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EN BANC

G.R. No. L-32636 March 17, 1930


In the matter Estate of Edward Rando!h "#$, deceased.
%.&. 'L(EMER, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
%NNIE )*(+"ING "I,, oppositor-appellee.
C.A. Sobral for appellant.
Harvey & O' Brien and Gibbs & McDonoug for appellee.
M%L)*LM, J.:
The special administrator of the estate of Edward Randolph Hix appeals from a decision of Jd!e of "irst
#nstance Tason den$in! the pro%ate of the docment alle!ed to %$ the last will and testament of the
deceased. Appellee is not athori&ed to carr$ on this appeal. 'e thin(, however, that the appellant, who
appears to have %een the movin! part$ in these proceedin!s, was a )person interested in the allowance
or disallowance of a will %$ a Cort of "irst #nstance,) and so shold %e permitted to appeal to the
*preme Cort from the disallowance of the will +Code of Civil ,rocedre, sec. -./, as amended0
1illaneva vs. 2e 3eon 4/5678, 96 ,hil., -.:;.
#t is theor$ of the petitioner that the alle!ed will was exected in El(ins, 'est 1ir!inia, on Novem%er <,
/567, %$ Hix who had his residence in that =risdiction, and that the laws of 'est 1er!inia Code,
Annotated, %$ Ho!!, Charles E., vol. 6, /5/9, p. />5:, and as certified to %$ the 2irector of the National
3i%rar$. Bt this was far from a compliance with the law. The laws of a forei!n =risdiction do not prove
themselves in or corts. the corts of the ,hilippine #slands are not athori&ed to ta(e American ?nion.
*ch laws mst %e proved as facts. +#n re Estate of Johnson 4/5/.8, <5 ,hil., /7>.; Here the re@irements
of the law were not met. There was no was printed or p%lished nder the athorit$ of the *tate of 'est
1ir!inia, as provided in section <:: of the Code of Civil ,rocedre. Nor was the extract from the law
attested %$ the certificate of the officer havin! char!e of the ori!inal, nder the sale of the *tate of 'est
1ir!inia, as provided in section <:/ of the Code of Civil ,rocedre. No evidence was introdced to show
that the extract from the laws of 'est 1ir!inia was in force at the time the alle!ed will was exected.
#n addition, the de exection of the will was not esta%lished. The onl$ evidence on this point is to %e
fond in the testimon$ of the petitioner. Aside from this, there was nothin! to indicate that the will was
ac(nowled!ed %$ the testator in the presence of two competent witnesses, of that these witnesses
s%scri%ed the will in the presence of the testator and of each other as the law of 'est 1ir!inia seems to
re@ire. An the spposition that the witnesses to the will reside withot the ,hilippine #slands, it wold
then the dt$ of the petitioner to prove exection %$ some other means +Code of Civil ,rocedre, sec.
><<.;
#t was also necessar$ for the petitioner to prove that the testator had his domicile in 'est 1ir!inia and not
esta%lish this fact consisted of the recitals in the )%-". will and the testimon$ of the petitioner. Also in
%e!innin! administration proceedin!s or!inall$ in the ,hilippine #slands, the petitioner violated his own
theor$ %$ attemptin! to have the principal administration in the ,hilippine #slands.
'hile the appeal pendin! s%mission in this cort, the attorne$ for the appellant presented an nverified
petition as(in! the cort to accept as part of the evidence the docments attached to the petition. Ane of
these docments discloses that a paper writin! prportin! to %e the was presented for pro%ate on Jne .,
/565, to the cler( of Randolph Contr$, *tate of 'est 1ir!inia, in vacation, and was dl$ proven %$ the
oaths of 2ana 'amsle$ and Joseph 3. BAdden, the s%scri%in! witnesses thereto , and ordered to %e
recorded and filed. #t was shown %$ another docment that, in vacation, on Jne ., /565, the cler( of
cort of Randolph Contr$, 'est 1ir!inia, appointed Clade '. Baxwell as administrator, cu!
testa!ento anne"o, of the estate of Edward Randolph Hix, deceased. #n this connection, it is to %e noted
that the application for the pro%ate of the will in the ,hilippines was filed on "e%rar$ 6:, /565, while the
proceedin!s in 'est 1ir!inia appear to have %een initiated on Jne ., /565. These facts are stron!l$
indicative of an intention to ma(e the ,hilippines the principal administration and 'est 1ir!inia the
ancillar$ administration. However this ma$ %e, no attempt has %een made to compl$ with Civil ,rocedre,
for no hearin! on the @estion of the allowance of a will said to have %een proved and allowed in 'est
1ir!inia has %een re@ested. There is no showin! that the deceased left an$ propert$ at an$ place other
than the ,hilippine #slands and no contention that he left an$ in 'est 1ir!inia.
Reference has %een made %$ the parties to a divorce prported to have %een awarded Edward Randolph
Hix from Annie Cosins Hix on Acto%er ., /567, in the *tate of 'est specific prononcements on the
validit$ or validit$ of this alle!ed divorce.
'or a of the fore/o#n/, the 01d/ment a!!eaed from w# 2e aff#rmed, w#th the costs of th#s
#nstance a/a#nst the a!!eant.
G.R. No. L-3113 41ne 30, 1952
-estamentar#a de f#nado &##am R. G#2erson. LEL% G. 6%L-*N, solicitante-apelante,
vs.
+7RING GI8ER+*N, opositor-apelado.
#os ecos aparecen relacionados en la decision del $ribunal.
Sres. C. D. %onston y A. &. Deen en representacion de la apelante.
D. 'rancisco (. '. )e!oti*ue en representacion del apelado.
7%8L*, J.9
3ela C. 2alton presentoD en /: de fe%rero de /595 na solicitd en el J&!ado de ,rimera #nstancia de
Ce%pidiendo la le!ali&acion de n docmento @e, se!n ale!a ella, es testamento olo!rafo de 'illiam
R. Ci%erson, otor!adoen 65 de a%ril de /56: en *an "rancisco, California0 @e Ci%erson era cidadano
del estado de #llinois, Estados ?nidos, $ residente de Ce%0 $ @e fallecio en > de a!osto de /59< en el
campo de concentracion de la ?niversidad de *to, Tomas, Banila, "ilipinas.
*prin! Ci%erson, hi=o le!itimo de 'illiam R. Ci%erson, presento n oposicion ale!ando @e el testamento
es apocrifo0 @e no representa la verdadera volntad del finado Ci%ersonE $ @e no ha sido otor !ado de
acerdo con la le$.
En /.F de =lio de /595, el opositor presento na mocionpidiendo el so%reseimiento de la solicitd,
ale!ando @e, antes de @e n testamento otor!ado en pais extran=eropeda ser le!ali&ado en las #slas
"ilipinas, de%e demostrarse @e dicho testamento ha%ia sido le!ali&ado previamenteen dicho pais, de
acerdo con el articlo / de la Re!la -.0 @e la solicitd no ale!a @e el testamento ha%ia sido $a
le!ali&ado en California.
3a solicitante se opso a la mocion de so%reseimiento. En 6: de =nio de /57: el Je& so%rese$o la
solicitd, declarandoE ). . . nder or existin! rles onl$ those wills that have previosl$ %een proved and
allowed in the ?nited *tates, or an$ state or territor$ thereof, or an$ forei!n contr$, accordin! to the laws
of sch state, territor$, or contr$, ma$ %e allowed, filed or recorded in the proper cort of first instance in
the ,hilippines. . . .) Contra esta orden la solicitante apela.
El opositor, en apo$o de s teoria, sostiene @e el articlo ><7 del Codi!o de ,rocedimiento Civil ha sido
dero!ado por la Re!la -., en virtd de la seccion /<, Articlo 1### de la Constitcion. 2icho articlo ><7
del Codi!o de ,rocedimiento Civil dice asiE
El testamento otor!ado fera de las #slas "ilipinas, @e pdiere atenticarse $ le!ali&arse
conforme a las le$es del estado o pais en donde se otor!o, podra atenticarse, le!ali&arse $
re!istrarse en las #slas "ilipinas, $ tendra la misma eficacia @esi se h%iere otor!ado de
conformidad con las le$es de estas #slas.
Este articlo $ ha sido aplicado en la casa de Ba%coc( Templeton contra Rider Ba%coc(, 76 Jr. "il.,
/<9, en la cal se declaro @e el testamento otor!ado en California $ @e podia le!ali&arse en dicho
estado, pede ser le!ali&ado en "ilipinas. En el asnto de 1arela contra 1arela Calderon, 7- Jr. "il.,
65/, se le!ali&o el testamento otor!ado en ,aris, "rancia, por el finado 2r. "rancisco 1arela Calderon
por@e era n testamento @e podiaser le!ali&ado de acerdo con las le$es de "rancia.
?na persona pede disponer de ss %ienes para despes de s merte por testamento. El otor!amiento
de n testamentoes n acto =ridico @e pede reali&arse en "ilipinas o en el extran=ero0 si se otor!a en
pais extran=ero, tiene @e hacerse de acerdo con las le$es de dicho pais, @e es re!la niversalmente
adoptada.
El extran=ero pede disponer para despes de s merte de ss %ienes en "ilipinas por testamento $ no
es for&oso @e lo otor!e en "ilipinas0 pede hacerlo en s propio pais o en otro, pero de acerdo con
las le$es del pais en @e lo otor!a. El articlo ><7 del Codi!o de ,rocedimiento Civil, respetando la
li%ertad del testador de otor!ar s testamento en cal@ier l!ar, dispone @e el testamento @e pede
le!ali&arse en n pais extran=ero en consonancia con las le$es de dicho pais pede le!ali&sarse tam%ien
en "ilipinas. Esa disposicion es sstantiva, crea los derechos de los %eneficiarios del testamentoE se les
ase!ra poder le!ali&ar en "ilipinas los testamentos otor!adosfera de las #slas si peden ser
le!ali&ados en el pais en @e feron otor!ados, dandoles casa de accion para pedir=dicialmente el
cmplimiento de la ltima volntad del testador sea cal fere el l!ar de s otor!amiento. *inesa
disposicion @edaria trncada la facltad de testar.
Al enmendar este Tri%nal el Codi!o de ,rocedimiento Civil, solamente enmendo la parte procesal, pero
no la parte sstantiva. )3a le$ sstantiva no pede ser enmendadapor re!las de procedimiento.) +Re$es
contra 1ida de 3&,
G
/> 3aw$er Jornal, >6<.; "or tanto, @eda an s%sistente como derecho
sstantivo el articlo><7 del Codi!o de ,rocedimiento Civil.
H el articlo ><- dice asiE )3os testamentos atenticados $ le!ali&ados en los Estados ?nidos, o en
cal@ier estado o territorio de los mismos, o en n estado o paisextran=ero, de conformidad con las
le$es de dicho estado, territorio o pais, podran ser le!ali&ados, re!istrados $archivados en el J&!ado de
,rimera #nstancia de la provinciaen @e el testador tviere %ienes me%les, o inme%les efectados por
dichos testamentos.) Este articlono esta en conflicto con el articlo ><70 en realidad, noes mas @e s
corolario. *i n testamento otor!ado en pais extran=ero @e pede le!ali&arse de acerdo con las le$es
de dicho pais pede tam%ien le!ali&arse en las #slas "ilipinas, con ma$or ra&on los testamentos $a
le!ali&adosen paises extran=eros de acerdo con las le$es de dichos paises, peden le!ali&arse tam%ien
en "ilipinas.
El articlo / de la Re!la -. no es mas @e na transplantacion del articlo ><- del Codi!o de
,rocedimiento Civil. Reprodcimos las dos disposicionesE
R?3E -., I *ECT#AN /. +ills proved outside &ilippines !ay be allo,ed ere. I 'ills proved
and allowed in a forei!n contr$,accordin! to the laws of sch contr$, ma$ %e allowed, filed, and
recorded %$ the proper Cort of "irst #nstance in the ,hilippines.
