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1) Atty. Ferrer v Sps.

Diaz a valuable consideration of SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND


PESOS (P600,000.00) which constitutes my legal
Republic of the Philippines obligation/loan to Pedro M. Ferrer, likewise of legal age,
Supreme Court Filipino, married to Erlinda B. Ferrer, with residence and postal
Baguio City address at No. 9, Lot 4, Puerto Rico Street, Loyola Grand
Villas, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, by virtue of
SECOND DIVISION these presents, do hereby WAIVE, and/or REPUDIATE all my
hereditary rights and interests as a legitimate heir/daughter of
ATTY. PEDRO M. FERRER, G.R. No. 165300 Sps. Alfredo T. Diaz and Imelda G. Diaz in favor of said Pedro
Petitioner, M. Ferrer, his heirs and assigns over a certain parcel of land
together with all the improvements found thereon and which
Present: property is more particularly described as follows:
- versus -
CARPIO, J., Chairperson, TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE
BRION, NO. RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887
SPOUSES ALFREDO DIAZ ABAD,
and IMELDA DIAZ, DEL CASTILLO, and xxxx
REINA COMANDANTE and PEREZ, JJ.
SPOUSES BIENVENIDO and which property is titled and registered in the name of my
PANGAN and ELIZABETH parents Alfredo T. Diaz and Imelda G. Diaz, as evidenced by
PANGAN, Promulgated: Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT 6604 (82020) PR-18887.
Respondents. April 23, 2010
x------------------------------------------------------------------- (sgd.)
x REINA D. COMANDANTE
Affiant

DECISION
On the basis of said waiver, petitioner executed an Affidavit of Adverse
Claim[12] which he caused to be annotated at the back of TCT No. RT-6604 on May 26,
DEL CASTILLO, J.: 1999.

The basic questions to be resolved in this case are: The Diazes, however, reneged on their obligation as the checks issued by
1) Is a waiver of hereditary rights in favor of another executed by a Comandante were dishonored upon presentment. Despite repeated demands, said
future heir while the parents are still living valid? respondents still failed and refused to settle the loan. Thus, petitioner filed
2) Is an adverse claim annotated on the title of a property on the on September 29, 1999 a Complaint[13] for Collection of Sum of Money Secured by
basis of such waiver likewise valid and effective as to bind the Real Estate Mortgage Contract against the Diazes and Comandante docketed as Civil
subsequent owners and hold them liable to the claimant? Case No. Q-99-38876 and raffled to Branch 224 of RTC, Quezon City.

This Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court Petitioner twice amended his complaint. First, by including as an alternative
assails the December 12, 2003 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV relief the Judicial Foreclosure of Mortgage[14] and, second, by impleading as additional
No. 70888.[3] Said Decision modified the June 14, 2001Summary Judgment[4] of the defendants the Pangans as the mortgaged property covered by TCT No. RT-6604 was
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-99-38876 by holding already transferred under their names in TCT No. N-209049. Petitioner prayed in his
respondents Spouses Bienvenido and Elizabeth Pangan (the Pangans) not solidarily second amended complaint that all the respondents be ordered to jointly and solidarily
liable with the other respondents, Spouses Alfredo and Imelda Diaz (the Diazes) and pay him the sum of P1,118,228.00, exclusive of interests, and/or for the judicial
Reina Comandante (Comandante), to petitioner Atty. Pedro M. Ferrer (Atty. foreclosure of the property pursuant to the Real Estate Mortgage Contract.
Ferrer). Likewise assailed is the CA Resolution[5] dated September 10, 2004 which
denied petitioners as well as respondents Spouses Diaz and Comandantes respective Version of the Respondents
motions for reconsideration.
In her Answer[15] to petitioners original complaint, Comandante alleged that
The parties respective versions of the factual antecedents are as follows: petitioner and his wife were her fellow members in the Couples for Christ
Movement. Sometime in 1998, she sought the help of petitioner with regard to the
Version of the Petitioner mortgage with a bank of her parents lot located at No. 6, Rd. 20, Project 8, Quezon
City and covered by TCT No. RT-6604. She also sought financial accommodations
Petitioner Atty. Ferrer claimed in his original Complaint[6] that on May 7, from the couple on several occasions which totaled P500,000.00. Comandante,
1999, the Diazes, as represented by their daughter Comandante, through a Special however, claimed that these loans were secured by chattel mortgages over her taxi
Power of Attorney (SPA),[7] obtained from him a loan of P1,118,228.00. The loan was units in addition to several postdated checks she issued in favor of petitioner.
secured by a Real Estate Mortgage Contract[8] by way of second mortgage over
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-6604[9] and a Promissory Note[10] payable As she could not practically comply with her obligation, petitioner and his
within six months or up to November 7, 1999. Comandante also issued to petitioner wife, presented to Comandante sometime in May 1998 a document denominated as
postdated checks to secure payment of said loan. Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided)
pertaining to a waiver of her hereditary share over her parents abovementioned
Petitioner further claimed that prior to this or on May 29, 1998, property. Purportedly, the execution of said waiver was to secure Comandantes loan
Comandante, for a valuable consideration of P600,000.00, which amount formed part with the couple which at that time had already ballooned to P600,000.00 due to
of the abovementioned secured loan, executed in his favor an instrument entitled interests.
Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided),[11] the
pertinent portions of which read: A year later, the couple again required Comandante to sign the following
I, REINA D. COMANDANTE, of legal age, documents: (1) a Real Estate Mortgage Contract over her parents property; and, (2) an
Filipino, married, with residence and postal address at No. 6, undated Promissory Note, both corresponding to the amount of P1,118,228.00, which
Road 20, Project 8, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, for petitioner claimed to be the total amount of Comandantes monetary obligation to him
exclusive of charges and interests. Comandante alleged that she reminded petitioner also informed the Pangans that the signatures of her parents appearing on the SPA are
that she was not the registered owner of the subject property and that although her fictitious and that it was petitioner who prepared such document.
parents granted her SPA, same only pertains to her authority to mortgage the property
to banks and other financial institutions and not to individuals. Petitioner nonetheless As affirmative defense, the Pangans asserted that the annotation of
assured Comandante that the SPA was also applicable to their transaction. As petitioners adverse claim on TCT No. RT-6604 cannot impair their rights as new
Comandante was still hesitant, petitioner and his wife threatened to foreclose the owners of the subject property. They claimed that the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and
formers taxi units and present the postdated checks she issued to the bank for Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) upon which petitioners adverse claim is
payment. For fear of losing her taxi units which were the only source of her livelihood, anchored cannot be the source of any right or interest over the property considering that
Comandante was thus constrained to sign the mortgage agreement as well as the it is null and void under paragraph 2 of Article 1347 of the Civil Code.
promissory note. Petitioner, however, did not furnish her with copies of said documents
on the pretext that they still have to be notarized, but, as can be gleaned from the Moreover, the Pangans asserted that the Real Estate Mortgage Contract
records, the documents were never notarized. Moreover, Comandante claimed that the cannot bind them nor in any way impair their ownership of subject property because it
SPA alluded to by petitioner in his complaint was not the same SPA under which she was not registered before the Register of Deeds.[23]
thought she derived the authority to execute the mortgage contract.
All the respondents interposed their respective counterclaims and prayed
Comandante likewise alleged that on September 29, 1999 at 10:00 o clock for moral and exemplary damages and attorneys fees in varying amounts.
in the morning, she executed an Affidavit of Repudiation/Revocation of Waiver of
Hereditary Rights and Interests Over A (Still Undivided) Real Property,[16] which she After the parties have submitted their respective pre-trial briefs, the Diazes
caused to be annotated on the title of the subject property with the Registry of Deeds of filed on March 29, 2001 a Motion for Summary Judgment[24] alleging that: first, since the
Quezon City on the same day. Interestingly, petitioner filed his complaint later that day documents alluded to by petitioner in his complaint were defective, he was not entitled
too. to any legal right or relief; and, second, it was clear from the pleadings that it is
Comandante who has an outstanding obligation with petitioner which the latter never
By way of special and affirmative defenses, Comandante asserted in her denied. With these, the Diazes believed that there is no genuine issue as to any
Answer to the amended complaint[17] that said complaint states no cause of action material fact against them and, hence, they were entitled to summary judgment.
against her because the Real Estate Mortgage Contract and the waiver referred to by
petitioner in his complaint were not duly, knowingly and validly executed by her; that the On May 7, 2001, petitioner also filed a Motion for Summary
Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) is a Judgment,[25] claiming that his suit against the respondents is meritorious and well-
useless document as its execution is prohibited by Article 1347 of the Civil founded and that same is documented and supported by law and jurisprudence.He
Code,[18] hence, it cannot be the source of any right or obligation in petitioners favor; that averred that his adverse claim annotated at the back of TCT No. RT-6604, which was
the Real Estate Mortgage was of doubtful validity as she executed the same without carried over in TCT No. 209049 under the names of the Pangans, is not merely
valid authority from her parents; and, that the prayer for collection and/or judicial anchored on the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interests Over a Real Property (Still
foreclosure was irregular as petitioner cannot seek said remedies at the same time. Undivided) executed by Comandante, but also on the Real Estate Mortgage likewise
executed by her in representation of her parents and in favor of petitioner. Petitioner
Apart from executing the affidavit of repudiation, Comandante also filed insisted that said adverse claim is not frivolous and invalid and is registrable under
on October 4, 1999 a Petition for Cancellation of Adverse Claim (P.E. 2468) Under The Section 70 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1529. In fact, the Registrar of Deeds of
Memorandum of Encumbrances of TCT No. RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887[19] docketed Quezon City had already determined the sufficiency and/or validity of such registration
as LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) and raffled to Branch 220 of RTC, Quezon by annotating said claim, and this, respondents failed to question. Petitioner further
City. Petitioner who was impleaded as respondent therein moved for the consolidation averred that even before the sale and transfer to the Pangans of the subject property,
of said case[20] with Civil Case No. Q-99-38876. On June 24, 2000, Branch 220 of the latter were already aware of the existence of his adverse claim. In view of these,
RTC, Quezon City ordered the consolidation of LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) with Civil petitioner prayed that his Motion for Summary Judgment be granted.
Case No.Q-99-38876. Accordingly, the records of the former case was forwarded to
Branch 224. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

For their part, the Diazes asserted that petitioner has no cause of action After the filing of the parties respective Oppositions to the said motions for
against them. They claimed that they do not even know petitioner and that they did not summary judgment, the trial court, in an Order dated May 31, 2001,[26] deemed both
execute any SPA in favor of Comandante authorizing her to mortgage for the second motions for summary judgment submitted for resolution. Quoting substantially
time the subject property. They also contested the due execution of the SPA as it was petitioners allegations in his Motion for Summary Judgment, it thereafter rendered
neither authenticated before the Philippine Consulate in the United States nor notarized on June 14, 2001 a Summary Judgment[27] in favor of petitioner, the dispositive portion
before a notary public in the State of New York where the Diazes have been residing for of which reads:
16 years. They claimed that they do not owe petitioner anything. The Diazes also
pointed out that the complaint merely refers to Comandantes personal obligation to WHEREFORE, premises considered, summary
petitioner with which they had nothing to do. They thus prayed that the complaint judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff and against
against them be dismissed.[21] defendants by:

At the Pangans end, they alleged that they acquired the subject property a) ORDERING all defendants jointly and
by purchase in good faith and for a consideration of P3,000,000.00 on November 11, solidarily to pay plaintiff the sum of ONE MILLION ONE
1999 from the Diazes through the latters daughter Comandante who was clothed with HUNDRED EIGHTEEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED
SPA acknowledged before the Consul of New York.The Pangans immediately took TWENTY EIGHT PESOS (P1,118,228.00) which is blood
actual possession of the property without anyone complaining or protesting. Soon money of plaintiff;
thereafter, they were issued TCT No. N-209049 in lieu of TCT No.RT-6604 which was
cancelled. [22] b) ORDERING the Honorable Registrar of
Deeds of Quezon City that the rights and interest of the plaintiff
However, on December 21, 1999, they were surprised upon being over subject property be annotated at the back of T.C.T. No.
informed by petitioner that the subject land had been mortgaged to him by the N-209049;
Diazes. Upon inquiry from Comandante, the latter readily admitted that she has a
personal loan with petitioner for which the mortgage of the property in petitioners favor c) SENTENCING all defendants to pay
was executed. She admitted, though, that her parents were not aware of such plaintiffs expenses of TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00)
mortgage and that they did not authorize her to enter into such contract. Comandante and to pay the costs of suit.
IT IS SO ORDERED.[28] The Affidavit of Adverse Claim executed by petitioner reads in part:

xxxx
The Pangans, the Diazes, and Comandante appealed to the CA.[29] The Pangans
faulted the trial court in holding them jointly and severally liable with the Diazes and 1. That I am the Recipient/Benefactor of
Comandante for the satisfaction of the latters personal obligation to petitioner in the total compulsory heirs share over an undivided certain parcel
amount of P1,118,228.00. The Diazes and Comandante, on the other hand, imputed of land together with all the improvements found
error upon the trial court in rendering summary judgment in favor of petitioner. They therein x x x as evidenced by Waiver of Hereditary Rights
averred that assuming the summary judgment was proper, the trial court should not and Interests Over A Real Property, executed by REINA
have considered the Real Estate Mortgage Contract and the Promissory Note as they D. COMANDANTE (a compulsory/legitimate heir of Sps.
were defective, as well as petitioners frivolous and non-registrable adverse claim. Alfredo T. Diaz and Imelda G. Diaz), x x x.

In its Decision[30] dated December 12, 2003, the CA declared Comandantes waiver of 2. That in order to protect my interest over
hereditary rights null and void. However, it found the Real Estate Mortgage executed by said property as a Recipient/Benefactor, for the registered
Comandante on behalf of her parents as binding between the parties thereto. owners/parents might dispose (of) and/or encumber the same
in a fraudulent manner without my knowledge and consent, for
As regards the Pangans, the CA ruled that the mortgage contract was not binding upon the owners duplicate title was not surrendered to me, it is
them as they were purchasers in good faith and for value. The property was free from petitioned that this Affidavit of Adverse Claim be
the mortgage encumbrance of petitioner when they acquired it as they only came to ANNOTATED at the back of the said title particularly on the
know of the adverse claim through petitioners phone call which came right after the original copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-6604
formers acquisition of the property. The CA further ruled that as Comandantes waiver of (82020) PR-18887 which is on file with the Register of Deeds
hereditary rights and interests upon which petitioners adverse claim was based is a of Quezon City.
nullity, it could not be a source of any right in his favor. Hence, the Pangans were not
bound to take notice of such claim and are thus not liable to petitioner. 3. That I am executing this Affidavit in order to
attest (to) the truth of the foregoing facts and to petition the
Noticeably, the appellate court did not rule on the propriety of the issuance of the Honorable Registrar of Deeds, Quezon City, to annotate this
Summary Judgment as raised by the Diazes and Comandante. In the ultimate, the CA Affidavit of Adverse Claim at the back of the said title
merely modified the assailed Summary Judgment of the trial court by excluding the particularly the original copy of Transfer Certificate of Title No.
Pangans among those solidarily liable to petitioner, in effect affirming in all other RT-6604 (82020) PR-18887 which is on file with the said
respects the assailed summary judgment, viz: office, so that my interest as Recipient/Benefactor of the
said property will be protected especially the registered
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Decision owner/parents, in a fraudulent manner might dispose (of)
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 in Civil and/or encumber the same without my knowledge and
Case No. Q-99-38876 is hereby MODIFIED, as follows: consent. (Emphasis ours)

1. Ordering defendants-appellants Comandante and Spouses


Diaz to jointly and severally pay plaintiff the sum of Php 1,118, Clearly, petitioners Affidavit of Adverse Claim was based solely on the
228.00; and waiver of hereditary interest executed by Comandante. This fact cannot be any clearer
especially so when the inscription of his adverse claim at the back of TCT No. RT-6604
2. Ordering defendants-appellants Comandante and Spouses reads as follows:
Diaz to jointly and severally pay plaintiff the amount of
Php10,000.00 plus cost of suit. P.E. 2468/T-(82020)RT-6604 - - AFFIDAVIT OF
ADVERSE CLAIM - - Executed under oath by PEDRO M.
SO ORDERED.[31] FERRER, married to Erlinda B. Ferrer, claiming among
others that they have a claim, the interest over said
property as Recipient/Benefactor, by virtue of a waiver of
Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration[32] having been denied by the CA in Hereditary Rights and Interest over a real property x x
its Resolution[33] dated September 10, 2004, he now comes to us through this petition x[34] (Emphasis ours)
for review on certiorari insisting that the Pangans should, together with the other
respondents, be held solidarily liable to him for the amount of P1,118,228.00.
Therefore, there is no basis for petitioners assertion that the adverse claim was also
Our Ruling anchored on the mortgage contract allegedly executed by Comandante on behalf of
her parents.
The petition lacks merit.
The questions next to be resolved are: Is Comandantes waiver of
Petitioner merely reiterates his contentions in the Motion for Summary hereditary rights valid? Is petitioners adverse claim based on such waiver likewise valid
Judgment he filed before the trial court. He insists that his Adverse Claim annotated at and effective?
the back of TCT No. RT-6604 is not merely anchored on Comandantes Waiver of
Hereditary Rights and Interests Over A Real Property (Still Undivided) but also on her We note at the outset that the validity of petitioners adverse claim should
being the attorney-in-fact of the Diazes when she executed the mortgage contract in have been determined by the trial court after the petition for cancellation of petitioners
favor of petitioner. He avers that his adverse claim is not frivolous or invalid and is adverse claim filed by Comandante was consolidated with Civil Case No. Q-99-
registrable as the Registrar of Deeds of Quezon City even allowed its annotation. He 38876.[35] This is in consonance with Section 70 of PD 1529 which provides:
also claims that even prior to the sale of subject property to the Pangans, the latter
already knew of his valid and existing adverse claim thereon and are, therefore, not Section 70. Adverse Claim. Whoever claims any
purchasers in good faith. Thus, petitioner maintains that the Pangans should be held, part or interest in registered land adverse to the registered
together with the Diazes and Comandante, jointly and severally liable to him in the total owner, arising subsequent to the date of the original
amount of P1,118,228.00. registration, may, if no other provision is made in this Decree
for registering the same, make a statement in writing setting
Petitioners contentions are untenable. forth fully his alleged right or interest, and how or under whom
acquired, a reference to the number of the certificate of title of worse is that despite this glaring defect, the CA manifestly overlooked the matter even if
the registered owner, the name of the registered owner, and a respondents vigorously raised the same before it.
description of the land in which the right or interest is claimed. Be that as it may, respondents efforts of pointing out this flaw, which we
find significant, have not gone to naught as will be hereinafter discussed.
The statement shall be signed and sworn to, and
shall state the adverse claimants residence, and a place at All the respondents contend that the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a
which all notices may be served upon him. This statement Real Property (Still Undivided) executed by Comandante is null and void for being
shall be entitled to registration as an adverse claim on the violative of Article 1347 of the Civil Code, hence, petitioners adverse claim which was
certificate of title. The adverse claim shall be effective for a based upon such waiver is likewise void and cannot confer upon the latter any right or
period of thirty days from the date of registration. After the interest over the property.
lapse of said period, the annotation of adverse claim may
be cancelled upon filing of a verified petition therefor by We agree with the respondents.
the party in interest: Provided, however, That after
cancellation, no second adverse claim based on the same Pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 1347 of the Civil Code, no contract
ground shall be registered by the same claimant. may be entered into upon a future inheritance except in cases expressly
authorized by law. For the inheritance to be considered future, the succession
Before the lapse of thirty days aforesaid, any must not have been opened at the time of the contract. A contract may be
party in interest may file a petition in the Court of First classified as a contract upon future inheritance, prohibited under the second
Instance where the land is situated for the cancellation of paragraph of Article 1347, where the following requisites concur:
the adverse claim, and the court shall grant a speedy
hearing upon the question of validity of such adverse (1) That the succession has not yet been opened.
claim, and shall render judgment as may be just and
equitable. If the adverse claim is adjudged to be invalid, (2) That the object of the contract forms part of the
the registration thereof shall be ordered cancelled. If, in inheritance; and,
any case, the court, after notice and hearing, shall find that the
adverse claim thus registered was frivolous, it may fine the (3) That the promissor has, with respect to the object,
claimant in an amount not less than one thousand pesos nor an expectancy of a right which is purely hereditary
more than five thousand pesos, in its discretion. Before the in nature.[38]
lapse of thirty days, the claimant may withdraw his adverse
claim by filing with the Register of Deeds a sworn petition to In this case, there is no question that at the time of execution of
that effect. (Emphasis ours) Comandantes Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property (Still
Undivided), succession to either of her parents properties has not yet been opened
since both of them are still living. With respect to the other two requisites, both are
Pursuant to the third paragraph of the afore-quoted provision, it has been likewise present considering that the property subject matter of Comandantes waiver
held that the validity or efficaciousness of an adverse claim may only be determined by concededly forms part of the properties that she expect to inherit from her parents upon
the Court upon petition by an interested party, in which event, the Court shall order the their death and, such expectancy of a right, as shown by the facts, is undoubtedly
immediate hearing thereof and make the proper adjudication as justice and equity may purely hereditary in nature.
warrant. And, it is only when such claim is found unmeritorious that the registration of From the foregoing, it is clear that Comandante and petitioner entered into
the adverse claim may be cancelled.[36] a contract involving the formers future inheritance as embodied in the Waiver of
Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property (Still Undivided) executed by her in
As correctly pointed out by respondents, the records is bereft of any petitioners favor.
showing that the trial court conducted any hearing on the matter. Instead, what the trial
court did was to include this material issue among those for which it has rendered its In Taedo v. Court of Appeals,[39] we invalidated the contract of sale
summary judgment as shown by the following portion of the judgment: between Lazaro Taedo and therein private respondents since the subject matter
thereof was a one hectare of whatever share the former shall have over Lot 191 of the
x x x it will be NOTED that subject Adverse Claim annotated at cadastral survey of Gerona, Province of Tarlac and covered by Title T-13829 of the
the back of Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-6604 (82020) Register of Deeds of Tarlac. It constitutes a part of Taedos future inheritance from his
PR-18887, and carried over to defendants-Sps. Pangans Title parents, which cannot be the source of any right nor the creator of any obligation
No. N-20909, is not merely anchored on defendant Reina between the parties.
Comandantes Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a
Real Property but also on her being the Attorney-In-Fact of the Guided by the above discussions, we similarly declare in this case that
previous registered owners/parents/defendants Sps. Alfredo the Waiver of Hereditary Rights and Interest Over a Real Property (Still Undivided)
and Imelda Diaz about the Real Estate Mortgage Contract for executed by Comandante in favor of petitioner as not valid and that same cannot be the
a loan of P1,118,228.00 which is a blood money of the source of any right or create any obligation between them for being violative of the
plaintiff. Moreover, subject Adverse Claim in LRC Case second paragraph of Article 1347 of the Civil Code.
No. Q-12009 (99) is NOT frivolous and invalid and
consequently, REGISTRABLE by virtue of Section 110 of Anent the validity and effectivity of petitioners adverse claim, it is provided in
the Land Registration Act (now Section 70 of Presidential Section 70 of PD 1529, that it is necessary that the claimant has a right or interest in
Decree No. 1529). [37] (Emphasis ours) theregistered land adverse to the registered owner and that it must arise subsequent to
registration. Here, as no right or interest on the subject property flows from
Comandantes invalid waiver of hereditary rights upon petitioner, the latter is thus not
It does not escape our attention that the trial court merely echoed the claim of petitioner entitled to the registration of his adverse claim.Therefore, petitioners adverse claim is
that his adverse claim subject of LRC Case No. Q-12009 (99) is not frivolous, invalid without any basis and must consequently be adjudged invalid and ineffective and
and is consequently registrable. We likewise lament the apparent lack of effort on the perforce be cancelled.
part of said court to make even a short ratiocination as to how it came up with said
conclusion. In fact, what followed the above-quoted portion of the summary judgment Albeit we have already resolved the issues raised by petitioner, we shall not stop here
are mere recitals of the arguments raised by petitioner in his motion for summary as the Diazes and Comandante in their Comment[40] call our attention to the failure of
judgment. And in the dispositive portion, the trial court merely casually ordered that the CA to pass upon the issue of the propriety of the issuance by the trial court of the
petitioners adverse claim be inscribed at the back of the title of the Pangans. What is Summary Judgment in favor of petitioner despite the fact that they have raised this
issue before the appellate court. They argue that summary judgment is proper only Petitioner anchors his complaint for sum of money and/or judicial
when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact in the action. Thus, where foreclosure on the alleged real estate mortgage over the subject property allegedly
the defendant presented defenses tendering factual issue which call for presentation of entered into by Comandante in behalf of her parents to secure payment of a loan
evidence, as when he specifically denies the material allegations in the complaint, amounting to P1,118,228.00. To support this claim, petitioner attached to his complaint
summary judgment cannot be rendered. (1) the SPA alleged to have been executed by the Diazes; (2) the Real Estate
Mortgage Contract pertaining to the amount of P1,118,228.00; and, (3) a Promissory
The Diazes and Comandante then enumerate the genuine issues in the Note.
case which they claim should have precluded the trial court from issuing a summary
judgment in petitioners favor. First, the execution of the SPA in favor of Comandante Comandante, in her Answer to petitioners Amended Complaint, assailed
referred to by petitioner in his complaint was never admitted by the Diazes. They assert the validity and due execution of the abovementioned documents. She asserted that
that as such fact is disputed, trial should have been conducted to determine the truth of the same were not duly, knowingly and validly executed by her and that it was petitioner
the matter, samebeing a genuine issue.Despite this, the trial court merely took the word who prepared all of them. Also, although she admitted owing petitioner, same was not
of the plaintiff and assumed that said document was indeed executed by an absolute admission as she limited herself to an obligation amounting only
them. Second, although Comandante acknowledges that she has a personal obligation to P600,000.00 inclusive of charges and interests.She likewise claimed that such
with petitioner, she nevertheless, did not admit that it was in the amount obligation is her personal obligation and not of her parents.
of P1,118,228.00. Instead, she claims only the amount of P500,000.00 or P600,000.00
(if inclusive of interest) as her obligation. Moreover, the Diazes deny borrowing any The Diazes, for their part, also denied that they executed the SPA
money from petitioner and neither did the Pangans owe him a single centavo. Thus, the authorizing their daughter to mortgage their property to petitioner as well as having any
true amount of the obligation due the petitioner and how each of the respondents are obligation to the latter.
responsible for such amount are genuine issues which need formal presentation of
evidence. Lastly, they aver that the trial court ignored factual and material issues such Clearly, there are genuine issues in this case which require the
as the lack of probative value of Comandantes waiver of hereditary rights as well as of presentation of evidence. For one, it is necessary to ascertain in a full blown trial the
the SPA; the fact that Comandante signed the mortgage contract and promissory note validity and due execution of the SPA, the Real Estate Mortgage and the Promissory
in her personal capacity; and, that all such documents were prepared by petitioner who Notes because the determination of the following equally significant questions depends
acted as a lawyer and the creditor of Comandante at the same time. on them, to wit: (1) Are the Diazes obligated to petitioner or is the obligation a purely
personal obligation of Comandante? and, (2) Is the sum of P1,118,228.00 as shown in
Rule 35 of the Rules of Court provides for summary judgment, the the Real Estate Mortgage and the Promissory Note, the amount which is really due the
pertinent provisions of which are the following: petitioner?

Section 1. Summary Judgment for claimant. A To stress, trial courts have limited authority to render summary judgments and may do
party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross- so only when there is clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact. When the facts
claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at any time after the as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested, proceedings for summary
pleading in answer thereto has been served, move with judgment cannot take the place of trial.[42] From the foregoing, it is apparent that the trial
supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary court should have refrained from issuing the summary judgment but instead proceeded
judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof. to conduct a full blown trial of the case. In view of this, the present case should be
remanded to the trial court for further proceedings and proper disposition according to
Section 2. Summary Judgment for the defending the rudiments of a regular trial on the merits and not through an abbreviated termination
party. A party against whom a claim, counterclaim or cross- of the case by summary judgment.
claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may, at any
time, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals
admissions for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or dated December 12, 2003 insofar as it excluded the respondents Spouses Bienvenido
any part thereof. Pangan and Elizabeth Pangan from among those solidarily liable to petitioner Atty.
Pedro M. Ferrer, is AFFIRMED. The inscription of the adverse claim of petitioner Atty.
Section 3. Motion and proceedings thereon. The motion shall Pedro M. Ferrer on T.C.T. No. N-209049 is hereby ordered CANCELLED. Insofar as
be served at least ten (10) days before the time specified for its other aspects are concerned, the assailed Decision is SET ASIDE and
the hearing. The adverse party may serve opposing affidavits, VACATED. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
depositions, or admissions at least three (3) days before the Branch 224 for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision.
hearing. After the hearing, the judgment sought shall be SO ORDERED.
rendered forthwith if the pleadings, supporting affidavits,
depositions and admissions on file, show that, except as to the
amount of damages, there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
as a matter of law. Associate Justice

2) Probation Proceedings of the Last Will and Testament of


As can be deduced from the above provisions, summary judgment is a Basilio Santiago
procedural devise resorted to in order to avoid long drawn out litigations and useless
delays. When the pleadings on file show that there are no genuine issues of facts to be THIRD DIVISION
tried, the Rules of Court allows a party to obtain immediate relief by way of summary
judgment. That is, when the facts are not in dispute, the court is allowed to decide the
case summarily by applying the law to the material facts. Conversely, where the IN RE: PETITION FOR PROBATE OF LAST WILL AND G.R. No. 179859
pleadings tender a genuine issue, summary judgment is not proper. A genuine issue is TESTAMENT OF BASILIO SANTIAGO,
such fact which requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham, Present:
fictitious, contrived or false claim.[41] MA. PILAR SANTIAGO and CLEMENTE SANTIAGO,
Petitioners, CARPIO MORALES, J.
Here, we find the existence of genuine issues which removes the case BERSAMIN,
from the coverage of summary judgment. The variance in the allegations of the parties - versus - DEL CASTILLO,*
in their pleadings is evident. ABAD,** and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
ZOILO S. SANTIAGO, FELICIDAD SANTIAGO-RIVERA, kasali at kasama ang palaisdaan na nasa likuran
HEIRS OF RICARDO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF niyon, ay ililipat sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at
CIPRIANO SANTIAGO, HEIRS OF TOMAS SANTIAGO, Clemente; ngunit ang kita ng palaisdaan ay siyang
Respondents. gagamitin nila sa lahat at anomang kailangang
gugol, maging majora o roperacion [sic], sa lupat
bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila na nasasaysay sa
FILEMON SOCO, LEONILA SOCO, ANANIAS SOCO, itaas na 2(c);
URBANO SOCO, GERTRUDES SOCO AND HEIRS OF
CONSOLACION SOCO, e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng
Oppositors. Maynila na nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(c)
ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar
at Clemente hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila
kundi upang pamahalaan at pangalagaan
lamang nila at nang ang sinoman sa aking mga
Promulgated: anak sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa
August 9, 2010 habang panahon ay may tutuluyan kung
magnanais na mag-aral sa Maynila o kalapit na
x--------------------------------------------------x mga lunsod x x x.

f) Ang bigasan, mga makina at


pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop ay ipinamamana
ko sa aking asawa, Cecilia Lomotan, at mga anak
na Zoilo, Ma. Pilar, Ricardo, Cipriano, Felicidad,
Eugenia, Clemente, at Cleotilde nang pare-
DECISION pareho. Ngunit, sa loob ng dalawampong (20)
taon mula sa araw ng aking kamatayan, hindi
nila papartihin ito at pamamahalaan ito ni
CARPIO MORALES, J.: Clemente at ang maghahawak ng salaping
kikitain ay si Ma. Pilar na siyang
Basilio Santiago (Basilio) contracted three marriagesthe first to magpaparte. Ang papartihin lamang ay ang kita
Bibiana Lopez, the second to Irene Santiago, and the third to Cecilia ng mga iyon matapos na ang gugol na
Lomotan. Basilio and his first wife bore two offsprings, Irene and Marta, the kakailanganin niyon, bilang reparacion, pagpapalit
mother of herein oppositors Felimon, Leonila, Consolacion, Ananias, o pagpapalaki ay maawas na. Ninais ko ang
Urbano, and Gertrudes, all surnamed Soco. ganito sa aking pagmamahal sa kanila at
pagaaring ibinubuhay ko sa kanila lahat, bukod sa
Basilio and his second wife had six offsprings, Tomas, Cipriano, yaon ay sa kanila ding kapakinabangan at
Ricardo, respondents Zoilo and Felicidad, and petitioner Ma. Pilar, all kabutihan.
surnamed Santiago.
g) Ang lahat ng lupa, liban sa lupat
Basilio and his third wife bore three children, Eugenia herein bahay sa Lunsod ng Maynila, ay ipinapamana
petitioner Clemente, and Cleotilde, all surnamed Santiago.[1] ko sa aking nasabing asawa, Cecilia Lomotan,
at mga anak na Tomas, Zoilo, Ma. Pilar,
After Basilio died testate on September 16, 1973, his daughter by Ricardo, Cipriano, Felicidad, Eugenia,
the second marriage petitioner Ma. Pilar filed before the Regional Trial Court Clemente at Cleotilde nang pare-
(RTC) of Bulacan[2] a petition for the probate of Basilios will, docketed as SP pareho. Datapwat, gaya din ng mga bigasan,
No. 1549-M. The will was admitted to probate by Branch 10 of the RTC and makina at gawaan ng pagkain ng hayop, ito ay
Ma. Pilar was appointed executrix. hindi papartihin sa loob ng dalawampong (20)
taon mula sa aking pagpanaw, at
The will contained the following provisions, among others: pamamahalaan din nila Ma. Pilar at
4. Ang mga ari-arian ko na nasasaysay Clemente. Ang mapaparte lamang ay ang kita o
sa itaas ay INIWAN, IPINAGKAKALOOB, ani ng nasabing mga pag-aari matapos bayaran
IBINIBIGAY, at IPINAMAMANA ko sa aking mga ang buwis at/o patubig at iba pang mga gugol na
nasabing tagapagmana sa ilalim ng gaya ng kailangan. Si Ma. Pilar din ang hahawak ng ani o
sumusunod: salaping manggagaling dito. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)[3]
The oppositors-children of Marta, a daughter of Basilio and
his first wife, were, on their motion, allowed to intervene.[4]

xxxx After the executrix-petitioner Ma. Pilar filed a Final Accounting,


Partition and Distribution in Accordance with the Will,[5] the probate court
c) ang aking anak na si Ma. Pilar ang approved the will by Order of August 14, 1978 and directed the registers of
magpapalakad at mamamahala ng balutan na deeds of Bulacan and Manila to register the certificates of title indicated
nasa Santiago, Malolos, Bulacan, na nasasaysay therein.[6] Accordingly, the titles to Lot Nos. 786, 837, 7922, 836 and 838 in
sa itaas na 2(y); Malolos, Bulacan and Lot No. 8-C in Manila were transferred in the name of
petitioners Ma. Pilar and Clemente.[7]
d) Sa pamamahala ng bigasan,
pagawaan ng pagkain ng hayop at lupat bahay sa The oppositors thereafter filed a Complaint-in-Intervention[8] with
Maynila, ang lahat ng solar sa danay ng daang the probate court, alleging that Basilios second wife was not Irene but a
Malolos-Paombong na nasa Malolos, Bulacan,
certain Maria Arellano with whom he had no child; and that Basilios will Said [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and Clemente
violates Articles 979-981 of the Civil Code.[9] Santiago should have also rendered an
accounting of their administration from such death
The probate court dismissed the Complaint-in-Intervention, citing of the testator up to the present or until transfer of
its previous approval of the Final Accounting, Partition, and Distribution in said properties and its administration to the said
Accordance with the Will.[10] legatees.

The oppositors-heirs of the first marriage thereupon filed x x x x[20]


a complaint for completion of legitime before the Bulacan RTC,
docketed as Civil Case No. 562-M-90,[11] against the heirs of the second
and third marriages. Respondents prayed that petitioners be ordered:

In their complaint, oppositors-heirs of the first marriage essentially 1) To surrender the above-
maintained that they were partially preterited by Basilios will because their enumerated titles presently in
legitime was reduced.[12] They thus prayed, inter alia, that an inventory and their names to [the] Honorable
appraisal of all the properties of Basilio be conducted and that Ma. Pilar and Court and to transfer the same
Clemente be required to submit a fresh accounting of all the incomes of the in the names of the designated
properties from the time of Basilios death up to the time of the filing of Civil legatees in the Last Will and
Case No. 562-M-90.[13] Testament, to wit:

RTC-Branch 17 decided Civil Case No. 562-M-90 (for completion 1) asawa, Cecilia
of legitime) in favor of the oppositors-heirs of the first marriage. Lomotan, at mga
anak na
On appeal (docketed as CA G.R. No. 45801), the Court of 2) Tomas
Appeals, by Decision of January 25, 2002,[14] annulled the decision of RTC- 3) Zoilo
Branch 17, holding that the RTC Branch 17 dismissal of the Complaint-in- 4) Ma. Pilar
Intervention in SP No. 1549-M and its August 14, 1978 Order approving the 5) Ricardo
probate of the will constitute res judicata with respect to Civil Case No. 562- 6) Cipriano
M-90.[15] Thus the appellate court disposed: 7) Felicidad
8) Eugenia
WHEREFORE, premises considered, 9) Clemente at
the Appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision in 10) Cleotilde
Civil Case No. 562-M-90 is hereby ANNULLED on (all
the ground of res judicata. Let the Decree of surnamed SANTI
Distribution of the Estate of AGO)
Basilio Santiago remain UNDISTURBED.
2) To peacefully surrender
SO ORDERED.[16] (emphasis in the possession and administration of
original; underscoring supplied) subject properties, including any
and all improvements thereon, to
said legatees.
Oppositors-heirs of the first marriage challenged the appellate
courts decision in CA G.R. No. 45801 by petition for review, docketed as 3) To render an accounting of their
G.R. No. 155606, which this Court denied.[17] The denial became final and administration of said properties
executory on April 9, 2003.[18] and other properties of the
testator under their
In the interregnum, or on October 17, 2000, respondent-heirs of administration, from death of
the second marriage filed before the probate court (RTC-Branch 10) testator Basilio Santiago
a Motion for Termination of Administration, for Accounting, and for on September 16, 1973 up to
Transfer of Titles in the Names of the Legatees.[19] Citing the earlier the present and until possession
quoted portions of Basilios will, they alleged that: and administration thereof is
transferred to said legatees.[21]
x x x x the twenty (20) year
period within which subject properties should be Opposing the motion, petitioners argued that with the approval of
under administration of [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and the Final Accounting, Partition and Distribution in Accordance with the Will,
Clemente Santiago expired on September 16, and with the subsequent issuance of certificates of title covering the
1993. properties involved, the case had long since been closed and terminated.[22]

Consequently, [Ma.] Pilar Santiago and The probate court, finding that the properties in question would be
Clemente Santiago should have ceased as such transferred to petitioners Ma. Pilar and Clemente for purposes of
administrator[s] way back on September 16, administration only, granted the motion, by Order of September 5,
1993 and they should have transferred the above 2003,[23]disposing as follows:
said titles to the named legatees in the Last Will
and Testament of the testator by then. Said WHEREFORE, premises considered,
named legatees in the Last Will and Testament the Motion for Termination of Administration, for
are no[ne] other than the following: Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the
Names of the Legatees dated October 3,
xxxx 2000 filed by some heirs of the testator Basilio
Santiago xxx is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly,
the administratrix [sic] Ma. Pilar Santiago and Mr.
Clemente Santiago are hereby DIRECTED, as The Motion to Suspend Proceedings
follows: filed by Filemon, Leonila, Ma. Concepcion,
Ananias, Urbano and Gertrudes, all surnamed
a.) To surrender the above- Soco, dated December 3, 2002, is
enumerated titles presently in hereby DENIED for lack of merit.[24]
their names to this Honorable
Court and to transfer the same in
the names of the designated
legatees in the Last Will and
Testament, to wit: 1.) asawa,
Cecilia Lomotan atmga anak na
2.) Tomas 3).Zoilo 4.)Ma.Pilar 5.) Respecting petitioners argument that the case had long been
Ricardo 6.) Cipriano 7.)Felicidad closed and terminated, the trial court held:
8.) Eugenia 9.) Clemente and 10.)
Cleotilde all named SANTIAGO. x x x x [I]t is clear from the Last Will
b.) To peacefully surrender and Testament that subject properties cannot
possession and administration of actually be partitioned until after 20 years from the
subject properties including any death of the testator Basilio Santiago x x x x. It is,
and all improvements thereon, to therefore, clear that something more has to be
said legatees; and done after the approval of said Final Accounting,
c.) To render an accounting of their Partition, and Distribution. The testator Basilio
administration of subject Santiago died on September 16, 1973, hence, the
properties, including any and all present action can only be filed after September
improvements thereon, to said 16, 1993. Movants cause of action accrues only
legatees; and from the said date and for which no prescription of
d.) To submit an accounting of their action has set in.
administration of the above-
mentioned estate of the testator The principle of res judicata does
or all the above said lots including not apply in the present probate proceeding
the rice mill, animal feeds factory, which is continuing in character, and
and all improvements thereon terminates only after and until the final
from August 14, 1978 up to the distribution or settlement of the whole estate
present. of the deceased in accordance with the
e.) To submit a proposed Project of provision of the will of the testator. The Order
Partition, indicating how the dated August 14, 1978 refers only to the
parties may actually partition or accounting, partition, and distribution of the estate
adjudicate all the above said of the deceased for the period covering from the
properties including the properties date of the filing of the petition for probate on
already in the name of all the said December 27, 1973 up to August 14, 1978. And in
legatees xxx. the said August 14, 1978 order it does not
terminate the appointment of petitioner[s] Ma.
x x x x. Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago as
executrix and administrator, respectively, of the
Further, the Register of Deeds of estate of the deceased particularly of those
Bulacan are hereby DIRECTED to cancel and properties which were prohibited by the testator to
consider as no force and effects Transfer be partitioned within 20 years from his
Certificates of Title Nos. T-249177 (RT-46294) death. Since then up to the present, Ma.
[Lot No. 786], T-249175 (RT-46295) [Lot No. 837], Pilar Santiago and Clemente Santiago remain the
T-249174 (RT-46296) [Lot No. 7922], T-249173 executor and administrator of the estate of the
(RT-46297) [Lot No. 836], and T-249176 (RT- deceased and as such, they are required by law to
46293) [Lot No. 838] in the names of Ma. Pilar render an accounting thereof from August 14,
Santiago and Clemente Santiago and to issue 1978 up to the present; there is also now a need
new ones in the lieu thereof in the names of to partition and distribute the aforesaid properties
Cecilia Lomotan-Santiago, Tomas Santiago, Zoilo as the prohibition period to do so has elapsed.
Santiago, Ma. Pilar Santiago, Ricardo Santiago, (emphasis and underscoring supplied)[25]
Cipriano Santiago, Felicidad Santiago, Eugenia
Santiago, Clemente Santiago, and Cleotilde
Santiago. Petitioners, together with the oppositors, filed a motion for
reconsideration,[26] which the probate court denied, drawing them to appeal
Moreover, the Register of Deeds of to the Court of Appeals which docketed it as CA G.R. No. 83094.
Manila is hereby DIRECTED to cancel and
consider as no force and effect Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 131044 [Lot No. 8-C] in the
names of Ma. Pilar Santiago and Clemente
Santiago and to issue new ones in lieu thereof in The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the probate
the names of the Heirs of Bibiana Lopez, the Heirs court,[27] hence, the petition[28] which raises the following grounds:
of Irene Santiago, and the Heirs of Cecilia
Lomotan. I.
decision of the appellate court in this case and were only impleaded pro
CAN THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS forma parties.
REVERSE ITSELF
Apparently, petitioners emphasize on the directive of the
A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT appellate court in CA G.R. No. 45801 that the decree of distribution of the
BINDING ITSELF WITH ITS PREVIOUS estate of Basilio should remain undisturbed. But this directive goes only so
DECISION INVOLVING THE SAME far as to prohibit the interference of the oppositors in the distribution of
PARTIES AND SAME PROPERTIES; Basilios estate and does not pertain to respondents supervening right to
B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN demand the termination of administration, accounting and transfer of titles in
AFFIRMING THE RTC AS IT AGREED their names.
WITH THE RTC THAT THIS CASE IS NOT
BARRED BY RES JUDICATA; Thus, the Order of September 5, 2003 by the probate court
C. IN C.A.-G.R. NO. 45801, THE granting respondents Motion for Termination of Administration, for
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HELD Accounting, and for Transfer of Titles in the Names of the Legatees is a
THAT THERE WAS RES JUDICATA; IN proper and necessary continuation of the August 14, 1978 Order that
C.A.-G.R. CV NO. 83094, THERE WAS NO approved the accounting, partition and distribution of Basilios estate. As did
RES JUDICATA. the appellate court, the Court notes that the August 14, 1978 Order was yet
to become final pending the whole settlement of the estate. And final
II. settlement of the estate, in this case, would culminate after 20 years or
on September 16, 1993, when the prohibition to partition the properties of
GRANTING THAT THE COURT OF the decedent would be lifted.
APPEALS HAS ALL THE COMPETENCE AND
JURISDICTION TO REVERSE ITSELF, STILL Finally, petitioners object to the inclusion of the house and lot in
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN Manila, covered by TCT No. 131044, among those to be transferred to the
AFFIRMING THE RTCS ORDER TO TRANSFER legatees-heirs as it would contravene the testators intent that no one is to
THE MANILA PROPERTY COVERED BY TCT own the same.
NO. 131004 TO THE NAMES OF CECILIA
LOMOTAN, TOMAS, ZOILO, MA. PILAR, The Court is not persuaded. It is clear from Basilios will that he
RICARDO, CIPRIANO FELICIDAD, EUGENIA, intended the house and lot in Manila to be transferred in petitioners names
CLEMENTE AND CLEOTILDE, ALL for administration purposes only, and that the property be owned by the heirs
SURNAMED SANTIAGO.[29] (emphasis in the in common, thus:
original)
e) Ang lupat bahay sa Lunsod ng
Maynila na nasasaysay sa itaas na 2(c) ay ililipat
at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Ma. Pilar at
The petition lacks merit. Clemente hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila
Petitioners argument that the decision of the appellate court in the kundi upang pamahalaan at pangalagaan
earlier CA-G.R. NO. 45801 (upheld by this Court in G.R. No. 155606) lamang nilaat nang ang sinoman sa aking mga
constitutes res judicata to the subsequent CA G.R. No. 83094 (the subject of anak sampu ng apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa
the present petition for review) fails. habang panahon ay may tutuluyan kung
magnanais na mag-aral sa Maynila o kalapit na
Res judicata has two aspects, which are embodied in Sections 47 mga lunsod sa medaling salita, ang bahay at
(b) and 47 (c) of Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.[30] The first, known lupang itoy walang magmamay-ari bagkus ay
as bar by prior judgment, proscribes the prosecution of a second action upon gagamitin habang panahon ng sinomang
the same claim, demand or cause of action already settled in a prior magnanais sa aking kaapuapuhan na tumuklas ng
action.[31] The second, known as conclusiveness of judgment, ordains that karunungan sa paaralan sa Maynila at katabing
issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised mga lunsod x x x x[33] (emphasis and underscoring
in any future case between the same parties involving a different cause of supplied)
action.[32]

