The curious case of Nanoy Ilusorio
(First of two parts)
High society scandals fascinate me. Maybe because I understood high society tucked away in its own utopia of grandeur, sophistication and expensive education. Or maybe because the future of being a member of the Philippines’ alta sociedad seems dim for me.
Looking for inspiration to write this article led me to “research” on the decades-long squabble concerning the estate of controversial lawyer and Marcos crony, Potenciano “Nanoy” Ilusorio.
According to a report by digital magazine Positively Filipino, Nanoy’s estate was estimated to be anywhere between P1 billion and P2 billion in 2000, consisting of, among others, significant control and ownership in Philippine Satellite Communications Corp. and Baguio Country Club, and considerable real properties here and abroad.
Interest over Nanoy’s estate intensified as he grew older. Some of his and Erlinda Kalaw’s children, Lin, Maximo and Sylvia (“Team LMS”), alleged that Erlinda and the other children, Marietta and Shereen (“Team EMS”) caused Nanoy to overdose on a prescribed antidepressant drug that led to his deteriorating health. Likewise, Team LMS accused Ramon, Nanoy and Erlinda’s estranged son, of seeking to be declared the sole beneficiary of Nanoy’s estate.
Thus, after attending a corporate meeting in Baguio City, Nanoy never returned to his home with Erlinda in Antipolo City, and stayed at another condominium unit in Makati City. Team LMS purportedly barred Erlinda from visiting Nanoy in the condominium unit and Nanoy from returning to their Antipolo home, prompting Erlinda to file a petition or habeas corpus with the Court of Appeals. Erlinda’s habeas corpus case dragged on for years until the Supreme Court denied her petition with finality.
Upon Nanoy’s death, Team LMS produced Nanoy’s will, which expressly disinherited Erlinda, Ramon and Shereen. Team EMS never challenged the authenticity of Nanoy’s will and thus, accepting it as his final wishes.
Years and numerous suits later, Erlinda passed away. As previously reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, only Raymond and Shereen stayed by her side. Meanwhile, Team LMS found out about their mother’s passing from a relative.
The settlement of Nanoy’s estate was not followed-up on after Erlinda’s passing. While some suits remain undisposed, Nanoy and Erlinda’s children continued with their respective duties in the upper echelons of the business world, retreating from the public eye.
Amid the family struggle, title to specific portions of Nanoy’s estate may not yet have passed onto Team LMS or his other heirs. To be sure, in one case, the Supreme Court held that title to any specific part of the estate does not automatically pass to the heirs by mere death of the decedent. Any disposition to a co-heir before partition shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him after the estate shall have been dissolved. Also at this time, the co-heir can only validly dispose of his hereditary rights.
Before the decedent’s estate may be partitioned, the court must determine whether a co-ownership among his heirs exists. If co-ownership existed, the court shall direct the partition of the estate and the accounting of rents and profits received by the co-heirs from the estate. Unless and until the co-ownership is definitely resolved, it would be premature to effect a partition of an estate.
In this regard, co-ownership exists whenever the ownership of an undivided thing, right, or as in Nanoy’s case, estate, belongs to different persons. The share of the co-owners, in the benefits as well as in the charges, shall be proportional to their respective interests.
Each co-owner may use the property owned in common, provided that, among others, such use shall not injure the co-ownership or prevent the other co-owners from using it according to their rights. Each co-owner may likewise compel the other co-owners to contribute to the expenses of preservation of the property owned in common and to the taxes.
Any one of the co-owners may not contribute to the payment of expenses by renouncing so much of his undivided interest as may be equivalent to his share of the expenses and taxes. He may not waive his share in the expenses and taxes, however, if it were prejudicial to the co-ownership.
(To be continued)
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