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G.R. No.

155733

January 27, 2006

IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATES OF THE DECEASED JOSEFA


DELGADO AND GUILLERMO RUSTIA CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA
and other HEIRS OF LUIS DELGADO, namely, HEIRS OF CONCHA VDA. DE
AREVALO, HEIRS OF LUISA DELGADO VDA. DE DANAO, ANGELA DELGADO
ARESPACOCHAGA, TERESA DELGADO PERLAS, CAROLINA DELGADOARESPACOCHAGA, RODOLFO DELGADO, BENJAMIN DELGADO, GLICERIA
DELGADO and CLEOFAS DELGADO; and HEIRS OF GORGONIO DELGADO,
namely, RAMON DELGADO CAMPO, CARLOS DELGADO CAMPO, CLARITA
DELGADO CAMPO-REIZA, YOLANDA DELGADO ENCINAS, FELISA DELGADO
CAMPO-ENCINAS and MELINDA DELGADO CAMPO-MADARANG, Petitioners,
vs.
HEIRS OF MARCIANA RUSTIA VDA. DE DAMIAN, namely, GUILLERMO R.
DAMIAN and JOSE R. DAMIAN; HEIRS OF HORTENCIA RUSTIA CRUZ, namely,
TERESITA CRUZ-SISON, HORACIO R. CRUZ, JOSEFINA CRUZ-RODIL, AMELIA
CRUZ-ENRIQUEZ and FIDEL R. CRUZ, JR.; HEIRS OF ROMAN RUSTIA, SR.,
namely, JOSEFINA RUSTIA ALBANO, VIRGINIA RUSTIA PARAISO, ROMAN
RUSTIA, JR., SERGIO RUSTIA, FRANCISCO RUSTIA, LETICIA RUSTIA-MIRANDA;
and GUILLERMINA RUSTIA, as Oppositors;1 and GUILLERMA RUSTIA, as
Intervenor,2 Respondents.3
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek to reinstate the May 11, 1990 decision of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 55,4 in SP Case No. 97668, which was
reversed and set aside by the Court of Appeals in its decision5 dated October 24, 2002.
FACTS OF THE CASE
This case concerns the settlement of the intestate estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa
Delgado.6 The main issue in this case is relatively simple: who, between petitioners and
respondents, are the lawful heirs of the decedents. However, it is attended by several collateral
issues that complicate its resolution.
The claimants to the estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado may be divided into two
groups: (1) the alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado, consisting of her half- and full-blood siblings,
nephews and nieces, and grandnephews and grandnieces, and (2) the alleged heirs of Guillermo

Rustia, particularly, his sisters,7 his nephews and nieces,8 his illegitimate child,9 and the de
facto adopted child10 (ampun-ampunan) of the decedents.
The alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado
The deceased Josefa Delgado was the daughter of Felisa11 Delgado by one Lucio Campo. Aside
from Josefa, five other children were born to the couple, namely, Nazario, Edilberta, Jose,
Jacoba, and Gorgonio, all surnamed Delgado. Felisa Delgado was never married to Lucio
Campo, hence, Josefa and her full-blood siblings were all natural children of Felisa Delgado.
However, Lucio Campo was not the first and only man in Felisa Delgados life. Before him was
Ramon Osorio12with whom Felisa had a son, Luis Delgado. But, unlike her relationship with
Lucio Campo which was admittedly one without the benefit of marriage, the legal status of
Ramon Osorios and Felisa Delgados union is in dispute.
The question of whether Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio ever got married is crucial to the
claimants because the answer will determine whether their successional rights fall within the
ambit of the rule against reciprocal intestate succession between legitimate and illegitimate
relatives.13 If Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado had been validly married, then their only child
Luis Delgado was a legitimate half-blood brother of Josefa Delgado and therefore excluded from
the latters intestate estate. He and his heirs would be barred by the principle of absolute
separation between the legitimate and illegitimate families. Conversely, if the couple were never
married, Luis Delgado and his heirs would be entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgados intestate
estate, as they would all be within the illegitimate line.
Petitioners allege that Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado were never married. In support thereof,
they assert that no evidence was ever presented to establish it, not even so much as an allegation
of the date or place of the alleged marriage. What is clear, however, is that Felisa retained the
surname Delgado. So did Luis, her son with Ramon Osorio. Later on, when Luis got married,
his Partida de Casamiento14 stated that he was "hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the natural
child of Felisa Delgado),15 significantly omitting any mention of the name and other
circumstances of his father.16 Nevertheless, oppositors (now respondents) insist that the absence
of a record of the alleged marriage did not necessarily mean that no marriage ever took place.
Josefa Delgado died on September 8, 1972 without a will. She was survived by Guillermo Rustia
and some collateral relatives, the petitioners herein. Several months later, on June 15, 1973,
Guillermo Rustia executed an affidavit of selfadjudication of the remaining properties comprising her estate.
The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado

Sometime in 1917, Guillermo Rustia proposed marriage to Josefa Delgado17 but whether a
marriage in fact took place is disputed. According to petitioners, the two eventually lived
together as husband and wife but were never married. To prove their assertion, petitioners point
out that no record of the contested marriage existed in the civil registry. Moreover, a baptismal
certificate naming Josefa Delgado as one of the sponsors referred to her as "Seorita" or
unmarried woman.
The oppositors (respondents here), on the other hand, insist that the absence of a marriage
certificate did not of necessity mean that no marriage transpired. They maintain that Guillermo
Rustia and Josefa Delgado were married on June 3, 1919 and from then on lived together as
husband and wife until the death of Josefa on September 8, 1972. During this period spanning
more than half a century, they were known among their relatives and friends to have in fact been
married. To support their proposition, oppositors presented the following pieces of evidence:
1. Certificate of Identity No. 9592 dated [December 1, 1944] issued to Mrs. Guillermo J.
Rustia by Carlos P. Romulo, then Resident Commissioner to the United States of the
Commonwealth of the Philippines;
2. Philippine Passport No. 4767 issued to Josefa D. Rustia on June 25, 1947;
3. Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation for Disability Resulting from
Service in the Active Military or Naval Forces of the United States- Claim No. C-4, 004,
503 (VA Form 526) filed with the Veterans Administration of the United States of
America by Dr. Guillermo J. Rustia wherein Dr. Guillermo J. Rustia himself [swore] to
his marriage to Josefa Delgado in Manila on 3 June 1919;18
4. Titles to real properties in the name of Guillermo Rustia indicated that he was married
to Josefa Delgado.
The alleged heirs of Guillermo Rustia
Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado never had any children. With no children of their own, they
took into their home the youngsters Guillermina Rustia Rustia and Nanie Rustia. These children,
never legally adopted by the couple, were what was known in the local dialect as ampunampunan.
During his life with Josefa, however, Guillermo Rustia did manage to father an illegitimate
child,19 the intervenor-respondent Guillerma Rustia, with one Amparo Sagarbarria. According to
Guillerma, Guillermo Rustia treated her as his daughter, his own flesh and blood, and she
enjoyed open and continuous possession of that status from her birth in 1920 until her fathers
demise. In fact, Josefa Delgados obituary which was prepared by Guillermo Rustia, named the

intervenor-respondent as one of their children. Also, her report card from the University of Santo
Tomas identified Guillermo Rustia as her parent/guardian.20
Oppositors (respondents here) nonetheless posit that Guillerma Rustia has no interest in the
intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia as she was never duly acknowledged as an illegitimate child.
They contend that her right to compulsory acknowledgement prescribed when Guillermo died in
1974 and that she cannot claim voluntary acknowledgement since the documents she presented
were not the authentic writings prescribed by the new Civil Code.21
On January 7, 1974, more than a year after the death of Josefa Delgado, Guillermo Rustia filed a
petition for the adoption22 of their ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia. He stated under oath
"[t]hat he ha[d] no legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children or natural children by
legal fiction."23 The petition was overtaken by his death on February 28, 1974.
Like Josefa Delgado, Guillermo Rustia died without a will. He was survived by his sisters
Marciana Rustia vda. deDamian and Hortencia Rustia-Cruz, and by the children of his
predeceased brother Roman Rustia Sr., namely, Josefina Rustia Albano, Virginia Rustia Paraiso,
Roman Rustia, Jr., Sergio Rustia, Francisco Rustia and Leticia Rustia Miranda.24
ANTECEDENT PROCEEDINGS
On May 8, 1975, Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao, the daughter of Luis Delgado, filed the original
petition for letters of administration of the intestate estates of the "spouses Josefa Delgado and
Guillermo Rustia" with the RTC of Manila, Branch 55.25 This petition was opposed by the
following: (1) the sisters of Guillermo Rustia, namely, Marciana Rustia vda. de Damian and
Hortencia Rustia-Cruz;26 (2) the heirs of Guillermo Rustias late brother, Roman Rustia, Sr., and
(3) the ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia. The opposition was grounded on the theory
that Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao and the other claimants were barred under the law from
inheriting from their illegitimate half-blood relative Josefa Delgado.
In November of 1975, Guillerma Rustia filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings, claiming
she was the only surviving descendant in the direct line of Guillermo Rustia. Despite the
objections of the oppositors (respondents herein), the motion was granted.
On April 3, 1978, the original petition for letters of administration was amended to state that
Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia were never married but had merely lived together as
husband and wife.
On January 24, 1980, oppositors (respondents herein) filed a motion to dismiss the petition in the
RTC insofar as the estate of Guillermo Rustia was concerned. The motion was denied on the

ground that the interests of the petitioners and the other claimants remained in issue and should
be properly threshed out upon submission of evidence.
On March 14, 1988, Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa substituted for her sister, Luisa
Delgado vda. de Danao, who had died on May 18, 1987.
On May 11, 1990, the RTC appointed Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa as administratrix of
both estates.27The dispositive portion of the decision read:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, petitioner and her co-claimants to the estate of the
late Josefa Delgado listed in the Petitions, and enumerated elsewhere in this Decision, are hereby
declared as the only legal heirs of the said Josefa Delgado who died intestate in the City of
Manila on September 8, 1972, and entitled to partition the same among themselves in accordance
with the proportions referred to in this Decision.
Similarly, the intervenor Guillerma S. Rustia is hereby declared as the sole and only surviving
heir of the late Dr. Guillermo Rustia, and thus, entitled to the entire estate of the said decedent, to
the exclusion of the oppositors and the other parties hereto.
The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of the estate of Josefa Delgado executed by the late
Guillermo J. Rustia on June 15, 1973 is hereby SET ASIDE and declared of no force and effect.
As the estates of both dece[d]ents have not as yet been settled, and their settlement [is]
considered consolidated in this proceeding in accordance with law, a single administrator
therefor is both proper and necessary, and, as the petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. de dela Rosa
has established her right to the appointment as administratrix of the estates, the Court hereby
APPOINTS her as the ADMINISTRATRIX of the intestate estate of the decedent JOSEFA
DELGADO in relation to the estate of DR. GUILLERMO J. RUSTIA.
Accordingly, let the corresponding LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION issue to the petitioner
CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA upon her filing of the requisite bond in the sum
of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00).
Finally, oppositor GUILLERMINA RUSTIA RUSTIA is hereby ordered to cease and desist from
her acts of administration of the subject estates, and is likewise ordered to turn over to the
appointed administratix all her collections of the rentals and income due on the assets of the
estates in question, including all documents, papers, records and titles pertaining to such estates
to the petitioner and appointed administratix CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA,
immediately upon receipt of this Decision. The same oppositor is hereby required to render an
accounting of her actual administration of the estates in controversy within a period of sixty (60)
days from receipt hereof.

SO ORDERED.28
On May 20, 1990, oppositors filed an appeal which was denied on the ground that the record on
appeal was not filed on time.29 They then filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus30 which
was dismissed by the Court of Appeals.31 However, on motion for reconsideration and after
hearing the parties oral arguments, the Court of Appeals reversed itself and gave due course to
oppositors appeal in the interest of substantial justice.32
In a petition for review to this Court, petitioners assailed the resolution of the Court of Appeals,
on the ground that oppositors failure to file the record on appeal within the reglementary period
was a jurisdictional defect which nullified the appeal. On October 10, 1997, this Court allowed
the continuance of the appeal. The pertinent portion of our decision33 read:
As a rule, periods prescribed to do certain acts must be followed. However, under exceptional
circumstances, a delay in the filing of an appeal may be excused on grounds of substantial
justice.
xxx xxx xxx
The respondent court likewise pointed out the trial courts pronouncements as to certain matters
of substance, relating to the determination of the heirs of the decedents and the party entitled to
the administration of their estate, which were to be raised in the appeal, but were barred
absolutely by the denial of the record on appeal upon too technical ground of late filing.
xxx xxx xxx
In this instance, private respondents intention to raise valid issues in the appeal is apparent and
should not have been construed as an attempt to delay or prolong the administration proceedings.
xxx xxx xxx
A review of the trial courts decision is needed.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the
Resolution dated November 27, 1991 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 23415, for
the APPROVAL of the private respondents Record on Appeal and the CONTINUANCE of the
appeal from the Manila, Branch LV Regional Trial Courts May 11, 1990 decision.
SO ORDERED.

Acting on the appeal, the Court of Appeals34 partially set aside the trial courts decision. Upon
motion for reconsideration,35 the Court of Appeals amended its earlier decision.36 The dispositive
portion of the amended decision read:
With the further modification, our assailed decision is RECONSIDERED and VACATED.
Consequently, the decision of the trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new one is
hereby RENDERED declaring: 1.) Dr. Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado Rustia to have
been legally married; 2.) the intestate estate of Dr. Guillermo Rustia, Jacoba Delgado-Encinas
and the children of Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) entitled to partition among themselves the
intestate estate of Josefa D. Rustia in accordance with the proportion referred to in this decision;
3.) the oppositors-appellants as the legal heirs of the late Dr. Guillermo Rustia and thereby
entitled to partition his estate in accordance with the proportion referred to herein; and 4.) the
intervenor-appellee Guillerma S. Rustia as ineligible to inherit from the late Dr. Guillermo
Rustia; thus revoking her appointment as administratrix of his estate.
The letters of administration of the intestate estate of Dr. Guillermo Rustia in relation to the
intestate estate of Josefa Delgado shall issue to the nominee of the oppositors-appellants upon his
or her qualification and filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00).
Oppositor-appellant Guillermina Rustia Rustia is hereby ordered to cease and desist from her
acts of administration of the subject estates and to turn over to the appointed administrator all her
collections of the rentals and incomes due on the assets of the estates in question, including all
documents, papers, records and titles pertaining to such estates to the appointed administrator,
immediately upon notice of his qualification and posting of the requisite bond, and to render an
accounting of her (Guillermina Rustia Rustia) actual administration of the estates in controversy
within a period of sixty (60) days from notice of the administrators qualification and posting of
the bond.
The issue of the validity of the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by Dr. Guillermo Rustia on
June 15, 1973 isREMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings to determine the extent
of the shares of Jacoba Delgado-Encinas and the children of Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) affected
by the said adjudication.
Hence, this recourse.
The issues for our resolution are:
1. whether there was a valid marriage between Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado;
2. who the legal heirs of the decedents Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado are;

3. who should be issued letters of administration.