Both aspects of res judicata, however, do not find application in But the condition set by the decedent on the propertys
the present case. The final judgment regarding oppositors complaint on the indivisibility is subject to a statutory limitation. On this point, the Court agrees
reduction of their legitime in CA-G.R. NO. 45801 does not dent the present with the ruling of the appellate court, viz:
petition, which solely tackles the propriety of the termination of
administration, accounting and transfer of titles in the names of the legatees- For this Court to sustain without
heirs of the second and third marriages. There is clearly no similarity of qualification, [petitioners]s contention, is to go
claim, demand or cause of action between the present petition and G.R. No. against the provisions of law, particularly Articles
155606. 494, 870, and 1083 of the Civil Code, which
provide that the prohibition to divide a
While as between the two cases there is identity of property in a co-ownership can only last for
parties, conclusiveness of judgment cannot likewise be invoked. Again, the twenty (20) years x x x x
judgment in G.R. No. 155606 would only serve as an estoppel as regards
the issue on oppositors supposed preterition and reduction of legitime, which xxxx
issue is not even a subject, or at the very least even invoked, in the present
petition. x x x x Although the Civil Code is silent
as to the effect of the indivision of a property for
What is clear is that petitioners can invoke res judicata insofar as more than twenty years, it would be contrary to
the judgment in G.R. No. 155606 is concerned against the oppositors public policy to sanction co-ownership beyond the
only. The records reveal, however, that the oppositors did not appeal the
period expressly mandated by the Civil Code x x x testator was in a condition to make a will, is the only purpose of the
x[34] proceedings under the new code for the probate of a will. (Sec. 625.) The
judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine nothing more.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. In them the court has no power to pass upon the validity of any provisions
made in the will. It can not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is void
Costs against petitioners. and another one valid. It could not in this case make any decision upon the
question whether the testratrix had the power to appoint by will a guardian for
SO ORDERED. the property of her children by her first husband, or whether the person so
appointed was or was not a suitable person to discharge such trust.
All such questions must be decided in some other proceeding. The grounds
on which a will may be disallowed are stated the section 634. Unless one of
those grounds appears the will must be allowed. They all have to do with the
Chapter II. Testamentary Succession personal condition of the testator at the time of its execution and the
1) Montinola vs Herbosa formalities connected therewith. It follows that neither this court nor the court
2) Castaneda vs Alemany below has any jurisdiction in his proceedings to pass upon the questions
raised by the appellants by the assignment of error relating to the
Republic of the Philippines appointment of a guardian for the children of the deceased.
SUPREME COURT It is claimed by the appellants that there was no testimony in the court below
Manila to show that the will executed by the deceased was the same will presented
EN BANC to the court and concerning which this hearing was had. It is true that the
G.R. No. 1439 March 19, 1904 evidence does not show that the document in court was presented to the
ANTONIO CASTAÑEDA, plaintiff-appellee, witnesses and identified by them, as should have been done. But we think
vs. that we are justified in saying that it was assumed by all the parties during
JOSE E. ALEMANY, defendant-appellant. the trial in the court below that the will about which the witnesses were
Ledesma, Sumulong and Quintos for appellant. testifying was the document then in court. No suggestion of any kind was
The court erred in holding that all legal formalities had been complied with in then made by the counsel for the appellants that it was not the same
the execution of the will of Doña Juana Moreno, as the proof shows that the instrument. In the last question put to the witness Gonzales the phrase "this
said will was not written in the presence of under the express direction of the will" is used by the counsel for the appellants. In their argument in that court,
testratrix as required by section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. found on page 15 of the record, they treat the testimony of the witnesses as
Antonio V. Herrero for appellee. referring to the will probate they were then opposing.
The grounds upon which a will may be disallowed are limited to those The judgment of the court below is affirmed, eliminating therefrom, however,
mentioned in section 634 of the Code of Civil Procedure. the clause "el cual debera ejecutarse fiel y exactamente en todas sus
Case Digest: partes." The costs of this instance will be charged against the appellants.
CASTAÑEDA v. ALEMANY Arellano, C. J., Torres, Cooper, Mapa, McDonough and Johnson,
GR No.1439, March 19, 1904 JJ., concur.
3 PHIL 426
3) Rabadilla vs CA
FACTS: Appellant constested the validity of the will of Doña Juana Moreno
upon the ground that although the attestation clause in the will states that the THIRD DIVISION
testator signed the will in the presence of three witnesses who also each [G.R. No. 113725. June 29, 2000]
signed in each presence, the will was not actually written by the testator. JOHNNY S. RABADILLA,[1] petitioner, vs. COURT OF
APPEALS AND MARIA MARLENA[2] COSCOLUELLA Y
ISSUE: Is it necessary that a will be written by the testator herself? BELLEZA VILLACARLOS, respondents.
DECISION
HELD: No. Section 618 of the Civil Code requires (1) that the will be in PURISIMA, J.:
writing and (2) either that the testator sign it himself or, if he does not sign it, This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of
that it be signed by some one in his presence and by his express direction. Appeals,[3] dated December 23, 1993, in CA-G.R. No. CV-35555,
Who does the mechanical work of writing the will is a matter of indifference. which set aside the decision of Branch 52 of the Regional Trial
The fact, therefore, that in this case the will was typewritten in the office of Court in Bacolod City, and ordered the defendants-
the lawyer for the testratrix is of no consequence. appellees (including herein petitioner), as heirs of Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla, to reconvey title over Lot No. 1392, together with its
WILLARD, J.: fruits and interests, to the estate of Aleja Belleza.
(1) The evidence in this case shows to our satisfaction that the will of Doña The antecedent facts are as follows:
Juana Moreno was duly signed by herself in the presence of three witnesses, In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix
who signed it as witnesses in the presence of the testratrix and of each Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the
other. It was therefore executed in conformity with law. herein petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee
There is nothing in the language of section 618 of the Code of Civil of 511, 855 square meters of that parcel of land surveyed as Lot
Procedure which supports the claim of the appellants that the will must be No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre. The said Codicil, which was
written by the testator himself or by someone else in his presence and under duly probated and admitted in Special Proceedings No. 4046
his express direction. That section requires (1) that the will be in writing and before the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental,
(2) either that the testator sign it himself or, if he does sign it, that it be signed contained the following provisions:
by some one in his presence and by his express direction.Who does the "FIRST
mechanical work of writing the will is a matter of indifference. The fact, I give, leave and bequeath the following property
therefore, that in this case the will was typewritten in the office of the lawyer owned by me to Dr. Jorge Rabadilla resident of 141 P.
for the testratrix is of no consequence. The English text of section 618 is very Villanueva, Pasay City:
plain. The mistakes in translation found in the first Spanish edition of the (a) Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by
code have been corrected in the second. Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10942),
(2) To establish conclusively as against everyone, and once for all, the facts which is registered in my name according to the
that a will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the records of the Register of Deeds of Negros Occidental.
(b) That should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the 2. Defendant-heirs failed to comply with their obligation
aforementioned property and the rights which I shall to deliver one hundred (100) piculs of sugar (75 piculs
set forth hereinbelow, shall be inherited and export sugar and 25 piculs domestic sugar) to plaintiff
acknowledged by the children and spouse of Jorge Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza from sugar crop
Rabadilla. years 1985 up to the filing of the complaint as
xxx mandated by the Codicil, despite repeated demands
FOURTH for compliance.
(a)....It is also my command, in this my addition 3. The banks failed to comply with the 6th paragraph of
(Codicil), that should I die and Jorge Rabadilla shall the Codicil which provided that in case of the sale,
have already received the ownership of the said Lot lease, or mortgage of the property, the buyer, lessee,
No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by or mortgagee shall likewise have the obligation to
Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10942), and deliver 100 piculs of sugar per crop year to herein
also at the time that the lease of Balbinito G. Guanzon private respondent.
of the said lot shall expire, Jorge Rabadilla shall have The plaintiff then prayed that judgment be rendered ordering
the obligation until he dies, every year to give to Maria defendant-heirs to reconvey/return-Lot No. 1392 to the surviving
Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, Seventy (75) (sic) piculs heirs of the late Aleja Belleza, the cancellation of TCT No. 44498
of Export sugar and Twenty Five (25) piculs of in the name of the deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and the
Domestic sugar, until the said Maria Marlina issuance of a new certificate of title in the names of the surviving
Coscolluela y Belleza dies. heirs of the late Aleja Belleza.
FIFTH On February 26, 1990, the defendant-heirs were declared in
(a) Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he default but on March 28, 1990 the Order of Default was lifted, with
shall give Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, respect to defendant Johnny S. Rabadilla, who filed his Answer,
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 accordingly.
(10492), shall have the obligation to still give yearly, During the pre-trial, the parties admitted that:
the sugar as specified in the Fourth paragraph of his On November 15, 1998, the plaintiff (private respondent) and a
testament, to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza on certain Alan Azurin, son-in-law of the herein petitioner who was
the month of December of each year. lessee of the property and acting as attorney-in-fact of defendant-
SIXTH heirs, arrived at an amicable settlement and entered into a
I command, in this my addition (Codicil) that the Lot Memorandum of Agreement on the obligation to deliver one
No. 1392, in the event that the one to whom I have left hundred piculs of sugar, to the following effect:
and bequeathed, and his heir shall later sell, lease, "That for crop year 1988-89, the annuity mentioned in
mortgage this said Lot, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, Entry No. 49074 of TCT No. 44489 will be delivered
shall have also the obligation to respect and deliver not later than January of 1989, more specifically, to
yearly ONE HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar to Maria wit:
Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, on each month of 75 piculs of 'A' sugar, and 25
December, SEVENTY FIVE (75) piculs of Export and piculs of 'B' sugar, or then
TWENTY FIVE (25) piculs of Domestic, until Maria existing in any of our names,
Marlina shall die, lastly should the buyer, lessee or the Mary Rose Rabadilla y Azurin or
mortgagee of this lot, not have respected my Alan Azurin, during December of
command in this my addition (Codicil), Maria Marlina each sugar crop year, in Azucar
Coscolluela y Belleza, shall immediately seize this Lot Sugar Central; and, this is
No. 1392 from my heir and the latter's heirs, and shall considered compliance of the
turn it over to my near desendants, (sic) and the latter annuity as mentioned, and in the
shall then have the obligation to give the ONE same manner will compliance of
HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar until Maria Marlina the annuity be in the next
shall die. I further command in this my addition succeeding crop years.
(Codicil) that my heir and his heirs of this Lot No. 1392, That the annuity above stated for crop year 1985-86,
that they will obey and follow that should they decide 1986-87, and 1987-88, will be complied in cash
to sell, lease, mortgage, they cannot negotiate with equivalent of the number of piculs as mentioned
others than my near descendants and my sister."[4] therein and which is as herein agreed upon, taking into
Pursuant to the same Codicil, Lot No. 1392 was transferred to the consideration the composite price of sugar during each
deceased, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, and Transfer Certificate of Title sugar crop year, which is in the total amount of ONE
No. 44498 thereto issued in his name. HUNDRED FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P105,000.00).
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife That the above-mentioned amount will be paid or delivered on a
Rufina and children Johnny (petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and staggered cash installment, payable on or before the end of
Zenaida, all surnamed Rabadilla. December of every sugar crop year, to wit:
On August 21, 1989, Maria Marlena Coscolluela y Belleza For 1985-86, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
Villacarlos brought a complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 5588, (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year
before Branch 52 of the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City, 1988-89;
against the above-mentioned heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to For 1986-87, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
enforce the provisions of subject Codicil. The Complaint alleged (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year
that the defendant-heirs violated the conditions of the Codicil, in 1989-90;
that: For 1987-88, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
1. Lot No. 1392 was mortgaged to the Philippine (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year
National Bank and the Republic Planters Bank in 1990-91; and
disregard of the testatrix's specific instruction to sell, For 1988-89, TWENTY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
lease, or mortgage only to the near descendants and (P26,250.00) Pesos, payable on or before December of crop year
sister of the testatrix. 1991-92."[5]
However, there was no compliance with the aforesaid was to be substituted by the testatrix's "near descendants" should
Memorandum of Agreement except for a partial delivery of 50.80 the obligation to deliver the fruits to herein private respondent be
piculs of sugar corresponding to sugar crop year 1988 -1989. not complied with. And since the testatrix died single and without
On July 22, 1991, the Regional Trial Court came out with a issue, there can be no valid substitution and such testamentary
decision, dismissing the complaint and disposing as follows: provision cannot be given any effect.
"WHEREFORE, in the light of the aforegoing findings, The petitioner theorizes further that there can be no valid
the Court finds that the action is prematurely filed as substitution for the reason that the substituted heirs are not
no cause of action against the defendants has as yet definite, as the substituted heirs are merely referred to as "near
arose in favor of plaintiff. While there maybe the non- descendants" without a definite identity or reference as to who are
performance of the command as mandated exaction the "near descendants" and therefore, under Articles 843[8] and
from them simply because they are the children of 845[9] of the New Civil Code, the substitution should be deemed
Jorge Rabadilla, the title holder/owner of the lot in as not written.
question, does not warrant the filing of the present The contentions of petitioner are untenable. Contrary to his
complaint. The remedy at bar must fall. Incidentally, supposition that the Court of Appeals deviated from the issue
being in the category as creditor of the left estate, it is posed before it, which was the propriety of the dismissal of the
opined that plaintiff may initiate the intestate complaint on the ground of prematurity of cause of action, there
proceedings, if only to establish the heirs of Jorge was no such deviation. The Court of Appeals found that the
Rabadilla and in order to give full meaning and private respondent had a cause of action against the petitioner.
semblance to her claim under the Codicil. The disquisition made on modal institution was, precisely, to
In the light of the aforegoing findings, the Complaint stress that the private respondent had a legally demandable right
being prematurely filed is DISMISSED without against the petitioner pursuant to subject Codicil; on which issue
prejudice. the Court of Appeals ruled in accordance with law.
SO ORDERED."[6] It is a general rule under the law on succession that successional
On appeal by plaintiff, the First Division of the Court of Appeals rights are transmitted from the moment of death of the
reversed the decision of the trial court; ratiocinating and ordering decedent[10] and compulsory heirs are called to succeed by
thus: operation of law. The legitimate children and descendants, in
"Therefore, the evidence on record having established relation to their legitimate parents, and the widow or widower, are
plaintiff-appellant's right to receive 100 piculs of sugar compulsory heirs.[11] Thus, the petitioner, his mother and sisters,
annually out of the produce of Lot No. 1392; as compulsory heirs of the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla,
defendants-appellee's obligation under Aleja Belleza's succeeded the latter by operation of law, without need of further
codicil, as heirs of the modal heir, Jorge Rabadilla, to proceedings, and the successional rights were transmitted to
deliver such amount of sugar to plaintiff-appellant; them from the moment of death of the decedent, Dr. Jorge
defendants-appellee's admitted non-compliance with Rabadilla.
said obligation since 1985; and, the punitive Under Article 776 of the New Civil Code, inheritance includes all
consequences enjoined by both the codicil and the the property, rights and obligations of a person, not extinguished
Civil Code, of seizure of Lot No. 1392 and its reversion by his death. Conformably, whatever rights Dr. Jorge Rabadilla
to the estate of Aleja Belleza in case of such non- had by virtue of subject Codicil were transmitted to his forced
compliance, this Court deems it proper to order the heirs, at the time of his death. And since obligations not
reconveyance of title over Lot No. 1392 from the extinguished by death also form part of the estate of the
estates of Jorge Rabadilla to the estate of Aleja decedent; corollarily, the obligations imposed by the Codicil on
Belleza. However, plaintiff-appellant must institute the deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were likewise transmitted to his
separate proceedings to re-open Aleja Belleza's compulsory heirs upon his death.
estate, secure the appointment of an administrator, In the said Codicil, testatrix Aleja Belleza devised Lot No. 1392 to
and distribute Lot No. 1392 to Aleja Belleza's legal Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, subject to the condition that the usufruct
heirs in order to enforce her right, reserved to her by thereof would be delivered to the herein private respondent every
the codicil, to receive her legacy of 100 piculs of sugar year. Upon the death of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his compulsory heirs
per year out of the produce of Lot No. 1392 until she succeeded to his rights and title over the said property, and they
dies. also assumed his (decedent's) obligation to deliver the fruits of
Accordingly, the decision appealed from is SET ASIDE the lot involved to herein private respondent. Such obligation of
and another one entered ordering defendants- the instituted heir reciprocally corresponds to the right of private
appellees, as heirs of Jorge Rabadilla, to reconvey title respondent over the usufruct, the fulfillment or performance of
over Lot No. 1392, together with its fruits and interests, which is now being demanded by the latter through the institution
to the estate of Aleja Belleza. of the case at bar. Therefore, private respondent has a cause of
SO ORDERED."[7] action against petitioner and the trial court erred in dismissing the
Dissatisfied with the aforesaid disposition by the Court of Appeals, complaint below.
petitioner found his way to this Court via the present petition, Petitioner also theorizes that Article 882 of the New Civil Code on
contending that the Court of Appeals erred in ordering the modal institutions is not applicable because what the testatrix
reversion of Lot 1392 to the estate of the testatrix Aleja Belleza on intended was a substitution - Dr. Jorge Rabadilla was to be
the basis of paragraph 6 of the Codicil, and in ruling that the substituted by the testatrix's near descendants should there be
testamentary institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla is a modal noncompliance with the obligation to deliver the piculs of sugar to
institution within the purview of Article 882 of the New Civil Code. private respondent.
The petition is not impressed with merit. Again, the contention is without merit.
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in resolving Substitutionis the designation by the testator of a person or
the appeal in accordance with Article 882 of the New Civil Code persons to take the place of the heir or heirs first instituted. Under
on modal institutions and in deviating from the sole issue raised substitutions in general, the testator may either (1) provide for the
which is the absence or prematurity of the cause of action. designation of another heir to whom the property shall pass in
Petitioner maintains that Article 882 does not find application as case the original heir should die before him/her, renounce the
there was no modal institution and the testatrix intended a mere inheritance or be incapacitated to inherit, as in a simple
simple substitution - i.e. the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, substitution,[12] or (2) leave his/her property to one person with the
express charge that it be transmitted subsequently to another or condition must happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be
others, as in a fideicommissary substitution.[13] The Codicil sued entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does
upon contemplates neither of the two. not obligate; and the mode obligates but does not suspend.[20] To
In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in some extent, it is similar to a resolutory condition.[21]
default of the first heir by reason of incapacity, predecease or From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon, it can be gleaned
renunciation.[14] In the case under consideration, the provisions of unerringly that the testatrix intended that subject property be
subject Codicil do not provide that should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla inherited by Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded that
default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the the testatrix imposed an obligation on the said instituted heir and
testatrix's near descendants would substitute him. What the his successors-in-interest to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar
Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his heirs not to the herein private respondent, Marlena Coscolluela Belleza,
fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil, the property referred during the lifetime of the latter. However, the testatrix did not
to shall be seized and turned over to the testatrix's near make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla's inheritance and the effectivity of his
descendants. institution as a devisee, dependent on the performance of the said
Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution here and on this obligation. It is clear, though, that should the obligation be not
point, petitioner is correct. In a fideicommissary substitution, the complied with, the property shall be turned over to the testatrix's
first heir is strictly mandated to preserve the property and to near descendants. The manner of institution of Dr. Jorge
transmit the same later to the second heir.[15] In the case under Rabadilla under subject Codicil is evidently modal in nature
consideration, the instituted heir is in fact allowed under the because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir without,
Codicil to alienate the property provided the negotiation is with the however, affecting the efficacy of such institution.
near descendants or the sister of the testatrix. Thus, a very Then too, since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of
important element of a fideicommissary substitution is lacking; the liberality, an obligation imposed upon the heir should not be
obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir the preservation of considered a condition unless it clearly appears from the Will itself
the property and its transmission to the second heir. "Without this that such was the intention of the testator. In case of doubt, the
obligation to preserve clearly imposed by the testator in his will, institution should be considered as modal and not conditional.[22]
there is no fideicommissary substitution."[16] Also, the near Neither is there tenability in the other contention of petitioner that
descendants' right to inherit from the testatrix is not definite. The the private respondent has only a right of usufruct but not the right
property will only pass to them should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his to seize the property itself from the instituted heir because the
heirs not fulfill the obligation to deliver part of the usufruct to right to seize was expressly limited to violations by the buyer,
private respondent. lessee or mortgagee.
Another important element of a fideicommissary substitution is In the interpretation of Wills, when an uncertainty arises on the
also missing here. Under Article 863, the second heir or the face of the Will, as to the application of any of its provisions, the
fideicommissary to whom the property is transmitted must not be testator's intention is to be ascertained from the words of the Will,
beyond one degree from the first heir or the fiduciary.A taking into consideration the circumstances under which it was
fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if the first heir is not made.[23] Such construction as will sustain and uphold the Will in
related by first degree to the second heir.[17] In the case under all its parts must be adopted.[24]
scrutiny, the near descendants are not at all related to the Subject Codicil provides that the instituted heir is under obligation
instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. to deliver One Hundred (100) piculs of sugar yearly to Marlena
The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the institution of Dr. Belleza Coscuella. Such obligation is imposed on the instituted
Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is in the nature of a modal heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his heirs, and their buyer, lessee, or
institution and therefore, Article 882 of the New Civil Code is the mortgagee should they sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise
provision of law in point. Articles 882 and 883 of the New Civil negotiate the property involved. The Codicil further provides that
Code provide: in the event that the obligation to deliver the sugar is not
Art. 882. The statement of the object of the institution respected, Marlena Belleza Coscuella shall seize the property
or the application of the property left by the testator, or and turn it over to the testatrix's near descendants. The non-
the charge imposed on him, shall not be considered as performance of the said obligation is thus with the sanction of
a condition unless it appears that such was his seizure of the property and reversion thereof to the testatrix's near
intention. descendants. Since the said obligation is clearly imposed by the
That which has been left in this manner may be testatrix, not only on the instituted heir but also on his successors-
claimed at once provided that the instituted heir or his in-interest, the sanction imposed by the testatrix in case of non-
heirs give security for compliance with the wishes of fulfillment of said obligation should equally apply to the instituted
the testator and for the return of anything he or they heir and his successors-in-interest.
may receive, together with its fruits and interests, if he Similarly unsustainable is petitioner's submission that by virtue of
or they should disregard this obligation. the amicable settlement, the said obligation imposed by the
Art. 883. When without the fault of the heir, an Codicil has been assumed by the lessee, and whatever obligation
institution referred to in the preceding article cannot petitioner had become the obligation of the lessee; that petitioner
take effect in the exact manner stated by the testator, it is deemed to have made a substantial and constructive
shall be complied with in a manner most analogous to compliance of his obligation through the consummated settlement
and in conformity with his wishes. between the lessee and the private respondent, and having
The institution of an heir in the manner prescribed in Article 882 is consummated a settlement with the petitioner, the recourse of the
what is known in the law of succession as an institucion sub private respondent is the fulfillment of the obligation under the
modo or a modal institution. In a amicable settlement and not the seizure of subject property.
modal institution, the testator states Suffice it to state that a Willis a personal, solemn, revocable and
(1) the object of the institution, free act by which a person disposes of his property, to take effect
(2) the purpose or application of the property left by the testator, after his death.[25] Since the Will expresses the manner in which a
or person intends how his properties be disposed, the wishes and
(3) the charge imposed by the testator upon the heir.[18] desires of the testator must be strictly followed. Thus, a Will
A "mode" imposes an obligation upon the heir or legatee but it cannot be the subject of a compromise agreement which would
does not affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession.[19] On thereby defeat the very purpose of making a Will.
the other hand, in a conditional testamentary disposition, the
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED and the Segundo C. Seangio v. Dy Yieng Seangio, Barbara D. Seangio and Virginia
decision of the Court of Appeals, dated December 23, 1993, in Seangio."
CA-G.R. No. CV-35555 AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to The facts of the cases are as follows:
costs On September 21, 1988, private respondents filed a petition for the
SO ORDERED. settlement of the intestate estate of the late Segundo Seangio, docketed as
Melo, J., (Chairman), concur in the separate opinion of Justice Sp. Proc. No. 98–90870 of the RTC, and praying for the appointment of
Vitug. private respondent Elisa D. Seangio–Santos as special administrator and
Vitug, J., see separate opinion. guardian ad litem of petitioner Dy Yieng Seangio.
Panganiban, J., join the separate opinion of Justice Vitug. Petitioners Dy Yieng, Barbara and Virginia, all surnamed Seangio, opposed
Gonzaga-Reyes, J., no part. the petition. They contended that: 1) Dy Yieng is still very healthy and in full
command of her faculties; 2) the deceased Segundo executed a general
Wills; Codicil; Institution of Heirs; Substitution of Heirs (2002) power of attorney in favor of Virginia giving her the power to manage and
By virtue of a Codicil appended to his will, Theodore devised to Divino exercise control and supervision over his business in the Philippines; 3)
a tract of sugar land, with the obligation on the part of Divino or his heirs to Virginia is the most competent and qualified to serve as the administrator of
deliver to Betina a specified volume of sugar per harvest during Betina’s the estate of Segundo because she is a certified public accountant; and, 4)
lifetime. It is also stated in the Codicil that in the event the obligation is not Segundo left a holographic will, dated September 20, 1995, disinheriting one
fulfilled, Betina should immediately seize the property from Divino or latter’s of the private respondents, Alfredo Seangio, for cause. In view of the
heirs and turn it over to Theodore’s compulsory heirs. Divino failed to fulfill purported holographic will, petitioners averred that in the event the decedent
the obligation under the Codicil. Betina brings suit against Divino for the is found to have left a will, the intestate proceedings are to be automatically
reversion of the tract of land. suspended and replaced by the proceedings for the probate of the will.
a) Distinguish between modal institution and substation of heirs. On April 7, 1999, a petition for the probate of the holographic will of
b) Distinguish between simple and fideicommissary substitution of Segundo, docketed as SP. Proc. No. 99–93396, was filed by petitioners
heirs. before the RTC. They likewise reiterated that the probate proceedings should
c) Does Betina have a cause of action against Divino? Explain. take precedence over SP. Proc. No. 98–90870 because testate proceedings
SUGGESTED ANSWER: take precedence and enjoy priority over intestate proceedings.2
A. A MODAL INSTITUTION is the institution of an heir made for a The document that petitioners refer to as Segundo’s holographic will is
certain purpose or cause (Arts. 871 and 882, NCC). SUBSTITUTION is quoted, as follows:
the appointment of another heir so that he may enter into the inheritance Kasulatan sa pag-aalis ng mana
in default of the heir originality instituted. (Art. 857, NCC). Tantunin ng sinuman
B. In a SIMPLE SUBSTITUTION of heirs, the testator designates Ako si Segundo Seangio Filipino may asawa naninirahan sa 465-A Flores
one or more persons to substitute the heirs instituted in case such heir or St., Ermita, Manila at nagtatalay ng maiwanag na pag-iisip at disposisyon ay
heirs should die before him, or should not wish or should be tahasan at hayagang inaalisan ko ng lahat at anumang mana ang paganay
incapacitated to accept the inheritance. In a FIDEICOMMISSARY kong anak na si Alfredo Seangio dahil siya ay naging lapastangan sa akin at
SUBSTITUTION, the testator institutes a first heir and charges him to isan beses siya ng sasalita ng masama harapan ko at mga kapatid niya na si
preserve and transmit the whole or part of the inheritance to a second heir. In Virginia Seangio labis kong kinasama ng loob ko at sasabe rin ni Alfredo sa
a simple substitution, only one heir inherits. In a fideicommissary substitution, akin na ako nasa ibabaw gayon gunit daratin ang araw na ako nasa ilalim
both the first and second heirs inherit. (Art. 859 and 869, NCC) siya at siya nasa ibabaw.
C. Betina has a cause of action against Divino. This is a case of a Labis kong ikinasama ng loob ko ang gamit ni Alfredo ng akin pagalan para
testamentary disposition subject to a mode and the will itself provides for the makapagutang na kuarta siya at kanya asawa na si Merna de los Reyes sa
consequence if the mode is not complied with. To enforce the mode, the will China Bangking Corporation na millon pesos at hindi ng babayad at hindi ng
itself gives Betina the right to compel the return of the property to the heirs of babayad ito ay nagdulot sa aking ng malaking kahihiya sa mga may-ari at
Theodore. (Rabadilla v. Conscoluella, 334 SCRA 522 [2000] G.R. stockholders ng China Banking.
No. 113725, 29 June 2000). At ikinagalit ko pa rin ang pagkuha ni Alfredo at ng kanyang asawa na mga
custome[r] ng Travel Center of the Philippines na pinagasiwaan ko at ng
anak ko si Virginia.
Dito ako nagalit din kaya gayon ayoko na bilanin si Alfredo ng anak ko at
4) Seangio vs Reyes hayanan kong inaalisan ng lahat at anoman mana na si Alfredo at si Alfredo
Seangio ay hindi ko siya anak at hindi siya makoha mana.
SECOND DIVISION Nila[g]daan ko ngayon ika 20 ng Setyembre 1995 sa longsod ng Manila sa
G.R. Nos. 140371-72 November 27, 2006 harap ng tatlong saksi. 3
DY YIENG SEANGIO, BARBARA D. SEANGIO and VIRGINIA D. (signed)
SEANGIO, Petitioners, Segundo Seangio
vs. Nilagdaan sa harap namin
HON. AMOR A. REYES, in her capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional (signed)
Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 21, Manila, Dy Yieng Seangio (signed)
ALFREDO D. SEANGIO, ALBERTO D. SEANGIO, ELISA D. SEANGIO- Unang Saksi ikalawang saksi
SANTOS, VICTOR D. SEANGIO, ALFONSO D. SEANGIO, SHIRLEY D. (signed)
SEANGIO-LIM, BETTY D. SEANGIO-OBAS and JAMES D. ikatlong saksi
SEANGIO, Respondents. On May 29, 1999, upon petitioners’ motion, SP. Proc. No. 98–90870 and SP.
DECISION Proc. No. 99–93396 were consolidated.4
AZCUNA, J.: On July 1, 1999, private respondents moved for the dismissal of the probate
This is a petition for certiorari1 with application for the issuance of a writ of proceedings5 primarily on the ground that the document purporting to be the
preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order seeking the holographic will of Segundo does not contain any disposition of the estate of
nullification of the orders, dated August 10, 1999 and October 14, 1999, of the deceased and thus does not meet the definition of a will under Article 783
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 21 (the RTC), dismissing the of the Civil Code.According to private respondents, the will only shows an
petition for probate on the ground of preterition, in the consolidated cases, alleged act of disinheritance by the decedent of his eldest son, Alfredo, and
docketed as SP. Proc. No. 98-90870 and SP. Proc. No. 99-93396, and nothing else; that all other compulsory heirs were not named nor instituted as
entitled, "In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Segundo C. Seangio v. heir, devisee or legatee, hence, there is preterition which would result to
Alfredo D. Seangio, et al." and "In the Matter of the Probate of the Will of intestacy. Such being the case, private respondents maintained that while
procedurally the court is called upon to rule only on the extrinsic validity of First, respondent judge did not comply with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76 of
the will, it is not barred from delving into the intrinsic validity of the same, and the Rules of Court which respectively mandate the court to: a) fix the time
ordering the dismissal of the petition for probate when on the face of the will and place for proving the will when all concerned may appear to contest the
it is clear that it contains no testamentary disposition of the property of the allowance thereof, and cause notice of such time and place to be published
decedent. three weeks successively previous to the appointed time in a newspaper of
Petitioners filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss contending that: 1) general circulation; and, b) cause the mailing of said notice to the heirs,
generally, the authority of the probate court is limited only to a determination legatees and devisees of the testator Segundo;
of the extrinsic validity of the will; 2) private respondents question the intrinsic Second, the holographic will does not contain any institution of an heir, but
and not the extrinsic validity of the will; 3) disinheritance constitutes a rather, as its title clearly states, Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, simply
disposition of the estate of a decedent; and, 4) the rule on preterition does contains a disinheritance of a compulsory heir. Thus, there is no preterition in
not apply because Segundo’s will does not constitute a universal heir or heirs the decedent’s will and the holographic will on its face is not intrinsically void;
to the exclusion of one or more compulsory heirs.6 Third, the testator intended all his compulsory heirs, petitioners and private
On August 10, 1999, the RTC issued its assailed order, dismissing the respondents alike, with the sole exception of Alfredo, to inherit his estate.
petition for probate proceedings: None of the compulsory heirs in the direct line of Segundo were preterited in
A perusal of the document termed as "will" by oppositors/petitioners Dy the holographic will since there was no institution of an heir;
Yieng Seangio, et al., clearly shows that there is preterition, as the only heirs Fourth, inasmuch as it clearly appears from the face of the holographic will
mentioned thereat are Alfredo and Virginia. [T]he other heirs being omitted, that it is both intrinsically and extrinsically valid, respondent judge was
Article 854 of the New Civil Code thus applies. However, insofar as the mandated to proceed with the hearing of the testate case; and,
widow Dy Yieng Seangio is concerned, Article 854 does not apply, she not Lastly, the continuation of the proceedings in the intestate case will work
being a compulsory heir in the direct line. injustice to petitioners, and will render nugatory the disinheritance of Alfredo.
As such, this Court is bound to dismiss this petition, for to do otherwise The purported holographic will of Segundo that was presented by petitioners
would amount to an abuse of discretion. The Supreme Court in the case of was dated, signed and written by him in his own handwriting. Except on the
Acain v. Intermediate Appellate Court [155 SCRA 100 (1987)] has made its ground of preterition, private respondents did not raise any issue as regards
position clear: "for … respondents to have tolerated the probate of the will the authenticity of the document.
and allowed the case to progress when, on its face, the will appears to be The document, entitled Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, unmistakably
intrinsically void … would have been an exercise in futility. It would have showed Segundo’s intention of excluding his eldest son, Alfredo, as an heir
meant a waste of time, effort, expense, plus added futility. The trial court to his estate for the reasons that he cited therein. In effect, Alfredo was
could have denied its probate outright or could have passed upon the disinherited by Segundo.
intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions before the extrinsic validity of For disinheritance to be valid, Article 916 of the Civil Code requires that the
the will was resolved(underscoring supplied). same must be effected through a will wherein the legal cause therefor shall
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion to Suspend Proceedings is be specified. With regard to the reasons for the disinheritance that were
hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Special Proceedings No. 99–93396 is stated by Segundo in his document, the Court believes that the incidents,
hereby DISMISSED without pronouncement as to costs. taken as a whole, can be considered a form of maltreatment of Segundo by
SO ORDERED.7 his son, Alfredo, and that the matter presents a sufficient cause for the
Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC in its order disinheritance of a child or descendant under Article 919 of the Civil Code:
dated October 14, 1999. Article 919. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of
Petitioners contend that: children and descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate:
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE ACTED IN EXCESS OF HER JURISDICTION (1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an
OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse,
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION AND DECIDED A QUESTION OF LAW NOT descendants, or ascendants;
IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE IN ISSUING THE (2) When a child or descendant has accused the testator of a
QUESTIONED ORDERS, DATED 10 AUGUST 1999 AND 14 OCTOBER crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or
1999 (ATTACHMENTS "A" AND "B" HEREOF) CONSIDERING THAT: more, if the accusation has been found groundless;
I (3) When a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or
THE RESPONDENT JUDGE, WITHOUT EVEN COMPLYING WITH concubinage with the spouse of the testator;
SECTIONS 3 AND 4 OF RULE 76 OF THE RULES OF COURT ON THE (4) When a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or
PROPER PROCEDURE FOR SETTING THE CASE FOR INITIAL HEARING undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change
FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE JURISDICTIONAL FACTS, one already made;
DISMISSED THE TESTATE CASE ON THE ALLEGED GROUND THAT (5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support the parents or
THE TESTATOR’S WILL IS VOID ALLEGEDLY BECAUSE OF THE ascendant who disinherit such child or descendant;
EXISTENCE OF PRETERITION, WHICH GOES INTO THE INTRINSIC (6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or
VALIDITY OF THE WILL, DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT IS A SETTLED descendant;8
RULE THAT THE AUTHORITY OF PROBATE COURTS IS LIMITED ONLY (7) When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or
TO A DETERMINATION OF THE EXTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE WILL, I.E., disgraceful life;
THE DUE EXECUTION THEREOF, THE TESTATOR’S TESTAMENTARY (8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil
CAPACITY AND THE COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUISITES OR interdiction.
SOLEMNITIES PRESCRIBED BY LAW; Now, the critical issue to be determined is whether the document executed
II by Segundo can be considered as a holographic will.
EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE RESPONDENT JUDGE HAS A holographic will, as provided under Article 810 of the Civil Code, must be
THE AUTHORITY TO RULE UPON THE INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is
WILL OF THE TESTATOR, IT IS INDUBITABLE FROM THE FACE OF THE subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and
TESTATOR’S WILL THAT NO PRETERITON EXISTS AND THAT THE need not be witnessed.
WILL IS BOTH INTRINSICALLY AND EXTRINSICALLY VALID; AND, Segundo’s document, although it may initially come across as a mere
III disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic will
RESPONDENT JUDGE WAS DUTY BOUND TO SUSPEND THE prescribed by law. It is written, dated and signed by the hand of Segundo
PROCEEDINGS IN THE INTESTATE CASE CONSIDERING THAT IT IS A himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa[9] can be clearly deduced from the
SETTLED RULE THAT TESTATE PROCEEDINGS TAKE PRECEDENCE terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative disposition
OVER INTESTATE PROCEEDINGS. of the latter’s property, the disinheritance of Alfredo, nonetheless, is an act of
Petitioners argue, as follows: disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the
disposition of the property of the testator Segundo in favor of those who With regard to the issue on preterition, the court believes that the compulsory
would succeed in the absence of Alfredo.10 heirs in the direct line were not preterited in the will. It was Segundo’s last
Moreover, it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the expression bequeath his estate to all his compulsory heirs, with the sole
testator, expressed in the form and within the limits prescribed by law, must exception of Alfredo.
be recognized as the supreme law in succession. All rules of construction are
designed to ascertain and give effect to that intention. It is only when the
intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it 5) Vitug vs CA
cannot be given effect.11
Holographic wills, therefore, being usually prepared by one who is not Republic of the Philippines
learned in the law, as illustrated in the present case, should be construed SUPREME COURT
more liberally than the ones drawn by an expert, taking into account the Manila
circumstances surrounding the execution of the instrument and the intention SECOND DIVISION
of the testator.12 In this regard, the Court is convinced that the document, G.R. No. 82027 March 29, 1990
even if captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, was intended by ROMARICO G. VITUG, petitioner,
Segundo to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him in vs.
accordance with law in the form of a holographic will. Unless the will is THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and ROWENA FAUSTINO-
probated,13 the disinheritance cannot be given effect.14 CORONA, respondents.
With regard to the issue on preterition,15 the Court believes that the Rufino B. Javier Law Office for petitioner.
compulsory heirs in the direct line were not preterited in the will. It was, in the Quisumbing, Torres & Evangelista for private respondent.
Court’s opinion, Segundo’s last expression to bequeath his estate to all his
compulsory heirs, with the sole exception of Alfredo. Also, Segundo did not SARMIENTO, J.:
institute an heir16 to the exclusion of his other compulsory heirs. The mere This case is a chapter in an earlier suit decided by this Court 1 involving the
mention of the name of one of the petitioners, Virginia, in the document did probate of the two wills of the late Dolores Luchangco Vitug, who died in
not operate to institute her as the universal heir. Her name was included New York, U. S.A., on November 10, 1980, naming private respondent
plainly as a witness to the altercation between Segundo and his son, Rowena Faustino-Corona executrix. In our said decision, we upheld the
Alfredo.1âwphi1 appointment of Nenita Alonte as co-special administrator of Mrs. Vitug's
Considering that the questioned document is Segundo’s holographic will, and estate with her (Mrs. Vitug's) widower, petitioner Romarico G. Vitug, pending
that the law favors testacy over intestacy, the probate of the will cannot be probate.
dispensed with. Article 838 of the Civil Code provides that no will shall pass On January 13, 1985, Romarico G. Vitug filed a motion asking for authority
either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance from the probate court to sell certain shares of stock and real properties
with the Rules of Court. Thus, unless the will is probated, the right of a belonging to the estate to cover allegedly his advances to the estate in the
person to dispose of his property may be rendered nugatory.17 sum of P667,731.66, plus interests, which he claimed were personal funds.
In view of the foregoing, the trial court, therefore, should have allowed the As found by the Court of Appeals, 2 the alleged advances consisted of
holographic will to be probated. It is settled that testate proceedings for the P58,147.40 spent for the payment of estate tax, P518,834.27 as deficiency
settlement of the estate of the decedent take precedence over intestate estate tax, and P90,749.99 as "increment thereto." 3 According to Mr. Vitug,
proceedings for the same purpose.18 he withdrew the sums of P518,834.27 and P90,749.99 from savings account
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Orders of the Regional Trial No. 35342-038 of the Bank of America, Makati, Metro Manila.
Court of Manila, Branch 21, dated August 10, 1999 and October 14, 1999, On April 12, 1985, Rowena Corona opposed the motion to sell on the ground
are set aside. Respondent judge is directed to reinstate and hear SP Proc. that the same funds withdrawn from savings account No. 35342-038 were
No. 99-93396 for the allowance of the holographic will of Segundo Seangio. conjugal partnership properties and part of the estate, and hence, there was
The intestate case or SP. Proc. No. 98-90870 is hereby suspended until the allegedly no ground for reimbursement. She also sought his ouster for failure
termination of the aforesaid testate proceedings. to include the sums in question for inventory and for "concealment of funds
No costs. belonging to the estate." 4
SO ORDERED. Vitug insists that the said funds are his exclusive property having acquired
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA the same through a survivorship agreement executed with his late wife and
Associate Justice the bank on June 19, 1970. The agreement provides:
Seangio vs. Hon. Amor A. Reyes We hereby agree with each other and with the BANK
G.R. November 27, 2006 OF AMERICAN NATIONAL TRUST AND SAVINGS
Azcuna, J.: ASSOCIATION (hereinafter referred to as the BANK),
FACTS: that all money now or hereafter deposited by us or any
On September 1988, private respondents filed a petition for the settlement of or either of us with the BANK in our joint savings
the intestate estate of the late Segundo. Petitioners opposed assailing current account shall be the property of all or both of
among others that Segundo left a holographic will which is entirely a us and shall be payable to and collectible or
declaration of disinheritance affecting Alfredo, one of the private withdrawable by either or any of us during our lifetime,
respondents. Private respondents opposed the probate on the ground that and after the death of either or any of us shall belong
the holographic will did not contain any disposition of the estate of the to and be the sole property of the survivor or survivors,
deceased. RTC dismissed the petition for probate easoning that the and shall be payable to and collectible or withdrawable
holographic will clearly shows preterition. by such survivor or survivors.
ISSUE: We further agree with each other and the BANK that
Whether or not the document executed by Segundo can be considered as a the receipt or check of either, any or all of us during
holographic will. our lifetime, or the receipt or check of the survivor or
RULING: survivors, for any payment or withdrawal made for our
A holographic will must be written, dated and signed by the testator himself. above-mentioned account shall be valid and sufficient
An intent to dispose mortis causa can be clearly deducted from the terms of release and discharge of the BANK for such payment
the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative deposition of the or withdrawal. 5
latter’s property, the disinheritance of Alfredo, is an act of disposition in itself. The trial courts 6 upheld the validity of this agreement and granted "the
The disinheritance results in the disposition of the property in favor of those motion to sell some of the estate of Dolores L. Vitug, the proceeds of which
who would succeed in the absence of Alfredo. shall be used to pay the personal funds of Romarico Vitug in the total sum of
P667,731.66 ... ." 7
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals, in the petition for certiorari filed by for that which the other party is to give or do in case of
the herein private respondent, held that the above-quoted survivorship the occurrence of an event which is uncertain or will
agreement constitutes a conveyance mortis causa which "did not comply happen at an indeterminate time. As already stated,
with the formalities of a valid will as prescribed by Article 805 of the Civil Leonarda was the owner of the house and Juana of
Code," 8 and secondly, assuming that it is a mere donation inter vivos, it is a the Buick automobile and most of the furniture. By
prohibited donation under the provisions of Article 133 of the Civil Code. 9 virtue of Exhibit C, Juana would become the owner of
The dispositive portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals states: the house in case Leonarda died first, and Leonarda
WHEREFORE, the order of respondent Judge dated would become the owner of the automobile and the
November 26, 1985 (Annex II, petition) is hereby set furniture if Juana were to die first. In this manner
aside insofar as it granted private respondent's motion Leonarda and Juana reciprocally assigned their
to sell certain properties of the estate of Dolores L. respective property to one another conditioned upon
Vitug for reimbursement of his alleged advances to the who might die first, the time of death determining the
estate, but the same order is sustained in all other event upon which the acquisition of such right by the
respects. In addition, respondent Judge is directed to one or the other depended. This contract, as any other
include provisionally the deposits in Savings Account contract, is binding upon the parties thereto. Inasmuch
No. 35342-038 with the Bank of America, Makati, in as Leonarda had died before Juana, the latter
the inventory of actual properties possessed by the thereupon acquired the ownership of the house, in the
spouses at the time of the decedent's death. With same manner as Leonarda would have acquired the
costs against private respondent. 10 ownership of the automobile and of the furniture if
In his petition, Vitug, the surviving spouse, assails the appellate court's ruling Juana had died first. 19
on the strength of our decisions in Rivera v. People's Bank and Trust xxx xxx xxx
Co. 11 and Macam v. Gatmaitan 12 in which we sustained the validity of There is no showing that the funds exclusively belonged to one party, and
"survivorship agreements" and considering them as aleatory contracts. 13 hence it must be presumed to be conjugal, having been acquired during the
The petition is meritorious. existence of the marita. relations. 20
The conveyance in question is not, first of all, one of mortis causa, which Neither is the survivorship agreement a donation inter vivos, for obvious
should be embodied in a will. A will has been defined as "a personal, solemn, reasons, because it was to take effect after the death of one party. Secondly,
revocable and free act by which a capacitated person disposes of his it is not a donation between the spouses because it involved no conveyance
property and rights and declares or complies with duties to take effect after of a spouse's own properties to the other.
his death." 14 In other words, the bequest or device must pertain to the It is also our opinion that the agreement involves no modification petition of
testator. 15 In this case, the monies subject of savings account No. 35342- the conjugal partnership, as held by the Court of Appeals, 21 by "mere
038 were in the nature of conjugal funds In the case relied on, Rivera v. stipulation" 22 and that it is no "cloak" 23 to circumvent the law on conjugal
People's Bank and Trust Co., 16 we rejected claims that a survivorship property relations. Certainly, the spouses are not prohibited by law to invest
agreement purports to deliver one party's separate properties in favor of the conjugal property, say, by way of a joint and several bank account, more
other, but simply, their joint holdings: commonly denominated in banking parlance as an "and/or" account. In the
xxx xxx xxx case at bar, when the spouses Vitug opened savings account No. 35342-
... Such conclusion is evidently predicated on the 038, they merely put what rightfully belonged to them in a money-making
assumption that Stephenson was the exclusive owner venture. They did not dispose of it in favor of the other, which would have
of the funds-deposited in the bank, which assumption arguably been sanctionable as a prohibited donation. And since the funds
was in turn based on the facts (1) that the account was were conjugal, it can not be said that one spouse could have pressured the
originally opened in the name of Stephenson alone other in placing his or her deposits in the money pool.
and (2) that Ana Rivera "served only as housemaid of The validity of the contract seems debatable by reason of its "survivor-take-
the deceased." But it not infrequently happens that a all" feature, but in reality, that contract imposed a mere obligation with a
person deposits money in the bank in the name of term, the term being death. Such agreements are permitted by the Civil
another; and in the instant case it also appears that Code. 24
Ana Rivera served her master for about nineteen years Under Article 2010 of the Code:
without actually receiving her salary from him. The fact ART. 2010. By an aleatory contract, one of the parties
that subsequently Stephenson transferred the account or both reciprocally bind themselves to give or to do
to the name of himself and/or Ana Rivera and something in consideration of what the other shall give
executed with the latter the survivorship agreement in or do upon the happening of an event which is
question although there was no relation of kinship uncertain, or which is to occur at an indeterminate
between them but only that of master and servant, time.
nullifies the assumption that Stephenson was the Under the aforequoted provision, the fulfillment of an aleatory contract
exclusive owner of the bank account. In the absence, depends on either the happening of an event which is (1) "uncertain," (2)
then, of clear proof to the contrary, we must give full "which is to occur at an indeterminate time." A survivorship agreement, the
faith and credit to the certificate of deposit which sale of a sweepstake ticket, a transaction stipulating on the value of
recites in effect that the funds in question belonged to currency, and insurance have been held to fall under the first category, while
Edgar Stephenson and Ana Rivera; that they were a contract for life annuity or pension under Article 2021, et sequentia, has
joint (and several) owners thereof; and that either of been categorized under the second. 25 In either case, the element of risk is
them could withdraw any part or the whole of said present. In the case at bar, the risk was the death of one party and
account during the lifetime of both, and the balance, if survivorship of the other.
any, upon the death of either, belonged to the However, as we have warned:
survivor. 17 xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx But although the survivorship agreement is per se not
In Macam v. Gatmaitan, 18 it was held: contrary to law its operation or effect may be violative
xxx xxx xxx of the law. For instance, if it be shown in a given case
This Court is of the opinion that Exhibit C is an aleatory that such agreement is a mere cloak to hide an
contract whereby, according to article 1790 of the Civil inofficious donation, to transfer property in fraud of
Code, one of the parties or both reciprocally bind creditors, or to defeat the legitime of a forced heir, it
themselves to give or do something as an equivalent may be assailed and annulled upon such grounds. No
such vice has been imputed and established against DECISION
the agreement involved in this case. 26 DE LEON, JR., J.:
xxx xxx xxx Before us is a petition for review of the Decision[1] dated July 22, 1994
There is no demonstration here that the survivorship agreement had been and Resolution[2] dated December 29, 1994 of the Court of
executed for such unlawful purposes, or, as held by the respondent court, in Appeals[3] affirming with modification the Decision[4] dated November 12,
order to frustrate our laws on wills, donations, and conjugal partnership. 1992 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 64, which
The conclusion is accordingly unavoidable that Mrs. Vitug having dismissed the complaint for damages of petitioners spouses Gregorio H.
predeceased her husband, the latter has acquired upon her death a vested Reyes and Consuelo Puyat-Reyes against respondent Far East Bank and
right over the amounts under savings account No. 35342-038 of the Bank of Trust Company.
America. Insofar as the respondent court ordered their inclusion in the The undisputed facts of the case are as follows:
inventory of assets left by Mrs. Vitug, we hold that the court was in error. In view of the 20th Asian Racing Conference then scheduled to be held
Being the separate property of petitioner, it forms no more part of the estate in September, 1988 in Sydney, Australia, the Philippine Racing Club, Inc.
of the deceased. (PRCI, for brevity) sent four (4) delegates to the said conference. Petitioner
WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent appellate court, dated June Gregorio H. Reyes, as vice-president for finance, racing manager, treasurer,
29, 1987, and its resolution, dated February 9, 1988, are SET ASIDE. and director of PRCI, sent Godofredo Reyes, the clubs chief cashier, to the
No costs. respondent bank to apply for a foreign exchange demand draft in Australian
SO ORDERED. dollars.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Padilla and Regalado JJ., concur. Godofredo went to respondent banks Buendia Branch in Makati City
to apply for a demand draft in the amount One Thousand Six Hundred Ten
Dec 10, 2012 Australian Dollars (AU$1,610.00) payable to the order of the 20th Asian
Vitug vs. CA Digest Racing Conference Secretariat of Sydney, Australia. He was attended to by
Vitug v. Court of Appeals respondent banks assistant cashier, Mr. Yasis, who at first denied the
application for the reason that respondent bank did not have an Australian
Facts: dollar account in any bank in Sydney. Godofredo asked if there could be a
1. The case is a chapter in an earlier suit involving the issue on two (2) wills way for respondent bank to accommodate PRCIs urgent need to remit
of the late Dolores Vitug who died in New York, USA in Nov 1980. She Australian dollars to Sydney. Yasis of respondent bank then informed
named therein private respondent Rowena Corona (Executrix) while Nenita Godofredo of a roundabout way of effecting the requested remittance to
Alonte was co-special administrator together with petitioner Romarico Sydney thus: the respondent bank would draw a demand draft against
pending probate. Westpac Bank in Sydney, Australia (Westpac-Sydney for brevity) and have
the latter reimburse itself from the U.S. dollar account of the respondent in
2. In January 1985, Romarico filed a motion asking for authorization of the Westpac Bank in New York, U.S.A (Westpac-New York for brevity). This
probate court to sell shares of stocks and real property of the estate as arrangement has been customarily resorted to since the 1960s and the
reimbursements for advances he made to the estate. The said amount was procedure has proven to be problem-free. PRCI and the petitioner Gregorio
spent for payment of estate tax from a savings account in the Bank of H. Reyes, acting through Godofredo, agreed to this arrangement or
America. approach in order to effect the urgent transfer of Australian dollars payable to
the Secretariat of the 20th Asian Racing Conference.
3. Rowena Corona opposed the motion to sell contending that from the said On July 28, 1988, the respondent bank approved the said application
account are conjugal funds, hence part of the estate. Vitug insisted saying of PRCI and issued Foreign Exchange Demand Draft (FXDD) No. 209968 in
that the said funds are his exclusive property acquired by virtue of a the sum applied for, that is, One Thousand Six Hundred Ten Australian
survivorship agreement executed with his late wife and the bank previously. Dollars (AU$1,610.00), payable to the order of the 20th Asian Racing
In the said agreement, they agreed that in the event of death of either, the Conference Secretariat of Sydney, Australia, and addressed to Westpac-
funds will become the sole property of the survivor. Sydney as the drawee bank.
On August 10, 1988, upon due presentment of the foreign exchange
4. The lower court upheld the validity of the survivorship agreement and demand draft, denominated as FXDD No. 209968, the same was
granted Romarico's motion to sell. The Court of Appeals however held that dishonored, with the notice of dishonor stating the following: xxx No account
said agreement constituted a conveyance mortis causa which did not comply held with Westpac. Meanwhile, on August 16, 1988, Westpac-New York sent
with the formalities of a valid will. Further, assuming that it is donation inter a cable to respondent bank informing the latter that its dollar account in the
vivos, it is a prohibited donation. Vitug petitioned to the Court contending that sum of One Thousand Six Hundred Ten Australian Dollars (AU$1,610.00)
the said agreement is an aleatory contract. was debited. On August 19, 1988, in response to PRCIs complaint about the
dishonor of the said foreign exchange demand draft, respondent bank
Issue: Whether or not the conveyance is one of mortis causa hence informed Westpac-Sydney of the issuance of the said demand draft FXDD
should conform to the form required of wills No. 209968, drawn against the Westpac-Sydney and informing the latter to
be reimbursed from the respondent banks dollar account in Westpac-New
NO. The survivorship agreement is a contract which imposed a mere York. The respondent bank on the same day likewise informed Westpac-
obligation with a term--being death. Such contracts are permitted under New York requesting the latter to honor the reimbursement claim of
Article 2012 on aleatory contracts. When Dolores predeceased her Westpac-Sydney. On September 14, 1988, upon its second presentment for
husbandm the latter acquired upon her death a vested right over the funds in payment, FXDD No. 209968 was again dishonored by Westpac-Sydney for
the account. The conveyance is therefore not mortis causa. the same reason, that is, that the respondent bank has no deposit dollar
account with the drawee Westpac-Sydney.
B) Interpretation of Wills On September 17, 1988 and September 18, 1988, respectively,
petitioners spouses Gregorio H. Reyes and Consuelo Puyat-Reyes left for
1) Reyes et al vs CA Australia to attend the said racing conference. When petitioner Gregorio H.
Reyes arrived in Sydney in the morning of September 18, 1988, he went
directly to the lobby of Hotel Regent Sydney to register as a conference
SECOND DIVISION delegate. At the registration desk, in the presence of other delegates from
[G.R. No. 118492. August 15, 2001] various member countries, he was told by a lady member of the conference
GREGORIO H. REYES and CONSUELO PUYAT-REYES, petitioners, secretariat that he could not register because the foreign exchange demand
vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and FAR EAST BANK draft for his registration fee had been dishonored for the second time. A
AND TRUST COMPANY, respondents. discussion ensued in the presence and within the hearing of many delegates
who were also registering. Feeling terribly embarrassed and humiliated, reason for the Bank to suspect that this particular demand draft would not be
petitioner Gregorio H. Reyes asked the lady member of the conference honored by Westpac-Sydney.
secretariat that he be shown the subject foreign exchange demand draft that From the evidence, it appears that the root cause of the miscommunications
had been dishonored as well as the covering letter after which he promised of the Banks SWIFT message is the erroneous decoding on the part of
that he would pay the registration fees in cash. In the meantime he Westpac-Sydney of the Banks SWIFT message as an MT799
demanded that he be given his name plate and conference kit. The lady format. However, a closer look at the Banks Exhs. 6 and 7 would show that
member of the conference secretariat relented and gave him his name plate despite what appears to be an asterisk written over the figure before 99, the
and conference kit. It was only two (2) days later, or on September 20, 1988, figure can still be distinctly seen as a number 1 and not number 7, to the
that he was given the dishonored demand draft and a covering letter. It was effect that Westpac-Sydney was responsible for the dishonor and not the
then that he actually paid in cash the registration fees as he had earlier Bank.
promised. Moreover, it is not said asterisk that caused the misleading on the part of the
Meanwhile, on September 19, 1988, petitioner Consuelo Puyat-Reyes Westpac-Sydney of the numbers 1 to 7, since Exhs. 6 and 7 are just
arrived in Sydney. She too was embarrassed and humiliated at the documentary copies of the cable message sent to Westpac-Sydney. Hence,
registration desk of the conference secretariat when she was told in the if there was mistake committed by Westpac-Sydney in decoding the cable
presence and within the hearing of other delegates that she could not be message which caused the Banks message to be sent to the wrong
registered due to the dishonor of the subject foreign exchange demand department, the mistake was Westpacs, not the Banks. The Bank had done
draft. She felt herself trembling and unable to look at the people around what an ordinary prudent person is required to do in the particular situation,
her. Fortunately, she saw her husband coming toward her. He saved the although appellants expect the Bank to have done more. The Bank having
situation for her by telling the secretariat member that he had already done everything necessary or usual in the ordinary course of banking
arranged for the payment of the registration fees in cash once he was shown transaction, it cannot be held liable for any embarrassment and
the dishonored demand draft. Only then was petitioner Puyat-Reyes given corresponding damage that appellants may have incurred.[7]
her name plate and conference kit. xxx xxx xxx
At the time the incident took place, petitioner Consuelo Puyat-Reyes Hence, this petition, anchored on the following assignment of errors:
was a member of the House of Representatives representing the lone I
Congressional District of Makati, Metro Manila. She has been an officer of THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING
the Manila Banking Corporation and was cited by Archbishop Jaime Cardinal PRIVATE RESPONDENT NOT NEGLIGENT BY ERRONEOUSLY
Sin as the top lady banker of the year in connection with her conferment of APPLYING THE STANDARD OF DILIGENCE OF AN ORDINARY
the Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice Award. She has also been awarded a plaque of PRUDENT PERSON WHEN IN TRUTH A HIGHER DEGREE OF
appreciation from the Philippine Tuberculosis Society for her extraordinary DILIGENCE IS IMPOSED BY LAW UPON THE BANKS.
service as the Societys campaign chairman for the ninth (9th) consecutive II
year. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ABSOLVING
On November 23, 1988, the petitioners filed in the Regional Trial PRIVATE RESPONDENT FROM LIABILITY BY OVERLOOKING
Court of Makati, Metro Manila, a complaint for damages, docketed as Civil THE FACT THAT THE DISHONOR OF THE DEMAND DRAFT WAS
Case No. 88-2468, against the respondent bank due to the dishonor of the A BREACH OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WARRANTY AS THE
said foreign exchange demand draft issued by the respondent bank. The DRAWER THEREOF.
petitioners claim that as a result of the dishonor of the said demand draft, III
they were exposed to unnecessary shock, social humiliation, and deep THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING
mental anguish in a foreign country, and in the presence of an international THAT AS SHOWN OVERWHELMINGLY BY THE EVIDENCE, THE
audience. DISHONOR OF THE DEMAND DRAFT WAS DUE TO PRIVATE
On November 12, 1992, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of RESPONDENTS NEGLIGENCE AND NOT THE DRAWEE BANK.[8]
the defendant (respondent bank) and against the plaintiffs (herein The petitioners contend that due to the fiduciary nature of the
petitioners), the dispositive portion of which states: relationship between the respondent bank and its clients, the respondent
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendant, bank should have exercised a higher degree of diligence than that expected
dismissing plaintiffs complaint, and ordering plaintiffs to pay to defendant, on of an ordinary prudent person in the handling of its affairs as in the case at
its counterclaim, the amount of P50,000.00, as reasonable attorneys bar. The appellate court, according to petitioners, erred in applying the
fees. Costs against the plaintiff. standard of diligence of an ordinary prudent person only. Petitioners also
SO ORDERED.[5] claim that the respondent bank violated Section 61 of the Negotiable
The petitioners appealed the decision of the trial court to the Court of Instruments Law[9] which provides the warranty of a drawer that xxx on due
Appeals. On July 22, 1994, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the presentment, the instrument will be accepted or paid, or both, according to its
trial court but in effect deleted the award of attorneys fees to the defendant tenor xxx. Thus, the petitioners argue that respondent bank should be held
(herein respondent bank) and the pronouncement as to the costs. The liable for damages for violation of this warranty. The petitioners pray this
decretal portion of the decision of the appellate court states: Court to re-examine the facts to cite certain instances of negligence.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from, insofar as it dismisses plaintiffs It is our view and we hold that there is no reversible error in the
complaint, is hereby AFFIRMED, but is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE decision of the appellate court.
in all other respect. No special pronouncement as to costs. Section 1 of Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that (T)he
SO ORDERED.[6] petition (for review) shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly
According to the appellate court, there is no basis to hold the set forth. Thus, we have ruled that factual findings of the Court of Appeals
respondent bank liable for damages for the reason that it exerted every effort are conclusive on the parties and not reviewable by this Court and they carry
for the subject foreign exchange demand draft to be honored. The appellate even more weight when the Court of Appeals affirms the factual findings of
court found and declared that: the trial court.[10]
xxx xxx xxx The courts a quo found that respondent bank did not misrepresent
Thus, the Bank had every reason to believe that the transaction finally went that it was maintaining a deposit account with Westpac-Sydney. Respondent
through smoothly, considering that its New York account had been debited banks assistant cashier explained to Godofredo Reyes, representating PRCI
and that there was no miscommunication between it and Westpac-New and petitioner Gregorio H. Reyes, how the transfer of Australian dollars
York. SWIFT is a world wide association used by almost all banks and is would be effected through Westpac-New York where the respondent bank
known to be the most reliable mode of communication in the international has a dollar account to Westpac-Sydney where the subject foreign exchange
banking business. Besides, the above procedure, with the Bank as drawer demand draft (FXDD No. 209968) could be encashed by the payee, the
and Westpac-Sydney as drawee, and with Westpac-New York as the 20th Asian Racing Conference Secretatriat. PRCI and its Vice-President for
reimbursement Bank had been in place since 1960s and there was no finance, petitioner Gregorio H. Reyes, through their said representative,
agreed to that arrangement or procedure. In other words, the petitioners are with it and to transfer or credit the corresponding amount to Westpac-Sydney
estopped from denying the said arrangement or procedure. Similar to cover the amount of the said demand draft.
arrangements have been a long standing practice in banking to facilitate In view of all the foregoing, and considering that the dishonor of the
international commercial transactions. In fact, the SWIFT cable message subject foreign exchange demand draft is not attributable to any fault of the
sent by respondent bank to the drawee bank, Westpac-Sydney, stated that it respondent bank, whereas the petitioners appeared to be under estoppel as
may claim reimbursement from its New York branch, Westpac-New York earlier mentioned, it is no longer necessary to discuss the alleged application
where respondent bank has a deposit dollar account. of Section 61 of the Negotiable Instruments Law to the case at bar. In any
The facts as found by the courts a quo show that respondent bank did event, it was established that the respondent bank acted in good faith and
not cause an erroneous transmittal of its SWIFT cable message to Westpac- that it did not cause the embarrassment of the petitioners in Sydney,
Sydney. It was the erroneous decoding of the cable message on the part of Australia. Hence, the Court of Appeals did not commit any reversable error in
Westpac-Sydney that caused the dishonor of the subject foreign exchange its challenged decision.
demand draft. An employee of Westpac-Sydney in Sydney, Australia WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED, and the assailed
mistakenly read the printed figures in the SWIFT cable message of decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioners.
respondent bank as MT799 instead of as MT199. As a result, Westpac- SO ORDERED.
Sydney construed the said cable message as a format for a letter of credit, Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.
and not for a demand draft. The appellate court correctly found that the figure
before 99 can still be distinctly seen as a number 1 and not number 7.
Indeed, the line of a 7 is in a slanting position while the line of a 1 is in a 2) Nepomuceno vs CA
horizontal position. Thus, the number 1 in MT199 cannot be construed as
7.[11]
The evidence also shows that the respondent bank exercised that Republic of the Philippines
degree of diligence expected of an ordinary prudent person under the SUPREME COURT
circumstances obtaining. Prior to the first dishonor of the subject foreign Manila
exchange demand draft, the respondent bank advised Westpac-New York to FIRST DIVISION
honor the reimbursement claim of Westpac-Sydney and to debit the dollar G.R. No. L-62952 October 9, 1985
account[12] of respondent bank with the former. As soon as the demand draft SOFIA J. NEPOMUCENO, petitioner,
was dishonored, the respondent bank, thinking that the problem was with the vs.
reimbursement and without any idea that it was due to miscommunication, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, RUFINA GOMEZ, OSCAR
re-confirmed the authority of Westpac-New York to debit its dollar account for JUGO ANG, CARMELITA JUGO, respondents.
the purpose of reimbursing Westpac-Sydney.[13] Respondent bank also sent
two (2) more cable messages to Westpac-New York inquiring why the GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
demand draft was not honored.[14] This is a petition for certiorari to set aside that portion of the decision of the
With these established facts, we now determine the degree of respondent Court of Appeals (now intermediate Appellate Court) dated June
diligence that banks are required to exert in their commercial 3, 1982, as amended by the resolution dated August 10, 1982, declaring as
dealings. In Philippine Bank of Commerce v. Court of Appeals[15] upholding a null and void the devise in favor of the petitioner and the resolution dated
long standing doctrine, we ruled that the degree of diligence required of December 28, 1982 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
banks, is more than that of a good father of a family where the fiduciary Martin Jugo died on July 16, 1974 in Malabon, Rizal. He left a last Will and
nature of their relationship with their depositors is concerned. In other words Testament duly signed by him at the end of the Will on page three and on the
banks are duty bound to treat the deposit accounts of their depositors with left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof in the presence of Celestina
thehighest degree of care. But the said ruling applies only to cases where Alejandro, Myrna C. Cortez, and Leandro Leano, who in turn, affixed their
banks act under their fiduciary capacity, that is, as depositary of the deposits signatures below the attestation clause and on the left margin of pages 1, 2
of their depositors. But the same higher degree of diligence is not expected and 4 of the Will in the presence of the testator and of each other and the
to be exerted by banks in commercial transactions that do not involve their Notary Public. The Will was acknowledged before the Notary Public Romeo
fiduciary relationship with their depositors. Escareal by the testator and his three attesting witnesses.
Considering the foregoing, the respondent bank was not required to In the said Will, the testator named and appointed herein petitioner Sofia J.
exert more than the diligence of a good father of a family in regard to the sale Nepomuceno as his sole and only executor of his estate. It is clearly stated in
and issuance of the subject foreign exchange demand draft. The case at bar the Will that the testator was legally married to a certain Rufina Gomez by
does not involve the handling of petitioners deposit, if any, with the whom he had two legitimate children, Oscar and Carmelita, but since 1952,
respondent bank. Instead, the relationship involved was that of a buyer and he had been estranged from his lawfully wedded wife and had been living
seller, that is, between the respondent bank as the seller of the subject with petitioner as husband and wife. In fact, on December 5, 1952, the
foreign exchange demand draft, and PRCI as the buyer of the same, with the testator Martin Jugo and the petitioner herein, Sofia J. Nepomuceno were
20th Asian Racing Conference Secretariat in Sydney, Australia as the payee married in Victoria, Tarlac before the Justice of the Peace. The testator
thereof. As earlier mentioned, the said foreign exchange demand draft was devised to his forced heirs, namely, his legal wife Rufina Gomez and his
intended for the payment of the registration fees of the petitioners as children Oscar and Carmelita his entire estate and the free portion thereof to
delegates of the PRCI to the 20th Asian Racing Conference in Sydney. herein petitioner. The Will reads in part:
The evidence shows that the respondent bank did everything within its Art. III. That I have the following legal heirs, namely:
power to prevent the dishonor of the subject foreign exchange demand my aforementioned legal wife, Rufina Gomez, and our
draft. The erroneous reading of its cable message to Westpac-Sydney by an son, Oscar, and daughter Carmelita, both surnamed
employee of the latter could not have been foreseen by the respondent Jugo, whom I declare and admit to be legally and
bank. Being unaware that its employee erroneously read the said cable properly entitled to inherit from me; that while I have
message, Westpac-Sydney merely stated that the respondent bank has no been estranged from my above-named wife for so
deposit account with it to cover for the amount of One Thousand Six many years, I cannot deny that I was legally married to
Hundred Ten Australian Dollar (AU$1610.00) indicated in the foreign her or that we have been separated up to the present
exchange demand draft. Thus, the respondent bank had the impression for reasons and justifications known fully well by them:
that Westpac-New York had not yet made available the amount for Art. IV. That since 1952, 1 have been living, as man
reimbursement to Westpac-Sydney despite the fact that respondent bank and wife with one Sofia J. Nepomuceno, whom I
has a sufficient deposit dollar account with Westpac-New York. That was the declare and avow to be entitled to my love and
reason why the respondent bank had to re-confirm and repeatedly notify affection, for all the things which she has done for me,
Westpac-New York to debit its (respondent banks) deposit dollar account now and in the past; that while Sofia J. Nepomuceno
has with my full knowledge and consent, did comport of the illicit relationship between him and the petitioner put in issue the
