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Roberts v.

Leonidas (April 27, 1984)


Ramon Aquino, J.:
N. J. Quisumbing and Associates for petitioners.
Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz for respondents.
PROBLEM: A will already probated in Utah was filed before Manila CFI Branch 38 while
intestate proceedings for the same estate were ongoing in Manila CFI Branch 20.
HELD: The two proceedings must be consolidated and the testate proceeding should be
continued. It would be anomalous to undergo intestate proceedings when the deceased died
with two wills.
FACTS:
EDWARD Grimm, an American citizen residing in the Philippines, was married twice.
o FIRST MARRIAGE (divorced) = Juanita Kegley Grimm (MRS. GRIMM). Children:
JUANITA Grimm Morris and ETHEL Grimm Morris.
o SECOND MARRIAGE = MAXINE Tate Grimm. Children: Edward Miller Grimm II
(PETE) and LINDA Grimm.
Jan. 23, 1959 Edward executed 2 wills, one for his Philippine properties (PH WILL)
and one for his properties abroad (FOREIGN WILL).
o Edward described his Philippine properties as conjugal property of his second
marriage.
o In the PH will, Juanita and Ethel were given their legitimes.
o They were not given anything in the foreign will, because according to Edward he
had already given them their legitimes in the PH will.
o The rest of the 2 wills favored Maxine and her children
Nov. 27, 1977 Edward died in the Makati Medical Center.
Jan. 9, 1978 Ethel instituted intestate proceedings for Edwards estate before Manila
CFI Branch 20.
o Ethel was named special administratrix.
o Maxine admitted that she was notified of the proceedings
March 7, 1978 Maxine presented the 2 wills for probate before the 3rd Judicial District
Court of Tooele County, Utah, USA.
o Juanita and Ethel were notified of the proceeding
March 11, 1978 Maxine, through ACCRA, moved to dismiss the intestate proceeding
on the ground that Edwards wills were being probated in Utah.
April 10, 1978 Utah court admitted the 2 wills to probate.
April 25, 1978 COMPROMISE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO CAMPS
o made in Utah with knowledge of the intestate proceedings before the Manila CFI
o signed by David E. Salisbury and Donald B. Holbrook, as lawyers of the parties,
by Pete and Linda and the attorney-in-fact of Maxine and by the attorney-in-fact
of Ethel, Juanita and Mrs. Grimm
o STIPULATIONS
Maxine, Pete and Ethel would be designated as administrators of
Edward's Philippine estate
Maxine's one-half conjugal share in the estate should be reserved for her
and that would not be less than $1,500,000 plus the homes in Utah and
Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Computation of the "net distributable estate"
Recognized that the estate was liable to pay the fees of the ACCRA law
firm

Pete, Linda, Ethel and Juanita "shall share equally in the Net Distributable
Estate"
Ethel and Juanita should each receive at least 12-1/2% of the total of the
net distributable estate and marital share.
Included a supplemental memorandum also dated April 25, 1978
May 23 and June 2, 1978 Pursuant to the Compromise Agreement, CFI Branch 20
(intestate court) allowed Maxine to withdraw her opposition. Maxine, Pete and Ethel
were appointed administrators of the estate. The court ignored the will already found in
the record (I think it was there because it was submitted together with the compromise).
March 21, 1979 Maxine, Pete and Ethel, acting as administrators, sold one of
Edwards businesses (Palawan Pearl Project) for P75,000, to a company named
Makiling Management Co. [whose incorporators were Ethel, her husband Rex Roberts
and Maxines former lawyer William Limqueco]
o The admins also sold 193,267 shares of RFM Corporation to Joseph Server and
others for P1,546,136.
July 27, 1979 Branch 20 Judge Molina adjudicated to Maxine one-half (4/8) of the
Edward's Philippine estate and one-eight (1/8) each to his four children or 12-1/2%. No
mention at all was made of the will in that order. (anlabo mo judge)
August 9, 1979 Maxine, through a new lawyer, moved to defer approval of the partition
(as per the Utah agreement ata). Court considered it moot because the shares had
already been adjudicated in the July 27 order.
April 18, 1980 Juanita moved for accounting of the estates properties filed a motion for
accounting to facilitate partition and close the present intestate estate.
June 10, 1980 ACCRA filed appearance as collaborating counsel for Maxine
Sep. 8, 1980 Maxine, through Rogelio Vinluan of ACCRA, filed the assailed
petition for probate of the 2 wills already probated in Utah. The case was heard
before Manila CFI Branch 38
o ALLEGATIONS
Maxine and her children were defrauded due to the machinations of the
Roberts spouses
1978 Utah compromise agreement was illegal
the intestate proceeding is void because Edward died testate
the partition was contrary to Edward's wills
o Petition also asked that:
the 1979 partition approved by Br. 20 be set aside and the letters of
administration be revoked
Maxine be appointed executrix
Ethel and Juanita be ordered to account for the properties received by
them and to return the same to Maxine
Ethel moved to dismiss, Judge Leonidas denied.
Hence this petition for certiorari and prohibition
o RELIEFS SOUGHT:
Dismissal of the testate proceeding, OR
Consolidation of the two proceedings in Branch 20
That the matter of the annulment of the Utah compromise agreement be
heard prior to the petition for probate

ISSUE (HELD): Can a petition for allowance of wills and annulment of partition - approved in an
intestate proceeding by one branch of the CFI - be entertained by another branch (after a
probate in the Utah district court)? (YES)
RATIO:
A testate proceeding is proper in this case because Edward died with two wills and "no
will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed" (NCC
838; ROC 75, Sec. 1).
The probate of the will is mandatory (Guevara vs. Guevara and Baluyot vs. Pao).
It is anomalous that the estate of a person who died testate should be settled in an
intestate proceeding.
The intestate case should be consolidated with the testate proceeding and the judge
assigned to the testate proceeding should continue hearing the two cases.
Ethel may file her answer to the petition anyway.
DISPOSITION: Petition denied, CFI affirmed.