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G.R. No. L-10907 June 29, 1957 MATIAS vs Salud


AUREA MATIAS, petitioner,
vs.
!N. "RIMITI#! L. G!N$ALE$, ET%., ET AL., respondents.
Petitioner Aurea Matias seeks a writ of certiorari to annul certain orders of Hon.
Primitivo L. Gonzales, as Judge of the ourt of !irst "nstance of avite, in
connection with #pecial Proceedings $o. %&'( of said court, entitled )*estate +state
of the ,eceased Ga-ina .a/uel.)
0n Ma1 '%, '2%&, Aurea Matias initiated said special proceedings with a petition
for the pro-ate of a document purporting to -e the last will and testament of her
aunt, Ga-ina .a/uel, who died single on Ma1 3, '2%&, at the age of 2& 1ears. *he
heir to the entire estate of the deceased 4 e5cept the properties -e/ueathed to her
other niece and nephews, namel1, 6ictorina #alud, #antiago #alud, Policarpio
#alud, #antos Matias and .afael Matias 4 is, pursuant to said instrument, Aurea
Matias, likewise, appointed therein as e5ecutri5 thereof, without -ond. 7asilia
#alud, a first cousin of the deceased, opposed the pro-ate of her alleged will, and,
after appropriate proceedings, the court, presided over -1 respondent Judge, issued
an order, dated !e-ruar1 3, '2%8, sustaining said opposition and den1ing the
petition for pro-ate. #u-se/uentl1, Aurea Matias -rought the matter on appeal to
this ourt 9G... $o. L:';<%'=, where it is now pending decision.
Meanwhile, or on !e-ruar1 '<, '2%8, 7asilia #alud moved for the dismissal of
Horacio .odriguez, as special administrator of the estate of the deceased, and the
appointment, in his stead of .amon Plata. *he motion was set for hearing on
!e-ruar1 &(, '2%8, on which date the court postponed the hearing to !e-ruar1 &<,
'2%8. Although notified of this order, .odriguez did not appear on the date last
mentioned. "nstead, he filed an urgent motion pra1ing for additional time within
which to answer the charges preferred against him -1 7asilia #alud and for another
postponement of said hearing. *his motion was not granted, and 7asilia #alud
introduced evidence in support of said charges, whereupon respondent Judge -1 an
order, dated !e-ruar1 &<, '2%8, found .odriguez guilt1 of a-use of authorit1 and
gross negligence, and, accordingl1, relieved him as special administrator of the
estate of the deceased and appointed 7asilia #alud as special administratri5 thereof,
to )-e assisted and advised -1 her niece, Miss 6ictorina #alud,) who )shall alwa1s
act as aide, interpreter and adviser of 7asilia #alud.) #aid order, likewise, provided
that )7asilia #alud shall -e helped -1 Mr. .amon Plata . . . who is here-1 appointed
as co:administrator.)
0n March 3, '2%8, Aurea Matins asked that said order of !e-ruar1 &<, '2%8, -e set
aside and that she -e appointed special co:administratri5, >ointl1 with Horacio
.odriguez, upon the ground that 7asilia #alud is over eight1 93;= 1ears of age,
totall1 -lind and ph1sicall1 incapacitated to perform the duties of said office, and
that said movant is the universal heiress of the deceased and the person appointed
-1 the latter as e5ecutri5 of her alleged will. *his motion was denied in an order
dated March ';, '2%8, which maintained )the appointment of the three a-ove
named persons) 4 7asilia #alud, .amon Plata and 6ictorina #alud 4 )for the
management of the estate of the late Ga-ina .a/uel pending final decision on the
pro-ate of the alleged will of said decedent.) However, on March '<, '2%8, 7asilia
#alud tendered her resignation as special administratri5 -1 reason of ph1sical
disa-ilit1, due to old age, and recommended the appointment, in her place, of
6ictorina #alud. 7efore an1 action could -e taken thereon, or on March &', '2%8,
Aurea Matias sought a reconsideration of said order of March ';, '2%8. Moreover,
on March &?, '2%8, she e5pressed her conformit1 to said resignation, -ut o->ected
to the appointment, in lieu of 7asilia #alud, of 6ictorina #alud, on account of her
antagonism to said Aurea Matias 4 she 96ictorina #alud= having -een the principal
and most interested witness for the opposition to the pro-ate of the alleged will of
the deceased 4 and proposed that the administration of her estate -e entrusted to
the Philippine $ational 7ank, the Monte de Piedad, the 7ank of the Philippine
"slands, or an1 other similar institution authorized -1 law therefor, should the court
-e reluctant to appoint the movant as special administratri5 of said estate. *his
motion for reconsideration was denied on March &8, '2%8.
