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I. Concept of Succession:

1. Bonilla vs. Barcena
G.R. No. L-41715; J une 18, 1976
71 SCRA 490

FACTS:
On March 31, 1975, Fortunata Barcena, mother of minors Rosalio Bonilla and Salvacion
Bonilla and wife of Ponciano Bonilla, instituted a civil action in the Court of First Instance of
Abra to quiet title over certain parcels of land located in Abra. During the pendency though,
Fortunata died. The defendants, Barcena, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground
that Fortunata Barcena was dead and, therefore, had no legal capacity to sue.
During the hearing for the motion to dismiss, counsel for the plaintiff confirmed the death
of Fortunata Barcena, and asked for substitution by her minor children and her husband. The
court, however, after the hearing, immediately dismissed the case on the ground that a dead
person cannot be a real party in interest and has no legal personality to sue. The motions for
reconsiderations were denied by the court.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the CFI erred in dismissing the complaint; and
2. Whether or not the deceased Fortunata Barcena may be substituted by her heirs in the action for
quieting of title.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of the petitioners and reversed the ruling of the CFI.
While it is true that a person who is dead cannot sue in court, he can be substituted by his
heirs in pursuing the case up to its completion. In the given case, the death of Fortunata Barcena
took place on July 9, 1975 while the complaint was filed on March 31, 1975. This means that
Fortunata Barcena was still alive when the case was filed, and therefore, the court had acquired
jurisdiction over her person. Under Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court "whenever a party
to a pending case dies ... it shall be the duty of his attorney to inform the court promptly of such
death ... and to give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other
legal representatives." This duty was complied with by the counsel for the deceased plaintiff
when he manifested before the respondent Court that Fortunata Barcena died on July 9, 1975 and
asked for the proper substitution of parties in the case.
The respondent Court, however, instead of allowing the substitution, dismissed the
complaint on the ground that a dead person has no legal personality to sue. This is a grave error.
Article 777 of the Civil Code provides "that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the
moment of the death of the decedent." From the moment of the death of the decedent, the heirs
become the absolute owners of his property, subject to the rights and obligations of the decedent,
and they cannot be deprived of their rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law.
The moment of death is the determining factor when the heirs acquire a definite right to the
inheritance whether such right be pure or contingent. The right of the heirs to the property of the
deceased vests in them even before judicial declaration of their being heirs in the testate or
intestate proceedings.
When Fortunata Barcena, therefore, died, her claim or right to the parcels of land in the
litigation of the civil case was not extinguished by her death but was transmitted to her heirs
upon her death. Her heirs have thus acquired interest in the properties in litigation and became
parties in interest in the case. There is, therefore, no reason for the respondent Court not to allow
their substitution as parties in interest for the deceased plaintiff.
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The claim of the deceased plaintiff which is an action to quiet title over the parcels of
land in litigation affects primarily and principally property and property rights and therefore is
one that survives even after her death. It is, therefore, the duty of the respondent Court to order
the legal representative of the deceased plaintiff to appear and to be substituted for her. But what
the respondent Court did, upon being informed by the counsel for the deceased plaintiff that the
latter was dead, was to dismiss the complaint. This should not have been done for under Section
17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, it is even the duty of the court, if the legal representative fails to
appear, to order the opposing party to procure the appointment of a legal representative of the
deceased. Unquestionably, the respondent Court has gravely abused its discretion in not
complying with the clear provision of the Rules of Court in dismissing the complaint of the
plaintiff in Civil Case No. 856 and refusing the substitution of parties in the case.

2. Estate of Hemady vs. Luzon Surety Co., I nc.
GR No. L-8437; November 28, 1956
100 Phil. 388

FACTS:
Luzon Surety Co. filed a claim against the Estate of K.H. Hemady, a surety solidary
guarantor, based on 20 different indemnity agreements, or counter bonds, each subscribed by a
distinct principal and by the deceased K. H. Hemady.
Luzon Surety Co., prayed for allowance, as a contingent claim, of the value of the 20
bonds it executed in consideration of the counterbonds, and asked for judgment for the unpaid
premiums and documentary stamps affixed to the bonds, with 12 % interest thereon.
Upon motion of the administratrix of the estate, the lower court dismissed the claim of
Luzon Surety. One of the grouds was "whatever losses may occur after Hemady's death, are not
chargeable to his estate, because upon his death he ceased to be guarantor." The administratrix
further claimed that the purely personal requirement of integrity provided for by Article 2046 of
the Civil Code is not transmitted by death to the estate or to the successors.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the contingent claims are chargeable upon the estate of Hemady.

RULING:
Under Art. 1311 of the Civil Code, Contracts take effect only as between the parties,
their assigns and heirs, except in the case where the rights and obligations arising from the
contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.
The general rule is that a partys contractual rights and obligations are transmissible to
the successors. The rule is a consequence of the progressive depersonalization of patrimonial
rights and duties.
Of the three exceptions fixed by Article 1311, the nature of the obligation of the surety or
guarantor does not warrant the conclusion that his peculiar individual qualities are contemplated
as a principal inducement for the contract. On the second exception, a person who enters into a
contract is deemed to have contracted for himself and his heirs and assigns. It is unnecessary for
him to expressly stipulate to that effect. His failure to do so is no sign that he intended his
bargain to terminate upon his death. On the third exception, the articles of the Civil Code that
regulate guaranty or suretyship contain no provision that the guaranty is extinguished upon the
death of the guarantor or the surety.
The heirs succeed not only to the rights of the deceased but also to his obligations. Article
776 of the Civil Code provides that "the inheritance includes all the property, rights and
obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death." The heirs of a deceased person
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cannot be held to be third persons in relation to any contracts touching the real estate of their
decedent which comes in to their hands by right of inheritance. They take such property subject
to all the obligations resting thereon in the hands of him from whom they derive their rights.
The solidary guarantor's liability is not extinguished by his death, and that in such event,
Luzon Surety had the right to file against the estate a contingent claim for reimbursement.

3. De Borja vs. Vda. De Borja
G.R. Nos. L-28568, L-28611, and L-28040; August 18, 1972
46 SCRA 577

FACTS:
Francisco de Borja filed a petition for probate of the will of his late wife, Josefa Tangco,
with the Court of First Instance of Rizal. He was appointed as executor and administrator, until
he died; his son Jose, who was co-administrator of Josefas estate, became the sole administrator.
Francisco had taken a 2
nd
wife, Tasiana Ongsingco, before he died, who later instituted
testate proceedings with the CFI of Nueva Ecija upon his death and was appointed special
administatrix. Jose and Tasiana entered upon a compromise agreement, but Tasiana opposed the
approval of the compromise agreement. She argues that it was not valid, because the heirs cannot
enter into such kind of agreements without first probating the will of Francisco, and at the time
the agreement was made, the will was still being probated with the CFI of Nueva Ecija. The
Rizal court approved the compromise agreement but the Nueva Ecija court declared it void and
unenforceable.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the compromise agreement entered into by Tasiana and Josefas children
was valid, even if the will of Francisco had not yet been probated.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of Jose and ruled that the compromise agreement was valid.
The agreement stipulated that Tasiana will receive P800,000 as full payment for her
hereditary share in the estate of Francisco and Josefa.
There was here no attempt to settle or distribute the estate of Francisco de Borja among
the heirs thereto before the probate of his will. The clear object of the contract was merely the
conveyance by Tasiana Ongsingco of any and all her individual share and interest, actual or
eventual, in the estate of Francisco de Borja and Josefa Tangco. There is no stipulation as to any
other claimant, creditor or legatee.
And as a hereditary share in a decedent's estate is transmitted or vested immediately from
the moment of the death of such causante or predecessor in interest (Civil Code of the
Philippines, Art. 777) there is no legal bar to a successor (with requisite contracting capacity)
disposing of her or his hereditary share immediately after such death, even if the actual extent of
such share is not determined until the subsequent liquidation of the estate.

4. Butte vs. Manuel Uy & Sons, Inc.
G.R. No. L-15499; February 28, 1962
4 SCRA 526

FACTS:
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Jose V. Ramirez was a co-owner of a house and lot and subsequently died. In his will
which was admitted to probate, he bequeathed his estate to his children and one-third of the free
portion to Mrs. Angela M. Butte.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Marie Garnier Vda. de Ramirez, one of the co-owners of the house and
lot sold her undivided one-sixth share to Manuel Uy & Sons, Inc. After the execution by her
attorney-in-fact, Mrs. Elsa R. Chambers, of an affidavit to the effect that formal notices of the
sale had been sent to all possible redemptioners, the deed of sale was duly registered and the
Transfer Certificate of Title was cancelled in lieu of which a new one was issued in the name of
the vendee and the other-co-owners.
Mrs. Butte sent a letter and a Philippine National Bank cashier's check to Manuel Uy &
Sons offering to redeem the share sold by Mrs. Garnier. This tender having been refused, Mrs.
Butte consigned the amount in court and filed an action for legal redemption. The court
dismissed plaintiff's complaint on the ground that she has no right to redeem the property.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Mrs. Butte may exercise the right of redemption over the share sold by
Mrs. Garnier.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of the Petitioner.
Mrs. Butte is entitled to exercise the right of legal redemption. As testamentary heir of
the estate of Jose V. Ramirez, she and her co-heirs acquired an interest in the undivided one-sixth
share owned by her predecessor (causante) in the property, from the moment of the death of the
co-owner, Jose V. Ramirez. By law, the rights to the succession of a deceased person are
transmitted to his heirs from the moment of his death, and the right of succession includes all
property rights and obligations that survive the decedent (Articles 776 and 777, Civil Code).
As a consequence of this fundamental rule of succession, the heirs of Jose V. Ramirez
acquired his undivided share in the property from the moment of his death, and from that instant,
they became co-owners in the aforesaid property, together with the original surviving co-owners
of their decedent
(causante). A co-owner of an undivided share is necessarily a co-owner of the whole. Wherefore,
any one of the Ramirez heirs, as such co-owner, became entitled to exercise the right of legal
redemption (retracto de comuneros) as soon as another co-owner (Mrs. Garnier) had sold her
undivided share to a stranger, Manuel Uy & Sons.

5. Uson vs. Del Rosario
G.R. No. L-4963; J anuary 29, 1953
92 Phil. 531

FACTS:
This is an action for recovery of the ownership and possession of five (5) parcels of land
in Pangasinan, filed by Maria Uson against Maria del Rosario and her four illegitimate children.
Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who, upon his death in 1945, left
the involved lands. Faustino Nebreda left no other heir except his widow Maria Uson. However,
plaintiff, Uson, claimed that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945, his common-law wife Maria
del Rosario illegally took possession of said lands, thus depriving her of their possession and
enjoyment. Defendants, Del Rosario and her children, in their answer set up as special defense
that Uson and her husband, executed a public document whereby they agreed to separate as
husband and wife and, in consideration of which Uson was given a parcel of land by way of
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alimony and in return she renounced her right to inherit any other property that may be left by
her husband upon his death.
The CFI ruled in favour of Uson and ordered the defendants to restore to Uson the
ownership and possession of the lands. The defendants appealed the case.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not Maria Uson had a right over the lands from the moment of death of her
husband; and
2. Whether or not the illegitimate children of Faustino Nebreda and his common-law wife
have successional rights.

RULING:
The Court Ruled in favor of the petitioner, Maria Uson
1. Maria Uson acquired a right over the lands from the moment of her husbands death.
There is no dispute that Maria Uson, is the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda, former owner of the
five parcels of lands litigated in the present case. There is likewise no dispute that Maria del
Rosario, was merely a common-law wife with whom she had four illegitimate children with the
deceased. It likewise appears that Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 much prior to the effectivity of
the new Civil Code. With this background, it is evident that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945
the five parcels of land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his
only heir, his widow Maria Uson (Art 777, NCC).As this Court aptly said, "The property belongs
to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely as if the ancestor had
executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his death". From that moment,
therefore, the rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested.
The claim of the defendants that Maria Uson had relinquished her right over the lands in
question because she expressly renounced to inherit any future property that her husband
may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation, cannot be entertained for the
simple reason that future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be
renounced.

2. No, the illegitimate children of Faustino Nebreda and his common-law wife do not have
successional rights. The provisions of the Civil Code shall be given retroactive effect even
though the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation only
if no vested rights are impaired. Hence, since the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the
lands in question became vested in 1945 upon the death of her late husband, the new right
recognized by the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot,
therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson over the lands in
dispute.

6. Go Ong vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 75884; September 24, 1987
154 SCRA 270

FACTS:
Alfredo Ong Bio Hong owned two parcels of land. Upon the death of Alfredo, his wife
Julita Go Ong was appointed administratrix of her husband's estate. Go Ong sold one lot causing
the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) to be cancelled partially. Go Ong mortgaged the other lot
to Allied Banking Corporation to secure a loan obtained by JL Exports, Inc. The mortgage was
registered on the TCT with the notation: "mortgagee's consent necessary in case of subsequent
alienation or encumbrance of the property"
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Allied Banking Corporation tried to collect the sum due from Go Ong. She filed a
complaint alleging nullity of the contract for lack of judicial approval which the bank had
allegedly promised to secure from the court.
The trial court upheld the validity of the mortgage.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the mortgage constituted over the parcel of land under Go Ong's
administration is void for want of judicial approval.

RULING:
The Court ruled against the plaintiff, Julita Go Ong.
The fact that what had been mortgaged was in custodia legis is immaterial, insofar as Go
Ong's conjugal share and hereditary share in the property is concerned, for after all, she is the
absolute owner thereof. The reference to judicial approval in Sec. 7, Rule 89 of the Rules of
Court cannot adversely affect the substantive rights of Go Ong to dispose of her property, for the
conjugal partnership ended with her husband's death, and her hereditary rights accrued from the
moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777, Civil Code).

7. Heirs of Reganon vs. I mperial
G.R. No. L-24434; J anuary 17, 1968
22 SCRA 90

FACTS:
The heirs of Pedro Reganon filed a complaint for recovery of ownership and possession
of about one-hectare portion of a parcel of land with damages against Rufino Imperial. Imperial
did not file an answer. After hearing the case ex parte, the court declared plaintiffs the lawful
owners of the land. The properties of Imperial were not sufficient to cover the money judgment.
Later, the Philippine National Bank deposited in its Dipolog Branch the residuary estate
of its former ward, Eulogio Imperial. The heirs of Eulogio, one of whom is Rufino Imperial,
executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition of the residuary estate.
Plaintiffs filed an ex parte motion for issuance of an alias writ of execution to hold the
share of Imperial and deliver the same to the provincial sheriff to be applied to the satisfaction of
the balance of the money judgment.
Imperial moved to quash the alias writ of execution arguing that the property of an
incompetent under guardianship is in custodia legis and therefore cannot be attached. The trial
court denied Imperial's motion.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the money deposited in the bank still belongs to the estate of Eulogio
Imperial.

RULING:
The Court ruled against the estate of Imperial.
The heirs of Eulogio Imperial executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Partition. This instrument
suffices to settle the entire estate of the decedent. When Eulogio Imperial died the rights to his
succession, from the moment of his death, were transmitted to his heirs, one of whom is his son
and heir, Rufino Imperial.
When the heirs by mutual agreement divided the estate among themselves, one of the
heirs cannot therefore secure the appointment of an administrator to take charge of and
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administer the estate or a part thereof. The property is no longer the property of the estate, but of
the individual heirs, whether it remains undivided or not.

8. Ramirez vs. Baltazar
G.R. No. L-25049, August 30, 1968
24 SCRA 918

FACTS:
Victoriana Eguaras made and executed a real estate mortgage over a parcel of land,
owned by her in fee simple, as security for a loan in favor of the spouses Artemio Baltazar and
Susana Flores. When Eguaras died, the mortgagees filed a petition for the intestate proceedings
of the estate of Eguaras. The court appointed the deputy clerk of court Artemio Diawan as
administrator because Filemon Ramirez, one of the heirs of the deceased, failed to qualify.
The mortagees filed a complaint for foreclosure of the mortgage against Diawan. Diawan
failed to answer and was declared in default. The case was referred to a commissioner to receive
evidence for the mortgagees. The commissioner happened to be Diawan. A decision was
rendered decreeing the foreclosure and sale of the mortgaged property. At the public auction, the
highest bidder was the mortgagees.
Filemon Ramirez, Monica Ramirez, and Jose Eguaras, heirs of Eguaras, filed a complaint
for annulment of all proceedings in the foreclosure of the mortgage averring that Diawan acted in
collusion with the mortgagees deliberately and in fraud of them. The court dismissed the
complaint.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the heirs of Eguaras, who have not been confirmed by the court, have
legal standing to file the case during the pendency of probate proceedings.

RULING:
Yes. Although heirs have no legal standing in court upon the commencement of testate or
intestate proceedings, this rule admits of an exception as when the administrator fails or refuses
to act in which event the heirs may act in his place.
The administrator is being charged to have been in collusion and connivance with the
mortgagees of a property of the deceased, allowing its foreclosure without notifying the heirs, to
the prejudice of the latter. Since the ground for the present action to annul the aforesaid
foreclosure proceedings is the fraud resulting from such insidious machinations and collusion in
which the administrator has allegedly participated, it would be farfetched to expect the said
administrator himself to file the action in behalf of the estate. And who else but the heirs, who
have an interest to assert and to protect, would bring the action?
There is no question that the rights to succession are automatically transmitted to the
heirs from the moment of the death of the decedent. While, as a rule, the formal declaration or
recognition to such successional rights needs judicial confirmation, the court has, under special
circumstances, protected these rights from encroachments made or attempted before the judicial
declaration.

