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LOLITA R.

ALAMAYRI,

G.R. No. 151243

Petitioner,
Present:

PUNO, CJ *
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.
- versus-

Chairperson,
CHICO-NAZARIO,

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari 1[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court filed by petitioner Lolita R. Alamayri (Alamayri) seeking the reversal and setting aside
of the Decision,2[2] dated 10 April 2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58133; as
well as the Resolution,3[3] dated 19 December 2001 of the same court denying
reconsideration of its aforementioned Decision. The Court of Appeals, in its assailed
Decision, upheld the validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale, dated 20 February 1984, executed
by Nelly S. Nave (Nave) in favor of siblings Rommel, Elmer, Erwin, Roiler and Amanda, all
surnamed Pabale (the Pabale siblings) over a piece of land (subject property) in Calamba,
Laguna, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-3317 (27604); and, thus, reversed
and set aside the Decision,4[4] dated 2 December 1997, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Pasay City, Branch 119 in Civil Case No. 675-84-C.5[5] The 2 December 1997 Decision of the
RTC declared null and void the two sales agreements involving the subject property entered
into by Nave with different parties, namely, Sesinando M. Fernando (Fernando) and the
Pabale siblings; and ordered the reconveyance of the subject property to Alamayri, as Naves
successor-in-interest.

NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

This is a Complaint for Specific Performance with Damages filed by Sesinando M. Fernando,
representing S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation [Fernando] on February 6, 1984 before the

ROMMEL, ELMER, ERWIN, ROILER and


AMANDA, all surnamed PABALE,
Promulgated:
Respondents.
April 30, 2008
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DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

There is no controversy as to the facts that gave rise to the present Petition, determined by
the Court of Appeals to be as follows:

Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna presided over by Judge Salvador P. de Guzman, Jr.,
docketed as Civil Case No. 675-84-C against Nelly S. Nave [Nave], owner of a parcel of land
located in Calamba, Laguna covered by TCT No. T-3317 (27604). [Fernando] alleged that on
January 3, 1984, a handwritten Kasunduan Sa Pagbibilihan (Contract to Sell) was entered
into by and between him and [Nave] involving said parcel of land. However, [Nave] reneged
on their agreement when the latter refused to accept the partial down payment he tendered
to her as previously agreed because she did not want to sell her property to him anymore.
[Fernando] prayed that after trial on the merits, [Nave] be ordered to execute the
corresponding Deed of Sale in his favor, and to pay attorneys fees, litigation expenses and
damages.

[Nave] filed a Motion to Dismiss averring that she could not be ordered to execute the
corresponding Deed of Sale in favor of [Fernando] based on the following grounds: (1) she
was not fully apprised of the nature of the piece of paper [Fernando] handed to her for her
signature on January 3, 1984. When she was informed that it was for the sale of her
property in Calamba, Laguna covered by TCT No. T-3317 (27604), she immediately returned
to [Fernando] the said piece of paper and at the same time repudiating the same. Her
repudiation was further bolstered by the fact that when [Fernando] tendered the partial
down payment to her, she refused to receive the same; and (2) she already sold the property
in good faith to Rommel, Elmer, Erwin, Roller and Amanda, all surnamed Pabale [the Pabale
siblings] on February 20, 1984 after the complaint was filed against her but before she
received a copy thereof. Moreover, she alleged that [Fernando] has no cause of action
against her as he is suing for and in behalf of S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation who is not a
party to the alleged Contract to Sell. Even assuming that said entity is the real party in
interest, still, [Fernando] cannot sue in representation of the corporation there being no
evidence to show that he was duly authorized to do so.

Subsequently, [the Pabale siblings] filed a Motion to Intervene alleging that they are now the
land owners of the subject property. Thus, the complaint was amended to include [the
Pabale siblings] as party defendants. In an Order dated April 24, 1984, the trial court denied
*Naves+ Motion to Dismiss prompting her to file a Manifestation and Motion stating that she
was adopting the allegations in her Motion to Dismiss in answer to *Fernandos+ amended
complaint.

Thereafter, [Nave] filed a Motion to Admit her Amended Answer with Counterclaim and
Cross-claim praying that her husband, Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo be impleaded as her codefendant, and including as her defense undue influence and fraud by reason of the fact that
she was made to appear as widow when in fact she was very much married at the time of the
transaction in issue. Despite the opposition of [Fernando] and [the Pabale siblings], the trial
court admitted the aforesaid Amended Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim.

Still unsatisfied with her defense, [Nave] and Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo filed a Motion to
Admit Second Amended Answer and Amended Reply and Cross-claim against [the Pabale
siblings], this time including the fact of her incapacity to contract for being mentally deficient
based on the psychological evaluation report conducted on December 2, 1985 by Dra.
Virginia P. Panlasigui, M. A., a clinical psychologist. Finding the motion unmeritorious, the
same was denied by the court a quo.

[Nave] filed a motion for reconsideration thereof asseverating that in Criminal Case No.
1308-85-C entitled People vs. Nelly S. Nave she raised therein as a defense her mental
deficiency. This being a decisive factor to determine once and for all whether the contract
entered into by [Nave] with respect to the subject property is null and void, the Second
Amended Answer and Amended Reply and Cross-claim against [the Pabale siblings] should be
admitted.

Before the motion for reconsideration could be acted upon, the proceedings in this case was
suspended sometime in 1987 in view of the filing of a Petition for Guardianship of [Nave]
with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 36 of Calamba, Laguna, docketed as SP No. 146-86-C
with Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo as the petitioner. On June 22, 1988, a Decision was rendered
in the said guardianship proceedings, the dispositive portion of which reads:

Under the circumstances, specially since Nelly S. Nave who now resides with the Brosas
spouses has categorically refused to be examined again at the National Mental Hospital, the
Court is constrained to accept the Neuro-Psychiatric Evaluation report dated April 14, 1986
submitted by Dra. Nona Jean Alviso-Ramos and the supporting report dated April 20, 1987
submitted by Dr. Eduardo T. Maaba, both of the National Mental Hospital and hereby finds
Nelly S. Nave an incompetent within the purview of Rule 92 of the Revised Rules of Court, a
person who, by reason of age, disease, weak mind and deteriorating mental processes
cannot without outside aid take care of herself and manage her properties, becoming
thereby an easy prey for deceit and exploitation, said condition having become severe since
the year 1980. She and her estate are hereby placed under guardianship. Atty. Leonardo C.
Paner is hereby appointed as her regular guardian without need of bond, until further orders
from this Court. Upon his taking his oath of office as regular guardian, Atty. Paner is ordered
to participate actively in the pending cases of Nelly S. Nave with the end in view of protecting
her interests from the prejudicial sales of her real properties, from the overpayment in the
foreclosure made by Ms. Gilda Mendoza-Ong, and in recovering her lost jewelries and
monies and other personal effects.

SO ORDERED.

Both [Fernando] and [the Pabale siblings] did not appeal therefrom, while the appeal
interposed by spouses Juliano and Evangelina Brosas was dismissed by this Court for failure
to pay the required docketing fees within the reglementary period.

In the meantime, [Nave] died on December 9, 1992. On September 20, 1993, Atty. Vedasto
Gesmundo, *Naves+ sole heir, she being an orphan and childless, executed an Affidavit of
Self-Adjudication pertaining to his inherited properties from [Nave].

On account of such development, a motion for the dismissal of the instant case and for the
issuance of a writ of execution of the Decision dated June 22, 1988 in SP No. 146-86-C
(petition for guardianship) was filed by Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo on February 14, 1996 with
the court a quo. [The Pabale siblings] filed their Opposition to the motion on grounds that
(1) they were not made a party to the guardianship proceedings and thus cannot be bound
by the Decision therein; and (2) that the validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by the
late [Nave] in their favor was never raised in the guardianship case.

The case was then set for an annual conference. On January 9, 1997, Atty. Vedasto
Gesmundo filed a motion seeking the courts permission for his substitution for the late
defendant Nelly in the instant case. Not long after the parties submitted their respective
pre-trial briefs, a motion for substitution was filed by Lolita R. Alamayre (sic) [Alamayri]
alleging that since the subject property was sold to her by Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo as
evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale, she should be substituted in his stead. In refutation,
Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo filed a Manifestation stating that what he executed is a Deed of
Donation and not a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of [Alamayri] and that the same was
already revoked by him on March 5, 1997. Thus, the motion for substitution should be
denied.

On July 29, 1997, the court a quo issued an Order declaring that it cannot make a ruling as to
the conflicting claims of [Alamayri] and Atty. Vedasto Gesmundo. After the case was heard
on the merits, the trial court rendered its Decision on December 2, 1997, the dispositive
portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1.
Declaring the handwritten Contract to Sell dated January 3, 1984 executed by Nelly
S. Nave and Sesinando Fernando null and void and of no force and effect;

2.
Declaring the Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 20, 1984 executed by Nelly S.
Nave in favor of the [Pabale siblings] similarly null and void and of no force and effect;

3.
Recognizing Ms. Lolita P. [Alamayri] as the owner of the property covered by TCT
No. 111249 of the land records of Calamba, Laguna;

4.
Ordering the [Pabale siblings] to execute a transfer of title over the property in
favor of Ms. Lolita P. [Alamayri] in the concept of reconveyance because the sale in their
favor has been declared null and void;

5.
Ordering the [Pabale siblings] to surrender possession over the property to Ms.
[Alamayri] and to account for its income from the time they took over possession to the time
the same is turned over to Ms. Lolita [Alamayri], and thereafter pay the said income to the
latter;

6.
Ordering [Fernando] and the [Pabale siblings], jointly and severally, to pay Ms.
[Alamayri]:

a.

attorneys fees in the sum of P30,000.00; and

b.

the costs.6[6]

S.M. Fernando Realty Corporation, still represented by Fernando, filed an appeal with the
Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 58133, solely to question the portion of the 2
December 1997 Decision of the RTC ordering him and the Pabale siblings to jointly and
severally pay Alamayri the amount of P30,000.00 as attorneys fees.

The Pabale siblings intervened as appellants in CA-G.R. CV No. 58133 averring that the RTC
erred in declaring in its 2 December 1997 Decision that the Deed of Absolute Sale dated 20

February 1984 executed by Nave in their favor was null and void on the ground that Nave
was found incompetent since the year 1980.

1987 and 19 November 1987 in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C. Alamayri thus filed on 21 November
2001 a Motion to Schedule Hearing to Mark Exhibits in Evidence so she could mark and
submit as evidence certain documents to establish that the Pabale siblings are indeed the
children of Jose Pabale.

The Court of Appeals, in its Decision, dated 10 April 2001, granted the appeals of S.M.
Fernando Realty Corporation and the Pabale siblings. It ruled thus:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal filed by S. M. Fernando Realty Corporation,


represented by its President, Sesinando M. Fernando as well as the appeal interposed by
Rommel, Elmer, Erwin, Roller and Amanda, all surnamed Pabale, are hereby GRANTED. The
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 119 in Civil Case No. 675-84-C is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one rendered upholding the VALIDITY of the
Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 20, 1984.

No pronouncements as to costs.7[7]

Alamayri sought reconsideration of the afore-quoted Decision of the appellate court,


invoking the Decision,8[8] dated 22 June 1988, of the RTC in the guardianship proceedings,
docketed as SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, which found Nave incompetent, her condition
becoming severe since 1980; and thus appointed Atty. Leonardo C. Paner as her guardian.
Said Decision already became final and executory when no one appealed therefrom.
Alamayri argued that since Nave was already judicially determined to be an incompetent
since 1980, then all contracts she subsequently entered into should be declared null and
void, including the Deed of Sale, dated 20 February 1984, which she executed over the
subject property in favor of the Pabale siblings.

According to Alamayri, the Pabale siblings should be bound by the findings of the RTC in its
22 June 1988 Decision in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, having participated in the said guardianship
proceedings through their father Jose Pabale. She pointed out that the RTC explicitly named
in its orders Jose Pabale as among those present during the hearings held on 30 October

Atty. Gesmundo, Naves surviving spouse, likewise filed his own Motion for Reconsideration
of the 10 April 2001 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58133, asserting
Naves incompetence since 1980 as found by the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, and his right
to the subject property as owner upon Naves death in accordance with the laws of
succession. It must be remembered that Atty. Gesmundo disputed before the RTC the
supposed transfer of his rights to the subject property to Alamayri, but the court a quo
refrained from ruling thereon.

In a Resolution, dated 19 December 2001, the Court of Appeals denied for lack of
merit the Motions for Reconsideration of Alamayri and Atty. Gesmundo.

Hence, Alamayri comes before this Court via the present Petition for Review on
Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, with the following assignment of errors:

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FINDING THAT NELLY S. NAVE WAS
INCOMPETENT IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 146-86-C ON JUNE 22, 1988 CANNOT RETROACT
TO AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE DEED OF SALE SHE EXECUTED ON FEBRUARY 20, 1984 IN
FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS PABALES.

II

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DECISION IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING
NO. 146-86-C DATED JUNE 22, 1988 IS NOT BINDING ON RESPONDENTS PABALES.

III

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS MOTION TO SCHEDULE HEARING


TO MARK DOCUMENTARY EXHIBITS IN EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THE IDENTITY OF JOSE
PABALE AS THE FATHER OF RESPONDENTS PABALES.9[9]

It is Alamayris position that given the final and executory Decision, dated 22 June 1988, of
the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C finding Nave incompetent since 1980, then the same fact
may no longer be re-litigated in Civil Case No. 675-84-C, based on the doctrine of res judicata,
more particularly, the rule on conclusiveness of judgment.

This Court is not persuaded.

Res judicata literally means a matter adjudged; a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a
thing or matter settled by judgment. Res judicata lays the rule that an existing final
judgment or decree rendered on the merits, and without fraud or collusion, by a court of
competent jurisdiction, upon any matter within its jurisdiction, is conclusive of the rights of
the parties or their privies, in all other actions or suits in the same or any other judicial
tribunal of concurrent jurisdiction on the points and matters in issue in the first suit.10[10]

It is espoused in the Rules of Court, under paragraphs (b) and (c) of Section 47, Rule 39,
which read:

SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order
rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final
order, may be as follows:

xxxx

(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged
or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive between
the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the
action or special proceeding, litigating the same thing and under the same title and in the
same capacity; and

(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only is
deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its
face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or
necessary thereto.

The doctrine of res judicata thus lays down two main rules which may be stated as follows:
(1) The judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction on the merits concludes the
parties and their privies to the litigation and constitutes a bar to a new action or suit
involving the same cause of action either before the same or any other tribunal; and (2) Any
right, fact, or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily involved in the determination
of an action before a competent court in which a judgment or decree is rendered on the
merits is conclusively settled by the judgment therein and cannot again be litigated between
the parties and their privies whether or not the claims or demands, purposes, or subject
matters of the two suits are the same. These two main rules mark the distinction between
the principles governing the two typical cases in which a judgment may operate as
evidence.11[11] In speaking of these cases, the first general rule above stated, and which
corresponds to the afore-quoted paragraph (b) of Section 47, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, is
referred to as bar by former judgment; while the second general rule, which is embodied in
paragraph (c) of the same section and rule, is known as conclusiveness of judgment.

The Resolution of this Court in Calalang v. Register of Deeds provides the following
enlightening discourse on conclusiveness of judgment:

The doctrine res judicata actually embraces two different concepts: (1) bar by former
judgment and (b) conclusiveness of judgment.

Another case, Oropeza Marketing Corporation v. Allied Banking Corporation, further


differentiated between the two rules of res judicata, as follows:

The second concept conclusiveness of judgment states that a fact or question which
was in issue in a former suit and was there judicially passed upon and determined by a court
of competent jurisdiction, is conclusively settled by the judgment therein as far as the parties
to that action and persons in privity with them are concerned and cannot be again litigated in
any future action between such parties or their privies, in the same court or any other court
of concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or different cause of action, while the judgment
remains unreversed by proper authority. It has been held that in order that a judgment in
one action can be conclusive as to a particular matter in another action between the same
parties or their privies, it is essential that the issue be identical. If a particular point or
question is in issue in the second action, and the judgment will depend on the determination
of that particular point or question, a former judgment between the same parties or their
privies will be final and conclusive in the second if that same point or question was in issue
and adjudicated in the first suit (Nabus vs. Court of Appeals, 193 SCRA 732 [1991]). Identity
of cause of action is not required but merely identity of issues.

There is bar by prior judgment when, as between the first case where the judgment was
rendered and the second case that is sought to be barred, there is identity of parties, subject
matter, and causes of action. In this instance, the judgment in the first case constitutes an
absolute bar to the second action. Otherwise put, the judgment or decree of the court of
competent jurisdiction on the merits concludes the litigation between the parties, as well as
their privies, and constitutes a bar to a new action or suit involving the same cause of action
before the same or other tribunal.

Justice Feliciano, in Smith Bell & Company (Phils.), Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (197 SCRA 201,
210 [1991]), reiterated Lopez vs. Reyes (76 SCRA 179 [1977]) in regard to the distinction
between bar by former judgment which bars the prosecution of a second action upon the
same claim, demand, or cause of action, and conclusiveness of judgment which bars the
relitigation of particular facts or issues in another litigation between the same parties on a
different claim or cause of action.

The general rule precluding the relitigation of material facts or questions which were in issue
and adjudicated in former action are commonly applied to all matters essentially connected
with the subject matter of the litigation. Thus, it extends to questions necessarily implied in
the final judgment, although no specific finding may have been made in reference thereto
and although such matters were directly referred to in the pleadings and were not actually or
formally presented. Under this rule, if the record of the former trial shows that the judgment
could not have been rendered without deciding the particular matter, it will be considered as
having settled that matter as to all future actions between the parties and if a judgment
necessarily presupposes certain premises, they are as conclusive as the judgment
itself.12[12]

But where there is identity of parties in the first and second cases, but no identity of causes
of action, the first judgment is conclusive only as to those matters actually and directly
controverted and determined and not as to matters merely involved therein. This is the
concept of res judicata known as conclusiveness of judgment. Stated differently, any right,
fact, or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily involved in the determination of an
action before a competent court in which judgment is rendered on the merits is conclusively
settled by the judgment therein and cannot again be litigated between the parties and their
privies whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or subject matter of the two actions is
the same.13[13]

In sum, conclusiveness of judgment bars the re-litigation in a second case of a fact or


question already settled in a previous case. The second case, however, may still proceed
provided that it will no longer touch on the same fact or question adjudged in the first case.
Conclusiveness of judgment requires only the identity of issues and parties, but not of causes
of action.

Contrary to Alamayris assertion, conclusiveness of judgment has no application to the


instant Petition since there is no identity of parties and issues between SP. PROC. No. 146-86C and Civil Case No. 675-84-C.

No identity of parties

SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C was a petition filed with the RTC by Atty. Gesmundo for the
appointment of a guardian over the person and estate of his late wife Nave alleging her
incompetence.

A guardian may be appointed by the RTC over the person and estate of a minor or an
incompetent, the latter being described as a person suffering the penalty of civil interdiction
or who are hospitalized lepers, prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable to read and write,
those who are of unsound mind, even though they have lucid intervals, and persons not
being of unsound mind, but by reason of age, disease, weak mind, and other similar causes,
cannot, without outside aid, take care of themselves and manage their property, becoming
thereby an easy prey for deceit and exploitation.14[14]

(b) The minority or incompetency rendering the appointment necessary or convenient;

(c) The names, ages, and residences of the relatives of the minor or incompetent, and of
the persons having him in their care;

(d) The probable value and character of his estate;

(e) The name of the person for whom letters of guardianship are prayed.
Rule 93 of the Rules of Court governs the proceedings for the appointment of a guardian, to
wit:
The petition shall be verified; but no defect in the petition or verification shall render void
the issuance of letters of guardianship.
Rule 93
APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS

SECTION 1. Who may petition for appointment of guardian for resident. Any relative,
friend, or other person on behalf of a resident minor or incompetent who has no parent or
lawful guardian, or the minor himself if fourteen years of age or over, may petition the court
having jurisdiction for the appointment of a general guardian for the person or estate, or
both, of such minor or incompetent. An officer of the Federal Administration of the United
States in the Philippines may also file a petition in favor of a ward thereof, and the Director of
Health, in favor of an insane person who should be hospitalized, or in favor of an isolated
leper.

SEC. 2. Contents of petition. A petition for the appointment of a general guardian must
show, so far as known to the petitioner:

(a) The jurisdictional facts;

SEC. 3. Court to set time for hearing. Notice thereof. When a petition for the appointment
of a general guardian is filed, the court shall fix a time and place for hearing the same, and
shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons mentioned in the petition
residing in the province, including the minor if above 14 years of age or the incompetent
himself, and may direct other general or special notice thereof to be given.

SEC. 4. Opposition to petition. Any interested person may, by filing a written opposition,
contest the petition on the ground of majority of the alleged minor, competency of the
alleged incompetent, or the unsuitability of the person for whom letters are prayed, and may
pray that the petition be dismissed, or that letters of guardianship issue to himself, or to any
suitable person named in the opposition.

SEC. 5. Hearing and order for letters to issue. At the hearing of the petition the alleged
incompetent must be present if able to attend, and it must be shown that the required
notice has been given. Thereupon the court shall hear the evidence of the parties in support
of their respective allegations, and, if the person in question is a minor or incompetent it
shall appoint a suitable guardian of his person or estate, or both, with the powers and duties
hereinafter specified.

xxxx

SEC. 8. Service of judgment. Final orders or judgments under this rule shall be served upon
the civil registrar of the municipality or city where the minor or incompetent person resides
or where his property or part thereof is situated.

A petition for appointment of a guardian is a special proceeding, without the usual parties,
i.e., petitioner versus respondent, in an ordinary civil case. Accordingly, SP. PROC. No. 14686-C bears the title: In re: Guardianship of Nelly S. Nave for Incompetency, Verdasto
Gesmundo y Banayo, petitioner, with no named respondent/s.

Sections 2 and 3 of Rule 93 of the Rules of Court, though, require that the petition contain
the names, ages, and residences of relatives of the supposed minor or incompetent and
those having him in their care, so that those residing within the same province as the minor
or incompetent can be notified of the time and place of the hearing on the petition.

The objectives of an RTC hearing a petition for appointment of a guardian under Rule 93 of
the Rules of Court is to determine, first, whether a person is indeed a minor or an
incompetent who has no capacity to care for himself and/or his properties; and, second, who
is most qualified to be appointed as his guardian. The rules reasonably assume that the
people who best could help the trial court settle such issues would be those who are closest
to and most familiar with the supposed minor or incompetent, namely, his relatives living
within the same province and/or the persons caring for him.

It is significant to note that the rules do not necessitate that creditors of the minor or
incompetent be likewise identified and notified. The reason is simple: because their
presence is not essential to the proceedings for appointment of a guardian. It is almost a
given, and understandably so, that they will only insist that the supposed minor or
incompetent is actually capacitated to enter into contracts, so as to preserve the validity of
said contracts and keep the supposed minor or incompetent obligated to comply therewith.

Hence, it cannot be presumed that the Pabale siblings were given notice and actually took
part in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C. They are not Naves relatives, nor are they the ones caring
for her. Although the rules allow the RTC to direct the giving of other general or special
notices of the hearings on the petition for appointment of a guardian, it was not established
that the RTC actually did so in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C.

Alamayris allegation that the Pabale siblings participated in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C rests on
two Orders, dated 30 October 198715[15] and 19 November 1987,16[16] issued by the RTC
in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, expressly mentioning the presence of a Jose Pabale, who was
supposedly the father of the Pabale siblings, during the hearings held on the same dates.
However, the said Orders by themselves cannot confirm that Jose Pabale was indeed the
father of the Pabale siblings and that he was authorized by his children to appear in the said
hearings on their behalf.

Alamayri decries that she was not allowed by the Court of Appeals to submit and mark
additional evidence to prove that Jose Pabale was the father of the Pabale siblings.

It is true that the Court of Appeals has the power to try cases and conduct hearings, receive
evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases
falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct
new trials or further proceedings. In general, however, the Court of Appeals conducts
hearings and receives evidence prior to the submission of the case for judgment.17[17] It
must be pointed out that, in this case, Alamayri filed her Motion to Schedule Hearing to Mark
Exhibits in Evidence on 21 November 2001. She thus sought to submit additional evidence as
to the identity of Jose Pabale, not only after CA-G.R. CV No. 58133 had been submitted for
judgment, but after the Court of Appeals had already promulgated its Decision in said case
on 10 April 2001.

The parties must diligently and conscientiously present all arguments and available evidences
in support of their respective positions to the court before the case is deemed submitted for
judgment. Only under exceptional circumstances may the court receive new evidence after
having rendered judgment;18[18] otherwise, its judgment may never attain finality since the

parties may continually refute the findings therein with further evidence. Alamayri failed to
provide any explanation why she did not present her evidence earlier. Merely invoking that
the ends of justice would have been best served if she was allowed to present additional
evidence is not sufficient to justify deviation from the general rules of procedure. Obedience
to the requirements of procedural rules is needed if the parties are to expect fair results
therefrom, and utter disregard of the rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the
policy of liberal construction.19[19] Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the
adjudication of cases. Courts and litigants alike are thus enjoined to abide strictly by the
rules. And while the Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the application of the
rules, this, we stress, was never intended to forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the
rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies
only to proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is true that
litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that every case must be prosecuted
in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration
of justice.20[20]

As the appellate court reasoned, even if the evidence Alamayri wanted to submit do prove
that the Jose Pabale who attended the RTC hearings on 30 October 1987 and 19 November
1987 in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C was the father of the Pabale siblings, they would still not
confirm his authority to represent his children in the said proceedings. Worth stressing is the
fact that Jose Pabale was not at all a party to the Deed of Sale dated 20 February 1984 over
the subject property, which was executed by Nave in favor of the Pabale siblings. Without
proper authority, Jose Pabales presence at the hearings in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C should
not bind his children to the outcome of said proceedings or affect their right to the subject
property.

Since it was not established that the Pabale siblings participated in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C,
then any finding therein should not bind them in Civil Case No. 675-84-C.
Moreover, contrary to Alamayris assertion, the Court of Appeals did not deny her Motion to
Schedule Hearing to Mark Exhibits in Evidence merely for being late. In its Resolution, dated
19 December 2001, the Court of Appeals also denied the said motion on the following
grounds:

While it is now alleged, for the first time, that the [herein respondents Pabale siblings]
participated in the guardianship proceedings considering that the Jose Pabale mentioned
therein is their late father, [herein petitioner Alamayri] submitting herein documentary
evidence to prove their filiation, even though admitted in evidence at this late stage, cannot
bind [the Pabale siblings] as verily, notice to their father is not notice to them there being no
allegation to the effect that he represented them before the Calamba Court.21[21]

No identity of issues

Neither is there identity of issues between SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C and Civil Case No. 675-84C that may bar the latter, by conclusiveness of judgment, from ruling on Naves competency
in 1984, when she executed the Deed of Sale over the subject property in favor the Pabale
siblings.

In SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, the main issue was whether Nave was incompetent at the time of
filing of the petition with the RTC in 1986, thus, requiring the appointment of a guardian over
her person and estate.

In the cross-claim of Nave and Atty. Gesmundo against the Pabale siblings in Civil Case No.
675-84-C, the issue was whether Nave was an incompetent when she executed a Deed of
Sale of the subject property in favor of the Pabale siblings on 20 February 1984, hence,
rendering the said sale void.

While both cases involve a determination of Naves incompetency, it must be established at


two separate times, one in 1984 and the other in 1986. A finding that she was incompetent

in 1986 does not automatically mean that she was so in 1984. In Carillo v. Jaojoco,22[22] the
Court ruled that despite the fact that the seller was declared mentally incapacitated by the
trial court only nine days after the execution of the contract of sale, it does not prove that
she was so when she executed the contract. Hence, the significance of the two-year gap
herein cannot be gainsaid since Naves mental condition in 1986 may vastly differ from that
of 1984 given the intervening period.

Capacity to act is supposed to attach to a person who has not previously been declared
incapable, and such capacity is presumed to continue so long as the contrary be not proved;
that is, that at the moment of his acting he was incapable, crazy, insane, or out of his
mind.23[23] The burden of proving incapacity to enter into contractual relations rests upon
the person who alleges it; if no sufficient proof to this effect is presented, capacity will be
presumed.24[24]

But there is no basis for such a declaration. The medical reports extensively quoted in said
Decision, prepared by: (1) Dr. Nona Jean Alviso-Ramos, dated 14 April 1986,26[26] and (2) by
Dr. Eduardo T. Maaba, dated 20 April 1987,27[27] both stated that upon their examination,
Nave was suffering from organic brain syndrome secondary to cerebral arteriosclerosis with
psychotic episodes, which impaired her judgment. There was nothing in the said medical
reports, however, which may shed light on when Nave began to suffer from said mental
condition. All they said was that it existed at the time Nave was examined in 1986, and again
in 1987. Even the RTC judge was only able to observe Nave, which made him realize that her
mind was very impressionable and capable of being manipulated, on the occasions when
Nave visited the court from 1987 to 1988. Hence, for this Court, the RTC Decision dated 22
June 1988 in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C may be conclusive as to Naves incompetency from
1986 onwards, but not as to her incompetency in 1984. And other than invoking the 22 June
1988 Decision of the RTC in SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C, Alamayri did not bother to establish with
her own evidence that Nave was mentally incapacitated when she executed the 20 February
1984 Deed of Sale over the subject property in favor of the Pabale siblings, so as to render
the said deed void.

Nave was examined and diagnosed by doctors to be mentally incapacitated only in 1986,
when the RTC started hearing SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C; and she was not judicially declared an
incompetent until 22 June 1988 when a Decision in said case was rendered by the RTC,
resulting in the appointment of Atty. Leonardo C. Paner as her guardian. Thus, prior to 1986,
Nave is still presumed to be capacitated and competent to enter into contracts such as the
Deed of Sale over the subject property, which she executed in favor of the Pabale siblings on
20 February 1984. The burden of proving otherwise falls upon Alamayri, which she dismally
failed to do, having relied entirely on the 22 June 1988 Decision of the RTC in SP. PROC. No.
146-86-C.

All told, there being no identity of parties and issues between SP. PROC. No. 146-86-C and
Civil Case No. 675-84-C, the 22 June 1988 Decision in the former on Naves incompetency by
the year 1986 should not bar, by conclusiveness of judgment, a finding in the latter case that
Nave still had capacity and was competent when she executed on 20 February 1984 the Deed
of Sale over the subject property in favor of the Pabale siblings. Therefore, the Court of
Appeals did not commit any error when it upheld the validity of the 20 February 1984 Deed
of Sale.

Alamayri capitalizes on the declaration of the RTC in its Decision dated 22 June 1988 in SP.
PROC. No. 146-86-C on Naves condition having become severe since the year 1980.25[25]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. The
Decision, dated 10 April 2001, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58133, is hereby
AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioner Lolita R. Alamayri.

SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 132223. June 19, 2001.]