The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado
A presumption is an inference of the existence or non-existence of a fact which courts are
permitted to draw from proof of other facts. Presumptions are classified into presumptions of law
and presumptions of fact. Presumptions of law are, in turn, either conclusive or disputable.37
Rule 131, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 3. Disputable presumptions. The following presumptions are satisfactory if
uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence:
xxx xxx xxx
(aa) That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a
lawful contract of marriage;
xxx xxx xxx
In this case, several circumstances give rise to the presumption that a valid marriage existed
between Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado. Their cohabitation of more than 50 years cannot
be doubted. Their family and friends knew them to be married. Their reputed status as husband
and wife was such that even the original petition for letters of administration filed by Luisa
Delgado vda. de Danao in 1975 referred to them as "spouses."
Yet, petitioners maintain that Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia had simply lived together as
husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. They make much of the absence of a record of
the contested marriage, the testimony of a witness38 attesting that they were not married, and a
baptismal certificate which referred to Josefa Delgado as "Seorita" or unmarried woman.39
We are not persuaded.
First, although a marriage contract is considered a primary evidence of marriage, its absence is
not always proof that no marriage in fact took place.40 Once the presumption of marriage arises,
other evidence may be presented in support thereof. The evidence need not necessarily or
directly establish the marriage but must at least be enough to strengthen the presumption of
marriage. Here, the certificate of identity issued to Josefa Delgado as Mrs. Guillermo
Rustia,41 the passport issued to her as Josefa D. Rustia,42 the declaration under oath of no less
than Guillermo Rustia that he was married to Josefa Delgado43 and the titles to the properties in
the name of "Guillermo Rustia married to Josefa Delgado," more than adequately support the
presumption of marriage. These are public documents which are prima facie evidence of the

facts stated therein.44 No clear and convincing evidence sufficient to overcome the presumption
of the truth of the recitals therein was presented by petitioners.
Second, Elisa vda. de Anson, petitioners own witness whose testimony they primarily relied
upon to support their position, confirmed that Guillermo Rustia had proposed marriage to Josefa
Delgado and that eventually, the two had "lived together as husband and wife." This again could
not but strengthen the presumption of marriage.
Third, the baptismal certificate45 was conclusive proof only of the baptism administered by the
priest who baptized the child. It was no proof of the veracity of the declarations and statements
contained therein,46 such as the alleged single or unmarried ("Seorita") civil status of Josefa
Delgado who had no hand in its preparation.
Petitioners failed to rebut the presumption of marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado.
In this jurisdiction, every intendment of the law leans toward legitimizing matrimony. Persons
dwelling together apparently in marriage are presumed to be in fact married. This is the usual
order of things in society and, if the parties are not what they hold themselves out to be, they
would be living in constant violation of the common rules of law and propriety. Semper
praesumitur pro matrimonio. Always presume marriage.47
The Lawful Heirs Of Josefa Delgado
To determine who the lawful heirs of Josefa Delgado are, the questioned status of the
cohabitation of her mother Felisa Delgado with Ramon Osorio must first be addressed.
As mentioned earlier, presumptions of law are either conclusive or disputable. Conclusive
presumptions are inferences which the law makes so peremptory that no contrary proof, no
matter how strong, may overturn them.48 On the other hand, disputable presumptions, one of
which is the presumption of marriage, can be relied on only in the absence of sufficient evidence
to the contrary.
Little was said of the cohabitation or alleged marriage of Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio. The
oppositors (now respondents) chose merely to rely on the disputable presumption of marriage
even in the face of such countervailing evidence as (1) the continued use by Felisa and Luis (her
son with Ramon Osorio) of the surname Delgado and (2) Luis Delgados and Caridad
Concepcions Partida de Casamiento49 identifying Luis as "hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the
natural child of Felisa Delgado).50
All things considered, we rule that these factors sufficiently overcame the rebuttable presumption
of marriage. Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio were never married. Hence, all the children born
to Felisa Delgado out of her relations with Ramon Osorio and Lucio Campo, namely, Luis and

his half-blood siblings Nazario, Edilberta, Jose, Jacoba, Gorgonio and the decedent Josefa, all
surnamed Delgado,51 were her natural children.52
Pertinent to this matter is the following observation:
Suppose, however, that A begets X with B, and Y with another woman, C; then X and Y would
be natural brothers and sisters, but of half-blood relationship. Can they succeed each other
reciprocally?
The law prohibits reciprocal succession between illegitimate children and legitimate children of
the same parent, even though there is unquestionably a tie of blood between them. It seems that
to allow an illegitimate child to succeed ab intestato (from) another illegitimate child begotten
with a parent different from that of the former, would be allowing the illegitimate child greater
rights than a legitimate child. Notwithstanding this, however, we submit that
succession should be allowed, even when the illegitimate brothers and sisters are only of the
half-blood. The reason impelling the prohibition on reciprocal successions between legitimate
and illegitimate families does not apply to the case under consideration. That prohibition has for
its basis the difference in category between illegitimate and legitimate relatives. There is no such
difference when all the children are illegitimate children of the same parent, even if begotten
with different persons. They all stand on the same footing before the law, just like legitimate
children of half-blood relation. We submit, therefore, that the rules regarding succession of
legitimate brothers and sisters should be applicable to them. Full blood illegitimate brothers and
sisters should receive double the portion of half-blood brothers and sisters; and if all are either of
the full blood or of the half-blood, they shall share equally.53
Here, the above-named siblings of Josefa Delgado were related to her by full-blood, except Luis
Delgado, her half-brother. Nonetheless, since they were all illegitimate, they may inherit from
each other. Accordingly, all of them are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado.
We note, however, that the petitioners before us are already the nephews, nieces, grandnephews
and grandnieces of Josefa Delgado. Under Article 972 of the new Civil Code, the right of
representation in the collateral line takes place only in favor of the children of brothers and
sisters (nephews and nieces). Consequently, it cannot be exercised by grandnephews and
grandnieces.54 Therefore, the only collateral relatives of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to
partake of her intestate estate are her brothers and sisters, or their children who were still alive
at the time of her death on September 8, 1972. They have a vested right to participate in the
inheritance.55 The records not being clear on this matter, it is now for the trial court to determine
who were the surviving brothers and sisters (or their children) of Josefa Delgado at the time of
her death. Together with Guillermo Rustia,56 they are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado in
accordance with Article 1001 of the new Civil Code:57

Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the
latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children
to the other one-half.
Since Josefa Delgado had heirs other than Guillermo Rustia, Guillermo could not have validly
adjudicated Josefas estate all to himself. Rule 74, Section 1 of the Rules of Court is clear.
Adjudication by an heir of the decedents entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit is
allowed only if he is the sole heir to the estate:
SECTION 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. If the decedent left no will
and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal
representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of
administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public
instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in
an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the
estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of deeds. x x x (emphasis
supplied)
The Lawful Heirs Of Guillermo Rustia
Intervenor (now co-respondent) Guillerma Rustia is an illegitimate child58 of Guillermo Rustia.
As such, she may be entitled to successional rights only upon proof of an admission or
recognition of paternity.59 She, however, claimed the status of an acknowledged illegitimate child
of Guillermo Rustia only after the death of the latter on February 28, 1974 at which time it was
already the new Civil Code that was in effect.
Under the old Civil Code (which was in force till August 29, 1950), illegitimate children
absolutely had no hereditary rights. This draconian edict was, however, later relaxed in the new
Civil Code which granted certain successional rights to illegitimate children but only on
condition that they were first recognized or acknowledged by the parent.
Under the new law, recognition may be compulsory or voluntary.60 Recognition is compulsory in
any of the following cases:
(1) in cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the offense coincides
more or less with that of the conception;
(2) when the child is in continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father (or
mother)61 by the direct acts of the latter or of his family;
(3) when the child was conceived during the time when the mother cohabited with the
supposed father;

(4) when the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his
father. 62
On the other hand, voluntary recognition may be made in the record of birth, a will, a statement
before a court of record or in any authentic writing.63
Intervenor Guillerma sought recognition on two grounds: first, compulsory recognition through
the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child and second, voluntary
recognition through authentic writing.
There was apparently no doubt that she possessed the status of an illegitimate child from her
birth until the death of her putative father Guillermo Rustia. However, this did not constitute
acknowledgment but a mere ground by which she could have compelled acknowledgment
through the courts.64 Furthermore, any (judicial) action for compulsory acknowledgment has a
dual limitation: the lifetime of the child and the lifetime of the putative parent.65 On the death of
either, the action for compulsory recognition can no longer be filed.66 In this case, intervenor
Guillermas right to claim compulsory acknowledgment prescribed upon the death of Guillermo
Rustia on February 28, 1974.
The claim of voluntary recognition (Guillermas second ground) must likewise fail. An authentic
writing, for purposes of voluntary recognition, is understood as a genuine or indubitable writing
of the parent (in this case, Guillermo Rustia). This includes a public instrument or a private
writing admitted by the father to be his.67 Did intervenors report card from the University of
Santo Tomas and Josefa Delgados obituary prepared by Guillermo Rustia qualify as authentic
writings under the new Civil Code? Unfortunately not. The report card of intervenor Guillerma
did not bear the signature of Guillermo Rustia. The fact that his name appears there as
intervenors parent/guardian holds no weight since he had no participation in its preparation.
Similarly, while witnesses testified that it was Guillermo Rustia himself who drafted the notice
of death of Josefa Delgado which was published in the Sunday Times on September 10, 1972,
that published obituary was not the authentic writing contemplated by the law. What could have
been admitted as an authentic writing was the original manuscript of the notice, in the
handwriting of Guillermo Rustia himself and signed by him, not the newspaper clipping of the
obituary. The failure to present the original signed manuscript was fatal to intervenors claim.
The same misfortune befalls the ampun-ampunan, Guillermina Rustia Rustia, who was never
adopted in accordance with law. Although a petition for her adoption was filed by Guillermo
Rustia, it never came to fruition and was dismissed upon the latters death. We affirm the ruling
of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals holding her a legal stranger to the deceased
spouses and therefore not entitled to inherit from them ab intestato. We quote:

Adoption is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem, which [created] between two persons a
relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. Only an adoption
made through the court, or in pursuance with the procedure laid down under Rule 99 of the Rules
of Court is valid in this jurisdiction. It is not of natural law at all, but is wholly and entirely
artificial. To establish the relation, the statutory requirements must be strictly carried out,
otherwise, the adoption is an absolute nullity. The fact of adoption is never presumed, but must
be affirmatively [proven] by the person claiming its existence.68
Premises considered, we rule that two of the claimants to the estate of Guillermo Rustia, namely,
intervenor Guillerma Rustia and the ampun-ampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia, are not lawful
heirs of the decedent. Under Article 1002 of the new Civil Code, if there are no descendants,
ascendants, illegitimate children, or surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the
entire estate of the deceased. Therefore, the lawful heirs of Guillermo Rustia are the remaining
claimants, consisting of his sisters,69 nieces and nephews.70
Entitlement To Letters Of Administration
An administrator is a person appointed by the court to administer the intestate estate of the
decedent. Rule 78, Section 6 of the Rules of Court prescribes an order of preference in the
appointment of an administrator:
Sec. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. If no executor is named in the
will, or the executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give a bond, or a
person dies intestate, administration shall be granted:
(a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or both, in the
discretion of the court, or to such person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of
kin, requests to have appointed, if competent and willing to serve;
(b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or the person
selected by them, be incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband or widow or next of kin,
neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for administration or to
request that the administration be granted to some other person, it may be granted to one
or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing to serve;
(c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be granted to such
other person as the court may select.
In the appointment of an administrator, the principal consideration is the interest in the estate of
the one to be appointed.71 The order of preference does not rule out the appointment of coadministrators, specially in cases where

justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be represented in the management of
the estates,72a situation which obtains here.
It is in this light that we see fit to appoint joint administrators, in the persons of Carlota
Delgado vda. de de la Rosa and a nominee of the nephews and nieces of Guillermo Rustia. They
are the next of kin of the deceased spouses Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia, respectively.
WHEREFORE, the petition (which seeks to reinstate the May 11, 1990 decision of the RTC
Manila, Branch 55) is hereby DENIED. The assailed October 24, 2002 decision of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED with the following modifications:
1. Guillermo Rustias June 15, 1973 affidavit of self-adjudication is
hereby ANNULLED.
2. the intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia shall inherit half of the intestate estate of Josefa
Delgado. The remaining half shall pertain to (a) the full and half-siblings of Josefa
Delgado who survived her and (b) the children of any of Josefa Delgados full- or halfsiblings who may have predeceased her, also surviving at the time of her death. Josefa
Delgados grandnephews and grandnieces are excluded from her estate. In this
connection, the trial court is hereby ordered to determine the identities of the relatives of
Josefa Delgado who are entitled to share in her estate.
3. Guillermo Rustias estate (including its one-half share of Josefa Delgados estate) shall
be inherited by Marciana Rustia vda. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz (whose
respective shares shall be per capita) and the children of the late Roman Rustia, Sr. (who
survived Guillermo Rustia and whose respective shares shall be per stirpes). Considering
that Marciana Rustia vda. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz are now deceased, their
respective shares shall pertain to their estates.
4. Letters of administration over the still unsettled intestate estates of Guillermo Rustia
and Josefa Delgado shall issue to Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa and to a nominee
from among the heirs of Guillermo Rustia, as joint administrators, upon their
qualification and filing of the requisite bond in such amount as may be determined by the
trial court.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-22469 October 23, 1978

TOMAS CORPUS, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
ADMINISTRATOR and/or EXECUTOR of the Estate of Teodoro R. Yangco, RAFAEL
CORPUS, AMALIA CORPUS, JOSE A. V. CORPUS, RAMON L. CORPUS, ENRIQUE J.
CORPUS, S. W. STAGG, SOLEDAD ASPRER and CIPRIANO NAVARRO, defendantsappellees.

