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150797

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

THIRDDIVISION

G.R.No.114217October13,2009

HEIRSOFJOSESYBANG,HEIRSOFJULIANSYandOSCARSY,1Petitioners,
vs.
ROLANDOSY,ROSALINOSY,LUCIOSY,ENRIQUESY,ROSAUROSY,BARTOLOMESY,FLORECITASY,
LOURDESSY,JULIETASY,andROSITAFERRERASY,Respondents.

xx

G.R.No.150797

ILUMINADATAN,SPOUSESJULIANSYANDROSATAN,ZENAIDATAN,andMA.EMMASY,Petitioners,
vs.
BARTOLOMESY,ROSALINOSY,FLORECITASY,ROLANDOSY,LOURDESSY,ROSAUROSY,JULIETASY,
andROSITAFERRERASY,Respondents.

DECISION

NACHURA,J.:

BeforethisCourtaretwoPetitionsforReviewonCertiorariunderRule45oftheRulesofCourt.ThefirstPetition,
G.R.No.114217,assailstheDecision2datedMay6,1993andtheResolution3datedFebruary28,1994ofthe
Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG.R. SP No. 17686. On the other hand, the second Petition, G.R. No. 150797,
questions the Decision dated February 28, 2001 and the Resolution dated November 5, 2001 of the CA in CA
G.R.SPNo.46244.

Thefactualantecedentsareasfollows:

G.R.No.114217

On May 28, 1980, respondent Rolando Sy filed a Complaint for Partition against spouses Jose Sy Bang and
Iluminada Tan, spouses Julian Sy and Rosa Tan, Zenaida Sy, Ma. Emma Sy, Oscar Sy, Rosalino Sy, Lucio Sy,
Enrique Sy, Rosauro Sy, Bartolome Sy, Florecita Sy, Lourdes Sy, Julieta Sy, Rosita FerreraSy, and Renato Sy
beforethethenCourtofFirstInstanceofQuezon,Branch2,docketedasCivilCaseNo.8578.4

RespondentsRolandoSy,RosalinoSy,LucioSy,EnriqueSy,RosauroSy,BartolomeSy,JulietaSy,LourdesSy,
and Florecita Sy are the children of Sy Bang by his second marriage to respondent Rosita FerreraSy, while
petitionersJoseSyBang,JulianSyandOscarSyarethechildrenofSyBangfromhisfirstmarriagetoBaNga,
and petitioners Zenaida Tan and Ma. Emma Sy are the children of petitioner spouses Jose Sy Bang and
IluminadaTan.5

SyBangdiedintestatein1971,leavingbehindrealandpersonalproperties,includingseveralbusinesses.6

During an outofcourt conference between petitioners and respondents, it was agreed that the management,
supervisionoradministrationofthecommonpropertiesand/ortheentireestateofthedeceasedSyBangshallbe
placed temporarily in the hands of petitioner Jose Sy Bang, as trustee, with authority to delegate some of his
functionstoanyofpetitionersorprivaterespondents.Thus,thefunctionordutyofbookkeeperwasdelegatedby
Jose Sy Bang to his copetitioner Julian Sy, and the duty or function of management and operation of the
businessofcinemaofthecommonownershipwasdelegatedbypetitionerJoseSyBangtorespondentRosauro
Sy.7

Hereinpetitionersandrespondentsalsoagreedthattheincomeofthethreecinemahouses,namely,LongLife,
SBSandSyCoTheaters,shallexclusivelypertaintorespondentsfortheirsupportandsustenance,pendingthe
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terminationofCivilCaseNo.8578,forJudicialPartition,andtheincomefromthevastpartsoftheentireestate
and other businesses of their common father, to pertain exclusively to petitioners. Hence, since the year 1980,
privaterespondents,throughrespondentRosauroSy,hadtakenchargeoftheoperationandmanagementofthe
threecinemahouses,withtheincomederivedtherefromevenlydividedamongthemselvesfortheirsupportand
maintenance.8

On March 30, 1981, the Judge rendered a First Partial Decision based on the Compromise Agreement dated
November10,1980,submittedinCivilCaseNo.8578byplaintiffRolandoSyanddefendantsJoseSyBangand
JulianSy.OnApril2,1981,theJudgerenderedaSecondPartialDecisionbasedonthepretrialorderofthecourt,
dated March 25, 1981, entered into by and between respondent Renato Sy and petitioner spouses. Said First
PartialDecisionandSecondPartialDecisionhadlongbecomefinal,withoutanappealhavingbeeninterposedby
anyoftheparties.9

OnJune8,1982,theJudgerenderedaThirdPartialDecision,10thedispositiveportionofwhichreadsasfollows:

WHEREFORE,theCourtherebyrendersthisThirdPartialDecision:

(a)Declaringthatalltheproperties,businessesorassets,theirincome,produceandimprovements,aswell
as all the rights, interests or participations (sic) in the names of defendants Jose Sy Bang and his wife
IluminadaTanandtheirchildren,defendantsZenaidaandMa.EmmabothsurnamedSy,anddefendants
Julian Sy and his wife Rosa Tan, as belonging to the estate of Sy Bang, including the properties in the
names of said defendants which are enumerated in the Complaints in this case and all those properties,
rightsandinterestswhichsaiddefendantsmayhaveconcealedorfraudulentlytransferredinthenamesof
otherpersons,theiragentsorrepresentatives

(b)DeclaringthefollowingastheheirsofSyBang,namely:hissurvivingwidow,MariaRositaFerreraSy
andherchildren,Enrique,Bartolome,Rosalino,Rolando,Rosauro,MariaLourdes,FlorecitaandJulieta,all
surnamedSy,andhischildrenbyhisfirstwife,namely:JoseSyBang,JulianSy,LucioSy,OscarSyand
RenatoSy

(c)OrderingthepartitionoftheEstateofSyBangamonghisheirsentitledtheretoaftertheextentthereof
shallhavebeendeterminedattheconclusionoftheproperaccountingwhichthepartiesinthiscase,their
agents and representatives, shall render and after segregating and delivering to Maria Rosita FerreraSy
heronehalf(1/2)shareintheconjugalpartnershipbetweenherandherdeceasedhusbandSyBang

(d)Deferringresolutiononthequestionconcerningtheinclusionforpartitionofpropertiesinthenamesof
Rosalino,Bartolome,RolandoandEnrique,allsurnamedSy.

SOORDERED.

OnJune16,1982,petitionersfiledaMotiontoSuspendProceedingsandforInhibition,alleging,amongothers,
thattheJudgehadpatentlyshownpartialityinfavoroftheircodefendantsinthecase.Thismotionwasdeniedon
August16,1982.11

OnJuly4,1982,petitionersfiledaPetitionforProhibitionandforInhibition(Disqualification)andMandamuswith
Restraining Order with the Supreme Court docketed as G.R. No. 60957. The Petition for Prohibition and for
Inhibitionwasdenied,andthePetitionforMandamuswithRestrainingOrderwasNoted.12

On August 17, 1982, the Judge issued two Orders: (1) in the first Order,13 Mrs. Lucita L. Sarmiento was
appointedasReceiver,andpetitionersMotionforNewTrialand/orReconsideration,datedJuly9,1982andtheir
Supplemental Motion, dated July 12, 1982, were denied for lack of merit and (2) in the second Order,14 the
Judgeorderedtheimmediatecancellationofthelispendensannotatedatthebackofthecertificatesoftitleinthe
namesofBartolomeSy,RosalinoSyandRolandoSy.

On August 18, 1982, the trial court approved the bond posted by the receiver, Mrs. Lucita L. Sarmiento,
BartolomeSy,RolandoSyandRosalinoSy.15

While the Petition for Mandamus with Restraining Order was pending before the First Division of the Supreme
Court, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition before the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No.
61519. A Temporary Restraining Order was issued on August 31, 1982, to enjoin the Judge from taking any
actioninCivilCaseNo.8578and,likewise,restrainingtheeffectivityofandcompliancewiththeResolutiondated
August16,1982,thetwoOrdersdatedAugust17,1982,andtheOrderdatedAugust18,1982.

On September 2, 1982, petitioners withdrew their Petition for Mandamus with Restraining Order, docketed as
G.R.No.60957.

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OnSeptember11,1982,anUrgentManifestationandMotionwasfiledbyMrs.LucitaL.Sarmiento,theappointed
receiver,whichwasopposedbypetitionersonSeptember24,1982.16

After several incidents in the case, the Court, on May 8, 1989, referred the petition to the CA for proper
determinationanddisposition.

