Rule 91 – Escheats

Republic of the Phils. vs. CA (GR: 143483)

Escheat is a proceeding, unlike that of succession or assignment, whereby the state, by virtue of its sovereignty, steps in and claims the real or personal property of a person who dies intestate leaving no heir. In the absence of a lawful owner, a property is claimed by the state to forestall an open “invitation to self-service by the first comers.” Since escheat is one of the incidents of sovereignty, the state may, and usually does, prescribe the conditions and limits the time within which a claim to such property may be made. The procedure by which the escheated property may be recovered is generally prescribed by statue, and a time limit is imposed within which such action must be brought.

In this jurisdiction, a claimant to an escheated property must file his claim “within five (5) years from the date of such judgment, such person shall have possession of and title to the same, or if sold, the municipality or city shall be accountable to him for the proceeds, after deducting the estate; but a claim not made shall be barred forever.” The 5-year period is not a device capriciously conjured by the state to defraud any claimant; on the contrary, it is decidedly prescribed to encourage would-be claimants to be punctilious in asserting their claims, otherwise they may lose them forever in a final judgment.


Rule 84 – Gneral Powers and Duties of Executors and Administrators

The Estate of Ruiz vs. CA (GR: 118671)

petitioner cannot correctly claim that the assailed order deprived him of his right to take possession of all the real and personal properties of the estate. The right of an executor or administrator to the possession and management of the real and personal properties of the deceased is not absolute and can only be exercised so long as it is necessary for the payment of the debts and expenses of administration, Section 3 of Rule 84 of the Revised Rules of Court explicitly provides:

Sec. 3. Executor or administrator to retain whole estate to pay debts, and to administer estate not willed. – An executor or administrator shall have the right to the possession and management of the real as well as the personal estate of the deceased so long as it is necessary for the payment of the debts and expenses for administration.

When petitioner moved for further release of the funds deposited with the clerk of court, he had been previously granted by the probate court certain amounts for repair and maintenance expenses on the properties of the estate, and payment of the real estate taxes thereon. But petitioner moved again for the release of additional funds for the same reasons he previously cited. It was correct for the probate court to require him to submit an accounting of the necessary expenses for administration before releasing any further money in his favor.


Rule 78 – Letters Testamentary and of Administration, When and to Whom Issued

In Re: Intestate Estate of Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay (GR: 183053)

Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court lists the order of preference in the appointment of an administrator of an estate…

However, the order of preference is not absolute for it depends on the attendant facts and circumstances of each case. Jurisprudence has long held that the selection of an administrator lies in the sound discretion of the trial court.  In the main, the attendant facts and circumstances of this case necessitate, at the least, a joint administration by both respondent and Emilio III of their grandmothers, Cristinas, estate.

Ocampo vs. Ocampo (GR:  187879)

It may be mentioned that, despite the filing by respondents of their Opposition and Comment to the motion to revoke the special administration, the prayer for the appointment of Melinda as regular administratrix of the estate was not specifically traversed in the said pleading. Thus, the capacity, competency, and legality of Melindas appointment as such was not properly objected to by respondents despite being the next of kin to the decedent spouses, and was not threshed out by the RTC acting as a probate court in accordance with the above mentioned Rules.

However, having in mind the objective of facilitating the settlement of the estate of Vicente and Maxima, with a view to putting an end to the squabbles of the heirs, we take into account the fact that Melinda, pursuant to the RTC Order dated March 13, 2008, already posted the required bond of P200,000.00 on March 26, 2008, by virtue of which, Letters of Administration were issued to her the following day, and that she filed an Inventory of the Properties of the Estate dated April 15, 2008. These acts clearly manifested her intention to serve willingly as administratrix of the decedents estate, but her appointment should be converted into one of special administration, pending the proceedings for regular administration. Furthermore, since it appears that the only unpaid obligation is the hospital bill due from Leonardos estate, which is not subject of this case, judicial partition may then proceed with dispatch.

Avelino vs. CA (GR:  115181)

When a person dies intestate, or, if testate, failed to name an executor in his will or the executor so named is incompetent, or refuses the trust, or fails to furnish the bond required by the Rules of Court, then the decedent’s estate shall be judicially administered and the competent court shall appoint a qualified administrator in the order established in Section 6 of Rule 78. The exceptions to this rule are found in Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 74.

