G.R. No. 141297, 8 October 2001
Troadic Manalo, who died on February 1992, was survived by his Pilar and his 11 children. The deceased left several real properties in Manila and a business in Tarlac. In November 1992, herein respondents, 8 of the surviving children, filed a petition with RTC Manila for the judicial settlement of the estate of their late father and for appointment of their brother Romeo Manalo as administrator thereof. Hearing was set on February 11, 1993 and the herein petitioners were granted 10 days within which to file their opposition to the petition.
Whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals erred in upholding the questioned orders of the respondent trial court which denied their motion for the outright dismissal of the petition for judicial settlement of estate despite the failure of the petitioners therein to aver that earnest efforts toward a compromise involving members of the same family have been made prior to the filing of the petition but that the same have failed.
No, SC ruled that herein petitioners may not validly take refuge under the provisions of Rule 1, Section 2, of the Rules of Court to justify the invocation of Article 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines for the dismissal of the petition for settlement of the estate of the deceased Troadio Manalo inasmuch as the latter provision is clear enough, to wit:
Art. 222. No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject to the limitations in Article 2035.
The above-quoted provision of the law is applicable only to ordinary civil actions. This is clear from the term suit that it refers to an action by one person or persons against another or others in a court of justice in which the plaintiff pursues the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a right, whether at law or in equity. A civil action is thus an action filed in a court of justice, whereby a party sues another for the enforcement of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. Besides, an excerpt from the Report of the Code Commission unmistakably reveals the intention of the Code Commission to make that legal provision applicable only to civil actions which are essentially adversarial and involve members of the same family.
* Case digest by Daisy Mae O. Tambolero, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018