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Comparative Case #1 Nuguid v. Nuguid & Sumilang v.

Ramagosa
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-23445

June 23, 1966

REMEDIOS NUGUID, petitioner and appellant,


vs.
FELIX NUGUID and PAZ SALONGA NUGUID, oppositors and appellees.
Custodio O. Partade for petitioner and appellant.
Beltran, Beltran and Beltran for oppositors and appellees.
SANCHEZ, J.:
Rosario Nuguid, a resident of Quezon City, died on December 30, 1962, single, without
descendants, legitimate or illegitimate. Surviving her were her legitimate parents, Felix
Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid, and six (6) brothers and sisters, namely: Alfredo,
Federico, Remedios, Conrado, Lourdes and Alberto, all surnamed Nuguid.
On May 18, 1963, petitioner Remedios Nuguid filed in the Court of First Instance of
Rizal a holographic will allegedly executed by Rosario Nuguid on November 17, 1951,
some 11 years before her demise. Petitioner prayed that said will be admitted to probate
and that letters of administration with the will annexed be issued to her.
On June 25, 1963, Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid, concededly the legitimate
father and mother of the deceased Rosario Nuguid, entered their opposition to the
probate of her will. Ground therefor, inter alia, is that by the institution of petitioner
Remedios Nuguid as universal heir of the deceased, oppositors who are compulsory
heirs of the deceased in the direct ascending line were illegally preterited and that in
consequence the institution is void.
On August 29, 1963, before a hearing was had on the petition for probate and objection
thereto, oppositors moved to dismiss on the ground of absolute preterition.
On September 6, 1963, petitioner registered her opposition to the motion to
dismiss.1wph1.t

The court's order of November 8, 1963, held that "the will in question is a complete
nullity and will perforce create intestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario Nuguid"
and dismissed the petition without costs.
A motion to reconsider having been thwarted below, petitioner came to this Court on
appeal.
1. Right at the outset, a procedural aspect has engaged our attention. The case is for
the probate of a will. The court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of, and
resolution on, the extrinsic validity of the will. The due execution thereof, the testatrix's
testamentary capacity, and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities by law
prescribed, are the questions solely to be presented, and to be acted upon, by the court.
Said court at this stage of the proceedings is not called upon to rule on
the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will, the legality of any devise or
legacy therein.1
A peculiar situation is here thrust upon us. The parties shunted aside the question of
whether or not the will should be allowed probate. For them, the meat of the case is the
intrinsic validity of the will. Normally, this comes only after the court has declared that
the will has been duly authenticated.2 But petitioner and oppositors, in the court below
and here on appeal, travelled on the issue of law, to wit: Is the will intrinsically a nullity?
We pause to reflect. If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will, nothing will
be gained. On the contrary, this litigation will be protracted. And for aught that appears
in the record, in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will, probability exists that
the case will come up once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or
nullity of the will. Result: waste of time, effort, expense, plus added anxiety. These are
the practical considerations that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet headon the issue of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. 3 After all, there exists
a justiciable controversy crying for solution.
2. Petitioner's sole assignment of error challenges the correctness of the conclusion
below that the will is a complete nullity. This exacts from us a study of the disputed will
and the applicable statute.
Reproduced hereunder is the will:
Nov. 17, 1951
I, ROSARIO NUGUID, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, having
amassed a certain amount of property, do hereby give, devise, and bequeath all of the
property which I may have when I die to my beloved sister Remedios Nuguid, age 34,
residing with me at 38-B Iriga, Q.C. In witness whereof, I have signed my name this
seventh day of November, nineteen hundred and fifty-one.

(Sgd.) Illegible
T/ ROSARIO NUGUID
The statute we are called upon to apply in Article 854 of the Civil Code which, in part,
provides:
ART. 854. The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs
in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born
after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises
and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. ...
Except for inconsequential variation in terms, the foregoing is a reproduction of Article
814 of the Civil Code of Spain of 1889, which is similarly herein copied, thus
Art. 814. The preterition of one or all of the forced heirs in the direct line, whether
living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator,
shall void the institution of heir; but the legacies and betterments 4 shall be valid,
in so far as they are not inofficious. ...
A comprehensive understanding of the term preterition employed in the law becomes a
necessity. On this point Manresa comments:
La pretericion consiste en omitar al heredero en el testamento. O no se le
nombra siquiera o aun nombrandole como padre, hijo, etc., no se le instituya
heredero ni se le deshereda expresamente ni se le asigna parte alguna de los
bienes, resultando privado de un modo tacito de su derecho a legitima.
Para que exista pretericion, con arreglo al articulo 814, basta que en el
testamento omita el testador a uno cualquiera de aquellos a quienes por su
muerte corresponda la herencia forzosa.
Se necesita, pues, a) Que la omision se refiera a un heredero forzoso. b) Que la
omision sea completa; que el heredero forzoso nada reciba en el testamento.
It may now appear trite bat nonetheless helpful in giving us a clear perspective of the
problem before us, to have on hand a clear-cut definition of the word annul:
To "annul" means to abrogate, to make void ... In re Morrow's Estate, 54 A. 342,
343, 204 Pa. 484.6
The word "annul" as used in statute requiring court to annul alimony provisions of
divorce decree upon wife's remarriage means to reduce to nothing; to annihilate;
obliterate; blot out; to make void or of no effect; to nullify; to abolish. N.J.S.A.

2:50 38 (now N.J.S. 2A:34-35). Madden vs. Madden, 40 A. 2d 611, 614, 136
N..J Eq. 132.7
ANNUL. To reduce to nothing; annihilate; obliterate; to make void or of no effect;
to nullify; to abolish; to do away with. Ex parte Mitchell, 123 W. Va. 283, 14 S.E.
2d. 771, 774.8
And now, back to the facts and the law. The deceased Rosario Nuguid left no
descendants, legitimate or illegitimate. But she left forced heirs in the direct ascending
line her parents, now oppositors Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. And, the will
completely omits both of them: They thus received nothing by the testament; tacitly, they
were deprived of their legitime; neither were they expressly disinherited. This is a clear
case of preterition. Such preterition in the words of Manresa "anulara siempre la
institucion de heredero, dando caracter absoluto a este ordenamiento referring to the
mandate of Article 814, now 854 of the Civil Code. 9 The one-sentence will here
institutes petitioner as the sole, universal heir nothing more. No specific legacies or
bequests are therein provided for. It is in this posture that we say that the nullity is
complete. Perforce, Rosario Nuguid died intestate. Says Manresa:
En cuanto a la institucion de heredero, se anula. Lo que se anula deja de existir,
en todo o en parte? No se aade limitacion alguna, como en el articulo 851, en el
que se expresa que se anulara la institucion de heredero en cuanto prejudique a
la legitima del deseheredado Debe, pues, entenderse que la anulacion es
completa o total, y que este articulo como especial en el caso que le motiva rige
con preferencia al 817. 10
The same view is expressed by Sanchez Roman:
La consecuencia de la anulacion o nulidad de la institucion de heredero por
pretericion de uno, varios o todos los forzosos en linea recta, es la apertura de la
sucesion intestada total o parcial. Sera total, cuando el testador que comete la
pretericion, hubiese dispuesto de todos los bienes por titulo universal de
herencia en favor de los herederos instituidos, cuya institucion se anula, porque
asi lo exige la generalidad del precepto legal del art. 814, al determinar, como
efecto de la pretericion, el de que "anulara la institucion de heredero." ... 11
Really, as we analyze the word annul employed in the statute, there is no escaping the
conclusion that the universal institution of petitioner to the entire inheritance results
in totally abrogating the will. Because, the nullification of such institution of universal heir
without any other testamentary disposition in the will amounts to a declaration that
nothing at all was written. Carefully worded and in clear terms, Article 854 offers no
leeway for inferential interpretation. Giving it an expansive meaning will tear up by the
roots the fabric of the statute. On this point, Sanchez Roman cites the "Memoria annual

del Tribunal Supreme, correspondiente a 1908", which in our opinion expresses the rule
of interpretation, viz:
... El art. 814, que preceptua en tales casos de pretericion la nulidad de la
institucion de heredero, no consiente interpretacion alguna favorable a la
persona instituida en el sentido antes expuesto aun cuando parezca, y en algun
caso pudiera ser, mas o menos equitativa, porque una nulidad no significa en
Derecho sino la suposicion de que el hecho o el acto no se ha realizado,
debiendo por lo tanto procederse sobre tal base o supuesto, y
consiguientemente, en un testamento donde falte la institucion, es obligado
llamar a los herederos forzosos en todo caso, como habria que llamar a los de
otra clase, cuando el testador no hubiese distribudo todos sus bienes en
legados, siendo tanto mas obligada esta consecuencia legal cuanto que, en
materia de testamentos, sabido es, segun tiene declarado la jurisprudencia, con
repeticion, que no basta que sea conocida la voluntad de quien testa si esta
voluntad no aparece en la forma y en las condiciones que la ley ha exigido para
que sea valido y eficaz, por lo que constituiria una interpretacion arbitraria,
dentro del derecho positivo, reputar como legatario a un heredero cuya
institucion fuese anulada con pretexto de que esto se acomodaba mejor a la
voluntad del testador, pues aun cuando asi fuese, sera esto razon para modificar
la ley, pero no autoriza a una interpretacion contraria a sus terminos y a los
principios que informan la testamentifaccion, pues no porque parezca mejor una
cosa en el terreno del Derecho constituyente, hay razon para convereste juicio
en regla de interpretacion, desvirtuando y anulando por este procedimiento lo
que el legislador quiere establecer. 12
3. We should not be led astray by the statement in Article 854 that, annullment
notwithstanding, "the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not
inofficious". Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly
given as such in a will. Nothing in Article 854 suggests that the mere institution of a
universal heir in a will void because of preterition would give the heir so instituted
a share in the inheritance. As to him, the will is inexistent. There must be, in addition to
such institution, a testamentary disposition granting him bequests or legacies apart and
separate from the nullified institution of heir. Sanchez Roman, speaking of the two
component parts of Article 814, now 854, states that preterition annuls the institution of
the heir "totalmente por la pretericion"; but added (in reference to legacies and
bequests) "pero subsistiendo ... todas aquellas otras disposiciones que no se refieren a
la institucion de heredero ... . 13 As Manresa puts it, annulment throws open to intestate
succession the entire inheritance including "la porcion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto
en virtud de legado, mejora o donacion. 14

As aforesaid, there is no other provision in the will before us except the institution of
petitioner as universal heir. That institution, by itself, is null and void. And, intestate
succession ensues.
4. Petitioner's mainstay is that the present is "a case of ineffective disinheritance rather
than one of preterition". 15From this, petitioner draws the conclusion that Article 854
"does not apply to the case at bar". This argument fails to appreciate the distinction
between pretention and disinheritance.
Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of
them, either because they are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are
neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited." 16 Disinheritance, in turn, "is
a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heir of his share in the legitime for
a cause authorized by law. " 17 In Manresa's own words: "La privacion expresa de la
legitima constituye la desheredacion. La privacion tacita de la misma se
denomina pretericion." 18 Sanchez Roman emphasizes the distinction by stating that
disinheritance "es siempre voluntaria"; preterition, upon the other hand, is presumed to
be "involuntaria". 19 Express as disinheritance should be, the same must be supported
by a legal cause specified in the will itself. 20
The will here does not explicitly disinherit the testatrix's parents, the forced heirs. It
simply omits their names altogether. Said will rather than be labeled ineffective
disinheritance is clearly one in which the said forced heirs suffer from preterition.
On top of this is the fact that the effects flowing from preterition are totally different from
those of disinheritance. Preterition under Article 854 of the Civil Code, we repeat, "shall
annul the institution of heir". This annulment is in toto, unless in the will there are, in
addition, testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. In ineffective
disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code, such disinheritance shall also "annul
the institution of heirs", put only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited",
which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition. 21 Better stated yet, in
disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited
heirs have been illegally deprived. Manresa's expressive language, in commenting on
the rights of the preterited heirs in the case of preterition on the one hand and legal
disinheritance on the other, runs thus: "Preteridos, adquiren el derecho a
todo; desheredados, solo les corresponde un tercio o dos tercios, 22 el caso. 23
5. Petitioner insists that the compulsory heirs ineffectively disinherited are entitled to
receive their legitimes, but that the institution of heir "is not invalidated," although the
inheritance of the heir so instituted is reduced to the extent of said legitimes. 24
This is best answered by a reference to the opinion of Mr. Chief Justice Moran in
the Neri case heretofore cited, viz:

But the theory is advanced that the bequest made by universal title in favor of the
children by the second marriage should be treated as legado and mejora and,
accordingly, it must not be entirely annulled but merely reduced. This theory, if
adopted, will result in a complete abrogation of Articles 814 and 851 of the Civil
Code. If every case of institution of heirs may be made to fall into the concept of
legacies and betterments reducing the bequest accordingly, then the provisions
of Articles 814 and 851 regarding total or partial nullity of the institution, would. be
absolutely meaningless and will never have any application at all. And the
remaining provisions contained in said article concerning the reduction of
inofficious legacies or betterments would be a surplusage because they would be
absorbed by Article 817. Thus, instead of construing, we would be destroying
integral provisions of the Civil Code.
The destructive effect of the theory thus advanced is due mainly to a failure to
distinguish institution of heirs from legacies and betterments, and a general from
a special provision. With reference to article 814, which is the only provision
material to the disposition of this case, it must be observed that the institution of
heirs is therein dealt with as a thing separate and distinct from legacies or
betterments. And they are separate and distinct not only because they are
distinctly and separately treated in said article but because they are in
themselves different. Institution of heirs is a bequest by universal title of property
that is undetermined. Legacy refers to specific property bequeathed by a
particular or special title. ... But again an institution of heirs cannot be taken as a
legacy. 25
The disputed order, we observe, declares the will in question "a complete nullity". Article
854 of the Civil Code in turn merely nullifies "the institution of heir". Considering,
however, that the will before us solely provides for the institution of petitioner as
universal heir, and nothing more, the result is the same. The entire will is null.
Upon the view we take of this case, the order of November 8, 1963 under review is
hereby affirmed. No costs allowed. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-23135

December 26, 1967

TESTATE ESTATE OF HILARION RAMAGOSA. MARIANO SUMILANG, petitionerappellee,


vs.
SATURNINA RAMAGOSA, SANTIAGO RAMAGOSA, ENRIQUE PABELLA, LICERIA
PABELLA and ANDREA RAVALO, oppositors-appellants.
Gatchalian and Sison and J. A. Bardelosa, Jr. for petitioner-appellee.
Jose L. Desvarro Jr. for oppositors-appellants
MAKALINTAL, J.:
On July 5, 1960 Mariano Sumilang filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon a
petition for the probate of a document alleged to be the last will and testament of
Hilarion Ramagosa, who died on December 1, 1959. Said document, written in Tagalog
and dated February 26, 1949, institutes petitioner as sole heir of the testator.
OPPOSITORS: The petition for probate was opposed by two (2) of oppositors
appellants herein who questioned the due execution of the document, claiming that it
was made under duress and was not really intended by the deceased to be his last will
and testament. Aside from merely opposing the petition for probate, the first set of
oppositors Saturnino and Santiago Ramagosa also claimed that they, instead of
petitioner, were entitled to inherit the estate of the deceased. The other oppositors
representing themselves simply as next of kin, appropriately prayed only for the
disallowance of the will.
At the hearings of the petition petitioner adduced his evidence, and then rested his case
on February 16, 1961. Reception of oppositors' evidence was set for July 14, 1961.
However, on July 3, 1961 oppositors moved for the dismissal of the petition for probate
mainly on the ground that "the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject-matter because
the last will and testament of the decedent, if ever it was really executed by him, was
revoked by implication of law six years before his death." Oppositors alleged that after
making the will Hilarion Ramagosa sold to petitioner Mariano Sumilang and his brother
Mario the parcels of land described therein, so that at the time of the testator's death the
titles to said lands were no longer in his name.

Petitioner filed his opposition to the motion for dismissal on July 17, 1961 supplemented
it by another opposition on August 14, 1961, and by a rejoinder on August 21, 1961.
Finally, on October 22, 1962 petitioner moved to strike out the oppositors' pleadings on
two grounds, namely:
1. That oppositors have no legal standing in court and they are bereft of
personality to oppose the probate of the last will and testament of the testators;
and
2. That oppositors have no valid claim and interest in the distribution of (the)
estate of the aforesaid testator and no existing valid right whatsoever.
On October 18, 1963 the court a quo issued the order now subject of this appeal, which
read as follows:
Acting on the motion to dismiss filed by the oppositors dated July 31, 1961, the
same is hereby denied for the allegations contained therein goes (sic) to the very
intrinsic value of the will and other grounds stated on said motion to dismiss are
without merit.itc-alf With respect to the motion to strike out opposition and all
other pleadings of oppositors filed by the petitioner, it appears that oppositors
have no relationship whatsoever within the fifth degree as provided by law and
therefore the oppositors are totally strangers to the deceased whose will is under
probate. This being so, the motion to strike out opposition and all other pleadings
pertinent thereto is hereby ordered stricken out of the record.
The petition below being for the probate of a will, the court's area of inquiry is limited to
the extrinsic validity thereof. The testator's testamentary capacity and the compliance
with the formal requisites or solemnities prescribed by law are the only questions
presented for the resolution of the court. Any inquiry into the intrinsic validity or efficacy
of the provisions of the will or the legality of any devise or legacy is premature. (Nuguid
vs. Nuguid, G.R. No. L-23445, June 23, 1966).
To establish conclusively as against everyone and once for all, the facts that a
will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator was in
a condition to make a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings . . . for the
probate of a will. The judgment in such proceedings determines and can
determine nothing more. (Alemany, et al. vs. CFI of Manila, 3 Phil. 424).
Oppositors would want the court a quo to dismiss petition for probate on the ground that
the testator had impliedly revoked his will by selling, prior to his death, the lands
disposed of therein.
True or not, the alleged sale is no ground for the dismissal of the petition for probate.
Probate is one thing the validity of the testamentary provisions is another.itc-alf The first

decides the execution of the document and the testamentary capacity of the testator;
the second relates to descent and distribution.
The alleged revocation implied from the execution of the deeds of conveyance in
favor of the testamentary heir is plainly irrelevant to and separate from the
question of whether the testament was duly executed. For one, if the will is not
entitled to probate, or its probate is denied, all questions of revocation become
superfluous: in law, there is no such will and hence there would be nothing to
revoke. Then, again, the revocation invoked by the oppositors-appellants is not
an express one, but merely implied from subsequent acts of the testatrix
allegedly evidencing an abandonment of the original intention to bequeath or
devise the properties concerned. As such, the revocation would not affect the will
itself, but merely the particular devise or legacy.itc-alf (Fernandez, et al. vs.
Dimagiba, L-23638 and Reyes, et al. vs. Dimagiba, L-23662, October 12, 1967.)
In their brief, oppositors do not take issue with the court a quo's finding that they "have
no relationship whatsoever within the fifth degree as provided by law and therefore . . .
are totally (sic) strangers to the deceased whose will is under probate." They do not
attempt to show that they have some interest in the estate which must be protected.
The uncontradicted evidence, consisting of certified true copies of the parties' baptism
and marriage certificates, support the said court's finding in this respect.
It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a
probate proceeding he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the
property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate (Ngo
The Hua vs. Chung Kiat Hua, et al., L-17091, September 30, 1963); and an
interested party has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate
such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor. (Teotico
vs. Del Val, etc., G.R. No. L- 18753, March 26, 1965.)
The reason for the rule excluding strangers from contesting the will, is not that
thereby the court may be prevented from learning facts which would justify or
necessitate a denial of probate, but rather that the courts and the litigants should
not be molested by the intervention in the proceedings of persons with no interest
in the estate which would entitle them to be heard with relation thereto. (Paras
vs. Narciso, 35 Phil. 244.)
Sometime after this case was elevated to this Court appellee moved to dismiss the
appeal on the ground that the order appealed from is interlocutory. We deferred action
on the motion until after the brief of both parties had been filed. The motion, although
now practically academic in view of our resolution of the main issue involved, must be
denied, since the order of the lower court striking out appellants' opposition to the

probate of the will on the ground that they have no personality to intervene in the case,
was final and therefore appealable order insofar as they were concerned.
The order appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against oppositors- appellants.

Comparative Case #2 Valera v. Inserto & Trinidad v. CA


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-56504 May 7, 1987
POMPILLO VALERA and EUMELIA VALERA CABADO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUDGE SANCHO Y. INSERTO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Court of
First Instance of Iloilo, Branch 1, and MANUEL R. FABIANA, respondents.
Nos. L-59867-68 May 7, 1987
EUMELIA V. CABADO, POMPILLO VALERA and HON. MIDPANTAO L.
ADIL, petitioners-appellants,
vs.
MANUEL FABIANA, JOSE GARIN and HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Tenth
Division), respondents-appellants.
Eduardo S. Baranda and Avelino T Javellana for petitioners.
Dominador G. Garin for private respondents.

NARVASA, J.:
Conflicting claims over a fishpond asserted by the administrators of the estate of
deceased spouses, on the one hand, and by the heirs of a daughter of said spouses
and their lessee, on the other, have given rise to the proceedings now docketed in this
Court as (1) G.R. No. 56504 and (2) G.R. Nos. 59867-68.
Sp. Proc. No. 2223, CFI, Iloilo
In the proceedings for the settlement of the intestate estate of the decedent spouses,
Rafael Valera and Consolacion Sarrosa 1 in which Eumelia Cabado and Pompiro
Valera had been appointed administrators 2 the heirs of a deceased daughter of the
spouses, Teresa Garin, filed a motion asking that the Administratrix, Cabado, be
declared in contempt for her failure to render an accounting of her
administration. 3 Cabado replied that no accounting could be submitted unless Jose

Garin, Teresa's husband and the movant heirs' father, delivered to the administrator an
18-hectare fishpond in Baras, Barotoc Nuevo, Iloilo, belonging to the estate and she in
turn moved for the return thereof to the estate, 4 so that it might be partitioned among
the decedents' heirs. Jose Garin opposed the plea for the fishpond's return to the
estate, asserting that the property was owned by his children and this was why it had
never been included in any inventory of the estate.
The Court, presided over by Hon. Judge Midpantao Adil, viewed the Garin Heirs' motion
for contempt, as well as Cabado's prayer for the fishpond's return to the estate, as
having given rise to a claim for the recovery of an asset of the estate within the purview
of Section 6, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court. 5 It accordingly set said incidents for hearing
during which the parties presentee evidence in substantiation of their
positions. 6 Thereafter, the Court issued an Order dated September 17, 1980
commanding the Heirs of Teresa Garin "to reconvey immediately the fishpond in
question * * to the intestate Estate of the Spouses. 7
The Order was predicated upon the Court's factual findings mainly derived from the
testimony of the two administrators that:
1. the fishpond originally belonged to the Government, and had been given in lease to
Rafael Valera in his lifetime;
2. Rafael Valera ostensibly sold all his leasehold rights in the fishpond to his daughter,
Teresa Garin; but the sale was fictitious, having been resorted to merely so that she
might use the property to provide for her children's support and education, and was
subject to the resolutory term that the fishpond should revert to Rafael Valera upon
completion of the schooling of Teresa Garin's Children; and
3. with the income generated by the fishpond, the property was eventually purchased
from the Government by the Heirs of Teresa Garin, collectively named as such in the
Original Certificate of Title issued in their favor.
Upon these facts, Judge Adil ruled that an implied trust had been created, obligating
Teresa Garin's heirs to restore the property to the Valera Spouses' Estate, in
accordance with Articles 1453 and 1455 of the Civil Code providing as follows:
Article 1453. When property is conveyed to a person in reliance upon his
declared intentions to hold it for, or transfer it to another or the grantor,
there is an implied trust in favor of the person for whose benefit it is
contemplated.
Article 1455. When any trustee, guardian or other person holding a
fiduciary relationship uses trust funds for the purchase of property and
causes a conveyance to be made to him or to a third person, a trust is

established by operation of law in favor of the person to whom the fund


belongs.
The Court also held that the action for reconveyance based on constructive trust had
not yet prescribed, Cabado's motion for the fishpond's reversion to the estate having
been filed well within ten (10) years from June 30, 1980, the date on which Teresa
Garin's heirs allegedly acquired title over it. 8
There seems little doubt, however, that the Court's pronouncement regarding the
estate's title to the fishpond was merely provisional in character, made solely to
determine whether or not the fishpond should be included in the inventory of estate
assets. So it was evidently understood by the administrators who have more than once
asserted that "the probate court has jurisdiction to determine the ownership of the
fishpond for purposes of inclusion in the inventory of the properties. 9 So it was made
clear by the Probate Court itself which, at the outset, stated that the hearing on the
matter 10 was meant "merely to determine whether or not the fishpond should be
included as part of the estate and whether or not the person holding it should be made
to deliver and/or return ** (it) to the estate. 11 And so it was emphasized in another
Order, denying reconsideration of the Order of September 17, 1980, which states that:
**(i)t is never the intendment of this court to write a finish to the issue of
ownership of the fishpond in dispute. The movants may pursue their claim
of ownership over the same in an ordinary civil action. Meanwhile,
however, it is the finding of this probate court that the fishpond must be
delivered to the estate.
Clearly, there is no incompatibility between the exercise of the power of
this probate court under Section 6 in relation to Section 7, both of Rule 87,
and the contention of the movants that the proper forum to settle the issue
of ownership should be in a court of general jurisdiction. 12
Judge Adil afterwards granted the administrators' motion for execution of the order
pending appeal, and directed the sheriff to enforce the direction for the Garin Heirs to
reconvey the fishpond to the estate. 13 The corresponding writ was served on Manuel
Fabiana, the supposed encargado or caretaker. Voicing no objection to the writ, and
declaring to the sheriff that he was a mere lessee, 14Fabiana voluntarily relinquished
possession of the fishpond to the sheriff. The latter, in turn, delivered it to the
administrators. 15
Later however, Fabiana filed a complaint-in-intervention with the Probate Court seeking
vindication of his right to the possession of the fishpond, based on a contract of lease
between himself, as lessee, and Jose Garin, as lessor. 16 But Judge Adil dismissed his
complaint on the following grounds, to wit:

