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EN BANC

G.R. No. L-12190 August 30, 1958


TESTATE ESTATE OF FELICIDAD ESGUERRA ALTO-YA !"#"$s"!. FAUSTO E. GAN,
petitioner-appellant,
vs.
ILDEFONSO YA, oppositor-appellee.
Benedicto C. Belran, Crispin D. Baizas and Roberto H. Benitez for appellant.
Arturo M. Tolentino for appellee.
%ENG&ON, J.'
On November 20, 1951, Felicidad Es!erra Alto "ap died o# $eart #ail!re in t$e %niversit& o#
'anto (omas )ospital, leavin properties in *!lilan, B!lacan, and in t$e Cit& o# +anila.
On +arc$ 1,, 1952, Fa!sto E. -an initiated t$em proceedins in t$e +anila co!rt o# #irst instance
.it$ a petition #or t$e probate o# a $olorap$ic .ill alleedl& e/ec!ted b& t$e deceased,
s!bstantiall& in t$ese .ords0
Nob&embre 5, 1951.
A1o, si Felicidad E. Alto-"ap, ma& asa.a, at anap na pa-iisip, a& nasasala&sa& na an
a1in 1a&amanan sa ba&an n *!lilan, B!lacan a& a1in ipinamamana sa a1in ma 1ama-
ana1an s!m!s!nod0
2icente Es!erra, 'r. ............................................. 5 Ba$ai
Fa!sto E. -an ......................................................... 2 Ba$ai
3osario E. -an ......................................................... 2 Ba$ai
Filomena Alto .......................................................... 1 Ba$ai
Beatri4 Alto .............................................................. 1 Ba$ai
At an a1in la$at n iban 1a&amanan sa +a&nila at iba panl!ar a& a1in ipinamamana
sa a1in asa.an si 5del#onso 6. "ap sa 1ondis&on si&a7& mapapaa.a n isan )ealt$
Center na na1a1a$alaa n di 1!1!lanin sa $alaan *80,000.00 sa ba&an n *!lilan,
B!lacan, na na1a!1it an a1in panalan Felicidad Es!erra-Alto. At 1!n ito a& ma&
1a1!lanan man a& ba$ala na an a1in asa.a an map!no !pan mat!pad an a1in
1a!st!$an.
9:ada; Felicidad E. Alto-"ap.
Opposin t$e petition, $er s!rvivin $!sband 5lde#onso "ap asserted t$at t$e deceased $ad not
le#t an& .ill, nor e/ec!ted an& testament d!rin $er li#etime.
A#ter $earin t$e parties and considerin t$eir evidence, t$e )on. 3amon 3. 'an <ose, <!de,
1
re#!sed to probate t$e alleed .ill. A sevent&-pae motion #or reconsideration #ailed. )ence t$is
appeal.
($e .ill itsel# .as not presented. *etitioner tried to establis$ its contents and d!e e/ec!tion b&
t$e statements in open co!rt o# Felina Es!erra, *rimitivo 3e&es, 'ocorro Olarte and 3osario
-an <imene4, .$ose testimonies ma& be s!mmari4ed as #ollo.s0
'ometime in 1950 a#ter $er last trip abroad, Felicidad Es!erra mentioned to $er #irst co!sin,
2icente Es!erra, $er desire to ma1e a .ill. '$e con#ided $o.ever t$at it .o!ld be !seless i# $er
$!sband discovered or 1ne. abo!t it. 2icente cons!lted .it$ Fa!sto E. -an, nep$e. o# Felicidad,
.$o .as t$en preparin #or t$e bar e/aminations. ($e latter replied it co!ld be done .it$o!t an&
.itness, provided t$e doc!ment .as entirel& in $er $and.ritin, sined and dated b& $er. 2icente
Es!erra lost no time in transmittin t$e in#ormation, and on t$e strent$ o# it, in t$e mornin o#
November 5, 1951, in $er residence at <!an :!na 'treet, +anila, Felicidad .rote, sined and
dated a $olorap$ic .ill s!bstantiall& o# t$e tenor above transcribed, in t$e presence o# $er niece,
Felina Es!erra 9da!$ter o# 2icente;, .$o .as invited to read it. 5n t$e a#ternoon o# t$at da&,
Felicidad .as visited b& a distant relative, *rimitivo 3e&es, and s$e allo.ed $im to read t$e .ill in
t$e presence o# Felina Es!erra, .$o aain read it.
