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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

G.R. No. L-22595 November 1, 1927 court in not having deferred the approval of the scheme of partition until the
receipt of certain testimony requested regarding the Turkish laws on the
Testate Estate of Joseph G. Brimo, JUAN MICIANO, administrator, petitioner- matter.
appellee,
vs. The refusal to give the oppositor another opportunity to prove such laws does
ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant. not constitute an error. It is discretionary with the trial court, and, taking into
consideration that the oppositor was granted ample opportunity to introduce
Ross, Lawrence and Selph for appellant. competent evidence, we find no abuse of discretion on the part of the court
Camus and Delgado for appellee. in this particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the
national law of the testator Joseph G. Brimo was violated in the testamentary
dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must
be complied with and executed. lawphil.net

Therefore, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not
ROMUALDEZ, J.:
erroneous.

The partition of the estate left by the deceased Joseph G. Brimo is in question
In regard to the first assignment of error which deals with the exclusion of the
in this case.
herein appellant as a legatee, inasmuch as he is one of the persons designated
as such in will, it must be taken into consideration that such exclusion is based
The judicial administrator of this estate filed a scheme of partition. Andre on the last part of the second clause of the will, which says:
Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, however,
approved it.
Second. I like desire to state that although by law, I am a Turkish
citizen, this citizenship having been conferred upon me by conquest
The errors which the oppositor-appellant assigns are: and not by free choice, nor by nationality and, on the other hand,
having resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippine
(1) The approval of said scheme of partition; (2) denial of his participation in Islands where I succeeded in acquiring all of the property that I now
the inheritance; (3) the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order possess, it is my wish that the distribution of my property and
approving the partition; (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro everything in connection with this, my will, be made and disposed of
Lana of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business; and in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine islands,
(5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the requesting all of my relatives to respect this wish, otherwise, I annul
failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the and cancel beforehand whatever disposition found in this will
delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the favorable to the person or persons who fail to comply with this
depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws. request.

The appellant's opposition is based on the fact that the partition in question The institution of legatees in this will is conditional, and the condition is that
puts into effect the provisions of Joseph G. Brimo's will which are not in the instituted legatees must respect the testator's will to distribute his
accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality, for which reason they are property, not in accordance with the laws of his nationality, but in accordance
void as being in violation or article 10 of the Civil Code which, among other with the laws of the Philippines.
things, provides the following:
If this condition as it is expressed were legal and valid, any legatee who fails to
Nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the comply with it, as the herein oppositor who, by his attitude in these
order of succession as well as to the amount of the successional proceedings has not respected the will of the testator, as expressed, is
rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated prevented from receiving his legacy.
by the national law of the person whose succession is in question,
whatever may be the nature of the property or the country in which The fact is, however, that the said condition is void, being contrary to law, for
it may be situated. article 792 of the civil Code provides the following:

But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testimentary Impossible conditions and those contrary to law or good morals shall
dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish laws, inasmuch as he did be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or
not present any evidence showing what the Turkish laws are on the matter, legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator
and in the absence of evidence on such laws, they are presumed to be the otherwise provide.
same as those of the Philippines. (Lim and Lim vs. Collector of Customs, 36
Phil., 472.)
And said condition is contrary to law because it expressly ignores the testator's
national law when, according to article 10 of the civil Code above quoted, such
It has not been proved in these proceedings what the Turkish laws are. He, national law of the testator is the one to govern his testamentary dispositions.
himself, acknowledges it when he desires to be given an opportunity to
present evidence on this point; so much so that he assigns as an error of the

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Said condition then, in the light of the legal provisions above cited, is On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which
considered unwritten, and the institution of legatees in said will is he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration are
unconditional and consequently valid and effective even as to the herein paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the following
oppositor. order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen; (b)
P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina
It results from all this that the second clause of the will regarding the law which Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the foregoing two
shall govern it, and to the condition imposed upon the legatees, is null and items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven surviving
void, being contrary to law. children by his first and second wives, namely: Edward A. Bellis, Henry A. Bellis,
Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and
Dorothy E. Bellis, in equal shares.1äwphï1.ñët
All of the remaining clauses of said will with all their dispositions and requests
are perfectly valid and effective it not appearing that said clauses are contrary
to the testator's national law. Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio,
Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of
Manila on September 15, 1958.
Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the
distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein
appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and the scheme of partition The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the
submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares
without any pronouncement as to costs. of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos
Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts
totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a total
So ordered.
of P120,000.00, which it released from time to time according as the lower
court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by the latter
Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Villamor and Ostrand, JJ., concur. three requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies.

G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967 On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor
submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration and
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased. Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the
PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor. legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants, to $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and
vs. Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees. P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor — pursuant to the
"Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament — divided the
Vicente R. Macasaet and Jose D. Villena for oppositors appellants. residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al. seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages.
Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. S. Bellis, et al.
J. R. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company. On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman. respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they were
deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory
BENGZON, J.P., J.: heirs of the deceased.

This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of
the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27,
project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. 37089 1964 by the executor.1
therein.1äwphï1.ñët
After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent
The facts of the case are as follows: pleadings, the lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the
oppositions and approving the executor's final account, report and
administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code,
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law,
United States." By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had which did not provide for legitimes.
five legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased him
in infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by his
second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower
children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he had court on June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise
three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam the issue of which law must apply — Texas law or Philippine law.
Palma Bellis.
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the
doctrine of renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L-

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be
is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the present case, it involved in our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the
is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to
thereof at the time of his death.2 So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's national
law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
govern, the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine
law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills — one
adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate — arguing from
the place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. Assuming
properties here involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however, that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will,
of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed it would not alter the law, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil.
different from ours.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the 867, 870, a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall
doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law,
their arguments. Rather, they argue that their case falls under the is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code states said
Article 16 of the Civil Code. national law should govern.

Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State
law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or
four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights; legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will
(e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and (d) the capacity to and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law,
succeed. They provide that — the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G.
Bellis.
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the
law of the country where it is situated. Wherefore, the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with
costs against appellants. So ordered.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect
to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez and
and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be Castro, JJ., concur.
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is
under consideration, whatever may he the nature of the property
and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found.

ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation


of the decedent.
G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963
Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil
Code, stating that — IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN,
DECEASED.
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the
those which have for their object public order, public policy and deceased, Executor and Heir-appellees,
good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments vs.
promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant.
foreign country.
M. R. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees.
prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted. This Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant.
is not correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the
provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated Art. LABRADOR, J.:
11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while reproducing
without substantial change the second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Hon.
Code as Art. 16 in the new. It must have been their purpose to make the Vicente N. Cusi, Jr., presiding, in Special Proceeding No. 622 of said court,
second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied dated September 14, 1949, approving among things the final accounts of the
in testate and intestate succession. As further indication of this legislative executor, directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen the
intent, Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that amount of P3,600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy, and
capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent. declaring Maria Lucy Christensen entitled to the residue of the property to be
enjoyed during her lifetime, and in case of death without issue, one-half of
said residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, etc., in accordance

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Christensen. The will were decided in California, Section 946 of the California Civil Code, which
was executed in Manila on March 5, 1951 and contains the following requires that the domicile of the decedent should apply, should be applicable.
provisions: It was also alleged that Maria Helen Christensen having been declared an
acknowledged natural child of the decedent, she is deemed for all purposes
3. I declare ... that I have but ONE (1) child, named MARIA LUCY legitimate from the time of her birth.
CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs. Bernard Daney), who was born in the
Philippines about twenty-eight years ago, and who is now residing The court below ruled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United
at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. States and of the State of California at the time of his death, the successional
rights and intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be governed by
4. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants, and no the law of California, in accordance with which a testator has the right to
descendants except my above named daughter, MARIA LUCY dispose of his property in the way he desires, because the right of absolute
CHRISTENSEN DANEY. dominion over his property is sacred and inviolable (In re McDaniel's Estate,
77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952, and In re Kaufman, 117 Cal. 286, 49 Pac.
192, cited in page 179, Record on Appeal). Oppositor Maria Helen Christensen,
xxx xxx xxx
through counsel, filed various motions for reconsideration, but these were
denied. Hence, this appeal.
7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN,
now married to Eduardo Garcia, about eighteen years of age and
The most important assignments of error are as follows:
who, notwithstanding the fact that she was baptized Christensen, is
not in any way related to me, nor has she been at any time adopted
by me, and who, from all information I have now resides in Egpit, I
Digos, Davao, Philippines, the sum of THREE THOUSAND SIX
HUNDRED PESOS (P3,600.00), Philippine Currency the same to be THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE
deposited in trust for the said Maria Helen Christensen with the SUPREME COURT THAT HELEN IS THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF
Davao Branch of the Philippine National Bank, and paid to her at the EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER
rate of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00), Philippine Currency per JUST SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE.
month until the principal thereof as well as any interest which may
have accrued thereon, is exhausted.. II

xxx xxx xxx THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING TO
RECOGNIZE THE EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS, ELEMENTS AND
12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE APPLICATION OF INTERNAL LAW.
daughter, the said MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. Bernard
Daney), now residing as aforesaid at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, III
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the income from the rest,
remainder, and residue of my property and estate, real, personal
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER
and/or mixed, of whatsoever kind or character, and wheresoever
INTERNATIONAL LAW, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI DOCTRINE, THE
situated, of which I may be possessed at my death and which may
INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION OF THE
have come to me from any source whatsoever, during her lifetime:
DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN
....
SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES.

It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his


IV
final account and project of partition ratified the payment of only P3,600 to
Helen Christensen Garcia and proposed that the residue of the estate be
transferred to his daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE SCHEDULE OF
DISTRIBUTION SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS CONTRARY TO THE
PHILIPPINE LAWS.
Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen
Christensen Garcia, insofar as it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an
acknowledged natural child, she having been declared by Us in G.R. Nos. L- V
11483-84 an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward E.
Christensen. The legal grounds of opposition are (a) that the distribution THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE PHILIPPINE
should be governed by the laws of the Philippines, and (b) that said order of LAWS HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE
distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen, one ESTATE IN FULL OWNERSHIP.
of two acknowledged natural children, one-half of the estate in full ownership.
In amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should There is no question that Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United
govern the estate of the deceased Christensen should not be the internal law States and of the State of California at the time of his death. But there is also
of California alone, but the entire law thereof because several foreign no question that at the time of his death he was domiciled in the Philippines,
elements are involved, that the forum is the Philippines and even if the case

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as witness the following facts admitted by the executor himself in appellee's never lost by his stay in the Philippines, for the latter was a territory of the
brief: United States (not a state) until 1946 and the deceased appears to have
considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he executed
In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate, the facts of his will in 1951 he declared that he was a citizen of that State; so that he
record show that the deceased Edward E. Christensen was born on appears never to have intended to abandon his California citizenship by
November 29, 1875 in New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.; his first arrival in acquiring another. This conclusion is in accordance with the following principle
the Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on July 1, 1901, expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws.
on board the U.S. Army Transport "Sheridan" with Port of
Embarkation as the City of San Francisco, in the State of California, The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to mean
U.S.A. He stayed in the Philippines until 1904. the same thing, a place of permanent abode. But domicile, as has
been shown, has acquired a technical meaning. Thus one may be
In December, 1904, Mr. Christensen returned to the United States domiciled in a place where he has never been. And he may reside in
and stayed there for the following nine years until 1913, during a place where he has no domicile. The man with two homes,
which time he resided in, and was teaching school in Sacramento, between which he divides his time, certainly resides in each one,
California. while living in it. But if he went on business which would require his
presence for several weeks or months, he might properly be said to
have sufficient connection with the place to be called a resident. It
Mr. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the
is clear, however, that, if he treated his settlement as continuing
year 1913. However, in 1928, he again departed the Philippines for
only for the particular business in hand, not giving up his former
the United States and came back here the following year, 1929.
"home," he could not be a domiciled New Yorker. Acquisition of a
Some nine years later, in 1938, he again returned to his own country,
domicile of choice requires the exercise of intention as well as
and came back to the Philippines the following year, 1939.
physical presence. "Residence simply requires bodily presence of an
inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing in that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile."
stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Residence, however, is a term used with many shades of meaning,
Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to from the merest temporary presence to the most permanent abode,
prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1äwphï1.ñët and it is not safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one.
(Goodrich, p. 29)
Being an American citizen, Mr. Christensen was interned by the
Japanese Military Forces in the Philippines during World War II. The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in
Upon liberation, in April 1945, he left for the United States but Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is as follows:
returned to the Philippines in December, 1945. Appellees Collective
Exhibits "6", CFI Davao, Sp. Proc. 622, as Exhibits "AA", "BB" and "CC-
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the
Daney"; Exhs. "MM", "MM-l", "MM-2-Daney" and p. 473, t.s.n., July
law of the country where it is situated.
21, 1953.)

However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect


In April, 1951, Edward E. Christensen returned once more to
to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights
California shortly after the making of his last will and testament (now
and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
in question herein) which he executed at his lawyers' offices in
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is
Manila on March 5, 1951. He died at the St. Luke's Hospital in the
under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property
City of Manila on April 30, 1953. (pp. 2-3)
and regardless of the country where said property may be found.

In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the


The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of
Philippines, we are persuaded by the fact that he was born in New York,
the meaning of the term "national law"is used therein.
migrated to California and resided there for nine years, and since he came to
the Philippines in 1913 he returned to California very rarely and only for short
visits (perhaps to relatives), and considering that he appears never to have There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary
owned or acquired a home or properties in that state, which would indicate provisions in the United States, each state of the Union having its own private
that he would ultimately abandon the Philippines and make home in the State law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within the state. The
of California. "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can not,
therefore, possibly mean or apply to any general American law. So it can refer
to no other than the private law of the State of California.
Sec. 16. Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning from
mere temporary presence to the most permanent abode. Generally,
however, it is used to denote something more than mere physical The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of
presence. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws, p. 29) personal property? The decision of the court below, sustains the contention
of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code, a testator
may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he desires, citing
As to his citizenship, however, We find that the citizenship that he acquired in
the case of Estate of McDaniel, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952. But
California when he resided in Sacramento, California from 1904 to 1913, was
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

appellant invokes the provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, The same result would happen, though the courts would switch with
which is as follows: respect to which would hold liability, if both courts accepted
the renvoi.
If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal
property is situated, it is deemed to follow the person of its owner, The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: where
and is governed by the law of his domicile. the title to land is in question, and where the validity of a decree of
divorce is challenged. In these cases the Conflict of Laws rule of the
The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not situs of the land, or the domicile of the parties in the divorce case, is
denied. We have checked it in the California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, applied by the forum, but any further reference goes only to the
on the other hand, relies on the case cited in the decision and testified to by a internal law. Thus, a person's title to land, recognized by the situs,
witness. (Only the case of Kaufman is correctly cited.) It is argued on executor's will be recognized by every court; and every divorce, valid by the
behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California, domicile of the parties, will be valid everywhere. (Goodrich, Conflict
the internal law thereof, which is that given in the abovecited case, should of Laws, Sec. 7, pp. 13-14.)
govern the determination of the validity of the testamentary provisions of
Christensen's will, such law being in force in the State of California of which X, a citizen of Massachusetts, dies intestate, domiciled in France,
Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that Article 946 leaving movable property in Massachusetts, England, and France.
should be applicable, and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine The question arises as to how this property is to be distributed
of the renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in among X's next of kin.
question should be referred back to the law of the decedent's domicile, which
is the Philippines. Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. There
the rule of the conflict of laws as to intestate succession to movables
The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors, thus: calls for an application of the law of the deceased's last domicile.
Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France, the natural thing
The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of Laws for the Massachusetts court to do would be to turn to French statute
rule of the forum refers a jural matter to a foreign law for decision, of distributions, or whatever corresponds thereto in French law, and
is the reference to the purely internal rules of law of the foreign decree a distribution accordingly. An examination of French law,
system; i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict of however, would show that if a French court were called upon to
Laws rules?" determine how this property should be distributed, it would refer
the distribution to the national law of the deceased, thus applying
the Massachusetts statute of distributions. So on the surface of
On logic, the solution is not an easy one. The Michigan court chose
things the Massachusetts court has open to it alternative course of
to accept the renvoi, that is, applied the Conflict of Laws rule of
action: (a) either to apply the French law is to intestate succession,
Illinois which referred the matter back to Michigan law. But once
or (b) to resolve itself into a French court and apply the
having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the rule
Massachusetts statute of distributions, on the assumption that this
looked to, it is difficult to see why the reference back should not
is what a French court would do. If it accepts the so-
have been to Michigan Conflict of Laws. This would have resulted in
called renvoidoctrine, it will follow the latter course, thus applying
the "endless chain of references" which has so often been criticized
its own law.
be legal writers. The opponents of the renvoi would have looked
merely to the internal law of Illinois, thus rejecting the renvoi or the
reference back. Yet there seems no compelling logical reason why This is one type of renvoi. A jural matter is presented which the
the original reference should be the internal law rather than to the conflict-of-laws rule of the forum refers to a foreign law, the conflict-
Conflict of Laws rule. It is true that such a solution avoids going on a of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the matter back again to the law
merry-go-round, but those who have accepted the renvoi theory of the forum. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The German term
avoid this inextricabilis circulas by getting off at the second for this judicial process is 'Ruckverweisung.'" (Harvard Law Review,
reference and at that point applying internal law. Perhaps the Vol. 31, pp. 523-571.)
opponents of the renvoi are a bit more consistent for they look
always to internal law as the rule of reference. After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be
resorted to as governing a particular case, the further question may
Strangely enough, both the advocates for and the objectors to arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws contained in such
the renvoi plead that greater uniformity will result from adoption of foreign law also to be resorted to? This is a question which, while it
their respective views. And still more strange is the fact that the only has been considered by the courts in but a few instances, has been
way to achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem is if in the the subject of frequent discussion by textwriters and essayists; and
dispute the two states whose laws form the legal basis of the the doctrine involved has been descriptively designated by them as
litigation disagree as to whether the renvoi should be accepted. If the "Renvoyer" to send back, or the "Ruchversweisung", or the
both reject, or both accept the doctrine, the result of the litigation "Weiterverweisung", since an affirmative answer to the question
will vary with the choice of the forum. In the case stated above, had postulated and the operation of the adoption of the foreign law in
the Michigan court rejected the renvoi, judgment would have been toto would in many cases result in returning the main controversy
against the woman; if the suit had been brought in the Illinois courts, to be decided according to the law of the forum. ... (16 C.J.S. 872.)
and they too rejected the renvoi, judgment would be for the woman.
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Another theory, known as the "doctrine of renvoi", has been succession and the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced jointly,
advanced. The theory of the doctrine of renvoi is that the court of each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited In re
the forum, in determining the question before it, must take into Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State, but Article 946 should
account the whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules as apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other
to conflict of laws, and then apply the law to the actual question jurisdictions. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the
which the rules of the other jurisdiction prescribe. This may be the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with the
law of the forum. The doctrine of the renvoi has generally been general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in
repudiated by the American authorities. (2 Am. Jur. 296) most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner.

The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states,
application in a country explained by Prof. Lorenzen in an article in the Yale and leaves a will directing the manner of distribution of the
Law Journal, Vol. 27, 1917-1918, pp. 529-531. The pertinent parts of the article property, the law of the state where he was domiciled at the time of
are quoted herein below: his death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the will,
almost as completely as the law of situs is consulted in questions
The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the about the devise of land. It is logical that, since the domiciliary rules
conflict of laws are to be understood as incorporating not only the control devolution of the personal estate in case of intestate
ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or country, but its rules succession, the same rules should determine the validity of an
of the conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law of a attempted testamentary dispostion of the property. Here, also, it is
country' means the whole of its law. not that the domiciliary has effect beyond the borders of the
domiciliary state. The rules of the domicile are recognized as
controlling by the Conflict of Laws rules at the situs property, and
xxx xxx xxx
the reason for the recognition as in the case of intestate succession,
is the general convenience of the doctrine. The New York court has
Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of said on the point: 'The general principle that a dispostiton of a
International Law, at Neuchatel, in 1900, in the form of the following personal property, valid at the domicile of the owner, is valid
theses: anywhere, is one of the universal application. It had its origin in that
international comity which was one of the first fruits of civilization,
(1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the and it this age, when business intercourse and the process of
application of foreign laws. accumulating property take but little notice of boundary lines, the
practical wisdom and justice of the rule is more apparent than ever.
(2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists, the (Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 164, pp. 442-443.)
court shall respect:
Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
(a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the right pointed out as the national law is the internal law of California. But as above
to bind its nationals abroad as regards their personal explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its
statute, and desires that said personal statute shall be citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other
determined by the law of the domicile, or even by the law jurisdictions. Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal
of the place where the act in question occurred. law prescribed for its citizens residing therein, and enforce the conflict of laws
rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we must enforce the law of California
as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of our Civil Code,
(b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law, then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the express
provided it be certain that one of them is necessarily mandate thereof and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law for
competent, which agree in attributing the determination residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those domiciled abroad.
of a question to the same system of law.
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the
xxx xxx xxx contrary in the place where the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of the
California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines and
If, for example, the English law directs its judge to distribute the that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16
personal estate of an Englishman who has died domiciled in Belgium that the national law of the deceased should govern. This contention can not
in accordance with the law of his domicile, he must first inquire be sustained. As explained in the various authorities cited above the national
whether the law of Belgium would distribute personal property law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law on conflict of laws in
upon death in accordance with the law of domicile, and if he finds the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the reference or
that the Belgian law would make the distribution in accordance with return of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. The conflict of laws
the law of nationality — that is the English law — he must accept rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when
this reference back to his own law. a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the
Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile can not and should not
We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, refer the case back to California; such action would leave the issue incapable
while the rule applied in In re Kaufman, Supra, its internal law. If the law on of determination because the case will then be like a football, tossed back and

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

forth between the two states, between the country of which the decedent was On January 31, 1977, Adoracion C. Campos died, leaving her father, petitioner
a citizen and the country of his domicile. The Philippine court must apply its Hermogenes Campos and her sisters, private respondent Nenita C. Paguia,
own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state of the decedent, if Remedios C. Lopez and Marieta C. Medina as the surviving heirs. As
the question has to be decided, especially as the application of the internal Hermogenes Campos was the only compulsory heir, he executed an Affidavit
law of California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law, of Adjudication under Rule 74, Section I of the Rules of Court whereby he
Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the Philippines, makes natural children adjudicated unto himself the ownership of the entire estate of the deceased
legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them. Adoracion Campos.

The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; Riera vs. Palmaroli, Eleven months after, on November 25, 1977, Nenita C. Paguia filed a petition
40 Phil. 105; Miciano vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Babcock Templeton vs. Rider for the reprobate of a will of the deceased, Adoracion Campos, which was
Babcock, 52 Phil. 130; and Gibbs vs. Government, 59 Phil. 293.) cited by allegedly executed in the United States and for her appointment as
appellees to support the decision can not possibly apply in the case at bar, for administratrix of the estate of the deceased testatrix.
two important reasons, i.e., the subject in each case does not appear to be a
citizen of a state in the United States but with domicile in the Philippines, and In her petition, Nenita alleged that the testatrix was an American citizen at the
it does not appear in each case that there exists in the state of which the time of her death and was a permanent resident of 4633 Ditman Street,
subject is a citizen, a law similar to or identical with Art. 946 of the California Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that the testatrix died in Manila on January
Civil Code. 31, 1977 while temporarily residing with her sister at 2167 Leveriza, Malate,
Manila; that during her lifetime, the testatrix made her last wig and testament
We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen on July 10, 1975, according to the laws of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., nominating
of California, is the Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will Wilfredo Barzaga of New Jersey as executor; that after the testatrix death, her
depriving his acknowledged natural child, the appellant, should be governed last will and testament was presented, probated, allowed, and registered with
by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil Code of the Registry of Wins at the County of Philadelphia, U.S.A., that Clement L.
California, not by the internal law of California.. McLaughlin, the administrator who was appointed after Dr. Barzaga had
declined and waived his appointment as executor in favor of the former, is also
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case a resident of Philadelphia, U.S.A., and that therefore, there is an urgent need
returned to the lower court with instructions that the partition be made as the for the appointment of an administratrix to administer and eventually
Philippine law on succession provides. Judgment reversed, with costs against distribute the properties of the estate located in the Philippines.
appellees.
On January 11, 1978, an opposition to the reprobate of the will was filed by
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala herein petitioner alleging among other things, that he has every reason to
and Makalintal, JJ., concur. believe that the will in question is a forgery; that the intrinsic provisions of the
Bengzon, C.J., took no part. will are null and void; and that even if pertinent American laws on intrinsic
provisions are invoked, the same could not apply inasmuch as they would work
injustice and injury to him.

On December 1, 1978, however, the petitioner through his counsel, Atty.


G.R. No. L-54919 May 30, 1984 Franco Loyola, filed a Motion to Dismiss Opposition (With Waiver of Rights or
Interests) stating that he "has been able to verify the veracity thereof (of the
POLLY CAYETANO, petitioner, will) and now confirms the same to be truly the probated will of his daughter
vs. Adoracion." Hence, an ex-partepresentation of evidence for the reprobate of
HON. TOMAS T. LEONIDAS, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of Branch the questioned will was made.
XXXVIII, Court of First Instance of Manila and NENITA CAMPOS
PAGUIA, respondents. On January 10, 1979, the respondent judge issued an order, to wit:

Ermelo P. Guzman for petitioner. At the hearing, it has been satisfactorily established that
Adoracion C. Campos, in her lifetime, was a citizen of the
Armando Z. Gonzales for private respondent. United States of America with a permanent residence at
4633 Ditman Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124, (Exhibit D)
that when alive, Adoracion C. Campos executed a Last Will
and Testament in the county of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A., according to the laws thereat
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
(Exhibits E-3 to E-3-b) that while in temporary sojourn in
the Philippines, Adoracion C. Campos died in the City of
This is a petition for review on certiorari, seeking to annul the order of the Manila (Exhibit C) leaving property both in the Philippines
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XXXVIII, and in the United States of America; that the Last Will and
which admitted to and allowed the probate of the last will and testament of Testament of the late Adoracion C. Campos was admitted
Adoracion C. Campos, after an ex-parte presentation of evidence by herein and granted probate by the Orphan's Court Division of the
private respondent. Court of Common Pleas, the probate court of the
P a g e 8 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia, Meanwhile, on June 6,1982, petitioner Hermogenes Campos died and left a
U.S.A., and letters of administration were issued in favor will, which, incidentally has been questioned by the respondent, his children
of Clement J. McLaughlin all in accordance with the laws and forced heirs as, on its face, patently null and void, and a fabrication,
of the said foreign country on procedure and allowance of appointing Polly Cayetano as the executrix of his last will and testament.
wills (Exhibits E to E-10); and that the petitioner is not Cayetano, therefore, filed a motion to substitute herself as petitioner in the
suffering from any disqualification which would render her instant case which was granted by the court on September 13, 1982.
unfit as administratrix of the estate in the Philippines of
the late Adoracion C. Campos. A motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the rights of the petitioner
Hermogenes Campos merged upon his death with the rights of the respondent
WHEREFORE, the Last Will and Testament of the late and her sisters, only remaining children and forced heirs was denied on
Adoracion C. Campos is hereby admitted to and allowed September 12, 1983.
probate in the Philippines, and Nenita Campos Paguia is
hereby appointed Administratrix of the estate of said Petitioner Cayetano persists with the allegations that the respondent judge
decedent; let Letters of Administration with the Will acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction when:
annexed issue in favor of said Administratrix upon her
filing of a bond in the amount of P5,000.00 conditioned
1) He ruled the petitioner lost his standing in court
under the provisions of Section I, Rule 81 of the Rules of
deprived the Right to Notice (sic) upon the filing of the
Court.
Motion to Dismiss opposition with waiver of rights or
interests against the estate of deceased Adoracion C.
Another manifestation was filed by the petitioner on April 14, 1979, Campos, thus, paving the way for the hearing ex-parte of
confirming the withdrawal of his opposition, acknowledging the same to be the petition for the probate of decedent will.
his voluntary act and deed.
2) He ruled that petitioner can waive, renounce or
On May 25, 1979, Hermogenes Campos filed a petition for relief, praying that repudiate (not made in a public or authenticated
the order allowing the will be set aside on the ground that the withdrawal of instrument), or by way of a petition presented to the court
his opposition to the same was secured through fraudulent means. According but by way of a motion presented prior to an order for the
to him, the "Motion to Dismiss Opposition" was inserted among the papers distribution of the estate-the law especially providing that
which he signed in connection with two Deeds of Conditional Sales which he repudiation of an inheritance must be presented, within
executed with the Construction and Development Corporation of the 30 days after it has issued an order for the distribution of
Philippines (CDCP). He also alleged that the lawyer who filed the withdrawal the estate in accordance with the rules of Court.
of the opposition was not his counsel-of-record in the special proceedings
case.
3) He ruled that the right of a forced heir to his legitime
can be divested by a decree admitting a will to probate in
The petition for relief was set for hearing but the petitioner failed to appear. which no provision is made for the forced heir in complete
He made several motions for postponement until the hearing was set on May disregard of Law of Succession
29, 1980.
4) He denied petitioner's petition for Relief on the ground
On May 18, 1980, petitioner filed another motion entitled "Motion to Vacate that no evidence was adduced to support the Petition for
and/or Set Aside the Order of January 10, 1979, and/or dismiss the case for Relief when no Notice nor hearing was set to afford
lack of jurisdiction. In this motion, the notice of hearing provided: petitioner to prove the merit of his petition — a denial of
the due process and a grave abuse of discretion amounting
Please include this motion in your calendar for hearing on to lack of jurisdiction.
May 29, 1980 at 8:30 in the morning for submission for
reconsideration and resolution of the Honorable Court. 5) He acquired no jurisdiction over the testate case, the
Until this Motion is resolved, may I also request for the fact that the Testator at the time of death was a usual
future setting of the case for hearing on the Oppositor's resident of Dasmariñas, Cavite, consequently Cavite Court
motion to set aside previously filed. of First Instance has exclusive jurisdiction over the case
(De Borja vs. Tan, G.R. No. L-7792, July 1955).
The hearing of May 29, 1980 was re-set by the court for June 19, 1980. When
the case was called for hearing on this date, the counsel for petitioner tried to The first two issues raised by the petitioner are anchored on the allegation
argue his motion to vacate instead of adducing evidence in support of the that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion when he
petition for relief. Thus, the respondent judge issued an order dismissing the allowed the withdrawal of the petitioner's opposition to the reprobate of the
petition for relief for failure to present evidence in support thereof. Petitioner will.
filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. In the same order,
respondent judge also denied the motion to vacate for lack of merit. Hence,
We find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent judge. No
this petition.
proof was adduced to support petitioner's contention that the motion to
withdraw was secured through fraudulent means and that Atty. Franco Loyola
P a g e 9 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

was not his counsel of record. The records show that after the firing of the sound and established public policy and would run counter to the specific
contested motion, the petitioner at a later date, filed a manifestation wherein provisions of Philippine Law.
he confirmed that the Motion to Dismiss Opposition was his voluntary act and
deed. Moreover, at the time the motion was filed, the petitioner's former It is a settled rule that as regards the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the
counsel, Atty. Jose P. Lagrosa had long withdrawn from the case and had been will, as provided for by Article 16(2) and 1039 of the Civil Code, the national
substituted by Atty. Franco Loyola who in turn filed the motion. The present law of the decedent must apply. This was squarely applied in the case of Bellis
petitioner cannot, therefore, maintain that the old man's attorney of record v. Bellis (20 SCRA 358) wherein we ruled:
was Atty. Lagrosa at the time of filing the motion. Since the withdrawal was in
order, the respondent judge acted correctly in hearing the probate of the
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good
will ex-parte, there being no other opposition to the same.
customs may be involved in our system of legitimes,
Congress has not intended to extend the same to the
The third issue raised deals with the validity of the provisions of the will. As a succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically
general rule, the probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of successional
validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific provisions
capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by must prevail over general ones.
law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the court has
declared that the will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical
xxx xxx xxx
considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon,
even before it is probated, the court should meet the issue. (Maninang vs.
Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA 478). The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a
citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and under the law of
Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly,
In the case at bar, the petitioner maintains that since the respondent judge
since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and
allowed the reprobate of Adoracion's will, Hermogenes C. Campos was
the amount of successional rights are to be determined
divested of his legitime which was reserved by the law for him.
under Texas law, the Philippine Law on legitimes cannot
be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
This contention is without merit.
As regards the alleged absence of notice of hearing for the petition for relief,
Although on its face, the will appeared to have preterited the petitioner and the records wig bear the fact that what was repeatedly scheduled for hearing
thus, the respondent judge should have denied its reprobate outright, the on separate dates until June 19, 1980 was the petitioner's petition for relief
private respondents have sufficiently established that Adoracion was, at the and not his motion to vacate the order of January 10, 1979. There is no reason
time of her death, an American citizen and a permanent resident of why the petitioner should have been led to believe otherwise. The court even
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Therefore, under Article 16 par. (2) and admonished the petitioner's failing to adduce evidence when his petition for
1039 of the Civil Code which respectively provide: relief was repeatedly set for hearing. There was no denial of due process. The
fact that he requested "for the future setting of the case for hearing . . ." did
Art. 16 par. (2). not mean that at the next hearing, the motion to vacate would be heard and
given preference in lieu of the petition for relief. Furthermore, such request
xxx xxx xxx should be embodied in a motion and not in a mere notice of hearing.

However, intestate and testamentary successions, both Finally, we find the contention of the petition as to the issue of jurisdiction
with respect to the order of succession and to the amount utterly devoid of merit. Under Rule 73, Section 1, of the Rules of Court, it is
of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of provided that:
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the
national law of the person whose succession is under SECTION 1. Where estate of deceased persons settled. — If
consideration, whatever may be the nature of the the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time
property and regardless of the country wherein said of his death, whether a citizen or an alien, his will shall be
property may be found. proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate
settled, in the Court of First Instance in the province in
Art. 1039. which he resided 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
Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation
taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a
of the decedent.
decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all
other courts. The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as
the law which governs Adoracion Campo's will is the law of Pennsylvania, it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of
U.S.A., which is the national law of the decedent. Although the parties admit the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit
that the Pennsylvania law does not provide for legitimes and that all the estate or proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the
may be given away by the testatrix to a complete stranger, the petitioner
argues that such law should not apply because it would be contrary to the
P a g e 10 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on Certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction; certiorari to "declare all
the record. acts of the respondent court in the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp.
Proc. No. 1307 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo) subsequent to the order
Therefore, the settlement of the estate of Adoracion Campos was correctly of December 14, 1957 as null and void for having been issued without
filed with the Court of First Instance of Manila where she had an estate since jurisdiction"; prohibition to enjoin the respondent court from allowing,
it was alleged and proven that Adoracion at the time of her death was a citizen tolerating, sanctioning, or abetting private respondent Avelina A. Magno to
and permanent resident of Pennsylvania, United States of America and not a perform or do any acts of administration, such as those enumerated in the
"usual resident of Cavite" as alleged by the petitioner. Moreover, petitioner is petition, and from exercising any authority or power as Regular Administratrix
now estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the probate court in the of above-named Testate Estate, by entertaining manifestations, motion and
petition for relief. It is a settled rule that a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction pleadings filed by her and acting on them, and also to enjoin said court from
of a court to secure affirmative relief, against his opponent and after failing to allowing said private respondent to interfere, meddle or take part in any
obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction. (See Saulog manner in the administration of the Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges
Transit, Inc. vs. Hon. Manuel Lazaro, et al., G. R. No. 63 284, April 4, 1984). (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the same court and branch); with prayer for preliminary
injunction, which was issued by this Court on August 8, 1967 upon a bond of
P5,000; the petition being particularly directed against the orders of the
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is hereby dismissed for
respondent court of October 12, 1966 denying petitioner's motion of April 22,
lack of merit.
1966 and its order of July 18, 1967 denying the motion for reconsideration of
said order.
SO ORDERED.
Related to and involving basically the same main issue as the foregoing
petition, thirty-three (33) appeals from different orders of the same
respondent court approving or otherwise sanctioning the acts of
G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896 March 29, 1974 administration of the respondent Magno on behalf of the testate Estate of
Mrs. Hodges.
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, Administrator of the
Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the Court of THE FACTS
First Instance of Iloilo), petitioner,
vs. On May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City leaving a will executed
THE HONORABLE VENICIO ESCOLIN, Presiding Judge of the Court of First on November 22, 1952 pertinently providing as follows:
Instance of Iloilo, Branch II, and AVELINA A. MAGNO, respondents.
FIRST: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses
G.R. Nos. L-27936 & L-27937 March 29, 1974 be first paid out of my estate.

TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE LINNIE JANE HODGES (Sp. Proc. No. 1307). SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest,
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE CHARLES NEWTON HODGES (Sp. Proc. No. residue and remainder of my estate, both personal and
1672). PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, administrator- real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved
appellant, husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold
vs. unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime.
LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL, SALVADOR GUZMAN,
BELCESAR CAUSING, FLORENIA BARRIDO, PURIFICACION CORONADO, THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my husband,
GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR, MELQUIADES BATISANAN, Charles Newton Hodges, shall have the right to manage,
PEPITO IYULORES, ESPERIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO ESPADA, ROSARIO control, use and enjoy said estate during his lifetime, and
ALINGASA, ADELFA PREMAYLON, SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, and AVELINA A. he is hereby given the right to make any changes in the
MAGNO, the last as Administratrix in Sp. Proc. No. 1307, appellees, physical properties of said estate, by sale or any part
WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, INC., movant-appellee. thereof which he may think best, and the purchase of any
other or additional property as he may think best; to
San Juan, Africa, Gonzales and San Agustin for Philippine Commercial and execute conveyances with or without general or special
Industrial Bank. warranty, conveying in fee simple or for any other term or
time, any property which he may deem proper to dispose
Manglapus Law Office, Antonio Law Office and Rizal R. Quimpo for private of; to lease any of the real property for oil, gas and/or
respondents and appellees Avelina A. Magno, etc., et al. other minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass the
absolute fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in
such property as he may elect to sell. All rents,
emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to
him, and he is further authorized to use any part of the
BARREDO, J.:p principal of said estate as he may need or desire. It is
provided herein, however, that he shall not sell or
otherwise dispose of any of the improved property now
P a g e 11 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

owned by us located at, in or near the City of Lubbock, 2. — That in said last will and testament herein petitioner
Texas, but he shall have the full right to lease, manage and Charles Newton Hodges is directed to have the right to
enjoy the same during his lifetime, above provided. He manage, control use and enjoy the estate of deceased
shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell lots Linnie Jane Hodges, in the same way, a provision was
therein. and may sell unimproved town lots. placed in paragraph two, the following: "I give, devise and
bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my
FOURTH: At the death of my said husband, Charles estate, to my beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges,
Newton Hodges, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, to have and (to) hold unto him, my said husband, during
residue and remainder of my estate, both real and his natural lifetime."
personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally
divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share 3. — That during the lifetime of Linnie Jane Hodges, herein
alike, namely: petitioner was engaged in the business of buying and
selling personal and real properties, and do such acts
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, which petitioner may think best.
Saddie Rascoe, Era Roman and Nimroy Higdon.
4. — That deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving no
FIFTH: In case of the death of any of my brothers and/or descendants or ascendants, except brothers and sisters
sisters named in item Fourth, above, prior to the death of and herein petitioner as executor surviving spouse, to
my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, then it is my will and inherit the properties of the decedent.
bequest that the heirs of such deceased brother or sister
shall take jointly the share which would have gone to such 5. — That the present motion is submitted in order not to
brother or sister had she or he survived. paralyze the business of petitioner and the deceased,
especially in the purchase and sale of properties. That
SIXTH: I nominate and appoint my said husband, Charles proper accounting will be had also in all these
Newton Hodges, to be executor of this, my last will and transactions.
testament, and direct that no bond or other security be
required of him as such executor. WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that, petitioner
C. N. Hodges (Charles Newton Hodges) be allowed or
SEVENTH: It is my will and bequest that no action be had authorized to continue the business in which he was
in the probate court, in the administration of my estate, engaged and to perform acts which he had been doing
other than that necessary to prove and record this will and while deceased Linnie Jane Hodges was living.
to return an inventory and appraisement of my estate and
list of claims. (Pp. 2-4, Petition.) City of Iloilo, May 27, 1957. (Annex "D", Petition.)

This will was subsequently probated in aforementioned Special Proceedings which the respondent court immediately granted in the following order:
No. 1307 of respondent court on June 28, 1957, with the widower Charles
Newton Hodges being appointed as Executor, pursuant to the provisions It appearing in the urgent ex-parte motion filed by
thereof. petitioner C. N. Hodges, that the business in which said
petitioner and the deceased were engaged will be
Previously, on May 27, 1957, the said widower (hereafter to be referred to as paralyzed, unless and until the Executor is named and
Hodges) had been appointed Special Administrator, in which capacity he filed appointed by the Court, the said petitioner is allowed or
a motion on the same date as follows: authorized to continue the business in which he was
engaged and to perform acts which he had been doing
URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION TO ALLOW OR AUTHORIZE while the deceased was living.
PETITIONER TO CONTINUE THE BUSINESS IN WHICH HE
WAS ENGAGED AND TO PERFORM ACTS WHICH HE HAD SO ORDERED.
BEEN DOING WHILE DECEASED WAS LIVING
City of Iloilo May 27, 1957. (Annex "E", Petition.)
Come petitioner in the above-entitled special proceedings, thru his
undersigned attorneys, to the Hon. Court, most respectfully states: Under date of December 11, 1957, Hodges filed as such Executor another
motion thus:
1. — That Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving her last will and
testament, a copy of which is attached to the petition for MOTION TO APPROVE ALL SALES, CONVEYANCES, LEASES,
probate of the same. MORTGAGES THAT THE EXECUTOR HAD MADE FURTHER
AND SUBSEQUENT TRANSACTIONS WHICH THE EXECUTOR

P a g e 12 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

MAY DO IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAST WISH OF THE conveyances or mortgages made by him, approved by the
DECEASED LINNIE JANE HODGES. Hon. Court.

Comes the Executor in the above-entitled proceedings, 5. — That it is respectfully requested, all the sales,
thru his undersigned attorney, to the Hon. Court, most conveyances leases and mortgages executed by the
respectfully states: Executor, be approved by the Hon. Court. and subsequent
sales conveyances, leases and mortgages in compliances
1. — That according to the last will and testament of the with the wishes of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, and within
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, the executor as the the scope of the terms of the last will and testament, also
surviving spouse and legatee named in the will of the be approved;
deceased; has the right to dispose of all the properties left
by the deceased, portion of which is quoted as follows: 6. — That the Executor is under obligation to submit his
yearly accounts, and the properties conveyed can also be
Second: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue accounted for, especially the amounts received.
and remainder of my estate, both personal and real,
wherever situated, or located, to my beloved husband, WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that, all the
Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold unto him, my sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages executed by
said husband, during his natural lifetime. the Executor, be approved by the Hon. Court, and also the
subsequent sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages in
Third: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, consonance with the wishes of the deceased contained in
Charles Newton Hodges, shall have the right to manage, her last will and testament, be with authorization and
control, use and enjoy said estate during his lifetime, and approval of the Hon. Court.
he is hereby given the right to make any changes in the
physical properties of said estate, by sale or any part City of Iloilo, December 11, 1967.
thereof which he may think best, and the purchase of any
other or additional property as he may think best; (Annex "G", Petition.)
to execute conveyances with or without general or special
warranty, conveying in fee simple or for any other term or
which again was promptly granted by the respondent court on December 14,
time, any property which he may deem proper to dispose
1957 as follows:
of; to lease any of the real property for oil, gas and/or
other minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass the
absolute fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in ORDER
such property as he may elect to sell. All rents,
emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the
him, and he is further authorized to use any part of the Executor for the reasons stated in his motion dated
principal of said estate as he may need or desire. ... December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well taken
all the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all
2. — That herein Executor, is not only part owner of the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges
properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all executed by the Executor Charles N. Hodges are hereby
the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges. APPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized to
That during the lifetime of herein Executor, as Legatee has execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and
the right to sell, convey, lease or dispose of the properties mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased
in the Philippines. That inasmuch as C.N. Hodges was and Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes
is engaged in the buy and sell of real and personal conveyed in the last will and testament of the latter.
properties, even before the death of Linnie Jane Hodges,
a motion to authorize said C.N. Hodges was filed in Court, So ordered.
to allow him to continue in the business of buy and sell,
which motion was favorably granted by the Honorable Iloilo City. December 14, 1957.
Court.

(Annex "H", Petition.)


3. — That since the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, Mr. C.N.
Hodges had been buying and selling real and personal
properties, in accordance with the wishes of the late Linnie On April 14, 1959, in submitting his first statement of account as Executor for
Jane Hodges. approval, Hodges alleged:

4. — That the Register of Deeds for Iloilo, had required of Pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Court, herein
late the herein Executor to have all the sales, leases, executor of the deceased, renders the following account
of his administration covering the period from January 1,
P a g e 13 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

1958 to December 31, 1958, which account may be found Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C.N. Hodges
in detail in the individual income tax return filed for the and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31,
estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, to wit: 1958 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
That a certified public accountant has examined the P328,402.62, divided evenly between him and the estate
statement of net worth of the estate of Linnie Jane of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an
Hodges, the assets and liabilities, as well as the income "individual income tax return" for calendar year 1958 on
and expenses, copy of which is hereto attached and made the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, the
integral part of this statement of account as Annex "A". said estate as having earned income of P164,201.31,
exactly one-half of the net income of his combined
personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is most respectfully prayed
Hodges. (p. 91, Appellee's Brief.)
that, the statement of net worth of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges, the assets and liabilities, income and
expenses as shown in the individual income tax return for xxx xxx xxx
the estate of the deceased and marked as Annex "A", be
approved by the Honorable Court, as substantial Under date of July 21, 1960, C.N. Hodges filed his second
compliance with the requirements of the Rules of Court. "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor" of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of
That no person interested in the Philippines of the time Networth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane
and place of examining the herein accounts be given Hodges" as of December 31, 1959 annexed thereto, C.N.
notice, as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of Hodges reported that the combined conjugal estate
the deceased, in accordance with the last will and earned a net income of P270,623.32, divided evenly
testament already probated by the Honorable court. between him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax return"
for calendar year 1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
City of Iloilo April 14, 1959.
reporting, under oath, the said estate as having earned
income of P135,311.66, exactly one-half of the net income
(Annex "I", Petition.) of his combined personal assets and that of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 91-92. Appellee's Brief.)
The respondent court approved this statement of account on April 21, 1959 in
its order worded thus: xxx xxx xxx

Upon petition of Atty. Gellada, in representation of the Under date of April 20, 1961, C.N. Hodges filed his third
Executor, the statement of net worth of the estate of "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor for the Year
Linnie Jane Hodges, assets and liabilities, income and 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the
expenses as shown in the individual income tax return for "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the
the estate of the deceased and marked as Annex "A" is Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, 1960
approved. annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the combined
conjugal estate earned a net income of P314,857.94,
SO ORDERED. divided evenly between him and the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax
City of Iloilo April 21, 1959. return" for calendar year 1960 on the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as having
earned income of P157,428.97, exactly one-half of the net
(Annex "J", Petition.) income of his combined personal assets and that of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (Pp. 92-93, Appellee's Brief.)
His accounts for the periods January 1, 1959 to December 31, 1959 and
January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1960 were submitted likewise accompanied Likewise the following:
by allegations identical mutatis mutandis to those of April 14, 1959, quoted
above; and the respective orders approving the same, dated July 30, 1960 and
May 2, 1961, were substantially identical to the above-quoted order of April In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he listed
21, 1959. In connection with the statements of account just mentioned, the the seven brothers and sisters of Linnie Jane as her "heirs"
following assertions related thereto made by respondent-appellee Magno in (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the court admitting the
her brief do not appear from all indications discernible in the record to be will to probate unfortunately omitted one of the heirs, Roy
disputable: Higdon (see p. 14, Green ROA). Immediately, C.N. Hodges
filed a verified motion to have Roy Higdon's name included
as an heir, stating that he wanted to straighten the records
Under date of April 14, 1959, C.N. Hodges filed his first "in order the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think
"Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane or believe they were omitted, and that they were really
P a g e 14 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

and are interested in the estate of deceased Linnie Jane COMES the undersigned attorney for the Executor in the
Hodges. . above-entitled proceedings, to the Honorable Court, most
respectfully states:
As an executor, he was bound to file tax returns for the
estate he was administering under American law. He did 1. That in accordance with the Last Will and Testament of
file such as estate tax return on August 8, 1958. In Linnie Jane Hodges (deceased), her husband, Charles
Schedule "M" of such return, he answered "Yes" to the Newton Hodges was to act as Executor, and in fact, in an
question as to whether he was contemplating "renouncing order issued by this Hon. Court dated June 28, 1957, the
the will". On the question as to what property interests said Charles Newton Hodges was appointed Executor and
passed to him as the surviving spouse, he answered: had performed the duties as such.

"None, except for purposes of 2. That last December 22, 1962, the said Charles Newton
administering the Estate, paying Hodges was stricken ill, and brought to the Iloilo Mission
debts, taxes and other legal charges. It Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately, he died on
is the intention of the surviving December 25, 1962, as shown by a copy of the death
husband of deceased to distribute the certificate hereto attached and marked as Annex "A".
remaining property and interests of
the deceased in their Community 3. That in accordance with the provisions of the last will
estate to the devisees and legatees and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges, whatever real and
named in the will when the debts, personal properties that may remain at the death of her
liabilities, taxes and expenses of husband Charles Newton Hodges, the said properties shall
administration are finally determined be equally divided among their heirs. That there are real
and paid." and personal properties left by Charles Newton Hodges,
which need to be administered and taken care of.
Again, on August 9, 1962, barely four months before his
death, he executed an "affidavit" wherein he ratified and 4. That the estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as well
confirmed all that he stated in Schedule "M" of his estate as that of Charles Newton Hodges, have not as yet been
tax returns as to his having renounced what was given him determined or ascertained, and there is necessity for the
by his wife's will.1 appointment of a general administrator to liquidate and
distribute the residue of the estate to the heirs and
As appointed executor, C.N. Hodges filed an "Inventory" legatees of both spouses. That in accordance with the
dated May 12, 1958. He listed all the assets of his conjugal provisions of Section 2 of Rule 75 of the Rules of Court, the
partnership with Linnie Jane Hodges on a separate balance conjugal partnership of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles
sheet and then stated expressly that her estate which has Newton Hodges shall be liquidated in the testate
come into his possession as executor was "one-half of all proceedings of the wife.
the items" listed in said balance sheet. (Pp. 89-90,
Appellee's Brief.) 5. That the undersigned counsel, has perfect personal
knowledge of the existence of the last will and testament
Parenthetically, it may be stated, at this juncture, that We are taking pains to of Charles Newton Hodges, with similar provisions as that
quote wholly or at least, extensively from some of the pleadings and orders contained in the last will and testament of Linnie Jane
whenever We feel that it is necessary to do so for a more comprehensive and Hodges. However, said last will and testament of Charles
clearer view of the important and decisive issues raised by the parties and a Newton Hodges is kept inside the vault or iron safe in his
more accurate appraisal of their respective positions in regard thereto. office, and will be presented in due time before this
honorable Court.
The records of these cases do not show that anything else was done in the
above-mentioned Special Proceedings No. 1307 until December 26, 1962, 6. That in the meantime, it is imperative and indispensable
when on account of the death of Hodges the day before, the same lawyer, that, an Administratrix be appointed for the estate of
Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who had been previously acting as counsel for Hodges Linnie Jane Hodges and a Special Administratrix for the
in his capacity as Executor of his wife's estate, and as such had filed the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, to perform the duties
aforequoted motions and manifestations, filed the following: required by law, to administer, collect, and take charge of
the goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of both
URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF spouses, Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges,
A as provided for in Section 1 and 2, Rule 81 of the Rules of
SPECIAL ADMINISTRATRIX Court.

7. That there is delay in granting letters testamentary or of


administration, because the last will and testament of

P a g e 15 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, is still kept in his safe Hodges, (pp. 29-33, Yellow - Record on Appeal) only to be
or vault, and in the meantime, unless an administratrix replaced as such co-special administrator on January 22,
(and,) at the same time, a Special Administratrix is 1963 by Joe Hodges, who, according to the motion of the
appointed, the estate of both spouses are in danger of same attorney, is "the nephew of the deceased (who had)
being lost, damaged or go to waste. arrived from the United States with instructions from the
other heirs of the deceased to administer the properties
8. That the most trusted employee of both spouses Linnie or estate of Charles Newton Hodges in the Philippines, (Pp.
Jane Hodges and C.N. Hodges, who had been employed for 47-50, id.)
around thirty (30) years, in the person of Miss Avelina
Magno, (should) be appointed Administratrix of the estate Meanwhile, under date of January 9, 1963, the same Atty. Gellada filed in
of Linnie Jane Hodges and at the same time Special Special Proceedings 1672 a petition for the probate of the will of Hodges,2 with
Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges. a prayer for the issuance of letters of administration to the same Joe Hodges,
That the said Miss Avelina Magno is of legal age, a resident albeit the motion was followed on February 22, 1963 by a separate one asking
of the Philippines, the most fit, competent, trustworthy that Atty. Fernando Mirasol be appointed as his co-administrator. On the same
and well-qualified person to serve the duties of date this latter motion was filed, the court issued the corresponding order of
Administratrix and Special Administratrix and is willing to probate and letters of administration to Joe Hodges and Atty. Mirasol, as
act as such. prayed for.

