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Vda. De Manalo vs. CA (2001) 1. Troadio Manalo has a wife (Pilar Manalo) and 11 children. 2.

He owns several real properties located in Manila and in the province of Tarlac including a business (Manalos Machine Shop) 3. He died intestate. 4. 8 of surviving children filed in RTC-Manila: a. Judicial settlement of the estate b. Appointment of their brother, Romeo Manalo, as administrator: in order to oust Antonio Manalo (a surviving son) from managing and controlling the properties of their father, without proper accounting, to his own benefit and advantage i. Widow and 3 children: the petition for judicial settlement of estate should have been dismissed because of the failure of heirs to aver the CONDITION PRECEDENT that earnest efforts toward a compromise involving members of the same family have been made prior to the filling of the petition but that the same have failed. 1. CONDITION PRECEDENT: Art. 222. No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject to the limitations in Article 2035. SC: The above-quoted provision of the law is applicable only to ordinary civil actions. This is clear from the term 'suit' that it refers to an action by one person or persons against another or other in a court of justice in which the plaintiff pursues the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a right, whether at law or in equity. 2. should be dismissed under Rules of Court which provide that a motion to dismiss a complaint may be filed on the ground that a condition precedent for filing the claim has not been complied with 3. petition in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 is actually an ordinary civil action involving members of the same family. 4. it contains certain averments, which, according to them, are indicative of its adversarial nature 5. BASIS why they say its adversarial: the averment that the purpose of the petition is to oust Antonio from administering the properties for failure to account for benefits from managing them. ii. SC: 1. General rule: in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding, the averments and the character of the relief sought in the complaint, or petition, as in the case at bar, shall be controlling. 2. Application of rule: a. The said petition contains sufficient jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the settlement of estate of a deceased person such as the fact of death of the late Troadio Manalo, as well as his

residence in the City of Manila at the time of his said death. The fact of death of the decedent and of his residence within he country are foundation facts upon which all the subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. b. The petition is SP.PROC No. 92-63626 also contains an enumeration of the names of his legal heirs including a tentative list of the properties left by the deceased which are sought to be settled in the probate proceedings. c. Reliefs: to seek settlement and distribution of property of decedent 3. As oppositors therein, they took advantage of the said defect in the petition and filed their so-called Opposition thereto which, as observed by the trial court, is actually an Answer containing admissions and denials, special and affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaims for actual, moral and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees and costs in an apparent effort to make out a case of an ordinary civil action and ultimately seek its dismissal 4. It must be emphasized that the trial court, siting as a probate court, has limited and special jurisdiction and cannot hear and dispose of collateral matters and issues which may be properly threshed out only in an ordinary civil action. 5. SC: special proceeding, not an ordinary civil action. a. No defendant: It must be emphasized that the oppositors (herein petitioners) are not being sued in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 for any cause of action as in fact no defendant was included therein. b. Seeks to establish fact, status or right: the petitioners therein (private respondents herein) merely seek to establish the fact of death of their father and subsequently to be duly recognized as among the heirs of the said deceased so that they can validly exercise their right to participate in the settlement and liquidation of the estate of the decedent consistent with the limited and special jurisdiction of the probate court.