BONIFACIA P. VANCIL, Petitioner, v. HELEN G. BELMES, Respondent.
DECISION

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

Petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
45650, "In the Matter of Guardianship of Minors Valerie Vancil and Vincent Vancil
Bonifacia P. Vancil, Petitioner-Appellee, v. Helen G. Belmes, Oppositor-Appellant,"
promulgated on July 29, 1997, and its Resolution dated December 18, 1997 denying the
motion for reconsideration of the said Decision.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The facts of the case as summarized by the Court of Appeals in its Decision
are:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil, is the mother of Reeder C. Vancil, a Navy serviceman of the
United States of America who died in the said country on December 22, 1986. During his
lifetime, Reeder had two (2) children named Valerie and Vincent by his common-law wife,
Helen G. Belmes.
"Sometime in May of 1987, Bonifacia Vancil commenced before the Regional Trial Court of
Cebu City a guardianship proceedings over the persons and properties of minors Valerie and
Vincent docketed as Special Proceedings No. 1618-CEB. At the time, Valerie was only 6 years
old while Vincent was a 2-year old child. It is claimed in the petition that the minors are
residents of Cebu City, Philippines and have an estate consisting of proceeds from their
fathers death pension benefits with a probable value of P100,000.00.
"Finding sufficiency in form and in substance, the case was set for hearing after a 3consecutive-weekly publications with the Sunstar Daily.
"On July 15, 1987, Petitioner, Bonifacia Vancil was appointed legal and judicial guardian over
the persons and estate of Valerie Vancil and Vincent Vancil Jr.
"On August 13, 1987, the natural mother of the minors, Helen Belmes, submitted an
opposition to the subject guardianship proceedings asseverating that she had already filed a
similar petition for guardianship under Special Proceedings No. 2819 before the Regional
Trial Court of Pagadian City.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

"Thereafter, on June 27, 1988, Helen Belmes followed her opposition with a motion for the
Removal of Guardian and Appointment of a New One, asserting that she is the natural
mother in actual custody of and exercising parental authority over the subject minors at
Maralag, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur where they are permanently residing; that the
petition was filed under an improper venue; and that at the time the petition was filed
Bonifacia Vancil was a resident of 140 Hurliman Court, Canon City, Colorado, U.S.A. being a
naturalized American citizen.
"On October 12, 1988, after due proceedings, the trial court rejected and denied Belmes
motion to remove and/or to disqualify Bonifacia as guardian of Valerie and Vincent Jr. and
instead ordered petitioner Bonifacia Vancil to enter the office and perform her duties as such
guardian upon the posting of a bond of P50,000.00. The subsequent attempt for a
reconsideration was likewise dismissed in an Order dated November 24, 1988." 1
On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision reversing the RTC order of
October 12, 1988 and dismissing Special Proceedings No. 1618-CEB.
The Court of Appeals held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Stress should likewise be made that our Civil Code considers parents, the father, or in the
absence, the mother, as natural guardian of her minor children. The law on parental
authority under the Civil Code or P.D. 603 and now the New Family Code, (Article 225 of the
Family Code) ascribe to the same legal pronouncements. Section 7 of Rule 93 of the Revised
Rules of Court confirms the designation of the parents as ipso facto guardian of their minor
children without need of a court appointment and only for good reason may another person
be named. Ironically, for the petitioner, there is nothing on record of any reason at all why
Helen Belmes, the biological mother, should be deprived of her legal rights as natural
guardian of her minor children. To give away such privilege from Helen would be an
abdication and grave violation of the very basic fundamental tenets in civil law and the
constitution on family solidarity." 2
On March 10, 1998, Bonifacia Vancil filed with this Court the present petition, raising the
following "legal points" :jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that the preferential right of a parent to be
appointed guardian over the persons and estate of the minors is absolute, contrary to
existing jurisprudence.
"2. The Court of Appeals gravely erred in ruling that Oppositor Helen G. Belmes, the
biological mother, should be appointed the guardian of the minors despite the undisputed
proof that under her custody, her daughter minor Valerie Vancil was raped seven times by
Oppositors live-in partner.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
"3. The respondent (sic) Court of Appeals gravely erred when it disqualified petitioner
Bonifacia P. Vancil to be appointed as judicial guardian over the persons and estate of subject
minors despite the fact that she has all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications as
judicial guardian, merely on the basis of her U.S. citizenship which is clearly not a statutory
requirement to become guardian."cralaw virtua1aw library

At the outset, let it be stressed that in her "Manifestation/Motion," dated September 15,
1998, respondent Helen Belmes stated that her daughter Valerie turned eighteen on
September 2, 1998 as shown by her Birth Certificate. 3 Respondent thus prayed that this case
be dismissed with respect to Valerie, she being no longer a proper subject of guardianship
proceedings. The said "Manifestation/Motion" was noted by this Court in its Resolution
dated November 11, 1998.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Considering that Valerie is already of major age, this petition has become moot with respect
to her. Thus, only the first and third "legal points" raised by petitioner should be resolved.
The basic issue for our resolution is who between the mother and grandmother of minor
Vincent should be his guardian.
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that respondent, being the natural mother
of the minor, has the preferential right over that of petitioner to be his guardian. This ruling
finds support in Article 211 of the Family Code which provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"ARTICLE 211. The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the
persons of their common children. In case of disagreement, the fathers decision shall
prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
Indeed, being the natural mother of minor Vincent, respondent has the corresponding
natural and legal right to his custody. In Sagala Eslao v. Court of Appeals, 4 this Court
held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Of considerable importance is the rule long accepted by the courts that the right of parents
to the custody of their minor children is one of the natural rights incident to parenthood, a
right supported by law and sound public policy. The right is an inherent one, which is not
created by the state or decisions of the courts, but derives from the nature of the parental
relationship." chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
Petitioner contends that she is more qualified as guardian of Vincent.
Petitioners claim to be the guardian of said minor can only be realized by way of substitute
parental authority pursuant to Article 214 of the Family Code, thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"ARTICLE 214. In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental
authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
In Santos, Sr. v. Court of Appeals, 5 this Court ruled:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The law vests on the father and mother joint parental authority over the persons of their
common children. In case of absence or death of either parent, the parent present shall
continue exercising parental authority. Only in case of the parents death, absence or
unsuitability may substitute parental authority be exercised by the surviving
grandparent."cralaw virtua1aw library
Petitioner, as the surviving grandparent, can exercise substitute parental authority only in

case of death, absence or unsuitability of Respondent. Considering that respondent is very


much alive and has exercised continuously parental authority over Vincent, petitioner has to
prove, in asserting her right to be the minors guardian, respondents unsuitability.
Petitioner, however, has not proffered convincing evidence showing that respondent is not
suited to be the guardian of Vincent. Petitioner merely insists that respondent is morally
unfit as guardian of Valerie considering that her (respondents) live-in partner raped Valerie
several times. But Valerie, being now of major age, is no longer a subject of this guardianship
proceeding.
Even assuming that respondent is unfit as guardian of minor Vincent, still petitioner cannot
qualify as a substitute guardian. It bears stressing that she is an American citizen and a
resident of Colorado. Obviously, she will not be able to perform the responsibilities and
obligations required of a guardian. In fact, in her petition, she admitted the difficulty of
discharging the duties of a guardian by an expatriate, like her. To be sure, she will merely
delegate those duties to someone else who may not also qualify as a guardian.cralaw : red
Moreover, we observe that respondents allegation that petitioner has not set foot in the
Philippines since 1987 has not been controverted by her. Besides, petitioners old age and
her conviction of libel by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Cebu City in Criminal Case No.
CBU-16884 6 filed by one Danilo R. Deen, will give her a second thought of staying here.
Indeed, her coming back to this country just to fulfill the duties of a guardian to Vincent for
only two years is not certain.
Significantly, this Court has held that courts should not appoint persons as guardians who are
not within the jurisdiction of our courts for they will find it difficult to protect the wards. In
Guerrero v. Teran, 7 this Court held:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Doa Maria Muoz y Gomez was, as above indicated, removed upon the theory that her
appointment was void because she did not reside in the Philippine Islands. There is nothing in
the law which requires the courts to appoint residents only as administrators or guardians.
However, notwithstanding the fact that there are no statutory requirements upon this
question, the courts, charged with the responsibilities of protecting the estates of deceased
persons, wards of the estate, etc., will find much difficulty in complying with this duty by
appointing administrators and guardians who are not personally subject to their jurisdiction.
Notwithstanding that there is no statutory requirement, the courts should not consent to the
appointment of persons as administrators and guardians who are not personally subject to
the jurisdiction of our courts here."cralaw virtua1aw library
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with modification in the sense that
Valerie, who has attained the age of majority, will no longer be under the guardianship of
respondent Helen Belmes.
Costs against petitioner.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Panganiban and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions

VITUG, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library


I share the opinion very well expressed by Madame Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez in
her ponencia.
There is in law and jurisprudence a recognition of the deep ties that bind parent and child.
Parents are thus placed first in rank in matters of parental authority. Substitute parental
authority may be exercised by the grandparents only in case the parents have died or are
absent or declared unfit in proper proceedings for that purpose. 1 Parental authority stands
to include the right and duty to the custody of the child, excepting only, of course, what
might otherwise be best for the childs welfare.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
When the law speaks of family relations, it must be deemed to refer, unless the contrary is
there indicated or the context of the law otherwise clearly conveys, to both legitimate and
illegitimate ties. The childs illegitimacy does not in any way affect the order of priority in the
exercise of parental authority. Indeed, Article 176 of the Family Code states that an
illegitimate child shall be under the parental authority of the mother who, consequentially,
should also be entitled to the custody of the child. 2

HEIRS OF JOSE SY BANG, HEIRS OF JULIAN SY and OSCAR


SY,28[1]

G.R. No. 114217

Petitioners,

- versus -

ROLANDO SY, ROSALINO SY, LUCIO SY, ENRIQUE SY, ROSAURO


SY, BARTOLOME SY, FLORECITA SY, LOURDES SY, JULIETA SY,
and ROSITA FERRERA-SY,
Respondents.

x-------------------------x

ILUMINADA TAN, SPOUSES JULIAN SY AND ROSA TAN,


ZENAIDA TAN, and MA. EMMA SY,

G.R. No. 150797

Petitioners,
Present:

CARPIO, J.
Chairperson,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
- versus -

VELASCO, JR.,

Before this Court are two Petitions for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court. The first Petition, G.R. No. 114217, assails the Decision29[2] dated May 6, 1993 and
the Resolution30[3] dated February 28, 1994 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
17686. On the other hand, the second Petition, G.R. No. 150797, questions the Decision
dated February 28, 2001 and the Resolution dated November 5, 2001 of the CA in CA-G.R. SP
No. 46244.

NACHURA, and
PERALTA, JJ.

The factual antecedents are as follows:

G.R. No. 114217


BARTOLOME SY, ROSALINO SY, FLORECITA SY, ROLANDO SY,
LOURDES SY, ROSAURO SY, JULIETA SY, and ROSITA FERRERASY,

On May 28, 1980, respondent Rolando Sy filed a Complaint for Partition against spouses Jose
Sy Bang and Iluminada Tan, spouses Julian Sy and Rosa Tan, Zenaida Sy, Ma. Emma Sy, Oscar
Sy, Rosalino Sy, Lucio Sy, Enrique Sy, Rosauro Sy, Bartolome Sy, Florecita Sy, Lourdes Sy,
Julieta Sy, Rosita Ferrera-Sy, and Renato Sy before the then Court of First Instance of Quezon,
Branch 2, docketed as Civil Case No. 8578.31[4]

Respondents.

Promulgated:

October 13, 2009

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Respondents Rolando Sy, Rosalino Sy, Lucio Sy, Enrique Sy, Rosauro Sy, Bartolome
Sy, Julieta Sy, Lourdes Sy, and Florecita Sy are the children of Sy Bang by his second marriage
to respondent Rosita Ferrera-Sy, while petitioners Jose Sy Bang, Julian Sy and Oscar Sy are
the children of Sy Bang from his first marriage to Ba Nga, and petitioners Zenaida Tan and
Ma. Emma Sy are the children of petitioner spouses Jose Sy Bang and Iluminada Tan.32[5]

Partial Decision and Second Partial Decision had long become final, without an appeal having
been interposed by any of the parties.36[9]
Sy Bang died intestate in 1971, leaving behind real and personal properties,
including several businesses.33[6]
On June 8, 1982, the Judge rendered a Third Partial Decision,37[10] the dispositive
portion of which reads as follows:
During an out-of-court conference between petitioners and respondents, it was
agreed that the management, supervision or administration of the common properties
and/or the entire estate of the deceased Sy Bang shall be placed temporarily in the hands of
petitioner Jose Sy Bang, as trustee, with authority to delegate some of his functions to any of
petitioners or private respondents. Thus, the function or duty of bookkeeper was delegated
by Jose Sy Bang to his co-petitioner Julian Sy, and the duty or function of management and
operation of the business of cinema of the common ownership was delegated by petitioner
Jose Sy Bang to respondent Rosauro Sy.34[7]

Herein petitioners and respondents also agreed that the income of the three
cinema houses, namely, Long Life, SBS and Sy-Co Theaters, shall exclusively pertain to
respondents for their support and sustenance, pending the termination of Civil Case No.
8578, for Judicial Partition, and the income from the vast parts of the entire estate and other
businesses of their common father, to pertain exclusively to petitioners. Hence, since the
year 1980, private respondents, through respondent Rosauro Sy, had taken charge of the
operation and management of the three cinema houses, with the income derived therefrom
evenly divided among themselves for their support and maintenance.35[8]

On March 30, 1981, the Judge rendered a First Partial Decision based on the
Compromise Agreement dated November 10, 1980, submitted in Civil Case No. 8578 by
plaintiff Rolando Sy and defendants Jose Sy Bang and Julian Sy. On April 2, 1981, the Judge
rendered a Second Partial Decision based on the pretrial order of the court, dated March 25,
1981, entered into by and between respondent Renato Sy and petitioner spouses. Said First

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby renders this Third Partial Decision:

(a)
Declaring that all the properties, businesses or assets, their income, produce and
improvements, as well as all the rights, interests or participations (sic) in the names of
defendants Jose Sy Bang and his wife Iluminada Tan and their children, defendants Zenaida
and Ma. Emma; both surnamed Sy, and defendants Julian Sy and his wife Rosa Tan, as
belonging to the estate of Sy Bang, including the properties in the names of said defendants
which are enumerated in the Complaints in this case and all those properties, rights and
interests which said defendants may have concealed or fraudulently transferred in the names
of other persons, their agents or representatives;

(b)
Declaring the following as the heirs of Sy Bang, namely: his surviving widow,
Maria Rosita Ferrera-Sy and her children, Enrique, Bartolome, Rosalino, Rolando, Rosauro,
Maria Lourdes, Florecita and Julieta, all surnamed Sy, and his children by his first wife,
namely: Jose Sy Bang, Julian Sy, Lucio Sy, Oscar Sy and Renato Sy;

(c)
Ordering the partition of the Estate of Sy Bang among his heirs entitled thereto
after the extent thereof shall have been determined at the conclusion of the proper
accounting which the parties in this case, their agents and representatives, shall render and
after segregating and delivering to Maria Rosita Ferrera-Sy her one-half (1/2) share in the
conjugal partnership between her and her deceased husband Sy Bang;

(d)
Deferring resolution on the question concerning the inclusion for partition of
properties in the names of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando and Enrique, all surnamed Sy.
On August 18, 1982, the trial court approved the bond posted by the receiver, Mrs. Lucita L.
Sarmiento, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy and Rosalino Sy.42[15]
SO ORDERED.

On June 16, 1982, petitioners filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings and for Inhibition,
alleging, among others, that the Judge had patently shown partiality in favor of their codefendants in the case. This motion was denied on August 16, 1982.38[11]

On July 4, 1982, petitioners filed a Petition for Prohibition and for Inhibition (Disqualification)
and Mandamus with Restraining Order with the Supreme Court docketed as G.R. No. 60957.
The Petition for Prohibition and for Inhibition was denied, and the Petition for Mandamus
with Restraining Order was Noted.39[12]

On August 17, 1982, the Judge issued two Orders: (1) in the first Order,40[13] Mrs. Lucita L.
Sarmiento was appointed as Receiver, and petitioners Motion for New Trial and/or
Reconsideration, dated July 9, 1982 and their Supplemental Motion, dated July 12, 1982,
were denied for lack of merit; and (2) in the second Order,41[14] the Judge ordered the
immediate cancellation of the lis pendens annotated at the back of the certificates of title in
the names of Bartolome Sy, Rosalino Sy and Rolando Sy.

While the Petition for Mandamus with Restraining Order was pending before the First
Division of the Supreme Court, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
before the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No. 61519. A Temporary Restraining Order was
issued on August 31, 1982, to enjoin the Judge from taking any action in Civil Case No. 8578
and, likewise, restraining the effectivity of and compliance with the Resolution dated August
16, 1982, the two Orders dated August 17, 1982, and the Order dated August 18, 1982.

On September 2, 1982, petitioners withdrew their Petition for Mandamus with Restraining
Order, docketed as G.R. No. 60957.

On September 11, 1982, an Urgent Manifestation and Motion was filed by Mrs. Lucita L.
Sarmiento, the appointed receiver, which was opposed by petitioners on September 24,
1982. 43[16]

After several incidents in the case, the Court, on May 8, 1989, referred the petition to the CA
for proper determination and disposition.

The CA rendered the assailed Decision44[17] on May 6, 1993, denying due course to and
dismissing the petition for lack of merit. It held that Judge Puno acted correctly in issuing the
assailed Third Partial Decision. The CA said that the act of Judge Puno in rendering a partial

decision was in accord with then Rule 36, Section 4, of the Rules of Court, which stated that
in an action against several defendants, the court may, when a judgment is proper, render
judgment against one or more of them, leaving the action to proceed against the others. It
found that the judges decision to defer resolution on the properties in the name of Rosalino,
Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique would not affect the resolution on the properties in the
names of Jose Sy Bang, Iluminada, Julian, Rosa, Zenaida, and Ma. Emma, since the properties
were separable and distinct from one another such that the claim that the same formed part
of the Sy Bang estate could be the subject of separate suits.

The CA also upheld the judges appointment of a receiver, saying that the judge did so after
both parties had presented their evidence and upon verified petition filed by respondents,
and in order to preserve the properties under litigation. Further, the CA found proper the
order to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the certificates of title in the names of
Rosalino, Rolando and Bartolome.

law when it upheld the trial courts Third Partial Decision which, they alleged, was rendered
in violation of their rights to due process.

Petitioners narrate that the trial court initially gave them two trial days May 26
and 27, 1982 to present their evidence. However, at the hearing on May 26, the judge
forced them to terminate the presentation of their evidence. On June 2, 1982, following
petitioners submission of additional documentary evidence, the trial court scheduled the
case for hearing on June 8 and 9, 1982, at 2 oclock in the afternoon in view of the
importance of the issue concerning whether all the properties in the names of Enrique Sy,
Bartolome Sy, Rosalino Sy, and Rolando Sy and/or their respective wives (as well as those in
the names of other party-litigants in this case) shall be declared or included as part of the
Estate of Sy Bang, and in view of the numerous documentary evidences (sic) presented by
Attys. Raya and Camaligan. At the June 8 hearing, petitioners presented additional evidence.
Unknown to them, however, the trial court had already rendered its Third Partial Decision at
11 oclock that morning. Thus, petitioners argue that said Third Partial Decision is
void.47[20]

The Motion for Reconsideration was denied on February 28, 1994.45[18]

On April 22, 1994, petitioners filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 43 of the
Rules of Court.

The Court denied the Petition for non-compliance with Circulars 1-88 and 19-91 for failure of
petitioners to attach the registry receipt. Petitioners moved for reconsideration, and the
Petition was reinstated on July 13, 1994.

In this Petition for Review, petitioners seek the reversal of the CA Decision and Resolution in
CA-G.R. SP No. 17686 and, consequently, the nullification of the Third Partial Decision and
orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. 8578. They also pray for the Court to direct the trial
court to proceed with the reception of further evidence in Civil Case No. 8578.46[19] In
particular, petitioners allege that the CA decided questions of substance not in accord with

They also question the trial courts First Order dated August 17, 1982 and Order
dated August 18, 1982 granting the prayer for receivership and appointing a receiver,
respectively, both allegedly issued without a hearing and without showing the necessity to
appoint a receiver. Lastly, they question the Second Order dated August 17, 1982 canceling
the notice of lis pendens ex parte and without any showing that the notice was for the
purpose of molesting the adverse parties, or that it was not necessary to protect the rights of
the party who caused it to be recorded.48[21]

On May 9, 1996, Rosita Ferrera-Sy filed a Motion for Payment of Widows


Allowance. She alleged that her deceased husband, Sy Bang, left an extensive estate. The
properties of the estate were found by the trial court to be their conjugal properties. From
the time of Sy Bangs death in 1971 until the filing of the motion, Rosita was not given any
widows allowance as provided in Section 3, Rule 83 of the Rules of Court by the parties in

possession and control of her husbands estate, or her share in the conjugal
partnership.49[22]

P1 million and a 229-square meter parcel of land, for which reason they were withdrawing as
plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 8578.53[26]

In their Comment on the Motion for Payment of Widows Allowance, petitioners


argued that Section 3, Rule 83 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that the same is
granted only during the settlement of the estate of the decedent, and this allowance,
under Article 188 of the Civil Code (now Article 133 of the Family Code), shall be taken from
the common mass of property during the liquidation of the inventoried properties.50[23]
Considering that the case before the trial court is a special civil action for partition under Rule
69 of the Rules of Court, Rosita is not entitled to widows allowance.

Respondents, except Enrique Sy, filed a Counter-Manifestation and Opposition to


Drop Rosita Sy as a Party.54[27] They said that it would be ridiculous for Rosita to give up her
share in Sy Bangs estate, amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos, which had already
been ordered partitioned by the trial court, to the prejudice of her seven full-blooded
children. They alleged that Rosita was not in possession of her full faculties when she affixed
her thumbmark on the Sinumpaang Salaysay considering her age, her frequent illness, and
her lack of ability to read or write. Hence, they filed a petition before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Lucena City for guardianship over her person and properties. They also
alleged that Enrique and some of Jose Sy Bangs children would stealthily visit Rosita in
Rosauros house while the latter was away. On one of those occasions, she was asked to
affix her thumbmark on some documents she could not read and knew nothing about. They
claim that Rosita has never received a single centavo of the P1 million allegedly given her.

On September 23, 1996, the Court granted the Motion for Payment of Widows
Allowance and ordered petitioners jointly and severally to pay Rosita P25,000.00 as the
widows allowance to be taken from the estate of Sy Bang, effective September 1, 1996 and
every month thereafter until the estate is finally settled or until further orders from the
Court.51[24]

In a Manifestation dated October 1, 1996, petitioners informed the Court that


Rosita and co-petitioner Enrique Sy had executed a waiver of past, present and future claims
against petitioners and, thus, should be dropped as parties to the case.52[25] Attached
thereto was a Sinumpaang Salaysay wherein Rosita and Enrique stated that they were given

In their Reply to Counter-Manifestation,55[28] petitioners countered that


respondents failed to present any concrete evidence to challenge the Sinumpaang Salaysay.
Since the same was duly notarized, it was a public document and presumed valid. They,
likewise, alleged that the Counter-Manifestation was filed without Rositas authorization as,
in fact, she had written her counsel with instructions to withdraw said pleading.56[29]
Further, they averred that Rosita executed the Sinumpaang Salaysay while in full possession
of her faculties. They alleged that Rosita intended to oppose the petition for guardianship
and they presented a copy of a sworn certification from Rositas physician that she (Rosita)

is physically fit and mentally competent to attend to her personal or business


transactions.57[30]

On the other hand, petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Courts
September 23, 1996 Resolution. It alleged that Rosita and Enrique executed their
Sinumpaang Salaysay on August 29, 1996. However, this development was made known to
the Court only on October 1, 1996; hence, the Court was not aware of this when it issued its
Resolution. Petitioners prayed for the reconsideration of the September 23, 1996 Resolution
and dropping Rosita and Enrique as parties to the case.58[31]

In their Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration, respondents maintained that the
Court should not consider the Motion for Reconsideration. Respondents alleged that Rosita
thumbmarked the Sinumpaang Salaysay without understanding the contents of the
document or the implications of her acts. Respondents also tried to demonstrate that their
mother would thumbmark any document that their children asked her to by exhibiting four
documents each denominated as Sinumpaang Salaysay and thumbmarked by Rosita. One
purported to disown the earlier Sinumpaang Salaysay. The second was a reproduction of the
earlier Sinumpaang Salaysay with the amount changed to P100.00, the Transfer Certificate of
Title number changed to 12343567, and the size of the property to as big as the entire
Lucena City. The third purported to bequeath her shares in the conjugal partnership of
gains to Rosauro, Bartolome, Rolando, and Rosalino, while refusing to give any inheritance to
Florecita, Lourdes, Julieta, and Enrique. Lastly, the fourth contradicted the third in that it was
in favor of Florecita, Lourdes, Julieta, and Enrique, while disinheriting Rosauro, Bartolome,
Rolando, and Rosalino. These, respondents assert, clearly show that their mother would sign
any document, no matter the contents, upon the request of any of her children.59[32]

The Court denied the Motion for Reconsideration on November 18, 1996.60[33]

Petitioners filed a Supplement to their Memorandum, additionally arguing that the


Third Partial Decision did not only unduly bind the properties without due process, but also
ignored the fundamental rule on the indefeasibility of Torrens titles.61[34]

G.R. No. 150797

Meanwhile, on September 30, 1996, respondents filed a Joint Petition for the Guardianship
of the Incompetent Rosita Ferrera-Sy before the RTC of Lucena City, Branch 58 (Guardianship
court), docketed as Special Proceedings No. 96-34. On May 19, 1997, Rosauro Sy, who
sought to be named as the special guardian, filed before the Guardianship court a Motion to
Order Court Deposit of Widows Allowance Ordered by the Supreme Court.62[35] Then, he
filed a Motion before this Court seeking an Order for petitioners to pay Rosita P2,150,000.00
in widows allowance and P25,000.00 every month thereafter, as ordered by this Court in its
September 23, 1996 Resolution. He also prayed for petitioners imprisonment should they
fail to comply therewith.63[36]

On July 8, 1997, the Guardianship court issued an Order, the dispositive portion of
which reads:

WHEREFORE, Mr. Jose Sy Bang and his wife Iluminada Tan; and their children,
Zenaida Sy and Ma. Emma Sy; and Julian Sy and his wife Rosa Tan, are hereby ordered to
deposit to this Court, jointly and severally, the amount of P250,000.00 representing the
widows allowance of the incompetent Rosita Ferrera Sy corresponding the (sic) periods from
September 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997, and additional amount of P25,000.00 per month and
every month thereafter, within the first ten (10) days of each month.64[37]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit and the assailed resolution
dated September 23, 1996 (sic) is AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs.

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Rosauro, the appointed guardian, then
asked the Guardianship court to issue a writ of execution. Meanwhile, on December 10,
1997, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 46244
to annul the July 8, 1997 Order and October 9, 1997 Resolution of the Guardianship
court.65[38]

Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied on November 5, 2001,68[41]


petitioners filed this Petition for Review69[42] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court praying for
this Court to reverse the CAs February 28, 2001 Decision and its Resolution denying the
Motion for Reconsideration, and to declare the Guardianship court to have exceeded its
jurisdiction in directing the deposit of the widows allowance in Special Proceedings No. 9634.70*43+ They argued that the Guardianship courts jurisdiction is limited to determining
whether Rosita was incompetent and, upon finding in the affirmative, appointing a guardian.
Moreover, under Rule 83, Section 3, of the Rules of Court, a widows allowance can only be
paid in an estate proceeding. Even if the complaint for partition were to be considered as
estate proceedings, only the trial court hearing the partition case had the exclusive
jurisdiction to execute the payment of the widows allowance.71[44]

In a Decision66*39+ dated February 28, 2001, the CA ruled in respondents favor,


finding nothing legally objectionable in private respondent Rosauro Sys filing of the motion
to order the deposit of the widows allowance ordered by the Supreme Court in G.R. No.
114217 or, for that matter, in the public respondents grant thereof in the order herein
assailed. More so, when the public respondents actions are viewed in the light of the
Supreme Courts denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration of its resolution dated
September 23, 1996.67[40] Thus it held:

SO ORDERED.

They raised the following issues:

The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the Guardianship Courts Order dated 8 July 1997,
and Resolution dated 9 October 1997, in that:

I
The trial court, acting as a Guardianship Court, and limited jurisdiction, had no authority to
enforce payment of widows allowance.

II
The payment of widows allowance cannot be implemented at *the+ present because the
estate of Sy Bang the source from which payment is to be taken has not been determined
with finality.

III

On January 21, 2002, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 114217 and G.R.
No. 150797. The parties submitted their respective Memoranda on May 21, 2003 and June
19, 2003, both of which were noted by this Court in its August 11, 2003 Resolution.

Pending the issuance of this Courts Decision in the two cases, respondent Rosauro
Sy filed, on November 11, 2003, a Motion to Order Deposit in Court of Supreme Courts
Ordered Widows Allowance Effective September 23, 1996 and Upon Failure of Petitioners
Julian Sy, et al. to Comply Therewith to Order Their Imprisonment Until Compliance. He
alleged that his mother had been ill and had no means to support herself except through his
financial assistance, and that respondents had not complied with this Courts September 23,
1996 Resolution, promulgated seven years earlier.74*47+ He argued that respondents
defiance constituted indirect contempt of court. That the Guardianship court had found
them guilty of indirect contempt did not help his mother because she was still unable to
collect her widows allowance.75[48]

Petitioners opposed said Motion arguing that the estate from which the widows
allowance is to be taken has not been settled. They also reiterated that Rosita, together with
son Enrique, had executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay waiving all claims against petitioners.
Hence, there was no legal ground to cite them in contempt.76[49]

The Order of the trial court purporting to enforce payment of widows allowance unduly
modified the express terms of this Honorable Courts Resolution granting it.72[45]
On April 4, 2005, this Court granted Rosauros Motion, to wit:

Petitioners, likewise, question the Guardianship courts omission of the phrase to


be taken from the estate of Sy Bang from the July 8, 1997 Order. They interpreted this to
mean that the Guardianship court was ordering that the widows allowance be taken from
their own properties and not from the estate of Sy Bang an undue modification of this
Courts September 23, 1996 Resolution.73[46]

WHEREFORE, the Court finds and so holds petitioner Iluminada Tan (widow of
deceased petitioner Jose Sy Bang), their children and co-petitioners Zenaida Sy, Ma. Emma

Sy, Julian Sy and the latters wife Rosa Tan, GUILTY of contempt of this Court and are
collectively sentenced to pay a FINE equivalent to ten (10%) percent of the total amount due
and unpaid to Rosita Ferrera-Sy by way of a widows allowance pursuant to this Courts
Resolution of September 13, 1996, and accordingly ORDERS their immediate imprisonment
until they shall have complied with said Resolution by paying Rosita Ferrera-Sy the amount of
TWO MILLION SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED PESOS (P2,600,100.00),
representing her total accumulated unpaid widows allowance from September, 1996 to
April, 2005 at the rate of TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P25,000.00) a month, plus six
(6%) percent interest thereon. The Court further DIRECTS petitioners to faithfully pay Rosita
Ferrera-Sy her monthly widows allowance for the succeeding months as they fall due, under
pain of imprisonment.

This Resolution is immediately EXECUTORY.

Chinese culture, she had no participation in the management of the family business or Sy
Bangs estate. After her husbands death, she allegedly inherited nothing but debts and
liabilities, and, having no income of her own, was now in a quandary on how these can be
paid. She asked the Court to consider that she had not disobeyed its Resolution and to
consider her motion.

Other petitioners, Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma, also filed a Motion for Reconsideration
with Prayer for Clarification.81[54] They stressed that the P1 million and the piece of land
Rosita had already received from Jose Sy Bang in 1996 should form part of the widows
allowance. They also argued that whatever allowance Rosita may be entitled to should come
from the estate of Sy Bang. They further argued the unfairness of being made to pay the
allowance when none of them participated in the management of Sy Bangs estate; Zenaida
and Ma. Emma being minors at the time of his death, while Iluminada and Rosa had no
significant role in the family business.

SO ORDERED.77[50]
Respondents then filed a Motion for Issuance of Order Requiring Respondents to
Deposit with the Supreme Courts Cashier its Ordered Widows Allowance82[55] and a
Motion for Execution of Resolution dated April 4, 2005.83[56] Petitioners opposed the
same.84[57]
Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma paid the court fine of P260,010.00 on April 5,
2005.78[51]

Respondents, except Rosauro Sy (who had died), filed a Motion for Execution79[52]
before this Court on April 25, 2005. On the other hand, petitioner Rosa Tan filed a Motion for
Reconsideration with Prayer for Clarification.80[53] She alleged that, in accordance with

On July 25, 2005, the Court issued a Resolution granting both of respondents
motions and denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.85[58]

points. Further, Atty. Joyas is not petitioners counsel of record in this case since he never
formally entered his appearance before the Court.88[61]

Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma filed, on August 15, 2005, a
Manifestation of Compliance and Motion for Clarification.86[59] They maintained that the
issues they had raised in the motion for reconsideration had not been duly resolved. They
argued that when this Court issued its September 23, 1996 Resolution, it was not yet aware
that Rosita had executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay, wherein she waived her claims and causes
of action against petitioners. They also informed this Court that, on April 17, 1998, the
Guardianship court had issued an Order which recognized a temporary agreement based
on the voluntary offer of Jose Sy Bang of a financial assistance of P5,000.00 per month to
Rosita while the case was pending. Moreover, as a manifestation of good faith, petitioners
Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma paid the P430,000.00 out of their own funds in partial
compliance with the Courts Resolution. However, the same did not in any way constitute a
waiver of their rights or defenses in the present case. They underscored the fact that the
allowance must come from the estate of Sy Bang, and not from Jose Sy Bang or any of the
latters heirs, the extent of which remained undetermined. They further asked the Court to
adjudicate the liability for the widows allowance to be equally divided between them and
the other set of petitioners, the heirs of Julian Sy.

In a Resolution dated September 14, 2005, the Court denied the motion to refer
Atty. Joyas to the IBP for being a wrong remedy.89[62]

On August 30, 2005, respondents filed a motion asking this Court to issue an Order
for the immediate incarceration of petitioners for refusing to comply with the Courts
resolution.87[60] They aver that the period within which petitioners were to comply with the
Courts Resolution had now lapsed, and thus, petitioners must now be incarcerated for
failure to abide by said Resolution. They likewise asked the Court to refer petitioners
counsel, Atty. Vicente M. Joyas, to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for violations of
the Canons of Professional Responsibility or to declare him in contempt of court. They
alleged that despite the finality of the Courts denial of petitioners motion for
reconsideration, Atty. Joyas still filed a Manifestation with compliance arguing the same

Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma then filed an Omnibus


Motion,90*63+ seeking an extension of time to comply with the Courts Resolution and
Motion to delete the penalty of fine as a consequence of voluntary compliance. They insist
that their compliance with the order to pay the widows allowance should obliterate,
expunge, and blot out the penalty of fine and imprisonment. They alleged that for their
failure to comply with this Courts Resolution, the RTC, Lucena City, found them guilty of
indirect contempt and imposed on them a fine of P30,000.00. They had appealed said order
to the CA.

They also tried to make a case out of the use of the terms joint and several in the
September 23 Resolution, and collectively in the April 5, 2005 Resolution. They argued
that joint and several creates individual liability for each of the parties for the full amount
of the obligation, while collectively means that all members of the group are responsible
together for the action of the group. Hence, collectively would mean that the liability
belongs equally to the two groups of petitioners. They requested for an additional 60 days to
raise the necessary amount. They also asked the Court to hold their imprisonment in
abeyance until their just and reasonable compliance with the Courts orders.

Barely a month later, petitioners, through their new counsel, filed another
Manifestation stressing that Sy Bangs marriage to Rosita Ferrera is void. They claimed that

respondents have falsified documents to lead the courts into believing that Rositas marriage
to Sy Bang is valid.

The Omnibus Motion was denied in a Resolution dated October 17, 2005.
Thereafter, respondents filed a Motion to Immediately Order Incarceration of
Petitioners,91[64] which petitioners opposed.92[65]

In a Resolution dated December 12, 2005,93[66] the Court issued a Warrant of


Arrest94[67] against petitioners and directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to
detain them until they complied with this Courts April 4, 2005 and July 25, 2005 Resolutions.

Petitioner Rosa Tan filed a Manifestation with Motion.95[68] She informed the
Court that, to show that she was not obstinate and contumacious of the Court and its orders,
she had begged and pleaded with her relatives to raise money to comply, but concedes that
she was only able to raise a minimal amount since she has no source of income herself and
needs financial support to buy her food and medicines. She obtained her brothers help and
the latter issued six checks in the total amount of P650,000.00. She also alleged that she was
not informed by her husbands counsel of the developments in the case, and remained
unconsulted on any of the matters or incidents of the case. She reiterated that she had no

participation in the management of the Sy Bang estate and received nothing of value upon
her husbands death. She prayed that the Court would not consider her failure to raise any
further amount as contempt or defiance of its orders.

