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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.

Jul25

FACTS:
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.
On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted a project of partition as
follows: the property of the deceased is to be divided into two parts.
One part shall go to the widow en plenodominio in satisfaction of her
legitime; the other part or free portion shall go to Jorge and Roberto
Ramirez en nudapropriedad. Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free
portion is charged with the widows usufruct and the remaining two-
third (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda.

-APPEAL for the partitioning of testate estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez


(a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964) among
principal beneficiaries:
Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez
-widow
-French who lives in Paris
-received (as spouse) and usufructuary rights over 1/3 of the free
portion
Roberto and Jorge Ramirez
-two grandnephews
-lives in Malate
-received the (free portion)
Wanda de Wrobleski
-companion
-Austrian who lives in Spain
-received usufructuary rights of 2/3 of the free portion
-vulgar substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio
Ramirez
-Maria Luisa Palacios -administratix
-Jorge and Roberto Ramirez opposed because
a. vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda wrt widows usufruct and in
favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez, wrt to Wandas
usufruct is INVALID because first heirs (Marcelle and Wanda) survived
the testator
b. fideicommissary substitutions are INVALID because first heirs not
related to the second heirs or substitutes within the first degree as
provided in Art 863 CC
c. grant of usufruct of real property in favor of an alien, Wanda,
violated Art XIII Sec 5
d. proposed partition of the testators interest in the Santa Cruz
Building between widow and appellants violates testators express will
to give this property to them
-LC: approved partition
ISSUE
WON the partition is valid insofar as
a. widows legitime
b. substitutions
c. usufruct of Wanda
HELD
a. YES, appellants do not question because Marcelle is the
widow[1]and over which he could impose no burden, encumbrance,
condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever[2]
-the proposed creation by the admininstratix in favor of the testators
widow of a usufruct over 1/3 of the free portion of the testators estate
cannot be made where it will run counter to the testators express will.
The Court erred for Marcelle who is entitled to of the estate enpleno
dominio as her legitime and which is more than what she is given
under the will is not entitled to have any additional share in the estate.
To give Marcelle more than her legitime will run counter to the
testators intention for as stated above his disposition even impaired
her legitime and tended to favor Wanda.
b. Vulgar substitutions are valid because dying before the testator is
not the only case where a vulgar substitution can be made. Also,
according to Art 859 CC, cases also include refusal or incapacity to
accept inheritance therefore it is VALID.
BUT fideicommissary substitutions are VOID because Juan Pablo
Jankowski and Horace Ramirez are not related to Wande and according
to Art 863 CC, it validates a fideicommissary substitution provided that
such substitution does not go beyond one degreefrom the heir
originally instituted. Another is that there is no absolute duty imposed
on Wanda to transmit the usufructuary to the substitutes and in fact
the apellee agrees that the testator contradicts the establishment of
the fideicommissary substitution when he permits the properties be
subject to usufruct to be sold upon mutual agreement ofthe
usufructuaries and naked owners.
c. YES, usufruct of Wanda is VALID
-Art XIII[3]Sec 5 (1935): Save in cases of hereditary succession, no
private agricultural land shall be transferred or assigned except
toindividuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold
land of the public domain in the Philippines.[4]
The lower court upheld the usufruct thinking that the Constitution
covers not only succession by operation of law but also testamentary
succession BUT SC is of the opinion that this provision does not apply
to testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for
naught and meaningless. Any alien would circumvent the prohibition
by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a devise of
a piece of land BUT an alienmay be bestowed USUFRUCTUARY RIGHTS
over a parcel of land in the Philippines. Therefore, the usufruct in favor
of Wanda, although a real right, is upheld because it does not vest title
to the land in the usufructuary (Wanda) and it is the vesting of title to
land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the Constitution.
Decision: Marcelle (as legitime), Jorge and Roberto Ramirez (free
portion) in naked ownership and the usufruct to Wanda de Wrobleski
with simple substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace
Ramirez

Palacio v. Ramirez (1982) Abad Santos, J.


Petitioner-Appellee: Testate Estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez, Maria
Luisa Palacios (administratrix)
Oppositors-Appellants: Marcelle D. vda. de Ramirez, et al.
(oppositors); Jorge and Roberto Ramirez (legatees)
First Heir: Wanda de Wrobleski
Second Heirs: Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez

Brief Facts: The testator instituted Wanda as first heir, and Juan and
Horacio as second heirs in a fideicommissary substitution. Juan and
Horacio are strangers to Wanda.

Ratio: A fideicommissary substitution is void if first heir is not related


in the first degree to the second heir.

FACTS:
1. Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain in 1964, with
only his widow as compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate
by the CFI of Manila in 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed
administratrix of the estate.
2. In 1966, Palacios submitted a project of partition. Jose Eugenios
property is to be divided into two parts.
One part shall go to Marcelle (Jose Eugenios French widow who
lives in Paris) en pleno dominio" 1 in satisfaction of her legitime;
the other part or "free portion" shall go to Jorge and Roberto
Ramirez "en nuda propriedad".2
Furthermore, 1/3 of the free portion is charged with the widow's
usufruct and the remaining 2/3 with a usufruct in favor of Wanda
de Wrobleski (Jose Eugenios Austrian companion who lives in
Spain).
3. Jorge and Roberto (Jose Eugenios grandnephews) opposed the
project of partition on the following grounds:
(a) The provisions for vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda with
respect to the widow's usufruct and in favor of Juan Pablo
Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez, with respect to Wanda's usufruct
are invalid because the first heirs (Marcelle and Wanda) survived
the testator;
(b) The provisions for fideicommissary substitutions are invalid
because the first heirs are not related to the second heirs or
substitutes within the first degree, as provided in Art. 863, CC;
(c) The grant of a usufruct over real property in the Philippines in
favor of Wanda, an alien, violates Sec. 5, Art. III of the Philippine
Constitution; and
(d) The proposed partition of the testator's interest in the Santa Cruz
(Escolta) Building between Marcelle and the appellants violates
the testator's express will to give this property to them (Jorge and
Roberto).
4. Lower court approved the project of partition. Jorge and Roberto
appealed.

