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V. FORMAL REQUIREMENTS OF A WILL


LOPEZ VS. LIBORO

LOPEZ vs. LIBORO
G.R. No. L-3362, March 1, 1951
FACTS :
The will of Don Sixto Lopez was submitted for probate by Jose Lopez and
Clemencia Lopez, the Dons sister. The probate was opposed by Agustin Liboro
who contended that the will is not valid due to the following grounds:
1. That the deceased never executed the alleged will;
2. That his signature appearing in said will was a forgery;
3. That at the time of the execution of the will, he was wanting in
testamentary as well as mental capacity due to advanced age;
4. That, if he did ever execute said will, it was executed and attested as
required by law, and one of the alleged instrumental witnesses was incapacitated
to act as such; and it was procured by duress, influence of fear and threats and
undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiaries
instituted therein, principally the testators sister, Clemencia Lopez and the herein
proponent, Jose S. Lopez; and
5. That the signature of the testator was contained in two pages in all, was not
numbered in letters or Arabic numbers as what should have been required by law.
It was also argued that the testator should have signed the will with his signature
and not only with his thumb print if he indeed had the capacity to execute the will.
Furthermore, the will did not expressly state that the language used is a language
used is a language which Don understood; in this case, it was in Spanish.
ISSUE :
Whether or not there was substantial compliance to qualify the will for probate.
RULING :
Yes, it was executed in all particulars as required by law.
The purpose of the law in prescribing the paging of wills is guard against
fraud, and to afford means of preventing the substitution or of defecting the loss of
any of its pages. In the present case, the omission to put a page no. on the first
sheet, if that be necessary, is supplied by other forms of identification more
trustworthy than the conventional numerical words or characters. The unnumbered
page is clearly identified as the first page by the internal sense of its contents
considered in relation to the contents of the second page. By their meaning and
coherence, the first and second lines on the second page are undeniably a
continuation of the last sentence of the testament, before the attestation clause,
which starts at the bottom of the preceding page. Furthermore, the unnumbered
page contains the caption TESTAMENTO, the invocation of the Almighty, and a
recital that the testator was in full use of his testamentary faculty, all of which, in
the logical order of sequence, precede the direction for the disposition of the
markers property. Again, as page two contains only the two lines above
mentioned, the attestation clause, the mark of the testator and the signatures of
the witnesses, the other sheet can not by any possibility be taken for other than
page one.
The testator affixed his thumbmark to the instrument instead of signing his name.
The reason for this was that the testator was suffering from partial paralysis.
While another in testators place might have directed someone else to sign for him,
as appellant contends should have been done, there is nothing curious or
suspicious in the fact that the testator chose the use of mark as the means of
authenticating his will. It was a matter of taste or preference. Both ways are good.
A stature requiring a will to be signed is satisfied if the signature is made by the
testators mark.
As for the question on the language of the will, there is no statutory requirement
that such knowledge be expressly stated in the will itself. It is a matter that may be
established by proof aliunde.
The will may therefore be submitted for probate.

REYES VS. VDA DE VIDAL

Reyes V Vda De Vidal
Facts:
CFI of Manila, 1945 a petition for probate was filed by petitioner Dolores
Zuniga Vda de vidal, sister of deceased, Maria Zuniga Vda Del Pando,
filed an opposition based on the ff grounds:
o Signature of deceased wasnt genuine
o Deceased new Spanish language in which is the wills language
o Deceased wasnt on sound mind when it was signed
To prove that it was signed by the testatrix, 3 witnesses were presented
namely, Cornelia, Quintin and Consuelo, PROVED that deceased signed
her will in their presence vice versa they signed as witnesses also
To prove claim of falsified signature, Jose G Villanueva, with supporting
comparison proved that signature were indeed not genuine
On the other hand, Jose C. Espinosa, more credible signature expert
because his comparison of deceased signatures date were close
Issue:
1. WON signature of deceased are genuine
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2. WON testatrix knew Spanish language
3. WON deceased were of sound mind at the time she signed the will
Ruling:
3 witnesses testimonies were accepted that deceased was of sound
mind at the time she wrote the will
No requirement of the law was omitted or not complied with even though
the will was written in Spanish.. Deceased was a mestizo espanola
married to a Spaniard, these facts gives the presumption that deceases
knew Spanish
According to the courts, abbreviated, distorted and illegible forms which
are sufficiently free and rapid, oftenly indicates genuiness (deceased
signature)
Decision is reversed.

SUROZA VS. HONRADO
SUROZA VS. HONRADO
FACTS:
In 1973, Marcelina Suroza supposedly executed a notarial will bequeathing her
house and lot to a certain Marilyn Suroza. In 1974, Marcelina died. Marina Paje
was named as the executrix in the said will and she petitioned before CFI Rizal
that the will be admitted to probate. The presiding judge, Honrado admitted the will
to probate and assigned Paje as the administratrix. Honrado also issued an
ejectment order against the occupants of the house and lot subject of the will.
Nenita Suroza, daughter in law of Marcelina (her husband, son of Marcelina was
confined in the Veterans Hospital), learned of the probate proceeding when she
received the ejectment order (as she was residing in said house and lot).
Nenita opposed the probate proceeding. She alleged that the said notarial will is
void because (a) the instituted heir therein Marilyn Suroza is actually Marilyn Sy
and she is a stranger to Marcelina, (b) the only son of Marcelina, Agapito Suroza,
is still alive and is the compulsory heir, (c) the notarial will is written in English a
language not known to Marcelina because the latter was illiterate so much so that
she merely thumbmarked the will, (d) the notary public who notarized will admitted
that Marcelina never appeared before him and that he notarized the said will
merely to accommodate the request of a lawyer friend but with the understanding
that Marcelina should later appear before him but that never happened.
Honrado still continued with the probate despite the opposition until testamentary
proceeding closed and the property transferred to Marilyn Sy.
Nenita then filed this administrative case against Honrado on the ground of
misconduct.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Honrado is guilty of misconduct for admitting into probate a void
will.
HELD:
Yes. Despite the valid claim raised by Nenita, he still continued with the
testamentary proceeding, this showed his wrongful intent. He may even be
criminally liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or interlocutory order
or rendering a manifestly unjust judgment or interlocutory order by reason of
inexcusable negligence or ignorance.
The will is written in English and was thumb marked by an obviously illiterate
Marcelina. This could have readily been perceived by Honrado that 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 that 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. Had Honrado 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 to Marilyn Sy as sole heiress
and giving nothing at all to Agapito who was still alive.
Honrado was fined by the Supreme Court.

ABANGAN VS. ABANGAN

Topic: The Attestation Clause
Case 2: Abangan v Abangan
FACTS:
Cebu CFI admitted to probate Ana Abangan's will executed July 1916.
The will consists of two sheets:
1. All of the disposition of the testatrix, duly signed at the bottom by Martin
Montalban (in the name and under the direction of the testatrix) and by three
witnesses.
2. The attestation clause duly signed at the bottom by the three instrumental
witnesses.
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Neither of these sheets is signed on the left margin by the testatrix and the three
witnesses nor numbered by letters.
Appellants contended that these omissions are defects which should have denied
the probate.
ISSUE:
Whether the will was duly admitted to probate.
RULING:
YES.
The Court held that in the attestation clause, without considering whether or not
this clause is an essential part of the will, the signatures of the testatrix and of the
three witnesses on the margin and the numbering of the pages of the sheet are
formalities not required by the statute. The signature of the testatrix especially is
not necessary in the attestation clause because this, as its name implies,
appertains only to the witnesses and not to the testator since the latter does not
attest, but executes, the will.
A will consisting of two sheets the first containing all the testamentary dispositions
and signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses and the second
containing only the attestation clause and is signed also at the bottom by the three
witnesses is duly probated. It is not necessary that both sheets be further signed
on their margins by the testator and the witnesses, or be paged.
"The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the
door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and
to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore the laws on this subject should
be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other
hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to
restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. So when an
interpretation already given assures such ends, any other interpretation
whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary,
useless and frustrative of the testators last will, must be disregarded."

LEE VS. TAMABAGO

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.

B. ATTESTATION CLAUSE
TESTATE ESTATE OF ALIPIO ABADA VS. ABAJA
C. DATE AND SIGNINGl
PAYAD VS. TOLENTINO
In re Will of the deceased Leoncia Tolentino.
VICTORIO PAYAD, petitioner-appellant,
Vs.
AQUILINA TOLENTINO, oppositor-appellant.
Facts:
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1. The will in question is that of the deceased Leoncia Tolentino
2. Probate was denied by the trial court based on the ff:
a. That it was executed after her death
b. That the attestation clause failed to state that the testatrix requested Atty.
Almario to write her name.
3. It appears in every page of the will that the deceased placed her thumb
mark on each page.
Issue:
1. WON the will can be probated based on the date of execution.
2. WON the present will require that testatrix requested the attorney to
place her name on each page of the will as part of the attestation clause.
Held:
1. The trial court found that it was signed a day before her death, hence the
will can be probated for that matter.
2. No it does not.
According to the Supreme Court, it turned out that testatrix placed her thumb mark
on each page without giving instructions to have her name written. The attorney
only wrote her name beside the thumb marks to indicate whose thumb mark it
was.
The evidence of record established the fact that Leoncia Tolentino, assisted by
Attorney Almario, placed her thumb mark on each and every age of time
questioned will and the said attorney merely wrote her name to indicate the place
where she placed said thumb mark. In other words Attorney Almario did not sign
for the testatrix. She signed for placing her thumb mark on each and every page
thereof "A statute requiring a will to be 'signed' is satisfied if the signature is made
by the testator's mark." It is clear, therefore, that it was not necessary that the
attestation clause in question should state that the testatrix requested Attorney
Almario to sign her name inasmuch as the testatrix signed the will in question in
accordance with law.

