AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON, JENNETH QUIAZON AND MARIA JENNIFER QUIAZON, PETITIONERS, VS. MA. LOURDES BELEN, FOR AND IN BEHALF OF MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON, RESPONDENT. G.R. No. 189121, July 31, 2013. - THE LAWYER'S POST.
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What is the rule on venue in special proceedings, especially as in this case, a settlement of estate of a decedent? Was the marriage between Amelia and Eliseo bigamous?
“Under Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, the petition for letters of administration of the estate of a decedent should be filed in the RTC of the province where the decedent resides at the time of his death:
Sec. 1. Where estate of deceased persons settled. – If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death, whether a citizen or an alien, his will shall be proved, or letters of administration granted, and his estate settled, in the Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] in the province in which he resides at the time of his death, and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the Court of First Instance [now Regional Trial Court] of any province in which he had estate. The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. The jurisdiction assumed by a court, so far as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding, except in an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record. (Emphasis supplied).
The term “resides” connotes ex vi termini “actual residence” as distinguished from “legal residence or domicile.” This term “resides,” like the terms “residing” and “residence,” is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the application of venue statutes and rules – Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature – residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses the word “domicile” still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. Some cases make a distinction between the terms “residence” and “domicile” but as generally used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and convey the same meaning as the term “inhabitant.” In other words, “resides” should be viewed or understood in its popular sense, meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. Venue for ordinary civil actions and that for special proceedings have one and the same meaning. As thus defined, “residence,” in the context of venue provisions, means nothing more than a person’s actual residence or place of abode, provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency.
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