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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 163410. September 16, 2005.]


CONCEPCION R. ANCHETA, petitioner, vs. METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST
COMPANY, INC. and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J p:

On the other hand, Rule 12, Sec. 2 of the Revised Rules of Court on Intervention
provides:
SEC. 2. Intervention. — Any person may, before or during a trial be permitted by
the court, in its discretion, to intervene in an action, if he has legal interest in the matter in
litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or when he
is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property
in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof (italics supplied).

Intervention is defined as "a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is


permitted by the court to make himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is
sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting the claims of plaintiff, or
demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third
person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of
court, of a person not an original party to pending legal proceedings, by which such
person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some right of interest alleged by him
to be affected by such proceedings" (33 C.J., 477, cited in Eulalio Garcia, et al. vs.
Sinforoso David, et al., 67 Phil. 279, at p. 282). HAaDTE

Action, under Rule 2, Sec. 1, is defined as an ordinary suit in a court of justice, by which
one party prosecutes another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the
prevention or redress of a wrong.

From the aforesaid definitions, it is clear that intervention contemplates a suit, and is
therefore exercisable during a trial and, as pointed out by petitioner is one which
envisions the introduction of evidence by the parties, leading to the rendition of the
decision in the case (p. 363, Rollo).
[G.R. No. 128781. August 6, 2002.]
TERESITA N. DE LEON, ZENAIDA C. NICOLAS and the HEIRS OF ANTONIO
NICOLAS, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. PABLO P. INVENTOR
and RAMON NICOLAS, respondents.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J p:
EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-39532. July 20, 1979.]
Testate Estate of Jose M. Valero, FLORA VALERO VDA. DE RODRIGUEZ and ROSIE
VALERO DE GUTIERREZ, petitioners-appellants, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and
CARMEN VALERO-RUSTIA, respondents-appellees.
Amboriso Padilla Law Office and Iglesia & Associates for appellants.
Angel P. Purisima for appellees.
DECISION
AQUINO, J p:
.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-62431-33. August 31, 1984.]
PIO BARRETTO REALTY DEVELOPMENT, INC., petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT
OF APPEALS (SIXTH DIVISION) and HONOR MOSLARES, respondents.
Azucena E. Lozada for petitioner.
Estrella Funelas Iral & Associates and Tomas Trinidad for respondents.
DECISION
GUTIERREZ, JR., J p:
This petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on
June 30, 1982 in CA-G.R. Nos. 12599-R, 12600-R, and 12601-R entitled "Honor P.
Moslares, petitioner v. Honorable Reynaldo P. Honrado, et al., respondents, was filed as
part of the effort to expedite the final settlement of the estate of the deceased NICOLAI
DREPIN.
The dispositive portion of the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals reads as
follows:
"WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered:
"(a) making permanent the temporary restraining order issued;
"(b) declaring null and void the impugned orders of April 15, 1980, July 2, 1980,
September 30, 1980, and October 20, 1980, for having been issued in grave abuse of
discretion and in excess of jurisdiction, with the September and October orders having
the additional defect of due process violation;
"(c) declaring null and void the Deed of Undertaking and Deed of Sale in favor of
respondent Pio Barretto Realty Development, Inc., for being mere consequences of null
orders;
"(d) ordering the Register of Deeds of Rizal to cancel the transfer certificates of title
issued to Pio Barretto Realty Development, (TCT Nos. N-50539, N-50540, N-50541) and
to transfer the same to the Estate of Nicolai Drepin with the annotation that this transfer
to the estate is subject to the final decision in Civil Case No. 41287 of the CFI of Pasig,
Metro Manila; and
"(e) denying the prayer for the exclusion of the three titled lots involved from Special
Proceedings Nos. 7257, 7261, and 7269 of the CFI of Makati, Branch Civil Case No.
41287 abovementioned."
The proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Drepin were initiated shortly after his
death on July 29, 1972 with the filing of a petition for probate of his holographic will on
August 23, 1972.
In this holographic will, the late Drepin listed twenty-two (22) persons as his alleged
creditors, and within the six (6) months after publication within which to file claims
against the estate, twelve (12) persons filed their respective claims. The total amount of
obligations that may be chargeable against the Drepin Estate is P1,299,652.66. LexLib
The only asset of the testate estate of Drepin consists of three (3) parcels of titled land
with an area of approximately eighty (80) hectares, and another parcel with an area of
eighty-one (81) hectares still pending registration. The estate is saddled with claims of
creditors named in the Drepin will and creditors who have filed their claims within the
reglementary period. The only way to pay their claims is to sell the Drepin lots, so that
from the proceeds of the sale, the debts of the estate could be paid, and any remaining
balance distributed to the Drepin heirs.
Since the filing of the petition for probate of the Drepin will, on August 23, 1972, nine (9)
offers had been made for the purchase of the Drepin lands, among them, that of GM
Management Phils., dated August 15, 1978, through its President Honor P. Moslares.
Basis for Moslares' letter proposal is a deed of sale with mortgage executed by the
decedent in his favor on October 9, 1970. It appears that on said date, the deceased sold
80.3980 hectares of land absolutely and perpetually to Honor P. Moslares for the sum of
P2,600,000.00 with a downpayment of P300,000.00. To secure the payment of the
remaining P2,300,000.00, the latter mortgaged the land to the former. The parties further
agreed not to register the sale yet until P1,300,000.00 shall have been paid to Drepin and
P1,000,000.00 paid to Drepin's creditors.
Subsequently, on June 25, 1971, Drepin and Moslares entered into a "Joint Venture
Agreement". Said agreement listed Drepin as the registered "owner" of the lots and
denominated Moslares as "developer" tasked with converting the lands into a residential
subdivision. The agreement specified:
"(h) That the Developer agrees to reserve the right of the registered Owner of the land
to ask for immediate CASH payment against an 'Absolute Deed of Sale' on the said above
mentioned properties, subject of this 'Joint Venture Agreement', on the amount of not less
than TWO MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P2,300,000.00) PESOS, after
the big loan is granted to the Developer in or about thirty (30) days to forty-five (45) days
from the signing of this Joint Venture Agreement and the 'Special Power of Attorney',
"(i) However, if the Owner of the property Mr. Nicolai Drepin will not choose to be
paid on this said above mentioned property in CASH of TWO MILLION THREE
HUNDRED THOUSAND (P2,300,000.00) PESOS, this 'joint venture agreement is still
in full force and effect, OTHERWISE if full payment of TWO MILLION THREE
HUNDRED THOUSAND (P2,300,000.00) PESOS receipt is acknowledged by the said
Mr. Nicolai Drepin, the 'Joint Venture Agreement' is automatically cancelled and declared
no force and effect."
Before the agreement could be implemented, Nicolai Drepin died.
Upon learning of the existence of Special Proceedings No. 7257, 7261 and 7269 herein
respondent Moslares, on August 15, 1978, informed the Judicial Administrator Atty.
Tomas Trinidad that he is already the owner of the properties made subject matter of the
Special Proceedings and proposed that he be permitted to pay the balance on the sale with
mortgage in accordance with the terms of his written proposal. The probate court, on
August 17, 1978 issued an order approving respondent Moslares' proposal and
authorizing administrator Trinidad to enter into the appropriate agreement. This was
reiterated by the court in its order dated January 9, 1979, with the condition that GM
Management Phils. had only up to February 28, 1979 to comply with its letter-offer dated
August 15, 1978 and "failure on their part to comply with the same within the period
specified, the contract with the decedent shall be deemed resolved and ineffective."
Counsel for heir-claimant Cornelia Tejano was likewise given up to said date to make and
submit a more beneficial offer. Neither GM Management nor counsel for Tejano was able
to perform as required.
Requests for revision of payment and extension of period within which to pay the balance
of P1,600,000.00 were made by Moslares. Further, he filed a Manifestation and Urgent
Motion proposing transfer of the certificate of titles over the land subject of the
proceedings so as to enable him to generate funds to liquidate the payable balance. The
same were left unacted upon by the probate court.
Meanwhile, on September 25, 1979, A Deed of Undertaking was entered into by
respondent Moslares and the Administrator to implement the Contract of Sale with
Mortgage. Such deed provided for the mode of payment which Moslares was to follow as
well as the clearing and transfer of the certificates of title in the name of Moslares. The
latter proviso was to enable Moslares to secure the loan needed to pay for the balance of
the purchase price. Postdated checks were issued by Moslares to cover the amount
embraced in said undertaking. Approval of the agreement with Moslares was strongly
urged by the Administrator. No action was taken by the court thereon. At the hearing of
October 19, 1979, Moslares tendered P1,600,000.00 to the Judicial Administrator. This
was opposed by counsel for heir Tejano, Atty. Ramon Encarnacion, on the ground that
respondent Moslares had only until February 28, 1979 within which to pay the same.
Attorney Encarnacion thereupon brought to the attention of the court an offer to buy the
properties for P3,000,000.00 by herein petitioner Pio Barretto Realty Development, Inc.
Because of the differing contentions and the new offer, the probate court ordered the
parties to submit memoranda and set a conference on November 28, 1979 to discuss the
new offer. LLpr
On November 12, 1979, respondent Moslares submitted his memorandum containing
three points to wit:
"1. Actually, Honor P. Moslares is already owner of the Property, subject matter of
this proceedings, and as such, could no longer be the subject matter of this testate
proceedings. The payment made by Honor P. Moslares to the Judicial Administrator
through this Honorable Court on 19 October, 1979, is in compliance with the Contract
entered into between him and the late Nicolai Drepin, in 1970;
"2. The Order of this Honorable Court dated 9 January, 1979, particularly with
reference to the period, mentioned in No. 1, page 2 of the Order of this Honorable Court
giving Honor P. Moslares up to 28 February, 1979, within which to comply with his
letter-offer to the Court dated 15 August, 1978, is not yet final, said period having been
extended;
"3. The Order of this Honorable Court dated 9 January, 1979, particularly No. 2, Page
2 thereof, barred Counsel for Cornelia B. Tejano from making any further offer, his right
to do so having expired on 28 February, 1979."
Thereupon, the probate court judge directed Moslares through the administrator Atty.
Trinidad, to furnish copies of — (1) Deed of Absolute Sale; (2) Special Power of
Attorney; and (3) Joint Venture Agreement. The same were promptly submitted.
On February 28, 1979, March 6, 1980 and April 15, 1980, letters to Judicial
Administrator Trinidad were sent by respondent Moslares seeking further extension of
time within which to pay the balance of his obligation to the estate, and for favorable
recommendations to the probate court in his reports saying: "Help me now, this is ours.
We can make money of all this sacrifice we had on the pass (sic)."
On April 15, 1980, the probate court reiterated its order dated August 17, 1978
authorizing the Administrator to finalize the sale with GM Management Phils. and giving
respondent Moslares ten (10) days from date to deposit the necessary amount to cover the
value of the checks as each falls due. Failure to do so would result in the automatic
rescission of the authority to sell to GM Management Phils. and the Administrator would
be permitted to accept other offers in the best interest of the Estate. This order was the
probate court's prompt action on a "Report with Motion for Cancellation of Order
Approving Sale to GM Management, Phils. Honor P. Moslares, if it fails to make good
the April 15, 1980 check "As Token Payment in Good Faith", filed by administrator
Trinidad on the same day, April 15, 1980.
GM Management sought reconsideration and amendment of the Order of April 15, 1980
to conform to the provisions of the Deed of Undertaking.
On May 23, 1980, administrator Trinidad filed a "Report with Motion to Authorize
Administrator to Screen Offers to Purchase Estate and Others."
On May 31, 1980, respondent Moslares filed another manifestation praying that his
pending motions be acted upon and that the motion of administrator Trinidad be denied
for lack of merit. Cdpr
On June 30, 1980, administrator Trinidad made the following "Observation and Report
on the Motion of Buyer GM Management Phils for reconsideration" —
"2. Two checks, one for P50,000.00 and one for P250,000.00 were deposited on April
28, 1980 after the Order of the Probate Court. BOTH BOUNCED. DAIF (Drawn against
insufficient funds).
"3. Another check for P300,000.00 is now held by the Administrator, postdated for
to-day, June 30, 1980 and Administrator just received, June 29, 1980 a telegram asking to
withhold deposit until after 30 days from amendatory order of the Probate Court.
xxx xxx xxx
"6. The motion of Administrator is reiterated."
On July 2, 1980, the probate court issued the following order:
"Finding the Motion of the Administrator well-taken and in the best interests of the
Estate, the administrator is authorized to enter into agreement with any other interested
parties on a first paid first served basis without prejudice to G.M. Management
Philippines to continue with its offer and make good the same in as an ordinary buyer on
the same first paid first served basis."