MATIAS VS. SALUD
Matias v. Salud
Comment: The case with G.R. No L-10907 does not seem to have any relevance
to the subtopic under our syllabus. I found a digest in the web that might help.
THIS IS THE DIGEST I FOUND IN THE WEB.
Facts:
1. This case is an appeal from a CFI Cavite order denying the probate of the will of
Gabina Raquel. The document consist of 3 pages and it seems that after the
attestation clause, there appears the siganture of the testatrix 'Gabina Raquel',
alongside is a smudged in violet ink claimed by the proponents as the thumbmark
allegedly affixed by the tetratrix. On the third page at the end of the attestation
clause appears signatures on the left margin of each page, and also on the upper
part of each left margin appears the same violet ink smudge accompanied by the
written words 'Gabina Raquel' with 'by Lourdes Samonte' underneath it.
2. The proponent's evidence is to the effect that the decedent allegedly instructed
Atty. Agbunag to drat her will and brought to her on January 1950. With all the
witnesses with her and the lawyer, the decedent affixed her thumbmark at the foot
of the document and the left margin of each page. It was also alleged that she
attempted to sign using a sign pen but was only able to do so on the lower half of
page 2 due to the pain in her right shoulder. The lawyer, seeing Gabina unable to
proceed instructed Lourdes Samonte to write 'Gabina Raquel by Lourdes
Samonte' next to each thumbmark, after which the witnesses signed at the foot of
the attestation clause and the left hand margin of each page.
3. The probate was opposed by Basilia Salud, the niece of the decedent.
4. The CFI of cavite denied the probate on the ground that the attestation clause
did not state that the testatrix and the witnesses signed each and every page nor
did it express that Lourdes was specially directed to sign after the testatrix.
Issue: Whether or not the thumbprint was sufficient compliance with the law
despite the absence of a description of such in the attestation clause
HELD: YES
The absence of the description on the attestation clause that another person wrote
the testatrix' name at her request is not a fatal defect, The legal requirement only
ask that it be signed by the testator, a requirement satisfied by a thumbprint or
other mark affixed by him.
As to the issue on the clarity of the ridge impression, it is held to be dependent on
the aleatory circumstances. Where a testator employs an unfamiliar way of signing
and that both the attestation clause and the will are silent on the matter, such
silence is a factor to be considered against the authenticity of the testament.
However, the failure to describe the signature itself alone is not sufficient to refuse
probate when evidence fully satisfied that the will was executed and witnessed in
accordance with law.
THIS IS THE DIGEST I MADE RE: MY COPY OF THE CASE.
Facts
This was a writ of certiorari to annul the decision of Gonzales regarding the
testate estate of the deceased, Gabina Raquel
Raquel died at the age of 92
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She left a will to Aurea Matias and she in turn filed for a special proceeding
for the probate of a document purporting to be the last will and testament of
Gabina Raquel, Matias was appointed the executrix in this special proceeding.
An opposition was filed to the probate of the will, the Gonzales dismissed
the case and sustained the opposition.
Then special administrator Horacio Rodriguez was appointed special
administrator, but a certain Basilia Salud who filed the opposition moved for the
dismissal of rodriguez with the grounds of Grave abuse of authority and gross
negligence in his office as the administrator of the property
The judge rendered the decision making Basilia Salud, Ramon Plata and
Victorina Salud as the special co-administrators.
Aurea Matias then filed the case to set aside the order, saying that the
appointment of Basilia Salud as co-administrator was an error of said judge
because she was already of advanced age, furthermore, the will of Raquel
expressly stated that she be the executrix in the testamentary proceedings, but the
court dismissed the case.
Basilia Salud then filed for the substitution of her as the co-administrator
with Victorina Salud.
Matias then again filed for a motion for reconsideration and was again,
denied. Hence this petition.
Issue
WON there is Grave abuse of Discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of judge Gonzales
Held
No, Not fully
1. No notice to the postponement of the 2
nd
hearing was given to the petitioner
2. No notice as to who will replace the petitioner as special administrator of the
estate was given
3. The order issued with the knowledge of basilias disability made clear by the
fact that a co-administratorship was created.
4. Horacio, the first administrator was an actual lawyer and was more qualified,
removing him and appointing victorina salud amounted to a reversal of the
judgment of judge bernabe.
5. Although the order has been denied, it is not yet final and executory in this
case because it is still pending appeal and thusly, still in the realm of legal
possibility in the Philippines
6. There are 2 factions in this case, in the spirit of equity, the court held that
there should be atleast one co-administrator in favor of each faction.
Orders complained therefore are annulled and set aside.

DE GALA VS. GONZALES
DE GALA V. GONZALES (1929)
Facts: Severina Gonzales (decedent) executed a will in year 1920 and died in
year 1926. Serapia de Gala (niece) was executrix in said will and was later
appointed by court as special administratrix. When Severina died, Serapia
presented will to a lawyer for probate. Apolinario Gonzales (nephew) was the
oppositor on ground that said will had not been executed in conformity with the
provisions of Sec. 618 of the Civil Code of Procedure. Sinforosa (surviving
husband of deceased) was ordered by court to deliver to Serapia property left by
the deceased. He opposed said order and motioned he be appointed as
administratrix which was later approved by Court. Serapia argued she cannot be
removed as administratrix except for causes cited in Sec. 653 of Code of Civil
Procedure. Sinforosa Ona and Apolinario Gonzales opposed that will was not
executed in the form prescribed by Sec. 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Issue: Whether thumb mark as signature by testatrix was in conformity of a
valid will?
Held: YES
1. PROBATE PROCEEDINGS; SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS;
REMOVAL. The appointment of a special administrator in a probate case lies in
the sound discretion of the court, and he may be removed without reference to
section 653 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
2. WILLS; TESTATOR'S SIGNATURE; THUMB-MARKS. In executing
her last will and testament, the testatrix placed her thumb-mark between her given
name and surname, written by another person. It was not mentioned in the
attestation clause that the testatrix signed by thumb-mark, but the form of the
signature was sufficiently described and explained in the last clause of the body of
the will. Held, that the signature was valid.

GARCIA VS. LACUESTA

In the Matter of the will of ANTERO MERCADO, deceased. ROSARIO
GARCIA, petitioner,
vs.
JULIANA LACUESTA, ET AL., respondents.
Facts:
1. A will was executed by a certain Antero Mercado which was signed by
himself and by witnesses on the left margin of the three pages thereof.
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2. This will is written in Ilocano dialect and has attestation clause. The will also
bears the corresponding number in letter which compose of 3 pages, and all of
them were signed in the presence of the testator and witnesses (and vice versa)
3. The will was also signed by Atty. Javier who wrote the name of Antero
Mercado, followed by a reugo del testator and the name Florentino Javier.
4. Antero Mercado is alleged to have written a cross immediately after his
name.
5. CA: reversed the judgment of CFI (ruling that the attestation clause failed to
certify that the will was signed on all the left margins of the three pages and failed
to certify that after the signing of the name of the testator by Atty. Javier at the
formers request said testator has written a cross at the end of his name and on
the left margin of the three pages of which the will consists and at the end thereof
and fail to certify that the 3 witnesses signed the in all the pages in the presence of
the testator and of each other.
Issue: Is the attestation clause fatally defective for failing to state that Antero
Mercado caused Atty. Javier to write the testators name under his express
direction as required by Sec 618 of Code of Civil Procedure?
Held: Yes.
1. According to petitioner, there is no need because of the fact that the testator
has already put a cross after his name which is a sufficient signature and the
signature of Atty. Javier is a surplusage. Petitioner also said that the cross
signifies the testators thumbmark.
2. The SC did not believe the petitioner in saying that the cross cannot be
likened to a thumbmark, and the reason is obvious. The cross cannot and does
not have the trustworthiness of a thumbmark.

D. AGENT SIGNING
BALONAN VS. ABELLANA
In the Matter of the summary settlement of the Estate of the deceased
ANACLETA ABELLANA. LUCIO BALONAN, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
EUSEBIA ABELLANA, et al., oppositors-appellants.
DOCTRINE: Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at
the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by
some other person in his presence, and by his express direction
Facts:
1. the Last Will and Testament (OF ANACLETA ABELLANA) sought to be
probated is written in the Spanish Language and consists of 2 typewritten
pages, double spaced.
2. The first page is signed by Juan Bello and the second page appears
signatures of 3 instrumental witnesses BLAS SEBASTIAN, FAUSTINO
MARCO and RAFAEL IGNACIO, at the bottom of which appears the
signature of T. De los Santos with signature as notary republic.
3. first page contains on left margin contained signatures of instruemental
witnesses.
4. On the second page, which is the last page of said last Will and
Testament, also appears the signature of the three (3) instrumental
witnesses and on that second page on the left margin appears the
signature of Juan Bello under whose name appears handwritten the
following phrase, "Por la Testadora Anacleta Abellana'. The will is duly
acknowledged before Notary Public Attorney Timoteo de los Santos.
Issue: whether or not the signature of Dr. Juan Bello above typewritten statement
comply with requirements set by law.
Held:
No.
1. The present law, Article 805 of the Civil Code, in part provides as follows:
Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end thereof by
the testator himself or by the testator's name written by some other person in his
presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or
more credible witness in the presence of the testator and of one another.
(Emphasis supplied.)
The clause "must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or
by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence and by
his express direction,"
2. Practically the same as the provisions of Section 618 of the Code of Civil
Procedure (Act No. 190) which reads as follows:
No will, except as provided in the preceding section shall be valid to pass any
estate, real or personal, nor charge or affect the same, unless it be in writing
and signed by the testator, or by the testator's name written by some other
person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and
subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator
and of each other. . . . (Emphasis supplied).
Note that the old law as well as the new require that the testator himself sign
the will, or if he cannot do so, the testator's name must be written by some
other person in his presence and by his express direction.
In the case at bar the name of the testatrix, Anacleta Abellana, does not
appear written under the will by said Abellana herself, or by Dr. Juan Abello.
There is, therefore, a failure to comply with the express requirement in the
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law that the testator must himself sign the will, or that his name be affixed
thereto by some other person in his presence and by his express direction.
It appearing that the above provision of the law has not been complied with, we
are constrained to declare that the said will of the deceased Anacleta Abellana
may not be admitted to probate.

BARUT VS. CABACUNGAN

PEDRO BARUT, petitioner-appellant, vs.
FAUSTINO CABACUNGAN, ET AL., opponents-appellees.
This appeal arises out of an application on the part of Pedro Barut to probate the
last will and testament of Maria Salomon, deceased. By the terms of the will Pedro
Barut received the larger part of decedent's property.
After disposing of her property the testatrix revoked all former wills by her made.
She also stated in said will that being unable to read or write, the same had
been read to her by Ciriaco Concepcion and Timotea Inoselda and that she
had instructed Severo Agayan to sign her name to it as testatrix.
The probate of the will was contested and opposed by a number of the relatives of
the deceased on various grounds, among them that a later will had been executed
by the deceased. The will referred to as being a later will is the one involved in
another case.
In the case before us, the probate court found that the will was not entitled to
probate upon the sole ground that the handwriting of the person who it is alleged
signed the name of the testatrix to the will for and on her behalf looked more like
the handwriting of one of the other witnesses to the will than that of the person
whose handwriting it was alleged to be.
Issue: Whether the will was valid.
Held: Yes. We do not believe that the mere dissimilarity in writing thus mentioned
by the court is sufficient to overcome the uncontradicted testimony of all the
witnesses to the will that the signature of the testatrix was written by Severo
Agayan at her request and in her presence and in the presence of all the
witnesses to the will. It is immaterial who writes the name of the testatrix provided
it is written at her request and in her presence and in the presence of all the
witnesses to the execution of the will.
With respect to the validity of the will, it is unimportant whether the person who
writes the name of the testatrix signs his own or not. The important thing is that it
clearly appears that the name of the testatrix was signed at her express direction
in the presence of three witnesses and that they attested and subscribed it in her
presence and in the presence of each other. That is all the statute requires.
It may be wise as a practical matter that the one who signs the testator's name
signs also his own; but that it is not essential to the validity of the will. Whether one
person or another signed the name of the testatrix in this case is absolutely
unimportant so far as the validity of her will is concerned. From the standpoint of
language it is an impossibility to draw from the words of the law the inference that
the persons who signs the name of the testator must sign his own name also. The
law requires only three witnesses to a will, not four.
The main thing to be established in the execution of the will is the signature of the
testator. If that signature is proved, whether it be written by himself or by another
at his request, it is none the less valid, and the fact of such signature can be
proved as perfectly and as completely when the person signing for the principal
omits to sign his own name as it can when he actually signs.
The judgment of the probate court must be and is hereby reversed and that court
is directed to enter an order in the usual form probating the will involved in this
litigation and to proceed with such probate.

