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[G.R. No. 169193. November 30, 2006.]

The parcel of agricultural land subject of the present controversy contains 1.8144 hectares, identified as Lot 1849 (the lot),
and situated in Barangay Valle, Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) was issued to Cristobal Olar (Olar) covering the lot on account of which he
was issued Transfer Certificate of Title No. CLOA0-3514.

Respondents Fortunata Elbambuena (Fortunata) and Rosalinda Olar (Rosalinda), spouse and daughter-in-law, respectively,
of Olar, now deceased, claim that Olar relinquished one-half or 0.9072 hectare of the lot to Rosalinda by a "Kasunduan"
dated July 17, 1992 the execution of which was witnessed by petitioner Cirilo Capitle; and that the remaining portion of the
lot was surrendered to Fortunata by an undated document.

Respondents, alleged that on petitioners' request, petitioners were allowed to occupy the lot to pursue a means of livelihood.
Since 1990, however, petitioners did not pay rentals despite demand therefor, and neither did they heed the demand to
return the possession of the lot, drawing respondents to file a Petition for Recovery of Possession and Payment of Back
Rentals against petitioners before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) Regional Office in
Talavera, Nueva Ecija,.

Petitioners, on the other hand, claiming that they have been in possession of the lot since 1960, presented a "Waiver of
Rights" executed by Olar wherein he renounced in their favor his rights and participation over the lot; a "Sinumpaang
Salaysay" wherein Olar acknowledged that he co-possessed the lot with petitioner Capitle since 1960; and a Pinagsamang
Patunay from the Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) Chairman and barangay chairman of Valle certifying that
they (petitioners) are the actual tillers and possessors of the lot.

Petitioners further claim that since 1959, respondent Fortunata was already separated from Olar and she even remarried,
thus giving her no right to inherit from Olar.

While respondents' petition in DARAB was pending before the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), petitioners
filed before the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of Talavera, Nueva Ecija a petition for cancellation of the CLOA
issued to Olar, claiming that they are the new farmer-beneficiaries as shown by, among other things, the "Waiver of Rights"
executed by Olar.

PARAD (jointly resolved DARAB case): ruled in favor of petitioners

Cristobal Olar's death substantially passed all his rights and interest in and over the subject property to his legal heirs by
operation of law. In the case at bench, to herein respondents-appellees: to Fortunata Elbambuena, being his surviving wife,
and to Rosalinda Olar, his son's surviving spouse, acting for and in behalf of her children with Nemesio Olar. This is as it
should, considering that rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. And since
Fortunata Elbambuena and Rosalinda Olar's relationship with Cristobal Olar was in this case never put in issue, their being
legal heirs of deceased gave them unquali8ed right to participate in all proceedings affecting the subject property.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners can no longer recover possession over the farm lot or demand payment of lease rentals
from respondents.

The petition fails. Petitioners' argument that "[i]t would be absurd for [Olar] to bequeath his property to his estranged wife
not to a relative who had indeed helped him in tilling the property and [took] good care of his needs," is a virtual admission
that their possession was not in the concept of owners, they having merely "helped" in tilling the lot, thereby acknowledging
that Olar was the actual possessor and tiller.
Absent evidence to the contrary, the presumption that the public officers who issued the CLOA to Olar regularly performed
their duties, including adhering to the provisions of Section 22 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) which

SECTION 22. Qualified Beneficiaries. — The lands covered by the CARP shall be distributed as much as possible to
landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality in
the following order of priority:
(a) agricultural lessees and share tenants;
(b) regular farmworkers;
(c) seasonal farmworkers;
(d) other farmworkers;
(e) actual tillers or occupants of public lands;
(f) collectives or cooperatives of the above beneficiaries; and
(g) others directly working on the land.

Provided, however, That the children of landowners who are qualified under Section 6 of this Act shall be given
preference in the distribution of the land of their parents; And provided further, that actual tenant-tillers in the
landholding shall not be ejected or removed therefrom.

Beneficiaries under Presidential Decree No. 27 who have culpably sold, disposed of, or abandoned their land are
disqualified to become beneficiaries under this Program.

A basic qualification of a beneficiary shall be his willingness, aptitude and ability to cultivate and make the land as
productive as possible. The DAR shall adopt a system of monitoring the record of performance of each beneficiary,
so that any beneficiary guilty of negligence or misuse of the land or any support extended to him shall forfeit his
right to continue as such beneficiary. The DAR shall submit reports on the performance of the beneficiaries to the
PARC. xxx xxx xxx

thus stands.