Respondent Moslares filed a motion for reconsideration of said July 2, 1980 order on the
ground that:
"1. The Honorable Probate Court has no jurisdiction over the three (3) parcels of
land, consisting of 80.3980 hectares subject matter of the Deed of Sale which the late
Nicolai Drepin, conveyed to Movant Honor P. Moslares. The only right which pertains to
the ESTATE, is the right to demand from Honor P. Moslares, the balance of the Deed of
Sale, which has been fixed by this Honorable Court at ONE MILLION SIX HUNDRED
THOUSAND (P1,600,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency;
"2. As of November, 1979, the law that governs between the ESTATE and MOVANT,
Honor P. Moslares, is the DEED OF UNDERTAKING executed by the Administrator in
favor of Movant Honor P. Moslares, pursuant to the authority given by the Honorable
Probate Court to the Administrator contained in the Order dated August 15, 1978,
reiterated in the Order dated January 9, 1979, and in the Order dated 15 April 1980; and
"3. The Honorable Probate Court has no jurisdiction to decree rescission of the
Contract into (sic) between the decedent and Movant Honor P. Moslares on the 9th day of
October, 1970."
This motion for reconsideration was opposed by administrator Trinidad as well as the
Tejano heirs through counsel, arguing that the probate court has jurisdiction to issue the
questioned orders because petitioner submitted himself to the court's jurisdiction and his
checks bounced; also that the Deed of Undertaking was validly cancelled as a result of
the valid rescission of Trinidad's authority to sell to petitioner.
On September 30, 1980, the probate court issued an order denying respondent Moslares'
motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. And on October 10, 1980 administrator
Trinidad executed the Deed of Sale in favor of Pio Barretto Realty, Inc. transferring the
titles to the properties in question in the name of the latter. The same was duly registered.
On October 20, 1980, the probate court approved the report of administrator Trinidad
dated October 16, 1980, with xerox copies of the Deed of Sale in favor of Pio Barretto
Realty, Inc. of the estate of Nicolai Drepin pursuant to respondent court's order
authorizing the sale, and of the approved Deed of Undertaking with the vendee.
An urgent Motion and Manifestation was filed by respondent Moslares on April 8, 1981
praying that his motion for reconsideration of the orders be already resolved, followed by
an Omnibus Motion on April 27, 1981 to resolve all pending motions and praying that the
Deed of Sale and Deed of Undertaking in favor of Pio Barretto be cancelled. The same
remained unacted upon.
On May 18, 1981, respondent filed Civil Case No. 41287 before the Court of First
Instance of Rizal in Pasig, Metro Manila to determine title and ownership over the Drepin
lands.
On June 23, 1981, a petition for certiorari was filed by respondent Moslares before the
Court of Appeals which issued a temporary restraining order. Judgment was rendered by
respondent court in favor of respondent Moslares, the dispositive portion of which has
been quoted. LexLib
Barretto filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied on November 12, 1982.
Hence, this petition.
In its decision, the Court of Appeals laid down the two principal issues involved in the
case, as follows: (1) whether or not the respondent judge (Judge R. Honrado) acted
without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to
exclude the parcels of land involved from the testate proceedings of the Drepin estate;
and (2) whether or not the respondent judge acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or
with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the impugned orders dated April 15, 1980, July
2, 1980, September 30, 1980, and October 20, 1980.
We are in full accord with the respondent court's resolution of the first issue, and we
quote:
"For continually presuming that the three titled lots were part of the Drepin estate and for
refusing to provisionally pass upon the question of exclusion, did the respondent court act
without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion?
"We hold that even with such presumption and refusal, the respondent court still acted
within its jurisdiction and not with grave abuse of discretion. After all, the jurisprudence
and rule are both to the effect that the probate court 'may' provisionally pass upon the
question of exclusion, not 'should'. The obvious reason is the probate court's limited
jurisdiction and the principle that questions of title or ownership, which result to
inclusion in or exclusion from the inventory of the property, can only be settled in a
separate action. Hence, even if respondent court presumed all the way that the properties
sold by Drepin to petitioner were part of Drepin's estate, that would not prevent nor
defeat petitioner's remedy in a separate suit.
"And We hold that Civil Case No. 41287 is just such a suit instituted to settle the question
of ownership over the lots covered originally by TCTs Nos. 259060, 259061 and 259062,
despite the claim for damages, because of the composite effect of the prayer in the
complaint thereof . . .
xxx xxx xxx
"In effect, We are saying that the question of whether the properties sold by Drepin to
Petitioner should he excluded from the probate proceedings below, can not be determined
with finality by Us in this case, because in this petition We are merely reviewing the acts
of the respondent CFI as a probate court. Any ruling by the probate court to include those
properties 'is only provisional in character and is without prejudice to a judgment in a
separate action on the issue of title or ownership' (Sebial v. Sebial, L-23419, June 27,
1975, 64 SCRA 385). Consequently, in reviewing the exercise of such limited probate
jurisdiction, We cannot order an unqualified and final exclusion of the properties
involved, as prayed for; to do so would expand the probate court's jurisdiction beyond the
perimeters set by law and jurisprudence. It is fitting and proper that this issue be
ventilated and finally resolved in the already instituted Civil Case No. 41287, even as We
hold that respondent court's act of not excluding the lots involved did not constitute grave
abuse of discretion. In view of this limitation, We need not resolve the issue of whether
there was novation of the Deed of Sale with Mortgage, or not."
This same elemental principle, we found occasion to reiterate in the cases of Junquera v.
Borromeo (19 SCRA 656); Borromeo v. Canonoy (19 SCRA 667); Recto v. dela Rosa (75
SCRA 226); Lachenal v. Salas (71 SCRA 202); Bolisay v. Alcid (85 SCRA 213); Vda. de
Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals (91 SCRA 540).
However, from here, the road forks as we disagree with the respondent court's findings on
the second issue.
In his petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, respondent Moslares assails the
issuance of the four impugned orders by the probate court on the ground that the court
had no jurisdiction to rescind the Deed of Sale with the Mortgage entered into by the
deceased during his lifetime, due to the limited jurisdiction of the probate court merely to
settle and liquidate the estates of a decedent and not to pass upon questions of title to
property.
On the other hand, the petitioner argues that in voiding and nullifying the four orders of
the probate court, the Court of Appeals, in effect, would have the former court recognize
the alleged ownership of Mr. Moslares over the three titled Drepin lots involved in this
case contrary to its pronouncement in settling the first issue. cdll
It is to be noted that the last agreement entered into by the deceased prior to his death,
that is, the Joint Venture Agreement listing Drepin as owner of the properties in question,
and the surrender to administrator Trinidad of the certificates of title, had led the probate
court to enter or include said properties in its inventory of the deceased's estate. Thus,
provisionally, ownership thereof was recognized as vested in the estate. Subsequently, in
the course of the probate proceedings, the sale of the properties was found to be
necessary to settle the deceased's obligations. It was then that herein private respondent
Moslares submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court in an "Offer to Buy" said
properties, based on his previous agreement with the deceased during the latter's lifetime.
It is noteworthy that contrary to Moslares' assertion of ownership, he had offered to buy
the Drepin lands from the probate court. Surely, this is not conduct ordinarily expected of
one who is the owner of the property. Further, the fact that subsequent to the Deed of
Sale, the deceased as buyer and as absolute owner entered into an agreement with the
respondent merely as developer of the lands in question evidences a change of cause or
object as well as a change of relation between the parties. Moslares' own acts negate his
claims in this petition that he had acquired ownership of the properties. Thus, the
transparency of respondent's argument becomes readily apparent.
Having submitted his letter-proposal to the court, the same was approved, allowing
Moslares to pay the balance of the purchase price agreed upon by respondent and the
decedent in the amount of One Million Six Hundred Thousand Pesos (P1,600,000.00)
specifying the time and manner of payment thereof. Thus, he was given preference and
priority over other persons or groups offering to buy the estate. Having failed to comply
with the conditions of payment of the contract, the same was rescinded by the probate
court. Now, respondent questions this rescission which he maintains to be beyond the
jurisdiction of the court.
Estoppel works to preclude respondent from questioning the jurisdiction of the court. By
offering to buy the properties in question, respondent has clearly recognized the
jurisdiction of the probate court to which he had effectively submitted himself. It is well
settled that a party is estopped from disputing the jurisdiction of the court after invoking
it himself (Tible v. Aquino, 65 SCRA 207). After voluntarily submitting a cause and
encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the
jurisdiction or power of the court (People v. Munar, 53 SCRA 278; Capilitan v. dela Cruz,
55 SCRA 706; Summit Guaranty and Insurance Co., Inc., v. Court of Appeals, 110 SCRA
241; Tajonera v. Lamoroza, 110 SCRA 438). A party will not be allowed to make a
mockery of justice by taking inconsistent positions. Doctrine of estoppel bars a party
from trifling with the courts (Depositario v. Hervias, 121 SCRA 756).
The merits of the case likewise lead to similar conclusions.
It cannot but be conceded that the limited jurisdiction of a probate court prohibits it from
determining rights to property left by a decedent which depends on the contract (Goodin
v. Casselman, 200 N.W. 94, 51 N.D. 543). However, actions of the probate court, in the
case at bar, do not refer to the adjudication of rights under the contract entered into by the
deceased during his lifetime. It is to be noted that the dealings of the respondent with the
court arose out of the latter's bid to sell property under its authority to sell, mortgage or
otherwise encumber property of the estate to pay or settle claims against the estate (Rule
89, Revised Rules of Court). Thus, respondent bound himself under an agreement with
the court separate and distinct from that which he had with the decedent. In rescinding
such contract, the court merely seeks to enforce its right to put an end to an agreement
which had ceased to be a working proposition. Surely, this is well within the power of the
probate court. Though of limited and special jurisdiction, it cannot be denied, however,
that when the law confers jurisdiction upon a court, the latter is deemed to have all the
necessary powers to exercise such jurisdiction to make it effective (Zuniga v. Court of
Appeals, 95 SCRA 740).
We cannot allow an absurd situation to arise where the Drepin estate will never be settled
and liquidated because even if Moslares cannot pay the agreed purchase price of the
Drepin lands, still the probate court can no longer sell the lands to other prospective
buyers. Under the theory of respondent, it is insisted that the probate court has no
authority to cancel his unfulfilled offer to buy, notwithstanding the fact that he failed
miserably to comply with the terms of his own offer to buy. It is to be remembered that
Moslares had already been granted undue leniency by the probate court to meet his
obligations to pay. But, the saga of Moslares' bouncing checks remains. Three reports of
Administrator Trinidad had been submitted as annexes to the petition for certiorari. The
report, dated June 30, 1980 showed that two of Moslares' checks were dishonored, having
been drawn against insufficient funds. The August 18, 1980 report stated that: "All the
checks submitted to the probate court for payment bounced." And in the report dated
April 15, 1981, it was further averred by the administrator that ". . . believing that the
bouncing checks were not intended to defraud the Estate," "he refrained from prosecuting
Honor P. Moslares criminally under the law on dishonored checks."
It is also to be emphasized that it was not respondent's contract of sale with decedent that
had been invalidated but rather the administrator's authority to sell to respondent.
Although the court recognized the Deed of Sale with Mortgage, still the same was not
being enforced as such but was used only as basis for the terms and conditions of
respondent's agreement with the court. To enforce the same is truly beyond the scope of
the probate court's jurisdiction. The court's actions constitute a refusal to pass upon the
validity of the contract to sell. LLjur
Further, the probate court has ample discretion in determining whether conditions of a
particular sale would be beneficial to the estate and this is generally respected by the
appellate courts (Court of First Instance v. Court of Appeals, 106 SCRA 114, Fernandez,
et al., v. Montejo, 109 Phil. 701). To attack the nullity of the order of the probate court to
sell property of the deceased, it must be shown that the contract of sale is null and void
(Rafols v. Barba, 119 SCRA 147). The infirmity of the subject deed of sale is premised on
the alleged nullity of the order of the court authorizing the sale. The validity of said order
may not be attacked in a collateral proceeding, the supposed ground for declaring it void
for lack of jurisdiction not being apparent on the face thereof (Rafols v. Barba, supra).
Nevertheless, respondent could have prevented the sale of the Drepin lands. Section 3,
Rule 89 of the Revised Rules of Court, to wit:
"Section 3. Persons interested may prevent such sale, etc., by giving bond. — No such
authority to sell, mortgage, or otherwise encumber real or personal estate shall be granted
if any person interested in the estate gives a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court,
conditioned to pay the debts, expenses of administration, and legacies within such time as
the court directs; and such bond shall be for the security of the creditors, as well as of the
executor or administrator, and may be prosecuted for the benefit of either."
provides respondent with the legal means by which he could have forestalled the sale of
the Drepin lands to the petitioner. (Court of First Instance v. Court of Appeals, supra) If
third persons oppose an application for leave to sell the property of the decedent,
claiming title to the property, the title claim, can not be adjudicated by the probate court,
but it can hold approval of the sale in abeyance until the question of ownership shall have
been decided in a proper action (Baquial v. Amihan, 92 Phil. 501). But this, he failed to
do. Ergo, we find no reason to disturb the questioned orders of the probate court.