and represent myself as her own husband, in truth and legality of the devise. We agree with the respondents.
in fact, as well as in the eyes of the law, I could not The respondent court acted within its jurisdiction when after declaring the
bind her to me in the holy bonds of matrimony because Will to be validly drawn, it went on to pass upon the intrinsic validity of the
of my aforementioned previous marriage; Will and declared the devise in favor of the petitioner null and void.
On August 21, 1974, the petitioner filed a petition for the probate of the last The general rule is that in probate proceedings, the court's area of inquiry is
Will and Testament of the deceased Martin Jugo in the Court of First limited to an examination and resolution of the extrinsic validity of the Will.
Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXIV, Caloocan City and asked for the issuance The rule is expressed thus:
to her of letters testamentary. xxx xxx xxx
On May 13, 1975, the legal wife of the testator, Rufina Gomez and her ... It is elementary that a probate decree finally and
children filed an opposition alleging inter alia that the execution of the Will definitively settles all questions concerning capacity of
was procured by undue and improper influence on the part of the petitioner; the testator and the proper execution and witnessing of
that at the time of the execution of the Will, the testator was already very sick his last Will and testament, irrespective of whether its
and that petitioner having admitted her living in concubinage with the provisions are valid and enforceable or
testator, she is wanting in integrity and thus, letters testamentary should not otherwise. (Fernandez v. Dimagiba, 21 SCRA 428)
be issued to her. The petition below being for the probate of a Will, the
On January 6, 1976, the lower court denied the probate of the Will on the court's area of inquiry is limited to the extrinsic validity
ground that as the testator admitted in his Will to cohabiting with the thereof. The testators testamentary capacity and the
petitioner from December 1952 until his death on July 16, 1974, the Will's compliance with the formal requisites or solemnities
admission to probate will be an Idle exercise because on the face of the Will, prescribed by law are the only questions presented for
the invalidity of its intrinsic provisions is evident. the resolution of the court. Any inquiry into
The petitioner appealed to the respondent-appellate court. the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the
On June 2, 1982, the respondent court set aside the decision of the Court of will or the legality of any devise or legacy is premature.
First Instance of Rizal denying the probate of the will. The respondent court xxx xxx xxx
declared the Will to be valid except that the devise in favor of the petitioner is True or not, the alleged sale is no ground for the
null and void pursuant to Article 739 in relation with Article 1028 of the Civil dismissal of the petition for probate. Probate is one
Code of the Philippines. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: thing; the validity of the testamentary provisions is
WHEREFORE, the decision a quo is hereby set aside, another. The first decides the execution of the
the will in question declared valid except the devise in document and the testamentary capacity of the
favor of the appellant which is declared null and void. testator; the second relates to descent and distribution
The properties so devised are instead passed on in (Sumilang v. Ramagosa, 21 SCRA 1369)
intestacy to the appellant in equal shares, without xxx xxx xxx
pronouncement as to cost. To establish conclusively as against everyone, and
On June 15, 1982, oppositors Rufina Gomez and her children filed a "Motion once for all, the facts that a will was executed with the
for Correction of Clerical Error" praying that the word "appellant" in the last formalities required by law and that the testator was in
sentence of the dispositive portion of the decision be changed to "appellees" a condition to make a will, is the only purpose of the
so as to read: "The properties so devised are instead passed on intestacy to proceedings under the new code for the probate of a
the appellees in equal shares, without pronouncement as to costs." The will. (Sec. 625). The judgment in such proceedings
motion was granted by the respondent court on August 10, 1982. determines and can determine nothing more. In them
On August 23, 1982, the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. This the court has no power to pass upon the validity of any
was denied by the respondent court in a resolution dated December 28, provisions made in the will. It can not decide, for
1982. example, that a certain legacy is void and another one
The main issue raised by the petitioner is whether or not the respondent valid. ... (Castaneda v. Alemany, 3 Phil. 426)
court acted in excess of its jurisdiction when after declaring the last Will and The rule, however, is not inflexible and absolute. Given exceptional
Testament of the deceased Martin Jugo validly drawn, it went on to pass circumstances, the probate court is not powerless to do what the situation
upon the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provision in favor of herein constrains it to do and pass upon certain provisions of the Will.
petitioner. In Nuguid v. Nuguid (17 SCRA 449) cited by the trial court, the testator
The petitioner submits that the validity of the testamentary provision in her instituted the petitioner as universal heir and completely preterited her
favor cannot be passed upon and decided in the probate proceedings but in surviving forced heirs. A will of this nature, no matter how valid it may appear
some other proceedings because the only purpose of the probate of a Will is extrinsically, would be null and void. Separate or latter proceedings to
to establish conclusively as against everyone that a Will was executed with determine the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions would be
the formalities required by law and that the testator has the mental capacity superfluous.
to execute the same. The petitioner further contends that even if the Even before establishing the formal validity of the will, the Court in Balanay
provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 739 of the Civil Code of the Philippines .Jr. v. Martinez (64 SCRA 452) passed upon the validity of its intrinsic
were applicable, the declaration of its nullity could only be made by the provisions.
proper court in a separate action brought by the legal wife for the specific Invoking "practical considerations", we stated:
purpose of obtaining a declaration of the nullity of the testamentary provision The basic issue is whether the probate court erred in
in the Will in favor of the person with whom the testator was allegedly guilty passing upon the intrinsic validity of the will, before
of adultery or concubinage. ruling on its allowance or formal validity, and in
The respondents on the other hand contend that the fact that the last Will declaring it void.
and Testament itself expressly admits indubitably on its face the meretricious We are of the opinion that in view of certain unusual
relationship between the testator and the petitioner and the fact that provisions of the will, which are of dubious legality, and
petitioner herself initiated the presentation of evidence on her alleged because of the motion to withdraw the petition for
ignorance of the true civil status of the testator, which led private probate (which the lower court assumed to have been
respondents to present contrary evidence, merits the application of the filed with the petitioner's authorization) the trial court
doctrine enunciated in Nuguid v. Felix Nuguid, et al. (17 SCRA 449) acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic
and Felix Balanay, Jr. v. Hon. Antonio Martinez, et al. (G.R. No. L- 39247, validity even before its formal validity had been
June 27, 1975). Respondents also submit that the admission of the testator established. The probate of a will might become an
Idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically
void. Where practical considerations demand that the the petitioner and Mr. Jugo lived together in an ostensible marital relationship
intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even for 22 years until his death.
before it is probated, the court should meet the issue It is also a fact that on December 2, 1952, Martin Jugo and Sofia J.
(Nuguid v. Nuguid, 64 O.G. 1527, 17 SCRA 449. Nepomuceno contracted a marriage before the Justice of the Peace of
Compare with Sumilang vs. Ramagosa L-23135, Victoria, Tarlac. The man was then 51 years old while the woman was 48.
December 26, 1967, 21 SCRA 1369; Cacho v. Udan L- Nepomuceno now contends that she acted in good faith for 22 years in the
19996, April 30, 1965, 13 SCRA 693). belief that she was legally married to the testator.
There appears to be no more dispute at this time over the extrinsic validity of The records do not sustain a finding of innocence or good faith. As argued by
the Will. Both parties are agreed that the Will of Martin Jugo was executed the private respondents:
with all the formalities required by law and that the testator had the mental First. The last will and testament itself expressly
capacity to execute his Will. The petitioner states that she completely agrees admits indubitably on its face the meretricious
with the respondent court when in resolving the question of whether or not relationship between the testator and petitioner, the
the probate court correctly denied the probate of Martin Jugo's last Will and devisee.
Testament, it ruled: Second. Petitioner herself initiated the presentation of
This being so, the will is declared validly drawn. (Page evidence on her alleged ignorance of the true civil
4, Decision, Annex A of Petition.) status of the testator, which led private respondents to
On the other hand the respondents pray for the affirmance of the Court of present contrary evidence.
Appeals' decision in toto. In short, the parties themselves dueled on the intrinsic
The only issue, therefore, is the jurisdiction of the respondent court to validity of the legacy given in the will to petitioner by
declare the testamentary provision in favor of the petitioner as null and void. the deceased testator at the start of the proceedings.
We sustain the respondent court's jurisdiction. As stated in Nuguid v. Nuguid, Whether or not petitioner knew that testator Martin
(supra): Jugo, the man he had lived with as man and wife, as
We pause to reflect. If the case were to be remanded already married, was an important and specific issue
for probate of the will, nothing will be gained. On the brought by the parties before the trial court, and
contrary, this litigation will be protracted. And for aught passed upon by the Court of Appeals.
that appears in the record, in the record, in the event of Instead of limiting herself to proving the extrinsic
probate or if the court rejects the will, probability exists validity of the will, it was petitioner who opted to
that the case will come up once again before us on the present evidence on her alleged good faith in marrying
same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. the testator. (Testimony of Petitioner, TSN of August 1,
Result, waste of time, effort, expense, plus added 1982, pp. 56-57 and pp. 62-64).
anxiety. These are the practical considerations that Private respondents, naturally, presented evidence
induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head- that would refute the testimony of petitioner on the
on the issue of the validity of the provisions of the will point.
in question. (Section 2, Rule 1, Rules of Court. Case, Sebastian Jugo, younger brother of the deceased
et al. v. Jugo, et al., 77 Phil. 517, 522). After all, there testator, testified at length on the meretricious
exists a justiciable controversy crying for solution. relationship of his brother and petitioner. (TSN of
We see no useful purpose that would be served if we remand the nullified August 18,1975).
provision to the proper court in a separate action for that purpose simply Clearly, the good faith of petitioner was by option of
because, in the probate of a will, the court does not ordinarily look into the the parties made a decisive issue right at the inception
intrinsic validity of its provisions. of the case.
Article 739 of the Civil Code provides: Confronted by the situation, the trial court had to make
The following donations shall be void: a ruling on the question.
(1) Those made between persons who were guilty of When the court a quo held that the testator Martin
adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation; Jugo and petitioner 'were deemed guilty of adultery or
(2) Those made between persons found guilty of the concubinage', it was a finding that petitioner was not
same criminal offense, in consideration thereof; the innocent woman she pretended to be.
(3) Those made to a public officer or his wife, xxx xxx xxx
descendants and ascendants, by reason of his office. 3. If a review of the evidence must be made
In the case referred to in No. 1, the action for nonetheless, then private respondents respectfully
declaration of nullity may be brought by the spouse of offer the following analysis:
the donor or donee; and the guilt of the donor and FIRST: The secrecy of the marriage of petitioner with
donee may be proved by preponderance of evidence the deceased testator in a town in Tarlac where neither
in the same action. she nor the testator ever resided. If there was nothing
Article 1028 of the Civil Code provides: to hide from, why the concealment' ? Of course, it
The prohibitions mentioned in Article 739, concerning maybe argued that the marriage of the deceased with
donations inter vivos shall apply to testamentary private respondent Rufina Gomez was likewise done in
provisions. secrecy. But it should be remembered that Rufina
In Article III of the disputed Will, executed on August 15, 1968, or almost six Gomez was already in the family way at that time and
years before the testator's death on July 16, 1974, Martin Jugo stated that it would seem that the parents of Martin Jugo were not
respondent Rufina Gomez was his legal wife from whom he had been in favor of the marriage so much so that an action in
estranged "for so many years." He also declared that respondents Carmelita court was brought concerning the marriage.
Jugo and Oscar Jugo were his legitimate children. In Article IV, he stated that (Testimony of Sebastian Jugo, TSN of August 18,
he had been living as man and wife with the petitioner since 1952. Testator 1975, pp. 29-30)
Jugo declared that the petitioner was entitled to his love and affection. He SECOND: Petitioner was a sweetheart of the
stated that Nepomuceno represented Jugo as her own husband but "in truth deceased testator when they were still both single.
and in fact, as well as in the eyes of the law, I could not bind her to me in the That would be in 1922 as Martin Jugo married
holy bonds of matrimony because of my aforementioned previous marriage. respondent Rufina Gomez on November 29, 1923
There is no question from the records about the fact of a prior existing (Exh. 3). Petitioner married the testator only on
marriage when Martin Jugo executed his Will. There is also no dispute that December 5, 1952. There was a space of about 30
years in between. During those 30 years, could it be Subject to this direct appeal to us on points of law is the decision of the Court
believed that she did not even wonder why Martin of First Instance of Rizal, in its Civil Case No. Q-2809, dismissing plaintiff-
Jugo did not marry her nor contact her anymore after appellant's complaint for the recovery of certain properties that were
November, 1923 - facts that should impel her to ask originally owned by the plaintiff's granduncle, Nicolas Villaflor, and which he
her groom before she married him in secrecy, granted to his widow, Doña Fausta Nepomuceno, bequeathing to her "su uso
especially so when she was already about 50 years y posesion mientras viva y no se case en segundas nupcias".
old at the time of marriage. The following facts appear of record: On October 9, 1908, Don Nicolas
THIRD: The fact that petitioner broke off from Martin Villaflor, a wealthy man of Castillejos, Zambales, executed a will in Spanish
Jugo in 1923 is by itself conclusive demonstration that in his own handwriting, devising and bequeathing in favor of his wife, Dona
she new that the man she had openly lived for 22 Fausta Nepomuceno, one-half of all his real and personal properties, giving
years as man and wife was a married man with the other half to his brother Don Fausto Villaflor.
already two children. Clause 6th, containing the institution of heirs, reads as follows: .
FOURTH: Having admitted that she knew the children SEXTO — En virtud de las facultades que me conceden las
of respondent Rufina Gomez, is it possible that she leyes, instituyo per mis unicos y universales herederos de todos
would not have asked Martin Jugo whether or not they mis derechos y acciones a mi hermano D. Fausto Villaflor y a mi
were his illegitimate or legitimate children and by esposa Da. Fausta Nepomuceno para que partan todos mis
whom? That is un-Filipino. bienes que me pertenescan, en iguales partes, para despues de
FIFTH: Having often gone to Pasig to the residence of mi muerte, exceptuando las donaciones y legados que, abajo mi
the parents of the deceased testator, is it possible that mas expontanea voluntad, lo hago en la forma siguiente: .
she would not have known that the mother of private SEPTIMO: — Lego para dispues de mi muerte a mi esposa Da.
respondent Oscar Jugo and Carmelita Jugo was Fausta Nepomuceno, en prueba de mi amor y carino, los bienes,
respondent Rufina Gomez, considering that the alhajas y muebles que a continuacion se expresan; .
houses of the parents of Martin Jugo (where he had OCTAVO: — Que estos legades disfrutaria mi referida esposa
lived for many years) and that of respondent Rufina Da. Fausta Nepomuceno su uso y posesion mientras viva y no se
Gomez were just a few meters away? case en segundas nupcias, de la contrario, pasara a ser
Such pretentions of petitioner Sofia Nepomuceno are propiedad estos dichos legados de mi sobrina nieta Leonor
unbelievable. They are, to say the least, inherently Villaflor.
improbable, for they are against the experience in The 12th clause of the will provided, however, that Clauses 6th and 7th
common life and the ordinary instincts and promptings thereof would be deemed annulled from the moment he bore any child with
of human nature that a woman would not bother at all Doña Fausta Nepomuceno. Said Clause 12th reads as follows: .
to ask the man she was going to marry whether or not DUODECIMO: — Quedan anulados las parrafos 6.0 y 7.0 de este
he was already married to another, knowing that her testamento que tratan de institucion de herederos y los legados
groom had children. It would be a story that would que se haran despues de mi muerte a favor de mi esposa, en el
strain human credulity to the limit if petitioner did not momento que podre tener la dicha de contrar con hijo y hijos
know that Martin Jugo was already a married man in legitimos o legitimados, pues estos, conforme a ley seran mis
view of the irrefutable fact that it was precisely his herederos.
marriage to respondent Rufina Gomez that led Don Nicolas Villaflor died on March 3, 1922, without begetting any child with
petitioner to break off with the deceased during their his wife Doña Fausta Nepomuceno. The latter, already a widow, thereupon
younger years. instituted Special Proceeding No. 203 of the Court of First Instance of
Moreover, the prohibition in Article 739 of the Civil Code is against the Zambales, for the settlement of her husband's estate and in that proceeding,
making of a donation between persons who are living in adultery or she was appointed judicial administratrix. In due course of administration,
concubinage. It is the donation which becomes void. The giver cannot give she submitted a project of partition, now Exhibit "E". In the order of
even assuming that the recipient may receive. The very wordings of the Will November 24, 1924, now exhibit "C", the probate court approved the project
invalidate the legacy because the testator admitted he was disposing the of partition and declared the proceeding closed. As the project of partition,
properties to a person with whom he had been living in concubinage. Exhibit "E", now shows Doña Fausta Nepomuceno received by virtue thereof
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision of the ownership and possession of a considerable amount of real and personal
the Court of Appeals, now Intermediate Appellate Court, is AFFIRMED. No estate. By virtue also of the said project of partition, she received the use and
costs. possession of all the real and personal properties mentioned and referred to
SO ORDERED. in Clause 7th of the will. The order approving the project of partition (Exh.
Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Relova, De la Fuente and "C"), however, expressly provided that approval thereof was "sin perjuicio de
Patajo, JJ., concur. lo dispuesto en la clausula 8.o del testamento de Nicolas Villaflor." .
On May 1, 1956, Doña Fausta Nepomuceno died without having contracted
3) Johnny S. Rabadilla vs CA a second marriage, and without having begotten any child with the deceased
Nicolas Villaflor. Her estate is now being settled in Special Proceeding No.
4) Vda de Villaflor vs Juico Q-1563 in the lower court, with the defendant Delfin N. Juico as the duly
appointed and qualified judicial administrator.
Republic of the Philippines The plaintiff Leonor Villaflor Vda.de Villanueva is admitted to be the same
SUPREME COURT Leonor Villaflor mentioned by Don Nicolas Villaflor in his will as his "sobrina
Manila nieta Leonor Villaflor".
EN BANC Plaintiff Leonor Villaflor instituted the present action against the administrator
G.R. No. L-15737 February 28, 1962 of the estate of the widow Fausta Nepomuceno, on February 8, 1958,
LEONOR VILLAFLOR VDA. DE VILLANUEVA, plaintiff-appellant, contending that upon the widow's death, said plaintiff became vested with
vs. the ownership of the real and personal properties bequeathed by the late
DELFIN N. JUICO, in his capacity as Judicial Administrator of the Nicolas Villaflor to clause 7 of his will, pursuant to its eight (8th) clause.
testate estate of FAUSTA NEPOMUCENO,defendant-appellee. Defendant's position, adopted by the trial court, is that the title to the
Amado G. Salazar for plaintiff-appellant. properties aforesaid became absolutely vested in the widow upon her death,
Sycip, Salazar, Luna and Associates for defendant-appellee. on account of the fact that she never remarried.
REYES, J.B.L., J.: We agree with appellant that the plain desire and intent of the testator, as
manifested in clause 8 of his testament, was to invest his widow with only a
usufruct or life tenure in the properties described in the seventh clause, pueda sustituirse por ningun otro criterio de alguna de los
subject to the further condition (admitted by the appellee) that if the widow interesados, ni tampoco por el judicial. (Tribunal Supremo of
remarried, her rights would thereupon cease, even during her own lifetime. Spain, Sent. 20 March 1918) .
That the widow was meant to have no more than a life interest in those The American decisions invoked by appellee in his brief inapplicable,
properties, even if she did not remarry at all, is evident from the expressions because they involve cases where the only condition imposed on the legatee
used by the deceased "uso y posesion mientras viva" (use and possession was that she should remain a widow. As already shown, the testament of
while alive) in which the first half of the phrase "uso y posesion" instead of Don Nicolas Villaflor clearly and unmistakably provided that his widow should
"dominio" or "propiedad") reinforces the second ("mientras viva"). The have the possession and use of the legacies while alive and did not remarry.
testator plainly did not give his widow the full ownership of these particular It necessarily follows that by the express provisions of the 8th clause of his
properties, but only the right to their possession and use (or enjoyment) will, the legacies should pass to the testator's "sobrinanieta", appellant
during her lifetime. This is in contrast with the remainder of the estate in herein, upon the widow's death, even if the widow never remarried in her
which she was instituted universal heir together with the testator's brother lifetime. Consequently, the widow had no right to retain or dispose of the
(clause 6). 1äwphï1.ñët aforesaid properties, and her estate is accountable to the reversionary
SEXTO: — En virtud de las facultades que me conceden las legatee for their return, unless they had been lost due to fortuitous event, or
leyes, instituyo por mis unicos y universales herederos de todos for their value should rights of innocent third parties have intervened.
mis derechos y acciones a mi hermano D. Fausto Villaflor y a mi PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision appealed from is reversed, and the
esposa Da. Fausta Nepomuceno para que parten todos mis appellant Leonor Villaflor Vda. de VILLANUEVA is declared entitled to the
bienes que me pertenescan, en iguales partes, para despues de ownership and fruits of the properties described in clause 7 of the will or
mi muerte, exceptuando las donaciones y legados que, abajo mi testament, from the date of the death of Doña Fausta Nepomuceno. The
mas expontanea voluntad, lo hago en la forma siguiente. records are ordered remanded to the court of origin for liquidation,
The court below, in holding that the appellant Leonor Villaflor, as accounting and further proceedings conformably to this decision. Costs
reversionary legatee, could succeed to the properties bequeathed by clause against the Administrator-appellee.
7 of the testament only in the event that the widow remarried, has Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Barrera, Paredes,
unwarrantedly discarded the expression "mientras viva," and considered the Dizon and De Leon, JJ., concur.
words "uso y posesion" as equivalent to "dominio" (ownership). In so doing, Labrador, J., took no part.
the trial court violated Article 791 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, as well
as section 59 of Rule 123 of the Rules of Court. C) In re will Riosa
ART. 791. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation
which will give to every expression some effect, rather than one Republic of the Philippines
which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of two SUPREME COURT
modes of interpreting a will, that one is to be preferred which will Manila
prevent intestacy." . EN BANC
SEC. 59. Instrument construed so as to give effect to all G.R. No. L-14074 November 7, 1918
provisions. — In the construction of an instrument where there are In the matter of the probation of the will of Jose Riosa.
several provisions or particulars, such a construction is, if MARCELINO CASAS, applicant-appellant,
possible, to be adopted as will give effect to all." . Vicente de Vera for petitioner-appellant.
Speculation as to the motives of the testator in imposing the conditions
contained in clause 7 of his testament should not be allowed to obscure the
clear and unambiguous meaning of his plain words, which are over the MALCOLM, J.:
primary source in ascertaining his intent. It is well to note that if the testator The issue which this appeal presents is whether in the Philippine Islands the
had intended to impose as sole condition the non-remarriage of his widow, law existing on the date of the execution of a will, or the law existing at the
the words "uso y posesion mientras viva" would have been unnecessary, death of the testator, controls.
since the widow could only remarry during her own lifetime. Jose Riosa died on April 17, 1917. He left a will made in the month of
The Civil Code, in Article 790, p. 1 (Article 675 of the Code of 1889), January, 1908, in which he disposed of an estate valued at more than
expressly enjoins the following: . P35,000. The will was duly executed in accordance with the law then in
ART. 790. The words of a will are to be taken in their ordinary and force, namely, section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The will was not
grammatical sense, unless a clear intention to use them in executed in accordance with Act No. 2645, amendatory of said section 618,
another sense can be gathered, and that other can be prescribing certain additional formalities for the signing and attestation of
ascertained." . wills, in force on and after July 1, 1916. In other words, the will was in writing,
Technical words in a will are to be taken in their technical sense, signed by the testator, and attested and subscribed by three credible
unless the context clearly indicates a contrary intention, or unless witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other; but was not
it satisfactorily appears that the will was drawn solely by the signed by the testator and the witnesses on the left margin of each and every
testator, and that he was unacquainted with such technical sense. page, nor did the attestation state these facts. The new law, therefore, went
(675a) into effect after the making of the will and before the death of the testator,
In consonance with this rule, this Supreme Court has laid the doctrine in In re without the testator having left a will that conforms to the new requirements.
Estate of Calderon, 26 Phil., 233, that the intention and wishes of the Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads:
testator, when clearly expressed in his will, constitute the fixed law of No will, except as provided in the preceding section, shall be valid
interpretation, and all questions raised at the trial, relative to its execution to pass any estate, real or personal, nor charge or affect the
and fulfillment, must be settled in accordance therewith, following the plain same, unless it be in writing and signed by the testator, or by the
and literal meaning of the testator's words, unless it clearly appears that his testator's name written by some other person in his presence, and
intention was otherwise. The same rule is adopted by the Supreme Court of by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or
Spain (TS. Sent. 20 Marzo 1918; 28 Mayo 1918; 30 Abril 1913; 16 Enero more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of
1915; 23 Oct. 1925). each other. The attestation shall state the fact that the testator
La voluntad del testador, clara, precisa y constantemente signed the will, or caused it to be signed by some other person, at
expresada al ordenar su ultimo voluntad, es ley unica, imperativa his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and that
y obligatoria que han de obedecer y cumplir fieldmente albaceas, they attested and subscribed it in his presence and in the
legatarios y heredera, hoy sus sucesores, sin que esa voluntad presence of each other. But the absence of such form of
patente, que no ha menester de interpretaciones, pues no ofrece attestation shall not render the will invalid if it is proven that the
la menor duda, pueda sustituirse, pues no ofrece la menor duda, will was in fact signed and attested as in this section provided.
Act No. 2645 has amended section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure so as While it is true that every one is presumed to know the law, the
to make said section read as follows: maxim in fact is inapplicable to such a case; for he would have an
SEC. 618. Requisites of will. — No will, except as provided in the equal right to presume that no new law would affect his past act,
preceding section, shall be valid to pass any estate, real or and rest satisfied in security on that presumption. . . . It is true,
personal, nor charge or affect the same, unless it be written in the that every will is ambulatory until the death of the testator, and the
language or dialect known by the testator and signed by him, or disposition made by it does not actually take effect until then.
by the testator's name written by some other person in his General words apply to the property of which the testator dies
presence, and by his express direction, and attested and possessed, and he retains the power of revocation as long as he
subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of lives. The act of bequeathing or devising, however, takes place
the testator and of each other. The testator or the person when the will is executed, though to go into effect at a future time.
requested by him to write his name and the instrumental A third view, somewhat larger in conception than the preceding one, finding
witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each, and support in the States of Alabama and New York, is that statutes relating to
every page thereof, on the left margin, and said pages shall be the execution of wills, when they increase the necessary formalities, should
numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each be construed so as not to impair the validity of a will already made and, when
sheet. The attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages they lessen the formalities required, should be construed so as to aid wills
used, upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator defectively executed according to the law in force at the time of their making
signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other (Hoffman vs. Hoffman, [1855], 26 Ala., 535; Price vs. Brown, 1 Bradf., Surr.
person to write his name, under his express direction, in the N.Y., 252.)
presence of three witnesses, and the latter witnessed and signed This court is given the opportunity to choose between the three rules above
the will and all pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of described. Our selection, under such circumstances, should naturally depend
each other. more on reason than on technicality. Above all, we cannot lose sight of the
This court has heretofore held in a decision handed down by the Chief fact that the testator has provided in detail for the disposition of his property
Justice, as to a will made after the date Act No. 2645 went into effect, that it and that his desires should be respected by the courts. Justice is a powerful
must comply with the provisions of this law. (Caraig vs Tatlonghari, R. G. No. pleader for the second and third rules on the subject.
12558, dated March 23, 1918 [not published].) The court has further held in a The plausible reasoning of the authorities which back the first proposition is,
decision handed down by Justice Torres, as to will executed by a we think, fallacious. The act of bequeathing or devising is something more
testator whose death took place prior to the operative date of Act No. 2645, than inchoate or ambulatory. In reality, it becomes a completed act when the
that the amendatory act is inapplicable. (Bona vs. Briones, [1918], 38 Phil., will is executed and attested according to the law, although it does not take
276.) The instant appeal presents an entirely different question. The will was effect on the property until a future time.lawphil.net
execute prior to the enactment of Act No. 2645 and the death occurred after It is, of course, a general rule of statutory construction, as this court has said,
the enactment of this law. that "all statutes are to be construed as having only a prospective operation
There is a clear cleavage of authority among the cases and the text-writers, unless the purpose and intention of the Legislature to give them a
as to the effect of a change in the statutes prescribing the formalities retrospective effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the
necessary to be observed in the execution of a will, when such change is language used. In every case of doubt, the doubt must be resolved against
made intermediate to the execution of a will and the death of a testator. the restrospective effect." (Montilla vs. Corporacion de PP. Agustinos [1913],
(See generally 40 Cyc., 1076. and any textbook on Wills, and Lane's Appeal 24 Phil., 220. See also Chew Heong vs. U.S. [1884], 112 U.S., 536; U.S. vs
from Probate [1889], 57 Conn., 182.) The rule laid down by the courts in American Sugar Ref. Co. [1906], 202 U.S., 563.) Statute law, as found in the
many jurisdictions is that the statutes in force at the testator's death are Civil Code, is corroborative; article 3 thereof provides that "laws shall not
controlling, and that a will not executed in conformity with such statutes is have a retroactive effect, unless therein otherwise prescribed." The language
invalid, although its execution was sufficient at the time it was made. The of Act No. 2645 gives no indication of retrospective effect. Such, likewise,
reasons assigned for applying the later statute are the following: "As until the has been the uniform tendency of the Supreme Court of the Philippine
death of the testator the paper executed by him, expressing his wishes, is Islands on cases having special application to testamentary succession.
not a will, but a mere inchoate act which may or may not be a will, the law in (Abello vs. Kock de Monaterio [1904], 3 Phil., 558; Timbol vs. Manalo [1906],
force at the testator's death applies and controls the proof of the will." 6 Phil., 254; Bona vs. Briones, supra; In the Matter of the Probation of the
(Sutton vs. Chenault [1855], 18 Ga., 1.) Were we to accept the foregoing Will of Bibiana Diquiña [1918], R. G. No. 13176, 1 concerning the language of
proposition and the reasons assigned for it, it would logically result that the the Will. See also section 617, Code of Civil Procedure.)
will of Jose Riosa would have to be held invalid. The strongest argument against our accepting the first two rules comes out
The rule prevailing in many other jurisdictions is that the validity of the of section 634 of the Code of Civil Procedure which, in negative terms,
execution of a will must be tested by the statutes in force at the time of its provides that a will shall be disallowed in either of five cases, the first being
execution and that statutes subsequently enacted have no retrospective "if not executed and attested as in this Act provided." Act No. 2645 has, of
effect. This doctrine is believed to be supported by the weight of authority. It course, become part and parcel of the Code of Civil Procedure. The will in
was the old English view; in Downs (or Downing) vs. Townsend (Ambler, question is admittedly not executed and attested as provided by the Code of
280), Lord Hardwicke is reported to have said that "the general rule as to Civil Procedure as amended. Nevertheless, it is proper to observe that the
testaments is, that the time of the testament, and not the testator's death, is general principle in the law of wills inserts itself even within the provisions of
regarded." It is also the modern view, including among other decisions one of said section 634. Our statute announces a positive rule for the transference
the Supreme Court of Vermont from which State many of the sections of the of property which must be complied with as completed act at the time of the
Code if Civil Procedure of the Philippine Islands relating to wills are taken. execution, so far as the act of the testator is concerned, as to all testaments
(Giddings vs. Turgeon [1886], 58 Vt., 103.) made subsequent to the enactment of Act No. 2645, but is not effective as to
Of the numerous decisions of divergent tendencies, the opinion by the testaments made antecedent to that date.
learned Justice Sharswood (Taylor vs.Mitchell [1868], 57 Pa. St., 209) is To answer the question with which we began this decision, we adopt as our
regarded to be the best considered. In this opinion is found the following: own the second rule, particularly as established by the Supreme Court of
Retrospective laws generally if not universally work injustice, and Pennsylvania. The will of Jose Riosa is valid.
ought to be so construed only when the mandate of the legislature The order of the Court of First Instance for the Province of Albay of
is imperative. When a testator makes a will, formally executed December 29, 1917, disallowing the will of Jose Riosa, is reversed, and the
according to the requirements of the law existing at the time of its record shall be returned to the lower court with direction to admit the said will
execution, it would unjustly disappoint his lawful right of to probate, without special findings as to costs. So ordered.
disposition to apply to it a rule subsequently enacted, though Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Street, Avanceña and Fisher, JJ., concur.
before his death.
Footnotes on, the authenticity of all three of them should be guaranteed by
1 Decided October 26, 1918, still unpublished. the signature of the alleged testatrix and her witnesses.
And in the case of Aspe vs. Prieto, 46 Phil., 700, referring to the same
3) Vda. De Enriquez vs Abadia requirement, this Court declared:
From an examination of the document in question, it appears that
the left margins of the six pages of the document are signed only
Republic of the Philippines by Ventura Prieto. The noncompliance with section 2 of Act No.
SUPREME COURT 2645 by the attesting witnesses who omitted to sign with the
Manila testator at the left margin of each of the five pages of the
EN BANC document alleged to be the will of Ventura Prieto, is a fatal defect
G.R. No. L-7188 August 9, 1954 that constitutes an obstacle to its probate.
In re: Will and Testament of the deceased REVEREND SANCHO What is the law to apply to the probate of Exh. "A"? May we apply the
ABADIA. provisions of the new Civil Code which not allows holographic wills, like
SEVERINA A. VDA. DE ENRIQUEZ, ET AL., petitioners-appellees, Exhibit "A" which provisions were invoked by the appellee-petitioner and
vs. applied by the lower court? But article 795 of this same new Civil Code
MIGUEL ABADIA, ET AL., oppositors-appellants. expressly provides: "The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the
Manuel A. Zosa, Luis B. Ladonga, Mariano A. Zosa and B. G. Advincula for observance of the law in force at the time it is made." The above provision is
appellants. but an expression or statement of the weight of authority to the affect that the
C. de la Victoria for appellees. validity of a will is to be judged not by the law enforce at the time of the
MONTEMAYOR, J.: testator's death or at the time the supposed will is presented in court for
On September 6, 1923, Father Sancho Abadia, parish priest of Talisay, probate or when the petition is decided by the court but at the time the
Cebu, executed a document purporting to be his Last Will and Testament instrument was executed. One reason in support of the rule is that although
now marked Exhibit "A". Resident of the City of Cebu, he died on January the will operates upon and after the death of the testator, the wishes of the
14, 1943, in the municipality of Aloguinsan, Cebu, where he was an evacuee. testator about the disposition of his estate among his heirs and among the
He left properties estimated at P8,000 in value. On October 2, 1946, one legatees is given solemn expression at the time the will is executed, and in
Andres Enriquez, one of the legatees in Exhibit "A", filed a petition for its reality, the legacy or bequest then becomes a completed act. This ruling has
probate in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. Some cousins and nephews been laid down by this court in the case of In re Will of Riosa, 39 Phil., 23. It
who would inherit the estate of the deceased if he left no will, filed opposition. is a wholesome doctrine and should be followed.
During the hearing one of the attesting witnesses, the other two being dead, Of course, there is the view that the intention of the testator should be the
testified without contradiction that in his presence and in the presence of his ruling and controlling factor and that all adequate remedies and
co-witnesses, Father Sancho wrote out in longhand Exhibit "A" in Spanish interpretations should be resorted to in order to carry out said intention, and
which the testator spoke and understood; that he (testator) signed on he left that when statutes passed after the execution of the will and after the death
hand margin of the front page of each of the three folios or sheets of which of the testator lessen the formalities required by law for the execution of wills,
the document is composed, and numbered the same with Arabic numerals, said subsequent statutes should be applied so as to validate wills defectively
and finally signed his name at the end of his writing at the last page, all this, executed according to the law in force at the time of execution. However, we
in the presence of the three attesting witnesses after telling that it was his should not forget that from the day of the death of the testator, if he leaves a
last will and that the said three witnesses signed their names on the last will, the title of the legatees and devisees under it becomes a vested right,
page after the attestation clause in his presence and in the presence of each protected under the due process clause of the constitution against a
other. The oppositors did not submit any evidence. subsequent change in the statute adding new legal requirements of
The learned trial court found and declared Exhibit "A" to be a holographic execution of wills which would invalidate such a will. By parity of reasoning,
will; that it was in the handwriting of the testator and that although at the time when one executes a will which is invalid for failure to observe and follow the
it was executed and at the time of the testator's death, holographic wills were legal requirements at the time of its execution then upon his death he should
not permitted by law still, because at the time of the hearing and when the be regarded and declared as having died intestate, and his heirs will then
case was to be decided the new Civil Code was already in force, which Code inherit by intestate succession, and no subsequent law with more liberal
permitted the execution of holographic wills, under a liberal view, and to carry requirements or which dispenses with such requirements as to execution
out the intention of the testator which according to the trial court is the should be allowed to validate a defective will and thereby divest the heirs of
controlling factor and may override any defect in form, said trial court by their vested rights in the estate by intestate succession. The general rule is
order dated January 24, 1952, admitted to probate Exhibit "A", as the Last that the Legislature can not validate void wills (57 Am. Jur., Wills, Sec. 231,
Will and Testament of Father Sancho Abadia. The oppositors are appealing pp. 192-193).
from that decision; and because only questions of law are involved in the In view of the foregoing, the order appealed from is reversed, and Exhibit "A"
appeal, the case was certified to us by the Court of Appeals. is denied probate. With costs.
The new Civil Code (Republic Act No. 386) under article 810 thereof Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo,
provides that a person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely Labrador, Concepcion and Reyes J.B.L., JJ., concur.
written, dated and signed by the testator himself and need not be witnessed.
It is a fact, however, that at the time that Exhibit "A" was executed in 1923 4) Saturnino vs Paulino
and at the time that Father Abadia died in 1943, holographic wills were not
permitted, and the law at the time imposed certain requirements for the Republic of the Philippines
execution of wills, such as numbering correlatively each page (not folio or SUPREME COURT
sheet) in letters and signing on the left hand margin by the testator and by Manila
the three attesting witnesses, requirements which were not complied with in EN BANC
Exhibit "A" because the back pages of the first two folios of the will were not G.R. No. L-7385 May 19, 1955
signed by any one, not even by the testator and were not numbered, and as QUIRICO L. SATURNINO, petitioner,
to the three front pages, they were signed only by the testator. vs.
Interpreting and applying this requirement this Court in the case of In re FELIZA LUZ PAULINO, MAXIMO DALEJA, JUANA LUCAS, NEMESIO
Estate of Saguinsin, 41 Phil., 875, 879, referring to the failure of the testator LUCAS, DONATA GUILLERMO, and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
and his witnesses to sign on the left hand margin of every page, said: Domingo, Valenciano and Aguinaldo for petitioner.
. . . . This defect is radical and totally vitiates the testament. It is Ruiz, Ruiz, Ruiz and Ruiz for respondent.
not enough that the signatures guaranteeing authenticity should CONCEPCION, J.:
appear upon two folios or leaves; three pages having been written
This is an appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals. The Procedure and the last verbal wish of the decedent before his
pertinent facts are: death, giving the residential lot in question together with the
Upon the death of Jaime Luz Paulino, on February 10, 1937, he was house of strong materials constructed thereon to Feliza Luz
survived by his children — Timoteo Esteban, Macario and Feliza, all Paulino as her exclusive and only share, and leaving her brothers,
surnamed Luz Paulino — and a grandson-Quirico L. Saturnino, son of his Timoteo, Esteban and Macario, and their nephew Quirino
deceased daughter Antonia Luz Paulino. Among the properties left by Jaime Saturnino to divide all the agricultural lands among themselves,
Luz Paulino is a house and lot, situated in Barrio No. 13, municipality of which division was duly effected. Defendants Maximo Daleja,
Laoag, province of Ilocos Norte, and more particularly known as Lot No. Juana Lucas, Nemesio Lucas and Donata Guillermo allege that
11366 of the Laoag Cadastre. On October 22, 1945, his daughter Feliza Luz they are engaged in business and purposely bought said lot to
Paulino executed a deed of absolute sale of said property in favor of the erect thereon a "camarin' for a rice mill and for use as a
spouses Maxima Daleja and Juana Lucas and Nemesio Lucas and Donata warehouse of rice, "bagoong", coconuts and other articles of
Guillermo, for the aggregate sum of P1,200.00. In the language of a decision commerce and to deposit logs and lumber, and that because of
of the Court of Appeals. their inability to realize this plan due to action of the plaintiff, they
As said sale was made without the knowledge or consent of will suffer damages in the sum of P3,000 yearly unit this case is
Quirino L. Saturnino who, according to him, learned of it in the terminated. Wherefore all the defendants pray the court:
early morning of October 23, 1945 (Exhs. B and I), and being 1. To dismiss the complaint;
desirous of exercising his right of subrogation as co-heir of the 2. To declare Feliza Luz Paulino as the exclusive owner of the
vendor, on October 23, 1945, and again on the 29th of the month, whole lot in question;
in the presence and with the assistance of his lawyer, offered 3. To declare the sale made by Feliza Luz Paulino of the whole lot
verbally and in writing to the vendees to return then and there to in question to her co-defendants valid in full force and effect;
them, in actual case, 4/5 of the purchase price of said property, 4. To order the plaintiff to pay three thousand pesos (P3,000)
together with the expenses incurred by them in the preparation of annually until this case is terminated and the further sum of one
the document, and tendered to them in their respective houses in thousand pesos (P1,000) for the malicious acts of the plaintiff and
Laoag, Ilocos Norte, written copies of the offer and the money in the costs of this suit; and
actual cash, Philippine currency, but defendants Juana Lucas and 5. Any other relief just and equitable. (Roll, pp. 17-20)
Donato Guillermo, for themselves and in representation of their This case was docketed as Civil Case No. 23 of the Court of First Instance of
respective husbands who were absent, refused acceptance Ilocos Norte.
thereof. For this reason on the following day, October 30, 1945, Meanwhile, or on November 19, 1945, Quirino L. Saturnino had filed, with
Quirino L. Saturnino instituted this action in the Court of First said court, a petition, which was docketed as Special Proceeding Case No.
Instance of Ilocos Norte against the defendants mentioned in the 37, for the probate of the will and testament of Jaime Luz Paulino. Although,
captain hereof, depositing with the Clerk of said Court the sum of at first, all of the other heirs objected to said petition, on June 30, 1949, they
P960, Philippine currency, for delivery to the defendant vendees eventually withdrew their opposition thereto, and the probate of the will was
by way of reimbursement, together with the amount of P50 allowed by an order dated July 6, 1949. Said will provided that the property in
Philippine currency, to cover the expenses incurred in the dispute in Case No. 23, be distributed, share and share alike among the
preparation of the deed of sale, and stating that he was ready and heirs of the testator.
willing to deposit other additional sums that the court may deem On or about March 10, 1950, the defendant in said Case No. 23 —
just and necessary. On these averments plaintiff prayed in the respondents herein — filed a supplemental answer alleging the plaintiff —
complaint that judgment be rendered in his favor and against the petitioner herein — has no legal capacity to sue, because the property in
defendants: litigation therein is part of the estate which is the subject matter of Case No.
a. Declaring the sale made by defendant Feliza Luz 37, in which an administrator was appointed but no adjudication had, as yet,
Paulino to her co-defendants illegal with respect to been made. In due course, a decision was rendered in Case No. 23, on
one-fifth of the lot and to declare said one-fifth December 2, 1950, the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
undivided share of the plaintiff; FOR ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the Court
b. To order the defendants Maximo Daleja, Juana renders judgment declaring the sale made by defendant Feliza
Lucas, Nemesio Lucas and Donato Guillermo to Luz Paulino to her co-defendants null and void with respect to
accept and receive from the clerk of court the sum of one-fifth (1/5) of the lot in question and the plaintiff is declared
P690 corresponding to reimbursement of the price owner thereof as his undivided share; that the defendants are
paid by them for four-fifths (4/5) of the lot which their ordered to receive from the Clerk of Court the sum of P960
co-defendant Feliza Luz Paulino could legally convey; corresponding to the reimbursement of the price paid by them for
and the additional sum of P50 to cover their expenses four-fifths (4/5) of the lot in question which their co-defendant
in the preparation of the deed of sale; Feliza Luz Paulino could legally convey to them, and to execute a
c. Ordering the defendants Maximo Dalaja, Juana deed of reconveyance in favor of the plaintiff. (Roll, pp. 20-21).
Lucas, Nemesio Lucas and Donata Guillermo to On appeal from this decision, that defendants contended in the Court of
execute a deed of reconveyance of what they could Appeals, that the lower court had erred:
legally buy from their co-defendant Feliza Luz Paulino 1. In not dismissing the complaint in so far as the recovery of one-
of the lot in question, in favor of the herein plaintiff; and fifth undivided interest in the lot in question is concerned;
d. Ordering the aforesaid defendants to pay damages 2. In not finding that there was an agreement between the
in the sum of P1,000 annually to plaintiff until the defendant Feliza Luz Paulino on one hand and Esteban, Timoteo
reconveyance is effected, and an additional sum of and Macario Luz Paulino on the other by virtue of which the
P1,000 as damages to be paid by all of the defendants house and lot on question were given and delivered to Feliza Luz
for their malicious acts, and cost of the suit. Paulino;
For such other remedies and relief just and equitable in the 3. In not finding the plaintiff-appellee fully confirmed the
premises. abovementioned agreement;
On November 14, 1945, defendants answered the complaint with 4. In not upholding the validity of said agreement duly confirmed
counterclaim, which was amended on December 12 of the same by the plaintiff-appellee and in not giving its effects and efficacy;
year, wherein it is alleged, among other things, that on April 25, 5. In declaring the sale of the lot in question invalid with respect to
1937, at the municipality of Laoag, province of Ilocos Norte, all one-fifth share of the appellee;
their inheritance from the deceased Jaime Luz Paulino had been 6. In holding that there exists co-ownership in the lot between the
divided in accordance with Section 596 of the Code of Civil appellee and appellants-purchasers; and
7. In ordering the appellants-purchaser to let redemption prayed Article 1522 of the Civil Code of Spain (Article 1620, Civil Code of the
for by the appellee. (Roll, p. 21). Philippines. Hence, commenting on said Article 1067, Manresa says:
None of this questions was, however, decided by the Court of Appeals, La venta del derecho hereditario ha de hacerse antes de que
which found it necessary to pass instead, upon what it regarded a sepractique la particion. Esto es evidente, porque despues al
"prejudicial question." Said of the Court of Appeals: derecho hereditario en abstracto sustituyen las cosas o derechos
Before delving into the merits of the appeal, we have first to pass determinados comprendidos en la respectiva adjudicacion, cesa
upon a prejudicial question. There is no dispute in this case that la comunidad en la herencia, y podra proceder otro retracto, mas
the properties left by the late Jaime Luz Paulino are in custodia no el retracto especiala que el art.1067 se refiere. (7 Manresa
legis, for they are subject to testate proceedings in said Civil Case [6th ed. Revised] p. 719.)
No. 37 which is still pending in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Again, the house and lot involved in the case at bar are not in custodia
Norte. Although the will of the testator had been allowed, no legis. Said property was sold by Feliza Luz Paulino to Maximo Daleja, Juana
settlement of accounts has been effected, no partition of the Lucas, Nemesio Lucas and Donata Guillermo on October 22, 1945, or
properties left by the decedent has been made, and the heirs almost a month before Special Proceeding Case No. 37 was instituted
have not legally received or been adjudicated or assigned any (November 19, 1945). At that time, the buyers of said property were in
particular piece of the mass of their inheritance. This being the possession thereof. They still held it when the judicial administrator was
case, and pending such partition, adjudication or assignment to appointed in Case No. 37, and this must have taken place after the probate
the heirs of the residue of the estate of the testator Jaime Luz of the will on July 6, 1949 (Rule 78, section 4, Rule 79, sections 4 and 6, and
Paulino, none of his heirs can properly allege or claim to have Rule 80, section 5, Rules of Court). Up to the present, said buyers remain in
inherited any portion of said residue, if there may be any, because possession of the property in litigation. Neither the court, taking cognizance
of his or her right of inheritance remains to be in the nature of of Case No. 37, nor the judicial administrator therein appointed, has even
hope. Consequently, neither Feliza Luz Paulino, nor any of her tried to divest them of said possession. In fact, if they were as they are —
co-heirs, can legally represent the estate of the decedent, or unwilling to yield it and the administrator wished to take the property under
dispose as his or hers of the property involved in this case, his custody, it would be necessary for him to institute a separate civil action
included as item No. 20 of the inventory (Exh. 4), or institute any therefor.
case in court to demand any part of such estate as his own, or In view of the foregoing, and considering that the Court of Appeals has not
claim any right of legal redemption as co-heir in the sale of any passed upon the issues raised therein by respondents herein and that the
piece of the mass of the inheritance that may have been disposed decision of said court does not state the facts essential to the determination
of by any of the heirs. In the case at bar, even if it were true that of those issues, said decision is hereby reversed, and let the records of this
by agreement of the heirs the property involved herein had been case be remanded to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings, not
assigned to Feliza Luz Paulino as her share, that agreement and inconsistent with this decision. Respondents, except the Court of Appeals,
subsequent sale are of no legal effect without the sanction or shall pay the costs of this instance. It is so ordered.
approval of the court before which Civil Case No. 37 is pending. Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador,
The foregoing conclusion relieves Us from considering the other and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.
points raised in the present controversy.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed 5) In re estate of Johnson
and the complaint dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs.
IT IS SO ORDERED. (Roll, pp. 21-23.) Republic of the Philippines
The present petition for review by certiorari filed by Quirico L. Saturnino, is SUPREME COURT
directed against this decision of the Court of Appeals. It is clear, to our mind, Manila
that said petition must be granted. Pending "partition, adjudication or EN BANC
assignment to the heirs" of a deceased estator, their "right of inheritance" is G.R. No. L-12767 November 16, 1918
not merely" in the nature of hope," for — pursuant to Article 657 of the Civil In the matter of the estate of EMIL H. JOHNSON. EBBA INGEBORG
Code of Spain, which was in force in the Philippines at the time of the death JOHNSON, applicant-appellant,
of Jaime Luz Paulino — "the rights to the succession of a person are Hartigan & Welch for applicant and appellant.
transmitted from the moment of his death" and the heirs — pursuant to Hartford Beaumont for Victor Johnson and others as appellees.
Article 661 of the same Code — "succeed to the deceased in all his rights Chas. E. Tenney for Alejandra Ibañez de Johnson, personally and as
and obligations by the mere fact of his death." In other words, the person guardian,
concerned is an heir and he may exercise his rights as such, from the very and for Simeona Ibañez, appellees.
moment of the death of the decedent. One of those rights is that of
redemption under Article 1067 of the aforesaid code (Article 1088 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines). What is more, this right of redemption may be STREET, J.:
exercised only before partition, for said provision declares explicitly: On February 4, 1916, Emil H. Johnson, a native of Sweden and a naturalized
If either of the heirs should sell his hereditary rights to a citizen of the United States, died in the city of Manila, leaving a will, dated
stranger before the partition, any or all of his co-heirs may be September 9, 1915, by which he disposed of an estate, the value of which,
subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for as estimated by him, was P231,800. This document is an holographic
the purchase price, provided it be done within the period of one instrument, being written in the testator's own handwriting, and is signed by
month, to be counted from the time they were informed thereof. himself and two witnesses only, instead of three witnesses required by
(Emphasis supplied.) section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This will, therefore, was not
With reference to the adjudication, which the Court of Appeals seemingly executed in conformity with the provisions of law generally applicable to wills
considers essential to the enjoyment of the right of redemption among co- executed by inhabitants of these Islands, and hence could not have been
heirs, it should be noted that a property may be adjudicated either to one heir proved under section 618.
only or to several heirs pro-indiviso. In the first case, the adjudication On February 9, 1916, however, a petition was presented in the Court of First
partakes, at the same time, of the nature of a partition. Hence, if the property Instance of the city of Manila for the probate of this will, on the ground that
is sold by the heir to whom it was adjudicated, the other heirs are not entitled Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the State of Illinois, United
to redeem the property, for, as regards, the same, they are neither co-heirs States of America; that the will was duly executed in accordance with the
nor co-owners. In the second case, the heirs to whom the property was laws of that State; and hence could properly be probated here pursuant to
adjudicated pro-indiviso are, thereafter, no longer co-heirs, but merely co- section 636 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This section reads as follows:
owners. Consequently, neither may assert the right of redemption conferred Will made here by alien. — A will made within the Philippine
to co-heirs, although, in proper cases, they may redeem as co-owners, under Islands by a citizen or subject of another state or country, which is
executed in accordance with the law of the state or country of (4) The order in question was beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
which he is a citizen or subject, and which might be proved and It cannot of course be maintained that a court of first instance lacks essential
allowed by the law of his own state or country, may be proved, jurisdiction over the probate of wills. The fourth proposition above stated
allowed, and recorded in the Philippine Islands, and shall have must, accordingly, be interpreted in relation with the third and must be
the same effect as if executed according to the laws of these considered as a corollary deduced from the latter. Moreover, both the third
Islands. and fourth grounds stated take precedence, by reason of their more
The hearing on said application was set for March 6, 1916, and three weeks fundamental implications, over the first two; and a logical exposition of the
publication of notice was ordered in the "Manila Daily Bulletin." Due contentions of the petitioner is expressed in the two following propositions:
publication was made pursuant to this order of the court. On March 6, 1916, (I) The order admitting the will to probate was beyond the
witnesses were examined relative to the execution of the will; and upon jurisdiction of the court and void because made without notice to
March 16th thereafter the document was declared to be legal and was the petitioner;
admitted to probate. At the same time an order was made nominating Victor (II) The judgment from which the petitioner seeks relief should be
Johnson and John T. Pickett as administrators of the estate, with the sill set aside because the testator was not a resident of the State of
annexed. Shortly thereafter Pickett signified his desire not to serve, and Illinois and the will was not in conformity with the laws of that
Victor Johnson was appointed sole administrator. State.
By the will in question the testator gives to his brother Victor one hundred In the discussion which is to follow we shall consider the problems arising in
shares of the corporate stock in the Johnson-Pickett Rope Company; to his this cae in the order last above indicated. Upon the question, then, of the
father and mother in Sweden, the sum of P20,000; to his daughter Ebba jurisdiction of the court, it is apparent from an inspection of the record of the
Ingeborg, the sum of P5,000; to his wife, Alejandra Ibañez, the sum of P75 proceedings in the court below that all the steps prescribed by law as
per month, if she remains single; to Simeona Ibañez, spinster, P65 per prerequisites to the probate of a will were complied with in every respect and
month, if she remains single. The rest of the property is left to the testator's that the probate was effected in external conformity with all legal
five children — Mercedes, Encarnacion, Victor, Eleonor and Alberto. requirements. This much is unquestioned. It is, however, pointed out in the
The biographical facts relative to the deceased necessary to an argument submitted in behalf of the petitioner, that, at the time the court
understanding of the case are these: Emil H. Johnson was born in Sweden, made the order of publication, it was apprised of the fact that the petitioner
May 25, 1877, from which country he emigrated to the United States and lived in the United States and that as daughter and heir she was necessarily
lived in Chicago, Illinois, from 1893 to 1898. On May 9, 1898, at Chicago, he interested in the probate of the will. It is, therefore, insisted that the court
was married to Rosalie Ackeson, and immediately thereafter embarked for should have appointed a date for the probate of the will sufficiently far in the
the Philippine Islands as a soldier in the Army of the United States. As a future to permit the petitioner to be present either in person or by
result of relations between Johnson and Rosalie Ackeson a daughter, named representation; and it is said that the failure of the court thus to postpone the
Ebba Ingeborg, was born a few months after their marriage. This child was probate of the will constitutes an infringement of that provision of the
christened in Chicago by a pastor of the Swedish Lutheran Church upon Philippine Bill which declared that property shall not be taken without due
October 16, 1898. process of law.
After Johnson was discharged as a soldier from the service of the United On this point we are of the opinion that the proceedings for the probate of the
States he continued to live in the Philippine Islands, and on November 20, will were regular and that the publication was sufficient to give the court
1902, the wife, Rosalie Johnson, was granted a decree of divorce from him jurisdiction to entertain the proceeding and to allow the will to be probated.
in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on the ground of desertion. A As was said in the case of In re Davis (136 Cal., 590, 596), "the proceeding
little later Johnson appeared in the United States on a visit and on January as to the probate of a will is essentially one in rem, and in the very nature of
10, 1903, procured a certificate of naturalization at Chicago. From Chicago things the state is allowed a wide latitude in determining the character of the
he appears to have gone to Sweden, where a photograph, exhibited in constructive notice to be given to the world in a proceeding where it has
evidence in this case, was taken in which he appeared in a group with his absolute possession of the res. It would be an exceptional case where a
father, mother, and the little daughter, Ebba Ingeborg, who was then living court would declare a statute void, as depriving a party of his property
with her grandparents in Sweden. When this visit was concluded, the without due process of law, the proceeding being strictly in rem, and
deceased returned to Manila, where he prospered in business and continued the res within the state, upon the ground that the constructive notice
to live until his death. prescribed by the statute was unreasonably short."
In this city he appears to have entered into marital relations with Alejandra In that case the petitioner had been domiciled in the Hawaiian Islands at the
Ibañez, by whom he had three children, to wit, Mercedes, baptized May 31, time of the testator's death; and it was impossible, in view of the distance
1903; Encarnacion, baptized April 29, 1906; and Victor, baptized December and means of communication then existing, for the petitioner to appear and
9, 1907. The other two children mentioned in the will were borne to the oppose the probate on the day set for the hearing in California. It was
deceased by Simeona Ibañez. nevertheless held that publication in the manner prescribed by statute
On June 12, 1916, or about three months after the will had been probated, constituted due process of law. (See Estate of Davis, 151 Cal., 318;
the attorneys for Ebba Ingeborg Johnson entered an appearance in her Tracy vs. Muir, 151 Cal., 363.)
behalf and noted an exception to the other admitting the will to probate. On In the Davis case (136 Cal., 590) the court commented upon the fact that,
October 31, 1916, the same attorneys moved the court to vacate the order of under the laws of California, the petitioner had a full year within which she
March 16 and also various other orders in the case. On February 20, 1917, might have instituted a proceeding to contest the will; and this was stated as
this motion was denied, and from this action of the trial court the present one of the reasons for holding that publication in the manner provided by
appeal has been perfected. statute was sufficient. The same circumstance was commented upon in
As will be discerned, the purpose of the proceeding on behalf of the O'Callaghan vs. O'Brien (199 U. S., 89), decided in the Supreme Court of the
petitioner is to annul the decree of probate and put the estate into intestate United States. This case arose under the laws of the State of Washington,
administration, thus preparing the way for the establishment of the claim of and it was alleged that a will had been there probated without the notice of
the petitioner as the sole legitimate heir of her father. application for probate having been given as required by law. It was insisted
The grounds upon which the petitioner seeks to avoid the probate are four in that this was an infringement of the Fourteenth Amendment of the
number and may be stated, in the same sequence in which they are set forth Constitution of the United States. This contention was, however, rejected and
in the petition, as follows: it was held that the statutory right to contest the will within a year was a
(1) Emil H. Johnson was a resident of the city of Manila and not a resident of complete refutation of the argument founded on the idea of a violation of the
the State of Illinois at the time the will in question was executed; due process provision.
(2) The will is invalid and inadequate to pass real and personal property in The laws of these Islands, in contrast with the laws in force in perhaps all of
the State of Illinois; the States of the American Union, contain no special provision, other than
(3) The order admitting the will to probate was made without notice to the that allowing an appeal in the probate proceedings, under which relief of any
petitioner; and sort can be obtained from an order of a court of first instance improperly
allowing or disallowing a will. We do, however, have a provision of a general epigraph, or heading,, of a section, being nothing more than a convenient
nature authorizing a court under certain circumstances to set aside any index to the contents of the provision, cannot have the effect of limiting the
judgment, order, or other proceeding whatever. This provision is found in operative words contained in the body of the text. It results that if Emil H.
section 113 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which reads as follows: Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the United States and of the
Upon such terms as may be just the court may relieve a party or State of Illinois, his will was provable under this section in the courts of the
his legal representative from a judgment, order or other Philippine Islands, provided the instrument was so executed as to be
proceeding taken against him through his mistake, inadvertence, admissible to probate under the laws of the State of Illinois.
surprise or excusable neglect; Provided, That application therefor We are thus brought to consider the second principal proposition stated at
be made within a reasonable time, but in no case exceeding six the outset of this discussion, which raises the question whether the order f
months after such judgment, order, or proceeding was taken. probate can be set aside in this proceeding on the other ground stated in the
The use of the word "judgment, order or other proceeding" in this section petition, namely, that the testator was not a resident of the State of Illinois
indicates an intention on the part of the Legislature to give a wide latitude to and that the will was not made in conformity with the laws of that State.
the remedy here provided, and in our opinion its operation is not to be The order of the Court of First Instance admitting the will to probate recites,
restricted to judgments or orders entered in ordinary contentious litigation among other things:
where a plaintiff impleads a defendant and brings him into court by personal That upon the date when the will in question was executed Emil
service of process. In other words the utility of the provision is not limited to H. Johnson was a citizen of the United States, naturalized in the
actions proper but extends to all sorts of judicial proceedings. State of Illinois, County of Cook, and that the will in question was
In the second section of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that the executed in conformity with the dispositions of the law f the State
provisions of this Code shall be liberally construed to promote its object and of Illinois.
to assist the parties in obtaining speedy justice. We think that the intention We consider this equivalent to a finding that upon the date of the execution
thus exhibited should be applied in the interpretation of section 113; and we of the will the testator was a citizen of the State of Illinois and that the will
hold that the word "party," used in this section, means any person having an was executed in conformity with the laws of that State. Upon the last point
interest in the subject matter of the proceeding who is in a position to be the finding is express; and in our opinion the statement that the testator was
concluded by the judgment, order, to other proceeding taken. a citizen of the United States, naturalized in the State of Illinois, should be
The petitioner, therefore, in this case could have applied, under the section taken to imply that he was a citizen of the State of Illinois, as well as of the
cited, at any time within six months for March 16, 1916, and upon showing United States.
that she had been precluded from appearing in the probate proceedings by The naturalization laws of the United States require, as a condition precedent
conditions over which she had no control and that the order admitting the will to the granting of the certificate of naturalization, that the applicant should
to probate had been erroneously entered upon insufficient proof or upon a have resided at least five years in the United States and for one year within
supposed state of facts contrary to the truth, the court would have been the State or territory where the court granting the naturalization papers is
authorized to set the probate aside and grant a rehearing. It is no doubt true held; and in the absence of clear proof to the contrary it should be presumed
that six months was, under the circumstances, a very short period of time that a person naturalized in a court of a certain State thereby becomes a
within which to expect the petitioner to appear and be prepared to contest citizen of that State as well as of the United States.
the probate with the proof which she might have desired to collect from In this connection it should be remembered that the Fourteenth Amendment
remote countries. Nevertheless, although the time allowed for the making of to the Constitution of the United States declares, in its opening words, that all
such application was inconveniently short, the remedy existed; and the persons naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction
possibility of its use is proved in this case by the circumstance that on June thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they
12, 1916, she in fact here appeared in court by her attorneys and excepted reside.
to the order admitting the will to probate. It is noteworthy that the petition by which it is sought to annul the probate of
It results that, in conformity with the doctrine announced in the Davis case, this will does not assert that the testator was not a citizen of Illinois at the
above cited, the proceedings in the court below were conducted in such date when the will was executed. The most that is said on this point is he
manner as to constitute due process of law. The law supplied a remedy by was "never a resident of the State of Illinois after the year 1898, but became
which the petitioner might have gotten a hearing and have obtained relief and was a resident of the city of Manila," etc. But residence in the Philippine
from the order by which she is supposed to have been injured; and though Islands is compatible with citizenship in Illinois; and it must be considered
the period within which the application should have been made was short, that the allegations of the petition on this point are, considered in their
the remedy was both possible and practicable. bearing as an attempt to refute citizenship in Illinois, wholly insufficient.
From what has been said it follows that the order of March 16, 1916, As the Court of First Instance found that the testator was a citizen of the
admitting the will of Emil H. Johnson to probate cannot be declared null and State of Illinois and that the will was executed in conformity with the laws of
void merely because the petitioner was unavoidably prevented from that State, the will was necessarily and properly admitted to probate. And
appearing at the original hearing upon the matter of the probate of the will in how is it possible to evade the effect of these findings?
question. Whether the result would have been the same if our system of In Section 625 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is declared that "the
procedure had contained no such provision as that expressed in section 113 allowance by the court of a will of real or personal property shall be
is a matter which we need not here consider. conclusive as to its due execution."
Intimately connected with the question of the jurisdiction of the court, is The due execution of a will involves conditions relating to a number of
another matter which may be properly discussed at this juncture. This relates matters, such as the age and mental capacity of the testator, the signing of
to the interpretation to be placed upon section 636 of the Code of Civil the document by the testator, or by someone in his behalf, and the
Procedure. The position is taken by the appellant that this section is acknowledgment of the instrument by him in the presence of the required
applicable only to wills of liens; and in this connection attention is directed to number of witnesses who affix their signatures to the will to attest the act.
the fact that the epigraph of this section speaks only of the will made here by The proof of all these requisites is involved in the probate; and as to each
an alien and to the further fact that the word "state" in the body of the section and all of them the probate is conclusive. (Castañeda vs. Alemany, 3 Phil.
is not capitalized. From this it is argued that section 636 is not applicable to Rep., 426; Pimentel vs. Palanca, 5 Phil. Rep., 436; Chiong Joc-
the will of a citizen of the United States residing in these Islands.lawphil.net Soy vs. Vaño, 8 Phil. Rep., 119; Sanchez vs. Pascual, 11 Phil. Rep., 395;
We consider these suggestions of little weight and are of the opinion that, by Montañano vs. Suesa, 14 Phil. Rep., 676.)
the most reasonable interpretation of the language used in the statute, the Our reported cases do not contain the slightest intimation that a will which
words "another state or country" include the United States and the States of has been probated according to law, and without fraud, can be annulled, in
the American Union, and that the operation of the statute is not limited to any other proceeding whatever, on account of any supposed irregularity or
wills of aliens. It is a rule of hermeneutics that punctuation and capitalization defect in the execution of the will or on account of any error in the action of
are aids of low degree in interpreting the language of a statute and can never the court upon the proof adduced before it. This court has never been called
control against the intelligible meaning of the written words. Furthermore, the upon to decide whether, in case the probate of a will should be procured by
fraud, relief could be granted in some other proceeding; and no such the State of his permanent domicile, and on the contrary the certificate of
question is now presented. But it is readily seen that if fraud were alleged, naturalization itself recites that at that time he claimed to be a resident of
this would introduce an entirely different factor in the cae. In Illinois.
Austrua vs. Ventenilla (21 Phil. Rep., 180, 184), it was suggested but not Now, if upon January 10, 1903, the testator became a citizen of the United
decided that relief might be granted in case the probate of a will were States and of the State of Illinois, how has he lost the character of citizen
procured by fraud. with respect to either of these jurisdictions? There is no law in force by virtue
The circumstance that the judgment of the trial court recites that the will was of which any person of foreign nativity can become a naturalized citizen of
executed in conformity with the law of Illinois and also, in effect, that the the Philippine Islands; and it was, therefore, impossible for the testator, even
testator was a citizen of that State places the judgment upon an unassailable if he had so desired, to expatriate himself from the United States and change
basis so far as any supposed error apparent upon the fact of the judgment is his political status from a citizen of the United States to a citizen of these
concerned. It is, however, probable that even if the judgment had not Islands. This being true, it is to be presumed that he retained his citizenship
contained these recitals, there would have been a presumption from the in the State of Illinois along with his status as a citizen of the United States. It
admission of the will to probate as the will of a citizen of Illinois that the facts would be novel doctrine to Americans living in the Philippine Islands to be
were as recited in the order of probate. told that by living here they lose their citizenship in the State of their
As was said by this court in the case of Banco Español-Filipino vs. Palanca naturalization or nativity.
(37 Phil. Rep., 921), "There is no principle of law better settled than that after We are not unmindful of the fact that when a citizen of one State leaves it
jurisdiction has once been acquired, every act of a court of general and takes up his abode in another State with no intention of returning, he
jurisdiction shall be presumed to have been rightly done. This rule is applied immediately acquires citizenship in the State of his new domicile. This is in
to every judgment or decree rendered in the various stages of the accordance with that provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to the
proceedings from their initiation to their completion (Voorhees vs. United Constitution of the United States which says that every citizen of the United
States Bank, 10 Pet., 314; 35 U. S., 449); and if the record is silent with States is a citizen of the State where in he resides. The effect of this
respect to any fact which must have established before the court could have provision necessarily is that a person transferring his domicile from one State
rightly acted, it will be presumed that such fact was properly brought to its to another loses his citizenship in the State of his original above upon
knowledge." acquiring citizenship in the State of his new abode. The acquisition of the
The Court of First Instance is a court of original and general jurisdiction; and new State citizenship extinguishes the old. That situation, in our opinion, has
there is no difference in its faculties in this respect whether exercised in no analogy to that which arises when a citizen of an American State comes
matters of probate or exerted in ordinary contentious litigation. The trial court to reside in the Philippine Islands. Here he cannot acquire a new citizenship;
therefore necessarily had the power to determine the facts upon which the nor by the mere change of domicile does he lose that which he brought with
