary
Parties are hereby enjoined to faithfully abide by the terms and Jane and Atty. Simando.
conditions of the foregoing Compromise Agreement. The Dy Chiao brothers, likewise, opposed the appointment of their sister as
No pronouncement as to costs. the administrator of their parents' estate.15 The verification and certification of
SO ORDERED.9 non-forum shopping in the petition was signed by their uncle Henry as their
It appears that a copy of the decision was sent by registered mail to the Dy representative.
Chiao brothers to the "Benito Commercial Building, Naga City." On May 29, 1997, the CA issued a status quo order. However, before the
On December 17, 1996, Mary Jane, through Atty. Simando, (the counsel for said order was served on Benedick, several lots covered by Transfer
Benedick in Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612), filed a petition with the RTC for Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 16931 in the name of Benito, Sr. had already
the settlement of the estate of her father and for her appointment as been sold at public auction: Lot No. 3, to Jose Rivero for P6,400,000.00; Lot
administrator thereto. The case was docketed as Special Proceedings No. No. 4 to Jessie Rivero for P7,600,000.00 and Lot No. 5, for P7,000,000.00, to
RTC′96-684 and raffled to Branch 20 of the court; it was later transferred to Amalia Rivero. Another property covered by TCT No. 5299 had also been
Branch 19. sold to Consuelo Dy for P310,000.00.16 The buyers at public auction had
On April 3, 1997, Benedick filed a Motion for Execution, 10 of the Decision already remitted the amounts of P15,319,364.00 and P162,836.00 to the
dated November 24, 1996, on the allegation that the defendants had failed to executing sheriffs,17 who later remitted P5,711,164.00 to Benedick through
comply with their obligations under the compromise agreement. The trial his mother, Shirley, in satisfaction of the decision,18 and the remainder given
11
court granted the motion in an Order dated April 7, 1997. Conformably, it to the Clerk of Court of the RTC.
12
issued a Writ of Execution for the enforcement of the said decision.
On June 3, 1997, Sheriffs Arthur S. Cledera and Arnel Jose A. Rubio a compromise agreement. She further alleged that the parties thereunder did
executed a Provisional Certificate of Sale19over the property to the buyers at not recognize the validity of the compromise agreement, as in fact she and
public auction. the petitioners were exploring the possibility of modifying their extrajudicial
The Dy Chiao brothers, through their uncle Henry, then filed a motion for the settlement.29
issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction with urgent prayer for Benedick, represented by his mother Shirley, presented before the appellate
the issuance of a temporary restraining order, informing the CA of the recent court an SPA dated October 31, 1996 executed by Benito, Jr., prepared by
developments in the case below. In a Resolution20 dated July 14, 1997, the Atty. Simando, authorizing Atty. Botor to enter into a compromise agreement
appellate court granted their plea for a writ of preliminary injunction upon the in the RTC.30
filing of a P500,000.00 bond, directing as follows: On March 31, 1999, the CA rendered judgment in favor of Benito, Jr.,
(a) the private respondents and/or the sheriffs of the respondent granting the petition and nullifying the assailed decision and writ of execution
court to deposit before the Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional issued by the RTC, including the sale at public auction of the property of the
Trial Court, Branch 19, Naga City, the proceeds of the public auction deceased. The appellate court ruled that the RTC had no jurisdiction over
sale held on June 3, 1997 and to submit to this Court within five (5) Benedick's action for recognition as the illegitimate son of Benito, Sr. and for
days from notice, proof of compliance therewith; the partition of his estate. It further held that the filiation of a person could not
(b) Sheriffs Arnel Jose Rubio and Arthur Cledera, through the be the subject of a compromise agreement; hence, the RTC acted without
respondent court, to refrain from issuing any certificate of sale over jurisdiction in rendering judgment based thereon. It concluded that the said
the properties sold at the public auction sale conducted on the compromise agreement was procured through extrinsic fraud.
aforementioned date; The CA ordered the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Naga City to deliver to the
(c) the respondent court to issue a notice of lis pendens on all the trial court within ten days from finality of said judgment, the amount
properties affected by [the] public auction sale conducted on June 3, of P15,482,200.00, together with all interests earned therefrom, and to
1997 and cause its registration with the Register of Deeds concerned thereafter distribute the aggregate amount to the buyers of the said
within five (5) days from notice. properties, in proportion to the amounts they had paid. It also ordered
The sheriff was, likewise, directed to refrain and/or cease and desist from Benedick, through his mother Shirley, to turn over to the trial court, within ten
issuing/effecting any further certificate of sale over the affected days from finality of judgment, the amount of P5,711,164.00 received from
properties.21 On August 15, 1997, the RTC issued an Order22 directing the Sheriffs Rubio and Cledera, together with all other amounts that she might
Register of Deeds of Naga City to comply with the CA resolution. have been paid pursuant to the compromise agreement. This was, however,
Meantime, Benson died intestate on June 25, 1997.23 His brother, Benito, Jr. without prejudice to the buyers' right of recourse against Mary Jane, who was
then filed a Notice of Death and Substitution, and thereafter, a Motion to declared subsidiarily liable therefor. The RTC was, likewise, directed to
Admit an Amended Petition to drop Benson as petitioner, and the inclusion of return to the buyers the aggregate amount in the same proportion as above
his sister Mary Jane, as party respondent, as well as those who participated stated; thereafter, the properties would be delivered to the intestate estate of
in the public auction, namely, Jose Rivero, Jessie Rivero, Amalia Rivero and Benito, Sr. for proper disposition by the intestate court.31
Consuelo Dy. The CA granted the motion in a Resolution24 dated January 14, Jose Rivero, Jessie Rivero and Amalia Rivero filed a motion for the
1998. reconsideration of the decision, on the following grounds:
Thereafter, Atty. Botor, Mary Jane's new counsel, filed an Entry of I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING
Appearance with Motion to Dismiss,25 alleging, inter alia, that an extrajudicial THAT THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT IS INVALID DUE TO
settlement between the heirs of the spouses Dy Chiao had already been EXTRINSIC FRAUD;
executed. Benito, Jr., represented by his uncle Henry, opposed the II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING
motion,26 alleging that a dismissal grounded on the extrajudicial settlement THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITHOUT
alone was improper, since what was being assailed was a decision of a court JURISDICTION IN RENDERING THE ASSAILED JUDGMENT IN
based on a compromise agreement involving one who is not a party thereto, THIS CASE;
with third-party bidders acting in bad faith. In a Resolution 27 dated February III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING
27, 1998, the CA directed Mary Jane to submit her reply to the opposition to THAT THE PUBLIC AUCTION SALE CONDUCTED ON JUNE 2,
the motion to dismiss filed by Henry on behalf of Benito, Jr. 1997 WAS VOID; AND
In her compliance and comment/manifestation,28 Mary Jane declared that IV. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING
there appeared to be a sound basis for the nullification of the assailed THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS JOSE, JESSIE AND AMALIA,
decision since the illegitimate filiation of Benedick could not be the subject of ALL SURNAMED RIVERO COULD NOT HAVE LEGALLY BECOME
THE OWNERS OF THE PROPERTIES SOLD AT THE PUBLIC In her comment on the petition, Mary Jane avers that the decision of the CA
AUCTION SALE.32 holding that the compromise agreement was vitiated by extrinsic fraud is
Upon the denial of their motion for reconsideration thereof, they filed the correct. She claims that she was made to sign the agreement, but was not
present petition for review on certiorari. informed of its intricacies. She insists that she does not have any liability to
The Present Petition Benedick in Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612, despite her being a signatory to the
The petitioners raise the following issues: (1) whether or not Henry Dy Chiao said agreement.
had the authority to file the amended petition for Benito Dy Chiao, Jr.; (2) For his part, respondent Benito, Jr., through his uncle Henry, avers that the
whether or not the RTC had jurisdiction over the action of Benedick Arevalo latter's authority to file the amended petition before the CA in their behalf was
for recognition as the illegitimate son of the deceased Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., never questioned by the petitioners. He asserts that the CA admitted the
as well as the action for partition and distribution of the latter's estate; and (3) amended petition containing the prayer that his uncle Henry be appointed as
whether the decision of the RTC based on the compromise agreement is null his guardian ad litem. Besides, the CA found that he and his brothers were
and void for extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.33 not of sound and disposing minds; hence, the need for a guardian ad litem in
On the first issue, the petitioners aver that the verification and certification of the person of his uncle. He further alleges that the compromise agreement
non-forum shopping contained in the petition with the CA was executed by was the product of connivance between his sister and Benedick, and their
Henry; hence, it was he and not Benson or Benito, Jr. who filed the petition. respective counsels. He further points out that Atty. Simando, Benedick's
Moreover, Henry had no proof of his authority to file the petition for and in counsel in the RTC, was likewise the counsel for Mary Jane when she filed
behalf of the brothers. The petitioners assert that there was no need for her petition for letters of administration in the RTC of Naga City on December
Henry to file the petition with the CA, since the Dy Chiao brothers had the 17, 1996. He further insists that the ruling of the CA on the issues of extrinsic
legal capacity to do so, as admitted by their counsel, and Henry himself. fraud and lack of jurisdiction of the RTC is in accord with law, and that the
Moreover, there was no law mandating Henry to represent his nephews in all decision based on the compromise agreement was null and void for lack of
actions which may redound to their benefit. jurisdiction.34
The petitioners point out that although Henry sought to remedy the situation The Ruling of the Court
by filing an amended petition praying that he be appointed as guardian ad The petition is denied for lack of merit.
litem for the Dy Chiao brothers, the CA did not take cognizance of the On the first issue, we reject the petitioners' contention that Henry was the
allegations in the petition. The CA was correct in so doing, since the matter petitioner who filed the amended petition before the CA. As gleaned from
of whether one is incompetent should be threshed out in the guardianship said petition, the petitioners were "Benito Dy Chiao, Jr. and Benson Dy
proceedings, Special Proceedings No. RTC'97-695, and not in the CA via a Chiao, represented by their uncle Henry S. Dy Chiao." Moreover, Henry had
petition to annul the judgment of the RTC, where Benito, Jr. is also a party the authority to file the amended petition and sign the requisite certification
respondent. on non-forum shopping when the CA admitted the amended petition and
On the other issues, the petitioners maintain that the CA erred in annulling appointed him as guardian ad litem of his nephews. This was in the January
the decision of the RTC based on the compromise agreement on the ground 14, 1998 Resolution of the CA, where the following findings were made:
of extrinsic fraud; the alleged fraud was committed by Mary Jane as an x x x We find the opposition to be devoid of merit, firstly because
incident to the trial. What the CA should have done was to dismiss the there is an obvious necessity to amend the petition; and secondly,
petition, without prejudice to the rights of the Dy Chiao brothers to file an because the representation of an incompetent need not be by a duly
action against their sister. The latter was herself a party to the compromise appointed judicial guardian. A guardian ad litem may be appointed
agreement and also a principal party to the case; hence, was bound by it. As by the court. In the instant case, the members of this Court who
a matter of fact, the petitioners aver, Mary Jane was appointed by her conducted the several hearings herein, are convinced from an
brothers as their attorney-in-fact to negotiate for and execute the observation of the petitioners that they are not of a sound or
compromise agreement in their behalf. disposing mind. x x x35
The petitioners further assert that the RTC had jurisdiction over the petition In resolving whether to appoint a guardian ad litem for the respondent, the
filed by Benedick in the RTC, and that the latter's recourse was based on appellate court needed only to determine whether the individual for whom a
paragraph 1, Article 172 of the Family Code, although his putative father, guardian was proposed was so incapable of handling personal and financial
Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., was already dead when the complaint was filed. affairs as to warrant the need for the appointment of a temporary guardian. It
The petitioners thus insist that the public auction sale conducted by the only needed to make a finding that, based on clear and convincing evidence,
sheriff on the subject properties was valid. the respondent is incompetent and that it is more likely than not that his
welfare requires the immediate appointment of a temporary guardian. 36 A
finding that the person for whom a guardian ad litem is proposed is incapable The CA nullified the decision of the RTC on the ground, inter alia, that the
of managing his own personal and financial affairs by reason of his mental filiation of Benedick could not be the subject of a compromise, and that Mary
illness is enough.37 Jane had no authority to execute the compromise agreement for and in
Guardians ad litem are considered officers of the court in a limited sense, behalf of her brothers.
and the office of such guardian is to represent the interest of the incompetent The petitioners, for their part, maintain that Mary Jane's recognition of
or the minor.38 Whether or not to appoint a guardian ad litem for the Benedick as the illegitimate son of her father was not a compromise, but an
petitioners is addressed to the sound discretion of the court where the affirmation of the allegations in the complaint that the Dy Chiao siblings had,
petition was filed, taking into account the best interest of the incompetent or in effect, recognized him as the illegitimate son of their deceased father. The
the minor.39 The court has discretion in appointing a guardian ad litem that petitioners posit that the admissions in the compromise agreement are
will best promote the interest of justice.40 The appointment of a guardian ad likewise binding on the Dy Chiao siblings.
litem is designed to assist the court in its determination of the incompetent's The contention of the petitioners is bereft of merit. The Court finds and so
best interest.41 holds that the decision of the RTC based on the compromise agreement
The records will show that no less than Benedick Arevalo sought the executed by Mary Jane is null and void.
appointment of Mary Jane Dy Chiao-De Guzman as guardian ad litem for Article 2035(1) of the New Civil Code provides that no compromise upon the
respondent Benito Dy Chiao, Jr. and his brother, Benson Dy Chiao, before civil status of persons shall be valid. As such, paternity and filiation, or the
the RTC in Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612. lack of the same, is a relationship that must be judicially established, and it is
It must be stressed that the appellate court was not proscribed from for the court to determine its existence or absence. It cannot be left to the will
appointing Henry as guardian ad litem for the respondents, merely because or agreement of the parties.43
of the pendency of his petition for appointment as guardian over their person A compromise is a contract whereby parties, making reciprocal concerns,
and property before Branch 61 of the RTC. Time was of the essence; the avoid litigation or put an end to one already commenced.44 Like any other
RTC had issued a writ of execution for the enforcement of its decision based contract, it must comply with the requisite provisions in Article 1318 of the
on the compromise agreement; the plaintiff therein, Benedick Arevalo, was New Civil Code, to wit: (a) consent of the contracting parties; (b) object
bent on enforcing the same, and had in fact caused the sale of five parcels of certain which is the subject matter of the contract; and (c) cause of the
land belonging to the estate of Benito, Sr. worth millions of pesos. Indeed, obligation which is established. Like any other contract, the terms and
the sheriff was able to sell at public auction prime real property of the estate conditions of a compromise agreement must not be contrary to law, morals,
of the deceased for P20,000,000.00 before the status quo order of the CA good customs, public policy and public order.45 Any compromise agreement
reached him. which is contrary to law or public policy is null and void, and vests no rights
It goes without saying that the finding of the CA on the mental capacity of the and holds no obligation to any party. It produces no legal effect at
respondents is without prejudice to the outcome of the petition in Special all.46 Considering all these, there can be no other conclusion than that the
Proceedings No. RTC'97-695. decision of the RTC on the basis of a compromise agreement where
The petitioners' claims that there was no factual basis for the appellate Benedick was recognized as the illegitimate child of Benito, Sr. is null and
court's finding that the respondents were incompetent cannot prevail. It must void.
be stressed that the CA conducted a hearing before arriving at the Article 1878 of the New Civil Code provides that an SPA is required for a
conclusion that respondent Benito, Jr. was incompetent. More importantly, compromise. Furthermore, the power of attorney should expressly mention
such claim involves a factual issue which cannot be raised before this Court the action for which it is drawn; as such, a compromise agreement executed
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. by one in behalf of another, who is not duly authorized to do so by the
On the issue of jurisdiction, case law has it that the jurisdiction of the tribunal principal, is void and has no legal effect, and the judgment based on such
over the nature and subject matter of an action is to be determined by the compromise agreement is null and void.47 The judgment may thus be
allegations of the complaint, the law in effect when the complaint was filed impugned and its execution may be enjoined in any proceeding by the party
and the character of the relief prayed for by the plaintiff. The caption of the against whom it is sought to be enforced.48 A compromise must be strictly
complaint is not determinative of the nature of the action. If a court is construed and can include only those expressly or impliedly included
authorized by statute to entertain jurisdiction in a particular case only and therein.49
undertakes to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case to which the statute As previously stated, the Court is convinced that the compromise agreement
has no application, the judgment rendered is void. The lack of statutory signed by Mary Jane and Benedick was a compromise relating to the latter's
authority to make a particular judgment is akin to lack of subject-matter filiation. Mary Jane recognized Benedick as the illegitimate son of her
jurisdiction.42 deceased father, the consideration for which was the amount
of P6,000,000.00 to be taken from the estate, the waiver of other claims from On his belief that the Dy Chiao brothers were incompetent, Benedick even
the estate of the deceased, and the waiver by the Dy Chiao siblings of their filed a motion for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for them, and for the
counterclaims against Benedick. This is readily apparent, considering that examination of Mary Jane for drug addiction, as follows:
the compromise agreement was executed despite the siblings' unequivocal WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court
allegations in their answer to the complaint filed only two months earlier, that that after hearing, an order be issued, as follows:
Benedick was merely an impostor: 1. Appointing a Special Administrator and/or Receiver over the
11. That paragraph 11 is DENIED for the truth of the matter is that Estate of Benito Dy Chiao [Sr.];
they have not recognized any person or impostor who pretends 2. Appointing Guardian Ad Litem over the person of Defendants
having a filial relation with their deceased father by reason of herein Benito, Jr. and Benson Dy-Chiao;
Defendant's father's incapacity to bear children or to engage in any 3. Ordering defendant Maryjane Dy Chiao to submit a medical
carnal act considering the age and physical state of their father at examination by a medical expert on drugs to be commissioned by
that time alluded to by the Plaintiff … .50 the Honorable Court to determine whether or not said defendant is a
To stress, the compromise agreement executed by Benedick and Mary Jane drug dependent.54
is null and void; as such, the decision of the RTC based thereon is also Indeed, Benedick filed a Motion on November 14, 1996, for the Dy Chiao
without force and effect. siblings to appear before the RTC at 8:30 a.m. of November 18, 1996. He,
It is, likewise, plain as day that only Mary Jane recognized Benedick as the likewise, prayed that the Director of the Don Susano J. Rodriguez Mental
illegitimate son of her deceased father – Hospital be directed to bring the clinical records of the brothers, which the
1. That the defendant Maryjane Dy Chiao-De Guzman hereby trial court granted per its Order dated November 12, 1996.55
recognizes the plaintiff as the illegitimate son of her deceased father Upon Mary Jane's failure to appear for the hearing, Benedick even sought to
Benito Dy Chiao, Sr.51 have her cited in contempt of court. Despite his charge that Mary Jane was a
Such recognition, however, is ineffectual, because under the law, the drug addict and a spendthrift, he, nevertheless, prayed in his Motion dated
recognition must be made personally by the putative parent and not by any December 5, 1996, that she be appointed the special administratrix of the
brother, sister or relative.52 estate of Benito, Sr. and the guardian ad litem of her brothers, thus:
It is conceded that Mary Jane, in her behalf, and purportedly in behalf of her WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing considerations, it is most
brothers, agreed and bound herself to pay Benedick the amount respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that Maryjane Dy Chiao-
of P6,000,000.00 to be taken from the estate of their deceased father. De Guzman be appointed as Special Administrator over the Estate of
However, a cursory reading of the SPA on record will show that the Dy Chiao the late Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., and as Guardian Ad Litem of
brothers did not authorize their sister to recognize Benedick as the defendants Benito, Jr., and Benson Dy Chiao.56
illegitimate son of their father. They could not have agreed to Barely two weeks earlier, or on November 24, 1996, Mary Jane Dy Chiao-De
pay P6,000,000.00 to be taken from the estate, because they had denied Guzman (whom Benedick branded as a spendthrift and a drug addict),
that Benedick was the illegitimate son of their father in their answer to the executed the compromise agreement, not only in her behalf, but also in
complaint. behalf of her brothers, who were confined in the hospital and whom Benedick
On the assumption that the Dy Chiao brothers had signed the SPA on considered as mentally incompetent, and needed a guardian ad litem. The
September 20, 1995, a cursory reading of the compromise agreement will trial court ignored all the foregoing proceedings and approved the
show that they did not specifically empower their sister to enter into a compromise agreement without bothering to resolve the issue of whether the
compromise agreement with Benedick in Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612. It Dy Chiao brothers were indeed incompetent, and whether there was a need
bears stressing that the SPA was executed as early as September 20, 1995, to appoint a guardian ad litem for them.