*EC. ><-. +ills proved outside islands !ay be allo,ed ere. I 'ills proved and allowed in
the -nited States. or any State or $erritory tereof. or in a forei!n state or contr$, accordin! to
the laws of sch *tate, Territor$, or contr$, ma$ %e allowed, filed,and recorded in the Cort of
"irst #nstance of te province in ,ic te testator as real or personal estate on ,ic suc ,ill
!ay operate.
3as pala%ras s%ra$adas en la se!nda disposicion son las @e no aparecen en la primera.
El articlo / de la Re!la -. no impide @e pede le!ali&arse en "ilipinas n testamento otor!ado en n
pais extran=ero,si pede ser le!ali&ado de acerdo con las le$es de dicho pais, ni exi!e @e sea
previamente le!ali&ado en dicho pais. Es insosteni%le, por tanto, la teoria del opositor.
*e revoca la orden apelada con costas contra el apelado.
G.R. No. L-20233 6ecem2er 23, 1963
7%(L% 6E L% )ERN%, E- %L., petitioners,
vs.
M%N(EL% RE8%)% 7*-*-, E- %L., and -"E "*N*R%8LE )*(R- *' %77E%L+, respondents.
&ilip M. Alo and Crispin M. Mencave/ for petitioners.
0icolas %u!apao for respondents.
RE.E+, 4.8.L., J.:
Appeal %$ ,ala de la Cerna and others from a decision of the Cort of Appeals, *ixth 2ivision +C.A.-C.R.
No. 6<-><-R; reversin! that of the Cort of "irst #nstance of Ce% +Civ. Case No. R-<./5; and orderin!
the dismissal of an action for partition.
The factal %ac(!rond appears in the followin! portion of the decision of the Cort of Appeals +,etition,
Annex A, pp. 6-9;E
#t appears that on Ba$ 5, /5<5, the sposes, Berna%e de la *erna and Cervasia Re%aca,
exected a =oint last will and testament in the local dialect where%$ the$ willed that )or two
parcels of land ac@ired drin! or marria!e to!ether with all improvements thereon shall %e
!iven to Banela Re%aca, or niece, whom we have nrtred since childhood, %ecase Cod did
not !ive s an$ child in or nion, Banela Re%aca %ein! married to Nicolas ,otot), and that
)while each of the testators is $et livin!, he or she will contine to en=o$ the frits of the two lands
aforementioned), the said two parcels of land %ein! covered %$ Tax No. 9>-> and Tax No. >>--,
%oth sitated in sitio Bcao, %arrio 3!o, mnicipalit$ of Bor%on, province of Ce%. Berna%e dela
*erna died on A!st <:, /5<5, and the aforesaid will was s%mitted to pro%ate %$ said Cervasia
and Banela %efore the Cort of "irst #nstance of Ce% which, after de p%lication as re@ired
%$ law and there %ein! no opposition, heard the evidence, and, %$ Arder of Acto%er </, /5<50 in
*pecial ,roceedin!s No. 955, )declara le!ali&ado el docmento Exhi%it A como el testamento $
ltima volntad del finado Berna%e de la *erna con derecho por parte d s vida sperstite
Cervasia Re%aca $ otra testadora al propio tiempo se!n el Exhi%it A de !o&ar de los frtos de
los terranos descritos en dicho docments0 $ ha%ido consideracion de la cantia de dichos
%ienes, se decreta la distri%cion smaria de los mismos en favor de la lo!ataria niversal
Banela Re%aca de ,otot previa prestacion por parte de la misma de na fian&a en la sm de
,7::.:: para responder de cales@iera reclamaciones @e se presentare contra los %ienes del
finado Berna%e de la *erna de los aJos desde esta fecha) +Act Esp. 955, Testamentaria "inado
Berna%e de la *erna; ?pon the death of Cervasia Re%aca on Acto%er /9, /576, another petition
for the pro%ate of the same will insofar as Cervasia was concerned was filed on Novem%er >,
/576, %ein! *pecial ,roceedin!s No. /:/>-R of the same Cort of "irst #nstance of Ce%, %t for
failre of the petitioner, Banela R. ,otot and her attorne$, Banel ,otot to appear, for the
hearin! of said petition, the case was dismissed on Barch <:, /579 *pec. ,roc. No. /:/>-R, #n
the matter of the ,ro%ate of the 'ill of Cervasia Re%aca;.
The Cort of "irst #nstance ordered the petition heard and declared the testament nll and void, for %ein!
exected contrar$ to the prohi%ition of =oint wills in the Civil Code +Art. >>5, Civil Code of /..5 and Art.
./., Civil Code of the ,hilippines;0 %t on appeal %$ the testamentar$ heir, the Cort of Appeals reversed,
on the !rond that the decree of pro%ate in /5<5 was issed %$ a cort of pro%ate =risdiction and
conclsive on the de exection of the testament. "rther, the Cort of Appeals declared thatE
... . #t is tre the law +Art. >>5, old Civil Code0 Art. ./., new Civil Code;. prohi%its the ma(in! of a
will =ointl$ %$ two or more persons either for their reciprocal %enefit or for the %enefit of a third
person. However, this form of will has lon! %een sanctioned %$ se, and the same has contined
to %e sed0 and when, as in the present case, one sch =oint last will and testament has %een
admitted to pro%ate %$ final order of a Cort of competent =risdiction, there seems to %e no
alternative except to !ive effect to the provisions thereof that are not contrar$ to law, as was done
in the case of Macroon vs. Saavedra, 7/ ,hil. 6>-, wherein or *preme Cort !ave effect to
the provisions of the =oint will therein mentioned, sa$in!, )assmin! that the =oint will in @estion is
valid.)
'hence this appeal %$ the heirs intestate of the deceased hs%and, Berna%e de la Cerna.
The appealed decision correctl$ held that the final decree of pro%ate, entered in /5<5 %$ the Cort of "irst
#nstance of Ce% +when the testator, Berna%e de la Cerna, died;, has conclsive effect as to his last will
and testament despite the fact that even then the Civil Code alread$ decreed the invalidit$ of =oint wills,
whether in favor of the =oint testators, reciprocall$, or in favor of a third part$ +Art. >>5, old Civil Code;.
The error ths committed %$ the pro%ate cort was an error of law, that shold have %een corrected %$
appeal, %t which did not affect the =risdiction of the pro%ate cort, nor the conclsive effect of its final
decision, however erroneos. A final =d!ment rendered on a petition for the pro%ate of a will is %indin!
pon the whole world +Banalo vs. ,aredes, 9- ,hil. 5<.0 #n re Estates of Johnson, <5 ,hil. /7>;0 and
p%lic polic$ and sond practice demand that at the ris( of occasional errors =d!ment of corts shold
%ecome final at some definite date fixed %$ law. 1nterest rei publicae ut finis set litiu! +2$ Ca$ vs.
Crossfield, <. ,hil, 76/, and other cases cited in 6 Boran, Comments on the Rles of Cort +/5>< Ed., p.
<66;.
,etitioners, as heirs and sccessors of the late Berna%e de la Cerna, are conclded %$ the /5<5 decree
admittin! his will to pro%ate. The contention that %ein! void the will cannot %e validated, overloo(s that the
ltimate decision on 'hether an act is valid or void rests with the corts, and here the$ have spo(en with
finalit$ when the will was pro%ated in /5<5. An this cort, the dismissal of their action for partition was
correct.
Bt the Cort of Appeals shold have ta(en into accont also, to avoid ftre misnderstandin!, that the
pro%ate decree in /5.5 cold onl$ affect the share of the deceased hs%and, Berna%e de la Cerna. #t
cold not inclde the disposition of the share of the wife, Cervasia Re%aca, who was then still alive, and
over whose interest in the con=!al properties the pro%ate cort ac@ired no =risdiction, precisel$
%ecase her estate cold not then %e in isse. Be it remem%ered that prior to the new Civil Code, a will
cold not %e pro%ated drin! the testatorDs lifetime.
#t follows that the validit$ of the =oint will, in so far as the estate of the wife was concerned, mst %e, on
her death, reexamined and ad=dicated de novo, since a =oint will is considered a separate will of each
testator. Ths re!arded, the holdin! of the cort of "irst #nstance of Ce% that the =oint will is one
prohi%ited %$ law was correct as to the participation of the deceased Cervasia Re%aca in the properties in
@estion, for the reasons extensivel$ discssed in or decision in Bilbao vs. Bilbao, .- ,hil. /99, that
explained the previos holdin! in Macroon vs. Saavedra, 7/ ,hil. 6>-.
Therefore, the ndivided interest of Cervasia Re%aca shold pass pon her death to her heirs intestate,
and not exclsivel$ to the testamentar$ heir, nless some other valid will in her favor is shown to exist, or
nless she %e the onl$ heir intestate of said Cervasia.
#t is nnecessar$ to emphasi&e that the fact that =oint wills shold %e in common sa!e cold not ma(e
them valid when or Civil Codes consistentl$ invalidated them, %ecase laws are onl$ repealed %$ other
s%se@ent laws, and no sa!e to the contrar$ ma$ prevail a!ainst their o%servance +Art. 7, Civ. Code of
/..50 Art. -, Civil Code of the ,hilippines of /57:;.
'#TH THE "ARECA#NC BA2#"#CAT#AN, the =d!ment of the Cort of Appeals in CA-C.R. No. 6<-><-R
is affirmed. No Costs.
G.R. No. L-16739 4an1ar: 31, 1963
IN -"E M%--ER *' -"E -E+-%-E E+-%-E *' E6&%R6 E. )"RI+-EN+EN, 6E)E%+E6.
%6*L'* ). %;N%R, E$ec1tor and L(). )"RI+-EN+EN, "e#r of the deceased, Exector and Heir-
appellees,
vs.
"ELEN )"RI+-EN+EN G%R)I%, oppositor-appellant.
M. ). Sotelo for e"ecutor and eir2appellees.
#eopoldo M. Abellera and %ovito Salonga for oppositor2appellant.
L%8R%6*R, J.:
This is an appeal from a decision of the Cort of "irst #nstance of 2avao, Hon. 1icente N. Csi, Jr.,
presidin!, in *pecial ,roceedin! No. >66 of said cort, dated *eptem%er /9, /595, approvin! amon!
thin!s the final acconts of the exector, directin! the exector to reim%rse Baria 3c$ Christensen the
amont of ,<,>:: paid %$ her to Helen Christensen Carcia as her le!ac$, and declarin! Baria 3c$
Christensen entitled to the reside of the propert$ to %e en=o$ed drin! her lifetime, and in case of death
withot isse, one-half of said reside to %e pa$a%le to Brs. Carrie 3oise C. Borton, etc., in accordance
with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Christensen. The will was exected in Banila on
Barch 7, /57/ and contains the followin! provisionsE
<. # declare ... that # have %t ANE +/; child, named BAR#A 3?CH CHR#*TEN*EN +now Brs.
Bernard 2ane$;, who was %orn in the ,hilippines a%ot twent$-ei!ht $ears a!o, and who is now
residin! at No. >>7 Rod!er Hon! 1illa!e, 3os An!eles, California, ?.*.A.
9. # frther declare that # now have no livin! ascendants, and no descendants except m$ a%ove
named da!hter, BAR#A 3?CH CHR#*TEN*EN 2ANEH.
x x x x x x x x x
-. # !ive, devise and %e@eath nto BAR#A HE3EN CHR#*TEN*EN, now married to Edardo
Carcia, a%ot ei!hteen $ears of a!e and who, notwithstandin! the fact that she was %apti&ed
Christensen, is not in an$ wa$ related to me, nor has she %een at an$ time adopted %$ me, and
who, from all information # have now resides in E!pit, 2i!os, 2avao, ,hilippines, the sm of
THREE THA?*AN2 *#K H?N2RE2 ,E*A* +,<,>::.::;, ,hilippine Crrenc$ the same to %e
deposited in trst for the said Baria Helen Christensen with the 2avao Branch of the ,hilippine
National Ban(, and paid to her at the rate of Ane Hndred ,esos +,/::.::;, ,hilippine Crrenc$
per month ntil the principal thereof as well as an$ interest which ma$ have accred thereon, is
exhasted..
x x x x x x x x x
/6. # here%$ !ive, devise and %e@eath, nto m$ well-%eloved da!hter, the said BAR#A 3?CH
CHR#*TEN*EN 2ANEH +Brs. Bernard 2ane$;, now residin! as aforesaid at No. >>7 Rod!er
Hon! 1illa!e, 3os An!eles, California, ?.*.A., all the income from the rest, remainder, and
reside of m$ propert$ and estate, real, personal andLor mixed, of whatsoever (ind or character,
and wheresoever sitated, of which # ma$ %e possessed at m$ death and which ma$ have come
to me from an$ sorce whatsoever, drin! her lifetimeE ....