(1) it was filed out of time because not only had judgment been rendered, but execution
as regards transfer of possession had already taken place; and
(2) the lease contract had not been registered and hence was not binding as against the
estate. 17
G.R. No. 56504
Fabiana thereupon instituted a separate action for injunction and damages, with
application for a preliminary injunction. This was docketed as Civil Case No. 13742 and
assigned to Branch I of the Iloilo CFI, Hon. Sancho Y. Inserto, presiding. 18 Judge
Inserto issued a temporary restraining order enjoining estate administrators from
disturbing Fabiana in the possession of the fishpond, as lessee. 19
The estate administrators filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and to dissolve the
temporary restraining order, averring that the action was barred by the Probate Court's
prior judgment which had exclusive jurisdiction over the issue of the lease, and that the
act sought to be restrained had already been accomplished, Fabiana having voluntarily
surrendered possession of the fishpond to the sheriff. 20 When Judge Inserto failed to
act on their motion within what the administrators believed to be a reasonable time,
considering the circumstances of the Case, the administrators filed with the Supreme
Court a special civil action for certiorari and mandamus, with a prayer for Preliminary
mandatory injunction and temporary restraining order, which was docketed as G.R. No.
56504. 21 In their petition, the administrators contended that Branch I of the Iloilo CFI
(Judge Inserto, presiding) could not and should not interfere with the Probate Court
(Branch I I, Judge Adil, presiding) in the legitimate exercise of its j jurisdiction over the
proceedings for the Settlement of the estate of the Valera Spouses.
G.R. Nos. 59867-68
In the meantime, Jose Garin having filed a motion for reconsideration of the above
mentioned order of Judge Adil (declaring the estate to be the owner of the fishpond), in
which he asserted that the Probate Court, being of limited jurisdiction, had no
competence to decide the ownership of the fishpond, 22 which motion had been
denied 23-filed a notice of appeal from said Order. 24 But he quickly abandoned the
appeal when, as aforestated 25 Judge Adil authorized execution of the order pending
appeal, instead, he initiated a special action for certiorari prohibition and mandamus )
with prayer for preliminary injunction) in the Court of Appeals, therein docketed as CAG. R. No. SP-1154-R.
Fabiana followed suit. He instituted in the same Court of Appeals his own action for
certiorari and injunction, docketed as CA-G.R. No. SP-11577-R; this, notwithstanding
the pendency in judge Inserto's sala of the case he had earlier filed. 26

These two special civil actions were jointly decided by the Court of Appeals. The Court
granted the petitions and ruled in substance that:
1. The Probate Court indeed possessed no jurisdiction to resolve the issue of ownership
based merely on evidence adduced at the hearing of a "counter-motion" conducted
under Section 6, Rule 87;
2. The original and transfer certificates of title covering the fishpond stand in the names
of the Heirs of Teresa Garin as registered owners, and therefore no presumption that
the estate owns the fishpond is warranted to justify return of the property on the theory
that it had merely been borrowed; and
3. Even assuming the Probate Court's competence to resolve the ownership question,
the estate administrators would have to recover possession of the fishpond by separate
action, in view of the lessee's claim of right to superior possession, as lessee thereof.
From this joint judgment, the administrators have taken separate appeals to this Court
by certiorari, 27 docketed as G.R. Nos. 59867 and 59868. They ascribe to the Appellate
Court the following errors, viz: Page 542
1) in holding that the Probate Court (Judge Adil, Presiding) had no jurisdiction to take
cognizance of and decide the issue of title covering a fishpond being claimed by an heir
adversely to the decedent spouses;
2) in ruling that it was needful for the administrators to file a separate action for the
recovery of the possession of the fishpond then in the hands of a third person; and
3) in sanctioning the act of a CFI Branch in interfering with and overruling the final
judgment of another branch, acting as probate Court, and otherwise frustrating and
inhibiting the enforcement and implementation of said judgment.
Jurisdiction of Probate Court
As regards the first issue, settled is the rule that a Court of First Instance (now Regional
Trial Court), acting as a Probate Court, exercises but limited jurisdiction, 28 and thus has
no power to take cognizance of and determine the issue of title to property claimed by a
third person adversely to the decedent, unless the claimant and all the Other parties
having legal interest in the property consent, expressly or impliedly, to the submission of
the question to the Probate Court for adjudgment, or the interests of third persons are
not thereby prejudiced, 29 the reason for the exception being that the question of
whether or not a particular matter should be resolved by the Court in the exercise of its
general jurisdiction or of its limited jurisdiction as a special court (e.g., probate, land
registration, etc., is in reality not a jurisdictional but in essence of procedural one,
involving a mode of practice which may be waived. 30

The facts obtaining in this case, however, do not call for the application of the exception
to the rule. As already earlier stressed, it was at all times clear to the Court as well as to
the parties that if cognizance was being taken of the question of title over the fishpond,
it was not for the purpose of settling the issue definitely and permanently, and writing
"finis" thereto, the question being explicitly left for determination "in an ordinary civil
action," but merely to determine whether it should or should not be included in the
inventory. 31 This function of resolving whether or not property should be included in the
estate inventory is, to be sure, one clearly within the Probate Court's competence,
although the Court's determination is only provisional in character, not conclusive, and is
subject to the final decision in a separate action that may be instituted by the parties. 32
The same norm governs the situation contemplated in Section 6, Rule 87 of the Rules
of Court, expressly invoked by the Probate Court in justification of its holding a hearing
on the issue arising from the parties' conflicting claims over the fishpond. 33 The
examination provided in the cited section is intended merely to elicit evidence relevant
to property of the decedent from persons suspected of having possession or knowledge
thereof, or of having concealed, embezzled, or conveyed away the same. Of course, if
the latter lays no claim to the property and manifests willingness to tum it over to the
estate, no difficulty arises; the Probate Court simply issues the appropriate direction for
the delivery of the property to the estate. On the other hand, if the third person asserts a
right to the property contrary to the decedent's, the Probate Court would have no
authority to resolve the issue; a separate action must be instituted by the administrator
to recover the property. 34
Parenthetically, in the light of the foregoing principles, the Probate Court could have
admitted and taken cognizance of Fabiana's complaint in intervention after obtaining the
consent of all interested parties to its assumption of jurisdiction over the question of title
to the fishpond, or ascertaining the absence of objection thereto. But it did not. It
dismissed the complaint in intervention instead. And all this is now water under the
bridge.
Possession of Fishpond Pending
Determination of Title Thereto
Since the determination by the Probate Court of the question of title to the fishpond was
merely provisional, not binding on the property with any character of authority,
definiteness or permanence, having been made only for purposes of in. conclusion in
the inventory and upon evidence adduced at the hearing of a motion, it cannot and
should not be subject of execution, as against its possessor who has set up title in
himself (or in another) adversely to the decedent, and whose right to possess has not
been ventilated and adjudicated in an appropriate action. These considerations assume

greater cogency where, as here, the Torrens title to the property is not in the decedents'
names but in others, a situation on which this Court has already had occasion to rule.
In regard to such incident of inclusion or exclusion, We hold that if a
property covered by Torrens title is involved, the presumptive
conclusiveness of such title should be given due weight, and in the
absence of strong compelling evidence to the contrary, the holder thereof
should be consider as the owner of the property in controversy until his
title is nullified or modified in an appropriate ordinary action, particularly,
when as in the case at bar, possession of the property itself is in the
persons named in the title. 35
Primary Jurisdiction over Title issue in
Court Taking Cognizance of Separate Action
Since, too, both the Probate Court and the estate administrators are one in the
recognition of the proposition that title to the fishpond could in the premises only be
appropriately determined in a separate action, 36 the actual firing of such a separate
action should have been anticipated, and should not therefore have come as a surprise,
to the latter. And since moreover, implicit in that recognition is also the acknowledge
judgment of the superiority of the authority of the court in which the separate action is
filed over the issue of title, the estate administrators may not now be heard to complain
that in such a separate action, the court should have issued orders necessarily involved
in or flowing from the assumption of that jurisdiction. Those orders cannot in any sense
be considered as undue interference with the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. Resulting
from the exercise of primary jurisdiction over the question of ownership involving estate
property claimed by the estate, they must be deemed superior to otherwise contrary
orders issued by the Probate Court in the exercise of what may be, regarded as merely
secondary, or provisional, jurisdiction over the same question.
WHEREFORE, the petition in G.R. No. 56504 is DISMISSED, for lack of merit. The
petitions in G.R. No. 59867 and G.R. No. 59868 are DENIED, and the judgment of the
Appellate Court, subject thereof, is affirmed in toto. The temporary restraining order
dated April 1, 1981 is lifted. Costs against petitioners.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 75579 September 30, 1991
TOMAS TRINIDAD, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondent.
Tomas Trinidad for himself.

PARAS, J.:p
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of 1) the decision * dated
February 14, 1986 of the then Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals) in
AC-G.R. N 01483 entitled: "People of the Philippines vs. Atty. Tom Trinidad," affirming
the decision of the Regional Trial Court Manila dated January 5, 1984, which convicted
herein petitioner of violation of Section 25 in relation to Section 39 of P 957 sentencing
him to pay a fine of P20,000.00 and to suffer the accessory penalties provided by law
and to pay the costs, and the resolution of said appellate court dated May 9, 1986,
denying the motion for reconsideration of herein petitioner.
In an information that was filed in the then Court of First Instance of Manila (now
Regional Trial Court), herein petitioner, Atty. Tomas Trinidad, was charged with violation
of P.D. 957 for non-delivery of title allegedly committed in this manner:
That on or about February 20, 1978 and continuously up to the present, in
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
said accused, being the administrator of the estate of the late NICOLAI
DREPIN, President and General Manager of the Mother Earth Realty
Development Corporation, owner-developer of the Munting Baguio Village
Subdivision, located at Antipolo, Rizal, and having knowledge of the sale
of Lot No. 19, Block No. 51 of the said Subdivision to FRANCISCA T.
DIMABUYO for the purchase price of P14,000,00, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously fail to deliver the title of said subdivision
lot to the said lot buyer upon full payment thereof in violation of the
aforementioned P.D. No. 957. (Rollo, p. 25)

After the accused had been arraigned, pleading not guilty, the prosecution presented
only one witness namely Francisca T. Dimabuyu, who is 49 years old, married, public
school teacher, residing at 311 Poblacion, Mabalacat, Pampanga. In her direct and
cross examination she testified to the following: that she filed a case against the
accused Tomas Trinidad with the Task Force of the Ministry (now Department) of Justice
for Violation of P.D. No. 957 for non-delivery of title and she executed an affidavit in
support of her complaint before the Task Force of the Ministry (now Department) of
Justice. She identified the Affidavit, Exhibit A in her complaint. She filed this complaint
against Tomas Trinidad for the non-issuance of title wherein there was a contract
executed by her with the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation, and that the
accused Tomas Trinidad was the administrator of the estate of the late Nicolai Drepin.
She identified the contract executed by her presented and marked as Exhibit B and the
total price of the lot bought by her was FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (P4,000.00). She
was paying Thirty Eight Pesos and Sixty Bight Centavos (P38.68) monthly until she
made the full payment. She was given receipts and entered in her booklet presented
and marked as Exhibit C. She was able to pay SEVEN THOUSAND (P7,000.00)
PESOS including amortization, and this lot which she bought is located at Antipolo,
Rizal. She had visited the place before she bought the same. She identified Exhibit D,
which is the certification of the secretary of the accused. She has also receipts to prove
her payments to the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation, of which the
accused is the President and General Manager and owner developer of the Munting
Baguio Village Subdivision located at Antipolo, Rizal. She identified these receipts of
payment paid by her. Exhibits E, E-1 to E-3 inclusive. She also identified a passbook
wherein the payment made by her were posted by the employee of the said corporation,
Exhibits F to F-1. She further stated that she never me the accused in his office. She
called him by phone and he promised her to deliver the title after she had made the full
payment. She waited for several months but no title was issue to her. She dropped in
the office of the accused and she never saw him there, only a clerk told her that he is
busy. Two month after she paid the last payment she made inquiries of her title. She
was able to talk with the accused in 1978, and the accused told her that she should be
patient for her title would arrive. She went to the office of the accused for so many,
many times and inquired about her title and the office of the accused in situated at
Escolta, Regina Building, Manila. She was able to talk with the accused two times using
the telephone in his office and the accused told her that she must not worry for her title
would be forthcoming. Her son was able to talk with the accused but the accused told
her son that her title was coming. She wen to the National Housing Authority and
inquired if the corporation of the accused is fake. Atty. Lagunsag of the National
Housing Authority set a hearing between her and the accused but the accused did not
appear. She received the notification ("marked as Exhibit G) from the National Housing
Authority about the hearing. The hearing was about the title she was claiming from the
accused. A hearing. was also held at the Ministry (now Department) of Justice on March
7, 1981 but the accused did not appear. The Ministry (now Department) of Justice
handled the case to help her and it was Fiscal Rodrigo Cosico, state Prosecutor of the

