CASE DIGEST: Tayag v. Benguet Consolidated (G.R. No. L-23145)

CASE DIGEST: [G.R. No. L-23145, November 29, 1968] TESTATE ESTATE OF IDONAH SLADE PERKINS, deceased. RENATO D. TAYAG, ancillary administrator-appellee, vs. BENGUET CONSOLIDATED, INC., oppositor-appellant.

FACTS: Idonah Slade Perkins died domiciled in New York on March 27, 1960; because she has properties both in New York and in the Philippines, a domiciliary administrator was appointed in New York by the New York courts, and an ancillary administrator was appointed in the Philippines by the Philippine courts. Now then, to satisfy the legitimate claims of local creditors, the Philippine ancillary administrator asked the New York administrator to surrender to the former two stock certificates owned by the deceased in a Philippine corporation, the Benguet Consolidated, Inc. Although said New York administrator had the stock certificates, he refused to surrender them despite the order of the Philippine court, prompting the court to consider said certificates as LOST for all purposes in connection with the administration of the deceased’s Philippine estate. The court then ordered the Benguet Consolidated, Inc. to cancel said certificates and to issue new certificates deliverable either to the ancillary administrator or to the Philippine probate court. The company refused to issue the new certificates on the ground firstly, that after all, the old certificates still really exist, although in the possession of the New York administrator; and secondly, that in the future, the Company may be held liable for damages because of the presence of conflicting certificates.

ISSUE: Should the company issue the new certificates?

HELD: Yes, the company must issue the new certificates because of the following reasons: (a) While factually the old certificates still exist, the same may by judicial fiction be considered as LOST — in view of the refusal of the New York administrator to surrender them, despite a lawful order of our courts. To deny the remedy would be derogatory to the dignity of the Philippine judiciary. The ancillary Philippine administrator is entitled to the possession of said certificates so that he can perform his duty as such administrator. A contrary finding by any foreign court or entity would be inimical to the honor of our country. After all, an administrator appointed in one state has no power over property matters in another state. (Leon and Ghessi v. Manufacturer’s Life Ins. Co., 99 Phil. 459 [1951]). (b) The Company has nothing to fear about contingent liability should the new certificates be issued. Its obedience to a lawful court order certainly constitutes a valid defense.