San Luis vs. San Luis (GR: 133743)

Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court states that letters of administration may be granted to the surviving spouse of the decedent. However, Section 2, Rule 79 thereof also provides in part:

SEC. 2. Contents of petition for letters of administration. A petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested person and must show, as far as known to the petitioner: x x x.

An interested person has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. The interest must be material and direct, and not merely indirect or contingent.

In the instant case, respondent would qualify as an interested person who has a direct interest in the estate of Felicisimo by virtue of their cohabitation, the existence of which was not denied by petitioners.

Nittscher vs. Nittscher (GR: 160530)

In this case, records show that petitioner, with whom Dr. Nittscher had no child, and Dr. Nittscher’s children from his previous marriage were all duly notified, by registered mail, of the probate proceedings. Petitioner even appeared in court to oppose respondents petition for the issuance of letters testamentary and she also filed a motion to dismiss the said petition. She likewise filed a motion for reconsideration of the issuance of the letters testamentary and of the denial of her motion to dismiss. We are convinced petitioner was accorded every opportunity to defend her cause. Therefore, petitioners allegation that she was denied due process in the probate proceedings is without basis.

Heirs of Castillo vs. Lacuata-Gabriel (GR:  162934)

The ruling of the CA is correct. The Court has repeatedly held that the appointment of a special administrator lies in the sound discretion of the probate court. A special administrator is a representative of a decedent appointed by the probate court to care for and preserve his estate until an executor or general administrator is appointed. When appointed, a special administrator is regarded not as a representative of the agent of the parties suggesting the appointment, but as the administrator in charge of the estate, and, in fact, as an officer of the court. As such officer, he is subject to the supervision and control of the probate court and is expected to work for the best interests of the entire estate, especially its smooth administration and earliest settlement.

The principal object of appointment of temporary administrator is to preserve the estate until it can pass into hands of person fully authorized to administer it for the benefit of creditors and heirs. In many instances, the appointment of administrators for the estates of decedents frequently become involved in protracted litigations, thereby exposing such estates to great waste and losses unless an authorized agent to collect the debts and preserve the assets in the interim is appointed. The occasion for such an appointment, likewise, arises where, for some cause, such as a pendency of a suit concerning the proof of the will, regular administration is delayed.

Rule 77 – Allowance of Will Proved Outside of Philippines and Administration of Estate Thereunder

In Re: Palaganas (GR: 169144)

The key issue presented in this case is whether or not a will executed by a foreigner abroad may be probated in the Philippines although it has not been previously probated and allowed in the country where it was executed.

Our rules require merely that the petition for the allowance of a will must show, so far as known to the petitioner: (a) the jurisdictional facts; (b) the names, ages, and residences of the heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator or decedent; (c) the probable value and character of the property of the estate; (d) the name of the person for whom letters are prayed; and (e)  if the will has not been delivered to the court, the name of the person having custody of it. Jurisdictional facts refer to the fact of death of the decedent, his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting, or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the estate he left in such province. The rules do not require proof that the foreign will has already been allowed and probated in the country of its execution.

In insisting that Rupertas will should have been first probated and allowed by the court of California, petitioners Manuel and Benjamin obviously have in mind the procedure for the reprobate of will before admitting it here. But, reprobate or re-authentication of a will already probated and allowed in a foreign country is different from that probate where the will is presented for the first time before a competent court. Reprobate is specifically governed by Rule 77 of the Rules of Court. Contrary to petitioners stance, since this latter rule applies only to reprobate of a will, it cannot be made to apply to the present case. In reprobate, the local court acknowledges as binding the findings of the foreign probate court provided its jurisdiction over the matter can be established.

Ancheta vs. Guersey-Dalaygon (GR: 139868)

Petitioners failure to proficiently manage the distribution of Audreys estate according to the terms of her will and as dictated by the applicable law amounted to extrinsic fraud. Hence the CA Decision annulling the RTC Orders dated February 12, 1988 and April 7, 1988, must be upheld.

It is undisputed that Audrey Guersey was an American citizen domiciled in Maryland, U.S.A. During the reprobate of her will in Special Proceeding No. 9625, it was shown, among others, that at the time of Audreys death, she was residing in the Philippines but is domiciled in Maryland, U.S.A.; her Last Will and Testament dated August 18, 1972 was executed and probated before the Orphans Court in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., which was duly authenticated and certified by the Register of Wills of Baltimore City and attested by the Chief Judge of said court; the will was admitted by the Orphans Court of Baltimore City on September 7, 1979; and the will was authenticated by the Secretary of State of Maryland and the Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy.


