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EPIFANIO SAN JUAN, JR., petitioner, vs.

appear, the court may order the opposing counsel, within a

JUDGE RAMON A. CRUZ, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, specified period, to process the appointment of an
QUEZON CITY administrator or executor who shall immediately appear for
the estate of the deceased.

The heirs of the estate of Oscar Casa do not need to first

secure the appointment of an administrator of his estate,
Loreto Samia San Juan executed a Last Will and Testament
because from the very moment of his death, they stepped
naming Oscar Casa as one of the devisees therein. Upon
into his shoes and acquired his rights as devisee/legatee of
Loreto's death, Atty. Teodorico A. Aquino filed a petition for
the deceased Loreto San Juan. Thus, a prior appointment of
the probate of the will in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
an administrator or executor of the estate of Oscar Casa is
Quezon City.
not necessary for his heirs to acquire legal capacity to be
substituted as representatives of the estate. 42 Said heirs may
While the petition was pending, Oscar Casa died intestate on
designate one or some of them as their representative before
May 24, 1999. The firm of Aquino & Associates entered their
the trial court.
appearance as counsel of Federico Casa, Jr., who claimed to
be one of the heirs of Oscar Casa and their representative.
Hence, even on the threshold issue raised in the RTC and in
the petition for certiorari in the CA, the assailed order of the
In 2002, the probate court issued an Order denying the entry
RTC is correct.
of appearance of said law firm, considering that Federico
Casa, Jr. was not the executor or administrator of the estate
of the devisee, hence, cannot be substituted for the deceased
as his representative as required by Section 16, Rule 3 of the
Rules of Court. On November 22, 2002, the court issued an
order directing Aquino to secure the appointment of an
administrator or executor of the estate of Oscar Casa in order
that the appointee be substituted in lieu of the said deceased.

On February 26, 2003, Aquino filed a pleading entitled

"Appointment of Administrator" signed by Candelaria, Jesus,
Arlyn, Nestor, Edna, Benhur, Federico, Rafael and Ma. Eden,
all surnamed Casa, praying that one of them, Federico Casa,
Jr., be designated as administrator of the estate of the
deceased and that he be substituted for the deceased.

In compliance with the order of the court, Epifanio San Juan

filed a "Motion to Declare Appointment of Administrator As
Inadequate or Insufficient." He maintained that the heirs
should present an administrator of the estate of Oscar Casa
as the representative of the estate in the case.

On December 2, 2003, the RTC issued an Order denying the

motion of San Juan. Contrary to its first order, the court held
that there was, after all, no need for the appointment of an
administrator or executor as substitute for the deceased
devisee. A 1st MR and a subsequent 2nd MR were filed which
were both denied by the RTC.

San Juan, now petitioner, filed a petition for certiorari with

the CA on November 22, 2004 for the nullification of the
orders issued by the probate court which the CA dismissed on
the ground that it was filed beyond the 60-day period counted
from notice to petitioner of the trial court's February 27, 2004
Order. Hence, this petition before the SC.

WON there is a need for the appointment of an administrator
of the estate of Oscar Casa, or whether it is enough that he
be substituted by his heirs.

HELD: NEGATIVE. Petition is without merit.

(Section 16, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Court) The second

paragraph of the rule is plain and explicit: the heirs may be
allowed to be substituted for the deceased without requiring
the appointment of an administrator or executor. However, if
within the specified period a legal representative fails to

First issue: WON the petition for certiorari in CA is time-barred.
AFFIRMATIVE. SC agreed with the CA that the petition for certiorari in CA was
filed beyond the 60-day period. The 60-day period shall be reckoned from the
TCs denial of his first MR and not of the 2 nd MR, otherwise, indefinite delays
will ensue.
of the conjugal property; and that disinheritance is not a
G.R. No. L-59821 August 30, 1982 disqualification to appointment as Special Administrator
CORONA vs. CA besides the fact that the legality of the disinheritance would
involve a determination of the intrinsic validity of the Will
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J: which is decidedly premature at this stage.

