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The Rules of Court does not provide for conversion of a motion

March 31, 2000 | Quisumbing, J. | for the issuance of letters of administration to an action for
Digester: Valena, Maria Patricia S. judicial partition. The conversion of the motion was, thus,
procedurally inappropriate and should be struck down for lack
SUMMARY: Avelino Sr. died intestate, leaving petitioner and of legal basis.
respondents as his legal heirs. Petitioner filed a petition for the
issuance of letters of administration with the RTC, while RULING: Petition denied.
respondents filed an opposition through a motion to convert the
proceedings to an action for judicial partition. RTC granted this Whether respondent appellate court committed an error of
motion to convert. The Court held that the RTC did not err in law and gravely abused its discretion in upholding the trial
granting said motion, and that the legal basis for the conversion of court’s finding that a partition is proper – NO.
the proceedings is Sec. 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules.  When a person dies intestate, or, if testate, failed to name an
DOCTRINE: Where the more expeditious remedy of partition is executor in his will or the executor so named is incompetent,
available to the heirs, then the heirs or the majority of them may or refuses the trust, or fails to furnish the bond required by the
not be compelled to submit to administration proceedings. Rules of Court, then the decedent’s estate shall be judicially
administered and the competent court shall appoint a qualified
FACTS: administrator in the order established in Section 6 of Rule
 Petitioner Maria Socorro Avelino is a daughter and compulsory 78. The exceptions to this rule are found in Sections 1 and 2
heir of the late Antonio Avelino, Sr., and his first wife private of Rule 74.
respondent Angelina Avelino.  The heirs succeed immediately to all of the rights and
 The other private respondents, Sharon, Antonio Jr., Tracy, properties of the deceased at the moment of the latter’s death.
Patrick and Mark Anthony all surnamed Avelino are likewise Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, allows heirs to divide
compulsory heirs of Avelino, Sr. Sharon, an American, is the the estate among themselves without need of delay and risks of
second wife of Avelino, Sr. The other private respondents are being dissipated. When a person dies without leaving pending
siblings of petitioner Ma. Socorro. obligations, his heirs, are not required to submit the property
 On October 24, 1991, Ma. Socorro filed before the RTC of for judicial administration, nor apply for the appointment of an
Quezon City a petition for the issuance of letters of administrator by the court.
administration of the estate of Antonio Avelino, Sr., who died  The Court of Appeals found that the decedent left no debts and
intestate on April 10, 1989. She asked that she be appointed the heirs and legatees are all of age. With this finding, Section
the administrator of the estate. 1, Rule 74 should apply.
 Angelina and the siblings filed their opposition by filing a  Re argument #1: A complete inventory of the estate may be
motion to convert the said judicial proceedings to an action for done during the partition proceedings, especially since the
judicial partition which petitioner duly opposed. estate has no debts.
 RTC granted the motion to convert proceedings; CA denied  Re argument #2: The basis for the trial court’s order is Section
petitioner’s petition for certiorari. 1, Rule 74. It provides that in cases where the heirs disagree as
to the partition of the estate and no extrajudicial settlement is
ARGUMENTS possible, then an ordinary action for partition may be resorted
1. No partition of the estate is possible as no determination has to, as in this case.
yet been made of the character and extent of the decedent’s o We have held that where the more expeditious
estate. Arcillas v. Montejo: when the existence of other remedy of partition is available to the heirs, then the
properties of the decedent is a matter still to be reckoned with, heirs or the majority of them may not be compelled
administration proceedings are the proper mode of resolving to submit to administration proceedings
the same. In addition, the estate is in danger of being depleted
for want of an administrator to manage and attend to it.