Petitioner admitted that he failed to introduce in evidence the law of the State of Maryland on Estates and Trusts, and merely relied on the presumption that such law is the same as the Philippine law on wills and succession. Thus, the trial court peremptorily applied Philippine laws and totally disregarded the terms of Audreys will. The obvious result was that there was no fair submission of the case before the trial court or a judicious appreciation of the evidence presented.


Rule 76 – Allowance or Disallowance of Will

Alaban vs. CA (GR: 156021)

Under the Rules of Court, any executor, devisee, or legatee named in a will, or any other person interested in the estate may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court having jurisdiction to have the will allowed. Notice of the time and place for proving the will must be published for three (3) consecutive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation in the province, as well as furnished to the designated or other known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator. 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.

Publication is notice to the whole world that the proceeding has for its object to bar indefinitely all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it. 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.

Siangio vs. Hon. Reyes (GR 140371-72)

Segundos document, although it may initially come across as a mere disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic will prescribed by law. It is written, dated and signed by the hand of Segundo himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa can be clearly deduced from the terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative disposition of the latters property, the disinheritance of Alfredo, nonetheless, is an act of disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the disposition of the property of the testator Segundo in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of Alfredo.

Moreover, it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the testator, expressed in the form and within the limits prescribed by law, must be recognized as the supreme law in succession. All rules of construction are designed to ascertain and give effect to that intention. It is only when the intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it cannot be given effect.

Holographic wills, therefore, being usually prepared by one who is not learned in the law, as illustrated in the present case, should be construed more liberally than the ones drawn by an expert, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the execution of the instrument and the intention of the testator. In this regard, the Court is convinced that the document, even if captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, was intended by Segundo to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him in accordance with law in the form of a holographic will. Unless the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect.

Considering that the questioned document is Segundos holographic will, and that the law favors testacy over intestacy, the probate of the will cannot be dispensed with. Article 838 of the Civil Code provides that no will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court. Thus, unless the will is probated, the right of a person to dispose of his property may be rendered nugatory.

Maloles vs. Phillips  (GR: 129505)

In cases for the probate of wills, it is well-settled that the authority of the court is limited to ascertaining the extrinsic validity of the will, i.e., whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.

Ordinarily, probate proceedings are instituted only after the death of the testator, so much so that, after approving and allowing the will, the court proceeds to issue letters testamentary and settle the estate of the testator. The cases cited by petitioner are of such nature. In fact, in most jurisdictions, courts cannot entertain a petition for probate of the will of a living testator under the principle of ambulatory nature of wills.

However, Art. 838 of the Civil Code authorizes the filing of a petition for probate of the will filed by the testator himself. It provides:

Civil Code, Art. 838. No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.

The testator himself may, during his lifetime, petition the court having jurisdiction for the allowance of his will. In such case, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court for the allowance of wills after the testators death shall govern.

The Supreme Court shall formulate such additional Rules of Court as may be necessary for the allowance of wills on petition of the testator.

Subject to the right of appeal, the allowance of the will, either during the lifetime of the testator or after his death, shall be conclusive as to its due execution.

Baltazar vs. Laxa (GR: 174489)



They insist that all subscribing witnesses and the notary public should have been presented in court since all but one witness, Francisco, are still living.

We cannot agree with petitioners.

We note that the inability of Faustino and Judge Limpin to appear and testify before the court was satisfactorily explained during the probate proceedings. As testified to by his son, Faustino had a heart attack, was already bedridden and could no longer talk and express himself due to brain damage. To prove this, said witness presented the corresponding medical certificate. For her part, Dra. Limpin testified that her father, Judge Limpin, suffered a stroke in 1991 and had to undergo brain surgery. At that time, Judge Limpin could no longer talk and could not even remember his daughters name so that Dra. Limpin stated that given such condition, her father could no longer testify. It is well to note that at that point, despite ample opportunity, petitioners neither interposed any objections to the testimonies of said witnesses nor challenged the same on cross examination.

We thus hold that for all intents and purposes, Lorenzo was able to satisfactorily account for the incapacity and failure of the said subscribing witness and of the notary public to testify in court. Because of this the probate of Paciencias Will may be allowed on the basis of Dra. Limpins testimony proving her sanity and the due execution of the Will, as well as on the proof of her handwriting. It is an established rule that [a] testament may not be disallowed just because the attesting witnesses declare against its due execution; neither does it have to be necessarily allowed just because all the attesting witnesses declare in favor of its legalization; what is decisive is that the court is convinced by evidence before it, not necessarily from the attesting witnesses, although they must testify, that the will was or was not duly executed in the manner required by law.