while the complaint was filed with the RTC almost a year thereafter, or on What is so worrisome is that the counsel of the Dy Chiao siblings, Atty. Botor,
August 27, 1996. did not even bother to file any pleading in his clients' behalf, relative to the
The trial court acted with precipitate and inordinate speed in approving the motions filed by Benedick. Despite the allegations that the Dy Chiao brothers
compromise agreement. The records show that at about the time when it was were in the mental hospital and needed a guardian ad litem, and that Mary
executed by Mary Jane, her brothers were patients at the Don Susano J. Jane was a spendthrift and a drug addict, Atty. Botor still proceeded to sign
Rodriguez Mental Hospital, and Benedick had accused her of being a the compromise agreement as their counsel. More ominously, the said
spendthrift by reason of her alleged addiction to drugs. 53 counsel knew that it was he who had been empowered by the Dy Chiao
brothers to compromise Civil Case No. RTC'96-3612 (based on the SPA
dated October 31, 1996); yet, he still allowed Mary Jane to execute the same
based on an SPA dated September 20, 1995 notarized by no less than the corporation to be organized in exchange for their respective shares in the
Benedick's counsel, Atty. Amador Simando. parcel of land and building erected thereon to be transferred to the
The Court is convinced that the compromise agreement was the handiwork corporation (Exhibit D-2). On 12 August 1930 the duly appointed guardian of
of Atty. Simando, because it was he who notarized the SPA dated the minor Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano, mother of the minor,
September 20, 1995 purportedly executed by the Dy Chiao brothers. He later filed a petition in the probate court (Special Proceeding No. 34154) praying
became the counsel of Benedick against the Dy Chiao siblings in Civil Case for the approval of the agreement referred to (Exhibit D-2) and seeking
No. RTC'96-3612. He signed the compromise agreement as Benedick's authority to accept shares of stock of the corporation in exchange for the
counsel, despite his incessant claim that the brothers were incompetent and share of the minor in the property (Exhibit D-1). On 28 August 1930 the
needed a guardian ad litem. Barely 11 days after the execution of the probate court approved the agreement in so far as the minor Carmen Pardo
compromise agreement, Atty. Simando filed a Petition for the Settlement of de Tavera y Lopez Manzano was concerned and authorized the guardian to
the Estate of Benito Dy Chiao, Sr., this time as counsel of Mary Jane. It accept the shares of stock of the corporation in exchange for the share of the
bears stressing that Mary Jane was the defendant in Civil Case No. RTC'96- minor in the property (Exhibit E-1). The Tavera-Luna, Inc., was actually
3612, and that as counsel of Benedick, the plaintiff in the said civil case, Atty. incorporated on 14 December 1930 and the guardian of the minor Carmen
Simando had accused her of being a drug addict and a spendthrift. By then Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano transferred her share in the property on
of course, his client (Benedick) had already received P6,000,000.00 from the 16 January 1931. After the transfer of the shares of the co-owners in the
estate of his alleged putative father. property, transfer certificate of title No. 36234 (Exhibit B) was cancelled and
Since the decision of the RTC is null and void, the writ of execution issued in lieu thereof transfer certificate of title No. 37347 in the name of Tavera-
pursuant thereto and the subsequent sale at public auction of the properties Luna, Inc. was issued on 23 January 1931 (Exhibit H). On 17 January 1931
belonging to the estate of Benito Dy Chiao, Sr. are null and void. upon application of the corporation, El Hogar Filipino, Inc., a loan and
Considering our foregoing disquisitions, the Court no longer finds the need to building association, granted it a loan of P1,000,000 for the purpose of
still resolve the other issues that were raised. erecting a concrete building in lieu of the wooden building standing thereon.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED for lack of This loan was secured by a first mortgage registered on the certificate. On 11
merit. Costs against the petitioners. February 1932 an additional loan of P300,000 was obtained by the
SO ORDERED. corporation from El Hogar Filipino, Inc. secured by a mortgage on the same
property. The period of the first mortgage of P1,000,000 was extended.
29. [G.R. No. L-5893. February 28, 1956.] Transfer certificate of title No. 37347 in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc.
CARMEN PARDO DE TAVERA y LOPEZ MANZANO, Plaintiff-Appellee, (Exhibit H) was cancelled and in lieu thereof transfer certificate of title No.
vs. EL HOGAR FILIPINO, INC., MAGDALENA ESTATE, INC. and 40177 was issued on 28 April 1932 in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc., but the
ERNEST BERG, Defendants; EL HOGAR FILIPINO, INC. and parcel of land was subdivided into several lots with their respective
MAGDALENA ESTATE, INC., Defendants-Appellants. description (Exhibit K). Again, transfer certificate of title No. 40177 (Exhibit K)
was partially cancelled as to one of the several lots and transfer certificate of
DECISION title No. 41127 was issued in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. on 25 August
PADILLA, J.: 1932 (Exhibit K-1). Thereafter, partial cancellations were made of transfer
A parcel of land containing an area of 2,784 square meters as described in certificate of title No. 40177 (Exhibit K) as to some of the small lots and
transfer certificate of title No. 36234 issued on 6 September 1930 by the transfer certificates of title Nos. 41128, 43104, 43105, 43107, 43108, 43109
office of the Register of Deeds in and for the City of Manila was registered in and 7276 were issued in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. The last certificates
the name of Andres Luna de Pardo de Tavera, single; chan of title cover small parts of the original parcel of land. The larger part of the
roblesvirtualawlibraryCarlos Pardo de Tavera, married to Belen parcel of land is described in transfer certificates of title Nos. 40177 (Exhibit
Ramirez; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryGonzales; chan K) and 41127 (Exhibit K-1). Not long after the construction of the building
roblesvirtualawlibraryMaria Audotte Pardo de Tavera y Ramirez, 3 years of known as “Crystal Arcade” was finished, El Hogar Filipino, Inc., the
age, single; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryRoberto Pardo de Tavera y Ramirez, mortgagee, took over the possession and management of the property to
9 years of age, single; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand Carmen Pardo de apply the rents, after deducting management expenses, to the payment of
Tavera y Lopez Manzano, 11 years of age, single (Exhibit B). On 6 August the mortgagee debt and on 28 September 1933 the mortgagee foreclosed
1930 the co-owners agreed to organize a corporation under the name of the mortgage extrajudicially and purchased the whole property at public
Tavera-Luna, Inc. for the purpose of building a modern structure on the auction sale for P1,363,555.37 (Exhibits L and L- 1). The mortgagor having
parcel of land and to that end they also agreed to accept shares of stock of failed to redeem the property, the mortgagee consolidated its title and the
certificate of title Nos. 40177 (Exhibit K) and 41127 (Exhibit K-1) in the name the time when the cause of action accrues, within three years next after the
of Tavera-Luna, Inc. were cancelled and in lieu thereof transfer certificates of removal of such disability.
title Nos. 59596 (Exhibit M), and 59570 (Exhibit M-1 were issued in the name The Plaintiff contends and the trial court sustained her claim that the order of
of the mortgagee, El Hogar Filipino, Inc. on 12 August 1940. On 26 August the probate court of 28 August 1930 (Exhibit E-1) is a nullity because the
1943, nearly nine months after the filing of the original complaint in this case, provisions of section 569, Act No. 190, the law then in force, were not
El Hogar Filipino, Inc. sold the whole property to Magdalena Estate, Inc. for complied with and for that reason the probate court was without jurisdiction to
P1,400,000 in Japanese war notes (Exhibit P). The certificates in the name order the transfer of her share in the property to the corporation to be
of El Hogar Filipino, Inc. Nos. 59569 and 59570 (Exhibits M and M-1) were organized and formed. She alleges and argues that as the petition which
cancelled and lieu thereof transfer certificates of title Nos. 67102 and 67103 brought about the entry of the order of the probate court of 28 August 1930
were issued in the name of Magdalena Estate, Inc. on 26 August 1943 was not verified; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryit did not set forth the condition of
(Exhibits Q and Q-1). On 22 September 1943 Magdalena Estate, Inc. sold the estate of the ward and the facts and circumstances upon which the
one-third undivided share in the property to Ernest Berg for P466,666.66 in petition was founded tending to show the necessity or expediency of the sale
Japanese war notes (Exhibit R). (transfer); chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe Court did not direct “the next of kin
On 17 November 1942, Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano brought to the ward, and all persons interested in the estate, to appear before the
an action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to annul the transfer of her judge or court, at the time and place therein specified, not less than four nor
right, share and interest in the property made by her guardian to Tavera- more than eight weeks from the time of making such order, to show cause
Luna, Inc. However, before judgment could be rendered by the Court, the why an order should not be granted for the sale or such estate,” the order is
battle for liberation of Manila supervened and the record of the case was a nullity for lack of jurisdiction of the court issuing it.
destroyed. After reconstitution of the record of the case, amendment to the That the probate court in guardianship proceedings No. 34154 entitled
pleadings to include the Magdalena Estate, Inc. and Ernest Berg to party- “Tutela de la menor Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano,” had
Defendants and trial on the merits, the Court of First Instance of Manila jurisdiction over the petition filed by the guardian admits of no doubt. Only
rendered judgment annulling the order of the probate court that had granted upon the ground of lack of jurisdiction may an order entered by a court be
authority to the guardian of the Plaintiff to transfer her ward’s right, share assailed collaterally. If the court had jurisdiction, irregularities in the
interest in the parcel of land to Tavera-Luna, Inc. and the transfer thereof proceedings which would or could invalidate the court’s order may be
pursuant thereto; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe transfers of the ward’s share assailed directly by means of an appeal but not collaterally. 1 Lack of
in the property to El Hogar Filipino, Inc., Magdalena Estate, Inc. and Ernest verification of a petition filed in a probate court for the sale of real property
Berg; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe certificates of title issued to the belonging to the estate of a minor is not a jurisdictional defect. 2 It should
transferees in so far as the ward’s share in the property is concerned; chan have been attacked directly and not collaterally. 3 In her petition the guardian
roblesvirtualawlibraryand ordering cancellation of transfer certificates issued alleged that the transfer of her ward’s share in the property to the corporation
to the transferees and issuance of new ones in the name of the transferees then to be organized would be to or for her benefit and she expected that the
and the Plaintiff with the statement in the certificates to be issued construction of a new building would enhance the value of her ward’s share
that Plaintiff’s share in the property is two-ninths, free from any lien or in the property and increase her income (Exhibits D-1 and D-2). No other
encumbrance, and accounting of the income collected by the transferees consideration or motive could have prompted the guardian, mother of the
during the periods of their respective possession of the property and minor, to file the petition. It is not necessary for a grant of authority to the
payment or delivery thereof to the Plaintiff in so far as her share in the guardian to sell the estate of the ward to state that the income “is insufficient
property is concerned. The Defendants have appealed. to maintain the ward and his family or to maintain or educate the ward when
The point that the Plaintiff’s action is barred by the statute of limitations is no a minor.” It is enough, as the other alternative of the law provides, that “it
longer urged, because the Plaintiff became of age and released from appears to the satisfaction of the court that it is for the benefit of the ward
guardianship on 19 November 1940 (Exhibit N-1 and 0- 1) and the action that his real estate or some part thereof should be sold, and the proceeds
was brought on 17 November 1942, or within the period provided for in thereof put out at interest, or invested in some productive security.” 4 The
section 579, Act No. 190, which says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary petition of the guardian falls under the last quoted part of section 569, Act
No action for the recovery of any estate sold by a guardian can be No. 190. That part of the section, requiring the probate court to enter an
maintained by the ward, or by any person claiming under him, unless it is order directing the next of kin to the ward and all persons interested in the
commenced within three years next after the termination of the guardianship, estate to appear before the court at a time and place therein specified, was
or, when a legal disability to sue exists by reason of minority or otherwise, at substantially complied with, because the next kin to the ward was her own
guardian and mother and all persons interested in the estate of the ward
were her uncles and aunt who agreed to make the transfer of their respective The Incompetent, CARMEN CAÑIZA, represented by her legal guardian,
shares in the property to the corporation, Tavera-Luna, Inc. Moreover, “next AMPARO EVANGELISTA, petitioner,
of kin” are those whose relationship is such that they are entitled to share in vs.
the estate as distributees. 5 There were no creditors to the ward’s estate. COURT OF APPEALS (SPECIAL FIRST DIVISION), PEDRO ESTRADA
Notice to “the next of kin to the ward, and all persons interested in the estate, and his wife, LEONORA ESTRADA, respondents.
to appear before the judge or court, at the time and place therein specified,”
was not necessary, because the next of kin to the ward and all persons
interested in the estate were her mother and guardian, uncles and aunt. NARVASA, C.J.:
Under these circumstances we are of the opinion that part of the provision of On November 20, 1989, being then ninety-four (94) years of age, Carmen
section 569, Act No. 190, has been complied with. Hearing on the petition, as Cañiza, a spinster, a retired pharmacist, and former professor of the College
required in said section does not necessarily mean that witnesses testify or of Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of the Philippines, was declared
documents be produced or exhibited. If the court be satisfied that the incompetent by judgment1 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
allegations of the petition are true and the interested persons or close 107,2 in a guardianship proceeding instituted by her niece, Amparo A.
relatives of the ward did not object because they themselves were interested Evangelista.3 She was so adjudged because of her advanced age and
in the scheme to organize a corporation to which all their shares in the physical infirmities which included cataracts in both eyes and
property were to be transferred, the provisions of the law on hearing were senile dementia. Amparo A. Evangelista was appointed legal guardian of her
also complied with. The conclusion arrived at renders it unnecessary for us to person and estate.
pass upon the question whether El Hogar Filipino, Inc. was a purchaser for Cañiza was the owner of a house and lot at No. 61 Tobias St., Quezon City.
value and in good faith. Suffice it to say that even if the loan was granted On September 17, 1990, her guardian Amparo Evangelista commenced a
when the certificate of title was still in the name of the Plaintiff and her co- suit in the Metropolitan Trial Court (MetroTC) of Quezon City (Branch 35) to
owners, the fact that the loan was applied for by an entity that was in the eject the spouses Pedro and Leonora Estrada from said premises.4 The
process of organization and by the same persons who were the registered complaint was later amended to identify the incompetent Cañiza as plaintiff,
owners of the property, the mortgagee was entitled to rely upon the order of suing through her legal guardian, Amparo Evangelista.
the probate court granting authority to the guardian to make the transfer of The amended Complaint5 pertinently alleged that plaintiff Cañiza was the
the share of her ward in the property and was not bound to inquire further to absolute owner of the property in question, covered by TCT No. 27147; that
find out whether there were irregularities committed or defects or vices that out of kindness, she had allowed the Estrada Spouses, their children,
would render the order null and void. 1 So also the question whether the grandchildren and sons-in-law to temporarily reside in her house, rent-free;
action brought by Carlos Pardo de Tavera y Cembrano in his own behalf and that Cañiza already had urgent need of the house on account of her
in behalf of the minor, the herein Plaintiff-Appellee, is res judicata need not advanced age and failing health, "so funds could be raised to meet her
be passed upon. Certainly, it would be awkward for this Court to review a expenses for support, maintenance and medical treatment;" that through her
final decree or judgment which upheld the validity of the mortgage in favor of guardian, Cañiza had asked the Estradas verbally and in writing to vacate
the Appellant, El Hogar Filipino, Inc., in the case of Carlos Pardo de Tavera the house but they had refused to do so; and that "by the defendants' act of
and Carmen Pardo de Tavera Manzano vs. El Hogar Filipino, Inc., 68 Phil., unlawfully depriving plaintiff of the possession of the house in question, they .
712, and to declare null and void the order of the probate court as far as the . (were) enriching themselves at the expense of the incompetent, because,
share in the property of the minor is concerned, a declaration which would while they . . (were) saving money by not paying any rent for the house, the
partly reopen, review, reverse or set aside that final decree or judgment incompetent . . (was) losing much money as her house could not be rented
rendered by this Court. by others." Also alleged was that the complaint was "filed within one (1) year
This action would not have been brought if the scheme and plan of the from the date of of first letter of demand dated February 3, 1990."
organizers or incorporators of the Tavera-Luna, Inc. should have met with In their Answer with Counterclaim, the defendants declared that they had
success. been living in Cañiza's house since the 1960's; that in consideration of their
The judgment appealed from is reversed, the complaint dismissed, with costs faithful service they had been considered by Cañiza as her own family, and
against the Appellee. the latter had in fact executed a holographic will on September 4, 1988 by
which she "bequeathed" to the Estradas the house and lot in question.
Judgment was rendered by the MetroTC on April 13, 1992 in Cañiza's
30. G.R. No. 110427 February 24, 1997 favor,6 the Estradas being ordered to vacate the premises and pay Cañiza
P5,000.00 by way of attorney's fees.
But on appeal,8 the decision was reversed by the Quezon City Regional Trial an affirmative answer to both questions, whether or not Evangelista may
Court, Branch 96.9 By judgment rendered on October 21, 1992, 10 the RTC continue to represent Cañiza after the latter's death.
held that the "action by which the issue of defendants' possession should be I
resolved is accion publiciana, the obtaining factual and legal situation . . It is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action as well as which
demanding adjudication by such plenary action for recovery of possession court has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations of the complaint and the
cognizable in the first instance by the Regional Trial Court." character of the relief sought. 18 An inquiry into the averments of the
Cañiza sought to have the Court of Appeals reverse the decision of October amended complaint in the Court of origin is thus in order. 19
21, 1992, but failed in that attempt. In a decision 11 promulgated on June 2, The amended Complaint alleges: 20
1993, the Appellate Court 12 affirmed the RTC's judgment in toto. It ruled that 6. That the plaintiff Carmen Cañiza, is the sole and absolute
(a) the proper remedy for Cañiza was indeed an accion publiciana in the owner of a house and lot at No. 61 Scout Tobias, Quezon
RTC, not an accion interdictal in the MetroTC, since the "defendants have City, which property is now the subject of this complaint;
not been in the subject premises as mere tenants or occupants by tolerance, xxx xxx xxx
they have been there as a sort of adopted family of Carmen Cañiza," as 9. That the defendants, their children, grandchildren and
evidenced by what purports to be the holographic will of the plaintiff; and (b) sons-in-law, were allowed to live temporarily in the house
while "said will, unless and until it has passed probate by the proper court, of plaintiff Carmen Cañiza, for free, out of her kindness;
could not be the basis of defendants' claim to the property, . . it is indicative 10. That the plaintiff, through her legal guardian, has duly
of intent and desire on the part of Carmen Cañiza that defendants are to notified the defendants, for them to vacate the said house,
remain and are to continue in their occupancy and possession, so much so but the two (2) letters of demand were ignored and the
that Cañiza's supervening incompetency can not be said to have vested in defendants refused to vacate the same. . .
her guardian the right or authority to drive the defendants out." 13 11. That the plaintiff, represented by her legal guardian,
Through her guardian, Cañiza came to this Court praying for reversal of the Amparo Evangelista, made another demand on the
Appellate Court's judgment. She contends in the main that the latter erred in defendants for them to vacate the premises, before
(a) holding that she should have pursued an accion publiciana, and not Barangay Captain Angelina A. Diaz of Barangay Laging
an accion interdictal; and in (b) giving much weight to "a xerox copy of an Handa, Quezon City, but after two (2) conferences, the result
alleged holographic will, which is irrelevant to this case." 14 was negative and no settlement was reached. A photocopy
In the responsive pleading filed by them on this Court's requirement, 15 the of the Certification to File Action dated July 4, 1990, issued
Estradas insist that the case against them was really not one of unlawful by said Barangay Captain is attached, marked Annex "D"
detainer; they argue that since possession of the house had not been and made an integral part hereof;
obtained by them by any "contract, express or implied," as contemplated by 12. That the plaintiff has given the defendants more than
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, their occupancy of the premises thirty (30) days to vacate the house, but they still refused to
could not be deemed one "terminable upon mere demand (and hence never vacate the premises, and they are up to this time residing in
became unlawful) within the context of the law." Neither could the suit the said place;
against them be deemed one of forcible entry, they add, because they had 13. That this complaint is filed within one (1) year from the
been occupying the property with the prior consent of the "real owner," date of first letter of demand dated February 3, 1990 (Annex
Carmen Cañiza, which "occupancy can even ripen into full ownership once "B") sent by the plaintiff to the defendants, by her legal
the holographic will of petitioner Carmen Cañiza is admitted to probate." guardian — Amparo Evangelista;
They conclude, on those postulates, that it is beyond the power of Cañiza's 14. By the defendants' act of unlawfully depriving the plaintiff
legal guardian to oust them from the disputed premises. of the possession of the house in question, they are
Carmen Cañiza died on March 19, 1994, 16 and her heirs — the enriching themselves at the expense of the
aforementioned guardian, Amparo Evangelista, and Ramon C. Nevado, her incompetent plaintiff because, while they are saving money
niece and nephew, respectively — were by this Court's leave, substituted for by not paying any rent for the house, the plaintiff is losing
her. 17 much money as her house could not be rented by others;
Three issues have to be resolved: (a) whether or not an ejectment action is 15. That the plaintiff's health is failing and she needs the
the appropriate judicial remedy for recovery of possession of the property in house urgently, so that funds could be raised to meet her
dispute; (b) assuming desahucio to be proper, whether or not Evangelista, as expenses for her support, maintenance and medical
Cañiza's legal guardian had authority to bring said action; and (c) assuming treatment;
16. That because of defendants' refusal to vacate the house — in no sense could there be an "expiration or termination of . . (their) right
at No. 61 Scout Tobias, Quezon City, the plaintiff, through to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied." Nor would
her legal guardian, was compelled to go to court for justice, an action for forcible entry lie against them, since there is no claim that they
and she has to spend P10,000.00 as attorney's fees. had "deprived (Cañiza) of the possession of . . (her property) by force,
Its prayer 21 is quoted below: intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth.
