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Hagans v.

Wislizenus, 42 Phil 880 (1920)


Facts:
This is an original petition, presented in the Supreme Court, for writ of certiorari. The facts alleged in the
petition are admitted by a demurrer. The only question presented is, whether or not a judge of the Court of
First Instance, in special proceedings, is authori!ed under the law to appoint assessors for the purpose of
fi"ing the amount due to an administrator or e"ecutor for his ser#ices and e"penses in the care,
management, and settlement of the estate of a deceased person.
The respondent judge, in support of his demurrer, argues that the pro#ision of $ct %o. &'( permit him to
appoint assessors in special proceedings, The petitioner contends that no authority in law e"ists for the
appointment of assessors in such proceedings.
Section &)* pro#ides that either party to an action may apply in writing to the judge for assessors to sit in
the trial. +pon the filing of such application, the judge shall direct that assessors be pro#ided, . . . .
Issue:
Is a special proceeding, li,e the present, an action- If it is, then, the court is e"pressly authori!ed by
said section &)* to appoint assessors.
.eld:
There is a mar,ed distinction between an action and a special proceeding. $n action is a formal demand
of one/s legal rights 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.
+sually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are required, unless the statute e"pressly so pro#ides.
The remedy in special proceedings is generally granted upon an application or motion. Illustrations of special
proceedings, in contradistinction to actions, may be gi#en: 0roceedings for the appointment of an
administrator, guardians, tutors1 contest of wills1 to perpetuate testimony1 to change the name of persons1
application for admission to the bar, etc., etc.
From all of the foregoing we are dri#en to the conclusion that in proceedings li,e the present the judge of
the Court of First Instance is without authority to appoint assessors.
Vda. de Manalo v. Cour o! "##eals, $49 %C&" 1$' (2001)
Facts:
Troadio 2analo, a resident of &''3 2aria Clara Street, Sampaloc, 2anila died intestate on February &*,
&''4. .e was sur#i#ed by his wife, 0ilar, and his ele#en 5&&6 children. $t the time of his death on February
&*, &''4, Troadio 2analo left se#eral real properties located in 2anila and in the pro#ince of Tarlac including
a business under the name and style 2analo/s 2achine Shop.
7espondents, who are eight 586 of the sur#i#ing children of the late Troadio 2analo, filed a petition

with the
respondent 7egional Trial Court of 2anila

of the judicial settlement of the estate of their late father, Troadio
2analo, and for the appointment of their brother, 7omeo 2analo, as administrator thereof.
9ppositors 50etitioners6 filed their opposition, but the :udge resol#ed in fa#or of the 7espondents.
0etitioners claim that the petition in S0. 079C. %o. '4;3<343 is actually an ordinary ci#il action in#ol#ing
members of the same family. They point out that it contains certain a#erments, which, according to them,
are indicati#e of its ad#ersarial nature, to wit:
0ar. =. 9ne of the sur#i#ing sons, $%T9%I9 2$%$>9, since the death of his father, T79$?I9
2$%$>9, had not made any settlement, judicial or e"tra;judicial of the properties of the deceased
father T79$?I9 2$%$>9.
0ar. 8. """ the said sur#i#ing son continued to manage and control the properties aforementioned,
without proper accounting, to his own benefit and ad#antage """.
0ar. &4. That said $%T9%I9 2$%$>9 is managing and controlling the estate of the deceased
T79$?I9 2$%$>9 to his own ad#antage and to the damage and prejudice of the herein petitioners
and their co;heirs """.
0ar. &*. For the protection of their rights and interests, petitioners were compelled to bring this suit
and were forced to litigate and incur e"penses and will continue to incur e"penses of not less than,
04)(,(((.(( and engaged the ser#ices of herein counsel committing to pay 04((,(((.(( as and
attorney/s fees plus honorarium of 04,)((.(( per appearance in court """.
Consequently, according to herein petitioners, the same should be dismissed under 7ule &3, Section &5j6 of
the 7e#ised 7ules of Court which pro#ides that a motion to dismiss a complaint may be filed on the ground
that a condition precedent for filling the claim has not been complied with, that is, that the petitioners
therein failed to a#er in the petition in S0. 079C. %o. '4;3<343, that earnest efforts toward a compromise
ha#e been made in#ol#ing members of the same family prior to the filling of the petition pursuant to $rticle
444