propriety of admitting the will to probate depended; and the recital of those him.
facts in the judgment was probably not essential to its validity. No express The proof adduced before the trial court must therefore be taken as showing
ruling is, however, necessary on this point. that, at the time the will was executed, the testator was, as stated in the
What has been said effectually disposes of the petition considered in its order of probate, a citizen of the State of Illinois. This, in connection with the
aspect as an attack upon the order of probate for error apparent on the face circumstance that the petition does not even so much as deny such
of the record. But the petitioner seeks to have the judgment reviewed, it citizenship but only asserts that the testator was a resident of the Philippine
being asserted that the findings of the trial court — especially on the question Islands, demonstrates the impossibility of setting the probate aside for lack of
of the citizenship of the testator — are not supported by the evidence. It the necessary citizenship on the part of the testator. As already observed,
needs but a moment's reflection, however, to show that in such a proceeding the allegation of the petition on this point is wholly insufficient to justify any
as this it is not possible to reverse the original order on the ground that the relief whatever.
findings of the trial court are unsupported by the proof adduced before that Upon the other point — as to whether the will was executed in conformity
court. The only proceeding in which a review of the evidence can be secured with the statutes of the State of Illinois — we note that it does not
is by appeal, and the case is not before us upon appeal from the original affirmatively appear from the transaction of the testimony adduced in the trial
order admitting the will to probate. The present proceedings by petition to set court that any witness was examined with reference to the law of Illinois on
aside the order of probate, and the appeal herein is from the order denying the subject of the execution of will. The trial judge no doubt was satisfied that
this relief. It is obvious that on appeal from an order refusing to vacate a the will was properly executed by examining section 1874 of the Revised
judgment it is not possible to review the evidence upon which the original Statutes of Illinois, as exhibited in volume 3 of Starr & Curtis's Annotated
judgment was based. To permit this would operate unduly to protract the Illinois Statutes, 2nd ed., p. 426; and he may have assumed that he could
right of appeal. take judicial notice of the laws of Illinois under section 275 of the Code of
However, for the purpose of arriving at a just conception of the case from the Civil Procedure. If so, he was in our opinion mistaken. that section authorizes
point of view of the petitioner, we propose to examine the evidence the courts here to take judicial notice, among other things, of the acts of the
submitted upon the original hearing, in connection with the allegations of the legislative department of the United States. These words clearly have
petition, in order to see, first, whether the evidence submitted to the trial reference to Acts of the Congress of the United States; and we would
court was sufficient to justify its findings, and, secondly, whether the petition hesitate to hold that our courts can, under this provision, take judicial notice
contains any matter which would justify the court in setting the judgment, of the multifarious laws of the various American States. Nor do we think that
aside. In this connection we shall for a moment ignore the circumstance that any such authority can be derived from the broader language, used in the
the petition was filed after the expiration of the six months allowed by section same action, where it is said that our courts may take judicial notice of
113 of the Code of Civil Procedure. matters of public knowledge "similar" to those therein enumerated. The
The principal controversy is over the citizenship of the testator. The evidence proper rule we think is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the
adduced upon this point in the trial court consists of the certificate of American Union whenever their provisions are determinative of the issues in
naturalization granted upon January 10, 1903, in the Circuit Court of Cook any action litigated in the Philippine courts.
County, Illinois, in connection with certain biographical facts contained in the Nevertheless, even supposing that the trial court may have erred in taking
oral evidence. The certificate of naturalization supplies incontrovertible proof judicial notice of the law of Illinois on the point in question, such error is not
that upon the date stated the testator became a citizen of the United States, now available to the petitioner, first, because the petition does not state any
and inferentially also a citizen of said State. In the testimony submitted to the fact from which it would appear that the law of Illinois is different from what
trial court it appears that, when Johnson first came to the United States as a the court found, and, secondly, because the assignment of error and
boy, he took up his abode in the State of Illinois and there remained until he argument for the appellant in this court raises no question based on such
came as a soldier in the United States Army to the Philippine Islands. supposed error. Though the trial court may have acted upon pure conjecture
Although he remained in these Islands for sometime after receiving his as to the law prevailing in the State of Illinois, its judgment could not be set
discharge, no evidence was adduced showing that at the time he returned to aside, even upon application made within six months under section 113 of
the United States, in the autumn of 1902, he had then abandoned Illinois as the Code of Civil procedure, unless it should be made to appear affirmatively
that the conjecture was wrong. The petitioner, it is true, states in general As gathered from the records, the factual background of this case is as
terms that the will in question is invalid and inadequate to pass real and follows:
personal property in the State of Illinois, but this is merely a conclusion of The land in question is the Eastern portion with an area of Four Hundred
law. The affidavits by which the petition is accompanied contain no reference Thirty Six (436) square meters of that parcel of residential land situated in
to the subject, and we are cited to no authority in the appellant's brief which Barrio Dulig (now Magsaysay), Municipality of Labrador, Pangasinan actually
might tent to raise a doubt as to the correctness of the conclusion of the trial covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 82275 (Exhibit A) issued in the
court. It is very clear, therefore, that this point cannot be urged as of serious name of Sulpicia Jimenez.
moment. The entire parcel of land with an area of 2,932 square meters, formerly
But it is insisted in the brief for the appellant that the will in question was not belonged to Fermin Jimenez. Fermin Jimenez has two (2) sons named
properly admissible to probate because it contains provisions which cannot Fortunato and Carlos Jimenez. This Fortunato Jimenez who predeceased his
be given effect consistently with the laws of the Philippine Islands; and it is father has only one child, the petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez. After the death of
suggested that as the petitioner is a legitimate heir of the testator she cannot Fermin Jimenez, the entire parcel of land was registered under Act 496 in the
be deprived of the legitime to which she is entitled under the law governing name of Carlos Jimenez and Sulpicia Jimenez (uncle and niece) in equal
testamentary successions in these Islands. Upon this point it is sufficient to shares pro-indiviso. As a result of the registration case Original Certificate of
say that the probate of the will does not affect the intrinsic validity of its Title No. 50933 (Exhibit 8) was issued on February 28, 1933, in the names of
provisions, the decree of probate being conclusive only as regards the due Carlos Jimenez and Sulpicia Jimenez, in equal shares pro-indiviso.
execution of the will. (Code of Civil Procedure, secs. 625, 614; Carlos Jimenez died on July 9, 1936 and his illegitimate daughter, Melecia
Sahagun vs. De Gorostiza, 7 Phil. Rep., 347, 349; Chiong Joc-Soy vs. Vaño, Cayabyab, also known as Melecia Jimenez, took possession of the eastern
8 Phil. Rep., 119, 121; Limjuco vs. Ganara, 11 Phil. Rep., 393, 395.) portion of the property consisting of 436 square meters.
If, therefore, upon the distribution of this estate, it should appear that any On January 20, 1944, Melecia Jimenez sold said 436 square meter-portion
legacy given by the will or other disposition made therein is contrary to the of the property to Edilberto Cagampan and defendant Teodora Grado
law applicable in such case, the will must necessarily yield upon that point executed a contract entitled "Exchange of Real Properties" whereby the
and the law must prevail. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the former transferred said 436 square meter-portion to the latter, who has been
intrinsic validity of the provisions of this will must be determined by the law of in occupation since.
Illinois and not, as the appellant apparently assumes, by the general On August 29, 1969, plaintiff Sulpicia Jimenez executed an affidavit
provisions here applicable in such matters; for in the second paragraph of adjudicating unto herself the other half of the property appertaining to Carlos
article 10 of the Civil Code it is declared that "legal and testamentary Jimenez, upon manifestation that she is the only heir of her deceased uncle.
successions, with regard to the order of succession, as well as to the amount Consequently Transfer Certificate of Title No. 82275 was issued on October
of the successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall 1, 1969 in petitioner's name alone over the entire 2,932 square meter
be regulated by the laws of the nation of the person whose succession is in property.
question, whatever may be the nature of the property and the country where On April 1, 1970, Sulpicia Jimenez, joined by her husband, instituted the
it may be situate." present action for the recovery of the eastern portion of the property
From what has been said, it is, we think, manifest that the petition submitted consisting of 436 square meters occupied by defendant Teodora Grado and
to the court below on October 31, 1916, was entirely insufficient to warrant her son.
the setting aside of the other probating the will in question, whether said After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered judgment, the dispositive
petition be considered as an attack on the validity of the decree for error portion of which reads:
apparent, or whether it be considered as an application for a rehearing based WHEREFORE, decision is hereby rendered dismissing the
upon the new evidence submitted in the affidavits which accompany the complaint and holding the defendant, Teodora Grado, the
petition. And in this latter aspect the petition is subject to the further fatal absolute owner of the land in question; ordering the plaintiffs to
defect that it was not presented within the time allowed by law. pay to the defendant the amount of P500.00 as damages, as
It follows that the trial court committed no error in denying the relief sought. attorney's fees, and to pay the costs of suit.
The order appealed from is accordingly affirmed with costs. So ordered. SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 20)
Torres, Johnson, Malcolm, Avanceña and Fisher, JJ., concur. Petitioner appealed the above judgment to the respondent Court of Appeals
Intrinsic Validity and on March 1, 1977, respondent Court of Appeals rendered a decision
affirming the same in toto. Said decision was rendered by a special division
1) Jimenez vs Fernandez of five (5) justices, with the Hon. Lourdes San Diego, dissenting.
Petitioners within the reglementary period granted by the Honorable Court of
Republic of the Philippines Appeals, filed therewith a motion for reconsideration. But said motion for
SUPREME COURT reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution dated
Manila June 3, 1977.
SECOND DIVISION In their appeal to the respondent Court of Appeals from the aforequoted
G.R. No. L-46364 April 6, 1990 decision of the trial court, herein petitioner raised the following assignments
SULPICIA JIMENEZ and TORIBIO MATIAS, petitioners, of error to wit:
vs. ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR
VICENTE FERNANDEZ alias HOSPICIO FERNANDEZ and TEODORA I
GRADO, respondents. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT
Antonio E. Bengzon III for petitioners. MELECIA CAYABYAB, ALSO KNOWN AS MELECIA JIMENEZ,
Agustin U. Cruz for private respondents. IS NOT THE DAUGHTER OF CARLOS JIMENEZ.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT
PARAS, J.: MELECIA CAYABYAB, ALSO KNOWN AS MELECIA JIMENEZ,
Before Us is a petition for review on certiorari of the following Decision 1 and HAS NO RIGHT TO SELL THE LAND IN QUESTION TO
Resolution 2 of the Honorable Court of Appeals: (1) Decision, dated March 1, EDILBERTO CAGAMPAN.
1977 in C.A.-G.R. No. 49178-R entitled "Sulpicia Jimenez, et al., v. Vicente III
Fernandez, et al." affirming in toto the judgment of the Court of First Instance THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT
of Pangasinan, Third Judicial District in Civil Case No. 14802-I between the EDILBERTO CAGAMPAN DID NOT BECOME THE OWNER OF
same parties and (2) Resolution dated June 3, 1977 denying plaintiffs- THE LAND IN QUESTION BY VIRTUE OF THE DEED OF SALE
appellants' motion for reconsideration. (EXH. "1") EXECUTED BY MELECIA CAYABYAB, ALIAS
MELECIA JIMENEZ, IN HIS FAVOR.
IV accordingly, could not also legally transfer the same to herein private
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT respondents.
TEODORA GRADO DID NOT BECOME THE OWNER OF THE Analyzing the case before Us in this manner, We can immediately discern
LAND IN QUESTION BY VIRTUE OF THE DEED OF another error in the decision of the respondent court, which is that the said
EXCHANGE (EXH. "7") EXECUTED BY HER AND EDILBERTO court sustained and made applicable to the case at bar the ruling in the case
CAGAMPAN. of Arcuino, et al., v. Aparis and Puray, No. L-23424, January 31, 1968, 22
V SCRA 407, wherein We held that:
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE . . . it is true that the lands registered under the Torrens System
TITLE OF APPELLANT SULPICIA JIMENEZ OVER THE LAND may not be acquired by prescription but plaintiffs herein are not
IN QUESTION CAN NOT BE DEFEATED BY THE ADVERSE the registered owners. They merely claim to have acquired by
OPEN AND NOTORIOUS POSSESSION OF APPELLEE succession, their alleged title or interest in lot No. 355. At any rate
TEODORA GRADO. plaintiffs herein are guilty of laches.
VI The respondent court relying on the Arcuino case, concluded that
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THE respondents had acquired the property under litigation by prescription. We
APPELLEE TEODORA GRADO IS THE ABSOLUTE OWNER OF cannot agree with such conclusion, because there is one very marked and
THE LAND IN QUESTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE DECISION OF important difference between the case at bar and that of the Arcuino case,
THE SUPREME COURT IN THE CASE OF LOURDES and that is, that since 1933 petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez was a title holder, the
ARCUINO, ET AL., V. RUFINA APARIS AND CASIANO PURAY, property then being registered in her and her uncle Carlos Jimenez' name. In
G.R. NO. L-23424, PROMULGATED JANUARY 31, 1968, the Arcuino case, this Supreme Court held. "(I)t is true that lands registered
WHICH CASE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. under the Torrens System may not be acquired by prescription but plaintiffs
VII herein are not the registered owners." (Rollo, p. 38) Even in the said cited
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE case the principle of imprescriptibility of Torrens Titles was respected.
COMPLAINT AND ORDERING THE APPELLANTS TO PAY THE Melecia Cayabyab's possession or of her predecessors-in-interest would be
APPELLEES THE SUM OF P500.00 AS ATTORNEYS FEES unavailing against the petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez who was the holder pro-
PLUS THE COSTS. indiviso with Carlos Jimenez of the Torrens Certificate of Title covering a
From the foregoing, this petition for review was filed. tract of land which includes the portion now in question, from February 28,
We find merit in the petition. 1933, when the Original Certificate of Title No. 50933 (Exhibit 8) was issued.
From the start the respondent court erred in not declaring that Melecia No possession by any person of any portion of the land covered by said
Jimenez Cayabyab also known as Melecia Jimenez, is not the daughter of original certificate of titles, could defeat the title of the registered owner of the
Carlos Jimenez and therefore, had no right over the property in question. land covered by the certificate of title. (Benin v. Tuason, L-26127, June 28,
Respondents failed to present concrete evidence to prove that Melecia 1974, 57 SCRA 531)
Cayabyab was really the daughter of Carlos Jimenez. Nonetheless, Sulpicia's title over her one-half undivided property remained good and
assuming for the sake of argument that Melecia Cayabyab was the continued to be good when she segregated it into a new title (T.C.T No.
illegitimate daughter of Carlos Jimenez there can be no question that 82275, Exhibit "A") in 1969. Sulpicia's ownership over her one-half of the
Melecia Cayabyab had no right to succeed to the estate of Carlos Jimenez land and which is the land in dispute was always covered by a Torrens
and could not have validly acquired, nor legally transferred to Edilberto title, and therefore, no amount of possession thereof by the respondents,
Cagampan that portion of the property subject of this petition. could ever defeat her proprietary rights thereon. It is apparent, that the right
It is well-settled in this jurisdiction that the rights to the succession are of plaintiff (now petitioner) to institute this action to recover possession of the
transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent (Art. 777, Civil portion of the land in question based on the Torrens Title of Sulpicia
Code). Moreover, Art. 2263 of the Civil Code provides as follows: Jimenez, T.C.T. No. 82275 (Exhibit "A") is imprescriptible and not barred
Rights to the inheritance of a person who died with or without a under the doctrine of laches. (J.M. Tuason & Co. v. Macalindong, L-15398,
will, before the effectivity of this Code, shall be governed by the December 29, 1962, Francisco v. Cruz, et al., 43 O.G. 5105) Rollo, p. 39)
Civil Code of 1889, by other previous laws, and by the Rules of The respondent Court of Appeals declared the petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez
Court . . . (Rollo, p. 17) guilty of laches and citing the ruling in the case of Heirs of Lacamen v. Heirs
Thus, since Carlos Jimenez, owner of one-half pro-indiviso portion of that of Laruan (65 SCRA 605), held that, since petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez
parcel of land then covered by Original Certificate of title No. 50933, died on executed her Affidavit of Self-Adjudication only in 1969, she lost the right to
July 9, 1936 (Exhibit "F") way before the effectivity of the Civil Code of the recover possession of the parcel of land subject of the litigation.
Philippines, the successional rights pertaining to his estate must be In this instance, again We rule for the petitioner. There is no absolute rule as
determined in accordance with the Civil Code of 1889. to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand; each case is to be
Citing the case of Cid v. Burnaman (24 SCRA 434) wherein this Court determined according to its particular circumstances. The question of laches
categorically held that: is addressed to the sound discretion of the court and since laches is an
To be an heir under the rules of Civil Code of 1889 (which was equitable doctrine, its application is controlled by equitable considerations. It
the law in force when Carlos Jimenez died and which should be cannot be worked to defeat justice or to perpetrate fraud and injustice. It
the governing law in so far as the right to inherit from his estate would be rank injustice and patently inequitous to deprive the lawful heirs of
was concerned), a child must be either a child legitimate, their rightful inheritance.
legitimated, or adopted, or else an acknowledged natural child — Petitioner Sulpicia Jimenez is entitled to the relief prayed for, declaring her to
for illegitimate not natural are disqualified to inherit. (Civil Code of be the sole and absolute owner of the land in question with right to its
1889, Art. 807, 935) possession and enjoyment. Since her uncle Carlos Jimenez died in 1936, his
Even assuming that Melecia Cayabyab was born out of the common-law- pro-indiviso share in the properties then owned in co-ownership with his
relationship between her mother (Maria Cayabyab) and Carlos Jimenez, she niece Sulpicia descended by intestacy to Sulpicia Jimenez alone because
could not even be considered an acknowledged natural child because Carlos Carlos died without any issue or other heirs.
Jimenez was then legally married to Susana Abalos and therefore not After all, the professed objective of Act No. 496, otherwise known as the
qualified to marry Maria Cayabyab and consequently Melecia Cayabyab was Land Registration Act or the law which established the Torrens System of
an illegitimate spurious child and not entitled to any successional rights in so Land Registration in the Philippines is that the stability of the landholding
far as the estate of Carlos Jimenez was concerned. system in the Philippines depends on the confidence of the people in the
Melecia Cayabyab in the absence of any voluntary conveyance to her by titles covering the properties. And to this end, this Court has invariably
Carlos Jimenez or Sulpicia Jimenez of the litigated portion of the land could upheld the indefeasibility of the Torrens Title and in, among others, J.M.
not even legally transfer the parcel of land to Edilberto Cagampan who Tuason and Co., Inc. v. Macalindong (6 SCRA 938), held that "the right of
the appellee to file an action to recover possession based on its Torrens Title the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective
is imprescriptible and not barred under the doctrine of laches. legacies.
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED. The Decision On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor
and Resolution dated March 1, 1977 and June 3, 1977 in CA G.R. No. L- submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration
49178-R are SET ASIDE. and Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the
SO ORDERED. legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting
Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur. to $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and
Melencio-Herrera, J., took no part. Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of
P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor — pursuant to the
"Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament — divided the
Footnotes residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's
1 & 2 Penned by Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, and seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages.
concurred in by Justices Jose G. Bautista, Mariano V. Agcaoili On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their
and Rafael C. Climaco. Justice Lourdes P. San Diego, dissenting. respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were
deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory
2) Testate Estate of Amos G. Bellis heirs of the deceased.
Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of
service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27,
Republic of the Philippines 1964 by the executor.1
SUPREME COURT After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent
Manila pleadings, the lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the
EN BANC oppositions and approving the executor's final account, report and
G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967 administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code,
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased. it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law,
PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor. which did not provide for legitimes.
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors- Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower
appellants, court on June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise
vs. the issue of which law must apply — Texas law or Philippine law.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees. In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the
Vicente R. Macasaet and Jose D. Villena for oppositors appellants. doctrine of renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L-
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al. 16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the
Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. S. Bellis, et al. decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the
J. R. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company. present case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman. Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.2 So that even
BENGZON, J.P., J.: assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary
This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of system (law of the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in a
the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law.
project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. 37089 Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei
therein.1äwphï1.ñët sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place where the properties
The facts of the case are as follows: are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the in the Philippines. In the absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law
United States." By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.3 Appellants'
five legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they
him in infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather, they argue
his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate that their case falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third
children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code.
had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the
Miriam Palma Bellis. national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in regard to four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of
which he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and
administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, (d) the capacity to succeed. They provide that —
in the following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to
Mallen; (b) P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., the law of the country where it is situated.
Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with
the foregoing two items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
seven surviving children by his first and second wives, namely: Edward A. successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary
Bellis, Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person
Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E. Bellis, in equal shares.1äwphï1.ñët whose succession is under consideration, whatever may he the
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said
Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First property may be found.
Instance of Manila on September 15, 1958. ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the
The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the nation of the decedent.
bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil
of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos Code, stating that —
Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and
totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a those which have for their object public order, public policy and
total of P120,000.00, which it released from time to time according as the good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions
agreed upon in a foreign country.
prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. Adoracion C. Campos, after an ex-parte presentation of evidence by herein
This is not correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding private respondent.
the provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated On January 31, 1977, Adoracion C. Campos died, leaving her father,
Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art.17 of the new Civil Code, while petitioner Hermogenes Campos and her sisters, private respondent Nenita
reproducing without substantial change the second paragraph of Art.10 of C. Paguia, Remedios C. Lopez and Marieta C. Medina as the surviving heirs.
the old Civil Code as Art.16 in the new. It must have been their purpose to As Hermogenes Campos was the only compulsory heir, he executed an
make the second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which Affidavit of Adjudication under Rule 74, Section I of the Rules of Court
must be applied in testate and intestate succession. As further indication of whereby he adjudicated unto himself the ownership of the entire estate of the
this legislative intent, Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, deceased Adoracion Campos.
which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law Eleven months after, on November 25, 1977, Nenita C. Paguia filed a
of the decedent. petition for the reprobate of a will of the deceased, Adoracion Campos, which
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be was allegedly executed in the United States and for her appointment as
involved in our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the administratrix of the estate of the deceased testatrix.
same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to In her petition, Nenita alleged that the testatrix was an American citizen at
leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's national the time of her death and was a permanent resident of 4633 Ditman Street,
law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that the testatrix died in Manila on
Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills — one January 31, 1977 while temporarily residing with her sister at 2167 Leveriza,
to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate — arguing Malate, Manila; that during her lifetime, the testatrix made her last wig and
from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. testament on July 10, 1975, according to the laws of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.,
Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate nominating Wilfredo Barzaga of New Jersey as executor; that after the
Philippine will, it would not alter the law, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. testatrix death, her last will and testament was presented, probated, allowed,
Brimo, 50 Phil. 867, 870, a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his and registered with the Registry of Wins at the County of Philadelphia,
properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with U.S.A., that Clement L. McLaughlin, the administrator who was appointed
his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in after Dr. Barzaga had declined and waived his appointment as executor in
regard to those matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code favor of the former, is also a resident of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and that
states said national law should govern. therefore, there is an urgent need for the appointment of an administratrix to
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the administer and eventually distribute the properties of the estate located in the
State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced Philippines.
heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of On January 11, 1978, an opposition to the reprobate of the will was filed by
the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under herein petitioner alleging among other things, that he has every reason to
Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of believe that the will in question is a forgery; that the intrinsic provisions of the
Amos G. Bellis. will are null and void; and that even if pertinent American laws on intrinsic
Wherefore, the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with provisions are invoked, the same could not apply inasmuch as they would
costs against appellants. So ordered. work injustice and injury to him.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Zaldivar, On December 1, 1978, however, the petitioner through his counsel, Atty.
Sanchez and Castro, JJ., concur. Franco Loyola, filed a Motion to Dismiss Opposition (With Waiver of Rights
or Interests) stating that he "has been able to verify the veracity thereof (of
Footnotes the will) and now confirms the same to be truly the probated will of his
1He later filed a motion praying that as a legal heir he be included daughter Adoracion." Hence, an ex-partepresentation of evidence for the
in this case as one of the oppositors-appellants; to file or adopt reprobate of the questioned will was made.
the opposition of his sisters to the project of partition; to submit his On January 10, 1979, the respondent judge issued an order, to wit:
brief after paying his proportionate share in the expenses incurred At the hearing, it has been satisfactorily established
in the printing of the record on appeal; or to allow him to adopt the that Adoracion C. Campos, in her lifetime, was a
briefs filed by his sisters — but this Court resolved to deny the citizen of the United States of America with a
motion. permanent residence at 4633 Ditman Street,
2San Antonio, Texas was his legal residence. Philadelphia, PA 19124, (Exhibit D) that when alive,
3Lim vs. Collector, 36 Phil. 472; In re Testate Estate of Suntay, 95 Adoracion C. Campos executed a Last Will and
Phil. 500. Testament in the county of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
3) Cayetano vs Leonidas U.S.A., according to the laws thereat (Exhibits E-3 to
E-3-b) that while in temporary sojourn in the
Philippines, Adoracion C. Campos died in the City of
Republic of the Philippines Manila (Exhibit C) leaving property both in the
SUPREME COURT Philippines and in the United States of America; that
Manila the Last Will and Testament of the late Adoracion C.
FIRST DIVISION Campos was admitted and granted probate by the
G.R. No. L-54919 May 30, 1984 Orphan's Court Division of the Court of Common
POLLY CAYETANO, petitioner, Pleas, the probate court of the Commonwealth of
vs. Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and
HON. TOMAS T. LEONIDAS, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of letters of administration were issued in favor of
Branch XXXVIII, Court of First Instance of Manila and NENITA CAMPOS Clement J. McLaughlin all in accordance with the laws
PAGUIA, respondents. of the said foreign country on procedure and allowance
Ermelo P. Guzman for petitioner. of wills (Exhibits E to E-10); and that the petitioner is
Armando Z. Gonzales for private respondent. not suffering from any disqualification which would
render her unfit as administratrix of the estate in the
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: Philippines of the late Adoracion C. Campos.
This is a petition for review on certiorari, seeking to annul the order of the WHEREFORE, the Last Will and Testament of the late
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXXVIII, Adoracion C. Campos is hereby admitted to and
which admitted to and allowed the probate of the last will and testament of allowed probate in the Philippines, and Nenita Campos
Paguia is hereby appointed Administratrix of the estate
of said decedent; let Letters of Administration with the 4) He denied petitioner's petition for Relief on the
Will annexed issue in favor of said Administratrix upon ground that no evidence was adduced to support the
her filing of a bond in the amount of P5,000.00 Petition for Relief when no Notice nor hearing was set
conditioned under the provisions of Section I, Rule 81 to afford petitioner to prove the merit of his petition —
of the Rules of Court. a denial of the due process and a grave abuse of
Another manifestation was filed by the petitioner on April 14, 1979, discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
confirming the withdrawal of his opposition, acknowledging the same to be 5) He acquired no jurisdiction over the testate case,
his voluntary act and deed. the fact that the Testator at the time of death was a
On May 25, 1979, Hermogenes Campos filed a petition for relief, praying that usual resident of Dasmariñas, Cavite, consequently
the order allowing the will be set aside on the ground that the withdrawal of Cavite Court of First Instance has exclusive jurisdiction
his opposition to the same was secured through fraudulent means. over the case (De Borja vs. Tan, G.R. No. L-7792, July
According to him, the "Motion to Dismiss Opposition" was inserted among 1955).
the papers which he signed in connection with two Deeds of Conditional The first two issues raised by the petitioner are anchored on the allegation
Sales which he executed with the Construction and Development that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion when he
Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP). He also alleged that the lawyer who allowed the withdrawal of the petitioner's opposition to the reprobate of the
filed the withdrawal of the opposition was not his counsel-of-record in the will.
special proceedings case. We find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent judge. No
The petition for relief was set for hearing but the petitioner failed to appear. proof was adduced to support petitioner's contention that the motion to
He made several motions for postponement until the hearing was set on May withdraw was secured through fraudulent means and that Atty. Franco
29, 1980. Loyola was not his counsel of record. The records show that after the firing of
On May 18, 1980, petitioner filed another motion entitled "Motion to Vacate the contested motion, the petitioner at a later date, filed a manifestation
and/or Set Aside the Order of January 10, 1979, and/or dismiss the case for wherein he confirmed that the Motion to Dismiss Opposition was his
lack of jurisdiction. In this motion, the notice of hearing provided: voluntary act and deed. Moreover, at the time the motion was filed, the
Please include this motion in your calendar for hearing petitioner's former counsel, Atty. Jose P. Lagrosa had long withdrawn from
on May 29, 1980 at 8:30 in the morning for submission the case and had been substituted by Atty. Franco Loyola who in turn filed
for reconsideration and resolution of the Honorable the motion. The present petitioner cannot, therefore, maintain that the old
Court. Until this Motion is resolved, may I also request man's attorney of record was Atty. Lagrosa at the time of filing the motion.
for the future setting of the case for hearing on the Since the withdrawal was in order, the respondent judge acted correctly in
Oppositor's motion to set aside previously filed. hearing the probate of the will ex-parte, there being no other opposition to
The hearing of May 29, 1980 was re-set by the court for June 19, 1980. the same.
When the case was called for hearing on this date, the counsel for petitioner The third issue raised deals with the validity of the provisions of the will. As a
tried to argue his motion to vacate instead of adducing evidence in support of general rule, the probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic
the petition for relief. Thus, the respondent judge issued an order dismissing validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary
the petition for relief for failure to present evidence in support thereof. capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. In the law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has
same order, respondent judge also denied the motion to vacate for lack of declared that the will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical
merit. Hence, this petition. considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon,
Meanwhile, on June 6,1982, petitioner Hermogenes Campos died and left a even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue. (Maninang vs.
will, which, incidentally has been questioned by the respondent, his children Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA 478).
and forced heirs as, on its face, patently null and void, and a fabrication, In the case at bar, the petitioner maintains that since the respondent judge
appointing Polly Cayetano as the executrix of his last will and testament. allowed the reprobate of Adoracion's will, Hermogenes C. Campos was
Cayetano, therefore, filed a motion to substitute herself as petitioner in the divested of his legitime which was reserved by the law for him.
instant case which was granted by the court on September 13, 1982. This contention is without merit.
A motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the rights of the petitioner Although on its face, the will appeared to have preterited the petitioner and
Hermogenes Campos merged upon his death with the rights of the thus, the respondent judge should have denied its reprobate outright, the
respondent and her sisters, only remaining children and forced heirs was private respondents have sufficiently established that Adoracion was, at the
denied on September 12, 1983. time of her death, an American citizen and a permanent resident of
Petitioner Cayetano persists with the allegations that the respondent judge Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Therefore, under Article 16 par. (2) and
acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction when: 1039 of the Civil Code which respectively provide:
1) He ruled the petitioner lost his standing in court Art. 16 par. (2).
deprived the Right to Notice (sic) upon the filing of the xxx xxx xxx
Motion to Dismiss opposition with waiver of rights or However, intestate and testamentary successions,
interests against the estate of deceased Adoracion C. both with respect to the order of succession and to the
Campos, thus, paving the way for the hearing ex- amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic
parte of the petition for the probate of decedent will. validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated
2) He ruled that petitioner can waive, renounce or by the national law of the person whose succession is
repudiate (not made in a public or authenticated under consideration, whatever may be the nature of
instrument), or by way of a petition presented to the the property and regardless of the country wherein
court but by way of a motion presented prior to an said property may be found.
order for the distribution of the estate-the law Art. 1039.
especially providing that repudiation of an inheritance Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the
must be presented, within 30 days after it has issued nation of the decedent.
an order for the distribution of the estate in accordance the law which governs Adoracion Campo's will is the law of Pennsylvania,
with the rules of Court. U.S.A., which is the national law of the decedent. Although the parties admit
3) He ruled that the right of a forced heir to his legitime that the Pennsylvania law does not provide for legitimes and that all the
can be divested by a decree admitting a will to probate estate may be given away by the testatrix to a complete stranger, the
in which no provision is made for the forced heir in petitioner argues that such law should not apply because it would be contrary
complete disregard of Law of Succession to the sound and established public policy and would run counter to the
specific provisions of Philippine Law.
It is a settled rule that as regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the
will, as provided for by Article 16(2) and 1039 of the Civil Code, the national 4) Miciano vs Brimo
law of the decedent must apply. This was squarely applied in the case
of Bellis v. Bellis (20 SCRA 358) wherein we ruled: Republic of the Philippines
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or SUPREME COURT
good customs may be involved in our system of Manila
legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the EN BANC
same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has G.R. No. L-22595 November 1, 1927
specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO,
successional rights, to the decedent's national law. administrator, petitioner-appellee,
Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. vs.
xxx xxx xxx ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, Ross, Lawrence and Selph for appellant.
was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and under Camus and Delgado for appellee.
the law of Texas, there are no forced heirs or
legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the
provision of the will and the amount of successional ROMUALDEZ, J.:
rights are to be determined under Texas law, the The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in
Philippine Law on legitimes cannot be applied to the question in this case.
testacy of Amos G. Bellis. The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre
As regards the alleged absence of notice of hearing for the petition for relief, Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however,
the records wig bear the fact that what was repeatedly scheduled for hearing approved it.
on separate dates until June 19, 1980 was the petitioner's petition for relief The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are:
and not his motion to vacate the order of January 10, 1979. There is no (1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in
reason why the petitioner should have been led to believe otherwise. The the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order
court even admonished the petitioner's failing to adduce evidence when his approving the partition; (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro
petition for relief was repeatedly set for hearing. There was no denial of due Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business;
process. The fact that he requested "for the future setting of the case for and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause,
hearing . . ." did not mean that at the next hearing, the motion to vacate and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and
would be heard and given preference in lieu of the petition for relief. the delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of
Furthermore, such request should be embodied in a motion and not in a the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws.
mere notice of hearing. The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question
Finally, we find the contention of the petition as to the issue of jurisdiction puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in
utterly devoid of merit. Under Rule 73, Section 1, of the Rules of Court, it is accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are
provided that: void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which, among other
SECTION 1. Where estate of deceased persons things, provides the following:
settled. — If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to
Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen the order of succession as well as to the amount of the
or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions,
administration granted, and his estate settled, in the shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
Court of First Instance in the province in which he succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the
resided at the time of his death, and if he is an property or the country in which it may be situated.
inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary
Instance of any province in which he had estate. The dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did
court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are on the matter,
estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be the
exclusion of all other courts. The jurisdiction assumed same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36
by a court, so far as it depends on the place of Phil., 472.)
residence of the decedent, or of the location of his It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He,
estate, shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding, himself, acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to
except in an appeal from that court, in the original present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the
case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the
record. receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws on the
Therefore, the settlement of the estate of Adoracion Campos was correctly matter.
filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila where she had an estate since The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws
it was alleged and proven that Adoracion at the time of her death was a does not constitute an error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking
citizen and permanent resident of Pennsylvania, United States of America into consideration that the oppositor was granted ample opportunity to
and not a "usual resident of Cavite" as alleged by the petitioner. Moreover, introduce competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of
petitioner is now estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the probate the court in this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that
court in the petition for relief. It is a settled rule that a party cannot invoke the the national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the
jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief, against his opponent and testamentary dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in
after failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction. force, must be complied with and executed. lawphil.net
(See Saulog Transit, Inc. vs. Hon. Manuel Lazaro, et al., G. R. No. 63 284, Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not
April 4, 1984). erroneous.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is hereby dismissed In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the
for lack of merit. herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons
SO ORDERED. designated as such in will, it must be taken into consideration that such
Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Relova and De la Fuente, JJ., concur. exclusion is based on the last part of the second clause of the will, which
Teehankee, J., (Chairman), took no part. says:
Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish the amount of P3,600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy,
citizen, this citizenship having been conferred upon me by and declaring Maria Lucy Christensen entitled to the residue of the property
conquest and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the to be enjoyed during her lifetime, and in case of death without issue, one-half
other hand, having resided for a considerable length of time in the of said residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, etc., in
Philippine Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E.
property that I now possess, it is my wish that the distribution of Christensen. The will was executed in Manila on March 5, 1951 and contains
my property and everything in connection with this, my will, be the following provisions:
made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in force in the 3. I declare ... that I have but ONE (1) child, named MARIA LUCY
Philippine islands, requesting all of my relatives to respect this CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs. Bernard Daney), who was born in the
wish, otherwise, I annul and cancel beforehand whatever Philippines about twenty-eight years ago, and who is now residing
disposition found in this will favorable to the person or persons at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
who fail to comply with this request. 4. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants, and no
The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that descendants except my above named daughter, MARIA LUCY
the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his CHRISTENSEN DANEY.
property, not in accordance with the laws of his nationality, but in accordance xxx xxx xxx
with the laws of the Philippines. 7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN
If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails CHRISTENSEN, now married to Eduardo Garcia, about eighteen
to comply with it, as the herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these years of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that she was
proceedings has not respected the will of the testator, as expressed, is baptized Christensen, is not in any way related to me, nor has she
prevented from receiving his legacy. been at any time adopted by me, and who, from all information I
The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for have now resides in Egpit, Digos, Davao, Philippines, the sum of
article 792 of the civil Code provides the following: THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PESOS (P3,600.00),
Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals Philippine Currency the same to be deposited in trust for the said
shall be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the Maria Helen Christensen with the Davao Branch of the Philippine
heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the National Bank, and paid to her at the rate of One Hundred Pesos
testator otherwise provide. (P100.00), Philippine Currency per month until the principal
And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the thereof as well as any interest which may have accrued thereon,
testator's national law when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above is exhausted..
quoted, such national law of the testator is the one to govern his xxx xxx xxx
testamentary dispositions. 12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved
Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is daughter, the said MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs.
considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is Bernard Daney), now residing as aforesaid at No. 665 Rodger
unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the income
oppositor. from the rest, remainder, and residue of my property and estate,
It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law real, personal and/or mixed, of whatsoever kind or character, and
which shall govern it, and to the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null wheresoever situated, of which I may be possessed at my death
and void, being contrary to law. and which may have come to me from any source whatsoever,
All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and during her lifetime: ....
requests are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said clauses It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his
are contrary to the testator's national law. final account and project of partition ratified the payment of only P3,600 to
Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the Helen Christensen Garcia and proposed that the residue of the estate be
distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein transferred to his daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen.
appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and the scheme of partition Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen
submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, Christensen Garcia, insofar as it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an
without any pronouncement as to costs. acknowledged natural child, she having been declared by Us in G.R. Nos. L-
So ordered. 11483-84 an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward E.
Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Villamor and Ostrand, JJ., concur. Christensen. The legal grounds of opposition are (a) that the distribution
should be governed by the laws of the Philippines, and (b) that said order of
5) Testate Estate of Christensen distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen, one
of two acknowledged natural children, one-half of the estate in full ownership.
In amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should
Republic of the Philippines govern the estate of the deceased Christensen should not be the internal law
SUPREME COURT of California alone, but the entire law thereof because several foreign
Manila elements are involved, that the forum is the Philippines and even if the case
EN BANC were decided in California, Section 946 of the California Civil Code, which
G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963 requires that the domicile of the decedent should apply, should be
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. applicable. It was also alleged that Maria Helen Christensen having been
CHRISTENSEN, DECEASED. declared an acknowledged natural child of the decedent, she is deemed for
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the all purposes legitimate from the time of her birth.
deceased, Executor and Heir-appellees, The court below ruled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the
vs. United States and of the State of California at the time of his death, the
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant. successional rights and intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be
M. R. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees. governed by the law of California, in accordance with which a testator has
Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant. the right to dispose of his property in the way he desires, because the right of
LABRADOR, J.: absolute dominion over his property is sacred and inviolable (In re
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, McDaniel's Estate, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952, and In re Kaufman,
Hon. Vicente N. Cusi, Jr., presiding, in Special Proceeding No. 622 of said 117 Cal. 286, 49 Pac. 192, cited in page 179, Record on Appeal). Oppositor
court, dated September 14, 1949, approving among things the final accounts Maria Helen Christensen, through counsel, filed various motions for
of the executor, directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen reconsideration, but these were denied. Hence, this appeal.
The most important assignments of error are as follows: the Philippines in 1913 he returned to California very rarely and only for short
I visits (perhaps to relatives), and considering that he appears never to have
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE owned or acquired a home or properties in that state, which would indicate
HONORABLE SUPREME COURT THAT HELEN IS THE that he would ultimately abandon the Philippines and make home in the
ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN State of California.
AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER JUST SHARE IN Sec. 16. Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning
THE INHERITANCE. from mere temporary presence to the most permanent abode.
II Generally, however, it is used to denote something more than
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING mere physical presence. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws, p. 29)
TO RECOGNIZE THE EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS, ELEMENTS As to his citizenship, however, We find that the citizenship that he acquired in
AND CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE APPLICATION OF INTERNAL California when he resided in Sacramento, California from 1904 to 1913, was
LAW. never lost by his stay in the Philippines, for the latter was a territory of the
III United States (not a state) until 1946 and the deceased appears to have
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he
INTERNATIONAL LAW, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI executed his will in 1951 he declared that he was a citizen of that State; so
DOCTRINE, THE INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE TESTAMENTARY that he appears never to have intended to abandon his California citizenship
DISPOSITION OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE by acquiring another. This conclusion is in accordance with the following
DECEASED EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY principle expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws.
THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES. The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to
IV mean the same thing, a place of permanent abode. But domicile,
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE as has been shown, has acquired a technical meaning. Thus one
SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS may be domiciled in a place where he has never been. And he
CONTRARY TO THE PHILIPPINE LAWS. may reside in a place where he has no domicile. The man with
V two homes, between which he divides his time, certainly resides
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE in each one, while living in it. But if he went on business which
PHILIPPINE LAWS HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO would require his presence for several weeks or months, he might
ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE ESTATE IN FULL OWNERSHIP. properly be said to have sufficient connection with the place to be
There is no question that Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United called a resident. It is clear, however, that, if he treated his
States and of the State of California at the time of his death. But there is also settlement as continuing only for the particular business in hand,
no question that at the time of his death he was domiciled in the Philippines, not giving up his former "home," he could not be a domiciled New
as witness the following facts admitted by the executor himself in appellee's Yorker. Acquisition of a domicile of choice requires the exercise of
brief: intention as well as physical presence. "Residence simply
In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate, the facts of requires bodily presence of an inhabitant in a given place, while
record show that the deceased Edward E. Christensen was born domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an
on November 29, 1875 in New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.; his first intention to make it one's domicile." Residence, however, is a
arrival in the Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on term used with many shades of meaning, from the merest
July 1, 1901, on board the U.S. Army Transport "Sheridan" with temporary presence to the most permanent abode, and it is not
Port of Embarkation as the City of San Francisco, in the State of safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one. (Goodrich,
California, U.S.A. He stayed in the Philippines until 1904. p. 29)
In December, 1904, Mr. Christensen returned to the United States The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in
and stayed there for the following nine years until 1913, during Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is as follows:
which time he resided in, and was teaching school in Sacramento, ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to
California. the law of the country where it is situated.
Mr. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with
year 1913. However, in 1928, he again departed the Philippines respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
for the United States and came back here the following year, successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary
1929. Some nine years later, in 1938, he again returned to his provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person
own country, and came back to the Philippines the following year, whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the
1939. nature of the property and regardless of the country where said
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing property may be found.
stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of
Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to the meaning of the term "national law"is used therein.
prove their case not covered by this stipulation of There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary
facts. 1äwphï1.ñët provisions in the United States, each state of the Union having its own
Being an American citizen, Mr. Christensen was interned by the private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within the state.
Japanese Military Forces in the Philippines during World War II. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can
Upon liberation, in April 1945, he left for the United States but not, therefore, possibly mean or apply to any general American law. So it can
returned to the Philippines in December, 1945. Appellees refer to no other than the private law of the State of California.
Collective Exhibits "6", CFI Davao, Sp. Proc. 622, as Exhibits The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition
"AA", "BB" and "CC-Daney"; Exhs. "MM", "MM-l", "MM-2-Daney" of personal property? The decision of the court below, sustains the
and p. 473, t.s.n., July 21, 1953.) contention of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code, a
In April, 1951, Edward E. Christensen returned once more to testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he
California shortly after the making of his last will and testament desires, citing the case of Estate of McDaniel, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P.
(now in question herein) which he executed at his lawyers' offices 2d 952. But appellant invokes the provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code
in Manila on March 5, 1951. He died at the St. Luke's Hospital in of California, which is as follows:
the City of Manila on April 30, 1953. (pp. 2-3) If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal
In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the property is situated, it is deemed to follow the person of its owner,
Philippines, we are persuaded by the fact that he was born in New York, and is governed by the law of his domicile.
migrated to California and resided there for nine years, and since he came to
The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not French statute of distributions, or whatever corresponds thereto in
denied. We have checked it in the California Civil Code and it is there. French law, and decree a distribution accordingly. An examination
Appellee, on the other hand, relies on the case cited in the decision and of French law, however, would show that if a French court were
testified to by a witness. (Only the case of Kaufman is correctly cited.) It is called upon to determine how this property should be distributed,
argued on executor's behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen it would refer the distribution to the national law of the deceased,
of the State of California, the internal law thereof, which is that given in the thus applying the Massachusetts statute of distributions. So on
abovecited case, should govern the determination of the validity of the the surface of things the Massachusetts court has open to it
testamentary provisions of Christensen's will, such law being in force in the alternative course of action: (a) either to apply the French law is to
State of California of which Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other intestate succession, or (b) to resolve itself into a French court
hand, insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and in accordance and apply the Massachusetts statute of distributions, on the
therewith and following the doctrine of the renvoi, the question of the validity assumption that this is what a French court would do. If it accepts
of the testamentary provision in question should be referred back to the law the so-called renvoidoctrine, it will follow the latter course, thus
of the decedent's domicile, which is the Philippines. applying its own law.
The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors, thus: This is one type of renvoi. A jural matter is presented which the
The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of conflict-of-laws rule of the forum refers to a foreign law, the
Laws rule of the forum refers a jural matter to a foreign law for conflict-of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the matter back again
decision, is the reference to the purely internal rules of law of the to the law of the forum. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The
foreign system; i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its German term for this judicial process is 'Ruckverweisung.'"
Conflict of Laws rules?" (Harvard Law Review, Vol. 31, pp. 523-571.)
On logic, the solution is not an easy one. The Michigan court After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be
chose to accept the renvoi, that is, applied the Conflict of Laws resorted to as governing a particular case, the further question
rule of Illinois which referred the matter back to Michigan law. But may arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws contained in
once having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the such foreign law also to be resorted to? This is a question which,
rule looked to, it is difficult to see why the reference back should while it has been considered by the courts in but a few instances,
not have been to Michigan Conflict of Laws. This would have has been the subject of frequent discussion by textwriters and
resulted in the "endless chain of references" which has so often essayists; and the doctrine involved has been descriptively
been criticized be legal writers. The opponents of the renvoi designated by them as the "Renvoyer" to send back, or the
would have looked merely to the internal law of Illinois, thus "Ruchversweisung", or the "Weiterverweisung", since an
rejecting the renvoi or the reference back. Yet there seems no affirmative answer to the question postulated and the operation of
compelling logical reason why the original reference should be the the adoption of the foreign law in toto would in many cases result
internal law rather than to the Conflict of Laws rule. It is true that in returning the main controversy to be decided according to the
such a solution avoids going on a merry-go-round, but those who law of the forum. ... (16 C.J.S. 872.)
have accepted the renvoi theory avoid this inextricabilis Another theory, known as the "doctrine of renvoi", has been
circulas by getting off at the second reference and at that point advanced. The theory of the doctrine of renvoi is that the court of
applying internal law. Perhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a the forum, in determining the question before it, must take into
bit more consistent for they look always to internal law as the rule account the whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules
of reference. as to conflict of laws, and then apply the law to the actual
Strangely enough, both the advocates for and the objectors to question which the rules of the other jurisdiction prescribe. This
the renvoi plead that greater uniformity will result from adoption of may be the law of the forum. The doctrine of the renvoi has
their respective views. And still more strange is the fact that the generally been repudiated by the American authorities. (2 Am.
only way to achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem is if in Jur. 296)
the dispute the two states whose laws form the legal basis of the The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for
litigation disagree as to whether the renvoi should be accepted. If its application in a country explained by Prof. Lorenzen in an article in the
both reject, or both accept the doctrine, the result of the litigation Yale Law Journal, Vol. 27, 1917-1918, pp. 529-531. The pertinent parts of
will vary with the choice of the forum. In the case stated above, the article are quoted herein below:
had the Michigan court rejected the renvoi, judgment would have The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the
been against the woman; if the suit had been brought in the conflict of laws are to be understood as incorporating not only the
Illinois courts, and they too rejected the renvoi, judgment would ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or country, but its rules
be for the woman. The same result would happen, though the of the conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law of a
courts would switch with respect to which would hold liability, if country' means the whole of its law.
both courts accepted the renvoi. xxx xxx xxx
The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of
where the title to land is in question, and where the validity of a International Law, at Neuchatel, in 1900, in the form of the
decree of divorce is challenged. In these cases the Conflict of following theses:
Laws rule of the situs of the land, or the domicile of the parties in (1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the
the divorce case, is applied by the forum, but any further application of foreign laws.
reference goes only to the internal law. Thus, a person's title to (2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists, the
land, recognized by the situs, will be recognized by every court; court shall respect:
and every divorce, valid by the domicile of the parties, will be valid (a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the
everywhere. (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 7, pp. 13-14.) right to bind its nationals abroad as regards their
X, a citizen of Massachusetts, dies intestate, domiciled in France, personal statute, and desires that said personal statute
leaving movable property in Massachusetts, England, and shall be determined by the law of the domicile, or even
France. The question arises as to how this property is to be by the law of the place where the act in question
distributed among X's next of kin. occurred.
Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. (b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law,
There the rule of the conflict of laws as to intestate succession to provided it be certain that one of them is necessarily
movables calls for an application of the law of the deceased's last competent, which agree in attributing the determination
domicile. Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France, the of a question to the same system of law.
natural thing for the Massachusetts court to do would be to turn to xxx xxx xxx
If, for example, the English law directs its judge to distribute the of the state of the decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as
personal estate of an Englishman who has died domiciled in the application of the internal law of California provides no legitime for
Belgium in accordance with the law of his domicile, he must first children while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the
inquire whether the law of Belgium would distribute personal Philippines, makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the
property upon death in accordance with the law of domicile, and if parent recognizing them.
he finds that the Belgian law would make the distribution in The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; Riera vs.
accordance with the law of nationality — that is the English law — Palmaroli, 40 Phil. 105; Miciano vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Babcock Templeton
he must accept this reference back to his own law. vs. Rider Babcock, 52 Phil. 130; and Gibbs vs. Government, 59 Phil. 293.)
We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, cited by appellees to support the decision can not possibly apply in the case
while the rule applied in In re Kaufman, Supra, its internal law. If the law on at bar, for two important reasons, i.e., the subject in each case does not
succession and the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced appear to be a citizen of a state in the United States but with domicile in the
jointly, each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited In Philippines, and it does not appear in each case that there exists in the state
re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State, but Article 946 should of which the subject is a citizen, a law similar to or identical with Art. 946 of
apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other the California Civil Code.
jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen
determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with the of California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will
general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant, should be governed
most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner. by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of
When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states, California, not by the internal law of California..
and leaves a will directing the manner of distribution of the WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case
property, the law of the state where he was domiciled at the time returned to the lower court with instructions that the partition be made as the
of his death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the Philippine law on succession provides. Judgment reversed, with costs
will, almost as completely as the law of situs is consulted in against appellees.
questions about the devise of land. It is logical that, since the Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon,
domiciliary rules control devolution of the personal estate in case Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.
of intestate succession, the same rules should determine the Bengzon, C.J., took no part.
validity of an attempted testamentary dispostion of the property.
Here, also, it is not that the domiciliary has effect beyond the The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation
borders of the domiciliary state. The rules of the domicile are
recognized as controlling by the Conflict of Laws rules at the situs 6) PCIB vs Escolin
property, and the reason for the recognition as in the case of
intestate succession, is the general convenience of the doctrine.
The New York court has said on the point: 'The general principle Republic of the Philippines
that a dispostiton of a personal property, valid at the domicile of SUPREME COURT
the owner, is valid anywhere, is one of the universal application. It Manila
had its origin in that international comity which was one of the first EN BANC
fruits of civilization, and it this age, when business intercourse and
the process of accumulating property take but little notice of G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896 March 29, 1974
boundary lines, the practical wisdom and justice of the rule is PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, Administrator of
more apparent than ever. (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 164, the Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the
pp. 442-443.) Court of First Instance of Iloilo), petitioner,
Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines vs.
pointed out as the national law is the internal law of California. But as above THE HONORABLE VENICIO ESCOLIN, Presiding Judge of the Court of
explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its First Instance of Iloilo, Branch II, and AVELINA A. MAGNO, respondents.
citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other G.R. Nos. L-27936 & L-27937 March 29, 1974
jurisdictions. Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE LINNIE JANE HODGES (Sp. Proc. No.
law prescribed for its citizens residing therein, and enforce the conflict of 1307).TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE CHARLES NEWTON HODGES
laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we must enforce the law of (Sp. Proc. No. 1672). PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL
California as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of our BANK, administrator-appellant,
Civil Code, then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the vs.
express mandate thereof and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL,
for residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those domiciled abroad. SALVADOR GUZMAN, BELCESAR CAUSING, FLORENIA BARRIDO,
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the PURIFICACION CORONADO, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS
contrary in the place where the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of the JAMIR, MELQUIADES BATISANAN, PEPITO IYULORES, ESPERIDION
California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines PARTISALA, WINIFREDO ESPADA, ROSARIO ALINGASA, ADELFA
and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said PREMAYLON, SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, and AVELINA A. MAGNO, the
Article 16 that the national law of the deceased should govern. This last as Administratrix in Sp. Proc. No. 1307, appellees, WESTERN
contention can not be sustained. As explained in the various authorities cited INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, INC., movant-appellee.
above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law on San Juan, Africa, Gonzales and San Agustin for Philippine Commercial and
conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes Industrial Bank.
the reference or return of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. Manglapus Law Office, Antonio Law Office and Rizal R. Quimpo for private
The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers respondents and appellees Avelina A. Magno, etc., et al.
back the case, when a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of
his domicile, the Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile can BARREDO, J.:p
not and should not refer the case back to California; such action would leave Certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction; certiorari to "declare all
the issue incapable of determination because the case will then be like a acts of the respondent court in the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
football, tossed back and forth between the two states, between the country (Sp. Proc. No. 1307 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo) subsequent to the
of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his domicile. The order of December 14, 1957 as null and void for having been issued without
Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule jurisdiction"; prohibition to enjoin the respondent court from allowing,
tolerating, sanctioning, or abetting private respondent Avelina A. Magno to SIXTH: I nominate and appoint my said husband,
perform or do any acts of administration, such as those enumerated in the Charles Newton Hodges, to be executor of this, my
petition, and from exercising any authority or power as Regular Administratrix last will and testament, and direct that no bond or other
of above-named Testate Estate, by entertaining manifestations, motion and security be required of him as such executor.
pleadings filed by her and acting on them, and also to enjoin said court from SEVENTH: It is my will and bequest that no action be
allowing said private respondent to interfere, meddle or take part in any had in the probate court, in the administration of my
manner in the administration of the Testate Estate of Charles Newton estate, other than that necessary to prove and record
Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the same court and branch); with prayer for this will and to return an inventory and appraisement of
preliminary injunction, which was issued by this Court on August 8, 1967 my estate and list of claims. (Pp. 2-4, Petition.)
upon a bond of P5,000; the petition being particularly directed against the This will was subsequently probated in aforementioned Special Proceedings
orders of the respondent court of October 12, 1966 denying petitioner's No. 1307 of respondent court on June 28, 1957, with the widower Charles
motion of April 22, 1966 and its order of July 18, 1967 denying the motion for Newton Hodges being appointed as Executor, pursuant to the provisions
reconsideration of said order. thereof.
Related to and involving basically the same main issue as the foregoing Previously, on May 27, 1957, the said widower (hereafter to be referred to as
petition, thirty-three (33) appeals from different orders of the same Hodges) had been appointed Special Administrator, in which capacity he
respondent court approving or otherwise sanctioning the acts of filed a motion on the same date as follows:
administration of the respondent Magno on behalf of the testate Estate of URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION TO ALLOW OR
Mrs. Hodges. AUTHORIZE PETITIONER TO CONTINUE THE
THE FACTS BUSINESS IN WHICH HE WAS ENGAGED AND TO
On May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City leaving a will PERFORM ACTS WHICH HE HAD BEEN DOING
executed on November 22, 1952 pertinently providing as follows: WHILE DECEASED WAS LIVING
FIRST: I direct that all my just debts and funeral Come petitioner in the above-entitled special proceedings, thru his
expenses be first paid out of my estate. undersigned attorneys, to the Hon. Court, most respectfully states:
SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, 1. — That Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving her last will
residue and remainder of my estate, both personal and and testament, a copy of which is attached to the
real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved petition for probate of the same.
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold 2. — That in said last will and testament herein
unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime. petitioner Charles Newton Hodges is directed to have
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, the right to manage, control use and enjoy the estate
Charles Newton Hodges, shall have the right to of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in the same way, a
manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his provision was placed in paragraph two, the following: "I
lifetime, and he is hereby given the right to make any give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and
changes in the physical properties of said estate, by remainder of my estate, to my beloved husband,
sale or any part thereof which he may think best, and Charles Newton Hodges, to have and (to) hold unto
the purchase of any other or additional property as he him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime."
may think best; to execute conveyances with or 3. — That during the lifetime of Linnie Jane Hodges,
without general or special warranty, conveying in fee herein petitioner was engaged in the business of
simple or for any other term or time, any property buying and selling personal and real properties, and do
which he may deem proper to dispose of; to lease any such acts which petitioner may think best.
of the real property for oil, gas and/or other minerals, 4. — That deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving
and all such deeds or leases shall pass the absolute no descendants or ascendants, except brothers and
fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in such sisters and herein petitioner as executor surviving
property as he may elect to sell. All rents, emoluments spouse, to inherit the properties of the decedent.
and income from said estate shall belong to him, and 5. — That the present motion is submitted in order not
he is further authorized to use any part of the principal to paralyze the business of petitioner and the
of said estate as he may need or desire. It is provided deceased, especially in the purchase and sale of