TheCArenderedtheassailedDecision17onMay6,1993,denyingduecoursetoanddismissingthepetitionfor
lackofmerit.ItheldthatJudgePunoactedcorrectlyinissuingtheassailedThirdPartialDecision.TheCAsaid
thattheactofJudgePunoinrenderingapartialdecisionwasinaccordwiththenRule36,Section4,oftheRules
of Court, which stated that in an action against several defendants, the court may, when a judgment is proper,
renderjudgmentagainstoneormoreofthem,leavingtheactiontoproceedagainsttheothers.Itfoundthatthe
judgesdecisiontodeferresolutiononthepropertiesinthenameofRosalino,Bartolome,Rolando,andEnrique
wouldnotaffecttheresolutiononthepropertiesinthenamesofJoseSyBang,Iluminada,Julian,Rosa,Zenaida,
andMa.Emma,sincethepropertieswereseparableanddistinctfromoneanothersuchthattheclaimthatthe
sameformedpartoftheSyBangestatecouldbethesubjectofseparatesuits.

The CA also upheld the judges appointment of a receiver, saying that the judge did so after both parties had
presentedtheirevidenceanduponverifiedpetitionfiledbyrespondents,andinordertopreservetheproperties
under litigation. Further, the CA found proper the order to cancel the notice of lis pendens annotated in the
certificatesoftitleinthenamesofRosalino,RolandoandBartolome.

TheMotionforReconsiderationwasdeniedonFebruary28,1994.18

OnApril22,1994,petitionersfiledthisPetitionforReviewonCertiorariunderRule43oftheRulesofCourt.

TheCourtdeniedthePetitionfornoncompliancewithCirculars188and1991forfailureofpetitionerstoattach
theregistryreceipt.Petitionersmovedforreconsideration,andthePetitionwasreinstatedonJuly13,1994.

In this Petition for Review, petitioners seek the reversal of the CA Decision and Resolution in CAG.R. SP No.
17686and,consequently,thenullificationoftheThirdPartialDecisionandordersofthetrialcourtinCivilCase
No.8578.TheyalsoprayfortheCourttodirectthetrialcourttoproceedwiththereceptionoffurtherevidencein
CivilCaseNo.8578.19Inparticular,petitionersallegethattheCAdecidedquestionsofsubstancenotinaccord
with law when it upheld the trial courts Third Partial Decision which, they alleged, was rendered in violation of
theirrightstodueprocess.

PetitionersnarratethatthetrialcourtinitiallygavethemtwotrialdaysMay26and27,1982topresenttheir
evidence. However, at the hearing on May 26, the judge forced them to terminate the presentation of their
evidence.OnJune2,1982,followingpetitionerssubmissionofadditionaldocumentaryevidence,thetrialcourt
scheduledthecaseforhearingonJune8and9,1982,at2oclockintheafternoon"inviewoftheimportanceof
the issue concerning whether all the properties in the names of Enrique Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rosalino Sy, and
RolandoSyand/ortheirrespectivewives(aswellasthoseinthenamesofotherpartylitigantsinthiscase)shall
bedeclaredorincludedaspartoftheEstateofSyBang,andinviewofthenumerousdocumentaryevidences
(sic)presentedbyAttys.RayaandCamaligan."AttheJune8hearing,petitionerspresentedadditionalevidence.
Unknown to them, however, the trial court had already rendered its Third Partial Decision at 11 oclock that
morning.Thus,petitionersarguethatsaidThirdPartialDecisionisvoid.20

TheyalsoquestionthetrialcourtsFirstOrderdatedAugust17,1982andOrderdatedAugust18,1982granting
the prayer for receivership and appointing a receiver, respectively, both allegedly issued without a hearing and
without showing the necessity to appoint a receiver. Lastly, they question the Second Order dated August 17,
1982cancelingthenoticeoflispendensexparteandwithoutanyshowingthatthenoticewasforthepurposeof
molestingtheadverseparties,orthatitwasnotnecessarytoprotecttherightsofthepartywhocausedittobe
recorded.21

On May 9, 1996, Rosita FerreraSy filed a Motion for Payment of Widows Allowance. She alleged that her
deceasedhusband,SyBang,leftanextensiveestate.Thepropertiesoftheestatewerefoundbythetrialcourtto
betheirconjugalproperties.FromthetimeofSyBangsdeathin1971untilthefilingofthemotion,Rositawasnot
givenanywidowsallowanceasprovidedinSection3,Rule83oftheRulesofCourtbythepartiesinpossession
andcontrolofherhusbandsestate,orhershareintheconjugalpartnership.22

IntheirCommentontheMotionforPaymentofWidowsAllowance,petitionersarguedthatSection3,Rule83of
theRulesofCourtspecificallyprovidesthatthesameisgrantedonly"duringthesettlementoftheestate"ofthe
decedent,andthisallowance,underArticle188oftheCivilCode(nowArticle133oftheFamilyCode),shallbe
takenfromthe"commonmassofproperty"duringtheliquidationoftheinventoriedproperties.23Consideringthat
thecasebeforethetrialcourtisaspecialcivilactionforpartitionunderRule69oftheRulesofCourt,Rositaisnot
entitledtowidowsallowance.

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OnSeptember23,1996,theCourtgrantedtheMotionforPaymentofWidowsAllowanceandorderedpetitioners
jointlyandseverallytopayRositaP25,000.00asthewidowsallowancetobetakenfromtheestateofSyBang,
effective September 1, 1996 and every month thereafter until the estate is finally settled or until further orders
fromtheCourt.24

InaManifestationdatedOctober1,1996,petitionersinformedtheCourtthatRositaandcopetitionerEnriqueSy
had executed a waiver of past, present and future claims against petitioners and, thus, should be dropped as
partiestothecase.25AttachedtheretowasaSinumpaangSalaysaywhereinRositaandEnriquestatedthatthey
weregivenP1millionanda229squaremeterparcelofland,forwhichreasontheywerewithdrawingasplaintiffs
inCivilCaseNo.8578.26

Respondents, except Enrique Sy, filed a CounterManifestation and Opposition to Drop Rosita Sy as a Party.27
TheysaidthatitwouldberidiculousforRositatogiveuphershareinSyBangsestate,amountingtohundredsof
millionsofpesos,whichhadalreadybeenorderedpartitionedbythetrialcourt,totheprejudiceofhersevenfull
blooded children. They alleged that Rosita was not in possession of her full faculties when she affixed her
thumbmarkontheSinumpaangSalaysayconsideringherage,herfrequentillness,andherlackofabilitytoread
orwrite.Hence,theyfiledapetitionbeforetheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)ofLucenaCityforguardianshipover
herpersonandproperties.TheyalsoallegedthatEnriqueandsomeofJoseSyBangschildrenwouldstealthily
visitRositainRosauroshousewhilethelatterwasaway.Ononeofthoseoccasions,shewasaskedtoaffixher
thumbmarkonsomedocumentsshecouldnotreadandknewnothingabout.TheyclaimthatRositahasnever
receivedasinglecentavooftheP1millionallegedlygivenher.

IntheirReplytoCounterManifestation,28 petitioners countered that respondents failed to present any concrete


evidence to challenge the Sinumpaang Salaysay. Since the same was duly notarized, it was a public document
andpresumedvalid.They,likewise,allegedthattheCounterManifestationwasfiledwithoutRositasauthorization
as, in fact, she had written her counsel with instructions to withdraw said pleading.29Further,theyaverredthat
Rosita executed the Sinumpaang Salaysay while in full possession of her faculties. They alleged that Rosita
intendedtoopposethepetitionforguardianshipandtheypresentedacopyofasworncertificationfromRositas
physician that "she (Rosita) is physically fit and mentally competent to attend to her personal or business
transactions."30

Ontheotherhand,petitionersfiledaMotionforReconsiderationoftheCourtsSeptember23,1996Resolution.It
alleged that Rosita and Enrique executed their Sinumpaang Salaysay on August 29, 1996. However, this
development was made known to the Court only on October 1, 1996 hence, the Court was not aware of this
when it issued its Resolution. Petitioners prayed for the reconsideration of the September 23, 1996 Resolution
anddroppingRositaandEnriqueaspartiestothecase.31