#hortl1 afterwards, or on June '3, '2%8, respondents .amon Plata and 6ictorina
#alud re/uested authorit1 to collect the rents due, or which ma1 -e due, to the estate
of the deceased and to collect all the produce of her lands, which was granted on
June &(, '2%8. 0n June &<, '2%8, said respondents filed another motion pra1ing for
permission to sell the pala1 of the deceased then deposited in different rice mills in
the province of avite, which respondent >udge granted on June ';, '2%8. Later on,
or on Jul1 ';, '2%8, petitioner instituted the present action against Judge Gonzales,
and 6ictorina #alud and .amon Plata, for the purpose of annulling the a-ove
mentioned orders of respondent Judge, upon the ground that the same had -een
issued with grave a-use of discretion amounting to lack or e5cess of >urisdiction.
"n support of this pretense, it is argued that petitioner should have preference in the
choice of special administratri5 of the estate of the decedent, she 9petitioner= -eing
the universal heiress to said estate and, the e5ecutri5 appointed in the alleged will of
the deceased, that until its final disallowance 4 which has not, as 1et, taken place
she has a special interest in said estate, which must -e protected -1 giving
representation thereto in the management of said estate@ that, apart from den1ing her
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an1 such representation, the management was given to persons partial to her main
opponent, namel1, 7asilia #alud, inasmuch as 6ictorina #alud is allied to her and
.amon Plata is a ver1 close friend of one of her 97asilia #aludAs= attorne1s@ that
7asilia #alud was made special administratri5 despite her o-vious unfitness for said
office, she -eing over eight1 93;= 1ears of age and -lind@ that said disa-ilit1 is -orne
out -1 the fact that on March '<, '2%8, 7asilia #alud resigned as special
administratri5 upon such ground@ that the .ules of ourt do not permit the
appointment of more than one special administrator@ that Horacio .odriguez was
removed without giving petitioner a chance to -e heard in connection therewith@ and
that .amon Plata and 6ictorina #alud were authorized to collect the rents due to the
deceased and the produce of her lands, as well to sell her pala1, without previous
notice to the petitioner herein.
Bpon the other hand, respondents maintain that respondent Judge acted with the
scope of his >urisdiction and without an1 a-use of discretion@ that petitioner can not
validl1 claim an1 special interest in the estate of the deceased, -ecause the pro-ate
of the alleged will and testament of the latter 4 upon which petitioner relies 4 has
-een denied@ that Horacio .odriguez was dul1 notified of the proceedings for his
removal@ and that 6ictorina #alud and .amon Plata have not done an1thing that
would warrant their removal.
Bpon a review of the record, we find ourselves una-le to sanction full1 the acts of
respondent Judge, for the following reasonsC
'. Although Horacio .odriguez had notice of the hearing of the motion for his
removal, dated !e-ruar1 '<, '2%8, the record shows that petitioner herein received
cop1 of said motion of !e-ruar1 &?, '2%8, or the date after that set for the hearing
thereof. Again, notice of the order of respondent Judge, dated !e-ruar1 &(, '2%8,
postponing said hearing to !e-ruar1 &<, '2%8, was not served on petitioner herein.
&. "n her motion of !e-ruar1 '<, '2%8, 7asilia #alud pra1ed for the dismissal of
Horacio .odriguez, and the appointment of Ramon Plata, as special administrator
of said estate. Petitioner had, therefore, no notice that her main opponent, Basilia
Salud, and the latterAs principal witness, Victorina Salud, would -e considered for
the management of said. As a conse/uence, said petitioner had no opportunit1 to
o->ect to the appointment of 7asilia #alud as special administratri5, and of 6ictorina
#alud, as her assistant and adviser, and the order of !e-ruar1 &<, '2%8, to this effect,
denied due process to said petitioner.