herein, however, that he shall not sell or otherwise properties. That proper accounting will be had also in
dispose of any of the improved property now owned by all these transactions.
us located at, in or near the City of Lubbock, Texas, WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that,
but he shall have the full right to lease, manage and petitioner C. N. Hodges (Charles Newton Hodges) be
enjoy the same during his lifetime, above provided. He allowed or authorized to continue the business in
shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell which he was engaged and to perform acts which he
lots therein. and may sell unimproved town lots. had been doing while deceased Linnie Jane Hodges
FOURTH: At the death of my said husband, Charles was living.
Newton Hodges, I give, devise and bequeath all of the City of Iloilo, May 27, 1957. (Annex "D", Petition.)
rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and which the respondent court immediately granted in the following order:
personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally It appearing in the urgent ex-parte motion filed by
divided among my brothers and sisters, share and petitioner C. N. Hodges, that the business in which
share alike, namely: said petitioner and the deceased were engaged will be
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy paralyzed, unless and until the Executor is named and
Higdon, Saddie Rascoe, Era Roman and Nimroy appointed by the Court, the said petitioner is allowed
Higdon. or authorized to continue the business in which he was
FIFTH: In case of the death of any of my brothers engaged and to perform acts which he had been doing
and/or sisters named in item Fourth, above, prior to the while the deceased was living.
death of my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, then it SO ORDERED.
is my will and bequest that the heirs of such deceased City of Iloilo May 27, 1957. (Annex "E", Petition.)
brother or sister shall take jointly the share which Under date of December 11, 1957, Hodges filed as such Executor another
would have gone to such brother or sister had she or motion thus:
he survived.
MOTION TO APPROVE ALL SALES, also be accounted for, especially the amounts
CONVEYANCES, LEASES, MORTGAGES THAT THE received.
EXECUTOR HAD MADE FURTHER AND WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that, all
SUBSEQUENT TRANSACTIONS WHICH THE the sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages
EXECUTOR MAY DO IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE executed by the Executor, be approved by the Hon.
LAST WISH OF THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE Court, and also the subsequent sales, conveyances,
HODGES. leases, and mortgages in consonance with the wishes
Comes the Executor in the above-entitled proceedings, of the deceased contained in her last will and
thru his undersigned attorney, to the Hon. Court, most testament, be with authorization and approval of the
respectfully states: Hon. Court.
1. — That according to the last will and testament of City of Iloilo, December 11, 1967.
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, the executor as the (Annex "G", Petition.)
surviving spouse and legatee named in the will of the which again was promptly granted by the respondent court on December 14,
deceased; has the right to dispose of all the properties 1957 as follows:
left by the deceased, portion of which is quoted as ORDER
follows: As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the
Second: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, Executor for the reasons stated in his motion dated
residue and remainder of my estate, both personal and December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well
real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved taken all the sales, conveyances, leases and
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold mortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie
unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime. Jane Hodges executed by the Executor Charles N.
Third: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, Hodges are hereby APPROVED. The said Executor is
Charles Newton Hodges, shall have the right to further authorized to execute subsequent sales,
manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties
lifetime, and he is hereby given the right to make any left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in
changes in the physical properties of said estate, by consonance with the wishes conveyed in the last will
sale or any part thereof which he may think best, and and testament of the latter.
the purchase of any other or additional property as he So ordered.
may think best; to execute conveyances with or Iloilo City. December 14, 1957.
without general or special warranty, conveying in fee (Annex "H", Petition.)
simple or for any other term or time, any property On April 14, 1959, in submitting his first statement of account as Executor for
which he may deem proper to dispose of; to lease any approval, Hodges alleged:
of the real property for oil, gas and/or other minerals, Pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Court, herein
and all such deeds or leases shall pass the absolute executor of the deceased, renders the following
fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in such account of his administration covering the period from
property as he may elect to sell. All rents, emoluments January 1, 1958 to December 31, 1958, which account
and income from said estate shall belong to him, and may be found in detail in the individual income tax
he is further authorized to use any part of the principal return filed for the estate of deceased Linnie Jane
of said estate as he may need or desire. ... Hodges, to wit:
2. — That herein Executor, is not only part owner of That a certified public accountant has examined the
the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor statement of net worth of the estate of Linnie Jane
to all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, the assets and liabilities, as well as the
Hodges. That during the lifetime of herein Executor, as income and expenses, copy of which is hereto
Legatee has the right to sell, convey, lease or dispose attached and made integral part of this statement of
of the properties in the Philippines. That inasmuch as account as Annex "A".
C.N. Hodges was and is engaged in the buy and sell of IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is most respectfully
real and personal properties, even before the death of prayed that, the statement of net worth of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges, a motion to authorize said C.N. Linnie Jane Hodges, the assets and liabilities, income
Hodges was filed in Court, to allow him to continue in and expenses as shown in the individual income tax
the business of buy and sell, which motion was return for the estate of the deceased and marked as
favorably granted by the Honorable Court. Annex "A", be approved by the Honorable Court, as
3. — That since the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, Mr. substantial compliance with the requirements of the
C.N. Hodges had been buying and selling real and Rules of Court.
personal properties, in accordance with the wishes of That no person interested in the Philippines of the time
the late Linnie Jane Hodges. and place of examining the herein accounts be given
4. — That the Register of Deeds for Iloilo, had required notice, as herein executor is the only devisee or
of late the herein Executor to have all the sales, legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the last
leases, conveyances or mortgages made by him, will and testament already probated by the Honorable
approved by the Hon. Court. court.
5. — That it is respectfully requested, all the sales, City of Iloilo April 14, 1959.
conveyances leases and mortgages executed by the (Annex "I", Petition.)
Executor, be approved by the Hon. Court. and The respondent court approved this statement of account on April 21, 1959
subsequent sales conveyances, leases and mortgages in its order worded thus:
in compliances with the wishes of the late Linnie Jane Upon petition of Atty. Gellada, in representation of the
Hodges, and within the scope of the terms of the last Executor, the statement of net worth of the estate of
will and testament, also be approved; Linnie Jane Hodges, assets and liabilities, income and
6. — That the Executor is under obligation to submit expenses as shown in the individual income tax return
his yearly accounts, and the properties conveyed can for the estate of the deceased and marked as Annex
"A" is approved.
SO ORDERED. they were omitted, and that they were really and are
City of Iloilo April 21, 1959. interested in the estate of deceased Linnie Jane
(Annex "J", Petition.) Hodges. .
His accounts for the periods January 1, 1959 to December 31, 1959 and As an executor, he was bound to file tax returns for the
January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1960 were submitted likewise estate he was administering under American law. He
accompanied by allegations identical mutatis mutandis to those of April 14, did file such as estate tax return on August 8, 1958. In
1959, quoted above; and the respective orders approving the same, dated Schedule "M" of such return, he answered "Yes" to the
July 30, 1960 and May 2, 1961, were substantially identical to the above- question as to whether he was contemplating
quoted order of April 21, 1959. In connection with the statements of account "renouncing the will". On the question as to what
just mentioned, the following assertions related thereto made by respondent- property interests passed to him as the surviving
appellee Magno in her brief do not appear from all indications discernible in spouse, he answered:
the record to be disputable: "None, except for purposes of
Under date of April 14, 1959, C.N. Hodges filed his first administering the Estate, paying
"Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane debts, taxes and other legal
Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C.N. charges. It is the intention of the
Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of surviving husband of deceased
December 31, 1958 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges to distribute the remaining
reported that the combined conjugal estate earned a property and interests of the
net income of P328,402.62, divided evenly between deceased in their Community
him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to estate to the devisees and
this, he filed an "individual income tax return" for legatees named in the will when
calendar year 1958 on the estate of Linnie Jane the debts, liabilities, taxes and
Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as expenses of administration are
having earned income of P164,201.31, exactly one- finally determined and paid."
half of the net income of his combined personal assets Again, on August 9, 1962, barely four months before
and that of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (p. 91, his death, he executed an "affidavit" wherein he ratified
Appellee's Brief.) and confirmed all that he stated in Schedule "M" of his
xxx xxx xxx estate tax returns as to his having renounced what
Under date of July 21, 1960, C.N. Hodges filed his was given him by his wife's will.1
second "Annual Statement of Account by the As appointed executor, C.N. Hodges filed an
Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Inventory" dated May 12, 1958. He listed all the
"Statement of Networth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the assets of his conjugal partnership with Linnie Jane
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, Hodges on a separate balance sheet and then stated
1959 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the expressly that her estate which has come into his
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of possession as executor was "one-half of all the items"
P270,623.32, divided evenly between him and the listed in said balance sheet. (Pp. 89-90, Appellee's
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed Brief.)
an "individual income tax return" for calendar year Parenthetically, it may be stated, at this juncture, that We are taking pains to
1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, quote wholly or at least, extensively from some of the pleadings and orders
under oath, the said estate as having earned income whenever We feel that it is necessary to do so for a more comprehensive
of P135,311.66, exactly one-half of the net income of and clearer view of the important and decisive issues raised by the parties
his combined personal assets and that of the estate of and a more accurate appraisal of their respective positions in regard thereto.
Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 91-92. Appellee's Brief.) The records of these cases do not show that anything else was done in the
xxx xxx xxx above-mentioned Special Proceedings No. 1307 until December 26, 1962,
Under date of April 20, 1961, C.N. Hodges filed his when on account of the death of Hodges the day before, the same lawyer,
third "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor for Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who had been previously acting as counsel for
the Year 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In Hodges in his capacity as Executor of his wife's estate, and as such had filed
the "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the aforequoted motions and manifestations, filed the following:
the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION FOR THE
1960 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the APPOINTMENT OF A
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of SPECIAL ADMINISTRATRIX
P314,857.94, divided evenly between him and the COMES the undersigned attorney for the Executor in
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed the above-entitled proceedings, to the Honorable
an "individual income tax return" for calendar year Court, most respectfully states:
1960 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, 1. That in accordance with the Last Will and Testament
under oath, the said estate as having earned income of Linnie Jane Hodges (deceased), her husband,
of P157,428.97, exactly one-half of the net income of Charles Newton Hodges was to act as Executor, and
his combined personal assets and that of the estate of in fact, in an order issued by this Hon. Court dated
Linnie Jane Hodges. (Pp. 92-93, Appellee's Brief.) June 28, 1957, the said Charles Newton Hodges was
Likewise the following: appointed Executor and had performed the duties as
In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he such.
listed the seven brothers and sisters of Linnie Jane as 2. That last December 22, 1962, the said Charles
her "heirs" (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the Newton Hodges was stricken ill, and brought to the
court admitting the will to probate unfortunately omitted Iloilo Mission Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately,
one of the heirs, Roy Higdon (see p. 14, Green ROA). he died on December 25, 1962, as shown by a copy of
Immediately, C.N. Hodges filed a verified motion to the death certificate hereto attached and marked as
have Roy Higdon's name included as an heir, stating Annex "A".
that he wanted to straighten the records "in order the 3. That in accordance with the provisions of the last
heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges, whatever
real and personal properties that may remain at the 1962, which the Court finds meritorious, Miss
death of her husband Charles Newton Hodges, the AVELINA A. MAGNO, is hereby appointed
said properties shall be equally divided among their Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
heirs. That there are real and personal properties left as Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles
by Charles Newton Hodges, which need to be Newton Hodges, in the latter case, because the last
administered and taken care of. will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his
4. That the estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as vault or iron safe and that the real and personal
well as that of Charles Newton Hodges, have not as properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or
yet been determined or ascertained, and there is go to waste, unless a Special Administratrix is
necessity for the appointment of a general appointed.
administrator to liquidate and distribute the residue of Miss Avelina A. Magno is required to file bond in the
the estate to the heirs and legatees of both spouses. sum of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00), and
That in accordance with the provisions of Section 2 of after having done so, let letters of Administration be
Rule 75 of the Rules of Court, the conjugal partnership issued to her." (Annex "P", Petition.)
of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton Hodges On December 29, 1962, however, upon urgent ex-
shall be liquidated in the testate proceedings of the parte petition of respondent Magno herself, thru Atty.
wife. Gellada, Harold, R. Davies, "a representative of the
5. That the undersigned counsel, has perfect personal heirs of deceased Charles Newton Hodges (who had)
knowledge of the existence of the last will and arrived from the United States of America to help in the
testament of Charles Newton Hodges, with similar administration of the estate of said deceased" was
provisions as that contained in the last will and appointed as Co-Special Administrator of the estate of
testament of Linnie Jane Hodges. However, said last Hodges, (pp. 29-33, Yellow - Record on Appeal) only
will and testament of Charles Newton Hodges is kept to be replaced as such co-special administrator on
inside the vault or iron safe in his office, and will be January 22, 1963 by Joe Hodges, who, according to
presented in due time before this honorable Court. the motion of the same attorney, is "the nephew of the
6. That in the meantime, it is imperative and deceased (who had) arrived from the United States
indispensable that, an Administratrix be appointed for with instructions from the other heirs of the deceased
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and a Special to administer the properties or estate of Charles
Administratrix for the estate of Charles Newton Newton Hodges in the Philippines, (Pp. 47-50, id.)
Hodges, to perform the duties required by law, to Meanwhile, under date of January 9, 1963, the same Atty. Gellada filed in
administer, collect, and take charge of the goods, Special Proceedings 1672 a petition for the probate of the will of
chattels, rights, credits, and estate of both spouses, Hodges,2 with a prayer for the issuance of letters of administration to the
Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges, as same Joe Hodges, albeit the motion was followed on February 22, 1963 by a
provided for in Section 1 and 2, Rule 81 of the Rules of separate one asking that Atty. Fernando Mirasol be appointed as his co-
Court. administrator. On the same date this latter motion was filed, the court issued
7. That there is delay in granting letters testamentary the corresponding order of probate and letters of administration to Joe
or of administration, because the last will and Hodges and Atty. Mirasol, as prayed for.
testament of deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, is At this juncture, again, it may also be explained that just as, in her will, Mrs.
still kept in his safe or vault, and in the meantime, Hodges bequeathed her whole estate to her husband "to have and to hold
unless an administratrix (and,) at the same time, a unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime", she, at the same time
Special Administratrix is appointed, the estate of both or in like manner, provided that "at the death of my said husband — I give
spouses are in danger of being lost, damaged or go to devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both
waste. real and personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among
8. That the most trusted employee of both spouses my brothers and sisters, share and share alike —". Accordingly, it became
Linnie Jane Hodges and C.N. Hodges, who had been incumbent upon Hodges, as executor of his wife's will, to duly liquidate the
employed for around thirty (30) years, in the person of conjugal partnership, half of which constituted her estate, in order that upon
Miss Avelina Magno, (should) be appointed the eventuality of his death, "the rest, residue and remainder" thereof could
Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and be determined and correspondingly distributed or divided among her
at the same time Special Administratrix of the estate of brothers and sisters. And it was precisely because no such liquidation was
Charles Newton Hodges. That the said Miss Avelina done, furthermore, there is the issue of whether the distribution of her estate
Magno is of legal age, a resident of the Philippines, the should be governed by the laws of the Philippines or those of Texas, of
most fit, competent, trustworthy and well-qualified which State she was a national, and, what is more, as already stated,
person to serve the duties of Administratrix and Hodges made official and sworn statements or manifestations indicating that
Special Administratrix and is willing to act as such. as far as he was concerned no "property interests passed to him as surviving
9. That Miss Avelina Magno is also willing to file bond spouse — "except for purposes of administering the estate, paying debts,
in such sum which the Hon. Court believes taxes and other legal charges" and it was the intention of the surviving
reasonable. husband of the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, it is most the deceased in their Community Estate to the devisees and legatees named
respectfully prayed that, Miss AVELINA A. MAGNO be in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration
immediately appointed Administratrix of the estate of are finally determined and paid", that the incidents and controversies now
Linnie Jane Hodges and as Special Administratrix of before Us for resolution arose. As may be observed, the situation that
the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, with powers ensued upon the death of Hodges became rather unusual and so, quite
and duties provided for by law. That the Honorable understandably, the lower court's actuations presently under review are
Court fix the reasonable bond of P1,000.00 to be filed apparently wanting in consistency and seemingly lack proper orientation.
by Avelina A. Magno. Thus, We cannot discern clearly from the record before Us the precise
(Annex "O", Petition.) perspective from which the trial court proceeded in issuing its questioned
which respondent court readily acted on in its order of even date thus: . orders. And, regretably, none of the lengthy briefs submitted by the parties is
For the reasons alleged in the Urgent Ex-parte Motion of valuable assistance in clearing up the matter.
filed by counsel for the Executor dated December 25,
To begin with, We gather from the two records on appeal filed by petitioner, urgent motion and opposition heard the verbal
as appellant in the appealed cases, one with green cover and the other with arguments of Atty. Cesar Tirol for the PCIB and Atty.
a yellow cover, that at the outset, a sort of modus operandi had been agreed Rizal Quimpo for Administratix Magno.
upon by the parties under which the respective administrators of the two After due consideration, the Court hereby orders
estates were supposed to act conjointly, but since no copy of the said Magno to open all doors and locks in the Hodges
agreement can be found in the record before Us, We have no way of Office at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City in the
knowing when exactly such agreement was entered into and under what presence of the PCIB or its duly authorized
specific terms. And while reference is made to said modus operandi in the representative and deputy clerk of court Albis of this
order of September 11, 1964, on pages 205-206 of the Green Record on branch not later than 7:30 tomorrow morning October
Appeal, reading thus: 28, 1965 in order that the office of said estates could
The present incident is to hear the side of operate for business.
administratrix, Miss Avelina A. Magno, in answer to the Pursuant to the order of this Court thru Judge Bellosillo
charges contained in the motion filed by Atty. Cesar dated September 11, 1964, it is hereby ordered:
Tirol on September 3, 1964. In answer to the said (a) That all cash collections should be deposited in the
charges, Miss Avelina A. Magno, through her counsel, joint account of the estates of Linnie Jane Hodges and
Atty. Rizal Quimpo, filed a written manifestation. estates of C.N. Hodges;
After reading the manifestation here of Atty. Quimpo, (b) That whatever cash collections that had been
for and in behalf of the administratrix, Miss Avelina A. deposited in the account of either of the estates should
Magno, the Court finds that everything that happened be withdrawn and since then deposited in the joint
before September 3, 1964, which was resolved on account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the
September 8, 1964, to the satisfaction of parties, was estate of C.N. Hodges;
simply due to a misunderstanding between the (c) That the PCIB should countersign the check in the
representative of the Philippine Commercial and amount of P250 in favor of Administratrix Avelina A.
Industrial Bank and Miss Magno and in order to restore Magno as her compensation as administratrix of the
the harmonious relations between the parties, the Linnie Jane Hodges estate chargeable to the testate
Court ordered the parties to remain in status quo as to estate of Linnie Jane Hodges only;
their modus operandi before September 1, 1964, until (d) That Administratrix Magno is hereby directed to
after the Court can have a meeting with all the parties allow the PCIB to inspect whatever records,
and their counsels on October 3, as formerly agreed documents and papers she may have in her
upon between counsels, Attys. Ozaeta, Gibbs and possession in the same manner that Administrator
Ozaeta, Attys. Tirol and Tirol and Atty. Rizal Quimpo. PCIB is also directed to allow Administratrix Magno to
In the meantime, the prayers of Atty. Quimpo as stated inspect whatever records, documents and papers it
in his manifestation shall not be resolved by this Court may have in its possession;
until October 3, 1964. (e) That the accountant of the estate of Linnie Jane
SO ORDERED. Hodges shall have access to all records of the
there is nothing in the record indicating whatever happened to it afterwards, transactions of both estates for the protection of the
except that again, reference thereto was made in the appealed order of estate of Linnie Jane Hodges; and in like manner the
October 27, 1965, on pages 292-295 of the Green Record on Appeal, as accountant or any authorized representative of the
follows: estate of C.N. Hodges shall have access to the
On record is an urgent motion to allow PCIB to open records of transactions of the Linnie Jane Hodges
all doors and locks in the Hodges Office at 206-208 estate for the protection of the estate of C.N. Hodges.
Guanco Street, Iloilo City, to take immediate and Once the estates' office shall have been opened by
exclusive possession thereof and to place its own Administratrix Magno in the presence of the PCIB or its
locks and keys for security purposes of the PCIB dated duly authorized representative and deputy clerk Albis
October 27, 1965 thru Atty. Cesar Tirol. It is alleged in or his duly authorized representative, both estates or
said urgent motion that Administratrix Magno of the any of the estates should not close it without previous
testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges refused to open consent and authority from this court.
the Hodges Office at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo SO ORDERED.
City where PCIB holds office and therefore PCIB is As may be noted, in this order, the respondent court required that all
suffering great moral damage and prejudice as a result collections from the properties in the name of Hodges should be deposited in
of said act. It is prayed that an order be issued a joint account of the two estates, which indicates that seemingly the so-
authorizing it (PCIB) to open all doors and locks in the called modus operandi was no longer operative, but again there is nothing to
said office, to take immediate and exclusive show when this situation started.
possession thereof and place thereon its own locks Likewise, in paragraph 3 of the petitioner's motion of September 14, 1964, on
and keys for security purposes; instructing the clerk of pages 188-201 of the Green Record on Appeal, (also found on pp. 83-91 of
court or any available deputy to witness and supervise the Yellow Record on Appeal) it is alleged that:
the opening of all doors and locks and taking 3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C.N.
possession of the PCIB. Hodges, Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol acting
A written opposition has been filed by Administratrix as the two co-administrators of the estate of C.N.
Magno of even date (Oct. 27) thru counsel Rizal Hodges, Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix
Quimpo stating therein that she was compelled to of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Messrs.
close the office for the reason that the PCIB failed to William Brown and Ardell Young acting for all of the
comply with the order of this Court signed by Judge Higdon family who claim to be the sole beneficiaries of
Anacleto I. Bellosillo dated September 11, 1964 to the the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and various legal
effect that both estates should remain in status quo to counsel representing the aforementioned parties
their modus operandi as of September 1, 1964. entered into an amicable agreement, which was
To arrive at a happy solution of the dispute and in approved by this Honorable Court, wherein the parties
order not to interrupt the operation of the office of both thereto agreed that certain sums of money were to be
estates, the Court aside from the reasons stated in the paid in settlement of different claims against the two
estates and that the assets (to the extent they existed) provides for the payment of attorney's fees to the
of both estates would be administered jointly by the counsel for the PCIB will also be prejudicial to the
PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.N. Hodges estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 1801-1814, Vol. V,
and Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of the estate of Sp. 1307).
Linnie Jane Hodges, subject, however, to the aforesaid Atty. Herminio Ozaeta filed a rejoinder dated August
October 5, 1963 Motion, namely, the PCIB's claim to 10, 1964 to the reply to the opposition to the
exclusive possession and ownership of one hundred Manifestation and Urgent Motion alleging principally
percent (100%) (or, in the alternative, seventy-five that the estates of Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N.
percent (75%) of all assets owned by C.N. Hodges or Hodges are not similarly situated for the reason that C.
Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. On N. Hodges is an heir of Linnie Jane Hodges whereas
February 1, 1964 (pp. 934-935, CFI Rec., S.P. No. the latter is not an heir of the former for the reason that
1672) this Honorable Court amended its order of Linnie Jane Hodges predeceased C. N. Hodges (pp.
January 24, 1964 but in no way changed its 1839-1848, Vol. V, Sp. 1307); that Attys. Manglapus
recognition of the afore-described basic demand by and Quimpo formally entered their appearance in
the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.N. Hodges behalf of Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
to one hundred percent (100%) of the assets claimed Hodges on June 10, 1964 (pp. 1639-1640, Vol. V, Sp.
by both estates. 1307).
but no copy of the mentioned agreement of joint administration of the two Atty. Manglapus filed a manifestation dated December
estates exists in the record, and so, We are not informed as to what exactly 18, 1964 stating therein that Judge Bellosillo issued an
are the terms of the same which could be relevant in the resolution of the order requiring the parties to submit memorandum in
issues herein. support of their respective contentions. It is prayed in
On the other hand, the appealed order of November 3, 1965, on pages 313- this manifestation that the Manifestation and Urgent
320 of the Green Record on Appeal, authorized payment by respondent Motion dated June 10, 1964 be resolved (pp. 6435-
Magno of, inter alia, her own fees as administratrix, the attorney's fees of her 6439, Vol. VII, Sp. 1307).
lawyers, etc., as follows: Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a counter-
Administratrix Magno thru Attys. Raul S. Manglapus manifestation dated January 5, 1965 asking that after
and Rizal. R. Quimpo filed a Manifestation and Urgent the consideration by the court of all allegations and
Motion dated June 10, 1964 asking for the approval of arguments and pleadings of the PCIB in connection
the Agreement dated June 6, 1964 which Agreement therewith (1) said manifestation and urgent motion of
is for the purpose of retaining their services to protect Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo be denied (pp. 6442-
and defend the interest of the said Administratrix in 6453, Vol. VII, Sp. 1307). Judge Querubin issued an
these proceedings and the same has been signed by order dated January 4, 1965 approving the motion
and bears the express conformity of the attorney-in- dated June 10, 1964 of the attorneys for the
fact of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, Mr. James L. administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
Sullivan. It is further prayed that the Administratrix of agreement annexed to said motion. The said order
the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges be directed further states: "The Administratrix of the estate of
to pay the retailers fee of said lawyers, said fees made Linnie Jane Hodges is authorized to issue or sign
chargeable as expenses for the administration of the whatever check or checks may be necessary for the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 1641-1642, Vol. V, above purpose and the administrator of the estate of
Sp. 1307). C. N. Hodges is ordered to countersign the same. (pp.
An opposition has been filed by the Administrator PCIB 6518-6523, Vol VII, Sp. 1307).
thru Atty. Herminio Ozaeta dated July 11, 1964, on the Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a
ground that payment of the retainers fee of Attys. manifestation and motion dated January 13, 1965
Manglapus and Quimpo as prayed for in said asking that the order of January 4, 1965 which was
Manifestation and Urgent Motion is prejudicial to the issued by Judge Querubin be declared null and void
100% claim of the estate of C. N. Hodges; employment and to enjoin the clerk of court and the administratrix
of Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo is premature and/or and administrator in these special proceedings from all
unnecessary; Attys. Quimpo and Manglapus are proceedings and action to enforce or comply with the
representing conflicting interests and the estate of provision of the aforesaid order of January 4, 1965. In
Linnie Jane Hodges should be closed and terminated support of said manifestation and motion it is alleged
(pp. 1679-1684, Vol, V, Sp. 1307). that the order of January 4, 1965 is null and void
Atty. Leon P. Gellada filed a memorandum dated July because the said order was never delivered to the
28, 1964 asking that the Manifestation and Urgent deputy clerk Albis of Branch V (the sala of Judge
Motion filed by Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo be Querubin) and the alleged order was found in the
denied because no evidence has been presented in drawer of the late Judge Querubin in his office when
support thereof. Atty. Manglapus filed a reply to the said drawer was opened on January 13, 1965 after the
opposition of counsel for the Administrator of the C. N. death of Judge Querubin by Perfecto Querubin, Jr., the
Hodges estate wherein it is claimed that expenses of son of the judge and in the presence of Executive
administration include reasonable counsel or attorney's Judge Rovira and deputy clerk Albis (Sec. 1, Rule 36,
fees for services to the executor or administrator. As a New Civil Code) (Pp. 6600-6606, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307).
matter of fact the fee agreement dated February 27, Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a motion
1964 between the PCIB and the law firm of Ozaeta, for reconsideration dated February 23, 1965 asking
Gibbs & Ozaeta as its counsel (Pp. 1280-1284, Vol. V, that the order dated January 4, 1964 be reversed on
Sp. 1307) which stipulates the fees for said law firm the ground that:
has been approved by the Court in its order dated 1. Attorneys retained must render services to the
March 31, 1964. If payment of the fees of the lawyers estate not to the personal heir;
for the administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane 2. If services are rendered to both, fees should be pro-
Hodges will cause prejudice to the estate of C. N. rated between them;
Hodges, in like manner the very agreement which
3. Attorneys retained should not represent conflicting Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and to this effect
interests; to the prejudice of the other heirs not the PCIB should take the necessary steps so that
represented by said attorneys; Administratrix Avelina A. Magno could sign the deeds
4. Fees must be commensurate to the actual services of sale.
rendered to the estate; SO ORDERED.(p. 248, Green Record on Appeal.)
5. There must be assets in the estate to pay for said Notably this order required that even the deeds executed by petitioner, as
fees (Pp. 6625-6636, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307). administrator of the Estate of Hodges, involving properties registered in his
Atty. Quimpo for Administratrix Magno of the estate of name, should be co-signed by respondent Magno.3 And this was not an
Linnie Jane Hodges filed a motion to submit dated July isolated instance.
15, 1965 asking that the manifestation and urgent In her brief as appellee, respondent Magno states:
motion dated June 10, 1964 filed by Attys. Manglapus After the lower court had authorized appellee Avelina
and Quimpo and other incidents directly appertaining A. Magno to execute final deeds of sale pursuant to
thereto be considered submitted for consideration and contracts to sell executed by C. N. Hodges on
approval (pp. 6759-6765, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307). February 20, 1963 (pp. 45-46, Green ROA), motions
Considering the arguments and reasons in support to for the approval of final deeds of sale (signed by
the pleadings of both the Administratrix and the PCIB, appellee Avelina A. Magno and the administrator of the
and of Atty. Gellada, hereinbefore mentioned, the estate of C. N. Hodges, first Joe Hodges, then Atty.
Court believes that the order of January 4, 1965 is null Fernando Mirasol and later the appellant) were
and void for the reason that the said order has not approved by the lower court upon petition of appellee
been filed with deputy clerk Albis of this court (Branch Magno's counsel, Atty. Leon P. Gellada, on the basis
V) during the lifetime of Judge Querubin who signed of section 8 of Rule 89 of the Revised Rules of Court.
the said order. However, the said manifestation and Subsequently, the appellant, after it had taken over the
urgent motion dated June 10, 1964 is being treated bulk of the assets of the two estates, started
and considered in this instant order. It is worthy to note presenting these motions itself. The first such attempt
that in the motion dated January 24, 1964 (Pp. 1149- was a "Motion for Approval of Deeds of Sale for
1163, Vol. V, Sp. 1307) which has been filed by Atty. Registered Land and Cancellations of Mortgages"
Gellada and his associates and Atty. Gibbs and other dated July 21, 1964 filed by Atty. Cesar T. Tirol,
lawyers in addition to the stipulated fees for actual counsel for the appellant, thereto annexing two (2) final
services rendered. However, the fee agreement dated deeds of sale and two (2) cancellations of mortgages
February 27, 1964, between the Administrator of the signed by appellee Avelina A. Magno and D. R.
estate of C. N. Hodges and Atty. Gibbs which provides Paulino, Assistant Vice-President and Manager of the
for retainer fee of P4,000 monthly in addition to appellant (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Vol. V, pp.
specific fees for actual appearances, reimbursement 1694-1701). This motion was approved by the lower
for expenditures and contingent fees has also been court on July 27, 1964. It was followed by another
approved by the Court and said lawyers have already motion dated August 4, 1964 for the approval of one
been paid. (pp. 1273-1279, Vol. V, Sp. Proc. 1307 pp. final deed of sale again signed by appellee Avelina A.
1372-1373, Vol. V, Sp. Proc. 1307). Magno and D. R. Paulino (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No.
WHEREFORE, the order dated January 4, 1965 is 1307. Vol. V, pp. 1825-1828), which was again
hereby declared null and void. approved by the lower court on August 7, 1964. The
The manifestation and motion dated June 10, 1964 gates having been opened, a flood ensued: the
which was filed by the attorneys for the administratrix appellant subsequently filed similar motions for the
of the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is granted approval of a multitude of deeds of sales and
and the agreement annexed thereto is hereby cancellations of mortgages signed by both the
approved. appellee Avelina A. Magno and the appellant.
The administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges A random check of the records of Special Proceeding
is hereby directed to be needed to implement the No. 1307 alone will show Atty. Cesar T. Tirol as having
approval of the agreement annexed to the motion and presented for court approval deeds of sale of real
the administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is properties signed by both appellee Avelina A. Magno
directed to countersign the said check or checks as the and D. R. Paulino in the following numbers: (a) motion
case may be. dated September 21, 1964 — 6 deeds of sale; (b)
SO ORDERED. motion dated November 4, 1964 — 1 deed of sale; (c)
thereby implying somehow that the court assumed the existence of motion dated December 1, 1964 — 4 deeds of sale;
independent but simultaneous administrations. (d) motion dated February 3, 1965 — 8 deeds of sale;
Be that as it may, again, it appears that on August 6, 1965, the court, acting (f) motion dated May 7, 1965 — 9 deeds of sale. In
on a motion of petitioner for the approval of deeds of sale executed by it as view of the very extensive landholdings of the Hodges
administrator of the estate of Hodges, issued the following order, also on spouses and the many motions filed concerning deeds
appeal herein: of sale of real properties executed by C. N. Hodges the
Acting upon the motion for approval of deeds of sale lower court has had to constitute special separate
for registered land of the PCIB, Administrator of the expedientes in Special Proceedings Nos. 1307 and
Testate Estate of C. N. Hodges in Sp. Proc. 1672 (Vol. 1672 to include mere motions for the approval of
VII, pp. 2244-2245), dated July 16, 1965, filed by Atty. deeds of sale of the conjugal properties of the Hodges
Cesar T. Tirol in representation of the law firms of spouses.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta and Tirol and Tirol and the As an example, from among the very many, under
opposition thereto of Atty. Rizal R. Quimpo (Vol. VIII, date of February 3, 1965, Atty. Cesar T. Tirol, as
pp. 6811-6813) dated July 22, 1965 and considering counsel for the appellant, filed "Motion for Approval of
the allegations and reasons therein stated, the court Deeds of Sale for Registered Land and Cancellations
believes that the deeds of sale should be signed jointly of Mortgages" (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Vol.
by the PCIB, Administrator of the Testate Estate of C. VIII, pp. 6570-6596) the allegations of which read:
N. Hodges and Avelina A. Magno, Administratrix of the
"1. In his lifetime, the late C. N. Hodges executed WHEREFORE, movant Ricardo T. Salas can pay to
"Contracts to Sell" real property, and the prospective both estates or either of them.
buyers under said contracts have already paid the SO ORDERED.
price and complied with the terms and conditions (Pp. 334-335, Green Record on Appeal.)
thereof; On the other hand, as stated earlier, there were instances when respondent
"2. In the course of administration of both estates, Magno was given authority to act alone. For instance, in the other appealed
mortgage debtors have already paid their debts order of December 19, 1964, on page 221 of the Green Record on Appeal,
secured by chattel mortgages in favor of the late C. N. the respondent court approved payments made by her of overtime pay to
Hodges, and are now entitled to release therefrom; some employees of the court who had helped in gathering and preparing
"3. There are attached hereto documents executed copies of parts of the records in both estates as follows:
jointly by the Administratrix in Sp. Proc. No. 1307 and Considering that the expenses subject of the motion to
the Administrator in Sp. Proc. No. 1672, consisting of approve payment of overtime pay dated December 10,
deeds of sale in favor — 1964, are reasonable and are believed by this Court to
Fernando Cano, Bacolod City, be a proper charge of administration chargeable to the
Occ. Negros testate estate of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, the said
Fe Magbanua, Iloilo City expenses are hereby APPROVED and to be charged
Policarpio M. Pareno, La Paz, against the testate estate of the late Linnie Jane
Iloilo City Hodges. The administrator of the testate estate of the
Rosario T. Libre, Jaro, Iloilo City late Charles Newton Hodges is hereby ordered to
Federico B. Torres, Iloilo City countersign the check or checks necessary to pay the
Reynaldo T. Lataquin, La Paz, said overtime pay as shown by the bills marked Annex
Iloilo City "A", "B" and "C" of the motion.
Anatolio T. Viray, Iloilo City SO ORDERED.
Benjamin Rolando, Jaro, Iloilo (Pp. 221-222, Green Record on Appeal.)
City Likewise, the respondent court approved deeds of sale executed by
and cancellations of mortgages in favor of — respondent Magno alone, as Administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges,
Pablo Manzano, Oton, Iloilo covering properties in the name of Hodges, pursuant to "contracts to sell"
Ricardo M. Diana, Dao, San executed by Hodges, irrespective of whether they were executed by him
Jose, Antique before or after the death of his wife. The orders of this nature which are also
Simplicio Tingson, Iloilo City on appeal herein are the following:
Amado Magbanua, Pototan, 1. Order of March 30, 1966, on p. 137 of the Green Record on Appeal,
Iloilo approving the deed of sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of
Roselia M. Baes, Bolo, Roxas appellee Lorenzo Carles on February 24, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to
City sell" signed by Hodges on June 17, 1958, after the death of his wife, which
William Bayani, Rizal contract petitioner claims was cancelled by it for failure of Carles to pay the
Estanzuela, Iloilo City installments due on January 7, 1965.
Elpidio Villarete, Molo, Iloilo City 2. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 139-140, id., approving the deed of sale
Norma T. Ruiz, Jaro, Iloilo City executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Salvador Guzman on
"4. That the approval of the February 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on
aforesaid documents will not September 13, 1960, after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner
reduce the assets of the estates claims it cancelled on March 3, 1965 in view of failure of said appellee to pay
so as to prevent any creditor the installments on time.
from receiving his full debt or 3. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 167-168, id., approving the deed of sale
diminish his dividend." executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Purificacion Coronado
And the prayer of this motion is indeed very revealing: on March 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on
"WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that, under August 14, 1961, after the death of his wife.
Rule 89, Section 8 of the Rules of Court, this 4. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 168-169, id., approving the deed of sale
honorable court approve the aforesaid deeds of sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Florenia Barrido on
and cancellations of mortgages." (Pp. 113-117, March 28, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on
Appellee's Brief.) February 21, 1958, after the death of his wife.
None of these assertions is denied in Petitioner's reply brief. 5. Order of June 7, 1966, on pp. 184-185, id., approving the deed of sale
Further indicating lack of concrete perspective or orientation on the part of executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Belcezar Causing on
the respondent court and its hesitancy to clear up matters promptly, in its May 2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on February
other appealed order of November 23, 1965, on pages 334-335 of the Green 10, 1959, after the death of his wife.
Record on Appeal, said respondent court allowed the movant Ricardo Salas, 6. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 211-212, id., approving the deed of sale
President of appellee Western Institute of Technology (successor of Panay executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Artheo Thomas Jamir on
Educational Institutions, Inc.), one of the parties with whom Hodges had June 3, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on May 26,
contracts that are in question in the appeals herein, to pay petitioner, as 1961, after the death of his wife.
Administrator of the estate of Hodges and/or respondent Magno, as 7. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 212-213, id., approving the deed of sale
Administrator of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, thus: executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellees Graciano Lucero and
Considering that in both cases there is as yet no Melquiades Batisanan on June 6 and June 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to
judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of "contracts to sell" signed by Hodges on June 9, 1959 and November 27,
properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto, the 1961, respectively, after the death of his wife.
Court believes that payment to both the administrator 8. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., approving the deed of
of the testate estate of C. N. Hodges and the sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellees Espiridion
administratrix of the testate estate of Linnie Jane Partisala, Winifredo Espada and Rosario Alingasa on September 6, 1966,
Hodges or to either one of the two estates is proper August 17, 1966 and August 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to "contracts to
and legal. sell" signed by Hodges on April 20, 1960, April 18, 1960 and August 25,
1958, respectively, that is, after the death of his wife.
9. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 137-138, id., approving the deed of sale (3) On July 1, 1957 this Honorable Court issued
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Alfredo Catedral on Letters Testamentary to C. N. Hodges in the Estate of
March 2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on May 29, Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 30, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).
1954, before the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had (4) On December 14, 1957 this Honorable Court, on
cancelled on February 16, 1966 for failure of appellee Catedral to pay the the basis of the following allegations in a Motion dated
installments due on time. December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. Gellada as
10. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 138-139, id., approving the deed of sale attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges:
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Jose Pablico on March "That herein Executor, (is) not
7, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on March 7, 1950, only part owner of the properties
after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had cancelled left as conjugal, but also, the
on June 29, 1960, for failure of appellee Pablico to pay the installments due successor to all the properties
on time. left by the deceased Linnie Jane
11. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., insofar as it approved Hodges."
the deed of sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Pepito (p. 44, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
Iyulores on September 6, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by emphasis supplied.)
Hodges on February 5, 1951, before the death of his wife. issued the following order:
12. Order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336, id., approving three deeds of "As prayed for by Attorney
sale executed by respondent Magno, one in favor of appellees Santiago Gellada, counsel for the
Pacaonsis and two in favor of appellee Adelfa Premaylon on December 5, Executory, for the reasons
1966 and November 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to separate "promises to stated in his motion dated
sell" signed respectively by Hodges on May 26, 1955 and January 30, 1954, December 11, 1957 which the
before the death of his wife, and October 31, 1959, after her death. court considers well taken, all
In like manner, there were also instances when respondent court approved the sales, conveyances, leases
deeds of sale executed by petitioner alone and without the concurrence of and mortgages of all properties
respondent Magno, and such approvals have not been the subject of any left by the deceased Linnie Jane
appeal. No less than petitioner points this out on pages 149-150 of its brief Hodges are hereby APPROVED.
as appellant thus: The said executor is further
The points of fact and law pertaining to the two authorized to execute
abovecited assignments of error have already been subsequent sales, conveyances,
discussed previously. In the first abovecited error, the leases and mortgages of the
order alluded to was general, and as already explained properties left by the said
before, it was, as admitted by the lower court itself, deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in
superseded by the particular orders approving specific consonance with the wishes
final deeds of sale executed by the appellee, Avelina contained in the last will and
A. Magno, which are subject of this appeal, as well as testament of the latter."
the particular orders approving specific final deeds of (p. 46, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
sale executed by the appellant, Philippine Commercial emphasis supplied.)
and Industrial Bank, which were never appealed by the (5) On April 21, 1959 this Honorable Court approved
appellee, Avelina A. Magno, nor by any party for that the inventory and accounting submitted by C. N.
matter, and which are now therefore final. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on April
Now, simultaneously with the foregoing incidents, others of more 14, 1959 wherein he alleged among other things
fundamental and all embracing significance developed. On October 5, 1963, "That no person interested in the
over the signature of Atty. Allison J. Gibbs in representation of the law firm of Philippines of the time and place
Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta, as counsel for the co-administrators Joe Hodges of examining the herein account,
and Fernando P. Mirasol, the following self-explanatory motion was filed: be given notice, as herein
URGENT MOTION FOR AN executor is the only devisee or
ACCOUNTING AND DELIVERY legatee of the deceased, in
TO ADMINISTRATION OF THE accordance with the last will and
ESTATE OF C. N. HODGES OF testament already probated by
ALL OF THE ASSETS OF THE the Honorable Court."
CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF (pp. 77-78, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE emphasis supplied.).
HODGES AND C N. HODGES (6) On July 30, 1960 this Honorable Court approved
EXISTING AS OF MAY 23, 1957 the "Annual Statement of Account" submitted by C. N.
PLUS ALL THE RENTS, Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on July
EMOLUMENTS AND INCOME 21, 1960 wherein he alleged among other things:
THEREFROM. "That no person interested in the
COMES NOW the co-administrator of the estate of C. Philippines of the time and place
N. Hodges, Joe Hodges, through his undersigned of examining the herein account,
attorneys in the above-entitled proceedings, and to this be given notice as herein
Honorable Court respectfully alleges: executor is the only devisee or
(1) On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo legatee of the deceased Linnie
City. Jane Hodges, in accordance
(2) On June 28, 1957 this Honorable Court admitted to with the last will and testament
probate the Last Will and Testament of the deceased of the deceased, already
Linnie Jane Hodges executed November 22, 1952 and probated by this Honorable
appointed C. N. Hodges as Executor of the estate of Court."
Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 24-25, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307). (pp. 81-82. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
emphasis supplied.)
(7) On May 2, 1961 this Honorable court approved the cada vez que el precio
"Annual Statement of Account By The Executor for the estipulado en cada contrato este
Year 1960" submitted through Leon P. Gellada on April totalmente pagado. Se autoriza
20, 1961 wherein he alleged: igualmente a la misma a firmar
That no person interested in the escrituras de cancelacion de
Philippines be given notice, of hipoteca tanto de bienes reales
the time and place of examining como personales cada vez que
the herein account, as herein la consideracion de cada
Executor is the only devisee or hipoteca este totalmente
legatee of the deceased Linnie pagada.
Jane Hodges, in accordance "Cada una de dichas escrituras
with the last will and testament que se otorguen debe ser
of the deceased, already sometida para la aprobacion de
probated by this Honorable este Juzgado."
Court. (p. 117, Sp. Proc. 1307).
(pp. 90-91. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; [Par 1 (c), Reply to Motion For
emphasis supplied.) Removal of Joe Hodges]
(8) On December 25, 1962, C.N. Hodges died. (13) On September l6, 1963 Leon P. Gellada, acting
(9) On December 25, 1962, on the Urgent Ex- as attorney for Avelina A. Magno as Administratrix of
parte Motion of Leon P. Gellada filed only in Special the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, alleges:
Proceeding No. 1307, this Honorable Court appointed 3. — That since January, 1963,
Avelina A. Magno both estates of Linnie Jane
"Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Hodges and Charles Newton
as Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles Hodges have been receiving in
Newton Hodges, in the latter case, because the last full, payments for those
will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his "contracts to sell" entered into by
vault or iron safe and that the real and personal C. N. Hodges during his lifetime,
properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or and the purchasers have been
go to waste, unless a Special Administratrix is demanding the execution of
appointed." definite deeds of sale in their
(p. 100. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307) favor.
(10) On December 26, 1962 Letters of Administration 4. — That hereto attached are
were issued to Avelina Magno pursuant to this thirteen (13) copies deeds of
Honorable Court's aforesaid Order of December 25, sale executed by the
1962 Administratrix and by the co-
"With full authority to take administrator (Fernando P.
possession of all the property of Mirasol) of the estate of Linnie
said deceased in any province or Jane Hodges and Charles
provinces in which it may be Newton Hodges respectively, in
situated and to perform all other compliance with the terms and
acts necessary for the conditions of the respective
preservation of said property, "contracts to sell" executed by
said Administratrix and/or the parties thereto."
Special Administratrix having (14) The properties involved in the aforesaid motion of
filed a bond satisfactory to the September 16, 1963 are all registered in the name of
Court." the deceased C. N. Hodges.
(p. 102, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307) (15) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and
(11) On January 22, 1963 this Honorable Court on belief, has been advertising in the newspaper in Iloilo
petition of Leon P. Gellada of January 21, 1963 issued thusly:
Letters of Administration to: For Sale
(a) Avelina A. Magno as Administratrix of the estate of Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles
Linnie Jane Hodges; Newton Hodges.
(b) Avelina A. Magno as Special Administratrix of the All Real Estate or Personal Property will be sold on
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges; and First Come First Served Basis.
(c) Joe Hodges as Co-Special Administrator of the
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges.
(p. 43, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
(12) On February 20, 1963 this Honorable Court on the
basis of a motion filed by Leon P. Gellada as legal
counsel on February 16, 1963 for Avelina A. Magno
acting as Administratrix of the Estate of Charles
Newton Hodges (pp. 114-116, Sp. Proc. 1307) issued
the following order:
"... se autoriza a aquella (Avelina
A. Magno) a firmar escrituras de
venta definitiva de propiedades
cubiertas por contratos para
vender, firmados, en vida, por el
finado Charles Newton Hodges,
Almost a year thereafter, or on September o 14, 1964, after the co-
administrators Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol were replaced by herein
petitioner Philippine Commercial and IndustrialA Bank as sole administrator,
pursuant to an agreement of all the heirs ofdHodges approved by the court,
and because the above motion of October m 5, 1963 had not yet been heard
due to the absence from the country of iAtty. Gibbs, petitioner filed the
following: n
i
MANIFESTATION AND
s
MOTION, INCLUDING MOTION
t SET FOR HEARING AND
TO
r
RESOLVE "URGENT MOTION
a
FOR AN ACCOUNTING AND
t
DELIVERY TO
r
ADMINISTRATORS OF THE
i
ESTATE OF C. N. HODGES OF
x
ALL THE ASSETS OF THE
(16) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF
belief, has paid and still is paying sums of money to THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE
sundry persons. HODGES AND C. N. HODGES
(17) Joe Hodges through the undersigned attorneys EXISTING AS OF MAY 23, 1957
manifested during the hearings before this Honorable PLUS ALL OF THE RENTS,
Court on September 5 and 6, 1963 that the estate of EMOLUMENTS AND INCOME
C. N. Hodges was claiming all of the assets belonging THEREFROM OF OCTOBER 5,
to the deceased spouses Linnie Jane Hodges and C. 1963.
N. Hodges situated in Philippines because of the COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial
aforesaid election by C. N. Hodges wherein he claimed Bank (hereinafter referred to as PCIB), the
and took possession as sole owner of all of said assets administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, deceased,
during the administration of the estate of Linnie Jane in Special Proceedings No. 1672, through its
Hodges on the ground that he was the sole devisee undersigned counsel, and to this Honorable Court
and legatee under her Last Will and Testament. respectfully alleges that:
(18) Avelina A. Magno has submitted no inventory and 1. On October 5, 1963, Joe Hodges acting as the co-
accounting of her administration as Administratrix of administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges filed,
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Special through the undersigned attorneys, an "Urgent Motion
Administratrix of the estate of C. N. Hodges. However, For An Accounting and Delivery To Administrator of
from manifestations made by Avelina A. Magno and the Estate of C. N. Hodges of all Of The Assets Of The
her legal counsel, Leon P. Gellada, there is no Conjugal Partnership of The Deceased Linnie Jane
question she will claim that at least fifty per cent (50%) Hodges and C. N. Hodges Existing as Of May, 23,
of the conjugal assets of the deceased spouses and 1957 Plus All Of The Rents, Emoluments and Income
the rents, emoluments and income therefrom belong to Therefrom" (pp. 536-542, CFI Rec. S. P. No. 1672).
the Higdon family who are named in paragraphs 2. On January 24, 1964 this Honorable Court, on the
Fourth and Fifth of the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges (p. basis of an amicable agreement entered into on
5, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307). January 23, 1964 by the two co-administrators of the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, movant estate of C. N. Hodges and virtually all of the heirs of
respectfully prays that this Honorable Court, after due C. N. Hodges (p. 912, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672),
hearing, order: resolved the dispute over who should act as
(1) Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges by
accounting of all of the funds, properties and assets of appointing the PCIB as administrator of the estate of
any character belonging to the deceased Linnie Jane C. N. Hodges (pp. 905-906, CFI Rec. S. P. No. 1672)
Hodges and C. N. Hodges which have come into her and issuing letters of administration to the PCIB.
possession, with full details of what she has done with 3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C. N.
them; Hodges, Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol acting
(2) Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to the as the two co-administrators of the estate of C. N.
Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges all of the Hodges, Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix
funds, properties and assets of any character of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and Messrs.
remaining in her possession; William Brown and Ardel Young Acting for all of the
(3) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the Higdon family who claim to be the sole beneficiaries of
aforesaid issues, Avelina A. Magno to stop, unless she the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and various legal
first secures the conformity of Joe Hodges (or his duly counsel representing the aforenamed parties entered
authorized representative, such as the undersigned into an amicable agreement, which was approved by
attorneys) as the Co-administrator and attorney-in-fact this Honorable Court, wherein the parties thereto
of a majority of the beneficiaries of the estate of C. N. agreed that certain sums of money were to be paid in
Hodges: settlement of different claims against the two estates
(a) Advertising the sale and the sale of the properties and that the assets (to the extent they existed)of both
of the estates: estates would be administrated jointly by the PCIB as
(b) Employing personnel and paying them any administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges and
compensation. Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of the estate of
(4) Such other relief as this Honorable Court may Linnie Jane Hodges, subject, however, to the aforesaid
deem just and equitable in the premises. (Annex "T", October 5, 1963 Motion, namely, the PCIB's claim to
Petition.) exclusive possession and ownership of one-hundred
percent (10017,) (or, in the alternative, seventy-five income taxes reported due and
percent [75%] of all assets owned by C. N. Hodges or payable by the estate of C.N.
Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. On Hodges.
February 1, 1964 (pp. 934-935, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 7. Under and pursuant to the orders of this Honorable
1672) this Honorable Court amended its order of Court, particularly those of January 24 and February 1,
January 24, 1964 but in no way changes its 1964, and the mandate contained in its Letters of
recognition of the aforedescribed basic demand by the Administration issued on January 24, 1964 to the
PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges to PCIB, it has
one hundred percent (100%) of the assets claimed by "full
both estates. authority
4. On February 15, 1964 the PCIB filed a "Motion to to take
Resolve" the aforesaid Motion of October 5, 1963. This possessio
Honorable Court set for hearing on June 11, 1964 the n of all the
Motion of October 5, 1963. property of
5. On June 11, 1964, because the undersigned Allison the
J. Gibbs was absent in the United States, this deceased
Honorable Court ordered the indefinite postponement C. N.
of the hearing of the Motion of October 5, 1963. Hodges
6. Since its appointment as administrator of the estate "and to perform all other acts
of C. N. Hodges the PCIB has not been able to necessary for the preservation of
properly carry out its duties and obligations as said property." (p. 914, CFI Rec.,
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges because of S.P. No. 1672.)
the following acts, among others, of Avelina A. Magno 8. As administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, the
and those who claim to act for her as administratrix of PCIB claims the right to the immediate exclusive
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges: possession and control of all of the properties,
(a) Avelina A. Magno illegally accounts receivables, court cases, bank accounts and
acts as if she is in exclusive other assets, including the documentary records
control of all of the assets in the evidencing same, which existed in the Philippines on
Philippines of both estates the date of C. N. Hodges' death, December 25, 1962,
including those claimed by the and were in his possession and registered in his name
estate of C. N. Hodges as alone. The PCIB knows of no assets in the Philippines
evidenced in part by her locking registered in the name of Linnie Jane Hodges, the
the premises at 206-208 Guanco estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, or, C. N. Hodges,
Street, Iloilo City on August 31, Executor of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on
1964 and refusing to reopen December 25, 1962. All of the assets of which the
same until ordered to do so by PCIB has knowledge are either registered in the name
this Honorable Court on of C. N. Hodges, alone or were derived therefrom
September 7, 1964. since his death on December 25, 1962.
(b) Avelina A. Magno illegally 9. The PCIB as the current administrator of the estate
acts as though she alone may of C. N. Hodges, deceased, succeeded to all of the
decide how the assets of the rights of the previously duly appointed administrators
estate of C.N. Hodges should be of the estate of C. N. Hodges, to wit:
administered, who the PCIB (a) On December 25, 1962, date
shall employ and how much they of C. N. Hodges' death, this
may be paid as evidenced in Honorable Court appointed Miss
party by her refusal to sign Avelina A. Magno
checks issued by the PCIB simultaneously as:
payable to the undersigned (i) Administratrix of the estate of
counsel pursuant to their fee Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 102, CFI
agreement approved by this Rec., S.P. No. 1307) to replace
Honorable Court in its order the deceased C. N. Hodges who
dated March 31, 1964. on May 28, 1957 was appointed
(c) Avelina A. Magno illegally Special Administrator (p. 13. CFI
gives access to and turns over Rec. S.P. No. 1307) and on July
possession of the records and 1, 1957 Executor of the estate of
assets of the estate of C.N. Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 30, CFI
Hodges to the attorney-in-fact of Rec., S. P. No. 1307).
the Higdon Family, Mr. James L. (ii) Special Administratrix of the
Sullivan, as evidenced in part by estate of C. N. Hodges (p. 102,
the cashing of his personal CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1307).
checks. (b) On December 29, 1962 this
(d) Avelina A. Magno illegally Honorable Court appointed
refuses to execute checks Harold K. Davies as co-special
prepared by the PCIB drawn to administrator of the estate of
pay expenses of the estate of C. C.N. Hodges along with Avelina
N. Hodges as evidenced in part A. Magno (pp. 108-111, CFI
by the check drawn to reimburse Rec., S. P. No. 1307).
the PCIB's advance of (c) On January 22, 1963, with
P48,445.50 to pay the 1964 the conformity of Avelina A.
Magno, Harold K. Davies Mirasol as of January 23, 1964,
resigned in favor of Joe Hodges filed February 24, 1964 (pp. 990-
(pp. 35-36, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1000, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1672
1672) who thereupon was and pp. 1806-1848, CFI Rec.
appointed on January 22, 1963 S.P. No. 1307).
by this Honorable Court as Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable
special co-administrator of the Court on March 3, 1964.
estate of C.N. Hodges (pp. 38- (c) The PCIB and its
40 & 43, CFI Rec. S.P. No. undersigned lawyers are aware
1672) along with Miss Magno of no report or accounting
who at that time was still acting submitted by Avelina A. Magno
as special co-administratrix of of her acts as administratrix of
the estate of C. N. Hodges. the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
(d) On February 22, 1963, or special administratrix of the
without objection on the part of estate of C.N. Hodges, unless it
Avelina A. Magno, this is the accounting of Harold K.
Honorable Court appointed Joe Davies as special co-
Hodges and Fernando P. administrator of the estate of
Mirasol as co-administrators of C.N. Hodges dated January 18,
the estate of C.N. Hodges (pp. 1963 to which Miss Magno
76-78, 81 & 85, CFI Rec., S.P. manifested her conformity
No. 1672). (supra).
10. Miss Avelina A. Magno, pursuant to the orders of 12. In the aforesaid agreement of January 24, 1964, Miss Avelina A. Magno
this Honorable Court of December 25, 1962, took agreed to receive P10,000.00
possession of all Philippine Assets now claimed by the "for her services as
two estates. Legally, Miss Magno could take administratrix of the estate of
possession of the assets registered in the name of C. Linnie Jane Hodges"
N. Hodges alone only in her capacity as Special and in addition she agreed to be employed, starting
Administratrix of the Estate of C.N. Hodges. With the February 1, 1964, at
appointment by this Honorable Court on February 22, "a monthly salary of P500.00 for
1963 of Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol as the her services as an employee of
co-administrators of the estate of C.N. Hodges, they both estates."
legally were entitled to take over from Miss Magno the 24 ems.
full and exclusive possession of all of the assets of the 13. Under the aforesaid agreement of January 24,
estate of C.N. Hodges. With the appointment on 1964 and the orders of this Honorable Court of same
January 24, 1964 of the PCIB as the sole administrator date, the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N.
of the estate of C.N. Hodges in substitution of Joe Hodges is entitled to the exclusive possession of all
Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol, the PCIB legally records, properties and assets in the name of C. N.
became the only party entitled to the sole and Hodges as of the date of his death on December 25,
exclusive possession of all of the assets of the estate 1962 which were in the possession of the deceased C.
of C. N. Hodges. N. Hodges on that date and which then passed to the
11. The PCIB's predecessors submitted their possession of Miss Magno in her capacity as Special
accounting and this Honorable Court approved same, Co-Administratrix of the estate of C. N. Hodges or the
to wit: possession of Joe Hodges or Fernando P. Mirasol as
(a) The accounting of Harold K. co-administrators of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
Davies dated January 18, 1963 14. Because of Miss Magno's refusal to comply with
(pp. 16-33, CFI Rec. S.P. No. the reasonable request of PCIB concerning the assets
1672); which shows or its face of the estate of C. N. Hodges, the PCIB dismissed
the: Miss Magno as an employee of the estate of C. N.
(i) Conformity of Avelina A. Hodges effective August 31, 1964. On September 1,
Magno acting as "Administratrix 1964 Miss Magno locked the premises at 206-208
of the Estate of Linnie Jane Guanco Street and denied the PCIB access thereto.
Hodges and Special Upon the Urgent Motion of the PCIB dated September
Administratrix of the Estate of C. 3, 1964, this Honorable Court on September 7, 1964
N. Hodges"; ordered Miss Magno to reopen the aforesaid premises
(ii) Conformity of Leslie Echols, a at 206-208 Guanco Street and permit the PCIB access
Texas lawyer acting for the heirs thereto no later than September 8, 1964.
of C.N. Hodges; and 15. The PCIB pursuant to the aforesaid orders of this
(iii) Conformity of William Brown, Honorable Court is again in physical possession of all
a Texas lawyer acting for the of the assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges. However,
Higdon family who claim to be the PCIB is not in exclusive control of the aforesaid
the only heirs of Linnie Jane records, properties and assets because Miss Magno
Hodges (pp. 18, 25-33, CFI continues to assert the claims hereinabove outlined in
Rec., S. P. No. 1672). paragraph 6, continues to use her own locks to the
Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable doors of the aforesaid premises at 206-208 Guanco
Court on January 22, 1963 (p. 34, CFI Rec., S. P. No. Street, Iloilo City and continues to deny the PCIB its
1672). right to know the combinations to the doors of the vault
(b) The accounting of Joe and safes situated within the premises at 206-208
Hodges and Fernando P.
Guanco Street despite the fact that said combinations in the Philippines and in the States of Texas and
were known to only C. N. Hodges during his lifetime. Oklahoma, United States of America. All said
16. The Philippine estate and inheritance taxes properties constituted their conjugal estate.
assessed the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges were 2. Although Texas was the domicile of origin of the
assessed and paid on the basis that C. N. Hodges is Hodges spouses, this Honorable Court, in its orders
the sole beneficiary of the assets of the estate of dated March 31 and December 12, 1964 (CFI Record,
Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. Avelina Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. ----; Sp. Proc. No. 1672, p. ----
A. Magno and her legal counsel at no time have ), conclusively found and categorically ruled that said
questioned the validity of the aforesaid assessment spouses had lived and worked for more than 50 years
and the payment of the corresponding Philippine death in Iloilo City and had, therefore, acquired a domicile of
taxes. choice in said city, which they retained until the time of
17. Nothing further remains to be done in the estate of their respective deaths.
Linnie Jane Hodges except to resolve the aforesaid 3. On November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges
Motion of October 5, 1963 and grant the PCIB the executed in the City of Iloilo her Last Will and
exclusive possession and control of all of the records, Testament, a copy of which is hereto attached
properties and assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges. as Annex "A". The bequests in said will pertinent to the
18. Such assets as may have existed of the estate of present issue are the second, third,
Linnie Jane Hodges were ordered by this Honorable and fourth provisions, which we quote in full
Court in special Proceedings No. 1307 to be turned hereunder.
over and delivered to C. N. Hodges alone. He in fact SECOND: I give, devise and
took possession of them before his death and asserted bequeath all of the rest, residue
and exercised the right of exclusive ownership over the and remainder of my estate,
said assets as the sole beneficiary of the estate of both personal and real, wherever
Linnie Jane Hodges. situated, or located, to my
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the PCIB husband, Charles Newton
respectfully petitions that this Honorable court: Hodges, to have and to hold
(1) Set the Motion of October 5, 1963 for hearing at the unto him, my said husband
earliest possible date with notice to all interested during his natural lifetime.
parties; THIRD: I desire, direct and
(2) Order Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and provide that my husband,
accounting as Administratrix of the Estate of Linnie Charles Newton Hodges, shall
Jane Hodges and Co-Administratrix of the Estate of C. have the right to manage,
N. Hodges of all of the funds, properties and assets of control, use and enjoy said
any character belonging to the deceased Linnie Jane estate during his lifetime, and he
Hodges and C. N. Hodges which have come into her is hereby given the right to make
possession, with full details of what she has done with any changes in the physical
them; properties of said estate by sale
(3) Order Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to of any part thereof which he
the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. think best, and the purchase of
Hodges all of the funds, properties and assets of any any other or additional property
character remaining in her possession; as he may think best; to execute
(4) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the conveyances with or without
aforesaid issues, order Avelina A. Magno and her general or special warranty,
representatives to stop interferring with the conveying in fee simple or for
administration of the estate of C. N. Hodges by the any other term or time, any
PCIB and its duly authorized representatives; property which he may deem
(5) Enjoin Avelina A. Magno from working in the proper to dispose of; to lease
premises at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City as an any of the real property for oil,
employee of the estate of C. N. Hodges and approve gas and/or other minerals, and
her dismissal as such by the PCIB effective August 31, all such deeds or leases shall
1964; pass the absolute fee simple title
(6) Enjoin James L. Sullivan, Attorneys Manglapus and to the interest so conveyed in
Quimpo and others allegedly representing Miss Magno such property as he may elect to
from entering the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street, sell. All rents, emoluments and
Iloilo City or any other properties of C. N. Hodges income from said estate shall
without the express permission of the PCIB; belong to him, and he is further
(7) Order such other relief as this Honorable Court authorized to use any part of the
finds just and equitable in the premises. (Annex "U" principal of said estate as he
Petition.) may need or desire. It is
On January 8, 1965, petitioner also filed a motion for "Official Declaration of provided herein, however, that
Heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges Estate" alleging: he shall not sell or otherwise
COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (hereinafter dispose of any of the improved
referred to as PCIB), as administrator of the estate of the late C. N. Hodges, property now owned by us
through the undersigned counsel, and to this Honorable Court respectfully located at, in or near the City of
alleges that: Lubbock, Texas, but he shall
1. During their marriage, spouses Charles Newton have the full right to lease,
Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges, American citizens manage and enjoy the same
originally from the State of Texas, U.S.A., acquired during his lifetime, as above
and accumulated considerable assets and properties provided. He shall have the right
to sub-divide any farmland and "Renvoi Doctrine", as approved
sell lots therein, and may sell and applied by our Supreme
unimproved town lots. Court in the case of "In The
FOURTH: At the death of my Matter Of The Testate Estate of
said husband, Charles Newton Eduard E. Christensen", G.R.
Hodges, I give, devise and No.
bequeath all of the rest, residue L-16749, promulgated January
and remainder of my estate both 31, 1963, Philippine law should
real and personal, wherever apply to the Will of Linnie Jane
situated or located, to be equally Hodges and to the successional
divided among my brothers and rights to her estate insofar as
sisters, share and share alike, her movable and immovable ass
namely: ets in the Philippines are
"Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, concerned. We shall not, at this
Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, stage, discuss what law should
Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and govern the assets of Linnie Jane
Nimray Higdon." Hodges located in Oklahoma
4. On November 14, 1953, C. N. Hodges executed in and Texas, because the only
the City of Iloilo his Last Will and Testament, a copy of assets in issue in this motion are
which is hereto attached as Annex "B ". In said Will, C. those within the jurisdiction of
N. Hodges designated his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, this motion Court in the two
as his beneficiary using the identical language she above-captioned Special
used in the second and third provisos of her Proceedings.
Will, supra. 8. Under Philippine and Texas law, the conjugal or
5. On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo community estate of spouses shall, upon dissolution,
City, predeceasing her husband by more than five (5) be divided equally between them. Thus, upon the
years. At the time of her death, she had no forced or death of Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957, one-
compulsory heir, except her husband, C. N. Hodges. half (1/2) of the entirety of the assets of the Hodges
She was survived also by various brothers and sisters spouses constituting their conjugal estate pertained
mentioned in her Will (supra), which, for convenience, automatically to Charles Newton Hodges, not by way
we shall refer to as the HIGDONS. of inheritance, but in his own right as partner in the
6. On June 28, 1957, this Honorable Court admitted to conjugal partnership. The other one-half (1/2) portion
probate the Last Will and Testament of the deceased of the conjugal estate constituted the estate of Linnie
Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), and appointed C. N. Jane Hodges. This is the only portion of the conjugal
Hodges as executor of her estate without bond. (CFI estate capable of inheritance by her heirs.
Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 24-25). On July 1, 9. This one-half (1/2) portion of the conjugal assets
1957, this Honorable Court issued letters testamentary pertaining to Linnie Jane Hodges cannot, under a clear
to C. N. Hodges in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. and specific provision of her Will, be enhanced or
(CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 30.) increased by income, earnings, rents, or emoluments
7. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respect to the accruing after her death on May 23, 1957. Linnie Jane
order of succession, the amount of successional rights, Hodges' Will provides that "all rents, emoluments and
and the intrinsic of its testamentary provisions, should income from said estate shall belong to him (C. N.
be governed by Philippine laws because: Hodges) and he is further authorized to use any part of
(a) The testatrix, Linnie Jane the principal of said estate as he may need or desire."
Hodges, intended Philippine (Paragraph 3, Annex "A".) Thus, by specific provision
laws to govern her Will; of Linnie Jane Hodges' Will, "all rents, emoluments
(b) Article 16 of the Civil Code and income" must be credited to the one-half (1/2)
