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Lim v. Diaz-Millares
Quickie: Nephew v supposed widow over administration. Shown to have some liabilities to Basilisa and to the estate as a whole, Cirilo can not compatibly perform the duties of an administrator. In this jurisdiction, one is considered to be unsuitable for appointment as administrator when he has adverse interest of some kind or hostility to those immediately interested in the estate. Nature: Certified case from CA Facts: Cirilo Lim, claiming to be a nephew of the late Jose Millarez who died intestate filed with the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental apetition for his appointment as judicial administrator of the estate of the deceased. Petition: that the deceased left no relatives such as descendants, ascendants or surviving spouse, except collaterals. Basilisa Diaz-Millarez, claiming to be a widow of the late Jose Millarez, filedan opposition on two grounds: that the petitioner has an adverse interest in the estate; and that the properties of the estate are the subject matter of a litigation between her as plaintiff and Cirilo Lim as defendant in Civil Case No. 2986.Trial of the case was postponed several times. When the case was called for hearing on March7, 1959, both parties manifested the existence of a litigation between them over the propertiesof the estate. trial court : expediente is ordered dismissed. Failing in his motion for the reconsideration of this order, the petitioner, Cirilo Lim, brought thecase to the Court of Appeals but that court has certified the appeal to SC Meanwhile, the civil case between the parties which was also elevated to the Court of Appeals(CA-G.R. 24561-R) was decided. CA: Accordingly, the judgment a quo is set aside and the records of this case are hereby remanded to the court a quo with instructions (1) that it appoint a qualified certified public accountant to examine with painstaking care the documentary evidence presented and to determine how much over and above the amount of P12,500 was invested by the late Jose Millarez and the plaintiff in the tobacco business together with the defendant Lim, and to assess the extent of the profits and gains derived from such investment; (2) to admit such other evidence as the court may consider material and relevant; and (3) to render judgment anew on the basis of the examination to be conducted by the qualified certified public accountant and such fu rther evidence, if any, as shall be presented, adjudicating in favor of the plaintiff Basilan Diaz-Millarez1/2 of the capital and 1/2 of the profits and gains derived therefrom that property pertain to the late Jose Millarez after the accounting shall have been accomplished. Issue/ Held: WON Cirilo can be an administrator of the estate- NO

18 SCRA 371 (1966)


Ratio: From what appears above, the claim which Basilisa has against Cirilo in the civil case supposed to be now again pending in the trial court, is based on her declared right to one-half of the estate of the deceased. It cannot, therefore, be denied that Cirilo Lim, as a relative of the deceased has some interest adverse to that of Basilisa. Shown to have some liabilities to Basilisa and to the estate as a whole, Cirilo can not compatibly perform the duties of an administrator. In this jurisdiction, one is considered to be unsuitable for appointment as administrator when he has adverse interest of some kind or hostility to those immediately interested in the estate. (Siocavs. Garcia, 44 Phil. 711; Arevalo vs. Bustamante, 69 Phil. 656). The determination of a person's suitability for the office of judicial administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound judgment of the court exercising the power of appointment and said judgment is not to be interfered with on appeal unless the said court is clearly in error. (Sioca vs.Garcia,)

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Medina et. al. v. CA


Teehankee, J. Quickie: AGUSTIN Medina died. He left several heirs, two of which are his children SERAFIN and ROSALIA (petitioners). ROSALIA had previously bought a parcel of rice land (a.k.a Bitukang Manok property) belonging to AGUSTINs estate during the pendency of the settlement of his estate, sold by then special administrator (DEMETRIO) and with the approval the CFI. Meanwhile, the other children-heirs of AGUSTIN (siblings of SERAFIN and ROSALIA) assigned their hereditary rights to the estate to private respondent BEDA Gonzales. Thereafter, BEDA (in his personal capacity as assigneesubrogee to the hereditary rights of the other children-heirs of AGUSTIN) questioned the sale of the Bitukang Manok property by the estate to ROSALIA. He lost at the CFI. So he appealed and as of resolution of this case, such appeal was pending before the CA. In the meantime, DEMETRIO got ousted as special administrator of AGUSTINs estate. Clerk of CFI temporarily replaced him as special administrator, until, by some twist of fate, BEDAs petition to be appointed as administrator of AGUSTIN estate was partially approved by the CFI, whereupon he was named the new special administrator of AGUSTINs estate. CFI stressed that BEDAs appointment as special administrator was for the purpose of expediting the settlement of the estate which has been dragging on for 13 years, to put an end to the protracted proceeding once and for all. While acting as such special administrator, BEDA has repeatedly interfered in the possession of the Bitukang Manok property by ROSALIA and meddled with the enjoyment by ROSALIA of the harvest therefrom. Irked, ROSALIA sought BEDAs replacement as administrator of AGUSTINs estate, raising BEDAs conflict of interest as special administrator, on one hand, and as a personally interested party in the purchase of the estates properties, on the other. ROSALIA thus petitioned the CFI that her brother/co-petitioner SERAFIN be appointed regular administrator instead. CFI denied. CA affirmed CFI denial~ hence, this petition. HELD: BEDA is to be excluded from administering (and from interfering in the possession and enjoyment of the harvest of) the property known as "Bitukang Manok" which had been sold to ROSALIA. This ruling is based on the established doctrine that a person with an adverse conflicting interest is unsuitable for the trust reposed in an administrator of an estate. BEDA, who has a pending appeal with the CA, cannot be at the same time an appellant in his personal capacity opposing the sale of the property and an appellee representing the estate and upholding the same sale made by the estate as special administrator. An administrator is deemed unsuitable and should be removed where his personal interests conflict with his official duties, by virtue of the equally established principle that an administrator is a quasi trustee. He is disqualified from acquiring properties of the estate. He should be indifferent between the estate and claimants of the property except to preserve it for due administration, and who should be removed when his interest conflicts with such right and duly. Nature: Petition for review by certiorari of respondent CAs decision affirming the CFI Zambales appointing private respondent BEDA Gonzales as special administrator of the intestate estate of the decedent Agustin Medina

53 SCRA 206 (1973)


Facts: In an order dated March 6, 1970, CFI Zambales approved and confirmed the deed of sale executed on May 8, 1969 by then special administrator DEMETRIO Encarnacion of the intestate estate of the decedent AGUSTIN Medina covering the sale of its property known as "Bitukang Manok" for P24,000.00 to petitioner ROSALIA Medina-del Carmen, a daughter-heir of the decedent CFI Zambales, in the same order, overruled the opposition of assignee BEDA Gonzales, private respondent herein, who claimed "to have an interest over the estate on the ground that certain heirs have already sold their shares and/or interest over the same in his favor." CFI held that BEDA "could not claim a better right over the vendee ROSALIA because BEDA is merely subrogated to the interests of the other heirs concerned, who according to the records, have received more benefits from the estate even before its distribution as against the vendee ROSALIA, who according to the records has never received anything yet from the estate." Finally, still in the same order, for the purpose of the speedy termination of the estate proceedings," CFI designated its clerk of court as special administrator and to qualify immediately as such in lieu of special administrator DEMETRIO. No regular administrator to settle the estate appears to have ever been appointed by CFI during the period of over 13 years that the estate has been pending settlement BEDA appealed the CFIs approval and confirmation o f the sale of the "Bitukang Manok" property as an interested party-assignee opposed to the sale executed by the estate through its then special administrator DEMETRIO, later replaced by the clerk of court, on the assertion that he had bought the rights of the other heirs of the estate. His appeal is now pending in the Court of Appeals. A year later, acting on the motion of BEDA for appointment as regular administrator of the estate, CFI appointed him "not as a regular administrator but only as special administrator for the intestate estate and he qualified as such upon posting of the bond fixed in the amount of P5,000.00 and replaced judicial administrator clerk of court An urgent motion to revoke BEDA's appointment as special administrator was interposed by ROSALIA on the ground that BEDA is assuming the inconsistent positions of administering the estate especially the Bitukang Manok property and at the same time appealing from the order approving the sale of that property only for the purpose of enabling himself to buy and acquire that property to the loss and prejudice of the estate contrary to law." This was denied by the CFI. In the same order, said court also rejected ROSALIA's petition for the appointment as regular administrator of co-petitioner SERAFIN Medina, as heir-son of the decedent, who has no adverse interests in his favor and against the estate. CFI grounded on retention of BEDA as administrator on the grounds that: (1) whatever rights and interest the heirs may have over the estate now under administration by BEDA could be amply protected thru the P5,000.00 bond; (2) considering further that there is no showing that BEDA has been remiss in the performance of his duties or violated the trust reposed on him as administrator; and finally (3) in order not to delay any further the termination of this proceeding which has lagged long enough

3 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Reconsideration having been denied, ROSALIA and SERAFIN went up to the Court of Appeals an action for certiorari with preliminary injunction, citing anew BEDA's conflicting interests as special administrator and as an interested buyer and his interference with and collection of the harvests of the Bitukang Manok property duly sold to ROSALIA CA, however, found the "petition insufficient in substance to merit due course" and ordered the dismissal thereof. Their motion for reconsideration of such dismissal having failed, petitioners instituted the present action for review SC issued a TRO restraining CFI and BEDA "from implementing the CFI's orders and from otherwise interfering in the possession by the petitioner Rosalia of a property known as "Bitukang Manok" of the intestate estate of the deceased Agustin Medina ... from interfering in the cultivation and harvests or otherwise disturbing the possession of aforementioned property by said petitioner." In due course, a writ of preliminary injunction to the same effect was handed down the SC. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN as well as to ROSALIA as buyer because of BEDA's interference with her enjoyment of the property Hence, the established doctrine that an administrator is deemed unsuitable and should be removed where his personal interests conflict with his official duties, by virtue of the equally established principle that an administrator is a quasi trustee, disqualified from acquiring properties of the estate, and who should be indifferent between the estate and claimants of the property except to preserve it for due administration, and who should be removed when his interest conflicts with such right and duly. In this jurisdiction, one is considered to be unsuitable for appointment as administrator when he has adverse interest of some kind of hostility to those immediately interested in the estate

Issue/s and Held: WON BEDAs appointment as special administrator is proper NO. Ratio: The sale to ROSALIA of the Bitukang Manok property having been approved and confirmed by CFI over the personal opposition of BEDA, which approval he appealed to the Court of Appeals, his (BEDAs) subsequent appointment as special administrator of the estate a year later created a clear conflict of interest that could cause grave damage and prejudice to the estate and subject it to unnecessary suits. Title to the Bitukang Manok property as sold by the estate through DEMETRIO (BEDA's predecessor as special administrator) and confirmed by the lower court has passed to petitioner ROSALIA's ownership and possession since the court's confirmation of the sale. The estate makes no further claim against the same but on the contrary has defended the sale and ROSALIA's title thereto, against BEDA's adverse opposition in the appeal brought in his personal capacity. Yet now, as complained of by ROSALIA, BEDA by virtue of his appointment as special administrator seeks in such other capacity to interfere in the harvests of the property purportedly on behalf of the estate when in fact he is going against the official stand of the estate which upholds the sale It is readily seen that BEDA has been placed in an unduly favored position where he may use his position as special administrator to favor his personal interests as one interested in the purchase of the property for himself, even though he denies obliquely such personal interest. Broadly, BEDA simply argued that "there is no evidence or pleading of record that he is interested in the acquisition for himself of the Bitukang Manok property. But when he said that his actions respecting the Bitukang Manok was him acting on his acquired rights and interests of the majority of the heirs, that he had merely stepped into the shoes of such heirs, hence, that his concern and interest to protect the estate as special administrator" what he is really saying is that he is out to protect his claimed majority interest in the estate! Grave prejudice may thus be inflicted by him on ROSALIA as an heir as well as the other heirs such as petitioner SERAFIN because of the further delay (13 years now) in their receiving their distributive shares of their father's estate (as against their co-heirs who have sold and assigned their rights and shares in the estate to BEDA)

FINAL WORDS: The Court does not look with favor on the practice of clerks of court or other court employees being appointed as administrators of estates of decedents pending settlement before the probate court. The objectivity and impartiality of such court employees so appointed as administrators in discharging their regular functions may be easily compromised by extraneous considerations. Furthermore, because of the administrator's fees and compensation payable to them, it is not inconceivable that self-interest intrudes, thus, obstacles are placed against the prompt settlement and termination of the proceedings in derogation of the primordial purpose of the law to strive to have the estate settled expeditiously and promptly so that the benefits that may flow therefrom may be immediately enjoyed by the decedent's heirs and beneficiaries. Probate courts are therefore enjoined to desist from such practice of appointing their clerks of court or other court employees as administrators or receivers of estates or the like. On the consideration of the specific and limited powers of special administrators and that their appointment merely temporary and subsists only until a regular administrator is duly appointed (per Rule 80, Sec 1), the Court has resolved to allow the appointment of BEDA as special administrator to stand, insofar as taking care of the OTHER properties of the estate are concerned, to the exclusion of the Bitukang Manok property. The latter property shall pertain to ROSALIA's possession and enjoyment In the event that the CA finds cause to set aside the CFI's confirmation of the sale in ROSALIAs favor in the pending appeal of BEDA in his personal capacity, then shall be the time for the estate and/or the heirs to reclaim possession of the property upon return to her of the purchase price paid by her FINALLY, the Court noted that the estate involved is not large and there seem to be no complicated questions that impedes its prompt settlement, but these notwithstanding, the CFIs avowed desire to terminate the proceedings once and for all, seemed to remain as such a mere DESIRE! The said estate proceedings have been pending now for over 13 years without the lower court once having appointed a regular administrator in accordance with the Rules of Court to take charge of the settlement thereof and the distribution and partition of the net estate to the heirs entitled thereto As time and again stated by the Court, while the provisions of the Rules of Court may be deemed directory in nature, "the speedy settlement of the

4 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 estates of deceased persons for the benefit of creditors and those entitled to residue by way of inheritance or legacy after the debts and expenses of administration have been paid, is the ruling spirit of our probate law" and "courts of first instance should exert themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they are presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors and administrators who do not actively labor to that end, and they may even adopt harsher measures." THEREFORE, the CFI Zambales is directed to name a suitable person or entity, who is competent and qualified and does not suffer from any proscribed conflict of interest, and preferably upon the common agreement of the heirs, to avoid any further bickerings as regular administrator charged with the task of accomplishing and terminating the administration of the estate with the utmost reasonable dispatch, with a view to an early distribution of the net estate among the heirs and persons entitled thereto AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

DISPOSITIF: The assailed CA decision is modified and in lieu thereof, judgment is entered allowing the appointment of BEDA Gonzales special administrator to stand, but only insofar as taking care temporarily of the OTHER properties of the estate are concerned, to the exclusion of the Bitukang Manok property previously sold by the estate to ROSALIA, who is entitled to the enjoyment of said property as the vendee thereof The writ of preliminary injunction heretofore granted is hereby ordered lifted, except as to the portion thereof enjoining BEDA from interfering in the cultivation and harvests or otherwise disturbing the possession of the Bitukang Manok property by ROSALIA which is hereby made permanent CFI Zambales is ordered to implement the above directive to name a suitable person as regular administrator charged with the task of accomplishing and terminating the administration of the estate with the utmost reasonable dispatch and to submit a report of his action thereon to the Court within thirty (30) days from notice of entry of this judgment. So Ordered.

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Maloles II v. Phillips
Mendoza, J. Quickie: Dr. De Santos filed a petition for probate of his will during his lifetime and Phillips was named executrix. RTC Branch 61 allowed the probated. Dr. De Santos died. Maloles (nephew) sought to intervene and prayed for issuance of letters of administration in his name. Phillips also filed a motion for issuance of letters of administration however, she later withdrew her motion and refilled a petition for the same purpose with the RTC Makati and this was assigned to Branch 65. Branch 65 granted Phillips petition. Maloles sought to intervene in the Branch 65 proceedings and prayed for issuance of letters of administration in his favour. Branch 65 ordered the transfer of records of the current proceedings to the Branch 61 but the records were returned to Branch 65. Branch 61 denied Maloles intervention. CA upheld the denial. Branch 65 allowed Maloles to intervene. CA reversed on the ground that Maloles had not shown any right or interest to intervene. HELD: Maloles, as nephew of the testator, is not a compulsory heir who may have been preterited in the testator's will. Nor does he have any right to intervene in the settlement proceedings based on his allegation that he is a creditor of the deceased. Since the testator instituted or named an executor in his will, it is incumbent upon the Court to respect the desires of the testator. The choice of his executor is a precious prerogative of a testator, a necessary concomitant of his right to dispose of his property in the manner he wishes. It is natural that the testator should desire to appoint one of his confidence, one who can be trusted to carry out his wishes in the disposal of his estate. The curtailment of this right may be considered a curtailment of the right to dispose (Ozaeta v. Pecson).Only if the appointed executor is incompetent, refuses the trust, or fails to give bond may the court appoint other persons to administer the estate. None of these circumstances is present in this case. Nature: petitions for review on certiorari Facts: July 20, 1995 - Dr. Arturo de Santos, Filipino and a resident of Makati City, filed a petition for probate of his will in the RTC Makati Branch 61. He alleged that (1) he had no compulsory heirs; (2) that he had named in his will as sole legatee and devisee the Arturo de Santos Foundation, Inc.; (3) that he disposed by his will his properties with an approximate value of not less than P2M; and (4) that copies of said will were in the custody of the named executrix, Pacita de los Reyes Phillips. A copy of the will was annexed to the petition. When the case was called for hearing on the date set, no oppositor appeared nor any written opposition was ever filed and on motion of De Santos, he was allowed to adduce his evidence in support of the petition. Feb. 16, 1996 - Judge Gorospe, Jr. of RTC-Makati issued an order granting the petition and allowing the will. Feb. 26, 1996 - De Santos died.

324 SCRA 172 (2000)


April 3, 1996 - Maloles filed a motion for intervention claiming that, as the only child of Alicia de Santos (testator's sister) and Octavio L. Maloles, Sr., he was the sole fullblooded nephew and nearest of kin of Dr. De Santos. He likewise alleged that he was a creditor of the testator and thus prayed for the reconsideration of the order allowing the will and the issuance of letters of administration in his name. Phillips filed a motion for the issuance of letters testamentary. Later, however, she moved to withdraw her motion. May 13, 1996- Phillips, who earlier withdrew her motion for the issuance of letters testamentary in Branch 61, refiled a petition for the same purpose with the RTC, Makati and assigned to Branch 65. June 28, 1996- Judge Abad Santos of Branch 65 issued an order appointing Phillips special administrator of Dr. De Santos's estate. July 29, 1996 Maloles sought to intervene and to set aside the appointment of Phillips as special administrator. He reiterated that he was the sole and full blooded nephew and nearest of kin of the testator; that he came to know of the existence of Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 only by accident; that the probate proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. M-4223 before Branch 61 of the same court was still pending; that Phillips misdeclared the true worth of the testator's estate; that Phillips was not fit to be the special administrator of the estate; and that he should be given letters of administration Aug. 28, 1996 - Judge Abad Santos ordered the transfer of Sp. Proc. No. M-4343 to Branch 61, on the ground that it is related to the case before Judge Gorospe of RTC Branch 61 Aug. 26, 1996 - Judge Gorospe denied Maloles' motion for intervention. Feb. 13, 1998 CA upheld the denial. Sept. 4, 1996 - Judge Gorospe issued an order, returning the records to Branch 65 on the ground that: o there is no related case involving the ESTATE OF DECEDENT ARTURO DE SANTOS pending before this Branch. o There is, however, a case filed by ARTURO DE SANTOS, as petitioner under Rule 76 for the Allowance of his will during his lifetime which was already decided and has become final. o It is noted that Phillips filed a MOTION FOR THE ISSUANCE OF LETTERS TESTAMENTARY, which was subsequently withdrawn after this Court ruled that the motion could not be admitted as the subject matter involves a separate case under Rule 78, and movant withdrew her motion and filed this case o Maloles filed a MOTION FOR INTERVENTION and this motion was already DENIED likewise for the same grounds that the matter is for a separate case to be filed under Rule 78 and cannot be included in this case filed under Rule 76. Sept. 23, 1996 - Judge Abad Santos appeared firm in his position that it would be improper for Branch 65 to hear and resolve the petition, considering that the probate proceedings were commenced with Branch 61. He thus ordered the transfer of the records back to the latter branch. Oct. 21, 1996- Judge Abad Santos recalled his decision and took cognizance of the case to expedite the proceedings.