Moreover, the respondent is not without remedy if truly his claim of ownership is proper
and meritorious. Since the probate court has no jurisdiction over the question of title and
ownership of the properties, the respondents may bring a separate action if they wish to
question the petitioner's titles and ownership (Vda. de Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, 91
SCRA 540). Though an order of the probate court approving the sale of the decedent's
property is final, the respondent may file a complaint in the proper court for the rescission
of the sale. (Pizarro v. Court of Appeals, 99 SCRA 72). Likewise, the initial question of
respondent regarding the propriety of including the properties in question in the inventory
of the probate court as he claims ownership thereof may therein be finally and
conclusively settled (Vda. de Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, supra; Lachenal v. Salas, 71
SCRA 202). The respondent has ample protection of his rights for the province of the
probate court remains merely the settlement of the estate and may not be extended
beyond (Pizarro v. Court of Appeals, supra). LibLex
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED.
The decision of the Court of Appeals (now Intermediate Appellate Court), dated June 30,
1982 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The permanent restraining order issued against the
trial court is hereby DISMISSED. The impugned orders of the probate court dated April
15, 1980, July 2, 1980, September 30, 1980 and October 20, 1980 are accordingly
REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, Actg. C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Relova and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 109355. October 29, 1999.]
SERAFIN MODINA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND ERNESTO
HONTARCIEGO, PAUL FIGUEROA, TEODORO HIPALLA AND RAMON CHIANG,
MERLINDA CHIANG, respondents.
DECISION
PURISIMA, J p:
At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA - G.R. CV No. 26051 affirming the decision of the trial court in the case,
entitled "Serafin Modina vs Ernesto Hontarciego, Paulino Figueroa and Ramon Chiang
vs. Merlinda Plana Chiang, intervenors", which declared as void and inexistent the deed
of definite sale dated December 17, 1975 as well as the Certificates of Title Nos. T-
86912, T-86913, T-86914 in the name of Ramon Chiang. cda
The facts that matter are as follows:
The parcels of land in question are those under the name of Ramon Chiang (hereinafter
referred to as CHIANG ) covered by TCT Nos. T-86912, T-86913, and T-86914. He
theorized that subject properties were sold to him by his wife, Merlinda Plana Chiang
(hereinafter referred to as MERLINDA), as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale dated
December 17, 1975, 1 and were subsequently sold by CHIANG to the petitioner Serafin
Modina (MODINA), as shown by the Deeds of Sale, dated August 3, 1979 and August
24, 1979, respectively.
MODINA brought a Complaint for Recovery of Possession with Damages against the
private respondents, Ernesto Hontarciego, Paul Figueroa and Teodoro Hipalla, docketed
as Civil Case No. 13935 before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City.
Upon learning the institution of the said case, MERLINDA presented a Complaint-in-
intervention, seeking the declaration of nullity of the Deed of Sale between her husband
and MODINA on the ground that the titles of the parcels of land in dispute were never
legally transferred to her husband. Fraudulent acts were allegedly employed by him to
obtain a Torrens Title in his favor. However, she confirmed the validity of the lease
contracts with the other private respondents.
MERLINDA also admitted that the said parcels of land were those ordered sold by
Branch 2 of the then Court of First Instance of Iloilo in Special Proceeding No. 2469 in
"Intestate Estate of Nelson Plana" where she was appointed as the administratrix, being
the widow of the deceased, her first husband. An Authority to Sell was issued by the said
Probate Court for the sale of the same properties. 2
After due hearing, the Trial Court decided in favor of MERLINDA, disposing thus:
cdasia
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered (1) declaring as void and inexistent the
sale of Lots 10063, 10088, 10085 and 10089 of the Cadastral Survey of Sta. Barbara by
Merlinda Plana in favor of Ramon Chiang as evidenced by the deed of definite sale dated
December 17, 1975 (Exhibits "H"; "3"-Chiang; "9" Intervenor) as well as the Certificates
of Title Nos. T-86912, T-86913, T-86914 and T-86915 in the name of Ramon Chiang; (2)
declaring as void and inexistent the sale of the same properties by Ramon Chiang in favor
of Serafin Modina as evidenced by the deeds of sale (Exhibits ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘6’-Chiang and
‘7’-Chiang) dated August 3, and 24, 1979, as well as. Certificates of Title Nos. T-102631,
102630, 102632 and 102890 in the name of Serafin Modina; (3) ordering the Register of
Deeds of Iloilo to cancel said certificates of title in the names of Ramon Chiang and
Serafin Modina and to reinstate the Certificates of Title Nos. T-57960, T-57962, T-57963
and T-57864 in the name of Nelson Plana; (4) ordering Serafin Modina to vacate and
restore possession of the lots in question to Merlinda Plana Chiang; (5) ordering Ramon
Chiang to restitute and pay to Serafin Modina the sum of P145,800.00 and; (6) ordering
Serafin Modina to pay Ernesto Hontarciego the sum of P44,500.00 as actual and
compensatory damages plus the sum of P5,000.00, for and as attorney’s fees, with costs
in favor of said defendants against the plaintiff."
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the aforesaid decision in toto.
Dissatisfied therewith, petitioner found his way to this Court via the present Petition for
Review under Rule 45 seeking to set aside the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals.
Raised for resolution here are: (1) whether the sale of subject lots should be nullified, (2)
whether petitioner was not a purchaser in good faith, (3) whether the decision of the trial
court was tainted with excess of jurisdiction; and (4) whether or not only three-fourths of
subject lots should be returned to the private respondent.
Anent the first issue, petitioner theorizes that the sale in question is null and void for
being violative of Article 1490 3 of the New Civil Code prohibiting sales between
spouses. Consequently, what is applicable is Article 1412 4 supra on the principle of in
pari delicto, which leaves both guilty parties where they are, and keeps undisturbed the
rights of third persons to whom the lots involved were sold; petitioner stressed.
Petitioner anchors his submission on the following statements of the Trial Court which
the Court of Appeals upheld, to wit: prLL
"Furthermore, under Art. 1490, husband and wife are prohibited to sell properties to each
other. And where, as in this case, the sale is inexistent for lack of consideration, the
principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio does not apply. (Vasquez vs Porta, 98 Phil
490). (Emphasis ours) Thus, Art. 1490 provides:
ARTICLE 1490. The husband and the wife cannot sell property to each other,
except:
(1) when a separation of property was agreed upon in the marriage settlements; or
(2) when there has been a judicial separation of property under Art. 191.
The exception to the rule laid down in Art. 1490 of the New Civil Code not having
existed with respect to the property relations of Ramon Chiang and Merlinda Plana
Chiang, the sale by the latter in favor of the former of the properties in question is invalid
for being prohibited by law. Not being the owner of subject properties, Ramon Chiang
could not have validly sold the same to plaintiff Serafin Modina. The sale by Ramon
Chiang in favor of Serafin Modina is, likewise, void and inexistent. cda
xxx xxx xxx." 5
The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, adopted the following findings a quo: that there
is no sufficient evidence establishing fault on the part of MERLINDA, and therefore, the
principle of in pari delicto is inapplicable and the sale was void for want of consideration.
In effect, MERLINDA can recover the lots sold by her husband to petitioner MODINA.
However, the Court of Appeals ruled that the sale was void for violating Article 1490 of
the Civil Code, which prohibits sales between spouses.
The principle of in pari delicto non oritur actio 6 denies all recovery to the guilty parties
inter se. It applies to cases where the nullity arises from the illegality of the consideration
or the purpose of the contract. 7 When two persons are equally at fault, the law does not
relieve them. The exception to this general rule is when the principle is invoked with
respect to inexistent contracts. 8
In the petition under consideration, the Trial Court found that subject Deed of Sale was a
nullity for lack of any consideration. 9 This finding duly supported by evidence was
affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Well-settled is the rule that this Court will not disturb
such finding absent any evidence to the contrary. 10
Under Article 1409 11 of the New Civil Code, enumerating void contracts, a contract
without consideration is one such void contract. One of the characteristics of a void or
inexistent contract is that it produces no effect. So also, inexistent contracts can be
invoked by any person whenever juridical effects founded thereon are asserted against
him. A transferor can recover the object of such contract by accion reivindicatoria and
any possessor may refuse to deliver it to the transferee, who cannot enforce the transfer.
12
Thus, petitioner’s insistence that MERLINDA cannot attack subject contract of sale as
she was a guilty party thereto is equally unavailing.
But the pivot of inquiry here is whether MERLINDA is barred by the principle of in pari
delicto from questioning subject Deed of Sale. lexlib
It bears emphasizing that as the contracts under controversy are inexistent contracts
within legal contemplation, Articles 1411 and 1412 of the New Civil Code are
inapplicable. In pari delicto doctrine applies only to contracts with illegal consideration
or subject matter, whether the attendant facts constitute an offense or misdemeanor or
whether the consideration involved is merely rendered illegal. 13
The statement below that it is likewise null and void for being violative of Article 1490
should just be treated as a surplusage or an obiter dictum on the part of the Trial Court as
the issue of whether the parcels of land in dispute are conjugal in nature or they fall under
the exceptions provided for by law, was neither raised nor litigated upon before the lower
Court. Whether the said lots were ganancial properties was never brought to the fore by
the parties and it is too late to do so now.
Futhermore, if this line of argument be followed, the Trial Court could not have declared
subject contract as null and void because only the heirs and the creditors can question its
nullity and not the spouses themselves who executed the contract with full knowledge of
the prohibition. 14
Records show that in the complaint-in-intervention of MERLINDA, she did not aver the
same as a ground to nullify subject Deed of Sale. In fact, she denied the existence of the
Deed of Sale in favor of her husband. In the said Complaint, her allegations referred to
the want of consideration of such Deed of Sale. She did not put up the defense under
Article 1490, to nullify her sale to her husband CHIANG because such a defense would
be inconsistent with her claim that the same sale was inexistent. cdll
The Trial Court debunked petitioner’s theory that MERLINDA intentionally gave away
the bulk of her and her late husband’s estate to defendant CHIANG as his exclusive
property, for want of evidentiary anchor. They insist on the Deed of Sale wherein
MERLINDA made the misrepresentation that she was a widow and CHIANG was single,
when at the time of execution thereof, they were in fact already married. Petitioner insists
that this document conclusively established bad faith on the part of MERLINDA and
therefore, the principle of in pari delicto should have been applied.
These issues are factual in nature and it is not for this Court to appreciate and evaluate the
pieces of evidence introduced below. An appellate court defers to the factual findings of
the Trial Court, unless petitioner can show a glaring mistake in the appreciation of
relevant evidence.
Since one of the characteristics of a void or inexistent contract is that it does not produce
any effect, MERLINDA can recover the property from petitioner who never acquired title
thereover.
As to the second issue, petitioner stresses that his title should have been respected since
he is a purchaser in good faith and for value. The Court of Appeals, however, opined that
he (petitioner) is not a purchaser in good faith. It found that there were circumstances
known to MODINA which rendered their transaction fraudulent under the attendant
circumstances.
As a general rule, in a sale under the Torrens system, a void title cannot give rise to a
valid title. The exception is when the sale of a person with a void title is to a third person
who purchased it for value and in good faith.
A purchaser in good faith is one who buys the property of another without notice that
some other person has a right to or interest in such property and pays a full and fair price
at the time of the purchase or before he has notice of the claim or interest of some other
person in the property. llibris
In the case under scrutiny, petitioner cannot claim that he was a purchaser in good faith.
There are circumstances which are indicia of bad faith on his part, to wit: (1) He asked
his nephew, Placido Matta, to investigate the origin of the property and the latter learned
that the same formed part of the properties of MERLINDA’s first husband; (2) that the
said sale was between the spouses; (3) that when the property was inspected, MODINA
met all the lessees who informed that subject lands belong to MERLINDA and they had
no knowledge that the same lots were sold to the husband.
It is a well-settled rule that a purchaser cannot close his eyes to facts which would put a
reasonable man upon his guard to make the necessary inquiries, and then claim that he
acted in good faith. His mere refusal to believe that such defect exists, or his wilful
closing of his eyes to the possibility of the existence of a defect in his vendor’s title, will
not make him an innocent purchaser for value, if it afterwards develops that the title was
in fact defective, and it appears that he had such notice of the defect as would have led to
its discovery had he acted with that measure of precaution which may reasonably be
required of a prudent man in a like situation. 15
Thus, petitioner cannot claim that the sale between him and MODINA falls under the
exception provided for by law.
With regard to the third issue posed by petitioner — whether the Trial Court’s decision
allowing recovery on the part of Merlinda Chiang of subject properties was void —
petitioner’s contention is untenable. It is theorized that as the sale by MERLINDA was by
virtue of an Order to Sell issued in the Intestate Estate Proceedings of her late husband,
Nelson Plana — to allow recovery will defeat the said order of the Probate Court.
Petitioner equated the aforesaid Order to Sell as a judgment, which another court in a
regular proceeding has no jurisdiction to reverse.