AQUINO, J.:
Teodoro R. Yangco died in Manila on April 20, 1939 at the age of seventy-seven years. His will
dated August 29, 1934 was probated in the Court of First Instance of Manila in Special
Proceeding No. 54863. The decree of probate was affirmed in this Court's 1941 decision
in Corpus vs. Yangco, 73 Phil. 527. The complete text of the will is quoted in that decision.
Yangco had no forced heirs. At the time of his death, his nearest relatives were (1) his half
brother, Luis R. Yangco, (2) his half sister, Paz Yangco, the wife of Miguel Ossorio (3) Amalia
Corpus, Jose A. V. Corpus, and Ramon L. Corpus, the children of his half brother, Pablo Corpus,
and (4) Juana (Juanita) Corpus, the daughter of his half brother Jose Corpus. Juanita died in
October, 1944 at Palauig, Zambales.
Teodoro R. Yangco was the son of Luis Rafael Yangco and Ramona Arguelles, the widow of
Tomas Corpus. Before her union with Luis Rafael Yangco, Ramona had begotten five children
with Tomas Corpus, two of whom were the aforenamed Pablo Corpus and Jose Corpus.
Pursuant to the order of the probate court, a project of partition dated November 26, 1945 was
submitted by the administrator and the legatees named in the will. That project of partition was
opposed by the estate of Luis R. Yangco whose counsel contended that an intestacy should be
declared Because the will does not contain an institution of heir. It was also opposed by Atty.
Roman A. Cruz, who represented Juanita Corpus, Pedro Martinez and Juliana de Castro. Juanita
Corpus was already dead when Atty. Cruz appeared as her counsel.
Atty. Cruz alleged in his opposition that the proposed partion was not in conformity with the will
because the testator intended that the estate. should be "conserved" and not physically
partitioned. Atty. Cruz prayed "que declare que el finado no dispuso en su testamento de sus
bienes y negocios y que ha lugar a sucession intestadocon respecio a los raismos y que same un
dia en esta causa para la recepcion de pruebas previa a la declaracion de quienes son los
herederos legales o abintestato del difunto."

The Probate court in its order of December 26, 1946 approved the project of partition. It held that
in certain clauses of the will the testator intended to conserve his properties not in the sense of
disposing of them after his death but for the purpose of Preventing that "tales bienes fuesen
malgastados o desfilpar radios por los legatarios" and that if the testator intended a Perpetual
prohibition against alienation, that conch tion would be regarded "como no puesta o no
existents". it concluded that "no hay motives legales o morales para que la sucession de Don
Teodoro R. Yangco sea declarada intestada (See Barretto vs. Tuason, 50 Phil. 888, which cites
article 785 of the Spanish Civil Code as prohibiting perpetual entails, and Rodriguez vs. Court of
Appeals, L-28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546.)
From that order, Pedro Martinez, Juliana de Castro , Juanita Corpus (deceased) and the estate of
Luis R. Yangco aped to this Court (L-1476). Those appeals were dismissed in tills Court's
resolutions of October 10 and 31, 1947 after the legatees and the appellants entered into
compromise agreements. In the compromise dated October 7, 1947 the legatees agreed to pay
P35,000 to Pedro Martinez, the heirs of Pio V. Corpus, the heirs of Isabel Corpus and the heir of
Juanita Corpus. Herein appellant Tomas Corpus signed that compromise settlement as the sole
heir of Juanita Corpus. The estate of Luis R. Yangco entered into a similar compromise a ment A
the resolution dismissing the appeal became, final and executory on October 14 and November 4,
1947, entries of judgment were made on those dates.
Pursuant to the compromise agreement, Tomas Corpus Signed a receipt dated October 24, 1947
wherein he acknowledge that he received from the Yangco estate the sum of two thousand pesos
(P2,000) "as settlement in full of my share of the compromise agreement as per understanding
with Judge Roman Cruz, our attorney in this case" (Exh. D or 17).
On September 20, 1949, the legatees executed an agreement for the settlement and physical
partition of the Yangco estate. The probate court approved that agreement and noted that the
1945 project of partition was pro tanto modified. That did not set at rest the controvery over the
Yangco's estate.
On October 5, 1951, Tomas Corpus, as the sole heir of Juanita corpus, filed an action in the
Court of First Instance of Manila to recover her supposed share in Yangco intestate estate. He
alleged in his complaint that the dispositions in his Yangcos will sing perpetual prohibitions upon
alienation rendered it void under article 785 of the old Civil Code and that the 1949 partition is
invalid and, therefore, the decedent's estate should be distributed according to the rules on
intestacy.
The trial court in its decision of July 2, 1956 dismissed the action on the grounds of res judicata
and laches. It held that the intrinsic validity of Yangco's will was passed upon in its order dated
December 26, 1946 in Special Proceeding No. 54863 approving the project of partition for the
testator's estate.

Tomas Corpus appealed to the Court of Appeals which in its resolution dated January 23, 1964 in
CA-G. R. No. 18720-R certified the appeal to this Court because it involves real property valued
at more than fifty thousand pesos (Sec. 17151 Judiciary Law before it was amended by Republic
Act No. 2613).
Appellant Corpus contends in this appeal that the trial court erred in holding (1) that Teodoro R.
Yangco was a natural child, (2) that his will had been duly legalized and (3) that plaintiff's action
is barred by res judicata and laches.
In the disposition of this appeal it is not necessary to resolve whether Yangco's will had been
duly legalized and whether the action of Tomas Corpus is barred by res judicata and laches. The
appeal may be resolved by de whether Juanita Corpus, the mother of apt Tomas Corpus was a
legal heir of Yangco. Has Tomas Corpus a cause of action to recover his mother's supposed
intestate share in Yangco's estate?
To answer that question, it is necessary to ascertain Yangco's filiation The trial court found that
Yangco "a su muerte tambien le sbrevivieron Luis y Paz appellidados Yangco, hermanos
naturales reconocidos por su padre natural Luis R. Yangco". The basis of the trial court's
conclusion that Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child and not a legitimate child
was the statement in the will of his father, Luis Rafael Yangco, dated June 14, 1907, that Teodoro
and his three other children were his acknowledged natural children. His exact words are:
Primera. Declaro que tengo cuatro hijos naturales reconocidos, Hamados Teodoro,
Paz, Luisa y Luis, los cuales son mis unicos herederos forzosos (Exh. 1 in Testate
Estate of Teodoro Yangco).
That will was attested by Rafael del Pan Francisco Ortigas, Manuel Camus and Florencio
Gonzales Diez
Appellant Corpus assails the probative value of the will of Luis R. Yangco, Identified as Exhibit
1 herein, which he says is a mere copy of Exhibit 20, as found in the record on appeal in Special
Proceeding No. 54863. He contends that it should not prevail over the presumption of legitimacy
found in section 69, Rule 123 of the old Rules of Court and over the statement of Samuel W.
Stagg in his biography of Teodoro R. Yangco, that Luis Rafael Yangco made a second marital
venture with Victoria Obin implying that he had a first marital venture with Ramona Arguelles,
the mother of Teodoro.
These contentions have no merit. The authenticity of the will of Luis Rafael Yangco, as
reproduced in Exhibit I herein and as copied from Exhibit 20 in the proceeding for the probate of
Teodoro R. Yangco's wilt in incontestable. The said will is part of a public or official judicial
record.

On the other hand, the children of Ramona Arguelles and Tomas Corpus are presumed to be
legitimate. A marriage is presumed to have taken place between Ramona and Tomas. Semper
praesumitur pro matrimonio. It is disputably presumption "That a man and a woman deporting
themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage"; "that a child
born in lawful wedlock, there being no divorce, absolute or from bed and board, is legitimate",
and "that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits
of life" (Sec. 5[z], [bb] and cc Rule 131, Rules of Court).
Since Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child or was illegitimate and since
Juanita Corpus was the legitimate child of Jose Corpus, himself a legitimate child, we hold that
appellant Tomas Corpus has no cause of action for the recovery of the supposed hereditary share
of his mother, Juanita Corpus, as a legal heir, in Yangco's estate. Juanita Corpus was not a legal
heir of Yangco because there is no reciprocal succession between legitimate and illegitimate
relatives. The trial court did not err in dismissing the complaint of Tomas Corpus.
Article 943 of the old Civil code provides that "el hijo natural y el legitimado no tienen derecho a
suceder abintestato a los hijos y parientes legitimos del padre o madre que to haya reconocido, ni
ellos al hijo natural ni al legitimado". Article 943 "prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis
causa between legitimate and illegitimate relatives" 16 Sanchez Roman, Civil Code, pp. 996-997
cited in Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279, 287. See 16 Scaevola Codigo Civil, 4th Ed.,
455-6). ...
Appellant Corpus concedes that if 'Teodoro R. Yangco was a natural child, he (Tomas Corpus)
would have no legal personality to intervene in the distribution of Yangco's estate (p. 8,
appellant's brief).
The rule in article 943 is now found in article 992 of the Civil Code which provides that "an
illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the
illegitimate child".
That rule is based on the theory that the illegitimate child is disgracefully looked upon by the
legitimate family while the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child.
The law does not recognize the blood tie and seeks to avod further grounds of resentment (7
Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., pp. 185- 6).
Under articles 944 and 945 of the Spanish Civil Code, "if an acknowledged natural or
legitimated child should die without issue, either legitimate or acknowledged, the father or
mother who acknowledged such child shall succeed to its entire estate; and if both acknowledged
it and are alive, they shall inherit from it share and share alike. In default of natural ascendants,

natural and legitimated children shall be succeeded by their natural brothers and sisters in
accordance with the rules established for legitimate brothers and sisters." Hence, Teodoro R.
Yangco's half brothers on the Corpus side, who were legitimate, had no right to succeed to his
estate under the rules of intestacy.
Following the rule in article 992, formerly article 943, it was held that the legitimate relatives of
the mother cannot succeed her illegitimate child (Cacho vs. Udan L- 19996, April 30, 1965, 13
SCRA 693. See De Guzman vs. Sevilla, 47 Phil. 991).
Where the testatrix, Rosario Table was the legitimate daughter of Jose Table the two
acknowledged natural children of her uncle, Ramon Table her father's brother, were held not to
be her legal heirs (Grey vs. Table 88 Phil. 128).
By reason of that same rule, the natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession
to the estate of the legitimate grandparent (Llorente vs. Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Centeno vs.
Centeno, 52 Phil. 322; Allarde vs. Abaya, 57 Phil. 909).
The natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle, a legitimate brother of
her natural mother (Anuran vs. Aquino and Ortiz, 38 Phil. 29).
WHEREFORE the lower court's judgment is affirmed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-22469 October 23, 1978


TOMAS CORPUS, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
ADMINISTRATOR and/or EXECUTOR of the Estate of Teodoro R. Yangco, RAFAEL
CORPUS, AMALIA CORPUS, JOSE A. V. CORPUS, RAMON L. CORPUS, ENRIQUE J.
CORPUS, S. W. STAGG, SOLEDAD ASPRER and CIPRIANO NAVARRO, defendantsappellees.

AQUINO, J.:
Teodoro R. Yangco died in Manila on April 20, 1939 at the age of seventy-seven years. His will
dated August 29, 1934 was probated in the Court of First Instance of Manila in Special
Proceeding No. 54863. The decree of probate was affirmed in this Court's 1941 decision
in Corpus vs. Yangco, 73 Phil. 527. The complete text of the will is quoted in that decision.
Yangco had no forced heirs. At the time of his death, his nearest relatives were (1) his half
brother, Luis R. Yangco, (2) his half sister, Paz Yangco, the wife of Miguel Ossorio (3) Amalia
Corpus, Jose A. V. Corpus, and Ramon L. Corpus, the children of his half brother, Pablo Corpus,
and (4) Juana (Juanita) Corpus, the daughter of his half brother Jose Corpus. Juanita died in
October, 1944 at Palauig, Zambales.
Teodoro R. Yangco was the son of Luis Rafael Yangco and Ramona Arguelles, the widow of
Tomas Corpus. Before her union with Luis Rafael Yangco, Ramona had begotten five children
with Tomas Corpus, two of whom were the aforenamed Pablo Corpus and Jose Corpus.
Pursuant to the order of the probate court, a project of partition dated November 26, 1945 was
submitted by the administrator and the legatees named in the will. That project of partition was
opposed by the estate of Luis R. Yangco whose counsel contended that an intestacy should be
declared Because the will does not contain an institution of heir. It was also opposed by Atty.
Roman A. Cruz, who represented Juanita Corpus, Pedro Martinez and Juliana de Castro. Juanita
Corpus was already dead when Atty. Cruz appeared as her counsel.
Atty. Cruz alleged in his opposition that the proposed partion was not in conformity with the will
because the testator intended that the estate. should be "conserved" and not physically
partitioned. Atty. Cruz prayed "que declare que el finado no dispuso en su testamento de sus
bienes y negocios y que ha lugar a sucession intestadocon respecio a los raismos y que same un

dia en esta causa para la recepcion de pruebas previa a la declaracion de quienes son los
herederos legales o abintestato del difunto."
The Probate court in its order of December 26, 1946 approved the project of partition. It held that
in certain clauses of the will the testator intended to conserve his properties not in the sense of
disposing of them after his death but for the purpose of Preventing that "tales bienes fuesen
malgastados o desfilpar radios por los legatarios" and that if the testator intended a Perpetual
prohibition against alienation, that conch tion would be regarded "como no puesta o no
existents". it concluded that "no hay motives legales o morales para que la sucession de Don
Teodoro R. Yangco sea declarada intestada (See Barretto vs. Tuason, 50 Phil. 888, which cites
article 785 of the Spanish Civil Code as prohibiting perpetual entails, and Rodriguez vs. Court of
Appeals, L-28734, March 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 546.)
From that order, Pedro Martinez, Juliana de Castro , Juanita Corpus (deceased) and the estate of
Luis R. Yangco aped to this Court (L-1476). Those appeals were dismissed in tills Court's
resolutions of October 10 and 31, 1947 after the legatees and the appellants entered into
compromise agreements. In the compromise dated October 7, 1947 the legatees agreed to pay
P35,000 to Pedro Martinez, the heirs of Pio V. Corpus, the heirs of Isabel Corpus and the heir of
Juanita Corpus. Herein appellant Tomas Corpus signed that compromise settlement as the sole
heir of Juanita Corpus. The estate of Luis R. Yangco entered into a similar compromise a ment A
the resolution dismissing the appeal became, final and executory on October 14 and November 4,
1947, entries of judgment were made on those dates.
Pursuant to the compromise agreement, Tomas Corpus Signed a receipt dated October 24, 1947
wherein he acknowledge that he received from the Yangco estate the sum of two thousand pesos
(P2,000) "as settlement in full of my share of the compromise agreement as per understanding
with Judge Roman Cruz, our attorney in this case" (Exh. D or 17).
On September 20, 1949, the legatees executed an agreement for the settlement and physical
partition of the Yangco estate. The probate court approved that agreement and noted that the
1945 project of partition was pro tanto modified. That did not set at rest the controvery over the
Yangco's estate.
On October 5, 1951, Tomas Corpus, as the sole heir of Juanita corpus, filed an action in the
Court of First Instance of Manila to recover her supposed share in Yangco intestate estate. He
alleged in his complaint that the dispositions in his Yangcos will sing perpetual prohibitions upon
alienation rendered it void under article 785 of the old Civil Code and that the 1949 partition is
invalid and, therefore, the decedent's estate should be distributed according to the rules on
intestacy.