Rule 74 – Summary Settlement of Estates

Pedrosa vs. CA (GR:  118680)

Section 4, Rule 74 provides for a two year prescriptive period (1) to persons who have participated or taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition, and in addition (2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74 have been strictly complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the extrajudicial settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.

Petitioner, as the records confirm, did not participate in the extrajudicial partition. Patently then, the two-year prescriptive period is not applicable in her case.

The applicable prescriptive period here is four (4) years as provided in Gerona vs. De Guzman, 11 SCRA 153 (1964), which held that:

The action to annul] a deed of extrajudicial settlement upon the ground of fraud…may be filed within four years from the discovery of the fraud. Such discovery is deemed to have taken place when said instrument was filed with the Register of Deeds and new certificates of title were issued in the name of respondents exclusively.

Sps. Arenas vs. Roces (GR:  147468)

As stated above, the titles, namely, TCT Nos. 7299 and 7673, contained annotations which made reference to the provisions of Rule 74, Section 4 of the Rules of Court, viz:

SEC. 4. Liability of distributees and estate. If it shall appear at any time within two (2) years after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule, that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, such heir or such other person may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation. And if within the same time of two (2) years, it shall appear that there are debts outstanding against the estate which have not been paid, or that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation payable in money, the court having jurisdiction of the estate may, by order for that purpose, after hearing, settle the amount of such debts or lawful participation and order how much and in what manner each distributee shall contribute in the payment thereof, and may issue execution, if circumstances require, against the bond provided in the preceding section or against the real estate belonging to the deceased, or both. Such bond and such real estate shall remain charged with a liability to creditors, heirs, or other persons for the full period of two (2) years after such distribution, notwithstanding any transfers of real estate that may have been made.

The foregoing rule clearly covers transfers of real property to any person, as long as the deprived heir or creditor vindicates his rights within two years from the date of the settlement and distribution of estate. Contrary to petitioners contention, the effects of this provision are not limited to the heirs or original distributees of the estate properties, but shall affect any transferee of the properties.

In David vs. Malay, it was held that the buyer of real property the title of which contain an annotation pursuant to Rule 74, Section 4 of the Rules of Court cannot be considered innocent purchasers for value. In the same vein, the annotation at the back of TCT No. 7299 in this case referring to Rule 74, Section 4 of the Rules of Court was sufficient notice to petitioners of the limitation on Montinolas right to dispose of the property. The presence of an irregularity which excites or arouses suspicion should prompt the vendee to look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the vendor appearing on the face thereof. Purchasers of registered land are bound by the annotations found at the back of the certificate of title.

Hence, petitioners cannot be considered buyers in good faith and cannot now avoid the consequences brought about by the application of Rule 74, Section 4 of the Rules of Court.

PEZA vs. Hon. Fernandez (GR: 138971)

In the present case, private respondents are deemed to have been constructively notified of the extrajudicial settlement by reason of its registration and annotation in the certificate of title over the subject lot. From the time of registration, private respondents had two (2) years or until July 8, 1984, within which to file their objections or to demand the appropriate settlement of the estate.

On the matter of constructive notice vis–vis prescription of an action to contest an extrajudicial partition, a leading authority on land registration elucidates as follows:

While it may be true that an extrajudicial partition is an ex parte proceeding, yet after its registration under the Torrens system and the annotation on the new certificate of title of the contingent liability of the estate for a period of two years as prescribed in Rule 74, Section 4, of the Rules of Court, by operation of law a constructive notice is deemed made to all the world, so that upon the expiration of said period all third persons should be barred [from going] after the particular property, except where title thereto still remains in the names of the alleged heirs who executed the partition tainted with fraud, or their transferees who may not qualify as innocent purchasers for value.

The only exception to the above-mentioned prescription is when the title remains in the hands of the heirs who have fraudulently caused the partition of the subject property or in those of their transferees who cannot be considered innocent purchasers for value.

In this regard, title to the property in the present case was no longer in the name of the allegedly fraudulent heirs, but already in that of an innocent purchaser for value the government. Moreover, the government is presumed to have acted in good faith in the acquisition of the lot, considering that title thereto was obtained through a Compromise Agreement judicially approved in proper expropriation proceedings.