IntheirOppositiontotheMotionforReconsideration,respondentsmaintainedthattheCourtshouldnotconsider
theMotionforReconsideration.RespondentsallegedthatRositathumbmarkedtheSinumpaangSalaysaywithout
understanding the contents of the document or the implications of her acts. Respondents also tried to
demonstratethattheirmotherwouldthumbmarkanydocumentthattheirchildrenaskedhertobyexhibitingfour
documentseachdenominatedasSinumpaangSalaysayandthumbmarkedbyRosita.Onepurportedtodisown
the earlier Sinumpaang Salaysay. The second was a reproduction of the earlier Sinumpaang Salaysay with the
amountchangedtoP100.00,theTransferCertificateofTitlenumberchangedto12343567,andthesizeofthe
property to "as big as the entire Lucena City." The third purported to bequeath her shares in the conjugal
partnership of gains to Rosauro, Bartolome, Rolando, and Rosalino, while refusing to give any inheritance to
Florecita,Lourdes,Julieta,andEnrique.Lastly,thefourthcontradictedthethirdinthatitwasinfavorofFlorecita,
Lourdes, Julieta, and Enrique, while disinheriting Rosauro, Bartolome, Rolando, and Rosalino. These,
respondents assert, clearly show that their mother would sign any document, no matter the contents, upon the
requestofanyofherchildren.32

TheCourtdeniedtheMotionforReconsiderationonNovember18,1996.33

Petitioners filed a Supplement to their Memorandum, additionally arguing that the Third Partial Decision did not
onlyundulybindthepropertieswithoutdueprocess,butalsoignoredthefundamentalruleontheindefeasibilityof
Torrenstitles.34

G.R.No.150797

Meanwhile, on September 30, 1996, respondents filed a Joint Petition for the Guardianship of the Incompetent
Rosita FerreraSy before the RTC of Lucena City, Branch 58 (Guardianship court), docketed as Special
Proceedings No. 9634. On May 19, 1997, Rosauro Sy, who sought to be named as the special guardian, filed
before the Guardianship court a Motion to Order Court Deposit of Widows Allowance Ordered by the Supreme
Court.35Then,hefiledaMotionbeforethisCourtseekinganOrderforpetitionerstopayRositaP2,150,000.00in

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widows allowance and P25,000.00 every month thereafter, as ordered by this Court in its September 23, 1996
Resolution.Healsoprayedforpetitionersimprisonmentshouldtheyfailtocomplytherewith.36

OnJuly8,1997,theGuardianshipcourtissuedanOrder,thedispositiveportionofwhichreads:

WHEREFORE,Mr.JoseSyBangandhiswifeIluminadaTanandtheirchildren,ZenaidaSyandMa.EmmaSy
andJulianSyandhiswifeRosaTan,areherebyorderedtodeposittothisCourt,jointlyandseverally,theamount
ofP250,000.00representingthewidowsallowanceoftheincompetentRositaFerreraSycorrespondingthe(sic)
periods from September 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997, and additional amount of P25,000.00 per month and every
monththereafter,withinthefirstten(10)daysofeachmonth.37

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Rosauro, the appointed guardian, then asked the
Guardianshipcourttoissueawritofexecution.Meanwhile,onDecember10,1997,petitionersfiledaPetitionfor
CertiorariwiththeCAdocketedasCAG.R.SPNo.46244toannultheJuly8,1997OrderandOctober9,1997
ResolutionoftheGuardianshipcourt.38

InaDecision39datedFebruary28,2001,theCAruledinrespondentsfavor,finding"nothinglegallyobjectionable
inprivaterespondentRosauroSysfilingofthemotiontoorderthedepositofthewidowsallowanceorderedby
the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 114217 or, for that matter, in the public respondents grant thereof in the order
herein assailed. More so, when the public respondents actions are viewed in the light of the Supreme Courts
denialofpetitionersmotionforreconsiderationofitsresolutiondatedSeptember23,1996."40Thusitheld:

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDENIEDforlackofmeritandtheassailedresolutiondatedSeptember23,1996(sic)
isAFFIRMEDintoto.Nopronouncementastocosts.

SOORDERED.

Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied on November 5, 2001,41 petitioners filed this Petition for
Review42 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court praying for this Court to reverse the CAs February 28, 2001
Decision and its Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration, and to declare the Guardianship court to
have exceeded its jurisdiction in directing the deposit of the widows allowance in Special Proceedings No. 96
34.43 They argued that the Guardianship courts jurisdiction is limited to determining whether Rosita was
incompetentand,uponfindingintheaffirmative,appointingaguardian.Moreover,underRule83,Section3,of
the Rules of Court, a widows allowance can only be paid in an estate proceeding. Even if the complaint for
partition were to be considered as estate proceedings, only the trial court hearing the partition case had the
exclusivejurisdictiontoexecutethepaymentofthewidowsallowance.44

Theyraisedthefollowingissues:

TheCourtofAppealserredinaffirmingtheGuardianshipCourtsOrderdated8July1997,andResolutiondated
9October1997,inthat:

The trial court, acting as a Guardianship Court, and limited jurisdiction, had no authority to enforce
paymentofwidowsallowance.

II

Thepaymentofwidowsallowancecannotbeimplementedat[the]presentbecausetheestateofSy
Bangthesourcefromwhichpaymentistobetakenhasnotbeendeterminedwithfinality.

III

TheOrderofthetrialcourtpurportingtoenforcepaymentofwidowsallowanceundulymodifiedthe
expresstermsofthisHonorableCourtsResolutiongrantingit.45

Petitioners,likewise,questiontheGuardianshipcourtsomissionofthephrase"tobetakenfromtheestateofSy
Bang"fromtheJuly8,1997Order.TheyinterpretedthistomeanthattheGuardianshipcourtwasorderingthat
the widows allowance be taken from their own properties and not from the estate of Sy Bang an "undue
modification"ofthisCourtsSeptember23,1996Resolution.46

On January 21, 2002, the Court resolved to consolidate G.R. No. 114217 and G.R. No. 150797. The parties
submitted their respective Memoranda on May 21, 2003 and June 19, 2003, both of which were noted by this
CourtinitsAugust11,2003Resolution.

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Pending the issuance of this Courts Decision in the two cases, respondent Rosauro Sy filed, on November 11,
2003, a Motion to Order Deposit in Court of Supreme Courts Ordered Widows Allowance Effective September
23,1996andUponFailureofPetitionersJulianSy,etal.toComplyTherewithtoOrderTheirImprisonmentUntil
Compliance. He alleged that his mother had been ill and had no means to support herself except through his
financial assistance, and that respondents had not complied with this Courts September 23, 1996 Resolution,
promulgatedsevenyearsearlier.47Hearguedthatrespondentsdefianceconstitutedindirectcontemptofcourt.
ThattheGuardianshipcourthadfoundthemguiltyofindirectcontemptdidnothelphismotherbecauseshewas
stillunabletocollectherwidowsallowance.48

PetitionersopposedsaidMotionarguingthattheestatefromwhichthewidowsallowanceistobetakenhasnot
beensettled.TheyalsoreiteratedthatRosita,togetherwithsonEnrique,hadexecutedaSinumpaangSalaysay
waivingallclaimsagainstpetitioners.Hence,therewasnolegalgroundtocitethemincontempt.49

OnApril4,2005,thisCourtgrantedRosaurosMotion,towit:

WHEREFORE, the Court finds and so holds petitioner Iluminada Tan (widow of deceased petitioner Jose Sy
Bang), their children and copetitioners Zenaida Sy, Ma. Emma Sy, Julian Sy and the latters wife Rosa Tan,
GUILTYofcontemptofthisCourtandarecollectivelysentencedtopayaFINEequivalenttoten(10%)percentof
the total amount due and unpaid to Rosita FerreraSy by way of a widows allowance pursuant to this Courts
ResolutionofSeptember13,1996,andaccordinglyORDERStheirimmediateimprisonmentuntiltheyshallhave
complied with said Resolution by paying Rosita FerreraSy the amount of TWO MILLION SIX HUNDRED
THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED PESOS (P2,600,100.00), representing her total accumulated unpaid widows
allowancefromSeptember,1996toApril,2005attherateofTWENTYFIVETHOUSANDPESOS(P25,000.00)a
month, plus six (6%) percent interest thereon. The Court further DIRECTS petitioners to faithfully pay Rosita
FerreraSy her monthly widows allowance for the succeeding months as they fall due, under pain of
imprisonment.

ThisResolutionisimmediatelyEXECUTORY.

SOORDERED.50

Iluminada,ZenaidaandMa.EmmapaidthecourtfineofP260,010.00onApril5,2005.51

Respondents, except Rosauro Sy (who had died), filed a Motion for Execution52 before this Court on April 25,
2005. On the other hand, petitioner Rosa Tan filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Prayer for Clarification.53
Sheallegedthat,inaccordancewithChineseculture,shehadnoparticipationinthemanagementofthefamily
businessorSyBangsestate.Afterherhusbandsdeath,sheallegedlyinheritednothingbutdebtsandliabilities,
and, having no income of her own, was now in a quandary on how these can be paid. She asked the Court to
considerthatshehadnotdisobeyeditsResolutionandtoconsiderhermotion.