9. That Miss Avelina Magno is also willing to file bond in At this juncture, again, it may also be explained that just as, in her will, Mrs.
such sum which the Hon. Court believes reasonable. Hodges bequeathed her whole estate to her husband "to have and to hold
unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime", she, at the same time
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, it is most or in like manner, provided that "at the death of my said husband — I give
respectfully prayed that, Miss AVELINA A. MAGNO be devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both
immediately appointed Administratrix of the estate of real and personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among
Linnie Jane Hodges and as Special Administratrix of the my brothers and sisters, share and share alike —". Accordingly, it became
estate of Charles Newton Hodges, with powers and duties incumbent upon Hodges, as executor of his wife's will, to duly liquidate the
provided for by law. That the Honorable Court fix the conjugal partnership, half of which constituted her estate, in order that upon
reasonable bond of P1,000.00 to be filed by Avelina A. the eventuality of his death, "the rest, residue and remainder" thereof could
Magno. be determined and correspondingly distributed or divided among her brothers
and sisters. And it was precisely because no such liquidation was done,
furthermore, there is the issue of whether the distribution of her estate should
(Annex "O", Petition.)
be governed by the laws of the Philippines or those of Texas, of which State
she was a national, and, what is more, as already stated, Hodges made official
which respondent court readily acted on in its order of even date thus: . and sworn statements or manifestations indicating that as far as he was
concerned no "property interests passed to him as surviving spouse — "except
For the reasons alleged in the Urgent Ex-parte Motion for purposes of administering the estate, paying debts, taxes and other legal
filed by counsel for the Executor dated December 25, charges" and it was the intention of the surviving husband of the deceased to
1962, which the Court finds meritorious, Miss AVELINA A. distribute the remaining property and interests of the deceased in their
MAGNO, is hereby appointed Administratrix of the estate Community Estate to the devisees and legatees named in the will when the
of Linnie Jane Hodges and as Special Administratrix of the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are finally determined
estate of Charles Newton Hodges, in the latter case, and paid", that the incidents and controversies now before Us for resolution
because the last will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still arose. As may be observed, the situation that ensued upon the death of
kept in his vault or iron safe and that the real and personal Hodges became rather unusual and so, quite understandably, the lower
properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or go to court's actuations presently under review are apparently wanting in
waste, unless a Special Administratrix is appointed. consistency and seemingly lack proper orientation.

Miss Avelina A. Magno is required to file bond in the sum Thus, We cannot discern clearly from the record before Us the precise
of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00), and after having perspective from which the trial court proceeded in issuing its questioned
done so, let letters of Administration be issued to her." orders. And, regretably, none of the lengthy briefs submitted by the parties is
(Annex "P", Petition.) of valuable assistance in clearing up the matter.

On December 29, 1962, however, upon urgent ex- To begin with, We gather from the two records on appeal filed by petitioner,
parte petition of respondent Magno herself, thru Atty. as appellant in the appealed cases, one with green cover and the other with a
Gellada, Harold, R. Davies, "a representative of the heirs yellow cover, that at the outset, a sort of modus operandi had been agreed
of deceased Charles Newton Hodges (who had) arrived upon by the parties under which the respective administrators of the two
from the United States of America to help in the estates were supposed to act conjointly, but since no copy of the said
administration of the estate of said deceased" was agreement can be found in the record before Us, We have no way of knowing
appointed as Co-Special Administrator of the estate of when exactly such agreement was entered into and under what specific terms.

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

And while reference is made to said modus operandi in the order of A written opposition has been filed by Administratrix
September 11, 1964, on pages 205-206 of the Green Record on Appeal, Magno of even date (Oct. 27) thru counsel Rizal Quimpo
reading thus: stating therein that she was compelled to close the office
for the reason that the PCIB failed to comply with the
The present incident is to hear the side of administratrix, order of this Court signed by Judge Anacleto I. Bellosillo
Miss Avelina A. Magno, in answer to the charges contained dated September 11, 1964 to the effect that both estates
in the motion filed by Atty. Cesar Tirol on September 3, should remain in status quo to their modus operandi as of
1964. In answer to the said charges, Miss Avelina A. September 1, 1964.
Magno, through her counsel, Atty. Rizal Quimpo, filed a
written manifestation. To arrive at a happy solution of the dispute and in order
not to interrupt the operation of the office of both estates,
After reading the manifestation here of Atty. Quimpo, for the Court aside from the reasons stated in the urgent
and in behalf of the administratrix, Miss Avelina A. Magno, motion and opposition heard the verbal arguments of
the Court finds that everything that happened before Atty. Cesar Tirol for the PCIB and Atty. Rizal Quimpo for
September 3, 1964, which was resolved on September 8, Administratix Magno.
1964, to the satisfaction of parties, was simply due to a
misunderstanding between the representative of the After due consideration, the Court hereby orders Magno
Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank and Miss to open all doors and locks in the Hodges Office at 206-208
Magno and in order to restore the harmonious relations Guanco Street, Iloilo City in the presence of the PCIB or its
between the parties, the Court ordered the parties to duly authorized representative and deputy clerk of court
remain in status quo as to their modus operandi before Albis of this branch not later than 7:30 tomorrow morning
September 1, 1964, until after the Court can have a October 28, 1965 in order that the office of said estates
meeting with all the parties and their counsels on October could operate for business.
3, as formerly agreed upon between counsels, Attys.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta, Attys. Tirol and Tirol and Atty. Pursuant to the order of this Court thru Judge Bellosillo
Rizal Quimpo. dated September 11, 1964, it is hereby ordered:

In the meantime, the prayers of Atty. Quimpo as stated in (a) That all cash collections should be deposited in the joint
his manifestation shall not be resolved by this Court until account of the estates of Linnie Jane Hodges and estates
October 3, 1964. of C.N. Hodges;

SO ORDERED. (b) That whatever cash collections that had been


deposited in the account of either of the estates should be
there is nothing in the record indicating whatever happened to it afterwards, withdrawn and since then deposited in the joint account
except that again, reference thereto was made in the appealed order of of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the estate of C.N.
October 27, 1965, on pages 292-295 of the Green Record on Appeal, as Hodges;
follows:
(c) That the PCIB should countersign the check in the
On record is an urgent motion to allow PCIB to open all amount of P250 in favor of Administratrix Avelina A.
doors and locks in the Hodges Office at 206-208 Guanco Magno as her compensation as administratrix of the Linnie
Street, Iloilo City, to take immediate and exclusive Jane Hodges estate chargeable to the testate estate of
possession thereof and to place its own locks and keys for Linnie Jane Hodges only;
security purposes of the PCIB dated October 27, 1965 thru
Atty. Cesar Tirol. It is alleged in said urgent motion that (d) That Administratrix Magno is hereby directed to allow
Administratrix Magno of the testate estate of Linnie Jane the PCIB to inspect whatever records, documents and
Hodges refused to open the Hodges Office at 206-208 papers she may have in her possession in the same
Guanco Street, Iloilo City where PCIB holds office and manner that Administrator PCIB is also directed to allow
therefore PCIB is suffering great moral damage and Administratrix Magno to inspect whatever records,
prejudice as a result of said act. It is prayed that an order documents and papers it may have in its possession;
be issued authorizing it (PCIB) to open all doors and locks
in the said office, to take immediate and exclusive
(e) That the accountant of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
possession thereof and place thereon its own locks and
shall have access to all records of the transactions of both
keys for security purposes; instructing the clerk of court or
estates for the protection of the estate of Linnie Jane
any available deputy to witness and supervise the opening
Hodges; and in like manner the accountant or any
of all doors and locks and taking possession of the PCIB.
authorized representative of the estate of C.N. Hodges
shall have access to the records of transactions of the

P a g e 17 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Linnie Jane Hodges estate for the protection of the estate On the other hand, the appealed order of November 3, 1965, on pages 313-
of C.N. Hodges. 320 of the Green Record on Appeal, authorized payment by respondent
Magno of, inter alia, her own fees as administratrix, the attorney's fees of her
Once the estates' office shall have been opened by lawyers, etc., as follows:
Administratrix Magno in the presence of the PCIB or its
duly authorized representative and deputy clerk Albis or Administratrix Magno thru Attys. Raul S. Manglapus and
his duly authorized representative, both estates or any of Rizal. R. Quimpo filed a Manifestation and Urgent Motion
the estates should not close it without previous consent dated June 10, 1964 asking for the approval of the
and authority from this court. Agreement dated June 6, 1964 which Agreement is for the
purpose of retaining their services to protect and defend
SO ORDERED. the interest of the said Administratrix in these proceedings
and the same has been signed by and bears the express
conformity of the attorney-in-fact of the late Linnie Jane
As may be noted, in this order, the respondent court required that all
Hodges, Mr. James L. Sullivan. It is further prayed that the
collections from the properties in the name of Hodges should be deposited in
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
a joint account of the two estates, which indicates that seemingly the so-
be directed to pay the retailers fee of said lawyers, said
called modus operandi was no longer operative, but again there is nothing to
fees made chargeable as expenses for the administration
show when this situation started.
of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 1641-1642, Vol. V,
Sp. 1307).
Likewise, in paragraph 3 of the petitioner's motion of September 14, 1964, on
pages 188-201 of the Green Record on Appeal, (also found on pp. 83-91 of the
An opposition has been filed by the Administrator PCIB
Yellow Record on Appeal) it is alleged that:
thru Atty. Herminio Ozaeta dated July 11, 1964, on the
ground that payment of the retainers fee of Attys.
3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C.N. Manglapus and Quimpo as prayed for in said
Hodges, Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol acting as the Manifestation and Urgent Motion is prejudicial to the
two co-administrators of the estate of C.N. Hodges, 100% claim of the estate of C. N. Hodges; employment of
Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix of the estate Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo is premature and/or
of Linnie Jane Hodges and Messrs. William Brown and unnecessary; Attys. Quimpo and Manglapus are
Ardell Young acting for all of the Higdon family who claim representing conflicting interests and the estate of Linnie
to be the sole beneficiaries of the estate of Linnie Jane Jane Hodges should be closed and terminated (pp. 1679-
Hodges and various legal counsel representing the 1684, Vol, V, Sp. 1307).
aforementioned parties entered into an amicable
agreement, which was approved by this Honorable Court,
Atty. Leon P. Gellada filed a memorandum dated July 28,
wherein the parties thereto agreed that certain sums of
1964 asking that the Manifestation and Urgent Motion
money were to be paid in settlement of different claims
filed by Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo be denied because
against the two estates and that the assets (to the extent
no evidence has been presented in support thereof. Atty.
they existed) of both estates would be administered
Manglapus filed a reply to the opposition of counsel for
jointly by the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.N.
the Administrator of the C. N. Hodges estate wherein it is
Hodges and Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of the
claimed that expenses of administration include
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, subject, however, to the
reasonable counsel or attorney's fees for services to the
aforesaid October 5, 1963 Motion, namely, the PCIB's
executor or administrator. As a matter of fact the fee
claim to exclusive possession and ownership of one
agreement dated February 27, 1964 between the PCIB and
hundred percent (100%) (or, in the alternative, seventy-
the law firm of Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta as its counsel (Pp.
five percent (75%) of all assets owned by C.N. Hodges or
1280-1284, Vol. V, Sp. 1307) which stipulates the fees for
Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. On
said law firm has been approved by the Court in its order
February 1, 1964 (pp. 934-935, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1672) this
dated March 31, 1964. If payment of the fees of the
Honorable Court amended its order of January 24, 1964
lawyers for the administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
but in no way changed its recognition of the afore-
Hodges will cause prejudice to the estate of C. N. Hodges,
described basic demand by the PCIB as administrator of
in like manner the very agreement which provides for the
the estate of C.N. Hodges to one hundred percent (100%)
payment of attorney's fees to the counsel for the PCIB will
of the assets claimed by both estates.
also be prejudicial to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp.
1801-1814, Vol. V, Sp. 1307).
but no copy of the mentioned agreement of joint administration of the two
estates exists in the record, and so, We are not informed as to what exactly
Atty. Herminio Ozaeta filed a rejoinder dated August 10,
are the terms of the same which could be relevant in the resolution of the
1964 to the reply to the opposition to the Manifestation
issues herein.
and Urgent Motion alleging principally that the estates of
Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges are not similarly
situated for the reason that C. N. Hodges is an heir of

P a g e 18 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Linnie Jane Hodges whereas the latter is not an heir of the 1. Attorneys retained must render services to the estate
former for the reason that Linnie Jane Hodges not to the personal heir;
predeceased C. N. Hodges (pp. 1839-1848, Vol. V, Sp.
1307); that Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo formally 2. If services are rendered to both, fees should be pro-
entered their appearance in behalf of Administratrix of the rated between them;
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on June 10, 1964 (pp. 1639-
1640, Vol. V, Sp. 1307).
3. Attorneys retained should not represent conflicting
interests; to the prejudice of the other heirs not
Atty. Manglapus filed a manifestation dated December 18, represented by said attorneys;
1964 stating therein that Judge Bellosillo issued an order
requiring the parties to submit memorandum in support
4. Fees must be commensurate to the actual services
of their respective contentions. It is prayed in this
rendered to the estate;
manifestation that the Manifestation and Urgent Motion
dated June 10, 1964 be resolved (pp. 6435-6439, Vol. VII,
Sp. 1307). 5. There must be assets in the estate to pay for said fees
(Pp. 6625-6636, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a counter-
manifestation dated January 5, 1965 asking that after the Atty. Quimpo for Administratrix Magno of the estate of
consideration by the court of all allegations and arguments Linnie Jane Hodges filed a motion to submit dated July 15,
and pleadings of the PCIB in connection therewith (1) said 1965 asking that the manifestation and urgent motion
manifestation and urgent motion of Attys. Manglapus and dated June 10, 1964 filed by Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo
Quimpo be denied (pp. 6442-6453, Vol. VII, Sp. 1307). and other incidents directly appertaining thereto be
Judge Querubin issued an order dated January 4, 1965 considered submitted for consideration and approval (pp.
approving the motion dated June 10, 1964 of the 6759-6765, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307).
attorneys for the administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and agreement annexed to said motion. The said Considering the arguments and reasons in support to the
order further states: "The Administratrix of the estate of pleadings of both the Administratrix and the PCIB, and of
Linnie Jane Hodges is authorized to issue or sign whatever Atty. Gellada, hereinbefore mentioned, the Court believes
check or checks may be necessary for the above purpose that the order of January 4, 1965 is null and void for the
and the administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is reason that the said order has not been filed with deputy
ordered to countersign the same. (pp. 6518-6523, Vol VII, clerk Albis of this court (Branch V) during the lifetime of
Sp. 1307). Judge Querubin who signed the said order. However, the
said manifestation and urgent motion dated June 10, 1964
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a is being treated and considered in this instant order. It is
manifestation and motion dated January 13, 1965 asking worthy to note that in the motion dated January 24, 1964
that the order of January 4, 1965 which was issued by (Pp. 1149- 1163, Vol. V, Sp. 1307) which has been filed by
Judge Querubin be declared null and void and to enjoin Atty. Gellada and his associates and Atty. Gibbs and other
the clerk of court and the administratrix and administrator lawyers in addition to the stipulated fees for actual
in these special proceedings from all proceedings and services rendered. However, the fee agreement dated
action to enforce or comply with the provision of the February 27, 1964, between the Administrator of the
aforesaid order of January 4, 1965. In support of said estate of C. N. Hodges and Atty. Gibbs which provides for
manifestation and motion it is alleged that the order of retainer fee of P4,000 monthly in addition to specific fees
January 4, 1965 is null and void because the said order was for actual appearances, reimbursement for expenditures
never delivered to the deputy clerk Albis of Branch V (the and contingent fees has also been approved by the Court
sala of Judge Querubin) and the alleged order was found and said lawyers have already been paid. (pp. 1273-1279,
in the drawer of the late Judge Querubin in his office when Vol. V, Sp. Proc. 1307 pp. 1372-1373, Vol. V, Sp. Proc.
said drawer was opened on January 13, 1965 after the 1307).
death of Judge Querubin by Perfecto Querubin, Jr., the son
of the judge and in the presence of Executive Judge Rovira WHEREFORE, the order dated January 4, 1965 is hereby
and deputy clerk Albis (Sec. 1, Rule 36, New Civil Code) (Pp. declared null and void.
6600-6606, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307).
The manifestation and motion dated June 10, 1964 which
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a motion for was filed by the attorneys for the administratrix of the
reconsideration dated February 23, 1965 asking that the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is granted and the
order dated January 4, 1964 be reversed on the ground agreement annexed thereto is hereby approved.
that:
The administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is
hereby directed to be needed to implement the approval
P a g e 19 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

of the agreement annexed to the motion and the Avelina A. Magno and D. R. Paulino, Assistant Vice-
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is directed to President and Manager of the appellant (CFI Record, Sp.
countersign the said check or checks as the case may be. Proc. No. 1307, Vol. V, pp. 1694-1701). This motion was
approved by the lower court on July 27, 1964. It was
SO ORDERED. followed by another motion dated August 4, 1964 for the
approval of one final deed of sale again signed by appellee
Avelina A. Magno and D. R. Paulino (CFI Record, Sp. Proc.
thereby implying somehow that the court assumed the existence of
No. 1307. Vol. V, pp. 1825-1828), which was again
independent but simultaneous administrations.
approved by the lower court on August 7, 1964. The gates
having been opened, a flood ensued: the appellant
Be that as it may, again, it appears that on August 6, 1965, the court, acting on subsequently filed similar motions for the approval of a
a motion of petitioner for the approval of deeds of sale executed by it as multitude of deeds of sales and cancellations of mortgages
administrator of the estate of Hodges, issued the following order, also on signed by both the appellee Avelina A. Magno and the
appeal herein: appellant.

Acting upon the motion for approval of deeds of sale for A random check of the records of Special Proceeding No.
registered land of the PCIB, Administrator of the Testate 1307 alone will show Atty. Cesar T. Tirol as having
Estate of C. N. Hodges in Sp. Proc. 1672 (Vol. VII, pp. 2244- presented for court approval deeds of sale of real
2245), dated July 16, 1965, filed by Atty. Cesar T. Tirol in properties signed by both appellee Avelina A. Magno and
representation of the law firms of Ozaeta, Gibbs and D. R. Paulino in the following numbers: (a) motion dated
Ozaeta and Tirol and Tirol and the opposition thereto of September 21, 1964 — 6 deeds of sale; (b) motion dated
Atty. Rizal R. Quimpo (Vol. VIII, pp. 6811-6813) dated July November 4, 1964 — 1 deed of sale; (c) motion dated
22, 1965 and considering the allegations and reasons December 1, 1964 — 4 deeds of sale; (d) motion dated
therein stated, the court believes that the deeds of sale February 3, 1965 — 8 deeds of sale; (f) motion dated May
should be signed jointly by the PCIB, Administrator of the 7, 1965 — 9 deeds of sale. In view of the very extensive
Testate Estate of C. N. Hodges and Avelina A. Magno, landholdings of the Hodges spouses and the many motions
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges filed concerning deeds of sale of real properties executed
and to this effect the PCIB should take the necessary steps by C. N. Hodges the lower court has had to constitute
so that Administratrix Avelina A. Magno could sign the special separate expedientes in Special Proceedings Nos.
deeds of sale. 1307 and 1672 to include mere motions for the approval
of deeds of sale of the conjugal properties of the Hodges
SO ORDERED. (p. 248, Green Record on Appeal.) spouses.

Notably this order required that even the deeds executed by petitioner, as As an example, from among the very many, under date of
administrator of the Estate of Hodges, involving properties registered in his February 3, 1965, Atty. Cesar T. Tirol, as counsel for the
name, should be co-signed by respondent Magno.3 And this was not an appellant, filed "Motion for Approval of Deeds of Sale for
isolated instance. Registered Land and Cancellations of Mortgages" (CFI
Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Vol. VIII, pp. 6570-6596) the
In her brief as appellee, respondent Magno states: allegations of which read:

After the lower court had authorized appellee Avelina A. "1. In his lifetime, the late C. N. Hodges executed
Magno to execute final deeds of sale pursuant to contracts "Contracts to Sell" real property, and the prospective
to sell executed by C. N. Hodges on February 20, 1963 (pp. buyers under said contracts have already paid the price
45-46, Green ROA), motions for the approval of final deeds and complied with the terms and conditions thereof;
of sale (signed by appellee Avelina A. Magno and the
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, first Joe "2. In the course of administration of both estates,
Hodges, then Atty. Fernando Mirasol and later the mortgage debtors have already paid their debts secured
appellant) were approved by the lower court upon by chattel mortgages in favor of the late C. N. Hodges, and
petition of appellee Magno's counsel, Atty. Leon P. are now entitled to release therefrom;
Gellada, on the basis of section 8 of Rule 89 of the Revised
Rules of Court. Subsequently, the appellant, after it had "3. There are attached hereto documents executed jointly
taken over the bulk of the assets of the two estates, by the Administratrix in Sp. Proc. No. 1307 and the
started presenting these motions itself. The first such Administrator in Sp. Proc. No. 1672, consisting of deeds of
attempt was a "Motion for Approval of Deeds of Sale for sale in favor —
Registered Land and Cancellations of Mortgages" dated
July 21, 1964 filed by Atty. Cesar T. Tirol, counsel for the
Fernando Cano, Bacolod City, Occ.
appellant, thereto annexing two (2) final deeds of sale and
Negros
two (2) cancellations of mortgages signed by appellee
Fe Magbanua, Iloilo City
P a g e 20 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Policarpio M. Pareno, La Paz, Iloilo City (Pp. 334-335, Green Record on Appeal.)
Rosario T. Libre, Jaro, Iloilo City
Federico B. Torres, Iloilo City On the other hand, as stated earlier, there were instances when respondent
Reynaldo T. Lataquin, La Paz, Iloilo City Magno was given authority to act alone. For instance, in the other appealed
Anatolio T. Viray, Iloilo City order of December 19, 1964, on page 221 of the Green Record on Appeal, the
Benjamin Rolando, Jaro, Iloilo City respondent court approved payments made by her of overtime pay to some
employees of the court who had helped in gathering and preparing copies of
and cancellations of mortgages in favor of — parts of the records in both estates as follows:

Pablo Manzano, Oton, Iloilo Considering that the expenses subject of the motion to
Ricardo M. Diana, Dao, San Jose, approve payment of overtime pay dated December 10,
Antique 1964, are reasonable and are believed by this Court to be
Simplicio Tingson, Iloilo City a proper charge of administration chargeable to the
Amado Magbanua, Pototan, Iloilo testate estate of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, the said
Roselia M. Baes, Bolo, Roxas City expenses are hereby APPROVED and to be charged against
William Bayani, Rizal Estanzuela, Iloilo the testate estate of the late Linnie Jane Hodges. The
City administrator of the testate estate of the late Charles
Elpidio Villarete, Molo, Iloilo City Newton Hodges is hereby ordered to countersign the
Norma T. Ruiz, Jaro, Iloilo City check or checks necessary to pay the said overtime pay as
shown by the bills marked Annex "A", "B" and "C" of the
"4. That the approval of the aforesaid motion.
documents will not reduce the assets
of the estates so as to prevent any SO ORDERED.
creditor from receiving his full debt or
diminish his dividend." (Pp. 221-222, Green Record on Appeal.)

And the prayer of this motion is indeed very revealing: Likewise, the respondent court approved deeds of sale executed by
respondent Magno alone, as Administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges,
"WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that, under Rule 89, covering properties in the name of Hodges, pursuant to "contracts to sell"
Section 8 of the Rules of Court, this honorable court executed by Hodges, irrespective of whether they were executed by him
approve the aforesaid deeds of sale and cancellations of before or after the death of his wife. The orders of this nature which are also
mortgages." (Pp. 113-117, Appellee's Brief.) on appeal herein are the following:

None of these assertions is denied in Petitioner's reply brief. 1. Order of March 30, 1966, on p. 137 of the Green Record on Appeal,
approving the deed of sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee
Further indicating lack of concrete perspective or orientation on the part of Lorenzo Carles on February 24, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by
the respondent court and its hesitancy to clear up matters promptly, in its Hodges on June 17, 1958, after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner
other appealed order of November 23, 1965, on pages 334-335 of the Green claims was cancelled by it for failure of Carles to pay the installments due on
Record on Appeal, said respondent court allowed the movant Ricardo Salas, January 7, 1965.
President of appellee Western Institute of Technology (successor of Panay
Educational Institutions, Inc.), one of the parties with whom Hodges had 2. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 139-140, id., approving the deed of sale
contracts that are in question in the appeals herein, to pay petitioner, as executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Salvador Guzman on
Administrator of the estate of Hodges and/or respondent Magno, as February 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on
Administrator of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, thus: September 13, 1960, after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner
claims it cancelled on March 3, 1965 in view of failure of said appellee to pay
Considering that in both cases there is as yet no judicial the installments on time.
declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to
whomsoever are entitled thereto, the Court believes that 3. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 167-168, id., approving the deed of sale
payment to both the administrator of the testate estate of executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Purificacion Coronado on
C. N. Hodges and the administratrix of the testate estate March 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on August
of Linnie Jane Hodges or to either one of the two estates 14, 1961, after the death of his wife.
is proper and legal.
4. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 168-169, id., approving the deed of sale
WHEREFORE, movant Ricardo T. Salas can pay to both executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Florenia Barrido on March
estates or either of them. 28, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on February 21,
1958, after the death of his wife.
SO ORDERED.
P a g e 21 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

5. Order of June 7, 1966, on pp. 184-185, id., approving the deed of sale order alluded to was general, and as already explained
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Belcezar Causing on May before, it was, as admitted by the lower court itself,
2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on February 10, superseded by the particular orders approving specific
1959, after the death of his wife. final deeds of sale executed by the appellee, Avelina A.
Magno, which are subject of this appeal, as well as the
6. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 211-212, id., approving the deed of sale particular orders approving specific final deeds of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Artheo Thomas Jamir on executed by the appellant, Philippine Commercial and
June 3, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on May 26, Industrial Bank, which were never appealed by the
1961, after the death of his wife. appellee, Avelina A. Magno, nor by any party for that
matter, and which are now therefore final.
7. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 212-213, id., approving the deed of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellees Graciano Lucero and Now, simultaneously with the foregoing incidents, others of more
Melquiades Batisanan on June 6 and June 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to fundamental and all embracing significance developed. On October 5, 1963,
"contracts to sell" signed by Hodges on June 9, 1959 and November 27, 1961, over the signature of Atty. Allison J. Gibbs in representation of the law firm of
respectively, after the death of his wife. Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta, as counsel for the co-administrators Joe Hodges and
Fernando P. Mirasol, the following self-explanatory motion was filed:
8. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., approving the deed of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellees Espiridion Partisala, URGENT MOTION FOR AN
Winifredo Espada and Rosario Alingasa on September 6, 1966, August 17, 1966 ACCOUNTING AND DELIVERY TO
and August 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to "contracts to sell" signed by ADMINISTRATION OF THE ESTATE OF
Hodges on April 20, 1960, April 18, 1960 and August 25, 1958, respectively, C. N. HODGES OF ALL OF THE ASSETS
that is, after the death of his wife. OF THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF
THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE HODGES
AND C N. HODGES EXISTING AS OF
9. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 137-138, id., approving the deed of sale
MAY 23, 1957 PLUS ALL THE RENTS,
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Alfredo Catedral on March
EMOLUMENTS AND INCOME
2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on May 29, 1954,
THEREFROM.
before the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had cancelled
on February 16, 1966 for failure of appellee Catedral to pay the installments
due on time. COMES NOW the co-administrator of the estate of C. N.
Hodges, Joe Hodges, through his undersigned attorneys in
the above-entitled proceedings, and to this Honorable
10. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 138-139, id., approving the deed of sale
Court respectfully alleges:
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Jose Pablico on March 7,
1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on March 7, 1950, after
the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had cancelled on June (1) On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City.
29, 1960, for failure of appellee Pablico to pay the installments due on time.
(2) On June 28, 1957 this Honorable Court admitted to
11. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., insofar as it approved the probate the Last Will and Testament of the deceased
deed of sale executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Pepito Linnie Jane Hodges executed November 22, 1952 and
Iyulores on September 6, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by appointed C. N. Hodges as Executor of the estate of Linnie
Hodges on February 5, 1951, before the death of his wife. Jane Hodges (pp. 24-25, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).

12. Order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336, id., approving three deeds of (3) On July 1, 1957 this Honorable Court issued Letters
sale executed by respondent Magno, one in favor of appellees Santiago Testamentary to C. N. Hodges in the Estate of Linnie Jane
Pacaonsis and two in favor of appellee Adelfa Premaylon on December 5, 1966 Hodges (p. 30, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).
and November 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to separate "promises to sell"
signed respectively by Hodges on May 26, 1955 and January 30, 1954, before (4) On December 14, 1957 this Honorable Court, on the
the death of his wife, and October 31, 1959, after her death. basis of the following allegations in a Motion dated
December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. Gellada as attorney for
In like manner, there were also instances when respondent court approved the executor C. N. Hodges:
deeds of sale executed by petitioner alone and without the concurrence of
respondent Magno, and such approvals have not been the subject of any "That herein Executor, (is) not only
appeal. No less than petitioner points this out on pages 149-150 of its brief as part owner of the properties left as
appellant thus: conjugal, but also, the successor to all
the properties left by the deceased
The points of fact and law pertaining to the two Linnie Jane Hodges."
abovecited assignments of error have already been
discussed previously. In the first abovecited error, the
P a g e 22 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

(p. 44, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis (pp. 81-82. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
supplied.) emphasis supplied.)

issued the following order: (7) On May 2, 1961 this Honorable court approved the
"Annual Statement of Account By The Executor for the
"As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, Year 1960" submitted through Leon P. Gellada on April 20,
counsel for the Executory, for the 1961 wherein he alleged:
reasons stated in his motion dated
December 11, 1957 which the court That no person interested in the
considers well taken, all the sales, Philippines be given notice, of the time
conveyances, leases and mortgages of and place of examining the herein
all properties left by the deceased account, as herein Executor is the only
Linnie Jane Hodges are hereby devisee or legatee of the deceased
APPROVED. The said executor is Linnie Jane Hodges, in accordance
further authorized to execute with the last will and testament of the
subsequent sales, conveyances, leases deceased, already probated by this
and mortgages of the properties left Honorable Court.
by the said deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges in consonance with the wishes (pp. 90-91. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
contained in the last will and emphasis supplied.)
testament of the latter."
(8) On December 25, 1962, C.N. Hodges died.
(p. 46, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis
supplied.)
(9) On December 25, 1962, on the Urgent Ex-parte Motion
of Leon P. Gellada filed only in Special Proceeding No.
(5) On April 21, 1959 this Honorable Court approved the 1307, this Honorable Court appointed Avelina A. Magno
inventory and accounting submitted by C. N. Hodges
through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on April 14, 1959
"Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and as
wherein he alleged among other things
Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton
Hodges, in the latter case, because the last will of said
"That no person interested in the Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his vault or iron safe
Philippines of the time and place of and that the real and personal properties of both spouses
examining the herein account, be may be lost, damaged or go to waste, unless a Special
given notice, as herein executor is the Administratrix is appointed."
only devisee or legatee of the
deceased, in accordance with the last
(p. 100. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
will and testament already probated
by the Honorable Court."
(10) On December 26, 1962 Letters of Administration were
issued to Avelina Magno pursuant to this Honorable
(pp. 77-78, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307;
Court's aforesaid Order of December 25, 1962
emphasis supplied.).

"With full authority to take possession


(6) On July 30, 1960 this Honorable Court approved the
of all the property of said deceased in
"Annual Statement of Account" submitted by C. N. Hodges
any province or provinces in which it
through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on July 21, 1960
may be situated and to perform all
wherein he alleged among other things:
other acts necessary for the
preservation of said property, said
"That no person interested in the Administratrix and/or Special
Philippines of the time and place of Administratrix having filed a bond
examining the herein account, be satisfactory to the Court."
given notice as herein executor is the
only devisee or legatee of the
(p. 102, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
accordance with the last will and
testament of the deceased, already (11) On January 22, 1963 this Honorable Court on petition
probated by this Honorable Court." of Leon P. Gellada of January 21, 1963 issued Letters of
Administration to:

P a g e 23 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

(a) Avelina A. Magno as Administratrix of the estate of 4. — That hereto attached are thirteen
Linnie Jane Hodges; (13) copies deeds of sale executed by
the Administratrix and by the co-
(b) Avelina A. Magno as Special Administratrix of the administrator (Fernando P. Mirasol) of
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges; and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
Charles Newton Hodges respectively,
in compliance with the terms and
(c) Joe Hodges as Co-Special Administrator of the Estate of
conditions of the respective "contracts
Charles Newton Hodges.
to sell" executed by the parties
thereto."
(p. 43, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
(14) The properties involved in the aforesaid motion of
(12) On February 20, 1963 this Honorable Court on the September 16, 1963 are all registered in the name of the
basis of a motion filed by Leon P. Gellada as legal counsel deceased C. N. Hodges.
on February 16, 1963 for Avelina A. Magno acting as
Administratrix of the Estate of Charles Newton Hodges
(15) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and
(pp. 114-116, Sp. Proc. 1307) issued the following order:
belief, has been advertising in the newspaper in Iloilo
thusly:
"... se autoriza a aquella (Avelina A.
Magno) a firmar escrituras de venta
For Sale
definitiva de propiedades cubiertas
por contratos para vender, firmados,
en vida, por el finado Charles Newton Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton
Hodges, cada vez que el precio Hodges.
estipulado en cada contrato este
totalmente pagado. Se autoriza All Real Estate or Personal Property will be sold on First
igualmente a la misma a firmar Come First Served Basis.
escrituras de cancelacion de hipoteca
tanto de bienes reales como
personales cada vez que la
consideracion de cada hipoteca este
totalmente pagada.

"Cada una de dichas escrituras que se


otorguen debe ser sometida para la
aprobacion de este Juzgado."

(p. 117, Sp. Proc. 1307).

[Par 1 (c), Reply to Motion For


Removal of Joe Hodges]

(13) On September l6, 1963 Leon P. Gellada, acting as


attorney for Avelina A. Magno as Administratrix of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, alleges:

3. — That since January, 1963, both


estates of Linnie Jane Hodges and
Charles Newton Hodges have been
receiving in full, payments for those
"contracts to sell" entered into by C. N.
Hodges during his lifetime, and the
purchasers have been demanding the
execution of definite deeds of sale in
their favor.

P a g e 24 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

(16) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and (4) Such other relief as this Honorable Court may deem
belief, has paid and still is paying sums of money to sundry just and equitable in the premises. (Annex "T", Petition.)
persons.
Almost a year thereafter, or on September 14, 1964, after the co-
(17) Joe Hodges through the undersigned attorneys administrators Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol were replaced by herein
manifested during the hearings before this Honorable petitioner Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank as sole administrator,
Court on September 5 and 6, 1963 that the estate of C. N. pursuant to an agreement of all the heirs of Hodges approved by the court,
Hodges was claiming all of the assets belonging to the and because the above motion of October 5, 1963 had not yet been heard due
deceased spouses Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges to the absence from the country of Atty. Gibbs, petitioner filed the following:
situated in Philippines because of the aforesaid election by
C. N. Hodges wherein he claimed and took possession as MANIFESTATION AND MOTION,
sole owner of all of said assets during the administration INCLUDING MOTION TO SET FOR
of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on the ground that he HEARING AND RESOLVE "URGENT
was the sole devisee and legatee under her Last Will and MOTION FOR AN ACCOUNTING AND
Testament. DELIVERY TO ADMINISTRATORS OF
THE ESTATE OF C. N. HODGES OF ALL
(18) Avelina A. Magno has submitted no inventory and THE ASSETS OF THE CONJUGAL
accounting of her administration as Administratrix of the PARTNERSHIP OF THE DECEASED
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Special Administratrix of LINNIE JANE HODGES AND C. N.
the estate of C. N. Hodges. However, from manifestations HODGES EXISTING AS OF MAY 23,
made by Avelina A. Magno and her legal counsel, Leon P. 1957 PLUS ALL OF THE RENTS,
Gellada, there is no question she will claim that at least EMOLUMENTS AND INCOME
fifty per cent (50%) of the conjugal assets of the deceased THEREFROM OF OCTOBER 5, 1963.
spouses and the rents, emoluments and income
therefrom belong to the Higdon family who are named in COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank
paragraphs Fourth and Fifth of the Will of Linnie Jane (hereinafter referred to as PCIB), the administrator of the
Hodges (p. 5, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307). estate of C. N. Hodges, deceased, in Special Proceedings
No. 1672, through its undersigned counsel, and to this
WHEREFORE, premises considered, movant respectfully Honorable Court respectfully alleges that:
prays that this Honorable Court, after due hearing, order:
1. On October 5, 1963, Joe Hodges acting as the co-
(1) Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges filed, through
accounting of all of the funds, properties and assets of any the undersigned attorneys, an "Urgent Motion For An
character belonging to the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges Accounting and Delivery To Administrator of the Estate of
and C. N. Hodges which have come into her possession, C. N. Hodges of all Of The Assets Of The Conjugal
with full details of what she has done with them; Partnership of The Deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N.
Hodges Existing as Of May, 23, 1957 Plus All Of The Rents,
(2) Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to the Emoluments and Income Therefrom" (pp. 536-542, CFI
Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges all of the funds, Rec. S. P. No. 1672).
properties and assets of any character remaining in her
possession; 2. On January 24, 1964 this Honorable Court, on the basis
of an amicable agreement entered into on January 23,
(3) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the 1964 by the two co-administrators of the estate of C. N.
aforesaid issues, Avelina A. Magno to stop, unless she first Hodges and virtually all of the heirs of C. N. Hodges (p. 912,
secures the conformity of Joe Hodges (or his duly CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672), resolved the dispute over who
authorized representative, such as the undersigned should act as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges
attorneys) as the Co-administrator and attorney-in-fact of by appointing the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.
a majority of the beneficiaries of the estate of C. N. N. Hodges (pp. 905-906, CFI Rec. S. P. No. 1672) and issuing
Hodges: letters of administration to the PCIB.

(a) Advertising the sale and the sale of the properties of 3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C. N.
the estates: Hodges, Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol acting as the
two co-administrators of the estate of C. N. Hodges,
Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix of the estate
(b) Employing personnel and paying them any
of Linnie Jane Hodges, and Messrs. William Brown and
compensation.
Ardel Young Acting for all of the Higdon family who claim
to be the sole beneficiaries of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and various legal counsel representing the
P a g e 25 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

aforenamed parties entered into an amicable agreement, PCIB payable to the undersigned
which was approved by this Honorable Court, wherein the counsel pursuant to their fee
parties thereto agreed that certain sums of money were agreement approved by this
to be paid in settlement of different claims against the two Honorable Court in its order dated
estates and that the assets (to the extent they existed)of March 31, 1964.
both estates would be administrated jointly by the PCIB as
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges and Avelina A. (c) Avelina A. Magno illegally gives
Magno as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane access to and turns over possession of
Hodges, subject, however, to the aforesaid October 5, the records and assets of the estate of
1963 Motion, namely, the PCIB's claim to exclusive C.N. Hodges to the attorney-in-fact of
possession and ownership of one-hundred percent the Higdon Family, Mr. James L.
(10017,) (or, in the alternative, seventy-five percent [75%] Sullivan, as evidenced in part by the
of all assets owned by C. N. Hodges or Linnie Jane Hodges cashing of his personal checks.
situated in the Philippines. On February 1, 1964 (pp. 934-
935, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672) this Honorable Court
(d) Avelina A. Magno illegally refuses
amended its order of January 24, 1964 but in no way
to execute checks prepared by the
changes its recognition of the aforedescribed basic
PCIB drawn to pay expenses of the
demand by the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N.
estate of C. N. Hodges as evidenced in
Hodges to one hundred percent (100%) of the assets
part by the check drawn to reimburse
claimed by both estates.
the PCIB's advance of P48,445.50 to
pay the 1964 income taxes reported
4. On February 15, 1964 the PCIB filed a "Motion to due and payable by the estate of C.N.
Resolve" the aforesaid Motion of October 5, 1963. This Hodges.
Honorable Court set for hearing on June 11, 1964 the
Motion of October 5, 1963.
7. Under and pursuant to the orders of this Honorable
Court, particularly those of January 24 and February 1,
5. On June 11, 1964, because the undersigned Allison J. 1964, and the mandate contained in its Letters of
Gibbs was absent in the United States, this Honorable Administration issued on January 24, 1964 to the PCIB, it
Court ordered the indefinite postponement of the hearing has
of the Motion of October 5, 1963.
"full authority to
6. Since its appointment as administrator of the estate of take possession of
C. N. Hodges the PCIB has not been able to properly carry all the property of
out its duties and obligations as administrator of the the deceased C. N.
estate of C. N. Hodges because of the following acts, Hodges
among others, of Avelina A. Magno and those who claim
to act for her as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
"and to perform all other acts
Hodges:
necessary for the preservation of said
property." (p. 914, CFI Rec., S.P. No.
(a) Avelina A. Magno illegally acts as if 1672.)
she is in exclusive control of all of the
assets in the Philippines of both
8. As administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, the PCIB
estates including those claimed by the
claims the right to the immediate exclusive possession and
estate of C. N. Hodges as evidenced in
control of all of the properties, accounts receivables, court
part by her locking the premises at
cases, bank accounts and other assets, including the
206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City on
documentary records evidencing same, which existed in
August 31, 1964 and refusing to
the Philippines on the date of C. N. Hodges' death,
reopen same until ordered to do so by
December 25, 1962, and were in his possession and
this Honorable Court on September 7,
registered in his name alone. The PCIB knows of no assets
1964.
in the Philippines registered in the name of Linnie Jane
Hodges, the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, or, C. N. Hodges,
(b) Avelina A. Magno illegally acts as Executor of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on December
though she alone may decide how the 25, 1962. All of the assets of which the PCIB has knowledge
assets of the estate of C.N. Hodges are either registered in the name of C. N. Hodges, alone or
should be administered, who the PCIB were derived therefrom since his death on December 25,
shall employ and how much they may 1962.
be paid as evidenced in party by her
refusal to sign checks issued by the

P a g e 26 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

9. The PCIB as the current administrator of the estate of C. registered in the name of C. N. Hodges alone only in her
N. Hodges, deceased, succeeded to all of the rights of the capacity as Special Administratrix of the Estate of C.N.
previously duly appointed administrators of the estate of Hodges. With the appointment by this Honorable Court on
C. N. Hodges, to wit: February 22, 1963 of Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol
as the co-administrators of the estate of C.N. Hodges, they
(a) On December 25, 1962, date of C. legally were entitled to take over from Miss Magno the full
N. Hodges' death, this Honorable and exclusive possession of all of the assets of the estate
Court appointed Miss Avelina A. of C.N. Hodges. With the appointment on January 24, 1964
Magno simultaneously as: of the PCIB as the sole administrator of the estate of C.N.
Hodges in substitution of Joe Hodges and Fernando P.
Mirasol, the PCIB legally became the only party entitled to
(i) Administratrix of the estate of
the sole and exclusive possession of all of the assets of the
Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 102, CFI Rec.,
estate of C. N. Hodges.
S.P. No. 1307) to replace the deceased
C. N. Hodges who on May 28, 1957
was appointed Special Administrator 11. The PCIB's predecessors submitted their accounting
(p. 13. CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1307) and on and this Honorable Court approved same, to wit:
July 1, 1957 Executor of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 30, CFI Rec., S. (a) The accounting of Harold K. Davies
P. No. 1307). dated January 18, 1963 (pp. 16-33, CFI
Rec. S.P. No. 1672); which shows or its
(ii) Special Administratrix of the estate face the:
of C. N. Hodges (p. 102, CFI Rec., S.P.
No. 1307). (i) Conformity of Avelina A. Magno
acting as "Administratrix of the Estate
(b) On December 29, 1962 this of Linnie Jane Hodges and Special
Honorable Court appointed Harold K. Administratrix of the Estate of C. N.
Davies as co-special administrator of Hodges";
the estate of C.N. Hodges along with
Avelina A. Magno (pp. 108-111, CFI (ii) Conformity of Leslie Echols, a Texas
Rec., S. P. No. 1307). lawyer acting for the heirs of C.N.
Hodges; and
(c) On January 22, 1963, with the
conformity of Avelina A. Magno, (iii) Conformity of William Brown, a
Harold K. Davies resigned in favor of Texas lawyer acting for the Higdon
Joe Hodges (pp. 35-36, CFI Rec., S.P. family who claim to be the only heirs
No. 1672) who thereupon was of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 18, 25-33,
appointed on January 22, 1963 by this CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672).
Honorable Court as special co-
administrator of the estate of C.N. Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable
Hodges (pp. 38-40 & 43, CFI Rec. S.P. Court on January 22, 1963 (p. 34, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672).
No. 1672) along with Miss Magno who
at that time was still acting as special
(b) The accounting of Joe Hodges and
co-administratrix of the estate of C. N.
Fernando P. Mirasol as of January 23,
Hodges.
1964, filed February 24, 1964 (pp. 990-
1000, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1672 and pp.
(d) On February 22, 1963, without 1806-1848, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1307).
objection on the part of Avelina A.
Magno, this Honorable Court
Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable
appointed Joe Hodges and Fernando
Court on March 3, 1964.
P. Mirasol as co-administrators of the
estate of C.N. Hodges (pp. 76-78, 81 &
85, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1672). (c) The PCIB and its undersigned
lawyers are aware of no report or
accounting submitted by Avelina A.
10. Miss Avelina A. Magno, pursuant to the orders of this
Magno of her acts as administratrix of
Honorable Court of December 25, 1962, took possession
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges or
of all Philippine Assets now claimed by the two estates.
special administratrix of the estate of
Legally, Miss Magno could take possession of the assets
C.N. Hodges, unless it is the
P a g e 27 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

accounting of Harold K. Davies as fact that said combinations were known to only C. N.
special co-administrator of the estate Hodges during his lifetime.
of C.N. Hodges dated January 18, 1963
to which Miss Magno manifested her 16. The Philippine estate and inheritance taxes assessed
conformity (supra). the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges were assessed and paid
on the basis that C. N. Hodges is the sole beneficiary of the
12. In the aforesaid agreement of January 24, 1964, Miss Avelina A. Magno assets of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the
agreed to receive P10,000.00 Philippines. Avelina A. Magno and her legal counsel at no
time have questioned the validity of the aforesaid
"for her services as administratrix of assessment and the payment of the corresponding
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" Philippine death taxes.

and in addition she agreed to be employed, starting 17. Nothing further remains to be done in the estate of
February 1, 1964, at Linnie Jane Hodges except to resolve the aforesaid Motion
of October 5, 1963 and grant the PCIB the exclusive
possession and control of all of the records, properties and
"a monthly salary of P500.00 for her
assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
services as an employee of both
estates."
18. Such assets as may have existed of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges were ordered by this Honorable Court in
24 ems.
special Proceedings No. 1307 to be turned over and
delivered to C. N. Hodges alone. He in fact took possession
13. Under the aforesaid agreement of January 24, 1964 of them before his death and asserted and exercised the
and the orders of this Honorable Court of same date, the right of exclusive ownership over the said assets as the
PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is sole beneficiary of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
entitled to the exclusive possession of all records,
properties and assets in the name of C. N. Hodges as of the
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the PCIB respectfully
date of his death on December 25, 1962 which were in the
petitions that this Honorable court:
possession of the deceased C. N. Hodges on that date and
which then passed to the possession of Miss Magno in her
capacity as Special Co-Administratrix of the estate of C. N. (1) Set the Motion of October 5, 1963 for hearing at the
Hodges or the possession of Joe Hodges or Fernando P. earliest possible date with notice to all interested parties;
Mirasol as co-administrators of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
(2) Order Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and
14. Because of Miss Magno's refusal to comply with the accounting as Administratrix of the Estate of Linnie Jane
reasonable request of PCIB concerning the assets of the Hodges and Co-Administratrix of the Estate of C. N.
estate of C. N. Hodges, the PCIB dismissed Miss Magno as Hodges of all of the funds, properties and assets of any
an employee of the estate of C. N. Hodges effective August character belonging to the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges
31, 1964. On September 1, 1964 Miss Magno locked the and C. N. Hodges which have come into her possession,
premises at 206-208 Guanco Street and denied the PCIB with full details of what she has done with them;
access thereto. Upon the Urgent Motion of the PCIB dated
September 3, 1964, this Honorable Court on September 7, (3) Order Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to the
1964 ordered Miss Magno to reopen the aforesaid PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges all of
premises at 206-208 Guanco Street and permit the PCIB the funds, properties and assets of any character
access thereto no later than September 8, 1964. remaining in her possession;

15. The PCIB pursuant to the aforesaid orders of this (4) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the
Honorable Court is again in physical possession of all of the aforesaid issues, order Avelina A. Magno and her
assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges. However, the PCIB is representatives to stop interferring with the
not in exclusive control of the aforesaid records, administration of the estate of C. N. Hodges by the PCIB
properties and assets because Miss Magno continues to and its duly authorized representatives;
assert the claims hereinabove outlined in paragraph 6,
continues to use her own locks to the doors of the (5) Enjoin Avelina A. Magno from working in the premises
aforesaid premises at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City as an employee of the
and continues to deny the PCIB its right to know the estate of C. N. Hodges and approve her dismissal as such
combinations to the doors of the vault and safes situated by the PCIB effective August 31, 1964;
within the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street despite the

P a g e 28 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

(6) Enjoin James L. Sullivan, Attorneys Manglapus and other or additional property as he may
Quimpo and others allegedly representing Miss Magno think best; to execute conveyances
from entering the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street, with or without general or special
Iloilo City or any other properties of C. N. Hodges without warranty, conveying in fee simple or
the express permission of the PCIB; for any other term or time, any
property which he may deem proper
(7) Order such other relief as this Honorable Court finds to dispose of; to lease any of the real
just and equitable in the premises. (Annex "U" Petition.) property for oil, gas and/or other
minerals, and all such deeds or leases
shall pass the absolute fee simple title
On January 8, 1965, petitioner also filed a motion for "Official Declaration of
to the interest so conveyed in such
Heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges Estate" alleging:
property as he may elect to sell. All
rents, emoluments and income from
COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (hereinafter referred said estate shall belong to him, and he
to as PCIB), as administrator of the estate of the late C. N. Hodges, through the is further authorized to use any part of
undersigned counsel, and to this Honorable Court respectfully alleges that: the principal of said estate as he may
need or desire. It is provided herein,
1. During their marriage, spouses Charles Newton Hodges however, that he shall not sell or
and Linnie Jane Hodges, American citizens originally from otherwise dispose of any of the
the State of Texas, U.S.A., acquired and accumulated improved property now owned by us
considerable assets and properties in the Philippines and located at, in or near the City of
in the States of Texas and Oklahoma, United States of Lubbock, Texas, but he shall have the
America. All said properties constituted their conjugal full right to lease, manage and enjoy
estate. the same during his lifetime, as above
provided. He shall have the right to
2. Although Texas was the domicile of origin of the Hodges sub-divide any farmland and sell lots
spouses, this Honorable Court, in its orders dated March therein, and may sell unimproved
31 and December 12, 1964 (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, town lots.
pp. ----; Sp. Proc. No. 1672, p. ----), conclusively found and
categorically ruled that said spouses had lived and worked FOURTH: At the death of my said
for more than 50 years in Iloilo City and had, therefore, husband, Charles Newton Hodges, I
acquired a domicile of choice in said city, which they give, devise and bequeath all of the
retained until the time of their respective deaths. rest, residue and remainder of my
estate both real and personal,
3. On November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges executed in wherever situated or located, to be
the City of Iloilo her Last Will and Testament, a copy of equally divided among my brothers
which is hereto attached as Annex "A". The bequests in and sisters, share and share alike,
said will pertinent to the present issue are the second, namely:
third, and fourth provisions, which we quote in full
hereunder. "Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard
Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era
SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath Boman and Nimray Higdon."
all of the rest, residue and remainder
of my estate, both personal and real, 4. On November 14, 1953, C. N. Hodges executed in the
wherever situated, or located, to my City of Iloilo his Last Will and Testament, a copy of which
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to is hereto attached as Annex "B ". In said Will, C. N. Hodges
have and to hold unto him, my said designated his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, as his beneficiary
husband during his natural lifetime. using the identical language she used in the second and
third provisos of her Will, supra.
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that
my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, 5. On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City,
shall have the right to manage, predeceasing her husband by more than five (5) years. At
control, use and enjoy said estate the time of her death, she had no forced or compulsory
during his lifetime, and he is hereby heir, except her husband, C. N. Hodges. She was survived
given the right to make any changes in also by various brothers and sisters mentioned in her Will
the physical properties of said estate (supra), which, for convenience, we shall refer to as the
by sale of any part thereof which he HIGDONS.
think best, and the purchase of any

P a g e 29 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

6. On June 28, 1957, this Honorable Court admitted to 8. Under Philippine and Texas law, the conjugal or
probate the Last Will and Testament of the deceased community estate of spouses shall, upon dissolution, be
Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), and appointed C. N. divided equally between them. Thus, upon the death of
Hodges as executor of her estate without bond. (CFI Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957, one-half (1/2) of the
Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 24-25). On July 1, 1957, this entirety of the assets of the Hodges spouses constituting
Honorable Court issued letters testamentary to C. N. their conjugal estate pertained automatically to Charles
Hodges in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (CFI Record, Newton Hodges, not by way of inheritance, but in his own
Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 30.) right as partner in the conjugal partnership. The other one-
half (1/2) portion of the conjugal estate constituted the
7. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respect to the order estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. This is the only portion of the
of succession, the amount of successional rights, and the conjugal estate capable of inheritance by her heirs.
intrinsic of its testamentary provisions, should be
governed by Philippine laws because: 9. This one-half (1/2) portion of the conjugal assets
pertaining to Linnie Jane Hodges cannot, under a clear and
(a) The testatrix, Linnie Jane Hodges, specific provision of her Will, be enhanced or increased by
intended Philippine laws to govern her income, earnings, rents, or emoluments accruing after her
Will; death on May 23, 1957. Linnie Jane Hodges' Will provides
that "all rents, emoluments and income from said estate
shall belong to him (C. N. Hodges) and he is further
(b) Article 16 of the Civil Code provides
authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as
that "the national law of the person
he may need or desire." (Paragraph 3, Annex "A".) Thus, by
whose succession is under
specific provision of Linnie Jane Hodges' Will, "all rents,
consideration, whatever may be the
emoluments and income" must be credited to the one-half
nature of the property and regardless
(1/2) portion of the conjugal estate pertaining to C. N.
of the country wherein said property
Hodges. Clearly, therefore, the estate of Linnie Jane
may be found", shall prevail. However,
Hodges, capable of inheritance by her heirs, consisted
the Conflict of Law of Texas, which is
exclusively of no more than one-half (1/2) of the conjugal
the "national law" of the testatrix,
estate, computed as of the time of her death on May 23,
Linnie Jane Hodges, provide that the
1957.
domiciliary law (Philippine law — see
paragraph 2, supra) should govern the
testamentary dispositions and 10. Articles 900, 995 and 1001 of the New Civil Code
successional rights over movables provide that the surviving spouse of a deceased leaving no
(personal properties), and the law of ascendants or descendants is entitled, as a matter of right
the situs of the property (also and by way of irrevocable legitime, to at least one-half
Philippine law as to properties located (1/2) of the estate of the deceased, and no testamentary
in the Philippines) with regards disposition by the deceased can legally and validly affect
immovable (real properties). Thus this right of the surviving spouse. In fact, her husband is
applying the "Renvoi Doctrine", as entitled to said one-half (1/2) portion of her estate by way
approved and applied by our Supreme of legitime. (Article 886, Civil Code.) Clearly, therefore,
Court in the case of "In The Matter Of immediately upon the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, C. N.
The Testate Estate of Eduard E. Hodges was the owner of at least three-fourths (3/4) or
Christensen", G.R. No. seventy-five (75%) percent of all of the conjugal assets of
L-16749, promulgated January 31, the spouses, (1/2 or 50% by way of conjugal partnership
1963, Philippine law should apply to share and 1/4 or 25% by way of inheritance and legitime)
the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges and to plus all "rents, emoluments and income" accruing to said
the successional rights to her estate conjugal estate from the moment of Linnie Jane Hodges'
insofar as death (see paragraph 9, supra).
her movable and immovable assets in
the Philippines are concerned. We 11. The late Linnie Jane Hodges designated her husband
shall not, at this stage, discuss what C.N. Hodges as her sole and exclusive heir with full
law should govern the assets of Linnie authority to do what he pleased, as exclusive heir and
Jane Hodges located in Oklahoma and owner of all the assets constituting her estate, except only
Texas, because the only assets in issue with regards certain properties "owned by us, located at,
in this motion are those within the in or near the City of Lubbock, Texas". Thus, even without
jurisdiction of this motion Court in the relying on our laws of succession and legitime, which we
two above-captioned Special have cited above, C. N. Hodges, by specific testamentary
Proceedings. designation of his wife, was entitled to the entirely to his
wife's estate in the Philippines.

