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Adapon v.

Maralit
Facts: On December 16, 1936, Pedro Adapon presented for probate the last will and
testament of his deceased father, Rudocindo Adapon in the CFI of Batangas.
The will was admitted to probate and Pedro was appointed as administrator by the court.
He then filed an inventory of the property and assets of the estate. However the
surviving spouse of the deceased from a 2nd marriage, Felisa Maralit, filed to the court to
order the administrator to pay her a monthly allowance of P50 as well as to include
certain properties to the inventory which was omitted from the inventory (1k cavans of
palay, credit in favor of deceased, carabaoes etc.)
The Administrator in his answer, claimed ownership over the properties. Thus the
oppositor Maralit, during the hearing moved that in view of the claims of ownership
made in the answer, the administrator should be relieved of his duties and another be
appointed to act in his place.
LC ruled that the allegations in the motion of the oppositor widow is not sufficient to
warrant the removal of the administrator. The court however ordered the administrator
to include certain properties in the inventory, To this the administrator appeals,
contending that the court erred in ordering the inclusion of such properties.
Thus this case.
Issue:
WON the probate court could, upon petition of oppositor to include certain properties in
the inventory prepared by the administrator, to some of which the said administrator had
laid claims of ownership determine the question of ownership and thereby meet the
issues as thus presented.
Held:
No. It is not seen how the probate court can determine the respective merits of the
conflicting claims made by the administrator and the oppositor without necessarily
declaring the lawful ownership of the properties involved.
Such a declaration is necessary and inevitable and without it the probate court cannot
properly proceed and dispose of the petition submitted by the oppositor. However
under Sec 599 of the code of civil procedure, the probate jurisdiction of the CFI only
relates to matters having to do with the settlement of estates and probates of wills of
deceased persons the appointment and removal of guardians and trustees and the
powers, duties and rights of guardians and wards, trustees and cestuis que trust. As may
have seen the law does not extend the jurisdiction of a probate court to the
determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceeding.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-46898

January 20, 1940

Testate of the deceased Rudocindo Adapon.


PEDRO ADAPON, administrator-appellant,
vs.
FELISA MARALIT, oppositor-appellee.

G. Garcia and Jose Nava for appellant.


Godofredo Reyes for appellee.
LAUREL, J.:
On December 16, 1936, Pedro Adapon presented for probate the last will and the testament of
his deceased father, Rudocindo Adapon, in the Court of First Instance of Batangas where the
cause was docketed as civil case No. 3313. The will was admitted to probate, and Pedro
Adapon, having been appointed administrator by the court, filed an inventory of the properties
and assets of the estate. The surviving spouse of the testator by a second marriage, Felisa
Maralit, the oppositor-appellee here, through counsel, presented a petition asking the court to
order the administrator to pay her a monthly allowance of P50, and to include in the submitted
inventory the following properties which, it is alleged, had been omitted:

(a) Un credito hipotecario otorgado a favor de


Rudocindo Adapon por Gregorio Salud . . . . . . . . .
...................
P2,000.00
(b) 1,000 cavanes de palay (ademas de 300)
cosechados y embodegados en la fecha de la
muerte del difunto y desde que este fallecio hasta
la fecha en que se presento el inventario, a razon
de P2 por cada cavan . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2,000.00
(c) 100 animates entre carabaos, caballos, y
vacunos . . . .
1,400.00
(d) Una casa reconstruida levantada en la finca
No. 2 del
inventario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
............
6,000.00
(e) Una miquina descascarilladora de palay nueva
instalada en la finca No. 2 del inventario . . . . . . . .
........
1,000.00
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

12,400.00

To this petition, administrator-appellant filed an answer enumerating his objections as follows:


(a) En cuanto a la obligacion de Gregorio Salud, de P2,000, la misma se ha contraido a
favor del finado Rudocindo Adapon y del Administrador Pedro Adapon; de modo que,
solamente la mitad de dicho credito, o sea, P1,000 corresponde a la Testamentaria,