Barut v Cabacungan
Facts:
Pedro Barut appeals with regards to the probate of the last will and
testament of Maria Salomon
Original will is in Ilocano dialect and that Spanish translation is in page 11
There were 3 witnesses when the will was prepared
The testatrix revoked all other wills and stated that since she is unable to
read or write, the will was not read to her and that she instructed Severino
Agapan, one of the witnesses to sign on her behalf
TC, will is not entitled to probate on the sole ground that the handwriting of
the person who signed the name of the testatrix does not appear to be that of
Agapan but of another witness
Issue:
WON a wills validity is affected when the person instructor by testator to
write his name did not sign his name
Ruling.
No, it is immaterial who wrote the name of the testator provided that it is
written at her request and in her presence and in the presence of the witnesses.

E. MANNER OF SIGNING
NERA VS. RIMANDO

8

NERA V. RIMANDO, 18 Phil 450
FACTS:
Very little was provided for the case background. It was alleged and argued that
one of the subscribing parties was in the adjacent room and could have not seen
the testator, Pedro Rimando and the other subscribing witnesses affixed their
signatures on the last will and testament. The lower court ruled that the
subscribing witness was in the same room with the testator and the other
subscribing witness; thus, ordered the will to be probated.
ISSUE:
Whether or not due execution of the will has been complied with.
HELD:
Yes. As laid down in the case of Jaboneta v. Gastilo, the question whether the
testator and the subscribing witnesses to an alleged will sign the instrument in the
presence of each other does not depend upon proof of the fact that their eyes
were actually cast upon the paper at the moment of its subscription by each of
them, but that at that moment existing conditions and their position with relation to
each other were such that by merely casting the eyes in the proper direction they
could have seen each other sign. It was of majoritys opinion that the subscribing
witness was in the small room with the testator and other subscribing witnesses
when they attached their signatures to the instrument. The Court upheld the
validity of the will.

TABOADO VS. ROSAL
Taboada vs. Rosal
FACTS:
Petitioner Apolonio Taboada filed a petition for probate of the will of the late
Dorotea Perez. The will consisted of two pages, the first page containing all the
testamentary dispositions of the testator and was signed at the end or bottom of
the page by the testatrix alone and at the left hand margin by the three
instrumental witnesses. The second page consisted of the attestation clause and
the acknowledgment was signed at the end of the attestation clause by the three
witnesses and at the left hand margin by the testatrix. The trial court disallowed
the will for want of formality in its execution because the will was signed at the
bottom of the page solely by the testatrix, while the three witnesses only signed at
the left hand margin of the page. The judge opined that compliance with the
formalities of the law required that the witnesses also sign at the end of the will
because the witnesses attest not only the will itself but the signature of the
testatrix. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: Was the object of attestation and subscription complied with when the
instrumental witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole page which contains all
the testamentary dispositions?
RULING:
YES! SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE.
On certiorari, the Supreme Court held a) that the objects of attestation and
subscription were fully met and satisfied in the present case when the instrumental
witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole page which contains all the
testamentary dispositions, especially so when the will was properly identified by a
subscribing witness to be the same will executed by the testatrix; and b) that the
failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages used in writing the will
would have been a fatal defect were it not for the fact that it is really and actually
composed of only two pages duly signed by the testatrix and her instrumental
witnesses.
Undoubtedly, under Article 805 of the Civil Code, the will must be subscribed or
signed at its end by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by
another person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and
subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and
of one another.
It must be noted that the law uses the terms attested and subscribed. Attestation
consists in witnessing the testator's execution of the will in order to see and take
note mentally that those things are done which the statute requires for the
execution of a will and that the signature of the testator exists as a fact. On the
other hand, subscription is the signing of the witnesses' names upon the same
paper for the purpose of identification of such paper as the will which was
executed by the testator. (Ragsdale v. Hill, 269 SW 2d 911).
The signatures of the instrumental witnesses on the left margin of the first page of
the will attested not only to the genuineness of the signature of the testatrix but
also the due execution of the will as embodied in the attestation clause.
While perfection in the drafting of a will may be desirable, unsubstantial departure
from the usual forms should be ignored, especially where the authenticity of the
will is not assailed. (Gonzales v. Gonzales, 90 Phil. 444, 449).
The law is to be liberally construed, "the underlying and fundamental objective
permeating the provisions on the law on wills in this project consists in the
liberalization of the manner of their execution with the end in view of giving the
testator more freedom in expressing his last wishes but with sufficient safeguards
and restrictions to prevent the commission of fraud and the exercise of undue and
improper pressure and influence upon the testator. This objective is in accord with
9

the modern tendency in respect to the formalities in the execution of a will" (Report
of the Code Commission, p. 103).
The objects of attestation and of subscription were fully met and satisfied in the
present case when the instrumental witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole
page which contains all the testamentary dispositions, especially so when the will
was properly identified by subscribing witness Vicente Timkang to be the same will
executed by the testatrix. There was no question of fraud or substitution behind
the questioned order.

ICASIANO VS. ICASIONA
ICASIANO V ICASIANO ; MANNER OF SIGNING THE WILL
[G.R. No. L-18979. June 30, 1964.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE JOSEFA
VILLACORTA. CELSO ICASIANO, Petitioner-Appellee, v. NATIVIDAD ICASIANO
and ENRIQUE ICASIANO,Oppositors-Appellants.
Jose W. Diokno for Petitioner-Appellee.
Rosendo J. Tansinsin for oppositor-appellant Natividad Ino.
Jaime R. Nuevas for oppositor-appellant Enriquez Ino.
FACTS:
Natividad Ino, a daughter of the testatrix, filed her opposition; she
petitioned to have herself appointed as a special administrator, to which proponent
objected.
The court issued an order appointing the Philippine Trust Company as
special administrator.
Enrique Ino, a son of the testatrix, also filed a manifestation adopting as his
own Natividads opposition to the probate of the alleged will.
Parties presented their respective evidence, and after several hearings the
court issued the order admitting the will and its duplicate to probate.
From this order, the oppositors appealed directly to the Supreme Court, the
amount involved being over P200,000.00, on the ground that the same is contrary
to law and the evidence.
Josefa Villacorte died in the City of Manila on September 12, 1958;
On June 2, 1956, the late Josefa Villacorte executed a last will and
testament in duplicate at the house of her daughter Mrs. Felisa Ino
The will was acknowledged by the testatrix and by the said three
instrumental witnesses on the same date before attorney Jose Oyengco Ong,
Notary Public in and for the City of Manila;
The will was actually prepared by attorney Fermin Samson, who was also
present during the execution and signing of the decedents last will and testament,
together with former Governor Emilio Rustia of Bulacan, Judge Ramon Ino, and a
little girl.
Of the said three instrumental witnesses to the execution of the decedents
last will and testament attorneys Torres and Natividad were in the Philippines at
the time of the hearing, and both testified as to the due execution and authenticity
of the said will. So did the Notary Public before whom the will was acknowledged
by the testatrix and attesting witnesses, and also attorney Fermin Samson, who
actually prepared the document.
The latter also testified upon cross examination that he prepared one
original and two copies of Josefa Villacortes last will and testament at his house in
Baliuag, Bulacan, but he brought only one original and one signed copy to Manila,
retaining one unsigned copy in Bulacan.
The records show that the original of the will, which was surrendered
simultaneously with the filing of the petition 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 three (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.
The testimony presented by the proponents of the will tends to show that
the original of the will and its duplicate were subscribed at the end and on the left
margin of each and every page thereof by the testatrix herself and attested and
subscribed by the three mentioned witnesses in the testatrixs presence and in that
of one another as witnesses (except for the missing signature of attorney
Natividad on page three (3) of the original;
The pages of the original and duplicate of said will were duly numbered;
The attestation clause thereof contains all the facts required by law to be
recited therein and is signed by the aforesaid attesting witnesses;
The will is written in the language known to and spoken by the testatrix;
The attestation clause is in a language also known to and spoken by the
witnesses;
The will was executed on one single occasion in duplicate copies;
Both the original and the duplicate copy were duly acknowledged before
Notary Public Jose Oyengco Ong of Manila on the same date June 2, 1956.
Witness Natividad, who testified on his failure to sign page three (3) of the
original, admits that he may have lifted two pages instead of one when he signed
the same, but affirmed that page three (3) was signed in his presence.
10

Oppositors-appellants in turn introduced expert testimony 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,
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
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: WHETHER OR NOT THE FAILURE OF ONE OF THE WITNESSES TO
SIGN IN ONE OF THE PAGES OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT WILL
AFFECT ITS EFFECTIVITY?
RULING:
NO. The precedents cited in the case at bar exemplify the Courts policy to require
satisfaction of the legal requirements in the probate of a will in order to guard
against fraud and bad faith but without undue or unnecessary curtailment of the
testamentary privilege. The opinion of a handwriting expert trying to prove forgery
of the testatrixs signature fails 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. The slight variance in blueness of the ink in the admitted and questioned
signatures does not appear reliable, considering that the standard and challenged
writings were affixed to different kinds of paper. Neither diversity of apportionment
nor prohibition against contest is evidence of fraud or undue influence in the
execution of a will. llegation of 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. The inadvertent
failure of an attesting witness to affix his signature to one page of a
testament, due to the simultaneous lifting of two pages in the course of
signing, is not per se sufficient to justify denial of probate. That the signed
carbon duplicate of a will was produced and admitted without a new publication
does not affect the jurisdiction of the probate court, already conferred by the
original publication of the petition for probate, where the amended petition did not
substantially alter the first one filed but merely supplemented it by disclosing the
existence of said duplicate.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is affirmed, with costs
against appellants.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Paredes, Regala
and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

Barrera and Dizon, JJ., took no part.