The motion was denied in a Resolution dated January 16, 2006.

In an Urgent Manifestation of Compliance with the Contempt Resolutions with


Payment of Widows Allowance with Prayer Reiterating the Lifting of Warrant of Arrest on
Humanitarian Grounds,96[69] petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma asked the Court
to delete the penalty of indefinite imprisonment considering their partial compliance and the
partial compliance of Rosa Tan. They expressed willingness to deposit the widows allowance
with the Supreme Courts Cashier pending the determination of Sy Bangs estate. They
reasoned that the money to be deposited is their own and does not belong to Sy Bangs
estate. The deposit is made for the sole purpose of deleting the penalty of indefinite
imprisonment. They claim that they are not willfully disobeying the Courts order but are
merely hesitating to comply because of pending incidents such as the falsification charges
against Rosita, the resolution of the partition case, the Sinumpaang Salaysay executed by
Rosita, and the pendency of Rositas guardianship proceedings, as well as humanitarian
considerations. Thus, they prayed for the Court to reconsider the order of contempt and to
recall the warrant of arrest.

On February 15, 2006, this Court issued a Resolution97[70] lifting the warrant of
arrest on petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida, Ma. Emma, and Rosa Tan on the condition that they
issue the corresponding checks to settle the accrued widows allowance of Rosita Ferrera-Sy.
They were also directed to submit proof of their compliance to the Court within ten (10) days
from notice.

In a Manifestation98[71] dated February 28, 2006, petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida


and Ma. Emma informed the Court that they had deposited the checks in favor of Rosita with
the RTC, Lucena City, Branch 58, during the proceedings on February 28, 2006.99[72]

Respondents filed a Comment to the Manifestation arguing that the deposit of said
checks, amounting to P1,073,053.00, does not amount to full compliance with the Courts
order considering that the accrued widows allowance now amounted to P4,528,125.00.

Then, petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma filed a Motion to include
Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise Liable for the
Payment of Widows Allowance as Heirs of Sy Bang as they may also hold Assets-Properties
of the Estate of Sy Bang.100[73] They argued that it is denial of the equal protection clause
for the Court to single out only the two children of the first marriage Jose Sy Bang and
Julian Sy and their heirs, as the ones responsible for the widows allowance. This ruling,
they aver, does not take into consideration the numerous and valuable properties from the
estate of Sy Bang being held in the names of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique.
They alleged that two compromise agreements, both approved by the trial court, transferred
properties to Rolando and Renato. They further alleged that respondents Rolando, Maria
Lourdes, Florecita, Rosalino, Enrique, and Rosita Ferrera-Sy have executed separate waivers
and quitclaims over their shares in the estate of Sy Bang for certain considerations.
However, out of respect for the Court and their fear of incarceration, they complied with the
Courts orders using their personal funds which they claim is unfair because they have never
participated in the management of the properties of Sy Bang. They prayed that the Court
pronounce that the liability for the widows allowance be divided proportionately among the
following groups: Iluminada, Zenaida, and Ma. Emma; Rosa Tan; Rosalino Sy and wife Helen
Loo; Bartolome Sy and wife Virginia Lim; Rolando Sy and wife Anacorita Rioflorido; and the
heirs of Enrique Sy, namely, Elaine Destura and Edwin Maceda.

On March 23, 2006, petitioners filed an Urgent Reply to respondents Comment on


the manifestation of compliance with Opposition101[74] to the motion filed by respondents
for the Court to reiterate its order for the NBI to arrest petitioners for failure to comply with
the February 15, 2006 Resolution. They argued that they had fully complied with the Courts
orders. They alleged that on three occasions within the period, they had tried to submit 12
postdated checks to the Courts cashiers, but the same were refused due to the policy of the
Court not to issue receipts on postdated checks. They then filed a motion before the RTC of
Lucena City praying for authority to deposit the checks with the trial court. The motion was
denied but, on reconsideration, was later granted. The checks are now in the custody of the
RTC. The only issue respondents raise, they claim, is the amount of the checks. Hence, there
is no basis for the Court to direct the NBI to effect their arrest.

The Court, in a Resolution dated March 29, 2006, required respondents to


comment on the motion to include some of them in the payment of widows allowance.
Petitioners, on the other hand, were required to comment on a motion filed by respondents
for the Court to reiterate its order to the NBI to arrest petitioners for failure to comply with
the February 15, 2006 Resolution.102[75]

Petitioners filed their Comment with Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the March 29,
2006 Resolution.103[76] They reiterated their arguments in their Urgent Reply to
respondents Comment on the manifestation of compliance with Opposition. They further
alleged that there is now a Resolution by the Regional State Prosecutor, Region IV, San Pablo
City, finding probable cause to charge respondents with falsification of three marriage
contracts between Sy Bang and Rosita Ferrera. According to them, this development now
constitutes a highly prejudicial question on whether they should comply with the order to
pay widows allowance. They claim that, while the filing of the information is merely the first
step in the criminal prosecution of respondents, it already casts doubt on whether Rosita is
legally entitled to the widows allowance. They now seek partial reconsideration of the
Resolution inasmuch as it requires them to deposit with the Clerk of Court, RTC of Lucena
City, Branch 58, new checks payable to Rosita Ferrera.

Respondents, on the other hand, filed a Comment and Manifestation104[77] on


why they should not be made to pay the widows allowance. They argued that the RTC had
already decided that the estate of Sy Bang was comprised of properties in the names of Jose
Sy Bang, Iluminada Tan, Zenaida, Ma. Emma, Julian Sy, and Rosa Tan, and the same was
affirmed by the CA. Pending the resolution of the appeal before this Court, this Decision
stands. Thus, petitioners claim that the estate of Sy Bang is yet undetermined is false. They
also claim that, contrary to petitioners claims of being poor, they still hold enormous
properties of the Sy Bang estate, which had been transferred in their names through
falsification of public documents, now subject of several cases which respondents filed
against them before the Department of Justice (DOJ). Respondents further claim that the
validity of their mothers marriage to Sy Bang has been recognized by the courts in several
cases where the issue had been raised, including the case for recognition of Rositas Filipino
citizenship, the guardianship proceedings, and the partition proceedings.

On June 23, 2006, respondents filed a Motion for Substitution of Parties.105[78]


They averred that Jose Sy Bang died on September 11, 2001, leaving behind his widow
Iluminada and 14 children, while Julian Sy died on August 28, 2004, leaving behind his widow
Rosa and eight children. The claims against Jose and Julian were not extinguished by their
deaths. It was the duty of petitioners counsel, under Rule 3, Section 16 of the Rules of
Court, to inform the Court of these deaths within 30 days thereof. Petitioners counsel failed
to so inform this Court, which should be a ground for disciplinary action. Hence, respondents
prayed that the Court order the heirs of the two deceased to appear and be substituted in
these cases within 30 days from notice.

Respondents then filed a Manifestation and Motion to Implement the Supreme


Courts Resolutions of September 23, 1996, April 4, 2005, July 25, 2005, December 12, 2005,
and February 15, 2006.107[80] They prayed that petitioners be given a last period of five
days within which to deposit with the Supreme Court Cashier all the accrued widows
allowances as of June 2006.

Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma opposed respondents manifestation


and motion.108[81] They argued that the resolutions sought to be implemented were all
issued prior to the DOJ Resolution finding probable cause to file the falsification charges
against respondents. They contended that the criminal cases for falsification expose Rosita as
a mere common-law wife and not a widow; hence, there is no legal justification to give her
the widows allowance. They also reiterated their earlier arguments against the grant of
widows allowance.

Meanwhile, Rosa Tan filed a Comment on the Substitution of Parties with Motion
for Reconsideration.109[82] She argued that since the trial court had already appointed a
judicial administrator for the estate of Sy Bang, which includes Julian Sys estate, the proper
party to be substituted should be the administrator and not Julians heirs who never
exercised ownership rights over the properties thereof.

The Court denied the motion for reconsideration to the Resolution granting
substitution of parties for lack of merit on November 20, 2006.
In a Resolution106[79] dated July 5, 2006, the Court granted the motion for
substitution and noted the Comment and Manifestation on the Motion to include Rosalino
Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise Liable for the Payment of
Widows Allowance as Heirs of Sy Bang.

The Courts Ruling

G.R. No. 114217

SEC. 4. Several judgments. In an action against several defendants, the court may, when a
several judgment is proper, render judgment against one or more of them, leaving the action
to proceed against the others.

Finding no reversible error therein, we affirm the CA Decision.

The Third Partial Decision of the RTC

The trial courts Third Partial Decision is in the nature of a several judgment as contemplated
by the rule quoted above. The trial court ruled on the status of the properties in the names
of petitioners (defendants below) while deferring the ruling on the properties in the names
of respondents pending the presentation of evidence.

To review, the CA held, to wit:


A several judgment is proper when the liability of each party is clearly separable and distinct
from that of his co-parties, such that the claims against each of them could have been the
subject of separate suits, and judgment for or against one of them will not necessarily affect
the other.111[84]
The respondent Judge acted correctly inasmuch as his decision to defer the resolution on the
question concerning the properties in the name of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando and
Enrique, all surnamed Sy, will not necessarily affect the decision he rendered concerning the
properties in the names of Jose Sy Bang and wife, Julian Sy and wife, Zenaida Sy and Maria
Sy, considering that the properties mentioned were separable and distinct from each other,
such that the claim that said properties were not their own, but properties of the late Sy
Bang, could have been the subject of separate suits.110[83]

Petitioners, although sued collectively, each held a separate and separable interest in the
properties of the Sy Bang estate.

The pronouncement as to the obligation of one or some petitioners did not affect the
determination of the obligations of the others. That the properties in the names of
petitioners were found to be part of the Sy Bang estate did not preclude any further findings
or judgment on the status or nature of the properties in the names of the other heirs.
We agree with the CA.
The trial courts June 2, 1982 Order reads:
Section 4, Rule 36 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure states:

IN view of the importance of the issue concerning whether all the properties in the name
(sic) of Enrique Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rosalino Sy and Rolando Sy and/or their respective wives
(as well as those in the names of the other parties litigants in this case), (sic) shall be declared
or included as part of the Estate of Sy Bang, and in view of the numerous documentary

evidences (sic) presented by Attys. Raya and Camaligan after the said question was agreed to
be submitted for resolution on May 26, 1982, the Court hereby sets for the reception or for
the resolution of said issue in this case on June 8 and 9, 1982, both at 2:00 oclock in the
afternoon; notify all parties litigants in this case of these settings.112[85]

It is obvious from the trial courts order113[86] that the June 8, 1982 hearing is for the
purpose of determining whether properties in the names of Enrique Sy, Bartolome Sy,
Rosalino Sy, and Rolando Sy and/or their respective wives are also part of the Sy Bang estate.

The trial court painstakingly examined the evidence on record and narrated the details, then
carefully laid out the particulars in the assailed Decision. The evidence that formed the basis
for the trial courts conclusion is embodied in the Decision itself evidence presented by the
parties themselves, including petitioners.

However, notwithstanding the trial courts pronouncement, the Sy Bang estate cannot be
partitioned or distributed until the final determination of the extent of the estate and only
until it is shown that the obligations under Rule 90, Section 1,115[88] have been
settled.116[89]

Hence, in the assailed Decision, the trial court said:

[I]n fact, the Court will require further evidence for or against any of the parties in this case in
the matter of whatever sums of money, property or asset belonging to the estate of Sy Bang
that came into their possession in order that the Court may be properly guided in the
partition and adjudication of the rightful share and interest of the heirs of Sy Bang over the
latters estate; this becomes imperative in view of new matters shown in the Submission and
Formal Offer of Reserve Exhibits and the Offer of Additional Documentary Evidence filed
respectively by Oscar Sy and Jose Sy Bang, et al., thru their respective counsels after the
question of whether or not the properties in the names of Enrique, Bartolome, Rosalino, and
Rolando, all surnamed Sy, should form part or be included as part of the estate of Sy Bang,
had been submitted for resolution as of May 26, 1982; the Court deems it proper to receive
additional evidence on the part of any of the parties litigants in this case if only to determine
the true extent of the estate belonging to Sy Bang.114[87]

In the settlement of estate proceedings, the distribution of the estate properties can only be
made: (1) after all the debts, funeral charges, expenses of administration, allowance to the
widow, and estate tax have been paid; or (2) before payment of said obligations only if the
distributees or any of them gives a bond in a sum fixed by the court conditioned upon the
payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs, or when provision is made
to meet those obligations.117[90]

Settling the issue of ownership is the first stage in an action for partition.118[91] As this
Court has ruled:

As to the issue of the judges appointment of a receiver, suffice it to say that the CA
conclusively found thus:

The issue of ownership or co-ownership, to be more precise, must first be resolved in order
to effect a partition of properties. This should be done in the action for partition itself. As
held in the case of Catapusan v. Court of Appeals:

In actions for partition, the court cannot properly issue an order to divide the property,
unless it first makes a determination as to the existence of co-ownership. The court must
initially settle the issue of ownership, the first stage in an action for partition. Needless to
state, an action for partition will not lie if the claimant has no rightful interest over the
subject property. In fact, Section 1 of Rule 69 requires the party filing the action to state in
his complaint the nature and extent of his title to the real estate. Until and unless the issue
of ownership is definitely resolved, it would be premature to effect a partition of the
properties x x x.119[92]

Moreover, the Third Partial Decision does not have the effect of terminating the proceedings
for partition. By its very nature, the Third Partial Decision is but a determination based on the
evidence presented thus far. There remained issues to be resolved by the court. There
would be no final determination of the extent of the Sy Bang estate until the courts
examination of the properties in the names of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique.
Based on the evidence presented, the trial court will have to make a pronouncement
whether the properties in the names of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique indeed
belong to the Sy Bang estate. Only after the full extent of the Sy Bang estate has been
determined can the trial court finally order the partition of each of the heirs share.

The records show that the petitioners were never deprived of their day in court. Upon Order
of the respondent Judge, counsel for the petitioners submitted their opposition to [the]
petition for appointment of a receiver filed by private respondents. x x x.

Moreover, evidence on record shows that respondent Judge appointed the receiver after
both parties have presented their evidence and after the Third Partial Decision has been
promulgated. Such appointment was made upon verified petition of herein private
respondents, alleging that petitioners are mismanaging the properties in litigation by either
mortgaging or disposing the same, hence, the said properties are in danger of being lost,
wasted, dissipated, misused, or disposed of. The respondent Judge acted correctly in granting
the appointment of a receiver in Civil Case No. 8578, in order to preserve the properties in
litis pendentia and neither did he abuse his discretion nor acted arbitrarily in doing s. On the
contrary, We find that it was the petitioners who violated the status quo sought to be
maintained by the Supreme Court, in G.R. No. 61519, by their intrusion and unwarranted
seizures of the 3 theaters, subject matter of the litigation, and which are admittedly under
the exclusive management and operation of private respondent, Rosauro Sy.120[93]

Cancellation of Notice of Lis Pendens

Next, petitioners question the trial courts Order canceling the notice of lis pendens.121[94]

Section 77 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, or the Property Registration Decree, provides:
Appointment of Receiver

This Court has interpreted the notice as:

SEC. 77. Cancellation of lis pendens. Before final judgment, a notice of lis pendens may be
cancelled upon order of the court, after proper showing that the notice is for the purpose of
molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the rights of the party who
caused it to be registered. It may also be cancelled by the Register of Deeds upon verified
petition of the party who caused the registration thereof.

At any time after final judgment in favor of the defendant, or other disposition of the action
such as to terminate finally all rights of the plaintiff in and to the land and/or buildings
involved, in any case in which a memorandum or notice of lis pendens has been registered as
provided in the preceding section, the notice of lis pendens shall be deemed cancelled upon
the registration of certificate of the clerk of court in which the action or proceeding was
pending stating the manner of disposal thereof.

The filing of a notice of lis pendens has a two-fold effect: (1) to keep the subject matter of
the litigation within the power of the court until the entry of the final judgment in order to
prevent the final judgment from being defeated by successive alienations; and (2) to bind a
purchaser, bona fide or not, of the land subject of the litigation to the judgment or decree
that the court will promulgate subsequently.122[95]

The notice is but an incident in an action, an extrajudicial one, to be sure. It does not affect
the merits thereof. It is intended merely to constructively advise, or warn, all people who
deal with the property that they so deal with it at their own risk, and whatever rights they
may acquire in the property in any voluntary transaction are subject to the results of the
action, and may well be inferior and subordinate to those which may be finally determined
and laid down therein. The cancellation of such a precautionary notice is therefore also a
mere incident in the action, and may be ordered by the Court having jurisdiction of it at any
given time. And its continuance or removallike the continuance or removal of a preliminary
attachment of injunctionis not contingent on the existence of a final judgment in the action,
and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof.124[97]

The CA found, and we affirm, that Rosalino, Bartolome and Rolando were able to prove that
the notice was intended merely to molest and harass the owners of the property, some of
whom were not parties to the case. It was also proven that the interest of Oscar Sy, who
caused the notice to be annotated, was only 1/14 of the assessed value of the property.
Moreover, Rosalino, Bartolome and Rolando were ordered to post a P50,000.00 bond to
protect whatever rights or interest Oscar Sy may have in the properties under litis
pendentia.125[98]

G.R. No. 150797


While the trial court has an inherent power to cancel a notice of lis pendens, such power is to
be exercised within the express confines of the law. As provided in Section 14, Rule 13 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a notice of lis pendens may be cancelled on two grounds: (1)
when the annotation was for the purpose of molesting the title of the adverse party, or (2)
when the annotation is not necessary to protect the title of the party who caused it to be
recorded.123[96]

In G.R. No. 150797, petitioners are asking this Court to reverse the CAs February 28, 2001
Decision and its Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration, and to declare the
Guardianship court to have exceeded its jurisdiction in directing the deposit of the widows
allowance in Special Proceedings No. 96-34.

We find merit in petitioners contention.

Thus, as evident from the foregoing provisions, it is the court hearing the settlement of the
estate that should effect the payment of widows allowance considering that the properties
of the estate are within its jurisdiction, to the exclusion of all other courts.126[99]

The court hearing the petition for guardianship had limited jurisdiction. It had no jurisdiction
to enforce payment of the widows allowance ordered by this Court.
In emphasizing the limited jurisdiction of the guardianship court, this Court has pronounced
that:
Reviewing the antecedents, we note that the claim for widows allowance was made before
the Supreme Court in a case that did not arise from the guardianship proceedings. The case
subject of the Supreme Court petition (Civil Case No. 8578) is still pending before the RTC of
Lucena City.

Rule 83, Sec. 3, of the Rules of Court states:

SEC. 3. Allowance to widow and family. The widow and minor or incapacitated
children of a deceased person, during the settlement of the estate, shall receive therefrom,
under the direction of the court, such allowance as are provided by law.

Generally, the guardianship court exercising special and limited jurisdiction cannot actually
order the delivery of the property of the ward found to be embezzled, concealed, or
conveyed. In a categorical language of this Court, only in extreme cases, where property
clearly belongs to the ward or where his title thereto has been already judicially decided,
may the court direct its delivery to the guardian. In effect, there can only be delivery or
return of the embezzled, concealed or conveyed property of the ward, where the right or
title of said ward is clear and undisputable. However, where title to any property said to be
embezzled, concealed or conveyed is in dispute, x x x the determination of said title or right
whether in favor of the persons said to have embezzled, concealed or conveyed the property
must be determined in a separate ordinary action and not in a guardianship
proceedings.127[100]

Correlatively, Article 188 of the Civil Code states:

Art. 188. From the common mass of property support shall be given to the surviving spouse
and to the children during the liquidation of the inventoried property and until what belongs
to them is delivered; but from this shall be deducted that amount received for support which
exceeds the fruits or rents pertaining to them.

Obviously, the court referred to in Rule 83, Sec. 3, of the Rules of Court is the court hearing
the settlement of the estate. Also crystal clear is the provision of the law that the widows
allowance is to be taken from the common mass of property forming part of the estate of the
decedent.

Further, this Court has held that the distribution of the residue of the estate of the deceased
incompetent is a function pertaining properly, not to the guardianship proceedings, but to
another proceeding in which the heirs are at liberty to initiate.128[101]

Other Unresolved Incidents

We remind petitioners again that they are duty-bound to comply with whatever the courts,
in relation to the properties under litigation, may order.

Payment of Widows Allowance


Motion to Include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise
Liable for the Payment of Widows Allowance as Heirs of Sy Bang
It has been 13 years since this Court ordered petitioners to pay Rosita Ferrera-Sy her monthly
widows allowance. Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma have since fought tooth
and nail against paying the said allowance, grudgingly complying only upon threat of
incarceration. Then, they again argued against the grant of widows allowance after the DOJ
issued its Resolution finding probable cause in the falsification charges against respondents.
They contended that the criminal cases for falsification proved that Rosita is a mere
common-law wife and not a widow and, therefore, not entitled to widows allowance.

On March 14, 2006, petitioners filed a Motion to include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando
Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise Liable for the Payment of Widows Allowance as Heirs
of Sy Bang.

This argument deserves scant consideration.

The Motion is denied.

A finding of probable cause does not conclusively prove the charge of falsification against
respondents.

The widows allowance, as discussed above, is chargeable to Sy Bangs estate. It must be


stressed that the issue of whether the properties in the names of Rosalino, Bartolome,
Rolando, and Enrique Sy form part of Sy Bangs estate remains unsettled since this Petition
questioning the trial courts Third Partial Decision has been pending. On the other hand,
there has been a categorical pronouncement that petitioners are holding properties
belonging to Sy Bangs estate.

In a preliminary investigation, probable cause has been defined as the existence of such
facts and circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts
within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for
which he was prosecuted. It is well-settled that a finding of probable cause needs to rest
only on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and was
committed by the suspects. Probable cause need not be based on clear and convincing
evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and
definitely not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt.129[102]

Hence, until the marriage is finally declared void by the court, the same is presumed valid
and Rosita is entitled to receive her widows allowance to be taken from the estate of Sy
Bang.

That the full extent of Sy Bangs estate has not yet been determined is no excuse from
complying with this Courts order. Properties of the estate have been identified i.e., those
in the names of petitioners thus, these properties should be made to answer for the
widows allowance of Rosita. In any case, the amount Rosita receives for support, which
exceeds the fruits or rents pertaining to her, will be deducted from her share of the
estate.130[103]

A Final Note

We are appalled by the delay in the disposition of this case brought about by petitioners
propensity to challenge the Courts every directive. That the petitioners would go to extreme
lengths to evade complying with their duties under the law and the orders of this Court is
truly deplorable. Not even a citation for contempt and the threat of imprisonment seemed to
deter them. Their contumacious attitude and actions have dragged this case for far too long
with practically no end in sight. Their abuse of legal and court processes is shameful, and
they must not be allowed to continue with their atrocious behavior. Petitioners deserve to
be sanctioned, and ordered to pay the Court treble costs.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Petition in G.R. No. 150797 is
GRANTED, while the Petition in G.R. No. 114217 is DENIED. The Regional Trial Court of
Lucena City is directed to hear and decide Civil Case No. 8578 with dispatch. The Motion to
include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise Liable for
the Payment of Widows Allowance as Heirs of Sy Bang is DENIED. Treble costs against
petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. L-23096. April 27, 1972.]


MARTIN NERY and LEONCIA L. DE LEON, Petitioners, v. ROSARIO, ALFREDO, MARIANO,
PACIFICO, ONOFRE, TEOFILO, LOLOY and TRINIDAD, all surnamed LORENZO, Respondents.

[G.R. No. L-23376. April 27, 1972]


DIONISIO, PERFECTO, MARIA REBECCA, ASUNCION, MAURO and LOURDES, all surnamed
LORENZO, Petitioners, v. MARTIN NERY and LEONCIA L. DE LEON, Respondents.
Salonga, Ordonez, Yap, Sicat & Associates, for Petitioners.
Estanislao A. Fernandez for Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; GUARDIANSHIP; SERVICE OF NOTICE TO MINORS ABOVE 14 YEARS


OF AGE, FAILURE THEREOF INFORMS SALE OF THEIR PROPERTY. Where the guardianship
proceeding was heard without the two elder of four minor children being notified although
said two were then more than 14 years of age, the sale by their guardian of a property
belonging to the minors and their guardian, even if authorized by the probate court, may be
impugned. The jurisdictional infirmity of such lack of notice to the 14 year old minors was too
patent to be overcome.
2. ID.; ID.; RIGHT OF YOUNG PROTECTED. It is a distinct feature of our law, one that is
quite commendable, that whenever their welfare may be affected, its solicitude is made
manifest. The rights of young are not to be ignored. Precisely their stage of immaturity calls
for every procedural principle being observed before their interest in property to which they
have a claim could be adversely affected. It does not matter that their guardian is their
mother. As far back as 1911, in Salunga v. Evangelista (20 Phil. 273), Chief Justice Arellano
took note that even a mother could have an "interest opposed to that of her children." That
may not have been the precise situation in this case, certainly from the facts as found by the
Court of Appeals, the Lorenzo children would have been better protected if they were
notified as is required by law. If there is any occasion then why there should be a strict
insistence on rule having the impress of a jurisdictional requirement, this is it.
3. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; DOCTRINE OF THE STATE ACTING AS PARENTS PATRIAE. Where
minors are involved, the State acts as parens patriae. To it is cast the duty of protecting the
rights of persons or individual who because of age or incapacity are in an unfavorable
position, vis-a-vis other parties. Unable as they are to take due care of what concerns them,
they have the political community to look after their welfare. This obligation the State must
live up to. It can not be recreant to such a trust.
4. CIVIL LAW; TRUSTEE INCAPABLE OF ACQUIRING INTEREST OPPOSED TO HIS PRINCIPAL.
At no time had the deceased Leoncio Lorenzo ever denied that he was holding one-fourth of
the property in question in the capacity of trustee for the heirs of Silvestra Ferrer. At the time
that the settlement of his estate was pending in the probate court, his widow, Bienvenida de
la Isla, the vendor, could not assert any other right, except that traceable to her late
husband. Petitioner Martin S. Nery, being a lawyer as noted by respondent Court Appeals,
could not have been unaware that his vendor could not sell to him more than she rightfully

could dispose of. It is much too late in the day to depart from the well settled principle as to
a trustee being incapable of acquiring interest opposed to that of his principal.
5. ID.; ID.; NO PRESCRIPTION IN FAVOR OF TRUSTEE IN CASE AT BAR. As to the alleged
prescription, the issue was resolved satisfactorily by the lower court in this fashion: "The
action of said children of Tomasa Ferrer has not as yet prescribed because from the death of
Silvestra Ferrer in 1952 up to the filing of the third-party complaint on September 3, 1958,
barely six years had elapsed. Moreover, there is no clear and satisfactory evidence that
Leoncio Lorenzo and his successors-in-interest had been in continuous, adverse, and open
possession, and under claim of ownership, of the one-fourth portion corresponding to
Silvestra Ferrer as to acquire same by acquisitive prescription.

DECISION

FERNANDO, J.:

The point to be resolved in these two petitions for the review of a decision of the respondent
Court of Appeals dated April 30, 1964 is the extent of the rights acquired by the vendees, the
spouses Martin Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon 1 arising from a sale of a parcel of land, four (4)
hectares more or less, situated in Malaking Kahoy, Paraaque, Rizal. The vendor, Bienvenida
de la Isla, was the widow of the deceased Leoncio Lorenzo and guardian of their children,
Dionisio, Perfecto, Maria Rebecca, Asuncion, Mauro and Lourdes, 2 who thereafter
challenged the validity of such a transaction. It was their contention that notwithstanding an
order authorizing the sale from the probate court on June 2, 1953, it could be impugned as
they were not informed of such a move. Moreover, the guardianship proceeding, instituted
on December 7, 1950, was heard without the two elder children, Dionisio and Perfecto
Lorenzo being notified although they were then more than 14 years of age. The heirs of
Silvestra Ferrer, who originally owned one-fourth of the property in question, 3 intervened in
such action. In the lower court decision, they were adjudged co-owners of the aforesaid onefourth portion of the property, the sale by the widow being considered null and void insofar
as they were concerned. The rights of the children of Leoncio Lorenzo and Bienvenida de la
Isla to one-half of the three-fourths appertaining to such spouses were likewise accorded
recognition.
The matter was then elevated to the respondent Court of Appeals by the spouses Martin
Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon. Respondent Court in its decision, now subject of this review,
declared valid the deed of sale executed by the mother Bienvenida de la Isla in favor of the
spouses Nery and de Leon as to the whole three-fourths, without prejudice however to the
children demanding from their mother their participation in the amount paid for the sale of
such property. It thus ignored the grave jurisdictional defects that attended the challenged
orders, starting with the two elder children not being notified of the petition for
guardianship, even if they were already above 14, as pointed out and stressed in their
petition for review. There is need then for the exercise of the corrective power of this Court.

The original decision of the lower court has much more to recommend it. Thereby, the lights
of the children are fully respected. With a restoration in full of what was decided by the
lower court, there is a corresponding modification of the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
So we decide.
The antecedents of the case were set forth in the appealed decision thus: "After hearing the
evidence, the lower court handed down decision on June 24, 1961, finding that in the
guardianship proceedings, the court acquired no jurisdiction over the persons of the minors
who were not notified of the petition, at least 2 of them being over 14 years of age; that as
the inventory submitted by the guardian stated that the minors had no real estate, the court
did not acquire jurisdiction over the real property of the minors and could not have validly
authorized its sale, and the total absence of the requisite notice necessarily rendered the
order of sale, . . . null and void, and the defendant, Martin S. Nery, a lawyer, could not be
considered a purchaser in good faith of the one half portion of the land belonging to the
minors; . . . that as Silvestra Ferrer, one of the sisters of Florentino Ferrer, did not sign the
deed of sale . . . upon her death in 1952, her 1/4 portion of the land passed to her nearest
relatives, the third-party plaintiffs who are children of her sister, Tomasa Ferrer, whose
action had not prescribed because from the death of Silvestra Ferrer in 1952 up to the filing
of the third-party complaint on September 3, 1958, barely six years had elapsed; and that
the remaining 3/4 of the land in question was the conjugal property of Leoncio Lorenzo and
his wife, Bienvenida de la Isla, 1/2 of which, upon the demise of Leoncio, corresponding to
Bienvenida and the other half to their children, the herein plaintiffs, in equal shares." 4
Why respondent Court reached the decision it did on appeal was explained this way: "It is
unquestioned that the property in question formerly belonged to Florentino Ferrer and his
three sisters, Agueda, Tomasa and Silvestra, and brother, Meliton. When, after the death of
Florentino, that is, on December 6, 1943, the document denominated Bilihan Ganap Nang
Lupang-Bukid, . . . was executed in favor of Leoncio F. Lorenzo, one of the children of Agueda
and married to Bienvenida de la Isla, by said Agueda, Tomasa and the children of Meliton,
already deceased, said Leoncio merely acquired the participation of said sellers, equivalent to
3/4 undivided part of said land, and became a co-owner to that extent with Silvestra who did
not execute said document and, therefore, did not sell her 1/4 undivided portion of the said
land, which 1/4 undivided portion passed, upon her demise in 1952, to her nearest relatives
who are the third-party plaintiffs Rosario, Alfredo, Mariano, Pacifico, Onofre, Teofilo, Loloy
and Trinidad all surnamed Lorenzo, the children of her deceased sister, Tomasa. Bienvenida
de la Isla, then the wife of said Leoncio F. Lorenzo, knew of this purchase made by her
deceased husband, and she had no right to mortgage the whole land which, for taxation
purposes was declared in her husbands name, without the consent of aforenamed
successors-in-interest of Silvestra Ferrer, much less sell the same afterwards to the
defendant spouses, Martin S. Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon, even if authorized by the
guardianship court, said authority having been granted upon her misrepresentation,
contained in her petition of May 26, 1953, that her minor children, the plaintiffs herein,
were the owners in common of 1/2 portion of the land in question, the other 1/2 pertaining
to her. However, inasmuch as the said minor plaintiffs were really the owners in common of
1/2 of 3/4 undivided part of the said land, and the other 1/2, to their mother and guardian,
the orders of the guardianship court authorizing the guardian to sell the real property of the
minors, and approving the deed of sale executed in accordance with said authority must be
construed as referring to the correct real property of the said minors." 5

Hence its dispositive portion provided as follows:" [Wherefore], the appealed judgment is
hereby modified by declaring that the deed of sale . . ., executed by Bienvenida de la Isla in
favor of the defendants valid only insofar as the undivided 3/4 portion of the land in question
is concerned, as to which portion, the defendants are declared owners, and that the thirdparty plaintiffs, Rosario, Alfredo, Mariano, Pacifico, Onofre, Teofilo, Loloy and Trinidad, all
surnamed Lorenzo, are declared owners in common of the remaining undivided 1/4 portion
of the said land. In all other respects, the appealed judgment is hereby affirmed. No costs." 6
The spouses Martin Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon and the children of the deceased Leoncio
Lorenzo and the vendor, Bienvenida de la Isla, not being satisfied with the above decision
instituted the petitions for review. As noted at the outset, the failure of respondent Court of
Appeals to give due weight to the grave jurisdictional defect that tainted the guardianship
proceeding resulted in its judgment suffering the corrosion of substantial legal error. The
rights of the children of Leoncio Lorenzo as upheld by the lower court must, to repeat, be
maintained. In that sense, the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is subject to
modification. Insofar however as it affirmed the lower court decision sustaining the claim of
the heirs of Silvestra Ferrer, 7 it is free from any infirmity.
1. What is indisputable in the light of the controlling legal doctrines is that it was the lower
court and not the respondent Court of Appeals that yielded obeisance to the applicable
procedural rule. It is worded thus: "When a petition for the appointment of a general
guardian is filed, the court shall fix a time and place for hearing the same, and shall cause
reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons mentioned in the petition residing in
the province, including the minor if above 14 years of age or the incompetent himself, and
may direct other general or special notice thereof to be given." 8 The late Chief Justice
Moran was quite explicit as to its jurisdictional character. These are his words: "Service of the
notice upon the minor if above 14 years of age or upon the incompetent, is jurisdictional.
Without such notice, the court acquires no jurisdiction to appoint a guardian." 9
The case cited by him in support of such view is Yangco v. Court of First Instance, 10 a 1915
decision. As was therein made clear: "There is no need for interpretation or construction of
the word in the case before us. Its meaning is so clear that interpretation and construction
are unnecessary. Our simple duty is to leave untouched the meaning with which the English
language has endowed the word; and that is the meaning which the ordinary reader would
accord to it on reading a sentence in which it was found. Where language is plain, subtle
refinements which tinge words so as to give them the color of a particular judicial theory are
not only unnecessary but decidedly harmful. That which has caused so much confusion in the
law, which has made it so difficult for the public to understand and know what the law is with
respect to a given matter, is in considerable measure the unwarranted interference by
judicial tribunals with the English language as found in statutes and contracts, cutting out
words here and inserting them there, making them fit personal ideas of what the legislature
ought to have done or what parties should have agreed upon, giving them meanings which
they do not ordinarily have, cutting, trimming, fitting, changing and coloring until lawyers
themselves are unable to advise their clients as to the meaning of a given statute or contract
until it has been submitted to some court for its interpretation and construction." 11
Respondent Court of Appeals cannot therefore be sustained in its assumption that the
probate court could have authorized the sale in question. The jurisdictional infirmity was too
patent to be overcome. It was the lower court that acted correctly. There is the more reason

for deciding as we do considering that the rights of minors are involved. It is a distinctive
feature of our law, one that is quite commendable, that whenever their welfare may be
affected, its solicitude is made manifest. The rights of young are not to be ignored. Precisely
their stage of immaturity calls for every procedural principle being observed before their
interest in property to which they have a claim could be adversely affected. It does not
matter that their guardian is their mother. As far back as 1811, in Salunga v. Evangelista, 12
Chief Justice Arellano took note that even a mother could have an "interest opposed to that
of her children." 13 That may not have been the precise situation in this case, but certainly
from the facts as found by the Court of Appeals, the Lorenzo children would have been
better protected if they were notified as is required by law. If there is any occasion then why
there should be a strict insistence on rule having the impress of a jurisdictional requirement,
this is it.
Moreover, where minors are involved, the State acts as parens patriae. To it is cast the duty
of protecting the rights of persons or individual who because of age or incapacity are in an
unfavorable position, vis-a-vis other parties. Unable as they are to take due care of what
concerns them, they have the political community to look after their welfare. This obligation
the state must live up to. It cannot be recreant to such a trust. As was set forth in an opinion
of the United States Supreme Court: "This prerogative of parens patriae is inherent in the
supreme power of every State, whether that power is lodged in a royal person or in the
legislature, and has no affinity to those arbitrary powers which are sometimes exerted by
irresponsible monarchs to the great detriment of the people and the destruction of their
liberties. On the contrary, it is a most beneficent function, and often necessary to be
exercised in the interest of humanity, and for the prevention of injury to those who cannot
protect themselves." 14

issue was resolved satisfactorily by the lower court in this fashion: "The action of said
children of Tomasa Ferrer has not as yet prescribed because from the death of Silvestra
Ferrer in 1952 up to the filing of the third-party complaint on September 3, 1958, barely six
years had elapsed. Moreover, there is no clear and satisfactory evidence that Leoncio
Lorenzo and his successors-in-interest had been in continuous, adverse, and open
possession, and under claim of ownership, of the one-fourth portion corresponding to
Silvestra Ferrer as to acquire same by acquisitive prescription." 17 Consequently, it was
appropriate for the Court of Appeals to affirm the judgment of the lower court insofar as it
recognized the rights of the heir of Silvestra Ferrer to one-fourth of the land sold.
WHEREFORE, premises considered with the modification as above set forth that Dionisio,
Perfecto, Maria Rebecca, Asuncion, Mauro and Lourdes, all surnamed Lorenzo, children of
the deceased Leoncio Lorenzo and Bienvenida de la Isla are adjudged co-owners to the
extent of one-half of the three-fourths of the property in question, as was decreed by the
lower court, the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. With costs against
Martin Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon.