Even assuming that there was in fact fraud on the part of the other heirs, private respondents may proceed only against the defrauding heirs, not against petitioner which had no participation in or knowledge of the alleged fraud. The fact that the co-heirs title to the property was fraudulently secured cannot prejudice the rights of petitioner which, absent any showing that it had knowledge or participation in the irregularity, is considered a purchaser in good faith and for value.

The remedy of an owner alleged to have been prejudiced or fraudulently deprived of property that was subsequently sold to an innocent purchaser for value is an action for damages against the person or persons who perpetrated the fraud.

Cua vs. Vargas (GR:  156536)

J. Azcuna:

The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 is an ex parte proceeding. The rule plainly states, however, that persons who do not participate or had no notice of an extrajudicial settlement will not be bound thereby. It contemplates a notice that has been sent out or issued before any deed of settlement and/or partition is agreed upon (i.e., a notice calling all interested parties to participate in the said deed of extrajudicial settlement and partition), and not after such an agreement has already been executed as what happened in the instant case with the publication of the first deed of extrajudicial settlement among heirs.

The publication of the settlement does not constitute constructive notice to the heirs who had no knowledge or did not take part in it because the same was notice after the fact of execution. The requirement of publication is geared for the protection of creditors and was never intended to deprive heirs of their lawful participation in the decedents estate. In this connection, the records of the present case confirm that respondents never signed either of the settlement documents, having discovered their existence only shortly before the filing of the present complaint. Following Rule 74, these extrajudicial settlements do not bind respondents, and the partition made without their knowledge and consent is invalid insofar as they are concerned.

Rule 73 – Settlement of Estate of Deceased Persons

Cortes vs. CA (GR: 117417)

The long standing rule is that probate courts, or those in charge of proceedings whether testate or intestate, cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties. Stated otherwise, “claims for title to, or right of possession of, personal or real property, made by the heirs themselves, by title adverse to that of the deceased, or made by third persons, cannot be entertained by the (probate) court.

In the present case, however, private respondent Menandro A. Reselva, who refused to vacate the house and lot being eyed as part of the estate of the late Teodoro T. Reselva, cannot be considered an “outside party” for he is one of the three compulsory heirs of the former. As such, he is very much involved in the settlement of Teodoro’s estate. By way of exception to the above-mentioned rule, “when the parties are all heirs of the decedent, it is optional upon them to submit to the probate court the question of title to property.” Here, the probate court is competent to decide the question of ownership. More so, when the opposing parties belong to the poor stratum of society and a separate action would be most expensive and inexpedient.

In addition, Menandro’s claim is not at all adverse to, or in conflict with that of, the decedent since the former’s theory merely advances co-ownership with the latter. In the same way, when the controversy is whether the property in issue belongs to the conjugal partnership or exclusively to the decedent, the same is properly within the jurisdiction of the probate court, which necessarily has to liquidate the conjugal partnership in order to determine the estate of the decedent which is to be distributed among the heirs.

Mendoza vs. Teh (GR: 122646)

An action for reconveyance, which involves title title to property worth millions of pesos, such as the lots subject of this case, is cognizable by the RTC. Likewise falling within its jurisdiction are actions incapable of pecuniary estimation, such as the appointment of an administratrix for an estate. Even the Rules on venue of estate proceedings (Section 1 of Rule 73) impliedly recognizes the jurisdiction of the RTC over petitions for granting of letters of administration. On the other hand, probate proceedings for the settlement of estate are within the ambit of either the RTC or MTC depending on the net worth of the estate. By arguing that the allegation seeking such appointment as administratrix ousted the RTC of its jurisdiction, both public and private respondents confuses jurisdiction with venue. Section 2 of Rule 4 as revised by Circular 13-95 provides that actions involving title to property shall be tried in the province where the property is located, in this case, – Batangas. The mere fact that petitioners deceased husband resides in Quezon City at the time of his death affects only the venue but not the jurisdiction of the Court.

Second, the cases cited by private respondents are not at point as they involve settlement of estate where the probate court was asked to resolve questions of ownership of certain properties. In the present suit, no settlement of estate is involved, but merely an allegation seeking appointment as estate administratrix which does not necessarily involve settlement of estate that would have invited the exercise of the limited jurisdiction of a probate court. The above allegation is not even a jurisdictional fact which must be stated in an action for reconveyance. The Court therefore, should have at least, proceeded with the reconveyance suit rather than dismiss the entire case.