9. Conti vs. Court of Appeals
GR NO. 118464; December 21, 1998

FACTS:
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Ignacio Conti, married to Rosario Cuario, and Lourdes Sampayo were co-owners of the
539- square meter lot with improvements, covered by TCT No. T15374. On March 1986,
Sampayo died intestate. On April 1987, the private respondents, all claiming to be collateral
relatives of the deceased Sampayo, filed an action for partition and damages before the Regional
Trial Court of Lucena. Conti, however, refused partition because of failure by the respondents to
produce documents that will prove that they were the rightful heirs of the deceased. On August
30, 1987, Conti died and was substituted by his children as party defendant.
During the trial, private respondents presented evidence to prove that they were the
collateral heirs of the deceased Lourdes Sampayo and therefore entitled to her rights as co-owner
of the subject lot. On the other hand, petitioner Rosario alleged that the subject property was co-
owned in equal shares by her husband Ignacio Conti and Lourdes Sampayo and that her family
had been staying in the property in question since 1937. She also testified that her late husband
paid for the real estate taxes and spent for the necessary repairs and improvements thereon
because there had been an agreement that Lourdes would leave her share of property to them.
Since no will, either testamentary or holographic, was presented by the petitioners, the
trial court declared that private respondents were the rightful heirs of Lourdes Sampayo and
ordered both parties to submit a project partition of the residential house and lot for confirmation
by the court. Petitioners elevated the case to the Court of Appeals contending that the trial court
erred in finding the private respondents were the heirs of Sampayo and that they were entitled to
the partition of the lot and improvements in question.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC. Petitioners filed a motion for
reconsideration which was denied.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the complaint for partition to claim a supposed share of the deceased
co-owner should not prosper without prior settlement of the latters estate and compliance with all
legal requirements, especially publication; and
2. Whether or not private respondents were able to prove by competent evidence their
relationship with the deceased.

RULING:
1. The Supreme Court ruled that a prior settlement of the estate is not essential before the
heirs can commence any action pertaining to the deceased. It elucidated that, conformably with
the foregoing and taken in conjunction with Art. 777 and 494 of the Civil Code, from the death
of Lourdes Sampayo, her rights as a co-owner, incidental to which is the right to ask for partition
at any time or to terminate the co-ownership, were transmitted to her rightful heirs. In so
demanding partition, private respondents merely exercised the right originally pertaining to the
decedent, their predecessor-in-interest. Petitioners theory as to the requirement of publication
would have been correct had the action been for the partition of the estate of Lourdes Sampayo,
or if we were dealing with extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs and the summary
settlement of estates of small value. But what private respondents are pursuing is the mere
segregation of Lourdes one-half share which they inherited from her through intestate
succession. This is a simple case of ordinary partition between co-owners. The applicable law in
point is Sec. 1 of Rule 69 of the Rules of Court which shows that publication is not required as
erroneously maintained by petitioners.

2. The Supreme Court ruled in affirmative. It was held that: Altogether, the documentary
and testimonial evidence submitted are competent and adequate proofs that private respondents
are collateral heirs of Lourdes Sampayo. Private respondents assert that they are co-owners of
one-half (1/2) pro-indiviso share of the subject property by way of legal or intestate succession.
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Under Art. 172 of the Family Code, the filiation of legitimate children shall be proved by
any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws, in the absence of a record of
birth or a parents admission of such legitimate filiation in a public or private document duly
signed by the parent. Such other proof of ones filiation may be a baptismal certificate, a judicial
admission, a family Bible in which his name has been entered, common reputation respecting his
pedigree, admission by silence, the testimonies of witnesses and other kinds of proof admissible
under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. By analogy, this method of proving filiation may also be
utilized in the instant case.
Petitioners objection to the photocopy of the certificate of birth of Manuel Sampayo was
properly discarded by the court a quo and respondent Court of Appeals. According to Sec. 3, par.
(1), Rule 130, of the Rules of Court, when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document,
no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself except when the original
has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the
offeror. The loss or destruction of the original certificate of birth of Manuel J. Sampayo was duly
established by the certification issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Lucena City
to the effect that its office was completely destroyed by fire on 27 November 1974 and 30
August 1983, respectively, and as a consequence thereof, all civil registration records were
totally burned.

10. Noceda vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 119730; September 2, 1999
313 SCRA 504

FACTS:
Aurora Directo, Rodolfo Noceda, and Maria Arbizo, heirs of Celestino Arbizo,
extrajudicially settled a parcel of land. Directo donated a part of her share to Noceda. Another
extrajudicial settlement-partition of the land was executed giving three-fifths to Arbizo and one-
fifth each to Directo and Noceda.
Noceda constructed his house on the land donated to him by Directo. Directo fenced the
portion allotted to her excluding the donated portion and constructed three huts. Later, Noceda
removed the fence, occupied the huts, and fenced the entire land. Directo demanded Noceda to
vacate her land but Noceda refused. Directo filed a complaint for rescission/annulment of
donation.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Directo and Noceda are still co-owners of the land they inherited.

RULING:
No. There is no co-ownership where the portion owned is concretely determined and
identifiable, though not technically described; or that said portions are still embraced in one and
the same certificate of title does not make said portions less determinable or identifiable, or
distinguishable, one from the other; nor that dominion over each portion less exclusive, in their
respective owners. A partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of
the property adjudicated to him.
In this case the source of co-ownership among the heirs was intestate succession. Where
there are two or more heirs, the whole estate of the decedent is, before its partition, owned in
common by such heirs subject to the payment of debts of the deceased. Partition, in general, is
the separation, division and assignment of a thing held in common among those to whom it may
belong. The purpose of partition is to put an end to co-ownership. It seeks a severance of the
individual interest of each co-owner, vesting in each a sole estate in specific property and giving
to each one a right to enjoy his estate without supervision or interference from the other. And one
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way of effecting a partition of the decedent's estate is by the heirs themselves extrajudicially. The
heirs of the late Celestino Arbizo namely Maria Arbizo, Aurora A. Directo, and Rodolfo Noceda
entered into an extrajudicial settlement of the estate and agreed to adjudicate among themselves
the property left by their predecessor-in-interest.
Noceda's act of occupying the portion pertaining to Directo without the latter's
knowledge and consent is an act of usurpation which is an offense against the property of the
donor and considered as an act of ingratitude of a donee against the donor. The law does not
require conviction of the donee; it is enough that the offense be proved in the action for
revocation.

11. Blas vs. Santos
G.R. No. L-14070; March 29, 1961
1 SCRA 899

FACTS:
Simeon Blas contracted a first marriage with Marta Cruz and had three children, only one of
whom, Eulalio, left children namely: Maria Gervacio Blas (one of the plaintiffs), Marta Gervacio
Blas (one of the defendants), and Lazaro Gervacio Blas. Laza ro died and is survived by three
legitimate children who are plaintiffs herein namely, Manuel, Leoncio and Loid. Subsequently
after Martas death, Simeon contracted a second marriage with Maxima Santos. At the time of
second marriage, no liquidation of the properties of Simeon and Marta was made. A week before
Simeons death, he executed a last Will and Testament, and he also ordered a preparation of a
document (Exhibit A) because the properties he had acquired during his first marriage with Mart
had not been liquidated and were not separated from those acquired during the second marriage.
Such document contains promises by Maxima to respect the disposition of said will and to give
one-half (1/2) of the properties she and her husband will leave to the heirs, legatees or
beneficiaries named in the will. Pursuant to this document, the plaintiffs instituted an action
against the administration of the estate of Maxima Santos to secure a judicial declaration that
one-half (1/2) of the properties left by Maxima be adjudicated to them. Upon filing of opposition
by the administratix, the trial court dismissed the complaint. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the heirs of Simeon Blas and wife Marta Cruz can make any claim for
the unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during their marriage.
2.Whether or not Exhibit A is a valid and enforceable contract.

RULING:
The heirs of Simeon Blas and his wife Marta Cruz can no longer make any claim for the
unliquidated conjugal properties acquired during said first marriage because the same were
already included in the mass properties constituting the estate of the deceased Simeon Blas and
in the adjudications made by virtue of his will.
Exhibit A appears to be the compromise defined in Article 1809 of the Civil Code of
Spain, in force at the time of the execution of such document, which provides as follows:
Compromise is a contract by which each of the parties in interest, by giving,
promising, or retaining something avoids the provocation of a suitor terminates one which
has already provocation been instituted.
The agreement or promise that Maxima Santos made in Exhibit A is to hold one-half of
her share in the conjugal assets in trust for the heirs and legatees of her husband in his will, with
the obligation of conveying the same to such of his heirs or legatees as she may choose in her
last will and testament. This kind of agreement pr promise is not void.
11

12. Sicad vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 125888; August 13, 1998
294 SCRA 183

FACTS:
Aurora Montinola executed a Deed of Donation Inter Vivos in favor of her
grandchildren who are the private respondents herein. The deed contained the signatures of the
donees in acknowledgment of their acceptance of the donation. Afterwards, Montinolas
secretary presented the deed for recording in the Property Registry and the Register of Deeds
cancelled TCT No. T-16105 (the donors title) and, in its place, issued TCT No. T-16622 in the
name of the donees. However, Montinola retained the owners duplicate copy of the new title as
well as the property itself, until she transferred the same ten (10) years after her death. Montinola
later then drew up a deed of revocation and caused it to be annotated as an adverse claim on TCT
No. T-16622 followed by filing a petition for cancellation of said TCT and the reinstatement of
TCT No. T-16105. Her petition was granted on the ground that the donation was one mortis
causa which thus had to comply with the formalities of a will, since it had not, the donation was
void and could not effectively serve as basis for the cancellation of TCT No. T-16105 and the
issuance in its place of TCT No. T-16622. The donees opposed the petition averring that the
donation was one inter vivos which, having fully complied with the requirements therefor set out
in Article 729 of the Civil Code, was perfectly valid and efficacious. The trial court decided that
the donation was indeed one inter vivos and dismissed Montinolas petition for lack of merit. The
matter of its recovation was not passed upon. While appeal was pending before the CA,
Montinola died and shortly thereafter, the spouses Sicad filed a Manifestation and Motion
alleging that they had become the owners of the property covered by TCT No. T-16622 in virtue
of a deed of definite sale and prayed that they be substituted as appellants and allowed to
prosecute the case in their own behalf. Another motion was presented by the legal heirs of
Montinoal declaring that they were not interested in pursuing the case and asked that the appeal
be withdrawn however Montinolas counsel opposed the motion. CA issued a resolution ordering
the legal heirs as well as spouses Sicad as appellants and denied the motion for withdrawal of the
appeal. However, the eight division of CA denied the separate motions for reconsideration filed
by Montinolas legal heirs and the spouses Sicad. Hence, this action.

ISSUE:
Whether the donation is one mortis causa or inter vivos.

RULING:
The real nature of a deed is to be ascertained by both its language and the intention of the
parties as demonstrated by the circumstances attendant upon its execution. A donation which
purports to be one inter vivos but withholds from the done the right to dispose of the donated
property during the donors lifetime is in truth one mortis causa. In a donation mortis causa the
right of disposition is not transferred to the done while the donor is still alive.
In the instant case, nothing of any consequence was transferred by the deed of donation in
question to Montinolas grandchildren; the ostensible donees. They did not get poseession of the
property donated. They did not acquire the right to the fruits thereof, or any other right of
dominion over the property. More importantly, they did not acquire the right to dispose of the
property this would accrue to them only after ten (10) years from Montinolas death. Indeed,
they never even laid hands on the certificate of title to the same. They were therefore simply
paper owners of the donated property. All these circumstances, including, to repeat, the
explicit provisions of the deed of donation reserving the exercise of rights of ownership to the
done and prohibiting the sale or encumbrance of the property until ten (10) after her death
ineluctably lead to the conclusion that the donation in question was a donation mortis causa,
contemplating a transfer of ownership to the donees only after the donors demise.
12

13. Neri vs. Akutin
G.R. No. L-47799; J une 13, 1941
74 Phil. 185

FACTS:
Agripino Neri had by his first marriage six children, and by his second marriage with
Ignacia Akutin, five children. Neri indicated in his will that he was leaving all of his properties
by universal title to his children by his second marriage and that his children by the first marriage
shall have no participation in his estate as they had already received their corresponding shares
during his lifetime.
The trial court annulled the institution of the heirs and declared total intestacy. During the
probate proceedings, the trial court found, contrary to what the testator had declared in his will,
all his children by the first and second marriages to be intestate heirs of the deceased without
prejudice to one-half of the improvements introduced in the properties during the existence of the
last conjugal partnership, which should belong to Ignacia Akutin. The Court of Appeals affirmed
the trial court's decision with the modification that the will was "valid with respect to the two-
thirds part which the testator could freely dispose of.
The children by the second marriage filed a motion for reconsideration on the grounds
that there was no preterition as to the children of the first marriage since they have already
received their shares in the property left by the testator. Also, assuming that there had been a
preterition, the effect would not be the annulment of the institution of heirs but simply the
reduction of the bequest made to them. They anchored their argument on the concept of heir,
which the Art. 814 definition of was deemed repealed by that of the Code of Civil Procedure. It
was maintained that the word "heredero" under the Civil Code, is not synonymous with the term
"heir" under the Code of Civil Procedure, and that the "heir" under the latter Code is no longer
personally liable for the debts of the deceased as was the "heredero" under the Civil Code

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not there was preterition; and
2. Whether or not there should be annulment of the institution of the heirs and open the
estate to total intestacy.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of Neris children from the first marriage.
1. Yes, there was preterition
According to the courts findings, none of the children by the first marriage received their
respective shares from the testators property. Even if clause 8 of the will which stated that the
children by his first marriage had already received their shares in his property excluding what he
had given them as aid during their financial troubles and the money they had borrowed from him
was invoked, the Court can rely only on the findings of the trial court that the inventory
indicated that the property of Neri remained intact and that no portion has been given to the
children of the first marriage.
Neri left his property by universal title to the children by his second marriage and did not
expressly disinherit his children by his first marriage but did not leave anything to them. This
fits the case of preterition according to Art. 814 of the Civil Code which provides that the
institution of heirs shall be annulled and intestate succession should be declared open.

2. Yes, there should be annulment of the institution of the heirs and the estate should be
opened to total intestacy.
The word "heir" as used in Art. 814 of the Civil Code may not have the meaning that it
13

has under the Code of Civil Procedure, but this does prevent a bequest from being made by
universal title as is in substance the subject-matter of Art. 814 of the Civil Code.
It may also be true that heirs under the Code of Civil Procedure may receive the bequest
only after payment of debts left by the deceased and not before as under the Civil Code, but this
may have a bearing only upon the question as to when succession becomes effective and can in
no way destroy the fact that succession may still be by universal or special title.
Since a bequest may still be made by universal title and with preterition of forced heirs,
its nullity as provided in article 814 still applies there being nothing inconsistent with it in the
Code of Civil Procedure. The basis for its nullity is the nature and effect of the bequest and not
its possible name under the Code of Civil Procedure.
In addition, Secs. 755 and 756 of the Code of Civil Procedure affected Art. 814 and Art.
851 of the Civil Code. But these sections have been expressly repealed by Act No. 2141, thus
restoring force to Art. 814 and Art. 851.

14

II. Introduction to Wills:

1. Dizon-Rivera vs. Dizon
G.R. No. L-24561; J une 30, 1970
33 SCRA 554

FACTS:
Testatrix Agripina J. Valdez was survived by seven compulsory heirs. In her last will, she
distributed and disposed of all her properties. The will as admitted to probate. The testatrix
devised and bequeathed specific real properties to her heirs.
The executrix Marina DIzon distributed the properties and adjudicated payment in cash
as satisfaction of the legitimes of the heirs who received less in the will. The oppositors
submitted their counter-project of partition. The lower court sustained and approved the project
of partition of the executrix.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a testator may partition her whole estate in the will and distribute each to
the heirs.

RULING:
Yes. Article 1080 of the Civil Code provides that "should a person make a partition of his
estate by an act inter vivos or by will, such partition shall be respected, insofar as it does not
prejudice the legitime of the compulsory heirs. The intention and wishes of the testator, when
clearly expressed in his will, constitute the fixed law of interpretation, and all questions raised at
the trial, relative to its execution and fulfillment, must be settled in accordance therewith,
following the plain and literal meaning of the testator's words, unless it clearly appears that his
intention was otherwise.
The testatrix had specifically partitioned and distributed them to her heirs, and the heirs
are called upon, as far as feasible to comply with and give effect to the intention of the testatrix
as solemnized in her will, by implementing her manifest wish of transmitting the real properties
intact to her named beneficiaries, principally the executrix. The right of the heirs was merely to
demand completion of their legitime under Article 906 of the Civil Code and this has been
complied with in the approved project of partition, and they can no longer demand a further
share from the remaining portion of the estate, as bequeathed and partitioned by the testatrix
principally to the executrix.

2. Bellis vs. Bellis
G.R. No. L-23678; J une 6, 1967
20 SCRA 358

FACTS:
AMOS G. BELLIS was a citizen and resident of Texas, USA at the time of his death. He
executed a will in the Philippines, in which he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and
expenses of administration are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the
following order and manner:
a) $240,000.00 to his first wife Mary E. Mallen;
b) $120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis,
Miriam Palma Bellis,or $40,000.00 each; and
15

c) After foregoing the two items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven
surviving children by his first and second wives Edward A. Bellis, Henry A. Bellis, Alexander
Bellis, and Anna Bellis-Allsman, Edward G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E. Bellis in
equal shares.
Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to the
project of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate
children and, therefore, compulsory heirs of the deceased.
The lower court issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executors
final account, report and administration, and project of partition. Relying upon Article 16 of the
Civil Code, it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is which did not
provide for legitimes.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Philippine Law should be applied in the disposition of the estate of Bellis.