2. Much less could the decision arrived at both by the lower court and respondent Court of
Appeals as to the heirs of Silvestra Ferrer 15 being entitled to one-fourth of the property in
question be set aside. At no time had the deceased Leoncio Lorenzo ever denied that he was
holding such property in the capacity of trustee for them. At the time then that the
settlement of his estate was pending in the probate court, his widow, Bienvenida de la Isla,
the vendor, could not assert any other right, except that traceable to her late husband.
Respondent Court of Appeals did note that petitioner Martin S. Nery is a lawyer. As a
member of the bar, he could not have been unaware that his vendor could not sell to him
more than she rightfully could dispose of. It is much too late in the day to depart from the
well-settled principle as to a trustee being incapable of acquiring interest opposed to that of
his principal. So it was announced in Severino v. Severino. 16 That is in conformity with an
overmastering requirement of equity and conscience. He should thus be held to the strictest
degree of accountability. The law would lay itself open to well-deserved criticism if a
principle other than the above were followed. The Nery spouses ought to be aware that it
would be unthinkable to deny its authoritative force whenever called for.
The spouses Martin Nery and Leoncia L. de Leon would demonstrate its inapplicability by the
two principal errors assigned, namely, that Silvestra Ferrer did sell her share of the property
as far back as 1943 and that even if it were, not so, the deceased Leoncio Lorenzo and
thereafter his widow, Bienvenida de la Isla did assert rights of ownership therein. It is obvious
that on the face of such alleged errors that they are essentially factual. We are thus
precluded from inquiring into their veracity as on such a matter what was decided by
respondent Court of Appeals is binding on us. Moreover, as to the alleged prescription, the

G.R. No. L-45622

May 5, 1939

JUAN GOROSTIAGA, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MANUELA SARTE, defendant-appellant.

Calleja and Sierra for appellant.


Bonto and Gutierrez Lora for appellee.
MORAN, J.:
On May 27, 1936, Juan Gorostiaga, plaintiff-appellee, institutes an action against Manuela
Sarte to recover the sum of P2,285.51. An answer was filed by Attorney Gregorio A. Sabater
in the name of the defendant, wherein a general denial was made, and several defenses
interposed, among them, that the defendant was physically and mentally incompetent to
manage her estate. At the trial, the defendant did not appear in court and her nonappearance had no been accounted for. On September 21, 1996, judgment was rendered
sentencing the defendant to pay the amount claimed. On December 23, 1936, a motion
under section 113 of Act No. 190 was filed by the general guardian of the defendant, praying
that all the proceedings had against the defendant be declared null and void for lack of
jurisdiction over her person. The motion was denied; hence, this appeal.
There is no question about the facts. On May 18, 1936, that is, nine days prior to the
institution of the action against the defendant, a petition for guardianship was filed with the
lower court in favor of the defendant, on the ground that she was incompetent to manage
her estate by reason of her physical and mental incapacity. After hearing the petition,
wherein the depositions of alienists were presented, the court issued an order declaring that
the defendant Manuela Sarte "se halla ficica y mentalmente incacitada para administrar sus
bienes poe razon de debelidad senil, cuya inteligencia si bien le permite sostener una
conversacion por algunos minutos de una manera satisfactoria, no tiene la consistencia
necesaria para atender a sus necesidas y administrar sus propios bienes."

unless on the ground of newly discovered evidence. That answer was, however, filed by an
attorney not validly authorized to appear for the defendant who had never been in court
except when her guardian filed a motion to quash all the proceedings for lack of jurisdiction.
In matters of this kind, affecting the jurisdiction of the court and the validity of all
proceedings, the court, instead of observing a passive attitude, should take the initiative of,
and exercise utmost care in, ascertaining the facts. And although the evidence gathered at
the trial is insufficient, if, after judgment, the lack of jurisdiction is clearly shown, and there
has been no waiver thereof, as in this case where a waiver could not have been possible, it is
the duty of the court to set aside all the proceedings, take the necessary steps to acquire
jurisdiction, and grant a new trial. The position taken by the lower court in this case can
hardly be reconciled with its position in the guardianship proceedings.
Appellee contends that in the motion filed by the guardian under section 113 there is no
showing of mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable negligence as grounds for relief
provided therein. It is, however, more than a surprise to the defendant that she be tried and
sentenced without valid summons or notice. And as to the affidavits of merit required to be
attached to a motion under section 113, they are not necessary, as we have already held,
where the court acted without jurisdiction over the defendant's person. (Coombs vs. Santos,
24 Phil., 446.)
Judgment is reversed, all the proceedings had in the lower court are hereby declared null and
void, and the case is remanded to the court below for new trial after the guardian making
him a party defendant. With costs against appellee.

Although this order was issued on December 3, 1936, it relates to the incapacity alleged in
the petition of May 18, 1936. Consequently, the incapacity thus declared existed at least at
the date of the filing of the petition, that is, on May 18, 1936, nine days prior to the
institution of the action in the present case. In fact, according to the evidence relied upon by
the lower court, the defendant was incompetent to manage her affairs for about two or
three years prior to her examination by the alienists. It appears thus clear that during all the
proceedings in the case at bar, from the time of the filing of the complaint to the rendition of
the judgment, the defendant was physically and mentally unfit to manage her affairs, and
there having been no summons and notices of the proceedings served her and her guardian,
because no guardian was then appointed for her, the court trying the action acquired no
jurisdiction over her person (sec. 396, No. 4, of Act No. 190).
It is argued that Attorney Gregorio A. Sabater appeared for the defendant in the case and
filed an answer in her behalf and that the attorney's authority is presumed as well as the
capacity of the defendant giving the authority. But this presumption is disputable and it is
here entirely rebutted by no less than an order of the same court declaring the defendant
physically and mentally unfit to manage her estate since at least May 18, 1936. If the
defendant was thus incompetent, she could not have validly authorized the attorney to
represent her. And if the authority was given by her relatives, it was not sufficient except to
show the attorney's good faith in appearing in the case.
It is contended that the issue as to the incapacity of the defendant was pleaded in
defendant's answer and was squarely decided and that therefore it cannot be reopened

G.R. No. L-57438 January 3, 1984


FELICIANO FRANCISCO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PELAGIO FRANCISCO, respondents.

Nicomedes M. Jajardo for petitioner.


Crescini & Associates Law Office for private respondent.

GUERRERO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari seeks the annulment of the decision and resolution of
the defunct Court of Appeals, now Intermediate Appellate Court, dated April 27, 1981. and
June 26, 1981. respectively, dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner Feliciano
Francisco docketed as CA-G.R. No. 12172 entitled "Feliciano Francisco versus Judge Jesus R.
De Vega and Pelagio Francisco". In the said petition for certiorari, petitioner Feliciano
Francisco challenged the validity of the Order of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan, Fifth
Judicial District, Branch II, now Regional Trial Court, granting execution pending appeal of its
decision by relieving petitioner Feliciano Francisco as guardian of incompetent Estefania San
Pedro and appointing respondent herein, Pelagio Francisco, in his instead.
The antecedent facts as recited in the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals showed
that:
Petitioner is the duly appointed guardian of the incompetent Estefania San Pedro in Special
Proceedings No. 532 of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan presided over by respondent
Judge. On August 30, 1974 respondent Pelagio Francisco, claiming to be a first cousin of
Estefania San Pedro, together with two others, said to be nieces of the incompetent,
petitioned the court for the removal of petitioner and for the appointment in his stead of
respondent Pelagio Francisco. Among other grounds, the petition was based on the failure of
the guardian to submit an inventory of the estate of his ward and to render an accounting.
It would seem that petitioner subsequently rendered an accounting but failed to submit an
inventory, for which reason the court on March 20, 1975 gave petitioner ten (10) days within
which to do so, otherwise he would be removed from guardianship Petitioner thereafter
submitted an inventory to which respondent Pelagio Francisco filed an objection on the
ground that petitioner actually received P14,000.00 for the sale of a residential land and not
P12,000.00 only as stated in the deed of sale and reported by him in his inventory. The
respondent Judge found the claim to be true, and, in his order of April 17, 1980 relieved the
petitioner as guardian.
On motion of petitioner, however, the respondent Judge reconsidered his finding, relying on
the deed of sale as the best evidence of the price paid for the sale of the land. in his order
dated September 12, 1980, respondent judge acknowledged that his finding was "rather
harsh and somewhat unfair to the said guardian." Nevertheless, respondent Judge ordered
the retirement of petitioner on the ground of old age. The order states in part as follows:
"... considering the rather advanced age of the present guardian, this Court is inclined and so
decrees, that he should nevertheless be, as he is hereby, retired to take effect upon the
appointment by this court and the assumption of office of his replacement, who shall be
taken from the recommendees of the parties herein. For this purpose, the present guardian
is hereby given twenty (20) days from receipt of a copy of this order within which to submit

his proposal for a replacement for himself and to comment on petitioner's recommendee
and the latter a like period within which to comment on the present guardian's proposed
substitute, after which the matter will be deemed submitted for resolution and final action
by the court.
SO ORDERED."
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that he was only 72 years of age
and still fit to continue with the management of the estate of his ward as he had done with
zeal for the past twelve years. In an order dated November 13, 1980 the court denied his
motion. Accordingly, on December 17, 1980, petiti/ner filed a notice of appeal 'from the
order issued by the court on November 13, 1980' and paid the appeal bond. On February 2,
1981 he filed the record on appeal. 1
Meanwhile, on January 27, 1981, the court, on motion of private respondent, required
petitioner to submit within three days his nomination for guardian of Estefania San Pedro as
required in its order of September 12, 1980. In issuing the order, the court stated that 'an
indefinite discontinuance in office would defeat the intent and purpose of the said order of
September 12, 1980 relieving the present guardian.
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this petition. (referring to CA-G.R.
No. SP-1217)"
On December 5, 1980, before the appeal was perfected, Pelagio Francisco filed an "Omnibus
Motion" with the court a quo with the prayer (1) to restrain guardian from exercising office;
(2) order guardian to surrender to court all properties of the ward; and (3) appoint new
guardian . 2
Petitioner, on December 9, 1980 filed his opposition to the omnibus motion claiming that the
same was premature. 3 The trial court, however, disregarded the opposition and required
petitioner on January 27, 1981 to submit within three (3) days his nomination for guardian of
Estefania San Pedro as required in its order of September 12, 1980, the court holding that
"an indefinite continuance in office would defeat the intent and purpose of the said order of
September 12, 1980, relieving the present guardian." 4
Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the said order, 5 but the trial court overruled the
same on March 4, 1981. Subsequently, on March 11, 1981, 6 the court a quo appointed
respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new guardian of the person and property of the
incompetent Estefania San Pedro. 7
On March 13, 1981, petitioner filed with the defunct Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari
challenging the validity of the order of the trial court granting the execution pending appeal
of its decision and appointing respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new guardian despite the
fact that respondent is five (5) years older than petitioner, docketed as CA-G.R. No. 12172.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition on April 23, 1981, the pertinent portion of its
decision reading as follows:
The Rules of Court authorizes executions pending appeal "upon good reasons to be stated in
a special order." (Rule 39, Sec. 2). In the case at bar, the retirement of petitioner was ordered

on the ground of old age. When this ground is considered in relation to the delay of the
petitioner in the making of an accounting and the submission of an inventory, the order
amounts to a finding that petitioner, considering his "rather advanced age," was no longer
capable of managing the estate of his ward. Rule 97, Sec. 2). Given this finding, it is clear that
petitioner's continuance in office would not be in the best interest of the ward.
It is of course true that the order of removal is not yet final. Considering the time -it normally
takes for appeals to be finally determined as well as the purpose of the order under appeal,
which would be frustrated if it is not immediately executed, we cannot say that respondent
acted with grave and irreparable damage and that the order of September 12, 1980 is not yet
final, petitioner has not demonstrated that in ordering execution pending appeal, the
respondent Judge committed a grave abuse of discretion.
Indeed, the granting of execution pending appeal ties within the sound discretion of a court.
Appellate courts win not interfere to discretion, unless it modify control or inquire into the
exercise of this be shown that there has been an abuse of that discretion. (2 Moran,
Comments on the Rules of Court, 260 [1979].
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED, without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED. 8
Petitioner subsequently filed another motion for reconsideration advancing the following
arguments: that to grant execution pending appeal would render petitioner's appeal moot
and academic that "advanced age" was not one of the, grounds raised by private respondent
in the court below; that the court a quo abuse its discretion in appointing respondent as
guardian despite the fact that private respondent is five (5) years older than petitioner. 9
The respondent appellate court, in its resolution dated June 26, 1981, denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration, the court finding it unnecessary to repeat the discussion of the
arguments which it had already considered and only entertained the argument regarding the
competency of the respondent as the new guardian. On this point, respondent Court ruled:
The order of March 11, 1981 appointing respondent Francisco as guardian was never assailed
in the petition in this case. As already stated, this case concerns the validity only of the
orders of January 27, 1981 and March 4, 1981 which required petitioner to recommend his
own replacement, otherwise the court would appoint a new guardian. It does not appear
that petitioner objected to the appointment of respondent Francisco on the ground now
invoked, namely, that Francisco is in fact older than petitioner. Nor does it appear that
petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of March 11, 1981, calling attention
to the fact that respondent Francisco is older than petitioner, In short, the point now raised
does not appear to have been urged in the lower court so that the latter could have rectified
the error, if it was error at all, For this reason, it is not proper ground for certiorari before this
Court, much less for a motion for reconsideration.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED. 10

In the petition at bar, petitioner contends that (a) The Honorable Court of Appeals has
committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the removal of petitioner as guardian of
the ward Estefania San Pedro on the ground of old age is a good ground for the execution of
the decision pending appeal; and (b) The Honorable Court of Appeals committed grave
misapprehension and misinterpretation of facts when it declared that petitioner did not
question the appointment of private respondent as guardian in his stead on the ground that
the latter is older than the former by five (5) years.
A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred character, in which one person, called a
"guardian" acts for another called the "ward" whom the law regards as incapable of
managing his own affairs.11 A guardianship is designed to further the ward's well-being, not
that of the guardian, It is intended to preserve the ward's property, as wen as to render any
assistance that the ward may personally require. It has been stated that while custody
involves immediate care and control, guardianship indicates not only those responsibilities,
but those of one in loco parentis as well. 12
Having in mind that guardianship proceeding is instituted for the benefit and welfare of the
ward, the selection of a guardian must, therefore, suit this very purpose. Thus, in
determining the selection of a guardian, the court may consider the financial situation, the
physical condition, the sound judgment, prudence and trustworthiness, the morals, character
and conduct, and the present and past history of a prospective appointee, as wen as the
probability of his, being able to exercise the powers and duties of guardian for the full period
during which guardianship will be necessary. 13
A guardian is or becomes incompetent to serve the trust if he is so disqualified by mental
incapacity, conviction of crime, moral delinquency or physical disability as to be prevented
from properly discharging the duties of his office. 14 A guardian, once appointed may be
removed in case he becomes insane or otherwise incapable of discharging his trust or
unsuitable therefor, or has wasted or mismanaged the estate, or failed for thirty (30) days
after it is due to render an account or make a return.15
We agree with the trial court and the appellate court that there is need for petitioner
Feliciano Francisco to be retired from the guardianship over the person and property of
incompetent Estefania San Pedro. The conclusion reached by the trial court about the "rather
advanced age" of petitioner at 72 years old (petitioner is now 76 years old) finding him unfit
to continue the trust cannot be disturbed. As correctly pointed out by the appellate court,
this finds direct support in the delay of the accounting and inventory made by petitioner. To
sustain petitioner as guardian would, therefore, be detrimental to the ward. While age alone
is not a control criterion in determining a person's fitness or qualification to be appointed or
be retained as guardian, it may be a factor for consideration. 16
Considering the difficult and complicated responsibilities and duties of a guardian, We
sustain the immediate retirement of petitioner Feliciano Francisco as guardian, affirming
thereby the rulings of both the trial court and the appellate court.
With respect to the issue of execution pending appeal in appointing respondent Pelagio
Francisco as guardian to succeed petitioner while the latter's appeal was still pending, We
hold and rule that respondent appellate court correctly sustained the propriety of said
execution pending appeal. Upon urgent and compelling reasons, execution pending appeal is

a matter of sound discretion on the part of the trial court, 17 and the appellate court will not
interfere, control or inquire into the exercise of this discretion, unless there has been an
abuse thereof, 18 which We find none herein.
Inasmuch as the primary objective for the institution of guardianship is for the protection of
the ward, there is more than sufficient reason for the immediate execution of the lower
court's judgment for the replacement of the first guardian. We agree with the reason given
by the appellate court in sustaining execution pending appeal that "an indefinite continuance
in office would defeat the intent and purpose of the order of September 12, 1980, relieving
the present guardian (Feliciano Francisco)."
As to the issue concerning the appointment of respondent Pelagio Francisco as the new
guardian, We likewise agree with the respondent appellate court in denying in its resolution
of June 26, 1981 for lack of merit the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner
questioning the appointment of private respondent Pelagio Francisco. We also find no abuse
of discretion committed by the appellate court.
The rule is well-established that appellate courts may not entertain issues brought before it
for the first time on appeal. (Jose Matienzo vs. Martin Servidad, 107 SCRA 276; Garcian vs.
Court of Appeals, 102 SCRA 597; Director of Lands vs. Dano 96 SCRA 160).
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the assailed decision and resolution of the
respondent court dated April 27, 1981 and June 26, 1981, respectively, are hereby
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 109557. November 29, 2000]

JOSE UY and his Spouse GLENDA J. UY and GILDA L. JARDELEZA, petitioners, vs. COURT OF
APPEALS and TEODORO L. JARDELEZA, respondents.

specifically Lot No. 4291 and its improvements. Thus, she prayed for authorization from the
court to sell said property.

DECISION

The following day, June 14, 1991, Branch 32 of the R.T.C. of Iloilo City issued an Order
(Annex C) finding the petition in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 to be sufficient in form and
substance, and setting the hearing thereof for June 20, 1991. The scheduled hearing of the
petition proceeded, attended by therein petitioner Gilda Jardeleza, her counsel, her two
children, namely Ernesto Jardeleza, Jr., and Glenda Jardeleza Uy, and Dr. Rolando Padilla, one
of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s attending physicians.

PARDO, J.:
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decisioni[1] of the Court of Appeals and its
resolution denying reconsiderationii[2] reversing that of the Regional Trial Court, Iloilo,
Branch 32iii[3] and declaring void the special proceedings instituted therein by petitioners to
authorize petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza, in view of the comatose condition of her husband,
Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., with the approval of the court, to dispose of their conjugal property in
favor of co-petitioners, their daughter and son in law, for the ostensible purpose of financial
need in the personal, business and medical expenses of her incapacitated husband.
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
This case is a dispute between Teodoro L. Jardeleza (herein respondent) on the one hand,
against his mother Gilda L. Jardeleza, and sister and brother-in-law, the spouses Jose Uy and
Glenda Jardeleza (herein petitioners) on the other hand. The controversy came about as a
result of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s suffering of a stroke on March 25, 1991, which left him
comatose and bereft of any motor or mental faculties. Said Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. is the
father of herein respondent Teodoro Jardeleza and husband of herein private respondent
Gilda Jardeleza.
Upon learning that one piece of real property belonging to the senior Jardeleza spouses was
about to be sold, petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza, on June 6, 1991, filed a petition (Annex A)
before the R.T.C. of Iloilo City, Branch 25, where it was docketed as Special Proceeding No.
4689, in the matter of the guardianship of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. The petitioner averred
therein that the present physical and mental incapacity of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. prevent
him from competently administering his properties, and in order to prevent the loss and
dissipation of the Jardelezas real and personal assets, there was a need for a courtappointed guardian to administer said properties. It was prayed therein that Letters of
Guardianship be issued in favor of herein private respondent Gilda Ledesma Jardeleza, wife
of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. It was further prayed that in the meantime, no property of Dr.
Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. be negotiated, mortgaged or otherwise alienated to third persons,
particularly Lot No. 4291 and all the improvements thereon, located along Bonifacio Drive,
Iloilo City, and covered by T.C.T. No. 47337.
A few days later, or on June 13, 1991, respondent Gilda L. Jardeleza herself filed a petition
docketed as Special Proceeding NO. 4691, before Branch 32 of the R.T.C. of Iloilo City,
regarding the declaration of incapacity of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., assumption of sole powers
of administration of conjugal properties, and authorization to sell the same (Annex B).
Therein, the petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza averred the physical and mental incapacity of her
husband, who was then confined for intensive medical care and treatment at the Iloilo
Doctors Hospital. She signified to the court her desire to assume sole powers of
administration of their conjugal properties. She also alleged that her husbands medical
treatment and hospitalization expenses were piling up, accumulating to several hundred
thousands of pesos already. For this, she urgently needed to sell one piece of real property,

On that same day, June 20, 1991, Branch 32 of the RTC of Iloilo City rendered its Decision
(Annex D), finding that it was convinced that Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. was truly incapacitated
to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties, and that the sale of Lot No.
4291 and the improvements thereon was necessary to defray the mounting expenses for
treatment and Hospitalization. The said court also made the pronouncement that the
petition filed by Gilda L. Jardeleza was pursuant to Article 124 of the Family Code, and that
the proceedings thereon are governed by the rules on summary proceedings sanctioned
under Article 253 of the same Code x x x.
The said court then disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, there being factual and legal bases to the petition dated June 13, 1991, the
Court hereby renders judgment as follows:
1) declaring Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., petitioners husband, to be incapacitated and unable to
participate in the administration of conjugal properties;
2) authorizing petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza to assume sole powers of administration of their
conjugal properties; and
3) authorizing aforesaid petitioner to sell Lot No. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo,
situated in Iloilo City and covered by TCT No. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto Jardeleza,
Sr. and Gilda L. Jardeleza and the buildings standing thereof.
SO ORDERED.
On June 24, 1991, herein petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed his Opposition to the
proceedings before Branch 32 in Spec. Proc. Case No. 4691, said petitioner being unaware
and not knowing that a decision has already been rendered on the case by public
respondent.
On July 3, 1991, herein petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed a motion for reconsideration of
the judgment in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 and a motion for consolidation of the two cases (Annex
F). He propounded the argument that the petition for declaration of incapacity,
assumption of sole powers of administration, and authority to sell the conjugal properties
was essentially a petition for guardianship of the person and properties of Ernesto Jardeleza,
Sr. As such, it cannot be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions on summary
proceedings set out in Article 253 of the Family Code. It should follow the rules governing
special proceedings in the Revised Rules of Court which require procedural due process,
particularly the need for notice and a hearing on the merits. On the other hand, even if

Gilda Jardelezas petition can be prosecuted by summary proceedings, there was still a
failure to comply with the basic requirements thereof, making the decision in Spec. Proc. No.
4691 a defective one. He further alleged that under the New Civil Code, Ernesto Jardeleza,
Sr. had acquired vested rights as a conjugal partner, and that these rights cannot be impaired
or prejudiced without his consent. Neither can he be deprived of his share in the conjugal
properties through mere summary proceedings. He then restated his position that Spec.
Proc. No. 4691 should be consolidated with Spec. Proc. No. 4689 which was filed earlier and
pending before Branch 25.
Teodoro Jardeleza also questioned the propriety of the sale of Lot No. 4291 and the
improvements thereon supposedly to pay the accumulated financial obligations arising from
Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.s hospitalization. He alleged that the market value of the property
would be around Twelve to Fifteen Million Pesos, but that he had been informed that it
would be sold for much less. He also pointed out that the building thereon which houses the
Jardeleza Clinic is a monument to Ernesto Jardeleza Sr.s industry, labor and service to his
fellowmen. Hence, the said property has a lot of sentimental value to his family. Besides,
argued Teodoro Jardeleza, then conjugal partnership had other liquid assets to pay off all
financial obligations. He mentioned that apart from sufficient cash, Jardeleza, Sr. owned
stocks of Iloilo Doctors Hospital which can be off-set against the cost of medical and hospital
bills. Furthermore, Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. enjoys certain privileges at the said hospital which
allows him to pay on installment basis. Moreover, two of Ernesto Jardeleza Sr.s attending
physicians are his own sons who do not charge anything for their professional services.
On July 4, 1991, Teodoro Jardeleza filed in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 a supplement to his motion
for reconsideration (Annex G). He reiterated his contention that summary proceedings
was irregularly applied. He also noted that the provisions on summary proceedings found in
Chapter 2 of the Family Code comes under the heading on Separation in Fact Between
Husband and Wife which contemplates of a situation where both spouses are of disposing
mind. Thus, he argued that were one spouse is comatose without motor and mental
faculties, the said provisions cannot be made to apply.
While the motion for reconsideration was pending, Gilda Jardeleza disposed by absolute
sale Lot No. 4291 and all its improvements to her daughter, Ma. Glenda Jardeleza Uy, for
Eight Million Pesos (P8,000,000.00), as evidenced by a Deed Absolute Sale dated July 8, 1991
executed between them (p. 111, Rollo). Under date of July 23, 1991, Gilda Jardeleza filed an
urgent ex-parte motion for approval of the deed of absolute sale.
On August 12, 1991 Teodoro Jardeleza filed his Opposition to the motion for approval of the
deed of sale on the grounds that: (1) the motion was prematurely filed and should be held in
abeyance until the final resolution of the petition; (2) the motion does not allege nor prove
the justifications for the sale; and (3) the motion does not allege that had Ernesto Jardeleza,
Sr. been competent, he would have given his consent to the sale.
Judge Amelita K. del Rosario-Benedicto of Branch 32 of the respondent Court, who had
penned the decision in Spec. Proc. No. 4691 had in the meantime formally inhibited herself
from further acting in this case (Annex I). The case was then reraffled to Branch 28 of the
said court.

On December 19, 1991, the said court issued an Order (Annex M) denying herein
petitioners motion for reconsideration and approving respondent Jardelezas motion for
approval of the deed of absolute sale. The said court ruled that:
After a careful and thorough perusal of the decision, dated June 20, 1991, the Motion for
Reconsideration, as well as its supplements filed by oppositor, Teodoro L. Jardeleza,
through counsel, and the opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration, including its
supplements, filed by petitioner, through counsel, this Court is of the opinion and so holds,
that her Honor, Amelita K. del Rosario-Benedicto, Presiding Judge of Branch 32, of this Court,
has properly observed the procedure embodied under Article 253, in relation to Article 124,
of the Family Code, in rendering her decision dated June 20, 1991.
Also, as correctly stated by petitioner, through counsel, that oppositor Teodor L. Jardeleza
does not have the personality to oppose the instant petition considering that the property or
properties, subject of the petition, belongs to the conjugal partnership of the spouses
Ernesto and Gilda Jardeleza, who are both still alive.
In view thereof, the Motion for Reconsideration of oppositor Teodoro L. Jardeleza, is
hereby denied for lack of merit.
Considering the validity of the decision dated June 20, 1991, which among others,
authorized Gilda L. Jardeleza to sell Lot No. 4291 of the Cadastral Survey of Iloilo, covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 47337 issued in the names of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., and Gilda
L. Jardeleza and the building standing thereon, the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Approval of
Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 23, 1991, filed by petitioner, through counsel, is hereby
granted and the deed of absolute sale, executed and notarized on July 8, 1991, by and
between Gilda L. Jardeleza, as vendor, and Ma. Glenda Jardeleza, as vendee, is hereby
approved, and the Register of Deeds of Iloilo City, is directed to register the sale and issue
the corresponding transfer certificate of title to the vendee.
SO ORDERED.iv[4]
On December 9, 1992, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision reversing the appealed
decision and ordering the trial court to dismiss the special proceedings to approve the deed
of sale, which was also declared void.v[5]
On December 29, 1992, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration,vi[6] however, on
March 29, 1993, the Court of Appeals denied the motion, finding no cogent and compelling
reason to disturb the decision.vii[7]
Hence, this appeal.viii[8]
The issue raised is whether petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza as the wife of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.
who suffered a stroke, a cerebrovascular accident, rendering him comatose, without motor
and mental faculties, and could not manage their conjugal partnership property may assume
sole powers of administration of the conjugal property under Article 124 of the Family Code
and dispose of a parcel of land with its improvements, worth more than twelve million
pesos, with the approval of the court in a summary proceedings, to her co-petitioners, her
own daughter and son-in-law, for the amount of eight million pesos.

