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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

JANUARY 05, 2011


Reyes vs. Court of Appeals
S.C. L-5620 July 31, 1954
(Marian)
Sources: Paul Chavez case digest, G.R. No. L-23638 & G.R. No. L-23662, Adm.
Case No. 1424, CA-G.R. CV No. 89129, 3C Succession Case Digests (Diaz, Garcia,
Ingles, Machuca)
FACTS:
1. Benedicta had been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession of the a 16,240 sq. m. unregistered parcel of agricultural land,
located at Barrio Pintog, Plaridel, Bulacan, under a bona fide claim of
ownership since 1910.
2. Benedicta sold the said property to Ismaela Dimagiba, her niece,
manifested by allegedly two deeds of conveyance: in 1943 and 1944.
3. After the death of Benedicta delos Reyes, Ismaela Dimagiba submitted to
the CFI a petition for the probate of the purported will of her late aunt.
4. The will instituted Dimagiba as the sole heir of the estate.
5. The petition was set for hearing, and in due time, Dionisio Fernandez,
Eusebio Reyes and Luisa Reyes, and one month later, Mariano, Cesar,
Leonor and Paciencia, all surnamed Reyes, all claiming to be the heirs of
the decedent, filed oppositions to the probate asked.
6. Grounds advanced for the opposition were forgery, vices of consent of the
testatrix, estoppel by laches of the proponent and revocation of the will by
two deeds of conveyance of the major portion of the estate made by the
testatrix in favor of the proponent in 1943 and 1944.
7. They alleged that the property sold prior to Benedictas death should form
part of what they should inherit.
8. The Court ruled that said property is no longer part of the inheritance.
9. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court.
ISSUE:
1. Did the properties form part of the inheritance, of which the heirs are
entitled to? Yes
2. Was it proper for the heirs to question the intrinsic validity of the will, on
the ground that her compulsory heir cannot be one, as theirs was an illicit
relationship? No

First
1. Even if they are sold, they still form part of the object of succession, and of
the estate.
2. In the case at bar, the sale cannot be considered as valid as the purpose for
entering into such contract is to deprive the heirs of their legitimes.
3. No consideration whatever was paid by Dimagiba on account of the
transfers, thereby rendering it even more doubtful whether in conveying
the property to her legatee.
4. The testatrix merely intended to comply in advance with what she had
ordained in her testament, rather than an alteration or departure
therefrom.
Second
5. As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only
upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated.
6. There are, however, notable circumstances wherein the intrinsic validity
was first determined as when the defect of the will is apparent on its face
and the probate of the will may become a useless ceremony if it is
intrinsically invalid.
7. The intrinsic validity of a will may be passed upon because practical
considerations demanded it as when there is preterition of heirs or the
testamentary provisions are doubtful legality.
8. In this case however, there was never an open admission of any illicit
relationship. Thus, there was no need to go beyond the face of the will.

From Outline In Succession Atty. Crisostomo A. Uribe


Reyes vs. CA, SC L-5620, July 31, 1954
The natural children of the deceased in this case are questioning the intrinsic
validity of the will on the ground that his compulsory heir cannot be one, as
theirs was an illicit relationship. SC held that as a general rule, courts in probate
proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will
sought to be probated. There are, however, notable circumstances wherein the
intrinsic validity was first determined as when the defect of the will is apparent
on its face and the probate of the will may become a useless ceremony if it is
intrinsically invalid. The intrinsic validity of a will may be passed upon because
practical considerations demanded it as when there is preterition of heirs or
the testamentary provisions are doubtful legality. In this case however, There

HELD:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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was never an open admission of any illicit relationship. Thus, there was no need
to go beyond the face of the will.

Leon Guinto vs. Santiago Medina (deceased), Dominador Medina, et al.


9006-R October 7, 1953
Dizon, J.:
(Marian)
Source: Paul Chavez hand-written digest
FACTS:
1. Leon Guinto filed an action for forcible entry against Santiago Medina.
2. Medina denied the material averments, and argued that he has been in
possession of the lot since 1921.
3. The Justice of the Peace ordered Medina to vacate.
4. Medina appealed to the CFI.
5. While the case for forcible entry was pending trial, Guinto instituted
reconveyance proceedings.
6. Santiago Medina died during the pendency of the original appeal.
7. The Court ruled in favor of Guinto, but refused to render judgment
sentencing the Medinas to pay him damages.
8. Guinto contends that his claim for damages is one that survived after the
death of Santiago, and could be prosecuted against the latters heirs, who
are substituted in his place in both cases.
ISSUE:
Is Guinto entitled to recover damages, notwithstanding the death of Medina?
Yes.
HELD:
1. An action for forcible entry gives rise to two remedies: recovery of
possession and of damages, but subject to only one action.
2. Both cannot be subjected of 2 separate actions, for to do so would be
tantamount to splitting up a singe cause of action.
3. Such action survives despite defendants death.
4. The heirs of Medina are liable to pay the damages.
5. As they are merely substituted in the place of Santiago upon his death,
their liability is only to the extent of the value of the property, which they
might have received from the original defendant.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

MARIA GERVACIO BLAS, MANUEL GERVACIO BLAS, LEONCIO GERVACIO BLAS


and LODA GERVACIO BLAS, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. ROSALINA SANTOS, in her
capacity as Special Administratrix of the Estate of the deceased MAXIMA
SANTOS VDA. DE BLAS, in Sp. Proc. No. 2524, Court of First Instance of Rizal,
defendants-appellants. MARTA GERVACIO BLAS and DR. JOSE
CHIVI, defendants-appellants.
G.R. No. L-14070 March 29, 1961
Labrador, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. Simeon Blas contracted a first marriage with Marta Cruz sometime
before 1898.
a. They had three children, only one of whom, Eulalio, left
children, namely, Maria Gervacio Blas, one of the plaintiffs,
Marta Gervacio Blas, one of the defendants, and Lazaro
Gervacio Blas.
b. Lazaro died in 1950, and is survived by three legitimate
children who are plaintiffs herein, namely, Manuel Gervacio
Blas, Leoncio Gervacio Blas and Loida Gervacio Blas.
c. Marta Cruz died in 1898, and the following year, Simeon Blas
contracted a second marriage with Maxima Santos.
d. At the time of this second marriage, no liquidation of the
properties required by Simeon Blas and Marta Cruz was
made.
2. Only over a week before over a week before his death, Simeon Blas
executed a last will and testament (Exhibit "A")
a. One-half of our properties, after the payment of my and our
indebtedness, all these properties having been acquired
during marriage (conjugal properties), constitutes the share
of my wife Maxima Santos de Blas, according to the law.
3. Action was instituted by plaintiffs against the administration of the
estate of Maxima Santos, to secure a judicial declaration that onehalf of the properties left by Maxima Santos Vda. de Blas,
a. the greater bulk of which are set forth and described in the
project of partition presented in the proceedings for the
administration of the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas,
had been promised by the deceased Maxima Santos to be
delivered upon her death and in her will to the plaintiffs, and

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b.
4.

5.

6.

requesting that the said properties so promised be


adjudicated to the plaintiffs.
The complaint also prays for actual damages in the amount of
P50,000.

Answer:
a. She alleges that the properties of the spouses Blas and Santos
had been settled and liquidated in the project of partition of
the estate of said Simeon Blas;
b. That pursuant to the project of partition, plaintiffs and some
defendants had already received the respective properties
adjudicated to them
c. That the plaintiffs and the defendants Marta Geracio and Jose
Chivi are estopped from impugning the validity of the project
of partition of the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas and
from questioning the ownership in the properties.
RTC: rendered judgment dismissing the complaint, with costs against
plaintiff, and dismissing also the counterclaim and cross-claim decision
,the plaintiffs filed by the defendants.
From this district have appealed to this Court.

2.

3.

4.

Issue:
1.

2.

WON the heirs of Simeon Blas and first wife Marta Cruz can make any
claim for the unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during their
marriage.
WON Exhibit A is a valid and enforceable contract.

Held: 1. No 2. Yes
Ratio:
1.

The heirs of Simeon Blas and his wife Marta Cruz can no longer make
any claim for the unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during
said first marriage,
a. Because the same were already included in the mass of
properties constituting the estate of the deceased Simeon
Blas and in the adjudications made by virtue of his will, and
that the action to recover the same has prescribed.
b. The descendants of Marta Cruz can no longer claim the
conjugal properties that she and her husband may have
required during their marriage although no liquidation of
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.

such properties and delivery thereof to the heirs of Marta


Cruz have been made, no action to recover said propertied
having been presented in the proceedings for the
settlement of the estate of Simeon Blas.
The preparation and execution of Exhibit "A" was ordered by Simeon
Blas evidently to prevent his heirs by his first marriage from contesting
his will and demanding liquidation of the conjugal properties acquired
during the first marriage, and an accounting of the fruits and proceeds
thereof from the time of the death of his first wife.
Exhibit "A", therefore, appears to be the compromise defined in
Article 1809 of the Civil Code of Spain, in force at the time of the
execution of Exhibit "A", which provides as follows:
a. Compromise is a contract by which each of the parties in
interest, by giving, promising, or retaining something avoids
the provocation of a suitor terminates one which has already
the provocation been instituted.
It will be noted that what is prohibited to be the subject matter of a
contract under Article 1271 of the Civil Code is "future inheritance."
a. To us future inheritance is any property or right not in
existence or capable of determination at the time of the
contract, that a person may in the future acquire by
succession.
b. The properties subject of the contract Exhibit "A" are well
defined properties, existing at the time of the agreement,
which Simeon Blas declares in his statement as belonging to
his wife as her share in the conjugal partnership.
c. Certainly his wife's actual share in the conjugal properties
may not be considered as future inheritance because they
were actually in existence at the time Exhibit "A" was
executed.
We do not think that Exhibit "A" is a contract on future inheritance.
a. It is an obligation or promise made by the maker to transmit
one-half of her share in the conjugal properties acquired with
her husband, which properties are stated or declared to be
conjugal properties in the will of the husband. The conjugal
properties were in existence at the time of the execution of
Exhibit "A" on December 26, 1936. As a matter of fact,
Maxima Santos included these properties in her inventory of
her husband's estate of June 2, 1937.

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6.

b. The promise does not refer to any properties that the maker
would inherit upon the death of her husband, because it is
her share in the conjugal assets.
c. That the kind of agreement or promise contained in Exhibit
"A" is not void under Article 1271 of the old Civil Code, has
been decided by the Supreme Court of Spain in its decision of
October 8, 19154
As this private document contains the express promise made by
Maxima Santos to convey in her testament, upon her death, one-half
of the conjugal properties she would receive as her share in the
conjugal properties, the action to enforce the said promise did not
arise until and after her death when it was found that she did not
comply with her above-mentioned promise. (Art. 1969, old Civil
Code.)
a. It is evident from a consideration of the above figures and
facts that Maxima Santos did not comply with her obligation
to devise one-half of her conjugal properties to the heirs and
legatees of her husband.
b. She does not state that she had complied with such
obligation in her will.
c. If she intended to comply therewith by giving some of the
heirs of Simeon Blas the properties mentioned above, the
most that can be considered in her favor is to deduct the
value of said properties from the total amount of properties
which she had undertaken to convey upon her death.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J., dissenting:

While I agree with the theory that the document Exhibit "A"
does not involve a contract on future inheritance but a
promise made by Maxima Santos to transmit one-half of her
share in the conjugal property acquired during her marriage
to Simeon Blas to the heirs and legatees of the latter, I am
however of the opinion that herein appellants have no cause
of action because Maxima Santos has Substantially complied
with her promise.

CELESTINO BALUS, vs. SATURNINO BALUS and LEONARDA BALUS VDA. DE


CALUNOD
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

G.R. No. 168970, January 15, 2010


Doctrine: There is nothing in the subject Extrajudicial Settlement to indicate
any express stipulation for petitioner and respondents to continue with their
supposed co-ownership of the contested lot.
FACTS:
1. Herein petitioner and respondents are the children of the spouses Rufo
and Sebastiana Balus.
2. Sebastiana died on September 6, 1978, while Rufo died on July 6, 1984.
3. On January 3, 1979, Rufo mortgaged a parcel of land, which he owns, as
security for a loan he obtained from the Rural Bank of Maigo, Lanao del
Norte (Bank).
4. Rufo failed to pay his loan.
As a result, the mortgaged property was foreclosed and was
subsequently sold to the Bank as the sole bidder at a public auction
held for that purpose.
On November 20, 1981, a Certificate of Sale was executed by the
sheriff in favor of the Bank.
The property was not redeemed within the period allowed by law.
More than two years after the auction, or on January 25, 1984, the
sheriff executed a Definite Deed of Sale in the Bank's favor.
Thereafter, a new title was issued in the name of the Bank.
5. On October 10, 1989, herein petitioner and respondents executed an
Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate
adjudicating to each of them a specific one-third portion of the
subject property consisting of 10,246 square meters.
The Extrajudicial Settlement also contained provisions wherein the
parties admitted knowledge of the fact that their father mortgaged
the subject property to the Bank and that they intended to redeem
the same at the soonest possible time.
6. Three years after the execution of the Extrajudicial Settlement, herein
respondents bought the subject property from the Bank.
7. TCT was issued in the name of respondents.
8. Meanwhile, petitioner continued possession of the subject lot.

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9.

Respondents filed a Complaint for Recovery of Possession and Damages


against petitioner, contending that they had already informed petitioner
of the fact that they were the new owners of the disputed property, but
the petitioner still refused to surrender possession of the same to them
10. RTC rendered a Decision ordering the plaintiffs to execute a Deed of
Sale in favor of the defendant, the one-third share of the property in
question
11. CA promulgated the presently assailed Decision, reversing and setting
aside the Decision of the RTC and ordering petitioner to immediately
surrender possession of the subject property to the respondents.
Arguments:
12. Petitioner insists that despite respondents' full knowledge of the fact that
the title over the disputed property was already in the name of the Bank,
they still proceeded to execute the subject Extrajudicial Settlement,
having in mind the intention of purchasing back the property together with
petitioner and of continuing their co-ownership thereof.
13. Petitioner posits that the subject Extrajudicial Settlement is, in and by
itself, a contract between him and respondents, because it contains a
provision whereby the parties agreed to continue their co-ownership of
the subject property by "redeeming" or "repurchasing" the same from the
Bank.
ISSUE:
whether co-ownership by petitioner and respondents over the subject
property persisted even after the lot was purchased by the Bank and title
thereto transferred to its name, and even after it was eventually bought back
by the respondents from the Bank. NO
HELD:
Petitioner's argument that the Extrajudicial Settlement is an independent
contract which gives him the right to enforce his right to claim a portion of
the disputed lot bought by respondents.
The Court is not persuaded.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

In the eyes of the law, the disputed lot did not pass into the hands of
petitioner and respondents as compulsory heirs of Rufo at any given point
in time.
In the present case, however, there is nothing in the subject Extrajudicial
Settlement to indicate any express stipulation for petitioner and
respondents to continue with their supposed co-ownership of the
contested lot.
It is true that under Article 1315 of the Civil Code of the Philippines,
contracts are perfected by mere consent; and from that moment,
the parties are bound not only to the fulfillment of what has been
expressly stipulated but also to all the consequences which,
according to their nature, may be in keeping with good faith, usage
and law.
Article 1306 of the same Code also provides that the contracting
parties may establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and
conditions as they may deem convenient, provided these are not
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.
In the first place there is no co-ownership to talk about and no property
to partition, as the disputed lot never formed part of the estate of their
deceased father.
Moreover, petitioner's asseveration of his and respondents' intention of
continuing with their supposed co-ownership is negated by no less than
his assertions in the present petition that on several occasions he had the
chance to purchase the subject property back, but he refused to do so.
In fact, he claims that after the Bank acquired the disputed lot, it offered to
re-sell the same to him but he ignored such offer.
It appears from the recitals in the Extrajudicial Settlement that, at the
time of the execution thereof, the parties were not yet aware that the
subject property was already exclusively owned by the Bank.
Nonetheless, the lack of knowledge on the part of petitioner and
respondents that the mortgage was already foreclosed and title to the
property was already transferred to the Bank does not give them the right
or the authority to unilaterally declare themselves as co-owners of the
disputed property

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Partition calls for the segregation and conveyance of a determinate


portion of the property owned in common.
It seeks a severance of the individual interests of each co-owner,
vesting in each of them a sole estate in a specific property and giving
each one a right to enjoy his estate without supervision or
interference from the other.
In other words, the purpose of partition is to put an end to coownership, an objective which negates petitioner's claims in the
present case.

SPS. VIRGILIO F. SANTOS & ESPERANZA LATI SANTOS, SPS.VICTORINO F.


SANTOS, & LAGRIMAS SANTOS, ERNESTO F. SANTOS, and TADEO F. SANTOS,
Petitioners, vs. SPS. JOSE LUMBAO and PROSERFINA LUMBAO, Respondents.
G.R. No. 169129; March 28, 2007; CHICO-NAZARIO; Chants

NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure
FACTS:
1.

2.

3.

Petitioners Virgilio, Victorino, Ernesto and Tadeo, all surnamed Santos,


are the legitimate and surviving heirs of the late Rita Catoc Santos
(Rita), who died on 20 October 1985.
a. petitioners Esperanza Lati and Lagrimas Santos are the
daughters-in-law of Rita.
Respondents Spouses Jose Lumbao and Proserfina Lumbao are the
alleged owners of the 107-square meter lot (subject property), which
they purportedly bought from Rita during her lifetime.
On two separate occasions during her lifetime, Rita sold to
respondents Spouses Lumbao the subject property which is a part of
her share in the estate of her deceased mother, Maria Catoc (Maria),
who died intestate on 19 September 1978.
a. first occasion: Rita sold 100 square meters of her inchoate
share in her mothers estate through a document
denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979
i. Respondents Spouses Lumbao claimed the execution
of the aforesaid document was witnessed by

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo, as shown by their


signatures affixed therein.
b. second occasion: an additional seven square meters was
added to the land as evidenced by a document also
denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 9 January 1981
4. Spouses Lumbao took actual possession thereof and erected thereon a
house which they have been occupying as exclusive owners up to the
present
5. Respondents Spouses Lumbao alleged that prior to her death, Rita
informed respondent Proserfina Lumbao she could not deliver the title
to the subject property because the entire property inherited by her
and her co-heirs from Maria had not yet been partitioned.
6. the Spouses Lumbao claimed that petitioners executed a Deed of
Extrajudicial Settlement, adjudicating and partitioning among
themselves and the other heirs, the estate left by Maria, which
included the subject property already sold to respondents Spouses
Lumbao
7. respondents Spouses Lumbao sent a formal demand letter to
petitioners but despite receipt of such demand letter, petitioners still
failed and refused to reconvey the subject property to the
respondents Spouses Lumbao.
8. Consequently, the latter filed a Complaint for Reconveyance with
Damages
9. The trial court denied the petition
10. Aggrieved, respondents Spouses Lumbao appealed to the Court of
Appeals; it was granted.

ISSUES:
1. Whether the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by
respondents spouses Lumbao is dismissible for their failure to comply with the
mandate of the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law under R.A. No. 7160?
NO
2. Whether the documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa" are valid and
enforceable, thus, they can be the bases of the respondents spouses Lumbaos
action for reconveyance with damages? YES

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3. Whether herein petitioners are legally bound to comply with the "Bilihan ng
Lupa" dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 and consequently, reconvey
the subject property to herein respondents spouses Lumbao? YES

HELD:
1. No, it is not dismissable.

petitioners can no longer raise the defense of non-compliance with


the barangay conciliation proceedings to seek the dismissal of the
complaint filed by the respondents Spouses Lumbao, because they
already waived the said defense when they failed to file a Motion to
Dismiss.
non-referral of a case for barangay conciliation when so required
under the law is not jurisdictional in nature and may therefore be
deemed waived if not raised seasonably in a motion to dismiss

2. Document Bilihan ng Lupa is valid and enforceable.

in petitioners Answer and Amended Answer to the Complaint for


Reconveyance with Damages, both petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo
made an admission that indeed they acted as witnesses in the
execution of the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979
o however, petitioner Virgilio denied having knowledge of the
sale transaction and claimed that he could not remember the
same as well as his appearance before the notary public due
to the length of time that had passed.
petitioner Virgilio did not categorically deny having signed the "Bilihan
ng Lupa
o petitioners had not adduced any other evidence to override
the admission made in their [A]nswer
o the general rule that the admissions made by a party in a
pleading are binding and conclusive upon him applies in this
case.
both "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9
January 1981 were duly notarized before a notary public

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

a document acknowledged before a notary public is a public


document that enjoys the presumption of regularity
at the time of the execution of the documents denominated as
"Bilihan ng Lupa," the entire property owned by Maria, the mother of
Rita, was not yet divided among her and her co-heirs
o exact metes and bounds of the subject property sold to
respondents Spouses Lumbao could not be possibly
determined at that time.
o does not make the contract of sale between Rita and
respondents Spouses Lumbao invalid while an estate
remains undivided, co-owners have each full ownership of
their respective aliquots or undivided shares and may
therefore alienate, assign or mortgage them
o The sale is valid, but only with respect to the aliquot share
of the selling co-owner.
o Furthermore, the sale is subject to the results of the
partition upon the termination of the co-ownership
when the estate left by Maria had been partitioned, the 107- square
meter lot sold by the mother of the petitioners to respondents
Spouses Lumbao should be deducted from the total lot, inherited by
them in representation of their deceased mother, which in this case
measures 467 square meters.
o The 107-square meter lot already sold to respondents
Spouses Lumbao can no longer be inherited by the
petitioners because the same was no longer part of their
inheritance as it was already sold during the lifetime of their
mother.
defense of prescription of action and laches is likewise unjustifiable
when the plaintiff is in possession of the land to be reconveyed,
prescription cannot set in
o exception is based on the theory that registration
proceedings could not be used as a shield for fraud or for
enriching a person at the expense of another
o right of the respondents Spouses Lumbao to seek
reconveyance does not prescribe because the latter have
been and are still in actual possession and occupation as
owners of the property sought to be reconveyed
respondents Spouses Lumbao cannot be held guilty of laches because
from the very start that they bought the 107-square meter lot from
the mother of the petitioners, they have constantly asked for the
7

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transfer of the certificate of title into their names but Rita, during her
lifetime, and the petitioners, after the death of Rita, failed to do so on
the flimsy excuse that the lot had not been partitioned yet
o after the partition of the entire estate of Maria, petitioners
still included the 107-square meter lot in their inheritance
which they divided among themselves despite their
knowledge of the contracts of sale between their mother and
the respondents Spouses Lumbao

3. Petitioners are legally bound to comply with the Bilihan ng Lupa documents.

Bilihan ng Lupa" documents are valid and enforceable and can be


made the basis of the respondents Spouses Lumbaos action for
reconveyance
failure of respondents Spouses Lumbao to have the said documents
registered does not affect its validity and enforceability
o registration is not a requirement for validity of the contract as
between the parties, for the effect of registration serves
chiefly to bind third persons.
o Where the party has knowledge of a prior existing interest
which is unregistered at the time he acquired a right to the
same land, his knowledge of that prior unregistered interest
has the effect of registration as to him
Hence, the "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9
January 1981, being valid and enforceable, herein petitioners are
bound to comply with their provisions.
o In short, such documents are absolutely valid between and
among the parties thereto.
general rule that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their
predecessors-in-interest applies in the present case.
o Article 1311 of the NCC is the basis of this rule: whatever
rights and obligations the decedent have over the property
were transmitted to the heirs by way of succession, a mode
of acquiring the property, rights and obligations of the
decedent to the extent of the value of the inheritance of the
heirs.
the heirs cannot escape the legal consequence of a transaction
entered into by their predecessor-in-interest because they have

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

inherited the property subject to the liability affecting their common


ancestor.
o Being heirs, there is privity of interest between them and
their deceased mother.
o They only succeed to what rights their mother had and what
is valid and binding against her is also valid and binding as
against them.
o The death of a party does not excuse nonperformance of a
contract which involves a property right and the rights and
obligations thereunder pass to the personal representatives
of the deceased. Similarly, nonperformance is not excused by
the death of the party when the other party has a property
interest in the subject matter of the contract.
despite the death of the petitioners mother, they are still bound to
comply with the provisions of the "Bilihan ng Lupa"
they must reconvey to herein respondents Spouses Lumbao the 107square meter lot which they bought from Rita, petitioners mother.
petitioners must pay respondents Spouses Lumbao attorneys fees
and litigation expenses for having been compelled to litigate and incur
expenses to protect their interest.
DECISION: DENIED

INTESTATE ESTATE OF MANOLITA GONZALES VDA. DE CARUNGCONG,


represented by MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG, as Administratrix, vs. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 181409 February 11, 2010
CORONA, J.: (Marian)
Doctrine: Thus, for purposes of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, we
hold that the relationship by affinity created between the surviving spouse and
the blood relatives of the deceased spouse survives the death of either party to
the marriage which created the affinity.
FACTS:
1.

Mediatrix G. Carungcong, in her capacity as the duly appointed


administratrix of petitioner intestate estate of her deceased mother
Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong, filed a complaint-affidavit for
estafa against her brother-in-law, William Sato, a Japanese national.
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2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

The said accused induced said Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong,


who was already then blind and 79 years old, to sign and thumbmark a
special power of attorney in favor of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, daughter of
said accused, making her believe that said document involved only her
taxes
The accused knowing fully well that said document authorizes Wendy
Mitsuko C. Sato, then a minor, to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose
of to any person or entity of her properties all located at Tagaytay City,
registered in the name of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong, and
once in the possession of the said special power of attorney and other
pertinent documents
Said accused made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the 3 Deeds of Absolute Sale
for P650,000.00 and once in possession of the proceeds of the sale of the
above properties
Said accused, misapplied, misappropriated and converted the same to his
own personal use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of
Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong who died in 1994.
Sato moved for the quashal of the Information, claiming that under Article
332 of the Revised Penal Code, his relationship to the person allegedly
defrauded, the deceased Manolita who was his mother-in-law, was an
exempting circumstance.
ART. 332. Persons exempt from criminal liability. No criminal, but only
civil liability shall result from the commission of the crime of theft,
swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the
following persons:
1.

Spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by


affinity in the same line;
The widowed spouse with respect to the property which
belonged to the deceased spouse before the same shall
have passed into the possession of another; and
Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-inlaw, if living together.

2.

3.

1.

2.

Is the relationship by affinity created between the husband and the blood
relatives of his wife (as well as between the wife and the blood relatives of
her husband) dissolved by the death of one spouse, thus ending the
marriage which created such relationship by affinity?
Does the beneficial application of Article 332 cover the complex crime of
estafa thru falsification?

ARGUMENTS:
Petitioner
1. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not reversing the
orders of the trial court. It cites the commentary of Justice Luis B. Reyes in
his book on criminal law that the rationale of Article 332 of the Revised
Penal Code exempting the persons mentioned therein from criminal
liability is that the law recognizes the presumed co-ownership of the
property between the offender and the offended party.
2. Here, the properties subject of the estafa case were owned by Manolita
whose daughter, Zenaida Carungcong-Sato (Satos wife), died on January
28, 1991.
3. Hence, Zenaida never became a co-owner because, under the law, her
right to the three parcels of land could have arisen only after her mothers
death. Since Zenaida predeceased her mother, Manolita, no such right
came about and the mantle of protection provided to Sato by the
relationship no longer existed.
Respondent
1. Sato counters that Article 332 makes no distinction that the relationship
may not be invoked in case of death of the spouse at the time the crime
was allegedly committed.
2. Thus, while the death of Zenaida extinguished her marriage with Sato, it
did not dissolve the son-in-law and mother-in-law relationship between
Sato and Zenaidas mother, Manolita.
HELD: (Important- Nos. 5 & 6)

The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to


strangers participating in the commission of the crime. (emphasis
supplied)

1.
2.

The petition has merit.


Article 332 provides for an absolutory cause in the crimes of theft,
estafa (or swindling) and malicious mischief. It limits the responsibility of

ISSUES:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.

4.

5.

6.

the offender to civil liability and frees him from criminal liability by virtue
of his relationship to the offended party.
In connection with the relatives mentioned in the first paragraph, it has
been held that included in the exemptions are parents-in-law, stepparents
and adopted children. By virtue thereof, no criminal liability is incurred by
the stepfather who commits malicious mischief against his stepson by the
stepmother who commits theft against her stepson; by the stepfather who
steals something from his stepson by the grandson who steals from his
grandfather; by the accused who swindles his sister-in-law living with him;
and by the son who steals a ring from his mother.
Affinity is the relation that one spouse has to the blood relatives of the
other spouse. It is a relationship by marriage or a familial relation resulting
from marriage. It is a fictive kinship, a fiction created by law in connection
with the institution of marriage and family relations.
As one Filipino author observed:
In case a marriage is terminated by the death of one of the spouses,
there are conflicting views.
However, the better view supported by most judicial authorities in
other jurisdictions is that, if the spouses have no living issues or
children and one of the spouses dies, the relationship by affinity is
dissolved.
It follows the rule that relationship by affinity ceases with the
dissolution of the marriage which produces it (Kelly v. Neely, 12 Ark.
657, 659, 56 Am Dec. 288).
On the other hand, the relationship by affinity is continued despite the
death of one of the spouses where there are living issues or children
of the marriage in whose veins the blood of the parties are
commingled, since the relationship of affinity was continued through
the medium of the issue of the marriage (Paddock vs. Wells, 2 Barb.
Ch. 331, 333.
The Court held that the above view is more consistent with the language
and spirit of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code.
First, the terminated affinity view is generally applied in cases of jury
disqualification and incest. On the other hand, the continuing affinity
view has been applied in the interpretation of laws that intend to
benefit step-relatives or in-laws. Since the purpose of the absolutory
cause in Article 332(1) is meant to be beneficial to relatives by affinity
within the degree covered under the said provision, the continuing
affinity view is more appropriate.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

7.

Second, the language of Article 332(1) which speaks of relatives by


affinity in the same line is couched in general language. The
legislative intent to make no distinction between the spouse of ones
living child and the surviving spouse of ones deceased child (in case
of a son-in-law or daughter-in-law with respect to his or her parentsin-law) can be drawn from Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code
without doing violence to its language.
Third, the Constitution declares that the protection and strengthening
of the family as a basic autonomous social institution are policies of
the State and that it is the duty of the State to strengthen the
solidarity of the family. Congress has also affirmed as a State and
national policy that courts shall preserve the solidarity of the family.
In this connection, the spirit of Article 332 is to preserve family
harmony and obviate scandal. The view that relationship by affinity is
not affected by the death of one of the parties to the marriage that
created it is more in accord with family solidarity and harmony.
Fourth, the fundamental principle in applying and in interpreting
criminal laws is to resolve all doubts in favor of the accused. In dubio
pro reo. When in doubt, rule for the accused. This is in consonance
with the constitutional guarantee that the accused shall be presumed
innocent unless and until his guilt is established beyond reasonable
doubt.
Thus, for purposes of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, we
hold that the relationship by affinity created between the surviving
spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased spouse survives the
death of either party to the marriage which created the affinity. (The
same principle applies to the justifying circumstance of defense of
ones relatives under Article 11[2] of the Revised Penal Code, the
mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of grave offense
committed against ones relatives under Article 13[5] of the same
Code and the absolutory cause of relationship in favor of accessories
under Article 20 also of the same Code.)
Scope of Article 332:
The absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code only
applies to the felonies of theft, swindling and malicious mischief.
The plain, categorical and unmistakable language of the provision
shows that it applies exclusively to the simple crimes of theft,
swindling and malicious mischief.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

8.

It does not apply where any of the crimes mentioned under Article
332 is complexed with another crime, such as theft through
falsification or estafa through falsification.
The Information against Sato charges him with estafa. However, the
real nature of the offense is determined by the facts alleged in the
Information, not by the designation of the offense.
A reading of the facts alleged in the Information reveals that Sato is
being charged not with simple estafa but with the complex crime of
estafa through falsification of public documents.
The question may be asked: if the accused may not be held criminally liable
for simple estafa by virtue of the absolutory cause under Article 332 of the
Revised Penal Code, should he not be absolved also from criminal liability
for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents?
No.
The purpose of Article 332 is to preserve family harmony and obviate
scandal.
Thus, the action provided under the said provision simply concerns the
private relations of the parties as family members and is limited to the
civil aspect between the offender and the offended party.
When estafa is committed through falsification of a public document,
however, the matter acquires a very serious public dimension and
goes beyond the respective rights and liabilities of family members
among themselves.
Effectively, when the offender resorts to an act that breaches public
interest in the integrity of public documents as a means to violate the
property rights of a family member, he is removed from the protective
mantle of the absolutory cause under Article 332.
In considering whether the accused is liable for the complex crime of
estafa through falsification of public documents, it would be wrong to
consider the component crimes separately from each other. In other
words, while there are two crimes, they are treated only as one,
subject to a single criminal liability.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


1.
JANUARY 12, 2012
TORIBIA FONTANILLA PACIO, SANTIAGO PACIO, ESPERANZA PACIO, and
ROSARIO PACIO, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. MANUELA PACIO BILLON, BRIGIDA
PACIO, and DOMINGA G.R. No. L-15088; January 31, 1961; P: Bengzon; by:
Mickey Celles
Doctrine: The law in effect when the gift was made should be followed. And the
law was the Spanish Civil Code, according to which, even between the parties,
the donation must be in a public instrument.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

Flaviano Pacio married Severa Jucutan. Herein defendants were their


children. Severa died in 1930; and thereafter Flavio married the plaintiff
Toribia Fontanilla, who bore him the other four plaintiffs.
The dispute between the parties, concerned two parcels of land which
defendants allegedly retained without any right thereto.
The litigants later agreed to a partition of the first parcel, and the
court so decreed.
As to the second parcel, a hearing was held, and it was awarded to the
defendants, on the ground that it had been donated propter nuptias to
Severa, in 1901, by Flaviano Pacio

The land continued to be declared in the name of Flaviano


Pacio notwithstanding this donation propter nuptias until
1956 when the same was changed in the name of the
defendants Brigida, Manuela and Dominga, all surnamed
Pacio. Taxes were also paid in his name.

Issue:
1.

Are the plaintiffs-appellants contention that the donation was void,


because it was not made in a public instrument proper? Yes

Ruling:

Art. 633 of the Spanish Civil Code states that "In order that a donation of
real property be valid it must be made by public instrument in which the
property donated must be specifically described and the amount of the
encumbrances to be assumed by the donee expressed . . .." .
And this Court has held that a donation propter nuptias of real
property written on a private instrument is not valid even
between the parties.
But in 1901 when the gift was made, the law was contained in
the Spanish Civil Code, according to which, even between the
parties, the donation must be in a public instrument.
Realizing the force of plaintiffs' point, defendants emphasize that
the deed of donation constituted a title on which to base
acquisitive prescription, inasmuch as Severa possessed the land
from 1901 to March 1930 when she died.
i. it is obvious that normally, prescription by adverse
possession can not exist between husband and wife.
See Article 1109 Civil Code of the Philippines.
It follows that Flaviano Pacio continued to be the owner of the
land as the donation had no effect and there was no prescription.
Upon his death, the land became the joint property of his
children by the first and second marriage. Subject of course to
the rights of his surviving spouse, the plaintiff Toribia Fontanilla.

Decision: Decision of the lower court reversed


2 - MARIA USON, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIA DEL ROSARIO, CONCEPCION
NEBREDA, CONRADO NEBREDA, DOMINADOR NEBREDA, AND FAUSTINO
NEBREDA, Jr., defendants-appellants
G.R. No. L-4963; January 29, 1953; J. Bautista Angelo
(Bon)
Doctrine: The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the
ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a
deed for the same before his death
Facts:
1.
2.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who upon his
death left the lands involved in this litigation.
Faustino Nebreda left no other heir except his widow Maria Uson.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


3.

4.

5.

Issue:

Held:
NO.
1.

2.

However, plaintiff claims that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945, his
common-law wife Maria del Rosario took possession illegally of said
lands thus depriving her of their possession and enjoyment.
In defense, Maria del Rosario et.al. argued that Maria Uson and her
husband executed a public document whereby they agreed to
separate as husband and wife
Thus, in consideration of their separation, Maria Uson was given a
parcel of land by way of alimony and in return she renounced her right
to inherit any other property that may be left by her husband upon his
death.
Does Maria del Rosario and the minor defendants have a right over
the parcel of land question?

3.

AS TO THE SIGNING FOR THE CHILDREN: It partakes of the nature of a


donation of real property, inasmuch as it involves no material
consideration, and in order that it may be valid it shall be made in a
public document and must be accepted either in the same document
or in a separate one.

3- ROSALIO BONILLA (a minor) SALVACION BONILLA (a minor) and PONCIANO


BONILLA (their father) who represents the minors, petitioners,
vs.
LEON BARCENA, MAXIMA ARIAS BALLENA, ESPERANZA BARCENA, MANUEL
BARCENA, AGUSTINA NERI, widow of JULIAN TAMAYO and HON. LEOPOLDO
GIRONELLA of the Court of First Instance of Abra,respondents.
G.R. No. L-41715 June 18, 1976

The property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the
ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had executed and delivered
to them a deed for the same before his death
a. The claim of the defendants that Maria Uson had
relinquished her right over the lands in question because she
expressly renounced to inherit any future property that her
husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of
separation they had entered into, cannot be entertained for
the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the
subject of a contract nor can it be renounced
AS TO THE MINOR DEFENDANTS: rights which are declared for the
first time shall have retroactive effect even though the event which
gave rise to them may have occurred under the former legislation,
but this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any vested
or acquired right of the same origin.
a. the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in
question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late
husband and this is so because of the imperative provision of
the law which commands that the rights to succession are
transmitted from the moment of death (Article 657, old Civil
Code).
b. The new right recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the
illegitimate children of the deceased cannot, therefore, be
asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson
over the lands in dispute.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Facts:
1.

2.

3.
4.

On March 31, 1975 Fortunata Barcena, mother of minors Rosalio


Bonilla and Salvacion Bonilla and wife of Ponciano Bonilla, instituted a
civil action in the Court of First Instance of Abra, to quiet title over
certain parcels of land located in Abra.
On August 4, 1975, the defendants filed another motion to dismiss the
complaint on the ground that Fortunata Barcena is dead and,
therefore, has no legal capacity to sue.
- Said motion to dismiss was heard on August 14, 1975. In said
hearing, counsel for the plaintiff confirmed the death of Fortunata
Barcena,
- and asked for substitution by her minor children and her
husband, the petitioners herein;
- but the court after the hearing immediately dismissed the case
on the ground that a dead person cannot be a real party in
interest and has no legal personality to sue.
On August 28, 1975, the court denied the motion for reconsideration
filed by counsel for the plaintiff for lack of merit.
On September 1, 1975, counsel for deceased plaintiff filed a written
manifestation praying that the minors Rosalio Bonilla and Salvacion
Bonilla be allowed to substitute their deceased mother,
- but the court denied the counsel's prayer for lack of merit. From
the order, counsel for the deceased plaintiff filed a second motion
13

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


for reconsideration of the order dismissing the complaint claiming
that the same is in violation of Sections 16 and 17 of Rule 3 of the
Rules of Court but the same was denied.
Issue/held: WON the court erred in denying minors Rosalio Bonilla and
Salvacion Bonilla be to substitute their deceased mother? YES
Rationale:
1. While it is true that a person who is dead cannot sue in court, yet he
can be substituted by his heirs in pursuing the case up to its
completion.
2. The records of this case show that the death of Fortunata Barcena
took place on July 9, 1975 while the complaint was filed on March 31,
1975.
3. This means that when the complaint was filed on March 31, 1975,
Fortunata Barcena was still alive, and therefore, the court had
acquired jurisdiction over her person.
- If thereafter she died, the Rules of Court prescribes the
procedure whereby a party who died during the pendency of the
proceeding can be substituted.
- Under Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court "whenever a party
to a pending case dies ... it shall be the duty of his attorney to
inform the court promptly of such death ... and to give the name
and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other
legal representatives."
- This duty was complied with by the counsel for the deceased
plaintiff when he manifested before the respondent Court that
Fortunata Barcena died on July 9, 1975 and asked for the proper
substitution of parties in the case.
- The respondent Court, however, instead of allowing the
substitution, dismissed the complaint on the ground that a dead
person has no legal personality to sue. This is a grave error.
- Article 777 of the Civil Code provides "that the rights to the
succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the
decedent.
- " From the moment of the death of the decedent, the heirs
become the absolute owners of his property, subject to the rights
and obligations of the decedent, and they cannot be deprived of
their rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4. The moment of death is the determining factor when the heirs


acquire a definite right to the inheritance whether such right be pure
or contingent.
- The right of the heirs to the property of the deceased vests in
them even before judicial declaration of their being heirs in the
testate or intestate proceedings.
- When Fortunata Barcena, therefore, died her claim or right to
the parcels of land in litigation in Civil Case No. 856, was not
extinguished by her death but was transmitted to her heirs upon
her death.
- Her heirs have thus acquired interest in the properties in
litigation and became parties in interest in the case.
- There is, therefore, no reason for the respondent Court not to
allow their substitution as parties in interest for the deceased
plaintiff.
5. Under Section 17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court "after a party dies and
the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon
proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to appear and
be substituted for the deceased, within such time as may be granted
... ."
- The question as to whether an action survives or not depends on
the nature of the action and the damage sued for.
- In the causes of action which survive the wrong complained
affects primarily and principally property and property rights, the
injuries to the person being merely incidental,
- while in the causes of action which do not survive the injury
complained of is to the person, the property and rights of
property affected being incidental.
6. It is, therefore, the duty of the respondent Court to order the legal
representative of the deceased plaintiff to appear and to be
substituted for her.
7. But what the respondent Court did, upon being informed by the
counsel for the deceased plaintiff that the latter was dead, was to
dismiss the complaint.
- This should not have been done for under the same Section 17,
Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, it is even the duty of the court, if the
legal representative fails to appear, to order the opposing party to
procure the appointment of a legal representative of the
deceased.
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In the instant case the respondent Court did not have to bother
ordering the opposing party to procure the appointment of a legal
representative of the deceased because her counsel has not only
asked that the minor children be substituted for her
but also suggested that their uncle be appointed as guardian ad
litem for them because their father is busy in Manila earning a
living for the family.
But the respondent Court refused the request for substitution on
the ground that the children were still minors and cannot sue in
court.
This is another grave error because the respondent Court ought to
have known that under the same Section 17, Rule 3 of the Rules
of Court, the court is directed to appoint a guardian ad litem for
the minor heirs.
Precisely in the instant case, the counsel for the deceased
plaintiff has suggested to the respondent Court that the uncle of
the minors be appointed to act as guardian ad litem for them.
Unquestionably, the respondent Court has gravely abused its
discretion in not complying with the clear provision of the Rules of
Court in dismissing the complaint of the plaintiff in Civil Case No.
856 and refusing the substitution of parties in the case.
4- ANGELA M. BUTTE, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
MANUEL UY and SONS, INC., defendant-appellee.
G.R. No. L-15499
February 28, 1962 ; NILO

FACTS:
1) Jose V. Ramirez, during his lifetime, was a co-owner (1/6) of a house
and lot together with: Marie Garnier Vda. de Ramirez, 1/6; Jose E.
Ramirez, 1/6; Rita de Ramirez, 1/6; and Jose Ma. Ramirez, 1/6.
2) Jose V. Ramirez died. Subsequently, Special Proceeding was instituted
to settle his estate, that included the one-sixth (1/6) undivided share
in the aforementioned property.
And although his last will and testament, wherein he bequeathed
his estate to his children and grandchildren and one-third (1/3) of
the free portion to Mrs. Angela M. Butte, hereinafter referred to
as plaintiff-appellant, has been admitted to probate, the estate
proceedings are still pending up to the present on account of the
claims of creditors which exceed the assets of the deceased.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The Bank of the Philippine Islands was appointed judicial


administrator.

3) Mrs. Marie Garnier Vda. de Ramirez, one of the co-owners of the Sta.
Cruz property, sold her undivided 1/6 share to Manuel Uy & Sons, Inc.
defendant-appellant.
4) Mrs. Angela M. Butte, thru Atty. Resplandor Sobretodo, sent a letter
and a Philippine National Bank cashier's check to Manuel Uy & Sons,
Inc. offering to redeem the 1/6 share sold by Mrs. Marie Garnier Vda.
de Ramirez.
5) This tender having been refused, plaintiff on the same day consigned
the amount in court and filed the corresponding action for legal
redemption.
ISSUE: whether or not plaintiff-appellant, having been bequeathed 1/3 of the
free portion of the estate of Jose V. Ramirez, can exercise the right of legal
redemption over the 1/6 share sold by Mrs. Marie Garnier Vda. de Ramirez
despite the presence of the judicial administrator and pending the final
distribution of her share in the testate proceedings.
RULING: YES. That the appellant Angela M. Butte is entitled to exercise the
right of legal redemption is clear. As testamentary heir of the estate of J.V.
Ramirez, she and her co-heirs acquired an interest in the undivided one-sixth
(1/6) share owned by her predecessor (causante) in the Santa Cruz property,
from the moment of the death of the aforesaid co-owner, J.V. Ramirez.
By law, the rights to the succession of a deceased persons are
transmitted to his heirs from the moment of his death, and the
right of succession includes all property rights and obligations that
survive the decedent.
ART. 776. The inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a
person which are not extinguished by his death. (659)
ART. 777. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the
death of the decedent. (657a)
ART. 947. The legatee or devisee acquires a right to the pure and simple
legacies or devisees from the death of the testator, and transmits it to his heirs.
(881a)
ART. 1620. A co-owner of a thing may exercise the right of redemption in case
the shares of all the other-co-owners or of any of them, are sold to a third
15

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person. If the price of the alienation is grossly excessive, the redemptioner shall
pay only a reasonable one.
Should two or more co-owners desire to exercise the right of redemption, they
may only do so in proportion to the share they may respectively have in the
thing owned in common. (1522a)

A co-owner of an undivided share is necessarily a co-owner of the


whole. Wherefore, any one of the Ramirez heirs, as such co-owner,
became entitled to exercise the right of legal redemption (retracto de
comuneros) as soon as another co-owner (Maria Garnier Vda. de
Ramirez) had sold her undivided share to a stranger, Manuel Uy &
Sons, Inc.
o This right of redemption vested exclusively in consideration
of the redemptioner's share which the law nowhere takes
into account.

The situation is in no wise altered by the existence of a judicial


administrator of the estate of Jose V. Ramirez while under the Rules of
Court the administrator has the right to the possession of the real and
personal estate of the deceased, so far as needed for the payment of
the decedent's debts and the expenses of administration, and the
administrator may bring or defend actions for the recovery of the
property or rights of the deceased, such rights of possession and
administration do not include the right of legal redemption of the
undivided share sold to Uy & Company by Mrs. Garnier Ramirez.
The reason is obvious: this right of legal redemption only came
into existence when the sale to Uy & Sons, Inc. was perfected,
eight (8) years after the death of Jose V. Ramirez, and formed no
part of his estate.
The redemption right vested in the heirs originally, in their
individual capacity, they did not derivatively acquire it from their
decedent, for when Jose V. Ramirez died, none of the other coowners of the Sta. Cruz property had as yet sold his undivided
share to a stranger. Hence, there was nothing to redeem and no
right of redemption; and if the late Ramirez had no such right at
his death, he could not transmit it to his own heirs.
o Much less could Ramirez acquire such right of
redemption eight years after his death, when the sale to
Uy & Sons, Inc. was made; because death extinguishes
civil personality, and, therefore, all further juridical
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

capacity to acquire or transmit rights and obligations of


any kind.

Even if subsequently, the undivided share of Ramirez (and of his heirs)


should eventually be sold to satisfy the creditors of the estate, it
would not destroy their ownership of it before the sale, but would
only convey or transfer it as in turn sold (of it actually is sold) to pay
his creditors.
o Hence, the right of any of the Ramirez heirs to redeem the
Garnier share will not be retroactively affected.
o All that the law requires is that the legal redemptioner should
be a co-owner at the time the undivided share of another coowner is sold to a stranger.
o Whether or not the redemptioner will continue being a coowner after exercising the legal redemptioner is irrelevant for
the purposes of law.

Nor it can be argued that if the original share of Ramirez is sold by the
administrator, his heirs would stand in law as never having acquired
that share. This would only be true if the inheritance is repudiated or
the heir's quality as such is voided.
o But where the heirship is undisputed, the purchaser of
hereditary property is not deemed to have acquired the
title directly from the deceased Ramirez, because a dead
man can not convey title, nor from the administrator
who owns no part of the estate; the purchaser can only
derive his title from the Ramirez heirs, represented by
the administrator, as their trustee or legal
representative.

TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSEFA TANGCO, JOSE DE BORJA, administrator-appellee;


JOSE DE BORJA, as administrator, CAYETANO DE BORJA, MATILDE DE BORJA
and CRISANTO DE BORJA (deceased) as Children of Josefa Tangco, appellees,
vs.
TASIANA VDA. DE DE BORJA, Special Administratrix of the Testate Estate of
Francisco de Borja,appellant. .
G.R. No. L-28040 August 18, 1972
Reyes, J.B.L.
(Jeka)
16

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

Francisco, and at the time the agreement was made, the will was still
being probated with the CFI of Nueva Ecija.
Francisco de Borja, upon the death of his wife Josefa Tangco on 6
October 1940, filed a petition for the probate of her will
a. The will was probated on 2 April 1941
b. Francisco de Borja was appointed executor and
administrator:
c. Their son, Jose de Borja, was appointed co-administrator.
When Francisco died, Jose became the sole administrator of the
testate estate of his mother, Josefa Tangco.
a. While a widower Francisco de Borja allegedly took unto
himself a second wife, Tasiana Ongsingco.
b. Upon Francisco's death, Tasiana instituted testate
proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija,
where, in 1955, she was appointed special administratrix.
The testate estate of Josefa Tangco alone has been unsettled for
more than a quarter of a century. In order to put an end to all these
litigations, a compromise agreement was entered into.
a. by and between "[T]he heir and son of Francisco de Borja by
his first marriage, namely, Jose de Borja personally and as
administrator of the Testate Estate of Josefa Tangco," and
"[T]he heir and surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja by his
second marriage, Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de Borja.
Jose de Borja submitted for Court approval the agreement of 12
October 1963 to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, in Special
Proceeding No. R-7866; and again, on 8 August 1966, to the Court of
First Instance of Nueva Ecija, in Special Proceeding No. 832
a. The Rizal court approved the compromise agreement, but the
Nueva Ecija court declared it void and unenforceable.
b. Special administratrix Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja
appealed the Rizal Court's order of approval (now Supreme
Court G.R. case No. L-28040), while administrator Jose de
Borja appealed the order of disapproval (G.R. case No. L28568) by the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija.

Issue: WON the compromise agreement is valid, even if the will of Francisco
has not yet been probated

Tasiana argues: that it was not valid because the heirs cannot enter
into such kind of agreement without first probating the will of
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Held: YES, the compromise agreement is valid.


Ratio:
1.

2.

The doctrine of Guevara vs. Guevara, ante, is not applicable to the


case at bar.
a. Guevara vs. Guevara. 74 Phil. 479, (Court's majority held the
view that the presentation of a will for probate is mandatory
and that the settlement and distribution of an estate on the
basis of intestacy when the decedent left a will, is against the
law and public policy.)
b. There was here no attempt to settle or distribute the estate
of Francisco de Borja among the heirs thereto before the
probate of his will.
c. The clear object of the contract was merely the conveyance
by Tasiana Ongsingco of any and all her individual share and
interest, actual or eventual in the estate of Francisco de Borja
and Josefa Tangco.
d. There is no stipulation as to any other claimant, creditor or
legatee.
e. And as a hereditary share in a decedent's estate is
transmitted or vested immediately from the moment of the
death of such causante or predecessor in interest (Civil Code
of the Philippines, Art. 777) there is no legal bar to a
successor (with requisite contracting capacity) disposing of
her or his hereditary share immediately after such death,
even if the actual extent of such share is not determined until
the subsequent liquidation of the estate.
Tasiana Ongsingco was his compulsory heir under article 995 et
seq. of the present Civil Code.
a. Wherefore, barring unworthiness or valid disinheritance, her
successional interest existed independent of Francisco de
Borja's last will and testament and would exist even if such
will were not probated at all.
b. Thus, the prerequisite of a previous probate of the will, as
established in the Guevara and analogous cases, can not
apply to the case of Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja.
17

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


3.

Since the compromise contract Annex A was entered into by and


between "Jose de Borja personally and as administrator of the Testate
Estate of Josefa Tangco" on the one hand, and on the other, "the heir
and surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja by his second marriage,
Tasiana Ongsingco Vda. de de Borja", it is clear that the transaction
was binding on both in their individual capacities, upon the
perfection of the contract, even without previous authority of the
Court to enter into the same.
a. The only difference between an extrajudicial compromise
and one that is submitted and approved by the Court, is that
the latter can be enforced by execution proceedings.

3.

4.

5.
6- Go Ong v Court of Appeals,
No. L-75884, 24 September 1987G.R. No. L-49401

July 30, 1982

Doctrine: Mortgage constituted on the property under administration, by


authority of the petitioner, is valid, notwithstanding the lack of judicial
approval, with respect to her conjugal share and to her hereditary rights.
FACTS:
1. Two (2) parcels of land in Quezon City xxxx are covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title in the name of "Alfredo Ong Bio Hong married to Julita
Go Ong "(Exh. D).
2. Alfredo Ong Bio Hong died on January 18, 1975 and Julita Go Ong was
appointed administratrix of her husband's estate in Civil Case No. 107089.
The letters of administration was registered on TCT No. 188705 on
October 23, 1979.
Thereafter, Julita Go Ong sold Lot No. 12 to Lim Che Boon, xxxx
On June 8, 1981 Julita Go Ong through her attorney-in-fact Jovita K.
Yeo mortgaged Lot No. 1 to the Allied Banking Corporation to secure
a loan of P900,000.00 obtained by JK Exports, Inc.
The mortgage was registered on TCT No. 188705 on the same date
with the following notation: "... mortgagee's consent necessary in case
of subsequent alienation or encumbrance of the property other xx

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

On the loan there was due the sum of P828,000.00 and Allied Banking
Corporation tried to collect it from Julita Go Ong, (Exh. E).
Hence, the complaint alleging nullity of the contract for lack of judicial
approval which the bank had allegedly promised to secure from the
court.
In response thereto, the bank averred that it was plaintiff Julita Go Ong
who promised to secure the court's approval, adding that Julita Go Ong
informed the defendant that she was processed the sum of P300,000.00
by the JK Exports, Inc. which will also take charge of the interest of the
loan.
RTC: the mortgage constituted on said property, upon express authority of
plaintiff, notwithstanding the lack of judicial approval, is valid, with respect
to her conjugal share thereon, together with her hereditary rights.
Court of Appeals affirmed, with modification

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE MORTGAGE CONSTITUTED OVER THE PARCEL


OF LAND UNDER PETITIONER'S ADMINISTRATION IS NULL AND VOID FOR
WANT OF JUDICIAL APPROVAL.
HELD:
The instant petition is devoid of merit.
In brief, the lower court found:
(1) that the property under the administration of petitioner the wife of
the deceased, is a community property and not the separate
property of the latter;
(2) that the mortgage was constituted in the wife's personal capacity and
not in her capacity as administratrix; and
(3) that the mortgage affects the wife's share in the community property
and her inheritance in the estate of her husband.
Petitioner, asserting that the mortgage is void for want of judicial approval,
quoted Section 7 of Rule 89 of the Rules of Court and cited several cases
wherein this Court ruled that the regulations provided in the said section are
mandatory.

18

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

While petitioner's assertion may have merit insofar as the rest of the
estate of her husband is concerned the same is not true as regards her
conjugal share and her hereditary rights in the estate.
The records show that petitioner willingly and voluntarily mortgaged the
property in question xxxx
hat at the time she executed the real estate mortgage, there was no court
order authorizing the mortgage, so she took it upon herself, to secure an
order.
xxxx Section 7 of Rule 89 of the Rules of Court is not applicable, since the
mortgage was constituted in her personal capacity and not in her
capacity as administratrix of the estate of her husband.

7- JOSE C. LEE AND ALMA AGGABAO vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON
CITY BRANCH 85
G.R. No. 146006; February 23, 2004; Chants
FACTS:
1.

2.
Picardal, et al. vs. Lladas (21 SCRA 1483) and Fernandez, et al. vs. Maravilla (10
SCRA 589), further argues that in the settlement proceedings of the estate of
the deceased spouse, the entire conjugal partnership property of the marriage
is under administration.
While such may be in a sense true, that fact alone is not sufficient to
invalidate the whole mortgage, willingly and voluntarily entered into by
the petitioner.
An opposite view would result in an injustice.
This Court applied the provisions of Article 493 of the Civil Code, where
the heirs as co-owners shall each have the full ownership of his part and
the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate,
assign or mortgage it, and even effect of the alienation or mortgage, with
respect to the co-owners, shall be limited to the portion which may be
allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership
(Philippine National Bank vs. Court of Appeals, 98 SCRA 207 [1980]).
xxxxxx mortgage constituted on the property under administration, by
authority of the petitioner, is valid, notwithstanding the lack of judicial
approval, with respect to her conjugal share and to her hereditary rights.
The fact that what had been mortgaged was in custodia legis is
immaterial,
insofar as her conjugal share and hereditary share in the property is
concerned for after all, she was the ABSOLUTE OWNER thereof.
Moreover, petitioner is already estopped from questioning the mortgage.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

3.

4.

5.

6.

Dr. Juvencio P. Ortaez incorporated the Philippine International Life


Insurance Company, Inc.
a. At the time of the companys incorporation, Dr. Ortaez
owned ninety percent (90%) of the subscribed capital stock.
On July 21, 1980, Dr. Ortaez died
a. He left behind a wife (Juliana Salgado Ortaez), three
legitimate children (Rafael, Jose and Antonio Ortaez) and
five illegitimate children by Ligaya Novicio (herein private
respondent Ma. Divina Ortaez-Enderes and her siblings Jose,
Romeo, Enrico Manuel and Cesar, all surnamed Ortaez).
Judge Ernani Cruz Pao appointed Rafael and Jose Ortaez joint
special administrators of their fathers estate
a. special administrators Rafael and Jose Ortaez submitted an
3
inventory of the estate of their father which included 2,029
shares of stock in Philinterlife, representing 50.725% of the
companys outstanding capital stock.
The decedents wife, Juliana S. Ortaez, claiming that she owned
1,014 Philinterlife shares of stock as her conjugal share in the estate,
sold said shares with right to repurchase in favor of petitioner
Filipino Loan Assistance Group (FLAG), represented by its president
Jose C. Lee.
Special Administrator Jose Ortaez, claiming he owned the
remaining 1,011 Philinterlife shares of stocks as his inheritance share
in the estate, sold said shares with right to repurchase also in favor
of FLAG
several years before Juliana Ortaez and her two children, Special
Administrators Rafael and Jose Ortaez, entered into a
memorandum of agreement for the extrajudicial settlement of the
estate of Dr. Juvencio Ortaez, partitioning the estate (including the
Philinterlife shares of stock) among themselves
a. This was the basis of the number of shares separately sold by
Juliana Ortaez and by Jose Ortaez
19

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Ma. Divina OrtaezEnderes and her siblings filed a motion for
appointment of special administrator of Philinterlife shares of stock.
a. the intestate court granted the motion and appointed private
respondent Enderes special administratrix of the Philinterlife
shares of stock.
8. Special Administratrix Enderes filed an urgent motion to declare void
ab initio the memorandum of agreement
a. she filed a motion to declare the partial nullity of the
extrajudicial settlement of the decedents estate.
b. Special Administratrix Enderes filed an urgent motion to
declare void ab initio the deeds of sale of Philinterlife shares
of stock
9. ALL THE ABOVE-MENTIONED MOTIONS WERE GRANTED
a. Since the sales in question were entered into by Juliana S.
Ortaez and Jose S. Ortaez in their personal capacity
without prior approval of the Court, the same is not binding
upon the Estate.
b. the Memorandum of Agreement is partially void ab initio
insofar as the transfer/waiver/renunciation of the Philinterlife
shares of stocks are concerned
10. Special Administratrix Enderes and her siblings filed a motion for
execution of the Orders of the intestate court
a. the intestate court granted the motion for execution

7.

ISSUES: 1. Whether the lower court was correct in not approving the
Memorandum Agreement and in declaring void the deeds of sale? YES
2. Whether it correctly issued the order for execution? YES
HELD:
1. Memorandum of Agreement was correctly not approved. Deeds of sale are
void.

some of the heirs of the decedent without securing court approval


have appropriated as their own personal property the properties of
[the] Estate, to the exclusion and the extreme prejudice of the other
claimant/heirs

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

these heirs, without court approval, have distributed the


asset of the estate among themselves and proceeded to
dispose the same to third parties even in the absence of an
order of distribution by the Estate Court
no legal justification for this action by the heirs
o no basis for demanding that public respondent [the intestate
court] approve the sale of the Philinterlife shares of the
Estate by Juliana and Jose Ortaez in favor of the Filipino
Loan Assistance Group.
parties to the Memorandum of Agreement are not the only heirs
claiming an interest in the estate left by Dr. Juvencio P. Ortaez.
o as early as March 3, 1981 an Opposition to the Application for
Issuance of Letters of Administration was filed by the
acknowledged natural children of Dr. Juvencio P. Ortaez
with Ligaya Novicio
o claim is admittedly known to the parties to the Memorandum
of Agreement before they executed the same.
Since the appropriation of the estate properties by Juliana Ortaez
and her children was invalid, the subsequent sale thereof by Juliana
and Jose to a third party (FLAG), without court approval, was
likewise void.
An heir can sell his right, interest, or participation in the property
under administration under Art. 533 of the Civil Code which provides
that possession of hereditary property is deemed transmitted to the
heir without interruption from the moment of death of the decedent.
o However, an heir can only alienate such portion of the estate
that may be allotted to him in the division of the estate by
the probate or intestate court after final adjudication, that is,
after all debtors shall have been paid or the devisees or
legatees shall have been given their shares
o an heir may only sell his ideal or undivided share in the estate,
not any specific property therein
Juliana Ortaez and Jose Ortaez sold specific properties of the estate
in favor of petitioner FLAG.
o This they could not lawfully do pending the final adjudication
of the estate by the intestate court because of the undue
prejudice it would cause the other claimants to the estate, as
what happened in the present case.
any disposition of estate property by an administrator or prospective
heir pending final adjudication requires court approval
20

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

any unauthorized disposition of estate property can be


annulled by the probate court, there being no need for a
separate action to annul the unauthorized disposition.

2. The intestate or probate court can execute its order nullifying the invalid
sale.

The intestate court has the power to execute its order with regard to
the nullity of an unauthorized sale of estate property, otherwise its
power to annul the unauthorized or fraudulent disposition of estate
property would be meaningless
o enforcement is a necessary adjunct of the intestate or
probate courts power to annul unauthorized or fraudulent
transactions to prevent the dissipation of estate property
before final adjudication
not dealing here with the issue of inclusion or exclusion of properties
in the inventory of the estate because there is no question that, from
the very start, the Philinterlife shares of stock were owned by the
decedent, Dr. Juvencio Ortaez. Rather, we are concerned here with
the effect of the sale made by the decedents heirs, Juliana Ortaez
and Jose Ortaez, without the required approval of the intestate
court.
o contention of petitioners that the determination of the
intestate court was merely provisional and should have been
threshed out in a separate proceeding is incorrect.
DECISION: Petition is hereby DENIED

1. Eliosoro Sandejas was appointed administrator for the settlement of the


estate of his wife, Remedios.
2. He eventually sold parcels of land (in Makati) to Alex Lina, who agreed to buy
it for P1M.
3. Eliosoro eventually died and Alex Lina was appointed new administrator of
the estate of Remedios.
4. The heirs of Sandejas now filed a MR for the appointment of a new
administrator.
5. Lina filed a Motion to approve the deed of conditional sale.

ISSUES:
1. Is Elisoro legally obliged to convey title to the property, found by the lower
court to be a contract to sell?
2. Did the Probate Court have jurisdiction over the approval of the sale?
3. Can Lina apply to the Court for the approval of the sale?
4. Is Elisoro in Bad faith?
5. How much is Elisoros share in the property?

HELD:
First
NO, since the condition is the procurement of court approval and not the
payment of the purchase price

8- Heirs of Spouses REMEDIOS R. SANDEJAS and ELIODORO P. SANDEJAS SR. -ROBERTO R. SANDEJAS, ANTONIO R. SANDEJAS, CRISTINA SANDEJAS
MORELAND, BENJAMIN R. SANDEJAS, REMEDIOS R. SANDEJAS; and
heirs of SIXTO S. SANDEJAS II, RAMON R. SANDEJAS, TERESITA R.
SANDEJAS, and ELIODORO R. SANDEJAS JR., all represented by
ROBERTO R. SANDEJAS, petitioners, vs. ALEX A. LINA, respondent.
G.R. No. 141634. February 5, 2001
Panganiban, J.:

Second

FACTS:

Third

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

YES, the Probate Court has jurisdiction over it since it covers all matters relating
to the settlement of estates and the probate of wills of deceased persons,
including the appointment and removal of administrators and executors. It also
extends to incidental and collateral matters such as selling, mortgaging or
otherwise encumbering real property belonging to the estate.

21

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


The stipulation requiring court approval does not affect the validity and the
effectivity of the sale as regards the selling heirs. It merely implies that that the
property may be taken out of custodia legis, only with courts permission.

1.

Because the other heirs did not consent to the sale of their ideal shares in the
disputed lots, it is only limited to the pro-indiviso share of Eliosoro.

2.

3.
Fourth
NO. SC held that he is not in bad faith because: (1) he informed Lina of the
need to secure court approval prior to the sale of the lots, and (2) he did not
promise he could obtain the approval.

4.

Fifth
His share is 11/20 of the entire property because he owned of these lots plus
a further 1/10 of the remaining half, in his capacity as one of the legal heirs.

9 - HEIRS OF PEDRO REGANON, JOVENCIA REGANON, MENCIA REGANON,


JOSEFA REGANON, VIOLETA REGANON, and FLORA REGANON, plaintiffsappellees, vs.RUFINO IMPERIAL, defendant-appellant.

5.

The heirs of Pedro Reganon filed a complaint for recovery of ownership


and possession of about one-hectare portion of a parcel of land with
damages, against Rufino Imperial.
Defendant not having filed an answer within the reglementary
period, the plaintiffs filed a motion to declare the former in
default and presened evience ex-parte
The court a quo rendered a decision declaring the plaintiffs lawful owners
of the land in question and entitled to its peaceful possession and
enjoyment and ordering defendant immediately to vacate
the Philippine National Bank deposited in the Philippine National BankDipolog Branch the residuary estate of its former ward, Eulogio Imperial, in
the sum of P10,303.80, pursuant to an order
the heirs of said Eulogio Imperial, one of whom is defendant,
executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition of the residuary estate,
wherein was apportioned P1,471.97 as defendant Rufino
Imperial's share.
The plaintiffs filed an ex parte motion for issuance of an alias writ of
execution and of an order directing the manager, or the representative, of
the Philippine National Bank-Dipolog Branch, to hold the share of
defendant and deliver the same to the provincial sheriff of the province
to be applied to the satisfaction of the balance of the money judgment.
The Deputy Provincial Sheriff issued a sheriffs notification for levy
addressed to defendant, giving notice of the garnishment of the rights,
interests, shares and participation that defendant may have over the
residuary estate of the late Eulogio Imperial, consisting of the money
deposited in the Philippine National Bank-Dipolog Branch.
Defendants who appeared for the first time filed for
reconsideration but was denied

G.R. No. L-24434; January 17, 1968; P: Bengzon; by: Mickey Celles

Issue:

Doctrine:

(1) Upon the death of a ward, is the money accumulated in his guardianship
proceedings and deposited in a bank, still considered in custodia legis and
therefore cannot be attached?

Nature:

(2) Is the residuary estate of a U.S. veteran, which consists in the aggregate
accumulated sum from the monthly allowances given him by the United States
Veterans Administration (USVA) during his lifetime, exempt from execution?

Facts:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

22

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Ruling:
1.

2.

The new Rules of Court now specifically provides for the procedure to be
followed in case what is attached is in custodia legis. The clear import of
this new provision is that property undercustodia legis is now attachable
As a matter of fact, the guardianship proceedings was ordered
conditionally closed by the CFI of Zamboanga del Norte
the condition has long been fulfilled, because the Philippine
National Bank-Manila deposited the residuary estate of the ward
with the PNB-Dipolog Branch,
The rights to the succession of a person are transmitted from the
moment of death, and where, as in this case, the heir is of legal
age and the estate is not burdened with any debts, said heir
immediately succeeds, by force of law, to the dominion,
ownership, and possession of the properties of his predecessor
and consequently stands legally in the shoes of the latter.
That the interest of an heir in the estate of a deceased person
may be attached for purposes of execution, even if the estate is in
the process of settlement before the courts, is already a settled
matter in this jurisdiction
Therefore, the estate for all practical purposes have been settled.
The heirs are at full liberty to withdraw the residuary estate
from the PNB-Dipolog Branch and divide it among themselves.
i. The only reason they have not done so is because of the
alleged illegal withdrawal from said estate of the amount
of P1,080.00 by one Gloria Gomez by authority of Branch
I of the CFI of Zamboanga del Norte
Any pension, annuity, or gratuity granted by a Government to its officers
or employees in recognition of past services rendered, is primordially
aimed at tiding them over during their old age and/or disability.
This is therefore a right personalissima, purely personal because
founded on necessity.
It requires no argument to show that where the recipient dies, the
necessity motivating or underlying its grant necessarily ceases to
be.
11
i. Even more so in this case where the law providing for
the exemption is calculated to benefit U.S. veterans
residing here, and is therefore merely a manifestation of
comity.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Besides, as earlier stated, the heirs of Eulogio Imperial, one of


whom is appellant, have already executed a Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition the end result of which is that the property is no
longer the property of the estate but of the individual heirs

Decision: Ruling Affirmed

10- MARGARITA SALVADOR, in her own behalf and as Attorney-in-fact of


CANDIDA SALVADOR, ET AL., petitioners, vs. THE HON. JUDGE ANDRES STA.
MARIA, DOMINADOR CARDENAS, REMEDIOS CABRERA, ALBERTO M. K.
JAMIR and SIMEON ENRIQUEZ, respondents
G.R. No. L-25952; June 30, 1967; J. Bengzon
(Bon)
Doctrine: Right of heirs to specific, distributive shares of inheritance does not
become finally determinable until all the debts of the estate are paid.
Facts:
1.
2.
3.

4.
5.
6.

7.

Seven parcels of titled land and two parcels of untitled land were
owned by Celestino Salvador.
He executed a deed of sale over them in favor of the spouses Alfonso
Salvador and Anatolia Halili.
Hel later filed Alleging that the sale was void for lack of consideration,
he filed on May 12,1955, against said vendees, a suit for reconveyance
of said parcels of land.
Celestino Salvador died, testate. As his alleged heirs, twenty-one
persons substituted as plaintiffs in the action for reconveyance.
Meanwhile, special proceedings for the probate of his will and for
letters testamentary was instituted.
About three years later, pursuant to an order of the CFI of Bulacan, Br.
II, in the testacy proceedings, , one of the parcels of land involved, Lot
6, was sold so that with its proceeds debtors who filed claims may be
paid.
The Philippine National Bank bought it at P41,184.00. Said amount
was then deposited in the same bank by the administrator, subject to
Court order.

23

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


8.

The present special civil action for certiorari with preliminary


injunction assails the order to pay the debts of the estate with the
P41,184.00 proceeds of the sale of Lot 6

Issue:
Are the parcels of land and the proceeds of the sale of one of them, properties
of the estate or not?
Held:
1.

2.

YES. Right of heirs to specific, distributive shares of inheritance does


not become finally determinable until all the debts of the estate are
paid. Until then, in the face of said claims, their rights cannot be
enforced, are inchoate, and subject to the existence of a residue after
payment of the debts.
Petitioners rely for their rights on their alleged character as heirs of
Celestino; as such, they were substituted in the reconveyance case;
a. the reconveyance to them was reconveyance to them as heirs
of Celestino Salvador. It follows that the properties they claim
are, even by their own reasoning, part of Celestino's estate.
b. The right thereto as allegedly his heirs would arise only if
said parcels of land are part of the estate of Celestino, not
otherwise.
c. Their having received the same, therefore, in the
reconveyance action, was perforce in trust for the estate,
subject to its obligations. They cannot distribute said
properties among themselves as substituted heirs without
the debts of the estate being first satisfied.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Decision: Petition for certiorari is denied


11- FILEMON RAMIREZ, MONICA RAMIREZ, and JOSE EGUARAS, plaintiffsappellants,
vs.
ARTEMIO BALTAZAR, ET AL., defendants-appellees
G.R. No. L-25049

August 30, 1968

DOCTRINE: No.2 of the Ration


Facts:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

7.

It appears that on 6 January 1959, Victoriana Eguaras single, made and


executed a real estate mortgage over a parcel of land, owned by her in
fee simple, as security for a loan of P2,170.00 in favor of the spouses
Artemio Baltazar and Susana Flores.
Upon the demise of the mortgagor, the mortgagees, as creditors of
the deceased, on 16 September 1960 filed a petition for the intestate
proceedings of her estate,
- as petitioners, they alleged that Filemon Ramirez and Monica
Ramirez are the heirs of the deceased.
- Filemon Ramirez was appointed administrator of the estate;
- however, having failed to qualify, on 16 January 1961, the court
appointed Artemio Diawan, then a deputy clerk of court,
administrator of the estate who, in due time, qualified for the
office.
On 19 April 1961, the mortgagees, Artemio Baltazar and Susana Flores,
filed a complaint for foreclosure of the aforesaid mortgage, against
Artemio Diawan, in his capacity as administrator of the estate
The defendant-administrator was duly served with summons but he
failed to answer, whereupon, on petition of the plaintiffs said
defendant was declared in default.
- The case was referred to a commissioner to receive the evidence
for the plaintiffs, and defendant-administrator, as deputy clerk of
court, acted as such hearing commissioner.
On 16 August 1961, decision was rendered decreeing the foreclosure
of the mortgaged property and the sale thereof, if, within ninety days
from finality of the decision, the obligation was not fully paid.
The judgment not having been satisfied, a writ of execution was issued
for the sale of the mortgaged property, and after compliance with the
requirements of the law regarding the sending, posting and
publication of the notice of sale, the Sheriff sold the property at public
auction to the highest bidder, who happened to be the plaintiffs
themselves,
On 6 February 1962, Filemon Ramirez, Monica Ramirez and Jose
Eguaras, the first two being the heirs named in the petition for
intestate proceedings, filed a complaint designated "For the
Annulment of all Proceedings in said Civil Case No. SC-292 for the
Foreclosure of the Mortgage", against the spouses Artemio Baltazar
and Susana Flores, and Artemio Diawan, in his capacity as
administrator of the estate of Victoriana Eguaras, deceased,

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

and Silverio Talabis, in his capacity as deputy provincial sheriff of


Laguna,
8. the defendants spouses, Artemio Baltazar and Susana Flores, filed a
motion to dismiss the complaint
- on the ground that the plaintiffs have no legal capacity to sue;
- defendant Diawan likewise moved to dismiss on two grounds:
that plaintiffs have no legal capacity to sue and that the complaint
states no cause of action.
9. The lower court dismiss the complaint. The ff reasons:
- upon consideration of the evidence, said defendant could not
have offered any evidence to avoid the foreclosure of the
mortgage which the Court found to be in order.
- Under the circumstances and with the apparent
disinterestedness of Filemon and Rolando to qualify as
administrator when appointed, there could not have been any
connivance and/or collusion between plaintiffs in this case and
Artemio Diawan as administrator";
- and that plaintiffs have no legal capacity to sue since their status
as legal heirs of the deceased has yet to be determined precisely
in Special Proceeding No. SC-99, and until such status is so fixed
by the Court, they have no cause of action against defendants.
10. The lower court also denied plaintiffs petition for the issuance of a
writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from entering and
taking physical possession of the land
- On the ground that possession was effected and delivered by
provincial sheriff of Artemio Baltazar and Susana Flores on Feb.
1962
Issue/held:
WON the court erred in:
(1) in holding that plaintiffs-appellants have no legal capacity to sue until their
status as legal heirs of the deceased is determined in Special Proceeding No.
SC-99? YES
(2) in ruling that there was no collusion or connivance among the defendantsappellees, despite the fact that the issue in the motion to dismiss is purely
legal, not factual? YES
(3) in denying the petition for a writ of preliminary injunction?YES

st

1 issue:
1. let it be remembered that the defendants-appellees, in availing
themselves of the defense that the plaintiffs-appellants had not been
declared to be the heirs of the deceased Victoriana Eguaras, have
overlooked the fact that the (defendants-appellees) themselves in
their petition for intestate proceedings (Case SC-99) have alleged that
Filemon Ramirez and Monica Ramirez,
- two of herein plaintiffs-appellants, are the heirs of the deceased.
Insofar as defendants-appellees are concerned, it is our opinion
that they are estopped from questioning the heirship of these two
named persons to the estate of the deceased.
2. There is no question that the rights to succession are automatically
transmitted to the heirs from the moment of the death of the
decedent.
- GENERAL RULE: While, as a rule, the formal declaration or
recognition to such successional rights needs judicial
confirmation, this Court has, under special circumstances,
protected these rights from encroachments made or attempted
before the judicial declaration.
- EXCEPTION:In Pascual vs. Pascual, it was ruled that although heirs
have no legal standing in court upon the commencement of
testate or intestate proceedings, this rule admits of an exception
as "when the administrator fails or refuses to act in which event
the heirs may act in his place."
3. A similar situation obtains in the case at bar. The administrator is
being charged to have been in collusion and connivance with the
mortgagees of a property of the deceased, allowing its foreclosure
without notifying the heirs, to the prejudice of the latter.
- Since the ground for the present action to annul the aforesaid
foreclosure proceedings is the fraud resulting from such insidious
machinations and collusion in which the administrator has
allegedly participated, it would be farfetched to expect the said
administrator himself to file the action in behalf of the estate.
- And who else but the heirs, who have an interest to assert and to
protect, would bring the action?
- Inevitably, this case should fall under the exception, rather than
the general rule that pending proceedings for the settlement of
the estate,

Rationale:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

the heirs have no right to commence an action arising out of the


rights belonging to the deceased.