6 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 o Considering the refusal of Judge Gorospe, Jr. of Branch 61 to continue hearing this case notwithstanding the fact that said branch began the probate proceedings of the estate of the deceased and must therefore continue to exercise its jurisdiction to the exclusion of all others, until the entire estate of the testator had been partitioned and distributed, Branch 65 shall take cognizance of the petition if only to expedite the proceedings, and under the concept that the RTC of Makati City is but one court. Nov. 4, 1996 - Judge Abad Santos granted Maloles' motion for intervention. Phillips moved for reconsideration but her motion was denied.CA rendered a decision setting aside the trial court's order on the ground that Maloles had not shown any right or interest to intervene. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN Rationale - Most of the cases that reach the courts involve either the testamentary capacity of the testator or the formalities adopted in the execution of wills. There are relatively few cases concerning the intrinsic validity of testamentary dispositions. It is far easier for the courts to determine the mental condition of a testator during his lifetime than after his death. Fraud, intimidation and undue influence are minimized. Furthermore, if a will does not comply with the requirements prescribed by law, the same may be corrected at once. The probate during the testator's life, therefore, will lessen the number of contest upon wills. Once a will is probated during the lifetime of the testator, the only questions that may remain for the courts to decide after the testator's death will refer to the intrinsic validity of the testamentary dispositions. It is possible, of course, that even when the testator himself asks for the allowance of the will, he may be acting under duress or undue influence, but these are rare cases. After a will has been probated during the lifetime of the testator, it does not necessarily mean that he cannot alter or revoke the same before his death. Should he make a new will, it would also be allowable on his petition, and if he should die before he has had a chance to present such petition, the ordinary probate proceeding after the testator's death would be in order. After the allowance of the will of Dr. De Santos, there was nothing else for Branch 61 to do except to issue a certificate of allowance of the will pursuant to Rule 73, 12. There is, therefore, no basis for the ruling of Judge Abad Santos of Branch 65 of RTC-Makati that Branch 61 of RTC Makati having begun the probate proceedings of the estate of the deceased, it continues and shall continue to exercise said jurisdiction to the exclusion of all others. It should be noted that probate proceedings do not cease upon the allowance or disallowance of a will but continues up to such time that the entire estate of the testator had been partitioned and distributed. The fact that the will was allowed during the lifetime of the testator meant merely that the partition and distribution of the estate was to be suspended until the latter's death. In other words, Maloles, instead of filing a new petition for the issuance of letters testamentary, should have simply filed a manifestation for the same purpose in the probate court. Indeed, the jurisdiction over probate proceedings and settlement of estates with approximate value of over P100k (outside Metro Manila) or P200k (in Metro Manila) belongs to the RTC under B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. The different branches comprising each court in one judicial region do not possess jurisdictions independent of and incompatible with each other. It is noteworthy that, although Rule 73, 1 applies insofar as the venue of the petition for probate of the will of Dr. De Santos is concerned, it does not bar other branches of the same court from taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of the testator after his death. Bacalso v. Ramolote - The various branches of the Court of First Instance of Cebu under the Fourteenth Judicial District, are a coordinate and co-equal courts, and the totality of which is only one Court of First Instance. The jurisdiction is vested in the court, not in the judges. And when a case is filed in one branch, jurisdiction over the case does not attach to the branch or judge alone, to the exclusion of the other branches. Trial may be held or proceedings continue by and before another branch or judge. It is for this reason that

ISSUES/HELD: 1. WON RTC Makati, Branch 65acquired jurisdiction over the petition for issuance of letters testamentary filed by Phillips. YES 2. WON Maloles, being a creditor of the de Santos, has a right to intervene and oppose the petition for issuance of letters testamentary filed by Phillips. NO 3. WON Phillips is guilty of forum shopping in filing her petition for issuance of letters testamentary with RTC Makati, Branch 65 knowing fully well that the probate proceedings involving the same restate estate of the decedent is still pending with the RTC Makati, Branch 61. NO Ratio: 1. RTC Makati, Branch 65acquired jurisdiction over the petition for issuance of letters testamentary filed by Phillips. Maloles - the probate proceedings in Branch 61 of RTC-Makati did not terminate upon the issuance of the order allowing the will of Dr. De Santos. The proceedings must continue until the estate is fully distributed to the lawful heirs, devisees, and legatees of the testator, pursuant to Rule 73, 1. Branch 65 could not lawfully act upon Phillips petition for issuance of letters testamentary. In cases for the probate of wills, it is well-settled that the authority of the court is limited to ascertaining the extrinsic validity of the will, i.e., whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. Ordinarily, probate proceedings are instituted only after the death of the testator, so much so that, after approving and allowing the will, the court proceeds to issue letters testamentary and settle the estate of the testator. In fact, in most jurisdictions, courts cannot entertain a petition for probate of the will of a living testator under the principle of ambulatory nature of wills. Art. 838 CC authorizes the filing of a petition for probate of the will filed by the testator himself. Rule 76, 1. Who may petition for the allowance of will. Any executor, devisee, or legatee named in a will, or any other person interested in the estate, may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court having jurisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same be in his possession or not, or is lost or destroyed. The testator himself may, during his lifetime, petition in the court for the allowance of his will.

7 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Section 57 of the Judiciary Act expressly grants to the Secretary of Justice, the administrative right or power to apportion the cases among the different branches, both for the convenience of the parties and for the coordination of the work by the different branches of the same court. The apportionment and distribution of cases does not involve a grant or limitation of jurisdiction, the jurisdiction attaches and continues to be vested in the Court of First Instance of the province, and the trials may be held by any branch or judge of the court. 2. No right to intervene Maloles - as the nearest next of kin and creditor of the testator, his interest in the matter is material and direct. CA Maloles is not an heir or legatee under the will of the decedent. Neither is he a compulsory heir of the latter. As the only and nearest collateral relative of the decedent, he can inherit from the latter only in case of intestacy. Since the decedent has left a will which has already been probated and disposes of all his properties, Maloles can inherit only if the said will is annulled. His interest in the decedent's estate is, therefore, not direct or immediate. His claim to being a creditor of the estate is a belated one, having been raised for the first time only in his reply to the opposition to his motion to intervene, and, as far as the records show, not supported by evidence. The opposition must come from one with a direct interest in the estate or the will, and Maloles has none. Moreover, the ground cited in the opposition, that Phillips has deliberately misdeclared the truth worth and value of the estate, is not relevant to the question of her competency to act as executor. Section 2, Rule 76 requires only an allegation of the probable value and character of the property of the estate. The true value can be determined later on in the course of the settlement of the estate. Rule 79, 1. Opposition to issuance of letters testamentary. Simultaneous petition for administration. Any person interested in a will may state in writing the grounds why letters testamentary should not issue to the persons named therein as executors, or any of them, and the court, after hearing upon notice, shall pass upon the sufficiency of such grounds. A petition may, at the same time, be filed for letters of administration with the will annexed. An "interested person" is one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor, and whose interest is material and direct, not merely incidental or contingent. Even if Maloles is the nearest next of kin of Dr. De Santos, he cannot be considered an "heir" of the testator. It is a fundamental rule of testamentary succession that one who has no compulsory or forced heirs may dispose of his entire estate by will. Maloles, as nephew of the testator, is not a compulsory heir who may have been preterited in the testator's will. Nor does he have any right to intervene in the settlement proceedings based on his allegation that he is a creditor of the deceased. Since the testator instituted or named an executor in his will, it is incumbent upon the Court to respect the desires of the testator. Ozaeta v. Pecson - The choice of his executor is a precious prerogative of a testator, a necessary concomitant of his right to dispose of his property in the manner he wishes. It is natural that the testator should desire to appoint one of his confidence, one who can be trusted to carry out his wishes in the disposal of AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN his estate. The curtailment of this right may be considered a curtailment of the right to dispose. Only if the appointed executor is incompetent, refuses the trust, or fails to give bond may the court appoint other persons to administer the estate. None of these circumstances is present in this case.

3.

No forum shopping Maloles Phillips is guilty of forum shopping when she filed the petition for issuance of letters testamentary while the probate proceedings were still pending. There is identity of parties, rights asserted, and reliefs prayed for in the two actions which are founded on the same facts, and a judgment in either will result in res judicata in the other. The petition for probate was filed by Dr. De Santos, the testator, solely for the purpose of authenticating his will. Upon the allowance of his will, the proceedings were terminated. The petition for issuance of letters testamentary was filed by Phillips, as executor of the estate of Dr. De Santos, for the purpose of securing authority from the Court to administer the estate and put into effect the will of the testator. The estate settlement proceedings commenced by the filing of the petition terminates upon the distribution and delivery of the legacies and devises to the persons named in the will. Clearly, there is no identity between the two petitions, nor was the latter filed during the pendency of the former.

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Rep. v. Marcos et. al.


Peralta, J. Quickie: RTC issued order granted letters testamentary in solidum to the Marcoses with regard to Pres. Marcoss will. Republic is opposing on the ground that the Marcoses (Imelda and Bongbong) cannot become executors because of want of integrity and for having been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude. SC held that Republic is wrong. Since Pres. Marcos named the respondents as the executors of the will, the same must be upheld. Also, the Marcoses have been acquitted of the crimes against them, and even if Bongbong should be convicted of the pending appeal of a Tax case against him, such crime does not involve moral turpitude. Nature: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the March 13, 1997 Decision and August 27, 1997 Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 43450. Facts: January 11, 1996 the RTC of Pasig City Branch 156, acting as a probate court, in Special Proceeding No. 10279, issued an Order granting letters testamentary in solidum to respondents Ferdinand R. Marcos II and Imelda Trinidad Romualdez-Marcos as executors of the last will and testament of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos. The dispositive portion of the January 11, 1996 Order reads: WHEREFORE, finding the Last Will and Testament of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos to have been duly executed in accordance with law, the same is hereby ALLOWED AND ADMITTED TO PROBATE. Upon the filing of a bond in the amount of P50,000.00, let letters testamentary be issued in solidum to Imelda Trinidad Romualdez-Marcos AND Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos II, named executors therein. Pending the filing of said bond and their oath, Commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato of the Bureau of Internal Revenue is hereby authorized to continue her functions as Special Administrator of the Estate of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. Let NOTICE be given to all known heirs and creditors of the decedent, and to any other persons having an interest in the estate for them to lay their claim against the Estate or forever hold their peace. SO ORDERED.

595 SCRA 43 (2009)


January 15, 1996 petitioner Republic of the Philippines filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration in so far as the January 11, 1996 RTC Order granted letters testamentary to respondents. o On the other hand, respondent Imelda Marcos filed her own motion for reconsideration on the ground that the will is lost and that petitioner has not proven its existence and validity. February 5, 1996 respondent Ferdinand Marcos II filed a Compliance stating that he already filed a bond in the amount of P50,000.00 as directed by the January 11, 1996 RTC Order and that he took his oath as named executor of the will on January 30, 1996. March 13, 1996 the RTC issued Letters of Administration to BIR Commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato in accordance with an earlier Order dated September 9, 1994, appointing her as Special Administratrix of the Marcos Estate. April 1, 1996 respondent Ferdinand Marcos II filed a Motion to Revoke the Letters of Administration issued by the RTC to BIR Commissioner Vinzons-Chato. April 26, 1996 the RTC issued an Order denying the motion for partial reconsideration filed by petitioner as well as the motion for reconsideration filed by respondent Imelda Marcos, the penultimate portion of which reads: Under the Rules, a decedents testamentary privilege must be accorded utmost respect. Guided by this legal precept, therefore, in resolving the two (2) motions at hand, the Court is constrained to DENY both. Examining the arguments poised by the movants, the Court observed that these are but a mere rehash of issues already raised and passed upon by the Court. One has to review the previous orders issued by the Court in this case, e.g., the orders dated September 9, 1994, November 25, 1994, as well as October 3, 1995, to see that even as far back then, the Court has considered the matter of competency of the oppositors and of Commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato as having been settled. It cannot be overstressed that the assailed January 11, 1996 Orders of the Court was arrived at only after extensive consideration of every legal facet available on the question of validity of the Will. June 6, 1996 petitioner filed with this Court a Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Ruled 45 of the Rules of Court, questioning the aforementioned RTC Orders granting letters testamentary to respondents. February 5, 1997, the First Division of this Court issued a Resolution referring the petition to the CA

9 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 March 13, 1997 the CA issued a Decision, dismissing the referred petition for having taken the wrong mode of appeal Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was, however denied by the CA in a Resolution dated August 27, 1997. In the meantime, on October 9, 2002, the RTC, acting on the pending unresolved motions before it, issued an Order which reads: WHEREFORE, the Court hereby appoints as joint special administrators of the estate of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, the nominee of the Republic of the Philippines (the Undersecretary of the Department of Justice whom the Secretary of Justice will designate for this purpose) and Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos and Mr. Ferdinand R. Marcos II, to serve as such until an executor is finally appointed. Issues/Held: (These are all the issues presented in the case. Im iffy to omit anything since baka ang mga itanong ni Maam sa quiz ay yung mga obnoxiously difficult ones, since its take home. ) 1) W/N the CA gravely erred in dismissing the petition on technical grounds despite the SC resolution specifically referring the petition for a decision on the merits NO. 2) W/N Imelda Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos II should be disqualified to act and serve as executors NO. 3) W/N the Marcoses have denied and disclaimed the very existence and validity of the Marcos Will NO. 4) W/N the Probate court gravely erred in failing to consider that its order of January 11, 1996, which admitted the Marcos will to probate and which directed the issuance of letters testamentary in solidum to the Marcoses as executors of said Marcos will was based on the evidence of the Republic alone NO. 5) W/N the Probate Court gravely erred in failing to consider that the Marcoses have obstructed the transfer to the Philippines of the Marcos assets deposited in the Swiss Banks NO. Ratio: 1) A reading of Supreme Court Circular 2-901, in relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 19482, clearly shows that the subject matter of therein petition, that is, the AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN propriety of granting letters testamentary to respondents, do not fall within any ground which can be the subject of a direct appeal to this Court. The CA was thus correct in declaring that the issues raised by petitioner do not fall within the purview of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 such that the Supreme Court should take cognizance of the instant case. Moreover, the Courts pronouncement in Suarez v. Judge Villarama is instructive: Section 4 of Circular No. 2-90, in effect at the time of the antecedents, provides that an appeal taken to either the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals by the wrong mode or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. This rule is now incorporated in Section 5, Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Moreover, the filing of the case directly with this Court runs afoul of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. Pursuant to this doctrine, direct resort from the lower courts to the Supreme Court will not be entertained unless the appropriate remedy cannot be obtained in the lower tribunals. This Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the Constitution and immemorial tradition. Thus, a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision involving both questions of fact and law must first be brought before the Court of Appeals. Petitioner is adamant, however, that notwithstanding the improper remedy, the CA should not have dismissed therein petition. Petitioners arguments are misplaced. To stress, the February 5, 1997 Resolution reads:

(1) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, law, ordinance, or executive order or regulation is in question; (2) All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto; (3) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue; (4) All other cases in which only errors or questions of law are involved: Provided, however, That if, in addition to constitutional, tax or jurisdictional questions, the cases mentioned in the three next preceding paragraphs also involve questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and law, the aggrieved party shall appeal to the Court of Appeals; and the final judgment or decision of the latter may be reviewed, revised, reversed, modified or affirmed by the Supreme Court on writ of certiorari; and (5) Final awards, judgments, decision or orders of the Commission on Elections, Court of Tax Appeals, Court of Industrial Relations, the Public Service Commission, and the Workmens Compensation Commission.

2. Appeals from Regional Trial Courts to the Supreme Court. Except in criminal cases where the penalty imposed is life imprisonment to reclusion perpetua, judgments of regional trial courts may be appealed to the Supreme Court only by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, this being the clear intendment of the provision of the Interim Rules that (a)ppeals to the Supreme Court shall be taken by petition for certiorari which shall be governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (Emphasis and Underscoring Supplied)
1

The Supreme Court shall further have exclusive jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify or affirm on certiorari as the law or rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts as herein provided, in
2

10 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 The special civil action for certiorari as well as all the other pleadings filed herein are REFERRED to the Court of Appeals for consideration and adjudication on the merits or any other action as it may deem appropriate, the latter having jurisdiction concurrent with this Court over the Case, and this Court having been cited to no special and important reason for it to take cognizance of said case in the first instance. o Based thereon, this Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that said resolution gave the CA discretion and latitude to decide the petition as it may deem proper. The resolution is clear that the petition was referred to the CA for consideration and adjudication on the merits or any other action as it may deem appropriate. Thus, no error can be attributed to the CA when the action it deemed appropriate was to dismiss the petition for having availed of an improper remedy. More importantly, the action of the CA was sanctioned under Section 4 of Supreme Court Circular 2-90 which provides that an appeal taken to either the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals by the wrong mode or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. In the case at bar, as found by this Court in its February 5, 1997 Resolution, therein petition offered no important or special reason for the Court to take cognizance of it at the first instance. Petitioner offered no plausible reason why it went straight to this Court when an adequate and proper remedy was still available. The CA was thus correct that the remedy that petitioner should have availed of was to file an appeal under Rule 109 of the Rules of Court which states: Section 1. Orders of judgments from which appeals taken. An interested person may appeal in special proceedings from an order or judgment rendered by a Court of First Instance or a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where such order or judgment: (a) allows or disallows a will; 2) At the crux of the controversy is a determination of whether or not respondents are incompetent to serve as executors of the will of Ferdinand Marcos. Ozeata v. Pecson is instructive: The choice of his executor is a precious prerogative of a testator, a necessary concomitant of his right to dispose of his property in the manner he wishes. It is natural that the testator should desire to appoint one of his confidence, one who can be trusted to carry out his wishes in the disposal of the estate. The curtailment of this right may be considered as a curtailment of the right to dispose. And as the rights granted by will take effect from the time of death (Article 777, Civil Code of the Philippines), the management of his estate by the administrator of his choice should be made as soon as practicable, when no reasonable objection to his assumption of the trust can be interposed any longer. It has been held that when a will has been admitted to probate, it is AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN the duty of the court to issue letters testamentary to the person named as executor upon his application (23 C.J. 1023). x x x x The case of In re Erlanger's Estate, 242 N.Y.S. 249, also reiterates the same principle. The courts have always respected the right to which a testator enjoys to determine who is most suitable to settle his testamentary affairs, and his solemn selection should not lightly be disregarded. After the admission of a will to probate, the courts will not name a better executor for the testator nor disqualify, by a judicial veto, the widow or friend or other person selected in the will, except upon strict proof of the statutory grounds of incompetency. Matter of Leland's Will, 219 N.Y. 387, 393, 114 N.E. 854. x x x Section 1(c), Rule 78 of the Rules of Court defines who are incompetent to serve as executors, to wit: Section 1. Who are incompetent to serve as executors or administrators. No person is competent to serve as executor or administrator who: x x x x (c) Is in the opinion of the court unfit to execute the duties of trust by reason of drunkenness, improvidence, or want of understanding or integrity, or by reason of conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude. (Emphasis Supplied) In the case at bar, petitioner anchored its opposition to the grant of letters testamentary to respondents, specifically on the following grounds: (1) want of integrity, and (2) conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude. Petitioner contends that respondents have been convicted of a number of cases and, hence, should be characterized as one without integrity, or at the least, with questionable integrity. The RTC, however, in its January 11, 1996 Order, made the following findings: However, except for petitioner Republics allegation of want of integrity on the part of Imelda Trinidad Romualdez-Marcos and Ferdinand Romualdez Marco II, named executors in the last will and testament, so as to render them incompetent to serve as executors, the Court sees at this time, no evidence on record, oral or documentary, to substantiate and support the said allegation . (Emphasis Supplied)

11 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Based on the foregoing, this Court stresses that an appellate court is disinclined to interfere with the action taken by the probate court in the matter of removal of an executor or administrator unless positive error or gross abuse of discretion is shown. The Rules of Court gives the lower court the duty and discretion to determine whether in its opinion an individual is unfit to serve as an executor. The sufficiency of any ground for removal should thus be determined by the said court, whose sensibilities are, in the first place, affected by any act or omission on the part of the administrator not conformable to or in disregard of the rules of orders of the court. Hence, in order to reverse the findings of the RTC, this Court must evaluate the evidence presented or alleged by petitioner in support of its petition for disqualification. However, after a painstaking review of the records and evidence on hand, this Court finds that the RTC committed no error or gross abuse of discretion when it ruled that petitioner failed to substantiate its allegation. o Petitioner conveniently omits to state that the two cases against respondent Imelda Marcos have already been reversed by this Court. Her conviction in Criminal Case No. 17453 was reversed by this Court in Dans, Jr. v. People. Likewise, her conviction in Criminal Case No. 17450 was reversed by this Court in Marcos v. Sandiganbayan. Hence, the so-called convictions against respondent Imelda Marcos cannot serve as a ground for her disqualification to serve as an executor. o On the other hand, the eight cases filed against respondent Ferdinand Marcos II involve four charges for violation of Section 45 (failure to file income tax returns) and four charges for violation of Section 50 (nonpayment of deficiency taxes) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 (NIRC). o It is a matter of record, that in CA-G.R. CR No. 18569, the CA acquitted respondent Ferdinand Marcos II of all the four charges for violation of Section 50 and sustained his conviction for all the four charges for violation of Section 45. It, however, bears to stress, that the CA only ordered respondent Marcos II to pay a fine for his failure to file his income tax return. Moreover, and as admitted by petitioner, said decision is still pending appeal. o Therefore, since respondent Ferdinand Marcos II has appealed his conviction relating to four violations of Section 45 of the NIRC, the same should not serve as a basis to disqualify him to be appointed as an executor of the will of his father. More importantly, even assuming arguendo that his conviction is later on affirmed, the same is still insufficient to disqualify him as the failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude. The failure to file an income tax return is not a crime involving moral turpitude as the mere omission is already a violation regardless of the fraudulent intent or willfulness of the individual. This conclusion is supported by the provisions of the NIRC as well as previous Court decisions which show that with regard to the filing of an income tax return, the NIRC considers three distinct violations: (1) AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN a false return, (2) a fraudulent return with intent to evade tax, and (3) failure to file a return. The filing of a fraudulent return with intent to evade tax is a crime involving moral turpitude as it entails willfulness and fraudulent intent on the part of the individual. The same, however, cannot be said for failure to file a return where the mere omission already constitutes a violation. Thus, this Court holds that even if the conviction of respondent Marcos II is affirmed, the same not being a crime involving moral turpitude cannot serve as a ground for his disqualification. Anent the third error raised by petitioner, the same has no merit. Petitioner contends that respondents denied the existence of the will, and are, therefore, estopped from claiming to be the rightful executors thereof Petitioner further claims that said actions clearly show that respondents lack the competence and integrity to serve as officers of the court. This Court does not agree with the posture taken by petitioner, and instead, accepts the explanation given by respondents, to wit: Respondents opposed the petition for probate not because they are disclaiming the existence of the will, but because of certain legal grounds, to wit: (a) petitioner does not have the requisite interest to institute it; (b) the original copy of the will was not attached to the petition for probate as required by the rules; and (c) the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue is not qualified to be appointed as administrator of the estate. Based on the foregoing, considering the nature of their opposition, respondents cannot be held guilty of estoppel as they merely acted within their rights when they put in issue legal grounds in opposing the probate proceedings. More importantly, even if said grounds were later on overruled by the RTC, said court was still of opinion that respondents were fit to serve as executors notwithstanding their earlier opposition. Again, in the absence of palpable error or gross abuse of discretion, this Court will not interfere with the RTCs discretion. Petitioner argues that the assailed RTC Orders were based solely on their own evidence and that respondents offered no evidence to show that they were qualified to serve as executors. It is basic that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and a mere allegation is not evidence. Consequently, it was the burden of petitioner (not respondents) to substantiate the grounds upon which it claims that respondents should be disqualified to serve as executors, and having failed in doing so, its petition must necessarily fail. Petitioner contends that respondents have strongly objected to the transfer to the Philippines of the Marcos assets deposited in the Swiss Banks and thus the same should serve as a ground for their disqualification to act as executors. This Court does not agree. In the first place, the same are mere allegations which, without proof, deserve scant consideration. Time and again, this Court has stressed that this Court is a court of law and not a court of public opinion. Moreover, petitioner had already raised the same argument in its motion for partial reconsideration before

3)

4)

5)

12 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 the RTC. Said court, however, still did not find the same as a sufficient ground to disqualify respondents. Again, in the absence of palpable error or gross abuse of discretion, this Court will not interfere with the RTCs discretion. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the March 13, 1997 Decision and August 27, 1997 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 43450 are hereby AFFIRMED. The Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 156, acting as a probate court in Special Proceeding No. 10279, is hereby ORDERED to issue letters testamentary, in solidum, to Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and Ferdinand Marcos II. SO ORDERED. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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In re Testate Estate of Margarita David