RULING:
The Court ruled against the appellants, stating that Philippine Law cannot be applied.
Article 16, par. 2, and Article 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the national law
of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to four items: (a) the order
of succession; (b) the amount of successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of
the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed.
Since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional
rights are to be determined under Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to
the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.
A provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in
accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal and void, for his national
law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 16 of the Civil Code states said
national law should govern.

3. Torres vs. Lopez
G.R. No. L-25966; November 1, 1926
48 Phil. 772

FACTS:
Tomas Rodriguez was judicially declared incapable of taking care of himself and had
been placed under the care of his cousin Vicente F. Lopez, as guardian.
Rodriguez executed his last will and testament, in which the second clause declared: I
institute as the only and universal heirs to all my property, my cousin Vicente F. Lopez and his
daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno. Four days after the will was executed, Lopez died. At the time
the will was made Vicente had not presented his final accounts as guardian, and no such
accounts had been presented by him at the time of his death. Rodriguez died soon thereafter.
The will was admitted to probate. Margarita Lopez claims the share of Vicente alleging
Article 753 of the Civil Code which in effect declares that, with certain exceptions in favor of
near relatives, no testamentary provision shall be valid when made by a ward in favor of his
guardian before the final accounts of the latter have been approved. The court denied Margarita's
claim.

ISSUE:
16

Whether or not Margarita Lopez is entitled to half of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez by
intestate succession.

RULING:
No. Accretion takes place in a testamentary succession, first when the two or more
persons are called to the same inheritance or the same portion thereof without special designation
of shares; and secondly, when one of the persons so called dies before the testator or renounces
the inheritance or is disqualifying to receive it.
One of the persons named as heir has predeceased the testator, this person being also
disqualified to receive the estate even if he had been alive at the time of the testator's death.
Accretion is of exact application to the case in hand; and its effect is to give to the survivor, Luz
Lopez de Bueno, not only the undivided half which she would have received in conjunction with
her father if he had been alive and qualified to take, but also the half which pertained to him.
There was no error whatever, therefore, in the order of the trial court declaring Luz Lopez de
Bueno entitled to the whole estate. Intestate succession to a vacant portion can only occur when
accretion is impossible. The disability to which Vicente was subject was not a general disability
to succeed but an accidental incapacity to receive the legacy, a consideration which makes a case
for accretion rather than for intestate succession.


17

III. Formal Requirements of Wills:

1. Suroza vs. Honrado
A.M. No. 2026-CFI ; December 19, 1981
110 SCRA 381

FACTS:
Mauro Suroza, a corporal in the 45
th
Infantry of the US Army (Philippine Scouts) married
Marcelina Salvador but they were childless. However, they reared a boy named Agapito who
used the surname Suroza and who considred them as parents as shown in his marriage contract
with Nenita de Vera. When Mauro died, Marcelina, as a veterans widow, became a pensioner of
the Federal Government. Agapito and Nenita begot a child named Lilia and afterwards, Agapito
also became a soldier. However, he was disabled and his wife was appointed as his guardian
when he was declared an incompetent. In connection to this, a woman named Arsenia de la Cruz
(apparently a girlfriend of Agapito) wanted also to be his guardian however the court confirmed
Nenitas appointment as guardian of Agapito.
The spouses Antonio Sy and Hermogena Talan begot a child named Marilyn Sy, who
was delivered to Marcelina Salvador Suroza who brought her up as a supposed daughter of
Agapito and as her granddaughter. Marilyn used the surname Suroza and stayed with Marcelina
but was not legally adopted by Agapito.
Marcelina, being a veterans widow accumulated some cash in two banks. She executed a
notarial will which is in English and was thumbmarked by her for she was illiterate. In that will,
Marcelina bequeathed all her estate to Marilyn. After her death, Marina Paje (alleged to be a
laundrywoman of Marcelina and the executrix in her will) filed a petition for probate of
Marcelinas alleged will. As there was no opposition, Judge Honrado appointed Marina as
administratix and subsequently, issued two order directing the two banks to allow Marina to
withdraw from the savings of Marcelina and Marilyn Suroza and requiring the custodian of the
passbooks to deliver them to Marina. Upon motion of Marina, Judge Honrado issued another
order instructing the sheriff to eject the occupants of the testatrix house among whom was
Nenita and to place Marina in possession thereof. Nenita was then alerted to the existence of the
testamentary proceeding hence, she and other occupants filed a motion to set aside the order
ejecting them, alleging that the decedents son Agapito was the sole heir of the deceased; that he
has a daughter named Lilia; that Nenita was Agapitos guardian; and that Marilyn was not
Agapitos daughter nor the decedents granddaughter. Later, they questioned the probate courts
jurisdiction to issue the ejectment order. In spite of such fact, Judge Honrado issued on order
probating Marcelinas supposed will wherein Marilyn was the instituted heiress. Nenita filed in
the testate case an omnibus petition to set aside proceedings, admit opposition with counter
petition for administration and preliminary injunction reiterating that Marilyn was a stranger to
Marcelina; that the will was not duly executed and attested; and that the thumbmarks of the
testatrix were procured by fraud or trick. Further, that the institution of Marilyn as heir is void
because of the preterition of Agapito and that Marina was not qualified to act as executrix. Not
contented with her motions, Nenita filed an opposition to the probate of the will and a counter-
petition which was however, dismissed. Instead of appealing, Nenita filed a case to annul the
probate proceedings which was also dismissed. Hence, this complaint.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a disciplinary action should be taken against respondent judge for having
admitted a will, which on its face is void.

RULING:
18

Disciplinary action should be taken against respondent judge for his improper disposition
of the testate case which might have resulted in a miscarriage of justice because the decedents
legal heirs and not the instituted heiress in the void will should have inherited the decedents
estate. Inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance and carelessness. A judge
would be inexcusably negligent if he failed in the performance of his duties that diligence,
prudence and circumspection which the law requires in the rendition of any public service.
In this case, respondent judge, on perusing the will and noting that it was written in
English and was thumbmarked by an obviously illiterate testatrix, could have readily perceived
that the will is void.

2. Lopez vs. Liboro
G.R. No. L-1787; August 27, 1948
81 Phil. 429

FACTS:
The will of Don Sixto Lopez was submitted for probate by Jose Lopez and Clemencia
Lopez, the Dons sister. The probate was opposed by Agustin Liboro who contended that the will
is not valid due to the following grounds:
(1) that the deceased never executed the alleged will; (2) that his signature appearing in
said will was a forgery; (3) that at the time of the execution of the will, he was wanting in
testamentary as well as mental capacity due to advanced age; (4) that, if he did ever execute said
will, it was not executed and attested as required by law, and one of the alleged instrumental
witnesses was incapacitated to act as such; and it was procured by duress, influence of fear and
threats and undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiaries instituted
therein, principally the testator's sister, Clemencia Lopez, and the herein proponent, Jose S.
Lopez; and (5) that the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick.
Liboro pointed out that the first page of the will, which was contained in two pages in all,
was not numbered in letters or Arabic numbers as what should have been required by law. It was
also argued that the testator should have signed the will with his signature and not only with his
thumb print if he indeed had the capacity to execute the will. Furthermore, the will did not
expressly state that the language used is a language which the Don understood; in this case, it
was in Spanish.

ISSUE:
Whether or not there was substantial compliance to qualify the will for probate.

RULING:
There has been substantial compliance even in the presence of the averred irregularities.
The purpose of the law in prescribing the paging of wills is guard against fraud, and to
afford means of preventing the substitution or of defecting the loss of any of its pages. In the
present case, the omission to put a page number on the first sheet, if that be necessary, is
supplied by other forms of identification more trustworthy than the conventional numerical
words or characters. The unnumbered page is clearly identified as the first page by the internal
sense of its contents considered in relation to the contents of the second page. By their meaning
and coherence, the first and second lines on the second page are undeniably a continuation of the
last sentence of the testament, before the attestation clause, which starts at the bottom of the
preceding page. Furthermore, the unnumbered page contains the caption "TESTAMENTO," the
invocation of the Almighty, and a recital that the testator was in full use of his testamentary
faculty, all of which, in the logical order of sequence, precede the direction for the disposition
of the marker's property. Again, as page two contains only the two lines above mentioned, the
19

attestation clause, the mark of the testator and the signatures of the witnesses, the other sheet can
not by any possibility be taken for other than page one.
The testator affixed his thumbmark to the instrument instead of signing his name. The
reason for this was that the testator was suffering from "partial paralysis." While another in
testator's place might have directed someone else to sign for him, as appellant contends should
have been done, there is nothing curious or suspicious in the fact that the testator chose the use of
mark as the means of authenticating his will. It was a matter of taste or preference. Both ways are
good. A statute requiring a will to be "signed" is satisfied if the signature is made by the testator's
mark.
As for the question on the language of the will, there is no statutory requirement that such
knowledge be expressly stated in the will itself. It is a matter that may be established by proof
aliunde.
The will may therefore be submitted for probate.

3. Garcia vs. Lacuesta
G.R. No. L-4067; November 29, 1951
90 Phil. 189

FACTS:
A will was executed by Antero Mercado wherein it appears that it was signed by Atty.
Florentino Javiwe who wrote the name of Antero. The testator was alleged to have written a
cross immediately after his name. The Court of First Instance found that the will was valid but
the Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision holding that the attestation clause
failed: 1) to certify that the will was signed on all the left margins of the three pages and at the
end of the will by Atty. Javier at the express request of the testator in the presence of the testator
and each and every one of the witnesses; 2) to certify that after the signing of the name of the
testator by Atty. Javier at the formers request said testator has written a cross at the end of his
name and on the left margin of the three pages of which the will consists and at the end thereof
3) to certify that the witnesses signed the will in all the pages thereon in the presence of the
testator and of each other. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the attestation clause is valid.

RULING:
The attestation clause is fatally defective for failing to state that Antero Mercado caused
Atty. Javier to write the testators name under his express direction, as required by section 168 of
the Code of Civil Procedure. It is not here pretended that the cross appearing on the will is the
usual signature of Antero Mercado or even one of the ways by which he signed his name. After
mature reflection, the SC is not prepared to liken the mere sign of the cross to a thumbmark and
the reason is obvious. The cross cannot and does not have the trustworthiness of a thumbmark.

4. Balonan vs. Abellana
G.R. No. L-15153; August 31, 1960
109 Phil. 359

FACTS:
The last Will and Testament sought to be probated consists in two (2) typewritten pages.
The first page is signed by Juan Bello and on the left margin appears the signatures of the three
20

(3) instrumental witnesses. On the second page appears the signature of said witnesses, at the
bottom of which appears the signature of the notary public and below said signature is his
designation as notary public. On the left margin of the second page (last page of the will) appears
the signature of Juan Bello under whose name appears handwritten the phrase, Por la Testadore
Anacleta Abellana (For the Testate of Anacleta Abellana). The will is duly acknowledged
before the notary public.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the signature of Juan Bello above the typewritten statement, Por la
Testadora Anacleta Abellana comply with the requirements of law prescribing the manner in
which a will shall be executed.

RULING:
Article 805 of the Civil Code provides:
Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at
the end there of by the testator himself or by the testators name
written by some other person in his presence, and by his express
direction and attested and subscribed by three or more credible
witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.
The law requires that the testator himself sign the will, or if he cannot do so, the testators
name must be written by some other person in his presence and by his express direction. In this
case, the name of the testatrix, Anacleta Abellana does not appear written under the will by said
Abellana herself, or by Dr. Juan Bello. There is therefore, a failure to comply with the express
requirement in the law that the testator must himself sign the will, or that his name be affixed
thereto by some other person in his presence and by his express direction. Hence, the will of the
deceased Anacleta Abellana must not be admitted to probate.

5. Nera vs. Rimando
G.R. No. L-5971; Febriary 27, 1911
18 Phil. 450

FACTS:
Rimando opposes the admission for probate of a certain will on the ground that one of the
subscribing witnesses therein was present in the small room where it was executed at the time
when the testator and the other subscribing witnesses attached their signatures. That time he was
outside, some eight or ten feet away, in a large room connecting with the smaller room by a
doorway, across which was hung a curtain which made it impossible for one in the outside room
to see the testator and the other subscribing witnesses in the act of attaching their signatures to
the instrument.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the requirement of the law for all witnesses to subscribe to the will in the
presence of each other applies to this case.

RULING:
The will may be admitted for probate.
The true test of presence of the testator and the witnesses in the execution of a will is not
whether they actually saw each other sign, but whether they might have been seen each other
sign, had they chosen to do so, considering their mental and physical condition and position with
relation to each other at the moment of inscription of each signature.
21

But it is especially to be noted that the position of the parties with relation to each
other at the moment of the subscription of each signature, must be such that they may see each
other sign if they choose to do so. This, of course, does not mean that the testator and the
subscribing witnesses may be held to have executed the instrument in the presence of each other
if it appears that they would not have been able to see each other sign at that moment, without
changing their relative positions or existing conditions. At the moment when a witness signs the
document he was actually and physically present and in such position with relation to the other
witnesses that he could see everything that took place by merely casting his eyes in the proper
direction and without any physical obstruction to prevent his doing so.
The question whether the testator and the subscribing witnesses to an alleged will sign the
instrument in the presence of each other does not depend upon proof of the fact that their eyes
were actually cast upon the paper at the moment of its subscription by each of them, but that at
that moment existing conditions and their position with relation to each other were such that by
merely casting the eyes in the proper direction they could have seen each other sign.

6. Taboada vs. Rosal
G.R. No. L-36033; November 5, 1982
118 SCRA 195

FACTS:
In the petition for probate filed with respondent court, Taboada attached the alleged last
will and testament of the late Dorotea Perez which was written in the Cebuano-Visayan dialect
and consisting two pages: the first page contains the entire testamentary dispositions and is
signed at the bottom of the page by the testatrix alone and at the left hand margin by three (3)
instrumental witnesses; and the second page contains the attestation clause and the
acknowledgment is signed at the end of such clause by the said instrumental witnesses and at the
left hand margin by the testatrix. The trial court, through Judge Pamatian, denied the probate of
the will for want of formality in its execution and ordered Taboada to submit the names of the
intestate heirs, however, the latter did not comply with the said order. Instead, he filed a
manifestation and/or motion ex parte praying for a thirty-day period within which to deliberate
on any step to be taken as a result of the disallowance of the will and further, he filed a motion
for reconsideration of the order denying the probate of the will. However, the motions could not
acted upon by Judge Pamatian due to his transfer and thus, Judge Rosal assumed the position.
Meanwhile, Taboada filed a motion for the appointment of special administrator. Subsequently,
the three motions filed by the petitioner were denied, hence this present petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the law requires that the testatrix and all the three instrumental and
attesting witnesses sign at the end of the will and in the presence of the testatrix and of one
another.

RULING:
Article 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be
subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the
testators name written by some other person in his presence, and
by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or
more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one
another.
The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and
the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid,
each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin,
22

and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed
on the upper part of each page.
The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which
the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and
every page thereof, or cause some other person to write his name,
under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental
witnesses and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and the
pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.
Insofar as the requirement of subscription is concerned, it is our considered view that the
will in this case was subscribed in a manner which fully satisfies the purpose of identification.
The signatures of the instrumental witnesses on the left margin of the first page of the will
attested not only to the genuineness of the signature of the testatrix but also the due execution of
the will as embodied in the attestation clause.
The objects of attestation and of subscription were fully met and satisfied in the present
case when the instrumental witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole page which contains all
the testamentary dispositions, especially so when the will was properly identified by the
subscribing witnesses. There was no question of fraud or substitution behind the questioned
order.

7. Cagro vs. Cagro
G.R. No. L-5826; April 29, 1953
92 Phil. 1032

FACTS:
Vicente Cagro died on February 14, 1949 in Samar. Since the decedent allegedly made a
will prior to his death, the will was probated before the CFI of Samar. However, the oppositor-
appellants, Pelagio Cagro, et al., objected the probate proceeding, alleging that the will was
fatally defective because its attestation clause was not signed by the attesting witnesses. It is
undisputed that the signatures of the three witnesses to the will do not appear at the bottom of the
attestation clause, although the page containing the same is signed by the witnesses on the left-
hand margin.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will may be probated even if the signatures of the witnesses do not
appear at the bottom of the attestation clause, but on the left-hand margin of the page containing
the same.

