MANILA, Philippines -- The counsel of Senator Maria Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal, who was left out of the late Consuelo "Chito" Madrigal-Collantes?s will, has questioned the move of her billionaire aunt?s lawyer to execute the will.
Madrigal?s counsel, Ernesto Francisco Jr., questioned the move of Enrile Teodoro, Collantes? lawyer, saying he did not have any "legal personality" to file such motions since Collantes' demise ended his right to represent her in court.
Francisco also indicated Madrigal?s intention to file a motion for intervention within 10 days to question the validity of the will, which had been the subject of a legal dispute since its execution two years ago.
Teodoro in a hearing Friday asked Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 to issue letters testamentary to the executors of the will in order to start the process of distributing his client's property to the heirs.
"It is most respectfully prayed, that in order to administer the estate of the deceased Petitioner and put into effect her will, Letters Testamentary be issued to Atty. Perry L. Pe and Aurelio R. Montinola III without the requirement of bond," part of the three-page motion read.
Letters Testamentary is a document issued by the court clerk which states the authority of the executor of an estate of a person who has died.
Pe and Montinola, the Bank of the Philippines Islands president, are joint executors and trustees of Collantes' last will and testament.
"The will is not valid, and the process by which it was supposedly probated is questionable," Francisco told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after the hearing of Teodoro's motion.
The childless Collantes died in her North Forbes Park, Makati residence on March 24 and left her fortune to her widower, former Foreign Affairs Minister Manuel Collantes, Jamby's elder sister Susana Madrigal, a grandchild, Vicente P. Gustav Warns, and a niece, Gizela M. Gonzalez-Montinola.
Collantes had left none for her senator-niece.
Francisco said that once the will was invalidated, part of Collantes' estate should go to her "brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces."
In his motion dated April 17, Teodoro asked Pimentel to issue letters testamentary to Pe and Montinola, which would effectively give them the authority to administer Collantes' property.
"The will of the deceased Petitioner has been proved and allowed by this Court on September 20, 2006," he said, noting that under the rules of court letters of testamentary should be issued to the executor if he is competent, accepts the trust and gives bond.
Teodoro, however, added that upon the wishes of Collantes, who had no known debts, the executors may be allowed by the Court to serve without a bond.
But Francisco questioned the propriety of Teodoro's appearance in court, arguing that the counsel and his law office, P.A. Garcia, C.S. Garcia & Associates, automatically lost their legal personality with the death of their client.
He also said one of the lawyers who previously appeared in court representing Teodoro's law firm actually belonged to another law office, thus rendering his appearance in court questionable.
At the end of the hearing, Pimentel gave Francisco five days to put his opposition to Teodoro's motion in writing, and 10 days to file his motion for intervention.
Earlier, Madrigal said she was "not greedy," breaking her silence to answer news reports that pictured her as a grumbling niece left out of her rich aunt's last will and testament.
"The issue is deeper than what people think. The issue is not money, the issue is very complex. There are a lot of issues that if they become public ... but I still want to keep it a family matter. I'm very sad that they are making [this] a public matter," she had said.
"Should it become a public matter, I will be forced to divulge the real truth behind it. It will be a nice telenovela, that is all I can say."