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SALUDO, JR vs. AMERICAN EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL, INC.

G.R. No. 159507

April 19, 2006

FACTS:
Aniceto G. Saludo, Jr. filed a complaint for damages against the American Express
International, Inc. (AMEX) and/or its officers Ian T. Fish, Vice-President and Country
Manager, and Dominic Mascrinas, Head of Operations, with the RTC of Maasin City,
Southern Leyte.
The complaint's cause of action stemmed from the alleged wrongful dishonor of
petitioner Saludo's AMEX credit card and the supplementary card issued to his
daughter. Petitioner Saludo claimed that he suffered great inconvenience, wounded
feelings, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation and besmirched political and
professional standing as a result of respondents' acts which were committed in gross
and evident bad faith, and in wanton, reckless and oppressive manner. He thus prayed
that respondents be adjudged to pay him, jointly and severally, actual, moral and
exemplary damages, and attorney's fees.
In their answer, respondents specifically denied the allegations in the complaint. Further,
they raised the affirmative defenses of lack of cause of action and improper venue. On
the latter, respondents averred that the complaint should be dismissed on the ground
that venue was improperly laid because none of the parties was a resident of Leyte.
The Trial Court denied the affirmative defenses interposed by respondents. It found the
allegations of the complaint sufficient to constitute a cause of action against
respondents. The court a quo likewise denied respondents' affirmative defense that
venue was improperly laid.
On appeal, the appellate court rendered the assailed decision granting respondents'
petition for certiorari as it found that venue was improperly laid. It directed the court a
quo to vacate and set aside its Orders and enjoined the presiding judge thereof from
further proceeding in the case, except to dismiss the complaint.
The appellate court explained that the action filed by petitioner Saludo against
respondents is governed by Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court. The said rule on
venue of personal actions basically provides that personal actions may be commenced
and tried where plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where defendant or
any of the principal defendants resides, at the election of plaintiff.
Venue was improperly laid in the court a quo, according to the appellate court, because
not one of the parties was a resident of Southern Leyte. Specifically, it declared that
petitioner Saludo was not a resident thereof. The appellate court pronounced that, for
purposes of venue, the residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical

habitation, or his actual residence or place of abode, which may not necessarily be his
legal residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency.4
ISSUE: Whether the appellate court committed reversible error in holding that venue
was improperly laid.
HELD:
There is no dispute that petitioner Saludo was the congressman or the representative of
the lone district of Southern Leyte at the time of filing of his complaint with the court a
quo. Even the appellate court admits this fact as it states that "it may be conceded that
private respondent ever so often travels to Maasin City, Southern Leyte, because he is
its representative in the lower house."
As a member of the House of Representatives, petitioner Saludo was correctly deemed
by the court a quo as possessing the requirements for the said position, including that
he was then a resident of the district which he was representing, i.e., Southern Leyte.
Significantly, for purposes of election law, the term "residence" is synonymous with
"domicile," thus:
x x x [T]he Court held that "domicile" and "residence" are synonymous. The term
"residence," as used in the election law, imports not only an intention to reside in a fixed
place but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such
intention. "Domicile" denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent for
business or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to return. x x x
It can be readily gleaned that the definition of "residence" for purposes of election law is
more stringent in that it is equated with the term "domicile." Hence, for the said purpose,
the term "residence" imports "not only an intention to reside in a fixed place but also
personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention."
When parsed, therefore, the term "residence" requires two elements: (1) intention to
reside in the particular place; and (2) personal or physical presence in that place,
coupled with conduct indicative of such intention. As the Court elucidated, "the place
where a party actually or constructively has a permanent home, where he, no matter
where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e.,
his domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the
purposes of election law."
On the other hand, for purposes of venue, the less technical definition of "residence" is
adopted. Thus, it is understood to mean as "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. Residence simply requires bodily

presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in


that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile."
Since petitioner Saludo, as congressman or the lone representative of the district of
Southern Leyte, had his residence (or domicile) therein as the term is construed in
relation to election laws, necessarily, he is also deemed to have had his residence
therein for purposes of venue for filing personal actions. Put in another manner,
Southern Leyte, as the domicile of petitioner Saludo, was also his residence, as the
term is understood in its popular sense. This is because "residence is not domicile, but
domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time."
BINATIRO VS HEIRS OF CUYOS
G.R. No. 161220 July 30, 2008

