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PATRICIA NATCHER v.

CA Petitioner Natcher averred that she was legally married to Graciano on


G.R. No. 133000/ OCT 2, 2001 / BUENA, J./SPECPRO/AMOR 20 March 1980 and thus, under the law, she was likewise considered a
compulsory heir of the latter. Petitioner further alleged that during
NATURE Petition for Review Gracianos lifetime, Graciano already distributed, in advance, properties
PETITIONERS Patricia Natcher to his children, hence, herein private respondents may not anymore
RESPONDENTS Hon. Court of Appeals and the Heirs of Graciano claim against Gracianos estate or against herein petitioners property.
Del Rosario Leticia Del Rosario, Emilia Del Rosario-Manangan, Rosalinda The RTC rendered a decision holding:
Fuentes Llana, Rodolfo Fuentes, Alberto Fuentes, Evelyn Del Rosario, And o The deed of sale executed by the late Graciano del Rosario in
Eduardo Del Rosario favor of Patricia Natcher is prohibited by law and thus a
complete nullity. There being no evidence that a separation of
SUMMARY. The respondent children of decedent Graciano assails the property was agreed upon in the marriage settlements or that
sale of a parcel of land by the decedent to his petitioner-wife (their there has been decreed a judicial separation of property
stepmother) during the subsistence of a valid marriage. They filed civil between them, the spouses are prohibited from entering (into)
action for reconveyance and annulment of title against petitioner a contract of sale;
Natcher. The RTC ruled that the sale was an advance on her legitime. o The deed of sale cannot be likewise regarded as a valid
The respondent-children question the jurisdiction of the RTC acting as a donation as it was equally prohibited by law under Article 133
court of general jurisdiction to pass upon the question of the of the New Civil Code;
advancement of property made by the decedent to his heirs. o Although the deed of sale cannot be regarded as such or as a
DOCTRINE. Under Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, questions as donation, it may however be regarded as an extension of
to advancement made or alleged to have been made by the deceased to advance inheritance of Patricia Natcher being a compulsory
any heir may be heard and determined by the court having jurisdiction heir of the deceased.
of the estate proceedings; and the final order of the court thereon shall On appeal the CA held:
be binding on the person raising the questions and on the heir. o It is the probate court that has exclusive jurisdiction to make a
just and legal distribution of the estate. The RTC, trying an
FACTS. ordinary action for reconveyance/annulment of title, went
Spouses Graciano del Rosario and Graciana Esguerra were registered beyond its jurisdiction when it performed the acts proper only
owners of a parcel of land with an area of 9,322 square meters located in in a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a
Manila and covered by a TCT. They had six children. deceased person. Thus the RTC erred in regarding the subject
When Graciana died, Graciano and his children entered into an property as an advance inheritance. What the court should
extrajudicial settlement of Gracianas estate adjudicating and dividing have done was merely to rule on the validity of (the) sale and
amongst themselves the real estate property. Graciano received 8/14 of leave the issue on advancement to be resolved in a separate
the share while his six children received 1/14 share each. proceeding instituted for that purpose.
Later on Graciano and his children entered into an Agreement of Aggrieved, petitioner Natcher assails the decision of the CA on a petition
Consolidation-Subdivision of Real Property with Waiver of Rights where for review.
they subdivided among themselves the parcel of land. Graciano then
donated to his children, share and share alike, a portion of his interest in ISSUES & RATIO.
the land amounting to 4,849.38 square meters leaving only 447.60 1. WON an RTC, acting as a court of general jurisdiction in an
square meters registered under Gracianos name. This 447.60 square action for reconveyance and annulment of title pass upon the
meter lot was furthermore divided into two lots covered by two separate question of advancement of property made by the decedent to
TCTs. The first lot was sold to a third person but the second lot was sold his heirs. NO.
to Patricia Natcher (petitioner) who at the time of the sale was married to
Graciano. Under Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, questions as to
Graciano died. advancement made or alleged to have been made by the
Respondents, Gracianos children, filed a civil case before the RTC deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by the court
against petitioner Natcher alleging that upon Gracianos death, petitioner having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings; and the final order
Natcher, through the employment of fraud, misrepresentation and of the court thereon shall be binding on the person raising the
forgery, acquired the lot, by making it appear that Graciano executed a questions and on the heir.
Deed of Sale. Similarly, herein private respondents alleged in said
complaint that as a consequence of such fraudulent sale, their legitimes While it may be true that the Rules used the word may, it is nevertheless
have been impaired. clear that the same provision contemplates a probate court when it
speaks of the court having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings.
Corollarily, the Regional Trial Court in the instant case, acting in its
general jurisdiction, is devoid of authority to render an adjudication and
resolve the issue of advancement of the real property in favor of herein
petitioner Natcher, inasmuch as Civil Case No. 71075 for reconveyance
and annulment of title with damages is not, to our mind, the proper
vehicle to thresh out said question. Moreover, under the present
circumstances, the RTC of Manila, Branch 55 was not properly constituted
as a probate court so as to validly pass upon the question of
advancement made by the decedent Graciano Del Rosario to his wife,
herein petitioner Natcher.

2. WON there was waiver on the part of the children of the


authority of the RTC to rule on the specific issue of advancement
made by Graciano to petitioner Natcher. NO.

The SC does not see any waiver on the part of herein private
respondents inasmuch as the six children of the decedent even
assailed the authority of the trial court, acting in its general
jurisdiction, to rule on this specific issue of advancement made
by the decedent to petitioner.Same rules apply here. Please do not
deviate from the template. If copying
text from a website or escra, I suggest EDIT > Paste Special >
Unformatted text > Ok.

This Court is not unaware of our pronouncement in Coca vs.


Borromeo and Mendoza vs. Teh that whether a particular matter
should be resolved by the Regional Trial Court (then Court of First
Instance) in the exercise of its general jurisdiction or its limited probate
jurisdiction is not a jurisdictional issue but a mere question of
procedure. It is a procedural question involving a mode of practice which
may be waived. But there was no waiver in this case.

DECISION.
Petition DENIED. CA affirmed.