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G.R. No.

122191 October 8, 1998


SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, MILAGROS P. MORADA and HON. RODOLFO A. ORTIZ, in his capacity
as Presiding Judge of Branch 89, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, respondents.

QUISUMBING, J .:
This petition for certiorari pursuant to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to annul and set aside the
Resolution
1
dated September 27, 1995 and the Decision
2
dated April 10, 1996 of the Court of
Appeals
3
in CA-G.R. SP No. 36533,
4
and the Orders
5
dated August 29, 1994
6
and February 2,
1995
7
that were issued by the trial court in Civil Case No. Q-93-18394.
8

The pertinent antecedent facts which gave rise to the instant petition, as stated in the questioned
Decision
9
, are as follows:
On January 21, 1988 defendant SAUDIA hired plaintiff as a Flight Attendant for its
airlines based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. . . .
On April 27, 1990, while on a lay-over in Jakarta, Indonesia, plaintiff went to a disco
dance with fellow crew members Thamer Al-Gazzawi and Allah Al-Gazzawi, both
Saudi nationals. Because it was almost morning when they returned to their hotels,
they agreed to have breakfast together at the room of Thamer. When they were in te
(sic) room, Allah left on some pretext. Shortly after he did, Thamer attempted to rape
plaintiff. Fortunately, a roomboy and several security personnel heard her cries for
help and rescued her. Later, the Indonesian police came and arrested Thamer and
Allah Al-Gazzawi, the latter as an accomplice.
When plaintiff returned to Jeddah a few days later, several SAUDIA officials
interrogated her about the Jakarta incident. They then requested her to go back to
Jakarta to help arrange the release of Thamer and Allah. In Jakarta, SAUDIA Legal
Officer Sirah Akkad and base manager Baharini negotiated with the police for the
immediate release of the detained crew members but did not succeed because
plaintiff refused to cooperate. She was afraid that she might be tricked into
something she did not want because of her inability to understand the local dialect.
She also declined to sign a blank paper and a document written in the local dialect.
Eventually, SAUDIA allowed plaintiff to return to Jeddah but barred her from the
Jakarta flights.
Plaintiff learned that, through the intercession of the Saudi Arabian government, the
Indonesian authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Allah after two weeks of
detention. Eventually, they were again put in service by defendant SAUDI (sic). In
September 1990, defendant SAUDIA transferred plaintiff to Manila.
On January 14, 1992, just when plaintiff thought that the Jakarta incident was already
behind her, her superiors requested her to see Mr. Ali Meniewy, Chief Legal Officer
of SAUDIA, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When she saw him, he brought her to the
police station where the police took her passport and questioned her about the
Jakarta incident. Miniewy simply stood by as the police put pressure on her to make
a statement dropping the case against Thamer and Allah. Not until she agreed to do
so did the police return her passport and allowed her to catch the afternoon flight out
of Jeddah.
One year and a half later or on lune 16, 1993, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a few minutes
before the departure of her flight to Manila, plaintiff was not allowed to board the
plane and instead ordered to take a later flight to Jeddah to see Mr. Miniewy, the
Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA. When she did, a certain Khalid of the SAUDIA office
brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sign a document written in
Arabic. They told her that this was necessary to close the case against Thamer and
Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff signed a notice to her to appear before the court on
June 27, 1993. Plaintiff then returned to Manila.
Shortly afterwards, defendant SAUDIA summoned plaintiff to report to Jeddah once
again and see Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further investigation. Plaintiff did so after
receiving assurance from SAUDIA's Manila manager, Aslam Saleemi, that the
investigation was routinary and that it posed no danger to her.
In Jeddah, a SAUDIA legal officer brought plaintiff to the same Saudi court on June
27, 1993. Nothing happened then but on June 28, 1993, a Saudi judge interrogated
plaintiff through an interpreter about the Jakarta incident. After one hour of
interrogation, they let her go. At the airport, however, just as her plane was about to
take off, a SAUDIA officer told her that the airline had forbidden her to take flight. At
the Inflight Service Office where she was told to go, the secretary of Mr. Yahya
Saddick took away her passport and told her to remain in Jeddah, at the crew
quarters, until further orders.
On July 3, 1993 a SAUDIA legal officer again escorted plaintiff to the same court
where the judge, to her astonishment and shock, rendered a decision, translated to
her in English, sentencing her to five months imprisonment and to 286 lashes. Only
then did she realize that the Saudi court had tried her, together with Thamer and
Allah, for what happened in Jakarta. The court found plaintiff guilty of (1) adultery; (2)
going to a disco, dancing and listening to the music in violation of Islamic laws; and
(3) socializing with the male crew, in contravention of Islamic tradition.
10

Facing conviction, private respondent sought the help of her employer, petitioner SAUDIA.
Unfortunately, she was denied any assistance. She then asked the Philippine Embassy in Jeddah to
help her while her case is on appeal. Meanwhile, to pay for her upkeep, she worked on the domestic
flight of SAUDIA, while Thamer and Allah continued to serve in the international
flights.
11

Because she was wrongfully convicted, the Prince of Makkah dismissed the case against her and
allowed her to leave Saudi Arabia. Shortly before her return to Manila,
12
she was terminated from the
service by SAUDIA, without her being informed of the cause.
On November 23, 1993, Morada filed a Complaint
13
for damages against SAUDIA, and Khaled Al-
Balawi ("Al-Balawi"), its country manager.
On January 19, 1994, SAUDIA filed an Omnibus Motion To Dismiss
14
which raised the following
grounds, to wit: (1) that the Complaint states no cause of action against Saudia; (2) that defendant Al-
Balawi is not a real party in interest; (3) that the claim or demand set forth in the Complaint has been
waived, abandoned or otherwise extinguished; and (4) that the trial court has no jurisdiction to try the
case.
On February 10, 1994, Morada filed her Opposition (To Motion to Dismiss)
15
. Saudia filed a
reply
16
thereto on March 3, 1994.
On June 23, 1994, Morada filed an Amended Complaint
17
wherein Al-Balawi was dropped as party
defendant. On August 11, 1994, Saudia filed its Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint
18
.
The trial court issued an Order
19
dated August 29, 1994 denying the Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint filed by Saudia.
From the Order of respondent Judge
20
denying the Motion to Dismiss, SAUDIA filed on September 20,
1994, its Motion for Reconsideration
21
of the Order dated August 29, 1994. It alleged that the trial court
has no jurisdiction to hear and try the case on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code, since the proper
law applicable is the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On October 14, 1994, Morada filed her
Opposition
22
(To Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration).
In the Reply
23
filed with the trial court on October 24, 1994, SAUDIA alleged that since its Motion for
Reconsideration raised lack of jurisdiction as its cause of action, the Omnibus Motion Rule does not
apply, even if that ground is raised for the first time on appeal. Additionally, SAUDIA alleged that the
Philippines does not have any substantial interest in the prosecution of the instant case, and hence,
without jurisdiction to adjudicate the same.
Respondent Judge subsequently issued another Order
24
dated February 2, 1995, denying SAUDIA's
Motion for Reconsideration. The pertinent portion of the assailed Order reads as follows:
Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration of defendant Saudi Arabian Airlines filed,
thru counsel, on September 20, 1994, and the Opposition thereto of the plaintiff filed,
thru counsel, on October 14, 1994, as well as the Reply therewith of defendant Saudi
Arabian Airlines filed, thru counsel, on October 24, 1994, considering that a perusal
of the plaintiffs Amended Complaint, which is one for the recovery of actual, moral
and exemplary damages plus attorney's fees, upon the basis of the applicable
Philippine law, Article 21 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, is, clearly, within
the jurisdiction of this Court as regards the subject matter, and there being nothing
new of substance which might cause the reversal or modification of the order sought
to be reconsidered, the motion for reconsideration of the defendant, is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
25

Consequently, on February 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed its Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with
Prayer for Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order
26
with the
Court of Appeals.
Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution with Temporary Restraining Order
27
dated
February 23, 1995, prohibiting the respondent Judge from further conducting any proceeding, unless
otherwise directed, in the interim.
In another Resolution
28
promulgated on September 27, 1995, now assailed, the appellate court denied
SAUDIA's Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated February 18, 1995, to wit:
The Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby DENIED,
after considering the Answer, with Prayer to Deny Writ of Preliminary Injunction
(Rollo, p. 135) the Reply and Rejoinder, it appearing that herein petitioner is not
clearly entitled thereto (Unciano Paramedical College, et. Al., v. Court of Appeals,
et. Al., 100335, April 7, 1993, Second Division).
SO ORDERED.
On October 20, 1995, SAUDIA filed with this Honorable Court the instant Petition
29
for Review with
Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order dated October 13, 1995.
However, during the pendency of the instant Petition, respondent Court of Appeals rendered the
Decision
30
dated April 10, 1996, now also assailed. It ruled that the Philippines is an appropriate forum
considering that the Amended Complaint's basis for recovery of damages is Article 21 of the Civil Code,
and thus, clearly within the jurisdiction of respondent Court. It further held that certiorari is not the proper
remedy in a denial of a Motion to Dismiss, inasmuch as the petitioner should have proceeded to trial, and
in case of an adverse ruling, find recourse in an appeal.
On May 7, 1996, SAUDIA filed its Supplemental Petition for Review with Prayer for Temporary
Restraining Order
31
dated April 30, 1996, given due course by this Court. After both parties submitted
their Memoranda,
32
the instant case is now deemed submitted for decision.
Petitioner SAUDIA raised the following issues:
I
The trial court has no jurisdiction to hear and try Civil Case No. Q-93-18394 based
on Article 21 of the New Civil Code since the proper law applicable is the law of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inasmuch as this case involves what is known in private
international law as a "conflicts problem". Otherwise, the Republic of the Philippines
will sit in judgment of the acts done by another sovereign state which is abhorred.
II
Leave of court before filing a supplemental pleading is not a jurisdictional
requirement. Besides, the matter as to absence of leave of court is now moot and
academic when this Honorable Court required the respondents to comment on
petitioner's April 30, 1996 Supplemental Petition For Review With Prayer For A
Temporary Restraining Order Within Ten (10) Days From Notice Thereof. Further,
the Revised Rules of Court should be construed with liberality pursuant to Section 2,
Rule 1 thereof.
III
Petitioner received on April 22, 1996 the April 10, 1996 decision in CA-G.R. SP NO.
36533 entitled "Saudi Arabian Airlines v. Hon. Rodolfo A. Ortiz, et al." and filed its
April 30, 1996 Supplemental Petition For Review With Prayer For A Temporary
Restraining Order on May 7, 1996 at 10:29 a.m. or within the 15-day reglementary
period as provided for under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Therefore, the decision in CA-G.R. SP NO. 36533 has not yet become final and
executory and this Honorable Court can take cognizance of this case.
33

From the foregoing factual and procedural antecedents, the following issues emerge for our
resolution:
I.
WHETHER RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY HAS JURISDICTION TO HEAR AND
TRY CIVIL CASE NO. Q-93-18394 ENTITLED "MILAGROS P. MORADA V. SAUDI
ARABIAN AIRLINES".
II.
WHETHER RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT IN
THIS CASE PHILIPPINE LAW SHOULD GOVERN.
Petitioner SAUDIA claims that before us is a conflict of laws that must be settled at the outset. It
maintains that private respondent's claim for alleged abuse of rights occurred in the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia. It alleges that the existence of a foreign element qualifies the instant case for the
application of the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by virtue of the lex loci delicti commissi rule.
34

On the other hand, private respondent contends that since her Amended Complaint is based on
Articles 19
35
and 21
36
of the Civil Code, then the instant case is properly a matter of domestic law.
37

Under the factual antecedents obtaining in this case, there is no dispute that the interplay of events
occurred in two states, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
As stated by private respondent in her Amended Complaint
38
dated June 23, 1994:
2. Defendant SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES or SAUDIA is a foreign airlines corporation
doing business in the Philippines. It may be served with summons and other court
processes at Travel Wide Associated Sales (Phils.). Inc., 3rd Floor, Cougar Building,
114 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati, Metro Manila.
xxx xxx xxx
6. Plaintiff learned that, through the intercession of the Saudi Arabian government,
the Indonesian authorities agreed to deport Thamer and Allah after two weeks of
detention. Eventually, they were again put in service by defendant SAUDIA. In
September 1990, defendant SAUDIA transferred plaintiff to Manila.
7. On January 14, 1992, just when plaintiff thought that the Jakarta incident was
already behind her, her superiors reauested her to see MR. Ali Meniewy, Chief Legal
Officer of SAUDIA in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When she saw him, he brought her to
the police station where the police took her passport and questioned her about the
Jakarta incident. Miniewy simply stood by as the police put pressure on her to make
a statement dropping the case against Thamer and Allah. Not until she agreed to do
so did the police return her passport and allowed her to catch the afternoon flight out
of Jeddah.
8. One year and a half later or on June 16, 1993, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a few
minutes before the departure of her flight to Manila, plaintiff was not allowed to board
the plane and instead ordered to take a later flight to Jeddah to see Mr. Meniewy, the
Chief Legal Officer of SAUDIA. When she did, a certain Khalid of the SAUDIA office
brought her to a Saudi court where she was asked to sigh a document written in
Arabic. They told her that this was necessary to close the case against Thamer and
Allah. As it turned out, plaintiff signed a notice to her to appear before the court on
June 27, 1993.Plaintiff then returned to Manila.
9. Shortly afterwards, defendant SAUDIA summoned plaintiff to report to Jeddah
once again and see Miniewy on June 27, 1993 for further investigation. Plaintiff did
so after receiving assurance from SAUDIA's Manila manger, Aslam Saleemi, that the
investigation was routinary and that it posed no danger to her.
10. In Jeddah, a SAUDIA legal officer brought plaintiff to the same Saudi court on
June 27, 1993. Nothing happened then but on June 28, 1993, a Saudi judge
interrogated plaintiff through an interpreter about the Jakarta incident. After one hour
of interrogation, they let her go. At the airport, however, just as her plane was about
to take off, a SAUDIA officer told her that the airline had forbidden her to take that
flight. At the Inflight Service Office where she was told to go, the secretary of Mr.
Yahya Saddick took away her passport and told her to remain in Jeddah, at the crew
quarters, until further orders.
11. On July 3, 1993 a SAUDIA legal officer again escorted plaintiff to the same court
where the judge, to her astonishment and shock, rendered a decision, translated to
her in English, sentencing her to five months imprisonment and to 286 lashes. Only
then did she realize that the Saudi court had tried her, together with Thamer and
Allah, for what happened in Jakarta. The court found plaintiff guilty of (1) adultery; (2)
going to a disco, dancing, and listening to the music in violation of Islamic laws; (3)
socializing with the male crew, in contravention of Islamic tradition.
12. Because SAUDIA refused to lend her a hand in the case, plaintiff sought the help
of the Philippines Embassy in Jeddah. The latter helped her pursue an appeal from
the decision of the court. To pay for her upkeep, she worked on the domestic flights
of defendant SAUDIA while, ironically, Thamer and Allah freely served the
international flights.
39

Where the factual antecedents satisfactorily establish the existence of a foreign element, we agree
with petitioner that the problem herein could present a "conflicts" case.
A factual situation that cuts across territorial lines and is affected by the diverse laws of two or more
states is said to contain a "foreign element". The presence of a foreign element is inevitable since
social and economic affairs of individuals and associations are rarely confined to the geographic
limits of their birth or conception.
40

The forms in which this foreign element may appear are many.
41
The foreign element may simply
consist in the fact that one of the parties to a contract is an alien or has a foreign domicile, or that a
contract between nationals of one State involves properties situated in another State. In other cases, the
foreign element may assume a complex form.
42

In the instant case, the foreign element consisted in the fact that private respondent Morada is a
resident Philippine national, and that petitioner SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation. Also, by
virtue of the employment of Morada with the petitioner Saudia as a flight stewardess, events did
transpire during her many occasions of travel across national borders, particularly from Manila,
Philippines to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and vice versa, that caused a "conflicts" situation to arise.
We thus find private respondent's assertion that the case is purely domestic, imprecise.
A conflicts problem presents itself here, and the question of jurisdiction
43
confronts the court a quo.
After a careful study of the private respondent's Amended Complaint,
44
and the Comment thereon, we
note that she aptly predicated her cause of action on Articles 19 and 21 of the New Civil Code.
On one hand, Article 19 of the New Civil Code provides:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his
duties, act with justice give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith.
On the other hand, Article 21 of the New Civil Code provides:
Art. 21. Any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
damages.
Thus, in Philippine National Bank (PNB) vs. Court of Appeals,
45
this Court held that:
The aforecited provisions on human relations were intended to expand the concept
of torts in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of
moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically provide in the
statutes.
Although Article 19 merely declares a principle of law, Article 21 gives flesh to its provisions. Thus,
we agree with private respondent's assertion that violations of Articles 19 and 21 are actionable, with
judicially enforceable remedies in the municipal forum.
Based on the allegations
46
in the Amended Complaint, read in the light of the Rules of Court on
jurisdiction
47
we find that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City possesses jurisdiction over the
subject matter of the suit.
48
Its authority to try and hear the case is provided for under Section 1 of
Republic Act No. 7691, to wit:
Sec. 1. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the "Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980", is hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive
jurisdiction:
xxx xxx xxx
(8) In all other cases in which demand, exclusive of interest, damages
of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and cots or the
value of the property in controversy exceeds One hundred thousand
pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where
the demand, exclusive of the above-mentioned items exceeds Two
hundred Thousand pesos (P200,000.00). (Emphasis ours)
xxx xxx xxx
And following Section 2 (b), Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court the venue, Quezon City, is
appropriate:
Sec. 2 Venue in Courts of First Instance. [Now Regional Trial Court]
(a) xxx xxx xxx
(b) Personal actions. All other actions may be commenced and tried where the
defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff or
any of the plaintiff resides, at the election of the plaintiff.
Pragmatic considerations, including the convenience of the parties, also weigh heavily in favor of the
RTC Quezon City assuming jurisdiction. Paramount is the private interest of the litigant.
Enforceability of a judgment if one is obtained is quite obvious. Relative advantages and obstacles to
a fair trial are equally important. Plaintiff may not, by choice of an inconvenient forum, "vex",
"harass", or "oppress" the defendant, e.g. by inflicting upon him needless expense or disturbance.
But unless the balance is strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiffs choice of forum should
rarely be disturbed.
49

Weighing the relative claims of the parties, the court a quo found it best to hear the case in the
Philippines. Had it refused to take cognizance of the case, it would be forcing plaintiff (private
respondent now) to seek remedial action elsewhere, i.e. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she
no longer maintains substantial connections. That would have caused a fundamental unfairness to
her.
Moreover, by hearing the case in the Philippines no unnecessary difficulties and inconvenience have
been shown by either of the parties. The choice of forum of the plaintiff (now private respondent)
should be upheld.
Similarly, the trial court also possesses jurisdiction over the persons of the parties herein. By filing
her Complaint and Amended Complaint with the trial court, private respondent has voluntary
submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the court.
The records show that petitioner SAUDIA has filed several motions
50
praying for the dismissal of
Morada's Amended Complaint. SAUDIA also filed an Answer In Ex Abundante Cautelam dated February
20, 1995. What is very patent and explicit from the motions filed, is that SAUDIA prayed for other reliefs
under the premises. Undeniably, petitioner SAUDIA has effectively submitted to the trial court's
jurisdiction by praying for the dismissal of the Amended Complaint on grounds other than lack of
jurisdiction.
As held by this Court in Republic vs. Ker and Company, Ltd.:
51

We observe that the motion to dismiss filed on April 14, 1962, aside from disputing
the lower court's jurisdiction over defendant's person, prayed for dismissal of the
complaint on the ground that plaintiff's cause of action has prescribed. By interposing
such second ground in its motion to dismiss, Ker and Co., Ltd. availed of an
affirmative defense on the basis of which it prayed the court to resolve controversy in
its favor. For the court to validly decide the said plea of defendant Ker & Co., Ltd., it
necessarily had to acquire jurisdiction upon the latter's person, who, being the
proponent of the affirmative defense, should be deemed to have abandoned its
special appearance and voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court.
Similarly, the case of De Midgely vs. Ferandos, held that;
When the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of
the court over the person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of objecting
to the jurisdiction of the court. If his motion is for any other purpose than to object to
the jurisdiction of the court over his person, he thereby submits himself to the
jurisdiction of the court. A special appearance by motion made for the purpose of
objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person will be held to be a general
appearance, if the party in said motion should, for example, ask for a dismissal of the
action upon the further ground that the court had no jurisdiction over the subject
matter.
52

Clearly, petitioner had submitted to the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Thus,
we find that the trial court has jurisdiction over the case and that its exercise thereof, justified.
As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choice-of-law problems seek to answer two
important questions: (1) What legal system should control a given situation where some of the
significant facts occurred in two or more states; and (2) to what extent should the chosen legal
system regulate the situation.
53

Several theories have been propounded in order to identify the legal system that should ultimately
control. Although ideally, all choice-of-law theories should intrinsically advance both notions of
justice and predictability, they do not always do so. The forum is then faced with the problem of
deciding which of these two important values should be stressed.
54

Before a choice can be made, it is necessary for us to determine under what category a certain set
of facts or rules fall. This process is known as "characterization", or the "doctrine of qualification". It
is the "process of deciding whether or not the facts relate to the kind of question specified in a
conflicts rule."
55
The purpose of "characterization" is to enable the forum to select the proper law.
56

Our starting point of analysis here is not a legal relation, but a factual situation, event, or operative
fact.
57
An essential element of conflict rules is the indication of a "test" or "connecting factor" or "point of
contact". Choice-of-law rules invariably consist of a factual relationship (such as property right, contract
claim) and a connecting factor or point of contact, such as the situs of the res, the place of celebration,
the place of performance, or the place of wrongdoing.
58

Note that one or more circumstances may be present to serve as the possible test for the
determination of the applicable law.
59
These "test factors" or "points of contact" or "connecting factors"
could be any of the following:
(1) The nationality of a person, his domicile, his residence, his place of sojourn, or his
origin;
(2) the seat of a legal or juridical person, such as a corporation;
(3) the situs of a thing, that is, the place where a thing is, or is deemed to be situated.
In particular, thelex situs is decisive when real rights are involved;
(4) the place where an act has been done, the locus actus, such as the place where
a contract has been made, a marriage celebrated, a will signed or a tort committed.
The lex loci actus is particularly important in contracts and torts;
(5) the place where an act is intended to come into effect, e.g., the place of
performance of contractual duties, or the place where a power of attorney is to be
exercised;
(6) the intention of the contracting parties as to the law that should govern their
agreement, the lex loci intentionis;
(7) the place where judicial or administrative proceedings are instituted or done.
The lex fori the law of the forum is particularly important because, as we have
seen earlier, matters of "procedure" not going to the substance of the claim involved
are governed by it; and because the lex fori applies whenever the content of the
otherwise applicable foreign law is excluded from application in a given case for the
reason that it falls under one of the exceptions to the applications of foreign law; and
(8) the flag of a ship, which in many cases is decisive of practically all legal
relationships of the ship and of its master or owner as such. It also covers contractual
relationships particularly contracts of affreightment.
60
(Emphasis ours.)
After a careful study of the pleadings on record, including allegations in the Amended Complaint
deemed admitted for purposes of the motion to dismiss, we are convinced that there is reasonable
basis for private respondent's assertion that although she was already working in Manila, petitioner
brought her to Jeddah on the pretense that she would merely testify in an investigation of the
charges she made against the two SAUDIA crew members for the attack on her person while they
were in Jakarta. As it turned out, she was the one made to face trial for very serious charges,
including adultery and violation of Islamic laws and tradition.
There is likewise logical basis on record for the claim that the "handing over" or "turning over" of the
person of private respondent to Jeddah officials, petitioner may have acted beyond its duties as
employer. Petitioner's purported act contributed to and amplified or even proximately caused
additional humiliation, misery and suffering of private respondent. Petitioner thereby allegedly
facilitated the arrest, detention and prosecution of private respondent under the guise of petitioner's
authority as employer, taking advantage of the trust, confidence and faith she reposed upon it. As
purportedly found by the Prince of Makkah, the alleged conviction and imprisonment of private
respondent was wrongful. But these capped the injury or harm allegedly inflicted upon her person
and reputation, for which petitioner could be liable as claimed, to provide compensation or redress
for the wrongs done, once duly proven.
Considering that the complaint in the court a quo is one involving torts, the "connecting factor" or
"point of contact" could be the place or places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred.
And applying the torts principle in a conflicts case, we find that the Philippines could be said as a
situs of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct took place). This is because it is in the
Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived private respondent, a Filipina residing and working
here. According to her, she had honestly believed that petitioner would, in the exercise of its rights
and in the performance of its duties, "act with justice, give her due and observe honesty and good
faith." Instead, petitioner failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of the injury
allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. For in our view what is important here is the
place where the over-all harm or the totality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social
standing and human rights of complainant, had lodged, according to the plaintiff below (herein
private respondent). All told, it is not without basis to identify the Philippines as the situs of the
alleged tort.
Moreover, with the widespread criticism of the traditional rule of lex loci delicti commissi, modern
theories and rules on tort liability
61
have been advanced to offer fresh judicial approaches to arrive at
just results. In keeping abreast with the modern theories on tort liability, we find here an occasion to apply
the "State of the most significant relationship" rule, which in our view should be appropriate to apply now,
given the factual context of this case.
In applying said principle to determine the State which has the most significant relationship, the
following contacts are to be taken into account and evaluated according to their relative importance
with respect to the particular issue: (a) the place where the injury occurred; (b) the place where the
conduct causing the injury occurred; (c) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation
and place of business of the parties, and (d) the place where the relationship, if any, between the
parties is centered.
62

As already discussed, there is basis for the claim that over-all injury occurred and lodged in the
Philippines. There is likewise no question that private respondent is a resident Filipina national,
working with petitioner, a resident foreign corporation engaged here in the business of international
air carriage. Thus, the "relationship" between the parties was centered here, although it should be
stressed that this suit is not based on mere labor law violations. From the record, the claim that the
Philippines has the most significant contact with the matter in this dispute,
63
raised by private
respondent as plaintiff below against defendant (herein petitioner), in our view, has been properly
established.
Prescinding from this premise that the Philippines is the situs of the tort complained of and the place
"having the most interest in the problem", we find, by way of recapitulation, that the Philippine law on
tort liability should have paramount application to and control in the resolution of the legal issues
arising out of this case. Further, we hold that the respondent Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction
over the parties and the subject matter of the complaint; the appropriate venue is in Quezon City,
which could properly apply Philippine law. Moreover, we find untenable petitioner's insistence that
"[s]ince private respondent instituted this suit, she has the burden of pleading and proving the
applicable Saudi law on the matter."
64
As aptly said by private respondent, she has "no obligation to
plead and prove the law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since her cause of action is based on Articles 19
and 21" of the Civil Code of the Philippines. In her Amended Complaint and subsequent pleadings, she
never alleged that Saudi law should govern this case.
65
And as correctly held by the respondent appellate
court, "considering that it was the petitioner who was invoking the applicability of the law of Saudi Arabia,
then the burden was on it [petitioner] to plead and to establish what the law of Saudi Arabia is".
66

Lastly, no error could be imputed to the respondent appellate court in upholding the trial court's
denial of defendant's (herein petitioner's) motion to dismiss the case. Not only was jurisdiction in
order and venue properly laid, but appeal after trial was obviously available, and expeditious trial
itself indicated by the nature of the case at hand. Indubitably, the Philippines is the state intimately
concerned with the ultimate outcome of the case below, not just for the benefit of all the litigants, but
also for the vindication of the country's system of law and justice in a transnational setting. With
these guidelines in mind, the trial court must proceed to try and adjudge the case in the light of
relevant Philippine law, with due consideration of the foreign element or elements involved. Nothing
said herein, of course, should be construed as prejudging the results of the case in any manner
whatsoever.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED. Civil Case No. Q-93-18394
entitled "Milagros P. Morada vs. Saudi Arabia Airlines" is hereby REMANDED to Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 89 for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Vitug and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 Annex "A", PETITION, October 13, 1995; rollo, p. 36.
2 Annex "A", SUPPLEMENTAL PETITION, April 30, 1996; rollo, pp. 88-102.
3 Penned by Associate Justice Bernardo Ll. Salas, and concurred in by Associate
Justice Jorge S. Imperial and Associate Justice Pacita Caizares-Nye.
4 Entitled "Saudi Arabian Airlines vs. Hon. Judge Rodolfo A. Ortiz, in his capacity as
Presiding Judge of Branch 89 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and
Milagros P. Morada".
5 Issued by respondent Judge Hon. Rodolfo A. Ortiz of Branch 89, Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City.
6 Annex "B", PETITION, October 13, 1995; rollo, pp. 37-39.
7 Annex "B", PETITION, October 13, 1995; rollo, p. 40.
8 Entitled "Milagros P. Morada vs. Saudi Arabian Airlines".
9 Supra, note 2.
10 Decision, pp. 2-4; see rollo, pp. 89-91.
11 Private respondent's Comment; rollo, p. 50.
12 Ibid., pp. 50-51.
13 Dated November 19, 1993, and docketed as Civil Case No. Q-93-18394, Branch
89, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.
14 Dated January 14, 1994.
15 Dated February 4, 1994.
16 Reply dated March 1, 1994.
17 Records, pp. 65-84.
18 Rollo, p. 65.
19 Supra, note 6.
20 Hon. Rodolfo A. Ortiz.
21 Dated September 19, 1994.
22 Records, pp. 108-116.
23 Records, pp. 117-128.
24 Supra, note 7.
25 Ibid.
26 Dated February 18, 1995; see supra, note 4.
27 Supra, note 7.
28 Records, p. 180.
29 Rollo, pp. 1-44.
30 Supra, note 2.
31 Rollo, pp. 80-86.
32 Memorandum for Petitioner dated October 9, 1996, rollo, pp. 149-180; and
Memorandum for Private Respondent, October 30, 1996, rollo, pp. 182-210.
33 Rollo, pp. 157-159. All caps in the original.
34 Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 14, rollo, p. 162.
35 Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of
his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good
faith.
36 Art 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the
damages.
37 Memorandum for Private Respondent, p. 9, rollo, p. 190.
38 Records, pp. 65-71.
39 Supra, note 17, pp. 65-68.
40 Salonga, Private International Law, 1995 edition, p. 3.
41 Ibid., citing Cheshire and North, Private International Law, p. 5 by P.M. North and
J.J. Faucett (Butterworths; London, 1992).
42 Ibid.
43 Paras, Philippine Conflict of Laws, sixth edition (1984), p. 24, citing Leflar, The
Law of Conflict of Laws, pp. 5-6.
44 Supra, note 17.
45 83 SCRA 237, 247.
46 Supra, note at 17, at p. 6. Morada prays that judgment be rendered against
Saudia, ordering it to pay: (1) not less than P250,000.00 as actual damages; (2) P4
million in moral damages; (3) P500,000.00 in exemplary damages, and (4)
P500,000.00 in attorney's fees.
47 Baguioro v. Barrios, 77 Phil. 120.
48 Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law and is defined as the
authority of a court to hear and decide cases of the general class to which the
proceedings in question belong. (Reyes v. Diaz, 73 Phil. 484, 487)
49 Supra, note 37, p. 58, citing Gulf Oil Corporation v. Gilbert, 350 U.S. 501, 67 Sup.
Ct. 839 (1947).
50 Omnibus Motion to Dismiss dated January 14, 1994; Reply (to Plaintiff's
Opposition) dated February 19, 1994; Comment (to Plaintiffs Motion to Admit
Amended Complaint dated June 23, 1994) dated July 20, 1993; Manifestation and
Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint dated June 23, 1994 under date August 11,
1994; and Motion for Reconsideration dated September 19, 1994.
51 18 SCRA 207, 213-214.
52 64 SCRA 23, 31.
53 Coquia and Pangalangan. Conflict of Laws, 1995 edition p. 65, citing Von
Mehren, Recent Trends in Choice-of-Law Methodology, 60 Cornell L. Rev. 927
(1975).
54 Ibid.
55 Supra, note 40 at p. 94, citing Falconbridge, Essays on the Conflict of Laws, p.
50.
56 Ibid.
57 Supra, note 37, at p. 136; cf. Mussbaum, Principle of Private International Law, p.
173; and Rabel,The Conflict of Laws: A Comparative Study, pp. 51-52.
58 Supra, note 37, p. 137.
59 Ibid.
60 Supra, note 37, at pp. 138-139.
61 Includes the (1) German rule of elective concurrence; (2) "State of the most
significant relationship" rule (the Second Restatement of 1969); (3) State interest
analysis; and (4) Caver's Principle of Preference.
62 Supra, note 37, p. 396.
63 Supra, note 59, p. 79, citing Ruben v. Irving Trust Co., 305 N.Y. 288, 305, 113
N.E. 2d 424, 431.
64 Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 22; rollo, p. 170.
65 Memorandum for Private Respondent, pp. 21-22; rollo, pp. 202-203.
66 CA Decision, p. 10; rollo, p. 97.
297 SCRA 469 Conflict of Laws Private International Law Situs Locus Actus
Milagros Morada was working as a stewardess for Saudia Arabian Airlines. In 1990, while she and
some co-workers were in a lay-over in Jakarta, Indonesia, an Arab co-worker tried to rape her in a
hotel room. Fortunately, a roomboy heard her cry for help and two of her Arab co-workers were
arrested and detained in Indonesia. Later, Saudia Airlines re-assigned her to work in their Manila
office. While working in Manila, Saudia Airlines advised her to meet with a Saudia Airlines officer in
Saudi. She did but to her surprise, she was brought to a Saudi court where she was interrogated and
eventually sentenced to 5 months imprisonment and 289 lashes; she allegedly violated Muslim
customs by partying with males. The Prince of Makkah got wind of her conviction and the Prince
determined that she was wrongfully convicted hence the Prince absolved her and sent her back to
the Philippines. Saudia Airlines later on dismissed Morada. Morada then sued Saudia Airlines for
damages under Article 19 and 21 of the Civil Code. Saudia Airlines filed a motion to dismiss on the
ground that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the case because the applicable law should be the law
of Saudi Arabia. Saudia Airlines also prayed for other reliefs under the premises.
ISSUE: Whether or not Saudia Airlines contention is correct.
HELD: No. Firstly, the RTC has acquired jurisdiction over Saudia Airlines when the latter filed a
motion to dismiss with petition for other reliefs. The asking for other reliefs effectively asked the court
to make a determination of Saudia Airliness rights hence a submission to the courts jurisdiction.
Secondly, the RTC has acquired jurisdiction over the case because as alleged in the complaint of
Morada, she is bringing the suit for damages under the provisions of our Civil Law and not of the
Arabian Law. Morada then has the right to file it in the QC RTC because under the Rules of Court, a
plaintiff may elect whether to file an action in personam (case at bar) in the place where she resides
or where the defendant resides. Obviously, it is well within her right to file the case here because if
shell file it in Saudi Arabia, it will be very disadvantageous for her (and of course, again, Philippine
Civil Law is the law invoked).
Thirdly, one important test factor to determine where to file a case, if there is a foreign element
involved, is the so called locus actus or where an act has been done. In the case at bar, Morada
was already working in Manila when she was summoned by her superior to go to Saudi Arabia to
meet with a Saudia Airlines officer. She was not informed that she was going to appear in a court
trial. Clearly, she was defrauded into appearing before a court trial which led to her wrongful
conviction. The act of defrauding, which is tortuous, was committed in Manila and this led to her
humiliation, misery, and suffering. And applying the torts principle in a conflicts case, the SC finds
that the Philippines could be said as a situs of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct
took place).

G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN, DECEASED.
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the deceased, Executor and
Heir-appellees,
vs.
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant.
M. R. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees.
Leopoldo M. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant.
LABRADOR, J .:
This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Hon. Vicente N. Cusi, Jr.,
presiding, in Special Proceeding No. 622 of said court, dated September 14, 1949, approving among
things the final accounts of the executor, directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen
the amount of P3,600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy, and declaring Maria
Lucy Christensen entitled to the residue of the property to be enjoyed during her lifetime, and in case
of death without issue, one-half of said residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, etc., in
accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Christensen. The will was
executed in Manila on March 5, 1951 and contains the following provisions:
3. I declare ... that I have but ONE (1) child, named MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs.
Bernard Daney), who was born in the Philippines about twenty-eight years ago, and who is
now residing at No. 665 Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
4. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants, and no descendants except my
above named daughter, MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY.
x x x x x x x x x
7. I give, devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN, now married to
Eduardo Garcia, about eighteen years of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that she was
baptized Christensen, is not in any way related to me, nor has she been at any time adopted
by me, and who, from all information I have now resides in Egpit, Digos, Davao, Philippines,
the sum of THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PESOS (P3,600.00), Philippine Currency
the same to be deposited in trust for the said Maria Helen Christensen with the Davao
Branch of the Philippine National Bank, and paid to her at the rate of One Hundred Pesos
(P100.00), Philippine Currency per month until the principal thereof as well as any interest
which may have accrued thereon, is exhausted..
x x x x x x x x x
12. I hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto my well-beloved daughter, the said MARIA
LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. Bernard Daney), now residing as aforesaid at No. 665
Rodger Young Village, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., all the income from the rest,
remainder, and residue of my property and estate, real, personal and/or mixed, of
whatsoever kind or character, and wheresoever situated, of which I may be possessed at my
death and which may have come to me from any source whatsoever, during her lifetime: ....
It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his final account and project
of partition ratified the payment of only P3,600 to Helen Christensen Garcia and proposed that the
residue of the estate be transferred to his daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen.
Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen Christensen Garcia, insofar
as it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an acknowledged natural child, she having been
declared by Us in G.R. Nos. L-11483-84 an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward E.
Christensen. The legal grounds of opposition are (a) that the distribution should be governed by the
laws of the Philippines, and (b) that said order of distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to
Helen Christensen, one of two acknowledged natural children, one-half of the estate in full
ownership. In amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should govern the
estate of the deceased Christensen should not be the internal law of California alone, but the entire
law thereof because several foreign elements are involved, that the forum is the Philippines and
even if the case were decided in California, Section 946 of the California Civil Code, which requires
that the domicile of the decedent should apply, should be applicable. It was also alleged that Maria
Helen Christensen having been declared an acknowledged natural child of the decedent, she is
deemed for all purposes legitimate from the time of her birth.
The court below ruled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the
State of California at the time of his death, the successional rights and intrinsic validity of the
provisions in his will are to be governed by the law of California, in accordance with which a testator
has the right to dispose of his property in the way he desires, because the right of absolute dominion
over his property is sacred and inviolable (In re McDaniel's Estate, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d
952, and In re Kaufman, 117 Cal. 286, 49 Pac. 192, cited in page 179, Record on Appeal). Oppositor
Maria Helen Christensen, through counsel, filed various motions for reconsideration, but these were
denied. Hence, this appeal.
The most important assignments of error are as follows:
I
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE SUPREME
COURT THAT HELEN IS THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF EDWARD E.
CHRISTENSEN AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER JUST SHARE IN THE
INHERITANCE.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THE
EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS, ELEMENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE
APPLICATION OF INTERNAL LAW.
III
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER INTERNATIONAL
LAW, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI DOCTRINE, THE INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE
TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED
EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES.
IV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION
SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS CONTRARY TO THE PHILIPPINE LAWS.
V
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE PHILIPPINE LAWS
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE ESTATE IN FULL
OWNERSHIP.
There is no question that Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the State
of California at the time of his death. But there is also no question that at the time of his death he
was domiciled in the Philippines, as witness the following facts admitted by the executor himself in
appellee's brief:
In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate, the facts of record show that the
deceased Edward E. Christensen was born on November 29, 1875 in New York City, N.Y.,
U.S.A.; his first arrival in the Philippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on July 1,
1901, on board the U.S. Army Transport "Sheridan" with Port of Embarkation as the City of
San Francisco, in the State of California, U.S.A. He stayed in the Philippines until 1904.
In December, 1904, Mr. Christensen returned to the United States and stayed there for the
following nine years until 1913, during which time he resided in, and was teaching school in
Sacramento, California.
Mr. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the year 1913. However, in
1928, he again departed the Philippines for the United States and came back here the
following year, 1929. Some nine years later, in 1938, he again returned to his own country,
and came back to the Philippines the following year, 1939.
Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted
and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other
evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t
Being an American citizen, Mr. Christensen was interned by the Japanese Military Forces in
the Philippines during World War II. Upon liberation, in April 1945, he left for the United
States but returned to the Philippines in December, 1945. Appellees Collective Exhibits "6",
CFI Davao, Sp. Proc. 622, as Exhibits "AA", "BB" and "CC-Daney"; Exhs. "MM", "MM-l",
"MM-2-Daney" and p. 473, t.s.n., July 21, 1953.)
In April, 1951, Edward E. Christensen returned once more to California shortly after the
making of his last will and testament (now in question herein) which he executed at his
lawyers' offices in Manila on March 5, 1951. He died at the St. Luke's Hospital in the City of
Manila on April 30, 1953. (pp. 2-3)
In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the Philippines, we are persuaded
by the fact that he was born in New York, migrated to California and resided there for nine years,
and since he came to the Philippines in 1913 he returned to California very rarely and only for short
visits (perhaps to relatives), and considering that he appears never to have owned or acquired a
home or properties in that state, which would indicate that he would ultimately abandon the
Philippines and make home in the State of California.
Sec. 16. Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning from mere temporary
presence to the most permanent abode. Generally, however, it is used to denote something
more than mere physical presence. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws, p. 29)
As to his citizenship, however, We find that the citizenship that he acquired in California when he
resided in Sacramento, California from 1904 to 1913, was never lost by his stay in the Philippines,
for the latter was a territory of the United States (not a state) until 1946 and the deceased appears to
have considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he executed his will in 1951
he declared that he was a citizen of that State; so that he appears never to have intended to
abandon his California citizenship by acquiring another. This conclusion is in accordance with the
following principle expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws.
The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to mean the same thing, a place of
permanent abode. But domicile, as has been shown, has acquired a technical meaning.
Thus one may be domiciled in a place where he has never been. And he may reside in a
place where he has no domicile. The man with two homes, between which he divides his
time, certainly resides in each one, while living in it. But if he went on business which would
require his presence for several weeks or months, he might properly be said to have
sufficient connection with the place to be called a resident. It is clear, however, that, if he
treated his settlement as continuing only for the particular business in hand, not giving up his
former "home," he could not be a domiciled New Yorker. Acquisition of a domicile of choice
requires the exercise of intention as well as physical presence. "Residence simply requires
bodily presence of an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in
that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile." Residence, however, is a term
used with many shades of meaning, from the merest temporary presence to the most
permanent abode, and it is not safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one.
(Goodrich, p. 29)
The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article 16 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines, which is as follows:
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country
where it is situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and
regardless of the country where said property may be found.
The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the meaning of the
term "national law"is used therein.
There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United
States, each state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force
only within the state. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can
not, therefore, possibly mean or apply to any general American law. So it can refer to no other than
the private law of the State of California.
The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal property?
The decision of the court below, sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the
California Probate Code, a testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he
desires, citing the case of Estate of McDaniel, 77 Cal. Appl. 2d 877, 176 P. 2d 952. But appellant
invokes the provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, which is as follows:
If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal property is situated, it is
deemed to follow the person of its owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile.
The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not denied. We have
checked it in the California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, on the other hand, relies on the case
cited in the decision and testified to by a witness. (Only the case of Kaufman is correctly cited.) It is
argued on executor's behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of
California, the internal law thereof, which is that given in the abovecited case, should govern the
determination of the validity of the testamentary provisions of Christensen's will, such law being in
force in the State of California of which Christensen was a citizen. Appellant, on the other hand,
insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine
of the renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in question should be referred
back to the law of the decedent's domicile, which is the Philippines.
The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors, thus:
The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of Laws rule of the forum refers
a jural matter to a foreign law for decision, is the reference to the purely internal rules of law
of the foreign system; i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict of Laws rules?"
On logic, the solution is not an easy one. The Michigan court chose to accept the renvoi, that
is, applied the Conflict of Laws rule of Illinois which referred the matter back to Michigan law.
But once having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the rule looked to, it is
difficult to see why the reference back should not have been to Michigan Conflict of Laws.
This would have resulted in the "endless chain of references" which has so often been
criticized be legal writers. The opponents of the renvoi would have looked merely to the
internal law of Illinois, thus rejecting the renvoi or the reference back. Yet there seems no
compelling logical reason why the original reference should be the internal law rather than to
the Conflict of Laws rule. It is true that such a solution avoids going on a merry-go-round, but
those who have accepted the renvoi theory avoid this inextricabilis circulas by getting off at
the second reference and at that point applying internal law. Perhaps the opponents of
the renvoi are a bit more consistent for they look always to internal law as the rule of
reference.
Strangely enough, both the advocates for and the objectors to the renvoi plead that greater
uniformity will result from adoption of their respective views. And still more strange is the fact
that the only way to achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem is if in the dispute the
two states whose laws form the legal basis of the litigation disagree as to whether
the renvoi should be accepted. If both reject, or both accept the doctrine, the result of the
litigation will vary with the choice of the forum. In the case stated above, had the Michigan
court rejected the renvoi, judgment would have been against the woman; if the suit had been
brought in the Illinois courts, and they too rejected the renvoi, judgment would be for the
woman. The same result would happen, though the courts would switch with respect to
which would hold liability, if both courts accepted therenvoi.
The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: where the title to land is in
question, and where the validity of a decree of divorce is challenged. In these cases the
Conflict of Laws rule of the situs of the land, or the domicile of the parties in the divorce case,
is applied by the forum, but any further reference goes only to the internal law. Thus, a
person's title to land, recognized by the situs, will be recognized by every court; and every
divorce, valid by the domicile of the parties, will be valid everywhere. (Goodrich, Conflict of
Laws, Sec. 7, pp. 13-14.)
X, a citizen of Massachusetts, dies intestate, domiciled in France, leaving movable property
in Massachusetts, England, and France. The question arises as to how this property is to be
distributed among X's next of kin.
Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. There the rule of the conflict
of laws as to intestate succession to movables calls for an application of the law of the
deceased's last domicile. Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France, the natural thing
for the Massachusetts court to do would be to turn to French statute of distributions, or
whatever corresponds thereto in French law, and decree a distribution accordingly. An
examination of French law, however, would show that if a French court were called upon to
determine how this property should be distributed, it would refer the distribution to the
national law of the deceased, thus applying the Massachusetts statute of distributions. So on
the surface of things the Massachusetts court has open to it alternative course of action: (a)
either to apply the French law is to intestate succession, or (b) to resolve itself into a French
court and apply the Massachusetts statute of distributions, on the assumption that this is
what a French court would do. If it accepts the so-called renvoidoctrine, it will follow the latter
course, thus applying its own law.
This is one type of renvoi. A jural matter is presented which the conflict-of-laws rule of the
forum refers to a foreign law, the conflict-of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the matter back
again to the law of the forum. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The German term for this
judicial process is 'Ruckverweisung.'" (Harvard Law Review, Vol. 31, pp. 523-571.)
After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be resorted to as governing a
particular case, the further question may arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws
contained in such foreign law also to be resorted to? This is a question which, while it has
been considered by the courts in but a few instances, has been the subject of frequent
discussion by textwriters and essayists; and the doctrine involved has been descriptively
designated by them as the "Renvoyer" to send back, or the "Ruchversweisung", or the
"Weiterverweisung", since an affirmative answer to the question postulated and the operation
of the adoption of the foreign law in toto would in many cases result in returning the main
controversy to be decided according to the law of the forum. ... (16 C.J.S. 872.)
Another theory, known as the "doctrine of renvoi", has been advanced. The theory of the
doctrine of renvoi is that the court of the forum, in determining the question before it, must
take into account the whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules as to conflict of
laws, and then apply the law to the actual question which the rules of the other jurisdiction
prescribe. This may be the law of the forum. The doctrine of the renvoi has generally been
repudiated by the American authorities. (2 Am. Jur. 296)
The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its application in a
country explained by Prof. Lorenzen in an article in the Yale Law Journal, Vol. 27, 1917-1918, pp.
529-531. The pertinent parts of the article are quoted herein below:
The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the conflict of laws are to be
understood as incorporating not only the ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or
country, but its rules of the conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law of a
country' means the whole of its law.
x x x x x x x x x
Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of International Law, at
Neuchatel, in 1900, in the form of the following theses:
(1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the application of foreign laws.
(2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists, the court shall respect:
(a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the right to bind its nationals
abroad as regards their personal statute, and desires that said personal statute shall
be determined by the law of the domicile, or even by the law of the place where the
act in question occurred.
(b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law, provided it be certain that
one of them is necessarily competent, which agree in attributing the determination of
a question to the same system of law.
x x x x x x x x x
If, for example, the English law directs its judge to distribute the personal estate of an
Englishman who has died domiciled in Belgium in accordance with the law of his domicile, he
must first inquire whether the law of Belgium would distribute personal property upon death
in accordance with the law of domicile, and if he finds that the Belgian law would make the
distribution in accordance with the law of nationality that is the English law he must
accept this reference back to his own law.
We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule, while the rule applied
in In re Kaufman, Supra, its internal law. If the law on succession and the conflict of laws rules of
California are to be enforced jointly, each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle
cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State, but Article 946 should apply to such
of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other jurisdictions. The rule laid down of
resorting to the law of the domicile in the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in
accord with the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in most
matters or rights which follow the person of the owner.
When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states, and leaves a will directing
the manner of distribution of the property, the law of the state where he was domiciled at the
time of his death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the will, almost as
completely as the law of situs is consulted in questions about the devise of land. It is logical
that, since the domiciliary rules control devolution of the personal estate in case of intestate
succession, the same rules should determine the validity of an attempted testamentary
dispostion of the property. Here, also, it is not that the domiciliary has effect beyond the
borders of the domiciliary state. The rules of the domicile are recognized as controlling by the
Conflict of Laws rules at the situs property, and the reason for the recognition as in the case
of intestate succession, is the general convenience of the doctrine. The New York court has
said on the point: 'The general principle that a dispostiton of a personal property, valid at the
domicile of the owner, is valid anywhere, is one of the universal application. It had its origin in
that international comity which was one of the first fruits of civilization, and it this age, when
business intercourse and the process of accumulating property take but little notice of
boundary lines, the practical wisdom and justice of the rule is more apparent than ever.
(Goodrich, Conflict of Laws, Sec. 164, pp. 442-443.)
Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national
law is the internal law of California. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed
two sets of laws for its citizens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other
jurisdictions. Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal law prescribed for its
citizens residing therein, and enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. If we
must enforce the law of California as in comity we are bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of
our Civil Code, then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the express mandate
thereof and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law for residents therein, and its conflict-of-
laws rule for those domiciled abroad.
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the contrary in the place where
the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code
of the Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16
that the national law of the deceased should govern. This contention can not be sustained. As
explained in the various authorities cited above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil
Code is the law on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the
reference or return of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. The conflict of laws rule in
California, Article 946, Civil Code, precisely refers back the case, when a decedent is not domiciled
in California, to the law of his domicile, the Philippines in the case at bar. The court of the domicile
can not and should not refer the case back to California; such action would leave the issue incapable
of determination because the case will then be like a football, tossed back and forth between the two
states, between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his domicile. The
Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state of the
decedent, if the question has to be decided, especially as the application of the internal law of
California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law, Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code
of the Philippines, makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent
recognizing them.
The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; Riera vs. Palmaroli, 40 Phil. 105;
Miciano vs. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867; Babcock Templeton vs. Rider Babcock, 52 Phil. 130; and Gibbs vs.
Government, 59 Phil. 293.) cited by appellees to support the decision can not possibly apply in the
case at bar, for two important reasons, i.e., the subject in each case does not appear to be a citizen
of a state in the United States but with domicile in the Philippines, and it does not appear in each
case that there exists in the state of which the subject is a citizen, a law similar to or identical with
Art. 946 of the California Civil Code.
We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citizen of California, is the
Philippines, the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child, the
appellant, should be governed by the Philippine Law, the domicile, pursuant to Art. 946 of the Civil
Code of California, not by the internal law of California..
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned to the lower
court with instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on succession provides.
Judgment reversed, with costs against appellees.
Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, Barrera, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ.,
concur.
Bengzon, C.J., took no part.