Petitioner is under the mistaken impression that as the Order to Sell had become a
judgment in itself as to the validity of the sale of the properties involved, any question as
to its nullity should have been brought before the Court of Appeals on appeal when the
said Order was issued. cdtai
It is a well-settled rule that a Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) has
jurisdiction over a case brought to rescind a sale made upon prior authority of a Probate
Court. This does not constitute an interference or review of the order of a co-equal Court
since the Probate Court has no jurisdiction over the question of title to subject properties.
Consequently, a separate action may be brought to determine the question of ownership.
16
Lastly, on the issue of whether only three-fourths of the property in question should have
been returned to MERLINDA, petitioner’s stance is equally unsustainable. It is a settled
doctrine that an issue which was neither averred in the Complaint nor raised during the
trial before the lower court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, as such a
recourse would be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process. 17
The issue of whether only three-fourths of subject property will be returned was never an
issue before the lower court and therefore, the petitioner cannot do it now. A final word.
In a Petition for Review, only questions of law may be raised. It is perceived by the Court
that what petitioner is trying to, albeit subtly, is for the Court to examine the probative
value or evidentiary weight of the evidence presented below 18 . The Court cannot do
that unless the appreciation of the pieces of evidence on hand is glaringly erroneous. But
this is where petitioner utterly failed. prLL
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated
September 30, 1992, in CA-G.R. CV No. 26051 AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Vitug, Panganiban and Gonzaga Reyes, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1. Rollo, p. 17.
2. Rollo, p. 143.
3. Art. 1490. The husband and the wife cannot sell property to each other, except:
(1) when a separation of property was agreed upon in the marriage settlements; or
(2) when there has been a judicial separation of property under Art. 191.
4. Art. 1412. If the act in which the unlawful or forbidden cause consists does not
constitute a criminal offense, the following rules shall be observed:
(1) When the fault is on the part of the both contracting parties, neither may recover
what he has given by virtue of the contract, or demand the performance of the other’s
undertaking;
(2) When only one of the contracting parties is at fault, he cannot recover what he has
given by reason of the contract, or ask for the fulfillment of what has been promised him.
The other, who is not at fault, may demand the return of what he has given without any
obligation to comply with his promise.
5. Rollo, pp. 33-34.
6. Art. 1411. When the nullity proceeds from the illegality of the cause or object of
the contract, and the act constitutes a criminal offense, both parties being in pari delicto,
they shall have no action against each other, and both shall be prosecuted. Moreover, the
provisions of the Penal Code relative to the disposal of the effects or instruments of a
crime shall be applicable to the things or the price of the contract.
This rule shall be applicable when only one of the parties is guilty; but the
innocent one may claim what he has given, and shall not be bound to comply with his
promise.
7. Gustilo vs. Maravilla, 48 Phil 442, 449-450.
8 Gonzales vs. Trinidad , 67 Phil 682 (1939).
9. Rollo, p. 33.
10. Cayabyab vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 232 SCRA 1.
11. Art. 1409. The following contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning:
(1) Those whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy;
(2) Those which are absolutely simulated and fictitious;
(3) Those whose cause or object did not exist at the time of the transaction;
(4) Those whose object is outside the commerce of men;
(5) Those which contemplate an impossible service;
(6) Those where the intention of the parties relative to the principal object of the
contract cannot be ascertained;
(7) Those expressly prohibited or declared void by law.
These contracts cannot be ratified. Neither can the right to set up the defense of illegality
be waived.
12. Ibid, p. 632.
13. Ibid, p. 683.
14. Tolentino, Arturo M. Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. V., page 39, 1997 Edition.
15. Leung Yee vs. Frank L. Strong Machinery Co., 37 Phil 644; RFC vs. Javillanar,
107 Phil. 664; Manacop, Jr. vs. Cansino, 111 Phil 166; Egao vs. Court of Appeals, 174
SCRA 484.
16. Pizarro vs Court of Appeals, 99 SCRA 72; Pio Barretto Realty Development , Inc.
vs Court of Appeals, 131606.
17. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila vs Court of Appeals, 269 SCRA 145.
18. Vda. de Arroyo vs El Beaterio del Santissimo Rosario de Molo, L-22005, May 3,
1968, 23 SCRA, 525. cdphil

[G.R. No. 75773. April 17, 1990.]


TOMAS JIMENEZ, VISITACION JIMENEZ, DIGNO JIMENEZ, ANTONIO
JIMENEZ, AMADEO JIMENEZ, MODESTO JIMENEZ and VIRGINIA JIMENEZ,
petitioners, vs. HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, HON.
AMANDA VALERA-CABIGAO, in her capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial
Court, Branch XXXVII, Lingayen, Pangasinan, LEONARDO JIMENEZ, JR. and
CORAZON JIMENEZ, respondents.
Simplicio M. Sevilleja for petitioners.
Bitty S. Viliran for private respondents.
Leonardo B. Jimenez, Jr. for respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; ALLOWANCE OF WILL;
PROBATE COURT CAN ONLY PASS UPON QUESTION OF TITLE
PROVISIONALLY; SEPARATE PROCEEDING, NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH
OWNERSHIP. — Petitioners' present action for recovery of possession and ownership is
appropriately filed because as a general rule, a probate court can only pass upon
questions of title provisionally. Since the probate court's findings are not conclusive,
being prima facie, a separate proceeding is necessary to establish the ownership of the
five (5) parcels of land. The patent reason is the probate court's limited jurisdiction and
the principle that questions of title or ownership, which result in inclusion or exclusion
from the inventory of the property, can only be settled in a separate action. All that the
said court could do as regards said properties is determine whether they should or should
not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered by the
administrator. If there is a dispute as to the ownership, then the opposing parties and the
administrator have to resort to an ordinary action for a final determination of the
conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so. It has also been held
that in a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the question of ownership is an
extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve with finality. This
pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to an intestate proceeding as in the case
at bar.
2. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; MOTION TO DISMISS; RES JUDICATA; NOT
PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. — Res judicata does not exist because of the difference in
the causes of actions. Specifically in S.P. No. 5346, the action was for the settlement of
the intestate estate of Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy while Civil Case No. 16111
was an action for the recovery of possession and ownership of the five (5) parcels of land.
Moreover, while admittedly, the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch V in S.P.
No. 5346 had jurisdiction, the same was merely limited jurisdiction. Any pronouncement
by said court as to title is not conclusive and could still be attacked in a separate
proceeding. Civil Case No. 16111, on the other hand, was lodged before the Regional
Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch XXXVII in the exercise of the court's general
jurisdiction. It was, in fact, such "separate or ordinary proceedings" contemplated by the
rules for a final determination of the issue of ownership of the disputed properties. To
repeat, since the determination of the question of title to the subject properties in S.P.
5346 was merely provisional, petitioners are not barred from instituting the appropriate
action in Civil Case No. 16111. Indeed, the grounds relied upon by private respondents in
their motion to dismiss do not appear to be indubitable. Res judicata has been shown here
to be unavailable and the other grounds of prescription and laches pleaded by private
respondents are seriously disputed. The allegation in the complaint is that the heirs of
Leonardo Jimenez, Sr. (referring to private respondents) forcibly intruded into and took
possession of the disputed properties only in 1978, after the death of Genoveva Caolboy.
Since the action for reconveyance was instituted in 1984, it would appear that the same
has not yet prescribed or otherwise barred by laches. There are a number of factual issues
raised by petitioners before the lower court which cannot be resolved without the
presentation of evidence at a full-blown trial and which make the grounds for dismissal
dubitable. Among others, the alleged admission made by petitioners' mother in the deed
of sale is vehemently denied, as well as the fact itself of adjudication, there being no
showing that the conjugal partnership of Lino Jimenez and Consolacion Ungson had been
liquidated nor that a judicial or extra-judicial settlement of the estate of Lino Jimenez was
undertaken whereby such adjudication could have been effected.
DECISION
FERNAN, C.J p:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside the decision 1
of the Court of Appeals dated May 29, 1986 which dismissed the petition for certiorari
and mandamus in AC-G.R. No. 06578 entitled "Tomas Jimenez, et. al. vs. Hon. Amanda
Valera-Cabigao."
The facts are as follows:
The marriage of Leonardo (Lino) Jimenez and Consolacion Ungson produced four (4)
children, namely: Alberto, Leonardo, Sr., Alejandra and Angeles. During the existence of
the marriage, Lino Jimenez acquired five (5) parcels of land in Salomague, Bugallon,
Pangasinan.
After the death of Consolacion Ungson, Lino married Genoveva Caolboy with whom he
begot the seven petitioners herein: Tomas, Visitacion, Digno, Antonio, Amadeo, Modesto
and Virginia, all surnamed Jimenez. Lino Jimenez died on August 11, 1951 while
Genoveva Caolboy died on November 21, 1978.
Thereafter, in April 1979, Virginia Jimenez filed a petition before the Court of First
Instance of Pangasinan, Branch V, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 5346, praying to
be appointed as administratrix of the properties of the deceased spouses Lino and
Genoveva. Enumerated in her petition were the supposed heirs of the deceased spouses
which included herein co-petitioners and the four children of Lino Jimenez by
Consolacion Ungson, his previous wife. 2
In October, 1979, herein private respondent Leonardo Jimenez, Jr., son of Leonardo
Jimenez, Sr., filed a motion for the exclusion of his father's name and those of Alberto,
Alejandra, and Angeles from the petition, inasmuch as they are children of the union of
Lino Jimenez and Consolacion Ungson and not of Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy
and because they have already received their inheritance consisting of five (5) parcels of
lands in Salomague, Bugallon, Pangasinan. 3
On March 23, 1981, petitioner Virginia Jimenez was appointed administrator of the
Intestate Estate of Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy. 4 On May 21, 1981, she filed
an inventory of the estate of the spouses Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy wherein
she included the five (5) parcels of land in Salomague, Bugallon, Pangasinan. As a
consequence, Leonardo Jimenez, Jr. moved for the exclusion of these properties from the
inventory on the ground that these had already been adjudicated to Leonardo Sr., Alberto,
Alejandra and Angeles by their deceased father Lino Jimenez. Private respondent
Leonardo Jimenez, Jr. presented testimonial and documentary evidence in support of his
motion while petitioner Virginia Jimenez, other than cross-examining the witnesses of
Leonardo, presented no evidence of her own, oral or documentary. prcd
On September 29, 1981, the probate court ordered the exclusion of the five (5) parcels of
land from the inventory on the basis of the evidence of private respondent Leonardo
Jimenez, Jr. which consisted among others of: (1) Tax Declaration showing that the
subject properties were acquired during the conjugal partnership of Lino Jimenez and
Consolacion Ungson; and, (2) a Deed of Sale dated May 12, 1964 wherein Genoveva
Caolboy stated, that the subject properties had been adjudicated by Lino Jimenez to his
children by a previous marriage, namely: Alberto, Leonardo, Alejandra and Angeles. 5
The motion for reconsideration of said order was denied on January 26, 1982. 6
Petitioner Virginia Jimenez then went to the Court of Appeals on a petition for certiorari
and prohibition, docketed thereat as CA-G.R. No. SP-13916, seeking the annulment of
the order dated September 29, 1981 as well as the order of January 26, 1982. On
November 18, 1982, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition because (1) Genoveva
Caolboy, petitioners' mother, had admitted that the subject parcels of land had been
adjudicated to the children of the previous nuptial; (2) the subject properties could not
have been acquired during the marriage of Lino Jimenez to Genoveva Caolboy because
they were already titled in the name of Lino Jimenez even prior to 1921, long before
Lino's marriage to Genoveva in 1940; (3) the claim of Virginia Jimenez was barred by
prescription because it was only in 1981 when they questioned the adjudication of the
subject properties, more than ten (10) years after Genoveva had admitted such
adjudication in a public document in 1964; and, (4) petitioner Virginia Jimenez was
guilty of laches. This decision became final and executory. 7
Two (2) years after, petitioners filed an amended complaint dated December 10, 1984
before the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch XXXVII, docketed thereat as
Civil Case No. 16111, to recover possession ownership of the subject five (5) parcels of
land as part of the estate of Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy and to order private
respondents to render an accounting of the produce therefrom. Private respondents moved
for the dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that the action was barred by prior
judgment in CA-G.R. No. SP-13916 dated November 18, 1982 and by prescription and
laches. However, petitioners opposed the motion to dismiss contending that (1) the action
was not barred by prior judgment because the probate court had no jurisdiction to
determine with finality the question of ownership of the lots which must be ventilated in
a separate action; and, (2) the action instituted in 1981 was not barred by prescription or
laches because private respondents' forcible acquisition of the subject properties occurred
only after the death of petitioners' mother, Genoveva Caolboy in 1978.
On February 13, 1985, the trial court resolved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of
res judicata. 8 On May 31, 1985, petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the resolution
was denied. As earlier intimated, the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by
petitioners before the appellate court was likewise denied due course and dismissed in a
decision dated May 29, 1986. 9
Hence, this recourse.