2nd issue:
4. We fully agree with the plaintiffs-appellants that the lower court had
gone too far in practically adjudicating the case on the merits when it
made the observation
- that "there could not have been any connivance and/or collusion
between plaintiffs in this case and Artemio Diawan as
administrator."
- A thorough scrutiny of the allegations in the motions to dismiss
filed by defendants-appellees does not indicate that that question
was ever put at issue therein. On the other hand,
- the controversy on the existence or inexistence of collusion
between the parties as a result of which judgment was rendered
against the estate is the very core of the complaint that was
dismissed. Undoubtedly, the cause of action is based on Section
30, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

respondent. Petitioner averred that he is the son of the deceased with


the latters common-law wife, Amelia Puno.
3) As surviving heir, he claimed entitlement to the rights and privileges of
his late father as stockholder of respondent.
4) The complaint thus prayed that respondent allow petitioner to inspect
its corporate book, render an accounting of all the transactions it
entered into from 1962, and give petitioner all the profits, earnings,
dividends, or income pertaining to the shares of Carlos L. Puno.
5) Court of Appeals ordered the dismissal of the complaint because
petitioner was not able to establish the paternity of and his filiation to
Carlos L. Puno.
ISSUE: WON petitioner as heir is entitled to the reliefs demanded (inspection of
corporate book and giving him the profits earned from the shares of Carlos
Puno).
RULING: The petition is without merit. Petitioner failed to establish the right to
inspect respondent corporations books and receive dividends on the stocks
owned by Carlos L. Puno.

rd

3 issue:
5. the denial of the motion for the issuance of preliminary injunction
for it puts at issue the factual finding made by the lower court that the
defendants had already been placed in possession of the property.
6. At this stage of the proceeding, and considering the nature of the case
before Us, such a question is, at this time, beyond the competence of
the Court.
12- JOSELITO MUSNI PUNO (as heir of the late Carlos Puno)
vs.
PUNO ENTERPRISES, INC., represented by JESUSA PUNO
G.R. No. 177066
September 11, 2009 ; NILO
Doctrine: Upon the death of a stockholder, the heirs do not automatically
become stockholders of the corporation; neither are they mandatorily entitled
to the rights and privileges of a stockholder.
FACTS:
1) Carlos L. Puno, who died was an incorporator of respondent Puno
Enterprises, Inc.
2) Petitioner Joselito Musni Puno, claiming to be an heir of Carlos L.
Puno, initiated a complaint for specific performance against

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

a)

Petitioner anchors his claim on his being an heir of the deceased


stockholder. However, we agree with the appellate court that
petitioner was not able to prove satisfactorily his filiation to the
deceased stockholder; thus, the former cannot claim to be an heir of
the latter.
As correctly observed by the CA, only petitioners mother supplied
the data in the birth certificate and signed the same. There was
no evidence that Carlos L. Puno acknowledged petitioner as his
son.

b) The stockholders right of inspection of the corporations books and


records is based upon his ownership of shares in the corporation and
the necessity for self-protection. After all, a shareholder has the right
to be intelligently informed about corporate affairs. Such right rests
upon the stockholders underlying ownership of the corporations
assets and property.
Similarly, only stockholders of record are entitled to receive
dividends declared by the corporation, a right inherent in the
ownership of the shares.

26

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


c)

Upon the death of a shareholder, the heirs do not automatically


become stockholders of the corporation and acquire the rights and
privileges of the deceased as shareholder of the corporation.
The stocks must be distributed first to the heirs in estate
proceedings, and the transfer of the stocks must be recorded in
the books of the corporation.
Section 63 of the Corporation Code provides that no transfer shall
be valid, except as between the parties, until the transfer is
recorded in the books of the corporation.
During such interim period, the heirs stand as the equitable
owners of the stocks, the executor or administrator duly
appointed by the court being vested with the legal title to the
stock. Until a settlement and division of the estate is effected, the
stocks of the decedent are held by the administrator or executor.
Consequently, during such time, it is the administrator or
executor who is entitled to exercise the rights of the deceased as
stockholder.

d) Thus, even if petitioner presents sufficient evidence in this case to


establish that he is the son of Carlos L. Puno, he would still not be
allowed to inspect respondents books and be entitled to receive
dividends from respondent, absent any showing in its transfer book
that some of the shares owned by Carlos L. Puno were transferred to
him.
This would only be possible if petitioner has been recognized as
an heir and has participated in the settlement of the estate of the
deceased.

13- OSCAR C. REYES, PETITIONER, VS. HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF


MAKATI, BRANCH 142, ZENITH INSURANCE CORPORATION, AND RODRIGO C.
REYES, RESPONDENTS.
G.R. No. 165744, August 11, 2008
Brion, J.
(Jeka)

1. Oscar and private respondent Rodrigo C. Reyes are two of the four

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.

Facts:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

children of the spouses Pedro and Anastacia Reyes.


a. Pedro, Anastacia, Oscar, and Rodrigo each owned shares of
stock of Zenith Insurance Corporation (Zenith), a domestic
corporation established by their family.
b. Pedro died in 1964, while Anastacia died in 1993.
c. Although Pedro's estate was judicially partitioned among his
heirs sometime in the 1970s, no similar settlement and
partition appear to have been made with Anastacia's estate,
which included her shareholdings in Zenith.
d. Anastacia owned 136,598 shares of Zenith; Oscar and Rodrigo
owned 8,715,637 and 4,250 shares, respectively.
Zenith and Rodrigo filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) against Oscar
a. to obtain an accounting of the funds and assets of
ZENITHINSURANCE CORPORATION which are now or formerly
in the control, custody, and/or possession of respondent
[herein petitioner Oscar]
b. to determine the shares of stock of deceased spouses Pedro
and Anastacia Reyes that were arbitrarily and fraudulently
appropriated [by Oscar] for himself
Oscar denied the charge that he illegally acquired the shares of
Anastacia Reyes.
a. He asserted, as a defense, that he purchased the subject
shares with his own funds from the unissued stocks of Zenith,
and that the suit is not a bona fide derivative suit because the
requisites therefor have not been complied with.
Oscar filed a Motion to Declare Complaint as Nuisance or Harassment
Suit.
a. He claimed that the complaint is a mere nuisance or
harassment suit
RTC: denied the motion
CA: affirmed RTC decision.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Issue: Whether the complaint is a bona fide derivative suit but or a petition for
settlement of estate
Argument: If it is the latter, it is outside the jurisdiction of the
RTC acting as a special commercial court.

a.

b.

Held: the RTC - sitting as special commercial court - has no jurisdiction to hear
Rodrigo's complaint since what is involved is the determination and distribution
of successional rights to the shareholdings of Anastacia Reyes.

The controversy it presents is purely civil rather than corporate,


although it is denominated as a "complaint for accounting of all
corporate funds and assets."
Worth noting are this Court's statements in the case of Natcher v.
[32]
Court
of
Appeals:
Matters which involve settlement and distribution of the estate
of the decedent fall within the exclusive province of the probate
court in
the
exercise
of
its
limited
jurisdiction.

c.

Ratio:
1. To determine whether a case involves an intra-corporate controversy, and is
to be heard and decided by the branches of the RTC specifically designated by
the Court to try and decide such cases, two elements must concur:
(a) the status or relationship of the parties
(b) the nature of the question that is the subject of their controversy.
2. Article 777 of the Civil Code declares that the successional rights are
transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. Accordingly, upon
Anastacia's death, her children acquired legal title to her estate (which title
includes her shareholdings in Zenith), and they are, prior to the estate's
partition, deemed co-owners thereof.
a. This status as co-owners, however, does not immediately
and necessarily make them stockholders of the corporation.
b. Unless and until there is compliance with Section 63 of the
Corporation Code on the manner of transferring shares, the
heirs do not become registered stockholders of the
corporation.
c. The transfer of title by means of succession, though effective
and valid between the parties involved (i.e., between the
decedent's estate and her heirs), does not bind the
corporation and third parties. The transfer must be registered
in the books of the corporation to make the transferee-heir a
stockholder entitled to recognition as such both by the
corporation and by third parties.
3. The complaint is about the protection and enforcement of successional
rights.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

xxxx
It is clear that trial courts trying an ordinary action
cannot resolve to perform acts pertaining to a special
proceeding because it is subject to specific prescribed
rules. [Emphasis supplied.]
4. Rodrigo's bare claim that the complaint is a derivative suit will not suffice to
confer jurisdiction on the RTC (as a special commercial court) if he cannot
comply with the requisites for the existence of a derivative suit. These
requisites are:
a.

the party bringing suit should be a shareholder during the time of the
act or transaction complained of, the number of shares not being
material;

b.

the party has tried to exhaust intra-corporate remedies, i.e., has made
a demand on the board of directors for the appropriate relief, but the
latter has failed or refused to heed his plea; and

c.

the cause of action actually devolves on the corporation; the


wrongdoing or harm having been or being caused to the corporation
[34]
and not to the particular stockholder bringing the suit.

d.

Based on these standards, we hold that the allegations of the


present complaint do not amount to a derivative suit.
First, as already discussed above, Rodrigo is not a shareholder with
respect to the shareholdings originally belonging to Anastacia; he only
stands as a transferee-heir whose rights to the share are inchoate and

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


unrecorded. With respect to his own individually-held shareholdings,
Rodrigo has not alleged any individual cause or basis as a shareholder
on
record
to
proceed
against
Oscar.
Second, in order that a stockholder may show a right to sue on behalf
of the corporation, he must allege with some particularity in his
complaint that he has exhausted his remedies within the
corporation by making a sufficient demand upon the directors or other
officers for appropriate relief with the expressed intent to sue if relief
is denied.
Lastly, we find no injury, actual or threatened, alleged to have
been done to the corporation due to Oscar's acts. If indeed
he illegally and fraudulently transferred Anastacia's shares in
his own name, then the damage is not to the corporation but
to his co-heirs; the wrongful transfer did not affect the capital
stock or the assets of Zenith. As already mentioned, neither
has Rodrigo alleged any particular cause or wrongdoing
against the corporation that he can champion in his capacity
as a shareholder on record.

14- SPS. VIRGILIO F. SANTOS & ESPERANZA LATI SANTOS, SPS.VICTORINO F.


SANTOS, & LAGRIMAS SANTOS, ERNESTO F. SANTOS, and TADEO F. SANTOS,
Petitioners, vs. SPS. JOSE LUMBAO and PROSERFINA LUMBAO, Respondents.
G.R. No. 169129; March 28, 2007; CHICO-NAZARIO; Chants

NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure
FACTS:
11. Petitioners Virgilio, Victorino, Ernesto and Tadeo, all surnamed Santos,
are the legitimate and surviving heirs of the late Rita Catoc Santos
(Rita), who died on 20 October 1985.
a. petitioners Esperanza Lati and Lagrimas Santos are the
daughters-in-law of Rita.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

12. Respondents Spouses Jose Lumbao and Proserfina Lumbao are the
alleged owners of the 107-square meter lot (subject property), which
they purportedly bought from Rita during her lifetime.
13. On two separate occasions during her lifetime, Rita sold to
respondents Spouses Lumbao the subject property which is a part of
her share in the estate of her deceased mother, Maria Catoc (Maria),
who died intestate on 19 September 1978.
a. first occasion: Rita sold 100 square meters of her inchoate
share in her mothers estate through a document
denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979
i. Respondents Spouses Lumbao claimed the execution
of the aforesaid document was witnessed by
petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo, as shown by their
signatures affixed therein.
b. second occasion: an additional seven square meters was
added to the land as evidenced by a document also
denominated as "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 9 January 1981
14. Spouses Lumbao took actual possession thereof and erected thereon a
house which they have been occupying as exclusive owners up to the
present
15. Respondents Spouses Lumbao alleged that prior to her death, Rita
informed respondent Proserfina Lumbao she could not deliver the title
to the subject property because the entire property inherited by her
and her co-heirs from Maria had not yet been partitioned.
16. the Spouses Lumbao claimed that petitioners executed a Deed of
Extrajudicial Settlement, adjudicating and partitioning among
themselves and the other heirs, the estate left by Maria, which
included the subject property already sold to respondents Spouses
Lumbao
17. respondents Spouses Lumbao sent a formal demand letter to
petitioners but despite receipt of such demand letter, petitioners still
failed and refused to reconvey the subject property to the
respondents Spouses Lumbao.
18. Consequently, the latter filed a Complaint for Reconveyance with
Damages
19. The trial court denied the petition
20. Aggrieved, respondents Spouses Lumbao appealed to the Court of
Appeals; it was granted.

29

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


ISSUES:
1. Whether the Complaint for Reconveyance with Damages filed by
respondents spouses Lumbao is dismissible for their failure to comply with the
mandate of the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law under R.A. No. 7160?
NO
2. Whether the documents known as "Bilihan ng Lupa" are valid and
enforceable, thus, they can be the bases of the respondents spouses Lumbaos
action for reconveyance with damages? YES
3. Whether herein petitioners are legally bound to comply with the "Bilihan ng
Lupa" dated 17 August 1979 and 9 January 1981 and consequently, reconvey
the subject property to herein respondents spouses Lumbao? YES

HELD:
1. No, it is not dismissable.

petitioners can no longer raise the defense of non-compliance with


the barangay conciliation proceedings to seek the dismissal of the
complaint filed by the respondents Spouses Lumbao, because they
already waived the said defense when they failed to file a Motion to
Dismiss.
non-referral of a case for barangay conciliation when so required
under the law is not jurisdictional in nature and may therefore be
deemed waived if not raised seasonably in a motion to dismiss

2. Document Bilihan ng Lupa is valid and enforceable.

in petitioners Answer and Amended Answer to the Complaint for


Reconveyance with Damages, both petitioners Virgilio and Tadeo
made an admission that indeed they acted as witnesses in the
execution of the "Bilihan ng Lupa," dated 17 August 1979
o however, petitioner Virgilio denied having knowledge of the
sale transaction and claimed that he could not remember the
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

same as well as his appearance before the notary public due


to the length of time that had passed.
petitioner Virgilio did not categorically deny having signed the "Bilihan
ng Lupa
o petitioners had not adduced any other evidence to override
the admission made in their [A]nswer
o the general rule that the admissions made by a party in a
pleading are binding and conclusive upon him applies in this
case.
both "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9
January 1981 were duly notarized before a notary public
o a document acknowledged before a notary public is a public
document that enjoys the presumption of regularity
at the time of the execution of the documents denominated as
"Bilihan ng Lupa," the entire property owned by Maria, the mother of
Rita, was not yet divided among her and her co-heirs
o exact metes and bounds of the subject property sold to
respondents Spouses Lumbao could not be possibly
determined at that time.
o does not make the contract of sale between Rita and
respondents Spouses Lumbao invalid while an estate
remains undivided, co-owners have each full ownership of
their respective aliquots or undivided shares and may
therefore alienate, assign or mortgage them
o The sale is valid, but only with respect to the aliquot share
of the selling co-owner.
o Furthermore, the sale is subject to the results of the
partition upon the termination of the co-ownership
when the estate left by Maria had been partitioned, the 107- square
meter lot sold by the mother of the petitioners to respondents
Spouses Lumbao should be deducted from the total lot, inherited by
them in representation of their deceased mother, which in this case
measures 467 square meters.
o The 107-square meter lot already sold to respondents
Spouses Lumbao can no longer be inherited by the
petitioners because the same was no longer part of their
inheritance as it was already sold during the lifetime of their
mother.
defense of prescription of action and laches is likewise unjustifiable

30

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

when the plaintiff is in possession of the land to be reconveyed,


prescription cannot set in
o exception is based on the theory that registration
proceedings could not be used as a shield for fraud or for
enriching a person at the expense of another
o right of the respondents Spouses Lumbao to seek
reconveyance does not prescribe because the latter have
been and are still in actual possession and occupation as
owners of the property sought to be reconveyed
respondents Spouses Lumbao cannot be held guilty of laches because
from the very start that they bought the 107-square meter lot from
the mother of the petitioners, they have constantly asked for the
transfer of the certificate of title into their names but Rita, during her
lifetime, and the petitioners, after the death of Rita, failed to do so on
the flimsy excuse that the lot had not been partitioned yet
o after the partition of the entire estate of Maria, petitioners
still included the 107-square meter lot in their inheritance
which they divided among themselves despite their
knowledge of the contracts of sale between their mother and
the respondents Spouses Lumbao

3. Petitioners are legally bound to comply with the Bilihan ng Lupa documents.

Bilihan ng Lupa" documents are valid and enforceable and can be


made the basis of the respondents Spouses Lumbaos action for
reconveyance
failure of respondents Spouses Lumbao to have the said documents
registered does not affect its validity and enforceability
o registration is not a requirement for validity of the contract as
between the parties, for the effect of registration serves
chiefly to bind third persons.
o Where the party has knowledge of a prior existing interest
which is unregistered at the time he acquired a right to the
same land, his knowledge of that prior unregistered interest
has the effect of registration as to him
Hence, the "Bilihan ng Lupa" documents dated 17 August 1979 and 9
January 1981, being valid and enforceable, herein petitioners are
bound to comply with their provisions.

In short, such documents are absolutely valid between and


among the parties thereto.
general rule that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their
predecessors-in-interest applies in the present case.
o Article 1311 of the NCC is the basis of this rule: whatever
rights and obligations the decedent have over the property
were transmitted to the heirs by way of succession, a mode
of acquiring the property, rights and obligations of the
decedent to the extent of the value of the inheritance of the
heirs.
the heirs cannot escape the legal consequence of a transaction
entered into by their predecessor-in-interest because they have
inherited the property subject to the liability affecting their common
ancestor.
o Being heirs, there is privity of interest between them and
their deceased mother.
o They only succeed to what rights their mother had and what
is valid and binding against her is also valid and binding as
against them.
o The death of a party does not excuse nonperformance of a
contract which involves a property right and the rights and
obligations thereunder pass to the personal representatives
of the deceased. Similarly, nonperformance is not excused by
the death of the party when the other party has a property
interest in the subject matter of the contract.
despite the death of the petitioners mother, they are still bound to
comply with the provisions of the "Bilihan ng Lupa"
they must reconvey to herein respondents Spouses Lumbao the 107square meter lot which they bought from Rita, petitioners mother.
petitioners must pay respondents Spouses Lumbao attorneys fees
and litigation expenses for having been compelled to litigate and incur
expenses to protect their interest.
DECISION: DENIED
15- ROMARICO G. VITUG, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
and ROWENA FAUSTINO-CORONA, respondents.
G.R. No. 82027; March 29, 1990; SARMIENTO; Chants
FACTS:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

31

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


1.

2.
3.

4.

Romarico G. Vitug filed a motion asking for authority from the probate
court to sell certain shares of stock and real properties belonging to
the estate to cover allegedly his advances to the estate in the sum of
P667,731.66, which he claimed were personal funds.
a. the alleged advances consisted of P58,147.40 spent for the
payment of estate tax, P518,834.27 as deficiency estate tax,
and P90,749.99 as "increment thereto."
He withdrew the sums of P518,834.27 and P90,749.99 from savings
account No. 35342-038 of the Bank of America, Makati, Metro Manila.
Rowena Corona opposed the motion to sell on the ground that the
same funds withdrawn from savings account No. 35342-038 were
conjugal partnership properties and part of the estate, and hence,
there was allegedly no ground for reimbursement
Vitug insists that the said funds are his exclusive property having
acquired the same through a survivorship agreement executed with
his late wife and the bank on June 19, 1970

ISSUE: 1. Whether the said funds are Vitugs exclusive property? YES
HELD:
1. The funds are Vitugs exclusive property.

conveyance in question is not, first of all, one of mortis causa, which


should be embodied in a will
will: a personal, solemn, revocable and free act by which a
capacitated person disposes of his property and rights and declares
or complies with duties to take effect after his death
the bequest or device must pertain to the testatorIn this case, the
monies subject of savings account No. 35342-038 were in the nature
of conjugal funds
o no showing that the funds exclusively belonged to one party,
and hence it must be presumed to be conjugal, having been
acquired during the existence of the marital relations.
Neither is the survivorship agreement a donation inter vivos, for
obvious reasons, because it was to take effect after the death of one
party.
it is not a donation between the spouses because it involved no
conveyance of a spouse's own properties to the other
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

agreement involves no modification petition of the conjugal


partnership by "mere stipulation" and that it is no "cloak" to
circumvent the law on conjugal property relations.
when the spouses Vitug opened savings account No. 35342-038, they
merely put what rightfully belonged to them in a money-making
venture.
o They did not dispose of it in favor of the other, which would
have arguably been sanctionable as a prohibited donation.
o since the funds were conjugal, it can not be said that one
spouse could have pressured the other in placing his or her
deposits in the money pool.
validity of the contract seems debatable by reason of its "survivortake-all" feature, but in reality, that contract imposed a mere
obligation with a term, the term being death
fulfillment of an aleatory contract depends on either the happening of
an event which is (1) "uncertain," (2) "which is to occur at an
indeterminate time."
In the case at bar, the risk was the death of one party and survivorship
of the other
o no demonstration here that the survivorship agreement had
been executed for such unlawful purposes, or, as held by the
respondent court, in order to frustrate our laws on wills,
donations, and conjugal partnership.
since Mrs. Vitug predeceased her husband, the latter has acquired
upon her death a vested right over the amounts under savings
account No. 35342-038 of the Bank of America
Being the separate property of petitioner, it forms no more part of
the estate of the deceased.
DECISION: SET ASIDE.
16- G.R. No. 24955
September 4, 1926
JULIAN SOLLA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants,
vs.
URSULA ASCUETA, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
CHAVEZ c/o NILO
Note: Tried my best in this digest ang sakit sa ulo!
FACTS:
Plaintiffs Rosenda Lagmay and Silvestra Sajor are the surviving legatees of the
testratrix Maria Solla; that the plaintiff Julian Solla and Lucia Solla are heirs of
Sergio Solla; Ambrosio Lagmay is the heir of the deceased Cayetana Solla;
32

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Francisco Serna, 2. and Juana Baclig of the deceased Josefa Solla; Pedro Serna
and Agapita Serna of the deceased Jacinto Serna, and that Pedro Garcia is
nephew and heir of the deceased Matias Seveda.
Defendant Ursula is the widow of the deceased Leandro Serano; that the other
defendants Simeon, Cesario, Santiago, Primitiva and Maxima, surnamed
Serrano, are the children and heirs of the said Leandro Serrano, who died on
August 5, 1921; that Simeon Serrano is the executor of Leandro Serrano and
possesses the property claimed by the plaintiffs.
1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

Da. Maria Solla died in June, 1883, leaving a will executed and
recorded in accordance with the laws then in force, but which had not
been probated in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure.
There were named in said will, as legatees, Sergio Soll, Cayetano Solla,
Josefa Solla, Jacinto Serna, Rosenda Lagmay, Silvestra Sajor and Matias
Seveda, and Leandro Serrano, as universal heir, with their shares given
them by the will above-mentioned.
Said legatees or their descendants or heirs did not judicially claim their
legacies during the life-time of Leandro Serrano, of which he had
taken possession, neither was any testamentary proceeding instituted
for the settlement of the estate left by Maria Solla and that Leandro
Serrano did not deliver the legacies in question, which he possessed in
his name until his death, having declared the property for taxation as
his own and collected the income therefrom for himself.
That the plaintiffs Julian Solla, Lucia Solla, Ambrosio Lagmay, Rosenda
Lagmay, Francisco Serna, 2. Juana Baclig, Pedro Serna, Agapita Serna
and Pedro Garcia are the descendants or heirs of some of the original
legatees, two of whom are the plaintiffs Silvestra Sajor and Rosenda
Lagmay; and the defendants are heirs of Leandro Serrano.
That the property of the legacy situated in Cabugao passed into
possession of Simeon Serrano by virtue of Leandro Serrano's will as
executor thereof, and that said legacies have been and are mixed with
other property of the estate of Leandro Serrano.
The fifth and sixth assignments of error of defendants raise the
question of the true interpretation of the provisions of the last will of
the testratix Maria Solla in regard to the obligation imposed upon the
universal heir named by her, Leandro Serrano, and of the provisions of
the last will of the latter in regard to the obligation imposed by him

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

upon his heir, and executor Simeon Serrano, one of the herein
defendants-appellants.
a. Defendant contended that the trial court erred in interpreting
and holding that paragraph 3 of Leandro Serrano's will,
Exhibit C, ordered the delivery of the legacies left by Maria
Solla in her will Exhibit B, to the plaintiffs, and that said
paragraph affects each and everyone of the parcels of land in
the property deeds of Leandro Serano, Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
and 7, and in holding that the said paragraph 3 of Leandro
Serrano's will cancels all of the rights acquired by him, and is
the immediate cause of the action brought by the plaintiffs;
7) The following are the pertinent parts of Maria Solla's will:
I desire and hereby name Leandro Serrano, my grandson, as my
universal heir who is a legitimate son of my son Modesto Solosa,
and is single;
and I desire him to comply with the obligation to give or deliver to
the parish priest of this town a sufficient sum of money necessary
for a yearly novena for an ordinary require mass for the first eight
days thereof and on the ninth, or last day, a solemn requiem
mass, with vigil and a large bier, for these masses and for the
repose of my soul and those of my parents, husband, children and
other relatives. I repeat and insist that my heir shall execute and
comply with this request without fail. And at the hour of his death
he will insist that his heirs comply with all that I have here
ordered.
8) The pertinent parts of the will of Leandro Serrano (Exhibit C) are as
follows:
I command my executor to put all of my property in order,
separating first the property of his deceased grandmother
Capitana Maria Solla, because she directed in her will that her
property be distributed strictly in conformity with her wishes and
as she earnestly requested the compliance of her bequests I
obligate my heirs to comply with the same;
On occupation of the fact that all of the property of the deceased
Capitana Solla was given to my son Simeon I order him not to
forget annually all the souls of the relatives of my grandmother
and also of nine and to have a mass said on the first and ninth
days of the yearly novena and that he erect a first class bier.
33

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


-

I insistently order that the property of my deceased grandmother


Capitana Maria be disposed of in conformity with all the
provisions of her will and of mine.

9)

As may be seen Maria Solla named grandson Leandro Serrano in her


will as her universal heir to her property and ordered him to strictly
comply with her orders and requests and that at the hour of his death
to make the same insistence upon his heirs to comply with all that she
has ordered.
a. As may also be seen Leandro Serrano named his son Simeon
Serrano, as executor of his will and that he directed him to
put all of his property in order and to separate that which
came from his deceased grandmother Maria Solla, which he
gives to his said son Simeon Serrano and orders that same be
disposed of exclusively in conformity with the wishes of his
said grandmother, not forgetting the souls of all of his
grandmother's relatives and of his own for whose repose nine
masses were to be said annually during nine days, with a
solemn mass on the first and last days.

ISSUE: Interpretation of Solla and Serranos wills.


what are the orders and requests that Maria Solla wanted the
universal heir named by her in her will, Leandro Serrano, to
faithfully comply with and to make his heirs comply with, and
what are the orders of Maria Solla which Leandro Serrano ordered
his executor and heir Simeon Serrano to comply with?
RULING:
1) In the first place, there is the distribution of the legacies given in her
will to her brothers, nephew, protegees and servant.
2) In the second place, the delivery of a sufficient sum of money to the
parish of Cabugao for the annual novena, consisting of eight ordinary
masses and one solemn requiem mass, together with vigil and bier on
the last day for the repose of the soul of the testratix and her parents,
children, husband and other relatives;
3) and in the third place, the order that Leandro Serrano demand, with
the same insistence, that this heirs comply with all that she had
ordered.

Leandro Serrano have complied with all of these commands and


orders during his lifetime, some wholly and others partially.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The orders and requests that he could and should have fully complied
with during his lifetime were to distribute the legacies and to order his
heirs to comply with all her wishes specified in her will.
The order or request that he was able to comply with only partially
was to deliver to the parish priest a sufficient sum of money necessary
for the annual masses for the repose of the soul of Maria Solla and her
parents, husband, children and other relatives.
It is not logical to suppose that Maria Solla in ordering Leandro
Serrano to insist in his will that his heirs after his death comply with all
the requests contained in her said will, referred to the orders and
requests that he could and should comply with during his lifetime,
because neither is it logical nor reasonable to suppose that she for a
moment doubted that the person whom she had named as her
universal heir for, according to her, he was the only person in
whom she had any confidence would comply with her requests.
o If that is so, Maria Solla could not have referred to other than
the pious orders and requests, because, by reason of their
nature, they were the only ones which Leandro Serrano could
not wholly comply with during his lifetime, but that his heirs
would continue to do so.
o And Leandro Serrano, in complying with the requests of
Maria Solla in his will by ordering his son Simeon Serrano, to
whom he bequeathed all of the property received from the
former, to comply with all of the requests of the same, could
not have meant but those requests which Maria Solla wished
complied with by the heirs of Leandro Serrano which are
those relating to the pious bequests.
She confirms this on the fifth clause of her will
quoted above, in which she says: "On account of the
fact that all the property of the deceased Capitana
Solla is bequeathed to my son Simeon I order him
not to forget the souls of my grandmother's
relatives."
From this is evidently appears that Leandro Serrano
bequeathed all of the property of the deceased
Maria Solla to his son Simeon Serrano only in order
that he might comply with her pious requests.
Furthermore if to ease his conscience it had been
Leandro Serrano's desire to deliver the aforesaid
legacies to the legatees or to their successors in
34

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


interest he would have done so during his lifetime or
would have said so clearly in his will and would not
have given all of his said property to his son Simeon
Serrano.
In order to determine the testator's intention, the court should place
itself as near as possible in his position, and hence, where the
language of the will is ambiguous or doubtful, should take into
consideration the situation of the testator and the facts and
circumstances surrounding him at the time the will executed.
Where the testator's intention is manifest from the context of the will
and surrounding circumstances, but is obscured by inapt and
inaccurate modes of expression, the language will be subordinated to
the intention, and in order to give effect to such intention, as far as
possible, the court may depart from the strict wording and read word
or phrase in a sense different from that which is ordinarily attributed
to it, and for such purpose may mould or change the language of the
will. such as restricting its application or supplying omitted words or
phrases.

In the present case, it clearly appearing that it was Mari Solla's


intention, in ordering her universal heir Leandro Serrano in her will at
the hour of his death, to insist upon the compliance of her orders by
his heirs, that the latter should comply with her pious orders and that
she did not mean her orders concerning her legacies, the compliance
of which she had entrusted to Leandro Serrano, we are authorized to
restrict the application of the words "all that I have here ordered"
used by the said Maria Solla and the words "all her orders" used by
Leandro Serrano in their respective wills limiting them to the pious
orders and substituting the phrase "in regard to the annual masses"
after the words used by both testators, respectively.
The trial court, therefore, committed an error in interpreting the order
to Leandro Serrano mentioned in his will as applicable to the
provisions of Maria Solla's will relative to the legacies and not to pious
bequests exclusively.

MARINA DIZON-RIVERA, executrix-appellee,


vs.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

ESTELA DIZON, TOMAS V. DIZON, BERNARDITA DIZON, JOSEFINA DIZON,


ANGELINA DIZON and LILIA DIZON, oppositors-appellants..
G.R. No. L-24561 June 30, 1970; P: Teehankee; by: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: ..the testatrix had specifically partitioned and distributed them to
her heirs, and the heirs are called upo..n, as far as feasible to comply with and
give effect to the intention of the testatrix as solemnized in her wil..,
Facts:
4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

Agripina J. Valdez, a widow, died in Angeles, Pampanga, and was survived


by seven compulsory heirs
Marina Dizon (herein executrix-appellee)
The deceased testatrix left a last will. Named beneficiaries in her will were
the above-named compulsory heirs, together with seven other legitimate
grandchildren
In her will, the testatrix divided, distributed and disposed of all her
properties appraised at P1,801,960.00 among her above-named heirs.
Testate proceedings were in due course commenced
The real and personal properties of the testatrix at the time of her death
thus had a total appraised value of P1,811,695.60, and the legitime of each
of the seven compulsory heirs amounted to P129,362.11. (/7 of the half
of the estate reserved for the legitime of legitimate children and
descendants).
The executrix filed her project of partition
Marina and Tomas are adjudicated the properties that they
received in the will less the cash and/or properties necessary to
complete the prejudiced legitime
On the other hand oppositors submitted their own counter-project of
partition wherein they proposed the distribution of the estate on the
following basis:
the testamentary disposition made by the testatrix of practically
her whole estate of P1,801,960.01, as above stated, were
proposed to be reduced to the amounts set forth after the
names of the respective heirs and devisees totalling one-half
thereof
The lower court, after hearing, sustained and approved the executrix'
project of partition, ruling that "(A)rticles 906 and 907 of the New Civil

35

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Code specifically provide that when the legitime is impaired or prejudiced,


the same shall be completed and satisfied.
The proposition of the oppositors, if upheld, will substantially
result in a distribution of intestacy, which is in controversion of
Article 791 of the New Civil Code" adding that "the testatrix has
chosen to favor certain heirs in her will for reasons of her own,
cannot be doubted.
10. The payment in cash of some P230,552.38, principally by the executrix as
the largest beneficiary of the will to be paid to her five co-heirs, the
oppositors (excluding Tomas Dizon), to complete their impaired legitimes,
the lower court ruled that:
"(T)he payment in cash so as to make the proper adjustment to
meet with the requirements of the law in respect to legitimes
which have been impaired is, in our opinion, a practical and valid
solution in order to give effect to the last wishes of the
testatrix."
Issue:
4.
2.
3.

Which of the proposed partitions should be the one approved?


EXECRUTIXS PROJECT OF PARTITION
Can the adjudications and assignments in the testatrix' will of specific
properties to specific heirs be considered devises?
NO

Ruling:
3.

The issues raised present a matter of determining the avowed intention of


the testatrix which is "the life and soul of a will."
In consonance therewith, our Civil Code included the new
provisions found in Articles 788 and 791 thereof that "(I)f a
testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations, in
case of doubt, that interpretation by which the disposition is to be
operative shall be preferred" and "(T)he words of a will are to
receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some
effect, rather than one which will render any of the expressions
inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that is to be
preferred which will prevent intestacy."

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Decisive of the issues at bar is the fact that the testatrix'


testamentary disposition was in the nature of a partition of her
estate by will.
The testatrix expressly provided that "it is my wish and I
command that my property be divided" in accordance with the
dispositions immediately thereafter following, whereby she
specified each real property in her estate and designated the
particular heir among her seven compulsory heirs and seven other
grandchildren to whom she bequeathed the same.
This was a valid partition of her estate, as contemplated and
authorized in the first paragraph of Article 1080 of the Civil Code,
providing that "(S)hould a person make a partition of his estate by
an act inter vivos or by will, such partition shall be respected,
insofar as it does not prejudice the legitime of the compulsory
heirs."
This right of a testator to partition his estate is subject only to the
right of compulsory heirs to their legitime. The Civil Code thus
provides the safeguard in Arts.906-907.
The burden of oppositors' contention is that the testamentary dispositions
in their favor are in the nature of devises of real property, citing the
testatrix' repeated use of the words "I bequeath"
From this erroneous premise, they proceed to the equally
erroneous conclusion that "the legitime of the compulsory heirs
passes to them by operation of law and that the testator can
only dispose of the free portion, that is, the remainder of the
estate after deducting the legitime of the compulsory heirs ...
and all testamentary dispositions, either in the nature of
institution of heirs or of devises or legacies, have to be taken from
the remainder of the testator's estate constituting the free
portion."
Oppositors err in their premises, for the adjudications and
assignments in the testatrix' will of specific properties to specific
heirs cannot be considered all devises, for it clearly appear from
the whole context of the will and the disposition by the testatrix
of her whole estate (save for some small properties of little value
already noted at the beginning of this opinion) that her clear
intention was to partition her whole estate through her will.
Oppositors' conclusions necessarily are in error. The testamentary
dispositions of the testatrix, being dispositions in favor of
compulsory heirs, do not have to be taken only from the free
36

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

5.

portion of the estate, as contended, for the second paragraph of


Article 842 of the Civil Code precisely provides that "(O)ne who
has compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate provided he does
not contravene the provisions of this Code with regard to the
legitime of said heirs."
And even going by oppositors' own theory of bequests, the
second paragraph of Article 912 Civil Code covers precisely the
case of the executrix-appellee, who admittedly was favored by
the testatrix with the large bulk of her estate
Oppositors' invoking of Article 1063 of the Civil Code that
"(P)roperty left by will is not deemed subject to collation, if the
testator has not otherwise provided, but the legitime shall in any
case remain unimpaired" and invoking of the construction thereof
given by some authorities that "'not deemed subject to collation'
in this article really means not imputable to or chargeable against
19
the legitime", while it may have some plausibility in an
appropriate case, has no application in the present case.
Their right was merely to demand completion of their legitime under
Article 906 of the Civil Code and this has been complied with in the
approved project of partition, and they can no longer demand a further
share from the remaining portion of the estate, as bequeathed and
partitioned by the testatrix principally to the executrix-appellee.
Neither may the appellants legally insist on their legitime being
completed with real properties of the estate instead of being
paid in cash, per the approved project of partition.
i. The properties are not available for the purpose, as the
testatrix had specifically partitioned and distributed them
to her heirs, and the heirs are called upon, as far as
feasible to comply with and give effect to the intention of
the testatrix as solemnized in her will, by implementing
her manifest wish of transmitting the real properties
intact to her named beneficiaries, principally the
executrix-appellee
The payment in cash by way of making the proper adjustments
in order to meet the requirements of the law on non-impairment
of legitimes as well as to give effect to the last will of the testatrix
has invariably been availed of and sanctioned.

Decision: Ruling Affirmed

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

18- LEONOR VILLAFLOR VDA. DE VILLANUEVA, plaintiff-appellant, vs.DELFIN N.


JUICO, in his capacity as Judicial Administrator of the testate estate of
FAUSTA NEPOMUCENO, defendant-appellee
G.R. No. L-15737; February 28, 1962; J. JBL Reyes
Doctrine: The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to
every expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the
expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that one is to
be preferred which will prevent intestacy.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.
5.

6.

7.

Don Nicolas Villaflor executed a will in Spanish in his own handwriting,


devising and bequeathing in favor of
a. his wife, Dona Fausta Nepomuceno, one-half of all his real
and personal properties,
b. giving the other half to his brother Don Fausto Villaflor.
However, the clause saying that he leaves these properties shall be
deemed annulled from the moment he bore any child with Doa
Fausta Nepomuceno.
By virtue of partition project, Doa Fausta Nepomuceno received the
ownership and possession of a considerable amount of real and
personal estate.
She also received the use and possession of all the real and personal
properties mentioned and referred to in Clause 7th of the will.
Doa Fausta Nepomuceno died without having contracted a second
marriage, and without having begotten any child with the deceased
Nicolas Villaflor.
Her estate is now being settled in the lower court, with the defendant
Delfin N. Juico as the duly appointed and qualified judicial
administrator.
Now, Leonor Villaflor, grandniece of Nicolas, instituted the present
action against the administrator of the estate of the widow Fausta
Nepomuceno.

37

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8.

9.

She contends that upon the widow's death, she became vested with
the ownership of the real and personal properties bequeathed by the
late Nicolas Villaflor to clause 7 of his will, pursuant to its eight (8th)
clause.
The Court dismissed her case saying that appellant Leonor Villaflor, as
reversionary legatee, could succeed to the properties bequeathed by
clause 7 of the testament only in the event that the widow remarried.

Consequently, the widow had no right to retain or dispose of


the aforesaid properties, and her estate is accountable to the
reversionary legatee for their return, unless they had been
lost due to fortuitous event, or for their value should rights of
innocent third parties have intervened.
Decision: Decision appealed from is reversed.

Issue:

Held:

Is Leonor Villaflor a legatee of Nicolas Villaflor?

YES. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to
every expression some effect, rather than one which will render any of the
expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a will, that one is
to be preferred which will prevent intestacy." . (Art. 791 of Civil Code)
-

The widow was meant to have no more than a life interest in those
properties, even if she did not remarry at all, is evident from the
expressions used by the deceased "uso y posesion mientras viva" (use
and possession while alive) in which the first half of the phrase "uso y
posesion" instead of "dominio" or "propiedad") reinforces the second
("mientras viva").
The testator plainly did not give his widow the full ownership of
these particular properties, but only the right to their possession and
use (or enjoyment) during her lifetime. This is in contrast with the
remainder of the estate in which she was instituted universal heir
together with the testator's brother (clause 6).
if the testator had intended to impose as sole condition the nonremarriage of his widow, the words "uso y posesion mientras viva"
would have been unnecessary, since the widow could only remarry
during her own lifetime.
It necessarily follows that by the express provisions of the 8th clause
of his will, the legacies should pass to the testator's "sobrina nieta"
(neice), appellant herein, upon the widow's death, even if the widow
never remarried in her lifetime.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

19- TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased.


PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor.
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants,
vs.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
G.R. No. L-23678
June 6, 1967
Doctrine:
Facts:

1. Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and
of the United States."
2. By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had five
legitimate children:
- Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased him in infancy),
Henry A. Bellis,
Alexander Bellis and
Anna Bellis Allsman;
- by his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had
three legitimate children:
- Edwin G. Bellis,
- Walter S. Bellis and
- Dorothy Bellis
- ; and finally, he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr.,
Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.
3. On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in
which he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of
administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided,
in trust, in the following order and manner:
(a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen;

38

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


(b) P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr.,
Maria Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and
(c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied, the
remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and
second wives, namely: Edward A. Bellis, Henry A. Bellis, Alexander
Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and
Dorothy E. Bellis, in equal shares.1
4. On July 8 1958, Amos G. Bellis died
5. The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all
the bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form
of shares of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate
children,
various amounts totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their
respective legacies,
- or a total of P120,000.00, which it released from time to time
according as the lower court approved and allowed the various
motions or petitions filed by the latter three requesting partial
advances on account of their respective legacies.
6. On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the
executor submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of
Administration and Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter alia,
the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to
her of shares of stock amounting to $240,000.00, and the legacies
of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in
the amount of P40,000.00 each
or a total of P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor
pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and
Testament divided the residuary estate into seven equal
portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children
by his first and second marriages.
-

7. On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis
filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition
-

on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as


illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the
deceased.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

8. The lower court overruled the oppositions and approving the


executors final account , report and administration and project
partition.
- Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code, it applied the national law
of the decendent, which in this case is Texas law which did not
provide for legitimes
Issue/held: which law must apply- Texas or Philippine law? Texas
Rationale:
1. Doctrine of renvoi is usually pertinent where the decedent is a
national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the present
case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas
and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.
- So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing
that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should govern,
the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to
Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law.
Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs
theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the
place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since
the properties here involved are found in the Philippines.
- In the absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of
Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.
- Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of
renvoi. As stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in
their arguments. Rather, they argue that their case falls under the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in
relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code.
2. Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the
national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions,
with regard to four items:
- (a) the order of succession;
(b) the amount of successional rights;
(e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and
- (d) the capacity to succeed.
3.

ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the


law of the country where it is situated.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect
to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights
and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under
consideration, whatever may he the nature of the property and
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found.
ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of
the decedent.
4.

5.

6.

Appellant: Art 17 (3) of Civil Code


- Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and
those which have for their object public order, public policy and
good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions
agreed upon in a foreign country.
COURT:
This is not correct. Precisely, Congressdeleted the phrase,
"notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding
article"
when they incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of
the new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change
the second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in
the new.
It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph of
Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in
testate and intestate succession.
As further indication of this legislative intent, Congress added a
new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that capacity to
succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent.
whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our System
of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the same to the
succession of foreign nationals.
For it has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of
successional rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific
provisions must prevail over general ones.
Appellant: points out that the decedent executed two wills- one to
govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate- arguing
from this that her intended the Philippine law to govern his Philippine
estate.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

7.

Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a


separate Philippine will, it would not alter the law, for as this Court
ruled in Miciano v. Brimo,
a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties
shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with
his national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be
ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 now Article
16 of the Civil Code states said national law should govern.
20- MANUEL TORRES, petitioner-appellant and
LUZ LOPEZ DE BUENO, appellant,
vs.
MARGARITA LOPEZ, opponent-appellee.
G.R. No. L-24569
February 26, 1926 ; NILO

FACTS:
1) Tomas Rodriguez died. Manuel Torres, one of the executors named in
the will asked that the will of Rodriguez be allowed.
2) Opposition was entered by Margarita Lopez, the first cousin of the
deceased on the grounds:
(1) That the testator lacked mental capacity because at the
time of senile dementia and was under guardianship;
(2) that undue influence had been exercised by the persons
benefited in the document in conjunction with others who
acted in their behalf; and
(3) that the signature of Tomas Rodriguez to the document
was obtained through fraud and deceit.
3) On certain facts pertaining to the condition of Tomas Rodriguez while
he was living and when he made the will:
- Rodriguez had reached the advanced age of 76 years.
- He was suffering from anemia, hernia inguinal, chronic dypsia,
and senility. Physically he was a wreck.
4) As to the mental state of Tomas Rodriguez on January 3, 1924:
- Doctors Calderon, Domingo and Herrera admit that he was senile.
- They, together with Doctors De los Angeles, Tietze, and Burke,
further declare that his memory however for remote events was
generally good. He was given to irrational exclamations
symptomatic of a deceased mind.
- While, however, Doctors Calderon Domingo, and Herrera certify
that the intellectual faculties of the patient are "sound, except
that his memory is weak," and that in executing the will the

40

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

testator had full understanding of the act he was performing and


full knowledge of the contents thereof.
Doctors De Los Angeles, Tietze and Burke certify that Tomas
Rodriguez was of unsound mind and that they diagnosed his case
as senile dementia of the simple type approaching the
deteriorated stage.

of heirs will not, however, in itself indicate that the will was the
offspring of an unsound mind.

Lower Court denied the legalization of the will.


ISSUE: Did Tomas Rodriguez on January 3, 1924, possess sufficient mentality to
make a will, or had he passed so far along in senile dementia as to require the
court to find him of unsound? Will is valid.
RULING:
Applicable Law:
- The Code of Civil Procedure prescribes as a requisite to the
allowance of a will that the testator be of "sound mind". A "sound
mind" is a "disposing mind."
- One of the grounds for disallowing a will is "If the testator was
insane or otherwise mentally incapable of the execution."
Definition of testamentary capacity: "'Testamentary capacity is the capacity to
comprehend the nature of the transaction in which the testator is engaged at
the time, to recollect the property to be disposed of and the persons who
would naturally be supposed to have claims upon the testator, and to
comprehend the manner in which the instrument will distribute his property
among the objects of his bounty.'"
- The mental capacity of the testator is determined as of the date of the
execution of his will.
Of the specific tests of testamentary capacity:
- neither old age, physical infirmities, feebleness of mind, weakness of
the memory, the appointment of a guardian, nor eccentricities are
sufficient singly or jointly to show testamentary incapacity. Each case
rests on its own facts and must be decided by its own facts.
There is one particular test relative to the capacity to make a will which is of
some practical utility:
- This rule concerns the nature and rationality of the will. Is the will
simple or complicated? Is it natural or unnatural? The mere exclusion

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

On the issue of testamentary capacity, the evidence should be


permitted to take a wide range in order that all facts may be brought
out which will assist in determining the question.
The testimony of subscribing witnesses to a will concerning the
testator's mental condition is entitled to great weight where they are
truthful and intelligent. The evidence of those present at the
execution of the will and of the attending physician is also to be relied
upon.
The presumption is that every adult is sane. It is only when those
seeking to overthrow the will have clearly established the charge of
mental incapacity that the courts will intervene to set aside a
testamentary document.

Bugnao vs. Ubag Testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that
a person shall actually be insane or of an unsound mind. Weakness of intellect,
whether it arises from extreme old age, from disease, or great bodily infirmities
of suffering, or from all these combined, may render the testator in capable of
making a valid will, providing such weakness really disqualifies for from
knowing or appreciating the nature, effects, or consequences of the act she is
engaged in.
Nagtas vs. Paquio The rule is thus stated:
a) The question is not so much, what was the degree of memory
possessed by the testator as had, he a disposing memory? Was he
able to remember the property he was about to bequeth the manner
of distributing it and the object of his bounty? In a word, were his
mind and memory sufficiently sound to enable him to know and
understand the business in which he was engaged at the time when he
executed his will.'
b) While the inability of a person of advanced years to remember recent
events distinctly undoubtedly indicates a decay of the human
faculties, it does not conclusively establish senile dementia, which is
something more than a mere loss of mental power, resulting from old
age and is not only a feeble condition of the mind but a derangement
thereof. . . .
o The rule is settled in this state that if a testator at the time he
executes his will understand the business in which he is
41

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


engaged and has a knowledge of his property and how he
wishes to dispose of it among those entitled to his bounty, he
possess sufficient testamentary capacity, notwithstanding his
old age, sickness debility of body, or extreme distress.

CASE AT BAR:
Mental Condition:
- Two of the subscribing witnesses to the will, one a physician clearly to
the regular manner in which the will was executed and to the
testator's mental condition.
- The other subscribing witness, also, a physician on the contrary
testified to a fact which, if substantiated, would require the court to
disallow the will.
- The attending physician and three other eminent members of the
medical fraternity, who were present at the execution of the will,
expressed opinions entirely favorable to the capacity of the testator.
- As against this we have the professional speculations of three other
equally eminent members of the medical profession when the will was
executed. The advantage on those facts is all with those who offer the
will for probate.
WILL:
-

The will was short. It could easily be understood by a person in


physical distress.
It was reasonable, that is, it was reasonable if we take into account the
evident prejustice of the testator against the husband of Margarita
Lopez.

With special reference of the definition of testamentary capacity, we may say


this:
- On January 3, 1924, Tomas Rodriguez, in our opinion comprehended
the nature of the transaction in which he was engaged.
- He had two conferences with his lawyer, Judge Mina, and knew what
the will was to contain. The will was read to him by Mr. Legarda. He
signed the will and its two copies in the proper places at the bottom
and on the left margin.
- At that time the testator recollected the property to be disposed of
and the persons who would naturally be supposed to have claims
upon him While for some months prior to the making of the will he
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

had not manage his property he seem to have retained a distinct


recollection of what it consisted and of his income.
Occasionally his memory failed him with reference to the names of his
relatives. Ordinarily, he knew who they were, he seemed to entertain
a predilection towards Vicente F. Lopez as would be natural since
Lopez was nearest in which the instrument distributed the property
naming the objects of his bounty. His conversations with Judge Mina
disclosed as insistence on giving all of his property to the two persons
whom he specified.

Tomas Rodriguez may have been of advanced years, may have been
physically decrepit, may have been weak in intellect, may have
suffered a loss of memory, may have had a guardian and may have a
been extremely eccentric, but he still possessed the spark of reason
and of life, that strength of mind to form a fixed intention and to
summon his enfeebled thoughts to enforce that intention, which the
law terms "testamentary capacity."
Other topic:
There was no undue influence:
Tomas Rodriguez voluntary named Vicente F. Lopez as his
administrator. The latter subsequently became his guardian.
o There is every indication that of all his relatives Tomas
Rodriguez reposed the most confidence in Vicente F. Lopez
and his daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno.
o Again, it was Vicente F. Lopez, who, on the suggestion of
Rodriguez secured Maximino Mina to prepare the will, and it
was Luz Lopez de Bueno who appears to have gathered the
witnesses and physicians for the execution of the will.
o This faction of the Lopez family was also a favor through the
orders of Doctor Domingo as to who could be admitted to see
the patient.

It is hard to believe, however, that men of the standing of Judge Mina,


Doctors Calderon, Domingo, Herrera, and De Asis and Mr. Legarda
would so demean themselves and so fully their characters and
reputation as to participate in a scheme having for its purpose to
delude and to betray an old man in his age, rather named was acting
according to the best of his ability to assist in a legitimate act in a
legitimate manner.
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Moreover, considering the attitude of Tomas Rodriguez toward


Margarita Lopez and her husband and his apparent enmity toward
them, it seems fairly evident that even if the will had been made in
previous years when Rodriguez was more nearly in his prime, he
would have prepared somewhat a similar document.
21- Estate of Rodriguez
46 O.G. #2, p. 584 (Marian)

FACTS:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Bernabe Rodriguez died.


In the will, Bernabe instituted his wife as his universal heir.
His wife filed a petition for probate of the will of the decedent.
It was opposed by he brothers and nieces of the deceased, alleging that it
was not executed in accordance with law.
This was, since, in her separate will, she equally instituted her husband as
her universal heir.
The Court admitted to probate the said will, and the wife was appointed
administratix of the said estate.
The oppositors appealed the decision, arguing that decedents will is in the
nature of a reciprocal will, based on the prohibition in Article 669 of the
Civil Code.

ISSUE:
Is the will void for being a reciprocal will?
HELD:
1.

2.
3.
4.

NO. What the law prohibits under Article 669 is two or more persons
making a will conjointly or in the same instrument, and not reciprocity in
separate wills.
Therefore, being in different instruments, the wills are deemed as valid.
In the case at bar, the institution of the spouses as universal heirs in their
respective wills is allowed.
The Court is correct in admitting the will to probate.
22- De Guzman v Intestate Estate Of Benitez
G.R. No. 61167-68
January 20, 1989 (osh)

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Doctrine: Unsound mind, will is void.


FACTS:
1. Petitioners have appealed the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming
that of the Court of First Instance of Laguna in Special Proceedings Nos. SC347 and 352, disallowing the will of Francisco Benitez, and appointing
Dionisia Valenzuela administratrix of his intestate estate
2. Judge Maximo Maceren rendered judgment disallowing the will and
appointing Dionisia Valenzuela administratrix of the intestate estate of the
deceased.
The pivotal issue hinges on the mental capacity of the supposed
testator, Francisco Benitez on August 18, 1945 when he allegedly
executed his last will and testament.
The evidence shows that from January 18, 1929 up to March 12, 1941
Francisco Benitez was confined at the National Mental Hospital for
varying periods time.
3. The foregoing premises leads this Court to the conclusion that [at] the time
Francisco Benitez executed his supposed will on August 18, 1945 he was
not possessed of a sound and disposing mind
SIDE FACTS: (not so impt)
4. On December 10, 1970, Dionisia Valenzuela and her brother, Melquiades
Valenzuela, first-cousins of the deceased Francisco Benitez, filed a
petition for administration of his intestate estate and for the issuance of
letters of administration to Dionisia who, during the lifetime of the
deceased, had been administering the said estate as judicial guardian of
his person and property duly appointed on January 22, 1957 in Spl. Proc.
No. SC-29 of the Court of First Instance of Laguna.
a. Francisco Benitez was the only surviving child of the spouses Tiu
Cuaco, alias Pascual Benitez, and Camila Valenzuela whose brother
was the father of private respondents, Dionisia Valenzuela and
Melquiades Valenzuela.
b. He died single at the age of 61 years on November 6, 1970, without
descendants, nor ascendants, nor brothers and sisters.

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c.

5.

6.

7.
8.

He left an estate consisting of fourteen (14) parcels of coconut land


in Laguna,
The petition for administration was opposed by Emiterio de Guzman on
the ground that the deceased left a will bequeathing his entire estate to
him (De Guzman)
Emiterio de Guzman died on April 20, 1973 and was substituted by his
heirs, Fidel, Cresencia and Rosalie, all surnamed De Guzman, in both
proceedings.
In support of the petition for probate (SC-352), the petitioner Fidel de
Guzman and two attesting witnesses of the will, Pelagio Lucena and
Judge Damaso Tengco who prepared the will, gave evidence.
The oppositors (petitioners for administration in SC-347) presented six (6)
witnesses,
Various documentary exhibits were presented by both sides.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the ruling of CA is correct? YES
HELD:
Plainly, the petition raises a purely factual issue, which We are not at
liberty to review because in an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth, may
be raised.
In any event, the decision of the Court of Appeals reveals that that Court
carefully weighed the evidence on the question of the testamentary
capacity, or lack of it, of the deceased Francisco Benitez
found "no compelling reason to disturb the lower court's findings
and conclusions."
23- NENITA DE VERA SUROZA, complainant, vs. JUDGE REYNALDO P.
HONRADO of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Pasig Branch 25 and
EVANGELINE S. YUIPCO, Deputy Clerk of Court, respondents.
A.M. No. 2026-CFI; December 19, 1981; AQUINO; Chants

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.

7.

Mauro Suroza, a corporal in the 45th Infantry of the U.S. Army Fort
McKinley, married Marcelina Salvador in 1923
a. They were childless.
b. They reared a boy named Agapito who used the surname
Suroza and who considered them as his parents as shown in
his 1945 marriage contract with Nenita de Vera
Mauro died in 1942. Marcelina, as a veteran's widow, became a
pensioner of the Federal Government.
a. That explains why on her death she had accumulated some
cash in two banks.
Agapito and Nenita begot a child named Lilia who became a medical
technologist and went abroad.
a. Agapito also became a soldier. He was disabled and his wife
Nenita was appointed as his guardian in 1953 when he was
declared an incompetent
a woman named Arsenia de la Cruz wanted also to be his guardian in
another proceeding.
a. Arsenia tried to prove that Nenita was living separately from
Agapito and that she (Nenita) admitted to Marcelina that she
was unfaithful to Agapito
b. Judge Bienvenido A. Tan dismissed the second guardianship
proceeding and confirmed Nenita's appointment as guardian
of Agapito
Agapito has been staying in a veteran's hospital in San Francisco or
Palo Alto, California
spouses Antonio Sy and Hermogena Talan begot a child named
Marilyn Sy, who, when a few days old, was entrusted to Arsenia de
la Cruz (apparently a girl friend of Agapito) and who was later
delivered to Marcelina Salvador Suroza who brought her up as a
supposed daughter of Agapito and as her granddaughter
a. Marilyn used the surname Suroza. She stayed with Marcelina
but was not legally adopted by Agapito. She married Oscar
Medrano
Marcelina supposedly executed a notarial will in Manila on July 23,
1973, when she was 73 years old.
a. That will which is in English was thumbmarked by her. She
was illiterate.

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b.

8.

9.

10.
11.

12.

13.
14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

Her letters in English to the Veterans Administration were


also thumbmarked by her
c. Marcelina bequeathed all her estate to her supposed
granddaughter Marilyn.
Marcelina died on November 15, 1974
a. At the time of her death, she was a resident of 7374 San
Maximo Street, Olimpia, Makati, Rizal. She owned a 150square meter lot and house in that place. She acquired the lot
in 1966
On January 13, 1975, Marina Paje, alleged to be a laundrywoman of
Marcelina and the executrix in her will (the alternate executrix was
Juanita Macaraeg, mother of Oscar, Marilyn's husband) filed a petition
for the probate of Marcelina's alleged will
Judge Honrado appointed Marina as administratrix
Judge Honrado issued two orders directing the Merchants Banking
Corporation and the Bank of America to allow Marina to withdraw the
sum of P10,000 from the savings accounts of Marcelina S. Suroza and
Marilyn Suroza and requiring Corazon Castro, the custodian of the
passbooks, to deliver them to Marina.
Judge Honrado issued another order instructing a deputy sheriff to
eject the occupants of the testatrix's house, among whom was Nenita
V. Suroza, and to place Marina in possession thereof.
Nenita and the other occupants of the decedent's house filed a motion
to set aside the order ejecting them
In spite of the fact that Judge Honrado was already apprised that
persons, he issued on April 23 an order probating her supposed will
wherein Marilyn was the instituted heiress
Nenita filed in the testate case an omnibus petition; attached was an
affidavit of Zenaida A. Penaojas the housemaid of Marcelina, who
swore that the alleged will was falsified
Nenita filed an opposition to the probate of the will and a counterpetition for letters of administration; attached was an affidavit of
Dominga Salvador Teodocio, Marcelina's niece, who swore that
Marcelina never executed a will
Marina admitted that Marilyn was not Marcelina's granddaughter but
was the daughter of Agapito and Arsenia de la Cruz and that Agapito
was not Marcelina's son but merely an anak-anakan who was not
legally adopted
Judge Honrado dismissed Nenita's counter-petition

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

a.

19.

20.
21.

22.

23.

Judge Honrado denied the various incidents "raised" by


Nenita
Instead of appealing from that order and the order probating the wig,
Nenita "filed a case to annul" the probate proceedings
a. Judge Honrado dismissed it
Judge Honrado then closed the testamentary proceeding
About ten months later, in a verified complaint filed in this Court,
Nenita charged Judge Honrado with having probated the fraudulent
will of Marcelina.
Nenita filed in the Court of Appeals against Judge Honrado a petition
for certiorari and prohibition
a. Attached to the petition was the affidavit of Domingo P.
Aquino, who notarized the will. He swore that the testatrix
and the three attesting witnesses did not appear before him
and that he notarized the will "just to accommodate a brother
lawyer on the condition" that said lawyer would bring to the
notary the testatrix and the witnesses but the lawyer never
complied with his commitment.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition because Nenita's remedy
was an appeal and her failure to do so did not entitle her to resort to
the special civil action of certiorari

ISSUE: 1. Should disciplinary action be taken against respondent judge for


having admitted to probate a will, which on its face is void because it is written
in English, a language not known to the illiterate testatrix, and which is
probably a forged will because she and the attesting witnesses did not appear
before the notary as admitted by the notary himself?

disciplinary action should be taken against respondent judge


respondent judge, on perusing the will and noting that it was written
in English and was thumbmarked by an obviously illiterate testatrix,
could have readily perceived that the will is void.
In the opening paragraph of the will, it was stated that English was a
language "understood and known" to the testatrix.
o But in its concluding paragraph, it was stated that the will was
read to the testatrix "and translated into Filipino language"
only mean that the will was written in a language not known to the
illiterate testatrix and, therefore, it is void because of the mandatory

45

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provision of article 804 of the Civil Code that every will must be
executed in a language or dialect known to the testator
The hasty preparation of the will is shown in the attestation clause and
notarial acknowledgment where Marcelina Salvador Suroza is
repeatedly referred to as the "testator" instead of "testatrix".
Had respondent judge been careful and observant, he could have
noted not only the anomaly as to the language of the will but also that
there was something wrong in instituting the supposed granddaughter
as sole heiress and giving nothing at all to her supposed father who
was still alive.
after the hearing conducted by respondent deputy clerk of court,
respondent judge could have noticed that the notary was not
presented as a witness.
In spite of the absence of an opposition, respondent judge should
have personally conducted the hearing on the probate of the will so
that he could have ascertained whether the will was validly executed.
24- In re will of Ana Abangan.
GERTRUDIS ABANGAN, executrix-appellee,
vs.
ANASTACIA ABANGAN, ET AL., opponents-appellants.
G.R. No. L-13431
November 12, 1919
AVANCEA, J.:(Marian)

ISSUE:
Was the will duly admitted to probate?
HELD
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

FACTS:
1.
2.
3.

4.

On September 19, 1917, CFI of Cebu admitted to probate Ana Abangan's


will, executed July, 1916.
From this decision the opponents appealed.
The will consists of 2 sheets:
The first contains all the disposition of the testatrix, duly signed at the
bottom by Martin Montalban (in the name andunder the direction of
the testatrix) and by three witnesses.
The following sheet contains only the attestation clause duly signed at
the bottom by the three instrumental witnesses
Neither of these sheets is signed on the left margin by the testatrix
and the three witnesses, nor numbered by letters.
These omissions, according to appellants, are defects whereby the
probate of the will should have been denied.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

7.
8.

9.

YES. In requiring that each and every sheet of the will be signed on the left
margin by the testator and three witnesses in the presence of each other,
Act No. 2645 evidently has for its object the avoidance of substitution
of any of said sheets which may change the disposition of the testatrix.
But when these dispositions are wholly written on only one sheet, as in the
instant case, signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses,
their signatures on the left margin of said sheet are not anymore
necessary.
In requiring that each and every page of a will must be numbered
correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of the sheet, it is likewise
clear that the object of Act No. 2645 is to know whether any sheet of the
will has been removed.
But, when all the dispositive parts of a will are written on one sheet only,
the object of the statute disappears because the removal of this single
sheet, although unnumbered, cannot be hidden.
In a will consisting of two sheets, the first of which contains all the
testamentary dispositions, and is signed at the bottom by the testator and
three witnesses, and the second contains only the attestation clause, and
is signed also at the bottom by the three witnesses, it is not necessary that
both sheets be further signed on their margins by the testator and
the witnesses, or be paged.
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close
the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and
testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity.
Therefore the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as
to attain these primordal ends.
But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is
not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to
make a will.
So when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other
interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more requisites
entirely unnecessary, useless and frustative of the testator's last will, must
be disregarded.

46

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CELLES

Lee v Tambago, A.C. No. 5281, 12 February 2008

2.

JANUARY 16, 2011


TESTATE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED MARIA SUIGA VDA. DE PANDO. JUAN L.
REYES, petitioner, administrator and appellant vs. DOLORES ZUIGA VDA. DE
VIDAL, oppositor and appellee.
GR No. L-2862; April 21, 1952
(Bon)
Appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila disallowing the
probate of the will on the ground that the signatures of the deceased
appearing therein are not genuine, etc.
Decision appealed from is reversed. The court admits the will to probate, and
remands case to the lower court for further proceedings, with costs against the
appellee.
*** THIS IS THE WHOLE TEXT OF THE CASE***

Garcia v. Lacuesta
G.R. No. L-4067
November 29, 1951
Doctrine: After mature reflection, we are not prepared to liken the mere sign
of the cross to a thumbmark, and the reason is obvious. The cross cannot and
does not have the trustworthiness of a
thumbmark.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

The will appears to have been signed by Atty. Florentino Javier who
wrote the name of Antero Mercado, followed below by "A reugo del
testator" and the name of Florentino Javier.
Antero Mercado is alleged to have written a cross immediately
after his name. The Court of Appeals, reversing the judgement of
the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte, ruled that the
attestation clause failed:
(1) to certify that the will was signed on all the left margins of the
three pages and at the end of the will by Atty. Florentino Javier at
the express request of the testator in the presence of the testator
and each and every one of the witnesses;
(2) to certify that after the signing of the name of the testator by
Atty. Javier at the former's request said testator has written a
cross at the end of his name and on the left margin of the three
pages of which the will consists and at the end thereof;
- (3) to certify that the three witnesses signed the will in all the
pages thereon in the presence of the testator and of each other.

Issue/held: WON the will is valid? NO, it is invalid


Rationale:
1.

the attestation clause is fatally defective for failing to state that Antero
Mercado caused Atty. Florentino Javier to write the testator's name
under his express direction, as required by section 618 of the Code of
Civil Procedure.
-

Facts:
1.

This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals disallowing


the will of Antero Mercado dated January 3, 1943. The will is written
in the Ilocano dialect

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The petitioner argues, however, that there is no need for such


recital because the cross written by the testator after his name is
a sufficient signature and the signature of Atty. Florentino Javier is
a surplusage.
Petitioner's theory is that the cross is as much a signature as a
thumbmark, the latter having been held sufficient by this
Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
It is not here pretended that the cross appearing on the will is the
usual signature of Antero Mercado or even one of the ways by
which he signed his name.
After mature reflection, we are not prepared to liken the mere
sign of the cross to a thumbmark, and the reason is obvious. The

47

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


cross cannot and does not have the trustworthiness of a
thumbmark.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
2.

What has been said makes it unnecessary for us to determine there is


a sufficient recital in the attestation clause as to the signing of the will
by the testator in the presence of the witnesses, and by the latter in
the presence of the testator and of each other.

Disposition: Wherefore, the appealed decision is hereby affirmed, with against


the petitioner. So ordered.
In the Matter of the summary settlement of the Estate of the deceased
ANACLETA ABELLANA. LUCIO BALONAN, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
EUSEBIA ABELLANA, et al., oppositors-appellants.
G.R. No. L-15153
August 31, 1960 ; NILO
FACTS:
1) It appears on record that the last Will and Testament (Exhibit "A"),
which is sought to be probated, is written in the Spanish language and
consists of two (2) typewritten pages double space.
2) The first page is signed by Juan Bello and under his name appears
typewritten "Por la testadora Anacleta Abellana, residence Certificate
A-1167629, Enero 20, 1951, Ciudad de Zamboanga', and on the second
page appears the signature of three (3) instrumental witnesses Blas
Sebastian, Faustino Macaso and Rafael Ignacio, at the bottom of which
appears the signature of T. de los Santos and below his signature is his
official designation as the notary public who notarized the said
testament.
a. On the first page on the left margin of the said instrument
also appear the signatures of the instrumental witnesses.
b. On the second page, which is the last page of said last Will
and Testament, also appears the signature of the three (3)
instrumental witnesses and on that second page on the left
margin appears the signature of Juan Bello under whose
name appears handwritten the following phrase, "Por la
Testadora Anacleta Abellana'. The will is duly acknowledged
before Notary Public Attorney Timoteo de los Santos.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

ISSUE: Does the signature of Dr. Juan A. Abello above the typewritten
statement "Por la Testadora Anacleta Abellana . . ., Ciudad de Zamboanga,"
comply with the requirements of law prescribing the manner in which a will
shall be executed?
HELD: the said will of the deceased Anacleta Abellana may not be admitted to
probate.
Article 805 of the Civil Code, in part provides as follows:
Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the
end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written
by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction,
and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witness in the
presence of the testator and of one another.
the important thing is that it clearly appears that the name of the
testatrix was signed at her express direction; it is unimportant
whether the person who writes the name of the testatrix signs his own
or not.
In the case at bar the name of the testatrix, Anacleta Abellana, does
not appear written under the will by said Abellana herself, or by Dr.
Juan Abello.
There is, therefore, a failure to comply with the express requirement
in the law that the testator must himself sign the will, or that his name
be affixed thereto by some other person in his presence and by his
express direction.

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE PROBATE OF THE WILL OF


DOROTEA PEREZ, (deceased): APOLONIO TABOADA, petitioner, vs. HON.
AVELINO S. ROSAL, as Judge of Court of First Instance of Southern Leyte,
(Branch III, Maasin),respondent.
G.R. No. L-36033 November 5, 1982
GUTIERREZ, JR. J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. In the petition for probate filed with the respondent court, the
petitioner attached the alleged last will and testament of the late
Dorotea Perez.
48

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


a.

Written in the Cebuano-Visayan dialect, the will consists of


two pages.
b. The first page contains the entire testamentary dispositions
and is signed at the end or bottom of the page by the
testatrix alone and at the left hand margin by the three (3)
instrumental witnesses.
c. The second page which contains the attestation clause and
the acknowledgment is signed at the end of the attestation
clause by the three (3) attesting witnesses and at the left
hand margin by the testatrix.
2. TC: denying the probate of the will of Dorotea Perez for want of a
formality in its execution.
a. The petitioner was also required to submit the names of the
intestate heirs with their corresponding addresses so that
they could be properly notified and could intervene in the
summary settlement of the estate.
b. Instead of complying with the order of the trial court, the
petitioner filed a manifestation and/or motion, ex parte
c. He also asked that the ten-day period required by the court
to submit the names of intestate heirs with their addresses
be held in abeyance.
d. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order
denying the probate of the will.
3. The new Judge denied the motion for reconsideration as well as the
manifestation and/or motion filed ex parte.
a. In the same order of denial, the motion for the appointment
of special administrator was likewise denied because of the
petitioner's failure to comply with the order requiring him to
submit the names of' the intestate heirs and their addresses.
Issue: WON it is required that the testatrix and all the three instrumental and
attesting witnesses sign at the end of the will and in the presence of the
testatrix and of one another.
Held: No. The signatures of the instrumental witnesses on the left margin of
the first page of the will attested not only to the genuineness of the signature
of the testatrix but also the due execution of the will as embodied in the
attestation clause.
Ratio:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

1. Under Article 805 of the Civil Code, the will must be subscribed or
signed at its end by the testator himself or by the testator's name
written by another person in his presence, and by his express
direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible
witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.
a. It must be noted that the law uses the
terms attested and subscribed Attestation
consists
in
witnessing the testator's execution of the will in order to see
and take note mentally that those things are, done which the
statute requires for the execution of a will and that the
signature of the testator exists as a fact. On the other hand,
subscription is the signing of the witnesses' names upon the
same paper for the purpose of Identification of such paper as
the will which was executed by the testator. (Ragsdale v. Hill,
269 SW 2d 911).
b. Insofar as the requirement of subscription is concerned, it is
our considered view that the will in this case was subscribed
in a manner which fully satisfies the purpose of
Identification.
2. The signatures of the instrumental witnesses on the left margin of the
first page of the will attested not only to the genuineness of the
signature of the testatrix but also the due execution of the will as
embodied in the attestation clause.
a. While perfection in the drafting of a will may be desirable,
unsubstantial departure from the usual forms should be
ignored, especially where the authenticity of the will is not
assailed. (Gonzales v. Gonzales, 90 Phil. 444, 449).
3. The objects of attestation and of subscription were fully met and
satisfied in the present case when the instrumental witnesses signed
at the left margin of the sole page which contains all the testamentary
dispositions, especially so when the will was properly Identified by
subscribing witness Vicente Timkang to be the same will executed by
the testatrix.
a. There was no question of fraud or substitution behind the
questioned order.
4. We have examined the will in question and noticed that the
attestation clause failed to state the number of pages used in writing
the will.
a. This would have been a fatal defect were it not for the fact
that, in this case, it is discernible from the entire wig that it
49

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

b.

c.
d.

is really and actually composed of only two pages duly


signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses.
As earlier stated, the first page which contains the entirety of
the testamentary dispositions is signed by the testatrix at the
end or at the bottom while the instrumental witnesses signed
at the left margin.
The other page which is marked as "Pagina dos" comprises
the attestation clause and the acknowledgment.
The acknowledgment itself states that "This Last Will and
Testament consists of two pages including this page".

JOSE ANTONIO GABUCAN, vs. HON. JUDGE LUIS D. MANTA, JOSEFA G. VDA.
DE YSALINA and NELDA G. ENCLONAR,
No. L-51546. January 28, 1980.*

What the probate court should have done was to require the petitioner or
proponent to affix the requisite thirty-centavo documentary stamp to the
notarial acknowledgment of the will which is the taxable portion of that
document.
Thus, it was held that the documentary stamp may be affixed at the time
the taxable document is presented in evidence (Del Castillo vs. Madrilena,
49 Phil. 749).
In re Will of the deceased Leoncia Tolentino. VICTORIO PAYAD, petitioner
appellant, vs. AQUILINA TOLENTINO, oppositor-appellant.
G.R. No. L-42258; January 15, 1936; GODDARD; Chants

FACTS:
1.

Doctrine: Failure to affix a 30-centavo documentary stamp on a will not a


fatal defect as the probate court can require the proponent to affix the
required documentary stamp to the notarial acknowledgment of the will;
Nonadmissibility of a document without the requisite documentary stamps
subsists and the requisite stamps shall have been affixed thereto and
cancelled. [Gabucan vs. Manta, 95 SCRA 752(1980)]

FACTS:
1. This case is about the dismissal of a petition for the probate of a notarial
will on the ground that it does not bear a thirtycentavo documentary
stamp.
ISSUE: Whether or not the DST should be affixed to make the will valid.
HELD:
We hold that the lower court manifestly erred in declaring that, because
no documentary stamp was affixed to the will, there was no will and
testament to probate and, consequently, the alleged action must of
necessity be dismissed.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Trial court denied the probate of the alleged will of Leoncia Tolentino,
deceased
2. Will in question was executed by the deceased on September 7,
1933,one day before the death of the testatrix, contrary to the
contention of the oppositor that it was executed after her death
3. Denied probate on the ground that the attestation clause was not in
conformity with the requirements of law in that it is not stated
therein that the testatrix caused Attorney Almario to write her name
at her express direction.
ISSUE: 1. Whether the lower court was correct in denying probate? NO
HELD:
1.

The will should be admitted in probate.


Leoncia Tolentino, assisted by Attorney Almario, placed her
thumb mark on each and every age of time questioned will
and the said attorney merely wrote her name to indicate the
place where she placed said thumb mark.
Attorney Almario did not sign for the testatrix.
o She signed for placing her thumb mark on each and
every page thereof "A statute requiring a will to be
'signed' is satisfied if the signature is made by the
testator's mark."
not necessary that the attestation clause should state that
the testatrix requested Attorney Almario to sign her name
50

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


inasmuch as the testratrix signed the will in question in
accordance with law

DECISION: Reversed. Questioned will of Leoncia Tolentino, deceased, is hereby


admitted to probate.
PEDRO BARUT, petitioner-appellant, vs.FAUSTINO CABACUNGAN, ET
AL., opponents-appellees.
G.R. No. L-6285; February 15, 1912; P: Moreland; by: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: .. it is entirely clear that, with respect to the validity of the will, it is
unimportant whether the person who writes the name of the testatrix signs his
own or not. The important thing is that it clearly appears that the name of the
testatrix was signed at her express direction in the presence of three witnesses
and that they attested and subscribed it in her presence and in the presence of
each other.

on her behalf looked more like the handwriting of one of the other
witnesses to the will than that of the person whose handwriting it was
alleged to be
Issue:
Does the difference in the handwriting of the one who alleged to sign in the
name of testatrix looked more the handwriting of one of the other witness
render the will invalid despite the will being attested and subscribed by three
witnesses? NO
Ruling:
1.

Facts:
1.

2.

3.

