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Sanchez vs CA GR No 108947

Facts:

“[Herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod is the only child of spouses Juan C.
Sanchez and Maria Villafranca while [herein private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod,
Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod are the legitimate children of [herein private
respondent] Rosalia.
[Herein petitioners] Rolando, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez,
are the illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez.
On October 30, 1969, however, [herein private respondent] Rosalia and [herein
petitioners] assisted by their respective counsels executed a compromise agreement
(Annex ‘D’, Petition) wherein they agreed to divide the properties enumerated therein of
the late Juan C. Sanchez.

This compromise agreement was not approved by the probate court.

Issue:

Is the Compromise Agreement partitioning the property of the estate without approval of
the probate court valid?

Held:

Yes.
Petitioners contend that, because the compromise agreement was executed during the
pendency of the probate proceedings, judicial approval is necessary to shroud it with
validity. They stress that the probate court had jurisdiction over the properties covered
by said agreement. They add that Petitioners Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna were all
minors represented only by their mother/natural guardian, Laureta Tampus.
These contentions lack merit. Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise
agreement as “a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid
a litigation or put an end to one already commenced.” Being a consensual contract, it is
perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties. Judicial approval is not required
for its perfection. Petitioners’ argument that the compromise was not valid for lack of
judicial approval is not novel; the same was raised in Mayuga vs. Court of Appeals,]
where the Court, through Justice Irene R. Cortes, ruled:
“It is alleged that the lack of judicial approval is fatal to the compromise. A
compromise is a consensual contract. As such, it is perfected upon the meeting
of the minds of the parties to the contract. (Hernandez v. Barcelon, 23 Phil. 599
[1912]; see also De los Reyes v. de Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505 [1945].) And from that
moment not only does it become binding upon the parties (De los Reyes v. De
Ugarte, supra ), it also has upon them the effect and authority of res judicata
(Civil Code, Art. 2037), even if not judicially approved (Meneses v. De la Rosa,
77 Phil. 34 [1946]; Vda. De Guilas v. David, 132 Phil. 241, L-24280, 23 SCRA
762 [May 27, 1968]; Cochingyan v. Cloribel, L-27070-71 [April 22, 1977], 76
SCRA 361).” (Italics found in the original.)
In the case before us, it is ineludible that the parties knowingly and freely entered into a
valid compromise agreement. Adequately assisted by their respective counsels, they
each negotiated its terms and provisions for four months; in fact, said agreement was
executed only after the fourth draft. As noted by the trial court itself, the first and second
drafts were prepared successively in July, 1969; the third draft on September 25, 1969;
and the fourth draft, which was finally signed by the parties on October 30, 1969,
followed. Since this compromise agreement was the result of a long drawn out process,
with all the parties ably striving to protect their respective interests and to come out with
the best they could, there can be no doubt that the parties entered into it freely and
voluntarily. Accordingly, they should be bound thereby. To be valid, it is merely required
under the law to be based on real claims and actually agreed upon in good faith by the
parties thereto.
Indeed, compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed but also
encouraged in civil cases. Article 2029 of the Civil Code mandates that a “court shall
endeavor to persuade the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair compromise.”
In opposing the validity and enforcement of the compromise agreement, petitioners harp
on the minority of Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna. Citing Article 2032 of the Civil
Code, they contend that the court’s approval is necessary in compromises entered into
by guardians and parents in behalf of their wards or children.
It is also significant that all the parties, including the then minors, had already
consummated and availed themselves of the benefits of their compromise. This Court
has consistently ruled that “a party to a compromise cannot ask for a rescission after it
has enjoyed its benefits.”By their acts, the parties are ineludibly estopped from
questioning the validity of their compromise agreement.

Heirs of Reyes vs Reyes 139587 2000

Facts:

Leoncia Reyes and three out of four children decided to execute a deed denominated
Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli, hereby they sold the land and its existing
improvements to the Spouses Benedicto Francia and Monica Ajoco (Spouses Francia)
for P500.00, subject to the vendors right to repurchase for the same amount sa oras na
sila'y makinabang. Leoncia and her children did not repay the amount of P500.00.
Alejandro Reyes, one Leoncia’ grandchildren, repaid the P500.00 from the Spouses
Francia. By virtue of his payment, Alejandro executed a Kasulatan ng Pagmeme-ari,
wherein he declared that he had acquired all the rights and interests of the heirs of the
Spouses Francia, including the ownership of the property, after the vendors had failed
to repurchase within the given period. Nevertheless, Alejandro, Leoncia, and his father
Jose, Sr. executed a Magkakalakip na Salaysay, by which Alejandro acknowledged the
right of Leoncia, Jose, Jr., and Jose, Sr. to repurchase the property at any time for the
same amount of P500.00.

