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AZNAR V .

D UNCAN
17 SCRA 590 FACTS: Christensen died testate. The will was admitted to probate. The court declared that Helen Garcia was a natural child of the deceased. The Court of First Instance equally divided the properties of the estate of Christensen between Lucy Duncan (whom testator expressly recognized in his will as his daughter) and Helen Garcia. In the order, the CFI held that Helen Garcia was preterited in the will thus, the institution of Lucy Duncan as heir was annulled and the properties passed to both of them as if the deceased died intestate. ISSUE: Whether the estate, after deducting the legacies, should be equally divided or whether the inheritance of Lucy as instituted heir should be merely reduced to the extent necessary to cover the legitime of Helen Garcia, equivalent to of the entire estate. HELD: The inheritance of Lucy should be merely reduced to cover the legitime of Helen Garcia.Christensen refused to acknowledge Helen Garcia as his natural daughter and limited her share to a legacy of P3,600.00. When a testator leaves to 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, the heir could not ask that the institution of the heirs be annulled entirely, but only that the legitime be completed.

Reyes v. Barretto-Datu
19 SCRA 85
FACTS: Bibiano Barretto was married to Maria Gerardo. When Bibiano Barretto died he left his share in a will to Salud Barretto and Lucia Milagros Barretto and a small portion as legacies to his two sisters Rosa Barretto and Felisa Barretto and his nephew and nieces. The usufruct of a fishpond was reserved for his widow, Maria Gerardo. Maria Gerardo, as administratrix prepared a project of partition. It was approved and the estate was distributed and the shares delivered. Later on, Maria Gerardo died. Upon her death, it was discovered that she executed two wills, in the first, she instituted Salud and Milagros, both surnamed Barretto, as her heirs; and, in the second, she revoked the same and left all her properties in favor of Milagros Barretto alone. The later will was allowed and the first rejected. In rejecting the first will presented by Tirso Reyes, as guardian of the children of Salud Barretto, the LC held that Salud was not the daughter of the decedent Maria Gerardo by her husband Bibiano Barretto. This ruling was appealed to the SC, which affirmed the same. Having thus lost this fight for a share in the estate of Maria Gerardo, as a legitimate heir of Maria Gerardo, plaintiff 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, thereof. This action afforded the defendant an opportunity to set up herright 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. ISSUE: Whether or not the partition from which Salud acquired the fishpond is void abinitio and Salud did not acquire valid title to it. HELD: NO. 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. 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.

Ruben AUSTRIA et al., petitioners, vs. Hon. Andres REYES, et al., respondents. G.R. No. L-23079, February 27, 1970 FACTS: Basilia Austria filed with the CFI of Rizal a petition for probate ante mortem of her last will and testament which was opposed by Ruben Austria and others who are nephews and nieces of Basilia. However, such opposition was dismissed and the probate was allowed after due hearing. The bulk of the estate was destined under the will to pass on the Perfecto Cruz and others whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children. Subsequently, upon Basilias death, Perfecto was appointed executor in accordance with the provisions of the formers will. Ruben and th e other petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest kin and that the five private respondents (Perfecto et al.) had not in fact been adopted by the testator in accordance with law, hence they should be rendered mere strangers and without any right to succeed as heirs. The court then allowed the said intervention by petitioners which the court delimited to the properties of the deceased which were not disposed of in the will and disregarded the matter of the genuineness of adoption. Upon denial of two motions for reconsiderations, the petitioners filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari praying for the annulment of the lower courts orders restricting their intervention. ISSUE: Whether or not the institution of heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent is false. RULING:
Article 850 provides: The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written, unless it appears from the will of the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of such cause.

Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under Art. 850, the following requisites must concur: 1. The cause for the institution heirs must be stated in the will; 2. The cause must be shown to be false; and 3. 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 article 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 testator clearly would not have made the institution of he had known the cause for it to be false. The words used in her will to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance 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 which largely favored Cruz, et al. 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. Testacy is favored and doubts are resolved on its side, especially where the will evinces an intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate. Moreover, so compelling is the principle that 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.

Camaya v. Patulandong
423 SCRA 480
FACTS: On November 17, 1972, Rufina Reyes (testatrix) executed a notarized will wherein she devised Lot no. 288-A to her grandson Anselmo Mangulabnan. During her lifetime, the testatrix herself filed the petition for the probate of her will before the CFI. Later, on June 27, 1973, the testatrix executed a codicil modifying her will by devising the said Lot 288-A in favor of her four children Bernardo (the executor), Simplicia, Huillerma and Juan (all surnamed Patulandong), and her grandson Mangulabnan to the extent of 1/5 each. Mangulabnan later sought the delivery to him by executor Patulandong of the title of Lot 288-A, but Patulandong refused to heed the request because of the codicial which modified the will of the testatrix. Thus, Mangulabnan filed an action for partition against Patulandong in the RTC. The court in this partition ordered the partitioning of the property. However, the court holds that the partition is without prejudice to the probate of the codicil in accordance with the Rules of Court. So, by virtue of the decision in partition case, Mangulabnan caused the cancellation of the title of the testatrix over Lot 288-A, and another TCT was issued in his name. Mangulabnan later sold to herein petitioners Camayas Lot no. 288A by a Deed of Sale, and thus, a TCT was issued under the name of the Camayas. However, come now the decision of the probate court admitting the codicil, and disposing that the Deed of Sale in favor of the Camayas, and the corresponding TCT issued in their name are null and void, and that the Register of Dees was ordered to issue instead corresponding certificates of titles to the aforesaid four children of the testatrix, and her grandson Mangulabnan to the extent of 1/5 each pursuant to the codicil. The Camayas and Mangulabnan filed an MR. But the probate court denied this. The CA affirmed the decision of the probate court. Thus, the case was brought to the SC via a petition for review on certiorari. ISSUES: 1. Whether the probate court exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared null and void and ordered the cancellation of the TCT of Camayas and the deed of sale. 2. Whether the final judgment in partition case bars the allowance of the codicil. HELD: 1. As to the first issue, the probate court exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared the deed of sale as null and void, and also as to the cancellation of the TCTs underthe name of the Camayas. It is well-settled rule that a probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate or intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are equally claimed to belong to outside parties. All that said court could do as regards said properties is to determine whether they should not be included in the inventory. If there is no dispute, well and good; but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action for final determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate court cannot do so. Having been apprised of the fact that the property in question was in the possession of third parties and more important, covered by a transfer certificate of title issued in the name of such third parties, the respondent court should have denied the motion of the respondent administrator and excluded the property in question from the inventory of the property of the estate. It had no authority to deprive such third persons of their possession and ownership of the property. The probate court exceeded its jurisdiction when it declared the deed of sale and the titles of the Camayas as null and void, it having had the effect of depriving them possession and ownership of the property. 2. As to the second issue, petitioners argue that by allowing the codicil to probate, it in effect amended the final judgment in the partition case which is not allowed by law; and that petitioner Camayas are innocent purchasers for value and enjoy the legal presumption that the transfer was lawful. Petitioners argument does not persuade. Though the judgment in the partition case had become final and executory as it was not appealed, it specifically provided in its dispositive portion that the decision was without prejudice [to] the probate of the codicil. The rights of the prevailing parties in said case were thus subject to the outcome of the probate of the codicil.

The probate court being bereft of authority to rule upon the validity of petitioners titles, there is no longer any necessity to dwell on the merits of petitioners Camayas claim that they are innocent purchasers for value and enjoy the legal presumption that the transfer was lawful. The petition is granted in part. The decision of the probate court allowing the codicil is affirmed. But, the declaration of the aforesaid Deed of Sale, and the order to reissue corresponding certificates of titles to the four children of the testratrix, and her grandson Mangulabnan are set aside, without prejudice to the respondents ventilation of their right in an appropriate action.

Dorotheo v. CA 320 SCRA 12 FACTS: Private respondents were the legitimate children of Alejandro Dorotheo and Aniceta Reyes. The latter died in 1969 without her estate being settled. Alejandro died thereafter. Sometime in 1977, after Alejandros death, petitioner, who claims to have taken care of Alejandro before he died, filed a special proceeding for the probate of the latters last will and testament. In 1981, the court issued an order admitting Alejandros will to probate. Private respondents did not appeal from said order. In 1983, they filed a Motion To Declare The Will Intrinsically Void. The trial court granted the motion and issued an order. 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. Later on, Judge Zain B. Angas 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. 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? HELD: No. 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 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, for to do so would be to negate the hierarchy of courts and nullify the essence of review. It has been ruled that a final judgment on probated will, albeit erroneous, is binding on the whole world.