(. #aid order was issued with evident knowledge of the ph1sical disa-ilit1 of 7asilia
#alud. 0therwise respondent Judge would not have directed that she )-e assisted
and advised -1 her niece 6ictorina #alud,) and that the latter )shall always act as
aide, interpreter and adviser of 7asilia #alud.)
?. *hus, respondent Judge, in effect, appointed three 9(= special administrators 4
7asilia #alud, 6ictorina #alud and .amon Plata. "ndeed, in the order of March ';,
'2%8, respondent Judge maintained )the appointment of the three 9(= a-ove:named
persons for the management of the estate of the late Ga-ina .a/uel.)
%. #oon after the institution of said #pecial Proceedings $o. %&'(, an issue arose
-etween Aurea Matias and 7asilia #alud regarding the person to -e appointed
special administrator of the estate of the deceased. *he former proposed Horacio
.odriguez, whereas the latter urged the appointment of 6ictorina #alud. 71 an order
dated August '', '2%&, the ourt, then presided over -1 Hon. Jose 7erna-e, Judge,
decided the matter in favor of Horacio .odriguez and against 6ictorina #alud, upon
the ground that, unlike the latter, who, as a pharmacist and emplo1ee in the #anta
"sa-el Hospital, resides "n the it1 of Manila, the former, a practicing law1er and a
former pu-lic prosecutor, and later, ma1or of the it1 of avite, is a resident
thereof. "n other words, the order of resident thereof. "n other words, the order of
respondent Judge of !e-ruar1 &<, '2%8, removing .odriguez and appointing
6ictorina #alud to the management of the estate, amounted to a reversal of the
aforementioned order of Judge 7erna-e of August '', '2%&.
8. Although the pro-ate of the alleged will and testament of Ga-ina .a/uel was
denied -1 respondent Judge, the order to this effect is not, as 1et, final and
e5ecutor1. "t is pending review on appeal taken -1 Aurea Matias. *he pro-ate of
said alleged will -eing still within realm of legal possi-ilit1, Aurea Matias has 4 as
the universal heir and e5ecutri5 designated in said instrument 4 a special interest to
protect during the pendenc1 of said appeal. *hus, in the case of Roxas vs. Pecson
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9?8 0ff. Gaz., &;%3=, this ourt held that a widow, designated as e5ecutri5 in the
alleged will and testament of her deceased hus-and, the pro-ate of which had
denied in an order pending appeal, )has . . . the same beneficial interest after the
decision of the court disapproving the will, which is now pending appeal, because
the decision is not yet final and may be reversed by the appellate court.)
<. *he record shows that there are, at least two 9&= factions among the heirs of the
deceased, namel1, one, represented -1 the petitioner, and another, to which 7asilia
#alud and 6ictorina #alud -elong. "nasmuch as the lower court had deemed it -est
to appoint more than one special administrator, >ustice and e/uit1 demands that -oth
factions -e represented in the management of the estate of the deceased.
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*he rule, laid down in Roxas vs. Pecson 9supra=, to the effect that )onl1 one special
administrator ma1 -e appointed to administrator temporaril1) the estate of the
deceased, must -e considered in the light of the facts o-taining in said case. *he
lower court appointed therein one special administrator for some properties forming
part of said estate, and a special administratri5 for other properties thereof. *hus,
there were two 9&= separate and independent special administrators. "n the case at
-ar there is onl1 one 9'= special administration, the powers of which shall -e
e5ercised >ointl1 -1 two special co-administrators. "n short, the .o5as case is not
s/uarel1 in point. Moreover, there are authorities in support of the power of courts
to appoint several special co:administrators 9Lewis vs. Logdan, 3< A. <%;@ Harrison
vs. lark, %& A. %'?@ "n re EilsonAs +state, 8' $.F.#. &d., ?2@ ,avenport vs.
,avenport, 8; A. (<2=.
Eherefore, the orders complained of are here-1 annulled and set aside. *he lower
court should re:hear the matter of removal of Horacio .odriguez and appointment
of special administrators, after due notice to all parties concerned, for action in
conformit1 with the views e5pressed herein, with costs against respondents
6ictorina #alud and .amon Plata. "t is so ordered.