Limjoco vs. Estate of Fragante
ANGEL T. LIMJOCO, petitioner,
INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO O. FRAGRANTE, deceased, respondent.
G.R. No. L-770
April 27, 1948
Pedro O. Fragante applied for a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal. The Public Service Commission approved the application and held that evidence showed that the public interest and convenience will be promoted in a proper and suitable manner by the authorization of the operation of another ice-plant, that Pedro Fragante was a Filipino Citizen at the time of his death and that his intestate estate is financially capable of maintaining the proposed service. The commission ordered that a certificate of public convenience be issued to the Intestate Estate of the deceased Pedro Fragante.
Petitioner contends that the commission erred in allowing the substitution of the legal representative of the estate of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant, and in subsequently granting to said estate the certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law.
Whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante is a “person”.
Yes. The SC cited the SC of Indiana which held that “The estate of the decedent is a person in legal contemplation. The word “person” in its legal signification, is a generic term, and includes artificial as well as natural persons.” It said in another work that ‘persons are of two kinds: natural and artificial. A natural person is a human being. Artificial persons include (1) a collection or succession of natural persons forming a corporation;; (2) a collection of property to which the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties. The latter class of artificial persons is recognized only to a limited extent in our law.”
Under the present legal system, such rights and obligations as survive after death have to be exercised and fulfilled only by the estate of the deceased. And if the same legal fiction were not indulged, there would be no juridical basis for the estate, represented by the executor or administrator, to exercise those rights and to fulfill those obligations of the deceased.
The underlying reason for the legal fiction by which, for certain purposes, the estate of the deceased person is considered a “person” is the avoidance of injustice or prejudice resulting from the impossibility of exercising such legal rights and fulfilling such legal obligations of the decedent as survived after his death unless the fiction is indulged.
Moreover, the citizenship of Fragrante is also extended. The fiction of such extension of his citizenship is grounded upon the same principle, and motivated by the same reason, as the fiction of the extension of personality. The fiction is made necessary to avoid the injustice of subjecting his estate, creditors and heirs, solely by reason of his death to the loss of the investment amounting to P35,000, which he has already made in the ice plant, not counting the other expenses occasioned by the instant proceeding, from the Public Service Commission of this Court.
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