Nine da&s later, $e $ad ot$er visitors0 'ocorro Olarte a co!sin, and 3osario -an <imene4, a
niece. (o t$ese s$e s$o.ed t$e .ill, aain in t$e presence o# Felina Es!erra, .$o read it #or t$e
t$ird time.
=$en on November 19, 1951, Felicidad .as con#ined at t$e %.'.(. )ospital #or $er last illness,
s$e entr!sted t$e said .ill, .$ic$ .as contained in a p!rse, to Felina Es!erra. B!t a #e. $o!rs
later, 5lde#onso "ap, $er $!sband, as1ed Felina #or t$e p!rse0 and bein a#raid o# $im b& reason o#
$is .ell-1no.n violent temper, s$e delivered it to $im. ($erea#ter, in t$e same da&, 5lde#onso "ap
ret!rned t$e p!rse to Felina, onl& to demand it t$e ne/t da& s$ortl& be#ore t$e deat$ o# Felicidad.
Aain, Felina $anded it to $im b!t not be#ore s$e $ad ta1en t$e p!rse to t$e toilet, opened it and
read t$e .ill #or t$e last time.
2
From t$e oppositor7s proo# it appears t$at Felicidad Es!erra $ad been s!##erin #rom $eart
disease #or several &ears be#ore $er deat$> t$at s$e $ad been treated b& prominent p$&sicians,
6r. Aerico 'ison, 6r. A!stin :iboro and ot$ers> t$at in +a& 1950 $!sband and .i#e ?o!rne&ed to
t$e %nited 'tates .$erein #or several .ee1s s$e .as treated #or t$e disease> t$at t$erea#ter s$e
#elt .ell and a#ter visitin interestin places, t$e co!ple ret!rned to t$is co!ntr& in A!!st 1950.
)o.ever, $er ailment rec!rred, s$e s!##ered several attac1s, t$e most serio!s o# .$ic$ $appened
in t$e earl& mornin o# t$e #irst +onda& o# November 1951 9Nov. 5;. ($e .$ole $o!se$old .as
s!rprised and alarmed, even t$e teac$ers o# t$e )arvardian Collees occ!p&in t$e lo.er #loors
and o# b& t$e "ap spo!ses. *$&sician7s $elp .as $!rriedl& called, and 6r. (an?!a@!io arrived at
abo!t A000 a.m., #o!nd t$e patient $ardl& breat$in, l&in in bed, $er $ead $eld $i$ b& $er
$!sband. 5n?ections and o/&en .ere administered. Follo.in t$e doctor7s advice t$e patient
sta&ed in bed, and did not$in t$e .$ole da&, $er $!sband and $er personal attendant, +rs.
Banti@!e, constantl& at $er side. ($ese t.o persons s.ore t$at +rs. Felicidad Es!erra "ap
made no .ill, and co!ld $ave made no .ill on t$at da&.