Other petitioners, Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma, also filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Prayer for
Clarification.54TheystressedthattheP1millionandthepieceoflandRositahadalreadyreceivedfromJoseSy
Bangin1996shouldformpartofthewidowsallowance.TheyalsoarguedthatwhateverallowanceRositamay
beentitledtoshouldcomefromtheestateofSyBang.Theyfurtherarguedtheunfairnessofbeingmadetopay
theallowancewhennoneofthemparticipatedinthemanagementofSyBangsestateZenaidaandMa.Emma
beingminorsatthetimeofhisdeath,whileIluminadaandRosahadnosignificantroleinthefamilybusiness.

Respondents then filed a Motion for Issuance of Order Requiring Respondents to Deposit with the Supreme
CourtsCashieritsOrderedWidowsAllowance55andaMotionforExecutionofResolutiondatedApril4,2005.56
Petitionersopposedthesame.57

OnJuly25,2005,theCourtissuedaResolutiongrantingbothofrespondentsmotionsanddenyingpetitioners
motionforreconsideration.58

Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma filed, on August 15, 2005, a Manifestation of Compliance and
MotionforClarification.59Theymaintainedthattheissuestheyhadraisedinthemotionforreconsiderationhad
notbeendulyresolved.TheyarguedthatwhenthisCourtissueditsSeptember23,1996Resolution,itwasnot
yetawarethatRositahadexecutedaSinumpaangSalaysay,whereinshewaivedherclaimsandcausesofaction
againstpetitioners.TheyalsoinformedthisCourtthat,onApril17,1998,theGuardianshipcourthadissuedan
Order which recognized a "temporary agreement" based on the voluntary offer of Jose Sy Bang of a financial
assistanceofP5,000.00permonthtoRositawhilethecasewaspending.Moreover,asamanifestationofgood
faith, petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma paid the P430,000.00 out of their own funds in partial
compliancewiththeCourtsResolution.However,thesamedidnotinanywayconstituteawaiveroftheirrightsor
defenses in the present case. They underscored the fact that the allowance must come from the estate of Sy
Bang,andnotfromJoseSyBangoranyofthelattersheirs,theextentofwhichremainedundetermined.They
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further asked the Court to adjudicate the liability for the widows allowance to be equally divided between them
andtheothersetofpetitioners,theheirsofJulianSy.

On August 30, 2005, respondents filed a motion asking this Court to issue an Order for the immediate
incarceration of petitioners for refusing to comply with the Courts resolution.60 They aver that the period within
whichpetitionersweretocomplywiththeCourtsResolutionhadnowlapsed,andthus,petitionersmustnowbe
incarcerated for failure to abide by said Resolution. They likewise asked the Court to refer petitioners counsel,
Atty.VicenteM.Joyas,totheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines(IBP)forviolationsoftheCanonsofProfessional
Responsibilityortodeclarehimincontemptofcourt.TheyallegedthatdespitethefinalityoftheCourtsdenialof
petitioners motion for reconsideration, Atty. Joyas still filed a Manifestation with compliance arguing the same
points. Further, Atty. Joyas is not petitioners counsel of record in this case since he never formally entered his
appearancebeforetheCourt.61

InaResolutiondatedSeptember14,2005,theCourtdeniedthemotiontoreferAtty.JoyastotheIBPforbeinga
wrongremedy.62

PetitionersIluminada,ZenaidaandMa.EmmathenfiledanOmnibusMotion,63seekinganextensionoftimeto
comply with the Courts Resolution and Motion to delete the penalty of "fine" as a consequence of voluntary
compliance. They insist that their compliance with the order to pay the widows allowance should "obliterate,
expunge,andblotout"thepenaltyoffineandimprisonment.Theyallegedthatfortheirfailuretocomplywiththis
CourtsResolution,theRTC,LucenaCity,foundthemguiltyofindirectcontemptandimposedonthemafineof
P30,000.00.TheyhadappealedsaidordertotheCA.

Theyalsotriedtomakeacaseoutoftheuseoftheterms"jointandseveral"intheSeptember23Resolution,and
"collectively" in the April 5, 2005 Resolution. They argued that "joint and several" creates individual liability for
eachofthepartiesforthefullamountoftheobligation,while"collectively"meansthatallmembersofthegroup
are responsible together for the action of the group. Hence, "collectively" would mean that the liability belongs
equallytothetwogroupsofpetitioners.Theyrequestedforanadditional60daystoraisethenecessaryamount.
They also asked the Court to hold their imprisonment in abeyance until their "just and reasonable compliance"
withtheCourtsorders.

Barelyamonthlater,petitioners,throughtheirnewcounsel,filedanotherManifestationstressingthatSyBangs
marriagetoRositaFerreraisvoid.Theyclaimedthatrespondentshavefalsifieddocumentstoleadthecourtsinto
believingthatRositasmarriagetoSyBangisvalid.

TheOmnibusMotionwasdeniedinaResolutiondatedOctober17,2005.Thereafter,respondentsfiledaMotion
toImmediatelyOrderIncarcerationofPetitioners,64whichpetitionersopposed.65

In a Resolution dated December 12, 2005,66 the Court issued a Warrant of Arrest67 against petitioners and
directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to detain them until they complied with this Courts April 4,
2005andJuly25,2005Resolutions.

PetitionerRosaTanfiledaManifestationwithMotion.68 She informed the Court that, to show that she was not
obstinateandcontumaciousoftheCourtanditsorders,shehadbeggedandpleadedwithherrelativestoraise
money to comply, but concedes that she was only able to raise a minimal amount since she has no source of
incomeherselfandneedsfinancialsupporttobuyherfoodandmedicines.Sheobtainedherbrothershelpand
thelatterissuedsixchecksinthetotalamountofP650,000.00.Shealsoallegedthatshewasnotinformedbyher
husbandscounselofthedevelopmentsinthecase,andremainedunconsultedonanyofthemattersorincidents
ofthecase.ShereiteratedthatshehadnoparticipationinthemanagementoftheSyBangestateandreceived
nothingofvalueuponherhusbandsdeath.SheprayedthattheCourtwouldnotconsiderherfailuretoraiseany
furtheramountascontemptordefianceofitsorders.

ThemotionwasdeniedinaResolutiondatedJanuary16,2006.

InanUrgentManifestationofCompliancewiththeContemptResolutionswithPaymentofWidowsAllowancewith
PrayerReiteratingtheLiftingofWarrantofArrestonHumanitarianGrounds,69petitionersIluminada,Zenaidaand
Ma.EmmaaskedtheCourttodeletethepenaltyofindefiniteimprisonmentconsideringtheirpartialcompliance
and the partial compliance of Rosa Tan. They expressed willingness to deposit the widows allowance with the
Supreme Courts Cashier pending the determination of Sy Bangs estate. They reasoned that the money to be
deposited is their own and does not belong to Sy Bangs estate. The deposit is made for the sole purpose of
deletingthepenaltyofindefiniteimprisonment.TheyclaimthattheyarenotwillfullydisobeyingtheCourtsorder
butaremerelyhesitatingtocomplybecauseofpendingincidentssuchasthefalsificationchargesagainstRosita,
theresolutionofthepartitioncase,theSinumpaangSalaysayexecutedbyRosita,andthependencyofRositas
guardianshipproceedings,aswellashumanitarianconsiderations.Thus,theyprayedfortheCourttoreconsider
theorderofcontemptandtorecallthewarrantofarrest.

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On February 15, 2006, this Court issued a Resolution70 lifting the warrant of arrest on petitioners Iluminada,
Zenaida, Ma. Emma, and Rosa Tan on the condition that they issue the corresponding checks to settle the
accruedwidowsallowanceofRositaFerreraSy.Theywerealsodirectedtosubmitproofoftheircomplianceto
theCourtwithinten(10)daysfromnotice.