Ministry (now Department) of Justice who handled the case. There was a resolution of
the Ministry (now Department) of Justice in her favor, marked an presented as Exhibit H
and H-1. She did not approach an lawyer for she could not afford to pay a lawyer.
Whenever she comes to Manila to claim her title and confront Tomas Trinidad she used
to spend FIFTY PESOS (P50.00) per day. She felt frustrated and was mad with the
accused.
In the cross-examination of this witness she said she had been teaching Grade IV at
Pampanga for 20 years then. She admitted that she is a signatory to the contract,
Exhibit B. admitted that she did not pay the real estate taxes of this land. She admitted
that she did not go to the Probate Court.
In the re-direct, she said that she has not paid the taxes because she was not notified
about the demand of payment. She paid the installment as evidenced by receipts
Exhibits E, E-I E-30 of Lots Nos. 19 and 51 of said subdivision managed by the
accused. She said that the accused was the administrator of land wherein the portion
was bought by her.
After the testimony of the complainant Francesca Dimabuyu, the prosecution rested its
case and offered Exhibits A, B, C, D, E, E-I to E-30, inclusive, F, F-I to F-5, inclusive,
and H, and H-1, which were all admitted by the court. (Ibid., pp. 27-29).
On the other hand, herein petitioner, in his direct testimony and cross, testified to the
fact that in the Intestate Proceedings of the estate of the late Nicolai Drepin, he became
the Judicial Administrator appointed in the year 1976, and he presented his appointment
and marked as Exhibit 3. He testified that he took hold of the property of the deceased
including the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation, and also the unregistered
property situated at Antipolo, Rizal. The whole lot is titled in the name of testator. He
admitted that he is the administrator of the Mother Earth Realty Development
Corporation, and that said corporation has lots for sale. He continued to receive
payments of lots for sale in installment. In 1978 the National Housing Authority stopped
the sale of lots, and his corporation was told to stop operating the property now the
place being under control of the Ministry of Human Settlements. According to him the
complainant (Ms. Francesca T. Dimabuyu) had not complied with all the requirements
for the complainant had not paid the taxes. He asked the Probate Court as administrator
to allow him to execute a Deed of Sale to his lot buyers and he was allowed in
November 1982, the authority was presented and marked as Exhibit 5. The Mother
Earth Realty Development Corporation, according to him, is not in business now, and he
is not the administrator. He was appointed by the Court as administrator in place of Atty.
Guico, and he has letters of administration presented and marked as Exhibit 3. His
duties as administrator are with the full authority to take possession of all properties of
the deceased.

In the cross examination of this witness he admitted that he was not able to deliver any
title to the complainant for according to him the complainant had not actually paid all her
obligations because there is no adjustment considering the value of the peso which has
declined these days. The complainant has not even paid the taxes of the land so that
the contract has not been duly complied with.
On January 5, 1984, the Regional Trial Court of Manila rendered judgment, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATION, the
guilt of the accused having been proven beyond reasonable doubt for
violation of Sec. 25 in relation to Section 39 of P.D. 957 hereby sentences
him to pay a fine of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.) and to
suffer the accessory penalties provided by law and to pay the costs. (Ibid.,
P. 62)
Not satisfied with the foregoing decision, herein petitioner elevated the case to the then
Intermediate Appellate Court, which rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto with
costs against accused-appellant. (Ibid., p. 34)
The motion for reconsideration having been denied (Ibid., p. 39), herein petitioner filed
the instant petition, raising the following issues:
I
IT IS AN ABUSE OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
JURISDICTION TO EXPAND THE TERM IN A PENAL PROVISION OF
PD 957 TO INCLUDE THAT WHICH IS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED
FOR THEREIN. (Ibid., p. 10)
II
THE CONCLUSION OF THE I.A.C. THAT THE ADMINISTRATOR OF
THE MOTHER REALTY DEV. CORP. (sic) FINDS NO SANCTION IN
REASON AND LOGIC AND A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION. (Ibid., 13)
III
IT IS A SERIOUS ERROR OF THE IAC. NOT TO COUNTENANCE THE
SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW ON THE EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION

OF THE PROBATE COURT IN REFERENCE TO THE SETTLEMENT OF


THE ESTATE OF A DECEDENT OF WHICH A DELIVERY OF TITLE TO A
LOT IS ONE SUCH. (Ibid., p. 15)
IV
ENFORCING PD 957 TO RETROACT TO A CONTRACT LONG BEFORE
ESTABLISHED VALID AND LEGAL THEN, VIOLATES THE BILL OF
RIGHTS IN THE 1973 CONSTITUTION, HENCE IT IS REVERSIBLE
ERROR. (Ibid., p. 17)
V
YOUR PETITIONER, JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF
NICOLAI DREPIN IS CAUGHT IN THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA AND A
NO WIN POSITION AT THAT. (Ibid., p. 18)
Under the first two assigned errors, herein petitioner assails the judgment of the
respondent appellate court for having expanded the term in a penal provision of PD
957, i.e., Section 39, to include that which is not specifically provided for therein.
Moreover, he assails respondent appellate court's finding that he is also the
administrator of Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation as non sequitur.
The contentions are without merit.
Sections 25 and 39 of Presidential Decree 957 provide, thus:
Sec. 25. Issuance of Title. The owner or developer shall deliver the title
of the lot or unit to the buyer upon full payment of the lot or unit. No fee,
except those required for the registration of the deed of sale in the
Registry of Deeds, shall be collected for the issuance of such title. In the
event a mortgage over the lot or unit is outstanding at the time of the
issuance of the title to the buyer, the owner or developer shall redeem the
mortgage or the corresponding portion thereof within six months from such
issuance in order that the title over fully paid lo or unit may be secured and
delivered to the buyer in accordance herewith.
Sec. 39. Penalties. Any person who shall violate any of th provision of
this decree and/or any rule or regulation that may be issued pursuant to
this Decree shall upon conviction, be punished by fine of not more than
twenty thousand (P20,000.00) pesos and/or imprisonment of not more
than ten years: Provided, that in the case of corporations, partnerships,
cooperatives, or associations, the President, Manager or Administrator or
the person who has charge with the administration of the business shall

be criminally responsible for any violation of this Decree and/or the rules
and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.
From the foregoing, it is clear that any person who violate Section 25 thereof by nondelivery of the title upon full payment of the lot or in case of a corporation, partnership,
cooperative, or association, the president, manager or administrator or the person who
has charge of the administration of the business shall be criminally responsible.
In the case at bar, Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation is the developer of the
property in question which belongs to the deceased, Nicolai Drepin. As administrator of
the estate of the said decedent, herein petitioner took over the administration of all the
properties of said deceased including the property in question. Thus undeniably he is
also the administrator of the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation which is
handling the development and disposition of said property. This is demonstrated by the
fact that when said corporation was sued by Ms. Dimabuyu before the Nation Housing
Authority (NHA) for non-issuance of title, herein petitioner appeared as the administrator
of said corporation an appealed to the Minister (now Secretary) of Justice from
resolution of the Task Force Division of said Ministry (no Department) in the same
capacity. In his appeal he did not deny that he is the administrator of the said
corporation and property in behalf of the deceased. What he claims is that the title was
not issued due to the failure of the proper government agency to approve the technical
description of the lot preparatory to the issuance of the corresponding torrens title and
that PD 957 cannot be given retroactive effect to apply to contracts entered into ten
years before its passage. Again, in his letter of December 7, 1982 to Ms. Dimabuyu
delineating the procedure to secure the title of ownership of the property in question,
herein petitioner signed as administrator not only of the testate estate of Nicolai Drepin
but also of the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation. (Ibid., pp. 31-32).
Under the third assigned error, herein petitioner contends that the trial court and the
respondent appellate court had exceeded their jurisdiction by totally disregarding the
law and penalizing an act when the law shows the manner of performing the same.
The contention is without merit.
Section 41 of Presidential Decree 957 provides, thus:
Section 41. Other Remedies. The rights and remedies provided in this
Decree shall be in addition to any and all other rights and remedies that
may be available under existing laws.
From the foregoing, it is apparent that whatever rights or remedies accruing to a lot
buyer, Ms. Dimabuyu in this case, under other laws do not foreclose the application of
PD 957.

In the case at bar, it is uncontroverted that Ms. Dimabuyu has fully paid in monthly
installments the agreed purchase price for the lot. Notwithstanding full payment, herein
petitioner has failed and refused to deliver to Ms. Dimabuyu the certificate of title
corresponding to the lot despite numerous demands.
Under the fourth assigned error, herein petitioner maintains that PD 957 impairs the
obligations of the vendee (Ms. Dimabuyu) in the contract to sell and that it is an ex post
facto law as the provision thereof provides retroactive effect.
The contention is likewise without merit.
Quoting the Solicitor General, the respondent appellate court aptly rebutted this
argument, thus:
Under P.D. 957, after the complainant had fully paid for the lo in question,
appellant (herein petitioner) as administrator of t Mother Earth Realty
Development Corporation, was legally bound cause the issuance of the
corresponding transfer certificate of title in the name of the buyer. The
failure of appellant (herein petitioner) to do so is punishable under the
penal provisions of Section 39 of said decree.
Likewise, under P.D. 957, it is not required that the buyer should pay the
taxes. The buyer is only required to pay for the registration of the Deed of
Sale with the Register of Deeds for the issuance of the title but it does not
mention the payment of taxes. With respect to th alleged devaluation of
the peso, suffice it to state that at the time thde contract was executed, the
full price of the lot was already agreed upon by the complainant and the
corporation.
Lastly, appellant (herein petitioner) asserts that P.D. 957 is an ex post
facto law as the penal provision thereof provides retroactive effect.
P.D. 957 cannot be assailed as an ex post facto law. The act made
punishable thereunder is the failure of the owner-developer or
administrator to deliver the title of the lot or unit to the buyer upon full
payment, not the execution of a deed of sale or contract to sell over such
lot or unit before the passage of the law. In the instant case although the
contract to sell was executed long before the enactment of P.D. 957, the
failure of appellant (herein petitioner) to deliver the title over the lot upon
full payment transpired when the decree was already in effect. Such law is
not ex post facto for the simple reason that what is being punished is the
failure to deliver such title after the enactment of the Decree on July 12,
1976. (Ibid., pp. 33-34)

We however find that the fifth or last issue to be meritorious and the same deserves Our
careful consideration.
In said issue, herein petitioner maintains that to proceed execute the deed of absolute
sale without the go-signal of the Probate Court is to be recreant to his sworn duty as
administrator, as well as to render void his actuations done without the permission of the
Probate Court.
This contention is correct and is impressed with merit. Inasmuch as the owner-seller of
the property was already deceased and there were proceedings in the Probate Court, it
was incumbent for the Probate Court to first give authorization to administrator of the
estate to deliver titles of lots which had previously been sold. The decedent after all,
might be considered the alter ego of the Mother Earth Realty Development Corporation.
The private complainant had been duly instructs by the accused herein to file the proper
petition or motion wit the Probate Court for delivery of said title but said complainant for
one reason or another, disregarded said instructions. If at anybody should be blamed, it
should be private complainant herself for her failure to obtain the needed authorization
fro the court. Indeed, questions of title to any property apparent still belonging to estate
of the deceased may be passed upon in the Probate Court, with consent of all the
parties, without prejudice to third persons such as the herein private complainant. In
fact, third persons may even intervene in the testate or intestate proceedings to protect
their interest [See Cunanan vs. Amparo, 45 O.G. (No. 9), 3796]. Just as ordinary
claimant against the estate of the deceased are duty bound to present claim before the
Probate Court so was private complainant herein required to file her claim for redress in
said Probate Court. This is so because in the ascertainment of claims against the estate
of the decedent, the Probate Court must weigh the extent of the liability of the estate
when compared vis-a-vis it solvency. We uphold petitioner's contention therefore that if
he had proceeded to immediately cause the delivery of the title of private complainant
herein, he could have been held liable for a blatant disregard of the jurisdiction and
function of the Probate Court. Truly, he was caught between the horns of a dilemma
which was not of his own making. We therefore see no criminal intent whatsoever on his
part and accordingly the judgment of the appellate court is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE, with costs de officio.
If the probate proceedings referred to in this case are still going on, the proper remedy
of the private complainant herein is to file before said Probate Court her claim for the
delivery of the title of the lot she has purchased. If on the other hand, said probate
proceedings are already closed and terminated, the Mother Earth Realty Development
Corporation through its present President or General Manager is hereby ordered to
cause the delivery of said title to Ms. Dimabuyu, within the shortest possible time, as
soon as all the requirements therefore have been complied with. We are giving this
remedy to prevent Ms. Dimabuyu from being prejudiced.