Natcher vs. CA (2001) 1. Spouses Graciano del Rosario and Graciana Esguerra were registered owners of a parcel of land 2. Graciana (wife) died, leaving husband Graciano with 6 children. 3. Widower and 6 children entered into an extrajudicial settlement of Graciana's estate, adjudicating and dividing among themselves the real property: a. 8/14 for widower b. 1/14 for each child, for total of 6/14 4. TCT of wife cancelled for new TCT for heirs. 5. they subdivided among themselves the parcel of land 6. Graciano married Patricia Natcher 7. Graciano sold the land (through Deed of Sale) to his wife Patricia, causing the issuance of yet another TCT in the name of Patricia Natcher a. 6 heirs: filed an ordinary action for reconveyance / annulment of title i. Natcher, through the employment of fraud, misrepresentation and forgery, acquired lot by making it appear that Graciano executed a Deed of Sale ii. as a consequence of such fraudulent sale, their legitimes have been impaired. b. Patricia Natcher: i. she was legally married and thus, under the law, she was likewise considered a compulsory heir of the latter. ii. during Graciano's lifetime, Graciano already distributed, in advance, properties to his children, hence, herein private respondents may not anymore claim against Graciano's estate or against herein Natchers property. c. RTC: treated the case as if it is a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person i. Deed of Sale is null because there is no separation of property through marriage settlements. / Prohibited to enter into contract of sale with each other ii. deed as sale cannot be likewise regarded as a valid donation as it was equally prohibited by law under Article 133 of the New Civil Code iii. Although the deed of sale cannot be regarded as such or as a donation, it may however be regarded as an extension of advance inheritance of Patricia Natcher being a compulsory heir of the deceased d. CA / SC: i. It is the probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just and legal distribution of the estate. The court a quo, trying an ordinary action for reconveyance / annulment of title, went beyond its jurisdiction when it performed the acts proper only in a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person. ii. an action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a civil action, whereas matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as advancement of property made by the decedent iii. the Regional Trial Court in the instant case, acting in its general jurisdiction, is devoid of authority to render an adjudication and resolve the issue of advancement of the real property in favor of herein petitioner Natcher, inasmuch as Civil Case No. 471075 for

reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is not, to our mind, the proper vehicle to thresh out said question. 1. Moreover, under the present circumstances, the RTC of Manila, Branch 55 was not properly constituted as a probate court so as to validly pass upon the question of advancement made by the decedent Graciano Del Rosario to his wife, herein petitioner Natcher. 2. a probate court, in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction, is indeed the best forum to ventilate and adjudge the issue of advancement as well as other related matters involving the settlement of Graciano Del Rosario's estate 3. EXCEPTION: this Court is not unaware of our pronouncement in Coca vs. Borromeo and Mendoza vs. Teh that whether a particular matter should be resolved by the Regional Trial Court (then Court of First Instance) in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or its limited probate jurisdiction is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of procedure. In essence, it is procedural question involving a mode of practice "which may be waived". a. But there was no waiver: 6 children assailed authority of RTC. 8. Graciano died. 9. Now, Patricia (stepmother) is left with the 6 children of Graciano. 10. 6 children sued Patricia in RTC. 11. Distinction: An action is a formal demand of one's right in a court of justice in the manner prescribed by the court or by the law. It is the method of applying legal remedies according to definite established rules. The term "special proceeding" may be defined as an application or proceeding to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular fact. Usually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are required unless the statute expressly so provides. In special proceedings, the remedy is granted generally upon an application or motion."

RP vs. CA (2005) 1. Clemente Jomoc is married to Apolinaria. 2. Clemente left his wife for 9 years. a. Article 41, par. 2 of the Family Code. Said article provides that for the purpose of contracting a valid subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a previous marriage where the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years, the spouse present must institute summary proceedings for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee spouse, without prejudice to the effect of the reappearance of the absent spouse. b. Art. 390 of Civil Code: After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession. 3. Apolinaria filed for declaration of presumptive death in RTC. 4. RTC granted the petition to declare presumptive death of Clemente. 5. The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General, sought to appeal the trial courts order by filing a Notice of Appeal. a. General rule: i. If it is a special proceeding, the period to appeal is 30 days and the party appealing must, in addition to a notice of appeal, file with the trial court a record on appeal to perfect its appeal. ii. Otherwise, if the petition is an ordinary action, the period to appeal is 15 days from notice or decision or final order appealed from and the appeal is perfected by filing a notice of appeal. iii. Rules of Court: No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. b. RTC: no record of appeal was filed and served "as required by and pursuant to Sec. 2(a), Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the present case being a special proceeding," hence RTC disapproved the Notice of Appeal c. OSG: the declaration of presumptive death of a person under Article 41 of the Family Code is not a special proceeding or a case of multiple or separate appeals requiring a record on appeal d. The principal issue in this case is whether a petition for declaration of the presumptive death of a person is in the nature of a special proceeding e. CA: i. It is a special proceeding. ii. The instant petition, being in the nature of a special proceeding, OSG should have filed, in addition to its Notice of Appeal, a record on appeal f. SC: i. the petition of Apolinaria Jomoc to have her absent spouse declared presumptively dead had for its purpose her desire to contract a valid subsequent marriage. Ergo, the petition for that purpose is a "summary proceeding," following above-quoted Art. 41, paragraph 2 of the Family Code. ii. there is no doubt that the petition of Apolinaria Jomoc required, and is, therefore, a summary proceeding under the Family Code, not a special proceeding under the Revised Rules of Court appeal for which calls for the filing of a Record on Appeal. It being a summary ordinary proceeding, the filing of a Notice of Appeal from the trial courts order sufficed.

