Uy v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 109557, 29 November 2000, 246 SCRA 703

FACTS:

This case is a dispute between Teodoro L. Jardeleza (herein respondent) on the one hand, against his mother Gilda L. Jardeleza, and sister and brother-in-law, the spouses Jose Uy and Glenda Jardeleza (herein petitioners) on the other hand. The controversy came about as a result of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr.’s suffering of a stroke on March 25, 1991, which left him comatose and bereft of any motor or mental faculties. Said Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. is the father of herein respondent Teodoro Jardeleza and husband of herein private respondent Gilda Jardeleza.

“Upon learning that one piece of real property belonging to the senior Jardeleza spouses was about to be sold, petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza, on June 6, 1991, filed a petition (Annex “A”) before the R.T.C. of Iloilo City, Branch 25, where it was docketed as Special Proceeding No. 4689, in the matter of the guardianship of Dr. Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. She signified to the court her desire to assume sole powers of administration of their conjugal properties. She also alleged that her husband’s medical treatment and hospitalization expenses were piling up, accumulating to several hundred thousands of pesos already. For this, she urgently needed to sell one piece of real property, specifically Lot No. 4291 and its improvements. Thus, she prayed for authorization from the court to sell said property.

The RTC of Iloilo City rendered its Decision finding that it was convinced that Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. was truly incapacitated to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties, and that the sale of Lot No. 4291 and the improvements thereon was necessary to defray the mounting expenses for treatment and Hospitalization the Court hereby renders judgment authorizing petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza to assume sole powers of administration of their conjugal properties; and authorizing aforesaid petitioner to sell Lot No. 4291 .

“Teodoro Jardeleza questioned the propriety of the sale of Lot No. 4291 and the petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed his Opposition to the proceedings before Branch 32 in Spec. Proc. Case No. 4691, said petitioner being unaware and not knowing that a decision has already been rendered on the case by public respondent.

Petitioner Teodoro Jardeleza filed Motion for reconsideration. While the motion was pending, Gilda Jardeleza disposed by absolute sale Lot No. 4291 and all its improvements, worth twelve million, to her daughter, Ma. Glenda Jardeleza Uy, for Eight Million Pesos as evidenced by a Deed Absolute Sale. Gilda Jardeleza filed an urgent ex-parte motion for approval of the deed of absolute sale. In view thereof, the Motion for Reconsideration of “oppositor” Teodoro L. Jardeleza, is hereby denied for lack of merit considering that the property or properties, subject of the petition, belongs to the conjugal partnership of the spouses Ernesto and Gilda Jardeleza, who are both still alive. The Court of Appeals reversed the appealed decision and ordering the trial court to dismiss the special proceedings to approve the deed of sale, which was also declared void. Hence, this appeal.8

ISSUE:

Whether petitioner Gilda L. Jardeleza as the wife of Ernesto Jardeleza, Sr. who is comatose,may assume sole powers of administration of the conjugal property and dispose of a parcel of land with its improvements.

RULING:

In regular manner, the rules on summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code govern the proceedings under Article 124 of the Family Code. The situation contemplated is one where the spouse is absent, or separated in fact or has abandoned the other or consent is withheld or cannot be obtained. Such rules do not apply to cases where the non-consenting spouse is incapacitated or incompetent to give consent. In this case, the trial court found that the subject spouse “is an incompetent” who was in comatose or semi-comatose condition, a victim of stroke, cerebrovascular accident, without motor and mental faculties, and with a diagnosis of brain stem infarct.9 In such case, the proper remedy is a judicial guardianship proceedings under Rule 93 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court.

Even assuming that the rules of summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code may apply to the wife’s administration of the conjugal property, the law provides that the wife who assumes sole powers of administration has the same powers and duties as a guardian under the Rules of Court.Consequently, a spouse who desires to sell real property as such administrator of the conjugal property must observe the procedure for the sale of the ward’s estate required of judicial guardians under Rule 95, 1964 Revised Rules of Court, not the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code.

In the case at bar, the trial court did not comply with the procedure under the Revised Rules of Court.1âwphi1 Indeed, the trial court did not even observe the requirements of the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. Thus, the trial court did not serve notice of the petition to the incapacitated spouse; it did not require him to show cause why the petition should not be granted. Hence, absent an opportunity to be heard, the decision rendered by the trial court is void for lack of due process. WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in toto.

*Case digest by April Rose B. Tuanda , JD – 4, Andres Bonifacio College, SY 2019 – 2020

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