F. PAGINATION
AZUELA VS. CA
FELIX AZUELA, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, GERALDA AIDA CASTILLO substituted by ERNESTO
G. CASTILLO, Respondents.
(dami issues pero for Wills class this is under the topic Formal Requirements of a
Will Pagination)
The core of this petition is a highly defective notarial will, purportedly executed by
Eugenia E. Igsolo (decedent), who died on 16 December 1982 at the age of 80.
The case stems from a petition for probate filed on 10 April 1984 with the RTC.
The petition filed by petitioner Felix Azuela sought to admit to probate the notarial
will of Eugenia E. Igsolo, which was notarized on 10 June 1981. Petitioner is the
son of the cousin of the decedent.
The probate petition adverted to only two (2) heirs, legatees and devisees of the
decedent, namely: petitioner himself, and one Irene Lynn Igsolo. Petitioner prayed
that the will be allowed.
The petition was opposed by Geralda Aida Castillo, who represented herself as
the attorney-in-fact of "the 12 legitimate heirs" of the decedent.
2
Geralda Castillo
claimed that the will is a forgery, and that the true purpose of its emergence was
so it could be utilized as a defense in several court cases filed by oppositor against
petitioner, for forcible entry and usurpation of real property, all centering on
petitioners right to occupy the properties of the decedent. Oppositor Geralda
Castillo also argued that the will was not executed and attested to in
accordance with law.
After due trial, the RTC admitted the will to probate, in an Order dated 10 August
1992.
Issue: Whether a will whose attestation clause does not contain the number of
pages on which the will is written is fatally defective.
11

Held: Yes. (see Art. 805)
As admitted by petitioner himself, the attestation clause fails to state the number of
pages of the will.
12
There was an incomplete attempt to comply with this requisite,
a space having been allotted for the insertion of the number of pages in the
attestation clause. Yet the blank was never filled in; hence, the requisite was left
uncomplied with.
CA: The purpose of requiring the number of sheets to be stated in the attestation
clause is obvious; the document might easily be so prepared that the removal
of a sheet would completely change the testamentary dispositions of the will
and in the absence of a statement of the total number of sheets such
removal might be effected by taking out the sheet and changing the
numbers at the top of the following sheets or pages. If, on the other hand, the
total number of sheets is stated in the attestation clause the falsification of the
document will involve the inserting of new pages and the forging of the signatures
of the testator and witnesses in the margin, a matter attended with much greater
difficulty."
SC: Article 809 states: "In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud, or undue
and improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of
attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is
proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance
with all the requirements of article 805."
The Code Commission opted to recommend a more liberal construction through
the "substantial compliance rule" under Article 809. However:
x x x The rule must be limited to disregarding those defects that can be supplied
by an examination of the will itself: whether all the pages are consecutively
numbered; whether the signatures appear in each and every page; whether the
subscribing witnesses are three or the will was notarized. All these are facts that
the will itself can reveal, and defects or even omissions concerning them in the
attestation clause can be safely disregarded. But the total number of pages, and
whether all persons required to sign did so in the presence of each other
must substantially appear in the attestation clause, being the only check
against perjury in the probate proceedings.
The failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages on which the will
was written remains a fatal flaw, despite Article 809. The purpose of the law in
requiring the clause to state the number of pages on which the will is written is to
safeguard against possible interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages
and to prevent any increase or decrease in the pages.
33
The failure to state the
number of pages equates with the absence of an averment on the part of the
instrumental witnesses as to how many pages consisted the will, the execution of
which they had ostensibly just witnessed and subscribed to.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Costs against petitioner.

SAMANIEGO-CELADA VS. ABENA
SAMANIEGO-CELADA vs. ABENA
G.R. No. 145545; June 30, 2008
DOCTRINE: In the absence of bad faith, forgery or fraud, or undue [and] improper
pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or
in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that
the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the
requirements of Article 805
FACTS:
1. Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of decedent Margarita S.
Mayores (Margarita) while respondent was the decedents lifelong companion
since 1929.
2. Margarita died single and without any ascending nor descending heirs as her
parents, grandparents and siblings predeceased her.
3. She was survived by her first cousins Catalina Samaniego-Bombay, Manuelita
Samaniego Sajonia, Feliza Samaniego, and petitioner.
4. Before her death, Margarita executed a Last Will and Testament on February 2,
1987 where she bequeathed the following:
a. one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at Singalong
Manila, to respondent, Norma A. Pahingalo, and Florentino M. Abena in equal
shares or one-third portion each
b. one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at Makati to
respondent, Isabelo M. Abena, and Amanda M. Abena in equal shares or one-third
portion each
c. all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise
designated as sole executor of her will
5. Upon being declared probated, petitioner opposed Margaritas will arguing that it
failed to comply with the formalities required under Article 8058 of the Civil Code
because
a. the will was not signed by the testator in the presence of the
instrumental witnesses and in the presence of one another
b. the signatures of the testator on pages A, B, and C of the will are not
the same or similar, indicating that they were not signed on the same day
6. She further argues that the will was procured through undue influence and
pressure
12

a. because at the time of execution of the will, Margarita was weak,
sickly, jobless and entirely dependent upon respondent and her nephews for
support, and these alleged handicaps allegedly affected her freedom and
willpower to decide on her own.
7. Petitioner likewise argues that the Court of Appeals should have declared her
and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita since they are her only living
collateral relatives in accordance with Articles 1009 and 1010 of the Civil Code.
ISSUE:
1. Is the will defective rendering it invalid based on the grounds raised by the
respondent?
2. Does the petitioner and her sibling have a right to claim over the decedents
estate?
Held:
1. NO.
A. Oppositors failed to establish, by preponderance of evidence, said allegation
and contradict the presumption that the testator was of sound mind (Art. 800 NCC)
witness for the oppositors, Dr. Ramon Lamberte, who, in some
occasions, attended to the testator months before her death, testified that
Margarita Mayores could engage in a normal conversation and he even stated that
the illness of the testator does not warrant hospitalization
Not one of the oppositors witnesses has mentioned any instance that
they observed act/s of the testator during her lifetime that could be construed as a
manifestation of mental incapacity.
The testator may be admitted to be physically weak but it does not
necessarily follow that she was not of sound mind.
B. AS TO THE SIGNATURES AND THE ALLEGED PRESSURE AND UNDUE
INFLUENCE: There was a picture shown as evidence which shows the following
therefore contradicting the claims of the petitioner:
The testator was affixing her signature in the presence of the
instrumental witnesses and the notary. There is no evidence to show that the first
signature was procured earlier than February 2, 1987.
the testator was in a good mood and smiling with the other witnesses
while executing the subject will
C. AS TO THE INCLUSION OF ATTESTATION CALUS IN THE COUNT OF
PAGES:
error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the attestation clause
is not material to invalidate the subject will
The error must have been brought about by the honest belief that the will
is the whole instrument consisting of three (3) pages inclusive of the attestation
clause and the acknowledgement.
The position of the court is in consonance with the doctrine of liberal
interpretation enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code
2. NO.
petitioner and her siblings are not compulsory heirs of the decedent under Article
887 of the Civil Code and
as the decedent validly disposed of her properties in a will duly executed and
probated, petitioner has no legal right to claim any part of the decedents estate.

ECHAVEZ VS. DOZEN CONSTRUCTION
ECHAVEZ V DOZEN
Facts:
Vicente Echavez, owner of lots 1956A and 1959(subject lots)
7 Sept 1985, donated the lots to Manuel Echavez, through a Donation
Mortis Causa
March 1986, Vicente executed a contract to Sell with same lots in favor
of Dozen Construction, with an execution of Deeds of absolute sale.
November 1986, Vicente died, Emiliano, his nephew, filed for the
settlement of Vicentes estate.
On the other hand, Manuel file a petition to approve Vicentes donation
mortis causa in his favor and annul contract between Vicente and Dozen
Corp
RTC: disapproved donation mortis causa, Vicentes selling of lots to
Dozen Corp, equivocal act revoking the donation
CA: affirmed RTC ruling, compliance with formalities for the validity of
wills should have been observed.
Issue: WON donation mortis causa of Vicente to Manuel is binding
Ruling:
No, denied
Requirements of attestation and acknowledgement are embodied in 2
separate provisions of the civil code.
Attestation must state all the details the 3
rd
paragraph of article 805
requires
The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which
the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and
every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name,
under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental
13

witnesses, and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all
the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.

G. THE WITNESSES TO A WILL
1. QUALIFICATION/DISQUALIFICATION OF WITNESSES
2. DUTIES OF WITNESSESES
GONZALES VS. CA
Gonzales v. CA 90 SCRA 183
FACTS:
Isabel Gabriel died on June 7, 1961 without issue. Lutgarda Santiago
(respondent), niece of Isabel, filed a petition for probate of Isabels will designating
her as the principal beneficiary and executrix. The will was typewritten in Tagalog
and was executed 2 months prior to death of Isabel. The petition was opposed by
Rizalina Gonzales (petitioner), also a niece of Isabel, on the following grounds: 1.
the will is not genuine, 2. will was not executed and attested as required by law, 3.
the decedent at the time of the making of the will did not have testamentary
capacity due to her age and sickness, and 4. the will was procured through undue
influence. The trial court disallowed the probate of the will but the Court of
Appeals Reversed the said decision of the trial court. The petitioner filed a petition
for review with SC claiming that the CA erred in holding that the will of the
decedent was executed and attested as required by law when there was
absolutely no proof that the 3 instrumental witnesses are credible.
ISSUE:
1. 1. Can a witness be considered competent under Art 820-821 and still not be
considered credible as required by Art. 805?
2. Is it required that there must be evidence on record that the witness to a will has
good standing in his/her community or that he/she is honest or upright?
HELD:
1.Yes. The petitioner submits that the term credible in Article 805 requires
something more than just being competent and, therefore, a witness in addition to
being competent under Articles 820-821 must also be credible under Art. 805. The
competency of a person to be an instrumental witness to a will is determined by
the statute (Art. 820 and 821), whereas his credibility depends on the appreciation
of his testimony and arises from the belief and conclusion of the Court that said
witness is telling the truth. In the case of Vda. de Aroyo v. El Beaterio del
Santissimo Rosario de Molo, No. L-22005, May 3, 1968, the Supreme Court held
and ruled that: Competency as a witness is one thing, and it is another to be a
credible witness, so credible that the Court must accept what he says. Trial courts
may allow a person to testify as a witness upon a given matter because he is
competent, but may thereafter decide whether to believe or not to believe his
testimony.
2.No. There is no mandatory requirement that the witness testify initially or at any
time during the trial as to his good standing in the community, his reputation for
trustworthiness and for being reliable, his honesty and uprightness (such attributes
are presumed of the witness unless the contrary is proved otherwise by the
opposing party) in order that his testimony may be believed and accepted by the
trial court. It is enough that the qualifications enumerated in Article 820 of the Civil
Code are complied with, such that the soundness of his mind can be shown by or
deduced from his answers to the questions propounded to him, that his age (18
years or more) is shown from his appearance, testimony , or competently proved
otherwise, as well as the fact that he is not blind, deaf or dumb and that he is able
to read and write to the satisfaction of the Court, and that he has none of the
disqualifications under Article 821 of the Civil Code.