InaManifestation71datedFebruary28,2006,petitionersIluminada,ZenaidaandMa.EmmainformedtheCourt
that they had deposited the checks in favor of Rosita with the RTC, Lucena City, Branch 58, during the
proceedingsonFebruary28,2006.72

Respondents filed a Comment to the Manifestation arguing that the deposit of said checks, amounting to
P1,073,053.00, does not amount to full compliance with the Courts order considering that the accrued widows
allowancenowamountedtoP4,528,125.00. 1 a v v p h !1

Then,petitionersIluminada,ZenaidaandMa.EmmafiledaMotiontoincludeRosalinoSy,BartolomeSy,Rolando
Sy,andHeirsofEnriqueSyasLikewiseLiableforthePaymentofWidowsAllowanceasHeirsofSyBangasthey
mayalsoholdAssetsPropertiesoftheEstateofSyBang.73Theyarguedthatitisdenialoftheequalprotection
clausefortheCourttosingleoutonlythetwochildrenofthefirstmarriageJoseSyBangandJulianSyand
their heirs, as the ones responsible for the widows allowance. This ruling, they aver, does not take into
consideration the numerous and valuable properties from the estate of Sy Bang being held in the names of
Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique. They alleged that two compromise agreements, both approved by
the trial court, transferred properties to Rolando and Renato. They further alleged that respondents Rolando,
Maria Lourdes, Florecita, Rosalino, Enrique, and Rosita FerreraSy have executed separate waivers and
quitclaimsovertheirsharesintheestateofSyBangforcertainconsiderations.However,outofrespectforthe
Courtandtheirfearofincarceration,theycompliedwiththeCourtsordersusingtheirpersonalfundswhichthey
claim is unfair because they have never participated in the management of the properties of Sy Bang. They
prayedthattheCourtpronouncethattheliabilityforthewidowsallowancebedividedproportionatelyamongthe
followinggroups:Iluminada,Zenaida,andMa.EmmaRosaTanRosalinoSyandwifeHelenLooBartolomeSy
and wife Virginia Lim Rolando Sy and wife Anacorita Rioflorido and the heirs of Enrique Sy, namely, Elaine
DesturaandEdwinMaceda.

On March 23, 2006, petitioners filed an Urgent Reply to respondents Comment on the manifestation of
compliancewithOpposition74tothemotionfiledbyrespondentsfortheCourttoreiterateitsorderfortheNBIto
arrest petitioners for failure to comply with the February 15, 2006 Resolution. They argued that they had fully
compliedwiththeCourtsorders.Theyallegedthatonthreeoccasionswithintheperiod,theyhadtriedtosubmit
12postdatedcheckstotheCourtscashiers,butthesamewererefusedduetothepolicyoftheCourtnottoissue
receipts on postdated checks. They then filed a motion before the RTC of Lucena City praying for authority to
deposit the checks with the trial court. The motion was denied but, on reconsideration, was later granted. The
checks are now in the custody of the RTC. The only issue respondents raise, they claim, is the amount of the
checks.Hence,thereisnobasisfortheCourttodirecttheNBItoeffecttheirarrest.

The Court, in a Resolution dated March 29, 2006, required respondents to comment on the motion to include
someoftheminthepaymentofwidowsallowance.Petitioners,ontheotherhand,wererequiredtocommenton
a motion filed by respondents for the Court to reiterate its order to the NBI to arrest petitioners for failure to
complywiththeFebruary15,2006Resolution.75

PetitionersfiledtheirCommentwithMotionforPartialReconsiderationoftheMarch29,2006Resolution.76They
reiterated their arguments in their Urgent Reply to respondents Comment on the manifestation of compliance
withOpposition.TheyfurtherallegedthatthereisnowaResolutionbytheRegionalStateProsecutor,RegionIV,
San Pablo City, finding probable cause to charge respondents with falsification of three marriage contracts
betweenSyBangandRositaFerrera.Accordingtothem,thisdevelopmentnowconstitutesa"highlyprejudicial
question"onwhethertheyshouldcomplywiththeordertopaywidowsallowance.Theyclaimthat,whilethefiling
of the information is merely the first step in the criminal prosecution of respondents, it already casts doubt on
whether Rosita is legally entitled to the widows allowance. They now seek partial reconsideration of the
ResolutioninasmuchasitrequiresthemtodepositwiththeClerkofCourt,RTCofLucenaCity,Branch58,new
checkspayabletoRositaFerrera.

Respondents,ontheotherhand,filedaCommentandManifestation77onwhytheyshouldnotbemadetopay
thewidowsallowance.TheyarguedthattheRTChadalreadydecidedthattheestateofSyBangwascomprised
ofpropertiesinthenamesofJoseSyBang,IluminadaTan,Zenaida,Ma.Emma,JulianSy,andRosaTan,and
the same was affirmed by the CA. Pending the resolution of the appeal before this Court, this Decision stands.
Thus,petitionersclaimthattheestateofSyBangisyetundeterminedisfalse.Theyalsoclaimthat,contraryto
petitioners claims of being poor, they still hold enormous properties of the Sy Bang estate, which had been
transferred in their names through falsification of public documents, now subject of several cases which
respondents filed against them before the Department of Justice (DOJ). Respondents further claim that the
validityoftheirmothersmarriagetoSyBanghasbeenrecognizedbythecourtsinseveralcaseswheretheissue

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hadbeenraised,includingthecaseforrecognitionofRositasFilipinocitizenship,theguardianshipproceedings,
andthepartitionproceedings.

OnJune23,2006,respondentsfiledaMotionforSubstitutionofParties.78TheyaverredthatJoseSyBangdied
onSeptember11,2001,leavingbehindhiswidowIluminadaand14children,whileJulianSydiedonAugust28,
2004, leaving behind his widow Rosa and eight children. The claims against Jose and Julian were not
extinguished by their deaths. It was the duty of petitioners counsel, under Rule 3, Section 16 of the Rules of
Court, to inform the Court of these deaths within 30 days thereof. Petitioners counsel failed to so inform this
Court,whichshouldbeagroundfordisciplinaryaction.Hence,respondentsprayedthattheCourtordertheheirs
ofthetwodeceasedtoappearandbesubstitutedinthesecaseswithin30daysfromnotice.

InaResolution79datedJuly5,2006,theCourtgrantedthemotionforsubstitutionandnotedtheCommentand
Manifestation on the Motion to include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as
LikewiseLiableforthePaymentofWidowsAllowanceasHeirsofSyBang.

RespondentsthenfiledaManifestationandMotiontoImplementtheSupremeCourtsResolutionsofSeptember
23, 1996, April 4, 2005, July 25, 2005, December 12, 2005, and February 15, 2006.80 They prayed that
petitioners be given a last period of five days within which to deposit with the Supreme Court Cashier all the
accruedwidowsallowancesasofJune2006.

PetitionersIluminada,ZenaidaandMa.Emmaopposedrespondentsmanifestationandmotion.81 They argued


thattheresolutionssoughttobeimplementedwereallissuedpriortotheDOJResolutionfindingprobablecause
to file the falsification charges against respondents. They contended that the criminal cases for falsification
exposeRositaasamerecommonlawwifeandnota"widow"hence,thereisnolegaljustificationtogiveherthe
widowsallowance.Theyalsoreiteratedtheirearlierargumentsagainstthegrantofwidowsallowance.

Meanwhile, Rosa Tan filed a Comment on the Substitution of Parties with Motion for Reconsideration.82 She
argued that since the trial court had already appointed a judicial administrator for the estate of Sy Bang, which
includesJulianSysestate,theproperpartytobesubstitutedshouldbetheadministratorandnotJuliansheirs
whoneverexercisedownershiprightsoverthepropertiesthereof.

TheCourtdeniedthemotionforreconsiderationtotheResolutiongrantingsubstitutionofpartiesforlackofmerit
onNovember20,2006.

TheCourtsRuling

G.R.No.114217

Findingnoreversibleerrortherein,weaffirmtheCADecision.

TheThirdPartialDecisionoftheRTC

Toreview,theCAheld,towit:

The respondent Judge acted correctly inasmuch as his decision to defer the resolution on the question
concerning the properties in the name of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando and Enrique, all surnamed Sy, will not
necessarily affect the decision he rendered concerning the properties in the names of Jose Sy Bang and wife,
Julian Sy and wife, Zenaida Sy and Maria Sy, considering that the properties mentioned were separable and
distinctfromeachother,suchthattheclaimthatsaidpropertieswerenottheirown,butpropertiesofthelateSy
Bang,couldhavebeenthesubjectofseparatesuits.83

WeagreewiththeCA.

Section4,Rule36oftheRevisedRulesonCivilProcedurestates:

SEC.4.Severaljudgments.Inanactionagainstseveraldefendants,thecourtmay,whenaseveraljudgmentis
proper,renderjudgmentagainstoneormoreofthem,leavingtheactiontoproceedagainsttheothers.

ThetrialcourtsThirdPartialDecisionisinthenatureofaseveraljudgmentascontemplatedbytherulequoted
above.Thetrialcourtruledonthestatusofthepropertiesinthenamesofpetitioners(defendantsbelow)while
deferringtherulingonthepropertiesinthenamesofrespondentspendingthepresentationofevidence.