The trial court in its decision of July 2, 1956 dismissed the action on the grounds of res judicata
and laches. It held that the intrinsic validity of Yangco's will was passed upon in its order dated
December 26, 1946 in Special Proceeding No. 54863 approving the project of partition for the
testator's estate.
Tomas Corpus appealed to the Court of Appeals which in its resolution dated January 23, 1964 in
CA-G. R. No. 18720-R certified the appeal to this Court because it involves real property valued
at more than fifty thousand pesos (Sec. 17151 Judiciary Law before it was amended by Republic
Act No. 2613).
Appellant Corpus contends in this appeal that the trial court erred in holding (1) that Teodoro R.
Yangco was a natural child, (2) that his will had been duly legalized and (3) that plaintiff's action
is barred by res judicata and laches.
In the disposition of this appeal it is not necessary to resolve whether Yangco's will had been
duly legalized and whether the action of Tomas Corpus is barred by res judicata and laches. The
appeal may be resolved by de whether Juanita Corpus, the mother of apt Tomas Corpus was a
legal heir of Yangco. Has Tomas Corpus a cause of action to recover his mother's supposed
intestate share in Yangco's estate?
To answer that question, it is necessary to ascertain Yangco's filiation The trial court found that
Yangco "a su muerte tambien le sbrevivieron Luis y Paz appellidados Yangco, hermanos
naturales reconocidos por su padre natural Luis R. Yangco". The basis of the trial court's
conclusion that Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child and not a legitimate child
was the statement in the will of his father, Luis Rafael Yangco, dated June 14, 1907, that Teodoro
and his three other children were his acknowledged natural children. His exact words are:
Primera. Declaro que tengo cuatro hijos naturales reconocidos, Hamados Teodoro,
Paz, Luisa y Luis, los cuales son mis unicos herederos forzosos (Exh. 1 in Testate
Estate of Teodoro Yangco).
That will was attested by Rafael del Pan Francisco Ortigas, Manuel Camus and Florencio
Gonzales Diez
Appellant Corpus assails the probative value of the will of Luis R. Yangco, Identified as Exhibit
1 herein, which he says is a mere copy of Exhibit 20, as found in the record on appeal in Special
Proceeding No. 54863. He contends that it should not prevail over the presumption of legitimacy
found in section 69, Rule 123 of the old Rules of Court and over the statement of Samuel W.
Stagg in his biography of Teodoro R. Yangco, that Luis Rafael Yangco made a second marital
venture with Victoria Obin implying that he had a first marital venture with Ramona Arguelles,
the mother of Teodoro.

These contentions have no merit. The authenticity of the will of Luis Rafael Yangco, as
reproduced in Exhibit I herein and as copied from Exhibit 20 in the proceeding for the probate of
Teodoro R. Yangco's wilt in incontestable. The said will is part of a public or official judicial
record.
On the other hand, the children of Ramona Arguelles and Tomas Corpus are presumed to be
legitimate. A marriage is presumed to have taken place between Ramona and Tomas. Semper
praesumitur pro matrimonio. It is disputably presumption "That a man and a woman deporting
themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage"; "that a child
born in lawful wedlock, there being no divorce, absolute or from bed and board, is legitimate",
and "that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits
of life" (Sec. 5[z], [bb] and cc Rule 131, Rules of Court).
Since Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child or was illegitimate and since
Juanita Corpus was the legitimate child of Jose Corpus, himself a legitimate child, we hold that
appellant Tomas Corpus has no cause of action for the recovery of the supposed hereditary share
of his mother, Juanita Corpus, as a legal heir, in Yangco's estate. Juanita Corpus was not a legal
heir of Yangco because there is no reciprocal succession between legitimate and illegitimate
relatives. The trial court did not err in dismissing the complaint of Tomas Corpus.
Article 943 of the old Civil code provides that "el hijo natural y el legitimado no tienen derecho a
suceder abintestato a los hijos y parientes legitimos del padre o madre que to haya reconocido, ni
ellos al hijo natural ni al legitimado". Article 943 "prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis
causa between legitimate and illegitimate relatives" 16 Sanchez Roman, Civil Code, pp. 996-997
cited in Director of Lands vs. Aguas, 63 Phil. 279, 287. See 16 Scaevola Codigo Civil, 4th Ed.,
455-6). ...
Appellant Corpus concedes that if 'Teodoro R. Yangco was a natural child, he (Tomas Corpus)
would have no legal personality to intervene in the distribution of Yangco's estate (p. 8,
appellant's brief).
The rule in article 943 is now found in article 992 of the Civil Code which provides that "an
illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the
illegitimate child".
That rule is based on the theory that the illegitimate child is disgracefully looked upon by the
legitimate family while the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child.
The law does not recognize the blood tie and seeks to avod further grounds of resentment (7
Manresa, Codigo Civil, 7th Ed., pp. 185- 6).

Under articles 944 and 945 of the Spanish Civil Code, "if an acknowledged natural or
legitimated child should die without issue, either legitimate or acknowledged, the father or
mother who acknowledged such child shall succeed to its entire estate; and if both acknowledged
it and are alive, they shall inherit from it share and share alike. In default of natural ascendants,
natural and legitimated children shall be succeeded by their natural brothers and sisters in
accordance with the rules established for legitimate brothers and sisters." Hence, Teodoro R.
Yangco's half brothers on the Corpus side, who were legitimate, had no right to succeed to his
estate under the rules of intestacy.
Following the rule in article 992, formerly article 943, it was held that the legitimate relatives of
the mother cannot succeed her illegitimate child (Cacho vs. Udan L- 19996, April 30, 1965, 13
SCRA 693. See De Guzman vs. Sevilla, 47 Phil. 991).
Where the testatrix, Rosario Table was the legitimate daughter of Jose Table the two
acknowledged natural children of her uncle, Ramon Table her father's brother, were held not to
be her legal heirs (Grey vs. Table 88 Phil. 128).
By reason of that same rule, the natural child cannot represent his natural father in the succession
to the estate of the legitimate grandparent (Llorente vs. Rodriguez, 10 Phil. 585; Centeno vs.
Centeno, 52 Phil. 322; Allarde vs. Abaya, 57 Phil. 909).
The natural daughter cannot succeed to the estate of her deceased uncle, a legitimate brother of
her natural mother (Anuran vs. Aquino and Ortiz, 38 Phil. 29).
WHEREFORE the lower court's judgment is affirmed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-51263 February 28, 1983
CRESENCIANO LEONARDO, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, MARIA CAILLES, JAMES BRACEWELL and RURAL BANK OF
PARAAQUE, INC.,respondents.
Porfirio C. David for petitioner.
Marquez & Marquez for private respondent.

DE CASTRO, J.:
Petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 43476-R,
promulgated on February 21, 1979, reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in
favor of petitioner:
(a) Declaring plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo as the great grandson and heir of
deceased FRANCISCA REYES, entitled to one-half share in the estate of said
deceased, jointly with defendant Maria Cailles;

(b) Declaring the properties, subject of this complaint, to be the properties of the
deceased FRANCISCA REYES and not of defendants Maria Cailles and James
Bracewen
(c) Declaring null and void any sale of these properties by defendant Maria Cailles in
so far as the share of Cresenciano Leonardo are affected;
(d) Ordering the partition within 30 days from the finality of this decision, of the
properties subject of this litigation, between defendant Maria Cailles and plaintiff
Cresenciano Leonardo, share and share alike;
(e) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James Bracewell, within 30 days from the
finality of this decision, to render an accounting of the fruits of the properties, and 30
days thereafter to pay to plaintiff Cresenciano Leonardo his one-half share thereof
with interest of 6% per annum;
(f) Ordering defendants Maria Cailles and James to pay jointly and severally plaintiff
Cresenciano Leonardo the amount of P2,000.00 as attorney's fees;
(g) Ordering defendants to pay the costs; and
(h) Dismissing defendants' counterclaim. 1
From the record, it appears that Francisca Reyes who died intestate on July 12, 1942 was survived
by two (2) daughters, Maria and Silvestra Cailles and a grandson, Sotero Leonardo, the son of her
daughter, Pascuala Cailles who predeceased her. Sotero Leonardo died in 1944, while Silvestra
Cailles died in 1949 without any issue.
On October 29, 1964, petitioner Cresenciano Leonardo, claiming to be the son of the late Sotero
Leonardo, filed a complaint for ownership of properties, sum of money and accounting in the Court
of First Instance of Rizal seeking judgment (1) to be declared one of the lawful heirs of the deceased
Francisca Reyes, entitled to one-half share in the estate of said deceased jointly with defendant,
private respondent herein, Maria Cailles, (2) to have the properties left by said Francisca Reyes,
described in the complaint, partitioned between him and defendant Maria Cailles, and (3) to have an
accounting of all the income derived from said properties from the time defendants took possession
thereof until said accounting shall have been made, delivering to him his share therein with legal
interest.
Answering the complaint, private respondent Maria Cailles asserted exclusive ownership over the
subject properties and alleged that petitioner is an illegitimate child who cannot succeed by right of
representation. For his part, the other defendant, private respondent James Bracewell, claimed that
said properties are now his by virtue of a valid and legal deed of sale which Maria Cailles had
subsequently executed in his favor. These properties were allegedly mortgaged to respondent Rural
Bank of Paranaque, Inc. sometime in September 1963.

After hearing on the merits, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner, the dispositive
portion of which was earlier quoted, finding the evidence of the private respondent insufficient to
prove ownership of the properties in suit.
From said judgment, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which, as already stated,
reversed the decision of the trial court, thereby dismissing petitioner's complaint, reconsideration
having been denied by the appellate court, this petition for review was filed of the following
assignment of errors:
I
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PROPERTIES IN QUESTION
ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS.
II
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER HAS NOT
ESTABLISHED HIS FILIATION.
III
RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER, AS THE GREAT
GRANDSON OF FRANCISCA REYES, HAS NO LEGAL RIGHT TO INHERIT BY
REPRESENTATION.
To begin with, the Court of Appeals found the subject properties to be the exclusive properties of the
private respondents.
There being two properties in this case both will be discussed separately, as each
has its own distinct factual setting. The first was bought in 1908 by Maria Cailles
under a deed of sale (Exh. '60'), which describes it as follows:
. . . radicada en la calle Desposorio de este dicho Municipio dentro de
los limites y linderos siquientes: Por la derecha a la entrada el solar
de Teodorico Reyes por la izquierda el solar de Maria Calesa
(Cailles) arriba citada por la espalda la via ferrea delRailroad Co., y la
frente la dicha calle Desposorio
After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles paid the realty taxes starting from 1918
up to 1948. Thereafter as she and her son Narciso Bracewell, left for Nueva Ecija,
Francisca Reyes managed the property and paid the realty tax of the land. However,
for unexplained reasons, she paid and declared the same in her own name. Because
of this, plaintiff decided to run after this property, erroneously thinking that as the
great grandson of Francisca Reyes, he had some proprietary right over the same.

The second parcel on the other hand, was purchased by Maria Cailles in 1917 under
a deed of sale (Exh. '3') which describes the property as follows:
. . . una parcela de terreno destinado al beneficio de la sal, que linda
por Norte con la linea Ferrea y Salinar de Narciso Mayuga, por Este
con los de Narciso Mayuga y Domingo Lozada, por Sur con los de
Domingo Lozada y Fruto Silverio y por Oeste con el de Fruto Silverio
y Linea Ferrea de una extension superficial de 1229.00 metros
cuadrados.
After declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles likewise paid the realty tax in 1917 and
continued paying the same up to 1948. Thereafter when she and her son, Narciso
Bracewell, established their residence in Nueva Ecija, Francisco Reyes administered
the property and like in the first case, declared in 1949 the property in her own name.
Thinking that the property is the property of Francisca Reyes, plaintiff filed the instant
complaint, claiming a portion thereof as the same allegedly represents the share of
his father,
As earlier stated, the court a quo decided the case in favor of the plaintiff principally
because defendants' evidence do not sufficiently show that the 2 properties which
they bought in 1908 and 1917, are the same as the properties sought by the plaintiff.
Carefully going over the evidence, We believe that the trial judge misinterpreted the
evidence as to the identification of the lands in question.
To begin with, the deed of sale (Exh. '60') of 1908 clearly states that the land sold to
Maria Cailles is en la cane Desposorio in Las Pinas Rizal which was bounded by
adjoining lands owned by persons living at the time, including the railroad track of the
Manila Railroad Co. ('la via ferrea del Railroad Co.')
With the exception of the area which was not disclosed in the deed, the description
fits the land now being sought by the plaintiff, as this property is also located in
Desposorio St. and is bounded by the M.R.R. Co.
With these natural boundaries, there is indeed an assurance that the property
described in the deed and in the tax declaration is one and the same property.
The change of owners of the adjoining lands is immaterial since several decades
have already passed between the deed and the declaration and 'during that period,
many changes of abode would likely have occurred.
Besides, it is a fact that defendants have only one property in Desposorio St. and
they have paid the realty taxes of this property from May 29, 1914 up to May 28,
1948. Hence, there is no reason to doubt that this property is the same, if not
Identical to the property in Desposorio St. which is now being sought after by the
plaintiff.