Third, jurisprudential rulings that a probate court cannot generally decide questions of ownership or title to property is not applicable in this case, because: there is no settlement of estate involved and the RTC of Batangas was not acting as a probate court. It should be clarified that whether a particular matter should be resolved by the RTC in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or its limited probate jurisdiction, is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of procedure.  Moreover, the instant action for reconveyance does not even invoke the limited jurisdiction of a probate court.  Considering that the RTC has jurisdiction, whether it be on the reconveyance suit or as to the appointment of an administratrix, it was improper for respondent judge to dismiss the whole complaint for alleged lack of jurisdiction.

In Re:  Palaganas (GR: 169144)

The key issue presented in this case is whether or not a will executed by a foreigner abroad may be probated in the Philippines although it has not been previously probated and allowed in the country where it was executed.


Our laws do not prohibit the probate of wills executed by foreigners abroad although the same have not as yet been probated and allowed in the countries of their execution. A foreign will can be given legal effects in our jurisdiction. Article 816 of the Civil Code states that the will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made in accordance with the formalities prescribed by the law of the place where he resides, or according to the formalities observed in his country.

In this connection, Section 1, Rule 73 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if the decedent is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the RTC of the province where he has an estate may take cognizance of the settlement of such estate. Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 76 further state that the executor, devisee, or legatee named in the will, or any other person interested in the estate, may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court having jurisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same be in his possession or not, or is lost or destroyed.

Our rules require merely that the petition for the allowance of a will must show, so far as known to the petitioner: (a) the jurisdictional facts; (b) the names, ages, and residences of the heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator or decedent; (c) the probable value and character of the property of the estate; (d) the name of the person for whom letters are prayed; and (e)  if the will has not been delivered to the court, the name of the person having custody of it. Jurisdictional facts refer to the fact of death of the decedent, his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting, or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the estate he left in such province. The rules do not require proof that the foreign will has already been allowed and probated in the country of its execution.

San Luis vs. Sagalongos (GR 133743)

It is incorrect for petitioners to argue that residence, for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo, is synonymous with domicile. The rulings in Nuval and Romualdez are inapplicable to the instant case because they involve election cases. Needless to say, there is a distinction between residence for purposes of election laws and residence for purposes of fixing the venue of actions. In election cases, residence and domicile are treated as synonymous terms, that is, the fixed permanent residence to which when absent, one has the intention of returning. However, for purposes of fixing venue under the Rules of Court, the residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation, or actual residence or place of abode, which may not necessarily be his legal residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency.  Hence, it is possible that a person may have his residence in one place and domicile in another.

In the instant case, while petitioners established that Felicisimo was domiciled in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, respondent proved that he also maintained a residence in Alabang, Muntinlupa from 1982 up to the time of his death. Respondent submitted in evidence the Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 5, 1983 showing that the deceased purchased the aforesaid property. She also presented billing statements from the Philippine Heart Center and Chinese General Hospital for the period August to December 1992 indicating the address of Felicisimo at 100 San Juanico, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa. Respondent also presented proof of membership of the deceased in the Ayala Alabang Village Association and Ayala Country Club, Inc., letter-envelopes from 1988 to 1990 sent by the deceaseds children to him at his Alabang address, and the deceaseds calling cards stating that his home/city address is at 100 San Juanico, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa while his office/provincial address is in Provincial Capitol, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.





Republic Act 7610. Anti-Child Abuse Law

R.A. 7610 – An Act providing for stronger deterrence and special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, providing penalties for its violation and for other purposes.

Pp vs. Dahilig (GR: 187083)

The question now is what crime has been committed? Is it Rape (Violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353), or is it Child Abuse, defined and penalized by Sec. 5, (b), R.A. No. 7610?

As elucidated by the RTC and the CA in their respective decisions, all the elements of both crimes are present in this case. The case of People v. Abay, however, is enlightening and instructional on this issue. It was stated in that case that if the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal liability for a single criminal act.

Garingarao vs. PP (GR: 192760)

Garingarao alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision finding him guilty of acts of lasciviousness in relation to RA 7610. Garingarao insists that it was physically impossible for him to commit the acts charged against him because there were many patients and hospital employees around. He alleges that AAAs room was well lighted and that he had an assistant when the incident allegedly occurred. Garingarao further alleges that, assuming the charges were correct, there was only one incident when he allegedly touched AAA and as such, he should have been convicted only of acts of lasciviousness and not of violation of RA 7610.

We do not agree.