Aseveraljudgmentisproperwhentheliabilityofeachpartyisclearlyseparableanddistinctfromthatofhisco
parties,suchthattheclaimsagainsteachofthemcouldhavebeenthesubjectofseparatesuits,andjudgment
fororagainstoneofthemwillnotnecessarilyaffecttheother.84

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Petitioners, although sued collectively, each held a separate and separable interest in the properties of the Sy
Bangestate.

The pronouncement as to the obligation of one or some petitioners did not affect the determination of the
obligations of the others. That the properties in the names of petitioners were found to be part of the Sy Bang
estatedidnotprecludeanyfurtherfindingsorjudgmentonthestatusornatureofthepropertiesinthenamesof
theotherheirs.

ThetrialcourtsJune2,1982Orderreads:

IN view of the importance of the issue concerning whether all the properties in the name (sic) of Enrique Sy,
Bartolome Sy, Rosalino Sy and Rolando Sy and/or their respective wives (as well as those in the names of the
otherpartieslitigantsinthiscase),(sic)shallbedeclaredorincludedaspartoftheEstateofSyBang,andinview
of the numerous documentary evidences (sic) presented by Attys. Raya and Camaligan after the said question
was agreed to be submitted for resolution on May 26, 1982, the Court hereby sets for the reception or for the
resolutionofsaidissueinthiscaseonJune8and9,1982,bothat2:00oclockintheafternoonnotifyallparties
litigantsinthiscaseofthesesettings.85

Itisobviousfromthetrialcourtsorder86thattheJune8,1982hearingisforthepurposeofdeterminingwhether
propertiesinthenamesofEnriqueSy,BartolomeSy,RosalinoSy,andRolandoSyand/ortheirrespectivewives
arealsopartoftheSyBangestate.

Hence,intheassailedDecision,thetrialcourtsaid:

[I]n fact, the Court will require further evidence for or against any of the parties in this case in the matter of
whateversumsofmoney,propertyorassetbelongingtotheestateofSyBangthatcameintotheirpossessionin
orderthattheCourtmaybeproperlyguidedinthepartitionandadjudicationoftherightfulshareandinterestof
the heirs of Sy Bang over the latters estate this becomes imperative in view of new matters shown in the
Submission and Formal Offer of Reserve Exhibits and the Offer of Additional Documentary Evidence filed
respectivelybyOscarSyandJoseSyBang,etal.,thrutheirrespectivecounselsafterthequestionofwhetheror
notthepropertiesinthenamesofEnrique,Bartolome,Rosalino,andRolando,allsurnamedSy,shouldformpart
orbeincludedaspartoftheestateofSyBang,hadbeensubmittedforresolutionasofMay26,1982theCourt
deems it proper to receive additional evidence on the part of any of the parties litigants in this case if only to
determinethetrueextentoftheestatebelongingtoSyBang.87

Thetrialcourtpainstakinglyexaminedtheevidenceonrecordandnarratedthedetails,thencarefullylaidoutthe
particulars in the assailed Decision. The evidence that formed the basis for the trial courts conclusion is
embodiedintheDecisionitselfevidencepresentedbythepartiesthemselves,includingpetitioners.

However,notwithstandingthetrialcourtspronouncement,theSyBangestatecannotbepartitionedordistributed
untilthefinaldeterminationoftheextentoftheestateandonlyuntilitisshownthattheobligationsunderRule90,
Section1,88havebeensettled.89

Inthesettlementofestateproceedings,thedistributionoftheestatepropertiescanonlybemade:(1)afterallthe
debts,funeralcharges,expensesofadministration,allowancetothewidow,andestatetaxhavebeenpaidor(2)
beforepaymentofsaidobligationsonlyifthedistributeesoranyofthemgivesabondinasumfixedbythecourt
conditioneduponthepaymentofsaidobligationswithinsuchtimeasthecourtdirects,orwhenprovisionismade
tomeetthoseobligations.90

Settlingtheissueofownershipisthefirststageinanactionforpartition.91AsthisCourthasruled:

Theissueofownershiporcoownership,tobemoreprecise,mustfirstberesolvedinordertoeffectapartitionof
properties. This should be done in the action for partition itself. As held in the case of Catapusan v. Court of
Appeals:

"In actions for partition, the court cannot properly issue an order to divide the property, unless it first makes a
determinationastotheexistenceofcoownership.Thecourtmustinitiallysettletheissueofownership,thefirst
stageinanactionforpartition.Needlesstostate,anactionforpartitionwillnotlieiftheclaimanthasnorightful
interestoverthesubjectproperty.Infact,Section1ofRule69requiresthepartyfilingtheactiontostateinhis
complaintthe"natureandextentofhistitle"totherealestate.Untilandunlesstheissueofownershipisdefinitely
resolved,itwouldbeprematuretoeffectapartitionofthepropertiesxxx."92

Moreover,theThirdPartialDecisiondoesnothavetheeffectofterminatingtheproceedingsforpartition.Byits
very nature, the Third Partial Decision is but a determination based on the evidence presented thus far. There
remainedissuestoberesolvedbythecourt.TherewouldbenofinaldeterminationoftheextentoftheSyBang
estateuntilthecourtsexaminationofthepropertiesinthenamesofRosalino,Bartolome,Rolando,andEnrique.
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Basedontheevidencepresented,thetrialcourtwillhavetomakeapronouncementwhetherthepropertiesinthe
names of Rosalino, Bartolome, Rolando, and Enrique indeed belong to the Sy Bang estate. Only after the full
extentoftheSyBangestatehasbeendeterminedcanthetrialcourtfinallyorderthepartitionofeachoftheheirs
share.

AppointmentofReceiver

Astotheissueofthejudgesappointmentofareceiver,sufficeittosaythattheCAconclusivelyfoundthus:

The records show that the petitioners were never deprived of their day in court. Upon Order of the respondent
Judge,counselforthepetitionerssubmittedtheiroppositionto[the]petitionforappointmentofareceiverfiledby
privaterespondents.xxx.

Moreover, evidence on record shows that respondent Judge appointed the receiver after both parties have
presentedtheirevidenceandaftertheThirdPartialDecisionhasbeenpromulgated.Suchappointmentwasmade
upon verified petition of herein private respondents, alleging that petitioners are mismanaging the properties in
litigation by either mortgaging or disposing the same, hence, the said properties are in danger of being lost,
wasted,dissipated,misused,ordisposedof.TherespondentJudgeactedcorrectlyingrantingtheappointmentof
areceiverinCivilCaseNo.8578,inordertopreservethepropertiesinlitispendentiaandneitherdidheabuse
hisdiscretionnoractedarbitrarilyindoings.Onthecontrary,Wefindthatitwasthepetitionerswhoviolatedthe
statusquosoughttobemaintainedbytheSupremeCourt,inG.R.No.61519,bytheirintrusionandunwarranted
seizures of the 3 theaters, subject matter of the litigation, and which are admittedly under the exclusive
managementandoperationofprivaterespondent,RosauroSy.93

CancellationofNoticeofLisPendens

Next,petitionersquestionthetrialcourtsOrdercancelingthenoticeoflispendens.94

Section77ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1529,orthePropertyRegistrationDecree,provides:

SEC. 77. Cancellation of lis pendens. Before final judgment, a notice of lispendens may be cancelled upon
orderofthecourt,afterpropershowingthatthenoticeisforthepurposeofmolestingtheadverseparty,orthatit
isnotnecessarytoprotecttherightsofthepartywhocausedittoberegistered.Itmayalsobecancelledbythe
RegisterofDeedsuponverifiedpetitionofthepartywhocausedtheregistrationthereof.

Atanytimeafterfinaljudgmentinfavorofthedefendant,orotherdispositionoftheactionsuchastoterminate
finallyallrightsoftheplaintiffinandtothelandand/orbuildingsinvolved,inanycaseinwhichamemorandumor
noticeoflispendenshasbeenregisteredasprovidedintheprecedingsection,thenoticeoflispendensshallbe
deemedcancelledupontheregistrationofcertificateoftheclerkofcourtinwhichtheactionorproceedingwas
pendingstatingthemannerofdisposalthereof.