Reyes v. CA
281 SCRA 277 FACTS: This case involves a 383 sq.m. parcel of land owned bypettitioners and respondents father. Petitioner alleges that a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition (Deed) was entered into between him and the respondents. Petitioner managed to register 335 sq.m. of the land under his name; while 50 sq.m. of the land was registered under the name of his sister, Paula (one of the respondents). After discovering the registration of the Deed, respondents denied having knowledge of its execution and disclaimed having signed the same; nor did they ever waive their rights, shares and interest in the subject parcel of land. According to respondents, subject Deed was fraudulently prepared by petitioner and that their signatures thereon were forged. They also assert that one Atty. Jose Villena, the Notary Public who notarized the said Deed was not even registered in the list of accredited Notaries Public of Pasay City. Thereafter, petitioner executed a Deed of Absolute Sale selling 240 square meters of the land to his children. After the property was partitioned, petitioner, his children and private respondent Paula allegedly executed a Deed of Co-owners' Partition dividing the property among themselves. This led the respondents to file a Complaint for "Annulment of Sale and Damages With Prayer for Preliminary Injunction/Restraining Order" before the RTC, which ruled that private respondents' signatures on the questioned Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and Settlement were indeed forged and simulated. The CA affirmed. Hence, this petition. ISSUES: 1. Whether the Deed was forged. 2. Whether petitioner(s) had become absolute owners of the subject property by virtue of acquisitive prescription. RULING: 1. YES. Petitioner(s) cast doubt on the findings of the lower court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals regarding the existence of forgery. Factual findings of the trial court, adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. Petitioners' ludicrous claim that private respondents imputed no deception on his part but only forgery of the subject Deed and the simulation of their signatures is nothing short of being oxymoronic. For what is forgery and simulation of signatures if not arrant deception! The allegation made by petitioner that the execution of a public document ratified before a notary public cannot be impugned by the mere denial of the signatory is baseless. It should be noted that there was a finding that the subject Deed was notarized by one Atty. Villena who at that time was not commissioned as a notary in Pasay City. 2. NO. Petitioners cannot justify their ownership and possession of the subject parcel of land since they could not have been possessors in good faith of the subject parcel of land considering the finding that at the very inception they forged the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and Settlement which they claim to be the basis for their just title. Having forged the Deed and simulated the signatures of private respondents petitioners, in fact, are in bad faith. The forged Deed containing private respondents' simulated signatures is a nullity and cannot serve as a just title. There can be no acquisitive prescription considering that the parcel of land in dispute is titled property, i.e., titled in the name of the late Bernardino Reyes, the father of both petitioner Florentino and the private respondents.

Nepomuceno v. CA
139 SCRA 206 FACTS: Martin Jugo left a duly executed and notarized Last Will and Testament before he died. Petitioner was named as sole executor. It is clearly stated in the Will that he was legally married to acertain Rufina Gomez by whom he had two legitimate children, but he had been estranged from his lawful wife. In fact, the testator Martin Jugo and the petitioner were married despite the subsisting first marriage. The testator devised the free portion of his estate to petitioner. On August 21, 1974, the petitioner filed a petition for probate. On May 13, 1975, Rufina Gomez and her children filed an opposition alleging undue and improper influence on the part of the petitioner; that at the time of the execution of the Will, the testator was already very sick and that petitioner having admitted her living in concubinage with the testator. The lower court denied the probate of the Will on the ground that as the testator admitted in his Will to cohabiting with the petitioner. Petitioner appealed to CA. On June 2, 1982, the respondent court set aside the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal denying the probate of the will. The respondent court declared the Will to be valid except that the devise in favor of the petitioner is null and void. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA 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. HELD: No. 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. The rule, however, however is not inflexible and absolute. Given 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. The probate of a will might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be void intrinsically. 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 (Nuguid v.Nuguid) The Will is void under Article 739. The following donations shall be void: (1) Those made between persons who were guilty of adultery or concubinage at the time of the donation; and Article1028. The prohibitions mentioned in Article 739, concerning donations inter vivos shall apply to testamentary provisions. There is no question from the records about the fact of a prior existing marriage when Martin Jugo executed his Will. 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.

Roberts v. Leonidas
129 SCRA 754 FACTS: Grimm, an American resident of Manila, died in 1977. He was survived by his second wife (Maxine), their two children (Peteand Linda), and by his two children by a first marriage (Juanita and Ethel) which ended by divorce.Grimm executed two wills in San Francisco, California on January 23, 1959. One will disposed of his Philippine estate described as conjugal property of himself and his second wife. The second will disposed of his estate outside the Philippines. The two wills and a codicil were presented for probate in Utah by Maxine on March 1978. Maxine admitted that she received notice of the intestate petition filed in Manila by Ethel in January 1978. The Utah Court admitted the two wills and codicil to probate on April 1978 and was issued upon consideration of the stipulation between the attorneys for Maxine and Ethel. Also in April 1978, Maxine and Ethel, with knowledge of the intestate proceeding in Manila, entered into a compromise agreement in Utah regarding the estate. As mentioned, in January 1978, an intestate proceeding was instituted by Ethel. On March 1978, Maxine filed an opposition and motion to dismiss the intestate proceeding on the ground of pendency of the Utah probate proceedings. She submitted to the court a copy of Grimms will. However, pursuant to the compromise agreement, Maxine withdrew the opposition and the motion to dismiss. The court ignored the will found in the record. The estate was partitioned. In 1980, Maxine filed a petition praying for the probate of the two wills (already probated in Utah), that the partition approved by the intestate court be set aside and the letters of administration revoked, that Maxine be appointed executrix and Ethel be ordered to account for the properties received by them and return the same to Maxine. Maxine alleged that they were defrauded due to the machinations of Ethel, that the compromise agreement was illegal and the intestate proceeding was void because Grimm died testate so partition was contrary to the decedents wills. Ethel filed a motion to dismiss the petition which was denied by Judge Leonidas for lack of merit. ISSUE: Whether the judge committed grave abuse of discretion amountingto lack of jurisdiction in denying Ethels motion to dismiss. HELD: We hold that respondent judge did not commit any graveabuse 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, Civil Code; sec.1, Rule 75, Rules of Court). 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.

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 FACTS: Spouses Bernabe de la Serna and Gervasia Rebaca, executed a joint last will and testament whereby they willed that their two parcels of land acquired during their marriage together with all improvements thereon shall be given to Manuela Rebaca, their niece. Bernabe died and the will was probated in 1939 after due publication as required by law and there being no opposition. Upon the death of Gervasia Rebaca, another petition for the probate of the same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed by Manuela but the court dismissed it for failure of Manuela to appear. Paula de la Cerna questioned for the nullity of the joint will of Bernabe being prohibited in the Philippine law. The Court of First Instance ordered the petition heard and declared the testament null and void, for being executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills in the Civil Code but on appeal by the testamentary heir, the Court of Appeals 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. Hence, this appeal. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not an error of law affects the conclusive effect of its decision. 2. Whether or not the joint will is valid as to the share of Gervasia who died later than Bernabe. RULING: The appealed decision correctly held that 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). A final judgment rendered on a petition for the probate of a will is binding upon the whole world. The probate decree in 1989 could only affect the share of the deceased husband, Bernabe de la Cerna. It could not include the disposition of the share of the wife, Gervasia Rebaca, 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. Be it remembered that prior to the new Civil Code, a will could not be probated during the testator's lifetime. 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. Therefore, the undivided interest of Gervasia Rebaca 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.

Pedro D. H. GALLANOSA, et al., petitioners, vs. Hon. Ubaldo Y. ARCANGEL, et al., respondents
G.R. No. L-29300; June 21, 1978 FACTS: Florentino Hitosis, a childless widower executed a will wherein he beaqueathed his one-half share in the conjugal estate to his second wife, Tecia Dollentas, and should Tecia 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, Tecias s on by her first marriage, grew up under the care of Florentino and had treated Perdo as his foster child. Florentiono likewise bequeathed his separate properties to his protg, Adolfo Fortajada, a minor. A petition for the probate of his will was filed in CFI which was opposed by his legal heir, his brother Leon Hitosis and his nephews and nieces. The court admitted the will to probate and appointed Gallanosa as executor. Subsequently, the testamentary heirs submitted a project of partition which was appro ved by the court, thus confirming the heirs possession of their respective shares. The testators legal heirs did not appeal from the decree of probate and from the order of partition and distribution. Leon instituted an action against Pedro for the recovery of the sixty-one parcels of land alleging that the former had been in continuous possession of said land however, the complaint was dismissed on the ground of res judicata. The legal heirs of the testator did not appeal from the order of dismissal instead, 28 years after the probate of the will, they filed an action for the annulment of the will of Florentino and for the recovery of the parcels of land. Pedro filed for the dismissal of the complaint but the respondent judge set aside his order of dismissal and granted trial. Hence, this petition for certiorari. ISSUE: Whether or not the private respondents have a cause of action for the annulment of the will of Florention Hitosis and for the recovery of the parcels of land. RULING: The lower court committed a grave abuse of discretion in reconsidering its order of dismissal and in ignoring the testamentary case. It is evident from the allegations of the complaint that the action is barred by res judicata. The decree of probate is conclusive as to the due execution or formal validity of the will. The decree of adjudication rendered by the trial court in the testate proceeding for the settlement of the estate of Florentino Hitosis having been rendered in a proceeding in rem, is binding upon the whole world. The private respondents did not even bother to ask for the annulment of the testamentary proceeding and the proceeding on partition. Obviously, they realized that the final adjudications in those cases have the binding force of res judicata and that there is no ground, nor it is timely, to ask for the nullification of the final orders and judgments in those two cases.

Testate Estate of the Late Adriana Maloto, Aldina MALOTO CASIANO, et al., petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, Panfilo MALOTO and Felino MALOTO, respondents. G.R. No. 76464, February 29, 1988 FACTS: Adriana Maloto died leaving as heirs the parties (Aldina, Constantcio, Panfilo and Felino) in this case who are her niece and nephews. Believing that the deceased did not leave behind a last will and testament, the four (4) heirs commenced an intestate proceeding for the settlement of their aunts estate which was instituted in the then CFI. However, while the case was still in progress, the heirs executed an agreement of extrajudicial settlement of Adrianas estate which provides for the division of the estate into four equal parts among themselves. When presented before the court, said agreement was approved. However, three years later, Atty. Sulpicio Palma, a former associate of Adrianas counsel, discovered a document entitled KATAPUSAN NGA PAGBUBULAT -AN (Testamento) and purporting to be the last will and testament of Adriana. 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 that what they have received by virtue of the agreement of extrajudicial settlement. The will likewise gives devises and legacies to other parties, among them being the petitioners. Thus, Aldino and Constancio joined by other devisees and legatees filed a motion for reconsideration and annulment of the proceedings therein and for the allowance of the will. Upon denial of the trial court, the petitioners came before the Supreme Court by way or petition for certiorari and mandamus which were dismissed because they were not the proper remedies. The appellate court found out that the will was burned by the househelper of Adriana and was at the possession of the lawyer in because Adriana was seeking the services of the lawyer in order to have a new will drawn up. ISSUE: Whether or not the will of Adriana Maloto had been efficiently revoked. RULING: Article 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 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. 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. There is paucity of evidence to show compliance with these requirements. For one, the doc ument or papers burned by Adrianas maid was not satisfactorily established to be a will at all, much less the will of Adriana Maloto. For another, the burning was not proven to have been done under the express direction of Adriana and was not done in her presence.