After Alejandro’s death, Amanda Reyes, the wife of Alejandro Reyes, asked his
deceased husband’s cousins to vacate the property because she and her children
already needed it. Respondents alleged that their predecessor Alejandro had acquired
ownership of the property by virtue of the deed Pagsasa-ayos ng Pag-aari at Pagsasalin
executed on August 11, 1970 by the heirs of the Spouses Francia; that on the basis of such deed
of assignment, Alejandro had consolidated his ownership of the property via his Kasulatan ng
Pagmeme-ari; and that under the Magkasanib na Salaysay, Alejandro had granted to Leoncia,
his father Jose, Sr., and his uncles, Teofilo and Jose, Jr. the right to repurchase the property, but
they had failed to do so. he petitioners averred that the Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli
was an equitable mortgage, not a pacto de retro sale; that the mortgagors had retained
ownership of the property; that the heirs of the Spouses Francia could not have validly sold the
property to Alejandro through the Pagsasaayos ng Pag-aari at Pagsasalin; that Alejandros right
was only to seek reimbursement of the P500.00 he had paid from the co-owners, namely:
Leoncia, Teofilo, Jose, Jr. and Jose, Sr. and the heirs of Potenciana; and that Alejandro could not
have also validly consolidated ownership through the Kasulatan ng Pagmeme-ari, because a
consolidation of ownership could only be effected via a court order.

The RTC ruled in favor of the respondents declaring that Alejandro had acquired ownership of
the property in 1965 by operation of law upon the failure of the petitioners predecessors to
repurchase the property; that the joint affidavit executed by Alejandro, Leoncia and Jose, Jr.
and Jose, Sr., to extend the period of redemption was inefficacious, because there was no more
period to extend due to the redemption period having long lapsed by the time of its execution;
and that the action should be dismissed insofar as the heirs of Potenciana were concerned,
considering that Potenciana, who had predeceased her parents, had no successional rights in
the property.

The CA reversed the finding of the trial court and ruled that that the transaction covered by the
Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli was not a pacto de retro sale but an equitable mortgage
under Article 1602 of the Civil Code; that even after the deeds execution, Leoncia, Teofilo, Jose,
Jr. and their families had remained in possession of the property and continued paying realty
taxes for the property; that the purported vendees had not declared the property for taxation
purposes under their own names; and that such circumstances proved that the parties
envisaged an equitable mortgage in the Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioners are now barred from claiming that the transaction
under the Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli was an equitable mortgage by their failure to
redeem the property for a long period of time?

Held: No, considering that sa oras na silay makinabang, the period of redemption stated in
the Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli, signified that no definite period had been stated, the
period to redeem should be ten years from the execution of the contract, pursuant to Articles
1142 and 1144 of the Civil Cod. The acceptance of the payments even beyond the 10-year
period of redemption estopped the mortgagees heirs from insisting that the period to redeem
the property had already expired. Their actions impliedly recognized the continued existence of
the equitable mortgage. The conduct of the original parties as well as of their successors-in-
interest manifested that the parties to the Kasulatan ng Biling Mabibiling Muli really intended
their transaction to be an equitable mortgage, not a pacto de retro sale.

Alaban vs CA

FACTS:

Petitioners maintain that they were not made parties to the case in which the decision
sought to be annulled was rendered and, thus, they could not have availed of the
ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief from judgment and other
appropriate remedies, contrary to the ruling of the CA.

ISSUE:

W/N Petitioners were made parties in the proceedings

HELD:
Petitioners in this case are mistaken in asserting that they are not or have not become
parties to the probate proceedings.

Thus, it has been held that a proceeding for the probate of a will is one in rem, such that
with the corresponding publication of the petition the court’s jurisdiction extends to all
persons interested in said will or in the settlement of the estate of the decedent.

Thus, even though petitioners were not mentioned in the petition for probate, they
eventually became parties thereto as a consequence of the publication of the notice of
hearing.

On the other hand, according to the Rules, notice is required to be personally given to
known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator.

Petitioners, as nephews and nieces of the decedent, are neither compulsory nor testate
heirs who are entitled to be notified of the probate proceedings under the Rules.
Respondent had no legal obligation to mention petitioners in the petition for probate, or
to personally notify them of the same.

Besides, assuming arguendo that petitioners are entitled to be so notified, the purported
infirmity is cured by the publication of the notice.

SUMILANG V. RAMAGOSA 21 SCRA 1369

FACTS
Mariano Sumilang filed a petition for theprobate of a document alleged to be thelast will
and testament of HilarionRamagosa. Said document institutesMariano as the sole heir
of the testator.The petition was opposed by two SaturninaRamagosa, et. al, who
questioned the dueexecution of the document, claiming thatit was made under duress
and was notreally intended by the deceased to be hislast will and testament. Saturnino
andSantiago Ramagosa also claimed thatthey, instead of Mariano, were entitled
toinherit the estate of the deceased.After Mariano presented evidence andrested his
case, oppositors moved for thedismissal of the petition on the ground thatdecedent
revoked his will by implication oflaw six years before his death by selling theparcels of
land to Mariano Sumilang andhis brother Mario so that at the time of thetestator's death,
the titles to said landswere no longer in his name.On the other hand, Mariano moved
tostrike out oppositors pleadings on theground that the oppositors have no interestin the
probate of the will as they have norelationship with the decedent within thefifth degree.
The lower court ruled in favor of Mariano stating that the allegations ofthe oppositors go
to the very intrinsic valueof the will and since the oppositors have nostanding to oppose
the probate of the willas they are strangers, their pleadings areordered stricken out from
the record.