Thefilingofanoticeoflispendenshasatwofoldeffect:(1)tokeepthesubjectmatterofthelitigationwithinthe
powerofthecourtuntiltheentryofthefinaljudgmentinordertopreventthefinaljudgmentfrombeingdefeated
bysuccessivealienationsand(2)tobindapurchaser,bonafideornot,ofthelandsubjectofthelitigationtothe
judgmentordecreethatthecourtwillpromulgatesubsequently.95

Whilethetrialcourthasaninherentpowertocancelanoticeoflispendens,suchpoweristobeexercisedwithin
theexpressconfinesofthelaw.AsprovidedinSection14,Rule13ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure,anotice
oflispendensmaybecancelledontwogrounds:(1)whentheannotationwasforthepurposeofmolestingthe
titleoftheadverseparty,or(2)whentheannotationisnotnecessarytoprotectthetitleofthepartywhocausedit
toberecorded.96

ThisCourthasinterpretedthenoticeas:

Thenoticeisbutanincidentinanaction,anextrajudicialone,tobesure.Itdoesnotaffectthemeritsthereof.Itis
intendedmerelytoconstructivelyadvise,orwarn,allpeoplewhodealwiththepropertythattheysodealwithitat
theirownrisk,andwhateverrightstheymayacquireinthepropertyinanyvoluntarytransactionaresubjecttothe
resultsoftheaction,andmaywellbeinferiorandsubordinatetothosewhichmaybefinallydeterminedandlaid
downtherein.Thecancellationofsuchaprecautionarynoticeisthereforealsoamereincidentintheaction,and
may be ordered by the Court having jurisdiction of it at any given time. And its continuance or removallike the
continuance or removal of a preliminary attachment of injunctionis not contingent on the existence of a final
judgmentintheaction,andordinarilyhasnoeffectonthemeritsthereof.97

The CA found, and we affirm, that Rosalino, Bartolome and Rolando were able to prove that the notice was
intendedmerelytomolestandharasstheownersoftheproperty,someofwhomwerenotpartiestothecase.It
was also proven that the interest of Oscar Sy, who caused the notice to be annotated, was only 1/14 of the

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assessedvalueoftheproperty.Moreover,Rosalino,BartolomeandRolandowereorderedtopostaP50,000.00
bondtoprotectwhateverrightsorinterestOscarSymayhaveinthepropertiesunderlitispendentia.98

G.R.No.150797

In G.R. No. 150797, petitioners are asking this Court to reverse the CAs February 28, 2001 Decision and its
ResolutiondenyingtheMotionforReconsideration,andtodeclaretheGuardianshipcourttohaveexceededits
jurisdictionindirectingthedepositofthewidowsallowanceinSpecialProceedingsNo.9634.

Wefindmeritinpetitionerscontention.

Thecourthearingthepetitionforguardianshiphadlimitedjurisdiction.Ithadnojurisdictiontoenforcepaymentof
thewidowsallowanceorderedbythisCourt.

Reviewingtheantecedents,wenotethattheclaimforwidowsallowancewasmadebeforetheSupremeCourtin
acasethatdidnotarisefromtheguardianshipproceedings.ThecasesubjectoftheSupremeCourtpetition(Civil
CaseNo.8578)isstillpendingbeforetheRTCofLucenaCity.

Rule83,Sec.3,oftheRulesofCourtstates:

SEC.3.Allowancetowidowandfamily.Thewidowandminororincapacitatedchildrenofadeceasedperson,
during the settlement of the estate, shall receive therefrom, under the direction of the court, such allowance as
areprovidedbylaw.

Correlatively,Article188oftheCivilCodestates:

Art.188.Fromthecommonmassofpropertysupportshallbegiventothesurvivingspouseandtothechildren
duringtheliquidationoftheinventoriedpropertyanduntilwhatbelongstothemisdeliveredbutfromthisshallbe
deductedthatamountreceivedforsupportwhichexceedsthefruitsorrentspertainingtothem.

Obviously,"thecourt"referredtoinRule83,Sec.3,oftheRulesofCourtisthecourthearingthesettlementof
theestate.Alsocrystalclearistheprovisionofthelawthatthewidowsallowanceistobetakenfromthecommon
massofpropertyformingpartoftheestateofthedecedent.

Thus, as evident from the foregoing provisions, it is the court hearing the settlement of the estate that should
effectthepaymentofwidowsallowanceconsideringthatthepropertiesoftheestatearewithinitsjurisdiction,to
theexclusionofallothercourts.99

Inemphasizingthelimitedjurisdictionoftheguardianshipcourt,thisCourthaspronouncedthat:

Generally, the guardianship court exercising special and limited jurisdiction cannot actually order the delivery of
thepropertyofthewardfoundtobeembezzled,concealed,orconveyed.InacategoricallanguageofthisCourt,
only in extreme cases, where property clearly belongs to the ward or where his title thereto has been already
judiciallydecided,maythecourtdirectitsdeliverytotheguardian.Ineffect,therecanonlybedeliveryorreturnof
the embezzled, concealed or conveyed property of the ward, where the right or title of said ward is clear and
undisputable.However,wheretitletoanypropertysaidtobeembezzled,concealedorconveyedisindispute,xx
x the determination of said title or right whether in favor of the persons said to have embezzled, concealed or
conveyed the property must be determined in a separate ordinary action and not in a guardianship
proceedings.100

Further, this Court has held that the distribution of the residue of the estate of the deceased incompetent is a
functionpertainingproperly,nottotheguardianshipproceedings,buttoanotherproceedinginwhichtheheirsare
atlibertytoinitiate.101

OtherUnresolvedIncidents

PaymentofWidowsAllowance

Ithasbeen13yearssincethisCourtorderedpetitionerstopayRositaFerreraSyhermonthlywidowsallowance.
Petitioners Iluminada, Zenaida and Ma. Emma have since fought tooth and nail against paying the said
allowance,grudginglycomplyingonlyuponthreatofincarceration.Then,theyagainarguedagainstthegrantof
widowsallowanceaftertheDOJissueditsResolutionfindingprobablecauseinthefalsificationchargesagainst
respondents. They contended that the criminal cases for falsification proved that Rosita is a mere commonlaw
wifeandnota"widow"and,therefore,notentitledtowidowsallowance.

Thisargumentdeservesscantconsideration.

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Afindingofprobablecausedoesnotconclusivelyprovethechargeoffalsificationagainstrespondents.

Inapreliminaryinvestigation,probablecausehasbeendefinedas"theexistenceofsuchfactsandcircumstances
aswouldexcitethebelief,inareasonablemind,actingonthefactswithintheknowledgeoftheprosecutor,that
the person charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted." It is wellsettled that a finding of
probablecauseneedstorestonlyonevidenceshowingthatmorelikelythannotacrimehasbeencommitted
andwascommittedbythesuspects.Probablecauseneednotbebasedonclearandconvincingevidenceof
guilt,neitheronevidenceestablishingguiltbeyondreasonabledoubt,anddefinitelynotonevidenceestablishing
absolutecertaintyofguilt.102

Hence,untilthemarriageisfinallydeclaredvoidbythecourt,thesameispresumedvalidandRositaisentitledto
receiveherwidowsallowancetobetakenfromtheestateofSyBang.

We remind petitioners again that they are dutybound to comply with whatever the courts, in relation to the
propertiesunderlitigation,mayorder.

Motion to Include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of Enrique Sy as Likewise Liable for the
PaymentofWidowsAllowanceasHeirsofSyBang

On March 14, 2006, petitioners filed a Motion to include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of
EnriqueSyasLikewiseLiableforthePaymentofWidowsAllowanceasHeirsofSyBang.

TheMotionisdenied.

Thewidowsallowance,asdiscussedabove,ischargeabletoSyBangsestate.Itmustbestressedthattheissue
ofwhetherthepropertiesinthenamesofRosalino,Bartolome,Rolando,andEnriqueSyformpartofSyBangs
estateremainsunsettledsincethisPetitionquestioningthetrialcourtsThirdPartialDecisionhasbeenpending.
Ontheotherhand,therehasbeenacategoricalpronouncementthatpetitionersareholdingpropertiesbelonging
toSyBangsestate.

ThatthefullextentofSyBangsestatehasnotyetbeendeterminedisnoexcusefromcomplyingwiththisCourts
order. Properties of the estate have been identified i.e., those in the names of petitioners thus, these
properties should be made to answer for the widows allowance of Rosita. In any case, the amount Rosita
receives for support, which exceeds the fruits or rents pertaining to her, will be deducted from her share of the
estate.103

AFinalNote

Weareappalledbythedelayinthedispositionofthiscasebroughtaboutbypetitionerspropensitytochallenge
theCourtseverydirective.Thatthepetitionerswouldgotoextremelengthstoevadecomplyingwiththeirduties
underthelawandtheordersofthisCourtistrulydeplorable.Notevenacitationforcontemptandthethreatof
imprisonmentseemedtodeterthem.Theircontumaciousattitudeandactionshavedraggedthiscaseforfartoo
longwithpracticallynoendinsight.Theirabuseoflegalandcourtprocessesisshameful,andtheymustnotbe
allowed to continue with their atrocious behavior. Petitioners deserve to be sanctioned, and ordered to pay the
Courttreblecosts.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Petition in G.R. No. 150797 is GRANTED, while the
Petition in G.R. No. 114217 is DENIED. The Regional Trial Court of Lucena City is directed to hear and decide
Civil Case No. 8578 with dispatch. The Motion to include Rosalino Sy, Bartolome Sy, Rolando Sy, and Heirs of
EnriqueSyasLikewiseLiableforthePaymentofWidowsAllowanceasHeirsofSyBangisDENIED.Treblecosts
againstpetitioners.