($e trial ?!de re#!sed to credit t$e petitioner7s evidence #or several reasons, t$e most important
o# .$ic$ .ere t$ese0 9a; i# accordin to $is evidence, t$e decedent .anted to 1eep $er .ill a
secret, so t$at $er $!sband .o!ld not 1no. it, it is strane s$e e/ec!ted it in t$e presence o#
Felina Es!erra, 1no.in as s$e did t$at .itnesses .ere !nnecessar&> 9b; in t$e absence o# a
s$o.in t$at Felina .as a con#idant o# t$e decedent it is $ard to believe t$at t$e latter .o!ld $ave
allo.ed t$e #ormer to see and read t$e .ill several times> 9c; it is improbable t$at t$e decedent
.o!ld $ave permitted *rimitivo 3e&es, 3osario -an <imene4 and 'ocorro Olarte to read $er .ill,
.$en s$e precisel& .anted its contents to remain a secret d!rin $er li#etime> 9d; it is also
improbable t$at $er p!rpose bein to conceal t$e .ill #rom $er $!sband s$e .o!ld carr& it aro!nd,
even to t$e $ospital, in $er p!rse .$ic$ co!ld #or one reason or anot$er be opened b& $er
$!sband> 9e; i# it is tr!e t$at t$e $!sband demanded t$e p!rse #rom Felina in t$e %.'.(. )ospital
and t$at t$e .ill .as t$ere, it is $ard to believe t$at $e ret!rned it .it$o!t destro&in t$e .ill, t$e
t$eor& o# t$e petitioner bein precisel& t$at t$e .ill .as e/ec!ted be$ind $is bac1 #or #ear $e .ill
destro& it.
5n t$e #ace o# t$ese improbabilities, t$e trial ?!de $ad to accept t$e oppositor7s evidence t$at
Felicidad did not and co!ld not $ave e/ec!ted s!c$ $olorap$ic .ill.
5n t$is appeal, t$e ma?or portion o# appellant7s brie# disc!ssed t$e testimon& o# t$e oppositor and
o# $is .itnesses in a vioro!s e##ort to discredit t$em. 5t appears t$at t$e same ar!ments, or
most o# t$em, .ere presented in t$e motion to reconsider> b!t t$e& #ailed to ind!ce t$e co!rt a
quoto c$ane its mind. ($e oppositor7s brie#, on t$e ot$er $and, aptl& ans.ers t$e criticisms. =e
deem it !nnecessar& to o over t$e same matters, beca!se in o!r opinion t$e case s$o!ld be
decided not on t$e .ea1ness o# t$e opposition b!t on t$e strent$ o# t$e evidence o# t$e
petitioner, .$o $as t$e b!rden o# proo#.
($e 'panis$ Civil Code permitted t$e e/ec!tion o# $olorap$ic .ills alon .it$ ot$er #orms. ($e
Code o# Civil *roced!re 9Act 190; approved A!!st ,, 1901, adopted onl& one #orm, t$ereb&
repealin t$e ot$er #orms, incl!din $olorap$ic .ills.
($e Ne. Civil Code e##ective in 1950 revived $olorap$ic .ills in its arts. A10-A1B. CA person ma&
e/ec!te a $olorap$ic .ill .$ic$ m!st be entirel& .ritten, dated, and sined b& t$e $and o# t$e
testator $imsel#. 5t is s!b?ect to no ot$er #orm and ma& be made in or o!t o# t$e *$ilippines, and
need not be .itnessed.C
($is is indeed a radical depart!re #rom t$e #orm and solemnities provided #or .ills !nder Act 190,
.$ic$ #or #i#t& &ears 9#rom 1901 to 1950; re@!ired .ills to be s!bscribed b& t$e testator and t$ree
credible .itnesses in eachand every pae> s!c$ .itnesses to attest to t$e n!mber o# s$eets !sed
and to t$e #act t$at t$e testator sined in t$eir presence and t$at t$e& sined in t$e presence o#
t$e testator and o# eac$ ot$er.
($e ob?ect o# s!c$ re@!irements it $as been said, is to close t$e door aainst bad #ait$ and #ra!d,
to prevent s!bstit!tion o# .ills, to !arantee t$eir tr!t$ and a!t$encit& 9Abanan vs. Abanan, B0
*$il., B,8; and to avoid t$ose .$o $ave no ri$t to s!cceed t$e testator .o!ld s!cceed $im and
be bene#ited .it$ t$e probate o# same. 9+endo4a vs. *ilapil, B0 O##. -a4., 1A55;. )o.ever, #ormal
imper#ections ma& be br!s$ed aside .$en a!t$enticit& o# t$e instr!ment is d!l& proved.