Endencia, J. Quickie: There was a court order for the testate estate of David to pay the claim of the testate estate of Crispulo Sideco. Priscilla Sison, an heiress, paid 1/2 of Sedecos claim. Appellant, the other heiress, was unwilling to because the estate has real properties which could be sold and with its proceeds pay Sideco claim. The Court held that the residuary funds in the hands of the heiresses of this estate should be applied to the payment of the Sideco claim, for it is more advantageous to use that fund to pay the claim in question than selling the real properties of the estate for that purpose. Facts: On December 21, 1951, this Court rendered a decision in G. R. No. L-3846 ordering the Testate Estate of Margarita David to pay the claim of the Testate Estate of Crispulo Sideco in the sum of P17,010.43, with legal interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from March 11, 1945, until the same is fully paid. To falicitate the payment of this claim, Priscilla F. Sison, an heiress of the estate, delivered to its administrator the amount of P12,128.44 to cover the payment of her one half share in the Sideco claim. The other heiress, herein Appellant Narcisa F. Teodoro, was unwilling to do the same, contending that the Estate has real properties which could be sold and with its proceeds pay the Sideco claim; the administrator filed a petition with the lower court to compel Narcisa F. Teodoro to deliver to him her share in the payment of the aforementioned Sideco claim. While this motion was pending hearing because of the opposition thereto filed by Appellant, on March 5, 1952, the Co-Administratrix of the Estate of Crispulo Sideco filed a petition in the Court of First Instance of Manila to secure an order directing the Administrator of the Testate Estate of Margarita David to pay the aforementioned claim of P17.010.43 plus the legal interest accrued thereon. Decision of the lower Court: directed the heiresses Narcisa de la Fuente and Priscilla de la Fuente to deposit with the Philippine National Bank, in the name of the Estate of Crispulo Sideco, the amount of P17,010.43, with legal interest thereon at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from March 11, 1945 until fully paid, which amount and interest shall be paid by said heiresses, share and share alike, out of the residuary cash belonging to this estate which has been equally divided between them, submitting proof of such deposit within ten (10) days from receipt of this order. Appellants main contentions (1) that in deciding the claim in favor of the Testate Estate of Crispulo Sideco, the lower court as well as the Court of Appeals and this Court had ordered the Judicial Administrator of this Estate, and not the heiresses thereof, to pay said claim; chan roblesvirtualawlib (2) that said decision was final and executory and, therefore, cannot be amended by the lower court as it was being done in the disputed order; chan roblesvirtualawlibrar

98 Phil 680 (1956)


(3) that in order to pay said claim, the real properties in the hands of the administrator should be sold and out of its proceeds pay the Sideco claim; ch (4) that the residuary cash in the hands of the heiresses, although part of the estate, never reached the hands of the Judicial Administrator in due course and, therefore, it cannot be used for the payment of the Sideco claim. Held: the residuary funds in the hands of the heiresses of this estate should be applied to the payment of the Sideco claim, for it is more advantageous to use that fund to pay the claim in question than selling the real properties of the estate for that purpose. Besides, section 3 of Rule 89 of the Rules of Court provides: The personal estate of the deceased shall be first chargeable with the payment of debts and expenses; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand if the personal estate is not sufficient for that purpose, or its sale would redound to the detriment of the participants in the estate, the whole of the real estate, or so much thereof as is necessary, may be sold, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered for that purpose by the executor or administrator, after obtaining the authority of the court therefor. And according to section 6 of Rule 89, the Court has authority to fix the contributive shares of the devisees, legatees or heirs for the payment of a claim if they have entered into possession of portions of the estate before the debts and expenses thereof have been settled and paid.

Argument of appellant: section 3 of Rule 89, Rules of Court, is not applicable to the instant case on the ground that it refers to the personal and real properties of the deceased which are in the hands of the administrator, and not to the properties of the estate which are already in the hands of the heiresses. Held: untenable. The residuary funds in the hands of the Appellant are funds of the estate and the Court has jurisdiction over them and, therefore, it could compel the Appellant to deliver to the administrator of this estate the necessary portion of such fund for the payment of the Sideco claim.

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Baluyut v. Pao
Aquino, J.: Quickie: Nephew v widow for letters of administration. Probate court appointed widow after only a very short examination during the hearing. Whether Sotero Baluyut died testate or intestate, it is imperative in the interest of the orderly administration of justice that a hearing be held to determine Mrs. Baluyut's fitness to act as executrix or administratrix. Persons questioning her capacity should be given an adequate opportunity to be heard and to present evidence. Nature: Petition for certiorari Facts: Sotero Baluyut died in Manila on January 6, 1975 at the age of eighty-six, leaving an estate allegedly valued at not less than two million pesos. A few weeks later, or on February 20, his nephew, Alfredo G. Baluyut, filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City a verified petition for letters of administration. He alleged that the deceased was survived by his widow, Encarnacion Lopez, who was mentally incapable of acting as administratrix of the decedent's estate. Alfredo surmised that the decedent had executed a will. He prayed that he be appointed regular administrator and in the meantime as special administrator. Lower Court: appointed Alfredo G. Baluyut as special administrator with a bond of P100,000. Mrs. Baluyut in her verified oppositionalleged that she was unaware that her deceased husband executed a will. She characterized as libelous the allegation as to her mental incapacity. She prayed that she be named administratrix and that the appointment of Alfredo G. Baluyut as special administrator be set aside. Lower court: cancelled Baluyut's appointment as special administrator. In that same order the lower court noted that after asking Mrs. Baluyut a series of questions while on the witness stand, it found that she "is healthy and mentally qualified". Alfredo G. Baluyut moved for the reconsideration of that order Lower Court: appointed Baluyut and Jose Espino as special administrators. Mrs. Baluyut in her verified amended opposition asked that Espino, former governor of Nueva Vizcaya and an alleged acknowledged natural child of Sotero Baluyut, be appointed administrator should she not be named administratrix. 1975 Mrs. Baluyut filed an urgent motion praying that she be appointed administratrix. She reasoned out that Alfredo G. Baluyut had no more interest in the decedent's estate because as a collateral relative he was excluded by Espino and other supposed descendants of the deceased who had intervened in the proceeding, and, therefore, it was not necessary to continue with the reception of his evidence.

71 SCRA 86 (1976)
Alfredo G. Baluyut opposed the urgent motion. He alleged that Espino was not a natural child of Sotero Baluyut because Espino's parents were the spouses Elino Espino and Josefa de Guzman. Alfredo further alleged that Mrs. Baluyut was declared an incompetent by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Quezon City in its order of September 25, 1975 in Special Proceeding No. QC-00939 for the guardianship of Mrs. Baluyut. That proceeding was instituted by her sisters, Cristeta Lopez Vda. de Cuesta and Guadalupe Lopez-Viray. At the hearing of Mrs. Baluyut's urgent motion on November 17, 1975 no oral and documentary evidence was presented. The lower court merely examined Mrs. Baluyut. Court to witness: Can you testify in English?-No, your Honor, Pampango. Q. Ilocano? A. No, your Honor. Atty. Salunat: She can testify in Tagalog your Honor, which comprehensible. Court: Your remember when you were born, Mrs. Baluyut? A. March 25, 1901. Q. Where did you graduate? Madres Dominicas. Q. When did you get married to Sec. Baluyut? A. I cannot remember the date but this was in Lingayen. Q. What church? A. A Catholic. Court: You want to ask more questions Attorney? Atty. Salunat: Just a few clarificatory questions, your Honor. Q. Do you know Gov. Espino? A. Yes. Q. Why do you know him? A. Because he is like a son to me. Q. Do you know whether Gov. Espino has any relationship with the late Don Sotero Baluyut? A. Yes, why not. Q. Will you please tell us what is the relationship if there is any? A. He is his son, sir. Atty. Salunat: I think that would be all, your Honor. Court: Submitted? Atty. Salunat: We will ask the Court to (be allowed to) submit a rejoinder, your Honor. Probate Court: terminated the appointments of Espino and Alfredo G. Baluyut as special administrators and appointed Mrs. Baluyut as regular administratrix with a bond of P20,000 Alfredo G. Baluyut filed against respondent Judge, Mrs. Baluyut and the Espino spouses this special civil action of certiorari in order to set aside the This court issued a restraining order enjoining the respondents from enforcing the order The Espino's in their comment alleged that Alfredo G. Baluyut is aware that Jose Espino was acknowledged in a notarial instrument by Sotero Baluyut as his natural child. Mrs. Baluyut in her comment alleged that Alfredo G. Baluyut instituted the administration proceeding after he had failed to get from her a check for P500,000 belonging to the decedent's estate and that he grossly misrepresented that she was mentally incompetent. She further alleged that the order of the Juvenile and

15 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Domestic Relations Court declaring her an incompetent was issued in a blitzkrieg manner because it was based on the report of Doctor Lourdes V. Lapuz which was filed in court just one day before the order was issued. Mrs. Baluyut's main contention is that it is the probate court and not the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court that should decide the issue as to her competency to act as administratrix. Alfredo G. Baluyut disclosed that Sotero Baluyut executed a notarial will on April 14, 1973. In that will he bequeathed to Mrs. Baluyut his one-half share in certain conjugal assets and one-fourth of the residue of his estate. The remaining threefourths were bequeated to his collateral relatives named Irene, Erlinda, Estrellita, Eliseo and Alfredo, all surnamed Baluyut, and Emerita, Emilio and Benjamin, all surnamed Miranda. The testator designated Mrs. Baluyut as executrix. Espino is not mentioned in that will. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN capacity should be given an adequate opportunity to be heard and to present evidence. The lower court departed from the usual course of probate procedure in summarily appointing Mrs. Baluyut as administratrix on the assumption that Alfredo G. Baluyut was not an interested party. That irregularity became more pronounced after Alfredo G. Baluyut's revelation that the decedent had executed a will. He anticipated that development when he articulated in his petition his belief that Sotero Baluyut executed wills which should be delivered to the court for probate. Certiorari lies when a grave abuse of discretion was patently committed by the lower court or if the petitioner's contention is clearly tenable or when the broader interests of justice or public policy justify the nullification of the questioned order (Manila Electric Company and Sheriff of Quezon City vs. Hon. Enriquez and Espinosa)

Issue/ Held: WON the lower court acted with grave abuse of discretion in appointing Mrs. Baluyut as administratrix.- YES! Ratio: We hold that while the probate court correctly assumed that Mrs. Baluyut as surviving spouse enjoys preference in the granting of letters of administration (Sec. 6[a), Rule 78, Rules of Court), it does not follow that she should be named administratrix without conducting a full-dress hearing on her competency to discharge that trust. Even the directive of the testator in his will designating that a certain person should act as executor is not binding on the probate court and does not automatically entitle him to the issuance of letters testamentary. A hearing has to be held in order to ascertain his fitness to act as executor. He might have been fit to act as executor when the will was executed but supervening circumstances might have rendered him unfit for that position. Thus, it was held that a hearing is necessary in order to determine the suitability of the person to be appointed administrator by giving him the opportunity to prove his qualifications and affording oppositors a chance to contest the petition (Matute vs. Court of Appeals) In this case the probate court briefly and perfunctorily interrogated Mrs. Baluyut in order to satisfy itself on her mental capacity. The court did not give Alfredo G. Baluyut a chance to contest her qualifications. He had squarely raised the issue as to her competency. The probate court assumed that Alfredo G. Baluyut had no interest in the decedent's estate. As it now turned out, he is one of the legatees named in the decedent's alleged will. Moreover, it is necessary to convert the proceeding in the lower court into a testamentary proceeding. The probate of the will cannot be dispensed with and is a matter of public policy (Art. 838, Civil Code; See. 1, Rule 75, Rules of Court ) After the will is probated, the prior letters of administration should be revoked and proceedings for the issuance of letters testamentary or of administration under the will should be conducted (Sec. 1, Rule 82, Rules of Court Whether Sotero Baluyut died testate or intestate, it is imperative in the interest of the orderly administration of justice that a hearing be held to determine Mrs. Baluyut's fitness to act as executrix or administratrix. Persons questioning her

16 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Capistrano v. Nadurata
Romualdez, J. Quickie: Petra de los Santos died. Guillerma Capistrano, et al (professing to be her halfsiblings by the same mother) commenced proceedings for the appointment of Justo Buera as the administrator of Petras estate. The application was opposed by Pedro and Juan de los Santos (who also claimed to be half-brothers of Petra). Later, Leon Nadurata intervened and interposed also an opposition to Capistrano, et al.s application, claiming to be Petras surviving spouse. CFI overruled both oppositions and appointe d Buera as administrator of Petras estate. HELD: The selection of an administrator of the estate of a deceased lies within the discretion of the court (Sec. 642, Subsec. 1, Code of Civil Procedure). The record does not contain anything tending to show an abuse of discretion on the part of the lower court. On the contrary, the act of the lower court is not only indicative of sound discretion, but is right and just; for the evidence shows that Leon Nadurata is not surviving spouse of Petra, who died widow and not twice widow, and that the opponents Pedro and Juan de los Santos are not, as they pretend to be, brother of the aforesaid deceased. Nature: Appeal from the judgment and orders of the CFI (1) appointing Justo Buera as the administrator of the estate of Petra de los Santos; (2) declaring who the heirs of Petra are; and (3) directing the prosecution against certain parties who committed falsification and perjury during the proceedings Facts: Guillerma Capistrano, et al applied for the appointment of Justo Buera as administrator of the estate of Petra de los Santos, deceased. The application was opposed by Pedro and Juan de los Santos who prayed instead that Pedro be appointed administrator. Then, Leon Nadurata intervened, asserting himself to be the surviving spouse of Petra de los Santos, and praying that the letters of administration be issued to him. After a lengthy discussion was made in the lower court of the question whether or not Leon Nadurata is the husband of the said deceased, and whether Capistrano, et al, or the opponents de los Santoses, are her nearest relatives, the lower court had appointed Justo Buera special administrator Also, the lower court declared Leon Nadurata NOT to be the surviving spouse of Petra and that the latter's nearest relatives are not the de los Santoses (who are NOT Petras brothers) but that the applicants Capistrano, et al are her true brothers by the same mother. Upon these findings, the lower court confirmed the appointment of Justo Buera as administrator of the estate. From this judgment Nadurata and the de los Santoses appealed Issue/s and Held: WON the lower court erred in: (a) Overruling of their opposition to the confirmation of the appointment of Justo Buera as administrator NO! (b) The declaration that the applicants are the sole heirs of the deceased to the exclusion of said opponents YES!

46 Phil 726 (1922)


(c) The ordering of the prosecution of certain persons for the crime of falsification of public document and for perjury NO! Ratio: (a) The selection of an administrator of the estate of a deceased lies within the discretion of the court (sec. 642, subsec. 1, Code of Civil Procedure). And the record does not contain anything tending to show an abuse of discretion on the part of the lower court. On the contrary, the act of the lower court in overruling the objection of the opponents and confirming the appointment as administrator of the person proposed by the applicants is not only indicative of sound discretion, but is right and just; for the evidence shows that Leon Nadurata is not surviving spouse of Petra de los Santos, who died widow and not twice widow, and that the opponents Pedro de los Santos and Juan de los Santos are not, as they pretend to be, brother of the aforesaid deceased. (b) However, the declaration of heirs made by the lower court is PREMATURE, even though the evidence already sufficiently shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. The estate had hardly been judicially opened, and the proceeding has not as yet reached the stage of distribution of the estate which must come after the inheritance is liquidated (sec. 753, Code of Civil Procedure). (c) The order contained in the judgment, directing the prosecution of persons for falsification and perjury finds sufficient support in the evidence. Although we the evidence (Exhibits 1 and 2) are not authentic by any means, yet we prefer to leave it with the lower court to take cognizance of the criminal action and to declare whether they were criminally falsified or not. But, as stated, we are persuaded by the evidence of record that the trial court committed no error in directing the prosecuting officer to take such action as may be deemed proper for the punishment of those criminally responsible, as revealed by the evidence and found in the course of this proceeding DISPOSITIF: Except as regards the declaration of heirs, which, while it is supported by the evidence, is premature, the ruling appealed from is affirmed in all other respects, with costs against the appellants. So ordered.

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Arevalo v. Bustamante
Diaz, J. Facts: 2 years and some months after Bernabe Bustamante died, his widow, Rufina Arevalo promoted the record of his Intestate. She was appointed by the CFI of Manila as judicial administrator. She presented the inventory of properties and months later, the Commissioners of Appraisal and Claims filed its report. Maria Bustamante and Corazon Reyes Reyes, claiming to be heirs of Bustamante, filed their objections against the inventory. Children of Antonio Oliveros did the same. And Perfecto Bustamante, brother of the said deceased filed objections against the report of the Commissioners on their part Before the court could act on the objections raised against the report of the Commissioners, Arevalo died. Ariston Bustamante, Rufinas heir, was appointed as administrator of the estate of Bernabe. Ariston proceeded to prepare and submit the final account of the administration of the said Intestate and the proposed participation. When this became known to the heirs of the late Bernabe, Maria Lourdes de los Santos, Maria Pilar de los Santos and Jose Maria Bustamante, and guardians of minors Alfonso Antonio Oliveros filed their objections. o the new administrator, not being an heir of the Bernabe or having their property interest in relics, should not be appointed Administrator o that in the project of partition, several heirs were ignored. o that being the heir of Rufina and also the administrator of the same, he has interest opposed to those of each and every one of them o that the accounts presented do not include income from all assets of the intestate o the expenses that are dated in said account are excised and unjustified CFI issued an order revoking the appointment of Ariston as Receiver of Intestate concerned, and ordered the submission of a person suitable to be appointed as judicial administrator. Issues/Held: WON the revocation was proper? YES Ratio: Removal from office always involves correction or punishment, but the cancellation of the order of appointment is made by reason of disability. Interest adverse to the intestate or to others who are interested in them is reason enough for the disability of the appointed judicial administrator. The court has discretion to name the judicial administrator whom he considered more qualified to defend and ensure the interests of the intestate. The revocation of Aristons appointment does not infringed Article 653 of the Code of Civil Procedure which provides for the removal of a Manager for leaving accounts or administering the goods or for stopping fulfilling orders that were given, or for hiding, which is not the case.

69 Phil 656 (1940)


The order that gave effect to the cessation of his appointment was not dictated but it was made after there had been an opportunity to be heard as regards the protest of the heirs of late Bernabe Bustamante.

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Gabriel et. al. v. CA


Regalado, J. Quickie: Private respondent Roberto Dindo Gabriel applied for and was granted letters of administration. Later on, the legitimate family (wife and children) opposed saying that under Section 6 Rule 78, it should be the surviving spouse is first in the order of preference for the appointment of an administrator. Court said, yes, but no reason to omit Roberto. They can be co-administrators. Under the circumstances obtaining herein, we deem it just, equitable and advisable that there be a co-administration of the estate of the deceased by petitioner Felicitas Jose-Gabriel and private respondent Roberto Dindo Gabriel. As earlier stated, the purpose of having co-administrators is to have the benefit of their judgment and perhaps at all times to have different interests represented, especially considering that in this proceeding they will respectively represent the legitimate and illegitimate groups of heirs to the estate. Thereby, it may reasonably be expected that all interested persons will be satisfied, with the representatives working in harmony under the direction and supervision of the probate court. Nature: Petitioners' present appeal by certiorari would have this Court set aside that decision of respondent court, hence the need to examine the chronology of antecedent facts, as found by respondent court and detailed hereunder, pertinent to and which culminated in their recourse now before us. Facts: May 12, 1988 nine (9) months after Domingo Gabriel died on August 6, 1987, private respondent Roberto Dindo Gabriel filed with the RTC of Manila, Branch XI, a petition for letters of administration alleging, among others, that he is the son of the decedent, a college graduate, engaged in business, and is fully capable of administering the estate of the late Domingo Gabriel. Private respondent mentioned eight (8) of herein petitioners as the other next of kin and heirs of the decedent. May 17, 1988 the court below issued an order setting the hearing of the petition on June 29, 1988, on which date all persons interested may show cause, if any, why the petition should not be granted. o The court further directed the publication of the order in "Mabuhay," a newspaper of general circulation, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks. o No opposition having been filed despite such publication of the notice of hearing, private respondent was allowed to present his evidence ex parte. Thereafter, the probate court issued an order, dated July 8, 1988, appointing private respondent as administrator of the intestate estate of the late Domingo Gabriel on a bond of P30,000.00. 4 Subsequently, a notice to creditors for the filing of claims against the estate of the decedent was published in the "Metropolitan News." o

212 SCRA 413 (1992)


As a consequence, Aida Valencia, mother of private respondent, filed a "Motion to File Claim of (sic) the Intestate Estate of Domingo P. Gabriel" alleging that the decision in a civil case between her and the deceased remained unsatisfied and that she thereby had an interest in said estate December 12, 1988 private respondent filed for approval by the probate court an "Inventory and Appraisal" placing the value of the properties left by the decedent at P18,960,000.00, which incident was set for hearing on January 16, 1989. February 2, 1989 petitioners Nilda, Eva, Boy, George, Rosemarie, and Maribel, all surnamed Gabriel, filed their "Opposition and Motion" praying for the recall of the letters of administration issued to private respondent and the issuance of such letters instead to petitioner Nilda Gabriel, as the legitimate daughter of the deceased, or any of the other oppositors who are the herein petitioners. After some exchanges and on order of the court, petitioners filed an "Opposition to the Petition and Motion," dated May 20, 1989, alleging the ff: (1) they were not duly informed by personal notice of the petition for administration; (2) petitioner Nilda Gabriel, as the legitimate daughter, should be preferred over private respondent; (3) private respondent has a conflicting and/or adverse interest against the estate because he might prefer the claims of his mother and (4) most of the properties of the decedent have already been relinquished by way of transfer of ownership to petitioners and should not be included in the value of the estate sought to be administered by private respondent. September 21, 1989 the probate court issued an order denying the opposition of petitioners on the ground that they had not shown any circumstance sufficient to overturn the order of July 8, 1988, in that (1) no evidence was submitted by oppositor Nilda Gabriel to prove that she is a legitimate daughter of the deceased; and (2) there is no proof to show that the person who was appointed administrator is unworthy, incapacitated or unsuitable to perform the trust as to make his appointment inadvisable under these circumstances. The motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was likewise denied in an order dated December 22, 1989. From said orders, herein petitioners filed a special civil action for certiorari with the Court of Appeals CA dismissed petition on the ground that the appointment of an administrator is left entirely to the sound discretion of the trial court which may not be interfered with unless abused; that the fact that there was no personal notice served on petitioners is not a denial of due process as such service is not a jurisdictional requisite and petitioners were heard on their opposition; and that the alleged violation of the order of preference, if any, is an error of fact or law which is a mistake of judgment, correctible by appeal and not by the special civil action of certiorari.