SO ORDERED.

Comparative Case #3 Roxas v. Pecson & Matias v. Gonzales


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-2211

December 20, 1948

NATIVIDAD I. VDA. DE ROXAS, petitioner,


vs.
POTENCIANO PECSON, Judge of First Instance of Bulacan, MARIA ROXAS and
PEDRO ROXAS, respondents.
Claro M. Recto and Francisco A. Rodrigo for petitioner.
Estanislao A. Fernandez, Jr., and Gerardo M. Alfonso for respondents.

FERIA, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari filed against the respondent judge of the Court of First
Instance of Bulacan.
The facts in this case may be summarily stated as follows: Pablo M. Roxas died leaving
properties in Bulacan. The other respondents Maria and Pedro Roxas, sister and
brother respectively of the deceased, filed on August 3, 1946, a petition for the
administration of the latter's estate, in special intestate proceeding No. 1707 of the
Court of First Instance of Bulacan, and Maria Roxas was appointed special
administratrix upon an ex-parte petition. On August 10, 1946, the petitioner Natividad
Vda. de Roxas, widow of Pablo M. Roxas, 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, and the petition was docketed as special proceeding No. 172 of
the same court. In said will the deceased bequeathed one-half of his estate to his
widow, the herein petitioner, and the other half to Reynaldo Roxas, an adulterous child 9
years old of the decedent. Upon agreement of both parties, the intestate proceeding No.
170 was dismissed and ordered closed by the court.
In view of the opposition to the probate of the will by the respondents Maria and Pedro
Roxas, the petitioner was appointed on September 10, 1946, special administratrix and
qualified as such over the objection of the respondents Maria and Pedro Roxas, who
sought the appointment of Maria as such. The said respondents filed on October 21,
1946, a motion for reconsideration of the order of the court appointing the petitioner as

special administratrix, with an alternative prayer that Maria Roxas be appointed as


special co-administratrix, which motion was not acted upon.
After hearing on December 15, 1947, the respondent judge rendered a decision denying
the probate of the will presented by the petitioner on the ground that the attesting
witnesses did not sign their respective names in the presence of the testator, from which
the petitioner has appealed, and the appeal is now pending.
On December 29, 1947, the respondents Maria and Pedro Roxas renewed their petition
for the appointment of Maria Roxas as special administratrix or special coadministratrix, and on May 5, 1948, the respondent judge rendered his resolution
appointing the petitioner Natividad I. Vda. de Roxas as special administratrix only of all
the conjugal properties of the deceased, and Maria Roxas as special administratrix of all
capital or properties belonging exclusively to the deceased Pablo M. Roxas.
The present petition for certiorari has been filed with this Court against the last order or
resolution of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan based on the ground that the
respondent judge acted in excess of the court's jurisdiction in appointing two special coadministratices of the estate of the deceased Pablo Roxas, one of the capital or
properties belonging exclusively to the deceased, and another of his conjugal properties
with his wife (now widow), the petitioner.
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 well as the
statutory provisions as to causes for removal of an executor or administrator under
section 653 of Act No. 190, now section 2, Rule 83, do not apply to the selection or
removal of special administrator. (21 Am. Jur., 833; De Gala vs. Gonzales and Ona, 53
Phil., 104, 106.) 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.
There is nothing wrong in that the respondent judge, in exercising his discretion and
appointing the petitioner as special administratrix, had taken into consideration the
beneficial interest of the petitioner in the estate of the decedent and her being
designated in the will as executrix thereof. But the respondent's subsequent act of
appointing her as special administratrix only of the conjugal or community property, and
Maria Roxas as special administratrix of the capital or exclusive property of the
decedent, does not seem to be in conformity with logic or reason. The petitioner has or
claims to have the same beneficial interest after the decision of the court disapproving
the will, which is now pending on appeal, 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 property of the
decedent, besides 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.
However, for the decision of the question involved in this proceeding it is not necessary
for us to determine whether or not the respondent judge has acted with grave abuse of
discretion in rendering the resolution complained of for the reasons just stated, in view
of our conclusion that the respondent judge acted in excess of the court's jurisdiction in
appointing two separate special administratices of the estate of the decedent: one of the
conjugal or community property and another of the capital or exclusive property of the
deceased Pablo M. Roxas.
According to section 2, Rule 75, taken from section 685 of the former Code of Civil
Procedure, Act No. 190, as amended, "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 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.)lawphil.net
In view of all the foregoing, we hold that the court below has no power to appoint two
special administratices of the estate of a deceased husband or wife, one of the
community property and another of the exclusive property of the decedent, and
therefore the respondent judge acted in excess of the court's jurisdiction in rendering or
issuing the order complained of, and therefore said order is hereby set aside, with costs
against the respondents. So ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-10907

June 29, 1957

AUREA MATIAS, petitioner,


vs.
HON. PRIMITIVO L. GONZALEZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents.
J. Gonzales Orense for petitioner.
Venancio H. Aquino for respondents.
CONCEPCION, J.:
Petitioner Aurea Matias seeks a writ of certiorari to annul certain orders of Hon.
Primitivo L. Gonzales, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cavite, in connection
with Special Proceedings No. 5213 of said court, entitled "Testate Estate of the
Deceased Gabina Raquel."
On 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 years. 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 Matias, likewise, appointed
therein as executrix thereof, without bond. Basilia Salud, a first cousin of the deceased,
opposed the probate of her alleged will, and, after appropriate proceedings, the court,
presided over by respondent Judge, issued an order, dated February 8, 1956,
sustaining said opposition and denying the petition for probate. Subsequently, Aurea
Matias brought the matter on appeal to this Court (G.R. No. L-10751), where it is now
pending decision.
Meanwhile, or on February 17, 1956, Basilia Salud 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. The motion was set for hearing on February 23, 1956, on
which date the court postponed the hearing to February 27, 1956. Although notified of
this order, Rodriguez did not appear on the date last mentioned. Instead, he filed an
urgent motion praying for additional time within which to answer the charges preferred
against him by Basilia Salud and for another postponement of said hearing. This motion
was not granted, and Basilia Salud introduced evidence in support of said charges,
whereupon respondent Judge by an order, dated February 27, 1956, found 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 Salud as
special administratrix thereof, to "be assisted and advised by her niece, Miss Victorina
Salud," who "shall always act as aide, interpreter and adviser of Basilia Salud." Said
order, likewise, provided that "Basilia Salud shall be helped by Mr. Ramon Plata . . . who
is hereby appointed as co-administrator."
On March 8, 1956, Aurea Matins asked that said order of February 27, 1956, be set
aside and that she be appointed special co-administratrix, jointly with Horacio
Rodriguez, upon the ground that Basilia Salud is over eighty (80) years of age, totally
blind and physically incapacitated to perform the duties of said office, and that said
movant is the universal heiress of the deceased and the person appointed by the latter
as executrix of her alleged will. This motion was denied in an order dated March 10,
1956, which maintained "the appointment of the three above named persons" Basilia
Salud, Ramon Plata and Victorina Salud "for the management of the estate of the
late Gabina Raquel pending final decision on the probate of the alleged will of said
decedent." However, on March 17, 1956, Basilia Salud tendered her resignation as
special administratrix by reason of physical disability, due to old age, and recommended
the appointment, in her place, of Victorina Salud. Before any action could be taken
thereon, or on March 21, 1956, Aurea Matias sought a reconsideration of said order of
March 10, 1956. Moreover, on March 24, 1956, she expressed her conformity to said
resignation, but objected to the appointment, in lieu of Basilia Salud, of Victorina Salud,
on account of her antagonism to said Aurea Matias she (Victorina Salud) 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 the Philippine National Bank, the Monte de Piedad, the Bank of the
Philippine Islands, or any other similar institution authorized by law therefor, should the
court be reluctant to appoint the movant as special administratrix of said estate. This
motion for reconsideration was denied on March 26, 1956.
Shortly afterwards, or on June 18, 1956, respondents Ramon Plata and Victorina Salud
requested authority to collect the rents due, or which may be due, to the estate of the
deceased and to collect all the produce of her lands, which was granted on June 23,
1956. On June 27, 1956, said respondents filed another motion praying for permission
to sell the palay of the deceased then deposited in different rice mills in the province of
Cavite, which respondent judge granted on June 10, 1956. Later on, or on July 10,
1956, petitioner instituted the present action against Judge Gonzales, and Victorina
Salud and Ramon Plata, for the purpose of annulling the above mentioned orders of
respondent Judge, upon the ground that the same had been issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
In support of this pretense, it is argued that petitioner should have preference in the
choice of special administratrix of the estate of the decedent, she (petitioner) being the

universal heiress to said estate and, the executrix appointed in the alleged will of the
deceased, 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,
namely, Basilia Salud, inasmuch as Victorina Salud is allied to her and Ramon Plata is a
very close friend of one of her (Basilia Salud's) attorneys; that Basilia Salud was made
special administratrix despite her obvious unfitness for said office, she being over eighty
(80) years of age and blind; that said disability is borne out by the fact 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
Horacio Rodriguez was removed without giving petitioner a chance to be heard in
connection therewith; and that Ramon Plata and Victorina Salud 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 the petitioner herein.
Upon the other hand, respondents maintain that respondent Judge acted with the scope
of his jurisdiction and without any abuse of discretion; that petitioner can not validly
claim any special interest in the estate of the deceased, because the probate of the
alleged will and testament of the latter upon which petitioner relies has been
denied; that Horacio Rodriguez was duly notified of the proceedings for his removal;
and that Victorina Salud and Ramon Plata have not done anything that would warrant
their removal.
Upon a review of the record, we find ourselves unable to sanction fully the acts of
respondent Judge, for the following reasons:
1. Although Horacio Rodriguez had notice of the hearing of the motion for his removal,
dated February 17, 1956, the record shows that petitioner herein received copy of said
motion of February 24, 1956, or the date after that set for the hearing thereof. Again,
notice of the order of respondent Judge, dated February 23, 1956, postponing said
hearing to February 27, 1956, was not served on petitioner herein.
2. In her motion of February 17, 1956, Basilia Salud prayed for the dismissal of Horacio
Rodriguez, and the appointment of Ramon Plata, as special administrator of said estate.
Petitioner had, therefore, no notice that her main opponent, Basilia Salud, and the
latter's principal witness, Victorina Salud, would be considered for the management of
said. As a consequence, said petitioner had no opportunity to object to the appointment
of Basilia Salud as special administratrix, and of Victorina Salud, as her assistant and
adviser, and the order of February 27, 1956, to this effect, denied due process to said
petitioner.

