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CHRISTIAN QUE

RAMON S. CHING AND PO WING PROPERTIES, INC. Petitioners, vs. HON. JANSEN R. RODRIGUEZ, JOSEPH CHENG, JAIME CHENG, MERCEDES IGNE AND LUCINA SANTOS, substituted by her son, EDUARDO S. BALAJADIA, Respondents. G.R. No. 192828 November 28, 2011

Facts: The respondents filed a Complaint against the petitioners and Stronghold Insurance Company, Global Business Bank, Inc., Elena Tiu Del Pilar, Asia Atlantic Resources Ventures, Inc., Registers of Deeds of Manila and Malabon, and all persons claiming rights or titles from Ramon Ching (Ramon) and his successors-in-interest. The Complaint, as one for "Disinheritance, Declaration of Nullity of Agreement and Waiver, Affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement, Deed of Absolute Sale, Transfer Certificates of Title with Prayer for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction. In the Complaint, the respondents alleged that On July 18, 1996, Antonio died of a stab wound. Police investigators identified Ramon as the prime suspect and he now stands as the lone accused in a criminal case for murder filed against him. Warrants of arrest issued against him have remained unserved as he is at large. From the foregoing circumstances and upon the authority of Article 919 of the New Civil Code (NCC), the respondents concluded that Ramon can be legally disinherited, hence, prohibited from receiving any share from the estate of Antonio. The petitioners filed with the RTC a Motion to Dismiss alleging forum shopping, litis pendentia, res judicata and the respondents as not being the real parties in interest.

On March 15, 2007, the RTC issued an Order denying the petitioners' Motion to Dismiss such order was affirmed by the CA. I ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC should have granted the motion to dismiss filed by the petitioners on the ground of RTCs lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter which can only be resolved in a special proceeding and not in an ordinary civil action? RULING: No. Under Article 916 of the NCC, disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefore shall be specified. This Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that while the respondents in their Complaint and Amended Complaint sought the disinheritance of Ramon, no will or any instrument supposedly effecting the disposition of Antonio's estate was ever mentioned. Hence, despite the prayer for Ramon's disinheritance, Civil Case No. 02-105251 does not partake of the nature of a special proceeding and does not call for the probate court's exercise of its limited jurisdiction. The respondents' resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically sound, because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow, if their intent is to recover from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. Be that as it may, the RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, cannot be restrained from taking cognizance of respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding.

Question: A died intestate survived by his common law wife M and their children J1 and J2, and his other common law wife R and their adopted son R1, J1 and J2 sought for the disinheritance of R1 alleging that he killed their Father A and annulment of various fraudulent transaction entered by R1 to the prejudice of other heirs. R1 in his defense averred that he can only be disinherited by means of a will executed for that purpose and the court has no jurisdiction hence the case calls for a settlement of estate. The RTC denied R1s argument. Can R1 be validly disinherited? Does the court has jurisdiction of the case.

ANSWER: (a) NO, Under Article 916 of the NCC, disinheritance can be effected only through a will wherein the legal cause therefore shall be specified. In the instant case, there is no mention of any will executed by A in which R1 can be disinherited. Notwithstanding, the fact that he is the prime suspect of the killing of his father. (b) The court has jurisdiction. In Ching vs. Rodriquez G.R. No. 192828 November 28, 2011 the Supreme Court said, The respondents' resort to an ordinary civil action before the RTC may not be strategically sound, because a settlement proceeding should thereafter still follow, if their intent is to recover from Ramon the properties alleged to have been illegally transferred in his name. Be that as it may, the RTC, in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, cannot be restrained from taking cognizance of respondents' Complaint and Amended Complaint as the issues raised and the prayers indicated therein are matters which need not be threshed out in a special proceeding. In the case at bar, hence other matters can be settled by the court without touching the settlement proceeding it is incumbent for it to hear and decide the case on the merits.