RULING:
The Court Ruled in favour of the appellant.
The attestation clause is a memorandum of the facts attending the execution of the will
required by law to be made by the attesting witnesses, and it must necessarily bear their
signatures. An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of the witnesses, since
the omission of their signatures at the bottom thereof negatives their participation.
The petitioner-appellee contends that signatures of the three witnesses on the left-hand
margin conform substantially to the law and may be deemed as their signatures to the attestation
clause. This is untenable, because said signatures are in compliance with the legal mandate that
the will be signed on the left-hand margin of all its pages. If an attestation clause not signed by
the three witnesses at the bottom thereof, be admitted as sufficient, it would be easy to add such
clause to a will on a subsequent occasion and in the absence of the testator and any or all of the
witnesses.
23

8. Vda. de Ramos vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-40804; J anuary 31, 1978
81 SCRA 393

FACTS:
Adelaida Nista claimed to be one of the instituted heirs, filed a petition for the probate of
the alleged will and testament as well as codicil of the late Eugenia Danila. Adelaida prayed that
after due notice and hearing, the alleged will and codicil be probated and that she or any other
person be appointed as administrator of the estate. Buenaventura and Marcelina, both surnamed
Guerra, filed an opposition alleging among others that they are legally adopted children of the
late spouses Florentino Guerra and Eugenia Danila; that the purported will and codicil were
procured through fraud and undue influence; that the formalities required by law for the
execution of a will and codicil have not been complied with; that the late Eugenia Danila had
already executed her last will and testament was duly probated and not revoked or annulled
during her lifetime; and that Adelaida is not competent and qualified to act as administration of
the estate. Afterwards, the parties entered into a compromise agreement which was approved by
the lower court. The petitioners herein filed a motion for leave to intervene as co-petitioners and
filed a reply partly admitting and denying the material allegations in the opposition to the
petition and alleging among other things, that oppositors repudiated their institution as heirs and
executors because they failed to cause the recording in the Register of Deeds the will and
testament in accordance with the Rules and committed acts of ingratitude when they abandoned
the testatrix and denied her support. Subsequently, the intervenors (petitioners herein) also filed a
motion for new trial and/or re-hearing and/or relief from judgment and to set aside the judgment
based on the compromise agreement and consequently, the oppositors interposed an opposition
to the motion to which the intervenors filed their reply. The lower court allowed and admitted to
intervene the petitioners herein, the compromise agreement was disapproved except as regards to
their lawful rights, and the original petition and amended opposition to probate of the alleged
will and codicil stand. The lower court also denied the motion for the appointment of a special
administrator filed by the intervenors. The latter filed a motion for reconsideration but was
denied. The lower court then allowed the probate of the will although two of the instrumental
witnesses testified that they did not see the testatrix sign the will. The oppositors herein appealed
to the Court of Appeals set aside the order of allowing the probate. Hence, this present action.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the last will and testament and its accompanying codicil were executed in
accordance with the formalities of the law considering the complicated circumstances that two
(2) of the attesting witnesses testified against their due execution while other non-subscribing
witnesses testified to the contrary.

RULING:
There is ample and satisfactory evidence to convince the Supreme Court that the will and
codicil were executed in accordance with the formalities required by law. It appears positively
and convincingly that the documents were prepared by a lawyer and the execution of the same
was evidently supervised by his associate and before whom the deeds were also acknowledged.
The solemnity surrounding the execution of a will is attended by some intricacies not usually
within the comprehension of an ordinary layman. The object is to close the door against bad faith
and fraud, to avoid substitution of the will and testament, and to guarantee their truth and
authenticity. If there should be any stress on the participation of lawyers in the execution of a
will, other than an interested party, it cannot be less than the exercise of their primary duty as
members of the Bar to uphold the lofty purpose of the law. There is no showing that the lawyers
who participated in the execution of the will had been remiss in their sworn duty. Consequently,
the Court of Appeals failed to consider the presumption of regularity on the questioned
24

documents. There were no incidents brought to the attention of the trial court to arouse suspicion
of anomaly. While the opposition alleged fraud and undue influence, no evidence was presented
to prove their occurrence. There is no question that each and every page of the will and codicil
carry the authentic signatures of Eugenia Danila and the three (3) attesting witnesses. Similarly,
the attestation claim far from being deficient were properly signed by the attesting witnesses.
Neither it is disputed that these witnesses took turns in signing the will and codicil in the
presence of each and the testatrix. Both instruments were duly acknowledged before a Notary
Public who was all the time present during the execution.

9. Cruz vs. Villasor
G.R. No. L-32213; November 26, 1973
54 SCRA 31

FACTS:
Agapita Cruz is the surviving spouse of the deceased Valente Cruz. Agapita filed before
the CFI an opposition for the allowance of the will of his late husband alleging that the will was
executed through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and undue influence because the said
instrument was executed without the testator having been fully informed of the content thereof,
particularly as to what properties he was disposing and that the supposed last will and testament
was not executed in accordance with law. However, due to unfavorable decision, Agapita
appealed by certiorari before the Supreme Court.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the supposed last will and testament was executed in accordance with
law.

RULING:
Of the three instrumental witnesses, one of them is at the same time the Notary Public
before whom the will was supposed to have been acknowledged.
The Supreme Court is inclined to sustain the last will and testament in question was not
executed in accordance with law. The notary public before whom the will was acknowledged
cannot be considered as the third instrumental witness since he cannot acknowledge before
himself his having signed the will. To acknowledge before means to avow. Consequently, if the
third witness were the notary public himself, he would have to avow assent, or admit his having
signed the will in front of himself. This cannot be done because he cannot split his personality
into two.
To allow the notary public to act as third witness, or one of the attesting and
acknowledging witnesses, would have the effect of having only two attesting witnesses to the
will which would be in contravention of the provisions of Article 805 requiring at least three
credible witnesses to act as such and of Article 806 which requires that the testator and the
required number of witnesses must appear before the notary public to acknowledge the will. The
result would be that only two witnesses appeared before the notary public for or that purpose. In
the circumstance, the law would not be duly observed.

10. Garcia vs. Gatchalian
G.R. No. L-20357; November 25, 1967
21 SCRA 1056

FACTS:
25

Gregorio Gatchalian, a widower of 71 years of age, died in the municipality of Pasig,
Province of Rizal, leaving no forced heirs. Appellant, Garcia, filed a petition with the court for
the probate of said alleged will wherein he was instituted as sole heir. Appellees herein, opposed
the petition on the ground, among others, that the will was procured by fraud; that the deceased
did not intend the instrument signed by him to be as his will; and that the deceased was
physically and mentally incapable of making a will at the time of the alleged execution of said
will. After due trial, the court rendered the appealed decision finding the document to be the
authentic last will of the deceased but disallowing it for failure to comply with the mandatory
requirement of Article 806 of the New Civil Code that the will must be acknowledged before a
notary public by the testator and the witnesses. An examination of the document shows that the
same was acknowledged before a notary public by the testator but not by the instrumental
witnesses.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the failure to acknowledge the will before a notary public renders the will
void.

RULING:
The Court rules in favor of the appellees.
Compliance with the requirement contained in Article 806 of the Civil Code to the effect
that a will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and also by the witnesses
is indispensable for its validity. As the document under consideration does not comply with this
requirement, it is obvious that the same may not be probated.
Article 806 of the New Civil Code reads as follows:
Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the
witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will, or file
another with the office of the Clerk of Court.
Thus, the decision appealed from was affirmed.

11. Garcia vs. Vasquez
G.R. No. L-26808, May 23, 1969
32 SCRA 498

FACTS:
Gliceria Avelino del Rosario died unmarried and leaving no descendants, ascendants,
brother or sister thereafter, Consuelo S. Gonzales Vda. De Precilla, niece of the deceased
petitioned for probate the alleged last will and testament of Gliceria dated December 1960 and
that she be appointed as special administratrix. Various parties opposed the petition contending
that the 1960 will was not intended by Gliceria to be her true will and that there was a 1956 will
executed by Gliceria were the oppositors were named as legatees. Consequently, Dr. Jesus V.
Tamesis an ophthalmologist testified that Glicerias left eye suffered form cataract in 1960 which
made her vision mainly for viewing distant object but not for reading prints.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Article 808 regarding blind testator be followed in the instant case to
make Glicerias will valid?

RULING:
For all intents and purposes of the rules on probate, the deceased Gliceria del Rosario was
like a blind testator and the due execution of her will would have required observance of the
provisions of Article 808 of the Civil Code.
26

Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him twice;
once, by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged.
The rationale behind the requirement of reading the will to the testator if he is blind or
incapable of reading the will himself, is to make the provisions of the will known to the testator,
so that he may be able to object if they are not in accordance with his wishes. That the aim of the
law is to insure that the dispositions of the will are properly communicated to and understood by
the handicapped testator, thus making them truly reflective of his desire, is evidenced by the
requirement that the will should be read to the latter, not only once but twice, by two different
persons, and that the witnesses have to act within the range of his (the testators) other senses.

12. Gil vs. Murciano
G.R. No. L-3362; March 1, 1951
87 Phil. 260

FACTS:
On May 27, 1039, Carlos Gil executed a last will and testament in favor of Isabel
Herrerros vda. De Gil. In the attestation clause it did not state that Carlos Gil signed the will. It
declares only that it was signed by the witnesses.
Pilar Gil vda. De Murciano assailed the validity of the attestation clause for it did not
comply with the requirements provided under section 618 of Act. No. 190, as amended.
Notwithstanding the opposition by Pilas, the CFI of Manila admitted to probate the
alleged will and testament. Hence, the appeal.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the attestation clause is in conformity with the requirements prescribed
under Sec. 618 of Act No. 190.

RULING:
No. The attestation did not comply with the requirements.
Under Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the requisites of a will are the
following:
1. The will must be written in the language or dialect known by the testator;
2. The will must be signed by the testator, or by the testators name written by some other
person in his presence, and by his express direction;
3. The will must be attested and subscribed by the three or more credible witnesses in the
presence of the testator and of each other;
4. The testator of the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental
witnesses of the will must sign each and every page of the will on the left margin;
5. The pages of the will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper
part of each sheet;
6. The attestation shall state the number of each sheets or pages used, upon which the will
is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page of the will, or caused some
other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses,
and the witnesses witnessed and signed the will and all pages of the will in the presence of the
testator and of each other.
This attestation clause must be made in strict conformity with the requirements of section
618 Act No. 190, as amended. Where said clause fails to show on its face a full compliance with
those requirements, the defect constitutes sufficient ground for the disallowance of the will.
27

Statutes prescribing formalities to be observed in the execution of wills are very strictly
construed. Courts cannot supply the defensive execution of will.
The decision appealed from is reversed, denying the probate of the alleged will and
declaring the intestate estate of the deceased Carlos Gil.

13. Sebastian vs. Panganiban
G.R. No. L-39797; March 12, 1934
59 Phil. 653

FACTS:
The Court of First Instance denied the probate of the will of Pedro Paganiban on the
ground that the attestation clause was fatally defective in that it did not strictly comply with the
law. The attestation clause and the will were in the Tagalog dialect. It was translated into Spanish
by the judge of the trial court.
Appellant contends that a more liberal translation could have been made of the attestation
clause.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the attestation clause in the will of Pedro Paganiban complied with the
law.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of Paganiban and held that the attestation clause complied with
the law.
While precision of language in drafting an attestation clause is desirable, it is sufficient if
from the language employed, it can reasonably be deduced that the attestation clause fulfilled the
requirements of the law.

14. Caneda vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 103554; May 28, 1993

FACTS:
Mateo Caballero, a widower without any children, executed a last will and testament
before three attesting witnesses and he was duly assisted by his lawyer and a notary public. It
was declare therein that, among other things, that the testator was leaving by way of legacies and
devises his real and personal properties to specific persons, all of whom do not appear to be
related to Mateo. Not long after, he himself filed a petition before the CFI seeking the probate of
his last will and testament but the scheduled hearings were postponed, until the testator passed
away before his petition could finally be heard by the probate court. Benoni Cabrera, one of the
legatees named in the will, sought his appointment as special administrator of the testators estate
but due to his death, he was succeeded by William Cabreara, who was appointed by RTC which
is already the probate court. In the course of the hearing, herein petitioners claiming to be
nephews and nieces of the testator, appeared as oppositors and objected to the allowance of the
testators will on the ground that on the alleged date of its execution, the testator was already in
the poor state of health such that he could not have possibly executed the same; and that the
signature of the testator is not genuine. The probate court rendered a decision that such will is the
Last Will and Testament of Mateo Caballero and that it was executed in accordance with all the
requisites of the law. Upon appeal to CA, the petitioners asserted that the will in question is null
and void for the reason that its attestation clause is fatally defective since it fails to specifically
state the instrumental witnesses to the will witnessed the testator signing the will in their
28

presence and that they also signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator
and of one another. However, CA affirmed the decision of the trial court ruling and ruling that
the attestation clause in the Last Will substantially complies with Article 805 of the Civil Code.
Due to denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration, hence this appeal before the Supreme
Court.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the attestation clause in the last will of Mateo Caballero is fatally
defective such that whether or not it affects the validity of the will.
2. Whether or not the attestation clause complies with the substantial compliance
pursuant to Article 809 of the Civil Code.

RULING:
An attestation clause refers to that part of an ordinary will whereby the attesting
witnesses certify that the instrument has been executed before them and to the manner of the
execution of the same. It is a separate memorandum or record of the facts surrounding the
conduct of execution and once signed by the witnesses, it gives affirmation to the fact that
compliance with the essential formalities required by law has been observed. Under the 3
rd

paragraph of Article 805, such a clause, the complete lack of which would result in the invalidity
of the will, should state:
1. The number of pages used upon which the will is written;
2. That the testator signed, or expressly cause another to sign, the will and every page
thereof in the presence of the attesting witnesses; and
3. That the attesting witnesses witnessed the signing by the testator of the will and all its
pages, and that the said witnesses also signed the will and every page thereof in the
presence of the testator and of one another.
It will be noted that Article 805 requires that the witness should both attest and subscribe
to the will in the presence of the testator and of one another. Attestation and subscription
differ in meaning. Attestation is the act of sense, while subscription is the act of the hand. The
attestation clause herein assailed is that while it recites that the testator indeed signed the will and
all its pages in the presence of the three attesting witnesses and states as well the number of
pages that were used, the same does not expressly state therein the circumstance that said
witnesses subscribed their respective signatures to the will in the presence of the testator and of
each other. What is then clearly lacking, is the statement that the witnesses signed the will and
every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.
The absence of the statement required by law is a fatal defect or imperfection which must
necessarily result in the disallowance of the will that is here sought to be admitted to probate.
Petitioners are correct in pointing out that the defect in the attestation clause obviously cannot be
characterized as merely involving the form of the will or the language used therein which would
warrant the application of the substantial compliance rule, as contemplated in Article 809 of the
Civil Code:
In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud or undue and improper pressure and
influence, defects and imperfection in the form of attestation or in the language used therein
shall not render the will invalid if it is not proved that the will was in fact executed and
attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805.
The defects and imperfection must only be with respect to the form of the attestation or
the language employed therein. Such defects or imperfection would not render a will invalid
should it be proved that the will was really executed and attested in compliance with Article 805.
These considerations do not apply where the attestation clause totally omits the fact that the
attesting witnesses signed each and every page of the will in the presence of the testator and of
each other. In such a situation, the defect is not only in the form or language of the attestation
clause but the total absence of a specific element required by Article 805 to be specifically stated
29

in the attestation clause of a will. That is precisely the defect complained of in the present case
since there is no plausible way by which it can be read into the questioned attestation clause
statement, or an implication thereof, that the attesting witness did actually bear witness to the
signing by the testator of the will and all of its pages and that said instrumental witnesses also
signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.

15. Gan vs. Yap
G.R. No. L-12190; August 30, 1958
104 Phil. 509

FACTS:
After the death of Felicidad Esguerra Alto-Yap, Fausto Gan filed a petition for the
probate of a holographic will allegedly executed by the fomer. Opposing the petition, her
surviving husband Ildefonso Yap asserted that the deceased had not left any will, nor executed
any testament during her lifetime. The will itself was not presented. Gan tried to establish its
contents and due execution by the statements of allegedly four (4) witnesses to the execution of
the alleged will. After hearing the parties and considering their evidence, the court refused to
probate the alleged will. Due to the denial of motion for reconsideration, Gan appealed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a holographic will may be probated upon the testimony of witnesses who
have allegedly seen it and who declare that it was in the handwriting of the testator.

RULING:
The Rules of Court allow proof (and probate) of a lost or destroyed will by secondary
evidence the testimony of witnesses in lieu of the original document. Yet such Rules could not
have contemplated holographic wills which could not then be validly made here.
The difference between holographic wills and ordinary will lies in the nature of the wills.
In the first, the only guarantee of authenticity is the handwriting itself, in the second, the
testimony of the subscribing or instrumental witnesses (and of the notary). The loss of the
holographic will entails the loss of the only medium of proof, if the ordinary will is lost, the
subscribing witnesses are available to authenticate.
The evidence of presented by Gan is refused to be credited. In addition to the dubious
circumstance described in the appealed decision, we find it hard to believe that the deceased
should show her will precisely to relative who had received nothing from it. These could pester
her into amending her will to give them a share, or threaten to reveal its execution to her
husband. Further, if she wanted so much to conceal the will from her husband, why did she not
entrust it to her beneficiaries? In fine, even if oral testimony were admissible to establish and
probate a lost holographic will, we think the evidence submitted by petitioner is so tainted with
improbabilities and inconsistencies that it fails to measure up to that :clear and distinct proof
required by the Rules of Court.