19 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Issue/Held: W/N under Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, it should be the surviving spouse who is first in the order of preference for the appointment of an administrator. Yes. Ratio: Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court provides: Sec. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. If no executor is named in the will, or the executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give bond, or a person dies intestate, administration shall be granted: (a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or both, in the discretion of the court, or to such person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of kin, requests to have appointed, if competent and willing to serve; (b) If such husband or wife, as the case may be, or the next of kin, or the person selected by them, be incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband or widow, or next of kin, neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for administration or to request that administration be granted to some other person, it may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing to serve; (c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be granted to such other person as the court may select. Evidently, the foregoing provision of the Rules prescribes the order of preference in the issuance of letters of administration, categorically seeks out the surviving spouse, the next of kin and the creditors, and requires that sequence to be observed in appointing an administrator. It would be a grave abuse of discretion for the probate court to imperiously set aside and insouciantly ignore that directive without any valid and sufficient reason therefor. In the appointment of the administrator of the estate of a deceased person, the principal consideration reckoned with is the interest in said estate of the one to be appointed as administrator. o This is the same consideration which Section 6 of Rule 78 takes into account in establishing the order of preference in the appointment of administrators for the estate. The underlying assumption behind this rule is that those who will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and economical administration of the estate, or, on the other hand, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or mismanagement, have the highest interest and most influential motive to administer the estate correctly. o This is likewise the same consideration which the law takes into account in establishing the preference of the widow to administer the estate of her husband upon the latter's death, because she is supposed to have an interest therein as a partner in the conjugal partnership. Under the law, the widow would have the right of succession over a portion of the exclusive property of the decedent, aside from her share in the conjugal partnership. For such reason, she would have as much, if not more, interest in administering the entire estate correctly than any other next of kin. On this ground alone, petitioner Felicitas Jose-Gabriel, the widow of the deceased Domingo Gabriel, has AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN every right and is very much entitled to the administration of the estate of her husband since one who has greater interest in the estate is preferred to another who has less. Private respondent, however, argues that Felicitas Jose-Gabriel may no longer be appointed administratrix by reason of her failure to apply for letters of administration within thirty (30) days from the death of her husband, as required under the rules. o It is true that Section 6(b) of Rule 78 provides that the preference given to the surviving spouse or next of kin may be disregarded by the court where said persons neglect to apply for letters of administration for thirty (30) days after the decedent's death. However, it is our considered opinion that such failure is not sufficient to exclude the widow from the administration of the estate of her husband. There must be a very strong case to justify the exclusion of the widow from the administration. In the case at bar, there is no compelling reason sufficient to disqualify Felicitas Jose-Gabriel from appointment as administratrix of the decedent's estate. o Moreover, just as the order of preference is not absolute and may be disregarded for valid cause despite the mandatory tenor in the opening sentence of Rule 78 for its observance, so may the 30-day period be likewise waived under the permissive tone in paragraph (b) of said rule which merely provides that said letters, as an alternative, "may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors." On the other hand, we feel that we should not nullify the appointment of private respondent as administrator. The determination of a person's suitability for the office of judicial administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound judgment of the court exercising the power of appointment and said judgment is not to be interfered with on appeal unless the said court is clearly in error. Administrators have such a right and corresponding interest in the execution of their trust as would entitle them to protection from removal without just cause. Thus, Section 2 of Rule 82 provides the legal and specific causes authorizing the probate court to remove an administrator. While it is conceded that the court is invested with ample discretion in the removal of an administrator, it must, however, have some fact legally before it in order to justify such removal. There must be evidence of an act or omission on the part of the administrator not conformable to or in disregard of the rules or the orders of the court which it deems sufficient or substantial to warrant the removal of the administrator. In the instant case, a mere importunity by some of the heirs of the deceased, there being no factual and substantial bases therefor, is not adequate ratiocination for the removal of private respondent. Suffice it to state that the removal of an administrator does not lie on the whims, caprices and dictates of the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate. In addition, the court may also exercise its discretion in appointing an administrator where those who are entitled to letters fail to apply therefor within a given time. On the equiponderance of the foregoing legal positions, we see no reason why, for the benefit of the estate and those interested therein, more than one administrator may not be appointed since that is both legally permissible and sanctioned in practice.

20 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 o Section 6(a) of Rule 78 specifically states that letters of administration may be issued to both the surviving spouse and the next of kin. o In fact, Section 2 of Rule 82 contemplates a contingency which may arise when there is only one administrator but which may easily be remediable where there is co-administration, to wit: "When an executor or administrator dies, resigns, or is removed the remaining executor or administrator may administer the trust alone, . . . ." Also, co-administration herein will constitute a recognition of both the extent of the interest of the widow in the estate and the creditable services rendered to and which may further be expected from private respondent for the same estate. Under both Philippine and American jurisprudence, the appointment of coadministrators has been upheld for various reasons, viz: (1) to have the benefit of their judgment and perhaps at all times to have different interests represented; (2) where justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of the estate of the deceased; (3) where the estate is large or, from any cause, an intricate and perplexing one to settle; (4) to have all interested persons satisfied and the representatives to work in harmony for the best interests of the estate; (5) when a person entitled to the administration of an estate desires to have another competent person associated with him in the office. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Under the circumstances obtaining herein, we deem it just, equitable and advisable that there be a co-administration of the estate of the deceased by petitioner Felicitas Jose-Gabriel and private respondent Roberto Dindo Gabriel. As earlier stated, the purpose of having co-administrators is to have the benefit of their judgment and perhaps at all times to have different interests represented, especially considering that in this proceeding they will respectively represent the legitimate and illegitimate groups of heirs to the estate. Thereby, it may reasonably be expected that all interested persons will be satisfied, with the representatives working in harmony under the direction and supervision of the probate court. WHEREFORE, the judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by AFFIRMING the validity of the appointment of respondent Roberto Dindo Gabriel as judicial administrator and ORDERING the appointment of petitioner Felicitas Jose-Gabriel as coadministratrix in Special Proceeding No. 88-4458 of Branch XI, Regional Trial Court of Manila. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla and Nocon, JJ., concur.

21 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Silverio v. CA et. al.


Purisima, J.: Quickie: The appointment of Edgardo Silverio as administrator is being questioned by the husband of the deceased. The Court held that the appointment of Edgardo S. Silverio as administrator is proper. The determination of a person's suitability for the office of administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound judgment of the court exercising the power of appointment and such judgment will not be interfered with on appeal unless it appears affirmatively that the court below was in error. Unsuitableness for appointment as administrator may consist in adverse interest of some kind or hostility to those immediately interested in the estate. . Facts: Beatriz Silverio died without leaving any will more than three (3) years from the death of the deceased, Edgardo Silverio filed a Petition for Letters of Administration he filed an Urgent Petition for Appointment of Special Administrator, alleging that o during her marriage with Ricardo Silverio, the deceased acquired real and personal properties in the Philippines and outside the country, the character, identity and aggregate value of which are still undetermined and not known to petitioner except the personal properties estimated to be worth P1,000,000.00; o that during the lifetime of the late Beatriz Silverio, the surviving spouse has not made any settlement, judicial or extrajudicial, of the properties of the deceased; o that their surviving son, Ricardo Silverio, Jr., has taken control and management of the properties left by the deceased for his own benefit and advantage; that petitioner, one of the legal heirs of the deceased, is competent and willing to act as administrator. Ricardo Silverio, Sr. interposed his Opposition to the Petition for Letters of Administration. Ricardo C. Silverio Sr. filed a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction, Prohibition and/or Restraining Order with the Court of Appeals the respondent court dismissed for lack of merit the petition for certiorari: o The rule is clear and unequivocal. It does not provide that the surviving spouse takes precedence exclusive of and over all other heirs of the deceased in the appointment of the administrator. o Another cognate reason that militates against the appointment of petitioner as administrator, is his utter failure to show that he is a fit and proper person to discharge the duties of an administrator. The conduct of the petitioner in relation to the management of the assets of the conjugal partnership between petitioner and the deceased spouse betrays his moral fitness to act as administrator of the intestate estate of the decedent. Petitioner was not only cheating on his wife by maintaining illicit relationship with another woman. He was also at the same time systematically stripping assets of their conjugal partnership then under his administration.

304 SCRA 541 (1999)


Issue: W/N respondent court erred in its interpretation that Section 6, Rule 79 of the court does not provide for an order of preference in the appointment of the administrator Held/Ratio: the order of preference in the appointment of an administrator depends on the attendant facts and circumstances. In the case under consideration, the appointment of Edgardo S. Silverio as administrator is proper. The determination of a person's suitability for the office of administrator rests, to a great extent, in the sound judgment of the court exercising the power of appointment and such judgment will not be interfered with on appeal unless it appears affirmatively that the court below was in error. . . . Unsuitableness for appointment as administrator may consist in adverse interest of some kind or hostility to those immediately interested in the estate. . We discern no ground to disregard the finding of the respondent judge and the respondent court on the competence of the decedent's son, Edgardo S. Silverio, to act as administrator. His appointment as special, and later, as the regular administrator is sanctioned by law. If the administrator was appointed by the trial court for the estate in accordance with Rule 79, section 6 of the Rules of Court, the trial court had discretion to issue the letters of administration to any of the persons mentioned in said section, and unless there has been an abuse of discretion, which does not appear to have been committed in the present case, appointment shall not be revoked on appeal.

22 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

In re Intestate Estae of Christina Aguinaldo- Suntay


Nachura, J. Quickie: Grandkid Isabel v widower as administrator of Cristinas estate. Grandkid Emilio III intervened and was appointed administrator . SC ruled for joint administration with grandkid Isabel . Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court lists the order of preference in the appointment of an administrator of an estate. However, the order of preference is not absolute for it depends on the attendant facts and circumstances of each case.Jurisprudence has long held that the selection of an administrator lies in the sound discretion of the trial court. In the main, the attendant facts and circumstances of this case necessitate, at the least, a joint administration by both respondent and Emilio III of their grandmothers, Cristinas, estate. In the appointment of an administrator, the principal consideration is the interest in the estate of the one to be appointed. The order of preference does not rule out the appointment of co-administrators, specially in cases where justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of the estates, a situation which obtains here. Nature: Petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court Facts: On June 4, 1990, the decedent, Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay (Cristina), married to Dr. Federico Suntay (Federico), died intestate. In 1979, their only son, Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay (Emilio I), predeceased both Cristina and Federico. At the time of her death, Cristina was survived by her husband, Federico, and several grandchildren, including herein petitioner Emilio A.M. Suntay III (Emilio III) and respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay. During his lifetime, Emilio I was married to Isabel Cojuangco, and they begot three children, namely: herein respondent, Isabel; Margarita; and Emilio II, all surnamed Cojuangco-Suntay. Emilio Is marriage to Isabel Cojuangco was subsequently annulled. Thereafter, Emilio I had two children out of wedlock, Emilio III and Nenita Suntay Taedo (Nenita), by two different women, Concepcion Mendoza and Isabel Santos, respectively. Despite the illegitimate status of Emilio III, he was reared ever since he was a mere baby, nine months old, by the spouses Federico and Cristina and was an acknowledged natural child of Emilio I. Nenita is an acknowledged natural child of Emilio I and was likewise brought up by the spouses Federico and Cristina. As previously adverted to, the marriage between Emilio I and Isabel was annulled. Consequently, respondent and her siblings Margarita and Emilio II, lived with their mother on Balete Drive, Quezon City, separately from their father and paternal grandparents.

621 SCRA 142 (2010)


Parenthetically, after the death of Emilio I, Federico filed a petition for visitation rights over his grandchildren: respondent Isabel, Margarita, and Emilio II. Although the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Quezon City granted the petition and allowed Federico one hour of visitation monthly, initially reduced to thirty minutes, it was altogether stopped because of a manifestation filed by respondent Isabel, articulating her sentiments on the unwanted visits of her grandparents. Significantly, Federico, after the death of his spouse, Cristina, or on September 27, 1993, adopted their illegitimate grandchildren, Emilio III and Nenita respondent filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration in her favor Disavowing the allegations in the petition of his grandchild, respondent Isabel, Federico filed his Meanwhile, after a failed attempt by the parties to settle the proceedings amicably, Federico filed a Manifestation dated March 13, 1999, nominating his adopted son, Emilio III, as administrator of the decedents estate on his behalf, in the event he would be adjudged as the one with a better right to the letters of administration. Trial Court: granted Emilio IIIs Motion for Leave to Intervene considering his interest in the outcome of the ase. Emilio III filed his Opposition-In-Intervention, which essentially echoed the allegations in his grandfathers opposition, allegi ng that Federico, or in his stead, Emilio III, was better equipped than respondent to administer and manage the estate of the decedent, Cristina. Additionally, Emilio III averred his own qualifications that: [he] is presently engaged in aquaculture and banking; he was trained by the decedent to work in his early age by involving him in the activities of the Emilio Aguinaldo Foundation which was established in 1979 in memory of her grandmothers father; the significant work experiences outside the family group are included in his curriculum vitae; he was employed by the oppositor [Federico] after his graduation in college with management degree at F.C.E. Corporations and Hagonoy Rural Bank; In the course of the proceedings, Federico died. Trial Court: appointing herein petitioner, Emilio III, CA-reversed and set aside the

Issue/Held: Who, as between Emilio III and respondent, is better qualified to act as administrator of the decedents estate- BOTH; JOINT ADMINISTRATION Ratio: The underlying philosophy of our law on intestate succession is to give preference to the wishes and presumed will of the decedent, absent a valid and effective will; The basis for Article 992 of the Civil Code, referred to as the iron curtain bar rule,] is quite the opposite scenario in the facts obtaining herein for the actual relationship between Federico and Cristina, on one hand, and Emilio III, on the other, was akin to the normal relationship of legitimate relatives; Emilio III was reared from infancy by the decedent, Cristina, and her husband, Federico, who both acknowledged him as their grandchild;

23 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Federico claimed half of the properties included in the estate of the decedent, Cristina, as forming part of their conjugal partnership of gains during the subsistence of their marriage; Cristinas properties forming part of her estate are still commingled with that of her husband, Federico, because her share in the conjugal partnership, albeit terminated upon her death, remains undetermined and unliquidated; and Emilio III is a legally adopted child of Federico, entitled to share in the distribution of the latters estate as a direct heir, one degree from Federico, not simply representing his deceased illegitimate father, Emilio I. From the foregoing, it is patently clear that the CA erred in excluding Emilio III from the administration of the decedents estate. As Federicos adopted son, Emilio IIIs interest in the estate of Cristina is as much apparent to this Court as the interest therein of respondent, considering that the CA even declared that under the law, [Federico], being the surviving spouse, would have the right of succession over a portion of the exclusive property of the decedent, aside from his share in the conjugal partnership. Thus, we are puzzled why the CA resorted to a strained legal reasoning Emilio IIIs nomination was subject to a suspensive condition and rendered inoperative by reason of Federicos death wholly inapplicable to the case at bar. Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court lists the order of preference in the appointment of an administrator of an estate However, the order of preference is not absolute for it depends on the attendant facts and circumstances of each case.Jurisprudence has long held that the selection of an administrator lies in the sound discretion of the trial court. In the main, the attendant facts and circumstances of this case necessitate, at the least, a joint administration by both respondent and Emilio III of their grandmothers, Cristinas, estate. In the appointment of an administrator, the principal consideration is the interest in the estate of the one to be appointed. The order of preference does not rule out the appointment of co-administrators, specially in cases where justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of the estates, a situation which obtains here. (Delgado Vda. de De la Rosa v. Heirs of Marciana Rustia Vda. de Damian) Similarly, the subject estate in this case calls to the succession other putative heirs, including another illegitimate grandchild of Cristina and Federico, Nenita Taedo, but who was likewise adopted by Federico, and the two (2) siblings of respondent Isabel, Margarita and Emilio II. In all, considering the conflicting claims of the putative heirs, and the unliquidated conjugal partnership of Cristina and Federico which forms part of their respective estates, we are impelled to move in only one direction, i.e., joint administration of the subject estate. One final note. Counsel for petitioner meticulously argues that Article 992 of the Civil Code, the successional bar between the legitimate and illegitimate relatives of a decedent, does not apply in this instance where facts indubitably demonstrate the contrary. Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that judicial restraint impels us to refrain from making a final declaration of heirship and distributing the presumptive shares of the parties in the estates of Cristina and Federico, considering that the question on who will administer the properties of the long deceased couple has yet to be settled. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN The declaration of heirs made by the lower court is premature, although the evidence sufficiently shows who are entitled to succeed the deceased. The estate had hardly been judicially opened, and the proceeding has not as yet reached the stage of distribution of the estate which must come after the inheritance is liquidated. (Capistrano v. Nadurata )

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Espinosa v. Barrios, et. al.


Imperial, J. Quickie: Pardon the inconsistencies and incomprehensibility of this case. This case was written in SPANISH! I merely translated the contents through some online language translator and Im not sure if I was able to interpret the translation according to its proper meaning as originally written, or if the translation itself is correct to begin with. But heres what I gathered, to the best of my ability. Here it goes: The estate of JAGUNAP thru its administratrix FLORA Jagna-an entered into a contract of barter with CLETO Espinosa, where the parties agreed to exchange lots. CLETO ceded Lot No. 2850 to estate of JAGUNAP in exchange for Lot No. 2835. After the settlement court approved the barter, the parties assumed possession of the lots. When CLETO died, his heir SALVACION Espinosa (petitioner) claimed that Lot No. 2850 remained in CLETOs estate since what he bartered was another Lot. This notwithstanding, she failed to interposed any opposition in the CFI hearing the settlement of JAGUNAPs estate, nor did she raise the same in her own fathers settlement proceeding. Thus, FLORA together with some of JAGUNAPs heir were able to later sell and partition portions of Lot No. 2850 which were all approved by the CFI. Then the settlement of JAGUNAPs estate was finally clo sed. Only then did SALVACION interpose her objections. She sought re-opening of the proceedings. She also sued the administratrix FLORA. HELD: The remedy for SALVACION is NOT reopening of the special proceedings since these have already been closed and such remedies have already been clearly lost. Her proper recourse should have been the ordinary appeal and to claim recovery of possession of Lot No. 2850 there. As regards the administratrix FLORA, she is a stranger who does not have a material interest in the properties of the estate. She has, therefore, NO RIGHT to intervene or appeal against any order of the CFI dictated to her, even though the same may be seemingly harmful (to the estate). Nature: Petitions for certiorari and mandamus instituted by SALVACION Espinosa to revoke and override the Orders of the CFI Iloilo in the probate of the deceased Florencio JAGUNAP Facts: On April 1927, appellee FLORA Jagna-an, in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of the late Florencio JAGUNAP, executed a contract of exchange (barter) with CLETO Espinosa, for which FLORA received Lot No. 2850 in exchange for Lot No. 2835, both lots located in the Municipality of Sta. Barbara On October 15, 1927, FLORA submitted the contract of exchange for approval to the CFI. Approved. Since then, CLETO and estate of JAGUNAP has taken possession of the lots as exchanged. CLETO died intestate. Among his heirs is petitioner SALVACION Espinosa, who laid claim on Lot No. 2850 (previously bartered and transferred to estate of JAGUNAP). She claims that her father transferred by barter Lot No. 2125 and not Lot No. 2850, which latter lot, she says, remained in her fathers estate and subsequently adjudicated to be hers following the settlement of CELTOs estate

70 Phil 311 (1940)


Meanwhile, on Oct 1935, FLORA (as administratrix) together with two of the heirs of JAGUNAP (Loreto and Maria), sold 9/14 share in Lot No. 2850 to CIRILO Javelosa (with the heirs conveying their combined co-owned pro-indiviso shares in Lot No. 2850). Upon proper presentation, said sale of Lot No. 2850 in favor of CIRILO was approved by the CFI Iloilo Later, administratrix FLORA applied for a project of division/partition of Lot No. 2850 for the proper awarding of proportions and shares in the lot among the seven remaining heirs of JAGUNAP and the extent of the lot now belonging to CIRILO. Approved. In the end, a total of 16, 285 sq m was awarded to CIRILO. The remaining portion of the lot were distributed to the other heirs of JAGUNAP In the meantime, SALVACION failed to interpose objections and oppositions in the CFI as these sales and divisions or partitions were being heard by the lower court. She claimed she never received notices thereof. Ultimately, sometime before May 1939, the CFI adjudged the settlement of JAGUNAPs estate closed without having definitely cleared up the confusion as to the rightful ownership of Lot No. 2850. SALVACION, to recover the title and possession of Lot No. 2850, instituted actions against the administratrix FLORA before the CFI of Iloilo, also requesting therein the re-opening of the settlement proceedings, the annulment of the sale of portions of Lot no. 2850 in favor of CIRILO as well as the subsequent division/partition of the lot thereafter. CFI Iloilo, acting upon SALVACIONs petition, initially required her to also seek the re-opening of the settlement proceeding s of CLETOs estate, which SALVACION did ULTIMATELY, though, the CFI dismissed SALVACIONs case, on the ground that she has given her conformity to the partition of the Lot in question and that in any case, the administratrix of JAGUNAPs estate, FLORA, was not the proper party to sue as she was not an interested party in the esta tes property in litigation~ hence, this appeal

Issue/s and Held: WON the CFI Judge Barrios committed error in dismissing the petition? NO. Ratio: PROPRIETY OF REMEDY: The Court takes cognizance of the fact that SALVACION might have been misled into believing that she could obtain re-opening of the case and sue to administratrix by the CFI when she was required to seek the re-opening of the estate proceedings of her father CLETO BUT it is also obvious that the remedy for SALVACION is NOT reopening of the special proceedings since these have already been closed and such remedies have already been clearly lost. Her proper recourse should have been the ordinary appeal and to claim recovery of possession of Lot No. 2850 there As regards the administratrix FLORA, she is a stranger who does not have a material interest in the properties of the estate. She has, therefore, NO RIGHT to intervene or appeal against any order of the CFI dictated to her, although the same may be seemingly harmful (to the estate).

25 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 FOR SALVACION to protect her rights, she did not need to resort to the re-opening of the estate proceedings nor was there any need for her to sue the administratrix of JAGUNAP to effect such re-opening. She has another easy and speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law (Art. 217, Code of Civil Procedure). FINALLY, as to the settlement proceedings of CLETO which has already been closed in due course and his property awarded and distributed to his heirs, it is grossly reprehensible to require, let alone order, its reopening not only against the law but also offending public policy! refuses SALVACIONs requested resort, with the costs to the AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

DISPOSITIF: The Court appellant. So it is ordained.