Gago v. Mamuyac
49 Phil 902 FACTS: Miguel Mamuyac died on January 2, 1922. It appears from the record that Miguel executed a last will and testament on July27, 1918. Gago presented such will for probate which was opposed by Cornelio Mamuyac et. al. Said petition for probate was denied on the ground that the deceased executed another will on April 16,1919. Gago presented the April 16 will for probate which was again opposed by Cornelio et. al. alleging that the will presented by Gago is a carbon copy of the original April 16 will; such will was cancelled during the lifetime of the deceased; and that said will was not the last will and testament of the deceased. The RTC found that the deceased executed another will on December 30, 1920. ISSUE: Whether or not the April 16 will was cancelled. HELD: YES. With reference to the said cancellation, it may be stated that there is positive proof, not denied, which was accepted by the lower court, that will in question had been cancelled in 1920. The law does not require any evidence of the revocation or cancellation of a will to be preserved. It therefore becomes difficult at times to prove the revocation or cancellation of wills. The fact that such cancellation or revocation has taken place must either remain unproved of be inferred from evidence showing that after due search the original will cannot be found. Where a will which cannot be found is shown to have been in the possession of the testator, when last seen, the presumption is, in the absence of other competent evidence, that the same was cancelled ordestroyed. The same presumption arises where it is shown that the testator had ready access to the will and it cannot be found after his death. It will not be presumed that such will has been destroyed by any other person without the knowledge or authority of the testator. The force of the presumption of cancellation or revocation by the testator, while varying greatly, being weak or strong according to the circumstances, is never conclusive, but may be overcome by proof that the will was not destroyed by the testator with intent to revoke it. In view of the fact that the original will of 1919 could not be found after the death of the testator Miguel Mamuyac and in view of the positive proof that the same had been cancelled, we are forced to the conclusion that the conclusions of the lower court are in accordance with the weight of the evidence. In a proceeding to probate a will the burden of proofs is upon the proponent clearly to establish not only its execution but its existence. Having proved its execution by the proponents, the burden is on the contestant to show that it has been revoked. In a great majority of instances in which wills are destroyed for the purpose of revoking them there is no witness to the act of cancellation or destruction and all evidence of its cancellation perishes with the testator. Copies of wills should be admitted by the courts with great caution. When it is proven, however, by proper testimony that a will was executed in duplicate and each copy was executed with all the formalities andrequirements of the law, then the duplicate may be admitted in evidence when it is made to appear that the original has been lost and was not cancelled or destroyed by the testator.

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

Rosa K. Kalaw, petitioner, vs. Hon. Judge Benjamin RELOVA and Gregorio K. KALAW, respondents. G.R. No. L-40207, September 28, 1984.
FACTS: Natividad K. Kalaw made a holographic will executed on December 24, 1968. Originally, the will named Rosa K. Kalaw, sister of Natividad, as the sole heir. However, Natividad eventually changed the name on the will by crossing out Rosas name and replacing it with Gregorio K. Kalaw as sole heir instead. Natividad failed to properly authenticate such alteration with her full signature. Because of this, the parties decided to submit the holographic will for an examination by the National Bureau of Investigation. The Bureaus findings confirmed that the original writings and those of the alterations were written by the same person. Rosa argued that the probate should be denied since the alteration on the will is invalid for failing to comply with Art. 814 which states that In case of any insertion, cancellation, erasure or alteration in a holographic will the testator must authenticate the same by his full signature. Fu rther, Rosa asserted that the will should be probated on its original content before the alteration was made. Gregorio contends that the mere fact that Rosa agreed to submit the will for examination estoppes her from questioning the validity of the alteration and invoking Art. 814 of the Civil Code. Judge Benjamin Relova denied the probate on the will. Rosa now sought for the probate on the will as to its original unaltered text. ISSUE: May the will, in case of alterations, corrections, or cancellations, without the proper authentication, be submitted for probate as to the original content prior to such alteration, correction, or cancellation. RULING: No, this cannot be done. Ordinarily, when a number of erasures, corrections, and interlineations made by the testator in a holographic Will have not been noted under his signature, the Will is not thereby invalidated as a whole, but at most only as respects the particular words erased, corrected or interlined. However, when as in this case, the holographic Will in dispute had only one substantial provision, which 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. 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. As it is, with the erasures, cancellations and alterations made by the testatrix herein, her real intention cannot be determined with certitude.

Ajero v. CA 236 SCRA 488 FACTS: The holographic will of Annie San was submitted for probate. Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither the testaments body nor the signature therein was in decedents 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 also contested by Dr. Ajero with respect to the disposition in the will of a house and lot. He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner. However, the trial court still admitted the decedents holographic will to probate. The trial court held that since it must decide only the question of the identity of the will, its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix, it finds no reason for the disallowance of the will for its failure to comply with the formalities prescribed by law nor for lack of testamentary capacity of the testatrix. On appeal, the CA reversed said Decision holding that the decedent did not comply with Articles 313 and 314 of the NCC. It found that certain dispositions in the will were either unsigned or undated, or signed by not dated. It also found that the erasures, alterations and cancellations made had not been authenticated by decedent. ISSUE: Whether the CA erred in holding that Articles 813 and 814 of the NCC were not complies with. HELD: YES. A reading of Article 813 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. Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of Article 814. Unless the authenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on testators signature, their presence does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes. It is also proper to note that he requirements of authentication of changes andsigning and dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Article 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810). This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the NCC and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 are essential to the probate of a holographic will.

Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court and Article 839 of the Civil Code enumerate the grounds for disallowance of wills. These lists are exclusive; no other grounds can serve to disallow a will. In a petition to admit a holographic will, the only issues to be resolved are: 1. whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedents last will and testament; 2. whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law; 3. whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed; and 4. whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent. The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the dooragainst bad faith and fraud; accordingly, laws on this subject should be interpreted to attain these primordial ends. In the case of holographic wills, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally authographic or handwritten by the testator himself. Failure to strictly observe other formalities will no result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is unquestionable handwritten by the testator.

Codoy v. Calugay
312 SCRA 333 FACTS: On 6 April 1990, Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and Eufemia Patigas, devisees and legatees of the holographic will of the deceased Matilde Seo Vda. de Ramonal, filed a petition for probate of the said will. They attested to the genuineness and due execution of the will on 30 August 1978.Eugenio Ramonal Codoy and Manuel Ramonal filed their opposition claiming that the will was a forgery and that the same is even illegible. They raised doubts as regards the repeated appearing on the will after every disposition, calling the same out of the ordinary. If the will was in the handwriting of the deceased, it was improperly procured. Evangeline Calugay, etc. presented 6 witnesses and various documentary evidence. The first witness was the clerk of court of the probate court who produced and identified the records of the case bearing the signature of the deceased. The second witness was election registrar who was made to produce and identify the voters affidavit, but failed to as the same was already destroyed and no longer available. The third, the deceaseds niece, claimed that she had acquired familiarity with the deceaseds signature and handwriting as she used to accompany her in collecting rentals from her various tenants of commercial buildings and the deceased always issued receipts. The niece also testified that the deceased left a holographic will entirely written, dated and signed by said deceased. The fourth witness was a former lawyer for the deceased in the intestate proceedings of her late husband, who said that the signature on the will was similar to that of the deceased but that he can not be sure. The fifth was an employee of the DENR who testified that she was familiar with the signature of the deceased which appeared in the latters application for pasture permit. The fifth, respondent Evangeline Calugay, claimed that she had lived with the deceased since birth where she had become familiar with her signature and that the one appearing on the will was genuine. Codoy and Ramonals demurrer to evidence was granted by the lower court. It was reversed on appeal with the Court of Appeals which granted the probate. ISSUE: 1. Whether or not Article 811 of the Civil Code, providing that at least three witnesses explicitly declare the signature in a contested will as the genuine signature of the testator, is mandatory ordirectory. 2. Whether or not the witnesses sufficiently establish the authenticity and due execution of the deceaseds holographic will. HELD: 1. YES. The word shall connotes a mandatory order, animperative 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.In the case at bar, the goal to be achieved by the law, is to give effect to the wishes of the deceased and the evil to beprevented is the possibility that unscrupulous individuals who for their benefit will employ means to defeat the wishes of the testator. The paramount consideration in the present petition is to determine the true intent of the deceased.

2.

3.

NO. We cannot be certain that the holographic will was in the handwriting of the deceased. The clerk of court was not presented to declare explicitly that the signature appearing in the holographic will was that of the deceased. The election registrar was not able to produce the voters affidavit for verification as it was no longer available. The deceaseds niece saw pre-prepared receipts and letters of the deceased and did not declare that she saw the deceased sign a document or write a note. The will was not found in the personal belongings of the deceased but was in the possession of the said niece, who kept the fact about the will from the children of the deceased,putting in issue her motive. Evangeline Calugay never declared that she saw the decreased write a note or sign a document. The former lawyer of the deceased expressed doubts as to the authenticity of the signature in the holographic will. (As it appears in the foregoing, the threewitness requirement was not complied with.) A visual examination of the holographic will convinces that the strokes are different when compared with other documents written by the testator. The records are remanded to allow the oppositors to adduce evidence in support of their opposition.