16. Roxas vs. De J esus
G.R. No. L-38338; J anuary 28, 1985
134 SCRA 245

FACTS:
After the death of spouses Andres and Bibiana de Jesus, a special proceeding was
instituted by Simeon, brother of Bibiana. Simeon was then appointed administrator of the estate
and consequently, he delivered to the lower court a document purporting to be the holographic
30

will of Bibiana which was then set for a hearing. Luz Henson, one of the compulsory heirs filed
an opposition to probate assailing the purported holographic Will of Bibiana was not executed in
accordance with law. However, the lower court issued an order allowing the probate which was
found to have been duly executed in accordance with law. A motion for reconsideration was then
filed by Luz assailing that the alleged holographic will was not dated as required by Article 810
of the Civil Code and contending that the law requires that the Will should contain the day,
month and year of its execution and that this should be strictly complied with. The court then
reconsidered its earlier order and disallowed the probate of the holographic will on the ground
that the word dated has generally been held to include the month, day, and year.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the date (FEB/61) appearing on the holographic will of the deceased
Bibian Roxas de Jesus is a valid compliance with the Article 810 of the Civil Code.

RULING:
ART. 810. A person may execute a holographic will which must be
entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out
of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.
As a general rule, the date in a holographic will should include the day, month and year
of its execution. However, when as in the case at bar, there is no appearance of fraud, bad faith,
undue influence and pressure and the authenticity of the Will is established and the only issue is
whether or not the date FEB/61 appearing on the holographic will is a valid compliance with
Article 810 of the Civil Code, probate of the holographic Will should be allowed under the
principle of substantial compliance.


17. Codoy vs. Calugay
G.R. No. 123486; August 12, 1999
312 SCRA 333

FACTS:
On 6 April 1990, Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and Eufemia Patigas, devisees
and legatees of the holographic will of the deceased Matilde Seo Vda. de Ramonal, filed a
petition for probate of the said will. They attested to the genuineness and due execution of the
will on August 30, 1978.
Eugenio Ramonal Codoy and Manuel Ramonal filed their opposition claiming that the
will was a forgery and that the same was even illegible. They raised doubts as regards the
repeated appearing on the will after every disposition, calling the same out of the ordinary. If the
will was in the handwriting of the deceased, it was improperly procured.
Respondents, Calugay, presented six witnesses and various documentary evidence.
The first witness was the clerk of court of the probate court who produced and identified
the records of the case bearing the signature of the deceased.
The second witness was election registrar who was made to produce and identify the
voters affidavit, but failed to as the same was already destroyed and no longer available.
The third, the deceaseds niece, claimed that she had acquired familiarity with the
deceaseds signature and handwriting as she used to accompany her in collecting rentals from her
various tenants of commercial buildings and the deceased always issued receipts. The niece also
testified that the deceased left a holographic will entirely written, dated and signed by said
deceased.
31

The fourth witness was a former lawyer for the deceased in the intestate proceedings of
her late husband, who said that the signature on the will was similar to that of the deceased but
that he cannot be sure.
The fifth was an employee of the DENR who testified that she was familiar with the
signature of the deceased which appeared in the latters application for pasture permit. The fifth,
respondent Evangeline Calugay, claimed that she had lived with the deceased since birth where
she had become familiar with her signature and that the one appearing on the will was genuine.
Codoy and Ramonals demurrer to evidence was granted by the lower court. It was
reversed on appeal with the Court of Appeals which granted the probate.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not Art. 811 of the Civil Code, providing that at least three witnesses
explicitly declare the signature in a contested will as the genuine signature of the testator, is
mandatory or directory; and
2. Whether or not the witnesses sufficiently establish the authenticity and due execution
of the deceaseds holographic will.

RULING:
1. Yes. The word shall connotes a mandatory order, an imperative obligation and is
inconsistent with the idea of discretion and that the presumption is that the word shall, when
used in a statute, is mandatory.
In the case at bar, the goal to be achieved by the law, is to give effect to the wishes of the
deceased and the evil to be prevented is the possibility that unscrupulous individuals who for
their benefit will employ means to defeat the wishes of the testator.
The paramount consideration in the present petition is to determine the true intent of the
deceased.

2. NO. We cannot be certain that the holographic will was in the handwriting of the
deceased.
The clerk of court was not presented to declare explicitly that the signature appearing in
the holographic will was that of the deceased. The election registrar was not able to produce the
voters affidavit for verification as it was no longer available. The deceaseds niece saw pre-
prepared receipts and letters of the deceased and did not declare that she saw the deceased sign a
document or write a note. The will was not found in the personal belongings of the deceased but
was in the possession of the said niece, who kept the fact about the will from the children of the
deceased, putting issue in her motive. Evangeline Calugay never declared that she saw the
decreased write a note or sign a document. The former lawyer of the deceased expressed doubts
as to the authenticity of the signature in the holographic will. As it appears in the foregoing, the
three-witness requirement was not complied with.
A visual examination of the holographic will convinces that the strokes are different
when compared with other documents written by the testator.
The records were remanded to allow the oppositors to adduce evidence in support of their
opposition.
The object of solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against
bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and
authenticity. Therefore, the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain
these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not
the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise the right to make a will.
32

However, the possibility of a false document being adjudged as the will of the testator
cannot be eliminated, which is why if the holographic will is contested, the law requires three
witnesses to declare that the will was in the handwriting of the deceased.

18. Azaola vs. Singson
G.R. No. L-14003; August 5, 1960
109 Phil. 102

FACTS:
Fortunata S. Vda. De Yance died in Quezon City on September 9, 1957. Federico Azaola
submitted for probate her holographic will, in which Maria Azaola was made the sole heir as
against the nephew, who is the defendant. Only one witness, Francisoco Azaola, was presented
to testify on the handwriting of the testatrix. He testified that he had seen it one month, more or
less, before the death of the testatrix, as it was given to him and his wife; and that it was in the
testatrixs handwriting. He presented the mortgage, the special power of the attorney, and the
general power of attorney, and the deeds of sale including an affidavit to reinforce his statement.
Two residence certificates showing the testatrixs signature were also exhibited for comparison
purposes.
The probate was opposed on the ground that (1) the execution of the will was procured by
undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the petitioner and his wife, and (2) that
the testatrix did not seriously intend the instrument to be her last will, and that the same was
actually written either on the 5th or 6th day of August 1957 and not on November 20, 1956 as
appears on the will.
The probate was denied on the ground that under Art. 811 of the Civil Code, the
proponent must present three witnesses who could declare that the will and the signature are in
the writing of the testatrix, the probate being contested; and because the lone witness presented
"did not prove sufficiently that the body of the will was written in the handwriting of the
testatrix."
Petitioner appealed, urging that, first, he was not bound to produce more than one witness
because the will's authenticity was not questioned; and second, that Art. 811 does not
mandatorily require the production of three witnesses to identify the handwriting and signature
of a holographic will, even if its authenticity should be denied by the adverse party.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Art. 811 of the Civil Code is mandatory or permissive.

RULING:
The Court ruled in favor of the petitioner.
Art. 811 is merely permissive and not mandatory. Since the authenticity of the will was
not contested, petitioner was not required to produce more than one witness; but even if the
genuineness of the holographic will were contested, Art. 811 cannot be interpreted to require the
compulsory presentation of three witnesses to identify the handwriting of the testator, under
penalty of having the probate denied. Since no witness may have been present at the execution of
a holographic will, none being required by law (Art. 810, new Civil Code), it becomes obvious
that the existence of witness possessing the requisite qualifications is a matter beyond the control
of the proponent. For it is not merely a question of finding and producing any three witnesses;
they must be witnesses "who know the handwriting and signature of the testator" and who can
declare "that the will and the signature are in the handwriting of the testator". There may be no
available witness of the testator's hand; or even if so familiarized, the witnesses may be
unwilling to give a positive opinion. Compliance with the rule of paragraph 1 of Art. 811 may
thus become an impossibility.
33

This is the reason why the second paragraph of Art. 811 allows the court to resort to
expert evidence. The law foresees the possibility that no qualified witness may be found, or that
no competent witness may be willing to testify to the authenticity of the will, and provides for
resort to expert evidence to supply the deficiency.
What the law deems essential is that the court should be convinced of the will's
authenticity. Where the prescribed number of witnesses is produced and the court is convinced
by their testimony that the will is genuine, it may consider it unnecessary to call for expert
evidence. On the other hand, if no competent witness is available, or none of those produced is
convincing, the Court may still, and in fact it should, resort to handwriting experts. The duty of
the Court, in fine, is to exhaust all available lines of inquiry, for the state is as much interested as
the proponent that the true intention of the testator be carried into effect.


34

IV. Fundamental Provisions on Wills:

1. Kalaw vs. Relova
G.R. No. L-40207; September 28, 1984

FACTS:
Natividad K. Kalaw made a holographic will executed on December 24, 1968. Originally,
the will named Rosa K. Kalaw, sister of Natividad, as the sole heir. However, Natividad
eventually changed the name on the will by crossing out Rosas name and replacing it with
Gregorio K. Kalaw as sole heir instead. Natividad failed to properly authenticate such alteration
with her full signature.
Because of this, the parties decided to submit the holographic will for an examination by
the National Bureau of Investigation. The Bureaus findings confirmed that the original writings
and those of the alterations were written by the same person.
Rosa argued that the probate should be denied since the alteration on the will is invalid
for failing to comply with Art. 814 which states that In case of any insertion, cancellation,
erasure or alteration in a holographic will the testator must authenticate the same by his full
signature. Further, Rosa asserted that the will should be probated on its original content before
the alteration was made.
Gregorio contends that the mere fact that Rosa agreed to submit the will for examination
estoppes her from questioning the validity of the alteration and invoking Art. 814 of the Civil
Code.
Judge Benjamin Relova denied the probate on the will.
Rosa now sought for the probate on the will as to its original unaltered text.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will, in case of alterations, corrections, or cancellations, without the
proper authentication, may be submitted for probate as to the original content prior to such
alteration, correction, or cancellation.

RULING:
No, this cannot be done.
Ordinarily, when a number of erasures, corrections, and interlineations made by the
testator in a holographic Will have not been noted under his signature, the Will is not thereby
invalidated as a whole, but at most only as respects the particular words erased, corrected or
interlined.
However, when as in this case, the holographic Will in dispute had only one substantial
provision, which was altered by substituting the original heir with another, but which alteration
did not carry the requisite of full authentication by the full signature of the testator, the effect
must be that the entire Will is voided or revoked for the simple reason that nothing remains in the
Will after that which could remain valid.
To state that the Will as first written should be given efficacy is to disregard the seeming
change of mind of the testatrix. But that change of mind can neither be given effect because she
failed to authenticate it in the manner required by law by affixing her full signature. As it is,
with the erasures, cancellations and alterations made by the testatrix herein, her real intention
cannot be determined with certitude

2. I n re: Estate of J ohnson
G.R. No. L-12767; November 16, 1918
35

39 Phil. 156

FACTS:
Emil H. Johnson, a native of Sweden and a naturalized citizen of the United States, died
in the city of Manila, leaving a holographic will. It is written in the testator's own handwriting,
and is signed by himself and two witnesses only, instead of three witnesses required by section
618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It cannot be probated.
However, a petition was presented in the Court of First Instance for the probate of the
will on the ground that Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the State of Illinois,
United States of America and that his will was duly executed in accordance with the laws of that
State. The will was probated.
Ebba Ingeborg Johnson seeks to avoid the probate claiming that Emil H. Johnson was a
resident of Manila.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will should be allowed probate despite the fact Emil H. Johnson is a
resident of Manila.

RULING:
Yes. The certificate of naturalization supplies incontrovertible proof that upon the date
stated the testator became a citizen of the United States, and inferentially also a citizen of
Illinois.
The intrinsic validity of the provisions of this will must be determined by the law of
Illinois and not by the general provisions applicable in the Philippines in such matters. In the
second paragraph of Article 10 of the Civil Code it is declared that "legal and testamentary
successions, with regard to the order of succession, as well as to the amount of the successional
rights and to the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the laws of the nation
of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property and
the country where it may be situated."

3. De La Cerna vs. Rebaca-Potot
G.R. No, L-20234; December 23, 1964
12 SCRA 576

FACTS:
Spouses Bernabe de la Serna and Gervasia Rebaca, executed a joint last will and
testament whereby they willed that their two parcels of land acquired during their marriage
together with all improvements thereon shall be given to Manuela Rebaca, their niece. Bernabe
died and the will was probated in 1939 after due publication as required by law and there being
no opposition. Upon the death of Gervasia Rebaca, another petition for the probate of the same
will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed by Manuela but the court dismissed it for
failure of Manuela to appear.
Paula de la Cerna questioned for the nullity of the joint will of Bernabe being prohibited
in the Philippine law. The Court of First Instance ordered the petition heard and declared the
testament null and void, for being executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills in the Civil
Code but on appeal by the testamentary heir, the Court of Appeals reversed, on the ground that
the decree of probate in 1939 was issued by a court of probate jurisdiction and conclusive on the
due execution of the testament. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUES:
36

1. Whether or not an error of law affects the conclusive effect of its decision.
2. Whether or not the joint will is valid as to the share of Gervasia who died later than
Bernabe.

RULING:
The appealed decision correctly held that the final decree of probate, entered in 1939 by
the Court of First Instance of Cebu (when the testator, Bernabe de la Cerna, died), has conclusive
effect as to his last will and testament despite the fact that even then the Civil Code already
decreed the invalidity of joint wills, whether in favor of the joint testators, reciprocally, or in
favor of a third party (Art. 669, old Civil Code). A final judgment rendered on a petition for the
probate of a will is binding upon the whole world.
The probate decree in 1989 could only affect the share of the deceased husband, Bernabe
de la Cerna. It could not include the disposition of the share of the wife, Gervasia Rebaca, who
was then still alive, and over whose interest in the conjugal properties the probate court acquired
no jurisdiction, precisely because her estate could not then be in issue. Be it remembered that
prior to the new Civil Code, a will could not be probated during the testator's lifetime. It follows
that the validity of the joint will, in so far as the estate of the wife was concerned, must be, on her
death, reexamined and adjudicated de novo, since a joint will is considered a separate will of
each testator. Therefore, the undivided interest of Gervasia Rebaca should pass upon her death to
her heirs intestate, and not exclusively to the testamentary heir, unless some other valid will in
her favor is shown to exist, or unless she be the only heir intestate of said Gervasia.

4. Gabriel-Gonzales vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-37453; May 25, 1979
90 SCRA 183

FACTS:
Lutgarda Santiago and Rizalina Gonzales are nieces of the late Isabel Andres Gabriel.
Lutgarda filed a petition for the probate of a will alleged to have been executed by the deceased
and designated Lutgarda as the principal beneficiary and executrix. There is no dispute that
Isabel died as a widow and without issue. The will submitted consists of five (5) pages and
includes the pages whereon the attestation clause and the acknowledgment of the notary public
were written. The signatures of the deceased Isabel Gabriel appear at the end of the will on page
four and at the left margin of all the pages. At the bottom thereof, under the heading "Pangalan",
are written the signatures of Matilde D. Orobia, Celso D. Gimpaya and Maria R. Gimpaya, and
opposite the same, under the heading "Tirahan", are their respective places of residence. The
petition was opposed by Rizalina assailing that the will is not genuine and was not executed and
attested as required by law. The lower court disallowed the probate of said will and as a
consequence, Lutgarda appealed to Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision and
allowed the probate of the will. Rizalina filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was
denied.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will was executed and attested as required by law.

RULING:
No. Instrumental witnesses in order to be competent must be shown to have the
qualifications under Article 820 of the Civil Code and none of the disqualifications under Article
821 and for their testimony to be credible, that is worthy of belief and entitled to credence, it is
not mandatory that evidence be first established on record that the witnesses have a good
37

standing in the community or that they are honest and upright or reputed to be trustworthy and
reliable, for a person is presumed to be such unless the contrary is established otherwise. In other
words, the instrumental witnesses must be competent and their testimonies must be credible
before the court allows the probate of the will they have attested.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three instrumental witnesses are
competent and credible is satisfactorily supported by the evidence as found by the respondent
Court of Appeals, which findings of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon.
Moreover, petitioner has not pointed to any disqualification of any of the said witnesses.

5. Gago vs. Mamuyac
G.R. No. L-26317; J anuary 29, 1927
49 Phil. 902

FACTS:
Miguel Mamuyac executed a last will and testament on July 1918 and almost 4 years
later, Francisco Gago presented a petition in the CFI for the probation of such will which was
opposed by Cornelia Mamuyac et al. The petition was denied upon the ground that Mamuyac
had executed a new will on April 1919. An action was filed to secure the probation of the said
new will. The opponents alleged (a) that the said will is a copy of the second will executed by
Miguel; (b) that the same had been cancelled and revoked during the lifetime of the testator; and
(c) that the said will was not the last will and testament of Miguel Mamuyac. The petition was
then again denied upon the ground that the will of 1919 had been the cancelled and revoked
based on the evidence adduced by the trial court that the 1918 will is a mere carbon of its
original which remained in the possession of the deceased, who revoked it before a witness, who
typed the 1919 will of the testator, and before another person who witnessed the actual
cancellation by the testator in 1920. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will in question has been revoked and cancelled.

RULING:
The law does not require any evidence of the revocation or cancellation of a will to be
preserved. Where a will which cannot be found is shown to have been in the possession of the
testator, when last seen, the presumption is, in the absence of other competent evidence, that the
same was cancelled or destroyed. The same presumption arises where it is shown that the testator
had ready access to the will and it cannot be found after his death. It will not be presumed that
such will has been destroyed by any other person without the knowledge or authority of the
testator. In view of the fact that the original will of 1919 could not be found after the death of the
testator and in view of the positive proof that the same had been cancelled, the conclusions of the
lower court are in accordance with the weight of evidence.
After a careful examination of the entire record, we are fully persuaded that the will
presented for probate had been cancelled by the testator in 1920.