In this case, the prosecution established that Garingarao touched AAAs breasts and inserted his finger into her private part for his sexual gratification. Garingarao used his influence as a nurse by pretending that his actions were part of the physical examination he was doing. Garingarao persisted on what he was doing despite AAAs objections. AAA twice asked Garingarao what he was doing and he answered that he was just examining her.


The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 are the following:

  1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct;
  2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and
  3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

Under Section 32, Article XIII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7610, lascivious conduct is defined as follows:

[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person.


The Court has already ruled that it is inconsequential that sexual abuse under RA 7610 occurred only once. Section 3(b) of RA 7610 provides that the abuse may be habitual or not. Hence, the fact that the offense occurred only once is enough to hold Garingarao liable for acts of lasciviousness under RA 7610.

Sanchez Vs. PP, CA (GR: 179090)

Resolution: J. Nachura

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision dated February 20, 2007 which affirmed the Decision dated July 30, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, convicting appellant Leonilo Sanchez alias Nilo (appellant) of the crime of Other Acts of Child Abuse punishable under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7610 in relation to Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 603, with a modification of the penalty imposed.


The instant Petition is bereft of merit.

Under Subsection (b), Section 3 of R.A. No. 7610, child abuse refers to the maltreatment of a child, whether habitual or not, which includes any of the following:

(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;

(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or

(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.


Appellant contends that, after proof, the act should not be considered as child abuse but merely as slight physical injuries defined and punishable under Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant conveniently forgets that when the incident happened, VVV was a child entitled to the protection extended by R.A. No. 7610, as mandated by the Constitution.  As defined in the law, child abuse includes physical abuse of the child, whether the same is habitual or not. The act of appellant falls squarely within this definition. We, therefore, cannot accept appellant’s contention.

De Ocampo vs. Hon. Sec. of Justice (GR:147932)

Petitioners single act of allegedly banging the heads of her students had two distinct victims, namely Ronald and Lorendo. Therefore, petitioner has to face prosecution for cruelty to each victim. For Ronalds death, petitioner is being charged with homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 punishable by reclusion perpetua. However, this does not mean that petitioner is being charged with the distinct offenses of homicide and child abuse for Ronalds death. On the other hand, for her cruelty to Lorendo, petitioner is being charged with violation of Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 punishable by prision mayor in its minimum period.

Contrary to petitioners contention, Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 is clear. This provision reads:

(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the childs development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.

Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in more than one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time. A statute is ambiguous if it is susceptible to more than one interpretation. In the present case, petitioner fails to show convincingly the ambiguity in Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610.

Section 3(b), Article VI of RA 7610 defines child abuse as the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes physical abuse and cruelty. Petitioners alleged banging of the heads of Ronald and Lorendo is clearly an act of cruelty.

PP vs. CA, Olayon (GR 171863)

The record shows that the Pasig City Prosecutors Office found that the acts of respondent did not amount to rape as they were done with the consent of the 14-year old AAA. Nevertheless, it found the acts constitutive of violations of [Republic] Act No. 7610, hence, its filing of the above-quoted Informations for violation of Section 10(a).

The Informations alleged that respondent, with lewd designs did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have sexual intercourse with and commit lewd and lascivious acts upon the person of [AAA], a minor, fourteen (14) years of age.



For consensual sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a minor, who is not exploited in prostitution, to thus fall within the purview of Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of the child must be present.

In the case at bar, even if respondent were charged under Section 5(b), instead of Section 10(a), respondent would just the same have been acquitted as there was no allegation that an element of the offense coercion or influence or intimidation attended its commission.



Anti-Rape Law (RA8353)

De Castro vs. Judge Fernandez, Jr. (GR 155041)

Petitioner also questions the charge filed against him by the prosecutor. Petitioner insists that a finger does not constitute an object or instrument in the contemplation of RA 8353.

Petitioner is mistaken. Under the present law on rape, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 8353, and as interpreted in People v. Soriano, the insertion of ones finger into the genital of another constitutes rape through sexual assault. Hence, the prosecutor did not err in charging petitioner with the crime of rape under Article 266-A, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code.

People vs. Dahilig (GR 187083)

Clearly, the accused sexually abused AAA.

The question now is what crime has been committed? Is it Rape (Violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353), or is it Child Abuse, defined and penalized by Sec. 5, (b), R.A. No. 7610?

As elucidated by the RTC and the CA in their respective decisions, all the elements of both crimes are present in this case. The case of People v. Abay, however, is enlightening and instructional on this issue. It was stated in that case that if the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal liability for a single criminal act.