#t is in accordance with the a%ove-@oted provisions that the exector in his final accont and pro=ect of
partition ratified the pa$ment of onl$ ,<,>:: to Helen Christensen Carcia and proposed that the reside of
the estate %e transferred to his da!hter, Baria 3c$ Christensen.
Apposition to the approval of the pro=ect of partition was filed %$ Helen Christensen Carcia, insofar as it
deprives her +Helen; of her le!itime as an ac(nowled!ed natral child, she havin! %een declared %$ ?s in
C.R. Nos. 3-//9.<-.9 an ac(nowled!ed natral child of the deceased Edward E. Christensen. The le!al
!ronds of opposition are +a; that the distri%tion shold %e !overned %$ the laws of the ,hilippines, and
+%; that said order of distri%tion is contrar$ thereto insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen, one of two
ac(nowled!ed natral children, one-half of the estate in fll ownership. #n amplification of the a%ove
!ronds it was alle!ed that the law that shold !overn the estate of the deceased Christensen shold not
%e the internal law of California alone, %t the entire law thereof %ecase several forei!n elements are
involved, that the form is the ,hilippines and even if the case were decided in California, *ection 59> of
the California Civil Code, which re@ires that the domicile of the decedent shold appl$, shold %e
applica%le. #t was also alle!ed that Baria Helen Christensen havin! %een declared an ac(nowled!ed
natral child of the decedent, she is deemed for all prposes le!itimate from the time of her %irth.
The cort %elow rled that as Edward E. Christensen was a citi&en of the ?nited *tates and of the *tate
of California at the time of his death, the sccessional ri!hts and intrinsic validit$ of the provisions in his
will are to %e !overned %$ the law of California, in accordance with which a testator has the ri!ht to
dispose of his propert$ in the wa$ he desires, %ecase the ri!ht of a%solte dominion over his propert$ is
sacred and inviola%le +#n re Bc2anielDs Estate, -- Cal. Appl. 6d .--, /-> ,. 6d 576, and #n re Mafman,
//- Cal. 6.>, 95 ,ac. /56, cited in pa!e /-5, Record on Appeal;. Appositor Baria Helen Christensen,
thro!h consel, filed varios motions for reconsideration, %t these were denied. Hence, this appeal.
The most important assi!nments of error are as followsE
#
THE 3A'ER CA?RT ERRE2 #N #CNAR#NC THE 2EC#*#AN A" THE HANARAB3E *?,REBE
CA?RT THAT HE3EN #* THE ACMNA'3E2CE2 NAT?RA3 CH#32 A" E2'AR2 E. CHR#*TEN*EN
AN2, CAN*EN?ENT3H, #N 2E,R#1#NC HER A" HER J?*T *HARE #N THE #NHER#TANCE.
##
THE 3A'ER CA?RT ERRE2 #N ENT#RE3H #CNAR#NC AN2LAR "A#3#NC TA RECACN#OE THE
EK#*TENCE A" *E1ERA3 "ACTAR*, E3EBENT* AN2 C#RC?B*TANCE* CA33#NC "AR THE
A,,3#CAT#AN A" #NTERNA3 3A'.
###
THE 3A'ER CA?RT ERRE2 #N "A#3#NC TA RECACN#OE THAT ?N2ER #NTERNAT#ANA3 3A',
,ART#C?3AR3H ?N2ER THE REN1A# 2ACTR#NE, THE #NTR#N*#C 1A3#2#TH A" THE
TE*TABENTARH 2#*,A*#T#AN A" THE 2#*TR#B?T#AN A" THE E*TATE A" THE 2ECEA*E2
E2'AR2 E. CHR#*TEN*EN *HA?32 BE CA1ERNE2 BH THE 3A'* A" THE ,H#3#,,#NE*.
#1
THE 3A'ER CA?RT ERRE2 #N NAT 2EC3AR#NC THAT THE *CHE2?3E A" 2#*TR#B?T#AN
*?BB#TTE2 BH THE EKEC?TAR #* CANTRARH TA THE ,H#3#,,#NE 3A'*.
1
THE 3A'ER CA?RT ERRE2 #N NAT 2EC3AR#NC THAT ?N2ER THE ,H#3#,,#NE 3A'* HE3EN
CHR#*TEN*EN CARC#A #* ENT#T3E2 TA ANE-HA3" +/L6; A" THE E*TATE #N "?33 A'NER*H#,.
There is no @estion that Edward E. Christensen was a citi&en of the ?nited *tates and of the *tate of
California at the time of his death. Bt there is also no @estion that at the time of his death he was
domiciled in the ,hilippines, as witness the followin! facts admitted %$ the exector himself in appelleeDs
%riefE
#n the proceedin!s for admission of the will to pro%ate, the facts of record show that the deceased
Edward E. Christensen was %orn on Novem%er 65, /.-7 in New Hor( Cit$, N.H., ?.*.A.0 his first
arrival in the ,hilippines, as an appointed school teacher, was on Jl$ /, /5:/, on %oard the ?.*.
Arm$ Transport )*heridan) with ,ort of Em%ar(ation as the Cit$ of *an "rancisco, in the *tate of
California, ?.*.A. He sta$ed in the ,hilippines ntil /5:9.
#n 2ecem%er, /5:9, Br. Christensen retrned to the ?nited *tates and sta$ed there for the
followin! nine $ears ntil /5/<, drin! which time he resided in, and was teachin! school in
*acramento, California.
Br. ChristensenDs next arrival in the ,hilippines was in Jl$ of the $ear /5/<. However, in /56.,
he a!ain departed the ,hilippines for the ?nited *tates and came %ac( here the followin! $ear,
/565. *ome nine $ears later, in /5<., he a!ain retrned to his own contr$, and came %ac( to the
,hilippines the followin! $ear, /5<5.
'herefore, the parties respectfll$ pra$ that the fore!oin! stiplation of facts %e admitted and
approved %$ this Honora%le Cort, withot pre=dice to the parties addcin! other evidence to
prove their case not covered %$ this stiplation of facts. 34,p53.67t
Bein! an American citi&en, Br. Christensen was interned %$ the Japanese Bilitar$ "orces in the
,hilippines drin! 'orld 'ar ##. ?pon li%eration, in April /597, he left for the ?nited *tates %t
retrned to the ,hilippines in 2ecem%er, /597. Appellees Collective Exhi%its )>), C"# 2avao, *p.
,roc. >66, as Exhi%its )AA), )BB) and )CC-2ane$)0 Exhs. )BB), )BB-l), )BB-6-2ane$) and p.
9-<, t.s.n., Jl$ 6/, /57<.;
#n April, /57/, Edward E. Christensen retrned once more to California shortl$ after the ma(in! of
his last will and testament +now in @estion herein; which he exected at his law$ersD offices in
Banila on Barch 7, /57/. He died at the *t. 3(eDs Hospital in the Cit$ of Banila on April <:,
/57<. +pp. 6-<;
#n arrivin! at the conclsion that the domicile of the deceased is the ,hilippines, we are persaded %$ the
fact that he was %orn in New Hor(, mi!rated to California and resided there for nine $ears, and since he
came to the ,hilippines in /5/< he retrned to California ver$ rarel$ and onl$ for short visits +perhaps to
relatives;, and considerin! that he appears never to have owned or ac@ired a home or properties in that
state, which wold indicate that he wold ltimatel$ a%andon the ,hilippines and ma(e home in the *tate
of California.
*ec. />. Residence is a term sed with man$ shades of meanin! from mere temporar$ presence
to the most permanent a%ode. Cenerall$, however, it is sed to denote somethin! more than
mere ph$sical presence. +Coodrich on Conflict of 3aws, p. 65;
As to his citi&enship, however, 'e find that the citi&enship that he ac@ired in California when he resided
in *acramento, California from /5:9 to /5/<, was never lost %$ his sta$ in the ,hilippines, for the latter
was a territor$ of the ?nited *tates +not a state; ntil /59> and the deceased appears to have considered
himself as a citi&en of California %$ the fact that when he exected his will in /57/ he declared that he
was a citi&en of that *tate0 so that he appears never to have intended to a%andon his California
citi&enship %$ ac@irin! another. This conclsion is in accordance with the followin! principle exponded
%$ Coodrich in his Conflict of 3aws.
The terms )Dresidence) and )domicile) mi!ht well %e ta(en to mean the same thin!, a place of
permanent a%ode. Bt domicile, as has %een shown, has ac@ired a technical meanin!. Ths one
ma$ %e domiciled in a place where he has never %een. And he ma$ reside in a place where he
has no domicile. The man with two homes, %etween which he divides his time, certainl$ resides in
each one, while livin! in it. Bt if he went on %siness which wold re@ire his presence for
several wee(s or months, he mi!ht properl$ %e said to have sfficient connection with the place
to %e called a resident. #t is clear, however, that, if he treated his settlement as continin! onl$ for
the particlar %siness in hand, not !ivin! p his former )home,) he cold not %e a domiciled New
Hor(er. Ac@isition of a domicile of choice re@ires the exercise of intention as well as ph$sical
presence. )Residence simpl$ re@ires %odil$ presence of an inha%itant in a !iven place, while
domicile re@ires %odil$ presence in that place and also an intention to ma(e it oneDs domicile.)
Residence, however, is a term sed with man$ shades of meanin!, from the merest temporar$
presence to the most permanent a%ode, and it is not safe to insist that an$ one se et the onl$
proper one. +Coodrich, p. 65;
The law that !overns the validit$ of his testamentar$ dispositions is defined in Article /> of the Civil Code
of the ,hilippines, which is as followsE
ART. />. Real propert$ as well as personal propert$ is s%=ect to the law of the contr$ where it is
sitated.
However, intestate and testamentar$ sccessions, %oth with respect to the order of sccession
and to the amont of sccessional ri!hts and to the intrinsic validit$ of testamentar$ provisions,
shall %e re!lated %$ the national law of the person whose sccession is nder consideration,
whatever ma$ %e the natre of the propert$ and re!ardless of the contr$ where said propert$
ma$ %e fond.
The application of this article in the case at %ar re@ires the determination of the meanin! of the
term 8national la,8 is sed therein.
There is no sin!le American law !overnin! the validit$ of testamentar$ provisions in the ?nited *tates,
each state of the ?nion havin! its own private law applica%le to its citi&ens onl$ and in force onl$ within
the state. The )national law) indicated in Article /> of the Civil Code a%ove @oted can not, therefore,
possi%l$ mean or appl$ to an$ !eneral American law. *o it can refer to no other than the private law of the
*tate of California.
The next @estion isE 'hat is the law in California !overnin! the disposition of personal propert$P The
decision of the cort %elow, sstains the contention of the exector-appellee that nder the California
,ro%ate Code, a testator ma$ dispose of his propert$ %$ will in the form and manner he desires, citin! the
case of Estate of Bc2aniel, -- Cal. Appl. 6d .--, /-> ,. 6d 576. Bt appellant invo(es the provisions of
Article 59> of the Civil Code of California, which is as followsE
#f there is no law to the contrar$, in the place where personal propert$ is sitated, it is deemed to
follow the person of its owner, and is !overned %$ the law of his domicile.