This appeal arises out of an application on the part of Pedro Barut to


probate the last will and testament of Maria Salomon, deceased.
Severo Agayan, Timotea Inoselda, Catalino Ragasa, and A. M.
Jimenez are alleged to have been witnesses to the execution
thereof. By the terms of said will Pedro Barut received the larger
part of decedent's property.
After disposing of her property the testatrix revoked all former wills by
her made. She also stated in said will that being unable to read or write,
the same had been read to her by Ciriaco Concepcion and Timotea
Inoselda and that she had instructed Severo Agayan to sign her name to it
as testatrix.
The probate of the will was contested and opposed by a number
of the relatives of the deceased on various grounds, among them
that a later will had been executed by the deceased. The will
referred to as being a later will is the one involved in another case
No. 6284.
In the case before us the probate court found that the will was not
entitled to probate upon the sole ground that the handwriting of the
person who it is alleged signed the name of the testatrix to the will for and
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

2.

The Supreme Court does not believe that the mere dissimilarity in writing
thus mentioned by the court is sufficient to overcome the uncontradicted
testimony of all the witnesses to the will that the signature of the
testatrix was written by Severo Agayan at her request and in her presence
and in the presence of all the witnesses to the will.
It is immaterial who writes the name of the testatrix provided it
is written at her request and in her presence and in the presence
of all the witnesses to the execution of the will.
The high court does not believe that this contention of the probate court
can be sustained. Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads as
follows:
No will, except as provided in the preceding section, shall be valid
to pass any estate, real or personal, nor charge or effect the same,
unless it be in writing and signed by the testator, or by the
testator's name written by some other person in his presence,
and by his expenses direction, and attested and subscribed by
three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator
and of each. . . .
From these provisions it is entirely clear that, with respect to
the validity of the will, it is unimportant whether the person who
writes the name of the testatrix signs his own or not.
i. The important thing is that it clearly appears that the
name of the testatrix was signed at her express
direction in the presence of three witnesses and that
they attested and subscribed it in her presence and in
the presence of each other.

51

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.

4.

It may be wise as a practical matter that the one who signs the
testator's name signs also his own; but that it is not essential to
the validity of the will.
Nor is such requirement found in any other branch of the law. The
name of a person who is unable to write may be signed by
another by express direction to any instrument known to the
law.
The main thing to be established in the execution of the will is
the signature of the testator. If that signature is proved, whether
it be written by himself or by another at his request, it is none the
less valid, and the fact of such signature can be proved as
perfectly and as completely when the person signing for the
principal omits to sign his own name as it can when he actually
signs.
To hold a will invalid for the lack of the signature of the person signing the
name of the principal is, in the particular case, a complete abrogation of
the law of wills, as it rejects and destroys a will which the statute
expressly declares is valid.
Aside from the presentation of an alleged subsequent will the contestants
in this case have set forth no reason whatever why the will involved in
the present litigation should not be probated. The due and legal
execution of the will by the testatrix is clearly established by the proofs in
this case.
As to the defense of a subsequent will, that is resolved in case No.
6284 of which we have already spoken. We there held that said
later will not the will of the deceased.

Decision: The judgment of the probate court must be and is hereby reversed
and that court is directed to enter an order in the usual form probating the will
involved in this litigation.
Testacy of Sixto Lopez. JOSE S. LOPEZ, petitioner-appellee, vs. AGUSTIN
LIBORO, oppositor-appellant.
G.R. No. L-1787
August 27, 1948
TUASON, J.:
DOCTRINE: A statute requiring a will to be signed is satisfied if the signature
is made by the testators mark. (De Gala vs. Gonzales and Ona)

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1.

2.

3.

Don Sixto Lopez, who died at 83 in Balayan Batangas, had a last will and
testament.
The will in question comprises two pages, each of which is written on
one side of a separate sheet.
Agustin Liboro opposed the probate of the will on the following grounds:
that the deceased never executed the alleged will
that his signature appearing in said will was a forgery
that at the time of the execution of the will, he was wanting in
testamentary as well as mental capacity due to advanced age
that, if he did ever execute said will, it was not executed and attested
as required by law, and one of the alleged instrumental witnesses was
incapacitated to act as such; and it was procured by duress, influence
of fear and threats and undue and improper pressure and influence on
the part of the beneficiaries instituted therein, principally the
testator's sister, Clemencia Lopez, and the herein proponent, Jose S.
Lopez; and
that the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick
CFI ordered the probate of the last will and testament of Don Sixto Lopez.

ISSUES:
1.

2.

Did the following render the will fatally defective?


The first sheet is not paged either in letters or in Arabic numerals.
The testator affixed his thumbmark to the instrument instead of
signing his name.
The will for its silence on the testator's understanding of the language
used in the testament.
Did the trial court committ an abuse of discretion in allowing the appellant
to offer evidence to prove knowledge of Spanish by the testator?

HELD:
First: NO, it did not.
1. In the present case, the omission to put a page number on the first sheet,
if that be necessary, is supplied by other forms of identification more
trustworthy than the conventional numerical words or characters.

52

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.

3.

4.

5.

The unnumbered page is clearly identified as the first page by the internal
sense of its contents considered in relation to the contents of the second
page.
By their meaning and coherence, the first and second lines on the second
page are undeniably a continuation of the last sentence of the testament,
before the attestation clause, which starts at the bottom of the preceding
page.
Furthermore, the unnumbered page contains the caption "TESTAMENTO,"
the invocation of the Almighty, and a recital that the testator was in full
use of his testamentary faculty, all of which, in the logical order of
sequence, precede the direction for the disposition of the marker's
property.
Again, as page two contains only the two lines above mentioned, the
attestation clause, the mark of the testator and the signatures of the
witnesses, the other sheet can not by any possibility be taken for other
than page one.

Second: NO, it did not.


1. The testator affixed his thumbmark to the instrument instead of signing his
name because the testator was suffering from partial paralysis.
2. While another in testators place might have directed someone else to sign
for him, as appellant contends should have been done, there is nothing
curious or suspicious in the fact that the testator chose the use of mark as
the means of authenticating his will.
3. It was a matter of taste or preference. Both ways are good.
4. A statute requiring a will to be signed is satisfied if the signature is made
by the testators mark. (De Gala vs. Gonzales and Ona, 53 Phil., 108; 28 R.
C. L., 117.)
Third: NO, it did not.
1. There is no statutory requirement that such knowledge be expressly stated
in the will itself. It is a matter that may be established by proof aliunde.
2. This Court so impliedly ruled in Gonzales vs. Laurel, 46 Phil., 781, in which
the probate of a will written in Tagalog was ordered although it did not say
that the testator knew that idiom.
In fact, there was not even extraneous proof on the subject other than
the fact that the testator resided in a Tagalog region, from which the
court said "a presumption arises that said Maria Tapia knew the
Tagalog dialect.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Fourth: NO grave abuse


1. It is within the discretion of the court whether or not to admit further
evidence after the party offering the evidence has rested, and this
discretion will not be reviewed except where it has clearly been abused.
2. More, it is within the sound discretion of the court whether or not it will
allow the case to be reopened for the further introduction of evidence
after a motion or request for a nonsuit, or a demurrer to the evidence, and
the case may be reopened after the court has announced its intention as
to its ruling on the request, motion, or demurrer, or has granted it or has
denied the same, or after the motion has been granted, if the order has
not been written, or entered upon the minutes or signed.
3. After the parties have produced their respective direct proofs, they are
allowed to offer rebutting evidence only, but, it has been held, the court,
for good reasons, in the furtherance of justice, may permit them to offer
evidence upon their original case, and its ruling will not be disturbed in the
appellate court where no abuse of discretion appears.
So, generally, additional evidence is allowed when it is newly
discovered, or where it has been omitted through inadvertence or
mistake, or where the purpose of the evidence is to the evidence is to
correct evidence previously offered.
4. The omission to present evidence on the testator's knowledge of Spanish
had not been deliberate. It was due to a misapprehension or oversight.
Lower court decision affirmed, with costs.
PAZ SAMANIEGO-CELADA, petitioner, vs. LUCIA D. ABENA, respondent
G.R. No. 145545; June 30, 2008 ; J. Quisumbing
(Bon)
Doctrine: In the absence of bad faith, forgery or fraud, or undue [and] improper
pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or
in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that
the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the
requirements of Article 805
Facts:
1.

2.

Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of decedent


Margarita S. Mayores (Margarita) while respondent was the
decedents lifelong companion since 1929.
Margarita died single and without any ascending nor descending heirs
as her parents, grandparents and siblings predeceased her.
53

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


3.
4.

5.

6.

7.

Issue:
1.
2.

She was survived by her first cousins Catalina Samaniego-Bombay,


Manuelita Samaniego Sajonia, Feliza Samaniego, and petitioner.
Before her death, Margarita executed a Last Will and Testament on
February 2, 1987 where she bequeathed the following:
a. one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at
Singalong Manila, to respondent, Norma A. Pahingalo, and
Florentino M. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion
each
b. one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at
Makati to respondent, Isabelo M. Abena, and Amanda M.
Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each
c. all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise
designated as sole executor of her will
Upon being declared probated, petitioner opposed Margaritas will
arguing that it failed to comply with the formalities required under
Article 8058 of the Civil Code because
a. the will was not signed by the testator in the presence of the
instrumental witnesses and in the presence of one another
b. the signatures of the testator on pages A, B, and C of the will
are not the same or similar, indicating that they were not
signed on the same day
She further argues that the will was procured through undue influence
and pressure
a. because at the time of execution of the will, Margarita was
weak, sickly, jobless and entirely dependent upon respondent
and her nephews for support, and these alleged handicaps
allegedly affected her freedom and willpower to decide on
her own.
Petitioner likewise argues that the Court of Appeals should have
declared her and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita since they
are her only living collateral relatives in accordance with Articles 1009
and 1010 of the Civil Code.

Is the will defective rendering it invalid based on the grounds raised by


the respondent?
Does the petitioner and her sibling have a right to claim over the
decedents estate?

Held:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

1.

NO.
A. Oppositors failed to establish, by preponderance of
evidence, said allegation and contradict the presumption
that the testator was of sound mind (Art. 800 NCC)
witness for the oppositors, Dr. Ramon Lamberte,
who, in some occasions, attended to the testator
months before her death, testified that Margarita
Mayores could engage in a normal conversation
and he even stated that the illness of the testator
does not warrant hospitalization
Not one of the oppositors witnesses has mentioned
any instance that they observed act/s of the testator
during her lifetime that could be construed as a
manifestation of mental incapacity.
The testator may be admitted to be physically weak
but it does not necessarily follow that she was not
of sound mind.
B. AS TO THE SIGNATURES AND THE ALLEGED PRESSURE AND
UNDUE INFLUENCE: There was a picture shown as evidence
which shows the following therefore contradicting the claims
of the petitioner:
The testator was affixing her signature in the
presence of the instrumental witnesses and the
notary. There is no evidence to show that the first
signature was procured earlier than February 2,
1987.
the testator was in a good mood and smiling with
the other witnesses while executing the subject will
C. AS TO THE INCLUSION OF ATTESTATION CALUS IN THE
COUNT OF PAGES:
error in the number of pages of the will as stated in
the attestation clause is not material to invalidate
the subject will
The error must have been brought about by the
honest belief that the will is the whole instrument
consisting of three (3) pages inclusive of the
attestation clause and the acknowledgement.
The position of the court is in consonance with the
doctrine of liberal interpretation enunciated in
Article 809 of the Civil Code
54

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.

NO.

a.

petitioner and her siblings are not compulsory heirs of the


decedent under Article 887 of the Civil Code and
as the decedent validly disposed of her properties in a will
duly executed and probated, petitioner has no legal right to
claim any part of the decedents estate.

4.

Decision: Petition is DENIED


TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ALIPIO ABADA, BELINDA CAPONONGNOBLE, petitioner, vs. ALIPIO ABAJA and NOEL ABELLAR, respondents.
G.R. No. 147145 January 31, 2005
Carpio, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. Abada died sometime in May 1940. His widow Paula Toray ("Toray")
died sometime in September 1943. Both died without legitimate
children.
a. Alipio C. Abaja filed with the then Court of First Instance of
Negros Occidental (now RTC-Kabankalan) a petition for the
probate of the last will and testament ("will") of Abada.
Abada allegedly named as his testamentary heirs his natural
children Eulogio Abaja and Rosario Cordova.
b. Alipio is the son of Eulogio.
2. Nicanor Caponong opposed the petition on the ground that Abada left
no will when he died in 1940.
a. Caponong further alleged that the will, if Abada really
executed it, should be disallowed for the following reasons:
(1) It was not executed and attested as required by law;
(2) It was not intended as the last will of the testator
(3) It was procured by undue and improper pressure and
influence on the part of the beneficiaries.
b. Citing the same grounds invoked by Caponong, the alleged
intestate heirs of Abada.
3. Alipio filed another petition before the RTC-Kabankalan for the probate
of the last will and testament of Toray.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Caponong, Joel Abada, et al., and Levi Tronco, et al. opposed


the petition on the same grounds they cited

Caponong filed a petition before the RTC-Kabankalan praying for the


issuance in his name of letters of administration of the intestate estate
of Abada and Toray.
b.

3.

4.
5.

In an Order dated 14 August 1981, the RTC-Kabankalan


admitted to probate the will of Toray. Since the oppositors
did not file any motion for reconsideration, the order
allowing the probate of Torays will became final and
executory.
RTC-Kabankalan designated Belinda Caponong-Noble ("CaponongNoble") Special Administratrix of the estate of Abada and Toray.
a. Caponong-Noble moved for the dismissal of the petition for
probate of the will of Abada.
b. The RTC-Kabankalan denied the motion.
RTC: the Last Will and Testament of Alipio Abada dated June 4, 1932 is
admitted and allowed probate.
CA: affirmed.

Issue: WON Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the RTC-Kabankalan in


admitting to probate the will of Abada.
Held: No.
Ratio:
1.

Requisites of a Will under the Code of Civil Procedure


Under Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the
requisites of a will are the following:
(1) The will must be written in the language or dialect known
by the testator;
(2) The will must be signed by the testator, or by the
testators name written by some other person in his
presence, and by his express direction;
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(3) The will must be attested and subscribed by three or more
credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each
other;
(4) The testator or the person requested by him to write his
name and the instrumental witnesses of the will must sign
each and every page of the will on the left margin;
(5) The pages of the will must be numbered correlatively in
letters placed on the upper part of each sheet;

a. This is a matter that a party may establish by


proof aliunde. Caponong-Noble further argues that Alipio, in his
testimony, has failed, among others, to show that Abada knew or
understood the contents of the will and the Spanish language used in
the will.
b. However, Alipio testified that Abada used to gather Spanishspeaking people in their place. In these gatherings, Abada and his
companions would talk in the Spanish language.
c. This sufficiently proves that Abada speaks the Spanish language.

(6) The attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages


used, upon which the will is written, and the fact that the
testator signed the will and every page of the will, or caused
some other person to write his name, under his express
direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and the
witnesses witnessed and signed the will and all pages of the
will in the presence of the testator and of each other.

4. The phrase "en el margen izquierdo de todas y cada una de las dos hojas de
que esta compuesto el mismo" which means "in the left margin of each and
every one of the two pages consisting of the same" shows that the will consists
of two pages. The pages are numbered correlatively with the letters "ONE" and
"TWO" as can be gleaned from the phrase "las cuales estan paginadas
correlativamente con las letras "UNO" y "DOS."

2. Art. 685. The notary and two of the witnesses who authenticate the will
must be acquainted with the testator, or, should they not know him, he shall
be identified by two witnesses who are acquainted with him and are known to
the notary and to the attesting witnesses. The notary and the witnesses shall
also endeavor to assure themselves that the testator has, in their judgment,
the legal capacity required to make a will.

5. However, Caponong-Noble is correct in saying that the attestation clause


does not indicate the number of witnesses.

a. However, the Code of Civil Procedure repealed Article 685 of the


Old Civil Code.

b. While the attestation clause does not state the number of


witnesses, a close inspection of the will shows that three witnesses
signed it.

b. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, the intervention of a notary is


not necessary in the execution of any will.
c. Therefore, Abadas will does not require acknowledgment before
a notary public.
3. There is no statutory requirement to state in the will itself that the testator
knew the language or dialect used in the will.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

a. On this point, the Court agrees with the appellate court in applying
the rule on substantial compliance in determining the number of
witnesses.

6. We rule to apply the liberal construction in the probate of Abadas will.


Abadas will clearly shows four signatures: that of Abada and of three other
persons.
a. It is reasonable to conclude that there are three witnesses to the
will.

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b. The question on the number of the witnesses is answered by an
examination of the will itself and without the need for presentation of
evidence aliunde.
c. T]he so-called liberal rule does not offer any puzzle or difficulty, nor
does it open the door to serious consequences. The later decisions do
tell us when and where to stop; they draw the dividing line with
precision.They do not allow evidence aliunde to fill a void in any part
of the document or supply missing details that should appear in the
will itself.l^vvphi1.net They only permit a probe into the will, an
exploration within its confines, to ascertain its meaning or to
determine the existence or absence of the requisite formalities of
law. This clear, sharp limitation eliminates uncertainty and ought to
banish any fear of dire results.
7. Precision of language in the drafting of an attestation clause is desirable.
However, it is not imperative that a parrot-like copy of the words of the statute
be made. It is sufficient if from the language employed it can reasonably be
deduced that the attestation clause fulfills what the law expects of it.
FELIX AZUELA vs. COURT OF APPEALS, GERALDA AIDA CASTILLO substituted
by ERNESTO G. CASTILLO
G.R. No. 122880
April 12, 2006 ; NILO
Doctrine: A will whose attestation clause does not contain the number of pages
on which the will is written is fatally defective. A will whose attestation clause
is not signed by the instrumental witnesses is fatally defective. And perhaps
most importantly, a will which does not contain an acknowledgment, but a
mere jurat, is fatally defective. Any one of these defects is sufficient to deny
probate. A notarial will with all three defects is just aching for judicial rejection.
FACTS:
1) The petition filed by petitioner Felix Azuela sought to admit to probate
the notarial will of Eugenia E. Igsolo, which was notarized on 10 June
1981. Petitioner is the son of the cousin of the decedent.
The will, consisting of two (2) pages and written in the vernacular
Pilipino,
The three named witnesses to the will affixed their signatures on
the left-hand margin of both pages of the will, but not at the
bottom of the attestation clause.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The probate petition adverted to only two (2) heirs, legatees and
devisees of the decedent, namely: petitioner himself, and one
Irene Lynn Igsolo, who was alleged to have resided abroad.
Petitioner prayed that the will be allowed, and that letters
testamentary be issued to the designated executor, Vart Prague.
2) The petition was opposed by Geralda Aida Castillo (Geralda Castillo),
who represented herself as the attorney-in-fact of "the 12 legitimate
heirs" of the decedent.
claimed that the will is a forgery.
asserted that the decedent was actually survived by 12 legitimate
heirs, namely her grandchildren, who were then residing abroad.
also argued that the will was not executed and attested to in
accordance with law. She pointed out that decedents signature
did not appear on the second page of the will, and the will was
not properly acknowledged. These twin arguments are among the
central matters to this petition.
3) RTC admitted the will to probate but the Court of Appeals reversed
the trial court and noted that the attestation clause failed to state the
number of pages used in the will, thus rendering the will void and
undeserving of probate.
4) Petitioner argues that the requirement under Article 805 of the Civil
Code that "the number of pages used in a notarial will be stated in the
attestation clause" is merely directory, rather than mandatory, and
thus susceptible to what he termed as "the substantial compliance
rule."
As admitted by petitioner himself, the attestation clause fails to
state the number of pages of the will. There was an incomplete
attempt to comply with this requisite, a space having been
allotted for the insertion of the number of pages in the attestation
clause
ISSUE: WON the will of Eugenia E. Igsolo is valid even if the attestation clause
failed to state the number of pages used in the will.
RULING: Invalid.
The purpose of requiring the number of sheets to be stated in the attestation
clause is obvious;
the document might easily be so prepared that the removal of a sheet
would completely change the testamentary dispositions of the will and
in the absence of a statement of the total number of sheets such
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removal might be effected by taking out the sheet and changing the
numbers at the top of the following sheets or pages.
o If, on the other hand, the total number of sheets is stated in
the attestation clause the falsification of the document will
involve the inserting of new pages and the forging of the
signatures of the testator and witnesses in the margin, a
matter attended with much greater difficulty.
Case at bar: the number of pages used in the will is not stated in any part of
the Will. The will does not even contain any notarial acknowledgment wherein
the number of pages of the will should be stated

PETITIONER asserts Article 809 of the Civil Code which states: "In the absence
of bad faith, forgery, or fraud, or undue and improper pressure and influence,
defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used
therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact
executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of
article 805."

Caneda v. Court of Appeals A cautionary note was struck though by Justice


J.B.L. Reyes as to how Article 809 should be applied:
The rule must be limited to disregarding those defects that can be supplied by
an examination of the will itself:
whether all the pages are consecutively numbered;
whether the signatures appear in each and every page;
whether the subscribing witnesses are three or the will was
notarized.
All these are facts that the will itself can reveal, and defects or even
omissions concerning them in the attestation clause can be safely
disregarded. But the total number of pages, and whether all persons
required to sign did so in the presence of each other must
substantially appear in the attestation clause, being the only check
against perjury in the probate proceedings.
[I]t may thus be stated that the rule, as it now stands, is that omission
which can be supplied by an examination of the will itself, without the
need of resorting to extrinsic evidence, will not be fatal and,
correspondingly, would not obstruct the allowance to probate of the
will being assailed. However, those omissions which cannot be
supplied except by evidence aliunde would result in the invalidation of
the attestation clause and ultimately, of the will itself."

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages on


which the will was written remains a fatal flaw, despite Article 809.
o The purpose of the law in requiring the clause to state the
number of pages on which the will is written is to safeguard
against possible interpolation or omission of one or some of
its pages and to prevent any increase or decrease in the
pages. The failure to state the number of pages equates with
the absence of an averment on the part of the instrumental
witnesses as to how many pages consisted the will, the
execution of which they had ostensibly just witnessed and
subscribed to.
At the same time, Article 809 should not deviate from the need to
comply with the formal requirements as enumerated under Article
805.
The transcendent legislative intent, even as expressed in the cited
comments of the Code Commission, is for the fruition of the
testators incontestable desires, and not for the indulgent
admission of wills to probate.

An examination of the will itself reveals a couple of even more critical defects
that should necessarily lead to its rejection:
1) The attestation clause was not signed by the instrumental
witnesses. While the signatures of the instrumental witnesses appear
on the left-hand margin of the will, they do not appear at the bottom
of the attestation clause which after all consists of their averments
before the notary public.
The attestation clause is "a memorandum of the facts attending
the execution of the will" required by law to be made by the
attesting witnesses, and it must necessarily bear their signatures.
An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of
the witnesses, since the omission of their signatures at the
bottom thereof negatives their participation.
Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that the
instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will, from the
requisite that the will be "attested and subscribed by [the
instrumental witnesses]." The respective intents are:
o The signatures on the left-hand corner of every page
signify, among others, that the witnesses are aware that
the page they are signing forms part of the will.

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o

On the other hand, the signatures to the attestation


clause establish that the witnesses are referring to the
statements contained in the attestation clause itself.

The attestation clause is separate and apart from the disposition of


the will. An unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested will.
Even if the instrumental witnesses signed the left-hand margin of the
page containing the unsigned attestation clause, such signatures
cannot demonstrate these witnesses undertakings in the clause, since
the signatures that do appear on the page were directed towards a
wholly different avowal.
o It is the witnesses, and not the testator, who are required
under Article 805 to state the number of pages used upon
which the will is written; the fact that the testator had signed
the will and every page thereof; and that they witnessed and
signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of
the testator and of one another.
The only proof in the will that the witnesses have
stated these elemental facts would be their
signatures on the attestation clause. Thus, the
subject will cannot be considered to have been
validly attested to by the instrumental witnesses, as
they failed to sign the attestation clause.

2)

The requirement under Article 806 that "every will must be


acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the
witnesses" has also not been complied with.
An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in
going before some competent officer or court and declaring it to
be his act or deed.
It might be possible to construe the averment as a jurat which is
that part of an affidavit where the notary certifies that before
him/her, the document was subscribed and sworn to by the
executor.
o Yet even if we consider what was affixed by the notary
public as a jurat, the will would nonetheless remain
invalid, as the express requirement of Article 806 is that
the will be "acknowledged", and not merely subscribed
and sworn to.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

A notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public by


the testator and the witnesses is fatally defective, even if it is
subscribed and sworn to before a notary public.

3) The provision requires that the testator and the instrumental


witnesses sign each and every page of the will on the left margin,
except the last; and that all the pages shall be numbered correlatively
in letters placed on the upper part of each page. In this case, the
decedent, unlike the witnesses, failed to sign both pages of the will on
the left margin, her only signature appearing at the so-called "logical
end" of the will on its first page.
4) Also, the will itself is not numbered correlatively in letters on each
page, but instead numbered with Arabic numerals. There is a line of
thought that has disabused the notion that these two requirements be
construed as mandatory.
ROSARIO FELICIANO VDA. DE RAMOS, MIGUEL DANILA, RAYMUNDO A.
DANILA, CONSOLACION SANTOS, MIGUEL G. DANILA, AMOR DANILA, MOISES
MARTINEZ, MIGUELA GAVINO, MELITON NISTA, PRIMITIVA NISTA, HEIRS OF
DANIEL NISTA, MOISES NISTA, DOMINGO NISTA and ADELAIDA
NISTA, petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, MARCELINA (MARTINA) GUERRA and THE HEIRS OF
BUENAVENTURA GUERRA,respondents.
G.R. No. L-40804 January 31, 1978
Facts:
1.

2.

On June 2, 1966, Adelaida Nista who claimed to be one of the


instituted heirs, filed a petition for the probate of the alleged will and
testament of the late Eugenia Danila who died on May 21, 1966.
- The petitioner prayed that after due notice and proper hearing,
the alleged will and codicil be probates and allowed
- and that she or any other person be appointed as administrator
of the testatrix's estate
Buenaventura and Marcelina (Martina) both surnamed Guerra filed an
opposition alleging among others

that they are the legally adopted son and daughter of the late
spouses Florentino Guerra and Eugenia Danila ;
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.
4.
5.

that the purported will and codicil subject of the petition were
procured through fraud and undue influence;
that the formalities required by law for the execution of a will and
codicil have not been complied with as the same were not
properly attested to or executed and not expressing the free will
and deed of the purported testatrix;
that the late Eugenia Danila had already executed on November 5,
1951 her last will and testament which was duly probated (Exhibit
4) and not revoked or annulled during the lifetime of the testatrix,
and that the petitioner is not competent and qualified to act as
administration of the estate.

On November 4, 1968, the petitioner and the oppositors, assisted by


their respective counsels, entered into a Compromise Agreement
This Agreement was approved by the lower court
On November 16, 1968, Rosario de Ramos, Miguel Danila Felix Danila
Miguel Gavino Amor Danila Consolacion Santos and Miguel Danila son
of the late Fortunato Danila filed a motion for leave to intervene as copetitioners alleging:

that being instituted heirs or devisees, they have rights and


interests to protect in the estate of the late Eugenia Danila
They also filed a reply partly admitting and denying the material
allegations in the opposition to the petition and alleging among
other things, that oppositors repudiated their institution as heirs
and executors when they failed to cause the recording in the
Register of Deeds of San Pablo City the will and testament
in accordance with the Rules and committed acts of ingratitude
when they abandoned the testatrix and denied her support after
they managed, through fraud and undue influence, to secure the
schedule of partition dated January 15, 1962.
The Intervenors prayed for the probate and/or allowance of the
will and codicil (Exhibits H and L), respectively and the
appointment of any of them in as administrator of said estate.

7.

8.

The lower court allowed them to intervene, that the compromise


agreement is set aside ,except as regards their respective lawful rights
in the subject estate
- and allowed the probate of the will , although two of the attesting
witness Odon Sarmiento and Rosendo Paz, testified that they did
not see the testatrix Eugenia Danila sign the will but that the same
was already signed by her when they affixed their own signatures
CA: lower court acted correctly in setting aside its judgment approving
the Compromise Agreement and in allowing the intervenor petitioners
to participate in the instant probate proceedings;
- however, it disallowed the probate of the will on the that the
evidence failed to establish that the testatrix Eugenia Danila
signed her will in the presence of the instrumental witness in
accordance with Article 805 of the Civil Code

issue/held: whether or not the last testament and its accompanying codicil
were executed in accordance with the formalities of the law, considering the
complicated circumstances that two of the attesting witnesses testified against
their due execution while other non-subscribing witnesses testified to the
contrary? YES
Rationale:
Private respondent: the declaration of the two surviving witnesses, Odon
Sarmiento and Rosendo Paz, that the will was not signed by the testatrix before
their presence, which is strengthened by two photographic evidence showing
only the two witnesses in the act of signing, there being no picture of the same
occasion showing the testatrix signing the will
Court:
1.

There is ample and satisfactory evidence to convince us that the will


and codicil were executed in accordance with the formalities required
by law.

6.

On December 6, 1968, the intervenors also filed a motion for new trial
and/or re-hearing and/or relief from judgment and to set aside the
judgment based on compromise d

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

It appears positively and convincingly that the documents were


prepared by a lawyer, Atty. Manuel Alvero The execution of the
same was evidently supervised by his associate, Atty. Ricardo
Barcenas and before whom the deeds were also acknowledged.

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2.

The solemnity surrounding the execution of a will is attended by


some intricacies not usually within the comprehension of an
ordinary layman.
The object is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to
avoid substitution of the will and testament, and to guarantee
their truth and authenticity.
If there should be any stress on the participation of lawyers in the
execution of a wig, other than an interested party, it cannot be
less than the exercise of their primary duty as members of the Bar
to uphold the lofty purpose of the law.
There is no showing that the above-named lawyers had been
remiss in their sworn duty. Consequently, respondent court failed
to consider the presumption of ty in the execution of the
questioned documents.
There were no incidents brought to the attention of the trial
court to arouse suspicion of anomaly.
the opposition alleged fraud and undue influence, no evidence
was presented to prove their occurrence.
There is no question that each and every page of the will and
codicil carry the authentic signatures of Eugenia Danila and the
three (3) attesting witnesses.
Similarly, the attestation claim far from being deficient, were
properly signed by the attesting witnesses. Neither is it disputed
that these witnesses took turns in signing the will and codicil in
the presence of each other and the testatrix.
Both instruments were duly acknowledged before a Notary Public
who was all the time present during the execution.

3.

Unlike other deeds, ordinary wills by necessity of law must contain an


attestation clause Which, significantly is a separate memorandum or
record of the facts surrounding that the conduct of execution.

4.

all the attesting witness to a will if available, must be called to prove


the wilt Under this circumstance, they become "forced witnesses" "
and their declaration derogatory to the probate of the will need not
bind the proponent

The presumption of regularity can of course be overcome by clear and


convincing evidence to the contrary,

but not easily by the mere expediency of the negative testimony


of Odon Sarmiento and Rosendo Paz that they did not see the
testatrix sign the will.
A negative testimony does not enjoy equal standing with a
positive assertion, and faced with the convincing appearance of
the will, such negative statement must be examined with extra
care

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Once signed by the attesting witnesses, it that compliance with


the indispensable legal formalities had been observed.
attestation clause basically contracts the pretense of undue ex
execution which later on may be made by the attesting
witnesses.
In the attestation clause, the witnesses do not merely attest to
the signature of the testatrix but also to the proper execution of
the will,
and their signature following that of the testatrix show that they
have in fact at not only to the genuineness of the testatrix's
signature but also to the due execution of the will as embodied in
the attention clause.
By signing the wilt the witnesses impliedly to the truth of the
facts which admit to probate, including the sufficiency of
execution, the capacity of the testatrix, the absence of undue
influence, and the like.

hence, the latter may present other proof of due exemption even
if contrary to the testimony of or all of the at, testing witness.
As a rule, if any or all of the submitting witness testify against the
due execution of the will, or do not remember having attested to
it, or are otherwise of doubtful ability,
the will may, nevertheless, be allowed if the court is satisfied from
the testimony of other witness and from all the evidence
presented that the will was executed and attested in the manner
by law.
Accordingly, although the subscribing witnesses to a contested
will are the best witness in connection with its due execution,

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to deserve full credit, their testimony must be reasonable, and


unbiased; if otherwise it may be overcome by any competent
evidence, direct or circubstantial.

7.

the absence of a photograph of the testator Eugenia Danila in the act


of signing her will.

5.

In the case at bar, the is bear a disparity in the quality of the


testimonies of Odon Sarmiento and Rosendo Paz on one hand, and the
Notary Public, Atty. Ricardo A. Barcenas, on the other. The testimony
of Odon Sarmiento was contradicted by his own admission.

6.

Though his admission to the effect that "when Eugenia Danila


signed the testament (he)
and the two other attesting witnesses Rosendo Paz and Calixto
Azusada were present" was made extrajudicially, it was not
squarely refuted when inquired upon during the trial.

With respect to the testimony of Rosendo Paz, it had been refuted by


the declaration of Atty. Ricardo A. Barcenas.

The fact that the only pictures available are those which show the
Witnesses signing the will in the presence of the testatrix and of
each other does not belie the probability that the testatrix also
signed the will before the presence of the witnesses.
We must stress that the pictures are worthy only of what they
show and prove and not of what they did not speak of including
the events they failed to capture.
that the failure to imprint in photographs all the stages in the
execution of the win does not serve any persuasive effect nor
have any evidentiary value to prove that one vital and
indispensable requisite has not been acted on.

Disposition: WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals is


hereby reversed in so far its it disallowed the probate of the will and codicil.
With costs against respondents.

The records show that this attesting witness was fetched by Felix
Danila from his place of work in order to act as witness to a wilt
Rosendo Paz did not know what the document he signed was all
about.
Although he performed his function as an attesting witness, his
participation was rather passive.
We do not expect, therefore, that his testimony, "half-hearted" as
that of Odon Sarmiento, be as candid and complete as one
proceeding from a keen mind fully attentive to the details of the
execution of the deeds.
. There is no evidence to show that the lawyer was motivated by
any material interest to take sides or that his statement is truth
perverted.
that the function of the Notary Public is, among others, to guard
against any illegal or immoral arrangements in the execution of a
will.
In the absence of any showing of self-interest that might possibly
have warped his judgment and twisted his declaration,
the intervention of a Notary Public, in his professional capacity, in
the execution of a will deserves grave consideration.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

62

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JANUARY 19, 2011


Rizalina Gabriel GONZALES, petitioner, vs. Hon. COURT OF APPEALS and
Lutgarda SANTIAGO, respondents.
G.R. No. L-37453, May 25, 1979

Doctrine: To be considered a credible witness to a will it is not mandatory


that witness good community standing and probity be first established
FACTS:

1.
2.

3.
4.

5.
6.
7.

Lutgarda Santiago and Rizalina Gonzales are nieces of the late Isabel
Andres Gabriel.
Lutgarda filed a petition for the probate of a will alleged to have been
executed by the deceased and designated Lutgarda as the principal
beneficiary and executrix.
There is no dispute that Isabel died as a widow and without issue.
The will submitted consists of five (5) pages and includes the pages
whereon the attestation clause and the acknowledgment of the notary
public were written.
The signatures of the deceased Isabel Gabriel appear at the end of the will
on page four and at the left margin of all the pages.
The petition was opposed by Rizalina assailing that the will is not genuine
and was not executed and attested as required by law.
The lower court disallowed the probate of said will and as a consequence,
Lutgarda appealed to Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision
and allowed the probate of the will. Rizalina filed a motion for
reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence this present action.

ISSUE: Whether or not the will was executed and attested as required by law.
RULING:

Article 820 of the Civil Code provides for the qualifications of a witness to
the execution of wills while Article 821 sets forth the disqualification from
being a witness to a will.
In probate proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character
witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a will or testament and
affirm the formalities attendant to said execution.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

And we agree with the respondent that the rulings laid down in the cases
cited by petitioner concerning character witnesses in naturalization
proceedings are not applicable to instrumental witnesses to wills executed
under the Civil Code of the Philippines.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three
instrumental witnesses are competent and credible is satisfactorily
supported by the evidence as found by the respondent Court of Appeals,
which findings of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon.
Moreover, petitioner has not pointed to any disqualification of any of the
said witnesses.

I. The respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that the document.


Exhibit F was executed and attested as required by law when there was
absolutely no proof that the three instrumental witnesses were credible
witnesses.

She argues that the requirement in Article 806, Civil Code, that the
witnesses must be credible is an absolute requirement which must be
complied with before an alleged last will and testament may be admitted
to probate and that to be a credible witness,
there must be evidence on record that the witness has a good standing in
his community, or that he is honest and upright, or reputed to be
trustworthy and reliable.
According to petitioner, unless the qualifications of the witness are first
established, his testimony may not be favorably considered.
Petitioner contends that the term credible is not synonymous with
competent for a witness may be competent under Article 820 and 821
of the Civil Code and still not be credible as required by Article 805 of the
same Code.
It is further urged that the term credible as used in the Civil Code should
receive the same settled and well-known meaning it has under the
Naturalization Law, the latter being a kindred legislation with the Civil
Code provisions on wills with respect to the qualifications of witnesses.

Supreme Court
We find no merit to petitioners first assignment of error.
Under the law, there is no mandatory requirement that the witness
testify initially or at any time during the trial as to his good standing in
the community, his reputation for trustworthiness and reliableness, his

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


honesty and uprightness in order that his testimony may be believed and
accepted by the trial court.
It is enough that the qualifications enumerated in Article 820 of the Civil
Code are complied with, such that
the soundness of his mind can be shown by or deduced from his
answers to the questions propounded to him,
that his age (18 years or more) is shown from his appearance,
testimony, or competently proved otherwise,
as well as the fact that he is not blind, deaf or dumb and
that he is able to read and write to the satisfaction of the Court,
and
that he has none of the disqualifications under Article 821 of the
Civil Code.
We reject petitioners contention that it must first be established in the
record the good standing of the witness in the community, his reputation
for trustworthiness and reliableness, his honesty and uprightness,
because such attributes are presumed of the witness unless the contrary
is proved otherwise by the opposing party.
We also reject as without merit petitioners contention that the term
credible as used in the Civil Code should be given the same meaning it
has under the Naturalization Law where the law is mandatory that the
petition for naturalization must be supported by two character witnesses
who must prove their good standing in the community, reputation for
trustworthiness and reliableness, their honesty and uprightness.
In probate proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character
witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a will or testament and
affirm the formalities attendant to said execution. And We agree with the
respondent that the rulings laid down in the cases cited by petitioner
concerning character witnesses in naturalization proceedings are not
applicable to instrumental witnesses to wills executed under the Civil
Code of the Philippines.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three
instrumental witnesses, namely, Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and
Maria Gimpaya, are competent and credible is satisfactorily supported by
the evidence as found by the respondent Court of Appeals, which findings
of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon.
Petitioner cites American authorities that competency and credibility of a
witness are not synonymous terms and one may be a competent witness
and yet not a credible one.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

She exacerbates that there is no evidence on record to show that


the instrumental witnesses are credible in themselves, that is,
that they are of good standing in the community since one was a
family driver by profession and the second the wife of the driver,
a housekeeper.
But the relation of employer and employee much less the humble social
or financial position of a person do not disqualify him to be a competent
testamentary witness.
In the strict sense, the competency of a person to be an instrumental
witness to a will is determined by the statute, that is Art. 820 and 821, Civil
Code, whereas his credibility depends on the appreciation of his testimony
and arises from the belief and conclusion of the Court that said witness is
telling the truth.
Thus, in the case of Vda. de Aroyo v. El Beaterio del Santissimo Rosario de
Molo, No. L-22005, May 3, 1968, the Supreme Court held and ruled that:
Competency as a witness is one thing, and it is another to be a credible
witness, so credible that the Court must accept what he says. Trial courts
may allow a person to testify as a witness upon a given matter because
he is competent, but may thereafter decide whether to believe or not to
believe his testimony.
In fine, We state the rule that the instrumental witnesses in order to be
competent must be shown to have the qualifications under Article 820 of
the Civil Code and none of the disqualifications under Article 821 and
for their testimony to be credible, that is worthy of belief and
entitled to credence, it is not mandatory that evidence be first
established on record that the witnesses have a good standing in
the community or that they are honest and upright or reputed to
be trustworthy and reliable, for a person is presumed to be such
unless the contrary is established otherwise.
In other words, the instrumental witnesses must be competent
and their testimonies must be credible before the court allows
the probate of the will they have attested.
We, therefore, reject petitioners position that it was fatal for
respondent not to have introduced prior and independent proof
of the fact that the witnesses were credible witnesses, that is,
that they have a good standing in the community and reputed to
be trustworthy and reliable.

BEATRIZ NERA, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, vs. NARCISA RIMANDO, defendantappellant.


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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


G.R. No. L-5971; February 27, 1911; CARSON, J
FACTS:
1. Facts are missing in this case.
2. Witness was outside, some eight or ten feet away, in a large room
connecting with the smaller room by a doorway, across which was
hung a curtain which made it impossible for one in the outside room
to see the testator and the other subscribing witnesses in the act of
attaching their signatures to the instrument.
ISSUE: 1. Whether one of the subscribing witnesses was present in the small
room where it was executed at the time when the testator and the other
subscribing witnesses attached their signatures?
HELD:
1.

Subscribing witness was in the small room with the testator and the
other subscribing witnesses at the time when they attached their
signatures to the instrument
subscribing witness has been proven to have been in the
outer room at the time when the testator and the other
subscribing witnesses attached their signatures to the
instrument in the inner room, it would have been invalid as a
will, the attaching of those signatures under circumstances
not being done "in the presence" of the witness in the outer
room.
line of vision from this witness to the testator and the other
subscribing witnesses would necessarily have been impeded
by the curtain separating the inner from the outer one "at the
moment of inscription of each signature."
position of the parties with relation to each other at the
moment of the subscription of each signature must be such
that they may see each other sign if they choose to do so
o does not mean that the testator and the subscribing
witnesses may be held to have executed the
instrument in the presence of each other if it
appears that they would not have been able to see
each other sign at that moment, without changing
their relative positions or existing conditions.
at the moment when the witness Javellana signed the
document he was actually and physically present and in such
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

position with relation to Jaboneta that he could see


everything that took place by merely casting his eyes in the
proper direction and without any physical obstruction to
prevent his doing so."
doctrine: whether the testator and the subscribing
witnesses to an alleged will sign the instrument in the
presence of each other does not depend upon proof of the
fact that their eyes were actually cast upon the paper at the
moment of its subscription by each of them, but that at that
moment existing conditions and their position with relation
to each other were such that by merely casting the eyes in
the proper direction they could have seen each other sign
o extend the doctrine further would open the door to
the possibility of all manner of fraud, substitution,
and the like, and would
o defeat the purpose for which this particular
condition is prescribed in the code as one of the
requisites in the execution of a will.

DECISION: Affirmed
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE JOSEFA VILLACORTE.
CELSO ICASIANO, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
NATIVIDAD ICASIANO and ENRIQUE ICASIANO, oppositors-appellants.
G.R. No. L-18979
June 30, 1964
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
FACTS:
1. Testator: Josefa Villacorta, died in 1958
2. Petition for allowance and admission to probate of the alleged will, and for
the appointment of petitioner Celso Icasiano as executor

According to him, Josefa executed a last will and testament in


duplicate at the house of her daughter Mrs. Felisa Icasiano at Pedro
Guevara Street, Manila, published before and attested by three
instrumental witnesses: Attorney Torres and Trinidad, and Mr. Diy (did
not testify, in the States)
Acknowledged before the notary
Actually prepared by Attorney Samson, who was also present during
the execution and signing, together with former Governor Rustia of
Bulacan, Judge Icasiano and a little girl
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.

4.

5.
6.

The will consists of 5 pages and while signed at the end and in every
page, it does not contain the signature of one of the attesting
witnesses, Atty. Jose V. Natividad, on page three
But the duplicate copy attached to the amended and supplemental
petition is signed by the testatrix and her three attesting witnesses in
each and every page.
Pages of the original and duplicate of said will were duly numbered
Attestation clause contains all the facts required by law to be recited
therein and is signed by the aforesaid attesting witnesses
Will is written in the language known to and spoken by the testatrix,
and that the attestation clause is in a language also known to and
spoken by the witnesses
The will was executed on one single occasion in duplicate copies, and
both the original and the duplicate copies were duly acknowledged
before Notary Public
Witness Natividad who testified on his failure to sign page three (3) of the
original, admits that he may have lifted two pages instead of one when he
signed the same, but affirmed that page three (3) was signed in his
presence.
Natividad Icasiano, a daughter of the testatrix, filed her opposition; and,
she petitioned to have herself appointed as a special administrator, to
which proponent objected.
Hence, the court issued an order appointing the Philippine Trust Company
as special administrator.
Enrique Icasiano, a son of the testatrix, also filed a manifestation adopting
as his own Natividad's opposition to the probate of the alleged will.

ISSUE:
1. Were the signatures of the testatrix appearing in the duplicate original
written by the same? YES
2. Is there adequate evidence of fraud or undue influence? NO
3. Should the Court deny probate, for the reason that one witness
inadvertently failed to sign? NO
4. Since the original will is existent, is the duplicate not entitled to probate?
NO
HELD:
First Issue

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

1.

We have examined the record and are satisfied, as the trial court was, that
the testatrix signed both original and duplicate copies of the will
spontaneously
In the presence of the three attesting witnesses, the notary public who
acknowledged the will; and Atty. Samson, who actually prepared the
documents
That the will and its duplicate were executed in Tagalog, a language
known to and spoken by both the testator and the witnesses
And read to and by the testatrix and Atty. Fermin Samson, together
before they were actually signed
That the attestation clause is also in a language known to and spoken
by the testatrix and the witnesses
The expert has, in fact, used as standards only three other signatures
of the testatrix besides those affixed to the original of the testament
2. Similarly, the alleged slight variance in blueness of the ink in the admitted
and questioned signatures does not appear reliable, considering the
standard and challenged writings were affixed to different kinds of paper,
with different surfaces and reflecting power.
Second Issue
1. The fact that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of neither
2. Diversity of apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament;
otherwise, the decedent might as well die intestate.
The testamentary dispositions that the heirs should not inquire into
other property and that they should respect the distribution made in
the will, under penalty of forfeiture of their shares in the free part do
not suffice to prove fraud or undue influence.
They appear motivated by the desire to prevent prolonged litigation
which, as shown by ordinary experience, often results in a sizeable
portion of the estate being diverted into the hands of non-heirs and
speculators.
Whether these clauses are valid or not is a matter to be litigated on
another occassion.
Third Issue
1. Impossibility of substitution of this page is assured not only the fact that
the testatrix and two other witnesses did sign the defective page, but also
by its bearing the coincident imprint of the seal of the notary public before
whom the testament was ratified by testatrix and all three witnesses.
2. The law should not be so strictly and literally interpreted as to penalize the
testatrix on account of the inadvertence of a single witness over whose
conduct she had no control, where the purpose of the law to guarantee
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


the identity of the testament and its component pages is sufficiently
attained, no intentional or deliberate deviation existed, and the evidence
on record attests to the full observance of the statutory requisites
3. That the failure of witness Natividad to sign page three (3) was entirely
through pure oversight is shown by his own testimony as well as by the
duplicate copy of the will, which bears a complete set of signatures in
every page.
4. The text of the attestation clause and the acknowledgment before the
Notary Public likewise evidence that no one was aware of the defect at the
time.
Fourth Issue
1. Since they opposed probate of original because it lacked one signature in
its third page, it is easily discerned that oppositors-appellants run here into
a dilemma
2. If the original is defective and invalid, then in law there is no other will but
the duly signed carbon duplicate , and the same is probatable.
3. If the original is valid and can be probated, then the objection to the signed
duplicate need not be considered, being superfluous and irrelevant.
4. At any rate, said duplicate serves to prove that the omission of one
signature in the third page of the original testament was inadvertent and
not intentional.
5. Appellants were duly notified of the proposed amendment, and it is
nowhere proved or claimed that the amendment deprived the appellants
of any substantial right
We see no error in admitting the amended petition.

Testate estate of the late VICENTE CAGRO. JESUSA CAGRO, petitionerappellee, vs.PELAGIO CAGRO, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
G.R. No. L-5826; April 29, 1953; P: Paras; by: Mickey Celles

4.
5.

This is an appeal interposed by the oppositors from a decision of the CFI of


Samar, admitting to probate the will allegedly executed by Vicente Cagro
The main objection insisted upon by the appellant in that the will is fatally
defective, because its attestation clause is not signed by the attesting
witnesses.
There is no question that the signatures of the three witnesses to
the will do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause,
although the page containing the same is signed by the witnesses
on the left-hand margin.

Issue:
Does the contention of the appellee that signatures of the three witnesses on
the left-hand margin conform substantially to the law and may be deemed as
their signatures to the attestation clause proper? NO
Ruling:
5.

6.

The High Court agrees with the appellant. The attestation clause is 'a
memorandum of the facts attending the execution of the will required by
law to be made by the attesting witnesses, and it must necessarily bear
their signatures.
An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of
the witnesses, since the omission of their signatures at the
bottom thereof negatives their participation.
The contention that signatures of the three witnesses on the left-hand
margin conform substantially to the law and may be deemed as their
signatures to the attestation clause is untenable.
Because said signatures are in compliance with the legal mandate
that the will be signed on the left-hand margin of all its pages.
If an attestation clause not signed by the three witnesses at the
bottom thereof, be admitted as sufficient, it would be easy to
add such clause to a will on a subsequent occasion and in the
absence of the testator and any or all of the witnesses

Doctrine: An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of the


witnesses, since the omission of their signatures at the bottom thereof
negatives their participation.

Decision: The appealed decision is reversed and the probate of the will in
question denied.

Facts:

JBL, Dissenting
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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The will in question has substantially complied with the formalities of


the law and, therefore, should be admitted to probate
o It appears that the will was signed by the testator and was
attested by three instrumental witnesses, not only at the
bottom, but also on the left-hand margin.
The only objection set up by the oppositors to the validity of the will is
the fact that the signatures of the instrumental witnesses do not
appear immediately after the attestation clause.
This objection is too technical to be entertained. In the case of
Abangan vs. Abangan, (40 Phil., 476), this court said that when the
testamentary dispositions "are wholly written on only one sheet
signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses (as the
instant case),their signatures on the left margin of said sheet would be
completely purposeless."
o In such a case, the court said, the requirement of the
signatures on the left hand margin was not necessary
because the purpose of the law which is to avoid the
substitution of any of the sheets of the will, thereby
changing the testator's dispositions has already been
accomplished.
The observation made by this court in the Abangan case is very fitting:
o The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of
wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud to avoid
substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their
truth and authenticity.
o But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the
fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail
the exercise of the right to make a will.
We should not also overlook the liberal trend of the New Civil Code in
the matter of interpretation of wills, the purpose of which, in case of
doubt, is to give such interpretation that would have the effect of
preventing intestacy

Testate Estate of the Late Apolinaria Ledesma. FELICIDAD JAVELLANA,


petitioner-appellee, vs. DOA MATEA LEDESMA, oppositor-appellant
G.R. No. L-7179; June 30, 1955; J. JBL Reyes
(Bon)

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Doctrine: The new Civil Code does not contain words requiring that the
testator and the witnesses should acknowledge the testament on the same day
or occasion that it was executed.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

The Court of First Instance of Iloilo admitted to probate the


documents in the Visayan dialect as the testament and codicil duly
executed by the deceased Da. Apolinaria Ledesma Vda. de Javellana,
on March 30, 1950, and May 29, 1952, respectively,
a. with Ramon Tabiana, Gloria Montinola de Tabiana and
Vicente Yap as witnesses.
The contestant, Da. Matea Ledesma, sister and nearest surviving
relative of said deceased, appealed from the decision, insisting that
the said exhibits were not executed in conformity with law.
The contestant argues that the Court erred in refusing credence to her
witnesses Maria Paderogao and Vidal Allado, cook and driver,
respectively, of the deceased Apolinaria Ledesma.
a. Both testified that on March 30, 1950, they saw and heard
Vicente Yap (one of the witnesses to the will) inform the
deceased that he had brought the "testamento" and urge her
to go to attorney Tabiana's office to sign it;
b. that Da. Apolinaria manifested that she could not go, because
she was not feeling well; and
c. that upon Yap's insistence that the will had to be signed in
the attorney's office and not elsewhere, the deceased took
the paper and signed it in the presence of Yap alone, and
returned it with the statement that no one would question it
because the property involved was exclusively hers.
The issue was concentrated into three specific questions:
a. whether the testament of 1950 was executed by the testatrix
in the presence of the instrumental witnesses;
b. whether the acknowledgment clause was signed and the
notarial seal affixed by the notary without the presence of
the testatrix and the witnesses; and
c. if so, whether the codicil was thereby rendered invalid and
ineffective.

Issue:
IS the codicil invalid?

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Held:
NO.
1.

2.

There are fatal flaws in the testimony of Contestant's witnesses


And it is highly unlikely, and contrary to usage, that either
Tabiana or Yap should have insisted that Da. Apolinaria, an
infirm lady then over 80 years old, should leave her own
house in order to execute her will, when all three witnesses
could have easily repaired thither for the purpose.
Both claim to have heard the word "testamento" for the first
time when Yap used it; and they claimed ability to recall that
word four years later, despite the fact that the term meant
nothing to either.
i. It is well known that what is to be remembered must
first be rationally conceived and assimilated (II
Moore on Facts, p. 884).
Likewise, Maria Paderogao was positive that Yap brought the
will, and that the deceased alone signed it, precisely on
March 30, 1950;
i. but she could remember no other date, nor give
satisfactory explanation why that particular day
stuck in her mind.
Worse still, Allado claimed to have heard what allegedly
transpired between Yap and Da. Apolinaria from the kitchen
of the house.
i. Later, on redirect examination, Allado sought to cure
his testimony by claiming that he was upstairs in a
room where the servants used to eat when he heard
Yap converse with his mistress;
ii. but this correction is unavailing, since it was plainly
induced by two highly leading questions from
contestant's counsel that had been previously ruled
out by the trial Court.
iii. Besides, the contradiction is hardly consonant with
this witness' 18 years of service to the deceased.
As to the signing of the certificate of acknowledgment (in Spanish)
appended to the Codicil in Visayan
Unlike the testament, this codicil was executed after the
enactment of the new Civil Code, and, therefore, had to be
acknowledged before a notary public (Art. 806).

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

3.

Now, the instrumental witnesses (who happen to be the


same ones who attested the will of 1950) asserted that after
the codicil had been signed by the testatrix and the witnesses
at the San Pablo Hospital, the same was signed and sealed by
notary public Gimotea on the same occasion.
On the other hand, Gimotea affirmed that he did not do so,
but brought the codicil to his office, and signed and sealed it
there.
The variance does not necessarily imply conscious perversion
of truth on the part of the witnesses, but appears rather due
to a well-established phenomenon, the tendency of the
mind, in recalling past events, to substitute the usual and
habitual for what differs slightly from it
Whether or not the notary signed the certification of
acknowledgment in the presence of the testatrix and the witnesses,
does not affect the validity of the codicil.
Unlike the Code of 1889 (Art. 699), the new Civil Code does
not require that the signing of the testator, witnesses and
notary should be accomplished in one single act.
A comparison of Articles 805 and 806 of the new Civil Code
reveals that while testator and witnesses sign in the
presence of each other, all that is thereafter required is that
"every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by
the testator and the witnesses"
i. (Art. 806); i.e., that the latter should avow to the
certifying officer the authenticity of their signatures
and the voluntariness of their actions in executing
the testamentary disposition.
This was done in the case before us. The subsequent signing
and sealing by the notary of his certification that the
testament was duly acknowledged by the participants therein
is no part of the acknowledgment itself nor of the
testamentary act.
i. Hence their separate execution out of the presence
of the testatrix and her witnesses can not be said to
violate the rule that testaments should be
completed without interruption (Andalis vs.
Pulgueras, 59 Phil. 643), or, as the Roman maxim
puts it, "uno codem die ac tempore in eadem loco",

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and no reversible error was committed by the Court


in so holding.
It is noteworthy that Article 806 of the new Civil Code does
not contain words requiring that the testator and the
witnesses should acknowledge the testament on the same
day or occasion that it was executed.

Decision: The decision admitting the will to probate is affirmed

Issue/held: WON the will was executed in accordance of Art 806 of the New
Civil Code? NO
Rationale:

1.

Article 806 of the New Civil Code reads as follows:


Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the
testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to
retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of
Court.

Garcia v. Gatchailan
G.R. No. L-20357 November 25, 1967
Doctrine:
2.

Facts:

1. This is an appeal taken by Pedro Reyes Garcia from the decision of the

2.

3.

4.

5.

Court of First Instance of Rizal in Special Proceedings


- denying the allowance of the will of the late Gregorio Gatchalian,
on the ground that the attesting witnesses did not acknowledge
it before a notary public, as required by law.
On March 15, 1967, Gregorio Gatchalian, a widower of 71 years of
age, died in the municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, leaving no
forced heirs.
On April 2 of the same year, appellant filed a petition with the above
named court for the probate of said alleged will (Exhibit "C") wherein
he was instituted as sole heir.
Felipe Gatchalian, Aurora G. Camins, Angeles G. Cosca, Federico G.
Tubog, Virginia G. Talanay and Angeles G. Talanay, appellees herein,
opposed the petition on the ground, among others:
that the will was procured by fraud; that the deceased did not
intend the instrument signed by him to be as his will;
- and that the deceased was physically and mentally incapable of
making a will at the time of the alleged execution of said will.
After due trial, the court rendered the appealed decision finding the
document Exhibit "C" to be the authentic last will of the deceased
- but disallowing it for failure to comply with the mandatory
requirement of Article 806 of the New Civil Code that the will
must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator
and the witnesses.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

We have held heretofore that compliance with the requirement


contained in the above legal provision to the effect that a will must be
acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and also by the
witnesses is indispensable for its validity

As the document under consideration does not comply with this


requirement, it is obvious that the same may not be probated.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs.


AGAPITA N. CRUZ
vs.
HON. JUDGE GUILLERMO P. VILLASOR, Presiding Judge of Branch I, Court of
First Instance of Cebu, and MANUEL B. LUGAY
. G.R. No. L-32213 November 26, 1973; NILO
FACTS:
1. Petitioner-appellant Agapita N. Cruz, the surviving spouse of the said
decease opposed the allowance of the will (Exhibit "E"), alleging the
will was executed through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and undue
influence; that the said instrument was execute without the testator
having been fully informed of the content thereof, particularly as to
what properties he was disposing and that the supposed last will and
testament was not executed in accordance with law.

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2.

3.

4.
5.

Notwithstanding her objection, the Court allowed the probate of the


said last will and testament Hence this appeal by certiorari which was
given due course.
Of the three instrumental witnesses thereto, namely Deogracias T.
Jamaloas Jr., Dr. Francisco Paares and Atty. Angel H. Teves, Jr., one of
them, the last named, is at the same time the Notary Public before
whom the will was supposed to have been acknowledged.
Petitioner argues that the result is that only two witnesses appeared
before the notary public to acknowledge the will.
Respondent-appellee, Manuel B. Lugay, who is the supposed executor
of the will, following the reasoning of the trial court, maintains that
there is substantial compliance with the legal requirement of having at
least three attesting witnesses even if the notary public acted as one
of them,
a. bolstering up his stand with 57 American Jurisprudence
there are, practical reasons for upholding a will as against the
purely technical reason that one of the witnesses required by
law signed as certifying to an acknowledgment of the
testator's signature under oath rather than as attesting the
execution of the instrument.

ISSUE: whether the supposed last will and testament of Valente Z. Cruz (Exhibit
"E") was executed in accordance with law, particularly Articles 805 and 806 of
the new Civil Code, the first requiring at least three credible witnesses to attest
and subscribe to the will, and the second requiring the testator and the
witnesses to acknowledge the will before a notary public.

participation in the making of the will. To permit such a situation to


obtain would be sanctioning a sheer absurdity.
3) The function of a notary public is, among others, to guard against any
illegal or immoral arrangement. That function would defeated if the
notary public were one of the attesting instrumental witnesses. For
them he would be interested sustaining the validity of the will as it
directly involves him and the validity of his own act. It would place him
in inconsistent position and the very purpose of acknowledgment,
which is to minimize fraud.
4) ART. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by
the testator and the witnesses.
a. To allow the notary public to act as third witness, or one the
attesting and acknowledging witnesses, would have the
effect of having only two attesting witnesses to the will which
would be in contravention of the provisions of Article 80 be
requiring at least three credible witnesses to act as such and
of Article 806 which requires that the testator and the
required number of witnesses must appear before the notary
public to acknowledge the will.
BELLA A. GUERRERO, PETITIONER, VS. RESURRECCION A. BIHIS, RESPONDENT.
G.R. No. 174144, April 17, 2007
Corona, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1.

RULING: the last will and testament in question was not executed in
accordance with law.
1)

2)

The notary public before whom the will was acknowledged cannot be
considered as the third instrumental witness since he cannot
acknowledge before himself his having signed the will. To
acknowledge before means to avow; to own as genuine, to assent, to
admit; and "before" means in front or preceding in space or ahead of.
Consequently, if the third witness were the notary public himself, he
would have to avow assent, or admit his having signed the will in front
of himself. This cannot be done because he cannot split his personality
into two so that one will appear before the other to acknowledge his

2.

3.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Felisa Tamio de Buenaventura, mother of petitioner Bella A. Guerrero


and respondent Resurreccion A. Bihis, died at the Metropolitan
Hospital in Tondo, Manila.
a. Petitioner filed a petition for the probate of the last will and
testament of the decedent
Petitioner alleges:
a. Petitioner was named as executrix in the decedents will and
she was legally qualified to act as such
b. The decedent was a citizen of the Philippines at the time of
her death
c. At the time of the execution of the will, the testatrix was 79
years old, of sound and disposing mind, not acting under
duress, fraud or undue influence and was capacitated to
dispose of her estate by will.
Respondent:
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

4.

5.

6.

a. The will was not executed and attested as required by law


b. Its attestation clause and acknowledgment did not comply
with the requirements of the law
c. The signature of the testatrix was procured by fraud and
petitioner and her children procured the will through undue
and improper pressure and influence.
Petitioner took her oath as temporary special administratrix and
letters of special administration were issued to her.
a. After petitioner presented her evidence, respondent filed a
demurrer thereto alleging that petitioners evidence failed to
establish that the decedents will complied with Articles 804
and 805 of the Civil Code.
TC: denied the probate of the will ruling that Article 806 of the Civil
Code was not complied with because the will was acknowledged by
the testatrix and the witnesses at the testatrixs, residence at No. 40
Kanlaon Street, Quezon City before Atty. Macario O. Directo who
was a commissioned notary public for and in Caloocan City.
CA: affirmed the resolution of the trial court

Issue: WON the will acknowledged by the testatrix and the instrumental
witnesses before a notary public acting outside the place of his commission
satisfy the requirement under Article 806 of the Civil Code

2.

3.

Held: No. An acknowledgment taken outside the territorial limits of the


officers jurisdiction is void as if the person taking it ware wholly without official
character.
4.
Ratio:
1.

An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in


going before some competent officer and declaring it to be his act or
deed.
a. In the case of a notarial will, that competent officer is the
notary public.
b. The acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator
and the instrumental witnesses to declare before an officer of
the law, the notary public, that they executed and subscribed
to the will as their own free act or deed.
c. Such declaration is under oath and under pain of perjury,
thus paving the way for the criminal prosecution of persons

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

who participate in the execution of spurious wills, or those


executed without the free consent of the testator.
d. It also provides a further degree of assurance that the
testator is of a certain mindset in making the testamentary
dispositions to the persons instituted as heirs or designated
as devisees or legatees in the will.
Acknowledgment can only be made before a competent officer, that
is, a lawyer duly commissioned as a notary public.
a. A notary publics commission is the grant of authority in his
favor to perform notarial acts.
b. It is issued within and for a particular territorial jurisdiction
and the notary publics authority is co-extensive with it.
c. In other words, a notary public is authorized to perform
notarial acts, including the taking of acknowledgments,
within that territorial jurisdiction only.
d. Outside the place of his commission, he is bereft of power to
perform any notarial act; he is not a notary public. Any
notarial act outside the limits of his jurisdiction has no force
and effect.
Since Atty. Directo was not a commissioned notary public for and in
Quezon City, he lacked the authority to take the acknowledgment of
the testatrix and the instrumental witnesses.
a. In the same vein, the testatrix and her witnesses could not
have validly acknowledged the will before him.
b. Thus, Felisa Tamio de Buenaventuras last will and testament
was, in effect, not acknowledged as required by law.
The violation of a mandatory or a prohibitory statute renders the act
illegal and void unless the law itself declares its continuing validity.
a. Here, mandatory and prohibitory statutes were transgressed
in the execution of the alleged acknowledgment.
b. The compulsory language of Article 806 of the Civil Code
was not complied with and the interdiction of Article 240 of
the Notarial Law was breached. Ineluctably, the acts of the
testatrix, her witnesses and Atty. Directo were all
completely void.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


JOSE ANTONIO GABUCAN, vs. HON. JUDGE LUIS D. MANTA, JOSEFA G. VDA.
DE YSALINA and NELDA G. ENCLONAR,
No. L-51546. January 28, 1980.*

2.

Doctrine: Failure to affix a 30-centavo documentary stamp on a will not a


fatal defect as the probate court can require the proponent to affix the
required documentary stamp to the notarial acknowledgment of the will;
Nonadmissibility of a document without the requisite documentary stamps
subsists and the requisite stamps shall have been affixed thereto and
cancelled. [Gabucan vs. Manta, 95 SCRA 752(1980)]
FACTS:
2. This case is about the dismissal of a petition for the probate of a notarial
will on the ground that it does not bear a thirtycentavo documentary
stamp.
ISSUE: Whether or not the DST should be affixed to make the will valid.
HELD:
We hold that the lower court manifestly erred in declaring that, because
no documentary stamp was affixed to the will, there was no will and
testament to probate and, consequently, the alleged action must of
necessity be dismissed.
What the probate court should have done was to require the petitioner or
proponent to affix the requisite thirty-centavo documentary stamp to the
notarial acknowledgment of the will which is the taxable portion of that
document.
Thus, it was held that the documentary stamp may be affixed at the time
the taxable document is presented in evidence (Del Castillo vs. Madrilena,
49 Phil. 749).
Garcia vs. Vasquez
4 APRIL 30, 1970
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
FACTS:
1. Testator: Gliceria Avelino del Rosario
Died unmarried
Left no descendents, ascendants, brother or sister
At the time of her death, she was said to be 90 years old more or less
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

3.

Possessed of an estate consisting mostly of real properties


2 wills allegedly executed:
1956 will
o 12 pages
o Written in Spanish (which she knew and spoke)
o 3 witnesses
o Acknowledged before the notary
1960 will
o 1 page
o Tagalog
o 3 witnesses
o Acknowledged before the notary
o Special administratix husband actively participated in
execution
Requested people to witness
Submitted the residence certificates to the notary, which
he collected prior
Aided testator when she walked
Deed was already prepared
Physician: testator had possible glaucoma (leads to blindness)
Would that grade enable patient to read print?
Apparently that is only a record for distance vision, for
distance sight, not for print.
She read the will silently
Done in haste and done without any regard for the defective
vision
Upon its face, the testamentary provisions, the
attestation clause and acknowledgment were crammed
together into a single sheet of paper, so much so that the
words had to be written very close to the top, bottom
and two sides of the paper, leaving no margin
The word and had to be written by the symbol &,
apparently to save on space
Typographical errors like HULINH for HULING (last),
Alfonsa for Alfonso, MERCRDRS for MERCEDES,
instrumental for Instrumental, and acknowledged
for acknowledge, remained unconnected
Consuelo S. Gonzales Vda. de Precilla, niece of Gliceria, petitioned for
probate of the 1960 will, and for her appointment as special administratrix

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Opposed separately by several groups of heirs, and among them were


th
persons claiming to be relatives within the 5 civil degree
The oppositions invariably charged that the instrument executed in
1960 was not intended by the deceased to be her true will.
Prayed the court for an order, directing the Special Administratrix to
deposit with the Clerk of Court all certificates of title belonging to the
estate.
It was alleged that after her appointment, Consuelo, in her
capacity as special administratrix filed a motion for the
issuance of new copies of the owners duplicates of certain
certificates of title in the name of Gliceria del Rosario,
supposedly needed by her in the preparation of the
inventory of the properties constituting the estate.
The motion having been granted, new copies of the owners
duplicates of certificates appearing the name of Gliceria del
Rosario were issued.
She presented to the Register of Deeds the deed of sale
involving properties supposedly executed by Gliceria del
Rosario in 1961 in favor of Alfonso Precilla (her husband)
And, in consequence, said certificates of title were cancelled
and new certificates were issued in the name of Alfonso
TC: Petition granted, and order premised on the fact the petitioner
was managing the properties belonging to the estate even during the
lifetime of the deceased, and to appoint another person as
administrator or co-administrator at that stage of the proceeding
would only result in further confusion and difficulties.

4.
5.

6.
7.

8.
9.

10.

11.
ISSUE: Was the will Glicerias true will, considering her eye defect? NO
HELD:
1. The testimony of the ophthalmologist who treated the deceased has first
hand knowledge of the actual condition of her eyesight.
2. Notwithstanding the operation and removal of the cataract in her left eye
and her being fitted with aphakic lens (used by cataract patients), her
vision remained mainly for viewing distant objects and not for reading
print.
3. Thus, the conclusion is inescapable that with the condition of her eyesight
in August, 1960, and there is no evidence that it had improved by 29
December 1960, Gliceria del Rosario was incapable of reading, and could

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

12.
13.

not have read the provisions of the will supposedly signed by her on 29
December 1960.
It is worth noting that the instrumental witnesses stated that she read the
instrument silently which is a conclusion and not a fact.
It is difficult to understand that so important a document containing the
final disposition of ones worldly possessions should be embodied in an
informal and untidily written instrument.
Or that the glaring spelling errors should have escaped her notice if she
had actually retained the ability to read the purported will and had done so
That Doa Gliceria should be able to greet her guests on her birthday,
arrange flowers and attend to kitchen tasks shortly prior to the alleged
execution of the testament Exhibit D, as appears from the photographs,
Exhibits E to E-l, in no way proves that she was able to read a closely
typed page, since the acts shown do not require vision at close range.
Neither is the signing of checks by her indicative of ability to see at normal
reading distances.
Writing or signing of ones name, when sufficiently practiced, becomes
automatic, so that, one need only to have a rough indication of the place
where the signature is to be affixed in order to be able to write it.
Thus, for all intents and purposes of the rules on probate, the deceased
Gliceria del Rosario was, as appellant oppositors contend, not unlike a
blind testator, and the due execution of her will would have required
observance of the provisions of Article 808 of the Civil Code.
ART. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice; once,
by one of the subscribing witnesses, and again, by the notary public before
whom the will is acknowledged.
The rationale behind the requirement of reading the will to the testator if
he is blind or incapable of reading the will himself (as when he is illiterate),
is to make the provisions thereof known to him, so that he may be able to
object if they are not in accordance with his wishes.
There is nothing in the records to show that the above requisites have
been complied with.
Clearly, as already stated, the 1960 will sought to be probated suffers from
infirmity that affects its due execution.

In the Matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased
Brigido Alvarado, CESAR ALVARADO, petitioner, vs. HON. RAMON G.
GAVIOLA, JR., Presiding Justice, HON. MA. ROSARIO QUETULIO LOSA and

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


HON. LEONOR INES LUCIANO, Associate Justices, Intermediate Appellate
Court, First Division (Civil Cases), and BAYANI MA. RINO, respondents.
G.R. No. 74695; September 14, 1993; BELLOSILLO, J.; Chants
FACTS:
1. 79-year old Brigido Alvarado executed a notarial will entitled "Huling
Habilin" wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son (petitioner
Alvarado) and expressly revoked a previously executed holographic
will at the time awaiting probate
2. As testified to by the three instrumental witnesses, the notary public
and by private respondent Rino who were present at the execution,
the testator did not read the final draft of the will himself
a. private respondent, as the lawyer who drafted the eightpaged document, read the same aloud in the presence of
the testator, the three instrumental witnesses and the
notary public.
b. latter four followed the reading with their own respective
copies previously furnished them.
3. Brigido's holographic will was subsequently admitted to probate
4. a codicil entitled "Kasulatan ng Pagbabago sa Ilang Pagpapasiya na
Nasasaad sa Huling Habilin na may Petsa Nobiembre 5, 1977 ni Brigido
Alvarado" was executed changing some dispositions in the notarial will
to generate cash for the testator's eye operation
a. Brigido was then suffering from glaucoma.
b. But the disinheritance and revocatory clauses were
unchanged.
5. As in the case of the notarial will, the testator did not personally
read the final draft of the codicil.
a. private respondent who read it aloud in his presence and in
the presence of the three instrumental witnesses (same as
those of the notarial will) and the notary public who
followed the reading using their own copies.
6. A petition for the probate of the notarial will and codicil was filed
upon the testator's death by private respondent as executor
ISSUE:
1. Was Brigido Alvarado blind for purpose of Art, 808 at the time his
"Huling Habilin" and its codicil were executed? Yes
2. If so, was the double-reading requirement of said article complied
with? YES
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

HELD:
1.

Brigido Alvarado is blind within the meaning of the law.


he was not totally blind at the time the will and codicil were
executed
o vision on both eyes was only of "counting fingers at
three (3) feet" by reason of the glaucoma which he
had been suffering from for several years and even
prior to his first consultation with an eye specialist
Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him
twice; once, by one of the subscribing witnesses, and again,
by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged.
Dr. Roasa explained that although the testator could visualize
fingers at three (3) feet, he could no longer read either
printed or handwritten matters
Regardless of respondent's staunch contention that the
testator was still capable of reading at the time his will and
codicil were prepared, Brigido did not do so because of his
"poor," "defective," "blurred" vision making it necessary for
private respondent to do the actual reading for him.
Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also to those
who, are "incapable of reading the(ir) will(s).
Since Brigido Alvarado was incapable of reading the final
drafts of his will and codicil on the separate occasions of their
execution due to his "poor," "defective," or "blurred" vision,
Brigido Alvarado comes within the scope of the term "blind"
as it is used in Art. 808.

2. There has been substantial compliance with the requirements of Art. 808.
to consider his will as validly executed and entitled to probate, it is
essential that we ascertain whether Art. 808 had been complied with.
Article 808 requires that the will shall be read twice once, by one of
the instrumental witnesses and, again, by the notary public before
whom the will was acknowledged.
o purpose: make known to the incapacitated testator the
contents of the document before signing and to give him an
opportunity to object if anything is contrary to his
instructions.
Art. 808 was not followed strictly is beyond cavil.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

Instead of the notary public and an instrumental witness, it


was the lawyer (private respondent) who drafted the eightpaged will and the five-paged codicil who read the same
aloud to the testator, and read them only once
substantial compliance is acceptable where the purpose of the law
has been satisfied, the reason being that the solemnities surrounding
the execution of wills are intended to protect the testator from all
kinds of fraud and trickery but are never intended to be so rigid and
inflexible as to destroy the testamentary privilege
private respondent read the testator's will and codicil aloud in the
presence of the testator, his three instrumental witnesses, and the
notary public.
o testator affirmed, upon being asked, that the contents read
corresponded with his instructions.
o Only then did the signing and acknowledgement take place
no evidence, and petitioner does not so allege, that the contents of
the will and codicil were not sufficiently made known and
communicated to the testator
with respect to the "Huling Habilin," the day of the execution was not
the first time that Brigido had affirmed the truth and authenticity of
the contents of the draft
o uncontradicted testimony of Atty. Rino is that Brigido
Alvarado already acknowledged that the will was drafted in
accordance with his expressed wishes even prior to
o when Atty. Rino went to the testator's residence precisely for
the purpose of securing his conformity to the draft
o The notary public and the three instrumental witnesses
likewise read the will and codicil, albeit silently
o Nonia de la Pena (the notary public) and Dr. Crescente O.
Evidente (one of the three instrumental witnesses and the
testator's physician) asked the testator whether the contents
of the document were of his own free will. Brigido answered
in the affirmative
o With four persons following the reading word for word with
their own copies, it can be safely concluded that the testator
was reasonably assured that what was read to him (those
which he affirmed were in accordance with his instructions),
were the terms actually appearing on the typewritten
documents

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

especially true when we consider the fact that the three


instrumental witnesses were persons known to the testator,
one being his physician (Dr. Evidente) and another
(Potenciano C. Ranieses) being known to him since childhood.
the spirit behind the law was served though the letter was not.
o Although there should be strict compliance with the
substantial requirements of the law in order to insure the
authenticity of the will, the formal imperfections should be
brushed aside when they do not affect its purpose and which,
when taken into account, may only defeat the testator's will
Brigido Alvarado had expressed his last wishes in clear and
unmistakable terms in his "Huling Habilin" and the codicil attached

DECISION: petition is DENIED and AFFIRMED


TESTATE estate of Carlos Gil, deceased. ISABEL HERREROS VDA. DE
GIL, administratrix-appellee, vs.PILAR GIL VDA. DE MURCIANO, oppositorappellant.
G.R. No. L-3362; March 1, 1951; P: Jugo; by: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: The Legislature . . . has taught of it best and has therefore
determined, to run the risk of frustrating (that intention, . . . in preference to the
risk of giving effect to or facilitating the formation of spurious wills, by the
absence of forms. . . . The evil probably to arise by giving to wills made without
any form, . . ." or, in derogation of testator's wishes, fraudulently imposing
spurious wills on his effect on his estate.
Facts:
1.