The object of 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 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, the law requires three witnesses to declare that the will was in the handwriting of the deceased. Article 811, paragraph 1. provides: 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 word shall connotes a mandatory order, an imperative obligation and is inconsistent with the idea of discretion and that the presumption is that the word shall, when used in astatute, is mandatory.

Federico Azaola v. Cesario Singson


G.R. No. L-14003; August 5, 1960 Facts: When Fortunata Vda de Yance died, Francisco Azaola filed a petition for the probate of the former's will, whereby Maria Milgaros Azaola was made the sole heir as against the nephew of the deceased Cesario Singson. Francisco witnessed that one month before the death of the testator, the same was handed to him and his wife. The opposition to the probate was on the ground that (1) the execution of the will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the petitioner and his wife, and (2) that 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 1957and 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. Issues: 1. Wether or not the proponent was bound to produce more than one witness. 2. Whether or not Art. 811 is mandatory Ruling: 1. No. Since the authenticity of the will was not being contested. 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. 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. But it can not 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). Where the will is holographic, no witness need be present (Art. 10), and the rule requiring production of three 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. 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. 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. 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. 2. The rule of the first paragraph of Article 811 of the Civil Code is merely directory and is not mandatory. Considering, however, that this is the first occasion in which this Court has been called upon to construe the import of said article, the interest of justice would be better served, in our opinion, by giving the parties ample opportunity to adduce additional evidence,including expert witnesses, should the Court deem them necessary.

Rodelas v. Aranza 119 SCRA 16 FACTS: Rodelas filed a petition with the CFI of Rizal for the probate of the holographic will of Ricardo B. Bonilla and the issuance of letters testamentary in her favor. Aranza, et al. filed a MTD on the grounds of: 1. Rodelas was estopped from claiming that the deceased left a will by failing to produce the will within twenty days of the death of the testator as required by Rule 75, section 2 of the Rules of Court; 2. t h e c o p y o f t h e a l l e g e d h o l o g r a p h i c w i l l d i d n o t c o n t a i n a disposition of property after death and was not intended to take effect after death, and therefore it was not a will, it was merely an instruction as to the management and improvement of the schools and colleges founded by the decedent; 3. the hollographic will itself, and not an alleged copy thereof, m u s t be p r o d u c e d , o t h e r w i s e i t w o u l d p r o d u c e n o e f f e c t because lost or destroyed holographic wills cannot be proved by secondary evidence unlike ordinary wills 4. T h e d e c e a s e d d i d n o t l e a v e a n y w i l l , h o l o g r a p h i c o r otherwise, executed and attested as required by law. MTD was denied. Aranza et al. filed an MR, Rodelas filed an opposition. The CFI set aside its order and dismissed the petition for the probate of the will stating that in the case of Gam vs. Yap, 104P h i l . 5 0 9 , 5 2 2 , t h e S u p r e m e C o u r t h e l d t h a t ' i n t h e m a t t e r o f holographic wills the law, it is reasonable to suppose, regards the document itself as the material proof of authenticity of said wills. And that the alleged holographic will was e x e c u t e d o n January 25, 1962 while Ricardo B. Bonilla died on May 13, 1976.The lapse of more than 14 years from the time of the execution of the will to the death of the decedent and the fact that the original of the will could not be located shows to that the decedent had discarded the alleged holographic will before his death.Rodelas filed an MR which was denied. Rodelas appealed to t h e C A . A r a n z a e t a l . m o v e d t o f o r w a r d t h e c a s e t o t h e S C a s i t involves a question of law not of fact. ISSUE: W hether or not a holographic will which was lost or cannot be found can be proved by means of a photostatic copy. HELD: If the holographic will has been lost or destroyed and no other copy is available, the will cannot be probated because the best and only evidence is the handwriting of the testator in said will. It is necessar y that there be a comparison between sample handwritten statements of the testator and the handwritten will. But, a photostatic copy or xerox copy of the holographic will maybe allowed because comparison can be made by the probate court with the standard writings of the testator. The probate court would be able to determine the authenticity of the handwriting of the testator. In the case of Gam vs. Yap, 104 PHIL. 509, the Court ruled that "the execution and the contents of a lost or destroyed h o l o g r a p h i c w i l l m a y n o t b e p r o v e d b y t h e b a r e t e s t i m o n y o f witnesses who have seen and/or read such will. The will itself must be presented; otherwise, it shall produce no effect. The law regards t h e d o c u m e n t i t s e l f a s m a t e r i a l p r o o f o f a u t h e n t i c i t y . " B u t , i n 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 a n y , w h e r e b y t h e authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and tested before the probate court,"

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, 1858 FACTS: After the death of Felicidad Esguerra Alto-Yap, Fausto Gan filed a petition for the probate of a holographic will allegedly executed by the fomer. Opposing the petition, her surviving husband Ildefonso Yap asserted that the deceased had not left any will, nor executed any testament during her lifetime. The will itself was not presented. Gan tried to establish its contents and due execution by the statements of allegedly four (4) witnesses to the execution of the alleged will. After hearing the parties and considering their evidence, the court refused to probate the alleged will. Due to the denial of motion for reconsideration, Gan appealed. ISSUE: Whether or not a holographic will may 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: The Rules of Court 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. The difference between holographic wills and ordinary will lies in the nature of the wills. 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). 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. The evidence of presented by Gan is refused to be credited. In addition to the dubious circumstance described in the appealed decision, we find it hard to believe that the deceased should show her will precisely to relative 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. Further, if she wanted so much to conceal the will from her husband, why did she not entrust it to her beneficiaries? In fine, even if oral testimony were admissible to establish and probate a lost holographic will, we think the evidence submitted by petitioner is so tainted with improbabilities and inconsistencies that it fails to measure up to that :clear and distinct proof required by the Rules of Court.

DATE LOCATION

Labrador v. Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 83843-44; April 5, 1990 Facts: Melecio Labrador left behind a parcel of land. He executed a holographic will. His son Sagrado filed a petition for the probate of the alleged holographic will of Melecio. Jesus and Gaudencio (also sons) filed an opposition to the petition on the ground that the will has been extinguished or revoked by implication of law, alleging that before Melecio's death, testator executed a Deed of Sale, transferring and conveying in favor or oppositors the subject parcel of land. Jesus sold the land to Navat. Sagrado filed for the annulment of the sale. The court allowed the probate of the will and declaring the Deed of Sale null and void. The CA modified the judgment by denying the allowance of the probate of the will for being undated. Issue: WON the will of Melecio Labrador is dated, in accordance with Art. 810 of the NCC. Ruling: Yes. The petition, which principally alleges that the holographic will is really dated,although the date is not in its usual place, is impressed with merit. The will has been dated in the hand of the testator himself in perfect compliance with Article 810. 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. 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; 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. 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." 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.

In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Andres G. De Jesus and Bibiana Roxa de Jesus, Simeon R. ROXAS and Pedro ROXAS de Jesus, petitioners vs. Andres R. de JESUS, Jr. G.R. No. L-38338, January 28, 1985 FACTS: After the death of spouses Andres and Bibiana de Jesus, a special proceeding was instituted by Simeon, brother of Bibiana. Simeon was then appointed administrator of the estate and consequently, he delivered to the lower court a document purporting to be the holographic will of Bibiana which was then set for a hearing. Luz Henson, one of the compulsory heirs filed an opposition to probate assailing the purported holographic Will of Bibiana was not executed in accordance with law. However, the lower court issued an order allowing the probate which was found to have been duly executed in accordance with law. A motion for reconsideration was then filed by Luz assailing that the alleged holographic will was not dated as required by Article 810 of the Civil Code and contending 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. The court then reconsidered its 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: Whether or not the date (FEB/61) appearing on the holographic will of the deceased Bibian Roxas de Jesus is a valid compliance with the Article 810 of the Civil Code. RULING: ART. 810. A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. As a general rule, the date in a holographic will should include the day, month and year of its execution. However, when as in 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.

Teodoro Caeda vs. Hon. Court of Appeals and William Cabrera ( Special Administrator
of the Estate of Mateo Caballero), respondents. G.R. No. 103554, May 28, 1993 FACTS: Mateo Caballero, a widower without any children, executed a last will and testament before three attesting witnesses and he was duly assisted by his lawyer and a notar y public. It was declare therein that, among other things, that the testator was leaving by way of legacies and devises his real and personal properties to specif ic persons, all of whom do not appear to be related to Mateo. Not long after, he himself filed a petition before the CFI seeking the probate of his last will and testament but the scheduled hearings were postponed, until the testator passed away before his petition could f inally be heard by the probate court. Benoni Cabrera, one of the legatees named in the will, sought his appointment as special administrator of the testator s estate but due to his death, he was succeeded by William Cabreara, who was appointed by RTC which is already the probate cour t. In the course of the hearing, herein petitioner s claiming to be nephews and nieces of the testator , appeared as oppositor s 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; and that the signature of the testator is not genuine. The probate court rendered a decision that such will is the Last Will and Testament of Mateo Caballero and that it was executed in accordance with all the requisites of the law. Upon appeal to CA, the petitioner s asserted that the will in question is null and void for the reason that its attestation clause is fatally defective since it fails to specif ically state the instrumental witnesses to the will witnessed the testator signing the will in their presence and that they also signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another . However , CA affirmed the decision of the trial court ruling and ruling that the attestation clause in the Last Will substantially complies with Article 805 of the Civil Code. Due to denial of petitioner s motion f or reconsideration, hence this appeal before the Supreme Court. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the attestation clause in the last will of Mateo Caballero is f atally defective such that whether or not it affects the validity of the will 2. Whether or not the attestation clause complies with the substantial compliance pursuant to Article 809 of the Civil Code RULING: An attestation clause refers to that part of an ordinar y will whereby the attesting witnesses certify that the instrument has been executed before them and to the manner of the execution of 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 rd has been observed. Under the 3 paragraph of Article 805, such a clause, the complete lack of which would result in the invalidity of the will, should state: 1. The number of pages used upon which the will is written; 2. That the testator signed, or expressly cause another to sign, the will and ever y 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 the said witnesses also signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another It will be noted that Article 805 requires that the witness should both attest and subscribe to the will in the presence of the testator and of one another. Attestation and subscription differ in meaning. Attestation is the act of sense, while subscription is the act of the hand. The attestation clause here in assailed is 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 cir cumstance that said witnesses subscribed their respective signatures to the will in the presence of the testator and of each other . What is then clearly lacking, is the statement that the witnesses signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. The absence of the statement required by law is a fatal defect or imperfection which must necessarily result in the disallowance of the will that is here sought to be admitted to probate. Petitioners are correct in pointing out that the 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 Article 809 of the Civil Code:

