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- This is actually a disbarment case against VILLEGAS.
- It turns out that VILLEGAS was counsel of record of one Felix LEONG, the
administrator for the testate estate of one Felomina Zerna.
- In 1963, LEONG, as administrator of Zernas estate, entered into a lease
contract with the partnership of HIJOS DE VILLEGAS over several lots
included in Zernas estate.
- The said lease contract was renewed several times henceforth.
- It is important to note at this point that VILLEGAS was both counsel of
LEONG and a partner in the partnership of HIJOS DE VILLEGAS.
- When LEONG died, this disbarment suit was filed by MANANQUIL, the
appointed administrator for LEONGs estate. MANANQUIL alleged that the
lease contracts were made under iniquitous terms and conditions. Also,
MANANQUIL alleged that VILLEGAS should have first notified and secured
the approval of the probate court in Zernas estate before the contracts
were renewed, VILLEGAS being counsel of that estates administrator.

1 Whether VILLEGAS should have first secured the probate courts approval
regarding the lease.
2 Whether VILLEGAS should be disbarred.

1 NO. Pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 84 of the Revised Rules of Court, a
judicial executor or administrator has 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 the expenses of
administration. He may, therefore, exercise acts of administration without
special authority from the court having jurisdiction of the estate. For
instance, it has long been settled that an administrator has the power to
enter into lease contracts involving the properties of the estate even without
prior judicial authority and approval.
Thus, considering that administrator LEONG was not required under the
law and prevailing jurisprudence to seek prior authority from the probate
court in order to validly lease real properties of the estate, VILLEGAS, as
counsel of LEONG, cannot be taken to task for failing to notify the probate
court of the various lease contracts involved herein and to secure its judicial
approval thereto.
2 NO. There is no evidence to warrant disbarment, although VILLEGAS
should be suspended from practice of law because he participated in the
renewals of the lease contracts involving properties of Zernas estate in favor
of the partnership of HIJOS DE VILLEGAS. Under Art. 1646 of the Civil Code,
lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of
any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession are
prohibited fro leasing, either in person or through the mediation of another,
the properties or things mentioned. Such act constituted gross misconduct,
hence, suspension for four months.


Plaintiffs as minors, owned a parcel of registered land which their mother
(Dolores) as guardian, sold for P2,000.00 under a deed of absolute sale to
the spouses Apolonia and Federico. The latter knew that the sale was
without judicial approval but still proceeded with the transaction. The
plaintiffs now contend that the sale is null and void as it was without the
court's approval. The Regional trial Court ruled that the sale is indeed null
and void, while upon appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) confirmed the sale as
valid and dismissed the complaint. Hence this petition.

Issue: Does the sale by a guardian of a minor's property require

judicial approval?

Under Art. 320 (NCC), a parent acting merely as a legal administrator of the
property of his minor children does not have the power to dispose of or
alienate the property of the said child without judicial approval. And under
Rule 84 (Code of Civil Procedure), the powers and duties of the widow as
legal administrator of her minor children's property are merely powers of
possession and management. Hence, the power to sell, mortgage, encumber
or dispose must proceed from the court (Rule 89). Moreover, the private
respondent spouses are not purchasers in good faith as they knew right from
the beginning the the transaction was without judicial approval. Further, the
minors' action for reconveyance has not yet prescribed.


Sec. 1. Executor or administrator to have access to partnership books and property; How
right enforced. - The executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased partner shall at
all times have access to, and may examine and take copies of, books and papers relating to
the partnership business, and may examine and make invoices of the property belonging to
such partnership; and the surviving partner or partners, on request, shall exhibit to him all
such books, papers, and property in their hands or control. On the written application of
such executor or administrator, the court having jurisdiction of the estate may order any
such surviving partner or partners to freely permit the exercise of the rights, and to exhibit
the books, papers, and property, as in this section provided, and may punish any partner
failing to do so for contempt.chanrobles virtualawlibrary
Sec. 2. Executor or administrator to keep buildings in repair. - An executor or administrator
shall maintain in tenantable repair the houses and other structures and fences belonging to
the estate, and deliver the same in such repair to the heirs or devisees when directed so to
do by the court.
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 the expenses of administration.