VDA. DE RAMOS VS. CA
Topic: Duties of Witnesses
Case 1. Vda. De Ramos v CA
A will is not necessarily void because attesting witnesses declared against its
validity. Adverse testimony of attesting witnesses may be controverted by contrary
testimony of the notary public who supervised the execution of the will.
FACTS:
Adelaida Nista claiming as an instituted heir filed petition for probate of alleged
will and testament and codicil of the late Eugenia Danila who died on May 21,
1966. Petitioner also prayed that she or any other person be appointed
administrator of the testatrixs estate.
14

Buenaventura and Marcelina Guerra filed opposition to the petition alleging to be
the legally adopted son and daughter of the late spouses Florentino Guerra and
Eugenia Danila; that the purported will and codicil were procured through fraud
and undue influence; that formalities required by law for execution of a will and
codicil were not complied with being not properly attested to or executed and not
expressing the free will and deed of the purported testatrix; that the late Eugenia
Danila already executed on November 5, 1951 her last will and testament which
was duly probated and not revoked or annulled during the lifetime of the testatrix,
and that petitioner is not competent and qualified to act as administratrix of the
estate.
Petitioner and oppositors entered into a Compromise Agreement which was
approved by the lower court.
Rosario de Ramos, Miguel Danila, Felix Danila, Miguel Gavino, Amor Danila,
Consolacion Santos and Miguel Danila, son of the late Fortunato Danila, filed a
motion for leave to intervene as co-petitioners alleging they are instituted heirs or
devisees.
The lower court allowed the probate of the will giving more weight and merit to the
"straight-forward and candid" testimony of Atty. Ricardo Barcenas, the Notary
Public who assisted in the execution of the will. This is despite the fact that the
attesting witnesses, Odon Sarmiento and Rosendo Paz, testified they did not see
the testatrix Eugenia Danila sign the will but that the same was already signed by
her when they affixed their own signatures thereon. Atty. Barcenas affirmed that
the testatrix and the three (3) instrumental witnesses signed the will in the
presence of each other, and that with respect to the codicil, the same manner was
likewise observed as corroborated to by the testimony of another lawyer, Atty.
Manuel Alvero who was also present during the execution of the codicil.
Oppositors appealed to the CA, which affirmed the lower court's decision of setting
aside its judgment approving the Compromise Agreement and allowing
intervenors-co-petitioners to participate in the probate proceedings. However, CA
disallowed probate of the will on the ground that the evidence failed to establish
that the testatrix Eugenia Danila signed her will in the presence of the instrumental
witnesses in accordance with Article 805 of the Civil Code, as testified to by the
two surviving instrumental witnesses.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the last testament and its accompanying codicil were executed in
accordance with the formalities of the law, considering that two of the attesting
witnesses testified against their due execution while other non-subscribing
witnesses testified to the contrary.
RULING:
YES.
The will and codicil were executed in accordance with the formalities required by
law. The documents were prepared by a lawyer, Atty. Manuel Alvero and its
execution was supervised by his associate, Atty. Ricardo Barcenas before whom
the deeds were also acknowledged. There is no showing that the lawyers had
been remiss in their sworn duty.
Respondent court failed to consider the presumption of regularity in the execution
of the questioned documents. There were no incidents to arouse suspicion of
anomaly and the opposition which alleged fraud and undue influence did not
present evidence to prove their occurrence. Each and every page of the will and
codicil carry the authentic signatures of Eugenia Danila and the three (3) attesting
witnesses. The attestation clauses were properly signed by the attesting witnesses
who took turns in signing the will and codicil in the presence of each other and the
testatrix. Both instruments were duly acknowledged before a Notary Public who
was all the time present during the execution.
Ordinary wills must contain an attestation clause which is a separate
memorandum or record of the facts surrounding the conduct of execution. Once
signed by the attesting witnesses, it affirms that compliance with the indispensable
legal formalities had been observed.
There is disparity in the quality of the testimonies of Odon Sarmiento and Rosendo
Paz and the Notary Public, Atty. Ricardo A. Barcenas. The testimony of Odon
Sarmiento was contradicted by his own admission. While the testimony of
Rosendo Paz had been refuted by the declaration of Atty. Ricardo A. Barcenas.
Atty. Barcenas is more than a direct witness for he was purposely there to oversee
the accomplishment of the will and codicil. His testimony is an account of what he
actually heard and saw during the conduct of his profession.
In weighing the testimony of the attesting witnesses to a will, the statements of a
competent attorney, who has been charged with the responsibility of seeing to the
proper execution of the instrument, is entitled to greater weight than the testimony
of a person casually called to participate in the act.
The Court reversed the CA's decision with respect to the probate and allowed the
probate of the deed in question.

3. THE ATTESTATION CLAUSE
ABANGAN VS. ABANGAN
Abangan v Abangan
Avancena; Nov 12, 1919


15

FACTS:
- Trial Court admitted Ana Abangans probate.
- The will is described in the following manner:
o First sheet:
Contains all the disposition of the testatrix.
Signed at the bottom by Martin Montalban (in the name and
under the direction of Ana Abangan)
Signed by three witnesses
o Second sheet:
Contains only the attestation clause.
Duly signed by the same three witnesses at the bottom.
Was not signed by the testatrix herself
- Anastacia Abangan (different person) et al. appealed from this decision.
She says that the probate should have been denied on three grounds:
o Neither of the sheets were signed on the left margin by the testatrix and the
three witnesses
o The pages were not numbered by letters
o It was written in a dialect that the testatrix did not understand.
Issue:
WON the probate should have been admitted.
Held:
Yes. The trial court was correct in admitting the probate.
1. Re: signing on the left margin
- The object of Act 2645, which requires that every sheet should be
signed on the left margin, is only to avoid the substitution of any sheet, thereby
changing the dispositions of the testatrix.
- Act 2645 only took into consideration cases of wills written on several
sheets, which did not have to be signed at the bottom by the testator and the
witnesses.
- But when the dispositions are duly written only on one sheet, and
signed at the bottom by the testator and the witnesses, the signatures on the left
would be purposeless.
- If the signatures at the bottom already guarantee its authenticity,
another signature on the left margin would be unnecessary.
- This interpretation of Act 2645 also applies to the page containing the
attestation clause (the second sheet). Such a signature on the margin by the
witnesses would be a formality not required by the statute.
- It is also not required that the testatrix sign on the attestation clause
because the attestation, as its name implies, appertains only to the witnesses and
not the testator since the testator does attest, but executes the will.
2. Re: Page numbering
- Act 2645s object in requiring this was to know whether any sheet of the
will has been removed.
- But when all the dispositive parts of the will are written on one sheet
only, the object of the Act 2645 disappears because the removal of this single
sheet although unnumbered, cannot be hidden.
3. Re: dialect
- The circumstance appearing in the will itself that the same was
executed in the city of Cebu and in the dialect of this locality where the testatrix
was a neighbor is enough to presume that the will was written in a dialect that the
testator knew, absent any proof to the contrary.


FERNANDEZ VS VERGEL DE DIOS
re will of Antonio Vergel de Dios, deceased. RAMON J. FERNANDEZ, petitioner-
appellant, HERMELO VERGEL DE DIOS and SEVERINA JAVIER, legatees-
appellants, vs. FERNANDO VERGEL DE DIOS, ET AL., opponents-appellees.
FACTS:
RAMON Fernandez filed for the probate of will of Antonio in CFI MANILA.
Fernando et al filed for opposition on the ground that the attestation clause is
defective.
RTC HELD that the attestation clause is defective and the will is VOID.
(RTC denied the probate of will)
ISSUE WHETHER THE ATTESTATION CLAUSE IS VOID.
HELD: NO
RULING:
(a) It was not sufficiently proven that the testator knew the contents of the will.
(b) The testator did not sign all the pages of the will.
(c) He did not request anybody to attest the document as his last will.
(d) He did not sign it in the presence of any witness.
(e) The witnesses did not sign it in the presence of the testator, or of each other,
nor with knowledge on the part of the testator that they were signing his will.
(f ) The witnesses did not sign the attestation clause before the death of the
testator.
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(g) This clause was written after the execution of the dispositive part of the will and
was attached to the will after the death of the testator.
(h) The signatures of the testator on page 3 of Exhibit A are not authentic.
ISSUE: Whether the testator must choose his own witnesses
Held: NO
Ruling: The evidence sufficiently shows that when Attorney Lopez Lizo read the
will to the testator, the latter's mind was perfectly sane and he understood it: that
he signed all the pages of the will proper, although he did not sign the page
containing the attestation clause; that while he did not personally call the
witnesses, yet the latter were invited by Attorney Lopez Lizo to act as such in his
presence.
The law does not require that the testator precisely be the person to request the
witnesses to attest his will. It was also sufficiently established in the record, beside
being stated in the attestation clause, that the testator signed the will in the
presence of the three witnesses and that the latter, in turn, signed it in the
presence of the testator and of each other, the testator knowing that the witnesses
were signing his will; that the witnesses signed the attestation clause before the
death of the testator; that this clause, with the names of the witnesses in blank,
was prepared before the testator signed the will, and that the sheet containing said
clause, just as those of the will proper, was a loose sheet, and that all the four
sheets of which the will Exhibit A was actually composed were kept together and
are the very ones presented in this case; and finally, that the signatures of the
testator on page 3 of said exhibit are authentic.
ISSUE: Whether the formal requirements were complied with
Held:Yes. There was substantial compliance.
AS TO THE NUMBERING:
it is true that it does not appeal on the upper part of the sheet, but it does not
appear in its text, the pertinent part of which is copied hereinafter, with the words,
having reference to the number of sheets of the will, underscored, including the
page number of the attestation:
* * * We certify that the foregoing document written in Spanish, a language known
by the testator Antonino Vergel de Dios, consisting of three sheet actually used,
correlatively enumerated, besides this sheet . . . .
If, as stated in this clause, the foregoing document consists of three sheets,
besides that of the clause itself, which is in singular, it is clear that such a sheet of
the attestation clause is the fourth and that the will, including said sheet, has four
sheets.
This description contained in the clause in question constitutes substantial
compliance with the requirements prescribed by the law regarding the paging. So
it was held by this Court in the case of Abangan vs. Abangan (40 Phil., 476),
where the sheet containing the attestation, as well as the preceding one, was also
not paged. Furthermore the law, as we shall see later on, does not require that the
sheet containing nothing but the attestation clause, wholly or in part, be numbered
or paged.
AS TO THE SIGNATURE OF TESTATOR IN EVERY MARGIN OF THE PAGE
Attestation clause states that:
* * * and he (the testator) signed at the bottom of the aforesaid will in our presence
and we at his request did the same in his presence and in that of each other as
witnesses to the will, and lastly, the testator, as well as we, as witnesses, signed in
the same manner on the left margin of each sheet. (Emphasis ours.)
The underscored phrase "in the same manner" cannot in the instant case mean,
and it in fact means nothing, but that the testator and the witnesses signed on the
left margin of each sheet of the will "in the same manner" in which they signed at
the bottom thereof, that is, the testator in the presence of the witnesses and the
latter in the presence of the testator and of each other. This phrase in the same
manner cannot, in view of the context of the pertinent part, refer to another thing,
and was used here as a suppletory phrase to include everything and avoid the
repetition of a long and difficult one, such as what is meant by it. The same section
618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, in order to avoid the repetition of the same
long phrase about the testator having signed in the presence of the witnesses and
the latter in the presence of each other, resorts to a similar expression in the
second paragraph and says, "as aforesaid."
ISSUE WHETHER THE SIGNATURE OF THE TESTATOR AND PAGING ARE
REQUIRED IN THE ATTESTATION CLAUSE:
HELD; NO
RULING:
SC Held in Abangan V Abangan That:
The testator's signature is not necessary in the attestation clause because this, as
its name implies, appertains only to the witnesses and not to the testator.
(SC EXPLANATION TO THE WHOLE SEC 618)
Section 618 of the code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2645, contains
three paragraphs, of which the first enumerates in general terms the requirements
to be met by a will executed after said Code took effect, to wit,
1. that the language or dialect in which it is written be known by the testator,
that it be signed by the latter or by another person in the name of the testator by
his express direction and in his presence, and
2. that it be attested and signed by three or more credible witnesses in the
presence of the testator and of each other.
17