(b) En cuanto a los cavanes de palay, solamente 300 cavanes corresponden a la


Testamentaria.
(c) En cuanto a los carabaos, caballos v vacunos Administrador, solo tiene en su poder
unos 28 cabezas.
(d) En cuanto a la casa construida demntro del lote o finca No. 2 del inventario, la misma
no debe ser incluida en el inventario, puesto que es de la exclusiva propiedad del
Administrador.
(e) En cuanto a la miquiria desecarilladora de palay instalada en la finca No. 2 del
inventario, la misma no es de la Testamentaria, sino de la propiedad exclusive del
Administrador Pedro Adapon. (Record on Appeal, pp. 36.)
When the petition we set for hearing, the oppositor-appellee moved that, in view of the claims of
ownership made in the answer, the administrator should be relieved of his duties and another
appointed to act in his place. The probate court suspended the hearing for sometime in an effort
to have the parties reach an agreement, and failing in this, issued the order of July 7, 1937,
quoted below, which is the subject of the instant appeal:
El Juzgado, despues de haber considerado detenidamente la pretension de una y otra
parte, ha encontrado lo siguente: 1. que la viuda Felisa Maralit pide que el administrador
sea removido de su cargo, porque este alega ser duefio exclusive de algunos bienes
que, segfin la misma pertenecen a la testamentaria; y 2. que el administrador no
pretende tener ningun derecho exclusive sobre los bienes que 61 ha hecho constar en el
inventario.
Sin resolver si el administrador es realmente dueo de los bienes que el no quiere hacer
constar en el inventario como pertenecientes a la testamentaria, el Juzgado es de
opinion que el motivo alegado por la viuda en su mocion pidiendo que el administrador
sea removido de su cargo, no es suficiente para la remocion de este; pero teniendo en
cuenta que se debe discutir en un juicio ordinario la propiedad de los bienes que los
reclama como suyos Pedro Adapon, y para ello habra necesidad de que una persona en
representacion de la testamentaria de Rudocindo Adapon ejercite una accion contra
Pedro Adapon, en interes de esta acutacion especial, se debe nombrar como uno de los
administradores a Eusebio Ilagan para que en tal capacidad reclame, en un juico
ordinario, de Pedro Adapon los bienes que, segun la viuda, pertenecen a la testmentaria,
de dicho finado.
Por todo lo expuesto, el Juzgado nombra a Eusebio Ilagan como uno de los
administradores de esta testamentaria con el unico fin de ejercitar contra Pedro Adapon
la accion respeto de los bienes que se encuentran en poder de este, segun la viuda,
dicho Pedro Adapon no quiere incluir en el invenytario de los bienes afectos a esta
testamentaria.
In his detailed assignment of errors, the administrator-appellant submits that the lower court
erred in:
1. Al estimar que la peticion de Felisa Maralit en la que se pide que el administradorapelante sea ordenado a incluir en el inventario cierto credito y bienes enumerados en
dicha peticion, envuelve una cuestion de propiedad.
2. Al denegar la peticion del administrador-apelante a que el referido incidents suscitado
por Felisa Maralit se actuaciones dementaria.