WHEREFORE, in the interest of justice and the rule of The argument is arrant sophistry. Cañiza's act of allowing the Estradas to
law, plaintiff, Carmen Cañiza, represented by her legal occupy her house, rent-free, did not create a permanent and indefeasible
guardian, Amparo Evangelista, respectfully prays to this right of possession in the latter's favor. Common sense, and the most
Honorable Court, to render judgment in favor of plaintiff and rudimentary sense of fairness clearly require that that act of liberality be
against the defendants as follows: implicitly, but no less certainly, accompanied by the necessary burden on the
1. To order the defendants, their children, grandchildren, Estradas of returning the house to Cañiza upon her demand. More than once
sons-in-law and other persons claiming under them, to has this Court adjudged that a person who occupies the land of another at
vacate the house and premises at No. 6 1 Scout Tobias, the latter's tolerance or permission without any contract between them is
Quezon City, so that its possession can be restored to the necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand,
plaintiff Carmen Cañiza; and failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against
2. To pay attorney's fees in the amount of P10,000.00; him. 24 The situation is not much different from that of a tenant whose lease
3. To pay the costs of the suit. expires but who continues in occupancy by tolerance of the owner, in which
In essence, the amended complaint states: case there is deemed to be an unlawful deprivation or withholding of
1) that the Estradas were occupying Cañiza's house by possession as of the date of the demand to vacate. 25 In other words, one
tolerance — having been "allowed to live temporarily . . whose stay is merely tolerated becomes a deforciant illegally occupying the
(therein) for free, out of . . (Cañiza's) kindness;" land or property the moment he is required to leave. 26 Thus, in Asset
2) that Cañiza needed the house "urgently" because her Privatization Trust vs. Court of Appeals, 27 where a company, having lawfully
"health . . (was) failing and she . . (needed) funds . . to meet obtained possession of a plant upon its undertaking to buy the same, refused
her expenses for her support, maintenance and medical to return it after failing to fulfill its promise of payment despite demands, this
treatment;" Court held that "(a)fter demand and its repudiation, . . (its) continuing
3) that through her general guardian, Cañiza requested the possession . . became illegal and the complaint for unlawful detainer filed by
Estradas several times, orally and in writing, to give back the
possession of the house; . . (plant's owner) was its proper remedy.
4) that the Estradas refused and continue to refuse to give It may not be amiss to point out in this connection that where there had been
back the house to Cañiza, to her continuing prejudice; and more than one demand to vacate, the one-year period for filing the complaint
5) that the action was filed within one (1) year from the last for unlawful detainer must be reckoned from the date of the last
demand to vacate. demand, 28the reason being that the lessor has the option to waive his right
Undoubtedly, a cause of action for desahucio has been adequately set out. It of action based on previous demands and let the lessee remain meanwhile in
is settled that in an action for unlawful detainer, it suffices to allege that the the premises. 29 Now, the complaint filed by Cañiza's guardian alleges that
defendant is unlawfully withholding possession from the plaintiff is deemed the same was "filed within one (1) year from the date of the first letter of
sufficient, 22 and a complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges that demand dated February 3, 1990." Although this averment is not in accord
the withholding of possession or the refusal to vacate is unlawful without with law because there is in fact a second letter of demand to vacate, dated
necessarily employing the terminology of the law. 23 February 27, 1990, the mistake is inconsequential, since the complaint was
The Estradas' first proffered defense derives from a literal construction of actually filed on September 17, 1990, well within one year from
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court which inter alia authorizes the the second (last) written demand to vacate.
institution of an unlawful detainer suit when "the possession of any land or The Estradas' possession of the house stemmed from the owner's express
building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to permission. That permission was subsequently withdrawn by the owner, as
hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied." They contend was her right; and it is immaterial that the withdrawal was made through her
that since they did not acquire possession of the property in question "by judicial guardian, the latter being indisputably clothed with authority to do so.
virtue of any contract, express or implied" — they having been, to repeat, Nor is it of any consequence that Carmen Cañiza had executed a will
"allowed to live temporarily . . (therein) for free, out of . . (Cañiza's) kindness" bequeathing the disputed property to the Estradas; that circumstance did not
give them the right to stay in the premises after demand to vacate on the exercise control over, Cañiza's property, both real and personal, it being
theory that they might in future become owners thereof, that right of recognized principle that the ward has no right to possession or control of his
ownership being at best inchoate, no transfer of ownership being possible property during her incompetency. 35 That right to manage the ward's estate
unless and until the will is duly probated. carries with it the right to take possession thereof and recover it from anyone
Thus, at the time of the institution of the action of desahucio, the Estradas who retains it, 36 and bring and defend such actions as may be needful for
had no legal right to the property, whether as possessors by tolerance or this purpose. 37
sufferance, or as owners. They could not claim the right of possession by Actually, in bringing the action of desahucio, Evangelista was merely
sufferance; that had been legally ended. They could not assert any right of discharging the duty to attend to "the comfortable and suitable maintenance
possession flowing from their ownership of the house; their status as owners of the ward" explicitly imposed on her by Section 4, Rule 96 of the Rules of
is dependent on the probate of the holographic will by which the property had Court, viz.:
allegedly been bequeathed to them — an event which still has to take place; Sec. 4. Estate to be managed frugally, and proceeds applied
in other words, prior to the probate of the will, any assertion of possession by to maintenance of ward. — A guardian must manage the
them would be premature and inefficacious. estate of his ward frugally and without waste, and apply the
In any case, the only issue that could legitimately be raised under the income and profits thereof, so far as maybe necessary, to
circumstances was that involving the Estradas' possession by tolerance, i.e., the comfortable and suitable maintenance of the ward and
possession de facto, not de jure. It is therefore incorrect to postulate that the his family, if there be any; and if such income and profits be
proper remedy for Cañiza is not ejectment but accion publiciana, a plenary insufficient for that purpose, the guardian may sell or
action in the RTC or an action that is one for recovery of the right to encumber the real estate, upon being authorized by order to
possession de jure. do so, and apply to such of the proceeds as may be
II necessary to such maintenance.
The Estradas insist that the devise of the house to them by Cañiza clearly Finally, it may be pointed out in relation to the Estradas's defenses in the
denotes her intention that they remain in possession thereof, and legally ejectment action, that as the law now stands, even when, in forcible entry
incapacitated her judicial guardian, Amparo Evangelista, from evicting them and unlawful detainer cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership
therefrom, since their ouster would be inconsistent with the ward's will. in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without
A will is essentially ambulatory; at any time prior to the testator's death, it deciding the issue of ownership, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
may be changed or revoked; 30 and until admitted to probate, it has no effect Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts nevertheless have the undoubted
whatever and no right can be claimed thereunder, the law being quite competence to resolve "the issue of ownership . . only to determine the issue
explicit: "No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved of possession." 38
and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court" (ART. 838, id.). 31 An III
owner's intention to confer title in the future to persons possessing property As already stated, Carmen Cañiza passed away during the pendency of this
by his tolerance, is not inconsistent with the former's taking back possession appeal. The Estradas thereupon moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that
in the meantime for any reason deemed sufficient. And that in this case there Cañiza's death automatically terminated the guardianship, Amaparo
was sufficient cause for the owner's resumption of possession is apparent: Evangelista lost all authority as her judicial guardian, and ceased to have
she needed to generate income from the house on account of the physical legal personality to represent her in the present appeal. The motion is without
infirmities afflicting her, arising from her extreme age. merit.
Amparo Evangelista was appointed by a competent court the general While it is indeed well-established rule that the relationship of guardian and
guardian of both the person and the estate of her aunt, Carmen Cañiza. Her ward is necessarily terminated by the death of either the guardian or the
Letters of Guardianship 32 dated December 19, 1989 clearly installed her as ward, 39 the rule affords no advantage to the Estradas. Amparo Evangelista,
the "guardian over the person and properties of the incompetent CARMEN as niece of Carmen Cañiza, is one of the latter's only two (2) surviving heirs,
CANIZA with full authority to take possession of the property of said the other being Cañiza's nephew, Ramon C. Nevado. On their motion and by
incompetent in any province or provinces in which it may be situated and to Resolution of this Court 40 of June 20, 1994, they were in fact substituted as
perform all other acts necessary for the management of her properties . . parties in the appeal at bar in place of the deceased, in accordance with
" 33 By that appointment, it became Evangelista's duty to care for her aunt's Section 17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, viz.: 41
person, to attend to her physical and spiritual needs, to assure her well- Sec. 18. Death of a party. — After a party dies and the claim
being, with right to custody of her person in preference to relatives and is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon
friends. 34 It also became her right and duty to get possession of, and proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to
appear and be substituted for the deceased within a period as Special Proceedings No. 1618-CEB. At the time, Valerie was only
of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may be granted. If 6 years old while Vincent was a 2-year old child. It is claimed in the
the legal representative fails to appear within said time, the petition that the minors are residents of Cebu City, Philippines and
court may order the opposing party to procure the have an estate consisting of proceeds from their father’s death
appointment of a legal representative of the deceased within pension benefits with a probable value of P100,000.00.
a time to be specified by the court, and the representative "Finding sufficiency in form and in substance, the case was set for
shall immediately appear for and on behalf of the interest of hearing after a 3-consecutive-weekly publications with the Sunstar
the deceased. The court charges involved in procuring such Daily.
appointment, if defrayed by the opposing party, may be "On July 15, 1987, petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil was appointed legal
recovered as costs. The heirs of the deceased may be and judicial guardian over the persons and estate of Valerie Vancil
allowed to be substituted for the deceased, without requiring and Vincent Vancil Jr.
the appointment of an executor or administrator and the "On August 13, 1987, the natural mother of the minors, Helen
court may appoint guardian ad litemfor the minor heirs. Belmes, submitted an opposition to the subject guardianship
To be sure, an ejectment case survives the death of a party. Cañiza's demise proceedings asseverating that she had already filed a similar petition
did not extinguish the desahucio suit instituted by her through her for guardianship under Special Proceedings No. 2819 before the
guardian. 42 That action, not being a purely personal one, survived her death; Regional Trial Court of Pagadian City.
her heirs have taken her place and now represent her interests in the appeal "Thereafter, on June 27, 1988, Helen Belmes followed her opposition
at bar. with a motion for the Removal of Guardian and Appointment of a
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of New One, asserting that she is the natural mother in actual custody
Appeals promulgated on June 2, 1993 — affirming the Regional Trial Court's of and exercising parental authority over the subject minors at
judgment and dismissing petitioner's petition for certiorari — is REVERSED Maralag, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur where they are
and SET ASIDE, and the Decision dated April 13, 1992 of the Metropolitan permanently residing; that the petition was filed under an improper
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 35, in Civil Case No. 3410 is venue; and that at the time the petition was filed Bonifacia Vancil
REINSTATED and AFFIRMED. Costs against private respondents. was a resident of 140 Hurliman Court, Canon City, Colorado, U.S.A.
SO ORDERED. being a naturalized American citizen.
32. G.R. No. 132223 June 19, 2001 "On October 12, 1988, after due proceedings, the trial court rejected
BONIFACIA P. VANCIL, petitioner, and denied Belmes’ motion to remove and/or to disqualify Bonifacia
vs. as guardian of Valerie and Vincent Jr. and instead ordered petitioner
HELEN G. BELMES, respondent. Bonifacia Vancil to enter the office and perform her duties as such
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: guardian upon the posting of a bond of P50,000.00. The subsequent
Petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- attempt for a reconsideration was likewise dismissed in an Order
G.R. CV No. 45650, "In the Matter of Guardianship of Minors Valerie Vancil dated November 24, 1988."1
and Vincent Vancil – Bonifacia P. Vancil, Petitioner-Appellee, vs. Helen G. On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision reversing the
Belmes, Oppositor-Appellant," promulgated on July 29, 1997, and its RTC order of October 12, 1988 and dismissing Special Proceedings No.
Resolution dated December 18, 1997 denying the motion for reconsideration 1618-CEB.
of the said Decision. The Court of Appeals held:
The facts of the case as summarized by the Court of Appeals in its Decision "Stress should likewise be made that our Civil Code considers
are: parents, the father, or in the absence, the mother, as natural
"Petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil, is the mother of Reeder C. Vancil, a guardian of her minor children. The law on parental authority under
Navy serviceman of the United States of America who died in the the Civil Code or P.D. 603 and now the New Family Code, (Article
said country on December 22, 1986. During his lifetime, Reeder had 225 of the Family Code) ascribe to the same legal pronouncements.
two (2) children named Valerie and Vincent by his common-law wife, Section 7 of Rule 93 of the Revised Rules of Court confirms the
Helen G. Belmes. designation of the parents as ipso facto guardian of their minor
"Sometime in May of 1987, Bonifacia Vancil commenced before the children without need of a court appointment and only for good
Regional Trial Court of Cebu City a guardianship proceedings over reason may another person be named. Ironically, for the petitioner,
the persons and properties of minors Valerie and Vincent docketed there is nothing on record of any reason at all why Helen Belmes, the
biological mother, should be deprived of her legal rights as natural "Of considerable importance is the rule long accepted by the courts
guardian of her minor children. To give away such privilege from that ‘the right of parents to the custody of their minor children is one
Helen would be an abdication and grave violation of the very basic of the natural rights incident to parenthood,’ a right supported by law
fundamental tenets in civil law and the constitution on family and sound public policy. The right is an inherent one, which is not
solidarity."2 created by the state or decisions of the courts, but derives from the
On March 10, 1998, Bonifacia Vancil filed with this Court the present petition, nature of the parental relationship."
raising the following "legal points": Petitioner contends that she is more qualified as guardian of Vincent.
"1. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that the preferential Petitioner’s claim to be the guardian of said minor can only be realized by
right of a parent to be appointed guardian over the persons and way of substitute parental authoritypursuant to Article 214 of the Family
estate of the minors is absolute, contrary to existing jurisprudence. Code, thus:
"2. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that Oppositor Helen "Art. 214. In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents,
G. Belmes, the biological mother, should be appointed the guardian substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving
of the minors despite the undisputed proof that under her custody, grandparent. xxx."
her daughter minor Valerie Vancil was raped seven times by In Santos, Sr. vs. Court of Appeals,5 this Court ruled:
Oppositor’s live-in partner. "The law vests on the father and mother joint parental authority over
"3. The respondent (sic) Court of Appeals gravely erred when it the persons of their common children. In case of absence or death of
disqualified petitioner Bonifacia P. Vancil to be appointed as judicial either parent, the parent present shall continue exercising parental
guardian over the persons and estate of subject minors despite the authority. Only in case of the parents’ death, absence or unsuitability
fact that she has all the qualifications and none of the may substitute parental authority be exercised by the surviving
disqualifications as judicial guardian, merely on the basis of her U.S. grandparent."
citizenship which is clearly not a statutory requirement to become Petitioner, as the surviving grandparent, can exercise substitute parental
guardian." authority only in case of death, absence or unsuitability of respondent.
At the outset, let it be stressed that in her "Manifestation/Motion," dated Considering that respondent is very much alive and has exercised
September 15, 1998, respondent Helen Belmes stated that her daughter continuously parental authority over Vincent, petitioner has to prove, in
Valerie turned eighteen on September 2, 1998 as shown by her Birth asserting her right to be the minor’s guardian, respondent’s unsuitability.
Certificate.3Respondent thus prayed that this case be dismissed with respect Petitioner, however, has not proffered convincing evidence showing that
to Valerie, she being no longer a proper subject of guardianship proceedings. respondent is not suited to be the guardian of Vincent. Petitioner merely
The said "Manifestation/Motion" was noted by this Court in its Resolution insists that respondent is morally unfit as guardian of Valerie considering that
dated November 11, 1998. her (respondent’s) live-in partner raped Valerie several times. But Valerie,
Considering that Valerie is already of major age, this petition has become being now of major age, is no longer a subject of this guardianship
moot with respect to her. Thus, only the first and third "legal points" raised by proceeding.
petitioner should be resolved. Even assuming that respondent is unfit as guardian of minor Vincent, still
The basic issue for our resolution is who between the mother and petitioner cannot qualify as a substitute guardian. It bears stressing that she
grandmother of minor Vincent should be his guardian. is an American citizen and a resident of Colorado. Obviously, she will not be
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that respondent, being the able to perform the responsibilities and obligations required of a guardian. In
natural mother of the minor, has the preferential right over that of petitioner to fact, in her petition, she admitted the difficulty of discharging the duties of a
be his guardian. This ruling finds support in Article 211 of the Family Code guardian by an expatriate, like her. To be sure, she will merely delegate
which provides: those duties to someone else who may not also qualify as a guardian.
"Art. 211. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental Moreover, we observe that respondent’s allegation that petitioner has not set
authority over the persons of their common children. In case of foot in the Philippines since 1987 has not been controverted by her. Besides,
disagreement, the father’s decision shall prevail, unless there is a petitioner’s old age and her conviction of libel by the Regional Trial Court,
judicial order to the contrary. xxx." Branch 6, Cebu City in Criminal Case No. CBU-168846 filed by one Danilo R.
Indeed, being the natural mother of minor Vincent, respondent has the Deen, will give her a second thought of staying here. Indeed, her coming
corresponding natural and legal right to his custody. In Sagala-Eslao vs. back to this country just to fulfill the duties of a guardian to Vincent for only
Court of Appeals,4 this Court held: two years is not certain.