Nationality Principle Internal and Conflict Rule
Edward Christensen was born in New York but he migrated to California where he resided for a
period of 9 years. In 1913, he came to the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until his death.
In his will, he instituted an acknowledged natural daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen (legitimate), as
his only heir, but left a legacy sum of money in favor of Helen Christensen Garcia (illegitimate).
Counsel for Helen claims that under Article 16, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code, California law should
be applied; that under California law, the matter is referred back to the law of the domicile. On the
other hand, counsel for Maria, averred that the national law of the deceased must apply, illegitimate
children not being entitled to anything under California law.
ISSUE: Whether or not the national law of the deceased should be applied in determining the
successional rights of his heirs.
HELD: The Supreme Court deciding to grant more successional rights to Helen said in effect that
there are two rules in California on the matter; the internal law which applies to Californians
domiciled in California and the conflict rule for Californians domiciled outside of California.
Christensen being domiciled in the Philippines, the law of his domicile must be followed. The case
was remanded to the lower court for further proceedings the determination of the successional
rights under Philippine law only.


G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896 March 29, 1974
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, Administrator of the Testate Estate of
Charles Newton Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo), petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE VENICIO ESCOLIN, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo,
Branch II, and AVELINA A. MAGNO, respondents.
G.R. Nos. L-27936 & L-27937 March 29, 1974
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE LINNIE JANE HODGES (Sp. Proc. No. 1307). TESTATE
ESTATE OF THE LATE CHARLES NEWTON HODGES (Sp. Proc. No. 1672). PHILIPPINE
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, administrator-appellant,
vs.
LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL, SALVADOR GUZMAN,
BELCESAR CAUSING, FLORENIA BARRIDO, PURIFICACION CORONADO, GRACIANO
LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR, MELQUIADES BATISANAN, PEPITO IYULORES,
ESPERIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO ESPADA, ROSARIO ALINGASA, ADELFA
PREMAYLON, SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, and AVELINA A. MAGNO, the last as Administratrix in
Sp. Proc. No. 1307, appellees, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, INC., movant-
appellee.
San Juan, Africa, Gonzales and San Agustin for Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank.
Manglapus Law Office, Antonio Law Office and Rizal R. Quimpo for private respondents and
appellees Avelina A. Magno, etc., et al.

BARREDO, J .:p
Certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction; certiorari to "declare all acts of the respondent
court in the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1307 of the Court of First Instance
of Iloilo) subsequent to the order of December 14, 1957 as null and void for having been issued
without jurisdiction"; prohibition to enjoin the respondent court from allowing, tolerating, sanctioning,
or abetting private respondent Avelina A. Magno to perform or do any acts of administration, such as
those enumerated in the petition, and from exercising any authority or power as Regular
Administratrix of above-named Testate Estate, by entertaining manifestations, motion and pleadings
filed by her and acting on them, and also to enjoin said court from allowing said private respondent
to interfere, meddle or take part in any manner in the administration of the Testate Estate of Charles
Newton Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 of the same court and branch); with prayer for preliminary
injunction, which was issued by this Court on August 8, 1967 upon a bond of P5,000; the petition
being particularly directed against the orders of the respondent court of October 12, 1966 denying
petitioner's motion of April 22, 1966 and its order of July 18, 1967 denying the motion for
reconsideration of said order.
Related to and involving basically the same main issue as the foregoing petition, thirty-three (33)
appeals from different orders of the same respondent court approving or otherwise sanctioning the
acts of administration of the respondent Magno on behalf of the testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges.
THE FACTS
On May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City leaving a will executed on November 22,
1952 pertinently providing as follows:
FIRST: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid out of my
estate.
SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my
estate, both personal and real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold unto him, my said husband,
during his natural lifetime.
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, shall
have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his lifetime, and
he is hereby given the right to make any changes in the physical properties of said
estate, by sale or any part thereof which he may think best, and the purchase of any
other or additional property as he may think best; to execute conveyances with or
without general or special warranty, conveying in fee simple or for any other term or
time, any property which he may deem proper to dispose of; to lease any of the real
property for oil, gas and/or other minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass
the absolute fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in such property as he may
elect to sell. All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to him,
and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may
need or desire. It is provided herein, however, that he shall not sell or otherwise
dispose of any of the improved property now owned by us located at, in or near the
City of Lubbock, Texas, but he shall have the full right to lease, manage and enjoy
the same during his lifetime, above provided. He shall have the right to subdivide any
farm land and sell lots therein. and may sell unimproved town lots.
FOURTH: At the death of my said husband, Charles Newton Hodges, I give, devise
and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and
personal, wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among my brothers and
sisters, share and share alike, namely:
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Saddie Rascoe, Era
Roman and Nimroy Higdon.
FIFTH: In case of the death of any of my brothers and/or sisters named in item
Fourth, above, prior to the death of my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, then it is
my will and bequest that the heirs of such deceased brother or sister shall take jointly
the share which would have gone to such brother or sister had she or he survived.
SIXTH: I nominate and appoint my said husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to be
executor of this, my last will and testament, and direct that no bond or other security
be required of him as such executor.
SEVENTH: It is my will and bequest that no action be had in the probate court, in the
administration of my estate, other than that necessary to prove and record this will
and to return an inventory and appraisement of my estate and list of claims. (Pp. 2-4,
Petition.)
This will was subsequently probated in aforementioned Special Proceedings No. 1307 of respondent
court on June 28, 1957, with the widower Charles Newton Hodges being appointed as Executor,
pursuant to the provisions thereof.
Previously, on May 27, 1957, the said widower (hereafter to be referred to as Hodges) had been
appointed Special Administrator, in which capacity he filed a motion on the same date as follows:
URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION TO ALLOW OR AUTHORIZE PETITIONER TO
CONTINUE THE BUSINESS IN WHICH HE WAS ENGAGED AND TO PERFORM
ACTS WHICH HE HAD BEEN DOING WHILE DECEASED WAS LIVING
Come petitioner in the above-entitled special proceedings, thru his undersigned attorneys, to the
Hon. Court, most respectfully states:
1. That Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving her last will and testament, a copy of
which is attached to the petition for probate of the same.
2. That in said last will and testament herein petitioner Charles Newton Hodges is
directed to have the right to manage, control use and enjoy the estate of deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges, in the same way, a provision was placed in paragraph two, the
following: "I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my
estate, to my beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and (to) hold unto
him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime."
3. That during the lifetime of Linnie Jane Hodges, herein petitioner was engaged
in the business of buying and selling personal and real properties, and do such acts
which petitioner may think best.
4. That deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving no descendants or
ascendants, except brothers and sisters and herein petitioner as executor surviving
spouse, to inherit the properties of the decedent.
5. That the present motion is submitted in order not to paralyze the business of
petitioner and the deceased, especially in the purchase and sale of properties. That
proper accounting will be had also in all these transactions.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that, petitioner C. N. Hodges (Charles
Newton Hodges) be allowed or authorized to continue the business in which he was
engaged and to perform acts which he had been doing while deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges was living.
City of Iloilo, May 27, 1957. (Annex "D", Petition.)
which the respondent court immediately granted in the following order:
It appearing in the urgent ex-parte motion filed by petitioner C. N. Hodges, that the
business in which said petitioner and the deceased were engaged will be paralyzed,
unless and until the Executor is named and appointed by the Court, the said
petitioner is allowed or authorized to continue the business in which he was engaged
and to perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased was living.
SO ORDERED.
City of Iloilo May 27, 1957. (Annex "E", Petition.)
Under date of December 11, 1957, Hodges filed as such Executor another motion thus:
MOTION TO APPROVE ALL SALES, CONVEYANCES, LEASES, MORTGAGES
THAT THE EXECUTOR HAD MADE FURTHER AND SUBSEQUENT
TRANSACTIONS WHICH THE EXECUTOR MAY DO IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
LAST WISH OF THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE HODGES.
Comes the Executor in the above-entitled proceedings, thru his undersigned
attorney, to the Hon. Court, most respectfully states:
1. That according to the last will and testament of the deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges, the executor as the surviving spouse and legatee named in the will of the
deceased; has the right to dispose of all the properties left by the deceased, portion
of which is quoted as follows:
Second: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my
estate, both personal and real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold unto him, my said husband,
during his natural lifetime.
Third: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, shall
have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during his lifetime, and
he is hereby given the right to make any changes in the physical properties of said
estate, by sale or any part thereof which he may think best, and the purchase of any
other or additional property as he may think best; to execute conveyances with or
without general or special warranty, conveying in fee simple or for any other term or
time, any property which he may deem proper to dispose of; to lease any of the real
property for oil, gas and/or other minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass
the absolute fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in such property as he may
elect to sell. All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to him,
and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may
need or desire. ...
2. That herein Executor, is not only part owner of the properties left as conjugal,
but also, the successor to all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges.
That during the lifetime of herein Executor, as Legatee has the right to sell, convey,
lease or dispose of the properties in the Philippines. That inasmuch as C.N. Hodges
was and is engaged in the buy and sell of real and personal properties, even before
the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, a motion to authorize said C.N. Hodges was filed in
Court, to allow him to continue in the business of buy and sell, which motion was
favorably granted by the Honorable Court.
3. That since the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, Mr. C.N. Hodges had been buying
and selling real and personal properties, in accordance with the wishes of the late
Linnie Jane Hodges.
4. That the Register of Deeds for Iloilo, had required of late the herein Executor to
have all the sales, leases, conveyances or mortgages made by him, approved by the
Hon. Court.
5. That it is respectfully requested, all the sales, conveyances leases and
mortgages executed by the Executor, be approved by the Hon. Court. and
subsequent sales conveyances, leases and mortgages in compliances with the
wishes of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, and within the scope of the terms of the last
will and testament, also be approved;
6. That the Executor is under obligation to submit his yearly accounts, and the
properties conveyed can also be accounted for, especially the amounts received.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that, all the sales, conveyances, leases,
and mortgages executed by the Executor, be approved by the Hon. Court, and also
the subsequent sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages in consonance with the
wishes of the deceased contained in her last will and testament, be with authorization
and approval of the Hon. Court.
City of Iloilo, December 11, 1967.
(Annex "G", Petition.)
which again was promptly granted by the respondent court on December 14, 1957 as follows:
O R D E R
As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the Executor for the reasons stated in
his motion dated December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well taken all the
sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all properties left by the deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor Charles N. Hodges are hereby
APPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized to execute subsequent sales,
conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes conveyed in the last will and
testament of the latter.
So ordered.
Iloilo City. December 14, 1957.
(Annex "H", Petition.)
On April 14, 1959, in submitting his first statement of account as Executor for approval, Hodges
alleged:
Pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Court, herein executor of the deceased,
renders the following account of his administration covering the period from January
1, 1958 to December 31, 1958, which account may be found in detail in the individual
income tax return filed for the estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, to wit:
That a certified public accountant has examined the statement of net worth of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, the assets and liabilities, as well as the income and
expenses, copy of which is hereto attached and made integral part of this statement
of account as Annex "A".
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is most respectfully prayed that, the statement of
net worth of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, the assets and liabilities, income and
expenses as shown in the individual income tax return for the estate of the deceased
and marked as Annex "A", be approved by the Honorable Court, as substantial
compliance with the requirements of the Rules of Court.
That no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of examining the
herein accounts be given notice, as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of
the deceased, in accordance with the last will and testament already probated by the
Honorable court.
City of Iloilo April 14, 1959.
(Annex "I", Petition.)
The respondent court approved this statement of account on April 21, 1959 in its order worded thus:
Upon petition of Atty. Gellada, in representation of the Executor, the statement of net
worth of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, assets and liabilities, income and
expenses as shown in the individual income tax return for the estate of the deceased
and marked as Annex "A" is approved.
SO ORDERED.
City of Iloilo April 21, 1959.
(Annex "J", Petition.)
His accounts for the periods January 1, 1959 to December 31, 1959 and January 1, 1960 to
December 31, 1960 were submitted likewise accompanied by allegations identical mutatis
mutandis to those of April 14, 1959, quoted above; and the respective orders approving the same,
dated July 30, 1960 and May 2, 1961, were substantially identical to the above-quoted order of April
21, 1959. In connection with the statements of account just mentioned, the following assertions
related thereto made by respondent-appellee Magno in her brief do not appear from all indications
discernible in the record to be disputable:
Under date of April 14, 1959, C.N. Hodges filed his first "Account by the Executor" of
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C.N. Hodges
and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, 1958 annexed thereto,
C.N. Hodges reported that the combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
P328,402.62, divided evenly between him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax return" for calendar year 1958 on
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as having
earned income of P164,201.31, exactly one-half of the net income of his combined
personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (p. 91, Appellee's
Brief.)
xxx xxx xxx
Under date of July 21, 1960, C.N. Hodges filed his second "Annual Statement of
Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of
Networth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December
31, 1959 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the combined conjugal estate
earned a net income of P270,623.32, divided evenly between him and the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax return" for
calendar year 1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, the
said estate as having earned income of P135,311.66, exactly one-half of the net
income of his combined personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges. (pp. 91-92. Appellee's Brief.)
xxx xxx xxx
Under date of April 20, 1961, C.N. Hodges filed his third "Annual Statement of
Account by the Executor for the Year 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In
the "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C.N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges" as of December 31, 1960 annexed thereto, C.N. Hodges reported that the
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of P314,857.94, divided evenly
between him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an
"individual income tax return" for calendar year 1960 on the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as having earned income of
P157,428.97, exactly one-half of the net income of his combined personal assets and
that of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (Pp. 92-93, Appellee's Brief.)
Likewise the following:
In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he listed the seven brothers and
sisters of Linnie Jane as her "heirs" (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the court
admitting the will to probate unfortunately omitted one of the heirs, Roy Higdon (see
p. 14, Green ROA). Immediately, C.N. Hodges filed a verified motion to have Roy
Higdon's name included as an heir, stating that he wanted to straighten the records
"in order the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe they were
omitted, and that they were really and are interested in the estate of deceased Linnie
Jane Hodges. .
As an executor, he was bound to file tax returns for the estate he was administering
under American law. He did file such as estate tax return on August 8, 1958. In
Schedule "M" of such return, he answered "Yes" to the question as to whether he
was contemplating "renouncing the will". On the question as to what property
interests passed to him as the surviving spouse, he answered:
"None, except for purposes of administering the Estate, paying debts,
taxes and other legal charges. It is the intention of the surviving
husband of deceased to distribute the remaining property and
interests of the deceased in their Community estate to the devisees
and legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and
expenses of administration are finally determined and paid."
Again, on August 9, 1962, barely four months before his death, he executed an
"affidavit" wherein he ratified and confirmed all that he stated in Schedule "M" of his
estate tax returns as to his having renounced what was given him by his wife's will.
1