The Court of First Instance of Manila admitted to probate the alleged will
and testament of the deceased Carlos Gil.
The oppositor Pilar Gil Vda. de Murciano appealed to this Court,
raising only question of law. Her counsel assigns the two following
alleged errors:
i. The trial court erred stop claiming that the alleged will of
CharlesGil was not made in accordance with the law
ii. That the Errors legalized the said will. (Google
translation)

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.

The trial court based its decision on the parties agreement that said copy is
true and correct. If it were otherwise, they would not have so agreed,
considering that the defect is of an essential character and is fatal to the
validity of the attestation clause.
3. It will be noted that the attestation clause above quoted does not state
that the alleged testor signed the will.
It declares only that it was signed by the witnesses.
This is a fatal defect, for the precise purpose of the attestation
clause is to certify that the testator signed the will, this being the
most essential element of the clause.
It is said that the court may correct a mere clerical error.
This is too much of a clerical error for it effects the very essence
of the clause. Alleged errors may be overlooked or correct only in
matters of form which do not affect the substance of the
statement.
Issue: Does the last paragraph of the will cure in any way the fatal defect of the
attestation clause of the witnesses? NO
Ruling:
1.

2.

3.

Act No. 2645 of the Philippine Legislature, passed on July 1, 1916, besides
increasing the contents of the attestation clause, entirely suppressed the
above-quoted provision. This would show that the purpose of the
amending act was to surround the execution of a will with greater
guarantees and solemnities.
At first glance, it is queer that the alleged testator should have made an
attestation clause, which is the function of the witness. But the important
point is that he attests or certifies his own signature, or, to be accurate, his
signature certifies itself.
Consequently, the last paragraph of the will cannot cure in any
way the fatal defect of the attestation clause of the witnesses.
Adding zero to an insufficient amount does not make it sufficient.
The rules of statutory construction applies to the body of the will,
containing the testamentary provisions, but not to the
attestation clause, which must be so clear that it should not
require any construction.
There is no reason why wills should not be executed by complying
substantially with the clear requisites of the law, leaving it to the courts to
supply essential elements.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The right to dispose of property by will is not natural but


statutory, and statutory requirements should be satisfied.
In interpreting the legislature's thought, courts have rigidly
opposed any exception tending to weaken the basic principle
underlying the law, the chief purpose of which is to see that the
testator's wishes are observed.
The Legislature . . . has taught of it best and has therefore
determined, to run the risk of frustrating (that intention, . . . in
preference to the risk of giving effect to or facilitating the
formation of spurious wills, by the absence of forms. . . . The evil
probably to arise by giving to wills made without any form, . . ."
or, in derogation of testator's wishes, fraudulently imposing
spurious wills on his effect on his estate.
4. It has always been the policy of this court to sustain a will if it is legally
possible to do so, but we cannot break down the legislative barriers
protecting a man's property after death, even if a situation may be
presented apparently meritorious.
Decision: The decision appealed from is reversed, denying the probate of the
alleged will and declaring intestate the estate of the deceased Carlos Gil.

TEODORO CANEDA, LORENZA CANEDA, TERESA CANEDA, JUAN CABALLERO,


AUREA CABALLERO, OSCAR LAROSA, HELEN CABALLERO, SANTOS
CABALLERO, PABLO CABALLERO, VICTOR RAGA, MAURICIA RAGA, QUIRICA
RAGA, RUPERTO ABAPO, represented herein by his Attorney-in-Fact,
ARMSTICIA * ABAPO VELANO, and CONSESO CANEDA, represented herein by
his heirs, JESUS CANEDA, NATIVIDAD CANEDA and ARTURO CANEDA,
petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and WILLIAM CABRERA, as Special
Administrator of the Estate of Mateo Caballero, respondents.
G.R. No. 103554; May 28, 1993; J. Regalado
(Bon)
Doctrine: Article 805 requires that the witness should both attest and subscribe
to the will in the presence of the testator and of one another.
Facts:
1.

Mateo Caballero, a widower without any children and already in the


twilight years of his life, executed a last will and testament at his

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


residence in Talisay, Cebu before three attesting witnesses, namely,
Cipriano Labuca, Gregorio Cabando and Flaviano Toregosa.
2.
The said testator was duly assisted by his lawyer, Atty. Emilio
Lumontad, and a notary public, Atty. Filoteo Manigos, in the
preparation of that last will.
3. It was declared therein, among other things, that the testator was
leaving by way of legacies and devises his real and personal properties
to Presentacion Gaviola, Angel Abatayo, Rogelio Abatayo, Isabelito
Abatayo, Benoni G. Cabrera and Marcosa Alcantara, all of whom do
not appear to be related to the testator.
4. Four months later, Mateo Caballero himself filed a petition seeking the
probate of his last will and testament.
5. The testator passed away before his petition could finally be heard by
the probate court.
6. Benoni Cabrera, on of the legatees named in the will, sough his
appointment as special administrator of the testator's estate, the
estimated value of which was P24,000.00, and he was so appointed by
the probate court .
7. Thereafter, herein petitioners, claiming to be nephews and nieces of
the testator, instituted a second petition, entitled "In the Matter of
the Intestate Estate of Mateo Caballero"
8. Petitioners appeared as oppositors and objected to the allowance of
the testator's will on the ground that on the alleged date of its
execution, the testator was already in the poor state of health such
that he could not have possibly executed the same.
9. Petitioners likewise reiterated the issue as to the genuineness of the
signature of the testator therein.
10. The probate court rendered a decision declaring the will in question as
the last will and testament of the late Mateo Caballero.
11. They went to the Court of Appeals, asserting that the will in question
is null and void for the reason that
a. its attestation clause is fatally defective since it fails to
specifically state that the instrumental witnesses to the will
witnessed the testator signing the will in their presence and
b. that they also signed the will and all the pages thereof in the
presence of the testator and of one another.
Issue:
Should the will be declared NULL and VOID due to the defect in its attestation
Clause?
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Held:
YES. What is fairly apparent upon a careful reading of the attestation clause
herein assailed is the fact that while it recites that the testator indeed signed
the will and all its pages in the presence of the three attesting witnesses and
states as well the number of pages that were used, the same does not
expressly state therein the circumstance that said witnesses subscribed their
respective signatures to the will in the presence of the testator and of each
other.
The phrase "and he has signed the same and every page thereof, on
the spaces provided for his signature and on the left hand margin,"
obviously refers to the testator and not the instrumental witnesses as
it is immediately preceded by the words "as his Last Will and
Testament."
On the other hand, although the words "in the presence of the
testator and in the presence of each and all of us" may, at first blush,
appear to likewise signify and refer to the witnesses, it must, however,
be interpreted as referring only to the testator signing in the presence
of the witnesses since said phrase immediately follows the words "he
has signed the same and every page thereof, on the spaces provided
for his signature and on the left hand margin."
What is then clearly lacking, in the final logical analysis , is the
statement that the witnesses signed the will and every page thereof
in the presence of the testator and of one another.
Petitioners are correct in pointing out that the aforestated defect in
the attestation clause obviously cannot be characterized as merely
involving the form of the will or the language used therein which
would warrant the application of the substantial compliance rule, as
contemplated in the pertinent provision thereon in the Civil Code
While it may be true that the attestation clause is indeed subscribed
at the end thereof and at the left margin of each page by the three
attesting witnesses, it certainly cannot be conclusively inferred
therefrom that the said witness affixed their respective signatures in
the presence of the testator and of each other since,
o as petitioners correctly observed, the presence of said
signatures only establishes the fact that it was indeed
signed, but it does not prove that the attesting witnesses
did subscribe to the will in the presence of the testator and
of each other.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

The execution of a will is supposed to be one act so that


where the testator and the witnesses sign on various days or
occasions and in various combinations, the will cannot be
stamped with the imprimatur of effectivity.
Article 809, the defects and imperfections must only be with respect
to the form of the attestation or the language employed therein.
Such defects or imperfections would not render a will invalid should
it be proved that the will was really executed and attested in
compliance with Article 805.
o In this regard, however, the manner of proving the due
execution and attestation has been held to be limited to
merely an examination of the will itself without resorting to
evidence aliunde, whether oral or written.
o HOWEVER.The foregoing considerations do not apply
where the attestation clause totally omits the fact that the
attesting witnesses signed each and every page of the will in
the presence of the testator and of each other.
o In such a situation, the defect is not only in the form or
language of the attestation clause but the total absence of a
specific element required by Article 805 to be specifically
stated in the attestation clause of a will.
The rule on substantial compliance in Article 809 cannot be revoked
or relied on by respondents since it presupposes that the defects in
the attestation clause can be cured or supplied by the text of the will
or a consideration of matters apparent therefrom which would
provide the data not expressed in the attestation clause or from
which it may necessarily be gleaned or clearly inferred that the acts
not stated in the omitted textual requirements were actually
complied within the execution of the will.
o In other words, defects must be remedied by intrinsic
evidence supplied by the will itself.
o In this case, proof of the acts required to have been
performed by the attesting witnesses can be supplied by only
extrinsic evidence thereof, since an overall appreciation of
the contents of the will yields no basis whatsoever from with
such facts may be plausibly deduced.
o What private respondent insists on are the testimonies of his
witnesses alleging that they saw the compliance with such
requirements by the instrumental witnesses, oblivious of the
fact that he is thereby resorting to extrinsic evidence to prove
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

the same and would accordingly be doing by the indirection


what in law he cannot do directly.
Decision: Petition GRANTED
Notes and Discussion:
Article 805, such a clause, the complete lack of which would result in
the invalidity of the will, should state
o (1) the number of the pages used upon which the will is
written;
o (2) that the testator signed, or expressly caused another to
sign, the will and every page thereof in the presence of the
attesting witnesses; and
o (3) that the attesting witnesses witnessed the signing by the
testator of the will and all its pages, and that said witnesses
also signed the will and every page thereof in the presence
of the testator and of one another.
PURPOSE OF THE LAW:
o in requiring the clause to state the number of pages on which
the will is written is to safeguard against possible
interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages and to
prevent any increase or decrease in the pages;
o whereas the subscription of the signature of the testator and
the attesting witnesses is made for the purpose of
authentication and identification, and thus indicates that the
will is the very same instrument executed by the testator and
attested to by the witnesses
o Further, by attesting and subscribing to the will, the
witnesses thereby declare the due execution of the will as
embodied in the attestation clause.
WHAT IS AN ATTESTATION CLAUSE? An attestation clause refers to
that part of an ordinary will whereby the attesting witnesses certify
that the instrument has been executed before them and to the
manner of the execution the same. It is a separate memorandum or
record of the facts surrounding the conduct of execution and once
signed by the witnesses, it gives affirmation to the fact that
compliance with the essential formalities required by law has been
observed.
Article 805 requires that the witness should both attest and subscribe
to the will in the presence of the testator and of one another.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

"Attestation" and "subscription" differ in meaning.


o Attestation is the act of senses, while subscription is the act
of the hand.
o The former is mental, the latter mechanical, and
o to attest a will is to know that it was published as such, and
to certify the facts required to constitute an actual and legal
publication;
o but to subscribe a paper published as a will is only to write on
the same paper the names of the witnesses, for the sole
purpose of identification.
(Taboada v. Rizal) Attestation consists in witnessing the testator's
execution of the will in order to see and take note mentally that those
things are done which the statute requires for the execution of a will
and that the signature of the testator exists as a fact.
On the other hand, subscription is the signing of the witnesses' names
upon the same paper for the purpose of identification of such paper as
the will which was executed by the testator.
JBL REYES ON SUBSTATIAN COMPLIANCE:
o The rule must be limited to disregarding those defects that
can be supplied by an examination of the will itself: whether
all the pages are consecutively numbered; whether the
signatures appear in each and every page; whether the
subscribing witnesses are three or the will was notarized. All
theses are facts that the will itself can reveal, and defects or
even omissions concerning them in the attestation clause can
be safely disregarded. But the total number of pages, and
whether all persons required to sign did so in the presence of
each other must substantially appear in the attestation
clause, being the only check against perjury in the probate
proceedings.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

80

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

JANUARY 26, 2012


IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF ANDRES G. DE JESUS AND
BIBIANA ROXAS DE JESUS, SIMEON R. ROXAS & PEDRO ROXAS DE
JESUS, petitioners,
vs.
ANDRES R. DE JESUS, JR., responden

6.
7.

G.R. No. L-38338 January 28, 1985


Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

This is a petition for certiorari to set aside the order of respondent


Hon. Jose C. Colayco
- disallowing the probate of the holographic Will of the deceased
BibianaRoxas de Jesus.
After the death of spouses Andres G. de Jesus and BibianaRoxas de
Jesus, Special Proceeding No. 81503 entitled "In the Matter of the
Intestate Estate of Andres G. de Jesus and BibianaRoxas de Jesus" was
filed by petitioner Simeon R. Roxas, the brother of the deceased
BibianaRoxas de Jesus.
On March 26, 1973, petitioner Simeon R. Roxas was appointed
administrator. After Letters of Administration had been granted to the
petitioner,
- he delivered to the lower court a document purporting to be the
holographic Will of the deceased BibianaRoxas de Jesus.
Petitioner Simeon R. Roxas testified that after his appointment as
administrator, he found a notebook belonging to the deceased Bibiana
R. de Jesus
- and that on pages 21, 22, 23 and 24 thereof, a letter-win
addressed to her children and entirely written and signed in the
handwriting of the deceased Bibiana R. de Jesus was found.
- The will is dated "FEB./61 " and states: "This is my win which I
want to be respected although it is not written by a lawyer.
Respondent Luz R. Henson, another compulsory heir filed an
"opposition to probate" assailing the purported holographic Will of
Bibiana R. de Jesus because
- ( a) it was not executed in accordance with law,
- (b) it was executed through force, intimidation and/or under
duress, undue influence and improper pressure, and
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

8.

(c) the alleged testatrix acted by mistake and/or did not intend,
nor could have intended the said Will to be her last Will and
testament at the time of its execution.
On August 24, 1973, respondent Judge Jose C. Colayco issued an order
allowing the probate of the holographic Will
Respondent Luz Roxas de Jesus filed a motion for reconsideration
alleging inter alia that the alleged holographic Will of the deceased
Bibiana R. de Jesus was not dated as required by Article 810 of the
Civil Code.
- She contends that the law requires that the Will should contain
the day, month and year of its execution and that this should be
strictly complied with.
On December 10, 1973, respondent Judge Colayco reconsidered his
earlier order
and disallowed the probate of the holographic Will on the ground
that the word "dated" has generally been held to include the
month, day, and year

issue/held: WON the date FEB. /61 appearing on the holographic Will of the
deceased BibianRoxas de Jesus is valid? YES
rationale:
1. The court ruled in favor of the petitioner
- the present Civil Code omitted the phrase Aomes y dia and
simply requiresthat the holographic Will should be dated.
- The petitioners submit that the liberal construction of the
holographic Will should prevail.
2. This will not be the first time that this Court departs from a strict and
literal application of the statutory requirements regarding the due
execution of Wills.
We should not overlook the liberal trend of the Civil Code in the
manner of execution of Wills, the purpose of which, in case of
doubt is to prevent intestacy
3. the prevailing policy is to require satisfaction of the legal requirements
in order to guard against fraud and bad faith but without undue or
unnecessary curtailment of testamentary privilege
If a Will has been executed in substantial compliance with the
formalities of the law, and the possibility of bad faith and fraud in
the exercise thereof is obviated, said Will should be admitted to
probate
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


4.

If the testator, in executing his Will, attempts to comply with all the
requisites, although compliance is not literal, it is sufficient if the
objective or purpose sought to be accomplished by such requisite is
actually attained by the form followed by the testator.
5. The purpose of the solemnities surrounding the execution of Wills
is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid
substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth
and authenticity
6. In particular, a complete date is required to provide against such
contingencies as that of two competing Wills executed on the same
day,
or of a testator becoming insane on the day on which a Will was
executed. There is no such contingency in this case.
7. We have carefully reviewed the records of this case and found no
evidence of bad faith and fraud in its execution nor was there any
substitution of Wins and Testaments.
- All the children of the testatrix agree on the genuineness of the
holographic Will of their mother and that she had the
testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of said Will.
8. GENERAL RULE: the "date" in a holographic Will should include the
day, month, and year of its execution.
- EXCEPTION :the case at bar, there is no appearance of fraud, bad
faith, undue influence and pressure and the authenticity of the
Will is established
and the only issue is whether or not the date "FEB./61"
appearing on the holographic Will is a valid compliance with
Article 810 of the Civil Code,
probate of the holographic Will should be allowed under the
principle of substantial compliance.
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF MELECIO
LABRADOR. SAGRADO LABRADOR (Deceased), substituted by ROSITA
LABRADOR, ENRICA LABRADOR, and CRISTOBAL LABRADOR, petitionersappellants,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, GAUDENCIO LABRADOR, and JESUS
LABRADOR, respondents-appellees.
G.R. Nos. 83843-44 April 5, 1990; PARAS, J.: NILO
FACTS:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

1) On June 10, 1972, Melecio Labrador died leaving behind a parcel of


land.
2) Sagrado Labrador (now deceased but substituted by his heirs), Enrica
Labrador and Cristobal Labrador, filed in the court a quo a petition for
the probate of the alleged holographic will of the late Melecio
Labrador.
3) Jesus Labrador (now deceased but substituted by his heirs), and
Gaudencio Labrador filed an opposition to the petition on the ground
that:
the will has been extinguished or revoked because on September
30, 1971, that is, before Melecio's death, Melecio executed a
Deed of Absolute Sale, selling in favor of oppositors Jesus and
Gaudencio Lot No. 1916. Jesus Labrador sold said parcel of land to
Navat.
The will is not dated.
4) Respondents claim that the date 17 March 1968 in the will was when
the testator and his beneficiaries entered into an agreement among
themselves about "the partitioning and assigning the respective
assignments of the said fishpond," and was not the date of execution
of the holographic will;
a. hence, the will is more of an "agreement" between the
testator and the beneficiaries thereof to the prejudice of
other compulsory heirs like the respondents.
i. This was thus a failure to comply with Article 783
which defines a will as "an act whereby a person is
permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to
control to a certain degree the disposition of his
estate, to take effect after his death."
ISSUE: whether or not the alleged holographic will of one Melecio Labrador
is dated, as provided for in Article 810 of the New Civil Code.
HELD: The holographic will of Melecio Labrador is APPROVED and ALLOWED
probate.
The will has been dated in the hand of the testator himself in perfect
compliance with Article 810. It is worthy of note to quote the first
paragraph of the second page of the holographic will, viz:
And this is the day in which we agreed that we are making the partitioning and
assigning the respective assignment of the said fishpond, and this being in the
month of March, 17th day, in the year 1968, and this decision and or
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instruction of mine is the matter to be followed. And the one who made this
writing is no other than MELECIO LABRADOR, their father.

The law does not specify a particular location where the date should
be placed in the will. The only requirements are that the date be in the
will itself and executed in the hand of the testator. These
requirements are present in the subject will.

Respondents are in error. The intention to show 17 March 1968 as the


date of the execution of the will is plain from the tenor of the
succeeding words of the paragraph. As aptly put by petitioner, the will
was not an agreement but a unilateral act of Melecio Labrador who
plainly knew that what he was executing was a will. The act of
partitioning and the declaration that such partitioning as the testator's
instruction or decision to be followed reveal that Melecio Labrador
was fully aware of the nature of the estate property to be disposed of
and of the character of the testamentary act as a means to control the
disposition of his estate.
FEDERICO AZAOLA, petitioner-appellant, vs.CESARIO SINGSON, oppositorappellee.
G.R. No. L-14003 August 5, 1960
Reyes, J. B. L., J.
(Jeka)
Facts:

1. Fortunata S. Vda. de Yance died at 13 Luskot, Quezon City, known to


be the last residence of said testatrix
a. Francisco Azaola, petitioner herein for probate of the
holographic will, submitted the said holographic will (Exh. C)
whereby Maria Milagros Azaola was made the sole heir as
against the nephew of deceased CesarioSingson
2. Francisco Azaola testified:
a. That he saw the holographic will (Exh. C) one month, more or
less, before the death of the testatrix, as the same was
handed to him and his wife;
b. That the witness testified also that he recognized all the
signatures appearing in the holographic will (Exh. C) as the
handwriting of the testatrix and to reinforce said statement,
witness presented the mortgage (Exh. E), the special power of
the attorney (Exh. F), and the general power of attorney (Exh.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

F-1), besides the deeds of sale (Exhs. G and G-1) including an


affidavit (Exh. G-2), and that there were further exhibited in
court two residence certificates (Exhs. H and H-1) to show the
signatures of the testatrix, for comparison purposes; that said
witness, Azaola, testified that the penmanship appearing in
the aforesaid documentary evidence is in the handwriting of
the testatrix as well as the signatures appearing in the
aforesaid documentary evidence is in the handwriting of the
testatrix as well as the signatures appearing therein are the
signatures of the testatrix.
3. Opposition to the probate
a. Grounds:
i. The execution of the will was procured by undue
and improper pressure and influence on the part of
the petitioner and his wife
ii. The testatrix did not seriously intend the instrument
to be her last will, and that the same was actually
written either on the 5th or 6th day of August 1957
and not on November 20, 1956 as appears on the
will.
4. LC: probate was denied on the ground that under Article 811 of the
Civil Code, the proponent must present three witnesses who could
declare that the will and the signature are in the writing of the
testatrix, the probate being contested; and because the lone witness
presented by the proponent "did not prove sufficiently that the body
of the will was written in the handwriting of the testatrix."
Issue: WON the probate of the holographic will should be accepted.
Proponents Arguments:
1.
2.

He was not bound to produce more than one witness


because the will's authenticity was not questioned
Article 811 does not mandatorily require the production
of three witnesses to identify the handwriting and
signature of a holographic will, even if its authenticity
should be denied by the adverse party.

Held: Yes
Ratio:

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


1.

2.

3.

Since the authenticity of the will was not contested, he was not
required to produce more than one witness;
a. But even if the genuineness of the holographic will were
contested, we are of the opinion that Article 811 of our
present Civil Code cannot be interpreted as to require the
compulsory presentation of three witnesses to identify the
handwriting of the testator, under penalty of having the
probate denied.
Since no witness may have been present at the execution of a
holographic will, none being required by law (Art. 810, new Civil
Code), it becomes obvious that the existence of witness possessing the
requisite qualifications is a matter beyond the control of the
proponent.
a. For it is not merely a question of finding and producing any
three witnesses; they must be witnesses "who know the
handwriting and signature of the testator" and who can
declare (truthfully, of course, even if the law does not so
express) "that the will and the signature are in the
handwriting of the testator".
b. There may be no available witness of the testator's hand; or
even if so familiarized, the witnesses may be unwilling to give
a positive opinion. Compliance with the rule of paragraph 1 of
Article 811 may thus become an impossibility.
c. As can be seen, the law foresees the possibility that no
qualified witness may be found (or what amounts to the
same thing, that no competent witness may be willing to
testify to the authenticity of the will), and provides for resort
to expert evidence to supply the deficiency.
It may be true that the rule of this article (requiring that three
witnesses be presented if the will is contested and only one if no
contest is had) was derived from the rule established for ordinary
testaments (cf. Cabang vs. Delfinado, 45 Phil., 291; Tolentino vs.
Francisco, 57 Phil., 742).
a. But it cannot be ignored that the requirement can be
considered mandatory only in the case of ordinary
testaments, precisely because the presence of at least three
witnesses at the execution of ordinary wills is made by law
essential to their validity (Art. 805).
b. Where the will is holographic, no witness need be present
(Art. 10), and the rule requiring production of three
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

5.

witnesses must be deemed merely permissive if absurd


results are to be avoided.
Again, under Article 811, the resort to expert evidence is conditioned
by the words "if the Court deem it necessary", which reveal that what
the law deems essential is that the Court should be convinced of the
will's authenticity.
a. Where the prescribed number of witnesses is produced and
the court is convinced by their testimony that the ill is
genuine, it may consider it unnecessary to call for expert
evidence.
b. On the other hand, if no competent witness is available, or
none of those produced is convincing, the Court may still, and
in fact it should, resort to handwriting experts.
c. The duty of the Court, in fine, is to exhaust all available lines
of inquiry, for the state is as much interested as the
proponent that the true intention of the testator be carried
into effect.
The rule of the first paragraph of Article 811 of the Civil Code is
merely directory and is not mandatory.

EUGENIA RAMONAL CODOY, and MANUEL RAMONAL,vs.


EVANGELINE R. CALUGAY, JOSEPHINE SALCEDO, and UEFEMIA PATIGAS,
respondents.
G.R. No. 123486
August 12, 1999
Doctrine: We are convinced, based on the language used, that Article 811 of
the Civil Code is mandatory.
FACTS:
1. On April 6, 1990, Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and
EufemiaPatigas, devisees and legatees of the holographic will of the
deceased MatildeSeoVda. de Ramonal, filed a petition for probate of the
holographic will of the deceased, who died on January 16, 1990.
2. In the petition, respondents claimed that the deceased MatildeSeoVda.
de Ramonal, was of sound and disposing mind when she executed the
will on August 30, 1978, that there was no fraud, undue influence, and
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3.

4.
5.

duress employed in the person of the testator, and will was written
voluntarily.
On June 28, 1990, Eugenia RamonalCodoy and Manuel Ramonal filed an
opposition to the petition for probate, alleging that the holographic will
was a forgery and that the same is even illegible.
Petitioners argued that the repeated dates incorporated or appearing
on will after every disposition is out of the ordinary.
If the deceased was the one who executed the will, and was not
forced, the dates and the signature should appear at the bottom
after the dispositions, as regularly done and not after every
disposition.
And assuming that the holographic will is in the handwriting of the
deceased, it was procured by undue and improper pressure and
influence on the part of the beneficiaries, or through fraud and
trickery.
Respondents presented six (6) witnesses and various documentary
evidence
To have a clear understanding of the testimonies of the witnesses, we
recite an account of their testimonies.
Augusto Neri, Clerk of Court, Court of First Instancexxxxx. He
produced and identified the records of the case. The documents
presented bear the signature of the deceased, MatildeSeoVda. de
Ramonal, for the purpose of laying the basis for comparison of the
handwriting of the testatrix, with the writing treated or admitted as
genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered.
GenerosaSenon, election registrar of Cagayan de Oro, was presented
to produced and identify the voter's affidavit of the decedent.
However, the voters' affidavit was not produced for the same was
already destroyed and no longer available.
MatildeRamonalBinanay, xxx During those eleven (11) years of close
association the deceased, she acquired familiarity with her signature
and handwriting as she used to accompany her (deceased
MatildeSeoVda. de Ramonal) in collecting rentals from her various
tenantsxxxx

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

7.

Fiscal Rodolfo Wagaxxxxhandled all the pleadings and documents


signed by the deceased in connection with the proceedings of her late
husband,
Mrs.TeresitaVedad, an employee of the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, xxxxprocessed the application of the deceased
for pasture permit and was familiar with the signature of the
deceased.
Evangeline Calugay, xxx adopted by the latter. xxx she became
familiar with the signature of the deceased. She testified that the
signature appearing in the holographic will is the true and genuine
signature of MatildeSeoVda. de Ramonal.
The holographic will which was written in Visayan,
On October 9, 1995, the Court of Appeals, rendered decision9 ruling that
the appeal was meritorious.
. . . even if the genuineness of the holographic will were contested,
we are of the opinion that Article 811 of our present civil code can
not be interpreted as to require the compulsory presentation of
three witnesses to identify the handwriting of the testator, under
penalty of having the probate denied. Since no witness may have
been present at the execution of the holographic will, none being
required by law (art. 810, new civil code), it becomes obvious that
the existence of witnesses possessing the requisite qualifications is a
matter beyond the control of the proponent.
As can be see, the law foresees, the possibility that no qualified witness
may be found (or what amounts to the same thing, that no competent
witness may be willing to testify to the authenticity of the will), and
provides for resort to expert evidence to supply the deficiency.

ISSUE: whether the provisions of Article 811 of the Civil Code are permissive or
mandatory. The article provides, as a requirement for the probate of a
contested holographic will, that at least three witnesses explicitly declare that
the signature in the will is the genuine signature of the testator.
HELD:

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

We are convinced, based on the language used, that Article 811 of the
Civil Code is mandatory.
The word "shall" connotes a mandatory order. We have ruled that
"shall" in a statute commonly denotes an imperative obligation and is
inconsistent with the idea of discretion and that the presumption is
that the word "shall," when used in a statute is mandatory.
Laws are enacted to achieve a goal intended and to guide against an evil
or mischief that aims to prevent.
In the case at bar, the goal to achieve is to give effect to the wishes of
the deceased and the evil to be prevented is the possibility that
unscrupulous individuals who for their benefit will employ means to
defeat the wishes of the testator.
So, we believe that the paramount consideration in the present
petition is to determine the true intent of the deceased.
An exhaustive and objective consideration of the evidence is
imperative to establish the true intent of the testator.
It will be noted that not all the witnesses presented by the respondents
testified explicitly that they were familiar with the handwriting of
testator.
Generosa E. Senon, the election registrar of Cagayan de Oro City, was
presented to identify the signature of the deceased in the voter's affidavit,
which was not even produced as it was no longer available.
What Ms.Binanay saw were pre-prepared receipts and letters of the
deceased, which she either mailed or gave to her tenants. She did not
declare that she saw the deceased sign a document or write a note.
In her testimony it was also evident that Ms.Binanaykept the fact
about the will from petitioners, the legally adopted children of the
deceased. Such actions put in issue her motive of keeping the will a
secret to petitioners and revealing it only after the death of
MatildeSeoVda. de Ramonal.
Evangeline Calugay declared that the holographic will was written, dated
and signed in the handwriting of the testator.
So, the only reason that Evangeline can give as to why she was familiar
with the handwriting of the deceased was because she lived with her
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

since birth. She never declared that she saw the deceased write a
note or sign a document.
From the testimonies of these witnesses, the Court of Appeals allowed
the will to probate and disregard the requirement of three witnesses in
case of contested holographic will, citing the decision in Azaola vs.
Singson, ruling that the requirement is merely directory and not
mandatory.
In the case of Ajero vs. Court of Appeals, we said that "the object of
the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door
against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and
testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore,
the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to
attain these primordial ends. But on the other hand, also one must not
lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and
curtail the exercise of the right to make a will.
However, we cannot eliminate the possibility of a false document being
adjudged as the will of the testator, which is why if the holographic will is
contested, that law requires three witnesses to declare that the will was
in the handwriting of the deceased.
The will was found not in the personal belongings of the deceased
but with one of the respondents, who kept it even before the death
of the deceased.
In the testimony of Ms.Binanay, she revealed that the will was in her
possession as early as 1985, or five years before the death of the
deceased.
There was no opportunity for an expert to compare the signature and the
handwriting of the deceased with other documents signed and executed
by her during her lifetime.
The only chance at comparison was during the cross-examination of
Ms.Binanay when the lawyer of petitioners asked Ms.Binanay to
compare the documents which contained the signature of the
deceased with that of the holographic will and she is not a
handwriting expert.
Even the former lawyer of the deceased expressed doubts as to the
authenticity of the signature in the holographic will.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

A visual examination of the holographic will convince us that the strokes


are different when compared with other documents written by the
testator. The signature of the testator in some of the disposition is not
readable. There were uneven strokes, retracing and erasures on the will.
Comparing the signature in the holographic will dated August 30, 1978,33
and the signatures in several documents such as the application letter for
pasture permit dated December 30, 1980,34 and a letter dated June 16,
1978,35 the strokes are different.
In the letters, there are continuous flows of the strokes, evidencing
that there is no hesitation in writing unlike that of the holographic will.
We, therefore, cannot be certain that ruling holographic will was in
the handwriting by the deceased.

5.

6.

Judge found that Jose Rivera was not the son of the decedent but of a
different Venancio Rivera who was married to Maria Vital
a. The Venancio Rivera whose estate was in question was
married to Maria Jocson, by whom he had seven children,
including Adelaido.
b. Jose Rivera had no claim to this estate because the decedent
was not his father.
c. The holographic wills were also admitted to probate.
The decision of the trial court was affirmed by the then Intermediate
Appellate Court

ISSUES: 1. Whether Jose Rivera is the sole heir of Venancio Rivera? No


2. Whether the holographic wills are valid? Yes (SUCCESSION ISSUE)

JOSE RIVERA petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ADELAIDO


J. RIVERA, respondents.
G.R. Nos. 75005-06; February 15, 1990; CRUZ

HELD:
1. Jose Rivera is notthe son of Venancio Rivera.

FACTS:
1.
2.

3.

4.

Venancio Rivera died


Jose Rivera, claiming to be the only surviving legitimate son of the
deceased, filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration
over Venancio's estate
a. opposed by Adelaido J. Rivera, who denied that Jose was the
son of the decedent.
averred that Venancio was his father and did not die intestate
but in fact left two holographic wills.
Adelaido J. Rivera fileda petition for the probate of the holographic
wills
a. opposed by Jose Rivera, who reiterated that he was the sole
heir of Venancio's intestate estate
The two cases were consolidated.
a. Adelaido J. Rivera was later appointed special administrator.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

In support of his claim that he was the sole heir of the late Venancio
Rivera, Jose sought to show that the said person was married in 1928
to Maria Vital, who was his mother.
o submitted the marriage certificate of the couple, his own
baptismal certificate where the couple was indicated as his
parents
o also presented Domingo Santos, who testified that Jose was
indeed the son of the couple and that he saw Venancio and
Jose together several times
o Jose himself stressed that Adelaido considered him a halfbrother and kissed his hand as a sign of respect whenever
they met
o He insisted that Adelaido and his brothers and sisters were
illegitimate children, sired by Venancio with Maria Jocson
Adelaido, maintained that he and his brothers and sisters were born to
Venancio Rivera and Maria Jocson, who were legally married and lived
as such for many years.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

explained that he could not present his parents' marriage


certificate because the record of marriages for 1942 in
Mabalacat were destroyed when the town was burned during
the war
o submitted his own birth certificate and those of his sisters
Zenaida and Yolanda Rivera, who were each described
therein as the legimitate children of Venancio Rivera and
Maria Jocson
o Atty. Regalado P. Morales, then 71 years of age, affirmed that
he knew the deceased and his parents, Magno Rivera and
Gertrudes de los Reyes, and it was during the Japanese
occupation that Venancio introduced to him Maria Jocson as
his wife
o Adelaido offered Venancio Rivera's baptismal certificate
showing that his parents were Magno Rivera and Gertrudes
de los Reyes, as contrasted with the marriage certificate
submitted by Jose, which indicated that the Venancio Rivera
subject thereof was the son of Florencio Rivera and Estrudez
Reyes.
o He also denied kissing Jose's hand or recognizing him as a
brother.
It is true that Adelaido could not present his parents' marriage
certificate because, as he explained it, the marriage records for 1942
in the Mabalacat civil registry were burned during the war.
o he could still rely on the presumption of marriage, since it is
not denied that Venancio Rivera and Maria
o Jocson lived together as husband and wife for many years,
begetting seven children in all during that time.
although Jose did present his parents' marriage certificate, Venancio
was described therein as the son of Florencio Rivera.
o Presumably, he was not the same Venancio Rivera, his
baptismal certificate, as the son of Magno Rivera.
o While we realize that such baptismal certificate is not
conclusive evidence of Venancio's filiation (which is not the
issue here) it may nonetheless be considered to determine
his real identity
Jose insists that Magno and Florencio are one and the same person,
arguing that it is not uncommon for a person to be called by different
names
o The Court is not convinced
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

no evidence that Venancio's father was called either Magno


or Florencio.
o What is more likely is that two or more persons may live at
the same time and bear the same name, even in the same
community
if it is true that he was the legitimate son of Venancio Rivera, Jose did
not assert his right as such when his father was still alive.
o Jose supported himself and presumably also his mother
Maria Vital as a gasoline attendant and driver for many
years.
o All the time, his father was residing in the same town and
obviously prospering and available for support
o His alleged father was openly living with another woman and
raising another family, but this was apparently accepted by
Jose without protest, taking no step whatsoever to invoke his
status
o If he and Venancio Rivera were on cordial terms, there is no
reason why the father did not help the son and instead left
Jose to fend for himself as a humble worker while his other
children by Maria Jocson enjoyed a comfortable life.
Such paternal discrimination is difficult to
understand, especially if it is considered that Jose
was the oldest and, by his own account, the only
legitimate child of Venancio Rivera.
o there is also Maria Vital, whose attitude is no less
incomprehensible
As Venancio's legitimate wife, she should have
objected when her husband abandoned her and
founded another family by another woman, and in
the same town at that. Seeing that the children of
Maria Jocson were being raised well while her own
son Jose was practically ignored and neglected, she
nevertheless did not demand for him at least
support, if not better treatment, from his legitimate
father.
unnatural for a lawful wife to say nothing if she is
deserted in favor of another woman and for a caring
mother not to protect her son's interests from his
wayward father's neglect

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

The fact is that this forsaken wife never demanded


support from her wealthy if errant husband.
She did not file a complaint for bigamy or
concubinage against Venancio Rivera and Maria
Jocson, the alleged partners in crime and sin. Maria
Vital was completely passive and complaisant
Maria Vital was not even presented at the trial to
support her son's allegations that she was the
decedent's lawful wife.
Jose says this was not done because she was already
old and bedridden then.
no impediment to the taking of her
deposition in her own house
Jose dismisses such testimony as merely
"cumulative," but this Court does not agree
Having alleged that Maria Jocson's marriage
to Venancio Rivera was null and void, Jose
had the burden of proving that serious
allegation.
respondent court did not err in holding that the Venancio Rivera who
married Maria Jocson in 1942 was not the same person who married
Maria Vital, Jose's legitimate mother, in 1928.
o Jose belonged to a humbler family which had no relation
whatsoever with the family of Venancio Rivera and Maria
Vital. This was more prosperous and prominent.
o Except for the curious Identity of names of the head of each,
there is no evidence linking the two families or showing that
the deceased Venancio Rivera was the head of both.

2. Holographic wills are valid

written, dated and signed by the testator himself in accordance with


Article 810 of the Civil Code
no necessity of presenting the three witnesses required under Article
811 because the authenticity of the wills had not been questioned
o he argues that the existence and therefore also the
authenticity of the holographic wills were questioned by Jose
Rivera

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

In his own petition in SP No. 1076, he declared that Venancio Rivera


died intestate; and in SP No. 1091, he denied the existence of the
holographic wills presented by Adelaido Rivera for probate
both proceedings, Jose Rivera opposed the holographic wills
submitted by Adelaido Rivera and claimed that they were spurious.
o Consequently, it may be argued, the respondent court should
have applied Article 811 of the Civil Code
Art. 811 In the probate of a holographic will, it shall
be necessary that at least one witness who knows
the handwriting and signature of the testator
explicitly declare that the will and the signature are
in the handwriting of the testator. If the will is
contested, at least three of such witnesses shall be
required.
flaw in this argument is that, as we have already determined, Jose
Rivera is not the son of the deceased Venancio Rivera whose estate is
in question.
o being a mere stranger, he had no personality to contest the
wills and his opposition thereto did not have the legal effect
of requiring the three witnesses.
o The testimony of Zenaida and Venancio Rivera, Jr., who
authenticated the wills as having been written and signed by
their father, was sufficient.
DECISION: DENIED and AFFIRMED
TESTATE ESTATE OF FELICIDAD ESGUERRA ALTO-YAP deceased. FAUSTO E.
GAN, petitioner-appellant, vs.ILDEFONSO YAP, oppositor-appellee.
G.R. No. L-12190; August 30, 1958; P: Bengzon; By: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: The intention of the law is to give the near relatives the choice of
either complying with the will if they think it authentic, or to oppose it, if they
think it spurious. Such purpose is frustrated when the document is not
presented for their examination.
Nature: Appeal on the denial to probate
Facts:
1. Felicidad Esguerra Alto Yap died of heart failure </3

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.
3.

4.

5.

6.

Fausto E. Gan initiated them proceedings in the Manila CFI with a petition
for the probate of a holographic will
This was opposed by her surviving husband Ildefonso Yap asserted that
the deceased had not left any will, nor executed any testament during her
lifetime.
After hearing both parties, Hon. Ramon R. San Jose, Judge, refused to
probate the alleged will.
The motion for reconsideration failed, hence this appeal.
The will itself was not presented. Petitioner tried to establish its contents
and due execution by the statements in open court of Felina Esguerra,
Primitivo Reyes, Socorro Olarte and Rosario Gan Jimenez. Summarized as
follows:
Felicidad Esguerra mentioned to her first cousin, Vicente
Esguerra, her desire to make a will. She confided however that it
would be useless if her husband discovered or knew about it.
Vicente sought advice from bar reviewing nephew. The latter
replied it could be done without any witness, provided the
document was entirely in her handwriting, signed and dated by
her.
Felicidad wrote, signed and dated a holographic will substantially
of the tenor above transcribed, in the presence of her niece,
Felina Esguerra (daughter of Vicente), who was invited to read it.
Later, Felicidad was visited by a distant relative, Primitivo Reyes,
and she allowed him to read the will in the presence of Felina
Esguerra, who again read it
Days later, Socorro Olarte a cousin, and Rosario Gan Jimenez, a
niece visterd. To these she showed the will, again in the presence
of Felina Esguerra, who read it for the third time.
When Felicidad was confined Ildefonso tried to get from Felina
the will which was contained in the purse. She read the will for
the last time in the toilet before he gave it to him.
Two persons swore that on the alleged day the will was made that
Mrs. Felicidad Esguerra Yap made no will, and could have made
no will on that day.
The trial judge refused to credit the petitioner's evidence for several
reasons, the most important of which were these:
If she wanted to keep the will a secret it was strange to have done
it in front of a witness knowing it wasnt necessary.
It is improbable to have allowed others to read the will if it is to
be kept secret
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

If the intention was to conceal why was the will carried in the
purse where there is a big chance that the husband would acquire
of it and destroy it.

Issue:
May a holographic will be probated upon the testimony of witnesses who have
allegedly seen it and who declare that it was in the handwriting of the testator?
Ruling:
1. In the matter of holographic wills, no such guaranties of truth and veracity
are demanded, since they need no witnesses; provided however, that they
are "entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself."
2. "In the probate of a holographic will" says the New Civil Code, "it shall be
necessary that at least one witness who knows the handwriting and
signature of the testator explicitly declare that the will and the signature
are in the handwriting of the testator.
If the will is contested, at least three such witnesses shall be
required.
In the absence of any such witnesses, (familiar with decedent's
handwriting) and if the court deem it necessary, expert testimony
may be resorted to."
The witnesses so presented do not need to have seen the
execution of the holographic will.
However, the oppositor may present other witnesses who also
know the testator's handwriting, or some expert witnesses, who
after comparing the will with other writings or letters of the
deceased, have come to the conclusion that such will has not
been written by the hand of the deceased.
And the court, in view of such contradictory testimony may use its
own visual sense, and decide in the face of the document,
whether the will submitted to it has indeed been written by the
testator.
3. Obviously, when the will itself is not submitted, these means of
opposition, and of assessing the evidence are not available. And then the
3
only guaranty of authenticity the testator's handwriting has
disappeared.
The Rules of Court, (Rule 77) approved in 1940 allow proof (and
probate) of a lost or destroyed will by secondary evidence the
testimony of witnesses, in lieu of the original document. Yet such

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

4.

5.

6.

Rules could not have contemplated holographic wills which could


not then be validly made here.
i. Spanish commentators agree that one of the greatest
objections to the holographic will is that it may be lost
or stolen an implied admission that such loss or theft
renders it useless..
The Civil Code requires it to be protocoled and presented to the judge,
(Art. 689) who shall subscribe it and require its identity to be established
by the three witnesses who depose that they have no reasonable doubt
that the will was written by the testator
And if the judge considers that the identity of the will has been
proven he shall order that it be filed
All these, imply presentation of the will itself
The intention of the law is to give the near relatives the choice of either
complying with the will if they think it authentic, or to oppose it, if they
think it spurious. Such purpose is frustrated when the document is not
presented for their examination.
In the decision of the Supreme Court of Spain,
which denied protocolization or probate to a document
containing testamentary dispositions in the handwriting of the
deceased, but apparently mutilated, the signature and some
words having been torn from it.
All of which can only mean: the courts will not distribute the
property of the deceased in accordance with his holographic will,
unless they are shown his handwriting and signature.
The conclusion is that the execution and the contents of a lost or
destroyed holographic will may not be proved by the bare testimony of
witnesses who have seen and/or read such will.
In the first, the only guarantee of authenticity is the handwriting
itself;
in the second, the testimony of the subscribing or instrumental
witnesses (and of the notary, now).
The loss of the holographic will entails the loss of the only
medium of proof; if the ordinary will is lost, the subscribing
witnesses are available to authenticate.
In the case of holographic wills, if oral testimony were
admissible only one man could engineer the fraud this way: after
making a clever or passable imitation of the handwriting and
signature of the deceased, he may contrive to let three honest
and credible witnesses see and read the forgery; and the latter,
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

7.

having no interest, could easily fall for it, and in court they would
in all good faith affirm its genuineness and authenticity.
And considering that the holographic will may consist of two or
three pages, and only one of them need be signed, the
substitution of the unsigned pages, which may be the most
important ones, may go undetected.
One more fundamental difference: in the case of a lost will, the
three subscribing witnesses would be testifying to a fact which
they saw, namely the act of the testator of subscribing the will;
whereas in the case of a lost holographic will, the witnesses
would testify as to their opinion of the handwriting which they
allegedly saw, an opinion which can not be tested in court, nor
directly contradicted by the oppositors, because the handwriting
itself is not at hand.
In addition to the dubious circumstances described in the appealed
decision, the Supreme Court find it hard to believe that the deceased
should show her will precisely to relatives who had received nothing from
it
These could pester her into amending her will to give them a
share, or threaten to reveal its execution to her husband Ildefonso
Yap.

And this leads to another point: if she wanted so much to conceal


the will from her husband, why did she not entrust it to her
beneficiaries? Opportunity to do so was not lacking

Decision: Judgment affirmed

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF RICARDO B.


BONILLA deceased, MARCELA RODELAS, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
AMPARO ARANZA, ET AL., oppositors-appellees, ATTY. LORENZO
SUMULONG, intervenor.
G.R. No. L-58509 December 7, 1982
RELOVA, J.:

FACTS:
1. Probate of Ricardo B. Bonillas Holographic Will petition filed by Marcela
Rodelas
91

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.
3.

Opposition lies mainly on the ground that: Lost or destroyed holographic


wills cannot be proved by secondary evidence unlike ordinary wills
TC: Petition dismissed
Once the original copy of the holographic will is lost, a copy thereof
cannot stand in lieu of the original.
The alleged holographic will was executed on January 25, 1962 while
Ricardo B. Bonilla died on May 13, 1976. In view of the lapse of more
than 14 years from the time of the execution of the will to the death
of the decedent, the fact that the original of the will could not be
located shows to our mind that the decedent had discarded before his
death his allegedly missing Holographic Will.

ISSUE: May a holographic will, which was lost or cannot be found, be proved by
means of a photostatic copy? YES
HELD:
1. If the holographic will has been lost or destroyed and no other copy is
available, the will can not be probated because the best and only evidence
is the handwriting of the testator in said will.
2. It is necessary that there be a comparison between sample handwritten
statements of the testator and the handwritten will.
3. But, a photostatic copy or xerox copy of the holographic will may be
allowed because comparison can be made with the standard writings of
the testator.
4. In the case of Gan vs. Yap, 104 PHIL. 509, the Court ruled that "the
execution and the contents of a lost or destroyed holographic will may not
be proved by the bare testimony of witnesses who have seen and/or read
such will. The will itself must be presented; otherwise, it shall produce no
effect. The law regards the document itself as material proof of
authenticity."
5. But, in Footnote 8 of said decision, it says that "Perhaps it may be proved
by a photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or carbon
copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the authenticity of the
handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and tested before the
probate court,"
6. Evidently, the photostatic or xerox copy of the lost or destroyed
holographic will may be admitted because then the authenticity of the
handwriting of the deceased can be determined by the probate court.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

ROSA K. KALAW, petitioner, vs.HON. JUDGE BENJAMIN RELOVA, Presiding


Judge of the CFI of Batangas, Branch VI, Lipa City, and GREGORIO K. KALAW,
respondents
G.R. No. L-40207; September 28, 1984; J. Melencio-Herrera
(Bon)
Doctrine: When insertions, cancellations, erasures or alterations in a
holographic Will, affect not only the efficacy of the altered words themselves
but rather the essence and validity of the Will itself, the Will can be
invalidated/voided in whole.
Facts:
1.

2.
3.

4.
5.

6.

Gregorio K. Kalaw, claiming to be the sole heir of his deceased sister,


Natividad K. Kalaw, filed a petition for the probate of the latters
holographic Will
The holographic Will, as first written, named ROSA K. Kalaw, a sister of
the testatrix as her sole heir.
Hence, petitioner ROSA K. Kalaw opposed probate alleging, in
substance, that the holographic Will contained alterations,
corrections, and insertions without the proper authentication by the
full signature of the testatrix as required by Article 814 of the Civil
Code.
ROSA's position was that the holographic Will, as first written, should
be given effect and probated so that she could be the sole heir.
The lower court denied the probate since it found that the insertions,
alterations and/or additions in the will were not to be authenticated
by the full signature of the testatrix Natividad K. Kalaw
GREGORIO moved for reconsideration arguing that since the
alterations and/or insertions were the testatrix, the denial to probate
of her holographic Will would be contrary to her right of testamentary
disposition.

Issue:
Can the wills original unaltered text after subsequent alterations and
insertions were voided by the Trial Court for lack of authentication by the full
signature of the testatrix be probated with her as sole heir?
Held:
NO. With the erasures, cancellations and alterations made by the testatrix
herein, her real intention cannot be determined with certainty.
92

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


-

The confusion is as follows:


o To state that the Will as first written should be given efficacy
is to disregard the seeming change of mind of the testatrix.
But that change of mind can neither be given effect because
she failed to authenticate it in the manner required by law by
affixing her full signature.
MOREOVER, The holographic Will in dispute had only one substantial
provision
o This was altered by substituting the original heir with
another, but which alteration did not carry the requisite of
full authentication by the full signature of the testator, the
effect must be that the entire Will is voided or revoked for
the simple reason that nothing remains in the Will after that
which could remain valid.

5.

It alluded to certain dispositions in the will which were either unsigned


and undated, or signed but not dated. It also found that the erasures,
alterations and cancellations made thereon had not been
authenticated by decedent.

issue/held: WON the will is executed in accordance with the formalities of the
law? the will is valid
rationale:
CA: e holographic will of Anne Sand was not executed in accordance with the
formalities prescribed by law. It held that Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil
Code, ante, were not complied with

1. The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to


Decision: DENIED
Ajero v. CA
G.R. No. 106720 September 15, 1994
Facts:
1.

2.
3.

4.

In the will, decedent named as devisees, the following: petitioners


Roberto and Thelma Ajero,
- private respondent Clemente Sand, Meriam S. Arong, Leah Sand,
Lilia Sand, Edgar Sand, Fe Sand, Lisa S. Sand, and Dr. Jose Ajero,
Sr., and their children.
petitioners instituted Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, for allowance of
decedent's holographic will.
Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither
the testament's body nor the signature therein was in decedent's
handwriting;
- it contained alterations and corrections which were not duly
signed by decedent;
- and, the will was procured by petitioners through improper
pressure and undue influence.
- The petition was likewise opposed by Dr. Jose Ajero. He contested
the disposition in the will of a house and lot located in
Cabadbaran, Agusan Del Norte.
- He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by decedent
in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner.
the trial court admitted it BUT CA reversed the lower courts decision
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.

close the door against bad faith and fraud,


to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty
their truth and authenticity.
Therefore, the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such
a way as to attain these primordial ends.
For purposes of probating non-holographic wills, these formal
solemnities include the subscription, attestation,
and acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of
the New Civil Code
In the case of holographic will, what assures authenticity is the
requirement that they be totally autographic or handwritten by the
testator himself,
A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its
requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained in the
holographic will, but not its probate.
If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions,
the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such
failure, however, does not render the whole testament void.
a holographic will can still be admitted to probate, notwithstanding
non-compliance with the provisions of Article 814.
Thus, unless the unauthenticated alterations, cancellations or
insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on
testator's signature,

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

their presence does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of
authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes.

7. it is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of


changes and signing and dating of dispositions appear in provisions
(Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the
necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will
8. This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that
only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code
and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code
are essential to the probate of a holographic will.
9. The Court of Appeals further held that decedent Annie Sand could not
validly dispose of the house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan del
Norte, in its entirety. This is correct and must be affirmed.
10. As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass
only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated.
However, in exceptional instances, courts are not powerless to do
what the situation constrains them to do, and pass upon certain
provisions of the will.
In the case at bench, decedent herself indubitably stated in her
holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of
her late father, John H. Sand (which led oppositor Dr. Jose Ajero
to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety).
- Thus, as correctly held by respondent court, she cannot validly
dispose of the whole property, which she shares with her father's
other heirs.
SALUD TEODORO VDA. DE PEREZ vs.HON. ZOTICO A. TOLETE
G.R. No. 76714 June 2, 1994; QUIASON, J.: NILO
FACTS:
1) Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and his wife, Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan, who
became American citizens with three children.
2) On August 23, 1979, Dr. Cunanan executed a last will and testament,
bequeathing to his wife "all the remainder" of his real and personal
property at the time of his death "wheresoever situated"
a. In the event he would survive his wife, he bequeathed all his
property to his children and grandchildren with Dr. Rafael G.
Cunanan, Jr. (His brother) as trustee. He appointed his wife as

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

executrix of his last will and testament and Dr. Rafael G.


Cunanan, Jr. as substitute executor.
3) Four days later, on August 27, Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan executed her own
last will and testament containing the same provisions as that of the
will of her husband.
4) Dr. Cunanan and his entire family perished when they were trapped by
fire that gutted their home.
a. Thereafter, Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee and
substitute executor of the two wills, filed separate
proceedings for the probate thereof with the Surrogate Court
of the County of Onondaga, New York.
b. On April 7, these two wills were admitted to probate and
letters testamentary were issued in his favor.
5) SaludTeodoro Perez, the mother of Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan (petitioner)
filed with the Regional Trial Court, Malolos, Bulacan a petition for the
reprobate of the two bills ancillary to the probate proceedings in New
York. She also asked that she be appointed the special administratrix
of the estate of the deceased couple consisting primarily of a farm
land in San Miguel, Bulacan.
6) RTC in Bulacan presided by Judge Gualberto J. de la Llana, issued an
order, directing the issuance of letters of special administration in
favor of petitioner.
7) Cunanan heirs filed a motion to nullify the proceedings and to set
aside the appointment of, or to disqualify, petitioner as special
administratrix of the estates of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and Dr. Evelyn
Perez-Cunanan because:
(1) that being the "brothers and sisters and the legal and surviving
heirs" of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, they had been "deliberately
excluded" in the petition for the probate of the separate wills of
the Cunanan spouses thereby misleading the Bulacan court to
believe that petitioner was the sole heir of the spouses; that such
"misrepresentation" deprived them of their right to "due process
in violation of Section 4, Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court;
8) Petitioner then filed a counter manifestation: that the wills of Dr. Jose
F. Cunanan and Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan, being American citizens,
were executed in accordance with the solemnities and formalities of
New York laws, and produced "effects in this jurisdiction in accordance
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


with Art. 16 in relation to Art. 816 of the Civil Code. Petitioner
contends that the following pieces of evidence she had submitted
before respondent Judge are sufficient to warrant the allowance of
the wills:
a) two certificates of authentication of the respective wills of
Evelyn and Jose by the Consulate General of the Philippines;
b) two certifications from the Secretary of State of New York
and Custodian of the Great Seal on the facts that Judge
Bernard L. Reagan is the Surrogate of the Country of
Onondaga which is a court of record, that his signature and
seal of office are genuine, and that the Surrogate is duly
authorized to grant copy of the respective wills of Evelyn and
Jose;
c) two certificates of Judge Reagan and Chief Clerk Donald E.
Moore stating that they have in their records and files the
said wills which were recorded on April 7, 1982;
d) the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose;
e) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk certifying to
the genuineness and authenticity of the exemplified copies of
the two wills;
f) two certificates of authentication from the Consulate General
of the Philippines in New York;
g) certifications from the Secretary of State that Judge Reagan is
duly authorized to grant exemplified copies of the decree of
probate, letters testamentary and all proceedings had and
proofs duly taken;
h) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk that letters
testamentary were issued to Rafael G. Cunanan;
i) certification to the effect that it was during the term of Judge
Reagan that a decree admitting the wills to probate had been
issued and appointing Rafael G. Cunanan as alternate
executor;
j) the decrees on probate of the two wills specifying that
proceedings were held and proofs duly taken;
k) decrees on probate of the two wills stating that they were
properly executed, genuine and valid and that the said
instruments were admitted to probate and established as
wills valid to pass real and personal property; and
l) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk on the
genuineness and authenticity of each others signatures in
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

the exemplified copies of the decrees of probate, letters


testamentary and proceedings held in their court.
9) On February 21, 1984, Judge de la Llana (RTC Bulacan) issued an order,
disallowing the reprobate of the two wills, recalling the appointment
of petitioner as special administratrix. He reasoned out that petitioner
failed to prove the law of New York on procedure and allowance of
wills and the court had no way of telling whether the wills were
executed in accordance with the law of New York.
a. In the absence of such evidence, the presumption is that the
law of succession of the foreign country is the same as the
law of the Philippines.
b. However, he noted, that there were only two witnesses to
the wills of the Cunanan spouses and the Philippine law
requires three witnesses and that the wills were not signed
on each and every page, a requirement of the Philippine law.
10) Petitioner instituted the instant petition, arguing that the evidence
offered at the hearing of April 11, 1983 sufficiently proved the laws of
the State of New York on the allowance of wills, and that the separate
wills of the Cunanan spouses need not be probated in separate
proceedings.
RULING:
The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses, who were American citizens, will
only be effective in this country upon compliance with the following provision
of the Civil Code of the Philippines:
Art. 816. The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if
made with the formalities prescribed by the law of the place in which he
resides, or according to the formalities observed in his country, or in
conformity with those which this Code prescribes.
Thus, proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by New
York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative.
The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have
been probated outside of the Philippines are as follows:
(1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign laws;
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


(2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country and not in the
Philippines;
(3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country;
(4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and
(5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of wills.
Except for the first and last requirements, the petitioner submitted all
the needed evidence.
The necessity of presenting evidence on the foreign laws upon which
the probate in the foreign country is based is impelled by the fact that
our courts cannot take judicial notice of them.
Petitioner must have perceived this omission as in fact she moved for
more time to submit the pertinent procedural and substantive New
York laws but which request respondent Judge just glossed over.
While the probate of a will is a special proceeding wherein courts
should relax the rules on evidence, the goal is to receive the best
evidence of which the matter is susceptible before a purported will is
probated or denied probate.
HELD: Respondent Judge shall allow petitioner reasonable time within which to
submit evidence needed for the joint probate of the wills of the Cunanan
spouses and see to it that the brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan are
given all notices and copies of all pleadings pertinent to the probate
proceedings.
OTHER ISSUES:
PROBATED JOINTLY - There is merit in petitioners insistence that the separate
wills of the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly because the provisions
of Section 2, Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of Court, which advise that the rules
shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the
parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action
and proceeding."
JOINT WILL - What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either
for the testators reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person (Civil
Code of the Philippines, Article 818). In the case at bench, the Cunanan spouses
executed separate wills. Since the two wills contain essentially the same
provisions and pertain to property which in all probability are conjugal in
nature, practical considerations dictate their joint probate.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

NOTICES - The brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, contrary to


petitioner's claim, are entitled to notices of the time and place for proving the
wills. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court, the "court shall
also cause copies of the notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will
to be addressed to the designated or other known heirs, legatees, and devisees
of the testator, . . . "

In re: Will and Testament of the deceased REVEREND SANCHO ABADIA.


SEVERINA A. VDA. DE ENRIQUEZ, ET AL., petitioners-appellees, vs.MIGUEL
ABADIA, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
G.R. No. L-7188 August 9, 1954
Montemayor, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:

1. On September 6, 1923, Father Sancho Abadia, parish priest of Talisay,


Cebu, executed a document purporting to be his Last Will and
Testament now marked Exhibit "A".
a. Resident of the City of Cebu, he died on January 14, 1943, in
the municipality of Aloguinsan, Cebu, where he was an
evacuee.
b. He left properties estimated at P8,000 in value.
2. Andres Enriquez, one of the legatees in Exhibit "A", filed a petition for
its probate in the Court of First Instance of Cebu.
a. Some cousins and nephews who would inherit the estate of
the deceased if he left no will, filed opposition.
3. During the hearing one of the attesting witnesses, the other two being
dead, testified without contradiction that in his presence and in the
presence of his co-witnesses,
a. Father Sancho wrote out in longhand Exhibit "A" in Spanish
which the testator spoke and understood;
b. That he (testator) signed on he left hand margin of the front
page of each of the three folios or sheets of which the
document is composed, and numbered the same with Arabic
numerals,
c. Signed his name at the end of his writing at the last page, all
this, in the presence of the three attesting witnesses after

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


telling that it was his last will and that the said three
witnesses signed their names on the last page after the
attestation clause in his presence and in the presence of each
other.
a. The oppositors did not submit any evidence.
4. TC: admitted to probate Exhibit "A", as the Last Will and Testament of
Father Sancho Abadia.
a. Trial court found and declared Exhibit "A" to be a
holographic will;
b. That it was in the handwriting of the testator and that
although at the time it was executed and at the time of the
testator's death, holographic wills were not permitted by law
still, because at the time of the hearing and when the case
was to be decided the new Civil Code was already in force,
which Code permitted the execution of holographic wills,
under a liberal view, and to carry out the intention of the
testator which according to the trial court is the controlling
factor and may override any defect in form.
Issue: WON The New Civil Code may be applied to the probate of Father
Abadias will.
Held: No.
Ratio:

1. Article 795 of this same new Civil Code expressly provides: "The
validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the
law in force at the time it is made."
a. The above provision is but an expression or statement of the
weight of authority to the affect that the validity of a will is
to be judged not by the law enforce at the time of the
testator's death or at the time the supposed will is
presented in court for probate or when the petition is
decided by the court but at the time the instrument was
executed.
b. Reason: in support of the rule is that although the will
operates upon and after the death of the testator, the wishes
of the testator about the disposition of his estate among his
heirs and among the legatees is given solemn expression at

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

the time the will is executed, and in reality, the legacy or


bequest then becomes a completed act.
c. This ruling has been laid down by this court in the case of In
re Will of Riosa, 39 Phil., 23.
2. By parity of reasoning, when one executes a will which is invalid for
failure to observe and follow the legal requirements at the time of its
execution then upon his death he should be regarded and declared as
having died intestate, and his heirs will then inherit by intestate
succession, and no subsequent law with more liberal requirements or
which dispenses with such requirements as to execution should be
allowed to validate a defective will and thereby divest the heirs of
their vested rights in the estate by intestate succession.
a. The general rule is that the Legislature can not validate void
wills (57 Am. Jur., Wills, Sec. 231, pp. 192-193).
[Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610(1930)]
[No. 32636. March 17, 1930], osh
Doctrine: The due execution of a will alleged to have been executed in
another jurisdiction must be established. Where the witnesses to the will
reside without the Philippine Islands, it is the duty of the petitioner to prove
execution by some other means. [Fluemer vs. Hix, 54 Phil. 610(1930)]
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

The petitioner is a special administrator of the estate of Edward Hix.


He alleged that the latters will was executed in Elkins, West Virginia on
November 3, 1925 by Hix who had his residence in that jurisdiction, and
that the laws of that state govern.
To this end, the petitioner submitted a copy of Section 3868 of Acts 1882,
c.84 as found in West Virginia Code, annotated by Hogg, Charles E., vol.2
1914, p. 1690 and as certified to by the Director of National Library.
The Judge of the First Instance however denied the probate of the will on
the grounds that Sec 300 and301 of the Code of Civil Procedure were not
complied with.
Hence, this appeal

ISSUE:
Is it necessary to prove in this jurisdiction the existence of such law in West
Virginia as a prerequisiteto the allowance and recording of said will?Yes.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


HELD:
1. The laws of the foreign jurisdiction do not prove themselves in our courts.
2. The courts of the Philippine Islands are not authorized to take judicial
notice of the laws of the various states of the American Union.
3. Such laws must be proved as facts.
Here the requirements of the law were not met. There was no
showing that the book from which an extract was taken was printed
or published under the authority of the state of West Virginia, as
provided in Sec 30 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Nor was the extract from the law attested by the certificate of the
officer having charge of the original, under the seal of the State of
West Virginia as provided in Sec 301.
No evidence was introduced showing that the extract from the laws of
West Virginia was in force at the time alleged will was executed.
The court therefore did not err in denying the probate of the will.
4. The existence of such law in West Virginia must be proved.
5. In addition, the due execution of the will was not established.
The only evidence on this point is to be found in the testimony of the
petitioner.
Aside from this, there was nothing to indicate that the will was
acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two competent
witnesses, or that these witnesses subscribed the will in the presence
of the testator and of each other as the law of West Virginia seems to
require.
On the supposition that the witnesses to the will reside without the
Philippine Islands, it would then be the duty of the petitioner to prove
execution by some other means (Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 633).
6. It was also necessary for the petitioner to prove that the testator had his
domicile in West Virginia and not in the Philippine Islands.
The only evidence introduced to establish this fact consisted of the
recitals in the alleged will and the testimony of the petitioner.
Also in beginning administration proceedings originally in the
Philippine Islands, the petitioner violated his own theory by

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

7.

attempting to have the principal administration in the Philippine


Islands.
it is to be noted that the application of or the probate of the will in the
Philippines was filed on February 20, 1929, while the proceedings in West
Virginia appear to have been initiated on June 8, 1929.
These facts are strongly indicative of an intention to make the
Philippines the principal administration and West Virginia the
ancillary administration.
However this may be, no attempt has been made to comply with the
provisions of sections 637, 638, and 639 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, for no hearing on the question of the allowance of a will
said to have been proved and allowed in West Virginia has been
requested.
There is no showing that the deceased left any property at any place
other than the Philippine Islands and no contention that he left any in
West Virginia.
Reference has been made by the parties to a divorce purported to
have been awarded Edward Randolph Hix from Annie Cousins Hix on
October 8, 1925, in the State of West Virginia. The present
proceedings do not call for any specific pronouncements on the
validity or invalidity of this alleged divorce.

Estate of Giberson

FACTS:
1.

Lela G. Dalton presenteda request, asking the legalization of a


document that sheallegesis a holograph testament of William R.
Giberson
a. Giberson was a citizen of the state of Illinois and a Cebu
resident that died in August 6, 1943 in the field of
concentration of the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila, the
Philippines.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.

3.

4.

5.

Spring Giberson, son of William r. Giberson, legitimate, presented an


opposition claiming that the Testament is untrue
a. that it does not represent the true will of the deceased
Giberson
b. opposition presented a motion requesting the dismissal of
the application claiming that, before a testament in country
Alien to be able to be legalized in the Philippine Islands, must
be shown than that Testament had been legalized previously
the country
the application did not alleged that the Testament had already been
legalized in California.
a. applicant objected to the motion for stay of proceedings
Judge ruled: under our existing rules only those wills that have
previously been proved and allowed in the United States, or any state
or territory thereof, or any foreign country, according to the laws of
such state, territory, or country, may be allowed, filed or recorded in
the proper court of first instance in the Philippines....'
applicant appealed

ISSUE: 1. Whether the Testament must first be legalized in California? NO

applicant argues that the article 635 of the Civil Procedure Code has
been repealed by the 78 rule, by virtue of section 13, article VIII of the
Constitution
Said article 635 of the code of Civil Procedure says so: The Testament
out of the Philippine Islands, given that this can authenticate and be
legalized in accordance with the laws of the State or country in which I
attach, you can authenticate, be legalized and register at the
Philippines, and will have the same effectiveness that if has been
granted in accordance with the laws of these islands.
A person may dispose of their property after his death by Testament.
o The granting of testamentary an act legal which can occur in
the Philippines or abroad
o If it is given in foreign country, you have to be made in
accordance with the laws of that country, which is universally
adopted rule.
Abroad are available after their death of their property in the
Philippines by Testament and is not forced to provide it in the
Philippines
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

You can do in your own country or another, but according to


the laws of the country in which granted it.
Article 635 of the Code of Civil Procedure, respecting the
freedom of the testator give his testament in any place, provides
that the Testament which can legalise in a foreign country in
accordance with the laws of that country can legalize also in the
Philippines.
o disposition is substantive, creates the rights of the
beneficiaries of the Testament:
sure to legalize Philippines Islands awarded outside
wills if they can be legalized in the country in which
they were awarded, giving them a cause of action for
prejudicial means the fulfillment of the last will of
the testator irrespective of the place of their grant
Code of Civil Procedure only amended the procedural part, but not the
substantive part
o The substantive law is not amended by rules of procedure.
still remaining as substantive law Article 635 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
o Article 637 says so: wills authenticated and legalized in the
United States, or in any State or territory thereof, or in a
State or foreign country, in accordance with the laws of said
State, territory or country, can be legalized, registered
archived in the Court of First Instance of the province that the
testator has movable, or estate efectados by these wills
o article is more than its corollary
If a testament awarded foreign country that can be legalized in
accordance with the laws of that country may also be legalized in the
Philippines, with greater reason wills already legalized in foreign
countries according to the laws of those countries, also in the
Philippines can be legalized.
Article 1 of the Rule 78 is no more than a transplantation of article 637
of the Code of Civil Procedure
o Article 1 of rule 78 does not prevent that it can be legalized
in the Philippines a testament given in a foreign country, if it
can be legalized in accordance with the laws of this country,
nor requires that it previously legalized in this country.
the theory of the opponent is untenable

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HELD: order appealed was revoked with costs against the appellee

PAULA DE LA CERNA, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
MANUELA REBACA POTOT, ET AL., and THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents.
G.R. No. L-20234 December 23, 1964
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
FACTS:
1. May 9, 1939 - the spouses, Bernabe de la Serna and GervasiaRebaca,
executed a joint last will and testament in the local dialect whereby they
willed that
"our two parcels of land acquired during our marriage together with
all improvements thereon shall be given to Manuela Rebaca, our
niece, whom we have nurtured since childhood, because God did not
give us any child in our union, Manuela Rebaca being married to
Nicolas Potot", and that "while each of the testators is yet living, he or
she will continue to enjoy the fruits of the two lands aforementioned"
2. Bernabedela Serna died, and the aforesaid will was submitted to probate
by said Gervasia and Manuela before the Court of First Instance of Cebu
3. Upon the death of GervasiaRebaca, another petition for the probate of the
same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed, but for failure of the
petitioner, Manuela R. Potot and her attorney, Manuel Potot to appear, for
the hearing of said petition, the case was dismissed
4. CFI: ordered the petition heard and declared the testament null and void,
for being executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills
5. CA: reversed, on the ground that the decree of probate in 1939 was issued
by a court of probate jurisdiction and conclusive on the due execution of
the testament. Further:
It is true the law (Art. 669, old Civil Code; Art. 818, new Civil Code)
prohibits the making of a will jointly by two or more persons either for
their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person. However,
this form of will has long been sanctioned by use, and the same has
continued to be used.
6. Hence this appeal by the heirs intestate of the deceased husband, Bernabe
de la Cerna.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

ISSUE:
1. Does an error of law affect the conclusive effect of its decision? NO
2. Is the joint will valid as to the share of Gervasia who died later than
Bernabe? NO
HELD:
First
1. The final decree of probate, entered in 1939 by the Court of First Instance
of Cebu (when the testator, Bernabe de la Cerna, died), has conclusive
effect as to his last will and testament despite the fact that even then the
Civil Code already decreed the invalidity of joint wills, whether in favor of
the joint testators, reciprocally, or in favor of a third party (Art. 669, old
Civil Code).
2. The error thus committed by the probate court was an error of law, that
should have been corrected by appeal, but which did not affect the
jurisdiction of the probate court, nor the conclusive effect of its final
decision, however erroneous.
3. Petitioners, as heirs and successors of the late Bernabe de la Cerna, are
concluded by the 1939 decree admitting his will to probate.
Second
1. the Court of Appeals should have taken into account also, to avoid future
misunderstanding, that the probate decree in 1989 could only affect the
share of the deceased husband, Bernabe de la Cerna, and could not
include the disposition of the share of the wife, GervasiaRebaca, who was
then still alive, and over whose interest in the conjugal properties the
probate court acquired no jurisdiction, precisely because her estate could
not then be in issue.
4. Prior to the new Civil Code, a will could not be probated during the
testator's lifetime.
5. It follows that the validity of the joint will, in so far as the estate of the wife
was concerned, must be, on her death, reexamined and adjudicated de
novo, since a joint will is considered a separate will of each testator.
6. Thus regarded, the holding of the court of First Instance of Cebu that the
joint will is one prohibited by law was correct as to the participation of the
deceased GervasiaRebaca in the properties in question.
7. Therefore, the undivided interest of GervasiaRebaca should pass upon her
death to her heirs intestate, and not exclusively to the testamentary heir,
unless some other valid will in her favor is shown to exist, or unless she be
the only heir intestate of said Gervasia.
Furthermore
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


It is unnecessary to emphasize that the fact that joint wills should be in
common usage could not make them valid when our Civil Codes consistently
invalidated them, because laws are only repealed by other subsequent laws,
and no usage to the contrary may prevail against their observance (Art. 5, Civ.
Code of 1889; Art. 7, Civil Code of the Philippines of 1950).
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN,
DECEASED.
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the
deceased, Executor and Heir-appellees, vs.
HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant.
G.R. No. L-16749 January 31, 1963
Labrador, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of


Davao, Hon. Vicente N. Cusi, Jr
a. Approving among things the final accounts of the executor,
directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen
the amount of P3,600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia
as her legacy, and declaring Maria Lucy Christensen entitled
to the residue of the property to be enjoyed during her
lifetime, and in case of death without issue, one-half of said
residue to be payable to Mrs. Carrie Louise C. Borton, etc.
This is in accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator
Edward E. Christensen. The will was executed in Manila.
a. A will instituting appellee Maria Lucy Christensen as his sole
heir, to whom he bequeathed all his properties.
b. He also made aprovision bequeathing the amount of
P3,600.00 to appellant Maria Helen Christensen-Garcia. In
accordance with the will of the deceased, the executor in his
final account and project of partition ratified the payment of
P3,600.00 to Helen
c. Proposed that the residue of the estate be transferred to
Lucy.
Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by
Helen Christensen Garcia
a. Grounds:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

i. That the distribution should be governed by the laws


of the Philippines,
ii. That said order of distribution is contrary thereto
insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen, one of two
acknowledged natural children, one-half of the
estate in full ownership.
CFI: Edward E. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of
the State of California at the time of his death, the successional rights
and intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be governed by
the law of California, in accordance with which a testator has the right
to dispose of his property in the way he desires, because the right of
absolute dominion over his property is sacred and inviolable.

Issue: WON the Philippine Law should goven the will of the deceased.
Arguments:
1. On executor's behalf: As the deceased Christensen was a
citizen of the State of California, the internal law thereof,
should govern the determination of the validity of the
testamentary provisions of Christensen's will, such law being
in force
in the State of California of which Christensen was a citizen.
2. Appellant: Insists that Article 946 should be applicable, and
in accordance therewith and following the doctrine of the
renvoi, the question of the validity of the testamentary
provision in question should be referred back to the law of
the decedent's domicile, which is the Philippines.
Held: Yes.
Ratio:
1.

The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is


defined in Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which is as
follows:
a. ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject
to the law of the country where it is situated.
b. However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with
respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

3.

4.

5.

law of the person whose succession is under consideration,


whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless
of the country where said property may be found.
The application of this article in the case at bar requires the
determination of the meaning of the term "national law"is used
therein.
a. There is no single American law governing the validity of
testamentary provisions in the United States, each state of
the Union having its own private law applicable to its
citizens only and in force only within the state. The
"national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above
quoted can not, therefore, possibly mean or apply to any
general American law. So it can refer to no other than the
private law of the State of California.
The next question is: What is the law in California governing the
disposition of personal property? The decision of the court below,
sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the
California Probate Code, a testator may dispose of his property by will
in the form and manner he desires. But appellant invokes the
provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California, which is as
follows:
a. If there is no law to the contrary, in the place where personal
property is situated, it is deemed to follow the person of its
owner, and is governed by the law of his domicile.
The doctrine of renvoi may be invoked when a jural matter is
presented, which the conflict-of-laws rule of the forum refers to a
foreign law, the conflict-of-laws rule of which, in turn, refers the
matter back again to the law of the forum.
The Court noted that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its
conflict of laws rule, while the rule invoked by the appellees, its
internal law. If the law on succession and the conflict of laws rules of
California are to be enforced jointly, each in its own intended and
appropriate sphere, the internal law should apply to citizens living in
the State,
a. but Article 946 should apply to such of its citizens as are not
domiciled in California but in other jurisdictions.
b. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in
the determination of matters with foreign element involved is
in accord with the general principle of American law that the

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

7.

domiciliary law should govern in most matters or rights which


follow the person of the owner.
The laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens,
one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other
jurisdictions.
a. Reason demands that the Court should enforce the California
internal law prescribed for its citizens residing therein, and
enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled
abroad.
b. If the Court must enforce the law of California as in comity
the Court is bound to go, as so declared in Article 16 of the
Philippine Civil Code, then the Court must enforce the law of
California in accordance with the express mandate thereof
and as above explained, i.e., apply the internal law for
residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rule for those
domiciled abroad.
It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to
the contrary in the place where the property is situated" in Sec. 946 of
the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines and
a. That the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision
in said Article 16 that the national law of the deceased should
govern.
b. This contention cannot be sustained. As explained in the
various authorities cited above the national law mentioned in
Article 16 of the Civil Code is the law on conflict of laws in the
California Civil Code, i.e., Article 946, which authorizes the
reference or return of the question to the law of the
testator's domicile.
c. The conflict of laws rule in California, Article 946, Civil Code,
precisely refers back the case, when a decedent is not
domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile, the
Philippines in the case at bar.
d. The court of the domicile cannot and should not refer the
case back to California; such action would leave the issue
incapable of determination because the case will then be like
a football, tossed back and forth between the two states,
between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and
the country of his domicile.