With respect to the other parcel which Maria Cailles bought from Tranquilino Mateo in
1917, it is true that there is no similar boundaries to be relied upon. It is however
undeniable that after declaring it in her name, Maria Cailles began paying the realty
taxes thereon on July 24, 1917 until 1948. (Reference to Exhibits omitted.) 2
Petitioner takes issue with the appellate court on the above findings of fact, forgetting that since the
present petition is one for review on certiorari, only questions of law may be raised. It is a wellestablished rule laid down by this Court in numerous cases that findings of facts by the Court of
Appeals are, generally, final and conclusive upon this Court. The exceptions are: (1) when the
conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation; (2) when the inference made is manifestly
mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; and (5) when the Court of Appeals, in making its
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same are contrary to the submission of both
appellant and appellee. 3 None of the above exceptions, however, exists in the case at bar, hence, there
is no reason to disturb the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals.
Anent the second assignment of error, the Court of Appeals made the following findings:
Going to the issue of filiation, plaintiff claims that he is the son of Sotero Leonardo,
the son of one of the daughters (Pascuala) of Francisca Reyes. He further alleges
that since Pascuala predeceased Francisca Reyes, and that his father, Sotero, who
subsequently died in 1944, survived Francisca Reyes, plaintiff can consequently
succeed to the estate of Francisca Reyes by right of representation.
In support of his claim, plaintiff submitted in evidence his alleged birth certificate
showing that his father is Sotero Leonardo, married to Socorro Timbol, his alleged
mother.
Since his supposed right will either rise or fall on the proper evaluation of this vital
evidence, We have minutely scrutinized the same, looking for that vital link
connecting him to the family tree of the deceased Francisca Reyes. However, this
piece of evidence does not in any way lend credence to his tale.
This is because the name of the child described in the birth certificate is not that of
the plaintiff but a certain 'Alfredo Leonardo' who was born on September 13, 1938 to
Sotero Leonardo and Socorro Timbol. Other than his bare allegation, plaintiff did not
submit any durable evidence showing that the 'Alfredo Leonardo' mentioned in the
birth certificate is no other than he himself. Thus, even without taking time and space
to go into further details, We may safely conclude that plaintiff failed to prove his
filiation which is a fundamental requisite in this action where he is claiming to be an
heir in the inheritance in question. 4
That is likewise a factual finding which may not be disturbed in this petition for review in the absence
of a clear showing that said finding is not supported by substantial evidence, or that there was a
grave abuse of discretion on the part of the court making the finding of fact.

Referring to the third assignment of error, even if it is true that petitioner is the child of Sotero
Leonardo, still he cannot, by right of representation, claim a share of the estate left by the deceased
Francisca Reyes considering that, as found again by the Court of Appeals, he was born outside
wedlock as shown by the fact that when he was born on September 13, 1938, his alleged putative
father and mother were not yet married, and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage was still
subsisting. At most, petitioner would be an illegitimate child who has no right to inherit ab
intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father, like the deceased Francisca Reyes.
(Article 992, Civil Code of the Philippines.)
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals sought to be reviewed in this petition is hereby
affirmed, with costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero and Escolin JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. L-66574 February 21, 1990

ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and MIGUEL, all surnamed
SANTERO, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA, guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et al., petitioners,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and FELISA PAMUTI JARDIN, respondents.
Ambrosio Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.
Pedro S. Sarino for respondent Felisa Pamuti Jardin.
RESOLUTION

PARAS, J.:
The decision of the Second Division of this Court in the case of Anselma Diaz, et al. vs. Intermediate
Appellate Court, et al., G.R. No. 6574, promulgated June 17, 1987 declaring Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to
be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, and its
Resolution of February 24, 1988 denying the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 2, 1987, are
being challenged in this Second Motion for Reconsideration dated July 5, 1988. After the parties had
filed their respective pleadings, the Court, in a resolution dated October 27, 1988, resolved to grant
the request of the petitioners for oral argument before the court en banc, and the case was set for
hearing on November 17, 1988 to resolve the question: Does the term "relatives" in Article 992 of the
New Civil Code which reads:
An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children or
relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the
same manner from the illegitimate child.
include the legitimate parents of the father or mother of the illegitimate children? Invited to discuss
as amici curiaeduring the hearing were the following: Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, former Justice
Minister Ricardo C. Puno, Dr. Arturo Tolentino, former Justice Eduardo Caguioa, and Professor
Ruben Balane.
The facts of the case, as synthesized in the assailed decision, are as follows:
It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero who together with Felisa's mother Juliana were the only legitimate children
of the spouses Felipe Pamuti and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married Simon
Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa Pamuti and another child who died
during infancy; 3) that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the widow of Pascual
Santero and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the only
legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero;
5) that Pascual Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in
1976; 6) that Pablo Santero, at the time of his death was survived by his mother
Simona Santero and his six minor natural children to wit: four minor children with

Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.


(pp. 1-2, Decision; pp. 190-191, Rollo)
Briefly stated, the real issue in the instant case is this who are the legal heirs of Simona Pamuti
Vda. de Santero her niece Felisa Pamuti-Jardin or her grandchildren (the natural children of
Pablo Santero)?
The present controversy is confined solely to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
In connection therewith, We are tasked with determining anew whether petitioners as illegitimate
children of Pablo Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by right of
representation of their father Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero.
Petitioners claim that the amendment of Articles 941 and 943 of the old Civil Code (Civil Code of
Spain) by Articles 990 and 992 of the new Civil Code (Civil Code of the Philippines) constitute a
substantial and not merely a formal change, which grants illegitimate children certain successional
rights. We do not dispute the fact that the New Civil Code has given illegitimate children
successional rights, which rights were never before enjoyed by them under the Old Civil Code. They
were during that time merely entitled to support. In fact, they are now considered as compulsory
primary heirs under Article 887 of the new Civil Code (No. 5 in the order of intestate succession).
Again, We do not deny that fact. These are only some of the many rights granted by the new Code
to illegitimate children. But that is all. A careful evaluation of the New Civil Code provisions,
especially Articles 902, 982, 989, and 990, claimed by petitioners to have conferred illegitimate
children the right to represent their parents in the inheritance of their legitimate grandparents, would
in point of fact reveal that such right to this time does not exist.
Let Us take a closer look at the above-cited provisions.
Art.902. The rights of illegitimate children set forth in the preceding articles are
transmitted upon their death to their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right
of representation and if any one of them should have died, leaving several heirs, the
portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the latter in equal portions. (933)
Art. 989. If, together with illegitimate children, there should survive descendants of
anotherillegitimate child who is dead, the former shall succeed in their own right and
the latter by right ofrepresentation. (940a)
Art. 990. The hereditary rights granted by the two preceding articles
to illegitimate children shall be transmitted upon their death to their descendants,
who shall inherit by right of representation from their deceased grandparent. (941a)
Emphasis supplied).
Articles 902, 989, and 990 clearly speak of successional rights of illegitimate children, which rights
are transmitted to their descendants upon their death. The descendants (of these illegitimate

children) who may inherit by virtue of the right of representation may be legitimate or illegitimate. In
whatever manner, one should not overlook the fact that the persons to be represented are
themselves illegitimate. The three named provisions are very clear on this matter. The right of
representation is not available to illegitimate descendants of legitimate children in the inheritance of
a legitimate grandparent. It may be argued, as done by petitioners, that the illegitimate descendant
of a legitimate child is entitled to represent by virtue of the provisions of Article 982, which provides
that "the grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation." Such a
conclusion is erroneous. It would allow intestate succession by an illegitimate child to the legitimate
parent of his father or mother, a situation which would set at naught the provisions of Article 992.
Article 982 is inapplicable to instant case because Article 992 prohibits absolutely a succession ab
intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the father or
mother. It may not be amiss to state that Article 982 is the general rule and Article 992 the exception.
"The rules laid down in Article 982 that 'grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of
representation and in Article 902 that the rights of illegitimate children ... are transmitted upon their
death to their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate are subject to the limitation prescribed
by Article 992 to the end that an illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the
legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother."' (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by former Justice
Minister Ricardo C. Puno, p. 12)
"Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother of said illegitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not
recognized by law for the purpose of Article 992. Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is
disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; and the family is in turn, hated by the
illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of
which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product
of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this truth,
by avoiding further ground of resentment." (7 Manresa 110 cited in Grey v. Fable 40 OG (First S) No.
3, p. 196).
According to petitioners, the commentaries of Manresa as above- quoted are based on Articles 939
to 944 of the old Civil Code and are therefore inapplicable to the New Civil Code and to the case at
bar. Petitioners further argue that the consistent doctrine adopted by this Court in the cases
of Llorente vs. Rodriguez, et al., 10 Phil., 585; Centeno vs. Centeno, 52 Phil. 322, and Oyao vs.
Oyao, 94 Phil. 204, cited by former Justice Minister Justice Puno, Justice Caguioa, and Prof. Balane,
which identically held that an illegitimate child has no right to succeedab intestato the legitimate
father or mother of his natural parent (also a legitimate child himself is already abrogated by the
amendments made by the Now Civil Code and thus cannot be made to apply to the instant case.
Once more, We decline to agree with petitioner. We are fully aware of certain substantial changes in
our law of succcession, but there is no change whatsoever with respect to the provision of Article
992 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, by the said substantial change, Article 992, which was a
reproduction f Article 943 of the Civil Code of Spain, should have been suppressed or at least
modified to clarify the matters which are now the subject of the present controversy. While the New

Civil Code may have granted successional rights to illegitimate children, those articles, however, in
conjunction with Article 992, prohibit the right of representation from being exercised where the
person to be represented is a legitimate child. Needless to say, the determining factor is the
legitimacy or illegitimacy of the person to be represented. If the person to be represented is an
illegitimate child, then his descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate, may represent him;
however, if the person to be represented is legitimate, his illegitimate descendants cannot represent
him because the law provides that only his legitimate descendants may exercise the right of
representation by reason of the barrier imposed Article 992. In this wise, the commentaries of
Manresa on the matter in issue, even though based on the old Civil Code, are still very much
applicable to the New Civil Code because the amendment, although substantial, did not consist of
giving illegitimate children the right to represent their natural parents (legitimate) in the intestate
succession of their grandparents (legitimate). It is with the same line of reasoning that the three
aforecited cases may be said to be still applicable to the instant case.
Equally important are the reflections of the Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes which also find
support from other civilists. We quote:
In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within
the legitimate family; so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an
illegitimate child can not inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives
of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the Philippines apparently adhered to this
principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own Art. 992, but
with fine inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, 995 and 998) our Code allows
the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants,
whether legitimate or illegitimate. So that while Art. 992 prevents the illegitimate issue
of a legitimate child from representing him in the intestate succession of the
grandparent, the illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. This difference
being indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we shall
have to make a choice and decide either that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases
the right of representation, in which case Art. 992 must be suppressed; or
contrariwise maintain said article and modify Articles 992 and 998. The first solution
would be more in accord with an enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children.
(Reflections on the Reform of hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines, First Quartet 1976, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 40-41). (p. 7,
Decision; p. 196, Rollo)
It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase "legitimate children and
relatives of his father or mother" includes Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative" is
broad enough to comprehend all the kindred of the person spoken of. (Comment, p. 139 Rollo citing
p. 2862 Bouvier's Law Dictionary vol. 11, Third Revision, Eight Edition) The record reveals that from
the commencement of this case the only parties who claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the late
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero are Felisa Pamuti Jardin and the six minor natural or illegitimate
children of Pablo Santero. Since petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the
respondent Intermediate Appellate Court did not commit any error in holding Felisa Pamuti Jardin to
be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.

It is Our shared view that the word "relatives" should be construed in its general acceptation. Amicus
curiae Prof. Ruben Balane has this to say:
The term relatives, although used many times in the Code, is not defined by it. In
accordance therefore with the canons of statutory interpretation, it should be
understood to have a general and inclusive scope, inasmuch as the term is a general
one. Generalia verba sunt generaliter intelligenda.That the law does not make a
distinction prevents us from making one: Ubi lex non distinguit, nec nos distinguera
debemus. Esrinche, in his Diccionario de Legislacion y
Jurisprudencia definesparientes as "los que estan relacionados por los vinculos de la
sangre, ya sea por proceder unos de otros, como los descendientes y
ascendientes, ya sea por proceder de una misma raiz o tronco, como los colaterales.
(cited in Scaevola, op. cit., p. 457). (p. 377, Rollo)
According to Prof. Balane, to interpret the term relatives in Article 992 in a more restrictive sense
than it is used and intended is not warranted by any rule of interpretation. Besides, he further states
that when the law intends to use the term in a more restrictive sense, it qualifies the term with the
word collateral, as in Articles 1003 and 1009 of the New Civil Code.
Thus, the word "relatives" is a general term and when used in a statute it embraces not only
collateral relatives but also all the kindred of the person spoken of, unless the context indicates that
it was used in a more restrictive or limited sense which as already discussed earlier, is not so in
the case at bar.
To recapitulate, We quote this:
The lines of this distinction between legitimates and illegitimates. which goes back
very far in legal history, have been softened but not erased by present law. Our
legislation has not gone so far as to place legitimate and illegitimate children on
exactly the same footing. Even the Family Code of 1987 (EO 209) has not abolished
the gradation between legitimate and illegitimate children (although it has done away
with the sub-classification of illegitimates into natural and 'spurious'). It would thus be
correct to say that illegitimate children have only those rights which are expressly or
clearly granted to them by law (vide Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1973
ed., vol. III, p. 291). (Amicus Curiae's Opinion by Prof. Ruben Balane, p. 12).
In the light of the foregoing, We conclude that until Article 992 is suppressed or at least amended to
clarify the term "relatives" there is no other alternative but to apply the law literally. Thus, We hereby
reiterate the decision of June 17, 1987 and declare Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole heir to the
intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, to the exclusion of petitioners.
WHEREFORE, the second Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED, and the assailed decision is
hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-66574 June 17, 1987


ANSELMA DIAZ, guardian of VICTOR, RODRIGO, ANSELMINA and MIGUEL, all surnamed
SANTERO, petitioners, and FELIXBERTA PACURSA guardian of FEDERICO SANTERO, et al.,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and FELISA PAMUTI JARDIN, respondents.
Ambrosia Padilla, Mempin & Reyes Law Offices for petitioners.
Pedro S. Sarino for respondent F.P. Jardin.