FACTS: Dolores Luchangco Vitug died in New York, U.S.A., Petitioner elevated the case to this Court for review on
leaving two Wills: one, a holographic Will dated October 3, certiorari after her MR was turned down by the CA.
1980, which excluded her husband, respondent Romarico G.
Vitug, as one of her heirs, and the other, a formal Will sworn
ISSUE: WON the order of preference laid down in the Rules
to on October 24, 1980, or about three weeks thereafter,
should be followed where the surviving spouse is expressly
which expressly disinherited her husband Romarico "for
disinherited, opposes probate, and clearly possesses an
reason of his improper and immoral conduct amounting to
adverse interest to the estate which would disqualify him
concubinage, which is a ground for legal separation under
from the trust.
Philippine Law"; bequeathed her properties in equal shares to
her sisters Exaltacion L. Allarde, Vicenta L. Faustino and
Gloria L. Teoxon, and her nieces Rowena F. Corona and HELD: NO. The three sets of Oppositors, all respondents
Jennifer F. Way; and appointed Rowena F. Corona, herein herein, in the Comments which they respectively filed,
petitioner, as her Executrix. essentially claimed lack of grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the Appellate Court in upholding the appointment of
the surviving husband as Special Administrator; that co-
Rowena filed a petition for the probate of the Wills before the
administratorship is impractical and unsound and as between
CFI of Rizal (Spec.Procs. No. 9398) and for the appointment
the surviving husband, who was responsible for the
of Nenita P. Alonte as Administrator because she (Rowena) is
accumulation of the estate by his acumen and who must be
presently employed in the United Nations in New York City.
deemed to have a beneficial interest in the entire estate, and
a stranger, respondent Court had made the correct choice;
Probate Court appointed Nenita P. Alonte as Special and that the legality of the disinheritance made by the
Administratrix, upon a P100,000.00 bond. decedent cannot affect the appointment of a Special
The surviving husband, Romarico Vitug, filed an "Opposition
and Motion" and prayed that the Petition for Probate be This Court, in resolving to give due course to the Petition
denied and that the two Wills be disallowed on the ground taking into account the allegations, arguments and issues
that they were procured through undue and improper raised by the parties, is of the considered opinion that
pressure and influence, having been executed at a time when petitioner's nominee, Nenita F. Alonte, should be appointed as
the decedent was seriously ill and under the medical care of co-Special Administrator. The executrix's choice of Special
Dr. Antonio P. Corona, petitioner's husband, and that the Administrator, considering her own inability to serve and the
holographic Will impaired his legitime. Romarico further wide latitude of discretion given her by the testatrix in her
prayed for his appointment as Special Administrator because Will (Annex "A-1"), is entitled to the highest consideration.
the Special Administratrix appointed is not related to the heirs Objections to Nenita's appointment on grounds of
and has no interest to be protected, besides, the surviving impracticality and lack of kinship are over-shadowed by the
spouse is qualified to administer. fact that justice and equity demand that the side of the
deceased wife and the faction of the surviving husband be
represented in the management of the decedent's estate. 2
Oppositions to probate were also filed by respondent (1)
Avelino L. Castillo and Nicanor Castillo, legitimate children of
Constancia Luchangco, full blood sister of the decedent; (2) En passant, it is apropos to remind the Special Administrators
Guillermo Luchangco, full blood brother of the decedent; (3) that while they may have respective interests to protect, they
Rodolfo Torres, Reynaldo Torres, and Purisima Torres are officers of the Court subject to the supervision and control
Polintan, all legitimate children of the deceased Lourdes of the Probate Court and are expected to work for the best
Luchangco Torres, full blood sister of the decedent. interests of the entire estate, its smooth administration, and
its earliest settlement.
Probate Court appointed the surviving husband, Romarico as
Special Administrator, essentially for the reasons that under SC - modifying the judgment under review, the CFI of Rizal is
Section 6, Rule 78, of the Rules of Court, the surviving spouse hereby ordered, in Special Proceedings pending before it, to
is first in the order of preference for appointment as appoint Nenita F. Alonte as co-Special Administrator, properly
Administrator as he has an interest in the estate; that the bonded, who shall act as such jointly with the other Special
disinheritance of the surviving spouse is not among the Administrator on all matters affecting the estate.
grounds of disqualification for appointment as Administrator;
that the next of kin is appointed only where the surviving
spouse is not competent or is unwilling to serve besides the
fact that the Executrix appointed, is not the next of kin but
merely a niece, and that the decedent's estate is nothing
more than half of the unliquidated conjugal partnership