3. Said order was issued with evident knowledge of the physical disability of Basilia
Salud. Otherwise respondent Judge would not have directed that she "be assisted and
advised by her niece Victorina Salud," and that the latter "shall always act as aide,
interpreter and adviser of Basilia Salud."
4. Thus, respondent Judge, in effect, appointed three (3) special administrators
Basilia Salud, Victorina Salud and Ramon Plata. Indeed, in the order of March 10, 1956,
respondent Judge maintained "the appointment of the three (3) above-named persons
for the management of the estate of the late Gabina Raquel."
5. Soon after the institution of said Special Proceedings No. 5213, an issue arose
between Aurea Matias and Basilia Salud regarding the person to be appointed special
administrator of the estate of the deceased. The former proposed Horacio Rodriguez,
whereas the latter urged the appointment of Victorina Salud. By an order dated August
11, 1952, the Court, then presided over by Hon. Jose Bernabe, Judge, decided the
matter in favor of Horacio Rodriguez and against Victorina Salud, 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 of resident thereof. In other words, the order of respondent Judge of February
27, 1956, removing Rodriguez and appointing Victorina Salud to the management of the
estate, amounted to a reversal of the aforementioned order of Judge Bernabe of August
11, 1952.
6. Although the probate of the alleged will and testament of Gabina Raquel was denied
by respondent Judge, the order to this effect is not, as yet, final and executory. It is
pending review on appeal taken by Aurea Matias. The probate of said alleged will being
still within realm of legal possibility, Aurea Matias has as the universal heir and
executrix designated in said instrument a special interest to protect during the
pendency of said appeal. Thus, in the case of Roxas vs. Pecson* (46 Off. Gaz., 2058),
this Court held that 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 the will,
which is now pending appeal, because the decision is not yet final and may be reversed
by the appellate court."
7. The record shows that there are, at least two (2) factions among the heirs of the
deceased, namely, one, represented by the petitioner, and another, to which Basilia
Salud and Victorina Salud belong. 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, laid down in Roxas vs. Pecson (supra), 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
two (2) separate and independent special administrators. In the case at bar there is
only one (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 (Lewis vs. Logdan, 87 A. 750; Harrison vs. Clark, 52 A. 514; In re
Wilson's Estate, 61 N.Y.S. 2d., 49; Davenport vs. Davenport, 60 A. 379).
Wherefore, the orders complained of are hereby annulled and set aside. The lower
court should re-hear the matter of removal of Horacio Rodriguez and appointment of
special administrators, after due notice to all parties concerned, for action in conformity
with the views expressed herein, with costs against respondents Victorina Salud and
Ramon Plata. It is so ordered.

Comparative Case #4 Eusebio v. Eusebio & Fule v. CA


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-8409

December 28, 1956

In the Matter of the Intestate of the deceased Andres Eusebio. EUGENIO


EUSEBIO, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
AMANDA EUSEBIO, JUAN EUSEBIO, DELFIN EUSEBIO, VICENTE EUSEBIO, and
CARLOS EUSEBIO,oppositors-appellants.
Francisco M. Ramos and Valeriano Silva for appellee.
Filemon Cajator for appellants.

CONCEPCION, J.:
This case instituted on November 16, 1953, when Eugenio Eusebio filed with the Court
of First Instance of Rizal, a petition for his appointment as administrator of the estate of
his father, Andres Eusebio, who died on November 28, 1952, residing, according to said
petition, in the City of Quezon. On December 4, 1953, Amanda, Virginia, Juan, Delfin,
Vicente and Carlos, all surnamed Eusebio, objected to said petition, stating that they
are illegitimate children of the deceased and that the latter was domiciled in San
Fernando, Pampanga, and praying, therefore, that the case be dismissed upon the
ground that venue had been improperly filed. By an order, dated March 10, 1954, said
court overruled this objection and granted said petition. Hence, the case is before us on
appeal taken, from said order, by Amanda Eusebio, and her aforementioned sister and
brothers.
The appeal hinges on the situs of the residence of Andres Eusebio on November 28,
1952, for Rule 75, section 1, of the Rules of Court, provides:
Where estate of deceased persons settled. If the decedent is an inhabitant of
the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizens or an alien, his will
shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate, in the Court
of First Instance in the province in which he resides at the time of his death, and
if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance of any
province in which he had estate. The court first taking cognizance of the

settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion


of all other courts. The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on
the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not
be contested in a suit or proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the
original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.
It is not disputed that up to, at least, October 29, 1952, Andres Eusebio was, and had
always been, domiciled in San Fernando, Pampanga, where he had his home, as well
as some other properties. Inasmuch as his heart was in bad condition and his son, Dr.
Jesus Eusebio, who treated him, resided at No. 41 P. Florentino St., Quezon City, on
October 29, 1952, Andres Eusebio bought a house and lot at 889-A Espaa Extention,
in said City (Exhibit 2). While transferring his belongings to this house, soon thereafter,
the decedent suffered a stroke (probably heart failure), for which reason Dr. Eusebio
took him to his (Dr. Eusebio's) aforementioned residence, where the decedent remained
until he was brought to the UST Hospital, in the City of Manila, sometimes before
November 26, 1952. On this date, he contracted marriage in articulo mortis with his
common law wife, Concepcion Villanueva, in said hospital. Two (2) days later, he died
therein of "acute left ventricular failure secondary to hypertensive heart disease", at the
age of seventy-four (74) years (Exhibit A). Consequently, he never stayed or even slept
in said house at Espaa Extention.
It being apparent from the foregoing that the domicile of origin of the decedent was San
Fernando, Pampanga, where he resided for over seventy (70) years, the presumption is
that he retained such domicile, and, hence, residence, in the absence of satisfactory
proof to the contrary, for it is well-settled that "a domicile once acquired is retained until
a new domicile is gained" (Minor, Conflict of Laws, p.70; Restatement of the Law on
Conflict of Laws, p. 47; In re Estate of Johnson, 192 Iowa, 78). Under the circumstances
surrounding the case at bar, if Andres Eusebio established another domicile, it must
have been one of choice, for which the following conditions are essential, namely: (1)
capacity to choose and freedom of choice; (2) physical presence at the place chosen;
and (3) intention to stay therein permanently (Minor, Conflict of Laws, pp. 109-110;
Googrich, Conflict of Laws, p. 169; Velilla vs. Posadas, 62 Phil., 624;
Zuellig vs. Republic of the Philippines, 46 Off. Gaz. Suppl. No. 11, p. 220). Admittedly,
the decedent was juridically capable of choosing a domicile and had been in Quezon
City several days prior to his demise. Thus, the issue narrows down to whether he
intended to stay in that place permanently.
There is no direct evidence of such intent. Neither does the decedent appears to have
manifested his wish to live indefinitely in said city. His son, petitioner-appellee, who took
the witness stand, did not testify thereon, despite the allegation, in his answer to the
aforemention, opposition of the appellants herein, that "the deceased (had) decided to
reside . . . for the rest of his life, in Quezon City". Moreover, said appellee did not
introduce the testimony of his legitimate full brother and son of the decedent, Dr. Jesus

Eusebio, upon whose advice, presumably, the house and lot at No. 889-A Espaa
Extention was purchased, and who, therefore, might have cast some light on his
(decedent's) purpose in buying said property. This notwithstanding, the lower court held
that the decedent's intent to stay permanently in Quezon City is "manifest" from the
acquisition of said property and the transfer of his belonging thereto. This conclusion is
untenable.lawphil.net
The aforementioned house and lot were bought by the decedent because he had been
adviced to do so "due to his illness", in the very words of herein appellee. It is not
improbable in fact, its is very likely that said advice was given and followed in
order that the patient could be near his doctor and have a more effective treatment. It is
well settled that "domicile is not commonly changed by presence in a place merely for
one's own health", even if coupled with "knowledge that one will never again be able, on
account of illness, to return home." (The Conflict of Laws, by Beale, Vol. I, pp. 172-173;
see, also, Shenton vs. Abbott, Md., 15., A. 2d. 906; U.S. vs. Knight, D. C. Mont., 291
Fed. 129).
Again, the decedent did not part with, or alienate, his house in San Fernando,
Pampanga. Moreover, some of his children, who used to live with him in San Fernando,
Pampanga, remained in that municipality. Then, again, in the deed Exhibit 2, by virtue of
which said property at No. 889-A Espaa Extention, Quezon City, was conveyed to him,
on October 29, 1952, or less than a month before his death, the decedent gave San
Fernando, Pampanga, as his residence. Similarly, the "A" and "B" residence certificates
used by the decedent in aknowledging said Exhibit 2, before a notary public, was issued
in San Fernando, Pampanga. Lastly, the marriage contract Exhibit 1, signed by the
deceased when he was married, in articulo mortis, to Concepcion Villanueva, at the
UST Hospital, on November 26, 1952, or two (2) days prior to his demise, stated that
his residence is San Fernando, Pampanga. It is worthy of notice that Alfonso Eusebio,
one of the legitimate full brothers of the herein appellee, was a witness to said wedding,
thus indicating that the children of the deceased by his first marriage, including said
appellee, were represented on that occasion and would have objected to said statement
about his residence, if it were false. Consequently, apart from appellee's failure to prove
satisfactory that the decedent had decided to establish his home in Quezon City, the
acts of the latter, shortly and immediately before his death, prove the contrary. At any
rate, the presumption in favor of the retention of the old domicile 1 which is particularly
strong when the domicile is one of the origin 2as San Fernando, Pampanga, evidently
was, as regards said decedent has not been offset by the evidence of record.
The lower court, however, rejected said Exhibits 1 and 2, upon being offered in
evidence, and refused to entertain the same in the order appealed from. The reason
therefor are deducible from its resolution in rejecting said documents during the hearing
of the incident at bar. The court then held:

Exihibits "1" and "2" are rejecting but the same may be attached to the records
for whatever action oppositors may want to take later on because until now the
personality of the oppositors has not been established whether or not they have
a right to intervene in this case, and the Court cannot pass upon this question as
the oppositors refuse to submit to the jurisdiction of this Court and they maintain
that these proceedings should be dismissed. (P. 10, t. s. n.)
In short, the lower court believed that said documents should not be admitted in
evidence before appellants had established their "personality" to intervene in the case,
referring seemingly to their filiation. When appellants, however, sought, during said
hearing, to establish their relation with the deceased, as his alleged illegitimate children,
His Honor, the trial Judge sustained appellee's objection thereto stating:
Your stand until now is to question the jurisdiction of this Court, and it seems that
you are now trying to prove the status of your client; you are leading so that. The
main point here is your contention that the deceased was never a resident of
Quezon City and that is why I allowed you to cross-examine. If you are trying to
establish the status of the oppositors, I will sustain the objection, unless you want
to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court. This is not yet the time to declare who
are persons who should inherit. (p. 1, t. s. n.)
Thus, the lower court refused to consider appellant's evidence on the domicile of the
decedent, because of their alleged lack of "personality", but, when tried to establish
such "personality", they were barred from doing so on account of the question of venue
raised by him. We find ourselves unable to sanction either the foregoing procedure
adopted by the lower court or the inference it drew from the circumstances surrounding
the case.
To begin with, His Honor, the trial Judge had taken inconsistent positions. While, on the
one hand, he declared that appellants could not be permitted to introduce evidence on
the residence of the decedent, for they contested the jurisdiction of court, on the other
hand, he held, in the order appealed from, that, by cross-examining the appellee, said
appellants had submitted themselves to the authority of the court.
What is more, this conclusion is refuted by the record. At the beginning of the hearing, in
the lower court, appellants' counsel announced that he would take part therein "only to
question the jurisdiction, for the purpose of dismissing this proceeding," (p. 2, t.s.n.).
During the cross-examination of petitioner herein, said counsel tried to elicit the relation
between the decedent and the appellants. As, the appellee objected thereto, the court
said, addressing appellants' counsel: "Your stand until now is to question the jurisdiction
of the court. . . . It you are trying to establish the status of the oppositors, I will sustain
the objection, unless you want to submit to the jurisdiction of the court" (p. 7, t.s.n.).
Thereupon, appellants' counsel refused to do so, stating: "I will insist on my stand."