As appointed executor, C.N. Hodges filed an "Inventory" dated May 12, 1958. He listed
all the assets of his conjugal partnership with Linnie Jane Hodges on a separate balance
sheet and then stated expressly that her estate which has come into his possession as
executor was "one-half of all the items" listed in said balance sheet. (Pp. 89-90,
Appellee's Brief.)
Parenthetically, it may be stated, at this juncture, that We are taking pains to quote wholly or at least,
extensively from some of the pleadings and orders whenever We feel that it is necessary to do so for
a more comprehensive and clearer view of the important and decisive issues raised by the parties
and a more accurate appraisal of their respective positions in regard thereto.
The records of these cases do not show that anything else was done in the above-mentioned
Special Proceedings No. 1307 until December 26, 1962, when on account of the death of Hodges
the day before, the same lawyer, Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who had been previously acting as counsel
for Hodges in his capacity as Executor of his wife's estate, and as such had filed the aforequoted
motions and manifestations, filed the following:
URGENT EX-PARTE MOTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF A
SPECIAL ADMINISTRATRIX
COMES the undersigned attorney for the Executor in the above-entitled proceedings,
to the Honorable Court, most respectfully states:
1. That in accordance with the Last Will and Testament of Linnie Jane Hodges
(deceased), her husband, Charles Newton Hodges was to act as Executor, and in
fact, in an order issued by this Hon. Court dated June 28, 1957, the said Charles
Newton Hodges was appointed Executor and had performed the duties as such.
2. That last December 22, 1962, the said Charles Newton Hodges was stricken ill,
and brought to the Iloilo Mission Hospital for treatment, but unfortunately, he died on
December 25, 1962, as shown by a copy of the death certificate hereto attached and
marked as Annex "A".
3. That in accordance with the provisions of the last will and testament of Linnie Jane
Hodges, whatever real and personal properties that may remain at the death of her
husband Charles Newton Hodges, the said properties shall be equally divided among
their heirs. That there are real and personal properties left by Charles Newton
Hodges, which need to be administered and taken care of.
4. That the estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as that of Charles
Newton Hodges, have not as yet been determined or ascertained, and there is
necessity for the appointment of a general administrator to liquidate and distribute
the residue of the estate to the heirs and legatees of both spouses. That in
accordance with the provisions of Section 2 of Rule 75 of the Rules of Court, the
conjugal partnership of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton Hodges shall be
liquidated in the testate proceedings of the wife.
5. That the undersigned counsel, has perfect personal knowledge of the existence of
the last will and testament of Charles Newton Hodges, with similar provisions as that
contained in the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges. However, said last
will and testament of Charles Newton Hodges is kept inside the vault or iron safe in
his office, and will be presented in due time before this honorable Court.
6. That in the meantime, it is imperative and indispensable that, an Administratrix be
appointed for the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and a Special Administratrix for the
estate of Charles Newton Hodges, to perform the duties required by law, to
administer, collect, and take charge of the goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate
of both spouses, Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges, as provided for
in Section 1 and 2, Rule 81 of the Rules of Court.
7. That there is delay in granting letters testamentary or of administration, because
the last will and testament of deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, is still kept in his
safe or vault, and in the meantime, unless an administratrix (and,) at the same time,
a Special Administratrix is appointed, the estate of both spouses are in danger of
being lost, damaged or go to waste.
8. That the most trusted employee of both spouses Linnie Jane Hodges and C.N.
Hodges, who had been employed for around thirty (30) years, in the person of Miss
Avelina Magno, (should) be appointed Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and at the same time Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton
Hodges. That the said Miss Avelina Magno is of legal age, a resident of the
Philippines, the most fit, competent, trustworthy and well-qualified person to serve
the duties of Administratrix and Special Administratrix and is willing to act as such.
9. That Miss Avelina Magno is also willing to file bond in such sum which the Hon.
Court believes reasonable.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, it is most respectfully prayed that, Miss
AVELINA A. MAGNO be immediately appointed Administratrix of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges and as Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges,
with powers and duties provided for by law. That the Honorable Court fix the
reasonable bond of P1,000.00 to be filed by Avelina A. Magno.
(Annex "O", Petition.)
which respondent court readily acted on in its order of even date thus: .
For the reasons alleged in the Urgent Ex-parte Motion filed by counsel for the
Executor dated December 25, 1962, which the Court finds meritorious, Miss
AVELINA A. MAGNO, is hereby appointed Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and as Special Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, in the
latter case, because the last will of said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his
vault or iron safe and that the real and personal properties of both spouses may be
lost, damaged or go to waste, unless a Special Administratrix is appointed.
Miss Avelina A. Magno is required to file bond in the sum of FIVE THOUSAND
PESOS (P5,000.00), and after having done so, let letters of Administration be issued
to her." (Annex "P", Petition.)
On December 29, 1962, however, upon urgent ex-parte petition of respondent
Magno herself, thru Atty. Gellada, Harold, R. Davies, "a representative of the heirs of
deceased Charles Newton Hodges (who had) arrived from the United States of
America to help in the administration of the estate of said deceased" was appointed
as Co-Special Administrator of the estate of Hodges, (pp. 29-33, Yellow - Record on
Appeal) only to be replaced as such co-special administrator on January 22, 1963 by
Joe Hodges, who, according to the motion of the same attorney, is "the nephew of
the deceased (who had) arrived from the United States with instructions from the
other heirs of the deceased to administer the properties or estate of Charles Newton
Hodges in the Philippines, (Pp. 47-50, id.)
Meanwhile, under date of January 9, 1963, the same Atty. Gellada filed in Special Proceedings 1672
a petition for the probate of the will of Hodges,
2
with a prayer for the issuance of letters of
administration to the same Joe Hodges, albeit the motion was followed on February 22, 1963 by a
separate one asking that Atty. Fernando Mirasol be appointed as his co-administrator. On the same date
this latter motion was filed, the court issued the corresponding order of probate and letters of
administration to Joe Hodges and Atty. Mirasol, as prayed for.
At this juncture, again, it may also be explained that just as, in her will, Mrs. Hodges bequeathed her
whole estate to her husband "to have and to hold unto him, my said husband, during his natural
lifetime", she, at the same time or in like manner, provided that "at the death of my said husband I
give devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal,
wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share
alike ". Accordingly, it became incumbent upon Hodges, as executor of his wife's will, to duly
liquidate the conjugal partnership, half of which constituted her estate, in order that upon the
eventuality of his death, "the rest, residue and remainder" thereof could be determined and
correspondingly distributed or divided among her brothers and sisters. And it was precisely because
no such liquidation was done, furthermore, there is the issue of whether the distribution of her estate
should be governed by the laws of the Philippines or those of Texas, of which State she was a
national, and, what is more, as already stated, Hodges made official and sworn statements or
manifestations indicating that as far as he was concerned no "property interests passed to him as
surviving spouse "except for purposes of administering the estate, paying debts, taxes and other
legal charges" and it was the intention of the surviving husband of the deceased to distribute the
remaining property and interests of the deceased in their Community Estate to the devisees and
legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are finally
determined and paid", that the incidents and controversies now before Us for resolution arose. As
may be observed, the situation that ensued upon the death of Hodges became rather unusual and
so, quite understandably, the lower court's actuations presently under review are apparently wanting
in consistency and seemingly lack proper orientation.
Thus, We cannot discern clearly from the record before Us the precise perspective from which the
trial court proceeded in issuing its questioned orders. And, regretably, none of the lengthy briefs
submitted by the parties is of valuable assistance in clearing up the matter.
To begin with, We gather from the two records on appeal filed by petitioner, as appellant in the
appealed cases, one with green cover and the other with a yellow cover, that at the outset, a sort of
modus operandi had been agreed upon by the parties under which the respective administrators of
the two estates were supposed to act conjointly, but since no copy of the said agreement can be
found in the record before Us, We have no way of knowing when exactly such agreement was
entered into and under what specific terms. And while reference is made to said modus operandi in
the order of September 11, 1964, on pages 205-206 of the Green Record on Appeal, reading thus:
The present incident is to hear the side of administratrix, Miss Avelina A. Magno, in
answer to the charges contained in the motion filed by Atty. Cesar Tirol on
September 3, 1964. In answer to the said charges, Miss Avelina A. Magno, through
her counsel, Atty. Rizal Quimpo, filed a written manifestation.
After reading the manifestation here of Atty. Quimpo, for and in behalf of the
administratrix, Miss Avelina A. Magno, the Court finds that everything that happened
before September 3, 1964, which was resolved on September 8, 1964, to the
satisfaction of parties, was simply due to a misunderstanding between the
representative of the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank and Miss Magno
and in order to restore the harmonious relations between the parties, the Court
ordered the parties to remain in status quo as to their modus operandi before
September 1, 1964, until after the Court can have a meeting with all the parties and
their counsels on October 3, as formerly agreed upon between counsels, Attys.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta, Attys. Tirol and Tirol and Atty. Rizal Quimpo.
In the meantime, the prayers of Atty. Quimpo as stated in his manifestation shall not
be resolved by this Court until October 3, 1964.
SO ORDERED.
there is nothing in the record indicating whatever happened to it afterwards, except that again,
reference thereto was made in the appealed order of October 27, 1965, on pages 292-295 of the
Green Record on Appeal, as follows:
On record is an urgent motion to allow PCIB to open all doors and locks in the
Hodges Office at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City, to take immediate and exclusive
possession thereof and to place its own locks and keys for security purposes of the
PCIB dated October 27, 1965 thru Atty. Cesar Tirol. It is alleged in said urgent
motion that Administratrix Magno of the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges refused
to open the Hodges Office at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City where PCIB holds
office and therefore PCIB is suffering great moral damage and prejudice as a result
of said act. It is prayed that an order be issued authorizing it (PCIB) to open all doors
and locks in the said office, to take immediate and exclusive possession thereof and
place thereon its own locks and keys for security purposes; instructing the clerk of
court or any available deputy to witness and supervise the opening of all doors and
locks and taking possession of the PCIB.
A written opposition has been filed by Administratrix Magno of even date (Oct. 27)
thru counsel Rizal Quimpo stating therein that she was compelled to close the office
for the reason that the PCIB failed to comply with the order of this Court signed by
Judge Anacleto I. Bellosillo dated September 11, 1964 to the effect that both estates
should remain in status quo to their modus operandi as of September 1, 1964.
To arrive at a happy solution of the dispute and in order not to interrupt the operation
of the office of both estates, the Court aside from the reasons stated in the urgent
motion and opposition heard the verbal arguments of Atty. Cesar Tirol for the PCIB
and Atty. Rizal Quimpo for Administratix Magno.
After due consideration, the Court hereby orders Magno to open all doors and locks
in the Hodges Office at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City in the presence of the
PCIB or its duly authorized representative and deputy clerk of court Albis of this
branch not later than 7:30 tomorrow morning October 28, 1965 in order that the office
of said estates could operate for business.
Pursuant to the order of this Court thru Judge Bellosillo dated September 11, 1964, it
is hereby ordered:
(a) That all cash collections should be deposited in the joint account of the estates of
Linnie Jane Hodges and estates of C.N. Hodges;
(b) That whatever cash collections that had been deposited in the account of either of
the estates should be withdrawn and since then deposited in the joint account of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the estate of C.N. Hodges;
(c) That the PCIB should countersign the check in the amount of P250 in favor of
Administratrix Avelina A. Magno as her compensation as administratrix of the Linnie
Jane Hodges estate chargeable to the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges only;
(d) That Administratrix Magno is hereby directed to allow the PCIB to inspect
whatever records, documents and papers she may have in her possession in the
same manner that Administrator PCIB is also directed to allow Administratrix Magno
to inspect whatever records, documents and papers it may have in its possession;
(e) That the accountant of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges shall have access to all
records of the transactions of both estates for the protection of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges; and in like manner the accountant or any authorized representative of
the estate of C.N. Hodges shall have access to the records of transactions of the
Linnie Jane Hodges estate for the protection of the estate of C.N. Hodges.
Once the estates' office shall have been opened by Administratrix Magno in the
presence of the PCIB or its duly authorized representative and deputy clerk Albis or
his duly authorized representative, both estates or any of the estates should not
close it without previous consent and authority from this court.
SO ORDERED.
As may be noted, in this order, the respondent court required that all collections from the properties
in the name of Hodges should be deposited in a joint account of the two estates, which indicates that
seemingly the so-calledmodus operandi was no longer operative, but again there is nothing to show
when this situation started.
Likewise, in paragraph 3 of the petitioner's motion of September 14, 1964, on pages 188-201 of the
Green Record on Appeal, (also found on pp. 83-91 of the Yellow Record on Appeal) it is alleged
that:
3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C.N. Hodges, Joe Hodges and
Fernando P. Mirasol acting as the two co-administrators of the estate of C.N.
Hodges, Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and Messrs. William Brown and Ardell Young acting for all of the Higdon
family who claim to be the sole beneficiaries of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
various legal counsel representing the aforementioned parties entered into an
amicable agreement, which was approved by this Honorable Court, wherein the
parties thereto agreed that certain sums of money were to be paid in settlement of
different claims against the two estates and that the assets (to the extent they
existed) of both estates would be administered jointly by the PCIB as administrator of
the estate of C.N. Hodges and Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges, subject, however, to the aforesaid October 5, 1963 Motion,
namely, the PCIB's claim to exclusive possession and ownership of one hundred
percent (100%) (or, in the alternative, seventy-five percent (75%) of all assets owned
by C.N. Hodges or Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. On February 1,
1964 (pp. 934-935, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1672) this Honorable Court amended its order
of January 24, 1964 but in no way changed its recognition of the afore-described
basic demand by the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C.N. Hodges to one
hundred percent (100%) of the assets claimed by both estates.
but no copy of the mentioned agreement of joint administration of the two estates exists in the
record, and so, We are not informed as to what exactly are the terms of the same which could be
relevant in the resolution of the issues herein.
On the other hand, the appealed order of November 3, 1965, on pages 313-320 of the Green
Record on Appeal, authorized payment by respondent Magno of, inter alia, her own fees as
administratrix, the attorney's fees of her lawyers, etc., as follows:
Administratrix Magno thru Attys. Raul S. Manglapus and Rizal. R. Quimpo filed a
Manifestation and Urgent Motion dated June 10, 1964 asking for the approval of the
Agreement dated June 6, 1964 which Agreement is for the purpose of retaining their
services to protect and defend the interest of the said Administratrix in these
proceedings and the same has been signed by and bears the express conformity of
the attorney-in-fact of the late Linnie Jane Hodges, Mr. James L. Sullivan. It is further
prayed that the Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges be
directed to pay the retailers fee of said lawyers, said fees made chargeable as
expenses for the administration of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 1641-1642,
Vol. V, Sp. 1307).
An opposition has been filed by the Administrator PCIB thru Atty. Herminio Ozaeta
dated July 11, 1964, on the ground that payment of the retainers fee of Attys.
Manglapus and Quimpo as prayed for in said Manifestation and Urgent Motion is
prejudicial to the 100% claim of the estate of C. N. Hodges; employment of Attys.
Manglapus and Quimpo is premature and/or unnecessary; Attys. Quimpo and
Manglapus are representing conflicting interests and the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges should be closed and terminated (pp. 1679-1684, Vol, V, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Leon P. Gellada filed a memorandum dated July 28, 1964 asking that the
Manifestation and Urgent Motion filed by Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo be denied
because no evidence has been presented in support thereof. Atty. Manglapus filed a
reply to the opposition of counsel for the Administrator of the C. N. Hodges estate
wherein it is claimed that expenses of administration include reasonable counsel or
attorney's fees for services to the executor or administrator. As a matter of fact the
fee agreement dated February 27, 1964 between the PCIB and the law firm of
Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta as its counsel (Pp. 1280-1284, Vol. V, Sp. 1307) which
stipulates the fees for said law firm has been approved by the Court in its order dated
March 31, 1964. If payment of the fees of the lawyers for the administratrix of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges will cause prejudice to the estate of C. N. Hodges, in
like manner the very agreement which provides for the payment of attorney's fees to
the counsel for the PCIB will also be prejudicial to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
(pp. 1801-1814, Vol. V, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Herminio Ozaeta filed a rejoinder dated August 10, 1964 to the reply to the
opposition to the Manifestation and Urgent Motion alleging principally that the estates
of Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges are not similarly situated for the reason that
C. N. Hodges is an heir of Linnie Jane Hodges whereas the latter is not an heir of the
former for the reason that Linnie Jane Hodges predeceased C. N. Hodges (pp. 1839-
1848, Vol. V, Sp. 1307); that Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo formally entered their
appearance in behalf of Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on June
10, 1964 (pp. 1639-1640, Vol. V, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Manglapus filed a manifestation dated December 18, 1964 stating therein that
Judge Bellosillo issued an order requiring the parties to submit memorandum in
support of their respective contentions. It is prayed in this manifestation that the
Manifestation and Urgent Motion dated June 10, 1964 be resolved (pp. 6435-6439,
Vol. VII, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a counter- manifestation dated January
5, 1965 asking that after the consideration by the court of all allegations and
arguments and pleadings of the PCIB in connection therewith (1) said manifestation
and urgent motion of Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo be denied (pp. 6442-6453, Vol.
VII, Sp. 1307). Judge Querubin issued an order dated January 4, 1965 approving the
motion dated June 10, 1964 of the attorneys for the administratrix of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges and agreement annexed to said motion. The said order further
states: "The Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is authorized to issue
or sign whatever check or checks may be necessary for the above purpose and the
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is ordered to countersign the same. (pp.
6518-6523, Vol VII, Sp. 1307).
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a manifestation and motion dated
January 13, 1965 asking that the order of January 4, 1965 which was issued by
Judge Querubin be declared null and void and to enjoin the clerk of court and the
administratrix and administrator in these special proceedings from all proceedings
and action to enforce or comply with the provision of the aforesaid order of January
4, 1965. In support of said manifestation and motion it is alleged that the order of
January 4, 1965 is null and void because the said order was never delivered to the
deputy clerk Albis of Branch V (the sala of Judge Querubin) and the alleged order
was found in the drawer of the late Judge Querubin in his office when said drawer
was opened on January 13, 1965 after the death of Judge Querubin by Perfecto
Querubin, Jr., the son of the judge and in the presence of Executive Judge Rovira
and deputy clerk Albis (Sec. 1, Rule 36, New Civil Code) (Pp. 6600-6606, Vol. VIII,
Sp. 1307).
Atty. Roman Mabanta, Jr. for the PCIB filed a motion for reconsideration dated
February 23, 1965 asking that the order dated January 4, 1964 be reversed on the
ground that:
1. Attorneys retained must render services to the estate not to the personal heir;
2. If services are rendered to both, fees should be pro-rated between them;
3. Attorneys retained should not represent conflicting interests; to the prejudice of the
other heirs not represented by said attorneys;
4. Fees must be commensurate to the actual services rendered to the estate;
5. There must be assets in the estate to pay for said fees (Pp. 6625-6636, Vol. VIII,
Sp. 1307).
Atty. Quimpo for Administratrix Magno of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges filed a
motion to submit dated July 15, 1965 asking that the manifestation and urgent motion
dated June 10, 1964 filed by Attys. Manglapus and Quimpo and other incidents
directly appertaining thereto be considered submitted for consideration and approval
(pp. 6759-6765, Vol. VIII, Sp. 1307).
Considering the arguments and reasons in support to the pleadings of both the
Administratrix and the PCIB, and of Atty. Gellada, hereinbefore mentioned, the Court
believes that the order of January 4, 1965 is null and void for the reason that the said
order has not been filed with deputy clerk Albis of this court (Branch V) during the
lifetime of Judge Querubin who signed the said order. However, the said
manifestation and urgent motion dated June 10, 1964 is being treated and
considered in this instant order. It is worthy to note that in the motion dated January
24, 1964 (Pp. 1149- 1163, Vol. V, Sp. 1307) which has been filed by Atty. Gellada
and his associates and Atty. Gibbs and other lawyers in addition to the stipulated
fees for actual services rendered. However, the fee agreement dated February 27,
1964, between the Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges and Atty. Gibbs which
provides for retainer fee of P4,000 monthly in addition to specific fees for actual
appearances, reimbursement for expenditures and contingent fees has also been
approved by the Court and said lawyers have already been paid. (pp. 1273-1279,
Vol. V, Sp. Proc. 1307 pp. 1372-1373, Vol. V, Sp. Proc. 1307).
WHEREFORE, the order dated January 4, 1965 is hereby declared null and void.
The manifestation and motion dated June 10, 1964 which was filed by the attorneys
for the administratrix of the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is granted and the
agreement annexed thereto is hereby approved.
The administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is hereby directed to be
needed to implement the approval of the agreement annexed to the motion and the
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges is directed to countersign the said check
or checks as the case may be.
SO ORDERED.
thereby implying somehow that the court assumed the existence of independent but simultaneous
administrations.
Be that as it may, again, it appears that on August 6, 1965, the court, acting on a motion of petitioner
for the approval of deeds of sale executed by it as administrator of the estate of Hodges, issued the
following order, also on appeal herein:
Acting upon the motion for approval of deeds of sale for registered land of the PCIB,
Administrator of the Testate Estate of C. N. Hodges in Sp. Proc. 1672 (Vol. VII, pp.
2244-2245), dated July 16, 1965, filed by Atty. Cesar T. Tirol in representation of the
law firms of Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta and Tirol and Tirol and the opposition thereto
of Atty. Rizal R. Quimpo (Vol. VIII, pp. 6811-6813) dated July 22, 1965 and
considering the allegations and reasons therein stated, the court believes that the
deeds of sale should be signed jointly by the PCIB, Administrator of the Testate
Estate of C. N. Hodges and Avelina A. Magno, Administratrix of the Testate Estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges and to this effect the PCIB should take the necessary steps so
that Administratrix Avelina A. Magno could sign the deeds of sale.
SO ORDERED. (p. 248, Green Record on Appeal.)
Notably this order required that even the deeds executed by petitioner, as administrator of the Estate
of Hodges, involving properties registered in his name, should be co-signed by respondent
Magno.
3
And this was not an isolated instance.
In her brief as appellee, respondent Magno states:
After the lower court had authorized appellee Avelina A. Magno to execute final
deeds of sale pursuant to contracts to sell executed by C. N. Hodges on February
20, 1963 (pp. 45-46, Green ROA), motions for the approval of final deeds of sale
(signed by appellee Avelina A. Magno and the administrator of the estate of C. N.
Hodges, first Joe Hodges, then Atty. Fernando Mirasol and later the appellant) were
approved by the lower court upon petition of appellee Magno's counsel, Atty. Leon P.
Gellada, on the basis of section 8 of Rule 89 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Subsequently, the appellant, after it had taken over the bulk of the assets of the two
estates, started presenting these motions itself. The first such attempt was a "Motion
for Approval of Deeds of Sale for Registered Land and Cancellations of Mortgages"
dated July 21, 1964 filed by Atty. Cesar T. Tirol, counsel for the appellant, thereto
annexing two (2) final deeds of sale and two (2) cancellations of mortgages signed
by appellee Avelina A. Magno and D. R. Paulino, Assistant Vice-President and
Manager of the appellant (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Vol. V, pp. 1694-1701).
This motion was approved by the lower court on July 27, 1964. It was followed by
another motion dated August 4, 1964 for the approval of one final deed of sale again
signed by appellee Avelina A. Magno and D. R. Paulino (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No.
1307. Vol. V, pp. 1825-1828), which was again approved by the lower court on
August 7, 1964. The gates having been opened, a flood ensued: the appellant
subsequently filed similar motions for the approval of a multitude of deeds of sales
and cancellations of mortgages signed by both the appellee Avelina A. Magno and
the appellant.
A random check of the records of Special Proceeding No. 1307 alone will show Atty.
Cesar T. Tirol as having presented for court approval deeds of sale of real properties
signed by both appellee Avelina A. Magno and D. R. Paulino in the following
numbers: (a) motion dated September 21, 1964 6 deeds of sale; (b) motion dated
November 4, 1964 1 deed of sale; (c) motion dated December 1, 1964 4 deeds
of sale; (d) motion dated February 3, 1965 8 deeds of sale; (f) motion dated May
7, 1965 9 deeds of sale. In view of the very extensive landholdings of the Hodges
spouses and the many motions filed concerning deeds of sale of real properties
executed by C. N. Hodges the lower court has had to constitute special separate
expedientes in Special Proceedings Nos. 1307 and 1672 to include mere motions for
the approval of deeds of sale of the conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses.
As an example, from among the very many, under date of February 3, 1965, Atty.
Cesar T. Tirol, as counsel for the appellant, filed "Motion for Approval of Deeds of
Sale for Registered Land and Cancellations of Mortgages" (CFI Record, Sp. Proc.
No. 1307, Vol. VIII, pp. 6570-6596) the allegations of which read:
"1. In his lifetime, the late C. N. Hodges executed "Contracts to Sell" real property,
and the prospective buyers under said contracts have already paid the price and
complied with the terms and conditions thereof;
"2. In the course of administration of both estates, mortgage debtors have already
paid their debts secured by chattel mortgages in favor of the late C. N. Hodges, and
are now entitled to release therefrom;
"3. There are attached hereto documents executed jointly by the Administratrix in Sp.
Proc. No. 1307 and the Administrator in Sp. Proc. No. 1672, consisting of deeds of
sale in favor
Fernando Cano, Bacolod City, Occ. Negros
Fe Magbanua, Iloilo City
Policarpio M. Pareno, La Paz, Iloilo City
Rosario T. Libre, Jaro, Iloilo City
Federico B. Torres, Iloilo City
Reynaldo T. Lataquin, La Paz, Iloilo City
Anatolio T. Viray, Iloilo City
Benjamin Rolando, Jaro, Iloilo City
and cancellations of mortgages in favor of
Pablo Manzano, Oton, Iloilo
Ricardo M. Diana, Dao, San Jose, Antique
Simplicio Tingson, Iloilo City
Amado Magbanua, Pototan, Iloilo
Roselia M. Baes, Bolo, Roxas City
William Bayani, Rizal Estanzuela, Iloilo City
Elpidio Villarete, Molo, Iloilo City
Norma T. Ruiz, Jaro, Iloilo City
"4. That the approval of the aforesaid documents will not reduce the
assets of the estates so as to prevent any creditor from receiving his
full debt or diminish his dividend."
And the prayer of this motion is indeed very revealing:
"WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that, under Rule 89, Section 8 of the Rules
of Court, this honorable court approve the aforesaid deeds of sale and cancellations
of mortgages." (Pp. 113-117, Appellee's Brief.)
None of these assertions is denied in Petitioner's reply brief.
Further indicating lack of concrete perspective or orientation on the part of the respondent court and
its hesitancy to clear up matters promptly, in its other appealed order of November 23, 1965, on
pages 334-335 of the Green Record on Appeal, said respondent court allowed the movant Ricardo
Salas, President of appellee Western Institute of Technology (successor of Panay Educational
Institutions, Inc.), one of the parties with whom Hodges had contracts that are in question in the
appeals herein, to pay petitioner, as Administrator of the estate of Hodges and/or respondent
Magno, as Administrator of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, thus:
Considering that in both cases there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor
distribution of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto, the Court believes that
payment to both the administrator of the testate estate of C. N. Hodges and the
administratrix of the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges or to either one of the two
estates is proper and legal.
WHEREFORE, movant Ricardo T. Salas can pay to both estates or either of them.
SO ORDERED.
(Pp. 334-335, Green Record on Appeal.)
On the other hand, as stated earlier, there were instances when respondent Magno was given
authority to act alone. For instance, in the other appealed order of December 19, 1964, on page 221
of the Green Record on Appeal, the respondent court approved payments made by her of overtime
pay to some employees of the court who had helped in gathering and preparing copies of parts of
the records in both estates as follows:
Considering that the expenses subject of the motion to approve payment of overtime
pay dated December 10, 1964, are reasonable and are believed by this Court to be a
proper charge of administration chargeable to the testate estate of the late Linnie
Jane Hodges, the said expenses are hereby APPROVED and to be charged against
the testate estate of the late Linnie Jane Hodges. The administrator of the testate
estate of the late Charles Newton Hodges is hereby ordered to countersign the check
or checks necessary to pay the said overtime pay as shown by the bills marked
Annex "A", "B" and "C" of the motion.
SO ORDERED.
(Pp. 221-222, Green Record on Appeal.)
Likewise, the respondent court approved deeds of sale executed by respondent Magno alone, as
Administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, covering properties in the name of Hodges, pursuant to
"contracts to sell" executed by Hodges, irrespective of whether they were executed by him before or
after the death of his wife. The orders of this nature which are also on appeal herein are the
following:
1. Order of March 30, 1966, on p. 137 of the Green Record on Appeal, approving the deed of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Lorenzo Carles on February 24, 1966, pursuant
to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on June 17, 1958, after the death of his wife, which contract
petitioner claims was cancelled by it for failure of Carles to pay the installments due on January 7,
1965.
2. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 139-140, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Salvador Guzman on February 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell"
signed by Hodges on September 13, 1960, after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner
claims it cancelled on March 3, 1965 in view of failure of said appellee to pay the installments on
time.
3. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 167-168, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Purificacion Coronado on March 28, 1966 pursuant to a "contract to sell"
signed by Hodges on August 14, 1961, after the death of his wife.
4. Order of April 20, 1966, on pp. 168-169, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Florenia Barrido on March 28, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell"
signed by Hodges on February 21, 1958, after the death of his wife.
5. Order of June 7, 1966, on pp. 184-185, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Belcezar Causing on May 2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed
by Hodges on February 10, 1959, after the death of his wife.
6. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 211-212, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Artheo Thomas Jamir on June 3, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell"
signed by Hodges on May 26, 1961, after the death of his wife.
7. Order of June 21, 1966, on pp. 212-213, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellees Graciano Lucero and Melquiades Batisanan on June 6 and June 3,
1966, respectively, pursuant to "contracts to sell" signed by Hodges on June 9, 1959 and November
27, 1961, respectively, after the death of his wife.
8. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., approving the deed of sale executed by
respondent Magno in favor of appellees Espiridion Partisala, Winifredo Espada and Rosario
Alingasa on September 6, 1966, August 17, 1966 and August 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to
"contracts to sell" signed by Hodges on April 20, 1960, April 18, 1960 and August 25, 1958,
respectively, that is, after the death of his wife.
9. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 137-138, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Alfredo Catedral on March 2, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed
by Hodges on May 29, 1954, before the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had
cancelled on February 16, 1966 for failure of appellee Catedral to pay the installments due on time.
10. Order of April 5, 1966, on pp. 138-139, id., approving the deed of sale executed by respondent
Magno in favor of appellee Jose Pablico on March 7, 1966, pursuant to a "contract to sell" signed by
Hodges on March 7, 1950, after the death of his wife, which contract petitioner claims it had
cancelled on June 29, 1960, for failure of appellee Pablico to pay the installments due on time.
11. Order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 303-304, id., insofar as it approved the deed of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellee Pepito Iyulores on September 6, 1966, pursuant
to a "contract to sell" signed by Hodges on February 5, 1951, before the death of his wife.
12. Order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336, id., approving three deeds of sale executed by
respondent Magno, one in favor of appellees Santiago Pacaonsis and two in favor of appellee Adelfa
Premaylon on December 5, 1966 and November 3, 1966, respectively, pursuant to separate
"promises to sell" signed respectively by Hodges on May 26, 1955 and January 30, 1954, before the
death of his wife, and October 31, 1959, after her death.
In like manner, there were also instances when respondent court approved deeds of sale executed
by petitioner alone and without the concurrence of respondent Magno, and such approvals have not
been the subject of any appeal. No less than petitioner points this out on pages 149-150 of its brief
as appellant thus:
The points of fact and law pertaining to the two abovecited assignments of error have
already been discussed previously. In the first abovecited error, the order alluded to
was general, and as already explained before, it was, as admitted by the lower court
itself, superseded by the particular orders approving specific final deeds of sale
executed by the appellee, Avelina A. Magno, which are subject of this appeal, as well
as the particular orders approving specific final deeds of sale executed by the
appellant, Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, which were never appealed by
the appellee, Avelina A. Magno, nor by any party for that matter, and which are now
therefore final.
Now, simultaneously with the foregoing incidents, others of more fundamental and all embracing
significance developed. On October 5, 1963, over the signature of Atty. Allison J. Gibbs in
representation of the law firm of Ozaeta, Gibbs & Ozaeta, as counsel for the co-administrators Joe
Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol, the following self-explanatory motion was filed:
URGENT MOTION FOR AN ACCOUNTING AND DELIVERY TO
ADMINISTRATION OF THE ESTATE OF C. N. HODGES OF ALL
OF THE ASSETS OF THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF THE
DECEASED LINNIE JANE HODGES AND C N. HODGES EXISTING
AS OF MAY 23, 1957 PLUS ALL THE RENTS, EMOLUMENTS AND
INCOME THEREFROM.
COMES NOW the co-administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, Joe Hodges,
through his undersigned attorneys in the above-entitled proceedings, and to this
Honorable Court respectfully alleges:
(1) On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City.
(2) On June 28, 1957 this Honorable Court admitted to probate the Last Will and
Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed November 22, 1952 and
appointed C. N. Hodges as Executor of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (pp. 24-25,
Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).
(3) On July 1, 1957 this Honorable Court issued Letters Testamentary to C. N.
Hodges in the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 30, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).
(4) On December 14, 1957 this Honorable Court, on the basis of the following
allegations in a Motion dated December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. Gellada as
attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges:
"That herein Executor, (is) not only part owner of the properties left as
conjugal, but also,the successor to all the properties left by the
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges."
(p. 44, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis supplied.)
issued the following order:
"As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the Executory, for the
reasons stated in his motion dated December 11, 1957 which the
court considers well taken, all the sales, conveyances, leases and
mortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges
are hereby APPROVED. The said executor is further authorized to
execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of
the properties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in
consonance with the wishes contained in the last will and testament
of the latter."
(p. 46, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis supplied.)
(5) On April 21, 1959 this Honorable Court approved the inventory and accounting
submitted by C. N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on April 14, 1959
wherein he alleged among other things
"That no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of
examining the herein account, be given notice, as herein executor is
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the
last will and testament already probated by the Honorable Court."
(pp. 77-78, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis supplied.).
(6) On July 30, 1960 this Honorable Court approved the "Annual Statement of
Account" submitted by C. N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on July 21,
1960 wherein he alleged among other things:
"That no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of
examining the herein account, be given notice as herein executor is
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
accordance with the last will and testament of the deceased, already
probated by this Honorable Court."
(pp. 81-82. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis supplied.)
(7) On May 2, 1961 this Honorable court approved the "Annual Statement of Account
By The Executor for the Year 1960" submitted through Leon P. Gellada on April 20,
1961 wherein he alleged:
That no person interested in the Philippines be given notice, of the
time and place of examining the herein account, as herein Executor is
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
accordance with the last will and testament of the deceased, already
probated by this Honorable Court.
(pp. 90-91. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307; emphasis supplied.)
(8) On December 25, 1962, C.N. Hodges died.
(9) On December 25, 1962, on the Urgent Ex-parte Motion of Leon P. Gellada filed
only in Special Proceeding No. 1307, this Honorable Court appointed Avelina A.
Magno
"Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and as Special Administratrix of
the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, in the latter case, because the last will of said
Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his vault or iron safe and that the real and
personal properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or go to waste, unless a
Special Administratrix is appointed."
(p. 100. Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
(10) On December 26, 1962 Letters of Administration were issued to Avelina Magno
pursuant to this Honorable Court's aforesaid Order of December 25, 1962
"With full authority to take possession of all the property of said
deceased in any province or provinces in which it may be situated
and to perform all other acts necessary for the preservation of said
property, said Administratrix and/or Special Administratrix having filed
a bond satisfactory to the Court."
(p. 102, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
(11) On January 22, 1963 this Honorable Court on petition of Leon P. Gellada of
January 21, 1963 issued Letters of Administration to:
(a) Avelina A. Magno as Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
(b) Avelina A. Magno as Special Administratrix of the Estate of Charles Newton
Hodges; and
(c) Joe Hodges as Co-Special Administrator of the Estate of Charles Newton
Hodges.
(p. 43, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307)
(12) On February 20, 1963 this Honorable Court on the basis of a motion filed by
Leon P. Gellada as legal counsel on February 16, 1963 for Avelina A. Magno acting
as Administratrix of the Estate of Charles Newton Hodges (pp. 114-116, Sp. Proc.
1307) issued the following order:
"... se autoriza a aquella (Avelina A. Magno) a firmar escrituras de
venta definitiva de propiedades cubiertas por contratos para vender,
firmados, en vida, por el finado Charles Newton Hodges, cada vez
que el precio estipulado en cada contrato este totalmente pagado. Se
autoriza igualmente a la misma a firmar escrituras de cancelacion de
hipoteca tanto de bienes reales como personales cada vez que la
consideracion de cada hipoteca este totalmente pagada.
"Cada una de dichas escrituras que se otorguen debe ser sometida
para la aprobacion de este Juzgado."
(p. 117, Sp. Proc. 1307).
[Par 1 (c), Reply to Motion For Removal of Joe Hodges]
(13) On September l6, 1963 Leon P. Gellada, acting as attorney for Avelina A.
Magno as Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, alleges:
3. That since January, 1963, both estates of Linnie Jane Hodges
and Charles Newton Hodges have been receiving in full, payments
for those "contracts to sell" entered into by C. N. Hodges during his
lifetime, and the purchasers have been demanding the execution of
definite deeds of sale in their favor.
4. That hereto attached are thirteen (13) copies deeds of sale
executed by the Administratrix and by the co-administrator (Fernando
P. Mirasol) of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton
Hodges respectively, in compliance with the terms and conditions of
the respective "contracts to sell" executed by the parties thereto."
(14) The properties involved in the aforesaid motion of September 16, 1963 are all
registered in the name of the deceased C. N. Hodges.
(15) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and belief, has been advertising in
the newspaper in Iloilo thusly:
For Sale
Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Charles Newton Hodges.
All Real Estate or Personal Property will be sold on First Come First Served Basis.
Avelina
A.
Magno
Admini
stratrix
(16) Avelina A. Magno, it is alleged on information and belief, has paid and still is
paying sums of money to sundry persons.
(17) Joe Hodges through the undersigned attorneys manifested during the hearings
before this Honorable Court on September 5 and 6, 1963 that the estate of C. N.
Hodges was claiming all of the assets belonging to the deceased spouses Linnie
Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges situated in Philippines because of the aforesaid
election by C. N. Hodges wherein he claimed and took possession as sole owner of
all of said assets during the administration of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on the
ground that he was the sole devisee and legatee under her Last Will and Testament.
(18) Avelina A. Magno has submitted no inventory and accounting of her
administration as Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Special
Administratrix of the estate of C. N. Hodges. However, from manifestations made by
Avelina A. Magno and her legal counsel, Leon P. Gellada, there is no question she
will claim that at least fifty per cent (50%) of the conjugal assets of the deceased
spouses and the rents, emoluments and income therefrom belong to the Higdon
family who are named in paragraphs Fourth and Fifth of the Will of Linnie Jane
Hodges (p. 5, Rec. Sp. Proc. 1307).
WHEREFORE, premises considered, movant respectfully prays that this Honorable
Court, after due hearing, order:
(1) Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and accounting of all of the funds,
properties and assets of any character belonging to the deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges and C. N. Hodges which have come into her possession, with full details of
what she has done with them;
(2) Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to the Administrator of the estate of C.
N. Hodges all of the funds, properties and assets of any character remaining in her
possession;
(3) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the aforesaid issues, Avelina A.
Magno to stop, unless she first secures the conformity of Joe Hodges (or his duly
authorized representative, such as the undersigned attorneys) as the Co-
administrator and attorney-in-fact of a majority of the beneficiaries of the estate of C.
N. Hodges:
(a) Advertising the sale and the sale of the properties of the estates:
(b) Employing personnel and paying them any compensation.
(4) Such other relief as this Honorable Court may deem just and equitable in the
premises. (Annex "T", Petition.)
Almost a year thereafter, or on September 14, 1964, after the co-administrators Joe Hodges and
Fernando P. Mirasol were replaced by herein petitioner Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank
as sole administrator, pursuant to an agreement of all the heirs of Hodges approved by the court,
and because the above motion of October 5, 1963 had not yet been heard due to the absence from
the country of Atty. Gibbs, petitioner filed the following:
MANIFESTATION AND MOTION, INCLUDING MOTION TO SET
FOR HEARING AND RESOLVE "URGENT MOTION FOR AN
ACCOUNTING AND DELIVERY TO ADMINISTRATORS OF THE
ESTATE OF C. N. HODGES OF ALL THE ASSETS OF THE
CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF THE DECEASED LINNIE JANE
HODGES AND C. N. HODGES EXISTING AS OF MAY 23, 1957
PLUS ALL OF THE RENTS, EMOLUMENTS AND INCOME
THEREFROM OF OCTOBER 5, 1963.
COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (hereinafter referred to as
PCIB), the administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, deceased, in Special
Proceedings No. 1672, through its undersigned counsel, and to this Honorable Court
respectfully alleges that:
1. On October 5, 1963, Joe Hodges acting as the co-administrator of the estate of C.
N. Hodges filed, through the undersigned attorneys, an "Urgent Motion For An
Accounting and Delivery To Administrator of the Estate of C. N. Hodges of all Of The
Assets Of The Conjugal Partnership of The Deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N.
Hodges Existing as Of May, 23, 1957 Plus All Of The Rents, Emoluments and
Income Therefrom" (pp. 536-542, CFI Rec. S. P. No. 1672).
2. On January 24, 1964 this Honorable Court, on the basis of an amicable agreement
entered into on January 23, 1964 by the two co-administrators of the estate of C. N.
Hodges and virtually all of the heirs of C. N. Hodges (p. 912, CFI Rec., S. P. No.
1672), resolved the dispute over who should act as administrator of the estate of C.
N. Hodges by appointing the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges
(pp. 905-906, CFI Rec. S. P. No. 1672) and issuing letters of administration to the
PCIB.
3. On January 24, 1964 virtually all of the heirs of C. N. Hodges, Joe Hodges and
Fernando P. Mirasol acting as the two co-administrators of the estate of C. N.
Hodges, Avelina A. Magno acting as the administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges, and Messrs. William Brown and Ardel Young Acting for all of the Higdon
family who claim to be the sole beneficiaries of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
various legal counsel representing the aforenamed parties entered into an amicable
agreement, which was approved by this Honorable Court, wherein the parties thereto
agreed that certain sums of money were to be paid in settlement of different claims
against the two estates and that the assets (to the extent they existed)of both estates
would be administrated jointly by the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N.
Hodges and Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
subject, however, to the aforesaid October 5, 1963 Motion, namely, the PCIB's claim
to exclusive possession and ownership of one-hundred percent (10017,) (or, in the
alternative, seventy-five percent [75%] of all assets owned by C. N. Hodges or Linnie
Jane Hodges situated in the Philippines. On February 1, 1964 (pp. 934-935, CFI
Rec., S. P. No. 1672) this Honorable Court amended its order of January 24, 1964
but in no way changes its recognition of the aforedescribed basic demand by the
PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges to one hundred percent (100%)
of the assets claimed by both estates.
4. On February 15, 1964 the PCIB filed a "Motion to Resolve" the aforesaid Motion of
October 5, 1963. This Honorable Court set for hearing on June 11, 1964 the Motion
of October 5, 1963.
5. On June 11, 1964, because the undersigned Allison J. Gibbs was absent in the
United States, this Honorable Court ordered the indefinite postponement of the
hearing of the Motion of October 5, 1963.
6. Since its appointment as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges the PCIB has
not been able to properly carry out its duties and obligations as administrator of the
estate of C. N. Hodges because of the following acts, among others, of Avelina A.
Magno and those who claim to act for her as administratrix of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges:
(a) Avelina A. Magno illegally acts as if she is in exclusive control of
all of the assets in the Philippines of both estates including those
claimed by the estate of C. N. Hodges as evidenced in part by her
locking the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City on August
31, 1964 and refusing to reopen same until ordered to do so by this
Honorable Court on September 7, 1964.
(b) Avelina A. Magno illegally acts as though she alone may decide
how the assets of the estate of C.N. Hodges should be administered,
who the PCIB shall employ and how much they may be paid as
evidenced in party by her refusal to sign checks issued by the PCIB
payable to the undersigned counsel pursuant to their fee agreement
approved by this Honorable Court in its order dated March 31, 1964.
(c) Avelina A. Magno illegally gives access to and turns over
possession of the records and assets of the estate of C.N. Hodges to
the attorney-in-fact of the Higdon Family, Mr. James L. Sullivan, as
evidenced in part by the cashing of his personal checks.
(d) Avelina A. Magno illegally refuses to execute checks prepared by
the PCIB drawn to pay expenses of the estate of C. N. Hodges as
evidenced in part by the check drawn to reimburse the PCIB's
advance of P48,445.50 to pay the 1964 income taxes reported due
and payable by the estate of C.N. Hodges.
7. Under and pursuant to the orders of this Honorable Court, particularly those of
January 24 and February 1, 1964, and the mandate contained in its Letters of
Administration issued on January 24, 1964 to the PCIB, it has
"full authority to take possession of all the property of
the deceased C. N. Hodges
"and to perform all other acts necessary for the preservation of said
property." (p. 914, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1672.)
8. As administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, the PCIB claims the right to the
immediate exclusive possession and control of all of the properties, accounts
receivables, court cases, bank accounts and other assets, including the documentary
records evidencing same, which existed in the Philippines on the date of C. N.
Hodges' death, December 25, 1962, and were in his possession and registered in his
name alone. The PCIB knows of no assets in the Philippines registered in the name
of Linnie Jane Hodges, the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, or, C. N. Hodges, Executor
of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on December 25, 1962. All of the assets of
which the PCIB has knowledge are either registered in the name of C. N. Hodges,
alone or were derived therefrom since his death on December 25, 1962.
9. The PCIB as the current administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, deceased,
succeeded to all of the rights of the previously duly appointed administrators of the
estate of C. N. Hodges, to wit:
(a) On December 25, 1962, date of C. N. Hodges' death, this
Honorable Court appointed Miss Avelina A. Magno simultaneously
as:
(i) Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (p. 102, CFI
Rec., S.P. No. 1307) to replace the deceased C. N. Hodges who on
May 28, 1957 was appointed Special Administrator (p. 13. CFI Rec.
S.P. No. 1307) and on July 1, 1957 Executor of the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges (p. 30, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1307).
(ii) Special Administratrix of the estate of C. N. Hodges (p. 102, CFI
Rec., S.P. No. 1307).
(b) On December 29, 1962 this Honorable Court appointed Harold K.
Davies as co-special administrator of the estate of C.N. Hodges along
with Avelina A. Magno (pp. 108-111, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1307).
(c) On January 22, 1963, with the conformity of Avelina A. Magno,
Harold K. Davies resigned in favor of Joe Hodges (pp. 35-36, CFI
Rec., S.P. No. 1672) who thereupon was appointed on January 22,
1963 by this Honorable Court as special co-administrator of the
estate of C.N. Hodges (pp. 38-40 & 43, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1672)
along with Miss Magno who at that time was still acting as special co-
administratrix of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
(d) On February 22, 1963, without objection on the part of Avelina A.
Magno, this Honorable Court appointed Joe Hodges and Fernando P.
Mirasol as co-administrators of the estate of C.N. Hodges (pp. 76-78,
81 & 85, CFI Rec., S.P. No. 1672).
10. Miss Avelina A. Magno, pursuant to the orders of this Honorable Court of
December 25, 1962, took possession of all Philippine Assets now claimed by the two
estates. Legally, Miss Magno could take possession of the assets registered in the
name of C. N. Hodges alone only in her capacity as Special Administratrix of the
Estate of C.N. Hodges. With the appointment by this Honorable Court on February
22, 1963 of Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol as the co-administrators of the
estate of C.N. Hodges, they legally were entitled to take over from Miss Magno the
full and exclusive possession of all of the assets of the estate of C.N. Hodges. With
the appointment on January 24, 1964 of the PCIB as the sole administrator of the
estate of C.N. Hodges in substitution of Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol, the
PCIB legally became the only party entitled to the sole and exclusive possession of
all of the assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
11. The PCIB's predecessors submitted their accounting and this Honorable Court
approved same, to wit:
(a) The accounting of Harold K. Davies dated January 18, 1963 (pp.
16-33, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1672); which shows or its face the:
(i) Conformity of Avelina A. Magno acting as "Administratrix of the
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Special Administratrix of the Estate
of C. N. Hodges";
(ii) Conformity of Leslie Echols, a Texas lawyer acting for the heirs of
C.N. Hodges; and
(iii) Conformity of William Brown, a Texas lawyer acting for the
Higdon family who claim to be the only heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges
(pp. 18, 25-33, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672).
Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable Court on January 22, 1963
(p. 34, CFI Rec., S. P. No. 1672).
(b) The accounting of Joe Hodges and Fernando P. Mirasol as of
January 23, 1964, filed February 24, 1964 (pp. 990-1000, CFI Rec.
S.P. No. 1672 and pp. 1806-1848, CFI Rec. S.P. No. 1307).
Note: This accounting was approved by this Honorable Court on March 3, 1964.
(c) The PCIB and its undersigned lawyers are aware of no report or
accounting submitted by Avelina A. Magno of her acts as
administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges or special
administratrix of the estate of C.N. Hodges, unless it is the accounting
of Harold K. Davies as special co-administrator of the estate of C.N.
Hodges dated January 18, 1963 to which Miss Magno manifested her
conformity (supra).
12. In the aforesaid agreement of January 24, 1964, Miss Avelina A. Magno agreed to receive
P10,000.00
"for her services as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges"
and in addition she agreed to be employed, starting February 1, 1964, at
"a monthly salary of P500.00 for her services as an employee of both
estates."
24 ems.
13. Under the aforesaid agreement of January 24, 1964 and the orders of this
Honorable Court of same date, the PCIB as administrator of the estate of C. N.
Hodges is entitled to the exclusive possession of all records, properties and assets in
the name of C. N. Hodges as of the date of his death on December 25, 1962 which
were in the possession of the deceased C. N. Hodges on that date and which then
passed to the possession of Miss Magno in her capacity as Special Co-Administratrix
of the estate of C. N. Hodges or the possession of Joe Hodges or Fernando P.
Mirasol as co-administrators of the estate of C. N. Hodges.
14. Because of Miss Magno's refusal to comply with the reasonable request of PCIB
concerning the assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges, the PCIB dismissed Miss
Magno as an employee of the estate of C. N. Hodges effective August 31, 1964. On
September 1, 1964 Miss Magno locked the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street and
denied the PCIB access thereto. Upon the Urgent Motion of the PCIB dated
September 3, 1964, this Honorable Court on September 7, 1964 ordered Miss
Magno to reopen the aforesaid premises at 206-208 Guanco Street and permit the
PCIB access thereto no later than September 8, 1964.
15. The PCIB pursuant to the aforesaid orders of this Honorable Court is again in
physical possession of all of the assets of the estate of C. N. Hodges. However, the
PCIB is not in exclusive control of the aforesaid records, properties and assets
because Miss Magno continues to assert the claims hereinabove outlined in
paragraph 6, continues to use her own locks to the doors of the aforesaid premises
at 206-208 Guanco Street, Iloilo City and continues to deny the PCIB its right to know
the combinations to the doors of the vault and safes situated within the premises at
206-208 Guanco Street despite the fact that said combinations were known to only
C. N. Hodges during his lifetime.
16. The Philippine estate and inheritance taxes assessed the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges were assessed and paid on the basis that C. N. Hodges is the sole
beneficiary of the assets of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges situated in the
Philippines. Avelina A. Magno and her legal counsel at no time have questioned the
validity of the aforesaid assessment and the payment of the corresponding Philippine
death taxes.
17. Nothing further remains to be done in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges except to
resolve the aforesaid Motion of October 5, 1963 and grant the PCIB the exclusive
possession and control of all of the records, properties and assets of the estate of C.
N. Hodges.
18. Such assets as may have existed of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges were
ordered by this Honorable Court in special Proceedings No. 1307 to be turned over
and delivered to C. N. Hodges alone. He in fact took possession of them before his
death and asserted and exercised the right of exclusive ownership over the said
assets as the sole beneficiary of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the PCIB respectfully petitions that this
Honorable court:
(1) Set the Motion of October 5, 1963 for hearing at the earliest possible date with
notice to all interested parties;
(2) Order Avelina A. Magno to submit an inventory and accounting as Administratrix
of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and Co-Administratrix of the Estate of C. N.
Hodges of all of the funds, properties and assets of any character belonging to the
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges which have come into her
possession, with full details of what she has done with them;
(3) Order Avelina A. Magno to turn over and deliver to the PCIB as administrator of
the estate of C. N. Hodges all of the funds, properties and assets of any character
remaining in her possession;
(4) Pending this Honorable Court's adjudication of the aforesaid issues, order Avelina
A. Magno and her representatives to stop interferring with the administration of the
estate of C. N. Hodges by the PCIB and its duly authorized representatives;
(5) Enjoin Avelina A. Magno from working in the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street,
Iloilo City as an employee of the estate of C. N. Hodges and approve her dismissal
as such by the PCIB effective August 31, 1964;
(6) Enjoin James L. Sullivan, Attorneys Manglapus and Quimpo and others allegedly
representing Miss Magno from entering the premises at 206-208 Guanco Street,
Iloilo City or any other properties of C. N. Hodges without the express permission of
the PCIB;
(7) Order such other relief as this Honorable Court finds just and equitable in the
premises. (Annex "U" Petition.)
On January 8, 1965, petitioner also filed a motion for "Official Declaration of Heirs of Linnie Jane
Hodges Estate" alleging:
COMES NOW Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank (hereinafter referred to as PCIB), as
administrator of the estate of the late C. N. Hodges, through the undersigned counsel, and to this
Honorable Court respectfully alleges that:
1. During their marriage, spouses Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges,
American citizens originally from the State of Texas, U.S.A., acquired and
accumulated considerable assets and properties in the Philippines and in the States
of Texas and Oklahoma, United States of America. All said properties constituted
their conjugal estate.
2. Although Texas was the domicile of origin of the Hodges spouses, this Honorable
Court, in its orders dated March 31 and December 12, 1964 (CFI Record, Sp. Proc.
No. 1307, pp. ----; Sp. Proc. No. 1672, p. ----), conclusively found and categorically
ruled that said spouses had lived and worked for more than 50 years in Iloilo City and
had, therefore, acquired a domicile of choice in said city, which they retained until the
time of their respective deaths.
3. On November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges executed in the City of Iloilo her Last
Will and Testament, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex "A". The bequests
in said will pertinent to the present issue are the second, third, and fourth provisions,
which we quote in full hereunder.
SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and
remainder of my estate, both personal and real, wherever situated, or
located, to my husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold
unto him, my said husband during his natural lifetime.
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, Charles Newton
Hodges, shall have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said
estate during his lifetime, and he is hereby given the right to make
any changes in the physical properties of said estate by sale of any
part thereof which he think best, and the purchase of any other or
additional property as he may think best; to execute conveyances
with or without general or special warranty, conveying in fee simple or
for any other term or time, any property which he may deem proper to
dispose of; to lease any of the real property for oil, gas and/or other
minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass the absolute fee
simple title to the interest so conveyed in such property as he may
elect to sell. All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall
belong to him, and he is further authorized to use any part of the
principal of said estate as he may need or desire. It is provided
herein, however, that he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of
the improved property now owned by us located at, in or near the City
of Lubbock, Texas, but he shall have the full right to lease, manage
and enjoy the same during his lifetime, as above provided. He shall
have the right to sub-divide any farmland and sell lots therein, and
may sell unimproved town lots.
FOURTH: At the death of my said husband, Charles Newton Hodges,
I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of
my estate both real and personal, wherever situated or located, to be
equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share
alike, namely:
"Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie
Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimray Higdon."
4. On November 14, 1953, C. N. Hodges executed in the City of Iloilo his Last Will
and Testament, a copy of which is hereto attached as Annex "B ". In said Will, C. N.
Hodges designated his wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, as his beneficiary using the
identical language she used in the second and third provisos of her Will, supra.
5. On May 23, 1957 Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City, predeceasing her
husband by more than five (5) years. At the time of her death, she had no forced or
compulsory heir, except her husband, C. N. Hodges. She was survived also by
various brothers and sisters mentioned in her Will (supra), which, for convenience,
we shall refer to as the HIGDONS.
6. On June 28, 1957, this Honorable Court admitted to probate the Last Will and
Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), and appointed C. N.
Hodges as executor of her estate without bond. (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp.
24-25). On July 1, 1957, this Honorable Court issued letters testamentary to C. N.
Hodges in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p.
30.)
7. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respect to the order of succession, the
amount of successional rights, and the intrinsic of its testamentary provisions, should
be governed by Philippine laws because:
(a) The testatrix, Linnie Jane Hodges, intended Philippine laws to
govern her Will;
(b) Article 16 of the Civil Code provides that "the national law of the
person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be
the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said
property may be found", shall prevail. However, the Conflict of Law of
Texas, which is the "national law" of the testatrix, Linnie Jane
Hodges, provide that the domiciliary law (Philippine law see
paragraph 2, supra) should govern the testamentary dispositions and
successional rights over movables (personal properties), and the law
of the situs of the property (also Philippine law as to properties
located in the Philippines) with regards immovable (real properties).
Thus applying the "Renvoi Doctrine", as approved and applied by our
Supreme Court in the case of "In The Matter Of The Testate Estate of
Eduard E. Christensen", G.R. No.
L-16749, promulgated January 31, 1963, Philippine law should apply
to the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges and to the successional rights to
her estate insofar as her movable andimmovable assets in the
Philippines are concerned. We shall not, at this stage, discuss what
law should govern the assets of Linnie Jane Hodges located in
Oklahoma and Texas, because the only assets in issue in this motion
are those within the jurisdiction of this motion Court in the two above-
captioned Special Proceedings.
8. Under Philippine and Texas law, the conjugal or community estate of spouses
shall, upon dissolution, be divided equally between them. Thus, upon the death of
Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957, one-half (1/2) of the entirety of the assets of
the Hodges spouses constituting their conjugal estate pertained automatically to
Charles Newton Hodges, not by way of inheritance, but in his own right as partner in
the conjugal partnership. The other one-half (1/2) portion of the conjugal estate
constituted the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. This is the only portion of the conjugal
estate capable of inheritance by her heirs.
9. This one-half (1/2) portion of the conjugal assets pertaining to Linnie Jane Hodges
cannot, under a clear and specific provision of her Will, be enhanced or increased by
income, earnings, rents, or emoluments accruing after her death on May 23, 1957.
Linnie Jane Hodges' Will provides that "all rents, emoluments and income from said
estate shall belong to him (C. N. Hodges) and he is further authorized to use any part
of the principal of said estate as he may need or desire." (Paragraph 3, Annex "A".)
Thus, by specific provision of Linnie Jane Hodges' Will, "all rents, emoluments and
income" must be credited to the one-half (1/2) portion of the conjugal estate
pertaining to C. N. Hodges. Clearly, therefore, the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges,
capable of inheritance by her heirs, consisted exclusively of no more than one-half
(1/2) of the conjugal estate, computed as of the time of her death on May 23, 1957.
10. Articles 900, 995 and 1001 of the New Civil Code provide that the surviving
spouse of a deceased leaving no ascendants or descendants is entitled, as a matter
of right and by way of irrevocable legitime, to at least one-half (1/2) of the estate of
the deceased, and no testamentary disposition by the deceased can legally and
validly affect this right of the surviving spouse. In fact, her husband is entitled to said
one-half (1/2) portion of her estate by way of legitime. (Article 886, Civil Code.)
Clearly, therefore, immediately upon the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, C. N. Hodges
was the owner of at least three-fourths (3/4) or seventy-five (75%) percent of all of
the conjugal assets of the spouses, (1/2 or 50% by way of conjugal partnership share
and 1/4 or 25% by way of inheritance and legitime) plus all "rents, emoluments and
income" accruing to said conjugal estate from the moment of Linnie Jane Hodges'
death (see paragraph 9, supra).
11. The late Linnie Jane Hodges designated her husband C.N. Hodges as her sole
and exclusive heir with full authority to do what he pleased, as exclusive heir and
owner of all the assets constituting her estate, except only with regards certain
properties "owned by us, located at, in or near the City of Lubbock, Texas". Thus,
even without relying on our laws of succession and legitime, which we have cited
above, C. N. Hodges, by specific testamentary designation of his wife, was entitled to
the entirely to his wife's estate in the Philippines.
12. Article 777 of the New Civil Code provides that "the rights of the successor are
transmitted from the death of the decedent". Thus, title to the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges was transmitted to C. N. Hodges immediately upon her death on May 23,
1957. For the convenience of this Honorable Court, we attached hereto as Annex "C"
a graph of how the conjugal estate of the spouses Hodges should be divided in
accordance with Philippine law and the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges.
13. In his capacity as sole heir and successor to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges as
above-stated, C. N. Hodges, shortly after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges,
appropriated to himself the entirety of her estate. He operated all the assets,
engaged in business and performed all acts in connection with the entirety of the
conjugal estate, in his own name alone, just as he had been operating, engaging and
doing while the late Linnie Jane Hodges was still alive. Upon his death on December
25, 1962, therefore, all said conjugal assets were in his sole possession and control,
and registered in his name alone, not as executor, but as exclusive owner of all said
assets.
14. All these acts of C. N. Hodges were authorized and sanctioned expressly and
impliedly by various orders of this Honorable Court, as follows:
(a) In an Order dated May 27, 1957, this Honorable Court ruled that C. N. Hodges "is
allowed or authorized to continue the business in which he was engaged, and to
perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased was living." (CFI Record,
Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 11.)
(b) On December 14, 1957, this Honorable Court, on the basis of the following fact,
alleged in the verified Motion dated December 11, 1957 filed by Leon P. Gellada as
attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges:
That herein Executor, (is) not only part owner of the properties left as conjugal, but
also, the successor to all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges.'
(CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 44; emphasis supplied.)
issued the following order:
"As prayed for by Attorney Gellada, counsel for the Executor, for the reasons stated
in his motion dated December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well taken, all the
sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all the properties left by the deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are hereby
APPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized to execute subsequent sales,
conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes contained in the last will and
testament of the latter." (CFI Record. Sp. Proc. No. 1307, p. 46; emphasis supplied.)
24 ems
(c) On April 21, 1959, this Honorable Court approved the verified inventory and
accounting submitted by C. N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on April
14, 1959 wherein he alleged among other things,
"That no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of
examining the herein account, be given notice, as herein executor is
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the
last will and testament already probated by the Honorable Court."
(CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307, pp. 77-78; emphasis supplied.)
(d) On July 20, 1960, this Honorable Court approved the verified "Annual Statement
of Account" submitted by C. N. Hodges through his counsel Leon P. Gellada on July
21, 1960 wherein he alleged, among other things.
"That no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of
examining the herein account, be given notice as herein executor is
the only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in
accordance with the last will and testament ofthe deceased, already
probated by this Honorable Court." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc. No. 1307,
pp. 81-82; emphasis supplied.)
(e) On May 2, 1961, this Honorable Court approved the verified "Annual Statement of
Account By The Executor For the Year 1960" submitted through Leon P. Gellada on
April 20, 1961 wherein he alleged:
"That no person interested in the Philippines be given notice, ofthe time and place of
examining the herein account, as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, in accordance with the last will and testament
ofthe deceased, already probated by this Honorable Court." (CFI Record, Sp. Proc.
No. 1307, pp. 90-91; emphasis supplied.)
15. Since C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of Linnie Jane Hodges, not
only by law, but in accordance with the dispositions of her will, there was, in fact, no
need to liquidate the conjugal estate of the spouses. The entirely of said conjugal
estate pertained to him exclusively, therefore this Honorable Court sanctioned and
authorized, as above-stated, C. N. Hodges to manage, operate and control all the
conjugal assets as owner.
16. By expressly authorizing C. N. Hodges to act as he did in connection with the
estate of his wife, this Honorable Court has (1) declared C. N. Hodges as the sole
heir of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and (2) delivered and distributed her estate
to C. N. Hodges as sole heir in accordance with the terms and conditions of her Will.
Thus, although the "estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" still exists as a legal and juridical
personality, it had no assets or properties located in the Philippines registered in its
name whatsoever at the time of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962.
17. The Will of Linnie Jane Hodges (Annex "A"), fourth paragraph, provides as
follows:
"At the death of my said husband, Charles Newton Hodges, I give,
devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my
estate both real and personal, wherever situated or located, to be
equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share
alike, namely:
"Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy
Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimray
Higdon."
Because of the facts hereinabove set out there is no "rest, residue and remainder", at
least to the extent of the Philippine assets, which remains to vest in the HIGDONS,
assuming this proviso in Linnie Jane Hodges' Will is valid and binding against the
estate of C. N. Hodges.
18. Any claims by the HIGDONS under the above-quoted provision of Linnie Jane
Hodges' Will is without merit because said provision is void and invalid at least as to
the Philippine assets. It should not, in anyway, affect the rights of the estate of C. N.
Hodges or his heirs to the properties, which C. N. Hodges acquired by way of
inheritance from his wife Linnie Jane Hodges upon her death.
(a) In spite of the above-mentioned provision in the Will of Linnie
Jane Hodges, C. N. Hodges acquired, not merely a usufructuary
right, but absolute title and ownership to her estate. In a recent case
involving a very similar testamentary provision, the Supreme Court
held that the heir first designated acquired full ownership of the
property bequeathed by the will, not mere usufructuary rights.
(Consolacion Florentino de Crisologo, et al., vs. Manuel Singson, G.
R. No. L-13876, February 28, 1962.)
(b) Article 864, 872 and 886 of the New Civil Code clearly provide
that no charge, condition or substitution whatsoever upon the legitime
can be imposed by a testator. Thus, under the provisions of Articles
900, 995 and 1001 of the New Civil Code, the legitime of a surviving
spouse is 1/2 of the estate of the deceased spouse. Consequently,
the above-mentioned provision in the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges is
clearly invalid insofar as the legitime of C. N. Hodges was concerned,
which consisted of 1/2 of the 1/2 portion of the conjugal estate, or 1/4
of the entire conjugal estate of the deceased.
(c) There are generally only two kinds of substitution provided for and
authorized by our Civil Code (Articles 857-870), namely, (1) simple or
common substitution, sometimes referred to as vulgar substitution
(Article 859), and (2) fideicommissary substitution (Article 863). All
other substitutions are merely variations of these. The substitution
provided for by paragraph four of the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges is
not fideicommissary substitution, because there is clearly no
obligation on the part of C. N. Hodges as the first heir designated, to
preserve the properties for the substitute heirs. (Consolacion
Florentino de Crisologo et al. vs. Manuel Singson, G. R. No.
L-13876.) At most, it is a vulgar or simple substitution. However, in
order that a vulgar orsimple substitution can be valid, three alternative
conditions must be present, namely, that the first designated heir (1)
should die before the testator; or (2) should not wish to accept the
inheritance; or (3) should be incapacitated to do so. None of these
conditions apply to C. N. Hodges, and, therefore, the substitution
provided for by the above-quoted provision of the Will is not
authorized by the Code, and, therefore, it is void. Manresa,
commenting on these kisses of substitution, meaningfully stated that:
"... cuando el testador instituyeun primer heredero, y por fallecimiento
de este nombra otro u otros, ha de entenderse que estas segundas
designaciones solo han de llegar a tener efectividad en el caso de
que el primer instituido muera antes que el testador, fuera o no esta
su verdadera intencion. ...". (6 Manresa, 7 a ed., pag. 175.) In other
words, when another heir is designated to inherit upon the death of a
first heir, the second designation can have effect only in case the first
instituted heir dies before the testator, whether or not that was the
true intention of said testator. Since C. N. Hodges did not die before
Linnie Jane Hodges, the provision for substitution contained in Linnie
Jane Hodges' Willis void.
(d) In view of the invalidity of the provision for substitution in the Will,
C. N. Hodges' inheritance to the entirety of the Linnie Jane Hodges
estate is irrevocable and final.
19. Be that as it may, at the time of C. N. Hodges' death, the entirety of the conjugal
estate appeared and was registered in him exclusively as owner. Thus, the
presumption is that all said assets constituted his estate. Therefore
(a) If the HIGDONS wish to enforce their dubious rights as substituted heirs to 1/4 of
the conjugal estate (the other 1/4 is covered by the legitime of C. N. Hodges which
can not be affected by any testamentary disposition), their remedy, if any, is to file
their claim against the estate of C. N. Hodges, which should be entitled at the
present time to full custody and control of all the conjugal estate of the spouses.
(b) The present proceedings, in which two estates exist under separate
administration, where the administratrix of the Linnie Jane Hodges estate exercises
an officious right to object and intervene in matters affecting exclusively the C. N.
Hodges estate, is anomalous.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that after trial and reception of
evidence, this Honorable Court declare:
1. That the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges was and is composed exclusively of one-
half (1/2) share in the conjugal estate of the spouses Hodges, computed as of the
date of her death on May 23, 1957;
2. That the other half of the conjugal estate pertained exclusively to C. N. Hodges as
his share as partner in the conjugal partnership;
3. That all "rents, emoluments and income" of the conjugal estate accruing after
Linnie Jane Hodges' death pertains to C. N. Hodges;
4. That C. N. Hodges was the sole and exclusive heir of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges;
5. That, therefore, the entire conjugal estate of the spouses located in the
Philippines, plus all the "rents, emoluments and income" above-mentioned, now
constitutes the estate of C. N. Hodges, capable of distribution to his heirs upon
termination of Special Proceedings No. 1672;
6. That PCIB, as administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges, is entitled to full and
exclusive custody, control and management of all said properties; and
7. That Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, as
well as the HIGDONS, has no right to intervene or participate in the administration of
the C. N. Hodges estate.
PCIB further prays for such and other relief as may be deemed just and equitable in
the premises."
(Record, pp. 265-277)
Before all of these motions of petitioner could be resolved, however, on December 21, 1965, private
respondent Magno filed her own "Motion for the Official Declaration of Heirs of the Estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges" as follows:
COMES NOW the Administratrix of the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and, through
undersigned counsel, unto this Honorable Court most respectfully states and
manifests:
1. That the spouses Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges were
American citizens who died at the City of Iloilo after having amassed and
accumulated extensive properties in the Philippines;
2. That on November 22, 1952, Linnie Jane Hodges executed a last will and
testament (the original of this will now forms part of the records of these proceedings
as Exhibit "C" and appears as Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I, pp. 17-18);
3. That on May 23, 1957, Linnie Jane Hodges died at the City of Iloilo at the time
survived by her husband, Charles Newton Hodges, and several relatives named in
her last will and testament;
4. That on June 28, 1957, a petition therefor having been priorly filed and duly heard,
this Honorable Court issued an order admitting to probate the last will and testament
of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I, pp. 24-25, 26-28);
5. That the required notice to creditors and to all others who may have any claims
against the decedent, Linnie Jane Hodges has already been printed, published and
posted (Sp. Proc. No. 1307, Folio I. pp. 34-40) and the reglamentary period for filing
such claims has long ago lapsed and expired without any claims having been
asserted against the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, approved by the
Administrator/Administratrix of the said estate, nor ratified by this Honorable Court;
6. That the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges already admitted to probate
contains an institution of heirs in the following words:
"SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and
remainder of my estate, both personal and real, wherever situated or
located, to my beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges to have
and to hold unto him, my said husband, during his natural lifetime.
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my husband, Charles Newton
Hodges, shall have the right to manage, control, use and enjoy said
estate during his lifetime, and, he is hereby given the right to make
any changes in the physical properties of said estate, by sale of any
part thereof which he may think best, and the purchase of any other
or additional property as he may think best; to execute conveyances
with or without general or special warranty, conveying in fee simple or
for any other term or time, any property which he may deem proper to
dispose of; to lease any of the real property for oil, gas and/or other
minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass the absolute fee
simple title to the interest so conveyed in such property as he elect to
sell. All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong
to him, and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of
said estate as he may need or desire. It is provided herein, however,
that he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the improved
property now owned by us located at, in or near the City of Lubbock
Texas, but he shall have the full right to lease, manage and enjoy the
same during his lifetime, above provided. He shall have the right to
subdivide any farm land and sell lots therein, and may sell
unimproved town lots.
FOURTH: At the death of my said husband, Charles Newton Hodges,
I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of
my estate, both real and personal, wherever situated or located, to be
equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share
alike, namely:
Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie
Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimroy Higdon.
FIFTH: In case of the death of any of my brothers and/or sisters
named in item Fourth, above, prior to the death of my husband,
Charles Newton Hodges, then it is my will and bequest that the heirs
of such deceased brother or sister shall take jointly the share which
would have gone to such brother or sister had she or he survived."
7. That under the provisions of the last will and testament already above-quoted,
Linnie Jane Hodges gave a life-estate or a usufruct over all her estate to her
husband, Charles Newton Hodges, and a vested remainder-estate or the naked title
over the same estate to her relatives named therein;
8. That after the death of Linnie Jane Hodges and after the admission to probate of
her last will and testament, but during the lifetime of Charles Newton Hodges, the
said Charles Newton Hodges with full and complete knowledge of the life-estate or
usufruct conferred upon him by the will since he was then acting as Administrator of
the estate and later as Executor of the will of Linnie Jane Hodges, unequivocably and
clearly through oral and written declarations and sworn public statements,
renounced, disclaimed and repudiated his life-estate and usufruct over the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges;
9. That, accordingly, the only heirs left to receive the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
pursuant to her last will and testament, are her named brothers and sisters, or their
heirs, to wit: Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Aline Higdon and David
Higdon, the latter two being the wife and son respectively of the deceased Roy
Higdon, Sadie Rascoe Era Boman and Nimroy Higdon, all of legal ages, American
citizens, with residence at the State of Texas, United States of America;
10. That at the time of the death of Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957, she was
the co-owner (together with her husband Charles Newton Hodges) of an undivided
one-half interest in their conjugal properties existing as of that date, May 23, 1957,
which properties are now being administered sometimes jointly and sometimes
separately by the Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and/or the
Administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges but all of which are under the control and
supervision of this Honorable Court;
11. That because there was no separation or segregation of the interests of husband
and wife in the combined conjugal estate, as there has been no such separation or
segregation up to the present, both interests have continually earned exactly the
same amount of "rents, emoluments and income", the entire estate having been
continually devoted to the business of the spouses as if they were alive;
12. That the one-half interest of Linnie Jane Hodges in the combined conjugal estate
was earning "rents, emoluments and income" until her death on May 23, 1957, when
it ceased to be saddled with any more charges or expenditures which are purely
personal to her in nature, and her estate kept on earning such "rents, emoluments
and income" by virtue of their having been expressly renounced, disclaimed and
repudiated by Charles Newton Hodges to whom they were bequeathed for life under
the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges;
13. That, on the other hand, the one-half interest of Charles Newton Hodges in the
combined conjugal estate existing as of May 23, 1957, while it may have earned
exactly the same amount of "rents, emoluments and income" as that of the share
pertaining to Linnie Jane Hodges, continued to be burdened by charges,
expenditures, and other dispositions which are purely personal to him in nature, until
the death of Charles Newton Hodges himself on December 25, 1962;
14. That of all the assets of the combined conjugal estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and
Charles Newton Hodges as they exist today, the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is
clearly entitled to a portion more than fifty percent (50%) as compared to the portion
to which the estate of Charles Newton Hodges may be entitled, which portions can
be exactly determined by the following manner:
a. An inventory must be made of the assets of the combined conjugal
estate as they existed on the death of Linnie Jane Hodges on May
23, 1957 one-half of these assets belong to the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges;
b. An accounting must be made of the "rents, emoluments and
income" of all these assets again one-half of these belong to the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
c. Adjustments must be made, after making a deduction of charges,
disbursements and other dispositions made by Charles Newton
Hodges personally and for his own personal account from May 23,
1957 up to December 25, 1962, as well as other charges,
disbursements and other dispositions made for him and in his behalf
since December 25, 1962 up to the present;
15. That there remains no other matter for disposition now insofar as the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges is concerned but to complete the liquidation of her estate,
segregate them from the conjugal estate, and distribute them to her heirs pursuant to
her last will and testament.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully moved and prayed that
this Honorable Court, after a hearing on the factual matters raised by this motion,
issue an order:
a. Declaring the following persons, to wit: Esta Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard
Higdon, Aline Higdon, David Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Boman and Nimroy Higdon,
as the sole heirs under the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges and as the
only persons entitled to her estate;
b. Determining the exact value of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges in accordance
with the system enunciated in paragraph 14 of this motion;
c. After such determination ordering its segregation from the combined conjugal
estate and its delivery to the Administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges for
distribution to the heirs to whom they properly belong and appertain.
(Green Record on Appeal, pp. 382-391)
whereupon, instead of further pressing on its motion of January 8, 1965 aforequoted, as it had been
doing before, petitioner withdrew the said motion and in addition to opposing the above motion of
respondent Magno, filed a motion on April 22, 1966 alleging in part that:
1. That it has received from the counsel for the administratrix of the supposed estate
of Linnie Jane Hodges a notice to set her "Motion for Official Declaration of Heirs of
the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges";
2. That before the aforesaid motion could be heard, there are matters pending before
this Honorable Court, such as:
a. The examination already ordered by this Honorable Court of
documents relating to the allegation of Avelina Magno that Charles
Newton Hodges "through ... written declarations and sworn public
statements, renounced, disclaimed and repudiated life-estate and
usufruct over the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges';
b. That "Urgent Motion for An Accounting and Delivery to the Estate
of C. N. Hodges of All the Assets of the Conjugal Partnership of the
Deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges Existing as of May
23, 1957 Plus All the Rents, Emoluments and Income Therefrom";
c. Various motions to resolve the aforesaid motion;
d. Manifestation of September 14, 1964, detailing acts of interference
of Avelina Magno under color of title as administratrix of the Estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges;
which are all prejudicial, and which involve no issues of fact, all facts involved therein
being matters of record, and therefore require only the resolution of questions of law;
3. That whatever claims any alleged heirs or other persons may have could be very
easily threshed out in the Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges;
4. That the maintenance of two separate estate proceedings and two administrators
only results in confusion and is unduly burdensome upon the Testate Estate of
Charles Newton Hodges, particularly because the bond filed by Avelina Magno is
grossly insufficient to answer for the funds and property which she has inofficiously
collected and held, as well as those which she continues to inofficiously collect
and hold;
5. That it is a matter of record that such state of affairs affects and inconveniences
not only the estate but also third-parties dealing with it;" (Annex "V", Petition.)
and then, after further reminding the court, by quoting them, of the relevant allegations of its earlier
motion of September 14, 1964, Annex U, prayed that:
1. Immediately order Avelina Magno to account for and deliver to the administrator of
the Estate of C. N. Hodges all the assets of the conjugal partnership of the deceased
Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges, plus all the rents, emoluments and income
therefrom;
2. Pending the consideration of this motion, immediately order Avelina Magno to turn
over all her collections to the administrator Philippine Commercial & Industrial Bank;
3. Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) closed;
4. Defer the hearing and consideration of the motion for declaration of heirs in the
Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges until the matters hereinabove set forth are
resolved.
(Prayer, Annex "V" of Petition.)
On October 12, 1966, as already indicated at the outset of this opinion, the respondent court denied
the foregoing motion, holding thus:
O R D E R
On record is a motion (Vol. X, Sp. 1672, pp. 4379-4390) dated April 22, 1966 of
administrator PCIB praying that (1) Immediately order Avelina Magno to account for
and deliver to the administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges all assets of the
conjugal partnership of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges, plus all
the rents, emoluments and income therefrom; (2) Pending the consideration of this
motion, immediately order Avelina Magno to turn over all her collections to the
administrator PCIB; (3) Declare the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (Sp. Proc.
No. 1307) closed; and (4) Defer the hearing and consideration of the motion for
declaration of heirs in the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges until the matters
hereinabove set forth are resolved.
This motion is predicated on the fact that there are matters pending before this court
such as (a) the examination already ordered by this Honorable Court of documents
relating to the allegation of Avelina Magno that Charles Newton Hodges thru written
declaration and sworn public statements renounced, disclaimed and repudiated his
life-estate and usufruct over the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges (b) the urgent motion
for accounting and delivery to the estate of C. N. Hodges of all the assets of the
conjugal partnership of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges and C. N. Hodges existing
as of May 23, 1957 plus all the rents, emoluments and income therefrom; (c) various
motions to resolve the aforesaid motion; and (d) manifestation of September 14,
1964, detailing acts of interference of Avelina Magno under color of title as
administratrix of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
These matters, according to the instant motion, are all pre-judicial involving no issues
of facts and only require the resolution of question of law; that in the motion of
October 5, 1963 it is alleged that in a motion dated December 11, 1957 filed by Atty.
Leon Gellada as attorney for the executor C. N. Hodges, the said executor C. N.
Hodges is not only part owner of the properties left as conjugal but also the
successor to all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges.
Said motion of December 11, 1957 was approved by the Court in consonance with
the wishes contained in the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges.
That on April 21, 1959 this Court approved the inventory and accounting submitted
by C. N. Hodges thru counsel Atty. Leon Gellada in a motion filed on April 14, 1959
stating therein that executor C. N. Hodges is the only devisee or legatee of Linnie
Jane Hodges in accordance with the last will and testament already probated by the
Court.
That on July 13, 1960 the Court approved the annual statement of accounts
submitted by the executor C. N. Hodges thru his counsel Atty. Gellada on July 21,
1960 wherein it is stated that the executor, C. N. Hodges is the only devisee or
legatee of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges; that on May 2, 1961 the Court
approved the annual statement of accounts submitted by executor, C. N. Hodges for
the year 1960 which was submitted by Atty. Gellada on April 20, 1961 wherein it is
stated that executor Hodges is the only devisee or legatee of the deceased Linnie
Jane Hodges;
That during the hearing on September 5 and 6, 1963 the estate of C. N. Hodges
claimed all the assets belonging to the deceased spouses Linnie Jane Hodges and
C. N. Hodges situated in the Philippines; that administratrix Magno has executed
illegal acts to the prejudice of the testate estate of C. N. Hodges.
An opposition (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4415-4421) dated April 27, 1966 of
administratrix Magno has been filed asking that the motion be denied for lack of merit
and that the motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges be set for presentation and reception of evidence.
It is alleged in the aforesaid opposition that the examination of documents which are
in the possession of administratrix Magno can be made prior to the hearing of the
motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, during
said hearing.
That the matters raised in the PCIB's motion of October 5, 1963 (as well as the other
motion) dated September 14, 1964 have been consolidated for the purpose of
presentation and reception of evidence with the hearing on the determination of the
heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. It is further alleged in the opposition that
the motion for the official declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges is
the one that constitutes a prejudicial question to the motions dated October 5 and
September 14, 1964 because if said motion is found meritorious and granted by the
Court, the PCIB's motions of October 5, 1963 and September 14, 1964 will become
moot and academic since they are premised on the assumption and claim that the
only heir of Linnie Jane Hodges was C. N. Hodges.
That the PCIB and counsel are estopped from further questioning the determination
of heirs in the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges at this stage since it was PCIB as early
as January 8, 1965 which filed a motion for official declaration of heirs of Linnie Jane
Hodges that the claim of any heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges can be determined only in
the administration proceedings over the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and not that of
C. N. Hodges, since the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges are claiming her estate and not
the estate of C. N. Hodges.
A reply (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4436-4444) dated May 11, 1966 of the PCIB has been
filed alleging that the motion dated April 22, 1966 of the PCIB is not to seek
deferment of the hearing and consideration of the motion for official declaration of
heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges but to declare the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
closed and for administratrix Magno to account for and deliver to the PCIB all assets
of the conjugal partnership of the deceased spouses which has come to her
possession plus all rents and income.
A rejoinder (Sp. 1672, Vol. X, pp. 4458-4462) of administratrix Magno dated May 19,
1966 has been filed alleging that the motion dated December 11, 1957 only sought
the approval of all conveyances made by C. N. Hodges and requested the Court
authority for all subsequent conveyances that will be executed by C. N. Hodges; that
the order dated December 14, 1957 only approved the conveyances made by C. N.
Hodges; that C. N. Hodges represented by counsel never made any claim in the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and never filed a motion to declare himself as the heir
of the said Linnie Jane Hodges despite the lapse of more than five (5) years after the
death of Linnie Jane Hodges; that it is further alleged in the rejoinder that there can
be no order of adjudication of the estate unless there has been a prior express
declaration of heirs and so far no declaration of heirs in the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges (Sp. 1307) has been made.
Considering the allegations and arguments in the motion and of the PCIB as well as
those in the opposition and rejoinder of administratrix Magno, the Court finds the
opposition and rejoinder to be well taken for the reason that so far there has been no
official declaration of heirs in the testate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and therefore
no disposition of her estate.
WHEREFORE, the motion of the PCIB dated April 22, 1966 is hereby DENIED.
(Annex "W", Petition)
In its motion dated November 24, 1966 for the reconsideration of this order, petitioner alleged inter
alia that:
It cannot be over-stressed that the motion of December 11, 1957 was based on the
fact that:
a. Under the last will and testament of the deceased, Linnie Jane
Hodges, the late Charles Newton Hodges was the sole heir instituted
insofar as her properties in the Philippines are concerned;
b. Said last will and testament vested upon the said late Charles
Newton Hodges rights over said properties which, in sum, spell
ownership, absolute and in fee simple;
c. Said late Charles Newton Hodges was, therefore, "not only part
owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all
the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges.
Likewise, it cannot be over-stressed that the aforesaid motion was granted by this
Honorable Court "for the reasons stated" therein.
Again, the motion of December 11, 1957 prayed that not only "all the sales,
conveyances, leases, and mortgages executed by" the late Charles Newton Hodges,
but also all "the subsequent sales, conveyances, leases, and mortgages ..." be
approved and authorized. This Honorable Court, in its order of December 14, 1957,
"for the reasons stated" in the aforesaid motion, granted the same, and not only
approved all the sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of all properties left by
the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the late Charles Newton Hodges, but
also authorized "all subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of the
properties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges. (Annex "X", Petition)
and reiterated its fundamental pose that the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges had already been
factually, although not legally, closed with the virtual declaration of Hodges and adjudication to him,
as sole universal heir of all the properties of the estate of his wife, in the order of December 14,
1957, Annex G. Still unpersuaded, on July 18, 1967, respondent court denied said motion for
reconsideration and held that "the court believes that there is no justification why the order of
October 12, 1966 should be considered or modified", and, on July 19, 1967, the motion of
respondent Magno "for official declaration of heirs of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", already
referred to above, was set for hearing.
In consequence of all these developments, the present petition was filed on August 1, 1967 (albeit
petitioner had to pay another docketing fee on August 9, 1967, since the orders in question were
issued in two separate testate estate proceedings, Nos. 1307 and 1672, in the court below).
Together with such petition, there are now pending before Us for resolution herein, appeals from the
following:
1. The order of December 19, 1964 authorizing payment by respondent Magno of
overtime pay, (pp. 221, Green Record on Appeal) together with the subsequent
orders of January 9, 1965, (pp. 231-232,id.) October 27, 1965, (pp. 227, id.) and
February 15, 1966 (pp. 455-456, id.) repeatedly denying motions for reconsideration
thereof.
2. The order of August 6, 1965 (pp. 248, id.) requiring that deeds executed by
petitioner to be co-signed by respondent Magno, as well as the order of October 27,
1965 (pp. 276-277) denying reconsideration.
3. The order of October 27, 1965 (pp. 292-295, id.) enjoining the deposit of all
collections in a joint account and the same order of February 15, 1966 mentioned in
No. 1 above which included the denial of the reconsideration of this order of October
27, 1965.
4. The order of November 3, 1965 (pp. 313-320, id.) directing the payment of
attorney's fees, fees of the respondent administratrix, etc. and the order of February
16, 1966 denying reconsideration thereof.
5. The order of November 23, 1965 (pp. 334-335, id.) allowing appellee Western
Institute of Technology to make payments to either one or both of the administrators
of the two estates as well as the order of March 7, 1966 (p. 462, id.) denying
reconsideration.
6. The various orders hereinabove earlier enumerated approving deeds of sale
executed by respondent Magno in favor of appellees Carles, Catedral, Pablito,
Guzman, Coronado, Barrido, Causing, Javier, Lucero and Batisanan, (see pp. 35 to
37 of this opinion), together with the two separate orders both dated December 2,
1966 (pp. 306-308, and pp. 308-309, Yellow Record on Appeal) denying
reconsideration of said approval.
7. The order of January 3, 1967, on pp. 335-336, Yellow Record on Appeal,
approving similar deeds of sale executed by respondent Magno, as those in No. 6, in
favor of appellees Pacaonsis and Premaylon, as to which no motion for
reconsideration was filed.
8. Lastly, the order of December 2, 1966, on pp. 305-306, Yellow Record on Appeal,
directing petitioner to surrender to appellees Lucero, Batisanan, Javier, Pablito,
Barrido, Catedral, Causing, Guzman, and Coronado, the certificates of title covering
the lands involved in the approved sales, as to which no motion for reconsideration
was filed either.
Strictly speaking, and considering that the above orders deal with different matters, just as they
affect distinctly different individuals or persons, as outlined by petitioner in its brief as appellant on
pp. 12-20 thereof, there are, therefore, thirty-three (33) appeals before Us, for which reason,
petitioner has to pay also thirty-one (31) more docket fees.
It is as well perhaps to state here as elsewhere in this opinion that in connection with these appeals,
petitioner has assigned a total of seventy-eight (LXXVIII) alleged errors, the respective discussions
and arguments under all of them covering also the fundamental issues raised in respect to the
petition for certiorari and prohibition, thus making it feasible and more practical for the Court to
dispose of all these cases together.
4