The Court of Appeals ruled that in the condition of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr., the procedural
rules on summary proceedings in relation to Article 124 of the Family Code are not
applicable. Because Dr. Jardeleza, Sr. was unable to take care of himself and manage the
conjugal property due to illness that had rendered him comatose, the proper remedy was the
appointment of a judicial guardian of the person or estate or both of such incompetent,
under Rule 93, Section 1, 1964 Revised Rules of Court. Indeed, petitioner earlier had filed
such a petition for judicial guardianship.
Article 124 of the Family Code provides as follows:
ART. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall
belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husbands decision shall prevail,
subject to recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy which must be availed of
within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision.
In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the
administration of the conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of
administration. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance
which must have the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In
the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void.
However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the
consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon
the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is
withdrawn by either or both offerors. (165a).
In regular manner, the rules on summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code govern
the proceedings under Article 124 of the Family Code. The situation contemplated is one
where the spouse is absent, or separated in fact or has abandoned the other or consent is
withheld or cannot be obtained. Such rules do not apply to cases where the non-consenting
spouse is incapacitated or incompetent to give consent. In this case, the trial court found that
the subject spouse "is an incompetent" who was in comatose or semi-comatose condition, a
victim of stroke, cerebrovascular accident, without motor and mental faculties, and with a
diagnosis of brain stem infarct.ix[9] In such case, the proper remedy is a judicial guardianship
proceedings under Rule 93 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court.
Even assuming that the rules of summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code may
apply to the wife's administration of the conjugal property, the law provides that the wife
who assumes sole powers of administration has the same powers and duties as a guardian
under the Rules of Court.x[10]
Consequently, a spouse who desires to sell real property as such administrator of the
conjugal property must observe the procedure for the sale of the wards estate required of
judicial guardians under Rule 95, 1964 Revised Rules of Court, not the summary judicial
proceedings under the Family Code.
In the case at bar, the trial court did not comply with the procedure under the Revised Rules
of Court. Indeed, the trial court did not even observe the requirements of the summary
judicial proceedings under the Family Code. Thus, the trial court did not serve notice of the

petition to the incapacitated spouse; it did not require him to show cause why the petition
should not be granted.
Hence, we agree with the Court of Appeals that absent an opportunity to be heard, the
decision rendered by the trial court is void for lack of due process. The doctrine consistently
adhered to by this Court is that a denial of due process suffices to cast on the official act
taken by whatever branch of the government the impress of nullity.xi[11] A decision
rendered without due process is void ab initio and may be attacked directly or
collaterally.xii*12+ A decision is void for lack of due process if, as a result, a party is deprived
of the opportunity of being heard.xiii*13+ A void decision may be assailed or impugned at
any time either directly or collaterally, by means of a separate action, or by resisting such
decision in any action or proceeding where it is invoked.xiv[14]
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No.
26936, in toto.
Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 116835. March 5, 1998]


ANTONIETTA GARCIA VDA. DE CHUA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, (Special Eight
Division), HON. JAPAL M. GUIANI, RTC, Branch 14, 12th Judicial Region, Cotabato City, and
FLORITA A. VALLEJO, As Administratrix of the Estate of the late Roberto L. Chua.
respondents.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:
Assailed before us in this Appeal by Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR Sp. No. 33101, promulgated on 19 April 1994
affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, of Cotabato City in Special
Procedure Case No. 331.
As culled from the records the following facts have been preponderantly established:
During his lifetime, Roberto Lim Chua lived out of wedlock with private respondent Florita A.
Vallejo from 1970 up to 1981. Out of this union the couple begot two illegitimate children,
namely Roberto Rafson Alonzo and Rudyard Pride Alonzo.

4. That Roberto Lim Chua, father of the above-mentioned minors, died intestate on May
28, 1992 in Davao City.
5. That the aforementioned deceased left properties both real and personal worth
P5,000,000.00 consisting of the following:
a) Lot in Kakar, Cotabato City covered by TCT No. T-12835 with an area of 290 sq.
m.
estimated at .. P50,000.00
b) Lot in Kakar, Cotabato City covered by TCT No. T-12834 with
sq.m. .... .. 50,000.00

e) Residential house in Cotabato City valued at


............................................................300,000.00

On 2 July 1992, private respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cotabato City a
Petitionxv[1] which is reproduced hereunder:

g) Car, Colt Lancer with Motor No. 4G33-3 AF6393


.................................................210,000.00

IN RE: PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF HEIRSHIP, GUARDIANSHIP OVER THE PERSONS AND
PROPERTIES OF MINORS ROBERT RAFSON ALONZO SP. PROC. NO/ 331 and RUDYARD PRIDE
ALONZO, all surnamed CHUA and ISSUANCE OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION. FLORITA
ALONZO VALLEJO,
Petitioner.

h) Colt, Galant Super Saloon with Motor No. 4G37-GB0165


..........................................545,000.00

x--------------------------x

I) Car, Colt Galant with Motor No. 4G52-52D75248


.............................................110,000.00

PETITION

j) Reo Isuzu Dump Truck with Motor No. DA640-838635

COMES NOW the petitioner assisted by counsel and unto this Honorable Court most
respectfully states:

.. ..350,000.00

3. That the aforementioned children who are still minors today are both staying with
herein petitioner at her address at Quezon Avenue, Cotabato City;

323

d) Lot in Davao City covered by TCT No. T-126584 with an area of 303 sq.m.
...............50,000.00

f) Residential house in Davao City


valued at
............................................................600,000.00

2. That sometime from 1970 up to and until late 1981 your petitioner lived with Roberto Lim
Chua as husband and wife and out of said union they begot two (2) children, namely, Robert
Rafson Alonzo Chua who was born in General Santos City on April 28, 1977 and Rudyard
Pride Alonzo Chua who was born in Davao City on August 30, 1978. A xerox copy of the
birth certificate of each child is hereto attached as annex A and B, respectively.

area of

c) Lot in Davao City covered by TCT No. T-126583 with an area of 303 sq.m.
............50,000.00

On 28 May 1992, Roberto Chua died intestate in Davao City.

1. That she is of legal age, Filipino, married but separated from her husband and residing at
Quezon Avenue, Cotobato City, Philippines;

an

k) Hino Dump Truck with Motor No. ED100-T47148


..............................................350,000.00
l) Stockholdings in various corporations with par value estimated at
.........................3,335,000.00
T o t a l - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P5,000,000.00
6. That deceased Roberto Lim Chua died single and without legitimate descendants or
ascendants, hence, the above named minors Robert Rafson Alonzo Chua and Rudyard
Pride Alonzo Chua, his children with herein petitioner shall succeed to the entire estate of
the deceased. (Article 988 of the Civil Code of the Philippines).

7. That the names, ages and residences of the relatives of said minors are the following, to
wit:
Names
1. Carlos Chua

2. Aida Chua

Relationship
Uncle

Ages

Residences

Cotabato City, Philippines, June 29, 1992.

60

Quezon Avenue,

(Sgd.) FLORITA ALONZO VALLEJO

Auntie

55

Cotabato City

(Petitioner)

RosaryHeights,

The trial court issued an order setting the hearing of the petition on 14 August 1992 and
directed that notice thereof be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the
province of Maguindanao and Cotabato City and or Davao City.

Cotabato City
3. Romulo Uy

Uncle

5. And for such other reliefs and remedies this Honorable Court may consider fit and proper
in the premises.

40

c/o Overseas Fishing Exporation Co.


Inc., Matina,
Davao City

6. That considering the fact that the aforementioned minors by operation of law are to
succeed to the entire estate of Roberto Lim Chua under the provisions of Article 988 of
the New Civil Code of the Philippines, it is necessary that for the protection of the rights
and interest of Robert Rafson Alonzo Chua and Rudyard Pride Alonzo Chua, both minors and
heirs of deceased Roberto Lim Chua, a guardian over the persons and properties of said
minors be appointed by this Honorable Court.
7. That herein petitioner being the mother and natural guardian of said minors is also
competent and willing to act as the guardian of minors Robert Rafson Alonzo Chua and
Rudyard Pride Alonzo Chua both staying and living with her; that petitioner possesses all
the qualifications and none of the disqualifications of a guardian.

On 21 July 1992, herein petitioner Antoinetta Garcia Vda. de Chua, representing to be the
surviving spouse of Roberto Chua, filed a Motion to Dismissxvi[2] on the ground of
improper venue. Petitioner alleged that at the time of the decedent's death Davao City was
his residence, hence, the Regional Trial Court of Davao City is the proper forum.
Private respondent filed an opposition to the Motion to Dismissxvii[3] dated July 20, 1992
based on the following grounds:
(1) That this petition is for the guardianship of the minor children of the petitioner who are
heirs to the estate of the late Roberto L. Chua and under Section 1, Rule 92 of the Rules of
Court the venue shall be at the place where the minor resides;
(2) That the above-named minors are residents of Cotabato City:
(3) That the movant in this case has no personality to intervene nor to oppose in the granting
of this petition for the reason that she is a total stranger to the minors Robert Rafson Alonzo
and Rudyard Pride Alonzo, all surnamed Chua.
(4) That deceased Roberto L. Chua died a bachelor. He is the father of the above-named
minors with the petitioner in this case;

WHREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed:


1. That, upon proper notice and hearing, an order be issued declaring minors ROBERTO
RAFSON ALONZO CHUA and RUDYARD PRIDE ALONZO CHUA as heirs to the intestate
estate of deceased ROBERTO LIM CHUA;

(5) That movant/oppositor Antoinetta Chua is not the surviving spouse of the late Roberto L.
Chua but a pretender to the estate of the latter since the deceased never contracted
marriage with any woman until he died.

3. That the petitioner be also appointed the guardian of the persons and estate of minors
ROBERT RAFSON ALONZO CHUA and RUDYARD PRIDE ALONZO CHUA;

On 6 August 1992, private respondent Vallejo filed a Motion for Admission of an Amended
Petitionxviii[4] "in order that the designation of the case title can properly and appropriately
capture or capsulize in clear terms the material averments in the body of the pleadings;
thus avoiding any confusion or misconception of the nature and real intent and purpose of
this petition". The amended petitionxix[5] contains identical material allegations but
differed in its title, thus:

4. That after all the property of deceased Roberto Lim Chua have been inventoried and
expenses and just debts, have been paid, the intestate estate of Roberto Lim Chua be
distributed to its rightful heirs, the minors in this case, pursuant to the provisions of
Article 988 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines.

IN RE: PETITION FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF ROBERTO CHUA,
DECLARATION OF HEIRSHIP, GUARDIANSHIP OVER THE PERSONS AND PROPERTIES OF
MINORS ROBERT AND RUDYARD, all surnamed CHUA and ISSUANCE OF LETTERS OF
ADMINISTRATION.

2. That Letters of Administration be issued to herein petitioner for the administration of the
estate of the deceased ROBERTO LIM CHUA;

FLORITA ALONZO VALLEJO,


Petitioner.
Paragraph 4 of the original petition was also amended to read as follows:
4. That Roberto Lim Chua, father of the abovementioned minors is a resident of Cotabato
City and died intestate on May 28, 1992 at Davao City.
The petition contains exactly the same prayers as those in the original petitions.
Petitioner opposed the motion to amend petition alleging that at the hearing of said motion
on 24 July 1992, private respondents counsel allegedly admitted that the sole intention of
the original petition was to secure guardianship over the persons an property of the minors.
xx[6]
On 21, August 1992, the trial court issued an orderxxi[7] denying the motion to dismiss for
lack of merit. The court ruled that Antoinetta Garcia had no personality to file the motion to
dismiss not having proven her status as wife of the decedent. Further, the court found
that the actual residence of the deceased was Cotabato City, and even assuming that there
was concurrent venue among the Regional Trial Courts where the decedent had resided, the
R.T.C. of Cotabato had already taken cognizance of the settlement of the decedent's estate
to the exclusion of all others. The pertinent portions of the order read:
At the hearing of the motion to dismiss on August 19, 1992, counsel for movant Antonietta
G. Chua presented 18 Exhibits in support of her allegation that she was the lawful wife of
the decedent and that the latter resides in Davao City at the time of his death. Exh. 1 was
the xerox copy of the alleged marriage contract between the movant and the petitioner.
This cannot be admitted in evidence on the ground of the timely objection of the counsels
for petitioner that the best evidence is the original copy or authenticated copy which the
movant cannot produce. Further, the counsels for petitioner in opposition presented the
following: a certification from the Local Civil Registrar concerned that no such marriage
contract was ever registered with them; a letter from Judge Augusto Banzali, the alleged
person to have solemnized the alleged marriage that he has not solemnized such alleged
marriage. Exhibit 2 through 18 consist among others of Transfer Certificate of Title
issued in the name of Roberto L. Chua married to Antonietta Garcia, and a resident of Davao
City; Residence Certificates from 1988 and 1989 issued at Davao City indicating that he
was married and was born in Cotabato City; Income Tax Returns for 1990 and 1991 filed in
Davao City where the status of the decedent was stated as married; passport of the
decedent specifying that he was married and his residence was Davao City. Petitioner
through counsels, objected to the admission in evidence of Exhibits 2 through 18 if the
purpose is to establish the truth of the alleged marriage between the decedent and
Antonietta Garcia. The best evidence they said is the marriage contract. They do not object
to the admission of said exhibit if the purpose is to show that Davao City was the business
residence of the decedent.
Petitioner through counsels, presented Exhibit A through K to support her allegation
that the decedent was a resident of Cotabato City; that he died a bachelor; that he begot
two illegitimate children with the petitioner as mother. Among these exhibits are Income

Tax Returns filed in Cotabato City from 1968 through 1979 indicating therein that he was
single; birth certificates of the alleged two illegitimate children of the decedent; Resident
Certificates of the decedent issued in Cotabato City; Registration Certificate of Vehicle of
the decedent showing that his residence is Cotabato City.
It is clear from the foregoing that the movant failed to establish the truth of her allegation
that she was the lawful wife of the decedent. The best evidence is a valid marriage
contract which the movant failed to produce. Transfer Certificates of Title, Residence
Certificates, passports and other similar documents cannot prove marriage especially so
when the petitioner has submitted a certification from the Local Civil Registrar concerned
that the alleged marriage was not registered and a letter from the judge alleged to have
solemnized the marriage that he has not solemnized said alleged marriage. Consequently,
she has no personality to file the subject motion to dismiss.
On the issue of the residence of the decedent at the time of his death, the decedent as a
businessman has many business residences from different parts of the country where he
usually stays to supervise and pursue his business ventures. Davao City is one of them. It
cannot be denied that Cotabato City is his actual residence where his alleged illegitimate
children also reside.
The place of residence of the deceased in settlement of estates, probate of will, and issuance
of letters of administration does not constitute an element of jurisdiction over the subject
matter. It is merely constitutive of venue (Fule vs. CA, L-40502, November 29, 1976). Even
assuming that there is concurrent venue among the Regional Trial Courts of the places where
the decedent has residences, the Regional Trial Court first taking cognizance of the
settlement of the estate of the decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all
other courts (Section 1, Rule 73). It was this Court which first took cognizance of the case
when the petition was filed on July 2, 1992, docketed as Special Proceeding No. 331 and an
order of publication issued by this Court on July 13, 1992.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motion to dismiss is hereby denied for lack of
merit.
On 31 August 1992, upon motion of private respondent, the trial court issued an order
appointing Romulo Lim Uy, a first cousin of the deceased, as special administrator of the
decedent's estate.xxii[8]
On the same day, the trial court likewise issued an Order appointing Florita Vallejo as the
guardian over the persons and properties of the two minor children.xxiii[9]
Thereafter, petitioner filed a Motion dated 25 October 1993xxiv[10] praying that the letters
of administration issued to Vallejo be recalled and that new letters of administration be
issued in her . She, likewise, filed a Motion dated 5 Novembeer 1993xxv[11] to declare the
proceedings a mistrial. Both motions were denied by the trial court in its Order dated 22
November 1993xxvi*12+ Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the order was denied
by the trial court in an order dated 13 December 1993xxvii[13]

Assailling the last two orders of the trial court, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition (Rule 65) with the respondent Court of Appeals, docketed as CA G.R. No. Sp.
33101, alleging that the trial court acted with grave abuse of discretion in:

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING
THAT THE ORIGINAL PETITION (Annex F, Petition) WAS FOR A TWIN PURPOSE, TO WIT:
FOR GUARDIANSHIP AND FOR INTESTATE ESTATE PROCEEDINGS;

(1) unilaterally and summarily converting, if not treating, the guardianship proceedings
into an intestate proceeding;

II

(2) summarily hearing the intestate proceedings without jurisdiction and without any notice
to herein petitioner whatsoever; and
(3) issuing the questioned order (sic) on the alleged pretension that herein petitioner has
no personality to intervene in SPL Proc. No. 331 questioning the highly anomalous orders
precipitately issued ex-parte by the public respondent R.T.C. without notice to the
petitioners.
Petitioner in the main argued that private respondent herself admitted in in her
opposition to petitioners motion to dismiss filed in the trial court and in open court that the
original petition she filed is one for guardianship; hence, the trial court acted beyond its
jurisdiction when it issued letters of administration over the estate of Robert C. Chua,
thereby converting the petition into an intestate proceeding, without the amended petition
being published in a newspaper of general circulation as required by Section 3, Rule 79.
The Court of Appeals in its decision promulgated on 19 April 1994xxviii[14] denied the
petition ratiocinating that the original petition filed was one for guardianship of the
illegitimate children of the deceased as well as for administration of his intestate estate.
While private respondent may have alleged in her opposition to the motion to dismiss that
petition was for guardianship, the fact remains that the very allegations of the original
petition unmistakably show a twin purpose: (1) guardianship; and (2) issuance of letters of
administration. As such, it was unnecessary for her to republish the notice of hearing
through a newspaper of general circulation in the province. The amended petition was filed
for the only reason stated in the motion for leave: so that the the "case title can properly
and appropriately capture or capsulize in clear terms the material averments in the body of
the pleadings; thus avoiding any confusion or misconception of the nature and real intent
and purpose of this petition", which was for guardianship over the persons and properties
of her minor children and for the settlement of the intestate estate of the decedent who
was their father. In other words, there being no change in the material allegations
between the original and amended petitions, the publication of the first in a newspaper of
general circulation sufficed for purposes of compliance with the legal requirements of notice.
Moreover, the appellate court ruled that the petitioner's remedy is appeal from the
orders complained of under Section 1(f), Rule 109 of the Rules of Court, not certiorari and
prohibition.
Not satisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeals, petitioner comes to this Court
contending that the appellate court committed the following errors:
I

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THERE
IS NO NEED TO PUBLISH THE AMENDED PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THE INTESTATE
ESTATE THEREBY CONTRAVENING THE RULES OF COURT AND THE RULINGS OF THE
SUPREME COURT
III
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT NULLIFYING THE
ORDERS (Annex P to T) PRECIPITATELY ISSUED EX-PARTE BY THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN THE INTESTATE PROCEEDINGS WITHOUT PRIOR HEARING OR
NOTICE TO HEREIN PETITIONER THEREBY DEPRIVING THE LATTER (ANTOINETTA GARCIA VDA.
DE CHUA ) OF DUE PROCESS AND OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD.
IV
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN SWEEPINGLY HOLDING
THAT PETITIONER'S REMEDY IS APPEAL.xxix[15]
In support of her first assignment of errors, petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals
conclusion that the original petition was one for guardianship and administration of the
intestate estate is contradicted by the evidence on hand, asserting that the original petition
failed to allege and state the jurisdictional facts required by the Rules of Court in petitions for
administration of a decedent's estate, such as: (a) the last actual residence of the decedent
at the time of his death; (b) names, ages and residences of the heirs; and (c) the names and
residences of the creditors of the decedent. Petitioner also reiterates her argument
regarding private respondents alleged admission that the original petition was one for
guardianship and not for issuance of letters of administration, pointing to the Opposition
to the Motion to Dismiss dated 20 July 1992, where the the private respondent alleged:
1. That this petition is for guardianship of the minor children of the petitioner who are heirs
to the estate of the late Roberto L. Chua and under Section 1, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court
the venue shall be at the place where the minor resides.xxx[16]
As well as to the statements made by counsel for the private respondent during the 24 July
1992 hearing on the motion to dismiss:
ATTY. RENDON:
We filed our opposition to the motion to dismiss the petition because this is a petition for
guardianship of minors, not for intestate proceedings. So this is a case where the mother
wanted to be appointed as guardian because she is also the litigant here. Because
whenever there is an intestate proceedings, she has to represent the minors, and under the
Rules of Court in any guardianship proceedings, the venue is at the place where the minor is
actually residing.xxxi[17]

The petition is devoid of merit.


The title alone of the original petition clearly shows that the petition is one which includes
the issuance of letters of administration. The title of said petition reads:
IN RE: PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF HEIRSHIP, GUARDIANSHIP OVER THE PERSON AND
PROPERTIES OF MINORS ROBERTO ALONZO AND RUDYARD ALONZO, all surnamed CHUA
and ISSUANCE OF LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION.xxxii[18]
Likewise, the prayer of the petition states:
2. That Letters of Administration be issued to herein petition for the administration of the
estate of the deceased ROBERTO LIM CHUA.
The original petition also contains the jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the
issuance of letters of administration. Section 2, Rule 79 of the Rules of Court reads:
Sec. 2. Contents of petition for letters of administration - A petition for letters of
administration must be filed by an interested person and must show, so far as known to the
petitioner:
(a) jurisdictional facts;
(b) The names, ages, and residences of the heirs and the names and residences of the
creditors, of the decedent
(c) The probative value and character of the property of the estate;
(d) The name of the person for whom letters of administration are prayed;
But no defect in the petition shall render void the issuance of letters of administration.
(underscoring ours).
The jurisdictional facts required in a petition for issuance of letters of administration are: (1)
the death of the testator; (2) residence at the time of death in the province where the
probate court is located; and (3) if the decedent was a non-resident, the fact of being a
resident of a foreign country and that the decedent has left an estate in the province where
the court is sitting.xxxiii[19]

All told the original petition alleged substantially all the facts required to be stated in the
petition for letters of administration. Consequently, there was no need to publish the
amended petition as petitioner would insist in her second assignment of errors.
Be that as it may, petitioner has no legal standing to file the motion to dismiss as she is not
related to the deceased, nor does she have any interest in his estate as creditor or
otherwise. The Rules are explicit on who may do so:
Sec. 4. Opposition to petition for administration - Any interested person, may by filing a
written opposition, contest the petition on .the ground of incompetency of the person for
whom letters of administration are prayed therein, or on the ground of the contestant's
own right to the administration, and may pray that letters issue to himself, or to any
competent person or persons named in the opposition.
Only an interested person may oppose the petition for issuance of letters of
administration. An interested person is one who would be benefited by the estate such as
an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor; his interest is
material and direct, and not one that is only indirect or contingent.xxxv[21]
Petitioner was not able to prove her status as the surviving wife of the decedent. The best
proof of marriage between man and wife is a marriage contract which Antoinetta Chua
failed to produce. The lower court correctly disregarded the photostat copy of the
marriage certificate which she presented, this being a violation of the best evidence rule,
together with other worthless pieces of evidence. The trial court correctly ruled in its 21
August 1992 Order that:
xxx Transfer Certificates of Title, Residence Certificates, passports and other similar
documents cannot prove marriage especially so when the petitioner has submitted a
certification from the Local Civil Registrar concerned that the alleged marriage was not
registered and a letter from the judge alleged to have solemnized the marriage that he
has not solemnized said alleged marriage. xxxxxxvi[22]
Under her third assignment of error, petitioner claims that the trial court issued its orders,
Annexes P to T without prior hearing or notice to her, thus, depriving her of due
process.

failed to indicate the residence of the deceased at the time of his death, the omission was
cured by the amended petitions wherein the same paragraph now reads:

The orders referred to by petitioner are: Order dated 31 August 1992 appointing Romulo
Lim Uy, first cousin of the deceased, as special administrator of the estate; Order dated 31
August 1992 appointing private respondent as guardian over the person and property of the
minors; Order dated 5 August 1993, directing the transfer of the remains of the deceased
from Davao City to Cotabato City; Order dated 6 September 1993 directing petitioner to turn
over a Mitsubishi Gallant car owned by the estate of the deceased to the special
administrator; and Order dated 28 September 1993, authorizing the sheriff to break open
the deceaseds house for the purpose of conducting an inventory of the properties found
therein, after the sheriff was refused entry to the house by the driver and maid of petitioner.

(4) That Roberto Lim Chua, father of the abovementioned minors is a resident of
Cotabato City and died intestate on May 28, 1992 at Davao City. xxxiv[20] (Underscoring in
the original.)

Apart from the fact that petitioner was not entitled to notice of the proceedings of the trial
court, not being able to establish proof of her alleged marriage to the decease, or of her
interest in the estate as creditor or otherwise, petitioner categorically stated in the instant

While paragraph 4 of the original petition stating:


(4) That Roberto Lim Chua, father of the above mentioned minors, died intestate on May
28, 1992 in Davao City.

petition that on 25 October 1993 she filed a motion praying for the recall of the letters of
administration issued by the trial court and another motion dated 5 August 1993 praying
that the proceedings conducted by the trial court be declared as a mistrial and the court
orders relative thereto be set aside and nullified. Petitioner further stated that her motions
were denied by the trial court in its Order dated 22 November 21, 1993 and that on 30
November 1993 she filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of denial which in turn
was denied by the trial court on 13 December 1993.
Due process was designed to afford opportunity to be heard, not that an actual hearing
should always and indispensably be held.xxxvii[23] The essence of due process is simply an
opportunity to be heard. xxxviii[24] Here, even granting that the petitioner was not notified
of the orders of the trial court marked as Exhibits P to T, inclusive, nonetheless, she was
duly heard in her motions to recall letters of administration and to declare the
proceedings of the court as a mistrial, which motions were denied in the Order dated 22
November 1933.xxxix[25] A motion for the reconsideration of this order of denial was also
duly heard by the trial court but was denied in its Order of 13 December 1993.xl[26]
Denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked by a party who has had the
opportunity to be heard on his motion for reconsideration.xli[27]
As to the last assignment of errors, we agree with the Court of Appeals that the proper
remedy of the petitioner in said court was an ordinary appeal and not a special civil action
for certiorari; which can be availed of if a party has no plain, speedy and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law. Except for her bare allegation that an ordinary appeal would
be inadequate, nothing on record would indicate that extraordinary remedy of certiorari or
prohibition is warranted.
Finally, petitioner further argues as supplement to her memorandum that the ruling of
the Court of Appeals treating the Special Proceeding No. 331 as one for both guardianship
and settlement of estate is in contravention of our ruling in Gomez vs. Imperial,xlii[28]
which the petitioner quotes:
The distribution of the residue of the estate of the deceased is a function pertaining
properly not to the guardianship proceedings, but to another proceeding which the heirs are
at liberty to initiate.
Petitioners reliance on said case is misplaced. In the Gomez case, the action before the
lower court was merely one for guardianship. Therefore said court did not have the
jurisdiction to distribute the estate of the deceased.
While in the case at bar, the petition
filed before the court was both for guardianship and settlement of estate.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the petition of petitioner Antoinetta Chua is hereby denied.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-14391

May 30, 1960

GENARO SENEN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
MAXIMA A. DE PICHAY, defendant-appellant.
Zacarias A. Crispin for appellee.
Diokno and Sison for appellant.
LABRADOR, J.:
In Civil Case No. 27816 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "Genaro Senen,
plaintiff, vs. Maxima A. de Pichay, defendant," the defendant appealed to the Court of
Appeals from an adverse decision of the Court of First Instance. By virtue of a resolution
dated April 17, 1958 of the Court of Appeals, the case was certified to this Court because one
of the issues involved in the appeal is the jurisdiction of the said Court in First Instance to try
the case.
The record discloses the following facts: In special proceedings No. Q-86, the Court of First
Instance of Rizal (Branch III), sitting at Quezon City, appointed the defendant Maxima A. de
Pichay, guardian over the person and properties of the minors Genaro, Rufina, Perfecto and
Simplicio, all surnamed Senen. But said guardianship proceedings were dismissed by said
court on March 16, 1955, by reason of abandonment (p. 8, Record on Appeal; p. 7, Brief for
Defendant-Appellant). On September 30, 1955, Genero Senen, one of the wards, brought the
present action against the guardian, Maxima A. de Pichay, for a full accounting of the
amounts she had received for the wards, alleging the appointment of defendant as guardian
of his brothers and sister and himself, and that defendant had received for the wards the
sum of P900.45, as arrears in pay of their deceased father, Pfc. Carlos Senen, and P10.00 a
month as pension for each of the wards since June 26, 1950 until they reach 18 years of age;
that defendant withheld the pensions due plaintiff and his brothers and sister and
appropriated the same to her own use, so that the children had rely upon other people for
support; that his brothers Roberto, Perfecto and Simplicio, are still minors; that by reason of
the malevolent acts of the defendant, the plaintiff and his brothers and sister suffered
damages. Plaintiff prays that the court order defendant to render full accounting of the
money of her wards and indemnify them for their rightful share in the estate of their
deceased father, revoke the letters of guardianship issued to defendant in special
proceedings No. Q-86 and appoint plaintiff in her place, and award plaintiff and his brothers
and sister actual damages of P3,310.45, moral damages of P5,000 and attorney's fees of
P1,000.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, on the ground that the claim of petitioner
or plaintiff has been released by the dismissal of the guardianship proceedings, Case No. Q86, and on the further ground that the venue is improperly laid. An opposition thereto was
filed and the court denied the motion; so defendant filed her answer, denying having
appropriated the amounts she had received as guardian, or committing a breach of her trust,
with a counterclaim for P220.00. The court below, after trial, rendered judgment ordering
defendant to pay plaintiff the amount of P2,859, which represents the pension of the ward
and the backpay of their father, the sum of P1,000 as moral damages, and a similar amount

as attorney's fees. In the same decision, the court appointed plaintiff guardian of the persons
and properties of his minor brothers. This is the decision sought to be reviewed on appeal.
One question of law was raised in this appeal, thus: Had the court below jurisdiction over the
subject matter of the action?
Defendant-appellant claims that the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, which appointed
defendant as guardian, still retains exclusive jurisdiction over the guardianship proceedings
and no other court can validly interfere with its continuing jurisdiction. This argument cannot
be sustained. The jurisdiction of a court in a guardianship proceeding and all incidents
thereof exists as long as the case is pending in that court. But when the case is terminated,
by dismissal or otherwise, the court ceases to exercise the power and authority to try said
case or any incidental matters thereof.
After final judgment or decree has been rendered and the parties dismissed, in general, the
jurisdiction of the court is exhausted. ... . (21 C. J. S. 147.)
After termination, by dismissal or otherwise, of litigation in one court ... any exclusive
jurisdiction or freedom from interference it may have possessed is at an end; and another
court may deal with the property or subject matter which, by the former suit, was not
withdrawn forever from subsequent litigation. (Id., p. 816.)
A petition for accounting, etc., which is an incident of a guardianship proceeding, should be
filed in the court where the guardianship proceedings are pending. But once the
guardianship proceeding is terminated, said petition can no longer be filed in the same case,
but must be filed as a separate case, in the same court, or in any other court of competent
jurisdiction.
The general rule that the authority of the court first acquiring jurisdiction must prevail is
subject to the exception that where the proceeding in the court first acquiring jurisdiction is
terminated, abandoned, or void, then another court of concurrent jurisdiction may take
jurisdiction of the same subject matter. (14 Am. Jur. 445.)
An action for accounting may be brought in a court of law whenever the guardianship for any
reason terminates without any prior settlement in the court. (39 C. J. S. 253.)
The court below, therefore, validly acquired jurisdiction over the present case.
The other issues involved are factual. To speedily administer justice in this case, we have
resolved them.
The parties agree that defendant had received P757.94 as backpay of the deceased father of
plaintiff and his brothers and sister (five in all), and the sum of P2,450 as monthly pensions of
the latter while minors under the age of 18. For convenience we have taken as basis the
"inventory and accounting," dated April 10, 1956, signed under oath by defendant and
presented in court as Exhibit "1". Also for convenience we have grouped the different items
into four namely, (1) judicial and administrative expenses, (2) expenses for burial of the
deceased mother of plaintiffs and debts of said mother for the support and maintenance of
the minors, and (3) the amounts spent by defendant-guardian for the maintenance and
support and education of the minors, including plaintiff herein.