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Trillana v. Crisostomo
Feria, J. Nature: appeal from an order of the CFI Bulacan Facts: CFI Bulacan denied Crisostomo et als petition for relief from the judgment of the said court allowing the will of Oct. 19 executed by the deceased Damasa Crisostomo. Crisostomo et als assignment of errors: o The judgment of January 5 was obtained through fraud - the proponents of the will did not cause personal notice of the hearing to be made upon the legal heirs of the decedent, contrary to the requirement of Rule 77, sec. 4. o The lower court failed to perform its legal duty to set date for proving the will of Aug. 16, 1948; o The failure to set aside a date for proving the will of August 16 with the will of Oct. 19 was entirely due to the lower court's fault or negligence - the will of Aug. 16, 1948 was sent together with a writing called "Manifestation" by registered mail on Oct. 30, 1948, from Manila to the CFI Bulacan, by Atty. Barnes, and said will must have been received by the Clerk of Said Court on or after Nov. 1, 1948, the date when the subsequent will of Oct. 19, was filed for probate. Issue/Held: WON CFI erred denying the petition for relief. NO Ratio: We can not consider now for the first time in this appeal the question whether the lower court complied with the requirement of said sec. 4 of Rule 77, for that question has not been raised in the court below, either in their original petition for relief or in their MR, of the order denying their petition for relief. And there being no evidence to the contrary, the legal presumption is that the court which probated the will, complied with its duty and acted in lawful exercise of its jurisdiction in probating said will. Besides, they, in their petition for relief, stated that "This Honorable Court set its hearing of the petition for allowance of the will of Oct. 19 on Dec. 2, 1948. Copy of this order was published in "The Star Reporter", newspaper of general circulation in Bulacan on November 5, 12 and 19 respectively, and the corresponding notices served by the office of the Clerk of Court, in accordance with law". And their attorneys had not denied said statement. Having failed to show that the judgment of the lower court, probating the will of testatrix, was obtained through fraud, the lower court did not commit any error in denying the petition for relief, and therefore it is not necessary for us to discuss and pass upon the other propositions of the appellant.

89 Phil 710 (1951)


In re Estate of Johnson - Where a will is duly probated after publication pursuant to 630 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the order admitting the will is, in the absence of fraud, effective against an persons. The fact that an heir or other interested party lives so far away as to make it impossible for such party to be present at the date appointed for the, probate of the will does not render the order of probate void for lack of due process. Even assuming without deciding, that under sec. 3 of Rule 77, the court shall set aside a date for proving a will even without petition it is delivered to the lower court. CFI was right in not setting a date for proving the will of Aug. 16 because this will was expressly and absolutely revoked by the will of Oct. 19, executed by the same executrix or deceased, which was filed for allowance on Nov. 1, 1948, with the same CFI Bulacan. Besides, they merely allege in their petition for relief that they are "nephews and nieces and therefore legal heirs of the deceased Damasa Crisostomo," without specifying the degree of relationship they had the latter. They do not pretend that if the will of Oct. 19be disallowed, they will inherit the estate left by the testatrix. They contend that said will should be probated jointly or together with the will of Aug. 16, and the latter be allowed instead of the former. In her will of Oct.19, as well in that of Aug. 16, the testatrix is leaving all her properties as legacies to other persons, Crisostomo et al have no interest in the probate of said wills, and they can not appeal from the judgment which allowed one of them instead of the other. Crisostomo et al - they are in interested parties and therefore may appeal in the present case, because in the event the will of Oct. 19 is disallowed and in its that of Aug. 16 is allowed, and the legacies in the latter are declared invalid or the legatees incapable to inherit, the legacies will go to them. This argument has no merit. In civil actions and special proceedings, unless otherwise provided by law, the interest in order that a person may be a party on appeal must be material and direct, so that he will be materially and directly benefited or injured by the court's order, decree or judgment: and not indirect or contingent. The interest claimed by Cristostomo et al is purely contingent or dependent upon several uncertain and future events to (1) The disallowance of the will of Oct. 19 (2)The allowance of the will of Aug. 16, and (3) invalidation of certain legacies left in said will of Aug. 16.

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In Re Intestate Estate of Irene Santos


Paredes, J. Quickie: Adela signed something to the effect that she wont take part in the SpecPro of her mom Irenes estate. Then, she alleged that she was defrauded by the lawyer. Court said We see no prejudice to be suffered by the administrator and Rizalina, if they are required to furnish copies of their pleadings to appellee. On the contrary, doing so, will give appellee her day in court and provide protection to the administrator himself. Nature: Appeal Facts: November 11, 1954 Irene Santos died intestate, leaving as her only heirs her surviving spouse Jose D. Villegas and two nieces daughters of a deceased brother, Rizalina Santos Rivera and Adela Santos Gutierrez. Thereafter, the surviving spouse filed with the Rizal CFI, Pasay City Branch, a petition for Letters of Administration (Sp. Proc. No. 2100), and was appointed administrator of the estate. o In the petition, he named as intestate heirs, besides himself, Rizalina Santos Rivera and Adela Santos Gutierrez. o Under date of January 15, 1955, in the above-mentioned Special Proceedings, an unverified manifestation signed by Adela Gutierrez, accompanied by a public instrument entitled "Kasulatan ng Bilihan at Salinan", dated January 12, 1955, was presented to the Probate Court, stating among others, the following The undersigned hereby solemnly manifests . . . that all her rights, interests and participation in the estate subject of this proceeding now belong to her sister, Rizalina Santos Rivera, and that hereafter she will not take part in the above-entitled proceedings and is not entitled to the service of any pleadings, motion, order or decision filed or promulgated therein. In a verified manifestation presented before the probate Court on January 25, 1955, Adela averred that the deed of assignment of her rights, participation and interest in the estate of Irene Santos and the first manifestation were obtained thru fraud practiced by the administrator upon her and were vitiated by mistake or undue influence. o she narrated that sometime in December, 1954, due to stringent financial conditions, she (Adela) requested the administrator for an advance of P2,000.00 from the estate. o The administrator refused on the ground that it is against the law, but suggested that she might obtain a loan from her sister Rizalina, offering to help. o

5 SCRA 312 (1962)


After Christmas of 1954, the administrator informed Adela that he was able to secure the conformity of Rizalina to give her a loan of P10,000.00 instead of only P2,000.00. When Adela expressed surprise over the amount, the administrator replied that he only wanted to help her get started in business. o January 12, 1955 Adela was brought by Villegas and Rizalina to the office of their lawyer, where she was made to sign a document she could not read. o January 13, 1955, the lawyer asked Adela to sign another document, which he said was to be presented in Court and explained the contents of the document signed the day before. It was only then that Adela came to know that said document was a deed of sale. o When Adela protested, Villegas told her that the matter could be discussed better in his house in Malabon. On arriving at Malabon, Villegas informed Adela that the amount of P50,000.00 which Rizalina was paying for her share in the inheritance, was probably more than what she would get in the estate, because the estate is not valuable and had plenty of debts. o Villegas handed to Adela P6,800.00 in cash and a check drawn, by Rizalina on the Prudential Bank for P3,200.00. Although Adela did not want to accept the money, Villegas refused to take them back. When she was made to sign the deed of assignment, Adela did not know the true value of the estate, which she now estimates to be no less than P1,000.000.00. In the same manifestation, Adela stated that a complaint for annulment of the Deed of Assignment was being prepared; that she was tendering the full amount of P10,000.00 to Villegas or Rizalina; that she was placing the above facts within the knowledge of the Court so that no action be taken giving value to the alleged deed of assignment and in order that she (Adela) might be notified of each and all pleadings or orders connected with the proceedings. The administrator Villegas and Rizalina filed exceptions and/or objections to the Manifestation, denying the allegations of fraud, undue influence and the like. In a motion dated September 7, 1955, filed with the CFI of Pasay, Adela asked the Court to transfer Special Proceedings No. 2100, to Branch I (Pasig), alleging that the complaint for the nullity of the Deed of Assignment filed with the Rizal CFI had been assigned to said Branch I; and that the transfer would save time and effort on the part of all concerned. The motion was strongly opposed by the administrator who stated, among others That in the final distribution of the estate to the heirs, the share corresponding to the movant Adela Santos Gutierrez may be ordered withheld by this Court (if due motion therefor shall have been presented to this Court) until the validity of the deed of assignment shall have been resolved by Branch I of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. September 16, 1955, the motion to transfer was denied. February 9, 1956 Adela presented with the Probate Court, a motion praying that the administrator and/or his attorneys be required to furnish her all copies of

28 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 pleadings filed or to be filed in the intestate proceedings, it appearing that the administrator presented pleadings in Court without serving her copies thereof. An opposition was interposed by the administrator, who alleged that the movant, although originally a party to the probate proceeding, has voluntarily and expressly desisted from being so, and that having assigned by sale, all her rights, interests and participations in the estate, she has no longer any legal standing in the case. On March 12, 1956, the Court (Judge Emilio Rilloraza, presiding) granted Adelas motion A series of long pleadings were presented by the parties, following a motion of reconsideration, containing arguments and authorities sustaining their respective theories. On June 2, 1956, vacation Judge Jesus Y. Perez, handed down an Order, the material portions of which follow xxx xxx xxx AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN WHEREFORE, the Court hereby sustains the motion for reconsideration filed by the administrator and hereby sets aside the order of March 12, 1956. Adela Santos Gutierrez, on June 26, 1956, moved for the reconsideration of the above Order, contending that her motion on February 8, 1956, was not a leave for intervention (Rule 13). At most, the rule on transfer of interest pendente lite (Sec. 20, Rule 3), should be applicable, not that of intervention. On August 10, 1956, Judge Rilloraza, who had already returned from vacation, set aside the order of Judge Perez, stating ..., this Court is of the opinion that the order of this Court dated June 2, 1956 should be, as it is hereby set aside. Let the administrator and/or his attorney furnish henceforth Adela Santos Gutierrez, through counsel, copies of all pleadings, motions, etc., to be filed in this case. Issue/Held: Whether Adela Santos Gutierrez is still entitled to be furnished with pleadings filed by the administrator in the probate proceedings and orders therein issue by the lower court YES. Ratio: It cannot be successfully denied that Adela Santos Gutierrez is an indispensable party to the proceedings in question. Her interest in the estate is not inchoate, it was established at the time of death of Irene Santos on November 11, 1954. While it is true that she executed a deed of assignment, it is also a fact that she asked the same to be annulled, which action is now pending before the Rizal CFI, Pasig Branch. o Although Adela had filed a manifestation dropping herself from the proceedings and presenting therewith the supposed Deed of Assignment, the record, nevertheless fails to show that action thereon had been taken by the probate Court. o Every act intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other transaction (Art. 1082, NCC). o No serious argument can be offered to deny the co-heirship of appellee in the estate under probate. It appearing (if We assume the due execution of the Deed of Assignment), that the transaction is in the nature of extrajudicial partition, court approval is imperative, and the heirs cannot just divest the court of its jurisdiction over the estate and over their persons, by the mere act of assignment and desistance. Thus, in the case of Sandoval v. Santiago, G.R. No. L1723, May 30, 1949, this Court said: ". . . and the heirs of the deceased Marquez could not divest the Court of First Instance of its already acquired jurisdiction

The only question for determination in this incident is whether or not Adela Santos Gutierrez has a right to intervene in this probate proceeding. The Administrator contends that she has no such right because she had already assigned all her rights to her sister, Rizalina Santos Rivera. Although at the outset, Adela Santos Gutierrez had the right to intervene herein as one of the legal heirs of the deceased Irene Santos, yet, when she filed her manifestation, accompanied by the Deed of Sale and Assignment, informing this Court that she had assigned all her rights and interest as such heir to her sister, Rizalina Santos Rivera, said Adela Santos Gutierrez had ceased to have any interest in this estate and without such interest, she could no longer intervene in this proceeding. The assignment, it copy of which is attached to the record, is in the form of a public deed which is entitled to be accorded the presumption of validity so that until the same is annulled in the corresponding action filed by Adela Santos Gutierrez in the Pasig Branch of this Court, her interest would merely be a contingent one, that is, depending upon the contingency of a decision declaring such annulment of the deed of assignment. This contingent interest of Adela Santos Gutierrez is not sufficient to make her an interested party in this proceedings, unless otherwise provided by law, the interest required in order that a person may be a party, must be material and direct, and not indirect or contingent (II Moran's Rules of Court, 1952 Ed., pp. 391-92). We quote the following from Moran's Rules of Court: xxx xxx xxx

In the same way, since the interest of Adela Santos Gutierrez to be considered as heir is dependent upon the contingency that she would succeed in her case for annulment of the Deed of Assignment in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, her contingent interest is not sufficient to make her an interested party in this proceeding.

29 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 by the mere fact of dividing and distributing extrajudicially the estate of the deceased among themselves". But even if the partition had been judicially approved on the basis of the alleged deed of assignment, an aggrieved heir does not lose her standing in the probate court. In our opinion, the court that approved the partition and the agreement in ratification thereof may annul both whenever, as it is here alleged, the approval was obtained by deceit or fraud, and the petition must be filed in the courts of the intestate proceedings, for it is generally admitted that probate courts are authorized to vacate any decree or judgment procured by fraud, not only while the proceedings in the course of which it was issued are pending, but even, as in this case, within a reasonable time thereafter. (Trillana v. Crisostomo, G.R. No. L-3378, Aug. 22, 1951; Espinosa v. Barrios. 70 Phil. 311). We agree with appellee that the motion in question is not one of intervention, but solely a plea to enforce a right and that is to receive pleadings and orders related to the case. Evidently, the use of the word "intervention" in the manifestation and pleadings presented by Adela was resorted to for want of another appropriate word. In effect, all she wanted to convey was that she should participate or continue taking part in the case for being an original party therein. It was her belief that in filing the manifestation dropping herself from the proceedings (but which she later informed the court to have been secured thru fraud), her standing might have been affected. Intervention as contemplated by the Rules is a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is permitted by the court to make himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting the claims of plaintiff, or demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of court, of a person not an original party to pending legal proceedings, which such person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some right or interest alleged by him to be affected by such proceedings (Judge of Camarines Sur, et al. vs. David, et al., G.R. No. 45454, April 12, 1939, cited in Francisco's Rules of Court, Vol. I, Part I, p. 639, emphasis supplied). The circumstances stated above do not fit the status of Adela in the probate proceedings; she was not a third person; she was an original party therein. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

We see no prejudice to be suffered by the administrator and Rizalina, if they are required to furnish copies of their pleadings to appellee. On the contrary, doing so, will give appellee her day in court and provide protection to the administrator himself. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, We find the Order appealed from to be in conformity with the law and jurisprudence. The same should be, as it is hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs against the appellants Jose D. Villegas and Rizalina Santos Rivera, in both instances. Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera and Dizon, JJ., concur. Bengzon, C.J., is on leave.

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Tayag v. Tayag-Gallor
Tinga, J,: Quickie: Respondent filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration. Respondent alleges that she is one of the illegitimate children of the late Ismael Tayag. Ismael Tayag died intestate. According to petitioners, respondent should not be allowed to prove her filiation in the settlement of Ismael Tayags estate because if in Uyguanco v. Court of Appeals, the claim of filiation may no longer be proved in an action for recognition, with more reason that it should not be allowed to be proved in an action for the settlement of the decedents estate. The Court held that respondent in this case had not been given the opportunity to present evidence to show whether she had been voluntarily recognized and acknowledged by her deceased father because of petition ers opposition to her petition and motion for hearing on affirmative defenses. The appellate court was, therefore, correct in allowing the proceedings to continue, ruling that, respondent still has the duty to prove the allegation (that she is an illegitimate child of the decedent), just as the petitioner has the right to disprove it, in the course of the settlement proceedings. Facts: Respondent herein, Felicidad A. Tayag-Gallor, filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration over the estate of Ismael Tayag. Respondent alleged in the petition that she is one of the three (3) illegitimate children of the late Ismael Tayag and Ester C. Angeles. The decedent was married to petitioner herein, Victoria C. Tayag, but the two allegedly did not have any children of their own. Ismael Tayag died intestate, leaving behind two (2) real properties both of which are in the possession of petitioner, and a motor vehicle which the latter sold on 10 October 2000 preparatory to the settlement of the decedents estate. Petitioner allegedly promised to give respondent and her brothers P100,000.00 each as their share in the proceeds of the sale. However, petitioner only gave each of them half the amount she promised. Petitioner opposed the petition, asserting that she purchased the properties subject of the petition using her own money. Argument of petitioners: respondent should not be allowed to prove her filiation in the settlement of Ismael Tayags estate. If, following the case of Uyguanco v. Court of Appeals, the claim of filiation may no longer be proved in an action for recognition, with more reason that it should not be allowed to be proved in an action for the settlement of the decedents estate. Thus, petitioner claims, respondent may no longer maintain an action to prove that she is the illegitimate child of the decedent after the latters death. Issue: whether respondents petition for the issuance of letters of administration sufficiently states a cause of action considering that respondent merely alleged therein that she is an illegitimate child of the decedent, without stating that she had been acknowledged or recognized as such by the latter. Held/Ratio:

549 SCRA 368 (2008)

Rule 79 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for the issuance of letters of administration must be filed by an interested person. In Saguinsin v. Lindayag,[14] the Court defined an interested party as one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. This interest, furthermore, must be material and direct, not merely indirect or contingent. Hence, where the right of the person filing a petition for the issuance of letters of administration is dependent on a fact which has not been established or worse, can no longer be established, such contingent interest does not make her an interested party. Essentially, the petition for the issuance of letters of administration is a suit for the settlement of the intestate estate of Ismael Tayag. The right of respondent to maintain such a suit is dependent on whether she is entitled to successional rights as an illegitimate child of the decedent which, in turn, may be established through voluntary or compulsory recognition. Petitioners thesis is essentially based on her contention that by Ismael Tayags death, respondents illegitimate filiation and necessarily, her interest in the decedents estate which the Rules require to be material and direct, may no longer be established. Petitioner, however, overlooks the fact that respondents successional rights may be established not just by a judicial action to compel recognition but also by proof that she had been voluntarily acknowledged and recognized as an illegitimate child. respondent in this case had not been given the opportunity to present evidence to show whether she had been voluntarily recognized and acknowledged by her deceased father because of petitioners opposition to her petition and motion for hearing on affirmative defenses. There is, as yet, no way to determine if her petition is actually one to compel recognition which had already been foreclosed by the death of her father, or whether indeed she has a material and direct interest to maintain the suit by reason of the decedents voluntary acknowledgment or recognition of her illegitimate filiation. We find, therefore, that the allegation that respondent is an illegitimate child of the decedent suffices even without further stating that she has been so recognized or acknowledged. A motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action in the complaint hypothetically admits the truth of the facts alleged therein. Assuming the fact alleged to be true, i.e., that respondent is the decedents illegitimate child, her interest in the estate as such would definitely be material and direct. The appellate court was, therefore, correct in allowing the proceedings to continue, ruling that, respondent still has the duty to prove the allegation (that she is an illegitimate child of the decedent), just as the petitioner has the right to disprove it, in the course of the settlement proceedings

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Avelino v. CA, et. al.


Quisumbing, J.: Quickie: Daughter v other siblings. Daughter wants to be administrator but other siblings want action to be converted to judicial partition . RTC , CA, and SC said conversion is proper. The heirs succeed immediately to all of the rights and properties of the deceased at the moment of the latter's death. Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, allows heirs to divide the estate among themselves without need of delay and risks of being dissipated. When a person dies without leaving pending obligations, his heirs, are not required to submit the property for judicial administration, nor apply for the appointment of an administrator by the court. Nature: petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals Facts: Petitioner Maria Socorro Avelino is a daughter and compulsory heir of the late Antonio Avelino, Sr., and his first wife private respondent Angelina Avelino. The other private respondents, Sharon, Antonio Jr., Tracy, Patrick and Mark Anthony all surnamed Avelino are likewise compulsory heirs of Avelino, Sr. Sharon, an American, is the second wife of Avelino, Sr. The other private respondents are siblings of petitioner Ma. Socorro. Ma. Socorro filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, a petition for the issuance of letters of administration of the estate of Antonio Avelino, Sr., who died intestate. She asked that she be appointed the administrator of the estate. Angelina, and the siblings filed their opposition by filing a motion to convert the said judicial proceedings to an action for judicial partition which petitioner duly opposed. RTC- petition converted into judicial partition of the estate; MR denied CA- petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court DENIED ; MR denied Issue/Held: WON respondent appellate court committed an error of law and gravely abused its discretion in upholding the trial court's finding that a partition is proper.- NO Ratio: Petitioner submits that: First, no partition of the estate is possible in the instant case as no determination has yet been made of the character and extent of the decedent's estate. In addition, petitioner contends that the estate is in danger of being depleted for want of an administrator to manage and attend to it. Second, petitioner insists that the Rules of Court does not provide for conversion of a motion for the issuance of letters of administration to an action for judicial partition. The conversion of the motion was, thus, procedurally inappropriate and should be struck down for lack of legal basis.

329 SCRA 368 (2000)


When a person dies intestate, or, if testate, failed to name an executor in his will or the executor so named is incompetent, or refuses the trust, or fails to furnish the bond required by the Rules of Court, then the decedent's estate shall be judicially administered and the competent court shall appoint a qualified administrator in the order established in Section 6 of Rule 78. The exceptions to this rule are found in Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 74 which provide: o "SECTION 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. - If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition.. o "SEC. 2. Summary settlement of estates of small value.- Whenever the gross value of the estate of a deceased person, whether he died testate or intestate, does not exceed ten thousand pesos, and that fact if made to appear to the Regional Trial Court having jurisdiction of the estate by the petition of an interested person and upon hearing, which shall be held not less than one (1) month nor more than three (3) months from the date of the last publication of a notice which shall be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province, and after such other notice to interested persons as the court may direct, the court may proceed summarily, without the appointment of an executor or administrator, and without delay, to grant, if proper, allowance of the will, if any there be, to determine who are the persons legally entitled to participate in the estate and to apportion and divide it among them after the payment of such debts of the estate as the court shall then find to be due; and such persons, in their own right, if they are lawful age and legal capacity, or by their guardians or trustees legally appointed and qualified, if otherwise, shall thereupon be entitled to receive and enter into the possession of the portions of the estate so awarded to them respectively. The court shall make such order as may be just respecting the costs of the proceedings, and all orders and judgments made or rendered in the course thereof shall be recorded in the office of the clerk, and the order of partition or award, if it involves real estate, shall be recorded in the proper register's office." The heirs succeed immediately to all of the rights and properties of the deceased at the moment of the latter's death. Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, allows heirs to divide the estate among themselves without need of delay and risks of being dissipated. When a person dies without leaving pending obligations, his heirs, are not required to submit the property for judicial administration, nor apply for the appointment of an administrator by the court. We note that the Court of Appeals found that in this case "the decedent left no debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age. With this finding, it is our view that Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court should apply.