The assignments of error read thus:
I to IV
THE ORDER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES, ESPIRIDION PARTISALA,
WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND ROSARIO ALINGASA, EXECUTED BY THE
APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY
THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO
SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
V to VIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR
OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES, ESPIRIDION PARTISALA,
WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND ROSARIO ALINGASA, COVERING PARCELS OF
LAND FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS TO SELL.
IX to XII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP
OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE APPELLEES, PEPITO G. IYULORES,
ESPIRIDION PARTISALA, WINIFREDO C. ESPADA AND ROSARIO ALINGASA,
WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT.
XIII to XV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO
PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104), EXECUTED BY THE
APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY
THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO
SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
XVI to XVIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR
OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 102), SANTIAGO
PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104) COVERING PARCELS
OF LAND FOR WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER PAID IN FULL IN ACCORDANCE
WITH THE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS TO SELL.
XIX to XXI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP
OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE APPELLEES ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO.
102), SANTIAGO PACAONSIS, AND ADELFA PREMAYLON (LOT NO. 104) WHILE
ACTING AS A PROBATE COURT.
XXII to XXV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO
CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE,
AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL
COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
XXVI to XXIX
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEED OF SALE
EXECUTED IN FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, LORENZO CARLES, JOSE
PABLICO, ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR S. GUZMAN PURSUANT TO
CONTRACTS TO SPELL WHICH WERE CANCELLED AND RESCINDED.
XXX to XXXIV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP
OVER REAL PROPERTY OF THE LORENZO CARLES, JOSE PABLICO,
ALFREDO CATEDRAL AND SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, WHILE ACTING AS A
PROBATE COURT.
XXXV to XXXVI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND PURIFICACION
CORONADO, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING
PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING WHICH WERE
EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
XXXVII to XXXVIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR
OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND PURIFICACION CORONADO,
ALTHOUGH THEY WERE IN ARREARS IN THE PAYMENTS AGREED UPON IN
THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL WHICH THEY EXECUTED WITH THE
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, IN THE AMOUNT OF P10,680.00 and
P4,428.90, RESPECTIVELY.
XXXIX to XL
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE DECEASED, CHARLES
NEWTON HODGES, OF THE CONTRACTUAL RIGHT, EXERCISED THROUGH
HIS ADMINISTRATOR, THE INSTANT APPELLANT, TO CANCEL THE
CONTRACTS TO SELL OF THE APPELLEES, FLORENIA BARRIDO AND
PURIFICACION CORONADO.
XLI to XLIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR
AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN, EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY THE DECEASED,
CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO SELL COVERING
WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
XLIV to XLVI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEED OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR
AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN, PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO SELL
EXECUTED BY THEM WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES,
THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WHICH THEY HAVE NEVER COMPLIED
WITH.
XLVII to XLIX
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DEPRIVING THE DECEASED, CHARLES
NEWTON HODGES, OF HIS RIGHT, EXERCISED THROUGH HIS
ADMINISTRATION, THE INSTANT APPELLANT, TO CANCEL THE CONTRACTS
TO SELL OF THE APPELLEES, GRACIANO LUCERO, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR
AND MELQUIADES BATISANAN, AND IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF THE
SAID APPELLEES OVER REAL PROPERTY WHILE ACTING AS A PROBATE
COURT.
L
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE FINAL DEEDS OF SALE IN
FAVOR OF THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING, EXECUTED BY THE
APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, COVERING PARCELS OF LAND OWNED BY
THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, AND THE CONTRACTS TO
SELL COVERING WHICH WERE EXECUTED BY HIM DURING HIS LIFETIME.
LI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEEDS OF SALE IN FAVOR
OF THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING, ALTHOUGH HE WAS IN ARREARS
IN THE PAYMENTS AGREED UPON IN THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT TO SELL
WHICH HE EXECUTED WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES,
IN THE AMOUNT OF P2,337.50.
LII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN APPROVING THE DEED OF SALE IN FAVOR OF
THE APPELLEE, BELCESAR CAUSING, ALTHOUGH THE SAME WAS NOT
EXECUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF COURT.
LIII to LXI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK TO SURRENDER THE OWNER'S
DUPLICATE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE OVER THE RESPECTIVE LOTS
COVERED BY THE DEEDS OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA
A. MAGNO, IN FAVOR OF THE OTHER APPELLEES, JOSE PABLICO, ALFREDO
CATEDRAL, SALVADOR S. GUZMAN, FLRENIA BARRIDO, PURIFICACION
CORONADO, BELCESAR CAUSING, ARITEO THOMAS JAMIR, MAXIMA
BATISANAN AND GRACIANO L. LUCERO.
LXII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RESOLVING THE MOTION OF THE APPELLEE,
WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1965,
WITHOUT ANY COPY THEREOF HAVING BEEN SERVED UPON THE
APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL BANK.
LXIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HEARING AND CONSIDERING THE MOTION OF
THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, DATED NOVEMBER
3rd, 1965, ON NOVEMBER 23, 1965, WHEN THE NOTICE FOR THE HEARING
THEREOF WAS FOR NOVEMBER 20, 1965.
LXIV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE APPELLEE, WESTERN
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY A RELIEF OTHER THAN THAT PRAYED FOR IN
ITS MOTION, DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1965, IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRAYER FOR
GENERAL RELIEF CONTAINED THEREIN.
LXV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE APPELLEE, WESTERN
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, TO CONTINUE PAYMENTS UPON A CONTRACT
TO SELL THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF WHICH IT HAS FAILED TO
FULFILL.
LXVI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE RIGHTS OF THE
APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY OVER THE REAL
PROPERTY SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CONTRACT TO SELL IT EXECUTED
WITH THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, WHILE ACTING AS A
PROBATE COURT.
LXVII
LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE CONTINUATION OF PAYMENTS BY
THE APPELLEE, WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, UPON A CONTRACT
TO SELL EXECUTED BY IT AND THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON
HODGES, TO A PERSON OTHER THAN HIS LAWFULLY APPOINTED
ADMINISTRATOR.
LXVIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF RETAINER'S
FEES FROM THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE
HODGES, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
LXIX
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF RETAINER'S
FEES OF LAWYERS OF ALLEGED HEIRS TO THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE
DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES.
LXX
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IMPLEMENTING THE ALLEGED AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE HEIRS OF THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED,
LINNIE JANE HODGES, AND THEIR LAWYERS.
LXXI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PREMATURE DISTRIBUTION
OF ESTATE ASSETS TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR BENEFICIARIES THEREOF, BY
WAY OF RETAINER'S FEES.
LXXII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT ALL FINAL DEEDS OF SALE
EXECUTED PURSUANT TO CONTRACTS TO SELL ENTERED INTO BY THE
DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, DURING HIS LIFETIME, BE SIGNED
JOINTLY BY THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A. MAGNO, AND THE APPELLANT,
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND NOT BY THE LATTER
ONLY AS THE LAWFULLY APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE.
LXXIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF LEGAL
EXPENSES FROM THE SUPPOSED ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE
HODGES, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS THEREOF.
LXXIV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF LEGAL
EXPENSES OF LAWYERS OF ALLEGED HEIRS TO THE SUPPOSED ESTATE
OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES.
LXXV
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PREMATURE DISTRIBUTION
OF ESTATE ASSETS TO ALLEGED HEIRS OR BENEFICIARIES THEREOF, BY
WAY OF LEGAL EXPENSES.
LXXVI
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THE PAYMENT OF
COMPENSATION TO THE PURPORTED ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE SUPPOSED
ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, LINNIE JANE HODGES, THE INSTANT APPELLEE,
AVELINA A. MAGNO, WHEN THERE IS NEITHER SUCH ESTATE NOR ASSETS
THEREOF.
LXXVII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE FUNDS OF THE
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, BE
PLACED IN A JOINT ACCOUNT OF THE APPELLANT, PHILIPPINE
COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL BANK, AND THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
MAGNO, WHO IS A COMPLETE STRANGER TO THE AFORESAID ESTATE.
LXXVIII
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE APPELLEE, AVELINA A.
MAGNO, BE GIVEN EQUAL ACCESS TO THE RECORDS OF THE TESTATE
ESTATE OF THE DECEASED, CHARLES NEWTON HODGES, WHEN SHE IS A
COMPLETE STRANGER TO THE AFORESAID ESTATE. (Pp. 73-83, Appellant's
Brief.)
To complete this rather elaborate, and unavoidably extended narration of the factual setting of these
cases, it may also be mentioned that an attempt was made by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges to have
respondent Magno removed as administratrix, with the proposed appointment of Benito J. Lopez in
her place, and that respondent court did actually order such proposed replacement, but the Court
declared the said order of respondent court violative of its injunction of August 8, 1967, hence
without force and effect (see Resolution of September 8, 1972 and February 1, 1973). Subsequently,
Atty. Efrain B. Trenas, one of the lawyers of said heirs, appeared no longer for the proposed
administrator Lopez but for the heirs themselves, and in a motion dated October 26, 1972 informed
the Court that a motion had been filed with respondent court for the removal of petitioner PCIB as
administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, which removal motion
alleged that 22.968149% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already been acquired by the heirs of
Mrs. Hodges from certain heirs of her husband. Further, in this connection, in the answer of PCIB to
the motion of respondent Magno to have it declared in contempt for disregarding the Court's
resolution of September 8, 1972 modifying the injunction of August 8, 1967, said petitioner annexed
thereto a joint manifestation and motion, appearing to have been filed with respondent court,
informing said court that in addition to the fact that 22% of the share of C. N. Hodges had already
been bought by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, as already stated, certain other heirs of Hodges
representing 17.343750% of his estate were joining cause with the heirs of Mrs. Hodges as against
PCIB, thereby making somewhat precarious, if not possibly untenable, petitioners' continuation as
administrator of the Hodges estate.
RESOLUTION OF ISSUES IN THE CERTIORARI AND
PROHIBITION CASES
I
As to the Alleged Tardiness
of the Present Appeals
The priority question raised by respondent Magno relates to the alleged tardiness of all the
aforementioned thirty-three appeals of PCIB. Considering, however, that these appeals revolve
around practically the same main issues and that it is admitted that some of them have been timely
taken, and, moreover, their final results hereinbelow to be stated and explained make it of no
consequence whether or not the orders concerned have become final by the lapsing of the
respective periods to appeal them, We do not deem it necessary to pass upon the timeliness of any
of said appeals.
II
The Propriety Here of Certiorari and
Prohibition instead of Appeal
The other preliminary point of the same respondent is alleged impropriety of the special civil action
of certiorari and prohibition in view of the existence of the remedy of appeal which it claims is proven
by the very appeals now before Us. Such contention fails to take into account that there is a
common thread among the basic issues involved in all these thirty-three appeals which, unless
resolved in one single proceeding, will inevitably cause the proliferation of more or less similar or
closely related incidents and consequent eventual appeals. If for this consideration alone, and
without taking account anymore of the unnecessary additional effort, expense and time which would
be involved in as many individual appeals as the number of such incidents, it is logical and proper to
hold, as We do hold, that the remedy of appeal is not adequate in the present cases. In determining
whether or not a special civil action ofcertiorari or prohibition may be resorted to in lieu of appeal, in
instances wherein lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion is alleged, it is not
enough that the remedy of appeal exists or is possible. It is indispensable that taking all the relevant
circumstances of the given case, appeal would better serve the interests of justice. Obviously, the
longer delay, augmented expense and trouble and unnecessary repetition of the same work
attendant to the present multiple appeals, which, after all, deal with practically the same basic issues
that can be more expeditiously resolved or determined in a single special civil action, make the
remedies of certiorari and prohibition, pursued by petitioner, preferable, for purposes of resolving the
common basic issues raised in all of them, despite the conceded availability of appeal. Besides, the
settling of such common fundamental issues would naturally minimize the areas of conflict between
the parties and render more simple the determination of the secondary issues in each of them.
Accordingly, respondent Magno's objection to the present remedy of certiorariand prohibition must
be overruled.
We come now to the errors assigned by petitioner-appellant, Philippine Commercial & Industrial
Bank, (PCIB, for short) in the petition as well as in its main brief as appellant.
III
On Whether or Not There is Still Any Part of the Testate
Estate Mrs. Hodges that may be Adjudicated to her brothers
and sisters as her estate, of which respondent Magno is the
unquestioned Administratrix in special Proceedings 1307.
In the petition, it is the position of PCIB that the respondent court exceeded its jurisdiction or gravely
abused its discretion in further recognizing after December 14, 1957 the existence of the Testate
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and in sanctioning purported acts of administration therein of
respondent Magno. Main ground for such posture is that by the aforequoted order of respondent
court of said date, Hodges was already allowed to assert and exercise all his rights as universal heir
of his wife pursuant to the provisions of her will, quoted earlier, hence, nothing else remains to be
done in Special Proceedings 1307 except to formally close it. In other words, the contention of PCIB
is that in view of said order, nothing more than a formal declaration of Hodges as sole and exclusive
heir of his wife and the consequent formal unqualified adjudication to him of all her estate remain to
be done to completely close Special Proceedings 1307, hence respondent Magno should be
considered as having ceased to be Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges since then.
After carefully going over the record, We feel constrained to hold that such pose is patently
untenable from whatever angle it is examined.
To start with, We cannot find anywhere in respondent Order of December 14, 1957 the sense being
read into it by PCIB. The tenor of said order bears no suggestion at all to such effect. The
declaration of heirs and distribution by the probate court of the estate of a decedent is its most
important function, and this Court is not disposed to encourage judges of probate proceedings to be
less than definite, plain and specific in making orders in such regard, if for no other reason than that
all parties concerned, like the heirs, the creditors, and most of all the government, the devisees and
legatees, should know with certainty what are and when their respective rights and obligations
ensuing from the inheritance or in relation thereto would begin or cease, as the case may be,
thereby avoiding precisely the legal complications and consequent litigations similar to those that
have developed unnecessarily in the present cases. While it is true that in instances wherein all the
parties interested in the estate of a deceased person have already actually distributed among
themselves their respective shares therein to the satisfaction of everyone concerned and no rights of
creditors or third parties are adversely affected, it would naturally be almost ministerial for the court
to issue the final order of declaration and distribution, still it is inconceivable that the special
proceeding instituted for the purpose may be considered terminated, the respective rights of all the
parties concerned be deemed definitely settled, and the executor or administrator thereof be
regarded as automatically discharged and relieved already of all functions and responsibilities
without the corresponding definite orders of the probate court to such effect.
Indeed, the law on the matter is specific, categorical and unequivocal. Section 1 of Rule 90 provides:
SECTION 1. When order for distribution of residue made. When the debts, funeral
charges, and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow and inheritance
tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with law have been paid, the
court, on the application of the executor or administrator, or of a person interested in
the estate, and after hearing upon notice, shall assign the residue of the estate to the
persons entitled to the same, naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which
each is entitled, and such persons may demand and recover their respective shares
from the executor or administrator, or any other person having the same in his
possession. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of
the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled
under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations above mentioned
has been made or provided for, unless the distributees, or any of them give a bond,
in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment of said obligations
within such time as the court directs.
These provisions cannot mean anything less than that in order that a proceeding for the settlement
of the estate of a deceased may be deemed ready for final closure, (1) there should have been
issued already an order of distribution or assignment of the estate of the decedent among or to those
entitled thereto by will or by law, but (2) such order shall not be issued until after it is shown that the
"debts, funeral expenses, expenses of administration, allowances, taxes, etc. chargeable to the
estate" have been paid, which is but logical and proper. (3) Besides, such an order is usually issued
upon proper and specific application for the purpose of the interested party or parties, and not of the
court.
... it is only after, and not before, the payment of all debts, funeral charges, expenses
of administration, allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax shall have been
effected that the court should make a declaration of heirs or of such persons as are
entitled by law to the residue. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, 2nd ed., Vol.
II, p. 397, citing Capistrano vs. Nadurata, 49 Phil., 726; Lopez vs. Lopez, 37 Off.
Gaz., 3091.) (JIMOGA-ON v. BELMONTE, 84 Phil. 545, 548) (p. 86, Appellee's Brief)
xxx xxx xxx
Under Section 753 of the Code of Civil Procedure, (corresponding to Section 1, Rule
90) what brings an intestate (or testate) proceeding to a close is the order of
distribution directing delivery of the residue to the persons entitled thereto after
paying the indebtedness, if any, left by the deceased. (Santiesteban vs.
Santiesteban, 68 Phil. 367, 370.)
In the cases at bar, We cannot discern from the voluminous and varied facts, pleadings and orders
before Us that the above indispensable prerequisites for the declaration of heirs and the adjudication
of the estate of Mrs. Hodges had already been complied with when the order of December 14, 1957
was issued. As already stated, We are not persuaded that the proceedings leading to the issuance
of said order, constituting barely of the motion of May 27, 1957, Annex D of the petition, the order of
even date, Annex E, and the motion of December 11, 1957, Annex H, all aforequoted, are what the
law contemplates. We cannot see in the order of December 14, 1957, so much relied upon by the
petitioner, anything more than an explicit approval of "all the sales, conveyances, leases and
mortgages of all the properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the Executor
Charles N. Hodges" (after the death of his wife and prior to the date of the motion), plus a general
advance authorization to enable said "Executor to execute subsequent sales, conveyances,
leases and mortgages of the properties left the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance
with wishes conveyed in the last will and testament of the latter", which, certainly, cannot amount to
the order of adjudication of the estate of the decedent to Hodges contemplated in the law. In fact, the
motion of December 11, 1957 on which the court predicated the order in question did not pray for
any such adjudication at all. What is more, although said motion did allege that "herein Executor
(Hodges) is not only part owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the
properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges", it significantly added that "herein Executor, as
Legatee (sic), has the right to sell, convey, lease or dispose of the properties in the Philippines
during his lifetime", thereby indicating that what said motion contemplated was nothing more than
either the enjoyment by Hodges of his rights under the particular portion of the dispositions of his
wife's will which were to be operative only during his lifetime or the use of his own share of the
conjugal estate, pending the termination of the proceedings. In other words, the authority referred to
in said motions and orders is in the nature of that contemplated either in Section 2 of Rule 109 which
permits, in appropriate cases, advance or partial implementation of the terms of a duly probated will
before final adjudication or distribution when the rights of third parties would not be adversely
affected thereby or in the established practice of allowing the surviving spouse to dispose of his own
share of he conjugal estate, pending its final liquidation, when it appears that no creditors of the
conjugal partnership would be prejudiced thereby, (see the Revised Rules of Court by Francisco,
Vol. V-B, 1970 ed. p. 887) albeit, from the tenor of said motions, We are more inclined to believe that
Hodges meant to refer to the former. In any event, We are fully persuaded that the quoted
allegations of said motions read together cannot be construed as a repudiation of the rights
unequivocally established in the will in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters to whatever have
not been disposed of by him up to his death.
Indeed, nowhere in the record does it appear that the trial court subsequently acted upon the
premise suggested by petitioner. On the contrary, on November 23, 1965, when the court resolved
the motion of appellee Western Institute of Technology by its order We have quoted earlier, it
categorically held that as of said date, November 23, 1965, "in both cases (Special Proceedings
1307 and 1672) there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to
whomsoever are entitled thereto." In this connection, it may be stated further against petitioner, by
way of some kind of estoppel, that in its own motion of January 8, 1965, already quoted in full on
pages 54-67 of this decision, it prayed inter alia that the court declare that "C. N. Hodges was the
sole and exclusive heir of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges", which it would not have done if it were
really convinced that the order of December 14, 1957 was already the order of adjudication and
distribution of her estate. That said motion was later withdrawn when Magno filed her own motion for
determination and adjudication of what should correspond to the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges
does not alter the indubitable implication of the prayer of the withdrawn motion.
It must be borne in mind that while it is true that Mrs. Hodges bequeathed her whole estate to her
husband and gave him what amounts to full powers of dominion over the same during his lifetime,
she imposed at the same time the condition that whatever should remain thereof upon his death
should go to her brothers and sisters. In effect, therefore, what was absolutely given to Hodges was
only so much of his wife's estate as he might possibly dispose of during his lifetime; hence, even
assuming that by the allegations in his motion, he did intend to adjudicate the whole estate to
himself, as suggested by petitioner, such unilateral act could not have affected or diminished in any
degree or manner the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law over what would remain thereof upon
his death, for surely, no one can rightly contend that the testamentary provision in question allowed
him to so adjudicate any part of the estate to himself as to prejudice them. In other words,
irrespective of whatever might have been Hodges' intention in his motions, as Executor, of May 27,
1957 and December 11, 1957, the trial court's orders granting said motions, even in the terms in
which they have been worded, could not have had the effect of an absolute and unconditional
adjudication unto Hodges of the whole estate of his wife. None of them could have deprived his
brothers and sisters-in-law of their rights under said will. And it may be added here that the fact that
no one appeared to oppose the motions in question may only be attributed, firstly, to the failure of
Hodges to send notices to any of them, as admitted in the motion itself, and, secondly, to the fact
that even if they had been notified, they could not have taken said motions to be for the final
distribution and adjudication of the estate, but merely for him to be able, pending such final
distribution and adjudication, to either exercise during his lifetime rights of dominion over his wife's
estate in accordance with the bequest in his favor, which, as already observed, may be allowed
under the broad terms of Section 2 of Rule 109, or make use of his own share of the conjugal estate.
In any event, We do not believe that the trial court could have acted in the sense pretended by
petitioner, not only because of the clear language of the will but also because none of the interested
parties had been duly notified of the motion and hearing thereof. Stated differently, if the orders of
May 27, 1957 and December 4, 1957 were really intended to be read in the sense contended by
petitioner, We would have no hesitancy in declaring them null and void.
Petitioner cites the case of Austria vs. Ventenilla, G. R. No. L-10018, September 19, 1956,
(unreported but a partial digest thereof appears in 99 Phil. 1069) in support of its insistence that with
the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957, the closure of Mrs. Hodges' estate has become a
mere formality, inasmuch as said orders amounted to the order of adjudication and distribution
ordained by Section 1 of Rule 90. But the parallel attempted to be drawn between that case and the
present one does not hold. There the trial court had in fact issued a clear, distinct and express order
of adjudication and distribution more than twenty years before the other heirs of the deceased filed
their motion asking that the administratrix be removed, etc. As quoted in that decision, the order of
the lower court in that respect read as follows:
En orden a la mocion de la administradora, el juzgado la encuentra procedente bajo
la condicion de que no se hara entrega ni adjudicacion de los bienes a los herederos
antes de que estos presten la fianza correspondiente y de acuerdo con lo prescrito
en el Art. 754 del Codigo de Procedimientos: pues, en autos no aparece que hayan
sido nombrados comisionados de avaluo y reclamaciones. Dicha fianza podra ser
por un valor igual al de los bienes que correspondan a cada heredero segun el
testamento. Creo que no es obice para la terminacion del expediente el hecho de
que la administradora no ha presentado hasta ahora el inventario de los bienes;
pues, segun la ley, estan exentos de esta formalidad os administradores que son
legatarios del residuo o remanente de los bienes y hayan prestado fianza para
responder de las gestiones de su cargo, y aparece en el testamento que la
administradora Alejandra Austria reune dicha condicion.
POR TODO LO EXPUESTO, el juzgado declara, 1.o: no haber lugar a la mocion de
Ramon Ventenilla y otros; 2.o, declara asimismo que los unicos herederos del finado
Antonio Ventenilla son su esposa Alejandra Austria, Maria Ventenilla, hermana del
testador, y Ramon Ventenilla, Maria Ventenilla, Ramon Soriano, Eulalio Soriano,
Jose Soriano, Gabriela Ventenilla, Lorenzo Ventenilla, Felicitas Ventenilla, Eugenio
Ventenilla y Alejandra Ventenilla, en representacion de los difuntos Juan, Tomas,
Catalino y Froilan, hermanos del testador, declarando, ademas que la heredera
Alejandra Austria tiene derecho al remanente de todos los bienes dejados por el
finado, despues de deducir de ellos la porcion que corresponde a cada uno de sus
coherederos, conforme esta mandado en las clausulas 8.a, 9.a, 10.a, 11.a, 12.a y
13.a del testamento; 3.o, se aprueba el pago hecho por la administradora de los
gastos de la ultima enfermedad y funerales del testador, de la donacion hecha por el
testador a favor de la Escuela a Publica del Municipio de Mangatarem, y de las
misas en sufragio del alma del finado; 4.o, que una vez prestada la fianza
mencionada al principio de este auto, se haga la entrega y adjudicacion de los
bienes, conforme se dispone en el testamento y se acaba de declarar en este auto;
5.o, y, finalmente, que verificada la adjudicacion, se dara por terminada la
administracion, revelandole toda responsabilidad a la administradora, y cancelando
su fianza.
ASI SE ORDENA.
Undoubtedly, after the issuance of an order of such tenor, the closure of any proceedings for the
settlement of the estate of a deceased person cannot be but perfunctory.
In the case at bar, as already pointed out above, the two orders relied upon by petitioner do not
appear ex-facie to be of the same tenor and nature as the order just quoted, and, what is more, the
circumstances attendant to its issuance do not suggest that such was the intention of the court, for
nothing could have been more violative of the will of Mrs. Hodges.
Indeed, to infer from Hodges' said motions and from his statements of accounts for the years 1958,
1959 and 1960, A Annexes I, K and M, respectively, wherein he repeatedly claimed that "herein
executor (being) the only devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the last will and
testament already probated," there is "no (other) person interested in the Philippines of the time and
place of examining herein account to be given notice", an intent to adjudicate unto himself the whole
of his wife's estate in an absolute manner and without regard to the contingent interests of her
brothers and sisters, is to impute bad faith to him, an imputation which is not legally permissible,
much less warranted by the facts of record herein. Hodges knew or ought to have known that, legally
speaking, the terms of his wife's will did not give him such a right. Factually, there are enough
circumstances extant in the records of these cases indicating that he had no such intention to ignore
the rights of his co-heirs. In his very motions in question, Hodges alleged, thru counsel, that the
"deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving no descendants and ascendants, except brothers and
sisters and herein petitioner, as surviving spouse, to inherit the properties of the decedent", and
even promised that "proper accounting will be had in all these transactions" which he had
submitted for approval and authorization by the court, thereby implying that he was aware of his
responsibilities vis-a-vis his co-heirs. As alleged by respondent Magno in her brief as appellee:
Under date of April 14, 1959, C. N. Hodges filed his first "Account by the Executor" of
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of Networth of Mr. C. N. Hodges
and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of December 31, 1958 annexed thereto, C.
N. Hodges reported that the combined conjugal estate earned a net income of
P328,402.62, divided evenly between him and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges.
Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income tax return" for calendar year 1958 on
the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting, under oath, the said estate as having
earned income of P164,201.31, exactly one-half of the net income of his combined
personal assets and that of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (p. 91, Appellee's
Brief.)
Under date of July 21, 1960, C. N. Hodges filed his second "Annual Statement of
Account by the Executor" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In the "Statement of
Networth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges" as of
December 31, 1959 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges reported that the combined
conjugal estate earned a net income of P270,623.32, divided evenly between him
and the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual income
tax return" for calendar year 1959 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges reporting,
under oath, the said estate as having earned income of P135,311.66, exactly one-
half of the net income of his combined personal assets and that of the estate of
Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 91-92, id.)
Under date of April 20, 1961, C. N. Hodges filed his third "Annual Statement of
Account by the Executor for the year 1960" of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. In
the "Statement of Net Worth of Mr. C. N. Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges" as of December 31, 1960 annexed thereto, C. N. Hodges reported that the
combined conjugal estate earned a net income of P314,857.94, divided of Linnie
Jane Hodges. Pursuant to this, he filed an "individual evenly between him and the
estate income tax return" for calendar year 1960 on the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
reporting, under oath, the said estate as having earned income of P157,428.97,
exactly one-half of the net income of his combined personal assets and that of the
estate of Linnie Jane Hodges. (pp. 92-93, id.)
In the petition for probate that he (Hodges) filed, he listed the seven brothers and
sisters of Linnie Jane as her "heirs" (see p. 2, Green ROA). The order of the court
admitting the will to probate unfortunately omitted one of the heirs, Roy Higdon (see
p. 14, Green ROA). Immediately, C. N. Hodges filed a verified motion to have Roy
Higdon's name included as an heir, stating that he wanted to straighten the records
"in order (that) the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe they were
omitted, and that they were really and are interested in the estate of deceased Linnie
Jane Hodges".
Thus, he recognized, if in his own way, the separate identity of his wife's estate from his own share
of the conjugal partnership up to the time of his death, more than five years after that of his wife. He
never considered the whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself. The only
conclusion one can gather from this is that he could have been preparing the basis for the eventual
transmission of his wife's estate, or, at least, so much thereof as he would not have been able to
dispose of during his lifetime, to her brothers and sisters in accordance with her expressed desire,
as intimated in his tax return in the United States to be more extensively referred to anon. And
assuming that he did pay the corresponding estate and inheritance taxes in the Philippines on the
basis of his being sole heir, such payment is not necessarily inconsistent with his recognition of the
rights of his co-heirs. Without purporting to rule definitely on the matter in these proceedings, We
might say here that We are inclined to the view that under the peculiar provisions of his wife's will,
and for purposes of the applicable inheritance tax laws, Hodges had to be considered as her sole
heir, pending the actual transmission of the remaining portion of her estate to her other heirs, upon
the eventuality of his death, and whatever adjustment might be warranted should there be any such
remainder then is a matter that could well be taken care of by the internal revenue authorities in due
time.
It is to be noted that the lawyer, Atty. Leon P. Gellada, who signed the motions of May 27, 1957 and
December 11, 1957 and the aforementioned statements of account was the very same one who also
subsequently signed and filed the motion of December 26, 1962 for the appointment of respondent
Magno as "Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Linnie Jane Hodges" wherein it was alleged that "in
accordance with the provisions of the last will and testament of Linnie Jane Hodges, whatever real
properties that may remain at the death of her husband, Charles Newton Hodges, the said
properties shall be equally divided among their heirs." And it appearing that said attorney was
Hodges' lawyer as Executor of the estate of his wife, it stands to reason that his understanding of the
situation, implicit in his allegations just quoted, could somehow be reflective of Hodges' own
understanding thereof.
As a matter of fact, the allegations in the motion of the same Atty. Gellada dated July 1, 1957, a
"Request for Inclusion of the Name of Roy Higdon in the Order of the Court dated July 19, 1957,
etc.", reference to which is made in the above quotation from respondent Magno's brief, are over the
oath of Hodges himself, who verified the motion. Said allegations read:
1. That the Hon. Court issued orders dated June 29, 1957, ordering the probate of
the will.
2. That in said order of the Hon. Court, the relatives of the deceased Linnie Jane
Hodges were enumerated. However, in the petition as well as in the testimony of
Executor during the hearing, the name Roy Higdon was mentioned, but deceased. It
was unintentionally omitted the heirs of said Roy Higdon who are his wife Aline
Higdon and son David Higdon, all of age, and residents of Quinlan, Texas, U.S.A.
3. That to straighten the records, and in order the heirs of deceased Roy Higdon
may not think or believe they were omitted, and that they were really and are
interested in the estate of deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, it is requested of the Hon.
Court to insert the names of Aline Higdon and David Higdon, wife and son of
deceased Roy Higdon in the said order of the Hon. Court dated June 29, 1957. (pars.
1 to 3, Annex 2 of Magno's Answer Record, p. 260)
As can be seen, these italicized allegations indicate, more or less, the real attitude of Hodges in
regard to the testamentary dispositions of his wife.
In connection with this point of Hodges' intent, We note that there are documents, copies of which
are annexed to respondent Magno's answer, which purportedly contain Hodges' own solemn
declarations recognizing the right of his co-heirs, such as the alleged tax return he filed with the
United States Taxation authorities, identified as Schedule M, (Annex 4 of her answer) and his
supposed affidavit of renunciation, Annex 5. In said Schedule M, Hodges appears to have answered
the pertinent question thus:
2a. Had the surviving spouse the right to declare an election between (1) the
provisions made in his or her favor by the will and (11) dower, curtesy or a statutory
interest? (X) Yes ( ) No
2d. Does the surviving spouse contemplate renouncing the will and electing to take
dower, curtesy, or a statutory interest? (X) Yes ( ) No
3. According to the information and belief of the person or persons filing the return, is
any action described under question 1 designed or contemplated? ( ) Yes (X) No
(Annex 4, Answer Record, p. 263)
and to have further stated under the item, "Description of property interests passing to surviving
spouse" the following:
None, except for purposes of administering the Estate, paying debts, taxes and other
legal charges. It is the intention of the surviving husband of deceased to distribute
the remaining property and interests of the deceased in their Community Estate to
the devisees and legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and
expenses of administration are finally determined and paid. (Annex 4, Answer
Record, p. 263)
In addition, in the supposed affidavit of Hodges, Annex 5, it is stated:
I, C. N. Hodges, being duly sworn, on oath affirm that at the time the United States
Estate Tax Return was filed in the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on August 8, 1958, I
renounced and disclaimed any and all right to receive the rents, emoluments and
income from said estate, as shown by the statement contained in Schedule M at
page 29 of said return, a copy of which schedule is attached to this affidavit and
made a part hereof.
The purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm, and I do hereby ratify and
confirm, the declaration made in Schedule M of said return and hereby formally
disclaim and renounce any right on my part to receive any of the said rents,
emoluments and income from the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges.
This affidavit is made to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the payment of
income taxes on income which has accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957. (Annex 5, Answer
Record, p. 264)
Although it appears that said documents were not duly presented as evidence in the court below,
and We cannot, therefore, rely on them for the purpose of the present proceedings, still, We cannot
close our eyes to their existence in the record nor fail to note that their tenor jibes with Our
conclusion discussed above from the circumstances related to the orders of May 27 and December
14, 1957. 5 Somehow, these documents, considering they are supposed to be copies of their
originals found in the official files of the governments of the United States and of the Philippines,
serve to lessen any possible apprehension that Our conclusion from the other evidence of Hodges'
manifest intent vis-a-vis the rights of his co-heirs is without basis in fact.
Verily, with such eloquent manifestations of his good intentions towards the other heirs of his wife,
We find it very hard to believe that Hodges did ask the court and that the latter agreed that he be
declared her sole heir and that her whole estate be adjudicated to him without so much as just
annotating the contingent interest of her brothers and sisters in what would remain thereof upon his
demise. On the contrary, it seems to us more factual and fairer to assume that Hodges was well
aware of his position as executor of the will of his wife and, as such, had in mind the following
admonition made by the Court in Pamittan vs. Lasam, et al., 60 Phil., 908, at pp. 913-914:
Upon the death of Bernarda in September, 1908, said lands continued to be conjugal
property in the hands of the defendant Lasam. It is provided in article 1418 of the
Civil Code that upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership, an inventory shall
immediately be made and this court in construing this provision in connection with
section 685 of the Code of Civil Procedure (prior to its amendment by Act No. 3176
of November 24, 1924) has repeatedly held that in the event of the death of the wife,
the law imposes upon the husband the duty of liquidating the affairs of the
partnership without delay (desde luego) (Alfonso vs. Natividad, 6 Phil., 240; Prado
vs. Lagera, 7 Phil., 395; De la Rama vs. De la Rama, 7 Phil., 745; Enriquez vs.
Victoria, 10 Phil., 10; Amancio vs. Pardo, 13 Phil., 297; Rojas vs. Singson Tongson,
17 Phil., 476; Sochayseng vs. Trujillo, 31 Phil., 153; Molera vs. Molera, 40 Phil., 566;
Nable Jose vs. Nable Jose, 41 Phil., 713.)
In the last mentioned case this court quoted with approval the case of Leatherwood
vs. Arnold (66 Texas, 414, 416, 417), in which that court discussed the powers of the
surviving spouse in the administration of the community property. Attention was
called to the fact that the surviving husband, in the management of the conjugal
property after the death of the wife, was a trustee of unique character who is liable
for any fraud committed by him with relation to the property while he is charged with
its administration. In the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, he had wide powers
(as the law stood prior to Act No. 3176) and the high degree of trust reposed in him
stands out more clearly in view of the fact that he was the owner of a half interest in
his own right of the conjugal estate which he was charged to administer. He could
therefore no more acquire a title by prescription against those for whom he was
administering the conjugal estate than could a guardian against his ward or a judicial
administrator against the heirs of estate. Section 38 of Chapter III of the Code of Civil
Procedure, with relation to prescription, provides that "this chapter shall not apply ...
in the case of a continuing and subsisting trust." The surviving husband in the
administration and liquidation of the conjugal estate occupies the position of a trustee
of the highest order and is not permitted by the law to hold that estate or any portion
thereof adversely to those for whose benefit the law imposes upon him the duty of
administration and liquidation. No liquidation was ever made by Lasam hence, the
conjugal property which came into his possession on the death of his wife in
September, 1908, still remains conjugal property, a continuing and subsisting trust.
He should have made a liquidation immediately (desde luego). He cannot now be
permitted to take advantage of his own wrong. One of the conditions of title by
prescription (section 41, Code of Civil Procedure) is possession "under a claim of title
exclusive of any other right". For a trustee to make such a claim would be a manifest
fraud.
And knowing thus his responsibilities in the premises, We are not convinced that Hodges arrogated
everything unto himself leaving nothing at all to be inherited by his wife's brothers and sisters.
PCIB insists, however, that to read the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957, not as
adjudicatory, but merely as approving past and authorizing future dispositions made by Hodges in a
wholesale and general manner, would necessarily render the said orders void for being violative of
the provisions of Rule 89 governing the manner in which such dispositions may be made and how
the authority therefor and approval thereof by the probate court may be secured. If We sustained
such a view, the result would only be that the said orders should be declared ineffective either way
they are understood, considering We have already seen it is legally impossible to consider them as
adjudicatory. As a matter of fact, however, what surges immediately to the surface, relative to PCIB's
observations based on Rule 89, is that from such point of view, the supposed irregularity would
involve no more than some non-jurisdictional technicalities of procedure, which have for their evident
fundamental purpose the protection of parties interested in the estate, such as the heirs, its
creditors, particularly the government on account of the taxes due it; and since it is apparent here
that none of such parties are objecting to said orders or would be prejudiced by the unobservance by
the trial court of the procedure pointed out by PCIB, We find no legal inconvenience in nor
impediment to Our giving sanction to the blanket approval and authority contained in said orders.
This solution is definitely preferable in law and in equity, for to view said orders in the sense
suggested by PCIB would result in the deprivation of substantive rights to the brothers and sisters of
Mrs. Hodges, whereas reading them the other way will not cause any prejudice to anyone, and,
withal, will give peace of mind and stability of rights to the innocent parties who relied on them in
good faith, in the light of the peculiar pertinent provisions of the will of said decedent.
Now, the inventory submitted by Hodges on May 12, 1958 referred to the estate of his wife as
consisting of "One-half of all the items designated in the balance sheet, copy of which is hereto
attached and marked as "Annex A"." Although, regrettably, no copy of said Annex A appears in the
records before Us, We take judicial notice, on the basis of the undisputed facts in these cases, that
the same consists of considerable real and other personal kinds of properties. And since, according
to her will, her husband was to be the sole owner thereof during his lifetime, with full power and
authority to dispose of any of them, provided that should there be any remainder upon his death,
such remainder would go to her brothers and sisters, and furthermore, there is no pretension, much
less any proof that Hodges had in fact disposed of all of them, and, on the contrary, the indications
are rather to the effect that he had kept them more or less intact, it cannot truthfully be said that,
upon the death of Hodges, there was no more estate of Mrs. Hodges to speak of. It is Our
conclusion, therefore, that properties do exist which constitute such estate, hence Special
Proceedings 1307 should not yet be closed.
Neither is there basis for holding that respondent Magno has ceased to be the Administratrix in said
proceeding. There is no showing that she has ever been legally removed as such, the attempt to
replace her with Mr. Benito Lopez without authority from the Court having been expressly held
ineffective by Our resolution of September 8, 1972. Parenthetically, on this last point, PCIB itself is
very emphatic in stressing that it is not questioning said respondent's status as such administratrix.
Indeed, it is not clear that PCIB has any standing to raise any objection thereto, considering it is a
complete stranger insofar as the estate of Mrs. Hodges is concerned.
It is the contention of PCIB, however, that as things actually stood at the time of Hodges' death, their
conjugal partnership had not yet been liquidated and, inasmuch as the properties composing the
same were thus commingled pro indiviso and, consequently, the properties pertaining to the estate
of each of the spouses are not yet identifiable, it is PCIB alone, as administrator of the estate of
Hodges, who should administer everything, and all that respondent Magno can do for the time being
is to wait until the properties constituting the remaining estate of Mrs. Hodges have been duly
segregated and delivered to her for her own administration. Seemingly, PCIB would liken the Testate
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges to a party having a claim of ownership to some properties included in
the inventory of an administrator of the estate of a decedent, (here that of Hodges) and who normally
has no right to take part in the proceedings pending the establishment of his right or title; for which
as a rule it is required that an ordinary action should be filed, since the probate court is without
jurisdiction to pass with finality on questions of title between the estate of the deceased, on the one
hand, and a third party or even an heir claiming adversely against the estate, on the other.
We do not find such contention sufficiently persuasive. As We see it, the situation obtaining herein
cannot be compared with the claim of a third party the basis of which is alien to the pending probate
proceedings. In the present cases what gave rise to the claim of PCIB of exclusive ownership by the
estate of Hodges over all the properties of the Hodges spouses, including the share of Mrs. Hodges
in the community properties, were the orders of the trial court issued in the course of the very
settlement proceedings themselves, more specifically, the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957
so often mentioned above. In other words, the root of the issue of title between the parties is
something that the court itself has done in the exercise of its probate jurisdiction. And since in the
ultimate analysis, the question of whether or not all the properties herein involved pertain exclusively
to the estate of Hodges depends on the legal meaning and effect of said orders, the claim that
respondent court has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and decide the said issue is incorrect. If it
was within the competence of the court to issue the root orders, why should it not be within its
authority to declare their true significance and intent, to the end that the parties may know whether
or not the estate of Mrs. Hodges had already been adjudicated by the court, upon the initiative of
Hodges, in his favor, to the exclusion of the other heirs of his wife instituted in her will?
At this point, it bears emphasis again that the main cause of all the present problems confronting the
courts and the parties in these cases was the failure of Hodges to secure, as executor of his wife's
estate, from May, 1957 up to the time of his death in December, 1962, a period of more than five
years, the final adjudication of her estate and the closure of the proceedings. The record is bare of
any showing that he ever exerted any effort towards the early settlement of said estate. While, on
the one hand, there are enough indications, as already discuss that he had intentions of leaving
intact her share of the conjugal properties so that it may pass wholly to his co-heirs upon his death,
pursuant to her will, on the other hand, by not terminating the proceedings, his interests in his own
half of the conjugal properties remained commingled pro-indiviso with those of his co-heirs in the
other half. Obviously, such a situation could not be conducive to ready ascertainment of the portion
of the inheritance that should appertain to his co-heirs upon his death. Having these considerations
in mind, it would be giving a premium for such procrastination and rather unfair to his co-heirs, if the
administrator of his estate were to be given exclusive administration of all the properties in question,
which would necessarily include the function of promptly liquidating the conjugal partnership, thereby
identifying and segregating without unnecessary loss of time which properties should be considered
as constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges, the remainder of which her brothers and sisters are
supposed to inherit equally among themselves.
To be sure, an administrator is not supposed to represent the interests of any particular party and his
acts are deemed to be objectively for the protection of the rights of everybody concerned with the
estate of the decedent, and from this point of view, it maybe said that even if PCIB were to act alone,
there should be no fear of undue disadvantage to anyone. On the other hand, however, it is
evidently implicit in section 6 of Rule 78 fixing the priority among those to whom letters of
administration should be granted that the criterion in the selection of the administrator is not his
impartiality alone but, more importantly, the extent of his interest in the estate, so much so that the
one assumed to have greater interest is preferred to another who has less. Taking both of these
considerations into account, inasmuch as, according to Hodges' own inventory submitted by him as
Executor of the estate of his wife, practically all their properties were conjugal which means that the
spouses have equal shares therein, it is but logical that both estates should be administered jointly
by representatives of both, pending their segregation from each other. Particularly is such an
arrangement warranted because the actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit
groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance. Besides, to allow
PCIB, the administrator of his estate, to perform now what Hodges was duty bound to do as
executor is to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Section 2 of Rule 78 which expressly provides that
"The executor of an executor shall not, as such, administer the estate of the first testator." It goes
without saying that this provision refers also to the administrator of an executor like PCIB here.
We are not unmindful of the fact that under Section 2 of Rule 73, "When the marriage is dissolved by
the death of the husband or wife, the community property shall be inventoried, administered, and
liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased
spouse. If both spouses have died, the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or
intestate proceedings of either." Indeed, it is true that the last sentence of this provision allows or
permits the conjugal partnership of spouses who are both deceased to be settled or liquidated in the
testate or intestate proceedings of either, but precisely because said sentence allows or permits that
the liquidation be made in either proceeding, it is a matter of sound judicial discretion in which one it
should be made. After all, the former rule referring to the administrator of the husband's estate in
respect to such liquidation was done away with by Act 3176, the pertinent provisions of which are
now embodied in the rule just cited.
Thus, it can be seen that at the time of the death of Hodges, there was already the pending judicial
settlement proceeding of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and, more importantly, that the former was the
executor of the latter's will who had, as such, failed for more than five years to see to it that the same
was terminated earliest, which was not difficult to do, since from ought that appears in the record,
there were no serious obstacles on the way, the estate not being indebted and there being no
immediate heirs other than Hodges himself. Such dilatory or indifferent attitude could only spell
possible prejudice of his co-heirs, whose rights to inheritance depend entirely on the existence of
any remainder of Mrs. Hodges' share in the community properties, and who are now faced with the
pose of PCIB that there is no such remainder. Had Hodges secured as early as possible the
settlement of his wife's estate, this problem would not arisen. All things considered, We are fully
convinced that the interests of justice will be better served by not permitting or allowing PCIB or any
administrator of the estate of Hodges exclusive administration of all the properties in question. We
are of the considered opinion and so hold that what would be just and proper is for both
administrators of the two estates to act conjointly until after said estates have been segregated from
each other.
At this juncture, it may be stated that we are not overlooking the fact that it is PCIB's contention that,
viewed as a substitution, the testamentary disposition in favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters
may not be given effect. To a certain extent, this contention is correct. Indeed, legally speaking, Mrs.
Hodges' will provides neither for a simple or vulgar substitution under Article 859 of the Civil Code
nor for a fideicommissary substitution under Article 863 thereof. There is no vulgar substitution
therein because there is no provision for either (1) predecease of the testator by the designated heir
or (2) refusal or (3) incapacity of the latter to accept the inheritance, as required by Article 859; and
neither is there a fideicommissary substitution therein because no obligation is imposed thereby
upon Hodges to preserve the estate or any part thereof for anyone else. But from these premises, it
is not correct to jump to the conclusion, as PCIB does, that the testamentary dispositions in question
are therefore inoperative and invalid.
The error in PCIB's position lies simply in the fact that it views the said disposition exclusively in the
light of substitutions covered by the Civil Code section on that subject, (Section 3, Chapter 2, Title
IV, Book III) when it is obvious that substitution occurs only when another heir is appointed in a will
"so that he may enter into inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted," (Article 857, id.) and,
in the present case, no such possible default is contemplated. The brothers and sisters of Mrs.
Hodges are not substitutes for Hodges because, under her will, they are not to inherit what Hodges
cannot, would not or may not inherit, but what he would not dispose of from his inheritance; rather,
therefore, they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with Hodges, subject, however, to certain
conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges was concerned and correspondingly suspensive
with reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law. It is partially resolutory, since it bequeaths unto
Hodges the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as universal and sole heir with
absolute dominion over them
6
only during his lifetime, which means that while he could completely and
absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself, he was not free to do
so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his death would cease entirely upon the
occurrence of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance,
although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would automatically become operative upon the
occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of actual existence of any remainder of her estate then.
Contrary to the view of respondent Magno, however, it was not the usufruct alone of her estate, as
contemplated in Article 869 of the Civil Code, that she bequeathed to Hodges during his lifetime, but
the full ownership thereof, although the same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there
was no restriction whatsoever against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion thereof to
anybody other than himself. The Court sees no legal impediment to this kind of institution, in this
jurisdiction or under Philippine law, except that it cannot apply to the legitime of Hodges as the
surviving spouse, consisting of one-half of the estate, considering that Mrs. Hodges had no surviving
ascendants nor descendants. (Arts. 872, 900, and 904, New Civil Code.)
But relative precisely to the question of how much of Mrs. Hodges' share of the conjugal partnership
properties may be considered as her estate, the parties are in disagreement as to how Article 16 of
the Civil Code
7
should be applied. On the one hand, petitioner claims that inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges was
a resident of the Philippines at the time of her death, under said Article 16, construed in relation to the
pertinent laws of Texas and the principle of renvoi, what should be applied here should be the rules of
succession under the Civil Code of the Philippines, and, therefore, her estate could consist of no more
than one-fourth of the said conjugal properties, the other fourth being, as already explained, the legitime
of her husband (Art. 900, Civil Code) which she could not have disposed of nor burdened with any
condition (Art. 872, Civil Code). On the other hand, respondent Magno denies that Mrs. Hodges died a
resident of the Philippines, since allegedly she never changed nor intended to change her original
residence of birth in Texas, United States of America, and contends that, anyway, regardless of the
question of her residence, she being indisputably a citizen of Texas, under said Article 16 of the Civil
Code, the distribution of her estate is subject to the laws of said State which, according to her, do not
provide for any legitime, hence, the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are entitled to the remainder of
the whole of her share of the conjugal partnership properties consisting of one-half thereof. Respondent
Magno further maintains that, in any event, Hodges had renounced his rights under the will in favor of his
co-heirs, as allegedly proven by the documents touching on the point already mentioned earlier, the
genuineness and legal significance of which petitioner seemingly questions. Besides, the parties are
disagreed as to what the pertinent laws of Texas provide. In the interest of settling the estates herein
involved soonest, it would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the parties were determined in
these proceedings. The Court regrets, however, that it cannot do so, for the simple reason that neither the
evidence submitted by the parties in the court below nor their discussion, in their respective briefs and
memoranda before Us, of their respective contentions on the pertinent legal issues, of grave importance
as they are, appear to Us to be adequate enough to enable Us to render an intelligent comprehensive
and just resolution. For one thing, there is no clear and reliable proof of what in fact the possibly
applicable laws of Texas are.
7
* Then also, the genuineness of documents relied upon by respondent
Magno is disputed. And there are a number of still other conceivable related issues which the parties may
wish to raise but which it is not proper to mention here. In Justice, therefore, to all the parties concerned,
these and all other relevant matters should first be threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings
hereafter to be held therein for the purpose of ascertaining and adjudicating and/or distributing the estate
of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated will.
To be more explicit, all that We can and do decide in connection with the petition for certiorari and
prohibition are: (1) that regardless of which corresponding laws are applied, whether of the
Philippines or of Texas, and taking for granted either of the respective contentions of the parties as
to provisions of the latter,
8
and regardless also of whether or not it can be proven by competent
evidence that Hodges renounced his inheritance in any degree, it is easily and definitely discernible from
the inventory submitted by Hodges himself, as Executor of his wife's estate, that there are properties
which should constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges and ought to be disposed of or distributed among her
heirs pursuant to her will in said Special Proceedings 1307; (2) that, more specifically, inasmuch as the
question of what are the pertinent laws of Texas applicable to the situation herein is basically one of fact,
and, considering that the sole difference in the positions of the parties as to the effect of said laws has
reference to the supposed legitime of Hodges it being the stand of PCIB that Hodges had such a
legitime whereas Magno claims the negative - it is now beyond controversy for all future purposes of
these proceedings that whatever be the provisions actually of the laws of Texas applicable hereto, the
estate of Mrs. Hodges is at least, one-fourth of the conjugal estate of the spouses; the existence and
effects of foreign laws being questions of fact, and it being the position now of PCIB that the estate of
Mrs. Hodges, pursuant to the laws of Texas, should only be one-fourth of the conjugal estate, such
contention constitutes an admission of fact, and consequently, it would be in estoppel in any further
proceedings in these cases to claim that said estate could be less, irrespective of what might be proven
later to be actually the provisions of the applicable laws of Texas; (3) that Special Proceedings 1307 for
the settlement of the testate estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be closed at this stage and should proceed to
its logical conclusion, there having been no proper and legal adjudication or distribution yet of the estate
therein involved; and (4) that respondent Magno remains and continues to be the Administratrix therein.
Hence, nothing in the foregoing opinion is intended to resolve the issues which, as already stated, are not
properly before the Court now, namely, (1) whether or not Hodges had in fact and in law waived or
renounced his inheritance from Mrs. Hodges, in whole or in part, and (2) assuming there had been no
such waiver, whether or not, by the application of Article 16 of the Civil Code, and in the light of what
might be the applicable laws of Texas on the matter, the estate of Mrs. Hodges is more than the one-
fourth declared above. As a matter of fact, even our finding above about the existence of properties
constituting the estate of Mrs. Hodges rests largely on a general appraisal of the size and extent of the
conjugal partnership gathered from reference made thereto by both parties in their briefs as well as in
their pleadings included in the records on appeal, and it should accordingly yield, as to which exactly
those properties are, to the more concrete and specific evidence which the parties are supposed to
present in support of their respective positions in regard to the foregoing main legal and factual issues. In
the interest of justice, the parties should be allowed to present such further evidence in relation to all
these issues in a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein involved. After all, the court a
quo has not yet passed squarely on these issues, and it is best for all concerned that it should do so in
the first instance.
Relative to Our holding above that the estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be less than the remainder of
one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties, it may be mentioned here that during the
deliberations, the point was raised as to whether or not said holding might be inconsistent with Our
other ruling here also that, since there is no reliable evidence as to what are the applicable laws of
Texas, U.S.A. "with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights" that
may be willed by a testator which, under Article 16 of the Civil Code, are controlling in the instant
cases, in view of the undisputed Texan nationality of the deceased Mrs. Hodges, these cases should
be returned to the court a quo, so that the parties may prove what said law provides, it is premature
for Us to make any specific ruling now on either the validity of the testamentary dispositions herein
involved or the amount of inheritance to which the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are entitled.
After nature reflection, We are of the considered view that, at this stage and in the state of the
records before Us, the feared inconsistency is more apparent than real. Withal, it no longer lies in
the lips of petitioner PCIB to make any claim that under the laws of Texas, the estate of Mrs. Hodges
could in any event be less than that We have fixed above.
It should be borne in mind that as above-indicated, the question of what are the laws of Texas
governing the matters herein issue is, in the first instance, one of fact, not of law. Elementary is the
rule that foreign laws may not be taken judicial notice of and have to be proven like any other fact in
dispute between the parties in any proceeding, with the rare exception in instances when the said
laws are already within the actual knowledge of the court, such as when they are well and generally
known or they have been actually ruled upon in other cases before it and none of the parties
concerned do not claim otherwise. (5 Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, p. 41, 1970 ed.)
In Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610, it was held:
It is the theory of the petitioner that the alleged will was executed in Elkins West Virginia, on
November 3, 1925, by Hix who had his residence in that jurisdiction, and that the laws of West
Virginia govern. To this end, there was submitted a copy of section 3868 of Acts 1882, c. 84 as
found in West Virginia Code, Annotated, by Hogg Charles E., vol. 2, 1914, p. 1960, and as certified
to by the Director of the National Library. But this was far from a compliance with the law. The laws
of a foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our courts. The courts of the Philippine Islands
are not authorized to take judicial notice of the laws of the various States of the American Union.
Such laws must be proved as facts. (In re Estate of Johnson [1918], 39 Phil., 156.) Here the
requirements of the law were not met. There was no showing that the book from which an extract
was taken was printed or published under the authority of the State of West Virginia, as provided in
section 300 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Nor was the extract from the law attested by the
certificate of the officer having charge of the original, under the seal of the State of West Virginia, as
provided in section 301 of the Code of Civil Procedure. No evidence was introduced to show that the
extract from the laws of West Virginia was in force at the time the alleged will was executed."
No evidence of the nature thus suggested by the Court may be found in the records of the cases at
bar. Quite to the contrary, the parties herein have presented opposing versions in their respective
pleadings and memoranda regarding the matter. And even if We took into account that in Aznar vs.
Garcia, the Court did make reference to certain provisions regarding succession in the laws of
Texas, the disparity in the material dates of that case and the present ones would not permit Us to
indulge in the hazardous conjecture that said provisions have not been amended or changed in the
meantime.
On the other hand, in In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156, We held:
Upon the other point as to whether the will was executed in conformity with the
statutes of the State of Illinois we note that it does not affirmatively appear from
the transcription of the testimony adduced in the trial court that any witness was
examined with reference to the law of Illinois on the subject of the execution of will.
The trial judge no doubt was satisfied that the will was properly executed by
examining section 1874 of the Revised Statutes of Illinois, as exhibited in volume 3 of
Starr & Curtis's Annotated Illinois Statutes, 2nd ed., p. 426; and he may have
assumed that he could take judicial notice of the laws of Illinois under section 275 of
the Code of Civil Procedure. If so, he was in our opinion mistaken. That section
authorizes the courts here to take judicial notice, among other things, of the acts of
the legislative department of the United States. These words clearly have reference
to Acts of the Congress of the United States; and we would hesitate to hold that our
courts can, under this provision, take judicial notice of the multifarious laws of the
various American States. Nor do we think that any such authority can be derived
from the broader language, used in the same section, where it is said that our courts
may take judicial notice of matters of public knowledge "similar" to those therein
enumerated. The proper rule we think is to require proof of the statutes of the States
of the American Union whenever their provisions are determinative of the issues in
any action litigated in the Philippine courts.
Nevertheless, even supposing that the trial court may have erred in taking judicial
notice of the law of Illinois on the point in question, such error is not now available to
the petitioner, first, because the petition does not state any fact from which it would
appear that the law of Illinois is different from what the court found, and, secondly,
because the assignment of error and argument for the appellant in this court raises
no question based on such supposed error. Though the trial court may have acted
upon pure conjecture as to the law prevailing in the State of Illinois, its judgment
could not be set aside, even upon application made within six months under section
113 of the Code of Civil Procedure, unless it should be made to appear affirmatively
that the conjecture was wrong. The petitioner, it is true, states in general terms that
the will in question is invalid and inadequate to pass real and personal property in the
State of Illinois, but this is merely a conclusion of law. The affidavits by which the
petition is accompanied contain no reference to the subject, and we are cited to no
authority in the appellant's brief which might tend to raise a doubt as to the
correctness of the conclusion of the trial court. It is very clear, therefore, that this
point cannot be urged as of serious moment.
It is implicit in the above ruling that when, with respect to certain aspects of the foreign laws
concerned, the parties in a given case do not have any controversy or are more or less in
agreement, the Court may take it for granted for the purposes of the particular case before it that the
said laws are as such virtual agreement indicates, without the need of requiring the presentation of
what otherwise would be the competent evidence on the point. Thus, in the instant cases wherein it
results from the respective contentions of both parties that even if the pertinent laws of Texas were
known and to be applied, the amount of the inheritance pertaining to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges is as
We have fixed above, the absence of evidence to the effect that, actually and in fact, under said
laws, it could be otherwise is of no longer of any consequence, unless the purpose is to show that it
could be more. In other words, since PCIB, the petitioner-appellant, concedes that upon application
of Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, the amount of the estate in
controversy is just as We have determined it to be, and respondent-appellee is only claiming, on her
part, that it could be more, PCIB may not now or later pretend differently.
To be more concrete, on pages 20-21 of its petition herein, dated July 31, 1967, PCIB states
categorically:
Inasmuch as Article 16 of the Civil Code provides that "intestate and testamentary
successions both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration,
whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein
said property may be found", while the law of Texas (the Hodges spouses being
nationals of U.S.A., State of Texas), in its conflicts of law rules, provides that the
domiciliary law (in this case Philippine law) governs the testamentary dispositions
and successional rights over movables or personal properties, while the law of the
situs (in this case also Philippine law with respect to all Hodges properties located in
the Philippines), governs with respect to immovable properties, and applying
therefore the 'renvoi doctrine' as enunciated and applied by this Honorable Court in
the case of In re Estate of Christensen (G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 31, 1963), there can
be no question that Philippine law governs the testamentary dispositions contained in
the Last Will and Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as well as the
successional rights to her estate, both with respect to movables, as well as to
immovables situated in the Philippines.
In its main brief dated February 26, 1968, PCIB asserts:
The law governing successional rights.
As recited above, there is no question that the deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, was
an American citizen. There is also no question that she was a national of the State of
Texas, U.S.A. Again, there is likewise no question that she had her domicile of
choice in the City of Iloilo, Philippines, as this has already been pronounced by the
above-cited orders of the lower court, pronouncements which are by now res
adjudicata (par. [a], See. 49, Rule 39, Rules of Court; In re Estate of Johnson, 39
Phil. 156).
Article 16 of the Civil Code provides:
"Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where
it is situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found."
Thus the aforecited provision of the Civil Code points towards the national law of the
deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, which is the law of Texas, as governing succession
"both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional
rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions ...". But the law of Texas,
in its conflicts of law rules, provides that the domiciliary law governs the testamentary
dispositions and successional rights over movables or personal property, while the
law of the situs governs with respect to immovable property. Such that with respect
to both movable property, as well as immovable property situated in the Philippines,
the law of Texas points to the law of the Philippines.
Applying, therefore, the so-called "renvoi doctrine", as enunciated and applied by this
Honorable Court in the case of "In re Christensen" (G.R. No. L-16749, Jan. 31,
1963), there can be no question that Philippine law governs the testamentary
provisions in the Last Will and Testament of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges, as
well as the successional rights to her estate, both with respect to movables, as well
as immovables situated in the Philippines.
The subject of successional rights.
Under Philippine law, as it is under the law of Texas, the conjugal or community
property of the spouses, Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges, upon the
death of the latter, is to be divided into two, one-half pertaining to each of the
spouses, as his or her own property. Thus, upon the death of Linnie Jane Hodges,
one-half of the conjugal partnership property immediately pertained to Charles
Newton Hodges as his own share, and not by virtue of any successional rights.
There can be no question about this.
Again, Philippine law, or more specifically, Article 900 of the Civil Code provides:
If the only survivor is the widow or widower, she or he shall be
entitled to one-half of the hereditary estate of the deceased spouse,
and the testator may freely dispose of the other half.
If the marriage between the surviving spouse and the testator was
solemnized in articulo mortis, and the testator died within three
months from the time of the marriage, the legitime of the surviving
spouse as the sole heir shall be one-third of the hereditary estate,
except when they have been living as husband and wife for more
than five years. In the latter case, the legitime of the surviving spouse
shall be that specified in the preceding paragraph.
This legitime of the surviving spouse cannot be burdened by a fideicommisary
substitution (Art. 864, Civil code), nor by any charge, condition, or substitution (Art,
872, Civil code). It is clear, therefore, that in addition to one-half of the conjugal
partnership property as his own conjugal share, Charles Newton Hodges was also
immediately entitled to one-half of the half conjugal share of the deceased, Linnie
Jane Hodges, or one-fourth of the entire conjugal property, as his legitime.
One-fourth of the conjugal property therefore remains at issue.
In the summary of its arguments in its memorandum dated April 30, 1968, the following appears:
Briefly, the position advanced by the petitioner is:
a. That the Hodges spouses were domiciled legally in the Philippines (pp. 19-20,
petition). This is now a matter of res adjudicata (p. 20, petition).
b. That under Philippine law, Texas law, and the renvoi doctrine, Philippine law
governs the successional rights over the properties left by the deceased, Linnie Jane
Hodges (pp. 20-21, petition).
c. That under Philippine as well as Texas law, one-half of the Hodges properties
pertains to the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges (p. 21, petition). This is not
questioned by the respondents.
d. That under Philippine law, the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, automatically
inherited one-half of the remaining one-half of the Hodges properties as his legitime
(p. 21, petition).
e. That the remaining 25% of the Hodges properties was inherited by the deceased,
Charles Newton Hodges, under the will of his deceased spouse (pp. 22-23, petition).
Upon the death of Charles Newton Hodges, the substitution 'provision of the will of
the deceased, Linnie Jane Hodges, did not operate because the same is void (pp.
23-25, petition).
f. That the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, asserted his sole ownership of the
Hodges properties and the probate court sanctioned such assertion (pp. 25-29,
petition). He in fact assumed such ownership and such was the status of the
properties as of the time of his death (pp. 29-34, petition).
Of similar tenor are the allegations of PCIB in some of its pleadings quoted in the earlier part of this
option.
On her part, it is respondent-appellee Magno's posture that under the laws of Texas, there is no
system of legitime, hence the estate of Mrs. Hodges should be one-half of all the conjugal
properties.
It is thus unquestionable that as far as PCIB is concerned, the application to these cases of Article
16 of the Civil Code in relation to the corresponding laws of Texas would result in that the Philippine
laws on succession should control. On that basis, as We have already explained above, the estate
of Mrs. Hodges is the remainder of one-fourth of the conjugal partnership properties, considering
that We have found that there is no legal impediment to the kind of disposition ordered by Mrs.
Hodges in her will in favor of her brothers and sisters and, further, that the contention of PCIB that
the same constitutes an inoperative testamentary substitution is untenable. As will be recalled,
PCIB's position that there is no such estate of Mrs. Hodges is predicated exclusively on two
propositions, namely: (1) that the provision in question in Mrs. Hodges' testament violates the rules
on substitution of heirs under the Civil Code and (2) that, in any event, by the orders of the trial court
of May 27, and December 14, 1957, the trial court had already finally and irrevocably adjudicated to
her husband the whole free portion of her estate to the exclusion of her brothers and sisters, both of
which poses, We have overruled. Nowhere in its pleadings, briefs and memoranda does PCIB
maintain that the application of the laws of Texas would result in the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges not
inheriting anything under her will. And since PCIB's representations in regard to the laws of Texas
virtually constitute admissions of fact which the other parties and the Court are being made to rely
and act upon, PCIB is "not permitted to contradict them or subsequently take a position contradictory
to or inconsistent with them." (5 Moran, id, p. 65, citing Cunanan vs. Amparo, 80 Phil. 227; Sta. Ana
vs. Maliwat, L-23023, Aug. 31, 1968, 24 SCRA 1018).
Accordingly, the only question that remains to be settled in the further proceedings hereby ordered
to be held in the court below is how much more than as fixed above is the estate of Mrs. Hodges,
and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of Texas do provide in effect for
more, such as, when there is no legitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not Hodges has validly
waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges.
In the course of the deliberations, it was brought out by some members of the Court that to avoid or,
at least, minimize further protracted legal controversies between the respective heirs of the Hodges
spouses, it is imperative to elucidate on the possible consequences of dispositions made by Hodges
after the death of his wife from the mass of the unpartitioned estates without any express indication
in the pertinent documents as to whether his intention is to dispose of part of his inheritance from his
wife or part of his own share of the conjugal estate as well as of those made by PCIB after the death
of Hodges. After a long discussion, the consensus arrived at was as follows: (1) any such
dispositions made gratuitously in favor of third parties, whether these be individuals, corporations or
foundations, shall be considered as intended to be of properties constituting part of Hodges'
inheritance from his wife, it appearing from the tenor of his motions of May 27 and December 11,
1957 that in asking for general authority to make sales or other disposals of properties under the
jurisdiction of the court, which include his own share of the conjugal estate, he was not invoking
particularly his right over his own share, but rather his right to dispose of any part of his inheritance
pursuant to the will of his wife; (2) as regards sales, exchanges or otherremunerative transfers, the
proceeds of such sales or the properties taken in by virtue of such exchanges, shall be considered
as merely the products of "physical changes" of the properties of her estate which the will expressly
authorizes Hodges to make, provided that whatever of said products should remain with the estate
at the time of the death of Hodges should go to her brothers and sisters; (3) the dispositions made
by PCIB after the death of Hodges must naturally be deemed as covering only the properties
belonging to his estate considering that being only the administrator of the estate of Hodges, PCIB
could not have disposed of properties belonging to the estate of his wife. Neither could such
dispositions be considered as involving conjugal properties, for the simple reason that the conjugal
partnership automatically ceased when Mrs. Hodges died, and by the peculiar provision of her will,
under discussion, the remainder of her share descended also automatically upon the death of
Hodges to her brothers and sisters, thus outside of the scope of PCIB's administration. Accordingly,
these construction of the will of Mrs. Hodges should be adhered to by the trial court in its final order
of adjudication and distribution and/or partition of the two estates in question.
THE APPEALS
A cursory examination of the seventy-eight assignments of error in appellant PCIB's brief would
readily reveal that all of them are predicated mainly on the contention that inasmuch as Hodges had
already adjudicated unto himself all the properties constituting his wife's share of the conjugal
partnership, allegedly with the sanction of the trial court per its order of December 14, 1957, there
has been, since said date, no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which appellee Magno could be
administratrix, hence the various assailed orders sanctioning her actuations as such are not in
accordance with law. Such being the case, with the foregoing resolution holding such posture to be
untenable in fact and in law and that it is in the best interest of justice that for the time being the two
estates should be administered conjointly by the respective administrators of the two estates, it
should follow that said assignments of error have lost their fundamental reasons for being. There are
certain matters, however, relating peculiarly to the respective orders in question, if commonly among
some of them, which need further clarification. For instance, some of them authorized respondent
Magno to act alone or without concurrence of PCIB. And with respect to many of said orders, PCIB
further claims that either the matters involved were not properly within the probate jurisdiction of the
trial court or that the procedure followed was not in accordance with the rules. Hence, the necessity
of dealing separately with the merits of each of the appeals.
Indeed, inasmuch as the said two estates have until now remained commingled pro-indiviso, due to
the failure of Hodges and the lower court to liquidate the conjugal partnership, to recognize appellee
Magno as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Mrs. Hodges which is still unsegregated from that
of Hodges is not to say, without any qualification, that she was therefore authorized to do and
perform all her acts complained of in these appeals, sanctioned though they might have been by the
trial court. As a matter of fact, it is such commingling pro-indiviso of the two estates that should
deprive appellee of freedom to act independently from PCIB, as administrator of the estate of
Hodges, just as, for the same reason, the latter should not have authority to act independently from
her. And considering that the lower court failed to adhere consistently to this basic point of view, by
allowing the two administrators to act independently of each other, in the various instances already
noted in the narration of facts above, the Court has to look into the attendant circumstances of each
of the appealed orders to be able to determine whether any of them has to be set aside or they may
all be legally maintained notwithstanding the failure of the court a quo to observe the pertinent
procedural technicalities, to the end only that graver injury to the substantive rights of the parties
concerned and unnecessary and undesirable proliferation of incidents in the subject proceedings
may be forestalled. In other words, We have to determine, whether or not, in the light of the unusual
circumstances extant in the record, there is need to be more pragmatic and to adopt a rather
unorthodox approach, so as to cause the least disturbance in rights already being exercised by
numerous innocent third parties, even if to do so may not appear to be strictly in accordance with the
letter of the applicable purely adjective rules.
Incidentally, it may be mentioned, at this point, that it was principally on account of the confusion that
might result later from PCIB's continuing to administer all the community properties, notwithstanding
the certainty of the existence of the separate estate of Mrs. Hodges, and to enable both estates to
function in the meantime with a relative degree of regularity, that the Court ordered in the resolution
of September 8, 1972 the modification of the injunction issued pursuant to the resolutions of August
8, October 4 and December 6, 1967, by virtue of which respondent Magno was completely barred
from any participation in the administration of the properties herein involved. In the September 8
resolution, We ordered that, pending this decision, Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 should
proceed jointly and that the respective administrators therein "act conjointly none of them to act
singly and independently of each other for any purpose." Upon mature deliberation, We felt that to
allow PCIB to continue managing or administering all the said properties to the exclusion of the
administratrix of Mrs. Hodges' estate might place the heirs of Hodges at an unduly advantageous
position which could result in considerable, if not irreparable, damage or injury to the other parties
concerned. It is indeed to be regretted that apparently, up to this date, more than a year after said
resolution, the same has not been given due regard, as may be gleaned from the fact that recently,
respondent Magno has filed in these proceedings a motion to declare PCIB in contempt for alleged
failure to abide therewith, notwithstanding that its repeated motions for reconsideration thereof have
all been denied soon after they were filed.
9