FACTS: Spouses Evaristo Cuyos and Agatona Arrogante Cuyos were blessed with nine
children. Evaristo died leaving six parcels of land located in Tapilon, Daanbantayan, Cebu all
under the name of Agatona Arrogante. Thereafter, one of the heirs, Gloria CuyosTalian (respondent Gloria) represented by Atty. Victor Elliot Lepiten (Atty. Lepiten), filed before
the Court of First Instance (CFI) now Regional Trial Court (RTC), Cebu, Branch XI, a petition for
Letters of Administration. The petition was opposed by Glorias brother, Francisco, who was
represented by Atty. Jesus Yray (Atty. Yray).
The trial court on even date issued an Order appointing Gloria as administratrix of the
estate. Subsequently, Atty. Yray, Franciscos counsel, manifested that the parties had come to an
agreement to settle the case amicably and the Clerk of Court, Atty. Andres
C. Taneo (Atty. Taneo), was appointed to act as Commissioner to effect the agreement of the
parties and to prepare the project of partition for the approval of the court. Among others, Atty.
Taneo declared in his Report that the heirs who were present Agreed not to partition the
properties of the estate but instead agreed to first sell it for the sum of P40,000.00 subject to the
condition that should any of the heirs would be in a position to buy the properties of the estate,
the rest of the eight (8) heirs will just receive only Four Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) each. The
Report further stated that Columba Cuyos-Benatiro (Columba), one of the heirs, informed all
those present in the conference of her desire to buy the properties of the estate, to which
everybody present agreed, and considered her the buyer.
Quoting the Commissioners Report, the CFI issued the assailed Order. Subsequently,
Salud Cuyos, for herself and in representation of the other heirs of Evaristo Cuyos, namely:
Gloria, Patrocenia, Numeriano, and Enrique, filed with the CA a petition for annulment of the Order
dated December 16, 1976 of the CFI of Cebu, Branch XI, in SP No. 24-BN under Rule 47 of the
Rules of Court. They alleged that the CFI Order dated December 16, 1976 was null and void and
of no effect, the same being based on a Commissioner's Report, which was patently false and
irregular.

Herein petitioners contend that respondents' allegation that they discovered the assailed
order dated December 16, 1976 only in February 1998 was preposterous, as respondents were
represented by counsel in the intestate proceedings.
Thereafter, the CA granted the petition and annulled the CFI order.
The CA noted some particulars that led it to conclude that the conference was not held
accordingly, to wit: (1) the Commissioners Report never mentioned the names of the heirs who
were present in the alleged conference but only the names of those who were absent, when the
names of those who were present were equally essential, if not even more important, than the
names of those who were absent; (2) the Report also failed to include any proof of conformity to
the agreement from the attendees, such as letting them sign the report to signify their consent as
regards the agreed mechanisms for the estates settlement; (3) there was lack or absence of
physical evidence attached to the report indicating that the respondents were indeed properly
notified about the scheduled conference. The CA then concluded that due to the absence of the
respondents' consent, the legal existence of the compromise agreement did not stand on a firm
ground.
ISSUE: Whether the CA committed a reversible error in annulling the CFI Order which approved
the Commissioners Report embodying the alleged compromise agreement entered into by the
heirs of Evaristo and Agatona Arrogante Cuyos.
HELD:
NO.
In Cua v. Vargas, in which the issue was whether heirs were deemed constructively
notified of and bound by an extra-judicial settlement and partition of the estate, regardless of their
failure to participate therein, when the extra-judicial settlement and partition has been duly
published, we held:
The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 is an ex parte proceeding.
The rule plainly states, however, that persons who do not participate or had no
notice of an extrajudicial settlement will not be bound thereby. It contemplates a
notice that has been sent out or issued before any deed of settlement and/or
partition is agreed upon (i.e., a notice calling all interested parties to participate in
the said deed of extrajudicial settlement and partition), and not after such an
agreement has already been executed as what happened in the instant case with
the publication of the first deed of extrajudicial settlement among heirs.
The publication of the settlement does not constitute constructive notice to the
heirs who had no knowledge or did not take part in it because the same was notice after
the fact of execution. The requirement of publication is geared for the protection of
creditors and was never intended to deprive heirs of their lawful participation in the
decedent's estate. In this connection, the records of the present case confirm that

respondents never signed either of the settlement documents, having discovered their
existence only shortly before the filing of the present complaint. Following Rule 74, these
extrajudicial settlements do not bind respondents, and the partition made without their
knowledge and consent is invalid insofar as they are concerned[36] (Emphasis supplied)