6. Austria vs. Reyes
G.R. No. L-23079; February 27, 1970
31 SCRA 754

FACTS:
Basilia Austria filed with the CFI of Rizal a petition for probate ante mortem of her last
will and testament which was opposed by Ruben Austria and others who are nephews and nieces
38

of Basilia. However, such opposition was dismissed and the probate was allowed after due
hearing. The bulk of the estate was destined under the will to pass on the Perfecto Cruz and
others whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children.
Subsequently, upon Basilias death, Perfecto was appointed executor in accordance with the
provisions of the formers will. Ruben and the other petitioners filed in the same proceedings a
petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest kin and that
the five private respondents (Perfecto et al.) had not in fact been adopted by the testator in
accordance with law, hence they should be rendered mere strangers and without any right to
succeed as heirs. The court then allowed the said intervention by petitioners which the court
delimited to the properties of the deceased which were not disposed of in the will and
disregarded the matter of the genuineness of adoption. Upon denial of two motions for
reconsiderations, the petitioners filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari praying
for the annulment of the lower courts orders restricting their intervention.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the institution of heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof
that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent is false.

RULING:
Article 850 provides:
The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be
considered as not written, unless it appears from the will of the
testator would not have made such institution if he had known the
falsity of such cause.
Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under Art. 850, the following requisites
must concur:
1. The cause for the institution heirs must be stated in the will;
2. The cause must be shown to be false; and
3. It must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made such
institution if he had known the falsity of the cause.
The article quoted above is a positive injunction to ignore whatever false cause the
testator may have written in his will for the institution of heirs. Such institution may be annulled
only when one is satisfied, after an examination of the will, that the testator clearly would not
have made the institution of he had known the cause for it to be false. The words used in her will
to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance offer no absolute
indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had
known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes. Her disposition of the
free portion of her estate which largely favored Cruz, et al. shows a perceptible inclination on her
part to give to the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give to them.
Testacy is favored and doubts are resolved on its side, especially where the will evinces an
intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate. Moreover, so
compelling is the principle that intestacy should be avoided and the wishes of the testator
allowed to prevail, that we could even vary the language of the will for the purpose of giving it
effect.

39

V. Probate of Wills

1. Heirs of GuidoYaptinchay vs. Del Rosario
G.R. No. 124320; March 2, 1999
304 SCRA 18

FACTS:
Petitioners claimed that they are the legal heirs of the late Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay,
and executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the estate of the deceased spouses. Then, petitioners
discovered that a portion of the properties were titled in the name of respondent Golden Bay
Realty and Development Corporation (Golden Bay). With the discovery of what happened to
subject parcels of land, petitioners filed a complaint for annulment and/or declaration of nullity
of tcts; and its Derivatives.
On August 12, 1995, the private respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds
that the complaint failed to state a cause of action, that plaintiffs did not have a right of action,
that they had not established their status as heirs, that the land being claimed is different from
that of the defendants, and that plaintiffs claim was barred by laches. The said Motion to
Dismiss was granted by the respondent court in its Order dated October 25, 1995, holding that
petitioners have not shown any proof or even a semblance of it - except the allegations that they
are the legal heirs of the above-named Yaptinchays - that they have been declared the legal heirs
of the deceased couple.
Petitioners interposed a Motion for Reconsideration but to no avail. Hence the petitioners
filled a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Petitioners contended that the respondent court
acted with grave abuse of discretion in ruling that the issue of heirship should first be determined
before trial of the case could proceed. It is petitioners submission that the respondent court
should have proceeded with the trial and simultaneously resolved the issue of heirship in the
same case.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the issue of heirship should be simultaneously resolved in the civil action
for Reconveyance of Property.

RULING:
The court ruled in favor of the respondent court.
The issue of heirship can only be made in a special proceeding.
The plaintiffs who claimed to be the legal heirs of the said Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay
have not shown any proof or even a semblance of it - except the allegations that they are the
legal heirs of the aforementioned Yaptinchays - that they have been declared the legal heirs of
the deceased couple. Now, the determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased couple
must be made in the proper special proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for
reconveyance of property.
The trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that
such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. Under Section 3, Rule 1 of the
1997 Revised Rules of Court, a civil action is defined as one by which a party sues another for
the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong while a special
proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.
It is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship can be made only in a special
proceeding inasmuch as the petitioners here are seeking the establishment of a status or right.
The trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that
such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. Under Section 3, Rule 1 of the
40

1997 Revised Rules of Court, a civil action is defined as one by which a party sues another for
the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong while a special
proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.
It is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship can be made only in a special
proceeding inasmuch as the petitioners here are seeking the establishment of a status or right.

2. Gallanosa vs. Arcangel
G.R. No. L-29300; J une 21, 1978
83 SCRA 676

FACTS:
Florentino Hitosis was a childless widower and was survived by his brother Lito. In his
will, Florentino bequeathed his share in the conjugal estate to his second wife, Tecla, and,
should Tecla predecease him, as was the case, his share would be assigned to spouses
Gallanosa. Pedro Gallanosa was Teclas son by her first marriage who grew up under the care of
Florentino. His other properties were bequeathed to his protg Adolfo Fortajada.
Upon his death, a petition for the probate of his will was filed. Opposition was registered
by Florentinos brother, nephews and nieces. After hearing, where the oppositors did not present
any evidence, the Judge admitted the will to probate. The testators legal heirs did not appeal
from the decree of probate and from the order of partition and distribution.
Later, the legal heirs filed a case for recovery of 61 parcels of land against Pedro
Gallanosa, alleging that they had been in continuous possession of those lands and praying that
they be declared owners thereof. Pedro moved for a dismissal which was later granted by the
Judge on the ground of res judicata. The legal heirs did not appeal from the order of dismissal.
15 years after the dismissal of the first civil case and 28 years after the probate of the
will, the legal heirs filed a case for annulment of the will alleging fraud and deceit. The court
dismissed said action. However, the court set aside the dismissal after the heirs filed a motion for
reconsideration.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Leon Hitosis et al., the legal heirs, have a cause of action for the
annulment of the will of Florentino and recover the 61 parcels of land adjudicated under that will
to the petitioners.

RULING:
No. The SC held that the lower court committed a grave abuse of discretion in setting
aside its order of dismissal and ignoring the testamentary case and the first civil case which is the
same as the instant case. It is evident that second civil case is barred by res judicata and by
prescription.
The decree of probate is conclusive as to the due execution or formal validity of the will.
That means that the testator was of sound and disposing mind at the time he executed the will
and was not acting under duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence; that the will was signed by
him in the presence of the required number of witnesses, and that the will is genuine.
Accordingly, these facts cannot again be questioned in a subsequent proceeding, not even
in a criminal action for the forgery of the will.After the finality of the allowance of a will, the
issue as to the voluntariness of its execution cannot be raised anymore.
The SC also held that the decree of adjudication, having rendered in a proceeding in rem,
is binding upon the whole world. Moreover, the dismissal of the first civil case, which is a
judgment in personam, was an adjudication on the merits. Thus. It constitutes a bar by former
judgment under the Rules of Court.
41

The SC further held that the lower court erred in saying that the action for the recovery of
the lands had not prescribed. The SC ruled that Art. 1410 of NCC cannot apply to last wills and
testaments.
The Rules of Court do not sanction an action for annulment of a will. A final decree of
probate is conclusive as to the due execution of the will. A decree of adjudication in a testate
proceeding is binding on the whole world. After the period for seeking relief from a final order
or judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of court has expired, a final judgment or order can be set
aside only on the grounds of: (a) lack of jurisdiction or lack of due process of law or (b) that the
judgment was obtained by means of extrinsic or collateral fraud. In the latter case, the period for
annulling the judgment is four (4) years from the discovery of fraud.
The Civil Law rule that an action for declaration of inexistence of a contract does not
prescribe cannot be applied to last wills and testaments.

3. Pastor vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-56340; J une 24, 1983
122 SCRA 883

FACTS:
Spouses Alvaro Pastor, Sr. and Sofia Bossio were survived by their two legitimate
children Alvaro Pastor, Jr. (Pastor Jr.) and Sofia Pastor (Sofia), and an illegitimate child,
Lewellyn Quemada. Quemada filed a petition for the probate and allowance of an alleged
holographic will of Pastor Sr. with the CFI which contained only one testamentary disposition: a
legacy in favor of Quemada consisting of 30% of Pastor Sr.s 42% share in the operation by
ATLAS. Thereafter, the probate court appointed Quemada as special administrator of the entire
estate of Pastor Sr. whether or not covered or affected by the holographic will. Consequently,
Quemada instituted against Pastor Jr., and his wife an action for reconveyance of alleged
properties of estate which included the properties subject of the legacy which were in the names
of spouses Pastor Sr. and Ma. Elena, who claimed to be the owners in their own rights, and not
by inheritance. The probate court issued an order allowing the will to probate. The order was
affirmed by CA and on petition for review, the SC dismissed the petition and remanded the same
to the probate court after denying reconsideration. For two years after remand of the case to the
probate court, all pleadings of both parties remained unacted upon. Not long after, the probate
court set the hearing on the intrinsic validity of the will but upon objection of Pastor Jr. and Sofia
on the ground of pendency of the reconveyance suit, no hearing was held. Instead, the probate
court required the parties to submit their respective position papers. While the reconveyance suit
was still pending in another court, the probate court issued Order of Execution and Garnishment,
resolving the question of ownership of the royalties payable by ATLAS and ruling in effect that
the legacy to Quemada was not inofficious. Pursuant to said order, ATLAS was directed to remit
directly to Quemada the 42% royalties due to decedents estate, of which Quemada was
authorized to retain 75% for himself as legatee. Further, the 33% share of Pastor Jr. and/or his
assignees was ordered garnished to answer for the accumulated legacy of Quemada. Being
immediately executory, Quemada succeeded in obtaining a Writ of Execution and
Garnishment. The oppositors sought reconsideration thereof but in the meantime, the probate
court ordered suspension of payment of all royalties due Pastor Jr. and/or his assignees until after
resolution of oppositors motion for reconsideration. Pending motion, Pastor Jr. and his wife
filed with the CA a petition for certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for writ of preliminary
injunction assailing the writ of execution and garnishment issued by the probate court. However,
said petition was denied as well as their motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition for
review by certiorari with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction.

ISSUE:
42

Whether or not the Probate Order resolved with finality the questions of ownership and
intrinsic validity.

RULING:
In a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the issue by and large is restricted to the
extrinsic validity of the will. As a rule, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which
the Probate Court cannot resolve with finality. Thus, for the purpose of determining whether a
certain property should or should not be included in the inventory of estate properties, the
Probate Court may pass upon the title thereto, but such determination is provisional, not
conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action to resolve title.
The Order sought to be executed by the assailed Order of execution is the Probate Order
allegedly resolved the question of ownership of the disputed mining properties. However,
nowhere in the dispositive portion is there a declaration of ownership of specific properties. On
the contrary, it is manifested therein that ownership was not resolved. For it confined itself to the
question of extrinsic validity of the will, and the need for and propriety of appointing a special
administrator. Thus it allowed and approved the holographic will with respect to its extrinsic
validity, the same having been duly authenticated pursuant to the requisites or solemnities
prescribed by law. It declared that the intestate estate administration aspect must proceed
subject to the outcome of the suit for reconveyance of ownership and possession of real and
personal properties.
The Probate Court did not resolve the question of ownership of the properties listed in the
estate inventory, considering that the issue of ownership was the very subject of controversy in
the reconveyance suit that was still pending. It was, therefore, error for the assailed
implementing Orders to conclude that the Probate Order adjudged with finality the question of
ownership of the mining properties and royalties, and that, premised on this conclusion, the
dispositive portion of the said Probate Order directed special administrator to pay the legacy in
dispute.

4. J imenez vs. I ntermediate Appellate Court
G.R. No. 75773; April 17, 1990
184 SCRA 367

FACTS:
Leonardo (Lino) Jimenez married Consolacion Ungson with whom he begot four (4)
children, namely: Alberto, Leonardo, Sr., Alejandra and Angeles. During such marriage, Lino
acquired five (5) parcels of land in Salomague, Bugallon, Pangasinan. When Consolacion died,
Lino contracted a second marriage with Genoveva Caolboy with whom he begot the seven
petitioners herein: Tomas, Visitacion, Digno, Antonio, Amadeo, Modesto and Virginial, all
surnamed Jimenez. After Lino and Genovevas death, Virginia filed a petition before CFI
praying to be appointed as administratix of the properties of the deceased spouses Lino and
Genoveva upon which Leonardo Jimenez, Jr. filed a motion for exclusion of his fathers name
and those of his uncle and aunts contending that they have already received their inheritance
consisting of five (f) parcels of land. However, the petition of Virginia wherein she included the
said five (5) parcels of land in the inventory of the estate of spouses Lino and Genoveva.
Consequently, Leonardo Jimenez, Jr. moved for the exclusion of these properties from the
inventory contending that such parcels of land were already adjudicated to his father and to his
uncle and aunts. The probate court ordered the exclusion of the five (5) parcels of land and
denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Virginia. The latter went to CA on a petition for
certiorari and prohibition seeking the annulment of the orders of the probate court, of which the
CA dismissed. Subsequently, the petitioners filed an amended complained before the RTC to
recover possession/ownership of the five (5) parcels of land as part of the estate of Lino and
Genoveva. Private respondents moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that the
43

action was barred by prior judgments and by prescription and laches. Thereafter, the trial court
dismissed the complaint on the ground of res judicata. A motion for reconsideration was denied
as well as the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed before the appellate court. Hence, this
petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not in a settlement procceding (testate or intestate) the lower court has
jurisdiction to settle questions of ownership; and
2. Whether or not the petitioners present action for the recovery of possession and
ownership of the five (5) parcels of land is barred by res judicata.

RULING:
Petitioners present action for recovery of possession and ownership is appropriately filed
because as a general rule, a probate court can only pass upon questions of title provisionally. The
patent reason is the probate courts limited jurisdiction and the principle that questions of title or
ownership, which result in inclusion or exclusion from the inventory of the property, can only be
settled in a separate action. It has been held that in a special proceeding for the probate of a will,
the question of ownership is an extraneous matter which the probate court cannot resolve with
finality. This pronouncement no doubt applies with equal force to intestate proceedings as in the
case at bar.
Res judicata does not exist because of the difference in the causes of actions. The other
action was for the settlement of the intestate estate of Lino and Genoveca while the other one
was an action for the recovery of possession and ownership of the five (5) parcles of land.
Moreover, while the CFI had jurisdiction, the same was merely limited jurisdiction. Any
pronouncement by said court as to title is not conclusive and could still be attacked in a separate
proceeding.
Indeed, the grounds relied upon by private respondents in their motion to dismiss do not
appear to be indubitable. Res judicata has been shown to be unavailable and the other grounds of
prescription and laches pleaded by private respondents are seriously disputed.

5. Ozaeta vs. Cuartero
G.R. No. L-5597, May 31, 1956
9 Phil. 1041

FACTS:
Maria Cuartero and Rosa Gonzales both claimed that they were married to Carlos
Palanca Taguinlay in 1929 and 1945, respectively. The marriage of Rosa to Carlos had been duly
established by testimonial and documentary evidence. One of the pieces of evidence presented
was the will executed by Carlos Palanca wherein he declared that he married Rosa Gonzales in
which marriage they had eight children.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the declarations in a valid Last Will and Testament may be admitted as
conclusive evidence of an existence of a fact during the lifetime of the testator.

RULING:
Declarations in a valid Last Will and Testament may be admitted as conclusive evidence
of an existence of a fact during the lifetime of the testator of the said Will. Palanca executed his
will and he made the solemn declaration in said document that since 1923 and for some years
thereafter he maintained amorous relations with Maria Cuartero and had by her six natural
44

children whom, according to him, he had liberally fed and supported. He said nothing about
having married Maria; on the contrary, he declared that for grave reasons he regarded her
unworthy of being the guardian of the persons and property of his children by her and so
appointed Felisa Joson de Fernandez and the Philippine National Bank as guardians of their
persons, and property respectively. On the other hand, in the same will he spoke of his marriage
to Rosa Gonzales and the eight children he had by her, which children according to him were
legitimated by reason of their subsequent marriage. Said declaration in the will may not be taken
lightly, as a statement of little significance. When he made said statement he was about 76 years
old and must have felt that he had not many years left to live.

6. Coso vs. Fernandez-Deza
G.R. No.L- 16763; December 22, 1921
42 Phil. 596

FACTS:
The testator, a married man, became acquainted with Rosario Lopez and had illicit
relations with her for many years. They begot an illegitimate son. The testators will gives the
tercio de libre disposicion to the illegitimate son and also provides for the payment of nineteen
hundred Spanish duros to Rosario Lopez by way of reimbursement for expenses incurred by her
in talking care of the testator when he is alleged to have suffered from severe illness. The will
was set aside on the ground of undue influence alleged to have been exerted over the mind of the
testator by Rosario Lopez. There is no doubt that Rosario exercised some influence over the
testator

ISSUE:
Whether or not the influence exercised was of such a character to vitiate the will.