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8.

The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the
conflict of laws rule of the state of the decedent, if the question has
to be decided, especially as the application of the internal law of
California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law,
Arts. 887(4) and 894, Civil Code of the Philippines, makes natural
children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing
them.

TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased, PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST


COMPANY, executor, MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA
BELLIS, oppositors-appellants, vs. EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
G.R. No. L-23678; June 6, 1967; J. Bengzon
(Bon)
Doctrine: In cases where a decedent is a resident and domiciliary of another
country, despite the fact that he executed a will in the Philippines, his national
law shall prevail pursuant to Article 16, 17 and 1039 of the New Civil Code.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.

Amos Bellis is a citizen of Texas, U.S. He had 5 legitimate children and


three illegitimate Children whomn two of which (Maria and Mirriam)
are the appellants.
He executed a will in the Philippines apportioning his wealth among
his wife, the three illegitimate children and the seven legitimate
children.
The point of contention in the case is the opposition of Maria and
Mirriam on the will particularly the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's
Last Will and Testament.
It says that Amos divided the residuary estate into seven equal
portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by
his first and second marriages.
According to them, they were deprived of their legitimes as
illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased.
The lower court denied the opposition relying to Art. 16 of the Civil
Code, it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is
Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes.

Issue:
Which law should governTexas law or Philippine law?

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Held:
Texas Law. Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that
under the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly,
since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of
successional rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law
on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
There was no application of renvoi doctrine but more of processual
presumption
o It is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of
Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.
o So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule
providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile)
should govern, the same would not result in a reference
back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas
law.
o Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs
theory (lexreisitae) calling for the application of the law of the
place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise,
since the properties here involved are found in the
Philippines.
o In the absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law
rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.
The oppositors misread/misapplied Article 17 based from the letter
and wisdom of the provision
o Whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in
our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to
extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it
has specifically chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of
successional rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific
provisions must prevail over general ones.
o Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding the provisions
of this and the next preceding article" when they
incorporated Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the
new Civil Code, while reproducing without substantial change
the second paragraph of Art. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art.
16 in the new.
o It must have been their purpose to make the second
paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which must
be applied in testate and intestate succession.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

As further indication of this legislative intent, Congress added


a new provision, under Art. 1039, which decrees that capacity
to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the
decedent.
Philippine Will executed is considered VOID
o Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing
a separate Philippine will, IT WOULD NOT ALTER THE LAW, for
as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50 Phil. 867, 870, a
provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties
shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not
with his national law, is illegal and void,
o for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those
matters that Article 10 now Article 16 of the Civil Code
states said national law should govern.

Decision: DENIED
UY

HELD: VALID.
Although the two testators, who are husband and wife, instituted the
other as universal heir in their respective wills, said wills are not void
because they are not conjoint but are made in different instruments.
What the law prohibits is when two or more persons make a will
conjointly or mancomunadamente (together) or in the same
instrument.

JANUARY 30, 2012


SUPRA: Rizalina Gabriel GONZALES, petitioner, vs. Hon. COURT OF APPEALS
and Lutgarda SANTIAGO, respondents.
G.R. No. L-37453, May 25, 1979

Cayetano v Leonides, 129 SCRA 524


Doctrine: To be considered a credible witness to a will it is not mandatory
that witness good community standing and probity be first established

DelaCerna v Potot, supra


IN RE TESTATE ESTATE OF BERNABE RODRIGUEZ.
Martina Araniego- petitioner-appellee vs. Antonio Rodriguez, et al.,
oppositors- appellants.
July 1, 1948; P: Jugo; NiLo
FACTS:
1) Martina Araniego (petitioner) filed a petition in the CFI for the probate
of the will of her husband Bernabe Rodriguez who died on July 1946.
2) Respondents who are brothers and nieces of the deceased filed an
opposition alleging that the will is void because in the said will (Exhibit
C), the deceased instituted his wife Martina, as his universal heir but in
the will of Martina (Exhibit D), Martina declared her husband Bernabe
as her universal heir which means they were reciprocal beneficiaries in
two wills.
a. It is prohibited citing Art. 669 (Now Art. 818) Civil Code which
says: Two or more persons cannot make a will jointly, or in
the same instrument, either for their reciprocal benefit or for
the benefit of a third person.
ISSUE: Is the will valid because it is a conjoint will?
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1.
2.

3.
4.

5.
6.
7.

Lutgarda Santiago and Rizalina Gonzales are nieces of the late Isabel
Andres Gabriel.
Lutgarda filed a petition for the probate of a will alleged to have been
executed by the deceased and designated Lutgarda as the principal
beneficiary and executrix.
There is no dispute that Isabel died as a widow and without issue.
The will submitted consists of five (5) pages and includes the pages
whereon the attestation clause and the acknowledgment of the notary
public were written.
The signatures of the deceased Isabel Gabriel appear at the end of the will
on page four and at the left margin of all the pages.
The petition was opposed by Rizalina assailing that the will is not genuine
and was not executed and attested as required by law.
The lower court disallowed the probate of said will and as a consequence,
Lutgarda appealed to Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


and allowed the probate of the will. Rizalina filed a motion for
reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence this present action.

ISSUE: Whether or not the will was executed and attested as required by law.

RULING:

Article 820 of the Civil Code provides for the qualifications of a witness to
the execution of wills while Article 821 sets forth the disqualification from
being a witness to a will.
In probate proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character
witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a will or testament and
affirm the formalities attendant to said execution.
And we agree with the respondent that the rulings laid down in the cases
cited by petitioner concerning character witnesses in naturalization
proceedings are not applicable to instrumental witnesses to wills executed
under the Civil Code of the Philippines.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three
instrumental witnesses are competent and credible is satisfactorily
supported by the evidence as found by the respondent Court of Appeals,
which findings of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon.
Moreover, petitioner has not pointed to any disqualification of any of the
said witnesses.

I. The respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that the document.


Exhibit F was executed and attested as required by law when there was
absolutely no proof that the three instrumental witnesses were credible
witnesses.

She argues that the requirement in Article 806, Civil Code, that the
witnesses must be credible is an absolute requirement which must be
complied with before an alleged last will and testament may be admitted
to probate and that to be a credible witness,

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

there must be evidence on record that the witness has a good standing in
his community, or that he is honest and upright, or reputed to be
trustworthy and reliable.
According to petitioner, unless the qualifications of the witness are first
established, his testimony may not be favorably considered.
Petitioner contends that the term credible is not synonymous with
competent for a witness may be competent under Article 820 and 821
of the Civil Code and still not be credible as required by Article 805 of the
same Code.
It is further urged that the term credible as used in the Civil Code should
receive the same settled and well-known meaning it has under the
Naturalization Law, the latter being a kindred legislation with the Civil
Code provisions on wills with respect to the qualifications of witnesses.

Supreme Court
We find no merit to petitioners first assignment of error.
Under the law, there is no mandatory requirement that the witness
testify initially or at any time during the trial as to his good standing in
the community, his reputation for trustworthiness and reliableness, his
honesty and uprightness in order that his testimony may be believed and
accepted by the trial court.
It is enough that the qualifications enumerated in Article 820 of the Civil
Code are complied with, such that
the soundness of his mind can be shown by or deduced from his
answers to the questions propounded to him,
that his age (18 years or more) is shown from his appearance,
testimony, or competently proved otherwise,
as well as the fact that he is not blind, deaf or dumb and
that he is able to read and write to the satisfaction of the Court,
and
that he has none of the disqualifications under Article 821 of the
Civil Code.
We reject petitioners contention that it must first be established in the
record the good standing of the witness in the community, his reputation
for trustworthiness and reliableness, his honesty and uprightness,
105

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

because such attributes are presumed of the witness unless the contrary
is proved otherwise by the opposing party.
We also reject as without merit petitioners contention that the term
credible as used in the Civil Code should be given the same meaning it
has under the Naturalization Law where the law is mandatory that the
petition for naturalization must be supported by two character witnesses
who must prove their good standing in the community, reputation for
trustworthiness and reliableness, their honesty and uprightness.
In probate proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character
witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a will or testament and
affirm the formalities attendant to said execution. And We agree with the
respondent that the rulings laid down in the cases cited by petitioner
concerning character witnesses in naturalization proceedings are not
applicable to instrumental witnesses to wills executed under the Civil
Code of the Philippines.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three
instrumental witnesses, namely, MatildeOrobia, CelsoGimpaya and
Maria Gimpaya, are competent and credible is satisfactorily supported by
the evidence as found by the respondent Court of Appeals, which findings
of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon.
Petitioner cites American authorities that competency and credibility of a
witness are not synonymous terms and one may be a competent witness
and yet not a credible one.
She exacerbates that there is no evidence on record to show that
the instrumental witnesses are credible in themselves, that is,
that they are of good standing in the community since one was a
family driver by profession and the second the wife of the driver,
a housekeeper.
But the relation of employer and employee much less the humble social
or financial position of a person do not disqualify him to be a competent
testamentary witness.
In the strict sense, the competency of a person to be an instrumental
witness to a will is determined by the statute, that is Art. 820 and 821, Civil
Code, whereas his credibility depends on the appreciation of his testimony

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

and arises from the belief and conclusion of the Court that said witness is
telling the truth.
Thus, in the case of Vda. deAroyo v. El Beaterio del Santissimo Rosario de
Molo, No. L-22005, May 3, 1968, the Supreme Court held and ruled that:
Competency as a witness is one thing, and it is another to be a credible
witness, so credible that the Court must accept what he says. Trial courts
may allow a person to testify as a witness upon a given matter because
he is competent, but may thereafter decide whether to believe or not to
believe his testimony.
In fine, We state the rule that the instrumental witnesses in order to be
competent must be shown to have the qualifications under Article 820 of
the Civil Code and none of the disqualifications under Article 821 and
for their testimony to be credible, that is worthy of belief and
entitled to credence, it is not mandatory that evidence be first
established on record that the witnesses have a good standing in
the community or that they are honest and upright or reputed to
be trustworthy and reliable, for a person is presumed to be such
unless the contrary is established otherwise.
In other words, the instrumental witnesses must be competent
and their testimonies must be credible before the court allows
the probate of the will they have attested.
We, therefore, reject petitioners position that it was fatal for
respondent not to have introduced prior and independent proof
of the fact that the witnesses were credible witnesses, that is,
that they have a good standing in the community and reputed to
be trustworthy and reliable.
MOLO VS. MOLO
90 Phil 37

Where the act of destruction is connected with the making of another will so
as fairly to raise the inference that the testator meant the revocation of the
old to depend upon the efficacy of the new disposition intended to be
substituted, the revocation will be conditional and dependent upon the

106

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


efficacy of the new disposition; and if for any reason, the new will intended
to be made as a substitute
is inoperative, the revocation fails and the original will remains in full force
(Vda. De Molo vs. Molo)
FACTS:
1. Mariano Molo died on January 24, 1941 without leaving any forced
heir either in the descending or ascending line.
2. His wife Juana Molo (petitioner) survived him, and by his nieces and
nephew Luz, Gliceria and Cornelio, all surnamed Molo (oppositorsappellants).
3. Oppositors appellants were the legitimate children of a deceased
brother of the testator.
4. Mariano left two wills, one executed on August 17, 1918 and another
executed on June 20, 1939
5. In both the 1918 and 1939 wills Juana was instituted as his universal
heir.
6. The latter will contains a clause, which expressly revokes the will
executed in 1918.
7. Juana Molo filed in the CFI a petition seeking the probate of the will
executed in 1939.
8. The court rendered a decision denying the probate of said will on the
ground that the petitioner failed to prove that the same was
executed in accordance with law.
9. In view of the disallowance of the will, the widow filed another
petition for the probate of the will executed by the deceased on
August 18, 1918.
10. The oppositors filed an opposition to the petition contending that,
notwithstanding the disallowance of the 1939 will, the revocatory
clause is valid and still has the effect of nullifying the prior will of
1918.
11. Likewise, regardless of the revocatory clause, said will of 1918 cannot
still be given effect because of the presumption that the testator
himself deliberately revoked it.
12. The will of 1918 was admitted to probate.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

13. Hence this appeal.


ISSUE:
1. Was the admittance into probate proper?
2. What is the doctrine of dependent relative revocation?
HELD:
o A subsequent will containing a clause revoking a previous will, having been
disallowed, for the reason that it was not executed in conformity with the
provisions of law as to the making of wills, cannot produce the effect of
annulling the previous will, inasmuch as said revocatory clause is void.
o The doctrine of dependent relative revocation is usually applied where the
testator cancels or destroys a will or executed an instrument intended to
revoke a will with a present intention to make a new testamentary
disposition as a substitute for the old, and the new disposition is not made
or, if made, fails to effect for same reason.
o The failure of the new testamentary disposition, upon whose validity the
revocation depends, is equivalent to the non-fulfillment of a suspensive
condition, and hence prevents the revocation of the original will.
o But a mere intent to make at some time a will in place of that destroyed
will not render the destruction conditional. It must appear that the
revocation is dependent upon the valid execution of a new will.
o Even in the supposition that the destruction of the original will by the
testator could be presumed from the failure of the petitioner to produce it
in court, such destruction cannot have the effect of defeating the prior will
of 1918 because of the fact that it is founded on the mistaken belief that
the will of 1939 has been validly executed and would be given due effect.
o The theory on which the principle of dependent relative revocation is
predicated in that the testator did not intend to die intestate. And this
intention is clearly manifest when he executed two wills on different
occasions and instituted his wife as his universal heir. There can therefore
be no mistake as to his intention of dying testate.
PS: Sorry, the digests is from the net and doctrine from beda reviewer. I
revalidated thou the digest and added some. Thank you.
107

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

In the mater of the estate of Jesus de Leon.IGNACIA DIAZ, petitionerappellant, vs. ANA DE LEON, opponent-appellee.

original will herein presented for probate having been destroyed with
animorevocandi, cannot now be probated as the will and last
testament of Jesus de Leon.
DECISION: Judgement is affirmed

G.R. No. 17714; May 31, 1922; ROMUALDEZ; Chants


FACTS: NO FACTS
ISSUE: 1. Whether or to the will executed by Jesus de Leon, now, was revoked
by him? YES
HELD:
1. De Leon revoked the will

petitioner denies such revocation, while the contestant affirms the


same by alleging that the testator revoked his will by destroying it, and
by executing another will expressly revoking the former.
second will executed by the deceased is not cloth with all the
necessary requisites to constitute a sufficient revocation
o the destruction of a will animorevocandiconstitutes, in itself,
a sufficient revocation
it appears that the testator, shortly after the execution of the first will
in question, asked that the same be returned to him
o instrument was returned to the testator who ordered his
servant to tear the document.
o done in his presence and before a nurse who testified to this
effect.
o the testator, being asked by Dr. Cornelio Mapa about the will,
said that it had been destroyed.
intention of revoking the will is manifest from the established fact that
the testator was anxious to withdraw or change the provisions he had
made in his first will
fact is disclosed by the testator's own statements to the witnesses
Canto and the Mother Superior of the Hospital where he was
confined.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO, ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO,


CONSTANCIO MALOTO, PURIFICACION MIRAFLOR, ROMAN CATHOLIC
CHURCH OF MOLO, AND ASILO DE MOLO, petitioners, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, PANFILO MALOTO AND FELINO MALOTO, respondents.
G.R. No. 76464 February 29, 1988
SARMIENTO, J.:
FACTS:
1. 1963 - The heirs of Adriana Maloto, her niece and nephews, commenced
an intestate proceeding for the settlement of Adrianas estate, believing
that she did not leave behind a last will and testament.
2. 1964 - However, while the case was still in progress, the parties Aldina,
Constancio, Panfilo, and Felino executed an agreement of extrajudicial
settlement of Adriana's estate.
division of the estate into four equal parts among the parties
3. The Malotos then presented the extrajudicial settlement agreement to the
trial court for approval which the court did.
4. 1967 the purported will (KatapusanngPagbubulat-an) was discovered by
Atty. Palma, a former associate of Adrianas counsel, dated January 3, 1940
While Panfilo and Felino are still named as heirs in the said will, Aldina
and Constancio are bequeathed much bigger and more valuable
shares in the estate of Adriana than what they received by virtue of
the agreement of extrajudicial settlement they had earlier signed.
The will likewise gives devises and legacies to other parties, among
them being the petitioners Asilo de Molo, the Roman Catholic Church
of Molo, and PurificacionMiraflor.
5. The document was submitted to the office of the clerk of the Court of First
Instance of Iloilo.
6. Thus, Aldina and Constancio, joined by the other devisees and legatees
named in the will, filed a motion for reconsideration and annulment of the
proceedings therein and for the allowance of the will
Trial court denied their motion

108

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


7.

8.

The petitioner came to the SC by way of a petition for certiorari and


mandamus assailing the orders of the trial court.
Petition dismissed and advised that a separate proceeding for the
probate of the alleged will would be the appropriate vehicle to thresh
out the matters raised by the petitioners.
The appellate court found as inconclusive the matter on whether or not
the document or papers allegedly burned by the househelp of Adriana,
Guadalupe MalotoVda. de Coral, upon instructions of the testatrix, was
indeed the will, contradicted itself and found that the will had been
revoked.
The presence of animus revocandi in the destruction of the will had,
nevertheless, been sufficiently proven.
Finding based on the facts that the document was not in the two safes
in Adriana's residence, by the testatrix going to the residence of Atty.
Hervas to retrieve a copy of the will left in the latter's possession, and,
her seeking the services of Atty. Palma in order to have a new will
drawn up.

revoking it, by the testator himself, or by some other person in his presence, and
by his express direction. If burned, torn cancelled, or obliterated by some other
person, without the express direction of the testator, the will may still be
established, and the estate distributed in accordance therewith, if its contents,
and due execution, and the fact of its unauthorized destruction, cancellation, or
obliteration are established according to the Rules of Court. (Emphasis
Supplied.)
1.

2.
ISSUES:
1. Did Adriana have testamentary capacity, and was there due execution of
the purported will? YES
2. Was Adrianas will effectively revoked? NO
3. Should the probate instituted by the petitioners be dismissed, since it is
already barred by res adjudicate? NO
4. Could revocation be inferred from the fact that major and substantial bulk
of the properties mentioned in the will had been disposed of, while an
insignificant portion of the properties remained at the time of death (of
the testatrix); and, furthermore, more valuable properties have been
acquired after the execution of the will in 1940?
SC: These additional matters raised by the private respondents are
extraneous to this special proceeding, they could only be
appropriately taken up after the will has been duly probated and a
certificate of its allowance issued.
HELD:
Art. 830. No will shall be revoked except in the following cases:
(1) By implication of law; or
(2) By some will, codicil, or other writing executed as provided in case of wills:
or
(3) By burning, tearing, cancelling, or obliterating the will with the intention of
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

3.

4.

It is clear that the physical act of destruction of a will, like burning in this
case, does not per se constitute an effective revocation, unless the
destruction is coupled with animus revocandi on the part of the testator.
It is not imperative that the physical destruction be done by the
testator himself.
It may be performed by another person but under the express
direction and in the presence of the testator.
Of course, it goes without saying that the document destroyed must
be the will itself.
In this case, while animus revocandi or the intention to revoke, may be
conceded, for that is a state of mind, yet that requisite alone would not
suffice.
"Animus revocandi is only one of the necessary elements for the
effective revocation of a last will and testament.
The intention to revoke must be accompanied by the overt physical
act of burning, tearing, obliterating, or cancelling the will carried out
by the testator or by another person in his presence and under his
express direction.
In the case at bar, the document or papers burned by Adriana's maid,
Guadalupe, was: 1) not satisfactorily established to be a will at all, much
less the will of Adriana Maloto; 2) the burning was not proven to have
been done under the express direction of Adriana, and 3) the burning was
not in her presence.
Both witnesses, Guadalupe and Eladio, were one in stating that they were
the only ones present at the place where the stove (presumably in the
kitchen) was located in which the papers proffered as a will were burned.
Nowhere in the records before us does it appear that the two
witnesses, Guadalupe Vda. de Corral and EladioItchon, both illiterates,
were unequivocably positive that the document burned was indeed
Adriana's will.
Guadalupe, we think, believed that the papers she destroyed was the
will only because, according to her, Adriana told her so.
109

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

5.

6.

Eladio, on the other hand, obtained his information that the burned
document was the will because Guadalupe told him so, thus, his
testimony on this point is double hearsay.
"(it) is an important matter of public interest that a purported win is not
denied legalization on dubious grounds. Otherwise, the very institution of
testamentary succession will be shaken to its very foundations ...."
The doctrine of res adjudicata finds no application in the present
controversy.
For one, there is yet, strictly speaking, no final judgment rendered
insofar as the probate of Adriana Maloto's will is concerned, since the
decision of the trial court in Special Proceeding No. 1736, although
final, involved only the intestate settlement of the estate of Adriana.
The trial court, in the intestate proceeding, was without jurisdiction to
rule on the probate of the contested will.
Thus, there is likewise no Identity between the cause of action in
intestate proceeding and that in an action for probate.
Be that as it may, it would be remembered that it was precisely
because of our ruling in G.R. No. L-30479 that the petitioners
instituted this separate action for the probate of the late Adriana
Maloto's will.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING and SETTING ASIDE the


Decision dated June 7, 1985 and the Resolution dated October 22, 1986, of the
respondent Court of Appeals, and a new one ENTERED for the allowance of
Adriana Maloto's last will and testament. This Decision is IMMEDIATELY
EXECUTORY.
CELLES

Gago v Mamuyac, 49 Phil. 902

SUPRA: TESTATE ESTATE OF FELICIDAD ESGUERRA ALTO-YAP deceased.


FAUSTO E. GAN, petitioner-appellant, vs.ILDEFONSO YAP, oppositor-appellee.
G.R. No. L-12190; August 30, 1958; P: Bengzon; By: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: The intention of the law is to give the near relatives the choice of
either complying with the will if they think it authentic, or to oppose it, if they

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

think it spurious. Such purpose is frustrated when the document is not


presented for their examination.
Nature: Appeal on the denial to probate
Facts:
7.
8.

FelicidadEsguerra Alto Yap died of heart failure </3


Fausto E. Gan initiated them proceedings in the Manila CFI with a petition
for the probate of a holographic will
9. This was opposedby her surviving husband Ildefonso Yap asserted that
the deceased had not left any will, nor executed any testament during her
lifetime.
10. After hearing both parties, Hon. Ramon R. San Jose, Judge, refused to
probate the alleged will.
The motion for reconsideration failed, hence this appeal.
11. The will itself was not presented. Petitioner tried to establish its contents
and due execution by the statements in open court of FelinaEsguerra,
Primitivo Reyes, Socorro Olarte and Rosario Gan Jimenez. Summarized as
follows:
FelicidadEsguerra mentioned to her first cousin, Vicente Esguerra,
her desire to make a will. She confided however that it would be
useless if her husband discovered or knew about it.
Vicente sought advice from bar reviewing nephew. The latter
replied it could be done without any witness, provided the
document was entirely in her handwriting, signed and dated by
her.
Felicidad wrote, signed and dated a holographic will substantially
of the tenor above transcribed, in the presence of her niece,
FelinaEsguerra (daughter of Vicente), who was invited to read it.
Later, Felicidad was visited by a distant relative, Primitivo Reyes,
and she allowed him to read the will in the presence of
FelinaEsguerra, who again read it
Days later, Socorro Olartea cousin, and Rosario Gan Jimenez, a
niece visterd. To these she showed the will, again in the presence
of FelinaEsguerra, who read it for the third time.
When Felicidad was confined Ildefonso tried to get from Felina
the will which was contained in the purse. She read the will for
the last time in the toilet before he gave it to him.

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Two persons swore that on the alleged day the will was made that
Mrs.FelicidadEsguerra Yap made no will, and could have made no
will on that day.
12. The trial judge refused to credit the petitioner's evidence for several
reasons, the most important of which were these:
If she wanted to keep the will a secret it was strange to have done
it in front of a witness knowing it wasnt necessary.
It is improbable to have allowed others to read the will if it is to
be kept secret
If the intention was to conceal why was the will carried in the
purse where there is a big chance that the husband would acquire
of it and destroy it.
Issue:
May a holographic will be probated upon the testimony of witnesses who have
allegedly seen it and who declare that it was in the handwriting of the testator?

10.

11.
Ruling:
8. In the matter of holographic wills, no such guaranties of truth and veracity
are demanded, since they need no witnesses; provided however, that they
are "entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself."
9. "In the probate of a holographic will" says the New Civil Code, "it shall be
necessary that at least one witness who knows the handwriting and
signature of the testator explicitly declare that the will and the signature
are in the handwriting of the testator.
If the will is contested, at least three such witnesses shall be
required.
In the absence of any such witnesses, (familiar with decedent's
handwriting) and if the court deem it necessary, expert testimony
may be resorted to."
The witnesses so presented do not need to have seen the
execution of the holographic will.
However, the oppositor may present other witnesses who also
know the testator's handwriting, or some expert witnesses, who
after comparing the will with other writings or letters of the
deceased, have come to the conclusion that such will has not
been written by the hand of the deceased.
And the court, in view of such contradictory testimony may use its
own visual sense, and decide in the face of the document,

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

12.

13.

whether the will submitted to it has indeed been written by the


testator.
Obviously, when the will itself is not submitted, these means of
opposition, and of assessing the evidence are not available. And then the
3
only guaranty of authenticity the testator's handwriting has
disappeared.
The Rules of Court, (Rule 77) approved in 1940 allow proof (and
probate) of a lost or destroyed will by secondary evidence the
testimony of witnesses, in lieu of the original document. Yet such
Rules could not have contemplated holographic wills which could
not then be validly made here.
i. Spanish commentators agree that one of the greatest
objections to the holographic will is that it may be lost
or stolen an implied admission that such loss or theft
renders it useless..
The Civil Code requires it to be protocoled and presented to the judge,
(Art. 689) who shall subscribe it and require its identity to be established
by the three witnesses who depose that they have no reasonable doubt
that the will was written by the testator
And if the judge considers that the identity of the will has been
proven he shall order that it be filed
All these, imply presentation of the will itself
The intention of the law is to give the near relatives the choice of either
complying with the will if they think it authentic, or to oppose it, if they
think it spurious. Such purpose is frustrated when the document is not
presented for their examination.
In the decision of the Supreme Court of Spain,
which denied protocolization or probate to a document
containing testamentary dispositions in the handwriting of the
deceased, but apparently mutilated, the signature and some
words having been torn from it.
All of which can only mean: the courts will not distribute the
property of the deceased in accordance with his holographic will,
unless they are shown his handwriting and signature.
The conclusion is that the execution and the contents of a lost or
destroyed holographic will may not be proved by the bare testimony of
witnesses who have seen and/or read such will.
In the first, the only guarantee of authenticity is the handwriting
itself;

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

in the second, the testimony of the subscribing or instrumental


witnesses (and of the notary, now).
The loss of the holographic will entails the loss of the only
medium of proof; if the ordinary will is lost, the subscribing
witnesses are available to authenticate.
In the case of holographic wills, if oral testimony were
admissible only one man could engineer the fraud this way: after
making a clever or passable imitation of the handwriting and
signature of the deceased, he may contrive to let three honest
and credible witnesses see and read the forgery; and the latter,
having no interest, could easily fall for it, and in court they would
in all good faith affirm its genuineness and authenticity.
And considering that the holographic will may consist of two or
three pages, and only one of them need be signed, the
substitution of the unsigned pages, which may be the most
important ones, may go undetected.
One more fundamental difference: in the case of a lost will, the
three subscribing witnesses would be testifying to a fact which
they saw, namely the act of the testator of subscribing the will;
whereas in the case of a lost holographic will, the witnesses
would testify as to their opinion of the handwriting which they
allegedly saw, an opinion which can not be tested in court, nor
directly contradicted by the oppositors, because the handwriting
itself is not at hand.
14. In addition to the dubious circumstances described in the appealed
decision, the Supreme Court find it hard to believe that the deceased
should show her will precisely to relatives who had received nothing from
it
These could pester her into amending her will to give them a
share, or threaten to reveal its execution to her husband Ildefonso
Yap.

And this leads to another point: if she wanted so much to conceal


the will from her husband, why did she not entrust it to her
beneficiaries? Opportunity to do so was not lacking
Decision: Judgment affirmed
SUPRA: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF RICARDO
B. BONILLA deceased, MARCELA RODELAS, petitioner-appellant,
vs.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

AMPARO ARANZA, ET AL., oppositors-appellees, ATTY. LORENZO


SUMULONG, intervenor.
G.R. No. L-58509 December 7, 1982
RELOVA, J.:

FACTS:
4. Probate of Ricardo B. Bonillas Holographic Will petition filed by Marcela
Rodelas
5. Opposition lies mainly on the ground that: Lost or destroyed holographic
wills cannot be proved by secondary evidence unlike ordinary wills
6. TC: Petition dismissed
Once the original copy of the holographic will is lost, a copy thereof
cannot stand in lieu of the original.
The alleged holographic will was executed on January 25, 1962 while
Ricardo B. Bonilla died on May 13, 1976. In view of the lapse of more
than 14 years from the time of the execution of the will to the death
of the decedent, the fact that the original of the will could not be
located shows to our mind that the decedent had discarded before his
death his allegedly missing Holographic Will.
ISSUE: May a holographic will, which was lost or cannot be found, be proved by
means of a photostatic copy? YES
HELD:
7. If the holographic will has been lost or destroyed and no other copy is
available, the will can not be probated because the best and only evidence
is the handwriting of the testator in said will.
8. It is necessary that there be a comparison between sample handwritten
statements of the testator and the handwritten will.
9. But, a photostatic copy or xerox copy of the holographic will may be
allowed because comparison can be made with the standard writings of
the testator.
10. In the case of Gan vs. Yap, 104 PHIL. 509, the Court ruled that "the
execution and the contents of a lost or destroyed holographic will may not
be proved by the bare testimony of witnesses who have seen and/or read
such will. The will itself must be presented; otherwise, it shall produce no
effect. The law regards the document itself as material proof of
authenticity."

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11. But, in Footnote 8 of said decision, it says that "Perhaps it may be proved
by a photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or carbon
copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the authenticity of the
handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and tested before the
probate court,"
12. Evidently, the photostatic or xerox copy of the lost or destroyed
holographic will may be admitted because then the authenticity of the
handwriting of the deceased can be determined by the probate court.

CRESENCIANA TUBO RODRIGUEZ (now deceased), substituted by SUSANA A.


LLAGAS, petitioner, vs. EVANGELINE RODRIGUEZ, BELEN RODRIGUEZ and
BUENAVENTURA RODRIGUEZ, respondents
G.R. No. 175720. September 11, 2007. J. Ynarez-Santiago
(Bon)
Doctrine: Before any will can have force or validity it must be probatedthis
cannot be dispensed with and is a matter of public policy; A Partition
Agreement which was executed pursuant to a will that was not probated can
not be given effect.
Facts:
1.
2.

3.

4.

Juanito Rodriguez owned a five-door apartment.


He later executed a HulingHabilin at Testamento giving
a. petitioner CresencianaTubo Rodriguez, his live-in partner,
apartments D and E, and
b. his children Benjamin Rodriguez (the deceased husband of
respondent Evangeline Rodriguez), apartment A,
c. respondent Buenaventura Rodriguez, apartment B, and
d. respondent Belen Rodriguez, apartment C.
But in June 1984, Juanito executed a Deed of Absolute Sale over the
property in favor of petitioner. Thus a new TCT was issued in favor of
the petitioner.
Petitioner later filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the
respondents, alleging
a. that she is the lawful and registered owner of the property
b. that in 1984, she allowed respondents Evangeline,
Buenaventura and Belen, out of kindness and tolerance, to
personally occupy units A, B and D, respectively but the

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.
6.

Respondents claimed ownership over the subject property by


succession.
They presented as evidence among others the HulingHabilin at
Testamento by Juanito Rodriguez and the Partition Agreement
wherein they argue that the petitioner wasnt a party at all. Note that
the HulingHabilin was not probated.

Issue:
Can the respondents be considered as a co-owner of the subject property given
the evidence presented? Who is entitled to the subject property?
Held:
NO. Petitioner is entitled to the property
1. Respondents failed to prove their right of possession, as the
HulingHabilin at Testamento and the Partition Agreement have no
legal effect since the will has not been probated.
Before any will can have force or validity it must be probated.
This cannot be dispensed with and is a matter of public
policy.

Article 838 of the Civil Code mandates that [n]o will shall
pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and
allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.
As the will was not probated, the Partition Agreement which
was executed pursuant thereto can not be given effect. Thus,
the fact that petitioner was a party to said agreement
becomes immaterial in the determination of the issue of
possession.
2. Moreover, at the time the deed of sale was executed in favor of the
petitioner, Juanito Rodriguez remained the owner thereof since
ownership would only pass to his heirs at the time of his death.
Thus, as owner of the property, he had the absolute right to
dispose of it during his lifetime.
Heirs of RosendoLasam v Umangen
Facts:
1.

Before the Court is the petition for review on certiorari filed by the
Heirs of RosendoLasam, assailing the CAs decision.

The assailed decision reversed and set aside the RTC decision

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

The lot subject of the unlawful detainer case is situated

7.

who was then occupying the subject lot. VicentaUmengan is the


daughter of AbdonTuringan (son of Isabel Cuntapay by her first
husband).
theheirs of RosendoLasam alleged that they are the owners of the
subject lot, having inherited it from their father.

in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. It is the eastern half portion of Lot No.

RosendoLasam was allegedly the sole heir of the deceased Pedro


Cuntapay through Isabel Cuntapay.

5427 and Lot No. 990.

During his lifetime, RosendoLasam allegedly temporarily allowed


VicentaUmengan to occupy the subject lot sometime in 1955.

The latter and her husband allegedly promised that they would
vacate the subject lot upon demand.

3.

These lots are registered in the names of the original owners, spouses

4.

Pedro Cuntapay and Leona Bunagan.


In an instrument denominated as Deed of Confirmation and
acknowledged before a notary public on June 14, 1979,

5.

and dismissed, for lack of merit, the complaint for unlawful


detainer file by the said heirs against respondent
VicentaUmengan.

the heirs of the said spouses conveyed the ownership of Lots Nos.
990 and 5427 in favor of their two children, Irene Cuntapay and
Isabel Cuntapay.

In another instrument entitled Partition Agreement and


acknowledged before a notary public on December 28, 1979,

it was agreed that the eastern half portion (subject lot) of Lots
Nos. 990 and 5427 shall belong to the heirs of Isabel Cuntapay.

On the other hand, the remaining portion thereof (the west


portion) shall belong to the heirs of Irene Cuntapay. The subject
lot (eastern half portion) has an area of 554 sq m.

Isabel Cuntapayhad four children by her first husband, Domingo

8.

However, despite written notice and demand by the heirs of


RosendoLasam, VicentaUmengan allegedly unlawfully refused to
vacate the subject lot and continued to possess the same.
In her Answer with Counterclaim, VicentaUmengan specifically denied
the material allegations in the complaint.

She countered that when Isabel Cuntapay passed away, the


subject lot was inherited by her six children by her first and
second marriages through intestate succession.

It was further alleged by VicentaUmengan that her father,


AbdonTuringan, purchased the respective 1/6 shares in the
subject lot of his siblings Maria and Sado

Prior thereto, Rufo already sold his 1/6 share in the subject lot to
VicentaUmengan and her husband as evidenced by the Deed of
Sale dated June 14, 1961

Also on June 14, 1961, Abdon donated his 1/6 share in the subject
lot to her daughter VicentaUmengan as evidenced by the Deed of
Donation

Turingan, namely:

Abdon, Sado (deceased), Rufo and Maria.


When Domingo Turingan passed away, Isabel Cuntapay
remarried Mariano Lasam.

6.

She had two other children by him, namely: Trinidad and

Rosendo.
the heirs of RosendoLasam (son of Isabel Cuntapay by her second
husband) filed with the MTCC a complaint for unlawful detainer
against VicentaUmengan,

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

According to VicentaUmengan, the children of Isabel Cuntapay by


her second husband (Rosendo and Trinidad Lasam) own only 2/6
portion of the subject lot
9. MTCC rendered in favor of the petitioners. In ruling, they give
credence to the newly discovered last will and testament executed by
Isabel Cuntapay where she bequeathed the subject lot to her son,
RosendoLasam
10. On appeal to the RTC, it affirmed the MTCCs decision

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


11. However CA, reversed it on the ground that the last will and testament
did not comply with the formal requirements of the law on succession.

6.

Issue/held: WON the CA erred when it held, on one hand, that the MTCC had
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint as the allegations therein
make out a case for unlawful detainer but, on the other hand, proceeded to
discuss the validity of the last will and testament of Isabel Cuntapay? NO
Rationale:

1.

It is well settled that in ejectment suits, the only issue for resolution is
the physical or material possession of the property involved,
independent of any claim of ownership by any of the party litigants.

2.

4.

hinges her claim of possession on the legal conveyances made to


her by the children of Isabel Cuntapay by her first husband,
namely, Maria, Rufo, Sado and Abdon.

The CA correctly held that, as between the respective claims


of petitioners and respondent, the latter has a better right to
possess the subject lot.
As earlier stated, petitioners rely on the last will and testament of
Isabel Cuntapay that they had allegedly newly discovered.

5.

However, the issue of ownership may be provisionally ruled upon


for the sole purpose of determining who is entitled to
possession de facto.

In this case, the petitioners base their claim of right to possession on


the newly discovered last will and testamen. On the other hand, the
respondents

3.

7.

On the basis of this instrument, the MTCC and RTC ruled that
petitioners have a better right to the possession of the subject lot

it may be changed or revoked; and until admitted to probate, it


has no effect whatever and no right can be claimed
thereunder, the law being quite explicit:

No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is


proved and allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.

Dr. Tolentino, an eminent authority on civil law, also explained that


[b]efore any will can have force or validity it must be probated.

To probate a will means to prove before some officer or tribunal,


vested by law with authority for that purpose,

that the instrument offered to be proved is the last will and


testament of the deceased person whose testamentary act it is
alleged to be,

and that it has been executed, attested and published as required


by law,

andthat the testator was of sound and disposing mind.

the subject lot because, without having been probated, the said
last will and testament could not be the source of any right.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

It is a proceeding to establish the validity of the will.


Moreover, the presentation of the will for probate is mandatory
and is a matter of public policy

8.

Isabel Cuntapays last will and testament, which has not been
probated, has no effect whatever and petitioners cannot claim any
right thereunder.

9.

Contrary to the claim of petitioners, the dismissal of respondents


action for partition in Civil Case No. 4917 before the RTC

because, following the law on succession, it should be respected


and should prevail over intestate succession.

However, contrary to the ruling of the MTCC and RTC, the purported
last will and testament of Isabel Cuntapay could not properly be
relied upon to establish petitioners right to possess

In Caiza v. Court of Appeals,the Court ruled that: [a] will is


essentially ambulatory; at any time prior to the testators death,

does not constitute res judicata on the matter of the validity of


the said conveyances or even as to the issue of the ownership of
the subject lot.

10 . To recall, it was already agreed by the heirs of the said spouses in a


Partition Agreement dated December 28, 1979 that the subject lot
would belong to Isabel Cuntapay.

The latter died leaving her six children by both marriages as


heirs.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Considering that her purported last will and testament has, as


yet, no force and effect for not having been probated, her six
children are deemed to be co-owners of the subject lot having
their respective pro indiviso shares.

6.

The conveyances made by the children of Isabel Cuntapay by her


first marriage of their respective pro indiviso shares in the subject
lot to respondent are valid

7.
8.

because the law recognizes the substantive right of heirs to


dispose of their ideal share in the co-heirship and/co-ownership
among the heirs.

Disposition: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The


assailed Decision dated February 16, 2005 and the Resolution dated May 17,
2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 80032 are AFFIRMED.
MANINANG VS. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R.No. L-57848; June 19, 1982
FACTS:
1. On May 21, 1977, ClemenciaAseneta, single, died at the Manila
Sanitarium Hospital at age 81.
2. She left a holographic will, the pertinent portions of which are quoted
hereunder:
It is my will that all my real properties located in Manila, Makati,
Quezon City, Albay and Legaspi City and all my personal properties
shall be inherited upon my death by Dra. Soledad L. Maninang with
whose family I have lived continuously for around the last 30 years
now.
3. On June 9, 1977, petitioner Soledad Maninang filed a Petition for
probate of the Will of the decedent with the Court of First InstanceBranch IV, Quezon City
4. On July 25, 1977, herein respondent Bernardo Aseneta, who, as the
adopted son, claims to be the sole heir of decedent ClemenciaAseneta,
instituted intestate proceedings with the Court of First Instance-Branch
XI, Pasig, Rizal
5. Testate and Intestate Cases were ordered consolidated before Branch XI,
presided by respondent Judge.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Respondent Bernardo then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Testate Case


on the ground that the holographic will was null and void because he, as
the only compulsory heir, was preterited and, therefore, intestacy should
ensue.
the lower Court ordered the dismissal of the Testate Case in this wise:
On April 28, 1981, respondent Court denied certiorari and ruled that the
trial Judge's Order of dismissal was final in nature as it finally disposed
of the Testate Case and, therefore, appeal was the proper remedy, which
petitioners failed to avail of.

ISSUE:
Was the dismissal of the court a quo of the testate case proper? NO
HELD:
o We find that the Court a quo a quo acted in excess of its jurisdiction
when it dismissed the Testate Case. Generally, the probate of a Will is
mandatory.
o No will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and
allowed in accordance with the Rules of Court.
o The law enjoins the probate of the Will and public policy requires it,
because unless the Will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole
world, the right of a person to dispose of his property by Will may be
rendered nugatory.
o Normally, the probate of a Will does not look into its intrinsic validity.
... The authentication of a will decides no other question than such as
touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with
those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the
validity of wills.
It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or
efficiency (sic) of the provisions, these may be impugned as being
vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication.
o Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will
cannot be entertained in Probate proceeding because its only purpose is
merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance with the
requirements of the law.
116

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

Respondent Bernardo, however, relies on the pronouncement in Nuguid


vs. Nuguid 8, reading:
However, where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic
validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the
Court should meet that issue.
Our ruling in Balanay vs. Hon. Martinez had a similar thrust:
xxxThe probate of a will might become an Idle ceremony if on its face it
appears to be intrinsically void. Where practical considerations
demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even
before it is probated, the court should meet the issue.
The Nuguid and the Balanay cases provide the exception rather than the
rule.
The intrinsic validity of the Wills in those cases was passed upon even
before probate because "practical considerations" so demanded.
Moreover, for the parties in the Nuguid case, the "meat of the
controversy" was the intrinsic validity of the Will; in fact, the parties in
that case "shunted aside the question of whether or not the Will
should be allowed probate."
Not so in the case before us now where the probate of the Will is
insisted on by petitioners and a resolution on the extrinsic validity of
the Will demanded.
Moreover, in the Nuguid case, this Court ruled that the Will was
intrinsically invalid as it completely preterited the parents of the testator.
In the instant case, a crucial issue that calls for resolution is whether
under the terms of the decedent's Will, private respondent had been
preterited or disinherited, and if the latter, whether it was a valid
disinheritance. Preterition and disinheritance are two diverse
concepts.
... Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the
forced heirs or anyone of them, either because they are not mentioned
therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor
are expressly disinherited." (Neri vs. Akutin, 72 Phil. 325).
Disinheritance, "is a testamentary disposition depriving any
compulsory heirs of his share in the legitimate for a cause authorized
by law."
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Disinheritance is always "voluntary", preterition upon the other hand,


is presumed to be "involuntary
The effects of preterition and disinheritance are also totally different.
... The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from
those of disinheritance.
Pretention under Article 854 of the New Civil Code shall annul the
institution of heir. This annulment is in toto, unless in the wail there
are, in addition, testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or
legacies.
In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code, such
disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs", but only
"insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited", which last
phrase was omitted in the case of preterition
Better stated yet, in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that
portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been
illegally deprived.
By virtue of the dismissal of the Testate Case, the determination of that
controversial issue has not been thoroughly considered. We gather from
the assailed Order of the trial Court that its conclusion was that
respondent Bernardo has been preterited
We are of opinion, however, that from the face of the Will, that
conclusion is not indubitable.

SPOUSES ALVARO PASTOR, JR. and MA. ELENA ACHAVAL DE


PASTOR, petitioners, vs.THE COURT OF APPEALS, JUAN Y. REYES, JUDGE OF
BRANCH I, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF CEBU and LEWELLYN BARLITO
QUEMADA, respondents.
G.R. No. L-56340 June 24, 1983
Plana, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. Alvaro Pastor, Sr., a Spanish subject, died in Cebu, survived by his
Spanish wife Sofia Bossio (who also died on October 21, 1966),
a. their two legitimate children Alvaro Pastor, Jr. and Sofia
Pastor de Midgely and an illegitimate child, not natural, by
the name of LewellynBarlitoQuemada

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b.

2.

3.

4.

5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

PASTOR, JR. is a Philippine citizen, having been naturalized in


1936. SOFIA is a Spanish subject. QUEMADA is a Filipino by
his mother's citizenship.
QUEMADA filed a petition for the probate and allowance of an
alleged holographic will of PASTOR, SR. with the Court of First
Instance of Cebu
a. The will contained only one testamentary disposition:
i. A legacy in favor of QUEMADA consisting of 30% of
PASTOR, SR.'s 42% share in the operation by Atlas
Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation
(ATLAS) of some mining claims in Pina-Barot, Cebu.
The Probate Court, upon motion of Quemada and after an ex parte
hearing, appointed him special administrator of the entire estate of
Pastor, Sr., whether or not covered or affected by the holographic will.
Quemada as special administrator, instituted against Pastor, Jr. and his
wife an action for reconveyance of alleged properties of the estate,
which included the properties subject of the legacy and which were in
the names of the spouses Pastor, Jr. and his wife, Maria Elena Achaval
de Pastor,
a. Claimed to be the owners thereof in their own rights, and not
by inheritance.
Pastor, Jr. and his sister Sofia filed their opposition to the petition for
probate and the order appointing Quemada as special administrator.
The Probate Court issued an order allowing the will to probate.
Appealed to the Court of Appeals: the order was affirmed.
On petition for review, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition in a
minute resolution and remanded the same to the Probate Court after
denying reconsideration.
a. For two years after remand of the case to the Probate Court,
Quemada filed pleading after pleading asking for payment of
his legacy and seizure of the properties subject of said legacy.
b. Pastor, Jr. and Sofia opposed these pleadings on the ground
of pendency of the reconveyance suit with another branch of
the Cebu Court of First Instance.
c. All pleadings remained unacted upon by the Probate Court.
While the reconveyance suit was still being litigated in Branch IX of the
Court of First Instance of Cebu, the Probate Court issued the now
assailed Order of Execution and Garnishment, resolving the question
of ownership of the royalties payable by Atlas and ruling in effect that
the legacy to Quemada was not inofficious. [There was absolutely no
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

statement or claim in the Order that the Probate Order of December


5, 1972 had previously resolved the issue of ownership of the mining
rights or royalties thereon, nor the intrinsic validity of the holographic
will.]
a. The order of August 20, 1980 found that as per the
holographic will and a written acknowledgment of Pastor, Jr.
of the above 60% interest in the mining claims belonging to
the Pastor Group, 42% belonged to Pastor, Sr. and only 33%
belonged to Pastor, Jr. The remaining 25% belonged to E.
Pelaez, also of the Pastor Group.
b. The Probate Court thus directed Atlas to remit directly to
Quemada the 42% royalties due decedent's estate, of which
Quemada was authorized to retain 75% for himself as legatee
and to deposit 25% with a reputable banking institution for
payment of the estate taxes and other obligations of the
estate.
c. The 33% share of Pastor, Jr. and/or his assignees was
ordered garnished to answer for the accumulated legacy of
Quemada from the time of Pastor, Sr.'s death, which
amounted to over two million pesos.
d. The order being "immediately executory," Quemada
succeeded in obtaining a Writ of Execution and Garnishment
on September 4, 1980, and in serving the same to Atlas on
the same day.
e. The oppositors sought reconsideration thereof on the same
date primarily on the ground that the Probate Court gravely
abused its discretion when it resolved the question of
ownership of the royalties and ordered the payment of
Quemada's legacy after prematurely passing upon the
intrinsic validity of the will.
10. Before the Motion for Reconsideration could be resolved, however,
Pastor, Jr., this time joined by his wife Ma. Elena Achaval de Pastor,
filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition
with a prayer for writ of preliminary injunction.
a. They assailed the order and the writ of execution and
garnishment issued pursuant thereto.
b. The petition was denied.
11. Pastor, Jr. and his wife moved for reconsideration of the Court of
Appeals' decision calling the attention of the appellate court to

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


another order of the Probate Court by which the oppositors' motion
for reconsideration of the Probate Court's order was denied.
Issues:
1. WON the Order of Execution and Garnishment as well as the Orders
subsequently issued allegedly to implement the Probate Order are
valid.
a. Petitioners argument: Before the provisions of the
holographic will can be implemented, the questions of
ownership of the mining properties and the intrinsic validity
of the holographic will must first be resolved with finality.
2. WON whether the Probate Order resolved with finality the questions
of ownership and intrinsic validity.
Held:
1.

1.

Ratio:
2.

3.

No. It was, therefore, error for the assailed implementing Order to


conclude that the Probate Order adjudged with finality the question of
ownership of the mining properties and royalties, and that, premised
on this conclusion, the dispositive portion of the said Probate Order
directed the special administrator to pay the legacy in dispute.
No. Nowhere in the dispositive portion is there a declaration of
ownership of specific properties.

On the issue of ownership


a. In a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the issue by
and large is restricted to the extrinsic validity of the will, i.e.,
whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed
the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed by
law.
b. As a rule, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter
which the probate court cannot resolve with finality.
c. For the purpose of determining whether a certain property
should or should not be included in the inventory of estate
properties, the Probate Court may pass upon the title
thereto, but such determination is provisional, not conclusive,
and is subject to the final decision in a separate action to
resolve title. (Valero Vda. de Rodriguez v Court of Appeals, 91
SCRA 540)
The rule is that execution of a judgment must conform to that decreed
in the dispositive part of the decision.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

a.

b.

However, in case of ambiguity or uncertainty, the body of the


decision may be scanned for guidance in construing the
judgment.
The Order sought to be executed by the assailed Order of
Execution is the Probate Order of December 5, 1972 which
allegedly resolved the question of ownership of the disputed
mining properties. The said Probate Order enumerated the
issues before the Probate Court, thus:
i. Specifically placed in issue with respect to the
probate proceedings are:

(a) whether or not the holographic will (Exhibit "J") has lost its efficacy as the
last will and testament upon the death of Alvaro Pastor, Sr. on June 5, 1966, in
Cebu City, Philippines;
(b) whether or not the said will has been executed with all the formalities
required by law;
(c) did the late presentation of the holographic will affect the validity of the
same?
ii. Issues in the Administration Proceedings are as follows:
(1) Was the exparte appointment of petitioner as special administrator valid
and proper?
(2) Is there any indispensable necessity for the estate of the decedent to be
placed under administration? (3) Whether or not petition (sic) qualified to be a
special administrator of the estate; and (4) Whether or not the properties listed
in the inventory (submitted by the special administrator but not approved by
the Probate Court) are to be excluded.
4. Nowhere in the dispositive portion is there a declaration of
ownership of specific properties.
a. On the contrary, it is manifest that ownership was not
resolved.
b. For it confined itself to the question of extrinsic validity of
the will, and the need for and propriety of appointing a
special administrator.
c. Thus, it allowed and approved the holographic will "with
respect to its extrinsic validity, the same having been duly
authenticated pursuant to the requisites or solemnities
prescribed by law."
d. It declared that the intestate estate administration aspect
must proceed "subject to the outcome of the suit for
reconveyance of ownership and possession of real and
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5.

6.

personal properties x xx." (Parenthetically, although the


statement refers only to the "intestate" aspect, it defies
understanding how ownership by the estate of some
properties could be deemed finally resolved for purposes of
testate administration, but not so for intestate purposes. Can
the estate be the owner of a property for testate but not for
intestate purposes?)
e. Then again, the Probate Order (while indeed it does not
direct the implementation of the legacy) conditionally stated
that the intestate administration aspect must proceed
"unless x xx it is proven x xx that the legacy to be given and
delivered to the petitioner does not exceed the free portion
of the estate of the testator," which clearly implies that the
issue of impairment of legitime (an aspect of intrinsic validity)
was in fact not resolved.
f. Finally, the Probate Order did not rule on the propriety of
allowing Quemada to remain as special administrator of
estate properties not covered by the holographic will,
"considering that this (probate) order should have been
properly issued solely as a resolution of the issue of whether
or not to allow andapprove the aforestated will."
the Probate Order did not resolve the question of ownership of the
properties listed in the estate inventory was appropriate, considering
that the issue of ownership was the very subject of controversy in the
reconveyance suit that was still pending in Branch IX of the Court of
First Instance of Cebu.
On the Issue of Intrinsic Validity of the Holographic Will
a. When the disputed Probate Order was issued x xx, there had
been no liquidation of the community properties of Pastor,
Sr. and his wife.
b. So, also, as of the same date, there had been no prior
definitive determination of the assets of the estate of Pastor,
Sr.
c. There was an inventory of his properties presumably
prepared by the special administrator, but it does not appear
that it was ever the subject of a hearing or that it was
judicially approved.
d. The reconveyance or recovery of properties allegedly owned
but not in the name of Pastor, Sr. was still being litigated in
another court.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

e.

7.

There was no appropriate determination, much less payment,


of the debts of the decedent and his estate. Indeed, it was
only in the Probate Order of December 5, 1972 where the
Probate Court ordered that - x xx a notice be issued and
published pursuant to the provisions of Rule 86 of the Rules
of Court, requiring all persons having money claims against
the decedent to file them in the office of the Branch Clerk of
this Court.
f. All the foregoing deficiencies considered, it was not possible
to determine whether the legacy to Quemada - a fixed share
in a specific property rather than an aliquot part of the
entire net estate of the deceased - would produce an
impairment of the legitime of the compulsory heirs.
g. Finally, there actually was no determination of the intrinsic
validity of the will in other respects.
h. It was obviously for this reason that as late as March 5, 1980
more than 7 years after the Probate Order was issued - the
Probate Court scheduled on March 25, 1980 a hearing on the
intrinsic validity of the will.
Grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction is much
too evident in the actuation of the Probate Court to be overlooked or
condoned.
a. Without a final, authoritative adjudication of the issue as to
what properties compose the estate of Pastor, Sr. in the face
of conflicting claims made by heirs and a non-heir (Ma. Elena
Achaval de Pastor) involving properties not in the name of
the decedent, and in the absence of a resolution on the
intrinsic validity of the will here in question, there was no
basis for the Probate Court to hold in its Probate Order of
1972, which it did not, that private respondent is entitled to
the payment of the questioned legacy.
b. The ordered payment of legacy would be violative of the rule
requiring prior liquidation of the estate of the deceased, i.e.,
the determination of the assets of the estate and payment of
all debts and expenses, before apportionment and
distribution of the residue among the heirs and legatees.
c. Neither has the estate tax been paid on the estate of Pastor,
Sr. Payment therefore of the legacy to Quemada would
collide with the provision of the National Internal Revenue

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Code requiring payment of estate tax before delivery to any
beneficiary of his distributive share of the estate.
d. There is merit in the petitioners' contention that the
probate court generally cannot issue a writ of execution. It
is not supposed to issue a writ of execution because its
orders usually refer to the adjudication of claims against the
estate which the executor or administrator may satisfy
without the necessity of resorting to a writ of execution. The
probate court, as such, does not render any judgment
enforceable by execution.
QUASHA ANCHETA PEA AND NOLASCO LAW OFFICE FOR ITS OWN BEHALF,
AND REPRESENTING THE HEIRS OF RAYMOND TRIVIERE, petitioners, vs. LCN
CONSTRUCTION CORP., respondent.
G.R. No. 174873
August 26, 2008
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Sebastian: Further to the ruling of the Supreme Court in Pastor, J. v Court of
Appeals, this case explicitly permits the partial distribution of the estate of a
deceased person prior to the payment of the debts, under specific conditions.
FACTS:
1. Testator: Raymond Triviere (died on December 14, 1987)
2. Settlement of intestate estate instituted by his widow (January 13, 1988) .
3. Atty. Syquia and Atty. Quasha of the Quasha Law Office, representing the
widow and children of the late Raymond, respectively, were appointed
administrators of the estate of the deceased
As administrators, they incurred expenses for the payment of real
estate taxes, security services, and the preservation and
administration of the estate, as well as litigation expenses.
4. The counsels filed a Motion for payment of their litigation expenses, which
was denied.
5. Atty. Quasha died, and was replaced by Atty. Zapata.
6. Atty. Siquia and Atty. Zapata filed another Motion for payment (granted,
but reduced the sums to be paid)
7. LCN (the claimant) sought recourse from the Court of Appeals (granted),
Petition for Certiorari:
The administrator's claim for attorney's fees, aside from being
prohibited under paragraph 3, Section 7 of Rule 85 is, together with
administration and litigation expenses, in the nature of a claim against

the estate which should be ventilated and resolved pursuant to


Section 8 of Rule 86
The awards violate Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, as there
still exists its (LCN's) unpaid claim
The alleged deliberate failure of the co-administrators to submit an
accounting of the assets and liabilities of the estate does not warrant
the Court's favorable action on the motion for payment.

ISSUES:
1. Was the award in favor of the heirs of Raymond already a distribution of
the residue of the estate?
Petitioners, insist that it is not a distribution, rendering Section 1, Rule
90 of the ROC inapplicable.
2. Did the Court of Appeals err in disallowing the advance award of shares by
the RTC to petitioner children and the widow of the late Raymond Triviere?
NO (Topic: Partial and Advance distribution of estate)
3. Was it proper for the CA to have nullified the award of attorneys fees in
favor of the co-administrators?
HELD:
FOR #1 and #2
1. A perusal of the 12 June 2003 RTC Order would immediately reveal that it
was not yet distributing the residue of the estate.
The said Order grants the payment of certain amounts from the funds
of the estate to the petitioner children and widow of the late
Raymond Triviere considering that they have not received their
respective shares therefrom for more than a decade.
Out of the reported P4,738,558.63 value of the estate, the petitioner
children and widow were being awarded by the RTC, in its 12 June
2003 Order, their shares in the collective amount of P600,000.00.
Evidently, the remaining portion of the estate still needs to be settled.
2. While the awards in favor of petitioner children and widow made was
not yet a distribution of the residue of the estate, given that there was
still a pending claim against the estate, still, they did constitute a partial
and advance distribution of the estate.
Virtually, the petitioner children and widow were already being
awarded shares in the estate, although not all of its obligations had
been paid or provided for.
Section 2, Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly recognizes advance

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


distribution of the estate, thus:
Section 2. Advance distribution in special proceedings. - Notwithstanding a
pending controversy or appeal in proceedings to settle the estate of a
decedent, the court may, in its discretion and upon such terms as it may
deem proper and just, permit that such part of the estate as may not be
affected by the controversy or appeal be distributed among the heirs or
legatees, upon compliance with the conditions set forth in Rule 90 of these
rules. (Emphases supplied.)
3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

The second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court


allows the distribution of the estate prior to the payment of the obligations
mentioned therein, provided that "the distributees, or any of them, gives a
bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment of
said obligations within such time as the court directs."
In sum, although it is within the discretion of the RTC whether or not to
permit the advance distribution of the estate, its exercise of such
discretion should be qualified by the following:
Only part of the estate that is not affected by any pending
controversy or appeal may be the subject of advance distribution
(Section 2, Rule 109); and
The distributees must post a bond, fixed by the court, conditioned
for the payment of outstanding obligations of the estate (second
paragraph of Section 1, Rule 90).
There is no showing that the RTC, in awarding to the petitioner children
and widow their shares in the estate prior to the settlement of all its
obligations, complied with these two requirements or, at the very least,
took the same into consideration.
Taking into account that the claim of LCN against the estate of the late
Raymond Triviere allegedly amounted to P6,016,570.65, already in excess
of the P4,738,558.63 reported total value of the estate, the RTC should
have been more prudent in approving the advance distribution of the
same.
Petitioners earlier invoked Dael v. Intermediate Appellate Court, where the
Court sustained an Order granting partial distribution of an estate.
However, Dael is not even on all fours with the case at bar, given that
the Court therein found that:
Where, however, the estate has sufficient assets to ensure
equitable distribution of the inheritance in accordance with law
and the final judgment in the proceedings and it does not appear
there are unpaid obligations, as contemplated in Rule 90, for
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

which provisions should have been made or a bond required, such


partial distribution may be allowed.
Furthermore, in Dael, the Court actually cautioned that partial
distribution of the decedent's estate pending final termination of the
testate or intestate proceeding should as much as possible be
discouraged by the courts, and, except in extreme cases, such form of
advances of inheritance should not be countenanced.
The reason for this rule is that courts should guard with utmost
zeal and jealousy the estate of the decedent to the end that the
creditors thereof be adequately protected and all the rightful
heirs be assured of their shares in the inheritance.

For #3
1. However, while petitioner Quasha Law Office, serving as counsel of the
Triviere children from the time of death of Atty. Quasha in 1996, is entitled
to attorney's fees and litigation expenses of P100,000.00 as prayed for in
the Motion for Payment dated 3 September 2002, and as awarded by the
RTC in its 12 June 2003 Order, the same may be collected from the shares
of the Triviere children, upon final distribution of the estate, in
consideration of the fact that the Quasha Law Office, indeed, served as
counsel (not anymore as co-administrator), representing and performing
legal services for the Triviere children in the settlement of the estate of
their deceased father.

Tomas JIMENEZ, et al., petitioners, vs. Hon. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE


COURT, et al., respondents.
G.R. No. L-75773, April 17, 1990; Fernan; Chua
FACTS:
1. Leonardo (Lino) Jimenez married ConsolacionUngson with whom he
begot four (4) children, namely: Alberto, Leonardo, Sr., Alejandra and
Angeles.
2. During such marriage, Lino acquired five (5) parcels of land in
Salomague, Bugallon, Pangasinan.
3. When Consolacion died, Lino contracted a second marriage with
GenovevaCaolboy with whom he begot the seven petitioners herein:
Tomas, Visitacion, Digno, Antonio, Amadeo, Modesto and Virginial, all
surnamed Jimenez.
4. After Lino and Genovevas death, Virginia filed a petition before CFI
praying to be appointed as administratix of the properties of the
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

5.

6.

7.
8.

9.

10.

11.
12.
13.

deceased spouses Lino and Genoveva upon which Leonardo Jimenez,


Jr. filed a motion for exclusion of his fathers name and those of his
uncle and aunts contending that they have already received their
inheritance consisting of five (f) parcels of land.
However, in the petition of Virginia, she included the said five (5)
parcels of land in the inventory of the estate of spouses Lino and
Genoveva.
Consequently, Leonardo Jimenez, Jr. moved for the exclusion of these
properties from the inventory contending that such parcels of land
were already adjudicated to his father and to his uncle and aunts.
The probate court ordered the exclusion of the five (5) parcels of land
and denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Virginia.
The latter went to CA on a petition for certiorari and prohibition
seeking the annulment of the orders of the probate court, of which
the CA dismissed.
Subsequently, the petitioners filed an amended complained before
the RTC to recover possession/ownership of the five (5) parcels of land
as part of the estate of Lino and Genoveva.
Private respondents moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the
grounds that the action was barred by prior judgments and by
prescription and laches.
Thereafter, the trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground of
res judicata.
A motion for reconsideration was denied as well as the petition for
certiorari and mandamus filed before the appellate court.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUES:
1.

2.

Whether or not in a settlement proceeding (testate or intestate)


the lower court has jurisdiction to settle questions of ownership?
YES
Whether or not the petitioners present action for the recovery of
possession and ownership of the five (5) parcels of land is barred
by res judicata?

HELD:
1. Petitioners present action for recovery of possession and ownership is
appropriately filed because as a general rule, a probate court can only pass
upon questions of title provisionally.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The patent reason is the probate courts limited jurisdiction and the
principle that questions of title or ownership, which result in inclusion
or exclusion from the inventory of the property, can only be settled in
a separate action.
It has been held that in a special proceeding for the probate of a will,
the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the probate
court cannot resolve with finality.
This pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to intestate
proceedings as in the case at bar.

2. No res judicata
Res judicata does not exist because of the difference in the causes of
actions.
o The other action was for the settlement of the intestate
estate of Lino and Genoveca while the other one was an
action for the recovery of possession and ownership of the
five (5) parcles of land.
o Moreover, while the CFI had jurisdiction, the same was
merely limited jurisdiction.
o Any pronouncement by said court as to title is not conclusive
and could still be attacked in a separate proceeding.
Indeed, the grounds relied upon by private respondents in their
motion to dismiss do not appear to be indubitable.
Res judicata has been shown to be unavailable and the other grounds
of prescription and laches pleaded by private respondents are
seriously disputed.
DECISION: Reversed
OZAETA v CUARTERO
No. L-5597, 31 May 1956
99 Phil 1041
A will executed through undue and improper pressure of influence may be
denied probate by reason of the involuntariness of its execution by the
testator. However, an allegation of undue and improper pressure and
influence must be substantiated by competent evidence to prove that it was
indeed exerted. Mere inferences resulting from circumstances surrounding
the execution of the will do not suffice to justify the denial of probate,

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particularly where the execution of the will was attended by respectable
members of the bar. In addition, even if such undue pressure and influence
were to be proved, the testator would be deemed to have ratified the
contents of the will if, having been given ample opportunity to revoke the
same, he did nothing until the time of this death. This is because while undue
pressure and influence vitiates consent, such vitiation ceases when the undue
pressure and influence ceased. Thus, if the testator did not exercise his
option to revoke or alter the provisions of the will which are not consistent
with his wishes, a presumption arises that he has silently ratified the same.
(Atty. Sebastian)
FACTS:
1. Born in China of chinese parents, Palanca came to the Philippines in 1884
and resided therein the rest of his life. He died a Filipino citizen.
2. In 1894, he married CesareaVictorinaGano y Torres, with whom he begot
three children
3. and on the year thereafter, Palanca lived with Rosa Gonzales and came to
have eight children with her.
4. While living with Rosa, Palanca also sustained relations with another
woman, Maria Cuartero, and by her came to have six children.
5. Realizing in his old age and failing health that life's end was fast
approaching, Palanca made up his mind to legalize his relations with Rosa
Gonzales and give their children a good name.
6. And to put himself right with all the children, legitimate and illegitimate, he
also decided to make a will.
7. The will named the later President Manuel Roxas as executor and it
would appear that after it was signed, the original was put in a sealed
envelop and delivered to him.
8. President Roxas, in turn, entrusted the envelop to his daughter Ruby for
safekeeping, and the latter put it in her trunk.
9. There it remained until 1950, when upon the advice of Atty. J. Chuidian,
whom she consulted on what to do after learning of Palanca's death, she
got the envelop out and opened it.
10. Her father, President Roxas, having already died, Ruby sought advice from
her uncle, former Judge Mamerto
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

11. Roxas, and the latter told her to deliver the will to Justice Roman Ozaeta
whom the will named executor in default of President Roxas.
12. Acting on this advice, Ruby gave the will to Mrs. Roman Ozaeta three days
after Palanca's death.
13. Designated in the will as substitute executor, Roman Ozaeta, filed a
petition in the Court of First Instance of Manila, asking for the probate of
the will,
14. The petition was published together with the date set for its hearing and
thereafter, Maria Cuartero and her six children filed their opposition,
alleging that the will was not executed in accordance with law, that it was
procured through fraud and undue pressure and influence on the part of
some of the beneficiaries or some other person for their benefit, and that
the decedent's signature thereon were procured thru fraud and trickery,
the same having been affixed by him without any intention of making the
document his will.
15. Sebastian Palanca, Palanca's youngest son by his deceased first wife, also
opposed the petition, and in addition to the grounds alleged by Maria
Cuartero and her children, further averred that the provisions of the
alleged will were unjust and contrary to law and prayed that the petition
be denied and that he himself be appointed administrator.
16. Rosa Gonzales and her children also appeared and joined the petition for
probate.
17. After trial, the court rendered a decision allowing the will to probate and
appointing the petitioner Roman Ozaeta executor.
ISSUE: Can the will be disallowed on the ground that it was procured thru
improper influence or pressure? NO
HELD:
As to the charge that the will was procured thru undue and improper pressure
and influence by those who stood to profit therefrom or by some other person
for their benefit,
We note that no direct evidence has been presented to support it.
Appellants, however, maintain that direct evidence of undue influence is
not essential;
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that a contest on the ground of fraud and undue influence may be


waged successfully on circumstantial evidence and that the contestant
is entitled to the benefit of all inferences which may be reasonably
and legitimately derived from established facts; and
appellants then offer the theory that after the petitioner had
succeeded in convincing the decedent - whom they picture to be then
a "very old man suffering from several ailments besides cataract in
both eyes" - to live with him, he (petitioner), with the tolerance and
cooperation of Rosa Gonzales and her children, who were then living
with the decedent in petitioner's house, instilled fear in his mind and
thereafter controlled all his acts in such a way that he could not but do
what he was told and had to sign whatever papers he was asked to
sign.
And that, according to appellants, is how he came to sign the will in
question.
But this seems to us to be farfetched deduction from the established
facts that the decedent was at the time of the execution of the will
already old and somewhat sickly and living with Rosa Gonzales and their
children in petitioner's house.
we find that the imputation of blindness is not substantiated.
On the contrary, Angel Palanca even stated that his father, the
deceased, was still signing checks in 1945,
while Tan Guan Siu, another witness for the appellants, declared that
the deceased still had a good sight in July 1946 and could read papers
by himself in 1949 when he was already living in his house on Taft
Avenue.
It is not denied that the deceased had cataract in both eyes even
before 1941. But Dr. W. H. Waterous, a disinterested witness who was
treating the deceased, testified that the latter's affliction in the eyes
impaired only his "distance vision" and he could still read "in closeup" in June 1946 because his "near vision" was still good.
The decedent, though old and suffering from diabetes would appear
to be still in full possession of his mental faculties and was not so
helpless as appellants would picture him to be, and

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

there is no showing before, during and after the execution of the


will, he was not a master of his will but had to take orders from
somebody.
Moreover, the will was signed by him in the office of a distinguished
lawyer, who died a respected member of this Court,
It is obvious that the claim that the will was obtained thru undue influence
and improper pressure has no substantial factual basis but is more a
matter of conjecture engendered by suspicion which the weight of
authority regards as insufficient to sustain a verdict defeating a will on that
ground.
"It is not enough that there was an opportunity to exercise undue
influence or a possibility that it might have been exercised.
There must be substantial evidence that it was actually exercised."
our conclusion that the will involved in this case cannot be disallowed on
the ground that it was procured thru improper influence or pressure.

(FROM NET)
ISSUE:
Whether or not the declarations in a valid Last Will and Testament may be
admitted as conclusive evidence of an existence of a fact during the lifetime of
the testator.
RULING:
Declarations in a valid Last Will and Testament may be admitted as conclusive
evidence of an existence of a fact during the lifetime of the testator of the said
Will. Palanca executed his will and he made the solemn declaration in said
document that since 1923 and for some years thereafter he maintained
amorous relations with Maria Cuartero and had by her six natural children
whom, according to him, he had liberally fed and supported. He said nothing
about having married Maria; on the contrary, he declared that for grave
reasons he regarded her unworthy of being the guardian of the persons and
property of his children by her and so appointed FelisaJoson de Fernandez and
the Philippine National Bank as guardians of their persons, and property
respectively. On the other hand, in the same will he spoke of his marriage to
Rosa Gonzales and the eight children he had by her, which children according
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to him were legitimated by reason of their subsequent marriage. Said
declaration in the will may not be taken lightly, as a statement of little
significance. When he made said statement he was about 76 years old and
must have felt that he had not many years left to live.

4.

5.
CELLES

Coso v Fernandez Deza, No. 16763, 22 December 1921

LETICIA VALMONTE ORTEGA, petitioner, vs. JOSEFINA C. VALMONTE,


respondent
G.R. No. 157451. December 16, 2005. J. Panganiban
(Bon)
Doctrine: The party challenging the will bears the burden of proving the
existence of fraud at the time of its execution; The burden to show otherwise
shifts to the proponent of the will only upon a showing of credible evidence of
fraud
Facts:
1.
2.

3.

Placido lived for a long time in the United States until he reached
retirement and remained in the Philippines.
Two years after his arrival from the United States and at the age of 80
he wed Josefina who was then 28 years old. A little more than two
years after, Placido died.
Placido executed a notarial last will and testament written in English
and consisting of two (2) pages, and dated June 15, 1983 but
acknowledged only on August 9, 1983.
a. The first page contains the entire testamentary dispositions
and a part of the attestation clause, and was signed at the
end or bottom of that page by the testator and on the left
hand margin by the three instrumental witnesses.
b. The second page contains the continuation of the attestation
clause and the acknowledgment, and was signed by the
witnesses at the end of the attestation clause and again on
the left hand margin.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

Leticia Valmonte Ortega opposed the probate proceedings basically on


the following grounds:
a. Non-compliance with the legal solemnities and formalities in
the execution and attestation of the will; and
b. Mental incapacity of the testator at the time of the execution
of the will as he was then in an advanced state of senility
Particularly, she alleges that respondent, who is the testators wife
and sole beneficiary, conspired with the notary public and the three
attesting witnesses in deceiving Placido to sign it. Deception is
allegedly reflected in the varying dates of the execution and the
attestation of the will.
Petitioner contends that it was highly dubious for a woman at the
prime of her young life [to] almost immediately plunge into marriage
with a man who [was] thrice her age x xx and who happened to be [a]
Fil-American pensionado,

Issue:
Should the will of Placido be probated?
Held:
YES.
1.

The fact that public policy favors the probate of a will does not
necessarily mean that every will presented for probate should be
allowed. The law lays down the procedures and requisites that must
be satisfied for the probate of a will.
a. Article 839 of the Civil Code states the instances when a will
may be disallowed, as follows:
i. If the formalities required by law have not been
complied with;
ii. If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally
incapable of making a will, at the time of its
execution;
iii. If it was executed through force or under duress, or
the influence of fear, or threats;
iv. If it was procured by undue and improper pressure
and influence, on the part of the beneficiary or of
some other person;
v. If the signature of the testator was procured by
fraud;

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2.

3.

FRAUD DOES NOT EXIST. Burden of proof to prove fraud was not
carried by Leticia.
a. Fraud is a trick, secret device, false statement, or pretense,
by which the subject of it is cheated. It may be of such
character that the testator is misled or deceived as to the
nature or contents of the document which he executes, or it
may relate to some extrinsic fact, in consequence of the
deception regarding which the testator is led to make a
certain will which, but for the fraud, he would not have
made.
b. It is a settled doctrine that the omission of some relatives
does not affect the due execution of a will.
c. That the testator was tricked into signing it was not
sufficiently established by the fact that he had instituted his
wife, who was more than fifty years his junior, as the sole
beneficiary; and disregarded petitioner and her family, who
were the ones who had taken the cudgels of taking care of
[the testator] in his twilight years.
d. Moreover, as correctly ruled by the appellate court, the
conflict between the dates appearing on the will does not
invalidate the document, because the law does not even
require that a [notarial] will x xx be executed and
acknowledged on the same occasion.
HE HAS TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY
a. According to Article 799, the three things that the testator
must have the ability to know to be considered of sound
mind are as follows:
i. (1) the nature of the estate to be disposed of,
ii. (2) the proper objects of the testators bounty, and
iii. (3) the character of the testamentary act.
b. It must be noted that despite his advanced age, he was still
able to identify accurately the kinds of property he owned,
the extent of his shares in them and even their locations.

FACTS:
1) Private respondents were the legitimate children of Alejandro
Dorotheo and Aniceta Reyes.
2) After Alejandro's death, petitioner, who claims to have taken care of
Alejandro before he died, filed a special proceeding for the probate of
the latter's last will and testament.
3) Private respondents filed a "Motion To Declare The Will Intrinsically
Void which the trial court granted.
4) Petitioner moved for reconsideration arguing that she is entitled to
some compensation since she took care of Alejandro prior to his death
although she admitted that they were not married to each other.
5) CA denied and dismissal became final and executory.
6) Judge Zain B. Angas of RTC set aside the final and executory Order as
well as the Order directing the issuance of the writ of execution, on
the ground that the order was merely "interlocutory", hence not final
in character.
7) CA nullified the two assailed Orders of RTC.
8) Petitioner filed a motion to reinstate her as executrix of the estate of
the late Alejandro and to maintain the status quo or lease of the
premises thereon to third parties.
9) Private respondents opposed the motion on the ground that
petitioner has no interest in the estate since she is not the lawful wife
of the late Alejandro.
ISSUE: May a last will and testament admitted to probate but declared
intrinsically void in an order that has become final and executory still be given
effect? NO.

Decision: DENIED

RULING:
The petition is without merit. A final and executory decision or order can no
longer be disturbed or reopened no matter how erroneous it may be.
In setting aside the January 30, 1986 Order that has attained finality,
the trial court in effect nullified the entry of judgment made by the
Court of Appeals. It is well settled that a lower court cannot reverse or
set aside decisions or orders of a superior court.