ISSUE
Whether the probate court should passupon the intrinsic validity of the will.
HELD
The petition being for the probate of a will,the court's area of inquiry is limited to
theextrinsic validity only. The testator'stestamentary capacity and thecompliance with
the formal requisites or solemnities prescribed by law are the onlyquestions presented
for the resolution ofthe court. Any inquiry into the intrinsicvalidity or efficacy of the
provisions of thewill or the legality of any devise or legacy ispremature (Nuguid vs.
Nuguid).To establish conclusively as againsteveryone and once for all, the facts that
awill was executed with the formalitiesrequired by law and that the testator wasin a
condition to make a will, is the onlypurpose of the proceedings . . . for theprobate of a
will. The judgment in suchproceedings determines and candetermine nothing more.
(Alemany, et al.vs. CFI of Manila)True or not, the alleged sale is no groundfor the
dismissal of the petition for probate.Probate is one thing the validity of thetestamentary
provisions is another. The firstdecides the execution of the documentand the
testamentary capacity of thetestator; the second relates to descentand distributionThe
revocation invoked by the oppositors isnot an express one, but merely impliedfrom
subsequent acts of the testatrixallegedly evidencing an abandonment ofthe original
intention to bequeath or devisethe properties concerned. As such, therevocation would
not affect the will itself,but merely the particular devise or legacy

Guevara v. Guevara Digest 98 Phil 249

Facts:
1. Victorino Guevara executed a will in 1931 wherein he made various bequests t his wife,
stepchildren, wife in the 2nd marriage. He has a legitimate son Ernesto and a natural daughter
Rosario. Therein, he acknowledged Rosario as his natural daughter.

2. In 1933, Victorino died but his last will was never presented for probate nor was there any
settlement proceeding initiated. It appeared that only his son Ernest possessed the land which he
adjudicated to himself. While Rosario who had the will in her custody, did nothing to invoke the
acknowledgment, as well as the devise given to her.

3. Subsequently, Rosario filed an action for the recovery of her legitime from Ernesto, a portion
of a large parcel of land invoking the acknowledgment contained in the will and based on the
assumption that the decedent died intestate because his will was not probated. She alleged that
the disposition in favor of Ernesto should be disregarded.

4. The lower court and the Court of Appeals sustained Rosario's theory.

Issue: Whether or not the probate of a will can be dispensed with

RULING: No. Rosario's contention violates procedural law and considered an attempt to
circumvent the last will and testament of the decedent. The presentation of a will to the court for
probate is mandatory and its allowance is essential and indispensable to its efficacy.
Suppression of the will is contrary to law and public policy for without probate, the right of a
person to dispose of his property by will may be rendered nugatory.

Cuenco vs. CA G.R. No. L-24742, October 26, 1973

FACTS:

Senator Mariano Jesus Cuenco died in Manila. He was survived by his widow and two minor
sons, residing in Quezon City, and children of the first marriage, residing in Cebu. Lourdes, one
of the children from the first marriage, filed a Petition for Letters of Administration with the
Court of First Instance (CFI) Cebu, alleging that the senator died intestate in Manila but a
resident of Cebu with properties in Cebu and Quezon City.

The petition still pending with CFI Cebu, Rosa Cayetano Cuenco, the second wife, filed a
petition with CFI Rizal for the probate of the last will and testament, where she was named
executrix. Rosa also filed an opposition and motion to dismiss in CFI Cebu but this court held in
abeyance resolution over the opposition until CFI Quezon shall have acted on the probate
proceedings.

Lourdes filed an opposition and motion to dismiss in CFI Quezon, on ground of lack of
jurisdiction and/or improper venue, considering that CFI Cebu already acquired exclusive
jurisdiction over the case. The opposition and motion to dismiss were denied. Upon appeal CA
ruled in favor of Lourdes and issued a writ of prohibition to CFI Quezon.

ISSUEs:

 Whether or not CA erred in issuing the writ of prohibition


 Whether or not CFI Quezon acted without jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion in
taking cognizance and assuming exclusive jurisdiction over the probate proceedings in
pursuance to CFI Cebu's order expressly consenting in deference to the precedence of
probate over intestate proceedings

HELD:

The Supreme Court found that CA erred in law in issuing the writ of prohibition against the
Quezon City court from proceeding with the testate proceedings and annulling and setting aside
all its orders and actions, particularly its admission to probate of the last will and testament of the
deceased and appointing petitioner-widow as executrix thereof without bond pursuant to the
deceased testator's wish.

On Venue and Jurisdiction

Under Rule 73, the court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decent, shall
exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts.

The residence of the decent or the location of his estate is not an element of jurisdiction over the
subject matter but merely of venue. If this were otherwise, it would affect the prompt
administration of justice.

The court with whom the petition is first filed must also first take cognizance of the settlement of
the estate in order to exercise jurisdiction over it to the exclusion of all other courts.