In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud or undue and improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfection in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is not proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805. The defects and imperfection must only be with respect to the form of the attestation or the language employed therein. Such defects or imperfection would not render a will invalid should it be proved that the will was really executed and attested in compliance with Article 805. These 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. 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. That is precisely the defect complained of in the present case since there is no plausible way by which it can be read into the questioned attestation clause statement, or an implication thereof, that the attesting witness did actually bear witness to the signing by the testator of the will and all of its pages and that said instrumental witnesses also signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.

In the Matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased

Brigido Alvarado,Cesar ALVARADO,petitioner vs.Hon. Ramon GAVIOLA


G.R. No. 74695, September 14, 1993 FACTS: Brigido Alvarado executed a notarial will entitled, Huling Habilin wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son, Cesar Alvarado, and expressly revoked a previously executed a holographic will at the time awaiting probate before RTC. As testified to by the three instrumental witnesses, the notary public and Cesar, the testator did not read the final draft of the will, instead, Atty. Rino, as the lawyer who drafted the document read the same aloud in the presence of the testator, the three instrumental witnesses and the notary public. While the testators will was admitted to probate, a codicil was subsequently executed changing some dispositions in the notarial will to generate cash for the testators eye operation because he was then suffering from glaucoma. But the disinheritance and the revocatory clauses remained and as in the case of the notarial will, the testator did not personally read the final draft of the codicil. Instead, it was Atty. Rino who read it aloud in his presence and in the presence of the three instrumental witnesses and of the notary public. Upon the testators death, Atty Rino as executor filed a petition for probate of the notarial will which was in turn opposed by Cesar alleging that the will sought to be probated was not executed and attested as required by law. Upon failure of Cesar to substantiate his Opposition, a Probate Order was issued from which an appeal was made to IAC (Intermediate Appellate Court) stating that the probate of the deceaseds last will and codicil should have been denied because the testator was blind within the meaning of the law at the time his Huling Habilin and the codicil thereto was executed; and that since reading required by Art. 808 was admittedly not complied with. CA concluded that although Art. 808 was not followed, there was, however, as substantial compliance. ISSUES: 1. W hether or not Brigido Alvarado was blind within the meaning of Ar ticle 808 at the time his Huling Habilin and codicil were executed.

2. If so, whether or not the requirement of double-reading in said Article was complied with such that whether or not, they were validly executed. RULING: Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also to those who, for one reason or another, are incapable of reading their wills. Since the deceased 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, there can be no other course but to conclude that he comes within the scope of the term blind as used in Art. 808. Unless the contents were read to him, he had no way of ascertaining whether or not the lawyer who drafted the will and codicil did so conformably with his instruction. Hence, to consider his will as validly executed and entitled to probate, it is essential to ascertain whether or not Art. 808 had been complied with. There is no evidence and Cesar does not allege that the contents of the will and codicil were not sufficiently made known and communicated to the testator. On the contrary, with respect to the Huling Habilin, the day of the execution was not the first time that the testator had affirmed the truth and authenticity of the contents of the draft. Moreover , 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 were the terms actually appearing on the type written documents. This is especially true considering the fact that the three instrumental witnesses were persons known to the testator. The spirit behind that law was served though the letter was not. Although there should be strict compliance with the substantial requirements of the law in order to insure authenticity of the will, the formal imperfection should be brushed aside when they do not affect its purpose and which, when taken into account may only defeat the testator s will. Substantial compliance is acceptable where the purpose of the law has been satisfied, the reason being that the solemnities surrounding the execution of will are intended to protect the testator from all kinds of fraud and trickery but are never intended to be so rigid and in flexible as to destroy the testamentary privilege.

Rev. Father Lucio V. Garcia, petitioner, vs. Hon. Conrado M. VASQUEZ, respondent.
G.R. No. L-26808, March 28, 1969 FACTS: Gliceria Avelino del Rosario died unmarried and leaving no descendants, ascendants, brother or sister thereafter, Consuelo S. Gonzales Vda. De Precilla, niece of the deceased petitioned for probate the alleged last will and testament of Gliceria dated December 1960 and that she be appointed as special

administratrix. Various parties opposed the petition contending that the 1960 will was not intended by Gliceria to be her true will and that there was a 1956 will executed by Gliceria were the oppositors were named as legatees. Consequently, Dr. Jesus V. Tamesis an ophthalmologist testified that Glicerias left eye suffered form cataract in 1960 which made her vision mainly for viewing distant object but not for reading prints. ISSUE: Whether or not Article 808 regarding blind testator be followed in the instant case to make Glicerias will valid? RULING: For all intents and purposes of the rules on probate, the deceased Gliceria del Rosario was like 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 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, is to make the provisions of the will known to the testator, so that he may be able to object if they are not in accordance with his wishes. That the aim of the law is to insure that the dispositions of the will are properly communicated to and understood by the handicapped testator, thus making them truly reflective of his desire, is evidenced by the requirement that the will should be read to the latter, not only once but twice, by two different persons, and that the witnesses have to act within the range of his (the testators) other senses.

Lee vs Tambago
544 SCRA 393, February 12, 2008 Facts: Complainant, Manuel L. Lee, charged respondent, Atty. Regino B. Tambago, with violation of Notarial Law and the Ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a will that is alleged to be spurious in nature in containing forged signatures of his father, the decedent, Vicente Lee Sr. and two other witnesses, which were also questioned for the unnotated Residence Certificates that are known to be a copy of their respective voter's affidavit. In addition to such, the contested will was executed and acknowledged before respondent on June 30, 1965 but bears a Residence Certificate by the Testator dated January 5, 1962, which was never submitted for filing to the Archives Division of the Records Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA). Respondent, on the other hand, claimed that all allegations are falsely given because he allegedly exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due regards to the provision of existing law and had complied with elementary formalities in the performance of his duties and that the complaint was filed simply to harass him based on the result of a criminal case against him in the Ombudsman that did not prosper. However, he did not deny the contention of non-filing a copy to the Archives Division of NCAA. In resolution, the court referred the case to the IBP and the decision of which was affirmed with modification against the respondent and in favor of the complainant. Issue: Did Atty. Regino B. Tambago committed a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics of Legal Profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament? Held: Yes. As per Supreme Court, Atty. Regino B. Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as he violated the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Canon 1 and Rule 1.01nof the Code of Professional Responsibility, Article 806 of the Civil Code and provision of the Notarial Law. Thus, Atty. Tambago is suspended from the practice of law for one year and his Notarial commission revoked. In addition, because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of him as a notary public and as an officer of the court, he is perpetually disqualified from reappointments as a Notary Public.

Guerrero v. Bihis
521 SCRA 394 FACTS: Felisa Tamio de Buenaventura, mother of petitioner Bella A. Guerrero and respondent Resurreccion A. Bihis, died. Guerrero filed for probate in the RTC QC. Respondent Bihis opposed her elder sisters petition on the following grounds: the will was not executed and attested as required by law; its attestation clause and acknowledgment did not comply with the requirements of the law; 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 Guerrero was appointes special administratrix. Respondent opposed petitioners appointment but subsequently withdrew her opposition. The trial court 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. ISSUE: Did 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? HELD: No. One of the formalities required by law in connection with the execution of a notarial will is that it must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. 6 This formal requirement is one of the indispensable requisites for the validity of a will. In other words, a notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the instrumental witnesses is void and cannot be accepted for probate. The Notarial law provides: SECTION 240. Territorial jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a notary public in a province shall be co-extensive with the province. The jurisdiction of a notary public in the City of Manila shall be co-extensive with said city. No notary shall possess authority to do any notarial act beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. 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.