93odri!e4 vs "ap, B0 O##. -a4. 1st '!pp. No. D p. 19B.;
A!t$enticit& and d!e e/ec!tion is t$e dominant re@!irements to be #!l#illed .$en s!c$ .ill is
s!bmitted to t$e co!rts #or allo.ance. For t$at p!rpose t$e testimon& o# one o# t$e s!bscribin
.itnesses .o!ld be s!##icient i# t$ere is no opposition 9'ec. 5, 3!le ,,;. 5# t$ere is, t$e t$ree m!st
testi#&, i# available. 9Caban vs. 6el#inado, DB *$il., 291> (olentino vs. Francisco, 5, *$il., ,B2;.
From t$e testimon& o# s!c$ .itnesses 9and o# ot$er additional .itnesses; t$e co!rt ma& #orm its
opinion as to t$e en!ineness and a!t$enticit& o# t$e testament, and t$e circ!mstances its d!e
e/ec!tion.
No., in t$e matter o# $olorap$ic .ills, no s!c$ !aranties o# tr!t$ and veracit& are demanded,
since as stated, t$e& need no .itnesses> provided $o.ever, t$at t$e& are Centirel& .ritten, dated,
and sined b& t$e $and o# t$e testator $imsel#.C ($e la., it is reasonable to s!ppose, reards the
docu!ent itselfas material proo# o# a!t$enticit&, and as its o.n sa#e!ard, since it co!ld at an&
time, be demonstrated to be E or not to be E in t$e $ands o# t$e testator $imsel#. C5n t$e probate
o# a $olorap$ic .illC sa&s t$e Ne. Civil Code, Cit s$all be necessar& t$at at least one .itness
.$o 1no.s t$e $and.ritin and sinat!re o# t$e testator e/plicitl& declare t$at t$e .ill and t$e
sinat!re are in t$e $and.ritin o# t$e testator. 5# t$e .ill is contested, at least t$ree s!c$
.itnesses s$all be re@!ired. 5n t$e absence o# an& s!c$ .itnesses, 9#amiliar .it$ decedent7s
$and.ritin; and i# t$e co!rt deem it necessar&, e/pert testimon& ma& be resorted to.C
($e .itnesses so presented do not need to $ave seen t$e e/ec!tion o# t$e $olorap$ic .ill. ($e&
ma& be mista1en in t$eir opinion o# t$e $and.ritin, or t$e& ma& deliberatel& lie in a##irmin it is in
t$e testator7s $and. )o.ever, t$e oppositor ma& present ot$er .itnesses .$o also 1no. t$e
testator7s $and.ritin, or some e/pert .itnesses, .$o a#ter comparin t$e .ill .it$ ot$er .ritins
or letters o# t$e deceased, $ave come to t$e concl!sion t$at s!c$ .ill $as not been .ritten b& t$e
$and o# t$e deceased. 9'ec. 50, 3!le 12D;. And t$e co!rt, in vie. o# s!c$ contradictor& testimon&
ma& !se its o.n vis!al sense, and decide in the face of the docu!ent, .$et$er t$e .ill s!bmitted
to it $as indeed been .ritten b& t$e testator.
Obvio!sl&, .$en t$e .ill itsel# is not s!bmitted, t$ese !eans of opposition, and of assessin the
evidenceare not available. And t$en t$e onl& !arant& o# a!t$enticit&
D
E t$e testator7s $and.ritin
E $as disappeared.