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

12. Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that "the 24 ems
rights of the successor are transmitted from the death of
the decedent". Thus, title to the estate of Linnie Jane (c) On April 21, 1959, this Honorable Court approved the
Hodges was transmitted to C. N. Hodges immediately verified inventory and accounting submitted by C. N.
upon her death on May 23, 1957. For the convenience of Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on April 14,
this Honorable Court, we attached hereto as Annex "C" a 1959 wherein he alleged among other things,
graph of how the conjugal estate of the spouses Hodges
should be divided in accordance with Philippine law and
"That no person interested in the
the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges.
Philippines of the time and place of
examining the herein account, be
13. In his capacity as sole heir and successor to the estate given notice, as herein executor is the
of Linnie Jane Hodges as above-stated, C. N. Hodges, only devisee or legatee of the
shortly after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, deceased, in accordance with the last
appropriated to himself the entirety of her estate. He will and testament already probated
operated all the assets, engaged in business and by the Honorable Court." (CFI Record,
performed all acts in connection with the entirety of the Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 77-78;
conjugal estate, in his own name alone, just as he had emphasis supplied.)
been operating, engaging and doing while the late Linnie
Jane Hodges was still alive. Upon his death on December
(d) On July 20, 1960, this Honorable Court approved the
25, 1962, therefore, all said conjugal assets were in his sole
verified "Annual Statement of Account" submitted by C. N.
possession and control, and registered in his name alone,
Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on July 21,
not as executor, but as exclusive owner of all said assets.
1960 wherein he alleged, among other things.

14. All these acts of C. N. Hodges were authorized and


"That no person interested in the
sanctioned expressly and impliedly by various orders of
Philippines of the time and place of
this Honorable Court, as follows:
examining the herein account, be
given notice as herein executor is the
(a) In an Order dated May 27, 1957, this Honorable Court only devisee or legatee of the
ruled that C. N. Hodges "is allowed or authorized to deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
continue the business in which he was engaged, and to accordance with the last will and
perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased testament ofthe deceased, already
was living." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 11.) probated by this Honorable Court."
(CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 81-
(b) On December 14, 1957, this Honorable Court, on the 82; emphasis supplied.)
basis of the following fact, alleged in the verified Motion
dated December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. Gellada as (e) On May 2, 1961, this Honorable Court approved the
attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges: verified "Annual Statement of Account By The Executor
For the Year 1960" submitted through Leon P. Gellada on
That herein Executor, (is) not only part owner of the April 20, 1961 wherein he alleged:
properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all
the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges.' "That no person interested in the Philippines be given
(CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 44; emphasis supplied.) notice, ofthe time and place of examining the herein
account, as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee
issued the following order: of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in accordance with the
last will and testament ofthe deceased, already probated
"As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the by this Honorable Court." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307,
Executor, for the reasons stated in his motion dated pp. 90-91; emphasis supplied.)
December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well taken,
all the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all the 15. Since C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of
properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges Linnie Jane Hodges, not only by law, but in accordance
executed by the Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are with the dispositions of her will, there was, in fact, no need
hereby APPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized to liquidate the conjugal estate of the spouses. The
to execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and entirely of said conjugal estate pertained to him
mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased exclusively, therefore this Honorable Court sanctioned
Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes and authorized, as above-stated, C. N. Hodges to manage,
contained in the last will and testament of the latter." (CFI operate and control all the conjugal assets as owner.
Record. Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 46; emphasis supplied.)

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

16. By expressly authorizing C. N. Hodges to act as he did Florentino de Crisologo, et al., vs.
in connection with the estate of his wife, this Honorable Manuel Singson, G. R. No. L-13876,
Court has (1) declared C. N. Hodges as the sole heir of the February 28, 1962.)
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and (2) delivered and
distributed her estate to C. N. Hodges as sole heir in (b) Article 864, 872 and 886 of the
accordance with the terms and conditions of her Will. New Civil Code clearly provide that no
Thus, although the "estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" still charge, condition or substitution
exists as a legal and juridical personality, it had no assets whatsoever upon the legitime can be
or properties located in the Philippines registered in its imposed by a testator. Thus, under the
name whatsoever at the time of the death of C. N. Hodges provisions of Articles 900, 995 and
on December 25, 1962. 1001 of the New Civil Code, the
legitime of a surviving spouse is 1/2 of
17. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), fourth the estate of the deceased spouse.
paragraph, provides as follows: Consequently, the above-mentioned
provision in the Will of Linnie Jane
"At the death of my said husband, Hodges is clearly invalid insofar as the
Charles Newton Hodges, I give, devise legitime of C. N. Hodges was
and bequeath all of the rest, residue concerned, which consisted of 1/2 of
and remainder of my estate both real the 1/2 portion of the conjugal estate,
and personal, wherever situated or or 1/4 of the entire conjugal estate of
located, to be equally divided among the deceased.
my brothers and sisters, share and
share alike, namely: (c) There are generally only two kinds
of substitution provided for and
"Esta Higdon, authorized by our Civil Code (Articles
Emma Howell, 857-870), namely, (1) simple or
Leonard Higdon, common substitution, sometimes
Roy Higdon, Sadie referred to as vulgar substitution
Rascoe, Era (Article 859), and (2) fideicommissary
Boman and substitution (Article 863). All other
Nimray Higdon." substitutions are merely variations of
these. The substitution provided for
by paragraph four of the Will of Linnie
Because of the facts hereinabove set out there is no "rest,
Jane Hodges is not fideicommissary
residue and remainder", at least to the extent of the
substitution, because there is clearly
Philippine assets, which remains to vest in the HIGDONS,
no obligation on the part of C. N.
assuming this proviso in Linnie Jane Hodges' Will is valid
Hodges as the first heir designated, to
and binding against the estate of C. N. Hodges.
preserve the properties for the
substitute heirs. (Consolacion
18. Any claims by the HIGDONS under the above-quoted Florentino de Crisologo et al. vs.
provision of Linnie Jane Hodges' Will is without merit Manuel Singson, G. R. No.
because said provision is void and invalid at least as to the L-13876.) At most, it is
Philippine assets. It should not, in anyway, affect the rights a vulgar or simple substitution.
of the estate of C. N. Hodges or his heirs to the properties, However, in order that
which C. N. Hodges acquired by way of inheritance from a vulgar or simple substitution can be
his wife Linnie Jane Hodges upon her death. valid, three alternative conditions
must be present, namely, that the first
(a) In spite of the above-mentioned designated heir (1) should die before
provision in the Will of Linnie Jane the testator; or (2) should not wish to
Hodges, C. N. Hodges acquired, not accept the inheritance; or (3) should
merely a usufructuary right, but be incapacitated to do so. None of
absolute title and ownership to her these conditions apply to C. N.
estate. In a recent case involving a Hodges, and, therefore, the
very similar testamentary provision, substitution provided for by the
the Supreme Court held that the heir above-quoted provision of the Will is
first designated acquired full not authorized by the Code, and,
ownership of the property therefore, it is void. Manresa,
bequeathed by the will, not mere commenting on these kisses of
usufructuary rights. (Consolacion substitution, meaningfully stated that:
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

"... cuando el testador instituyeun 2. That the other half of the conjugal estate pertained
primer heredero, y por fallecimiento exclusively to C. N. Hodges as his share as partner in the
de este nombra otro u otros, ha de conjugal partnership;
entenderse que estas segundas
designaciones solo han de llegar a 3. That all "rents, emoluments and income" of the conjugal
tener efectividad en el caso de que el estate accruing after Linnie Jane Hodges' death pertains to
primer instituido muera antes que el C. N. Hodges;
testador, fuera o no esta su verdadera
intencion. ...". (6 Manresa, 7 a ed.,
4. That C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of the
pag. 175.) In other words, when
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
another heir is designated to inherit
upon the death of a first heir, the
second designation can have effect 5. That, therefore, the entire conjugal estate of the
only in case the first instituted heir dies spouses located in the Philippines, plus all the "rents,
before the testator, whether or not emoluments and income" above-mentioned, now
that was the true intention of said constitutes the estate of C. N. Hodges, capable of
testator. Since C. N. Hodges did not die distribution to his heirs upon termination of Special
before Linnie Jane Hodges, the Proceedings No. 1672;
provision for substitution contained in
Linnie Jane Hodges' Willis void. 6. That PCIB, as administrator of the estate of C. N.
Hodges, is entitled to full and exclusive custody, control
(d) In view of the invalidity of the and management of all said properties; and
provision for substitution in the Will,
C. N. Hodges' inheritance to the 7. That Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix of the estate
entirety of the Linnie Jane Hodges of Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as the HIGDONS, has no
estate is irrevocable and final. right to intervene or participate in the administration of
the C. N. Hodges estate.
19. Be that as it may, at the time of C. N. Hodges' death,
the entirety of the conjugal estate appeared and was PCIB further prays for such and other relief as may be
registered in him exclusively as owner. Thus, the deemed just and equitable in the premises."
presumption is that all said assets constituted his estate.
Therefore — (Record, pp. 265-277)

(a) If the HIGDONS wish to enforce their dubious rights as Before all of these motions of petitioner could be resolved, however, on
substituted heirs to 1/4 of the conjugal estate (the other December 21, 1965, private respondent Magno filed her own "Motion for the
1/4 is covered by the legitime of C. N. Hodges which can Official Declaration of Heirs of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as follows:
not be affected by any testamentary disposition), their
remedy, if any, is to file their claim against the estate of C.
N. Hodges, which should be entitled at the present time to COMES NOW the Administratrix of the Estate of Linnie
full custody and control of all the conjugal estate of the Jane Hodges and, through undersigned counsel, unto this
spouses. Honorable Court most respectfully states and manifests:

(b) The present proceedings, in which two estates exist 1. That the spouses Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie
under separate administration, where the administratrix Jane Hodges were American citizens who died at the City
of the Linnie Jane Hodges estate exercises an officious of Iloilo after having amassed and accumulated extensive
right to object and intervene in matters affecting properties in the Philippines;
exclusively the C. N. Hodges estate, is anomalous.
2. That on November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that after trial executed a last will and testament (the original of this will
and reception of evidence, this Honorable Court declare: now forms part of the records of these proceedings as
Exhibit "C" and appears as Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I, pp.
17-18);
1. That the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges was and is
composed exclusively of one-half (1/2) share in the
conjugal estate of the spouses Hodges, computed as of the 3. That on May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died at the
date of her death on May 23, 1957; City of Iloilo at the time survived by her husband, Charles
Newton Hodges, and several relatives named in her last
will and testament;

P a g e 33 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

4. That on June 28, 1957, a petition therefor having been owned by us located at, in or near the
priorly filed and duly heard, this Honorable Court issued City of Lubbock Texas, but he shall
an order admitting to probate the last will and testament have the full right to lease, manage
of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I, pp. 24- and enjoy the same during his lifetime,
25, 26-28); above provided. He shall have the
right to subdivide any farm land and
5. That the required notice to creditors and to all others sell lots therein, and may sell
who may have any claims against the decedent, Linnie unimproved town lots.
Jane Hodges has already been printed, published and
posted (Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I. pp. 34-40) and the FOURTH: At the death of my said
reglamentary period for filing such claims has long ago husband, Charles Newton Hodges, I
lapsed and expired without any claims having been give, devise and bequeath all of the
asserted against the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, rest, residue and remainder of my
approved by the Administrator/Administratrix of the said estate, both real and personal,
estate, nor ratified by this Honorable Court; wherever situated or located, to be
equally divided among my brothers
6. That the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges and sisters, share and share alike,
already admitted to probate contains an institution of namely:
heirs in the following words:
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard
"SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era
all of the rest, residue and remainder Boman and Nimroy Higdon.
of my estate, both personal and real,
wherever situated or located, to my FIFTH: In case of the death of any of
beloved husband, Charles Newton my brothers and/or sisters named in
Hodges to have and to hold unto him, item Fourth, above, prior to the death
my said husband, during his natural of my husband, Charles Newton
lifetime. Hodges, then it is my will and bequest
that the heirs of such deceased
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that brother or sister shall take jointly the
my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, share which would have gone to such
shall have the right to manage, brother or sister had she or he
control, use and enjoy said estate survived."
during his lifetime, and, he is hereby
given the right to make any changes in 7. That under the provisions of the last will and testament
the physical properties of said estate, already above-quoted, Linnie Jane Hodges gave a life-
by sale of any part thereof which he estate or a usufruct over all her estate to her husband,
may think best, and the purchase of Charles Newton Hodges, and a vested remainder-estate or
any other or additional property as he the naked title over the same estate to her relatives
may think best; to execute named therein;
conveyances with or without general
or special warranty, conveying in fee 8. That after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges and after the
simple or for any other term or time, admission to probate of her last will and testament, but
any property which he may deem during the lifetime of Charles Newton Hodges, the said
proper to dispose of; to lease any of Charles Newton Hodges with full and complete knowledge
the real property for oil, gas and/or of the life-estate or usufruct conferred upon him by the
other minerals, and all such deeds or will since he was then acting as Administrator of the estate
leases shall pass the absolute fee and later as Executor of the will of Linnie Jane Hodges,
simple title to the interest so unequivocably and clearly through oral and written
conveyed in such property as he elect declarations and sworn public statements, renounced,
to sell. All rents, emoluments and disclaimed and repudiated his life-estate and usufruct
income from said estate shall belong over the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
to him, and he is further authorized to
use any part of the principal of said
9. That, accordingly, the only heirs left to receive the
estate as he may need or desire. It is
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges pursuant to her last will and
provided herein, however, that he
testament, are her named brothers and sisters, or their
shall not sell or otherwise dispose of
heirs, to wit: Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon,
any of the improved property now
Aline Higdon and David Higdon, the latter two being the
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

wife and son respectively of the deceased Roy Higdon, Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957
Sadie Rascoe Era Boman and Nimroy Higdon, all of legal — one-half of these assets belong to
ages, American citizens, with residence at the State of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
Texas, United States of America;
b. An accounting must be made of the
10. That at the time of the death of Linnie Jane Hodges on "rents, emoluments and income" of all
May 23, 1957, she was the co-owner (together with her these assets — again one-half of these
husband Charles Newton Hodges) of an undivided one- belong to the estate of Linnie Jane
half interest in their conjugal properties existing as of that Hodges;
date, May 23, 1957, which properties are now being
administered sometimes jointly and sometimes separately c. Adjustments must be made, after
by the Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges making a deduction of charges,
and/or the Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges but disbursements and other dispositions
all of which are under the control and supervision of this made by Charles Newton Hodges
Honorable Court; personally and for his own personal
account from May 23, 1957 up to
11. That because there was no separation or segregation December 25, 1962, as well as other
of the interests of husband and wife in the combined charges, disbursements and other
conjugal estate, as there has been no such separation or dispositions made for him and in his
segregation up to the present, both interests have behalf since December 25, 1962 up to
continually earned exactly the same amount of "rents, the present;
emoluments and income", the entire estate having been
continually devoted to the business of the spouses as if 15. That there remains no other matter for disposition
they were alive; now insofar as the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is
concerned but to complete the liquidation of her estate,
12. That the one-half interest of Linnie Jane Hodges in the segregate them from the conjugal estate, and distribute
combined conjugal estate was earning "rents, them to her heirs pursuant to her last will and testament.
emoluments and income" until her death on May 23,
1957, when it ceased to be saddled with any more charges WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully
or expenditures which are purely personal to her in moved and prayed that this Honorable Court, after a
nature, and her estate kept on earning such "rents, hearing on the factual matters raised by this motion, issue
emoluments and income" by virtue of their having been an order:
expressly renounced, disclaimed and repudiated by
Charles Newton Hodges to whom they were bequeathed
a. Declaring the following persons, to wit: Esta Higdon,
for life under the last will and testament of Linnie Jane
Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Aline Higdon, David
Hodges;
Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimroy Higdon, as
the sole heirs under the last will and testament of Linnie
13. That, on the other hand, the one-half interest of Jane Hodges and as the only persons entitled to her estate;
Charles Newton Hodges in the combined conjugal estate
existing as of May 23, 1957, while it may have earned
b. Determining the exact value of the estate of Linnie Jane
exactly the same amount of "rents, emoluments and
Hodges in accordance with the system enunciated in
income" as that of the share pertaining to Linnie Jane
paragraph 14 of this motion;
Hodges, continued to be burdened by charges,
expenditures, and other dispositions which are purely
personal to him in nature, until the death of Charles c. After such determination ordering its segregation from
Newton Hodges himself on December 25, 1962; the combined conjugal estate and its delivery to the
Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges for
distribution to the heirs to whom they properly belong and
14. That of all the assets of the combined conjugal estate
appertain.
of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton Hodges as they
exist today, the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is clearly
entitled to a portion more than fifty percent (50%) as (Green Record on Appeal, pp. 382-391)
compared to the portion to which the estate of Charles
Newton Hodges may be entitled, which portions can be whereupon, instead of further pressing on its motion of January 8, 1965
exactly determined by the following manner: aforequoted, as it had been doing before, petitioner withdrew the said motion
and in addition to opposing the above motion of respondent Magno, filed a
a. An inventory must be made of the motion on April 22, 1966 alleging in part that:
assets of the combined conjugal
estate as they existed on the death of
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

1. That it has received from the counsel for the and then, after further reminding the court, by quoting them, of the relevant
administratrix of the supposed estate of Linnie Jane allegations of its earlier motion of September 14, 1964, Annex U, prayed that:
Hodges a notice to set her "Motion for Official Declaration
of Heirs of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges"; 1. Immediately order Avelina Magno to account for and
deliver to the administrator of the Estate of C. N. Hodges
2. That before the aforesaid motion could be heard, there all the assets of the conjugal partnership of the deceased
are matters pending before this Honorable Court, such as: Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges, plus all the rents,
emoluments and income therefrom;
a. The examination already ordered by
this Honorable Court of documents 2. Pending the consideration of this motion, immediately
relating to the allegation of Avelina order Avelina Magno to turn over all her collections to the
Magno that Charles Newton Hodges administrator Philippine Commercial & Industrial Bank;
"through ... written declarations and
sworn public statements, renounced, 3. Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp.
disclaimed and repudiated life-estate Proc. No. 1307) closed;
and usufruct over the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges';
4. Defer the hearing and consideration of the motion for
declaration of heirs in the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane
b. That "Urgent Motion for An Hodges until the matters hereinabove set forth are
Accounting and Delivery to the Estate resolved.
of C. N. Hodges of All the Assets of the (Prayer, Annex "V" of Petition.)
Conjugal Partnership of the Deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges
On October 12, 1966, as already indicated at the outset of this opinion, the
Existing as of May 23, 1957 Plus All the
respondent court denied the foregoing motion, holding thus:
Rents, Emoluments and Income
Therefrom";
ORDER
c. Various motions to resolve the
aforesaid motion; On record is a motion (Vol. X, Sp. 1672, pp. 4379-4390)
dated April 22, 1966 of administrator PCIB praying that (1)
Immediately order Avelina Magno to account for and
d. Manifestation of September 14,
deliver to the administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges
1964, detailing acts of interference of
all assets of the conjugal partnership of the deceased
Avelina Magno under color of title as
Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges, plus all the rents,
administratrix of the Estate of Linnie
emoluments and income therefrom; (2) Pending the
Jane Hodges;
consideration of this motion, immediately order Avelina
Magno to turn over all her collections to the administrator
which are all prejudicial, and which involve no issues of PCIB; (3) Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
fact, all facts involved therein being matters of record, and (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) closed; and (4) Defer the hearing and
therefore require only the resolution of questions of law; consideration of the motion for declaration of heirs in the
Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges until the matters
3. That whatever claims any alleged heirs or other persons hereinabove set forth are resolved.
may have could be very easily threshed out in the Testate
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges; This motion is predicated on the fact that there are
matters pending before this court such as (a) the
4. That the maintenance of two separate estate examination already ordered by this Honorable Court of
proceedings and two administrators only results in documents relating to the allegation of Avelina Magno
confusion and is unduly burdensome upon the Testate that Charles Newton Hodges thru written declaration and
Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, particularly because the sworn public statements renounced, disclaimed and
bond filed by Avelina Magno is grossly insufficient to repudiated his life-estate and usufruct over the estate of
answer for the funds and property which she has Linnie Jane Hodges (b) the urgent motion for accounting
inofficiously collected and held, as well as those which she and delivery to the estate of C. N. Hodges of all the assets
continues to inofficiously collect and hold; of the conjugal partnership of the deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges and C. N. Hodges existing as of May 23, 1957 plus
5. That it is a matter of record that such state of affairs all the rents, emoluments and income therefrom; (c)
affects and inconveniences not only the estate but also various motions to resolve the aforesaid motion; and (d)
third-parties dealing with it;" (Annex "V", Petition.) manifestation of September 14, 1964, detailing acts of

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

interference of Avelina Magno under color of title as That the matters raised in the PCIB's motion of October 5,
administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. 1963 (as well as the other motion) dated September 14,
1964 have been consolidated for the purpose of
These matters, according to the instant motion, are all pre- presentation and reception of evidence with the hearing
judicial involving no issues of facts and only require the on the determination of the heirs of the estate of Linnie
resolution of question of law; that in the motion of Jane Hodges. It is further alleged in the opposition that the
October 5, 1963 it is alleged that in a motion dated motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate of
December 11, 1957 filed by Atty. Leon Gellada as attorney Linnie Jane Hodges is the one that constitutes a prejudicial
for the executor C. N. Hodges, the said executor C. N. question to the motions dated October 5 and September
Hodges is not only part owner of the properties left as 14, 1964 because if said motion is found meritorious and
conjugal but also the successor to all the properties left by granted by the Court, the PCIB's motions of October 5,
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges. 1963 and September 14, 1964 will become moot and
academic since they are premised on the assumption and
claim that the only heir of Linnie Jane Hodges was C. N.
Said motion of December 11, 1957 was approved by the
Hodges.
Court in consonance with the wishes contained in the last
will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges.
That the PCIB and counsel are estopped from further
questioning the determination of heirs in the estate of
That on April 21, 1959 this Court approved the inventory
Linnie Jane Hodges at this stage since it was PCIB as early
and accounting submitted by C. N. Hodges thru counsel
as January 8, 1965 which filed a motion for official
Atty. Leon Gellada in a motion filed on April 14, 1959
declaration of heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges that the claim of
stating therein that executor C. N. Hodges is the only
any heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges can be determined only in
devisee or legatee of Linnie Jane Hodges in accordance
the administration proceedings over the estate of Linnie
with the last will and testament already probated by the
Jane Hodges and not that of C. N. Hodges, since the heirs
Court.
of Linnie Jane Hodges are claiming her estate and not the
estate of C. N. Hodges.
That on July 13, 1960 the Court approved the annual
statement of accounts submitted by the executor C. N.
A reply (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4436-4444) dated May 11,
Hodges thru his counsel Atty. Gellada on July 21, 1960
1966 of the PCIB has been filed alleging that the motion
wherein it is stated that the executor, C. N. Hodges is the
dated April 22, 1966 of the PCIB is not to seek deferment
only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane
of the hearing and consideration of the motion for official
Hodges; that on May 2, 1961 the Court approved the
declaration of heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges but to declare
annual statement of accounts submitted by executor, C. N.
the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges closed and for
Hodges for the year 1960 which was submitted by Atty.
administratrix Magno to account for and deliver to the
Gellada on April 20, 1961 wherein it is stated that executor
PCIB all assets of the conjugal partnership of the deceased
Hodges is the only devisee or legatee of the deceased
spouses which has come to her possession plus all rents
Linnie Jane Hodges;
and income.

That during the hearing on September 5 and 6, 1963 the


A rejoinder (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4458-4462) of
estate of C. N. Hodges claimed all the assets belonging to
administratrix Magno dated May 19, 1966 has been filed
the deceased spouses Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N.
alleging that the motion dated December 11, 1957 only
Hodges situated in the Philippines; that administratrix
sought the approval of all conveyances made by C. N.
Magno has executed illegal acts to the prejudice of the
Hodges and requested the Court authority for all
testate estate of C. N. Hodges.
subsequent conveyances that will be executed by C. N.
Hodges; that the order dated December 14, 1957 only
An opposition (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4415-4421) dated April approved the conveyances made by C. N. Hodges; that C.
27, 1966 of administratrix Magno has been filed asking N. Hodges represented by counsel never made any claim
that the motion be denied for lack of merit and that the in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and never filed a
motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate of motion to declare himself as the heir of the said Linnie
Linnie Jane Hodges be set for presentation and reception Jane Hodges despite the lapse of more than five (5) years
of evidence. after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges; that it is further
alleged in the rejoinder that there can be no order of
It is alleged in the aforesaid opposition that the adjudication of the estate unless there has been a prior
examination of documents which are in the possession of express declaration of heirs and so far no declaration of
administratrix Magno can be made prior to the hearing of heirs in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. 1307) has
the motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate been made.
of Linnie Jane Hodges, during said hearing.

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Considering the allegations and arguments in the motion and reiterated its fundamental pose that the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane
and of the PCIB as well as those in the opposition and Hodges had already been factually, although not legally, closed with the virtual
rejoinder of administratrix Magno, the Court finds the declaration of Hodges and adjudication to him, as sole universal heir of all the
opposition and rejoinder to be well taken for the reason properties of the estate of his wife, in the order of December 14, 1957, Annex
that so far there has been no official declaration of heirs in G. Still unpersuaded, on July 18, 1967, respondent court denied said motion
the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and therefore no for reconsideration and held that "the court believes that there is no
disposition of her estate. justification why the order of October 12, 1966 should be considered or
modified", and, on July 19, 1967, the motion of respondent Magno "for official
WHEREFORE, the motion of the PCIB dated April 22, 1966 declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", already referred to
is hereby DENIED. above, was set for hearing.
(Annex "W", Petition)
In consequence of all these developments, the present petition was filed on
In its motion dated November 24, 1966 for the reconsideration of this order, August 1, 1967 (albeit petitioner had to pay another docketing fee on August
petitioner alleged inter alia that: 9, 1967, since the orders in question were issued in two separate testate
estate proceedings, Nos. 1307 and 1672, in the court below).
It cannot be over-stressed that the motion of December
11, 1957 was based on the fact that: Together with such petition, there are now pending before Us for resolution
herein, appeals from the following:
a. Under the last will and testament of
the deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, the 1. The order of December 19, 1964 authorizing payment
late Charles Newton Hodges was the by respondent Magno of overtime pay, (pp. 221, Green
sole heir instituted insofar as her Record on Appeal) together with the subsequent orders of
properties in the Philippines are January 9, 1965, (pp. 231-232,id.) October 27, 1965, (pp.
concerned; 227, id.) and February 15, 1966 (pp. 455-456, id.)
repeatedly denying motions for reconsideration thereof.
b. Said last will and testament vested
upon the said late Charles Newton 2. The order of August 6, 1965 (pp. 248, id.) requiring that
Hodges rights over said properties deeds executed by petitioner to be co-signed by
which, in sum, spell ownership, respondent Magno, as well as the order of October 27,
absolute and in fee simple; 1965 (pp. 276-277) denying reconsideration.

c. Said late Charles Newton Hodges 3. The order of October 27, 1965 (pp. 292-295, id.)
was, therefore, "not only part owner enjoining the deposit of all collections in a joint account
of the properties left as conjugal, but and the same order of February 15, 1966 mentioned in No.
also, the successor to all the 1 above which included the denial of the reconsideration
properties left by the deceased Linnie of this order of October 27, 1965.
Jane Hodges.
4. The order of November 3, 1965 (pp. 313-320, id.)
Likewise, it cannot be over-stressed that the aforesaid directing the payment of attorney's fees, fees of the
motion was granted by this Honorable Court "for the respondent administratrix, etc. and the order of February
reasons stated" therein. 16, 1966 denying reconsideration thereof.

Again, the motion of December 11, 1957 prayed that not 5. The order of November 23, 1965 (pp. 334-335, id.)
only "all the sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages allowing appellee Western Institute of Technology to
executed by" the late Charles Newton Hodges, but also all make payments to either one or both of the
"the subsequent sales, conveyances, leases, and administrators of the two estates as well as the order of
mortgages ..." be approved and authorized. This March 7, 1966 (p. 462, id.) denying reconsideration.
Honorable Court, in its order of December 14, 1957, "for
the reasons stated" in the aforesaid motion, granted the 6. The various orders hereinabove earlier enumerated
same, and not only approved all the sales, conveyances, approving deeds of sale executed by respondent Magno in
leases and mortgages of all properties left by the deceased favor of appellees Carles, Catedral, Pablito, Guzman,
Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the late Charles Newton Coronado, Barrido, Causing, Javier, Lucero and Batisanan,
Hodges, but also authorized "all subsequent sales, (see pp. 35 to 37 of this opinion), together with the two
conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left separate orders both dated December 2, 1966 (pp. 306-
by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges. (Annex "X", 308, and pp. 308-309, Yellow Record on Appeal) denying
Petition) reconsideration of said approval.

P a g e 38 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

7. The order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336, Yellow XIII to XV


Record on Appeal, approving similar deeds of sale
executed by respondent Magno, as those in No. 6, in favor THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL
of appellees Pacaonsis and Premaylon, as to which no DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA
motion for reconsideration was filed. PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, AND
ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104), EXECUTED BY THE
8. Lastly, the order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 305-306, APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF
Yellow Record on Appeal, directing petitioner to surrender LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
to appellees Lucero, Batisanan, Javier, Pablito, Barrido, HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH
Catedral, Causing, Guzman, and Coronado, the certificates WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
of title covering the lands involved in the approved sales,
as to which no motion for reconsideration was filed either. XVI to XVIII

Strictly speaking, and considering that the above orders deal with different THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF
matters, just as they affect distinctly different individuals or persons, as SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON
outlined by petitioner in its brief as appellant on pp. 12-20 thereof, there are, (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA
therefore, thirty-three (33) appeals before Us, for which reason, petitioner has PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104) COVERING PARCELS OF LAND
to pay also thirty-one (31) more docket fees. FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS TO SELL.
It is as well perhaps to state here as elsewhere in this opinion that in
connection with these appeals, petitioner has assigned a total of seventy-eight XIX to XXI
(LXXVIII) alleged errors, the respective discussions and arguments under all of
them covering also the fundamental issues raised in respect to the petition
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS
for certiorari and prohibition, thus making it feasible and more practical for
OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE APPELLEES
the Court to dispose of all these cases together.4
ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO
PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104)
The assignments of error read thus: WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT.

I to IV XXII to XXV

THE ORDER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL
DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES LORENZO
IYULORES, ESPIRIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO C. ESPADA CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND
AND ROSARIO ALINGASA, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE,
AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND
OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES,
AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE
EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME. EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.

V to VIII XXVI to XXIX

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEED
SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES, OF SALE EXECUTED IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES,
ESPIRIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL
ROSARIO ALINGASA, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND FOR AND SALVADOR S. GUZMAN PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS
WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN ACCORDANCE TO SPELL WHICH WERE CANCELLED AND RESCINDED.
WITH THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS TO SELL.
XXX to XXXIV
IX to XII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE LORENZO
OF OWNERSHIP OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE APPELLEES, CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND
PEPITO G. IYULORES, ESPIRIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE
C. ESPADA AND ROSARIO ALINGASA, WHILE ACTING AS A COURT.
PROBATE COURT.
XXXV to XXXVI

P a g e 39 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL THE RIGHTS OF THE SAID APPELLEES OVER REAL PROPERTY
DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT.
BARRIDO AND PURIFICACION CORONADO, EXECUTED BY
THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS L
OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL
WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR
CAUSING, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
XXXVII to XXXVIII MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED
SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
AND PURIFICACION CORONADO, ALTHOUGH THEY WERE
IN ARREARS IN THE PAYMENTS AGREED UPON IN THE LI
ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL WHICH THEY EXECUTED
WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, IN THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF
AMOUNT OF P10,680.00 and P4,428.90, RESPECTIVELY.
SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING,
ALTHOUGH HE WAS IN ARREARS IN THE PAYMENTS
XXXIX to XL AGREED UPON IN THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL
WHICH HE EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE DECEASED, NEWTON HODGES, IN THE AMOUNT OF P2,337.50.
CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, OF THE CONTRACTUAL
RIGHT, EXERCISED THROUGH HIS ADMINISTRATOR, THE LII
INSTANT APPELLANT, TO CANCEL THE CONTRACTS TO SELL
OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEED OF
PURIFICACION CORONADO.
SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING,
ALTHOUGH THE SAME WAS NOT EXECUTED IN
XLI to XLIII ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF COURT.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL LIII to LXI


DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, GRACIANO
LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR AND MELQUIADES
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE APPELLANT,
BATISANAN, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK TO
MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE
SURRENDER THE OWNER'S DUPLICATE CERTIFICATES OF
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE
TITLE OVER THE RESPECTIVE LOTS COVERED BY THE DEEDS
CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED
OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO,
BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
IN FAVOR OF THE OTHER APPELLEES, JOSE PABLICO,
ALFREDO CATEDRAL, SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, FLRENIA
XLIV to XLVI BARRIDO, PURIFICACION CORONADO, BELCESAR
CAUSING, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR, MAXIMA BATISANAN
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEED AND GRACIANO L. LUCERO.
OF SALE IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO,
ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN, LXII
PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO SELL EXECUTED BY THEM
WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RESOLVING THE MOTION OF
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER
THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY,
COMPLIED WITH.
DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1965, WITHOUT ANY COPY
THEREOF HAVING BEEN SERVED UPON THE APPELLANT,
XLVII to XLIX PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL BANK.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE DECEASED, LXIII


CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, OF HIS RIGHT, EXERCISED
THROUGH HIS ADMINISTRATION, THE INSTANT
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HEARING AND
APPELLANT, TO CANCEL THE CONTRACTS TO SELL OF THE
CONSIDERING THE MOTION OF THE APPELLEE, WESTERN
APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, DATED NOVEMBER 3rd,
AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN, AND IN DETERMINING

P a g e 40 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

1965, ON NOVEMBER 23, 1965, WHEN THE NOTICE FOR SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE
THE HEARING THEREOF WAS FOR NOVEMBER 20, 1965. HODGES, AND THEIR LAWYERS.

LXIV LXXI

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE APPELLEE, THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PREMATURE
WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY A RELIEF OTHER DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE ASSETS TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR
THAN THAT PRAYED FOR IN ITS MOTION, DATED BENEFICIARIES THEREOF, BY WAY OF RETAINER'S FEES.
NOVEMBER 3, 1965, IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRAYER FOR
GENERAL RELIEF CONTAINED THEREIN. LXXII

LXV THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT ALL FINAL


DEEDS OF SALE EXECUTED PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE APPELLEE, SELL ENTERED INTO BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, TO CONTINUE HODGES, DURING HIS LIFETIME, BE SIGNED JOINTLY BY
PAYMENTS UPON A CONTRACT TO SELL THE TERMS AND THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, AND THE APPELLANT,
CONDITIONS OF WHICH IT HAS FAILED TO FULFILL. PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND
NOT BY THE LATTER ONLY AS THE LAWFULLY APPOINTED
LXVI ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS LXXIII


OF THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
OVER THE REAL PROPERTY SUBJECT MATTER OF THE THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT
CONTRACT TO SELL IT EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, OF LEGAL EXPENSES FROM THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE
CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, WHILE ACTING AS A DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES, WHEN THERE IS
PROBATE COURT. NEITHER SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.

LXVII LXXIV

LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE CONTINUATION THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT
OF PAYMENTS BY THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF OF LEGAL EXPENSES OF LAWYERS OF ALLEGED HEIRS TO
TECHNOLOGY, UPON A CONTRACT TO SELL EXECUTED BY THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE
IT AND THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, TO A HODGES.
PERSON OTHER THAN HIS LAWFULLY APPOINTED
ADMINISTRATOR. LXXV

LXVIII THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PREMATURE


DISTRIBUTION OF ESTATE ASSETS TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT BENEFICIARIES THEREOF, BY WAY OF LEGAL EXPENSES.
OF RETAINER'S FEES FROM THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE
DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES, WHEN THERE IS LXXVI
NEITHER SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT
LXIX OF COMPENSATION TO THE PURPORTED
ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES, THE INSTANT APPELLEE,
OF RETAINER'S FEES OF LAWYERS OF ALLEGED HEIRS TO AVELINA A. MAGNO, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH
THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
HODGES.
LXXVII
LXX
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE FUNDS
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IMPLEMENTING THE OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES
ALLEGED AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE HEIRS OF THE NEWTON HODGES, BE PLACED IN A JOINT ACCOUNT OF
THE APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND

P a g e 41 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. II


MAGNO, WHO IS A COMPLETE STRANGER TO THE
AFORESAID ESTATE. The Propriety Here of Certiorari and
Prohibition instead of Appeal
LXXVIII
The other preliminary point of the same respondent is alleged impropriety of
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE the special civil action of certiorari and prohibition in view of the existence of
APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, BE GIVEN EQUAL ACCESS the remedy of appeal which it claims is proven by the very appeals now before
TO THE RECORDS OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE Us. Such contention fails to take into account that there is a common thread
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, WHEN SHE IS A among the basic issues involved in all these thirty-three appeals which, unless
COMPLETE STRANGER TO THE AFORESAID ESTATE. (Pp. resolved in one single proceeding, will inevitably cause the proliferation of
73-83, Appellant's Brief.) more or less similar or closely related incidents and consequent eventual
appeals. If for this consideration alone, and without taking account anymore
To complete this rather elaborate, and unavoidably extended narration of the of the unnecessary additional effort, expense and time which would be
factual setting of these cases, it may also be mentioned that an attempt was involved in as many individual appeals as the number of such incidents, it is
made by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges to have respondent Magno removed as logical and proper to hold, as We do hold, that the remedy of appeal is not
administratrix, with the proposed appointment of Benito J. Lopez in her place, adequate in the present cases. In determining whether or not a special civil
and that respondent court did actually order such proposed replacement, but action of certiorari or prohibition may be resorted to in lieu of appeal, in
the Court declared the said order of respondent court violative of its injunction instances wherein lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion is
of August 8, 1967, hence without force and effect (see Resolution of alleged, it is not enough that the remedy of appeal exists or is possible. It is
September 8, 1972 and February 1, 1973). Subsequently, Atty. Efrain B. Trenas, indispensable that taking all the relevant circumstances of the given case,
one of the lawyers of said heirs, appeared no longer for the proposed appeal would better serve the interests of justice. Obviously, the longer delay,
administrator Lopez but for the heirs themselves, and in a motion dated augmented expense and trouble and unnecessary repetition of the same work
October 26, 1972 informed the Court that a motion had been filed with attendant to the present multiple appeals, which, after all, deal with
respondent court for the removal of petitioner PCIB as administrator of the practically the same basic issues that can be more expeditiously resolved or
estate of C. N. Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, which removal motion determined in a single special civil action, make the remedies of certiorari and
alleged that 22.968149% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already been prohibition, pursued by petitioner, preferable, for purposes of resolving the
acquired by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges from certain heirs of her husband. common basic issues raised in all of them, despite the conceded availability of
Further, in this connection, in the answer of PCIB to the motion of respondent appeal. Besides, the settling of such common fundamental issues would
Magno to have it declared in contempt for disregarding the Court's resolution naturally minimize the areas of conflict between the parties and render more
of September 8, 1972 modifying the injunction of August 8, 1967, said simple the determination of the secondary issues in each of them. Accordingly,
petitioner annexed thereto a joint manifestation and motion, appearing to respondent Magno's objection to the present remedy of certiorariand
have been filed with respondent court, informing said court that in addition to prohibition must be overruled.
the fact that 22% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already been bought by the
heirs of Mrs. Hodges, as already stated, certain other heirs of Hodges We come now to the errors assigned by petitioner-appellant, Philippine
representing 17.343750% of his estate were joining cause with the heirs of Commercial & Industrial Bank, (PCIB, for short) in the petition as well as in its
Mrs. Hodges as against PCIB, thereby making somewhat precarious, if not main brief as appellant.
possibly untenable, petitioners' continuation as administrator of the Hodges
estate. III

RESOLUTION OF ISSUES IN THE CERTIORARI AND On Whether or Not There is Still Any Part of the Testate
PROHIBITION CASES Estate Mrs. Hodges that may be Adjudicated to her brothers
and sisters as her estate, of which respondent Magno is the
I unquestioned Administratrix in special Proceedings 1307.

As to the Alleged Tardiness In the petition, it is the position of PCIB that the respondent court exceeded
of the Present Appeals its jurisdiction or gravely abused its discretion in further recognizing after
December 14, 1957 the existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
The priority question raised by respondent Magno relates to the alleged and in sanctioning purported acts of administration therein of respondent
tardiness of all the aforementioned thirty-three appeals of PCIB. Considering, Magno. Main ground for such posture is that by the aforequoted order of
however, that these appeals revolve around practically the same main issues respondent court of said date, Hodges was already allowed to assert and
and that it is admitted that some of them have been timely taken, and, exercise all his rights as universal heir of his wife pursuant to the provisions of
moreover, their final results hereinbelow to be stated and explained make it her will, quoted earlier, hence, nothing else remains to be done in Special
of no consequence whether or not the orders concerned have become final Proceedings 1307 except to formally close it. In other words, the contention
by the lapsing of the respective periods to appeal them, We do not deem it of PCIB is that in view of said order, nothing more than a formal declaration of
necessary to pass upon the timeliness of any of said appeals. Hodges as sole and exclusive heir of his wife and the consequent formal
unqualified adjudication to him of all her estate remain to be done to
completely close Special Proceedings 1307, hence respondent Magno should
P a g e 42 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

be considered as having ceased to be Administratrix of the Testate Estate of These provisions cannot mean anything less than that in order that a
Mrs. Hodges since then. proceeding for the settlement of the estate of a deceased may be deemed
ready for final closure, (1) there should have been issued already an order of
After carefully going over the record, We feel constrained to hold that such distribution or assignment of the estate of the decedent among or to those
pose is patently untenable from whatever angle it is examined. entitled thereto by will or by law, but (2) such order shall not be issued until
after it is shown that the "debts, funeral expenses, expenses of administration,
allowances, taxes, etc. chargeable to the estate" have been paid, which is but
To start with, We cannot find anywhere in respondent Order of December 14,
logical and proper. (3) Besides, such an order is usually issued upon proper and
1957 the sense being read into it by PCIB. The tenor of said order bears no
specific application for the purpose of the interested party or parties, and not
suggestion at all to such effect. The declaration of heirs and distribution by the
of the court.
probate court of the estate of a decedent is its most important function, and
this Court is not disposed to encourage judges of probate proceedings to be
less than definite, plain and specific in making orders in such regard, if for no ... it is only after, and not before, the payment of all debts,
other reason than that all parties concerned, like the heirs, the creditors, and funeral charges, expenses of administration, allowance to
most of all the government, the devisees and legatees, should know with the widow, and inheritance tax shall have been effected
certainty what are and when their respective rights and obligations ensuing that the court should make a declaration of heirs or of such
from the inheritance or in relation thereto would begin or cease, as the case persons as are entitled by law to the residue. (Moran,
may be, thereby avoiding precisely the legal complications and consequent Comments on the Rules of Court, 2nd ed., Vol. II, p. 397,
litigations similar to those that have developed unnecessarily in the present citing Capistrano vs. Nadurata, 49 Phil., 726; Lopez vs.
cases. While it is true that in instances wherein all the parties interested in the Lopez, 37 Off. Gaz., 3091.) (JIMOGA-ON v. BELMONTE, 84
estate of a deceased person have already actually distributed among Phil. 545, 548) (p. 86, Appellee's Brief)
themselves their respective shares therein to the satisfaction of everyone
concerned and no rights of creditors or third parties are adversely affected, it xxx xxx xxx
would naturally be almost ministerial for the court to issue the final order of
declaration and distribution, still it is inconceivable that the special proceeding Under Section 753 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
instituted for the purpose may be considered terminated, the respective rights (corresponding to Section 1, Rule 90) what brings an
of all the parties concerned be deemed definitely settled, and the executor or intestate (or testate) proceeding to a close is the order of
administrator thereof be regarded as automatically discharged and relieved distribution directing delivery of the residue to the
already of all functions and responsibilities without the corresponding definite persons entitled thereto after paying the indebtedness, if
orders of the probate court to such effect. any, left by the deceased. (Santiesteban vs. Santiesteban,
68 Phil. 367, 370.)
Indeed, the law on the matter is specific, categorical and unequivocal. Section
1 of Rule 90 provides: In the cases at bar, We cannot discern from the voluminous and varied facts,
pleadings and orders before Us that the above indispensable prerequisites for
SECTION 1. When order for distribution of residue made. the declaration of heirs and the adjudication of the estate of Mrs. Hodges had
— When the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of already been complied with when the order of December 14, 1957 was issued.
administration, the allowance to the widow and As already stated, We are not persuaded that the proceedings leading to the
inheritance tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in issuance of said order, constituting barely of the motion of May 27, 1957,
accordance with law have been paid, the court, on the Annex D of the petition, the order of even date, Annex E, and the motion of
application of the executor or administrator, or of a person December 11, 1957, Annex H, all aforequoted, are what the law contemplates.
interested in the estate, and after hearing upon notice, We cannot see in the order of December 14, 1957, so much relied upon by the
shall assign the residue of the estate to the persons petitioner, anything more than an explicit approval of "all the sales,
entitled to the same, naming them and the proportions, or conveyances, leases and mortgages of all the properties left by the deceased
parts, to which each is entitled, and such persons may Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor Charles N. Hodges" (after the
demand and recover their respective shares from the death of his wife and prior to the date of the motion), plus a general advance
executor or administrator, or any other person having the authorization to enable said "Executor — to execute subsequent sales,
same in his possession. If there is a controversy before the conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left the said deceased
court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with wishes conveyed in the last will and
person or as to the distributive shares to which each testament of the latter", which, certainly, cannot amount to the order of
person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be adjudication of the estate of the decedent to Hodges contemplated in the law.
heard and decided as in ordinary cases. In fact, the motion of December 11, 1957 on which the court predicated the
order in question did not pray for any such adjudication at all. What is more,
No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the although said motion did allege that "herein Executor (Hodges) is not only part
obligations above mentioned has been made or provided owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the
for, unless the distributees, or any of them give a bond, in properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges", it significantly added that
a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the "herein Executor, as Legatee (sic), has the right to sell, convey, lease or dispose
payment of said obligations within such time as the court of the properties in the Philippines — during his lifetime", thereby indicating
directs. that what said motion contemplated was nothing more than either the
enjoyment by Hodges of his rights under the particular portion of the

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dispositions of his wife's will which were to be operative only during his distribution and adjudication of the estate, but merely for him to be able,
lifetime or the use of his own share of the conjugal estate, pending the pending such final distribution and adjudication, to either exercise during his
termination of the proceedings. In other words, the authority referred to in lifetime rights of dominion over his wife's estate in accordance with the
said motions and orders is in the nature of that contemplated either in Section bequest in his favor, which, as already observed, may be allowed under the
2 of Rule 109 which permits, in appropriate cases, advance or partial broad terms of Section 2 of Rule 109, or make use of his own share of the
implementation of the terms of a duly probated will before final adjudication conjugal estate. In any event, We do not believe that the trial court could have
or distribution when the rights of third parties would not be adversely affected acted in the sense pretended by petitioner, not only because of the clear
thereby or in the established practice of allowing the surviving spouse to language of the will but also because none of the interested parties had been
dispose of his own share of he conjugal estate, pending its final liquidation, duly notified of the motion and hearing thereof. Stated differently, if the
when it appears that no creditors of the conjugal partnership would be orders of May 27, 1957 and December 4, 1957 were really intended to be read
prejudiced thereby, (see the Revised Rules of Court by Francisco, Vol. V-B, in the sense contended by petitioner, We would have no hesitancy in declaring
1970 ed. p. 887) albeit, from the tenor of said motions, We are more inclined them null and void.
to believe that Hodges meant to refer to the former. In any event, We are fully
persuaded that the quoted allegations of said motions read together cannot Petitioner cites the case of Austria vs. Ventenilla, G. R. No. L-10018, September
be construed as a repudiation of the rights unequivocally established in the 19, 1956, (unreported but a partial digest thereof appears in 99 Phil. 1069) in
will in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters to whatever have not been support of its insistence that with the orders of May 27 and December 14,
disposed of by him up to his death. 1957, the closure of Mrs. Hodges' estate has become a mere formality,
inasmuch as said orders amounted to the order of adjudication and
Indeed, nowhere in the record does it appear that the trial court subsequently distribution ordained by Section 1 of Rule 90. But the parallel attempted to be
acted upon the premise suggested by petitioner. On the contrary, on drawn between that case and the present one does not hold. There the trial
November 23, 1965, when the court resolved the motion of appellee Western court had in fact issued a clear, distinct and express order of adjudication and
Institute of Technology by its order We have quoted earlier, it categorically distribution more than twenty years before the other heirs of the deceased
held that as of said date, November 23, 1965, "in both cases (Special filed their motion asking that the administratrix be removed, etc. As quoted in
Proceedings 1307 and 1672) there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor that decision, the order of the lower court in that respect read as follows:
distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto." In this
connection, it may be stated further against petitioner, by way of some kind En orden a la mocion de la administradora, el juzgado la
of estoppel, that in its own motion of January 8, 1965, already quoted in full encuentra procedente bajo la condicion de que no se hara
on pages 54-67 of this decision, it prayed inter alia that the court declare that entrega ni adjudicacion de los bienes a los herederos antes
"C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of the estate of Linnie Jane de que estos presten la fianza correspondiente y de
Hodges", which it would not have done if it were really convinced that the acuerdo con lo prescrito en el Art. 754 del Codigo de
order of December 14, 1957 was already the order of adjudication and Procedimientos: pues, en autos no aparece que hayan sido
distribution of her estate. That said motion was later withdrawn when Magno nombrados comisionados de avaluo y reclamaciones.
filed her own motion for determination and adjudication of what should Dicha fianza podra ser por un valor igual al de los bienes
correspond to the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges does not alter the que correspondan a cada heredero segun el testamento.
indubitable implication of the prayer of the withdrawn motion. Creo que no es obice para la terminacion del expediente
el hecho de que la administradora no ha presentado hasta
It must be borne in mind that while it is true that Mrs. Hodges bequeathed her ahora el inventario de los bienes; pues, segun la ley, estan
whole estate to her husband and gave him what amounts to full powers of exentos de esta formalidad os administradores que son
dominion over the same during his lifetime, she imposed at the same time the legatarios del residuo o remanente de los bienes y hayan
condition that whatever should remain thereof upon his death should go to prestado fianza para responder de las gestiones de su
her brothers and sisters. In effect, therefore, what was absolutely given to cargo, y aparece en el testamento que la administradora
Hodges was only so much of his wife's estate as he might possibly dispose of Alejandra Austria reune dicha condicion.
during his lifetime; hence, even assuming that by the allegations in his motion,
he did intend to adjudicate the whole estate to himself, as suggested by POR TODO LO EXPUESTO, el juzgado declara, 1.o: no haber
petitioner, such unilateral act could not have affected or diminished in any lugar a la mocion de Ramon Ventenilla y otros; 2.o, declara
degree or manner the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law over what would asimismo que los unicos herederos del finado Antonio
remain thereof upon his death, for surely, no one can rightly contend that the Ventenilla son su esposa Alejandra Austria, Maria
testamentary provision in question allowed him to so adjudicate any part of Ventenilla, hermana del testador, y Ramon Ventenilla,
the estate to himself as to prejudice them. In other words, irrespective of Maria Ventenilla, Ramon Soriano, Eulalio Soriano, Jose
whatever might have been Hodges' intention in his motions, as Executor, of Soriano, Gabriela Ventenilla, Lorenzo Ventenilla, Felicitas
May 27, 1957 and December 11, 1957, the trial court's orders granting said Ventenilla, Eugenio Ventenilla y Alejandra Ventenilla, en
motions, even in the terms in which they have been worded, could not have representacion de los difuntos Juan, Tomas, Catalino y
had the effect of an absolute and unconditional adjudication unto Hodges of Froilan, hermanos del testador, declarando, ademas que
the whole estate of his wife. None of them could have deprived his brothers la heredera Alejandra Austria tiene derecho al remanente
and sisters-in-law of their rights under said will. And it may be added here that de todos los bienes dejados por el finado, despues de
the fact that no one appeared to oppose the motions in question may only be deducir de ellos la porcion que corresponde a cada uno de
attributed, firstly, to the failure of Hodges to send notices to any of them, as sus coherederos, conforme esta mandado en las clausulas
admitted in the motion itself, and, secondly, to the fact that even if they had 8.a, 9.a, 10.a, 11.a, 12.a y 13.a del testamento; 3.o, se
been notified, they could not have taken said motions to be for the final
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

aprueba el pago hecho por la administradora de los gastos exactly one-half of the net income of his combined
de la ultima enfermedad y funerales del testador, de la personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane
donacion hecha por el testador a favor de la Escuela a Hodges. (p. 91, Appellee's Brief.)
Publica del Municipio de Mangatarem, y de las misas en
sufragio del alma del finado; 4.o, que una vez prestada la Under date of July 21, 1960, C. N. Hodges filed his second
fianza mencionada al principio de este auto, se haga la "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor" of the
entrega y adjudicacion de los bienes, conforme se dispone estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of
en el testamento y se acaba de declarar en este auto; 5.o, Networth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane
y, finalmente, que verificada la adjudicacion, se dara por Hodges" as of December 31, 1959 annexed thereto, C. N.
terminada la administracion, revelandole toda Hodges reported that the combined conjugal estate
responsabilidad a la administradora, y cancelando su earned a net income of P270,623.32, divided evenly
fianza. between him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax return"
ASI SE ORDENA. for calendar year 1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
reporting, under oath, the said estate as having earned
Undoubtedly, after the issuance of an order of such tenor, the closure of any income of P135,311.66, exactly one-half of the net income
proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased person cannot be of his combined personal assets and that of the estate of
but perfunctory. Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 91-92, id.)