The issue in this case is whether in a settlement proceeding (testate or intestate) the lower
court has jurisdiction to settle questions of ownership and whether res judicata exists as to
bar petitioners' present action for the recovery of possession and ownership of the five (5)
parcels of land. In the negative, is the present action for reconveyance barred by
prescription and/or laches?. cdrep
We reverse. Petitioners' present action for recovery of possession and ownership is
appropriately filed because as a general rule, a probate court can only pass upon
questions of title provisionally. Since the probate court's findings are not conclusive,
being prima facie, 10 a separate proceeding is necessary to establish the ownership of
the five (5) parcels of land. 11
The patent reason is the probate court's limited jurisdiction and the principle that
questions of title or ownership, which result in inclusion or exclusion from the inventory
of the property, can only be settled in a separate action. 12
All that the said court could do as regards said properties is determine whether they
should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered
by the administrator. If there is a dispute as to the ownership, then the opposing parties
and the administrator have to resort to an ordinary action for a final determination of the
conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so. 13
The provisional character of the inclusion in the inventory of a contested property was
again reiterated in the following cases: Pio Barreto Realty Development, Inc. vs. Court of
Appeals, 14 Junquera vs. Borromeo, 15 Borromeo vs. Canonoy, 16 Recto vs. de la
Rosa. 17 It has also been held that in a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the
question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve
with finality. 18 This pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to an intestate
proceeding as in the case at bar.
Res judicata 19 does not exist because of the difference in the causes of actions.
Specifically in S.P. No. 5346, the action was for the settlement of the intestate estate of
Lino Jimenez and Genoveva Caolboy while Civil Case No. 16111 was an action for the
recovery of possession and ownership of the five (5) parcels of land. Moreover, while
admittedly, the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, Branch V in S.P. No. 5346 had
jurisdiction, the same was merely limited jurisdiction. Any pronouncement by said court
as to title is not conclusive and could still be attacked in a separate proceeding. Civil Case
No. 16111, on the other hand, was lodged before the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan,
Branch XXXVII in the exercise of the court's general jurisdiction. It was, in fact, such
"separate or ordinary proceedings" contemplated by the rules for a final determination of
the issue of ownership of the disputed properties. To repeat, since the determination of
the question of title to the subject properties in S.P. 5346 was merely provisional,
petitioners are not barred from instituting the appropriate action in Civil Case No. 16111.
Indeed, the grounds relied upon by private respondents in their motion to dismiss do not
appear to be indubitable. Res judicata has been shown here to be unavailable and the
other grounds of prescription and laches pleaded by private respondents are seriously
disputed. The allegation in the complaint is that the heirs of Leonardo Jimenez, Sr.
(referring to private respondents) forcibly intruded into and took possession of the
disputed properties only in 1978, after the death of Genoveva Caolboy. Since the action
for reconveyance was instituted in 1984, it would appear that the same has not yet
prescribed or otherwise barred by laches. LexLib
There are a number of factual issues raised by petitioners before the lower court which
cannot be resolved without the presentation of evidence at a full-blown trial and which
make the grounds for dismissal dubitable. Among others, the alleged admission made by
petitioners' mother in the deed of sale is vehemently denied, as well as the fact itself of
adjudication, there being no showing that the conjugal partnership of Lino Jimenez and
Consolacion Ungson had been liquidated nor that a judicial or extra-judicial settlement of
the estate of Lino Jimenez was undertaken whereby such adjudication could have been
effected.
The grounds stated in the motion to dismiss not being indubitable, the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the complaint in Civil Case No. 16111.
WHEREFORE, the questioned decision of the respondent appellate court is hereby
REVERSED. Civil Case No. 16111 is reinstated and the Regional Trial Court of
Pangasinan, Branch XXXVII is directed to proceed in said case with dispatch.
SO ORDERED.
Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ ., concur.
Gutierrez, Jr., J ., is on leave.
Footnotes
1. Luis Javellana, J., ponente, Mariano Zosa, Vicente Mendoza and Ricardo
Tensuan, JJ., concurring.
2. Rollo, p. 33.
3. Rollo, p. 34.
4. Rollo, p. 36.
5. Rollo, p. 57.
6. Rollo, p. 31.
7. Rollo, pp. 32-45, pp. 57-58.
8. Rollo, p. 21.
9. Rollo, pp. 59-60.
10. Bolisay vs. Alcid, No. L-45494, 31 August 1978, 85 SCRA 213.
11. 3 Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, pages 448-449 and
473; Lachenal vs. Salas, L-42257, June 14, 1976, 71 SCRA 262, 266.
12. Vda. de Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, 91 SCRA 540.
13. Mallari vs. Mallari, 92 Phil. 694; Baquial vs. Amihan, 92 Phil. 501; Valero Vda.
de Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals, 91 SCRA 540.
14. 131 SCRA 606.
15. 19 SCRA 656.
16. 19 SCRA 667.
17. 75 SCRA 226.
18. Spouses Alvaro Pastor Jr. vs. CA, 122 SCRA 885; Baybayan vs. Aquino, No. L-
42678, April 9, 1987 149 SCRA 186.
19. For res judicata to apply, the following requisites must concur: (1) there must be a
prior final judgment or order; (2) the court rendering the judgment or order must have
jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties; (3) the judgment or order must
be on the merits; and (4) there must be between the two cases, the earlier and the instant,
identity of parties, identity of subject matter and identity of cause of action. (Lorenzana
vs. Macagba, 154 SCRA 723)

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 139587. November 22, 2000.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF DECEASED ISMAEL REYES,
THE HEIRS OF OSCAR R. REYES, petitioners, vs. CESAR R. REYES, respondent.
DECISION
GONZAGA-REYES, J p:
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek to annul the decision of the
respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 46761 1 which affirmed the Order 2
dated January 26, 1994 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96, Quezon City, in Special
Proceeding No. 89-2519, a petition for issuance of letters of administration, and the
resolution dated July 28, 1999 denying their motion for reconsideration. 3
Spouses Ismael Reyes and Felisa Revita Reyes are the registered owners of parcels of
land situated in Arayat Street, Cubao, Quezon City covered by Transfer Certificates of
Title Nos. 4983 and 3598 (39303). The spouses have seven children, namely: Oscar,
Araceli, Herminia, Aurora, Emmanuel, Cesar and Rodrigo, all surnamed Reyes.
On April 18, 1973, Ismael Reyes died intestate. Prior to his death, Ismael Reyes was
notified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) of his income tax deficiency which
arose out of his sale of a parcel land located in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. For failure to
settle his tax liability, the amount increased to about P172,724.40 and since no payment
was made by the heirs of deceased Ismael Reyes, the property covered by TCT No. 4983
was levied 4 sold and eventually forfeited by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in favor of
the government. 5
Sometime in 1976, petitioners' predecessor Oscar Reyes availed of the BIR's tax amnesty
and he was able to redeem the property covered by TCT No. 4983 6 upon payment of the
reduced tax liability in the amount of about P18,000. 7
On May 18, 1982, the Office of the City Treasurer of Quezon City sent a notice to Felisa
Revita Reyes informing her that the Arayat properties will be sold at public auction on
August 25, 1982 for her failure to settle the real estate tax delinquency from 1974-1981. 8
On December 15, 1986, petitioners' predecessor Oscar Reyes entered into an amnesty
compromise agreement with the City Treasurer and settled the accounts of Felisa R.
Reyes. 9
On May 10, 1989, private respondent Cesar Reyes, brother of Oscar Reyes, filed a
petition for issuance of letters of administration with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City praying for his appointment as administrator of the estate of the deceased Ismael
Reyes which estate included 50% of the Arayat properties covered by TCT Nos. 4983 and
3598. 10 Oscar Reyes filed his conditional opposition thereto on the ground that the
Arayat properties do not form part of the estate of the deceased as he (Oscar) had
acquired the properties by redemption and or purchase. 11
The probate court subsequently issued letters of administration in favor of Cesar Reyes
where the latter was ordered to submit a true and complete inventory of properties
pertaining to the estate of the deceased and the special powers of attorney executed by the
other heirs who reside in the USA and that of Aurora Reyes-Dayot conforming to his
appointment as administrator. 12 Cesar Reyes filed an inventory of real and personal
properties of the deceased which included the Arayat properties with a total area of 1,009
sq. meters. 13 On the other hand, Oscar Reyes filed his objection to the inventory
reiterating that the Arayat properties had been forfeited in favor of the government and he
was the one who subsequently redeemed the same from the BIR using his own funds. 14
A hearing on the inventory was scheduled where administrator Cesar Reyes was required
to present evidence to establish that the properties belong to the estate of Ismael Reyes
and the oppositor to adduce evidence in support of his objection to the inclusion of
certain properties in the inventory. 15 After hearing the parties' respective arguments, the
probate court issued its Order dated January 26, 1994, the dispositive portion of which
reads: 16
"WHEREFORE, pursuant to the foregoing findings, the Court hereby modifies the
inventory submitted by the administrator and declares to belong to the estate of the late
Ismael Reyes the following properties, to wit:
1. One half (1/2) of the agricultural land located in Montalban, Rizal containing an
area of 31,054 square meters, covered by TCT 72730 with an approximate value of
P405,270.00;
2. One half (1/2) of two (2) adjoining residential lots located on Arayat Street,
Cubao, Quezon City, with total area of 1,009 square meters, more or less, covered by
TCTs No. 4983 AND 3598 (39303), with an approximate value of P3,027,000.00; but this
determination is provisional in character and shall be without prejudice to the outcome of
any action to be brought hereafter in the proper Court on the issue of ownership of the
properties; and,
3. The building constructed by and leased to Sonny Bernardo and all its rental
income from the inception of the lease, whether such income be in the possession of
oppositor, in which case he is hereby directed to account therefor, or if such income be
still unpaid by Bernardo, in which case the administrator should move to collect the
same.
Consistent with the foregoing things, either of the administrator oppositor, or heir Felisa
R. Reyes, in her personal capacity as apparent co-owner of the Arayat Street properties,
may commence the necessary proper action for settling the issue of ownership of such
properties in the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City and to inform the Court of the
commencement thereof by any of them as soon as possible.
The administrator is hereby directed to verify and check carefully on whether other
properties, particularly the real properties allegedly situated in Montalban, Rizal; in
Marikina, Metro Manila (near Boys Town); and in Bulacan, otherwise referred to as the
Hi-Cement property truly pertained to the estate; to determine their present condition and
the status of their ownership; and to render a report thereon in writing within thirty (30)
days from receipt of this Order.
The motion demanding for accounting to be done by oppositor Oscar Reyes is hereby
denied for being unwarranted, except whatever incomes he might have received from
Sonny Bernardo, which he is hereby directed to turn over to the administrator within
thirty (30) days from finality of this Order.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by Oscar Reyes which was denied in an Order
dated May 30, 1994. 17 He then filed his appeal with the respondent Court of Appeals.
While the appeal was pending, Oscar died and he was substituted by his heirs, herein
petitioners.
On May 6, 1999, the respondent Court issued its assailed decision which affirmed the
probate court's order. It ruled that the probate court's order categorically stated that the
inclusion of the subject properties in the inventory of the estate of the deceased Ismael
Reyes "is provisional in character and shall be without prejudice to the outcome of any
action to be brought hereafter in the proper court on the issue of ownership of the
properties"; that the provisional character of the inclusion of the contested properties in
the inventory as stressed in the order is within the jurisdiction of intestate court. It further
stated that although the general rule that question of title to property cannot be passed
upon in the probate court admits of exceptions, i.e. if the claimant and all other parties
having legal interest in the property consent, expressly or impliedly, to the submission of
the question to the probate court for adjudication, such has no application in the instant
case since petitioner-appellee and oppositor-appellant are not the only parties with legal
interest in the subject property as they are not the only heirs of the decedent; that it was
never shown that all parties interested in the subject property or all the heirs of the
decedent consented to the submission of the question of ownership to the intestate court.
Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration which was denied in a resolution dated
July 28, 1999. Hence this petition for review on certiorari alleging that the respondent
Court erred (1) in ruling that the court a quo correctly included one half (1/2) of the
Arayat properties covered by TCT Nos. 4983 and 3598 (39303) in the inventory of the
estate of the deceased Ismael Reyes (2) in upholding that the court a quo has no
jurisdiction to determine the issue of ownership.
Petitioners argue that a probate court's jurisdiction is not limited to the determination of
who the heirs are and what shares are due them as regards the estate of a deceased person
since the probate court has the power and competence to determine whether a property
should be excluded from the inventory of the estate or not, thus the Court a quo
committed a reversible error when it included the Arayat properties in the inventory of
the estate of Ismael Reyes despite the overwhelming evidence presented by petitioner-
oppositor Oscar Reyes proving his claim of ownership. Petitioners contend that their
claim of ownership over the Arayat properties as testified to by their predecessor Oscar
Reyes was based on two (2) grounds, to wit (1) his redemption of the Arayat properties
and (2) the abandonment of the properties by his co-heirs; that his act of redeeming the
properties from the BIR in 1976 and thereafter from the City Treasurer of Quezon City
using his own funds have the effect of vesting ownership to him. Petitioners claim that
private respondent is already barred from claiming the Arayat properties since he only
filed this petition 16 years after the death of Ismael Reyes and after the prices of the real
properties in Cubao have already escalated tremendously.