Accordingly, the accused can indeed be charged with either Rape or Child Abuse and be convicted therefor. Considering, however, that the information correctly charged the accused with rape in violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353, and that he was convicted therefor, the CA should have merely affirmed the conviction.

People vs. Dollano, Jr (GR 188851)

It is significant to note that in Criminal Case Nos. 1381 and 1382 against AAA, the rape incidents occurred prior to the effectivity of RA 8353, or The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 which took effect on October 22, 1997 and classified the crime of rape as a crime against persons. Thus, we apply the old law and treat the acts of rape as private crimes. As provided in Article 344 of the RPC, for crimes of seduction, abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness, pardon and marriage extinguish criminal liability. However, pardon should have been made prior to the institution of the criminal actions.

In this case, AAA gave her testimony in court during the presentation of the evidence for the prosecution. After the prosecution rested its case and during the presentation of the evidence for the defense, AAA again testified to tell the court that she lied when she first testified thereby recanting her previous testimony. Clearly, even if we consider the recantation as pardon on the part of the offended party in favor of appellant, the same cannot be appreciated for purposes of acquitting the accused as it was given definitely after the institution of the criminal action. Once the case is filed in court, control of the prosecution is removed from the offended party’s hands and any change of heart by the victim will not affect the states right to vindicate the atrocity committed against itself. It must be stressed that the true aggrieved party in a criminal prosecution is the People of the Philippines whose collective sense of morality, decency and justice has been outraged.

In Criminal Case Nos. 1387 and 1388, the rape incidents were committed when RA 8353 was already effective wherein rape was considered as a crime against person. The recantation became less significant.





Guide to Prosecution of Offenses: Rule 110

Ricarze vs. CA (GR 160451)

Under Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Rules, all criminal actions covered by a complaint or information shall be prosecuted under the direct supervision and control of the public prosecutor.  Thus, even if the felonies or delictual acts of the accused result in damage or injury to another, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability based on the said criminal acts is impliedly instituted, and the offended party has not waived the civil action, reserved the right to institute it separately or instituted the civil action prior to the criminal action, the prosecution of the action (including the civil) remains under the control and supervision of the public

People vs Nicolas (GR 135877)

We must also note that, even if considered in the light of current provisions of law and the rules, the same ruling would be reached. Under R.A. 8353, rape has been reclassified from being a private crime into a crime against persons. As a result, the prosecution of the crime of rape has been effectively removed from the ambit of the requirements of Chapter Five, Title Eleven of the Revised Penal Code and Section 5, Rule 110 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. We note further that on December 1, 2000, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure took effect and, following the amendments brought about by R.A. 8353, Section 5, Rule 110 thereof has correspondingly been amended. Rape may now be prosecuted de oficio.

Llenes vs. Judge Dicdican (GR 122274)

By its express mandate, Section 1, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court does not apply to cases covered by the Rule on Summary Procedure. Second, since the ordinance in question partakes of a special penal statute Act No. 3326 is then applicable; hence, it is the filing in the proper court of the complaint or information which suspends the running of the period of prescription.

Pacoy vs. Hon. Cajigal (GR 157472)

Section 14, Rule 110 also provides that in allowing formal amendments in cases in which the accused has already pleaded, it is necessary that the amendments do not prejudice the rights of the accused. The test of whether the rights of an accused are prejudiced by the amendment of a complaint or information is whether a defense under the complaint or information, as it originally stood, would no longer be available after the amendment is made; and when any evidence the accused might have would be inapplicable to the complaint or information. Since the facts alleged in the accusatory portion of the amended Information are identical with those of the original Information for Homicide, there could not be any effect on the prosecution’s theory of the case; neither would there be any possible prejudice to the rights or defense of petitioner.


Evidently, the last paragraph of Section 14, Rule 110, applies only when the offense charged is wholly different from the offense proved, i.e., the accused cannot be convicted of a crime with which he was not charged in the information even if it be proven, in which case, there must be a dismissal of the charge and a substitution of a new information charging the proper offense. Section 14 does not apply to a secondinformation, which involves the same offense or an offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the first information. In this connection, the offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form a part of those constituting the latter.

Homicide is necessarily included in the crime of murder; thus, the respondent judge merely ordered the amendment of the Information and not the dismissal of the original Information. To repeat, it was the same original information that was amended by merely crossing out the word Homicide and writing the word Murder, instead, which showed that there was no dismissal of the homicide case.