These general rules are amplified in the next two paragraphs as to the special
requirements for the execution of the will by the testator and the signing thereof by
the witnesses, with which the second paragraph of the section deals, and as to the
attestation clause treated in the third and last paragraph of said section 618.
For this reason the second paragraph of this section 618 says:
The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the
instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every
page thereof, on the left margin, and said pages shall be numbered correlatively in
letters placed on the upper part of each sheet.
These are the solemnities that must surround the execution of the will properly
speaking, without any reference whatsoever to the attestation clause not treated in
this second paragraph.
It is in this second paragraph which deals only with the will (without including the
attestation clause), that the signature or name of the testator and those of the
witnesses are mentioned as necessary on the left margin of each and everyone of
the sheets of the will (not of the attestation clause), as well as the paging of said
sheet (of the will, and not of the attestation clause which is not yet spoken of).
This last paragraph reads thus:
The attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages used, upon which the
will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof,
or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the
presence of three witnesses, and the latter witnessed and signed the will and all
pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of each other.
As may be seen this last paragraph refers to the contents of the text of the
attestation, not the requirements or signatures thereof outside of its text. It does
not require that the attestation be signed by the testator or that the page or sheet
containing it be numbered.
In the case at bar the attestation clause in question states that the requirements
prescribed for the will were complied with, and this is enough for it, as such
attestation clause, to be held as meeting the requirements prescribed by the law
for it.
The fact that in said clause the signature of the testator does not appear does not
affect its validity, for, as above stated, the law does not require that it be signed by
the testator.
JUDGMENT REVERSED.
CAGRO VS. CAGRO
Testate estate of the late VICENTE CAGRO. JESUSA CAGRO, petitioner-
appellee,
Vs.
PELAGIO CAGRO, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
Facts:
1. In question is the will of the late Vicente Cagro.
2. The witnesses signed the will but it is not located at the bottom of the
page after the attestation clause but is in the left hand margin.
3. Hence it is now being opposed by the respondent.
Issue: WON the will is valid for not being signed at the bottom of the attestation
clause.
Held: NO, it is not valid.
The signatures should be at the bottom for 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.
Dissenting Opinion: The placement of the signature of the witnesses should not be
strictly construed otherwise such error would result in intestacy contrary to the civil
codes preference to testacy.

VILLAFLOR VS. TOBIAS
Villaflor v. Tobias
Facts
This is an appeal from the judgment denying the probate of the will of
Gregoria Villaflor with the following Grounds:
o The will was not signed during the creation and was only signed on the
execution
o Villaflor had not used her signature before and after execution and was only
using her thumb mark
o No person was authorized by her to sign the document in her name
o The way the will was prepared was against the desires and her instructions
o Gregoria had said subsequent to the making of the will that it was not her will.
o That the will was written in 8 sheets of paper, the attestation clause was written
on a separate sheet.
Issue
WON the will should be probated
Held
Yes
o The signature of a third person in the name of the testatrix is just made to
comply with the Spanish civil code which says that a thumb print is not escribir.
The court viewed this fact that the lawyer who prepared the will knew of this rule
and was merely complying with the rules of the Spanish civil code.
18

o Hearsay testimony of the testatrix that the will is not her own will not be
accepted by the courts, since the testatrix is an old woman, she may have made
those statements to alleviate some of the distraught caused to the people wronged
in the provisions of her will
o Lastly, the attestation clause on a separate piece of paper of the document
was held to be of minor importance according to the courts.
If the will is written on the last part of the body of the document, there would
have been sufficient pages for the signatures and names of the witnesses in the
8
th
page.
The 9
th
page was signed and so was every other page of the will, and there was
no question as to the authenticity of the signatures.

4. SUPERVENING INCOMPETENCY OF WITNESSES
5. COMPETENCY OF INTERESTED WITNESSES
H. THE NOTARY PUBLIC
GUERRERO VS. BIHIS
GUERRERO V. BIHIS (2007)
Facts: Felisa Tamio de Buenaventura (decedent) died 79 yrs old in year 1994 and
left a will.
Bella A. Guerrero (executrix) filed for probate of will and testament of the
deceased. She was appointed by court as special administratrix of decedents
estate.
Resurreccion A. Bihis (respondent-younger sister) opposed elder sister on
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.
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 testatrix's residence at No. 40 Kanlaon Street, Quezon City
before Atty. Macario O. Directo who was a commissioned notary public for and in
Caloocan City. CA affirmed the decision.
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? It did not.
Held: Since Atty. Directo was not a commissioned notary public for and in
Quezon City, he lacked the authority to take the acknowledgment of the testatrix
and the instrumental witnesses. In the same vein, the testatrix and her witnesses
could not have validly acknowledged the will before him. Thus, Felisa Tamio de
Buenaventura's last will and testament was, in effect, not acknowledged as
required by law.
Article 806 of the Civil Code provides:
ART. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator
and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the
will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court.
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. 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.
An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before
some competent officer and declaring it to be his act or deed. In the case of a
notarial will, that competent officer is the notary public.
The acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator and the instrumental
witnesses to declare before an officer of the law, the notary public that they
executed and subscribed to the will as their own free act or deed. Such declaration
is under oath and under pain of perjury, thus paving the way for the criminal
prosecution of persons who participate in the execution of spurious wills, or those
executed without the free consent of the testator. It also provides a further degree
of assurance that the testator is of a certain mindset in making the testamentary
dispositions to the persons instituted as heirs or designated as devisees or
legatees in the will.
Acknowledgment can only be made before a competent officer, that is, a lawyer
duly commissioned as a notary public.

LEE VS TAMBAGO
MANUEL L. LEE, petitioner,
vs.
ATTY. REGINO B. TAMBAGO, respondent.
Facts:
1. Manuel Lee (complainant), charged respondent, Atty. 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
(decedent), Vicente Lee, Sr. and two other witnesses.
2. Witnesses were also questioned for the unnotated Residence Certificates
that are known to be a copy of their respective voters affidavit. In addition, the
contested will was executed and acknowledge before respondent in 1965 but
19

bears a Residence Certificate by the Testator dated Jan. 5, 1962, which was never
submitted for filing to the Archives Division of the Records Management and
Archives Office of NCCA
3. Respondent 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 crim case against him in the Ombudsmman that did not
prosper.
4. However, he did not deny the contention of non filing a copy to the Archives
Division of NCCA. In resolution, the court referred the case to IBP and the decision
of which as affirmed with modification against the respondent and in favor of the
complainant.
Issue: Did Atty. Tambago committed a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics of
Legal Profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament?
Held: Yes.
1. As held by the SC, Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as he
violated the lawyers oath, Rule 138 of ROC. Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, Art. 806 of the Civil Code and provision of Notarial
Law.
2. Thus, Tambago is suspended from the practice of law for one year and his
Notarial commission revoked.
3. 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.

GABUCAN VS. MANTA
G.R. No. L-51546 January 28, 1980
JOSE ANTONIO GABUCAN, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
HON. JUDGE LUIS D. MANTA JOSEFA G. VDA. DE YSALINA and NELDA G.
ENCLONAR, respondents-appellees.
Ignacio A. Calingin for appellant.
This case is about the dismissal of a petition for the probate of a notarial will on the
ground that it does not bear a thirty-centavo documentary stamp.
1. probate of the will of the late Rogaciano Gabucan was dismissed
because the requisite documentary stamp was not affixed to the notarial
acknowledgement in the will and is no admissible as evidence.
2. Respondent judge cited section 238 of the Tax Code:
SEC. 238. Effect of failure to stamp taxable document. An instrument,
document, or paper which is required by law to be stamped and which has been
signed, issued, accepted, or transferred without being duly stamped, shall not be
recorded, nor shall it or any copy thereof or any record of transfer of the same be
admitted or used in evidence in any court until the requisite stamp or stamps shall
have been affixed thereto and cancelled.
No notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths shall add his jurat
or acknowledgment to any document subject to documentary stamp tax unless the
proper documentary stamps are affixed thereto and cancelled.
1. The probate court assumed that the notarial acknowledgment of the said
will is subject to the thirty-centavo documentary stamp tax fixed in section
225 of the Tax Code, now section 237 of the 1977 Tax Code.
2. Respondent Judge refused to reconsider the dismissal in spite of
petitioner's manifestation that he had already attached the documentary
stamp to the original of the will.
3. petitioner filed a petition for mandamus to compel lower court to allow
petitioners appeal
Issue: whether or not the probate court was correct in dismissing the case on the
ground that it does not bear a 30c documentary stamp.
Held:
No. We hold that the lower court manifestly erred in declaring that, because no
documentary stamp was affixed to the will, there was "no will and testament to
probate" and, consequently, the alleged "action must of necessity be dismissed".
What the probate court should have done was to require the petitioner or
proponent to affix the requisite thirty-centavo documentary stamp to the notarial
acknowledgment of the will which is the taxable portion of that document.
That procedure may be implied from the provision of section 238 that the non-
admissibility of the document, which does not bear the requisite documentary
stamp, subsists only "until the requisite stamp or stamps shall have been affixed
thereto and cancelled."
Thus, it was held that the documentary stamp may be affixed at the time the
taxable document is presented in evidence (Del Castillo vs. Madrilena 49 Phil.
749). If the promissory note does not bear a documentary stamp, the court should
have allowed plaintiff's tender of a stamp to supply the deficiency. (Rodriguez vs.
Martinez, 5 Phil. 67, 71. Note the holding in Azarraga vs. Rodriguez, 9 Phil. 637,
that the lack of the documentary stamp on a document does not invalidate such
document. See Cia. General de Tabacos vs. Jeanjaquet 12 Phil. 195, 201-2 and
Delgado and Figueroa vs. Amenabar 16 Phil. 403, 405-6.)
JAVELLANA VS. LEDESMA
20

