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Cuizon vs.

Ramolete
Francisco Cuizon et al. vs. Hon. Jose R. Ramolete
May 29, 1984 | Gutierrez, Jr.

Facts:
As early as 1961, Marciano Cuizon applied for the registration of several parcels of land in Mandaue City
docketed as L.R. Case No. N-179. In 1970, he distributed his property between his two daughters, Rufina
and Irene, to whom the salt beds subject of the controversy was given. In 1971, Irene executed a Deed of
Sale with Reservation of Usufruct involving the said salt beds in favor of petitioners Franciso et al.

Although the decision in L.R. Case No. N-179 was rendered way back in 1972, the decree of registration
and the corresponding O.C.T. was issued only in 1976 in the name of Marciano Cuizon. In that same
year, T.C.T No. 10477 covering the property in question was issued to Irene. The latter died in 1978.

During the extrajudicial settlement of the estate, Rufina, the mother of Francisco et al., adjudicated to
herself all the property of Irene including the salt beds in question. She then executed a deed of
Confirmation of Sale wherein she confirmed and ratified the 1971 deed of sale and renounced and
waived whatever rights and interests and participation she may have in the property in question in favor of
the petitioners. The deed was annotated in T.C.T. No. 10477. Subsequently, T.C.T. No. 12665 was
issued in favor of the petitioners.

In 1978, Domingo Antigua, who allegedly was chosen by the heirs of Irene to act as administrator, was
appointed administrator by the CFI of Cebu. Antigua included the salt bed in the inventory of Irene’s
estate and asked the Cebu CFI to order petitioners to deliver the salt to him. The Cebu CFI granted the
same.

Issue: Whether a court handling the intestate proceedings has jurisdiction over parcels of land already
covered by a TCT issued in favor owners who are not parties to the intestate proceedings if the said
parcels of have been?

Held: No. It is a well-settled rule that a probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or
intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which
are equally claimed to belong to outside parties. All said court could do is to determine whether they
should or should not be included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. If
there is dispute, then the administrator and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action for a
final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so.

In the instant case, the property involved is not only claimed by outside parties but it was sold seven
years before the death of the decedent and is duly titled in the name of the vendees who are not party to
the proceedings.

In Bolisay vs. Alcid, the Court held that “if a property covered by Torrens Title is involved, the presumptive
conclusiveness of such title should be given due weight, and in the absence of strong compelling
evidence to the contrary, the holder thereof should be considered as the owner of the property in
controversy until his title is nullified or modified in an appropriate ordinary action.”

Having been apprised of the fact that the property in question was covered by a TCT issued in the name
of third parties, the respondent court should have denied the motion of the respondent administrator and
excluded the property in question from the inventory of the property of the estate.

Doctrine: Probate court cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be part of the estate
and equally claimed to belong to outside parties.
SAN DIEGO v NOMBRE (Yap)

11 SCRA 165, May 29, 1964

Petitioner/s: MOISES SAN DIEGO, SR.

Respondent/s: ADELO NOMBRE and PEDRO ESCANLAR

Doctrine: The provisions on agency should not apply to a judicial administrator. A judicial administrator is
appointed by the court. He is not only the representative of said Court, but also the heirs and creditors of
the estate. Before entering into his duties, he is required to file a bond. These circumstances are not
required in agency. The agent is only answerable to his principal. The protection which law gives the
principal in limiting the powers and rights of an agent stems from the fact that control by the principal can
only be through agreements. Whereas, the acts of a judicial administrator are subject to specific
provisions of law and orders of the appointing court.

Facts:

(1) Respondent Adelo Nombre was the duly constituted judicial administrator. As such, he leased
one of the properties of the estate—a fishpond—to Pedro Escanlar, the other respondent. The
terms of the lease was for 3 years, with a yearly rental of P3,000. The transaction was done
without previous authority or approval of the Court.

(2) A year after, Nombre was removed as administrator, and was replaced by one Sofronio
Campillanos. Escalanlar was cited for contempt for allegedly refusing to surrender the fishpond to
the newly appointed administrator.