In the case at bar, as already pointed out above, the two orders relied upon by Under date of April 20, 1961, C. N. Hodges filed his third
petitioner do not appear ex-facie to be of the same tenor and nature as the "Annual Statement of Account by the Executor for the year
order just quoted, and, what is more, the circumstances attendant to its 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the
issuance do not suggest that such was the intention of the court, for nothing "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and the
could have been more violative of the will of Mrs. Hodges. Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, 1960
annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges reported that the
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
Indeed, to infer from Hodges' said motions and from his statements of
P314,857.94, divided of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to
accounts for the years 1958, 1959 and 1960, A Annexes I, K and M,
this, he filed an "individual evenly between him and the
respectively, wherein he repeatedly claimed that "herein executor (being) the
estate income tax return" for calendar year 1960 on the
only devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the last will and
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, the
testament already probated," there is "no (other) person interested in the
said estate as having earned income of P157,428.97,
Philippines of the time and place of examining herein account to be given
exactly one-half of the net income of his combined
notice", an intent to adjudicate unto himself the whole of his wife's estate in
personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane
an absolute manner and without regard to the contingent interests of her
Hodges. (pp. 92-93, id.)
brothers and sisters, is to impute bad faith to him, an imputation which is not
legally permissible, much less warranted by the facts of record herein. Hodges
knew or ought to have known that, legally speaking, the terms of his wife's will In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he listed
did not give him such a right. Factually, there are enough circumstances extant the seven brothers and sisters of Linnie Jane as her "heirs"
in the records of these cases indicating that he had no such intention to ignore (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the court admitting the
the rights of his co-heirs. In his very motions in question, Hodges alleged, thru will to probate unfortunately omitted one of the heirs, Roy
counsel, that the "deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving no descendants Higdon (see p. 14, Green ROA). Immediately, C. N. Hodges
and ascendants, except brothers and sisters and herein petitioner, as surviving filed a verified motion to have Roy Higdon's name included
spouse, to inherit the properties of the decedent", and even promised that as an heir, stating that he wanted to straighten the records
"proper accounting will be had — in all these transactions" which he had "in order (that) the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not
submitted for approval and authorization by the court, thereby implying that think or believe they were omitted, and that they were
he was aware of his responsibilities vis-a-vis his co-heirs. As alleged by really and are interested in the estate of deceased Linnie
respondent Magno in her brief as appellee: Jane Hodges".

Under date of April 14, 1959, C. N. Hodges filed his first Thus, he recognized, if in his own way, the separate identity of his wife's estate
"Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane from his own share of the conjugal partnership up to the time of his death,
Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C. N. more than five years after that of his wife. He never considered the whole
Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself. The only conclusion one
December 31, 1958 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges can gather from this is that he could have been preparing the basis for the
reported that the combined conjugal estate earned a net eventual transmission of his wife's estate, or, at least, so much thereof as he
income of P328,402.62, divided evenly between him and would not have been able to dispose of during his lifetime, to her brothers and
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed sisters in accordance with her expressed desire, as intimated in his tax return
an "individual income tax return" for calendar year 1958 in the United States to be more extensively referred to anon. And assuming
on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, that he did pay the corresponding estate and inheritance taxes in the
the said estate as having earned income of P164,201.31, Philippines on the basis of his being sole heir, such payment is not necessarily

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

inconsistent with his recognition of the rights of his co-heirs. Without States Taxation authorities, identified as Schedule M, (Annex 4 of her answer)
purporting to rule definitely on the matter in these proceedings, We might say and his supposed affidavit of renunciation, Annex 5. In said Schedule M,
here that We are inclined to the view that under the peculiar provisions of his Hodges appears to have answered the pertinent question thus:
wife's will, and for purposes of the applicable inheritance tax laws, Hodges had
to be considered as her sole heir, pending the actual transmission of the 2a. Had the surviving spouse the right to declare an
remaining portion of her estate to her other heirs, upon the eventuality of his election between (1) the provisions made in his or her
death, and whatever adjustment might be warranted should there be any such favor by the will and (11) dower, curtesy or a statutory
remainder then is a matter that could well be taken care of by the internal interest? (X) Yes ( ) No
revenue authorities in due time.
2d. Does the surviving spouse contemplate renouncing the
It is to be noted that the lawyer, Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who signed the motions will and electing to take dower, curtesy, or a statutory
of May 27, 1957 and December 11, 1957 and the aforementioned statements interest? (X) Yes ( ) No
of account was the very same one who also subsequently signed and filed the
motion of December 26, 1962 for the appointment of respondent Magno as
3. According to the information and belief of the person or
"Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Linnie Jane Hodges" wherein it was
persons filing the return, is any action described under
alleged that "in accordance with the provisions of the last will and testament
question 1 designed or contemplated? ( ) Yes (X) No
of Linnie Jane Hodges, whatever real properties that may remain at the death
(Annex 4, Answer — Record, p. 263)
of her husband, Charles Newton Hodges, the said properties shall be equally
divided among their heirs." And it appearing that said attorney was Hodges'
lawyer as Executor of the estate of his wife, it stands to reason that his and to have further stated under the item, "Description of property interests
understanding of the situation, implicit in his allegations just quoted, could passing to surviving spouse" the following:
somehow be reflective of Hodges' own understanding thereof.
None, except for purposes of administering the Estate,
As a matter of fact, the allegations in the motion of the same Atty. Gellada paying debts, taxes and other legal charges. It is the
dated July 1, 1957, a "Request for Inclusion of the Name of Roy Higdon in the intention of the surviving husband of deceased to
Order of the Court dated July 19, 1957, etc.", reference to which is made in distribute the remaining property and interests of the
the above quotation from respondent Magno's brief, are over the oath of deceased in their Community Estate to the devisees and
Hodges himself, who verified the motion. Said allegations read: legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes
and expenses of administration are finally determined and
paid. (Annex 4, Answer — Record, p. 263)
1. — That the Hon. Court issued orders dated June 29,
1957, ordering the probate of the will.
In addition, in the supposed affidavit of Hodges, Annex 5, it is stated:
2. — That in said order of the Hon. Court, the relatives of
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges were enumerated. I, C. N. Hodges, being duly sworn, on oath affirm that at
However, in the petition as well as in the testimony of the time the United States Estate Tax Return was filed in
Executor during the hearing, the name Roy Higdon was the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on August 8, 1958, I
mentioned, but deceased. It was unintentionally omitted renounced and disclaimed any and all right to receive the
the heirs of said Roy Higdon who are his wife Aline Higdon rents, emoluments and income from said estate, as shown
and son David Higdon, all of age, and residents of Quinlan, by the statement contained in Schedule M at page 29 of
Texas, U.S.A. said return, a copy of which schedule is attached to this
affidavit and made a part hereof.
3. — That to straighten the records, and in order the heirs
of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe they were The purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm, and I
omitted, and that they were really and are interested in the do hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made in
estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, it is requested of Schedule M of said return and hereby formally disclaim
the Hon. Court to insert the names of Aline Higdon and and renounce any right on my part to receive any of the
David Higdon, wife and son of deceased Roy Higdon in the said rents, emoluments and income from the estate of my
said order of the Hon. Court dated June 29, 1957. (pars. 1 deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This affidavit is made
to 3, Annex 2 of Magno's Answer — Record, p. 260) to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the
payment of income taxes on income which has accrued to
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said
As can be seen, these italicized allegations indicate, more or less, the real
Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957. (Annex 5, Answer —
attitude of Hodges in regard to the testamentary dispositions of his wife.
Record, p. 264)

In connection with this point of Hodges' intent, We note that there are
Although it appears that said documents were not duly presented as evidence
documents, copies of which are annexed to respondent Magno's answer,
in the court below, and We cannot, therefore, rely on them for the purpose of
which purportedly contain Hodges' own solemn declarations recognizing the
the present proceedings, still, We cannot close our eyes to their existence in
right of his co-heirs, such as the alleged tax return he filed with the United
the record nor fail to note that their tenor jibes with Our conclusion discussed
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

above from the circumstances related to the orders of May 27 and December the conjugal estate occupies the position of a trustee of
14, 1957. 5 Somehow, these documents, considering they are supposed to be the highest order and is not permitted by the law to hold
copies of their originals found in the official files of the governments of the that estate or any portion thereof adversely to those for
United States and of the Philippines, serve to lessen any possible apprehension whose benefit the law imposes upon him the duty of
that Our conclusion from the other evidence of Hodges' manifest intent vis-a- administration and liquidation. No liquidation was ever
vis the rights of his co-heirs is without basis in fact. made by Lasam — hence, the conjugal property which
came into his possession on the death of his wife in
Verily, with such eloquent manifestations of his good intentions towards the September, 1908, still remains conjugal property, a
other heirs of his wife, We find it very hard to believe that Hodges did ask the continuing and subsisting trust. He should have made a
court and that the latter agreed that he be declared her sole heir and that her liquidation immediately (desde luego). He cannot now be
whole estate be adjudicated to him without so much as just annotating the permitted to take advantage of his own wrong. One of the
contingent interest of her brothers and sisters in what would remain thereof conditions of title by prescription (section 41, Code of Civil
upon his demise. On the contrary, it seems to us more factual and fairer to Procedure) is possession "under a claim of title exclusive
assume that Hodges was well aware of his position as executor of the will of of any other right". For a trustee to make such a claim
his wife and, as such, had in mind the following admonition made by the Court would be a manifest fraud.
in Pamittan vs. Lasam, et al., 60 Phil., 908, at pp. 913-914:
And knowing thus his responsibilities in the premises, We are not convinced
Upon the death of Bernarda in September, 1908, said that Hodges arrogated everything unto himself leaving nothing at all to be
lands continued to be conjugal property in the hands of inherited by his wife's brothers and sisters.
the defendant Lasam. It is provided in article 1418 of the
Civil Code that upon the dissolution of the conjugal PCIB insists, however, that to read the orders of May 27 and December 14,
partnership, an inventory shall immediately be made and 1957, not as adjudicatory, but merely as approving past and authorizing future
this court in construing this provision in connection with dispositions made by Hodges in a wholesale and general manner, would
section 685 of the Code of Civil Procedure (prior to its necessarily render the said orders void for being violative of the provisions of
amendment by Act No. 3176 of November 24, 1924) has Rule 89 governing the manner in which such dispositions may be made and
repeatedly held that in the event of the death of the wife, how the authority therefor and approval thereof by the probate court may be
the law imposes upon the husband the duty of liquidating secured. If We sustained such a view, the result would only be that the said
the affairs of the partnership without delay (desde luego) orders should be declared ineffective either way they are understood,
(Alfonso vs. Natividad, 6 Phil., 240; Prado vs. Lagera, 7 considering We have already seen it is legally impossible to consider them as
Phil., 395; De la Rama vs. De la Rama, 7 Phil., 745; Enriquez adjudicatory. As a matter of fact, however, what surges immediately to the
vs. Victoria, 10 Phil., 10; Amancio vs. Pardo, 13 Phil., 297; surface, relative to PCIB's observations based on Rule 89, is that from such
Rojas vs. Singson Tongson, 17 Phil., 476; Sochayseng vs. point of view, the supposed irregularity would involve no more than some
Trujillo, 31 Phil., 153; Molera vs. Molera, 40 Phil., 566; non-jurisdictional technicalities of procedure, which have for their evident
Nable Jose vs. Nable Jose, 41 Phil., 713.) fundamental purpose the protection of parties interested in the estate, such
as the heirs, its creditors, particularly the government on account of the taxes
In the last mentioned case this court quoted with approval due it; and since it is apparent here that none of such parties are objecting to
the case of Leatherwood vs. Arnold (66 Texas, 414, 416, said orders or would be prejudiced by the unobservance by the trial court of
417), in which that court discussed the powers of the the procedure pointed out by PCIB, We find no legal inconvenience in nor
surviving spouse in the administration of the community impediment to Our giving sanction to the blanket approval and authority
property. Attention was called to the fact that the contained in said orders. This solution is definitely preferable in law and in
surviving husband, in the management of the conjugal equity, for to view said orders in the sense suggested by PCIB would result in
property after the death of the wife, was a trustee of the deprivation of substantive rights to the brothers and sisters of Mrs.
unique character who is liable for any fraud committed by Hodges, whereas reading them the other way will not cause any prejudice to
him with relation to the property while he is charged with anyone, and, withal, will give peace of mind and stability of rights to the
its administration. In the liquidation of the conjugal innocent parties who relied on them in good faith, in the light of the peculiar
partnership, he had wide powers (as the law stood prior to pertinent provisions of the will of said decedent.
Act No. 3176) and the high degree of trust reposed in him
stands out more clearly in view of the fact that he was the Now, the inventory submitted by Hodges on May 12, 1958 referred to the
owner of a half interest in his own right of the conjugal estate of his wife as consisting of "One-half of all the items designated in the
estate which he was charged to administer. He could balance sheet, copy of which is hereto attached and marked as "Annex A"."
therefore no more acquire a title by prescription against Although, regrettably, no copy of said Annex A appears in the records before
those for whom he was administering the conjugal estate Us, We take judicial notice, on the basis of the undisputed facts in these cases,
than could a guardian against his ward or a judicial that the same consists of considerable real and other personal kinds of
administrator against the heirs of estate. Section 38 of properties. And since, according to her will, her husband was to be the sole
Chapter III of the Code of Civil Procedure, with relation to owner thereof during his lifetime, with full power and authority to dispose of
prescription, provides that "this chapter shall not apply ... any of them, provided that should there be any remainder upon his death,
in the case of a continuing and subsisting trust." The such remainder would go to her brothers and sisters, and furthermore, there
surviving husband in the administration and liquidation of is no pretension, much less any proof that Hodges had in fact disposed of all

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

of them, and, on the contrary, the indications are rather to the effect that he time of his death in December, 1962, a period of more than five years, the final
had kept them more or less intact, it cannot truthfully be said that, upon the adjudication of her estate and the closure of the proceedings. The record is
death of Hodges, there was no more estate of Mrs. Hodges to speak of. It is bare of any showing that he ever exerted any effort towards the early
Our conclusion, therefore, that properties do exist which constitute such settlement of said estate. While, on the one hand, there are enough
estate, hence Special Proceedings 1307 should not yet be closed. indications, as already discuss that he had intentions of leaving intact her share
of the conjugal properties so that it may pass wholly to his co-heirs upon his
Neither is there basis for holding that respondent Magno has ceased to be the death, pursuant to her will, on the other hand, by not terminating the
Administratrix in said proceeding. There is no showing that she has ever been proceedings, his interests in his own half of the conjugal properties remained
legally removed as such, the attempt to replace her with Mr. Benito Lopez commingled pro-indiviso with those of his co-heirs in the other half. Obviously,
without authority from the Court having been expressly held ineffective by such a situation could not be conducive to ready ascertainment of the portion
Our resolution of September 8, 1972. Parenthetically, on this last point, PCIB of the inheritance that should appertain to his co-heirs upon his death. Having
itself is very emphatic in stressing that it is not questioning said respondent's these considerations in mind, it would be giving a premium for such
status as such administratrix. Indeed, it is not clear that PCIB has any standing procrastination and rather unfair to his co-heirs, if the administrator of his
to raise any objection thereto, considering it is a complete stranger insofar as estate were to be given exclusive administration of all the properties in
the estate of Mrs. Hodges is concerned. question, which would necessarily include the function of promptly liquidating
the conjugal partnership, thereby identifying and segregating without
unnecessary loss of time which properties should be considered as
It is the contention of PCIB, however, that as things actually stood at the time
constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges, the remainder of which her brothers
of Hodges' death, their conjugal partnership had not yet been liquidated and,
and sisters are supposed to inherit equally among themselves.
inasmuch as the properties composing the same were thus commingled pro
indiviso and, consequently, the properties pertaining to the estate of each of
the spouses are not yet identifiable, it is PCIB alone, as administrator of the To be sure, an administrator is not supposed to represent the interests of any
estate of Hodges, who should administer everything, and all that respondent particular party and his acts are deemed to be objectively for the protection
Magno can do for the time being is to wait until the properties constituting the of the rights of everybody concerned with the estate of the decedent, and
remaining estate of Mrs. Hodges have been duly segregated and delivered to from this point of view, it maybe said that even if PCIB were to act alone, there
her for her own administration. Seemingly, PCIB would liken the Testate Estate should be no fear of undue disadvantage to anyone. On the other hand,
of Linnie Jane Hodges to a party having a claim of ownership to some however, it is evidently implicit in section 6 of Rule 78 fixing the priority among
properties included in the inventory of an administrator of the estate of a those to whom letters of administration should be granted that the criterion
decedent, (here that of Hodges) and who normally has no right to take part in in the selection of the administrator is not his impartiality alone but, more
the proceedings pending the establishment of his right or title; for which as a importantly, the extent of his interest in the estate, so much so that the one
rule it is required that an ordinary action should be filed, since the probate assumed to have greater interest is preferred to another who has less. Taking
court is without jurisdiction to pass with finality on questions of title between both of these considerations into account, inasmuch as, according to Hodges'
the estate of the deceased, on the one hand, and a third party or even an heir own inventory submitted by him as Executor of the estate of his wife,
claiming adversely against the estate, on the other. practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the spouses
have equal shares therein, it is but logical that both estates should be
administered jointly by representatives of both, pending their segregation
We do not find such contention sufficiently persuasive. As We see it, the
from each other. Particularly is such an arrangement warranted because the
situation obtaining herein cannot be compared with the claim of a third party
actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to
the basis of which is alien to the pending probate proceedings. In the present
exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance. Besides, to
cases what gave rise to the claim of PCIB of exclusive ownership by the estate
allow PCIB, the administrator of his estate, to perform now what Hodges was
of Hodges over all the properties of the Hodges spouses, including the share
duty bound to do as executor is to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Section
of Mrs. Hodges in the community properties, were the orders of the trial court
2 of Rule 78 which expressly provides that "The executor of an executor shall
issued in the course of the very settlement proceedings themselves, more
not, as such, administer the estate of the first testator." It goes without saying
specifically, the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957 so often mentioned
that this provision refers also to the administrator of an executor like PCIB
above. In other words, the root of the issue of title between the parties is
here.
something that the court itself has done in the exercise of its probate
jurisdiction. And since in the ultimate analysis, the question of whether or not
all the properties herein involved pertain exclusively to the estate of Hodges We are not unmindful of the fact that under Section 2 of Rule 73, "When the
depends on the legal meaning and effect of said orders, the claim that marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community
respondent court has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and decide the said property shall be inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts
issue is incorrect. If it was within the competence of the court to issue the root thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse.
orders, why should it not be within its authority to declare their true If both spouses have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the
significance and intent, to the end that the parties may know whether or not testate or intestate proceedings of either." Indeed, it is true that the last
the estate of Mrs. Hodges had already been adjudicated by the court, upon sentence of this provision allows or permits the conjugal partnership of
the initiative of Hodges, in his favor, to the exclusion of the other heirs of his spouses who are both deceased to be settled or liquidated in the testate or
wife instituted in her will? intestate proceedings of either, but precisely because said sentence allows or
permits that the liquidation be made in either proceeding, it is a matter of
sound judicial discretion in which one it should be made. After all, the former
At this point, it bears emphasis again that the main cause of all the present
rule referring to the administrator of the husband's estate in respect to such
problems confronting the courts and the parties in these cases was the failure
liquidation was done away with by Act 3176, the pertinent provisions of which
of Hodges to secure, as executor of his wife's estate, from May, 1957 up to the
are now embodied in the rule just cited.
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Thus, it can be seen that at the time of the death of Hodges, there was already Contrary to the view of respondent Magno, however, it was not the usufruct
the pending judicial settlement proceeding of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and, alone of her estate, as contemplated in Article 869 of the Civil Code, that she
more importantly, that the former was the executor of the latter's will who bequeathed to Hodges during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof,
had, as such, failed for more than five years to see to it that the same was although the same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was
terminated earliest, which was not difficult to do, since from ought that no restriction whatsoever against his disposing or conveying the whole or any
appears in the record, there were no serious obstacles on the way, the estate portion thereof to anybody other than himself. The Court sees no legal
not being indebted and there being no immediate heirs other than Hodges impediment to this kind of institution, in this jurisdiction or under Philippine
himself. Such dilatory or indifferent attitude could only spell possible prejudice law, except that it cannot apply to the legitime of Hodges as the surviving
of his co-heirs, whose rights to inheritance depend entirely on the existence spouse, consisting of one-half of the estate, considering that Mrs. Hodges had
of any remainder of Mrs. Hodges' share in the community properties, and who no surviving ascendants nor descendants. (Arts. 872, 900, and 904, New Civil
are now faced with the pose of PCIB that there is no such remainder. Had Code.)
Hodges secured as early as possible the settlement of his wife's estate, this
problem would not arisen. All things considered, We are fully convinced that But relative precisely to the question of how much of Mrs. Hodges' share of
the interests of justice will be better served by not permitting or allowing PCIB the conjugal partnership properties may be considered as her estate, the
or any administrator of the estate of Hodges exclusive administration of all the parties are in disagreement as to how Article 16 of the Civil Code7 should be
properties in question. We are of the considered opinion and so hold that what applied. On the one hand, petitioner claims that inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges was
would be just and proper is for both administrators of the two estates to act a resident of the Philippines at the time of her death, under said Article 16,
conjointly until after said estates have been segregated from each other. construed in relation to the pertinent laws of Texas and the principle of renvoi,
what should be applied here should be the rules of succession under the Civil
At this juncture, it may be stated that we are not overlooking the fact that it is Code of the Philippines, and, therefore, her estate could consist of no more
PCIB's contention that, viewed as a substitution, the testamentary disposition than one-fourth of the said conjugal properties, the other fourth being, as
in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters may not be given effect. To a already explained, the legitime of her husband (Art. 900, Civil Code) which she
certain extent, this contention is correct. Indeed, legally speaking, Mrs. could not have disposed of nor burdened with any condition (Art. 872, Civil
Hodges' will provides neither for a simple or vulgar substitution under Article Code). On the other hand, respondent Magno denies that Mrs. Hodges died a
859 of the Civil Code nor for a fideicommissary substitution under Article 863 resident of the Philippines, since allegedly she never changed nor intended to
thereof. There is no vulgar substitution therein because there is no provision change her original residence of birth in Texas, United States of America, and
for either (1) predecease of the testator by the designated heir or (2) refusal contends that, anyway, regardless of the question of her residence, she being
or (3) incapacity of the latter to accept the inheritance, as required by Article indisputably a citizen of Texas, under said Article 16 of the Civil Code, the
859; and neither is there a fideicommissary substitution therein because no distribution of her estate is subject to the laws of said State which, according
obligation is imposed thereby upon Hodges to preserve the estate or any part to her, do not provide for any legitime, hence, the brothers and sisters of Mrs.
thereof for anyone else. But from these premises, it is not correct to jump to Hodges are entitled to the remainder of the whole of her share of the conjugal
the conclusion, as PCIB does, that the testamentary dispositions in question partnership properties consisting of one-half thereof. Respondent Magno
are therefore inoperative and invalid. further maintains that, in any event, Hodges had renounced his rights under
the will in favor of his co-heirs, as allegedly proven by the documents touching
The error in PCIB's position lies simply in the fact that it views the said on the point already mentioned earlier, the genuineness and legal significance
disposition exclusively in the light of substitutions covered by the Civil Code of which petitioner seemingly questions. Besides, the parties are disagreed as
section on that subject, (Section 3, Chapter 2, Title IV, Book III) when it is to what the pertinent laws of Texas provide. In the interest of settling the
obvious that substitution occurs only when another heir is appointed in a will estates herein involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting
"so that he may enter into inheritance in default of the heir originally claims of the parties were determined in these proceedings. The Court regrets,
instituted," (Article 857, id.) and, in the present case, no such possible default however, that it cannot do so, for the simple reason that neither the evidence
is contemplated. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not substitutes submitted by the parties in the court below nor their discussion, in their
for Hodges because, under her will, they are not to inherit what Hodges respective briefs and memoranda before Us, of their respective contentions
cannot, would not or may not inherit, but what he would not dispose of from on the pertinent legal issues, of grave importance as they are, appear to Us to
his inheritance; rather, therefore, they are also heirs instituted simultaneously be adequate enough to enable Us to render an intelligent comprehensive and
with Hodges, subject, however, to certain conditions, partially resolutory just resolution. For one thing, there is no clear and reliable proof of what in
insofar as Hodges was concerned and correspondingly suspensive with fact the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. 7* Then also, the genuineness of
reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law. It is partially resolutory, since it documents relied upon by respondent Magno is disputed. And there are a
bequeaths unto Hodges the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by number of still other conceivable related issues which the parties may wish to
him as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them6 only during raise but which it is not proper to mention here. In Justice, therefore, to all the
his lifetime, which means that while he could completely and absolutely parties concerned, these and all other relevant matters should first be
dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings hereafter to be held
not free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon therein for the purpose of ascertaining and adjudicating and/or distributing
his death would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency, the estate of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated
inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance, will.
although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically
become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of To be more explicit, all that We can and do decide in connection with the
actual existence of any remainder of her estate then. petition for certiorari and prohibition are: (1) that regardless of which
corresponding laws are applied, whether of the Philippines or of Texas, and
taking for granted either of the respective contentions of the parties as to
P a g e 49 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

provisions of the latter,8 and regardless also of whether or not it can be proven nature reflection, We are of the considered view that, at this stage and in the
by competent evidence that Hodges renounced his inheritance in any degree, state of the records before Us, the feared inconsistency is more apparent than
it is easily and definitely discernible from the inventory submitted by Hodges real. Withal, it no longer lies in the lips of petitioner PCIB to make any claim
himself, as Executor of his wife's estate, that there are properties which should that under the laws of Texas, the estate of Mrs. Hodges could in any event be
constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges and ought to be disposed of or less than that We have fixed above.
distributed among her heirs pursuant to her will in said Special Proceedings
1307; (2) that, more specifically, inasmuch as the question of what are the It should be borne in mind that as above-indicated, the question of what are
pertinent laws of Texas applicable to the situation herein is basically one of the laws of Texas governing the matters herein issue is, in the first instance,
fact, and, considering that the sole difference in the positions of the parties as one of fact, not of law. Elementary is the rule that foreign laws may not be
to the effect of said laws has reference to the supposed legitime of Hodges — taken judicial notice of and have to be proven like any other fact in dispute
it being the stand of PCIB that Hodges had such a legitime whereas Magno between the parties in any proceeding, with the rare exception in instances
claims the negative - it is now beyond controversy for all future purposes of when the said laws are already within the actual knowledge of the court, such
these proceedings that whatever be the provisions actually of the laws of as when they are well and generally known or they have been actually ruled
Texas applicable hereto, the estate of Mrs. Hodges is at least, one-fourth of upon in other cases before it and none of the parties concerned do not claim
the conjugal estate of the spouses; the existence and effects of foreign laws otherwise. (5 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, p. 41, 1970 ed.)
being questions of fact, and it being the position now of PCIB that the estate In Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610, it was held:
of Mrs. Hodges, pursuant to the laws of Texas, should only be one-fourth of
the conjugal estate, such contention constitutes an admission of fact, and
It is the theory of the petitioner that the alleged will was executed in Elkins
consequently, it would be in estoppel in any further proceedings in these cases
West Virginia, on November 3, 1925, by Hix who had his residence in that
to claim that said estate could be less, irrespective of what might be proven
jurisdiction, and that the laws of West Virginia govern. To this end, there was
later to be actually the provisions of the applicable laws of Texas; (3) that
submitted a copy of section 3868 of Acts 1882, c. 84 as found in West Virginia
Special Proceedings 1307 for the settlement of the testate estate of Mrs.
Code, Annotated, by Hogg Charles E., vol. 2, 1914, p. 1960, and as certified to
Hodges cannot be closed at this stage and should proceed to its logical
by the Director of the National Library. But this was far from a compliance with
conclusion, there having been no proper and legal adjudication or distribution
the law. The laws of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our
yet of the estate therein involved; and (4) that respondent Magno remains and
courts. The courts of the Philippine Islands are not authorized to take judicial
continues to be the Administratrix therein. Hence, nothing in the foregoing
notice of the laws of the various States of the American Union. Such laws must
opinion is intended to resolve the issues which, as already stated, are not
be proved as facts. (In re Estate of Johnson [1918], 39 Phil., 156.) Here the
properly before the Court now, namely, (1) whether or not Hodges had in fact
requirements of the law were not met. There was no showing that the book
and in law waived or renounced his inheritance from Mrs. Hodges, in whole or
from which an extract was taken was printed or published under the authority
in part, and (2) assuming there had been no such waiver, whether or not, by
of the State of West Virginia, as provided in section 300 of the Code of Civil
the application of Article 16 of the Civil Code, and in the light of what might be
Procedure. Nor was the extract from the law attested by the certificate of the
the applicable laws of Texas on the matter, the estate of Mrs. Hodges is more
officer having charge of the original, under the seal of the State of West
than the one-fourth declared above. As a matter of fact, even our finding
Virginia, as provided in section 301 of the Code of Civil Procedure. No evidence
above about the existence of properties constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges
was introduced to show that the extract from the laws of West Virginia was in
rests largely on a general appraisal of the size and extent of the conjugal
force at the time the alleged will was executed."
partnership gathered from reference made thereto by both parties in their
briefs as well as in their pleadings included in the records on appeal, and it
should accordingly yield, as to which exactly those properties are, to the more No evidence of the nature thus suggested by the Court may be found in the
concrete and specific evidence which the parties are supposed to present in records of the cases at bar. Quite to the contrary, the parties herein have
support of their respective positions in regard to the foregoing main legal and presented opposing versions in their respective pleadings and memoranda
factual issues. In the interest of justice, the parties should be allowed to regarding the matter. And even if We took into account that in Aznar vs.
present such further evidence in relation to all these issues in a joint hearing Garcia, the Court did make reference to certain provisions regarding
of the two probate proceedings herein involved. After all, the court a quo has succession in the laws of Texas, the disparity in the material dates of that case
not yet passed squarely on these issues, and it is best for all concerned that it and the present ones would not permit Us to indulge in the hazardous
should do so in the first instance. conjecture that said provisions have not been amended or changed in the
meantime.
Relative to Our holding above that the estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be less
than the remainder of one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties, it On the other hand, in In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156, We held:
may be mentioned here that during the deliberations, the point was raised as
to whether or not said holding might be inconsistent with Our other ruling Upon the other point — as to whether the will was
here also that, since there is no reliable evidence as to what are the applicable executed in conformity with the statutes of the State of
laws of Texas, U.S.A. "with respect to the order of succession and to the Illinois — we note that it does not affirmatively appear
amount of successional rights" that may be willed by a testator which, under from the transcription of the testimony adduced in the
Article 16 of the Civil Code, are controlling in the instant cases, in view of the trial court that any witness was examined with reference
undisputed Texan nationality of the deceased Mrs. Hodges, these cases should to the law of Illinois on the subject of the execution of will.
be returned to the court a quo, so that the parties may prove what said law The trial judge no doubt was satisfied that the will was
provides, it is premature for Us to make any specific ruling now on either the properly executed by examining section 1874 of the
validity of the testamentary dispositions herein involved or the amount of Revised Statutes of Illinois, as exhibited in volume 3 of
inheritance to which the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are entitled. After Starr & Curtis's Annotated Illinois Statutes, 2nd ed., p. 426;

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

and he may have assumed that he could take judicial is only claiming, on her part, that it could be more, PCIB may not now or later
notice of the laws of Illinois under section 275 of the Code pretend differently.
of Civil Procedure. If so, he was in our opinion mistaken.
That section authorizes the courts here to take judicial To be more concrete, on pages 20-21 of its petition herein, dated July 31, 1967,
notice, among other things, of the acts of the legislative PCIB states categorically:
department of the United States. These words clearly have
reference to Acts of the Congress of the United States; and
Inasmuch as Article 16 of the Civil Code provides that
we would hesitate to hold that our courts can, under this
"intestate and testamentary successions both with
provision, take judicial notice of the multifarious laws of
respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
the various American States. Nor do we think that any such
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
authority can be derived from the broader language, used
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the
in the same section, where it is said that our courts may
national law of the person whose succession is under
take judicial notice of matters of public knowledge
consideration, whatever may be the nature of the
"similar" to those therein enumerated. The proper rule we
property and regardless of the country wherein said
think is to require proof of the statutes of the States of the
property may be found", while the law of Texas (the
American Union whenever their provisions are
Hodges spouses being nationals of U.S.A., State of Texas),
determinative of the issues in any action litigated in the
in its conflicts of law rules, provides that the domiciliary
Philippine courts.
law (in this case Philippine law) governs the testamentary
dispositions and successional rights over movables or
Nevertheless, even supposing that the trial court may personal properties, while the law of the situs (in this case
have erred in taking judicial notice of the law of Illinois on also Philippine law with respect to all Hodges properties
the point in question, such error is not now available to located in the Philippines), governs with respect to
the petitioner, first, because the petition does not state immovable properties, and applying therefore the 'renvoi
any fact from which it would appear that the law of Illinois doctrine' as enunciated and applied by this Honorable
is different from what the court found, and, secondly, Court in the case of In re Estate of Christensen (G.R. No. L-
because the assignment of error and argument for the 16749, Jan. 31, 1963), there can be no question that
appellant in this court raises no question based on such Philippine law governs the testamentary dispositions
supposed error. Though the trial court may have acted contained in the Last Will and Testament of the deceased
upon pure conjecture as to the law prevailing in the State Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as the successional rights to
of Illinois, its judgment could not be set aside, even upon her estate, both with respect to movables, as well as to
application made within six months under section 113 of immovables situated in the Philippines.
the Code of Civil Procedure, unless it should be made to
appear affirmatively that the conjecture was wrong. The
In its main brief dated February 26, 1968, PCIB asserts:
petitioner, it is true, states in general terms that the will in
question is invalid and inadequate to pass real and
personal property in the State of Illinois, but this is merely The law governing successional rights.
a conclusion of law. The affidavits by which the petition is
accompanied contain no reference to the subject, and we As recited above, there is no question that the deceased,
are cited to no authority in the appellant's brief which Linnie Jane Hodges, was an American citizen. There is also
might tend to raise a doubt as to the correctness of the no question that she was a national of the State of Texas,
conclusion of the trial court. It is very clear, therefore, that U.S.A. Again, there is likewise no question that she had her
this point cannot be urged as of serious moment. domicile of choice in the City of Iloilo, Philippines, as this
has already been pronounced by the above-cited orders of
It is implicit in the above ruling that when, with respect to certain aspects of the lower court, pronouncements which are by now res
the foreign laws concerned, the parties in a given case do not have any adjudicata (par. [a], See. 49, Rule 39, Rules of Court; In re
controversy or are more or less in agreement, the Court may take it for granted Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156).
for the purposes of the particular case before it that the said laws are as such
virtual agreement indicates, without the need of requiring the presentation of Article 16 of the Civil Code provides:
what otherwise would be the competent evidence on the point. Thus, in the
instant cases wherein it results from the respective contentions of both parties "Real property as well as personal property is subject to
that even if the pertinent laws of Texas were known and to be applied, the the law of the country where it is situated.
amount of the inheritance pertaining to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges is as We have
fixed above, the absence of evidence to the effect that, actually and in fact,
under said laws, it could be otherwise is of no longer of any consequence, However, intestate and testamentary successions, both
unless the purpose is to show that it could be more. In other words, since PCIB, with respect to the order of succession and to the amount
the petitioner-appellant, concedes that upon application of Article 16 of the of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, the amount of the estate in testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the
controversy is just as We have determined it to be, and respondent-appellee national law of the person whose succession is under
consideration, whatever may be the nature of the

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

property and regardless of the country wherein said have been living as husband and wife
property may be found." for more than five years. In the latter
case, the legitime of the surviving
Thus the aforecited provision of the Civil Code points spouse shall be that specified in the
towards the national law of the deceased, Linnie Jane preceding paragraph.
Hodges, which is the law of Texas, as governing succession
"both with respect to the order of succession and to the This legitime of the surviving spouse cannot be burdened
amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity by a fideicommisary substitution (Art. 864, Civil code), nor
of testamentary provisions ...". But the law of Texas, in its by any charge, condition, or substitution (Art, 872, Civil
conflicts of law rules, provides that the domiciliary law code). It is clear, therefore, that in addition to one-half of
governs the testamentary dispositions and successional the conjugal partnership property as his own conjugal
rights over movables or personal property, while the law share, Charles Newton Hodges was also immediately
of the situs governs with respect to immovable property. entitled to one-half of the half conjugal share of the
Such that with respect to both movable property, as well deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, or one-fourth of the entire
as immovable property situated in the Philippines, the law conjugal property, as his legitime.
of Texas points to the law of the Philippines.
One-fourth of the conjugal property therefore remains at
Applying, therefore, the so-called "renvoi doctrine", as issue.
enunciated and applied by this Honorable Court in the
case of "In re Christensen" (G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 31, In the summary of its arguments in its memorandum dated April 30, 1968, the
1963), there can be no question that Philippine law following appears:
governs the testamentary provisions in the Last Will and
Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as
Briefly, the position advanced by the petitioner is:
the successional rights to her estate, both with respect to
movables, as well as immovables situated in the
Philippines. a. That the Hodges spouses were domiciled legally in the
Philippines (pp. 19-20, petition). This is now a matter of res
adjudicata (p. 20, petition).
The subject of successional rights.

b. That under Philippine law, Texas law, and the renvoi


Under Philippine law, as it is under the law of Texas, the
doctrine, Philippine law governs the successional rights
conjugal or community property of the spouses, Charles
over the properties left by the deceased, Linnie Jane
Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges, upon the death
Hodges (pp. 20-21, petition).
of the latter, is to be divided into two, one-half pertaining
to each of the spouses, as his or her own property. Thus,
upon the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, one-half of the c. That under Philippine as well as Texas law, one-half of
conjugal partnership property immediately pertained to the Hodges properties pertains to the deceased, Charles
Charles Newton Hodges as his own share, and not by Newton Hodges (p. 21, petition). This is not questioned by
virtue of any successional rights. There can be no question the respondents.
about this.
d. That under Philippine law, the deceased, Charles
Again, Philippine law, or more specifically, Article 900 of Newton Hodges, automatically inherited one-half of the
the Civil Code provides: remaining one-half of the Hodges properties as his
legitime (p. 21, petition).
If the only survivor is the widow or
widower, she or he shall be entitled to e. That the remaining 25% of the Hodges properties was
one-half of the hereditary estate of inherited by the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, under
the deceased spouse, and the testator the will of his deceased spouse (pp. 22-23, petition). Upon
may freely dispose of the other half. the death of Charles Newton Hodges, the substitution
'provision of the will of the deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges,
did not operate because the same is void (pp. 23-25,
If the marriage between the surviving
petition).
spouse and the testator was
solemnized in articulo mortis, and the
testator died within three months f. That the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, asserted his
from the time of the marriage, the sole ownership of the Hodges properties and the probate
legitime of the surviving spouse as the court sanctioned such assertion (pp. 25-29, petition). He in
sole heir shall be one-third of the fact assumed such ownership and such was the status of
hereditary estate, except when they the properties as of the time of his death (pp. 29-34,
petition).
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Of similar tenor are the allegations of PCIB in some of its pleadings quoted in taken in by virtue of such exchanges, shall be considered as merely the
the earlier part of this option. products of "physical changes" of the properties of her estate which the will
expressly authorizes Hodges to make, provided that whatever of said products
On her part, it is respondent-appellee Magno's posture that under the laws of should remain with the estate at the time of the death of Hodges should go to
Texas, there is no system of legitime, hence the estate of Mrs. Hodges should her brothers and sisters; (3) the dispositions made by PCIB after the death of
be one-half of all the conjugal properties. Hodges must naturally be deemed as covering only the properties belonging
to his estate considering that being only the administrator of the estate of
Hodges, PCIB could not have disposed of properties belonging to the estate of
It is thus unquestionable that as far as PCIB is concerned, the application to
his wife. Neither could such dispositions be considered as involving conjugal
these cases of Article 16 of the Civil Code in relation to the corresponding laws
properties, for the simple reason that the conjugal partnership automatically
of Texas would result in that the Philippine laws on succession should control.
ceased when Mrs. Hodges died, and by the peculiar provision of her will, under
On that basis, as We have already explained above, the estate of Mrs. Hodges
discussion, the remainder of her share descended also automatically upon the
is the remainder of one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties,
death of Hodges to her brothers and sisters, thus outside of the scope of PCIB's
considering that We have found that there is no legal impediment to the kind
administration. Accordingly, these construction of the will of Mrs. Hodges
of disposition ordered by Mrs. Hodges in her will in favor of her brothers and
should be adhered to by the trial court in its final order of adjudication and
sisters and, further, that the contention of PCIB that the same constitutes an
distribution and/or partition of the two estates in question.
inoperative testamentary substitution is untenable. As will be recalled, PCIB's
position that there is no such estate of Mrs. Hodges is predicated exclusively
on two propositions, namely: (1) that the provision in question in Mrs. Hodges' THE APPEALS
testament violates the rules on substitution of heirs under the Civil Code and
(2) that, in any event, by the orders of the trial court of May 27, and December A cursory examination of the seventy-eight assignments of error in appellant
14, 1957, the trial court had already finally and irrevocably adjudicated to her PCIB's brief would readily reveal that all of them are predicated mainly on the
husband the whole free portion of her estate to the exclusion of her brothers contention that inasmuch as Hodges had already adjudicated unto himself all
and sisters, both of which poses, We have overruled. Nowhere in its pleadings, the properties constituting his wife's share of the conjugal partnership,
briefs and memoranda does PCIB maintain that the application of the laws of allegedly with the sanction of the trial court per its order of December 14,
Texas would result in the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges not inheriting anything 1957, there has been, since said date, no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of
under her will. And since PCIB's representations in regard to the laws of Texas which appellee Magno could be administratrix, hence the various assailed
virtually constitute admissions of fact which the other parties and the Court orders sanctioning her actuations as such are not in accordance with law. Such
are being made to rely and act upon, PCIB is "not permitted to contradict them being the case, with the foregoing resolution holding such posture to be
or subsequently take a position contradictory to or inconsistent with them." untenable in fact and in law and that it is in the best interest of justice that for
(5 Moran, id, p. 65, citing Cunanan vs. Amparo, 80 Phil. 227; Sta. Ana vs. the time being the two estates should be administered conjointly by the
Maliwat, L-23023, Aug. 31, 1968, 24 SCRA 1018). respective administrators of the two estates, it should follow that said
assignments of error have lost their fundamental reasons for being. There are
Accordingly, the only question that remains to be settled in the further certain matters, however, relating peculiarly to the respective orders in
proceedings hereby ordered to be held in the court below is how much more question, if commonly among some of them, which need further clarification.
than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and this would depend on (1) For instance, some of them authorized respondent Magno to act alone or
whether or not the applicable laws of Texas do provide in effect for more, such without concurrence of PCIB. And with respect to many of said orders, PCIB
as, when there is no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges further claims that either the matters involved were not properly within the
has validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges. probate jurisdiction of the trial court or that the procedure followed was not
in accordance with the rules. Hence, the necessity of dealing separately with
the merits of each of the appeals.
In the course of the deliberations, it was brought out by some members of the
Court that to avoid or, at least, minimize further protracted legal controversies
between the respective heirs of the Hodges spouses, it is imperative to Indeed, inasmuch as the said two estates have until now remained
elucidate on the possible consequences of dispositions made by Hodges after commingled pro-indiviso, due to the failure of Hodges and the lower court to
the death of his wife from the mass of the unpartitioned estates without any liquidate the conjugal partnership, to recognize appellee Magno as
express indication in the pertinent documents as to whether his intention is to Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges which is still unsegregated
dispose of part of his inheritance from his wife or part of his own share of the from that of Hodges is not to say, without any qualification, that she was
conjugal estate as well as of those made by PCIB after the death of Hodges. therefore authorized to do and perform all her acts complained of in these
After a long discussion, the consensus arrived at was as follows: (1) any such appeals, sanctioned though they might have been by the trial court. As a
dispositions made gratuitously in favor of third parties, whether these be matter of fact, it is such commingling pro-indiviso of the two estates that
individuals, corporations or foundations, shall be considered as intended to be should deprive appellee of freedom to act independently from PCIB, as
of properties constituting part of Hodges' inheritance from his wife, it administrator of the estate of Hodges, just as, for the same reason, the latter
appearing from the tenor of his motions of May 27 and December 11, 1957 should not have authority to act independently from her. And considering that
that in asking for general authority to make sales or other disposals of the lower court failed to adhere consistently to this basic point of view, by
properties under the jurisdiction of the court, which include his own share of allowing the two administrators to act independently of each other, in the
the conjugal estate, he was not invoking particularly his right over his own various instances already noted in the narration of facts above, the Court has
share, but rather his right to dispose of any part of his inheritance pursuant to to look into the attendant circumstances of each of the appealed orders to be
the will of his wife; (2) as regards sales, exchanges or able to determine whether any of them has to be set aside or they may all be
other remunerative transfers, the proceeds of such sales or the properties legally maintained notwithstanding the failure of the court a quo to observe

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the pertinent procedural technicalities, to the end only that graver injury to inspect whatever records, documents and papers she may have in her
the substantive rights of the parties concerned and unnecessary and possession, in the same manner that Administrator PCIB is also directed to
undesirable proliferation of incidents in the subject proceedings may be allow Administratrix Magno to inspect whatever records, documents and
forestalled. In other words, We have to determine, whether or not, in the light papers it may have in its possession" and "(e) that the accountant of the estate
of the unusual circumstances extant in the record, there is need to be more of Linnie Jane Hodges shall have access to all records of the transactions of
pragmatic and to adopt a rather unorthodox approach, so as to cause the least both estates for the protection of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges; and in like
disturbance in rights already being exercised by numerous innocent third manner, the accountant or any authorized representative of the estate of C.
parties, even if to do so may not appear to be strictly in accordance with the N. Hodges shall have access to the records of transactions of the Linnie Jane
letter of the applicable purely adjective rules. Hodges estate for the protection of the estate of C. N. Hodges", (pp. 292-
295, id.) and (4) the order of February 15, 1966, denying, among others, the
Incidentally, it may be mentioned, at this point, that it was principally on motion for reconsideration of the order of October 27, 1965 last referred to.
account of the confusion that might result later from PCIB's continuing to (pp. 455-456, id.)
administer all the community properties, notwithstanding the certainty of the
existence of the separate estate of Mrs. Hodges, and to enable both estates to As may be readily seen, the thrust of all these four impugned orders is in line
function in the meantime with a relative degree of regularity, that the Court with the Court's above-mentioned resolution of September 8, 1972 modifying
ordered in the resolution of September 8, 1972 the modification of the the injunction previously issued on August 8, 1967, and, more importantly,
injunction issued pursuant to the resolutions of August 8, October 4 and with what We have said the trial court should have always done pending the
December 6, 1967, by virtue of which respondent Magno was completely liquidation of the conjugal partnership of the Hodges spouses. In fact, as
barred from any participation in the administration of the properties herein already stated, that is the arrangement We are ordering, by this decision, to
involved. In the September 8 resolution, We ordered that, pending this be followed. Stated differently, since the questioned orders provide for joint
decision, Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 should proceed jointly and that action by the two administrators, and that is precisely what We are holding
the respective administrators therein "act conjointly — none of them to act out to have been done and should be done until the two estates are separated
singly and independently of each other for any purpose." Upon mature from each other, the said orders must be affirmed. Accordingly the foregoing
deliberation, We felt that to allow PCIB to continue managing or administering assignments of error must be, as they are hereby overruled.
all the said properties to the exclusion of the administratrix of Mrs. Hodges'
estate might place the heirs of Hodges at an unduly advantageous position Assignments of error Numbers LXVIII
which could result in considerable, if not irreparable, damage or injury to the to LXXI and LXXIII to LXXVI.
other parties concerned. It is indeed to be regretted that apparently, up to this
date, more than a year after said resolution, the same has not been given due
The orders complained of under these assignments of error commonly deal
regard, as may be gleaned from the fact that recently, respondent Magno has
with expenditures made by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of the Estate of
filed in these proceedings a motion to declare PCIB in contempt for alleged
Mrs. Hodges, in connection with her administration thereof, albeit
failure to abide therewith, notwithstanding that its repeated motions for
additionally, assignments of error Numbers LXIX to LXXI put into question the
reconsideration thereof have all been denied soon after they were filed. 9
payment of attorneys fees provided for in the contract for the purpose, as
constituting, in effect, premature advances to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges.
Going back to the appeals, it is perhaps best to begin first with what appears
to Our mind to be the simplest, and then proceed to the more complicated
More specifically, assignment Number LXXIII refers to reimbursement of
ones in that order, without regard to the numerical sequence of the
overtime pay paid to six employees of the court and three other persons for
assignments of error in appellant's brief or to the order of the discussion
services in copying the court records to enable the lawyers of the
thereof by counsel.
administration to be fully informed of all the incidents in the proceedings. The
reimbursement was approved as proper legal expenses of administration per
Assignments of error numbers the order of December 19, 1964, (pp. 221-222, id.) and repeated motions for
LXXII, LXXVII and LXXVIII. reconsideration thereof were denied by the orders of January 9, 1965, (pp.
231-232, id.) October 27, 1965, (p. 277, id.) and February 15, 1966. (pp. 455-
These assignments of error relate to (1) the order of the trial court of August 456, id.) On the other hand, Assignments Numbers LXVIII to LXXI, LXXIV and
6, 1965 providing that "the deeds of sale (therein referred to involving LXXV question the trial court's order of November 3, 1965 approving the
properties in the name of Hodges) should be signed jointly by the PCIB, as agreement of June 6, 1964 between Administratrix Magno and James L.
Administrator of Testate Estate of C.N. Hodges, and Avelina A. Magno, as Sullivan, attorney-in-fact of the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, as Parties of the First
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and to this effect, Part, and Attorneys Raul Manglapus and Rizal R. Quimpo, as Parties of the
the PCIB should take the necessary steps so that Administratrix Avelina A. Second Part, regarding attorneys fees for said counsel who had agreed "to
Magno could sign the deeds of sale," (p. 248, Green Rec. on Appeal) (2) the prosecute and defend their interests (of the Parties of the First Part) in certain
order of October 27, 1965 denying the motion for reconsideration of the cases now pending litigation in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo —, more
foregoing order, (pp. 276-277, id.) (3) the other order also dated October 27, specifically in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 —" (pp. 126-129, id.) and
1965 enjoining inter alia, that "(a) all cash collections should be deposited in directing Administratrix Magno "to issue and sign whatever check or checks
the joint account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and estate of C. N. maybe needed to implement the approval of the agreement annexed to the
Hodges, (b) that whatever cash collections (that) had been deposited in the motion" as well as the "administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges — to
account of either of the estates should be withdrawn and since then (sic) countersign the said check or checks as the case maybe." (pp. 313-320, id.),
deposited in the joint account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the reconsideration of which order of approval was denied in the order of
estate of C. N. Hodges; ... (d) (that) Administratrix Magno — allow the PCIB to February 16, 1966, (p. 456, id.) Assignment Number LXXVI imputes error to the