provides that "the national law of portion of the conjugal estate pertaining to C. N.
the person whose succession is Hodges. Clearly, therefore, the estate of Linnie Jane
under consideration, whatever Hodges, capable of inheritance by her heirs, consisted
may be the nature of the exclusively of no more than one-half (1/2) of the
property and regardless of the conjugal estate, computed as of the time of her death
country wherein said property on May 23, 1957.
may be found", shall prevail. 10. Articles 900, 995 and 1001 of the New Civil Code
However, the Conflict of Law of provide that the surviving spouse of a deceased
Texas, which is the "national leaving no ascendants or descendants is entitled, as a
law" of the testatrix, Linnie Jane matter of right and by way of irrevocable legitime, to at
Hodges, provide that the least one-half (1/2) of the estate of the deceased, and
domiciliary law (Philippine law — no testamentary disposition by the deceased can
see paragraph 2, supra) should legally and validly affect this right of the surviving
govern the testamentary spouse. In fact, her husband is entitled to said one-half
dispositions and successional (1/2) portion of her estate by way of legitime. (Article
rights over movables (personal 886, Civil Code.) Clearly, therefore, immediately upon
properties), and the law of the the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, C. N. Hodges was
situs of the property (also the owner of at least three-fourths (3/4) or seventy-five
Philippine law as to properties (75%) percent of all of the conjugal assets of the
located in the Philippines) with spouses, (1/2 or 50% by way of conjugal partnership
regards immovable (real share and 1/4 or 25% by way of inheritance and
properties). Thus applying the legitime) plus all "rents, emoluments and income"
accruing to said conjugal estate from the moment of 24 ems
Linnie Jane Hodges' death (see paragraph 9, supra). (c) On April 21, 1959, this Honorable Court approved
11. The late Linnie Jane Hodges designated her the verified inventory and accounting submitted by C.
husband C.N. Hodges as her sole and exclusive heir N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on
with full authority to do what he pleased, as exclusive April 14, 1959 wherein he alleged among other things,
heir and owner of all the assets constituting her estate, "That no person interested in the
except only with regards certain properties "owned by Philippines of the time and place
us, located at, in or near the City of Lubbock, Texas". of examining the herein account,
Thus, even without relying on our laws of succession be given notice, as herein
and legitime, which we have cited above, C. N. executor is the only devisee or
Hodges, by specific testamentary designation of his legatee of the deceased, in
wife, was entitled to the entirely to his wife's estate in accordance with the last will and
the Philippines. testament already probated by
12. Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that "the the Honorable Court." (CFI
rights of the successor are transmitted from the death Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp.
of the decedent". Thus, title to the estate of Linnie 77-78; emphasis supplied.)
Jane Hodges was transmitted to C. N. Hodges (d) On July 20, 1960, this Honorable Court approved
immediately upon her death on May 23, 1957. For the the verified "Annual Statement of Account" submitted
convenience of this Honorable Court, we attached by C. N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada
hereto as Annex "C" a graph of how the conjugal on July 21, 1960 wherein he alleged, among other
estate of the spouses Hodges should be divided in things.
accordance with Philippine law and the Will of Linnie "That no person interested in the
Jane Hodges. Philippines of the time and place
13. In his capacity as sole heir and successor to the of examining the herein account,
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges as above-stated, C. N. be given notice as herein
Hodges, shortly after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, executor is the only devisee or
appropriated to himself the entirety of her estate. He legatee of the deceased Linnie
operated all the assets, engaged in business and Jane Hodges, in accordance
performed all acts in connection with the entirety of the with the last will and testament
conjugal estate, in his own name alone, just as he had ofthe deceased, already
been operating, engaging and doing while the late probated by this Honorable
Linnie Jane Hodges was still alive. Upon his death on Court." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc.
December 25, 1962, therefore, all said conjugal assets No. 1307, pp. 81-82; emphasis
were in his sole possession and control, and registered supplied.)
in his name alone, not as executor, but as exclusive (e) On May 2, 1961, this Honorable Court approved
owner of all said assets. the verified "Annual Statement of Account By The
14. All these acts of C. N. Hodges were authorized and Executor For the Year 1960" submitted through Leon
sanctioned expressly and impliedly by various orders P. Gellada on April 20, 1961 wherein he alleged:
of this Honorable Court, as follows: "That no person interested in the Philippines be given
(a) In an Order dated May 27, 1957, this Honorable notice, ofthe time and place of examining the herein
Court ruled that C. N. Hodges "is allowed or authorized account, as herein executor is the only devisee or
to continue the business in which he was engaged, legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
and to perform acts which he had been doing while the accordance with the last will and testament ofthe
deceased was living." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. deceased, already probated by this Honorable Court."
1307, p. 11.) (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 90-91; emphasis
(b) On December 14, 1957, this Honorable Court, on supplied.)
the basis of the following fact, alleged in the verified 15. Since C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive
Motion dated December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. heir of Linnie Jane Hodges, not only by law, but in
Gellada as attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges: accordance with the dispositions of her will, there was,
That herein Executor, (is) not only part owner of the in fact, no need to liquidate the conjugal estate of the
properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to spouses. The entirely of said conjugal estate pertained
all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane to him exclusively, therefore this Honorable Court
Hodges.' (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 44; sanctioned and authorized, as above-stated, C. N.
emphasis supplied.) Hodges to manage, operate and control all the
issued the following order: conjugal assets as owner.
"As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the 16. By expressly authorizing C. N. Hodges to act as he
Executor, for the reasons stated in his motion dated did in connection with the estate of his wife, this
December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well Honorable Court has (1) declared C. N. Hodges as the
taken, all the sales, conveyances, leases and sole heir of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and (2)
mortgages of all the properties left by the deceased delivered and distributed her estate to C. N. Hodges as
Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor, sole heir in accordance with the terms and conditions
Charles Newton Hodges are hereby APPROVED. The of her Will. Thus, although the "estate of Linnie Jane
said Executor is further authorized to execute Hodges" still exists as a legal and juridical personality,
subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and it had no assets or properties located in the Philippines
mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased registered in its name whatsoever at the time of the
Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962.
contained in the last will and testament of the latter." 17. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), fourth
(CFI Record. Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 46; emphasis paragraph, provides as follows:
supplied.)
"At the death of my said invalid insofar as the legitime of
husband, Charles Newton C. N. Hodges was concerned,
Hodges, I give, devise and which consisted of 1/2 of the 1/2
bequeath all of the rest, residue portion of the conjugal estate, or
and remainder of my estate both 1/4 of the entire conjugal estate
real and personal, wherever of the deceased.
situated or located, to be equally (c) There are generally only two
divided among my brothers and kinds of substitution provided for
sisters, share and share alike, and authorized by our Civil Code
namely: (Articles 857-870), namely,
"Esta (1) simple or
Higdon, common substitution, sometimes
Emma referred to as vulgar substitution
Howell, (Article 859), and (2)
Leonard fideicommissary substitution
Higdon, (Article 863). All other
Roy substitutions are merely
Higdon, variations of these. The
Sadie substitution provided for by
Rascoe, paragraph four of the Will of
Era Linnie Jane Hodges is not
Boman fideicommissary substitution,
and because there is clearly no
Nimray obligation on the part of C. N.
Higdon." Hodges as the first heir
Because of the facts hereinabove set out there is no designated, to preserve the
"rest, residue and remainder", at least to the extent of properties for the substitute
the Philippine assets, which remains to vest in the heirs. (Consolacion Florentino
HIGDONS, assuming this proviso in Linnie Jane de Crisologo et al. vs. Manuel
Hodges' Will is valid and binding against the estate of Singson, G. R. No.
C. N. Hodges. L-13876.) At most, it is
18. Any claims by the HIGDONS under the above- a vulgar or simple substitution.
quoted provision of Linnie Jane Hodges' Will is without However, in order that
merit because said provision is void and invalid at least a vulgar or simple substitution
as to the Philippine assets. It should not, in anyway, can be valid, three alternative
affect the rights of the estate of C. N. Hodges or his conditions must be present,
heirs to the properties, which C. N. Hodges acquired namely, that the first designated
by way of inheritance from his wife Linnie Jane heir (1) should die before the
Hodges upon her death. testator; or (2) should not wish to
(a) In spite of the above- accept the inheritance; or (3)
mentioned provision in the Will should be incapacitated to do so.
of Linnie Jane Hodges, C. N. None of these conditions apply
Hodges acquired, not merely a to C. N. Hodges, and, therefore,
usufructuary right, but absolute the substitution provided for by
title and ownership to her estate. the above-quoted provision of
In a recent case involving a very the Will is not authorized by the
similar testamentary provision, Code, and, therefore, it is void.
the Supreme Court held that the Manresa, commenting on these
heir first designated acquired full kisses of substitution,
ownership of the property meaningfully stated that: "...
bequeathed by the will, not mere cuando el testador instituyeun
usufructuary rights. (Consolacion primer heredero, y por
Florentino de Crisologo, et al., fallecimiento de este nombra
vs. Manuel Singson, G. R. No. L- otro u otros, ha de entenderse
13876, February 28, 1962.) que estas segundas
(b) Article 864, 872 and 886 of designaciones solo han de llegar
the New Civil Code clearly a tener efectividad en el caso de
provide that no charge, condition que el primer instituido muera
or substitution whatsoever upon antes que el testador, fuera o no
the legitime can be imposed by a esta su verdadera intencion. ...".
testator. Thus, under the (6 Manresa, 7 a ed., pag. 175.)
provisions of Articles 900, 995 In other words, when another
and 1001 of the New Civil Code, heir is designated to inherit upon
the legitime of a surviving the death of a first heir, the
spouse is 1/2 of the estate of the second designation can have
deceased spouse. effect only in case the first
Consequently, the above- instituted heir dies before the
mentioned provision in the Will testator, whether or not that was
of Linnie Jane Hodges is clearly the true intention of said testator.
Since C. N. Hodges did not die 1. That the spouses Charles Newton Hodges and
before Linnie Jane Hodges, the Linnie Jane Hodges were American citizens who died
provision for substitution at the City of Iloilo after having amassed and
contained in Linnie Jane accumulated extensive properties in the Philippines;
Hodges' Willis void. 2. That on November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges
(d) In view of the invalidity of the executed a last will and testament (the original of this
provision for substitution in the will now forms part of the records of these proceedings
Will, C. N. Hodges' inheritance as Exhibit "C" and appears as Sp. Proc. No. 1307,
to the entirety of the Linnie Jane Folio I, pp. 17-18);
Hodges estate is irrevocable and 3. That on May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died at
final. the City of Iloilo at the time survived by her husband,
19. Be that as it may, at the time of C. N. Hodges' Charles Newton Hodges, and several relatives named
death, the entirety of the conjugal estate appeared and in her last will and testament;
was registered in him exclusively as owner. Thus, the 4. That on June 28, 1957, a petition therefor having
presumption is that all said assets constituted his been priorly filed and duly heard, this Honorable Court
estate. Therefore — issued an order admitting to probate the last will and
(a) If the HIGDONS wish to enforce their dubious testament of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1307,
rights as substituted heirs to 1/4 of the conjugal estate Folio I, pp. 24-25, 26-28);
(the other 1/4 is covered by the legitime of C. N. 5. That the required notice to creditors and to all others
Hodges which can not be affected by any testamentary who may have any claims against the decedent, Linnie
disposition), their remedy, if any, is to file their claim Jane Hodges has already been printed, published and
against the estate of C. N. Hodges, which should be posted (Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I. pp. 34-40) and the
entitled at the present time to full custody and control reglamentary period for filing such claims has long ago
of all the conjugal estate of the spouses. lapsed and expired without any claims having been
(b) The present proceedings, in which two estates asserted against the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
exist under separate administration, where the approved by the Administrator/Administratrix of the
administratrix of the Linnie Jane Hodges estate said estate, nor ratified by this Honorable Court;
exercises an officious right to object and intervene in 6. That the last will and testament of Linnie Jane
matters affecting exclusively the C. N. Hodges estate, Hodges already admitted to probate contains an
is anomalous. institution of heirs in the following words:
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that after "SECOND: I give, devise and
trial and reception of evidence, this Honorable Court bequeath all of the rest, residue
declare: and remainder of my estate,
1. That the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges was and is both personal and real, wherever
composed exclusively of one-half (1/2) share in the situated or located, to my
conjugal estate of the spouses Hodges, computed as beloved husband, Charles
of the date of her death on May 23, 1957; Newton Hodges to have and to
2. That the other half of the conjugal estate pertained hold unto him, my said husband,
exclusively to C. N. Hodges as his share as partner in during his natural lifetime.
the conjugal partnership; THIRD: I desire, direct and
3. That all "rents, emoluments and income" of the provide that my husband,
conjugal estate accruing after Linnie Jane Hodges' Charles Newton Hodges, shall
death pertains to C. N. Hodges; have the right to manage,
4. That C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir control, use and enjoy said
of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges; estate during his lifetime, and,
5. That, therefore, the entire conjugal estate of the he is hereby given the right to
spouses located in the Philippines, plus all the "rents, make any changes in the
emoluments and income" above-mentioned, now physical properties of said
constitutes the estate of C. N. Hodges, capable of estate, by sale of any part
distribution to his heirs upon termination of Special thereof which he may think best,
Proceedings No. 1672; and the purchase of any other or
6. That PCIB, as administrator of the estate of C. N. additional property as he may
Hodges, is entitled to full and exclusive custody, think best; to execute
control and management of all said properties; and conveyances with or without
7. That Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix of the general or special warranty,
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as the conveying in fee simple or for
HIGDONS, has no right to intervene or participate in any other term or time, any
the administration of the C. N. Hodges estate. property which he may deem
PCIB further prays for such and other relief as may be proper to dispose of; to lease
deemed just and equitable in the premises." any of the real property for oil,
(Record, pp. 265-277) gas and/or other minerals, and
Before all of these motions of petitioner could be resolved, however, on all such deeds or leases shall
December 21, 1965, private respondent Magno filed her own "Motion for the pass the absolute fee simple title
Official Declaration of Heirs of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as follows: to the interest so conveyed in
COMES NOW the Administratrix of the Estate of Linnie such property as he elect to sell.
Jane Hodges and, through undersigned counsel, unto All rents, emoluments and
this Honorable Court most respectfully states and income from said estate shall
manifests: belong to him, and he is further
authorized to use any part of the
principal of said estate as he 10. That at the time of the death of Linnie Jane
may need or desire. It is Hodges on May 23, 1957, she was the co-owner
provided herein, however, that (together with her husband Charles Newton Hodges)
he shall not sell or otherwise of an undivided one-half interest in their conjugal
dispose of any of the improved properties existing as of that date, May 23, 1957,
property now owned by us which properties are now being administered
located at, in or near the City of sometimes jointly and sometimes separately by the
Lubbock Texas, but he shall Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
have the full right to lease, and/or the Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges
manage and enjoy the same but all of which are under the control and supervision
during his lifetime, above of this Honorable Court;
provided. He shall have the right 11. That because there was no separation or
to subdivide any farm land and segregation of the interests of husband and wife in the
sell lots therein, and may sell combined conjugal estate, as there has been no such
unimproved town lots. separation or segregation up to the present, both
FOURTH: At the death of my interests have continually earned exactly the same
said husband, Charles Newton amount of "rents, emoluments and income", the entire
Hodges, I give, devise and estate having been continually devoted to the business
bequeath all of the rest, residue of the spouses as if they were alive;
and remainder of my estate, 12. That the one-half interest of Linnie Jane Hodges in
both real and personal, wherever the combined conjugal estate was earning "rents,
situated or located, to be equally emoluments and income" until her death on May 23,
divided among my brothers and 1957, when it ceased to be saddled with any more
sisters, share and share alike, charges or expenditures which are purely personal to
namely: her in nature, and her estate kept on earning such
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, "rents, emoluments and income" by virtue of their
Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, having been expressly renounced, disclaimed and
Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and repudiated by Charles Newton Hodges to whom they
Nimroy Higdon. were bequeathed for life under the last will and
FIFTH: In case of the death of testament of Linnie Jane Hodges;
any of my brothers and/or sisters 13. That, on the other hand, the one-half interest of
named in item Fourth, above, Charles Newton Hodges in the combined conjugal
prior to the death of my estate existing as of May 23, 1957, while it may have
husband, Charles Newton earned exactly the same amount of "rents,
Hodges, then it is my will and emoluments and income" as that of the share
bequest that the heirs of such pertaining to Linnie Jane Hodges, continued to be
deceased brother or sister shall burdened by charges, expenditures, and other
take jointly the share which dispositions which are purely personal to him in nature,
would have gone to such brother until the death of Charles Newton Hodges himself on
or sister had she or he survived." December 25, 1962;
7. That under the provisions of the last will and 14. That of all the assets of the combined conjugal
testament already above-quoted, Linnie Jane Hodges estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton
gave a life-estate or a usufruct over all her estate to Hodges as they exist today, the estate of Linnie Jane
her husband, Charles Newton Hodges, and a vested Hodges is clearly entitled to a portion more than fifty
remainder-estate or the naked title over the same percent (50%) as compared to the portion to which the
estate to her relatives named therein; estate of Charles Newton Hodges may be entitled,
8. That after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges and after which portions can be exactly determined by the
the admission to probate of her last will and testament, following manner:
but during the lifetime of Charles Newton Hodges, the a. An inventory must be made of
said Charles Newton Hodges with full and complete the assets of the combined
knowledge of the life-estate or usufruct conferred upon conjugal estate as they existed
him by the will since he was then acting as on the death of Linnie Jane
Administrator of the estate and later as Executor of the Hodges on May 23, 1957 —
will of Linnie Jane Hodges, unequivocably and clearly one-half of these assets belong
through oral and written declarations and sworn public to the estate of Linnie Jane
statements, renounced, disclaimed and repudiated his Hodges;
life-estate and usufruct over the estate of Linnie Jane b. An accounting must be made
Hodges; of the "rents, emoluments and
9. That, accordingly, the only heirs left to receive the income" of all these assets —
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges pursuant to her last will again one-half of these belong to
and testament, are her named brothers and sisters, or the estate of Linnie Jane
their heirs, to wit: Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Hodges;
Higdon, Aline Higdon and David Higdon, the latter two c. Adjustments must be made,
being the wife and son respectively of the deceased after making a deduction of
Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe Era Boman and Nimroy charges, disbursements and
Higdon, all of legal ages, American citizens, with other dispositions made by
residence at the State of Texas, United States of Charles Newton Hodges
America; personally and for his own
personal account from May 23,
1957 up to December 25, 1962, under color of title as
as well as other charges, administratrix of the Estate of
disbursements and other Linnie Jane Hodges;
dispositions made for him and in which are all prejudicial, and which involve no issues
his behalf since December 25, of fact, all facts involved therein being matters of
1962 up to the present; record, and therefore require only the resolution of
15. That there remains no other matter for disposition questions of law;
now insofar as the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is 3. That whatever claims any alleged heirs or other
concerned but to complete the liquidation of her estate, persons may have could be very easily threshed out in
segregate them from the conjugal estate, and the Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges;
distribute them to her heirs pursuant to her last will and 4. That the maintenance of two separate estate
testament. proceedings and two administrators only results in
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most confusion and is unduly burdensome upon the Testate
respectfully moved and prayed that this Honorable Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, particularly
Court, after a hearing on the factual matters raised by because the bond filed by Avelina Magno is grossly
this motion, issue an order: insufficient to answer for the funds and property which
a. Declaring the following persons, to wit: Esta Higdon, she has inofficiously collected and held, as well as
Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Aline Higdon, David those which she continues to inofficiously collect
Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimroy and hold;
Higdon, as the sole heirs under the last will and 5. That it is a matter of record that such state of affairs
testament of Linnie Jane Hodges and as the only affects and inconveniences not only the estate but also
persons entitled to her estate; third-parties dealing with it;" (Annex "V", Petition.)
b. Determining the exact value of the estate of Linnie and then, after further reminding the court, by quoting them, of the relevant
Jane Hodges in accordance with the system allegations of its earlier motion of September 14, 1964, Annex U, prayed
enunciated in paragraph 14 of this motion; that:
c. After such determination ordering its segregation 1. Immediately order Avelina Magno to account for and
from the combined conjugal estate and its delivery to deliver to the administrator of the Estate of C. N.
the Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges Hodges all the assets of the conjugal partnership of
for distribution to the heirs to whom they properly the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges,
belong and appertain. plus all the rents, emoluments and income therefrom;
(Green Record on Appeal, pp. 382-391) 2. Pending the consideration of this motion,
whereupon, instead of further pressing on its motion of January 8, 1965 immediately order Avelina Magno to turn over all her
aforequoted, as it had been doing before, petitioner withdrew the said motion collections to the administrator Philippine Commercial
and in addition to opposing the above motion of respondent Magno, filed a & Industrial Bank;
motion on April 22, 1966 alleging in part that: 3. Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
1. That it has received from the counsel for the (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) closed;
administratrix of the supposed estate of Linnie Jane 4. Defer the hearing and consideration of the motion
Hodges a notice to set her "Motion for Official for declaration of heirs in the Testate Estate of Linnie
Declaration of Heirs of the Estate of Linnie Jane Jane Hodges until the matters hereinabove set forth
Hodges"; are resolved.
2. That before the aforesaid motion could be heard, (Prayer, Annex "V" of Petition.)
there are matters pending before this Honorable Court, On October 12, 1966, as already indicated at the outset of this opinion, the
such as: respondent court denied the foregoing motion, holding thus:
a. The examination already ORDER
ordered by this Honorable Court On record is a motion (Vol. X, Sp. 1672, pp. 4379-
of documents relating to the 4390) dated April 22, 1966 of administrator PCIB
allegation of Avelina Magno that praying that (1) Immediately order Avelina Magno to
Charles Newton Hodges account for and deliver to the administrator of the
"through ... written declarations estate of C. N. Hodges all assets of the conjugal
and sworn public statements, partnership of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and
renounced, disclaimed and C. N. Hodges, plus all the rents, emoluments and
repudiated life-estate and income therefrom; (2) Pending the consideration of this
usufruct over the estate of Linnie motion, immediately order Avelina Magno to turn over
Jane Hodges'; all her collections to the administrator PCIB; (3)
b. That "Urgent Motion for An Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp.
Accounting and Delivery to the Proc. No. 1307) closed; and (4) Defer the hearing and
Estate of C. N. Hodges of All the consideration of the motion for declaration of heirs in
Assets of the Conjugal the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges until the
Partnership of the Deceased matters hereinabove set forth are resolved.
Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. This motion is predicated on the fact that there are
Hodges Existing as of May 23, matters pending before this court such as (a) the
1957 Plus All the Rents, examination already ordered by this Honorable Court
Emoluments and Income of documents relating to the allegation of Avelina
Therefrom"; Magno that Charles Newton Hodges thru written
c. Various motions to resolve the declaration and sworn public statements renounced,
aforesaid motion; disclaimed and repudiated his life-estate and usufruct
d. Manifestation of September over the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (b) the urgent
14, 1964, detailing acts of motion for accounting and delivery to the estate of C.
interference of Avelina Magno N. Hodges of all the assets of the conjugal partnership
of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. will become moot and academic since they are
Hodges existing as of May 23, 1957 plus all the rents, premised on the assumption and claim that the only
emoluments and income therefrom; (c) various heir of Linnie Jane Hodges was C. N. Hodges.
motions to resolve the aforesaid motion; and (d) That the PCIB and counsel are estopped from further
manifestation of September 14, 1964, detailing acts of questioning the determination of heirs in the estate of
interference of Avelina Magno under color of title as Linnie Jane Hodges at this stage since it was PCIB as
administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. early as January 8, 1965 which filed a motion for
These matters, according to the instant motion, are all official declaration of heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges that
pre-judicial involving no issues of facts and only the claim of any heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges can be
require the resolution of question of law; that in the determined only in the administration proceedings over
motion of October 5, 1963 it is alleged that in a motion the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and not that of C. N.
dated December 11, 1957 filed by Atty. Leon Gellada Hodges, since the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges are
as attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges, the said claiming her estate and not the estate of C. N. Hodges.
executor C. N. Hodges is not only part owner of the A reply (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4436-4444) dated May
properties left as conjugal but also the successor to all 11, 1966 of the PCIB has been filed alleging that the
the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane motion dated April 22, 1966 of the PCIB is not to seek
Hodges. deferment of the hearing and consideration of the
Said motion of December 11, 1957 was approved by motion for official declaration of heirs of Linnie Jane
the Court in consonance with the wishes contained in Hodges but to declare the testate estate of Linnie Jane
the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges. Hodges closed and for administratrix Magno to
That on April 21, 1959 this Court approved the account for and deliver to the PCIB all assets of the
inventory and accounting submitted by C. N. Hodges conjugal partnership of the deceased spouses which
thru counsel Atty. Leon Gellada in a motion filed on has come to her possession plus all rents and income.
April 14, 1959 stating therein that executor C. N. A rejoinder (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4458-4462) of
Hodges is the only devisee or legatee of Linnie Jane administratrix Magno dated May 19, 1966 has been
Hodges in accordance with the last will and testament filed alleging that the motion dated December 11, 1957
already probated by the Court. only sought the approval of all conveyances made by
That on July 13, 1960 the Court approved the annual C. N. Hodges and requested the Court authority for all
statement of accounts submitted by the executor C. N. subsequent conveyances that will be executed by C.
Hodges thru his counsel Atty. Gellada on July 21, 1960 N. Hodges; that the order dated December 14, 1957
wherein it is stated that the executor, C. N. Hodges is only approved the conveyances made by C. N.
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie Hodges; that C. N. Hodges represented by counsel
Jane Hodges; that on May 2, 1961 the Court approved never made any claim in the estate of Linnie Jane
the annual statement of accounts submitted by Hodges and never filed a motion to declare himself as
executor, C. N. Hodges for the year 1960 which was the heir of the said Linnie Jane Hodges despite the
submitted by Atty. Gellada on April 20, 1961 wherein it lapse of more than five (5) years after the death of
is stated that executor Hodges is the only devisee or Linnie Jane Hodges; that it is further alleged in the
legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges; rejoinder that there can be no order of adjudication of
That during the hearing on September 5 and 6, 1963 the estate unless there has been a prior express
the estate of C. N. Hodges claimed all the assets declaration of heirs and so far no declaration of heirs in
belonging to the deceased spouses Linnie Jane the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. 1307) has been
Hodges and C. N. Hodges situated in the Philippines; made.
that administratrix Magno has executed illegal acts to Considering the allegations and arguments in the
the prejudice of the testate estate of C. N. Hodges. motion and of the PCIB as well as those in the
An opposition (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4415-4421) dated opposition and rejoinder of administratrix Magno, the
April 27, 1966 of administratrix Magno has been filed Court finds the opposition and rejoinder to be well
asking that the motion be denied for lack of merit and taken for the reason that so far there has been no
that the motion for the official declaration of heirs of the official declaration of heirs in the testate estate of
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges be set for presentation Linnie Jane Hodges and therefore no disposition of her
and reception of evidence. estate.
It is alleged in the aforesaid opposition that the WHEREFORE, the motion of the PCIB dated April 22,
examination of documents which are in the possession 1966 is hereby DENIED.
of administratrix Magno can be made prior to the (Annex "W", Petition)
hearing of the motion for the official declaration of heirs In its motion dated November 24, 1966 for the reconsideration of this order,
of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, during said petitioner alleged inter alia that:
hearing. It cannot be over-stressed that the motion of
That the matters raised in the PCIB's motion of December 11, 1957 was based on the fact that:
October 5, 1963 (as well as the other motion) dated a. Under the last will and
September 14, 1964 have been consolidated for the testament of the deceased,
purpose of presentation and reception of evidence with Linnie Jane Hodges, the late
the hearing on the determination of the heirs of the Charles Newton Hodges was the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. It is further alleged in sole heir instituted insofar as her
the opposition that the motion for the official properties in the Philippines are
declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane concerned;
Hodges is the one that constitutes a prejudicial b. Said last will and testament
question to the motions dated October 5 and vested upon the said late
September 14, 1964 because if said motion is found Charles Newton Hodges rights
meritorious and granted by the Court, the PCIB's over said properties which, in
motions of October 5, 1963 and September 14, 1964
sum, spell ownership, absolute 6. The various orders hereinabove earlier enumerated
and in fee simple; approving deeds of sale executed by respondent
c. Said late Charles Newton Magno in favor of appellees Carles, Catedral, Pablito,
Hodges was, therefore, "not only Guzman, Coronado, Barrido, Causing, Javier, Lucero
part owner of the properties left and Batisanan, (see pp. 35 to 37 of this opinion),
as conjugal, but also, the together with the two separate orders both dated
successor to all the properties December 2, 1966 (pp. 306-308, and pp. 308-309,
left by the deceased Linnie Jane Yellow Record on Appeal) denying reconsideration of
Hodges. said approval.
Likewise, it cannot be over-stressed that the aforesaid 7. The order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336,
motion was granted by this Honorable Court "for the Yellow Record on Appeal, approving similar deeds of
reasons stated" therein. sale executed by respondent Magno, as those in No.
Again, the motion of December 11, 1957 prayed that 6, in favor of appellees Pacaonsis and Premaylon, as
not only "all the sales, conveyances, leases, and to which no motion for reconsideration was filed.
mortgages executed by" the late Charles Newton 8. Lastly, the order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 305-
Hodges, but also all "the subsequent sales, 306, Yellow Record on Appeal, directing petitioner to
conveyances, leases, and mortgages ..." be approved surrender to appellees Lucero, Batisanan, Javier,
and authorized. This Honorable Court, in its order of Pablito, Barrido, Catedral, Causing, Guzman, and
December 14, 1957, "for the reasons stated" in the Coronado, the certificates of title covering the lands
aforesaid motion, granted the same, and not only involved in the approved sales, as to which no motion
approved all the sales, conveyances, leases and for reconsideration was filed either.
mortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Strictly speaking, and considering that the above orders deal with different
Jane Hodges executed by the late Charles Newton matters, just as they affect distinctly different individuals or persons, as
Hodges, but also authorized "all subsequent sales, outlined by petitioner in its brief as appellant on pp. 12-20 thereof, there are,
conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties therefore, thirty-three (33) appeals before Us, for which reason, petitioner
left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges. (Annex has to pay also thirty-one (31) more docket fees.
"X", Petition) It is as well perhaps to state here as elsewhere in this opinion that in
and reiterated its fundamental pose that the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane connection with these appeals, petitioner has assigned a total of seventy-
Hodges had already been factually, although not legally, closed with the eight (LXXVIII) alleged errors, the respective discussions and arguments
virtual declaration of Hodges and adjudication to him, as sole universal heir under all of them covering also the fundamental issues raised in respect to
of all the properties of the estate of his wife, in the order of December 14, the petition for certiorari and prohibition, thus making it feasible and more
1957, Annex G. Still unpersuaded, on July 18, 1967, respondent court practical for the Court to dispose of all these cases together.4
denied said motion for reconsideration and held that "the court believes that The assignments of error read thus:
there is no justification why the order of October 12, 1966 should be I to IV
considered or modified", and, on July 19, 1967, the motion of respondent THE ORDER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
Magno "for official declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE
already referred to above, was set for hearing. APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES, ESPIRIDION
In consequence of all these developments, the present petition was filed on PARTISALA, WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND
August 1, 1967 (albeit petitioner had to pay another docketing fee on August ROSARIO ALINGASA, EXECUTED BY THE
9, 1967, since the orders in question were issued in two separate testate APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING
estate proceedings, Nos. 1307 and 1672, in the court below). PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED,
Together with such petition, there are now pending before Us for resolution CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE
herein, appeals from the following: CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE
1. The order of December 19, 1964 authorizing EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
payment by respondent Magno of overtime pay, (pp. V to VIII
221, Green Record on Appeal) together with the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
subsequent orders of January 9, 1965, (pp. 231- DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES,
232,id.) October 27, 1965, (pp. 227, id.) and February PEPITO G. IYULORES, ESPIRIDION PARTISALA,
15, 1966 (pp. 455-456, id.) repeatedly denying motions WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND ROSARIO ALINGASA,
for reconsideration thereof. COVERING PARCELS OF LAND FOR WHICH THEY
2. The order of August 6, 1965 (pp. 248, id.) requiring HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN ACCORDANCE
that deeds executed by petitioner to be co-signed by WITH THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS TO SELL.
respondent Magno, as well as the order of October 27, IX to XII
1965 (pp. 276-277) denying reconsideration. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE
3. The order of October 27, 1965 (pp. 292-295, id.) RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY
enjoining the deposit of all collections in a joint account OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES,
and the same order of February 15, 1966 mentioned in ESPIRIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO C. ESPADA
No. 1 above which included the denial of the AND ROSARIO ALINGASA, WHILE ACTING AS A
reconsideration of this order of October 27, 1965. PROBATE COURT.
4. The order of November 3, 1965 (pp. 313-320, id.) XIII to XV
directing the payment of attorney's fees, fees of the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
respondent administratrix, etc. and the order of FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE
February 16, 1966 denying reconsideration thereof. APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102),
5. The order of November 23, 1965 (pp. 334-335, id.) SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA
allowing appellee Western Institute of Technology to PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104), EXECUTED BY THE
make payments to either one or both of the APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING
administrators of the two estates as well as the order PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED,
of March 7, 1966 (p. 462, id.) denying reconsideration. CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE
CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND
EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME. PURIFICACION CORONADO.
XVI to XVIII XLI to XLIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE
ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO
PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. THOMAS JAMIR AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN,
104) COVERING PARCELS OF LAND FOR WHICH EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
THEY HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED
ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES,
TO SELL. AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING
XIX to XXI WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE LIFETIME.
RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY XLIV to XLVI
OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
NO. 102), SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA FINAL DEED OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE
PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104) WHILE ACTING AS A APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO
PROBATE COURT. THOMAS JAMIR AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN,
XXII to XXV PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO SELL EXECUTED
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE BY THEM WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES
FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE NEWTON HODGES, THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
APPELLEES LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, OF WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER COMPLIED WITH.
ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR S. XLVII to XLIX
GUZMAN, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE
AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, OF HIS
LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES RIGHT, EXERCISED THROUGH HIS
NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO ADMINISTRATION, THE INSTANT APPELLANT, TO
SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY CANCEL THE CONTRACTS TO SELL OF THE
HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME. APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO
XXVI to XXIX THOMAS JAMIR AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN,
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE AND IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF THE SAID
FINAL DEED OF SALE EXECUTED IN FAVOR OF APPELLEES OVER REAL PROPERTY WHILE
THE APPELLEES, LORENZO CARLES, JOSE ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT.
PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR L
S. GUZMAN PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
SPELL WHICH WERE CANCELLED AND FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE
RESCINDED. APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING, EXECUTED BY
XXX to XXXIV THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED,
RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE
OF THE LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE
ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR S. EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
GUZMAN, WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT. LI
XXXV to XXXVI THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE,
FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE BELCESAR CAUSING, ALTHOUGH HE WAS IN
APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND ARREARS IN THE PAYMENTS AGREED UPON IN
PURIFICACION CORONADO, EXECUTED BY THE THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL WHICH HE
APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES
PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED, NEWTON HODGES, IN THE AMOUNT OF P2,337.50.
CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE LII
CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE
EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME. DEED OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE,
XXXVII to XXXVIII BELCESAR CAUSING, ALTHOUGH THE SAME WAS
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE NOT EXECUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, RULES OF COURT.
FLORENIA BARRIDO AND PURIFICACION LIII to LXI
CORONADO, ALTHOUGH THEY WERE IN THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE
ARREARS IN THE PAYMENTS AGREED UPON IN APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND
THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL WHICH THEY INDUSTRIAL BANK TO SURRENDER THE
EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES OWNER'S DUPLICATE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE
NEWTON HODGES, IN THE AMOUNT OF OVER THE RESPECTIVE LOTS COVERED BY THE
P10,680.00 and P4,428.90, RESPECTIVELY. DEEDS OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE,
XXXIX to XL AVELINA A. MAGNO, IN FAVOR OF THE OTHER
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE APPELLEES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, OF THE CATEDRAL, SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, FLRENIA
CONTRACTUAL RIGHT, EXERCISED THROUGH BARRIDO, PURIFICACION CORONADO, BELCESAR
HIS ADMINISTRATOR, THE INSTANT APPELLANT, CAUSING, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR, MAXIMA
TO CANCEL THE CONTRACTS TO SELL OF THE BATISANAN AND GRACIANO L. LUCERO.
LXII INTO BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RESOLVING THE HODGES, DURING HIS LIFETIME, BE SIGNED
MOTION OF THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE JOINTLY BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO,
OF TECHNOLOGY, DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1965, AND THE APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL
WITHOUT ANY COPY THEREOF HAVING BEEN AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND NOT BY THE LATTER
SERVED UPON THE APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE ONLY AS THE LAWFULLY APPOINTED
COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL BANK. ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE.
LXIII LXXIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HEARING AND THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE
CONSIDERING THE MOTION OF THE APPELLEE, PAYMENT OF LEGAL EXPENSES FROM THE
WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, DATED SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE
NOVEMBER 3rd, 1965, ON NOVEMBER 23, 1965, JANE HODGES, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH
WHEN THE NOTICE FOR THE HEARING THEREOF ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
WAS FOR NOVEMBER 20, 1965. LXXIV
LXIV THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PAYMENT OF LEGAL EXPENSES OF LAWYERS OF
APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF ALLEGED HEIRS TO THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF
TECHNOLOGY A RELIEF OTHER THAN THAT THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES.
PRAYED FOR IN ITS MOTION, DATED NOVEMBER LXXV
3, 1965, IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRAYER FOR THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE
GENERAL RELIEF CONTAINED THEREIN. PREMATURE DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE ASSETS
LXV TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR BENEFICIARIES
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE THEREOF, BY WAY OF LEGAL EXPENSES.
APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF LXXVI
TECHNOLOGY, TO CONTINUE PAYMENTS UPON A THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE
CONTRACT TO SELL THE TERMS AND PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO THE
CONDITIONS OF WHICH IT HAS FAILED TO PURPORTED ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE
FULFILL. SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE
LXVI JANE HODGES, THE INSTANT APPELLEE,
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE AVELINA A. MAGNO, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER
RIGHTS OF THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
OF TECHNOLOGY OVER THE REAL PROPERTY LXXVII
SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CONTRACT TO SELL IT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT
EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES THE FUNDS OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE
NEWTON HODGES, WHILE ACTING AS A DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, BE
PROBATE COURT. PLACED IN A JOINT ACCOUNT OF THE
LXVII APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND
LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND THE APPELLEE, AVELINA
CONTINUATION OF PAYMENTS BY THE A. MAGNO, WHO IS A COMPLETE STRANGER TO
APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF THE AFORESAID ESTATE.
TECHNOLOGY, UPON A CONTRACT TO SELL LXXVIII
EXECUTED BY IT AND THE DECEASED, CHARLES THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT
NEWTON HODGES, TO A PERSON OTHER THAN THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, BE GIVEN
HIS LAWFULLY APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR. EQUAL ACCESS TO THE RECORDS OF THE
LXVIII TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE NEWTON HODGES, WHEN SHE IS A COMPLETE
PAYMENT OF RETAINER'S FEES FROM THE STRANGER TO THE AFORESAID ESTATE. (Pp. 73-
SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE 83, Appellant's Brief.)
JANE HODGES, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH To complete this rather elaborate, and unavoidably extended narration of the
ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF. factual setting of these cases, it may also be mentioned that an attempt was
LXIX made by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges to have respondent Magno removed as
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE administratrix, with the proposed appointment of Benito J. Lopez in her
PAYMENT OF RETAINER'S FEES OF LAWYERS OF place, and that respondent court did actually order such proposed
ALLEGED HEIRS TO THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF replacement, but the Court declared the said order of respondent court
THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES. violative of its injunction of August 8, 1967, hence without force and effect
LXX (see Resolution of September 8, 1972 and February 1, 1973). Subsequently,
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IMPLEMENTING Atty. Efrain B. Trenas, one of the lawyers of said heirs, appeared no longer
THE ALLEGED AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HEIRS for the proposed administrator Lopez but for the heirs themselves, and in a
OF THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, motion dated October 26, 1972 informed the Court that a motion had been
LINNIE JANE HODGES, AND THEIR LAWYERS. filed with respondent court for the removal of petitioner PCIB as administrator
LXXI of the estate of C. N. Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, which removal
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE motion alleged that 22.968149% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already
PREMATURE DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE ASSETS been acquired by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges from certain heirs of her husband.
TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR BENEFICIARIES Further, in this connection, in the answer of PCIB to the motion of
THEREOF, BY WAY OF RETAINER'S FEES. respondent Magno to have it declared in contempt for disregarding the
LXXII Court's resolution of September 8, 1972 modifying the injunction of August 8,
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT 1967, said petitioner annexed thereto a joint manifestation and motion,
ALL FINAL DEEDS OF SALE EXECUTED appearing to have been filed with respondent court, informing said court that
PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO SELL ENTERED in addition to the fact that 22% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already
been bought by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, as already stated, certain other consequent formal unqualified adjudication to him of all her estate remain to
heirs of Hodges representing 17.343750% of his estate were joining cause be done to completely close Special Proceedings 1307, hence respondent
with the heirs of Mrs. Hodges as against PCIB, thereby making somewhat Magno should be considered as having ceased to be Administratrix of the
precarious, if not possibly untenable, petitioners' continuation as Testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges since then.
administrator of the Hodges estate. After carefully going over the record, We feel constrained to hold that such
RESOLUTION OF ISSUES IN THE CERTIORARI AND pose is patently untenable from whatever angle it is examined.
PROHIBITION CASES To start with, We cannot find anywhere in respondent Order of December 14,
I 1957 the sense being read into it by PCIB. The tenor of said order bears no
As to the Alleged Tardiness suggestion at all to such effect. The declaration of heirs and distribution by
of the Present Appeals the probate court of the estate of a decedent is its most important function,
The priority question raised by respondent Magno relates to the alleged and this Court is not disposed to encourage judges of probate proceedings to
tardiness of all the aforementioned thirty-three appeals of PCIB. Considering, be less than definite, plain and specific in making orders in such regard, if for
however, that these appeals revolve around practically the same main issues no other reason than that all parties concerned, like the heirs, the creditors,
and that it is admitted that some of them have been timely taken, and, and most of all the government, the devisees and legatees, should know with
moreover, their final results hereinbelow to be stated and explained make it certainty what are and when their respective rights and obligations ensuing
of no consequence whether or not the orders concerned have become final from the inheritance or in relation thereto would begin or cease, as the case
by the lapsing of the respective periods to appeal them, We do not deem it may be, thereby avoiding precisely the legal complications and consequent
necessary to pass upon the timeliness of any of said appeals. litigations similar to those that have developed unnecessarily in the present
II cases. While it is true that in instances wherein all the parties interested in
The Propriety Here of Certiorari and the estate of a deceased person have already actually distributed among
Prohibition instead of Appeal themselves their respective shares therein to the satisfaction of everyone
The other preliminary point of the same respondent is alleged impropriety of concerned and no rights of creditors or third parties are adversely affected, it
the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition in view of the existence of would naturally be almost ministerial for the court to issue the final order of
the remedy of appeal which it claims is proven by the very appeals now declaration and distribution, still it is inconceivable that the special
before Us. Such contention fails to take into account that there is a common proceeding instituted for the purpose may be considered terminated, the
thread among the basic issues involved in all these thirty-three appeals respective rights of all the parties concerned be deemed definitely settled,
which, unless resolved in one single proceeding, will inevitably cause the and the executor or administrator thereof be regarded as automatically
proliferation of more or less similar or closely related incidents and discharged and relieved already of all functions and responsibilities without
consequent eventual appeals. If for this consideration alone, and without the corresponding definite orders of the probate court to such effect.
taking account anymore of the unnecessary additional effort, expense and Indeed, the law on the matter is specific, categorical and unequivocal.
time which would be involved in as many individual appeals as the number of Section 1 of Rule 90 provides:
such incidents, it is logical and proper to hold, as We do hold, that the SECTION 1.When order for distribution of residue
remedy of appeal is not adequate in the present cases. In determining made. — When the debts, funeral charges, and
whether or not a special civil action of certiorari or prohibition may be expenses of administration, the allowance to the
resorted to in lieu of appeal, in instances wherein lack or excess of widow and inheritance tax, if any, chargeable to the
jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion is alleged, it is not enough that the estate in accordance with law have been paid, the
remedy of appeal exists or is possible. It is indispensable that taking all the court, on the application of the executor or
relevant circumstances of the given case, appeal would better serve the administrator, or of a person interested in the estate,
interests of justice. Obviously, the longer delay, augmented expense and and after hearing upon notice, shall assign the residue
trouble and unnecessary repetition of the same work attendant to the present of the estate to the persons entitled to the same,
multiple appeals, which, after all, deal with practically the same basic issues naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which
that can be more expeditiously resolved or determined in a single special each is entitled, and such persons may demand and
civil action, make the remedies of certiorari and prohibition, pursued by recover their respective shares from the executor or
petitioner, preferable, for purposes of resolving the common basic issues administrator, or any other person having the same in
raised in all of them, despite the conceded availability of appeal. Besides, the his possession. If there is a controversy before the
settling of such common fundamental issues would naturally minimize the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased
areas of conflict between the parties and render more simple the person or as to the distributive shares to which each
determination of the secondary issues in each of them. Accordingly, person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall
respondent Magno's objection to the present remedy of certiorariand be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
prohibition must be overruled. No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of
We come now to the errors assigned by petitioner-appellant, Philippine the obligations above mentioned has been made or
Commercial & Industrial Bank, (PCIB, for short) in the petition as well as in provided for, unless the distributees, or any of them
its main brief as appellant. give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court,
III conditioned for the payment of said obligations within
On Whether or Not There is Still Any Part of the Testate such time as the court directs.
Estate Mrs. Hodges that may be Adjudicated to her brothers These provisions cannot mean anything less than that in order that a
and sisters as her estate, of which respondent Magno is the proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased may be deemed
unquestioned Administratrix in special Proceedings 1307. ready for final closure, (1) there should have been issued already an order of
In the petition, it is the position of PCIB that the respondent court exceeded distribution or assignment of the estate of the decedent among or to those
its jurisdiction or gravely abused its discretion in further recognizing after entitled thereto by will or by law, but (2) such order shall not be issued until
December 14, 1957 the existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane after it is shown that the "debts, funeral expenses, expenses of
Hodges and in sanctioning purported acts of administration therein of administration, allowances, taxes, etc. chargeable to the estate" have been
respondent Magno. Main ground for such posture is that by the aforequoted paid, which is but logical and proper. (3) Besides, such an order is usually
order of respondent court of said date, Hodges was already allowed to assert issued upon proper and specific application for the purpose of the interested
and exercise all his rights as universal heir of his wife pursuant to the party or parties, and not of the court.
provisions of her will, quoted earlier, hence, nothing else remains to be done ... it is only after, and not before, the payment of all
in Special Proceedings 1307 except to formally close it. In other words, the debts, funeral charges, expenses of administration,
contention of PCIB is that in view of said order, nothing more than a formal allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax shall have
declaration of Hodges as sole and exclusive heir of his wife and the been effected that the court should make a declaration
of heirs or of such persons as are entitled by law to the Hodges", which it would not have done if it were really convinced that the
residue. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 2nd order of December 14, 1957 was already the order of adjudication and
ed., Vol. II, p. 397, citing Capistrano vs. Nadurata, 49 distribution of her estate. That said motion was later withdrawn when Magno
Phil., 726; Lopez vs. Lopez, 37 Off. Gaz., 3091.) filed her own motion for determination and adjudication of what should
(JIMOGA-ON v. BELMONTE, 84 Phil. 545, 548) (p. 86, correspond to the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges does not alter the
Appellee's Brief) indubitable implication of the prayer of the withdrawn motion.
xxx xxx xxx It must be borne in mind that while it is true that Mrs. Hodges bequeathed
Under Section 753 of the Code of Civil Procedure, her whole estate to her husband and gave him what amounts to full powers
(corresponding to Section 1, Rule 90) what brings an of dominion over the same during his lifetime, she imposed at the same time
intestate (or testate) proceeding to a close is the order the condition that whatever should remain thereof upon his death should go
of distribution directing delivery of the residue to the to her brothers and sisters. In effect, therefore, what was absolutely given to
persons entitled thereto after paying the indebtedness, Hodges was only so much of his wife's estate as he might possibly dispose
if any, left by the deceased. (Santiesteban vs. of during his lifetime; hence, even assuming that by the allegations in his
Santiesteban, 68 Phil. 367, 370.) motion, he did intend to adjudicate the whole estate to himself, as suggested
In the cases at bar, We cannot discern from the voluminous and varied facts, by petitioner, such unilateral act could not have affected or diminished in any
pleadings and orders before Us that the above indispensable prerequisites degree or manner the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law over what would
for the declaration of heirs and the adjudication of the estate of Mrs. Hodges remain thereof upon his death, for surely, no one can rightly contend that the
had already been complied with when the order of December 14, 1957 was testamentary provision in question allowed him to so adjudicate any part of
issued. As already stated, We are not persuaded that the proceedings the estate to himself as to prejudice them. In other words, irrespective of
leading to the issuance of said order, constituting barely of the motion of May whatever might have been Hodges' intention in his motions, as Executor, of
27, 1957, Annex D of the petition, the order of even date, Annex E, and the May 27, 1957 and December 11, 1957, the trial court's orders granting said
motion of December 11, 1957, Annex H, all aforequoted, are what the law motions, even in the terms in which they have been worded, could not have
contemplates. We cannot see in the order of December 14, 1957, so much had the effect of an absolute and unconditional adjudication unto Hodges of
relied upon by the petitioner, anything more than an explicit approval of "all the whole estate of his wife. None of them could have deprived his brothers
the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all the properties left by and sisters-in-law of their rights under said will. And it may be added here
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor Charles N. that the fact that no one appeared to oppose the motions in question may
Hodges" (after the death of his wife and prior to the date of the motion), plus only be attributed, firstly, to the failure of Hodges to send notices to any of
a general advance authorization to enable said "Executor — to execute them, as admitted in the motion itself, and, secondly, to the fact that even if
subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left they had been notified, they could not have taken said motions to be for the
the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with wishes conveyed final distribution and adjudication of the estate, but merely for him to be able,
in the last will and testament of the latter", which, certainly, cannot amount to pending such final distribution and adjudication, to either exercise during his
the order of adjudication of the estate of the decedent to Hodges lifetime rights of dominion over his wife's estate in accordance with the
contemplated in the law. In fact, the motion of December 11, 1957 on which bequest in his favor, which, as already observed, may be allowed under the
the court predicated the order in question did not pray for any such broad terms of Section 2 of Rule 109, or make use of his own share of the
adjudication at all. What is more, although said motion did allege that "herein conjugal estate. In any event, We do not believe that the trial court could
Executor (Hodges) is not only part owner of the properties left as conjugal, have acted in the sense pretended by petitioner, not only because of the
but also, the successor to all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane clear language of the will but also because none of the interested parties had
Hodges", it significantly added that "herein Executor, as Legatee (sic), has been duly notified of the motion and hearing thereof. Stated differently, if the
the right to sell, convey, lease or dispose of the properties in the Philippines orders of May 27, 1957 and December 4, 1957 were really intended to be
— during his lifetime", thereby indicating that what said motion contemplated read in the sense contended by petitioner, We would have no hesitancy in
was nothing more than either the enjoyment by Hodges of his rights under declaring them null and void.
the particular portion of the dispositions of his wife's will which were to be Petitioner cites the case of Austria vs. Ventenilla, G. R. No. L-10018,
operative only during his lifetime or the use of his own share of the conjugal September 19, 1956, (unreported but a partial digest thereof appears in 99
estate, pending the termination of the proceedings. In other words, the Phil. 1069) in support of its insistence that with the orders of May 27 and
authority referred to in said motions and orders is in the nature of that December 14, 1957, the closure of Mrs. Hodges' estate has become a mere
contemplated either in Section 2 of Rule 109 which permits, in appropriate formality, inasmuch as said orders amounted to the order of adjudication and
cases, advance or partial implementation of the terms of a duly probated will distribution ordained by Section 1 of Rule 90. But the parallel attempted to be
before final adjudication or distribution when the rights of third parties would drawn between that case and the present one does not hold. There the trial
not be adversely affected thereby or in the established practice of allowing court had in fact issued a clear, distinct and express order of adjudication
the surviving spouse to dispose of his own share of he conjugal estate, and distribution more than twenty years before the other heirs of the
pending its final liquidation, when it appears that no creditors of the conjugal deceased filed their motion asking that the administratrix be removed, etc. As
partnership would be prejudiced thereby, (see the Revised Rules of Court by quoted in that decision, the order of the lower court in that respect read as
Francisco, Vol. V-B, 1970 ed. p. 887) albeit, from the tenor of said motions, follows:
We are more inclined to believe that Hodges meant to refer to the former. In En orden a la mocion de la administradora, el juzgado
any event, We are fully persuaded that the quoted allegations of said la encuentra procedente bajo la condicion de que no
motions read together cannot be construed as a repudiation of the rights se hara entrega ni adjudicacion de los bienes a los
unequivocally established in the will in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and herederos antes de que estos presten la fianza
sisters to whatever have not been disposed of by him up to his death. correspondiente y de acuerdo con lo prescrito en el
Indeed, nowhere in the record does it appear that the trial court subsequently Art. 754 del Codigo de Procedimientos: pues, en autos
acted upon the premise suggested by petitioner. On the contrary, on no aparece que hayan sido nombrados comisionados
November 23, 1965, when the court resolved the motion of appellee Western de avaluo y reclamaciones. Dicha fianza podra ser por
Institute of Technology by its order We have quoted earlier, it categorically un valor igual al de los bienes que correspondan a
held that as of said date, November 23, 1965, "in both cases (Special cada heredero segun el testamento. Creo que no es
Proceedings 1307 and 1672) there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs obice para la terminacion del expediente el hecho de
nor distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto." In this que la administradora no ha presentado hasta ahora el
connection, it may be stated further against petitioner, by way of some kind inventario de los bienes; pues, segun la ley, estan
of estoppel, that in its own motion of January 8, 1965, already quoted in full exentos de esta formalidad os administradores que
on pages 54-67 of this decision, it prayed inter alia that the court declare that son legatarios del residuo o remanente de los bienes y
"C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of the estate of Linnie Jane hayan prestado fianza para responder de las
gestiones de su cargo, y aparece en el testamento que him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to
la administradora Alejandra Austria reune dicha this, he filed an "individual income tax return" for
condicion. calendar year 1958 on the estate of Linnie Jane
POR TODO LO EXPUESTO, el juzgado declara, 1.o: Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as
no haber lugar a la mocion de Ramon Ventenilla y having earned income of P164,201.31, exactly one-
otros; 2.o, declara asimismo que los unicos herederos half of the net income of his combined personal assets
del finado Antonio Ventenilla son su esposa Alejandra and that of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (p. 91,
Austria, Maria Ventenilla, hermana del testador, y Appellee's Brief.)
Ramon Ventenilla, Maria Ventenilla, Ramon Soriano, Under date of July 21, 1960, C. N. Hodges filed his
Eulalio Soriano, Jose Soriano, Gabriela Ventenilla, second "Annual Statement of Account by the
Lorenzo Ventenilla, Felicitas Ventenilla, Eugenio Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the
Ventenilla y Alejandra Ventenilla, en representacion de "Statement of Networth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and the
los difuntos Juan, Tomas, Catalino y Froilan, Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31,
hermanos del testador, declarando, ademas que la 1959 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges reported that the
heredera Alejandra Austria tiene derecho al remanente combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
de todos los bienes dejados por el finado, despues de P270,623.32, divided evenly between him and the
deducir de ellos la porcion que corresponde a cada estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed
uno de sus coherederos, conforme esta mandado en an "individual income tax return" for calendar year
las clausulas 8.a, 9.a, 10.a, 11.a, 12.a y 13.a del 1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting,
testamento; 3.o, se aprueba el pago hecho por la under oath, the said estate as having earned income
administradora de los gastos de la ultima enfermedad of P135,311.66, exactly one-half of the net income of
y funerales del testador, de la donacion hecha por el his combined personal assets and that of the estate of
testador a favor de la Escuela a Publica del Municipio Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 91-92, id.)
de Mangatarem, y de las misas en sufragio del alma Under date of April 20, 1961, C. N. Hodges filed his
del finado; 4.o, que una vez prestada la fianza third "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor for
mencionada al principio de este auto, se haga la the year 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In
entrega y adjudicacion de los bienes, conforme se the "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and
dispone en el testamento y se acaba de declarar en the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31,
este auto; 5.o, y, finalmente, que verificada la 1960 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges reported that the
adjudicacion, se dara por terminada la administracion, combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
revelandole toda responsabilidad a la administradora, P314,857.94, divided of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant
y cancelando su fianza. to this, he filed an "individual evenly between him and
ASI SE ORDENA. the estate income tax return" for calendar year 1960
Undoubtedly, after the issuance of an order of such tenor, the closure of any on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under
proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person cannot be oath, the said estate as having earned income of
but perfunctory. P157,428.97, exactly one-half of the net income of his
In the case at bar, as already pointed out above, the two orders relied upon combined personal assets and that of the estate of
by petitioner do not appear ex-facie to be of the same tenor and nature as Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 92-93, id.)
the order just quoted, and, what is more, the circumstances attendant to its In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he
issuance do not suggest that such was the intention of the court, for nothing listed the seven brothers and sisters of Linnie Jane as
could have been more violative of the will of Mrs. Hodges. her "heirs" (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the
Indeed, to infer from Hodges' said motions and from his statements of court admitting the will to probate unfortunately omitted
accounts for the years 1958, 1959 and 1960, A Annexes I, K and M, one of the heirs, Roy Higdon (see p. 14, Green ROA).
respectively, wherein he repeatedly claimed that "herein executor (being) the Immediately, C. N. Hodges filed a verified motion to
only devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the last will and have Roy Higdon's name included as an heir, stating
testament already probated," there is "no (other) person interested in the that he wanted to straighten the records "in order (that)
Philippines of the time and place of examining herein account to be given the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or
notice", an intent to adjudicate unto himself the whole of his wife's estate in believe they were omitted, and that they were really
an absolute manner and without regard to the contingent interests of her and are interested in the estate of deceased Linnie
brothers and sisters, is to impute bad faith to him, an imputation which is not Jane Hodges".
legally permissible, much less warranted by the facts of record herein. Thus, he recognized, if in his own way, the separate identity of his wife's
Hodges knew or ought to have known that, legally speaking, the terms of his estate from his own share of the conjugal partnership up to the time of his
wife's will did not give him such a right. Factually, there are enough death, more than five years after that of his wife. He never considered the
circumstances extant in the records of these cases indicating that he had no whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself. The only
such intention to ignore the rights of his co-heirs. In his very motions in conclusion one can gather from this is that he could have been preparing the
question, Hodges alleged, thru counsel, that the "deceased Linnie Jane basis for the eventual transmission of his wife's estate, or, at least, so much
Hodges died leaving no descendants and ascendants, except brothers and thereof as he would not have been able to dispose of during his lifetime, to
sisters and herein petitioner, as surviving spouse, to inherit the properties of her brothers and sisters in accordance with her expressed desire, as
the decedent", and even promised that "proper accounting will be had — in intimated in his tax return in the United States to be more extensively
all these transactions" which he had submitted for approval and authorization referred to anon. And assuming that he did pay the corresponding estate and
by the court, thereby implying that he was aware of his responsibilities vis-a- inheritance taxes in the Philippines on the basis of his being sole heir, such
vis his co-heirs. As alleged by respondent Magno in her brief as appellee: payment is not necessarily inconsistent with his recognition of the rights of
Under date of April 14, 1959, C. N. Hodges filed his his co-heirs. Without purporting to rule definitely on the matter in these
first "Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie proceedings, We might say here that We are inclined to the view that under
Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C. the peculiar provisions of his wife's will, and for purposes of the applicable
N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as inheritance tax laws, Hodges had to be considered as her sole heir, pending
of December 31, 1958 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges the actual transmission of the remaining portion of her estate to her other
reported that the combined conjugal estate earned a heirs, upon the eventuality of his death, and whatever adjustment might be
net income of P328,402.62, divided evenly between
warranted should there be any such remainder then is a matter that could finally determined and paid. (Annex 4, Answer —
well be taken care of by the internal revenue authorities in due time. Record, p. 263)
It is to be noted that the lawyer, Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who signed the In addition, in the supposed affidavit of Hodges, Annex 5, it is stated:
motions of May 27, 1957 and December 11, 1957 and the aforementioned I, C. N. Hodges, being duly sworn, on oath affirm that
statements of account was the very same one who also subsequently signed at the time the United States Estate Tax Return was
and filed the motion of December 26, 1962 for the appointment of filed in the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on August 8,
respondent Magno as "Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Linnie Jane 1958, I renounced and disclaimed any and all right to
Hodges" wherein it was alleged that "in accordance with the provisions of the receive the rents, emoluments and income from said
last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges, whatever real properties that estate, as shown by the statement contained in
may remain at the death of her husband, Charles Newton Hodges, the said Schedule M at page 29 of said return, a copy of which
properties shall be equally divided among their heirs." And it appearing that schedule is attached to this affidavit and made a part
said attorney was Hodges' lawyer as Executor of the estate of his wife, it hereof.
stands to reason that his understanding of the situation, implicit in his The purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm,
allegations just quoted, could somehow be reflective of Hodges' own and I do hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration
understanding thereof. made in Schedule M of said return and hereby formally
As a matter of fact, the allegations in the motion of the same Atty. Gellada disclaim and renounce any right on my part to receive
dated July 1, 1957, a "Request for Inclusion of the Name of Roy Higdon in any of the said rents, emoluments and income from
the Order of the Court dated July 19, 1957, etc.", reference to which is made the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges.
in the above quotation from respondent Magno's brief, are over the oath of This affidavit is made to absolve me or my estate from
Hodges himself, who verified the motion. Said allegations read: any liability for the payment of income taxes on income
1. — That the Hon. Court issued orders dated June 29, which has accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
1957, ordering the probate of the will. since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on May
2. — That in said order of the Hon. Court, the relatives 23, 1957. (Annex 5, Answer — Record, p. 264)
of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges were Although it appears that said documents were not duly presented as
enumerated. However, in the petition as well as in the evidence in the court below, and We cannot, therefore, rely on them for the
testimony of Executor during the hearing, the name purpose of the present proceedings, still, We cannot close our eyes to their
Roy Higdon was mentioned, but deceased. It was existence in the record nor fail to note that their tenor jibes with Our
unintentionally omitted the heirs of said Roy Higdon conclusion discussed above from the circumstances related to the orders of
who are his wife Aline Higdon and son David Higdon, May 27 and December 14, 1957. 5 Somehow, these documents, considering
all of age, and residents of Quinlan, Texas, U.S.A. they are supposed to be copies of their originals found in the official files of
3. — That to straighten the records, and in order the the governments of the United States and of the Philippines, serve to lessen
heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe any possible apprehension that Our conclusion from the other evidence of
they were omitted, and that they were really and are Hodges' manifest intent vis-a-vis the rights of his co-heirs is without basis in
interested in the estate of deceased Linnie Jane fact.
Hodges, it is requested of the Hon. Court to insert the Verily, with such eloquent manifestations of his good intentions towards the
names of Aline Higdon and David Higdon, wife and other heirs of his wife, We find it very hard to believe that Hodges did ask the
son of deceased Roy Higdon in the said order of the court and that the latter agreed that he be declared her sole heir and that her
Hon. Court dated June 29, 1957. (pars. 1 to 3, Annex 2 whole estate be adjudicated to him without so much as just annotating the
of Magno's Answer — Record, p. 260) contingent interest of her brothers and sisters in what would remain thereof
As can be seen, these italicized allegations indicate, more or less, the real upon his demise. On the contrary, it seems to us more factual and fairer to
attitude of Hodges in regard to the testamentary dispositions of his wife. assume that Hodges was well aware of his position as executor of the will of
In connection with this point of Hodges' intent, We note that there are his wife and, as such, had in mind the following admonition made by the
documents, copies of which are annexed to respondent Magno's answer, Court in Pamittan vs. Lasam, et al., 60 Phil., 908, at pp. 913-914:
which purportedly contain Hodges' own solemn declarations recognizing the Upon the death of Bernarda in September, 1908, said
right of his co-heirs, such as the alleged tax return he filed with the United lands continued to be conjugal property in the hands of
States Taxation authorities, identified as Schedule M, (Annex 4 of her the defendant Lasam. It is provided in article 1418 of
answer) and his supposed affidavit of renunciation, Annex 5. In said the Civil Code that upon the dissolution of the conjugal
Schedule M, Hodges appears to have answered the pertinent question thus: partnership, an inventory shall immediately be made
2a. Had the surviving spouse the right to declare an and this court in construing this provision in connection
election between (1) the provisions made in his or her with section 685 of the Code of Civil Procedure (prior