The existence of this provision is alle!ed in appellantDs opposition and is not denied. 'e have chec(ed it
in the California Civil Code and it is there. Appellee, on the other hand, relies on the case cited in the
decision and testified to %$ a witness. +Anl$ the case of Mafman is correctl$ cited.; #t is ar!ed on
exectorDs %ehalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citi&en of the *tate of California, the internal
law thereof, which is that !iven in the a%ovecited case, shold !overn the determination of the validit$ of
the testamentar$ provisions of ChristensenDs will, sch law %ein! in force in the *tate of California of
which Christensen was a citi&en. Appellant, on the other hand, insists that Article 59> shold %e
applica%le, and in accordance therewith and followin! the doctrine of therenvoi, the @estion of the validit$
of the testamentar$ provision in @estion shold %e referred %ac( to the law of the decedentDs domicile,
which is the ,hilippines.
The theor$ of doctrine of renvoi has %een defined %$ varios athors, thsE
The pro%lem has %een stated in this wa$E )'hen the Conflict of 3aws rle of the form refers a
=ral matter to a forei!n law for decision, is the reference to the prel$ internal rles of law of the
forei!n s$stem0 i.e., to the totalit$ of the forei!n law mins its Conflict of 3aws rlesP)
An lo!ic, the soltion is not an eas$ one. The Bichi!an cort chose to accept the renvoi, that is,
applied the Conflict of 3aws rle of #llinois which referred the matter %ac( to Bichi!an law. Bt
once havin! determined the the Conflict of 3aws principle is the rle loo(ed to, it is difficlt to see
wh$ the reference %ac( shold not have %een to Bichi!an Conflict of 3aws. This wold have
reslted in the )endless chain of references) which has so often %een critici&ed %e le!al writers.
The opponents of the renvoi wold have loo(ed merel$ to the internal law of #llinois, ths re=ectin!
the renvoi or the reference %ac(. Het there seems no compellin! lo!ical reason wh$ the ori!inal
reference shold %e the internal law rather than to the Conflict of 3aws rle. #t is tre that sch a
soltion avoids !oin! on a merr$-!o-rond, %t those who have accepted the renvoi theor$ avoid
this ine"tricabilis circulas %$ !ettin! off at the second reference and at that point appl$in! internal
law. ,erhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a %it more consistent for the$ loo( alwa$s to internal
law as the rle of reference.
*tran!el$ eno!h, %oth the advocates for and the o%=ectors to the renvoi plead that !reater
niformit$ will reslt from adoption of their respective views. And still more stran!e is the fact that
the onl$ wa$ to achieve niformit$ in this choice-of-law pro%lem is if in the dispte the two states
whose laws form the le!al %asis of the liti!ation disa!ree as to whether the renvoi shold %e
accepted. #f %oth re=ect, or %oth accept the doctrine, the reslt of the liti!ation will var$ with the
choice of the form. #n the case stated a%ove, had the Bichi!an cort re=ected the renvoi,
=d!ment wold have %een a!ainst the woman0 if the sit had %een %ro!ht in the #llinois corts,
and the$ too re=ected the renvoi, =d!ment wold %e for the woman. The same reslt wold
happen, tho!h the corts wold switch with respect to which wold hold lia%ilit$, if %oth corts
accepted the renvoi.
The Restatement accepts the renvoi theor$ in two instancesE where the title to land is in @estion,
and where the validit$ of a decree of divorce is challen!ed. #n these cases the Conflict of 3aws
rle of the sits of the land, or the domicile of the parties in the divorce case, is applied %$ the
form, %t an$ frther reference !oes onl$ to the internal law. Ths, a personDs title to land,
reco!ni&ed %$ the sits, will %e reco!ni&ed %$ ever$ cort0 and ever$ divorce, valid %$ the
domicile of the parties, will %e valid ever$where. +Coodrich, Conflict of 3aws, *ec. -, pp. /<-/9.;
K, a citi&en of Bassachsetts, dies intestate, domiciled in "rance, leavin! mova%le propert$ in
Bassachsetts, En!land, and "rance. The @estion arises as to how this propert$ is to %e
distri%ted amon! KDs next of (in.
Assme +/; that this @estion arises in a Bassachsetts cort. There the rle of the conflict of
laws as to intestate sccession to mova%les calls for an application of the law of the deceasedDs
last domicile. *ince %$ h$pothesis KDs last domicile was "rance, the natral thin! for the
Bassachsetts cort to do wold %e to trn to "rench statte of distri%tions, or whatever
corresponds thereto in "rench law, and decree a distri%tion accordin!l$. An examination of
"rench law, however, wold show that if a "rench cort were called pon to determine how this
propert$ shold %e distri%ted, it wold refer the distri%tion to the national law of the deceased,
ths appl$in! the Bassachsetts statte of distri%tions. *o on the srface of thin!s the
Bassachsetts cort has open to it alternative corse of actionE +a; either to appl$ the "rench law
is to intestate sccession, or +%; to resolve itself into a "rench cort and appl$ the Bassachsetts
statte of distri%tions, on the assmption that this is what a "rench cort wold do. #f it accepts
the so-called renvoidoctrine, it will follow the latter corse, ths appl$in! its own law.
This is one t$pe of renvoi. A =ral matter is presented which the conflict-of-laws rle of the form
refers to a forei!n law, the conflict-of-laws rle of which, in trn, refers the matter %ac( a!ain to
the law of the form. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. The Cerman term for this =dicial
process is DRc(verweisn!.D) +Harvard 3aw Review, 1ol. </, pp. 76<-7-/.;
After a decision has %een arrived at that a forei!n law is to %e resorted to as !overnin! a
particlar case, the frther @estion ma$ ariseE Are the rles as to the conflict of laws contained in
sch forei!n law also to %e resorted toP This is a @estion which, while it has %een considered %$
the corts in %t a few instances, has %een the s%=ect of fre@ent discssion %$ textwriters and
essa$ists0 and the doctrine involved has %een descriptivel$ desi!nated %$ them as the
)Renvo$er) to send %ac(, or the )Rchversweisn!), or the )'eiterverweisn!), since an
affirmative answer to the @estion postlated and the operation of the adoption of the forei!n law
in toto wold in man$ cases reslt in retrnin! the main controvers$ to %e decided accordin! to
the law of the form. ... +/> C.J.*. .-6.;
Another theor$, (nown as the )doctrine of renvoi), has %een advanced. The theor$ of the doctrine
of renvoiis that the cort of the form, in determinin! the @estion %efore it, mst ta(e into
accont the whole law of the other =risdiction, %t also its rles as to conflict of laws, and then
appl$ the law to the actal @estion which the rles of the other =risdiction prescri%e. This ma$
%e the law of the form. The doctrine of therenvoi has !enerall$ %een repdiated %$ the American
athorities. +6 Am. Jr. 65>;
The scope of the theor$ of renvoi has also %een defined and the reasons for its application in a contr$
explained %$ ,rof. 3oren&en in an article in the Hale 3aw Jornal, 1ol. 6-, /5/--/5/., pp. 765-7</. The
pertinent parts of the article are @oted herein %elowE
The reco!nition of the renvoi theor$ implies that the rles of the conflict of laws are to %e
nderstood as incorporatin! not onl$ the ordinar$ or internal law of the forei!n state or contr$,
%t its rles of the conflict of laws as well. Accordin! to this theor$ Dthe law of a contr$D means
the whole of its law.
x x x x x x x x x
1on Bar presented his views at the meetin! of the #nstitte of #nternational 3aw, at Nechatel, in
/5::, in the form of the followin! thesesE
+/; Ever$ cort shall o%serve the law of its contr$ as re!ards the application of forei!n laws.
+6; ,rovided that no express provision to the contrar$ exists, the cort shall respectE
+a; The provisions of a forei!n law which disclaims the ri!ht to %ind its nationals a%road
as re!ards their personal statte, and desires that said personal statte shall %e
determined %$ the law of the domicile, or even %$ the law of the place where the act in
@estion occrred.
+%; The decision of two or more forei!n s$stems of law, provided it %e certain that one of
them is necessaril$ competent, which a!ree in attri%tin! the determination of a @estion
to the same s$stem of law.
x x x x x x x x x
#f, for example, the En!lish law directs its =d!e to distri%te the personal estate of an En!lishman
who has died domiciled in Bel!im in accordance with the law of his domicile, he mst first
in@ire whether the law of Bel!im wold distri%te personal propert$ pon death in accordance
with the law of domicile, and if he finds that the Bel!ian law wold ma(e the distri%tion in
accordance with the law of nationalit$ I that is the En!lish law I he mst accept this reference
%ac( to his own law.
'e note that Article 59> of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rle, while the rle applied in #n
re Mafman, Supra, its internal law. #f the law on sccession and the conflict of laws rles of California are
to %e enforced =ointl$, each in its own intended and appropriate sphere, the principle cited #n re Mafman
shold appl$ to citi&ens livin! in the *tate, %t Article 59> shold appl$ to sch of its citi&ens as are not
domiciled in California %t in other =risdictions. The rle laid down of resortin! to the law of the domicile
in the determination of matters with forei!n element involved is in accord with the !eneral principle of
American law that the domiciliar$ law shold !overn in most matters or ri!hts which follow the person of
the owner.
'hen a man dies leavin! personal propert$ in one or more states, and leaves a will directin! the
manner of distri%tion of the propert$, the law of the state where he was domiciled at the time of
his death will %e loo(ed to in decidin! le!al @estions a%ot the will, almost as completel$ as the
law of sits is conslted in @estions a%ot the devise of land. #t is lo!ical that, since the
domiciliar$ rles control devoltion of the personal estate in case of intestate sccession, the
same rles shold determine the validit$ of an attempted testamentar$ dispostion of the propert$.
Here, also, it is not that the domiciliar$ has effect %e$ond the %orders of the domiciliar$ state. The
rles of the domicile are reco!ni&ed as controllin! %$ the Conflict of 3aws rles at the sits
propert$, and the reason for the reco!nition as in the case of intestate sccession, is the !eneral
convenience of the doctrine. The New Hor( cort has said on the pointE DThe !eneral principle that
a dispostiton of a personal propert$, valid at the domicile of the owner, is valid an$where, is one
of the niversal application. #t had its ori!in in that international comit$ which was one of the first
frits of civili&ation, and it this a!e, when %siness intercorse and the process of accmlatin!
propert$ ta(e %t little notice of %ondar$ lines, the practical wisdom and =stice of the rle is
more apparent than ever. +Coodrich, Conflict of 3aws, *ec. />9, pp. 996-99<.;
Appellees ar!e that what Article /> of the Civil Code of the ,hilippines pointed ot as the national la, is
the internal law of California. Bt as a%ove explained the laws of California have prescri%ed two sets of
laws for its citi&ens, one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other =risdictions.
Reason demands that 'e shold enforce the California internal law prescri%ed for its citi&ens residin!
therein, and enforce the conflict of laws rles for the citi&ens domiciled a%road. #f we mst enforce the law
of California as in comit$ we are %ond to !o, as so declared in Article /> of or Civil Code, then we mst
enforce the law of California in accordance with the express mandate thereof and as a%ove explained,
i.e., appl$ the internal law for residents therein, and its conflict-of-laws rle for those domiciled a%road.
#t is ar!ed on appelleesD %ehalf that the clase )if there is no law to the contrar$ in the place where the
propert$ is sitated) in *ec. 59> of the California Civil Code refers to Article /> of the Civil Code of the
,hilippines and that the law to the contrar$ in the ,hilippines is the provision in said Article /> that
the national la, of the deceased shold !overn. This contention can not %e sstained. As explained in the
varios athorities cited a%ove the national law mentioned in Article /> of or Civil Code is the law on
conflict of laws in the California Civil Code, i.e., Article 59>, which athori&es the reference or retrn of the
@estion to the law of the testatorDs domicile. The conflict of laws rle in California, Article 59>, Civil Code,
precisel$ refers %ac( the case, when a decedent is not domiciled in California, to the law of his domicile,
the ,hilippines in the case at %ar. The cort of the domicile can not and shold not refer the case %ac( to
California0 sch action wold leave the isse incapa%le of determination %ecase the case will then %e
li(e a foot%all, tossed %ac( and forth %etween the two states, %etween the contr$ of which the decedent
was a citi&en and the contr$ of his domicile. The ,hilippine cort mst appl$ its own law as directed in
the conflict of laws rle of the state of the decedent, if the @estion has to %e decided, especiall$ as the
application of the internal law of California provides no le!itime for children while the ,hilippine law, Arts.