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lower court's order of October 27, 1965, already referred to above, insofar as attorney's fees, may be paid without awaiting the determination and
it orders that "PCIB should counter sign the check in the amount of P250 in segregation of the estate of Mrs. Hodges.
favor of Administratrix Avelina A. Magno as her compensation as
administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges estate chargeable to the Testate Estate Withal, the weightiest consideration in connection with the point under
of Linnie Jane Hodges only." (p. 294, id.) discussion is that at this stage of the controversy among the parties herein,
the vital issue refers to the existence or non-existence of the estate of Mrs.
Main contention again of appellant PCIB in regard to these eight assigned Hodges. In this respect, the interest of respondent Magno, as the appointed
errors is that there is no such estate as the estate of Mrs. Hodges for which administratrix of the said estate, is to maintain that it exists, which is naturally
the questioned expenditures were made, hence what were authorized were common and identical with and inseparable from the interest of the brothers
in effect expenditures from the estate of Hodges. As We have already and sisters of Mrs. Hodges. Thus, it should not be wondered why both Magno
demonstrated in Our resolution above of the petition for certiorari and and these heirs have seemingly agreed to retain but one counsel. In fact, such
prohibition, this posture is incorrect. Indeed, in whichever way the remaining an arrangement should be more convenient and economical to both. The
issues between the parties in these cases are ultimately resolved, 10 the final possibility of conflict of interest between Magno and the heirs of Mrs. Hodges
result will surely be that there are properties constituting the estate of Mrs. would be, at this stage, quite remote and, in any event, rather insubstantial.
Hodges of which Magno is the current administratrix. It follows, therefore, Besides, should any substantial conflict of interest between them arise in the
that said appellee had the right, as such administratrix, to hire the persons future, the same would be a matter that the probate court can very well take
whom she paid overtime pay and to be paid for her own services as care of in the course of the independent proceedings in Case No. 1307 after
administratrix. That she has not yet collected and is not collecting amounts as the corresponding segregation of the two subject estates. We cannot perceive
substantial as that paid to or due appellant PCIB is to her credit. any cogent reason why, at this stage, the estate and the heirs of Mrs. Hodges
cannot be represented by a common counsel.
Of course, she is also entitled to the services of counsel and to that end had
the authority to enter into contracts for attorney's fees in the manner she had Now, as to whether or not the portion of the fees in question that should
done in the agreement of June 6, 1964. And as regards to the reasonableness correspond to the heirs constitutes premature partial distribution of the
of the amount therein stipulated, We see no reason to disturb the discretion estate of Mrs. Hodges is also a matter in which neither PCIB nor the heirs of
exercised by the probate court in determining the same. We have gone over Hodges have any interest. In any event, since, as far as the records show, the
the agreement, and considering the obvious size of the estate in question and estate has no creditors and the corresponding estate and inheritance taxes,
the nature of the issues between the parties as well as the professional except those of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges, have already been
standing of counsel, We cannot say that the fees agreed upon require the paid, 11 no prejudice can caused to anyone by the comparatively small amount
exercise by the Court of its inherent power to reduce it. of attorney's fees in question. And in this connection, it may be added that,
although strictly speaking, the attorney's fees of the counsel of an
PCIB insists, however, that said agreement of June 6, 1964 is not for legal administrator is in the first instance his personal responsibility, reimbursable
services to the estate but to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, or, at most, to both of later on by the estate, in the final analysis, when, as in the situation on hand,
them, and such being the case, any payment under it, insofar as counsels' the attorney-in-fact of the heirs has given his conformity thereto, it would be
services would redound to the benefit of the heirs, would be in the nature of idle effort to inquire whether or not the sanction given to said fees by the
advances to such heirs and a premature distribution of the estate. Again, We probate court is proper.
hold that such posture cannot prevail.
For the foregoing reasons, Assignments of Error LXVIII to LXXI and LXXIII to
Upon the premise We have found plausible that there is an existing estate of LXXVI should be as they are hereby overruled.
Mrs. Hodges, it results that juridically and factually the interests involved in
her estate are distinct and different from those involved in her estate of Assignments of error I to IV,
Hodges and vice versa. Insofar as the matters related exclusively to the estate XIII to XV, XXII to XXV, XXXV
of Mrs. Hodges, PCIB, as administrator of the estate of Hodges, is a complete to XXX VI, XLI to XLIII and L.
stranger and it is without personality to question the actuations of the
administratrix thereof regarding matters not affecting the estate of Hodges. These assignments of error deal with the approval by the trial court of various
Actually, considering the obviously considerable size of the estate of Mrs. deeds of sale of real properties registered in the name of Hodges but executed
Hodges, We see no possible cause for apprehension that when the two estates by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Hodges,
are segregated from each other, the amount of attorney's fees stipulated in purportedly in implementation of corresponding supposed written "Contracts
the agreement in question will prejudice any portion that would correspond to Sell" previously executed by Hodges during the interim between May 23,
to Hodges' estate. 1957, when his wife died, and December 25, 1962, the day he died. As stated
on pp. 118-120 of appellant's main brief, "These are: the, contract to sell
And as regards the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges who ought to be the ones who between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Pepito G.
should have a say on the attorney's fees and other expenses of administration Iyulores executed on February 5, 1961; the contract to sell between the
assailed by PCIB, suffice it to say that they appear to have been duly deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellant Esperidion Partisala,
represented in the agreement itself by their attorney-in-fact, James L. Sullivan executed on April 20, 1960; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles
and have not otherwise interposed any objection to any of the expenses Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Winifredo C. Espada, executed on April 18,
incurred by Magno questioned by PCIB in these appeals. As a matter of fact, 1960; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and
as ordered by the trial court, all the expenses in question, including the the appellee, Rosario Alingasa, executed on August 25, 1958; the contract to
sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Lorenzo

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Carles, executed on June 17, 1958; the contract to sell between the deceased, To start with, these contracts can hardly be ignored. Bona fide third parties are
Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Salvador S. Guzman, executed on involved; as much as possible, they should not be made to suffer any prejudice
September 13, 1960; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles on account of judicial controversies not of their own making. What is more,
Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Florenia Barrido, executed on February 21, the transactions they rely on were submitted by them to the probate court for
1958; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and approval, and from already known and recorded actuations of said court then,
the appellee, Purificacion Coronado, executed on August 14, 1961; the they had reason to believe that it had authority to act on their motions, since
contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee Magno had, from time to time prior to their transactions with her,
appellee, Graciano Lucero, executed on November 27, 1961; the contract to been allowed to act in her capacity as administratrix of one of the subject
sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Ariteo estates either alone or conjointly with PCIB. All the sales in question were
Thomas Jamir, executed on May 26, 1961; the contract to sell between the executed by Magno in 1966 already, but before that, the court had previously
deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Melquiades Batisanan, authorized or otherwise sanctioned expressly many of her act as
executed on June 9, 1959; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles administratrix involving expenditures from the estate made by her either
Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Belcezar Causing, executed on February 10, conjointly with or independently from PCIB, as Administrator of the Estate of
1959 and the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, Hodges. Thus, it may be said that said buyers-appellees merely followed
and the appellee, Adelfa Premaylon, executed on October 31, 1959, re Title precedents in previous orders of the court. Accordingly, unless the impugned
No. 13815." orders approving those sales indubitably suffer from some clearly fatal
infirmity the Court would rather affirm them.
Relative to these sales, it is the position of appellant PCIB that, inasmuch as
pursuant to the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband was to have dominion over It is quite apparent from the record that the properties covered by said sales
all her estate during his lifetime, it was as absolute owner of the properties are equivalent only to a fraction of what should constitute the estate of Mrs.
respectively covered by said sales that he executed the aforementioned Hodges, even if it is assumed that the same would finally be held to be only
contracts to sell, and consequently, upon his death, the implementation of one-fourth of the conjugal properties of the spouses as of the time of her
said contracts may be undertaken only by the administrator of his estate and death or, to be more exact, one-half of her estate as per the inventory
not by the administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges. Basically, the same submitted by Hodges as executor, on May 12, 1958. In none of its numerous,
theory is invoked with particular reference to five other sales, in which the varied and voluminous pleadings, motions and manifestations has PCIB
respective "contracts to sell" in favor of these appellees were executed by claimed any possibility otherwise. Such being the case, to avoid any conflict
Hodges before the death of his wife, namely, those in favor of appellee with the heirs of Hodges, the said properties covered by the questioned deeds
Santiago Pacaonsis, Alfredo Catedral, Jose Pablico, Western Institute of of sale executed by appellee Magno may be treated as among those
Technology and Adelfa Premaylon. corresponding to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, which would have been actually
under her control and administration had Hodges complied with his duty to
Anent those deeds of sale based on promises or contracts to sell executed by liquidate the conjugal partnership. Viewing the situation in that manner, the
Hodges after the death of his wife, those enumerated in the quotation in the only ones who could stand to be prejudiced by the appealed orders referred
immediately preceding paragraph, it is quite obvious that PCIB's contention to in the assignment of errors under discussion and who could, therefore, have
cannot be sustained. As already explained earlier, 11* all proceeds of the requisite interest to question them would be only the heirs of Mrs. Hodges,
remunerative transfers or dispositions made by Hodges after the death of his definitely not PCIB.
wife should be deemed as continuing to be parts of her estate and, therefore,
subject to the terms of her will in favor of her brothers and sisters, in the sense It is of no moment in what capacity Hodges made the "contracts to sell' after
that should there be no showing that such proceeds, whether in cash or the death of his wife. Even if he had acted as executor of the will of his wife,
property have been subsequently conveyed or assigned subsequently by he did not have to submit those contracts to the court nor follow the
Hodges to any third party by acts inter vivos with the result that they could not provisions of the rules, (Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of Rule 89 quoted by
thereby belong to him anymore at the time of his death, they automatically appellant on pp. 125 to 127 of its brief) for the simple reason that by the very
became part of the inheritance of said brothers and sisters. The deeds here in orders, much relied upon by appellant for other purposes, of May 27, 1957
question involve transactions which are exactly of this nature. Consequently, and December 14, 1957, Hodges was "allowed or authorized" by the trial court
the payments made by the appellees should be considered as payments to the "to continue the business in which he was engaged and to perform acts which
estate of Mrs. Hodges which is to be distributed and partitioned among her he had been doing while the deceased was living", (Order of May 27) which
heirs specified in the will. according to the motion on which the court acted was "of buying and selling
personal and real properties", and "to execute subsequent sales, conveyances,
The five deeds of sale predicated on contracts to sell executed Hodges during leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane
the lifetime of his wife, present a different situation. At first blush, it would Hodges in consonance with the wishes conveyed in the last will and testament
appear that as to them, PCIB's position has some degree of plausibility. of the latter." (Order of December 14) In other words, if Hodges acted then as
Considering, however, that the adoption of PCIB's theory would necessarily executor, it can be said that he had authority to do so by virtue of these
have tremendous repercussions and would bring about considerable blanket orders, and PCIB does not question the legality of such grant of
disturbance of property rights that have somehow accrued already in favor of authority; on the contrary, it is relying on the terms of the order itself for its
innocent third parties, the five purchasers aforenamed, the Court is inclined main contention in these cases. On the other hand, if, as PCIB contends, he
to take a pragmatic and practical view of the legal situation involving them by acted as heir-adjudicatee, the authority given to him by the aforementioned
overlooking the possible technicalities in the way, the non-observance of orders would still suffice.
which would not, after all, detract materially from what should substantially
correspond to each and all of the parties concerned.

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As can be seen, therefore, it is of no moment whether the "contracts to sell" executed by Hodges in favor of the buyers-appellees concerned were
upon which the deeds in question were based were executed by Hodges complied with by the latter. What is worse, in the view of PCIB, is that the court
before or after the death of his wife. In a word, We hold, for the reasons has taken the word of the appellee Magno, "a total stranger to his estate as
already stated, that the properties covered by the deeds being assailed pertain determinative of the issue".
or should be deemed as pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges; hence, any
supposed irregularity attending the actuations of the trial court may be Actually, contrary to the stand of PCIB, it is this last point regarding appellee
invoked only by her heirs, not by PCIB, and since the said heirs are not Magno's having agreed to ignore the cancellations made by PCIB and allowed
objecting, and the defects pointed out not being strictly jurisdictional in the buyers-appellees to consummate the sales in their favor that is decisive.
nature, all things considered, particularly the unnecessary disturbance of Since We have already held that the properties covered by the contracts in
rights already created in favor of innocent third parties, it is best that the question should be deemed to be portions of the estate of Mrs. Hodges and
impugned orders are not disturbed. not that of Hodges, it is PCIB that is a complete stranger in these incidents.
Considering, therefore, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges and her heirs who are
In view of these considerations, We do not find sufficient merit in the the real parties in interest having the right to oppose the consummation of the
assignments of error under discussion. impugned sales are not objecting, and that they are the ones who are precisely
urging that said sales be sanctioned, the assignments of error under discussion
Assignments of error V to VIII, have no basis and must accordingly be as they are hereby overruled.
XVI to XVIII, XXVI to XXIX, XXXVII
to XXXVIII, XLIV to XLVI and LI. With particular reference to assignments LIII to LXI, assailing the orders of the
trial court requiring PCIB to surrender the respective owner's duplicate
All these assignments of error commonly deal with alleged non-fulfillment by certificates of title over the properties covered by the sales in question and
the respective vendees, appellees herein, of the terms and conditions otherwise directing the Register of Deeds of Iloilo to cancel said certificates
embodied in the deeds of sale referred to in the assignments of error just and to issue new transfer certificates of title in favor of the buyers-appellees,
discussed. It is claimed that some of them never made full payments in suffice it to say that in the light of the above discussion, the trial court was
accordance with the respective contracts to sell, while in the cases of the within its rights to so require and direct, PCIB having refused to give way, by
others, like Lorenzo Carles, Jose Pablico, Alfredo Catedral and Salvador S. withholding said owners' duplicate certificates, of the corresponding
Guzman, the contracts with them had already been unilaterally cancelled by registration of the transfers duly and legally approved by the court.
PCIB pursuant to automatic rescission clauses contained in them, in view of
the failure of said buyers to pay arrearages long overdue. But PCIB's posture is Assignments of error LXII to LXVII
again premised on its assumption that the properties covered by the deeds in
question could not pertain to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. We have already held All these assignments of error commonly deal with the appeal against orders
above that, it being evident that a considerable portion of the conjugal favoring appellee Western Institute of Technology. As will be recalled, said
properties, much more than the properties covered by said deeds, would institute is one of the buyers of real property covered by a contract to sell
inevitably constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges, to avoid unnecessary legal executed by Hodges prior to the death of his wife. As of October, 1965, it was
complications, it can be assumed that said properties form part of such estate. in arrears in the total amount of P92,691.00 in the payment of its installments
From this point of view, it is apparent again that the questions, whether or not on account of its purchase, hence it received under date of October 4, 1965
it was proper for appellee Magno to have disregarded the cancellations made and October 20, 1965, letters of collection, separately and respectively, from
by PCIB, thereby reviving the rights of the respective buyers-appellees, and, PCIB and appellee Magno, in their respective capacities as administrators of
whether or not the rules governing new dispositions of properties of the estate the distinct estates of the Hodges spouses, albeit, while in the case of PCIB it
were strictly followed, may not be raised by PCIB but only by the heirs of Mrs. made known that "no other arrangement can be accepted except by paying all
Hodges as the persons designated to inherit the same, or perhaps the your past due account", on the other hand, Magno merely said she would
government because of the still unpaid inheritance taxes. But, again, since "appreciate very much if you can make some remittance to bring this account
there is no pretense that any objections were raised by said parties or that up-to-date and to reduce the amount of the obligation." (See pp. 295-311,
they would necessarily be prejudiced, the contentions of PCIB under the Green R. on A.) On November 3, 1965, the Institute filed a motion which, after
instant assignments of error hardly merit any consideration. alleging that it was ready and willing to pay P20,000 on account of its overdue
installments but uncertain whether it should pay PCIB or Magno, it prayed that
Assignments of error IX to XII, XIX it be "allowed to deposit the aforesaid amount with the court pending
to XXI, XXX to XXIV, XXXIX to XL, resolution of the conflicting claims of the administrators." Acting on this
XLVII to XLIX, LII and LIII to LXI. motion, on November 23, 1965, the trial court issued an order, already quoted
in the narration of facts in this opinion, holding that payment to both or either
PCIB raises under these assignments of error two issues which according to it of the two administrators is "proper and legal", and so "movant — can pay to
are fundamental, namely: (1) that in approving the deeds executed by Magno both estates or either of them", considering that "in both cases (Special
pursuant to contracts to sell already cancelled by it in the performance of its Proceedings 1307 and 1672) there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor
functions as administrator of the estate of Hodges, the trial court deprived the distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto."
said estate of the right to invoke such cancellations it (PCIB) had made and (2)
that in so acting, the court "arrogated unto itself, while acting as a probate The arguments under the instant assignments of error revolve around said
court, the power to determine the contending claims of third parties against order. From the procedural standpoint, it is claimed that PCIB was not served
the estate of Hodges over real property," since it has in effect determined with a copy of the Institute's motion, that said motion was heard, considered
whether or not all the terms and conditions of the respective contracts to sell and resolved on November 23, 1965, whereas the date set for its hearing was

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

November 20, 1965, and that what the order grants is different from what is occasions, each one of them provided mutually as follows: "I give, devise and
prayed for in the motion. As to the substantive aspect, it is contended that the bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder (after funeral and
matter treated in the motion is beyond the jurisdiction of the probate court administration expenses, taxes and debts) of my estate, both real and
and that the order authorized payment to a person other than the personal, wherever situated or located, to my beloved (spouse) to have and to
administrator of the estate of Hodges with whom the Institute had contracted. hold unto (him/her) — during (his/her) natural lifetime", subject to the
condition that upon the death of whoever of them survived the other, the
The procedural points urged by appellant deserve scant consideration. We remainder of what he or she would inherit from the other is "give(n), devise(d)
must assume, absent any clear proof to the contrary, that the lower court had and bequeath(ed)" to the brothers and sisters of the latter.
acted regularly by seeing to it that appellant was duly notified. On the other
hand, there is nothing irregular in the court's having resolved the motion three Mrs. Hodges died first, on May 23, 1957. Four days later, on May 27, Hodges
days after the date set for hearing the same. Moreover, the record reveals that was appointed special administrator of her estate, and in a separate order of
appellants' motion for reconsideration wherein it raised the same points was the same date, he was "allowed or authorized to continue the business in
denied by the trial court on March 7, 1966 (p. 462, Green R. on A.) Withal, We which he was engaged, (buying and selling personal and real properties) and
are not convinced that the relief granted is not within the general intent of the to perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased was living."
Institute's motion. Subsequently, on December 14, 1957, after Mrs. Hodges' will had been
probated and Hodges had been appointed and had qualified as Executor
Insofar as the substantive issues are concerned, all that need be said at this thereof, upon his motion in which he asserted that he was "not only part
point is that they are mere reiterations of contentions We have already owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the
resolved above adversely to appellants' position. Incidentally, We may add, properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges", the trial court ordered
perhaps, to erase all doubts as to the propriety of not disturbing the lower that "for the reasons stated in his motion dated December 11, 1957, which the
court's orders sanctioning the sales questioned in all these appeal s by PCIB, Court considers well taken, ... all the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages
that it is only when one of the parties to a contract to convey property of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the
executed by a deceased person raises substantial objections to its being Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are hereby APPROVED. The said Executor is
implemented by the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate that further authorized to execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and
Section 8 of Rule 89 may not apply and, consequently, the matter has, to be mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in
taken up in a separate action outside of the probate court; but where, as in consonance with the wishes contained in the last will and testament of the
the cases of the sales herein involved, the interested parties are in agreement latter."
that the conveyance be made, it is properly within the jurisdiction of the
probate court to give its sanction thereto pursuant to the provisions of the rule Annually thereafter, Hodges submitted to the court the corresponding
just mentioned. And with respect to the supposed automatic rescission statements of account of his administration, with the particularity that in all
clauses contained in the contracts to sell executed by Hodges in favor of herein his motions, he always made it point to urge the that "no person interested in
appellees, the effect of said clauses depend on the true nature of the said the Philippines of the time and place of examining the herein accounts be
contracts, despite the nomenclature appearing therein, which is not given notice as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of the deceased
controlling, for if they amount to actual contracts of sale instead of being mere in accordance with the last will and testament already probated by the
unilateral accepted "promises to sell", (Art. 1479, Civil Code of the Philippines, Honorable Court." All said accounts approved as prayed for.
2nd paragraph) thepactum commissorium or the automatic rescission
provision would not operate, as a matter of public policy, unless there has Nothing else appears to have been done either by the court a quo or Hodges
been a previous notarial or judicial demand by the seller (10 Manresa 263, 2nd until December 25, 1962. Importantly to be the provision in the will of Mrs.
ed.) neither of which have been shown to have been made in connection with Hodges that her share of the conjugal partnership was to be inherited by her
the transactions herein involved. husband "to have and to hold unto him, my said husband, during his natural
lifetime" and that "at the death of my said husband, I give, devise and
Consequently, We find no merit in the assignments of error bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and
Number LXII to LXVII. personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among my
brothers and sisters, share and share alike", which provision naturally made it
SUMMARY imperative that the conjugal partnership be promptly liquidated, in order that
the "rest, residue and remainder" of his wife's share thereof, as of the time of
Hodges' own death, may be readily known and identified, no such liquidation
Considering the fact that this decision is unusually extensive and that the
was ever undertaken. The record gives no indication of the reason for such
issues herein taken up and resolved are rather numerous and varied, what
omission, although relatedly, it appears therein:
with appellant making seventy-eight assignments of error affecting no less
than thirty separate orders of the court a quo, if only to facilitate proper
understanding of the import and extent of our rulings herein contained, it is 1. That in his annual statement submitted to the court of
perhaps desirable that a brief restatement of the whole situation be made the net worth of C. N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane
together with our conclusions in regard to its various factual and legal aspects. Hodges, Hodges repeatedly and consistently reported the
. combined income of the conjugal partnership and then
merely divided the same equally between himself and the
estate of the deceased wife, and, more importantly, he
The instant cases refer to the estate left by the late Charles Newton Hodges as
also, as consistently, filed corresponding separate income
well as that of his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, who predeceased him by about
tax returns for each calendar year for each resulting half
five years and a half. In their respective wills which were executed on different
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

of such combined income, thus reporting that the estate independently of Magno and otherwise acted as if all the properties appearing
of Mrs. Hodges had its own income distinct from his own. in the name of Charles Newton Hodges belonged solely and only to his estate,
to the exclusion of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges, without
2. That when the court a quo happened to inadvertently considering whether or not in fact any of said properties corresponded to the
omit in its order probating the will of Mrs. Hodges, the portion of the conjugal partnership pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges.
name of one of her brothers, Roy Higdon then already On the other hand, Magno made her own expenditures, hired her own
deceased, Hodges lost no time in asking for the proper lawyers, on the premise that there is such an estate of Mrs. Hodges, and dealth
correction "in order that the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon with some of the properties, appearing in the name of Hodges, on the
may not think or believe they were omitted, and that they assumption that they actually correspond to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. All of
were really interested in the estate of the deceased Linnie these independent and separate actuations of the two administrators were
Jane Hodges". invariably approved by the trial court upon submission. Eventually, the
differences reached a point wherein Magno, who was more cognizant than
anyone else about the ins and outs of the businesses and properties of the
3. That in his aforementioned motion of December 11,
deceased spouses because of her long and intimate association with them,
1957, he expressly stated that "deceased Linnie Jane
made it difficult for PCIB to perform normally its functions as administrator
Hodges died leaving no descendants or ascendants except
separately from her. Thus, legal complications arose and the present judicial
brothers and sisters and herein petitioner as the surviving
controversies came about.
spouse, to inherit the properties of the decedent", thereby
indicating that he was not excluding his wife's brothers
and sisters from the inheritance. Predicating its position on the tenor of the orders of May 27 and December
14, 1957 as well as the approval by the court a quo of the annual statements
of account of Hodges, PCIB holds to the view that the estate of Mrs. Hodges
4. That Hodges allegedly made statements and
has already been in effect closed with the virtual adjudication in the
manifestations to the United States inheritance tax
mentioned orders of her whole estate to Hodges, and that, therefore, Magno
authorities indicating that he had renounced his
had already ceased since then to have any estate to administer and the
inheritance from his wife in favor of her other heirs, which
brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges have no interests whatsoever in the estate
attitude he is supposed to have reiterated or ratified in an
left by Hodges. Mainly upon such theory, PCIB has come to this Court with a
alleged affidavit subscribed and sworn to here in the
petition for certiorari and prohibition praying that the lower court's orders
Philippines and in which he even purportedly stated that
allowing respondent Magno to continue acting as administratrix of the estate
his reason for so disclaiming and renouncing his rights
of Mrs. Hodges in Special Proceedings 1307 in the manner she has been doing,
under his wife's will was to "absolve (him) or (his) estate
as detailed earlier above, be set aside. Additionally, PCIB maintains that the
from any liability for the payment of income taxes on
provision in Mrs. Hodges' will instituting her brothers and sisters in the manner
income which has accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane
therein specified is in the nature of a testamentary substitution, but inasmuch
Hodges", his wife, since her death.
as the purported substitution is not, in its view, in accordance with the
pertinent provisions of the Civil Code, it is ineffective and may not be enforced.
On said date, December 25, 1962, Hodges died. The very next day, upon It is further contended that, in any event, inasmuch as the Hodges spouses
motion of herein respondent and appellee, Avelina A. Magno, she was were both residents of the Philippines, following the decision of this Court in
appointed by the trial court as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Aznar vs. Garcia, or the case of Christensen, 7 SCRA 95, the estate left by Mrs.
Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings No. 1307 and as Special Administratrix of Hodges could not be more than one-half of her share of the conjugal
the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, "in the latter case, because the last will partnership, notwithstanding the fact that she was citizen of Texas, U.S.A., in
of said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his vault or iron safe and that the accordance with Article 16 in relation to Articles 900 and 872 of the Civil Code.
real and personal properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or go to Initially, We issued a preliminary injunction against Magno and allowed PCIB
waste, unless Special Administratrix is appointed," (Order of December 26, to act alone.
1962, p. 27, Yellow R. on A.) although, soon enough, on December 29, 1962, a
certain Harold K. Davies was appointed as her Co-Special Administrator, and
At the same time PCIB has appealed several separate orders of the trial court
when Special Proceedings No. 1672, Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges,
approving individual acts of appellee Magno in her capacity as administratrix
was opened, Joe Hodges, as next of kin of the deceased, was in due time
of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, such as, hiring of lawyers for specified fees and
appointed as Co-Administrator of said estate together with Atty. Fernando P.
incurring expenses of administration for different purposes and executing
Mirasol, to replace Magno and Davies, only to be in turn replaced eventually
deeds of sale in favor of her co-appellees covering properties which are still
by petitioner PCIB alone.
registered in the name of Hodges, purportedly pursuant to corresponding
"contracts to sell" executed by Hodges. The said orders are being questioned
At the outset, the two probate proceedings appear to have been proceeding on jurisdictional and procedural grounds directly or indirectly predicated on
jointly, with each administrator acting together with the other, under a sort of the principal theory of appellant that all the properties of the two estates
modus operandi. PCIB used to secure at the beginning the conformity to and belong already to the estate of Hodges exclusively.
signature of Magno in transactions it wanted to enter into and submitted the
same to the court for approval as their joint acts. So did Magno do likewise.
On the other hand, respondent-appellee Magno denies that the trial court's
Somehow, however, differences seem to have arisen, for which reason, each
orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957 were meant to be finally
of them began acting later on separately and independently of each other,
adjudicatory of the hereditary rights of Hodges and contends that they were
with apparent sanction of the trial court. Thus, PCIB had its own lawyers whom
no more than the court's general sanction of past and future acts of Hodges as
it contracted and paid handsomely, conducted the business of the estate

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

executor of the will of his wife in due course of administration. As to the point the subsequent proceedings, to be actually the laws of Texas on the matter
regarding substitution, her position is that what was given by Mrs. Hodges to would no longer be of any consequence, since PCIB would anyway be in
her husband under the provision in question was a lifetime usufruct of her estoppel already to claim that the estate of Mrs. Hodges should be less than
share of the conjugal partnership, with the naked ownership passing directly as contended by it now, for admissions by a party related to the effects of
to her brothers and sisters. Anent the application of Article 16 of the Civil Code, foreign laws, which have to be proven in our courts like any other controverted
she claims that the applicable law to the will of Mrs. Hodges is that of Texas fact, create estoppel.
under which, she alleges, there is no system of legitime, hence, the estate of
Mrs. Hodges cannot be less than her share or one-half of the conjugal In the process, We overrule PCIB's contention that the provision in Mrs.
partnership properties. She further maintains that, in any event, Hodges had Hodges' will in favor of her brothers and sisters constitutes ineffective
as a matter of fact and of law renounced his inheritance from his wife and, hereditary substitutions. But neither are We sustaining, on the other hand,
therefore, her whole estate passed directly to her brothers and sisters Magno's pose that it gave Hodges only a lifetime usufruct. We hold that by
effective at the latest upon the death of Hodges. said provision, Mrs. Hodges simultaneously instituted her brothers and sisters
as co-heirs with her husband, with the condition, however, that the latter
In this decision, for the reasons discussed above, and upon the issues just would have complete rights of dominion over the whole estate during his
summarized, We overrule PCIB's contention that the orders of May 27, 1957 lifetime and what would go to the former would be only the remainder thereof
and December 14, 1957 amount to an adjudication to Hodges of the estate of at the time of Hodges' death. In other words, whereas they are not to inherit
his wife, and We recognize the present existence of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, only in case of default of Hodges, on the other hand, Hodges was not obliged
as consisting of properties, which, while registered in that name of Hodges, do to preserve anything for them. Clearly then, the essential elements of
actually correspond to the remainder of the share of Mrs. Hodges in the testamentary substitution are absent; the provision in question is a simple
conjugal partnership, it appearing that pursuant to the pertinent provisions of case of conditional simultaneous institution of heirs, whereby the institution
her will, any portion of said share still existing and undisposed of by her of Hodges is subject to a partial resolutory condition the operative contingency
husband at the time of his death should go to her brothers and sisters share of which is coincidental with that of the suspensive condition of the institution
and share alike. Factually, We find that the proven circumstances relevant to of his brothers and sisters-in-law, which manner of institution is not prohibited
the said orders do not warrant the conclusion that the court intended to make by law.
thereby such alleged final adjudication. Legally, We hold that the tenor of said
orders furnish no basis for such a conclusion, and what is more, at the time We also hold, however, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her
said orders were issued, the proceedings had not yet reached the point when brothers and sisters could be more than just stated, but this would depend on
a final distribution and adjudication could be made. Moreover, the interested (1) whether upon the proper application of the principle of renvoi in relation
parties were not duly notified that such disposition of the estate would be to Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, it will appear
done. At best, therefore, said orders merely allowed Hodges to dispose of that Hodges had no legitime as contended by Magno, and (2) whether or not
portions of his inheritance in advance of final adjudication, which is implicitly it can be held that Hodges had legally and effectively renounced his
permitted under Section 2 of Rule 109, there being no possible prejudice to inheritance from his wife. Under the circumstances presently obtaining and in
third parties, inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges had no creditors and all pertinent taxes the state of the record of these cases, as of now, the Court is not in a position
have been paid. to make a final ruling, whether of fact or of law, on any of these two issues,
and We, therefore, reserve said issues for further proceedings and resolution
More specifically, We hold that, on the basis of circumstances presently extant in the first instance by the court a quo, as hereinabove indicated. We reiterate,
in the record, and on the assumption that Hodges' purported renunciation however, that pending such further proceedings, as matters stand at this
should not be upheld, the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her brothers and stage, Our considered opinion is that it is beyond cavil that since, under the
sisters consists of one-fourth of the community estate of the spouses at the terms of the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband could not have anyway legally
time of her death, minus whatever Hodges had gratuitously disposed of adjudicated or caused to be adjudicated to himself her whole share of their
therefrom during the period from, May 23, 1957, when she died, to December conjugal partnership, albeit he could have disposed any part thereof during his
25, 1962, when he died provided, that with regard to remunerative lifetime, the resulting estate of Mrs. Hodges, of which Magno is the
dispositions made by him during the same period, the proceeds thereof, uncontested administratrix, cannot be less than one-fourth of the conjugal
whether in cash or property, should be deemed as continuing to be part of his partnership properties, as of the time of her death, minus what, as explained
wife's estate, unless it can be shown that he had subsequently disposed of earlier, have been gratuitously disposed of therefrom, by Hodges in favor of
them gratuitously. third persons since then, for even if it were assumed that, as contended by
PCIB, under Article 16 of the Civil Code and applying renvoi the laws of the
At this juncture, it may be reiterated that the question of what are the Philippines are the ones ultimately applicable, such one-fourth share would be
pertinent laws of Texas and what would be the estate of Mrs. Hodges under her free disposable portion, taking into account already the legitime of her
them is basically one of fact, and considering the respective positions of the husband under Article 900 of the Civil Code.
parties in regard to said factual issue, it can already be deemed as settled for
the purposes of these cases that, indeed, the free portion of said estate that The foregoing considerations leave the Court with no alternative than to
could possibly descend to her brothers and sisters by virtue of her will may not conclude that in predicating its orders on the assumption, albeit unexpressed
be less than one-fourth of the conjugal estate, it appearing that the difference therein, that there is an estate of Mrs. Hodges to be distributed among her
in the stands of the parties has reference solely to the legitime of Hodges, PCIB brothers and sisters and that respondent Magno is the legal administratrix
being of the view that under the laws of Texas, there is such a legitime of one- thereof, the trial court acted correctly and within its jurisdiction. Accordingly,
fourth of said conjugal estate and Magno contending, on the other hand, that the petition for certiorari and prohibition has to be denied. The Court feels
there is none. In other words, hereafter, whatever might ultimately appear, at however, that pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership and the

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

determination of the specific properties constituting her estate, the two estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third parties by the
administrators should act conjointly as ordered in the Court's resolution of husband, and second, that should the purported renunciation be declared
September 8, 1972 and as further clarified in the dispositive portion of its legally effective, no deductions whatsoever are to be made from said estate;
decision. in consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967, as amended on
October 4 and December 6, 1967, is lifted, and the resolution of September 8,
Anent the appeals from the orders of the lower court sanctioning payment by 1972, directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the Testate
appellee Magno, as administratrix, of expenses of administration and Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1672, and
attorney's fees, it is obvious that, with Our holding that there is such an estate respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate
of Mrs. Hodges, and for the reasons stated in the body of this opinion, the said of Linnie Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1307, should act thenceforth
orders should be affirmed. This We do on the assumption We find justified by always conjointly, never independently from each other, as such
the evidence of record, and seemingly agreed to by appellant PCIB, that the administrators, is reiterated, and the same is made part of this judgment and
size and value of the properties that should correspond to the estate of Mrs. shall continue in force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of
Hodges far exceed the total of the attorney's fees and administration expenses the deceased spouses and the determination and segregation from each other
in question. of their respective estates, provided, that upon the finality of this judgment,
the trial court should immediately proceed to the partition of the presently
combined estates of the spouses, to the end that the one-half share thereof
With respect to the appeals from the orders approving transactions made by
of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and clearly identified; thereafter, the trial
appellee Magno, as administratrix, covering properties registered in the name
court should forthwith segregate the remainder of the one-fourth herein
of Hodges, the details of which are related earlier above, a distinction must be
adjudged to be her estate and cause the same to be turned over or delivered
made between those predicated on contracts to sell executed by Hodges
to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special Proceedings 1307,
before the death of his wife, on the one hand, and those premised on
while the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint administration of said
contracts to sell entered into by him after her death. As regards the latter, We
respondent and petitioner under a joint proceedings in Special Proceedings
hold that inasmuch as the payments made by appellees constitute proceeds
1307 and 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining to Hodges shall be
of sales of properties belonging to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, as may be
administered by petitioner exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
implied from the tenor of the motions of May 27 and December 14, 1957, said
prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of the pending motions for its
payments continue to pertain to said estate, pursuant to her intent obviously
removal as administrator12; and this arrangement shall be maintained until the
reflected in the relevant provisions of her will, on the assumption that the size
final resolution of the two issues of renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved
and value of the properties to correspond to the estate of Mrs. Hodges would
for further hearing and determination, and the corresponding complete
exceed the total value of all the properties covered by the impugned deeds of
segregation and partition of the two estates in the proportions that may result
sale, for which reason, said properties may be deemed as pertaining to the
from the said resolution.
estate of Mrs. Hodges. And there being no showing that thus viewing the
situation, there would be prejudice to anyone, including the government, the
Court also holds that, disregarding procedural technicalities in favor of a Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the court a quo are directed
pragmatic and practical approach as discussed above, the assailed orders to adhere henceforth, in all their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and
should be affirmed. Being a stranger to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, PCIB has no 1672, to the views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing
personality to raise the procedural and jurisdictional issues raised by it. And opinion.
inasmuch as it does not appear that any of the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges or
the government has objected to any of the orders under appeal, even as to Appellant PCIB is ordered to pay, within five (5) days from notice hereof, thirty-
these parties, there exists no reason for said orders to be set aside. one additional appeal docket fees, but this decision shall nevertheless become
final as to each of the parties herein after fifteen (15) days from the respective
DISPOSITIVE PART notices to them hereof in accordance with the rules.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby rendered Costs against petitioner-appellant PCIB.
DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING,
in G. R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered Zaldivar, Castro, Esguerra and Fernandez, JJ., concur.
to be added after payment of the corresponding docket fees, all the orders of
the trial court under appeal enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to Makasiar, Antonio, Muñoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur in the result.
82 of this decision; the existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix thereof is
recognized, and it is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately rendered
regarding (1) the manner of applying Article 16 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines to the situation obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and
legal issue of whether or not Charles Newton Hodges had effectively and
legally renounced his inheritance under the will of Linnie Jane Hodges, the said
estate consists of one-fourth of the community properties of the said spouses,
as of the time of the death of the wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the Separate Opinions
husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from
said date until his death, provided, first, that with respect to remunerative
dispositions, the proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

FERNANDO, J., concurring: Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests therein of her
brothers and sisters as her designated heirs in her will.
I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring: court in Linnie Jane Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14,
1957 as "null and void for having been issued without jurisdiction" must
therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and untenable
I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition
contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which
in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed orders
respondent Avelina Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix.
of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.

PCIB's appeal7 from the probate court's various orders recognizing respondent
I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned
Magno as administratrix of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) and sanctioning
by Mr. Justice Barredo decreeing the lifting of the Court's writ of preliminary
her acts of administration of said estate and approving the sales contracts
injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on October 4, and December 6,
executed by her with the various individual appellees, which involve basically
19671 and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September 8,
the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether there still exists a
19722 which directed that petitioner-appellant PCIB as administrator of C. N.
separate estate of Linnie of which respondent-appellee Magno may continue
(Charles Newton) Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-appellee
to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail — a result of the Court's main
Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No.
opinion at bar that there doesexist such an estate and that the two estates
1307) should act always conjointly never independently from each other, as
(husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by their respective
such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force and made part of
administrators (PCIB and Magno).
the judgment.

The dispositive portion of the main opinion


It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal
contention in the cases at bar belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1,
1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges' death on May 23, 1957 and The main opinion disposes that:
(over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death on December 25,
1962 — during which time both estates have been pending settlement and IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is
distribution to the decedents' respective rightful heirs all this time up to now) hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-
— that the probate court per its order of December 14, 1957 (supplementing 27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, in G. R. Nos. L-27936-
an earlier order of May 25, 1957)3 in granting C. N. Hodges' motion as Executor 37 and the other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered
of his wife Linnie's estate to continue their "business of buying and selling to be added after payment of the corresponding docket
personal and real properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases fees, all the orders of the trial court under appeal
and mortgages" made and to be made by him as such executor under his enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this
obligation to submit his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole heir of decision:
his wife's estate and nothing remains to be done except to formally close her
estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
that nothing remains of it that may be adjudicated to her brothers and sisters with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as
as her designated heirs after him,4 — is wholly untenable and deserves scant administratrix thereof is recognized, and
consideration.
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately
Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article 16
the day, this contention of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate estate of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation
of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate court's order of December 14, 1957 obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and legal issues
goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N. Hodges as her of whether or not Charles Newton Hodges has effectively
executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and and legally renounced his inheritance under the will of
identity of his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-
own share of their conjugal partnership and estate and "never considered the fourthof the community properties of the said spouses, as
whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself" during the entire of the time of the death of the wife on May 23,
period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his own 1957, minus whatever the husband had
death on December 25, 19625 and against the identical acts and already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons
judicial admissions of PCIB as administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until PCIB from said date until his death, provided, first, that with
sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to its sole respect to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds
administration. thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's estate,
unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third
PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated parties by the husband, and second, that should the
position contradictory to or inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as well purported renunciation be declared legally effective, no
as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime and of whose estate PCIB is deduction whatsoever are to be made from said estate;
merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of Linnie Jane

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In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8, community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the
1967, as amended on October 4 and December 6, 1967, is wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had
lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972, directing already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until
that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions or
Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges in Special sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's
Proceedings 1672, and respondent-appellee Avelina A. death shall continue to be part of her estate unless subsequently disposed of
Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie by him gratuitously to third parties subject to the condition, however, that if
Jane Hodges in Special Proceedings 1307, should act he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance under his
thenceforth always conjointly, never independently from wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even
each other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the if gratuitously are to be made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall
same is made part of this judgment and shall continue in pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs called in her will
force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N. Hodges.
of the deceased spouses and
the determination and segregation from each other of Differences with the main opinion
their respective estates; provided, that upon the finality of
this judgment, the trial court should immediately proceed
I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her
to the partition of the presently combined estates of the
husband as her heir under her will "to have dominion over all her estate during
spouses, to the end that the one-half share thereof of Mrs.
his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the properties ..."9 and that she
Hodges may be properly and clearly identified;
bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as
universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his
Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the lifetime, which means that while he could completely and absolutely dispose
remainder of the one-fourth herein adjudged to be her of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was not
estate and cause the same to be turned over or delivered free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his
to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special death would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency,
Proceedings 1307, while the other one-fourth shall remain inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance,
under the joint administrative of said respondent and although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically
petitioner under a joint proceedings in Special become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of
Proceedings 1307 and 1672, whereas actual existence of any remainder of her estate then." 10
the half unquestionably pertaining to Hodges shall
be administered by petitioner exclusively in Special
As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie
Proceedings 1672, without prejudice to the resolution by
Jane Hodges willed "full and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion"
the trial court of thepending motions for its removal as
over her estate to her husband, but rather that she named her husband C. N.
administrator;
Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under
Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with
And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final a resolutory term whereunder his right to the succession ceased in diem upon
resolution of the two issues arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December 25, 1962 and her
of renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved for further brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a suspensive term whereunder
hearing and determination, and the their right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of the suspensive
corresponding completesegregation and partition of the term of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962.
two estates in the proportions that may result from the
said resolution.
Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all
remunerative dispositions made by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death remain
Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to her brothers and sisters,
court a quo are directed to adhere henceforth, in all their I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly make gratuitous dispositions of
actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, to the any part or all of his wife's estate — "completely and absolutely dispose of any
views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself" in the language of
opinion.8 the main opinion, supra — and thereby render ineffectual and nugatory her
institution of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs to succeed to
Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate: her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband." If according to the main
One-fourth of conjugal properties. opinion, Hodges could not make such gratuitous "complete and absolute
dispositions" of his wife Linnie's estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by
The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane the same token and rationale he was likewise proscribed by the will from
Hodges which shall pass to her brothers and sisters with right of making such dispositions of Linnie's estate inter vivos.
representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated heirs declares that her
estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be
Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one- resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the
half of her estate as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and partition and segregation of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or
legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of "one-fourth of the community properties constituting Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate, which

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie Jane Hodges' and reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. Then also,
death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has remained unliquidated up the genuineness of the documents relied upon by respondent Magno [re
to now might take a similar number of years to unravel with the numerous Hodges' renunciation] is disputed." 12
items, transactions and details of the sizable estates involved.
Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two these two conflicting claims and issues which it deems "are not properly
prejudicial questions of renvoi and renunciation were resolved favorably to before the Court
Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should be held that C. N. Hodges is not now," 13 and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that
entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally renounced remains to be settled in the further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in
his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist not only of the court below is how much more than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs.
the minimum one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of
properties of the Hodges spouses, which would require again the partition and Texas do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is
segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges has
to complete Linnie's separate estate. validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges." 14

My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, Suggested guidelines
effects and consequences of the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane
Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach a solution of the Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down and
pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do not in consonance with the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the prompt
appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the heirs settlement of the estates of deceased persons for the benefit of creditors and
and should therefore be promptly settled now after all these years without those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance — considering that the
any further undue complications and delays and distributed to the heirs for estates have been long pending settlement since 1957 and 1962, respectively
their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have been — it was felt that the Court should lay down specific guidelines for the
reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as guidance of the probate court towards the end that it may expedite the closing
concisely as possible with the sole end in view that they may be of some of the protracted estates proceedings below to the mutual satisfaction of the
assistance to the probate court and the parties in reaching an expeditious heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party elevating its resolution of
closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses. this only remaining issue once more to this Court and dragging out indefinitely
the proceedings.
Two Assumptions
After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the
As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate as resolution of the two questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether
one-fourth of the conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most C. N. Hodges can claim a legitime and whether he had renounced the
favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his heirs, namely (1) that the probate inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court without reaching a
court must accept the renvoi or "reference back" 11 allegedly provided by the consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in
laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens) this case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be threshed
whereby the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges spouses out fully in the trial court in the proceedings hereinafter to be held for the
would govern their succession notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16 of purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges to her
our Civil Code (which provides that the national law of the decedents, in this heirs in accordance with her duly probated will." 15
case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the result that her estate
would consist of no more than one-fourth of the conjugal properties since The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing
the legitime of her husband (the other one-fourth of said conjugal properties the nature, effects and consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary
or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our Civil Code) could not then dispositions in relation to her conjugal partnership and co-ownership of
be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by her and (2) that C.N. properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the end results,
Hodges had not effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under his depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the
wife's will. probate court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not
entitled to claim a legitime of one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that
These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee he had or had not effectively and validly renounced his inheritance should help
Magno as Mrs. Hodges' administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving
Texas governs her succession and does not provide for and legitime, hence, the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth
her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the whole of her share of of the community properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally
the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event, Hodges determined should be awarded as the separate estate of Linnie, particularly
had totally renounced all his rights under the will. since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a consensus of
the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to state,
The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates herein represent the personal opinion and views of the writer:
involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the
parties were determined in these proceedings." It observes however that this 1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges'
cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence submitted by the own inventory submitted by him as executor of the estate of his wife,
parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no clear
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the spouses respondent Magno as Mrs. Hodges' estate's administratrix, as well as its order
have equal shares therein." 16 authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges to either estate, since
"there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to
2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dissolution whomsoever are entitled thereto." 22
thereby of the marriage, the law imposed upon Hodges as surviving husband
the duty of inventorying, administering and liquidating the conjugal or And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued
community property. 17 Hodges failed to discharge this duty of liquidating the conjoint administration by the administrators of the two estates of the
conjugal partnership and estate. On the contrary, he sought and obtained deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the conjugal
authorization from the probate court partnership," 23since "it is but logical that both estates should be administered
to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real and jointly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation from each
personal properties. other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince a
determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs.
In his annual accounts submitted to the probate court as executor of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance." 24 5. Antly by the representatives of both,
Hodges' estate, Hodges thus consistentlyreported the pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the
considerable combined income (in six figures) of the conjugal partnership or actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to
coownership and then divided the same equally between himself and Mrs. exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance." 24
Hodges' estate and as consistently filed separate income tax returns and paid
the income taxes for each resulting half of such combined income 5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved
corresponding to his own and to Mrs. Hodges' estate. 18 (Parenthetically, he issue of how much more than the minimum of one-fourth of the community
could not in law do this, had he adjudicated Linnie's entire estate to himself, or conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses pertains to Mrs. Hodges' estate
thus supporting the view advanced even in the main opinion that depends on the twin questions of renunciation and renvoi. It directed
"Hodges waived not only his rights to the fruits but to the properties consequently that "a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein
themselves." 19 involved" be held by the probate court for the reception of "further evidence"
in order to finally resolved these twin questions. 25
By operation of the law of trust 20 as well as by his own acknowledgment and
acts, therefore, all transactions made by Hodges after his wife's death were (a) On the question of renunciation, it is believed that all that the probate
deemed for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership court has to do is to receive formally in evidence the various documents
and community estate and were so reported and treated by him. annexed to respondent Magno's answer at bar, 26 namely: Copy of the U.S.
Estate Tax Return filed on August 8, 1958 by C. N. Hodges for his wife Linnie's
3. With this premise established that all transactions of Hodges after his wife's estate wherein he purportedly declared that he was renouncing his
death were for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership and inheritance under his wife's will in favor of her brothers and sisters as co-heirs
community estate, share and share alike, it should be clear that designated with him and that it was his "intention (as) surviving husband of
no gratuitousdispositions, if any, made by C. N. Hodges from his wife Linnie's the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of the
estate should be deducted from her separateestate as held in the main deceased in their community estate to the devisee and legatees named in the
opinion. On the contrary, any such gratuitous dispositions should be charged will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are finally
to his own share of the conjugal estate since he had no authority or right to determined and paid;" 27 and
make any gratuitous dispositions of Linnie's properties to the prejudice of her
brothers and sisters whom she called to her succession upon his death, not to The affidavit of ratification of such renunciation (which places him in estoppel)
mention that the very authority obtained by him from the probate court per allegedly executed on August 9, 1962 by C. N. Hodges in Iloilo City wherein he
its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957 was to continue the conjugal reaffirmed that "... on August 8, 1958, I renounced and disclaimed any and all
partnership's business of buying and selling real properties for the account of right to receive the rents, emoluments and income from said estate" and
their unliquidated conjugal estate and co-ownership, share and share alike further declared that "(T)he purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm,
and not to make any free dispositions of Linnie's estate. and I do hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made in schedule M of said
return and hereby formally disclaim and renounce any right on my part to
4. All transactions as well after the death on December 25, 1962 of Hodges receive any of the said rents, emoluments and income from the estate of my
himself appear perforce and necessarily to have been conducted, on the same deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This affidavit is made to absolve me or my
premise, for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership and/or estate from any liability for the payment of income taxes on income which has
co-ownership, share and share alike — since the conjugal partnership accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said Linnie
remained unliquidated — which is another way of saying that such Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957." 28
transactions, purchases and sales, mostly the latter, must be deemed in effect
to have been made for the respective estates of C. N. Hodges and of his wife (b) On the question of renvoi, all that remains for the probate court to do is to
Linnie Jane Hodges, as both estates continued to have an equal stake and formally receive in evidence duly authenticated copies of the laws of the State
share in the conjugal partnership which was not only left unliquidated but of Texas governing the succession of Linnie Jane Hodges and her husband C.
continued as a co-ownership or joint business with the probate court's N. Hodges as citizens of said State at the time of their respective deaths
approval by Hodges during the five-year period that he survived his wife. on May 23, 1957 and December 25, 1962. 29