favor by the will and (11) dower, curtesy or a statutory to its amendment by Act No. 3176 of November 24,
interest? (X) Yes ( ) No 1924) has repeatedly held that in the event of the
2d. Does the surviving spouse contemplate renouncing death of the wife, the law imposes upon the husband
the will and electing to take dower, curtesy, or a the duty of liquidating the affairs of the partnership
statutory interest? (X) Yes ( ) No without delay (desde luego) (Alfonso vs. Natividad, 6
3. According to the information and belief of the person Phil., 240; Prado vs. Lagera, 7 Phil., 395; De la Rama
or persons filing the return, is any action described vs. De la Rama, 7 Phil., 745; Enriquez vs. Victoria, 10
under question 1 designed or contemplated? ( ) Yes Phil., 10; Amancio vs. Pardo, 13 Phil., 297; Rojas vs.
(X) No (Annex 4, Answer — Record, p. 263) Singson Tongson, 17 Phil., 476; Sochayseng vs.
and to have further stated under the item, "Description of property interests Trujillo, 31 Phil., 153; Molera vs. Molera, 40 Phil., 566;
passing to surviving spouse" the following: Nable Jose vs. Nable Jose, 41 Phil., 713.)
None, except for purposes of administering the Estate, In the last mentioned case this court quoted with
paying debts, taxes and other legal charges. It is the approval the case of Leatherwood vs. Arnold (66
intention of the surviving husband of deceased to Texas, 414, 416, 417), in which that court discussed
distribute the remaining property and interests of the the powers of the surviving spouse in the
deceased in their Community Estate to the devisees administration of the community property. Attention
and legatees named in the will when the debts, was called to the fact that the surviving husband, in the
liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are management of the conjugal property after the death
of the wife, was a trustee of unique character who is
liable for any fraud committed by him with relation to sole owner thereof during his lifetime, with full power and authority to dispose
the property while he is charged with its administration. of any of them, provided that should there be any remainder upon his death,
In the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, he had such remainder would go to her brothers and sisters, and furthermore, there
wide powers (as the law stood prior to Act No. 3176) is no pretension, much less any proof that Hodges had in fact disposed of all
and the high degree of trust reposed in him stands out of them, and, on the contrary, the indications are rather to the effect that he
more clearly in view of the fact that he was the owner had kept them more or less intact, it cannot truthfully be said that, upon the
of a half interest in his own right of the conjugal estate death of Hodges, there was no more estate of Mrs. Hodges to speak of. It is
which he was charged to administer. He could Our conclusion, therefore, that properties do exist which constitute such
therefore no more acquire a title by prescription estate, hence Special Proceedings 1307 should not yet be closed.
against those for whom he was administering the Neither is there basis for holding that respondent Magno has ceased to be
conjugal estate than could a guardian against his ward the Administratrix in said proceeding. There is no showing that she has ever
or a judicial administrator against the heirs of estate. been legally removed as such, the attempt to replace her with Mr. Benito
Section 38 of Chapter III of the Code of Civil Lopez without authority from the Court having been expressly held ineffective
Procedure, with relation to prescription, provides that by Our resolution of September 8, 1972. Parenthetically, on this last point,
"this chapter shall not apply ... in the case of a PCIB itself is very emphatic in stressing that it is not questioning said
continuing and subsisting trust." The surviving respondent's status as such administratrix. Indeed, it is not clear that PCIB
husband in the administration and liquidation of the has any standing to raise any objection thereto, considering it is a complete
conjugal estate occupies the position of a trustee of stranger insofar as the estate of Mrs. Hodges is concerned.
the highest order and is not permitted by the law to It is the contention of PCIB, however, that as things actually stood at the time
hold that estate or any portion thereof adversely to of Hodges' death, their conjugal partnership had not yet been liquidated and,
those for whose benefit the law imposes upon him the inasmuch as the properties composing the same were thus commingled pro
duty of administration and liquidation. No liquidation indiviso and, consequently, the properties pertaining to the estate of each of
was ever made by Lasam — hence, the conjugal the spouses are not yet identifiable, it is PCIB alone, as administrator of the
property which came into his possession on the death estate of Hodges, who should administer everything, and all that respondent
of his wife in September, 1908, still remains conjugal Magno can do for the time being is to wait until the properties constituting the
property, a continuing and subsisting trust. He should remaining estate of Mrs. Hodges have been duly segregated and delivered
have made a liquidation immediately (desde luego). to her for her own administration. Seemingly, PCIB would liken the Testate
He cannot now be permitted to take advantage of his Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges to a party having a claim of ownership to some
own wrong. One of the conditions of title by properties included in the inventory of an administrator of the estate of a
prescription (section 41, Code of Civil Procedure) is decedent, (here that of Hodges) and who normally has no right to take part in
possession "under a claim of title exclusive of any the proceedings pending the establishment of his right or title; for which as a
other right". For a trustee to make such a claim would rule it is required that an ordinary action should be filed, since the probate
be a manifest fraud. court is without jurisdiction to pass with finality on questions of title between
And knowing thus his responsibilities in the premises, We are not convinced the estate of the deceased, on the one hand, and a third party or even an
that Hodges arrogated everything unto himself leaving nothing at all to be heir claiming adversely against the estate, on the other.
inherited by his wife's brothers and sisters. We do not find such contention sufficiently persuasive. As We see it, the
PCIB insists, however, that to read the orders of May 27 and December 14, situation obtaining herein cannot be compared with the claim of a third party
1957, not as adjudicatory, but merely as approving past and authorizing the basis of which is alien to the pending probate proceedings. In the present
future dispositions made by Hodges in a wholesale and general manner, cases what gave rise to the claim of PCIB of exclusive ownership by the
would necessarily render the said orders void for being violative of the estate of Hodges over all the properties of the Hodges spouses, including the
provisions of Rule 89 governing the manner in which such dispositions may share of Mrs. Hodges in the community properties, were the orders of the
be made and how the authority therefor and approval thereof by the probate trial court issued in the course of the very settlement proceedings
court may be secured. If We sustained such a view, the result would only be themselves, more specifically, the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957
that the said orders should be declared ineffective either way they are so often mentioned above. In other words, the root of the issue of title
understood, considering We have already seen it is legally impossible to between the parties is something that the court itself has done in the
consider them as adjudicatory. As a matter of fact, however, what surges exercise of its probate jurisdiction. And since in the ultimate analysis, the
immediately to the surface, relative to PCIB's observations based on Rule question of whether or not all the properties herein involved pertain
89, is that from such point of view, the supposed irregularity would involve no exclusively to the estate of Hodges depends on the legal meaning and effect
more than some non-jurisdictional technicalities of procedure, which have for of said orders, the claim that respondent court has no jurisdiction to take
their evident fundamental purpose the protection of parties interested in the cognizance of and decide the said issue is incorrect. If it was within the
estate, such as the heirs, its creditors, particularly the government on competence of the court to issue the root orders, why should it not be within
account of the taxes due it; and since it is apparent here that none of such its authority to declare their true significance and intent, to the end that the
parties are objecting to said orders or would be prejudiced by the parties may know whether or not the estate of Mrs. Hodges had already
unobservance by the trial court of the procedure pointed out by PCIB, We been adjudicated by the court, upon the initiative of Hodges, in his favor, to
find no legal inconvenience in nor impediment to Our giving sanction to the the exclusion of the other heirs of his wife instituted in her will?
blanket approval and authority contained in said orders. This solution is At this point, it bears emphasis again that the main cause of all the present
definitely preferable in law and in equity, for to view said orders in the sense problems confronting the courts and the parties in these cases was the
suggested by PCIB would result in the deprivation of substantive rights to the failure of Hodges to secure, as executor of his wife's estate, from May, 1957
brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges, whereas reading them the other way up to the time of his death in December, 1962, a period of more than five
will not cause any prejudice to anyone, and, withal, will give peace of mind years, the final adjudication of her estate and the closure of the proceedings.
and stability of rights to the innocent parties who relied on them in good faith, The record is bare of any showing that he ever exerted any effort towards the
in the light of the peculiar pertinent provisions of the will of said decedent. early settlement of said estate. While, on the one hand, there are enough
Now, the inventory submitted by Hodges on May 12, 1958 referred to the indications, as already discuss that he had intentions of leaving intact her
estate of his wife as consisting of "One-half of all the items designated in the share of the conjugal properties so that it may pass wholly to his co-heirs
balance sheet, copy of which is hereto attached and marked as "Annex A"." upon his death, pursuant to her will, on the other hand, by not terminating the
Although, regrettably, no copy of said Annex A appears in the records before proceedings, his interests in his own half of the conjugal properties remained
Us, We take judicial notice, on the basis of the undisputed facts in these commingled pro-indiviso with those of his co-heirs in the other half.
cases, that the same consists of considerable real and other personal kinds Obviously, such a situation could not be conducive to ready ascertainment of
of properties. And since, according to her will, her husband was to be the the portion of the inheritance that should appertain to his co-heirs upon his
death. Having these considerations in mind, it would be giving a premium for Hodges' will provides neither for a simple or vulgar substitution under Article
such procrastination and rather unfair to his co-heirs, if the administrator of 859 of the Civil Code nor for a fideicommissary substitution under Article 863
his estate were to be given exclusive administration of all the properties in thereof. There is no vulgar substitution therein because there is no provision
question, which would necessarily include the function of promptly liquidating for either (1) predecease of the testator by the designated heir or (2) refusal
the conjugal partnership, thereby identifying and segregating without or (3) incapacity of the latter to accept the inheritance, as required by Article
unnecessary loss of time which properties should be considered as 859; and neither is there a fideicommissary substitution therein because no
constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges, the remainder of which her brothers obligation is imposed thereby upon Hodges to preserve the estate or any
and sisters are supposed to inherit equally among themselves. part thereof for anyone else. But from these premises, it is not correct to
To be sure, an administrator is not supposed to represent the interests of any jump to the conclusion, as PCIB does, that the testamentary dispositions in
particular party and his acts are deemed to be objectively for the protection question are therefore inoperative and invalid.
of the rights of everybody concerned with the estate of the decedent, and The error in PCIB's position lies simply in the fact that it views the said
from this point of view, it maybe said that even if PCIB were to act alone, disposition exclusively in the light of substitutions covered by the Civil Code
there should be no fear of undue disadvantage to anyone. On the other section on that subject, (Section 3, Chapter 2, Title IV, Book III) when it is
hand, however, it is evidently implicit in section 6 of Rule 78 fixing the priority obvious that substitution occurs only when another heir is appointed in a will
among those to whom letters of administration should be granted that the "so that he may enter into inheritance in default of the heir originally
criterion in the selection of the administrator is not his impartiality alone but, instituted," (Article 857, id.) and, in the present case, no such possible
more importantly, the extent of his interest in the estate, so much so that the default is contemplated. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not
one assumed to have greater interest is preferred to another who has less. substitutes for Hodges because, under her will, they are not to inherit what
Taking both of these considerations into account, inasmuch as, according to Hodges cannot, would not or may not inherit, but what he would not dispose
Hodges' own inventory submitted by him as Executor of the estate of his of from his inheritance; rather, therefore, they are also heirs instituted
wife, practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the simultaneously with Hodges, subject, however, to certain conditions, partially
spouses have equal shares therein, it is but logical that both estates should resolutory insofar as Hodges was concerned and correspondingly
be administered jointly by representatives of both, pending their segregation suspensive with reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law. It is partially
from each other. Particularly is such an arrangement warranted because the resolutory, since it bequeaths unto Hodges the whole of her estate to be
actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to owned and enjoyed by him as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion
exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance. Besides, to over them6 only during his lifetime, which means that while he could
allow PCIB, the administrator of his estate, to perform now what Hodges was completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to
duty bound to do as executor is to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Section anyone other than himself, he was not free to do so mortis causa, and all his
2 of Rule 78 which expressly provides that "The executor of an executor rights to what might remain upon his death would cease entirely upon the
shall not, as such, administer the estate of the first testator." It goes without occurrence of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his brothers and
saying that this provision refers also to the administrator of an executor like sisters-in-law to the inheritance, although vested already upon the death of
PCIB here. Mrs. Hodges, would automatically become operative upon the occurrence of
We are not unmindful of the fact that under Section 2 of Rule 73, "When the the death of Hodges in the event of actual existence of any remainder of her
marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community estate then.
property shall be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts Contrary to the view of respondent Magno, however, it was not the usufruct
thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse. alone of her estate, as contemplated in Article 869 of the Civil Code, that she
If both spouses have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the bequeathed to Hodges during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof,
testate or intestate proceedings of either." Indeed, it is true that the last although the same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there
sentence of this provision allows or permits the conjugal partnership of was no restriction whatsoever against his disposing or conveying the whole
spouses who are both deceased to be settled or liquidated in the testate or or any portion thereof to anybody other than himself. The Court sees no legal
intestate proceedings of either, but precisely because said sentence allows impediment to this kind of institution, in this jurisdiction or under Philippine
or permits that the liquidation be made in either proceeding, it is a matter of law, except that it cannot apply to the legitime of Hodges as the surviving
sound judicial discretion in which one it should be made. After all, the former spouse, consisting of one-half of the estate, considering that Mrs. Hodges
rule referring to the administrator of the husband's estate in respect to such had no surviving ascendants nor descendants. (Arts. 872, 900, and 904,
liquidation was done away with by Act 3176, the pertinent provisions of which New Civil Code.)
are now embodied in the rule just cited. But relative precisely to the question of how much of Mrs. Hodges' share of
Thus, it can be seen that at the time of the death of Hodges, there was the conjugal partnership properties may be considered as her estate, the
already the pending judicial settlement proceeding of the estate of Mrs. parties are in disagreement as to how Article 16 of the Civil Code7 should be
Hodges, and, more importantly, that the former was the executor of the applied. On the one hand, petitioner claims that inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges
latter's will who had, as such, failed for more than five years to see to it that was a resident of the Philippines at the time of her death, under said Article
the same was terminated earliest, which was not difficult to do, since from 16, construed in relation to the pertinent laws of Texas and the principle
ought that appears in the record, there were no serious obstacles on the of renvoi, what should be applied here should be the rules of succession
way, the estate not being indebted and there being no immediate heirs other under the Civil Code of the Philippines, and, therefore, her estate could
than Hodges himself. Such dilatory or indifferent attitude could only spell consist of no more than one-fourth of the said conjugal properties, the other
possible prejudice of his co-heirs, whose rights to inheritance depend entirely fourth being, as already explained, the legitime of her husband (Art. 900,
on the existence of any remainder of Mrs. Hodges' share in the community Civil Code) which she could not have disposed of nor burdened with any
properties, and who are now faced with the pose of PCIB that there is no condition (Art. 872, Civil Code). On the other hand, respondent Magno
such remainder. Had Hodges secured as early as possible the settlement of denies that Mrs. Hodges died a resident of the Philippines, since allegedly
his wife's estate, this problem would not arisen. All things considered, We she never changed nor intended to change her original residence of birth in
are fully convinced that the interests of justice will be better served by not Texas, United States of America, and contends that, anyway, regardless of
permitting or allowing PCIB or any administrator of the estate of Hodges the question of her residence, she being indisputably a citizen of Texas,
exclusive administration of all the properties in question. We are of the under said Article 16 of the Civil Code, the distribution of her estate is subject
considered opinion and so hold that what would be just and proper is for both to the laws of said State which, according to her, do not provide for any
administrators of the two estates to act conjointly until after said estates have legitime, hence, the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are entitled to the
been segregated from each other. remainder of the whole of her share of the conjugal partnership properties
At this juncture, it may be stated that we are not overlooking the fact that it is consisting of one-half thereof. Respondent Magno further maintains that, in
PCIB's contention that, viewed as a substitution, the testamentary disposition any event, Hodges had renounced his rights under the will in favor of his co-
in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters may not be given effect. To a heirs, as allegedly proven by the documents touching on the point already
certain extent, this contention is correct. Indeed, legally speaking, Mrs. mentioned earlier, the genuineness and legal significance of which petitioner
seemingly questions. Besides, the parties are disagreed as to what the Relative to Our holding above that the estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be less
pertinent laws of Texas provide. In the interest of settling the estates herein than the remainder of one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties, it
involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the may be mentioned here that during the deliberations, the point was raised as
parties were determined in these proceedings. The Court regrets, however, to whether or not said holding might be inconsistent with Our other ruling
that it cannot do so, for the simple reason that neither the evidence here also that, since there is no reliable evidence as to what are the
submitted by the parties in the court below nor their discussion, in their applicable laws of Texas, U.S.A. "with respect to the order of succession and
respective briefs and memoranda before Us, of their respective contentions to the amount of successional rights" that may be willed by a testator which,
on the pertinent legal issues, of grave importance as they are, appear to Us under Article 16 of the Civil Code, are controlling in the instant cases, in view
to be adequate enough to enable Us to render an intelligent comprehensive of the undisputed Texan nationality of the deceased Mrs. Hodges, these
and just resolution. For one thing, there is no clear and reliable proof of what cases should be returned to the court a quo, so that the parties may prove
in fact the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. 7* Then also, the what said law provides, it is premature for Us to make any specific ruling now
genuineness of documents relied upon by respondent Magno is disputed. on either the validity of the testamentary dispositions herein involved or the
And there are a number of still other conceivable related issues which the amount of inheritance to which the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are
parties may wish to raise but which it is not proper to mention here. In entitled. After nature reflection, We are of the considered view that, at this
Justice, therefore, to all the parties concerned, these and all other relevant stage and in the state of the records before Us, the feared inconsistency is
matters should first be threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings more apparent than real. Withal, it no longer lies in the lips of petitioner PCIB
hereafter to be held therein for the purpose of ascertaining and adjudicating to make any claim that under the laws of Texas, the estate of Mrs. Hodges
and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with could in any event be less than that We have fixed above.
her duly probated will. It should be borne in mind that as above-indicated, the question of what are
To be more explicit, all that We can and do decide in connection with the the laws of Texas governing the matters herein issue is, in the first instance,
petition for certiorari and prohibition are: (1) that regardless of which one of fact, not of law. Elementary is the rule that foreign laws may not be
corresponding laws are applied, whether of the Philippines or of Texas, and taken judicial notice of and have to be proven like any other fact in dispute
taking for granted either of the respective contentions of the parties as to between the parties in any proceeding, with the rare exception in instances
provisions of the latter,8 and regardless also of whether or not it can be when the said laws are already within the actual knowledge of the court,
proven by competent evidence that Hodges renounced his inheritance in any such as when they are well and generally known or they have been actually
degree, it is easily and definitely discernible from the inventory submitted by ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties concerned do not
Hodges himself, as Executor of his wife's estate, that there are properties claim otherwise. (5 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, p. 41, 1970 ed.)
which should constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges and ought to be disposed In Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610, it was held:
of or distributed among her heirs pursuant to her will in said Special It is the theory of the petitioner that the alleged will was executed in Elkins
Proceedings 1307; (2) that, more specifically, inasmuch as the question of West Virginia, on November 3, 1925, by Hix who had his residence in that
what are the pertinent laws of Texas applicable to the situation herein is jurisdiction, and that the laws of West Virginia govern. To this end, there was
basically one of fact, and, considering that the sole difference in the positions submitted a copy of section 3868 of Acts 1882, c. 84 as found in West
of the parties as to the effect of said laws has reference to the supposed Virginia Code, Annotated, by Hogg Charles E., vol. 2, 1914, p. 1960, and as
legitime of Hodges — it being the stand of PCIB that Hodges had such a certified to by the Director of the National Library. But this was far from a
legitime whereas Magno claims the negative - it is now beyond controversy compliance with the law. The laws of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove
for all future purposes of these proceedings that whatever be the provisions themselves in our courts. The courts of the Philippine Islands are not
actually of the laws of Texas applicable hereto, the estate of Mrs. Hodges is authorized to take judicial notice of the laws of the various States of the
at least, one-fourth of the conjugal estate of the spouses; the existence and American Union. Such laws must be proved as facts. (In re Estate of
effects of foreign laws being questions of fact, and it being the position now Johnson [1918], 39 Phil., 156.) Here the requirements of the law were not
of PCIB that the estate of Mrs. Hodges, pursuant to the laws of Texas, met. There was no showing that the book from which an extract was taken
should only be one-fourth of the conjugal estate, such contention constitutes was printed or published under the authority of the State of West Virginia, as
an admission of fact, and consequently, it would be in estoppel in any further provided in section 300 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Nor was the extract
proceedings in these cases to claim that said estate could be less, from the law attested by the certificate of the officer having charge of the
irrespective of what might be proven later to be actually the provisions of the original, under the seal of the State of West Virginia, as provided in section
applicable laws of Texas; (3) that Special Proceedings 1307 for the 301 of the Code of Civil Procedure. No evidence was introduced to show that
settlement of the testate estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be closed at this the extract from the laws of West Virginia was in force at the time the alleged
stage and should proceed to its logical conclusion, there having been no will was executed."
proper and legal adjudication or distribution yet of the estate therein involved; No evidence of the nature thus suggested by the Court may be found in the
and (4) that respondent Magno remains and continues to be the records of the cases at bar. Quite to the contrary, the parties herein have
Administratrix therein. Hence, nothing in the foregoing opinion is intended to presented opposing versions in their respective pleadings and memoranda
resolve the issues which, as already stated, are not properly before the Court regarding the matter. And even if We took into account that in Aznar vs.
now, namely, (1) whether or not Hodges had in fact and in law waived or Garcia, the Court did make reference to certain provisions regarding
renounced his inheritance from Mrs. Hodges, in whole or in part, and (2) succession in the laws of Texas, the disparity in the material dates of that
assuming there had been no such waiver, whether or not, by the application case and the present ones would not permit Us to indulge in the hazardous
of Article 16 of the Civil Code, and in the light of what might be the applicable conjecture that said provisions have not been amended or changed in the
laws of Texas on the matter, the estate of Mrs. Hodges is more than the one- meantime.
fourth declared above. As a matter of fact, even our finding above about the On the other hand, in In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156, We held:
existence of properties constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges rests largely Upon the other point — as to whether the will was
on a general appraisal of the size and extent of the conjugal partnership executed in conformity with the statutes of the State of
gathered from reference made thereto by both parties in their briefs as well Illinois — we note that it does not affirmatively appear
as in their pleadings included in the records on appeal, and it should from the transcription of the testimony adduced in the
accordingly yield, as to which exactly those properties are, to the more trial court that any witness was examined with
concrete and specific evidence which the parties are supposed to present in reference to the law of Illinois on the subject of the
support of their respective positions in regard to the foregoing main legal and execution of will. The trial judge no doubt was satisfied
factual issues. In the interest of justice, the parties should be allowed to that the will was properly executed by examining
present such further evidence in relation to all these issues in a joint hearing section 1874 of the Revised Statutes of Illinois, as
of the two probate proceedings herein involved. After all, the court a quo has exhibited in volume 3 of Starr & Curtis's Annotated
not yet passed squarely on these issues, and it is best for all concerned that Illinois Statutes, 2nd ed., p. 426; and he may have
it should do so in the first instance. assumed that he could take judicial notice of the laws
of Illinois under section 275 of the Code of Civil property and regardless of the country wherein said
Procedure. If so, he was in our opinion mistaken. That property may be found", while the law of Texas (the
section authorizes the courts here to take judicial Hodges spouses being nationals of U.S.A., State of
notice, among other things, of the acts of the Texas), in its conflicts of law rules, provides that the
legislative department of the United States. These domiciliary law (in this case Philippine law) governs the
words clearly have reference to Acts of the Congress testamentary dispositions and successional rights over
of the United States; and we would hesitate to hold movables or personal properties, while the law of the
that our courts can, under this provision, take judicial situs (in this case also Philippine law with respect to all
notice of the multifarious laws of the various American Hodges properties located in the Philippines), governs
States. Nor do we think that any such authority can be with respect to immovable properties, and applying
derived from the broader language, used in the same therefore the 'renvoi doctrine' as enunciated and
section, where it is said that our courts may take applied by this Honorable Court in the case of In re
judicial notice of matters of public knowledge "similar" Estate of Christensen (G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 31,
to those therein enumerated. The proper rule we think 1963), there can be no question that Philippine law
is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the governs the testamentary dispositions contained in the
American Union whenever their provisions are Last Will and Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane
determinative of the issues in any action litigated in the Hodges, as well as the successional rights to her
Philippine courts. estate, both with respect to movables, as well as to
Nevertheless, even supposing that the trial court may immovables situated in the Philippines.
have erred in taking judicial notice of the law of Illinois In its main brief dated February 26, 1968, PCIB asserts:
on the point in question, such error is not now The law governing successional rights.
available to the petitioner, first, because the petition As recited above, there is no question that the
does not state any fact from which it would appear that deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, was an American
the law of Illinois is different from what the court found, citizen. There is also no question that she was a
and, secondly, because the assignment of error and national of the State of Texas, U.S.A. Again, there is
argument for the appellant in this court raises no likewise no question that she had her domicile of
question based on such supposed error. Though the choice in the City of Iloilo, Philippines, as this has
trial court may have acted upon pure conjecture as to already been pronounced by the above-cited orders of
the law prevailing in the State of Illinois, its judgment the lower court, pronouncements which are by now res
could not be set aside, even upon application made adjudicata (par. [a], See. 49, Rule 39, Rules of Court;
within six months under section 113 of the Code of In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156).
Civil Procedure, unless it should be made to appear Article 16 of the Civil Code provides:
affirmatively that the conjecture was wrong. The "Real property as well as personal property is subject
petitioner, it is true, states in general terms that the will to the law of the country where it is situated.
in question is invalid and inadequate to pass real and However, intestate and testamentary successions,
personal property in the State of Illinois, but this is both with respect to the order of succession and to the
merely a conclusion of law. The affidavits by which the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic
petition is accompanied contain no reference to the validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated
subject, and we are cited to no authority in the by the national law of the person whose succession is
appellant's brief which might tend to raise a doubt as to under consideration, whatever may be the nature of
the correctness of the conclusion of the trial court. It is the property and regardless of the country wherein
very clear, therefore, that this point cannot be urged as said property may be found."
of serious moment. Thus the aforecited provision of the Civil Code points
It is implicit in the above ruling that when, with respect to certain aspects of towards the national law of the deceased, Linnie Jane
the foreign laws concerned, the parties in a given case do not have any Hodges, which is the law of Texas, as governing
controversy or are more or less in agreement, the Court may take it for succession "both with respect to the order of
granted for the purposes of the particular case before it that the said laws are succession and to the amount of successional rights
as such virtual agreement indicates, without the need of requiring the and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions
presentation of what otherwise would be the competent evidence on the ...". But the law of Texas, in its conflicts of law rules,
point. Thus, in the instant cases wherein it results from the respective provides that the domiciliary law governs the
contentions of both parties that even if the pertinent laws of Texas were testamentary dispositions and successional rights over
known and to be applied, the amount of the inheritance pertaining to the movables or personal property, while the law of the
heirs of Mrs. Hodges is as We have fixed above, the absence of evidence to situs governs with respect to immovable property.
the effect that, actually and in fact, under said laws, it could be otherwise is Such that with respect to both movable property, as
of no longer of any consequence, unless the purpose is to show that it could well as immovable property situated in the Philippines,
be more. In other words, since PCIB, the petitioner-appellant, concedes that the law of Texas points to the law of the Philippines.
upon application of Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Applying, therefore, the so-called "renvoi doctrine", as
Texas, the amount of the estate in controversy is just as We have enunciated and applied by this Honorable Court in the
determined it to be, and respondent-appellee is only claiming, on her part, case of "In re Christensen" (G.R. No. L-16749, Jan.
that it could be more, PCIB may not now or later pretend differently. 31, 1963), there can be no question that Philippine law
To be more concrete, on pages 20-21 of its petition herein, dated July 31, governs the testamentary provisions in the Last Will
1967, PCIB states categorically: and Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges,
Inasmuch as Article 16 of the Civil Code provides that as well as the successional rights to her estate, both
"intestate and testamentary successions both with with respect to movables, as well as immovables
respect to the order of succession and to the amount situated in the Philippines.
of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of The subject of successional rights.
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the Under Philippine law, as it is under the law of Texas,
national law of the person whose succession is under the conjugal or community property of the spouses,
consideration, whatever may be the nature of the Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges,
upon the death of the latter, is to be divided into two, f. That the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges,
one-half pertaining to each of the spouses, as his or asserted his sole ownership of the Hodges properties
her own property. Thus, upon the death of Linnie Jane and the probate court sanctioned such assertion (pp.
Hodges, one-half of the conjugal partnership property 25-29, petition). He in fact assumed such ownership
immediately pertained to Charles Newton Hodges as and such was the status of the properties as of the
his own share, and not by virtue of any successional time of his death (pp. 29-34, petition).
rights. There can be no question about this. Of similar tenor are the allegations of PCIB in some of its pleadings quoted in
Again, Philippine law, or more specifically, Article 900 the earlier part of this option.
of the Civil Code provides: On her part, it is respondent-appellee Magno's posture that under the laws of
If the only survivor is the widow Texas, there is no system of legitime, hence the estate of Mrs. Hodges
or widower, she or he shall be should be one-half of all the conjugal properties.
entitled to one-half of the It is thus unquestionable that as far as PCIB is concerned, the application to
hereditary estate of the these cases of Article 16 of the Civil Code in relation to the corresponding
deceased spouse, and the laws of Texas would result in that the Philippine laws on succession should
testator may freely dispose of control. On that basis, as We have already explained above, the estate of
the other half. Mrs. Hodges is the remainder of one-fourth of the conjugal partnership
If the marriage between the properties, considering that We have found that there is no legal impediment
surviving spouse and the to the kind of disposition ordered by Mrs. Hodges in her will in favor of her
testator was solemnized brothers and sisters and, further, that the contention of PCIB that the same
in articulo mortis, and the constitutes an inoperative testamentary substitution is untenable. As will be
testator died within three months recalled, PCIB's position that there is no such estate of Mrs. Hodges is
from the time of the marriage, predicated exclusively on two propositions, namely: (1) that the provision in
the legitime of the surviving question in Mrs. Hodges' testament violates the rules on substitution of heirs
spouse as the sole heir shall be under the Civil Code and (2) that, in any event, by the orders of the trial court
one-third of the hereditary of May 27, and December 14, 1957, the trial court had already finally and
estate, except when they have irrevocably adjudicated to her husband the whole free portion of her estate to
been living as husband and wife the exclusion of her brothers and sisters, both of which poses, We have
for more than five years. In the overruled. Nowhere in its pleadings, briefs and memoranda does PCIB
latter case, the legitime of the maintain that the application of the laws of Texas would result in the other
surviving spouse shall be that heirs of Mrs. Hodges not inheriting anything under her will. And since PCIB's
specified in the preceding representations in regard to the laws of Texas virtually constitute admissions
paragraph. of fact which the other parties and the Court are being made to rely and act
This legitime of the surviving spouse cannot be upon, PCIB is "not permitted to contradict them or subsequently take a
burdened by a fideicommisary substitution (Art. 864, position contradictory to or inconsistent with them." (5 Moran, id, p. 65, citing
Civil code), nor by any charge, condition, or Cunanan vs. Amparo, 80 Phil. 227; Sta. Ana vs. Maliwat, L-23023, Aug. 31,
substitution (Art, 872, Civil code). It is clear, therefore, 1968, 24 SCRA 1018).
that in addition to one-half of the conjugal partnership Accordingly, the only question that remains to be settled in the further
property as his own conjugal share, Charles Newton proceedings hereby ordered to be held in the court below is how much more
Hodges was also immediately entitled to one-half of than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and this would depend on
the half conjugal share of the deceased, Linnie Jane (1) whether or not the applicable laws of Texas do provide in effect for more,
Hodges, or one-fourth of the entire conjugal property, such as, when there is no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not
as his legitime. Hodges has validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges.
One-fourth of the conjugal property therefore remains In the course of the deliberations, it was brought out by some members of
at issue. the Court that to avoid or, at least, minimize further protracted legal
In the summary of its arguments in its memorandum dated April 30, 1968, controversies between the respective heirs of the Hodges spouses, it is
the following appears: imperative to elucidate on the possible consequences of dispositions made
Briefly, the position advanced by the petitioner is: by Hodges after the death of his wife from the mass of the unpartitioned
a. That the Hodges spouses were domiciled legally in estates without any express indication in the pertinent documents as to
the Philippines (pp. 19-20, petition). This is now a whether his intention is to dispose of part of his inheritance from his wife or
matter of res adjudicata (p. 20, petition). part of his own share of the conjugal estate as well as of those made by
b. That under Philippine law, Texas law, and the renvoi PCIB after the death of Hodges. After a long discussion, the consensus
doctrine, Philippine law governs the successional arrived at was as follows: (1) any such dispositions made gratuitously in
rights over the properties left by the deceased, Linnie favor of third parties, whether these be individuals, corporations or
Jane Hodges (pp. 20-21, petition). foundations, shall be considered as intended to be of properties constituting
c. That under Philippine as well as Texas law, one-half part of Hodges' inheritance from his wife, it appearing from the tenor of his
of the Hodges properties pertains to the deceased, motions of May 27 and December 11, 1957 that in asking for general
Charles Newton Hodges (p. 21, petition). This is not authority to make sales or other disposals of properties under the jurisdiction
questioned by the respondents. of the court, which include his own share of the conjugal estate, he was not
d. That under Philippine law, the deceased, Charles invoking particularly his right over his own share, but rather his right to
Newton Hodges, automatically inherited one-half of the dispose of any part of his inheritance pursuant to the will of his wife; (2) as
remaining one-half of the Hodges properties as his regards sales, exchanges or other remunerative transfers, the proceeds of
legitime (p. 21, petition). such sales or the properties taken in by virtue of such exchanges, shall be
e. That the remaining 25% of the Hodges properties considered as merely the products of "physical changes" of the properties of
was inherited by the deceased, Charles Newton her estate which the will expressly authorizes Hodges to make, provided that
Hodges, under the will of his deceased spouse (pp. whatever of said products should remain with the estate at the time of the
22-23, petition). Upon the death of Charles Newton death of Hodges should go to her brothers and sisters; (3) the dispositions
Hodges, the substitution 'provision of the will of the made by PCIB after the death of Hodges must naturally be deemed as
deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, did not operate covering only the properties belonging to his estate considering that being
because the same is void (pp. 23-25, petition). only the administrator of the estate of Hodges, PCIB could not have disposed
of properties belonging to the estate of his wife. Neither could such the respective administrators therein "act conjointly — none of them to act
dispositions be considered as involving conjugal properties, for the simple singly and independently of each other for any purpose." Upon mature
reason that the conjugal partnership automatically ceased when Mrs. deliberation, We felt that to allow PCIB to continue managing or
Hodges died, and by the peculiar provision of her will, under discussion, the administering all the said properties to the exclusion of the administratrix of
remainder of her share descended also automatically upon the death of Mrs. Hodges' estate might place the heirs of Hodges at an unduly
Hodges to her brothers and sisters, thus outside of the scope of PCIB's advantageous position which could result in considerable, if not irreparable,
administration. Accordingly, these construction of the will of Mrs. Hodges damage or injury to the other parties concerned. It is indeed to be regretted
should be adhered to by the trial court in its final order of adjudication and that apparently, up to this date, more than a year after said resolution, the
distribution and/or partition of the two estates in question. same has not been given due regard, as may be gleaned from the fact that
THE APPEALS recently, respondent Magno has filed in these proceedings a motion to
A cursory examination of the seventy-eight assignments of error in appellant declare PCIB in contempt for alleged failure to abide therewith,
PCIB's brief would readily reveal that all of them are predicated mainly on the notwithstanding that its repeated motions for reconsideration thereof have all
contention that inasmuch as Hodges had already adjudicated unto himself all been denied soon after they were filed.9
the properties constituting his wife's share of the conjugal partnership, Going back to the appeals, it is perhaps best to begin first with what appears
allegedly with the sanction of the trial court per its order of December 14, to Our mind to be the simplest, and then proceed to the more complicated
1957, there has been, since said date, no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges ones in that order, without regard to the numerical sequence of the
of which appellee Magno could be administratrix, hence the various assailed assignments of error in appellant's brief or to the order of the discussion
orders sanctioning her actuations as such are not in accordance with law. thereof by counsel.
Such being the case, with the foregoing resolution holding such posture to be Assignments of error numbers
untenable in fact and in law and that it is in the best interest of justice that for LXXII, LXXVII and LXXVIII.
the time being the two estates should be administered conjointly by the These assignments of error relate to (1) the order of the trial court of August
respective administrators of the two estates, it should follow that said 6, 1965 providing that "the deeds of sale (therein referred to involving
assignments of error have lost their fundamental reasons for being. There properties in the name of Hodges) should be signed jointly by the PCIB, as
are certain matters, however, relating peculiarly to the respective orders in Administrator of Testate Estate of C.N. Hodges, and Avelina A. Magno, as
question, if commonly among some of them, which need further clarification. Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and to this effect,
For instance, some of them authorized respondent Magno to act alone or the PCIB should take the necessary steps so that Administratrix Avelina A.
without concurrence of PCIB. And with respect to many of said orders, PCIB Magno could sign the deeds of sale," (p. 248, Green Rec. on Appeal) (2) the
further claims that either the matters involved were not properly within the order of October 27, 1965 denying the motion for reconsideration of the
probate jurisdiction of the trial court or that the procedure followed was not in foregoing order, (pp. 276-277, id.) (3) the other order also dated October 27,
accordance with the rules. Hence, the necessity of dealing separately with 1965 enjoining inter alia, that "(a) all cash collections should be deposited in
the merits of each of the appeals. the joint account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and estate of C. N.
Indeed, inasmuch as the said two estates have until now remained Hodges, (b) that whatever cash collections (that) had been deposited in the
commingled pro-indiviso, due to the failure of Hodges and the lower court to account of either of the estates should be withdrawn and since then (sic)
liquidate the conjugal partnership, to recognize appellee Magno as deposited in the joint account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges which is still estate of C. N. Hodges; ... (d) (that) Administratrix Magno — allow the PCIB
unsegregated from that of Hodges is not to say, without any qualification, to inspect whatever records, documents and papers she may have in her
that she was therefore authorized to do and perform all her acts complained possession, in the same manner that Administrator PCIB is also directed to
of in these appeals, sanctioned though they might have been by the trial allow Administratrix Magno to inspect whatever records, documents and
court. As a matter of fact, it is such commingling pro-indiviso of the two papers it may have in its possession" and "(e) that the accountant of the
estates that should deprive appellee of freedom to act independently from estate of Linnie Jane Hodges shall have access to all records of the
PCIB, as administrator of the estate of Hodges, just as, for the same reason, transactions of both estates for the protection of the estate of Linnie Jane
the latter should not have authority to act independently from her. And Hodges; and in like manner, the accountant or any authorized representative
considering that the lower court failed to adhere consistently to this basic of the estate of C. N. Hodges shall have access to the records of
point of view, by allowing the two administrators to act independently of each transactions of the Linnie Jane Hodges estate for the protection of the estate
other, in the various instances already noted in the narration of facts above, of C. N. Hodges", (pp. 292-295, id.) and (4) the order of February 15, 1966,
the Court has to look into the attendant circumstances of each of the denying, among others, the motion for reconsideration of the order of
appealed orders to be able to determine whether any of them has to be set October 27, 1965 last referred to. (pp. 455-456, id.)
aside or they may all be legally maintained notwithstanding the failure of the As may be readily seen, the thrust of all these four impugned orders is in line
court a quo to observe the pertinent procedural technicalities, to the end only with the Court's above-mentioned resolution of September 8, 1972 modifying
that graver injury to the substantive rights of the parties concerned and the injunction previously issued on August 8, 1967, and, more importantly,
unnecessary and undesirable proliferation of incidents in the subject with what We have said the trial court should have always done pending the
proceedings may be forestalled. In other words, We have to determine, liquidation of the conjugal partnership of the Hodges spouses. In fact, as
whether or not, in the light of the unusual circumstances extant in the record, already stated, that is the arrangement We are ordering, by this decision, to
there is need to be more pragmatic and to adopt a rather unorthodox be followed. Stated differently, since the questioned orders provide for joint
approach, so as to cause the least disturbance in rights already being action by the two administrators, and that is precisely what We are holding
exercised by numerous innocent third parties, even if to do so may not out to have been done and should be done until the two estates are
appear to be strictly in accordance with the letter of the applicable purely separated from each other, the said orders must be affirmed. Accordingly the
adjective rules. foregoing assignments of error must be, as they are hereby overruled.
Incidentally, it may be mentioned, at this point, that it was principally on Assignments of error Numbers LXVIII
account of the confusion that might result later from PCIB's continuing to to LXXI and LXXIII to LXXVI.
administer all the community properties, notwithstanding the certainty of the The orders complained of under these assignments of error commonly deal
existence of the separate estate of Mrs. Hodges, and to enable both estates with expenditures made by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of the Estate
to function in the meantime with a relative degree of regularity, that the Court of Mrs. Hodges, in connection with her administration thereof, albeit
ordered in the resolution of September 8, 1972 the modification of the additionally, assignments of error Numbers LXIX to LXXI put into question
injunction issued pursuant to the resolutions of August 8, October 4 and the payment of attorneys fees provided for in the contract for the purpose, as
December 6, 1967, by virtue of which respondent Magno was completely constituting, in effect, premature advances to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges.
barred from any participation in the administration of the properties herein More specifically, assignment Number LXXIII refers to reimbursement of
involved. In the September 8 resolution, We ordered that, pending this overtime pay paid to six employees of the court and three other persons for
decision, Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 should proceed jointly and that services in copying the court records to enable the lawyers of the
administration to be fully informed of all the incidents in the proceedings. The been duly represented in the agreement itself by their attorney-in-fact, James
reimbursement was approved as proper legal expenses of administration per L. Sullivan and have not otherwise interposed any objection to any of the
the order of December 19, 1964, (pp. 221-222, id.) and repeated motions for expenses incurred by Magno questioned by PCIB in these appeals. As a
reconsideration thereof were denied by the orders of January 9, 1965, (pp. matter of fact, as ordered by the trial court, all the expenses in question,
231-232, id.) October 27, 1965, (p. 277, id.) and February 15, 1966. (pp. including the attorney's fees, may be paid without awaiting the determination
455-456, id.) On the other hand, Assignments Numbers LXVIII to LXXI, and segregation of the estate of Mrs. Hodges.
LXXIV and LXXV question the trial court's order of November 3, 1965 Withal, the weightiest consideration in connection with the point under
approving the agreement of June 6, 1964 between Administratrix Magno and discussion is that at this stage of the controversy among the parties herein,
James L. Sullivan, attorney-in-fact of the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, as Parties of the vital issue refers to the existence or non-existence of the estate of Mrs.
the First Part, and Attorneys Raul Manglapus and Rizal R. Quimpo, as Hodges. In this respect, the interest of respondent Magno, as the appointed
Parties of the Second Part, regarding attorneys fees for said counsel who administratrix of the said estate, is to maintain that it exists, which is naturally
had agreed "to prosecute and defend their interests (of the Parties of the common and identical with and inseparable from the interest of the brothers
First Part) in certain cases now pending litigation in the Court of First and sisters of Mrs. Hodges. Thus, it should not be wondered why both
Instance of Iloilo —, more specifically in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 Magno and these heirs have seemingly agreed to retain but one counsel. In
—" (pp. 126-129, id.) and directing Administratrix Magno "to issue and sign fact, such an arrangement should be more convenient and economical to
whatever check or checks maybe needed to implement the approval of the both. The possibility of conflict of interest between Magno and the heirs of
agreement annexed to the motion" as well as the "administrator of the estate Mrs. Hodges would be, at this stage, quite remote and, in any event, rather
of C. N. Hodges — to countersign the said check or checks as the case insubstantial. Besides, should any substantial conflict of interest between
maybe." (pp. 313-320, id.), reconsideration of which order of approval was them arise in the future, the same would be a matter that the probate court
denied in the order of February 16, 1966, (p. 456, id.) Assignment Number can very well take care of in the course of the independent proceedings in
LXXVI imputes error to the lower court's order of October 27, 1965, already Case No. 1307 after the corresponding segregation of the two subject
referred to above, insofar as it orders that "PCIB should counter sign the estates. We cannot perceive any cogent reason why, at this stage, the estate
check in the amount of P250 in favor of Administratrix Avelina A. Magno as and the heirs of Mrs. Hodges cannot be represented by a common counsel.
her compensation as administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges estate chargeable Now, as to whether or not the portion of the fees in question that should
to the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges only." (p. 294, id.) correspond to the heirs constitutes premature partial distribution of the estate
Main contention again of appellant PCIB in regard to these eight assigned of Mrs. Hodges is also a matter in which neither PCIB nor the heirs of
errors is that there is no such estate as the estate of Mrs. Hodges for which Hodges have any interest. In any event, since, as far as the records show,
the questioned expenditures were made, hence what were authorized were the estate has no creditors and the corresponding estate and inheritance
in effect expenditures from the estate of Hodges. As We have already taxes, except those of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges, have already
demonstrated in Our resolution above of the petition for certiorari and been paid, 11 no prejudice can caused to anyone by the comparatively small
prohibition, this posture is incorrect. Indeed, in whichever way the remaining amount of attorney's fees in question. And in this connection, it may be
issues between the parties in these cases are ultimately resolved, 10 the final added that, although strictly speaking, the attorney's fees of the counsel of
result will surely be that there are properties constituting the estate of Mrs. an administrator is in the first instance his personal responsibility,
Hodges of which Magno is the current administratrix. It follows, therefore, reimbursable later on by the estate, in the final analysis, when, as in the
that said appellee had the right, as such administratrix, to hire the persons situation on hand, the attorney-in-fact of the heirs has given his conformity
whom she paid overtime pay and to be paid for her own services as thereto, it would be idle effort to inquire whether or not the sanction given to
administratrix. That she has not yet collected and is not collecting amounts said fees by the probate court is proper.
as substantial as that paid to or due appellant PCIB is to her credit. For the foregoing reasons, Assignments of Error LXVIII to LXXI and LXXIII to
Of course, she is also entitled to the services of counsel and to that end had LXXVI should be as they are hereby overruled.
the authority to enter into contracts for attorney's fees in the manner she had Assignments of error I to IV,
done in the agreement of June 6, 1964. And as regards to the XIII to XV, XXII to XXV, XXXV
reasonableness of the amount therein stipulated, We see no reason to to XXX VI, XLI to XLIII and L.
disturb the discretion exercised by the probate court in determining the These assignments of error deal with the approval by the trial court of
same. We have gone over the agreement, and considering the obvious size various deeds of sale of real properties registered in the name of Hodges but
of the estate in question and the nature of the issues between the parties as executed by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Hodges,
well as the professional standing of counsel, We cannot say that the fees purportedly in implementation of corresponding supposed written "Contracts
agreed upon require the exercise by the Court of its inherent power to reduce to Sell" previously executed by Hodges during the interim between May 23,
it. 1957, when his wife died, and December 25, 1962, the day he died. As
PCIB insists, however, that said agreement of June 6, 1964 is not for legal stated on pp. 118-120 of appellant's main brief, "These are: the, contract to
services to the estate but to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, or, at most, to both of sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee,
them, and such being the case, any payment under it, insofar as counsels' Pepito G. Iyulores executed on February 5, 1961; the contract to sell
services would redound to the benefit of the heirs, would be in the nature of between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellant
advances to such heirs and a premature distribution of the estate. Again, We Esperidion Partisala, executed on April 20, 1960; the contract to sell between
hold that such posture cannot prevail. the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Winifredo C.
Upon the premise We have found plausible that there is an existing estate of Espada, executed on April 18, 1960; the contract to sell between the
Mrs. Hodges, it results that juridically and factually the interests involved in deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Rosario Alingasa,
her estate are distinct and different from those involved in her estate of executed on August 25, 1958; the contract to sell between the deceased,
Hodges and vice versa. Insofar as the matters related exclusively to the Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Lorenzo Carles, executed on
estate of Mrs. Hodges, PCIB, as administrator of the estate of Hodges, is a June 17, 1958; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton
complete stranger and it is without personality to question the actuations of Hodges, and the appellee, Salvador S. Guzman, executed on September 13,
the administratrix thereof regarding matters not affecting the estate of 1960; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges,
Hodges. Actually, considering the obviously considerable size of the estate and the appellee, Florenia Barrido, executed on February 21, 1958; the
of Mrs. Hodges, We see no possible cause for apprehension that when the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the
two estates are segregated from each other, the amount of attorney's fees appellee, Purificacion Coronado, executed on August 14, 1961; the contract
stipulated in the agreement in question will prejudice any portion that would to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee,
correspond to Hodges' estate. Graciano Lucero, executed on November 27, 1961; the contract to sell
And as regards the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges who ought to be the ones who between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Ariteo
should have a say on the attorney's fees and other expenses of Thomas Jamir, executed on May 26, 1961; the contract to sell between the
administration assailed by PCIB, suffice it to say that they appear to have deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Melquiades
Batisanan, executed on June 9, 1959; the contract to sell between the with the heirs of Hodges, the said properties covered by the questioned
deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Belcezar Causing, deeds of sale executed by appellee Magno may be treated as among those
executed on February 10, 1959 and the contract to sell between the corresponding to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, which would have been actually
deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Adelfa Premaylon, under her control and administration had Hodges complied with his duty to
executed on October 31, 1959, re Title No. 13815." liquidate the conjugal partnership. Viewing the situation in that manner, the
Relative to these sales, it is the position of appellant PCIB that, inasmuch as only ones who could stand to be prejudiced by the appealed orders referred
pursuant to the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband was to have dominion over to in the assignment of errors under discussion and who could, therefore,
all her estate during his lifetime, it was as absolute owner of the properties have the requisite interest to question them would be only the heirs of Mrs.
respectively covered by said sales that he executed the aforementioned Hodges, definitely not PCIB.
contracts to sell, and consequently, upon his death, the implementation of It is of no moment in what capacity Hodges made the "contracts to sell' after
said contracts may be undertaken only by the administrator of his estate and the death of his wife. Even if he had acted as executor of the will of his wife,
not by the administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges. Basically, the same he did not have to submit those contracts to the court nor follow the
theory is invoked with particular reference to five other sales, in which the provisions of the rules, (Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of Rule 89 quoted by
respective "contracts to sell" in favor of these appellees were executed by appellant on pp. 125 to 127 of its brief) for the simple reason that by the very
Hodges before the death of his wife, namely, those in favor of appellee orders, much relied upon by appellant for other purposes, of May 27, 1957
Santiago Pacaonsis, Alfredo Catedral, Jose Pablico, Western Institute of and December 14, 1957, Hodges was "allowed or authorized" by the trial
Technology and Adelfa Premaylon. court "to continue the business in which he was engaged and to perform acts
Anent those deeds of sale based on promises or contracts to sell executed which he had been doing while the deceased was living", (Order of May 27)
by Hodges after the death of his wife, those enumerated in the quotation in which according to the motion on which the court acted was "of buying and
the immediately preceding paragraph, it is quite obvious that PCIB's selling personal and real properties", and "to execute subsequent sales,
contention cannot be sustained. As already explained earlier, 11* all conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said
proceeds of remunerative transfers or dispositions made by Hodges after the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes conveyed in
death of his wife should be deemed as continuing to be parts of her estate the last will and testament of the latter." (Order of December 14) In other
and, therefore, subject to the terms of her will in favor of her brothers and words, if Hodges acted then as executor, it can be said that he had authority
sisters, in the sense that should there be no showing that such proceeds, to do so by virtue of these blanket orders, and PCIB does not question the
whether in cash or property have been subsequently conveyed or assigned legality of such grant of authority; on the contrary, it is relying on the terms of
subsequently by Hodges to any third party by acts inter vivos with the result the order itself for its main contention in these cases. On the other hand, if,
that they could not thereby belong to him anymore at the time of his death, as PCIB contends, he acted as heir-adjudicatee, the authority given to him
they automatically became part of the inheritance of said brothers and by the aforementioned orders would still suffice.
sisters. The deeds here in question involve transactions which are exactly of As can be seen, therefore, it is of no moment whether the "contracts to sell"
this nature. Consequently, the payments made by the appellees should be upon which the deeds in question were based were executed by Hodges
considered as payments to the estate of Mrs. Hodges which is to be before or after the death of his wife. In a word, We hold, for the reasons
distributed and partitioned among her heirs specified in the will. already stated, that the properties covered by the deeds being assailed
The five deeds of sale predicated on contracts to sell executed Hodges pertain or should be deemed as pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges;
during the lifetime of his wife, present a different situation. At first blush, it hence, any supposed irregularity attending the actuations of the trial court
would appear that as to them, PCIB's position has some degree of may be invoked only by her heirs, not by PCIB, and since the said heirs are
plausibility. Considering, however, that the adoption of PCIB's theory would not objecting, and the defects pointed out not being strictly jurisdictional in
necessarily have tremendous repercussions and would bring about nature, all things considered, particularly the unnecessary disturbance of
considerable disturbance of property rights that have somehow accrued rights already created in favor of innocent third parties, it is best that the
already in favor of innocent third parties, the five purchasers aforenamed, the impugned orders are not disturbed.
Court is inclined to take a pragmatic and practical view of the legal situation In view of these considerations, We do not find sufficient merit in the
involving them by overlooking the possible technicalities in the way, the non- assignments of error under discussion.
observance of which would not, after all, detract materially from what should Assignments of error V to VIII,
substantially correspond to each and all of the parties concerned. XVI to XVIII, XXVI to XXIX, XXXVII
To start with, these contracts can hardly be ignored. Bona fide third parties to XXXVIII, XLIV to XLVI and LI.
are involved; as much as possible, they should not be made to suffer any All these assignments of error commonly deal with alleged non-fulfillment by
prejudice on account of judicial controversies not of their own making. What the respective vendees, appellees herein, of the terms and conditions
is more, the transactions they rely on were submitted by them to the probate embodied in the deeds of sale referred to in the assignments of error just
court for approval, and from already known and recorded actuations of said discussed. It is claimed that some of them never made full payments in
court then, they had reason to believe that it had authority to act on their accordance with the respective contracts to sell, while in the cases of the
motions, since appellee Magno had, from time to time prior to their others, like Lorenzo Carles, Jose Pablico, Alfredo Catedral and Salvador S.
transactions with her, been allowed to act in her capacity as administratrix of Guzman, the contracts with them had already been unilaterally cancelled by
one of the subject estates either alone or conjointly with PCIB. All the sales PCIB pursuant to automatic rescission clauses contained in them, in view of
in question were executed by Magno in 1966 already, but before that, the the failure of said buyers to pay arrearages long overdue. But PCIB's posture
court had previously authorized or otherwise sanctioned expressly many of is again premised on its assumption that the properties covered by the deeds
her act as administratrix involving expenditures from the estate made by her in question could not pertain to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. We have already
either conjointly with or independently from PCIB, as Administrator of the held above that, it being evident that a considerable portion of the conjugal
Estate of Hodges. Thus, it may be said that said buyers-appellees merely properties, much more than the properties covered by said deeds, would
followed precedents in previous orders of the court. Accordingly, unless the inevitably constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges, to avoid unnecessary legal
impugned orders approving those sales indubitably suffer from some clearly complications, it can be assumed that said properties form part of such
fatal infirmity the Court would rather affirm them. estate. From this point of view, it is apparent again that the questions,
It is quite apparent from the record that the properties covered by said sales whether or not it was proper for appellee Magno to have disregarded the
are equivalent only to a fraction of what should constitute the estate of Mrs. cancellations made by PCIB, thereby reviving the rights of the respective
Hodges, even if it is assumed that the same would finally be held to be only buyers-appellees, and, whether or not the rules governing new dispositions
one-fourth of the conjugal properties of the spouses as of the time of her of properties of the estate were strictly followed, may not be raised by PCIB
death or, to be more exact, one-half of her estate as per the inventory but only by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges as the persons designated to inherit the
submitted by Hodges as executor, on May 12, 1958. In none of its numerous, same, or perhaps the government because of the still unpaid inheritance
varied and voluminous pleadings, motions and manifestations has PCIB taxes. But, again, since there is no pretense that any objections were raised
claimed any possibility otherwise. Such being the case, to avoid any conflict by said parties or that they would necessarily be prejudiced, the contentions
of PCIB under the instant assignments of error hardly merit any was November 20, 1965, and that what the order grants is different from
consideration. what is prayed for in the motion. As to the substantive aspect, it is contended
Assignments of error IX to XII, XIX that the matter treated in the motion is beyond the jurisdiction of the probate
to XXI, XXX to XXIV, XXXIX to XL, court and that the order authorized payment to a person other than the
XLVII to XLIX, LII and LIII to LXI. administrator of the estate of Hodges with whom the Institute had contracted.
PCIB raises under these assignments of error two issues which according to The procedural points urged by appellant deserve scant consideration. We
it are fundamental, namely: (1) that in approving the deeds executed by must assume, absent any clear proof to the contrary, that the lower court had
Magno pursuant to contracts to sell already cancelled by it in the acted regularly by seeing to it that appellant was duly notified. On the other
performance of its functions as administrator of the estate of Hodges, the trial hand, there is nothing irregular in the court's having resolved the motion
court deprived the said estate of the right to invoke such cancellations it three days after the date set for hearing the same. Moreover, the record
(PCIB) had made and (2) that in so acting, the court "arrogated unto itself, reveals that appellants' motion for reconsideration wherein it raised the same
while acting as a probate court, the power to determine the contending points was denied by the trial court on March 7, 1966 (p. 462, Green R. on
claims of third parties against the estate of Hodges over real property," since A.) Withal, We are not convinced that the relief granted is not within the
it has in effect determined whether or not all the terms and conditions of the general intent of the Institute's motion.
respective contracts to sell executed by Hodges in favor of the buyers- Insofar as the substantive issues are concerned, all that need be said at this
appellees concerned were complied with by the latter. What is worse, in the point is that they are mere reiterations of contentions We have already
view of PCIB, is that the court has taken the word of the appellee Magno, "a resolved above adversely to appellants' position. Incidentally, We may add,
total stranger to his estate as determinative of the issue". perhaps, to erase all doubts as to the propriety of not disturbing the lower
Actually, contrary to the stand of PCIB, it is this last point regarding appellee court's orders sanctioning the sales questioned in all these appeal s by
Magno's having agreed to ignore the cancellations made by PCIB and PCIB, that it is only when one of the parties to a contract to convey property
allowed the buyers-appellees to consummate the sales in their favor that is executed by a deceased person raises substantial objections to its being
decisive. Since We have already held that the properties covered by the implemented by the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate that
contracts in question should be deemed to be portions of the estate of Mrs. Section 8 of Rule 89 may not apply and, consequently, the matter has, to be
Hodges and not that of Hodges, it is PCIB that is a complete stranger in taken up in a separate action outside of the probate court; but where, as in
these incidents. Considering, therefore, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges and the cases of the sales herein involved, the interested parties are in
her heirs who are the real parties in interest having the right to oppose the agreement that the conveyance be made, it is properly within the jurisdiction
consummation of the impugned sales are not objecting, and that they are the of the probate court to give its sanction thereto pursuant to the provisions of
ones who are precisely urging that said sales be sanctioned, the the rule just mentioned. And with respect to the supposed automatic
assignments of error under discussion have no basis and must accordingly rescission clauses contained in the contracts to sell executed by Hodges in
be as they are hereby overruled. favor of herein appellees, the effect of said clauses depend on the true
With particular reference to assignments LIII to LXI, assailing the orders of nature of the said contracts, despite the nomenclature appearing therein,
the trial court requiring PCIB to surrender the respective owner's duplicate which is not controlling, for if they amount to actual contracts of sale instead
certificates of title over the properties covered by the sales in question and of being mere unilateral accepted "promises to sell", (Art. 1479, Civil Code of
otherwise directing the Register of Deeds of Iloilo to cancel said certificates the Philippines, 2nd paragraph) thepactum commissorium or the automatic
and to issue new transfer certificates of title in favor of the buyers-appellees, rescission provision would not operate, as a matter of public policy, unless
suffice it to say that in the light of the above discussion, the trial court was there has been a previous notarial or judicial demand by the seller (10
within its rights to so require and direct, PCIB having refused to give way, by Manresa 263, 2nd ed.) neither of which have been shown to have been
withholding said owners' duplicate certificates, of the corresponding made in connection with the transactions herein involved.
registration of the transfers duly and legally approved by the court. Consequently, We find no merit in the assignments of error
Assignments of error LXII to LXVII Number LXII to LXVII.
All these assignments of error commonly deal with the appeal against orders SUMMARY
favoring appellee Western Institute of Technology. As will be recalled, said Considering the fact that this decision is unusually extensive and that the
institute is one of the buyers of real property covered by a contract to sell issues herein taken up and resolved are rather numerous and varied, what
executed by Hodges prior to the death of his wife. As of October, 1965, it with appellant making seventy-eight assignments of error affecting no less
was in arrears in the total amount of P92,691.00 in the payment of its than thirty separate orders of the court a quo, if only to facilitate proper
installments on account of its purchase, hence it received under date of understanding of the import and extent of our rulings herein contained, it is
October 4, 1965 and October 20, 1965, letters of collection, separately and perhaps desirable that a brief restatement of the whole situation be made
respectively, from PCIB and appellee Magno, in their respective capacities together with our conclusions in regard to its various factual and legal
as administrators of the distinct estates of the Hodges spouses, albeit, while aspects. .
in the case of PCIB it made known that "no other arrangement can be The instant cases refer to the estate left by the late Charles Newton Hodges
accepted except by paying all your past due account", on the other hand, as well as that of his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, who predeceased him by
Magno merely said she would "appreciate very much if you can make some about five years and a half. In their respective wills which were executed on
remittance to bring this account up-to-date and to reduce the amount of the different occasions, each one of them provided mutually as follows: "I give,
obligation." (See pp. 295-311, Green R. on A.) On November 3, 1965, the devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder (after funeral and
Institute filed a motion which, after alleging that it was ready and willing to administration expenses, taxes and debts) of my estate, both real and
pay P20,000 on account of its overdue installments but uncertain whether it personal, wherever situated or located, to my beloved (spouse) to have and
should pay PCIB or Magno, it prayed that it be "allowed to deposit the to hold unto (him/her) — during (his/her) natural lifetime", subject to the
aforesaid amount with the court pending resolution of the conflicting claims of condition that upon the death of whoever of them survived the other, the
the administrators." Acting on this motion, on November 23, 1965, the trial remainder of what he or she would inherit from the other is "give(n),
court issued an order, already quoted in the narration of facts in this opinion, devise(d) and bequeath(ed)" to the brothers and sisters of the latter.
holding that payment to both or either of the two administrators is "proper Mrs. Hodges died first, on May 23, 1957. Four days later, on May 27,
and legal", and so "movant — can pay to both estates or either of them", Hodges was appointed special administrator of her estate, and in a separate
considering that "in both cases (Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672) there order of the same date, he was "allowed or authorized to continue the
is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to business in which he was engaged, (buying and selling personal and real
whomsoever are entitled thereto." properties) and to perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased
The arguments under the instant assignments of error revolve around said was living." Subsequently, on December 14, 1957, after Mrs. Hodges' will
order. From the procedural standpoint, it is claimed that PCIB was not served had been probated and Hodges had been appointed and had qualified as
with a copy of the Institute's motion, that said motion was heard, considered Executor thereof, upon his motion in which he asserted that he was "not only
and resolved on November 23, 1965, whereas the date set for its hearing part owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the
properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges", the trial court ordered accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", his wife,
that "for the reasons stated in his motion dated December 11, 1957, which since her death.
the Court considers well taken, ... all the sales, conveyances, leases and On said date, December 25, 1962, Hodges died. The very next day, upon
mortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges motion of herein respondent and appellee, Avelina A. Magno, she was
executed by the Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are hereby APPROVED. appointed by the trial court as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie
The said Executor is further authorized to execute subsequent sales, Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings No. 1307 and as Special Administratrix
conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, "in the latter case, because the last
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes contained in will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his vault or iron safe and
the last will and testament of the latter." that the real and personal properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged
Annually thereafter, Hodges submitted to the court the corresponding or go to waste, unless Special Administratrix is appointed," (Order of
statements of account of his administration, with the particularity that in all December 26, 1962, p. 27, Yellow R. on A.) although, soon enough, on
his motions, he always made it point to urge the that "no person interested in December 29, 1962, a certain Harold K. Davies was appointed as her Co-
the Philippines of the time and place of examining the herein accounts be Special Administrator, and when Special Proceedings No. 1672, Testate
given notice as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of the Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, was opened, Joe Hodges, as next of kin
deceased in accordance with the last will and testament already probated by of the deceased, was in due time appointed as Co-Administrator of said
the Honorable Court." All said accounts approved as prayed for. estate together with Atty. Fernando P. Mirasol, to replace Magno and Davies,