We find no merit in this argument.
The jurisdiction of the probate court merely relates to matters having to do with the
settlement of the estate and the probate of wills of deceased persons, and the appointment
and removal of administrators, executors, guardians and trustees. 18 The question of
ownership is as a rule, an extraneous matter which the Probate Court cannot resolve with
finality. 19 Thus, for the purpose of determining whether a certain property should or
should not be included in the inventory of estate proceeding, the probate court may pass
upon the title thereto, but such determination is provisional, not conclusive, and is subject
to the final decision in a separate action to resolve title. 20
We find that the respondent Court did not err in affirming the provisional inclusion of the
subject properties to the estate of the deceased Ismael Reyes without prejudice to the
outcome of any action to be brought thereafter in the proper court on the issue of
ownership considering that the subject properties are still titled under the torrens system
in the names of spouses Ismael and Felisa Revita Reyes which under the law is endowed
with incontestability until after it has been set aside in the manner indicated in the law. 21
The declaration of the provisional character of the inclusion of the subject properties in
the inventory as stressed in the order is within the jurisdiction of the Probate Court.
Petitioners next claim that as an exception to the rule that the probate court is of limited
jurisdiction, the court has jurisdiction to resolve the issue of ownership when the parties
interested are all heirs of the deceased and they submitted the question of title to the
property, without prejudice to third persons. Petitioners allege that the parties before the
probate court were all the heirs of deceased Ismael Reyes and they were allowed to
present evidence proving ownership over the subject properties, thus private respondent
cannot argue that he did not in any way consent to the submission of the issue of
ownership to the probate court as the records of this case is replete with evidence that he
presented evidence in an attempt to prove ownership of the subject properties.
We are not persuaded.
Settled is the rule that the Regional Trial Court acting as a probate court exercises but
limited jurisdiction, thus it has no power to take cognizance of and determine the issue of
title to property claimed by a third person adversely to the decedent, unless the claimant
and all other parties having legal interest in the property consent, expressly or impliedly,
to the submission of the question to the Probate Court for adjudgment, or the interests of
third persons are not thereby prejudiced. 22
The facts obtaining in this case, however, do not call for the application of the exception
to the rule. It bears stress that the purpose why the probate court allowed the introduction
of evidence on ownership was for the sole purpose of determining whether the subject
properties should be included in the inventory which is within the probate court's
competence. Thus, when private respondent Cesar Reyes was appointed as administrator
of the properties in the court's Order dated July 26, 1989, he was ordered to submit a true
inventory and appraisal of the real and personal properties of the estate which may come
into his possession or knowledge which private respondent complied with. However,
petitioner Oscar Reyes submitted his objection to the inventory on the ground that it
included the subject properties which had been forfeited in favor of the government on
April 21, 1975 and which he subsequently redeemed on August 19, 1976. The Court
resolved the opposition as follows:
At the hearing today of the pending incidents, it was agreed that the said incidents could
not be resolved without introduction of evidence.
Accordingly, the hearing on the inventory of real and personal properties is hereby set on
April 24, 1990 at 10:00 A.M. at which date and time the petitioner/administrator shall be
required to present evidence to establish that the properties stated in the inventory belong
to the estate of Ismael Reyes. The oppositor shall thereafter adduce his evidence in
support of his objection to the inclusion of certain properties of the estates in the
inventory.
Notably, the Probate Court stated, from the start of the hearing, that the hearing was for
the merits of accounting and inventory, thus it had jurisdiction to hear the opposition of
Oscar Reyes to the inventory as well as the respective evidence of the parties to
determine for purposes of inventory alone if they should be included therein or excluded
therefrom. In fact, the probate court in its Order stated that "for resolution is the matter of
the inventory of the estate, mainly to consider what properties should be included in the
inventory and what should not be included." There was nothing on record that both
parties submitted the issue of ownership for its final resolution. Thus the respondent
Court did not err in ruling that the trial court has no jurisdiction to pass upon the issue of
ownership conclusively.
In fact, the probate court, aware of its limited jurisdiction declared that its determination
of the ownership was merely provisional and suggested that either the administrator or
the widow Felisa Reyes may commence the proper action in the Regional Trial Court.
Moreover, the court admitted that it was not competent to pass upon the ownership of the
subject properties, thus:
"Although the testimony of the oppositor should have greater persuasive value than that
of the petitioner/administrator, mainly because it agrees closely with the recitals of facts
found in the several public documents submitted as evidence in this case and is
corroborated to the greatest extent by the fact that the properties were, indeed, abandoned
in his possession since 1975 until the present, his alleged ownership of the Arayat Street
properties cannot still be sustained in a manner which would warrant their exclusion from
the administrator's inventory.
"To begin with, there are portions in the records which show that the oppositor himself
was somehow uncertain about his rights on the properties and the basis therefor. During
his cross-examination (tsn, Oct. 4, 1991), he gave the following statements:
xxx xxx xxx
(Atty. Habitan)
Q: And if we will add the other taxes you have paid, (you) are now claiming to be the
owner of the Arayat property because you have paid all these taxes?
A: The amounts I have paid and all the expenses I have and if I had not paid all these
amounts the property in question would have been lost, sir.
Q: So, in effect, you are now claiming ownership over the property, I want a
categorical answer, Mr. Witness?
A: If I am going to sum up all these expenses, my share in the Hi-Cement property,
my share in the Bulacan property, the amount of the property in Cubao is small and also
all my sufferings because of the property in Cubao, this cannot be paid in terms of
money, sir.
(tsn, Oct. 4, 1991, pp. 10-12)
"On re-direct examination (tsn, Sept. 18, 1992), he clarified his statements as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
(Atty, Javellana)
Q: Mr. Reyes, on cross-examination, you were asked by the petitioner's counsel
whether because you had paid the BIR P17,872.44 you are now claiming to be the owner
of the property in Arayat Street to which you answered no, will you explain your answer?
A: When I paid almost P18,000.00, it does not mean that I claim the property
already; on the contrary, I have my own reasons to claim it now on other conditions
which are the following: number one, there was a levy by the BIR on the property, it was
forfeited due to delinquency of real estate taxes; number two, for abandonment, when my
mother, brother(s) and sisters left the property, they told me it is my problem and I should
take care of it. Number three, the disposition, my mother, my brothers and sisters sold the
property of my father, the Hi-Cement and the property in Visayas Street without giving
my share. And another thing I have to sell my own property, my own assets so that I can
redeem from the BIR the Arayat property and which I did with my personal funds, and
number five, nobody helped me in my problems regarding those properties, I was alone
and so I felt that the property in Arayat is mine.
xxx xxx xxx
(tsn, Sept. 18, 1992, pp. 2-3)
Notwithstanding his clarifying statements on redirect examination, the impression of the
Court on the issue is not entirely favorable to him. Apart from the absence of a specific
document of transfer, the circumstances and factors he gave may not suffice in and by
themselves to convey or transfer title, for, at best, they may only be the basis of such
transfer. They may be considered as proof of the intention to dispose in his favor or as
evidence of a set off among the heirs, which seems to be what he has in mind. There
might also be substance in his assertions about the abandonment in his favor, which, if
raised in the proper action, could constitute either prescription or laches. It is hardly
needed to stress, therefore, that more than these are required to predicate the exclusion of
the properties from the inventory.
Another obtrusive reality stands out to invite notice: the BIR levy was only made on the
property covered in TCT 4983 and did not include the property covered in TCT 3598
(39303). This somehow detracts from the logic of the oppositor's assertion of ownership
of the entire Arayat Street properties; even if his assertion is valid and true, it can
encompass, at most, only the property subject of the BIR's levy and declaration of
forfeiture (i.e., TCT 4983), not the property covered by TCT 3598 (39303).
These pronouncements should not by any means diminish or deprive the oppositor of
whatever rights or properties he believes or considers to be rightfully his. Although the
circumstances and factors he has given to the Court herein may have legal consequences
that could have defeated opposing-claims and rendered oppositor's claim on the
properties unassailable, this Court's competence to adjudicate thus in this proceedings is
clearly non-existent. In Baybayan vs. Aquino (149 SCRA 186), it was held that the
question of ownership of a property alleged to be part of the estate must be submitted to
the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its general jurisdiction.
This ruling then, cannot be a final adjudication on the present and existing legal
ownership of the properties. Whatever is declared herein ought not to preclude oppositor
from prosecuting an ordinary action for the purpose of having his claims or rights
established over the properties. If he still cares hereafter to prosecute such claim of
ownership adversely to the estate and the apparent co-owner, his mother Felisa. As stated
in Valera, et al. vs. Judge Inserto, et al. (149 SCRA 533), this Court, acting as a probate
court, exercises but limited jurisdiction; accordingly, its determination that property
should be included in the inventory or not is within its probate jurisdiction, but such
determination is only provisional in character, not conclusive, and is subject to the final
decision in a separate action that may be instituted by the parties."
xxx xxx xxx
The aforecited findings clarify that there were several reasons for having the issue of
ownership ventilated elsewhere. Apart from the fact that only one-half of the two lots
known as the Arayat property (i.e., the half that could pertain to the estate) could be
settled herein, there was the realization that the evidence adduced so far (including that
bearing on the oppositor's basis for excluding from the estate the property) was
inadequate or otherwise inconclusive.
A practical way of looking at the problem is that this Court, sitting herein as an intestate
court, does not consider itself competent to rule on the ownership of the entire Arayat
property."
Finally, anent private respondent's allegation that the instant petition was filed one day
late, hence should be dismissed, we find the same to be devoid of merit. Petitioners
received copy of the decision denying their motion for reconsideration on August 13,
1999, thus they have until August 28, 1999 within which to file petition for review.
Petitioners filed their motion for extension on August 27, 1999 praying for 30 days
extension from August 28, 1999 or until September 27, 1999 to file their petition which
this Court granted. Petitioners filed their petition on September 27, 1999, which is within
the period given by the Court.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Melo, Vitug and Panganiban, JJ ., concur.
Footnotes
1. Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, ponente, concurred in by Justices Marina L. Buzon,
Renato C. Dacudao.
2. Per Judge Lucas P. Bersamin, Records on Appeal, pp. 178-189.
3. Rollo, p. 45.
4. Record on Appeal, pp. 47-48.
5. Ibid, p. 48.
6. Ibid, p. 49.
7. Ibid, p. 50.
8. Ibid, p. 64.
9. Ibid, p. 53.
10. Ibid, pp. 1-4.
11. Ibid, pp. 6-7.
12. Ibid, pp. 8-9.
13. Ibid, pp. 25-26.
14. Ibid, pp. 30-32.
15. Ibid, p. 35.
16. Ibid, pp . 188-189.
17. Ibid, pp. 195-199.
18. Ramos vs. CA, 180 SCRA 635.
19. Spouses Alvaro Pastor, Jr. vs. CA, 122 SCRA 885; Baybayan vs. Aquino, 149
SCRA 186.
20. Pereira vs. CA, 174 SCRA 154; Bolisay vs. Alcid, 85 SCRA 213; Lachenal vs.
Salas, 71 SCRA 262; Pio Barreto Realty Development, Inc., vs. CA, 131 SCRA 606;
Junquera vs. Borromeo, 19 SCRA 656; Borromeo vs. Canonoy, 19 SCRA 667; Recto vs.
dela Rosa, 75 SCRA 226.
21. Bolisay vs. Alcid, 85 SCRA 213.
22. Trinidad vs. CA, 202 SCRA 106.

Copyright 2000 CD Te chnologi es Asia Inc

[G.R. No. 65656. February 28, 1985.]


AMORANTE PLAN, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and
FEDERICO BAUTISTA, respondents.
Agrava, Lucero & Gineta Law Office for petitioner.
Jose O. Lara for private respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; INTESTATE PROCEEDING; SALE OF HEREDITARY
RIGHTS; SALE ORDERED BY PROBATE COURT FINAL AND NOT SUBJECT TO
LEGAL REDEMPTION. — We hold that the Appellate Court erred in ordering Plan to
reconvey the disputed property to Federico Bautista upon payment of P140,000 and to
pay him P8,000 a month as income from December 22, 1964. Said judgment is bereft of
factual and legal basis. Federico did not pray for reconveyance in his complaint. He was
not the owner of the property in 1964. Article 1088 of the Civil Code does not justify
legal redemption in this case because it refers to sale of hereditary rights, and not to
specific properties, for the payment of the debts of the decedent's estate as to which there
is no legal redemption. "In the administration and liquidation of the estate of a deceased
person, sales ordered by the probate court for payment of debts are final and not subject
to legal redemption. Unlike in ordinary execution sales, there is no legal provision
allowing redemption in the sale of property for payment of debts of a deceased person"
(Abarro vs. De Guia, 72 Phil. 245). Such sale is not the one contemplated in article 1067,
now article 1088 of the Civil Code (Vda. de Mendoza, 69 Phil. 155).