32 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 In a last-ditch effort to justify the need for an administrator, petitioner insists that there is nothing to partition yet, as the nature and character of the estate have yet to be determined. We find, however, that a complete inventory of the estate may be done during the partition proceedings, especially since the estate has no debts. Hence, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error when it ruled that the lower court did not err in converting petitioner's action for letters of administration into an action for judicial partition. Nor can we sustain petitioner's argument that the order of the trial court converting an action for letters of administration to one for judicial partition has no basis in the Rules of Court, hence procedurally infirm. The basis for the trial court's order is Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. It provides that in cases where the heirs disagree as to the partition of the estate and no extrajudicial settlement is possible, then an ordinary action for partition may be resorted to, as in this case. We have held that where the more expeditious remedy of partition is available to the heirs, then the heirs or the majority of them may not be compelled to submit to administration proceedings. The trial court appropriately converted petitioner's action for letters of administration into a suit for judicial partition, upon motion of the private respondents. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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Vda. de Roxas v. Pecson et. al.


Feria (Felicisimo), J. Quickie: PABLO Roxas died. His sister and brother, MARIA and PEDRO, instituted a petition for the administration of PABLOs estate before the CFI of Bulacan and for MARIA to be appointed as special administratrix. Later, his widow NATIVIDAD filed a petition in the same court for the probate of an alleged will executed by PABLO and her (NATIVIDADs) appointment as executrix of said will. Parties agreed to the dismissal of the intestate proceedings. Thus, they litigated only in the probate proceedings. MARIA and PEDRO opposed the probate of the will. In the meantime, as the probate proceedings are being heard, Judge Pecson appointed NATIVIDAD as special administratrix. MARIA and PEDRO opposed but their motion was not acted upon. Meanwhile, Judge Pecson rendered judgment denying the probate of the will on the ground that the witnesses thereto did not sign in the presence of the testator and of each other. In view of this development, MARIA and PEDRO reiterated their prayer to have MARIA appointed as special co-administratrix of PABLOs estate. Judge Pecson, acting on said motion, appointed two special administratrixes: NATIVIDAD for the conjugal or community property and MARIA for all other exclusive or paraphernal properties of PABLO. From this Order, NATIVIDAD appealed~ HELD: The law does not say who shall be appointed as special administrator and the qualifications the appointee must have. Thus, the judge has discretion in the selection of the person to be appointed, and this discretion must be sound, not whimsical or contrary to reason, justice or equity. In the exercise of this discretion, the standard of BENEFICIAL INTEREST has been used. The beneficial interest required as a qualification for appointment as administrator of the estate of a decedent is the interest in the whole estate and not only in some part thereof. In the case at bar, Judge Pecson clearly exceeded his discretion when he failed to recognize that NATIVIDAD has the same beneficial interest AFTER the denial of the wills probate as she had PRIOR to it, because the decision regarding the denial of probate is not yet final and may be reversed by the appellate court! Besides, even if the will is not probated, the widow in the present case would have, under the law, the right of usufruct over one-half of the exclusive properties of the decedent aside from her share in the conjugal partnership. Thus, to limit her administration only to conjugal or community property does not find support in law and in logic and reason. (Other legal and practical reasons are pointed out below) Nature: This is a petition for certiorari filed against the Orders of respondent Judge Potenciano Pecson of the CFI Bulacan Facts: PABLO Roxas died leaving properties in Bulacan. Private respondents MARIA and PEDRO Roxas (sister and brother of the deceased) filed a petition for the administration of PABLO's estate before the CFI of Bulacan, and MARIA was appointed special administratrix upon an ex-parte petition

82 Phil 407 (1948)


The petitioner NATIVIDAD Vda. de Roxas, widow of PABLO, later filed a petition for the probate of an alleged will of her deceased husband, and for her appointment as executrix of his estate designated is said will. The petition was docketed in the same court In said will, PABLO bequeathed one-half of his estate to his widow, NATIVIDAD, and the other half to REYNALDO Roxas, an illegitimate child (9 years old) of the decedent Upon agreement of both parties, the intestate proceeding was dismissed and ordered closed by the court. Naturally, MARIA and PEDRO opposed the probate of the will. In consideration of such opposition, the CFI appointed NATIVIDAD as special administratrix and qualified as such over the objection of MARIA and PEDRO, who wanted MARIA to be the special administratrix. They filed an MR against the order of the court appointing NATIVIDAD as special administratrix, with an alternative prayer that MARIA be appointed as special co-administratrix, which motion was not acted upon. After hearing, Judge PECSON rendered a decision denying the probate of the will on the ground that the attesting witnesses did not sign their respective names in the presence of the testator. NATIVIDAD appealed, and the appeal is now pending. Acting on this development, MARIA and PEDRO renewed their petition for the appointment of MARIA as special administratrix or special co-administratrix, and the respondent judge rendered his resolution appointing NATIVIDAD as special administratrix only of all the conjugal properties of the deceased, and MARIA as special administratrix of all capital or properties belonging exclusively to the deceased HENCE, this present petition for certiorari against the last order of the CFI Bulacan based on the ground that the respondent Judge PECSON acted in excess of jurisdiction in appointing two special co-administratixes of the estate of the deceased PABLO, one of the capital or properties belonging exclusively to the deceased, and another of his conjugal properties with his wife (now widow), the petitioner NATIVIDAD

Issue/s and Held: WON Judge Pescon committed error in appointing two special coadministratrixes for the estate of PABLO, one for the CPG properties and the other for his exclusive, paraphernal properties YES! Ratio: There is nothing wrong in the respondent judge exercising his discretion and appointing NATIVIDAD as special administratrix, for which he had taken into consideration the beneficial interest of NATIVIDAD in the estate of the decedent and her being designated in the will as executrix thereof. HOWEEVR, Judge Pecson's subsequent act of appointing her as special administratrix only of the conjugal or community property, and MARIA as special administratrix of the capital or exclusive property of the decedent, does not seem to be in conformity with logic or reason It is well settled that the statutory provisions as to the prior or preferred right of certain persons to the appointment of administrator under section 1, Rule 81, as

34 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 well as the statutory provisions as to causes for removal of an executor or administrator under section 2, Rule 83, do not apply to the selection or removal of special administrator As the law does not say who shall be appointed as special administrator and the qualifications the appointee must have, the judge or court has discretion in the selection of the person to be appointed, discretion which must be sound, that is, not whimsical or contrary to reason, justice or equity. NATIVIDAD has (or claims to have) the same beneficial interest AFTER the denial of the wills probate as she had PRIOR to it, because the decision is not yet final and may be reversed by the appellate court! Besides, even if the will is not probated, the widow in the present case would have, under the law, the right of usufruct over one-half of the exclusive properties of the decedent aside from her share in the conjugal partnership. The beneficial interest required as a qualification for appointment as administrator of the estate of a decedent is the interest in the whole estate and not only in some part thereof. The petitioner being entitled to one-half in usufruct of all the exclusive properties of the decedent, she would have as much if not more interest in administering the entire estate correctly, in order to reap the benefit of a wise, speedy, economical administration of the state, and not suffer the consequences of the waste, improvidence or mismanagement thereof. The good or bad administration of the property may affect rather the fruits than the naked ownership of a property. According to section 2, Rule 75, "when the marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community property shall be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse." That is the reason why, according to section 4, Rule 78, the "letters testamentary, or letters of administration with the will annexed, shall extend to all the estate of the testator in the Philippines," and section 6, Rule 79, provides for appointment of one administrator in case of intestacy, except in certain cases in which two or more joint, but not separate and independent, administrators may be appointed under section 3, Rule 82. Therefore the administrator appointed to administer and liquidate the exclusive property of a deceased spouse shall also administer, liquidate and distribute the community property, because the estate of a deceased spouse which is to be settled, that is, administered, liquidated and distributed, consists not only of the exclusive properties of the decedent, but also of one-half of the assets of the conjugal partnership, if any, which may pertain to the deceased, as determined after the liquidation thereof in accordance with the provisions of articles 1421 to 1424 of the Civil Code. There is absolutely no reason for appointing two separate administrators, specially if the estate to be settled is that of a deceased husband as in the present case, for according to articles 1422 and 1423 of the Civil Code, only after the dowry and parapherna of the wife and the debts, charges, and obligations of the conjugal partnership have been paid, the capital or exclusive property of the husband may be liquidated and paid in so far as the inventoried estate may reach; and if the estate inventoried should not be sufficient to pay the dowry and the parapherna of the wife and the debts, charges and obligations of the partnership, the provision of Title AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN XVII of the Civil Code relating to concurrence and preference of credits shall be observed. If two separate administrators are appointed as done in the present case, in every action which one of them may institute to recover properties or credit of the deceased, the defendant may raise the question or set up the defense that the plaintiff has no cause of action, because the property or credit in issue belongs to the class which is being administered by the other administrator, which can not be done if the administrator of the entire estate is only one. As under the law only one general administrator may be appointed to administer, liquidate and distribute the estate of a deceased spouse, it clearly follows that only one special administrator may be appointed to administer temporarily said estate, because a special administrator is but a temporary administrator who is appointed to act in lieu of the general administrator. "When there is delay in granting letters testamentary or of administration occasioned by an appeal from the allowance or disallowance of will, or from any other cause, the court may appoint a special administrator to collect and take charge of the estate of the deceased until the questions causing the delay are decided and executors or administrators thereupon appointed," (sec. 1, Rule 81). Although his powers and duties are limited to "collect and take charge of the goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased and preserve the same for the executor or administrator afterwards appointed, and for that purpose may commence and maintain suits as administrator, and may sell such perishable and other property as the court orders sold. A special administrator shall not be liable to pay any debts of the deceased." (Section 2, Rule 81.)

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Matias v. Gonzales
Concepcion, J. Quickie: Aurea filed a petition for the probate of her aunts will. Basilia, aunts first cousin, opposed. CFI denied probate of the will. Aurea appealed and the case was pending before SC. Basilia moved for dismissal of the special administrator of the estate and for the appointment of Ramon Plata. CFI dismissed Rodriguez and appointed Basilia as special administratrix to be assisted by her niece, Victorina. Ramon Plata was also appointed as co-administrator. Aurea asked the order to be set aside upon the ground that Basilia is over 80 years of age, totally blind and physically incapacitated to perform the duties. Basilia resigned and recommended the appointment of Victorina. Victorina and Platas request to collect the rents and sell the palay was grantet by the C FI. HELD: In her motion, Basilia prayed for the dismissal of Rodriguez, and the appointment of Ramon Plata, as special administrator of said estate. Aurea had, therefore, no notice that her main opponent, Basilia, and the latter's principal witness, Victorina, would be considered for the management of said. As a consequence, Aurea had no opportunity to object to the appointment of Basilia as special administratrix, and of Victorina, as her assistant and adviser, and the order of Feb. 27, 1956, to this effect, denied due process to Aurea. Inasmuch as the lower court had deemed it best to appoint more than one special administrator, justice and equity demands that both factions be represented in the management of the estate of the deceased. Nature: Petition for Ceriorari Facts: May 15, 1952 - Aurea Matias initiated said special proceedings with a petition for the probate of a document purporting to be the last will and testament of her aunt, Gabina Raquel, who died single on May 8, 1952, at the age of 92. The heir to the entire estate of the deceased except the properties bequeathed to her other niece and nephews, namely, Victorina Salud, Santiago Salud, Policarpio Salud, Santos Matias and Rafael Matias is, pursuant to said instrument, Aurea, likewise, appointed therein as executrix thereof, without bond. Basilia Salud, a first cousin of the deceased, opposed the probate of her alleged will. Judge Gonzalez issued an order denying the petition for probate. Aurea brought the matter on appeal to SC, where it is now pending decision. Feb. 17, 1956, Basilia moved for the dismissal of Horacio Rodriguez, as special administrator of the estate of the deceased, and the appointment, in his stead of Ramon Plata. On the date of the hearing, Rodriguez did not appear. Instead, he filed an urgent motion praying for additional time within which to answer the charges preferred against him by Basilia and for another postponement of said hearing. This motion was not granted, and Basilia introduced evidence in support of said charges.

101 Phil 852 (1957)


Judge Gonzales issued an order finding Rodriguez guilty of abuse of authority and gross negligence, and, accordingly, relieved him as special administrator of the estate of the deceased and appointed Basilia as special administratrix thereof, to be assisted and advised by her niece, Victorina Salud, who shall always act as aide, interpreter and adviser of Basilia. It also provided that Basilia shall be helped by Ramon Plata who is hereby appointed as co-administrator. March 8, 1956 - Aurea asked that said order be set aside and that she be appointed special co-administratrix, jointly with Rodriguez, upon the ground that Basilia is over 80 years of age, totally blind and physically incapacitated to perform the duties of said office, and that she is the universal heiress of the deceased and the person appointed by the latter as executrix of her alleged will. CFI denied the motion. March 17, 1956 - Basilia tendered her resignation as special administratrix by reason of physical disability, due to old age, and recommended the appointment, in her place, of Victorina. March 21, 1956 - Aurea sought reconsideration of the order of the CFI. March 24, 1956 - Aurea expressed her conformity to said resignation, but objected to the appointment of Victorina on account of her antagonism to said Aurea she (Victorina) having been the principal and most interested witness for the opposition to the probate of the alleged will of the deceased and proposed that the administration of her estate be entrusted to PNB, the Monte de Piedad, BPI, or any other similar institution authorized by law therefor, should the court be reluctant to appoint the movant as special administratrix of said estate. CFI denied the motion. June 18, 1956 - Ramon Plata and Victorina requested authority to collect the rents due to the estate of the deceased and to collect all the produce of her lands. CFI granted the request. June 27, 1956 Ramon and Victorina filed another motion praying for permission to sell the palay of the deceased then deposited in different rice mills in the province of Cavite. CFI granted the request. July 10, 1956 Aurea instituted the present action against Judge Gonzales, and Victorina and Ramon, for the purpose of annulling the orders of Judge Gonzalez, upon the ground that the same had been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. o she should have preference in the choice of special administratrix of the estate of the decedent, being the universal heiress to said estate and, the executrix appointed in the alleged will of the deceased, o that until its final disallowance which has not, as yet, taken place she has a special interest in said estate, which must be protected by giving representation thereto in the management of said estate; that, apart from denying her any such representation, the management was given to persons partial to her main opponent, , Basilia, inasmuch as Victorina is allied to her and Ramon Plata is a very close friend of one of Basilia attorneys; that Basilia was made special administratrix despite her obvious unfitness for said office, she being over 80 years of age and blind; that said disability is borne out by the fact

36 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 that on March 17, 1956, Basilia Salud resigned as special administratrix upon such ground; that the Rules of Court do not permit the appointment of more than one special administrator; that Rodriguez was removed without giving Aurea a chance to be heard in connection therewith; and that Ramon Plata and Victorina were authorized to collect the rents due to the deceased and the produce of her lands, as well to sell her palay, without previous notice to Aurea.. Issue/Held: WON the orders were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. YES Ratio: Although Rodriguez had notice of the hearing of the motion for his removal, dated Feb. 17, 1956, the record shows that Aurea received copy of said motion of Feb. 24, 1956, or the date after that set for the hearing thereof. Again, notice of the order, dated Feb. 23, 1956, postponing said hearing to Feb. 27, 1956, was not served on Aurea. In her motion, Basilia prayed for the dismissal of Rodriguez, and the appointment of Ramon Plata, as special administrator of said estate. Aurea had, therefore, no notice that her main opponent, Basilia, and the latter's principal witness, Victorina, would be considered for the management of said. As a consequence, Aurea had no opportunity to object to the appointment of Basilia as special administratrix, and of Victorina, as her assistant and adviser, and the order of Feb. 27, 1956, to this effect, denied due process to Aurea. Said order was issued with evident knowledge of the physical disability of Basilia. Otherwise respondent Judge would not have directed that she "be assisted and advised by her niece Victorina," and that the latter "shall always act as aide, interpreter and adviser of Basilia." Thus, respondent Judge, in effect, appointed 3 special administrators Basilia, Victorina and Ramon Plata. Soon after the institution of said Special Proceedings No. 5213, an issue arose between Aurea and Basilia regarding the person to be appointed special administrator of the estate of the deceased. The former proposed Rodriguez, whereas the latter urged the appointment of Victorina. CFI decided the matter in favor of Rodriguez and against Victorina, upon the ground that, unlike the latter, who, as a pharmacist and employee in the Santa Isabel Hospital, resides In the City of Manila, the former, a practicing lawyer and a former public prosecutor, and later, mayor of the City of Cavite, is a resident thereof. In other words, the order removing Rodriguez and appointing Victorina to the management of the estate, amounted to a reversal of the aforementioned order. Although the probate of the alleged will and testament of Raquel was denied, the order to this effect is not, as yet, final and executory. It is pending review on appeal taken by Aurea. The probate of said alleged will being still within realm of legal possibility, Aurea has as the universal heir and executrix designated in said instrument a special interest to protect during the pendency of said appeal. Roxas vs. Pecson - a widow, designated as executrix in the alleged will and testament of her deceased husband, the probate of which had denied in an order pending appeal, "has. the same beneficial interest after the decision of the court disapproving AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN the will, which is now pending appeal, because the decision is not yet final and may be reversed by the appellate court." Inasmuch as the lower court had deemed it best to appoint more than one special administrator, justice and equity demands that both factions be represented in the management of the estate of the deceased. The rule in Roxas v. Pecson to the effect that "only one special administrator may be appointed to administrator temporarily" the estate of the deceased, must be considered in the light of the facts obtaining in said case. The lower court appointed therein one special administrator for some properties forming part of said estate, and a special administratrix for other properties thereof. Thus, there were 2 separate and independent special administrators. In the case at bar there is only 1 special administration, the powers of which shall be exercised jointly by two special co-administrators. In short, the Roxas case is not squarely in point. Moreover, there are authorities in support of the power of courts to appoint several special coadministrators Wherefore, the orders complained of are hereby annulled and set aside. The lower court should re-hear the matter of removal of Rodriguez and appointment of special administrators, after due notice to all parties concerned, for action in conformity with the views expressed herein

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De Gala v. Gonzales et. al.


Ostrand, J. Quickie: Serapia Gonzales was ousted as special administratrix of the estate of Severina; she was replaced by Siniforoso, because the properties are with him and his appointment would simplify the proceedings. Court held that such order by the CFI was okay, coz Section 653 only applies to executors and regular administrators. Appointment and removal of special administrators are purely discretionary on the part of the Court. Nature: Appeal Facts: November 23, 1920 Severina Gonzales executed a will in which Serapia de Gala, a niece of Severina, was designated executrix. The testatrix died in November, 1926, leaving no heirs by force of law, and on December 2, 1926, Serapia, through her counsel, presented the will for probate. Apolinario Gonzales, a nephew of the deceased, filed an opposition to the will on the ground that it had not been executed in conformity with the provisions of section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. April 2, 1927 Serapia de Gala was appointed special administratrix of the estate of the deceased. She returned an inventory of the estate on March 31, 1927, and made several demands upon Sinforoso Ona, the surviving husband of the deceased, for the delivery to her of the property inventoried and of which he was in possession. September 20, 1928 the CFI ordered Sinforoso Ona to deliver to Serapia de Gala all the property left by the deceased. Instead of delivering the property as ordered, Sinforoso filed a motion asking the appointment of Serapia de Gala as special administratrix be cancelled and that he, Sinforoso, be appointed in her stead. The motion was opposed by both Apolinario Gonzales and by Serapia de Gala, but on March 3, 1928, it was nevertheless granted, Serapia was removed, and Sinforoso was appointed special administrator in her place, principally on the ground that he had possession of the property in question and that his appointment would simplify the proceedings. In the meantime and after various continuances and delays, the court below in an order dated January 20, 1928, declared the will valid and admitted it to probate. All of the parties appealed, Serapia de Gala from the order removing her from the office of special administratrix, and Apolinario Gonzales and Sinforoso Ona from the order probating the will. Issues/Held: 1) W/N Serapia, as special administrator cannot be removed except for one or more of the causes stated in section 653 of the Code of Civil Procedure. NO. 2) W/N the will was executed in the form prescribed by Sec. 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure YES.

53 Phil 104 (1929)


Ratio: 1) Section 653 can only apply to executors and regular administrators, and the office of a special administrator is quite different from that of regular administrator. The appointment of a special administrator lies entirely in the sound discretion of the court; the function of such an administrator is only to collect and preserve the property of the deceased and to return an inventory thereof; he cannot be sued by a creditor and cannot pay any debts of the deceased. The fact that no appeal can be taken from the appointment of a special administrator indicates that both his appointment and his removal are purely discretionary, and we cannot find that the court below abused its discretion in the present case. In removing Serapia de Gala and appointing the present possessor of the property pending the final determination of the validity of the will, the court probably prevented useless litigation. 2) Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure as amended by Act No. 2645 reads as follows: No will, except as provided in the preceding section, shall be valid to pass any estate, real or personal, nor charge or affect the same, unless it be written in the language or dialect known by the testator and signed by him, or by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, on the left margin, and said pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each sheet. The attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages used, upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and the latter witnessed and signed the will and all pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of each other. The principal points raised by the appeal are (1) that the person requested to sign the name of the testatrix signed only the latter's name and not her own; (2) that the attestation clause does not mention the placing of the thumb-mark of the testatrix in the will; and (3) that the fact that the will had been signed in the presence of the witnesses was not stated in the attestation clause but only in the last paragraph of the body of the will. The first point can best be answered by quoting the language of this court in the case of the Estate of Maria Salva,

38 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 An examination of the will in question disclosed that it contains five pages. The name of the old woman, Maria Salva, was written on the left hand margin of the first four pages and at the end of the will. About in the center of her name she placed her thumb-mark. About in the center of her name she placed her thumbmark. The three witnesses likewise signed on the left-hand margin and at the end of the will. On these facts, the theory of the trial judge was that under the provisions of section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2645, it was essential to the validity of the will that the person writing the name of the maker of the will also sign. Under the law prior to the amendment, it had been held by this court that where a testator is unable to write and his name is signed by another at his request, in his presence and in that of the subscribing witnesses thereto, it is unimportant, so far as the validity of the will is concerned, whether the person who writes the name of the testator signs his own or not. (Barut vs. Cabacungan (1912), 21 Phil., 461). But his Honor, the trial judge emphasizes that the amendment introduced into the law the following sentence: 'The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, on the left margin . . ..' This requirement, it is said, was not lived up to in this instance. There is, however, an entirely different view which can be taken of the situation. This is that the testatrix placed her thumb-mark on the will in the proper places. When, therefore, the law says that the will shall be 'signed' by the testator or testatrix, the law is fulfilled not only by the customary written signature but by the testator or testatrix' thumb-mark. The construction put upon the word 'signed' by most courts is the original meaning of a signum or sign, rather than the derivative meaning of a sign manual or handwriting. A statute requiring a will to be 'signed' is satisfied if the signature is made by the testator's mark. (28 R. C. L., pp. 116-117). The opinion quoted is exactly in point. The testatrix thumb-mark appears in the center of her name as written by Serapia de Gala on all of the pages of the will. The second and third points raised by Sinforoso Ona and Apolinario Gonzales are sufficiently refuted by quoting the last clause of the body of the will together with the attestation clause, both of which are written in the Tagalog dialect. o As will be seen, it is not mentioned in the attestation clause that the testatrix signed by thumb-mark, but it does there appear that the signature was affixed in the presence of the witnesses, and the form of the signature is sufficiently described and explained in the last clause of the body of the will. It maybe conceded that the attestation clause is not artistically drawn and that, standing alone, it does not quite meet the requirements of the statute, but taken in connection with the last clause of the body of the will, it is fairly clear and o AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN sufficiently carries out the legislative intent; it leaves no possible doubt as to the authenticity of the document. The contention of the appellants Sinforoso Ona and Apolinario Gonzales that the fact that the will had been signed in the presence of the witnesses was not stated in the attestation clause is without merit; the fact is expressly stated in that clause.