SOORDERED.

ANTONIOEDUARDOB.NACHURA
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson

MINITAV.CHICONAZARIO PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

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DIOSDADOM.PERALTA
AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

IattestthattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedto
thewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.

ANTONIOT.CARPIO
AssociateJustice
Chairperson,ThirdDivision

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,andtheDivisionChairpersonsAttestation,Icertifythatthe
conclusionsintheaboveDecisionwerereachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriterofthe
opinionoftheCourtsDivision.

LEONARDOA.QUISUMBING
ActingChiefJustice

Footnotes

1ThePetitionwasoriginallyfiledbySpouseJoseSyBangandIluminadaTan,SpousesJulianSyandRosa
Tan, Zenaida Sy, Ma. Emma Sy, and Oscar Sy. Respondents filed a Motion for Substitution of Parties on
June 23, 2006, informing this Court of the deaths of Jose Sy Bang and Julian Sy. The Court granted the
MotioninaResolutiondatedJuly5,2006.
2PennedbyAssociateJusticeConsueloYnaresSantiago(aretiredmemberofthisCourt),withAssociate
Justices Luis A. Javellana (ret.) and Minerva P. GonzagaReyes (a retired member of this Court),
concurringrollo(G.R.No.114217),pp.154164.

3PennedbyAssociateJusticeConsueloYnaresSantiago(aretiredmemberofthisCourt),withAssociate
Justices Alfredo L. Benipayo (ret.) and Minerva P. GonzagaReyes (a retired member of this Court),
concurringrollo,pp.186187.
4Otherrespondentsbecamecomplainantsrollo(G.R.No.114217),p.155.

5Rollo,p.155.

6Id.

7Id.

8Id.

9Id.at155156.

10PennedbyJudgeBenignoM.Puno,id.at77101.

11Id.at157.

12Id.

13Id.at110113.

14Id.at118119.

15Id.at114.

16Id.at155159.

17Supranote2.

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18Supranote3.

19Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.39.

20Id.at2932.

21Id.at1617.

22Id.at576.

23Id.at644645.

24Id.at658.

25Id.at659.

26SinumpaangSalaysay,id.at661.

27Rollo(G.R.No.114217),pp.664668.

28Id.at689691.

29Id.at689690.

30Id.at685686.

31Id.at679670.

32Id.at697702.

33Id.at684685(unnumberedpages).

34Id.at617.

35Rollo(G.R.No.150797),pp.4344.

36Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.719.

37Rollo(G.R.No.150797),p.271.

38Id.at45.

39 Penned by Associate Justice Fermin A. Martin, Jr. (ret.), with Associate Justices Portia Alio
HormachuelosandMercedesGozoDadole(ret.),concurringid.at1120.
40Rollo(G.R.No.150797),p.69.(Citationsomitted.)

41CAResolutionpennedbyAssociateJusticePortiaAlioHormachuelos,withAssociateJusticesAndres
B.Reyes,Jr.andMercedesGozoDadole(ret.),concurringid.at73.
42Rollo(G.R.No.150797),pp.3359.

43Id.at55.

44Id.at4950.

45Id.at4647.

46Id.at53.

47Id.at451.

48Id.at488494.

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49Id.at467474.

50Rollo(G.R.No.114217),pp.762763.

51Rollo(G.R.No.150797),p.511.

52Id.at512516.

53Id.at517526.

54Id.at527538.

55Id.at565568.

56Id.at573577.

57Id.at578590,617622.

58Id.at611616.

59Id.at657690.

60Id.at709715.

61Id.at712.

62Id.at(between715716).

63Id.at787802.

64Id.at900905.

65Id.at908922.

66Id.at924925.

67Id.at926928.

68Id.at933946.

69Id.at9921001.

70Id.at10731074.

71Id.at10231024.

72Id.at1025.

73Id.at10321043.

74Id.at10761084.

75Id.at10671069.

76Id.at11001114.

77Id.at11411159.

78Id.at11621167.

79Id.at11681169.

80Id.at11701178.

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81Id.at11731207

82Id.at12581263.

83Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.161.

84Fernandov.Santamaria,487Phil.351,357(2004).

85Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.161.

86Id.at76.

87Id.at100.

88 SECTION 1. When order for distribution of residue made.When the debts, funeral charges, and
expensesofadministration,theallowancetothewidow,andinheritancetax,ifany,chargeabletotheestate
inaccordancewithlaw,havebeenpaid,thecourt,ontheapplicationoftheexecutororadministrator,orof
apersoninterestedintheestate,andafterhearinguponnotice,shallassigntheresidueoftheestatetothe
persons entitled to the same, naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which each is entitled, and
suchpersonsmaydemandandrecovertheirrespectivesharesfromtheexecutororadministrator,orany
otherpersonhavingthesameinhispossession.Ifthereisacontroversybeforethecourtastowhoarethe
lawfulheirsofthedeceasedpersonorastothedistributivesharestowhicheachpersonisentitledunder
thelaw,thecontroversyshallbeheardanddecidedasinordinarycases.

Nodistributionshallbealloweduntilthepaymentoftheobligationsabovementionedhasbeenmade
orprovidedfor,unlessthedistributees,oranyofthem,giveabond,inasumtobefixedbythecourt,
conditionedforthepaymentofsaidobligationswithinsuchtimeasthecourtdirects.
89SeeEstateofRuizv.CourtofAppeals,322Phil.590,(1996).

90 Estate of Ruiz v. Court of Appeals, id., citing Castillo v. Castillo, 124 Phil. 485 (1966) Edmands v.
PhilippineTrustCo.,87Phil.405(1952).
91HeirsofVelasquezv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.126996,February15,2000,325SCRA552,566,citing
deMesav.CA,231SCRA773.
92ReyesdeLeonv.delRosario,479Phil.98,107(2004).

93Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.162.

94Id.at118119.

95 Romero v. Court of Appeals, 497 Phil. 775, 784785 (2005), citing Heirs of Eugenio Lopez, Sr. v.
Enriquez,G.R.No.146262,January21,2005,449SCRA173.

96Romerov.CourtofAppeals,id.(Citationsomitted.)

97 Magdalena Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L60323, April 17, 1990, 184
SCRA325,330Yaredv.Ilarde,G.R.No.114732,August1,2000,337SCRA53.

98Rollo(G.R.No.114217),p.163.

99Rule73,Sec.1oftheRulesofCourtstates:

SECTION 1. Where estate of deceased persons settled.If the decedent is an inhabitant of the
Philippinesatthetimeofhisdeath,whetheracitizenoranalien,hiswillshallbeproved,orlettersof
administrationgranted,andhisestatesettled,intheRegionalTrialCourtintheprovinceinwhichhe
resides at the time of his death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Regional Trial
Courtofanyprovinceinwhichhehadestate.Thecourtfirsttakingcognizanceofthesettlementof
theestateofadecedent,shallexercisejurisdictiontotheexclusionofallothercourts.Thejurisdiction
assumedbyacourt,sofarasitdependsontheplaceofresidenceofthedecedent,orofthelocation
ofhisestate,shallnotbecontestedinasuitorproceeding,exceptinanappealfromthatcourt,in
theoriginalcase,orwhenthewantofjurisdictionappearsontherecord.(Emphasissupplied.)

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100 Paciente v. Dacuycuy, etc., et al., 200 Phil. 403, 408409 (1982), citing Cui, et al. v. Piccio, et al., 91
Phil.712(1952)ParcoandBautistav.CourtofAppeals,197Phil.240(1982).

101Gomezv.Imperial,134Phil.858,864(1968)Garciav.CourtofAppeals,350Phil.465(1998),where
the Court upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial courts jurisdiction over a case for
guardianshipholdingthattherelianceonGomezwasmisplaced,sinceinthatcase,thepetitionwasonly
forguardianshipwhileinGarcia,theactionwasforbothguardianshipandsettlementoftheestate.

102Lastrillav.Granada,G.R.No.160257,January31,2006,481SCRA324,340.(Citationsomitted.)

103SeeArticle188oftheCivilCode.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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