Then, too, at the conclusion of the hearing, the court rejected Exhibits 1 and 2, for the
reason that appellants "refuse to submit to the jurisdiction of this court and they maintain
that these proceedings should be dismissed." Thus, appellants specially made of record
that they were not submitting themselves to the jurisdiction of the court, except for the
purpose only of assailing the same, and the court felt that appellants were not giving up
their stand, which was, and is, a fact.
At any rate, appellants were entitled to establish facts tending to prove, not only their
right to object to appellee's petition, but, also, that venue had been laid improperly. Such
facts were: (a) their alleged relationship with the decedent, 3 which, if true, entitle them
to proceed him under the Civil Code of the Philippines; and (b) his alleged residence is
Pampanga. In other words, the lower court should have admitted Exhibits 1 and 2 in
evidence and given thereto the proper effect, in connection with the issue under
consideration.
Appellee, however, asks: "What will happen if this case be dismissed in the Court of
First Instance of Quezon City on the ground of lack of jurisdiction or improper venue?"
In this connection, it appears that on November 14, 1953, the Clerk of the Court of First
Instance of Pampanga received a petition of appellants herein, dated November 4,
1953, for the settlement of the "Intestate Estate of the late Don Andres Eusebio".
Attached to said petition was petition for the docketing thereof free charge, pursuant to
Rule 3, section 22, of the Rules of Court. The latter petition was granted by an order
dated November 16, 1953, which was received by the cashier of said court on
November 17, 1953, on which date the case was docketed as Special Proceedings No.
957. On December 14, 1953, Jesus, Eugenio, Amando and Alfonso, all surnamed
Eusebio (the children of the decedent by first marriage, including petitioner herein),
moved for the dismissal of said proceedings, owing to the pendency of the present
case, before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, since November 16, 1953. This motion
was granted in an order dated December 21, 1953, relying upon the above Rule 75,
section 1, of the Rules of Court, pursuant to which "the court first taking cognizance of
the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of
all other courts."
Although said order is now final, it cannot affect the outcome of the case at bar. Said
order did not pass upon the question of domicile or residence of the decedent.
Moreover, in granting the court first taking cognizance of the case exclusive jurisdiction
over the same, said provision of the Rules of Court evidently refers to cases triable
before two or more courts with concurrent jurisdiction. It could not possibly have
intended to deprive a competent court of the authority vested therein by law, merely
because a similar case had been previously filed before a court to which jurisdiction is
denied by law, for the same would then be defeated by the will of one of the parties.
More specially, said provision refers mainly to non-resident decedents who have
properties in several provinces in the Philippines, for the settlement of their respective

estates may undertaken before the court of first instance of either one of said provinces,
not only because said courts then have concurrent jurisdiction and, hence, the one
first taking cognizance of the case shall exclude the other courts but, also, because
the statement to this effect in said section 1 of Rule 75 of the Rules of the Court
immediately follows the last part of the next preceding sentence, which deals with nonresident decedents, whose estate may settled the court of first instance of any province
in which they have properties.lawphil.net
In view, however, of the last sentence of said section, providing that:
. . . The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of
residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested
in a suit or proceedings, except in an appeal from that court, in the original case,
or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record.
if proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased resident are instituted in
two or more courts, and the question of venue is raised before the same, the court in
which the first case was filed shall have exclusive jurisdiction to decide said issue, and
we so held in the case of Taciana Vda. De Borja vs. Tan, L-7792 (July 27, 1955). Should
it be decided, in the proceedings before the said court, that venue had been improperly
laid, the case pending therein should be dismissed and the corresponding proceedings
may, thereafter, be initiated in the proper court.
In conclusion, we find that the decedent was, at the time of his death, domiciled in San
Fernando, Pampanga; that the Court of First Instance of Rizal had no authority,
therefore, to appoint an administrator of the estate of the deceased, the venue having
been laid improperly; and that it should, accordingly, have sustained appellants'
opposition and dismissed appellee's petition.
Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby reversed and appellee's petition is
dismissed, with costs against the appellee. It is so ordered.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-40502 November 29, 1976
VIRGINIA GARCIA FULE, and HONORABLE SEVERO A. MALVAR, Presiding
Judge, Court of First Instance of Laguna, Branch Vl, petitioners,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, * PRECIOSA B. GARCIA and AGUSTINA
B. GARCIA, respondents.
G.R. No. L-42670 November 29, 1976
VIRGINIA GARCIA FULE, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE ERNANI C. PAO, Presiding Judge of Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Quezon City, Branch XVIII, and PRECIOSA B. GARCIA, respondents.
Francisco Carreon for petitioners.
Augusto G. Gatmaytan for private respondents.

MARTIN, J.:
These two interrelated cases bring to Us the question of what the word "resides" in
Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules Of Court, referring to the situs of the settlement
of the estate of deceased persons, means. Additionally, the rule in the appointment of a
special administrator is sought to be reviewed.
On May 2, 1973, Virginia G. Fule filed with the Court of First Instance of Laguna, at
Calamba, presided over by Judge Severo A. Malvar, a petition for letters of
administration, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 27-C, alleging, inter alia, "that on April 26,
1973, Amado G. Garcia, a property owner of Calamba, Laguna, died intestate in the
City of Manila, leaving real estate and personal properties in Calamba, Laguna, and in
other places, within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court." At the same time, she
moved
ex parte for her appointment as special administratrix over the estate. On even date,
May 2, 1973, Judge Malvar granted the motion.

A motion for reconsideration was filed by Preciosa B. Garcia on May 8, 1973,


contending that the order appointing Virginia G. Fule as special administratrix was
issued without jurisdiction, since no notice of the petition for letters of administration has
been served upon all persons interested in the estate; there has been no delay or cause
for delay in the proceedings for the appointment of a regular administrator as the
surviving spouse of Amado G. Garcia, she should be preferred in the appointment of a
special administratrix; and, Virginia G. Fule is a debtor of the estate of Amado G.
Garcia. Preciosa B. Garcia, therefore, prayed that she be appointed special
administratrix of the estate, in lieu of Virginia G. Fule, and as regular administratrix after
due hearing.
While this reconsideration motion was pending resolution before the Court, Preciosa B.
Garcia filed on May 29, 1973 a motion to remove Virginia G. Fule as special
administratrix alleging, besides the jurisdictional ground raised in the motion for
reconsideration of May 8, 1973 that her appointment was obtained through erroneous,
misleading and/or incomplete misrepresentations; that Virginia G. Fule has adverse
interest against the estate; and that she has shown herself unsuitable as administratrix
and as officer of the court.
In the meantime, the notice of hearing of the petition for letters of administration filed by
Virginia G. Fule with the Court of First Instance of Calamba, Laguna, was published on
May 17, 24, and 31, 1973, in the Bayanihan,a weekly publication of general circulation
in Southern Luzon.
On June 6, 1973, Preciosa B. Garcia received a "Supplemental Petition for the
Appointment of Regular Administrator ' filed by Virginia G. Fule. This supplemental
petition modified the original petition in four aspects: (1) the allegation that during the
lifetime of the deceased Amado G. Garcia, he was elected as Constitutional Delegate
for the First District of Laguna and his last place of residence was at Calamba, Laguna;
(2) the deletion of the names of Preciosa B. Garcia and Agustina Garcia as legal heirs
of Amado G. Garcia; (3) the allegation that Carolina Carpio, who was simply listed as
heir in the original petition, is the surviving spouse of Amado G. Garcia and that she has
expressly renounced her preferential right to the administration of the estate in favor of
Virginia G. Fule; and (4) that Virginia G. Fule be appointed as the regular administratrix.
The admission of this supplemental petition was opposed by Preciosa B. Garcia for the
reason, among others, that it attempts to confer jurisdiction on the Court of First
Instance of Laguna, of which the court was not possessed at the beginning because the
original petition was deficient.
On July 19, 1973, Preciosa B. Garcia filed an opposition to the original and
supplemental petitions for letters of administration, raising the issues of jurisdiction,
venue, lack of interest of Virginia G. Fule in the estate of Amado G. Garcia, and
disqualification of Virginia G Fule as special administratrix.

An omnibus motion was filed by Virginia G. Fule on August 20, 1973, praying for
authority to take possession of properties of the decedent allegedly in the hands of third
persons as well as to secure cash advances from the Calamba Sugar Planters
Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. Preciosa B. Garcia opposed the motion, calling
attention to the limitation made by Judge Malvar on the power of the special
administratrix, viz., "to making an inventory of the personal and real properties making
up the state of the deceased."
However, by July 2, 1973, Judge Malvar and already issued an order, received by
Preciosa B. Garcia only on July 31, 1973, denying the motion of Preciosa B. Garcia to
reconsider the order of May 2, 1973, appointing Virginia G. Fule as special
administratrix, and admitting the supplementation petition of May 18,1973.
On August 31, 1973, Preciosa B. Garcia moved to dismiss the petition, because (1)
jurisdiction over the petition or over the parties in interest has not been acquired by the
court; (2) venue was improperly laid; and (3) Virginia G. Fule is not a party in interest as
she is not entitled to inherit from the deceased Amado G. Garcia.
On September 28, 1973, Preciosa B. Garcia filed a supplemental motion to substitute
Virginia G. Fule as special administratrix, reasoning that the said Virginia G. Fule
admitted before before the court that she is a full-blooded sister of Pablo G. Alcalde, an
illegitimate son of Andrea Alcalde, with whom the deceased Amado G. Garcia has no
relation.
Three motions were filed by Preciosa B. Garcia on November 14, 1973, one, to enjoin
the special administratrix from taking possession of properties in the hands of third
persons which have not been determined as belonging to Amado G. Garcia; another, to
remove the special administratrix for acting outside her authority and against the
interest of the estate; and still another, filed in behalf of the minor Agustina B. Garcia, to
dismiss the petition for want of cause of action, jurisdiction, and improper venue.
On November 28, 1973, Judge Malvar resolved the pending omnibus motion of Virgina
G. Fule and the motion to dismiss filed by Preciosa B. Garcia. Resolving the motion to
dismiss, Judge Malvar ruled that the powers of the special administratrix are those
provided for in Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, 1 subject only to the previous
qualification made by the court that the administration of the properties subject of the
marketing agreement with the Canlubang Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing
Association should remain with the latter; and that the special administratrix had already
been authorized in a previous order of August 20, 1973 to take custody and possession
of all papers and certificates of title and personal effects of the decedent with the
Canlubang Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. Ramon Mercado, of
the Canlubang Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc., was ordered to
deliver to Preciosa B. Garcia all certificates of title in her name without any qualifying

words like "married to Amado Garcia" does not appear. Regarding the motion to
dismiss, Judge Malvar ruled that the issue of jurisdiction had already been resolved in
the order of July 2, 1973, denying Preciosa B. Garcia's motion to reconsider the
appointment of Virginia G. Fule and admitting the supplemental petition, the failure of
Virginia G. Fule to allege in her original petition for letters of administration in the place
of residence of the decedent at the time of his death was cured. Judge Malvar further
held that Preciosa B. Garcia had submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and had
waived her objections thereto by praying to be appointed as special and regular
administratrix of the estate.
An omnibus motion was filed by Preciosa B. Garcia on December 27, 1973 to clarify or
reconsider the foregoing order of Judge Malvar, in view of previous court order limiting
the authority of the special administratrix to the making of an inventory. Preciosa B.
Garcia also asked for the resolution of her motion to dismiss the petitions for lack of
cause of action, and also that filed in behalf of Agustina B. Garcia. Resolution of her
motions to substitute and remove the special administratrix was likewise prayed for.
On December 19, 1973, Judge Malvar issued two separate orders, the first, denying
Preciosa B. Garcia's motions to substitute and remove the special administratrix, and
the second, holding that the power allowed the special administratrix enables her to
conduct and submit an inventory of the assets of the estate.
On January 7, 1974, Preciosa B. Garcia moved for reconsideration of the foregoing
orders of November 28, 1973 and December 19, 1973, insofar as they sustained or
failed to rule on the issues raised by her: (a) legal standing (cause of action) of Virginia
G. Fule; (b) venue; (c) jurisdiction; (d) appointment, qualification and removal of special
administratrix; and (e) delivery to the special administratrix of checks and papers and
effects in the office of the Calamba Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing Association,
Inc.
On March 27, 1973, Judge Malvar issued the first questioned order denying Preciosa B.
Garcia's motion for reconsideration of January 7, 1974. On July 19, 1974, Judge Malvar
issued the other three questioned orders: one, directing Ramon Mercado, of the
Calamba Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc., to furnish Virginia G.
Fule, as special administratrix, copy of the statement of accounts and final liquidation of
sugar pool, as well as to deliver to her the corresponding amount due the estate;
another, directing Preciosa B. Garcia to deliver to Virginia G. Fule two motor vehicles
presumably belonging to the estate; and another, directing Ramon Mercado to deliver to
the court all certificates of title in his possession in the name of Preciosa B. Garcia,
whether qualified with the word "single" or "married to Amado Garcia."
During the hearing of the various incidents of this case (Sp. Proc. 27-C) before Judge
Malvar, 2 Virginia G. Fule presented the death certificate of Amado G. Garcia showing

that his residence at the time of his death was Quezon City. On her part, Preciosa B.
Garcia presented the residence certificate of the decedent for 1973 showing that three
months before his death his residence was in Quezon City. Virginia G. Fule also testified
that Amado G. Garcia was residing in Calamba, Laguna at the time of his death, and
that he was a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention for the first district of
Laguna.
On July 26, 1974, Preciosa B. Garcia and Agustina B. Garcia commenced a special
action for certiorari and/or prohibition and preliminary injunction before the Court of
Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. No. 03221-SP. primarily to annul the proceedings before
Judge Malvar in Sp. Proc. No. 27-C of the Court of First Instance of Laguna, or, in the
alternative, to vacate the questioned four orders of that court, viz., one dated March 27,
1974, denying their motion for reconsideration of the order denying their motion to
dismiss the criminal and supplemental petitions on the issue, among others, of
jurisdiction, and the three others, all dated July 19, 1974, directing the delivery of certain
properties to the special administratrix, Virginia G. Fule, and to the court.
On January 30, 1975, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment annulling the
proceedings before Judge Severo A. Malvar in Sp. Proc. 27-C of the Court of First
Instance of Calamba, Laguna, for lack of jurisdiction.
Denied of their motion for reconsideration on March 31, 1975, Virginia G. Fule forthwith
elevated the matter to Us on appeal by certiorari. The case was docketed as G.R. No.
L-40502.
However, even before Virginia G. Fule could receive the decision of the Court of
Appeals, Preciosa B. Garcia had already filed on February 1, 1975 a petition for letters
of administration before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch,
docketed as Sp. Proc. No. Q-19738, over the same intestate estate of Amado G.
Garcia. On February 10, 1975, Preciosa B. Garcia urgently moved for her appointment
as special administratrix of the estate. Judge Vicente G. Ericta granted the motion and
appointed Preciosa B. Garcia as special administratrix upon a bond of P30,000.00.
Preciosa B. Garcia qualified and assumed the office.
For the first time, on February 14, 1975, Preciosa B. Garcia informed Judge Ericta of
the pendency of Sp. Proc. No. 27-C before Judge Malvar of the Court of First Instance
of Laguna, and the annulment of the proceedings therein by the Court of Appeals on
January 30, 1975. She manifested, however, her willingness to withdraw Sp. Proc. Q19738 should the decision of the Court of Appeals annulling the proceedings before the
Court of First Instance of Laguna in Sp. Proc. No. 27-C have not yet become final, it
being the subject of a motion for reconsideration.