Ortega v. Valmonte
478 SCRA 247

FACTS: Two years after the arrival of Placido from the United States and at the age of 80 he wed Josefina who was then 28 years old. But in a little more than two years of wedded bliss, Placido died. Placido executed a notarial last will and testament written in English and consisting of 2 pages, and dated 15 June 1983 but acknowledged only on 9 August 1983. The allowance to probate of this will was opposed by Leticia, Placidos sister. According to the notary public who notarized the testators will, after the testator instructed him on the terms and dispositions he wanted on the will, the notary public told them to come back on 15 August 1983 to give him time to prepare. The testator and his witnesses returned on the appointed date but the notary public was out of town so they were instructed by his wife to come back on 9 August 1983. The formal execution was actually on 9 August 1983. He reasoned he no longer changed the typewritten date of 15 June 1983 because he did not like the document to appear dirty. Petitioners argument: 1. At the time of the execution of the notarial will Placido was already 83 years old and was no longer of sound mind. 2 Josefina conspired with the notary public and the 3 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. ISSUE: 1.Whether or not Placido has testamentary capacity at the time he allegedly executed the will. 2.Wheter or not the signature of Placido in the will was procured by fraud or trickery. HELD: 1.YES. 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 location. As regards the proper objects of his bounty, it was sufficient that he identified his wife as sole beneficiary. The omission of some relatives from the will did not affect its formal validity. There being no showing of fraud in its execution, intent in its disposition becomes irrelevant. 2.NO. Fraud is a trick, secret devise, 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 fraud, he would not have made. 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. Omission of some relatives does not affect the due execution of a will. Moreover, 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 be executed and acknowledged on the same occasion. The variance in the dates of the will as to its supposed execution and attestation was satisfactorily and persuasively explained by the notary public and instrumental witnesses.

Javellana v. Ledesma
97 SCRA 258 FACTS: The Court of First Instance of Iloilo admitted to probate the documents in the Visayan dialectas the testament and codicil duly executed by the deceased Da. Apolinaria Ledesma Vda. de Javellana, on March 30, 1950, and May 29, 1952, respectively, with Ramon Tabiana, Gloria Montinola de Tabiana and Vicente Yap as witnesses. The contestant, 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. Ledesma is questioning the validity of the codicil contending that the fact that the notary did not sign the instrument in the presence of the testator and the witness made the codicil was not executed in conformity with the law ISSUE: W/N the codicil was validly executed. HELD: 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. 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" (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 this case. 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. Hence their separate execution out of the presence of the testatrix and her witnesses cannot be said to violate the rule that testaments should be completed without interruption. 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.

Cruz v. Villasor
54 SCRA 752 FACTS: The CFI of Cebu allowed the probate of Valente Z. Cruzs last will and testament. His surviving spouse, Agapita Cruz, opposed the allowance of the will alleging it 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. Agapita appealed the allowance of the will by certiorari. ISSUE: W/N the will was executed in accordance with law (particularly Articles 805 and 806 of the NCC, 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.).

HELD: NO. Of the three instrumental witnesses to the will, one of them (Atty. Teves) is at the same time the Notary Public before whom the will was supposed to have been acknowledged. 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 (Javellana v. Ledesma; Castro v. Castro); 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 participation in the making of the will. To permit such a situation to obtain would be sanctioning a sheer absurdity. Furthermore, the function of a notary public is, among others, to guard against any illegal or immoral arrangement (Balinon v. De Leon). That function would defeated if the notary public were one of the attesting instrumental witnesses. It would place him in inconsistent position and the very purpose of acknowledgment, which is to minimize fraud, would be thwarted. Admittedly, there are American precedents holding that notary public may, in addition, act as a witness to the executive of the document he has notarized There are others holding that his signing merely as notary in a will nonetheless makes him a witness thereon. But these authorities do not serve the purpose of the law in this jurisdiction or are not decisive of the issue herein because the notaries public and witnesses referred to in these cases merely acted as instrumental, subscribing attesting witnesses, and not as acknowledging witnesses. Here, the notary public acted not only as attesting witness but also acknowledging witness, a situation not envisaged by Article 805-06. Probate of will set aside.

Cagro v. Cagro
92 Phil 1032 FACTS: Vicente Cagro died on Feb. 14, 1949 in Samar. Since the decedent allegedly made a will prior to his death, the will was probated before the CFI of Samar. However, the oppositors-appellant objected the probate proceeding alleging that the will is fatally defective because its attestation clause is not signed by the attesting witnesses. It is undisputed 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: W/N the will may be probated even if the signatures of the witnesses do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause, and instead, they were placed on the left-hand margin of the page containing the same. HELD: No. The position taken by the oppositor-appellant is correct. 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 petitioner-appellee contends 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. This 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. Bautista Angelo, J. dissenting: I dissent. In my opinion the will in question has substantially complied with the formalities of the law and, therefore, should be admitted to probate. 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 witnesses testified not only that the will was signed by the testator in their presence and in the presence of each other but also that when they did so, the attestation clause was already written thereon. Their testimony has not been contradicted. 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." 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. We may say the same thing in connection with the will under consideration because while the three instrumental witnesses did not sign immediately by the majority that it may have been only added on a subsequent occasion and not at the uncontradicted testimony of said witnesses to the effect that such attestation clause was already written in the will when the same was signed. TUASON, J., dissenting: I concur in Mr. Justice Bautista's dissenting opinion and may add that the majority decision erroneously sets down as a fact that the attestation clause was not signed when the witnesses signatures appear on the left margin and the real and only question is whether such signatures are legally sufficient. The law on wills does not provide that the attesting witness should sign the clause at the bottom. In the absence of such provision, there is no reason why the signatures on the margin are not acceptable

Icasiano v. Icasiano
11 SCRA 422 FACTS: Celso Icasiano filed a petition for the allowance and admission to probate of the alleged will of Josefa Villacorte, and for his appointment as executor thereof. Natividad and Enrique Icasiano, a daughter and son of the testatrix, filed their opposition thereto. During the course of the trial, on 19 March 1959, Celso, started to present his evidence. But later, on 1 June 1959, he then filed an amended and supplemental petition, alleging that the decedent had left a will executed in duplicate and with all the legal requirements, and that he was submitting the duplicate to the court, which he found only on 26 May 1959. Natividad and Enrique filed their opposition, but the will and its duplicate was admitted to probate by the trial court. Hence, this appeal by the oppositors. Oppositors-appellants (Natividad and Enrique) in turn introduced expert testimony to the effect that the signatures of the testatrix in the duplicate are not genuine, nor were they written or affixed on the same occasion as the original, and further aver that granting that the documents were genuine, they were executed through mistake and with undue influence and pressure because the testatrix was deceived into adopting as her last will and testament the wishes of those who will stand to benefit from the provisions of the will, as may be inferred from the facts and circumstances surrounding the execution of the will and the provisions and dispositions thereof, whereby proponents- appellees stand to profit from properties held by them as attorneys- in-fact of the deceased and not enumerated or mentioned therein, while oppositors-appellants are enjoined not to look for other properties not mentioned in the will, and not to oppose the probate of it, on penalty of forfeiting their share in the portion of free disposal. ISSUE: Was the trial court correct in admitting the will and its duplicate to probate given the allegations of forgery of the testators signature, or that the will was executed under circumstances constituting fraud and undue influence and pressure? (Not raised by the appellants in the case but discussed by the Court and in Sirs book ) Is the failure of one of the witnesses to sign a page of the will fatal to its validity? HELD: The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that both the will and its duplicate are valid in all respects. On the allegations of forgery, fraud and undue influence: The Court is satisfied that all the requisites for the validity of a will have been complied with. The opinion of a handwriting expert trying to prove forgery of the testatrix's signature failed to convince the Court, not only because it is directly contradicted by another expert but principally because of the paucity of the standards used by him (only three other signatures), considering the advanced age of the testatrix, the evident variability of her signature, and the effect of writing fatigue. Similarly, the alleged slight variance in blueness of the ink in the admitted and questioned signatures does not appear reliable, considering that standard and challenged writings were affixed to different kinds of paper, with different surfaces and reflecting power. On the whole, the testimony of the oppositor's expert is insufficient to overcome that of the notary and the two instrumental witnesses as to the wills execution, which were presented by Celso during the trial. Nor is there adequate evidence of fraud or undue influence. The fact that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of neither. Diversity of apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament; otherwise, the decedent might as well die intestate. The testamentary disposition 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 occasion. It is also well to note that fraud and undue influence are mutually repugnant and exclude each other; their joining as grounds for opposing probate shows absence of definite evidence against the validity of the will. On the failure of a witness to sign a page in the original, but signed all pages in the duplicate: The records show that the original of the will consists of five 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 3 thereof; 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. Witness Atty. Natividad, who testified on his failure to sign page 3 of the original, admits that he may have lifted two pages instead of one when he signed the same, but affirmed that page 3 was signed in his presence. The failure Atty. 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. 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. Therefore, Atty. Natividad s failure to sign page 3 of the original through mere inadvertence does not affect the wills validity. 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. 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 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. This would not be the first time that this Court departs from a strict and literal application of the statutory requirements, where the purposes of the law are otherwise satisfied. Thus, despite the literal tenor of the law, this Court has held that a testament, with the only page signed at its foot by testator and witnesses, but not in the left margin, could nevertheless be probated (Abangan vs. Abangan, 41 Phil. 476); and that despite the requirement for the correlative lettering of the pages of a will, the failure to mark the first page either by letters or numbers is not a fatal defect (Lopez vs. Liboro, 81 Phil. 429). These precedents exemplify the Court's policy to require satisfaction of the legal requirements in order to guard against fraud and bad faith but without undue or unnecessary curtailment of the testamentary privilege. The appellants also argue that since the original of the will is in existence and available, the duplicate is not entitled to probate. Since they opposed probate of the original because it lacked one signature in its third page, it is easily discerned that oppositors-appellants run here into a dilemma: 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. If the original is valid and can be probated, then the objection to the signed duplicate need not be considered, being superfluous and irrelevant. 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.

Nera v. Rimando
18 Phil 489 FACTS: The only question raised by the evidence in this case as to the due execution of the instrument propounded as a will in the court below, is 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; or whether at that time he 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: Whether or not the subscribing witness was able to see the testator and other witnesses in the act of affixing their signatures. HELD: Citing Jaboneta v. Gustilo, the court held that The true test of presence of the testator and the witnesses in the execution of a will is not whether they actually saw each other sign, but whether they might have been seen each other sign, had they chosen to do so, considering their mental and physical condition and position with relation to each other at the moment of inscription of each signature. But it is especially to be noted that the 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. The question is whether the testator and the subscribing witnesses to an alleged will signed 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. To extend the doctrine further would open the door to the possibility of all manner of fraud, substitution, and the like, and would defeat the purpose for which this particular condition is prescribed in the code as one of the requisites in the execution of a will.