(3) Subsequently, Campillanos filed a motion for authority to execute a lease contract over the
fishpond, in favor of petitioner Moises San Diego, for 5 years with yearly rental of P5,000.
Escalanlar was not notified of the said motion. Nombre, on the other hand, opposed to the
motion, pointing out that the fishpond was leased by him to Escalandar for 3 years. He alleged
that the validity of the lease contract entered into by a judicial administrator must be recognized
unless declared void in a separate action.

(4) The lower court declared the contract in favor of Escanlar null and void for want of judicial
authority and that San Diego offered better lease conditions than Escanlar. In light of this,
Escanlar agreed to increase the rental to P5,000 after the termination of his original contract.
However, the trial judge stated that such contract was fraudulent and executed in bad faith
because Nombre was removed as administrator and the rentals of the property was inadequate.

(5) However, on appeal, the CA ruled:

No such limitation on the power of a judicial administrator to grant lease of property placed under
his custody is provided for in the present law. Under Art. 1647, it is only when the lease is to be
recorded in the Registry of Property that it cannot be instituted without special authority. Thus,
regardless of the period of lease, there is no need for special authority unless the contract is to be
recorded in the Registry.
Rule 85, Sec. 3 of the ROC authorizes a judicial administrator to administer the estate of the
deceased not disposed by will, for purposes of liquidation and distribution. He may, therefore,
exercise all acts of administration without special authority of the Court; such as the leasing the
property. And where the lease has been formally entered into, the court cannot, in the same
proceeding, annul the same. The proper remedy would be a separate action by the administrator
or the heirs to annul the lease.

(6) On appeal to the SC, petitioner contends that Art. 1878(8) limits the right of a judicial
administrator to lease the real property without prior court authority and approval, if it exceeds 1
year. The lease in favor of Escalanlar, being 3 years and without court approval, is therefore void.

Issue: W/N the provisions on Agency should apply in this case. (NO)

Held:

The provisions on agency should not apply to a judicial administrator. A judicial administrator is appointed
by the court. He is not only the representative of said Court, but also the heirs and creditors of the estate.
Before entering into his duties, he is required to file a bond. These circumstances are not required in
agency. The agent is only answerable to his principal. The protection which law gives the principal in
limiting the powers and rights of an agent stems from the fact that control by the principal can only be
through agreements. Whereas, the acts of a judicial administrator are subject to specific provisions of law
and orders of the appointing court.

Fallo: The decision of the CA was affirmed.

Rule 84: General Powers and Duties of Executors and Administrators

G.R. No. L-28214 — Jaroda v. Cusi

Reyes, J.

The special administrator of the decedent’s estate filed two petitions in the special proceeding, which the lower court
duly granted. One petition asked for permission to withdraw cash from the decedent’s bank account, while the other
prayed for the granting of a power of attorney to allow the special administrator to act as an agent in selling the
decedent’s property. The petitioner moved to nullify such orders.

DOCTRINE
It is highly undesirable, if not improper, that a court officer and administrator, in dealing with property under his
administration, should have to look to the wishes of strangers as well as to those of the court that appointed him. A
judicial administrator should be at all times subject to the orders of the appointing Tribunal and of no one else.