In our opinion, the will is valid, and the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed without costs. So ordered. Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Johns, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.

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Liwanag v. CA
Concepcion, J.: Quickie: Liwanag was appointed as special administratix of the estate of Pio Liwanag. A case was filed against her for the foreclosure of a real estate mortgage constituted in his favor by Pio Liwanag. Petitioner argues that a special administrator shall not be liable to pay any debts of the deceased. The Court held that The Rules of Court do not expressly prohibit making the special administratrix a defendant in a suit against the estate. Facts: Petitioner Gliceria C. Liwanag is the special administratrix of the estate of Pio D. Liwanag, respondent Manuel Agregado commenced against her as such special administratrix, Civil Case No. 50897 of the same court, for the foreclosure of a real estate mortgage constituted in his favor by said Pio D. Liwanag during his lifetime. petitioner moved to dismiss Agregado's complaint: as special administratrix she cannot be sued by a creditor of the deceased.

14 SCRA 922 (1965)


The Rules of Court do not expressly prohibit making the special administratrix a defendant in a suit against the estate. Otherwise, creditors would find the adverse effects of the statute of limitations running against them in cases where the appointment of a regular administrator is delayed. So that if We are not to deny the present action on this technical ground alone, and the appointment of a regular administrator will be delayed, the very purpose for which the mortgage was constituted will be defeated.

Argument of petitioner: pursuant to Section 2, Rule 81 of the (old) Rules of Court, "a special administrator shall not be liable to pay any debts of the deceased," and that, accordingly, Agregado has no cause of action against her as a special administratrix. Issue/Held: whether the petitioner herein can be sued as special administratrix. Yes. Ratio: In Liwanag vs. Hon. Luis B. Reyes, involving the same petitioner herein, the same estate of the deceased Pio D. Liwanag, a similar action for foreclosure, although of another mortgage and an identical motion to dismiss and issue, we expressed ourselves as follows: o Section 7 of Rule 86 of the New Rules of Court provides that a creditor holding a claim against the deceased, secured by a mortgage or other collateral security, may pursue any of these remedies: (1) abandon his security and prosecute his claim and share in the general distribution of the assets of the estate; (2) foreclose his mortgage or realize upon his security by an action in court, making the executor or administrator a party defendant, and if there is a deficiency after the sale of the mortgaged property, he may prove the same in the testate or intestate proceedings; and (3) rely exclusively upon his mortgage and foreclose it any time within the ordinary period of limitations, and if he relies exclusively upon the mortgage, he shall not...share in the distribution of the assets. Obviously, the herein respondent has chosen the second remedy, having filed his action for foreclosure against the administratrix of the property.

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Anderson v. Perkins
Reyes, J.B.L., J.: Quickie: Special administrator v wife over the issue of selling the deceaseds personal effects (to preserve their value). It is in line with this general power of the special administrator to preserve not only the property of the estate but also its value, that section 2, Rule 81, also empowers such administrator to sell "other property as the court ordered sold;" .BUT until the issue of the ownership of the properties sought to be sold is heard and decided, and the conjugal partnership liquidated; or, at least, an agreement be reached with a appellant as to which properties of the conjugal partnership she would not mind being sold to preserve their value the proposed sale is clearly premature. Nature: Appeal against an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila Facts: Special proceedings were commenced by a petition presented by Dora Perkin Anderson for the probate of the supposed last will and testament of the late Eugene Arthur Perkins, who died in Manila on April 28, 1956 allegedly possessed of personal and real properties with a probable value of P5,000,000. On the same date of the filing of the aforesaid petition, petitioner Dora Perkins Anderson also filed a urgent petition for the appointment of Alfonso Ponce Enrile as special administrator of the estate, and on the same day, the court issued an order appointing Alfonso Ponce Enrile as such special administrator upon his posting of a bond in the amount of P50,000. On July 9, 1956, Idonah Slade Perkins, surviving spouse of the deceased entered an opposition to the probate of the will presented by petitioner Dora Perkins Anderson. The special administrator submitted an inventory of all the assets which have come to his knowledge as belonging to the deceased Eugene Arthur Perkins at the time of his death. About two years later, the special administrator submitted to the court a petition seeking authority to sell, or give away to some charitable or educational institution or institutions, certain personal effects left by the deceased, such as clothes, books, gadgets, electrical appliances, etc., which were allegedly deteriorating both physically and in value, in order to avoid their further deterioration and to save whatever value might be obtained in their disposition. When the motion was heard, the court required the administrator to submit a specification of the properties sought to be sold, and in compliance therewith, the special administrator submitted to the court, in place of a specification, a copy of the inventory of the personal properties belonging to the estate with the items sought to be sold marked with a check in red pencil, with the statement that said items were too voluminous to enumerate. Idonah Slade Perkins filed an opposition to the proposed sale. Reasons, for the opposition were that (1) most of the properties sought to be sold were conjugal properties of herself and her deceased husband; and (2) that unauthorized removal of fine pieces of furniture belonging to the estate had been made. LOWER COURT- approved the proposed sale; MR denied

1 SCRA 387 (1961)


Issue/Held: WON the approval of the proposed sale is proper - NO Ratio: Appellant first claims that the personal properties sought to be sold not being perishable, the special administrator has no legal authority to sell them. This argument is untenable, because section 2, Rule 81, of the Rules of Court, specifically provides that the special administrator "may sell such perishable and other property as the court orders sold", which shows that the special administrator's power to sell is not limited to "perishable" property only. It is true that the function of a special administrator is only to collect and preserve the property of the deceased until a regular administrator is appointed . But it is not alone the specific property of the estate which is to be preserved, but its value as well, as shown by the legal provision for the sale by a special administrator of perishable property (Cao vs. Cascade Silver Mines & Mills, et al.) It is in line with this general power of the special administrator to preserve not only the property of the estate but also its value, that section 2, Rule 81, also empowers such administrator to sell "other proerty as the court ordered sold;" . There is, however, a serious obstacle to the proposed sale, namely, the vigorous opposition presented thereto the appellant, the surviving spouse of the deceased, on the ground that she is allegedly entitled to a large portion of the personal properties in question, either because the were conjugal property of herself and the deceased, or because they are her own, exclusive, personal property. Indeed the records show that up to the time the propose sale was asked for and judicially approved, no proceeding had as yet been taken, or even started, to segregate the alleged exclusive property of the oppositor-appellant from the mass of the estate supposedly left by the deceased or to liquidate the conjugal partnership property of the oppositor-appellant and the deceased. Until, therefore the issue of the ownership of the properties sought to be sold is heard and decided, and the conjugal partnership liquidated; or, at least, an agreement be reached with a appellant as to which properties of the conjugal partnership she would not mind being sold to preserve their value the proposed sale is clearly premature. After all, most of the items sought to be sold pieces of furniture, kitchen and dinner ware, electrical appliances, various gadget and books can easily be protected and preserved with proper care and storage measures in either or both of two residential houses (in Manila and in Baguio City left by the deceased, so that no reasons of extreme urgency justify the proposed sale at this time over the strong opposition and objection of oppositor-appellant who may later be adjudged owner of a substantial portion of the personal estate in question. The special administrator claims in his brief that t oppositor-appellant should have indicated the alleged "fine furniture" which she did not want sold and that her refusal to do so is an indication of her unmeritorious claim. But it does not appear that appellant was given a reasonable opportunity to point out which items in the inventory she did not want sold. In fact, her opposition to the proposed sale and later her motion for reconsideration to the order approving the

41 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 same were overruled by the court without so much as stating reasons why the grounds for her opposition were not well-founded; the records do not even show that an inquiry was made as to the validity of the grounds of her opposition. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

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Heirs of Castillo v. Lacuata-Gabriel


Callejo, Sr., J. Quickie: CRISANTA died. She left as heirs her surviving spouse LORENZO, her legally adopted son ROBERTO, her Mom and other collaterals + a substantial estate! CRISANTAs Mom originally sought administration of her intestate estate to be granted to deceaseds brother but RTC appointed the widower LORENZO (who is a gastador according to CRISANTAs Mom) instead. Later, however, CRISANTA and LORENZOs marriage was declared void for being bigamous. Thus, LORENZO was ousted as special administrator of CRISANTAs estate and CRISANTAs brother took his place. Later, a certain BELINDA surfaced and intervened in the intestate proceedings for the settlement of CRISANTAs estate. BELINDA claimed to be LORENZO and CRISANTAs only legiti mate daughter. Around the same time, ROBERTO claimed to have found the alleged last will and testament of CRISANTA, in which document he (ROBERTO) was named sole heir. He thus sought probate of the will in the same RTC Malabon. In view of this development, the intestate proceedings for the settlement of CRISANTAs estate was dismissed. Only the probate proceedings were left to be litigated. And as regards said probate proceedings, ROBERTO was named special administrator of CRISANTAs estate. BELINDA died. Fastforward 10 years later, in 2001, BELINDAs heirs (petitioners) sought to be substituted in the case. ROBERTO also died. His widow DOLORES sought to substitute as well. Then the heirs of BELINDA moved to have one of them to be appointed regular administrator of CRISANTAs estate. DOLORES opposed and prayed that she be appointed the administrator. RTC appointed DOLORES. Heirs of BELINDA appealed, but CA sustained the RTC~ hence this petition. HELD: The appointment of a SPECIAL administrator lies entirely in the discretion of the court. In the selection of a special administrator, which appointment is but temporary and subsists only until a regular administrator is appointed, the court determines who is entitled to the administration of the estate of the decedent. A special administrator is a representative of a decedent appointed by the probate court to care for and preserve his estate until an executor or general administrator is appointed. When appointed, a special administrator is regarded not as a representative or agent of the parties suggesting his appointment, but as the administrator in charge of the estate, and, in fact, as an officer of the court. As such officer, he is subject to the supervision and control of the probate court and is expected to work for the best interests of the entire estate, especially its smooth administration and earliest settlement. The principal object of appointment of temporary administrator is to preserve the estate until it can pass into hands of person fully authorized to administer it for the benefit of creditors and heirs. Nature: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals as well as its Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration thereof. Facts: CRISANTA, wife of LORENZO, died in Malabon City, leaving behind a sizable inheritance consisting mostly of real estate and shares of stock.

474 SCRA 747 (2005)


CRISANTAs mother3 thereafter commenced an intestate proceeding before the RTC of Malabon City. Mom alleged that her daughter died intestate leaving an estate with an estimated net value of P1.5M and that such estate was being managed by her wastrel4 and incompetent son-in-law, LORENZO, and by two other equally incompetent persons Mom prayed that letters of administration be issued to her son, MARIANO (also the brother of the deceased), and that she be awarded her share of the estate of her daughter after due hearing. However, the RTC appointed LORENZO as administrator. In the meantime, the marriage between CRISANTA and LORENZO was declared void for being bigamous. The RTC then removed LORENZO as administrator and appointed MARIANO in his stead Later, one BELINDA Almoradie-Castillo, claiming to be the only legitimate child of LORENZO and CRISANTA, filed a motion for intervention. Resolution on this motion was, however, held in abeyance pending some incidents in the CA Thereafter, ROBERTO, the legally adopted son of CRISANTA, filed before the RTC of Malabon City a petition for probate of an alleged will and for the issuance of letters testamentary in his favor. He alleged that he discovered his mothers will on Oct 1989 in which he was instituted as the sole heir of the testatrix, and designated as alternate executor for the named executor therein, FRANCISCO, a brother of CRISANTA, who had predeceased the latter June 2, 1990: BELINDA died. 1991: the RTC dismissed the intestate proceedings and gave due course to the testate proceedings instead. MARIANO questioned the dismissal of the intestate proceedings before the appellate court.5 Meantime, the probate court appointed ROBERTO as special administrator of his mothers estate FASTFORWARD ten years later (May 2001): the heirs of BELINDA, namely, Bena Jean, Daniel, Melchor, Michael, and Danibel, all surnamed Castillo (herein petitioners), filed a Motion praying that they be substituted as party-litigants in lieu of their late mother BELINDA, who died in 1990 in the probate proceedings At this point, ROBERTO the appointed special administrator for CRISANTAs estate already died. His widow, DOLORES Lacuata-Gabriel (respondent), filed a Manifestation and Motion where she prayed that she be admitted as substitute in place of her late husband, and be appointed as administratrix of the estate of CRISANTA as well. She alleged that she had a bachelors degree in law and had worked for several years in a law office6 Heirs of BELINDA opposed DOLORES manifestation and motion. They averred that DOLORES was not CRISANTAs next of kin, let alone the lawful wife of the late ROBERTO. In her Reply, DOLORES refuted these allegations.

Also named CRISANTA! Daughter and mother have the same name. Ano to junior? GASTADOR!!!! 5 The CA affirmed the dismissal of the intestate proceedings 6 I dont know why her law degree and law firm experience are relevant
3 4

43 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Bena Jean (one of BELINDAs heirs) later filed a Motion for Appointment as Administrator of the Estate of CRISANTA. DOLORES opposed the motion of Bena Jean, claiming that the latter has neither proven her kinship with CRISANTA nor shown any particular qualification to act as administratrix of the estate RTC Malabon appointed DOLORES as special administratrix upon a bond of P200K. The probate court, however, merely noted the motion for substitution filed by the heirs of BELINDA, stating that they were mere strangers to the case and that their cause could better be ventilated in a separate proceeding RTC held that DOLORES has amply proven her kinship with ROBERTO as his lawfully wedded wife, and therefore her kinship, by operation of law, with decedent CRISANTA. RTC grounds its jurisdiction in the rule that in the probate proceedings, the probate court has the power to determine questions as to who are the heirs of the decedent, the recognition of a natural child, the validity of disinheritance effected by the testator, and the status of a woman who claims to be the lawful wife of the decedent. The heirs of BELINDA moved to reconsider. MR denied. BELINDAs heirs elevated the case to the CA. The appellate court dismissed the petition. It ruled that the probate court did not commit grave abuse of discretion in appointing DOLORES as special administratrix~ hence, this petition AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN executor or general administrator is appointed. When appointed, a special administrator is regarded not as a representative of the agent of the parties suggesting the appointment, but as the administrator in charge of the estate, and, in fact, as an officer of the court. As such officer, he is subject to the supervision and control of the probate court and is expected to work for the best interests of the entire estate, especially its smooth administration and earliest settlement. The principal object of appointment of temporary administrator is to preserve the estate until it can pass into hands of person fully authorized to administer it for the benefit of creditors and heirs In many instances, the appointment of administrators for the estates of decedents frequently become involved in protracted litigations, thereby exposing such estates to great waste and losses unless an authorized agent to collect the debts and preserve the assets in the interim is appointed. The occasion for such an appointment, likewise, arises where, for some cause, such as a pendency of a suit concerning the proof of the will, regular administration is delayed. Section 1, Rule 80, provides: Appointment of Special Administrator. When there is delay in granting letters testamentary or of administration by any cause including an appeal from the allowance or disallowance of a will, the court may appoint a special administrator to take possession and charge of the estate of the deceased until the questions causing the delay are decided and executors or administrators appointed. The new Rules have broadened the basis for the appointment of an administrator, and such appointment is allowed when there is delay in granting letters testamentary OR administration by any cause, e.g., parties cannot agree among themselves. Nevertheless, the discretion to appoint a special administrator or not lies in the probate court. This discretion, however, must be sound, that is, not whimsical, or contrary to reason, justice, equity or legal principle. The basis for appointing a special administrator under the Rules is broad enough to include any cause or reason for the delay in granting letters testamentary or of administration as where a contest as to the will is being carried on in the same or in another court, or where there is an appeal pending as to the proceeding on the removal of an executor or administrator, or in cases where the parties cannot agree among themselves. Likewise, when from any cause general administration cannot be immediately granted, a special administrator may be appointed to collect and preserve the property of the deceased. The phrase by any cause includes those incide nts which transpired in the case at bar, clearly showing that there is a delay in the probate of the will and that the granting of letters testamentary will consequently be prolonged necessitating the immediate appointment of a special administrator. The probate court has ample jurisdiction to appoint DOLORES as special administratrix. The deceased CRISANTA left a document purporting to be her will where her adopted son, ROBERTO, was named as the sole heir of all her properties. However, pending probate of the will, ROBERTO died leaving his widow, DOLORES, as his sole heir.

Issue/s and Held: WON the appointment of DOLORES as special administratrix of the estate left by CRISANTA was proper YES! Ratio: Heirs of BELINDA argued that since DOLORES does not have any right to inherit from their grandmother CRISANTA, either by her own right or by the right of representation, she is not qualified to be appointed as administratrix of the estate; and that in contrast, they are CRISANTAs only compulsory heirs. They insist that DOLORESs late husband, ROBERTO, was just a nephew of CRISANTA and not her legally adopted son UNTENABLE! The appointment of a SPECIAL administrator lies entirely in the discretion of the court. The order of preference in the appointment of a REGULAR administrator under Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court does not apply to the selection of a special administrator. In the issuance of such appointment, which is but temporary and subsists only until a regular administrator is appointed, the court determines who is entitled to the administration of the estate of the decedent The facts of this case show that ROBERTO is the legally adopted son of CRISANTA. Thus, when CRISANTA died, her estate passed to him, her surviving adopted son. And when ROBERTO later died, pursuant to the law on succession, his own estate which he inherited from CRISANTA passed on to his surviving widow, DOLORES While it is true that DOLORES is neither a compulsory nor a legal heir of CRISANTA and is considered a third person to her estate, nonetheless, DOLORES is undeniably entitled to the administration of the said estate because she is an heir of her husband ROBERTO, whose estate is the former estate of his adopting mother CRISANTA The appointment of a special administrator lies in the sound discretion of the probate court. A special administrator is a representative of a decedent appointed by the probate court to care for and preserve his estate until an

44 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Thus, DOLORES has much stake in CRISANTAs estate in case the latters will is allowed probate. It needs to be emphasized that in the appointment of a special administrator (which is but temporary and subsists only until a regular administrator is appointed), the probate court does not determine the shares in the decedents estate, but merely appoints who is entitled to administer the estate. The issue of heirship is one to be determined in the decree of distribution, and the findings of the court on the relationship of the parties in the administration as to be the basis of distribution. Thus, the preference of DOLORES is sound, that is, not whimsical, or contrary to reason, justice, equity or legal principle. BELINDAs heirs invocation of Section 6, Rule 78 is misplaced. The rule refers to the appointment of REGULAR administrators of estates; Section 1, Rule 80, on the other hand, applies to the appointment of aSPECIAL administrator. It has long been settled that the appointment of special administrators is not governed by the rules regarding the appointment of regular administrators On the plea of BELINDAs heirs for this Court to appoint their co-petitioner, Bena Jean, as the regular administratrix of the estate of CRISANTA, the matter should be addressed to the probate court for its consideration. It is not for this Court to preempt the discretion of the probate court and appoint a regular administrator in the present action. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

DISPOSOTIF: The petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals and its Resolution are AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioners. SO ORDERED.

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Cosme de Mendoza v. Pacheco et. al.