2. ID.; ID.; PROPER FORUM TO ASSAIL SALE OF HEREDITARY RIGHTS. —
In the instant case, we agree with Judges Fule, Catolico and Vallejos that Federico's
remedy is in the intestate proceeding where his petition for relief has been pending for
nearly twenty years. He should amend it by impleading the present administratrix and
Plan himself and serving copies of the petition upon them. Plan, as the purchaser of the
disputed property, is a forced intervenor in the intestate proceeding. He should answer the
amended petition for the annulment of the sale. The probate court has jurisdiction over
him. Federico should also ask for an accounting of the P70,007.93 received by his
mother. His brothers and sisters should also be served with copies of the amended
petition. The case of Tagle and Ignacio, Jr. vs. Manalo, 105 Phil. 1123, cited by Federico
Bautista in his brief, is not in point because the testamentary proceeding in that case was
already closed and the purchaser did not want to be pulled into the probate proceeding.
Here, the purchaser had no objection to litigating the validity of the sale in the intestate
proceeding.
DECISION
AQUINO, J p:
The issue in this case is whether Federico Bautista could nullify in a separate action,
instead of in the intestate proceeding for his deceased father's estate, the sale of two
conjugal lots, with the theater thereon, made by his mother Florencia Topacio as
administratrix to Amorante Plan with the authorization and approval of the probate court.
Federico, who claims a 1/8 interest in the property, alleged that he was not notified of the
sale. His mother had a 5/8 interest in the property. The Appellate Court allowed Federico
to redeem the said lots although he never prayed for such redemption. prcd
In the intestate proceeding for the settlement of Regino Bautista's estate, his widow filed
a motion dated December 9, 1964 for authority to sell to Plan the two lots and theater for
not less than P140,000. The purpose was to pay the debts amounting to P117,220. The
motion was set for hearing on December 18, 1964. It was indicated in the motion that the
children were notified through one child named Milagros Bautista (18-20, Record on
Appeal).
On December 22, 1964 Judge Jose B. Jimenez granted the authority to sell to Plan the
entire-estate of the deceased for not less than P140,000 so as to pay the obligations of the
estate "and it appearing that all the heirs have conformed thereto" (20-21, Record on
Appeal,).
On that day, Florencia Topacio and Plan executed a deed of absolute sale with assumption
of mortgage obligations for the two lots with an area of 664 square meters together with
the theater (with a total assessed value of P52,720) and the apparatus used therein.
It was recited in the deed of sale that Regino's estate owed Plan P25,700 and a mortgage
debt of P44,292.07 to the Philippine National Bank which Plan assumed. The amount
actually received by the administratrix as vendor was P70,007.93. Milagros Bautista-
Alcantara, the heir through whom the other six children were allegedly notified, was an
instrumental witness in the sale.
A motion to approve the sale was filed on January 5, 1965. Judge Jimenez signed the
original deed under the word "Approved" to indicate that the sale was okayed by the
probate court. It should be noted that in 1963 the widow and four of her seven children as
owners of 7/8 interest in the said property had, in consideration of P9,600, agreed to sell
that same property to Plan for the same amount of P140,000 (12-17, Record on Appeal).
Sixteen days after the sale, or on January 7, 1965, Federico Bautista filed an "Opposition
to Agreement to Sell, Absolute Sale, Project of Partition and Request for Inventory and
Accounting of Estate and for Furnishing of Orders, Notices and Pleadings". The clerk of
court set the said opposition for hearing on January 26, 1965. On that date Judge Jimenez
gave Federico's counsel ten days within which to interpose any opposition to the project
of partition filed by the administratrix on October 16, 1964 which had not been acted
upon by the court and of which the decedent's six children were notified through
Milagros Bautista.
Federico's counsel did not file any objection to the project of partition. The reason is not
hard to surmise. The estate sought to be partitioned had already been sold to Plan.
Then, Federico filed on March 2, 1965, or 56 days after the approval of the sale, a
"petition for relief from order". Judge Jimenez had informed him on January 26, 1965
that his "opposition" was filed out of time. He alleged in his opposition that counsel for
the administratrix misrepresented to the court that all the heirs had approved of the sale
and that there was fraud in not giving notice to the heirs of the proposed sale. LexLib
He contended that because there was no compliance with section 7, Rule 89 of the Rules
of Court the sale was void. He prayed that the order authorizing the sale he set aside "and
the case tried upon its merits" (pp. 174-5, Record).
No action was taken by the probate court up this time on the petition for relief. The
widow or administratrix did not render an accounting of the sum of P70,007.93 which she
received from Plan. Only Federico among her seven children questioned the sale. She
died on September 18, 1969 or more than four years and eight months after the sale.
More than a year after her death or on August 6, 1971, she was succeeded by Milagros
Bautista-Alcantara as administratrix, the same heir who took part in consummating the
sale to Plan. The other six children, including Federico, signified their conformity to her
appointment as administratrix.
As there was no movement in the case for an unreasonable length of time, Judge Catolico
in his order of March 22, 1973 ordered it archived until an interested party moves for the
termination thereof (p. 185, Record).
In a motion and supplementary motion dated August 27 and September 3, 1973 Milagros
asked that her bond be reduced to P500. Through her counsel, she alleged that the two
lots and theater were sold by her mother with the approval of the court and the proceeds
of the sale were used to pay the claims of the creditors. Federico and the other five
children signified their conformity to Milagros' motions. A copy was sent to the seventh
child Luz in Lipa City. Judge Catolico reduced the bond to P2,000. In a prior order, Judge
Catolico called Milagros' attention to her failure to present an accounting.
Instead of asking the court to act on his petition for relief from the orders authorizing and
approving the sale, Federico Bautista on July 13, 1965 filed a separate action against
Plan, Civil Case No. N-806, to nullify the sale. He did not implead his mother, brothers
and sisters. LLphil
Judge Catolico in his order of February 4, 1971 dismissed the action without prejudice.
He ruled that the nullity of sale as to Federico's 1/6 share should be resolved in the
intestate proceeding (41, Record on Appeal).
On June 13, 1974, after his mother's death, Federico sued Plan again for the nullification
of the sale, Civil Case No. N-2145. Judge Vallejos in his order of October 7, 1974
reiterated the ruling of Judge Catolico. He dismissed Federico's complaint and also the
intervention of the administratrix, Milagros Bautista-Alcantara, without prejudice to
pursuing any available remedy in the intestate proceeding and not in a separate action
(42, Record on Appeal).
Less than a year later, on April 1, 1975, Federico for the third time filed a separate action
against Plan, Civil Case No. 2282, to annul the sale. After trial, Judge Fule dismissed the
case on the same ground, namely, that his remedy is in the intestate proceeding. He
should not be allowed to seek relief outside the intestate court (115-147, Record on
Appeal).
Federico appealed to the Court of Appeals which in its decision dated September 18,
1983, through Justice Pascual, reversed Judge Fule's decision. It declared void the
agreement to sell and the sale, ordered Plan to reconvey to Federico the disputed property
for P140,000 and to pay him P3,000 a month from December 22, 1964 up to the time the
possession of the property is turned over to Federico, with legal interest from that date
until fully paid, plus P50,000 as attorney's fees. The reconveyance was based on article
1088 of the Civil Code.
We hold that the Appellate Court erred in ordering Plan to reconvey the disputed property
to Federico Bautista upon payment of P140,000 and to pay him P8,000 a month as
income from December 22, 1964.
Said judgment is bereft of factual and legal basis. Federico did not pray for reconveyance
in his complaint. He was not the owner of the property in 1964. He prayed for
receivership, for nullification of the agreement to sell and the sale itself and for the refund
by Plan of all the income which he received from the property from the time he possessed
it in the concept of owner (10, Record on Appeal).
Article 1088 of the Civil Code does not justify legal redemption in this case because it
refers to sale of hereditary rights, and not to specific properties, for the payment of the
debts of the decedent's estate as to which there is no legal redemption. prcd
"In the administration and liquidation of the estate of a deceased person, sales ordered by
the probate court for payment of debts are final and not subject to legal redemption.
Unlike in ordinary execution sales, there is no legal provision allowing redemption in the
sale of property for payment of debts of a deceased person" (Abarro vs. De Guia, 72 Phil.
245). Such sale is not the one contemplated in article 1067, now article 1088 of the Civil
Code (Vda. de Mendoza, 69 Phil. 155).
In Jimenez vs. Jimenez, 67 Phil. 263, the deceased Josefa Jimenez left an estate
consisting of Lot No. 1090 with a house of mixed materials with a total assessed value of
P490. Geronimo Jimenez had a claim against her estate in the sum of P359 for expenses
of her last illness and funeral.
The Cavite Court of First Instance ordered the sale of the said lot and house to pay the
claim of Geronimo. At the auction sale, Geronimo was the only bidder. The property was
adjudicated to him for P432. He was placed by the sheriff in possession of said property.
One Gregoria Jimenez, an heir of the deceased Josefa Jimenez, filed a motion praying
that she be allowed to redeem the property from Geronimo. The Cavite court denied the
motion.
It was held that Gregoria could not be allowed to redeem the property because properties
of a decedent, which are sold at public auction for the payment of his debts, are not
subject to redemption.
In the instant case, we agree with Judges Fule, Catolico and Vallejos that Federico's
remedy is in the intestate proceeding where his petition for relief has been pending for
nearly twenty years. He should amend it by impleading the present administratrix and
Plan himself and serving copies of the petition upon them. Plan, as the purchaser of the
disputed property, is a forced intervenor in the intestate proceeding. He should answer the
amended petition for the annulment of the sale. The probate court has jurisdiction over
him. Cdpr
Federico should also ask for an accounting of the P70,007.93 received by his mother. His
brothers and sisters should also be served with copies of the amended petition. The case
of Tagle and Ignacio, Jr. vs. Manalo, 105 Phil. 1123, cited by Federico Bautista in his
brief, is not in point because the testamentary proceeding in that case was already closed
and the purchaser did not want to be pulled into the probate proceeding. Here, the
purchaser had no objection to litigating the validity of the sale in the intestate proceeding.
The probate court, having authorized and approved the sale, should resolve the issue as to
its validity.
More important is that if all the interested parties are heard, an amicable settlement may
be reached.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Appellate Court is reversed and set aside. The trial
court's judgment is affirmed. No costs. Cdpr
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin and Cuevas, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
ABAD SANTOS, J., concurring:
I vote to set aside the decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court and sustain that of the
trial court. However, I cannot go along with the suggestions in the main opinion that
Federico Bautista should: (a) question the sale made by his mother of the properties to
Amorante Plan in the intestate proceedings; and (b) ask for an accounting of the money
received by his mother.
Notwithstanding his persistence it seems to me that Federico is better advised to let things
as they are out of respect for his mother. It is painful to see children litigating over their
inheritance especially when a surviving parent is involved. As to the accounting, the only
person who could really make it is Federico's mother but she is gone. And Federico
practically assented to an "accounting" when he gave his conformity to Milagros' motions
which stated that the proceeds of the sale were used to pay the claim of creditors. That
was how the money spent and nothing more can be done. Cdll

G.R. No. 89909. September 21, 1990.]


METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. THE PRESIDING
JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Manila Branch 39, RAYCOR AIRCONTROL
SYSTEM, INC. and COURT OF APPEALS * , respondent.
Balane, Barican, Cruz, Alampay Law Office for petitioner.
Bito, Lozada, Ortega & Castillo for private respondent.
DECISION
REGALADO, J p:
Before the Court for review on certiorari is the decision of respondent Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 17341, dated July 19, 1989, 1 dismissing petitioner's original action
for certiorari and mandamus which seeks to set aside the order of the trial court dated
June 2, 1988, allowing the intervention suit thereinto proceed, and its order of January 11,
1989, admitting the amended complaint in intervention.
The proceedings in the court below from which this appeal arose, as found by respondent
Court of Appeals, are as follows:
"Petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metropolitan) in whose favor a deed of
chattel mortgage was executed by Good Earth Emporium, Inc. (GEE) over certain air
conditioning units installed in the GEE building, filed a complaint for replevin against
Uniwide Sales, Inc. (Uniwide, for brevity) and the BPI Investment Corporation and
several other banks collectively called BPI-Consortium, for the recovery of the
possession of the air-conditioning units or in the event they may not be recovered, for the
defendants which acquired the GEE building in an auction sale, (to) be required, jointly
and severally, to pay the plaintiff the unpaid obligations on the units.
"Per paragraph 3.11.3 of its complaint, plaintiff Metrobank alleged that the air-
conditioning units were installed on a loan of P4,900,000.00 it extended to Good Earth
Emporium & Supermarket, Inc. in its building located at Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila,
after the land and building had been foreclosed and purchased on June 3, 1983 at public
auction by the defendants, except Uniwide, and in order to secure repayment of the loan,
a deed of chattel mortgage was constituted over the personal properties listed in the deed
which included the airconditioning units.