RP vs. Kenrick (2006) 1. Kenrick Development Corporation constructed a concrete perimeter fence around some parcels of land located behind the Civil Aviation Training Center of the Air Transportation Office (ATO) in 1996. 2. ATO was dispossessed of some 30,228 square meters of prime land 3. Kenricks justification: it owns the property. a. Presented TCTs issued in its name b. Ascendant title is from Alfonso Concepcion. 4. ATO verified the authenticity of respondents titles with the Land Registration Authority (LRA). a. The Registrar of Deeds of Pasay City had no record of TCT No. 17508 and its ascendant title, TCT No. 5450. b. The land allegedly covered by respondents titles was also found to be within Villamor Air Base (headquarters of the Philippine Air Force) in Pasay City. 5. OSG filed an action: a complaint for revocation, annulment and cancellation of certificates of title in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines (as represented by the LRA) 6. Issue on unsigned pleading: The answer filed by respondent (Kenrick Development) was unsigned pleading. a. Answer produced no legal effect. b. The trial court ordered the answer stricken from the records, declared respondent in default and allowed the Republic to present its evidence ex parte. c. Why is Kenrick claiming that the unsigned pleading should have effect? i. Respondent completely adopted Atty. Garlitos statements as its own. Respondents adoptive admission constituted a judicial admission which was conclusive on it. ii. While Atty. Garlitos denied signing the answer, the fact was that the answer was signed. The important thing was that the answer bore a signature. iii. While the Rules of Court requires that a pleading must be signed by the party or his counsel, it does not prohibit a counsel from giving a general authority for any person to sign the answer for him which was what Atty. Garlitos did. iv. Atty. Garlitos testified that he prepared the answer; he never disowned its contents and he resumed acting as counsel for respondent subsequent to its filing. d. General rule: i. Contrary to respondents position, a signed pleading is one that is signed either by the party himself or his counsel. Section 3, Rule 7 is clear on this matter. It requires that a pleading must be signed by the party or counsel representing him. ii. Counsels authority and duty to sign a pleading are personal to him. He may not delegate it to just any person. iii. Cannot be delegated to one who is not a lawyer. e. Application of the rule: i. Therefore, the blanket authority respondent claims Atty. Garlitos entrusted to just anyone was void. ii. the transcript of the November 26, 1998 Senate hearing shows that Atty. Garlitos consented to the signing of the answer by another "as long as it conformed to his draft." We give no value whatsoever to such self-serving statement.

f.

Does liberal application of the rules (set aside technicality) apply? i. every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice ii. To summarily brush procedural requirements aside may result in arbitrariness and injustice. iii. Relaxation of rules was not intended to benefit erring litigants to violate rules with impunity. g. When can there be a relaxation in the application of the rules? i. applies only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. ii. only when, for the most persuasive of reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the prescribed procedure. 1. respondent failed to show any persuasive reason why it should be exempted from strictly abiding by the rules