3. Al decretar, por orden fechada el 7 de julio de 1937, tal como fue enmendada por la
de 28 de julio, 1937, el nombramiento de Aleiandro Maralit como uno de los
administradores de esta testamentaria con el unico fin de ejercitar contra Adapon, la
accion respecto de los bienes, que se encuentran en poder de este, segun la viuda,
dicho Pedro Adapon no quiere incluir en el inventario de los bienes afectados a esta
testamentaria.
4. Al denegar la mocion de reconsideracion del administrador-apelante a la orden del
Juzgado de 7 de julio de 1937.
The statement of the issue by the parties is markedly conflictive. We are of the opinion, however,
that the sole question to be resolved in this appeal is whether or not a Court of First Instance, in
the exercise of its probate under section 599 of the Code of Civil Procedure, could upon petition
of an oppositor to include certain properties in the inventory prepared by the administrator, to
some of which the said administrator, to some of which the said administrator has laid claims of
proprietorship, determine the question of ownership and thereby meet the issues as thus
presented.
The administrator-appellant earnestly contends that the question of ownership is not involved,
and that the only point to be passed upon is: "Deberia el Juzgado ordenar o no el administrador
Pedro Adapon la inclusi6n en el inventario de la testamentaria el credito y bienes especificados
por Felisa Maralit en su aludido escrito?" It is not seen how the probate court can determine the
respective merits of the conflicting claims made by the administrator and the oppositor without
necessarily declaring the lawful ownership of the properties involved. Such a declaration is
necessary and inevitable, and without it the probate court cannot properly proceed and dispose
of the petition submitted by the oppositor.
Under section 599 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the probate jurisdiction of the Court of First
Instance relates only to matters having to do with the settlement of estates and probate of wills of
deceased persons, the appointment and removal of guardians and trustees, and the powers,
duties, and rights of guardians and wards, trustees, and cestuis que trust." As may be seen, the
law does not extend the jurisdiction of a probate court to the determination of questions of
ownership that arise during the proceeding.
In the case of Bauermann vs. Casas (10 Phil., 392-393) this court, in passing upon the same
question now raised observed that "the mere fact that one of the parties is an executor or
administrator of a certain estate does not give exclusive jurisdiction to the probate court wherein
the estate is being settled, of questions arising between such the executors or administrators and
third persons, as to the ownership of specific property. Of course when it is once determined that
certain property is the property of the estate is being settled, but until this question is decided the
mere allegation that certain property is the property of an estate in course of jurisdiction over
questions touching the ownership of such property and rights based on the right of ownership."
In Devesa vs. Arbes (13 Phil., 281), the same doctrine was reiterated with greater force and
emphasis, the court there holding that a contested claim of an administrator that certain rights of
possession and ownership are the property, of the estate which he represent must be determined
in a separate action, and not in the administration proceedings." Again, this Court in Guzman vs.
Anog and Anog (37 Phil., 62-63),decided that "when questions arise as to the ownership of
property, alleged to be a part of the estate of a deceased person, but claimed by some other
person to be his property, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased, but by title
adverse to that of the deceased and his estate, such questions cannot be determined in that
course of administration proceedings. The Court of First Instance, acting as a probate court, has
no jurisdiction to, adjudicate such contentions, which must be submitted to the court in the
exercise of its general jurisdiction as a Court of First Instance to try and determine the ordinary
actions mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure." Finally, in the case of Lunsod vs. Ortega (46
Phil., 676) where the same question like as presented, the Court reaffirmed the principle
enunciated in the foregoing cases stating that "it is an established doctrine of this court that the

mere fact that one of the parties is the executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased
person does not confer upon the probate court, in which the proceeding for the distribution and
settlement of said estate are pending, exclusive jurisdiction to decide all question that may arise
between the said executor or administrator and third persons as to the title of a specific property."
Furthermore, section 697 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that:
If the executor or administrator has a claim against the estate he represents he shall give
notice thereof, in writing, to the court, and the court shall appoint a special administrator
who shall, in the adjustment of such claim, have the same power and be subject to the
same liability as the general administrator or executor in the settlement of other claims.
The court may order the executor or administrator to pay to the special administrator
necessary funds to defend such claim.
Counsel for the administrator-appellant calls our attention to the unpublished decision of this
court in Antonia lete de Morales vs. Michaela y Cornell (R.G. No. 37497), where it was resolved
that "a fin de evitar multiplicidad de pleitos, opinamos que el presente caso el Juez en su
jurisdiccion podis resolver la cuestion planteada como as lo hizo." We have carefully examined
the entire record of that case, and we are of the opinion that the present case, stands upon a
different factual basis. Primarily, in the first case, proof consisting of "Exhibit 1 and the testimony
of one Ponciano Morales" had already been presented to, and admitted by the probate court,
establishing the ownership of the property in the estate, whereas in the present case, only the
claim of the administrator to some of the properties mentioned in the petitioned of the oppositor,
praying for the inclusion of the said properties in the in the inventory of the estate, appears on
the record. That the decision itself states that "pero con arreglo a las doctrinas sentadas en los
asuntos de De los Santos contra Jarra, 15 Jur. Fil., 153, y Guzman contra Anog, 37 Jur. Fil., 66,
el Juzgado no tenia competencia para resolver la cuestion sobre posesion propiedad de los
inmueblesen cuestion."
Judgement is affirmed with costs against the petitioner-appellant. So ordered.
Avancea, C. J., Villa-Real, Imperial, Diaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.