This explains the probate court's action of requiring that deeds of sale 6. The text and tenor of the declarations by C. N. Hodges of renunciation of his
executed by PCIB as Hodges' estate's administrator be "signed jointly" by inheritance from his wife in favor of her other named heirs in her will (her
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

brothers and sisters and their respective heirs) as ratified and Hodges during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof, although the same
reiterated expressly in his affidavit of renunciation executed four years later was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no
for the avowed purpose of not being held liable for payment of income taxes restriction against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion
on income which has accrued to his wife's estate since her death indicate a thereof anybody other than himself" and describes Hodges "as universal and
valid and effective renunciation. sole heir with absolute dominion over Mrs. Hodges' estate (except over their
Lubbock, Texas property ), 32 adding that "Hodges was not obliged to preserve
Once the evidence has been formally admitted and its genuineness and legal anything for them" (referring to Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters as instituted
effectivity established by the probate court, the renunciation by C. N. Hodges co-heirs). 33
must be given due effect with the result that C. N. Hodges therefore
acquired no part of his wife's one-half share of the community properties Contrary to this view of the main opinion, the writer submits that the
since he removed himself as an heir by virtue of his renunciation. By simple provisions of Mrs. Hodges' will did not grant to C.N. Hodges "full ownership"
substitution then under Articles 857 and 859 of our Civil Code 30 and by virtue nor "absolute dominion" over her estate, such that he could as "universal and
of the will's institution of heirs, since "the heir originally instituted C. N. sole heir" by the mere expedient of gratuitously disposing to third persons
Hodges) does not become an heir" 31 by force of his renunciation, Mrs. her whole estate during his lifetime nullify her institution of her brothers and
Hodges' brothers and sisters whom she designated as her heirs upon her sisters as his co-heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her)
husband's death are called immediately to her succession. husband," deprive them of any inheritance and make his own brothers and
sisters in effect sole heirs not only of his own estate but of his wife's estate as
Consequently, the said community and conjugal properties would then well.
pertain pro indiviso share and share alike to their respective estates, with each
estate, however, shouldering its own expenses of administration, estate and Thus, while Linnie Jane Hodges did not expressly name her brothers and sisters
inheritance taxes, if any remain unpaid, attorneys' fees and other like as substitutes for Hodges because she willed that they would enter into the
expenses and the net remainder to be adjudicated directly to the decedents' succession upon his death, still it cannot be gainsaid, as the main opinion
respective brothers and sisters (and their heirs) as the heirs duly designated in concedes, "that they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with Hodges,
their respective wills. The question of renvoi becomes immaterial since most subject however to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges
laws and our laws permit such renunciation of inheritance. was concerned and correspondingly suspensive with reference to his brothers
and sisters-in-law." 34
7. If there were no renunciation (or the same may somehow be declared to
have not been valid and effective) by C. N. Hodges of his inheritance from his Hence, if Hodges is found to have validly renounced his inheritance, there
wife, however, what would be the consequence? would be a substitution of heirs in fact and in law since Linnie's brothers and
sisters as the heirs "simultaneously instituted" with a suspensive term would
(a) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do provide for renvoi or be called immediately to her succession instead of waiting for the arrival
"reference back" to Philippine law as the domiciliary law of the Hodges' of suspensive term of Hodges' death, since as the heir originally instituted he
spouses governing their succession, then petitioners' view that Mrs. Hodges' does not become an heir by force of his renunciation and therefore they would
estate would consist only of the minimum of "one-fourth of the community "enter into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted" (Hodges)
properties of the said spouses, as of the time of (her) death on May 23, 1957" under the provisions of Article 857 and 859 of our Civil Code, supra, 35 thus
would have to be sustained and C. N. Hodges' estate would consist of three- accelerating their succession to her estate as a consequence of Hodges'
fourths of the community properties, comprising his own one-half (or two- renunciation.
fourths) share and the other fourth of Mrs. Hodges' estate as the legitime
granted him as surviving spouse by Philippine law (Article 900 of the Civil Consequently, Linnie Jane Hodges willed that her husband C.N. Hodges would
Code) which could not be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by Mrs. "during his natural lifetime ... manage, control, use and enjoy said estate" and
Hodges as testatrix. that only "all rents, emoluments and income" alone shall belong to him. She
further willed that while he could sell and purchase properties of her estate,
(b) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do not provide for and "use any part of the principal estate," such principal notwithstanding
such renvoi and respondent Magno's assertion is correct that the Texas law "any changes in the physical properties of said estate"(i.e. new properties
which would then prevail, provides for no legitime for C. N. Hodges as the acquired or exchanged) would still pertain to her estate, which at the time
surviving spouse, then respondent Magno's assertion that Mrs. Hodges' estate of his death would pass in full dominion to her brothers and sisters as
would consist of one-half of the community properties (with the other half the ultimate sole and universal heirs of her estate. 36
pertaining to C. N. Hodges) would have to be sustained. The community and
conjugal properties would then pertain share and share alike to their The testatrix Linnie Jane Hodges in her will thus principally provided that "I
respective estates, with each estate shouldering its own expenses of give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate,
administration in the same manner stated in the last paragraph of paragraph both personal and real ... to my beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to
6 hereof. . have and to hold with him ... during his natural lifetime;" 37 that "(he) shall
have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his
8. As to the nature of the institution of heirs made by Mrs. Hodges in her will, lifetime, ... to make any changes in the physical properties of said estate,
the main opinion holds that "(T)he brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not by sale ... and the purchase of any other or additional property as he may think
substitutes for Hodges; rather, they are also heirs best ... . All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to
instituted simultaneously with Hodges," but goes further and holds that "it him and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate
was not the usufruct alone of her estate ... that she bequeathed to as he may need or desire, ... he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

improved property now owned by us, located at ... City of Lubbock, Texas ... . of the heir, it is suspensive. If the arrival of the term would terminate his right,
He shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell lots therein, and it is resolutory" and that "upon the arrival of the period, in case of a suspensive
may sell unimproved town lots;" 38 that "(A)t the death of my said husband, term, the instituted heir is entitled to the succession, and in case of a
Charles Newton, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and resolutory term, his right terminates." 43
remainder of my estate, both personal and real, ... to be equally
divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike, namely: Esta 10. The sizable estates herein involved have now been pending settlement for
Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Roman a considerably protracted period (of seventeen years counted from Linnie's
and Nimroy Higdon;" 39 and that "(I)n case of the death of any of my brothers death in 1957), and all that is left to be done is to resolve the only remaining
and/or sisters ...prior to the death of my husband ... the heirs of such issue (involving the two questions of renunciation and renvoi) hereinabove
deceased brother or sister shall take jointly the share which would have gone discussed in order to close up the estates and finally effect distribution to the
to such brother or sister had she or he survived." 40 deceased spouses' respective brothers and sisters and their heirs as the heirs
duly instituted in their wills long admitted to probate. Hence, it is advisable for
Such provisions are wholly consistent with the view already fully expounded said instituted heirs and their heirs in turn 44 to come to terms for the
above that all transactions and sales made by Hodges after his wife Linnie's adjudication and distribution to them pro-indiviso of the up to now
death were by operation of the law of trust as well as unliquidated community properties of the estates of the Hodges spouses
by his own acknowledgment and acts deemed for and on behalf of (derived from their unliquidated conjugal partnership) rather than to get
their unliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and bogged down with the formidable task of physically
share alike, with the express authorization of the probate court per its orders segregating and partitioning the two estates with the numerous transactions,
of May 25, and December 14, 1957 granting Hodges' motion to continue the items and details and physical changes of properties involved. The estates
conjugal partnership business of buying and selling real estate even after her proceedings would thus be closed and they could then name their respective
death. By the same token, Hodges could not conceivably be deemed to have attorneys-in-fact to work out the details of segregating, dividing or partitioning
had any authority or right to dispose gratuitously of any portion of her estate the unliquidated community properties or liquidating them — which can be
to whose succession she had called her brothers and sisters upon his death. done then on their own without further need of intervention on the part of
the probate court as well as allow them meanwhile to enjoy and make use of
9. Such institutions of heirs with a term are expressly recognized and the income and cash and liquid assets of the estates in such manner as may be
permitted under Book III, Chapter 2, section 4 of our Civil Code dealing with agreed upon between them.
"conditional testamentary dispositions and testamentary dispositions with a
term." 41 Such a settlement or modus vivendi between the heirs of the unliquidated two
estates for the mutual benefit of all of them should not prove difficult,
Thus, Article 885 of our Civil Code expressly provides that: considering that it appears as stated in the main opinion that 22.968149% of
the share or undivided estate of C. N. Hodges have already been acquired by
the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges from certain heirs of her husband, while certain
ART 885. The designation of the day or time when the
other heirs representing 17.34375% of Hodges' estate were joining cause with
effects of the institution of an heir shall commence or
Linnie's heirs in their pending and unresolved motion for the removal of
cease shall be valid.
petitioner PCIB as administrator of Hodges' estate, 45 apparently impatient
with the situation which has apparently degenerated into a running battle
In both cases, the legal heir shall be considered as called between the administrators of the two estates to the common prejudice
to the succession until the arrival of the period or its of all the heirs.
expiration. But in the first case he shall not enter into
possession of the property until after having given
11. As earlier stated, the writer has taken the pain of suggesting these
sufficient security, with the intervention of the instituted
guidelines which may serve to guide the probate court as well as the parties
heir.
towards expediting the winding up and closing of the estates and the
distribution of the net estates to the instituted heirs and their successors duly
Accordingly, under the terms of Mrs. Hodges' will, her husband's right to the entitled thereto. The probate court should exert all effort towards this desired
succession as the instituted heir ceased in diem, i.e. upon the arrival of objective pursuant to the mandate of our probate law, bearing in mind the
the resolutory term of his death on December 25, 1962, while her brothers' Court's admonition in previous cases that "courts of first instance should exert
and sisters' right to the succession also as instituted heirs commenced ex die, themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they are
i.e. upon the expiration of the suspensive term (as far as they were concerned) presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors and
of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962 . 42 administrators who do not actively labor to that end, and they may even
adopt harsher measures." 46
As stated in Padilla's treatise on the Civil Code, "A term is a period whose
arrival is certain although the exact date thereof may be uncertain. A term may Timeliness of appeals and imposition of
have either a suspensive or a resolutory effect. The designation of the day thirty-one (31) additional docket fees
when the legacy "shall commence" is ex die, or a term with a suspensive
effect, from a certain day. The designation of the day when the legacy "shall
Two appeals were docketed with this Court, as per the two records on appeal
cease" is in diem or a term with a resolutory effect, until a certain day." He
submitted (one with a green cover and the other with a yellow cover). As
adds that "A legacy based upon a certain age or upon the death of a person is
stated at the outset, these appeals involve basically the same primal issue
not a condition but a term. If the arrival of the term would commence the right
raised in the petition for certiorari as to whether there still exists a separate

P a g e 67 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which has to continue to be administered by has pro hac vice given his concurrence to the assessment of the said thirty-one
respondent Magno. Considering the main opinion's ruling in the affirmative (31) additional appeal docket fees.
and that her estate and that of her husband (since they jointly
comprise unliquidated community properties) must be MAKALINTAL, C.J., concurring:
administered conjointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno),
the said appeals (involving thirty-three different orders of the probate court
I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Teehankee, which in turn agrees
approving sales contracts and other acts of administration executed and
with the dispositive portion of the main opinion of Justice Barredo insofar as
performed by respondent Magno on behalf of Linnie's estate) have been
it dismisses the petition for certiorari and prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-
necessarily overruled by the Court's decision at bar.
27896 and affirms the appealed orders of the probate court in cases L-27936-
37.
(a) The "priority question" raised by respondent Magno as to the patent failure
of the two records on appeal to show on their face and state the material data
However, I wish to make one brief observation for the sake of accuracy.
that the appeals were timely taken within the 30-day reglamentary period as
Regardless of whether or not C. N. Hodges was entitled to a legitime in his
required by Rule 41, section 6 of the Rules of Court, has been brushed aside
deceased wife's estate — which question, still to be decided by the said
by the main opinion with the statement that it is "not necessary to pass upon
probate court, may depend upon what is the law of Texas and upon its
the timeliness of any of said appeals" since they "revolve around practically
applicability in the present case — the said estate consists of one-half, not one-
the same main issues and ... it is admitted that some of them have been timely
fourth, of the conjugal properties. There is neither a minimum of one-fourth
taken." 47 The main opinion thus proceeded with the determination of the
nor a maximum beyond that. It is important to bear this in mind because the
thirty-three appealed orders despite the grave defect of the appellant PCIB's
estate of Linnie Hodges consists of her share in the conjugal properties, is still
records on appeal and their failure to state the required material data showing
under administration and until now has not been distributed by order of the
the timeliness of the appeals.
court.

Such disposition of the question of timeliness deemed as "mandatory and


The reference in both the main and separate opinions to a one-fourth portion
jurisdictional" in a number of cases merits the writer's concurrence in that the
of the conjugal properties as Linnie Hodges' minimum share is a misnomer and
question raised has been subordinated to the paramount considerations of
is evidently meant only to indicate that if her husband should eventually be
substantial justice and a "liberal interpretation of the rules" applied so as not
declared entitled to a legitime, then the disposition made by Linnie Hodges in
to derogate and detract from the primary intent and purpose of the
favor of her collateral relatives would be valid only as to one-half of her share,
rules, viz "the proper and just determination of a litigation"48 — which calls for
or one-fourth of the conjugal properties, since the remainder, which
"adherence to a liberal construction of the procedural rules in order to attain
constitutes such legitime, would necessarily go to her husband in absolute
their objective of substantial justice and of avoiding denials of substantial
ownership, unburdened by any substitution, term or condition, resolutory or
justice due to procedural technicalities." 49
otherwise. And until the estate is finally settled and adjudicated to the heirs
who may be found entitled to it, the administration must continue to cover
Thus, the main opinion in consonance with the same paramount Linnie's entire conjugal share.
considerations of substantial justice has likewise overruled respondents'
objection to petitioner's taking the recourse of "the present remedy
of certiorari and prohibition" — "despite the conceded availability of appeal"
— on the ground that "there is a common thread among the basic issues
involved in all these thirty-three appeals — (which) deal with practically the
same basic issues that can be more expeditiously resolved or determined in a
single special civil action . . . " 50 Separate Opinions

(b) Since the basic issues have been in effect resolved in the special civil action FERNANDO, J., concurring:
at bar (as above stated) with the dismissal of the petition by virtue of the
Court's judgment as to the continued existence of a separate estate of Linnie I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
Jane Hodges and the affirmance as a necessary consequence of the appealed
orders approving and sanctioning respondent Magno's sales contracts and
acts of administration, some doubt would arise as to the propriety of the main TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
opinion requiring the payment by PCIB of thirty-one (31) additional appeal
docket fees. This doubt is further enhanced by the question of whether it I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition
would make the cost of appeal unduly expensive or prohibitive by requiring in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed orders
the payment of a separate appeal docket fee for each incidental order of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.
questioned when the resolution of all such incidental questioned orders
involve basically one and the same main issue (in this case, the existence of a I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned
separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and can be more expeditiously resolved by Mr. Justice Barredo decreeing the lifting of the Court's writ of preliminary
or determined in a single special civil action" (for which a single docket fee is injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on October 4, and December 6,
required) as stated in the main opinion. 51 Considering the importance of the 19671 and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September 8,
basic issues and the magnitude of the estates involved, however, the writer 19722 which directed that petitioner-appellant PCIB as administrator of C. N.
(Charles Newton) Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-appellee

P a g e 68 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. opinion at bar that there doesexist such an estate and that the two estates
1307) should act always conjointly never independently from each other, as (husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by their respective
such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force and made part of administrators (PCIB and Magno).
the judgment.
The dispositive portion of the main opinion
It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal
contention in the cases at bar belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1, The main opinion disposes that:
1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges' death on May 23, 1957 and
(over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death on December 25,
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is
1962 — during which time both estates have been pending settlement and
hereby rendered DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-
distribution to the decedents' respective rightful heirs all this time up to now)
27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, in G. R. Nos. L-27936-
— that the probate court per its order of December 14, 1957 (supplementing
37 and the other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered
an earlier order of May 25, 1957)3 in granting C. N. Hodges' motion as Executor
to be added after payment of the corresponding docket
of his wife Linnie's estate to continue their "business of buying and selling
fees, all the orders of the trial court under appeal
personal and real properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases
enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this
and mortgages" made and to be made by him as such executor under his
decision:
obligation to submit his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole heir of
his wife's estate and nothing remains to be done except to formally close her
estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
that nothing remains of it that may be adjudicated to her brothers and sisters with respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as
as her designated heirs after him,4 — is wholly untenable and deserves scant administratrix thereof is recognized, and
consideration.
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately
Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article 16
the day, this contention of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate estate of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation
of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate court's order of December 14, 1957 obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and legal issues
goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N. Hodges as her of whether or not Charles Newton Hodges has effectively
executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and and legally renounced his inheritance under the will of
identity of his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-
own share of their conjugal partnership and estate and "never considered the fourthof the community properties of the said spouses, as
whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself" during the entire of the time of the death of the wife on May 23,
period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his own 1957, minus whatever the husband had
death on December 25, 19625 and against the identical acts and already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons
judicial admissions of PCIB as administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until PCIB from said date until his death, provided, first, that with
sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to its sole respect to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds
administration. thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's estate,
unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third
parties by the husband, and second, that should the
PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated
purported renunciation be declared legally effective, no
position contradictory to or inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as well
deduction whatsoever are to be made from said estate;
as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime and of whose estate PCIB is
merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of Linnie Jane
Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests therein of her In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8,
brothers and sisters as her designated heirs in her will. 1967, as amended on October 4 and December 6, 1967, is
lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972, directing
that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate
Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges in Special
court in Linnie Jane Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14,
Proceedings 1672, and respondent-appellee Avelina A.
1957 as "null and void for having been issued without jurisdiction" must
Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie
therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and untenable
Jane Hodges in Special Proceedings 1307, should act
contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which
thenceforth always conjointly, never independently from
respondent Avelina Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix.
each other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the
same is made part of this judgment and shall continue in
PCIB's appeal7 from the probate court's various orders recognizing respondent force, pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership
Magno as administratrix of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) and sanctioning of the deceased spouses and
her acts of administration of said estate and approving the sales contracts the determination and segregation from each other of
executed by her with the various individual appellees, which involve basically their respective estates; provided, that upon the finality of
the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether there still exists a this judgment, the trial court should immediately proceed
separate estate of Linnie of which respondent-appellee Magno may continue to the partition of the presently combined estates of the
to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail — a result of the Court's main

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

spouses, to the end that the one-half share thereof of Mrs. I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her
Hodges may be properly and clearly identified; husband as her heir under her will "to have dominion over all her estate during
his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the properties ..."9 and that she
Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as
remainder of the one-fourth herein adjudged to be her universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his
estate and cause the same to be turned over or delivered lifetime, which means that while he could completely and absolutely dispose
to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was not
Proceedings 1307, while the other one-fourth shall remain free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his
under the joint administrative of said respondent and death would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency,
petitioner under a joint proceedings in Special inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance,
Proceedings 1307 and 1672, whereas although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically
the half unquestionably pertaining to Hodges shall become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of
be administered by petitioner exclusively in Special actual existence of any remainder of her estate then." 10
Proceedings 1672, without prejudice to the resolution by
the trial court of thepending motions for its removal as As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie
administrator; Jane Hodges willed "full and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion"
over her estate to her husband, but rather that she named her husband C. N.
And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under
resolution of the two issues Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with
of renvoi and renunciation hereby reserved for further a resolutory term whereunder his right to the succession ceased in diem upon
hearing and determination, and the arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December 25, 1962 and her
corresponding completesegregation and partition of the brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a suspensive term whereunder
two estates in the proportions that may result from the their right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of the suspensive
said resolution. term of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962.

Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all
court a quo are directed to adhere henceforth, in all their remunerative dispositions made by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death remain
actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, to the an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to her brothers and sisters,
views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly make gratuitous dispositions of
opinion.8 any part or all of his wife's estate — "completely and absolutely dispose of any
portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself" in the language of
the main opinion, supra — and thereby render ineffectual and nugatory her
Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate:
institution of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs to succeed to
One-fourth of conjugal properties.
her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband." If according to the main
opinion, Hodges could not make such gratuitous "complete and absolute
The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane dispositions" of his wife Linnie's estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by
Hodges which shall pass to her brothers and sisters with right of the same token and rationale he was likewise proscribed by the will from
representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated heirs declares that her making such dispositions of Linnie's estate inter vivos.
estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the
Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one-
I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be
half of her estate as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the
legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of "one-fourth of the
partition and segregation of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or
community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the
community properties constituting Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate, which
wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had
task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie Jane Hodges'
already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until
death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has remained unliquidated up
his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions or
to now might take a similar number of years to unravel with the numerous
sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's
items, transactions and details of the sizable estates involved.
death shall continue to be part of her estate unless subsequently disposed of
by him gratuitously to third parties subject to the condition, however, that if
he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance under his Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two
wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even prejudicial questions of renvoi and renunciation were resolved favorably to
if gratuitously are to be made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should be held that C. N. Hodges is not
pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs called in her will entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally renounced
to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N. Hodges. his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist not only of
the minimum one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community
properties of the Hodges spouses, which would require again the partition and
Differences with the main opinion
segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties
to complete Linnie's separate estate.

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, Suggested guidelines
effects and consequences of the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane
Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach a solution of the Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down and
pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do not in consonance with the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the prompt
appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the heirs settlement of the estates of deceased persons for the benefit of creditors and
and should therefore be promptly settled now after all these years without those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance — considering that the
any further undue complications and delays and distributed to the heirs for estates have been long pending settlement since 1957 and 1962, respectively
their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have been — it was felt that the Court should lay down specific guidelines for the
reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as guidance of the probate court towards the end that it may expedite the closing
concisely as possible with the sole end in view that they may be of some of the protracted estates proceedings below to the mutual satisfaction of the
assistance to the probate court and the parties in reaching an expeditious heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party elevating its resolution of
closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses. this only remaining issue once more to this Court and dragging out indefinitely
the proceedings.
Two Assumptions
After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the
As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate as resolution of the two questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether
one-fourth of the conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most C. N. Hodges can claim a legitime and whether he had renounced the
favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his heirs, namely (1) that the probate inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court without reaching a
court must accept the renvoi or "reference back" 11 allegedly provided by the consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in
laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens) this case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be threshed
whereby the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges spouses out fully in the trial court in the proceedings hereinafter to be held for the
would govern their succession notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16 of purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges to her
our Civil Code (which provides that the national law of the decedents, in this heirs in accordance with her duly probated will." 15
case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the result that her estate
would consist of no more than one-fourth of the conjugal properties since The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing
the legitime of her husband (the other one-fourth of said conjugal properties the nature, effects and consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary
or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our Civil Code) could not then dispositions in relation to her conjugal partnership and co-ownership of
be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by her and (2) that C.N. properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the end results,
Hodges had not effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under his depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the
wife's will. probate court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not
entitled to claim a legitime of one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that
These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee he had or had not effectively and validly renounced his inheritance should help
Magno as Mrs. Hodges' administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving
Texas governs her succession and does not provide for and legitime, hence, the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth
her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the whole of her share of of the community properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally
the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event, Hodges determined should be awarded as the separate estate of Linnie, particularly
had totally renounced all his rights under the will. since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a consensus of
the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to state,
The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates herein represent the personal opinion and views of the writer:
involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the
parties were determined in these proceedings." It observes however that this 1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges'
cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence submitted by the own inventory submitted by him as executor of the estate of his wife,
parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no clear practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the spouses
and reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. Then also, have equal shares therein." 16
the genuineness of the documents relied upon by respondent Magno [re
Hodges' renunciation] is disputed." 12 2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dissolution
thereby of the marriage, the law imposed upon Hodges as surviving husband
Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on the duty of inventorying, administering and liquidating the conjugal or
these two conflicting claims and issues which it deems "are not properly community property. 17 Hodges failed to discharge this duty of liquidating the
before the Court conjugal partnership and estate. On the contrary, he sought and obtained
now," 13 and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that authorization from the probate court
remains to be settled in the further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real and
the court below is how much more than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs. personal properties.
Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of
Texas do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is In his annual accounts submitted to the probate court as executor of Mrs.
no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges has Hodges' estate, Hodges thus consistentlyreported the
validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges." 14 considerable combined income (in six figures) of the conjugal partnership or
coownership and then divided the same equally between himself and Mrs.
P a g e 71 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Hodges' estate and as consistently filed separate income tax returns and paid 5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved
the income taxes for each resulting half of such combined income issue of how much more than the minimum of one-fourth of the community
corresponding to his own and to Mrs. Hodges' estate. 18 (Parenthetically, he or conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses pertains to Mrs. Hodges' estate
could not in law do this, had he adjudicated Linnie's entire estate to himself, depends on the twin questions of renunciation and renvoi. It directed
thus supporting the view advanced even in the main opinion that consequently that "a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein
"Hodges waived not only his rights to the fruits but to the properties involved" be held by the probate court for the reception of "further evidence"
themselves." 19 in order to finally resolved these twin questions. 25

By operation of the law of trust 20 as well as by his own acknowledgment and (a) On the question of renunciation, it is believed that all that the probate
acts, therefore, all transactions made by Hodges after his wife's death were court has to do is to receive formally in evidence the various documents
deemed for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership annexed to respondent Magno's answer at bar, 26 namely: Copy of the U.S.
and community estate and were so reported and treated by him. Estate Tax Return filed on August 8, 1958 by C. N. Hodges for his wife Linnie's
estate wherein he purportedly declared that he was renouncing his
3. With this premise established that all transactions of Hodges after his wife's inheritance under his wife's will in favor of her brothers and sisters as co-heirs
death were for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership and designated with him and that it was his "intention (as) surviving husband of
community estate, share and share alike, it should be clear that the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of the
no gratuitousdispositions, if any, made by C. N. Hodges from his wife Linnie's deceased in their community estate to the devisee and legatees named in the
estate should be deducted from her separateestate as held in the main will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are finally
opinion. On the contrary, any such gratuitous dispositions should be charged determined and paid;" 27 and
to his own share of the conjugal estate since he had no authority or right to
make any gratuitous dispositions of Linnie's properties to the prejudice of her The affidavit of ratification of such renunciation (which places him in estoppel)
brothers and sisters whom she called to her succession upon his death, not to allegedly executed on August 9, 1962 by C. N. Hodges in Iloilo City wherein he
mention that the very authority obtained by him from the probate court per reaffirmed that "... on August 8, 1958, I renounced and disclaimed any and all
its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957 was to continue the conjugal right to receive the rents, emoluments and income from said estate" and
partnership's business of buying and selling real properties for the account of further declared that "(T)he purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm,
their unliquidated conjugal estate and co-ownership, share and share alike and I do hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made in schedule M of said
and not to make any free dispositions of Linnie's estate. return and hereby formally disclaim and renounce any right on my part to
receive any of the said rents, emoluments and income from the estate of my
4. All transactions as well after the death on December 25, 1962 of Hodges deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This affidavit is made to absolve me or my
himself appear perforce and necessarily to have been conducted, on the same estate from any liability for the payment of income taxes on income which has
premise, for and on behalf of their unliquidated conjugal partnership and/or accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said Linnie
co-ownership, share and share alike — since the conjugal partnership Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957." 28
remained unliquidated — which is another way of saying that such
transactions, purchases and sales, mostly the latter, must be deemed in effect (b) On the question of renvoi, all that remains for the probate court to do is to
to have been made for the respective estates of C. N. Hodges and of his wife formally receive in evidence duly authenticated copies of the laws of the State
Linnie Jane Hodges, as both estates continued to have an equal stake and of Texas governing the succession of Linnie Jane Hodges and her husband C.
share in the conjugal partnership which was not only left unliquidated but N. Hodges as citizens of said State at the time of their respective deaths
continued as a co-ownership or joint business with the probate court's on May 23, 1957 and December 25, 1962. 29
approval by Hodges during the five-year period that he survived his wife.
6. The text and tenor of the declarations by C. N. Hodges of renunciation of his
This explains the probate court's action of requiring that deeds of sale inheritance from his wife in favor of her other named heirs in her will (her
executed by PCIB as Hodges' estate's administrator be "signed jointly" by brothers and sisters and their respective heirs) as ratified and
respondent Magno as Mrs. Hodges' estate's administratrix, as well as its order reiterated expressly in his affidavit of renunciation executed four years later
authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges to either estate, since for the avowed purpose of not being held liable for payment of income taxes
"there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to on income which has accrued to his wife's estate since her death indicate a
whomsoever are entitled thereto." 22 valid and effective renunciation.

And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued Once the evidence has been formally admitted and its genuineness and legal
conjoint administration by the administrators of the two estates of the effectivity established by the probate court, the renunciation by C. N. Hodges
deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the conjugal must be given due effect with the result that C. N. Hodges therefore
partnership," 23since "it is but logical that both estates should be administered acquired no part of his wife's one-half share of the community properties
jointly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation from each since he removed himself as an heir by virtue of his renunciation. By simple
other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince a substitution then under Articles 857 and 859 of our Civil Code 30 and by virtue
determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. of the will's institution of heirs, since "the heir originally instituted C. N.
Hodges from their inheritance." 24 5. Antly by the representatives of both, Hodges) does not become an heir" 31 by force of his renunciation, Mrs.
pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the Hodges' brothers and sisters whom she designated as her heirs upon her
actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to husband's death are called immediately to her succession.
exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance." 24

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Consequently, the said community and conjugal properties would then sisters in effect sole heirs not only of his own estate but of his wife's estate as
pertain pro indiviso share and share alike to their respective estates, with each well.
estate, however, shouldering its own expenses of administration, estate and
inheritance taxes, if any remain unpaid, attorneys' fees and other like Thus, while Linnie Jane Hodges did not expressly name her brothers and sisters
expenses and the net remainder to be adjudicated directly to the decedents' as substitutes for Hodges because she willed that they would enter into the
respective brothers and sisters (and their heirs) as the heirs duly designated in succession upon his death, still it cannot be gainsaid, as the main opinion
their respective wills. The question of renvoi becomes immaterial since most concedes, "that they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with Hodges,
laws and our laws permit such renunciation of inheritance. subject however to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges
was concerned and correspondingly suspensive with reference to his brothers
7. If there were no renunciation (or the same may somehow be declared to and sisters-in-law." 34
have not been valid and effective) by C. N. Hodges of his inheritance from his
wife, however, what would be the consequence? Hence, if Hodges is found to have validly renounced his inheritance, there
would be a substitution of heirs in fact and in law since Linnie's brothers and
(a) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do provide for renvoi or sisters as the heirs "simultaneously instituted" with a suspensive term would
"reference back" to Philippine law as the domiciliary law of the Hodges' be called immediately to her succession instead of waiting for the arrival
spouses governing their succession, then petitioners' view that Mrs. Hodges' of suspensive term of Hodges' death, since as the heir originally instituted he
estate would consist only of the minimum of "one-fourth of the community does not become an heir by force of his renunciation and therefore they would
properties of the said spouses, as of the time of (her) death on May 23, 1957" "enter into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted" (Hodges)
would have to be sustained and C. N. Hodges' estate would consist of three- under the provisions of Article 857 and 859 of our Civil Code, supra, 35 thus
fourths of the community properties, comprising his own one-half (or two- accelerating their succession to her estate as a consequence of Hodges'
fourths) share and the other fourth of Mrs. Hodges' estate as the legitime renunciation.
granted him as surviving spouse by Philippine law (Article 900 of the Civil
Code) which could not be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by Mrs. Consequently, Linnie Jane Hodges willed that her husband C.N. Hodges would
Hodges as testatrix. "during his natural lifetime ... manage, control, use and enjoy said estate" and
that only "all rents, emoluments and income" alone shall belong to him. She
(b) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do not provide for further willed that while he could sell and purchase properties of her estate,
such renvoi and respondent Magno's assertion is correct that the Texas law and "use any part of the principal estate," such principal notwithstanding
which would then prevail, provides for no legitime for C. N. Hodges as the "any changes in the physical properties of said estate"(i.e. new properties
surviving spouse, then respondent Magno's assertion that Mrs. Hodges' estate acquired or exchanged) would still pertain to her estate, which at the time
would consist of one-half of the community properties (with the other half of his death would pass in full dominion to her brothers and sisters as
pertaining to C. N. Hodges) would have to be sustained. The community and the ultimate sole and universal heirs of her estate. 36
conjugal properties would then pertain share and share alike to their
respective estates, with each estate shouldering its own expenses of The testatrix Linnie Jane Hodges in her will thus principally provided that "I
administration in the same manner stated in the last paragraph of paragraph give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate,
6 hereof. . both personal and real ... to my beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to
have and to hold with him ... during his natural lifetime;" 37 that "(he) shall
8. As to the nature of the institution of heirs made by Mrs. Hodges in her will, have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his
the main opinion holds that "(T)he brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not lifetime, ... to make any changes in the physical properties of said estate,
substitutes for Hodges; rather, they are also heirs by sale ... and the purchase of any other or additional property as he may think
instituted simultaneously with Hodges," but goes further and holds that "it best ... . All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to
was not the usufruct alone of her estate ... that she bequeathed to him and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate
Hodges during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof, although the same as he may need or desire, ... he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the
was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no improved property now owned by us, located at ... City of Lubbock, Texas ... .
restriction against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion He shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell lots therein, and
thereof anybody other than himself" and describes Hodges "as universal and may sell unimproved town lots;" 38 that "(A)t the death of my said husband,
sole heir with absolute dominion over Mrs. Hodges' estate (except over their Charles Newton, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and
Lubbock, Texas property ), 32 adding that "Hodges was not obliged to preserve remainder of my estate, both personal and real, ... to be equally
anything for them" (referring to Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters as instituted divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike, namely: Esta
co-heirs). 33 Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Roman
and Nimroy Higdon;" 39 and that "(I)n case of the death of any of my brothers
Contrary to this view of the main opinion, the writer submits that the and/or sisters ...prior to the death of my husband ... the heirs of such
provisions of Mrs. Hodges' will did not grant to C.N. Hodges "full ownership" deceased brother or sister shall take jointly the share which would have gone
nor "absolute dominion" over her estate, such that he could as "universal and to such brother or sister had she or he survived." 40
sole heir" by the mere expedient of gratuitously disposing to third persons
her whole estate during his lifetime nullify her institution of her brothers and Such provisions are wholly consistent with the view already fully expounded
sisters as his co-heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) above that all transactions and sales made by Hodges after his wife Linnie's
husband," deprive them of any inheritance and make his own brothers and death were by operation of the law of trust as well as
by his own acknowledgment and acts deemed for and on behalf of

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

their unliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and bogged down with the formidable task of physically
share alike, with the express authorization of the probate court per its orders segregating and partitioning the two estates with the numerous transactions,
of May 25, and December 14, 1957 granting Hodges' motion to continue the items and details and physical changes of properties involved. The estates
conjugal partnership business of buying and selling real estate even after her proceedings would thus be closed and they could then name their respective
death. By the same token, Hodges could not conceivably be deemed to have attorneys-in-fact to work out the details of segregating, dividing or partitioning
had any authority or right to dispose gratuitously of any portion of her estate the unliquidated community properties or liquidating them — which can be
to whose succession she had called her brothers and sisters upon his death. done then on their own without further need of intervention on the part of
the probate court as well as allow them meanwhile to enjoy and make use of
9. Such institutions of heirs with a term are expressly recognized and the income and cash and liquid assets of the estates in such manner as may be
permitted under Book III, Chapter 2, section 4 of our Civil Code dealing with agreed upon between them.
"conditional testamentary dispositions and testamentary dispositions with a
term." 41 Such a settlement or modus vivendi between the heirs of the unliquidated two
estates for the mutual benefit of all of them should not prove difficult,
Thus, Article 885 of our Civil Code expressly provides that: considering that it appears as stated in the main opinion that 22.968149% of
the share or undivided estate of C. N. Hodges have already been acquired by
the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges from certain heirs of her husband, while certain
ART 885. The designation of the day or time when the
other heirs representing 17.34375% of Hodges' estate were joining cause with
effects of the institution of an heir shall commence or
Linnie's heirs in their pending and unresolved motion for the removal of
cease shall be valid.
petitioner PCIB as administrator of Hodges' estate, 45 apparently impatient
with the situation which has apparently degenerated into a running battle
In both cases, the legal heir shall be considered as called between the administrators of the two estates to the common prejudice
to the succession until the arrival of the period or its of all the heirs.
expiration. But in the first case he shall not enter into
possession of the property until after having given
11. As earlier stated, the writer has taken the pain of suggesting these
sufficient security, with the intervention of the instituted
guidelines which may serve to guide the probate court as well as the parties
heir.
towards expediting the winding up and closing of the estates and the
distribution of the net estates to the instituted heirs and their successors duly
Accordingly, under the terms of Mrs. Hodges' will, her husband's right to the entitled thereto. The probate court should exert all effort towards this desired
succession as the instituted heir ceased in diem, i.e. upon the arrival of objective pursuant to the mandate of our probate law, bearing in mind the
the resolutory term of his death on December 25, 1962, while her brothers' Court's admonition in previous cases that "courts of first instance should exert
and sisters' right to the succession also as instituted heirs commenced ex die, themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they are
i.e. upon the expiration of the suspensive term (as far as they were concerned) presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors and
of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962 . 42 administrators who do not actively labor to that end, and they may even
adopt harsher measures." 46
As stated in Padilla's treatise on the Civil Code, "A term is a period whose
arrival is certain although the exact date thereof may be uncertain. A term may Timeliness of appeals and imposition of
have either a suspensive or a resolutory effect. The designation of the day thirty-one (31) additional docket fees
when the legacy "shall commence" is ex die, or a term with a suspensive
effect, from a certain day. The designation of the day when the legacy "shall
Two appeals were docketed with this Court, as per the two records on appeal
cease" is in diem or a term with a resolutory effect, until a certain day." He
submitted (one with a green cover and the other with a yellow cover). As
adds that "A legacy based upon a certain age or upon the death of a person is
stated at the outset, these appeals involve basically the same primal issue
not a condition but a term. If the arrival of the term would commence the right
raised in the petition for certiorari as to whether there still exists a separate
of the heir, it is suspensive. If the arrival of the term would terminate his right,
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which has to continue to be administered by
it is resolutory" and that "upon the arrival of the period, in case of a suspensive
respondent Magno. Considering the main opinion's ruling in the affirmative
term, the instituted heir is entitled to the succession, and in case of a
and that her estate and that of her husband (since they jointly
resolutory term, his right terminates." 43
comprise unliquidated community properties) must be
administered conjointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno),
10. The sizable estates herein involved have now been pending settlement for the said appeals (involving thirty-three different orders of the probate court
a considerably protracted period (of seventeen years counted from Linnie's approving sales contracts and other acts of administration executed and
death in 1957), and all that is left to be done is to resolve the only remaining performed by respondent Magno on behalf of Linnie's estate) have been
issue (involving the two questions of renunciation and renvoi) hereinabove necessarily overruled by the Court's decision at bar.
discussed in order to close up the estates and finally effect distribution to the
deceased spouses' respective brothers and sisters and their heirs as the heirs
(a) The "priority question" raised by respondent Magno as to the patent failure
duly instituted in their wills long admitted to probate. Hence, it is advisable for
of the two records on appeal to show on their face and state the material data
said instituted heirs and their heirs in turn 44 to come to terms for the
that the appeals were timely taken within the 30-day reglamentary period as
adjudication and distribution to them pro-indiviso of the up to now
required by Rule 41, section 6 of the Rules of Court, has been brushed aside
unliquidated community properties of the estates of the Hodges spouses
by the main opinion with the statement that it is "not necessary to pass upon
(derived from their unliquidated conjugal partnership) rather than to get
the timeliness of any of said appeals" since they "revolve around practically

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

the same main issues and ... it is admitted that some of them have been timely GONZAGA-REYES, J.:
taken." 47 The main opinion thus proceeded with the determination of the
thirty-three appealed orders despite the grave defect of the appellant PCIB's
records on appeal and their failure to state the required material data showing Presented for resolution in this special civil action of certiorari is the issue of
the timeliness of the appeals. whether or not the regime of conjugal partnership of gains governed the
property relationship of two Muslims who contracted marriage prior to the
Such disposition of the question of timeliness deemed as "mandatory and effectivity of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (hereafter,
jurisdictional" in a number of cases merits the writer's concurrence in that the "P.D. 1083" or "Muslim Code"). The question is raised in connection with the
question raised has been subordinated to the paramount considerations of settlement of the estate of the deceased husband.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw
substantial justice and a "liberal interpretation of the rules" applied so as not 1ibrary
to derogate and detract from the primary intent and purpose of the
rules, viz "the proper and just determination of a litigation"48 — which calls for Hadji Abdula Malang, a Muslim, contracted marriage with Aida (Kenanday)
"adherence to a liberal construction of the procedural rules in order to attain Limba. They begot three sons named Hadji Mohammad Ulyssis, Hadji Ismael
their objective of substantial justice and of avoiding denials of substantial Malindatu and Datulna, and a daughter named Lawanbai. Hadji Abdula Malang
justice due to procedural technicalities." 49 was engaged in farming, tilling the land that was Aida’s dowry (mahr or majar).
Thereafter, he bought a parcel of land in Sousa, Cotabato. Hadji Abdula and
Aida already had two children when he married for the second time another
Thus, the main opinion in consonance with the same paramount
Muslim named Jubaida Kado in Kalumamis, Talayan, Maguindanao. No child
considerations of substantial justice has likewise overruled respondents'
was born out of Hadji Abdula’s second marriage. When Aida, the first wife, was
objection to petitioner's taking the recourse of "the present remedy
pregnant with their fourth child, Hadji Abdula divorced her.
of certiorari and prohibition" — "despite the conceded availability of appeal"
— on the ground that "there is a common thread among the basic issues
In 1965, Hadji Abdula married another Muslim, Nayo H. Omar but they were
involved in all these thirty-three appeals — (which) deal with practically the
childless. Thereafter, Hadji Abdula contracted marriage with Hadji Mabai
same basic issues that can be more expeditiously resolved or determined in a
(Mabay) H. Adziz in Kalumamis, TaIayan, Maguindanao and soon they had a
single special civil action . . . " 50
daughter named; Fatima (Kueng). Hadji Abdula and Hadji Mabai stayed in that
place to farm while Hadji Abdula engaged in the business of buying and selling
(b) Since the basic issues have been in effect resolved in the special civil action of rice, corn and other agricultural products. Not long after, Hadji Abdula
at bar (as above stated) with the dismissal of the petition by virtue of the married three other Muslim women named Saaga, Mayumbai and Sabai but
Court's judgment as to the continued existence of a separate estate of Linnie he eventually divorced them.
Jane Hodges and the affirmance as a necessary consequence of the appealed
orders approving and sanctioning respondent Magno's sales contracts and Hadji Abdula then migrated to Tambunan where, in 1972, he married
acts of administration, some doubt would arise as to the propriety of the main petitioner Neng "Kagui Kadiguia" Malang, his fourth wife, excluding the wives
opinion requiring the payment by PCIB of thirty-one (31) additional appeal he had divorced. They established residence in Cotabato City but they were
docket fees. This doubt is further enhanced by the question of whether it childless. For a living, they relied on farming and on the business of buying and
would make the cost of appeal unduly expensive or prohibitive by requiring selling of agricultural products. Hadji Abdula acquired vast tracts of land in
the payment of a separate appeal docket fee for each incidental order Sousa and Talumanis, Cotabato City, some of which were cultivated by
questioned when the resolution of all such incidental questioned orders tenants. He deposited money in such banks as United Coconut Planters Bank,
involve basically one and the same main issue (in this case, the existence of a Metrobank and Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank.
separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and can be more expeditiously resolved
or determined in a single special civil action" (for which a single docket fee is On December 18, 1993, while he was living with petitioner in Cotabato City,
required) as stated in the main opinion. 51 Considering the importance of the Hadji Abdula died without leaving a will. On January 21, 1994, petitioner filed
basic issues and the magnitude of the estates involved, however, the writer with the Shari’a District Court in Cotabato City a petition for the settlement of
has pro hac vice given his concurrence to the assessment of the said thirty-one his estate with a prayer that letters of administration be issued in the name of
(31) additional appeal docket fees. her niece, Tarhata Lauban.

Petitioner claimed in that petition that she was the wife of Hadji Abdula; that
his other legal heirs are his three children named Teng Abdula, Keto Abdula
[G.R. No. 119064. August 22, 2000.] and Kueng Malang, and that he left seven (7) parcels of land, five (5) of which
are titled in Hadji Abdula’s name "married to Neng P. Malang," and a pick-up
NENG "KAGUI KADIGUIA" MALANG, Petitioner, v. HON. COROCOY MOSON, jeepney.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Presiding Judge of 5th Shari’a District Court, Cotabato City, HADJI
MOHAMMAD ULYSSIS MALANG, HADJI ISMAEL MALINDATU MALANG, On February 7, 1994, the Shari’a District Court ordered the publication of the
FATIMA MALANG, DATULNA MALANG, LAWANBAI MALANG, JUBAIDA petition. 1 After such publication 2 or on March 16, 1994, Hadji Mohammad
KADO MALANG, NAYO OMAL MALANG and MABAY GANAP Ulyssis Malang ("Hadji Mohammad", for brevity), the eldest son of Hadji
MALANG, Respondents. Abdula, filed his opposition to the petition. He alleged among other matters
that his father’s surviving heirs are as follows: (a) Jubaida Malang, surviving
DECISION spouse; (b) Nayo Malang, surviving spouse; (c) Mabay Malang, surviving
spouse; (d) petitioner Neng Malang, surviving spouse; (e) oppositor Hadji
Mohammad Ulyssis Malang who is also known as "Teng Abdula," son; (f) Hadji

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Ismael Malindatu Malang, also known as "Keto Abdula," son, (g) Fatima
Malang, also known as "Kueng Malang," daughter; (h) Datulna Malang, son, In the Memorandum that she filed with the Shari’a District Court, petitioner
and (i) Lawanbai Malang, daughter. Oppositor Hadji Mohammad Ulyssis asserted that all the properties located in Cotabato City, including the vehicle
Malang alleged that since he and his brother, Hadji Ismael Malindatu Malang, and bank deposits, were conjugal properties in accordance with Article 160 of
had helped their father in his business, then they were more competent to be the Civil Code and Article 116 of the Family Code while properties located
administrators of his estate. 3 outside of Cotabato City were exclusive properties of the decedent. 19

On March 30, 1994, Jubaida Malang, Ismael Malindatu Malang, Nayo Malang, On the other hand, the oppositors contended in their own Memorandum that
Fatima Malang, Mabay Malang, Datulna Malang and Lawanbai Malang filed an all the properties left by Hadji Abdula were his exclusive properties for various
opposition to the petition, adopting as their own the written opposition of reasons. First, Hadji Abdula had no conjugal partnership with petitioner
Hadji Mohammad. 4 because his having contracted eight (8) marriages with different Muslim
women was in violation of the Civil Code that provided for a monogamous
On April 7, 1994, the Shari’a District Court issued an Order appointing Hadji marriage; a conjugal partnership presupposes a valid civil marriage, not a
Mohammad administrator of his father’s properties outside Cotabato City. The bigamous marriage or a common-law relationship. Second, the decedent
same order named petitioner and Hadji Ismael Malindatu Malang as joint adopted a "complete separation of property regime" in his marital relations;
administrators of the estate in Cotabato City. Each administrator was required while his wives Jubaida Kado, Nayo Hadji Omal and Mabay Ganap Hadji Adzis
to post a bond in the amount of P100,000.00. 5 On April 13, 1994, letters of contributed to the decedent’s properties, there is no evidence that petitioner
administration were issued to Hadji Mohammad after he had posted the had contributed funds for the acquisition of such properties. Third, the
required bond. He took his oath on the same day. 6 The following day, Hadji presumption that properties acquired during the marriage are conjugal
Ismael and petitioner likewise filed their respective bonds and hence, they properties is inapplicable because at the time he acquired the properties, the
were allowed to take their oath as administrators. 7 On April 25, 1994 and May decedent was married to four (4) women. Fourth, the properties are not
3, 1994, petitioner filed two motions informing the court that Hadji Abdula conjugal in nature notwithstanding that some of these properties were titled
had outstanding deposits with nine (9) major banks. 8 Petitioner prayed that in the name of the decedent "married to Neng Malang" because such
the managers of each of those banks be ordered to submit a bank statement description is not conclusive of the conjugal nature of the property.
of the outstanding deposit of Hadji Abdula. 9 The Shari’a District Court having Furthermore, because petitioner admitted in her verified petition that the
granted the motions, 10 Assistant Vice President Rockman O. Sampuha of properties belonged "to the estate of decedent," she was estopped from
United Coconut Planters Bank informed the court that as of April 24, 1994, the claiming, after formal offer of evidence, that the properties were conjugal in
outstanding deposit of Hadji Abdula amounted to one million five hundred nature just because some of the properties were titled in Hadji Abdula’s name
twenty thousand four hundred pesos and forty-eight centavos "married to Neng Malang." Fifth, if it is true that the properties were conjugal
(P1,520,400.48). 11 The Senior Manager of the Cotabato branch of Metrobank properties, then these should have been registered in the names of both
also certified that as of December 18, 1993, "Hadji Abdula Malang or petitioner and the decedent. 20
Malindatu Malang" had on savings deposit the balance of three hundred
seventy-eight thousand four hundred ninety-three pesos and 32/100 centavos In its Order of September 26, 1994, the Shari’a District Court presided by Judge
(P378,493.32). 12 PCIB likewise issued a certification that Hadji Abdula had a Corocoy D. Moson held that there was no conjugal partnership of gains
balance of eight hundred fifty pesos (P850.00) in his current account as of between petitioner and the decedent primarily because the latter married
August 11, 1994. 13 eight times. The Civil Code provision on conjugal partnership cannot be
applied if there is more than one wife because "conjugal partnership
During the pendency of the case, petitioner suffered a congestive heart failure presupposes a valid civil marriage, not a plural marriage or a common-law
that required immediate medical treatment. On May 5, 1994, she filed a relationship." The court further found that the decedent was "the chief, if not
motion praying that on account of her ailment, she be allowed to withdraw the sole, breadwinner of his families" and that petitioner did not contribute to
from UCPB the amount of three hundred thousand pesos (P300,000.00) that the properties unlike the other wives named Jubaida, Nayo and Mabay. The
shall constitute her advance share in the estate of Hadji Abdula. 14 After due description "married to Neng Malang" in the titles to the real properties is no
hearing, the Shari’a District Court allowed petitioner to withdraw the sum of more than that the description of the relationship between petitioner and the
two hundred fifty thousand pesos (P250,000.00). 15 decedent. Such description is insufficient to prove that the properties belong
to the conjugal partnership of gains. The court stated:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
On May 12, 1994, the Shari’a District Court required petitioner and Hadji library
Ismael as joint administrators to submit an inventory and appraisal of all
properties of Hadji Abdula. 16 In compliance therewith, Hadji Ismael In the instant case, decedent had four (4) wives at the time he acquired the
submitted an inventory showing that in Cotabato City, Hadji Abdula had seven properties in question. To sustain the contention of the petitioner that the
(7) residential lots with assessed value ranging from P5,020.00 to P25,800.00, properties are her conjugal property with the decedent is doing violence to
an agricultural land with assessed value of P860.00, three (3) one-storey the provisions of the Civil Code. Be it noted that at the time of the marriage of
residential buildings, and one (1) two-storey residential building. 17 All these the petitioner with the decedent, there were already three (3) existing
properties were declared for taxation purposes in Hadji Abdula’s marriages. Assuming for the moment that petitioner and the decedent had
name.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary agreed that the property regime between them will be governed by the regime
of conjugal partnership property, that agreement is null and void for it is
For her part, petitioner submitted an inventory showing that Hadji Abdula against the law, public policy, public order, good moral(s) and
"married to Neng Malang" had seven (7) residential lots with a total assessed customs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
value of P243,840.00 in Cotabato City, an Isuzu pick-up jeepney valued at
P30,000.00 and bank deposits. 18 Under Islamic law, the regime of property relationship is complete separation

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of property, in the absence of any stipulation to the contrary in the marriage ARTICLE 145. Finality of Decisions. — The decisions of the Shari’a District
settlements or any other contract (Article 38, P.D. 1083). There being no Courts whether on appeal from the Shari’a Circuit Court or not shall be final.
evidence of such contrary stipulation or contract, this Court concludes as it Nothing herein contained shall affect the original and appellate jurisdiction of
had begun, that the properties in question, both real and personal, are not the Supreme Court as provided in the Constitution.
conjugal, but rather, exclusive property of the decedent. 21
Petitioner accordingly informed the court that she would be filing "an original
Thus, the Shari’a District Court held that the Islamic law should be applied in action of certiorari with the Supreme Court." 24
the distribution of the estate of Hadji Abdula and accordingly disposed of the
case as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library On March 1, 1995, petitioner filed the instant petition for certiorari with
preliminary injunction and/or restraining order. She contends that the Shari’a
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court orders the following:chanrob1es District Court gravely erred in: (a) ruling that when she married Hadji Abdula
virtual 1aw library Malang, the latter had three existing marriages with Jubaida Kado Malang,
Nayo Omar Malang and Mabay Ganap Malang and therefore the properties
1) That the estate shall pay the corresponding estate tax, reimburse the acquired during her marriage could not be considered conjugal, and (b)
funeral expenses in the amount of P50,000.00, and the judicial expenses in the holding that said properties are not conjugal because under Islamic Law, the
amount of P2,040.80; regime of relationship is complete separation of property, in the absence of
stipulation to the contrary in the marriage settlement or any other
2) That the net estate, consisting of real and personal properties, located in contract.25cralaw:red
Talayan, Maguindanao and in Cotabato City, is hereby ordered to be
distributed and adjudicated as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library As petitioner sees it, "the law applicable on issues of marriage and property
regime is the New Civil Code", under which all property of the marriage is
a) Jubaida Kado Malang 2/64 of the estate presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership. The Shari’a Court,
meanwhile, viewed the Civil Code provisions on conjugal partnership as
b) Nayo Omar Malang 2/64 of the estate incompatible with plural marriage, which is permitted under Muslim law, and
held the applicable property regime to be complete separation of property
c) Mabai Aziz Malang 2/64 of the estate under P.D. 1083.

d) Neng "Kagui Kadiguia" Malang 2/64 of the estate Owing to the complexity of the issue presented, and the fact that the case is
one of first impression — this is a singular situation where the issue on what
e) Mohammad Ulyssis Malang 14/64 of the estate law governs the property regime of a Muslim marriage celebrated prior to the
passage of the Muslim Code has been elevated from a Shari’a court for the
f) Ismael Malindatu Malang 14/64 of the estate Court’s resolution — the Court decided to solicit the opinions of two amici
curiae, Justice Ricardo C. Puno 26 and former Congressman Michael O.
g) Datulna Malang 14/64 of the estate Mastura. 27 The Court extends its warmest thanks to the amici curiae for their
valuable inputs in their written memoranda 28 and in the hearing of June 27,
h) Lawanbai Malang 7/64 of the estate 2000.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

i) Fatima (Kueng) Malang 7/64 of the estate Resolution of the instant case is made more difficult by the fact that very few
of the pertinent dates of birth, death, marriage and divorce are established by
Total 64/64 the record. This is because, traditionally, Muslims do not register acts, events
or judicial decrees affecting civil status. 29 It also explains why the evidence in
3) That the amount of P250,000.00 given to Neng "Kagui Kadiguia" Malang by the instant case consisted substantially of oral testimonies.
way of advance be charged against her share and if her share is not sufficient,
to return the excess; and What is not disputed is that: Hadji Abdula contracted a total of eight
marriages, counting the three which terminated in divorce; all eight marriages
4) That the heirs are hereby ordered to submit to this court their Project of were celebrated during the effectivity of the Civil Code and before the
Partition for approval, not later than three (3) months from receipt of this enactment of the Muslim Code; Hadji Abdula divorced four wives — namely,
order. Aida, Saaga, Mayumbai and Sabai — all divorces of which took place before
the enactment of the Muslim Code; and, Hadji Abdula died on December 18,
SO ORDERED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary 1993, after the Muslim Code and Family Code took effect, survived by four
wives (Jubaida, Nayo, Mabay and Neng) and five children, four of whom he
On October 4, 1994, petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration of that begot with Aida and one with Mabay. It is also clear that the following laws
Order. The oppositors objected to that motion. On January 10, 1995; the were in force, at some point or other, during the marriages of Hadji Abdula:
Shari’a District Court denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. 22 the Civil Code, which took effect on August 30, 1950; Republic Act No. 394
Unsatisfied, petitioner filed a notice of appeal. 23 However, on January 19, ("R.A. 394"), authorizing Muslim divorces, which was effective from June 18,
1995, she filed a manifestation withdrawing the notice of appeal on the 1949 to June 13, 1969; the Muslim Code, which took effect February 4, 1977;
strength of the following provisions of P.D. No. 1083:chanrob1es virtual 1aw and the Family Code, effective August 3, 1988.
library
Proceeding upon the foregoing, the Court has concluded that the record of the

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case is simply inadequate for purposes of arriving at a fair and complete practices. No marriage license or formal requisites shall be necessary. Nor shall
resolution of the petition. To our mind, any attempt at this point to dispense the persons solemnizing these marriages be obliged to comply with article 92.
with the basic issue given the scantiness of the evidence before us could result
in grave injustice to the parties in this case, as well as cast profound However, thirty years after the approval of this Code, all marriages performed
implications on Muslim families similarly or analogously situated to the parties between Muslims or other non-Christians shall be solemnized in accordance
herein. Justice and accountability dictate a remand; trial must reopen in order with the provisions of this Code. But the President of the Philippines, upon
to supply the factual gaps or, in Congressman Mastura’s words, "missing links", recommendation of the Commissioner of National Integration, may at any
that would be the bases for judgment and accordingly, allow respondent court time before the expiration of said period, by proclamation, make any of said
to resolve the instant case. In ordering thus, however, we take it as an provisions applicable to the Muslims and non-Christian inhabitants of any of
imperative on our part to set out certain guidelines in the interpretation and the non-Christian provinces.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
application of pertinent laws to facilitate the task of respondent
court.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary Notably, before the expiration of the thirty-year period after which Muslims
are enjoined to solemnize their marriages in accordance with the Civil Code,
It will also be recalled that the main issue presented by the petition — P.D. 1083 or the Muslim Code was passed into law. The enactment of the
concerning the property regime applicable to two Muslims married prior to Muslim Code on February 4, 1977 rendered nugatory the second paragraph of
the effectivity of the Muslim Code — was interposed in relation to the Article 78 of the Civil Code which provides that marriages between Muslims
settlement of the estate of the deceased husband. Settlement of estates of thirty years after the approval of the Civil Code shall be solemnized in
Muslims whose civil acts predate the enactment of the Muslim Code may accordance with said Code.
easily result in the application of the Civil Code and other personal laws, thus
convincing the Court that it is but propitious to go beyond the issue squarely Second and Third Collateral Issues: The Validity of Muslim
presented and identify such collateral issues as are required to be resolved in
a settlement of estate case. As amicus curiae Congressman Mastura puts it, Multiple Marriages Celebrated Before the Muslim Code;
the Court does not often come by a case as the one herein, and jurisprudence
will be greatly enriched by a discussion of the "watershed of collateral issues" The Effect of People v. Subano and People v. Dumpo
that this case presents. 30
Prior to the enactment of P.D. 1083, there was no law in this jurisdiction which
The Court has identified the following collateral issues, which we hereby sanctioned multiple marriages. 32 It is also not to be disputed that the only
present in question form: (1) What law governs the validity of a Muslim law in force governing marriage relations between Muslims and non-Muslims
marriage celebrated under Muslim rites before the effectivity of the Muslim alike was the Civil Code of 1950.
Code? (2) Are multiple marriages celebrated before the effectivity of the
Muslim Code valid? (3) How do the Court’s pronouncements in People v. The Muslim Code, which is the first comprehensive codification 33 of Muslim
Subano, 73 Phil. 692 (1942), and People v. Dumpo, 62 Phil. 246 (1935), affect personal laws, 34 also provides in respect of acts that transpired prior to its
Muslim marriages celebrated before the effectivity of the Muslim Code? (4) enactment:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
What laws govern the property relationship of Muslim multiple marriages
celebrated before the Muslim Code? (5) What law governs the succession to ARTICLE 186. Effect of code on past acts. — (1) Acts executed prior to the
the estate of a Muslim who died after the Muslim Code and the Family Code effectivity of this Code shall be governed by the laws in force at the time of
took effect? (6) What laws apply to the dissolution of property regimes in the their. execution, and nothing herein except as otherwise specifically provided,
cases of multiple marriages entered into before the Muslim Code but dissolved shall affect their validity or legality or operate to extinguish any right acquired
(by the husband’s death) after the effectivity of the Muslim Code? and (7) Are or liability incurred thereby.
Muslim divorces effected before the enactment of the Muslim Code
valid?chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary The foregoing provisions are consistent with the principle that all laws operate
prospectively, unless the contrary appears or is clearly, plainly and
The succeeding guidelines, which derive mainly from the Compliance of unequivocably expressed or necessarily implied; 35 accordingly, every case of
amicus curiae Justice Puno, are hereby laid down by the Court for the doubt will be resolved against the retroactive operation of laws. 36 Article 186
reference of respondent court, and for the direction of the bench and aforecited enunciates the general rule of the Muslim Code to have its
bar:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library provisions applied prospectively, and implicitly upholds the force and effect of
a pre-existing body of law, specifically, the Civil Code — in respect of civil acts
First Collateral Issue: The Law[s] Governing Validity of that took place before the Muslim Code’s enactment.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw
1ibrary
Muslim Marriages Celebrated Before the Muslim Code
Admittedly, an apparent antagonism arises when we consider that what the
The time frame in which all eight marriages of Hadji Abdula were celebrated provisions of the Civil Code contemplate and nurture is a monogamous
was during the effectivity of the Civil Code which, accordingly, governs the marriage. "Bigamous or polygamous marriages" are considered void and
marriages. Article 78 of the Civil Code 31 recognized the right of Muslims to inexistent from the time of their performance. 37 The Family Code which
contract marriage in accordance with their customs and rites, by providing superseded the Civil Code provisions on marriage emphasizes that a
that — subsequent marriage celebrated before the registration of the judgment
declaring a prior marriage void shall likewise be void. 38 These provisions
Marriages between Mohammedans or pagans who live in the non-Christian illustrate that the marital relation perceived by the Civil Code is one that is
provinces may be performed in accordance with their customs, rites or monogamous, and that subsequent marriages entered into by a person with

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others while the first one is subsisting is by no means countenanced. or when the same are void, the system of relative community or conjugal
partnership of gains as established in this Code shall govern the property
Thus, when the validity of Muslim plural marriages celebrated before the relations between husband and wife.
enactment of the Muslim Code was touched upon in two criminal cases, the
Court applied the perspective in the Civil Code that only one valid marriage ARTICLE 135. All property brought by the wife to the marriage, as well as all
can exist at any given time property she acquires during the marriage, in accordance with article 148, is
paraphernal.
In People v. Subano, supra, the Court convicted the accused of homicide, not
parricide, since — ARTICLE 136. The wife retains the ownership of the paraphernal property.