ISSUES:
1.Whether the 1/3 usufruct over the free portion in favor of Marcelle is
valid [NO]
2.Whether the fideicommissary substitution in connection with
Wandas usufruct over 2/3 of the estate in favor of Juan Pablo and
Horacio is valid [NO]
3.Whether Wandas usufruct is valid [YES]

RATIO:
1. NO. It appears that the court a quo approved the usufruct in favor of
Marcelle because the testament provides for a usufruct of 1/3 of the
estate in her favor. The court a quo erred for Marcelle who is entitled
1
Freehold.
2
In bare ownership.
to of the estate en pleno dominio as her legitime and which is
more than what she is given under the will is not entitled to have
any additional share in the estate. To give Marcelle more than her
legitime will run counter to the testators intention, seeing as the
latters dispositions even impaired Marcelles legitime and tended to
favor Wanda.
Appellants here also questioned the legality of the vulgar
substitution in favor of Wanda with respect to Marcelles usufruct.
However, since Marcelle is not entitled to any usufruct, the
question has become moot.

2.NO, the said fideicommissary substitution is void.


Appellants: The substitution in its vulgar aspect is void because
Wanda survived the testator.
SC: Dying before the testator is not the only case for vulgar
substitution for it also includes refusal or incapacity to accept
the inheritance as provided in Art. 859, CC. Hence, the vulgar
substitution is valid.
Appellants: The substitution in its fideicommissary aspect is void.
SC: The appellants are correct for the following reasons:
(a) The substitutes (Juan Pablo and Horacio) are not related to
Wanda, the heir originally instituted. Art. 863, CC validates a
fideicommissary substitution "provided such substitution does
not go beyond one degree from the heir originally instituted."
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.
(b) 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. 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."
3.YES, Wandas usufruct is valid.
Sec. 5, Art. XIII, 1935 Constitution: Save in cases of hereditary
succession, no private agricultural land shall be transferred or
assigned except to individuals, corporations, or associations
qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain in the
Philippines.
The Court is of the opinion that the Constitutional provision which
enables aliens to acquire private lands does not extend to
testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for
naught and meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent
the prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in
exchange for a devise of a piece of land.
This opinion notwithstanding, the Court upheld the usufruct in
favor of Wanda because a usufruct, albeit a real right, does not
vest title to the land in the usufructuary and it is the vesting of
title to land in favor of aliens which is proscribed by the
Constitution.

DISPOSITION: The estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez is hereby ordered


distributed as follows:
1/2 thereof to his widow as her legitime;
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.

(1) Ineffective Fideicommissary Substitutions

Art. 867. The following shall not take


effect:
(1)Fideicommissary substitutions which
are not made in an express manner,
either by giving them this name, or
imposing upon the fiduciary the
absolute obligation to deliver the
property to a second heir;
(2)Provisions which contain a perpetual
prohibition to alienate, and even a
temporary one, beyond the limit fixed
in article 863;
(3)Those which impose upon the heir the
charge of paying to various persons
successively, beyond the limit
prescribed in article 853, a certain
income or pension;
(4)Those which leave to a person the
whole or part of the hereditary
property in order that he may apply or
invest the same according to secret
instructions communicated to him by
the testator. (785a)

Art. 868. The nullity of the


fideicommissary substitution does not
prejudice the validity of the institution of
the heirs first designated; the
fideicommissary clause shall simply be
considered as not written. (786)

c. Effect

Art. 862. The substitute shall be subject


to the same charges and conditions
imposed upon the instituted heir, unless
the testator has expressly provided the
contrary, or the charges or conditions are
personally applicable only to the heir
instituted. (780)

d. When Extinguished

9. Testamentary Dispositions
a. In General

Art. 871. The institution of an heir may


be made conditionally, or for a certain
purpose or cause. (790a)

Condition any future and uncertain fact or event on the


happening of which a juridical act is made to depend.
Recognizing the testators right to his property and the free
disposition thereof, insofar as the compulsory heirs are not
prejudiced, it is only logical that he should be empowered to impose
conditions upon those whom he may desire to favor. It is only the
legitime of compulsory heirs that the testator must fully respect and
which he cannot subject to conditions.
In order to make a testamentary provision conditional, such
condition must fairly appear from the language used in the will.

Art. 872. The testator cannot impose


any charge, condition, or substitution
whatsoever upon the legitimes
prescribed in this Code. Should he do so,
the same shall be considered as not
imposed. (813a)

The precept of this article is but a necessary consequence of the


very nature of legitime.
The legitime goes to the compulsory heir by operation of law and
not by the will of the testator; hence it cannot be subject to the
freedom of the latter to impose encumbrances, conditions and
substitutions.
Encumbrances, conditions, or substitutions of any kind, imposed
upon the legitime, do not affect the right of the compulsory heir.
They are simply disregarded and considered as not written.
The prohibition imposed by this article upon the testator, however,
applies only with respect to testamentary dispositions. It has no
application to acts inter vivos.
The testator is allowed to forbid the partition of the estate for a
period not exceeding 20 years; and this power to prohibit division
applies to the legitime. (Art. 1083)