Nothing else appears to have been done either by the court a quo or Hodges only to be in turn replaced eventually by petitioner PCIB alone.
until December 25, 1962. Importantly to be the provision in the will of Mrs. At the outset, the two probate proceedings appear to have been proceeding
Hodges that her share of the conjugal partnership was to be inherited by her jointly, with each administrator acting together with the other, under a sort of
husband "to have and to hold unto him, my said husband, during his natural modus operandi. PCIB used to secure at the beginning the conformity to and
lifetime" and that "at the death of my said husband, I give, devise and signature of Magno in transactions it wanted to enter into and submitted the
bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and same to the court for approval as their joint acts. So did Magno do likewise.
personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among my Somehow, however, differences seem to have arisen, for which reason, each
brothers and sisters, share and share alike", which provision naturally made of them began acting later on separately and independently of each other,
it imperative that the conjugal partnership be promptly liquidated, in order with apparent sanction of the trial court. Thus, PCIB had its own lawyers
that the "rest, residue and remainder" of his wife's share thereof, as of the whom it contracted and paid handsomely, conducted the business of the
time of Hodges' own death, may be readily known and identified, no such estate independently of Magno and otherwise acted as if all the properties
liquidation was ever undertaken. The record gives no indication of the reason appearing in the name of Charles Newton Hodges belonged solely and only
for such omission, although relatedly, it appears therein: to his estate, to the exclusion of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges,
1. That in his annual statement submitted to the court without considering whether or not in fact any of said properties
of the net worth of C. N. Hodges and the Estate of corresponded to the portion of the conjugal partnership pertaining to the
Linnie Jane Hodges, Hodges repeatedly and estate of Mrs. Hodges. On the other hand, Magno made her own
consistently reported the combined income of the expenditures, hired her own lawyers, on the premise that there is such an
conjugal partnership and then merely divided the same estate of Mrs. Hodges, and dealth with some of the properties, appearing in
equally between himself and the estate of the the name of Hodges, on the assumption that they actually correspond to the
deceased wife, and, more importantly, he also, as estate of Mrs. Hodges. All of these independent and separate actuations of
consistently, filed corresponding separate income tax the two administrators were invariably approved by the trial court upon
returns for each calendar year for each resulting half of submission. Eventually, the differences reached a point wherein Magno, who
such combined income, thus reporting that the estate was more cognizant than anyone else about the ins and outs of the
of Mrs. Hodges had its own income distinct from his businesses and properties of the deceased spouses because of her long and
own. intimate association with them, made it difficult for PCIB to perform normally
2. That when the court a quo happened to its functions as administrator separately from her. Thus, legal complications
inadvertently omit in its order probating the will of Mrs. arose and the present judicial controversies came about.
Hodges, the name of one of her brothers, Roy Higdon Predicating its position on the tenor of the orders of May 27 and December
then already deceased, Hodges lost no time in asking 14, 1957 as well as the approval by the court a quo of the annual statements
for the proper correction "in order that the heirs of of account of Hodges, PCIB holds to the view that the estate of Mrs. Hodges
deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe they has already been in effect closed with the virtual adjudication in the
were omitted, and that they were really interested in mentioned orders of her whole estate to Hodges, and that, therefore, Magno
the estate of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges". had already ceased since then to have any estate to administer and the
3. That in his aforementioned motion of December 11, brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges have no interests whatsoever in the
1957, he expressly stated that "deceased Linnie Jane estate left by Hodges. Mainly upon such theory, PCIB has come to this Court
Hodges died leaving no descendants or ascendants with a petition for certiorari and prohibition praying that the lower court's
except brothers and sisters and herein petitioner as orders allowing respondent Magno to continue acting as administratrix of the
the surviving spouse, to inherit the properties of the estate of Mrs. Hodges in Special Proceedings 1307 in the manner she has
decedent", thereby indicating that he was not been doing, as detailed earlier above, be set aside. Additionally, PCIB
excluding his wife's brothers and sisters from the maintains that the provision in Mrs. Hodges' will instituting her brothers and
inheritance. sisters in the manner therein specified is in the nature of a testamentary
4. That Hodges allegedly made statements and substitution, but inasmuch as the purported substitution is not, in its view, in
manifestations to the United States inheritance tax accordance with the pertinent provisions of the Civil Code, it is ineffective
authorities indicating that he had renounced his and may not be enforced. It is further contended that, in any event, inasmuch
inheritance from his wife in favor of her other heirs, as the Hodges spouses were both residents of the Philippines, following the
which attitude he is supposed to have reiterated or decision of this Court in Aznar vs. Garcia, or the case of Christensen, 7
ratified in an alleged affidavit subscribed and sworn to SCRA 95, the estate left by Mrs. Hodges could not be more than one-half of
here in the Philippines and in which he even her share of the conjugal partnership, notwithstanding the fact that she was
purportedly stated that his reason for so disclaiming citizen of Texas, U.S.A., in accordance with Article 16 in relation to Articles
and renouncing his rights under his wife's will was to 900 and 872 of the Civil Code. Initially, We issued a preliminary injunction
"absolve (him) or (his) estate from any liability for the against Magno and allowed PCIB to act alone.
payment of income taxes on income which has At the same time PCIB has appealed several separate orders of the trial
court approving individual acts of appellee Magno in her capacity as
administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, such as, hiring of lawyers for would anyway be in estoppel already to claim that the estate of Mrs. Hodges
specified fees and incurring expenses of administration for different purposes should be less than as contended by it now, for admissions by a party related
and executing deeds of sale in favor of her co-appellees covering properties to the effects of foreign laws, which have to be proven in our courts like any
which are still registered in the name of Hodges, purportedly pursuant to other controverted fact, create estoppel.
corresponding "contracts to sell" executed by Hodges. The said orders are In the process, We overrule PCIB's contention that the provision in Mrs.
being questioned on jurisdictional and procedural grounds directly or Hodges' will in favor of her brothers and sisters constitutes ineffective
indirectly predicated on the principal theory of appellant that all the properties hereditary substitutions. But neither are We sustaining, on the other hand,
of the two estates belong already to the estate of Hodges exclusively. Magno's pose that it gave Hodges only a lifetime usufruct. We hold that by
On the other hand, respondent-appellee Magno denies that the trial court's said provision, Mrs. Hodges simultaneously instituted her brothers and
orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957 were meant to be finally sisters as co-heirs with her husband, with the condition, however, that the
adjudicatory of the hereditary rights of Hodges and contends that they were latter would have complete rights of dominion over the whole estate during
no more than the court's general sanction of past and future acts of Hodges his lifetime and what would go to the former would be only the remainder
as executor of the will of his wife in due course of administration. As to the thereof at the time of Hodges' death. In other words, whereas they are not to
point regarding substitution, her position is that what was given by Mrs. inherit only in case of default of Hodges, on the other hand, Hodges was not
Hodges to her husband under the provision in question was a lifetime obliged to preserve anything for them. Clearly then, the essential elements of
usufruct of her share of the conjugal partnership, with the naked ownership testamentary substitution are absent; the provision in question is a simple
passing directly to her brothers and sisters. Anent the application of Article case of conditional simultaneous institution of heirs, whereby the institution of
16 of the Civil Code, she claims that the applicable law to the will of Mrs. Hodges is subject to a partial resolutory condition the operative contingency
Hodges is that of Texas under which, she alleges, there is no system of of which is coincidental with that of the suspensive condition of the institution
legitime, hence, the estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be less than her share or of his brothers and sisters-in-law, which manner of institution is not prohibited
one-half of the conjugal partnership properties. She further maintains that, in by law.
any event, Hodges had as a matter of fact and of law renounced his We also hold, however, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her
inheritance from his wife and, therefore, her whole estate passed directly to brothers and sisters could be more than just stated, but this would depend on
her brothers and sisters effective at the latest upon the death of Hodges. (1) whether upon the proper application of the principle of renvoi in relation to
In this decision, for the reasons discussed above, and upon the issues just Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, it will appear that
summarized, We overrule PCIB's contention that the orders of May 27, 1957 Hodges had no legitime as contended by Magno, and (2) whether or not it
and December 14, 1957 amount to an adjudication to Hodges of the estate can be held that Hodges had legally and effectively renounced his
of his wife, and We recognize the present existence of the estate of Mrs. inheritance from his wife. Under the circumstances presently obtaining and in
Hodges, as consisting of properties, which, while registered in that name of the state of the record of these cases, as of now, the Court is not in a
Hodges, do actually correspond to the remainder of the share of Mrs. position to make a final ruling, whether of fact or of law, on any of these two
Hodges in the conjugal partnership, it appearing that pursuant to the issues, and We, therefore, reserve said issues for further proceedings and
pertinent provisions of her will, any portion of said share still existing and resolution in the first instance by the court a quo, as hereinabove indicated.
undisposed of by her husband at the time of his death should go to her We reiterate, however, that pending such further proceedings, as matters
brothers and sisters share and share alike. Factually, We find that the proven stand at this stage, Our considered opinion is that it is beyond cavil that
circumstances relevant to the said orders do not warrant the conclusion that since, under the terms of the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband could not
the court intended to make thereby such alleged final adjudication. Legally, have anyway legally adjudicated or caused to be adjudicated to himself her
We hold that the tenor of said orders furnish no basis for such a conclusion, whole share of their conjugal partnership, albeit he could have disposed any
and what is more, at the time said orders were issued, the proceedings had part thereof during his lifetime, the resulting estate of Mrs. Hodges, of which
not yet reached the point when a final distribution and adjudication could be Magno is the uncontested administratrix, cannot be less than one-fourth of
made. Moreover, the interested parties were not duly notified that such the conjugal partnership properties, as of the time of her death, minus what,
disposition of the estate would be done. At best, therefore, said orders as explained earlier, have been gratuitously disposed of therefrom, by
merely allowed Hodges to dispose of portions of his inheritance in advance Hodges in favor of third persons since then, for even if it were assumed that,
of final adjudication, which is implicitly permitted under Section 2 of Rule 109, as contended by PCIB, under Article 16 of the Civil Code and
there being no possible prejudice to third parties, inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges applying renvoi the laws of the Philippines are the ones ultimately applicable,
had no creditors and all pertinent taxes have been paid. such one-fourth share would be her free disposable portion, taking into
More specifically, We hold that, on the basis of circumstances presently account already the legitime of her husband under Article 900 of the Civil
extant in the record, and on the assumption that Hodges' purported Code.
renunciation should not be upheld, the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by The foregoing considerations leave the Court with no alternative than to
her brothers and sisters consists of one-fourth of the community estate of the conclude that in predicating its orders on the assumption, albeit unexpressed
spouses at the time of her death, minus whatever Hodges had gratuitously therein, that there is an estate of Mrs. Hodges to be distributed among her
disposed of therefrom during the period from, May 23, 1957, when she died, brothers and sisters and that respondent Magno is the legal administratrix
to December 25, 1962, when he died provided, that with regard to thereof, the trial court acted correctly and within its jurisdiction. Accordingly,
remunerative dispositions made by him during the same period, the the petition for certiorari and prohibition has to be denied. The Court feels
proceeds thereof, whether in cash or property, should be deemed as however, that pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership and the
continuing to be part of his wife's estate, unless it can be shown that he had determination of the specific properties constituting her estate, the two
subsequently disposed of them gratuitously. administrators should act conjointly as ordered in the Court's resolution of
At this juncture, it may be reiterated that the question of what are the September 8, 1972 and as further clarified in the dispositive portion of its
pertinent laws of Texas and what would be the estate of Mrs. Hodges under decision.
them is basically one of fact, and considering the respective positions of the Anent the appeals from the orders of the lower court sanctioning payment by
parties in regard to said factual issue, it can already be deemed as settled for appellee Magno, as administratrix, of expenses of administration and
the purposes of these cases that, indeed, the free portion of said estate that attorney's fees, it is obvious that, with Our holding that there is such an
could possibly descend to her brothers and sisters by virtue of her will may estate of Mrs. Hodges, and for the reasons stated in the body of this opinion,
not be less than one-fourth of the conjugal estate, it appearing that the the said orders should be affirmed. This We do on the assumption We find
difference in the stands of the parties has reference solely to the legitime of justified by the evidence of record, and seemingly agreed to by appellant
Hodges, PCIB being of the view that under the laws of Texas, there is such a PCIB, that the size and value of the properties that should correspond to the
legitime of one-fourth of said conjugal estate and Magno contending, on the estate of Mrs. Hodges far exceed the total of the attorney's fees and
other hand, that there is none. In other words, hereafter, whatever might administration expenses in question.
ultimately appear, at the subsequent proceedings, to be actually the laws of With respect to the appeals from the orders approving transactions made by
Texas on the matter would no longer be of any consequence, since PCIB appellee Magno, as administratrix, covering properties registered in the
name of Hodges, the details of which are related earlier above, a distinction determination, and the corresponding complete segregation and partition of
must be made between those predicated on contracts to sell executed by the two estates in the proportions that may result from the said resolution.
Hodges before the death of his wife, on the one hand, and those premised Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the court a quo are
on contracts to sell entered into by him after her death. As regards the latter, directed to adhere henceforth, in all their actuations in Special Proceedings
We hold that inasmuch as the payments made by appellees constitute 1307 and 1672, to the views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the
proceeds of sales of properties belonging to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, as foregoing opinion.
may be implied from the tenor of the motions of May 27 and December 14, Appellant PCIB is ordered to pay, within five (5) days from notice hereof,
1957, said payments continue to pertain to said estate, pursuant to her intent thirty-one additional appeal docket fees, but this decision shall nevertheless
obviously reflected in the relevant provisions of her will, on the assumption become final as to each of the parties herein after fifteen (15) days from the
that the size and value of the properties to correspond to the estate of Mrs. respective notices to them hereof in accordance with the rules.
Hodges would exceed the total value of all the properties covered by the Costs against petitioner-appellant PCIB.
impugned deeds of sale, for which reason, said properties may be deemed Zaldivar, Castro, Esguerra and Fernandez, JJ., concur.
as pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. And there being no showing that Makasiar, Antonio, Muñoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur in the result.
thus viewing the situation, there would be prejudice to anyone, including the
government, the Court also holds that, disregarding procedural technicalities
in favor of a pragmatic and practical approach as discussed above, the
assailed orders should be affirmed. Being a stranger to the estate of Mrs. Separate Opinions
Hodges, PCIB has no personality to raise the procedural and jurisdictional
issues raised by it. And inasmuch as it does not appear that any of the other FERNANDO, J., concurring:
heirs of Mrs. Hodges or the government has objected to any of the orders I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
under appeal, even as to these parties, there exists no reason for said orders TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
to be set aside. I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition
DISPOSITIVE PART in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby orders of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.
rendered DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned
AFFIRMING, in G. R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one numbers by Mr. Justice Barredo decreeing the lifting of the Court's writ of preliminary
hereunder ordered to be added after payment of the corresponding docket injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on October 4, and December 6,
fees, all the orders of the trial court under appeal enumerated in detail on 19671 and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September 8,
pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this decision; the existence of the Testate 19722 which directed that petitioner-appellant PCIB as administrator of C. N.
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, (Charles Newton) Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-
as administratrix thereof is recognized, and it is declared that, until final appellee Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges' estate
judgment is ultimately rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) should act always conjointly never independently from
16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation obtaining in these each other, as such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force
cases and (2) the factual and legal issue of whether or not Charles Newton and made part of the judgment.
Hodges had effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under the will It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal
of Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-fourth of the contention in the cases at bar belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1,
community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the 1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges' death on May 23,
wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously 1957 and (over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death
disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until his death, provided, on December 25, 1962 — during which time both estates have
first, that with respect to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds thereof been pending settlement and distribution to the decedents' respective rightful
shall continue to be part of the wife's estate, unless subsequently disposed heirs all this time up to now) — that the probate court per its order of
of gratuitously to third parties by the husband, and second, that should the December 14, 1957 (supplementing an earlier order of May 25, 1957)3 in
purported renunciation be declared legally effective, no deductions granting C. N. Hodges' motion as Executor of his wife Linnie's estate
whatsoever are to be made from said estate; in consequence, the to continue their "business of buying and selling personal and real
preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967, as amended on October 4 and properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages"
December 6, 1967, is lifted, and the resolution of September 8, 1972, made and to be made by him as such executor under his obligation to submit
directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the Testate his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole heir of his wife's estate and
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1672, and nothing remains to be done except to formally close her estate (Sp. Proc. No.
respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate 1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1307, should act that nothing remains of it that may be adjudicated to her brothers and sisters
thenceforth always conjointly, never independently from each other, as such as her designated heirs after him,4 — is wholly untenable and deserves
administrators, is reiterated, and the same is made part of this judgment and scant consideration.
shall continue in force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in
the deceased spouses and the determination and segregation from each the day, this contention of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate
other of their respective estates, provided, that upon the finality of this estate of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate court's order of December 14,
judgment, the trial court should immediately proceed to the partition of the 1957 goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N. Hodges as
presently combined estates of the spouses, to the end that the one-half her executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and
share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and clearly identified; identity of his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his
thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the remainder of the one- own share of their conjugal partnership and estate and "never considered the
fourth herein adjudged to be her estate and cause the same to be turned whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself" during the
over or delivered to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special entire period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his
Proceedings 1307, while the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint own death on December 25, 19625 and against the identical acts and
administration of said respondent and petitioner under a joint proceedings in judicial admissions of PCIB as administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until
Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, whereas the half unquestionably PCIB sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to its sole
pertaining to Hodges shall be administered by petitioner exclusively in administration.
Special Proceedings 1672, without prejudice to the resolution by the trial PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated
court of the pending motions for its removal as administrator12; and this position contradictory to or inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as
arrangement shall be maintained until the final resolution of the two issues of well as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime and of whose estate
renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved for further hearing and PCIB is merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of
Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests half share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and
therein of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs in her will. clearly identified;
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate
court in Linnie Jane Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14, the remainder of the one-fourth herein adjudged to be
1957 as "null and void for having been issued without jurisdiction" must her estate and cause the same to be turned over or
therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and untenable delivered to respondent for her exclusive
contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which administration in Special Proceedings 1307, while
respondent Avelina Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix. the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint
PCIB's appeal7 from the probate court's various orders recognizing administrative of said respondent and petitioner under
respondent Magno as administratrix of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) a joint proceedings in Special Proceedings 1307 and
and sanctioning her acts of administration of said estate and approving the 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining
sales contracts executed by her with the various individual appellees, which to Hodges shall be administered by petitioner
involve basically the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
there still exists a separate estate of Linnie of which respondent-appellee prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of
Magno may continue to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail — a result thepending motions for its removal as administrator;
of the Court's main opinion at bar that there doesexist such an estate and And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final
that the two estates (husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by resolution of the two issues
their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno). of renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved for further
The dispositive portion of the main opinion hearing and determination, and the
The main opinion disposes that: corresponding completesegregation and partition of
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the two estates in the proportions that may result from
judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition the said resolution.
in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the
in G. R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one court a quo are directed to adhere henceforth, in all
numbers hereunder ordered to be added after their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and
payment of the corresponding docket fees, all the 1672, to the views passed and ruled upon by the Court
orders of the trial court under appeal enumerated in in the foregoing opinion.8
detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this decision: Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate:
The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane One-fourth of conjugal properties.
Hodges, with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie
as administratrix thereof is recognized, and Jane Hodges which shall pass to her brothers and sisters with right of
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated heirs declares that her
rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the
16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one-
obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and legal half of her estate as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and
issues of whether or not Charles Newton Hodges has legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of "one-fourth of the
effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the
the will of Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had
of one-fourthof the community properties of the said already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until
spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife on May his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions or
23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's
already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third death shall continue to be part of her estate unless subsequently disposed of
persons from said date until his death, provided, first, by him gratuitously to third parties subject to the condition, however, that if
that with respect to remunerative dispositions, the he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance under his
proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even
estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to if gratuitously are to be made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall
third parties by the husband, and second, that should pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs called in her
the purported renunciation be declared legally will to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N. Hodges.
effective, no deduction whatsoever are to be made Differences with the main opinion
from said estate; I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her
In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8, husband as her heir under her will "to have dominion over all her estate
1967, as amended on October 4 and December 6, during his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the properties ..."9 and that she
1967, is lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972, bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as
directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his
Administrator of the Testate Estate of Charles Newton lifetime, which means that while he could completely and absolutely dispose
Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, and respondent- of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was not
appellee Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his
Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges in Special death would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency,
Proceedings 1307, should act thenceforth inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance,
always conjointly, never independently from each although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically
other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event
same is made part of this judgment and shall continue of actual existence of any remainder of her estate then." 10
in force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie
partnership of the deceased spouses and Jane Hodges willed "full and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion"
the determination and segregation from each other of over her estate to her husband, but rather that she named her husband C. N.
their respective estates; provided, that upon the finality Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under
of this judgment, the trial court should immediately Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with
proceed to the partition of the presently combined a resolutory term whereunder his right to the succession ceased
estates of the spouses, to the end that the one- in diem upon arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December 25,
1962 and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a suspensive term The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates
whereunder their right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of herein involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims
the suspensive term of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962. of the parties were determined in these proceedings." It observes however
Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all that this cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence submitted by
remunerative dispositions made by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death the parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no
remain an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to her brothers clear and reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are.
and sisters, I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly Then also, the genuineness of the documents relied upon by respondent
make gratuitous dispositions of any part or all of his wife's estate — Magno [re Hodges' renunciation] is disputed." 12
"completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on
anyone other than himself" in the language of the main opinion, supra — and these two conflicting claims and issues which it deems "are not properly
thereby render ineffectual and nugatory her institution of her brothers and before the Court
sisters as her designated heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death now," 13 and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that
of (her) husband." If according to the main opinion, Hodges could not make remains to be settled in the further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in
such gratuitous "complete and absolute dispositions" of his wife Linnie's the court below is how much more than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs.
estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by the same token and rationale he Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of
was likewise proscribed by the will from making such dispositions of Linnie's Texas do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is
estate inter vivos. no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges has
I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges." 14
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the Suggested guidelines
partition and segregation of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down
community properties constituting Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate, and in consonance with the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the
which task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie Jane prompt settlement of the estates of deceased persons for the benefit of
Hodges' death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has creditors and those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance —
remained unliquidated up to now might take a similar number of years to considering that the estates have been long pending settlement since 1957
unravel with the numerous items, transactions and details of the sizable and 1962, respectively — it was felt that the Court should lay down specific
estates involved. guidelines for the guidance of the probate court towards the end that it may
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two expedite the closing of the protracted estates proceedings below to the
prejudicial questions of renvoi and renunciation were resolved favorably to mutual satisfaction of the heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party
Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should be held that C. N. Hodges is elevating its resolution of this only remaining issue once more to this Court
not entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally and dragging out indefinitely the proceedings.
renounced his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the
not only of the minimum one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community resolution of the two questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether
properties of the Hodges spouses, which would require again the partition C. N. Hodges can claim a legitime and whether he had renounced the
and segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court without reaching a
to complete Linnie's separate estate. consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in
My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, this case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be
effects and consequences of the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings hereinafter to be held
Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach a solution of the for the purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges
pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated will." 15
not appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing
heirs and should therefore be promptly settled now after all these years the nature, effects and consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary
without any further undue complications and delays and distributed to the dispositions in relation to her conjugal partnership and co-ownership of
heirs for their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the end results,
been reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the
concisely as possible with the sole end in view that they may be of some probate court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not
assistance to the probate court and the parties in reaching an expeditious entitled to claim a legitime of one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that
closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses. he had or had not effectively and validly renounced his inheritance should
Two Assumptions help clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving
As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth
as one-fourth of the conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most of the community properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally
favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his heirs, namely (1) that the probate determined should be awarded as the separate estate of Linnie, particularly
court must accept the renvoi or "reference back" 11 allegedly provided by the since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a consensus
laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens) of the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to
whereby the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges state, represent the personal opinion and views of the writer:
spouses would govern their succession notwithstanding the provisions of 1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges'
Article 16 of our Civil Code (which provides that the national law of the own inventory submitted by him as executor of the estate of his wife,
decedents, in this case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the spouses
result that her estate would consist of no more than one-fourth of the have equal shares therein." 16
conjugal properties since the legitime of her husband (the other one-fourth of 2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dissolution
said conjugal properties or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our thereby of the marriage, the law imposed upon Hodges as surviving husband
Civil Code) could not then be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by the duty of inventorying, administering and liquidating the conjugal or
her and (2) that C.N. Hodges had not effectively and legally renounced his community property. 17 Hodges failed to discharge this duty of liquidating the
inheritance under his wife's will. conjugal partnership and estate. On the contrary, he sought and obtained
These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee authorization from the probate court
Magno as Mrs. Hodges' administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real and
Texas governs her succession and does not provide for and legitime, hence, personal properties.
her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the whole of her share of In his annual accounts submitted to the probate court as executor of Mrs.
the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event, Hodges' estate, Hodges thus consistentlyreported the
Hodges had totally renounced all his rights under the will. considerable combined income (in six figures) of the conjugal partnership or
coownership and then divided the same equally between himself and Mrs. heirs designated with him and that it was his "intention (as) surviving
Hodges' estate and as consistently filed separate income tax returns and husband of the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of
paid the income taxes for each resulting half of such combined income the deceased in their community estate to the devisee and legatees named
corresponding to his own and to Mrs. Hodges' estate. 18 (Parenthetically, he in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration
could not in law do this, had he adjudicated Linnie's entire estate to himself, are finally determined and paid;" 27 and
thus supporting the view advanced even in the main opinion that The affidavit of ratification of such renunciation (which places him
"Hodges waived not only his rights to the fruits but to the properties in estoppel) allegedly executed on August 9, 1962 by C. N. Hodges in Iloilo
themselves." 19 City wherein he reaffirmed that "... on August 8, 1958, I renounced and
By operation of the law of trust 20 as well as by his own acknowledgment and disclaimed any and all right to receive the rents, emoluments and income
acts, therefore, all transactions made by Hodges after his wife's death were from said estate" and further declared that "(T)he purpose of this affidavit is
deemed for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership to ratify and confirm, and I do hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made
and community estate and were so reported and treated by him. in schedule M of said return and hereby formally disclaim and renounce any
3. With this premise established that all transactions of Hodges after his right on my part to receive any of the said rents, emoluments and
wife's death were for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership income from the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This
and community estate, share and share alike, it should be clear that affidavit is made to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the
no gratuitousdispositions, if any, made by C. N. Hodges from his wife payment of income taxes on income which has accrued to the estate
Linnie's estate should be deducted from her separateestate as held in the of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on
main opinion. On the contrary, any such gratuitous dispositions should be May 23, 1957." 28
charged to his own share of the conjugal estate since he had no authority or (b) On the question of renvoi, all that remains for the probate court to do is to
right to make any gratuitous dispositions of Linnie's properties to formally receive in evidence duly authenticated copies of the laws of the
the prejudice of her brothers and sisters whom she called to her succession State of Texas governing the succession of Linnie Jane Hodges and her
upon his death, not to mention that the very authority obtained by him from husband C. N. Hodges as citizens of said State at the time of their respective
the probate court per its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957 was deaths on May 23, 1957 and December 25, 1962. 29
to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real 6. The text and tenor of the declarations by C. N. Hodges of renunciation of
properties for the account of their unliquidated conjugal estate and co- his inheritance from his wife in favor of her other named heirs in her will (her
ownership, share and share alike and not to make any free dispositions of brothers and sisters and their respective heirs) as ratified and
Linnie's estate. reiterated expressly in his affidavit of renunciation executed four years later
4. All transactions as well after the death on December 25, 1962 of Hodges for the avowed purpose of not being held liable for payment of income taxes
himself appear perforce and necessarily to have been conducted, on the on income which has accrued to his wife's estate since her death indicate a
same premise, for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal valid and effective renunciation.
partnership and/or co-ownership, share and share alike — since the conjugal Once the evidence has been formally admitted and its genuineness and legal
partnership remained unliquidated — which is another way of saying that effectivity established by the probate court, the renunciation by C. N. Hodges
such transactions, purchases and sales, mostly the latter, must be deemed must be given due effect with the result that C. N. Hodges therefore
in effect to have been made for the respective estates of C. N. Hodges and acquired no part of his wife's one-half share of the community properties
of his wife Linnie Jane Hodges, as both estates continued to have an equal since he removed himself as an heir by virtue of his renunciation. By simple
stake and share in the conjugal partnership which was not only substitution then under Articles 857 and 859 of our Civil Code 30 and by
left unliquidated but continued as a co-ownership or joint business with the virtue of the will's institution of heirs, since "the heir originally instituted C. N.
probate court's approval by Hodges during the five-year period that he Hodges) does not become an heir" 31 by force of his renunciation, Mrs.
survived his wife. Hodges' brothers and sisters whom she designated as her heirs upon her
This explains the probate court's action of requiring that deeds of sale husband's death are called immediately to her succession.
executed by PCIB as Hodges' estate's administrator be "signed jointly" by Consequently, the said community and conjugal properties would then
respondent Magno as Mrs. Hodges' estate's administratrix, as well as its pertain pro indiviso share and share alike to their respective estates, with
order authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges each estate, however, shouldering its own expenses of administration, estate
to either estate, since "there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor and inheritance taxes, if any remain unpaid, attorneys' fees and other like
distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto." 22 expenses and the net remainder to be adjudicated directly to the decedents'
And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued respective brothers and sisters (and their heirs) as the heirs duly designated
conjoint administration by the administrators of the two estates of the in their respective wills. The question of renvoi becomes immaterial since
deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the conjugal most laws and our laws permit such renunciation of inheritance.
partnership," 23since "it is but logical that both estates should be 7. If there were no renunciation (or the same may somehow be declared to
administered jointly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation have not been valid and effective) by C. N. Hodges of his inheritance from
from each other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince his wife, however, what would be the consequence?
a determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. (a) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do provide for renvoi or
Hodges from their inheritance."24 5.Antly by the representatives of both, "reference back" to Philippine law as the domiciliary law of the Hodges'
pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the spouses governing their succession, then petitioners' view that Mrs. Hodges'
actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to estate would consist only of the minimum of "one-fourth of the community
exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance." 24 properties of the said spouses, as of the time of (her) death on May 23,
5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved 1957" would have to be sustained and C. N. Hodges' estate would consist
issue of how much more than the minimum of one-fourth of the community or of three-fourths of the community properties, comprising his own one-half (or
conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses pertains to Mrs. Hodges' estate two-fourths) share and the other fourth of Mrs. Hodges' estate as the legitime
depends on the twin questions of renunciation and renvoi. It directed granted him as surviving spouse by Philippine law (Article 900 of the Civil
consequently that "a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein Code) which could not be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by
involved" be held by the probate court for the reception of "further evidence" Mrs. Hodges as testatrix.
in order to finally resolved these twin questions. 25 (b) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do not provide for
(a) On the question of renunciation, it is believed that all that the probate such renvoi and respondent Magno's assertion is correct that the Texas law
court has to do is to receive formally in evidence the various documents which would then prevail, provides for no legitime for C. N. Hodges as the
annexed to respondent Magno's answer at bar, 26 namely: Copy of the U.S. surviving spouse, then respondent Magno's assertion that Mrs. Hodges'
Estate Tax Return filed on August 8, 1958 by C. N. Hodges for his wife estate would consist of one-half of the community properties (with the other
Linnie's estate wherein he purportedly declared that he was renouncing his half pertaining to C. N. Hodges) would have to be sustained. The community
inheritance under his wife's will in favor of her brothers and sisters as co- and conjugal properties would then pertain share and share alike to their
respective estates, with each estate shouldering its own expenses of Roman and Nimroy Higdon;" 39 and that "(I)n case of the death of any of my
administration in the same manner stated in the last paragraph of paragraph brothers and/or sisters ...prior to the death of my husband ... the heirs of
6 hereof. . such deceased brother or sister shall take jointly the share which would have
8. As to the nature of the institution of heirs made by Mrs. Hodges in her will, gone to such brother or sister had she or he survived." 40
the main opinion holds that "(T)he brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges Such provisions are wholly consistent with the view already fully expounded
are not substitutes for Hodges; rather, they are also heirs above that all transactions and sales made by Hodges after his wife Linnie's
instituted simultaneously with Hodges," but goes further and holds that "it death were by operation of the law of trust as well as
was not the usufruct alone of her estate ... that she bequeathed to by his own acknowledgment and acts deemed for and on behalf of
Hodges during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof, although the same their unliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and
was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no share alike, with the express authorization of the probate court per its orders
restriction against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion of May 25, and December 14, 1957 granting Hodges' motion to continue the
thereof anybody other than himself" and describes Hodges "as universal and conjugal partnership business of buying and selling real estate even after her
sole heir with absolute dominion over Mrs. Hodges' estate (except over their death. By the same token, Hodges could not conceivably be deemed to have
Lubbock, Texas property ), 32 adding that "Hodges was not obliged to had any authority or right to dispose gratuitously of any portion of her estate
preserve anything for them" (referring to Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters to whose succession she had called her brothers and sisters upon his death.
as instituted co-heirs). 33 9. Such institutions of heirs with a term are expressly recognized and
Contrary to this view of the main opinion, the writer submits that the permitted under Book III, Chapter 2, section 4 of our Civil Code dealing with
provisions of Mrs. Hodges' will did not grant to C.N. Hodges "full ownership" "conditional testamentary dispositions and testamentary dispositions with a
nor "absolute dominion" over her estate, such that he could as "universal and term." 41
sole heir" by the mere expedient of gratuitously disposing to third persons Thus, Article 885 of our Civil Code expressly provides that:
her whole estate during his lifetime nullify her institution of her brothers and ART 885. The designation of the day or time when the
sisters as his co-heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) effects of the institution of an heir shall commence or
husband," deprive them of any inheritance and make his own brothers and cease shall be valid.
sisters in effect sole heirs not only of his own estate but of his wife's estate In both cases, the legal heir shall be considered as
as well. called to the succession until the arrival of the period
Thus, while Linnie Jane Hodges did not expressly name her brothers and or its expiration. But in the first case he shall not enter
sisters as substitutes for Hodges because she willed that they would enter into possession of the property until after having given
into the succession upon his death, still it cannot be gainsaid, as the main sufficient security, with the intervention of the instituted
opinion concedes, "that they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with heir.
Hodges, subject however to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Accordingly, under the terms of Mrs. Hodges' will, her husband's right to the
Hodges was concerned and correspondingly suspensive with reference to succession as the instituted heir ceased in diem, i.e. upon the arrival of
his brothers and sisters-in-law." 34 the resolutory term of his death on December 25, 1962, while her brothers'
Hence, if Hodges is found to have validly renounced his inheritance, there and sisters' right to the succession also as instituted heirs commenced ex
would be a substitution of heirs in fact and in law since Linnie's brothers and die, i.e. upon the expiration of the suspensive term (as far as they were
sisters as the heirs "simultaneously instituted" with a suspensive term would concerned) of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962 . 42
be called immediately to her succession instead of waiting for the arrival As stated in Padilla's treatise on the Civil Code, "A term is a period whose
of suspensive term of Hodges' death, since as the heir originally instituted he arrival is certain although the exact date thereof may be uncertain. A term
does not become an heir by force of his renunciation and therefore they may have either a suspensive or a resolutory effect. The designation of the
would "enter into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted" day when the legacy "shall commence" is ex die, or a term with a suspensive
(Hodges) under the provisions of Article 857 and 859 of our Civil effect, from a certain day. The designation of the day when the legacy "shall
Code, supra, 35 thus accelerating their succession to her estate as a cease" is in diem or a term with a resolutory effect, until a certain day." He
consequence of Hodges' renunciation. adds that "A legacy based upon a certain age or upon the death of a person
Consequently, Linnie Jane Hodges willed that her husband C.N. Hodges is not a condition but a term. If the arrival of the term would commence the
would "during his natural lifetime ... manage, control, use and enjoy said right of the heir, it is suspensive. If the arrival of the term would terminate his
estate" and that only "all rents, emoluments and income" alone shall belong right, it is resolutory" and that "upon the arrival of the period, in case of a
to him. She further willed that while he could sell and purchase properties of suspensive term, the instituted heir is entitled to the succession, and in case
her estate, and "use any part of the principal estate," such principal of a resolutory term, his right terminates." 43
notwithstanding "any changes in the physical properties of said estate"(i.e. 10. The sizable estates herein involved have now been pending settlement
new properties acquired or exchanged) would still pertain to her estate, for a considerably protracted period (of seventeen years counted from
which at the time of his death would pass in full dominion to her brothers and Linnie's death in 1957), and all that is left to be done is to resolve
sisters as the ultimate sole and universal heirs of her estate. 36 the only remaining issue (involving the two questions
The testatrix Linnie Jane Hodges in her will thus principally provided that "I of renunciation and renvoi) hereinabove discussed in order to close up the
give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estates and finally effect distribution to the deceased spouses' respective
estate, both personal and real ... to my beloved husband, Charles Newton brothers and sisters and their heirs as the heirs duly instituted in their wills
Hodges, to have and to hold with him ... during his natural lifetime;" 37 that long admitted to probate. Hence, it is advisable for said instituted heirs and
"(he) shall have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said their heirs in turn 44 to come to terms for the adjudication and distribution to
estate during his lifetime, ... to make any changes in the physical them pro-indiviso of the up to now unliquidated community properties of the
properties of said estate, by sale ... and the purchase of any other or estates of the Hodges spouses (derived from their unliquidated conjugal
additional property as he may think best ... . All rents, partnership) rather than to get bogged down with the formidable task
emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to him and he is of physically segregating and partitioning the two estates with the numerous
further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may transactions, items and details and physical changes of properties involved.
need or desire, ... he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the The estates proceedings would thus be closed and they could then name
improved property now owned by us, located at ... City of Lubbock, Texas ... their respective attorneys-in-fact to work out the details of segregating,
. He shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell lots therein, and dividing or partitioning the unliquidated community properties or liquidating
may sell unimproved town lots;" 38 that "(A)t the death of my said husband, them — which can be done then on their own without further need of
Charles Newton, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and intervention on the part of the probate court as well as allow them meanwhile
remainder of my estate, both personal and real, ... to be equally to enjoy and make use of the income and cash and liquid assets of the
divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike, namely: Esta estates in such manner as may be agreed upon between them.
Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era
Such a settlement or modus vivendi between the heirs of the unliquidated appealed orders approving and sanctioning respondent Magno's sales
two estates for the mutual benefit of all of them should not prove difficult, contracts and acts of administration, some doubt would arise as to the
considering that it appears as stated in the main opinion that 22.968149% of propriety of the main opinion requiring the payment by PCIB of thirty-one
the share or undivided estate of C. N. Hodges have already been acquired (31) additional appeal docket fees. This doubt is further enhanced by the
by the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges from certain heirs of her husband, while question of whether it would make the cost of appeal unduly expensive or
certain other heirs representing 17.34375% of Hodges' estate were joining prohibitive by requiring the payment of a separate appeal docket fee for each
cause with Linnie's heirs in their pending and unresolved motion for the incidental order questioned when the resolution of all such incidental
removal of petitioner PCIB as administrator of Hodges' estate, 45 apparently questioned orders involve basically one and the same main issue (in this
impatient with the situation which has apparently degenerated into a running case, the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and can be
battle between the administrators of the two estates to the common prejudice more expeditiously resolved or determined in a single special civil action" (for
of all the heirs. which a single docket fee is required) as stated in the main
11. As earlier stated, the writer has taken the pain of suggesting these opinion. 51 Considering the importance of the basic issues and the magnitude
guidelines which may serve to guide the probate court as well as the parties of the estates involved, however, the writer has pro hac vice given his
towards expediting the winding up and closing of the estates and the concurrence to the assessment of the said thirty-one (31) additional appeal
distribution of the net estates to the instituted heirs and their successors duly docket fees.
entitled thereto. The probate court should exert all effort towards this desired MAKALINTAL, C.J., concurring:
objective pursuant to the mandate of our probate law, bearing in mind the I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Teehankee, which in turn agrees
Court's admonition in previous cases that "courts of first instance should with the dispositive portion of the main opinion of Justice Barredo insofar as
exert themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they it dismisses the petition for certiorari and prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-
are presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors 27896 and affirms the appealed orders of the probate court in cases L-
and administrators who do not actively labor to that end, and they may even 27936-37.
adopt harsher measures." 46 However, I wish to make one brief observation for the sake of accuracy.
Timeliness of appeals and imposition of Regardless of whether or not C. N. Hodges was entitled to a legitime in his
thirty-one (31) additional docket fees deceased wife's estate — which question, still to be decided by the said
Two appeals were docketed with this Court, as per the two records on probate court, may depend upon what is the law of Texas and upon its
appeal submitted (one with a green cover and the other with a yellow cover). applicability in the present case — the said estate consists of one-half, not
As stated at the outset, these appeals involve basically the same primal one-fourth, of the conjugal properties. There is neither a minimum of one-
issue raised in the petition for certiorari as to whether there still exists a fourth nor a maximum beyond that. It is important to bear this in mind
separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which has to continue to be because the estate of Linnie Hodges consists of her share in the conjugal
administered by respondent Magno. Considering the main opinion's ruling in properties, is still under administration and until now has not been distributed
the affirmative and that her estate and that of her husband (since they jointly by order of the court.
comprise unliquidated community properties) must be The reference in both the main and separate opinions to a one-fourth portion
administered conjointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno), of the conjugal properties as Linnie Hodges' minimum share is a misnomer
the said appeals (involving thirty-three different orders of the probate court and is evidently meant only to indicate that if her husband should eventually
approving sales contracts and other acts of administration executed and be declared entitled to a legitime, then the disposition made by Linnie
performed by respondent Magno on behalf of Linnie's estate) have been Hodges in favor of her collateral relatives would be valid only as to one-half
necessarily overruled by the Court's decision at bar. of her share, or one-fourth of the conjugal properties, since the remainder,
(a) The "priority question" raised by respondent Magno as to the patent which constitutes such legitime, would necessarily go to her husband in
failure of the two records on appeal to show on their face and state the absolute ownership, unburdened by any substitution, term or condition,
material data that the appeals were timely taken within the 30-day resolutory or otherwise. And until the estate is finally settled and adjudicated
reglamentary period as required by Rule 41, section 6 of the Rules of Court, to the heirs who may be found entitled to it, the administration must continue
has been brushed aside by the main opinion with the statement that it is "not to cover Linnie's entire conjugal share.
necessary to pass upon the timeliness of any of said appeals" since they
"revolve around practically the same main issues and ... it is admitted that
some of them have been timely taken." 47 The main opinion thus proceeded Separate Opinions
with the determination of the thirty-three appealed orders despite the grave FERNANDO, J., concurring:
defect of the appellant PCIB's records on appeal and their failure to state the I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
required material data showing the timeliness of the appeals. TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
Such disposition of the question of timeliness deemed as "mandatory and I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition
jurisdictional" in a number of cases merits the writer's concurrence in that the in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed
question raised has been subordinated to the paramount considerations of orders of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.
substantial justice and a "liberal interpretation of the rules" applied so as not I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned
to derogate and detract from the primary intent and purpose of the by Mr. Justice Barredo decreeing the lifting of the Court's writ of preliminary
rules, viz "the proper and just determination of a litigation"48 — which calls for injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on October 4, and December 6,
"adherence to a liberal construction of the procedural rules in order to attain 19671 and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September 8,
their objective of substantial justice and of avoiding denials of substantial 19722 which directed that petitioner-appellant PCIB as administrator of C. N.
justice due to procedural technicalities." 49 (Charles Newton) Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-
Thus, the main opinion in consonance with the same paramount appellee Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges' estate
considerations of substantial justice has likewise overruled respondents' (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) should act always conjointly never independently from
objection to petitioner's taking the recourse of "the present remedy each other, as such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force
of certiorari and prohibition" — "despite the conceded availability of appeal" and made part of the judgment.
— on the ground that "there is a common thread among the basic issues It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal
involved in all these thirty-three appeals — (which) deal with practically the contention in the cases at bar belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1,
same basic issues that can be more expeditiously resolved or determined in 1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges' death on May 23,
a single special civil action . . . " 50 1957 and (over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death
(b) Since the basic issues have been in effect resolved in the special civil on December 25, 1962 — during which time both estates have
action at bar (as above stated) with the dismissal of the petition by virtue of been pending settlement and distribution to the decedents' respective rightful
the Court's judgment as to the continued existence of a separate estate of heirs all this time up to now) — that the probate court per its order of
Linnie Jane Hodges and the affirmance as a necessary consequence of the December 14, 1957 (supplementing an earlier order of May 25, 1957)3 in
granting C. N. Hodges' motion as Executor of his wife Linnie's estate persons from said date until his death, provided, first,
to continue their "business of buying and selling personal and real that with respect to remunerative dispositions, the
properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages" proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's
made and to be made by him as such executor under his obligation to submit estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to
his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole heir of his wife's estate and third parties by the husband, and second, that should
nothing remains to be done except to formally close her estate (Sp. Proc. No. the purported renunciation be declared legally
1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so effective, no deduction whatsoever are to be made
that nothing remains of it that may be adjudicated to her brothers and sisters from said estate;
as her designated heirs after him,4 — is wholly untenable and deserves In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8,
scant consideration. 1967, as amended on October 4 and December 6,
Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in 1967, is lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972,
the day, this contention of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate court's order of December 14, Administrator of the Testate Estate of Charles Newton
1957 goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N. Hodges as Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, and respondent-
her executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and appellee Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the
identity of his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges in Special
own share of their conjugal partnership and estate and "never considered the Proceedings 1307, should act thenceforth
whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself" during the always conjointly, never independently from each
entire period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the
own death on December 25, 19625 and against the identical acts and same is made part of this judgment and shall continue
judicial admissions of PCIB as administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until in force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal
PCIB sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to its sole partnership of the deceased spouses and
administration. the determination and segregation from each other of
PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated their respective estates; provided, that upon the finality
position contradictory to or inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as of this judgment, the trial court should immediately
well as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime and of whose estate proceed to the partition of the presently combined
PCIB is merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of estates of the spouses, to the end that the one-
Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests half share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and
therein of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs in her will. clearly identified;
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate
court in Linnie Jane Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14, the remainder of the one-fourth herein adjudged to be
1957 as "null and void for having been issued without jurisdiction" must her estate and cause the same to be turned over or
therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and untenable delivered to respondent for her exclusive
contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which administration in Special Proceedings 1307, while
respondent Avelina Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix. the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint
PCIB's appeal7 from the probate court's various orders recognizing administrative of said respondent and petitioner under
respondent Magno as administratrix of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) a joint proceedings in Special Proceedings 1307 and
and sanctioning her acts of administration of said estate and approving the 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining
sales contracts executed by her with the various individual appellees, which to Hodges shall be administered by petitioner
involve basically the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
there still exists a separate estate of Linnie of which respondent-appellee prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of
Magno may continue to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail — a result thepending motions for its removal as administrator;
of the Court's main opinion at bar that there doesexist such an estate and And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final
that the two estates (husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by resolution of the two issues
their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno). of renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved for further
The dispositive portion of the main opinion hearing and determination, and the
The main opinion disposes that: corresponding completesegregation and partition of
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, the two estates in the proportions that may result from
judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition the said resolution.
in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the
in G. R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one court a quo are directed to adhere henceforth, in all
numbers hereunder ordered to be added after their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and
payment of the corresponding docket fees, all the 1672, to the views passed and ruled upon by the Court
orders of the trial court under appeal enumerated in in the foregoing opinion.8
detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this decision: Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate:
The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane One-fourth of conjugal properties.
Hodges, with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie
as administratrix thereof is recognized, and Jane Hodges which shall pass to her brothers and sisters with right of
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated heirs declares that her
rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the
16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one-
obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and legal half of her estate as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and
issues of whether or not Charles Newton Hodges has legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of "one-fourth of the
effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the
the will of Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had
of one-fourthof the community properties of the said already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until
spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife on May his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions or
23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's
already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third death shall continue to be part of her estate unless subsequently disposed of
by him gratuitously to third parties subject to the condition, however, that if heirs for their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have
he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance under his been reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as
wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even concisely as possible with the sole end in view that they may be of some
if gratuitously are to be made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall assistance to the probate court and the parties in reaching an expeditious
pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs called in her closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses.
will to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N. Hodges. Two Assumptions
Differences with the main opinion As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate
I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her as one-fourth of the conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most
husband as her heir under her will "to have dominion over all her estate favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his heirs, namely (1) that the probate
during his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the properties ..."9 and that she court must accept the renvoi or "reference back" 11 allegedly provided by the
bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens)
universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his whereby the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges
lifetime, which means that while he could completely and absolutely dispose spouses would govern their succession notwithstanding the provisions of
of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was not Article 16 of our Civil Code (which provides that the national law of the
free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his decedents, in this case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the
death would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency, result that her estate would consist of no more than one-fourth of the
inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance, conjugal properties since the legitime of her husband (the other one-fourth of
although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically said conjugal properties or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our
become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event Civil Code) could not then be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by
of actual existence of any remainder of her estate then." 10 her and (2) that C.N. Hodges had not effectively and legally renounced his
As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie inheritance under his wife's will.
Jane Hodges willed "full and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion" These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee
over her estate to her husband, but rather that she named her husband C. N. Magno as Mrs. Hodges' administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of
Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under Texas governs her succession and does not provide for and legitime, hence,
Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the whole of her share of
a resolutory term whereunder his right to the succession ceased the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event,
in diem upon arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December 25, Hodges had totally renounced all his rights under the will.
1962 and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a suspensive term The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates
whereunder their right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of herein involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims
the suspensive term of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962. of the parties were determined in these proceedings." It observes however
Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all that this cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence submitted by
remunerative dispositions made by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death the parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no
remain an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to her brothers clear and reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are.
and sisters, I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly Then also, the genuineness of the documents relied upon by respondent
make gratuitous dispositions of any part or all of his wife's estate — Magno [re Hodges' renunciation] is disputed." 12
"completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on
anyone other than himself" in the language of the main opinion, supra — and these two conflicting claims and issues which it deems "are not properly
thereby render ineffectual and nugatory her institution of her brothers and before the Court
sisters as her designated heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death now," 13 and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that
of (her) husband." If according to the main opinion, Hodges could not make remains to be settled in the further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in
such gratuitous "complete and absolute dispositions" of his wife Linnie's the court below is how much more than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs.
estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by the same token and rationale he Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of
was likewise proscribed by the will from making such dispositions of Linnie's Texas do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is
estate inter vivos. no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges has
I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges." 14
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the Suggested guidelines
partition and segregation of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down
community properties constituting Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate, and in consonance with the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the
which task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie Jane prompt settlement of the estates of deceased persons for the benefit of
Hodges' death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has creditors and those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance —
remained unliquidated up to now might take a similar number of years to considering that the estates have been long pending settlement since 1957
unravel with the numerous items, transactions and details of the sizable and 1962, respectively — it was felt that the Court should lay down specific
estates involved. guidelines for the guidance of the probate court towards the end that it may
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two expedite the closing of the protracted estates proceedings below to the
prejudicial questions of renvoi and renunciation were resolved favorably to mutual satisfaction of the heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party
Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should be held that C. N. Hodges is elevating its resolution of this only remaining issue once more to this Court
not entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally and dragging out indefinitely the proceedings.
renounced his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the
not only of the minimum one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community resolution of the two questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether
properties of the Hodges spouses, which would require again the partition C. N. Hodges can claim a legitime and whether he had renounced the
and segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court without reaching a
to complete Linnie's separate estate. consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in
My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, this case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be
effects and consequences of the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings hereinafter to be held
Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach a solution of the for the purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges
pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated will." 15
not appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing
heirs and should therefore be promptly settled now after all these years the nature, effects and consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary
without any further undue complications and delays and distributed to the dispositions in relation to her conjugal partnership and co-ownership of
properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the end results, order authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges
depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the to either estate, since "there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor
probate court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto." 22
entitled to claim a legitime of one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued
he had or had not effectively and validly renounced his inheritance should conjoint administration by the administrators of the two estates of the
help clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the conjugal
the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth partnership," 23since "it is but logical that both estates should be
of the community properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally administered jointly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation
determined should be awarded as the separate estate of Linnie, particularly from each other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince
since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a consensus a determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs.
of the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to Hodges from their inheritance."24 5.Antly by the representatives of both,
state, represent the personal opinion and views of the writer: pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the
1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges' actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to
own inventory submitted by him as executor of the estate of his wife, exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance." 24
practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the spouses 5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved
have equal shares therein." 16 issue of how much more than the minimum of one-fourth of the community or
2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dis