Applying the above-mentioned case by analogy, what matters is whether the heirs were
indeed notified before the compromise agreement was arrived at, which was not
established, and not whether they were notified of the Commissioner's Report embodying the
alleged agreement afterwards.
We also find nothing in the records that would show that the heirs were called to a
hearing to validate the Report. The CFI adopted and approved the Report despite the absence
of the signatures of all the heirs showing conformity thereto. The CFI adopted the Report despite
the statement therein that only six out of the nine heirs attended the conference, thus, effectively
depriving the other heirs of their chance to be heard. The CFI's action was tantamount to a
violation of the constitutional guarantee that no person shall be deprived of property without due
process of law. We find that the assailed Order dated December 16, 1976, which approved a void
Commissioner's Report, is a void judgment for lack of due process.
AVELINO VS CA [G.R. No. 115181. March 31, 2000]
FACTS:
Petitioner Maria Socorro Avelino is a daughter and compulsory heir of the late Antonio
Avelino, Sr., and his first wife private respondent Angelina Avelino.
The other private respondents, Sharon, Antonio Jr., Tracy, Patrick and Mark Anthony all
surnamed Avelino are likewise compulsory heirs of Avelino, Sr. Sharon, an American, is
the second wife of Avelino, Sr. The other private respondents are siblings of petitioner
Ma. Socorro.Ma. Socorro then filed before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 78, docketed as SP Proc. No. Q-91-10441, a petition for the issuance of letters
of administration of the estate of Antonio Avelino, Sr., who died intestate on April 10,
1989. She asked that she be appointed the administrator of the estate.
Thereafter, Angelina, and the siblings filed their opposition by filing a motion to convert
the said judicial proceedings to an action for judicial partition which petitioner duly
opposed.
Public respondent judge issued the assailed Order, granting the petition.
Ma. Socorro filed before the Court of Appeals, a petition for certiorari, prohibition,
and mandamus alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of

jurisdiction on the part of the trial court, in granting private respondents' motion to
convert the judicial proceeding for the issuance of letters of administration to an action
for judicial partition, but was denied.
Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: Whether or not partition is proper.
HELD:
Petitioner submits that: First, no partition of the estate is possible in the instant case as
no determination has yet been made of the character and extent of the decedent's
estate.
Second, petitioner insists that the Rules of Court does not provide for conversion of a
motion for the issuance of letters of administration to an action for judicial partition. The
conversion of the motion was, thus, procedurally inappropriate and should be struck
down for lack of legal basis.
The Court ruled that the heirs succeed immediately to all of the rights and properties of
the deceased at the moment of the latter's death. Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of
Court, allows heirs to divide the estate among themselves without need of delay and
risks of being dissipated. When a person dies without leaving pending obligations, his
heirs, are not required to submit the property for judicial administration, nor apply for the
appointment of an administrator by the court.
We note that the Court of Appeals found that in this case "the decedent left no
debts and the heirs and legatees are all of age. With this finding, it is our view that
Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court should apply.
In a last-ditch effort to justify the need for an administrator, petitioner insists that
there is nothing to partition yet, as the nature and character of the estate have yet to be
determined. We find, however, that a complete inventory of the estate may be done
during the partition proceedings, especially since the estate has no debts. Hence, the
Court of Appeals committed no reversible error when it ruled that the lower court did not
err in converting petitioner's action for letters of administration into an action for judicial
partition.
Nor can we sustain petitioner's argument that the order of the trial court
converting an action for letters of administration to one for judicial partition has no basis
in the Rules of Court, hence procedurally infirm. The basis for the trial court's order is
Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. It provides that in cases where the heirs
disagree as to the partition of the estate and no extrajudicial settlement is possible, then
an ordinary action for partition may be resorted to, as in this case. We have held that
where the more expeditious remedy of partition is available to the heirs, then the heirs
or the majority of them may not be compelled to submit to administration proceedings.

The trial court appropriately converted petitioner's action for letters of administration into
a suit for judicial partition, upon motion of the private respondents. No reversible error
may be attributed to the Court of Appeals when it found the trial court's action
procedurally in order.