($ere#ore, t$e @!estion presents itsel#, !ay a holoraphic "ill be probated upon the testi!ony of
"itnesses.$o $ave alleedl& seen it and .$o declare t$at it .as in t$e $and.ritin o# t$e
testatorF )o. can t$e oppositor prove t$at s!c$ doc!ment .as not in t$e testator7s $and.ritinF
)is .itnesses .$o 1no. testator7s $and.ritin $ave not e/amined it. )is e/perts can not testi#&,
beca!se t$ere is no .a& to compare t$e alleed testament .it$ ot$er doc!ments admittedl&, or
proven to be, in t$e testator7s $and. ($e oppositor .ill, t$ere#ore, be ca!$t bet.een t$e !pper
millstone o# $is lac1 o# 1no.lede o# t$e .ill or t$e #orm t$ereo#, and t$e net$er millstone o# $is
inabilit& to prove its #alsit&. Aain t$e proponent7s .itnesses ma& be $onest and tr!t$#!l> b!t t$e&
ma& $ave been s$o.n a #a1ed doc!ment, and $avin no interest to c$ec1 t$e a!t$enticit& t$ereo#
$ave ta1en no pains to e/amine and compare. Or t$e& ma& be per?!rers boldl& testi#&in, in t$e
1no.lede t$at none co!ld convict t$em o# per?!r&, beca!se no one co!ld prove t$at t$e& $ave
not Cbeen s$o.nC a doc!ment .$ic$ they believed .as in t$e $and.ritin o# t$e deceased. O#
co!rse, t$e competenc& o# s!c$ per?!red .itnesses to testi#& as to t$e $and.ritin co!ld be
tested b& e/$ibitin to t$em ot$er .ritins s!##icientl& similar to t$ose .ritten b& t$e deceased> b!t
.$at .itness or la.&er .o!ld not #oresee s!c$ a move and prepare #or itF )is 1no.lede o# t$e
$and.ritin establis$ed, t$e .itness 9or .itnesses; co!ld simpl& stic1 to $is statement0 $e $as
seen and read a doc!ment .$ic$ $e believed .as in t$e deceased7s $and.ritin. And t$e co!rt
and t$e oppositor .o!ld practicall& be at t$e merc& o# s!c$ .itness 9or .itnesses; not onl& as to
t$e e/ec!tion, b!t also as to the contentso# t$e .ill. 6oes t$e la. permit s!c$ a sit!ationF
($e 3!les o# Co!rt, 93!le ,,; approved in 19B0 allo. proo# 9and probate; o# a lost or destro&ed
.ill b& secondar& E evidence t$e testimon& o# .itnesses, in lie! o# t$e oriinal doc!ment. "et
s!c$ 3!les co!ld not $ave contemplated $olorap$ic .ills .$ic$ co!ld not t$en be validl& made
$ere. 9'ee also 'ec. B8, 3!le 12D> Art. AD0-Ne. Civil Code.;
Co!ld 3!le ,, be e/tended, b& analo&, to $olorap$ic .illsF
'panis$ commentators aree t$at one o# t$e reatest ob?ections to t$e $olorap$ic .ill is t$at it
ma& be lost or stolen
B
E an implied admission t$at s!c$ loss or t$e#t renders it !seless..
($is m!st be so, beca!se t$e Civil Code re@!ires it to be protocoled and presented to t$e ?!de,
9Art. 8A9; .$o s$all s!bscribe it and re@!ire itsidentit& to be establis$ed b& t$e t$ree .itnesses
.$o depose t$at t$e& $ave no reasonable do!bt t$at the "ill.as .ritten b& t$e testator 9Art. 891;.