On March 10, 1973, Judge Ericta ordered the suspension of the proceedings before his
court until Preciosa B. Garcia inform the court of the final outcome of the case pending
before the Court of Appeals. This notwithstanding, Preciosa B. Garcia filed on
December 11, 1975, an "Urgent Petition for Authority to Pay Estate Obligations."
On December 13, 1975, Virginia G. Fule filed a "Special Appearance to Question Venue
and Jurisdiction" reiterating the grounds stated in the previous special appearance of
March 3, 1975, and calling attention that the decision of the Court of Appeals and its
resolution denying the motion for reconsideration had been appealed to this Court; that
the parties had already filed their respective briefs; and that the case is still pending
before the Court.
On December 17, 1975, Judge Ernani Cruz Pano, who succeeded Judge Ericta, issued
an order granting Preciosa B. Garcia's "Urgent Petition for Authority to Pay Estate
Obligations" in that the payments were for the benefit of the estate and that there hangs
a cloud of doubt on the validity of the proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. 27-C of the Court of
First Instance of Laguna.
A compliance of this Order was filed by Preciosa B. Garcia on January 12,1976.
On February 4,1974, VIRGINIA G. FULE instituted G.R. No. L-42670, a petition for
certiorari with temporary restraining order, to annul the proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. Q19738 and to restrain Judge Ernani Cruz Pao from further acting in the case. A
restraining order was issued on February 9, 1976.
We dismiss the appeal in G.R. No. L-40502 and the petition for certiorari in G.R. No. L42670 for the reasons and considerations hereinafter stated.
1. Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: "If the decedent is an
inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or an alien, his
will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate settled, in the
Court of First Instance in the province in which he resides at the time of his death, and if
he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance of any province in
which he had estate. The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of
a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. The
jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence of the
decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding,
except in an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction
appears on the record." With particular regard to letters of administration, Section 2,
Rule 79 of the Revised Rules of Court demands that the petition therefor should
affirmatively show the existence of jurisdiction to make the appointment sought, and
should allege all the necessary facts, such as death, the name and last residence of the
decedent, the existence, and situs if need be, of assets, intestacy, where this is relied

upon, and the right of the person who seeks administration, as next of kin, creditor, or
otherwise, to be appointed. The fact of death of the intestate and his last residence
within the country are foundation facts upon which all subsequent proceedings in the
administration of the estate rest, and that if the intestate was not an inhabitant of the
state at the time of his death, and left no assets in the state, no jurisdiction is conferred
on the court to grant letters of administration. 3
The aforequoted Section 1, Rule 73 (formerly Rule 75, Section 1), specifically the
clause "so far as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location
of the estate," is in reality a matter of venue, as the caption of the Rule indicates:
"Settlement of Estate of Deceased Persons. Venue and Processes. 4 It could not have
been intended to define the jurisdiction over the subject matter, because such legal
provision is contained in a law of procedure dealing merely with procedural matters.
Procedure is one thing; jurisdiction over the subject matter is another. The power or
authority of the court over the subject matter "existed and was fixed before procedure in
a given cause began." That power or authority is not altered or changed by procedure,
which simply directs the manner in which the power or authority shall be fully and justly
exercised. There are cases though that if the power is not exercised conformably with
the provisions of the procedural law, purely, the court attempting to exercise it loses the
power to exercise it legally. However, this does not amount to a loss of jurisdiction over
the subject matter. Rather, it means that the court may thereby lose jurisdiction over the
person or that the judgment may thereby be rendered defective for lack of something
essential to sustain it. The appearance of this provision in the procedural law at once
raises a strong presumption that it has nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the court
over the subject matter. In plain words, it is just a matter of method, of convenience to
the parties. 5
The Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, confers upon Courts of First Instance
jurisdiction over all probate cases independently of the place of residence of the
deceased. Because of the existence of numerous Courts of First Instance in the
country, the Rules of Court, however, purposedly fixes the venue or the place where
each case shall be brought. A fortiori, the place of residence of the deceased in
settlement of estates, probate of will, and issuance of letters of administration does not
constitute an element of jurisdiction over the subject matter. It is merely constitutive of
venue. And it is upon this reason that the Revised Rules of Court properly considers the
province where the estate of a deceased person shall be settled as "venue." 6
2. But, the far-ranging question is this: What does the term "resides" mean? Does it
refer to the actual residence or domicile of the decedent at the time of his death? We lay
down the doctrinal rule that the term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence"
as distinguished from "legal residence or domicile." This term "resides," like, the terms
"residing" and "residence," is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object
or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. 7 In the application of venue

statutes and rules Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature
residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses
the word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the
technical sense. Some cases make a distinction between the terms "residence" and
"domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous,
and convey the same meaning as the term "inhabitant." 8 In other words, "resides"
should be viewed or understood in its popular sense, meaning, the personal, actual or
physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical
presence in a place and actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term means
merely residence, that is, personal residence, not legal residence or
domicile. 9 Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitantin a given place,
while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it
one's domicile. 10 No particular length of time of residence is required though; however,
the residence must be more than temporary. 11
3. Divergent claims are maintained by Virginia G. Fule and Preciosa B. Garcia on the
residence of the deceased Amado G. Garcia at the time of his death. In her original
petition for letters of administration before the Court of First Instance of Calamba,
Laguna, Virginia G. Fule measely stated "(t)hat on April 26,1973, Amado G. Garcia, a
property owner of Calamba, Laguna, died intestate in the City of Manila, leaving real
estate and personal properties in Calamba, Laguna, and in other places within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court." Preciosa B. Garcia assailed the petition for failure
to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement and improper laying of venue. For her, the
quoted statement avers no domicile or residence of the deceased Amado G. Garcia. To
say that as "property owner of Calamba, Laguna," he also resides in Calamba, Laguna,
is, according to her, non sequitur. On the contrary, Preciosa B. Garcia claims that, as
appearing in his death certificate presented by Virginia G. Fule herself before the
Calamba court and in other papers, the last residence of Amado G. Garcia was at 11
Carmel Avenue, Carmel Subdivision, Quezon City. Parenthetically, in her amended
petition, Virginia G. Fule categorically alleged that Amado G. Garcia's "last place of
residence was at Calamba, Laguna."
On this issue, We rule that the last place of residence of the deceased Amado G. Garcia
was at 11 Carmel Avenue, Carmel Subdivision, Quezon City, and not at Calamba,
Laguna. A death certificate is admissible to prove the residence of the decedent at the
time of his death. 12 As it is, the death certificate of Amado G. Garcia, which was
presented in evidence by Virginia G. Fule herself and also by Preciosa B. Garcia, shows
that his last place of residence was at 11 Carmel Avenue, Carmel Subdivision, Quezon
City. Aside from this, the deceased's residence certificate for 1973 obtained three
months before his death; the Marketing Agreement and Power of Attorney dated
November 12, 1971 turning over the administration of his two parcels of sugar land to
the Calamba Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc.; the Deed of
Donation dated January 8, 1973, transferring part of his interest in certain parcels of

land in Calamba, Laguna to Agustina B. Garcia; and certificates of titles covering


parcels of land in Calamba, Laguna, show in bold documents that Amado G. Garcia's
last place of residence was at Quezon City. Withal, the conclusion becomes imperative
that the venue for Virginia C. Fule's petition for letters of administration was improperly
laid in the Court of First Instance of Calamba, Laguna. Nevertheless, the long-settled
rule is that objection to improper venue is subject to waiver. Section 4, Rule 4 of the
Revised Rules of Court states: "When improper venue is not objected to in a motion to
dismiss, it is deemed waived." In the case before Us the Court of Appeals had reason to
hold that in asking to substitute Virginia G. Fule as special administratrix, Preciosa B.
Garcia did not necessarily waive her objection to the jurisdiction or venue assumed by
the Court of First Instance of Calamba, Laguna, but availed of a mere practical resort to
alternative remedy to assert her rights as surviving spouse, while insisting on the
enforcement of the Rule fixing the proper venue of the proceedings at the last residence
of the decedent.
4. Preciosa B. Garcia's challenge to Virginia G. Fule's appointment as special
administratrix is another issue of perplexity. Preciosa B. Garcia claims preference to the
appointment as surviving spouse. Section 1 of Rule 80 provides that "(w)hen 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. 13 Formerly, the appointment of a special administrator was only proper when
the allowance or disallowance of a will is under appeal. The new Rules, however,
broadened the basis for appointment and such appointment is now allowed when there
is delay in granting letters testamentary or administration by any cause e.g., parties
cannot agree among themselves. 14Nevertheless, the discretion to appoint a special
administrator or not lies in the probate court. 15 That, however, is no authority for the
judge to become partial, or to make his personal likes and dislikes prevail over, or his
passions to rule, his judgment. Exercise of that discretion must be based on reason,
equity, justice and legal principle. There is no reason why the same fundamental and
legal principles governing the choice of a regular administrator should not be taken into
account in the appointment of a special administrator. 16 Nothing is wrong for the judge
to consider the order of preference in the appointment of a regular administrator in
appointing a special administrator. After all, the consideration that overrides all others in
this respect is the beneficial interestof the appointee in the estate of the
decedent. 17 Under the law, the widow would have the right of succession over a portion
of the exclusive property of the decedent, besides her share in the conjugal partnership.
For such reason, she would have as such, if not more, interest in administering the
entire estate correctly than any other next of kin. The good or bad administration of a
property may affect rather the fruits than the naked ownership of a property. 18

Virginia G. Fule, however, disputes the status of Preciosa B. Garcia as the widow of the
late Amado G. Garcia. With equal force, Preciosa B. Garcia maintains that Virginia G.
Fule has no relation whatsoever with Amado G. Garcia, or that, she is a mere
illegitimate sister of the latter, incapable of any successional rights. 19 On this point, We
rule that Preciosa B. Garcia is prima facie entitled to the appointment of special
administratrix. It needs be emphasized that in the issuance of such appointment, which
is but temporary and subsists only until a regular administrator is appointed, 20 the
appointing court does not determine who are entitled to share in the estate of the
decedent but who is entitled to the administration. 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. 21 The preference of
Preciosa B. Garcia is with sufficient reason. In a Donation Inter Vivos executed by the
deceased Amado G. Garcia on January 8, 1973 in favor of Agustina B. Garcia, he
indicated therein that he is married to Preciosa B. Garcia. 22 In his certificate of
candidacy for the office of Delegate to the Constitutional Convention for the First District
of Laguna filed on September 1, 1970, he wrote therein the name of Preciosa B.
Banaticla as his spouse. 23 Faced with these documents and the presumption that a
man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a
lawful contract of marriage, Preciosa B. Garcia can be reasonably believed to be the
surviving spouse of the late Amado G. Garcia. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. 24
5. Under these circumstances and the doctrine laid down in Cuenco vs. Court of
Appeals, 25 this Court under its supervisory authority over all inferior courts may properly
decree that venue in the instant case was properly assumed by and transferred to
Quezon City and that it is in the interest of justice and avoidance of needless delay that
the Quezon City court's exercise of jurisdiction over the settlement of the estate of the
deceased Amado G. Garcia and the appointment of special administratrix over the
latter's estate be approved and authorized and the Court of First Instance of Laguna be
disauthorized from continuing with the case and instead be required to transfer all the
records thereof to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City for the continuation of the
proceedings.
6. Accordingly, the Order of Judge Ernani Cruz Pano of December 17, 1975, granting
the "Urgent Petition for Authority to Pay Estate Obligations" filed by Preciosa B. Garcia
in Sp. Proc. No. Q-19738, subject matter of G.R. No. L-42670, and ordering the
Canlubang Sugar Estate to deliver to her as special administratrix the sum of
P48,874.70 for payment of the sum of estate obligations is hereby upheld.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petitions of petitioner Virginia Garcia Fule in G.R.
No. L-40502 and in G.R. No. L42670 are hereby denied, with costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.