Even assuming arguendo that petitioners were indeed the actual tillers of the lot, their petition for the cancellation of the
CLOA issued in favor of Olar would not bind respondents as they were not impleaded. Although estranged from Olar,
respondent Fortunata remained his wife and legal heir, mere estrangement not being a legal ground for the disqualification
of a surviving spouse as an heir of the deceased spouse. Rosalinda, on the other hand, is the surviving spouse of Olar's son.
The two are thus real parties-in-interest who stand to be injured or benefited by the judgment on the cancellation of the
CLOA issued in Olar's name. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED

[G.R. Nos. 75005-06. February 15, 1990.]

On May 30, 1975, a prominent and wealthy resident of that town named Venancio Rivera died. On July 28, 1975,
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. Docketed as SP No. 1076, this petition was opposed by Adelaido
J. Rivera, who denied that Jose was the son of the decedent. Adelaido averred that Venancio was his father and
did not die intestate but in fact left two holographic wills.

On November 7, 1975, Adelaido J. Rivera filed, also with the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, a petition for the
probate of the holographic wills. Docketed as SP No. 1091, this petition was in turn opposed by Jose Rivera, who
reiterated that he was the sole heir of Venancio's intestate estate.
On November 11, 1975, the two cases were consolidated. Adelaido J. Rivera was later appointed special
administrator. After joint trial, Judge Eliodoro B. Guinto found that Jose Rivera was not the son of the decedent
but of a different Venancio Rivera who was married to Maria Vital. The Venancio Rivera whose estate was in
question was married to Maria Jocson, by whom he had seven children, including Adelaido. Jose Rivera had no
claim to this estate because the decedent was not his father. The holographic wills were also admitted to probate.
On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed by the then Intermediate Appellate Court.

Whether or not Jose Rivera can contest the validity of the holographgic will.

No. Venancio Rivera who married Maria Jocson in 1942 was not the same person who married Maria Vital, Jose's
legitimate mother, in 1928. 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. 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. Now for the holographic wills. The respondent court considered them valid because
it found them to have been written, dated and signed by the testator himself in accordance with Article 810 of
the Civil Code. It also held there was no necessity of presenting the three witnesses required under Article 811
because the authenticity of the wills had not been questioned.

Jose Rivera opposed the holographic wills submitted by Adelaido Rivera and claimed that they were spurious.
Consequently, it may be argued, the respondent court should have applied Article 811 of the Civil Code, providing
as follows: 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.

The 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. Hence, 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. The testimony of
Zenaida and Venancio Rivera, Jr., who authenticated the wills as having been written and signed by their father,
was sufficient.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision is AFFIRMED, with costs against the petitioner.

NOEL ABELLAR, respondents
[G.R. No. 147145. January 31, 2005.]

Abada died sometime in May 1940. His widow Paula Toray ("Toray") died sometime in September 1943. Both
died without legitimate children.

On 13 September 1968, Alipio C. Abaja ("Alipio") @led 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 ("Eulogio") and Rosario Cordova. Alipio is the
son of Eulogio.

Nicanor Caponong ("Caponong") opposed the petition on the ground that Abada left no will when he died in 1940.
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; and
(3) it was procured by undue and improper pressure and inDuence on the part of the bene@ciaries. Citing the
same grounds invoked by Caponong, the alleged intestate heirs of Abada, namely, Joel, Julian, Paz, Evangeline,
Geronimo, Humberto, Teodora and Elena Abada ("Joel Abada, et al."), and Levi, Leandro, Antonio, Florian, Hernani
and Carmela Tronco ("Levi Tronco, et al."), also opposed the petition. The oppositors are the nephews, nieces and
grandchildren of Abada and Toray.

Alipio filed another petition for probate of the last will and testament of Toray which was opposed by Caponong,
Joel Abada and Levi Tronco. Caponong also filed a petition for the issuance in his name of administration of the
intestate estate of Abada and Toray.

RTC: admitted to probate the will of Toray and designated Belinda Caponong-Noble as Special Administratix of
estate of Abada and Toray.

CA: affirmed RTC decision.

ISSUE: Whether or not the will was executed and attested in accordance with the law.