Javellana v Ledesma
Facts:
CFI Iloilo admitted to probate the documents in the Visayan dialect of the
deceased Da. Apolinaria Ledesma Vda de Javellana
Contestant: Da Matea Ledesma, sister and nearest surviving relative of
deceased, appealed from decision, insisting that said documents were not
executed in conformity with law
Opposition: testatrix lacked testamentary capacity and that the dispositions
were procured through undue influence
The MOST important variation noted by the the contestants concerning the
signing of the certificate of acknowledgment.
The signing of the codicil was not done immediately or in one single
moment. It was signed somewhere else.
The testatrix and the witnesses at the hospital signed the will but it was
notarized only after being brought to the office of the notary.
Issue:
WON the signing and sealing of the will in the absence of the testator and
witnesses affects the validity of the will.
Ruling:
No! the new civil code does not require the signing of the testator, the
witnesses and the notary be accomplished in one single act.
All that is required every will must be acknowledged before a notary public
by the testator and witnesses.
Testate Estate of the Late Apolinaria Ledesma. FELICIDAD JAVELLANA,
petitioner-appellee, vs.
DOA MATEA LEDESMA, oppositor-appellant.
The CFI admitted to probate the documents in the Visayan dialect as the
testament and codicil duly executed by the deceased Da. Apolinaria Ledesma
Vda. de Javellana, with Ramon Tabiana, Gloria Montinola de Tabiana and Vicente
Yap as witnesses.
The contestant, Da. Matea Ledesma, sister and nearest surviving relative of said
deceased, appealed from the decision, insisting that the said exhibits were not
executed in conformity with law.
Issues before the CFI: (1) whether the testament of 1950 was executed by the
testatrix in the presence of the instrumental witnesses; (2) whether the
acknowledgment clause was signed and the notarial seal affixed by the notary
without the presence of the testatrix and the witnesses; and (3) if so, whether the
codicil was thereby rendered invalid and ineffective. These questions are the same
ones presented to us for resolution.
Held: (issues 2 and 3 lang for Wills class)
Signed and the notarial seal affixed by the notary without the presence of the
testatrix and the witnesses but still valid and effective.
The most important variation noted by the contestants concerns that signing of the
certificate of acknowledgment appended to the Codicil in Visayan. Unlike the
testament, this codicil was executed after the enactment of the new Civil Code,
and, therefore, had to be acknowledged before a notary public (Art. 806).
Now, the instrumental witnesses (who happen to be the same ones who attested
the will of 1950) asserted that after the codicil had been signed by the testatrix and
the witnesses at the San Pablo Hospital, the same was signed and sealed by
notary public Gimotea on the same occasion. On the other hand, Gimotea affirmed
that he did not do so, but brought the codicil to his office, and signed and sealed it
there.
The variance does not necessarily imply conscious perversion of truth on the part
of the witnesses, but appears rather due to a well-established phenomenon, the
tendency of the mind, in recalling past events, to substitute the usual and habitual
for what differs slightly from it.
At any rate, as observed by the Court below, 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 the case before us. The subsequent signing and sealing by the notary
of his certification that the testament was duly acknowledged by the participants
therein is no part of the acknowledgment itself nor of the testamentary act. Hence
their separate execution out of the presence of the testatrix and her witnesses can
not be said to violate the rule that testaments should be completed without
interruption, or, as the Roman maxim puts it, "uno codem die ac tempore in eadem
loco", and no reversible error was committed by the Court in so holding. It is
noteworthy that Article 806 of the new Civil Code does not contain words requiring
that the testator and the witnesses should acknowledge the testament on the
same day or occasion that it was executed.
The decision admitting the will to probate is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

21

GARCIA VS. GATCHALIAN
GARCIA V. GATCHALIAN, No. L-20357, 25 November 1967
FACTS:
Pedro Reyes Garcia filed a petition for the probate of the will of Gregorio
Gatchalian, where he was named as the latters sole heir. Appellees alleged that
the will was obtained by fraud as Gatchalian was physically and mentally
incapable of making it. The trial court held that the will was authentic; however, not
acceptable for probate as it was not acknowledged before a notary required
under Article 806, NCC.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the requirement of acknowledging the will before a notary can be
disposed of
HELD:
No. Compliance with the requirement that a will must be acknowledged before a
notary by the testator and also by the witnesses is indispensable for its validity.
Absent such requirement, Gatchalians will may not be probated.
CRUZ VS. VILLASOR
Cruz vs Villasor
FACTS:
The CFI of Cebu allowed the probate of the last will and testament of the late
Valenti Cruz. However, the petitioner opposed the allowance of the will alleging
that it was executed through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and undue
influence. He further alleged that the instrument was executed without the testator
having been informed of its contents and finally, that it was not executed in
accordance with law.
One of the witnesses, Angel Tevel Jr. was also the notary before whom the will
was acknowledged. Despite the objection, the lower court admitted the will to
probate on the ground that there is substantial compliance with the legal
requirements of having at least 3 witnesses even if the notary public was one of
them.
ISSUE: Whether or not the will is valid in accordance with Art. 805 and 806?
RULING:
NOPE.
The will is not valid. The notary public cannot be considered as the third
instrumental witness since he cannot acknowledge before himself his having
signed the said will. An acknowledging officer cannot serve as witness at the same
time.
To acknowledge before means to avow, or to own as genuine, to assent, admit,
and 'before' means in front of or preceding in space or ahead of. The notary
cannot split his personality into two so that one will appear before the other to
acknowledge his participation int he making of the will. To permit such situation
would be absurd.
Finally, the function of a notary among others is to guard against any illegal or
immoral arrangements, a function defeated if he were to be one of the attesting or
instrumental witnesses. He would be interested in sustaining the validity of the will
as it directly involves himself and the validity of his own act. he would be in an
inconsistent position, thwarting the very purpose of the acknowledgment, which is
to minimize fraud.

I. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR HANDICAPPED TESTATORS
GARCIA VS. VASQUEZ
GARCIA V VASQUEZ
3 CONSOLIDATED CASES
SPECIAL REQUIREMENT FOR HANDICAPPED TESTATORS
FACTS:
G.R. No. L-27200 is an appeal from the order of the Court of First
Instance of Manila (in Sp. Proc. No. 62618) admitting to probate the alleged last
will an, testament of the late Gliceria Avelino del Rosario dated 29 December
1960. G.R. Nos. L-26615 and L-2684 are separate petitions for mandamus filed by
certain alleged heirs of said decedent seeking:
(1) to compel the probate court to remove Consuelo S. Gonzales-Precilla as
special administratrix of the estate, for conflict of interest, to appoint a new one in
her stead; and
(2) to order the Register of Deeds of Manila to annotate notice of lis pendens in
TCT Nos. 81735, 81736 ,and 81737, registered in the name of Alfonso Precilla,
married to Consuelo Gonzales y Narciso, and said to be properly belonging to the
estate of the deceased Gliceria A. del Rosario.
Gliceria Avelino del Rosario died unmarried in the City of Manila
on 2 September 1965, leaving no descendents, ascendants, brother or sister.
At the time of her death, she was said to be 90 years old more or
less, and possessed of an estate consisting mostly of real properties.
On 17 September 1965, Consuelo S. Gonzales Vda. de Precilla, a
niece of the deceased, petitioned the CFI of Manila for probate of the alleged
last will and testament of Gliceria A. del Rosario, executed on 29 December
1960,
and for her appointment as special administratrix of the latters
estate, said to be valued at about P100,000.00, pending the appointment of a
regular administrator thereof.
22

The petition was opposed separately by 7 groups of alleged
heirs: (1) Rev. Fr. Lucio V. Garcia, a legatee named in an earlier will executed
by Gliceria A. del Rosario on 9 June 1956; (2) Jaime Rosario and children,
relatives and legatees in both the 1956 and 1960 wills; Antonio Jesus de Praga
and Marta Natividad de Jesus, wards of the deceased and legatees in the 1956
and 1960 wills; (3) Remedios, Encarnacion, and Eduardo, all surnamed Narciso;
(4) Natividad del Rosario-Sarmiento; (5) Maria Narciso; (6) Pascuala Narciso de
Manahan; (7) Severina, Rosa and Josefa, surnamed Narciso, and Vicente and
Delfin, surnamed Mauricio, the latter five groups of persons all claiming to be
relatives of Doa Gliceria within the fifth civil degree.
The oppositions invariably charged that the instrument executed in
1960 was not intended by the deceased to be her true will;
the signatures of the deceased appearing in the will was procured
through undue and improper pressure and influence the part of the beneficiaries
and/or other persons;
The testatrix did not know the object of her bounty;
the instrument itself reveals irregularities in its execution, and that
the formalities required by law for such execution have not been complied with.
After the parties were duly heard, the probate court, in its order of
2 October 1965, granted petitioners prayer and appointed her special
administratrix of the estate upon a bond for P30,000.00.
On 25 August 1966, the Court issued an order admitting to probate
the 1960 will of Gliceria A. del Rosario
In declaring the due execution of the will, the probate court took
note that no evidence had been presented to establish:
that the testatrix was not of sound mind when the will was executed; that the
fact that she had prepared an earlier will did not, prevent her from executing
another one thereafter;
that the fact that the 1956 will consisted of 12 pages whereas the 1960
testament was contained in one page does not render the latter invalid;
that, the erasures and alterations in the instrument were insignificant to warrant
rejection; that the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the instrumental witnesses
which were noted by the oppositors are even indicative of their truthfulness.
The probate court, also considering that petitioner had already
shown capacity to administer the properties of the estate and that from the
provisions of the will she stands as the person most concerned and interested
therein, appointed said petitioner regular administratrix with a bond for
P50,000.00. From this order all the oppositors appealed, the case being
docketed in this Court as G.R. No. L-27200.
Foremost of the questions to be determined here concerns the
correctness of the order allowing the probate of the 1960 will.
The oppositors-appellants in the present case, however, challenging
the correctness of the probate courts ruling, maintain that on 29 December
1960 the eyesight of Gliceria del Rosario was so poor and defective that she
could not have read the provisions of the will, contrary to the testimonies of
witnesses Decena, Lopez and Rosales.
ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT GLICERIA DEL ROSARIO WAS ABLE TO READ
THE PROVISION OF THE WILL DUE TO HER ALLEGED POOR AND
DEFECTIVE EYE SIGHT?
RULING:
No. Gliceria was not able to read the provision of the will. The declarations in
court of the ophthalmologist as to the condition of the testatrixs eyesight fully
establish the fact that her vision remained mainly for viewing distant objects and
not for reading print; that she was, at the time of the execution of the second will
on December 29, 1960, incapable of reading and could not have read the
provisions of the will supposedly signed by her. Upon its face, the testamentary
provisions, the attestation clause and acknowledgment were crammed together
into a single sheet of paper, apparently to save on space. Plainly, the testament
was not prepared with any regard for the defective vision of Da. Gliceria, the
typographical errors remained uncorrected thereby indicating that the execution
thereof must have been characterized by haste. It is difficult to understand that
so important a document containing the final disposition of ones worldly
possessions should be embodied in an informal and untidy written instrument; or
that the glaring spelling errors should have escaped her notice if she had
actually retained the ability to read the purported will and had done so. Where
as in the 1960 will there is nothing in the record to show that the requisites of
Art. 808 of the Civil Code of the Philippines that "if the testator is blind, the will
shall be read to him twice," have not been complied with, the said 1960 will
suffer from infirmity that affects its due execution.
That Doa Gliceria should be able to greet her guests on her birthday, arrange
flowers and attend to kitchen tasks shortly prior to the alleged execution of the
testament ", as appears from the photographsin no way proves; that she was
able to read a closely typed page, since the acts shown do not require vision at
close range. It must be remembered that with the natural lenses removed, her
eyes had lost the power of adjustment to near vision, the substituted glass
lenses being rigid and uncontrollable by her. Neither is the signing of checks by
her indicative of ability to see at normal reading distances. Writing or signing of
ones name, when sufficiently practiced, becomes automatic, so that one need
23

only to have a rough indication of the place where the signature is to be affixed
in order to be able to write it. Indeed, a close examination of the checks,
amplified in the photographreinforces the contention of oppositors that the
alleged testatrix could not see at normal reading distance: the signatures in the
checks are written far above the printed base, lines, and the names of the
payees as well as the amounts written do not appear to be in the handwriting of
the alleged testatrix, being in a much firmer and more fluid hand than hers.