LOURDES L. DOROTHEO
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, NILDA D. QUINTANA, for Herself and as Attorney-in-Fact
of VICENTE DOROTHEO and JOSE DOROTHEO
G.R. No. 108581 December 8, 1999 ; NILO

It should be noted that probate proceedings deals generally with the extrinsic
validity of the will sought to be probated, particularly on three aspects:
1. whether the will submitted is indeed, the decedent's last will and
testament;

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


2.
3.

compliance with the prescribed formalities for the execution of wills;


the testamentary capacity of the testator; and the due execution of
the last will and testament.

Due execution includes a determination of whether the testator was


of sound and disposing mind at the time of its execution.
The intrinsic validity is another matter and questions regarding the
same may still be raised even after the will has been authenticated.
- Thus, it does not necessarily follow that an extrinsically valid last
will and testament is always intrinsically valid.
- Even if the will was validly executed, if the testator provides for
dispositions that deprives or impairs the lawful heirs of their
legitime or rightful inheritance according to the laws on
succession, the unlawful provisions/dispositions thereof cannot
be given effect.
- This is specially so when the courts had already determined in a
final and executory decision that the will is intrinsically void.

Petitioner was privy to the suit calling for the declaration of the
intrinsic invalidity of the will, as she precisely appealed from an
unfavorable order therefrom. Although the final and executory Order
of January 30, 1986 wherein private respondents were declared as the
only heirs do not bind those who are not parties thereto such as the
alleged illegitimate son of the testator, the same constitutes res
judicata with respect to those who were parties to the probate
proceedings.

PETITIONER CONTENDS: that the January 30, 1986 Order is merely


interlocutory, hence it can still be set aside by the trial court.
- Petitioner argues that "an order merely declaring who are heirs
and the shares to which set of heirs is entitled cannot be the basis
of execution to require delivery of shares from one person to
another particularly when no project of partition has been filed."
Supreme Court: The trial court declared in the January 30, 1986 Order that
petitioner is not the legal wife of Alejandro, whose only heirs are his three
legitimate children (petitioners herein), and at the same time it nullified the
will. But it should be noted that in the same Order, the trial court also said that
the estate of the late spouses be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Accordingly, it has no option but to implement that order of


intestate distribution and not to reopen and again re-examine the
intrinsic provisions of the same will.

No intestate distribution of the estate can be done until and unless the
will had failed to pass both its extrinsic and intrinsic validity.
- If the will is extrinsically void, the rules of intestacy apply
regardless of the intrinsic validity thereof.
- If it is extrinsically valid, the next test is to determine its intrinsic
validity that is whether the provisions of the will are valid
according to the laws of succession. In this case, the court had
ruled that the will of Alejandro was extrinsically valid but the
intrinsic provisions thereof were void.
Thus, the rules of intestacy apply as correctly held by the trial court:
- Alejandro's disposition in his will of the alleged share in the
conjugal properties of his late spouse, whom he described as his
"only beloved wife", is not a valid reason to reverse a final and
executory order.
_____________________________________________________________
IN RE: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF RUPERTA
PALAGANAS WITH PRAYER FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL
ADMINISTRATOR, MANUEL MIGUEL PALAGANAS AND BENJAMIN GREGORIO
PALAGANAS, PETITIONERS, VS. ERNESTO PALAGANAS, RESPONDENT.
[G.R. No. 169144, January 26, 2011] NILO; ABAD, J.:
FACTS:
1) Ruperta C. Palaganas (Ruperta), a Filipino who became a naturalized
United States (U.S.) citizen, died single and childless.
2) In the last will and testament she executed in California, she
designated her brother, Sergio C. Palaganas (Sergio), as the executor
of her will for she had left properties in the Philippines and in the U.S.
3) Respondent Ernesto C. Palaganas (Ernesto), another brother of
Ruperta, filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan,
a petition for the probate of Ruperta's will and for his appointment as
special administrator of her estate as ordered by Sergio.
4) Petitioners Manuel Miguel Palaganas (Manuel) and Benjamin Gregorio
Palaganas (Benjamin), nephews of Ruperta, opposed the petition on
the ground that Ruperta's will should not be probated in the
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5)

Philippines but in the U.S. where she executed it to ensure prior


compliance with the legal formalities of the country of its execution
They insist that local courts can only allow probate of such wills if the
proponent proves that:
- the testator has been admitted for probate in such foreign
country,
- the will has been admitted to probate there under its laws,
- the probate court has jurisdiction over the proceedings,
- the law on probate procedure in that foreign country and proof of
compliance with the same, and
- the legal requirements for the valid execution of a will.

ISSUE: whether or not a will executed by a foreigner abroad may be probated


in the Philippines although it has not been previously probated and allowed in
the country where it was executed. Not anymore.
RULING:
Our laws do not prohibit the probate of wills executed by foreigners
abroad although the same have not as yet been probated and allowed
in the countries of their execution. A foreign will can be given legal
effects in our jurisdiction.
Article 816 of the Civil Code states that the will of an alien who is
abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made in accordance with
the formalities prescribed by the law of the place where he resides, or
according to the formalities observed in his country.

Section 1, Rule 73 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if


the decedent is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the RTC of the
province where he has an estate may take cognizance of the
settlement of such estate.
Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 76 further state that the executor, devisee, or
legatee named in the will, or any other person interested in the estate,
may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court
having jurisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same be in
his possession or not, or is lost or destroyed.

Our rules require merely that the petition for the allowance of a will must
show, so far as known to the petitioner:
(a)the jurisdictional facts; (b) the names, ages, and residences of the heirs,
legatees, and devisees of the testator or decedent; (c) the probable value and
character of the property of the estate; (d) the name of the person for whom
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

letters are prayed; and (e) if the will has not been delivered to the court, the
name of the person having custody of it.
Jurisdictional facts refer to the fact of death of the decedent, his
residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate
court is sitting, or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the estate
he left in such province. The rules do not require proof that the
foreign will has already been allowed and probated in the country of
its execution.

Reprobate or re-authentication of a will already probated and allowed


in a foreign country is different from that probate where the will is
presented for the first time before a competent court.
- In reprobate, the local court acknowledges as binding the findings
of the foreign probate court provided its jurisdiction over the
matter can be established.
-

If the instituted heirs do not have the means to go abroad for the
probate of the will, it is as good as depriving them outright of
their inheritance, since our law requires that no will shall pass
either real or personal property unless the will has been proved
and allowed by the proper court.

The assailed RTC order of June 17, 2004 is nothing more than an initial
ruling that the court can take cognizance of the petition for probate of
Ruperta's will and that, in the meantime, it was designating Ernesto as
special administrator of the estate.
- The parties have yet to present evidence of the due execution of
the will, i.e.the testator's state of mind at the time of the
execution and compliance with the formalities required of wills by
the laws of California.
- This explains the trial court's directive for Ernesto to submit the
duly authenticated copy of Ruperta's will and the certified copies
of the Laws of Succession and Probate of Will of California.

EDUARDO G. AGTARAP, Petitioner, vsSEBASTIAN AGTARAP,


JOSEPH AGTARAP, TERESA AGTARAP, WALTER DE SANTOS, and ABELARDO
DAGORO, Respondents.

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G.R. No. 177099
Nachura, J.
(Jeka)

4. Joseph, Gloria, and Teresa filed their answer/opposition.


a.

Facts:

1. Eduardo filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch


114, Pasay City, a verified petition for the judicial settlement of the
estate of his deceased father Joaquin Agtarap (Joaquin). It was
docketed as Special Proceedings No. 94-4055.
a. The petition alleged that Joaquin died intestate
in Pasay City without any known debts or obligations.
b. During his lifetime, Joaquin contracted two marriages, first
with Lucia Garcia (Lucia),and second with Caridad Garcia
(Caridad).
c. Lucia died on April 24, 1924. Joaquin and Lucia had three
childrenJesus (died without issue), Milagros, and Jose
(survived by three children, namely, Gloria, Joseph, and
Teresa).
d. Joaquin married Caridad. They also had three children
Eduardo, Sebastian, and Mercedes (survived by her daughter
Cecile).
2. At the time of his death, Joaquin left two parcels of land with
improvements in Pasay City,
a. Joseph, a grandson of Joaquin, had been leasing and
improving the said realties and had been appropriating for
himself P26,000.00 per month since April 1994.
3. Eduardo further alleged that there was an imperative need to appoint
him as special administrator to take possession and charge of the
estate assets and their civil fruits, pending the appointment of a
regular administrator.
a. In addition, he prayed that an order be issued:
i. Confirming and declaring the named compulsory
heirs of Joaquin who would be entitled to participate
in the estate
ii. Apportioning and allocating unto the named heirs
their aliquot shares in the estate in accordance with
law
iii. Entitling the distributees the right to receive and
enter into possession those parts of the estate
individually awarded to them
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

They alleged that the two subject lots belong to the conjugal
partnership of Joaquin with Lucia, and that, upon Lucias
death in April 1924, they became theproindiviso owners of
the subject properties.
b. They opposed the appointment of Eduardo as administrator
on the following grounds:
i. He is not physically and mentally fit to do so
ii. His interest in the lots is minimal
iii. He does not possess the desire to earn. They
claimed that the best interests of the estate dictate
that Joseph be appointed as special or regular
administrator.
RTC issued a resolution appointing Eduardo as regular administrator of
Joaquins estate.
After the parties were given the opportunity to be heard and to
submit their respective proposed projects of partition, the RTC, on
October 23, 2000, issued an Order of Partition
Eduardo, Sebastian, and oppositors Joseph and Teresa filed their
respective motions for reconsideration.
RTC issued a resolution
a. Denying the motions for reconsideration of Eduardo and
Sebastian, and granting that of Joseph and Teresa.
b. It also declared that the real estate properties belonged to
the conjugal partnership of Joaquin and Lucia.
c. It also directed the modification of the October 23, 2000
Order of Partition to reflect the correct sharing of the heirs.
However, before the RTC could issue a new order of partition, Eduardo
and Sebastian both appealed to the CA.
a. Aggrieved, Sebastian and Eduardo filed their respective
motions for reconsideration
b. CA denied both motions

Issue:
WONRTC, as an intestate court, had jurisdiction to resolve the same.
As to Sebastians and Eduardos common issue on the ownership of
the subject real properties
Held: Yes. The determination of whether the subject properties are conjugal is
but collateral to the probate courts jurisdiction to settle the estate of Joaquin

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c.
Ratio:

1.

2.

The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a
probate or an intestate court, relates only to matters having to do
with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of
deceased persons, but does not extend to the determination of
questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings.
a. The patent rationale for this rule is that such court merely
exercises special and limited jurisdiction.
b. As held in several cases, a probate court or one in charge of
estate proceedings, whether testate or intestate, cannot
adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a
part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside
parties, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the
deceased but by title adverse to that of the deceased and his
estate.
c. All that the said court could do as regards said properties is
to determine whether or not they should be included in the
inventory of properties to be administered by the
administrator.
d. If there is no dispute, there poses no problem, but if there is,
then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties
have to resort to an ordinary action before a court exercising
general jurisdiction for a final determination of the conflicting
claims of title.
However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by
expediency and convenience.
a. First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an
intestate or a testate proceeding the question of inclusion in,
or exclusion from, the inventory of a piece of property
without prejudice to the final determination of ownership in
a separate action.
b. Second, if the interested parties are all heirs to the estate, or
the question is one of collation or advancement, or the
parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the
probate court and the rights of third parties are not impaired,
then the probate court is competent to resolve issues on
ownership.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or


collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate,
such as the determination of the status of each heir and
whether the property in the inventory is conjugal or exclusive
property of the deceased spouse.

3.

The general rule does not apply to the instant case considering that
the parties are all heirs of Joaquin and that no rights of third parties
will be impaired by the resolution of the ownership issue. More
importantly, the determination of whether the subject properties are
conjugal is but collateral to the probate courts jurisdiction to settle
the estate of Joaquin.

4.

As correctly found by the RTC and the CA, the claim of Sebastian and
Eduardo that TCT Nos. 38254 and 38255 conclusively show that the
owners of the properties covered therein were Joaquin and Caridad
by virtue of the registration in the name of Joaquin Agtarap casado
con (married to) Caridad Garcia, deserves scant consideration.
a. This cannot be said to be a collateral attack on the said TCTs.
b. Indeed, simple possession of a certificate of title is not
necessarily conclusive of a holders true ownership of
[25]
property.
A certificate of title under the Torrens system
aims to protect dominion; it cannot be used as an instrument
for the deprivation of ownership.
c. Thus, the fact that the properties were registered in the
name of Joaquin Agtarap, married to Caridad Garcia, is not
sufficient proof that the properties were acquired during the
spouses coverture.
d. The phrase married to Caridad Garcia in the TCTs is merely
descriptive of the civil status of Joaquin as the registered
owner, and does not necessarily prove that the realties are
their conjugal properties.

5.

Thus, an estate is settled and distributed among the heirs only after
the payment of the debts of the estate, funeral charges, expenses of
administration, allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax.
a. The records of these cases do not show that these were
complied with in 1965.

6.

The RTC found that Sebastian did not present clear and convincing
evidence to support his averments in his motion to exclude them as
heirs of Joaquin, aside from his negative allegations.

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a.

b.

The RTC also noted the fact of Joseph and Teresa being the
children of Jose was never questioned by Sebastian and
Eduardo, and the latter two even admitted this in their
petitions, as well as in the stipulation of facts in the August
21, 1995 hearing.
Furthermore, the CA affirmed this finding of fact in its
November 21, 2006 Decision.

7.

However, we agree with Eduardos position that the CA erred in


distributing Joaquins estate pertinent to the share allotted in favor of
Milagros.
a. Eduardo was able to show that a separate proceeding was
instituted for the probate of the will allegedly executed by
Milagros before the RTC, Branch 108, Pasay City.
b. While there has been no showing that the alleged will of
Milagros, bequeathing all of her share from Joaquins estate
in favor of Eduardo, has already been probated and
approved, prudence dictates that this Court refrain from
distributing Milagros share in Joaquins estate.

8.

It is also worthy to mention that Sebastian died on January 15, 2010,


per his Certificate of Death. He is survived by his wife Teresita B.
Agtarap (Teresita) and his children Joaquin Julian B. Agtarap (Joaquin
Julian) and Ana Ma. AgtarapPanlilio (Ana Ma.).
De Borja vs. Vda.dedeBorja
[46 SCRA 577(1972)]

Doctrine: The doctrine of Guevarra vs. Guevarra, 74 Phil. 479, which holds
that the presentation of a will for probate is mandatory and that the
settlement and distribution of an estate on the basis of intestacy when the
decedent left a will is against the law and public policy, is not applicable
where the clear abject of the settlement was merely the conveyance by the
heir of any and all her individual share and interest, actual or eventual, in the
estate of the decedent and not the distribution of the said estate among the
heirs before the probate of the will.
FACTS:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

1.

2.

3.

the first, numbered L-28040 is an appeal by TasianaOngsingcoVda. de


deBorja, special administratrix of the testate estate of Francisco de
Borja, from the approval of a compromise agreement by the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch I,
Case No. L-28568 is an appeal by administrator Jose Borja from the
disapproval of the same compromise agreement by the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija,
Case No. L-28611 is an appeal by administrator Jose de Borja from the
decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch X, in its Civil Case
No. 7452, declaring the Hacienda JalajalaPoblacion, which is the main
object of the aforesaid compromise agreement, as the separate and
exclusive property of the late Francisco de Borja and not a conjugal asset
of the community with his first wife, JosefaTangco, and that said hacienda
pertains exclusively to his testate estate, which is under administrator in
Special Proceeding No. 832 of the Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija,
Branch II.

THE STORY
4. It is uncontested that Francisco de Borja, upon the death of his wife
JosefaTangco, filed a petition for the probate of her will which was
docketed as Special Proceeding No. R-7866 of the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch I.
The will was probated on 2 April 1941. In 1946, Francisco de Borja was
appointed executor and administrator: in 1952, their son, Jose de
Borja, was appointed co-administrator.
5. When Francisco died, on 14 April 1954, Jose became the sole
administrator of the testate estate of his mother, JosefaTangco.
6. While a widower Francisco de Borja allegedly took unto himself a second
wife, TasianaOngsingco.
7. Upon Francisco's death, Tasiana instituted testate proceedings in the
Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, where, in 1955, she was appointed
special administratrix.
The validity of Tasiana's marriage to Francisco was questioned in
said proceeding.

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8.

The testate estate of JosefaTangco alone has been unsettled for more
than a quarter of a century.
The relationship xxx has been plagued with several court suits and
counter-suits; including the three cases at bar, some eighteen (18)
cases remain pending determination in the courts.
9. In order to put an end to all these litigations, a compromise agreement
2
was entered into on 12 October 1963, by and between "[T]he heir and
son of Francisco de Borja by his first marriage, xxx and "[T]he heir and
surviving spouse of Francisco de Borja by his second marriage,
TasianaOngsingcoVda. de Borja,
10. The genuineness and due execution of the compromised agreement of 12
October 1963 is not disputed, but its validity is, nevertheless, attacked by
TasianaOngsingco on the ground that:
(1) the heirs cannot enter into such kind of agreement without first
probating the will of Francisco de Borja;
(2) that the same involves a compromise on the validity of the
marriage between Francisco de Borja and TasianaOngsingco; and
(3) that even if it were valid, it has ceased to have force and effect.
11. Upon the other hand, in claiming the validity of the compromise
agreement, Jose de Borja stresses that at the time it was entered into, on
12 October 1963, the governing provision was Section 1, Rule 74 of the
original Rules of Court of 1940, which allowed the extrajudicial
settlement xxx
He also relies on the dissenting opinion of Justice Moran, in Guevara
vs. Guevara, 74 Phil. 479, wherein was expressed the view that if the
parties have already divided the estate in accordance with a
decedent's will, the probate of the will is a useless ceremony; and if
they have divided the estate in a different manner, the probate of the
will is worse than useless.
ISSUE:WON the compromise agreement is valid, even if the will of Francisco
has not yet been probated

Tasiana argues: that it was not valid because the heirs cannot
enter into such kind of agreement without first probating the will

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

of Francisco, and at the time the agreement was made, the will
was still being probated with the CFI of Nueva Ecija.
HELD:YES, the compromise agreement is valid.
(Marquez)
1. The doctrine of Guevara vs. Guevara, ante, is not applicable to the case at
bar.
b. Guevara vs. Guevara. 74 Phil. 479, (Court's majority held the view
that the presentation of a will for probate is mandatory and that the
settlement and distribution of an estate on the basis of intestacy
when the decedent left a will, is against the law and public policy.)
c. There was here no attempt to settle or distribute the estate of
Francisco de Borja among the heirs thereto before the probate of his
will.
d. The clear object of the contract was merely the conveyance by
TasianaOngsingco of any and all her individual share and interest,
actual or eventual in the estate of Francisco de Borja and
JosefaTangco.
e. There is no stipulation as to any other claimant, creditor or legatee.
f. And as a hereditary share in a decedent's estate is transmitted or
vested immediately from the moment of the death of
such causante or predecessor in interest (Civil Code of the
Philippines, Art. 777) there is no legal bar to a successor (with
requisite contracting capacity) disposing of her or his hereditary
share immediately after such death, even if the actual extent of such
share is not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the
estate.
4. Since the compromise contract Annex A was entered into by and between
"Jose de Borja personally and as administrator of the Testate Estate of
JosefaTangco" on the one hand, and on the other, "the heir and surviving
spouse of Francisco de Borja by his second marriage,
TasianaOngsingcoVda. dedeBorja", it is clear that the transaction was
binding on both in their individual capacities, upon the perfection of the
contract, even without previous authority of the Court to enter into the
same.
Where the compromise agreement entered into by and between the
various heirs in the personal capacity, the same is binding upon them
as individuals, upon the perfection of the contract, even without

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


previous authority of the Court to enter into such agreement. The only
difference between an extrajudicial compromise and one that is
submitted and approved by the Court, is that the latter can be
enforced by execution proceedings.
ERNESTO M. GUEVARA, petitioner-appellant, vs. ROSARIO GUEVARA and her
husband PEDRO BUISON, respondent-appellees.
G.R. No. L-48840; December 29, 1943; OZAETA

b.

she claimed her share of the inheritance from him, but on the
theory or assumption that he died intestate, because the will
had not been probated, for which reason, she asserted, the
betterment therein made by the testator in favor of his
legitimate son Ernesto M. Guevara should be disregarded

ISSUES: 1. Whether the procedure adopted by Rosario is legal? NO


2. Whether the deed of sale is valid? YES
HELD: 1. The procedure adopted by Rosario is not legal.

FACTS:
1.

2.
3.

4.

5.

Ernesto M. Guevarra and Rosario Guevara, ligitimate son and natural


daughter of the deceased Victorino L. Guevara, are litigating here over
their inheritance from the latter
Victorino L. Guevara executed a will, apparently with all the formalities
of the law, wherein he made the bequests AND also made devises
Ernesto M. Guevara purchased the northern part of land owned by
Victorino L. Guevara.
a. Final decree of registration was issued in the name of Ernesto
M. Guevara alone for the northern part of the estate
Victorino L. Guevarra died
a. His last will and testament, however, was never presented to
the court for probate, nor has any administration proceeding
ever been instituted for the settlement of his estate.
b. only legitimate son Ernesto M. Guevara appears to have
possessed the land adjudicated to him in the registration
proceeding and to have disposed of various portions thereof
for the purpose of paying the debts left by his father.
c. Rosario Guevara did nothing judicially to invoke the
testamentary dispositions made therein in her favour
a little over four years after the testor's demise, she (assisted by her
husband) commenced the present action against Ernesto M. Guevara
alone
a. only during the trial of this case that she presented the will to
the court, not for the purpose of having it probated but only
to prove that the deceased Victirino L. Guevara had
acknowledged her as his natural daughter

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

cannot sanction the procedure adopted by the respondent Rosario


Guevara
in violation of procedural law and an attempt to circumvent and
disregard the last will and testament of the decedent
proceeding for the probate of a will is one in rem, with notice by
publication to the whole world and with personal notice to each of the
known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator
Altho not contested, the due execution of the will and the fact that the
testator at the time of its execution was of sound and disposing mind
and not acting under duress, menace, and undue influence or fraud,
must be proved to the satisfaction of the court, and only then may the
will be legalized and given effect by means of a certificate of its
allowance, signed by the judge and attested by the seal of the court;
and when the will devises real property, attested copies thereof and of
the certificate of allowance must be recorded in the register of deeds
of the province in which the land lies.
the presentation of a will to the court for probate is mandatory and its
allowance by the court is essential and indispensable to its efficacy
Section 1 of Rule 74 merely authorizes the extrajudicial or judicial
partition of the estate of a decedent "without securing letter of
administration."
o does not say that in case the decedent left a will the heirs and
legatees may divide the estate among themselves without
the necessity of presenting the will to the court for probate.
petition to probate a will and the petition to issue letters of
administration are two different things, altho both may be made in
the same case
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

the allowance of a will precedes the issuance of letters


testamentary or of administration
o One can have a will probated without necessarily securing
letters testamentary or of administration
under section 1 of Rule 74, in relation to Rule 76, if the decedent left a
will and no debts and the heirs and legatees desire to make an
extrajudicial partition of the estate, they must first present that will to
the court for probate and divide the estate in accordance with the will
o law enjoins the probate of the will and public policy requires
it, because unless the will is probated and notice thereof
given to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of
his property by will may be rendered nugatory
o Absent legatees and devisees, or such of them as may have
no knowledge of the will, could be cheated of their
inheritance thru the collusion of some of the heirs who might
agree to the partition of the estate among themselves to the
exclusion of others.
no showing that the various legatees other than the present litigants
had received their respective legacies or that they had knowledge of
the existence and of the provisions of the will
o Their right under the will cannot be disregarded, nor may
those rights be obliterated on account of the failure or refusal
of the custodian of the will to present it to the court for
probate.
o injustice might be committed against the other heirs and
legatees mentioned in the will if the
attempt of the plaintiff to nullify said will by not presenting it to the
court for probate should be sanctioned.
As to the inconvenience, delay, and expense, the plaintiff herself is to
blame because she was the custodian of the will and she violated the
duty imposed upon her, which command her to deliver said will to the
court
defendant Ernesto M. Guevara, who was named executor in said will,
did not take any step to have it presented to the court for probate and
did not signify his acceptance of the trust or refusal to accept it
o because his contention is that said will, insofar as the large
parcel of land in litigation is concerned, has been superseded
by the deed of sale exhibit 2 and by the subsequent issuance
of the Torrens certificate of title in his favor.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

2. Deed of sale is invalid.

deed of sale executed by and between Victorino L. Guevara and


Ernesto M. Guevara may be divided into two parts
FIRST PART: As to the conveyance of the southern half of the hacienda
to Ernesto M. Guevara in consideration of the latter's assumption of
the obligation to pay all the debts of the deceased
o valid and efficacious because:
(a) it has not been proven that the charges imposed
as a condition is [are] less than the value of the
property; and
(b) neither has it been proven that the defendant did
not comply with the conditions imposed upon him in
the deed of transfer.
appears that the defendant has been paying the debts left by his
father.
o To accomplish this, he had to alienate considerable portions
of the above-mentioned land
o cannot brand such alienation as anomalous unless it is proven
that they have exceeded the value of what he has acquired
by virtue of the deed and that of his corresponding share in
the inheritance.
SECOND PART: With regard to the northern half of the hacienda
o the money with which the petitioner repurchased the
northern half of the land in question from Rafael Puzon was
not his own but his father's, it being the proceeds of the sale
of a parcel of land made by the latter to Silvestre P. Coquia
o the respondent withdrew her opposition to the registration
of the land in the name of the petitioner upon the latter's
promise that after paying all the debts of their father he
would deliver to her and to the widow their corresponding
shares.
results that the interested parties consented to the
registration of the land in question in the name of
Ernesto M. Guevara alone subject to the implied
trust on account of which he is under obligation to
deliver and convey to them their corresponding
shares after all the debts of the original owner of
said land had been paid.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


o

Such finding does not constitute a reversal of the decision


and decree of registration, which merely confirmed the
petitioner's title; and in the absence of any intervening
innocent third party, the petitioner may be compelled to
fulfill the promise by virtue of which he acquired his title
words, to the estate of Victorino L. Guevara still belongs one
half of the total area of the land described in said original
certificate of title, to be taken from such portions as have not
yet been sold by the petitioner, the other half having been
lawfully acquired by the latter in consideration of his
assuming the obligation to pay all the debts of the deceased.

FEDERICO AZAOLA, petitioner and appellant, vs. CESARIO SINGSON, oppositor


and appellee
GR No.L-14003. August 5, 1960, J. JBL Reyes
(Bon)

4.

Issue:
Should the probate proceeding pursue despite lack of witnesses?
Held:
YES.
1.
2.

Doctrine: The rule of the first paragraph of Article 811 of the Civil Code is
merely directory and is not mandatory
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

Fortunata S. Vda. deYance died and thus Francisco Azaola, petitioner


herein for probate of the holographic will whereby Maria Milagros
Azaola was made the sole heir as against the nephew of the deceased
CesarioSingson.
Francisco Azaola testified that
a. he saw the holographic will one month, more or less, before
the death of the testatrix, as the same was handed to him
and his wife;
b. that the witness testified also that he recognized all the
signatures appearing in the holographic will as the
handwriting of the testatrix and to reinforce, said statement,
witness presented
The opposition to the probate was on the ground that
a. the execution of the will was procured by undue and
improper pressure and influence on the part of the petitioner
and his wife, and
b. that the testatrix did not seriously intend the instrument to
be her last will, and that the same was actually written either
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

on the 5th or 6th day of August 1957 and not on November


20, 1956 as appears on the will
The probate was denied on the ground that under Article 811 of the
Civil Code, the proponent must present three witnesses who could
declare that the will and the signature are in the writing of the
testatrix, the probate being contested.

3.

4.

Since the authenticity of the will was not contested, he was not
required to produce more than one witness.
But even if the genuineness of the holographic will were contested
Article 811 of our present Civil Code ca not be interpreted as to
require the compulsory presentation of three witnesses to identify the
handwriting of the testator, under penalty of having the probate
denied.
a. Since no witness may have been present at the execution of a
holographic will, none being required by law (Art. 810, new
Civil Code), it becomes obvious that the existence of
witnesses possessing the requisite qualifications is a matter
beyond the control of the proponent.
b. For it is not merely a question of finding and producing any
three witnesses; they must be witnesses "who know the
handwriting and signature of the testator" and who -can
declare (truthfully, of course, even if the law does not so
express) "that the will and the signature are in the
handwriting of the testator".
c. There may be no available witness acquainted with the
testator's hand; or even if so familiarized, the witnesses may
be unwilling to give a positive opinion.
Second paragraph of Article 811 shows that the law foresees the
possibility that no qualified witness may be found (or what amounts
to the same thing, that no competent witness may be willing to
testify to the authenticity of the will), and provides for resort to
expert evidence to supply the deficiency.
Again, under Article 811, the resort to expert evidence is conditioned
by the words "if the Court deem it necessary", which reveal that what
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


the law deems essential is that the Court should be convinced of the
will's authenticity.
EUGENIA RAMONAL CODOY, and MANUEL RAMONAL,vs.
EVANGELINE R. CALUGAY, JOSEPHINE SALCEDO, and UEFEMIA PATIGAS,
respondents.
G.R. No. 123486
August 12, 1999
Doctrine: We are convinced, based on the language used, that Article 811 of
the Civil Code is mandatory.
FACTS:
8. On April 6, 1990, Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and
EufemiaPatigas, devisees and legatees of the holographic will of the
deceased MatildeSeoVda. deRamonal, filed a petition for probate of the
holographic will of the deceased, who died on January 16, 1990.
9. In the petition, respondents claimed that the deceased MatildeSeoVda.
deRamonal, was of sound and disposing mind when she executed the will
on August 30, 1978, that there was no fraud, undue influence, and duress
employed in the person of the testator, and will was written voluntarily.
10. On June 28, 1990, Eugenia RamonalCodoy and Manuel Ramonal filed an
opposition to the petition for probate, alleging that the holographic will
was a forgery and that the same is even illegible.
Petitioners argued that the repeated dates incorporated or appearing
on will after every disposition is out of the ordinary.
If the deceased was the one who executed the will, and was not
forced, the dates and the signature should appear at the bottom
after the dispositions, as regularly done and not after every
disposition.
And assuming that the holographic will is in the handwriting of the
deceased, it was procured by undue and improper pressure and
influence on the part of the beneficiaries, or through fraud and
trickery.
11. Respondents presented six (6) witnesses and various documentary
evidence

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

12. To have a clear understanding of the testimonies of the witnesses, we


recite an account of their testimonies.
Augusto Neri, Clerk of Court, Court of First Instancexxxxx. He
produced and identified the records of the case. The documents
presented bear the signature of the deceased, MatildeSeoVda.
deRamonal, for the purpose of laying the basis for comparison of the
handwriting of the testatrix, with the writing treated or admitted as
genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered.
GenerosaSenon, election registrar of Cagayan de Oro, was presented
to produced and identify the voter's affidavit of the decedent.
However, the voters' affidavit was not produced for the same was
already destroyed and no longer available.
MatildeRamonalBinanay, xxx During those eleven (11) years of close
association the deceased, she acquired familiarity with her signature
and handwriting as she used to accompany her (deceased
MatildeSeoVda. de Ramonal) in collecting rentals from her various
tenantsxxxx
Fiscal Rodolfo Wagaxxxxhandled all the pleadings and documents
signed by the deceased in connection with the proceedings of her late
husband,
Mrs.TeresitaVedad, an employee of the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, xxxxprocessed the application of the deceased
for pasture permit and was familiar with the signature of the
deceased.
Evangeline Calugay, xxx adopted by the latter. xxx she became
familiar with the signature of the deceased. She testified that the
signature appearing in the holographic will is the true and genuine
signature of MatildeSeoVda. deRamonal.
The holographic will which was written in Visayan,
13. On October 9, 1995, the Court of Appeals, rendered decision9 ruling that
the appeal was meritorious.
. . . even if the genuineness of the holographic will were contested,
we are of the opinion that Article 811 of our present civil code can
not be interpreted as to require the compulsory presentation of
three witnesses to identify the handwriting of the testator, under
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


penalty of having the probate denied. Since no witness may have
been present at the execution of the holographic will, none being
required by law (art. 810, new civil code), it becomes obvious that
the existence of witnesses possessing the requisite qualifications is a
matter beyond the control of the proponent.
14. As can be see, the law foresees, the possibility that no qualified witness
may be found (or what amounts to the same thing, that no competent
witness may be willing to testify to the authenticity of the will), and
provides for resort to expert evidence to supply the deficiency.
ISSUE: whether the provisions of Article 811 of the Civil Code are permissive or
mandatory. The article provides, as a requirement for the probate of a
contested holographic will, that at least three witnesses explicitly declare that
the signature in the will is the genuine signature of the testator.
HELD:
We are convinced, based on the language used, that Article 811 of the
Civil Code is mandatory.
The word "shall" connotes a mandatory order. We have ruled that
"shall" in a statute commonly denotes an imperative obligation and is
inconsistent with the idea of discretion and that the presumption is
that the word "shall," when used in a statute is mandatory.
Laws are enacted to achieve a goal intended and to guide against an evil
or mischief that aims to prevent.
In the case at bar, the goal to achieve is to give effect to the wishes of
the deceased and the evil to be prevented is the possibility that
unscrupulous individuals who for their benefit will employ means to
defeat the wishes of the testator.
So, we believe that the paramount consideration in the present
petition is to determine the true intent of the deceased.
An exhaustive and objective consideration of the evidence is
imperative to establish the true intent of the testator.
It will be noted that not all the witnesses presented by the respondents
testified explicitly that they were familiar with the handwriting of
testator.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Generosa E. Senon, the election registrar of Cagayan de Oro City, was


presented to identify the signature of the deceased in the voter's affidavit,
which was not even produced as it was no longer available.
What Ms.Binanay saw were pre-prepared receipts and letters of the
deceased, which she either mailed or gave to her tenants. She did not
declare that she saw the deceased sign a document or write a note.
In her testimony it was also evident that Ms.Binanaykept the fact
about the will from petitioners, the legally adopted children of the
deceased. Such actions put in issue her motive of keeping the will a
secret to petitioners and revealing it only after the death of
MatildeSeoVda. deRamonal.
Evangeline Calugay declared that the holographic will was written, dated
and signed in the handwriting of the testator.
So, the only reason that Evangeline can give as to why she was familiar
with the handwriting of the deceased was because she lived with her
since birth. She never declared that she saw the deceased write a
note or sign a document.
From the testimonies of these witnesses, the Court of Appeals allowed
the will to probate and disregard the requirement of three witnesses in
case of contested holographic will, citing the decision in Azaola vs.
Singson, ruling that the requirement is merely directory and not
mandatory.
In the case of Ajero vs. Court of Appeals, we said that "the object of
the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door
against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and
testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore,
the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to
attain these primordial ends. But on the other hand, also one must not
lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and
curtail the exercise of the right to make a will.
However, we cannot eliminate the possibility of a false document being
adjudged as the will of the testator, which is why if the holographic will is
contested, that law requires three witnesses to declare that the will was
in the handwriting of the deceased.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

The will was found not in the personal belongings of the deceased
but with one of the respondents, who kept it even before the death
of the deceased.
In the testimony of Ms.Binanay, she revealed that the will was in her
possession as early as 1985, or five years before the death of the
deceased.
There was no opportunity for an expert to compare the signature and the
handwriting of the deceased with other documents signed and executed
by her during her lifetime.
The only chance at comparison was during the cross-examination of
Ms.Binanay when the lawyer of petitioners asked Ms.Binanay to
compare the documents which contained the signature of the
deceased with that of the holographic will and she is not a
handwriting expert.
Even the former lawyer of the deceased expressed doubts as to the
authenticity of the signature in the holographic will.
A visual examination of the holographic will convince us that the strokes
are different when compared with other documents written by the
testator. The signature of the testator in some of the disposition is not
readable. There were uneven strokes, retracing and erasures on the will.
Comparing the signature in the holographic will dated August 30, 1978,33
and the signatures in several documents such as the application letter for
pasture permit dated December 30, 1980,34 and a letter dated June 16,
1978,35 the strokes are different.
In the letters, there are continuous flows of the strokes, evidencing
that there is no hesitation in writing unlike that of the holographic will.
We, therefore, cannot be certain that ruling holographic will was in
the handwriting by the deceased.

SOFIA J. NEPOMUCENO
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, RUFINA GOMEZ, OSCAR JUGO ANG,
CARMELITA JUGO
G.R. No. L-62952 October 9, 1985 ; NILO
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1) Martin Jugo left a last Will and Testament:
- He named and appointed herein petitioner Sofia J.
Nepomuceno as his sole and only executor of his estate.
- It is clearly stated in the Will that the testator was legally
married to a certain Rufina Gomez by whom he had two
legitimate children, Oscar and Carmelita, but since 1952, he
had been estranged from his lawfully wedded wife and had
been living with petitioner as husband and wife.
- the testator Martin Jugo and the petitioner herein, Sofia J.
Nepomuceno were married in Victoria, Tarlac before the
Justice of the Peace.
- The testator devised to his forced heirs, namely, his legal wife
Rufina Gomez and his children Oscar and Carmelita his entire
estate and the free portion thereof to herein petitioner.
2) Petitioner filed a petition for the probate of the last Will and
Testament of the deceased Martin Jugo but the legal wife of the
testator, Rufina Gomez and her children filed an opposition alleging:
- that the execution of the Will was procured by undue and
improper influence
- and the testator was already very sick and that petitioner
having admitted her living in concubinage with the testator,
she is wanting in integrity.
3) RTC denied the probate of the Will on the ground that as the
testator admitted in his Will to cohabiting with the petitioner.
4) CA declared the Will to be valid except that the devise in favor of
the petitioner is null and void pursuant to Article 739 in relation with
Article 1028 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
5) The petitioner submits:
- the only purpose of the probate of a Will is to establish
conclusively as against everyone that a Will was executed
with the formalities required by law.
- the declaration of its nullity could only be made by the proper
court in a separate action brought by the legal wife for the
specific purpose of obtaining a declaration of the nullity of
the testamentary provision in the Will in favor of the person
with whom the testator was allegedly guilty of adultery or
concubinage.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


6)

The respondents submit that the admission of the testator of the illicit
relationship between him and the petitioner put in issue the legality of
the devise.

ISSUES:
1) whether or not the respondent court acted in excess of its jurisdiction
when after declaring the last Will and Testament of the deceased
Martin Jugo validly drawn, it went on to pass upon the intrinsic validity
of the testamentary provision in favor of herein petitioner.
2) WON respondent court has jurisdiction to declare the testamentary
provision in favor of the petitioner as null and void.
3) WON the will is valid.
RULING:
1) The respondent court acted within its jurisdiction when after declaring
the Will to be validly drawn, it went on to pass upon the intrinsic
validity of the Will and declared the devise in favor of the petitioner
null and void.
The general rule: is that in probate proceedings, the court's area of inquiry is
limited to an examination and resolution of the extrinsic validity of the Will:
- Any inquiry into the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the
will or the legality of any devise or legacy is premature.
- Probate is one thing; the validity of the testamentary provisions is
another. The first decides the execution of the document and the
testamentary capacity of the testator; the second relates to descent
and distribution.
Exception to the rule: "practical considerations (Nuguid v. Nuguid)(Balanay
.Jr. v. Martinez)
- The probate of a will might become an Idle ceremony if on its face it
appears to be intrinsically void. Where practical considerations
demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even
before it is probated, the court should meet the issue.
EXTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE WILL Both parties are agreed that the Will of
Martin Jugo was executed with all the formalities required by law and that the
testator had the mental capacity to execute his Will.
2) CA has jurisdiction.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Practical considerations In the event of probate or if the court


rejects the will, probability exists that the case will come up once
again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of
the will. Result, waste of time, effort, expense, plus added anxiety.
there exists a justiciable controversy.

3) Will is valid but the devise in favor of the petitioner is null and void
pursuant to Article 739 in relation with Article 1028 of the Civil Code
Article 739 of the Civil Code provides donations shall be void:(1) Those
made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at
the time of the donation;
Article 1028 of the Civil Code provides: the prohibitions mentioned in
Article 739, concerning donations inter vivos shall apply to
testamentary provisions.

The records do not sustain a finding of innocence or good faith. As argued by


the private respondents:
1) The last will and testament itself expressly admits indubitably on its
face the meretricious relationship between the testator and
petitioner, the devisee:
In Article III of the disputed Will Martin Jugo stated that
respondent Rufina Gomez was his legal wife from whom he had
been estranged "for so many years."
In Article IV, he stated that he had been living as man and wife
with the petitioner since 1952. Testator Jugo declared that the
petitioner was entitled to his love and affection.
2) Petitioner herself initiated the presentation of evidence on her alleged
ignorance of the true civil status of the testator, which led private
respondents to present contrary evidence.

In short, the parties themselves dueled on the intrinsic validity of the


legacy given in the will to petitioner by the deceased testator at the
start of the proceedings.
Whether or not petitioner knew that testator Martin Jugo, the
man he had lived with as man and wife, as already married, was
an important and specific issue brought by the parties before the
trial court, and passed upon by the Court of Appeals.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Instead of limiting herself to proving the extrinsic validity of the


will, it was petitioner who opted to present evidence on her
alleged good faith in marrying the testator.

Moreover, the prohibition in Article 739 of the Civil Code is against the
making of a donation between persons who are living in adultery or
concubinage. It is the donation which becomes void.
The very wordings of the Will invalidate the legacy because the
testator admitted he was disposing the properties to a person with
whom he had been living in concubinage.

c.

3.

4.

PEDRO D. H. GALLANOSA, CORAZON GRECIA-GALLONOSA and ADOLFO


FORTAJADA, the deceased Pedro Gallanosa being substituted by his legal
heirs, namely his above-named widow and his children, ISIDRO GALLANOSA
and LEDY GALLANOSA, and grandchildren named IMELDA TECLA GALLANOSA
and ROSARIO BRIGIDA GALLANOSA, children of the late SIKATUNA
GALLANOSA, son of Pedro D.H. GALLONOSA, petitioners, vs. HON. UBALDO Y.
ARCANGEL, Judge of Branch I of the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon
G.R. No. L-29300 June 21, 1978
Aquino, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1.

2.

Florentino Hitosis executed a will in the Bicol dialect on June 19, 1938
when he was eighty years old.
a. He died on May 26, 1939 at Irosin, Sorsogon. A childless
widower, he as survived by his brother, Leon Hitosis.
A petition for the probate of his will was filed in the Court of First
Instance of Sorsogon (Special Proceeding No. 3171).
a. The notice of hearing was duly published.
b. In that will, Florentino bequeathed his one-half share in the
conjugal estate to his second wife, Tecla Dollentas, and,
should Tecla predecease him, as was the case, his one-half
share would be assigned to the spouses Pedro Gallanosa and
Corazon Grecia, the reason being that Pedro, Tecla's son by
her first marriage, grew up under the care of Florentino;

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.

6.

he had treated Pedro as his foster child, and Pedro has


rendered services to Florentino and Tecla. Florentino likewise
bequeathed his separate properties consisting of three
parcels of abaca land and parcel of riceland to his protege
(sasacuyang ataman), Adolfo Fortajada, a minor.
Opposition to the probate of the will was registered by the testator's
legal heirs, namely, his surviving brother, Leon, trial his nephews trial
nieces.
a. Judge Pablo S. Rivera, in his decision of October 27, 1939,
admitted the will to probate and appointed Gallanosa as
executor.
The testamentary heirs, the Gallanosa spouses trial Adolfo Fortajada,
submitted a project of partition covering sixty-one parcels of land
located in various parts of Sorsogon, large cattle trial several pieces of
personal property which were distributed in accordance with
Florentino's will
a. The project of partition was approved by Judge Doroteo
Amador in his order of March 13, 1943, thus confirming the
heirs' possession of their respective shares.
b. The testator's legal heirs did not appeal from the decree of
probate trial from the order of partition trial distribution.
Leon Hitosis trial the heirs of Florentino's deceased brothers trial
sisters instituted an action in the Court of First Instance of Sorsogon
against Pedro Gallanosa for the recovery of the said sixty-one parcels
of land.
a. Alleged: that they, by themselves or through their
predecessors-in-interest, had been in continuous possession
of those lands en concepto de dueo trial that Gallanosa
entered those lands in 1951 trial asserted ownership over the
lands.
b. They prayed that they be declared the owners of the lands
trial that they be restored to the possession thereof. They
also claimed damages (Civil Case No. 696).
Gallanosa moved to dismiss the above complaint for lack of cause of
action trial on the ground of bar by the prior judgment in the probate
proceeding.
a. Judge Anatolio C. Maalac dismiss the complaint on the
ground of res judicata.
b. The plaintiffs did not appeal from that order of dismissal
which should have set the matter at rest.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


c.

7.

Fifteen years after the dismissal of Civil Case No. 696 trial
twenty-eight years after the probate of the will another
action in the same court against the Gallanosa spouses trial
Adolfo Fortajada for the "annulment" of the will of Florentino
Hitosis trial and for the recovery of the same sixty-one parcels
of land.
d. They prayed for the appointment of a receiver.
As basis of their complaint, they alleged that the Gallanosa spouses,
through fraud trial deceit, caused the execution trial simulation of the
document purporting to be the last will trial testament of Florentino
Hitosis.
a. As already stated, that 1967 complaint, upon motion of the
defendants, now the petitioners, was dismissed by
respondent Judge.
b. The plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration Respondent
Judge. granted it trial set aside the order of dismissal. He
denied defendants' motion for the reconsideration of his
order setting aside that dismissal order.

Issue: WON the private respondents have a cause of action the "annulment" of
the will of Florentino Hitosis trial for the recovery of the sixty-one parcels of
land adjudicated under that will to the petitioners.

The petitioners or the defendants below contend in this


certiorari case that the lower court has no jurisdiction to
set aside the 1939 decree of probate trial the 1952 order
of dismissal in Civil Case No. 696 trial that it acted with
grave abuse of discretion in not dismissing private
respondents' 1967 complaint.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Held: No. The lower court committed a grave abuse of discretion in


reconsideration its order of dismissal trial in ignoring the 1939 testamentary
case trial the 1952 Civil Case No. 696 which is the same as the instant 1967
case.
Ratio:

6.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

A rudimentary knowledge of substantive law trial procedure is


sufficient for an ordinary lawyer to conclude upon a causal perusal of
the 1967 complaint that it is baseless trial unwarranted.
a. What the plaintiffs seek is the "annulment" of a last will trial
testament duly probated in 1939 by the lower court itself.
The proceeding is coupled with an action to recover the lands
adjudicated to the defendants by the same court in 1943 by
virtue of the probated will, which action is a resuscitation of
The complaint of the same parties that the same court
dismissed in 1952.
It is evident from the allegations of the complaint trial from
defendants' motion to dismiss that plaintiffs' 1967 action is barred
by res judicata, a double-barrelled defense, trial by prescription,
acquisitive trial extinctive, or by what are known in the jus civile trial
the jus
gentium as usucapio, longi
temporis
possesio and praescriptio.
Our procedural law does not sanction an action for the "annulment" of
a will.
a. In order that a will may take effect, it has to be probated,
legalized or allowed in the proper testamentary proceeding.
b. The probate of the will is mandatory.
The testamentary proceeding is a special proceeding for the
settlement of the testator's estate. A special proceeding is distinct trial
different from an ordinary action (Secs. 1 trial 2, Rule 2 trial sec. 1,
Rule 72, Rules of Court).
The decree of probate is conclusive as to the due execution or formal
validity of the will.
a. That means that the testator was of sound and disposing
mind at the time he executed the will and was not acting
under duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence; that the
will was signed by him in the presence of the required
number of witnesses, and that the will is genuine.
b. Accordingly, these facts cannot again be questioned in a
subsequent proceeding, not even in a criminal action for the
forgery of the will.
c. After the finality of the allowance of a will, the issue as to
the voluntariness of its execution cannot be raised anymore.
The SC also held that the decree of adjudication, having rendered in a
proceeding in rem, is binding upon the whole world. Moreover, the
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

7.

8.

9.

dismissal of the first civil case, which is a judgment in personam, was


an adjudication on the merits. Thus. It constitutes a bar by former
judgment under the Rules of Court.
The SC also held that the lower court erred in saying that the action
for the recovery of the lands had not prescribed.
a. The SC ruled that the Art. 1410 of NCC (the action or defense
for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not
prescribe) cannot apply to last wills and testaments.
b. The Rules of Court does not sanction an action for
annulment of a will.
c. A final decree of probate is conclusive as to the due execution
of the will.
A decree of adjudication in a testate proceeding is binding on the
whole world.After the period for seeking relief from a final order or
judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of court has expired, a final
judgment or order can be set aside only on the grounds of: (a) lack of
jurisdiction or lack of due process of law or (b) that the judgment was
obtained by means of extrinsic or collateral fraud. In the latter case,
the period for annulling the judgment is four (4) years from the
discovery of fraud.
The Civil Law rule that an action for declaration of inexistence of a
contract does not prescribe cannot be applied to last wills and
testaments.

ETHEL GRIMM ROBERTS


vs.
JUDGE TOMAS R. LEONIDAS, Branch 38, Court of First Instance of Manila;
MAXINE TATEGRIMM, EDWARD MILLER GRIMM II and LINDA GRIMM
NILO
FACTS:
1) Edward M. Grimm an American resident of Manila, died at 78.
- He was survived by his second wife, Maxine Tate Grimm and their
two children, named Edward Miller Grimm II (Pete) and Linda
Grimm; and
- by Juanita Grimm Morris and Ethel Grimm Roberts (McFadden),
his two children by a first marriage which ended in divorce.
2) He executed on January 23, 1959 two wills in San Francisco, California:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

One will disposed of his Philippine estate which he described as


conjugal property of himself and his second wife.
- The second will disposed of his estate outside the Philippines.
- In both wills, the second wife and two children were favored.
- The two children of the first marriage were given their legitimes in
the will disposing of the estate situated in this country.
3) The two wills and a codicil were presented for probate by Maxine Tate
Grimm and E. LaVar Tate in Third Judicial District Court of Tooele
County, Utah. It was admitted to probate the two wills and the codicil.
-

4) But forty- three days after Grimm's death, or January 9, 1978, his
daughter of the first marriage, Ethel, filed with Branch 20 of the
Manila Court of First Instance intestate proceeding No. 113024 for the
settlement of his estate. She was named special administratrix.
5) Two weeks later, Maxine and her two children Linda and Pete, as the
first parties, and Ethel, Juanita Grimm Morris and their mother Juanita
Kegley Grimm as the second parties, with knowledge of the intestate
proceeding in Manila, entered into a compromise agreement in Utah
regarding the estate.
6) The three administrators submitted an inventory. With the authority
and approval of the court, they sold for P75,000 on March 21, 1979
the so-called Palawan Pearl Project, a business owned by the
deceased. Linda and Juanita allegedly conformed with the sale.
7) On April 18, 1980 Juanita Grimm Morris filed a motion for accounting
"so that the Estate properties can be partitioned among the heirs and
the present intestate estate be closed."
a. On September 8, 1980, Maxine, Pete and Linda, filed in
Branch 38 of the lower court a petition praying for the
probate of Grimm's two wills (already probated in Utah), that
the 1979 partition approved by the intestate court be set
aside and the letters of administration revoked, that Maxine
be appointed executrix and that Ethel and Juanita Morris be
ordered to account for the properties received by them and
to return the same to Maxine.
b. Grimm's second wife and two children alleged that they were
defraud due to the machinations of the Roberts spouses, that
the 1978 Utah compromise agreement was illegal, that the
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intestate proceeding is void because Grimm died testate and
that the partition was contrary to the decedent's wills.
8)
9)

Ethel filed a motion to dismiss the petition. Judge Leonidas denied it


for lack of merit in his order of October 27, 1980.
Ethel then filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition in this Court,
praying that the testate proceeding be dismissed, or alternatively that
the two proceedings be consolidated and heard in Branch 20 and that
the matter of the annulment of the Utah compromise agreement be
heard prior to the petition for probate.

ISSUE: whether a petition for allowance of wills and to annul a partition,


approved in an intestate proceeding by Branch 20 of the Manila Court of First
Instance, can be entertained by its Branch 38 (after a probate in the Utah
district court).
Ruling:
We hold that respondent judge did not commit any grave abuse of
discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, in denying Ethel's motion
to dismiss.
A testate proceeding is proper in this case because Grimm died with
two wills and "no will shall pass either real or personal property unless
it is proved and allowed" (Art. 838)
The probate of the will is mandatory.
It is anomalous that the estate of a person who died testate should be
settled in an intestate proceeding.
Therefore, the intestate case should be consolidated with the testate
proceeding and the judge assigned to the testate proceeding should
continue hearing the two cases.
Petition is dismissed. The temporary restraining order is dissolved.

PAULA DE LA CERNA, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
MANUELA REBACA POTOT, ET AL., and THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents.
G.R. No. L-20234 December 23, 1964
REYES, J.B.L., J.:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
7. May 9, 1939 - the spouses, Bernabe de la Serna and GervasiaRebaca,
executed a joint last will and testament in the local dialect whereby they
willed that
"our two parcels of land acquired during our marriage together with
all improvements thereon shall be given to Manuela Rebaca, our
niece, whom we have nurtured since childhood, because God did not
give us any child in our union, Manuela Rebaca being married to
Nicolas Potot", and that "while each of the testators is yet living, he or
she will continue to enjoy the fruits of the two lands aforementioned"
8. Bernabedela Serna died, and the aforesaid will was submitted to probate
by said Gervasia and Manuela before the Court of First Instance of Cebu
9. Upon the death of GervasiaRebaca, another petition for the probate of the
same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed, but for failure of the
petitioner, Manuela R. Potot and her attorney, Manuel Potot to appear, for
the hearing of said petition, the case was dismissed
10. CFI: ordered the petition heard and declared the testament null and void,
for being executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills
11. CA: reversed, on the ground that the decree of probate in 1939 was issued
by a court of probate jurisdiction and conclusive on the due execution of
the testament. Further:
It is true the law (Art. 669, old Civil Code; Art. 818, new Civil Code)
prohibits the making of a will jointly by two or more persons either for
their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person. However,
this form of will has long been sanctioned by use, and the same has
continued to be used.
12. Hence this appeal by the heirs intestate of the deceased husband, Bernabe
de la Cerna.
ISSUE:
3. Does an error of law affect the conclusive effect of its decision? NO
4. Is the joint will valid as to the share of Gervasia who died later than
Bernabe? NO
HELD:
First
8. The final decree of probate, entered in 1939 by the Court of First Instance
of Cebu (when the testator, Bernabe de la Cerna, died), has conclusive
effect as to his last will and testament despite the fact that even then the
Civil Code already decreed the invalidity of joint wills, whether in favor of
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


the joint testators, reciprocally, or in favor of a third party (Art. 669, old
Civil Code).
9. The error thus committed by the probate court was an error of law, that
should have been corrected by appeal, but which did not affect the
jurisdiction of the probate court, nor the conclusive effect of its final
decision, however erroneous.
10. Petitioners, as heirs and successors of the late Bernabe de la Cerna, are
concluded by the 1939 decree admitting his will to probate.
Second
2. the Court of Appeals should have taken into account also, to avoid future
misunderstanding, that the probate decree in 1989 could only affect the
share of the deceased husband, Bernabe de la Cerna, and could not
include the disposition of the share of the wife, GervasiaRebaca, who was
then still alive, and over whose interest in the conjugal properties the
probate court acquired no jurisdiction, precisely because her estate could
not then be in issue.
11. Prior to the new Civil Code, a will could not be probated during the
testator's lifetime.
12. It follows that the validity of the joint will, in so far as the estate of the wife
was concerned, must be, on her death, reexamined and adjudicated de
novo, since a joint will is considered a separate will of each testator.
13. Thus regarded, the holding of the court of First Instance of Cebu that the
joint will is one prohibited by law was correct as to the participation of the
deceased GervasiaRebaca in the properties in question.
14. Therefore, the undivided interest of GervasiaRebaca should pass upon her
death to her heirs intestate, and not exclusively to the testamentary heir,
unless some other valid will in her favor is shown to exist, or unless she be
the only heir intestate of said Gervasia.
Furthermore
It is unnecessary to emphasize that the fact that joint wills should be in
common usage could not make them valid when our Civil Codes consistently
invalidated them, because laws are only repealed by other subsequent laws,
and no usage to the contrary may prevail against their observance (Art. 5, Civ.
Code of 1889; Art. 7, Civil Code of the Philippines of 1950).

CELLES

Pascual v de la Cruz, 28 SCRA 421

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FEBFRUARY 2, 2012
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
G.R. No. L-23079 February 27, 1970; J. Castro
(Bon)
Doctrine: An institution may be annulled only when one is satisfied, after an
examination of the will, that the testator clearly would not have made the
institution if be had known the cause for it to be false.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.
4.
5.

6.

Basilia Austria vda. de Cruz filed a petition for probate, ante mortem,
of her last will and testament.
a. The bulk of the estate of Basilia, admittedly, was destined
under the will to pass on to the respondents Perfecto Cruz,
Benita Cruz-Mefiez, Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz, and Luz CruzSalonga, all of whom had been assumed and declared by
Basilia as her own legally adopted children.
The probate was opposed by the present petitioners Ruben Austria,
Consuelo AustriarBenta 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.
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 decedents
will, notwithstanding the blocking attempt pursued by the petitioner
Ruben Austria.
Present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in
intervention for partition alleging in substance
a. 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.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


7.

8.

The said petition was allowed. Benita however posed a motion asking
the lower court, by way of alternative relief, to confine the petitioners
intervention, should it be permitted, to properties not disposed of in
the will of the decedent.
Lower court rendered its decision delimiting the petitioners'
intervention to the properties of the deceased which were not
disposed of in the will.

Issue:
Did the trial court err in limiting the scope of intervention of the petitioner?
Held:
NO.
-

Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under article 850 of


the Civil Code, the following requisites must concur:
the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the
will;
the cause must be shown to be false; and
it must appear from the face of the will that the testator
would not have made such institution if he had known the
falsity of the cause
The allegation that that the impelling reason or cause for the
institution of the respondents was the testatrixs belief that under the
law she could not do otherwise is highly speculative
Note that the decedents will does not state in a specific or
unequivocal manner the cause for such institution of heirs. We cannot
annul the same on the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications.
Article 850 of the Civil Code, quoted above, is a positive injunction to
ignore whatever false cause the testator may have written in his will
for the institution of heirs.
Such institution may be annulled only when one is satisfied,
after an examination of the will, that the tesitator clearly
would not have made the institution if be had known the
cause for it to be false.
ON THIS CASE,
The decedents will, which alone should provide the
answer, is mute on this point or at best is vague and
uncertain. T
he phrases, mga sapilitang tagapagmana and
sapilitang mana were borrowed from the language
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

of the law on succession and were used,


respectively, to describe the class of heirs instituted
and the abstract object of the inheritance.
They offer no absolute indication that the decedent
would have willed her estate other than the way she
did if she had known that she was not bound by law
to make allowance for legitimes.
Her disposition of the free portion of her estate
(libre disposition) which largely favored the
respondent Perfecto Cruz, the latters children, and
the children of the respondent Benita Cruz, shows a
perceptible inclination on her part to give to the
respondents more than what she thought the law
enjoined her to give to them. Compare this with the
relatively small devise of land which the decedent
had left for her blood relatives.
PRINCIPLE FOLLOWED: Whatever doubts one entertains in
his mind should be swept away by these explicit injunctions in
the Civil Code: The words of a will are to receive an
interpretation which will give to every expression some
effect, rather than one which will render any of the
expressions inoperative; and of two modes of interpreting a
will, that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy.

IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. CHRISTENSEN,


deceased.
ADOLFO C. AZNAR, executor and appellee,
vs.
MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DUNCAN, oppositor and appellant.
MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN, oppositor and appellee.
Facts:
1.

Edward E. Christensen, a citizen of California with domicile in the


Philippines, died leaving a will executed on March 5, 1951.
- The will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of
Davao in its decision of February 28, 1954.
- In that same decision the court declared that Helen Garcia was a
natural child of the deceased.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

3.

The declaration was appealed to this Court, and was affirmed in


its decision of February 14, 1958
In another incident relative to the partition of the deceased's estate,
the trial court approved the project submitted by the executor in
accordance with the provisions of the will, which said court found to
be valid under the law of California.
- Helen Garcia appealed from the order of approval, and this Court,
on January 31, 1963, reversed the same on the ground that the
validity of the provisions of the will should be governed by
Philippine law,
- and returned the case to the lower court with instructions that
the partition be made as provided by said law
the Court of First Instance of Davao issued an order approving the
project of partition submitted by the executor,
- wherein the properties of the estate were divided equally
between Maria Lucy Christensen Duncan (named in the will as
Maria Lucy Christensen Daney, and hereinafter referred to as
merely Lucy Duncan), whom the testator had expressly
recognized in his will as his daughter (natural)
- and Helen Garcia, who had been judicially declared as such after
his death.

Issue/held:
(1) whether the estate, after deducting the legacies, should pertain to her
and to Helen Garcia in equal shares, or whether the inheritance of
Lucy Duncan as instituted heir should be merely reduced to the extent
necessary to cover the legitime of Helen Garcia, equivalent to 1/4 of
the entire estate?
- the inheritance of Lucy Duncan as instituted heir should be
merely reduced to the extent necessary to cover the legitime of
Helen Garcia, equivalent to 1/4 of the entire estate

1. Manresa defines preterition as the omission of the heir in the will,

2.

3.

4.

Rationale:
Petitioner: there has been a preterition of Helen Garcia, a compulsory heir in
the direct line, resulting in the annulment of the institution of heir pursuant to
Art. 854 of the CC
SC:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.

either by not naming him at all or, while mentioning him as father,
son, etc., by not instituting him as heir without disinheriting him
expressly, nor assigning to him some part of the properties.
Manresa cites particularly three decisions of the Supreme Court of
Spain
- In each one of those cases the testator left to one who was a
forced heir a legacy worth less than the legitime, but without
referring to the legatee as an heir or even as a relative,
- and willed the rest of the estate to other persons. It was held that
Article 815 applied, and the heir could not ask that the institution
of heirs be annulled entirely, but only that the legitime be
completed
The foregoing solution is indeed more in consonance with the
expressed wishes of the testator in the present case as may be
gathered very clearly from the provisions of his will.
- He refused to acknowledge Helen Garcia as his natural daughter,
and limited her share to a legacy of P3,600.00.
- The fact that she was subsequently declared judicially to possess
such status is no reason to assume that had the judicial
declaration come during his lifetime his subjective attitude
towards her would have undergone any change and that he
would have willed his estate equally to her and to Lucy Duncan,
who alone was expressly recognized by him.
The decision of this Court in Neri, et al. v. Akutin, 74 Phil. 185, is cited
by appellees in support of their theory of preterition. That decision is
not here applicable, because it referred to a will where "the testator
left all his property by universal title to the children by his second
marriage,
- and without expressly disinheriting the children by his first
marriage, he left nothing to them or, at least, some of them."
- In the case at bar the testator did not entirely omit oppositorappellee Helen Garcia, but left her a legacy of P3,600.00.
The estate of the deceased Christensen upon his death consisted of
399 shares of stocks in the Christensen Plantation Company and a
certain amount in cash.
- One-fourth (1/4) of said estate descended to Helen Garcia as
her legitime. Since she became the owner of her share as of the
moment of the death of the decedent she is entitled to a
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corresponding portion of all the fruits or increments thereof
subsequently accruing.
6. One point deserves to be here mentioned, although no reference to it
has been made in the brief for oppositor-appellant.
- It is the institution of substitute heirs to the estate bequeathed to
Lucy Duncan in the event she should die without living issue.
- This substitution results in effect from the fact that under
paragraph 12 of the will she is entitled only to the income from
said estate, unless prior to her decease she should have living
issue,
- which event she would inherit in full ownership; otherwise the
property will go to the other relatives of the testator named in the
will.
- Without deciding this, point, since it is not one of the issues raised
before us, we might call attention to the limitations imposed by
law upon this kind of substitution,
- particularly that which says that it can never burden the legitime
(Art. 864 Civil Code), which means that the legitime must descend
to the heir concerned in fee simple.

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)
TIRSO T. REYES, as guardian of the minors Azucena Flordelis and Tirso, Jr., all
surnamed Reyes y Barretto,plaintiffs-appellants, vs. LUCIA MILAGROS
BARRETTO-DATU, defendant-appellee.
G.R. No. L-17818
January 25, 1967
REYES, J.B.L., J.: NILO
DOCTRINE: Preterition is the omission of one, some or all compulsory heirs in
the direct line, whether living at the time of the death of the testator, or born
subsequent thereto. Among other things, Reyes holds that omission from the
inheritance, as an element of preterition, must be a total omission, such that if
a compulsory heir in the direct line received something from the testator under
the terms of the will, such heir cannot be considered preterited.
FACTS:
1) Bibiano Barretto was married to Maria Gerardo. During their lifetime
they acquired a vast estate, consisting of real properties in Manila,
Pampanga, and Bulacan.
2) When Bibiano Barretto died, he left his share of these properties in a
will Salud Barretto, mother of plaintiff's wards, and Lucia Milagros
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Barretto and a small portion as legacies to his two sisters Rosa


Barretto and Felisa Barretto and his nephew an nieces. The usufruct
of the fishpond was reserved for his widow, Maria Gerardo.
Maria Gerardo was appointed administratrix and prepared a project of
partition, which was signed by her in her own behalf and as guardian
of the minor Milagros Barretto.
Maria Gerardo died and it was discovered that she had executed two
wills:
a. 1st she instituted Salud and Milagros Barretto, as her
heirs;
b. 2nd she revoked the same and left all her properties in
favor of Milagros Barretto alone.
Thus, the later will was allowed and the first rejected.
a. In rejecting the first will presented by Tirso Reyes, as guardian
of the children of Salud Barretto, the lower court held that
Salud was not the daughter of the decedent Maria Gerardo
by her husband Bibiano Barretto. SC affirmed the ruling.
PETITIONER now falls back upon the remnant of the estate of the
deceased Bibiano Barretto, which was given in usufruct to his widow
Maria Gerardo. Hence, this action for the recovery of one-half portion
of the estate.
DEFENDANT set up her right of ownership, not only of the fishpond
under litigation, but of all the other properties willed and delivered to
Salud Barretto, for being a spurious heir, and not entitled to any share
in the estate of Bibiano Barretto, thereby directly attacking the
validity, not only of the project of partition, but of the decision of the
court based thereon as well.
a. contends that the Project of Partition from which Salud
acquired the fishpond in question is void ab initio and Salud
Barretto did not acquire any valid title thereto, and that the
court did not acquire any jurisdiction of the person of the
defendant, who was then a minor.

Lower court project of partition for the settlement of the estate of Bibiano
Barretto to be null and void ab initio because the distributee, Salud Barretto,
predecessor of plaintiffs (now appellants), was not a daughter of the spouses
Bibiano Barretto and Maria Gerardo.
Article 1081 of the Civil Code of 1889 (then in force) provides as
follows: A partition in which a person was believed to be an heir,
without being so, has been included, shall be null and void.
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-

It rejected the contention advanced by plaintiffs that since Bibiano


Barretto was free to dispose of one-third (1/3) of his estate under the
old Civil Code, his will was valid in favor of Salud Barretto to the
extent, at least, of such free part.
Milagros was the only true heir of Bibiano Barretto, she was entitled
to recover from Salud, and from the latter's children and successors,
all the Properties received by her from Bibiano's estate, in view of the
provisions of Article 1456 of the new Civil Code.

ISSUE: W/N the partition from which Salud acquired the fishpond is void
abinitio and Salud did not acquire valid title to it. NO
RULING:
RE: PRETERITION:
SUPREME COURT Article 1081 of the old Civil Code has been misapplied to
the present case because:
Salud Barretto admittedly had been instituted heir in the late Bibiano
Barretto's last will and testament together with defendant Milagros;
hence, the partition had between them could not be one such had
with a party who was believed to be an heir without really being one,
and was not null and void under said article.
The legal precept (Article 1081) does not speak of children, or
descendants, but of heirs (without distinction between forced,
voluntary or intestate ones), and the fact that Salud happened not to
be a daughter of the testator does not preclude her being one of the
heirs expressly named in his testament; for Bibiano Barretto was at
liberty to assign the free portion of his estate to whomsoever he
chose. While the share () assigned to Salud impinged on the legitime
of Milagros, Salud did not for that reason cease to be a testamentary
heir of Bibiano Barretto.
Nor does the fact that Milagros was allotted in her father's will a share
smaller than her legitime invalidate the institution of Salud as heir,
since there was here no preterition, or total ommission of a forced
heir.
DEFENDANT contends that the partition in question was void as a
compromise on the civil status of Salud in violation of Article 1814 of the old
Civil Code.

condition of Salud as daughter of the testator Bibiano Barretto, while untrue,


was at no time disputed during the settlement of the estate of the testator.
There can be no compromise over issues not in dispute.
a project of partition which, as its own name implies, is merely a
proposal for distribution of the estate, that the court may accept or
reject, it is the court alone that makes the distribution of the estate
and determines the persons entitled thereto and the parts to which
each is entitled, and it is that judicial decree of distribution, once final,
that vests title in the distributees. If the decree was erroneous or not
in conformity with law or the testament, the same should have been
corrected by opportune appeal.
Defendant-appellee further pleads that as her mother and guardian (Maria
Gerardo) could not have ignored that the distributee Salud was not her child,
the act of said widow in agreeing to the oft-cited partition and distribution was
a fraud on appellees rights and entitles her to relief.
SUPREME COURT:
In the first place, there is no evidence that when the estate of Bibiano
Barretto was judicially settled and distributed appellants' predecessor,
Salud Lim Boco Barretto to, knew that she was not Bibiano's child: so
that if fraud was committed, it was the widow, Maria Gerardo, who
was solely responsible, and neither Salud nor her minor children,
appellants herein, can be held liable therefor.
In the second place granting that there was such fraud, relief
therefrom can only be obtained within 4 years from its discovery, and
the record shows that this period had elapsed long ago.
HELD: (1) that the partition had between Salud and Milagros Barretto in the
proceedings for the settlement of the estate of Bibiano Barretto duly approved
by the Court of First Instance of Manila in 1939, in its Civil Case No. 49629, is
not void for being contrary to either Article 1081 or 1814 of the, Civil Code of
1889;
(2) that Milagros Barretto's action to contest said partition and decree of
distribution is barred by the statute of limitations; and
(3) that her claim that plaintiff-appellant guardian is a possessor in bad faith
and should account for the fruits received from the properties inherited by
Salud Barretto (nee Lim Boco) is legally untenable.

SUPREME COURT: This view is erroneous, since a compromise presupposes the


settlement of a controversy through mutual concessions of the parties and the
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

149

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CONSTANTINO C. ACAIN, petitioner, vs. HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE
COURT (Third Special Cases Division), VIRGINIA A. FERNANDEZ and ROSA
DIONGSON, respondents.
G.R. No. 72706; October 27, 1987; PARAS; Chants
FACTS:
1. Petitioner Constantino Acain filed on the Regional Trial Court a
petition for the probate of the will of the late Nemesio Acain and for
the issuance to the same petitioner of letters testamentary
a. on the premise that Nemesio Acain died leaving a will in
which petitioner and his brothers Antonio, Flores and Jose
and his sisters Anita, Concepcion, Quirina and Laura were
instituted as heirs.
2. Will allegedly executed by Nemesio Acain on February 17, 1960 was
written in Bisaya, with a translation in English
a. submitted by petitioner without objection raised by private
respondents.
b. will contained provisions on burial rites, payment of debts,
and the appointment of a certain Atty. Ignacio G. Villagonzalo
as the executor of the testament
c. On the disposition of the testator's property, the will
provided: All my shares that I may receive from our
properties, house, lands and money which I earned jointly
with my wife Rosa Diongson shall all be given by me to my
brother SEGUNDO ACAIN
i. In case my brother Segundo Acain predeceased me,
all the money properties, lands, houses there in
Bantayan and here in Cebu City which constitute my
share shall be given to me to his children, namely:
Anita, Constantino, Concepcion, Quirina, laura,
Flores, Antonio and Jose, all surnamed Acain.
3. Segundo predeceased Nemesio. Thus it is the children of Segundo who
are claiming to be heirs, with Constantino as the petitioner
4. After the petition was set for hearing in the lower court, the
oppositors (respondents herein) Virginia A. Fernandez, a legally
adopted daughter of tile deceased and the latter's widow Rosa
Diongson Vda. de Acain filed a motion to dismiss on the following
grounds:
a. (1) for the petitioner has no legal capacity to institute these
proceedings;
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

b.
c.

5.
6.

7.

8.

(2) he is merely a universal heir and


(3) the widow and the adopted daughter have been
preterited
Said motion was denied by the trial judge.
After the denial of their subsequent motion for reconsideration in the
lower court, respondents filed with the Supreme Court a petition for
certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction which was
subsequently referred to the Intermediate Appellate Court
Respondent Intermediate Appellate Court granted private
respondents' petition and ordered the trial court to dismiss the
petition for the probate of the will of Nemesio Acain
His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner filed
this present petition for the review of respondent Court's decision

ISSUES: 1. Whether or not private respondents have been pretirited? ONLY


VIRGINA
2. Whether the probate court should have passed upon the intrinsic validity
already and dismissed the case? YES
HELD: 1. Virginia has been pretirited.
Preterition consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced
heirs or anyone of them either because they are not mentioned
therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor
are expressly disinherited
Insofar as the widow is concerned, Article 854 of the Civil Code may
not apply as she does not ascend or descend from the testator,
although she is a compulsory heir
o even if the surviving spouse is a compulsory heir, there is no
preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance, for
she is not in the direct line.
the same thing cannot be said of the other respondent Virginia A.
Fernandez
o adoption gives to the adopted person the same rights and
duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter and
makes the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter
o cannot be denied that she was totally omitted and pretirited
in the will of the testator and that both adopted child and the
widow were deprived of at least their legitime
o Neither can it be denied that they were not expressly
disinherited.
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o

Hence, this is a clear case of preterition of the legally adopted


child.
Preterition annuls the institution of an heir
annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance
including "la porcion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto en virtual de
legado mejora o donacion"
o only provisions which do not result in intestacy are the
legacies and devises made in the will for they should stand
valid and respected, except insofar as the legitimes are
concerned.
universal institution of petitioner together with his brothers and
sisters to the entire inheritance of the testator results in totally
abrogating the will because the nullification of such institution of
universal heirs-without any other testamentary disposition in the willamounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written
o No legacies nor devises having been provided in the will the
whole property of the deceased has been left by universal
title to petitioner and his brothers and sisters.
o The effect of annulling the "Institution of heirs will be,
necessarily, the opening of a total intestacy

2. Probate court should have passed upon intrinsic validity and dismissed the
case.
in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate
proceeding he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in
the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of
the estate
an interested party is one who would be benefited by the estate such
as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor
o Petitioner is not the appointed executor, neither a devisee or
a legatee there being no mention in the testamentary
disposition of any gift of an individual item of personal or real
property he is called upon to receive
At the outset, he appears to have an interest in the will as an heir, a
person called to the either by the provision of a will or by operation of
law
However, intestacy having resulted from the preterition of
respondent adopted child and the universal institution of heirs,
petitioner is in effect not an heir of the testator.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

no legal standing to petition for the probate of the will left by


the deceased
Special Proceedings No. 591 A-CEB must be dismissed.
o Special Proceedings No. 591 ACEB is for the probate of a will.
general rule is that the probate court's authority is limited only to the
extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testator's
testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or
solemnities prescribed by law
o The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the
Court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated
o Said court at this stage of the proceedings is not called upon
to rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of
the will
rule, however, is not inflexible and absolute
o Under exceptional circumstances, the probate court is not
powerless to do what the situation constrains it to do and
pass upon certain provisions of the will
o Where circumstances demand that intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions be passed upon even before the
extrinsic validity of the will is resolved, the probate court
should meet the issue
instant case: private respondents filed a motion to dismiss the petition
in Sp. Proceedings No. 591 ACEB
o For private respondents to have tolerated the probate of the
will and allowed the case to progress when on its face the will
appears to be intrinsically void as petitioner and his brothers
and sisters were instituted as universal heirs coupled with the
obvious fact that one of the private respondents had been
preterited would have been an exercise in futility.
o meant a waste of time, effort, expense, plus added futility
The trial court could have denied its probate outright or could have
passed upon the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions
before the extrinsic validity of the will was resolved
remedies of certiorari and prohibition were properly availed of by
private respondents.
o where the grounds for dismissal are indubitable, the
defendants had the right to resort to the more speedy, and
adequate remedies of certiorari and prohibition to correct a
grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction,
committed by the trial court in not dismissing the case,
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o

even assuming the existence of the remedy of appeal, the


Court harkens to the rule that in the broader interests of
justice, a petition for certiorari may be entertained,
particularly where appeal would not afford speedy and
adequate relief.

DECISION: Petition is hereby DENIED

REMEDIOS NUGUID, vs. FELIX NUGUID and PAZ SALONGA NUGUID,


G.R. No. L-23445

7.

FACTS:
1. Rosario Nuguid, a resident of Quezon City, died on December 30, 1962,
single, without descendants, legitimate or illegitimate.
2. Surviving her were her legitimate parents, Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga
Nuguid, and six (6) brothers and sisters, namely: Alfredo, Federico,
Remedios, Conrado, Lourdes and Alberto, all surnamed Nuguid.
3. On May 18, 1963, petitioner Remedios Nuguid filed in the Court of First
Instance of Rizal a holographic will allegedly executed by Rosario Nuguid,
some 11 years before her demise.
4. On June 25, 1963, Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid, concededly the
legitimate father and mother of the deceased Rosario Nuguid, entered
their opposition to the probate of her will.
5. On August 29, 1963, before a hearing was had on the petition for probate
and objection thereto, oppositors moved to dismiss on the ground of
absolute preterition.
6. On September 6, 1963, petitioner registered her opposition to the motion
to dismiss.
held that "the will in question is a complete nullity and will perforce
create intestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario Nuguid"

ISSUE: Whether or not the will should be allowed probate.