PARAS, J.:
Private respondent filed a Petition dated January 23, 1976 with the Court of First Instance of Cavite
in Sp. Proc. Case No. B-21, "In The Matter of the Intestate Estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero," praying among other things, that the corresponding letters of Administration be issued in
her favor and that she be appointed as special Administratrix of the properties of the deceased
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
It is undisputed: 1) that Felisa Pamuti Jardin is a niece of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero who
together with Felisa's mother Juliana were the only legitimate children of the spouses Felipe Pamuti

and Petronila Asuncion; 2) that Juliana married Simon Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa
Pamuti and another child who died during infancy; 3) that Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero is the
widow of Pascual Santero and the mother of Pablo Santero; 4) that Pablo Santero was the only
legitimate son of his parents Pascual Santero and Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero; 5) that Pascual
Santero died in 1970; Pablo Santero in 1973 and Simona Santero in 1976; 6) that Pablo Santero, at
the time of his death was survived by his mother Simona Santero and his six minor natural children
to wit: four minor children with Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.
Judge Jose Raval in his Orders dated December 1, 1976 1 and December 9, 1976 2 declared Felisa Pamuti
Jardin as the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
Before the trial court, there were 4 interrelated cases filed to wit:
a) Sp. Proc. No. B-4 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the intestate
Estate of Pablo Santero;
b) Sp. Proc. No. B-5 is the Petition for the Letters of Administration of the Intestate
Estate of Pascual Santero;
c) Sp. Proc. No. B-7 is the Petition for Guardianship over the properties of an
Incompetent Person, Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero;
d) Sp. Proc. No. B-21 is the Petition for Settlement of the Intestate Estate of
Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
Felisa Jardin upon her Motion to Intervene in Sp. Proceedings Nos. B-4 and B-5, was allowed to
intervene in the intestate estates of Pablo Santero and Pascual Santero by Order of the Court dated
August 24, 1977.
Petitioner Anselma Diaz, as guardian of her minor children, filed her "Opposition and Motion to
Exclude Felisa Pamuti Jardin dated March 13, 1980, from further taking part or intervening in the
settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, as well as in the intestate
estate of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero.
Felixberta Pacursa guardian for her minor children, filed thru counsel, her Manifestation of March 14,
1980 adopting the Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa Pamuti, filed by Anselma Diaz.
On May 20, 1980, Judge Ildefonso M. Bleza issued an order excluding Felisa Jardin "from further
taking part or intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero,
as well as in the intestate estates of Pascual Santero and Pablo Santero and declared her to
be, not an heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero." 3
After her Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the trial court in its order dated November 1,
1980, Felisa P. Jardin filed her appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court in CA-G.R. No. 69814-R.
A decision 4 was rendered by the Intermediate Appellate Court on December 14, 1983 (reversing the
decision of the trial court) the dispositive portion of which reads

WHEREFORE, finding the Order appealed from not consistent with the facts and law
applicable, the same is hereby set aside and another one entered sustaining the
Orders of December 1 and 9, 1976 declaring the petitioner as the sole heir of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero and ordering oppositors-appellees not to interfere in the
proceeding for the declaration of heirship in the estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero.
Costs against the oppositors-appellees.
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) was denied by the
same respondent court in its order dated February 17, 1984 hence, the present petition for Review
with the following:
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
I. The Decision erred in ignoring the right to intestate succession of
petitioners grandchildren Santero as direct descending line (Art. 978) and/or
natural/"illegitimate children" (Art. 988) and prefering a niece, who is a collateral
relative (Art. 1003);
II. The Decision erred in denying the right of representation of the natural
grandchildren Santero to represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession to
the intestate estate of their grandmotherSimona Pamuti Vda. de Santero (Art. 982);
III. The Decision erred in mistaking the intestate estate of the
grandmother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the estate of "legitimate child or
relative" of Pablo Santero, her son and father of the petitioners' grandchildren
Santero;
IV. The Decision erred in ruling that petitioner-appellant Felisa P. Jardin who is a
niece and therefore a collateral relative of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero excludes
the natural children of her son Pablo Santero, who are her
direct descendants and/or grand children;
V. The Decision erred in applying Art. 992, when Arts. 988, 989 and 990 are the
applicable provisions of law on intestate succession; and
VI. The Decision erred in considering the orders of December 1 and December 9,
1976 which are provisional and interlocutory as final and executory.
The real issue in this case may be briefly stated as follows who are the legal heirs of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero her niece Felisa Pamuti Jardin or her grandchildren (the natural children
of Pablo Santero)?
The dispute at bar refers only to the intestate estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero and the
issue here is whether oppositors-appellees (petitioners herein) as illegitimate children of Pablo

Santero could inherit from Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, by right of representation of their father
Pablo Santero who is a legitimate child of Simona Pamuti Vda, de Santero.
Now then what is the appropriate law on the matter? Petitioners contend in their pleadings that Art.
990 of the New Civil Code is the applicable law on the case. They contend that said provision of the
New Civil Code modifies the rule in Article 941 (Old Civil Code) and recognizes the right of
representation (Art. 970) to descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate and that Art. 941, Spanish
Civil Code denied illegitimate children the right to represent their deceased parents and inherit from
their deceased grandparents, but that Rule was expressly changed and/or amended by Art. 990 New
Civil Code which expressly grants the illegitimate children the right to represent their deceased
father (Pablo Santero) in the estate of their grandmother Simona Pamuti)." 5
Petitioners' contention holds no water. Since the heridatary conflict refers solely to the intestate
estate of Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, who is the legitimate mother of Pablo Santero, the
applicable law is the provision of Art. 992 of the Civil Code which reads as follows:
ART. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate
children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives
inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. (943a)
Pablo Santero is a legitimate child, he is not an illegitimate child. On the other hand, the oppositors
(petitioners herein) are the illegitimate children of Pablo Santero.
Article 992 of the New Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a
succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and relatives of the
father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of blood, but this is not
recognized by law for the purposes of Art. 992, Between the legitimate family and the illegitimate
family there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is
disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the family is in turn, hated by the illegitimate
child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is
thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin,
palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life; the law does no more than recognize this truth, by
avoiding further grounds of resentment. 6
Thus, petitioners herein cannot represent their father Pablo Santero in the succession of the letter to
the intestate estate of his legitimate mother Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero, because of the barrier
provided for under Art. 992 of the New Civil Code.
In answer to the erroneous contention of petitioners that Article 941 of the Spanish Civil Code is
changed by Article 990 of the New Civil Code, We are reproducing herewith the Reflections of the
Illustrious Hon. Justice Jose B.L. Reyes which also finds full support from other civilists, to wit:
In the Spanish Civil Code of 1889 the right of representation was admitted only within
the legitimate family; so much so that Article 943 of that Code prescribed that an
illegitimate child can riot inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives
of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the Philippines apparently adhered to this

principle since it reproduced Article 943 of the Spanish Code in its own Art. 992, but
with fine inconsistency, in subsequent articles (990, 995 and 998) our Code allows
the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to pass to his own descendants,
whether legitimate or illegitimate. So that while Art. 992 prevents the illegitimate issue
of a legitimate child from representing him in the intestate succession of the
grandparent, the illegitimates of an illegitimate child can now do so. This difference
being indefensible and unwarranted, in the future revision of the Civil Code we shall
have to make a choice and decide either that the illegitimate issue enjoys in all cases
the right of representation, in which case Art. 992 must be suppressed; or
contrariwise maintain said article and modify Articles 995 and 998. The first solution
would be more in accord with an enlightened attitude vis-a-vis illegitimate children.
(Reflections on the Reform of Hereditary Succession, JOURNAL of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines, First Quater, 1976, Volume 4, Number 1, pp. 40-41).
It is therefore clear from Article 992 of the New Civil Code that the phrase "legitimate children and
relatives of his father or mother" includes Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero as the word "relative"
includes all the kindred of the person spoken of. 7 The record shows that from the commencement of
this case the only parties who claimed to be the legitimate heirs of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de
Santero are Felisa Pamuti Jardin and the six minor natural or illegitimate children of Pablo Santero. Since
petitioners herein are barred by the provisions of Article 992, the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court
did not commit any error in holding Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir to the intestate
estate of the late Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero.
Lastly, petitioners claim that the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court erred in ruling that the
Orders of the Court a quo dated December 1, 1976 and December 9, 1976 are final and executory.
Such contention is without merit. The Hon. Judge Jose Raval in his order dated December 1, 1976
held that the oppositors (petitioners herein) are not entitled to intervene and hence not allowed to
intervene in the proceedings for the declaration of the heirship in the intestate estate of Simona
Pamuti Vda. de Santero. Subsequently, Judge Jose Raval issued an order, dated December 9,
1976, which declared Felisa Pamuti-Jardin to be the sole legitimate heir of Simona Pamuti. The said
Orders were never made the subjects of either a motion for reconsideration or a perfected appeal.
Hence, said orders which long became final and executory are already removed from the power of
jurisdiction of the lower court to decide anew. The only power retained by the lower court, after a
judgment has become final and executory is to order its execution. The respondent Court did not err
therefore in ruling that the Order of the Court a quo dated May 30, 1980 excluding Felisa Pamuti
Jardin as intestate heir of the deceased Simona Pamuti Vda. de Santero "is clearly a total reversal of
an Order which has become final and executory, hence null and void. "
WHEREFORE, this petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the assailed decision is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-19281

June 30, 1965

IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO SANTILLON, CLARO


SANTILLON, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
PERFECTA MIRANDA, BENITO U. MIRANDA and ROSARIO CORRALES, oppositors-appellees.
Clodualdo P. Surio and Claro Santillon (in his own behalf) for petitioner-appellant.
Patricio M. Patajo for oppositors-appellees.
BENGZON, C.J.:
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, specifying the
respective shares of the principal parties herein in the intestate estate of Pedro Santillon.
On November 21, 1953, Santillon died without testament in Tayug, Pangasinan, his residence,
leaving one son, Claro, and his wife, Perfecta Miranda. During his marriage, Pedro acquired several
parcels of land located in that province.
About four years after his death, Claro Santillon filed a petition for letters of administration.
Opposition to said petition was entered by the widow Perfecta Miranda and the spouses Benito U.
Miranda and Rosario Corrales on the following grounds: (a) that the properties enumerated in the
petition were all conjugal, except three parcels which Perfecta Miranda claimed to be her exclusive
properties; (b) that Perfecta Miranda by virtue of two documents had conveyed 3/4 of her undivided
share in most of the properties enumerated in the petition to said spouses Benito and Rosario; (c)
that administration of the estate was not necessary, there being a case for partition pending; and (d)
that if administration was necessary at all, the oppositor Perfecta Miranda and not the petitioner was
better qualified for the post. It appears that subsequently, oppositor Perfecta Miranda was appointed
administratrix of the estate.
On March 22, 1961, the court appointed commissioners to draft within sixty days, a project of
partition and distribution of all the properties of the deceased Pedro Santillon.
On April 25, 1961, Claro filed a "Motion to Declare Share of Heirs" and to resolve the conflicting
claims of the parties with respect to their respective rights in the estate. Invoking Art. 892 of the New
Civil Code, he insisted that after deducting 1/2 from the conjugal properties is the conjugal share of
Perfecta, the remaining 1/2 must be divided as follows: 1/4 for her and 3/4 for him. Oppositor
Perfecta, on the other hand, claimed that besides her conjugal half, she was entitled under Art. 996
of the New Civil Code to another 1/2 of the remaining half. In other words, Claro claimed 3/4 of
Pedro's inheritance, while Perfecta claimed 1/2.
After due notice and hearing, the court, on June 28, 1961, issued an order, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS it is hereby ruled and ordered that in
the intestate succession of the deceased Pedro Santillon, the surviving spouse Perfecta
Miranda shall inherit ONE-HALF (1/2) share and the remaining ONE-HALF (1/2) share for

the only son, Atty. Claro Santillon. This is after deducting the share of the widow as co-owner
of the conjugal properties. ... .
From this order, petitioner Claro Santillon has appealed to this Court. Two questions of law are
involved. The first, raised in Perfecta's Motion to Dismiss Appeal, is whether the order of the lower
court is appealable. And the second, raised in appellant's lone assignment of error, is: How shall the
estate of a person who dies intestate be divided when the only survivors are the spouse and one
legitimate child?
The First Issue: It is clear that the order of the lower court is final and, therefore, appealable to
this Court.
Under Rule 109, sec. 1, a person may appeal in special proceedings from an order of the Court of
First Instance where such order "determines ... the distributive share of the estate to which such
person is entitled."
The Second Issue: Petitioner rests his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate on Art. 892 of the New
Civil Code which provides that:
If only the legitimate child or descendant of the deceased survives the widow or widower
shall be entitled to one-fourth of the hereditary estate. ... .
As she gets one-fourth, therefore, I get 3/4, says Claro. Perfecta, on the other hand, cites Art. 996
which provides:
If a widow or widower and legitimate children or descendants are left, the surviving spouse
has in the succession the same share as that of each of the children.
Replying to Perfecta's claim, Claro says the article is unjust and unequitable to the extent that it
grants the widow the same share as that of the children in intestate succession, whereas in testate,
she is given 1/4 and the only child 1/2.
Oppositor Perfecta Miranda, on the other hand, contends that Art. 996 should control, regardless of
its alleged inequity, being as it is, a provision on intestate succession involving a surviving spouse
and a legitimate child, inasmuch as in statutory construction, the plural word "children" includes the
singular "child."
Art. 892 of the New Civil Code falls under the chapter on Testamentary Succession; whereas Art.
996 comes under the chapter on Legal or Intestate Succession. Such being the case, it is obvious
that Claro cannot rely on Art. 892 to support his claim to 3/4 of his father's estate. Art 892 merely
fixes the legitime of the surviving spouse and Art. 888 thereof, the legitime of children in testate
succession. While it may indicate the intent of the law with respect to the ideal shares that a child
and a spouse should get when they concur with each other, it does not fix the amount of shares that
such child and spouse are entitled to when intestacy occurs. Because if the latter happens, the
pertinent provision on intestate succession shall apply, i.e., Art. 996.