RULING:
Mere general or reasonable influence over a testator is not sufficient to invalidate a will;
to have that effect, the influence must be undue. The rule as to what constitutes undue influence
has been variously stated, but the substance of the different statements is that, to be sufficient to
avoid a will, the influence exerted must be of a kind that so overpowers and subjugates the mind
of the testator as to destroy his free agency and make him express the will of another rather than
his own.
Such influence must be actually exerted on the mind of the testator in regard to the
execution of the will in question, either at the time of the execution of the will, or so near thereto
as to be still operative, with the object of procuring a will in favor of particular parties, and it
must result in the making of testamentary dispositions which the testator would not otherwise
have made.
And while the same amount of influence may become undue when exercise by one
occupying an improper and adulterous relation to testator, the mere fact that some influence is
exercised by a person sustaining that relation does not invalidate a will, unless it is further
shown that the influence destroys the testators free agency.
The burden is upon the parties challenging the will to show that undue influence existed
at the time of its execution. While it is shown that the testator entertained strong affections for
Rosario Lopez, it does not appear that her influence so overpowered and subjugated his mind as
to destroy his free agency and make him express the will of another rather than his own. Mere
affection, even if illegitimate, is not undue influence and does not invalidate a will.
Influence gained by kindness and affection will not be regarded as undue, if no
imposition or fraud be practiced, even though it induces the testator to make an unequal and
45

unjust disposition of his property in favor of those who have contributed to his comfort and
ministered to his wants, if such disposition is voluntarily made.

46

VI. Institution, Preterition, and Substitution

1. Aznar vs. Duncan
G.R. No. L-24365; J une 30, 1966
17 SCRA 590

FACTS:
Edward E. Christensen died leaving a will which was admitted to probate in the Court of
First Instance. The court declared that Helen Garcia was a natural child of the deceased. The
Court of First Instance equally divided the properties of the estate of Christensen between Lucy
Duncan, whom testator expressly recognized in his will as his daughter, and Helen Garcia. In the
order, the CFI held that Helen Garcia was preterited in the will thus, the institution of Lucy
Duncan as heir was annulled and the properties passed to both of them as if the deceased died
intestate.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the estate should be equally divided; and
2. Whether or not there was preterition of Helen Garcia in the will.

RULING:
1. The inheritance of Lucy should be merely reduced to cover the legitime of Helen
Garcia.
Christensen refused to acknowledge Helen Garcia as his natural daughter and limited her
share to a legacy of P3,600.00. When a testator leaves to a forced heir a legacy worth less than
the legitime, but without referring to the legatee as an heir or even as a relative, and willed the
rest of the estate to other persons, the heir could not ask that the institution of the heirs be
annulled entirely, but only that the legitime be completed.
2. The testator did not entirely omit Helen Garcia, but left her a legacy of P3,600.00. The
fact that she was subsequently declared judicially to possess such status is no reason to assume
that had the judicial declaration come during testator's lifetime his subjective attitude towards her
would have undergone any change and that he would have willed his estate equally to her and to
Lucy Duncan, who alone was expressly recognized by him.

2. Nuguid vs. Nuguid
G.R. No. L-23445; J une 23, 1966
17 SCRA 448

FACTS:
Rosario Nuguid, testator in the holographic will, died single and without descendants,
legitimate or illegitimate. Surviving her were her legitimate parents, Felix Nuguid and Paz
Salonga Nuguid, and six brothers and sisters, namely: Alfredo, Federico, Remedios, Conrado,
Lourdes and Alberto, all surnamed Nuguid.
On May 18, 1963, Remedios Nuguid, sister of Rosario, filed in the Court of First Instance
of Rizal a holographic will allegedly executed by Rosario Nuguid on November 17, 1951, some
11 years before her death. The will stated as follows:
Nov. 17, 1951
I, ROSARIO NUGUID, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, having
amassed a certain amount of property, do hereby give, devise, and bequeath all of the
property which I may have when I die to my beloved sister Remedios Nuguid, age 34,
47

residing with me at 38-B Iriga, Q.C. In witness whereof, I have signed my name this
seventh day of November, nineteen hundred and fifty-one.
(Sgd.) Illegible
T/ ROSARIO NUGUID
Remedios prayed that said will be admitted to probate and that letters of administration
with the will annexed be issued to her. This was opposed by the parents of Rosario, Felix and
Paz.
The parents opposed on the ground of preterition. The CFI of Rizal decided in favor of
the parents and declared that there was indeed preterition of compulsory heirs.
Petitioner insists that the compulsory heirs were simply ineffectively disinherited and that
they are entitled to receive their legitimes, but that the institution of heir "is not invalidated,"
although the inheritance of the heir so instituted is reduced to the extent of said legitimes.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a part of the will, when preterition has been declared, may be considered
to still be valid with respect to the free portion of the will.

RULING:
No, preterition has an effect of completely nullifying the will. Article 854 of the Civil
Code states that (T)he preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the
direct line, whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the
testator, shall annul the institution of heir; but the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as
they are not inofficious.
The deceased Rosario Nuguid left no descendants, legitimate or illegitimate. But she left
forced heirs in the direct ascending line her parents. The will completely omits both of them.
They thus received nothing by the testament; tacitly, they were deprived of their legitime; neither
were they expressly disinherited. This is a clear case of preterition.
It cannot be gleaned in the will that any specific legacies or bequests are therein provided
for. It is in this posture that the Supreme Court held that the nullity is complete. Perforce,
Rosario Nuguid died intestate.
Remedios claim that the will should only be nullified as to the part of the legitime and
that she should thus be considered a devisee or legatee is without merit. The law requires that the
institution of devisees and legatees must be expressly stated in the will. Such was not present.
Also, the omission of the parents in the will cannot be interpreted as a form of
disinheritance as the law also requires that, for disinheritance to be proper, the disinheritance
should be clearly and expressly stated in the will. Absent that, no inference of disinheritance may
be had.

3. Acain vs. I ntermediate Appellate Court
G.R. No. 72706; October 27, 1987
155 SCRA 100

FACTS:
Constantino Acain filed on the Regional Trial Court a petition for the probate of the will
of his late Uncle, Nemesio Acain, on the premise that the latter died leaving a will in which the
former and his brothers and sisters were instituted as heirs. After the petition was set for hearing
in the lower court, Virginia Fernandez and Rosa Diongson, a legally adopted daughter and the
widow of the deceased respectively, filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that: (1)
Constantino Acain has no legal capacity to institute the proceedings; (2) he is merely a universal
heir; and (3) the widow and the adopted daughter have been pretirited. Said motion was denied
48

as well as the subsequent motion for reconsideration. Consequently, Fernandez and Diongson
filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
which was subsequently referred to the Intermediate Appellate Court. IAC granted Fernandez
and Diongsons petition and ordered the trial court to dismiss the petition for probate of the will.
Due to the denial of Acains motion for reconsideration, he then filed a petition for review on
certiorari before the Supreme Court.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Virginia Fernandez and Rosa Diongson have been pretirited.

RULING:
Article 854 of the Civil Code:
The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory
heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the execution
of the will or born after the death of the testator, shall annul the
institution of heir; but the devisees and legacies shall be valid
insofar as they are not inofficious.
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die before the testator, the
institution shall be effectual, without prejudice to the right of
representation.
Preterition consists in the omission in the testators will of the forced heirs or anyone of
them either because they are not mentioned therein, or though mentioned, they are neither
instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. Insofar as the widow is concerned, Article 854
may not apply as she does not ascend or descend from the testator, although she is a compulsory
heir. However, the same thing cannot be said of the legally adopted daughter. Under Article 39
of P.D. No. 603, known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, adoption gives to the adopted
person the same rights and duties as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter and makes the
adopted person a legal heir of the adopter. It cannot be denied that she was totally omitted and
preterited in the will and that both the adopted child and the widow were deprived of at least
their legitime. Neither can it be denied that they were not expressly disinherited. Hence, this is a
clear case of preterition of the legally adopted child.
The universal institution of Acain together with his brothers and sisters to the entire
inheritance of the testator results in totally abrogating the will because the nullification of such
institution of universal heirs without any other testamentary disposition in the will amounts to a
declaration that nothing at all was written.

4. Rodriguez vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-29264; August 29, 1969
27 SCRA 546

FACTS:
Nieves Cruz sold her one-half undivided share of a parcel of land to the spouses Atanacio
Valenzuela and Maximina Victorio and to Liberate Santos from whom she had received partial
payments.
Pursuant to a partition between Nieves Cruz and her brother, Emilio Cruz, the entire land
was subdivided into two lots. Nieves Cruz sold the property in question to Barbara Lombos
Rodriguez, her "balae" because the latter's son was married to her daughter. Nieves Cruz,
through counsel, gave notice to Atanacio Valenzuela, Maximina Victorio and Liberata Santos of
her decision to rescind the original agreement. The latter refused.
49

Nieves Cruz hailed defendants Atanacio Valenzuela, Maximina Victorio and Liberate
Santos before the Court in the instant action for rescission. Pending the proceedings, Nieves Cruz
died and was accordingly substituted by her surviving children. The trial court, finding for
Nieves Cruz and her buyer, Barbara Lombos Rodriguez, and against defendants, rendered
judgment. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the rescission of the second sale was valid.

RULING:
Yes. The sale was established and recognized in the land registration proceedings. The
pertinent certificates of title bear the annotation of the right of Atanacio Valenzuela, et al. The
final decision of the land court to the effect that Nieves Cruz had sold her undivided share to
Atanacio Valenzuela, et al., and had received a partial payment of P22,000 is beyond judicial
review, and, because a land registration case is a proceeding in rem, binds even Rodriguez.
The estate of Nieves Cruz is liable to Barbara Lombos Rodriguez for the return to the
latter of the sum of P77,216, less the amount which Atanacio Valenzuela, et al. had deposited
with the trial court in accordance with the decision of respondent Court. The heirs of Nieves
Cruz are not liable to make the refund. These heirs are liable for restitution only to the extent of
their individual inheritance from Nieves Cruz.



50

VII. Conditions, Terms, and Modes:

1. Natividad vs. Gabino
G.R. No. L-11386; March 31, 1917
36 Phil. 663

FACTS:
Tiburcio Salvador executed a notarial will and instituted his grandchildren Emilio and
Purificacion as sole heirs. However, he left a legacy for Basilia Gabino in the sixth clause which
states: I bequeath to Basilia Gabino, the ownership and dominion of the urban property,
consisting of a house and lot in Calle Lavezares If the said legatee should die, Lorenzo
Salvador shall be obliged to deliver the same to my grandson Emilio, upon payment of the latter
to the former of Four Thousand Pesos.
Executor Emilio presented a project of partition wherein it was stated therein that the
sixth clause should be interpreted as giving the right of usufruct only to Basilia, and a general
legacy in favor of Lorenzo Salvador of P4,000 whenever Basilia should die, but that the
ownership belongs to Emilio. Basilica, through counsel, opposed claiming ownership over the
legacy.
The CFI ruled that ownership and dominion should be given to Basilia, subject to
reservation made in behalf of Lorenzo and Emilio.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the conditional will made by Tiburcio Salvador was valid.

RULING:
The court affirmed the decision.
A person is entirely free to make his will in such a manner as may best please him
provided the testamentary provision conform to law and meet its requirements. The testator may
impose a condition in his will touching either the institution of heirs or the designation of
legatees. And when the condition imposed upon the latter do not fall with the provision of the
articles of the Civil Code relative to heirs and legatees, such conditions shall be governed by the
rules for conditional obligation.
The condition imposed by the testator in the double legacy mentioned depends upon the
happening of the event constituting the condition, to wit, the death of the legatee Basilia Gabino,
a perfectly legal condition according to Article 1114 of the Civil code, as it is not impossible of
performance and is not contrary to law or public morals, as provided in article 1116 of said code.
The moment the legatee Gabino dies the other legatee, Lorenzo Salvador, is obliged to
deliver the property to the heir Emilio Natividad who, in his turn and in exchange, must pay the
legatee Salvador the sum of P4,000, thereby fulfilling the double legacy contained in the said
sixth clause of the will, the first of these legacies being the voluntary reservation to Basilia
Gabino of the ownership of the said house, and the second, the conditional legacy of P4,000 to
Lorenzo Salvador.
Testator provided in his will that the dominion ownership and possession shall be
delivered to Basilia subject to the condition that upon her death it would revert to testators
grandson, provided the latter pays P4,000 to Lorenzo. If the provisions of article 675 of the Civil
Code are to be complied with, it cannot be understood that the testator meant to bequeath to
Basilia Gabino the mere usufruct of the property, inasmuch as, by unmistakable language
employed in the said sixth clause, he bequeathed her the ownership or dominion of the said
property.

51

2. Rabadilla vs. CA
G.R. No. 113725; J une 29, 2000

FACTS:
In the codicil of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla was instituted as a devisee of
a lot, containing the following provisions:
1. Rabadilla shall have the obligation until he dies, every year, to give to Belleza 100
piculs of sugar until Belleza dies;
2. Should Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give the lot shall have to obligation to
still give yearly the sugar as specified to Belleza;
3. In the event that the lot is sold, leased or mortgaged, the buyer, lessee, mortgagee, shall
have also the obligation to respect and deliver yearly sugar to Belleza. Should the command be
not respected, Belleza shall immediately seize the lot and turn it over to the testatrix near
descendants.
Rabadilla died and did not observe the obligations mentioned in the will.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the obligations of Rabadilla under the codicil were inherited by his heirs.

RULING:
The obligations imposed by the Codicil on the deceased Dr. Jorge Rabadilla, were
transmitted to his compulsory heirs upon his death.
This is not a case of simple substitution. The codicil did not provide that should
Rabadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the testatrix near descendants
would substitute him.
Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution. Here, the instituted heir is in fact allowed
under the Codicil to alienate the property provided the negotiation is with the near descendants
or the sister of the testatrix. Also, the near descendants right to inherit from the testatrix is not
definite. It will only pass to them if the obligation to deliver is not fulfilled. Moreover, a
fideicommissary substitution is void if the first heir is not related by first degree to the second
degree. In this case, the near descendants are not at all related to Dr. Rabadilla.
This is also not a conditional institution. The testatrix did not make Rabadillas
inheritance dependent on the performance of the said obligation. Since testamentary dispositions
are generally acts of liberality, an obligation imposed upon the heir should not be considered a
condition unless it clearly appears from the will itself that such was the intention of the testator.
In case of doubt, the institution should be considered as modal and not conditional.
The manner of institution is modal because it imposes a charge upon the instituted heir
without affecting the efficacy of such institution. A mode imposes an obligation upon the heir or
legatee but it does not affect the efficacy of his rights to the succession. In a conditional
testamentary disposition, the condition must happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be
entitled to succeed the testator. The condition suspends but does not obligate. The mode
obligates but does not suspend.



52

VIII. Legitime, Compulsory Heirs and Collation:

1. Vizconde vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 118449; February 11, 1998

FACTS:
Spouses Lauro Vizconde and Estrellita Nicolas had two children namely, Carmela and
Jennifer. Estrellita is one of the five children of spouses Rafael Nicolas and Salud Gonzales. The
private respondent herein is a brother of Estrellita.
Estrellita purchased from Rafael a parcel of land which was afterwards sold to Amelia
Lim and Natividad Chiu. Estrellita purchased again from Premier Homes a parcel of land with
improvements. Thereafter, an unfortunate event happened when Estrellita and her daughters
were killed. Consequently, Lauro entered into an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of
Deceased Estrellita Nicolas-Vizconde with Waiver of Shares with his wifes parents. The
settlement gave fifty percent (50%) of the total amount of the bank deposits of Estrellita and her
daughters to Rafael and the other fifty percent (50%) to Lauro. The car and the property were
given to Lauro and to Estrellitas parents but the latter waived all their claims, rights, ownership
and participation as heirs in the said properties. Not long after, Rafael died and to settle his
estate, Teresita (one of his children) instituted an instestate estate proceeding and prayed to be
appointed Special Administratix of Rafaels estate. Further, she sought to be appointed as Salud
and Ricardos guardian of which Ramon filed an opposition. Private respondent filed another
opposition alleging that Estrellita was given the Valuenzela property and subsequently, he filed
his own petition averring that the legitime of Salud and Ricardo should come from the collation
of all the properties distributed to his children by Rafael during his lifetime. Ramon stated that
Lauro is one of Rafaels children by right of representation as the widower of the deceased
legitimate daughter, Estrellita. In a consolidated order, RTC appointed Ramon as the guardian of
Salud and Ricardo while Teresita was appointed as the Special Administratix of Rafaels estate
however, Ramon was afterwards removed as guardian for selling his wards property without the
courts knowledge and permission.
RTC then ordered Lauro to file any appropriate petition or motion related to the pending
petition insofar as the case is concerned and to file any opposition to any pending motion that has
been filed by Ramon and Teresita. Lauro fied a Manifestation stressing that he was neither a
compulsory heir nor an intestate heir of Rafael and he has no interest to participate in the
proceedings. However, despite this manifestation, Ramon moved to include Lauro in the
intestate estate proceeding and asked that the Paraaque property, the car and the balance of the
proceeds of the sale of the Valenzuela property be collated, which the trial court granted. Lauro
filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Lauro filed a petition for certiorari and
prohibition before the Court of Appeals but the same was denied. Hence, this action.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Paraaque property is subject to collation.