And i# t$e ?!de considers t$at t$e identit& o# t$e .ill $as been proven $e s$all order t$at it be
#iled 9Art. 89D;. All t$ese, impl& presentation o# t$e .ill itsel#. Art. 892 bears t$e same implication,
to a reater deree. 5t re@!ires t$at t$e s!rvivin spo!se and t$e leitimate ascendants and
descendants be s!mmoned so t$at t$e& ma& ma1e Can& statement t$e& ma& desire to s!bmit
.it$ respect to t$e a!t$enticit& o# t$e .ill.C As it is !niversall& admitted t$at t$e $olorap$ic .ill is
!s!all& done b& t$e testator and b& $imsel# alone, to prevent ot$ers #rom 1no.in eit$er its
e/ec!tion or its contents, t$e above article 892 co!ld not $ave t$e idea o# simpl& permittin s!c$
relatives to state .$et$er t$e& 1no. o# t$e .ill, b!t .$et$er in the face of the docu!ent itselft$e&
t$in1 t$e testator .rote it. Obvio!sl&, t$is t$e& can7t do !nless the "ill itselfis presented to t$e
Co!rt and to t$em.
%ndo!btedl&, t$e intention o# t$e la. is to ive t$e near relatives t$e c$oice o# eit$er compl&in
.it$ t$e .ill i# t$e& t$in1 it a!t$entic, or to oppose it, i# t$e& t$in1 it sp!rio!s.
5
'!c$ p!rpose is
#r!strated .$en t$e doc!ment is not presented #or t$eir e/amination. 5# it be ar!ed t$at s!c$
c$oice is not essential, beca!se an&.a& t$e relatives ma& oppose, t$e ans.er is t$at t$eir
opposition .ill be at a distinct disadvantae, and t$e& $ave the riht and privileeto compl& .it$
t$e .ill, i# en!ine, a riht "hich theys$o!ld not be denied b& .it$$oldin inspection t$ereo# #rom
t$em.
=e #ind con#irmation o# t$ese ideas--abo!t e/$ibition o# t$e doc!ment itsel#--in t$e decision o# t$e
'!preme Co!rt o# 'pain o# <!ne 5, 1925, .$ic$ deniedprotocoli4ation or probate to a doc!ment
containin testamentar& dispositions in t$e $and.ritin o# t$e deceased, b!t apparentl& m!tilated,
the sinature and so!e "ords havin been torn fro! it. Even in t$e #ace o# alleations and
testimonial evidence 9.$ic$ .as controverted;, ascribin t$e m!tilation to t$e opponents o# t$e
.ill. ($e a#oresaid trib!nal declared t$at, in accordance .it$ t$e provision o# t$e Civil Code
9'panis$; t$e .ill itsel#, .$ole and !nm!tilated, m!st be presented> ot$er.ise, it s$all prod!ce no
e##ect.
Considerando @!e sentado lo anterior, & estableciendose en el parra#o se!ndo del artic!lo
8AA del Codio civil, @!e para @!e sea valido el testamento olora#o debera estar escrito
todo el & #irmado por testador, con e/pression del aGo, mes & dia en @!e se otor@!e, res!lta
evidente @!e para la valide4 & e#icacia de esos testamentos, no basta la demostracion mas o
menos c!mplida de @!e c!ando se otoraron se #lenaron todos esos requisitos, sino que de
la e$presada redaccion el precepto leal, & por el tiempo en @!e el verbo se emplea, se
desprende la necesidad de que el docu!ento se encuentreen dic$as condiciones en el
momento de ser presentado a la Autoridad co!petente, para a! adveracion &
protocoli4acion> & como consec!encia inel!dible de ello, #or4oso es a##irmar que el de autos
carece de validez y aficacia, por no estar#irmado por el testador, c!al@!iera @!e sea la ca!sa
de la #alta de #irma, & sin per?!icio de las acciones @!e p!edan e?ercitar los per?!dicados,
bien para pedir indemni4acion por el per?!icio a la persona c!lpable, si la $!biere, o s!
castio en via criminal si procediere, por constituir dicha o!ision un defecto
insubsanable . . . .
($is $oldin alins .it$ t$e ideas on $olorap$ic .ills in t$e F!ero <!4o, admittedl& t$e basis o#
t$e 'panis$ Civil Code provisions on t$e matter.