Some commentators of our New Civil Code seem to support Claro's contention; at least, his
objection to fifty-fifty sharing. But others confirm the half and half idea of the Pangasinan court.
This is, remember, intestate proceedings. In the New Civil Code's chapter on legal or intestate
succession, the only article applicable is Art. 996. Our colleague, Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, professor
of Civil Law, is quoted as having expressed the opinion that under this article, when the widow
survives with only one legitimate child, they share the estate in equal parts. 1 Senator Tolentino in his
commentaries writes as follows:
One child Surviving. If there is only one legitimate child surviving with the spouse, since
they share equally, one-half of the estate goes to the child and the other half goes to the
surviving spouse. Although the law refers to "children or descendants," the rule in statutory
construction that the plural can be understood to include the singular is applicable in this
case. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. III, p. 436.)
The theory of those holding otherwise seems to be premised on these propositions: (a) Art. 996
speaks of "Children," therefore it does not apply when there is only one "child"; consequently Art.
892 (and Art. 888) should be applied, thru a process of judicial construction and analogy; (b) Art. 996
is unjust or unfair because, whereas intestate succession, the widow is assigned one-fourth only
(Art. 892), she would get 1/2 in intestate.
A. Children. It is a maxim of statutory construction that words in plural include the singular. 2 So
Art. 996 could or should be read (and so applied) : "If the widow or widower and a
legitimate child are left, the surviving spouse has the same share as that of the child." Indeed, if we
refuse to apply the article to this case on the ground that "child" is not included in "children," the
consequences would be tremendous, because "children" will not include "child" in the following
articles:
ART. 887. The following are compulsory heirs: (1) legitimate children and descendants ... .
ART. 888. The legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the
hereditary estate ... .
ART. 896. Illegitimate children who may survive ... are entitled to one-fourth of the
hereditary estate ... . (See also Art. 901).
In fact, those who say "children" in Art. 996 does not include "child" seem to be inconsistent when
they argue from the premise that "in testate succession the only legitimate child gets one-half and
the widow, one-fourth." The inconsistency is clear, because the only legitimate child gets onehalf under Art. 888, which speaks of "children," not "child." So if "children" in Art. 888 includes "child,"
the same meaning should be given to Art. 996.
B. Unfairness of Art. 996. Such position, more clearly stated, is this: In testate succession, where
there is only one child of the marriage, the child gets one-half, and the widow or widower one-fourth.
But in intestate , if Art. 996 is applied now, the child gets one-half, and the widow or widower onehalf. Unfair or inequitable, they insist.

On this point, it is not correct to assume that in testate succession the widow or widower "gets only
one-fourth." She or he may get one-half if the testator so wishes. So, the law virtually leaves it to
each of the spouses to decide (by testament, whether his or her only child shall get more than his or
her survivor).
Our conclusion (equal shares) seems a logical inference from the circumstance that whereas Article
834 of the Spanish Civil Code, from which Art. 996 was taken, contained two paragraphs governing
two contingencies, the first, where the widow or widower survives with legitimate children (general
rule), and the second, where the widow or widower survives with only one child (exception), Art. 996
omitted to provide for the second situation, thereby indicating the legislator's desire to promulgate
just one general rule applicable to both situations.
The resultant division may be unfair as some writers explain and this we are not called upon to
discuss but it is the clear mandate of the statute, which we are bound to enforce.
The appealed decision is affirmed. No costs in this instance.

G.R. No. L-37365 November 29, 1977


GAUDENCIO BICOMONG, et al., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
GERONIMO ALMANZA, et al., defendant. FLORENTINO CARTENA, defendant-appellant.
Antonio E. Lacsam & Cesar A. Azucena, Jr. for appellant.
Ricardo A. Fabros, Jr. for appellees.

GUERRERO, J.:
This is an appeal certified to this Court by the Court of Appeals 1 in accordance with the provisions of
Sec. 17, paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, since the only issue raised is the correct
application of the law and jurisprudence on the matter which is purely a legal question.
The following findings of fact by the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City in Civil
Case No. SP-265, and adopted by the Court of Appeals, show that:
Simeon Bagsic was married to Sisenanda Barcenas on June 8, 1859 (Exh. "D") Of
this marriage there were born three children namely: Perpetua Bagsic (Exhibit G),
Igmedia Bagsic (Exhibit F), and Ignacio Bagsic (Exhibit H). Sisenanda Barcenas died
ahead of her husband Simeon Bagsic.
On June 3, 1885, Simeon Bagsic remarried Silvestra Glorioso (Exhibit "E"). Of this
second marriage were born two children, Felipa Bagsic (Exhibit J) and Maura Bagsic
(Exhibit I). Simeon Bagsic died sometime in 1901. Silvestra Glorioso also died.

Ignacio Bagsic died on April 18, 1939 (Exhibit C) leaving the plaintiff Francisca
Bagsic as his only heir. Igmedia Bagsic also died on August 19, 1944 (Exhibit B)
survived by the plaintiffs Dionisio Tolentino, Maria Tolentino and Petra Tolentino.
Perpetua Bagsic died on July 1, 1945 (Exhibit A). Surviving her are her heirs, the
plaintiffs Gaudencio Bicomong, Felicidad Bicomong, Salome Bicomong, and
Gervacio Bicomong.
Of the children of the second marriage, Maura Bagsic died also on April 14, 1952
leaving no heir as her husband died ahead of her. Felipa Bagsic, the other daughter
of the second Geronimo Almanza and her daughter Cristeta Almanza. But five (5)
months before the present suit was filed or on July 23, 1959, Cristeta Almanza died
leaving behind her husband, the defendant herein Engracio Manese (Exhibit 1Manese) and her father Geronimo Almanza.
(Rollo,
pp. 23)
The subject matter of the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-265 concerns the one-half undivided share
of Maura Bagsic in the following described five (5) parcels of land which she inherited from her
deceased mother, Silvestra Glorioso, to wit:
A. A parcel of land in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with 38 fruit bearing
coconut trees, with an area of 1,077, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by German Garingan;
on the E. by Juan Aliagas; on the S. by Bernardino Alina; and on the W. by Feliciana
Glorioso Covered by Tax No. 12713 for the year 1948 in the name of Silvestra
Glorioso, now Tax No. 31232, assessed at P170.00 in the name of defendant
Geronimo Almanza;
B. A parcel of land, also situated in Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with
fruit bearing coconut trees, with an area of 9,455 sq. m. Bounded on the N. by
Paulino Gajuco; on the E. by Felisa Gavino and German Garigan; on the S. by
Esteban Calayag; and on the W. by Laureano Ambion, Covered by Tax No. 12714 for
the year 1948 in the name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;
C. A parcel of land situated in same Bo. San Ignacio, City of San Pablo, planted with
376 fruit bearing coconut trees and having an area of 11,739 sq. m. Bounded on the
N. by Jacinto Alvero, Anacleto Glorioso and Bernardino Alma; on the E. by
Bernardino Alma; on the S. by Rosendo Banaad, Jacinto Alvero and Casayan River;
and on the W. by Anacleto Glorioso Covered by Tax No. 12715 for the year 1948 in
the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now Tax No. 31234, assessed at P2,720.00 in the
name of defendant Geronimo Almanza;
D. A residential lot, situated at P. Alcantara Street, Int., City of San Pablo, with an
area of 153, sq. m. Bounded on the N. by heirs of Pedro Calampiano; on the E. by

Petronilo Cartago; on the S. by Ignacio Yerro; and on the W. by Melecio Cabrera.


Covered by Tax No. 17653 for the year 1948 in the name of Silvestra Glorioso, now
Tax No. 21452, assessed at P610.00 in the name of Cristeta Almanza; and
E. A parcel of coconut land, situated at Bo. Buenavista, Candelaria, Quezon, planted
with 300 coconut trees fruit bearing. Area - 24,990 sq. m. Bounded on the N. (Ilaya)
by heirs of Pedro de Gala on the E. by Julian Garcia; on the S. (Ibaba) by Julian
Garcia, and on the W. by Taguan River. Covered by Tax No. 21452, assessed at
P910.00.
(Recor
d on
Appeal,
pp. 46)
Three sets of plaintiffs filed the complaint on December 1, 1959, namely: (a) the Bicomongs, children
of Perpetua Bagsic; (b) the Tolentinos, children of Igmedia Bagsic; and (c) Francisco Bagsic,
daughter of Ignacio Bagsic, in the Court of First Instance of Laguna and San Pablo City against the
defendants Geronimo Almanza and Engracio Menese for the recovery of their lawful shares in the
properties left by Maura Bagsic.
After the death of Maura Bagsic, the above-described properties passed on to Cristela Almanza who
took charge of the administration of the same. Thereupon, the plaintiffs approached her and
requested for the partition of their aunt's properties. However, they were prevailed upon by Cristeta
Almanza not to divide the properties yet as the expenses for the last illness and burial of Maura
Bagsic had not yet been paid. Having agreed to defer the partition of the same, the plaintiffs brought
out the subject again sometime in 1959 only. This time Cristeta Almanza acceded to the request as
the debts, accordingly, had already been paid. Unfortunately, she died without the division of the
properties having been effected, thereby leaving the possession and administration of the same to
the defendants.
After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs who are hereby
declared to be entitled to ten twenty-fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of land in
dispute. The defendant Engracio Manese and the heirs of the deceased Geronimo
Almanza, who are represented in the instant case by the administrator Florentino
Cartena, are hereby required to pay the plaintiffs from July 23, 1959 the sum of
P625.00 per annum until the ten-twenty fourth (10/24) share on the five parcels of
land are delivered to the plaintiffs, with legal interest from the time this decision shall
have become final.
With costs against the defendants.
SO ORDERED.

City of San Pablo, September 21, 1962.


(SGD)
JOSE
G.
BAUTI
STA
Judge
Record
on
Appeal,
p. 47
From the aforesaid decision of the trial court, Florentino Cartena, the substitute defendant for
Geronimo Almanza, appealed to the Court of Appeals. The other defendant, Engracio Manese, did
not appeal and execution was issued with respect to the parcels of land in his possession, that is,
those described under Letters D and E in the complaint. Hence, the subject matter of the case on
appeal was limited to the one-half undivided portion of only three of the five parcels of land
described under letters A, B and C in the complaint which defendant Cartena admitted to be only in
his possession. 2
On appeal, defendant-appellant Cartena contends that the provisions of Arts. 995, 1006 and 1008 of
the New Civil Code, applied by the trial court in allowing plaintiffs-appellees to succeed to the
properties left by Maura Bagsic were not the applicable provisions. He asserts that in the course of
the trial of the case in the lower court, plaintiffs requested defendants to admit that Felipa Bagsic, the
sole sister of full blood of Maura Bagsic, died on May 9. 1955. Since Maura Bagsic died on April 14,
1952, Felipa succeeded to Maura's estate. In support thereof, he cites Art. 1004 of the New Civil
Code which provides that "should the only survivors be brothers and sisters of the full blood, they
shall inherit in equal shares," and he concludes with the rule that the relatives nearest in degree
excludes the more distant ones. (Art. 962, New Civil Code)
On the other hand, plaintiffs-appellees claim that the date of death of Felipa Bagsic was not raised
as an issue in the trial court. It was even the subject of stipulation of the parties as clearly shown in
the transcript of the stenographic notes that Felipa Bagsic died on May 9. 1945. 3
The Court of Appeals ruled that the facts of the case have been duly established in the trial court and
that the only issue left for determination is a purely legal question involving the correct application of
the law and jurisprudence on the matter, hence the appellate court certified this case to Us.
We hold that the provisions of Art. 975, 1006 and 1008 of the New Civil Code are applicable to the
admitted facts of the case at bar. These Articles provide:

Art. 975. When children of one or more brothers or sisters of tile deceased survive,
they shall inherit from the latter by representation, if they survive with their uncles or
aunts. But if they alone survive, they shall inherit in equal portions."
Art. 1006. Should brothers and sisters of the full blood survive together with brothers
and sisters of the half blood, the former shall be entitled to a share double that of the
latter.
Art. 1008. Children of brothers and sisters of the half blood shall succeed per capita
or per stirpes, in accordance with the rules laid down for brothers and sisters of the
full blood.
In the absence of defendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, Article 1003 of
the New Civil Code provides that collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the
deceased. It appearing that Maura Bagsic died intestate without an issue, and her husband and all
her ascendants had died ahead of her, she is succeeded by the surviving collateral relatives, namely
the daughter of her sister of full blood and the ten (10) children of her brother and two (2) sisters of
half blood in accordance with the provision of Art. 975 of the New Civil Code.
By virtue of said provision, the aforementioned nephews and nieces are entitled to inherit in their
own right. InAbellana-Bacayo vs. Ferraris-Borromeo, L-19382, August 31, I965, 14 SCRA 986, this
Court held that "nephews and nieces alone do not inherit by right of representation (that is per
stirpes) unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the deceased."
Under the same provision, Art. 975, which makes no qualification as to whether the nephews or
nieces are on the maternal or paternal line and without preference as to whether their relationship to
the deceased is by whole or half blood, the sole niece of whole blood of the deceased does not
exclude the ten nephews and n of half blood. The only difference in their right of succession is
provided in Art. 1008, NCC in relation to Article 1006 of the New Civil Code (supra), which
provisions, in effect, entitle the sole niece of full blood to a share double that of the nephews and
nieces of half blood. Such distinction between whole and half blood relationships with the deceased
has been recognized in Dionisia Padura, et al. vs. Melanie Baldovino, et al., No. L-11960, December
27, 1958, 104 Phil. 1065 (unreported) and in Alviar vs. Alviar, No. L-22402, June 30, 1969, 28 SCRA
610).
The contention of the appellant that Maura Bagsic should be succeeded by Felipa Bagsic, her sister
of full blood, to the exclusion of the nephews and nieces of half blood citing Art. 1004, NCC is
unmeritorious and erroneous for it is based on an erroneous factual assumption, that is, that Felipa
Bagsic died in 1955, which as indicated here before, is not true as she died on May 9, 1945, thus
she predeceased her sister Maura Bagsic.
We find the judgment of the trial court to be in consonance with law and jurisprudence.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed. No costs.