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 thereof
known to him, 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.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the order of the court below allowing to
probate the alleged 1960 will of Gliceria A. del Rosario is hereby reversed and
set aside. The petition in G.R. No. L-26615 being meritorious, the appealed
order is set aside and the court below is ordered to remove the administratrix,
Consuelo Gonzales Vda. de Precilla, and appoint one of the heirs intestate of
the deceased Doa Gliceria Avelino del Rosario as special administrator for the
purpose of instituting action on behalf of her estate to recover the properties
allegedly sold by her to the late Alfonso D. Precilla. And in Case G.R. No. L-
26864, petition is dismissed. No costs.

ALVARADO VS. GAVIOLA
In the Matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased
Brigido Alvarado, CESAR ALVARADO, vs. HON. RAMON G. GAVIOLA, JR.,
Presiding Justice, HON. MA. ROSARIO QUETULIO LOSA and HON. LEONOR
INES LUCIANO, Associate Justices, IAC, First Division (Civil Cases), and
BAYANI MA. RINO,
Appeal from the Decision dated 11 April 1986
1
of the now Court of Appeals, which
affirmed the Order of the RTC, admitting to probate the last will and testament
3

with codicil
4
of the late Brigido Alvarado.
On 5 November 1977, the 79-year old Brigido Alvarado executed a notarial will
entitled "Huling Habilin" wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son (petitioner)
and expressly revoked a previously executed holographic will at the time awaiting
probate.
As testified to by the 3 witnesses, the notary public and by private respondent who
were present at the execution, the testator did not read the final draft of the will
himself. Instead, private respondent, as the lawyer who drafted the eight-paged
document, read the same aloud in the presence of the testator, the three
witnesses and the notary public. The latter four followed the reading with their own
respective copies previously furnished them.
Meanwhile, Brigido's holographic will was subsequently admitted to probate on 9
December 1977.
On the 29th day of the same month, a codicil was executed changing some
dispositions in the notarial will to generate cash for the testator's eye operation.
Brigido was then suffering from glaucoma. But the disinheritance and revocatory
clauses were unchanged. As in the case of the notarial will, the testator did not
personally read the final draft of the codicil. Instead, it was private respondent who
read it aloud in his presence and in the presence of the three instrumental
witnesses (same as those of the notarial will) and the notary public who followed
the reading using their own copies.
A petition for the probate of the notarial will and codicil was filed upon the
testator's death on 3 January 1979 by private respondent as executor.
Petitioner filed an Opposition on the following grounds: that the will sought to be
probated was not executed and attested as required by law; that the testator
was insane or otherwise mentally incapacitated to make a will at the time of its
execution due to senility and old age; that the will was executed under duress, or
influence of fear and threats; that it was procured by undue and improper pressure
and influence on the part of the beneficiary who stands to get the lion's share of
the testator's estate; and lastly, that the signature of the testator was procured by
fraud or trick.
A Probate Order was issued from which an appeal was made to the CA. The main
thrust of the appeal was that the deceased was blind within the meaning of the law
at the time his "Huling Habilin" and the codicil was executed; that since the reading
required by Art. 808 of the Civil Code was admittedly not complied with, probate of
the deceased's last will and codicil should have been denied.
CA rendered the decision under review with the following findings: that Brigido
Alvarado was not blind at the time his last will and codicil were executed; that
assuming his blindness, the reading requirement of Art. 808 was substantially
complied with when both documents were read aloud to the testator. The appellate
court then concluded that although Art. 808 was not followed to the letter, there
24

was substantial compliance since its purpose of making known to the testator the
contents of the drafted will was served.
Issues:
1. Was Brigido Alvarado blind for purpose of Art, 808 at the time his "Huling
Habilin" and its codicil were executed?
2. If so, was the double-reading requirement of said article complied with?
Held:
1. Yes, there is no dispute on the following facts: Brigido Alvarado was not
totally blind at the time the will and codicil were executed. However, his vision on
both eyes was only of "counting fingers at three (3) feet" by reason of the
glaucoma which he had been suffering from for several years and even prior to his
first consultation with an eye specialist on 14 December 1977.
2. Substantial compliance suffices where the purpose has been served.
The point of dispute is whether the foregoing circumstances would qualify Brigido
as a "blind" testator under Art. 808 which reads:
Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice; once, by one
of the subscribing witnesses, and again, by the notary public before whom
the will is acknowledged.
Petitioner contends that although his father was not totally blind when the will and
codicil were executed, he can be so considered. Petitioner presented before the
trial court a medical certificate.
On the other hand, the CA, contrary to the medical testimony, held that the testator
could still read on the day the will and the codicil were executed but chose not to
do so because of "poor eyesight."
9
Since the testator was still capable of reading
at that time, the court a quo concluded that Art. 808 need not be complied with.
We agree with petitioner in this respect.
Regardless of respondent's staunch contention that the testator was still capable
of reading at the time his will and codicil were prepared, the fact remains and this
was testified to by his witnesses, that Brigido did not do so because of his "poor,"
10
"defective,"
11
or "blurred"
12
vision making it necessary for private respondent to
do the actual reading for him.
The following pronouncement in Garcia vs. Vasquez
13
provides an insight into the
scope of the term "blindness":
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 . . .
Clear from the foregoing is that Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also
to those who, for one reason or another, are "incapable of reading the(ir) will(s)."
Since Brigido Alvarado was incapable of reading there can be no other course for
us but to conclude that Brigido Alvarado comes within the scope of the term "blind"
as it is 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
confortably with his instructions.
Article 808 requires that in case of testators like Brigido Alvarado, the will shall be
read twice; once, by one of the instrumental witnesses and, again, by the notary
public before whom the will was acknowledged.
Instead of the notary public and an instrumental witness, it was the lawyer (private
respondent) who drafted the eight-paged will and the five-paged codicil who read
the same aloud to the testator, and read them only once, not twice as Art. 808
requires.
Private respondent however insists that there was substantial compliance and that
the single reading suffices for purposes of the law.
We sustain private respondent's stand and necessarily, the petition must be
denied.
Substantial compliance is acceptable where the purpose of the law has been
satisfied, the reason being that the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills
are intended to protect the testator from all kinds of fraud and trickery but are
never intended to be so rigid and inflexible as to destroy the testamentary
privilege.
In the case at bar, private respondent read the testator's will and codicil aloud in
the presence of the testator, his three instrumental witnesses, and the notary
public. Prior and subsequent thereto, the testator affirmed, upon being asked, that
the contents read corresponded with his instructions. Only then did the signing and
acknowledgement take place. There is no evidence, and petitioner does not so
allege, that the contents of the will and codicil were not sufficiently made known
and communicated to the testator. On the contrary, with respect to the "Huling
Habilin," the day of the execution was not the first time that Brigido had affirmed
the truth and authenticity of the contents of the draft.
The notary public and the three instrumental witnesses likewise read the will and
codicil, albeit silently. Afterwards, the notary public asked the testator whether the
contents of the document were of his own free will. Brigido answered in the
affirmative.
16
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 typewritten
documents.
25

The spirit behind the 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 the authenticity of the will, the formal imperfections should be brushed aside
when they do not affect its purpose and which, when taken into account, may only
defeat the testator's will.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

GIL VS. MURCIANO
GIL vs. MURCIANO
G.R. No. L-3362, March 1, 1951
FACTS:
1. The Court of First Instance of Manila admitted to probate the alleged will and
testament of the deceased Carlos Gil.
The oppositor Pilar Gil Vda. de Murciano appealed to this Court, raising only
question of law. Her counsel assigns the two following alleged errors:
i. The trial court erred stop claiming that the alleged will of CharlesGil was not
made in accordance with the law
ii. That the Errors legalized the said will. (Google translation)
2. The trial court based its decision on the parties agreement that said copy is true
and correct. If it were otherwise, they would not have so agreed, considering that
the defect is of an essential character and is fatal to the validity of the attestation
clause.
3. It will be noted that the attestation clause above quoted does not state that the
alleged testor signed the will.
It declares only that it was signed by the witnesses.
This is a fatal defect, for the precise purpose of the attestation clause is to certify
that the testator signed the will, this being the most essential element of the
clause.
It is said that the court may correct a mere clerical error.
This is too much of a clerical error for it effects the very essence of the clause.
Alleged errors may be overlooked or correct only in matters of form which do not
affect the substance of the statement.
ISSUE: Does the last paragraph of the will cure in any way the fatal defect of the
attestation clause of the witnesses? NO
RULING:
1. Act No. 2645 of the Philippine Legislature, passed on July 1, 1916, besides
increasing the contents of the attestation clause, entirely suppressed the above-
quoted provision. This would show that the purpose of the amending act was to
surround the execution of a will with greater guarantees and solemnities.
2. At first glance, it is queer that the alleged testator should have made an
attestation clause, which is the function of the witness. But the important point is
that he attests or certifies his own signature, or, to be accurate, his signature
certifies itself.
Consequently, the last paragraph of the will cannot cure in any way the fatal defect
of the attestation clause of the witnesses. Adding zero to an insufficient amount
does not make it sufficient.
The rules of statutory construction applies to the body of the will, containing the
testamentary provisions, but not to the attestation clause, which must be so clear
that it should not require any construction.
3. There is no reason why wills should not be executed by complying substantially
with the clear requisites of the law, leaving it to the courts to supply essential
elements.
The right to dispose of property by will is not natural but statutory, and statutory
requirements should be satisfied.
In interpreting the legislature's thought, courts have rigidly opposed any exception
tending to weaken the basic principle underlying the law, the chief purpose of
which is to see that the testator's wishes are observed.
The Legislature . . . has taught of it best and has therefore determined, to run the
risk of frustrating (that intention, . . . in preference to the risk of giving effect to or
facilitating the formation of spurious wills, by the absence of forms. . . . The evil
probably to arise by giving to wills made without any form, . . ."or, in derogation of
testator's wishes, fraudulently imposing spurious wills on his effect on his estate.
4. It has always been the policy of this court to sustain a will if it is legally possible
to do so, but we cannot break down the legislative barriers protecting a man's
property after death, even if a situation may be presented apparently meritorious.
Decision: The decision appealed from is reversed, denying the probate of the
alleged will and declaring intestate the estate of the deceased Carlos Gil.

CANEDA VS. CA
Facts:
Petioner: Jesus Caneda, Caballero et al
Respondent: CA and William Cabrera
December 5 1978, Mateo Caballero, widower without any children and
already old, executed a will with 3 witnesses Cipriano, Gregorio, and
Flaviano
Four months later Mateo himself filed a petition seeking the probate of
his last will and testament. He died before his will could be heard in the
probate court.
26

William Cabrera succeeded Benoni as appointed special administrator of
Mateos Estate.
Petitioners opposed that on the alleged date of execution of the will,
Mateo is already in poor state of health and that due to his condition his
signature is not genuine.
Probate Court: Will of Mateo Caballero was executed in accordance with
the requisites of law
CA: Affirmed decision of TC
Issue:
WON the attestation clause in the last will of Mateo Caballero is fatally
defective such that whether or not it affects the validity of the will
Ruling:
CA Decision reversed
Revived special proceeding, in the matter of intestate estate of Mateo
Caballero
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 is not proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in
substantial with all the requirements of Art 805.