FACTS

1. The decedent Carlos Villa Abrille died intestate, leaving:


a. An estate consisting of real and personal property, including:
i. A share in the co-ownership of Juna Subdivision
ii. Cash deposited in several bank accounts
b. Forced heirs such as:
i. His surviving spouse
ii. Nine children (including the petitioner Natividad Jaroda)
iii. Four grandchildren (including the respondent Antonio Tan)
2. The respondent Tan commenced the intestate special proceedings by filing a petition for administration in
CFI Davao. He was first appointed as special administrator and subsequently as the regular administrator.
3. Tan filed an ex-parte petition for the withdrawal of cash from PNB, which sums were actually not listed in his
petition.
a. He alleged that these sums were held in trust for the decedent’s co-owners in the subdivision.
b. This was granted by the lower court.
4. Tan also filed a petition with lower the court, praying for the approval of the court of a power of attorney
which appointed Tan as an attorney-in-fact to sell the decedent’s share in the subdivision.
a. This was also granted by the lower court.
5. The petitioner Jaroda moved to nullify the two orders. However, this was denied by the CFI for lack of merit.
6. Jaroda appealed from this, but the court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the order appealed from
was interlocutory. Jaroda then filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and/or mandamus but
the SC dismissed the petition, adding in its resolution that appeal in due time is the remedy.
7. Hence this petition for certiorari, alleging that appeal would not be speedy and adequate as the respondent
Tan continued to sell lots of lands from the subdivision, to the detriment of Jaroda and the other heirs.

ISSUE with HOLDING

WoN the lower court acted in GAOD in granting both orders? Yes. The Court found that the lower court
committed GAOD in granting both orders.

1. Re: power to withdraw bank deposits for the co-owners.


a. The Court found that the lower court committed GAOD in granting the order allowing the
respondent to withdraw the bank deposits standing the name of the decedent.
b. Such withdrawal, according to the Court, is foreign to the duties and powers of a special
administrator. This was provided in Section 2, Rule 80, which states that a special administrator
can:
i. “take possession and charge of the goods, chattels, rights, credits and estate of the
decease and preserve the same for the executor or administrator afterwards appointed,
and for that purpose may commence and maintain suits as administrator. He may sell only
such perishable and other property as the court orders sold. A special administrator shall
not be liable to pay any debts of the deceased unless so ordered by the court.”
c. Also, the order was issued without notice to and hearing of the heirs of the deceased.
i. The Court specifically mentioned here that while the withdrawal of the bank deposits may
be viewed as a taking of possession and charge of the credits of the estate (which is
within the powers of a special administrator), such withdrawal is a waiver by the special
administrator of a prima facie exclusive right of the estate to the bank deposits in favor of
the co-owners. Such an action required notice to the heirs.

2. Re: power to act as attorney-in-fact.


a. The Court also found that the lower court committed GAOD in granting the order allowing the
respondent to act as attorney-in-fact in selling the decedent’s share in the subdivision.
b. The order approving the power of attorney is void for want of notice and for approving an improper
contract.
c. More importantly, the Court noted that an administrator is not permitted to deal with himself
as an individual in any transaction concerning trust property.
i. The opinion of some commentators that, as a general rule, auto-contracts are permissible
if not expressly prohibited, and that there is no express provision of law prohibiting an
administrator from appointing himself as his own agent, even if correct, cannot and
should not apply to administrator of decedent's estates, in view of the fiduciary
relationship that they occupy with respect to the heirs of the deceased and their
responsibilities toward the probate court.
ii. The court below also failed to notice that after the death of Carlos Villa Abrille, the
administrator Tan had replaced said deceased as manager of the Juna Subdivision
by authority of the other co-owners.
iii. By the court's questioned order of 3 September 1965 empowering him to represent the
interest of the deceased in the management of the subdivision, the administrator Tan
came to be the agent or attorney-in-fact of two different principals: the court and the
heirs of the deceased on the one hand, and the majority co-owners of the subdivision on
the other, in managing and disposing of the lots of the subdivision.
iv. This dual agency of the respondent Tan rendered him incapable of independent defense
of the estate's interests against those of the majority co-owners. It is highly undesirable, if
not improper, that a court officer and administrator, in dealing with property under his
administration, should have to look to the wishes of strangers as well as to those of the
court that appointed him. A judicial administrator should be at all times subject to the
orders of the appointing Tribunal and of no one else.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the order of 5 May 1965 and 3 September 1965 of the Court of First Instance of
Davao, Branch I, in its Special Proceeding No. 1391, are hereby set aside and declared null and void. The
preliminary injunction heretofore issued is hereby made permanent. Costs against the respondent, Antonio V. A. Tan,
in his personal capacity.

DIGESTER: Jose Ranulfo R. Mendoza