RULING:
o The meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of the will.
o Normally, this comes only after the court has declared that the will has
been duly authenticated.2

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will, nothing will
be gained.
On the contrary, this litigation will be protracted.
And for aught that appears in the record, in the event of probate or if
the court rejects the will, probability exists that the case will come up
once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or
nullity of the will.
Result: waste of time, effort, expense, plus added anxiety.
These are the practical considerations that induce us to a belief that
we might as well meet head-on the issue of the validity of the
provisions of the will in question.3 After all, there exists a justiciable
controversy crying for solution.
And now, back to the facts and the law. The deceased Rosario Nuguid left
no descendants, legitimate or illegitimate. But she left forced heirs in the
direct ascending line her parents, now oppositors Felix Nuguid and Paz
Salonga Nuguid. And, the will completely omits both of them:
They thus received nothing by the testament; tacitly, they were
deprived of their legitime; neither were they expressly disinherited.
This is a clear case of preterition.
Really, as we analyze the word annul employed in the statute, there is
no escaping the conclusion that the universal institution of petitioner
to the entire inheritance results in totally abrogating the will.
Because, the nullification of such institution of universal heir without
any other testamentary disposition in the will amounts to a declaration
that nothing at all was written.
We should not be led astray by the statement in Article 854 that,
annullment notwithstanding, the devises and legacies shall be valid
insofar as they are not inofficious.
Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly
given as such in a will.
Nothing in Article 854 suggests that the mere institution of a
universal heir in a willvoid because of preteritionwould give the
heir so instituted a share in the inheritance.
Petitioners mainstay is that the present is a case of ineffective
disinheritance rather than one of preterition
From this, petitioner draws the conclusion that Article 854 does not
apply to the case at bar.
This argument fails to appreciate the distinction between preterition
and disinheritance.

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o

o
o

Preterition consists in the omission in the testators will of the forced


heirs or anyone of them, either because they are not mentioned therein,
or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are
expressly disinherited.
Disinheritance is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory
heir of his share in the legitime for a cause authorized by law."
The will here does not explicitly disinherit the testatrixs
It simply omits their names altogether.
Said will rather than be labeled ineffective disinheritance is clearly one
in which the said forced heirs suffer from preterition.
On top of this is the fact that the effects flowing from preterition are
totally different from those of disinheritance.
Preterition under Article 854 of the Civil Code, we repeat, shall
annul the institution of heir.
This annulment is in toto, unless in the will there are, in addition,
testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies xxxx
Better stated yet, in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that
portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been
illegally deprived.
The disputed order, we observe, declares the will in question a complete
nullity. Article 854 of the Civil Code in turn merely nullifies the institution
of heir. The entire will is null.

b.

2.

3.

In the Matter of the Petition to Approve the Will of Leodegaria Julian. FELIX
BALANAY, JR., petitioner, vs. HON. ANTONIO M. MARTINEZ, Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch VI; AVELINA B. ANTONIO and DELIA
B. LANABAN, respondents.
G.R. No. L-39247 June 27, 1975
Aquino, J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1.

Leodegaria Julian, a native of Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur was survived by her
husband, Felix Balanay, Sr., and by their six legitimate children named
Felix Balanay, Jr., Avelina B. Antonio, Beatriz B. Solamo, Carolina B.
Manguiob, Delia B. Lanaban and Emilia B. Pabaonon.
a. Felix J. Balanay, Jr. filed in the lower court a petition for the
probate of his mother's notarial will which is written in
English.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

5.

In that will Leodegaria Julian declared (a) that she was the
owner of the "southern half of nine conjugal lots (par. II); (b)
that she was the absolute owner of two parcels of land which
she inherited from her father (par. III), and (c) that it was her
desire that her properties should not be divided among her
heirs during her husband's lifetime and that their legitimes
should be satisfied out of the fruits of her properties (Par. IV).
c. In paragraph V of the will she stated that after her husband's
death (he was eighty-two years old in 1973) her paraphernal
lands and all the conjugal lands (which she described as "my
properties") should be divided and distributed in the manner
set forth in that part of her will. She devised and partitioned
the conjugal lands as if they were all owned by her. She
disposed of in the will her husband's one half share of the
conjugal assets.
Felix Balanay, Sr. and Avelina B. Antonio opposed the probate of the
will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue
influence, preterition of the husband and alleged improper partition
of the conjugal estate.
a. The oppositors claimed that Felix Balanay, Jr. should collate
certain properties which he had received from the testatrix.
Felix Balanay, Jr., in his reply to the opposition, attached thereto an
affidavit of Felix Balanay, Sr.
a. Wherein he withdrew his opposition to the probate of the
will and affirmed that he was interested in its probate
b. Felix Balanay, Sr. signed an instrument captioned
"Conformation (sic) of Division and Renunciation of
Hereditary Rights" wherein he manifested that out of respect
for his wife's will he "waived and renounced' his hereditary
rights in her estate in favor of their six children.
c. In that same instrument he confirmed the agreement, which
he and his wife had perfected before her death, that their
conjugal properties would be partitioned in the manner
indicated in her will.
Avelina B. Antonio, an oppositor, in her rejoinder contended that the
affidavit and "conformation" of Felix Balanay, Sr. were void.
a. LC: "denied" the opposition and reset for hearing the probate
of the will.
Mrs. Antonio moved for the reconsideration of the lower court's
order
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


a.

6.

7.

8.

9.

Felix Balanay, Jr., through his counsel, Hermenegildo


Cabreros, opposed that motion.
b. LC: denied it in its order
David O. Montaa, Sr., claiming to be the lawyer of petitioner Felix
Balanay, Jr. (his counsel of record was Atty. Cabreros),
a. filed a motion for "leave of court to withdraw probate of
alleged will of Leodegaria Julian and requesting authority to
proceed by intestate estate proceeding."
b. Montaa in his motion assailed the provision of the will which
partitioned the conjugal assets or allegedly effected a
compromise of future legitimes.
c. In another motion of the same date he asked that the
corresponding notice to creditors be issued.
LC: acting on the motions of Atty. Montaa, assumed that the issuance
of a notice to creditors was in order since the parties had agreed on
that point.
a. It adopted the view of Attys. Montaa and Guyo that the will
was void
b. Dismissed the petition for the probate, converted the testate
proceeding into an intestate proceeding, ordered the
issuance of a notice to creditors and set the intestate
proceeding for hearing
c. The notice to creditors was issued on April 1, 1974 and
published on May 2, 9 and 16 in the Davao Star in spite of
petitioner's motion of April 17, 1974 that its publication be
held in abeyance.
Felix Balanay, Jr., through a new counsel, Roberto M. Sarenas, in a
verified motion asked for the reconsideration of the lower court's
a. Ground: that Atty. Montaa had no authority to withdraw the
petition for the allowance of the will.
b. Withdrawal of the petition for the probate of the will was
without their consent and was contrary to their repeated
reminder to him that their mother's will was "very sacred" to
them.
Avelina B. Antonio and Delia B. Lanaban opposed the motion for
reconsideration.
a. LC: denied the motion in its order
b. It clarified that it declared the will void on the basis of its own
independent assessment of its provisions and not because of
Atty. Montaa's arguments.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Issue: WON the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of the
will, before ruling on its allowance or formal validity, and in declaring it void.
Held: The trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity
even before its formal validity had been established. But the probate court
erred in declaring, in its order of February 28, 1974 that the will was void and in
converting the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding.
Ratio:
1.

2.

3.

In view of certain unusual provisions of the will, which are of dubious


legality, and because of the motion to withdraw the petition for
probate (which the lower court assumed to have been filed with the
petitioner's authorization), the trial court acted correctly in passing
upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had
been established.
a. The probate of a will might become an idle ceremony if on its
face it appears to be intrinsically void.
b. Where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic
validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is
probated, the court should meet the issue
But the probate court erred in declaring that the will was void and in
converting the testate proceeding into an intestate proceeding
a. notwithstanding the fact that in its order of June 18, 1973 , it
gave effect to the surviving husband's conformity to the will
and to his renunciation of his hereditary rights which
presumably included his one-half share of the conjugal
estate.
General Rule: "the invalidity of one of several dispositions contained
in a will does not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions,
unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made
such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been
made"
a. "Where some of the provisions of a will are valid and others
invalid, the valid parts will be upheld if they can be separated
from the invalid without defeating the intention of the
testator or interfering with the general testamentary scheme,
or doing injustice to the beneficiaries"
b. The statement of the testatrix that she owned the "southern
half of the conjugal lands is contrary to law because, although
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

4.

5.

6.

7.

she was a coowner thereof, her share was inchoate


and proindiviso
c. But That illegal declaration does not nullify the entire will. It
may be disregarded.
The testatrix in her will made a partition of the entire conjugal estate
among her six children (her husband had renounced his hereditary
rights and his one-half conjugal share).
a. She did not assign the whole estate to one or more children
as envisaged in article 1080.
b. Hence, she had no right to require that the legitimes be paid
in cash.
c. On the other hand, her estate may remain undivided only
for a period of twenty years.
Felix Balanay, Sr. could validly renounce his hereditary rights and his
one-half share of the conjugal partnership
a. But insofar as said renunciation partakes of a donation of his
hereditary rights and his one-half share in the conjugal
estate, it should be subject to the limitations prescribed in
articles 750 and 752 of the Civil Code.
b. A portion of the estate should be adjudicated to the
widower for his support and maintenance. Or at least his
legitime should be respected.
In the instant case there is no doubt that the testatrix and her
husband intended to partition the conjugal estate in the manner set
forth in paragraph V of her will.
a. It is true that she could dispose of by will only her half of the
conjugal estate (Art. 170, Civil Code) but since the husband,
after the dissolution of the conjugal partnership, had
assented to her testamentary partition of the conjugal estate,
such partition has become valid, assuming that the will may
be probated.
In the instant case, the preterited heir was the surviving spouse. His
preterition did not produce intestacy. Moreover, he signified his
conformity to his wife's will and renounced his hereditary rights.
a. Remember this: Article 854 of the Civil Code provides that
"the preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the
compulsory heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time
of the execution of the will or born after the death of the
testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

b.

c.

and legacies, shall be valid insofar as they are not


inofficious."
As far as is legally possible, the expressed desire of the
testator must be followed and the dispositions of the
properties in his will should be upheld (Estorque vs. Estorque,
L-19573, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 540, 546).
The law has a tender regard for the wishes of the testator as
expressed in his will because any disposition therein is better
than that which the law can make (Castro vs. Bustos, L-25913,
February 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 327, 341).

ZONIA ANA T. SOLANO, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, BIENVENIDO


S. GARCIA, and EMETERIA S. GARCIA, respondents.
G.R. No. L-41971 November 29, 1983
MELENCIO HERRERA, J.:
Whether or not total intestacy resulted from the declaration that the
institution of sole heir from decedents will: That being compulsory heirs, the
Garcias were preterited from Melitons will, and as a result, Sonias institution
as sole heir is null and void pursuant to Art. 854
FACTS:
1. July 7, 1969 The Garcias, claiming to be illegitimate children of Dr.
Meliton Solano, filed an action for recognition against him.
2. Solano denied paternity.
3. During the pendency of the suit, Solano died.
Zonia Ana Solano was ordered substituted for the decedent as the
only surviving heir mentioned in his Last Will and Testament probated
on March 10, 1969, or prior to his death.
ZONIA entered her formal appearance as a "substitute defendant",
claiming additionally that she was the sole heir of her father, and
asking that she be allowed to assume her duties as executrix of the
probated Will with the least interference from the Garcias who were
"mere pretenders to be illegitimate children of SOLANO".
4. Garcias reply:
Prayer that Zonia be declared instead, like them, as an adulterous
child of Solano.
5. Zonia did not file any responsive pleading and the case proceeded to trial.

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6.

7.

8.

9.

The Garcias further moved for the impleading of the Solano estate in
addition to Zonia, which was opposed by the latter, but which the Trial
Court granted.
TC specified the legal issues to be treated in the parties' respective
Memoranda as:
The question of recognition of the GARCIAS
The correct status of ZONIA
The hereditary share of each of them in view of the probated Will.
TC: Declared the Garcias and Zoniaas the illegitimate children of the late
Dr. Meliton Solano under the class of adulterous children, with all the
rights granted them by law; Zonia as sole heir null and void and the 3 shall
equally share the estate
CA appeal by Zonia, but Court affirmed

ISSUES:
1. Are the Garcias and Zonia illegitimate children? YES
2. Does the TC have jurisdiction in an action for recognition: to declare Zonia
as an illegitimate child, to order the division of the estate in the same
action despite the pendency of Special Proceedings No. 842, and to declare
null and void the institution of heir in the Last Win and Testament of
Solano, which was duly probated in the same Special Proceedings No. 842,
and concluding that total intestacy resulted? YES
3. Did the TC have jurisdiction in declaring null and void the institution of heir
in Solano's will; in concluding that total intestacy resulted therefrom; and
distributing the shares of the parties in SOLANO's estate when said estate
was under the jurisdiction and control of the Probate Court? YES
HELD:
First:
1. The SC is bound by the findings of fact of both the Trial Court and the
Appellate Court.
2. The oral testimony and the documentary evidence of record inevitably
point to that conclusion, as may be gleaned from the following background
facts:
Solano, married Pilar Riosa, who latter died.
On a world tour he met a French woman who became his second wife,
but the union was short-lived as she left him.
Solano started having amorous relations with Juana Garcia, out of
which affair was born Bienvenido Garcia, then Emeteria Garcia.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Their birth certificates and baptismal certificates mention only the


mother's name without the father's name.
o Solano during his lifetime recognized the GARCIAS as his children
by acts of support and provisions for their education.
Then Solano started living with Trinidad Tuagnon, and three children
were born out of this relation but only Zonia is living.
o In her Birth Certificate, her status was listed as "illegitimate"; her
mother as Trinidad Tuagnon; her father as "P.N.C. ", or "padre no
conocido".
During the Japanese occupation, SOLANO obtained a divorce from the
French woman
Then Solano and Trinidad executed an "Escritura de Reconocimiento
de Unit Hija Natural", acknowledging ZONIA as a "natural child", and
yhe document was registered with the Local Civil Registrar.
Solano executed his "Ultima Voluntad y Testamento", instituting
ZONIA as his universal heir to all his personal and real properties in
Camalig, Tabaco and Malinao, all in the province of Albay, except for
five parcels of land in Bantayan, Tabaco, Albay, which were given to
Trinidad in usufruct
And Upon Solano's petition, the Will was duly probated

Second:
1. It is true that the action below was basically one for recognition.
2. However, Zonia did not only rely upon Solano's Answer already of record
but asserted new rights in her capacity as sole and universal heir,
"executrix and administratrix, "and challenged the right of the GARCIAS to
recognition.
3. Thus, she was not defending the case as a mere representative of the
deceased but asserted rights and defenses in her own personal capacity.
4. The litigation was converted into a contest between the Garcias and Zonia
precisely as to their correct status as heirs and their respective rights as
such.
5. No error was committed by either the Trial Court or the Appellate Court,
therefore, in resolving the issue of Zonia's status.
Third:
1. Normally, this would be the general rule, however, a peculiar situation is
thrust upon us here.
It should be recalled that Solano himself instituted the petition for
probate of the Will during his lifetime, and that proceeding was not
one to settle the estate of a deceased person that would be deemed

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

terminated only upon the final distribution of the residue of the


hereditary estate.
With the Will allowed to probate, the case would have terminated
except that it appears that the parties, after Solano's death, continued
to file pleadings therein.
Secondly, upon motion of the Garcias, and over the objection of Zonia, the
Trial Court ordered the impleading of the estate of Solano and proceeded
on that basis.
In effect, therefore, the two cases were consolidated.
The records further disclose that the action for recognition and Spec.
Procs. No. 842 were pending before the same Branch of the Court and
before the same presiding Judge.
Thirdly, it is settled that the allowance of a Will is conclusive only as to its
due execution.
A probate decree is not concerned with the intrinsic validity or legality
of the provisions of the Will.
Thus, the Trial Court and the Appellate Court had jurisdiction to conclude
that, upon the facts, the Garcias and Zonia were in the same category as
illegitimate children; that Zonia's acknowledgment as a "natural child" in a
notarial document executed by Solano and Trinidad was erroneous
because at the time of her birth in 1941, Solano was still married to Lilly
Gorand, his divorce having been obtained only in 1943, and that being
compulsory heirs, the Garcias were, in fact, pretended from Solano's Last'
Will and Testament; and that as a result of said preterition, the institution
of ZONIA as sole heir by SOLANO is null and void pursuant to Article 854 of
the Civil Code.
The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in
the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or
born after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but
the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. ...
As provided in the foregoing provision, the disposition in the Will giving the
usufruct in favor of Trinidad over the five parcels of land in Bantayan,
Tabaco, Albay, is a legacy, recognized in Article 563 of the Civil Code, and
should be respected in so far as it is not inofficious.
So also did the Trial Court have jurisdiction in resolving the issue of the
hereditary shares of the Garcias and Zonia.
However, contrary to the conclusions of the Courts below, holding
that the entire Will is void and intestacy ensues, the pretention of the
Garcias should annul the institution of Zonia as heir only insofar as the
legitime of the omitted heirs is impaired.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

The Will, therefore, is valid subject to that limitation.


The intention of the testator was to favor Zonia with certain portions
of his property, which, under the law, he had a right to dispose of by
Will, so that the disposition in her favor should be upheld as to the
one-half portion of the property that the testator could freely dispose
of.
Since the legitime of illegitimate children consists of one half of the
hereditary estate, the Garcias and Zonia each have a right to
participation therein in the proportion of one-third each.
Zonia's hereditary share will, therefore, be 1/2 + (1/3 of 1/2) or 4/6 of
the estate, while the Garcias will respectively be entitled to 1/3 of 1/2
or 1/6 of the value of the estate.
7. As stated, the usufruct in favor of Trinidad Tuagnon over the properties
indicated in the Will is valid and should be respected.
8. Nuguid case not applicable because in this case, only a one-sentence Will
was involved with no other provision except the institution of the sole and
universal heir
There was no specification of individual property, and there were no
specific legacies or bequests.
In contrast, in the case at bar, there is a specific bequest or legacy so
that Article 854 of the Civil Code, supra, applies merely annulling the
"institution of heir".
Furthermore:
1. The jurisdiction of the Trial Court and the Appellate Court was never
questioned before either Court.
2. Zonia should now be held estopped to repudiate that jurisdiction to which
she had voluntarily submitted, after she had received an unfavorable
judgment.
Judgment modified:
1. The hereditary share in the estate of the decedent of Zonia is hereby
declared to be (1/2 + (1/3 of 1/2) or 4/6 of said estate.
2. While the Garcias shall each be (1/3 of 1/2) or (1/6) of the estate
3. The usufruct in favor of Trinidad Tuagnon shall be respected.
DY YIENG SEANGIO, BARBARA D. SEANGIO and VIRGINIA D.
SEANGIO, Petitioners, vs. HON. AMOR A. REYES, in her capacity as Presiding
Judge, Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 21,
Manila, ALFREDO D. SEANGIO, ALBERTO D. SEANGIO, ELISA D. SEANGIOSANTOS, VICTOR D. SEANGIO, ALFONSO D. SEANGIO, SHIRLEY D. SEANGIOLIM, BETTY D. SEANGIO-OBAS and JAMES D. SEANGIO, Respondents.
157

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


G.R. Nos. 140371-72; November 27, 2006; P: Azcuna; By: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: ..it is a fundamental principle that the intent or the will of the
testator, expressed in the form and within the limits prescribed by law, must be
recognized as the supreme law in succession. All rules of construction are
designed to ascertain and give effect to that intention. It is only when the
intention of the testator is contrary to law, morals, or public policy that it
cannot be given effect.
5.
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

Private respondents filed a petition for the settlement of the intestate


estate of the late Segundo Seangio and praying for the appointment of
private respondent Elisa D. SeangioSantos as special administrator and
guardian ad litem of petitioner Dy Yieng Seangio
Petitioners Dy Yieng, Barbara and Virginia, all surnamed Seangio, opposed
the petition. They contended that:
1) Dy Yieng is still very healthy and in full command of her
faculties;
2) the deceased Segundo executed a general power of attorney in
favor of Virginia giving her the power to manage and exercise
control and supervision over his business in the Philippines;
3) Virginia is the most competent and qualified to serve as the
administrator of the estate of Segundo because she is a certified
public accountant; and,
4) Segundo left a holographic will, dated September 20, 1995,
disinheriting one of the private respondents, Alfredo Seangio
In view of the purported holographic will, petitioners averred that in the
event the decedent is found to have left a will, the intestate proceedings
are to be automatically suspended and replaced by the proceedings for
the probate of the will.
A petition for the probate of the holographic will of Segundo was
filed by petitioners. They likewise reiterated that the probate
proceedings should take precedence because testate
proceedings take precedence and enjoy priority over intestate
proceedings.
The cases were consolidated
Private respondents moved for the dismissal of the probate
proceedings primarily on the ground that the document purporting to be
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

7.

the holographic will of Segundo does not contain any disposition of the
estate of the deceased and thus does not meet the definition of a will
under Article 783 of the Civil Code.
The will only shows an alleged act of disinheritance by the
decedent of his eldest son, Alfredo, and nothing else; that all
other compulsory heirs were not named nor instituted as heir,
devisee or legatee, hence, there is preterition which would result
to intestacy
Petitioners filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss contending that:
1) generally, the authority of the probate court is limited only to a
determination of the extrinsic validity of the will; 2) private respondents
question the intrinsic and not the extrinsic validity of the will; 3)
disinheritance constitutes a disposition of the estate of a decedent; and, 4)
the rule on preterition does not apply because Segundos will does not
constitute a universal heir or heirs to the exclusion of one or more
compulsory heirs.
the RTC issued its assailed order, dismissing the petition for probate
proceedings, ruling that:
A perusal of the document termed as "will" by
oppositors/petitioners Dy Yieng Seangio, et al., clearly shows that
there is preterition, as the only heirs mentioned thereat are
Alfredo and Virginia.
[T]he other heirs being omitted, Article 854 of the New Civil Code
thus applies.
However, insofar as the widow Dy Yieng Seangio is concerned,
Article 854 does not apply, she not being a compulsory heir in
the direct line.
The purported holographic will of Segundo that was presented by
petitioners was dated, signed and written by him in his own handwriting.
Except on the ground of preterition, private respondents did not raise
any issue as regards the authenticity of the document.

Issue:
1.
2.
3.

Is the disinheritance valid? Is the disinheritance valid? YES


Does the document executed by Segundo can be considered as a
holographic will? YES
Were the compulsory heirs in the direct line were not preterited in the
will? NO

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Ruling:
1.

2.

3.

The document, entitled Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, unmistakably


showed Segundos intention of excluding his eldest son, Alfredo, as an
heir to his estate for the reasons that he cited therein
For disinheritance to be valid, Article 916 of the Civil Code
requires that the same must be effected through a will wherein
the legal cause therefor shall be specified
the Court believes that the incidents, taken as a whole, can be
considered a form of maltreatment of Segundo by his son,
Alfredo, and that the matter presents a sufficient cause for the
disinheritance of a child or descendant under Article 919 of the
Civil Code
Segundos document, although it may initially come across as a mere
disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic
will prescribed by law.
It is written, dated and signed by the hand of Segundo himself.
An intent to dispose mortis causa can be clearly deduced from the
terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an
affirmative disposition of the latters property, the disinheritance
of Alfredo, nonetheless, is an act of disposition in itself
In this regard, the Court is convinced that the document, even if
captioned as Kasulatan ng Pag-Aalis ng Mana, was intended by
Segundo to be his last testamentary act and was executed by him
in accordance with law in the form of a holographic will. Unless
the will is probated, the disinheritance cannot be given effect.
With regard to the issue on preterition, the Court believes that the
compulsory heirs in the direct line were not preterited in the will.
It was, in the Courts opinion, Segundos last expression to
bequeath his estate to all his compulsory heirs, with the sole
exception of Alfredo.
Also, Segundo did not institute an heir to the exclusion of his
other compulsory heirs.
The mere mention of the name of one of the petitioners, Virginia,
in the document did not operate to institute her as the universal
heir.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

i. Her name was included plainly as a witness to the


altercation between Segundo and his son, Alfredo
Considering that the questioned document is Segundos
holographic will, and that the law favors testacy over intestacy,
the probate of the will cannot be dispensed with. Article 838 of
the Civil Code provides that no will shall pass either real or
personal property unless it is proved and allowed in accordance
with the Rules of Court.
i. Thus, unless the will is probated, the right of a person to
dispose of his property may be rendered nugatory.
The trial court should have allowed the holographic will to be probated. It
is settled that testate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the
decedent take precedence over intestate proceedings for the same
purpose

Decision: The petition is GRANTED. Respondent judge is directed to reinstate


and hear for the allowance of the holographic will.

159

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Doctrine: Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution "provided such
substitution does not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted
Facts:
1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

FEBRUARY 6, 2012
TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ, MARIA LUISA PALACIOS,
Administratrix, petitioner-appellee vs. MARCELLE D. VDA. DE RAMIREZ, ET AL.,
oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ, legatees, oppositors- appellants
G.R. No. L-27952; February 15, 1982; J. Abad Santos
(Bon)

6.

Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December


11, 1964, with only his widow as compulsory heir. His will was
admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X,
on July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of
the estate.
Principal beneficiaries are: his widow MarcelleDemoron de Ramirez;
his two grandnephews Roberto and Jorge Ramirez; and his companion
Wanda de Wrobleski.
The project partition submitted by the administratrix is as follows:
(a) The property of the deceased is to be divided into two parts.
(b) One part shall go to the widow 'en plenodominio" (in fee) in
satisfaction of her legitime;
(c) the other part or "free portion" shall go to Jorge and Roberto
Ramirez "en nudapropriedad." (in naked ownership)
(d) One third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the
widow's usufruct and the remaining two-thirds (2/3) with a
usufruct in favor of Wanda.
The Wanda made substitutions:
(a) Juan Pablo Jankowski (a legatee of the testator) and
(b) Horace V. Ramirez (a nephew of the testator)
Now, Eugenio counters the partition basically on:
(a) that the provisions for vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda
de Wrobleski with respect to the widow's usufruct and in
favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio V. Ramirez, with
respect to Wanda's usufruct are invalid because the first heirs
(Marcelle and Wanda) survived the testator;
(b) that the provisions for fideicommissary substitutions are also
invalid because the first heirs are not related to the second
heirs or substitutes within the first degree, as provided in
Article 863 of the Civil Code;
(c) that the grant of a usufruct over real property in the
Philippines in favor of Wanda Wrobleski, who is an alien,
violates Section 5, Article III of the Philippine Constitution
The lower court however approved the project partition.

Issue:
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

160

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Is the fideicommissarysubstitution valid?
Held:NO. it is VOID because the substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace
V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda, the heir originally instituted.
Art. 863 of the Civil Code validates a fideicommissary substitution
"provided such substitution does not go beyond one degree from the
heir originally instituted."
What is meant by "one degree" from the first heir is explained by
Tolentino as follows:
"degree" as designation, substitution, or transmission.
From this point of view, there can be only one tranmission
or substitution, and the substitute need not be related to
the first heir.
Manresa, Morell and Sanchez Roman, however, construe
the word "degree" as generation, and the present Code has
obviously followed this interpretation. by providing that the
substitution shall not go beyond one degree "from the heir
originally instituted." The Code thus clearly indicates that
the second heir must be related to and be one generation
from the first heir.
From this, it follows that the fideicommissary can only be
either a child or a parent of the first heir. These are the only
relatives who are one generation or degree from the
fiduciary (Op. cit., pp. 193-194.)
There is no absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit the usufruct
to the substitutes as required by Arts. 865 and 867 of the Civil Code.
o In fact, the appellee admits "that the testator contradicts
the establishment of a fideicommissary substitution when
he permits the properties subject of the usufruct to be sold
upon mutual agreement of the usufructuaries and the naked
owners."
Decision: The estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered distributed as
follows:
One-half (1/2) thereof to his widow as her legitime;
One-half (1/2) thereof which is the free portion to Roberto and Jorge
Ramirez in naked ownership and the usufruct to Wanda de Wrobleski
with a simple substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace
V. Ramirez.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Vda. de Mapa vs. Court of Appeals


[154 SCRA 294(1987)] osh

Doctrine: No particular words are required for the creation of an express


trust, it being sufficient that & trust is clearly intended
FACTS:
1. On January 16, 1965, petitioners Paz Garcia Vda. de Mapa, et al.
instituted Civil Case No. 59566 before the then Court of First Instance of
Manila to recover from the estate of the late LudovicoHidrosollo,
then the subject of Special Proceedings No. 52229 of the same court,
the properties left by the late Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo.
They claimed that the deceased Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo, in
her last will and testament dated June 2, 1951 xxx instituted
LudovicoHidrosollo as universal heir to the residue of her estate with
the obligation as trustee to hold the same in trust for petitioners
herein who are nephews and nieces of the deceased Concepcion
Mapa de Hidrosolloand for respondents xxx who are nephews and
nieces of LudovicoHidrosollo;
that Ludovico, however, died without fulfilling the obligation so that
the estate of Concepcion formed part of the estate of Ludovico.
2. They prayed in the alternative that judgment be rendered either
a) declaring a trust to have been created in their favor and their cobeneficiaries over the residue of the estate of Concepcion Mapa de
Hidrosolloand ordering therein defendants Luis and
TeodoroHidrosollo as administrators of the estate of
LudovicoHidrosollo, to deliver to them 6/13 of the said properties;
or
b) declaring the institution of LudovicoHidrosollo as universal heir with
a provision for fideicommissary substitution in their favorand their
co- beneficiaries as null and void, declaring the residue of the estate
of Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo to have been subject to intestate
succession, declaring them to be the sole heirs to said residue and

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.

4.

5.
6.

7.

ordering therein defendants Luis and TeodoroHidrosollo to turn over


to them the said properties.
Respondents, in their Answer, denied the existence of a trust and alleged
that LudovicoHidrosollo, being the surviving spouse of the deceased
Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo became the latter's universal heir when
she died without descendants or ascendants;
that as such universal heir, Ludovico stepped into the rights, title and
claims of the deceased Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo, so that the
controverted properties became part of his own estate subject of
settlement in Special Proceedings No. 52229.
They further claimed that Civil Case No. 59566 was barred by the
order of the same court sitting as a probate court in Special
Proceedings No. 52229 which denied petitioners' motion for
intervention, and that petitioners, in having instituted Civil Case No.
59566 had forfeited any benefits under the will.
LC the lower court ruled that a trust was created over the properties of
petitioners' claim, however, respondents had forfeited their rights
thereto; and that the denial of petitioners' motion to intervene in Special
Proceedings No. 52229 did not deprive the petitioners of their right to
institute a separate action to recover what pertains to them in their own
right.
Thus, the lower court ordered respondents xxx disposition of the
properties to reconvey the same in favor of petitioners, to render an
accounting of the income of said properties and to deliver to
petitioners the net proceeds of such income.
Respondents moved for a reconsideration of the decision, but were
denied the relief sought.
Their appeal to the Court of Appeals proved fruitful as the appellate court
reversed the decision of the lower court and ruled instead that no trust
nor fideicommissary substitution was created in Concepcion Mapa de
Hidrosollo's Will and that petitioners' claim was barred by a final
judgment, i.e., the order denying their motion to intervene in Special
Proceedings No. 52229 from which no appeal was taken.
Hence, this present recourse,

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

petitioners maintaining that the will of Concepcion Mapa de


Hidrosollo created a trust in their favor, not a fideicommissary
substitution, and that the denial of their motion to intervene in
Special Proceedings No. 52229 did not constitute a bar to Civil Case
No. 59566.

ISSUE: WON the will of Concepcion Mapa de Hidrosollo created a trust in their
favor, not a fideicommissary substitution
HELD: We find both contentions meritorious.
1. A careful perusal and scrutiny of the pertinent provisions of Concepcion
Mapa de Hidrosollo's Will reveal that she intended to create a trust in
favor of both petitioners and private respondents.
2. Thus, under paragraph 8 of the Will,
LudovicoHidrosollo was instituted as sole and universal heir to the rest
of the properties not covered by the legacies in the preceding
paragraphs.
Under paragraph 9, however, said LudovicoHidrosollo was charged
(encargo) with the obligation to deliver the rest of the estate in equal
parts to the Mapa, Salazar and Hidrosollo nephews and nieces,
who, as beneficiaries, were directed to deliver annually to one
Salvador Genova, during his lifetime, 12 cavans of palay on the
condition that the latter assist Luis Hidrosollo in each harvest.
Said beneficiaries were likewise required to allow said Salvador
Genova to maintain his house on a parcel of land situated at
Ilaud, Municipality of Dumarao, without payment of any
compensation
3. In paragraph 11 of the same Will, the testatrix expressly provided that
any obligations which her husband might incur after her death, shall be
charged against the share corresponding to the Hidrosollo nephews and
niecesand in no case shall the participation of her own nephews and nieces
be charged with said obligations.
4. She likewise expressed the wish that all her properties should always
remain in co-ownership among her beneficiaries, who should abstain
from selling or encumbering the same in any manner whatsoever (par.
162

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

5.

6.

7.

13) and that the same be administered jointly by Ignacio Salazar and Luis
Hidrosollo, or in case of their inability, by a nephew or niece from each of
the two groups (par. 15).
Although the word "trust" itself does not appear in the Will, the
testatrix's intent to create one is nonetheless clearly demonstrated by the
stipulations in her Will.
In designating her husband LudovicoHidrosollo as universal and sole
heir with the obligation to deliver the properties to petitioners and
private respondents, she intended that the legal title should vest in
him, and in significantly referring to petitioners and private
respondents as "beneficiarios," she intended that the beneficial or
equitable interest to these properties should repose in them.
To our mind, these designations, coupled with the other provisions for
co-ownership and joint administration of the properties, as well as the
other conditions imposed by the testatrix effectively created a trust in
favor of the parties over the properties adverted to in the Will.
"No particular words are required for the creation of an express trust,
it being sufficient that a trust is clearly intended. " (Art. 1443, Civil
Code of the Philippines).
However, we must not lose sight of the fact that as the surviving spouse
of the testatrix, LudovicoHidrosollo was entitled to a legitime of one-half
(1/2) of her hereditary estate.
As that portion is reserved by law for the compulsory heirs, no burden,
encumbrance, condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever may
be imposed upon the legitime by the testator. (Art. 904, second
paragraph, Ibid)
The trust created by Concepcion Mapa should therefore be, as it is
hereby declared to be effective only on the free portion of her estate,
i.e., that portion not covered by LudovicoHidrosollo'slegitime.
Anent the issue of res judicata,
We rule that the order denying petitioners' motion for intervention in
Special Proceedings No. 52229 did not constitute an adjudication on
the merits and therefore could not operate as a bar to Civil Case No.
59566.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Since the denial order was anchored primarily on the nonexistence


of, or the ineffectivity of a fideicommissary substitution, and did not
resolve the issue of trust alleged by petitioners, said order cannot be
considered an adjudication on the merits of petitioners' claim against
the estate.

CONSOLACION FLORENTINO DE CRISOLOGO, ET AL., plaintiffsappellees, vs.DR. MANUEL SINGSON, defendant-appellant.


G.R. No. L-13876; February 28, 1962; P: Dizon; by: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: If the fiduciary did not acquire full ownership of the property
bequeathed by will, but mere usufructuary rights thereon until the time came
for him to deliver said property to the fideicomisario, it is obvious that the nude
ownership over the property, upon the death of the testatrix, passed to and was
acquired by another person, and the person cannot be other than the
fideicomisario
Facts:
1. This is an action for partition commenced by the spouses Consolacion
Florentino and Francisco Crisologo against Manuel Singson in connection
with a residential lot.
2. Their complaint alleged that Singson owned one-half pro-indiviso of said
property and that Consolacion Florentino owned the other half by virtue of
the provisions of the duly probated last will of Da. Leona Singson (who
died single), the original owner
At the time of the execution of the will, her nearest living
relatives were her brothers Evaristo, Manuel and Dionisio
Singson, her nieces Rosario, Emilia and Trinidad, and her
grandniece Consolation, all surnamed Florentino.
3. Plaintiffs had made demands for the partition of said property, but
defendant refused
4. Defendant's defense was that Consolacion Florentino was a mere
usufructuary of, and not owner of one-half pro-indiviso of the property in
question
5. The lower court rendered judgment declaring that the plaintiff is a coowner pro-indiviso with the defendant
6. The lower court whose decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals

163

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Issue:
Does the testamentary disposition provided for what is called sustitucion
vulgar or for a sustitucion fideicomisaria? Sustitucion vulgar (See no. )
Ruling:
1.
2.

3.

Due to the time of the testators death the laws in effect is the Civil Code.
It is clear that the particular testamentary clause under consideration
provides for a substitution of the heir named therein in this manner:
That upon the death of Consolacion Florentino whether this
occurs before or after that of the testatrix the property
bequeathed to her shall be delivered ("se dara") or shall belong
in equal parts to the testatrix's three brothers, Evaristo, Manuel
and Dionisio, or their forced heirs, should anyone of them die
ahead of Consolacion Florentino.
If this clause created what is known as sustitucion vulgar, the
necessary result would be that Consolacion Florentino, upon the
death of the testatrix, became the owner of one undivided half
of the property..
But if it provided for a sustitution fideicomisaria, she would have
acquired nothing more than usufructuary rights over the same
half.
In the former case, she would undoubtedly be entitled to
partition, but not in the latter.
As Manresa says, if the fiduciary did not acquire full ownership of
the property bequeathed by will, but mere usufructuary rights
thereon until the time came for him to deliver said property to
the fideicomisario, it is obvious that the nude ownership over the
property, upon the death of the testatrix, passed to and was
acquired by another person, and the person cannot be other than
the fideicomisario
It seems to be of the essence of a fideicommissary substitution that an
obligation be clearly imposed upon the first heir to preserve and transmit
to another the whole or part of the estate bequeathed to him, upon his
death or upon the happening of a particular event.
For this reason, Art. 785 of the old Civil Code provides that a
fideicommissary substitution shall have no effect unless it is
made expressly ("de una manera expresa") either by giving it such
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

name, or by imposing upon the first heir the absolute obligation


("obligacion terminante") to deliver the inheritance to a
substitute or second heir
A careful perusal of the testamentary clause under consideration shows
that the substitution of heirs provided for therein is not expressly made
of the fideicommissary kind, nor does it contain a clear statement to the
effect that appellee, during her lifetime, shall only enjoy usufructuary
rights over the property bequeathed to her, naked ownership thereof
being vested in the brothers of the testatrix.
As already stated, it merely provides that upon appellee's death
whether this happens before or after that of the testatrix
her share shall belong to the brothers of the testatrix.

Decision: Appealed judgment AFFIRMED

EMETERIO A. RODRIGUEZ (in substitution of RUFINO A. RODRIGUEZ, who died


during the pendency of this case in the Court of Appeals), and JOSE AYALA,
executorspetitioners, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PETRA
RODRIGUEZ, ANTONIA RODRIGUEZ and ROSA RODRIGUEZ, oppositorsrespondents.
No. L-28734. March 28, 1969.
Fernando, J.
(Jeka)
Atty. Sebastian: A testamentary disposition prohibiting the alienation of the
hereditary estate for a period exceeding twenty years is void. However, the
Court has ruled that the nullity refers not to the prohibition to alienate, but to
the prohibition in excess of the first twenty years.
Facts:
1.

Doa Margarita Rodriguez died in the City of Manila


a. Leaving a last will and testament (September 1951)

164

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

3.

4.
5.
6.

b. Said last will and testament was legalized by virtue of the


resolution or order of the Court of First Instance of Manila
without the appellants opposition in Special Proceeding No.
3845, hence the extrinsic validity of the will was substantially
not in question.
The executor of the last will and testament of the late, Doa Margarita
Rodriguez presented a project of partition and the same was approved
by the Court of First Instance of Manila, again without the opposition
of the appellants.
a. Hence, the intrinsic validity of the will could never be again
questioned and raised as issue in the trusteeship proceedings
No. 51872 of the same court
At the time of her death left no compulsory heirs or forced heirs and,
consequently, [was] free to dispose of her properties even to
strangers at will as provided in her will."
a. It was likewise noted therein that the testatrix created a
trust which was objected to by private respondents, who
claimed to be first cousins of the deceased.
LC: granted letters of trusteeship to petitioners, who were the
executors under the will.
CA: affirmed the action taken by the Court of First Instance
A motion for reconsideration filed by private respondents resulted in
a resolution which set aside its previous decision
a. Modified the judgment .appealed from insofar as the validity
of the provision of clause 10 of the will creating the
trusteeship was concerned
b. Disputed clause: "[ClausulaDecima O Pang Sampu].
Ipinaguutoskonaangmgapag-aaringnasasabisaClausulangito
ay
pangangasiwaansahabangpanahon,
at
itongaangipagbubukasngFideicomiso
saJuzgadosapagkataposnamaayosangnaiwanankongpag-aari.
Angpangangasiwaangpag-aari ay angmgasumusunod: x xx.
Anglahatngpag-aaringnasasabiClausulangito (hindikasamaang
generator
at
automobile)
hindimaisasanla
o
maipagbibilikailan man, malibansapag-aaringnasa Quezon
Boulevard,
Maynila,
namaaaringisanla
kung
walangpondosagagamitinsaipagpapaigi
o
ipagpapagawangpanibago
at
alinsunodsakaayusanghinihingingpana-hon."

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

c.

The above perpetual prohibition to alienate the property


mentioned, constitutes a clear violation of Article 867 and
Article 870 of the Civil Code.
d. The trust in question is a nullity for being in violation of the
aforestated rules (against perpetuities and the limitation
regarding the inalienability of the hereditary estate).
e. there should be intestate succession concerning the same,
with the nearest relative of the deceased entitled to inherit
the properties in accordance with the law on intestacy.
Issue: WON the questioned provision of the will is valid.
Held: Yes.The clause, at least insofar as the first twenty-year period is
concerned, in accordance with the Civil Code provision
Ratio:
1.

2.

It does not admit of doubt that in the disputed clause the testatrix did
make clear her purpose not to mortgage or to sell forever more (kailan
man) certain properties left by her.
a. There would seem then some justification for the Court of
Appeals in the challenged resolution to deny force and effect
to such a wish considering that a perpetual prohibition to
alienate is by the Civil Code forbidden.
b. The more controlling provision, however, as already made
mention of is supplied by Article 870.
c. Its terms are clear. The dispositions of the testator
declaring all or part of the estate inalienable for more than
twenty years are void.
d. What is declared void is the testamentary disposition
prohibiting alienation after the twenty-year period.
e. In the interim, such a provision does not suffer from the vice
of invalidity, It cannot be stricken down.
There is no room for intestacy as would be the effect if the challenged
resolution of January 8, 1968 were not set aside.
a. The wishes of the testatrix constitute the law. Her will must
be given effect. This is so even if there could be an element
of uncertainty insofar as the ascertainment thereof is
concerned.
b. The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which
will give to every expression some eff ect, rather than one
which will render any of the expressions inoperative; and of
165

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

3.

4.

5.

two modes of interpreting a will, that is to be preferred which


will prevent intestacy."
Respect for the will of a testator as expressed in his last testamentary
disposition, constitutes the principal basis of the rules which the law
prescribes for the correct interpretation of all of the clauses of the
will; the words and provisions therein written must be plainly
construed in order to avoid a violation of his intentions and real
purpose. The will of the testator clearly and explicitly stated must be
respected and complied with as an inviolable law among the parties in
interest.
a. Intestacy should be avoided and the wishes of the testator
allowed to prevail that we could even vary the language of
the will for the purpose of giving it effect.
Where the testators intention is manifest from the context of the will
and surrounding- circumstances, but is obscured by inapt and
inaccurate modes of expression, the language will be subordinated to
the intention, and in order to give effect to such intention, as far as
possible, the court may depart from ,the strict wording and read a
word or phrase in a sense different from that which is ordinarily
attributed to it, and for such purpose may mould or change the
language of the will, such .as restricting its application or supplying
omitted words or phrases.
That petitioners could not challenge the provision in question.
a. It had no right to vindicate. Such a right may never arise.
b. The twenty-year period is still with us.
c. What would transpire thereafter is still locked up in the
inscrutable future, beyond the power of mere mortals to
foretell. At any rate. we cannot anticipate. Nor should we.
d. We do not possess the power either of conferring a cause of
action to & party when, under the circumstances disclosed. it
had none.

JOHNNY S. RABADILLA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND MARIA


MARLENA COSCOLUELLA Y BELLEZA VILLACARLOS, respondents.
G.R. No. 113725. June 29, 2000 PURISIMA; Chants

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1.

2.

In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix


AlejaBellezaDr. Jorge Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the herein
petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee of parcel of
land
The said Codicil, which was duly probated and admitted in Special
Proceedings before the then Court of First Instance of Negros
Occidental, contained the following provisions:
a. should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the aforementioned
property and the rights which I shall set forth hereinbelow,
shall be inherited and acknowledged by the children and
spouse of Jorge Rabadilla.
b. should I die and Jorge Rabadilla shall have already received
the ownership of the said Lot and also at the time that the
lease of Balbinito G. Guanzon of the said lot shall expire,
Jorge Rabadillashall have the obligation until he dies, every
year to give to Maria MarlinaCoscolluela y Belleza, Seventy
(75) (sic) piculs of Export sugar and Twenty Five (25) piculs of
Domestic sugar, until the said Maria MarlinaCoscolluela y
Belleza dies.
c. Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot
shall have the obligation to still give yearly, the sugar as
specified in the Fourth paragraph of his testament, to Maria
MarlinaCoscolluela y Belleza on the month of December of
each year.
d. in the event that the one to whom I have left and
bequeathed, and his heir shall later sell, lease, mortgage this
said Lot, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, shall have also the
obligation to respect and deliver yearly ONE HUNDRED (100)
piculs of sugar to Maria MarlinaCoscolluela y Belleza, on each
month of December, SEVENTY FIVE (75) piculs of Export and
TWENTY FIVE (25) piculs of Domestic, until Maria Marlina
shall die
e. lastly should the buyer, lessee or the mortgagee of this lot,
not have respected my command in this my addition (Codicil),
Maria MarlinaCoscolluela y Belleza, shall immediately seize
this Lot and shall turn it over to my near desendants, (sic) and
the latter shall then have the obligation to give the ONE
HUNDRED (100) piculs of sugar until Maria Marlina shall die.
166

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


f.

3.

4.

5.

6.
7.

should they decide to sell, lease, mortgage, they cannot


negotiate with others than my near descendants and my siste
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife Rufina
and children Johnny (petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all
surnamed Rabadilla.
Maria MarlenaCoscolluela y BellezaVillacarlos brought a complaint
against the above-mentioned heirs of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, to enforce
the provisions of subject Codicil
the plaintiff (private respondent) and a certain Alan Azurin, son-in-law
of the herein petitioner who was lessee of the property and acting as
attorney-in-fact of defendant-heirs, arrived at an amicable settlement
and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement on the obligation to
deliver one hundred piculs of sugar
a. no compliance with the aforesaid Memorandum of
Agreement except for a partial delivery of 50.80 piculs of
sugar corresponding to sugar crop year 1988 -1989.
Regional Trial Court came out with a decision, dismissing the
complaint
First Division of the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial
court

ISSUES: 1. Whether respondent had a cause of action against petitioner? YES


2. Was there a substitution instead of a modal institutions? MODAL
INSTUTITIONS

HELD:

1. Court of Appeals found that the private respondent had a cause of action
against the petitioner

under the law on succession that successional rights are transmitted


from the moment of death of the decedent and compulsory heirs are
called to succeed by operation of law.
o The legitimate children and descendants, in relation to their
legitimate parents, and the widow or widower, are
compulsory heirs
Thus, the petitioner, his mother and sisters, as compulsory heirs of the
instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, succeeded the latter by operation
of law, without need of further proceedings, and the successional
rights were transmitted to them from the moment of death of the
decedent, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla.
inheritance includes all the property, rights and obligations of a
person, not extinguished by his death.
o whatever rights Dr. Jorge Rabadilla had by virtue of subject
Codicil were transmitted to his forced heirs, at the time of his
death
o And since obligations not extinguished by death also form
part of the estate of the decedent; corollarily, the obligations
imposed by the Codicil on the deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla,
were likewise transmitted to his compulsory heirs upon his
death.
o Upon the death of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, his compulsory heirs
succeeded to his rights and title over the said property, and
they also assumed his (decedent's) obligation to deliver the
fruits of the lot involved to herein private respondent
Such obligation of the instituted heir reciprocally corresponds to the
right of private respondent over the usufruct, the fulfillment or
performance of which is now being demanded by the latter through
the institution of the case at bar.
private respondent has a cause of action against petitioner and the
trial court erred in dismissing the complaint below.

2. There is modal institution


disquisition made on modal institution was, precisely, to stress that
the private respondent had a legally demandable right against the
petitioner pursuant to subject Codicil; on which issue the Court of
Appeals ruled in accordance with law.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Substitution is the designation by the testator of a person or persons


to take the place of the heir or heirs first instituted.
o Under substitutions in general, the testator may either
(1) provide for the designation of another heir to
whom the property shall pass in case the original
167

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

heir should die before him/her, renounce the


inheritance or be incapacitated to inherit, as in a
simple substitution
or (2) leave his/her property to one person with the
express charge that it be transmitted subsequently
to another or others, as in a fideicommissary
substitution
The Codicil sued upon contemplates neither of the two.
In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in
default of the first heir by reason of incapacity, predecease or
renunciation.
o In the case under consideration, the provisions of subject
Codicil do not provide that should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla default
due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the testatrix's
near descendants would substitute him
o What the Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla
or his heirs not fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil,
the property referred to shall be seized and turned over to
the testatrix's near descendants.
Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution here and on this point,
petitioner is correct.
o in fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is strictly
mandated to preserve the property and to transmit the same
later to the second heir
o in the case under consideration, the instituted heir is in fact
allowed under the Codicil to alienate the property provided
the negotiation is with the near descendants or the sister of
the testatrix
o a very important element of a fideicommissary substitution is
lacking; the obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir the
preservation of the property and its transmission to the
second heir. "Without this obligation to preserve clearly
imposed by the testator in his will, there is no
fideicommissary substitution.
near descendants' right to inherit from the testatrix
is not definite
The property will only pass to them should Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the obligation to
deliver part of the usufruct to private respondent

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Another important element of a fideicommissary substitution


is also missing here
the second heir or the fideicommissary to whom the
property is transmitted must not be beyond one
degree from the first heir or the fiduciary
A fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if
the first heir is not related by first degree to the
second heir
In the case under scrutiny, the near descendants are
not at all related to the instituted heir, Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla
institution of an heir in the manner prescribed in Article 882 is what
is known in the law of succession as an institucion sub modoor a
modal institution
modal institution, the testator states (1) the object of the institution,
(2) the purpose or application of the property left by the testator, or
(3) the charge imposed by the testator upon the heir
mode" imposes an obligation upon the heir or legatee but it does not
affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession
On the other hand, in a conditional testamentary disposition, the
condition must happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be
entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does not
obligate; and the mode obligates but does not suspend
o To some extent, it is similar to a resolutory condition
testatrix intended that subject property be inherited by Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla
o likewise clearly worded that the testatrix imposed an
obligation on the said instituted heir and his successors-ininterest to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar to the herein
private respondent, MarlenaCoscolluelaBelleza, during the
lifetime of the latter.
o the testatrix did not make Dr. Jorge Rabadilla's inheritance
and the effectivity of his institution as a devisee, dependent
on the performance of the said obligation
clear, though, that should the obligation be not complied with, the
property shall be turned over to the testatrix's near descendants. The
manner of institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject Codicil is
evidently modal in nature because it imposes a charge upon the
instituted heir without, however, affecting the efficacy of such
institution.
168

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

since testamentary dispositions are generally acts of liberality, an


obligation imposed upon the heir should not be considered a
condition unless it clearly appears from the Will itself that such was
the intention of the testator
In case of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal and
not conditional

DECISION: Petition is hereby DISMISSEDand the decision of the Court of


Appeals,
AFFIRMED

2) Petitioners, on the other hand, are daughters of the late Gregorio


Francisco with his common law wife Julia Mendoza, with whom he
begot seven (7) children.
3) Gregorio Francisco (hereafter Gregorio) owned two parcels of
residential land.
4) After Gregorio died, Aida learned that there was indeed a deed of
absolute sale KasulatanngBilihanngLupa in favor of Regina Francisco
and ZenaidaPascual (her half- sisters) for the amount of P25,000.00.
5) Aida filed with the Regional Trial Court, Bulacan a complaint against
petitioners for annulment of sale with damages. She alleged that the
signature of her late father, Gregorio Francisco, on the Kasulatansa
6) GanapnaBilihan dated August 15, 1983, was a forgery.
ISSUE: May a legitimate daughter be deprived of her share in the estate of
her deceased father by a simulated contract transferring the property of her
father to his illegitimate children? NO
RULING:
1) Since there was no cause or consideration for the sale, the same was a
simulation and hence, null and void.
a) There was no consideration for the contract of sale. Felicitas de la
Cruz, a family friend of the Franciscos, testified that ZenaidaPascual
and Regina Francisco did not have any source of income in 1983,
when they bought the property, until the time when Felicitas testified
in 1991.
It is incredible that engaging in buy and sell could raise the
amount of P10,000.00, or that earnings in selling goto could save
enough to pay P15,000.00, in cash for the land.
They could not even present a single witness to the kasulatan that
would prove receipt of the purchase price.

FEBRUARY 09, 2012


REGINA FRANCISCO AND ZENAIDA PASCUAL vs. AIDA FRANCISCO-ALFONSO
NILO
FACTS:
1)

Respondent Aida Francisco-Alfonso (hereafter Aida) is the only


daughter of spouses Gregorio Francisco and Cirila de la Cruz, who are
now both deceased.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

2) Even if the kasulatan was not simulated, it still violated the Civil Code
provisions insofar as the transaction affected respondents
legitime. The sale was executed in 1983, when the applicable law was
the Civil Code, not the Family Code.
Obviously, the sale was Gregorios way to transfer the property to
his illegitimate daughters at the expense of his legitimate
daughter. The sale was executed to prevent respondent Alfonso
from claiming her legitime and rightful share in said

169

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


property. Before his death, Gregorio had a change of heart and
informed his daughter about the titles to the property.
According to Article 888, Civil Code:
The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the
hereditary estate of the father and of the mother.
The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half subject to the rights of
illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided.

Secondly, assuming that there was consideration in the sums


reflected in the questioned deeds, the properties are more than
three-fold times more valuable than the measly sums appearing
therein;

Thirdly, the deeds of sale do not reflect and express the true
intent of the parties

Fourthly, the purported sale of the properties in litis was the


result of a deliberate conspiracy designed to unjustly deprive the
rest of the compulsory heirs (plaintiffs herein) of their legitime.

Gregorio Francisco did not own any other property. If indeed the
parcels of land involved were the only property left by their father, the
sale in fact would deprive respondent of her share in her fathers
estate. By law, she is entitled to half of the estate of her father as his
only legitimate child.
The legal heirs of the late Gregorio Francisco must be determined in proper
testate or intestate proceedings for settlement of the estate.
His compulsory heir can not be deprived of her share in the estate save by
disinheritance as prescribed by law.

4.

Defendants answers

1) that plaintiffs do not have a cause of action against them as


well as the requisite standing and interest to assail their titles over
the properties in litis

2) that the sales were with sufficient considerations and made by


defendants parents voluntarily, in good faith, and with full
knowledge of the consequences of their deeds of sale

SPOUSES BERNARDO BUENAVENTURA, vs. COURT OF APPEALS,


Facts:
1.

Defendant spouses Leonardo Joaquin and Feliciana Landrito are the


parents of plaintiffsConsolacion, Nora, Emma and Natividad

as well as of defendants Fidel, Tomas, Artemio, Clarita, Felicitas,


Fe, and Gavino, all surnamed JOAQUIN.

2.

The married Joaquin children are joined in this action by their


respective spouses
Sought to be declared null and void ab initio are certain deeds of sale
of real property executed by defendant parents Leonardo Joaquin and
Feliciana Landrito

3.

5.

(3) that the certificates of title were issued with sufficient factual
and legal basis
RTC: the trial court ordered the dismissal of the case

in favor of their co-defendant children and the corresponding


certificates of title issued in their name
plaintiff alleged that:

Firstly, there was no actual valid consideration for the deeds of


sale xxx over the properties in litis

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

6.

the trial court noted that compulsory heirs have the right to a
legitime but such right is contingent since said right commences
only from the moment of death of the decedent pursuant to
Article 777 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
CA: affirmed RTCs decision

Issue/held:
1. Whether Petitioners have a legal interest over the properties subject
of the Deeds of Sale? NO
2. Whether the Deeds of Sale are void for lack of consideration? NO
3. Whether the Deeds of Sale are void for gross inadequacy of price? NO
Rationale:
st
1 issue
1. Petitioners Complaint betrays their motive for filing this case. In their
Complaint, petitioners asserted that the purported sale of the
properties in litis was the result of a deliberate conspiracy designed to

170

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

unjustly deprive the rest of the compulsory heirs (plaintiffs herein) of


their legitime
Petitioners strategy was to have the Deeds of Sale declared void so
that ownership of the lots would eventually revert to their respondent
parents.

2.

It is not the act of payment of price that determines the validity of a


contract of sale. Payment of the price has nothing to do with the
perfection of the contract.

3.

4.

If their parents die still owning the lots, petitioners and their
respondent siblings will then co-own their parents estate by
hereditary succession
It is evident from the records that petitioners are interested in the
properties subject of the Deeds of Sale, but they have failed to show
any legal right to the properties

3.

real party-in-interest is whether he is the party who would be


benefitted or injured by the judgment, or the party entitled to
the avails of the suit

In actions for the annulment of contracts, such as this action, the


real parties are those who are parties to the agreement or are
bound either principally or subsidiarily

5.

6.

nd

. In their overzealousness to safeguard their future legitime,


petitioners forget that theoretically, the sale of the lots to their
siblings does not affect the value of their parents estate. While the
sale of the lots reduced the estate, cash of equivalent value replaced
the lots taken from the estate.

issue
1. A contract of sale is not a real contract, but a consensual contract. As
a consensual contract, a contract of sale becomes a binding and valid
contract upon the meeting of the minds as to price.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

To prove simulation, petitioners presented Emma Joaquin


Valdozs testimony stating

4.

or are prejudiced in their rights with respect to one of the


contracting parties and can show the detriment which would
positively result to them from the contract even though they did
not intervene in it
petitioners right to their parents properties is merely inchoate and
vests only upon their parents death. While still living, the parents of
petitioners are free to dispose of their properties.

The former results in a right to demand the fulfillment or


cancellation of the obligation under an existing valid contract
while the latter prevents the existence of a valid contract
Petitioners failed to show that the prices in the Deeds of Sale were
absolutely simulated.

An action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party-ininterest.

Payment of the price goes into the performance of the


contract. Failure to pay the consideration is different from lack of
consideration.

that their father, respondent Leonardo Joaquin, told her that he


would transfer a lot to her through a deed of sale without need
for her payment of the purchase price.
Petitioners failure to prove absolute simulation of price is magnified
by their lack of knowledge of their respondent siblings financial
capacity to buy the questioned lots.

On the other hand, the Deeds of Sale which petitioners presented


as evidence plainly showed the cost of each lot sold.

Not only did respondents minds meet as to the purchase price,


but the real price was also stated in the Deeds of Sale.

As of the filing of the complaint, respondent siblings have also


fully paid the price to their respondent father

rd

3 issue
1. Art. 1355. Except in cases specified by law, lesion or inadequacy of
cause shall not invalidate a contract, unless there has been fraud,
mistake or undue influence.
2. Art. 1470. Gross inadequacy of price does not affect a contract of
sale, except as may indicate a defect in the consent, or that the parties
really intended a donation or some other act or contract
3. Petitioners failed to prove any of the instances mentioned in Articles
1355 and 1470 of the Civil Code which would invalidate, or even
affect, the Deeds of Sale.

Indeed, there is no requirement that the price be equal to the


exact value of the subject matter of sale.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

4.

All the respondents believed that they received the commutative


value of what they gave.
As we stated in Vales v. Villa

5.

Courts cannot follow one every step of his life and extricate him
from bad bargains, protect him from unwise investments, relieve
him from one-sided contracts, or annul the effects of foolish
acts.

5.

Courts operate not because one person has been defeated or


overcome by another, but because he has been defeated or
overcome illegally.

6.

Men may do foolish things, make ridiculous contracts, use


miserable judgment, and lose money by them indeed, all they
have in the world; but not for that alone can the law intervene
and restore.

the trial court found that the lots were sold for a valid consideration,
and that the defendant children actually paid the purchase price
stipulated in their respective Deeds of Sale.

4.

7.

8.

Actual payment of the purchase price by the buyer to the seller is


a factual finding that is now conclusive upon us.

JUAN CASTRO and FELICIANA CASTRO, petitioners, vs.HON. COURT OF


APPEALS, CIPRIANO NAVAL and BENITA C. NAVAL, respondents.
G.R. No. L-50974-75 May 31, 1989
Gutierrez, Jr., J.
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. Petitioners: Juan Castro and Feliciana Castro are the brother and sister
of the late Eustaquio Castro
2. Respondent: Benita Castro Naval is the only child of Eustaquio.
a. Respondent Cipriano Naval is the husband of Benita Castro.
3. Civil Case No. 3762: Juan Castro and Feliciana Castro v. Benita Castro,
the plaintiffs filed an action for partition of properties against the
defendant alleging, among other things that they are the forced heirs
of Pedro Castro
a. Civil Case No. 3763: plaintiff Marcelina Bautista also filed an
action for partition of properties against defendant Benita
Castro Naval alleging, among other things, that they are also
compulsory heirs of Eustaquio Castro
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Defendants in their amended answer in both cases


a. Allege: that Benita Castro Naval is the only child of the
deceased Eustaquio and that said Eustaquio Castro is the son
of Pedro Castro, therefore, the complaint for partition has no
cause of action
Plaintiffs filed their amended complaints whereby they converted the
original action for partition into an action for quieting of title.
a. Defendant's husband Cipriano Naval was forthwith impleaded
as party-defendant
Defendant Benita Naval filed a petition for appointment as receiver
and for preliminary injunction
a. TC: denied said petition for appointment of receiver, but
granted the petition for writ of preliminary injunction and
also adjudged Marcelina Bautista who is the plaintiff in Civil
Case No. 3762 guilty of contempt
TC: respondent Benita Castro Naval is the acknowledged and
recognized child of Eustaquio Castro and is, therefore, entitled to
participate in the partition of the properties left by him.
CA: justified its pronouncement that the private respondent is an
acknowledged and recognized child of Eustaquio Castro
a. The recognition of Benita Castro as a natural child of
Eustaquio Castro appears in the records of birth and
partition.
b. What is more is that plaintiffs in their amended complaint
admitted that Benita Castro was the compulsory heir of
Eustaquio Castro.

Issue:WON the private respondent is an acknowledged and recognized


illegitimate child of Eustaquio Castro.
Held: Yes. There can be no dispute that Benita Castro enjoyed the open and
continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child of Eustaquio Castro
and that the action of Benita in defending her status in this case is similar to an
"action to claim legitimacy" brought during her lifetime.
Ratio:

1. There is no question that the private respondent is an illegitimate child


of Eustaquio Castro. Her father Eustaquio was a widower when
PricolaMaregmen, her mother, went to live with him.

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a.

The two could not validly enter into a marriage because when
Pricola fled from her own wedding party on May 23, 1913,
the wedding rites to Felix de Maya had already been
solemnized.
b. Since Eustaquio Castro was a widower when Benita was
conceived, Benita is a natural child.
c. However, from the viewpoint of the mother who had a
subsisting marriage to Felix de Maya, Benita was her spurious
child.
2. Under the Civil Code, for an illegitimate child other than natural to
inherit, she must first be recognized voluntarily or by court action.
a. The rights of an illegitimate child arose not because she was
the true or real child of her parents but because under the
law, she had been recognized or acknowledged as such a
child.
b. The appellate court ruled that the private respondent was
voluntarily recognized by her father, Eustaquio Castro
through the record of birth, hence there was no need for any
judicial pronouncement.
3. The record of birth referred to by the appellate court is actually the
birth certificate of the private respondent. It appears in the certificate
that Eustaquio Castro is the respondent's father.
a. This is no question that Eustaquio himself reported the birth
of his daughter but this record is not determinative of
whether or not he also signed the easily lost looseleaf form of
the certificate from where the entry in book bound or
logbook record was taken
b.

c.

Roces v. Local Civil Registrar of Manila and Berciles v.


Government Service Insurance System: that if the father did
not sign in the birth certificate, the placing of his name by the
mother, doctor, registrar, or other person is incompetent
evidence of paternity does not apply to this case because it
was Eustaquio himself who went to the municipal building
and gave all the data about his daughter's birth.
i. In Berciles we find no participation whatsoever in
the registration by Judge PascualBerciles, the alleged
father.
We likewise see no application of the statement
in Madridejo v. de Leon (supra), that the father, apart from

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

furnishing the necessary data must also sign the certificate


itself In that case, Pedro Madridejo, the father was still alive
when the 1930 case was brought to court.
i. Pedro himself testified that MelecioMadridejo was
conceived and born to him, a bachelor, and Flaviana
Perez, a widow.
ii. The two were validly maried when Flaviana was
about to die.
iii. If the situation of Benita Castro Naval were similar,
there would be no need to even discuss whether or
not the father signed the birth certificate.
iv. Under the present law, the subsequent wedding of a
man and woman whose child was conceived when
there were no legal impediments to a valid marriage
gives that child the lights of a legitimate off-spring.
v. The situation is different in the present case.
4. We apply the more liberal provisions of the new Family Code
considering the facts and equities of this case.
a. First, Benita Castro Naval is unquestionably the daughter of
the late Eustaquio Castro who was qualified to legally marry
when she was conceived and born.
i. From her birth until the father's death or for 42
years, Benita lived with her father and enjoyed the
love and care that a parent bestows on an only child.
ii. The private respondents, themselves, admitted in
their complaint in Civil Case No. 3762 that Benita is a
forced heir of Eustaquio Castro.
b. Second, the rule on separating the legitimate from the
illegitimate family is of no special relevance here because
Benita and her mother PricolaMaregmen were the only
immediate family of Eustaquio.
i. There are no legitimate children born of a legitimate
wife contesting the inheritance of Benita.
c. Third, it was Eustaquio himself who had the birth of Benita
reported and registered.
i. There is no indication in the records that Eustaquio
should have known in 1919 that apart from
reporting the birth of a child, he should also have
signed the certificate and seen to it that it was
preserved for 60 years.
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


ii. Or that he should have taken all legal steps including
judicial action to establish her status as his
recognized natural child during the reglementary
period to do so.
d. Fourth, it was Eustaquio who gave away Benita during her
wedding to Cipriano Naval.
i. The couple continued to live with the father even
after the wedding and until the latter's death.
e. Fifth, the certificate of baptism and the picture of the Castro
family during the wake for Eustaquio may not be sufficient
proof of recognition under the Civil Code but they add to the
equities of this case favoring the petitioner.

CORITO OCAMPO TAYAG, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIE
DAYRIT CUYUGAN, respondent
G.R. No. 95229; June 9, 1992; J. Regalado
(Bon)
Doctrine: There is no absolute necessity requiring that the action to compel
acknowledgment should have been instituted and prosecuted to a successful
conclusion prior to the action in which that same plaintiff seers additional relief
in the character of heir.
Facts:
1.

2.
3.

4.

Plaintiff is the mother and legal guardian of her minor son, Chad
Cuyugan, by the father of the defendant, the late Atty. Ricardo
Ocampo; and the defendant is the known administratrix of the real
and personal properties left by her deceased father, said Atty.
Ocampo, who died intestate in Angeles City on September 28, 1983;
Chad was the illegitimate son of Ricardo Ocampo.
Plaintiff in her capacity as mother and legal guardian of minor Chad D.
Cuyugan, filed on April 9, 1987 a complaint denominated "Claim for
Inheritance" against herein petitioner as the administratrix of the
estate of the late Atty. Ricardo Ocampo
The estate of the late Atty. Ocampo has not as yet been inventoried by
the defendant and the inheritance of the surviving heirs including that
of said Chad has not likewise been ascertained;

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.

6.

The only known surviving heirs of the deceased Atty. Ricardo Ocampo
are his children, namely: Corito O. Tayag, Rivina O. Tayag, Evita O.
Florendo, FelinaOcampo, and said minor Chad, for and in whose
behalf this instant complaint is filed
Several demands, verbal and written, have been made for defendant
to grant Chad's lawful inheritance, but despite said demands,
defendant failed and refused and still fails and refused and still fails
and refuses to satisfy the claim for inheritance against the estate of
the late Atty. Ocampo

Issue:
Is the recognition of the minor child, either voluntarily or by judicial action, by
the alleged putative father must first be established before the petitioners
child can invoke his right to succeed and participate in the estate of the father?
Held:
YES but can be filed in one case
It was held in the PAULINO CASE that:
an illegitimate child, to be entitled to support and successional rights
from the putative or presumed parent, must prove his filiation to the
latter
it is necessary to allege in the complaint that the putative father had
acknowledged and recognized the illegitimate child because such
acknowledgment is essential to and is the basis of the right to inherit.
There being no allegation of such acknowledgment, the action becomes one
to compel recognition which cannot be brought after the death of the
putative father.
IN THIS CASE:
although petitioner contends that the complaint filed by herein
private respondent merely alleges that the minor Chad Cuyugan is an
illegitimate child of the deceased and is actually a claim for
inheritance, from the allegations therein the same may be
considered as one to compel recognition
Further that the two causes of action, one to compel recognition and
the other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one complaint is not
new in our jurisprudence.
o The question whether a person in the position of the present
plaintiff can any event maintain a complex action to compel
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recognition as a natural child and at the same time to obtain


ulterior relief in the character of heir, is one which, in the
opinion of this court must be answered in the affirmative,
provided always that the conditions justifying the joinder of
the two distinct causes of action are present in the particular
case.
In, other words, there is no absolute necessity requiring that
the action to compel acknowledgment should have been
instituted and prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior to
the action in which that same plaintiff seers additional relief
in the character of heir.
Rosales vs. Rosales
No. L-40789. February 27,1987. (osh)

Doctrine: A surviving spouse is not an intestate heir of his or her parent-in-law


FACTS:
1. on February 26, 1971, Mrs. Petra V. Rosales, died intestate.
2. She was survived by her husband Fortunate T. Rosales and their two (2)
childrenMagna Rosales Acebes and Antonio Rosales.
3. Another child, Carterio Rosales, predeceased her, leaving behind a child,
Macikequerox Rosales, and his widow Irenea C. Rosales, the herein
petitioner.
4. The estate of the dismissed has an estimated gross value of about Thirty
Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00).
5. On July 10, 1971, Magna Rosales Acebes instituted the proceedings for
the settlement of the estate of the deceased in the Court of First Instance
of Cebu.
6. Thereafter, the trial court appointed Magna Rosales Acebesadministratrix
of the said estate.
7. In the course of the intestate proceedings, the trial court issued an Order
dated June 16, 1972 declaring the following in individuals the legal heirs
of the deceased and prescribing their respective share of the estate
Fortunata T. Rosales (husband), 1/4;
Magna R. Acebes (daughter), 1/4;
Macikequerox Rosales, 1/4; and

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

8.

9.

Antonio Rosales son, 1/4.


These Orders notwithstanding, Irenea Rosales insisted in getting a share
of the estate in her capacity as the surviving spouse of the late Carterio
Rosales, son of the deceased, claiming that she is a compulsory heir of her
mother-in-law together with her son, Macikequerox Rosales.
Thus, Irenea Rosales sought the reconsideration of the aforementioned
Orders. The trial court denied her plea. Hence this petition.

ISSUE:
First is a widow (surviving spouse) an intestate heir of her mother-in-law?
NO
HELD:
Our answer to the first question is in the negative.
Intestate or legal heirs are classified into two (2) groups, namely, those
who inherit by their own right, and those who inherit by the right of
representation.
There is no provision in the Civil Code which states that a widow
(surviving spouse) is an intestate heir of her mother-in-law.
The entire Code is devoid of any provision which entitles her to
inherit from her mother-in- law either by her own right or by the right
of representation.
Article 887 of the Civil Code which provides that: xxx The aforesaid
provision of law refers to the estate of the deceased spouse in which
case the surviving spouse (widow or widower) is a compulsory heir. It
does not apply to the estate of a parent-in-law.
Article 971 explicitly declares that Macikequerox Rosales is called to
succession by law because of his blood relationship. He does not succeed
his father, Carterio Rosales (the person represented) who predeceased his
grandmother, Petra Rosales, but the latter whom his father would have
succeeded. Petitioner cannot assert the same right of representation as
she has no filiation by blood with her mother-in-law

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CARMEN LAPUZ SY, represented by her substitute MACARIO LAPUZ,
petitioner-appellant, vs.EUFEMIO S. EUFEMIO alias EUFEMIO SY UY,
respondent-appellee.
G.R. No. L-30977; January 31, 1972; P: J.B.L. Reyes; by: Mickey Celles
Doctrine: An action for legal separation, it follows that the death of one party
to the action causes the death of the action itself actio personalis moritur
cum persona
Facts:
1. Carmen O. Lapuz Sy filed a petition for legal separation against Eufemio S.
Eufemio,
Her husband left her and cohabited with a Chinese
She prayed for the issuance of a decree of legal separation, which,
among others, would order that the defendant Eufemio S.
Eufemio should be deprived of his share of the conjugal
partnership profits.
2. Respondent Eufemio S. Eufemio counter-claimed for the declaration of
nullity ab initio of his marriage with Carmen O. Lapuz Sy, on the ground of
his prior and subsisting marriage, celebrated according to Chinese law and
customs, with one Go Hiok, alias Ngo Hiok
3. But before the trial could be completed (the respondent was already
scheduled to present surrebuttal evidence on 9 and 18 June 1969),
petitioner Carmen O. Lapuz Sy died in a vehicular accident
4. Respondent Eufemio moved to dismiss the "petition for legal separation"
5. Counsel for deceased petitioner moved to substitute the deceased Carmen
by her father, Macario Lapuz.
6. The court issued the order under review, dismissing the case ruling that
the petitioners cause of action did not survive.
7. Although the defendant below, the herein respondent Eufemio S. Eufemio,
filed counterclaims, he did not pursue them after the court below
dismissed the case.
He acquiesced in the dismissal of said counterclaims by praying
for the affirmance of the order that dismissed not only the
petition for legal separation but also his counterclaim to declare
the Eufemio-Lapuz marriage to be null and void ab initio.
Issue:
1. Does the death of the plaintiff before final decree, in an action for legal
separation, abate the action? YES
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

2.

If it does, will abatement also apply if the action involves property rights?
YES

Ruling:
1.

2.

3.

4.

An action for legal separation which involves nothing more than the bedand-board separation of the spouses (there being no absolute divorce in
this jurisdiction) is purely personal.
Being personal in character, it follows that the death of one party
to the action causes the death of the action itself actio
personalis moritur cum persona.
In the absence of a statute to the contrary, the death of one of
the parties to such action abates the action, for the reason that
death has settled the question of separation beyond all
controversy and deprived the court of jurisdiction, both over the
persons of the parties to the action and of the subject-matter of
the action itself.
For this reason the courts are almost unanimous in holding that
the death of either party to a divorce proceeding, before final
decree, abates the action.
A review of the resulting changes in property relations between spouses
shows that they are solely the effect of the decree of legal separation;
hence, they can not survive the death of the plaintiff if it occurs
prior to the decree.
From article 106 of the Civil Code it is apparent that the right to the
dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains (or of the absolute
community of property), the loss of right by the offending spouse to any
share of the profits earned by the partnership or community, or his
disqualification to inherit by intestacy from the innocent spouse as well
as the revocation of testamentary provisions in favor of the offending
spouse made by the innocent one, are all rights and disabilities that, by
the very terms of the Civil Code article, are vested exclusively in the
persons of the spouses;
and by their nature and intent, such claims and disabilities are
difficult to conceive as assignable or transmissible.
A further reason why an action for legal separation is abated by the death
of the plaintiff, even if property rights are involved, is that these rights are
mere effects of decree of separation, their source being the decree itself;

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

5.

6.

without the decree such rights do not come into existence, so that
before the finality of a decree, these claims are merely rights in
expectation.
As to the petition of respondent-appellee Eufemio for a declaration of
nullity ab initio of his marriage to Carmen Lapuz, it is apparent that such
action became moot and academic upon the death of the latter
And there could be no further interest in continuing the same
after her demise
Any property rights acquired by either party as a result of Article 144 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines 6 could be resolved and determined in a
proper action for partition by either the appellee or by the heirs of the
appellant.

3.

Decision: Appealed judgment AFFIRMED


JOSE BARITUA and EDGAR BITANCOR, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, NICOLAS NACARIO and VICTORIA RONDA NACARIO,respondents.
G.R. No. 82233 March 22, 1990
Sarmiento, J.
(Jeka)
Atty. Sebastian (Consolidated Cases):While legitimate parents are considered
as compulsory heirs of their legitimate child, the parents are secondary
compulsory heirs and inherit only in default of legitimate children and
decendants of the deceased. Thus, the legitimate parents have no right to
demand indemnification for the death of their deceased child, and such right to
indemnification properly belongs to the latter's descendants and/or spouse.
Facts:
1.