of the Ci#il Code of the 0hilippines.
It is a fundamental rule that in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding, the a#erments
and the character of the relief sought

in the complaint, or petition, as in the case at bar, shall be controlling.
$ careful srutiny of the 0etition for Issuance of >etters of $dministration, Settlement and ?istribution of
@statein S0. 079C. %o. '4;3<343 belies herein petitioners/ claim that the same is in the nature of an
ordinary ci#il action. 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 2analo on February
&*, &''4, as well as his residence in the City of 2anila at the time of his said death. The petition is S0.079C
%o. '4;3<343 also contains an enumeration of the names of his legal heirs including a tentati#e list of the
properties left by the deceased which are sought to be settled in the probate proceedings. In addition, the
relief/s prayed for in the said petition lea#e no room for doubt as regard the intention of the petitioners
therein 5pri#ate respondents herein6 to see, judicial settlement of the estate of their deceased father,
Troadio 2analo.
(a)her v. Cour o! "##eals, $** %C&" $8' (2001)
Facts:
Araciano del 7osario 5decedent6 had two marriages. Bhen his first wife, Araciana, died, her estate was
e"trajudicially settled. Araciano recei#ed his fair share, the questioned lot included. Araciano thereafter
entered into a second marriage with 0atricia %atcher. ?uring their marriage, he sold the same lot to the
%atcher. This sale is being questioned by AracianoCs heirs 5children by the first marriage6 upon his death.
AracianoCs heirs then filed an action for recon#eyance annulment of title with damages to question the
#alidity of %atcherCs title. The 7TC ruled that although the sale was in#alid, %atcherCs title to the property
was #alid because the 7TC considered it as an ad#ance of her legitime, being a compulsory heir of Araciano.
Issue:
2ay a 7egional Trial Court, acting as a court of general jurisdiction in an action for recon#eyance annulment
of title with damages, adjudicate matters relating to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person
particularly on questions as to ad#ancement of property made by the decedent to any of the heirs-
.eld:
%o. There lies a mar,ed distinction between an action and a special proceeding. $n 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.
+sually, in special proceedings, no formal pleadings are required unless the statute e"pressly so pro#ides. In
special proceedings, the remedy is granted generally upon an application or motion.
$n action for recon#eyance and annulment of title with damages is a ci#il action, whereas matters relating to
settlement of the estate of a deceased person such as ad#ancement of property made by the decedent,
parta,e of the nature of a special proceeding, which concomitantly requires the application of specific rules
as pro#ided for in the 7ules of Court.
Clearly, matters which in#ol#e settlement and distribution of the estate of the decedent fall within the
e"clusi#e pro#ince of the probate court in the e"ercise of its limited jurisdiction.
Thus, under Section 4, 7ule '( of the 7ules of Court, questions as to ad#ancement made or alleged to ha#e
been made by the deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by the )our having +urisdi)ion o!
he esae #ro)eedings, and the final order of the court thereon shall be binding on the person raising the
questions and on the heir.
Bhile it may be true that the 7ules used the word may, it is ne#ertheless clear that the same pro#ision
&&

contemplates a probate court when it spea,s of the court ha#ing jurisdiction of the estate proceedings.
Corollarily, the 7egional Trial Court in the instant case, acting in its general jurisdiction, is de#oid of authority
to render an adjudication and resol#e the issue of ad#ancement of the real property in fa#or of herein
petitioner %atcher, inasmuch as Ci#il Case %o. *=&(=) for recon#eyance and annulment of title with
damages is not, to our mind, the proper #ehicle to thresh out said question. 2oreo#er, under the present
circumstances, the 7TC of 2anila, Dranch )) was not properly constituted as a probate court so as to #alidly
pass upon the question of ad#ancement made by the decedent Araciano ?el 7osario to his wife, herein
petitioner %atcher.