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Caneda vs.

Court of Appeals
G.R. no. 103554 May 28, 1993
Regalado, J.

Facts:

- Dec. 1978: Mateo Caballero (Caballero), a widower without any children and already in his twilight years,
executed a last will and testament before three attending witnesses (Cipriano Labuca, Gregorio Cabando, and
Flaviano Toregosa) and with the assistance of Atty. Filoteo Manigos (notary public) and Atty. Emilio Lumontad.
o Among other things, the last will and testament left legacies and devises to various persons , all of whom
not related to the testator.
o Subsequently, Caballero himself filed a petition to probate his last will and testament before the CFI of
Cebu, but he passed away before his petition could finally be heard by the probate court.
- Feb. 1981: Benoni Cabrera, one of the legatees named in the will, sought and was thereafter appointed as the
special administrator of the testators estate.
o Petitioners, claiming to be nephews and nieces of the testator, opposed the probate of the testators will
and the appointment of a special administrator of his estate.
o The testate proceeding for the probate of the will was eventually heard by the RTC.
- RTC (probate court): affirmed that the will in question is indeed the last will and testament of the testator, and that
it was executed in accordance with all the requisites under the law.
- CA: affirmed.
Hence, this petition.

Held: Petition is meritorious; the will did not follow one of the formal requisites of an attestation clause.

- Will: a species of conveyance whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to
a certain degree the disposition of his estate after his death.
o two kinds: ordinary or attested will, and holographic will
Ordinary/Attested Will Holographic Will
Common: both should be in writing and must have been executed in a language or dialect known to the
testator.
All of the requirements from Arts. 804-809 of the One that is entirely written, dated, and signed by
CC. the hand of the testator himself.
Requires an attestation clause Requires no attestation clause
However, this attestation clause:
- need not be written in a language or dialect
known to the testator since it does not form
part of the testamentary disposition
- the language need not also be known to the
attesting witnesses; it is enough that shall be
interpreted to them.

- Attestation clause: 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 of the same.
o 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.
o Purpose: to preserve in a permanent form of a record of the facts that attended the execution of a will, so
that in case of failure of memory of the attesting witnesses, or other causes, such facts may still be proved.
o Art. 805, third paragraph: requirements of an attestation clause:
1. The number of pages used upon which the will is written;
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
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.
o As it pertains only to the witnesses, it need be signed only by them. When it is left unsigned, however, it
would result in the invalidation of the will as it would be possible and easy to add clauses in the absence
of the testator and the witnesses.
- Art. 805 requires that the witnesses should both attest and subscribe to the will in the presence of the testator
and of one another.

Attestation Subscription
Act of the senses Act of the hand
Mental Mechanical
To attest a will is to know that it was published as To subscribe a paper published as a will is only to
such, and to certify the facts required to constitute an write on the same paper the names of the witnesses,
actual and legal publication for the sole purpose of identification.

- For reference, here is the attestation clause of Caballeros will:

"We, the undersigned attesting Witnesses, whose Residences and postal addresses appear on the
Opposite of our respective names, we do hereby certify that the Testament was read by him and the
testator, MATEO CABALLERO, has published unto us the foregoing Will consisting of THREE
PAGES, including the Acknowledgment, each page numbered correlatively in letters on the upper part
of each page, as his Last Will and Testament and he has signed the same and every page thereof, on
the spaces provided for his signature and on the left hand margin, in the presence of the said testator
and in the presence of each and all of us. "

Following the requirements from Art. 805, it can be seen that the said clause fails to specifically state the fact
that the attesting witnesses signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one
another.
o While it may be true that the attestation clause was subscribed at the end thereof and the left margin of
each page by three attesting witnesses, it cannot be conclusively inferred therefrom that said witnesses
affixed their signatures in the presence of the testator and of each other.
- Substantial Compliance Rule cannot apply in this case, since such rule, as mentioned in Art. 809, is applied
only when the defect in the will involves merely the form of the will or the language used therein, and that the
said defect can be remedied by intrinsic evidence supplied by the will itself.
o This cannot apply where, as in the present case, 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 The rule is stated as follows: omissions 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.

Petition Granted