The judicial expenses include P80 paid to Atty. Marino Alagar for preparing papers for the
claim for compensation, P50 expenses in securing affidavits and supporting papers for the
claim and P69 judicial expenses incurred in the guardianship proceedings, or a total of
P199.00. These expenses are not disputed and the claim of defendant, therefore, should be,
as it hereby is, approved, the same to be charged against the monthly pensions of the
minors.
The sum of P200 appears to have been loaned to the mother of the minors in the year 1943
in cash and in rice, corn and tobacco for the mother and her children (See Exh. "1-A").
Another amount of P130 was paid by defendant to Eligia A. Aquino (Exh. "1-B") who had
advanced said sum for the burial expenses of the mother of the minors. The amount spent by
the deceased mother of minors for the support of the latter and the burial expenses of the
mother of minors are legally chargeable against the earnings of the husband, which in the
present case is his backpay. The defendant should be credited with said payments totalling
P350 against the backpay of the minor's father of P757.94, so that of said backpay defendant
should pay to plaintiffs the sum of P407.94.
As to defendant's claim for expenses for the support of plaintiff and his brothers and sister,
the record discloses that except for plaintiff, the testimonies of the witnesses were taken
before the clerk of court. We have, therefore, taken the trouble to read all the testimonies
that we may better determine who is to be believed, plaintiff and his witnesses or defendant
and hers.
There is no question, however, that in the year 1949, defendant took into her house four of
the minors, namely, Genaro, Roberto, Rufina and Rogelio and in May, 1950 she also took
Simplicio with her. This was necessary for she had to bring them before the court of the
guardianship proceedings and to get their pension from the Judge Advocate General's Office.
Defendant is married to a sergeant in the Army, with whom she had some ten children. That
the minors lived for some time in her home is corroborated by Severino Tangan, also a
soldier and brother-in-law of defendant. This is also corroborated by the school record of the
three minors, Simplicio, Rufina and Rogelio (Exh. "3"). The issue is, how long did each of them
live with defendant and was supported by her and what should be the amount to be charged
by her against them for such stay.
On the question of the length of time that each of the minor wards stayed with their
guardian, we have found the following: Genaro Senen testified that he stayed with the
defendant, her aunt, for only three months in 1955. But he admits that upon the death of his
father in 1950, defendant called him for the purpose of collecting the money awarded his
father by the Judge Advocate General's Office. Defendant, on the other hand, testified that
Genaro, Rufina and Roberto were taken by her since 1949 when she applied for the
guardianship proceedings, and that Genaro stayed with her until he was employed in the
Bureau of Census from 1953 to 1955. In this respect her testimony is corroborated by those
of Anastacio Eduarte, a soldier and Severino Tangan, who lived beside the house of Mrs.
Pichay. Rufina declared that she stayed with defendant since 1950 when defendant went to
get her from an uncle, but thereafter went away and returned to her in 1952 till she got
married in October, 1953; that of the five children only four of them stayed with defendant,
namely, Genaro, Rogelio, Roberto and herself and were brought to the Judge Advocate
General's Office, but that they went away later to their grandfather in the provinces. But her
testimony is contradicted by that of defendant and her witnesses, and by Exhibit "3", which

shows that she, Rogelio and Simplicio were enrolled in 1949-1950, 1950-1951 and 19501951, respectively, which shows that she was lying. Rogelio Senen, 16, denied having lived
with defendant, although he admits that defendant gave P40 to the aunt with whom he was
living. Simplicio Senen, 14, also testified, denying ever having lived with defendant. Since
these boys testified in 1955, it is possible that they did not tell the truth or had forgotten
where they had lived some five or six years before. The witnesses for defendant, however,
asserted that they were living with defendant and their enrollment in school from 1950-1951
seems to support the claim of defendant and the testimonies of her two witnesses. Besides,
one witness presented by plaintiff who appears to be credible, Juan Asistin, lived in the
provinces and came to Quezon City to the house of defendant only once, and he could not
tell with whom the minors were actually living.
After considering all the testimonies, we are led to the conclusion that those of defendant
and her witnesses preponderate against the denials of plaintiff and his minor brothers. The
appraisal by the lower court of their credibility is not to be given much weight as only
plaintiff and an employee of the Judge Advocate General's Office testified in his presence, all
the testimonies of the others having been taken before the clerk of court as commissioner.
We believe, as Rufina Senen had admitted, that the minors must have stayed with plaintiff
for from one and a half years to two years, or at least eighteen months each.
As to the amount to which defendant is entitled, her claim of P30 per month is not justified.
The pension each minor under 18 years is supposed to receive is P10. She should not be
allowed an amount beyond this as what was legally authorized to be spent for each child is
only P10 a month. For 18 months she was authorized to spend for each of the five minors
only P180, or a total amount of P900. Since she actually received for their pensions P2,450,
the amount of P1,550 remains due from her.
As to moral damages, we do not consider the act of defendant so malicious as to make her
liable for moral damages. She certainly must have, in some way, taken advantage of the sums
she had received, but the fact that she enrolled the minors in school and tried to keep them
in her home, although the pensions were very limited and she herself had ten children of her
own, should be sufficient reason for exempting her from moral damages.
As to attorney's fees, the Court believes that in view of the poverty of the minors, their
lawyer should be entitled only to ten per centum of the recovery, the same to be charged
against the defendant. As the sums awarded are P407.94 and P1,500 or a total of P1,907.94,
plaintiff's attorney should be paid P200 as attorney's fees.
Wherefore, the defendant is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff for himself and as guardian of his
minor brothers the sum of P1,907.94, to pay plaintiff's attorney the sum of P200 as fees, plus
the costs. The order of the court appointing plaintiff guardian of his minor brothers is hereby
affirmed. So ordered.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Barrera, and Gutierrez
David, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 81969 September 26, 1988

(a) Motion to dismiss or to quash;

JOCELYN RULONA-AL AWADHI, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ABDULMAJID J. ASTIH, District Judge of the Fourth Sharia Judicial District Court and
NABIL AL-AWADHI, respondents.

(b) Motion for a bill of particulars;


(c) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings or any other paper;
(d) Motion to declare defendant in default;

Citizens Legal Assistance Office for petitioner.


(e) Reply, third party complaints, or intervention;
Talib Umpar for private respondent.
(f) Petition for certiorari, mandamus, or prohibition against any interlocutory order issued by
the court;
GRIO-AQUINO, J.:

(g) Petition for relief from judgment;

A petition for review on certiorari was filed by Jocelyn Rulona-Al Awadhi, assailing the order
dated January 12, 1988 of the Sharia Judicial District Court of Marawi City which denied her
motion to dismiss Special Proceedings No. 011-87, entitled "Nabil Al-Awadhi, Petitioner, vs.
Jocelyn Rulonba, Respondent" for custody and guardianship of their minor children named
Abdul Wahab Nabil, 5 years old, Adare Nabil, 3 years old, and Sabihab Al Abdullah Nabil, 6
months old.

(h) Motion for new trial or re-opening of trial; and

The petitioner and the private respondent were married in Kuwait on August 1, 1981. The
petitioner is a Filipino nurse and a Roman Catholic. Her husband, the private respondent is a
Kuwaiti student. The petitioner resides with her children in Sta. Cruz, Calape, Bohol, while the
private respondent resides at 49-7 Pamaong Street, Tagbiliran City.
On or about August 25, 1987, she filed an action for support and guardianship of her three
(3) minor children (who are in her custody) in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2, in Tagbilaran
City (Civil Case No. 4170, entitled "Jocelyn Rulona-Al Awadhi Petitioner, vs. Nabil Al-Awadhi
Defendant"). Upon her motion, she was appointed the children's guardian by order of the
court dated August 25, 1987 (Annex B, p. 20, Rollo). The defendant, her husband filed in the
same court a motion to be allowed to exercise joint parental authority over their children
(Annex C, p. 21, Rollo). However, without waiting for the action of the Tagbilaran Court, he
filed on November 4, 1987 a petition for custody and guardianship of their minor children in
the Fourth Sharia District Court in Marawi City (Annex A, p. 10, Rollo). It was docketed
therein as Special Proceeding No. 011-87.
After having been summoned, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the
grounds that: (1) the court has no jurisdiction over the subject of the petition, nor over the
parties, least of all, herself; (2) there is another action pending between the same parties for
the same cause; and (3) improper venue (Annex B, p. 45, Rollo).
In its order dated November 20, 1987, the Sharia District Court denied her motion to dismiss
(Annex C, p. 23, Rollo). Its order was based on Section 13 of the Special Rules of Procedure in
the Sharia Courts which provides:
Section 13. Pleadings and Motions Disallowed. The court shall not allow the filing of the
following pleadings, petitions or motions, to wit:

(i) Any dilatory motion for postponement.


Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of that order (Annex D, p. 24, Rollo) was also denied
by the court on January 12, 1988. Hence, this petition for review raising only the legal issue
of jurisdiction, or lack of it, of the respondent Sharia District Court over the parties and the
subject matter of the case. Only the Sharia District Judge filed a Comment on the petition;
the private respondent did not.
Article 13, Title II of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (PD 1083) provides:
BOOK TWO
TITLE II
Chapter One
APPLICABILITY CLAUSE
Art. 13. Application (1) The provisions of this Title shall apply to marriage and divorce
wherein both parties are Muslims, or wherein only the male party is a Muslim, and the
marriage is solemnized in accordance with Muslim law or this Code in any part of the
Philippines.
(2) In case of a marriage between a Muslim and non-Muslim, solemnized not in accordance
with Muslim law or this Code, the Civil Code of the Philippines shall apply.
(3) Subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraphs, the essential requisites and legal
impediments to marriage, divorce, paternity and filiation, guardianship and custody of
minors, support and maintenance, claims for customary dower (mahr), betrothal, breach of
contract to marry, solemnization and registration of marriage and divorce, rights and
obligations between husband and wife, parental authority, and the property relations
between husband and wife shall be governed by this Code and other applicable Muslim laws.
(Emphasis supplied.)

In view of the following admitted facts:


(1) That the plaintiff husband in Spl. Proc. No. 011-87 is not a Philippine Muslim but a Kuwaiti
national;
(2) That he resides at 49-7 Pamaong Extension, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, not in Marawi City
where the Sharia court sits;
(3) That the defendant wife (herein petitioner Jocelyn Rulona) is a Filipino citizen and a nonMuslim (a Roman Catholic Christian);
(4) That their Muslim marriage was not solemnized in any part of the Philippines, for they
were married in Kuwait (Annex A, par. 2, p. 40, Rollo); and
(5) That they do not reside within the Fourth Sharia District, embracing the provinces of
Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, and the cities of Iligan and Marawi (Art. 138-d, P.D. No.
1083), for both of them reside in the province of Bohol; it should have been self-evident to
the Fourth Sharia District Court that it had no jurisdiction over the spouses of their marriage,
nor over the custody and guardianship of their children (Art. 143, P.D. No. 1083).
The Regional Trial Court, Branch II, at Tagbilaran City which had assumed jurisdiction over
petitioner's complaint for support and guardianship of her children on August 25, 1987 (p.
19, Rollo), may not be divested of its jurisdiction over the parties (the husband having
voluntarily submitted to its jurisdiction by filing a motion therein for joint custody of his
children) by the Fourth Sharia District Court in Marawi City by the husband's filing therein
three (3) months later his own petition for custody and guardianship of his children (p.10,
Rollo). The rule is that once a court has assumed jurisdiction of a case, its jurisdiction shall
continue until the case is finished. It may not be ousted from its jurisdiction by a co-equal
court (People vs. Layno, 111 SCRA 20; Denila vs. Bellosillo, 64 SCRA 63; Lat vs. PLDT, 67 SCRA
425; and People vs. Ocaya, 83 SCRA 218).
Moreover, Article 3 of the Muslim Code (P.D. No. 1083 expressly provides:
Art. 3. Conflict of provisions ...
(3) The provisions of this Code shall be applicable only to Muslims and nothing herein shall be
construed to operate to the prejudice of a Non-Muslim.
The application of the Muslim Code to the Christian wife will be prejudicial to her.
The Code of Muslim Personal Laws was promulgated to fulfill "the aspiration of the Filipino
Muslims to have their system of laws enforced in their communities" (Exec. Order No. 442,
Dec. 23, 1974). Those communities are found in the ten (10) Mindanao provinces and six (6)
cities comprised within the five (5) Sharia judicial districts which were created under Article
138 of the Muslim Code. As neither the petitioner nor the private respondent and their
children live in or are members of those communities, they do not come within the ambit of
the Sharia courts' jurisdiction.
Instead of invoking a procedural technicality, the respondent court should have recognized
its lack of jurisdiction over the parties and promptly dismissed the action, for, without

jurisdiction, all its proceedings would be, as they were, a futile and invalid exercise. A
summary rule prohibiting the filing of a motion to dismiss should not be a bar to the dismissal
of the action for lack of jurisdiction when the jurisdictional infirmity is patent on the face of
the complaint itself, in view of the fundamental procedural doctrine that the jurisdiction of a
court may be challenged at anytime and at any stage of the action (Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, 23
SCRA 29, 35-36; Crisostomo vs. Court of Appeals, 32 SCRA 54; Zulueta vs. Pan American
World Airways, Inc., 49 SCRA 1, 6; Nueva Vizcaya Chamber of Commerce vs. Court of Appeals,
97 SCRA 856).
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is granted. All the proceedings in special Proceeding
No. 011-87 of the Fourth Sharia District Court at Marawi City are annulled and the petition
therein is dismissed. Costs against the private respondent.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-33152 January 30, 1982


LUIS PARCO and VIRGINIA BAUTISTA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. UNION C. KAYANAN, Judge, COURT OF FIRST
INSTANCE OF QUEZON (BRANCH IV), CALAUAG, and FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ, JR., Legal
Guardian of the Incompetent SOLEDAD RODRIGUEZ, respondents.

DE CASTRO, J.:
By this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek to set aside the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals dated January 20, 1971 1 which revived and declared in full force and effect
its decision on August 20, 1970 2 dismissing the petition for certiorari with preliminary
injunction in CA-G.R. No. 43732, entitled "Luis Parco, et al. vs. Hon. Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Quezon, Branch IV, Calauag, et al., " and pray that the decision dated April 15,
1969 3 and all subsequent orders 4 issued by respondent Judge of Branch IV-Calauag, Court
of First Instance of Quezon in Special Proceedings No. 2641 be declared as null and void.
This case, G. R. No. L-33152, started from Special Proceedings No. 2641. a guardianship
proceedings for the incompetent Soledad Rodriguez of Sriaya, Quezon, which originally
pertained to Branch 1, Court of First Instance of Quezon, then presided by the late Hon.
Judge Vicente Arguelles, 5 later on succeded by Hon. Judge Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera
(now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court). In 1966, respondent Judge of Branch IVCalauag of the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Hon. Union C. Kayanan, took cognizance of
Special Proceedings No. 2641 when the Secretary of Justice authorized respondent Judge to
help unclog the docket of Branch I at Lucena City, Quezon.
For clarity, We have hereunder summarized the sequence of events and material dates as it
appears in the records from the time respondent Judge of Branch IV of the Court of First
Instance of Quezon took cognizance of Special Proceedings No. 2641.
On December 20, 1966, respondent Judge authorized and approved, upon motion of
Fransisco Rodriguez, Jr. (guardian of Soledad Rodriguez), hereinafter referred to as private
respondent, the sale to Luis Parco and Virginia Bautista, hereinafter referred to as the
petitioners, of Lot Nos. 3437 (613 sq. meters) and 4389 (4,068 sq. meters) covered by TCT
Nos. 16939 and 18035, respectively, for the sum of P4,400.00 for the support, maintenance
and medical treatment of the ward Soledad Rodriguez.

Court, praying that an order be immediately issued requiring petitioners to appear before the
court so that they can be examined as regards the three (3) lots in question which are
allegedly in danger of being lost, squandered, concealed and embezzled and upon failure to
do so or to comply with any order that may be issued in relation therewith to hold them in
contempt of court. The pertinent allegations read as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
1. That as legal guardian (private respondent) of the abovenamed incompetent and upon
authorization by this Hon. Court he has transferred in good faith to the spouses LUIS PARCO
and VIRGINIA (UY) BAUTISTA, both of Atimonan, Quezon, the titles over the following realties
belonging to his ward, namely:
a. A parcel of land (Lot No. 3437 of the Cadastral Survey of Sariaya) with the improvements
thereon situated in the Municipality of Sariaya ... containing an area of Six Hundred Thirteen
(613) sq. meters, more or less;
b. A parcel of land (Lot No. 4389 of the Cadastral Survey of Sariaya) situated in the
Municipality of Sariaya ... containing an area of Four Thousand And Sixty-Eight (4,068) sq.
meters, more or less;
c. A parcel of land (Lot No. 1207 of the Cadastral Survey of Sariaya) situated in the
Municipality of Sariaya ... containing an area of Sixty-three Thousand Five Hundred and
Ninety-eight (63,598) sq. meters, more or less.
2. That anent the first TWO (2) PARCELS above-described he transferred the titles thereto in
favor of the recited spouses under a loan agreement (not an absolute sale thereto and with
the express commitment in writing that he can recover the same within three (3) months
from December 19, 1966, ...
That prior to the expiration of the cited period of three months, he tried to recover the
stated two parcels of land from them, however, the same was not carried out because he
was then transacting with them the sale of PARCEL THREE and under the Agreement that
they will not sell cede, or convey the mentioned two (2) lots to anyone (except to petitioner
now private respondent herein) and once the stated PARCEL THREE has been sold at the
price of P48,000.00 the borrowed amount of P4,400.00 shall be deducted therefrom and said
two parcels shall be returned to him;

On January 6, 1967, respondent Judge again approved and authorized, upon motion of
private respondent, the sale to petitioners of Lot No. 1207 covered by TCT No. 16944
containing an area of 63,598 sq. meters, more or less, for the same reason. All the sales of
the three (3) lots being absolute, new transfer certificates of title were issued in the name of
petitioners.

3. That recently, he discovered that the cited couple, in bad faith and in violation of their
agreement and of the trust and confidence which he had reposed upon them, have
fraudulently ceded and transferred the titles over the stated two parcels of land to another
person, allegedly for a price of (over P30,000.00) and in spite of his repeated request upon
them to reconvey to him the titles thereto or to turn over to him the total proceeds they
have received (minus the sum of P4,400.00), they have maliciously and unjustly refused to do
so, and are intending to keep and retain said amount for their own personal use and benefit;

On May 13, 1968, or almost one year and five months from the approval of the sale of Lot
Nos. 3437, 4389, and 1207, private respondent filed an urgent petition in the Court of First
Instance of Quezon, Ninth Judicial District, invoking Section 6 Rule 96 of the Revised Rules of

4. That as already adverted to in the previous paragraph hereof, the mentioned couple
induced him to transfer to them the title of parcel three, so that they can sell the same for
the agreed price of P48,000.00 and believing in good faith that the cited spouses are honest

and trustworthy, he agreed and executed the requisite document transferring the title to
them subject to the following conditions:
a. They shall pay to him the amount of Twelve Thousand (Pl2,000.00) Pesos after they have
secured a buyer of the property, ...
b. They shall pay to NIEVES ALCALA and PURA AGCAOILE (who are private respondent's
agents and representatives in negotiating the sale of parcel three) the sum of Fifteen
Thousand (P15,000.00) Pesos after they have sold the realty, ...
5. That recently, he discovered that the cited couple have already sold and ceded the
mentioned parcel three to another person, and despite his repeated request upon them to
pay and deliver to him or to Nieves Alcala the sum of money specified in the foregoing
paragraph, they have maliciously and unjustly failed and refused to do so, and have
fraudulently retained the said amount of money for thier own personal use and benefit;
6. That the enumerated parcels of land together with all the proceeds derived therefrom,
undeniably belonged to his ward as trust properties, which are subject to the disposition of
this Hon. Court, and due to the mentioned fraudulent, malicious and dishonest acts of the
above- named couple, are in danger of being lost, squandered, concealed and embezzled;
xxx xxx xxx
In an answer dated June 5, 1968, petitioners contended mainly, among others, that the three
lots have been conveyed to them by deeds of absolute sale which were duly approved by the
guardianship court.
Pre-trial hearings were set for possible amicable settlement beginning on September 6, 1968
but was postponed and reset to October 9, 1968 on petitioners' counsel motion. On October
9, 1968, both parties and their counsels appeared but failed to reach any amicable
settlement. Again, the pre-trial hearing was reset to November 28 and 29, 1968 but was
likewise postponed to January 8, 1969 at petitioners' counsel motion.
On January 8, 1969, for failure to petitioners and their counsel to appear although there was
a telegram requesting for postponement, respondent Judge issued an order, 6 authorizing
private respondent to present evidence before the Clerk of Court who was instructed to
make the corresponding report which shall be made as the basis of this decision.
In a petition dated January 30, 1969, petitioners prayed for the reconsideration of the order
of January 8, 1969 pointing out, among others, that there was a First Order dated July 29,
1968, 7 issued by then Judge Ameurfina M. Herrera, Presiding Judge of Branch I, Court of
First Instance of Quezon that said branch "will henceforth take cognizance of this case" and
thus, asked for the transfer of the incident sought before Branch IV to Branch I for proper
action.
On February 20, 1969, respondent Judge, finding the petition for reconsideration wellgrounded, issued an order directing the Clerk of Court to transmit the records of the case to
the Court of First Instance, Branch I, Lucena City, quoted below:
ORDER

Acting on the Petition for Reconsideration filed by counsel for the respondent on February 4,
1969, considering that Hon. A. Melencio-Herrera, Presiding Judge of Branch 1, CFI, Lucena
City, issued an order on July 29, 1968, the dispositive portion of which is quoted as follows.
'WHEREFORE, it is hereby confirmed that this court will henceforth take cognizance of this
case,' and considering that this special proceedings actually belongs to Branch I, although
incidents therein were taken cognizance of by the Presiding Judge of CFI, Branch IV when he
was holding court session in Lucena City and notwithstanding Administrative Order No. 261
dated October 7, 1968 which states that 'This administrative order shall not apply to cases
pending in the different salas which have been partially tried and shall remain therein for
final disposition', because to case was originally filed during the incumbency of the late Judge
Vicente Arguelles, finding therefore the said petition to be well-grounded, the Clerk of Court
is hereby authorized to transmit these records to the Deputy Clerk of Court, CFI, Branch I, of
Lucena City.
SO ORDERED.
Given at Calauag, Quezon this 20th day of February, 1969.
(SGD.) UNION C. KAYANAN Judge
On March 24, 1969, Private respondent, without the assistance of a counsel, filed before
Branch IV, Court of First Instance of Quezon an amended petition praying that the three (3)
lots subject matter of the original urgent petition be ordered reconveyed to the ward in said
Special Proceedings No. 2641 for he was informed that petitioners win transfer and
properties to third person.
On March 26, 1969, the Clerk of Court of Branch IV, Court of First Instance of Quezon, issued
the notice of hearing of the amended petition filed by private respondent dated March 24,
1969 notifying counsel for both parties that the case will be heard before Branch IV on April
10, 1969 at 2:30 p.m. at Calauag, Quezon. On the date set for hearing, counsels for both
parties appeared but for failure of the petitioners to appear respondent Judge issued an
order 8 reiterating its previous order dated January 8, 1969 allowing private respondent to
present his evidence ex-parte and considered the case submitted for resolution.
On April 15, 1969, respondent Judge rendered a decision 9 on the basis of the report of the
Clerk of Court dated February 19, 1969 ordering petitioners to reconvey the three (3) parcels
of land to private respondent.
On June 14, 1969, petitioners moved to reconsider the decision stating, among others, that
respondent Judge has no authority to take cognizance of the case which, according to
petitioners, is an issue raised in the petition for reconsideration of the court order of January
8, 1969, and that the decision was without legal basis. Petitioners prayed that the case or
incident be transferred to the proper court which had taken cognizance of this case.
On June 23, 1969, respondent Judge denied the petition for reconsideration for lack of merit.
Petitioners' counsel received the said order of denial on June 26, 1969.
Meanwhile, on June 21, 1969, private respondent filed an urgent motion in Branch IV praying
that petitioners be required to appear before the court to be examined as regards the

properties of the ward and to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for not
complying with a final order of the court directing the reconveyance of the three (3) parcels
of land to private respondent.

On August 20, 1969, petitioners went to the Court of Appeals on a petition for certiorari with
preliminary injunction pleading nullity of the decision of the Court of First Instance, Branch
IV,

On June 23, 1969, respondent Judge, acting on the urgent motion, issued an order 10
directing petitioners to explain why they should not be cited for contempt of court pursuant
to par. (b) Section 3 Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Quezon dated April 15, 1969 on grounds of lack of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion
in denying their right of appeal.

On June 27, 1969, petitioners filed an urgent motion claiming that the urgent motion for
contempt of court was premature considering that the decision ordering the reconveyance of
the properties in question has not yet become final and executory and is still subject to
appeal. In their prayer for the setting aside of the order of June 23, 1969, petitioners
informed the court that they win appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals and that the
corresponding notice of appeal, appeal bond and the record on appeal will be filed in due
time.
The following day, June 28, 1969, petitioners filed the notice of appeal and appeal bond with
a manifestation that the record on appeal will be filed in due time.
On July 3, 1963, respondent Judge issued an order 11 denying for lack of merit petitioners'
urgent motion of June 27, 1969, thus declaring that the order dated June 23, 1969 stands
considering that petitioners' right to appeal has already lapsed. In the same order,
petitioners were given ten (10) days upon receipt to explain why they should not be cited for
contempt pursuant to Section 4, Rule 71 in relation to Section 6, Rule 96 of the Revised Rules
of Court.
On July 7, 1969, petitioners filed a petition for extension of ten (10) days to expire on July 20,
1969 within which to file the record on appeal. In an order 12 dated July 9, 1969, respondent
Judge denied the said petition for having been filed beyond the reglementary period.
On July 10, 1969, petitioners filed an unverified second petition for reconsideration of the
decision dated April 15, 1969 and the order of July 3, 1969 contending that Branch IV lost its
jurisdiction over the raise from the time the order dated February 20, 1969 was issued by
Judge A. Melencio- Herrera; that the proceedings under Section 6 Rule 96 do not authorize
the Hon. Court (Branch IV) to determine the question of right over the property or to order
delivery thereof; that the purpose is merely to elicit information or secure evidence from the
person suspected of having embezzled, concealed or conveyed away any personal property
of the ward; that if the court finds sufficient evidence showing ownership on the part of the
ward, it is the duty of the guardian to bring the proper action.
On the other hand, on July 17, 1969, a motion for reconsideration of the order dated July 9,
1969 was filed by petitioners claiming that all the pleadings related to the intended appeal
were filed within the period allowed by the Revised Rules of Court. After an opposition was
filed, respondent Judge issued an order on 13 July 18, 1969 denying the second petition for
reconsideration for lack of basis and on the ground that the period to appeal either the
decision or any of the previous orders had already expired.

On September 27, 1969, the Court of Appeals dismissal the petition for lack of merit. 14 On
motion by petitioners, the dismissal was reconsidered in a split resolution dated December
15, 1969 thereby giving due course to the petition, and private respondent was required to
answer.
After private respondent filed their answer and the parties submitted their respective
memoranda, the Court of Appeals, in a three-to-two vote decision 15 dated August 21, 1970
dismissed the petition.
On motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners, the Court of Appeals, in a split resolution
16 dated October 10, 1970 granted the motion for reconsideration and set aside the decision
dated August 20,1970.
However, upon motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent, the Court of Appeals,
in a three-to-two vote resolution 17 dated January 20, 1971, reverted to its decision of
August 21, 1970 dismissing the petition.
Hence, the instant petition for review on the following assignment of errors, to wit:
I
THE MAJORITY OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
SUSTAINING THE RETENTION BY THE RESPONDENT JUDGE OF BRANCH IV-CALAUAG OF THE
CASE OF BRANCH I-LUCENA CITY AFTER HE ORDERED THE RETURN OF THE CASE TO BRANCH
I,LUCENA CITY TO WHICH THE CASE BELONGS AND AFTER THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH
I LUCENA CITY HAD RESUMED AND EXERCISED HER JURISDICTION OVER SAID CASE.
II
ASSUMING THAT THE RESPONDENT JUDGE COULD LEGALLY AND VALIDLY RETAIN
JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE OF BRANCH I LUCENA CITY DESPITE THE CIRCUMSTANCES
ADVERTED TO IN THE FIRST ASSIGNED ERROR, THE MAJORITY OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE
JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SANCTIONING THE RESPONDENT JUDGE'S
ASSUMPTION OF JURISDICTION TO ADJUDICATE THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP AND/OR ORDER
RECONVEYANCE OF PETITIONERS' PROPERTY SOLD TO THEM AND TITLED IN THEIR NAMES,
NOTWITHSTANDING THE LIMITED JURISDICTION OF A GUARDIANSHIP COURT.
III
THE MAJORITY OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING THAT THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY AND APPROVAL OF THE SALES ARE CONCLUSIVE
UPON THE VALIDITY AND REGULARITY OF SAID SALES BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THEIR
SUCCESSORS IN INTEREST.

IV
THE MAJORITY OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
SANCTIONING BY SILENCE THE QUESTIONED ORDER OF THE RESPONDENT JUDGE
ENFORCING HIS DECISION BY CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS.
THE MAJORITY OF THE DIVISION OF FIVE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
SANCTIONING DENIAL OF PETITIONERS' RIGHT TO APPEAL.
This petition was given due course in view of the peculiar incidents during its trial stage
where, as borne out by the records, two (2) branches of the Court of First Instance of Quezon
Province, 9th Judicial District assert jurisdiction over Special Proceedings No. 2641, which,
when the decision rendered by one branch was brought in the Court of Appeals on certiorari
with preliminary injunction, the Special Division of Five Justices, in a three-to-two vote
resolution in four (4) occasions after its dismissal for lack of merit on September 27, 1968,
reconsidered the same and was given due course on December 15, 1968, again dismissed on
August 21, 1970, but again reconsidered on October 10, 1970, until finally dismissed on
January 20, 1971 when the Special Division of Five reverted to its August 21, 1970 resolution.
The Special Division was equally split on the issue whether or not the Court of First Instance,
Branch IV, Calauag, Quezon, acting with limited jurisdiction as a guardianship court under
Section 6 Rule 96 of the Rules of Court, has the authority to adjudicate the question of
ownership and order the reconveyance of the three (3) parcels of land in question to private
respondent, guardian of the ward Soledad Rodriguez. On these two (2) principal issues, We
are called upon to finally resolve the legal controversy peculiar on this case.
After the parties submitted their respective briefs, the case was deemed submitted for
decision on October 28, 1971.
In a Resolution 18 of this Court dated November 29, 1978, the urgent manifestation and
motion of Leonisa S. Rodriguez, the surviving spouse of Mario Rodriguez (brother of the
ward) that the ward Soledad Rodriguez died on September 15, 1970 and private respondent
Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. died on October 24, 1973; and that the heirs of the ward be
substituted as the private respondents in this case was noted. To begin with, the principal
issue al hand is whether or not respondent Judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon,
Branch IV-Calauag has the authority or power to take further action in Special Proceedings
No. 2641 after the Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon, Branch I-Lucena
City asserted its jurisdiction by issuing two (2) orders dated July 29, 1968 and respondent
Judge correspondingly ordered the return of the case to Branch I in an order dated February
20,1969.
Petitioners maintain that respondent Judge of Branch IV, Court of First Instance of Quezon
has no power or authority to retain jurisdiction over Special Proceedings No. 2641 which, at
its inception, originally pertained to Branch I-Lucena City, Court of First Instance of Quezon.
To support such chum, petitioners contend that the Second Order dated July 29, 1968
requiring private respondent for an inventory and accounting of the ward's property
confirms that the Presiding Judge of Branch I has resumed its jurisdiction over said case,
more so, when respondent Judge ordered on February 20, 1969 the transmittal of the
records of the case to the Deputy Clerk of Court, Court of First Instance, Branch I-Lucena City.

Private respondent, on the other hand, justifies the retention of jurisdiction by respondent
Judge over Special Proceedings No. 2641 contending, among others, that the two (2) orders
dated July 29, 1968 issued by then Judge A. Melencio-Herrera are not sufficient bases for
claiming that Branch IV has been deprived of its, jurisdiction because jurisdiction is vested
upon the court not upon any particular branch or judge thereof and the issuance of such
orders constitute undue interference with the processes and proceedings already
undertaken by respondent Judge; that petitioners are guilty of estoppel when they failed to
raise the issue of jurisdiction from the very beginning and when they voluntarily appeared
before respondent Judge, filed their answer and other pleadings, and moved for
postponements of the scheduled dates of hearing.
We sustain petitioners' stand. Of course, jurisdiction is vested in the court not in any
particular branch or judge, and as a corollary rule, the various branches of the Court of First
Instance of a judicial district are a coordinate and co-equal courts 19 one branch stands on
the same level as the other. Undue interference by one on the proceedings and processes of
another is prohibited by law. In the language of this Court, the various branches of the Court
of First Instance of a province or city, having as they have the same or equal authority and
exercising as they do concurrent and coordinate jurisdiction should not, cannot, and are not
permitted to interfere with their respective cases, much less with their orders or judgments.
20 A contrary rule would obviously lead to confusion and might seriously hinder the
administration of justice. A judge is competent to act so long as the case remains before him,
but after it passed from his branch to the other, the case could be acted upon by the judge of
the latter branch. 21 Otherwise, an anomalous situation would occur at the detriment of the
party litigants who are likewise confused where to appear and plead their cause.
In the case before Us, there is no dispute that both Branch I and Branch IV of the Court of
First Instance of Quezon, have jurisdiction over the subject matter, a guardianship
proceedings under Section 1, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court and Section 44(a) of the Judiciary
Act of 1948. While it is recognized that when a case is filed in one branch, jurisdiction over
the case does not attach to the branch or judge alone, to the exclusion of the other branches,
22 We are of the view however, considering the unusual circumstances and incidents
attendant in this case the situation in the case at bar is different. Here, it must be noted that
the Presiding Judge of Branch I asserted and resumed its prior jurisdiction by issuing two (2)
orders, one of which requires private respondent to render an inventory and accounting of
the property of the ward. On the other hand, respondent Judge of Branch IV, in confirmation
of such resumption of jurisdiction, ordered the return of the records of Special Proceedings
No. 2641 to Branch I-Lucena City, Court of First Instance of Quezon, but, instead of regularly
relinquishing jurisdiction over the case, respondent Judge continued to take further action on
the case in total disregard of the two (2) orders of the Presiding Judge of Branch I. Should
one branch be permitted to equally assert, assume or retain jurisdiction over a case or
controversy over which another coordinate or co-equal branch has already resumed its
jurisdiction, We would then sanction undue interference by one branch over another. With
that, the judicial stability of the decrees or orders of the courts would be a meaningless
precept in a well-ordered administration of justice.
There is no question that the prior proceedings had in Branch IV by respondent Judge were
valid and regular as they were admittedly authorized by the Secretary of Justice. It must be
emphasized however, that Branch IV lost its jurisdiction over Special Proceedings No. 2641
when respondent Judge ordered the return of the records to Branch I after having been

informed in a motion for reconsideration filed on January 30, 1969 of the existence of the
two (2) orders issued by the Presiding Judge of Branch 1. From that point of time, all
subsequent proceedings and processes in connection with or related to Special Proceedings
No. 2641 undertaken by the respondent Judge became irregular. It amounted to an undue
interference with the processes and proceedings of Branch I.
Nevertheless, from the standpoint of the pertinent law on the matter, it may be observed
that the detail of respondent Judge of Branch IV stationed permanently in Calauag, Quezon
to Branch I in Lucena City, Quezon authoritatively rests on the provision of Section 51 of the
Judiciary Act of 1948 which reads:
Section 51. Detail of judge to another district or province.-Whenever a judge stationed in.
any province or branch of a court in a province shag certify to the Secretary of Justice that
the condition of the docket in his court is such as to require the assistance of an additional
judge, or when there is any vacancy in any court or branch of a court in a province, the
Secretary of Justice may, in the interest of justice, with the approval of the Supreme Court
and for a period of not more than three months for each time, assign any judge of any court
or province, whose docket permits his temporary absence from said court, to hold sessions in
the court needing such assistance or whether such vacancy exists. No judge so detailed shall
take cognizance of any case when any of the parties thereto objects and the objection is
sustained by the Supreme Court. (emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
Apparently, when the circumstances contemplated under Section 51 of the Judiciary Act of
1948 occur, the detailed Judge holds sessions in the court needing such assistance or where
such vacancy exists as if he is the presiding judge of that particular branch where the clogged
docket or vacancy exists. The detailed Judge does not hold sessions therein as if he is the
Presiding Judge of the branch where he is originally or permanently designated. In the case
before Us, respondent Judge Kayanan was duly authorized to help unclog the docket of
Branch I stationed in Lucena City, Quezon which at that time was rendered vacant due to the
death of Judge Vicente Arguelles. When respondent Judge Kayanan took cognizance of the
cases left by Judge Arguelles, pending the designation of a replacement, he merely sits as a
judge of Branch I, Court of First Instance of Quezon Province. In the event of designation of a
new Presiding Judge of Branch 1, accepted practice and procedure of speedy administration
of justice requires that the detailed judge turns over the cases he took cognizance of to the
new Presiding Judge. Justification for the continued retention of jurisdiction over those cases
in the case at bar appears to be not convincing.
We find no plausible indication how estoppel could operate against petitioners. It is true that
petitioners filed their answer to the urgent petition of private respondent and appeared
before respondent Judge of Branch IV without questioning the latter's authority to hear the
case. The answer to the urgent petition of private respondent dated May 13, 1968 was filed
by petitioners on June 5, 1968 or almost two (2) months before Judge Melencio-Herrera of
Branch I issued the two (2) orders dated July 29, 1968 asserting jurisdiction over the case.
The appearances of petitioners and counsel in the sala of respondent Judge during the
intervening period from July 29, 1968 were apparently due to the fact that petitioners came
to know only of the two orders of Branch I when they examined the records of the case
prompted by the manifestation of the counsel of private respondent, in the course of the

proceedings in Branch IV, to submit for an accounting in connection with the administration
of the properties of the ward Soledad Rodriguez. Petitioners manifested such information to
respondent Judge in a petition for reconsideration of the order of January 8, 1968
authorizing the presentation of evidence ex parte. The silence or inaction of petitioners was
therefore due to their lack of knowledge of respondent Judge's lack of authority to retain or
take further action on the case. Such lack of authority was confirmed when respondent
Judge, acting on the petition for reconsideration dated January 30, 1969, issued on February
20, 1969 an order authorizing the return of the records of the case to Branch I. In claiming
that the records referred to by the order concern the first portion of the records of Special
Proceedings No. 2641 and not the second portion containing the urgent petition filed by
private respondent on May 13, 1968, private respondent would then encourage split
jurisdiction of courts which is abhorred by the law.
Assuming that Branch IV-Calauag, Court of First Instance of Quezon has jurisdiction over
Special Proceedings No. 2641 notwithstanding the attendant circumstances adverted to
earlier, We now dwell on another issue, which standing alone would decisively resolve the
assigned errors raised in this petition, that is, whether or not Branch IV exercising limited and
special, jurisdiction as a guardianship court under Section 6 Rule 96 of the Rules of Court has
jurisdiction to order the delivery or reconveyance of the three parcels of land in question to
the ward, represented herein by private respondent.
In two leading cases, Castillo vs. Bustamante, 64 Phil. 839 and Cui vs. Piccio et al, 91 Phil. 712,
this Court laid the rule on the issue raised before Us as interpreted in the light of Section 6
Rule 96 of the Rules of Court which reads:
Section 6. Proceedings when person suspected of embezzling or concealing property of the
ward. Upon complaint of the guardian or ward, or of any person having actual or
prospective interest in the estate of the ward as creditor, heir, or otherwise, that anyone is
suspected of having embezzled, concealed, or conveyed away any money, goods, or interest,
or a written instrument, belonging to the ward or his estate, the court may cite the
suspected person to appear for examination touching such money, goods, interests, or
instrument, and make such orders as will secure the estate against such embezzlement,
concealment or conveyance.
In Cui vs. Piccio et al., supra, this Court held that the jurisdiction of the court in guardianship
proceedings, ordinarily, is to cite persons suspected of having embezzled, concealed or
conveyed the property belonging to the ward for the purpose of obtaining information which
may be used in an action later to be instituted by the guardian to protect the right of the
ward. Generally, the guardianship court exercising special and limited jurisdiction cannot
actually order the delivery of the property of the ward found to be embezzled, concealed or
conveyed. In a categorical language of this Court, only in extreme cases, where property
clearly belongs to the ward or where his title thereto has been already judicially decided,
may the court direct its delivery to the guardian. 23 In effect, there can only be delivery or
return of the embezzled, concealed or conveyed property of the ward, where the right or
title of said ward is clear and undisputable. However, where title to any property said to be
embezzled, concealed or conveyed is in dispute, under the Cui case, the determination of
said title or right whether in favor of the person said to have embezzled, concealed or
conveyed the property must be determined in a separate ordinary action and not in
guardianship proceedings.