Going back to the appeals, it is perhaps best to begin first with what appears to Our mind to be the
simplest, and then proceed to the more complicated ones in that order, without regard to the
numerical sequence of the assignments of error in appellant's brief or to the order of the discussion
thereof by counsel.
Assignments of error numbers
LXXII, LXXVII and LXXVIII.
These assignments of error relate to (1) the order of the trial court of August 6, 1965 providing that
"the deeds of sale (therein referred to involving properties in the name of Hodges) should be signed
jointly by the PCIB, as Administrator of Testate Estate of C.N. Hodges, and Avelina A. Magno, as
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, and to this effect, the PCIB should take
the necessary steps so that Administratrix Avelina A. Magno could sign the deeds of sale," (p. 248,
Green Rec. on Appeal) (2) the order of October 27, 1965 denying the motion for reconsideration of
the foregoing order, (pp. 276-277, id.) (3) the other order also dated October 27, 1965 enjoining inter
alia, that "(a) all cash collections should be deposited in the joint account of the estate of Linnie Jane
Hodges and estate of C. N. Hodges, (b) that whatever cash collections (that) had been deposited in
the account of either of the estates should be withdrawn and since then (sic) deposited in the joint
account of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the estate of C. N. Hodges; ... (d) (that)
Administratrix Magno allow the PCIB to inspect whatever records, documents and papers she
may have in her possession, in the same manner that Administrator PCIB is also directed to allow
Administratrix Magno to inspect whatever records, documents and papers it may have in its
possession" and "(e) that the accountant of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges shall have access to all
records of the transactions of both estates for the protection of the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges;
and in like manner, the accountant or any authorized representative of the estate of C. N. Hodges
shall have access to the records of transactions of the Linnie Jane Hodges estate for the protection
of the estate of C. N. Hodges", (pp. 292-295, id.) and (4) the order of February 15, 1966, denying,
among others, the motion for reconsideration of the order of October 27, 1965 last referred to. (pp.
455-456, id.)
As may be readily seen, the thrust of all these four impugned orders is in line with the Court's above-
mentioned resolution of September 8, 1972 modifying the injunction previously issued on August 8,
1967, and, more importantly, with what We have said the trial court should have always done
pending the liquidation of the conjugal partnership of the Hodges spouses. In fact, as already stated,
that is the arrangement We are ordering, by this decision, to be followed. Stated differently, since the
questioned orders provide for joint action by the two administrators, and that is precisely what We
are holding out to have been done and should be done until the two estates are separated from each
other, the said orders must be affirmed. Accordingly the foregoing assignments of error must be, as
they are hereby overruled.
Assignments of error Numbers LXVIII
to LXXI and LXXIII to LXXVI.
The orders complained of under these assignments of error commonly deal with expenditures made
by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of the Estate of Mrs. Hodges, in connection with her
administration thereof, albeit additionally, assignments of error Numbers LXIX to LXXI put into
question the payment of attorneys fees provided for in the contract for the purpose, as constituting,
in effect, premature advances to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges.
More specifically, assignment Number LXXIII refers to reimbursement of overtime pay paid to six
employees of the court and three other persons for services in copying the court records to enable
the lawyers of the administration to be fully informed of all the incidents in the proceedings. The
reimbursement was approved as proper legal expenses of administration per the order of December
19, 1964, (pp. 221-222, id.) and repeated motions for reconsideration thereof were denied by the
orders of January 9, 1965, (pp. 231-232, id.) October 27, 1965, (p. 277, id.) and February 15, 1966.
(pp. 455-456, id.) On the other hand, Assignments Numbers LXVIII to LXXI, LXXIV and LXXV
question the trial court's order of November 3, 1965 approving the agreement of June 6, 1964
between Administratrix Magno and James L. Sullivan, attorney-in-fact of the heirs of Mrs. Hodges,
as Parties of the First Part, and Attorneys Raul Manglapus and Rizal R. Quimpo, as Parties of the
Second Part, regarding attorneys fees for said counsel who had agreed "to prosecute and defend
their interests (of the Parties of the First Part) in certain cases now pending litigation in the Court of
First Instance of Iloilo , more specifically in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672 " (pp. 126-
129, id.) and directing Administratrix Magno "to issue and sign whatever check or checks maybe
needed to implement the approval of the agreement annexed to the motion" as well as the
"administrator of the estate of C. N. Hodges to countersign the said check or checks as the case
maybe." (pp. 313-320, id.), reconsideration of which order of approval was denied in the order of
February 16, 1966, (p. 456, id.) Assignment Number LXXVI imputes error to the lower court's order
of October 27, 1965, already referred to above, insofar as it orders that "PCIB should counter sign
the check in the amount of P250 in favor of Administratrix Avelina A. Magno as her compensation as
administratrix of Linnie Jane Hodges estate chargeable to the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
only." (p. 294, id.)
Main contention again of appellant PCIB in regard to these eight assigned errors is that there is no
such estate as the estate of Mrs. Hodges for which the questioned expenditures were made, hence
what were authorized were in effect expenditures from the estate of Hodges. As We have already
demonstrated in Our resolution above of the petition for certiorari and prohibition, this posture is
incorrect. Indeed, in whichever way the remaining issues between the parties in these cases are
ultimately resolved,
10
the final result will surely be that there are properties constituting the estate of Mrs.
Hodges of which Magno is the current administratrix. It follows, therefore, that said appellee had the right,
as such administratrix, to hire the persons whom she paid overtime pay and to be paid for her own
services as administratrix. That she has not yet collected and is not collecting amounts as substantial as
that paid to or due appellant PCIB is to her credit.
Of course, she is also entitled to the services of counsel and to that end had the authority to enter
into contracts for attorney's fees in the manner she had done in the agreement of June 6, 1964. And
as regards to the reasonableness of the amount therein stipulated, We see no reason to disturb the
discretion exercised by the probate court in determining the same. We have gone over the
agreement, and considering the obvious size of the estate in question and the nature of the issues
between the parties as well as the professional standing of counsel, We cannot say that the fees
agreed upon require the exercise by the Court of its inherent power to reduce it.
PCIB insists, however, that said agreement of June 6, 1964 is not for legal services to the estate but
to the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, or, at most, to both of them, and such being the case, any payment
under it, insofar as counsels' services would redound to the benefit of the heirs, would be in the
nature of advances to such heirs and a premature distribution of the estate. Again, We hold that
such posture cannot prevail.
Upon the premise We have found plausible that there is an existing estate of Mrs. Hodges, it results
that juridically and factually the interests involved in her estate are distinct and different from those
involved in her estate of Hodges and vice versa. Insofar as the matters related exclusively to the
estate of Mrs. Hodges, PCIB, as administrator of the estate of Hodges, is a complete stranger and it
is without personality to question the actuations of the administratrix thereof regarding matters not
affecting the estate of Hodges. Actually, considering the obviously considerable size of the estate of
Mrs. Hodges, We see no possible cause for apprehension that when the two estates are segregated
from each other, the amount of attorney's fees stipulated in the agreement in question will prejudice
any portion that would correspond to Hodges' estate.
And as regards the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges who ought to be the ones who should have a say on
the attorney's fees and other expenses of administration assailed by PCIB, suffice it to say that they
appear to have been duly represented in the agreement itself by their attorney-in-fact, James L.
Sullivan and have not otherwise interposed any objection to any of the expenses incurred by Magno
questioned by PCIB in these appeals. As a matter of fact, as ordered by the trial court, all the
expenses in question, including the attorney's fees, may be paid without awaiting the determination
and segregation of the estate of Mrs. Hodges.
Withal, the weightiest consideration in connection with the point under discussion is that at this stage
of the controversy among the parties herein, the vital issue refers to the existence or non-existence
of the estate of Mrs. Hodges. In this respect, the interest of respondent Magno, as the appointed
administratrix of the said estate, is to maintain that it exists, which is naturally common and identical
with and inseparable from the interest of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges. Thus, it should not
be wondered why both Magno and these heirs have seemingly agreed to retain but one counsel. In
fact, such an arrangement should be more convenient and economical to both. The possibility of
conflict of interest between Magno and the heirs of Mrs. Hodges would be, at this stage, quite
remote and, in any event, rather insubstantial. Besides, should any substantial conflict of interest
between them arise in the future, the same would be a matter that the probate court can very well
take care of in the course of the independent proceedings in Case No. 1307 after the corresponding
segregation of the two subject estates. We cannot perceive any cogent reason why, at this stage,
the estate and the heirs of Mrs. Hodges cannot be represented by a common counsel.
Now, as to whether or not the portion of the fees in question that should correspond to the heirs
constitutes premature partial distribution of the estate of Mrs. Hodges is also a matter in which
neither PCIB nor the heirs of Hodges have any interest. In any event, since, as far as the records
show, the estate has no creditors and the corresponding estate and inheritance taxes, except those
of the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges, have already been paid,
11
no prejudice can caused to
anyone by the comparatively small amount of attorney's fees in question. And in this connection, it may
be added that, although strictly speaking, the attorney's fees of the counsel of an administrator is in the
first instance his personal responsibility, reimbursable later on by the estate, in the final analysis, when,
as in the situation on hand, the attorney-in-fact of the heirs has given his conformity thereto, it would be
idle effort to inquire whether or not the sanction given to said fees by the probate court is proper.
For the foregoing reasons, Assignments of Error LXVIII to LXXI and LXXIII to LXXVI should be as
they are hereby overruled.
Assignments of error I to IV,
XIII to XV, XXII to XXV, XXXV
to XXX VI, XLI to XLIII and L.
These assignments of error deal with the approval by the trial court of various deeds of sale of real
properties registered in the name of Hodges but executed by appellee Magno, as Administratrix of
the Estate of Mrs. Hodges, purportedly in implementation of corresponding supposed written
"Contracts to Sell" previously executed by Hodges during the interim between May 23, 1957, when
his wife died, and December 25, 1962, the day he died. As stated on pp. 118-120 of appellant's main
brief, "These are: the, contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the
appellee, Pepito G. Iyulores executed on February 5, 1961; the contract to sell between the
deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellant Esperidion Partisala, executed on April 20,
1960; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee,
Winifredo C. Espada, executed on April 18, 1960; the contract to sell between the deceased,
Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Rosario Alingasa, executed on August 25, 1958; the
contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Lorenzo Carles,
executed on June 17, 1958; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges,
and the appellee, Salvador S. Guzman, executed on September 13, 1960; the contract to sell
between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Florenia Barrido, executed on
February 21, 1958; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the
appellee, Purificacion Coronado, executed on August 14, 1961; the contract to sell between the
deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Graciano Lucero, executed on November 27,
1961; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Ariteo
Thomas Jamir, executed on May 26, 1961; the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles
Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Melquiades Batisanan, executed on June 9, 1959; the contract to
sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and the appellee, Belcezar Causing, executed
on February 10, 1959 and the contract to sell between the deceased, Charles Newton Hodges, and
the appellee, Adelfa Premaylon, executed on October 31, 1959, re Title No. 13815."
Relative to these sales, it is the position of appellant PCIB that, inasmuch as pursuant to the will of
Mrs. Hodges, her husband was to have dominion over all her estate during his lifetime, it was as
absolute owner of the properties respectively covered by said sales that he executed the
aforementioned contracts to sell, and consequently, upon his death, the implementation of said
contracts may be undertaken only by the administrator of his estate and not by the administratrix of
the estate of Mrs. Hodges. Basically, the same theory is invoked with particular reference to five
other sales, in which the respective "contracts to sell" in favor of these appellees were executed by
Hodges before the death of his wife, namely, those in favor of appellee Santiago Pacaonsis, Alfredo
Catedral, Jose Pablico, Western Institute of Technology and Adelfa Premaylon.
Anent those deeds of sale based on promises or contracts to sell executed by Hodges after the
death of his wife, those enumerated in the quotation in the immediately preceding paragraph, it is
quite obvious that PCIB's contention cannot be sustained. As already explained earlier, 1
1
* all
proceeds of remunerative transfers or dispositions made by Hodges after the death of his wife should be
deemed as continuing to be parts of her estate and, therefore, subject to the terms of her will in favor of
her brothers and sisters, in the sense that should there be no showing that such proceeds, whether in
cash or property have been subsequently conveyed or assigned subsequently by Hodges to any third
party by acts inter vivos with the result that they could not thereby belong to him anymore at the time of
his death, they automatically became part of the inheritance of said brothers and sisters. The deeds here
in question involve transactions which are exactly of this nature. Consequently, the payments made by
the appellees should be considered as payments to the estate of Mrs. Hodges which is to be distributed
and partitioned among her heirs specified in the will.
The five deeds of sale predicated on contracts to sell executed Hodges during the lifetime of his
wife, present a different situation. At first blush, it would appear that as to them, PCIB's position has
some degree of plausibility. Considering, however, that the adoption of PCIB's theory would
necessarily have tremendous repercussions and would bring about considerable disturbance of
property rights that have somehow accrued already in favor of innocent third parties, the five
purchasers aforenamed, the Court is inclined to take a pragmatic and practical view of the legal
situation involving them by overlooking the possible technicalities in the way, the non-observance of
which would not, after all, detract materially from what should substantially correspond to each and
all of the parties concerned.
To start with, these contracts can hardly be ignored. Bona fide third parties are involved; as much as
possible, they should not be made to suffer any prejudice on account of judicial controversies not of
their own making. What is more, the transactions they rely on were submitted by them to the probate
court for approval, and from already known and recorded actuations of said court then, they had
reason to believe that it had authority to act on their motions, since appellee Magno had, from time
to time prior to their transactions with her, been allowed to act in her capacity as administratrix of
one of the subject estates either alone or conjointly with PCIB. All the sales in question were
executed by Magno in 1966 already, but before that, the court had previously authorized or
otherwise sanctioned expressly many of her act as administratrix involving expenditures from the
estate made by her either conjointly with or independently from PCIB, as Administrator of the Estate
of Hodges. Thus, it may be said that said buyers-appellees merely followed precedents in previous
orders of the court. Accordingly, unless the impugned orders approving those sales indubitably
suffer from some clearly fatal infirmity the Court would rather affirm them.
It is quite apparent from the record that the properties covered by said sales are equivalent only to a
fraction of what should constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges, even if it is assumed that the same
would finally be held to be only one-fourth of the conjugal properties of the spouses as of the time of
her death or, to be more exact, one-half of her estate as per the inventory submitted by Hodges as
executor, on May 12, 1958. In none of its numerous, varied and voluminous pleadings, motions and
manifestations has PCIB claimed any possibility otherwise. Such being the case, to avoid any
conflict with the heirs of Hodges, the said properties covered by the questioned deeds of sale
executed by appellee Magno may be treated as among those corresponding to the estate of Mrs.
Hodges, which would have been actually under her control and administration had Hodges complied
with his duty to liquidate the conjugal partnership. Viewing the situation in that manner, the only ones
who could stand to be prejudiced by the appealed orders referred to in the assignment of errors
under discussion and who could, therefore, have the requisite interest to question them would be
only the heirs of Mrs. Hodges, definitely not PCIB.
It is of no moment in what capacity Hodges made the "contracts to sell' after the death of his wife.
Even if he had acted as executor of the will of his wife, he did not have to submit those contracts to
the court nor follow the provisions of the rules, (Sections 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of Rule 89 quoted by
appellant on pp. 125 to 127 of its brief) for the simple reason that by the very orders, much relied
upon by appellant for other purposes, of May 27, 1957 and December 14, 1957, Hodges was
"allowed or authorized" by the trial court "to continue the business in which he was engaged and to
perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased was living", (Order of May 27) which
according to the motion on which the court acted was "of buying and selling personal and real
properties", and "to execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of the
properties left by the said deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes conveyed in
the last will and testament of the latter." (Order of December 14) In other words, if Hodges acted
then as executor, it can be said that he had authority to do so by virtue of these blanket orders, and
PCIB does not question the legality of such grant of authority; on the contrary, it is relying on the
terms of the order itself for its main contention in these cases. On the other hand, if, as PCIB
contends, he acted as heir-adjudicatee, the authority given to him by the aforementioned orders
would still suffice.
As can be seen, therefore, it is of no moment whether the "contracts to sell" upon which the deeds in
question were based were executed by Hodges before or after the death of his wife. In a word, We
hold, for the reasons already stated, that the properties covered by the deeds being assailed pertain
or should be deemed as pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges; hence, any supposed irregularity
attending the actuations of the trial court may be invoked only by her heirs, not by PCIB, and since
the said heirs are not objecting, and the defects pointed out not being strictly jurisdictional in nature,
all things considered, particularly the unnecessary disturbance of rights already created in favor of
innocent third parties, it is best that the impugned orders are not disturbed.
In view of these considerations, We do not find sufficient merit in the assignments of error under
discussion.
Assignments of error V to VIII,
XVI to XVIII, XXVI to XXIX, XXXVII
to XXXVIII, XLIV to XLVI and LI.
All these assignments of error commonly deal with alleged non-fulfillment by the respective vendees,
appellees herein, of the terms and conditions embodied in the deeds of sale referred to in the
assignments of error just discussed. It is claimed that some of them never made full payments in
accordance with the respective contracts to sell, while in the cases of the others, like Lorenzo
Carles, Jose Pablico, Alfredo Catedral and Salvador S. Guzman, the contracts with them had
already been unilaterally cancelled by PCIB pursuant to automatic rescission clauses contained in
them, in view of the failure of said buyers to pay arrearages long overdue. But PCIB's posture is
again premised on its assumption that the properties covered by the deeds in question could not
pertain to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. We have already held above that, it being evident that a
considerable portion of the conjugal properties, much more than the properties covered by said
deeds, would inevitably constitute the estate of Mrs. Hodges, to avoid unnecessary legal
complications, it can be assumed that said properties form part of such estate. From this point of
view, it is apparent again that the questions, whether or not it was proper for appellee Magno to have
disregarded the cancellations made by PCIB, thereby reviving the rights of the respective buyers-
appellees, and, whether or not the rules governing new dispositions of properties of the estate were
strictly followed, may not be raised by PCIB but only by the heirs of Mrs. Hodges as the persons
designated to inherit the same, or perhaps the government because of the still unpaid inheritance
taxes. But, again, since there is no pretense that any objections were raised by said parties or that
they would necessarily be prejudiced, the contentions of PCIB under the instant assignments of error
hardly merit any consideration.
Assignments of error IX to XII, XIX
to XXI, XXX to XXIV, XXXIX to XL,
XLVII to XLIX, LII and LIII to LXI.
PCIB raises under these assignments of error two issues which according to it are fundamental,
namely: (1) that in approving the deeds executed by Magno pursuant to contracts to sell already
cancelled by it in the performance of its functions as administrator of the estate of Hodges, the trial
court deprived the said estate of the right to invoke such cancellations it (PCIB) had made and (2)
that in so acting, the court "arrogated unto itself, while acting as a probate court, the power to
determine the contending claims of third parties against the estate of Hodges over real property,"
since it has in effect determined whether or not all the terms and conditions of the respective
contracts to sell executed by Hodges in favor of the buyers-appellees concerned were complied with
by the latter. What is worse, in the view of PCIB, is that the court has taken the word of the appellee
Magno, "a total stranger to his estate as determinative of the issue".
Actually, contrary to the stand of PCIB, it is this last point regarding appellee Magno's having agreed
to ignore the cancellations made by PCIB and allowed the buyers-appellees to consummate the
sales in their favor that is decisive. Since We have already held that the properties covered by the
contracts in question should be deemed to be portions of the estate of Mrs. Hodges and not that of
Hodges, it is PCIB that is a complete stranger in these incidents. Considering, therefore, that the
estate of Mrs. Hodges and her heirs who are the real parties in interest having the right to oppose
the consummation of the impugned sales are not objecting, and that they are the ones who are
precisely urging that said sales be sanctioned, the assignments of error under discussion have no
basis and must accordingly be as they are hereby overruled.
With particular reference to assignments LIII to LXI, assailing the orders of the trial court requiring
PCIB to surrender the respective owner's duplicate certificates of title over the properties covered by
the sales in question and otherwise directing the Register of Deeds of Iloilo to cancel said certificates
and to issue new transfer certificates of title in favor of the buyers-appellees, suffice it to say that in
the light of the above discussion, the trial court was within its rights to so require and direct, PCIB
having refused to give way, by withholding said owners' duplicate certificates, of the corresponding
registration of the transfers duly and legally approved by the court.
Assignments of error LXII to LXVII
All these assignments of error commonly deal with the appeal against orders favoring appellee
Western Institute of Technology. As will be recalled, said institute is one of the buyers of real
property covered by a contract to sell executed by Hodges prior to the death of his wife. As of
October, 1965, it was in arrears in the total amount of P92,691.00 in the payment of its installments
on account of its purchase, hence it received under date of October 4, 1965 and October 20, 1965,
letters of collection, separately and respectively, from PCIB and appellee Magno, in their respective
capacities as administrators of the distinct estates of the Hodges spouses, albeit, while in the case of
PCIB it made known that "no other arrangement can be accepted except by paying all your past due
account", on the other hand, Magno merely said she would "appreciate very much if you can make
some remittance to bring this account up-to-date and to reduce the amount of the obligation." (See
pp. 295-311, Green R. on A.) On November 3, 1965, the Institute filed a motion which, after alleging
that it was ready and willing to pay P20,000 on account of its overdue installments but uncertain
whether it should pay PCIB or Magno, it prayed that it be "allowed to deposit the aforesaid amount
with the court pending resolution of the conflicting claims of the administrators." Acting on this
motion, on November 23, 1965, the trial court issued an order, already quoted in the narration of
facts in this opinion, holding that payment to both or either of the two administrators is "proper and
legal", and so "movant can pay to both estates or either of them", considering that "in both cases
(Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672) there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution
of properties to whomsoever are entitled thereto."
The arguments under the instant assignments of error revolve around said order. From the
procedural standpoint, it is claimed that PCIB was not served with a copy of the Institute's motion,
that said motion was heard, considered and resolved on November 23, 1965, whereas the date set
for its hearing was November 20, 1965, and that what the order grants is different from what is
prayed for in the motion. As to the substantive aspect, it is contended that the matter treated in the
motion is beyond the jurisdiction of the probate court and that the order authorized payment to a
person other than the administrator of the estate of Hodges with whom the Institute had contracted.
The procedural points urged by appellant deserve scant consideration. We must assume, absent
any clear proof to the contrary, that the lower court had acted regularly by seeing to it that appellant
was duly notified. On the other hand, there is nothing irregular in the court's having resolved the
motion three days after the date set for hearing the same. Moreover, the record reveals that
appellants' motion for reconsideration wherein it raised the same points was denied by the trial court
on March 7, 1966 (p. 462, Green R. on A.) Withal, We are not convinced that the relief granted is not
within the general intent of the Institute's motion.
Insofar as the substantive issues are concerned, all that need be said at this point is that they are
mere reiterations of contentions We have already resolved above adversely to appellants' position.
Incidentally, We may add, perhaps, to erase all doubts as to the propriety of not disturbing the lower
court's orders sanctioning the sales questioned in all these appeal s by PCIB, that it is only when
one of the parties to a contract to convey property executed by a deceased person raises substantial
objections to its being implemented by the executor or administrator of the decedent's estate that
Section 8 of Rule 89 may not apply and, consequently, the matter has, to be taken up in a separate
action outside of the probate court; but where, as in the cases of the sales herein involved, the
interested parties are in agreement that the conveyance be made, it is properly within the jurisdiction
of the probate court to give its sanction thereto pursuant to the provisions of the rule just mentioned.
And with respect to the supposed automatic rescission clauses contained in the contracts to sell
executed by Hodges in favor of herein appellees, the effect of said clauses depend on the true
nature of the said contracts, despite the nomenclature appearing therein, which is not controlling, for
if they amount to actual contracts of sale instead of being mere unilateral accepted "promises to
sell", (Art. 1479, Civil Code of the Philippines, 2nd paragraph) thepactum commissorium or the
automatic rescission provision would not operate, as a matter of public policy, unless there has been
a previous notarial or judicial demand by the seller (10 Manresa 263, 2nd ed.) neither of which have
been shown to have been made in connection with the transactions herein involved.
Consequently, We find no merit in the assignments of error
Number LXII to LXVII.
S U M M A R Y
Considering the fact that this decision is unusually extensive and that the issues herein taken up and
resolved are rather numerous and varied, what with appellant making seventy-eight assignments of
error affecting no less than thirty separate orders of the court a quo, if only to facilitate proper
understanding of the import and extent of our rulings herein contained, it is perhaps desirable that a
brief restatement of the whole situation be made together with our conclusions in regard to its
various factual and legal aspects. .
The instant cases refer to the estate left by the late Charles Newton Hodges as well as that of his
wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, who predeceased him by about five years and a half. In their respective
wills which were executed on different occasions, each one of them provided mutually as follows: "I
give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder (after funeral and administration
expenses, taxes and debts) of my estate, both real and personal, wherever situated or located, to
my beloved (spouse) to have and to hold unto (him/her) during (his/her) natural lifetime", subject
to the condition that upon the death of whoever of them survived the other, the remainder of what he
or she would inherit from the other is "give(n), devise(d) and bequeath(ed)" to the brothers and
sisters of the latter.
Mrs. Hodges died first, on May 23, 1957. Four days later, on May 27, Hodges was appointed special
administrator of her estate, and in a separate order of the same date, he was "allowed or authorized
to continue the business in which he was engaged, (buying and selling personal and real properties)
and to perform acts which he had been doing while the deceased was living." Subsequently, on
December 14, 1957, after Mrs. Hodges' will had been probated and Hodges had been appointed and
had qualified as Executor thereof, upon his motion in which he asserted that he was "not only part
owner of the properties left as conjugal, but also, the successor to all the properties left by the
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges", the trial court ordered that "for the reasons stated in his motion
dated December 11, 1957, which the Court considers well taken, ... all the sales, conveyances,
leases and mortgages of all properties left by the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges executed by the
Executor, Charles Newton Hodges are hereby APPROVED. The said Executor is further authorized
to execute subsequent sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages of the properties left by the said
deceased Linnie Jane Hodges in consonance with the wishes contained in the last will and
testament of the latter."
Annually thereafter, Hodges submitted to the court the corresponding statements of account of his
administration, with the particularity that in all his motions, he always made it point to urge the that
"no person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of examining the herein accounts be
given notice as herein executor is the only devisee or legatee of the deceased in accordance with
the last will and testament already probated by the Honorable Court." All said accounts approved as
prayed for.
Nothing else appears to have been done either by the court a quo or Hodges until December 25,
1962. Importantly to be the provision in the will of Mrs. Hodges that her share of the conjugal
partnership was to be inherited by her husband "to have and to hold unto him, my said husband,
during his natural lifetime" and that "at the death of my said husband, I give, devise and bequeath all
the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, wherever situated or located,
to be equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike", which provision
naturally made it imperative that the conjugal partnership be promptly liquidated, in order that the
"rest, residue and remainder" of his wife's share thereof, as of the time of Hodges' own death, may
be readily known and identified, no such liquidation was ever undertaken. The record gives no
indication of the reason for such omission, although relatedly, it appears therein:
1. That in his annual statement submitted to the court of the net worth of C. N.
Hodges and the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, Hodges repeatedly and consistently
reported the combined income of the conjugal partnership and then merely divided
the same equally between himself and the estate of the deceased wife, and, more
importantly, he also, as consistently, filed corresponding separate income tax returns
for each calendar year for each resulting half of such combined income, thus
reporting that the estate of Mrs. Hodges had its own income distinct from his own.
2. That when the court a quo happened to inadvertently omit in its order probating
the will of Mrs. Hodges, the name of one of her brothers, Roy Higdon then already
deceased, Hodges lost no time in asking for the proper correction "in order that the
heirs of deceased Roy Higdon may not think or believe they were omitted, and that
they were really interested in the estate of the deceased Linnie Jane Hodges".
3. That in his aforementioned motion of December 11, 1957, he expressly stated that
"deceased Linnie Jane Hodges died leaving no descendants or ascendants except
brothers and sisters and herein petitioner as the surviving spouse, to inherit the
properties of the decedent", thereby indicating that he was not excluding his wife's
brothers and sisters from the inheritance.
4. That Hodges allegedly made statements and manifestations to the United States
inheritance tax authorities indicating that he had renounced his inheritance from his
wife in favor of her other heirs, which attitude he is supposed to have reiterated or
ratified in an alleged affidavit subscribed and sworn to here in the Philippines and in
which he even purportedly stated that his reason for so disclaiming and renouncing
his rights under his wife's will was to "absolve (him) or (his) estate from any liability
for the payment of income taxes on income which has accrued to the estate of Linnie
Jane Hodges", his wife, since her death.
On said date, December 25, 1962, Hodges died. The very next day, upon motion of herein
respondent and appellee, Avelina A. Magno, she was appointed by the trial court as Administratrix of
the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings No. 1307 and as Special
Administratrix of the estate of Charles Newton Hodges, "in the latter case, because the last will of
said Charles Newton Hodges is still kept in his vault or iron safe and that the real and personal
properties of both spouses may be lost, damaged or go to waste, unless Special Administratrix is
appointed," (Order of December 26, 1962, p. 27, Yellow R. on A.) although, soon enough, on
December 29, 1962, a certain Harold K. Davies was appointed as her Co-Special Administrator, and
when Special Proceedings No. 1672, Testate Estate of Charles Newton Hodges, was opened, Joe
Hodges, as next of kin of the deceased, was in due time appointed as Co-Administrator of said
estate together with Atty. Fernando P. Mirasol, to replace Magno and Davies, only to be in turn
replaced eventually by petitioner PCIB alone.
At the outset, the two probate proceedings appear to have been proceeding jointly, with each
administrator acting together with the other, under a sort of modus operandi. PCIB used to secure at
the beginning the conformity to and signature of Magno in transactions it wanted to enter into and
submitted the same to the court for approval as their joint acts. So did Magno do likewise. Somehow,
however, differences seem to have arisen, for which reason, each of them began acting later on
separately and independently of each other, with apparent sanction of the trial court. Thus, PCIB had
its own lawyers whom it contracted and paid handsomely, conducted the business of the estate
independently of Magno and otherwise acted as if all the properties appearing in the name of
Charles Newton Hodges belonged solely and only to his estate, to the exclusion of the brothers and
sisters of Mrs. Hodges, without considering whether or not in fact any of said properties
corresponded to the portion of the conjugal partnership pertaining to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. On
the other hand, Magno made her own expenditures, hired her own lawyers, on the premise that
there is such an estate of Mrs. Hodges, and dealth with some of the properties, appearing in the
name of Hodges, on the assumption that they actually correspond to the estate of Mrs. Hodges. All
of these independent and separate actuations of the two administrators were invariably approved by
the trial court upon submission. Eventually, the differences reached a point wherein Magno, who
was more cognizant than anyone else about the ins and outs of the businesses and properties of the
deceased spouses because of her long and intimate association with them, made it difficult for PCIB
to perform normally its functions as administrator separately from her. Thus, legal complications
arose and the present judicial controversies came about.
Predicating its position on the tenor of the orders of May 27 and December 14, 1957 as well as the
approval by the court a quo of the annual statements of account of Hodges, PCIB holds to the view
that the estate of Mrs. Hodges has already been in effect closed with the virtual adjudication in the
mentioned orders of her whole estate to Hodges, and that, therefore, Magno had already ceased
since then to have any estate to administer and the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges have no
interests whatsoever in the estate left by Hodges. Mainly upon such theory, PCIB has come to this
Court with a petition for certiorari and prohibition praying that the lower court's orders allowing
respondent Magno to continue acting as administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges in Special
Proceedings 1307 in the manner she has been doing, as detailed earlier above, be set aside.
Additionally, PCIB maintains that the provision in Mrs. Hodges' will instituting her brothers and
sisters in the manner therein specified is in the nature of a testamentary substitution, but inasmuch
as the purported substitution is not, in its view, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the
Civil Code, it is ineffective and may not be enforced. It is further contended that, in any event,
inasmuch as the Hodges spouses were both residents of the Philippines, following the decision of
this Court in Aznar vs. Garcia, or the case of Christensen, 7 SCRA 95, the estate left by Mrs.
Hodges could not be more than one-half of her share of the conjugal partnership, notwithstanding
the fact that she was citizen of Texas, U.S.A., in accordance with Article 16 in relation to Articles 900
and 872 of the Civil Code. Initially, We issued a preliminary injunction against Magno and allowed
PCIB to act alone.
At the same time PCIB has appealed several separate orders of the trial court approving individual
acts of appellee Magno in her capacity as administratrix of the estate of Mrs. Hodges, such as, hiring
of lawyers for specified fees and incurring expenses of administration for different purposes and
executing deeds of sale in favor of her co-appellees covering properties which are still registered in
the name of Hodges, purportedly pursuant to corresponding "contracts to sell" executed by Hodges.
The said orders are being questioned on jurisdictional and procedural grounds directly or indirectly
predicated on the principal theory of appellant that all the properties of the two estates belong
already to the estate of Hodges exclusively.
On the other hand, respondent-appellee Magno denies that the trial court's orders of May 27 and
December 14, 1957 were meant to be finally adjudicatory of the hereditary rights of Hodges and
contends that they were no more than the court's general sanction of past and future acts of Hodges
as executor of the will of his wife in due course of administration. As to the point regarding
substitution, her position is that what was given by Mrs. Hodges to her husband under the provision
in question was a lifetime usufruct of her share of the conjugal partnership, with the naked ownership
passing directly to her brothers and sisters. Anent the application of Article 16 of the Civil Code, she
claims that the applicable law to the will of Mrs. Hodges is that of Texas under which, she alleges,
there is no system of legitime, hence, the estate of Mrs. Hodges cannot be less than her share or
one-half of the conjugal partnership properties. She further maintains that, in any event, Hodges had
as a matter of fact and of law renounced his inheritance from his wife and, therefore, her whole
estate passed directly to her brothers and sisters effective at the latest upon the death of Hodges.
In this decision, for the reasons discussed above, and upon the issues just summarized, We
overrule PCIB's contention that the orders of May 27, 1957 and December 14, 1957 amount to an
adjudication to Hodges of the estate of his wife, and We recognize the present existence of the
estate of Mrs. Hodges, as consisting of properties, which, while registered in that name of Hodges,
do actually correspond to the remainder of the share of Mrs. Hodges in the conjugal partnership, it
appearing that pursuant to the pertinent provisions of her will, any portion of said share still existing
and undisposed of by her husband at the time of his death should go to her brothers and sisters
share and share alike. Factually, We find that the proven circumstances relevant to the said orders
do not warrant the conclusion that the court intended to make thereby such alleged final
adjudication. Legally, We hold that the tenor of said orders furnish no basis for such a conclusion,
and what is more, at the time said orders were issued, the proceedings had not yet reached the
point when a final distribution and adjudication could be made. Moreover, the interested parties were
not duly notified that such disposition of the estate would be done. At best, therefore, said orders
merely allowed Hodges to dispose of portions of his inheritance in advance of final adjudication,
which is implicitly permitted under Section 2 of Rule 109, there being no possible prejudice to third
parties, inasmuch as Mrs. Hodges had no creditors and all pertinent taxes have been paid.
More specifically, We hold that, on the basis of circumstances presently extant in the record, and on
the assumption that Hodges' purported renunciation should not be upheld, the estate of Mrs. Hodges
inherited by her brothers and sisters consists of one-fourth of the community estate of the spouses
at the time of her death, minus whatever Hodges had gratuitously disposed of therefrom during the
period from, May 23, 1957, when she died, to December 25, 1962, when he died provided, that with
regard to remunerative dispositions made by him during the same period, the proceeds thereof,
whether in cash or property, should be deemed as continuing to be part of his wife's estate, unless it
can be shown that he had subsequently disposed of them gratuitously.
At this juncture, it may be reiterated that the question of what are the pertinent laws of Texas and
what would be the estate of Mrs. Hodges under them is basically one of fact, and considering the
respective positions of the parties in regard to said factual issue, it can already be deemed as settled
for the purposes of these cases that, indeed, the free portion of said estate that could possibly
descend to her brothers and sisters by virtue of her will may not be less than one-fourth of the
conjugal estate, it appearing that the difference in the stands of the parties has reference solely to
the legitime of Hodges, PCIB being of the view that under the laws of Texas, there is such a legitime
of one-fourth of said conjugal estate and Magno contending, on the other hand, that there is none. In
other words, hereafter, whatever might ultimately appear, at the subsequent proceedings, to be
actually the laws of Texas on the matter would no longer be of any consequence, since PCIB would
anyway be in estoppel already to claim that the estate of Mrs. Hodges should be less than as
contended by it now, for admissions by a party related to the effects of foreign laws, which have to
be proven in our courts like any other controverted fact, create estoppel.
In the process, We overrule PCIB's contention that the provision in Mrs. Hodges' will in favor of her
brothers and sisters constitutes ineffective hereditary substitutions. But neither are We sustaining, on
the other hand, Magno's pose that it gave Hodges only a lifetime usufruct. We hold that by said
provision, Mrs. Hodges simultaneously instituted her brothers and sisters as co-heirs with her
husband, with the condition, however, that the latter would have complete rights of dominion over
the whole estate during his lifetime and what would go to the former would be only the remainder
thereof at the time of Hodges' death. In other words, whereas they are not to inherit only in case of
default of Hodges, on the other hand, Hodges was not obliged to preserve anything for them. Clearly
then, the essential elements of testamentary substitution are absent; the provision in question is a
simple case of conditional simultaneous institution of heirs, whereby the institution of Hodges is
subject to a partial resolutory condition the operative contingency of which is coincidental with that of
the suspensive condition of the institution of his brothers and sisters-in-law, which manner of
institution is not prohibited by law.
We also hold, however, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her brothers and sisters could be
more than just stated, but this would depend on (1) whether upon the proper application of the
principle of renvoi in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, it will
appear that Hodges had no legitime as contended by Magno, and (2) whether or not it can be held
that Hodges had legally and effectively renounced his inheritance from his wife. Under the
circumstances presently obtaining and in the state of the record of these cases, as of now, the Court
is not in a position to make a final ruling, whether of fact or of law, on any of these two issues, and
We, therefore, reserve said issues for further proceedings and resolution in the first instance by the
court a quo, as hereinabove indicated. We reiterate, however, that pending such further
proceedings, as matters stand at this stage, Our considered opinion is that it is beyond cavil that
since, under the terms of the will of Mrs. Hodges, her husband could not have anyway legally
adjudicated or caused to be adjudicated to himself her whole share of their conjugal partnership,
albeit he could have disposed any part thereof during his lifetime, the resulting estate of Mrs.
Hodges, of which Magno is the uncontested administratrix, cannot be less than one-fourth of the
conjugal partnership properties, as of the time of her death, minus what, as explained earlier, have
been gratuitously disposed of therefrom, by Hodges in favor of third persons since then, for even if it
were assumed that, as contended by PCIB, under Article 16 of the Civil Code and
applying renvoi the laws of the Philippines are the ones ultimately applicable, such one-fourth share
would be her free disposable portion, taking into account already the legitime of her husband under
Article 900 of the Civil Code.
The foregoing considerations leave the Court with no alternative than to conclude that in predicating
its orders on the assumption, albeit unexpressed therein, that there is an estate of Mrs. Hodges to
be distributed among her brothers and sisters and that respondent Magno is the legal administratrix
thereof, the trial court acted correctly and within its jurisdiction. Accordingly, the petition
for certiorari and prohibition has to be denied. The Court feels however, that pending the liquidation
of the conjugal partnership and the determination of the specific properties constituting her estate,
the two administrators should act conjointly as ordered in the Court's resolution of September 8,
1972 and as further clarified in the dispositive portion of its decision.
Anent the appeals from the orders of the lower court sanctioning payment by appellee Magno, as
administratrix, of expenses of administration and attorney's fees, it is obvious that, with Our holding
that there is such an estate of Mrs. Hodges, and for the reasons stated in the body of this opinion,
the said orders should be affirmed. This We do on the assumption We find justified by the evidence
of record, and seemingly agreed to by appellant PCIB, that the size and value of the properties that
should correspond to the estate of Mrs. Hodges far exceed the total of the attorney's fees and
administration expenses in question.
With respect to the appeals from the orders approving transactions made by appellee Magno, as
administratrix, covering properties registered in the name of Hodges, the details of which are related
earlier above, a distinction must be made between those predicated on contracts to sell executed by
Hodges before the death of his wife, on the one hand, and those premised on contracts to sell
entered into by him after her death. As regards the latter, We hold that inasmuch as the payments
made by appellees constitute proceeds of sales of properties belonging to the estate of Mrs.
Hodges, as may be implied from the tenor of the motions of May 27 and December 14, 1957, said
payments continue to pertain to said estate, pursuant to her intent obviously reflected in the relevant
provisions of her will, on the assumption that the size and value of the properties to correspond to
the estate of Mrs. Hodges would exceed the total value of all the properties covered by the
impugned deeds of sale, for which reason, said properties may be deemed as pertaining to the
estate of Mrs. Hodges. And there being no showing that thus viewing the situation, there would be
prejudice to anyone, including the government, the Court also holds that, disregarding procedural
technicalities in favor of a pragmatic and practical approach as discussed above, the assailed orders
should be affirmed. Being a stranger to the estate of Mrs. Hodges, PCIB has no personality to raise
the procedural and jurisdictional issues raised by it. And inasmuch as it does not appear that any of
the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges or the government has objected to any of the orders under appeal,
even as to these parties, there exists no reason for said orders to be set aside.
DISPOSITIVE PART
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the
petition in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, in G. R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the
other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered to be added after payment of the corresponding docket
fees, all the orders of the trial court under appeal enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to
82 of this decision; the existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respondent-
appellee Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix thereof is recognized, and it is declared that, until final
judgment is ultimately rendered regarding (1) the manner of applying Article 16 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines to the situation obtaining in these cases and (2) the factual and legal issue of whether
or not Charles Newton Hodges had effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under the will of
Linnie Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-fourth of the community properties of the said
spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had
already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons from said date until his death, provided,
first, that with respect to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of
the wife's estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third parties by the husband, and
second, that should the purported renunciation be declared legally effective, no deductions
whatsoever are to be made from said estate; in consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8,
1967, as amended on October 4 and December 6, 1967, is lifted, and the resolution of September 8,
1972, directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the Testate Estate of Charles
Newton Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1672, and respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno, as
Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, in Special Proceedings 1307, should act
thenceforth always conjointly, never independently from each other, as such administrators, is
reiterated, and the same is made part of this judgment and shall continue in force, pending the
liquidation of the conjugal partnership of the deceased spouses and the determination and
segregation from each other of their respective estates, provided, that upon the finality of this
judgment, the trial court should immediately proceed to the partition of the presently combined
estates of the spouses, to the end that the one-half share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly
and clearly identified; thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the remainder of the one-
fourth herein adjudged to be her estate and cause the same to be turned over or delivered to
respondent for her exclusive administration in Special Proceedings 1307, while the other one-fourth
shall remain under the joint administration of said respondent and petitioner under a joint
proceedings in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining to
Hodges shall be administered by petitioner exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of the pending motions for its removal as administrator
12
;
and this arrangement shall be maintained until the final resolution of the two issues of renvoi and
renunciation hereby reserved for further hearing and determination, and the corresponding complete
segregation and partition of the two estates in the proportions that may result from the said resolution.
Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the court a quo are directed to adhere
henceforth, in all their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, to the views passed and
ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing opinion.
Appellant PCIB is ordered to pay, within five (5) days from notice hereof, thirty-one additional appeal
docket fees, but this decision shall nevertheless become final as to each of the parties herein after
fifteen (15) days from the respective notices to them hereof in accordance with the rules.
Costs against petitioner-appellant PCIB.
Zaldivar, Castro, Esguerra and Fernandez, JJ., concur.
Makasiar, Antonio, Muoz Palma and Aquino, JJ., concur in the result.



Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, J ., concurring:
I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
TEEHANKEE, J ., concurring:
I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-
27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed orders of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.
I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned by Mr. Justice Barredo
decreeing thelifting of the Court's writ of preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on
October 4, and December 6, 1967
1
and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September
8, 1972
2
which directed that petitioner-appellantPCIB as administrator of C. N. (Charles Newton) Hodges'
estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane
Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) should act always conjointly never independently from each other,
as such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force and made part of the judgment.
It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal contention in the cases at bar
belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1, 1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges'
death on May 23, 1957 and (over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death on December
25, 1962 during which time both estates have been pending settlement and distribution to the
decedents' respective rightful heirs all this time up to now) that the probate court per its order of
December 14, 1957 (supplementing an earlier order of May 25, 1957)
3
in granting C. N. Hodges'
motion as Executor of his wife Linnie's estate to continue their "business of buying and selling personal
and real properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages" made and to be made
by him as such executor under his obligation to submit his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole
heir of his wife's estate and nothing remains to be done except to formally close her estate (Sp. Proc. No.
1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so that nothing remains of it that may be
adjudicated to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs after him,
4
is wholly untenable and
deserves scant consideration.
Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in the day, this contention
of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate
court's order of December 14, 1957 goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N.
Hodges as her executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and identity of
his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his own share of their conjugal
partnership and estate and "never considered the whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively
to himself" during the entire period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his
own death on December 25, 1962
5
and against the identical acts and judicial admissions of PCIB as
administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until PCIB sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to
its sole administration.
PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated position contradictory to or
inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as well as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime
and of whose estate PCIB is merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of
Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests therein of her brothers and
sisters as her designated heirs in her will.
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate court in Linnie Jane
Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14, 1957 as "null and void for having been
issued without jurisdiction" must therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and
untenable contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which respondent Avelina
Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix.
PCIB's appeal
7
from the probate court's various orders recognizing respondent Magno as administratrix
of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) and sanctioning her acts of administration of said estate and
approving the sales contracts executed by her with the various individual appellees, which involve
basically the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether there still exists a separate estate of
Linnie of which respondent-appellee Magno may continue to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail
a result of the Court's main opinion at bar that there does exist such an estate and that the two estates
(husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and
Magno).
The dispositive portion of the main opinion
The main opinion disposes that:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby rendered
DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, in G.
R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered to be added
after payment of the corresponding docket fees, all the orders of the trial court under
appeal enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this decision:
The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respondent-appellee
Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix thereof is recognized, and
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately rendered regarding (1) the manner
of applying Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation obtaining in
these cases and (2) the factual and legal issues of whether or not Charles Newton
Hodges has effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under the will of Linnie
Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-fourthof the community properties of
the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife on May 23,
1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of
third persons from said date until his death, provided, first, that with respect
to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of
the wife's estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third parties by the
husband, and second, that should the purported renunciation be declared legally
effective, no deduction whatsoever are to be made from said estate;
In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967, as amended on
October 4 and December 6, 1967, is lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972,
directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the Testate Estate of
Charles Newton Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, and respondent-appellee
Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges in
Special Proceedings 1307, should act thenceforth always conjointly, never
independently from each other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the same
is made part of this judgment and shall continue in force, pending the liquidation of
the conjugal partnership of the deceased spouses and
the determination and segregation from each other of their respective estates;
provided, that upon the finality of this judgment, the trial court should immediately
proceed to the partition of the presently combined estates of the spouses, to the end
that the one-half share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and clearly identified;
Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the remainder of the one-
fourth herein adjudged to be her estate and cause the same to be turned over or
delivered to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special Proceedings
1307, while the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint administrative of said
respondent and petitioner under a joint proceedings in Special Proceedings 1307
and 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining to Hodges shall
be administered by petitioner exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of thepending motions for its removal as
administrator;
And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final resolution of the two issues
of renvoi andrenunciation hereby reserved for further hearing and determination, and
the corresponding completesegregation and partition of the two estates in the
proportions that may result from the said resolution.
Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the court a quo are directed to
adhere henceforth, in all their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, to
the views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing opinion.
8

Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate:
One-fourth of conjugal properties.
The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which shall
pass to her brothers and sisters with right of representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated
heirs declares that her estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the
Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one-half of her estate
as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of
"one-fourth of the community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife
on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third
persons from said date until his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions
or sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's death shall continue
to be part of her estateunless subsequently disposed of by him gratuitously to third parties subject to
the condition, however, that if he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance
under his wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even if gratuitously are to be
made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her
designated heirs called in her will to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N.
Hodges.
Differences with the main opinion
I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her husband as her heir
under her will "to have dominion over all her estate during his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the
properties ..."
9
and that she bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as
universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his lifetime, which means that while
he could completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than
himself, he was not free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his death
would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his brothers and
sisters-in-law to the inheritance, although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would
automatically become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of actual
existence of any remainder of her estate then."
10