2.

The tricycle then being driven by BienvenidoNacario along the national


highway at Barangay San Cayetano, in Baao, Camarines Sur, figured in
an accident with JB Bus No. 80 driven by petitioner Edgar Bitancor and
owned and operated by petitioner Jose Baritua.
a. As a result of that accident Bienvenido and his passenger
died and the tricycle was damaged.
b. No criminal case arising from the incident was ever
instituted.
As a consequence of the extra-judicial settlement of the matter
negotiated by the petitioners and the bus insurer Philippine First

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

4.

5.

Insurance Company, Incorporated (PFIC) BienvenidoNacario's


widow, Alicia BaracenaVda. de Nacario, received P18,500.00.
a. Alicia executed a "Release of Claim" in favor of the petitioners
and PFICI, releasing and forever discharging them from all
actions, claims, and demands arising from the accident which
resulted in her husband's death and the damage to the
tricycle which the deceased was then driving.
b. Alicia likewise executed an affidavit of desistance in which
she formally manifested her lack of interest in instituting any
case, either civil or criminal, against the petitioners.
The private respondents, who are the parents of BienvenidoNacario,
filed a complaint for damages against the petitioners with the then
Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur.
a. Alleged: that during the vigil for their deceased son, the
petitioners through their representatives promised them (the
private respondents) that as extra-judicial settlement, they
shall be indemnified for the death of their son, for the funeral
expenses incurred by reason thereof, and for the damage for
the tricycle the purchase price of which they (the private
respondents) only loaned to the victim.
b. The petitioners, however, reneged on their promise and
instead negotiated and settled their obligations with the
long-estranged wife of their late son.
c. The Nacario spouses prayed that the defendants, petitioners
herein, be ordered to indemnify them.
TC: the court a quo dismissed the complaint.
a. Holding that the payment by the defendants (herein
petitioners) to the widow and her child, who are the
preferred heirs and successors-in-interest of the deceased
Bienvenido to the exclusion of his parents, the plaintiffs
(herein private respondents), extinguished any claim against
the defendants (petitioners).
CA: the judgment of the trial court
a. The release executed by Alicia BaracenaVda. de Nacario did
not discharge the liability of the petitioners because the case
was instituted by the private respondents in their own
capacity and not as "heirs, representatives, successors, and
assigns" of Alicia
b. Alicia could not have validly waived the damages being
prayed for (by the private respondents) since she was not the
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


one who suffered these damages arising from the death of
their son.
c.
Issue: WON the respondent appellate court erred in holding that the
petitioners are still liable to pay the private respondents the aggregate amount
of P20,505.00 despite the agreement of extrajudicial settlement between the
petitioners and the victim's compulsory heirs

BaracenaVda. de Nacario, the victim's widow and heir, as well


as the natural guardian of their child, her co-heir.
As a matter of fact, she executed a "Release Of Claim" in
favor of the petitioners.

WON Alicia, the spouse and the one who received the petitioners'
payment, is entitled to it.

Held/Ratio:
1.

2.

There can be no question that Alicia and her son with the deceased
are the successors in interest referred to in law as the persons
authorized to receive payment.
a. It is patently clear that the parents of the deceased succeed
only when the latter dies without a legitimate descendant.
b. On the other hand, the surviving spouse concurs with all
classes of heirs.
c. As it has been established that Bienvenido was married to
Alicia and that they begot a child, the private respondents are
not successors-in-interest of Bienvenido; they are not
compulsory heirs.
d. The petitioners therefore acted correctly in settling their
obligation with Alicia as the widow of Bienvenido and as the
natural guardian of their lone child.
e. This is so even if Alicia had been estranged from Bienvenido.
Mere estrangement is not a legal ground for the
disqualification of a surviving spouse as an heir of the
deceased spouse.
Neither could the private respondents, as alleged creditors of
Bienvenido, seek relief and compensation from the petitioners.
a. The said purchase price and expenses are but money claims
against the estate of their deceased son.
b. These money claims are not the liabilities of the petitioners
who, as we have said, had been released by the agreement of
the extra-judicial settlement they concluded with Alicia

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

CELEDONIA SOLIVIO, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and


CONCORDIA JAVELLANA VILLANUEVA, respondents.
G.R. No. 83484 February 12, 1990 MEDIALDEA
FACTS:
1. case involves the estate of the late novelist, Esteban Javellana, Jr.,
author of the first post-war Filipino novel "Without Seeing the Dawn,"
who died a bachelor, without descendants, ascendants, brothers,
sisters, nephews or nieces
a. surviving relatives are: (1) his maternal aunt, petitioner
Celedonia Solivio, the spinster half-sister of his mother,
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

8.

Salustia Solivio; and (2) the private respondent, Concordia


Javellana-Villanueva, sister of his deceased father, Esteban
Javellana, Sr.
He was a posthumous child
a. His father died barely ten (10) months after his marriage to
Salustia Solivio and four months before Esteban, Jr. was born.
Salustia and her sister, Celedonia (daughter of Engracio Solivio and his
second wife Josefa Fernandez), a teacher in the Iloilo Provincial High
School, brought up Esteban, Jr.
Salustia brought to her marriage paraphernal properties (various
parcels of land in Calinog, Iloilo covered by 24 titles) which she had
inherited from her mother, Gregoria Celo, Engracio Solivio's first wife
but no conjugal property was acquired during her short-lived marriage
to Esteban, Sr.
Salustia died, leaving all her properties to her only child, Esteban, Jr.,
including a house and lot in La Paz, Iloilo City, where she, her son, and
her sister lived.
Esteban, Jr. had, more than once, expressed to his aunt Celedonia and
some close friends his plan to place his estate in a foundation to honor
his mother and to help poor but deserving students obtain a college
education.
a. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack on February 26,1977
without having set up the foundation
Two weeks after his funeral, Concordia and Celedonia talked about
what to do with Esteban's properties. Celedonia told Concordia about
Esteban's desire to place his estate in a foundation to be named after
his mother, from whom his properties came, for the purpose of
helping indigent students in their schooling. Concordia agreed to carry
out the plan of the deceased.
Pursuant to their agreement that Celedonia would take care of the
proceedings leading to the formation of the foundation, Celedonia in
good faith and upon the advice of her counsel, filed for her
appointment as special administratrix of the estate of Esteban
Javellana, Jr.
a. Later, she filed an amended petition praying that letters of
administration be issued to her; that she be declared sole heir
of the deceased; and that after payment of all claims and
rendition of inventory and accounting, the estate be
adjudicated to her

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


9.

10.

11.

12.
13.
14.
15.
16.

she was declared sole heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. She
explained that this was done for three reasons:
a. (1) because the properties of the estate had come from her
sister, Salustia Solivio;
b. (2) that she is the decedent's nearest relative on his mother's
side; and
c. (3) with her as sole heir, the disposition of the properties of
the estate to fund the foundation would be facilitated.
she sold properties of the estate to pay the taxes and other obligations
of the deceased and proceeded to set up the "SALUSTIA SOLIVIO VDA.
DE JAVELLANA FOUNDATION" which she caused to be registered in
the Securities and Exchange Commission
Four months later, or on August 7, 1978, Concordia Javellana
Villanueva filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order
declaring Celedonia as "sole heir" of Esteban, Jr., because she too was
an heir of the deceased.
her motion was denied by the court for tardiness
Concordia filed the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo for partition, recovery
of possession, ownership and damages.
said trial court rendered judgment in favor of Concordia JavellanaVillanueva
Celedonia perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial
court in toto.

ISSUE: 1. Whether the decedent's properties were subject to reserva troncal in


favor of Celedonia, his relative within the third degree on his mother's side
from whom he had inherited them? NO
HELD: 1. No merit in the petitioner's argument that the estate of the deceased
was subject to reserva troncal and that it pertains to her as his only relative
within the third degree on his mother's side
persons involved in reserva troncal are:
o 1. The person obliged to reserve is the reservor (reservista)
the ascendant who inherits by operation of law property from
his descendants
o 2. The persons for whom the property is reserved are the
reservees (reservatarios)relatives within the third degree
counted from the descendant (propositus), and belonging to
the line from which the property came.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

3. The propositusthe descendant who received by


gratuitous title and died without issue, making his other
ascendant inherit by operation of law.
the property of the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., is not reservable
property, for Esteban, Jr. was not an ascendant, but the descendant of
his mother, Salustia Solivio, from whom he inherited the properties in
question
he did not hold his inheritance subject to a reservation in favor of his
aunt, Celedonia Solivio, who is his relative within the third degree on
his mother's side.
The reserva troncal applies to properties inherited by an ascendant
from a descendant who inherited it from another ascendant or 9
brother or sister. It does not apply to property inherited by a
descendant from his ascendant, the reverse of the situation covered
by Article 891.
Since the deceased, Esteban Javellana, Jr., died without descendants,
ascendants, illegitimate children, surviving spouse, brothers, sisters,
nephews or nieces, what should apply in the distribution of his estate
are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code
Court of Appeals correctly held that: Both plaintiff-appellee and
defendant-appellant being relatives of the decedent within the third
degree in the collateral line, each, therefore, shall succeed to the
subject estate 'without distinction of line or preference among them
by reason of relationship by the whole blood,' and is entitled one-half
(1/2) share and share alike of the estate.

DECISION: The petition for review is granted


Padura v Baldivino
Appeal from an order of the CFI of Laguna in Special Proceedings declaring all
the reserves (without distinction) co-owners, pro indivisio in equal shares of
the parcel of land subject matter of the suit
Appeal from reserved and set aside and the reservartarios who are nephews of
the full blood are declared entitled to a share twice as large as that of the
nephews of the half-blood. Records are reminded to the court belong for
further proceedings

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


MARCELINA EDROSO, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
PABLO and BASILIO SABLAN, opponents-appellees.
Facts:
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.

6.
7.

8.

9.

The subject matter of this appeal is the registration of certain property


classified as required by law to be reserved.
Marcelina Edroso applied for registration and issuance of title to two
parcels of land
Two applications were filed, one for each parcel, but both were heard
and decided in a single judgment.
Marcelina Edroso was married to Victoriano Sablan until his death on
September 22, 1882. In this marriage they had a son named Pedro,
who was born on August 1, 1881, and who at his father's death
inherited the two said parcels.
- Pedro also died on July 15, 1902, unmarried and without issue and
by this decease the two parcels of land passed through
inheritance to his mother, Marcelina Edroso.
- Hence the hereditary title whereupon is based the application for
registration of her ownership
Two legitimate brothers of Victoriano Sablan that is, two uncles
german of Pedro Sablan appeared in the case to oppose the
registration,
claiming one of two things: Either that the registration be
denied,
- "or that if granted to her the right reserved by law to the
opponents be recorded in the registration of each parcel.
The Court of Land Registration denied the registration and the
application appealed through a bill of exceptions.
Registration was denied because the trial court held that the parcels of
land in question partake of the nature of property required by law to
be reserved and that in
- such a case application could only be presented jointly in the
names of the mother and the said two uncles of Pedro Sablan.
The appellant impugns as erroneous the first idea advanced (second
assignment of error), and denies that the land which are the subject
matter of the application are required by law to be reserved
Facts not disputed:
- Facts:

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

(1) The applicant acquired said lands from her descendant Pedro
Sablan by inheritance;
(2) Pedro Sablan had acquired them from his ascendant
Victoriano Sablan, likewise by inheritance;
(3) Victoriano Sablan had likewise acquired them by inheritance
from his ascendants, Mariano Sablan and Maria Rita Fernandez,
they having been adjudicated to him in the partition of hereditary
property had between him and his brothers.

Issue/held:
1. WON it was provend that the two parcel of land have beend acquired
by operation of law? YES
2. Did the trial court erred to sustain the renunciation of the right
required b law to be reserved ,which the applicant attributes to the
opponents? NO
3. Has the action prescribed? NO
4. What are the rights in the property of the person who holds it subject
to the reservation of article 811 of the Civil Code?
- Duty of the ascendant,who inherits, to reserve the property in
accordance with the law.
- Right of ascendant to dispose or register the property on his own
name
Rationale:
st
1 issue:
1. he applicant inherited the two parcels of land from her son Pedro,
who died "unmarried and without issue." The trial court so held as a
conclusion of fact, without any objection on the appellant's part.
- When Pedro Sablan died without issue, his mother became his
heir by virtue of her right to her son's legal portion under article
935 of the Civil Code
2. The contrary could only have occurred if the heiress had
demonstrated that any of these lands had passed into her possession
by free disposal in her son's will;
but the case presents no testamentary provision that
demonstrate any transfer of property from the son to the mother,
not by operation of law, but by her son's wish.

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The legal presumption is that the transfer of the two parcels of
land was abintestate or by operation of law, and not by will or the
wish of the predecessor in interest.
- All the provision of article 811 of the Civil Code have therefore
been fully complied with.
If Pedro Sablan had instituted his mother in a will as the universal
heiress of his property, all he left at death would not be required by
law to be reserved,
- but only what he would have perforce left her as the legal portion
of a legitimate ascendant.
In such case only the half constituting the legal portion would be
required by law to be reserved, because it is what by operation of law
could full to the mother from her son's inheritance;
the other half at free disposal would not have to be reserved.
This is all that article 811 of the Civil Code says.
No error has been incurred in holding that the two parcels of land
which are the subject matter of the application are required by law to
be reserved,
because the interested party has not proved that either of them
became her inheritance through the free disposal of her son
Proof testate succession devolves upon the heir or heiress who alleges
it. It must be admitted that a half of Pedro Sablan's inheritance was
acquired by his mother by operation of law.
- The law provides that the other half is also presumed to be
acquired by operation of law that is, by intestate succession.
Otherwise, proof to offset this presumption must be presented
by the interested party, that is, that the other half was acquired
by the man's wish and not by operation of law.
-

3.

4.

5.

6.

nd

2 issue:
1. Such renunciation does not appear in the case. The appellant deduces
it from the fact that the appellees did not contradict the following
statement of hers at the trial:
- The day after my brother-in-law Pablo Sablan dies and was buried,
his brother came to my house and said that those rice lands were
mine, because we had already talked about making delivery of
them.
- The other brother alluded to is Basilio Sablan, as stated on page
92. From the fact that Basilio Sablan said that the lands belong to
the appellant
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

and must be delivered to her it cannot be deduced that he


renounced the right required by law to be reserved in such lands
by virtue of the provisions of article 811 of the Civil Code,
for they really belong to her and must be delivered to her.

rd

3 issue;
Appellant: prescription of the opponent's right of action for requiring
fulfillment of the obligation they attribute to her recording in the property
registry the right required by law to be reserved, in accordance with the
provisions of the Mortgage Law; and as such obligation is created by law,
- it prescribed in the time fixed in No. 2 of section 43 of Act No.
190. She adds: "Prescription of the right alleged to the reserved
by force of law has not been invoked."
Appellees reply: It is true that their right of action has prescribed for requiring
the applicant to constitute the mortgage imposed by the Mortgage Law for
guaranteeing the effectiveness of the required by law to be reserved;
but because that right of action has prescribed, that property has
not been divested of its character of property required by law to
be reserved
.SC:
1. The appellant does not state in her brief what those provisions of the
Mortgage Law are. Nor did she do so in first instance,
2. The existence of the right required by law to be reserved in the two
parcels of land in question being indisputable, even though it be
admitted that the right of action which the Mortgage Law grants as a
guaranty of final enforcement of such right has prescribed,
the only thing to be determined by this appeal is the question
raised in the first assignment of error, that is, how said two
parcels of land can and ought to be registered,
- not in the property registry newly established by the Mortgage
Law, but in the registry newly organized by Act No. 496.
- But as the have slipped into the allegations quoted some rather
inexact ideas that further obscure such an intricate subject as this
of the rights required to be reserved in Spanish-Philippine law, a
brief disgression on the most essential points may not be out of
place here.
3. Two kinds of property required by law to be reserved are
distinguished in the Civil Code, as set forth in article 968 thereof,
where it says:

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Besides the reservation imposed by article 811, the widow or
widower contracting a seconds marriage shall be obliged to set
apart for the children and
- descendants of the first marriage the ownership of all the
property he or she may have required from the deceased spouse
by will, by intestate succession, by gift, or other transfer without a
valuable consideration."
The Mortgage Law of Spain and the first law that went into effect in
the Philippines on December 1, 189, do not contain any provision that
can be applied to the right reserved by article 811 of the Civil Code, for
such right is a creation of the Civil Code.
- In those laws appear merely the provisions intended to guarantee
the effectiveness of the right in favor of the children of the first
marriage when their father or mother contracts a second
marriage.
As the supreme court has already declared, the guaranties that the
Code fixes in article 977 and 978 for the rights required by law to the
reserved
to which said articles refer, are applicable to the special right
dealt with in article 811, because the same principle exists and
because of the general nature of the provisions of the chapter in
which they are found."
From this principle of jurisprudence it is inferred that if from
December, 1889, to July, 1893, a case had occurred of a right required
to be reserved by article 811, the persons entitled to such right would
have been able to institute,
- against the ascendant who must make the reservation,
proceedings for the assurance and guaranty that article 977 and
978 grant to the children of a first marriage against their father or
mother who has married again.
- The proceedings for assurance, under article 977; are: Inventory
of the property subject to the right reserved, annotation in the
property registry of such right
- reserved in the real property and appraisal of the personal
property; and the guaranty, under article 978, is the assurance by
mortgage, in the case of realty, of the value of what is validly
alienated.
This being admitted, and admitted also that both the litigating parties
agree that the period of ninety days fixed for the right of action to the
guaranty, that is, to require the mortgage that guarantees the

effectiveness of the right required by law to be reserved, has


prescribed, it is necessary to lay down a principle in this matter.
- Now it should by noted that such action has not prescribed,
because the period of ninety days fixed by the Mortgage Law is
not for the exercise of the right of action of the persons entitled
to the right reserved,
but for the fulfillment of the obligation of the person who must
make the reservation.
8. Article 191 of the reads thus: "If ninety days pass without the father's
instituting in court the proceeding to which the foregoing article
refers,
the relatives themselves may demand fulfillment, etc., . . .
applying, according to said article 199, to the person obligated to
reserve the right the provisions with respect to the father.
9. Article 203 of the regulation for the application of the Mortgage Law
says: "In the case of article 199 of the law the proceedings to which
article 190 thereof refers will be instituted within the ninety days
succeeding the date of the date of the acceptation of the inheritance
by the person obligated to reserve the property;
after this period has elapsed, the interested parties may require
the institution of such proceedings, if they are of age; and in any
other case, their legal representatives."
10. Thus it clearly appears that the lapse of the ninety days is not the
expiration by prescription of the period for the right must be reserved,
but really the commencement thereof, enables them to exercise it at
any time, since no limits is set in the law.
So, if the annotation of the right required by law to be reserved in
the two parcels of land in question must be made in the property
registry of the Mortgage Law, the persons entitled to it may now
institute proceedings to that end,
and an allegation of prescription against the exercise of such right
of action cannot be sustained.

4.

5.

6.

7.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

th

4 issue:
1. The ascendants who inherits from a descendants, whether by the
latter's wish or by operation of law, requires the inheritance by virtue
of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership.
All the attributes of the right of ownership belong to him
exclusively use, enjoyment, disposal and recovery. This
absolute ownership, which is inherent in the hereditary title, is
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

2.

not altered in the least, if there be no relatives within the third


degree in the line whence the property proceeds
- or they die before the ascendant heir who is the possessor and
absolute owner of the property.
If there should be relatives within the third degree who belong to
the line whence the property proceeded, then a limitation to that
absolute ownership would arise.
- The nature and scope of this limitation must be determined with
exactness in order not to vitiate rights that the law wishes to be
effective.
- There is a marked difference between the case where a man's
wish institutes two persons as his heirs, one as usufructuary and
the other as owner of his property, and the case of the ascendant
in article 811 or of the father or mother in article 968
- . In the first case, there is not the slightest doubt that the title to
the hereditary property resides in the hereditary owner and he
can dispose of and recover it,
- while the usufructuary can in no way perform any act of disposal
of the hereditary property, or any act of recovery thereof except
the limited one in the form prescribed in article 486 of the Code
itself, because he totally lacks the fee simple.
But the ascendants who holds the property required by article
811 to be reserved, and the father of mother required by article
986 to reserve the right, can dispose of the property they might
itself,
the former from his descendant and the latter from his of her
child in first marriage, and recover it from anyone who may
unjustly detain it,
- while the persons in whose favor the right is required to be
reserved in either case cannot perform any act whatsoever of
disposal or of recovery.
In such case, the child or legitimate descendants of the first marriage
in whose favor the right is reserved cannot impugn the validity of the
alienation
so long as the condition subsequent is pending, that is, so long as
the remarried spouse who must reserve the right is alive,
- because it might easily happen that the person who must reserve
the right should outlive all the person in whose favor the right is
reserved

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

and then there would be no reason for the condition subsequent


that they survive him, and, the object of the law having
disappeared, the right required to be reserved would disappear,
and the alienation would not only be valid but also in very way
absolutely effective. Consequently, the alienation is valid when
the right required by law to be reserved to the children is
respected; while the effects of the alienation depend upon a
condition, because it will or will not become definite, it will
continue to exist or cease to exist, according to circumstances.
- This is what the law establishes with reference to the reservation
of article 968, wherein the legislator expressly directs that the
surviving spouse
who contracts a second marriage shall reserve to the children or
descendants of the first marriage ownership. Article 811 says
nothing more than that the ascendants must make the
reservation.
he person required by article 811 to reserve the right has, beyond any
doubt at all, the rights of use and usufruct. He has, moreover, for the
reasons set forth, the legal title and dominion, although under a
condition subsequent.
Clearly he has, under an express provision of the law, the right to
dispose of the property reserved, and to dispose of is to alienate,
although under a condition. He has the right to recover it, because
he is the one who possesses or should possess it and have title to
it, although a limited and revocable one.
In a word, the legal title and dominion, even though under a
condition, reside in him while he lives. After the right required by
law to be reserved has been assured, he can do anything that a
genuine owner can do.
On the other hand, the relatives within the third degree in whose
favor of the right is reserved cannot dispose of the property, first
because it is no way, either actually, constructively or formally, in their
possession; and, moreover, because they have no title of ownership or
of the fee simple which they can transmit to another,
- on the hypothesis that only when the person who must reserve
the right should die before them will they acquire it, thus creating
a fee simple,
- and only then will they take their place in the succession of the
descendants of whom they are relatives within the third degree,
that it to say,
-

3.

4.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


a second contingent place in said legitimate succession in the
fashion of aspirants to a possible future legacy. If any of the
persons in whose favor the right is reserved should, after their
rights has been assured in the registry, dare to dispose of even
nothing more than the fee simple of the property to be reserved
his act would be null and void, for, as was definitely decided in the
decision on appeal of December 30, 1897,
it is impossible to determine the part "that might pertain therein
to the relative at the time he exercised the right, because in view
of the nature and scope of the right required by law to be
reserved the extent of his right cannot be foreseen,
for it may disappear by his dying before the person required to
reserve it, just as may even become absolute should that person
die."
CONSTANCIO SIENES, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. FIDEL ESPARCIA, ET AL.,
defendants-appellees.
G.R. No. L-12957
March 24, 1961
-

Short Version
Lot 3368 originally belonged to Saturnino Yaeso. With his first wife, Teresa
Ruales, he had four children named Agaton, Fernando, Paulina and Cipriana,
while with his second wife, Andrea Gutang, he had an only son named
Francisco. According to the cadastral records of Ayuquitan, the properties left
by Saturnino upon his death were left to his children as follows: Lot 3366 to
Cipriana, Lot 3367 to Fernando, Lot 3375 to Agaton, Lot 3377 (southern
portion) to Paulina, and Lot 3368 (western portion) to Francisco. As a result of
the cadastral proceedings, an OCT covering Lot 3368 was issued in the name of
Francisco.
Because Francisco was a minor at the time, his mother administered the
property for him, declared it in her name for taxation purposes, and paid the
taxes due thereon. When Francisco died at the age of 20, single and without
any descendant, his mother, as his sole heir, executed the public instrument
and sold the property in question to appellants in consideration of the sum of
P800.00. Andrea Gutang died on December 13, 1951, the lone reservee
surviving her being Cipriana Yaeso who died only on January 13, 1952. Said
vendees demanded from Paulina and her husband, the surrender of the OCT
which was in their possession, the latter refused, thus giving rise to the filing of
the corresponding motion in the cadastral, which was denied.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

FACTS:
1. Lot 3368 originally belonged to Saturnino Yaeso.
2. With his first wife, Teresa Ruales, he had four children named Agaton,
Fernando, Paulina and Cipriana, while with his second wife, Andrea
Gutang, he had an only son named Francisco.
3. According to the cadastral records of Ayuquitan, the properties left by
Saturnino upon his death the date of which does not clearly appear of
record were left to his children as follows:
a. Lot 3366 to Cipriana,
b. Lot 3367 to Fernando,
c. Lot 3375 to Agaton,
d. Lot 3377 (southern portion) to Paulina, and
e. Lot 3368 (western portion) to Francisco.
4. As a result of the cadastral proceedings, Original Certificate of Title No.
10275 covering Lot 3368 was issued in the name of Francisco.
5. Because Francisco was a minor at the time, his mother administered the
property for him, declared it in her name for taxation purposes (Exhs A &
A-1), and paid the taxes due thereon (Exhs. B, C, C-1 & C-2).
6. When Francisco died on May 29, 1932 at the age of 20, single and without
any descendant, his mother, as his sole heir, executed the public
instrument xxxx she sold the property in question to appellants.
7. When thereafter said vendees demanded from Paulina Yaeso and her
husband Jose Esparcia, the surrender of Original Certificate of Title No.
10275 which was in their possession the latter refused, thus giving
rise to the filing of the corresponding motion in the cadastral record No.
507. The same, however, was denied
8. Thereafter, or more specifically, on July 30, 1951, Cipriana and Paulina
Yaeso, the surviving half-sisters of Francisco, and who as such had
declared the property in their name, on January 1, 1951 executed a deed
of sale in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes (Exh. 2)
who, in turn, declared it in their name for tax purposes and thereafter
secured the issuance in their name of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T2141
9. Appellants commenced this action below to secure judgment
(1) declaring null and void the sale executed by Paulina and Cipriana
Yaeso in favor of appellees, the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina
Sienes;
(2) ordering the Esparcia spouses to reconvey to appellants Lot 3368
of the Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan (now Amlan), Oriental
Negros; and
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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


(3) ordering all the appellees to pay, jointly and severally, to
appellants the sum of P500.00 as damages, plus the costs of suit.
10. In their answer appellees disclaimed any knowledge or information
regarding the sale allegedly made on April 20, 1951 by Andrea Gutang in
favor of appellants and
alleged that, if such sale was made, the same was void on the ground
that Andrea Gutang had no right to dispose of the property subject
matter thereof.
They further alleged that said property had never been in possession
of appellants, the truth being that appellees, as owners, had been in
continuous possession thereof since the death of Francisco Yaeso.
By way of affirmative defense and counterclaim, they further alleged
that on July 30, 1951, Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso, as the only
surviving heirs of Francisco Yaeso, executed a public instrument of
sale in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes, the said
sale having been registered together with an affidavit of adjudication
executed by Paulina and Cipriana on July 18, 1951, as sole surviving
heirs of the aforesaid deceased; that since then the Esparcias had
been in possession of the property as owners.
11. After trial upon the issues thus joined, the lower court rendered judgment
as follows: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered
declaring (1) that the sale of Lot No. 3368 is void,
12. From the above decision the Sienes spouse interposed the present
appeal, their principal contentions being,
a. firstly, that the lower court erred in holding that Lot 3368 of the
Cadastral Survey of Ayuquitan was a reservable property;
b. secondly, in annulling the sale of said lot executed by Andrea
Gutang in their favor; and
c. lastly, in holding that Cipriana Yaeso, as reservee, was entitled to
inherit said land.

ISSUE: Whether or not the reservable property in question is part of and must
be reverted to the estate of Cipriana Yaeso.
HELD:

As held by the trial court, it is clear upon the facts already stated, that the
land in question was reservable property. Francisco Yaeso inherited it by
operation of law from his father Saturnino, and
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

upon Francisco's death, unmarried and without descendants, it was


inherited, in turn, by his mother, Andrea Gutang.
The latter was, therefore, under obligation to reserve it for the
benefit of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from
which said property came, if any survived her.
The record discloses in this connection that Andrea Gutang died on
December 13, 1951, the lone reservee surviving her being Cipriana
Yaeso who died only on January 13, 1952 (Exh. 10).
In connection with reservable property, the weight of opinion is that the
reserve creates two resolutory conditions, namely,
1) the death of the ascendant obliged to reserve and
2) the survival, at the time of his death, of relatives within the third
degree belonging to the line from which the property came
This Court has held in connection with this matter that the reservista has
the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to a
resolutory condition;
that he is like a life usufructuary of the reservable property;
that he may alienate the same but subject to reservation, said
alienation transmitting only the revocable and conditional ownership
of the reservists, the rights acquired by the transferee being revoked
or resolved by the survival of reservatarios at the time of the death of
the reservista
The sale made by Andrea Gutang in favor of appellees was, therefore,
subject to the condition that the vendees would definitely acquire
ownership, by virtue of the alienation, only if the vendor died without
being survived by any person entitled to the reservable property.
Inasmuch much as when Andrea Gutang died, Cipriana Yaeso was still
alive, the conclusion becomes inescapable that the previous sale made by
the former in favor of appellants became of no legal effect and the
reservable property subject matter thereof passed in exclusive ownership
to Cipriana.
On the other hand, it is also clear that the sale executed by the sisters
Paulina and Cipriana Yaeso in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and
Paulina Sienes was subject to a similar resolutory condition.
The reserve instituted by law in favor of the heirs within the third
degree belonging to the line from which the reservable property
came, constitutes a real right which the reservee may alienate and
dispose of, albeit conditionally, the condition being that the alienation
shall transfer ownership to the vendee only if and when the reservee
survives the person obliged to reserve.
186

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

In the present case, Cipriana Yaeso, one of the reservees, was still alive
when Andrea Gutang, the person obliged to reserve, died.
Thus the former became the absolute owner of the reservable
property upon Andrea's death.
While it may be true that the sale made by her and her sister prior to
this event, became effective because of the occurrence of the
resolutory condition, we are not now in a position to reverse the
appealed decision, in so far as it orders the reversion of the property
in question to the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso, because the vendees
the Esparcia spouses did not appeal therefrom.

ENCARNACION FLORENTINO, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants vs. MERCEDES


FLORENTINO, ET AL., defendants-appellees
November 15, 1919; G.R. No. L-14856; J. Torres
(Bon)
Doctrine: Reservable property neither comes, nor falls under, the absolute
dominion of the ascendant who inherits and receives same from his descendant,
therefore it does not form part of his own property nor become the legitimate
of his forced heirs.
Facts:
Refer to the separate family tree to see who survived who
1. Apolonio Isabelo Florentino executed a will before the notary public of
Ilocos Sur, instituting as his universal heirs his aforementioned ten
children, the posthumos Apolonio III and his widow Severina Faz de
Leon; that he declared, in one of the paragraphs of said will, all his
property should be divided among all of his children of both
marriages.
2. That, in the partition of the said testator's estate, there was given to
Apolonio Florentino III, his posthumos son, the property marked with
the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F in the complaint, a gold rosary, pieces of
gold, of silver, and of table service, livestock, palay, some personal
property and other objects mentioned in the complaint.
3. Severina Faz de Leon survived her son thus, succeeded to all his
property described in the complaint.
4. However, she also later died leaving a will instituting as her universal
heiress her only living daughter, Mercedes Florentino;

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

5.

Said daughter took possession of all the property left at the death of
her mother, Severina Faz de Leon; including the property, described in
the complaint, which the said Severina Faz de Leon inherited from her
deceased son, the posthumos Apolonio, as reservable property
a. that, as a reservist, the heir of the said Mercedes Florentino
deceased had been gathering for herself alone the fruits of
lands described in the complaint; that each and every one of
the parties mentioned in said complaint is entitled to oneseventh of the fruits of the reservable property described
therein, either by direct participation or by representation.

Issue:
Is the property left at the death of Apolonio III, vested with the character of
reservable property when it was received by his mother, Severina Faz de Leon
lost the character of being reservable property ?
Held:
NO. Reservable property neither comes, nor falls under, the absolute
dominion of the ascendant who inherits and receives same from his
descendant, therefore it does not form part of his own property nor become
the legitimate of his forced heirs. It becomes his own property only in case
that all the relatives of his descendant shall have died (reservista) in which
case said reservable property losses such character.
Note that there are then seven "reservatarios" who are entitled to
the reservable property left at the death of Apolonio III
o As the first four are his relatives within the third degree in
their own right and the other twelve are such by
representation, all of them are indisputably entitled as
reservatarios to the property which came from the common
ancestor, Apolonio Isabelo, to Apolonio Florentino III by
inheritance during his life-time, and in turn by inheritance to
his legitimate mother, Severina Faz de Leon, widow of the
aforementioned Apolonio Isabelo Florentino II.
If this property was in fact clothed with the character and condition
of reservable property when Severina Faz de Leon inherited same
from her son Apolonio III, she did not thereby acquire the dominion
or right of ownership but only the right of usufruct or of fiduciary
with the necessary obligation to preserve and to deliver or return it
as such reservable property to her deceased son's relatives within
187

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

the third degree, among whom is her daughter, Mercedes


Florentino.
o Whatever provision there is in her will concerning the
reservable property received from her son Apolonio III, or
rather, whatever provision will reduce the rights of the other
reservatarios, the half brothers and nephews of her daughter
Mercedes, is unlawful, null and void, inasmuch as said
property is not her own and she has only the right of usufruct
or of fiduciary, with the obligation to preserve and to deliver
same to the reservatarios, one of whom is her own daughter,
Mercedes Florentino.
If said property did not come to be the legitimate and exclusive
property of Severina Faz de Leon, her only legitimate and forced
heiress, the defendant Mercedes, could not inherit all by operation
of law and in accordance with the order of legitimate succession,
because the other relatives of the deceased Apolonio III, within the
third degree, as well as herself are entitled to such reservable
property.
o For this reason, in no manner can it be claimed that the
legitime of Mercedes Florentino, coming from the inheritance
of her mother Severina Faz de Leon, has been reduced and
impaired; and
o the application of article 811 of the Code to the instant case
in no way prejudices the rights of the defendant Mercedes
Florentino, inasmuch as she is entitled to a part only of the
reservable property, there being no lawful or just reason
which serves as real foundation to disregard the right to
Apolonio III's other relatives, within the third degree, to
participate in the reservable property in question.
o As these relatives are at present living, claiming for it with
an indisputable right, there is no reasonable and lawful
motive why their rights should not be upheld and why they
should not be granted equal participation with the
defendant in the litigated property.
Just because she has a forced heiress, with a right to her inheritance,
does not relieve Severina of her obligation to reserve the property
which she received from her deceased son, nor did same lose the
character of reservable property, held before the reservatarios
received same.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

It is true that when Mercedes Florentino, the heiress of the


reservista Severina, took possession of the property in
question, same did not pass into the hands of strangers. But it
is likewise true that the said Mercedes is not the only
reservataria.
And there is no reason founded upon law and upon the
principle of justice why the other reservatarios, the other
brothers and nephews, relatives within the third degree in
accordance with the precept of article 811 of the Civil Code,
should be deprived of portions of the property which, as
reservable property, pertain to them.

NOTE!!!
Any ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property, while there are
living, within the third degree, relatives of the latter, is nothing but a life
usufructuary or a fiduciary of the reservable property received. He is, however,
the legitimate owner of his own property which is not reservable property and
which constitutes his legitime, according to article 809 of the Civil Code. But if,
afterwards, all of the relatives, within the third degree, of the descendant (from
whom came the reservable property) die or disappear, the said property
becomes free property, by operation of law, and is thereby converted into the
legitime of the ascendant heir who can transmit it at his death to his legitimate
successors or testamentary heirs. This property has now lost its nature of
reservable property, pertaining thereto at the death of the relatives, called
reservatarios, who belonged within the third degree to the line from which
such property came.
As to REPRESENTATION:
The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claming same as a
reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the
third degree belonging to the line from which such property came, inasmuch as
the right granted by the Civil Code in article 811 is in the highest degree
personal and for the exclusive benefit of designated persons who are the
relatives, within the third degree, of the person from whom the reservable
property came. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the succeeding degrees
can never be considered as reservatarios, since the law does not recognize
them as such.

CELLES

Gonzales v CFI, 104 SCRA 161

188

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


1.
DE PAPA ET AL VS CAMACHO
GR No. L-28032 September 24, 1986
NARVASA, J.:
The court ruled that the uncles and aunts shall not share in the reservable
property, since, under the law of intestate succession a descendants uncles
and aunts may not succeed ab intestate so long as nephews and nieces of the
decedent survive and are willing and qualified to inherit. The rule on proximity
applies. (The relatives in the direct ascending shall exclude relatives in the
collateral line.)
FACTS:
X (Unknown name of parents)

2
Balbino Tioco
+ 3 parcles
1
Francisco Tioco de Papa Toribia Tioco de Papa
Manuel Tioco
Nicolas Tioco
Romana Tioco
4 parcels

4
Trinidad Dizon

Dalisay Tongko-Camacho
1/2 of all the 7 parcels

Marciana Felix
5
Eustacio Dizon

3
Faustino Dizon

Primo Tongko

numbers order of death


1.
2.

Romana, during her lifetime, gratuitously donated 4 parcels of land to


Toribia.
Toribia Tioco died intestate, survived by her husband, and their two
legitimate children.
And leaving the 4 parcels of land as the inheritance of her said two
children in equal pro-indiviso shares.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

Balbino Tioco died intestate, survived by his legitimate children by his


wife and legitimate grandchildren.
2. In the partition of his estate, 3 parcels of land were adjudicated as the
inheritance of the late Toribia, but as she had predeceased her father, the
said 3 parcels of land devolved upon her two legitimate children in equal
pro-indiviso shares.
3. Faustino Dizon died intestate, single and without issue, leaving his 1/2 proindiviso share in the 7 parcels of land above-mentioned to his father, as his
sole intestate heir, who received the said property subject to a reserva
troncal which was subsequently annotated on the Transfer Certificates of
Title.
4. Trinidad Dizon-Tongko died intestate, and her rights and interests in the
parcels of land were inherited by her only legitimate child, Dalisay, subject
to the usufructuary right of her surviving husband.
5. Eustacio Dizon died intestate.
6. Dalisay now owns 1/2 of all the 7 parcels of land as her inheritance from
her mother.
Dalisay also claims the other half of the said 7 parcels of land by virtue
of the reserva troncal imposed upon the death of Faustino and under
the laws on intestate succession
7. However, the de Papas oppose her said claim
They claim 3/4 of the one-half pro-indiviso interest in said parcel of
land, which interest was inherited by Eustacio from Faustino, or 3/8 of
the said parcels of land, by virtue of their being also third degree
relatives of Faustino.
They submit whether Dalisay is entitled to the whole of the 7, or
whether the de Papas, as third degree relatives of Faustino are
reservatarios of the one-half pro-indiviso share.
8. The lower court declared Francisco, Manuel and Nicolas, as well as the
Dalisay, entitled, as reservatarios, to one-half of the seven parcels of land
in dispute, in equal proportions.
ISSUE:
1. Were all the relatives of Faustino within the third degree able to succeed
without distinction to the reservable property upon the death of the
reservista, and as such, should be determined by, the rules on intestate
succession? YES.
2. Is Dalisay entitled to the entirety of the reversionary property to the
exclusion of the De Papas? YES.
HELD:
189

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


1.
2.

The principles of intestacy are controlling.


The nephews and nieces of whole blood were each entitled to a share
double that of each of the nephews and nieces of half blood in accordance
with Article 1006of the Civil Code.
3. Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession when there
are relatives of the descendant within the third degree, the right of the
nearest relative, called reservatarios over the property which the
reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to him,
excludes that of the one more remote.
4. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same
as a reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives
within the third degree belonging to the line from which such property
came, inasmuch as the right granted by the Civil Code in Article 811 is in
the highest degree personal and for the exclusive benefit of designated
persons who are within the third degree of the person from whom the
reservable property came.
5. Therefore, relatives of the fourth and the succeeding degrees can never be
considered as reservatarios, since the law does not recognize them as
such.
6. In spite of what has been said relative to the right of representation on the
part of one alleging his right as reservatario who is not within the third
degree of relationship, nevertheless there is right of representation on the
part of reservatarios who are within the third degree mentioned by law, as
in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the reservable
property came.
7. Proximity of degree and right of representation are basic principles of
ordinary intestate succession; so is the rule that whole blood brothers and
nephews are entitled to a share double that of brothers and nephews of
half blood.
8. Reversion of the reservable property being governed by the rules on
intestate succession, the de Papas must be held without any right thereto
because, as aunt and uncles, respectively, of Faustino Dizon (the
praepositus), they are excluded from the succession by his niece, Dalisay,
although they are related to him within the same degree as the latter.
9. Had the reversionary property passed directly from the praepositus, there
is no doubt that the de Papas would have been excluded by Dalisay under
the rules of intestate succession.
10. There is no reason why a different result should obtain simply because
"the transmission of the property was delayed by the interregnum of
the reserva;" i.e., the property took a"detour" through an ascendantCaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

thereby giving rise to the reservation before itstransmission to the


reservatario.

PRIMA G. CARRILLO and LORENZO LICUP vs. FRANCISCA SALAK DE PAZ and
ERNESTO BAUTISTA
BENGZON, J.P., J.: G.R. No. L-22601
October 28, 1966
1) Severino Salak and Petra Garcia were the owners of Lot No. 221.
2) Petra Garcia died. Severino Salak sold to Honoria Salak for P812.00 his
portion of said lot. Severino Salak died. While, Honoria Salak and
other members of her family died massacred by the Japanese.
3) Two settlement proceedings were instituted in the Court:
a. Special Proceeding No. 3, to settle the estates of Severino
Salak and Petra Garcia and
b. Special Proceeding No. 23, to settle the estates of the Salak
family (parents Simeon Salak and Isabel Carrillo; and children
Adolfo, Honoria, Consuelo and Ligaya).
4) Special Proceeding No. 3 (year 1946) Project of Partition which the
court approved: Lot No. 221, which was given thereunder to Francisca
Salak de Paz (1/4 of it in her capacity as heir, and the other 3/4 by
purchase and/or exchange with her co-heirs, Rita Sahagun, Aurea
Sahagun and Ernesto Bautista). From 1946 up to the present Francisca
Salak has possessed all of Lot No. 221.
5) February 26, 1948 - Special Proceeding No. 23 the court a quo held
that the heirs entitled to the estates of the Salak family were Agustina
de Guzman Vda. de Carillo (3/4 share) and Ernesto Bautista (1/4
share), applying the survivorship presumption, thus:
a) Simeon Salak died first his properties went to the children
Adolfo, Honoria, Consuelo and Ligaya (1/4 each);
b) Honoria, Consuelo and Ligaya died next Honoria's and
Consuelo's properties went to their mother, Isabel; those of
Ligaya went to her son, Ernesto Bautista;
c) Isabel died next her properties went to her son Adolfo; and
d) Adolfo died last his properties went to his maternal
grandmother, Agustina.
a. Agustina thereby succeeded to the properties that came by
intes-state succession from Honoria Salak and Isabel
Carrillo, including of Lot No. 221.
190

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


6)

November 9, 1948, Agustina de Guzman Vda. de Carrillo filed an


action in the CFI (Case No. 351) against the heirs in Special Proceeding
No. 3 to recover of Lot No. 221 which as aforementioned has been
possessed by Francisca Salak de Paz.

7)

On June 8, 1950 the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the


Court of First Instance of Tarlac in Special Proceeding No. 23, and
further decreed that the properties inherited by Agustina de Guzman
Vda. de Carrillo were subject to reserva troncal.

8)

Agustina died. On November 6, 1950, Ernesto Bautista filed a petition


in Special Proceeding No. 23 for the execution of the judgment (June
8, 1950).

9)

Lower court issued its order declares all the interest of the
said reservista Doa Agustina de Guzman Vda. de Carrillo as well as
that of her heirs in the three-fourths share adjudged to the reservista,
definitely terminated, and that the reservee, the minor Ernesto
Bautista, is entitled to the immediate delivery to him of the said threefourths share declared reserved to him.

10) On December 20, 1960, the lower court dismissed Civil Case No. 351
By virtue of the existence of third-degree relatives of Adolfo Salak,
the portion of Lot No. 221, inherited by Agustina de Guzman was
never released from the reserva, so as to convert the ownership of
Agustina de Guzman into an absolute one.
a. Upon her death on April 24, 1950, therefore, the property did
not pass by inheritance to her legal heirs, but rather reverted
to the family trunk of the Isabel-Adolfo line.
11) On April 22, 1963, Prima Carrillo and Lorenzo Licup filed the present
suit for recovery of 2/3 of 1/2 of No. 221 against Francisca Salak de Paz
and Ernesto Bautista.
12) On June 20, 1963, defendants Francisco Salak de Paz and Ernesto
Bautita filed a motion to dismiss upon the grounds that the cause of
action is barred by prior judgement and by the statute of limitations.

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

13) The court a quo dismissed the complaint on the ground of res judicata,
finding the suit barred by the order of delivery dated November 14,
1950 in Special Proceeding No. 23.
14) Plaintiffs Prima Carrillo and Lorenzo Licup thereupon appealed to Us
upon questions of law.
Defendants support the motion to dismiss: that the cause of action is barred
by prior judgment and by the statute of limitations. Although the action was
dismissed by the lower court expressly upon the ground of res judicata, it did
not totally disregard the defense of prescription.
Prima Carrillo being then the administratrix of the estate of her
mother, she allowed about thirteen (13) years before she commenced
the present action.
RULING:
1) When the trial judge decides a case in favor of a party on a certain
ground, the appellate court may uphold the decision below upon
some other point which was ignored or erroneously decided in favor
of the appellant by the trial court.
The reserva troncal arose as had been finally decided by the Court
of Appeals in Special Proceeding No. 23 when Agustina acquired by
operation of law all the properties of her descendant Adolfo
(grandson), who acquired them by gratuitous title from another
ascendant, Isabel (Adolfo's mother).
o According to Manresa, the reserva is extinguished upon the
death of the reservista, as it then becomes a right of full
ownership on the part of the reservatarios, who can bring a
reivindicatory suit therefor. Nonetheless, this right, if not
exercised within the time for recovering real properties, can
be lost by prescription.
PRESENT CASE:
Plaintiffs-appellants herein, as reservatarios, had the right to claim the
property 2/3 of 1/2 of Lot No. 221 from Francisca Salak de Paz, who
has been possessing it in the concept of an owner, from April 24, 1950
when Agustina died.
And the Court of Appeals' decision affirming the existence of reserva
troncal, promulgated on June 8, 1950, rendered it all the more
doubtless that such right had accrued in their favor from the time
191

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


Agustina died. It is clear, therefore, that the right or cause of action
accrued in favor of the plaintiffs-reservatarios herein on April 24,
1950.

Section 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure fixes 10 years as the period


of prescription for actions to recover real property, counted from the
time the cause of action accrued. This is the applicable law because
Article 1116 of the New Civil Code provides that "Prescription already
running before the effectivity of this Code [August 30, 1950] shall be
governed by laws previously in force."
o Plaintiffs-appellants' suit herein, having been filed only on
April 22, 1963, or more than ten (10) years from April 24,
1950, has prescribed.

WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal appealed from is hereby affirmed on the


ground of prescription, with costs against appellants. So ordered.
MARIQUITA O. SUMAYA and LAGUNA AGRO-INDUSTRIAL COCONUT
COOPERATIVE, INC., petitioners, vs. THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE
COURT, and AMADEO, SANCHO, DONATO, LUIS, ERASTO, LUISA, JOSE and
DOLORES, all surnamed BALANTAKBO, respondents.
G.R. No. 68843-44 September 2, 1991
MEDIALDEA, J.:p
(Jeka)
Facts:
1. Raul Balantakbo inherited from two (2) different ascendants the two
(2) sets of properties:
a. A one-third (1/3) interest, pro-indiviso in a parcel of land
situated in Dita, Lilio (Liliw) Laguna from his father Jose, Sr.
b. A one-seventh (1/7) interest pro-indiviso in ten (10) parcels of
registered lands from his maternal grandmother, Luisa
Bautista,
2. Raul died intestate, single, without any issue, and leaving only his
mother, Consuelo Joaquin Vda. de Balantakbo, as his sole surviving
heir to the real properties.
a. Consuelo adjudicated unto herself the above described
properties in an Affidavit entitled "Caudal Herederario del
finado Raul Balantakbo"
b. Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo sold the property
described in Civil Case No. SC-956 to Mariquita H. Sumaya.
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

c.

The same property was subsequently sold by Mariquita


Sumaya to Villa Honorio Development Corporation, Inc.,
3. Villa Honorio Development Corporation transferred and assigned its
rights over the property in favor of Agro-Industrial Coconut
Cooperative, Inc.
a. The documents evidencing these transfers were registered in
the Registry of Deeds of Laguna and the corresponding
certificates of titles were issued.
b. The properties are presently in the name of Agro-Industrial
Coconut Cooperative, Inc., 2/3 share and the remaining 1/3
share is in the name of Sancho Balantakbo.
4. Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo sold the properties to Villa
Honorio Development Corporation, Inc.
a. The latter in turn transferred and assigned all its rights to the
properties in favor of Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut
Cooperative, Inc. which properties are presently in its
possession.
b. The parties admit that the certificates of titles covering the
above described properties do not contain any annotation of
its reservable character.
5. Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo died.
a. Amadeo, Sancho, Donato, Luis, and Erasto, all surnamed
Balantakbo, brothers in full blood of Raul Balantakbo and
Luisa, Jose and Dolores, also all surnamed Balantakbo,
surviving children of deceased Jose Balantakbo, Jr., another
brother of the first named Balantakbos, filed the above
mentioned civil cases to recover the properties described in
the respective complaints which they claimed were subject
to a reserva troncal in their favor.
6. TC: rendered a joint decision in favor of the Balantakbos
7. CA: affirmed the decision of the court a quo in toto.
a. The motion for reconsideration was denied founding no
cogent reason to reverse the decision.
Issue: WON the petitioners were innocent purchasers for value.
Held: No.
Ratio:
1. Upon the death of the propositus, Raul Balantakbo, the reservista,
Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo caused the registration of an affidavit of
self-adjudication of the estate of Raul, wherein it was clearly stated
that the properties were inherited by Raul from his father Jose, Sr., as
192

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


regards the subject matter of Civil Case No. SC-956 and from his
maternal grandmother, Luisa Bautista, as regards the subject matter
of Civil Case No. SC-957.
a. The court a quo further ruled that said affidavit was, in its
form, declaration and substance, a recording with the
Registry of Deeds of the reservable character of the
properties.
b. In Spanish language, the affidavit clearly stated that the
affiant, Consuelo, was a lone-ascendant and heir to Raul
Balantakbo, her son, who died leaving properties previously
inherited from other ascendants and which properties were
inventoried in the said affidavit.
c. When a conveyance has been properly recorded such record
is constructive notice of its contents and all interests, legal
and equitable, included therein . . .
2. Under the rule of notice, it is presumed that the purchaser has
examined every instrument of record affecting the title. Such
presumption is irrebuttable.
a. He is charged with notice of every fact shown by the record
and is presumed to know every fact which an examination of
the record would have disclosed.
b. This presumption cannot be overcome by proof of
innocence or good faith. Such presumption cannot be
defeated by proof of want of knowledge of what the record
contains any more than one may be permitted to show that
he was ignorant of the provisions of the law.
c. The rule that all persons must take notice of the facts which
the public record contains is a rule of law. The rule must be
absolute, any variation would lead to endless confusion and
useless litigation. . . .
3. That ruling was superseded by the holding in the later six cases
of Levin v. Bass, 91 Phil. 420, where a distinction was made between
voluntary and involuntary registration, such as the registration of an
attachment, levy upon execution, notice of lis pendens, and the like.
a. In cases of involuntary registration, an entry thereof in the
day book is a sufficient notice to all persons even if the
owner's duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the
register of deeds.
b. On the other hand, according to the said cases of Levin
v. Bass, in case of voluntary registration of documents an
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

innocent purchaser for value of registered land becomes the


registered owner, and, in contemplation of law the holder of
a certificate of title, the moment he presents and files a duly
notarized and valid deed of sale and the same is entered in
the day book and at the same time he surrenders or presents
the owner's duplicate certificate of title covering the land
sold and pays the registration fees, because what remains to
be done lies not within his power to perform. The register of
deeds is duty bound to perform it.
c. In this case, the affidavit of self adjudication executed by
Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo which contained a statement
that the property was inherited from a descendant, Raul,
which has likewise inherited by the latter from another
ascendant, was registered with the Registry of Property. The
failure of the Register of Deeds to annotate the reservable
character of the property in the certificate of title cannot be
attributed to Consuelo.
4. Moreover, there is sufficient proof that the petitioners had actual
knowledge of the reservable character of the properties before they
bought the same from Consuelo.
a. This matter appeared in the deed of sale (Exhibit "C")
executed by Consuelo in favor of Mariquita Sumaya, the first
vendee of the property
b. It was admitted though that as regards the properties
litigated in Civil Case SC-957, no such admission was made by
Consuelo to put Villa Honorio Development on notice of the
reservable character of the properties.
c. The affidavit of self-adjudication executed by Consuelo and
registered with the Registry would still be sufficient notice to
bind them.
5. Moreover, the Court a quo found that the petitioners and private
respondents were long time acquaintances;
a. that the Villa Honorio Development Corporation and its
successors, the Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative
Inc., are family corporations of the Sumayas and that the
petitioners knew all along that the properties litigated in this
case were inherited by Raul Balantakbo from his father and
from his maternal grandmother, and that Consuelo Vda. de
Balantakbo inherited these properties from his son Raul.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

6. We do not agree, however, with the disposition of the appellate


court that there is no need to register the reservable character of the
property, if only for the protection of the reservees, against innocent
third persons.
a. However, in an obiter dictum(Director of Lands v. Aguas, G.R.
No. 42737, August 11, 1936, 63 Phil. 279.) this Court stated
therein:
The purpose of the notation is nothing more than to afford to the persons
entitled to the reservation, if any, due protection against any act of the
reservor, which may make it ineffective . . . (p. 292, Ibid)

7. Consistent with the rule in reserva viudal where the person obliged to
reserve (the widowed spouse) had the obligation to annotate in the
Registry of Property the reservable character of the property,
in reserva troncal, the reservor (the ascendant who inherited from a
descendant property which the latter inherited from another
descendant) has the duty to reserve and therefore, the duty to
annotate also.
a. The jurisprudential rule requiring annotation in the Registry
of Property of the right reserved in real property subject
of reserva viudal insofar as it is applied to reserva
troncal stays despite the abolition of reserva viudal in the
New Civil Code.
b. This rule is consistent with the rule provided in the second
paragraph of Section 51 of P.D. 1529, which provides that:
"The act of registration shall be the operative act to convey
or affect the land insofar as third persons are concerned . . ."
(emphasis supplied)
c. The properties involved in this case are already covered by a
Torrens title and unless the registration of the limitation is
effected (either actual or constructive), no third persons shall
be prejudiced thereby.
8. The respondent appellate court did not err in finding that the cause
of action of the private respondents did not prescribe yet.
a. The cause of action of the reservees did not commence
upon the death of the propositus Raul Balantakbo on June
13, 1952 but upon the death of the reservor Consuelo Vda.
de Balantakbo on June 3, 1968.
b. Relatives within the third degree in whose favor the right (or
property) is reserved have no title of ownership or of fee
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

c.

d.

e.

f.

simple over the reserved property during the lifetime of the


reservor.
Only when the reservor should die before the reservees will
the latter acquire the reserved property, thus creating a fee
simple, and only then will they take their place in the
succession of the descendant of whom they are relatives
within the third degree (See Velayo Bernardo v. Siojo, G.R.
No. 36078, March 11, 1933, 58 Phil. 89).
The reserva is extinguished upon the death of the reservor, as
it then becomes a right of full ownership on the part of the
reservatarios, who can bring a reivindicatory suit therefor.
Nonetheless, this right if not exercised within the time for
recovery may prescribe in ten (10) years under the old Code
of Civil Procedure (see Carillo v. De Paz, G.R. No. L-22601,
October 28, 1966, 18 SCRA 467, 473) or in thirty years under
Article 1141 of the New Civil Code.
The actions for recovery of the reserved property was
brought by herein private respondents on March 4, 1970 or
less than two (2) years from the death of the reservor.
Therefore, private respondents' cause of action has not
prescribed yet.

SEGUNDA MARIA NIEVA with her husband ANGEL ALCALA, plaintiffsappellants, vs. MANUELA ALCALA and JOSE DEOCAMPO, defendantsappellees.
G.R. No. L-13386; October 27, 1920; JOHNSON; Chants
FACTS:
1. Juliana Nieva, the alleged natural mother of the plaintiff Segunda
Maria Nieva, married Francisco Deocampo.
a. Of said marriage Alfeo Deocampo was born.
2. Julian Nieva died intestate and her said son, Alfeo Deocampo,
inherited from her, ab intestate, the parcels of land described in
Paragraphs V and X of the complaint.
3. Alfeo Deocampo died intestate and without issue
a. Thereupon the two parcels of land above-mentioned passed
to his father, Francisco Deocampo, by intestate succession
4. Francisco Deocampo married the herein defendant Manuela Alcala, of
which marriage was born Jose Deocampo, the other defendant herein.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


5.

6.

Francisco Deocampo died, whereupon his widow and son, the


defendants herein, took possession of the parcels of land in question,
under the claim that the said son, the defendant Jose Deocampoo (a
minor) had inherited the same, ab intestate, from his deceased father
The plaintiff herein, claiming to be an acknowledged natural daughter
of the said Juliana Nieva, instituted the present action for the
purposes of recovering from the defendants the parcels of land in
question, particularly described in Paragraphs V and X of the
complaint

ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the plaintiff is an acknowledged natural daughter of


the deceased Juliana Nieva? YES
2. Whether or not an illegitimate relative within the third degree is entitled to
the reserva troncal? NO
HELD:
1. Plaintiff is an acknowledged natural daughter of Juliana Nieva
Juliana Nieva, while unmarried, gave birth to the plaintiff on March 29,
1882, and that the plaintiff was duly baptized as her natural daughter,
of unknown father
Juliana Nieva nourished and reared her said child, the plaintiff herein;
that the plaintiff lived with her said mother until the latter was
married to Francisco Deocampo; that the said mother treated the
plaintiff, and exhibited her publicly, as a legitimate daughter
plaintiff Segunda Maria Nieva is an acknowledged natural daughter of
Juliana Nieva

2. No. an illegitimate relative is not entitled to reserva troncal


property here in question was inherited, by operation by law, by
Francisco Deocampo from his son Alfeo Deocampo, who, in turn, had
inherited it, in the same manner, from his mother Juliana Nieva, the
natural mother of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff is the natural sister of Alfeo Deocampo, and she belongs
to the same line from which the property in question came
Was Francisco Deocampo obliged by law to reserve said property for
the benefit of the plaintiff, an illegitimate relative within the third
degree of Alfeo Deocampo?
o If he was, then, upon his death, the plaintiff, and not his son
the defendant Jose Deocampo, was entitled to the said
property
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

o if he was not, the plaintiff's action must fail


no question whatever but that, under said article 811 of the Civil Code,
the plaintiff would be entitled to the property in question if she were a
legitimate daughter of Julian Nieva
But in said article 811 the legislator uses the generic terms
"ascendant," "descendant," and "relatives," without specifying
whether or not they have to be legitimate.
o Does the legislator, then, refer to legitimate as well as to
illegitimate relatives? No, only legitimate
eminent commentators on the Spanish Civil Code (MANRESA)
o article 811 of the Civil Code apply only to legitimate relative
o in said Code, the legitimate relationship forms the general
rule and the natural relationship the exception
law in many articles speaks only of children or parents, of ascendants
or descendants, and in them reference is of course made of those who
are legitimate; and when it desires to make a provision applicable only
to natural relationship, it does not say father or mother, but natural
father or natural mother; it does not say child, but natural child
o it does not speak of ascendants, brothers or parents in the
abstract, but of natural ascendants, natural brothers or
natural parents
Articles 809 and 810 themselves speak only of ascendants.
o evidently establish the legitime of the legitimate ascendants
included as forced heirs in number 2 of article 807.
o And article 811, and as we will see also article 812,
continues to treat of this same legitime.
The right of the natural parents and children in the testamentary
succession in wholly included in the eighth section and is limited to the
parents, other ascendants of such class being excluded in articles 807,
No. 3, and 846.
o the place which article 811 occupies in the Code of proof that
it refers only to legitimate ascendants
text of article 938, which states that the provisions of article 811
applies to intestate succession, which is just established in favor of the
legitimate direct ascending line, the text of articles 939 to 945, which
treat of intestate succession of natural parents, as well as that of
articles 840 to 847, treating of their testamentary succession, which
do not allude directly or indirectly to that provision.
the principle which underlies the exception which article 811 creates
in the right to succeed neither admits of any other interpretation.
195

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

Whether the provision is due to the desire that the properties should
not pass, by reason of new marriage, out of the family to which they
belonged, or is directly derived from the system of the so-called
"reserva troncal," and whether the idea of reservation or that of lineal
rights (troncalidad) predominate the patrimony which is intended to
be preserved is that of the legitimate family.
Only to legitimate ascendants and descendants do article 968 et seq.
of the Code refer, arising as they do from the danger of second or
subsequent marriage
o only to legitimate parents do the special laws of Navarra,
Aragon, Vizcaya and Catalua concede the right to succeed
with respect to lineal properties (bienes troncales)
o only to the legitimate ascendants does article 811 impose the
duty to reserve.
reservation is established in favor of the parents who are within the
third degree and belong to the line from which the properties came.
It treats of blood, relationship
o could not be otherwise, because relationship by affinity is
established between each spouse and the family of the other,
by marriage, and to admit it, would be to favor the
transmission of the properties of the family of one spouse to
that of the other, which is just what this article intends to
prevent.
also treats of legitimate relationship.
o The person obliged to reserve it a legitimate ascendant who
inherits from a descendant property which proceeds from the
same legitimate family, and this being true, there can be no
question, because the line from which the properties proceed
must be the line of that family and only in favor of that line is
the reservation established
object is to protect the patrimony of the legitimate family, following
the precedents of the foral law
o And it could not be otherwise.
o Article 943 denies to legitimate parents the right to succeed
the natural child and viceversa, from which it must be
deduced that natural parents neither have the right to
inhering from legitimate ones
properties of the legitimate family shall never pass by operation of
law to the natural family

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

natural or legitimated child has no right to succeed ab intestate the


legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother who has
acknowledged it; nor shall such children or relatives so inherit from
the natural or legitimated child.

DECISION: Judgment of the lower court is hereby affirmed

BONIFACIA MATEO, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
GERVASIO LAGUA, ET AL., respondents.
G.R. No. L-26270
October 30, 1969
Facts:
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

Cipriano Lagua was the original registered owner of 3 parcels of land


situated in Asingan, Pangasinan
Sometime in 1917, Lagua and his wife Alejandra Dumlao, in a public
instrument, donated Lots 998 and 6541 to their son Alejandro Lagua,
in consideration of the latter's marriage to Bonifacia Mateo
The marriage was celebrated on 15 May 1917, and thereafter, the
couple took possession of the properties, but the Certificates of Title
remained in the donor's name.
In 1923, the son, Alejandro, died. His widow, Bonifacia Mateo, and her
infant daughter lived with her father-in-law, Cipriano Lagua, who then
undertook the farming of the donated lots.
- It seems that at the start, Cipriano Lagua was giving to Bonifacia
the owner's share of the harvest from the land.
- In 1926, however, Cipriano refused to deliver the said share, thus
prompting Bonifacia to resort to the Justice of the Peace Court
from where she obtained a judgment awarding to her possession
of the two lots plus damages.
On 31 July 1941, Cipriano Lagua, executed a deed of sale of the same
two parcels of land in favor of his younger son, Gervasio.
- This sale notwithstanding, Bonifacia Mateo was continuously
given the owner's share of the harvest until 1956, when it was
altogether stopped.

196

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

6.

It was only then that Bonifacia Mateo learned of the sale of the
lots to her brother-in-law, who had the sale in his favor registered
only on 22 September 1955.
- As a consequence, TCT Nos. 19152 and 19153 of the Register of
Deeds of Pangasinan were issued to Gervasio.
Bonifacia Mateo and her daughter, Anatalia, assisted by her husband,
Luis Alcantara, went to the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Civil
Case No. T-339), seeking annulment of the deed of sale in favor of
Gervasio Lagua and for recovery of possession of the properties.
- CFI: declaring the sale executed by Cipriano Lagua in favor of the
other defendants, Gervasio Lagua and Sotera Casimero, as null
and void and non-existent

7.

On 18 August 1957, the spouses Gervasio Lagua and Sotera Casimero


commenced an action against Bonifacia Mateo and her daughter for
reimbursement of the improvements plus damages.
- Dismissed by the Justice of the Peace Court for being barred by
the judgment in Civil Case No. T-339,
- therein plaintiffs appealed to the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan where the case was docketed as Civil Case No. T-433.
- At about the same time, another case was filed, this time by
Gervasio Lagua and Cipriano Lagua, for annulment of the
donation of the two lots, insofar as one-half portion thereof was
concerned (civil Case No. T-442).
- It was their claim that in donating the two lots, which allegedly
were all that plaintiff Cipriano Lagua owned, said plaintiff not only
neglected leaving something for his own support but also
prejudiced the legitime of his forced heir, plaintiff Gervasio Lagua.
8. On 23 December 1960, the court rendered a single decision dismissing
Civil Case No. T-433 for lack of cause of action, plaintiffs spouses
Gervasio Lagua and Sotera Casimero having been declared possessors
in bad faith in Civil Case No. T-339
9. and, therefore, not entitled to any reimbursement of the expenses
and improvements put up by them on the land. The other suit, Civil
Case No. T-442, was, likewise, dismissed on the ground of prescription,
10. Plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals
- affirmed the ruling of the trial court in Civil Case No. T-433
denying plaintiffs' claim for reimbursement of the improvements

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

In regard to the annulment case (C.F.I. No. T-442), however, the


Court of Appeals held that the donation to Alejandro Lagua of the
2 lots with a combined area of 11,888 square meters execeeded
by 494.75 square meters his (Alejandro's) legitime and the
disposable portion that Cipriano Lagua could have freely given by
will, and, to the same extent prejudiced the legitime of Cipriano's
other heir, Gervasio Lagua.
- The donation was thus declared inofficious, and defendantsappellees were ordered to reconvey to plaintiff Gervasio Lagua a
portion of 494.15 square meters to be taken from any convenient
part of the lots.
11. Bonifacia Mateo, et al., then resorted to this Court, assailing the
decision of the Court of Appeals. It contends:
- (1) the validity of the donation proper nuptias having been finally
determined in Civil Case No. T-339, any question in derogation of
said validity is already barred; (2) that the action to annul the
donation, filed in 1958, or 41 years after its execution, is abated
by prescription; (3) that a donation proper nuptias is revocable
only for any of the grounds enumerated in Article 132 of the new
Civil Code, and inofficiousness is not one of thorn; and (4) that in
determining the legitime of the Lagua brothers in the hereditary
estate of Cipriano Lagua, the Court of Appeals should have
applied the provisions of the Civil Code of 1889, and not Article
888 of the new Civil Code.
Issue/held: WON the appellate court's reduction of a donation propter nuptias,
for being inofficious correct? YES
Rationale:
1. Petitioners' first two assigned errors, it may be stated, are noncontentious issues that have no bearing in the actual controversy in
this case
2. We are in accord with the Court of Appeals that Civil Case No. 442 is
not one exclusively for annulment or revocation of the entire
donation, but of merely that portion thereof allegedly trenching on
the legitime of respondent Gervasio Lagua;
- that the cause of action to enforce Gervasio's legitime, having
accrued only upon the death of his father on 12 November 1958,

197

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


the dispute has to be governed by the pertinent provisions of the
new Civil Code;
- and that a donation proper nuptias property may be reduced for
being inofficious. Contrary to the views of appellants (petitioners),
donations proper nuptias (by reason of marriage) are without
onerous consideration, the marriage being merely
the occasion or motive for the donation, not its causa.
- Being liberalities, they remain subject to reduction for
inofficiousness upon the donor's death, if they should infringe the
legitime of a forced heir.
3. It is to be noted, however, that in rendering the judgment under
review, the Court of Appeals acted on several unsupported
assumptions:
- that the three (3) lots mentioned in the decision were the
only properties composing the net hereditary estate of the
deceased Cipriano Lagua;
- that Alejandro Lagua and Gervasio Lagua were his only legal heirs;
- that the deceased left no unpaid debts, charges, taxes, etc., for
which the estate would be answerable.
- In the computation of the heirs' legitime, the Court of Appeals
also considered only the area, not the value, of the properties.
4. Before any conclusion about the legal share due to a compulsory heir
may be reached, it is necessary that certain steps be taken first.
- The net estate of the decedent must be ascertained, by deducting
an payable obligations and charges from the value of the property
owned by the deceased at the time of his death;
- then, all donations subject to collation would be added to it. With
the partible estate thus determined, the legitimes of the
compulsory heir or heirs can be established;
- and only thereafter can it be ascertained whether or not a
donation had prejudiced the legitimes. Certainly, in order that a
donation may be reduced for being inofficious, there must be
proof that the value of the donated property exceeds that of the
disposable free portion plus the donee's share as legitime in the
properties of the donor.
- In the present case, it can hardly be said that, with the evidence
then before the court, it was in any position to rule on the
inofficiousness of the donation involved here, and to order its

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

reduction and reconveyance of the deducted portion to the


respondents.

PATRICIA NATCHER
vs.
HON. COURT OFAPPEALS AND THE HEIR OF GRACIANO DEL ROSARIO
LETICIA DEL ROSARIO, EMILIA DEL RESORIO MANANGAN, ROSALINDA
FUENTES LLANA, RODOLFO FUENTES, ALBERTO FUENTES, EVELYN DEL
ROSARIO, and EDUARDO DEL ROSARIO
BUENA, J.: G.R. No. 133000
October 2, 2001
1) Spouses Graciano del Rosario and Graciana Esguerra were registered
owners of a parcel of land with an area of 9,322 square meters located
in Manila and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 11889.
2) Upon the death of Graciana in 1951, Graciano, together with his six
children, namely: Bayani, Ricardo, Rafael, Leticia, Emiliana and Nieves,
entered into an extrajudicial settlement of Graciana's estate:
3) Graciano received 8/14 share while each of the six children received
1/14 share of the said property. Hence, TCT No. 11889 was cancelled,
and in lieu thereof, TCT No. 35980 was issued in the name of Graciano
and the Six children.1wphi1.nt
4) 09 February 1954 said heirs executed and forged an "Agreement of
Consolidation-Subdivision of Real Property with Waiver of Rights"
where they subdivided among themselves the parcel of land covered
by TCT No. 35980 into several lots.
a. Graciano then donated to his children, share and share alike,
a portion of his interest in the land amounting to 4,849.38
square meters. The land subject of TCT No. 35988 was further
subdivided into two separate lots:
i. TCT No. 107442 - 80.90 square meter;
ii. TCT No. 107443 - 396.70 square meters.
5) Graciano sold the first lot to a third person but retained ownership
over the second lot.
6) Graciano married herein petitioner Patricia Natcher. During their
marriage, Graciano sold the land covered by TCT No. 107443 to his
wife Patricia as a result of which TCT No. 186059 was issued in the
latter's name.
7) Graciano died leaving his second wife Patricia and his six children by
his first marriage, as heirs.

198

SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP


8)

Private respondents filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court


alleged that upon Graciano's death, petitioner Natcher, through the
employment of fraud, misrepresentation and forgery, acquired TCT
No. 107443, by making it appear that Graciano executed a Deed of
Sale.
a. That as a consequence of such fraudulent sale, their legitimes
have been impaired.

9)

Petitioner Natcher averred that she was legally married to Graciano


thus, under the law, she was likewise considered a compulsory heir of
the latter
a. that during Graciano's lifetime, Graciano already distributed,
in advance, properties to his children, hence, herein private
respondents may not anymore claim against Graciano's
estate or against herein petitioner's property.
10) Regional Trial Court Although the deed of sale in favor of Patricia
Natcher is prohibited by law and thus a complete nullity, it may
however be regarded as an extension of advance inheritance of
Patricia Natcher being a compulsory heir of the deceased."
11) Court of Appeals The RTC erred in regarding the subject property
as advance inheritance. What the court should have done was merely
to rule on the validity of (the) sale and leave the issue on
advancement to be resolved in a separate proceeding instituted for
that purpose.

ISSUE: May a Regional Trial Court, acting as a court of general jurisdiction in an


action for reconveyance annulment of title with damages, adjudicate matters
relating to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person particularly on
questions as to advancement of property made by the decedent to any of the
heirs? NO.
RULING: Affirmed C.A.
1) An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages is a
civil action, whereas matters relating to the settlement of the estate of
a deceased person such as advancement of property made by the
decedent, partake of the nature of a special proceeding, which
concomitantly requires the application of specific rules as provided for
in the Rules of Court. Clearly, matters which involve settlement and

CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

distribution of the estate of the decedent fall within the exclusive


province of the probate court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction.
On issue of legitimes:
Of equal importance is that before any conclusion about the legal
share due to a compulsory heir may be reached, it is necessary that
certain steps be taken first.
a) The net estate of the decedent must be ascertained, by deducting all
payable obligations and charges from the value of the property owned
by the deceased at the time of his death;
b) then, all donation subject to collation would be added to it.
c) With the partible estate thus determined, the legitime of the
compulsory heir or heirs can be established;
d) and only thereafter can it be ascertained whether or not a donation
had prejudiced the legitimes.

A perusal of the records, specifically the antecedents and


proceedings in the present case, reveals that the trial court failed
to observe established rules of procedure governing the
settlement of the estate of Graciano del Rosario.

2) A probate court, in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction, is indeed the


best forum to ventilate and adjudge the issue of advancement as well
as other related matters involving the settlement of Graciano del
Rosarios estate.
Atty. Sebastians notes:

Natcher succinctly outlines the procedure for the calculation of the


legitime of compulsory heirs. Of equal interest is the assumption of
jurisdiction by a court of general jurisdiction over an issue which
relates to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. Note that
the trial court, after ruling that the deed of sale executed by Graciano
in favor of Patricia (his wife) is void; that the deed of sale cannot gain
validity by treating it as a donation to Patricia, went further to state
that the instrument may, however, be construed as a document
pertaining to the grant of advance legitime to Patricia. It is ironic that a
document that is void (either as a sale or as a donation) could be the
source of a right.

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SUCCESSION AWESOME STUDY GROUP

On the issue of impairment of legitime, the outcome could be


predictable if Graciano left no other asset. Of Gracianos share in the
subject property (5,326.85 sq. m,), he donated 4,849.38 sq. m. (or
more than 90% thereof) to his children. He sold 80.90 sq. m. or (1.5%
thereof) to a third party, and purportedly sold to Patricia 447.60 sq. m.
(or 8.4%). Each child received by way of a donation from Graciano
some 808 sq. m. while the Graciano attempted to give Patricia 447
square meters. Based on the numbers, it is clear that if anyone
suffered an impairment of the legitme, it would be Patricia, the
surviving spouse. This therefore raises the question as to whether or
not the children were properly advised to seek the annulment of
Patricias title to 447 sq.m. parcel of land.
Vda. de Tupas vs. Br. XLIII, RTC of Negros Occidental,
144 SCRA 622(1986)
Doctrine: Property donated inter vivos is subject to collation after donors
death, whether the donation was made to a compulsory or a stranger.
FACTS:
1. Epifanio R. Tupas died on August 20, 1978 in Bacolod City, childless,
leaving his widow, Partenza Lucerna, as his only surviving compulsory
heir.
2. He also left a will dated May 18, 1976, which was admitted to probate on
September 30, 1980 in Special Proceedings No. 13994 of the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental.
3. Among the assets listed in his will were lots Nos. 837, 838 and 839 of the
Sagay Cadastre, admittedly his private capital.
4. However, at the time of his death, these lots were no longer owned by
him, he having donated them the year before (on August 2, 1977) to the
Tupas Foundation, Inc., which had thereafter obtained title to said lots.
5. Claiming that said donation had left her practically destitute of any
inheritance, Tupas' widow brought suit against Tupas Foundation, Inc. in
the same Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (docketed as Civil
Case No. 16089) to have the donation declared inofficious insofar as it
prejudiced her legitime,
6. The Trial Court did not see things her way. Upon the facts above stated, on
which the parties stipulated, said Court dismissed the complaint for lack
of merit, rejecting her claim on several grounds
a. 1) Article 900 relied upon by plaintiff is not applicable because the
properties which were disposed of by way of donation one year
before the death of Epifanio Tupas were no longer part of his
hereditary estate at the time of his death on August 20, 1978;
CaluagCelles Chavez Chua Haulo Marquez Rico Uy [Atty. Legarda]

b.
c.

2) the donation properties were Epifanio's capital or separate estate;


and
3) Tupas Foundation, Inc. being a stranger and not a compulsory heir,
the donation inter vivos made in its favor was not subject to collation
under Art. 106 1, C.C

ISSUE: WON Trial court is correct?


HELD:
The Trial Court is in error on all counts and must be reversed.
A person's prerogative to make donations is subject to certain limitations,
one of which is that he cannot give by donation more than he can give by
will (Art. 752, Civil Code).
If he does, so much of what is donated as exceeds what he can