Institution to Conditional assigned cases.docx - G.R No L-23079 RUBEN AUSTRIA CONSUELO AUSTRIA-BENTA and LAURO AUSTRIA MOZO petitioners vs HON ANDRES

Institution to Conditional assigned cases.docx - G.R No...

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G.R. No. L-23079 February 27, 1970 RUBEN AUSTRIA, CONSUELO AUSTRIA-BENTA and LAURO AUSTRIA MOZO, petitioners, vs. HON. ANDRES REYES, Judge, Court of First Instance of Rizal, PERFECTO CRUZ, BENITA CRUZ-MENEZ ISAGANI CRUZ, ALBERTO CRUZ and LUZ CRUZ-SALONGA respondents. CASTRO, J.: On July 7, 1956 Basilia Austria vda. de Cruz filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Special Proceedings 2457) a petition for probate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners Ruben Austria, Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Austria Mozo, and still others who, like the petitioner, are nephews and nieces of Basilia. This opposition was, however, dismissed and the probate of the will allowed after due hearing. The bulk of the estate of Basilia, admittedly, was destined under the will to pass on to the respondents Perfecto Cruz, Benita Cruz-Meñez, Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz, and Luz Cruz-Salonga, all of whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children. On April 23, 1959, more than two years after her will was allowed to probate, Basilia died. The respondent Perfecto Cruz was appointed executor without bond by the same court in accordance with the provisions of the decedent's will, notwithstanding the blocking attempt pursued by the petitioner Ruben Austria. Finally, on November 5, 1959, the present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest of kin of Basilia, and that the five respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al., had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance with law, in effect rendering these respondents mere strangers to the decedent and without any right to succeed as heirs. Notwithstanding opposition by the respondent Perfecto Cruz, as executor of the estate, the court a quo allowed the petitioners' intervention by its order of December 22, 1959, couched in broad terms, as follows: "The Petition in Intervention for Partition filed by the above-named oppositors [Ruben Austria, et al.,] dated November 5, 1959 is hereby granted." In the meantime, the contending sides debated the matter of authenticity or lack of it of the several adoption papers produced and presented by the respondents. On motion of the petitioners Ruben Austria, et al., these documents were referred to the National Bureau of Investigation for examination and advice. N.B.I. report seems to bear out the genuineness of the documents, but the petitioners, evidently dissatisfied with the results, managed to obtain a preliminary opinion from a Constabulary questioned-document examiner whose views undermine the authenticity of the said documents. The petitioners Ruben Austria, et al., thus moved the lower court to refer the adoption papers to the Philippine Constabulary for further study. The petitioners likewise located former personnel of the court which appeared to have granted the questioned adoption, and obtained written depositions from two of them denying any knowledge of the pertinent adoption proceedings.
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