As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie Jane Hodges willed "full
and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion" over her estate to her husband, but rather that she
named her husband C. N. Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under
Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with a resolutory term whereunder his
right to the succession ceased in diem upon arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December
25, 1962 and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with asuspensive term whereunder their
right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of the suspensive term of the death of C. N.
Hodges on December 25, 1962.
Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all remunerative dispositions made
by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death remain an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to
her brothers and sisters, I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly make gratuitous dispositions of
any part or all of his wife's estate "completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter
vivos to anyone other than himself" in the language of the main opinion, supra and thereby render
ineffectual and nugatory her institution of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs to
succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband." If according to the main opinion,
Hodges could not make such gratuitous "complete and absolute dispositions" of his wife Linnie's
estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by the same token and rationale he was likewise
proscribed by the will from making such dispositions of Linnie's estate inter vivos.
I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the partition and segregation
of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or community properties constituting Linnie Jane
Hodges' separate estate, which task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie
Jane Hodges' death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has remained unliquidated up to now
might take a similar number of years to unravel with the numerous items, transactions and details of
the sizable estates involved.
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two prejudicial questions
of renvoi andrenunciation were resolved favorably to Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should
be held that C. N. Hodges is not entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally
renounced his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist not only of the minimum
one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community properties of the Hodges spouses, which would
require again the partition and segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties
to complete Linnie's separate estate.
My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, effects and consequences of
the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach
a solution of the pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do not
appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the heirs and should therefore be
promptly settled now after all these years without any further undue complications and delays and
distributed to the heirs for their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have been
reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as concisely as possible with the
sole end in view that they may be of some assistance to the probate court and the parties in
reaching an expeditious closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses.
Two Assumptions
As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate as one-fourth of the
conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his
heirs, namely (1) that the probate court must accept the renvoi or "reference back"
11
allegedly
provided by the laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens) whereby
the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges spouses would govern their
succession notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16 of our Civil Code (which provides that the national
law of the decedents, in this case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the result that her estate
would consist of no more than one-fourth of the conjugal properties since the legitime of her husband (the
other one-fourth of said conjugal properties or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our Civil Code)
could not then be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by her and (2) that C.N. Hodges
had not effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under his wife's will.
These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee Magno as Mrs. Hodges'
administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of Texas governs her succession and
does not provide for and legitime, hence, her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the
whole of her share of the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event, Hodges
had totally renounced all his rights under the will.
The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates herein involved soonest, it
would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the parties were determined in these
proceedings." It observes however that this cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence
submitted by the parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no clear and
reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. Then also, the genuineness of the
documents relied upon by respondent Magno [re Hodges' renunciation] is disputed."
12

Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on these two conflicting
claims and issues which it deems "are not properly before the Court
now,"
13
and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that remains to be settled in the
further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in the court below is how much more than as fixed above
is the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of Texas
do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is nolegitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not
Hodges has validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges."
14

Suggested guidelines
Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down and in consonance with
the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the prompt settlement of the estates of deceased
persons for the benefit of creditors and those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance
considering that the estates have been long pending settlement since 1957 and 1962, respectively
it was felt that the Court should lay down specific guidelines for the guidance of the probate court
towards the end that it may expedite the closing of the protracted estates proceedings below to the
mutual satisfaction of the heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party elevating its resolution of
thisonly remaining issue once more to this Court and dragging out indefinitely the proceedings.
After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the resolution of the two
questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether C. N. Hodges can claim
a legitime and whether he had renounced the inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court
without reaching a consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in this
case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be threshed out fully in the trial court in
the proceedings hereinafter to be held for the purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate
of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated will."
15

The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing the nature, effects and
consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary dispositions in relation to her conjugal
partnership and co-ownership of properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the
end results, depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the probate
court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not entitled to claim a legitime of
one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that he had or had not effectively and validlyrenounced his
inheritance should help clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving
the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth of the community
properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally determined should be awarded as the separate
estate of Linnie, particularly since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a
consensus of the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to state,
represent the personal opinion and views of the writer:
1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges' own inventory submitted
by him as executor of the estate of his wife, practically all their properties were conjugal which
means that the spouses haveequal shares therein."
16

2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dissolution thereby of the marriage, the
law imposed upon Hodges as surviving husband the duty of inventorying, administering and
liquidating the conjugal or community property.
17
Hodges failed to discharge this duty of liquidating the
conjugal partnership and estate. On the contrary, he sought and obtained authorization from the probate
court to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real and personal properties.
In his annual accounts submitted to the probate court as executor of Mrs. Hodges' estate, Hodges
thus consistentlyreported the considerable combined income (in six figures) of the conjugal
partnership or coownership and then divided the same equally between himself and Mrs. Hodges'
estate and as consistently filed separate income tax returns and paid the income taxes
for each resulting half of such combined income corresponding to his own and to Mrs. Hodges'
estate. 18 (Parenthetically, he could not in law do this, had he adjudicated Linnie's entire estate to
himself, thus supporting the view advanced even in the main opinion that "Hodges waived not only
his rights to the fruits but to the properties themselves."
19

By operation of the law of trust
20
as well as by his own acknowledgment and acts, therefore, all
transactions made by Hodges after his wife's death were deemed for and on behalf of their unliquidated
conjugal partnership and community estate and were so reported and treated by him.
3. With this premise established that all transactions of Hodges after his wife's death were for and on
behalf of theirunliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and share alike, it
should be clear that no gratuitousdispositions, if any, made by C. N. Hodges from his wife Linnie's
estate should be deducted from her separateestate as held in the main opinion. On the contrary, any
such gratuitous dispositions should be charged to his own share of the conjugal estate since he had
no authority or right to make any gratuitous dispositions of Linnie's properties to the prejudice of her
brothers and sisters whom she called to her succession upon his death, not to mention that the very
authority obtained by him from the probate court per its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957
was to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real properties for the
account of their unliquidated conjugal estate and co-ownership, share and share alike and not to
make any free dispositions of Linnie's estate.
4. All transactions as well after the death on December 25, 1962 of Hodges himself appear perforce
and necessarily to have been conducted, on the same premise, for and on behalf of
their unliquidated conjugal partnership and/or co-ownership, share and share alike since the
conjugal partnership remained unliquidated which is another way of saying that such transactions,
purchases and sales, mostly the latter, must be deemed in effect to have been made for the
respective estates of C. N. Hodges and of his wife Linnie Jane Hodges, as both estates continued to
have an equal stake and share in the conjugal partnership which was not only left unliquidated but
continued as a co-ownership or joint business with the probate court's approval by Hodges during
the five-year period that he survived his wife.
This explains the probate court's action of requiring that deeds of sale executed by PCIB as Hodges'
estate's administrator be "signed jointly" by respondent Magno as Mrs. Hodges' estate's
administratrix, as well as its order authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges
to either estate, since "there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to
whomsoever are entitled thereto."
22

And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued conjoint administration by
the administrators of the two estates of the deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the
conjugal partnership,"
23
since "it is but logical that both estates should be administered jointly by the
representatives of both, pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the actuations
so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges
from their inheritance." 24 5. Antly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation from each
other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent
to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance."
24

5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved issue of how much more
than the minimum of one-fourth of the community or conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses
pertains to Mrs. Hodges' estate depends on the twin questions of renunciation and renvoi. It directed
consequently that "a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein involved" be held by the
probate court for the reception of "further evidence" in order to finally resolved these twin
questions.
25

(a) On the question of renunciation, it is believed that all that the probate court has to do is to receive
formally in evidence the various documents annexed to respondent Magno's answer at
bar,
26
namely: Copy of the U.S. Estate Tax Return filed on August 8, 1958 by C. N. Hodges for his wife
Linnie's estate wherein he purportedly declared that he wasrenouncing his inheritance under his wife's will
in favor of her brothers and sisters as co-heirs designated with him and that it was his "intention (as)
surviving husband of the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of the deceased in
their community estate to the devisee and legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and
expenses of administration are finally determined and paid;"
27
and
The affidavit of ratification of such renunciation (which places him in estoppel) allegedly executed on
August 9, 1962 by C. N. Hodges in Iloilo City wherein he reaffirmed that "... on August 8, 1958,
I renounced and disclaimed any and all right to receive the rents, emoluments and income from said
estate" and further declared that "(T)he purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm, and I do
hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made in schedule M of said return and hereby
formally disclaim and renounce any right on my part to receive any of the said rents, emoluments
and income from the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This affidavit is made
to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the payment of income taxes on income which has
accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on May
23, 1957."
28

(b) On the question of renvoi, all that remains for the probate court to do is to formally receive in
evidence duly authenticated copies of the laws of the State of Texas governing the succession of
Linnie Jane Hodges and her husband C. N. Hodges as citizens of said State at the time of their
respective deaths on May 23, 1957 andDecember 25, 1962.
29

6. The text and tenor of the declarations by C. N. Hodges of renunciation of his inheritance from his
wife in favor of her other named heirs in her will (her brothers and sisters and their respective heirs)
as ratified and reiteratedexpressly in his affidavit of renunciation executed four years later for the
avowed purpose of not being held liable for payment of income taxes on income which has accrued
to his wife's estate since her death indicate a valid and effective renunciation.
Once the evidence has been formally admitted and its genuineness and legal effectivity established
by the probate court, the renunciation by C. N. Hodges must be given due effect with the result that
C. N. Hodges therefore acquired no part of his wife's one-half share of the community properties
since he removed himself as an heir by virtue of his renunciation. By simple substitution then under
Articles 857 and 859 of our Civil Code
30
and by virtue of the will's institution of heirs, since "the heir
originally instituted C. N. Hodges) does not become an heir"
31
by force of his renunciation, Mrs. Hodges'
brothers and sisters whom she designated as her heirs upon her husband's death are called immediately
to her succession.
Consequently, the said community and conjugal properties would then pertain pro indiviso share and
share alike to their respective estates, with each estate, however, shouldering its own expenses of
administration, estate and inheritance taxes, if any remain unpaid, attorneys' fees and other like
expenses and the net remainder to be adjudicated directly to the decedents' respective brothers and
sisters (and their heirs) as the heirs duly designated in their respective wills. The question
of renvoi becomes immaterial since most laws and our laws permit suchrenunciation of inheritance.
7. If there were no renunciation (or the same may somehow be declared to have not been valid and
effective) by C. N. Hodges of his inheritance from his wife, however, what would be the
consequence?
(a) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do provide for renvoi or "reference back" to
Philippine law as the domiciliary law of the Hodges' spouses governing their succession, then
petitioners' view that Mrs. Hodges' estate would consist only of the minimum of "one-fourth of the
community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of (her) death on May 23, 1957" would
have to be sustained and C. N. Hodges' estate would consist of three-fourths of the community
properties, comprising his own one-half (or two-fourths) share and the other fourth of Mrs. Hodges'
estate as the legitime granted him as surviving spouse by Philippine law (Article 900 of the Civil
Code) which could not be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by Mrs. Hodges as testatrix.
(b) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do not provide for such renvoi and respondent
Magno's assertion is correct that the Texas law which would then prevail, provides for no legitime for
C. N. Hodges as the surviving spouse, then respondent Magno's assertion that Mrs. Hodges' estate
would consist of one-half of the community properties (with the other half pertaining to C. N. Hodges)
would have to be sustained. The community and conjugal properties would then pertain share and
share alike to their respective estates, with each estate shouldering its own expenses of
administration in the same manner stated in the last paragraph of paragraph 6 hereof. .
8. As to the nature of the institution of heirs made by Mrs. Hodges in her will, the main opinion holds
that "(T)he brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not substitutes for Hodges; rather, they are also
heirs institutedsimultaneously with Hodges," but goes further and holds that "it was not the usufruct
alone of her estate ... that she bequeathed to Hodges during his lifetime, but the full
ownership thereof, although the same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no
restriction against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion thereofanybody other than
himself" and describes Hodges "as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over Mrs. Hodges'
estate (except over their Lubbock, Texas property ),
32
adding that "Hodges was not obliged to
preserve anything for them" (referring to Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters as instituted co-heirs).
33

Contrary to this view of the main opinion, the writer submits that the provisions of Mrs. Hodges' will
did not grant to C.N. Hodges "full ownership" nor "absolute dominion" over her estate, such that he
could as "universal and sole heir" by the mere expedient of gratuitously disposing to third persons
her whole estate during his lifetime nullify her institution of her brothers and sisters as his co-heirs to
succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband,"deprive them of any inheritance and
make his own brothers and sisters in effect sole heirs not only of his own estate but of
his wife's estate as well.
Thus, while Linnie Jane Hodges did not expressly name her brothers and sisters as substitutes for
Hodges because she willed that they would enter into the succession upon his death, still it cannot
be gainsaid, as the main opinion concedes, "that they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with
Hodges, subject however to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges was concerned
and correspondingly suspensive with reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law."
34

Hence, if Hodges is found to have validly renounced his inheritance, there would be a substitution of
heirs in fact and in law since Linnie's brothers and sisters as the heirs "simultaneously instituted"
with a suspensive term would be called immediately to her succession instead of waiting for the
arrival of suspensive term of Hodges' death, since as the heir originally instituted he does not
become an heir by force of his renunciation and therefore they would "enter into the inheritance in
default of the heir originally instituted" (Hodges) under the provisions of Article 857 and 859 of our
Civil Code, supra,
35
thus accelerating their succession to her estate as a consequence of Hodges'
renunciation.
Consequently, Linnie Jane Hodges willed that her husband C.N. Hodges would "during his natural
lifetime ...manage, control, use and enjoy said estate" and that only "all rents,
emoluments and income" alone shall belong to him. She further willed that while he
could sell and purchase properties of her estate, and "use any part of the principal estate," such
principal notwithstanding "any changes in the physical properties of said estate"(i.e. new properties
acquired or exchanged) would still pertain to her estate, which at the time of his death would pass
in full dominion to her brothers and sisters as the ultimate sole and universal heirs of her estate.
36

The testatrix Linnie Jane Hodges in her will thus principally provided that "I give, devise and
bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both personal and real ... to my
beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold with him ... during his natural
lifetime;"
37
that "(he) shall have the right to manage, control, use andenjoy said estate during his lifetime,
... to make any changes in the physical properties of said estate, by sale ... and thepurchase of any other
or additional property as he may think best ... . All rents, emoluments and income from said estate
shall belong to him and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may
need or desire, ... he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the improved property now owned by
us, located at ... City of Lubbock, Texas ... . He shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell
lots therein, and may sell unimproved town lots;"
38
that "(A)t the death of my said husband, Charles
Newton, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both personal
and real, ... to be equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike, namely: Esta
Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Roman and Nimroy
Higdon;"
39
and that "(I)n case of the death of any of my brothers and/or sisters ... prior to the death of my
husband ... the heirs of such deceased brother or sistershall take jointly the share which would have gone
to such brother or sister had she or he survived."
40

Such provisions are wholly consistent with the view already fully expounded above that all
transactions and sales made by Hodges after his wife Linnie's death were by operation of the law
of trust as well as by his ownacknowledgment and acts deemed for and on behalf of
their unliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and share alike, with the
express authorization of the probate court per its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957 granting
Hodges' motion to continue the conjugal partnership business of buying and selling real estate even
after her death. By the same token, Hodges could not conceivably be deemed to have had any
authority or right to dispose gratuitously of any portion of her estate to whose succession she had
called her brothers and sisters upon his death.
9. Such institutions of heirs with a term are expressly recognized and permitted under Book III,
Chapter 2, section 4 of our Civil Code dealing with "conditional testamentary dispositions and
testamentary dispositions with a term."
41

Thus, Article 885 of our Civil Code expressly provides that:
ART 885. The designation of the day or time when the effects of the institution of an
heir shallcommence or cease shall be valid.
In both cases, the legal heir shall be considered as called to the succession until the
arrival of the period or its expiration. But in the first case he shall not enter into
possession of the property until after having given sufficient security, with the
intervention of the instituted heir.
Accordingly, under the terms of Mrs. Hodges' will, her husband's right to the succession as the
instituted heir ceasedin diem, i.e. upon the arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December
25, 1962, while her brothers' and sisters' right to the succession also as instituted heirs
commenced ex die, i.e. upon the expiration of the suspensive term (as far as they were concerned)
of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962 .
42

As stated in Padilla's treatise on the Civil Code, "A term is a period whose arrival is certain although
the exact date thereof may be uncertain. A term may have either a suspensive or a resolutory effect.
The designation of the day when the legacy "shall commence" is ex die, or a term with a suspensive
effect, from a certain day. The designation of the day when the legacy "shall cease" is in diem or a
term with a resolutory effect, until a certain day." He adds that "A legacy based upon a certain age or
upon the death of a person is not a condition but a term. If the arrival of the term would commence
the right of the heir, it is suspensive. If the arrival of the term would terminate his right, it is
resolutory" and that "upon the arrival of the period, in case of a suspensive term, the instituted heir is
entitled to the succession, and in case of a resolutory term, his right terminates."
43

10. The sizable estates herein involved have now been pending settlement for a considerably
protracted period (of seventeen years counted from Linnie's death in 1957), and all that is left to be
done is to resolve the only remaining issue (involving the two questions of renunciation and renvoi)
hereinabove discussed in order to close up the estates and finally effect distribution to the deceased
spouses' respective brothers and sisters and their heirs as the heirs duly instituted in their wills long
admitted to probate. Hence, it is advisable for said instituted heirs and their heirs in turn
44
to come to
terms for the adjudication and distribution to them pro-indiviso of the up to now unliquidated community
properties of the estates of the Hodges spouses (derived from their unliquidated conjugal partnership)
rather than to get bogged down with the formidable task of physically segregating and partitioning the two
estates with the numerous transactions, items and details and physical changes of properties involved.
The estates proceedings would thus be closed and they could then name their respective attorneys-in-
fact to work out the details of segregating, dividing or partitioning theunliquidated community properties or
liquidating them which can be done then on their own without further need of intervention on the part of
the probate court as well as allow them meanwhile to enjoy and make use of the income and cash and
liquid assets of the estates in such manner as may be agreed upon between them.
Such a settlement or modus vivendi between the heirs of the unliquidated two estates for the mutual
benefit of all of them should not prove difficult, considering that it appears as stated in the main
opinion that 22.968149% of the share or undivided estate of C. N. Hodges have already been
acquired by the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges from certain heirs of her husband, while certain other
heirs representing 17.34375% of Hodges' estate were joining cause with Linnie's heirs in their
pending and unresolved motion for the removal of petitioner PCIB as administrator of Hodges'
estate,
45
apparently impatient with the situation which has apparently degenerated into a running battle
between the administrators of the two estates to the common prejudice of all the heirs.
11. As earlier stated, the writer has taken the pain of suggesting these guidelines which may serve
to guide the probate court as well as the parties towards expediting the winding up and closing of the
estates and the distribution of the net estates to the instituted heirs and their successors duly entitled
thereto. The probate court should exert all effort towards this desired objective pursuant to the
mandate of our probate law, bearing in mind the Court's admonition in previous cases that "courts of
first instance should exert themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they are
presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors and administrators who do
not actively labor to that end, and they may even adopt harsher measures."
46

Timeliness of appeals and imposition of
thirty-one (31) additional docket fees
Two appeals were docketed with this Court, as per the two records on appeal submitted (one with a
green cover and the other with a yellow cover). As stated at the outset, these appeals involve
basically the same primal issue raised in the petition for certiorari as to whether there still exists a
separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which has to continue to be administered by respondent
Magno. Considering the main opinion's ruling in the affirmative and that her estate and that of her
husband (since they jointly comprise unliquidated community properties) must be
administered conjointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno), the said appeals
(involving thirty-three different orders of the probate court approving sales contracts and other acts
of administration executed and performed by respondent Magno on behalf of Linnie's estate) have
been necessarily overruled by the Court's decision at bar.
(a) The "priority question" raised by respondent Magno as to the patent failure of the two records on
appeal to show on their face and state the material data that the appeals were timely taken within
the 30-day reglamentary period as required by Rule 41, section 6 of the Rules of Court, has been
brushed aside by the main opinion with the statement that it is "not necessary to pass upon the
timeliness of any of said appeals" since they "revolve around practically the same main issues and ...
it is admitted that some of them have been timely taken."
47
The main opinion thus proceeded with the
determination of the thirty-three appealed orders despite the grave defect of the appellant PCIB's records
on appeal and their failure to state the required material data showing the timeliness of the appeals.
Such disposition of the question of timeliness deemed as "mandatory and jurisdictional" in a number
of cases merits the writer's concurrence in that the question raised has been subordinated to the
paramount considerations of substantial justice and a "liberal interpretation of the rules" applied so
as not to derogate and detract from the primary intent and purpose of the rules, viz "the proper and
just determination of a litigation"
48
which calls for "adherence to a liberal construction of the
procedural rules in order to attain their objective of substantial justice and of avoiding denials of
substantial justice due to procedural technicalities."
49

Thus, the main opinion in consonance with the same paramount considerations of substantial justice
has likewise overruled respondents' objection to petitioner's taking the recourse of "the present
remedy of certiorari and prohibition" "despite the conceded availability of appeal" on the
ground that "there is a common thread among the basic issues involved in all these thirty-three
appeals (which) deal with practically the same basic issues that can be more expeditiously
resolved or determined in a single special civil action . . . "
50

(b) Since the basic issues have been in effect resolved in the special civil action at bar (as above
stated) with the dismissal of the petition by virtue of the Court's judgment as to the continued
existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the affirmance as a necessary
consequence of the appealed orders approving and sanctioning respondent Magno's sales contracts
and acts of administration, some doubt would arise as to the propriety of the main opinion requiring
the payment by PCIB of thirty-one (31) additional appeal docket fees. This doubt is further enhanced
by the question of whether it would make the cost of appeal unduly expensive or prohibitive by
requiring the payment of a separate appeal docket fee for each incidental order questioned when the
resolution of all such incidental questioned orders involve basically one and the same main issue (in
this case, the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and can be more expeditiously
resolved or determined in asingle special civil action" (for which a single docket fee is required) as
stated in the main opinion.
51
Considering the importance of the basic issues and the magnitude of the
estates involved, however, the writer has pro hac vice given his concurrence to the assessment of the
said thirty-one (31) additional appeal docket fees.
MAKALINTAL, C.J ., concurring:
I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Teehankee, which in turn agrees with the dispositive
portion of the main opinion of Justice Barredo insofar as it dismisses the petition for certiorari and
prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and affirms the appealed orders of the probate court in
cases L-27936-37.
However, I wish to make one brief observation for the sake of accuracy. Regardless of whether or
not C. N. Hodges was entitled to a legitime in his deceased wife's estate which question, still to be
decided by the said probate court, may depend upon what is the law of Texas and upon its
applicability in the present case the said estate consists of one-half, not one-fourth, of the
conjugal properties. There is neither a minimum of one-fourth nor a maximum beyond that. It is
important to bear this in mind because the estate of Linnie Hodges consists of her share in the
conjugal properties, is still under administration and until now has not been distributed by order of
the court.
The reference in both the main and separate opinions to a one-fourth portion of the conjugal
properties as Linnie Hodges' minimum share is a misnomer and is evidently meant only to indicate
that if her husband should eventually be declared entitled to a legitime, then the disposition made by
Linnie Hodges in favor of her collateral relatives would be valid only as to one-half of her share, or
one-fourth of the conjugal properties, since the remainder, which constitutes such legitime, would
necessarily go to her husband in absolute ownership, unburdened by any substitution, term or
condition, resolutory or otherwise. And until the estate is finally settled and adjudicated to the heirs
who may be found entitled to it, the administration must continue to cover Linnie's entire conjugal
share.


Separate Opinions
FERNANDO, J ., concurring:
I concur on the basis of the procedural pronouncements in the opinion.
TEEHANKEE, J ., concurring:
I concur in the result of dismissal of the petition for certiorari and prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-
27896 and with the affirmance of the appealed orders of the probate court in Cases L-27936-37.
I also concur with the portion of the dispositive part of the judgment penned by Mr. Justice Barredo
decreeing thelifting of the Court's writ of preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967 as amended on
October 4, and December 6, 1967
1
and ordering in lieu thereof that the Court's resolution of September
8, 1972
2
which directed that petitioner-appellantPCIB as administrator of C. N. (Charles Newton) Hodges'
estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1672 and respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno as administratrix of Linnie Jane
Hodges' estate (Sp. Proc. No. 1307) should act always conjointly never independently from each other,
as such administrators, is reiterated and shall continue in force and made part of the judgment.
It is manifest from the record that petitioner-appellant PCIB's primal contention in the cases at bar
belatedly filed by it with this Court on August 1, 1967 (over ten (10) years after Linnie Jane Hodges'
death on May 23, 1957 and (over five (5) years after her husband C.N. Hodges' death on December
25, 1962 during which time both estates have been pending settlement and distribution to the
decedents' respective rightful heirs all this time up to now) that the probate court per its order of
December 14, 1957 (supplementing an earlier order of May 25, 1957)
3
in granting C. N. Hodges'
motion as Executor of his wife Linnie's estate to continue their "business of buying and selling personal
and real properties" and approving "all sales, conveyances, leases and mortgages" made and to be made
by him as such executor under his obligation to submit his yearly accounts in effect declared him as sole
heir of his wife's estate and nothing remains to be done except to formally close her estate (Sp. Proc. No.
1307) as her estate was thereby merged with his own so that nothing remains of it that may be
adjudicated to her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs after him,
4
is wholly untenable and
deserves scant consideration.
Aside from having been put forth as an obvious afterthought much too late in the day, this contention
of PCIB that there no longer exists any separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges after the probate
court's order of December 14, 1957 goes against the very acts and judicial admissions of C.N.
Hodges as her executor whereby he consistently recognized the separate existence and identity of
his wife's estate apart from his own separate estate and from his own share of their conjugal
partnership and estate and "never considered the whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively
to himself" during the entire period that he survived her for over five (5) years up to the time of his
own death on December 25, 1962
5
and against the identical acts and judicial admissions of PCIB as
administrator of C.N. Hodges' estate until PCIB sought in 1966 to take over both estates as pertaining to
its sole administration.
PCIB is now barred and estopped from contradicting or taking a belated position contradictory to or
inconsistent with its previous admissions 6 (as well as those of C.N. Hodges himself in his lifetime
and of whose estate PCIB is merely an administrator) recognizing the existence and identity of
Linnie Jane Hodges' separate estate and the legal rights and interests therein of her brothers and
sisters as her designated heirs in her will.
PCIB's petition for certiorari and prohibition to declare all acts of the probate court in Linnie Jane
Hodges' estate subsequent to its order of December 14, 1957 as "null and void for having been
issued without jurisdiction" must therefore be dismissed with the rejection of its belated and
untenable contention that there is no longer any estate of Mrs. Hodges of which respondent Avelina
Magno is the duly appointed and acting administratrix.
PCIB's appeal
7
from the probate court's various orders recognizing respondent Magno as administratrix
of Linnie's estate (Sp. Proc No. 1307) and sanctioning her acts of administration of said estate and
approving the sales contracts executed by her with the various individual appellees, which involve
basically the same primal issue raised in the petition as to whether there still exists a separate estate of
Linnie of which respondent-appellee Magno may continue to be the administratrix, must necessarily fail
a result of the Court's main opinion at bar that there does exist such an estate and that the two estates
(husband's and wife's) must be administered cojointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and
Magno).
The dispositive portion of the main opinion
The main opinion disposes that:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby rendered
DISMISSING the petition in G. R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896, and AFFIRMING, in G.
R. Nos. L-27936-37 and the other thirty-one numbers hereunder ordered to be added
after payment of the corresponding docket fees, all the orders of the trial court under
appeal enumerated in detail on pages 35 to 37 and 80 to 82 of this decision:
The existence of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges, with respondent-appellee
Avelina A. Magno, as administratrix thereof is recognized, and
It is declared that, until final judgment is ultimately rendered regarding (1) the manner
of applying Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines to the situation obtaining in
these cases and (2) the factual and legal issues of whether or not Charles Newton
Hodges has effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under the will of Linnie
Jane Hodges, the said estate consists of one-fourthof the community properties of
the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife on May 23,
1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of
third persons from said date until his death, provided, first, that with respect
to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds thereof shall continue to be part of
the wife's estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third parties by the
husband, and second, that should the purported renunciation be declared legally
effective, no deduction whatsoever are to be made from said estate;
In consequence, the preliminary injunction of August 8, 1967, as amended on
October 4 and December 6, 1967, is lifted and the resolution of September 8, 1972,
directing that petitioner-appellant PCIB, as Administrator of the Testate Estate of
Charles Newton Hodges in Special Proceedings 1672, and respondent-appellee
Avelina A. Magno, as Administratrix of the Testate Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges in
Special Proceedings 1307, should act thenceforth always conjointly, never
independently from each other, as such administrators, is reiterated, and the same
is made part of this judgment and shall continue in force, pending the liquidation of
the conjugal partnership of the deceased spouses and
the determination and segregation from each other of their respective estates;
provided, that upon the finality of this judgment, the trial court should immediately
proceed to the partition of the presently combined estates of the spouses, to the end
that the one-half share thereof of Mrs. Hodges may be properly and clearly identified;
Thereafter, the trial court should forthwith segregate the remainder of the one-
fourth herein adjudged to be her estate and cause the same to be turned over or
delivered to respondent for her exclusive administration in Special Proceedings
1307, while the other one-fourth shall remain under the joint administrative of said
respondent and petitioner under a joint proceedings in Special Proceedings 1307
and 1672, whereas the half unquestionably pertaining to Hodges shall
be administered by petitioner exclusively in Special Proceedings 1672, without
prejudice to the resolution by the trial court of thepending motions for its removal as
administrator;
And this arrangement shall be maintained until the final resolution of the two issues
of renvoi andrenunciation hereby reserved for further hearing and determination, and
the corresponding completesegregation and partition of the two estates in the
proportions that may result from the said resolution.
Generally and in all other respects, the parties and the court a quo are directed to
adhere henceforth, in all their actuations in Special Proceedings 1307 and 1672, to
the views passed and ruled upon by the Court in the foregoing opinion.
8

Minimum estimate of Mrs. Hodges' estate:
One-fourth of conjugal properties.
The main opinion in declaring the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which shall
pass to her brothers and sisters with right of representation (by their heirs) as her duly designated
heirs declares that her estate consists as a minimum (i.e. assuming (1) that under Article 16 of the
Philippine Civil Code C. N. Hodges as surviving husband was entitled to one-half of her estate
as legitime and (2) that he had not effectively and legally renouncedhis inheritance under her will) of
"one-fourth of the community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of the death of the wife
on May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third
persons from said date until his death," with the proviso that proceeds of remunerative dispositions
or sales for valuable consideration made by C. N. Hodges after his wife Linnie's death shall continue
to be part of her estateunless subsequently disposed of by him gratuitously to third parties subject to
the condition, however, that if he is held to have validly and effectively renounced his inheritance
under his wife's will, no deductions of any dispositions made by Hodges even if gratuitously are to be
made from his wife Linnie's estate which shall pass intact to her brothers and sisters as her
designated heirs called in her will to succeed to her estate upon the death of her husband C. N.
Hodges.
Differences with the main opinion
I do not share the main opinion's view that Linnie Jane Hodges instituted her husband as her heir
under her will "to have dominion over all her estate during his lifetime ... as absolute owner of the
properties ..."
9
and that she bequeathed "the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by him as
universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his lifetime, which means that while
he could completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than
himself, he was not free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his death
would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his brothers and
sisters-in-law to the inheritance, although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would
automatically become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of actual
existence of any remainder of her estate then."
10

As will be amplified hereinafter, I do not subscribe to such a view that Linnie Jane Hodges willed "full
and absolute ownership" and "absolute dominion" over her estate to her husband, but rather that she
named her husband C. N. Hodges and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with a term under
Article 885 of our Civil Code, to wit, Hodges as instituted heir with a resolutory term whereunder his
right to the succession ceased in diem upon arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December
25, 1962 and her brothers and sisters as instituted heirs with asuspensive term whereunder their
right to the succession commenced ex die upon arrival of the suspensive term of the death of C. N.
Hodges on December 25, 1962.
Hence, while agreeing with the main opinion that the proceeds of all remunerative dispositions made
by C. N. Hodges after his wife's death remain an integral part of his wife's estate which she willed to
her brothers and sisters, I submit that C. N. Hodges could not validly make gratuitous dispositions of
any part or all of his wife's estate "completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter
vivos to anyone other than himself" in the language of the main opinion, supra and thereby render
ineffectual and nugatory her institution of her brothers and sisters as her designated heirs to
succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband." If according to the main opinion,
Hodges could not make such gratuitous "complete and absolute dispositions" of his wife Linnie's
estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by the same token and rationale he was likewise
proscribed by the will from making such dispositions of Linnie's estate inter vivos.
I believe that the two questions of renvoi and renunciation should be
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the partition and segregation
of the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or community properties constituting Linnie Jane
Hodges' separate estate, which task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie
Jane Hodges' death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has remained unliquidated up to now
might take a similar number of years to unravel with the numerous items, transactions and details of
the sizable estates involved.
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two prejudicial questions
of renvoi andrenunciation were resolved favorably to Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should
be held that C. N. Hodges is not entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally
renounced his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist not only of the minimum
one-fourth but one-half of the conjugal or community properties of the Hodges spouses, which would
require again the partition and segregation of still another one-fourth of said. properties
to complete Linnie's separate estate.
My differences with the main opinion involve further the legal concepts, effects and consequences of
the testamentary dispositions of Linnie Jane Hodges in her will and the question of the best to reach
a solution of the pressing question of expediting the closing of the estates which after all do not
appear to involve any outstanding debts nor any dispute between the heirs and should therefore be
promptly settled now after all these years without any further undue complications and delays and
distributed to the heirs for their full enjoyment and benefit. As no consensus appears to have been
reached thereon by a majority of the Court, I propose to state views as concisely as possible with the
sole end in view that they may be of some assistance to the probate court and the parties in
reaching an expeditious closing and settlement of the estates of the Hodges spouses.
Two Assumptions
As indicated above, the declaration of the minimum of Mrs. Hodges' estate as one-fourth of the
conjugal properties is based on two assumptions most favorable to C. N. Hodges' estate and his
heirs, namely (1) that the probate court must accept the renvoi or "reference back"
11
allegedly
provided by the laws of the State of Texas (of which state the Hodges spouses were citizens) whereby
the civil laws of the Philippines as the domicile of the Hodges spouses would govern their
succession notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16 of our Civil Code (which provides that the national
law of the decedents, in this case, of Texas, shall govern their succession) with the result that her estate
would consist of no more than one-fourth of the conjugal properties since the legitime of her husband (the
other one-fourth of said conjugal properties or one-half of her estate, under Article 900 of our Civil Code)
could not then be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by her and (2) that C.N. Hodges
had not effectively and legally renounced his inheritance under his wife's will.
These two assumptions are of course flatly disputed by respondent-appellee Magno as Mrs. Hodges'
administratrix, who avers that the law of the State of Texas governs her succession and
does not provide for and legitime, hence, her brothers and sisters are entitled to succeed to the
whole of her share of the conjugal properties which is one-halfthereof and that in any event, Hodges
had totally renounced all his rights under the will.
The main opinion concedes that "(I)n the interest of settling the estates herein involved soonest, it
would be best, indeed, if these conflicting claims of the parties were determined in these
proceedings." It observes however that this cannot be done due to the inadequacy of the evidence
submitted by the parties in the probate court and of the parties' discussion, viz, "there is no clear and
reliable proof of what the possibly applicable laws of Texas are. Then also, the genuineness of the
documents relied upon by respondent Magno [re Hodges' renunciation] is disputed."
12

Hence, the main opinion expressly reserves resolution and determination on these two conflicting
claims and issues which it deems "are not properly before the Court
now,"
13
and specifically holds that "(A)ccordingly, the only question that remains to be settled in the
further proceedings hereby ordered to be held in the court below is how much more than as fixed above
is the estate of Mrs. Hodges, and this would depend on (1) whether or not the applicable laws of Texas
do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is nolegitime provided therein, and (2) whether or not
Hodges has validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges."
14

Suggested guidelines
Considering that the only unresolved issue has thus been narrowed down and in consonance with
the ruling spirit of our probate law calling for the prompt settlement of the estates of deceased
persons for the benefit of creditors and those entitled to the residue by way of inheritance
considering that the estates have been long pending settlement since 1957 and 1962, respectively
it was felt that the Court should lay down specific guidelines for the guidance of the probate court
towards the end that it may expedite the closing of the protracted estates proceedings below to the
mutual satisfaction of the heirs and without need of a dissatisfied party elevating its resolution of
thisonly remaining issue once more to this Court and dragging out indefinitely the proceedings.
After all, the only question that remains depends for its determination on the resolution of the two
questions of renvoiand renunciation, i.e. as to whether C. N. Hodges can claim
a legitime and whether he had renounced the inheritance. But as already indicated above, the Court
without reaching a consensus which would finally resolve the conflicting claims here and now in this
case opted that "these and other relevant matters should first be threshed out fully in the trial court in
the proceedings hereinafter to be held for the purpose of ascertaining and/or distributing the estate
of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with her duly probated will."
15

The writer thus feels that laying down the premises and principles governing the nature, effects and
consequences of Linnie Jane Hodges' testamentary dispositions in relation to her conjugal
partnership and co-ownership of properties with her husband C. N. Hodges and "thinking out" the
end results, depending on whether the evidence directed to be formally received by the probate
court would bear out that under renvoi C. N. Hodges was or was not entitled to claim a legitime of
one-half of his wife Linnie's estate and/or that he had or had not effectively and validlyrenounced his
inheritance should help clear the decks, as it were, and assist the probate court in resolving
the onlyremaining question of how much more than the minimum one-fourth of the community
properties of the Hodges spouses herein finally determined should be awarded as the separate
estate of Linnie, particularly since the views expressed in the main opinion have not gained a
consensus of the Court. Hence, the following suggested guidelines, which needless to state,
represent the personal opinion and views of the writer:
1. To begin with, as pointed out in the main opinion, "according to Hodges' own inventory submitted
by him as executor of the estate of his wife, practically all their properties were conjugal which
means that the spouses haveequal shares therein."
16

2. Upon the death of Mrs. Hodges on May 23, 1957, and the dissolution thereby of the marriage, the
law imposed upon Hodges as surviving husband the duty of inventorying, administering and
liquidating the conjugal or community property.
17
Hodges failed to discharge this duty of liquidating the
conjugal partnership and estate. On the contrary, he sought and obtained authorization from the probate
court to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real and personal properties.
In his annual accounts submitted to the probate court as executor of Mrs. Hodges' estate, Hodges
thus consistentlyreported the considerable combined income (in six figures) of the conjugal
partnership or coownership and then divided the same equally between himself and Mrs. Hodges'
estate and as consistently filed separate income tax returns and paid the income taxes
for each resulting half of such combined income corresponding to his own and to Mrs. Hodges'
estate. 18 (Parenthetically, he could not in law do this, had he adjudicated Linnie's entire estate to
himself, thus supporting the view advanced even in the main opinion that "Hodges waived not only
his rights to the fruits but to the properties themselves."
19

By operation of the law of trust
20
as well as by his own acknowledgment and acts, therefore, all
transactions made by Hodges after his wife's death were deemed for and on behalf of their unliquidated
conjugal partnership and community estate and were so reported and treated by him.
3. With this premise established that all transactions of Hodges after his wife's death were for and on
behalf of theirunliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and share alike, it
should be clear that no gratuitousdispositions, if any, made by C. N. Hodges from his wife Linnie's
estate should be deducted from her separateestate as held in the main opinion. On the contrary, any
such gratuitous dispositions should be charged to his own share of the conjugal estate since he had
no authority or right to make any gratuitous dispositions of Linnie's properties to the prejudice of her
brothers and sisters whom she called to her succession upon his death, not to mention that the very
authority obtained by him from the probate court per its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957
was to continue the conjugal partnership's business of buying and selling real properties for the
account of their unliquidated conjugal estate and co-ownership, share and share alike and not to
make any free dispositions of Linnie's estate.
4. All transactions as well after the death on December 25, 1962 of Hodges himself appear perforce
and necessarily to have been conducted, on the same premise, for and on behalf of
their unliquidated conjugal partnership and/or co-ownership, share and share alike since the
conjugal partnership remained unliquidated which is another way of saying that such transactions,
purchases and sales, mostly the latter, must be deemed in effect to have been made for the
respective estates of C. N. Hodges and of his wife Linnie Jane Hodges, as both estates continued to
have an equal stake and share in the conjugal partnership which was not only left unliquidated but
continued as a co-ownership or joint business with the probate court's approval by Hodges during
the five-year period that he survived his wife.
This explains the probate court's action of requiring that deeds of sale executed by PCIB as Hodges'
estate's administrator be "signed jointly" by respondent Magno as Mrs. Hodges' estate's
administratrix, as well as its order authorizing payment by lot purchasers from the Hodges
to either estate, since "there is as yet no judicial declaration of heirs nor distribution of properties to
whomsoever are entitled thereto."
22

And this equally furnishes the rationale of the main opinion for continued conjoint administration by
the administrators of the two estates of the deceased spouses, "pending the liquidation of the
conjugal partnership,"
23
since "it is but logical that both estates should be administered jointly by the
representatives of both, pending their segregation from each other. Particularly ... because the actuations
so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges
from their inheritance." 24 5. Antly by the representatives of both, pending their segregation from each
other. Particularly ... because the actuations so far of PCIB evince a determined, albeit groundless, intent
to exclude the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges from their inheritance."
24

5. As stressed in the main opinion, the determination of the only unresolved issue of how much more
than the minimum of one-fourth of the community or conjugal properties of the Hodges spouses
pertains to Mrs. Hodges' estate depends on the twin questions of renunciation and renvoi. It directed
consequently that "a joint hearing of the two probate proceedings herein involved" be held by the
probate court for the reception of "further evidence" in order to finally resolved these twin
questions.
25

(a) On the question of renunciation, it is believed that all that the probate court has to do is to receive
formally in evidence the various documents annexed to respondent Magno's answer at
bar,
26
namely: Copy of the U.S. Estate Tax Return filed on August 8, 1958 by C. N. Hodges for his wife
Linnie's estate wherein he purportedly declared that he wasrenouncing his inheritance under his wife's will
in favor of her brothers and sisters as co-heirs designated with him and that it was his "intention (as)
surviving husband of the deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of the deceased in
their community estate to the devisee and legatees named in the will when the debts, liabilities, taxes and
expenses of administration are finally determined and paid;"
27
and
The affidavit of ratification of such renunciation (which places him in estoppel) allegedly executed on
August 9, 1962 by C. N. Hodges in Iloilo City wherein he reaffirmed that "... on August 8, 1958,
I renounced and disclaimed any and all right to receive the rents, emoluments and income from said
estate" and further declared that "(T)he purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm, and I do
hereby ratify and confirm, the declaration made in schedule M of said return and hereby
formally disclaim and renounce any right on my part to receive any of the said rents, emoluments
and income from the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges. This affidavit is made
to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the payment of income taxes on income which has
accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on May
23, 1957."
28

(b) On the question of renvoi, all that remains for the probate court to do is to formally receive in
evidence duly authenticated copies of the laws of the State of Texas governing the succession of
Linnie Jane Hodges and her husband C. N. Hodges as citizens of said State at the time of their
respective deaths on May 23, 1957 andDecember 25, 1962.
29

6. The text and tenor of the declarations by C. N. Hodges of renunciation of his inheritance from his
wife in favor of her other named heirs in her will (her brothers and sisters and their respective heirs)
as ratified and reiteratedexpressly in his affidavit of renunciation executed four years later for the
avowed purpose of not being held liable for payment of income taxes on income which has accrued
to his wife's estate since her death indicate a valid and effective renunciation.
Once the evidence has been formally admitted and its genuineness and legal effectivity established
by the probate court, the renunciation by C. N. Hodges must be given due effect with the result that
C. N. Hodges therefore acquired no part of his wife's one-half share of the community properties
since he removed himself as an heir by virtue of his renunciation. By simple substitution then under
Articles 857 and 859 of our Civil Code
30
and by virtue of the will's institution of heirs, since "the heir
originally instituted C. N. Hodges) does not become an heir"
31
by force of his renunciation, Mrs. Hodges'
brothers and sisters whom she designated as her heirs upon her husband's death are called immediately
to her succession.
Consequently, the said community and conjugal properties would then pertain pro indiviso share and
share alike to their respective estates, with each estate, however, shouldering its own expenses of
administration, estate and inheritance taxes, if any remain unpaid, attorneys' fees and other like
expenses and the net remainder to be adjudicated directly to the decedents' respective brothers and
sisters (and their heirs) as the heirs duly designated in their respective wills. The question
of renvoi becomes immaterial since most laws and our laws permit suchrenunciation of inheritance.
7. If there were no renunciation (or the same may somehow be declared to have not been valid and
effective) by C. N. Hodges of his inheritance from his wife, however, what would be the
consequence?
(a) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do provide for renvoi or "reference back" to
Philippine law as the domiciliary law of the Hodges' spouses governing their succession, then
petitioners' view that Mrs. Hodges' estate would consist only of the minimum of "one-fourth of the
community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of (her) death on May 23, 1957" would
have to be sustained and C. N. Hodges' estate would consist of three-fourths of the community
properties, comprising his own one-half (or two-fourths) share and the other fourth of Mrs. Hodges'
estate as the legitime granted him as surviving spouse by Philippine law (Article 900 of the Civil
Code) which could not be disposed of nor burdened with any condition by Mrs. Hodges as testatrix.
(b) If the laws on succession of the State of Texas do not provide for such renvoi and respondent
Magno's assertion is correct that the Texas law which would then prevail, provides for no legitime for
C. N. Hodges as the surviving spouse, then respondent Magno's assertion that Mrs. Hodges' estate
would consist of one-half of the community properties (with the other half pertaining to C. N. Hodges)
would have to be sustained. The community and conjugal properties would then pertain share and
share alike to their respective estates, with each estate shouldering its own expenses of
administration in the same manner stated in the last paragraph of paragraph 6 hereof. .
8. As to the nature of the institution of heirs made by Mrs. Hodges in her will, the main opinion holds
that "(T)he brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not substitutes for Hodges; rather, they are also
heirs institutedsimultaneously with Hodges," but goes further and holds that "it was not the usufruct
alone of her estate ... that she bequeathed to Hodges during his lifetime, but the full
ownership thereof, although the same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no
restriction against his disposing or conveying the whole or any portion thereofanybody other than
himself" and describes Hodges "as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over Mrs. Hodges'
estate (except over their Lubbock, Texas property ),
32
adding that "Hodges was not obliged to
preserve anything for them" (referring to Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters as instituted co-heirs).
33