8
*3ECE6EN(E' :E-A:E'--F!ero <!4o, libro se!ndo, tit!lo 2, le& 15--E dep!es @!e los
$erederos e s!s #i?os ovieren esta manda, #asta ... annos m!estrenla al obispo de la tierra, o
al ?!e4 #asta 25 meses & el obispo o el ?!e4 tomen otros tales tres escritos, @!e #!esen
#ec$os por s! mano da@!el @!e #i4o la manda> e por a@!ellos escriptos, si sem?ara la letra de
la manda, sea con#irmada la manda. E dep!es @!e todo esto #!ere connoscido, el obispo o
el ?!e4, o otras testimonios con#irmen el escripto de la manda otra ve4, & en esta manera
vala la manda. 9Art. 8A9, 'caevola--Codio Civil.;
9Accordin to t$e F!ero above, t$e .ill itsel# m!st be compared .it$ specimens o# t$e testators
$and.ritin.;
All o# .$ic$ can onl& mean0 t$e co!rts .ill not distrib!te t$e propert& o# t$e deceased in
accordance .it$ $is $olorap$ic .ill, !nless t$e& are s$o.n $is $and.ritin and sinat!re.
,
*arent$eticall&, it ma& be added t$at even t$e Frenc$ Civil :a. considers t$e loss o# t$e
$olorap$ic .ill to be #atal. 9*laniol & 3ipert, 6erec$o Civil Frances, trad!ccion por 6ia4 Cr!4,
19B8, (omo 2, pae 555;.
(a1in all t$e above circ!mstances toet$er, .e reac$ t$e concl!sion t$at t$e e/ec!tion and t$e
contents o# a lost or destro&ed $olorap$ic .ill ma& not be proved b& t$e bare testimon& o#
.itnesses .$o $ave seen andHor read s!c$ .ill.
A
%nder t$e provisions o# Art. ADA o# t$e Ne. Civil Code, .e are empo.ered to adopt t$is opinion
as a 3!le o# Co!rt #or t$e allo.ance o# s!c$ $olorap$ic .ills. =e $esitate, $o.ever, to ma1e t$is
3!le decisive o# t$is controvers&, sim!ltaneo!sl& .it$ its prom!lation. An&.a&, decision o# t$e
appeal ma& rest on t$e s!##icienc&, rat$er t$e ins!##icienc&, o# t$e evidence presented b&
petitioner Fa!sto E. -an.
At t$is point, be#ore proceedin #!rt$er, it mi$t be convenient to e/plain .$&, !nli1e $olorap$ic
.ills, ordinar& .ills ma& be proved b& testimonial evidence .$en lost or destro&ed. ($e di##erence
lies in t$e nat!re o# t$e .ills. 5n t$e #irst, t$e onl& !arantee o# a!t$enticit& is t$e $and.ritin itsel#>
in t$e second, t$e testimon& o# t$e s!bscribin or instr!mental .itnesses 9and o# t$e notar&, no.;.
($e loss o# t$e $olorap$ic .ill entails t$e loss o# t$e onl& medi!m o# proo#> i# t$e ordinar& .ill is
lost, t$e s!bscribin .itnesses are available to a!t$enticate.
5n t$e case o# ordinar& .ills, it is @!ite $ard to convince t$ree .itnesses 9#o!r .it$ t$e notar&;
deliberatel& to lie. And t$en t$eir lies co!ld be c$ec1ed and e/posed, t$eir .$ereabo!ts and acts
on t$e partic!lar da&, t$e li1eli$ood t$at t$e& .o!ld be called b& t$e testator, t$eir intimac& .it$
t$e testator, etc. And i# t$e& .ere intimates or tr!sted #riends o# t$e testator t$e& are not li1el& to
end t$emselves to an& #ra!d!lent sc$eme to distort $is .is$es. :ast b!t not least, t$e& can not
receive an&t$in on acco!nt o# t$e .ill.