..-+9; and .59, Civil Code of the ,hilippines, ma(es natral children le!all$ ac(nowled!ed forced heirs of
the parent reco!ni&in! them.
The ,hilippine cases +#n re Estate of Johnson, <5 ,hil. /7>0 Riera vs. ,almaroli, 9: ,hil. /:70 Biciano vs.
Brimo, 7: ,hil. .>-0 Ba%coc( Templeton vs. Rider Ba%coc(, 76 ,hil. /<:0 and Ci%%s vs. Covernment, 75
,hil. 65<.; cited %$ appellees to spport the decision can not possi%l$ appl$ in the case at %ar, for two
important reasons, i.e., the s%=ect in each case does not appear to %e a citi&en of a state in the ?nited
*tates %t with domicile in the ,hilippines, and it does not appear in each case that there exists in the
state of which the s%=ect is a citi&en, a law similar to or identical with Art. 59> of the California Civil Code.
'e therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen, a citi&en of California, is the
,hilippines, the validit$ of the provisions of his will deprivin! his ac(nowled!ed natral child, the appellant,
shold %e !overned %$ the ,hilippine 3aw, the domicile, prsant to Art. 59> of the Civil Code of
California, not %$ the internal law of California..
'HERE"ARE, the decision appealed from is here%$ reversed and the case retrned to the lower cort
with instrctions that the partition %e made as the ,hilippine law on sccession provides. Jd!ment
reversed, with costs a!ainst appellees.
G.R. No. L-2367< 41ne 6, 1967
-E+-%-E E+-%-E *' %M*+ G. 8ELLI+, deceased.
7E*7LE=+ 8%N> and -R(+- )*M7%N., exector.
M%RI% )RI+-IN% 8ELLI+ and MIRI%M 7%LM% 8ELLI+, oppositors-appellants,
vs.
E6&%R6 %. 8ELLI+, E- %L., heirs-appellees.
9icente ). Macasaet and %ose D. 9illena for oppositors appellants.
&aredes. &oblador. Cru/ and 0a/areno for eirs2appellees (. A. Bellis. et al.
:ui;ano and Arroyo for eirs2appellees +. S. Bellis. et al.
%. ). Balon<ita for appellee &eople's Ban< & $rust Co!pany.
O/aeta. Gibbs and O/aeta for appellee A. B. Alls!an.
8ENG;*N, 4.7., J.:
This is a direct appeal to ?s, pon a @estion prel$ of law, from an order of the Cort of "irst #nstance of
Banila dated April <:, /5>9, approvin! the pro=ect of partition filed %$ the exector in Civil Case No.
<-:.5 therein.34,p53.67t
The facts of the case are as followsE
Amos C. Bellis, %orn in Texas, was )a citi&en of the *tate of Texas and of the ?nited *tates.) B$ his first
wife, Bar$ E. Ballen, whom he divorced, he had five le!itimate childrenE Edward A. Bellis, Ceor!e Bellis
+who pre-deceased him in infanc$;, Henr$ A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman0 %$ his
second wife, 1iolet Menned$, who srvived him, he had three le!itimate childrenE Edwin C. Bellis, 'alter
*. Bellis and 2oroth$ Bellis0 and finall$, he had three ille!itimate childrenE Amos Bellis, Jr., Baria Cristina
Bellis and Biriam ,alma Bellis.
An A!st 7, /576, Amos C. Bellis exected a will in the ,hilippines, in which he directed that after all
taxes, o%li!ations, and expenses of administration are paid for, his distri%ta%le estate shold %e divided,
in trst, in the followin! order and mannerE +a; Q69:,:::.:: to his first wife, Bar$ E. Ballen0 +%;
,/6:,:::.:: to his three ille!itimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Baria Cristina Bellis, Biriam ,alma Bellis,
or ,9:,:::.:: each and +c; after the fore!oin! two items have %een satisfied, the remainder shall !o to
his seven srvivin! children %$ his first and second wives, namel$E Edward A. Bellis, Henr$ A. Bellis,
Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin C. Bellis, 'alter *. Bellis, and 2oroth$ E. Bellis, in e@al
shares.34,p53.67t
*%se@entl$, or on Jl$ ., /57., Amos C. Bellis died a resident of *an Antonio, Texas, ?.*.A. His will
was admitted to pro%ate in the Cort of "irst #nstance of Banila on *eptem%er /7, /57..
The ,eopleDs Ban( and Trst Compan$, as exector of the will, paid all the %e@ests therein incldin! the
amont of Q69:,:::.:: in the form of shares of stoc( to Bar$ E. Ballen and to the three +<; ille!itimate
children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Baria Cristina Bellis and Biriam ,alma Bellis, varios amonts totallin!
,9:,:::.:: each in satisfaction of their respective le!acies, or a total of ,/6:,:::.::, which it released
from time to time accordin! as the lower cort approved and allowed the varios motions or petitions filed
%$ the latter three re@estin! partial advances on accont of their respective le!acies.
An Janar$ ., /5>9, preparator$ to closin! its administration, the exector s%mitted and filed its
)ExectorDs "inal Accont, Report of Administration and ,ro=ect of ,artition) wherein it reported, inter alia,
the satisfaction of the le!ac$ of Bar$ E. Ballen %$ the deliver$ to her of shares of stoc( amontin! to
Q69:,:::.::, and the le!acies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Baria Cristina Bellis and Biriam ,alma Bellis in the
amont of ,9:,:::.:: each or a total of ,/6:,:::.::. #n the pro=ect of partition, the exector I prsant
to the )Twelfth) clase of the testatorDs 3ast 'ill and Testament I divided the residar$ estate into seven
e@al portions for the %enefit of the testatorDs seven le!itimate children %$ his first and second marria!es.
An Janar$ /-, /5>9, Baria Cristina Bellis and Biriam ,alma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to
the pro=ect of partition on the !rond that the$ were deprived of their le!itimes as ille!itimate children and,
therefore, complsor$ heirs of the deceased.
Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of service of which is evidenced %$
the re!istr$ receipt s%mitted on April 6-, /5>9 %$ the exector.
/
After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadin!s, the lower cort, on April
<:, /5>9, issed an order overrlin! the oppositions and approvin! the exectorDs final accont, report
and administration and pro=ect of partition. Rel$in! pon Art. /> of the Civil Code, it applied the national
law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law, which did not provide for le!itimes.
Their respective motions for reconsideration havin! %een denied %$ the lower cort on Jne //, /5>9,
oppositors-appellants appealed to this Cort to raise the isse of which law mst appl$ I Texas law or
,hilippine law.
#n this re!ard, the parties do not s%mit the case on, nor even discss, the doctrine of renvoi, applied %$
this Cort in A/nar v. Cristensen Garcia, 3-/>-95, Janar$ </, /5><. *aid doctrine is sall$ pertinent
where the decedent is a national of one contr$, and a domicile of another. #n the present case, it is not
dispted that the decedent was %oth a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his
death.
6
*o that even assmin! Texas has a conflict of law rle providin! that the domiciliar$ s$stem +law
of the domicile; shold !overn, the same wold not reslt in a reference %ac( +renvoi; to ,hilippine law,
%t wold still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts rle adoptin! the sits theor$ +lex
rei sitae; callin! for the application of the law of the place where the properties are sitated, renvoi wold
arise, since the properties here involved are fond in the ,hilippines. #n the a%sence, however, of proof as
to the conflict of law rle of Texas, it shold not %e presmed different from ors.
<
AppellantsD position is
therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, the$ never invo(ed nor even mentioned it in their
ar!ments. Rather, the$ ar!e that their case falls nder the circmstances mentioned in the third
para!raph of Article /- in relation to Article /> of the Civil Code.
Article />, par. 6, and Art. /:<5 of the Civil Code, render applica%le the national law of the decedent, in
intestate or testamentar$ sccessions, with re!ard to for itemsE +a; the order of sccession0 +%; the
amont of sccessional ri!hts0 +e; the intrinsic validit$ of the provisions of the will0 and +d; the capacit$ to
scceed. The$ provide that I
ART. />. Real propert$ as well as personal propert$ is s%=ect to the law of the contr$ where it is
sitated.
However, intestate and testamentar$ sccessions, %oth with respect to the order of sccession
and to the amont of sccessional ri!hts and to the intrinsic validit$ of testamentar$ provisions,
shall %e re!lated %$ the national law of the person whose sccession is nder consideration,
whatever ma$ he the natre of the propert$ and re!ardless of the contr$ wherein said propert$
ma$ %e fond.
ART. /:<5. Capacit$ to scceed is !overned %$ the law of the nation of the decedent.
Appellants wold however conter that Art. /-, para!raph three, of the Civil Code, statin! that I
,rohi%itive laws concernin! persons, their acts or propert$, and those which have for their o%=ect
p%lic order, p%lic polic$ and !ood cstoms shall not %e rendered ineffective %$ laws or
=d!ments proml!ated, or %$ determinations or conventions a!reed pon in a forei!n contr$.
prevails as the exception to Art. />, par. 6 of the Civil Code afore-@oted. This is not correct. ,recisel$,
Con!ressdeleted the phrase, )notwithstandin! the provisions of this and the next precedin! article) when
the$ incorporated Art. // of the old Civil Code as Art. /- of the new Civil Code, while reprodcin! withot
s%stantial chan!e the second para!raph of Art. /: of the old Civil Code as Art. /> in the new. #t mst
have %een their prpose to ma(e the second para!raph of Art. /> a specific provision in itself which mst
%e applied in testate and intestate sccession. As frther indication of this le!islative intent, Con!ress
added a new provision, nder Art. /:<5, which decrees that capacit$ to scceed is to %e !overned %$ the
national law of the decedent.
#t is therefore evident that whatever p%lic polic$ or !ood cstoms ma$ %e involved in or *$stem of
le!itimes, Con!ress has not intended to extend the same to the sccession of forei!n nationals. "or it has
specificall$ chosen to leave, inter alia, the a!ount of sccessional ri!hts, to the decedentDs national law.
*pecific provisions mst prevail over !eneral ones.
Appellants wold also point ot that the decedent exected two wills I one to !overn his Texas estate
and the other his ,hilippine estate I ar!in! from this that he intended ,hilippine law to !overn his
,hilippine estate. Assmin! that sch was the decedentDs intention in exectin! a separate ,hilippine will,
it wold not alter the law, for as this Cort rled in Miciano v. Bri!o, 7: ,hil. .>-, .-:, a provision in a
forei!nerDs will to the effect that his properties shall %e distri%ted in accordance with ,hilippine law and
not with his national law, is ille!al and void, for his national law cannot %e i!nored in re!ard to those
matters that Article /: I now Article /> I of the Civil Code states said national law shold !overn.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos C. Bellis, was a citi&en of the *tate of Texas, ?.*.A., and that
nder the laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or le!itimes. Accordin!l$, since the intrinsic validit$ of
the provision of the will and the amont of sccessional ri!hts are to %e determined nder Texas law, the
,hilippine law on le!itimes cannot %e applied to the testac$ of Amos C. Bellis.
'herefore, the order of the pro%ate cort is here%$ affirmed in toto, with costs a!ainst appellants. *o
ordered.
G.R. No. L-22036 %!r# 30, 1979
-E+-%-E E+-%-E *' -"E L%-E RE?EREN6 '%-"ER 7%+)(%L RIG*R. -"E 7%RI+" 7RIE+- *'
-"E R*M%N )%-"*LI) )"(R)" *' ?I)-*RI%, -%RL%), petitioner-appellant,
vs.
8ELIN% RIG*R, NE+-*R% RIG*R, 'R%N)I+)% E+)*8%R 6E RIG*R and 4*?I-% E+)*8%R 6E
'%(+-*,respondents-appellees.
D. $a6edo. %r. for appellants.
%. &alanca. Sr. for appellee.