Contrary to this view of the main opinion, the writer submits that the provisions of Mrs. Hodges' will
did not grant to C.N. Hodges "full ownership" nor "absolute dominion" over her estate, such that he
could as "universal and sole heir" by the mere expedient of gratuitously disposing to third persons
her whole estate during his lifetime nullify her institution of her brothers and sisters as his co-heirs to
succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband,"deprive them of any inheritance and
make his own brothers and sisters in effect sole heirs not only of his own estate but of
his wife's estate as well.
Thus, while Linnie Jane Hodges did not expressly name her brothers and sisters as substitutes for
Hodges because she willed that they would enter into the succession upon his death, still it cannot
be gainsaid, as the main opinion concedes, "that they are also heirs instituted simultaneously with
Hodges, subject however to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges was concerned
and correspondingly suspensive with reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law."
34

Hence, if Hodges is found to have validly renounced his inheritance, there would be a substitution of
heirs in fact and in law since Linnie's brothers and sisters as the heirs "simultaneously instituted"
with a suspensive term would be called immediately to her succession instead of waiting for the
arrival of suspensive term of Hodges' death, since as the heir originally instituted he does not
become an heir by force of his renunciation and therefore they would "enter into the inheritance in
default of the heir originally instituted" (Hodges) under the provisions of Article 857 and 859 of our
Civil Code, supra,
35
thus accelerating their succession to her estate as a consequence of Hodges'
renunciation.
Consequently, Linnie Jane Hodges willed that her husband C.N. Hodges would "during his natural
lifetime ...manage, control, use and enjoy said estate" and that only "all rents,
emoluments and income" alone shall belong to him. She further willed that while he
could sell and purchase properties of her estate, and "use any part of the principal estate," such
principal notwithstanding "any changes in the physical properties of said estate"(i.e. new properties
acquired or exchanged) would still pertain to her estate, which at the time of his death would pass
in full dominion to her brothers and sisters as the ultimate sole and universal heirs of her estate.
36

The testatrix Linnie Jane Hodges in her will thus principally provided that "I give, devise and
bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both personal and real ... to my
beloved husband, Charles Newton Hodges, to have and to hold with him ... during his natural
lifetime;"
37
that "(he) shall have the right to manage, control, use andenjoy said estate during his lifetime,
... to make any changes in the physical properties of said estate, by sale ... and thepurchase of any other
or additional property as he may think best ... . All rents, emoluments and income from said estate
shall belong to him and he is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may
need or desire, ... he shall not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the improved property now owned by
us, located at ... City of Lubbock, Texas ... . He shall have the right to subdivide any farm land and sell
lots therein, and may sell unimproved town lots;"
38
that "(A)t the death of my said husband, Charles
Newton, I give, devise and bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both personal
and real, ... to be equally divided among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike, namely: Esta
Higdon, Emma Howell, Leonard Higdon, Roy Higdon, Sadie Rascoe, Era Roman and Nimroy
Higdon;"
39
and that "(I)n case of the death of any of my brothers and/or sisters ... prior to the death of my
husband ... the heirs of such deceased brother or sistershall take jointly the share which would have gone
to such brother or sister had she or he survived."
40

Such provisions are wholly consistent with the view already fully expounded above that all
transactions and sales made by Hodges after his wife Linnie's death were by operation of the law
of trust as well as by his ownacknowledgment and acts deemed for and on behalf of
their unliquidated conjugal partnership and community estate, share and share alike, with the
express authorization of the probate court per its orders of May 25, and December 14, 1957 granting
Hodges' motion to continue the conjugal partnership business of buying and selling real estate even
after her death. By the same token, Hodges could not conceivably be deemed to have had any
authority or right to dispose gratuitously of any portion of her estate to whose succession she had
called her brothers and sisters upon his death.
9. Such institutions of heirs with a term are expressly recognized and permitted under Book III,
Chapter 2, section 4 of our Civil Code dealing with "conditional testamentary dispositions and
testamentary dispositions with a term."
41

Thus, Article 885 of our Civil Code expressly provides that:
ART 885. The designation of the day or time when the effects of the institution of an
heir shallcommence or cease shall be valid.
In both cases, the legal heir shall be considered as called to the succession until the
arrival of the period or its expiration. But in the first case he shall not enter into
possession of the property until after having given sufficient security, with the
intervention of the instituted heir.
Accordingly, under the terms of Mrs. Hodges' will, her husband's right to the succession as the
instituted heir ceasedin diem, i.e. upon the arrival of the resolutory term of his death on December
25, 1962, while her brothers' and sisters' right to the succession also as instituted heirs
commenced ex die, i.e. upon the expiration of the suspensive term (as far as they were concerned)
of the death of C. N. Hodges on December 25, 1962 .
42

As stated in Padilla's treatise on the Civil Code, "A term is a period whose arrival is certain although
the exact date thereof may be uncertain. A term may have either a suspensive or a resolutory effect.
The designation of the day when the legacy "shall commence" is ex die, or a term with a suspensive
effect, from a certain day. The designation of the day when the legacy "shall cease" is in diem or a
term with a resolutory effect, until a certain day." He adds that "A legacy based upon a certain age or
upon the death of a person is not a condition but a term. If the arrival of the term would commence
the right of the heir, it is suspensive. If the arrival of the term would terminate his right, it is
resolutory" and that "upon the arrival of the period, in case of a suspensive term, the instituted heir is
entitled to the succession, and in case of a resolutory term, his right terminates."
43

10. The sizable estates herein involved have now been pending settlement for a considerably
protracted period (of seventeen years counted from Linnie's death in 1957), and all that is left to be
done is to resolve the only remaining issue (involving the two questions of renunciation and renvoi)
hereinabove discussed in order to close up the estates and finally effect distribution to the deceased
spouses' respective brothers and sisters and their heirs as the heirs duly instituted in their wills long
admitted to probate. Hence, it is advisable for said instituted heirs and their heirs in turn
44
to come to
terms for the adjudication and distribution to them pro-indiviso of the up to now unliquidated community
properties of the estates of the Hodges spouses (derived from their unliquidated conjugal partnership)
rather than to get bogged down with the formidable task of physically segregating and partitioning the two
estates with the numerous transactions, items and details and physical changes of properties involved.
The estates proceedings would thus be closed and they could then name their respective attorneys-in-
fact to work out the details of segregating, dividing or partitioning theunliquidated community properties or
liquidating them which can be done then on their own without further need of intervention on the part of
the probate court as well as allow them meanwhile to enjoy and make use of the income and cash and
liquid assets of the estates in such manner as may be agreed upon between them.
Such a settlement or modus vivendi between the heirs of the unliquidated two estates for the mutual
benefit of all of them should not prove difficult, considering that it appears as stated in the main
opinion that 22.968149% of the share or undivided estate of C. N. Hodges have already been
acquired by the heirs of Linnie Jane Hodges from certain heirs of her husband, while certain other
heirs representing 17.34375% of Hodges' estate were joining cause with Linnie's heirs in their
pending and unresolved motion for the removal of petitioner PCIB as administrator of Hodges'
estate,
45
apparently impatient with the situation which has apparently degenerated into a running battle
between the administrators of the two estates to the common prejudice of all the heirs.
11. As earlier stated, the writer has taken the pain of suggesting these guidelines which may serve
to guide the probate court as well as the parties towards expediting the winding up and closing of the
estates and the distribution of the net estates to the instituted heirs and their successors duly entitled
thereto. The probate court should exert all effort towards this desired objective pursuant to the
mandate of our probate law, bearing in mind the Court's admonition in previous cases that "courts of
first instance should exert themselves to close up estate within twelve months from the time they are
presented, and they may refuse to allow any compensation to executors and administrators who do
not actively labor to that end, and they may even adopt harsher measures."
46

Timeliness of appeals and imposition of
thirty-one (31) additional docket fees
Two appeals were docketed with this Court, as per the two records on appeal submitted (one with a
green cover and the other with a yellow cover). As stated at the outset, these appeals involve
basically the same primal issue raised in the petition for certiorari as to whether there still exists a
separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges which has to continue to be administered by respondent
Magno. Considering the main opinion's ruling in the affirmative and that her estate and that of her
husband (since they jointly comprise unliquidated community properties) must be
administered conjointly by their respective administrators (PCIB and Magno), the said appeals
(involving thirty-three different orders of the probate court approving sales contracts and other acts
of administration executed and performed by respondent Magno on behalf of Linnie's estate) have
been necessarily overruled by the Court's decision at bar.
(a) The "priority question" raised by respondent Magno as to the patent failure of the two records on
appeal to show on their face and state the material data that the appeals were timely taken within
the 30-day reglamentary period as required by Rule 41, section 6 of the Rules of Court, has been
brushed aside by the main opinion with the statement that it is "not necessary to pass upon the
timeliness of any of said appeals" since they "revolve around practically the same main issues and ...
it is admitted that some of them have been timely taken."
47
The main opinion thus proceeded with the
determination of the thirty-three appealed orders despite the grave defect of the appellant PCIB's records
on appeal and their failure to state the required material data showing the timeliness of the appeals.
Such disposition of the question of timeliness deemed as "mandatory and jurisdictional" in a number
of cases merits the writer's concurrence in that the question raised has been subordinated to the
paramount considerations of substantial justice and a "liberal interpretation of the rules" applied so
as not to derogate and detract from the primary intent and purpose of the rules, viz "the proper and
just determination of a litigation"
48
which calls for "adherence to a liberal construction of the
procedural rules in order to attain their objective of substantial justice and of avoiding denials of
substantial justice due to procedural technicalities."
49

Thus, the main opinion in consonance with the same paramount considerations of substantial justice
has likewise overruled respondents' objection to petitioner's taking the recourse of "the present
remedy of certiorari and prohibition" "despite the conceded availability of appeal" on the
ground that "there is a common thread among the basic issues involved in all these thirty-three
appeals (which) deal with practically the same basic issues that can be more expeditiously
resolved or determined in a single special civil action . . . "
50

(b) Since the basic issues have been in effect resolved in the special civil action at bar (as above
stated) with the dismissal of the petition by virtue of the Court's judgment as to the continued
existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges and the affirmance as a necessary
consequence of the appealed orders approving and sanctioning respondent Magno's sales contracts
and acts of administration, some doubt would arise as to the propriety of the main opinion requiring
the payment by PCIB of thirty-one (31) additional appeal docket fees. This doubt is further enhanced
by the question of whether it would make the cost of appeal unduly expensive or prohibitive by
requiring the payment of a separate appeal docket fee for each incidental order questioned when the
resolution of all such incidental questioned orders involve basically one and the same main issue (in
this case, the existence of a separate estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and can be more expeditiously
resolved or determined in asingle special civil action" (for which a single docket fee is required) as
stated in the main opinion.
51
Considering the importance of the basic issues and the magnitude of the
estates involved, however, the writer has pro hac vice given his concurrence to the assessment of the
said thirty-one (31) additional appeal docket fees.
MAKALINTAL, C.J ., concurring:
I concur in the separate opinion of Justice Teehankee, which in turn agrees with the dispositive
portion of the main opinion of Justice Barredo insofar as it dismisses the petition for certiorari and
prohibition in Cases L-27860 and L-27896 and affirms the appealed orders of the probate court in
cases L-27936-37.
However, I wish to make one brief observation for the sake of accuracy. Regardless of whether or
not C. N. Hodges was entitled to a legitime in his deceased wife's estate which question, still to be
decided by the said probate court, may depend upon what is the law of Texas and upon its
applicability in the present case the said estate consists of one-half, not one-fourth, of the
conjugal properties. There is neither a minimum of one-fourth nor a maximum beyond that. It is
important to bear this in mind because the estate of Linnie Hodges consists of her share in the
conjugal properties, is still under administration and until now has not been distributed by order of
the court.
The reference in both the main and separate opinions to a one-fourth portion of the conjugal
properties as Linnie Hodges' minimum share is a misnomer and is evidently meant only to indicate
that if her husband should eventually be declared entitled to a legitime, then the disposition made by
Linnie Hodges in favor of her collateral relatives would be valid only as to one-half of her share, or
one-fourth of the conjugal properties, since the remainder, which constitutes such legitime, would
necessarily go to her husband in absolute ownership, unburdened by any substitution, term or
condition, resolutory or otherwise. And until the estate is finally settled and adjudicated to the heirs
who may be found entitled to it, the administration must continue to cover Linnie's entire conjugal
share.
Footnotes
1 Actually, the affidavit reads as follows:
"I, C. N. Hodges, being duly sworn, on oath affirm that at the time the United States
Estate Tax Return was filed in the Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges on August 8, 1958, I
renounced and disclaimed any and all right to receive the rents, emoluments and
income from said estate, as shown by the statement contained in schedule M at
page 29 of said return, a copy of which schedule is attached to this affidavit and
made a part hereof.
"The purpose of this affidavit is to ratify and confirm, and I do hereby ratify and
confirm, the declaration made in schedule M of said return and hereby formally
disclaim and renounce any right on my part to receive any of the said rents,
emoluments and income from the estate of my deceased wife, Linnie Jane Hodges.
This affidavit is made to absolve me or my estate from any liability for the payment of
income taxes on income which has accrued to the estate of Linnie Jane Hodges
since the death of the said Linnie Jane Hodges on May 23, 1957." ( annex 5, Answer
of respondent Avelina Magno, p. 264, L-27860 Rollo.)
2 The will of Hodges executed on November 14, 1953 contained mutually similar
dispositions as those of his wife as follows:
xxx xxx xxx
"FIRST: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be first paid out of my
estate.
SECOND: I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my
estate, both personal and real, wherever situated, or located, to my beloved wife,
Linnie Jane Hodges, to have and to hold unto her, my said wife, during her natural
lifetime.
THIRD: I desire, direct and provide that my wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, shall have the
right to manage, control, use and enjoy said estate during her lifetime, and she is
hereby given the right to make any changes in the physical properties of said estate,
by sale or any part thereof which she may think best; to execute conveyances with or
without general or special warranty, conveying in fee simple or for any other term or
time, any property which she may deem proper to dispose of; to lease any of the real
property for oil, gas and/or other minerals, and all such deeds or leases shall pass
the absolute fee simple title to the interest so conveyed in such property as she may
elect to sell. All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to her,
and she is further authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as she
may need or desire. It is provided herein, however, that she shall not sell or
otherwise dispose of any of the improved property now owned by us located at, in or
near the City of Lubbock, Texas, but she shall have the full right to lease, manage
and enjoy the same during her lifetime, as above provided. She shall have the right
to subdivide any farm land and sell lots therein, and may sell unimproved town lots.
xxx xxx xxx
FIFTH: At the death of my beloved wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath to the heirs of my half brother, Robert Hodges, who is now deceased, a
half brother's share of my estate.
SIXTH: At the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath to the heirs of my deceased full sister, Mattie Hodges Simpkins, a full
sister's share of my estate.
SEVENTH: At the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath to the heirs of my deceased half sister, Barbara O'dell, a half sister's share
of my estate.
EIGHT: At the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath to the heirs of my full brother, Joe Hodges, deceased, a full brother's share
of my estate. .
NINTH: At the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath to the heirs of my half brother, Willie Carver, deceased, a half brother's
share of my estate.
TENTH: At the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, I give, devise and
bequeath all of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal,
wherever situated or located, to be equally divided among my other full brothers and
full sisters, share and share alike, namely: J. A. Hodges, B. F. Hodges, Laura
Holland and Addie Elliot.
ELEVENTH: In case of the death of any of my full brothers and/or full sisters named
in Item Tenth above, prior to the death of my wife, Linnie Jane Hodges, then it is my
will and bequest that the heirs of such deceased full brother or full sister shall take
jointly the share which would have gone to such full brother or full sister had he or
she survived.
xxx xxx xxx
All erasures and interlineations made before signing."
3 None of the two records on appeal contains any copy of the motion and the
opposition upon which the court acted.
4 More specific factual details related to these appeals will be stated later in the
course of the distribution of the assignments of error.
5 It should be noted that in his affidavit, Hodges ratified and confirmed the
"declaration made in Schedule M (of the inheritance tax return he filed in the U.S.)"
wherein he declared that no property interests passed to him as the surviving
spouse, except for purposes of administration and distribution to the devisees and
legatees named in the will of his wife, and further disclaimed and renounced any right
on his part to receive rents, emoluments and income therefrom because he wanted
to be "absolved ... from liability for the payment of income taxes on income that has
accrued to the estate of" his wife. While We cannot make any definite ruling on the
point now, We might at least express the impression that reading all these
statements together, one can hardly escape the conclusion that in the literal sense
the idea conveyed by them is that Hodges waived not only his rights to the fruits but
to the properties themselves.
6 With the exception of the limitations referring to the Texas properties.
7 "Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country
where it is situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found." (Article 16, Civil
Code.)
7* The question of what is the law of a foreign country is one of fact subject to proof
like any other factual issue. (Sy Joc Lien vs. Sy Quia, 16 Phil. 137; Ching Huat vs.
Co Heong 77 Phil. 988.)
8 PCIB claims that pursuant to the laws of Texas, Mrs. Hodges' estate is only one-
fourth of the conjugal estate, while, on the other hand, Magno contends that under
said laws, it is one-half of said estate since there is no legitime for the surviving
spouse provided in said laws.
9 The motion for contempt will be separately taken up in due time.
10 The issues We have expressly reserved for later resolution. (See pp. 111-114 of
this opinion.)
11 If it should be found by the court later that Hodges did renounce his inheritance
from Mrs. Hodges, as seems to be indicated in the documents mentioned in the
opinion, Schedule M of the Inheritance Tax Return filed by Hodges in the United
States, Annex 4 of the Answer in G. R. Nos. L- 27860 & L-27896, and the affidavit of
Hodges, Annex 5 also of the same answer, it is likely that Hodges did not have to
pay any inheritance tax, and it would only be after these proceedings are finally
terminated with a judgment favorable to the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges that
taxes could be assessed against them according to their respective individual
shares.
11* See page 114-I ante.
12 See page 89-A of this decision.
TEEHANKEE J., CONCURRING:
1 This writ enjoined respondent court from acting in Sp. Proc. No. 1307 (Testate
Estate of Linnie Jane Hodges) and respondent-appellee Avelina A. Magno from
interfering and intervening therein, pendingdetermination of the main issue raised by
petitioner-appellant PCIB as to whether or not Mrs. Hodges' estate continued to exist
as such so as to require the services of said Avelina A. Magno as administratrix
thereof in view of PCIB's contention that her (Mrs. Hodges') entire estate had been
adjudicated in 1957 by the probate court to her surviving husband C. N. Hodges as
"the only devisee or legatee" under her will, which contention
has now been rejected in the Court's decision at bar.
2 This resolution was based on "the inherent fairness of allowing the administratrix of
the estate of Mrs. Hodges [Avelina A. Magno] to jointly administer the properties,
rights and interests comprising both estates [Linnie Jane Hodges' and that of her
husband C. N. Hodges] until they are separated from each other" in order to give
adequate protection to the rights and interests of their respective brothers and sisters
as their designated heirs rather than "if the whole [both] proceedings were to be
under the administration of the estate of Mr. Hodges [PCIB] to the exclusion of any
representative of the heirs of Mrs. Hodges."
3 See page 5 et seq of main opinion.
4 See page 91 et seq of main opinion.
5 See page 100 of main opinion.
6 "Sec. 2. Judicial Admissions. Admissions made by the parties in the pleadings,
or in the course of the trial or other proceedings do not require proof and can not be
contradicted unless previously shown to have been made through palpable mistake."
(Rule 129). See also 5 Moran's 1970 Ed. 65 and cases cited.
7 See p. 114-1 et seq. of main opinion.
8 At pp., 136-137 of main opinion; paragraphing and emphasis supplied.
9 At page 121 of main opinion.
10 At pages 110-11 of main opinion.
11 See In re: Testate Estate of Edward E. Christiansen, deceased, Aznar vs. Garcia,
7 SCRA 95, 103, 107 (1963).
12 At p. 112, main opinion. See also p. 103, where the main opinion refers to still
other documentsevidencing Hodges' renunciation and observes that "we cannot
close our eyes to their existence in the record." (emphasis supplied).
13 At p. 113, main opinion.
14 At p. 114-I, main opinion, emphasis supplied.
15 At page 112, main opinion.
16 At page 109, main opinion; emphasis supplied.
17 "SEC 2. Where estate settled upon dissolution of marriage. When the marriage
is dissolved by the death of the husband or wife, the community property shall be
inventoried, administered, and liquidated, and the debts thereof paid, in the testate or
intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse. If both spouses have died, the
conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate proceedings of
either." (Rule 73) 18 At pp. 129-130, main opinion.
19 At page 103, main opinion, fn. 5.
20 Pamittan vs. Lasam, 60 Phil. 908 (1934), where the Court stressed the "high
degree of trust" reposed in the surviving husband as "owner of a half interest in his
own right of the conjugal estate which he was charged to administer" and that the
conjugal property which thus comes into his possession upon his wife's death
"remains conjugal property, a continuing and subsisting trust" for as long as it
remains unliquidated.
21 Order of August 6, 1965, p. 248 Green Record on Appeal; see p. 30, main
opinion.
22 Appealed order of November 23, 1965 against Western Institute of Technology,
Inc. as purchaser-appellee, pp. 334-335, Green Rec. on App. see pp. 33-34, main
opinion.
23 At p. 137, main opinion.
24 At pp. 108-109, main opinion.
25 At p. 114, main opinion, which notes that "the question of what are the laws of
Texas governing the matter here in issue is . . . one of fact, not of law."
26 See p. 102 et seq. main opinion; Annexes 4 and 5 Answer, pp. 163-264 of Rollo.
27 Annex 4, Answer, p. 263 of Rollo; emphasis supplied. 28 Annex 5, Answer, see p.
103, main opinion; emphasis supplied. 29 See pp. 114 et seq. main opinion.
30 "ART. 857. Substitution is the appointment of another heir so that he may enter
into the inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted." (Civil Code)
"ART. 859. The testator may designate one or more persons to substitute the heir or
heirs instituted in case such heir or heirs should die before him, or should not wish,
or should be incapacitated to accept the inheritance.
"A simple substitution, without a statement of the cases to which it refers, shall
comprise the three mentioned in the preceding paragraph, unless the testator has
otherwise provided." (Civil Code, emphasis supplied)
31 6 Manresa 116, cited in III Padilla's Civil Code 1973 Ed., p. 241.
32 At pp. 110-112, main opinion; emphasis supplied.
33 At p. 134, main opinion.
34 At page 110, main opinion.
35 Text reproduced in fn. 30 hereof.
36 C.N. Hodges' own will contained identical provisions in favor of his wife, Linnie
Jane Hodges to "manage, control, use and enjoy (his)estate during her lifetime" and
making specific bequests of his whole estate to his full and half-brothers and sisters
in clauses Fifth to Tenth thereof all "at the death of my said wife, Linnie Jane
Hodges. "At p. 18 et seq. main opinion.
37 Second of seven clauses of will, emphasis supplied.
38 Third clause of will, idem.
39 Fourth clause of will, idem.
40 Fifth clause of will, idem.
41 Art. 871, Civil Code provides that "(T)he institution of an heir may he made
conditionally, or for a certain purpose or cause."
42 An analogous case is found in Crisologo vs. Singson, 4 SCRA 491 (1962) where
the testatrix provided that the property willed by her to a grandniece was to pass to
her brothers "to be effective or to take place upon the death of the (grandniece)"
whether this happens before or after the testatrix's own death.
43 Padilla's Civil Code, 1973 Ed. p. 284. The main opinion at pp. 110-111 also
concedes the suspensive and resolutory effects of Mrs. Hodges' institution of heirs.
44 Linnie Jane Hodges' brothers and sisters at her death on May 23, 1957 had ages
ranging from 62 to 74 yrs. (except for Nimroy Higdon who was then 50 yrs. old) and
most likely have all passed away or are already too old to enjoy their inheritance.
Green Rec. on Appeal, p. 2.
45 At page 89-a, main opinion.
46 Medina et al. vs. C. A., L-34760, September 28, 1973, citing Lizarraga Hnos. vs.
Abada, 40 Phil. 124 and other cases.
47 At p. 90, main opinion.
48 Ronquillo vs. Marasigan, 5 SCRA 304, cited in Berkenkotter vs. C.A., L-36629,
September 28, 1973, per Esguerra, J.
49 See the writer's concurring op. in Sison vs. Gatchalian, L-34709, June 15, 1973
and dissenting op. in Velasco vs. C.A., L-31018, June 29, 1973.
50 At pp. 90-91, main opinion.
51 At p. 91, main opinion.

56 scra 266
Nationality Principle
Linnie Jane Hodges, a married woman and a citizen of Texas, USA, was a domiciliary of the
Philippines at the moment of her death. With respect to the validity of certain testamentary
provisions she had made in favor of her husband, a question arose as to what exactly were the laws
of Texas on the matter at the precise moment of her death (for while one group contended that the
Texan law should result to renvoi, the other group contended that no renvoi was possible).
ISSUE: Whether or not Texas Law should apply.
HELD: The Supreme Court held that for what the Texas law is on the matter, is a question of fact to
be resolved by the evidence that would be presented in the probate court. Texas law at the time of
her death (and not said law at any other time). NOTE: Dynamics of law.

G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985
ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. MANUEL V. ROMILLO, JR., as Presiding Judge of Branch CX, Regional Trial Court of
the National Capital Region Pasay City and RICHARD UPTON respondents.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J .:\
In this Petition for certiorari and Prohibition, petitioner Alice Reyes Van Dorn seeks to set aside the
Orders, dated September 15, 1983 and August 3, 1984, in Civil Case No. 1075-P, issued by
respondent Judge, which denied her Motion to Dismiss said case, and her Motion for
Reconsideration of the Dismissal Order, respectively.
The basic background facts are that petitioner is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent
is a citizen of the United States; that they were married in Hongkong in 1972; that, after the
marriage, they established their residence in the Philippines; that they begot two children born on
April 4, 1973 and December 18, 1975, respectively; that the parties were divorced in Nevada, United
States, in 1982; and that petitioner has re-married also in Nevada, this time to Theodore Van Dorn.
Dated June 8, 1983, private respondent filed suit against petitioner in Civil Case No. 1075-P of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch CXV, in Pasay City, stating that petitioner's business in Ermita, Manila,
(the Galleon Shop, for short), is conjugal property of the parties, and asking that petitioner be
ordered to render an accounting of that business, and that private respondent be declared with right
to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause
of action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada Court
wherein respondent had acknowledged that he and petitioner had "no community property" as of
June 11, 1982. The Court below denied the Motion to Dismiss in the mentioned case on the ground
that the property involved is located in the Philippines so that the Divorce Decree has no bearing in
the case. The denial is now the subject of this certiorari proceeding.
Generally, the denial of a Motion to Dismiss in a civil case is interlocutory and is not subject to
appeal. certiorari and Prohibition are neither the remedies to question the propriety of an
interlocutory order of the trial Court. However, when a grave abuse of discretion was patently
committed, or the lower Court acted capriciously and whimsically, then it devolves upon this Court in
a certiorari proceeding to exercise its supervisory authority and to correct the error committed which,
in such a case, is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
1
Prohibition would then lie since it would be useless
and a waste of time to go ahead with the proceedings.
2
Weconsider the petition filed in this case within
the exception, and we have given it due course.
For resolution is the effect of the foreign divorce on the parties and their alleged conjugal property in
the Philippines.
Petitioner contends that respondent is estopped from laying claim on the alleged conjugal property
because of the representation he made in the divorce proceedings before the American Court that
they had no community of property; that the Galleon Shop was not established through conjugal
funds, and that respondent's claim is barred by prior judgment.
For his part, respondent avers that the Divorce Decree issued by the Nevada Court cannot prevail
over the prohibitive laws of the Philippines and its declared national policy; that the acts and
declaration of a foreign Court cannot, especially if the same is contrary to public policy, divest
Philippine Courts of jurisdiction to entertain matters within its jurisdiction.
For the resolution of this case, it is not necessary to determine whether the property relations
between petitioner and private respondent, after their marriage, were upon absolute or relative
community property, upon complete separation of property, or upon any other regime. The pivotal
fact in this case is the Nevada divorce of the parties.
The Nevada District Court, which decreed the divorce, had obtained jurisdiction over petitioner who
appeared in person before the Court during the trial of the case. It also obtained jurisdiction over
private respondent who, giving his address as No. 381 Bush Street, San Francisco, California,
authorized his attorneys in the divorce case, Karp & Gradt Ltd., to agree to the divorce on the ground
of incompatibility in the understanding that there were neither community property nor community
obligations.
3
As explicitly stated in the Power of Attorney he executed in favor of the law firm of KARP &
GRAD LTD., 336 W. Liberty, Reno, Nevada, to represent him in the divorce proceedings:
xxx xxx xxx
You are hereby authorized to accept service of Summons, to file an Answer, appear
on my behalf and do an things necessary and proper to represent me, without further
contesting, subject to the following:
1. That my spouse seeks a divorce on the ground of incompatibility.
2. That there is no community of property to be adjudicated by the Court.
3. 'I'hat there are no community obligations to be adjudicated by the court.
xxx xxx xxx
4

There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce in any of the States of the United
States. The decree is binding on private respondent as an American citizen. For instance, private
respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, in any State of the Union. What he is contending
in this case is that the divorce is not valid and binding in this jurisdiction, the same being contrary to
local law and public policy.
It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code,
5
only
Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces the same being considered
contrary to our concept of public police and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which
may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law.
6
In this
case, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards of
American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage. As stated by the Federal Supreme Court of
the United States in Atherton vs. Atherton, 45 L. Ed. 794, 799:
The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of matrimony by a court
of competent jurisdiction are to change the existing status or domestic relation of
husband and wife, and to free them both from the bond. The marriage tie when thus
severed as to one party, ceases to bind either. A husband without a wife, or a wife
without a husband, is unknown to the law. When the law provides, in the nature of a
penalty. that the guilty party shall not marry again, that party, as well as the other, is
still absolutely freed from the bond of the former marriage.
Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. He
would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner's husband entitled to exercise control
over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the Decision of his own country's Court, which validly
exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose decision he does not repudiate, he is estopped by his
own representation before said Court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.
To maintain, as private respondent does, that, under our laws, petitioner has to be considered still
married to private respondent and still subject to a wife's obligations under Article 109, et. seq. of the
Civil Code cannot be just. Petitioner should not be obliged to live together with, observe respect and
fidelity, and render support to private respondent. The latter should not continue to be one of her
heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. She should not be discriminated against in her own
country if the ends of justice are to be served.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is granted, and respondent Judge is hereby ordered to dismiss the
Complaint filed in Civil Case No. 1075-P of his Court.
Without costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la Fuente and Patajo, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Sanchez vs. Zosa, 68 SCRA 171 (1975); Malit vs. People, 114 SCRA 348 (1982).
2 U.S.T. vs. Hon. Villanueva, et al., 106 Phil. 439 (1959).
3 Annex "Y", Petition for Certiorari.
4 p. 98, Rollo.
5 "Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though
living abroad.
6 cf. Recto vs. Harden, 100 Phil. 427 [1956]; Paras, Civil Code, 1971 ed., Vol. I, p.
52; Salonga, Private International Law, 1979 ed., p. 231."

139 scra 139
Nationality Principle Divorce
Petitioner Alice Reyes is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent is a citizen of the
United States; they were married in Hongkong. Thereafter, they established their residence in the
Philippines and begot two children. Subsequently, they were divorced in Nevada, United States, and
that petitioner has re-married also in Nevada, this time to Theodore Van Dorn.
Private respondent filed suit against petitioner, stating that petitioners business in Manila is their
conjugal property; that petitioner he ordered to render accounting of the business and that private
respondent be declared to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case
contending that the cause of action is barred by the judgment in the divorce proceedings before the
Nevada Court. The denial now is the subject of the certiorari proceeding.
ISSUE: Whether or not the divorce obtained by the parties is binding only to the alien spouse.
HELD: Is it true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only
Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces the same being considered
contrary to our concept of public policy and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad,
which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law.
In this case, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the
standards of American Law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.
Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband petitioner. He would
have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioners husband entitled to exercise control over
conjugal assets. As he is bound by the decision of his own countrys court, which validly exercised
jurisdiction over him, and whose decision he does not repudiate, he is stopped by his own
representation before said court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.


G.R. No. 124862 December 22, 1998
FE D. QUITA, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and BLANDINA DANDAN, * respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J .:
FE D. QUITA and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines on 18 May 1941.
They were not however blessed with children. Somewhere along the way their relationship soured.
Eventually Fe sued Arturo for divorce in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. She submitted in the
divorce proceedings a private writing dated 19 July 1950 evidencing their agreement to live
separately from each other and a settlement of their conjugal properties. On 23 July 1954 she
obtained a final judgment of divorce. Three (3) weeks thereafter she married a certain Felix Tupaz in
the same locality but their relationship also ended in a divorce. Still in the U.S.A., she married for the
third time, to a certain Wernimont.
On 16 April 1972 Arturo died. He left no will. On 31 August 1972 Lino Javier Inciong filed a petition
with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for issuance of letters of administration concerning the
estate of Arturo in favor of the Philippine Trust Company. Respondent Blandina Dandan (also
referred to as Blandina Padlan), claiming to be the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan, and Claro,
Alexis, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda, all surnamed Padlan, named in the children of
Arturo Padlan opposed the petition and prayed for the appointment instead of Atty. Leonardo
Casaba, which was resolved in favor of the latter. Upon motion of the oppositors themselves, Atty.
Cabasal was later replaced by Higino Castillon. On 30 April 1973 the oppositors (Blandina and
Padlan children) submitted certified photocopies of the 19 July 1950 private writing and the final
judgment of divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Later Ruperto T. Padlan, claiming to be the sole
surviving brother of the deceased Arturo, intervened.
On 7 October 1987 petitioner moved for the immediate declaration of heirs of the decedent and the
distribution of his estate. At the scheduled hearing on 23 October 1987, private respondent as well
as the six (6) Padlan children and Ruperto failed to appear despite due notice. On the same day, the
trial court required the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days
from receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the issue on the declaration of heirs
would be considered submitted for resolution. The prescribed period lapsed without the required
documents being submitted.
The trial court invoking Tenchavez v. Escao
1
which held that "a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens sought
and decreed after the effectivity of the present Civil Code (Rep. Act 386) was not entitled to recognition as valid in this
jurisdiction,"
2
disregarded the divorce between petitioner and Arturo. Consecuently, it expressed the view
that their marriage subsisted until the death of Arturo in 1972. Neither did it consider valid their
extrajudicial settlement of conjugal properties due to lack of judicial approval.
3
On the other hand, it
opined that there was no showing that marriage existed between private respondent and Arturo, much
less was it shown that the alleged Padlan children had been acknowledged by the deceased as his
children with her. As regards Ruperto, it found that he was a brother of Arturo. On 27 November
1987
4
only petitioner and Ruperto were declared the intestate heirs of Arturo. Accordingly, equal
adjudication of the net hereditary estate was ordered in favor of the two intestate heirs.
5

On motion for reconsideration, Blandina and the Padlan children were allowed to present proofs that
the recognition of the children by the deceased as his legitimate children, except Alexis who was
recognized as his illegitimate child, had been made in their respective records of birth. Thus on 15
February 1988
6
partial reconsideration was granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of
Alexis, entitled to one-half of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and petitioner to the other
half.
7
Private respondent was not declared an heir. Although it was stated in the aforementioned records
of birth that she and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947, their marriage was clearly void since it was
celebrated during the existence of his previous marriage to petitioner.
In their appeal to the Court of Appeals, Blandina and her children assigned as one of the errors
allegedly committed by the trial court the circumstance that the case was decided without a hearing,
in violation of Sec. 1, Rule 90, of the Rules of Court, which provides that if there is a controversy
before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive
shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as
in ordinary cases.
Respondent appellate court found this ground alone sufficient to sustain the appeal; hence, on 11
September 1995 it declared null and void the 27 November 1987 decision and 15 February 1988
order of the trial court, and directed the remand of the case to the trial court for further
proceedings.
8
On 18 April 1996 it denied reconsideration.
9

Should this case be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings? Petitioner insists that there
is no need because, first, no legal or factual issue obtains for resolution either as to the heirship of
the Padlan children or as to the decedent; and, second, the issue as to who between petitioner and
private respondent is the proper hier of the decedent is one of law which can be resolved in the
present petition based on establish facts and admissions of the parties.
We cannot sustain petitioner. The provision relied upon by respondent court is clear: If there is
a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the
distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and
decided as in ordinary cases.
We agree with petitioner that no dispute exists either as to the right of the six (6) Padlan children to
inherit from the decedent because there are proofs that they have been duly acknowledged by him
and petitioner herself even recognizes them as heirs of Arturo Padlan;
10
nor as to their respective
hereditary shares. But controversy remains as to who is the legitimate surviving spouse of Arturo. The
trial court, after the parties other than petitioner failed to appear during the scheduled hearing on 23
October 1987 of the motion for immediate declaration of heirs and distribution of estate, simply issued an
order requiring the submission of the records of birth of the Padlan children within ten (10) days from
receipt thereof, after which, with or without the documents, the issue on declaration of heirs would be
deemed submitted for resolution.
We note that in her comment to petitioner's motion private respondent raised, among others, the
issue as to whether petitioner was still entitled to inherit from the decedent considering that she had
secured a divorce in the U.S.A. and in fact had twice remarried. She also invoked the above quoted
procedural rule.
11
To this, petitioner replied that Arturo was a Filipino and as such remained legally
married to her in spite of the divorce they obtained.
12
Reading between the lines, the implication is that
petitioner was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of her divorce from Arturo. This should have
prompted the trial court to conduct a hearing to establish her citizenship. The purpose of a hearing is to
ascertain the truth of the matters in issue with the aid of documentary and testimonial evidence as well as
the arguments of the parties either supporting or opposing the evidence. Instead, the lower court
perfunctorily settled her claim in her favor by merely applying the ruling in Tenchavez v. Escao.
Then in private respondent's motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower court's decision she
stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the ruling in Van Dorn v. Romillo
Jr.
13
that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they
are valid according to their national law. She prayed therefore that the case be set for
hearing.
14
Petitioner opposed the motion but failed to squarely address the issue on her
citizenship.
15
The trial court did not grant private respondent's prayer for a hearing but proceeded to
resolve her motion with the finding that both petitioner and Arturo were "Filipino citizens and were married
in the Philippines."
16
It maintained that their divorce obtained in 1954 in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.,
was not valid in Philippine jurisdiction. We deduce that the finding on their citizenship pertained solely to
the time of their marriage as the trial court was not supplied with a basis to determine petitioner's
citizenship at the time of their divorce. The doubt persisted as to whether she was still a Filipino citizen
when their divorce was decreed. The trial court must have overlooked the materiality of this aspect. Once
proved that she was no longer a Filipino citizen at the time of their divorce, Van Dorn would become
applicable and petitioner could very well lose her right to inherit from Arturo.
Respondent again raised in her appeal the issue on petitioner's citizenship;
17
it did not merit
enlightenment however from petitioner.
18
In the present proceeding, petitioner's citizenship is brought
anew to the fore by private respondent. She even furnishes the Court with the transcript of stenographic
notes taken on 5 May 1995 during the hearing for the reconstitution of the original of a certain transfer
certificate title as well as the issuance of new owner's duplicate copy thereof before another trial court.
When asked whether she was an American citizen petitioner answered that she was since
1954.
19
Significantly, the decree of divorce of petitioner and Arturo was obtained in the same year.
Petitioner however did not bother to file a reply memorandum to erase the uncertainty about her
citizenship at the time of their divorce, a factual issue requiring hearings to be conducted by the trial court.
Consequently, respondent appellate court did not err in ordering the case returned to the trial court for
further proceedings.
We emphasize however that the question to be determined by the trial court should be limited only to
the right of petitioner to inherit from Arturo as his surviving spouse. Private respondent's claim to
heirship was already resolved by the trial court. She and Arturo were married on 22 April 1947 while
the prior marriage of petitioner and Arturo was subsisting thereby resulting in a bigamous marriage
considered void from the beginning under Arts. 80 and 83 of the Civil Code. Consequently, she is
not a surviving spouse that can inherit from him as this status presupposes a legitimate
relationship.
20

As regards the motion of private respondent for petitioner and a her counsel to be declared in
contempt of court and that the present petition be dismissed for forum shopping,
21
the same lacks
merit. For forum shopping to exist the actions must involve the same transactions and same essential
facts and circumstances. There must also be identical causes of action, subject matter and issue.
22
The
present petition deals with declaration of heirship while the subsequent petitions filed before the three (3)
trial courts concern the issuance of new owner's duplicate copies of titles of certain properties belonging
to the estate of Arturo. Obviously, there is no reason to declare the existence of forum shopping.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The decision of respondent Court of Appeals ordering the
remand of the case to the court of origin for further proceedings and declaring null and void its
decision holding petitioner Fe D. Quita and Ruperto T. Padlan as intestate heirs is AFFIRMED. The
order of the appellate court modifying its previous decision by granting one-half (1/2) of the net
hereditary estate to the Padlan children, namely, Claro, Ricardo, Emmanuel, Zenaida and Yolanda,
with the exception of Alexis, all surnamed Padlan, instead of Arturo's brother Ruperto Padlan, is
likewise AFFIRMED. The Court however emphasizes that the reception of evidence by the trial
court should he limited to the hereditary rights of petitioner as the surviving spouse of Arturo Padlan.
The motion to declare petitioner and her counsel in contempt of court and to dismiss the present
petition for forum shopping is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Mendoza and Martinez, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
* The name of private respondent Blandina Dandan appears as Blandina Padlan in
the proceedings before the lower courts.
1 No. L-19671, 29 November 1965, 15 SCRA 355.
2 Id., p. 367.
3 Then Art. 190 of the Civil Code provided that in the absence of an express
declaration in the marriage settlement, the separation of property between spouses
during the marriage shall not take place save in virtue of a judicial order. Quite in
relation thereto, then Art. 191, par. 4 of the same Code provided that the husband
and the wife may agree upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership during the
marriage, subject to judicial approval.
4 Decision penned by Judge Tomas V. Tadeo Jr. of RTC- Br. 105, Quezon City;
Appendix "A" of Brief for the Oppositors-Appellants; CA Rollo, p. 15.
5 Art. 1001 of the Civil Code provides that should brothers and sisters or their
children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of
the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half.
6 Appendix "B" of Brief for the Oppositors-Appellants; See Note 4.
7 Art. 998 of the Civil Code provides that if a widow or widower survives with
illegitimate children, such as widow or widower shall be entitled to one-half of the
inheritance, and the illegitimate children or their descendent, whether legitimate or
illegitimate, to the other half.
8 Decision penned by Justice Pacita Caazares-Nye with the concurrence of
Justices Romeo J. Callejo Jr. and Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis; Rollo, p. 39.
9 Id., p. 42.
10 Id., p. 180.
11 Rollo, p. 196.
12 CA Rollo, p. 29.
13 G.R. No. 68470, 8 October 1985, 139 SCRA 139.
14 CA Rollo, p. 30.
15 Record on Appeal, pp. 24-26.
16 Rollo, p. 206.
17 Brief of Oppositors-Appellant, p. 13; CA Rollo, p. 15.
18 Brief of Appellee: Id., p. 17.
19 Rollo, pp. 225-226.
20 Arturo M. Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code of the
Philippines, 1979 Ed., Vol. III, p. 264.
21 Rollo, pp. 129-132.
22 Professional Regulation Commission v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117817, 9
July 1998.

Quita vs Court of Appeals December 22, 1998 Fact of the Case: Fe D. Quita, the petitioner, and Arturo T.
Padlan, both Filipinos, were married in the Philippines on May 18, 1941. They got divorce in San
Francisco on July 23, 1954. Both of them remarried another person. Arturo remarried Bladina Dandan,
the respondent herewith. They were blessed with six children. On April 16, 1972, when Arturo died, the
trial court was set to declared as to who will be the intestate heirs. The trial court invoking Tenchavez vs
Escano case held that the divorce acquired by the petitioner is not recognized in our country. Private
respondent stressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the ruling in Van Dorn
v. Rommillo Jr that aliens who obtain divorce abroad are recognized in the Philippnes provided they are
valid according to their national law. The petitioner herself answered that she was an American citizen
since 1954. Through the hearing she also stated that Arturo was a Filipino at the time she obtained the
divorce. Implying the she was no longer a Filipino citizen. The Trial court disregarded the respondents
statement. The net hereditary estate was ordered in favor the Fe D. Quita and Ruperto, the brother of
Arturo. Blandina and the Padlan children moved for reconsideration. On February 15, 1988 partial
reconsideration was granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of Alexis, entitled to one-
half of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and the other half to Fe Quita. Private respondent
was not declared an heir for her marriage to Arturo was declared void since it was celebrated during the
existence of his previous marriage to petitioner. Blandina and her children appeal to the Court of
Appeals thatthe case was decided without a hearing in violation of the Rules of Court. Issue: (1) Whether
or not Blandinas marriage to Arturo void ab initio. (2) Whether or not Fe D. Quita be declared the
primary beneficiary as surviving spouse of Arturo. Held: No. The marriage of Blandina and Arturo is not
void. The citizenship of Fe D. Quita at the time of their divorce is relevant to this case. The divorce is
valid here since she was already an alien at the time she obtained divorce, and such is valid in their
countrys national law. Thus, Fe D. Quita is no longer recognized as a wife of Arturo. She cannot be the
primary beneficiary or will be recognized as surviving spouse of Arturo.

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