Barut v. Cabacungan
21 Phil 461

FACTS: Barut applied for the probate of the will of deceased, Maria Salomon. The testatrix stated in the will that being unable to read or write, the will was 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 was contested by a number of the relatives of the deceased on various grounds. The probate court found that the will was not entitled to probate because the handwriting of the person who it is alleged signed the name of the testatrix to the will for and on her behalf looked more like the handwriting of one of the other witnesses to the will than to the person whose handwriting it was alleged to be (i.e. The probate court denied probate because the signature seemed to not have been by Severo Agayan but by another witness). ISSUE: Was the dissimilarity in handwriting sufficient to deny probate of the will? HELD: No. The SC found that the mere dissimilarity in writing is sufficient to overcome the uncontradicted testimony of all the witnesses that the signature of the testatrix was written by Severo Agayan. It is also 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. Based on Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, it is 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 3 witnesses and that they attested and subscribed it in her presence and in the presence of each other. It may be wise that the one who signs the testators name signs also his own; but that is not essential to the validity of the will. The court also held that the 3 cases cited by the lower court was not applicable. In those cases, the person who signed the will for the testator wrote his own name instead of the testators, so that the testators name nowhere appeared in the will, and were thus wills not duly executed.

Garcia v. Vasquez
32 SCRA 489 FACTS: This is a petition for appeal from the CFI of Manila admitting to probate the will of Gliceria Avelino del Rosario (Gliceria) executed in 1960. Likewise, this is also an appeal to remove the current administrator, Consuelo Gonzales-Precilla( Consuelo) as special administratrix of the estate on the ground of Consuelo possesses interest adverse to the estate and to order the RD of Manila to annotate on the registered lands a notice of Lis Pendens. When Gliceria died she had no descendants, ascendants, bros or sisses and 90 yrs old. After which, her niece, Consuelo petitioned the court to be the administratrix of the properties. The court approved this because Consuelo has been was already managing the properties of the deceased during her lifetime. What the respondents allege is that in the last years of the deceased, Consuelo sought the transfer of certain parcels of land valued at 300k for a sale price of 30k to her husband Alfonso through fraud and intimidation. In addition, the oppositors presented evidence that Consuelo asked the court to issue new Certificates of Titles to certain parcels of land for the purpose of preparing the inventory to be used in the probate. Also shown was that NEW TCTs were issued by the RD for certain lands of the deceased after Consuelo asked for the old TCTs. At the end of the probate proceedings, the court ruled that Counsuelo should be made the administrator, and that the will was duly executed because of these reasons: NO EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED to establish that the deceased was not of sound mind, that eventough the allegations state that the deceased prepared another will in 1956 (12pages), the latter is not prevented from executing another will in 1960 (1page), and that inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses prove their truthfulness. ISSUE: Was the will in 1960 (1 page) duly/properly executed? HELD: NO. Provision of Article 808 mandatory. Therefore, For all intents and purposes of the rules on probate, the testatrix was like a blind testator, and the due execution of her will would have required observance of Article 808. 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. Likewise, the 1970 will was done in Tagalog which the deceased is not well versed but in Spanish. This creates doubt as to the due execution of the will and as well as the typographical errors contain therein which show the haste in preparing the 1 page will as compared to the 12 page will created in 1956 written in Spanish. ALSO, as to the blindness, there was proof given by the testimony of the doctor that the deceased could not read at near distances because of cataracts. (Testatrixs vision was mainly for viewing distant objects and not for reading print.) Since there is no proof that it was read to the deceased twice, the will was NOT duly executed. ALSO, Consuelo should be removed as administrator because she is not expected to sue her own husband to reconvey the lands to the estate alleged to have been transferred by the deceased to her own husband. The notice of lis pendens is also not proper where the issue is not an action in rem, affecting real property or the title thereto.

Garcia v. Lacuesta
90 Phil 489 FACTS: This case involves the will of Antero Mercado, which among other defects was signed by the testator through a cross mark (an X). The will was signed by Atty. Javier who wrote the name of Mercado as testator and the latter allegedly wrote a cross mark after his name. The CFI allowed the will but the CA disallowed it because its attestation clause was defective for failing to certify 1) that the will was signed by Atty. Javier at the express direction of the testator, 2) that the testator wrote a cross at the end of his name after Atty. Javier signed for him, and 3) that the 3 witnesses signed the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. ISSUE: Whether the will should be allowed despite the defect of the attestation clause since the testator had placed a cross mark himself as his signature. HELD: The attestation clause is fatally defective for failing to state that Mercado directed Javier to write the testators name under his express direction. Petitioners argument that such recital is unnecessary because the testator signed the will himself using a cross mark which should be considered the same as a thumb-mark (which has been held sufficient in past cases) is not acceptable. A cross mark is not the same as a thumb mark, because the cross mark does not have the same trustworthiness of a thumb mark.

Matias v. Salud
L-10751, 23 June 1958 FACTS: The CFI denied probate of the will of Gabina Raquel. It must be noted that Gabina Raquel was suffering from herpes zoster that afflicted the right arm and shoulder of the testatrix, which made writing difficult and a painful act. Thus, upon the insistence of the attorney, Gabina attempted to sign, but since it was so painful she just managed to thumbmarked the foot of the document and the left margin at each page. The parties opposing the probate of the will contended that the will was void due to the irregularities in the execution thereof. One of the points raised by the oppositors was that the finger mark can not be regarded as the decedents valid signature as it does not show distinct identifying ridgelines. And since the finger mark was an invalid signature, there must appear in the attestation clause that another person wrote the testators name at his request. ISSUE: W/N the will was valid. HELD: YES. As to the clarity of the ridge impressions, it is so dependent on aleatory requirements as to require dexterity that can be expected of very few persons; testators should not be required to possess the skill of trained officers. And as to the validity of the thumbprints as signature, the SC held that it has been held in a long line of cases that a thumbprint is always a valid and sufficient signature for the purpose of complying with the requirement of the article. Furthermore, the validity of thumbprints should not be limited in cases of illness or infirmity. A thumbprint is considered as a valid and sufficient signature in complying with the requirements of the article.

Noble v. Abaja 450 SCRA 265


FACTS: The case is about the probate of the will of Alipio Abada (Not respondent Abaja). Petitioner Belinda Noble is the administratrix of the estate of Abada. Respondent Alipio Abaja filed a petition for the probate of Abadas will. Petitioner Noble moved for dismissal of the petition for probate. Caponong-Noble points out that nowhere in the will can one discern that Abada knew the Spanish language. She alleges that such defect is fatal and must result in the disallowance of the will. ISSUE: Should it be expressly stated in the will that it (the will) was in a language known by the testator? HELD: No. There is no statutory requirement to state in the will itself that the testator knew the language or dialect used in the will.[25] This is a matter that a party may establish by proof aliunde. In this case, Alipio testified that Abada used to gather Spanish-speaking people in their place. In these gatherings, Abada and his companions would talk in the Spanish language. This sufficiently proves that Abada speaks the Spanish language.

Suroza v. Honrado 110 SCRA 388 FACTS: Spouses Mauro Suroza and Marcelina Salvador, who were childless, reared a boy named Agapito. Agapito and his wife Nenita de Vera had a daughter named Lilia. Nenita became Agapitos guardian when he became disabled. A certain Arsenia de la Cruz also wanted to be his guardian in another proceeding but it was dismissed. Arsenia then delivered a child named Marilyn Sy to Marcelina who brought her up as a supposed daughter of Agapito. Marilyn used the surname Suroza although not legally adopted by Agapito. When Marcelina (who was an illiterate) was 73 years old, she supposedly executed a notarial will which was in English and thumbmarked by her. In the will, she allegedly bequeathed all her properties to Marilyn. She also named as executrix her laundrywoman, Marina Paje. Paje filed a petition for probate of Marcelinas will. Judge Honrado appointed Paje as administratrix and issued orders allowing the latter to withdraw money from the savings account of Marcelina and Marilyn, and instructing the sheriff to eject the occupants of testatrixs house, among whom was Nenita. She and the other occupants filed a motion to set aside the order ejecting them, alleging that Agapito was the sole heir of the deceased, and that Marilyn was not the decedents granddaughter. Despite this, Judge Honrado issued an order probating Marcelinas will. Nenita filed an omnibus petition to set aside proceedings, admit opposition with counter-petition for administration and preliminary injunction, and an opposition to the probate of the will and a counter-petition for letters of administration, which were dismissed by Judge Honrado. Instead of appealing, Nenita filed a case to annul the probate proceedings but Judge Honrado dismissed it. The judge then closed the testamentary proceeding after noting that the executrix had delivered the estate to Marilyn, and that the estate tax had been paid. Ten months later, Nenita filed a complaint before the SC, charging Judge Honrado with having probated the fraudulent will of Marcelina. She reiterated her contention that the testatrix was illiterate as shown by the fact that she affixed her thumbmark to the will and that she did not know English, the language in which the will was written. She further alleged that Judge Honrado did not take into account the consequences of the preterition of testatrixs son, Agapito. Judge Honrado in his comment did not deal specifically with the allegations but merely pointed to the fact that Nenita did not appeal from the decree of probate and that in a motion, she asked for a thirty day period within which to vacate the house of the testatrix. Nenita subsequently filed in the CA a petition for certiorari and prohibition against Judge Honrado wherein she prayed that the will, the decree of probate and all the proceedings in the probate case be declared void. The CA dismissed the petition because Nenitas remedy was an appeal and her failure to do so did not entitle her to resort to the special civil action of certiorari. Relying on that decision, Judge Honrado filed a MTD the administrative case for having allegedly become moot and academic. ISSUE: W/N 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. HELD: YES. 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. But in its concluding paragraph, it was stated t hat the will was read to the testatrix and translated into Filipino language. That could 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 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. Furthermore, after the hearing conducted by the 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.