%@(IN*, J.:
This case is a%ot the efficaciosness or enforcea%ilit$ of a devise of ricelands located at Cim%a, Neva
Eci=a, with a total area of arond fort$- for hectares That devise was made in the will of the late "ather
,ascal Ri!or, a native of 1ictoria Tarlac, in favor of his nearest male relative who wold std$ for the
priesthood.
The parish priest of 1ictoria, who claimed to %e a trstee of the said lands, appealed to this Cort from the
decision of the Cort of Appeals affirmin! the order of the pro%ate cort declarin! that the said devise was
inoperative +Ri!or vs. ,arish ,riest of the Roman Catholic Chrch of 1ictoria, Tarlac, CA-C.R. No. 69</5-
R, A!st /, /5><;.
The record discloses that "ather Ri!or, the parish priest of ,lilan, Blacan, died on A!st 5, /5<7,
leavin! a will exected on Acto%er 65, /5<< which was pro%ated %$ the Cort of "irst #nstance of Tarlac
in its order of 2ecem%er 7, /5<7. Named as devisees in the will were the testators nearest relatives,
namel$, his three sistersE "lorencia Ri!or-Esco%ar, Belina Ri!or-Banaloto and Nestora Ri!or-Niam%ao.
The testator !ave a devise to his cosin, "ortnato Camalinda.
#n addition, the will contained the followin! controversial %e@est +para!raphin! spplied to facilitate
comprehension of the testamentar$ provisions;E
2o$ $ de=o como le!ado C?ATRA +9; ,ARCE3A* de terreno pala$eros sitados en el
mnicipiooo de Cim%a de la provinciaaa de N?E1A EC#JA, c$o nm. de
CERT#"#CA2A 2E TRAN*"ERENC#A 2E T#T?3A *AN0 I Titlo Nm. >7<:, mide
/>,695 m. cadrados de sperficie Titlo Nm. >79., mide 696,55. m. cadrados de
sperficie $ annal >767, mide >6,>>7 m. cadrados de sperficie0 $ Titlo Nm. >76/,
mide //5,67/ m. cadrados de sperficie0 a cual*uier pariente !io varon !as cercano
*ue estudie la carrera eclesiatica asta ordenarse de &resbiterado o sea Sacerdote= las
condiciones de estate le!ado son0
+/.a; ,rohi%e en a%solto la venta de estos terrenos arri%a sitados o%=ectos de este
le!ado0
+6.a; Ne el le!atario pariente mio mas cercano tendra derecho de empe&ar a !o&ar $
administrar de este le!ado al principiar a cr&ar la *a!rada Teolo!io, $ ordenado de
*acerdote, hasta s merte0 pero @e pierde el le!atario este derecho de administrar $
!o&ar de este le!ado al de=ar de continar ss estdios para ordenarse de ,res%iterado
+*acerdote;.
Ne el le!atario na ve& *acerdote $a estara o%li!ado a cele%rar cada aJo 1E#NTE +6:;
Bisas re&adas en sfra!io de mi alma $ de mis padres difntos, $ si el actal le!atario,
@edase excoml!ado, #,*A "ACTA se le despo=a este le!ado, $ la administracion de
esto pasara a car!o del actal ,arroco $ ss scesores de la #!lecia Catolica de 1ictoria,
Tarlac.
H en intervalo de tiempo @e no ha$a le!atario acondicionado se!n lo arri%a @eda
expresado, pasara la administracion de este le!ado a car!o del actal ,arroco Catolico $
ss scesores, de 1ictoria, Tarlac.
El ,arroco administrador de estate le!ado, acmlara, analmente todos los prodctos
@e pede tener estate le!ado, !anando o sacando de los prodctos anales el C#NCA
+7; por ciento para s administracion, $ los derechos correspondientes de las 1E#NTE
+6:; Bisas re&adas @e de%iera el ,arroco cele%rar cada aJo, depositando todo lo
restante de los prodctos de estate le!ado, en n %anco, a nom%re de estate le!ado.
To implement the fore!oin! %e@est, the administratix in /59: s%mitted a pro=ect containin! the followin!
itemE
7. 3ECACH A" THE CH?RCH
That it %e ad=dicated in favor of the le!ac$ prported to %e !iven to the nearest male
relative who shall ta(e the priesthood, and in the interim to %e administered %$ the actal
Catholic ,riest of the Roman Catholic Chrch of 1ictoria, Tarlac, ,hilippines, or his
sccessors, the real properties herein%elow indicated, to witE
Total amont and vale I 99.//>< ,/<,:5:.::
Jd!e Roman A. Cr& in his order of A!st /7, /59:, approvin! the pro=ect of partition, directed that
after pa$ment of the o%li!ations of the estate +incldin! the sm of ,<,/<6.6> de to the chrch of the
1ictoria parish; the administratrix shold deliver to the devisees their respective shares.
#t ma$ %e noted that the administratrix and Jd!e Cr& did not %other to anal$&e the meanin! and
implications of "ather Ri!orDs %e@est to his nearest male relative who wold std$ for the priesthood.
#nasmch as no nephew of the testator claimed the devise and as the administratrix and the le!al heirs
%elieved that the parish priest of 1ictoria had no ri!ht to administer the ricelands, the same were not
delivered to that ecclesiastic. The testate proceedin! remained pendin!.
A%ot thirteen $ears after the approval of the pro=ect of partition, or on "e%rar$ /5, /579, the parish
priest of 1ictoria filed in the pendin! testate proceedin! a petition pra$in! for the appointment of a new
administrator +scceedin! the deceased administration "lorencia Ri!or;, who shold deliver to the chrch
the said ricelands, and frther pra$in! that the possessors thereof %e ordered to render an accontin! of
the frits. The pro%ate cort !ranted the petition. A new administrator was appointed. An Janar$ </,
/57- the parish priest filed another petition for the deliver$ of the ricelands to the chrch as trstee.
The intestate heirs of "ather Ri!or contered with a petition dated Barch 67, /57- pra$in! that the
%e@est %e d inoperative and that the$ %e ad=d!ed as the persons entitled to the said ricelands since, as
admitted %$ the parish priest of 1ictoria, )no nearest male relative of) the testator )has ever stdied for the
priesthood) +pp. 67 and <7, Record on Appeal;. That petition was opposed %$ the parish priest of 1ictoria.
"indin! that petition to %e meritorios, the lower cort, thro!h Jd!e Berna%e de A@ino, declared the
%e@est inoperative and ad=dicated the ricelands to the testatorDs le!al heirs in his order of Jne 6.,
/57-. The parish priest filed two motions for reconsideration.
Jd!e 2e A@ino !ranted the respond motion for reconsideration in his order of 2ecem%er /:, /57- on
the !rond that the testator had a !randnephew named Ed!ardo C. Cnanan +the !randson of his first
cosin; who was a seminarian in the *an Jose *eminar$ of the Jesit "athers in Ne&on Cit$. The
administrator was directed to deliver the ricelands to the parish priest of 1ictoria as trstee.
The le!al heirs appealed to the Cort of Appeals. #t reversed that order. #t held that "ather Ri!or had
created a testamentar$ trst for his nearest male relative who wold ta(e the hol$ orders %t that sch
trst cold exist onl$ for twent$ $ears %ecase to enforce it %e$ond that period wold violate )the rle
a!ainst perpetities. #t rled that since no le!atee claimed the ricelands within twent$ $ears after the
testatorDs death, the same shold pass to his le!al heirs, citin! articles ... and 5/6+6; of the old Civil
Code and article .-: of the new Civil Code.
The parish priest in this appeal contends that the Cort of Appeals erred in not findin! that the testator
created a p%lic charita%le trst and in not li%erall$ constrin! the testamentar$ provisions so as to render
the trst operative and to prevent intestac$.
As reftation, the le!al heirs ar!e that the Cort of Appeals d the %e@est inoperative %ecase no one
amon! the testatorDs nearest male relatives had stdied for the priesthood and not %ecase the trst was
a private charita%le trst. Accordin! to the le!al heirs, that factal findin! is %indin! on this Cort. The$
point ot that appellant priestDs chan!e of theor$ cannot %e contenanced in this appeal .
Title
No.
3ot
No.
Area in
Has.
Tax
2ec.
Ass.
1ale
T-
>7<:
<>>< /.>695 /.-9: ,
<9:.::
T-
>79.
<997-
C
69.655. /.-<: -,65:.::
T-
>767
<>-: >.6>>7 /.-<> /,..:.::
T-
>76/
<>>> //.567/ /.-<< <,7.:.::
#n this case, as in cases involvin! the law of contracts and stattor$ constrction, where the intention of
the contractin! parties or of the lawma(in! %od$ is to %e ascertained, the primar$ isse is the
determination of the testatorDs intention which is the law of the case +dicat testor et erit le". *antos vs.
Banaran!, 6- ,hil. 6:5, 6/70 Rodri!e& vs. Cort of Appeals, 3-6.-<9, Barch 6., /5>5, 6- *CRA 79>;.
The will of the testator is the first and principal law in the matter of testaments. 'hen his intention is
clearl$ and precisel$ expressed, an$ interpretation mst %e in accord with the plain and literal meanin! of
his words, except when it ma$ certainl$ appear that his intention was different from that literall$ expressed
+1n re Estate of Calderon, 6> ,hil. <<<;.
The intent of the testator is the cardinal rle in the constrction of wills.) #t is )the life and sol of a will #t is
)the first !reatest rle, the soverei!n !ide, the polestar, in !ivin! effect to a will). +*ee 2issent of Jstice
Boreland in *antos vs. Banaran!, 6- ,hil. 6:5, 66<, 6<--..;
Ane canon in the interpretation of the testamentar$ provisions is that )the testatorDs intention is to %e
ascertained from the words of the wilt ta(in! into consideration the circmstances nder which it was
made), %t excldin! the testatorDs oral declarations as to his intention +Art. -.5, Civil Code of the
,hilippines;.
To ascertain "ather Ri!orDs intention, it ma$ %e sefl to ma(e the followin! re-statement of the provisions
of his will.
/. that he %e@eathed the ricelands to an$one of his nearest male relatives who wold prse an
ecclesiastical career ntil his ordination as a priest.
6. That the devisee cold not sell the ricelands.
<. That the devisee at the inception of his stdies in sacred theolo!$ cold en=o$ and administer the
ricelands, and once ordained as a priest, he cold contine en=o$in! and administerin! the same p to
the time of his death %t the devisee wold cease to en=o$ and administer the ricelands if he discontined
his stdies for the priesthood.
9. That if the devisee %ecame a priest, he wold %e o%li!ated to cele%rate ever$ $ear twent$ masses with
pra$ers for the repose of the sols of "ather Ri!or and his parents.
7. That if the devisee is excommnicated, he wold %e divested of the le!ac$ and the administration of
the riceland wold pass to the incm%ent parish priest of 1ictoria and his sccessors.
>. That drin! the interval of time that there is no @alified devisee as contemplated a%ove, the
administration of the ricelands wold %e nder the responsi%ilit$ of the incm%ent parish priest of 1ictoria
and his sccessors, and
-. That the parish priest-administrator of the ricelands wold accmlate annall$ the prodcts thereof,
o%tainin! or !ettin! from the annal prodce five percent thereof for his administration and the fees
correspondin! to the twent$ masses with pra$ers that the parish priest wold cele%rate for each $ear,
depositin! the %alance of the income of the devise in the %an( in the name of his %e@est.
"rom the fore!oin! testamentar$ provisions, it ma$ %e dedced that the testator intended to devise the
ricelands to his nearest male relative who wold %ecome a priest, who was for%idden to sell the ricelands,
who wold lose the devise if he discontined his stdies for the priesthood, or havin! %een ordained a
priest, he was excommnicated, and who wold %e o%li!ated to sa$ annall$ twent$ masses with pra$ers
for the repose of the sols of the testator and his parents.
An the other hand, it is clear that the parish priest of 1ictoria wold administer the ricelands onl$ in two
sitationsE one, drin! the interval of time that no nearest male relative of the testator was std$in! for the
priesthood and two, in case the testatorDs nephew %ecame a priest and he was excommnicated.
