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TITLE: Vicente Uriarte vs.

CFI of Ngeros Occidnetal, CFI of Manila, Branch


IV, Juan Uriarte Zamacona and Higinio Uriarte; May 29, 1970

DOCTRINES LAID DOWN:

(1) Settlement of Estate; Venue; CFI of Province where decedent


was an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death or
where inhabitant of foreign country had estate.
(2) Testate Proceedings take precedence over intestate
proceedings;
(3) Probate of will should be filed in the same court where
intestate proceedings had been commenced;
(4) Wrong venue waivable

FACTS:

On November 6, 1961 petitioner filed with the Negros Court a Petition for
Settlement of the late Don Juan Uriarte y Giote, alleging that he was his sole heir
and that during the lifetime of the decedent, petitioner had instituted compulsory
acknowledgement as natural so in the same court. PNB was appointed by the
Negros Court as a special administrator but it never qualified as one.

On December 19, 1961, Higinio Uriarte, filed an opposition to the petition


alleging that he was an nephew of the deceased who had “executed a Last Will and
Testament in Spain”.

On August 28, 1962, Juan Uriarte Zamacona, commenced a Special


Proceeding in the Manila Court for the probate of a document alleged to be the Last
Will and Testament of the deceased Juan Giote, and on the same day filed a Motion
to Dismiss on the Petition filed by the Petitioner in the Negros Court based on these
two grounds: (1) as the deceased had left a last will, there was no legal basis to
proceed with the intestate proceedings, and (2) Petitioner Vicente Uriarte had no
legal personality and interest in the said intestate proceedings, he not being an
acknowledged natural son of the decedent.

Petitioner opposed the said motion to dismiss, contending that Negros Court
was first to take cognizance of the settlement of the estate of the deceased, thus it
acquired already exclusive jurisdiction over the same pursuant to Rule 75, Section 1
of the Rules of Court.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether the Negros Court erred in dismissing the intestate proceedings
filed before it by the Petitioner and

1 Abuel, Christine Denise Allada|Bulacan State University-College of Law| Special Proceedings


(2) Whether the Manila Court correctly take cognizance over the testate
proceedings filed by Juan Uriarte Zamacona.

RULING:

(1) Yes. Testate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of a deceased
person take precedence over intestate proceedings for the same purpose.
Thus, if in the course of intestate proceedings pending before a court of
first instance it is found that the decedent had left a last will, proceedings
for the probate of the latter should replace the intestate proceedings even
if at that stage an administrator had already been appointed, the latter
being required to render final account and turn over the estate in his
possession to the executor subsequently appointed. This, however, is
understood to be without prejudice that should the alleged last will be
rejected or is disapproved, the proceeding shall continue as an intestacy.
This is a clear indication that proceedings for the probate of a will enjoy
priority over intestate proceedings.

(2) Juan Zamacona should have submitted the will for probate before the
Negros Court, either in a separate special proceeding or in appropriate
motion for said purpose in the already pending Special Proceeding. It is
not accord with the public policy and orderly and inexpensive
administration of justice to unnecessary multiply litigation, especially if
several courts would be involved. But the fact that instead of the will be
presented before the Negros Court for probate, the Court did not accept
the Petitioner’s contention that the Manila Court has no jurisdiction over
the said Petition, although it was not the proper venue thereof. The Court
is not inclined to annul proceedings regularly had in a lower Court even if
the latter was not the proper venue therefor, if the net result would be to
have the same proceedings repeated in some other court of the same
jurisdiction; more so in a case like the present where the objection
against said proceedings is raised too late.

2 Abuel, Christine Denise Allada|Bulacan State University-College of Law| Special Proceedings