Vitug v. CA
183 SCRA 755 | JEN SUCCESSION REVIEWER FACTS: Romarico Vitug and Nenita Alonte were co-administrators of Dolores Vitugs (deceased) estate. Rowena Corona was the executrix. Romarico, the deceaseds husband, filed a motion with the probate court asking for authority to sell certain shares of stock and real properties belonging to the estate to cover alleged advances to the estate, which he claimed as personal funds. The advances were used to pay estate taxes. Corona opposed the motion on ground that the advances came from a savings account which formed part of the conjugal partnership properties and is part of the estate. Thus, there was no ground for reimbursement. Romarico claims that the funds are his exclusive property, having been acquired through a survivorship agreement executed with his late wife and the bank. The agreement stated that after the death of either one of the spouses, the savings account shall belong to and be the sole property of the survivor, and shall be payable to and collectible or withdrawable by such survivor. The lower court upheld the validity of the agreement and granted the motion to sell. CA reversed stating that the survivorship agreement constitutes a conveyance mortis causa which did not comply with the formalities of a valid will. Assuming that it was a donation inter vivos, it is a prohibited donation (donation between spouses). ISSUE: W/N the survivorship agreement was valid. HELD: YES. The conveyance is not mortis causa, which should be embodied in a will. A will is 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 devise must pertain to the testator. In this case, the savings account involved was in the nature of conjugal funds. Since it was not shown that the funds belonged exclusively to one party, it is presumed to be conjugal. It is also not a donation inter vivos because it was to take effect after the death of one party. It is also not a donation between spouses because it involved no conveyance of a spouses own properties to the other. It was an error to include the savings account in the inventory of the deceaseds assets because it is the separate property of Romarico. Thus, Romarico had the right to claim reimbursement. A will is 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. Survivorship agreements are permitted by the NCC. However, its operation or effect must not be violative of the law (i.e. used as a cloak to hide an inofficious donation or to transfer property in fraud of creditors or to defeat the legitime of a forced heir).

Borja v. Borja
46 SCRA 577 FACTS: Francisco de Borja filed a petition for probate of the will of his wife who died, Josefa Tangco, with the CFI of Rizal. He was appointed executor and administrator, until he died; his son Jose became the nd sole administrator. Francisco had taken a 2 wife Tasiana before he died; she instituted testate proceedings with the CFI of Nueva Ecija upon his death and was appointed special administatrix. Jose and Tasiana entered upon a compromise agreement, but Tasiana opposed the approval of the compromise agreement. She argues that it was no valid, because the heirs cannot enter into such kind of agreement without first probating the will of Francisco, and at the time the agreement was made, the will was still being probated with the CFI of Nueva Ecija. ISSUE: W/N the compromise agreement is valid, even if the will of Francisco has not yet been probated. HELD: YES, the compromise agreement is valid. The agreement stipulated that Tasiana will receive P800,000 as full payment for her hereditary share in the estate of Francisco and Josefa. 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. 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. There is no stipulation as to any other claimant, creditor or legatee. 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.

Uson v. Del Rosario


92 SCRA 530 FACTS: This is an action for recovery of the ownership and possession of five (5) parcels of land in Pangasinan, filed by Maria Uson against Maria del Rosario and her four illegit children. Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who upon his death in 1945 left the lands involved in this litigation. Faustino Nebreda left no other heir except his widow Maria Uson. 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. Defendants in their answer set up as special defense that Uson and her husband, executed a public document whereby they agreed to separate as husband and wife and, in consideration of which Uson was given a parcel of land and in return she renounced her right to inherit any other property that may be left by her husband upon his death. CFI found for Uson. Defendants appealed. ISSUE: 1. W/N Uson has a right over the lands from the moment of death of her husband. 2. W/N the illegit children of deceased and his common-law wife have successional rights. HELD: 1. Yes. There is no dispute that Maria Uson, is the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda, former owner of the five parcels of lands litigated in the present case. There is likewise no dispute that Maria del Rosario, was merely a common-law wife with whom she had four illegitimate children with the deceased. It likewise appears that Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 much prior to the effectivity of the new Civil Code. With this background, it is evident that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 the five parcels of land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only heir, his widow Maria Uson (Art 777 NCC).As this Court aptly said, "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". From that moment, therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested. 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, cannot be entertained for the simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be renounced. 2. No. The provisions of the NCC shall be given retroactive effect even though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation only if no vested rights are impaired. Hence, since the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late husband, 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.

Union Bank v. Santibanez


452 SCRA 228 FACTS: On May 31, 1980, the First Countryside Credit Corporation (FCCC) and Efraim Santibaez entered into a loan agreement in the amount of P128,000.00. The amount was intended for the payment of one (1) unit Ford 6600 Agricultural Tractor. In view thereof, Efraim and his son, Edmund, executed a promissory note in favor of the FCCC, the principal sum payable in five equal annual amortizations. On Dec. 1980, FCCC and Efraim entered into another loan agreement for the payment of another unit of Ford 6600 and one unit of a Rotamotor. Again, Efraim and Edmund executed a promissory note and a Continuing Guaranty Agreement for the later loan. In 1981, Efraim died, leaving a holographic will. Testate proceedings commenced before the RTC of Iloilo City. Edmund was appointed as the special administrator of the estate. During the pendency of the testate proceedings, the surviving heirs, Edmund and his sister Florence, executed a Joint Agreement, wherein they agreed to divide between themselves and take possession of the three (3) tractors: (2) tractors for Edmund and (1) for Florence. Each of them was to assume the indebtedness of their late father to FCCC, corresponding to the tractor respectively taken by them. In the meantime, a Deed of Assignment with Assumption of Liabilities was executed by and between FCCC and Union Bank, wherein the FCCC assigned all its assets and liabilities to Union Bank. Demand letters were sent by Union Bank to Edmund, but the latter refused to pay. Thus, on February 5, 1988, Union Bank filed a Complaint for sum of money against the heirs of Efraim Santibaez, Edmund and Florence, before the RTC of Makati City. Summonses were issued against both, but the one intended for Edmund was not served since he was in the United States and there was no information on his address or the date of his return to the Philippines. Florence filed her Answer and alleged that the loan documents did not bind her since she was not a party thereto. Considering that the joint agreement signed by her and her brother Edmund was not approved by the probate court, it was null and void; hence, she was not liable to Union Bank under the joint agreement. Union Bank asserts that the obligation of the deceased had passed to his legitimate heirs (Edmund and Florence) as provided in Article 774 of the Civil Code; and that the unconditional signing of the joint agreement estopped Florence, and that she cannot deny her liability under the said document. In her comment to the petition, Florence maintains that Union Bank is trying to recover a sum of money from the deceased Efraim Santibaez; thus the claim should have been filed with the probate court. She points out that at the time of the execution of the joint agreement there was already an existing probate proceedings. She asserts that even if the agreement was voluntarily executed by her and her brother Edmund, it should still have been subjected to the approval of the court as it may prejudice the estate, the heirs or third parties. ISSUE: W/N the claim of Union Bank should have been filed with the probate court before which the testate estate of the late Efraim Santibaez was pending. W/N the agreement between Edmund and Florence (which was in effect, a partition of hte estate) was void considering that it had not been approved by the probate court. W/N there can be a valid partition among the heirs before the will is probated. HELD: Well-settled is the rule that a probate court has the jurisdiction to determine all the properties of the deceased, to determine whether they should or should not be included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered. The said court is primarily concerned with the administration, liquidation and distribution of the estate. In our jurisdiction, the rule is that there can be no valid partition among the heirs until after the will has been probated. In the present case, Efraim left a holographic will which contained the provision which reads as follows: (e) All other properties, real or personal, which I own and may be discovered later after my demise, shall be distributed in the proportion indicated in the immediately preceding paragraph in favor of Edmund and Florence, my children. The above-quoted is an all-encompassing provision embracing all the properties left by the decedent which might have escaped his mind at that time he was making his will, and other properties he

may acquire thereafter. Included therein are the three (3) subject tractors. This being so, any partition involving the said tractors among the heirs is not valid. The joint agreement executed by Edmund and Florence, partitioning the tractors among themselves, is invalid, specially so since at the time of its execution, there was already a pending proceeding for the probate of their late fathers holographic will covering the said tractors. The Court notes that the loan was contracted by the decedent. The bank, purportedly a creditor of the late Efraim Santibaez, should have thus filed its money claim with the probate court in accordance with Section 5, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court. The filing of a money claim against the decedents estate in the probate court is mandatory. This requirement is for the purpose of protecting the estate of the deceased by informing the executor or administrator of the claims against it, thus enabling him to examine each claim and to determine whether it is a proper one which should be allowed. The plain and obvious design of the rule is the speedy settlement of the affairs of the deceased and the early delivery of the property to the distributees, legatees, or heirs. Perusing the records of the case, nothing therein could hold Florence accountable for any liability incurred by her late father. The documentary evidence presented, particularly the promissory notes and the continuing guaranty agreement, were executed and signed only by the late Efraim Santibaez and his son Edmund. As the petitioner failed to file its money claim with the probate court, at most, it may only go after Edmund as co-maker of the decedent under the said promissory notes and continuing guaranty.