'hat is not clear is the duration of )el intervalo de tiempo @e no ha$a le!atario acondicionado), or how
lon! after the testatorDs death wold it %e determined that he had a nephew who wold prse an
ecclesiastical vocation. #t is that patent am%i!it$ that has %ro!ht a%ot the controvers$ %etween the
parish priest of 1ictoria and the testatorDs le!al heirs.
#nterwoven with that e@ivocal provision is te ti!e ,en te nearest !ale relative ,o ,ould study for
te priestood sould be deter!ined. 2id the testator contemplate onl$ his nearest male relative at te
ti!e of is deat> Ar did he have in mind an$ of his nearest male relatives at anyti!e after is deat>
'e hold that the said %e@est refers to the testatorDs nearest male relative living at te ti!e of is deat
and not to any indefinite ti!e tereafter. )#n order to %e capacitated to inherit, the heir, devisee or le!atee
mst %e livin! at the moment the sccession opens, except in case of representation, when it is proper)
+Art. /:67, Civil Code;.
The said testamentar$ provisions shold %e sensi%l$ or reasona%l$ constred. To constre them as
referrin! to the testatorDs nearest male relative at anyti!e after is deat wold render the provisions
difficlt to appl$ and create ncertaint$ as to the disposition of his estate. That cold not have %een his
intention.
#n /5<7, when the testator died, his nearest lea!al heirs were his three sisters or second-de!ree relatives,
Brs. Esco%ar, Brs. Banaloto and Brs. Niam%ao. A%viosl$, when the testator specified his nearest
male relative, he mst have had in mind his nephew or a son of his sister, who wold %e his third-de!ree
relative, or possi%l$ a !randnephew. Bt since he cold not pro!nosticate the exact date of his death or
state with certitde what cate!or$ of nearest male relative wold %e livin! at the time of his death, he
cold not specif$ that his nearest male relative wold %e his nephew or !randnephews +the son of his
nephew or niece; and so he had to se the term )nearest male relative).
#t is contended %$ the le!al heirs that the said devise was in realit$ intended for Ramon Niam%ao, the
testatorDs nephew and !odchild, who was the son of his sister, Brs. Niam%ao. To prove that contention,
the le!al heirs presented in the lower cort the affidavit of Beatri& Camalinda, the maternal !randmother
of Ed!ardo Cnanan, who deposed that after "ather Ri!orDs death her own son, 1alentin Camalinda, Jr.,
did not claim the devise, altho!h he was std$in! for the priesthood at the *an Carlos *eminar$,
%ecase she +Beatri&; (new that "ather Ri!or had intended that devise for his nearest male
relative beloning to te )igor fa!ily +pp. /:7-//9, Record on Appeal;.
Brs. Camalinda frther deposed that her own !randchild, Ed!ardo C. Cnanan, was not the one
contemplated in "ather Ri!orDs will and that Ed!ardoDs father told her that he was not conslted %$ the
parish priest of 1ictoria %efore the latter filed his second motion for reconsideration which was %ased on
the !rond that the testatorDs !randnephew, Ed!ardo, was std$in! for the priesthood at the *an Jose
*eminar$.
,arentheticall$, it shold %e stated at this =nctre that Ed!ardo ceased to %e a seminarian in /5>/. "or
that reason, the le!al heirs apprised the Cort of Appeals that the pro%ate cortDs order ad=dicatin! the
ricelands to the parish priest of 1ictoria had no more le! to stand on +p. .9, AppellantDs %rief;.
Af corse, Brs. CamalindaDs affidavit, which is tantamont to evidence aliunde as to the testatorDs
intention and which is hearsa$, has no pro%ative vale. Ar opinion that the said %e@est refers to the
testatorDs nephew who was livin! at the time of his death, when his sccession was opened and the
sccessional ri!hts to his estate %ecame vested, rests on a =dicios and n%iased readin! of the terms
of the will.
Had the testator intended that the )cal@ier pariente mio varon mas cercano @e estdie la camera
eclesiatica) wold inclde indefinitel$ an$one of his nearest male relatives born after is deat, he cold
have so specified in his will He mst have (nown that sch a %road provision wold sspend for an
nlimited period of time the efficaciosness of his %e@est.
'hat then did the testator mean %$ )el intervalo de tiempo @e no ha$a le!atario acondicionado)P The
reasona%le view is that he was referrin! to a sitation where%$ his nephew livin! at the time of his death,
who wold li(e to %ecome a priest, was still in !rade school or in hi!h school or was not $et in the
seminar$. #n that case, the parish priest of 1ictoria wold administer the ricelands %efore the nephew
entered the seminar$. Bt the moment the testatorDs nephew entered the seminar$, then he wold %e
entitled to en=o$ and administer the ricelands and receive the frits thereof. #n that event, the trsteeship
wold %e terminated.
"ollowin! that interpretation of the will the in@ir$ wold %e whether at the time "ather Ri!or died in /5<7
he had a nephew who was std$in! for the priesthood or who had manifested his desire to follow the
ecclesiastical career. That @er$ is cate!oricall$ answered in para!raph 9 of appellant priestDs petitions of
"e%rar$ /5, /579 and Janar$ </, /57-. He ne@ivocall$ alle!ed therein that )not male relative of the
late +"ather; ,ascal Ri!or has ever stdied for the priesthood) +pp. 67 and <7, Record on Appeal;.
#nasmch as the testator was not srvived %$ an$ nephew who %ecame a priest, the navoida%le
conclsion is that the %e@est in @estion was ineffectal or inoperative. Therefore, the administration of
the ricelands %$ the parish priest of 1ictoria, as envisa!ed in the wilt was li(ewise inoperative.
The appellant in contendin! that a p%lic charita%le trst was constitted %$ the testator in is favor
assmes that he was a trstee or a s%stitte devisee That contention is ntena%le. A readin! of the
testamentar$ provisions re!ardin! the dispted %e@est not spport the view that the parish priest of
1ictoria was a trstee or a s%stitte devisee in the event that the testator was not srvived %$ a nephew
who %ecame a priest.
#t shold %e nderstood that the parish priest of 1ictoria cold %ecome a trstee onl$ when the testatorDs
nephew livin! at the time of his death, who desired to %ecome a priest, had not $et entered the seminar$
or, havin! %een ordained a priest, he was excommnicated. Those two contin!encies did not arise, and
cold not have arisen in this case %ecase no nephew of the testator manifested an$ intention to enter
the seminar$ or ever %ecame a priest.
The Cort of Appeals correctl$ rled that this case is covered %$ article ... of the old Civil Code, now
article 57>, which provides that if )the %e@est for an$ reason shold %e inoperative, it shall %e mer!ed
into the estate, except in cases of s%stittion and those in which the ri!ht of accretion exists) +)el
le!ado ... por @al@ier casa, no ten!a efecto se refndira en la masa de la herencia, fera de los casos
de sstitcion $ derecho de acrecer);.
This case is also covered %$ article 5/6+6; of the old Civil Code, now article 5>: +6;, which provides that
le!al sccession ta(es place when the will )does not dispose of all that %elon!s to the testator.) There
%ein! no s%stittion nor accretion as to the said ricelands the same shold %e distri%ted amon! the
testatorDs le!al heirs. The effect is as if the testator had made no disposition as to the said ricelands.
The Civil Code reco!ni&es that a person ma$ die partl$ testate and partl$ intestate, or that there ma$ %e
mixed sccession. The old rle as to the indivisi%ilit$ of the testatorDs win is no lon!er valid. Ths, if a
conditional le!ac$ does not ta(e effect, there will %e intestate sccession as to the propert$ recovered %$
the said le!ac$ +Bacrohon An! Ham vs. *aavedra, 7/ ,hil. 6>-;.
'e find no merit in the appeal The Appellate CortDs decision is affirmed. Costs a!ainst the petitioner.
*A AR2ERE2
G.R. No. L-6033 NoAem2er 23, 1952
'*R-(N%-% ?6%. 6E R*6RIG(E;, 8EN4%MIN R*6RIG(E;, MER)E6E+ R*6RIG(E; 6E
"%LL%RE, L(; R*6RIG(E; 6E )%RL*+ %N6 %N-*NI* R*6RIG(E;, petitioners,
vs.
"*N. 8IEN?ENI6* %. -%N, 41d/e of the )o1rt of '#rst Instance of R#Ba, and %8EL%R6*
R*6RIG(E;,respondents.
Godofredo C. Montesines and Antonio )odrigue/ for petitioners.
#oren/o Su!ulong. Guiller!o )o!ero and Antonio C. Masa*uel for respondent.
)a!on O/aeta as a!icus curiae.
8%(-I+-% %NGEL*, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari see(in! to nllif$ the order of respondent Jd!e dated A!st //, /576,
wherein after overrlin! the opposition to the instittion of the intestate estate proceedin!s of the late
"laviano Rodri!e&, he appointed A%elardo Rodri!e& administrator of the estate pon filin! a %ond in the
sm of ,6,:::.
#t is averred in the petition that "laviano Rodri!e& died on "e%rar$ ., /599, at ,araJa@e, Ri&al, leavin!
an estate with a vale of ,/:,:::0 that the srvivin! heirs are the widow, "ortnata 1da. de Rodri!e&,
and six children who are the petitioners and respondent A%elardo Rodri!e& all the heirs, who were then
alread$ of a!e, entered into a ver%al a!reement where%$ the$ a!reed not to ma(e a li@idation of the
estate %t to place it nder the administration of the widow with the nderstandin! that each of the six
children wold %e entitled to receive a portion of the income in e@al shares from $ear to $ear for the
needs of their families provided that the$ do not exceed the participation to which the$ are entitled0 that on
Barch /5, /576, or ei!ht $ears after the death of "laviano Rodri!e&, respondent A%elardo Rodri!e&
filed a petition for administration of their intestate estate of said deceased in spite of his (nowled!e that
the estate had no de%ts and all the heirs were of a!e0 that on Jne 6, /576, the other heirs, petitioners
herein, o%=ected to the petition invo(in! the rle that if the estate is free from o%li!ations and the heirs are
all of a!e, no administration proceedin!s shall %e allowed0 that on A!st //, /576, respondent Jd!e,
after overrlin! the opposition, appointed A%elardo Rodri!e& administrator of the estate pon filin! the
re@isite %ond.
Respondents herein, in answer to the petition, admitted the existence of a ver%al a!reement entered into
%etween the heirs in /599, wherein the$ a!reed not to li@idate the estate and to place it nder the
administration of the widow in view of the nsettled conditions then prevailin! at the time, %t the$
contend that while that was the nderstandin! the same was not carried ot %ecase in realit$ it was
Ben=amin Rodri!e&, one of the petitioners herein, who too( over the administration of the estate and in
the dischar!e of his dties he failed and refsed to !ive to respondent A%elardo Rodri!e& his share in
the income which he %adl$ needed for the spport of his famil$, for which reason he started the intestate
proceedin!s which !ave rise to the present petition for certiorari.
The isse to %e determined is whether respondent Jd!e acted properl$ in maintainin! the administration
proceedin!s and in appointin! A%elardo Rodri!e& as administrator of the estate notwithstandin! the fact
that the estate has no de%ts and all the heirs entitled to share in its distri%tion are all of a!e.
?nder section /, rle -9 of the Rles of Cort, if the decedent left no de%ts and the heirs are all of a!e, or
the minors are represented %$ their =dicial !ardians, the parties ma$, withot secrin! letters of
administration, divide the estate amon! themselves as the$ see fit, and shold the$ disa!ree, the$ ma$
do so in an ordinar$ action of partition.
Constrin! the scope of said section /, +formerl$ section 75>, Act No. /5:;, this Cort repeatedl$ held
)that when a person dies withot leavin! pendin! o%li!ations to %e paid, his heirs, whether of a!e or not,
are not %ond to s%mit the propert$ to a =dicial administration, which is alwa$s lon! and costl$, or to
appl$ for the appointment of an administrator %$ the cort. #t has %een niforml$ held that in sch case the
=dicial administration and the appointment of an administrator are sperflos and nnecessar$
proceedin!s) +#lstre vs. Alaras "rondosa, /- ,hil., <6/0 Balahacan vs. #!nacio, /5 ,hil., 9<90 Bondad vs.