(f)rom the testimony of Ebol Subano, father of the deceased, it appears that ARTICLE 142. By means of the conjugal partnership of gains the husband and
the defendant has three wives and that the deceased was the last in point of wife place in a common fund the fruits of their separate property and the
time. Although the practice of polygamy is approved by custom among these income from their work or industry, and divide equally, upon the dissolution
non-Christians, polygamy, however, is not sanctioned by the Marriage Law, 39 of the marriage or of the partnership, the net gains or benefits obtained
which merely recognizes tribal marriage rituals. The deceased, under our law, indiscriminately by either spouse during the marriage.
is not thus the lawful wife of the defendant and this precludes conviction for
the crime of parricide.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary ARTICLE 143. All property of the conjugal partnership of gains is owned in
common by the husband and wife.
In People v. Dumpo, supra, Mora Dumpo was prosecuted for bigamy when,
legally married to Moro Hassan, she allegedly contracted a second marriage The Civil Code also provides in Article 144:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
with Moro Sabdapal. The Court acquitted her on the ground that it was not
duly proved that the alleged second marriage had all the essential requisites When a man and a woman live together as husband and wife, but they are not
to make it valid were it not for the subsistence of the first marriage. As it married, or their marriage is void from the beginning, the property acquired
appears that the consent of the bride’s father is an indispensable requisite to by either or both of them through their work or industry or their wages and
the validity of a Muslim marriages and as Mora Dumpo’s father categorically salaries shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.chanrob1es virtua1
affirmed that he did not give his consent to her union with Moro Sabdapal, the 1aw 1ibrary
Court held that such union could not be a marriage otherwise valid were it not
for the existence of the first one, and resolved to acquit her of the charge of In a long line of cases, this Court has interpreted the co-ownership provided in
bigamy. Article 144 of the Civil Code to require that the man and woman living together
as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage
The ruling in Dumpo indicates that, had it been proven as a fact that the must not in any way be incapacitated to marry. 41 Situating these rulings to
second marriage contained all the essential requisites to make it valid, a the instant case, therefore, the co-ownership contemplated in Article 144 of
conviction for bigamy would have prospered. 40 the Civil Code cannot apply to Hadji Abdula’s marriages celebrated subsequent
to a valid and legally existing marriage, since from the point of view of the Civil
Fourth Collateral Issue: Law(s) Governing Property Relations Code Hadji Abdula is not capacitated to marry. However, the wives in such
marriages are not precluded from proving that property acquired during their
of Muslim Marriages Celebrated Before the Muslim Code cohabitation with Hadji Abdula is their exclusive property, respectively. 42
Absent such proof, however, the presumption is that property acquired during
This is the main issue presented by the instant petition. In keeping with our the subsistence of a valid marriage — and in the Civil Code, there can only be
holding that the validity of the marriages in the instant case is determined by one validly-existing marriage at any given time — is conjugal property of such
the Civil Code, we hold that it is the same Code that determines and governs subsisting marriage. 43
the property relations of the marriages in this case, for the reason that at the
time of the celebration of the marriages in question the Civil Code was the only With the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988, the following
law on marriage relations, including property relations between spouses, provisions of the said Code are pertinent:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
whether Muslim or non-Muslim. Inasmuch as the Family Code makes
substantial amendments to the Civil Code provisions on property relations, ARTICLE 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each
some of its provisions are also material, particularly to property acquired from other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit
and after August 3, 1988. of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned
by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through
Which law would govern depends upon: (1) when the marriages took place; their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
(2) whether the parties lived together as husband and wife, and (3) when and
how the subject properties were acquired. In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived
together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work
Following are the pertinent provisions of the Civil Code:chanrob1es virtual or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this
1aw library Article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition of the other party of
any property shall .be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition
ARTICLE 119. The future spouses may in the marriage settlements agree upon thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the
absolute or relative community of property, or upon complete separation of family and of the household.
property, or upon any other regime. In the absence of marriage settlements,

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Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share Civil Code provisions on the determination of the legitimacy or illegitimacy of
in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the child would appear to be in point. Thus, the Civil Code
the consent of the other, until after the termination of the provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
cohabitation.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
ARTICLE 255. Children born after one hundred and eighty days following the
When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of celebration of the marriage, and before three hundred days following its
the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their dissolution or the separation of the spouses shall be presumed to be
common children. In case of default or of waiver by any or all of the common legitimate.
children or their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective
surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted other than that of the
to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon physical impossibility of the husband’s having access to his wife within the first
termination of the cohabitation. one hundred and twenty days of the three hundred which preceded the birth
of the child.
ARTICLE 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article,
only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint This physical impossibility may be caused:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in
common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of (1). By the impotence of the husband;
proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are
presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint (2). By the fact that the husband and wife were living separately, in such a way
deposits of money and evidences of credit. that access was not possible;

If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share in the co- (3). By the serious illness of the husband.
ownership shall accrue to the absolute community or conjugal partnership
existing in such valid marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly ARTICLE 256. The child shall be presumed legitimate, although the mother may
married to another, his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an
in the last paragraph of the preceding Article.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary adulteress.

The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are If the child was conceived or born during the period covered by the
in bad faith. governance of the Muslim Code, i.e., from February 4, 1977 up to the death of
Hadji Abdula on December 18, 1993, the Muslim Code determines the
It will be noted that while the Civil Code merely requires that the parties "live legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child. Under the Muslim Code:chanrob1es
together as husband and wife" the Family Code in Article 147 specifies that virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
they "live exclusively with each other as husband and wife." Also, in contrast
to Article 144 of the Civil Code as interpreted by jurisprudence, Article 148 of ARTICLE 58. Legitimacy, how established. — Legitimacy of filiation is
the Family Code allows for co-ownership in cases of cohabitation where, for established by the evidence of valid marriage between the father and the
instance, one party has a pre-existing valid marriage, provided that the parties mother at the time of the conception of the child.
prove their "actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry" and
only to the extent of their proportionate interest therein. The rulings in Juaniza ARTICLE 59. Legitimate children. —
v. Jose, 89 SCRA 306, Camporodendo v. Garcia, 102 Phil. 1055, and related
cases are embodied in the second paragraph of Article 148, which declares (1). Children conceived in lawful wedlock shall be presumed to be legitimate.
that the share of the party validly married to another shall accrue to the Whoever claims illegitimacy of or impugns such filiation must prove his
property regime of such existing marriage. allegation.

Fifth and Sixth Collateral Issues: Law(s) on Succession and (2). Children born after six months following the consummation of marriage or
within two years after the dissolution of the marriage shall be presumed to be
Dissolution of Property Regimes legitimate. Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted other than
that of physical impossibility of access between the parents at or about the
Hadji Abdula died intestate on December 16, 1993. Thus, it is the Muslim Code time of the conception of the child.
which should determine the identification of the heirs in the order of intestate
succession and the respective shares of the heirs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw ARTICLE 60. Children of subsequent marriage. — Should the marriage be
1ibrary dissolved and the wife contracts another marriage after the expiration of her
‘idda, the child born within six months from the dissolution of the prior
Meanwhile; the status and capacity to succeed on the part of the individual marriage shall be presumed to have been conceived during the former
parties who entered into each and every marriage ceremony will depend upon marriage, and if born thereafter, during the latter.
the law in force at the time of the performance of the marriage rite.
ARTICLE 61. Pregnancy after dissolution. — If, after the dissolution of
The status and capacity to succeed of the children will depend upon the law in marriage, the wife believes that she is pregnant by her former husband, she
force at the time of conception or birth of the child. If the child was conceived shall, within thirty days from the time she became aware of her pregnancy,
or born during the period covered by the governance of the Civil Code, the notify the former husband or his heirs of that fact. The husband or his heirs

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

may ask the court to take measures to prevent a simulation of death on December 18, 1993? The estate of Hadji Abdula consists of the
birth.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Upon determination of status and capacity to succeed based on the foregoing a. Properties acquired during the existence of a valid marriage as determined
provisions, the provisions on legal succession in the Muslim Code will apply. by the first corollary, issue are conjugal properties and should be liquidated
Under Article 110 of the said Code, the sharers to an inheritance and divided between the spouses under the Muslim Code, this being the law
include:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library in force at the time of Hadji Abdula’s death.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

(a). The husband, the wife; b. Properties acquired under the conditions prescribed in Article 144 of the
Civil Code during the period August 30, 1950 to August 2, 1988 are conjugal
(b). The father, the mother, the grandfather, the grandmother; properties and should be liquidated and divided between the spouses under
the Muslim Code. However, the wives other than the lawful wife as
(c). The daughter and the son’s daughter in the direct line; determined under the first corollary issue may submit their respective
evidence to prove that any of such property is theirs exclusively.
(d). The full sister, the consanguine sister, the uterine sister and the uterine
brother. c. Properties acquired under the conditions set out in Articles 147 and 148 of
the Family Code during the period from and after August 3, 1988 are governed
When the wife survives with a legitimate child or a child of the decedent’s son, by the rules on co-ownership.
she is entitled to one-eighth of the hereditary estate; in the absence of such
descendants, she shall inherit one-fourth of the estate. 44 The respective d. Properties acquired under conditions not covered by the preceding
shares of the other sharers, as set out in Article 110 abovecited, are provided paragraphs and obtained from the exclusive efforts or assets of Hadji Abdula
for in Articles 113 to 122 of P.D. 1083. are his exclusive properties.

Seventh Collateral Issue: Muslim Divorces Before the 4. Who are the legal heirs of Hadji Abdula, and what are their shares in
intestacy? The following are Hadji Abdula’s legal heirs: (a) the lawful wife, as
Effectivity of the Muslim Code determined under the first corollary issue, and (2) the children, as determined
under the second corollary issue. The Muslim Code, which was already in force
R.A. 394 authorized absolute divorce among Muslims residing in non-Christian at the time of Hadji Abdula’s death, will govern the determination of their
provinces, in accordance with Muslim custom, for a period of 20 years from respective shares.
June 18, 1949 (the date of approval of R.A. 394) to June 13, 1969. 45 Thus, a
Muslim divorce under R.A. 394 is valid if it took place from June 18, 1949 to As we have indicated early on, the evidence in this case is inadequate to
June 13, 1969.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary resolve in its entirety the main, collateral and corollary issues herein presented
and a remand to the lower court is in order. Accordingly, evidence should be
From the seven collateral issues that we discussed, we identify four corollary received to supply the following proofs: (1) the exact dates of the marriages
issues as to further situate the points of controversy in the instant case for the performed in accordance with Muslim rites or practices; (2) the exact dates of
guidance of the lower court. Thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library the dissolutions of the marriages terminated by death or by divorce in
accordance with Muslim rites and practices, thus indicating which marriage
1. Which of the several marriages was validly and legally existing at the time resulted in a conjugal partnership under the criteria prescribed by the first,
of the opening of the succession of Hadji Abdula when he died in 1993? The second, and third collateral issues and the first corollary issue; (3) the exact
validly and legally existing marriage would be that marriage which was periods of actual cohabitation ("common life" under a "common roof") of each
celebrated at a time when there was no other subsisting marriage standing of the marriages during which time the parties lived together; (4) the
undissolved by a valid divorce or by death. This is because all of the marriages identification of specific properties acquired during each of the periods of
were celebrated during the governance of the Civil Code, under the rules of cohabitation referred to in paragraph 3 above, and the manner and source of
which only one marriage can exist at any given time. acquisition, indicating joint or individual effort, thus showing the asset as
owned separately, conjugally or in co-ownership; and (5) the identities of the
Whether or not the marriage was validly dissolved by a Muslim divorce children (legitimate or illegitimate) begotten from the several unions, the
depends upon the time frame and the applicable law. A Muslim divorce under dates of their respective conceptions or births in relation to paragraphs 1 and
R.A. No. 394 is valid if it took place from June 18, 1949 to June 13, 1969, and 2 above, thereby indicating their status as lawful heirs.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw
void if it took place from June 14, 1969. 46 1ibrary

2. There being a dispute between the petitioner and the oppositors as regards Amicus curiae Congressman Mastura agrees that since the marriage of
the heirship of the children begotten from different marriages, who among petitioner to decedent took place in 1972 the Civil Code is the law applicable
the surviving children are legitimate and who are illegitimate? The children on the issue of marriage settlement, 47 but espouses that customs or
conceived and born of a validly existing marriage as determined by the first established practices among Muslims in Mindanao must also be applied with
corollary issue are legitimate. The fact and time of conception or birth may be the force of law to the instant case. 48 Congressman Mastura’s disquisition
determined by proof or presumption depending upon the time frame and the has proven extremely helpful in impressing upon us the background in which
applicable law. Islamic law and the Muslim Code need to be interpreted, particularly the
interconnectedness of law and religion for Muslims 49 and the impracticability
3. What properties constituted the estate of Hadji Abdula at the time of his of a strict application of the Civil Code to plural marriages recognized under

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Muslim law. 50 Regrettably, the Court is duty-bound to resolve the instant was granted an accrued leave by the U. S. Navy, to visit his wife and he visited
case applying such laws and rights as are in existence at the time the pertinent the Philippines. 7 He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and was
civil acts took place. Corollarily, we are unable to supplant governing law with "living in" and having an adulterous relationship with his brother, Ceferino
customs, albeit how widely observed. In the same manner, we cannot supply Llorente. 8
a perceived hiatus in P.D. 1083 concerning the distribution of property
between divorced spouses upon one of the spouses’ death. 51 On December 4, 1945, Paula gave birth to a boy registered in the Office of the
Registrar of Nabua as "Crisologo Llorente," with the certificate stating that the
WHEREFORE, the decision dated September 26, 1994 of the Fifth Shari’a child was not legitimate and the line for the father’s name was left blank. 9
District Court of Cotabato City in Special Proceeding No. 94-40 is SET ASIDE,
and the instant petition is REMANDED for the reception of additional evidence Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her. In fact, on February 2, 1946,
and the resolution of the issues of the case based on the guidelines set out in the couple drew a written agreement to the effect that (1) all the family
this Decision.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary allowances allotted by the United States Navy as part of Lorenzo’s salary and
all other obligations for Paula’s daily maintenance and support would be
SO ORDERED. suspended; (2) they would dissolve their marital union in accordance with
judicial proceedings; (3) they would make a separate agreement regarding
their conjugal property acquired during their marital life; and (4) Lorenzo
would not prosecute Paula for her adulterous act since she voluntarily
admitted her fault and agreed to separate from Lorenzo peacefully. The
[G.R. No. 124371. November 23, 2000.] agreement was signed by both Lorenzo and Paula and was witnessed by
Paula’s father and stepmother. The agreement was notarized by Notary Public
PAULA T. LLORENTE, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and ALICIA F. Pedro Osabel. 10
LLORENTE, Respondents.
Lorenzo returned to the United States and on November 16, 1951 filed for
DECISION divorce with the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County
of San Diego. Paula was represented by counsel, John Riley, and actively
participated in the proceedings. On November 27, 1951, the Superior Court of
PARDO, J.: the State of California, for the County of San Diego found all factual allegations
to be true and issued an interlocutory judgment of divorce. 11
The Case On December 4, 1952, the divorce decree became final. 12

In the meantime, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw


The case raises a conflict of laws issue.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary 1ibrary
What is before us is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 On January 16, 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila. 13
modifying that of the Regional Trial Court, Camarines Sur, Branch 35, Iriga City Apparently, Alicia had no knowledge of the first marriage even if they resided
2 declaring respondent Alicia F. Llorente (hereinafter referred to as "Alicia"), in the same town as Paula, who did not oppose the marriage or cohabitation.
as co-owners of whatever property she and the deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente 14
(hereinafter referred to as "Lorenzo") may have acquired during the twenty-
five (25) years that they lived together as husband and wife. From 1958 to 1985, Lorenzo and Alicia lived together as husband and wife. 15
Their twenty-five (25) year union produced three children, Raul, Luz and
The Facts Beverly, all surnamed Llorente. 16

On March 13, 1981, Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament. The will was
The deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the United notarized by Notary Public Salvador M. Occiano, duly signed by Lorenzo with
States Navy from March 10, 1927 to September 30, 1957. 3 attesting witnesses Francisco Hugo, Francisco Neibres and Tito Trajano. In the
will, Lorenzo bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three children, to
On February 22, 1937, Lorenzo and petitioner Paula Llorente (hereinafter wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
referred to as "Paula") were married before a parish priest, Roman Catholic
Church, in Nabua, Camarines Sur. 4 "(1) I give and bequeath to my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO exclusively my
residential house and lot, located at San Francisco, Nabua, Camarines Sur,
Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Lorenzo departed for the United States Philippines, including ALL the personal properties and other movables or
and Paula stayed in the conjugal home in barrio Antipolo, Nabua, Camarines belongings that may be found or existing therein;
Sur. 5
"(2) I give and bequeath exclusively to my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and to my
On November 30, 1943, Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal
Certificate of Naturalization No. 5579816 was issued in his favor by the United shares, all my real properties whatsoever and wheresoever located,
States District Court, Southern District of New York. 6 specifically my real properties located at Barangay Aro-Aldao, Nabua,
Camarines Sur; Barangay Paloyon, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay Baras,
Upon the liberation of the Philippines by the American Forces in 1945, Lorenzo
P a g e 82 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Sitio Puga, Nabua, Camarines Sur; and Barangay Paloyon, Sitio Nalilidong, "Bicol Star." 26
Nabua, Camarines Sur;chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
On May 18, 1987, the Regional Trial Court issued a joint decision,
"(3) I likewise give and bequeath exclusively unto my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and thus:chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
unto my children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in
equal shares, my real properties located in Quezon City Philippines, and "Wherefore, considering that this court has so found that the divorce decree
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 188652; and my lands in Antipolo, granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines,
Rizal, Philippines, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 124196 and therefore the marriage he contracted with Alicia Fortunato on January 16,
165188, both of the Registry of Deeds of the province of Rizal, Philippines; 1958 at Manila is likewise void. This being so the petition of Alicia F. Llorente
for the issuance of letters testamentary is denied. Likewise, she is not entitled
"(4) That their respective shares in the above-mentioned properties, whether to receive any share from the estate even if the will especially said so her
real or personal properties, shall not be disposed of, ceded, sold and conveyed relationship with Lorenzo having gained the status of paramour which is under
to any other persons, but could only be sold, ceded, conveyed and disposed of Art. 739 (1).
by and among themselves;
"On the other hand, the court finds the petition of Paula Titular Llorente,
"(5) I designate my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO to be the sole executor of this my meritorious, and so declares the intrinsic disposition of the will of Lorenzo
Last Will and Testament, and in her default or incapacity of the latter to act, Llorente dated March 13, 1981 as void and declares her entitled as conjugal
any of my children in the order of age, if of age; partner and entitled to one-half of their conjugal properties, and as primary
compulsory heir, Paula T. Llorente is also entitled to one-third of the estate
"(6) I hereby direct that the executor named herein or her lawful substitute and then one-third should go to the illegitimate children, Raul, Luz and Beverly,
should served (sic) without bond; all surname (sic) Llorente, for them to partition in equal shares and also
entitled to the remaining free portion in equal shares.
"(7) I hereby revoke any and all my other wills, codicils, or testamentary
dispositions heretofore executed, signed, or published, by me; "Petitioner, Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the
deceased, Lorenzo Llorente. As such let the corresponding letters of
"(8) It is my final wish and desire that if I die, no relatives of mine in any degree administration issue in her favor upon her filing a bond in the amount (sic) of
in the Llorente’s Side should ever bother and disturb in any manner P100,000.00 conditioned for her to make a return to the court within three (3)
whatsoever my wife Alicia R. Fortunato and my children with respect to any months a true and complete inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, and
real or personal properties I gave and bequeathed respectively to each one of credits, and estate which shall at any time come to her possession or to the
them by virtue of this Last Will and Testament." 17 possession of any other person for her, and from the proceeds to pay and
discharge all debts, legacies and charges on the same, or such dividends
On December 14, 1983, Lorenzo filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iriga, thereon as shall be decreed or required by this court; to render a true and just
Camarines Sur, a petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and account of her administration to the court within one (1) year, and at any other
testament wherein Lorenzo moved that Alicia be appointed Special time when required by the court and to perform all orders of this court by her
Administratrix of his estate. 18 to be performed.

On January 18, 1984, the trial court denied the motion for the reason that the "On the other matters prayed for in respective petitions for want of evidence
testator Lorenzo was still alive. 19 could not be granted.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

On January 24, 1984, finding that the will was duly executed, the trial court "SO ORDERED." 27
admitted the will to probate. 20
In time, Alicia filed with the trial court a motion for reconsideration of the
On June 11, 1985, before the proceedings could be terminated, Lorenzo died. aforequoted decision. 28
21
On September 14, 1987, the trial court denied Alicia’s motion for
On September 4, 1985, Paula filed with the same court a petition 22 for letters reconsideration but modified its earlier decision, stating that Raul and Luz
of administration over Lorenzo’s estate in her favor. Paula contended (1) that Llorente are not children "legitimate or otherwise" of Lorenzo since they were
she was Lorenzo’s surviving spouse, (2) that the various property were not legally adopted by him. 29 Amending its decision of May 18, 1987, the trial
acquired during their marriage, (3) that Lorenzo’s will disposed of all his court declared Beverly Llorente as the only illegitimate child of Lorenzo,
property in favor of Alicia and her children, encroaching on her legitime and entitling her to one-third (1/3) of the estate and one-third (1/3) of the free
1/2 share in the conjugal property. 23 portion of the estate. 30

On December 13, 1985, Alicia filed in the testate proceeding (Sp. Proc. No. IR- On September 28, 1987, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals. 31
755), a petition for the issuance of letters testamentary. 24
On July 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision, affirming with
On October 14, 1985, without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial modification the decision of the trial court in this wise:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
court gave due course to Paula’s petition in Sp. Proc. No. IR-888.25cralaw:red
"WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with the
On November 6, 13 and 20, 1985, the order was published in the newspaper MODIFICATION that Alicia is declared as co-owner of whatever properties she

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

and the deceased may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years of We note that while the trial court stated that the law of New York was not
cohabitation. sufficiently proven, in the same breath it made the categorical, albeit equally
unproven statement that "American law follows the ‘domiciliary theory’
"SO ORDERED." 32 hence, Philippine law applies when determining the validity of Lorenzo’s will.
38
On August 25, 1995, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
reconsideration of the decision. 33 First, there is no such thing as one American law. The "national law" indicated
in Article 16 of the Civil Code cannot possibly apply to general American law.
On March 21, 1996, the Court of Appeals, 34 denied the motion for lack of There is no such law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the
merit. United States. Each State of the union has its own law applicable to its citizens
and in force only within the State. It can therefore refer to no other than the
Hence, this petition. 35 law of the State of which the decedent was a resident. 39 Second, there is no
showing that the application of the renvoi doctrine is called for or required by
The Issue New York State law.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained
Stripping the petition of its legalese and sorting through the various arguments dispositions in favor of Alice, who in the trial court’s opinion was a mere
raised, 36 the issue is simple. Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo paramour. The trial court threw the will out, leaving Alice, and her two
N. Llorente? children, Raul and Luz, with nothing.

We do not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. We remand the The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one
case to the trial court for ruling on the intrinsic validity of the will of the half (1/2) of whatever property she and Lorenzo acquired during their
deceased. cohabitation, applying Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

The Applicable Law The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will,
already probated as duly executed in accordance with the formalities of
The fact that the late Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long Philippine law, is fatal, especially in light of the factual and legal circumstances
before and at the time of: (1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) here obtaining.
execution of his will; and (4) death, is duly established, admitted and
undisputed. Validity of the Foreign Divorce

Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by In Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. 40 we held that owing to the nationality principle
foreign law. embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered
by the policy against absolute divorces, the same being considered contrary to
The Civil Code clearly provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph our concept of public policy and morality. In the same case, the Court ruled
that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are valid according to
"ARTICLE 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, their national law.
condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the
Philippines, even though living abroad.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary Citing this landmark case, the Court held in Quita v. Court of Appeals, 41 that
once proven that respondent was no longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained
"ARTICLE 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law the divorce from petitioner, the ruling in Van Dorn would become applicable
of the country where it is situated. and petitioner could "very well lose her right to inherit" from him.chanrob1es
virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the
order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, 42 we recognized the divorce obtained by the
intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national respondent in his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. There, we stated
law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be that divorce and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar
the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property as respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law
may be found." (Emphasis ours) on the status of persons.

True, foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts For failing to apply these doctrines, the decision of the Court of Appeals must
are not authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they be reversed. 43 We hold that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from
must be alleged and proved. 37 his first wife Paula was valid and recognized in this jurisdiction as a matter of
comity. Now, the effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate of
While the substance of the foreign law was pleaded, the Court of Appeals did the decedent) are matters best left to the determination of the trial court.
not admit the foreign law. The Court of Appeals and the trial court called to
the fore the renvoi doctrine, where the case was "referred back" to the law of Validity of the Will
the decedent’s domicile, in this case, Philippine law.
The Civil Code provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

P a g e 84 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

In re: Intestate Estate of the deceased JOSE B. SUNTAY,


"ARTICLE 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public FEDERICO C. SUNTAY, administrator-appellee.
instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are
executed. Claro M. Recto for appellant.
Sison and Aruego for appellee.
"When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular
officials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities
PADILLA, J.:
established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution." (Emphasis
ours)
This is an appeal from a decree of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan
The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and disallowing the alleged will and testament executed in Manila on November
children by her is glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to 1929, and the alleged last will and testament executed in Kulangsu, Amoy,
frustrate his wishes, since he was a foreigner, not covered by our laws on China, on 4 January 1931, by Jose B. Suntay. The value of the estate left by the
"family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity." 44 deceased is more than P50,000.

Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are On 14 May 1934 Jose B. Suntay, a Filipino citizen and resident of the
issues best proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether Philippines, died in the city of Amoy, Fookien province, Republic of China,
the will was executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered leaving real and personal properties in the Philippines and a house in Amoy,
by referring to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.chanrob1es Fookien province, China, and children by the first marriage had with the late
virtua1 1aw 1ibrary Manuela T. Cruz namely, Apolonio, Concepcion, Angel, Manuel, Federico, Ana,
Aurora, Emiliano, and Jose, Jr. and a child named Silvino by the second
As a guide however, the trial court should note that whatever public policy or marriage had with Maria Natividad Lim Billian who survived him. Intestate
good customs may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress did not proceedings were instituted in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan (special
intend to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Congress proceedings No. 4892) and after hearing letters of administration were issued
specifically left the amount of successional rights to the decedent’s national to Apolonio Suntay. After the latter's death Federico C. Suntay was appointed
law. 45 administrator of the estate. On 15 October 1934 the surviving widow filed a
petition in the Court of First Instance of Bulacan for the probate of a last will
Having thus ruled, we find it unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised. and testament claimed to have been executed and signed in the Philippines
on November 1929 by the late Jose B. Suntay. This petition was denied
The Fallo because of the loss of said will after the filing of the petition and before the
hearing thereof and of the insufficiency of the evidence to establish the loss
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in of the said will. An appeal was taken from said order denying the probate of
CA-G. R. SP No. 17446 promulgated on July 31, 1995 is SET ASIDE. the will and this Court held the evidence before the probate court sufficient to
prove the loss of the will and remanded the case to the Court of First Instance
In lieu thereof, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan for the further proceedings (63 Phil., 793). In spite of the fact that
and RECOGNIZES as VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the a commission from the probate court was issued on 24 April 1937 for the
deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California taking of the deposition of Go Toh, an attesting witness to the will, on 7
in and for the County of San Diego, made final on December 4, 1952. February 1938 the probate court denied a motion for continuance of the
hearing sent by cablegram from China by the surviving widow and dismissed
Further, the Court REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination the petition. In the meantime the Pacific War supervened. After liberation,
of the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo N. Llorente’s will and determination of the claiming that he had found among the files, records and documents of his late
parties’ successional rights allowing proof of foreign law with instructions that father a will and testament in Chinese characters executed and signed by the
the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of deceased on 4 January 1931 and that the same was filed, recorded and
the deceased within the framework of the Rules of Court.chanrob1es virtua1 probated in the Amoy district court, Province of Fookien, China, Silvino Suntay
1aw 1ibrary filed a petition in the intestate proceedings praying for the probate of the will
executed in the Philippines on November 1929 (Exhibit B) or of the will
No costs. executed in Amoy, Fookien, China, on 4 January 1931 (Exhibit N).

SO ORDERED. There is no merit in the contention that the petitioner Silvino Suntay and his
mother Maria Natividad Lim Billian are estopped from asking for the probate
of the lost will or of the foreign will because of the transfer or assignment of
their share right, title and interest in the estate of the late Jose B. Suntay to
Jose G. Gutierrez and the spouses Ricardo Gutierrez and Victoria Goño and the
G.R. Nos. L-3087 and L-3088 July 31, 1954 subsequent assignment thereof by the assignees to Francisco Pascual and by
the latter to Federico C. Suntay, for the validity and legality of such
In re: Testate Estate of the deceased JOSE B. SUNTAY. SILVINO assignments cannot be threshed out in this proceedings which is concerned
SUNTAY, petitioner-appellant, only with the probate of the will and testament executed in the Philippines on
vs. November 1929 or of the foreign will allegedly executed in Amoy on 4 January

P a g e 85 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

1931 and claimed to have been probated in the municipal district court of will by her father of his estate, to wit: one-third to his children, one-third to
Amoy, Fookien province, Republic of China. Silvino and his mother and the other third to Silvino, Apolonio, Concepcion and
Jose, Jr. (pp. 526-8, 530-1, 542, t. s. n. Id.); that "after Apolonio read that
As to prescription, the dismissal of the petition for probate of the will on 7 portion, then he turned over the document to Manuel, and he went away," (p.
February 1938 was no bar to the filing of this petition on 18 June 1947, or 528, t. s. n., Id.). On cross-examination, she testifies that she read the part of
before the expiration of ten years. the will on adjudication to know what was the share of each heir (pp. 530, 544,
t. s. n., Id.) and on redirect she testifies that she saw the signature of her
father, Go Toh, Manuel Lopez and Alberto Barretto (p. 546, t. s. n., Id.).
As to the lost will, section 6, Rule 77, provides:

Anastacio Teodoro testifies that one day in November 1934 (p. 273, t. s. n.,
No will shall be proved as a lost or destroyed will unless the
hearing of 19 January 1948), before the last postponement of the hearing
execution and validity of the same be established, and the will is
granted by the Court, Go Toh arrived at his law office in the De los Reyes
proved to have been in existence at the time of the death of the
Building and left an envelope wrapped in red handkerchief [Exhibit C] (p. 32,
testator, or is shown to have been fraudulently or accidentally
t. s. n., hearing of 13 October 1947); that he checked up the signatures on the
destroyed in the lifetime of the testator without his knowledge, nor
envelope Exhibit A with those on the will placed in the envelope (p. 33, t. s.
unless its provisions are clearly and distinctly proved by at least two
n., Id.); that the will was exactly the same as the draft Exhibit B (pp. 32, 47, 50,
credible witnesses. When a lost will is proved, the provisions thereof
t. s. n., Id.).
must be distinctly stated and certified by the judge, under the seal
of the court, and the certificate must be filed and recorded as other
wills are filed and recorded. If the will was snatched after the delivery thereof by Go Toh to Anastacio
Teodoro And returned by the latter to the former because they could not
agree on the amount of fees, the former coming to the latter's office straight
The witnesses who testified to the provisions of the lost will are Go Toh, an
from the boat (p. 315, t. s. n., hearing of 19 January 1948) that brought him to
attesting witness, Anastacio Teodoro and Ana Suntay. Manuel Lopez, who was
the Philippines from Amoy, and that delivery took place in November 1934 (p.
an attesting witness to the lost will, was dead at the time of the hearing of this
273, t. s. n., Id.), then the testimony of Ana Suntay that she saw and heard her
alternative petition. In his deposition Go Toh testifies that he was one of the
brother Apolonio Suntay read the will sometime in September 1934 (p. 524, t.
witnesses to the lost will consisting of twenty-three sheets signed by Jose B.
s. n., hearing of 24 February 1948), must not be true.
Suntay at the bottom of the will and each and every page thereof in the
presence of Alberto Barretto, Manuel Lopez and himself and underneath the
testator's signature the attesting witnesses signed and each of them signed Although Ana Suntay would be a good witness because she was testifying
the attestation clause and each and every page of the will in the presence of against her own interest, still the fact remains that she did not read the whole
the testator and of the other witnesses (answers to the 31st, 41st, 42nd, 49th, will but only the adjudication (pp. 526-8, 530-1, 542, t. s. n., Id.) and saw only
50th, 55th and 63rd interrogatories, Exhibit D-1), but did not take part in the the signature, of her father and of the witnesses Go Toh, Manuel Lopez and
drafting thereof (answer to the 11th interrogatory, Id.); that he knew the Alberto Barretto (p. 546, t. s. n., Id.). But her testimony on cross-examination
contents of the will written in Spanish although he knew very little of that that she read the part of the will on adjudication is inconsistent with her
language (answers to the 22nd and 23rd interrogatories and to X-2 cross- testimony in chief that after Apolonio had read that part of the will he turned
interrogatory, Id.) and all he knows about the contends of the lost will was over or handed the document to Manuel who went away (p. 528, t. s. n., Id.).
revealed to him by Jose B. Suntay at the time it was executed (answers to the
25th interrogatory and to X-4 and X-8 cross-interrogatories, Id.); that Jose B. If it is true that Go Toh saw the draft Exhibit B in the office of Alberto Barretto
Suntay told him that the contents thereof are the same as those of the draft in November 1929 when the will was signed, then the part of his testimony
(Exhibit B) (answers to the 33rd interrogatory and to X-8 cross- that Alberto Barretto handed the draft to Jose B. Suntay to whom he said: "You
interrogatory, Id.) which he saw in the office of Alberto Barretto in November had better see if you want any correction" and that "after checking Jose B.
1929 when the will was signed (answers to the 69th, 72nd, and 74th Suntay put the "Exhibit B" in his pocket and had the original signed and
interrogatories, Id); that Alberto Barretto handed the draft and said to Jose B. executed" cannot be true, for it was not the time for correcting the draft of
Suntay: "You had better see if you want any correction" (answers to the 81st, the will, because it must have been corrected before and all corrections and
82nd and 83rd interrogatories, Id.); that "after checking Jose B. Suntay put the additions written in lead pencil must have been inserted and copied in the final
"Exhibit B" in his pocket and had the original signed and executed" (answers draft of the will which was signed on that occasion. The bringing in for the draft
to the 91st interrogatory, and to X-18 cross-interrogatory, Id.); that Mrs. (Exhibit B) on that occasion is just to fit it within the framework of the
Suntay had the draft of the will (Exhibit B) translated into Chinese and he read appellant's theory. At any rate, all of Go Toh's testimony by deposition on the
the translation (answers to the 67th interrogatory, Id.); that he did not read provisions of the alleged lost will is hearsay, because he came to know or he
the will and did not compare it (check it up) with the draft (Exhibit B) (answers learned to them from information given him by Jose B. Suntay and from
to X-6 and X-20 cross-interrogatories, Id.). reading the translation of the draft (Exhibit B) into Chinese.

Ana Suntay testifies that sometime in September 1934 in the house of her Much stress is laid upon the testimony of Federico C. Suntay who testifies that
brother Apolonio Suntay she learned that her father left a will "because of the he read the supposed will or the alleged will of his father and that the share of
arrival of my brother Manuel Suntay, who was bringing along with him certain the surviving widow, according to the will, is two-thirds of the estate (p. 229,
document and he told us or he was telling us that it was the will of our father t. s. n., hearing of 24 October 1947). But this witness testified to oppose the
Jose B. Suntay which was taken from Go Toh. ..." (p. 524, t. s. n., hearing of 24 appointment of a co-administrator of the estate, for the reason that he had
February 1948); that she saw her brother Apolonio Suntay read the document acquired the interest of the surviving widow not only in the estate of her
in her presence and of Manuel and learned of the adjudication made in the deceased husband but also in the conjugal property (pp. 148, 205, 228, 229,

P a g e 86 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

231, t. s. n., Id.) Whether he read the original will or just the copy thereof as attesting witnesses (p. 15, t. s. n., Exhibit 6). Go Toh testified before the
(Exhibit B) is not clear. For him the important point was that he had acquired same assistant fiscal that he did not leave the will in the hands of Anastacio
all the share, participation and interest of the surviving widow and of the only Teodoro (p. 26, t. s. n., Exhibit 6). He said, quoting his own words, "Because I
child by the second marriage in the estate of his deceased father. Be that as it can not give him this envelope even though the contract (on fees) was signed.
may, his testimony that under the will the surviving widow would take two- I have to bring that document to court or to anywhere else myself." (p. 27, t.
thirds of the estate of the late Jose B. Suntay is at variance with Exhibit B and s. n., Exhibit 6).
the testimony of Anastacio Teodoro. According to the latter, the third for strict
legitime is for the ten children; the third for betterment is for Silvino, Apolonio, As to the will claimed to have been executed on 4 January 1931 in Amoy,
Concepcion and Jose Jr.; and the third for free disposal is for the surviving China, the law on the point in Rule 78. Section 1 of the rule provides:
widow and her child Silvino.
Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to the laws
Hence, granting that there was a will duly executed by Jose B. Suntay placed of such country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by the proper
in the envelope (Exhibit A) and that it was in existence at the time of, and not Court of First Instance in the Philippines.
revoked before, his death, still the testimony of Anastacio Teodoro alone falls
short of the legal requirement that the provisions of the lost will must be
Section 2 provides:
"clearly and distinctly proved by at least two credible witnesses." Credible
witnesses mean competent witnesses and those who testify to facts from or
upon hearsay are neither competent nor credible witnesses. When a copy of such will and the allowance thereof, duly
authenticated, is filed with a petition for allowance in the
Philippines, by the executor or other person interested, in the court
On the other hand, Alberto Barretto testifies that in the early part of 1929 he
having jurisdiction, such court shall fix a time and place for the
prepared or drew up two mills for Jose B. Suntay at the latter's request, the
hearing, and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original
rough draft of the first will was in his own handwriting, given to Manuel Lopez
will presented for allowance.
for the final draft or typing and returned to him; that after checking up the
final with the rough draft he tore it and returned the final draft to Manuel
Lopez; that this draft was in favor of all the children and the widow (pp. 392- Section 3 provides:
4, 449, t. s. n., hearing of 21 February 1948); that two months later Jose B.
Suntay and Manuel Lopez called on him and the former asked him to draw up If it appears at the hearing that the will should be allowed in the
another will favoring more his wife and child Silvino; that he had the rough Philippines, the court shall so allow it, and a certificate of its
draft of the second will typed (pp. 395, 449 t. s. n., Id.) and gave it to Manuel allowance, signed by the Judge, and attested by the seal of the
Lopez (p. 396, t. s. n., Id.); that he did not sign as witness the second will of courts, to which shall be attached a copy of the will, shall be filed
Jose B. Suntay copied from the typewritten draft [Exhibit B] (p. 420, t. s. n., Id.); and recorded by the clerk, and the will shall have the same effect as
that the handwritten insertions or additions in lead pencil to Exhibit B are not if originally proved and allowed in such court.
his (pp. 415-7 435-6, 457, t. s. n., Id.); that the final draft of the first will made
up of four or five pages (p. 400, t. s. n., Id.) was signed and executed, two or The fact that the municipal district court of Amoy, China, is a probate court
three months after Suntay and Lopez had called on him (pp. 397-8, 403, 449, must be proved. The law of China on procedure in the probate or allowance of
t. s. n., Id.) in his office at the Cebu Portland Cement in the China Banking wills must also be proved. The legal requirements for the execution of a valid
Building on Dasmariñas street by Jose B. Suntay, Manuel Lopez and a will in China in 1931 should also be established by competent evidence. There
Chinaman who had all come from Hagonoy (p. 398, t. s. n., Id.); that on that is no proof on these points. The unverified answers to the questions
occasion they brought an envelope (Exhibit A) where the following words were propounded by counsel for the appellant to the Consul General of the Republic
written: "Testamento de Jose B. Suntay" (pp. 399, 404, t. s. n., Id.); that after of China set forth in Exhibits R-1 and R-2, objected to by counsel for the
the signing of the will it was placed inside the envelope (Exhibit A) together appellee, are inadmissible, because apart from the fact that the office of
with an inventory of the properties of Jose B. Suntay and the envelope was Consul General does not qualify and make the person who holds it an expert
sealed by the signatures of the testator and the attesting witnesses (pp. 398, on the Chinese law on procedure in probate matters, if the same be admitted,
401, 441, 443, 461, t. s. n., Id.); that he again saw the envelope (Exhibit A) in the adverse party would be deprived of his right to confront and cross-
his house one Saturday in the later part of August 1934, brought by Go Toh examine the witness. Consuls are appointed to attend to trade matters.
and it was then in perfect condition (pp. 405-6, 411, 440-2, t. s. n., Id.); that on Moreover, it appears that all the proceedings had in the municipal district
the following Monday Go Toh went to his law office bringing along with him court of Amoy were for the purpose of taking the testimony of two attesting
the envelope (Exhibit A) in the same condition; that he told Go Toh that he witnesses to the will and that the order of the municipal district court of Amoy
would charge P25,000 as fee for probating the will (pp. 406, 440-2, Id.); that does not purport to probate the will. In the absence of proof that the municipal
Go Toh did not leave the envelope (Exhibit A) either in his house or in his law district court of Amoy is a probate court and on the Chinese law of procedure
office (p. 407, t. s. n., Id.); that Go Toh said he wanted to keep it and on no in probate matters, it may be presumed that the proceedings in the matter of
occasion did Go Toh leave it to him (pp. 409, 410, t. s. n., Id.). probating or allowing a will in the Chinese courts are the a deposition or to a
perpetuation of testimony, and even if it were so it does not measure same as
The testimony of Go Toh taken and heard by Assistant Fiscal F. B. Albert in those provided for in our laws on the subject. It is a proceedings in rem and
connection with the complaint for estafa filed against Manuel Suntay for the for the validity of such proceedings personal notice or by publication or both
alleged snatching of the envelope (Exhibit A), corroborates the testimony of to all interested parties must be made. The interested parties in the case were
Alberto Barretto to the effect that only one will was signed by Jose B. Suntay known to reside in the Philippines. The evidence shows that no such notice
at his office in which he (Alberto Barretto), Manuel Lopez and Go Toh took part was received by the interested parties residing in the Philippines (pp. 474, 476,

P a g e 87 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

481, 503-4, t. s. n., hearing of 24 February 1948). The proceedings had in the Amoy, China, on May 14, 1934, was lost under the circumstances pointed out
municipal district court of Amoy, China, may be likened toe or come up to the therein, and ordering the return of the case to the Court of First Instance of
standard of such proceedings in the Philippines for lack of notice to all Bulacan for further proceedings:
interested parties and the proceedings were held at the back of such
interested parties. On May 14, 1934, Jose B. Suntay died in the City of Amoy, China. He
married twice, the first time to Manuela T. Cruz with whom he had
The order of the municipal district court of Amoy, China, which reads as several children now residing in the Philippines, and the second time
follows: to Maria Natividad Lim Billian with whom he had a son.

ORDER: On the same date, May 14, 1934, Apolonio Suntay, eldest son of the
deceased by his first marriage, filed the latter's intestate in the Court
SEE BELOW of First Instance of Manila (civil case No. 4892).

The above minutes were satisfactorily confirmed by the On October 15, 1934, and in the same court, Maria Natividad Lim
interrogated parties, who declare that there are no errors, after said Billian also instituted the present proceedings for the probate of a
minutes were loudly read and announced actually in the court. will allegedly left by the deceased.