Significantly, this Court has held that courts should not appoint persons as revoke respondent's adoption, but was prevented by petitioner's
guardians who are not within the jurisdiction of our courts for they will find it supplication, however with his further request upon petitioner to give
difficult to protect the wards. In Guerrero vs. Teran,7 this Court held: to charity whatever properties or interest may pertain to respondent
"Doña Maria Muñoz y Gomez was, as above indicated, removed in the future.
upon the theory that her appointment was void because she did not xxx xxx xxx
reside in the Philippine Islands. There is nothing in the law which "10. That respondent continued using his surname Sibulo to the utter
requires the courts to appoint residents only as administrators or disregard of the feelings of herein petitioner, and his records with the
guardians. However, notwithstanding the fact that there are no Professional Regulation Commission showed his name as Jose
statutory requirements upon this question, the courts, charged with Melvin M. Sibulo originally issued in 1978 until the present, and in all
the responsibilities of protecting the estates of deceased persons, his dealings and activities in connection with his practice of his
wards of the estate, etc., will find much difficulty in complying with profession, he is Jose Melvin M. Sibulo.
this duty by appointing administrators and guardians who are not xxx xxx xxx
personally subject to their jurisdiction. Notwithstanding that there is "13. That herein petitioner being a widow, and living alone in this city
no statutory requirement, the courts should not consent to the with only her household helps to attend to her, has yearned for the
appointment of persons as administrators and guardians who are not care and show of concern from a son, but respondent remained
personally subject to the jurisdiction of our courts here." indifferent and would only come to Naga to see her once a year.
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with "14. That for the last three or four years, the medical check-up of
modification in the sense that Valerie, who has attained the age of majority, petitioner in Manila became more frequent in view of a leg ailment,
will no longer be under the guardianship of respondent Helen Belmes. and those were the times when petitioner would need most the care
Costs against petitioner. and support from a love one, but respondent all the more remained
SO ORDERED. callous and utterly indifferent towards petitioner which is not
33. G.R. No. 143989 July 14, 2003 expected of a son.
ISABELITA S. LAHOM, petitioner, "15. That herein respondent has recently been jealous of petitioner's
vs. nephews and nieces whenever they would find time to visit her,
JOSE MELVIN SIBULO (previously referred to as "DR. MELVIN S. respondent alleging that they were only motivated by their desire for
LAHOM"), respondent. some material benefits from petitioner.
VITUG, J.: "16. That in view of respondent's insensible attitude resulting in a
The bliss of marriage and family would be to most less than complete without strained and uncomfortable relationship between him and petitioner,
children. The realization could have likely prodded the spouses Dr. Diosdado the latter has suffered wounded feelings, knowing that after all
Lahom and Isabelita Lahom to take into their care Isabelita's nephew Jose respondent's only motive to his adoption is his expectancy of his
Melvin Sibulo and to bring him up as their own. At the tender age of two, alleged rights over the properties of herein petitioner and her late
Jose Melvin enjoyed the warmth, love and support of the couple who treated husband, clearly shown by his recent filing of Civil Case No. 99-4463
the child like their own. Indeed, for years, Dr. and Mrs. Lahom fancied on for partition against petitioner, thereby totally eroding her love and
legally adopting Jose Melvin. Finally, in 1971, the couple decided to file a affection towards respondent, rendering the decree of adoption,
petition for adoption. On 05 May 1972, an order granting the petition was considering respondent to be the child of petitioner, for all legal
issued that made all the more intense than before the feeling of affection of purposes, has been negated for which reason there is no more basis
the spouses for Melvin. In keeping with the court order, the Civil Registrar of for its existence, hence this petition for revocation,"1
Naga City changed the name "Jose Melvin Sibulo" to "Jose Melvin Lahom." Prior to the institution of the case, specifically on 22 March 1998, Republic
A sad turn of events came many years later. Eventually, in December of Act (R.A.) No. 8552, also known as the Domestic Adoption Act, went into
1999, Mrs. Lahom commenced a petition to rescind the decree of adoption effect. The new statute deleted from the law the right of adopters to rescind a
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 22, of Naga City. In her decree of adoption.
petition, she averred — Section 19 of Article VI of R.A. No. 8552 now reads:
"7. That x x x despite the proddings and pleadings of said spouses, "SEC. 19. Grounds for Rescission of Adoption. — Upon petition of
respondent refused to change his surname from Sibulo to Lahom, to the adoptee, with the assistance of the Department if a minor or if
the frustrations of petitioner particularly her husband until the latter over eighteen (18) years of age but is incapacitated, as
died, and even before his death he had made known his desire to guardian/counsel, the adoption may be rescinded on any of the
following grounds committed by the adopter(s): (a) repeated physical 2. In the affirmative, has the adopter's action prescribed?
and verbal maltreatment by the adopter(s) despite having undergone A brief background on the law and its origins could provide some insights on
counseling; (b) attempt on the life of the adoptee; (c) sexual assault the subject. In ancient times, the Romans undertook adoption to assure male
or violence; or (d) abandonment and failure to comply with parental heirs in the family.5 The continuity of the adopter's family was the primary
obligations. purpose of adoption and all matters relating to it basically focused on the
"Adoption, being in the best interest of the child, shall not be subject rights of the adopter. There was hardly any mention about the rights of the
to rescission by the adopter(s). However, the adopter(s) may adopted.6 Countries, like Greece, France, Spain and England, in an effort to
disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Article 919 of the Civil preserve inheritance within the family, neither allowed nor recognized
Code." (emphasis supplied) adoption.7 It was only much later when adoption was given an impetus in law
Jose Melvin moved for the dismissal of the petition, contending principally (a) and still later when the welfare of the child became a paramount
that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the case and (b) that the petitioner concern.8Spain itself which previously disfavored adoption ultimately relented
had no cause of action in view of the aforequoted provisions of R.A. No. and accepted the Roman law concept of adoption which, subsequently, was
8552. Petitioner asseverated, by way of opposition, that the proscription in to find its way to the archipelago. The Americans came and introduced their
R.A. No. 8552 should not retroactively apply, i.e., to cases where the ground own ideas on adoption which, unlike most countries in Europe, made the
for rescission of the adoption vested under the regime of then Article 348 2 of interests of the child an overriding consideration.9 In the early part of the
the Civil Code and Article 1923 of the Family Code. century just passed, the rights of children invited universal attention; the
In an order, dated 28 April 2000, the trial court held thusly: Geneva Declaration of Rights of the Child of 1924 and the Universal
"On the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit, Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,10followed by the United Nations
Section 5(c) of R.A. No. 8369 confers jurisdiction to this Court, Declarations of the Rights of the Child,11 were written instruments that would
having been designated Family Court in A.M. No. 99-11-07 SC. also protect and safeguard the rights of adopted children. The Civil Code of
"On the matter of no cause of action, the test on the sufficiency of the the Philippines12 of 1950 on adoption, later modified by the Child and Youth
facts alleged in the complaint, is whether or not, admitting the facts Welfare Code13 and then by the Family Code of the Philippines, 14 gave
alleged, the Court could render a valid judgment in accordance with immediate statutory acknowledgment to the rights of the adopted. In 1989,
the prayer of said complaint (De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino, et al., 95 the United Nations initiated the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The
Phil. 365). Philippines, a State Party to the Convention, accepted the principle that
"Admittedly, Section 19, Article VI of R.A. No. 8552 deleted the right adoption was impressed with social and moral responsibility, and that its
of an adopter to rescind an adoption earlier granted under the Family underlying intent was geared to favor the adopted child. R.A. No. 8552
Code. Conformably, on the face of the petition, indeed there is lack secured these rights and privileges for the adopted. Most importantly, it
of cause of action. affirmed the legitimate status of the adopted child, not only in his new family
"Petitioner however, insists that her right to rescind long acquired but also in the society as well. The new law withdrew the right of an adopter
under the provisions of the Family Code should be respected. to rescind the adoption decree and gave to the adopted child the sole right to
Assuming for the sake of argument, that petitioner is entitled to sever the legal ties created by adoption.
rescind the adoption of respondent granted on May 5, 1972, said Petitioner, however, would insist that R.A. No. 8552 should not adversely
right should have been exercised within the period allowed by the affect her right to annul the adoption decree, nor deprive the trial court of its
Rules. From the averments in the petition, it appears clear that the jurisdiction to hear the case, both being vested under the Civil Code and the
legal grounds for the petition have been discovered and known to Family Code, the laws then in force.
petitioner for more than five (5) years, prior to the filing of the instant The concept of "vested right" is a consequence of the constitutional guaranty
petition on December 1, 1999, hence, the action if any, had already of due process15 that expresses a present fixed interest which in right reason
prescribed. (Sec. 5, Rule 100 Revised Rules of Court) and natural justice is protected against arbitrary state action; 16 it includes not
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing consideration, the petition is only legal or equitable title to the enforcement of a demand but also
ordered dismissed."4 exemptions from new obligations created after the right has become
Via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of vested.17 Rights are considered vested when the right to enjoyment is a
Court, petitioner raises the following questions; viz: present interest,18 absolute, unconditional, and perfect19 or fixed and
1. May the subject adoption, decreed on 05 May 1972, still be irrefutable.
revoked or rescinded by an adopter after the effectivity of R.A. No. In Republic vs. Court of Appeals,20 a petition to adopt Jason Condat was filed
8552? by Zenaida C. Bobiles on 02 February 1988 when the Child and Youth
Welfare Code (Presidential Decree No. 603) allowed an adoption to be adoption might clearly turn out to be undesirable, it remains, nevertheless,
sought by either spouse or both of them. After the trial court had rendered its the bounden duty of the Court to apply the law. Dura lex sed lex would be the
decision and while the case was still pending on appeal, the Family Code of hackneyed truism that those caught in the law have to live with. It is still
the Philippines (Executive Order No. 209), mandating joint adoption by the noteworthy, however, that an adopter, while barred from severing the legal
husband and wife, took effect. Petitioner Republic argued that the case ties of adoption, can always for valid reasons cause the forfeiture of certain
should be dismissed for having been filed by Mrs. Bobiles alone and without benefits otherwise accruing to an undeserving child. For instance, upon the
being joined by the husband. The Court concluded that the jurisdiction of the grounds recognized by law, an adopter may deny to an adopted child his
court is determined by the statute in force at the time of the legitime and, by a will and testament, may freely exclude him from having a
commencement of the action. The petition to adopt Jason, having been share in the disposable portion of his estate.
filed with the court at the time when P.D. No. 603 was still in effect, the right WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. No
of Mrs. Bobiles to file the petition, without being joined by her husband, costs.
according to the Court had become vested. In Republic vs. Miller,21spouses SO ORDERED.
Claude and Jumrus Miller, both aliens, sought to adopt Michael Madayag. On
29 July 1988, the couple filed a petition to formalize Michael's adoption 34. G.R. No. L-57438 January 3, 1984
having theretofore been taken into their care. At the time the action was FELICIANO FRANCISCO, petitioner,
commenced, P.D. No. 603 allowed aliens to adopt. After the decree of vs.
adoption and while on appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Family Code HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PELAGIO FRANCISCO, respondents.
was enacted into law on 08 August 1988 disqualifying aliens from adopting Nicomedes M. Jajardo for petitioner.
Filipino children. The Republic then prayed for the withdrawal of the adoption Crescini & Associates Law Office for private respondent.
decree. In discarding the argument posed by the Republic, the Supreme
Court ruled that the controversy should be resolved in the light of the law GUERRERO, J.:
governing at the time the petition was filed. This petition for review on certiorari seeks the annulment of the decision and
It was months after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552 that herein petitioner filed resolution of the defunct Court of Appeals, now Intermediate Appellate Court,
an action to revoke the decree of adoption granted in 1975. By then, the new dated April 27, 1981. and June 26, 1981. respectively, dismissing the petition
law,22 had already abrogated and repealed the right of an adopter under the for certiorari filed by petitioner Feliciano Francisco docketed as CA-G.R. No.
Civil Code and the Family Code to rescind a decree of adoption. Consistently 12172 entitled "Feliciano Francisco versus Judge Jesus R. De Vega and
with its earlier pronouncements, the Court should now hold that the action for Pelagio Francisco". In the said petition for certiorari, petitioner Feliciano
rescission of the adoption decree, having been initiated by petitioner after Francisco challenged the validity of the Order of the Court of First Instance of
R.A. No. 8552 had come into force, no longer could be pursued. Bulacan, Fifth Judicial District, Branch II, now Regional Trial Court, granting
Interestingly, even before the passage of the statute, an action to set aside execution pending appeal of its decision by relieving petitioner Feliciano
the adoption is subject to the five-year bar rule under Rule 10023 of the Rules Francisco as guardian of incompetent Estefania San Pedro and appointing
of Court and that the adopter would lose the right to revoke the adoption respondent herein, Pelagio Francisco, in his instead.
decree after the lapse of that period. The exercise of the right within a The antecedent facts as recited in the appealed decision of the Court of
prescriptive period is a condition that could not fulfill the requirements of a Appeals showed that:
vested right entitled to protection. It must also be acknowledged that a Petitioner is the duly appointed guardian of the incompetent
person has no vested right in statutory privileges.24 While adoption has often Estefania San Pedro in Special Proceedings No. 532 of the
been referred to in the context of a "right," the privilege to adopt is itself not Court of First Instance of Bulacan presided over by
naturally innate or fundamental but rather a right merely created by respondent Judge. On August 30, 1974 respondent Pelagio
statute.25 It is a privilege that is governed by the state's determination on Francisco, claiming to be a first cousin of Estefania San
what it may deem to be for the best interest and welfare of the Pedro, together with two others, said to be nieces of the
child.26 Matters relating to adoption, including the withdrawal of the right of an incompetent, petitioned the court for the removal of petitioner
adopter to nullify the adoption decree, are subject to regulation by the and for the appointment in his stead of respondent Pelagio
State.27 Concomitantly, a right of action given by statute may be taken away Francisco. Among other grounds, the petition was based on
at anytime before it has been exercised.28 the failure of the guardian to submit an inventory of the
While R.A. No. 8552 has unqualifiedly withdrawn from an adopter a estate of his ward and to render an accounting.
consequential right to rescind the adoption decree even in cases where the
It would seem that petitioner subsequently rendered an paid the appeal bond. On February 2, 1981 he filed the
accounting but failed to submit an inventory, for which record on appeal. 1
reason the court on March 20, 1975 gave petitioner ten (10) Meanwhile, on January 27, 1981, the court, on motion of
days within which to do so, otherwise he would be removed private respondent, required petitioner to submit within three
from guardianship Petitioner thereafter submitted an days his nomination for guardian of Estefania San Pedro as
inventory to which respondent Pelagio Francisco filed an required in its order of September 12, 1980. In issuing the
objection on the ground that petitioner actually received order, the court stated that 'an indefinite discontinuance in
P14,000.00 for the sale of a residential land and not office would defeat the intent and purpose of the said order
P12,000.00 only as stated in the deed of sale and reported of September 12, 1980 relieving the present guardian.
by him in his inventory. The respondent Judge found the Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence,
claim to be true, and, in his order of April 17, 1980 relieved this petition. (referring to CA-G.R. No. SP-1217)"
the petitioner as guardian. On December 5, 1980, before the appeal was perfected, Pelagio Francisco
On motion of petitioner, however, the respondent Judge filed an "Omnibus Motion" with the court a quo with the prayer (1) to restrain
reconsidered his finding, relying on the deed of sale as the guardian from exercising office; (2) order guardian to surrender to court all
best evidence of the price paid for the sale of the land. in his properties of the ward; and (3) appoint new guardian . 2
order dated September 12, 1980, respondent judge Petitioner, on December 9, 1980 filed his opposition to the omnibus motion
acknowledged that his finding was "rather harsh and claiming that the same was premature. 3The trial court, however, disregarded
somewhat unfair to the said guardian." Nevertheless, the opposition and required petitioner on January 27, 1981 to submit within
respondent Judge ordered the retirement of petitioner on the three (3) days his nomination for guardian of Estefania San Pedro as
ground of old age. The order states in part as follows: required in its order of September 12, 1980, the court holding that "an
"... considering the rather advanced age of indefinite continuance in office would defeat the intent and purpose of the
the present guardian, this Court is inclined said order of September 12, 1980, relieving the present guardian." 4
and so decrees, that he should nevertheless Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the said order, 5 but the trial court
be, as he is hereby, retired to take effect overruled the same on March 4, 1981. Subsequently, on March 11,
upon the appointment by this court and the 1981, 6 the court a quo appointed respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new
assumption of office of his replacement, who guardian of the person and property of the incompetent Estefania San
shall be taken from the recommendees of Pedro. 7
the parties herein. For this purpose, the On March 13, 1981, petitioner filed with the defunct Court of Appeals a
present guardian is hereby given twenty (20) petition for certiorari challenging the validity of the order of the trial court
days from receipt of a copy of this order granting the execution pending appeal of its decision and appointing
within which to submit his proposal for a respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new guardian despite the fact that
replacement for himself and to comment on respondent is five (5) years older than petitioner, docketed as CA-G.R. No.
petitioner's recommendee and the latter a 12172.
like period within which to comment on the The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition on April 23, 1981, the pertinent
present guardian's proposed substitute, after portion of its decision reading as follows:
which the matter will be deemed submitted The Rules of Court authorizes executions pending appeal
for resolution and final action by the court. "upon good reasons to be stated in a special order." (Rule
SO ORDERED." 39, Sec. 2). In the case at bar, the retirement of petitioner
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that was ordered on the ground of old age. When this ground is
he was only 72 years of age and still fit to continue with the considered in relation to the delay of the petitioner in the
management of the estate of his ward as he had done with making of an accounting and the submission of an inventory,
zeal for the past twelve years. In an order dated November the order amounts to a finding that petitioner, considering his
13, 1980 the court denied his motion. Accordingly, on "rather advanced age," was no longer capable of managing
December 17, 1980, petiti/ner filed a notice of appeal 'from the estate of his ward. Rule 97, Sec. 2). Given this finding, it
the order issued by the court on November 13, 1980' and is clear that petitioner's continuance in office would not be in
the best interest of the ward.
It is of course true that the order of removal is not yet final. WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED for
Considering the time -it normally takes for appeals to be lack of merit.
finally determined as well as the purpose of the order under SO ORDERED. 10
appeal, which would be frustrated if it is not immediately In the petition at bar, petitioner contends that (a) The Honorable Court of
executed, we cannot say that respondent acted with grave Appeals has committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the removal
and irreparable damage and that the order of September 12, of petitioner as guardian of the ward Estefania San Pedro on the ground of
1980 is not yet final, petitioner has not demonstrated that in old age is a good ground for the execution of the decision pending appeal;
ordering execution pending appeal, the respondent Judge and (b) The Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave misapprehension
committed a grave abuse of discretion. and misinterpretation of facts when it declared that petitioner did not question
Indeed, the granting of execution pending appeal ties within the appointment of private respondent as guardian in his stead on the ground
the sound discretion of a court. Appellate courts win not that the latter is older than the former by five (5) years.
interfere to discretion, unless it modify control or inquire into A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred character, in which one
the exercise of this be shown that there has been an abuse person, called a "guardian" acts for another called the "ward" whom the law
of that discretion. (2 Moran, Comments on the Rules of regards as incapable of managing his own affairs.11 A guardianship is
Court, 260 [1979]. designed to further the ward's well-being, not that of the guardian, It is
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, intended to preserve the ward's property, as wen as to render any assistance
without pronouncement as to costs. that the ward may personally require. It has been stated that while custody
SO ORDERED. 8 involves immediate care and control, guardianship indicates not only those
Petitioner subsequently filed another motion for reconsideration advancing responsibilities, but those of one in loco parentis as well. 12
the following arguments: that to grant execution pending appeal would render Having in mind that guardianship proceeding is instituted for the benefit and
petitioner's appeal moot and academic that "advanced age" was not one of welfare of the ward, the selection of a guardian must, therefore, suit this very
the, grounds raised by private respondent in the court below; that the court a purpose. Thus, in determining the selection of a guardian, the court may
quo abuse its discretion in appointing respondent as guardian despite the consider the financial situation, the physical condition, the sound judgment,
fact that private respondent is five (5) years older than petitioner. 9 prudence and trustworthiness, the morals, character and conduct, and the
The respondent appellate court, in its resolution dated June 26, 1981, denied present and past history of a prospective appointee, as wen as the
petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the court finding it unnecessary to probability of his, being able to exercise the powers and duties of guardian
repeat the discussion of the arguments which it had already considered and for the full period during which guardianship will be necessary. 13
only entertained the argument regarding the competency of the respondent A guardian is or becomes incompetent to serve the trust if he is so
as the new guardian. On this point, respondent Court ruled: disqualified by mental incapacity, conviction of crime, moral delinquency or
The order of March 11, 1981 appointing respondent physical disability as to be prevented from properly discharging the duties of
Francisco as guardian was never assailed in the petition in his office. 14 A guardian, once appointed may be removed in case he
this case. As already stated, this case concerns the validity becomes insane or otherwise incapable of discharging his trust or unsuitable
only of the orders of January 27, 1981 and March 4, 1981 therefor, or has wasted or mismanaged the estate, or failed for thirty (30)
which required petitioner to recommend his own days after it is due to render an account or make a return.15
replacement, otherwise the court would appoint a new We agree with the trial court and the appellate court that there is need for
guardian. It does not appear that petitioner objected to the petitioner Feliciano Francisco to be retired from the guardianship over the
appointment of respondent Francisco on the ground now person and property of incompetent Estefania San Pedro. The conclusion
invoked, namely, that Francisco is in fact older than reached by the trial court about the "rather advanced age" of petitioner at 72
petitioner. Nor does it appear that petitioner filed a motion for years old (petitioner is now 76 years old) finding him unfit to continue the
reconsideration of the order of March 11, 1981, calling trust cannot be disturbed. As correctly pointed out by the appellate court, this
attention to the fact that respondent Francisco is older than finds direct support in the delay of the accounting and inventory made by
petitioner, In short, the point now raised does not appear to petitioner. To sustain petitioner as guardian would, therefore, be detrimental
have been urged in the lower court so that the latter could to the ward. While age alone is not a control criterion in determining a
have rectified the error, if it was error at all, For this reason, it person's fitness or qualification to be appointed or be retained as guardian, it
is not proper ground for certiorari before this Court, much may be a factor for consideration. 16
less for a motion for reconsideration.