=$ereas in t$e case o# $olorap$ic .ills, i# oral testimon& .ere admissible
9
onl& one man co!ld
enineer t$e #ra!d t$is .a&0 a#ter ma1in a clever or passable imitation o# t$e $and.ritin and
sinat!re o# t$e deceased, $e ma& contrive to let t$ree $onest and credible .itnesses see and
read t$e #orer&> and t$e latter, $avin no interest, co!ld easil& #all #or it, and in co!rt t$e& .o!ld
in all ood #ait$ a##irm its en!ineness and a!t$enticit&. ($e .ill $avin been lost E t$e #orer
ma& $ave p!rposel& destro&ed it in an CaccidentC E t$e oppositors $ave no .a& to e/pose t$e
tric1 and t$e error, beca!se t$e doc!ment itsel# is not at $and. And considerin t$at t$e
$olorap$ic .ill ma& consist o# t.o or t$ree paes, and only oneo# t$em need be sined, t$e
s!bstit!tion o# t$e !nsined paes, .$ic$ ma& be t$e most important ones, ma& o !ndetected.
5# testimonial evidence o# $olorap$ic .ills be permitted, one more ob?ectionable #eat!re E
#easibilit& o# #orer& E .o!ld be added to t$e several ob?ections to t$is 1ind o# .ills listed b&
Castan, 'anc$e4 3oman and 2alverde and ot$er .ell-1no.n 'panis$ Commentators and
teac$ers o# Civil :a..
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One more #!ndamental di##erence0 in t$e case o# a lost .ill, t$e t$ree s!bscribin .itnesses .o!ld
be testi#&in to a fact.$ic$ t$e& sa., namel& t$e act o# t$e testator o# s!bscribin t$e .ill>
.$ereas in t$e case o# a lost $olorap$ic .ill, t$e .itnesses .o!ld testi#& as to their opiniono# t$e
$and.ritin .$ic$ t$e& alleedl& sa., an opinion .$ic$ can not be tested in co!rt, nor directl&
contradicted b& t$e oppositors, beca!se t$e $and.ritin itsel# is not at $and.
(!rnin no. to t$e evidence presented b& t$e petitioner, .e #ind o!rselves s$arin t$e trial
?!de7s disbelie#. 5n addition to t$e d!bio!s circ!mstances described in t$e appealed decision, .e
#ind it $ard to believe t$at t$e deceased s$o!ld s$o. $er .ill precisel& to relatives .$o $ad
received not$in #rom it0 'ocorro Olarte and *rimitivo 3e&es. ($ese co!ld pester $er into
amendin $er .ill to ive t$em a s$are, or t$reaten to reveal its e/ec!tion to $er $!sband
5lde#onso "ap. And t$is leads to anot$er point0 i# s$e .anted so m!c$ to conceal t$e .ill #rom $er
$!sband, .$& did s$e not entr!st it to $er bene#iciariesF Opport!nit& to do so .as not lac1in0 #or
instance, $er $!sband7s trip to 6avao, a #e. da&s a#ter t$e alleed e/ec!tion o# t$e .ill.
5n #ine, even i# oral testimon& .ere admissible to establis$ and probate a lost $olorap$ic .ill, .e
t$in1 t$e evidence s!bmitted b& $erein petitioner is so tainted .it$ improbabilities and
inconsistencies t$at it #ails to meas!re !p to t$at Cclear and distinctC proo# re@!ired b& 3!le ,,,
sec. 8.
11
=$ere#ore, t$e re?ection o# t$e alleed .ill m!st be s!stained.
<!dment a##irmed, .it$ costs aainst petitioner.
%aras, C. &., %adilla, Monte!ayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Anelo, Concepcion, Reyes, &. B. '.,
(ndencia and )eli$, &&., conc!r.