Court of Appeals dismissed the petition stating that the

Probate Court strictly observed the order of preference
established by the Rules; that petitioner though named
Executrix in the alleged Will, declined the trust and instead
nominated a stranger as Special Administrator; that the
surviving husband has legitimate interests to protect which
are not adverse to the decedent's estate which is merely part
G.R. No. L-20735 August 14, 1965 mortgage and foreclose it any time within the
Liwanag vs. CA ordinary period of limitations, and if he relies
exclusively upon the mortgage, he shall not...share
FACTS: Petitioner Gliceria C. Liwanag is the special in the distribution of the assets.
administratrix of the estate of Pio D. Liwanag, the settlement
of which is the subject of Special Proceeding No. 46599 of CFI
Obviously, the herein respondent has chosen the
Manila. Respondent Manuel Agregado commenced against her
second remedy, having filed his action for
as such special administratrix, Civil Case No. 50897 of the
foreclosure against the administratrix of the
same court, for the foreclosure of a real estate mortgage
constituted in his favor by said Pio D. Liwanag during his
Now the question arises as to whether the petitioner
herein can be sued as special administratrix. The
On July 18, 1962, petitioner moved to dismiss Agregado's
Rules of Court do not expressly prohibit making the
complaint, upon the ground that as special administratrix she
special administratrix a defendant in a suit against
cannot be sued by a creditor of the deceased. Respondent,
the estate. Otherwise, creditors would find the
Hon. Jesus de Veyra, denied the motion, whereupon
adverse effects of the statute of limitations running
petitioner filed case in Court of Appeals against respondent
against them in cases where the appointment of a
Judge and Agregado, to annul said order by writ of
regular administrator is delayed. So that if We are
certiorari and enjoin said Judge from entertaining said Case
not to deny the present action on this technical
No. 50897.
ground alone, and the appointment of a regular
administrator will be delayed, the very purpose for
CA issued a writ of preliminary injunction directing respondent which the mortgage was constituted will be defeated.
Judge to refrain from proceeding with the trial of that case,
until further orders. However, subsequently, the CA rendered
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed,
a decision denying the writ prayed for and dissolving said writ
with costs against the petitioner.
of preliminary injunction, with costs against the petitioner.
Hence this appeal taken by petitioner upon the theory that,
pursuant to Section 2, Rule 81 of the (old) Rules of Court, "a
special administrator shall not be liable to pay any debts of
the deceased," and that, accordingly, Agregado has no cause
of action against her as a special administratrix.

ISSUE: WON the special administrator shall be liable to pay

any debts of the deceased.

HELD: YES. In as much, however, as the alleged absence of

a cause of action does not affect respondent's jurisdiction to
hear Case No. 50897, it follows that the denial of petitioner's
motion to the same, even if it were erroneous, is reviewable,
not by writ of certiorari, but by appeal, after the rendition of
judgment on the merits. Moreover, the theory that a
mortgagee cannot bring an action for foreclosure against the
special administrator of the estate of a deceased person has
already been rejected by this Court.