Bondad, <9 ,hil., 6<60 Baldemor vs. Balan!$aon, <9 ,hil., <>-0 "le vs. "le, 9> ,hil., </-0 ?tlo vs.
,asion de Carcia, >> ,hil., <:6;.
#t, therefore, appears from said section /, as constred %$ this Cort, that when the estate has no pendin!
o%li!ations to %e paid, his heirs, whether of a!e or not, are not %ond to s%mit the propert$ to a =dicial
administration for the reason that it is sperflos or nnecessar$, and in most cases lon! and costl$, in
which case the wa$ left to the heirs is to divide the estate amon! themselves as the$ ma$ see fit, and
shold the$ disa!ree, the$ ma$ do so in an ordinar$ action of partition. Bt, is this pattern mandator$
pon the heirsP *hold the heirs %e na%le to a!ree on a settlement of the estate, do the$ have to resort
necessaril$ to an ordinar$ action of partitionP Can the$ not choose to institte administration
proceedin!sP
Ar answer is that section / does not preclde the heirs from instittin! administration proceedin!s, even
if the estate has no de%ts or o%li!ations, if the$ do not desire to resort for !ood reasons to an ordinar$
action of partition. 'hile section / allows the heirs to divide the estate amon! themselves as the$ ma$
see fit, or to resort to an ordinar$ action of partition, it does not compel them to do so if the$ have !ood
reasons to ta(e a different corse of action. *aid section is not mandator$ or complsor$ as ma$ %e
!leaned from the se made therein of the word !ay. #f the intention were otherwise the framer of the rle
wold have emplo$ed the word sall as was done in other provisions that are mandator$ in character.
Note that the word !ay is sed not onl$ once %t in the whole section which indicates an intention to
leave the matter entirel$ to the discretion of the heirs.
The in@ir$ %efore s is not new. #n a case where one of the heirs chose to institte administration
proceedin!s in cort, even if the estate had no de%ts, and the widow so!ht to dismiss the case invo(in!
in spport of her contention the doctrine ennciated in the cases alread$ adverted to, this Cort saidE
The principal !rond of the opposition is that the heirs %ein! of le!al a!e, and their %ein! no proof
that there is an$ valid and effective credit a!ainst the deceased, no le!al reason exists for the
cort to appoint an administrator, as pra$ed for in the petition, citin! in spport of this contention
the doctrine ennciated in the case of 1lustre vs. Alaras 'rondosa +/- ,hil., <6/;0 Bondad vs.
Bondad +<9 ,hil., 6<6;0 Balde!or vs. Malangyaon +<9 ,hil., <>-;.
#t is tre that, nder section 75> of the Code of Civil ,rocedre, whenever all the heirs of a person
who died intestate are lawfl a!e and le!al capacit$, and there are no de%ts de from the estate,
or all the de%ts have %een paid, the heirs ma$, %$ a!reement dl$ exected in writin! %$ all of
them, and not otherwise, apportion and divide the estate amon! themselves, as the$ ma$ see fit,
withot cort proceedin!s. Bt there is nothin! in this section which prohi%its said heirs from
instittin! special proceedin!s for the administration of the intestate estate if the$ cannot a!ree
on the extra=dicial partition and appointment of the same. +Aro&co vs. Carcia, 7: ,hil., /95,
/7/.;
#n this particlar case, however, we find that the core of petitionersD o%=ection is not that the heirs have
erroneosl$ institted these administration proceedin!s %t that the cort erred in appointin! A%elardo
Rodri!e& administrator of the estate. #t is claimed that A%elardo Rodri!e& was appointed administrator
withot the petitioners havin! %een !iven an opportnit$ to %e heard. Bt this claim has no %asis it
appearin! that the parties had %een dl$ heard %efore the cort issed its order now complained of. #t
appears that %oth parties s%mitted the names of the persons the$ wanted to %e appointed as
administrator and the cort made its choice onl$ after wei!hin! the fitness and @alifications of the
persons recommended. Ths, on this point, the cort saidE
The petitioner in this case appears to %e @alified to act as administrator of the estate of the
deceased "laviano Rodri!e& and does not possess an$ of the dis@alifications. Boreover, he is
one of the heirs left %$ the deceased. #nasmch as one of the oppositors appear to %e more
@alified to act as administrator of the estate, the cort is inclined to !rant the petition presented
%$ A%elardo Rodri!e&. +Annex 2;
The petition is dismissed with costs. The preliminar$ in=nction issed is here%$ dissolved.
G.R. No. L-71<< %1/1st 9, 1953
In re9 &# and -estament of the deceased RE?EREN6 +%N)"* %8%6I%.
+E?ERIN% %. ?6%. 6E ENRI@(E;, E- %L., petitioners-appellees,
vs.
MIG(EL %8%6I%, E- %L., oppositors-appellants.
Manuel A. ?osa. #uis B. #adonga. Mariano A. ?osa and B. G. Advincula for appellants.
C. de la 9ictoria for appellees.
M*N-EM%.*R, J.9
An *eptem%er >, /56<, "ather *ancho A%adia, parish priest of Talisa$, Ce%, exected a docment
prportin! to %e his 3ast 'ill and Testament now mar(ed Exhi%it )A). Resident of the Cit$ of Ce%, he
died on Janar$ /9, /59<, in the mnicipalit$ of Alo!insan, Ce%, where he was an evacee. He left
properties estimated at ,.,::: in vale. An Acto%er 6, /59>, one Andres Enri@e&, one of the le!atees in
Exhi%it )A), filed a petition for its pro%ate in the Cort of "irst #nstance of Ce%. *ome cosins and
nephews who wold inherit the estate of the deceased if he left no will, filed opposition.
2rin! the hearin! one of the attestin! witnesses, the other two %ein! dead, testified withot contradiction
that in his presence and in the presence of his co-witnesses, "ather *ancho wrote ot in lon!hand Exhi%it
)A) in *panish which the testator spo(e and nderstood0 that he +testator; si!ned on he left hand mar!in
of the front pa!e of each of the three folios or sheets of which the docment is composed, and nm%ered
the same with Ara%ic nmerals, and finall$ si!ned his name at the end of his writin! at the last pa!e, all
this, in the presence of the three attestin! witnesses after tellin! that it was his last will and that the said
three witnesses si!ned their names on the last pa!e after the attestation clase in his presence and in the
presence of each other. The oppositors did not s%mit an$ evidence.
The learned trial cort fond and declared Exhi%it )A) to %e a holo!raphic will0 that it was in the
handwritin! of the testator and that altho!h at the time it was exected and at the time of the testatorDs
death, holo!raphic wills were not permitted %$ law still, %ecase at the time of the hearin! and when the
case was to %e decided the new Civil Code was alread$ in force, which Code permitted the exection of
holo!raphic wills, nder a li%eral view, and to carr$ ot the intention of the testator which accordin! to the
trial cort is the controllin! factor and ma$ override an$ defect in form, said trial cort %$ order dated
Janar$ 69, /576, admitted to pro%ate Exhi%it )A), as the 3ast 'ill and Testament of "ather *ancho
A%adia. The oppositors are appealin! from that decision0 and %ecase onl$ @estions of law are involved
in the appeal, the case was certified to s %$ the Cort of Appeals.
The new Civil Code +Rep%lic Act No. <.>; nder article ./: thereof provides that a person ma$ execte
a holo!raphic will which mst %e entirel$ written, dated and si!ned %$ the testator himself and need not
%e witnessed. #t is a fact, however, that at the time that Exhi%it )A) was exected in /56< and at the time
that "ather A%adia died in /59<, holo!raphic wills were not permitted, and the law at the time imposed
certain re@irements for the exection of wills, sch as nm%erin! correlativel$ each pa!e +not folio or
sheet; in letters and si!nin! on the left hand mar!in %$ the testator and %$ the three attestin! witnesses,
re@irements which were not complied with in Exhi%it )A) %ecase the %ac( pa!es of the first two folios of
the will were not si!ned %$ an$ one, not even %$ the testator and were not nm%ered, and as to the three
front pa!es, the$ were si!ned onl$ %$ the testator.
#nterpretin! and appl$in! this re@irement this Cort in the case of #n re Estate of *a!insin, 9/ ,hil., .-7,
.-5, referrin! to the failre of the testator and his witnesses to si!n on the left hand mar!in of ever$ pa!e,
saidE
. . . . This defect is radical and totall$ vitiates the testament. #t is not eno!h that the si!natres
!aranteein! athenticit$ shold appear pon two folios or leaves0 three pa!es havin! %een
written on, the athenticit$ of all three of them shold %e !aranteed %$ the si!natre of the
alle!ed testatrix and her witnesses.
And in the case of Aspe vs. &rieto, 9> ,hil., -::, referrin! to the same re@irement, this Cort declaredE
"rom an examination of the docment in @estion, it appears that the left mar!ins of the six
pa!es of the docment are si!ned onl$ %$ 1entra ,rieto. The noncompliance with section 6 of
Act No. 6>97 %$ the attestin! witnesses who omitted to si!n with the testator at the left mar!in of
each of the five pa!es of the docment alle!ed to %e the will of 1entra ,rieto, is a fatal defect
that constittes an o%stacle to its pro%ate.
'hat is the law to appl$ to the pro%ate of Exh. )A)P Ba$ we appl$ the provisions of the new Civil Code
which not allows holo!raphic wills, li(e Exhi%it )A) which provisions were invo(ed %$ the appellee-
petitioner and applied %$ the lower cortP Bt article -57 of this same new Civil Code expressl$ providesE
)The validit$ of a will as to its form depends pon the o%servance of the law in force at the time it is
made.) The a%ove provision is %t an expression or statement of the wei!ht of athorit$ to the affect that
the validit$ of a will is to %e =d!ed not %$ the law enforce at the time of the testatorDs death or at the time
the spposed will is presented in cort for pro%ate or when the petition is decided %$ the cort %t at the
time the instrment was exected. Ane reason in spport of the rle is that altho!h the will operates
pon and after the death of the testator, the wishes of the testator a%ot the disposition of his estate
amon! his heirs and amon! the le!atees is !iven solemn expression at the time the will is exected, and
in realit$, the le!ac$ or %e@est then %ecomes a completed act. This rlin! has %een laid down %$ this
cort in the case of #n re 'ill of Riosa, <5 ,hil., 6<. #t is a wholesome doctrine and shold %e followed.
Af corse, there is the view that the intention of the testator shold %e the rlin! and controllin! factor and
that all ade@ate remedies and interpretations shold %e resorted to in order to carr$ ot said intention,
and that when stattes passed after the exection of the will and after the death of the testator lessen the
formalities re@ired %$ law for the exection of wills, said s%se@ent stattes shold %e applied so as to
validate wills defectivel$ exected accordin! to the law in force at the time of exection. However, we
shold not for!et that from the da$ of the death of the testator, if he leaves a will, the title of the le!atees
and devisees nder it %ecomes a vested ri!ht, protected nder the de process clase of the constittion
a!ainst a s%se@ent chan!e in the statte addin! new le!al re@irements of exection of wills which
wold invalidate sch a will. B$ parit$ of reasonin!, when one exectes a will which is invalid for failre to
o%serve and follow the le!al re@irements at the time of its exection then pon his death he shold %e
re!arded and declared as havin! died intestate, and his heirs will then inherit %$ intestate sccession, and
no s%se@ent law with more li%eral re@irements or which dispenses with sch re@irements as to
exection shold %e allowed to validate a defective will and there%$ divest the heirs of their vested ri!hts
in the estate %$ intestate sccession. The !eneral rle is that the 3e!islatre can not validate void wills
+7- Am. Jr., 'ills, *ec. 6</, pp. /56-/5<;.
#n view of the fore!oin!, the order appealed from is reversed, and Exhi%it )A) is denied pro%ate. 'ith
costs.