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DEOGRACIAS BERNARDO V CA

Facts:
Eusebio Capili and Hermogena Reyes were husband and wife. The former died on
July 27, 1958. His will was submitted for probate and the testator disposed his
estate primarily to his wife, cousins and Arturo, Deogracias and Eduardo Bernado.
A year after the husbands death or on April 24, 1959, the wife died.
By virtue of this incident, Deogracias as executor of the husbands will petitioned
the probate court that the wife be substituted by her collateral relative, intestate
heirs and Jose, Constancia, Raymunda and Elena Isidoro.
Consequently, a project partition was filed by the executor in accordance with the
testators will but with the exception of Hermegena Reyes, whose share was allotted
to her collateral relatives. Thereafter, a counter-project of partition was filed by the
said relatives claiming of the properties on the theory that they belonged to the
conjugal partnership of the spouses.
One of the issues that were brought to the probate court for consideration was on
the propriety of a separate civil action of the matters currently in litigation with it.
Said probate court ordered the disapproval of the projects partition since the
properties involved were conjugal properties of the deceased spouses.
Executor then filed a motion for new trial which raised the question of jurisdiction of
the probate court to take cognizance of the claim. This motion was however denied.
On appeal, Court of Appeals affirmed the probate courts decision.
Hence, this petition for review by ceritiorari.
Issue:
Whether or not, the matters in controversy i.e. questions as to title to property be
tried and heard by the probate court?
Ruling:
As a general rule, question as to title to property cannot be passed upon on testate
or intestate proceedings," except where one of the parties prays merely for the
inclusion or exclusion from the inventory of the property, in which case the probate
court may pass provisionally upon the question without prejudice to its final
determination in a separate action. However, we have also held that when the
parties interested are all heirs of the deceased, it is optional to them to submit to
the probate court a question as to title to property, and when so submitted, said
probate court may definitely pass judgment thereon and that with the consent of
the parties, matters affecting property under judicial administration may be taken

cognizance of by the court in the course of intestate proceeding, provided interests


of third persons are not prejudiced.
In the case now before us, the matter in controversy is a matter 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 his heirs who are all parties to the proceedings, including, of
course, the widow, now represented because of her death, by her heirs who have
been substituted upon petition of the executor himself and who have appeared
voluntarily. There are no third parties whose rights may be affected. It is true that
the heirs of the deceased widow are not heirs of the testator-husband, but the
widow is, in addition to her own right to the conjugal property. And it is this right
that is being sought to be enforced by her substitutes. Therefore, the claim that is
being asserted is one belonging to an heir to the testator and, consequently, it
complies with the requirement of the exception that the parties interested are all
heirs claiming title under the testator.