"It also alleged in par. 3.11.2 of the complaint, that '(T)he loan proceeds were used by
GEE to finance the acquisition of airconditioning equipment from Reycor (sic) Air
Control System, Inc. (amounting to P4,250,000.00 and installation costs of P650,000.00)
under an Agreement of Sale dated 29 June 1984' (Annex A, Petition, id., pp. 23-24).
"The defendants filed their Answer, Uniwide on July 25, 1986 (Annex B, Petition, id., pp.
32-48) and the defendants (presumably the rest of the defendants), on July 14, 1986
(Annex C, Petition, id., pp. 39-49). cdphil
"On July 17, 1986, Raycor Air Control Systems, Inc. filed a motion for leave to intervene
alleging 'it has a direct and immediate interest on the subject matter of the litigation such
that it will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment' and
attached the 'Intervention Complaint' (Annex D, Petition, id., pp. 49-52). There was no
opposition to the motion and the intervention complaint was admitted by the lower court
per its order dated August 8, 1986. Metrobank on November 19, 1986, filed its Answer
To The Intervention Complaint (Annex E, Petition, id., pp. 53-59).
"On August 3, 1987, the lower court set the case for trial on the merits on September 15,
1987 but before the date of the trial, on September 7, 1987, plaintiff Metrobank and the
defendants Uniwide and BPI Consortium, filed a motion for postponement of the
scheduled hearing on September 15, 1987 and asked for thirty (30) days from September
15 within which to submit a compromise agreement. On March 15, 1988, plaintiff
Metrobank and defendants BPI Consortium filed a joint motion to dismiss the complaint
and on March 18, 1988, the lower court issued the order dismissing the complaint with
prejudice (Annex D to Comment of Raycor Air Control System, Inc., Rollo, p. 108).
"On April 19, 1988, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the order
dismissing the complaint with prejudice, claiming it was not furnished with copy of the
joint motion for dismissal and that it received the order of dismissal only on April 14,
1988. On June 2, 1988, the respondent court issued the order granting the motion for
reconsideration filed by the intervenor (Annex I, Petition, id., p. 67) which order is now
subject of present petition for certiorari.
"On August 2, 1988, private respondent filed a motion to admit amended complaint
(Annex F, Intervenor's Comment, id., p. 110) and attached the Amended Intervention
Complaint (Annex J, Petition, id., pp. 68-73) to the motion. To this motion, plaintiff
Metrobank filed an opposition (Annex K, Petition, id., pp. 71-76) and after the intervenor
had filed their Reply (Annex L, Petition, id., pp. 77-81) and the plaintiff a Rejoinder
(Annex M, Petition, id., pp. 82-87), on January 11, 1989, the respondent court issued the
order admitting the amended complaint in intervention (Annex N, Petition, id., p. 88).
This is the other order which is subject of the petition for certiorari.
"On February 9, 1989, plaintiff Metrobank filed a motion for extension for 15 days or
until February 24, 1988 within which to file its answer to the amended complaint in
intervention and the intervenor on February 17, 1989 filed an opposition to Metrobank's
motion and at the same time moved that Metrobank be declared in default on the
amended complaint in intervention. The respondent court granted Metrobank's motion
and on February 18, 1989, Metrobank filed its Answer to the Amended Complaint in
Intervention with Counterclaim." 2
On April 14, 1989, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with respondent
Court of Appeals contending that the lower court committed a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack of jurisdiction in allowing, per its order of June 2, 1988, the
intervention suit to survive despite the dismissal of the main action and also in admitting,
per its order of January 11, 1989, the amended complaint in intervention. 3
As earlier stated, the Court of Appeals found no merit in the petition and dismissed the
same on July 19, 1989. Petitioner is now before us raising the same issues and arguments.
We agree with the Court of Appeals that the lower court was innocent of any grave abuse
of discretion in issuing the orders complained of. llcd
The contention of petitioner that the order of the lower court, dated June 2, 1988, has the
effect of allowing the intervention suit to prosper despite the dismissal of the main action
obviously cannot be upheld.
There is here no final dismissal of the main case. The aforementioned order of the lower
court has the effect not only of allowing the intervention suit to proceed but also of
vacating its previous order of dismissal. The reinstatement of the case in order to try and
determine the claims and rights of the intervenor is proper. The joint motion of therein
plaintiff and the original defendants to dismiss the case, without notice to and consent of
the intervenor, has the effect of putting to rest only the respective claims of the said
original parties inter se, but the same cannot in any way affect the claim of private
respondent which was allowed by the court to intervene without opposition from the
original parties. A resume of pertinent rulings on the matter would be in order.
Intervention is defined as "a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is
permitted by the court to make himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is
sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting the claims of plaintiff, or
demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third
person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of
court, of a person not an original party to pending legal proceedings, by which such
person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some right of interest alleged by him
to be affected by such proceedings." 4
Any person who has or claims an interest in the matter in litigation, in the success of
either of the parties to an action, or against both, may intervene in such action, and when
he has become a party thereto it is error for the court to dismiss the action, including the
intervention suit on the basis of an agreement between the original parties to the action.
Any settlement made by the plaintiff and the defendant is necessarily ineffective unless
the intervenor is a party to it. 5
By the very definition of "intervention," the intervenor is a party to the action as the
original parties and to make his right effectual he must necessarily have the same power
as the original parties, subject to the authority of the court reasonably to control the
proceedings in the case. 6
Having been permitted to become a party in order to better protect his interests, an
intervenor is entitled to have the issues raised between him and the original parties tried
and determined. 7 He had submitted himself and his cause of action to the jurisdiction of
the court and was entitled to relief as though he were himself a party in the action. 8
After the intervenor has appeared in the action, the plaintiff has no absolute right to put
the intervenor out of court by the dismissal of the action. The parties to the original suit
have no power to waive or otherwise annul the substantial rights of the intervenor. When
an intervening petition has been filed, a plaintiff may not dismiss the action in any respect
to the prejudice of the intervenor. 9 LLjur
It has even been held that the simple fact that the trial court properly dismissed plaintiffs
action does not require dismissal of the action of the intervenor. 10 An intervenor has
the right to claim the benefit of the original suit and to prosecute it to judgment. The right
cannot be defeated by dismissal of the suit by the plaintiff after the filing of the petition
and notice thereof to the other parties. A person who has an interest in the subject matter
of the action has the right, on his own motion, to intervene and become a party to the suit,
and even after the complaint has been dismissed, may proceed to have any actual
controversy established by the pleadings determined in such action. The trial court's
dismissal of plaintiff's action does not require dismissal of the action of the intervenor.
11
The intervenor in a pending case is entitled to be heard like any other party. 12 A claim
in intervention that seeks affirmative relief prevents a plaintiff from taking a voluntary
dismissal of the main action. 13 Where a complaint in intervention was filed before
plaintiff's action had been expressly dismissed, the intervenor's complaint was not subject
to dismissal on the ground that no action was pending, since dismissal of plaintiff's action
did not affect the rights of the intervenor or affect the dismissal of intervenor's complaint.
14 An intervenor's petition showing it to be entitled to affirmative relief will be preserved
and heard regardless of the disposition of the principal action. 15
As we ruled in Camacho vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., 16 the rationale whereof is
clearly applicable to the present controversy —
"There is no question that intervention is only collateral or ancillary to the main action.
Hence, it was previously ruled that the final dismissal of the principal action results in the
dismissal of said ancillary action. The main action having ceased to exist, there is no
pending proceeding whereon the intervention may be based. In the case at bar, however,
there was no such final or complete dismissal but rather an approval of a compromise
agreement which was embodied in what was specifically designated as a 'Partial
Decision' affecting only the interests of herein petitioner and the defendant in said case
but not those of her co-plaintiff municipality and the intervenor. The clear intent of the
court below in making the partial decision is to make a reservation to determine the rights
of the intervenor and, presumably, the plaintiff municipality. There may be nothing much
left to be done with respect to the main case but as far as the proceedings in the trial court
are concerned, the controversy therein has not been fully settled and the disposition of the
case is definitely incomplete."
Moreover, to require private respondent to refile another case for the settlement of its
claim will result in unnecessary delay and expenses and will entail multiplicity of suits
and, therefore, defeat the very purpose of intervention which is to hear and determine at
the same time all conflicting claims which may be made on the subject matter in
litigation, and to expedite litigation and settle in one action and by a single judgment the
whole controversy among the persons involved. 17
On the propriety of the order dated January 11, 1988, admitting private respondent's
amended complaint in intervention, we sustain respondent Court of Appeals in upholding
the same. Incidentally, it will be recalled that petitioner was granted the opportunity to
file, as it did file, its answer to the amended complaint in intervention and it even
interposed a counterclaim in the process. LLphil
Now, the granting of leave to file an amended pleading is a matter particularly addressed
to the sound discretion of the trial court and that discretion is broad, subject only to the
limitations that the amendments should not substantially change the cause of action or
alter the theory of the case or that it was made to delay the action. 18 Once exercised,
that discretion will not be disturbed on appeal, except in case of abuse thereof. 19
In the case at bar, a reading of the amended complaint in intervention shows that it
merely supplements an incomplete allegation of the cause of action stated in the original
complaint so as to submit the real matter in dispute. Contrary to petitioner's contention, it
does not substantially change intervenor's cause of action or alter the theory of the case,
hence its allowance is in order.
As aptly stated by the Court of Appeals:
"In both the Intervention Complaint and the Amended Complaint in Intervention, the
private respondent seeks the payment to it of the amount of P150,000.00 which should
have been paid to it from out of the P650,000.00 which the petitioner as plaintiff in CC
86-3618 had referred to in pars. 3.11.2 and 3.11.3 of its complaint as cost of installation
of the airconditioning units under the agreement of sale (between plaintiff Metrobank and
GEE Inc). dated June 29, 1984 and so basically, the Amended Complaint In Intervention
did not really detract or depart from that basic claim." 20
In determining whether a different cause of action is introduced by amendments to the
complaint, what is to be ascertained is whether the defendant shall be required to answer
for a liability or legal obligation wholly different from that which was stated in the
original complaint. An amendment will not be considered as stating a new cause of action
if the facts alleged in the amended complaint show substantially the same wrong with
respect to the same transaction, or if what are alleged refer to the same matter but are
more fully and differently stated, or where averments which were implied are made in
expressed terms, and the subject of the controversy or the liability sought to be enforced
remains the same. 21
The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid multiplicity of
suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented, their rights
determined and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. 22 This
liberality is greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit, 23 especially in this case where the
amendment to the complaint in intervention was made before trial of the case thereby
giving petitioner all the time allowed by law to answer and to prepare for trial. cdphil
On the issue regarding the propriety of the intervention, suffice it to state that petitioner's
failure to interpose a timely objection when the motion for leave to intervene was filed by
private respondent bars the former from belatedly questioning the validity of the same on
appeal. In any event, the trial court duly considered the circumstances and granted the
motion, which order was not seasonably questioned by petitioner thus evincing its
approval of the court's action.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error, the petition is DENIED and the judgment of
respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairman) and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Paras, J., is on leave.
Padilla, J., took no part.
Footnotes
* The Court of Appeals was impleaded as a party respondent pursuant to the
resolution of the Court dated October 2, 1989.
1. Penned by Justice Cezar D. Francisco, with the concurrence of Justices Reynato
A. Puno and Jorge S. Imperial.
2. Rollo, 51-53.
3. Ibid., 31-49.
4. 33 C.J. 477, cited in Garcia, etc., et al. vs. David, et al., 67 Phil. 279 (1939);
Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 169 SCRA 244
(1989).
5. Progressive Design, Inc. vs. Olson Bros. Mfg. Co., 206 N.W. 2d 832.
6. 59 Am. Jur. 2d 615.
7. Poehlmann vs. Kennedy, 48 Cal. 201.
8. Schoniger, et al. vs. Logan, et al., 166 N.W. 266.
9. Patterson vs. Pollock, et al., 84 N.E. 2d 606; Elliot vs. Luers, 6 Nev. 287.
10. Gage vs. Cameron, 212 Ill. 146; 72 N.E. 204.
11. Seil and Seil vs. Board of Supervisors of Will County, 234 N.E. 2d 826.
12. 67A C.J.S. 852.
13. Steffens vs. Rowley, 10 Cal. App. 2d 628; 52 P2d 493.
14. Muirhead vs. Johnson, 232 Minn. 408, 46 N.W. 2d; In Scott vs. Van Sant, 193
Minn. 465, 258 N.W. 817.
15. Progressive Design, Inc. vs. Olson Bros. Mfg. Co., ante.
16. G.R. No. 79564, November 24, 1989.
17. 67A C.J.S. 794.
18. Uy vs. Uy, 2 SCRA 675 (1961).
19. Torres Vda. de Nery vs. Tomacruz, 49 Phil. 913 (1927).
20. Rollo, 53.
21. Shaffer vs. Palma, et al., 22 SCRA 934 (1968).
22. Shaffer vs. Palma, et al., supra; Demaronsing vs. Tandayag, etc, et al., 58 SCRA
484 (1974).
23. Torres Vda. de Nery vs. Tomacruz, ante.