Considering the difficult and complicated responsibilities and duties of a Nos. 1258 and 1259, which dismissed without prejudice the consolidated
guardian, We sustain the immediate retirement of petitioner Feliciano petitions for adoption of Michelle P. Lim and Michael Jude P. Lim.
Francisco as guardian, affirming thereby the rulings of both the trial court and The Facts
the appellate court. The following facts are undisputed. Petitioner is an optometrist by profession.
With respect to the issue of execution pending appeal in appointing On 23 June 1974, she married Primo Lim (Lim). They were childless. Minor
respondent Pelagio Francisco as guardian to succeed petitioner while the children, whose parents were unknown, were entrusted to them by a certain
latter's appeal was still pending, We hold and rule that respondent appellate Lucia Ayuban (Ayuban). Being so eager to have a child of their own,
court correctly sustained the propriety of said execution pending appeal. petitioner and Lim registered the children to make it appear that they were
Upon urgent and compelling reasons, execution pending appeal is a matter the children’s parents. The children2 were named Michelle P. Lim (Michelle)
of sound discretion on the part of the trial court, 17 and the appellate court and Michael Jude P. Lim (Michael). Michelle was barely eleven days old
will not interfere, control or inquire into the exercise of this discretion, unless when brought to the clinic of petitioner. She was born on 15 March
there has been an abuse thereof, 18 which We find none herein. 1977.3 Michael was 11 days old when Ayuban brought him to petitioner’s
Inasmuch as the primary objective for the institution of guardianship is for the clinic. His date of birth is 1 August 1983.4
protection of the ward, there is more than sufficient reason for the immediate The spouses reared and cared for the children as if they were their own.
execution of the lower court's judgment for the replacement of the first They sent the children to exclusive schools. They used the surname "Lim" in
guardian. We agree with the reason given by the appellate court in sustaining all their school records and documents. Unfortunately, on 28 November
execution pending appeal that "an indefinite continuance in office would 1998, Lim died. On 27 December 2000, petitioner married Angel Olario
defeat the intent and purpose of the order of September 12, 1980, relieving (Olario), an American citizen.
the present guardian (Feliciano Francisco)." Thereafter, petitioner decided to adopt the children by availing of the
As to the issue concerning the appointment of respondent Pelagio Francisco amnesty5 given under Republic Act No. 85526(RA 8552) to those individuals
as the new guardian, We likewise agree with the respondent appellate court who simulated the birth of a child. Thus, on 24 April 2002, petitioner filed
in denying in its resolution of June 26, 1981 for lack of merit the motion for separate petitions for the adoption of Michelle and Michael before the trial
reconsideration filed by petitioner questioning the appointment of private court docketed as SPL PROC. Case Nos. 1258 and 1259, respectively. At
respondent Pelagio Francisco. We also find no abuse of discretion the time of the filing of the petitions for adoption, Michelle was 25 years old
committed by the appellate court. and already married, while Michael was 18 years and seven months old.
The rule is well-established that appellate courts may not entertain issues Michelle and her husband gave their consent to the adoption as evidenced
brought before it for the first time on appeal. (Jose Matienzo vs. Martin by their Affidavits of Consent.7 Michael also gave his consent to his adoption
Servidad, 107 SCRA 276; Garcian vs. Court of Appeals, 102 SCRA 597; as shown in his Affidavit of Consent.8 Petitioner’s husband Olario likewise
Director of Lands vs. Dano 96 SCRA 160). executed an Affidavit of Consent9 for the adoption of Michelle and Michael.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the assailed decision and In the Certification issued by the Department of Social Welfare and
resolution of the respondent court dated April 27, 1981 and June 26, 1981, Development (DSWD), Michelle was considered as an abandoned child and
respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. the whereabouts of her natural parents were unknown.10 The DSWD issued
SO ORDERED. a similar Certification for Michael.11
The Ruling of the Trial Court
35. G.R. Nos. 168992-93 May 21, 2009 On 15 September 2004, the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the
IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHELLE P. LIM, petitions. The trial court ruled that since petitioner had remarried, petitioner
MONINA P. LIM, Petitioner. should have filed the petition jointly with her new husband. The trial court
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x ruled that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory citing
IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHAEL JUDE P. LIM, Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552 and Article 185 of the Family Code.
MONINA P. LIM, Petitioner. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision but the motion
DECISION was denied in the Order dated 16 June 2005. In denying the motion, the trial
CARPIO, J.: court ruled that petitioner did not fall under any of the exceptions under
The Case Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552. Petitioner’s argument that mere consent
This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Monina P. Lim (petitioner) of her husband would suffice was untenable because, under the law, there
seeking to set aside the Decision1 dated 15 September 2004 of the Regional are additional requirements, such as residency and certification of his
Trial Court, General Santos City, Branch 22 (trial court), in SPL. PROC. Case
qualification, which the husband, who was not even made a party in this enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided,
case, must comply. further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the
As to the argument that the adoptees are already emancipated and joint alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the
adoption is merely for the joint exercise of parental authority, the trial court following:
ruled that joint adoption is not only for the purpose of exercising parental (i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative
authority because an emancipated child acquires certain rights from his within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or
parents and assumes certain obligations and responsibilities. (ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of
Hence, the present petition. his/her Filipino spouse; or
Issue (iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to
Petitioner appealed directly to this Court raising the sole issue of whether or adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth
not petitioner, who has remarried, can singly adopt. (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino
The Court’s Ruling spouses; or
Petitioner contends that the rule on joint adoption must be relaxed because it (c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the
is the duty of the court and the State to protect the paramount interest and guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.
welfare of the child to be adopted. Petitioner argues that the legal maxim Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following
"dura lex sed lex" is not applicable to adoption cases. She argues that joint cases:
parental authority is not necessary in this case since, at the time the petitions (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter
were filed, Michelle was 25 years old and already married, while Michael was of the other; or
already 18 years of age. Parental authority is not anymore necessary since (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate
they have been emancipated having attained the age of majority. son/daughter: Provided, however, That the other spouse has
We deny the petition. signified his/her consent thereto; or
Joint Adoption by Husband and Wife (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.
It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate
petitioner had already remarried. She filed the petitions by herself, without son/daughter of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the
being joined by her husband Olario. We have no other recourse but to affirm spouses. (Emphasis supplied)
the trial court’s decision denying the petitions for adoption. Dura lex sed The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision means that joint
lex. The law is explicit. Section 7, Article III of RA 8552 reads: adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in consonance
SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. - The following may adopt: with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal
(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate
and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of child, it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also
any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically insures harmony between the spouses.12
capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than The law is clear. There is no room for ambiguity. Petitioner, having remarried
the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, must jointly adopt. Since the
children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself, without joining her
sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and husband, Olario, the trial court was correct in denying the petitions for
adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of adoption on this ground.
the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent; Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions enumerated in
(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Section 7. First, the children to be adopted are not the legitimate children of
Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic petitioner or of her husband Olario. Second, the children are not the
relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been illegitimate children of petitioner. And third, petitioner and Olario are not
living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to legally separated from each other.
the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such The fact that Olario gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his Affidavit
residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been of Consent does not suffice. There are certain requirements that Olario must
certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate comply being an American citizen. He must meet the qualifications set forth
government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must prove that his country has
his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines; (2) he must have
been living in the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the spouse of the adopter; (2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of the
filing of the application for adoption; (3) he must maintain such residency until adopter; and (3) give adopter and adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations
the adoption decree is entered; (4) he has legal capacity to adopt in his own arising from the relationship of parent and child, including but not limited to:
country; and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopter’s country as the (i) the right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known; and
latter’s adopted child. None of these qualifications were shown and proved (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of
during the trial. each other.18 Therefore, even if emancipation terminates parental authority,
These requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with all the
to adopt cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section 7. The children or rights19 of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of the father
adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity and the mother; (2) to receive support from their parents; and (3) to be
of petitioner or of Olario. Neither are the adoptees the legitimate children of entitled to the legitime and other successional rights. Conversely, the
petitioner. adoptive parents shall, with respect to the adopted child, enjoy all the
Effects of Adoption benefits to which biological parents are entitled20 such as support21 and
Petitioner contends that joint parental authority is not anymore necessary successional rights.22
since the children have been emancipated having reached the age of We are mindful of the fact that adoption statutes, being humane and salutary,
majority. This is untenable. hold the interests and welfare of the child to be of paramount consideration.
Parental authority includes caring for and rearing the children for civic They are designed to provide homes, parental care and education for
consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and unfortunate, needy or orphaned children and give them the protection of
physical character and well-being.13 The father and the mother shall jointly society and family, as well as to allow childless couples or persons to
exercise parental authority over the persons of their common experience the joys of parenthood and give them legally a child in the person
children.14 Even the remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental instincts. Every
parental authority over the children, unless the court appoints another person reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble
to be the guardian of the person or property of the children.15 and compassionate objectives of the law.23 But, as we have ruled in Republic
It is true that when the child reaches the age of emancipation — that is, when v. Vergara:24
he attains the age of majority or 18 years of age16 — emancipation We are not unmindful of the main purpose of adoption statutes, which is the
terminates parental authority over the person and property of the child, who promotion of the welfare of the children. Accordingly, the law should be
shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life.17 However, construed liberally, in a manner that will sustain rather than defeat said
parental authority is merely just one of the effects of legal adoption. Article V purpose. The law must also be applied with compassion, understanding and
of RA 8552 enumerates the effects of adoption, thus: less severity in view of the fact that it is intended to provide homes, love, care
ARTICLE V and education for less fortunate children. Regrettably, the Court is not in a
EFFECTS OF ADOPTION position to affirm the trial court’s decision favoring adoption in the case at
SEC. 16. Parental Authority. - Except in cases where the biological parent is bar, for the law is clear and it cannot be modified without violating the
the spouse of the adopter, all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and proscription against judicial legislation. Until such time however, that the
the adoptee shall be severed and the same shall then be vested on the law on the matter is amended, we cannot sustain the respondent-spouses’
adopter(s). petition for adoption. (Emphasis supplied)1avvphi1.zw+
SEC. 17. Legitimacy. - The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate Petitioner, being married at the time the petitions for adoption were filed,
son/daughter of the adopter(s) for all intents and purposes and as such is should have jointly filed the petitions with her husband. We cannot make our
entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate own legislation to suit petitioner.
sons/daughters born to them without discrimination of any kind. To this end, Petitioner, in her Memorandum, insists that subsequent events would show
the adoptee is entitled to love, guidance, and support in keeping with the that joint adoption could no longer be possible because Olario has filed a
means of the family. case for dissolution of his marriage to petitioner in the Los Angeles Superior
SEC. 18. Succession. - In legal and intestate succession, the adopter(s) and Court.
the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from We disagree. The filing of a case for dissolution of the marriage between
legitimate filiation. However, if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s) petitioner and Olario is of no moment. It is not equivalent to a decree of
had left a will, the law on testamentary succession shall govern. dissolution of marriage. Until and unless there is a judicial decree for the
Adoption has, thus, the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties between the dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Olario, the marriage still
biological parent(s) and the adoptee, except when the biological parent is the subsists. That being the case, joint adoption by the husband and the wife is
required. We reiterate our ruling above that since, at the time the petitions for tendencies.5 She insisted, however, that they "remained friends for fifteen
adoption were filed, petitioner was married to Olario, joint adoption is (15) years despite their separation(.)"6chanrobleslaw
mandatory.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 15 On August 1, 2000, Jose filed a petition7 for adoption before the Regional
September 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, General Santos City, Branch 22 Trial Court of Batac, Ilocos Norte. In the petition, he alleged that Jed and
in SPL. PROC. Case Nos. 1258 and 1259. Costs against petitioner. Regina were his illegitimate children with Lilibeth Fernandez Gregorio
SO ORDERED. (Lilibeth),8 whom Rosario alleged was his erstwhile housekeeper.9 At the
time of the filing of the petition, Jose was 70 years old. 10chanrobleslaw
36. G.R. No. 188801, October 15, 2014
ROSARIO MATA CASTRO AND JOANNE BENEDICTA CHARISSIMA M. According to the Home Study Report11 conducted by the Social Welfare
CASTRO, A.K.A. "MARIA SOCORRO M. CASTRO" AND "JAYROSE M. Officer of the trial court, Jose belongs to a prominent and respected family,
CASTRO," Petitioners, v. JOSE MARIA JED LEMUEL GREGORIO AND being one of the three children of former Governor Mauricio Castro.
ANA MARIA REGINA GREGORIO, Respondents.
DECISION He was also a well-known lawyer in Manila and Ilocos Norte.12 The report
LEONEN, J.: mentioned that he was once married to Rosario, but the marriage did not
The policy of the law is clear. In order to maintain harmony, there must be a produce any children.13 It also stated that he met and fell in love with Lilibeth
showing of notice and consent. This cannot be defeated by mere procedural in 1985, and Lilibeth was able to bear him two children, Jed on August 1987,
devices. In all instances where it appears that a spouse attempts to adopt a and Regina on March 1989.14 Under "Motivation for Adoption," the social
child out of wedlock, the other spouse and other legitimate children must be welfare officer noted:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
personally notified through personal service of summons. It is not enough Since, he has no child with his marriaged [sic] to Rosario Mata, he was not
that they be deemed notified through constructive service. able to fulfill his dreams to parent a child. However, with the presence of his
2 illegitimate children will fulfill his dreams [sic] and it is his intention to
This is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the decision2 of the Court legalize their relationship and surname. . . .15
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 101021, which denied the petition for
annulment of judgment filed by petitioners. The petition before the appellate At the time of the report, Jose was said to be living with Jed and Regina
court sought to annul the judgment of the trial court that granted respondents' temporarily in Batac, Ilocos Norte.16 The children have allegedly been in his
decree of adoption.3chanrobleslaw custody since Lilibeth's death in July 1995.17chanrobleslaw

The case originally stemmed from the adoption of Jose Maria Jed Lemuel On October 16, 2000, the trial court approved the adoption, 18 having ruled
Gregorio (Jéd) and Ana Maria Regina Gregorio (Regina) by Atty. Jose G. that "[n]o opposition had been received by this Court from any person
Castro (Jose). Jose is the estranged husband of Rosario Mata Castro including the government which was represented by the Office of the Solicitor
(Rosario) and the father of Joanne Benedicta Charissima M. Castro General."19 A certificate of finality20 was issued on February 9, 2006.
(Joanne), also known by her baptismal name, "Maria Socorro M. Castro" and
her nickname, "Jayrose." Meanwhile, on July 3, 2006, Rosario, through her lawyer, Atty. Rene V.
Saguisag, filed a complaint for disbarment against Jose with the Integrated
Rosario alleged that she and Jose were married on August 5, 1962 in Laoag Bar of the Philippines.21 In her complaint, she alleged that Jose had been
City. Their marriage had allegedly been troubled. They had a child, Rose remiss in providing support for their daughter, Joanne, for the past 36
Marie, who was born in 1963, but succumbed to congenital heart disease years.22 She alleged that she single-handedly raised and provided financial
and only lived for nine days. Rosario allegedly left Jose after a couple of support to Joanne while Jose had been showering gifts to his driver and
months because of the incompatibilities between them.4chanrobleslaw alleged lover, Larry R. Rentegrado (Larry), and even went to the extent of
adopting Larry's two children, Jed and Regina, without her and Joanne's
Rosario and Jose, however, briefly reconciled in 1969. Rosario gave birth to knowledge and consent.23She also alleged that Jose made blatant lies to the
Joanne a year later. She and Jose allegedly lived as husband and wife for trial court by alleging that Jed and Regina were his illegitimate children with
about a year even if she lived in Manila and Jose stayed in Laoag City. Jose Larry's wife, Lilibeth, to cover up for his homosexual relationship with
would visit her in Manila during weekends. Afterwards, they separated Larry.24chanrobleslaw
permanently because Rosario alleged that Jose had homosexual
In his answer before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Jose denies being perpetrated during the trial and could not be classified as extrinsic fraud,
remiss in his fatherly duties to Joanne during her minority. He alleged that he which is required in an action for annulment of judgment.38chanrobleslaw
always offered help, but it was often declined.25 He also alleged that he
adopted Jed and Regina because they are his illegitimate children. He When Rosario and Joanne's motion for reconsideration was denied on July
denied having committed any of the falsification alluded to by Rosario. He 10, 2009,39 they filed this petition.
also stated that he had suffered a stroke in 1998 that left him paralyzed. He
alleged that his income had been diminished because several properties had The issue before this court is whether the Court of Appeals erred in denying
to be sold to pay for medical treatments.26 He then implored the Integrated the petition for annulment for failure of petitioners to (1) show that the trial
Bar of the Philippines to weigh on the case with "justice and court lacked jurisdiction and (2) show the existence of extrinsic fraud.
equity."27chanrobleslaw
In their petition, petitioners argue that the appellate court erred in its
On October 8, 2006, Jose died in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.28chanrobleslaw application of the law on extrinsic fraud as ground to annul a
judgment.40 They argue that because of the fabricated consent obtained by
On October 18, 2007, Rosario and Joanne filed a petition for annulment of Jose and the alleged false information shown in the birth certificates
judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Civil Procedure with the Court of presented as evidence before the trial court,41 they were not given the
Appeals, seeking to annul the October 16, 2000 decision of the trial court opportunity to oppose the petition since the entire proceedings were
approving Jed and Regina's adoption.29chanrobleslaw concealed from them.42chanrobleslaw

In their petition, Rosario and Joanne allege that they learned of the adoption Petitioners also argue that the appellate court misunderstood and misapplied
sometime in 2005.30 They allege that Rosario's affidavit of consent, marked the law on jurisdiction despite the denial of due process, notice, and non-
by the trial court as "Exh. K,"31 was fraudulent.32 They also allege that Jed inclusion of indispensable parties.43 They argue that the adoption of
and Regina's birth certificates showed different sets of information, such as illegitimate children requires the consent, not only of the spouse, but also the
the age of their mother, Lilibeth, at the time she gave birth. They argue that legitimate children 10 years or over of the adopter, and such consent was
one set of birth certificates states the father to be Jose and in another set of never secured from Joanne.44chanrobleslaw
National Statistic Office certificates shows the father to be Larry, Jose's
driver and alleged lover.33 It was further alleged that Jed and Regina are not Respondents, however, argue in their comment that petitioners could not
actually Jose's illegitimate children but the legitimate children of Lilibeth and have been deprived of their day in court since their interest was "amply
Larry who were married at the time of their birth.34chanrobleslaw protected by the participation and representation of the Solicitor General
through the deputized public prosecutor."45chanrobleslaw
On May 26, 2009, the Court of Appeals denied the petition.
