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De Aranz vs. Galing | G.R. No. 77047| May 28, 1988 | Padilla, J.

Petitioner/s: Joaquina Infante De Aranz, Antonio Infante, Carlos Infante, et al


Respondent/s: Hon. Nicolas Galing, Presiding Judge, RTC Pasig Br. 166 (pub) and Joaquin
Infanter (priv)
SUMMARY: Respondent Joaquin Infante filed a petition for the probate and allowance of
the will of Montserrat Infante. He attached the addresses of the other legatees & devisees
to the petition. The petition was set for hearing but none of the oppositors (other legatees
& devisees; herein petitioners) was able to attend because they weren’t sent personal
notices for the said hearing. SC remanded the case because the law is clear that personal
notice to other legatees and devisees is required if their addresses are known.

TOPIC: Rule 76: Allowance or Disallowance of Will

FACTS:
● Private respondent espondent Joaquin R-infante (priv. respondent) filed before the RTC Pasig a
petition for the probate and allowance of the last will and testament of Montserrat Infante.
○ The petition specified the names and addresses of the legatees and devisees (numerous;
they’re the petitioners in this case; see case for full list)
● The RTC (probate court) issued an order setting the petition for hearing on May 5, 1986 at
8:30AM.
○ The order was published in the Nueva era (a newspaper of general circulation in Metro
Manila) once a week for 3 consecutive weeks.
● On May 5, no oppositor appeared. The hearing was reset to May 12, 1986.
● On May 12, it can be presumed that no oppositor appeared yet again because the RTC issued an
order stating:
“There being no opposition to this instant case, as prayed for, the Branch Clerk of Court
is hereby designated Commissioner to receive evidence ex-parte of the
petitioner.”
● On the same day, Joaquin presented his evidence ex-parte and placed Arturo Arceo (one of his
testamentary witnesses) on the witness stand.
● During the proceedings, Joaquin was appointed as executor.
● Then 2 days later, herein petitioners (Joaquin’s relatives whose names are listed in the Other
Notes) filed an MR of the order on May 12 (Fact #5;stating that Joaquin can present evidence
ex-parte)
○ Alleged that no notices were sent to them as required by Sec. 4, Rule 76.1
○ Prayed to be given 10 days to file their opposition to the probate of the will
● MR denied.
○ They filed a pet. for certiorari and prohibition w/ the SC (w/c referred it to the CA)
○ The CA dismissed their petition.

1
Sec. 4. Heirs, devisees, legatees, and executors to be notified by mail or personally. – The court shall also cause copies of the
notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will to be addressed to the designated or other known heirs, legatees, and devisees
of the testator resident in the Philippines at their places of residence, and deposited in the post office w/ the postage thereon prepaid
at least 20 days before the hearing, if such places of residence be known. A copy of the notice must in like manner be mailed to the
person named as executor, if he be not the petitioner; also, to any person named as coexecutor not petitioning, if their places of
residence be known. Personal service of copies of the notice at least 10 days before the day of hearing shall be equivalent to
mailing. If the testator asks for the allowance of his own will, notice shall be sent only to his compulsory heirs.
● Hence, this case (45 petition) before the SC.

ISSUES + RULING:
W/N PERSONAL NOTICE of probate proceedings to the known legatees and devisees is a jurisdictional
requirement in the probate of a will? - YES

● CA: The requirement of notice on individual heirs, legatees and devisees is merely a matter of
procedural convenience to better satisfy the requirements of due process.
● PETITIONERS: Under Sec. 4, Rule 76, the personal notice requirement is mandatory and its
omission constitutes a reversible error as grave abuse of discretion.
● SC: Petitioners are correct. It’s clear from Sec. 4, Rule 76 that notice of the time and place of
hearing for the allowance of a will shall be forwarded to the designated or other known heirs,
legatees, and devisees residing in the Philippines if their residence be known.
○ Residences of petitioners were known to the probate court (RTC Pasig).
○ The petition for the allowance of the will itself indicated the names and addresses of the
legatees & devisees of the testator.
○ But still the RTC didn’t cause copies of the notice to be sent to petitioners.
○ The requirement of the law for the allowance of the will was not satisfied by mere
publication of the notice of hearing for 3 weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in
the province.

(Note) CASES CITED BY THE CA:


● Joson vs. Noble- not applicable cos in that case, the petition included the residence of the other
legatees/devisees but it was the WRONG address. So, it’s as good as their (correct) residence is
NOT known to the court. Thus, there’s no need for personal service w/c is only required if the
address of the legatees/devisees is known.
● In Re: Estate of Suntay–It’s a proceedings in rem and for the validity of such proceedings personal
notice or by publication or both to all interested parties must be made. (Dunno how CA used
this case to support its theory)

DISPOSITION:

a) CA decision annulled and set aside

b) Remand to RTC Pasig for further proceedings