Done and subscribed on the Nineteenth day of the English month of According to the petitioner, before the deceased died in China he
the 35th year of the Republic of China in the Civil Section of the left with her a sealed envelope (Exhibit A) containing his will and,
Municipal District Court of Amoy, China. also another document (Exhibit B of the petitioner) said to be a true
copy of the original contained in the envelope. The will in the
envelope was executed in the Philippines, with Messrs. Go Toh,
HUANG KUANG CHENG Alberto Barretto and Manuel Lopez as attesting witnesses. On
Clerk of Court August 25, 1934, Go Toh, as attorney-in-fact of the petitioner,
arrived in the Philippines with the will in the envelope and its copy
CHIANG TENG HWA Exhibit B. While Go Toh was showing this envelope to Apolonio
Judge Suntay and Angel Suntay, children by first marriage of the deceased,
they snatched and opened it and, after getting its contents and
throwing away the envelope, they fled.
(Exhibit N-13, p. 89 Folder of Exhibits.).
Upon this allegation, the petitioner asks in this case that the
does not purport to probate or allow the will which was the subject of the brothers Apolonio, Angel, Manuel and Jose Suntay, children by the
proceedings. In view thereof, the will and the alleged probate thereof cannot first marriage of the deceased, who allegedly have the document
be said to have been done in accordance with the accepted basic and contained in the envelope which is the will of the deceased, be
fundamental concepts and principles followed in the probate and allowance ordered to present it in court, that a day be set for the reception of
of wills. Consequently, the authenticated transcript of proceedings held in the evidence on the will, and that the petitioner be appointed executrix
municipal district court of Amoy, China, cannot be deemed and accepted as pursuant to the designation made by the deceased in the will.
proceedings leading to the probate or allowance of a will and, therefore, the
will referred to therein cannot be allowed, filed and recorded by a competent
In answer to the court's order to present the alleged will, the
court of this country.
brothers Apolonio, Angel, Manuel and Jose Suntay stated that they
did not have the said will and denied having snatched it from Go Toh.
The decree appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
In view of the allegations of the petition and the answer of the
Pablo, Bengzon, A. Reyes, Labrador and Concepcion, JJ., concur. brothers Apolonio, Angel, Manuel and Jose Suntay, the questions
raised herein are: The loss of the alleged will of the deceased,
whether Exhibit B accompanying the petition is an authentic copy
thereof, and whether it has been executed with all the essential and
necessary formalities required by law for its probate.
Separate Opinions
At the trial of the case on March 26, 1934, the petitioner put two
PARAS, C.J., dissenting: witnesses upon the stand, Go Toh and Tan Boon Chong, who
corroborated the allegation that the brothers Apolonio and Angel
appropriated the envelope in the circumstances above-mentioned.
As a preliminary statement we may well refer to the case of Maria Natividad
The oppositors have not adduced any evidence counter to the
Lim Billian, petitioner and appellant, vs.Apolonio Suntay, Angel Suntay,
testimony of these two witnesses. The court, while making no
Manuel Suntay, and Jose Suntay, oppositors and appellees, 63 Phil., 793-797,
express finding on this fact, took it for granted in its decision; but it
in which the following decision was rendered by this Court on November 25,
dismissed the petition believing that the evidence is insufficient to
1936, holding that the will executed by Jose B. Suntay who died in the City of
P a g e 88 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

establish that the envelope seized from Go Toh contained the will of since said alternative petition seeks only to put into effect the testamentary
the deceased, and that the said will was executed with all the disposition and wishes of their late father, they have no opposition thereto."
essential and necessary formalities required by law for its probate.
After hearing, the Court of First Instance of Bulacan rendered on April 19,
In our opinion, the evidence is sufficient to establish the loss of the 1948, the following decision:
document contained in the envelope. Oppositors' answer admits
that, according to Barretto, he prepared a will of the deceased to This action is for the legalization of the alleged will of Jose B. Suntay,
which he later become a witness together with Go Toh and Manuel deceased.
Lopez, and that this will was placed in an envelope which was signed
by the deceased and by the instrumental witnesses. In court there
In order to have a comprehensive understanding of this case, it is
was presented and attached to the case an open and empty
necessary to state the background on which the alternative petition
envelope signed by Jose B. Suntay, Alberto Barretto, Go Toh and
of the herein petitioner Silvino Suntay has been based.
Manuel Lopez. It is thus undeniable that this envelope Exhibit A is
the same one that contained the will executed by the deceased-
drafted by Barretto and with the latter, Go Toh and Manuel Lopez as The decision of the Supreme Court (Exhibit O), in re will of the
attesting witnesses. These tokens sufficiently point to the loss of the deceased Jose B. Suntay, 63 Phil., 793-797, is hereunder produced:
will of the deceased, a circumstance justifying the presentation of
secondary evidence of its contents and of whether it was executed (As quoted above)
with all the essential and necessary legal formalities.
The above quoted decision of the Supreme Court was promulgated
The trial of this case was limited to the proof of loss of the will, and on November 25, 1936 (Exhibit O).
from what has taken place we deduce that it was not petitioner's
intention to raise, upon the evidence adduced by her, the other The Clerk of the Court of Court of First Instance of Bulacan notified
points involved herein, namely, as we have heretofore indicated, the parties of the decision on December 15, 1936; and the case was
whether Exhibit B is a true copy of the will and whether the latter set for hearing on February 12, 1937, but it was transferred to March
was executed with all the formalities required by law for its probate. 29, 1937 (Exhibit O), on motion of the then petitioner Maria
The testimony of Alberto Barretto bears importantly in this Natividad Lim Billian (Exhibit F). Again, it was postponed until
connection. "further setting" in the order of court dated March 18, 1937, upon
motion of the petitioner (Exhibit H).
Wherefore, the loss of the will executed by the deceased having
been sufficiently established, it is ordered that this case be In the meantime, the deposition of Go Toh was being sought (Exhibit
remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings in obedience H).
to this decision, without any pronouncement as to the costs. So
ordered
The hearing of the case was again set for February 7, 1936, by order
of the court dated January 5, 1938, upon motion of Emiliano Suntay
On June 18, 1947, Silvino Suntay, the herein petitioner, filed a petition in the and Jose Suntay, Jr. On the same day of the hearing which had been
Court of First Instance of Bulacan praying "that an order be issued (a) either set, the petitioner, then, Maria Natividad Lim Billian, sent a telegram
directing the continuation of the proceedings in the case remanded by the from Amoy, China, addressed to the Court of First Instance of
Supreme Court by virtue of its decision in G. R. No. 44276 and fixing a date for Bulacan moving for the postponement of the hearing on the ground
the reception of evidence of the contents of the will declared lost, or the that Atty. Eriberto de Silva who was representing her died (Exhibit
allowance, filing and recording of the will of the deceased which had been duly K). The court, instead of granting the telegraphic motion for
probated in China, upon the presentation of the certificates and postponement, dismissed the case in the order dated February 7,
authentications required by Section 41, Rule 123 (Yu 1938 (Exhibit L).
Chengco vs. Tiaoqui supra), or both proceedings concurrently and
simultaneously; (b) that letters of administration be issued to herein petitioner
as co-administrator of the estate of the deceased together with Federico On July 3, 1947, the petitioner Silvino Suntay filed a motion for the
Suntay; and (c) that such other necessary and proper orders be issued which consolidation of the intestate Estate of the deceased Jose B. Suntay,
this Honorable Court deems appropriate in the premises." While this petition Special Proceeding No. 4892 and the Testate Estate of Jose B.
was opposed by Federico C. Suntay, son of the deceased Jose B. Suntay with Suntay, Special Proceeding No. 4952, which latter case is the subject
his first wife, Manuela T. Cruz, the other children of the first marriage, namely, of the said alternative petition. The motion for the merger and
Ana Suntay, Aurora Suntay, Concepcion Suntay, Lourdes Guevara Vda. de consolidation of the two cases was granted on July 3, 1947.
Suntay, Manuel Suntay and Emiliano Suntay, filed the following answer stating
that they had no opposition thereto; "Come now the heirs Concepcion Suntay, That oppositor, Federico C. Suntay, in the Testate Proceeding filed a
Ana Suntay, Aurora Suntay, Lourdes Guevara Vda. de Suntay, Manuel Suntay, motion to dismiss the alternative petition on November 14, 1947,
and Emiliano Suntay, through their undersigned attorney, and, in answer to which was denied by the court in its resolution of November 22,
the alternative petition filed in these proceedings by Silvino Suntay, through 1947. The said oppositor not being satisfied with the ruling of this
counsel, dated June 18, 1947, to this Honorable Court respectfully state that, court denying the motion to dismiss, filed before the Supreme Court

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

a petition for a writ of certiorari with preliminary injunction, which in the decision of the Supreme Court at the beginning of this
was dismissed for lack of merit on January 27, 1948. decision. Go Toh could recover the envelope (Exhibit A) and the
piece of cloth with which the envelope was wrapped (Exhibit C).
In obedience to the decision of the Supreme Court (Exhibit O) and
upon the alternative petition of Silvino Suntay, and, further, upon The Testate Proceeding was filed nevertheless and in lien of the lost
the dismissal of the petition for a writ of certiorari with preliminary will a draft of the will (Exhibit B) was presented as secondary
injunction, the court was constrained to proceed with the hearing of evidence for probate. It was disallowed by this court through Judge
the probate of the lost will, the draft of which is Exhibit B, or the Buenaventura Ocampo, but on appeal the Supreme Court remanded
admission and recording of the will which had been probated in the case to this court for further proceeding (Exhibit C).
Amoy, China.
In the meantime, a Chinese will which was executed in Amoy
The evidence for the petitioner, Silvino Suntay, shows that Jose B. Fookien, China, on January 4, 1931, by Jose B. Suntay, written in
Suntay married twice; first to Manuela T. Cruz who died on June 15, Chinese characters (Exhibit P) was discovered in Amoy, China,
1920 and had begotten with her Apolonio, now deceased, among the papers left by Jose B. Suntay, and said will had been
Concepcion, Angel, Manuel, Federico, Ana, Aurora, Emiliano and allowed to probate in the Amoy District Court, China, which is being
Jose, Jr., all surnamed Suntay, and second, to Maria Natividad Lim also presented by Silvino Suntay for allowance and recording in this
Billian with whom he had as the only child Silvino Suntay, the court.
petitioner herein.
The said petition is opposed by Federico C. Suntay on the main
Some time in November 1929, Jose B. Suntay executed his last will ground that Maria Natividad Lim Billian and Silvino Suntay have no
and testament in the office of Atty. Alberto Barretto in Manila, which more interest in the properties left by Jose B. Suntay, because they
was witnessed by Alberto Barretto, Manuel Lopez and Go Toh. The have already sold their respective shares, interests and
will was prepared by said Alberto Barretto upon the instance of Jose participations. But such a ground of opposition is not of moment in
B. Suntay, and it was written in the Spanish language which was the instant case, because the proposition involved herein in the
understood and spoken by said testator. After the due execution of legalization of the lost will or the allowance and recording of the will
the will, that is signing every page and the attestation clause by the which had been probated in Amoy, China.
testator and the witnesses in the presence of each other, the will
was placed inside the envelope (Exhibit A), sealed and on the said It is now incumbent upon this court to delve into the evidence
envelope the testator and the three subscribing witnesses also whether or not Jose B. Suntay, deceased, left a will (the draft of
signed, after which it was delivered to Jose B. Suntay. which is Exhibit B) and another will which was executed and another
will which was executed and probated in Amoy, China.
A year or so after the execution of the will, Jose B. Suntay together
with his second wife Maria Natividad Lim Billian and Silvino Suntay There is no longer any doubt that Jose B. Suntay while he was still
who was then of tender age went to reside in Amoy, Fookien, China, residing in the Philippines, had executed a will; such is the conclusion
where he died on May 14, 1934. The will was entrusted to the of the Supreme Court in its decision (Exhibit O). That the will was
widow, Maria Natividad Lim Billian. snatched and it has never been produced in court by those who
snatched it, and consequently considered lost, is also an established
Upon the death of Jose B. Suntay on May 14, 1934, Apolonio Suntay, fact.
the oldest son now deceased, instituted the Intestate Proceedings
No. 4892, upon the presumption that no will existed. Maria The contention of the oppositor, Federico C. Suntay, is that the will
Natividad Lim Billian who remained in Amoy, China, had with her the that was executed by Jose B. Suntay in the Philippines contained
will and she engaged the services of the law firm of Barretto and provisions which provided for equal distribution of the properties
Teodoro for the probate of the will. Upon the request of the said among the heirs; hence, the draft (Exhibit B) cannot be considered
attorneys the will was brought to the Philippines by Go Toh who was as secondary evidence, because it does not provide for equal
one of the attesting witnesses, and it was taken to the law office of distribution, but if favors Maria Natividad Lim Billian and Silvino
Barretto and Teodoro. The law firm of Barretto and Teodoro was Suntay. He relies on the testimony of Atty. Alberto Barretto who
composed of Atty. Alberto Barretto and Judge Anastacio Teodoro. declared that the first will which he drafted and reduced into a plain
The probate of the will was entrusted to the junior partner Judge copy was the will that was executed by Jose B. Suntay and placed
Anastacio Teodoro; and, upon the presentation of the sealed inside the envelope (Exhibit A).
envelope to him, he opened it and examined the said will
preparatory to the filing of the petition for probate. There was a
Granting that the first will which Atty. Alberto Barretto had drafted
disagreement as to the fees to be paid by Maria Natividad Lim Billian,
became the will of Jose B. Suntay and it was snatched by, and,
and as she (through Go Toh) could not agree to pay, P20,000 as fees,
therefore, it had fallen into the hands of, Manuel Suntay and the
the will was returned to Go Toh by Judge Anastacio Teodoro after
brothers of the first marriage, it stands to reason that said Manuel
the latter had kept it in his safe, in his office, for three days.
Suntay and brothers would have been primarily interested in the
production of said will in court, for obvious reasons, namely, that
Subsequently, the will inside the envelope was snatched from Go they would have been favored. But it was suppressed and "evidence
Toh by Manuel Suntay and Jose, Jr., which fact has been established
P a g e 90 | 120
Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced" (Section 69 (e), With respect to the proof of lost or destroyed will, Section 6 of Rule
Rule 123 of the Rules of Court). The contention, therefore, that the 77 provides as follows:
first will which was drafted by Atty. Barretto was the one placed
inside the envelope (Exhibit A) is untenable. "No will shall be proved as a lost or destroyed will unless the
execution and validity of the same be established, and the will is
It might be said in this connection that the draft of the will (Exhibit proved to have been in existence at the time of the death of the
B) has been admitted by Atty. Alberto Barretto as identical in testator, or it is shown to have been fraudulently or accidentally
substance and form to the second draft which he prepared in destroyed in the lifetime of the testator without his knowledge, nor
typewriting; it differs only, according to him, in style. He denied that unless its provisions are clearly and distinctly proved by at least two
the insertions in long hand in the said draft are in his own credible witnesses. When a lost will is proved, the provisions thereof
handwriting; however, Judge Anastacio Teodoro averred that the must be distinctly stated and certified by the judge, under the seal
said insertions are the handwriting of Atty. Alberto Barretto. But of the court, and the certificate must be filed and recorded as other
when Atty. Alberto Barretto was asked to show any manuscript of wills are filed and recorded."
his for purposes of comparison, he declined to do so alleging that he
did not have any document in his possession showing his Section 8 of the same Rule provides as follows:
handwriting notwithstanding the fact that he was testifying in his
own house at 188 Sta. Mesa Boulevard, Manila. He further testified
"If it appears at the time fixed for the hearing that the subscribing
that the first will be drafted contained four or five pages, but the
witnesses are dead or insane, or that none of them resides in the
second draft contained twenty-three pages; that he declared in one
Philippines the court may admit the testimony of other witnesses to
breath that he did not read the will any more when it was signed by
prove the sanity of the testator, and the due execution of the will;
the testator and the attesting witnesses because it would take up
and as evidence of the due execution of the will, it may admit proof
much time, and in the same breath he declared that he checked it
of the handwriting of the testator and of the subscribing witnesses,
before it was signed; and that he destroyed the draft of the first will
or any of them."
which was in his own handwriting, but he delivered the draft of the
second will which he prepared to Jose B. Suntay in the presence of
Manuel Lopez, now deceased. Manuel Lopez as one of the subscribing witnesses is dead. Atty.
Alberto Barretto and Go Toh are still living. The former testified
during the hearing, while Go Toh's deposition was introduced in
Whether or not the final plain copy of the draft of the will (Exhibit B)
evidence which was admitted. In the absence of the testimony of
was executed by the testator, Jose B. Suntay, and attested by the
Manuel Lopez, deceased, the testimony of Judge Anastacio Teodoro
subscribing witnesses, Atty. Alberto Barretto, Manuel Lopez and Go
and Ana Suntay was received.
Toh, is the pivotal point in this instant case. Judge Anastacio Teodoro
testified that he opened the sealed envelope when it was given to
him by Go Toh preparatory to the presentation of the petition for It is an established fact that the will, draft of which is Exhibit B, was
the probate of the said will. As the lawyer entrusted with that task, lost or destroyed; that it was executed and valid and that it existed
he had to examine the will and have it copied to be reproduced or at the time of the death of Jose B. Suntay. These circumstances also
appended to the petition. He could not do otherwise if he is worth apply to the will (Exhibit P) which was executed in Amoy, China.
salt as a good lawyer; he could not perform the stunt of "blind flying"
in the judicial firmament. Every step must be taken with certainty The contents of the Chinese will is substantially the same as the draft
and precision under any circumstances. He could not have talked (Exhibit B). Granting that the will executed in the Philippines is non-
about the attorney's fees with Go Toh, unless he has not examined existent as contended by the oppositor, although the findings of this
the will beforehand. And, declaring that it was the exact draft of the court is otherwise, the will executed and probated in China should
will that was inside the envelope (Exhibit A), the testimony of Atty. be allowed and recorded in this court. All the formalities of the law
Alberto Barretto to the contrary notwithstanding. in China had been followed in its execution, on account of which it
was duly probated in the Amoy District Court. There is no cogent
The testimony of Judge Anastacio Teodoro is corroborated by Go reason, therefore, why it should not be admitted and recorded in
Toh, one of the attesting witnesses, in his deposition (Exhibit D-1). this jurisdiction.

Ana Suntay, one of the heirs and who would be affected adversely The said will (Exhibit P) in Chinese characters is presented as an
by the legalization of the will in question, also testified on rebuttal alternate in case the will executed in the Philippines would not be
that she saw the original will in the possession of Manuel Suntay, allowed to probate, or as a corroborative evidence that the will, the
immediately after the snatching. She read it and she particularly draft of which is Exhibit B, has been duly executed in the Philippines
remembers the manner in which the properties were to be by Jose B. Suntay.
distributed. Exhibit B was shown to her on the witness stand and she
declared that the provision regarding the distribution of the Rule 78 of the Rules of Court covers the allowance of will proved
properties in said Exhibit B is the same as that contained in the outside of the Philippines and administration of estate thereunder.
original will. Said testimony of Ana Suntay, therefore, belies the
testimony of Atty. Alberto Barretto. Section 1 of said rule provides:

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

"Wills proved and allowed in the United States, or any state or the will that was executed in Amoy, China, is therefore, the subject
territory thereof, or in foreign country, according to the laws of such of this instant motion.
state, territory, or country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by
the proper Court of First Instance in the Philippines." A. As to the legalization of the Lost Will. — There is no question in
the mind of this court that the original will which Jose B. Suntay,
Section 2 of the same rule provides: deceased executed in the Philippines in the year 1929 was lost
(Exhibit O, Decision of the Supreme Court). The evidence adduced
"When a copy of such will and the allowance thereof, duly by the petitioner during the hearing has established through the
authenticated, is filed with a petition for allowance in the testimony of Judge Anastacio Teodoro and that of Go Toh (an
Philippines, by the executor or other person interested, in the court attesting witness) that the will was executed by Jose B. Suntay,
having jurisdiction, such court shall fix a time and place for the deceased, with all the formalities required by law. For the purpose
hearing, and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original of legalizing an original and existing will, the evidence on record is
will presented for allowance." sufficient as to the execution and attesting in the manner required
by law.
This court has delved deep into the evidence adduced during the
hearing with that penetrating scrutiny in order to discovery the real Section 8 of Rule 77 provides as follows:
facts; it had used unsparingly the judicial scapel; and it has
winnowed the evidenced to separate the grain from the chaff. All "SEC. 8. Proof when witnesses dead or insane or do not reside in
the facts lead to the inevitable conclusion that Jose B. Suntay, in his the Philippines. — If it appears at the time fixed for the hearing that
sound and disposing mind and not acting under duress or undue the subscribing witnesses are dead or insane, or that none of them
influence, executed the will which is lost, the draft of which is Exhibit resides in the Philippines, the court may admit the testimony of
B, with all the necessary formalities prescribed by law. He, likewise, other witnesses to prove the sanity of the testator, and the due
executed the second will (Exhibit P) in Amoy, China, which has been execution of the will; and as evidence of the execution of the will,
duly probated in Amoy District Court,-a corroborative evidence that may admit proof of the handwriting of the testator and of the
the testator really executed the will. Copies of the said wills duly subscribing witnesses, or any of them."
certified and under the seal of the court are appended hereto,
marked Exhibits B and P, and they form part of this decision. Section 11 of said rule also provides as follows:

In view of the foregoing considerations, the court is of the opinion "SEC. 11. Subscribing witnesses produced or accounted for where
and so declares that the draft of the will (Exhibit B) is, to all legal contest. — If the will is contested, all the subscribing witnesses
intents and purposes, and testament of the deceased Jose B. Suntay. present in the Philippines and not insane, must be produced and
With costs against the oppositor, Federico C. Suntay. examined, and the death, absence, or insanity of any of them must
be satisfactorily shown to the court. If all or some of the subscribing
Oppositor Federico C. Suntay filed on May 20, 1948, a motion for new trial and witnesses are present in the Philippines, but outside the province
to set aside the decision rendered on April 19, 1948, to which the petitioner where the will has been filed, their deposition must be taken. If all
filed an opposition, followed by a reply filed by the oppositor and an answer or some of the subscribing witnesses produced and examined testify
on the part of the petitioner. Without reopening the case and receiving any against the due execution of the will, or do not remember having
new or additional evidence, the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, on attested to it, or are otherwise of doubtful credibility, the will may
September 29, 1948, promulgated the following resolution setting aside his be allowed if the court is satisfied from the testimony of other
first decision and disallowing the wills sought to be probated by the petitioner witnesses and from all the evidence presented that the will was
in his alternative petition filed on June 18, 1947: executed and attested in the manner required by law."

This is a motion for new trial and to set aside the decision legalizing The three attesting witnesses were Manuel Lopez, deceased Alberto
the will of Jose B. Suntay and allowing and recording another will Barretto and Go Toh. The last two witnesses are still living; the
executed by him in Amoy, China. former testified against and the latter in favor. In other words, the
attesting witness, Go Toh, only, testified in his deposition in favor of
By virtue of this motion, this court is constrained to go over the the due execution of the will. Hence, the petitioner presented
evidence and the law applicable thereto with the view of another witness, Judge Anastacio Teodoro, to establish and prove
ascertaining whether or not the motion is well founded. Both parties the due execution of the said will. Ana Suntay was also presented as
have presented extensive memoranda in support of their respective a witness in rebuttal evidence. The testimony of Go Toh in his
contentions. deposition as an attesting witness, coupled with the testimony of
Judge Anastacio Teodoro who was able to examine the original will
that was executed by Jose B. Suntay, deceased, when it was given to
This court has gone over the evidence conscientiously, and it
him by Go Toh for the purpose of filing the petition in court for its
reiterates its findings of the same facts in this resolution, whether or
legalization, and could recognize the signatures of the testator as
not the facts established by the petitioner, Silvino Suntay, warrant
well as of the three attesting witnesses on the said original will is
the legalization of the lost will and the allowance and recording of
sufficient to convince the court that the original will was executed
by the deceased Jose B. Suntay with all the formalities required by
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

law. The original will, therefore, if it was presented in court to read to him nor by him before or at the signing of the same. It was
probate would be allowed to all legal intents and purposes. But it written in Spanish and he did not and does not understand the
was not the original will that was presented, because it was lost, but Spanish language. Neither was there any occasion for him to have
an alleged draft (Exhibit B) of the said original will which does not the contents of the said will, after its execution and sealing inside
bear the signature of the testator and any of the attesting witness. the envelope (Exhibit A), read to him because it was opened only
The original will was duly executed with all the formalities required when Judge Teodoro had examined it and then subsequently
by law, but it was unfortunately lost; and the curtain falls for the snatched from Go Toh. Ana Suntay on rebuttal did not, likewise,
next setting. prove clearly and distinctly the provisions of the said lost will
because she has not had enough schooling and she does possess
The Court is now confronted with the legalization of the lost will — adequate knowledge of the Spanish language as shown by the fact
whether or not the draft (Exhibit B) should be admitted as secondary that she had to testify in Tagalog on the witness standing.
evidence in lieu of the lost will and allowed to probate.
It is evident, therefore, that although the petitioner has established
Section 6. Rule 77 provides as follows: the execution and validity of the lost will, yet he had not proved
clearly and distinctly the provisions of the will by at least two
credible witnesses.
"SEC. 6. Proof of lost or destroyed will — Certificate thereupon. — No
will shall be proved as a lost will or destroyed will unless the
execution and validity of the same be established, and the will is B. As to the Allowance and Recording of the will Executed in Amoy,
proved to have been in existence at the time of the death of the China. — Jose B. Suntay, while he was residing in China during the
testator, or is shown to have been fraudulently or accidentally remaining years of his life, executed also a will, written in Chinese
destroyed in the lifetime of the testator without his knowledge, nor characters, the translation of which is marked Exhibit P. It was
unless its provisions are clearly and distinctly proved by at least two allowed to probate in the District Court of Amoy, China. The
credible witnesses. When a lost will is proved, the provisions thereof question is whether or not the said will should be allowed and
must be distinctly stated and certified by the Judge, under the seal recorded in this jurisdiction.
of the court and the certificate must be filed and recorded as other
wills are filed and recorded." (Emphasis Court's) Section 1 of Rule 78 provides as follows:

From the above quoted provision of the law, it is clear that the "SEC. 1. Will proved outside Philippines any be allowed here. — Will
petitioner should not only establish the execution and validity of the proved and allowed in the United States, or any state or territory
will, its existence at the time of the death of the testator or its thereof, or in a foreign country, according to the laws of such state,
fraudulent and accidental destruction in the lifetime of the testator territory, or country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by the
without his knowledge, but also must prove its provisions clearly and proper court of First Instance in the Philippines."
distinctly by at least two credible witnesses. The exact language of
the clause in the above quoted provision of the law is "nor unless its Section 2 of the same Rule also provides:
provisions are clearly and distinctly proved by at least two credible
witnesses." The legalization of a lost will is not so easy, therefore, as
"SEC. 2. Notice of hearing for allowance. — When a copy of such will
that of an original will. The question, therefore, is boiled down to,
and the allowance thereof, duly authenticated, is filed with a
and projected on the screen, in a very sharp focus; namely, the
petition for allowance in the Philippines by the executor or other
execution and validity must be established and the provisions must
persons interested, in the Court having jurisdiction, such court shall
be clearly and distinctly proved by at least credible witnesses.
fix a time and place for the hearing, and cause notice thereof to be
given as in case of an original will presented for allowance."
Granting that the execution and validity of the lost will have been
established through the testimony of Judge Anastacio Teodoro and
Sections 41 and 42 of Rule 123 provides as follows:
Go Toh, and perhaps superficially by the rebuttal witness, Ana
Suntay, does it follow that the provisions of the lost will have been
clearly and distinctly proved by at least two credible witnesses? A "SEC. 41. Proof of Public or official record. — An official record or an
careful review of the evidence has revealed that at most the only entry therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced
credible witness who testified as to the provisions of the will was by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer
Judge Anastacio Teodoro, and yet he testified on the provisions of having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and
the lost will with the draft (Exhibit B) in his hands while testifying. It accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a
may be granted, however, that with or without the draft of the will certificate that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the
(Exhibit B) in his hands, he could have testified clearly and distinctly record is kept is within the United States or its territory, the
on the provisions of the said lost will, because he had kept the will certificate may be made by a judge of a court of record of the district
in his safe, in his office, for three days, after opening it, and he is well or political subdivision in which the record is kept, authenticated by
versed in Spanish language in which the will as written. But did the the seal of the court, or may be made by any public officer having a
attesting witness Go Toh, testify in his deposition and prove clearly seal of the office and having official duties in the district or political
and distinctly the provisions of the lost will? He did not, and he could subdivision in which the record is kept, authenticated by the seal of
not have done so even if he tried because the original will was not his office. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy or of West Virginia, as provided in section 300 of the Code of Civil
legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by Procedure. Nor was the extract from the law attested by the
any officer in the foreign service of the United States stationed in certificate of the officer having charge of the original under the seal
the foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated of the State of West Virginia, as provided in section 301 of the Code
by the seal of his office." of Civil Procedure. No evidence was introduced to show that the
extract from the laws of West Virginia was in force at the time the
F. "SEC. 42. What attestation of copy must state. — Whenever a copy alleged will was executed.
of writing is attested for the purpose of evidence, the attestation
must state, in substance, that the copy is a correct copy of the "It was also necessary for the petitioner to prove that the testator
original, or a specific part thereof, as the case may be. The had his domicile in West Virginia and not in the Philippine Islands.
attestation must be under the official seal of the attesting officer, if The only evidence introduced to establish this fact consisted of the
there be any, or if he be the clerk of a court having a seal, under the recitals in the alleged will and the testimony of the petitioner.
seal of such court."
"While the appeal was pending submission in this court, the attorney
In the case of Yu Changco vs. Tiaoqui, 11 Phil. 598, 599, 600, our for the appellant presented an unverified petition asking the court
Supreme Court said: to accept as part of the evidence the documents attached to the
petition. One of these documents discloses that a paper writing
"Section 637 of the Code of Civil Procedure says that will proved and purporting to be the last will and testament of Edward Randolph Hix,
allowed in a foreign country, according to the laws of such country, deceased, was presented for probate on June 8, 1929, to the clerk
may be allowed, filed, and recorded in the Court of First Instance of of Randolph County, State of West Virginia, in vacation, and was duly
the province in which the testator has real or personal estate on proven by the oaths of Dana Vansley and Joseph L. Madden, the
which such will may operate; but section 638 requires that the proof subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded and filed.
of the authenticity of a will executed in a foreign country must be It was shown by another document that in vacation, on June 8, 1929,
duly "authenticated". Such authentication, considered as a foreign the clerk of court of Randolph County, West Virginia, appointed
judicial record, is prescribed by section 304, which requires the Claude E. Maxwell as administrator, cum testamento annexo, of the
attestation of the clerk or of the legal keeper of the records with the estate of Edward Randolph Hix, deceased ... However this may be no
seal of the court annexed, if there be a seal, together with a attempt has been made to comply with the provisions of sections
certificate of the chief judge or presiding magistrate that the 637, 638, and 639 of the Code of Civil Procedure, for no hearing on
signature of either of the functionaries attesting the will is genuine, the question of the allowance of a will said to have been proved and
and, finally, the certification of the authenticity of the signature of allowed in West Virginia has been requested. ... ."
such judge or presiding magistrate, by the ambassador, minister,
consul, vice consul or consular agent of the United States in such Granting that the will of Jose B. Suntay which was executed in Amoy,
foreign country. And, should the will be considered, from an China, was validly done in accordance with the law of the Republic
administrative point of view, as a mere official document 'of a of China on the matter, is it necessary to prove in this jurisdiction the
foreign country', it may be proved, 'by the original, or by a copy existence of such law in China as a prerequisite to the allowance and
certified by the legal keeper thereof, with a certificate, under the recording of said will? The answer is in the affirmative as enunciated
seal of the country or sovereign, that the document is a valid and in Fluemer vs. Hix, supra, and in Yanez de Barnuevo vs. Fuster, 29
subsisting document of such country, and that the copy is duly Phil., 606. In the latter case, the Supreme Court said:
certified by the officer having the legal custody of the original. (Sec.
313, par. 8)." "A foreign law may be proved by the certificate of the officer having
in charge of the original, under the seal of the state or country. It
In the case of Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610, 611, 612, and 613, our may also be proved by an official copy of the same published under
Supreme Court said: the authority of the particular state and purporting to contain such
law. (Secs. 300 and 301, Act No. 190.), (Syllabus.)
"It is the theory of the petitioner that the alleged will was executed
in Elkins, West Virginia, on November 3, 1925, by Hix who had his The provisions of section 300 and 301 of the Code of Civil Procedure
residence in that jurisdiction, and that the laws of West Virginia (Act No. 190) are as follows:
govern. To this end, there was submitted a copy of section 3868 of
Acts 1882, c. 84 as found in West Virginia Code, Annotated, by Hogg, "SEC. 300. Printed laws of the State or Country. — Books printed or
Charles E., Vol. 2, 1914, p. 1690, and as certified to by the Director published under the authority of the United States, or one of the
of the National Library. But this was far from compliance with the States of the United States, or a foreign country, and purporting to
law. The laws of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our contain statutes, codes, or other written law of such State or country
courts. The courts of the Philippine Islands are not authorized to take or proved to be commonly admitted in the tribunals of such State or
judicial notice of the laws of the various States of the American country an evidence of the written law thereof, are admissible in the
Union. Such laws must be proved as facts. (In re Estate of Johnson Philippine Islands are evidence of such law."
(1918), 39 Phil., 156.) Here the requirements of the law were not
met. There was not showing that the book from which an extract
was taken was printed or published under the authority of the State

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

"SEC. 301. Attested copy of foreign laws. — A copy of the written law domicile pales into insignificance in view of the overtowering fact
or other public writing of any state or country, attested by the that the law of China pertinent to the allowance and recording of
certificate of the officer having charge of the original, under the seal the said will in this jurisdiction has been satisfactorily established by
of the state or country, is admissible as evidence of such law or the petitioner.
writing."
Both the petitioner and the oppositor have extensively urged in their
The petitioner has presented in evidence the certification of the respective memorandum and in the oral argument in behalf of the
Chinese Consul General, Tsutseng T. Shen, of the existence of the oppositor the question of estoppel. The consideration of the points
law in China (Exhibit B-3), relative to the execution and probate of raised by them would open the door to the appreciation of the
the will executed by Jose B. Suntay in Amoy, China (Exhibit P). Is that intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will which is not of moment
evidence admissible, in view of the provisions of Sections 41 and 42 at the present stage of the proceeding. While the probate of a will is
of the Rules of the Rules of Court. Is the said certification of the conclusive as to the compliance with all formal requisites necessary
Chinese Consul General in the Philippines a substantial compliance to the lawful execution of the will, such probate does not affect the
with the provisions of the above mentioned section 41 and 42 of our intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will. With respect to the
Rules of Court? latter the will in governed by the substantive law relative to descent
and distribution. (In re Johnson, 39 Phil., 157).
This court has its doubts as to the admissibility in evidence of the
Chinese Consul General in the Philippines of the existence of the IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, and upon reconsideration, the
laws of Republic of China relative to the execution and probate of a previous decision rendered in this case allowing the will (Exhibit B)
will executed in China. Such law may exist in China, but — and allowing and recording the foreign will (Exhibit P) is set aside;
and this court is of the opinion and so holds that the said two wills
"An official record or an entry therein, when admissible for any should be, as they are hereby disallowed. Without special
purpose, may be evidence by an official publication thereof or by a pronouncement as to costs.
copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record,
or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the It is very significant that in the foregoing resolution, the Court of First Instance
Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. ... If of Bulacan "reiterates its finding of the same facts in this resolution," and
the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the merely proceeds to pose the sole question "whether or not the facts
certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, established by the petitioner, Silvino Suntay, warrant the legalization of the
consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any lost will and allowance and recording of the will that was executed in Amoy,
officer in the foreign service of the United States stationed in the China." The somersault executed by the trial court is premised on the ground
foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated by the that "although the petitioner has established the execution and validity of the
seal of his office." (Sec. 41 of Rule 123.) lost will, yet he has not proved clearly and distinctly the provisions of the will
by the least two credible witnesses"; and that, assuming that the will of Jose
The law of the Republic of China is a public or official record and it B. Suntay executed in Amoy, China, was in accordance with the law of the
must be proved in this jurisdiction through the means prescribed by Republic of China, the certification of the Chinese Consul General in the
our Rules of Court. It is, therefore, obvious that the Chinese Counsel Philippines as the existence of such law is not admissible evidence in this
General in the Philippines who certified as to the existence of such jurisdiction. In effect the resolution on the motion for reconsideration
law is not the officer having the legal custody of the record, nor is he promulgated by the trial court, and the decision of the majority herein, adopt
a deputy of such officer. And, if the office in which the record is kept the position that the testimony of Judge Anastacio Teodoro as to the
is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of provisions of the lost will, while credible and perhaps sufficient in extent, is
embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular not corroborated by the witnesses Go Toh and Ana Suntay and, therefore, falls
agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the United States short of the requirement in section 6, Rule 77, of the Rules of Court that the
stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept, and provisions of the lost will must be "clearly and distinctly proved by at least two
authenticated by the seal of his office. witnesses." That this requirement was obviously construed, to mean that the
exact provisions are to be established, may be deduced from the following
dialogue between his Honor, Judge Potenciano Pecson, and attorney Teofilo
It is clear, therefore, that the above provisions of the Rules of Court
Sison, new counsel for oppositor Federico C. Suntay, who appeared for the
(Rule 123, sec. 41) not having been complied with, the doubt of this
first time at the ex parte hearing of the oppositor's motion for new trial on
court has been dissipated, and it is of the opinion and so holds that
September 1, 1949:
the certification of the Chinese Consul General alone is not
admissible as evidence in the jurisdiction.
COURT: However, Rule 77, Section 6, provides in proving a lost will,
the provisions of the lost will must be distinctly stated and certified
The evidence of record is not clear as to whether Jose B. Suntay, who
by the Judge.
was born in China, but resided in the Philippines for a long time, has
become a Filipino citizen by naturalization, or he remained a citizen
of the Republic of China. The record does not, likewise, show with ATTY. TEOFILO SISON: Yes, Your Honor.
certainty whether or not he had changed his permanent domicile
from the Philippines to Amoy, China. His change of permanent COURT: That presupposes that the judge could only certify to
domicile could only be inferred. But the question of his permanent the exact provisions of the will from the evidence presented.
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

ATTY. TEOFILO SISON: That is our contention, provided that proponents, warranting the inference that it has been suppressed or
provision is clearly established by two credible witnesses so that the destroyed. If from this evidence the jury found such paper destroyed
Court could state that in the decision, we agree, that is the very the law permits the presumption that it was legally drawn and
point. executed, notwithstanding the terms of the statute, which requires
the revoking instrument to be formally executed. If a will be lost,
(t. s. n. 75, Session of Sept. 1, 1948) secondary evidence may be given of its contents; if suppressed or
destroyed, the same is true; and, if necessary the law will prevent the
perpetration of a fraud by permitting a presumption to supply the
The sound rule, however, as we have found it to be, as to the degree of proof
suppressed proof. We cannot assent to the proposition that the
required to establish the contents of a lost or destroyed will, is that there is
statute is so right as to be the wrongdoer's most effective weapons.
sufficient compliance if two witnesses have substantiated the provisions
The misconduct once established to the satisfaction of the jury, it is
affecting the disposition of the testator's properties; and this is especially
no hardship to the wrongdoer to say. "Produce the evidence in your
necessary to prevent the "perpetration of fraud by permitting a presumption
possession, or we will presume that your opponent's contention is
to supply the suppressed proof," to keep a wrong-doer from utilizing the rule
true." When one deliberately destroys, or purposely induces another
as his "most effective weapon," or to avoid the enjoyment of a "premium from
to destroy, a written instrument subsequently become a matter of
the rascality of one whose interests might suggest the destruction of a will."
judicial inquiry between the spoliator and an innocent party, the
latter will not be required to make strict proof of the contents of such
Section 1865 of the Code requires that the provisions of a lost will instrument in order to establish a right founded thereon. Brook, Leg.
must be clearly and distinctly proved by at least two credible Max. 576, Preston vs. Preston, 132, Atl. 55, 61. (Re Lambie's Estate,
witnesses before it can be admitted to probate; but this section must 97 Mich, 55,56 N. W. 225)
receive a liberal construction (Hook vs. Pratt, 8 Hun. 102-109) and
its spirit is complied with by holding that it applies only to those
Judged from the standard set forth in the foregoing authorities, and bearing in
provisions which affect the disposition of the testator's property and
mind that the circumstances of this case lead to the only conclusion that the
which are of the substance of the will.
loss of the will in question is of course imputable to those whose interests are
adverse to the petitioner and the widow Lim Billian, we have no hesitancy in
The allegations of the contents of the will are general, and under holding the view that the dispositions of the properties left by the deceased
ordinary circumstances, would be in sufficient; but the fact alleged, Jose B. Suntay is provided in his will which was lost or snatched in the manner
if proven as alleged, would certainly authorize the establishment of recited in the decision of this Court in the case of Lim Billian vs. Suntay, 63
the will so far as its bequests are concerned. To require that a copy Phil., 798-797, had been more than sufficiently proved by the testimony of
of the will or the language of the bequests, in detail, should be Judge Anastacio Teodoro, Go Toh, and Ana Suntay, supported conclusively by
pleaded, where no copy has been preserved, and where the memory the draft of the lost will presented in evidence as Exhibit "B", and even by the
of the witnesses does not hold the exact words, would not only deny testimony of oppositor Federico C. Suntay himself.
the substance for mere form, but would offer a premium upon the
rascality of one whose interests might suggest the destruction of a
It is to be recalled that the trial Judge, in his first decision of April 19, 1948,
will. As said in Anderson vs. Irwin, 101 Ill. 411: "The instrument in
made the following express findings with respect to the testimony of Judge
controversy having been destroyed without the fault of the
Teodoro: "Judge Anastacio Teodoro testified that he opened the sealed
defendant in error ... and there not appearing to be any copy of it in
envelope when it was given to him by Go Toh preparatory to the presentation
existence, it would be equivalent to denying the complainant relief
of the petition for the probate of the said will. As the lawyer entrusted with
altogether to require her to prove the very terms in which it was
that task, he had to examine the will and have it copied to be reproduced or
conceived. All that could reasonably be required of her under the
appended to the petition. He could not do otherwise if he is worth his salt as
circumstances could be to show in general terms the disposition
a good lawyer. He could not perform the stunt of "blind flying" in the judicial
which the testator made of his property by the instruments; that it
firmament. Every step must be taken with certainty and precision under any
purported to be his will and was duly attested by the requisite
circumstances. He could not have talked about the attorney's fees with Go
number of witnesses." In Allison vs. Allison, 7 Dana 91, it was said in
Toh, unless he has not examined the will beforehand. And, when he was
speaking of the character and extent of proof required in such a
shown Exhibit B, he did not hesitate in declaring that it was the exact draft of
case:" nor is there any just ground to object to the proof because
the will that was inside the envelope (Exhibit A), the testimony of Atty. Alberto
the witnesses have not given the language of the will or the
Barretto to the contrary notwithstanding."
substance thereof. They have given the substance of the different
devises as to the property or interest devised, and to whom devised
and we would not stop, in the case of a destroyed will, to scan with We should not forget, in this connection, that in the resolution on the motion
rigid scrutiny the form of the proof, provided we are satisfied of the for reconsideration the trial Judge reiterated the findings in his decision,
substance of its provisions." (Jose vs. Casler 139 Ind. 392, 38 N. E. although as regards the testimony of Judge Teodoro admittedly "the only
812). credible witness who testified as to the provisions of the will," he observed
that Judge Teodoro had the draft Exhibit "B" in his hands while testifying. We
cannot see any justifying for the observation, assuming that Judge Teodoro
The evidence in the case falls short of establishing the existence of
consulted the draft, since even the trial Judge granted that he "could have
such a writing, except as it may be presumed, under the maxim
testified clearly and distinctly on the provisions of the said lost will, because
Omnia preasumuntur in odium spoliateris." There was evidence
he had kept the will in his safe, in his office, for three days, after opening it,
tending to show that the second will of Anne Lambie was in the
and he is well versed in Spanish language in which the will was written." As a
possession of Francis Lambie, and that it came to the hands of the

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

matter of fact, however, it is not true that Judge Teodoro had the draft in of pesos, hundreds of pesos, that was very striking fact to me
question before him while testifying as may be seen from the following because the petition for intestate was for SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS
passages of the transcript: (P60,000.00), and I came to know that it was worth more than SEVEN
HUNDRED THOUSAND (P700,000.00) PESOS.
Q. And, have you read that will which was inside this envelope,
Exhibit A? — "A. Yes. Q. Do you remember, Judge, the disposition of the will, the main
disposition of the will? — "A. Yes, because our client were the
Q. Do you remember more or less the contents of the will? widow, Maria Natividad Lim Billian, and his son, Silvino, the only son
in the second marriage, that was very important for me to know.
ATTY. FERRIN: With our objection, the best evidence is original will
itself, Your Honor. Q. How were the properties distributed according to that will?- "A.
The properties were distributed into three (3) parts, one part which
we call legitima corta, were equally distributed to the ten (10)
ATTY. RECTO: We are precisely proving by means of secondary
children, nine (9) in the first marriage, and one (1) in the second
evidence, the contents of the will, because according to the
marriage with Maria Natividad Lim Billian. The other third, the
Supreme Court, and that is a fact already decided, that the will of
betterment was given to four (4) children, Concepcion, and Apolonio
Jose B. Suntay was lost and that is res adjudicata.
getting a quiet substantial share in the betterment, around SIXTY
THOUSAND (P60,000.00) for Concepcion, Apolonio the amount of
COURT: Witness may answer. SEVENTY THOUSAND (70,000,00) PESOS or little over, and then
about ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS of the
WITNESS: I remember the main features of the will because as I said betterment in favor of Silvino, the minor of the second marriage, and
I was the one fighting for the postponement of the hearing of the to Jose equal to Concepcion.
intestate case because I was asked by Don Alberto Barretto to secure
the postponement until the will that was executed by the deceased Q. So the betterment, as I understand from you went to four (4)
is sent here by the widow from China, with whom we communicated children?-"A. Yes.
with several letters, and when the will arrived. I had to check the
facts as appearing in the will, and examined fully in connection with
Q. Silvino in the second marriage, Concepcion, Apolonio and Jose in
the facts alleged in the intestate, and there was a striking fact in the
the first marriage? — " A. Yes.
intestate that Apolonio Suntay has..

Q. What about the free disposal?-" A. The free disposal was disposed
ATTY. FERRIN: (Interrupting) May we ask that the witness answer
in favor of the widow, Maria Natividad Lim Billian and Silvino, his
categorically the questions of Atty. Recto, it seems that the answers
minor son in equal parts..
of the witness are kilometric ...

Q. What about, if you remember, if there was something in the will


ATTY. RECTO: Sometimes the question cannot be answered fully
in connection with that particular of the usufruct of the widow? —
unless the witness would relate and give all the facts.
"A. It was somewhat incorporated into the assets of the estate left
by the deceased.
COURT: The Attorney for the Administrator may move for the
striking out of any testimony that is not responsive to the question.
Q. Do you remember the number of pages of which that will
consisted? — "A. Twenty-three (23) pages.
ATTY. FERRIN: That is why, our objection, the answer is out of the
question.
Q. Do you remember if the pages were signed by the testator? — "A.
Yes, sir, it was signed.
COURT: Atty. Recto may propound another question.
Q. And the foot of the testament or the end of the testament, was it
ATTY. RECTO: I heard the witness was saying something and he has signed by the testator? — "A. Yes, sir, and the attestation clause was
not finished the sentence, and I want to ask the Court just to allow the last page signed by the three instrumental witnesses, Alberto
the witness to finish his sentence. Barretto, one Chinaman Go Toh, and Manuel Lopez, my former
Justice of the Peace of Hagonoy.
COURT: You may finish.
Q. Do you remember if there witnesses signed on the different pages
WITNESS: "A. There was a sentence, the point I was trying to check of the will? — "A. Yes, sir, they signed with their name signatures.
first was whether the value of the estate left by the deceased was
SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000.00) as Apolonio Suntay made it Q. Showing you this document consisting of twenty-three (23) pages
appear in his petition, and when I looked at the original will, I found in Spanish and which document appears already attached to this
out that it was several hundred thousand pesos, several thousands same testamentary proceedings and already marked as EXHIBIT B,

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

will you please tell the Court if and for instance on page eight (8) of Maria Natividad Lim Billian a total of 290,000 approximately, and
this document, pagina octavo, it says, there are handwritings in Apolonio Suntay a total of 80,000 approximately, Concepcion Suntay
pencil, some of which read as follows: "Los cinco-octavos (5/8) and Jose Suntay will get 60,000 pesos each approximately. The rest
partes corresponds a mi hijo Emiliano", can you recognize whose of the children will get approximately 29,000 each. The way of
handwriting is that? — "A. From my best estimate it is the distribution of the property of Jose B. Suntay, movable and
handwriting of Don Alberto Barretto. immovable, and the outstanding debts to be collected was arranged
by Jose B. Suntay.
Q. About the end of the same page eight (8) pagina octavo, of the
same document Exhibit B, there is also the handwriting in pencil xxx xxx xxx
which reads: "La otra sexta parte (6.a) corresponde a Bonifacio
Lopez", can you recognize that handwriting? — "A. Yes, sir, this is 78. On the occasion of the execution of the testament of Jose B.
the handwriting of Don Alberto Barretto, and I wish to call the Suntay, state whether or not you say Exhibit B — ... Yes.
attention of the Court to compare letter "B" which is in capital letter
with the signature of Don Alberto Barretto in the envelope, "Alberto
79. In the affirmative case, state if you know who had the possession
Barretto" and stroke identifies one hand as having written those
of Exhibit B and the testament the first time you saw them on that
words.
occasion. — ... Yes, I know who had possession of them.

Q. Will you please go over cursorily this document, Exhibit B


80. Can you say whether or not Jose B. Suntay happened to get those
composed of twenty-three (23) pages and please tell the Court if this
documents later on, on that same occasion? — ... He got them after
document had anything to do with the will which according to you
the execution.
was contained in the envelope, Exhibit A? — "A. This is exactly the
contents of the original will which I received and kept in my office
inside the safe for three (3) days, and I precisely took special case in 81. Please name the person who gave those documents to Mr.
the credits left by the deceased, and I remember among them, were Suntay. — ... Alberto Barretto gave the documents to Jose B. Suntay.
the De Leon family, and Sandiko, well known to me, and then the
disposition of the estate, divided into three (3) equal parts, and I 82. Did the person who gave those documents to Suntay say
noticed that they are the contents of the will read. anything to him (Suntay) at the time of giving them? — ... Yes.

His Honor, Judge Pecson, was positive in his first decision that "the testimony 83. If so what was it that he said, if he said any? — ... He said, "You
of Judge Anastacio Teodoro is corroborated by Go Toh, one of the attesting had better see if you want any correction."
witnesses, in his deposition (Exhibit D-1)." Yet in setting aside his first decision,
he remarked that Go Toh's testimony did not prove clearly and distinctly the 84. What did Mr. Suntay do after those documents were given to
provision of the lost will, because: "He did not, and he could not have done so him? — ... Jose B. Suntay looked at them and then gave one copy to
even if he tried because the original will was not read to him nor by him before Manuel Lopez for checking.
or at the signing of the same. It was written in Spanish and he did not and does
not understand the Spanish language. Neither was there any occasion for him
to have the contents of the said will, after its execution and sealing inside the 85. State whether or not Mr. Suntay gave one of those documents
envelope (Exhibit A), read to him, because it was opened only when Judge to another man. — ... Yes.
Teodoro had examined it and then subsequently snatched from Go Toh."
86. In the affirmative case, can you say which of the two documents
The later position thus taken by Judge Pecson is palpably inconsistent with the was given and who the man was? — ... Yes he gave Exhibit B to
following unequivocal statements of Go Toh contained in hid disposition taken Manuel Lopez.
in Amoy, China, on April 17, 1938, and in oppositor's Exhibit "6":
87. State whether or not Mr. Suntay said something to the man to
26. State what you know of the contents of that will. whom he gave one of those documents. — ... Yes.

. . . . Regarding (1) expenditures (2) Philippine citizenship; (3) 88. In the affirmative case can you repeat more or less what Mr.
Distribution of estates among children (4) Taking care of grave lot; Suntay said to that man? — ... He told him to read it for checking.
(5) guardianship of Silvino Suntay and (6) after paying his debts he
will have approximately 720,000 pesos left. This amount will be 89. State if you know what did the man do with one of those
divided into three equal parts of 240,000 pesos each. The first part documents given to him. — ... He took it and read it for checking.
is to be divided equally among the ten children born by the first and
second wives and the second part among the three sons Silvino 90. What did in turn Mr. Suntay do with the other one left with him?
Suntay, 75,000 approximately; Apolonio Suntay, 50,000 pesos — ... Jose B. Suntay looked at the original and checked them.
approximately; Jose Suntay and Concepcion Suntay, 36,000 each
approximately. The third part is to be divided between Maria Lim
Billian and Silvino Suntay; each will get approximately 110,000
pesos. Silvino Suntay will get a total of 210,000 pesos approximately,
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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

91. What was done with those documents later on if there was P. No serian treinta (30) paginas? — "Abogado Recto: La testigo ha
anything done with them? — ... After checking, Jose B. Suntay put contestado ya que mas de veinte (20).
Exhibit B in his pocket and had the original signed and executed.
Juzgado: Se estima
92. What was done with the testament of Jose B. Suntay after it was
signed by the testator and its witnesses? — ... It was taken away by Abogado Mejia:
Jose B. Suntay. (Exhibit D, D-1.)
P. Usted personalmente leyo el documento" — "R. Yo leyo mi
Q. Did you know the contents of this envelope? — "A. I knew that it hermano en presencia mia.
was a will.
P. La pregunta es, si usted personalmente ha leido el documento? —
Q. But did you know the provisions of the will? — "A. It is about the " R. Si, lo he visto.
distribution of the property to the heirs.
P. No solamente le pregunto a usted si Vd. ha visto el testamento
Q. Did you know how the property was distributed according to the sino si usted ha leido personalmente el testamento? — "R. Si la parte
will? — "A. I know that more than P500,000 was for the widow and de la adjudicacion lo he leido para asegurarme a que porcion
her son, more than P100,000 for the heirs that are in the family. corresponde a cada uno de nosotros.
(Exhibit "6", p. 28).
P. Puede usted repetir poco mas o menos esa porcion a que se hacia
Q. You stated that you were one of the witnesses to the will and that la distribucion del alegado testamento? — "R. Como ya he
the will was written in Spanish. Was it written in typewriting or in declarado, que las propiedades de mi difunto padre se habian
handwriting of somebody? — "A. That will was written in dividido en tres partes, una tercera parte se nos adjudica a nosotros
typewriting. diez (1) hijos en primeros nupcias y segunda nupcia, la segunda
tercera parte los adjudica a la viuda y a Silvino, y la otra tercera parte
Q. Did you read the contents of that will, or do you know the se lo adjudica a sus hijos como mejora a Silvino, Apolonio,
contents of that will? — A. No, sir, because I do not know Spanish. Concepcion y Jose.

Q. How do you know that it was the will of Jose B. Suntay ? — "A. P. Eso, tal como usted personalmente lo leyo en el documento? —
Because I was one of the signers and I saw it." (Exhibit "6", p. 19.) "R. Si Señor.

22. Do you understand the language in which that will was written? P. Quiere usted tener la bondad, señora, de repetir poco mas o
— ... I know a little Spanish. menos las palabras en ese documento que se distribuia las
propiedades del defundo padre usted como usted relata aqui?
23. Do you talk or write that language? I can write and talk a little "Abogado Recto: Objetamos a la pregunta por falta de base, porque
Spanish. (Exhibits D, D-1.) elle solamente se fijo en la parte como se distribuian las propiedades
pero no ha dicho la testigo que ella lo ha puesto de memoria, ni Vd.
ha preguntado en que lenguaje estaba escrito el testamento ...
As to Ana Suntay's corroborating testimony, Judge Pecson aptly made the
following findings: "Ana Suntay, one of the heirs and who would be affected
adversely by the legalization of the will in question, also testified on rebuttal Juzgado: Se estima.
that she saw the original will in the possession of Manuel Suntay immediately
after the snatching. She read it and she particularly remembers the manner in Abogado Mejia:
which the properties were to be distributed. Exhibit B was shown to her on
the witness stand and she declared that the provision regarding the P. Sabe usted en que lenguaje estaba redactado el documento que
distribution of the properties in said Exhibit B is the same as that contained in usted leyo personalmente? — "R. En Castellano.
the original will. Said testimony of Ana Suntay, therefore, belies the testimony
of Atty. Alberto Barretto." And yet in the resolution on the motion for new
P. Puede usted repetirnos ahora en Castellano algunas frases o
trial, the trial Judge had to state that "Ana Suntay on rebuttal did not, likewise,
palabras como se hizo la distribucion en aquel supuesto
prove clearly and distinctly the provisions of the said lost will, because she has
testamento? —
not had enough schooling and she does not possess adequate knowledge of
the Spanish language as shown by the fact that she had to testify in Tagalog
on the witness stand." The potent error committed by Judge Pecson in Abogado Recto: Objecion, por falta de base, uno puede entender el
reversing his views as regards Ana's testimony, is revealed readily in the español y sin embargo no podra repetir lo que ha leido, y no se sabe
following portions of the transcript: todavia si ha estudiado el español bastante hasta el punto de poder
hablarlo.
P. Cuantas paginas tenia aquel documento a que usted se refiere?
— "R. Probablemente seria mas de veinte (20) paginas. Juzgado: Se estima.

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Arts 16-798, Wills and Succession

Abogado Mejia Billian or the petitioner; the snatched will would have been produced to put
an end to petitioner's and his mother's claim for greater inheritance or
P. Usted dijo que estaba puesto en castellano el supuesto participation under the lost will; and the envelope containing the first will
testamento que Vda. leyo, usted poso el castellano? — "R. Yo providing for equal shares, would not have been entrusted to the care and
entiendo el castellano, pero no puedo hablar bien. custody of the widow Lim Billian.

P. Usted estudio el castellano en algun colegio? — "Rj. Si, señor, En It is very noteworthy that out of the nine children of th