Respondents also argue that there was constructive notice through
While admittedly, no notice was given by the trial court to Rosario and publication for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general
Joanne of the adoption, the appellate court ruled that there is "no explicit circulation, which constitutes not only notice to them but also notice to the
provision in the rules that the spouse and legitimate child of the adopter . . . world of the adoption proceedings.46 They argue that since the alleged fraud
should be personally notified of the hearing." 35chanrobleslaw was perpetrated during the trial, it cannot be said to be extrinsic fraud but
intrinsic fraud, which is not a ground for annulment of judgment. 47 They also
The appellate court "abhor[red] the mind baffling scheme employed by [Jose] argue that petitioners were not indispensable parties because adoption is an
in obtaining an adoption decree in favor of [his illegitimate children] to the action in rem and, as such, the only indispensable party is the
prejudice of the interests of his legitimate heirs"36 but stated that its hands state.48chanrobleslaw
were bound by the trial court decision that had already attained "finality and
immutability."37chanrobleslaw The petition is granted.

The appellate court also ruled that the alleged fraudulent information Annulment of judgment under Rule 47
contained in the different sets of birth certificates required the determination of the Rules of Civil Procedure
of the identities of the persons stated therein and was, therefore, beyond the
scope of the action for annulment of judgment. The alleged fraud was also Under Rule 47, Section 1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may file an
action with the Court of Appeals to annul judgments or final orders and parties.53 Extrinsic fraud, on the other hand, is "[that which] prevents a party
resolutions in civil actions of Regional Trial Courts. This remedy will only be from having a trial or from presenting his entire case to the court, or [that
available if "the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or which] operates upon matters pertaining not to the judgment itself but to the
other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the manner in which it is procured."54chanrobleslaw
petitioner."49chanrobleslaw
The grant of adoption over respondents should be annulled as the trial court
In Dare Adventure Farm Corporation v. Court of Appeals:50chanrobleslaw did not validly acquire jurisdiction over the proceedings, and the favorable
A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in decision was obtained through extrinsic fraud.
nature that it may be availed of only when other remedies are wanting, and
only if the judgment, final order or final resolution sought, to be annulled was Jurisdiction over adoption proceedings
rendered by a court lacking jurisdiction or through extrinsic fraud. Yet, the vis-a-vis the law on adoption
remedy, being exceptional in character, is not allowed to be so easily and
readily abused by parties aggrieved by the final judgments, orders or Petitioners argue that they should have been given notice by the trial court of
resolutions. The Court has thus instituted safeguards by limiting the grounds the adoption, as adoption laws require their consent as a requisite in the
for the annulment to lack of jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud, and by proceedings.
prescribing in Section 1 of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court that the petitioner
should show that the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief Petitioners are correct.
or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the
petitioner. A petition for annulment that ignores or disregards any of the It is settled that "the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the statute in
safeguards cannot prosper. force at the time of the commencement of the action." 55 As Jose filed the
petition for adoption on August 1, 2000, it is Republic Act No. 8552 56 which
The attitude of judicial reluctance towards the annulment of a judgment, final applies over the proceedings. The law on adoption requires that the adoption
order or final resolution is understandable, for the remedy disregards the by the father of a child born out of wedlock obtain not only the consent of his
time-honored doctrine of immutability and unalterability of final judgments, a wife but also the consent of his legitimate children.
solid corner stone in the dispensation of justice by the courts. The doctrine of
immutability and unalterability serves a two-fold purpose, namely: (a) to avoid Under Article III, Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8552, the husband must first
delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly obtain the consent of his wife if he seeks to adopt his own children born out
the discharge of judicial business; and (b) to put an end to judicial of wedlock:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why the ARTICLE III
courts exist. As to the first, a judgment that has acquired finality becomes ELIGIBILITY
immutable and unalterable and is no longer to be modified in any respect
even if the modification is meant to correct an erroneous conclusion of fact or SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. — The following may
of law, and whether the modification is made by the court that rendered the adopt:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
decision or by the highest court of the land. As to the latter, controversies
cannot drag on indefinitely because fundamental considerations of public Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following
policy and sound practice demand that the rights and obligations of every cases:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
litigant must not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of
time.51 (Emphasis supplied) (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or

Because of the exceptional nature of the remedy, there are only two grounds (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter:
by which annulment of judgment may be availed of: extrinsic fraud, which Provided, however, That the other spouse has signified, his/her consent
must be brought four years from discovery, and lack of jurisdiction, which thereto; or
must be brought before it is barred by estoppel or laches. 52chanrobleslaw
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other. . . (Emphasis
Lack of jurisdiction under this rule means lack of jurisdiction over the nature supplied)
of the action or subject matter, or lack of jurisdiction over the
To circumvent this requirement, however, Jose manifested to the trial court
The provision is mandatory. As a general rule, the husband and wife must file that he and Rosario were childless, thereby preventing Joanne from being
a joint petition for adoption. The rationale for this is stated in In Re: Petition notified of the proceedings. As her written consent was never obtained, the
for Adoption of Michelle P. Lim:57chanrobleslaw adoption was not valid.
The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision means that joint
adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in consonance For the adoption to be valid, petitioners' consent was required by Republic
with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal Act No. 8552. Personal service of summons should have been effected on
situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate the spouse and all legitimate children to ensure that their substantive rights
child, it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also are protected. It is not enough to rely on constructive notice as in this case.
insures harmony between the spouses.58 Surreptitious use of procedural technicalities cannot be privileged over
substantive statutory rights.
The law provides for several exceptions to the general rule, as in a situation
where a spouse seeks to adopt his or her own children born out of wedlock. Since the trial court failed to personally serve notice on Rosario and Joanne
In this instance, joint adoption is not necessary. However, the spouse of the proceedings, it never validly acquired jurisdiction.
seeking to adopt must first obtain the consent of his or her spouse.
There was extrinsic fraud
In the absence of any decree of legal separation or annulment, Jose and
Rosario remained legally married despite their de facto separation. For Jose The appellate court, in denying the petition, ruled that while fraud may have
to be eligible to adopt Jed and Regina, Rosario must first signify her consent been committed in this case, it was only intrinsic fraud, rather than extrinsic
to the adoption. Jose, however, did not validly obtain Rosario's consent. His fraud. This is erroneous.
submission of a fraudulent affidavit of consent in her name cannot be
considered compliance of the requisites of the law. Had Rosario been given In People v. Court of Appeals and Socorro Florece:59chanrobleslaw
notice by the trial court of the proceedings, she would have had a reasonable Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in litigation
opportunity to contest the validity of the affidavit. Since her consent was not committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party is
obtained, Jose was ineligible to adopt. prevented from fully exhibiting his side of the case by fraud or
deception practiced on him by his opponent, such as by keeping him
The law also requires the written consent of the adopter's children if they are away from court, by giving him a false promise of a compromise, or where
10 years old or older. In Article III, Section 9 of Republic Act No. the defendant never had the knowledge of the suit, being kept in ignorance
8552:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary by the acts of the plaintiff, or where an attorney fraudulently or without
SEC. 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. — After being authority connives at his defeat.60 (Emphasis supplied)
properly counseled and informed of his/her right to give or withhold his/her
approval of the adoption, the written consent of the following to the adoption An action for annulment based on extrinsic fraud must be brought within four
is hereby required:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary years from discovery.61Petitioners alleged that they were made aware of the
adoption only in 2005. The filing of this petition on October 18, 2007 is within
(c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, the period allowed by the rules.
of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any; (Emphasis supplied)
The badges of fraud are present in this case.
The consent of the adopter's other children is necessary as it ensures
harmony among the prospective siblings. It also sufficiently puts the other First, the petition for adoption was filed in a place that had no relation to any
children on notice that they will have to share their parent's love and care, as of the parties. Jose was a resident of Laoag City, llocos Norte.62 Larry and
well as their future legitimes, with another person. Lilibeth were residents of Barangay 6, Laoag City.63 Jed and Regina were
born in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.64 Rosario and Joanne were residents of
It is undisputed that Joanne was Jose and Rosario's legitimate child and that Parañaque City, Manila.65 The petition for adoption, however, was filed in the
she was over 10 years old at the time of the adoption proceedings. Her Regional Trial Court of Batac, Ilocos Norte.66 The trial court gave due course
written consent, therefore, was necessary for the adoption to be valid. to the petition on Jose's bare allegation in his petition that he was a resident
of Batac,67 even though it is admitted in the Home Study Report that he was
a practicing lawyer in Laoag City.68chanrobleslaw
Jose's actions prevented Rosario and Joanne from having a reasonable
Second, using the process of delayed registration, 69 Jose was able to secure opportunity to contest the adoption. Had Rosario and Joanne been allowed
birth certificates for Jed and Regina showing him to be the father and Larry to participate, the trial court would have hesitated to grant Jose's petition
as merely the informant.70 Worse still is that two different sets of fraudulent since he failed to fulfill the necessary requirements under the law. There can
certificates were procured: one showing that Jose and Lilibeth were married be no other conclusion than that because of Jose's acts, the trial court
on December 4, 1986 in Manila,71 and another wherein the portion for the granted the decree of adoption under fraudulent circumstances.
mother's name was not filled in at all.72 The birth certificates of Jed and
Regina from the National Statistics Office, however, show that their father The law itself provides for penal sanctions for those who violate its
was Larry R. Rentegrado.73 These certificates are in clear contradiction to the provisions. Under Article VII, Section 21 of Republic Act No.
birth certificates submitted by Jose to the trial court in support of his petition 8552:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
for adoption. ARTICLE VII
VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES
Third, Jose blatantly lied to the trial court when he declared that his
motivation for adoption was because he and his wife, Rosario, were SEC. 21. Violations and Penalties. —
childless,74 to the prejudice of their daughter, Joanne. The consent of
Rosario to the adoption was also disputed by Rosario and alleged to be (a) The penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day
fraudulent.75chanrobleslaw to twelve (12) years and/or a fine not less than Fifty thousand pesos
(P50,000.00), but not more than Two hundred thousand pesos
All these tactics were employed by Jose, not only to induce the trial court in (P200,000.00) at the discretion of the court shall be imposed on any
approving his petition, but also to prevent Rosario and Joanne from person who shall commit any of the following acts:
participating in the proceedings or opposing the petition. (i) obtaining consent for an adoption through coercion, undue influence,
fraud, improper material inducement, or other similar acts;
The appellate court erroneously classified the fraud employed by Jose as (ii) non-compliance with the procedures and safeguards provided by the law
intrinsic on the basis that they were "forged instruments or perjured for adoption; or
testimonies"76 presented during the trial. It failed to understand, however, (iii) subjecting or exposing the child to be adopted to danger, abuse, or
that fraud is considered intrinsic when the other party was either present at exploitation.
the trial or was a participant in the proceedings when such instrument or (b) Any person who shall cause the fictitious registration of the birth of a
testimony was presented in court, thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary child under the name(s) of a person(s) who is not his/her biological
[I]ntrinsic fraud refers to the acts of a party at a trial that prevented a fair and parent(s) shall be guilty of simulation of birth, and shall be punished by
just determination of the case, but the difference is that the acts or things, prision mayor in its medium period and a fine not exceeding Fifty
like falsification and false testimony, could have been litigated and thousand pesos (P50.000.00). (Emphasis supplied)
determined at the trial or adjudication of the case. In other words, intrinsic
fraud does not deprive the petitioner of his day in court because he can Unfortunately, Jose's death carried with it the extinguishment of any of his
guard against that kind of fraud through so many means, including a criminal liabilities.78 Republic Act No. 8552 also fails to provide any provision
thorough trial preparation, a skillful, cross-examination, resorting to the on the status of adoption decrees if the adoption is found to have been
modes of discovery, and proper scientific or forensic applications. Indeed, obtained fraudulently. Petitioners also cannot invoke Article VI, Section 19 of
forgery of documents and evidence for use at the trial and perjury in court Republic Act No. 855279 since rescission of adoption can only be availed of
testimony have been regarded as not preventing the participation of any by the adoptee. Petitioners, therefore, are left with no other remedy in law
party in the proceedings, and are not, therefore, constitutive of extrinsic other than the annulment of the judgment.
fraud.77 (Emphasis supplied)
The fraud employed in this case has been to Joanne's prejudice. There is
When fraud is employed by a party precisely to prevent the participation of reason to believe that Joanne has grown up having never experienced the
any other interested party, as in this case, then the fraud is extrinsic, love and care of a father, her parents having separated a year after her birth.
regardless of whether the fraud was committed through the use of forged She has never even benefited from any monetary support from her father.
documents or perjured testimony during the trial. Despite all these adversities, Joanne was able to obtain a medical degree
from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine80 and is now legal heir. Pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code of the Philippines, the
working as a doctor in Canada.81 These accomplishments, however, are poor minor shall be known as STEPHANIE NATHY CATINDIG.
substitutes if the injustice done upon her is allowed to continue. Upon finality of this Decision, let the same be entered in the Local Civil
Registrar concerned pursuant to Rule 99 of the Rules of Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated October 16, Let copy of this Decision be furnished the National Statistics Office for record
2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Batac, Ilocos Norte, Branch 17 in SP. purposes.
Proc. No. 3445-17 is rendered NULL and VOID. SO ORDERED."4
On April 20, 2001, petitioner filed a motion for clarification and/or
SO ORDERED. reconsideration5 praying that Stephanie should be allowed to use the
surname of her natural mother (GARCIA) as her middle name.
On May 28, 2001,6 the trial court denied petitioner’s motion for
37. G.R. No. 148311. March 31, 2005 reconsideration holding that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing an
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY ASTORGA adopted child to use the surname of his biological mother as his middle
GARCIA name.
HONORATO B. CATINDIG, petitioner. Hence, the present petition raising the issue of whether an illegitimate child
DECISION may use the surname of her mother as her middle name when she is
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: subsequently adopted by her natural father.
May an illegitimate child, upon adoption by her natural father, use the Petitioner submits that the trial court erred in depriving Stephanie of a middle
surname of her natural mother as her middle name? This is the issue name as a consequence of adoption because: (1) there is no law prohibiting
raised in the instant case. an adopted child from having a middle name in case there is only one
The facts are undisputed. adopting parent; (2) it is customary for every Filipino to have as middle name
On August 31, 2000, Honorato B. Catindig, herein petitioner, filed a the surname of the mother; (3) the middle name or initial is a part of the
petition1 to adopt his minor illegitimate child Stephanie Nathy Astorga name of a person; (4) adoption is for the benefit and best interest of the
Garcia. He alleged therein, among others, that Stephanie was born on June adopted child, hence, her right to bear a proper name should not be violated;
26, 1994;2that her mother is Gemma Astorga Garcia; that Stephanie has (5) permitting Stephanie to use the middle name "Garcia" (her mother’s
been using her mother’s middle name and surname; and that he is now a surname) avoids the stigma of her illegitimacy; and; (6) her continued use of
widower and qualified to be her adopting parent. He prayed that Stephanie’s "Garcia" as her middle name is not opposed by either the Catindig or Garcia
middle name Astorga be changed to "Garcia," her mother’s surname, and families.
that her surname "Garcia" be changed to "Catindig," his surname. The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), agrees with
On March 23, 2001,3 the trial court rendered the assailed Decision granting petitioner that Stephanie should be permitted to use, as her middle name, the
the adoption, thus: surname of her natural mother for the following reasons:
"After a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the petitioner, First, it is necessary to preserve and maintain Stephanie’s filiation with her
and in the absence of any opposition to the petition, this Court finds that the natural mother because under Article 189 of the Family Code, she remains to
petitioner possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualification be an intestate heir of the latter. Thus, to prevent any confusion and
provided for by law as an adoptive parent, and that as such he is qualified to needless hardship in the future, her relationship or proof of that relationship
maintain, care for and educate the child to be adopted; that the grant of this with her natural mother should be maintained.
petition would redound to the best interest and welfare of the minor Second, there is no law expressly prohibiting Stephanie to use the surname
Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. The Court further holds that the petitioner’s of her natural mother as her middle name. What the law does not prohibit, it
care and custody of the child since her birth up to the present constitute more allows.
than enough compliance with the requirement of Article 35 of Presidential Last, it is customary for every Filipino to have a middle name, which is
Decree No. 603. ordinarily the surname of the mother. This custom has been recognized by
WHEREFORE, finding the petition to be meritorious, the same is GRANTED. the Civil Code and Family Code. In fact, the Family Law Committees agreed
Henceforth, Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia is hereby freed from all that "the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the
obligations of obedience and maintenance with respect to her natural mother, surname of the father so that the second name, if any, will be before the
and for civil purposes, shall henceforth be the petitioner’s legitimate child and surname of the mother."7
We find merit in the petition.
Use Of Surname Is Fixed By Law – (1) Add a middle name or the mother's surname,
For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the designation by (2) Add the Roman numerals II, III, and so on.
which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best x x x"
known. It is defined as the word or combination of words by which a person Law Is Silent As To The Use Of
is distinguished from other individuals and, also, as the label or appellation Middle Name –
which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him, or As correctly submitted by both parties, there is no law regulating the use of a
in speaking of or dealing with him.8 It is both of personal as well as public middle name. Even Article 17611 of the Family Code, as amended by
interest that every person must have a name. Republic Act No. 9255, otherwise known as "An Act Allowing Illegitimate
The name of an individual has two parts: (1) the given or proper name and Children To Use The Surname Of Their Father," is silent as to what middle
(2) the surname or family name. The given or proper name is that which is name a child may use.
given to the individual at birth or at baptism, to distinguish him from other The middle name or the mother’s surname is only considered in Article
individuals. The surname or family name is that which identifies the family to 375(1), quoted above, in case there is identity of names and surnames
which he belongs and is continued from parent to child. The given name may between ascendants and descendants, in which case, the middle name or
be freely selected by the parents for the child, but the surname to which the the mother’s surname shall be added.
child is entitled is fixed by law.9 Notably, the law is likewise silent as to what middle name an adoptee
Thus, Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code provides the substantive rules may use. Article 365 of the Civil Code merely provides that "an adopted child
which regulate the use of surname10 of an individual whatever may be his shall bear the surname of the adopter." Also, Article 189 of the Family Code,
status in life, i.e., whether he may be legitimate or illegitimate, an adopted enumerating the legal effects of adoption, is likewise silent on the matter,
child, a married woman or a previously married woman, or a widow, thus: thus:
"Art. 364. Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use "(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate
the surname of the father. child of the adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and
Art. 365. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including
xxx the right of the adopted to use the surname of the adopters;
Art. 369. Children conceived before the decree annulling a voidable marriage x x x"
shall principally use the surname of the father. However, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, the members of the Civil
Art. 370. A married woman may use: Code and Family Law Committees that drafted the Family Code recognized
(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or the Filipino custom of adding the surname of the child’s mother as his
(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or middle name. In the Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and
(3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his Family Law Committees, the members approved the suggestion that the
wife, such as ‘Mrs.’ initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the
Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, surname of the father, thus
she shall resume her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent "Justice Caguioa commented that there is a difference between the use by
spouse, she may resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may the wife of the surname and that of the child because the father’s surname
choose to continue employing her former husband's surname, unless: indicates the family to which he belongs, for which reason he would
(1) The court decrees otherwise, or insist on the use of the father’s surname by the child but that, if he
(2) She or the former husband is married again to another person. wants to, the child may also use the surname of the mother.