Laurel, J. Quickie: Soriano, former administrator, was indebted to the estate. To collect the debt, CFI ordered the execution of the administrators bond. HELD: CFI, exercising probate jurisdiction, is empowered to require the filing of the administrator's bond, to fix the amount thereof, and to hold it accountable for any breach of the administrator's duty. Possessed, with an all-embracing power over the administrator's bond and over administration proceedings, a CFI in a probate proceeding cannot be devoid of legal authority to execute and make that bond answerable for the very purpose for which it was filed. It is true that the law does not say expressly or in so many words that such court has power to execute the bond of an administrator, but by necessary and logical implication, the power is there as eloquently as if it were phrased in unequivocal term. The execution of an administrator's bond is as necessary part and incident of the administration proceeding as the filing of such bond or the fixing of its amount. Facts: Manuel Soriano was former administrator of the estate of Baldomero Cosme. To assure faithful performance of his duties as such administrator, he filed a bond for P5,000, with Januario Pacheco and Raymundo Cordero, as sureties. Soriano's account, upon approval, showed him indebted to the estate in the sum of P23,603.21. Unable to turn this amount over to the estate upon demand of Rosario Cosme, the new administratrix, the CFI ordered the execution of his bond after notice duly served upon the sureties. CFI approved a settlement had between the adminstratrix and the ex-administrator, whereby the latter ceded certain real properties to the estate reducing on that account his indebtedness to the estate from P23,603.21 to P5,000. The administratrix had the public sale thereof to collect this amount of P5,000. Separate motions to be discharged from the bond were filed by sureties Pacheco and Cordero. Both motions were denied. Corderos MR denied. SC dismissed the appeal: The motion was filed only on behalf of Cordero who filed no motion for reconsideration of the order of execution, and took no appeal therefrom. Being of the opinion that the trial court correctly held that said order had become final, the motion for reconsideration came too late. The judgment is therefore affirmed with costs against the appellants. When the case was remanded to the lower court, the sureties filed a motion challenging, for the first time, the jurisdiction of the trial court to issue the order executing the bond. CFI denied the motion in view of the SCs decision. The case is elevated here for the second time on appeal. Issue/Held: WON CFI Laguna has jurisdiction to order the execution of the admistrators bond? YES Ratio:

64 Phil 134 (1937)


It lies within discretion of the court to select an administrator of the estate of a deceased person. Before an administrator, or an executor, enters upon the execution of his trust, and letters testamentary or of administration are issued, the person to whom they are issued is required to give a bond in such reasonable sum as the court directs, with one or more sufficient sureties, conditioned upon the faithful performance of his trust (Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 643, 662). The administrator is accountable on his bond along with the sureties for the performance of certain legal obligations. CFI, exercising probate jurisdiction, is empowered to require the filing of the administrator's bond, to fix the amount thereof, and to hold it accountable for any breach of the administrator's duty. Possessed, with an all-embracing power over the administrator's bond and over administration proceedings, a CFI in a probate proceeding cannot be devoid of legal authority to execute and make that bond answerable for the very purpose for which it was filed. It is true that the law does not say expressly or in so many words that such court has power to execute the bond of an administrator, but by necessary and logical implication, the power is there as eloquently as if it were phrased in unequivocal term. When the accountability of an administrator's bond is spoken of in the very provisions dealing with and bearing directly on administration proceedings, it would involve a strained construction to hold, as appellants would have us do, that where an administrator is held liable for a devastravit for having squandered and misapplied property which he was in duty bound to marshal and conserve, the estate is without a remedy to go against the administrator's bond in the same probate proceedings, but in an action outside of and separate from it. In this connection, it should be observed that section 683 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that "Upon the settlement of the account of an executor or administrator, trustee, or guardians, a person liable as surety in respect to such amount may, upon application, be admitted as a party to such accounting, and may have the right to appeal as hereinafter provided." There is here afforded to a person who may be held liable as surety in respect to an administrator's account the right, upon application, to be admitted as a party to their accounting, from which we may not unreasonably infer that a surety, like the appellants in the case before us, may be charged with liability upon the bond during the process of accounting, that is, within the recognized confines of probate proceedings, and not in an action apart and distinct from such proceedings. The execution of an administrator's bond is as necessary part and incident of the administration proceeding as the filing of such bond or the fixing of its amount. Particularly is this true in the present case where Soriano's indebtedness to the estate in the amount of P23,603.21, subsequently reduced to P5,000, is conceded on all sides, and all that the trial court had to do was to see that said amount was turned over to the estate. It is the duty of courts of probate jurisdiction to guard jealously the estates of the deceased person by intervening in the administration thereof in order to remedy or repair any injury that may be done thereto "Probate and like courts have a special jurisdiction only, and their powers as to ancillary or incidental questions must of necessity to exercise within certain limitations; but such powers include the right to

46 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 try questions which arise incidentally in a cause over which such courts have jurisdiction and the determination of which are necessary to a lawful exercise of the powers expressly conferred in arriving at a decision. There seems, however, to be a general tendency, in the absence of express and specific restrictions to the contrary, to uphold the exercise by these court of such incidental powers as are, within the purview of their grant of authority, reasonably necessary to enable them to accomplish the objects for which they were invested with jurisdiction and to perfect the same. And it has been held that statutes conferring jurisdiction on such courts, being remedial and for the advancement of justice, should receive a favorable construction, such as will give them the force and efficiency intended by the legislature." The tendency in the US indeed has been towards the enlargement of the powers of probate courts. In the beginning these courts were possessed but limited powers. Having originated from the ecclesiastical courts of England, their jurisdiction, following their English patterns was practically limited to the probate of wills, the granting of administrators, and the suing for legacies. But, though they still are often unadvisedly described, particularly in Connecticut, as courts of limited, inferior or special jurisdiction, they have outgrown their limitations and have become courts with considerably increased powers The policy of dispatch and economy - It will be recalled that the appellants could have raised the question of jurisdiction before the CFI and the SC before. The questions raised in the appeal at bar could have been passed upon once for all in the first appeal. We cannot encourage a practice that trenches violently upon the settled jurisprudence of this court that the policy and purpose of administration proceedings is to close up, and not to continue an estate, and that the State fails wretchedly in its duty to its citizens if the machinery furnished by it for the division and distribution of the property of a decedent is so cumbersome, unwidely and expensive that a considerable portion of the sate is absorbed in the process of such division. Where administration is necessary, it ought to be accomplished consumes any considerable portion of the property which it was designed to distribute is a failure" (McMicking vs. Sy Conbieng) AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN liability of an administrators and require them to file an adequate bond is not only ultra vires but a violation of the constitutional inhibition that no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty and property without due process of law. "The usual method of enforcing the liability on an administration bond is by an action brought on the bond in a court of law, although in some jurisdictions other forms of remedy are provided by statute" The only procedure by which the liability of an executor or administrator and his sureties be enforced on their bond is, therefore, by an ordinary action in court. The failure of the sureties to appeal from the order of summary execution issued by the court below on their bond after a mere service of notice did not legalize said summary procedure and the order of summary execution issued by the lower court, which were otherwise illegal and ultra vires.

Separate Opinions; VILLA-REAL, J., dissenting: Chapter XXXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is headed "Wills and the allowance thereof, and duties of executors", contains no provision concerning the enforcement of the liability of an executor or administrator on his bond and of that of his sureties. According to article 1853 of the Civil Code, "the guarantor may set up against the creditor all the defenses available to the principal debtor and which may be inherent in the debt;." In an administration bond the executor or administrator stands in the place of the principal debtor; his sureties may, therefore, set up all the defenses to which he may be entitled, and which are inherent in the obligation. The procedure by which such defenses may be set up is the ordinary one established by the said Code of Civil Procedure by means of an action in court wherein may contain general or special denial, a special defense or a counterclaim. (Secs. 94 and 95, Act No. 190.) The said Code has not established any special procedure by which an executor or administrator with a mere notice to his sureties does not afford them an adequate opportunity to set up the defenses which the law guarantees to them. To enforce the

47 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN

Ocampo et. al v. Ocampo et. al


Nachura, J. Quickie: Dispute between Leonardo Ocampos heirs (wife and children) and Leonardos siblings. Wife and children wanted to be administrators of BOTH the estate of Leonardo and the estate of Leonardos parents, much to the chagrin of his siblings. So, palitan ng motions ever, kaya mahaba ang facts, coz one side wanted to be special joint administrators, and of course, the other opposes. In the end, RTC revoked special administrators (which were on the siblings side) and appointed a person on Leonardos side as regular administrator. CA reversed. Court held that revocation was proper because of non-compliance with posting of bond, but regular administrator reinstated as special administrator. Nature: This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to reverse and set aside the Decisiondated December 16, 2008 and the Resolution dated April 30, 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 104683. The Decision annulled and set aside the Order dated March 13, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 24, Bian, Laguna, in Sp. Proc. No. B-3089; while the Resolution denied the motion for reconsideration of the Decision. Facts: Petitioners Dalisay E. Ocampo (Dalisay), Vince E. Ocampo (Vince), Melinda Carla E. Ocampo (Melinda), and Leonardo E. Ocampo, Jr. (Leonardo, Jr.) are the surviving wife and the children of Leonardo Ocampo (Leonardo), who died on January 23, 2004. Leonardo and his siblings, respondents Renato M. Ocampo (Renato) and Erlinda M. Ocampo (Erlinda) are the legitimate children and only heirs of the spouses Vicente and Maxima Ocampo, who died intestate on December 19, 1972 and February 19, 1996, respectively. Vicente and Maxima left several properties, mostly situated in Bian, Laguna. Vicente and Maxima left no will and no debts. On June 24, 2004, five (5) months after the death of Leonardo, petitioners initiated a petition for intestate proceedings, entitled In Re: Intestate Proceedings of the Estate of Sps. Vicente Ocampo and Maxima Mercado Ocampo, and Leonardo M. Ocampo, in the RTC, Branch 24, Bian, Laguna, docketed as Spec. Proc. No. B-3089. The petition alleged that, upon the death of Vicente and Maxima, respondents and their brother Leonardo jointly controlled, managed, and administered the estate of their parents. o Under such circumstance, Leonardo had been receiving his share consisting of one-third (1/3) of the total income generated from the properties of the estate. o However, when Leonardo died, respondents took possession, control and management of the properties to the exclusion of petitioners. o The petition prayed for the settlement of the estate of Vicente and Maxima and the estate of Leonardo. It, likewise, prayed for the appointment of an administrator to apportion, divide, and award the two estates among the lawful heirs of the decedents

623 SCRA 559 (2010)


Respondents filed their Opposition and Counter-Petition dated October 7, 2004, contending that the petition was defective as it sought the judicial settlement of two estates in a single proceeding. o They argued that the settlement of the estate of Leonardo was premature, the same being dependent only upon the determination of his hereditary rights in the settlement of his parents estate. In their counter -petition, respondents prayed that they be appointed as special joint administrators of the estate of Vicente and Maxima. In an Order dated March 4, 2005, the RTC denied respondents opposition to the settlement proceedings but admitted their counter-petition. The trial court also clarified that the judicial settlement referred only to the properties of Vicente and Maxima. Through a Motion for Appointment of Joint Special Administrators dated October 11, 2005, respondents reiterated their prayer for appointment as special joint administrators of the estate, and to serve as such without posting a bond. In their Comment dated November 3, 2005, petitioners argued that, since April 2002, they had been deprived of their fair share of the income of the estate, and that the appointment of respondents as special joint administrators would further cause injustice to them. Thus, they prayed that, in order to avoid further delay, letters of administration to serve as joint administrators of the subject estate be issued to respondents and Dalisay. In another Motion for Appointment of a Special Administrator dated December 5, 2005, petitioners nominated the Bian Rural Bank to serve as special administrator pending resolution of the motion for the issuance of the letters of administration. In its June 15, 2006 Order, the RTC appointed Dalisay and Renato as special joint administrators of the estate of the deceased spouses, and required them to post a bond of P200,000.00 each. Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated August 1, 2006 of the Order, insisting that Dalisay was incompetent and unfit to be appointed as administrator of the estate, considering that she even failed to take care of her husband Leonardo when he was paralyzed in 1997. They also contended that petitioners prayer for Dalisays appointment as special administrator was already deemed abandoned upon their nomination of the Bian Rural Bank to act as special administrator of the estate. In their Supplement to the Motion for Reconsideration, respondents asserted their priority in right to be appointed as administrators being the next of kin of Vicente and Maxima, whereas Dalisay was a mere daughter-in-law of the decedents and not even a legal heir by right of representation from her late husband Leonardo. Pending the resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners filed a Motion to Submit Inventory and Accounting dated November 20, 2006, praying that the RTC issue an order directing respondents to submit a true inventory of the estate of the decedent spouses and to render an accounting thereof from the time they took over the collection of the income of the estate.

48 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Respondents filed their Comment and Manifestation dated January 15, 2007, claiming that they could not yet be compelled to submit an inventory and render an accounting of the income and assets of the estate inasmuch as there was still a pending motion for reconsideration of the June 15, 2006 Order appointing Dalisay as co-special administratrix with Renato. In its Order dated February 16, 2007, the RTC revoked the appointment of Dalisay as co-special administratrix, substituting her with Erlinda. o The RTC took into consideration the fact that respondents were the nearest of kin of Vicente and Maxima. Petitioners did not contest this Order and even manifested in open court their desire for the speedy settlement of the estate. On April 23, 2007, or two (2) months after respondents appointment as joint special administrators, petitioners filed a Motion for an Inventory and to Render Account of the Estate, reiterating their stance that respondents, as joint special administrators, should be directed to submit a true inventory of the income and assets of the estate. Respondents then filed a Motion for Exemption to File Administrators Bond on May 22, 2007, praying that they be allowed to enter their duties as special administrators without the need to file an administrators bond due to their difficulty in raising the necessary amount. They alleged that, since petitioners manifested in open court that they no longer object to the appointment of respondents as special co-administrators, it would be to the best interest of all the heirs that the estate be spared from incurring unnecessary expenses in paying for the bond premiums. They also assured the RTC that they would faithfully exercise their duties as special administrators under pain of contempt should they violate any undertaking in the performance of the trust of their office. In an Order dated June 29, 2007, the RTC directed the parties to submit their respective comments or oppositions to the pending incidents, i.e., petitioners Motion for Inventory and to Render Account, and respondents Motion for Exemption to File Administrators Bond. Respondents filed their Comment and/or Opposition, stating that they have already filed a comment on petitioners Motion for Inventory a nd to Render Account. They asserted that the RTC should, in the meantime, hold in abeyance the resolution of this Motion, pending the resolution of their Motion for Exemption to File Administrators Bond. On October 15, 2007, or eight (8) months after the February 16, 2007 Order appointing respondents as special joint administrators, petitioners filed a Motion to Terminate or Revoke the Special Administration and to Proceed to Judicial Partition or Appointment of Regular Administrator. o Petitioners contended that the special administration was not necessary as the estate is neither vast nor complex, the properties of the estate being identified and undisputed, and not involved in any litigation necessitating the representation of special administrators. o Petitioners, likewise, contended that respondents had been resorting to the mode of special administration merely to delay and prolong their deprivation of what was due them. o Petitioners cited an alleged fraudulent sale by respondents of a real property for P2,700,000.00, which the latter represented to petitioners to have been sold only for P1,500,000.00, and respondents alleged misrepresentation that AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN petitioners owed the estate for the advances to cover the hospital expenses of Leonardo, but, in fact, were not yet paid. Respondents filed their Opposition and Comment on March 10, 2008, to which, in turn, petitioners filed their Reply to Opposition/Comment on March 17, 2008. In its Order dated March 13, 2008, the RTC granted petitioners Motion, revoking and terminating the appointment of Renato and Erlinda as joint special administrators, on account of their failure to comply with its Order, particularly the posting of the required bond, and to enter their duties and responsibilities as special administrators, i.e., the submission of an inventory of the properties and of an income statement of the estate. o The RTC also appointed Melinda as regular administratrix, subject to the posting of a bond in the amount of P200,000.00, and directed her to submit an inventory of the properties and an income statement of the subject estate. The RTC likewise found that judicial partition may proceed after Melinda had assumed her duties and responsibilities as regular administratrix. Aggrieved, respondents filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the CA, ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC in (a) declaring them to have failed to enter the office of special administration despite lapse of reasonable time, when in truth they had not entered the office because they were waiting for the resolution of their motion for exemption from bond; (b) appointing Melinda as regular administratrix, a mere granddaughter of Vicente and Maxima, instead of them who, being the surviving children of the deceased spouses, were the next of kin; and (c) declaring them to have been unsuitable for the trust, despite lack of hearing and evidence against them. On December 16, 2008, the CA rendered its assailed Decision granting the petition based on the finding that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in revoking respondents appointment as joint special administrators without first ruling on their motion for exemption from bond, and for appointing Melinda as regular administratrix without conducting a formal hearing to determine her competency to assume as such. o According to the CA, the posting of the bond is a prerequisite before respondents could enter their duties and responsibilities as joint special administrators, particularly their submission of an inventory of the properties of the estate and an income statement thereon.

Issue/Held: W/N CA committed grave abuse of discretion in reversing RTC decision. Partially granted. Melinda should not be regular administratrix, but special administratrix together with Renato and Erlinda. Ratio: The pertinent provisions relative to the special administration of the decedents estate under the Rules of Court provide Sec. 1. Appointment of special administrator. When there is delay in granting letters testamentary or of administration by any cause including an appeal from the allowance or disallowance of a will, the court may appoint a special administrator to take possession and charge of the estate of the deceased until the questions causing the delay are decided and executors or administrators appointed.

49 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 Sec. 2. Powers and duties of special administrator. Such special administrator shall take possession and charge of goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased and preserve the same for the executor or administrator afterwards appointed, and for that purpose may commence and maintain suits as administrator. He may sell only such perishable and other property as the court orders sold. A special administrator shall not be liable to pay any debts of the deceased unless so ordered by the court. Sec. 3. Bond to be given before issuance of letters; Amount; Conditions. Before an executor or administrator enters upon the execution of his trust, and letters testamentary or of administration issue, he shall give a bond, in such sum as the court directs, conditioned as follows: (a) To make and return to the court, within three (3) months, a true and complete inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased which shall come to his possession or knowledge or to the possession of any other person for him; (b) To administer according to these rules, and, if an executor, according to the will of the testator, all goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate which shall at any time come to his possession or to the possession of any other person for him, and from the proceeds to pay and discharge all debts, legacies, and charges on the same, or such dividends thereon as shall be decreed by the court; (c) To render a true and just account of his administration to the court within one (1) year, and at any other time when required by the court; (d) To perform all orders of the court by him to be performed. Sec. 4. Bond of special administrator. A special administrator before entering upon the duties of his trust shall give a bond, in such sum as the court directs, conditioned that he will make and return a true inventory of the goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased which come to his possession or knowledge, and that he will truly account for such as are received by him when required by the court, and will deliver the same to the person appointed executor or administrator, or to such other person as may be authorized to receive them. Inasmuch as there was a disagreement as to who should be appointed as administrator of the estate of Vicente and Maxima, the RTC, acting as a probate court, deemed it wise to appoint joint special administrators pending AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN the determination of the person or persons to whom letters of administration may be issued. o The RTC was justified in doing so considering that such disagreement caused undue delay in the issuance of letters of administration, pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 80 of the Rules of Court. o Initially, the RTC, on June 15, 2006, appointed Renato and Dalisay as joint special administrators, imposing upon each of them the obligation to post an administrators bond of P200,000.00. However, taking into account the arguments of respondents that Dalisay was incompetent and unfit to assume the office of a special administratrix and that Dalisay, in effect, waived her appointment when petitioners nominated Bian Rural Bank as special administrator, the RTC, on February 16, 2007, revoked Dalis ays appointment and substituted her with Erlinda. A special administrator is an officer of the court who is subject to its supervision and control, expected to work for the best interest of the entire estate, with a view to its smooth administration and speedy settlement. When appointed, he or she is not regarded as an agent or representative of the parties suggesting the appointment. The principal object of the appointment of a temporary administrator is to preserve the estate until it can pass to the hands of a person fully authorized to administer it for the benefit of creditors and heirs, pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 80 of the Rules of Court. While the RTC considered that respondents were the nearest of kin to their deceased parents in their appointment as joint special administrators, this is not a mandatory requirement for the appointment. It has long been settled that the selection or removal of special administrators is not governed by the rules regarding the selection or removal of regular administrators. The probate court may appoint or remove special administrators based on grounds other than those enumerated in the Rules at its discretion, such that the need to first pass upon and resolve the issues of fitness or unfitness and the application of the order of preference under Section 6 of Rule 78, as would be proper in the case of a regular administrator, do not obtain. As long as the discretion is exercised without grave abuse, and is based on reason, equity, justice, and legal principles, interference by higher courts is unwarranted. The appointment or removal of special administrators, being discretionary, is thus interlocutory and may be assailed through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Granting the certiorari petition, the CA found that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in revoking respondents appointment as joint special administrators, and for failing to first resolve the pending Motion for Exemption to File Administrators Bond, ratiocinating that the posting of the administrators bond is a pre-requisite to respondents entering into the duties and responsibilities of their designated office. This Court disagrees. o the RTC revoked respondents appointment as special administrators for failing to post their administrators bond and to submit an inventory and accounting as required of them, tantamount to failing to comply with its lawful orders. Inarguably, this was, again, a denial of respondents plea to assume their office sans a bond. The RTC rightly did so. o Pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 81, the bond secures the performance of the duties and obligations of an administrator namely: (1) to administer the

50 DE LA CERNA SPECPRO DIGESTS 2011 estate and pay the debts; (2) to perform all judicial orders; (3) to account within one (1) year and at any other time when required by the probate court; and (4) to make an inventory within three (3) months. More specifically, per Section 4 of the same Rule, the bond is conditioned on the faithful execution of the administration of the decedents esta te requiring the special administrator to (1) make and return a true inventory of the goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased which come to his possession or knowledge; (2) truly account for such as received by him when required by the court; and (3) deliver the same to the person appointed as executor or regular administrator, or to such other person as may be authorized to receive them. o Verily, the administration bond is for the benefit of the creditors and the heirs, as it compels the administrator, whether regular or special, to perform the trust reposed in, and discharge the obligations incumbent upon, him. Its object and purpose is to safeguard the properties of the decedent, and, therefore, the bond should not be considered as part of the necessary expenses chargeable against the estate, not being included among the acts constituting the care, management, and settlement of the estate. Moreover, the ability to post the bond is in the nature of a qualification for the office of administration. On the other hand, the Court finds the RTCs designation of Melinda as regular administratrix improper and abusive of its discretion. o Admittedly, there was no petition for letters of administration with respect to Melinda, as the prayer for her appointment as co-administrator was embodied in the motion for the termination of the special administration. o Although there was a hearing set for the motion on November 5, 2007, the same was canceled and reset to February 8, 2008 due to the absence of the parties counsels. The February 8, 2008 hearing was again deferred to March 10, 2008 on account of the ongoing renovation of the Hall of Justice. Despite the resetting, petitioners filed a Manifestation/Motion dated February 29, 2008, reiterating their prayer for partition or for the appointment of Melinda as regular administrator and for the revocation of the special administration. o It may be mentioned that, despite the filing by respondents of their Opposition and Comment to the motion to revoke the special administration, the prayer for the appointment of Melinda as regular administratrix of the estate was not specifically traversed in the said pleading. Thus, the capacity, competency, and legality of Melindas appointment as such was not properly objected to by respondents despite being the next of kin to the decedent spouses, and was not threshed out by the RTC acting as a probate court in accordance with the above mentioned Rules. AMIN | CHA | JANZ | KRIZEL | VIEN manifested her intention to serve willingly as administratrix of the decedents estate, but her appointment should be converted into one of special administration, pending the proceedings for regular administration. Furthermore, since it appears that the only unpaid obligation is the hospital bill due from Leonardos estate, which is not subject of this case, judicial partition may then proceed with dispatch. WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Decision dated December 16, 2008 and the Resolution dated April 30, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 104683 are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the Order dated March 13, 2008 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 24, Bian, Laguna, with respect to the revocation of the special administration in favor of Renato M. Ocampo and Erlinda M. Ocampo, is REINSTATED. The appointment of Melinda Carla E. Ocampo as regular administratrix is SET ASIDE. Melinda is designated instead as special administratrix of the estate under the same administrators bond she had posted. The trial court is directed to conduct with dispatch the proceedings for the appointment of the regular administrator and, thereafter, to proceed with judicial partition. No costs.

However, having in mind the objective of facilitating the settlement of the estate of Vicente and Maxima, with a view to putting an end to the squabbles of the heirs, we take into account the fact that Melinda, pursuant to the RTC Order dated March 13, 2008, already posted the required bond of P200,000.00 on March 26, 2008, by virtue of which, Letters of Administration were issued to her the following day, and that she filed an Inventory of the Properties of the Estate dated April 15, 2008. These acts clearly