G.R. No. L-18753

March 26, 1965

VICENTE B. TEOTICO, petitioner-appellant,


vs.
ANA DEL VAL, ETC., oppositor-appellant.
Antonio Gonzales for petitioner-appellant.
J.C. Zulueta, G. D. David and N. J. Quisumbing for oppositor-appellant.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre died on July 14, 1955 in the City of Manila leaving
properties worth P600,000.00. She left a will written in Spanish which she executed at her residence
at No. 2 Legarda St., Quiapo, Manila. She affixed her signature at the bottom of the will and on the
left margin of each and every page thereof in the presence of Pilar Borja, Pilar C. Sanchez, and
Modesto Formilleza, who in turn affixed their signatures below the attestation clause and on the left
margin of each and every page of the will in the presence of the testatrix and of each other. Said will
was acknowledged before Notary Public Niceforo S. Agaton by the testatrix and her witnesses.
In said will the testatrix made the following preliminary statement: that she was possessed of the full
use of her mental faculties; that she was free from illegal pressure or influence of any kind from the
beneficiaries of the will and from any influence of fear or threat; that she freely and spontaneously
executed said will and that she had neither ascendants nor descendants of any kind such that she
could freely dispose of all her estate.
Among the many legacies and devises made in the will was one of P20,000.00 to Rene A. Teotico,
married to the testatrix's niece named Josefina Mortera. To said spouses the testatrix left the
usufruct of her interest in the Calvo building, while the naked ownership thereof she left in equal
parts to her grandchildren who are the legitimate children of said spouses. The testatrix also
instituted Josefina Mortera as her sole and universal heir to all the remainder of her properties not
otherwise disposed of in the will.
On July 17, 1955, Vicente B. Teotico filed a petition for the probate of the will before the Court of
First Instance of Manila which was set for hearing on September 3, 1955 after the requisite
publication and service to all parties concerned.
Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the
testatrix, as well as an acknowledged natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the same
testatrix, filed on September 2, 1955 an opposition to the probate of the will alleging the following
grounds: (1) said will was not executed as required by law; (2) the testatrix was physically and
mentally incapable to execute the will at the time of its execution; and (3) the will was executed
under duress, threat or influence of fear.
Vicente B. Teotico, filed a motion to dismiss the opposition alleging that the oppositor had no legal
personality to intervene. The probate court, after due hearing, allowed the oppositor to intervene as
an adopted child of Francisca Mortera, and on June 17, 1959, the oppositor amended her opposition
by alleging, the additional ground that the will is inoperative as to the share of Dr. Rene Teotico
because the latter was the physician who took care of the testatrix during her last illness.
After the parties had presented their evidence, the probate court rendered its decision on November
10, 1960, admitting the will to probate but declaring the disposition made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico
void with the statement that the portion to be vacated by the annulment should pass to the testatrix's
heirs by way of intestate succession.
Petitioner Teotico, together with the universal heir Josefina Mortera, filed a motion for
reconsideration of that part of the decision which declares the portion of the estate to be vacated by
the nullity of the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico as passing to the legal heirs, while the oppositor

filed also a motion for reconsideration of the portion of the judgment which decrees the probate of
the will. On his part, Dr. Rene Teotico requested leave to intervene and to file a motion for
reconsideration with regard to that portion of the decision which nullified the legacy made in his
favor.
The motions for reconsideration above adverted to having been denied, both petitioner and
oppositor appealed from the decision, the former from that portion which nullifies the legacy in favor
of Dr. Rene Teotico and declares the vacated portion as subject of succession in favor of the legal
heirs, and the latter from that portion which admits the will to probate. And in this instance both
petitioner and oppositor assign several errors which, stripped of non-essentials, may be boiled down
to the following: (1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to intervene in this proceeding?; (2)
Has the will in question been duly admitted to probate?; (3) Did the probate court commit an error in
passing on the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and in determining who should inherit the
portion to be vacated by the nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico?
These issues will be discussed separately.
1. It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate
proceeding he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it
either as executor or as a claimant of the estate (Ngo The Hua v. Chung Kiat Hua, et al., L-17091,
September 30, 1963); and an interested party has been defined as one who would be benefited by
the estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor (Idem). On the
other hand, in Saguinsin v. Lindayag, et al., L-17750, December 17, 1962, this Court said:
According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, a petition for letters of administration
must be filed by an "interested person." An interested party has been defined in this
connection as one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a
claim against the estate, such as a creditor (Intestate Estate of Julio Magbanwa 40 O.G.
1171). And it is well settled in this jurisdiction that in civil actions as well as special
proceedings, the interest required in order that a person may be a party thereto must be
material and direct, and not merely indirect or contingent (Trillana vs. Crisostomo, G.R. No.
L-3370, August 22, 1951; Rapinosa vs. Barrion, 70 Phil. 311).
The question now may be asked: Has oppositor any interest in any of the provisions of the will, and,
in the negative, would she acquire any right to the estate in the event that the will is denied probate?
Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no right to intervene because she has no interest in the
estate either as heir, executor, or administrator, nor does she have any claim to any property
affected by the will, because it nowhere appears therein any provision designating her as heir,
legatee or devisee of any portion of the estate. She has also no interest in the will either as
administratrix or executrix. Neither has she any claim against any portion of the estate because she
is not a co-owner thereof, and while she previously had an interest in the Calvo building located in
Escolta, she had already disposed of it long before the execution of the will.
1wph1.t

In the supposition that, the will is denied probate, would the oppositor acquire any interest in any
portion of the estate left by the testatrix? She would acquire such right only if she were a legal heir of

the deceased, but she is not under our Civil Code. It is true that oppositor claims to be an
acknowledged natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the deceased, and also an
adopted daughter of Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix, but such claim cannot
give her any comfort for, even if it be true, the law does not give her any right to succeed to the
estate of the deceased sister of both Jose Mortera and Francisca Mortera. And this is so because
being an illegitimate child she is prohibited by law from succeeding to the legitimate relatives of her
natural father. Thus, Article 992 of our Civil Code provides: "An illegitimate child has no right to
inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; ... ." And the
philosophy behind this provision is well expressed in Grey v. Fabie, 68 Phil. 128, as follows:
Between the natural child and the legitimate relatives of the father or mother who
acknowledged it, the Code denies any right of succession. They cannot be called relatives
and they have no right to inherit. Of course, there is a blood tie, but the law does not
recognize it. On this, article 943 is based upon the reality of the facts and upon the
presumption will of the interested parties; the natural child is disgracefully looked down upon
by the legitimate family; the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the natural child; the latter
considers the privileged condition of the former and the resources of which it is thereby
deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the natural child nothing but the product of sin, a
palpable evidence of a blemish upon the family. Every relation is ordinarily broken in life; the
law does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment. (7
Manresa, 3d., p. 110.)
The oppositor cannot also derive comfort from the fact that she is an adopted child of Francisca
Mortera because under our law the relationship established by adoption is limited solely to the
adopter and the adopted and does not extend to the relatives of the adopting parents or of the
adopted child except only as expressly provided for by law. Hence, no relationship is created
between the adopted and the collaterals of the adopting parents. As a consequence, the adopted is
an heir of the adopter but not of the relatives of the adopter.
The relationship established by the adoption, however, is limited to the adopting parent, and
does not extend to his other relatives, except as expressly provided by law. Thus, the
adopted child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and collaterals of the
adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children which they may have after the adoption,
except that the law imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of adoption. Neither
are the children of the adopted considered as descendants of the adopter. The relationship
created is exclusively between the adopter and the adopted, and does not extend to the
relatives of either. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 1, p. 652).
Relationship by adoption is limited to adopter and adopted, and does not extend to other
members of the family of either; but the adopted is prohibited to marry the children of the
adopter to avoid scandal. (An Outline of Philippine Civil Law by Justice Jose B. L. Reyes and
Ricardo C. Puno, Vol. 1, p. 313; See also Caguioa, Comments and Cases on Civil Law 1955,
Vol 1, pp. 312-313; Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines, 1959 ed., Vol. 1, p. 515)
It thus appears that the oppositor has no right to intervene either as testamentary or as legal heir in
this probate proceeding contrary to the ruling of the court a quo.

2. The next question to be determined is whether the will Exhibit A was duly admitted to probate.
Oppositor claims that the same should not have been admitted not only because it was not properly
attested to but also because it was procured thru pressure and influence and the testatrix affixed her
signature by mistake believing that it contained her true intent.
The claim that the will was not properly attested to is contradicted by the evidence of record. In this
respect it is fit that we state briefly the declarations of the instrumental witnesses.
Pilar Borja testified that the testatrix was in perfect state of health at the time she executed the will
for she carried her conversation with her intelligently; that the testatrix signed immediately above the
attestation clause and on each and every page thereof at the left-hand margin in the presence of the
three instrumental witnesses and the notary public; that it was the testatrix herself who asked her
and the other witnesses to act as such; and that the testatrix was the first one to sign and later she
gave the will to the witnesses who read and signed it.
Pilar G. Sanchez also testified that she knew the testatrix since 1945; that it was the testatrix herself
who asked her to be a witness to the will; that the testatrix was the first one to sign and she gave the
will later to the witnesses to sign and afterwards she gave it to the notary public; that on the day of
the execution of the will the testatrix was in the best of health.
Modesto Formilleza also testified that he was asked by the testatrix to be one of the witnesses to the
will; that he read and understood the attestation clause before he signed the document, and all the
witnesses spoke either in Spanish or in Tagalog. He finally said that the instrumental witnesses and
the testatrix signed the will at the same time and place and identified their signatures.
This evidence which has not been successfully refuted proves conclusively that the will was duly
executed because it was signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses and the notary
public in the manner provided for by law.
The claim that the will was procured by improper pressure and influence is also belied by the
evidence. On this point the court a quo made the following observation:
The circumstance that the testatrix was then living under the same roof with Dr. Rene Teotico
is no proof adequate in law to sustain the conclusion that there was improper pressure and
undue influence. Nor is the alleged fact of isolation of the testatrix from the oppositor and her
witnesses, for their supposed failure to see personally the testatrix, attributable to the
vehemence of Dr. Rene Teotico, to exclude visitors, took place years after the execution of
the will on May 17, 1951. Although those fact may have some weight to support the theory of
the oppositor, yet they must perforce yield to the weightier fact that nothing could have
prevented the testatrix, had she really wanted to from subsequently revoking her 1951 will if
it did not in fact reflect and express her own testamentary dispositions. For, as testified to by
the oppositor and her witnesses, the testatrix was often seen at the Escolta, in Quiapo and
Sta. Cruz, Manila, walking and accompanied by no one. In fact, on different occasions, each
of them was able to talk with her.

We have examined the evidence on the matter and we are fully in accord with the foregoing
observation. Moreover, the mere claim that Josefina Mortera and her husband Rene Teotico had the
opportunity to exert pressure on the testatrix simply because she lived in their house several years
prior to the execution of the will and that she was old and suffering from hypertension in that she was
virtually isolated from her friends for several years prior to her death is insufficient to disprove what
the instrumental witnesses had testified that the testatrix freely and voluntarily and with full
consciousness of the solemnity of the occasion executed the will under consideration. The exercise
of improper pressure and undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence and must be
of a kind that would overpower and subjugate the mind of the testatrix as to destroy her free agency
and make her express the will of another rather than her own (Coso v. Deza, 42 0. G. 596). The
burden is on the person challenging the will that such influence was exerted at the time of its
execution, a matter which here was not done, for the evidence presented not only is insufficient but
was disproved by the testimony of the instrumental witnesses.
3. The question of whether the probate court could determine the intrinsic validity of the provisions of
a will has been decided by this Court in a long line of decisions among which the following may be
cited:
Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will cannot be entertained
in Probate proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been
executed in accordance with the requirements of the law." (Palacios v. Palacios, 58 0. G.
220)
... The authentication of a will decides no other questions than such as touch upon the
capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law
prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the
validity or efficiency of the provisions, these may be impugned as being vicious or null,
notwithstanding its authentication. The questions relating to these points remain entirely
unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated. ...
From the fact that the legalization of a will does not validate the provisions therein contained,
it does not follow that such provision lack the efficiency, or fail to produce the effects which
the law recognizes when they are not impugned by anyone. In the matter of wills it is a
fundamental doctrine that the will of the testator is the law governing the interested parties,
and must be punctually complied with in so far as it is not contrary to the law or to public
morals. (Montaano v. Suesa, 14 Phil. 676, 679-680)
To establish conclusively as against everyone, and once for all, the facts that a will was
executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator was in a condition to make
a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings under the new code for the probate of a will.
(Sec. 625.) The judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine nothing more.
In them the court has no power to pass upon the validity of any provisions made in the will. It
can not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is void and another one is valid.
(Castaeda v. Alemany, 3 Phil. 426, 428)

Pursuant to the foregoing precedents the pronouncement made by the court a quo declaring invalid
the legacy made to Dr. Rene Teotico in the will Exhibit A must be set aside as having been made in
excess of its jurisdiction. Another reason why said pronouncement should be set aside is that the
legatee was not given an opportunity to defend the validity of the legacy for he was not allowed to
intervene in this proceeding. As a corollary, the other pronouncements touching on the disposition of
the estate in favor of some relatives of the deceased should also be set aside for the same reason.
WHEREFORE, with the exception of that portion of the decision which declares that the will in
question has been duly executed and admitted the same to probate, the rest of the decision is
hereby set aside. This case is ordered remanded to the court a quo for further proceedings. No
pronouncement as to costs.