Art. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue Justice Puno posed the question: If the child chooses to use the surname of
using her name and surname employed before the legal separation. the mother, how will his name be written? Justice Caguioa replied that it is up
Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he to him but that his point is that it should be mandatory that the child uses
were still living, in accordance with Article 370. the surname of the father and permissive in the case of the surname of
Art. 374. In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person the mother.
shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid Prof. Baviera remarked that Justice Caguioa’s point is covered by the
confusion. present Article 364, which reads:
Art. 375. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the
and descendants, the word ‘Junior’ can be used only by a son. Grandsons father.
and other direct male descendants shall either:
Justice Puno pointed out that many names change through no choice of the Adoption Act of 1998,"19 secures these rights and privileges for the
person himself precisely because of this misunderstanding. He then cited the adopted.20
following example: Alfonso Ponce Enrile’s correct surname is Ponce since One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a
the mother’s surname is Enrile but everybody calls him Atty. Enrile. Justice legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and purposes pursuant to Article
Jose Gutierrez David’s family name is Gutierrez and his mother’s surname is 18921 of the Family Code and Section 1722 Article V of RA 8552.23
David but they all call him Justice David. Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption, it follows that
Justice Caguioa suggested that the proposed Article (12) be modified Stephanie is entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate
to the effect that it shall be mandatory on the child to use the surname child without discrimination of any kind, including the right to bear the
of the father but he may use the surname of the mother by way of an surname of her father and her mother, as discussed above. This is
initial or a middle name. Prof. Balane stated that they take note of this for consistent with the intention of the members of the Civil Code and Family
inclusion in the Chapter on Use of Surnames since in the proposed Article Law Committees as earlier discussed. In fact, it is a Filipino custom that the
(10) they are just enumerating the rights of legitimate children so that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of
details can be covered in the appropriate chapter. the father.
xxx Additionally, as aptly stated by both parties, Stephanie’s continued use of her
Justice Puno remarked that there is logic in the simplification suggested by mother’s surname (Garcia) as her middle name will maintain her maternal
Justice Caguioa that the surname of the father should always be last lineage. It is to be noted that Article 189(3) of the Family Code and Section
because there are so many traditions like the American tradition where they 1824, Article V of RA 8552 (law on adoption) provide that the adoptee
like to use their second given name and the Latin tradition, which is also remains an intestate heir of his/her biological parent. Hence, Stephanie can
followed by the Chinese wherein they even include the Clan name. well assert or claim her hereditary rights from her natural mother in the
xxx future.
Justice Puno suggested that they agree in principle that in the Chapter Moreover, records show that Stephanie and her mother are living together in
on the Use of Surnames, they should say that initial or surname of the the house built by petitioner for them at 390 Tumana, San Jose, Baliuag,
mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that Bulacan. Petitioner provides for all their needs. Stephanie is closely attached
the second name, if any, will be before the surname of the mother. Prof. to both her mother and father. She calls them "Mama" and "Papa". Indeed,
Balane added that this is really the Filipino way. The Committee they are one normal happy family. Hence, to allow Stephanie to use her
approved the suggestion."12 (Emphasis supplied) mother’s surname as her middle name will not only sustain her continued
In the case of an adopted child, the law provides that "the adopted shall bear loving relationship with her mother but will also eliminate the stigma of her
the surname of the adopters."13 Again, it is silent whether he can use a illegitimacy.
middle name. What it only expressly allows, as a matter of right and Liberal Construction of
obligation, is for the adoptee to bear the surname of the adopter, upon Adoption Statutes In Favor Of
issuance of the decree of adoption.14 Adoption –
The Underlying Intent of It is a settled rule that adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, should
Adoption Is In Favor of the be liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of adoption.25 The
Adopted Child – interests and welfare of the adopted child are of primary and paramount
Adoption is defined as the process of making a child, whether related or not consideration,26 hence, every reasonable intendment should be sustained to
to the adopter, possess in general, the rights accorded to a legitimate promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. 27
child.15 It is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem which creates between two Lastly, Art. 10 of the New Civil Code provides that:
persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity "In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed
and filiation.16 The modern trend is to consider adoption not merely as an act that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail."
to establish a relationship of paternity and filiation, but also as an act which This provision, according to the Code Commission, "is necessary so that it
endows the child with a legitimate status.17 This was, indeed, confirmed in may tip the scales in favor of right and justice when the law is doubtful or
1989, when the Philippines, as a State Party to the Convention of the obscure. It will strengthen the determination of the courts to avoid an injustice
Rights of the Child initiated by the United Nations, accepted the which may apparently be authorized by some way of interpreting the law."28
principle that adoption is impressed with social and moral Hence, since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate child adopted by her
responsibility, and that its underlying intent is geared to favor the natural father, like Stephanie, to use, as middle name her mother’s surname,
adopted child.18 Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise known as the "Domestic we find no reason why she should not be allowed to do so.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision is partly Superintendent Co Yee Co, Jr., and Police Chief Inspector Agapito Quimson
MODIFIED in the sense that Stephanie should be allowed to use her refused to release PO1 Ampatuan.
mother’s surname "GARCIA" as her middle name. This prompted Petitioner to file the petition for writ of habeas corpus in the
Let the corresponding entry of her correct and complete name be entered in RTC of Manila, Branch 37.5
the decree of adoption. Private respondents had another version of the antecedent facts. They
SO ORDERED. narrated that at around 7:08 o’clock in the evening of 10 November 2007, a
sixty-four-year-old man, later identified as Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of
38. G.R. No. 182497 June 29, 2010 the COMELEC Legal Department, was killed at the corner of M. H. Del Pilar
NURHIDA JUHURI AMPATUAN, Petitioner, and Pedro Gil Streets, Ermita, Manila. Investigation conducted by the Manila
vs. Police District (MPD) Homicide Section yielded the identity of the male
JUDGE VIRGILIO V. MACARAIG, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, MANILA, perpetrator as PO1 Ampatuan. Consequently, PO1 Ampatuan was
BRANCH 37, DIRECTOR GENERAL AVELINO RAZON, JR., DIRECTOR commanded to the MPD District Director for proper disposition. Likewise,
GEARY BARIAS, PSSUPT. CO YEE M. CO, JR. and POLICE CHIEF inquest proceedings were conducted by the Manila Prosecutor’s Office.
INSPECTOR AGAPITO QUIMSON, Respondents. On 18 April 2008, Police Senior Superintendent Atty. Clarence V. Guinto,
DECISION rendered his Pre-Charge Evaluation Report against PO1 Ampatuan, finding
PEREZ, J.: probable cause to charge PO1 Ampatuan with Grave Misconduct (Murder)
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 651 of the Rules of and recommending that said PO1 Ampatuan be subjected to summary
Court assailing the Order dated 25 April 2008 of the Regional Trial Court hearing.
(RTC) of Manila, Branch 37, in Special Proceeding No. 08-119132 which On even date, a charge sheet for Grave Misconduct was executed against
denied the petition for Habeas Corpus filed by herein Petitioner Nurhida PO1 Ampatuan, the accusatory portion of which reads:
Juhuri Ampatuan in behalf of her husband Police Officer 1 Basser B. CHARGE SHEET
Ampatuan2 (PO1 Ampatuan). THE UNDERSIGNED NOMINAL COMPLAINANT hereby charges above-
Petitioner alleged in her petition that her husband PO1 Ampatuan was named respondent of the administrative offense of Grave Misconduct
assigned at Sultan Kudarat Municipal Police Station. On 14 April 2008, he (murder) pursuant to Section 52 of R.A. 85516 in relation to NAPOLCOM
was asked by his Chief of Police to report to the Provincial Director of Shariff Memorandum Circular 93-024, committed as follows:
Kabunsuan, Superintendent Esmael Pua Ali (Supt. Ali). The latter brought That on or about 7:08 in the evening of November 10, 2007, in M.H. Del Pilar
PO1 Ampatuan to Superintendent Piang Adam, Provincial Director of the and Pedro Gil St., Ermita, Manila, above-named respondent while being an
Philippine National Police (PNP) Maguindanao. PO1 Ampatuan was directed active member of the PNP and within the jurisdiction of this office, armed with
to stay at the Police Provincial Office of Maguindanao without being informed a cal .45 pistol, with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
of the cause of his restraint. The next day, 15 April 2008, PO1 Ampatuan feloniously, shot Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Jr., COMELEC official on the
was brought to the General Santos City Airport and was made to board a different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal gunshot
Philippine Airlines plane bound for Manila. Upon landing at the Manila wounds which directly cause (sic) his death.
Domestic Airport, PO1 Ampatuan was turned over to policemen of Manila Acts contrary to the existing PNP Laws rules and Regulations.7
and brought to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim by Police Director Geary Barias Also, through a Memorandum dated 18 April 2008, Police Director General
and General Roberto Rosales. A press briefing was then conducted where it Avelino I. Razon, Jr. directed the Regional Director of the National Capital
was announced that PO1 Ampatuan was arrested for the killing of two Regional Police Office (NCRPO) to place PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive
Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Officials. He was then detained at the custody, thus:
Police Jail in United Nations Avenue, Manila. Thereafter, PO1 Ampatuan was 1. Reference: Memo from that Office dated April 15, 2008 re Arrest
brought to inquest Prosecutor Renato Gonzaga of the Office of the City of PO1 Busser Ampatuan, suspect in the killing of Atty. Alioden
Prosecutor of Manila due to the alleged murder of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Dalaig and Atty. Wynee Asdala, both COMELEC Legal Officers.
head of the Law Department of the COMELEC. On 20 April 2008, PO1 2. This pertains to the power of the Chief, PNP embodied in Section
Ampatuan was turned-over to the Regional Headquarters Support Group in 52 of RA 8551, to place police personnel under restrictive custody
Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.3 during the pendency of a grave administrative case filed against him
Petitioner continues that on 21 April 2008, Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson or even after the filing of a criminal complaint, grave in nature,
Salva ordered the release for further investigation of PO1 Ampatuan.4 The against such police personnel.
Order was approved by the City Prosecutor of Manila. But Police Senior
3. In this connection, you are hereby directed to place PO1 Busser PNP to place the PNP personnel under restrictive custody during the
Ampatuan, suspect in the killing of Atty. Alioden Dalaig and Atty. pendency of administrative case for grave misconduct.
Wynee Asdala, both COMELEC Legal Officers, under your restrictive Petitioner countered that the administrative case filed against PO1 Ampatuan
custody. was ante-dated to make it appear that there was such a case filed before
4. For strict compliance.8 April 23, 2008.
On 19 April 2008, through a Memorandum Request dated 18 April 2008, The function of habeas corpus is to determine the legality of one’s detention,
respondent Police Director Geary L. Barias requested for the creation of the meaning, if there is sufficient cause for deprivation or confinement and if
Summary Hearing Board to hear the case of PO1 Ampatuan.9 there is none to discharge him at once. For habeas corpus to issue, the
On 20 April 2008, Special Order No. 921 was issued by Police Director restraint of liberty must be in the nature of illegal and involuntary deprivation
Edgardo E. Acuña, placing PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody of the of freedom which must be actual and effective, not nominal or moral.
Regional Director, NCRPO, effective 19 April 2008. Said Special Order No. Granting arguendo that the administrative case was ante-dated, the Court
921, reads: cannot simply ignore the filing of an administrative case filed against PO1
Restrictive Custody Ampatuan. It cannot be denied that the PNP has its own administrative
PO1 Basser B. Ampatuan 128677, is placed under restrictive custody of the disciplinary mechanism and as clearly pointed out by the respondents, the
Regional Director, NCRPO effective April 19, 2008. (Reference: Chief PNP is authorized to place PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody
Memorandum from CPNP dated 18 April 2008). pursuant to Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. 8551.
BY COMMAND OF POLICE DIRECTOR GENERAL RAZON:10 The filing of the administrative case against PO1 Ampatuan is a process
Meanwhile, on 21 April 2008, the City Prosecutor of Manila recommended done by the PNP and this Court has no authority to order the release of the
that the case against PO1 Ampatuan be set for further investigation and that subject police officer.
the latter be released from custody unless he is being held for other Lastly, anent the contention of the petitioner that the letter resignation of PO1
charges/legal grounds.11 Ampatuan has rendered the administrative case moot and academic, the
Armed with the 21 April 2008 recommendation of the Manila City’s same could not be accepted by this Court.1avvph!1 It must be stressed that
Prosecution Office, petitioner, who is the wife of PO1 Ampatuan, filed a the resignation has not been acted (sic) by the appropriate police officials of
Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the RTC of the PNP, and that the administrative case was filed while PO1 Ampatuan is
Manila on 22 April 2008. The petition was docketed as Special Proceeding still in the active status of the PNP.
No. 08-119132 and was raffled to Branch 37. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for habeas corpus is
On 24 April 2008, finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, hereby DISMISSED.13
respondent Judge Virgilio V. Macaraig ordered the issuance of a writ of Distressed, petitioner is now before this Court via a Petition for Certiorari
habeas corpus commanding therein respondents to produce the body of PO1 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to question the validity of the RTC Order
Ampatuan and directing said respondents to show cause why they are dated 25 April 2008. The issues are:
withholding or restraining the liberty of PO1 Ampatuan. 12 I. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS
On 25 April 2008, the RTC resolved the Petition in its Order which reads: DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT THE
Essentially, counsels for petitioner insists that PO1 Basser Ampatuan is ARREST AND DETENTION OF PO1 BASSER B. AMPATUAN WAS
being illegally detained by the respondents despite the order of release of MADE WITHOUT ANY WARRANT AND THEREFORE, ILLEGAL;
Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva dated April 21, 2008. They further II. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS
claim that as of April 23, 2008, no administrative case was filed against PO1 DISCRETION WHEN IT CONCEDED THE AUTHORITY OF
Ampatuan. RESPONDENT AVELINO RAZON, JR. UNDER SEC. 52, PAR. 4,
Respondents, while admitting that to date no criminal case was filed against R.A. 8551 TO PLACE AMPATUAN UNDER RESTRICTIVE
PO1 Ampatuan, assert that the latter is under restrictive custody since he is CUSTODY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS;
facing an administrative case for grave misconduct. They submitted to this III. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS
Court the Pre-charge Evaluation Report and Charge Sheet. Further, in DISCRETION WHEN IT SHIRKED FROM ITS JUDICIAL DUTY TO
support of their position, respondents cited the case of SPO2 Manalo, et al. ORDER THE RELEASE OF PO1 AMPATUAN FROM THE
v. Hon. Calderon, G.R. No. 178920 claiming that habeas corpus will not lie CUSTODY OF RESPONDENTS MAMANG PULIS.14
for a PNP personnel under restrictive custody. They claim that this is Essentially, a writ of habeas corpus applies to all cases of illegal confinement
authorized under Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. 8551 authorizing the Chief of or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty.15
Rule 102 of the 1997 Rules of Court sets forth the procedure to be followed corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and
in the issuance of the writ. The Rule provides: involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.19
RULE 102 In general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether
HABEAS CORPUS or not a particular person is legally held. A prime specification of an
SECTION 1. To what habeas corpus extends. – Except as otherwise application for a writ of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and effective, and
expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases not merely nominal or moral, illegal restraint of liberty. The writ of habeas
of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve
liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense
person entitled thereto. of personal freedom. A prime specification of an application for a writ of
SEC 2. Who may grant the writ. – The writ of habeas corpus may be granted habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the
by the Supreme Court, or any member thereof, on any day and at any time, writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as
or by the Court of Appeals or any member thereof in the instances authorized distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
by law, and if so granted it shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines, restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is
and may be made returnable before the court or any member thereof, or sufficient.20
before a Court of First Instance, or any judge thereof for hearing and decision In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or judge must first
on the merits. It may also be granted by a Court of First Instance, or a judge inquire into whether the petitioner is being restrained of his liberty. If he is
thereof, on any day and at any time, and returnable before himself, not, the writ will be refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will proceed
enforceable only within his judicial district. only where such restraint exists. If the alleged cause is thereafter found to be
xxxx unlawful, then the writ should be granted and the petitioner discharged.
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. – If it appears that Needless to state, if otherwise, again the writ will be refused.21
the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or
under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order as a mere perfunctory operation on the filing of the petition. Judicial
of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the discretion is called for in its issuance and it must be clear to the judge to
process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the petitioner is entitled to
allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person the writ. It is only if the court is satisfied that a person is being unlawfully
shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be granted. If the
judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the respondents are not detaining or restraining the applicant or the person in
discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the whose behalf the petition is filed, the petition should be dismissed. 22
Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. Petitioner contends that when PO1 Ampatuan was placed under the custody
The objective of the writ is to determine whether the confinement or detention of respondents on 20 April 2008, there was yet no administrative case filed
is valid or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be issued. What is to be inquired into against him. When the release order of Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson
is the legality of a person's detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the Salva was served upon respondents on 21 April 2008, there was still no
application for the writ of habeas corpus, for even if the detention is at its administrative case filed against PO1 Ampatuan. She also argues that the
inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events, such as the arrest on 14 April 2008 of PO1 Ampatuan in Shariff Kabunsuan was illegal
instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time because there was no warrant of arrest issued by any judicial authority
of the filing of the application.16 against him.
Plainly stated, the writ obtains immediate relief for those who have been On the other hand, respondents, in their Comment23 filed by the Office of the
illegally confined or imprisoned without sufficient cause. The writ, however, Solicitor General, argue that the trial court correctly denied the subject
should not be issued when the custody over the person is by virtue of a petition. Respondents maintain that while the Office of the City Prosecutor of
judicial process or a valid judgment.17 Manila had recommended that PO1 Ampatuan be released from custody,
The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the said recommendation was made only insofar as the criminal action for
individual seeking such relief is illegally deprived of his freedom of movement murder that was filed with the prosecution office is concerned and is without
or placed under some form of illegal restraint. If an individual’s liberty is prejudice to other legal grounds for which he may be held under custody. In
restrained via some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is the instant case, PO1 Ampatuan is also facing administrative charges for
unavailing.18 Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ of habeas Grave Misconduct. They cited the case of Manalo v. Calderon,24 where this
Court held that a petition for habeas corpus will be given due course only if it
shows that petitioner is being detained or restrained of his liberty unlawfully, of the PNP for grave felonies where the penalty imposed by law is six (6)
but a restrictive custody and monitoring of movements or whereabouts of years and one (1) day or more, the court shall immediately suspend the
police officers under investigation by their superiors is not a form of illegal accused from office for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days from
detention or restraint of liberty.25 arraignment: Provided, however, That if it can be shown by evidence that the
The Solicitor General is correct. accused is harassing the complainant and/or witnesses, the court may order
In this case, PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under Restrictive Custody. the preventive suspension of the accused PNP member even if the charge is
Republic Act No. 6975 (also known as the Department of Interior and Local punishable by a penalty lower than six (6) years and one (1) day: Provided,
Government Act of 1990), as amended by Republic Act No. 8551 (also further, That the preventive suspension shall not be more than ninety (90)
known as the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of days except if the delay in the disposition of the case is due to the fault,
1998), clearly provides that members of the police force are subject to the negligence or petitions of the respondent: Provided, finally, That such
administrative disciplinary machinery of the PNP. Section 41(b) of the said preventive suspension may be sooner lifted by the court in the exigency of
law enumerates the disciplinary actions, including restrictive custody that the service upon recommendation of the Chief, PNP. Such case shall be
may be imposed by duly designated supervisors and equivalent officers of subject to continuous trial and shall be terminated within ninety (90)
the PNP as a matter of internal discipline. The pertinent provision of Republic days from arraignment of the accused. (Emphasis supplied.)
Act No. 8551 reads: Having conceded that there is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
Sec. 52 – x x x. trial court, we have to dismiss the petition.
xxxx In sum, petitioner is unable to discharge the burden of showing that she is
4. The Chief of the PNP shall have the power to impose the disciplinary entitled to the issuance of the writ prayed for in behalf of her husband, PO1
punishment of dismissal from the service; suspension or forfeiture of salary; Ampatuan. The petition fails to show on its face that the latter is unlawfully
or any combination thereof for a period not exceeding one hundred eighty deprived of his liberty guaranteed and enshrined in the Constitution.
(180) days. Provided, further, That the Chief of the PNP shall have the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DISMISSED for
authority to place police personnel under restrictive custody during the lack of merit.
pendency of a grave administrative case filed against him or even after the Costs against petitioner.
filing of a criminal complaint, grave in nature, against such police personnel. SO ORDERED.
[Emphasis ours].
