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VIRGINIA GARCIA FULE vs. CA, PRECIOSA B. GARCIA and AGUSTINA B.

GARCIA, 74
SCRA 189 (1976)

FACTS:
Virginia G. Fule filed with the CFI of Laguna a petition for letters of administration
alleging "that on April 26, 1973, Amado G. Garcia, a property owner of Calamba,
Laguna, died intestate in the City of Manila, leaving real estate and personal
properties in Calamba, Laguna, and in other places, within the jurisdiction of the
Honorable Court." At the same time, she moved ex parte for her appointment as
special administratrix over the estate. Judge Malvar granted the motion.
A motion for reconsideration was filed by Preciosa B. Garcia, the surviving spouse of
the deceased, contending that
1)
The decedent resided in QC for 3 months before his death as shown by his
death certificate.
2)

The CFI of Calamba lacks jurisdiction over the petition.

CFI denied the motion. It ruled in favor of Garcia and annulled the proceedings held
before the CFI. Thus, Fule elevated the matter to the SC on appeal by certiorari.

ISSUE/S:
What is meant by residence under Section 1, Rule 73 with respect to the
settlement of estates? Whether there was an improper venue.

HELD:
The term "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. The term
residence under Rule 73 is in reality, merely a matter of venue, as the caption of
the Rule indicates Settlement of Estate of Deceased Persons, Venue and
Processes. xxx the place of residence of the deceased in settlement of estates,
probate of a will, and issuance of letters of administration does not constitute an
element of jurisdiction over the subject matter. It is merely constitutive of venue.
In the present case, SC ruled that the last place of residence last place of residence
of the deceased Amado G. Garcia was at 11 Carmel Avenue, Carmel Subdivision,
Quezon City, and not at Calamba, Laguna. A death certificate is admissible to prove

the residence of the decedent at the time of his death. Aside from this, the
deceased's residence certificate for 1973 obtained three months before his death;
the Marketing Agreement and Power of Attorney turning over the administration of
his two parcels of sugar land to the Calamba Sugar Planters Cooperative Marketing
Association, Inc.; the Deed of Donation dated January 8, 1973, transferring part of
his interest in certain parcels of land in Calamba, Laguna to Agustina B. Garcia; and
certificates of titles covering parcels of land in Calamba, Laguna, show in bold
documents that Amado G. Garcia's last place of residence was at Quezon City.
Withal, the conclusion becomes imperative that the venue for Virginia C. Fule's
petition for letters of administration was improperly laid in the Court of First
Instance of Calamba, Laguna. Nevertheless, the long-settled rule is that objection to
improper venue is subject to waiver. But in the case before Us the Court of Appeals
had reason to hold that in asking to substitute Virginia G. Fule as special
administratrix, Preciosa B. Garcia did not necessarily waive her objection to the
jurisdiction or venue assumed by the Court of First Instance of Calamba, Laguna,
but availed of a mere practical resort to alternative remedy to assert her rights as
surviving spouse, while insisting on the enforcement of the Rule fixing the proper
venue of the proceedings at the last residence of the decedent.