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63 Phil. 332

[ G. R. No. 42516, August 22, 1936 ]




This is an appeal taken by Domingo Nicolas, ex-administrator of the  intestate  of  the deceased Santiago Nicolas, from the order  of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
"The court, therefore, approves the two accounts dated August 14,  1933 and  March 14,  1934, presented by  the ex-administrator Domingo  Nicolas,  with the amendments above-stated and with  a balance  of P726.01  in favor of the administration, which sum said Domingo Nicolas must turn  over to  the administrator Protasio  Santos, through the clerk of this court, within the period of twenty (20) days  from this date.   In case of noncompliance with this order on the part of Domingo Nicolas, let the bond given by  said  ex-administrator be attached  in  order to collect said sum of P726.01.

"Let copies of this order be  sent by registered mail to the suretiels of Domingo Nicolas.  It is so ordered."
In  support  of his appeal the appellant assigns eight alleged errors as  committed  by the  court a  quo in its order in question, which  will be  discussed in the course of this decision.

The first assignment of alleged error consists in that the lower court erred  in  disapproving the record on appeal presented by  the appellant on August  1, 1934, and in ordering the amendment thereof by eliminating certain pleadings, orders, decrees and judgments not related to the order of June 20,1934, appealed from.  The appellant in insisting upon the inclusion of said pleadings, orders,  decrees and judgments in the record on appeal alleges as a ground thereof  that they  constitute  the best evidence  of  the services rendered by him and his attorney.   What section 779 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires to be transmitted to this court in case of an appeal from a decree or order approving or disapproving the accounts of an administrator, in accordance with the provisions of section 778, is a certified transcript  of the appeal, order, decree  or judgment appealed from and of the accounts embraced in the order, the inclusion  of any other order, decree or  judgment from  which no appeal  has  been taken being unnecessary and  superfluous.  The appealed order is the one dated June 20, 1934, and  accounts partially disapproved therein  are those submitted by the ex-administrator-appellant, dated August 14, 1933, and March 15, 1934, respectively, which accounts appear in the record on appeal, as  amended by order  of the court.

The court a quo, therefore, committed no error in  ordering the elimination from the record  on appeal of the other pleadings, decrees, orders and judgments not appealed from, which, according  to the appellant himself,  are nothing more than evidence of  the services rendered by him and his attorney.

The  second question to be decided, by reason of its procedural nature, which is raised in the eighth and last assignment of alleged error, is whether or not  the court a quo erred in not submitting the appellant to an examination under oath and in not holding a hearing on his accounts.

The  record shows that the court a quo, on May 21, 1934, ordered the accounts in  question  to be called for hearing, setting July 18, 1934, at 9.30 a. m. therefor, in order that the parties might present evidence in support  of their respective claims, and in rendering its order relative to said accounts on June 20, 1934, the court a quo  said:
"Upon calling for hearing the accounts of the ex-administrator  Domingo Nicolas, the one dated August  14,  1933, only with respect to Nos. 3, 5 and 6 of the item 'III Payments', and No. 9 of the item 'IV Traveling Expenses', and  another dated May  15, 1934, there appeared the said ex-administrator  Domingo  Nicolas  in his own behalf arid Sisenando Palarca who is opposed to the approval thereof.

"After these accounts were submitted to the court with no more evidence than the vouchers attached to the record, the court, upon hearing the parties and duly considering the items in question, sustains  *  *   *."
It is clear, therefore, that the ex-administrator-appellant Domingo Nicolas was given the opportunity to explain his accounts and present his  evidence in support thereof, and that he  appeared  at  the  hearing of said accounts.  Consequently he cannot now allege, on appeal, that he was not examined under oath  and that no hearing was held on the accounts in question.

As to the items 3,  5, 6 and 9 under the heading "III Payments",  consisting  in  "Money advanced  to  Attorney Bartolome Domingo, P400", "Partial payment of the debt of the deceased in favor of Miguel Julian, P105.10", "Partial payment  to Commissioner  Gregorio  Gabriel, P100",  and "Expenses during the anniversary of the deceased, P36.50", we are of the opinion  that the court a quo  correctly  rejected them on the ground  that they had not been authorized by said court and because they had already been  discussed in Judge Buenaventura Ocampo's order of November  14, 1933, from which no appeal  was taken.  Item 9 thereof, consisting in  expenses  incurred  by the appellant  on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of the  deceased, amounting to P36.50, cannot be  considered a part of the funeral expenses nor treated as the erection of  a mausoleum which forms part of the sepulture of the deceased, because it bears no relation to the funeral.

With respect to the other expenses and fees which the ex-administrator-appellant seeks to collect  and which the lower court rejected, the law  only authorizes  the administrator  to collect for his services as such the sum of P4 for every day actually and necessarily  spent by him in the administration and care of the estate of a deceased person, not for every act or task  he might  perform, even  if  it were to take only a few minutes to do so, as  indicated by the nature of the great  majority of the task performed by him, for each and every one of which he seeks to collect P4.  Therefore  this  court is of the opinion that the 18 days granted by  the lower court to the ex-administrator-appellant as actually  and necessarily spent by him in the performance of his duties, at T4 a day, are reasonable.

As the bills pending payment enumerated in the account of March 15, 1934,  are  of  the same nature as those rejected in his account of August 14, 1933, they should also be rejected for the same  reason.

Wherefore, not finding any error in the order appealed from, it is affirmed in toto, with costs to  the appellant.  So ordered.

Avanceña, C. J., Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz, Recto, and Laurel, JJ., concur.