Given that PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under restrictive custody, such 39. G.R. No. 168728 August 2, 2007
constitutes a valid argument for his continued detention. This Court has held SAMUEL BARREDO y GOLANI, Petitioner,
that a restrictive custody and monitoring of movements or whereabouts of vs.
police officers under investigation by their superiors is not a form of illegal HON. VICENTE VINARAO, Director, Bureau of Corrections, Respondent.
detention or restraint of liberty.26 DECISION
Restrictive custody is, at best, nominal restraint which is beyond the ambit CORONA, J.:
of habeas corpus. It is neither actual nor effective restraint that would call for This is a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner
the grant of the remedy prayed for. It is a permissible precautionary measure Samuel Barredo y Golani prays for his release from the maximum security
to assure the PNP authorities that the police officers concerned are always compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on the ground that he
accounted for.27 has already served the sentence imposed on him in Criminal Case Nos. Q-
Since the basis of PO1 Ampatuan’s restrictive custody is the administrative 92-38559 and Q-92-38560.
case filed against him, his remedy is within such administrative process. Criminal Case No. Q-92-385591 was for carnapping2 while Criminal Case No.
We likewise note that PO1 Ampatuan has been under restrictive custody Q-92-38560 was for illegal possession of firearms. 3 Both cases were filed in
since 19 April 2008. To date, the administrative case against him should the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 103.4
have already been resolved and the issue of his restrictive custody should The cases were tried jointly. After trial, the court rendered a joint decision
have been rendered moot and academic, in accordance with Section 55 of finding petitioner guilty of both charges. Relevant parts of the dispositive
Republic Act No. 8551, which provides: portion read:
SEC. 55. Section 47 of Republic Act No. 6975 is hereby amended to read as ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered in Q-92-38559 finding Samuel
follows: Barredo,5 xxx GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt xxx of the crime of
Sec. 47. Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case. – Upon the filing of Carnapping aggravated and qualified by the frustrated killing of Ciriaco
a complaint or information sufficient in form and substance against a member
Rosales and [he is] hereby sentenced to undergo an imprisonment term of officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a
THIRTY (30) YEARS; judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had
xxx xxx xxx jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the
In Q-92-38560, Samuel Barredo is hereby found GUILTY as principal beyond order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the
reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of P.D. 1866 and he is hereby writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any
sentenced to an imprisonment term of EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS and ONE (1) informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything
DAY of Reclusion Temporal. in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with
xxx xxx xxx or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering
SO ORDERED.6 imprisonment under lawful judgment. (emphasis supplied)
No appeal was made, hence, the decision became final and executory. Petitioner was detained pursuant to a final judgment of the Quezon City RTC
Petitioner was committed to the custody of the Quezon City Jail (as detention convicting him for the crimes of carnapping and illegal possession of
prisoner) on March 15, 1993.7 After conviction, he was transferred to and firearms. He is therefore not entitled to the writ of habeas corpus.
confined at the maximum security compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Sentence is Void Insofar As It Failed to Impose an Indeterminate
Muntinlupa City on July 23, 19948 where he is now still detained. Sentence
According to petitioner, as of August 2, 2004, he already served a total of 18 As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, however, the trial court
years. He claims that, on October 9, 2001, the Board of Pardons and Parole erred in imposing a straight penalty of imprisonment for 30 years in the
passed a resolution recommending the commutation of his sentence to a carnapping case. The sentence imposed by the trial court deprived petitioner
period of from 15 to 20 years. He further points out that, based on the Bureau of the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. 16 Hence, it was void
of Corrections’ revised computation table for determining the time to be insofar as it failed to impose an indeterminate sentence.
credited prisoners for good conduct while serving sentence, he should only Since the crime was committed by means of violence against or intimidation
serve 14 years, 9 months and 18 days. Thus, this petition. of persons, the imposable penalty under the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972
Is petitioner entitled to the writ of habeas corpus? No. was imprisonment for not less than 17 years and 4 months and not more
Writ of Habeas Corpus Will Not Issue If Detention Is By Virtue Of Valid than 30 years.17 Furthermore, pursuant to the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
Judgment the court should have imposed an indeterminate sentence with a maximum
The writ of habeas corpus applies to all cases of illegal confinement, term not exceeding the maximum fixed by the special penal law and a
detention or deprivation of liberty. 9 It was devised as a speedy and effective minimum term not less than the minimum term prescribed by the same
remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint.10 More specifically, it is a law.18 Therefore, the proper imposable penalty is imprisonment not for 30
remedy to obtain immediate relief for those who may have been illegally years but for an indeterminate sentence of 17 years and 4 months as
confined or imprisoned without sufficient cause and thus deliver them from minimum to 30 years as maximum.19
unlawful custody.11 It is therefore a writ of inquiry intended to test the Reduction of Penalty Under Amendatory Law Should be Applied
circumstances under which a person is detained.12 Retroactively
The writ may not be availed of when the person in custody is under a judicial Petitioner is likewise entitled to a reduction of the penalty imposed upon him
process or by virtue of a valid judgment.13 However, the writ may be allowed in the illegal possession of firearms case in view of the passage of RA 8294.
as a post-conviction remedy when the proceedings leading to the conviction The law reduced the penalty for simple illegal possession of firearms
were attended by any of the following exceptional circumstances: to prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than
(1) there was a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the ₱15,000. Being favorable to petitioner, RA 8294 should be applied
restraint of a person; retroactively to benefit him.20 Further applying the Indeterminate Sentence
(2) the court had no jurisdiction to impose the sentence or Law, the proper imposable penalty is imprisonment for 4 years, 2 months and
(3) the imposed penalty was excessive, thus voiding the sentence as 1 day as minimum to 6 years as maximum.21
to such excess.14 Petitioner Has Not Yet Served The Penalties Imposed on Him
The rule is that if a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in custody Petitioner has to serve the penalties imposed on him successively in the
of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a order of their severity.22 Hence, he has to first serve the more severe
judgment or order of a court of record the writ of habeas corpus will not be penalty, i.e., that imposed in the carnapping case: imprisonment for 17 years
allowed.15Thus, Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides: and 4 months as minimum to 30 years as maximum. Only after he has
Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. – If it appears that served this will he commence serving the less severe penalty imposed in the
the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an
illegal possession of firearms case: imprisonment for 4 years, 2 months and amended, to immediately place him under arrest.4 Per records of the BID,
1 day as minimum to 6 years as maximum.23 Javed Kiani was married to a Filipina, Jeany-Vi Kiani, on July 27, 1988. He
Per the certification issued by the Bureau of Corrections, 24 as of April 3, was admitted as an immigrant and was issued a permanent resident visa on
2007, petitioner has served a total of 18 years, 4 months and 26 days, March 17, 1993.5
inclusive of his good conduct time allowance and preventive imprisonment. A week later, on June 27, 2002, Javed Kiani was arrested at Felicidad
Thus, while he has already served the minimum penalty in the carnapping Village, Montalban, Rizal. The arresting officers, Eduardo Cabrera, Eliseo
case, he has not yet served the minimum penalty in the illegal possession of Exconde and Jose Vale, Jr., operatives of the Bureau of Intelligence of the
firearms case. Consequently, petitioner is not entitled to the issuance of a BID, relied on information from Iqbal and Balbir Singh, who pointed to Javed
writ of habeas corpus. Neither is he eligible for parole because only prisoners Kiani as the one who had furnished them with fake Alien Certificate
who have served the minimum penalty imposed on them may be released on Registration (ACR) and Immigrant Certificate Registration (ICR). Apparently,
parole on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Board of the forms used were not official BID forms.6
Pardons and Parole.25 On July 1, 2002, the BID Prosecutor filed a Charge Sheet7 against "Javed
Petitioner’s claim that the Board of Pardons and Parole passed a resolution Kiani alias Ahmad Singh" before the Board of Special Inquiry (BSI) for
recommending the commutation of his sentence does not justify the issuance violation of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, particularly
of the writ of habeas corpus. Commutation of sentence is a prerogative of the Section 37(a)(7) and Section 45 thereof. The case was docketed as D.C. No.
Chief Executive.26 Hence, even if petitioner’s claim were true, the ADD-02-080. The Charge Sheet reads:
recommendation of the Bureau of Pardons and Parole was just that, a mere Records show that the above-named subject was arrested on June 27, 2002
recommendation. Until and unless approved by the President, there is no by Bureau’s Intelligence operatives at Felicidad Village, Montalban, Rizal,
commutation to speak of. pursuant to Mission Order No. ADD-02-203, dated June 20, 2002.
Accordingly, the petition is hereby DENIED. Records also show that subject national was positively identified by Indian
Costs against petitioner. nationals Balbir Singh and Iqbal Singh when they were arrested by the same
SO ORDERED. operatives on June 18, 2002 as the person who gave them spurious
immigration documents and as their protector evidenced by copies of the
ACRs and ICRs of Balbir and Iqbal Singh, which were certified by Mr.
40. G.R. No. 160922 February 27, 2006 Reynaldo Joson as "fake." Additionally, Mr. Joson certified that the forms
JEANY-VI G. KIANI, Petitioner, used in the forgery/falsification are not official forms of this Bureau.
vs. Contrary to law.8
THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION and DEPORTATION (BID); EDGARDO On the same day, July 1, 2002, the Board of Commissioners (BOC)
CABRERA, ELISEO EXCONDE and JOSE VALE, JR., Respondents. conducted a summary proceeding and issued a Summary Deportation Order
DECISION revoking the visa issued to Javed Kiani. The Order reads in part:
CALLEJO, SR., J.: Considering the seriousness of the charge/s and the evidence in support
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari for the nullification of the thereof, respondent, whose Temporary Residence Visa is hereby ordered
decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. No. 74484, dismissing the cancelled and revoked, is hereby ordered summarily deported to his country
appeal of Jeany-Vi G. Kiani, which assailed the Order of the Regional Trial of origin, subject to PNP, Court and NBI clearances and payment of an
Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 8, in Special Proceedings (Sp. Proc.) No. 02- administrative fine in the amount of ₱50,000.00.9
103935, dismissing her Petition for Habeas Corpus. The next day, July 2, 2002, Javed Kiani’s wife, Jeany-Vi, filed a Petition for a
On June 19, 2002, Javed Kiani, a British national but a Pakistani by Writ of Habeas Corpus10 for and in behalf of her husband before the RTC of
birth2 reported to the Rodriguez, Rizal Police Station that his friends, Iqbal Manila, naming the BID and its intelligence officers as Respondents. She
Singh and Balbir Singh, had been forcibly taken by four (4) armed men from prayed that the court issue a writ of habeas corpus directing respondents to
their residence at Balita, Rodriguez, Rizal.3 A couple of days later, then produce the person of Javed Kiani before it "in the soonest time possible and
Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo of the Bureau of Immigration and to show the cause or legal justification for the latter’s detention and
Deportation (BID) issued Mission Order No. ADD-02-203 based on Executive imprisonment, if any; and for such other or further reliefs as may be deemed
Order No. 287 of former President Joseph Estrada. In said Order, just and equitable under the premises." She further alleged that her husband
appropriate officers of the Bureau were directed to conduct had intervened in the arrest of Iqbal and Balbir Singh, and that the arresting
verification/validation of the admission status and activities of Javed Kiani, officers resented such intervention. She insisted that the arrest and detention
and, if found to have violated the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as of her husband were bereft of factual and legal basis, since at the time, no
deportation order had yet been issued against him. Citing the ruling of this On May 8, 2003 the CA rendered judgment dismissing the appeal.19 The CA
Court in Board of Commissioners v. Dela Rosa,11 she alleged that the declared that a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus can no longer be
Mission Order issued by the Immigration Commissioner was void. The case allowed since the party sought to be released had been charged before the
was docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 02-103935.12 Javed Kiani had been detained BSI. Assuming that Javed Kiani’s detention or his arrest was illegal, any
at the BID Detention Center, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Metro Manila incipient infirmity thereon was cured by the filing of the Charge Sheet against
since July 3, 2002.13 him. The appellate court cited the ruling of this Court in Velasco v. Court of
On July 18, 2002, the RTC issued an Order14 granting bail for Javed Kiani on Appeals.20It likewise affirmed the ruling of the RTC that it had no jurisdiction
a bond of ₱50,000.00, and ordered respondent BID Intelligence Officers to to take cognizance of and reverse the Summary Deportation Order of the
file their return on the writ. The respondents complied, and alleged in their BOC, that the remedy of petitioner from the Summary Deportation Order of
return that Javed Kiani had already been charged before the BOC and the BOC was to file a petition for review with the CA under Rule 43 of the
ordered deported; hence, the petition had become moot and academic. They 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and that her failure to do so rendered said
refused to release Kiani although the bond had already been Order final and executory.
posted.15 Instead, the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor Jeany-Vi received a copy of the CA Decision on May 22, 2003, and filed a
General (OSG), filed an Omnibus Motion16 for the reconsideration of the Motion for Reconsideration thereof on June 6, 2003. She alleged that since
Order on the following grounds: (1) under Section 37(9)(e) of Commonwealth the Summary Deportation Order of the BOC had not yet been promulgated
Act 613, as amended, it is the Commissioner of Immigration, and not the by the BSI, the period to appeal was yet to commence, and as such, said
court, who has authority to grant bail in a deportation proceeding; (2) the order could not become final and executory. Even assuming that such order
court has no authority to grant the petition considering that Javed Kiani was had become final and executory, her husband was entitled to a writ of
lawfully charged with violation of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as habeas corpus since he was deprived of his right to due process.
amended, before the BSI; and (3) the BOC has subsequently issued a On November 21, 2003, the appellate court resolved to deny the
Summary Deportation Order. motion.21 Jeany-Vi received a copy of the Resolution on December 1, 2003.
On October 28, 2002, the RTC issued an Order17 granting the motion and On January 15, 2004, petitioner filed the instant petition for review on
setting aside its July 18, 2002 Order. In dismissing the petition, it ruled that certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, alleging that:
Jeany-Vi was barred from questioning the legality of the arrest and detention A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO NULLIFY
of her husband, following the filing of the Charge Sheet with the BSI; as AND TO DECLARE AS ILLEGAL THE ACTUAL ARREST AND
such, there was no justification for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. It SUBSEQUENT DETENTION OF JAVED KIANI.
declared that, as gleaned from the return of the writ filed by the respondents, B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO DECLARE
Javed Kiani was lawfully charged with violation of the Philippine Immigration AS NULL AND VOID AB INITIO THE PUTATIVE SUMMARY
Act of 1940, as amended; hence, the Summary Deportation Order issued by DEPORTATION ORDER AGAINST JAVED KIANI.
the BOC was valid. C. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT
The RTC also ruled that the proper remedy of Javed Kiani from the Summary THE SUMMARY DEPORTATION ORDER AGAINST JAVED KIANI
Deportation Order of the BOC was to file a petition for review with the CA HAS ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY.
under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court (and not a petition for a writ of habeas D. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT
corpus before it), as it had no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and reverse HABEAS CORPUS IS NOT THE CORRECT OR PROPER REMEDY
the Summary Deportation Order issued by the BOC. AVAILABLE TO THE HEREIN PETITIONER.22
Jeany-Vi appealed the RTC’s Order of July 18, 2002 to the CA, in which she Petitioner avers that the Mission Order issued by the Immigration
raised the following issues: Commissioner for the investigation and arrest of her husband, Javed Kiani, is
A. WHETHER OR NOT THE ARREST OF JAVED KIANI ON 27 JUNE 2002 null and void. She points out that when said Order was issued, the BOC had
AND HIS SUBSEQUENT DETENTION BY THE RESPONDENTS- not yet made a determination as to the existence of a lawful ground for his
APPELLEES WERE VALID AND/OR LEGAL. deportation. She further avers that the Immigration Commissioner has no
B. WHETHER OR NOT THE SUPPOSED ISSUANCE OF A SUMMARY power to issue a Mission Order or Warrant of Arrest solely for the purpose of
DEPORTATION ORDER AGAINST JAVED KIANI HAS THE EFFECT OF investigation, and before a final order for deportation is issued by the BOC.
LEGALIZING AND/OR VALIDATING HIS CONTINUED DETENTION, She insists that an order of arrest is proper only if the BOC has already
THEREBY RENDERING THE HABEAS CORPUS PETITION issued an Order of deportation. She cites the rulings of this Court in Qua
DISMISSIBLE.18 Chee Gan v. Deportation Board,23 Ang Ngo Chiong v. Galang,24 and Board of
Commissioners v. Dela Rosa.25
Petitioner further maintains that the filing of the Charge Sheet against Javed one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. Section 6, Rule 43
Kiani by the BOC did not render the issue of the illegality of arrest and of the Revised Rules of Court provides that a petition for review on certiorari
detention moot and academic. She asserts that there is no factual and legal must contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided in the
basis for the deportation of her husband because he had been issued a last paragraph of Section 2, Rule 42 of said Rules, to wit:
permanent visa and his passport is yet to expire. She avers that a warrant for The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a certification under
the arrest of her husband may be issued only after a Summary Deportation oath that he has not theretofore commenced any other action involving the
Order shall have become final and executory. Considering that there was no same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or different divisions
showing in the records that said Order had already been promulgated by the thereof, or any other tribunal or agency; if there is such other action or
BSI, it could not have become final and executory. She avers that the ruling proceeding, he must state the status of the same; and if he should thereafter
of this Court in Velasco v. Court of Appeals26 is not applicable in this case. learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before
In its Comment on the petition filed on December 10, 2004, the Office of the the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or different divisions thereof, or
Solicitor General (OSG) avers that it agrees with the ruling of the CA and any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to promptly inform the aforesaid
prays that it be affirmed. Citing the ruling of this Court in Dwikarna v. courts and other tribunal or agency thereof within five (5) days
Domingo,27 the OSG posits that the remedy of petitioner from the Summary therefrom.lawphil.net
Deportation Order of the BOC was to appeal to the CA via a petition for Under Section 5, Rule 45 of said Rules, the failure of the petitioner to comply
review under Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court. It maintains that it was with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the
inappropriate for petitioner to assail the arrest and detention of her husband dismissal of the petition.
after the filing of the Charge Sheet with the BSI. In Balite v. Court of Appeals,30 the Court held that there is forum shopping
The OSG also alleges that Javed Kiani had filed an Omnibus Motion Ad when a party seeks to obtain remedies in an action in one court, which had
Cautelam28 dated March 19, 2004 in the BID, presumably with the BOC, already been solicited, and in other courts and other proceedings in other
wherein he prayed that the Summary Deportation Order issued by the BOC tribunals. While a party may avail of the remedies prescribed by the Rules of
against him be set aside, and that he be released in the meantime. The OSG Court, such party is not free to resort to them simultaneously or at his/her
also asserts that in said motion, Javed Kiani alleged that his arrest and pleasure or caprice. A party should not be allowed to present simultaneous
detention was illegal because there had been as yet no determination by the remedies in two different forums, for it degrades and wreaks havoc to the
BOC of any ground for his deportation; in effect, he pursued the same reliefs rule on orderly procedure. A party must follow the sequence and hierarchical
he seeks from this Court in his motion with the BOC, that is, to declare as order in availing such remedies and not resort to shortcuts in procedure or
illegal his continued detention and order his release. The OSG avers that this playing fast and loose with the said rules. Forum shopping, an act of
is a classic example of forum shopping which is prohibited under the Rules. malpractice, is considered as trifling with the courts and abusing their
In reply, petitioner asserts that during the pendency of this case, Immigration processes. It is improper conduct and degrades the administration of justice.
Commissioner Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr. granted her husband’s Omnibus In this case, petitioner seeks not only the reversal of the Order of the RTC
Motion Ad Cautelam in an Order29 dated June 22, 2004, and ordered his dismissing her Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in behalf of her
provisional release on a cash bond of ₱50,000.00. The Commissioner also husband (where it was also declared that he had been legally deported), as
declared that the Summary Deportation Order against her husband had been well as the decision of the CA affirming the RTC’s Order; she also prays that
improvidently issued, and ruled that there was no factual and legal basis for the Court render judgment nullifying the Summary Deportation Order of the
his summary deportation. Moreover, Javed Kiani was deprived of his right to BOC and order her husband’s release from detention. However, Javed Kiani
due process when the Order was issued on the same day the Charge Sheet himself, during the pendency of this case, filed an Omnibus Motion Ad
was filed with the BSI. Cautelam with the BID, seeking the same reliefs, which his wife prayed for in