In the case at bar, We are not prepared to say, at this premature stage, whether or not, on
the basis alone of the pleadings of the parties in the trial court, the title or right of the ward
Soledad Rodriguez over the three (3) parcels of land in question is clear and undisputable.
What is certain here is the fact that the sale of the properties in question were duly approved
by the respondent Judge in accordance with the provisions on selling and encumbering of the
property of the ward under Rule 97 of the Rules of Court. It must be noted that while the
original urgent petition dated May 13, 1968 prayed for the examination of petitioners herein
regarding the alleged concealing, conveyancing and embezzling of the questioned properties,
the amended petition dated March 24, 1969 asked for reconveyance.

Court of Appeals. In any case, the operation of the principle of estoppel on the question of
jurisdiction seemingly depends upon whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction. If it
had no jurisdiction, but the case was tried and decided upon the theory that it had
jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on appeal, from assailing such jurisdiction, for the
same must exist as a matter of law, and may not be conferred by consent of the parties or by
estoppel. 25

Moreover, it may be observed that private respondent contended that the sale of the first
two lots was actually a loan agreement with right of recovery while that of the third lot was
subject to condition, hence, a fictitious or simulated sale. On the other hand, according to
petitioners, the sales were all absolute and protected by the Torrens System since new
transfer certificate of titles were issued in their name. Apparently, there is a cloud of doubt
as to who has a better right or title to the disputed properties. This, We believe, requires the
determination of title or ownership of the three parcels of land in dispute which is beyond
the jurisdiction of the guardianship court and should be threshed out in a separate ordinary
action not a guardianship proceedings as held in Cui vs. Piccio supra.

WHEREFORE, the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated January 20, 1971 is hereby
reversed and set aside, and the decision rendered by respondent Judge of Branch IV-Calauag,
Court of First Instance of Quezon dated April 15, 1969 and the orders issued thereafter are
declared null and void, and the case is hereby remanded to Branch I-Lucena City, Court of
First Instance of Quezon for further proceedings.

The ruling in Castillo vs. Bustamante, 64 Phil. 839, relied upon by private respondent finds no
application in the instant case. As differentiated from the case at bar, in Castillo case, the
right or title of the ward to the property in dispute was clear and undisputable as the same
was donated to her through compromise agreement approved by the court which title had
the authority of res judicata. As enunciated above, the right or title of the ward to the
properties in question is in dispute and as such should be determined in a separate ordinary
action.
Furthermore, private respondent's claim that petitioners are barred by laches to raise the
issue of jurisdiction is without merit. In support of such claim, private respondent invoked
the exception laid down in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29, to the rule that the lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter is fatal and may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings; that it is conferred only by law, and in the manner prescribed by law and an
objection on the lack of jurisdiction cannot be waived by the parties; and the infirmity cannot
be cured by silence, acquiescence, or even by express consent, or win of the parties. 24
The doctrine laid down in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, supra, and in the latter case of Rodriguez
vs. Court of Appeals, 29 SCRA 419 is not applicable in the case at bar. In Tijam case, the
appellant had all the opportunity to challenged the court's jurisdiction in the court a quo as
well as in the Court of Appeals but instead invoked its jurisdiction to obtain affirmative relief
and submitted its case for final adjudication on the merits. It was only after an adverse
decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals and fifteen (15) years later from the inception
of the case that it finally chose to raise the question of j jurisdiction. I t is clear that t the
circumstances present in Tijam case are not present here. The petitioners in the instant case
challenged the authority of the trial court to take further cognizance of the case the moment
they become aware of Branch I assuming jurisdiction. The lack of jurisdiction was raised in a
petition for reconsideration of the order dated January 8, 1969, in a petition for
reconsideration of the decision dated April 15, 1969, in a second petition for reconsideration
of the said decision, and alleged as an additional ground in the petition for certiorari in the

As respondent trial court has no jurisdiction, We deem it unnecessary to pass upon the
assigned errors raised in the petition.

SO ORDERED.
Barredo (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Ericta and Escolin, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J.:, dissenting:


I dissent. I vote for the affirmance of the decision of Judge Union C. Kayanan, Calauag Branch
IV of the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province dated April 15, 1969 in Special
Proceeding No. 2641, entitled "Guardianship of the Incompetent Soledad Rodriguez,
Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., Guardian".
In that decision, Judge Kayanan ordered the spouses Luis Parco and Virginia Bautista to
reconvey Lot No. 3437 (613 square meters), Lot No. 4389 (4,069 square meters) and Lot No.
1207 (63,598 square meters), all of the Sariaya, Tayabas cadastre, to the guardian Francisco
Rodriguez, Jr. upon the latter's payment to the said spouses of the sum of twelve thousand
pesos which he had borrowed from them (p. 65, Rollo).
Since the ward died intestate on September 15, 1970 and the guardian died on October 24,
1973, the reconveyance should be made to the ward's heirs, namely, her sisters, Concepcion
Rodriguez- Sapalo and Milagros Rodriguez-Sanchez, and the children of the ward's deceased
brother Mario Rodriguez (who died on March 8, 1972), namely, Mario, Jr., Ramoncito, Liza
and Rodulfo, all surnamed Rodriguez, represented by their guardian, their mother, Leonisa S.
Rodriguez (pp. 232-236, Rollo). Said heirs should pay the Parco spouses the sum of twelve
thousand pesos as a condition for the reconveyance.

It should be noted that the said guardianship proceedings was assigned originally to Branch I
presided over by Judge Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. It was transferred to Branch IV
presided over by Judge Kayanan who was detailed at Lucena City to assist in decongesting
the dockets of Branches I and II.
Judge Kayanan had authorized the sale of the three lots to the Parco spouses so that the
proceeds of the sale could be used for the maintenance of the ward. it turned out that the
sales or transfers were made under certain conditions which were violated by the Parco
spouses.
A copy of Judge Kayanan's decision was received by petitioners' counsel on May 29, 1969.
Sixteen days later or on June 14, they filed a motion for reconsideration. The order denying
that motion was received by the petitioners on June 26. They filed their notice of appeal and
appeal bond on June 28 (pp- 86 and 92, CA Rollo).
The last day for submitting the record on appeal was July 10. The petitioners asked for a tenday extension within which to file their record on appeal Instead of submitting it, they filed
on July 10 a second motion for reconsideration on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.
The lower court denied the motion for extension of time within which to file the record on
appeal It also denied the second motion for reconsideration in its order of July 18, 1969.
The petitioners did not file any record on appeal They filed on August 20, 1969 a petition for
certiorari in the Court of Appeals to set aside the said decision of April 15. The Court of
Appeals in its extended resolution of September 27, 1969 dismissed the petition on the
ground that the petitioners' remedy was an appeal which they had abandoned.
That resolution was reconsidered. The petition was given due course. The Court of Appeals in
its decision of August 21, 1970 dismissed the petition. (Per Justice Eulogio Serrano with
Alvendia and Nolasco JJ., concurring. Justice Enriquez and Yatco dissented.)
Petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of that decision was denied in the resolution of
January 20, 197 1. (Per Justice Eulogio Serrano with Justices Nolasco and Soriano concurring.
Justices Enriquez and Alvendia dissented.)
The petitioners appealed to this Court. The decision of the Court of Appeals should be
affirmed because (1) the petitioners inexcusably did not file a record on appeal (2) the
question as to whether the guardianship court should set aside the conveyances to the
petitioners is not a jurisdictional question but merely a procedural matter which could be
waived (Lachenal vs. Salas, L-42257 June 14, 1976, 71 SCRA 262) and (3) the petitioners and
the guardian hoodwinked the guardianship court to the ward's prejudice.
It is the duty of the courts, in the exercise of the State's prerogative to protect persons under
disability (parents patriae) to set aside the transfers to the petitioners and thus avoid unjust
enrichment at the expense of the ward and do justice in this case. Technicalities should be
eschewed.
As to the power of a branch of the Court of First Instance to act in a case transferred to it
from another sala of the same court, see Eleazar vs. Zandueta, 48 Phil. 193; Hizon Mercado

vs. Ocampo, 72 Phil. 318; San Miguel Brewery, Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 91 Phil.
178.

Separate Opinions
AQUINO, J.:, dissenting:
I dissent. I vote for the affirmance of the decision of Judge Union C. Kayanan, Calauag Branch
IV of the Court of First Instance of Quezon Province dated April 15, 1969 in Special
Proceeding No. 2641, entitled "Guardianship of the Incompetent Soledad Rodriguez,
Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., Guardian".
In that decision, Judge Kayanan ordered the spouses Luis Parco and Virginia Bautista to
reconvey Lot No. 3437 (613 square meters), Lot No. 4389 (4,069 square meters) and Lot No.
1207 (63,598 square meters), all of the Sariaya, Tayabas cadastre, to the guardian Francisco
Rodriguez, Jr. upon the latter's payment to the said spouses of the sum of twelve thousand
pesos which he had borrowed from them (p. 65, Rollo).
Since the ward died intestate on September 15, 1970 and the guardian died on October 24,
1973, the reconveyance should be made to the ward's heirs, namely, her sisters, Concepcion
Rodriguez- Sapalo and Milagros Rodriguez-Sanchez, and the children of the ward's deceased
brother Mario Rodriguez (who died on March 8, 1972), namely, Mario, Jr., Ramoncito, Liza
and Rodulfo, all surnamed Rodriguez, represented by their guardian, their mother, Leonisa S.
Rodriguez (pp. 232-236, Rollo). Said heirs should pay the Parco spouses the sum of twelve
thousand pesos as a condition for the reconveyance.
It should be noted that the said guardianship proceedings was assigned originally to Branch I
presided over by Judge Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. It was transferred to Branch IV
presided over by Judge Kayanan who was detailed at Lucena City to assist in decongesting
the dockets of Branches I and II.
Judge Kayanan had authorized the sale of the three lots to the Parco spouses so that the
proceeds of the sale could be used for the maintenance of the ward. it turned out that the
sales or transfers were made under certain conditions which were violated by the Parco
spouses.
A copy of Judge Kayanan's decision was received by petitioners' counsel on May 29, 1969.
Sixteen days later or on June 14, they filed a motion for reconsideration. The order denying
that motion was received by the petitioners on June 26. They filed their notice of appeal and
appeal bond on June 28 (pp- 86 and 92, CA Rollo).
The last day for submitting the record on appeal was July 10. The petitioners asked for a tenday extension within which to file their record on appeal Instead of submitting it, they filed
on July 10 a second motion for reconsideration on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

The lower court denied the motion for extension of time within which to file the record on
appeal It also denied the second motion for reconsideration in its order of July 18, 1969.
The petitioners did not file any record on appeal They filed on August 20, 1969 a petition for
certiorari in the Court of Appeals to set aside the said decision of April 15. The Court of
Appeals in its extended resolution of September 27, 1969 dismissed the petition on the
ground that the petitioners' remedy was an appeal which they had abandoned.
That resolution was reconsidered. The petition was given due course. The Court of Appeals in
its decision of August 21, 1970 dismissed the petition. (Per Justice Eulogio Serrano with
Alvendia and Nolasco JJ., concurring. Justice Enriquez and Yatco dissented.)
Petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of that decision was denied in the resolution of
January 20, 197 1. (Per Justice Eulogio Serrano with Justices Nolasco and Soriano concurring.
Justices Enriquez and Alvendia dissented.)
The petitioners appealed to this Court. The decision of the Court of Appeals should be
affirmed because (1) the petitioners inexcusably did not file a record on appeal (2) the
question as to whether the guardianship court should set aside the conveyances to the
petitioners is not a jurisdictional question but merely a procedural matter which could be
waived (Lachenal vs. Salas, L-42257 June 14, 1976, 71 SCRA 262) and (3) the petitioners and
the guardian hoodwinked the guardianship court to the ward's prejudice.
It is the duty of the courts, in the exercise of the State's prerogative to protect persons under
disability (parents patriae) to set aside the transfers to the petitioners and thus avoid unjust
enrichment at the expense of the ward and do justice in this case. Technicalities should be
eschewed.
As to the power of a branch of the Court of First Instance to act in a case transferred to it
from another sala of the same court, see Eleazar vs. Zandueta, 48 Phil. 193; Hizon Mercado
vs. Ocampo, 72 Phil. 318; San Miguel Brewery, Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 91 Phil.
178.

[G.R. No. L-5893. February 28, 1956.]


CARMEN PARDO DE TAVERA y LOPEZ MANZANO, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. EL HOGAR FILIPINO,
INC., MAGDALENA ESTATE, INC. and ERNEST BERG, Defendants; EL HOGAR FILIPINO, INC. and
MAGDALENA ESTATE, INC., Defendants-Appellants.

DECISION
PADILLA, J.:
A parcel of land containing an area of 2,784 square meters as described in transfer certificate
of title No. 36234 issued on 6 September 1930 by the office of the Register of Deeds in and
for the City of Manila was registered in the name of Andres Luna de Pardo de Tavera, single;
chan roblesvirtualawlibraryCarlos Pardo de Tavera, married to Belen Ramirez; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryGonzales; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryMaria Audotte Pardo de Tavera y
Ramirez, 3 years of age, single; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryRoberto Pardo de Tavera y
Ramirez, 9 years of age, single; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand Carmen Pardo de Tavera y
Lopez Manzano, 11 years of age, single (Exhibit B). On 6 August 1930 the co-owners agreed
to organize a corporation under the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. for the purpose of building a
modern structure on the parcel of land and to that end they also agreed to accept shares of
stock of the corporation to be organized in exchange for their respective shares in the parcel
of land and building erected thereon to be transferred to the corporation (Exhibit D-2). On 12
August 1930 the duly appointed guardian of the minor Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez
Manzano, mother of the minor, filed a petition in the probate court (Special Proceeding No.
34154) praying for the approval of the agreement referred to (Exhibit D-2) and seeking
authority to accept shares of stock of the corporation in exchange for the share of the minor
in the property (Exhibit D-1). On 28 August 1930 the probate court approved the agreement
in so far as the minor Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano was concerned and
authorized the guardian to accept the shares of stock of the corporation in exchange for the
share of the minor in the property (Exhibit E-1). The Tavera-Luna, Inc., was actually
incorporated on 14 December 1930 and the guardian of the minor Carmen Pardo de Tavera y
Lopez Manzano transferred her share in the property on 16 January 1931. After the transfer
of the shares of the co-owners in the property, transfer certificate of title No. 36234 (Exhibit
B) was cancelled and in lieu thereof transfer certificate of title No. 37347 in the name of
Tavera-Luna, Inc. was issued on 23 January 1931 (Exhibit H). On 17 January 1931 upon
application of the corporation, El Hogar Filipino, Inc., a loan and building association, granted
it a loan of P1,000,000 for the purpose of erecting a concrete building in lieu of the wooden
building standing thereon. This loan was secured by a first mortgage registered on the
certificate. On 11 February 1932 an additional loan of P300,000 was obtained by the
corporation from El Hogar Filipino, Inc. secured by a mortgage on the same property. The
period of the first mortgage of P1,000,000 was extended. Transfer certificate of title No.
37347 in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. (Exhibit H) was cancelled and in lieu thereof transfer
certificate of title No. 40177 was issued on 28 April 1932 in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc.,
but the parcel of land was subdivided into several lots with their respective description
(Exhibit K). Again, transfer certificate of title No. 40177 (Exhibit K) was partially cancelled as
to one of the several lots and transfer certificate of title No. 41127 was issued in the name of
Tavera-Luna, Inc. on 25 August 1932 (Exhibit K-1). Thereafter, partial cancellations were

made of transfer certificate of title No. 40177 (Exhibit K) as to some of the small lots and
transfer certificates of title Nos. 41128, 43104, 43105, 43107, 43108, 43109 and 7276 were
issued in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. The last certificates of title cover small parts of the
original parcel of land. The larger part of the parcel of land is described in transfer certificates
of title Nos. 40177 (Exhibit K) and 41127 (Exhibit K-1). Not long after the construction of the
building known as Crystal Arcade was finished, El Hogar Filipino, Inc., the mortgagee, took
over the possession and management of the property to apply the rents, after deducting
management expenses, to the payment of the mortgagee debt and on 28 September 1933
the mortgagee foreclosed the mortgage extrajudicially and purchased the whole property at
public auction sale for P1,363,555.37 (Exhibits L and L- 1). The mortgagor having failed to
redeem the property, the mortgagee consolidated its title and the certificate of title Nos.
40177 (Exhibit K) and 41127 (Exhibit K-1) in the name of Tavera-Luna, Inc. were cancelled and
in lieu thereof transfer certificates of title Nos. 59596 (Exhibit M), and 59570 (Exhibit M-1
were issued in the name of the mortgagee, El Hogar Filipino, Inc. on 12 August 1940. On 26
August 1943, nearly nine months after the filing of the original complaint in this case, El
Hogar Filipino, Inc. sold the whole property to Magdalena Estate, Inc. for P1,400,000 in
Japanese war notes (Exhibit P). The certificates in the name of El Hogar Filipino, Inc. Nos.
59569 and 59570 (Exhibits M and M-1) were cancelled and lieu thereof transfer certificates
of title Nos. 67102 and 67103 were issued in the name of Magdalena Estate, Inc. on 26
August 1943 (Exhibits Q and Q-1). On 22 September 1943 Magdalena Estate, Inc. sold onethird undivided share in the property to Ernest Berg for P466,666.66 in Japanese war notes
(Exhibit R).
On 17 November 1942, Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano brought an action in the
Court of First Instance of Manila to annul the transfer of her right, share and interest in the
property made by her guardian to Tavera-Luna, Inc. However, before judgment could be
rendered by the Court, the battle for liberation of Manila supervened and the record of the
case was destroyed. After reconstitution of the record of the case, amendment to the
pleadings to include the Magdalena Estate, Inc. and Ernest Berg to party-Defendants and trial
on the merits, the Court of First Instance of Manila rendered judgment annulling the order of
the probate court that had granted authority to the guardian of the Plaintiff to transfer her
wards right, share interest in the parcel of land to Tavera-Luna, Inc. and the transfer thereof
pursuant thereto; chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe transfers of the wards share in the
property to El Hogar Filipino, Inc., Magdalena Estate, Inc. and Ernest Berg; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrarythe certificates of title issued to the transferees in so far as the wards
share in the property is concerned; chan roblesvirtualawlibraryand ordering cancellation of
transfer certificates issued to the transferees and issuance of new ones in the name of the
transferees and the Plaintiff with the statement in the certificates to be issued that Plaintiffs
share in the property is two-ninths, free from any lien or encumbrance, and accounting of
the income collected by the transferees during the periods of their respective possession of
the property and payment or delivery thereof to the Plaintiff in so far as her share in the
property is concerned. The Defendants have appealed.
The point that the Plaintiffs action is barred by the statute of limitations is no longer urged,
because the Plaintiff became of age and released from guardianship on 19 November 1940
(Exhibit N-1 and 0- 1) and the action was brought on 17 November 1942, or within the period
provided for in section 579, Act No. 190, which says:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

No action for the recovery of any estate sold by a guardian can be maintained by the ward, or
by any person claiming under him, unless it is commenced within three years next after the
termination of the guardianship, or, when a legal disability to sue exists by reason of minority
or otherwise, at the time when the cause of action accrues, within three years next after the
removal of such disability.
The Plaintiff contends and the trial court sustained her claim that the order of the probate
court of 28 August 1930 (Exhibit E-1) is a nullity because the provisions of section 569, Act
No. 190, the law then in force, were not complied with and for that reason the probate court
was without jurisdiction to order the transfer of her share in the property to the corporation
to be organized and formed. She alleges and argues that as the petition which brought about
the entry of the order of the probate court of 28 August 1930 was not verified; chan
roblesvirtualawlibraryit did not set forth the condition of the estate of the ward and the facts
and circumstances upon which the petition was founded tending to show the necessity or
expediency of the sale (transfer); chan roblesvirtualawlibrarythe Court did not direct the
next of kin to the ward, and all persons interested in the estate, to appear before the judge
or court, at the time and place therein specified, not less than four nor more than eight
weeks from the time of making such order, to show cause why an order should not be
granted for the sale or such estate, the order is a nullity for lack of jurisdiction of the court
issuing it.
That the probate court in guardianship proceedings No. 34154 entitled Tutela de la menor
Carmen Pardo de Tavera y Lopez Manzano, had jurisdiction over the petition filed by the
guardian admits of no doubt. Only upon the ground of lack of jurisdiction may an order
entered by a court be assailed collaterally. If the court had jurisdiction, irregularities in the
proceedings which would or could invalidate the courts order may be assailed directly by
means of an appeal but not collaterally. 1 Lack of verification of a petition filed in a probate
court for the sale of real property belonging to the estate of a minor is not a jurisdictional
defect. 2 It should have been attacked directly and not collaterally. 3 In her petition the
guardian alleged that the transfer of her wards share in the property to the corporation then
to be organized would be to or for her benefit and she expected that the construction of a
new building would enhance the value of her wards share in the property and increase her
income (Exhibits D-1 and D-2). No other consideration or motive could have prompted the
guardian, mother of the minor, to file the petition. It is not necessary for a grant of authority
to the guardian to sell the estate of the ward to state that the income is insufficient to
maintain the ward and his family or to maintain or educate the ward when a minor. It is
enough, as the other alternative of the law provides, that it appears to the satisfaction of
the court that it is for the benefit of the ward that his real estate or some part thereof should
be sold, and the proceeds thereof put out at interest, or invested in some productive
security. 4 The petition of the guardian falls under the last quoted part of section 569, Act
No. 190. That part of the section, requiring the probate court to enter an order directing the
next of kin to the ward and all persons interested in the estate to appear before the court at
a time and place therein specified, was substantially complied with, because the next kin to
the ward was her own guardian and mother and all persons interested in the estate of the
ward were her uncles and aunt who agreed to make the transfer of their respective shares in
the property to the corporation, Tavera-Luna, Inc. Moreover, next of kin are those whose
relationship is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as distributees. 5 There were
no creditors to the wards estate. Notice to the next of kin to the ward, and all persons
interested in the estate, to appear before the judge or court, at the time and place therein

specified, was not necessary, because the next of kin to the ward and all persons interested
in the estate were her mother and guardian, uncles and aunt. Under these circumstances we
are of the opinion that part of the provision of section 569, Act No. 190, has been complied
with. Hearing on the petition, as required in said section does not necessarily mean that
witnesses testify or documents be produced or exhibited. If the court be satisfied that the
allegations of the petition are true and the interested persons or close relatives of the ward
did not object because they themselves were interested in the scheme to organize a
corporation to which all their shares in the property were to be transferred, the provisions of
the law on hearing were also complied with. The conclusion arrived at renders it unnecessary
for us to pass upon the question whether El Hogar Filipino, Inc. was a purchaser for value and
in good faith. Suffice it to say that even if the loan was granted when the certificate of title
was still in the name of the Plaintiff and her co-owners, the fact that the loan was applied for
by an entity that was in the process of organization and by the same persons who were the
registered owners of the property, the mortgagee was entitled to rely upon the order of the
probate court granting authority to the guardian to make the transfer of the share of her
ward in the property and was not bound to inquire further to find out whether there were
irregularities committed or defects or vices that would render the order null and void. 1 So
also the question whether the action brought by Carlos Pardo de Tavera y Cembrano in his
own behalf and in behalf of the minor, the herein Plaintiff-Appellee, is res judicata need not
be passed upon. Certainly, it would be awkward for this Court to review a final decree or
judgment which upheld the validity of the mortgage in favor of the Appellant, El Hogar
Filipino, Inc., in the case of Carlos Pardo de Tavera and Carmen Pardo de Tavera Manzano vs.
El Hogar Filipino, Inc., 68 Phil., 712, and to declare null and void the order of the probate
court as far as the share in the property of the minor is concerned, a declaration which would
partly reopen, review, reverse or set aside that final decree or judgment rendered by this
Court.
This action would not have been brought if the scheme and plan of the organizers or
incorporators of the Tavera-Luna, Inc. should have met with success.
The judgment appealed from is reversed, the complaint dismissed, with costs against the
Appellee.

G.R. No. L-58319 June 29, 1982


PATRIA PACIENTE, petitioner,
vs.
HON. AUXENCIO C. DACUYCUY, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
of Leyte and Southern Leyte; FELICIANA CALLE, court-appointed guardian of the minors
Shirley and Leandro, both surnamed HOMERES; the SOLICITOR GENERAL; THE CITY FISCAL OF
TACLOBAN; and, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, Tacloban City, respondents.
RESOLUTION

GUTIERREZ, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition challenging the validity of an April 24, 1981
order of the respondent Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Leyte which required the
petitioner and Conchita Dumdum to
give and deposit with the clerk of this court the amount of TEN THOUSAND PESOS
(PI0,000.00) more as additional consideration of Lot No. 3085-G of the Tacloban Cadastre
which the court believes to be fair and reasonable price of the property. This amount should
be deposited with the clerk of this court on or before June 24, 1981; otherwise TCT No. T13238 in the name of Patria Paciente now subject of a mortgage in favor of the Consolidated
Bank and Trust Corporation to guarantee an obligation in the amount of P30,000.00, dated
December 27, 1978, will be cancelled.
as well as the validity of its resolution dated August 21, 1981 which denied the motion for
reconsideration of the petitioner and Conchita Dumdum of the aforesaid order and directed
the Register of Deeds of Tacloban City
to cancel TCT No. 13238 of Patria Paciente and issue in lieu thereof a new transfer certificate
of title to the following present owners of Lot 3085- G of the Tacloban Cadastre: Patria
Paciente, of legal age, Filipino, married, residing in Tacloban City, 1/3; Shirley Homeres, 10
years old, residing in Tacloban City, 1/3; and, Leandro Homeres, 10 years old, residing in
Tacloban City, Philippines, 1/3, subject to the mortgage lien of the Consolidated Bank and
Trust Corporation.
because of their failure to comply with the same aforestated order. The facts of the case are
as follow:
In 1972, Leonardo Homeres died leaving his wife, Lilia Samson Homeres, and two minor
children, Shirley and Leandro, a parcel of land known as Lot No. 3085-G situated in Sagkahan,
Tacloban City, covered by TCT No. 12138. This lot which he had inherited from his deceased
father, Felizardo Homeres, has an area of one thousand seven hundred one (1,701) square
meters.
On September 9, 19-76, Lilia S. Homeres, sold Lot No. 3085-G to Conchita Dumdum for
P10,000.00.

On November 11, 1976, Lilia S. Homeres filed a petition for guardianship over the persons
and estate of the minors. The petition was granted on August 9, 1977. Lilia S. Homeres took
her oath as guardian on September 13, 1977,
On September 21, 1977, Conchita Dumdum sold Lot No. 3085-G, which had been titled in her
name under TCT No. T-13121, to petitioner Patria Paciente for the amount of P15,000.00.
Consequently, Patria Paciente was issued TCT No. T-13238 by the Register of Deeds of
Tacloban City.
On December 27, 1978, the petitioner mortgaged the lot to the Consolidated Bank and Trust
Corporation for P30,000.00.
On September 12, 1980, the Acting City Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, filed a
manifestation informing respondent court that Lot No. 3085-G which is the subject of the
guardianship proceedings had been registered in the name of the petitioner under TCT No. T13238 and that it was mortgaged to the Consolidated Bank and Trust Corporation to
guarantee petitioner's loan of P30,000.00.
Upon being thus informed by the Register of Deeds, the respondent court issued an order on
November 14, 1980, directing the petitioner and the manager of the Consolidated Bank and
Trust Corporation to appear before the court on January 21, 1981 and show cause why TCT
No. T-13238, covering a parcel of land co-owned by the minors, Shirley and Leandro
Homeres, should not be cancelled for having been alienated without authority from the
court.
When January 21, 1981 came, the petitioner and the manager of Consolidated Bank and
Trust Corporation did not appear before the court. Instead, Conchita Dumdum appeared and
explained to the respondent court that she sold the lot which she acquired from Lilia S.
Homeres to the petitioner without obtaining the approval of the court because she was not
aware of such requirement regarding the properties of the minors. On the same date, the
respondent court again issued an order requiring the petitioner and the manager of the
Consolidated Bank and Trust Corporation to explain why TCT No. T- 13238 should not be
cancelled for their failure to first secure judicial authority before disposing of the said
property.
At the hearing on April 24, 1981, George Go, the petitioner's husband, apprised the court
that the petitioner was an innocent purchaser for value of the lot in question. Respondent
court then issued the questioned order.
A motion for reconsideration filed by her and Conchita Dumdum having been denied,
petitioner filed the present petition.
The issue in this case is whether the respondent court acting as a guardianship court has
jurisdiction to order the Register of Deeds to cancel the transfer certificate of title of
petitioner and to order the issuance of a new title to include the minors as co-owners with
the petitioner for her having failed to comply with the court's order directing her to pay the
minors the reasonable price of their property that their mother alienated without authority
of a competent court.