Matute vs. CA (1969) 1. Matias Matute is co-administrator in the settlement of the Matute estate (5 haciendas). 2. Matias was accused in a criminal charge. 3. For a period of more than two years from the date of his appointment, said Matias has neglected to render a true, just and complete account of his administration a. Carlos: he "is not only incompetent but also negligent in his management of the estate under his charge consisting of five haciendas on account of a criminal charge for murder filed against him which is occupying most of his time." b. Matias: i. Submitted copies of his accounting, approved by majority of the heirs composing 63% interest in the estate ii. his competence to act as administrator has been established to the satisfaction of this Honorable Court as evidenced by his appointment by a fixed, final and executory order iii. Carlos S. Matute is now estopped from denying his [Matias S. Matute's] competence and qualification by reason of his failure to object to the appointment of herein Judicial Administrator at the time the application was made therefor iv. Criminal charge: trumped-up affair initiated by persons intent on intimidating the herein Judicial Administrator into betraying his sworn duty to protect and safeguard the interest of the Estate 4. Carlos Matute is a full-blood brother of Matias. 5. Carlos filed a special proceeding for the settlement of the Matias estate, praying for removal/ouster of Matias as co-administrator. a. Agustina Matute Candelario, Elena Matute Candelario and Amadeo Matute Candelario and their mother and legatee Anunciacion Candelario, moved for the immediate appointment of Agustina Matute Candelario, Carlos S. Matute and Jose S. Matute, as joint co-administrators or anyone of them in place of Matias S. Matute b. Grounds: i. failed to pay even the annual real property tax ii. formal defects in financial statements iii. deliberately failed to file their inventories and statements of accounts iv. unauthorized disbursements v. probate court has discretion to remove the administrator 6. During trial in RTC as probate court: a. Jose and company presented evidence and was received by court. b. Matias objected to admission of evidence: hearsay, self-serving, irrelevant and/or mere photostatic copies of supposed originals c. Matias filed with leave of court a "Motion to Dismiss and/or Demurrer to Evidence": i. no sufficient evidence can support his removal. ii. Reserves right to present evidence if motion is denied d. RTC issued Order of removal of Matias, without opportunity for Matias to present his own evidence despite explicit reservation to introduce evidence in case his motion/demurrer is dismissed. i. SC: 1. above actuation of the probate judge constituted grave abuse of discretion which dooms his improvident order as a nullity. 2. Application of Rules in Civil Actions: the aforesaid motion is in form as well as in substance a demurrer to evidence allowed by Rule 35, by virtue of which the defendant does not lose his right to offer evidence in the event that his motion is denied.

a. Court must give opportunity to present evidence to Matias, WITH OR WITHOUT RESERVATION. b. Rule 35: After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for a dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. c. The application of the abovecited Rule in special proceedings, like the case at bar, is authorized by section 2 of Rule 72 which direct that in the "absence of special provisions, the rules provided for in ordinary civil actions shall be, as far as practicable, applicable in special proceedings." 3. Probate court relied on motu proprio findings: a. Movants invoked defects in the account. Probate court invoked reduction in value of income and assets. 7. RTC as probate court issued an Order: (a) Removed Matias as co-administrator and (b) Appointed Jose Matute as co-administrator a. Matias: filed a petition for certiorari in CA for his removal. b. CA: issued injunction against Joses appointment. c. On CAs jurisdiction: i. Jose: filed motion to dismiss in CA, challenging the jurisdiction of the CA. Why? 1. value of the estate involved is more than P200,000 2. The value of estate is P2.1 million, as evidenced by a Compromise Agreement signed by all the heirs 3. Another case: CA already refused to take jurisdiction on this same ground, when appointment of Matias was being contested! ii. Matias: CA has jurisdiction. Why? "because the subject matter involved is merely ... the right to collect the (monthly) rentals due the Estate in the sum of P5,000.00" iii. SC: 1. CA has no jurisdiction a. No basis on argument that this is a mere contest over the right to collect a P5,000 rental ! this is a bitter fight for coadministration b. the principal conflict gravitates over the right to coadminister the vast Amadeo Matute Olave estate c. right to co-administer in general, not the mere authority to collect a P5,000 monthly rental d. On the legality of the Order of probate court to remove Matias and appoint Jose: i. Matias: 1. Was deprived of due process 2. evidence adduced by Jose and company is manifestly insufficient, and devoid of probative value 3. He was removed for causes discovered motu propio by the probate judge in records of another special proceeding, without affording him opportunity to rebut findings ii. Jose: 1. Matias resorted to dilatory tactics by filing a Motion to Dismiss or Demurrer to Evidence 2. The record of another special proceeding is valid evidence to sustain removal iii. General rule:

1. the removal of an administrator under section 2 of Rule 82 lies within the discretion of the court appointing him. 2. Consequently, appellate tribunals are disinclined to interfere with the action taken by a probate court in the matter of the removal of an executor or administrator unless positive error or gross abuse of discretion is shown. (Distinguish discretionary power vs. error of judgment subject to appeal) iv. SC: Due process not observed in removal of Matias.