In Liwanag vs. Hon. Luis B. Reyes, involving the same

petitioner herein, the same estate of the deceased Pio D.
Liwanag, a similar action for foreclosure, although of another
mortgage and an identical motion to dismiss and issue, we
expressed ourselves as follows:

The defendant Gliceria Liwanag filed a motion to

dismiss the complaint for foreclosure, on the theory
that she may not be sued as special administratrix.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 7 of Rule 86 of the New Rules of Court

provides that a creditor holding a claim against the
deceased, secured by a mortgage or other collateral
security, may pursue any of these remedies: (1)
abandon his security and prosecute his claim and
share in the general distribution of the assets of the
estate; (2) foreclose his mortgage or realize upon his
security by an action in court, making the executor
or administrator a party defendant, and if there is a
deficiency after the sale of the mortgaged property,
he may prove the same in the testate or intestate
proceedings; and (3) rely exclusively upon his G.R. No. L-30289 March 26, 1929
De Gala vs. Gonzales witnesses, and the form of the signature is sufficiently
described and explained in the last clause of the body of the
FACTS: On November 23, 1920, Severina Gonzales executed will. It maybe conceded that the attestation clause is not
a will in which Serapia de Gala, a niece of Severina, was artistically drawn and that, standing alone, it does not quite
designated executrix. The testatrix died in November, 1926, meet the requirements of the statute, but taken in connection
leaving no heirs by force of law, and on December 2, 1926, with the last clause of the body of the will, it is fairly clear and
Serapia, through her counsel, presented the will for probate. sufficiently carries out the legislative intent; it leaves no
Apolinario Gonzales, a nephew of the deceased, filed an possible doubt as to the authenticity of the document.
opposition to the will on the ground that it had not been
executed in conformity with the provisions of section 618 of
The contention of the appellants Sinforoso Ona and Apolinario
the Code of Civil Procedure. Serapia de Gala was appointed
Gonzales that the fact that the will had been signed in the
special administratrix of the estate of the deceased. She
presence of the witnesses was not stated in the attestation
returned an inventory of the estate on March 31, 1927, and
clause is without merit; the fact is expressly stated in that
made several demands upon Sinforoso Ona, the surviving
husband of the deceased, for the delivery to her of the
property inventoried and of which he was in possession.
In our opinion, the will is valid, and the orders appealed from
are hereby affirmed without costs.
CFI ordered Sinforoso Ona to deliver to Serapia de Gala all
the property left by the deceased but Sinforoso filed a motion
asking the appointment of Serapia de Gala as special
administratrix be cancelled and that he, Sinforoso, be
appointed in her stead. The motion was opposed by both
Apolinario Gonzales and by Serapia de Gala, but it was
nevertheless granted, Serapia was removed, and Sinforoso
was appointed special administrator in her place, principally
on the ground that he had possession of the property in
question and that his appointment would simplify the

LC - declared the will valid and admitted it to probate. All of

the parties appealed, Serapia de Gala from the order
removing her from the office of special administratrix, and
Apolinario Gonzales and Sinforoso Ona from the order
probating the will.

Serapia's appeal requires but little discussion. The burden of

the argument of her counsel is that a special administrator
cannot be removed except for one or more of the causes
stated in section 653 of the Code of Civil Procedure. But that
section can only apply to executors and regular
administrators, and the office of a special administrator is
quite different from that of regular administrator. The
appointment of a special administrator lies entirely in the
sound discretion of the court; the function of such an
administrator is only to collect and preserve the property of
the deceased and to return an inventory thereof; he cannot
be sued by a creditor and cannot pay any debts of the
deceased. The fact that no appeal can be taken from the
appointment of a special administrator indicates that both his
appointment and his removal are purely discretionary, and we
cannot find that the court below abused its discretion in the
present case. In removing Serapia de Gala and appointing the
present possessor of the property pending the final
determination of the validity of the will, the court probably
prevented useless litigation.

The appellants Sinforoso Ona and Apolinario Gonzales argue

that the will in question was not executed in the form
prescribed by section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure as
amended by Act No. 2645.

ISSUE: WON the will was validly executed.

HELD: YES. (please read the will in full text. harhar)The

testatrix thumb-mark appears in the center of her name as
written by Serapia de Gala on all of the pages of the will.

As will be seen, it is not mentioned in the attestation clause

that the testatrix signed by thumb-mark, but it does there
appear that the signature was affixed in the presence of the