Relying on the cases of Cui, et al. vs. Piccio, et al. 91 Phil. 712, and Parco and Bautista vs.
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-33152, January 30, 1982, petitioner contends that respondent
court in hearing a petition for guardianship is not the proper situs for the cancellation of a
Torrens Title. In the Cui case, this Court ruled:
... Out of the cases cited, the only one we find to have some relevancy is that of Castillo vs.
Bustamante, 64 Phil. 839. In this case, the court made a distinction between the provisions of
sections 709 and 593 of the Code of Civil Procedure which now correspond to section 6, Rule
88 and section 6 of Rule 97 of the Rules of Court. This Court in that case said in effect that
while in administration proceedings the court under section 709 may only question the
person suspected of having embezzled, concealed or conveyed away property belonging to
the estate, section 593 of the same Code of Civil Procedure authorizes the Judge or the court
to issue such orders as maybe necessary to secure the estate against concealment,
embezzlement and conveyance, and this distinction is now given emphasis by respondents'
counsel. the way we interpret section 573 of the Code of Civil Procedure as now embodied in
Rule 97, section 6 of the Rules of Court in the light of the ruling laid down in the case of
Castillo vs. Bustamante, supra, is that the court may issue an order directing the delivery or
return of any property embezzled, concealed or conveyed which belongs to a ward, where
the right or title of said ward is clear and indisputable.
xxx xxx xxx
In conclusion, we hold that the respondent Judge had no jurisdiction to issue his order of
September 5, 1951, in the guardianship proceedings requiring the petitioners to deliver the
rentals collected by them to the guardian and authorizing the latter to collect rentals in the
future, for the reason that the jurisdiction of the court in guardianship proceedings,
ordinarily, is to cite persons suspected of having embezzled, concealed or conveyed property
belonging to the ward for the purpose of obtaining information which may be used in action
later to be instituted by the guardian to protect the right of the ward; and that only in
extreme cases, where property clearly belongs to the ward or where his title thereto has
already been judicially decided, may the court direct its delivery to the guardian.
and in the case of Parco and Bautista the ruling reads as follows:
In Cui vs. Piccio, et al., supra, this Court held that the jurisdiction of the court in guardianship
proceedings, ordinarily, is to cite persons suspected of having embezzled, concealed or
conveyed the property belonging to the ward for the purpose of obtaining information which
may be used in an action later to be instituted by the guardian to protect the right of the
ward. Generally, the guardianship court exercising special and limited jurisdiction cannot
actually order the delivery of the property of the ward found to be embezzled, concealed, or
conveyed. In a categorical language of this Court, only in extreme cases, where property
clearly belongs to the ward or where his title thereto has been already judicially decided,
may the court direct its delivery to the guardian. In effect, there can only be delivery or
return of the embezzled, concealed or conveyed property of the ward, where the right or
title of said ward is clear and undisputable. However, where title to any property said to be
embezzled, concealed or conveyed is in dispute, under the Cui case, the determination of
said title or right whether in favor of the persons said to have embezzled, concealed or
conveyed the property must be determined in a separate ordinary action and not in a
guardianship proceedings.

Insofar as the acts of the guardianship court intended to effect the delivery or return of the
property conveyed are concerned, We find the orders of the respondent court valid. The
petitioner's contentions in this regard are untenable. Even the aforecited cases relied upon
do not support her argument. While it is true that in these two cases We ruled that where
title to any property said to be embezzled, concealed or conveyed is in question, the
determination of said title or right whether in favor of the ward or in favor of the person said
to have embezzled, concealed or conveyed the property must be determined in a separate
ordinary action and not in guardianship proceedings, We also emphasized that if the right or
title of the ward to the property is clear and indisputable the court may issue an order
directing its delivery or return.
In the present case the right or title of the two minors to the property is clear and
indisputable. They inherited a part of the land in question from their father. The sale of this
land, where they are co-owners, by their mother without the authority of the guardianship
court is illegal (Yuson de Pua vs. San Agustin, 106 SCRA 7, 16).
In issuing the above questioned order and resolution, the respondent court did not exceed
its jurisdiction but merely exercised its duty to protect persons under disability.
The respondent court's order directing the deposit of an additional consideration of
P10,000.00 is a different matter. It was issued without a hearing to determine not only the
valuation of the property but the time frame for fixing said valuation which is not clear. It is,
consequently, null and void.
It is true that when the petitioner and Conchita Dumdum failed to give the additional
amount, the second order directing the cancellation of the petitioner's title may be said to
have superseded or cancelled the first order. The second order directed the issuance of a
new title over the land inherited by Leandro Homeres from his late father with each heir
getting title to one-third of the property. Considering, however, the petitioner's protestations
of violations of due process and the guardianship court's unusual procedures in dealing with
the properties under guardianship, the respondent court is directed to conduct regular
hearings and take evidence on the reasonable price of Lot No. 3085-G, if its alienation is
found to be in the best interests of the wards and consistent with the rights of all parties
involved.
WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed. The guardianship court in Special Proceedings No. JP0156 of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Leyte is hereby ordered to conduct
further hearings of the case as above indicated.
SO ORDERED,

G.R. No. L-17066

December 28, 1961

IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF CARMEN PADILLA VDA. DE BENGSON,


Incompetent. CARMEN PADILLA VDA. DE BENGSON, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, guardian-appellant, ADMINISTRATION OF VETERANS AFFAIRS,
oppositor-appellant.
Pedro O. Arciaga for petitioner-appellee.
C.E. Medina and R.B. de los Reyes for guardian-appellant.
Cesar Pablite for oppositor-appellant.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:


As the mother of a veteran who died in World War II, Carmen Padilla Vda. de Bengson
became entitled to certain accrued insurance benefits which amounted to P10,738 as of July
1, 1957, and to a monthly death compensation for the rest of her life, all extended by the
United States Veterans Administration. Upon inquiry which showed that the beneficiary was
incompetent, the Veterans Administration filed Special Proceeding No. 586 in the Court of
First Instance of La Union, where in due course, an order was entered on August 8, 1957,
adjudging Carmen Vda. de Bengzon to be an incompetent and appointing the Philippine
National Bank (PNB) as guardian of her estate comprising the monies due from the said
Veterans Administration. Letters of guardianship were issued in favor of the Philippine
National Bank.
On March 5, 1960, alleging that she had regained her competence, her ward, by counsel,
filed a petition asking for an order terminating the guardianship, and for delivery to her of
the residuary estate. Attached to this petition was a medical certificate attesting that she was
mentally competent and possessed full knowledge of her environmental surroundings. This
was opposed by the Veterans Administration on the ground that by reason of her advanced
age (78), physical and mental debility, she was still an incompetent within the meaning of
Section 2, Rule 93 of the Rules of Court. On March 30, 1960, the son of the ward, Francisco
Bengson, filed a "Manifestation" to the effect that he was the personal guardian of the
incompetent; that if appointed guardian of her estate as well, he will comply with all the
provisions of the Rules of Court, will not ask any remuneration for his services, and will file a
nominal bond. He prayed to be appointed guardian of the ward's estate in place of the
Philippine National Bank, and for the balance of her estate to be withdrawn or transferred
from the Philippine National Bank's main office to its branch at San Fernando, La Union, in his
account as guardian. On the same date, the lower court ordered Francisco Bengson to be
appointed guardian of the ward's estate to substitute the Philippine National Bank, upon
filing a P1,000 bond with proper sureties; the Philippine National Bank to transfer to its
branch office at San Fernando, La Union, whatever funds it has belonging to the ward, upon
Francisco Bengson's filing the required bond and taking his oath. As reasons for the removal
of the Philippine National Bank and the appointment of Bengson, the lower court observed
that the ward was living with Francisco Bengson in the latter's capacity as personal guardian;
that the appointment of Bengson in place of the Philippine National Bank would save the
compensation being paid that Bank; and that the transfer to the Philippine National Bank

branch at San Fernando, La Union would be more convenient to all concerned for the proper
administration of the estate. The required bond was thereafter filed and letters of
guardianship issued to Francisco Bengson. A motion to reconsider was denied by the order of
May 11, 1960, which, however, raised of the amount of the bond to P13,000, based on a
finding that the cash balance of the estate then amounted to P11,464.34 plus the monthly
income estimated at P134, or P1,608 per annum. Hence, this joint appeal by the Philippine
National Bank and the Veterans Administration..
We find this appeal meritorious. The grounds for which a guardian may be removed are
found in Section 2, Rule 98 of the Rules.
When a guardian becomes insane or otherwise incapable of discharging his trust or
unsuitable therefor, or has wasted or mismanaged the estate, or failed for thirty days after it
is due to render an account or make a return, the court may, upon reasonable notice to the
guardian, remove him, and compel him to surrender the estate of the ward to the person
found to be lawfully entitled thereto.... (emphasis supplied).
Since the Rules enumerate the grounds for removal of a guardian, a guardian cannot be
legally removed from office except for the causes therein mentioned (Alemany vs. Moreno, 5
Phil. 172; Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. II, 1957 Ed. p. 515). This is also the
American law (39 C.J.S., p. 657). Accordingly, conflict of interest (Ribaya vs. Ribaya, 74 Phil.
254; Gabriel vs. Sotelo, 74 Phil. 25) has been held sufficient ground for removal, premised on
the logic that antagonistic interests would render a guardian unsuitable for the trust. To the
extent that a court uses its discretion in appraising whether a person is insuitable or
incapable of discharging his trust, that much it can be said that removal is discretionary. But
the discretion must be exercised within the law, and when the latter has laid down the
grounds for removal of a guardian, discretion is limited to inquiring as to the existence of any
of those grounds.lawphil.net
No pretense is made in this case, and nothing in the record would indicate, that there was
any legal ground upon which the removal of the Philippine National Bank as guardian was
founded. Neither in Francisco Bengzon's manifestation nor in the orders of the lower court is
it made to appear that the Philippine National Bank had become incapable of discharging its
trust or was unsuitable therefor, or that it had committed anything which the Rules includes
as grounds for removal. On the contrary, it appears incontestable that all throughout, the
Philippine National Bank has discharged its trust satisfactorily. The it has received
commissions allowed by law for its services is no ground to remove it, especially since the
Bank's commission averages no more than P100.00 a year and is offset by interest on the
ward's deposit and the sum that the son would probably have to disburse in bond premiums.
Neither is it sufficient to base removal on the unsubstantiated opinion that it would be more
beneficial to the interests of the ward and more convenient for the administration of the
estate. A guardian should not be removed except for the most cogent reasons (39 C.J.S. 65);
otherwise, the removal is unwarranted and illegal.
As to the alleged inconvenience of the guardian of the incompetent's person having to come
to Manila to obtain money for the ward's sustenance, the same can be obviated by merely
requiring the appellant Bank to keep part of the moneys in the San Fernando (La Union)
branch, without altering the guardianship.

WHEREFORE, the orders appealed from dated March 30, 1960 and May 11, 1960 are
reversed, costs against the appellee Francisco Bengson.

G.R. No. L-47867

November 13, 1942

CARMEN GARCHITORENA and JOAQUIN PEREZ, petitioners,


vs.
VICENTE SOTELO, as judicial guardian of the Gatchalian y Jarata minors, respondent.

Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena shall pay to plaintiff the costs of both instances.
From that decision Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena separately appealed to this
Court by certiorari.
The facts may be briefly stated as follows:

Jose Ayala for petitioner Gabriel.


Monzon, Diaz and Sunico for petitioners Garchitorena and Perez.
Claro M. Recto for respondents.
OZAETA, J.:
The property involved in this litigation is the house and lot situate at 97 Sta. Potenciana
Street, corner of Cabildo Street, Manila. Originally it belonged to Asuncion Jarata, who
mortgaged it to Perfecto Gabriel. The latter foreclosed the mortgage and after buying the
property at public auction transferred it to Carmen Garchitorena, who in turn transferred it
to Jesus Pellon in whose name the Torrens certificate of title now stands.
This action was commenced on June 3, 1932, by Vicente Sotelo, as judicial guardian of the
eight minor children of Asuncion Jarata, against Perfecto Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena to
annul the judgment obtained by Gabriel in the foreclosure of his mortgage and the
subsequent transfers of the mortgaged property on the ground that said judgment had been
obtained through fraud. Jesus Pellon was joined as party defendant after the property was
transferred to him by Carmen Garchitorena subsequent to the commencement of the action.
On January 31, 1936, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff, ordering that
the new title in the name of Jesus Pellon be canceled and replaced with a new one in the
name of the minors. From that decision Gabriel and Garchitorena appealed, but Pellon did
not. On August 22, 1940, the Court of Appeals in banc, by a majority of nine justices (two
justices dissenting), affirmed the judgment of the trial court with modification as follows:
It is therefore our decision that the sales of the property described in the complaint by the
sheriff to Perfecto Gabriel, by Gabriel to Carmen Garchitorena, and by Garchitorena to Jesus
Pellon should be and they are hereby annulled; that the title to this property now standing in
the name of Jesus Pellon should be cancelled and a new certificate issued in the name of
plaintiff's wards subject to the alleged mortgage in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery; that
the amount the plaintiff shall have paid on account of this mortgage shall be deducted from
the amounts due by the minors to Perfecto Gabriel or the Santa Clara Monastery, or both, it
being understood that the mortgage debts, P8,500, shall bear interest at the rate provided
for in the contracts of mortgage from the dates of last payments until full paid; and that
Gabriel and Carmen Garchitorena shall render an accounting of the income derived by them
from the house between the date the minors were ejected from it and the date it was placed
under receivership.
Whatever action Carmen Garchitorena may have against Perfecto Gabriel growing out of the
annullment of the sale by Gabriel to Garchitorena is hereby left open for determination in a
separate suit.
With the modification above indicated, the judgment is affirmed.

On July 1, 1992, Asuncion Jarata mortgaged the property in question to Perfecto Gabriel to
secure a loan of P6,000, with interest at 12 per cent per annum. Less than two years and a
half later, she died, leaving eight minor children by her husband Celerino Gatchalian. Two
days before her death she execute a will, prepared by Perfecto Gabriel, whereby she devised
the said property to her eight minor children and named Perfecto Gabriel as their guardian
and her husband Celerino Gatchalian as the executor of the will. On December 24, 1924,
Perfecto Gabriel, as attorney for Celerino Gatchalian, filed the will in the Court of First
Instance of Manila for probate. On September 15, 1925, after the will had been admitted to
probate, Gabriel presented a project of partition in which Gatchalian waived his usufructuary
right over his wife's estate in favor of his children. The court thereupon entered an order
declaring the estate closed and relieving Gatchalian of all responsibility as executor. On
September 23, 1925, Gabriel, upon his own application, was appointed guardian of the
persons and property of the minor children of Gatchalian. In his application Gabriel
acknowledged having received the only property of his wards consisting of the house and lot
above mentioned. But he did not inform the court that said property was mortgaged to him.
For nearly six years during which said mortgage subsisted, Gabriel acted as guardian and at
the same time creditor of said minors; it was only on March 23, 1931, the he relinquished the
guardianship in favor of Gatchalian, whom the court appointed guardian upon Gabriel's
petition.
In the meantime the finances of the wards had deteriorated considerably. Gabriel's last
accounts as guardian showed a deficit of P3,730.10 as found by this Court in G. R. No. 42528.
Aside from said deficit Gabriel as guardian had executed a second mortgage on the property
of his wards in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery, of which he was the attorney in fact, to
secure the payment of an additional loan of P2,500, with interest at 10 per cent per annum.
That amount was paid to Fernandez Hermanos on account of a larger sum misappropriated
by Gatchalian.
After assuming the guardianship of the persons and property of his children, Celerino
Gatchalian desired to raise capital with which to engage in business and told Gabriel that one
Navarro was willing to give him a loan of P12,000 on the house and lot in question. Gabriel
suggested taking the house out of the court's custody as the most feasible way to "make a
transaction" on it. In order to do that Gabriel would sue Gatchalian, bid for the property, and
resell it to the latter. That scheme was agreed to by Gatchalian, and in pursuance thereof
Gabriel, on October 13, 1931, instituted an action of foreclosure of mortgage against
Gatchalian as guardian of his minor children (civil case No. 40614 of the Court of First
Instance of Manila), alleging that the defendant had failed to pay to him the principal of the
mortgage debt and the interest from August to October, 1931, amounting to P150. On the
same date, October 13, 1931, Gatchalian filed an answer to the complaint of Gabriel,
admitting each and every one of the allegations thereof. On the following day, October 14,
1931, Gabriel, as attorney for the Santa Clara Monastery, filed a complaint in intervention
with a view to foreclosing its second mortgage of P2,500, alleging that the defendant had

failed to pay both the principal and the interest at the rate of P20.33 a month, the total
interest due being P208. Together with that complaint in intervention, Gatchalian's answer
was filed, a pleading prepared either by Perfecto Gabriel himself or by one of his assistants,
in which Gatchalian admitted each and every one of the allegations thereof and prayed that
judgment be rendered accordingly. On October 16, 1931, judgment was rendered sentencing
Celerino Gatchalian to pay to Perfecto Gabriel P6,000, with interest thereon at 10 per cent
per annum from August 1, 1931, and the Santa Clara Monastery P2,500, with interest at 10
per cent per annum from November 1, 1931, until fully paid, plus an additional amount of
P208 as accumulated interest from January 1 to October 31, 1931.
On February 13, 1932, pursuant to said judgment, the sheriff sold the mortgaged property to
Perfecto Gabriel as the highest bidder for the sum of P9,600, in "complete satisfaction of the
mortgage credit." On February 13, 1932, pursuant to said judgment, the sheriff sold the
mortgaged property to Perfecto Gabriel as the highest bidder for the sum of P9,600, in
"complete satisfaction of the mortgage credit." On February 17, before the sale was
approved by the court, Gabriel agreed to sell the property to Carmen Garchitorena, who then
and there indorsed and delivered to Gabriel a check for P1,000 issued by Co Leco and
Company, on account of the purchase price. On the same date Gabriel wrote to Gatchalian as
follows:
MANILA, Feb. 1, 1932
Sr. CELERINO GATCHALIAN
CELERINO:
Te remito copia del recibo de P1,000 hecho por Da. Carmen, de modo que se pretendes
quedarte con la finca puedes acudir a un abogado para que gestione lo conveniente a tus
interes.
(Fdo.) PERFECTO GABRIEL
To quote from the decision of the Court of Appeals:
Gatchalian was taken aback and hurriedly went to see Gabriel but did not find him in his
house. He found only Ranoa, Gabriel's assistant, to whom he related his troubles. Ranoa said
he knew nothing about the case beyond that the motion to confirm the sale was to be heard
the next day. Ranoa advised Gatchalian to file a motion for postponement of Gabriel's
motion to confirm the sale, and wrote a draft of such motion for Gatchalian to sign.
Gatchalian copied the draft at the Canal de Panama grocery store, signed the clean hearing
of the petition for the confirmation of the sale was continued in accordance with Gatchalian's
motion. Then Gatchalian engaged Attorney Ernesto Zaragoza whose intervention was cut
short by Gatchalian's agreeing to the approval of the sale. According to Gatchalian, the
reason why he withdraw his position was because Gabriel renewed his promise to resell the
property to him. He added that, relying on his promise, he looked for a broker and found one
Velilla who said he could get a loan of P11,000 on the house. Gatchalian with Velilla and the
prospective lender, a Chinese, went to Gabriel's law office and Ranoa drew a document of
sale in Gatchalian's favor. But after that document was finished Ranoa remarked that it
would be improper for Gatchalian to appear as the purchaser, he being the children's

guardian in which observation Gabriel concurred. The money lender upon this turn of affairs
receded, whereupon Velilla said that he would bring another `capitalist' within twenty-four
hours and suggested that the sale be made in favor of the minor's maternal grandmother.
The next day Velilla and Gatchalian with another Chinese went to Gabriel's office but found
Carmen Garchitorena there already signing a mortgage deed. Gatchalian also testified that
Jose Machuca wanted to but the house for P18,000, of which P12,000 was to be paid down
and the rest in sixty days. Pedro Cantero, Machuca's representative, declared that he was
told by Gabriel to come back after three or four days but that before that time expired he
was informed by Gatchalian that the house had been sold. Velilla and Navarro gave evidence
to corroborate Gatchalian's testimony in those particulars in connection with which their
names were mentioned.
On March 12, 1932, the sale was approved by the court. On March 16, Perfecto Gabriel
executed a deed conveying the property for the alleged sum of P10,367 to Carmen
Garchitorena. Simultaneously Carmen Garchitorena executed a deed mortgaging the same
property to the Santa Clara Monastery to secure the payment of a loan of P9,000 with
interest at 8 per cent per annum, subject to the condition that the said property shall not be
sold nor encumbered without the previous authority in writing of the mortgage creditor. It
was at this stage that Vicente Sotelo complained of Gabriel to the judge handling the
guardianship proceedings, and was appointed guardian of the minors in substitution of
Gatchalian so that this action might be commenced. On October 11, 1932, more than four
months after this action was commenced, Antonio V. Rocha, Garchitorena's son-in-law,
presented to Jesus Pellon for his signature two deeds, one of which purported to be an
absolute deed of conveyance of the questioned property by Carmen Garchitorena in favor of
Jesus Pellon for P12,000, subject to the mortgage in favor of the Santa Clara Monastery, and
the other a deed of sale by Pellon to the children of Carmen Garchitorena. Gabriel, as
attorney in fact of the Santa Clara Monastery, gave his conformity to the conveyance to
Pellon but withheld his consent to the sale by Pellon to Carmen Garchitorena's children until
one year later. New certificates of title were successively issued to Gabriel, Garchitorena, and
Pellon, but the register of deeds refused to recognize the right of Garchitorena's children to
have a new certificate made in their name, and he was sustained by the Court of First
Instance on appeal.
The property in question was assessed for tax purposes at P14,829, and according to the
receivers' report filed on January 31, 1936, produced an income of P254 a month in rents.
The Court of Appeals found the parties in disagreement regarding the circumstances under
which Gabriel foreclosed the mortgage and Gatchalian confessed judgment and later gave his
conformity to the sale of the mortgaged property. But in this connection the court said: "The
question is one of credibility and the trial judge, weighing probabilities, gave credence to
Gatchalian and other plaintiff's witnesses. Our independent opinion is that these witnesses
told the truth. Their story has the characteristic ring of verity and is the only hypothesis
compatible with the circumstances.
Upon the foregoing facts the Court of Appeals based its confirmatory judgment.
We cannot review and reverse those findings of fact. Consequently all the assignments of
error discussed by the petitioners in their respective briefs, endeavoring to establish a

different factual foundation, must be deemed overruled. We can only review the conclusions
of law arrived at by the Court of Appeals, and shall proceed now to do so.
First. Were the facts proven sufficient to establish collusion between Gabriel and Gatchalian
in the foreclosure suit instituted by the former against the latter? The Court of Appeals found
as a fact that Gabriel and Gatchalian agreed to take the property of the minors from the
custody of the court by foreclosing the mortgage on it so that Gabriel could buy the property
at the sheriff's sale and later resell it to Gatchalian. Pursuant to that agreement Gatchalian
entered a confession of judgment to the complaints files by Gabriel in his own behalf and in
that of his principal, the Santa Clara Monastery; and it was in virtue of that confession of
judgment that the court, unaware of the agreement behind it between the former and the
actual guardians, granted the prayers of the complaints of the two mortgagees, Perfecto
Gabriel and the Santa Clara Monastery.
It is insisted by petitioner Gabriel that Gatchalian had no defense anyway against the
complaints of foreclosure of mortgage and that his confession of judgment was not only
proper but commendable in the interest of a prompt administration of justice. But Gatchalian
was not sued in his personal capacity; he was sued as guardian of the property of his wards.
And Gabriel, who sued him was his predecessor as guardian and was the one who executed
the Santa Clara mortgage on behalf of the minors. It had been his duty to preserve the estate
of his wards. Moreover, he was formerly the employer and legal counselor of Gatchalian. As
the Court of Appeals said, "that relation has exerted a predominating influence in
Gatchalian's mind." In no relation, except perhaps that of parent and child or husband and
wife, are the elements of the confidence on one side and active good faith on the other more
essential than in the relation of guardian and ward. The Government itself is in a sense the
supreme guardian whom the individual guardian represents in its solicitude for the welfare of
the wards. (25 Am. Jur., Guardian and Ward, sec. 205, p. 128.) If Gabriel wanted to collect his
mortgage and the minors had no defense against its foreclosure, so that a court action and a
sheriff's sale would only entail unnecessary expense, honesty and fidelity to his trust
required of the guardian that he inform the court of the situation so that it could authorize
the sale of the property to best advantage and save something for the minors.
Under these circumstances, the agreement and the conduct of Gabriel and Gatchalian in
connection with the foreclosure proceeding cannot but be considered a collusion between
them to induce the court into entering judgment in favor of Gabriel without any trial and
without giving the minors affected an opportunity to protect their interests.
Perfecto Gabriel's position in relation to the minors and the property in question is
indefensible. He held a mortgage on said property since July 1, 1992. Yet when he prepared
the will of the mortgagor devising said property to the minors, he allowed himself to be
name guardian of their persons and property and, what is worse, he subsequently applied to
the court for his appointment as such guardian without informing the court that he held a
mortgage on the only property of said minors. As a lawyer of long experience, he knew or
should have known that he could not serve antagonistic interests, and that if the court had
been apprised that he was creditor and mortgagee of the estate of said minors, it would not
have appointed him guardian. He not only failed to disclose to the court that he was
mortgagee but deliberately misinformed the court in the guardianship proceeding that the
first mortgagee was not he but the Santa Clara Monastery. Neither did he inform the court
that he was the attorney-in-fact and the administrator of the funds of that institution.

No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he
will hold to the one, and despise the other." The truth of this Divine doctrine is exemplified in
the guardianship of the Gatchalian minors, wherein Perfecto Gabriel undertook to serve two
masters; Perfecto Gabriel or the Santa Clara Monastery as mortgagee and the said minors as
mortgagors. Of course, the latter were "despised" and had to institute a series of litigations
lasting now over ten years to secure redress.
Second. Were the minors prejudiced by the foreclosure of the mortgage? It is contended by
the petitioners that they were not, because, after all, the mortgage obligation was due and
payable and the price at which the sheriff sold the mortgaged property to Gabriel was not
unreasonably low. In this connection the petitioners vigorously assail the finding of fact made
by the Court of Appeals that Jose Machuca was anxious to buy the property for P18,000,
while Navarro and others were willing to give on it a loan more than sufficient to cover the
obligation in favor of Gabriel and the Santa Clara Monastery.
It is an undisputed fact, however, that Gabriel bought the property at P9,600 and
immediately sold it to Garchitorena for P10,367, thereby enriching himself at the expense of
his former wards. Regardless of the Machuca offer to buy, or the Navarro offer to loan on,
the property in question, and assuming that the sale by Gabriel to Garchitorena was genuine
as contended by the petitioners, and not a mere scheme to frustrate the minors' recovery of
said property as contended by the respondent, Gabriel's attempt to profit, however little, at
the expense of the minors cannot be sanctioned by the Court. It was a breach of trust which
the law condemns under any and all circumstances.
Third. The collusive conduct of the parties in the foreclosure suit constituted an extrinsic or
collateral fraud by reason of which the judgment rendered therein may be annulled in this
separate action. (Anuran vs. Aquino and Ortiz, 38 Phil., 29.) Aside from the Anuran-Aquino
case, innumerable authorities from other jurisdictions may be cited in support of the
annulment. But were there not any precedent to guide us, reason and justice would compel
us to lay down such doctrine for the first time.
Petitioners rely upon the decisions of this Court in G. R. No. 40658, Perfecto Gabriel vs.
Vicente Sotelo and Hon. Pedro Ma. Sison, promulgated December 13, 1933, and G. R. No.
42528, Vicente Sotelo vs. Perfecto Gabriel, promulgated March 31. 1938, as a bar against the
present action.
The first of said cases (G. R. No. 40658) was an outcrop of the foreclosure suit (civil case No.
40614 of the Court of First Instance of Manila) that arose subsequent to the commencement
of the present action, in the following manner: On September 20, 1933, that is to say, more
than a year after this action was commenced, the herein respondent filed a motion in said
civil case No. 40614 praying that the order approving the sale of the mortgaged property by
the sheriff to Gabriel be reconsidered and set aside. Upon that motion Judge Sison, on
September 29, 1933, entered the following order:
Apareciedo por los affidavits de los seores Celerino Gatchalian y el abogado Ernesto
Zaragoza, y por las alegaciones de la demanda enmendada unida a dicha mocion y marcada
Exhibit A, que existe motivo de accion contra los demandados en la cause civil No. 42092, y
siendo como son bienes de menores los que se discuten en ella, pr la presente se recosidera
el Auto de este Juzgado de fecha 12 de marzo de 1932 dejandolo sin valor ni efecto legal,

como se pide por el nuevo tutor Vicente Sotelo en su escrito de fecha 20 del actual. (Pages
157-158, brief for petitioner Perfecto Gabriel.)
Gabriel moved to reconsider said order, and that motion was resolved by the same judge as
follows:
Constando en autos que el tutor Vicente Sotelo, de los menores llamados Celerino Gatchalian
y otros ha incoado una accion reividicatoria de la finca No. 97 de la Calle Santa Potenciana de
la propriedad de los menores cuyo objeto es anular la venta de la misma, NO HA LUGAR a
proveer por ahora las mociones presentadas por la representacion de Perfecto Gabriel,
Carmen Garchitorena y su esposo Joaquin Perez de fech 7 y 10 de octurbre, 1933, y se
suspended toda la tranmitacion de este asunto hasta que se falle en definitiva dicha accion
reivindicatoria. Asi se ordena. (Pages 158-159, id.)
Thereupon Gabriel by certiorari sought from this Court the annulment of said orders, and this
Court granted his petition on the ground that eighteen months having elapsed after the
approval of the sheriff's sale, the court lacked jurisdiction to reopen the case.
The very fact that the order of Judge Sison had been entered without jurisdiction, for which
reason it was annulled, is sufficient to show that neither said order nor the judgment of this
Court annulling it can be invoked as a basis for the plea of res judicata. As a matter of fact the
last order of Judge Sison merely held the matter in abeyance pending the final result of this
action. The holding of this Court that the foreclosure proceeding could not be reopened after
the lapse of the six months' period provided by section 113 of Act No. 190, does not imply
that said proceeding cannot be assailed and annulled in a separate action on the ground of
extrinsic fraud practiced upon the court. The Anuran-Aquino case above cited was instituted
after a similar attempt under section 113 of the Code of Civil Procedure had failed in the
administration proceedings wherein the order assailed was entered; and this Court held that
since the application for relief under section 113 was denied for lack of jurisdiction, such
denial could not be relied upon to sustain the contention that the question of the validity and
legality of the original order was res adjudicata.
The second case (G. R. No. 42528) was an incident in the guardianship proceeding that arose
also subsequent to the commencement of this action in the following manner: On October 4,
1933, that is to say, one year and four months after the present action was commenced, the
herein respondent questioned the accounts presented by the petitioner Perfecto Gabriel as
former guardian, and the court sustained him and ordered the ex-guardian to reimburse to
the minors the sum of P7,013.02. From that order Gabriel appealed to this Court, which
found that the accounts of the guardian, instead of showing a superavit of P7,013.02,
showed a deficit of P3,730.12. In that accounting incident, the present guardian claimed that
the principal of the loan of P6,000 had been partly paid and reduced to P3,000. To rebut that
contention Gabriel invoked the confession of judgment made by Gatchalian in the
foreclosure suit, but Sotelo alleged that that confession of judgment was made pursuant to a
collusion between Gabriel and Gatchalian. This Court said that such collusion seemed to be
untrue (parece inverosimil) and refused to consider it for the purpose of indirectly attacking
the validity of the judgment entered in the foreclosure suit. Thus this court said: "La supuesta
nulidad de dicha sentencia no puede ser discutida ni siquiera considerada a menos que se
haya incoado una accion directamente encaminada a tal fin." It is clear, therefore, that this
Court did not and could not in said incident pass upon the nullity of the judgment entered in

the foreclosure proceeding. That being so, the validity of said judgment is not res adjudicata.
Indeed, how can the plea of res adjudicata prosper in the absence of identity both of the
subject matter and of the cause of action?
Petitioners vehemently invoke reasons of public policy which favor the stability of judicial
decisions. Suffice it for us to say that such reasons are mute in the presence of fraud, which
the law abhors.
The annulment of the judgment entered in the foreclosure suit necessarily carries with it the
annulment of the sale made by the sheriff pursuant to said judgment as well as the
annulment of the order of the court approving that sale. The limbs cannot survive after the
trunk has perished.
Fourth. It only remains for us to determine whether or not the sale by Gabriel to
Gatchitorena was valid. The trial court found that sale fictitious, and the Court of Appeals
said that that conclusion was not without sufficient evidence to support it. Nevertheless, the
Court of Appeals did not base its judgment upon the finding that the sale was simulated. It
held that even assuming that the sale was genuine, Garchitorena was not a purchaser in
good faith because "she was fully aware of the history of the present case and of the house
she bought"; that she could not ignore Gatchalian's solicitude and eagerness to keep the said
house for his children; but that when Gatchalian and others met her in Gabriel's law office on
march 16, 1932, and Gatchalian told her that he was coming back to talk to her about the
matter, she told Gatchalian not to come because, she said, she was leaving for Camarines
that afternoon.
On the other hand, petitioner Garchitorena maintains that she is an innocent purchaser for
value and invokes the Torrens system on the theory that she has a Torrens title to the
property in question. It will be remembered, however, that she agreed to buy the property
from Perfecto Gabriel before the latter had secured a Torrens title thereto in his name. In
other words, she did not rely upon Gabriel's Torrens title but merely upon the sheriff's
certificate of sale, which had not yet even been approved by the court at the time she agreed
to buy the property from Gabriel.
As a matter of act, Garchitorena has completely divested herself of the title to the property
in question, which now stands in the name of Jesus Pellon, who did not appeal and thereby
acquiesced in the judgment ordering the cancellation of said title. Garchitorena's conduct in
simulating the transfer of the property in question to Jesus Pellon after the commencement
of this action was inconsistent with honesty and good faith.
After considering all the facts and circumstances, we are not inclined to disturb the
conclusion of the Court of Appeals that Garchitorena was not an innocent purchaser. We
note further that Garchitorena has not filed any cross-complaint against her co-defendant
Gabriel to recover what she claims to have paid to him together with damages which she
could properly have done. If such omission was voluntary, it would tend to strengthen the
theory that she had acted merely as Gabriel's dummy. But let us give her the benefit of the
doubt, as the Court of Appeals apparently did my making the prudent reservation in the
appealed decision to the effect that whatever action Carmen Garchitorena may have against
Perfecto Gabriel to her is left open for determination in a separate suit.

The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the petitioners. So ordered.