RULING:
Basic principles of collation:
Article 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other
compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any
property or right which he may have received from the decedent,
during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other
gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the
determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of
the partition.
53

Collation is the act by virtue of which descendants or other forced heirs who intervene in
the division of the inheritance of an ascendant bring into the common mass the property which
they received from him, so that the division may be made according to law and the will of the
testator. Collation is only required of compulsory heirs succeeding with other compulsory heirs
and involves property or rights received by donation or gratuitous title during the lifetime of the
decedent.
The attendant facts herein do not make a case of collation: 1) The probate court erred in
ordering the inclusion of petitioner in the intestate estate proceeding. Petitioner, a son-in-law of
Rafael, is not one of the latters compulsory heirs; 2) As a rule, the probate court may pass upon
and determine the title or ownership of a property which may or may not be included in the
estate proceedings. Such determination is provisional in character and is subject to final decision
in a separate action to resolve title. In the case at bench, however, we note that the probate court
went beyond the scope of its jurisdiction when it proceeded to determine the validity of the sale
of the Valenzuela property between Rafael and Estrellita and ruled that the transfer between the
concerned parties was gratuitous. The interpretation of the deed and the true intent of the
contracting parties, as well as the presence or absence of consideration, are matters outside the
probate courts jurisdiction; 3) The order of the probate court subjecting the Paraaque property
to collation is premature. Records indicate that the intestate estate proceedings is still in its
initiatory stage; 4) Even on the assumption that collation is appropriate in this case, the probate
court, nonetheless, made a reversible error in ordering collation of the Paraaque property. We
note that what was transferred to Estrellita by way of deed of sale, is the Valenzuela property.
The Paraaque property which Estrellita acquired by using the proceeds of the sale of the
Valenzuela property does not become collationable simply by reason thereof. Indeed, collation of
the Paraaque property has no statutory basis; and 5) it is futile for the probate court to ascertain
whether or not Valenzuela property may be brought to collation. It should be stressed that
Estrellita died ahead of Rafael.


54

IX. Reserva Troncal:

1. Sienes vs. Esparcia
G.R. No. L-12957; March 24, 1961
1 SCRA 750

FACTS:
Lot 3368 originally belonged to Saturnino Yaeso. With his first wife, Teresa Ruales, he
had four children named Agaton, Fernando, Paulina and Cipriana, while with his second wife,
Andrea Gutang, he had an only son named Francisco. According to the cadastral records of
Ayuquitan, the properties left by Saturnino upon his death were left to his children as follows:
Lot 3366 to Cipriana, Lot 3367 to Fernando, Lot 3375 to Agaton, Lot 3377 (southern portion) to
Paulina, and Lot 3368 (western portion) to Francisco. As a result of the cadastral proceedings, an
OCT covering Lot 3368 was issued in the name of Francisco.
Because Francisco was a minor at the time, his mother administered the property for him,
declared it in her name for taxation purposes, and paid the taxes due thereon. When Francisco
died at the age of 20, single and without any descendant, his mother, as his sole heir, executed
the public instrument and sold the property in question to appellants in consideration of the sum
of P800.00. Andrea Gutang died on December 13, 1951, the lone reservee surviving her being
Cipriana Yaeso who died only on January 13, 1952. Said vendees demanded from Paulina and
her husband, the surrender of the OCT which was in their possession, the latter refused, thus
giving rise to the filing of the corresponding motion in the cadastral, which was denied.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the reservable property in question is part of and must be reverted to the
estate of Cipriana Yaeso.

RULING:
As held by the trial court, it is clear upon the facts already stated, that the land in question
was reservable property.
In connection with reservable property, the weight of opinion is that the reserve creates
two resolutory conditions, namely, (1) the death of the ascendant obliged to reserve and (2) the
survival, at the time of his death, of relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from
which the property came. This Court has held in connection with this matter that the reservista
has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to a resolutory condition;
that he is like a life usufructuary of the reservable property; that he may alienate the same but
subject to reservation, said alienation transmitting only the revocable and conditional ownership
of the reservists, the rights acquired by the transferee being revoked or resolved by the survival
of reservatarios at the time of the death of the reservista.
The sale made by Andrea Gutang in favor of appellees was, therefore, subject to the
condition that the vendees would definitely acquire ownership, by virtue of the alienation, only if
the vendor died without being survived by any person entitled to the reservable property.
Inasmuch much as when Andrea Gutang died, Cipriana Yaeso was still alive, the conclusion
becomes inescapable that the previous sale made by the former in favor of appellants became of
no legal effect and the reservable property subject matter thereof passed in exclusive ownership
to Cipriana.
On the other hand, it is also clear that the sale executed by the sisters Paulina and
Cipriana Yaeso in favor of the spouses Fidel Esparcia and Paulina Sienes was subject to a similar
resolutory condition. The reserve instituted by law in favor of the heirs within the third degree
belonging to the line from which the reservable property came, constitutes a real right which the
reservee may alienate and dispose of, albeit conditionally, the condition being that the alienation
55

shall transfer ownership to the vendee only if and when the reservee survives the person obliged
to reserve. In the present case, Cipriana Yaeso, one of the reservees, was still alive when Andrea
Gutang, the person obliged to reserve, died. Thus the former became the absolute owner of the
reservable property upon Andrea's death. While it may be true that the sale made by her and her
sister prior to this event, became effective because of the occurrence of the resolutory condition,
we are not now in a position to reverse the appealed decision, in so far as it orders the reversion
of the property in question to the Estate of Cipriana Yaeso, because the vendees did not appeal
therefrom.

2. Edroso vs. Sablan
G.R. No. 6878; September 13, 1913
25 Phil. 295

FACTS:
Spouses Marcelina Edroso and Victoriano Sablan had a son named, Pedro who inherited
two parcels of land upon the death of his father. Subsequently, Pedro died, unmarried and
without issue, the two parcels of land passed through inheritance to his mother. Hence the
hereditary title whereupon is based the application for registration of her ownership. The two
uncles of Pedro, Pablo and Basilio Sablan (legitimate brothers of Victoriano) opposed the
registration claiming that either the registration be denied or if granted to her, the right reserved
by law to them be recorded in the registration of each parcel. The Court of Land Registration
denied the registration holding that the land in question partake of the nature of property required
by law to be reserved and that in such a case application could only be presented jointly in the
names of the mother and the said two uncles. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the property in question is in the nature of a reservable property; and
2. Whether or not Marcelina Edroso has the absolute title of the property to cause its
registration.

RULING:
A very definite conclusions of law is that the hereditary title is one without a valuable
consideration (gratuitous tile), and it is so characterized in Article 968 of the Civil Code, for he
who acquires by inheritance gives nothing in return for what he receives; and a very definite
conclusion of law also is that the uncles are within the third degree of blood relationship.
Article 811. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant
property which the latter acquired without a valuable
consideration from another descendant, or form a brother or
sister, is under obligation to reserve what he has acquired by
operation of law for the relatives who are within the third degree
and belong to the line where the property proceeded.
Marcelina Edroso, ascendant of Pedro Sablan, inherited from him the two parcels of land
which he had acquired without a valuable consideration that is, by inheritance from another
ascendant, his father Victoriano. Having acquire them by operation of law, she is obligated to
relatives within the third degree and belong to the line of Mariano Sablan and Maria Rita
Fernandez (parents of Victoriano), where the lands proceeded. The trial courts ruling that they
partake of the nature property required by law to be reserved is therefore in accordance with the
law.
The conclusion is that the person required by Article 811 to reserve the right has, beyond
any doubt at all, the rights to use and usufruct. He has, moreover, the legal title and dominion,
although under a condition subsequent. Clearly he has under an express provision of the law the
56

right to dispose of the property reserved, and to dispose of is to alienate, although under a
condition. He has the right to recover it, because he is the one who possesses or should possess it
and have title to it, although a limited and revocable one. In a word, the legal title and dominion,
even though under a condition, reside in him while he lives. After the right required by law to be
reserved has been assured, he can do anything that a genuine owner can do.
On the other hadnt, the relatives within the third degree in whose favor of the right is
reserved cannot dispose of the property, first because it is no way, either actually or
constructively or formally, in their possession; and moreover, because they have no title of
ownership or of the fee simple which they can transmit to another, on the hypothesis that only
when the person who must reserve the right should die before them will they acquire it.

3. Chua vs. Court of First I nstance
G.R. No. L-29901; August 31, 1977
78 SCRA 414

FACTS:
In the first marriage of Jose Frias Chua with Patricia S. Militar, alias Sy Quio, he sired
three children, namely: Ignacio, Lorenzo and Manuel. When Patricia died, Jose Frias Chua
contracted a second marriage with Consolacion de la Torre with whom he had a child by the
name of Juanita Frias Chua. Manuel died without leaving any issue.
Then in 1929, Jose died intestate leaving his widow Consolacion and his son Juanito of
the second marriage and sons Ignacio and Lorenzo of his first marriage.In the Intestate
Proceeding, the lower court issued an order adjudicating, among others, the one-half portion of
Lot No. 399 and the sum of P8,000.00 in favor of Jose's widow, Consolacion, the other half of
Lot No. 399 in favor of Juanito; P3,000.00 in favor of Lorenze; and P1,550.00 in favor of
Ignacio. By virtue of said adjudication, a TCT was issued by the Register of Deeds in the names
of Consolacion and Juanito.
On February 27, 1952, Juanito died intestate without any issue. After his death, his
mother Consolacion succeeded to his pro-indivisio share of Lot No. 399. In a week's time,
Consolacion executed a declaration of heirship adjudicating in her favor the pro-indiviso share of
her son Juanito as a result of which a TCT covering the whole lot was issued in her name. Then
on March 5, 1966, Consolacion died intestate leaving no direct heir either in the descending or
ascending line except her brother and sisters.
In the "Intestate Estate of Consolacion de la Torre", the petitioners herein, Ignacio, of the
first marriage and Dominador and Remedios Chua, the supposed legitimate children of the
deceased Lorenzo Chua, also of the first marriage filed the complaint before the respondent CFI
of Negros Occidental, praying that the one-half portion of Lot No. 399 which formerly belonged
to Juanito but which passed to Consolacion upon the latter's death, be declared as a reservable
property for the reason that the lot in question was subject to reserval troncal pursuant to Art. 981
of the Civil Code.
The respondent Court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint of petitioner.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the property in question was acquired by Juanito Frias Chua from his
father Jose Frias Chua gratuitously, making it reservable.

RULING:
Yes. It matters not whether the property transmitted be or be not subject to any prior
charges; what is essential is that the transmission be made gratuitously, or by an act of mere
liberality of the person making it, without imposing any obligation on the part of the recipient;
57

and that the person receiving the property gives or does nothing in return. It is evident from the
record that the transmission of the property in question to Juanito Frias Chua upon the death of
his father Jose Frias Chua was by means of a hereditary succession and therefore gratuitous.
The obligation of paying the Standard Oil Co. of New York the amount of P3,971.20 is
imposed upon Consolacion and Juanito not personally by the deceased Jose in his last will and
testament but by an order of the court in the Testate Proceeding. As long as the transmission of
the property to the heirs is free from any condition imposed by the deceased himself and the
property is given out of pure generosity, it is gratuitous. It does not matter if later the court orders
one of the heirs, in this case Juanito, to pay the Standard Oil Co. This does not change the
gratuitous nature of the transmission of the property to him. This being the case the lot in
question is subject to reserva troncal under Art, 891.
ART. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which
the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or
sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law
for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from
which said property came.
In order that a property may be impressed with a reservable character the following
requisites must exist: (1) that the property was acquired by a descendant from an ascendant or
from a brother or sister by gratuitous title; (2) that said descendant died without an issue; (3) that
the property is inherited by another ascendant by operation of law; and (4) that there are relatives
within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came.
In this case, all of the foregoing requisites are present. Juanito died intestate; he died
without leaving any issue; his pro-indiviso of 1/2 share of Lot No. 399 was acquired by his
mother; Juanito who died intestate had relatives within the third degree. These relatives are
Ignacio and Dominador and Remidios, the supposed legitimate children of the deceased Lorenzo,
who are the petitioners herein.

4. Lacerna vs. Vda. de Corcino
G.R. No. L-14603; April 29, 1961
1 SCRA 1226

FACTS:
Valentine Marbebe begot a daughter, Jacoba Marbebe, before his marriage with
Bonifacia Lacerna. Valentine and Bonificia had an only son, Juan.
Valentine and Bonifacia died leaving three parcels of land to their only son Juan. Juan,
then, executed a power of attorney authorizing the sister of his mother or his aunt, Agatona Vda.
de Corcino take care of the disputed land. Eventually, Juan died intestate and without any issue.
The Court of First Instance declared that the land is property of Jacoba being the half sister of
Juan. Agatona Vda. de Corcino and the nephews and nieces of Bonifacia questioned the
decision of the court. According to them, the case should be based upon Article 891 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines which establishes what is known as "reserva troncal." According to
them, under this principle, the properties in dispute should pass to the heirs of the deceased
within the third degree, who belong to the line from which said properties came. Thus, since
Juan Marbebe inherited the land from his mother, they should go to his nearest relative within
the third degree on the maternal line or to his aunt and cousins and not to Jacoba Marbebe for she
belongs to the paternal line. This, however, was protested by Jacoba Marbebe. She contended
that pursuant to Arts. 1003 to 1009 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, brothers and sisters
exclude all other collateral relatives in the order of intestate succession, and that, as Juan
Marbebe's half-sister, she has, accordingly, a better right than plaintiffs herein to inherit his
properties.

58

ISSUE:
Whether or not the lands left by Juan were reservable.

RULING:
The provision on reserve troncal cannot be applied in this case. In reserve troncal, the
ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by
gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property
as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third
degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. (Emphasis supplied.) This
article applies only to properties inherited, under the conditions therein set forth, by an ascendant
from a descendant, and this is not the scenario in the given case, for the lands in dispute were
inherited by a descendant, Juan Marbebe, from an ascendant, his mother, Bonifacia Lacerna.
Said legal provision is, therefore, not applicable in this case.
Furthermore, the Trial Judge, correctly awarded the land to Jacoba Marbebe. The said
decision is in accordance with the order prescribed for intestate succession, particularly Articles
1003 to 1009 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, pursuant to which a sister, even if only a half-
sister, in the absence of other sisters or brothers, or of children of brothers or sisters, excludes all
other collateral relatives, regardless of whether or not the latter belong to the line from which the
property of the deceased came.
Based on the foregoing, Jacoba Marbebe has the better right to succeed Juan.

5. Florentino vs. Florentino
G.R. No. L-14856; November 15, 1919
40 Phil. 480

FACTS:
Apolonio Jr.s first marriage to Antonia produced nine children. Antonia died so
Apolonio contracted a second marriage with Severina with whom he had two children Merces
and Apolonio III. Out of Apolonios children by Antonia, three remained unmarried until their
respective deaths. The petitioners in this case are the surviving children of Apolonios children
by Antonia along with the heirs of Apolonios other married children who had since died.
Apolonio died on February 13, 1890, survived by his window Severina and his ten
children. His second child Apolonio III by Severina was born after his death.
On January 17 and February 13, 1890, Apolonio Isabelo Florentino executed a will
before the notary public of Ilocos Sur, instituting as his universal heirs his ten children, his
widow Severina and his yet unborn son Apolonio III. He declared that his propery should be
divided equally among his children.
Among the properties received by Apolonio III were the properties marked A, B, C, D, E
and F. Apolonio III died in 1891 and his mother succeeded to all his property described in the
complaint. When Severina died, she left a will designating her daughter Mercedes as the
universal heiress. Mercedes took possession of her mothers property, including the properties
marked A to F which Severina inherited from her son. Mercedes had been gathering the fruits of
the said properties for herself.
The surviving children of Apolonio II by Antonia argue that they should each be entitled
to 1/7 of the fruits of the said properties on the ground that Severina inherited the property from
her son Apolonio III as reservable property.
The CFI judge absolved Mercedes from the complaint.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the property in question is reservable property.
59


RULING:
Yes. Even if Severina left in her will said property, together with her own, to her only
daughter and forced heiress, Mercedes Florentino, nevertheless this property had not lost its
reservable nature inasmuch as it originated from the common ancestor of the litigants, Apolonio
Jr.
The right of the nearest relative, called reservatario, over the property which the
reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to him, excludes that of the one
more remote. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a
reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree
belonging to the line from which such property came from.
Nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within
the third degree, mentioned by law, as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom
the reservable property came. These reservatarios have the right to represent their ascendants
(fathers and mothers) who are the brothers of the said deceased person and relatives within the
third degree.
In this case it is conceded without denial by defendants, that the plaintiffs are the
legitimate children of the first marriage of the deceased Apolonio Jr. to Antonia. There are then
seven "reservatarios" who are entitled to the reservable property left at the death of Apolonio III:
Encarnacion, Gabriel, Magdalena; his three children, Jose, Espirita and Pedro who are
represented by their own twelve children respectively; and Mercedes Florentino, his daughter by
a second marriage.

6. Gonzales vs. Court of First I nstance
G.R. No. L-34395; May 19, 1981
104 SCRA 481

FACTS:
Benito Legarda y De la Paz, the son of Benito Legarda y Tuason, died in Manila on June
17, 1933. He was survived by his widow, Filomena Races, and their seven children: four
daughters named Beatriz, Rosario, Teresa and Filomena and three sons named Benito, Alejandro
and Jose.
On July 12, 1939, the real properties left by Benito Legarda y Tuason were partitioned in
three equal portions by his daughters, Consuelo and Rita, and the heirs of his deceased son
Benito Legarda y De la Paz who were represented by Benito F. Legarda.
Filomena Legarda y Races died intestate and without issue on March 19, 1943. Her sole
heiress was her mother, Filomena Races Vda. de Legarda.
Mrs. Legarda on March 6, 1953 executed two handwritten Identical documents wherein
she disposed of the properties, which she inherited from her daughter, in favor of the children of
her sons, Benito, Alejandro and Jose (sixteen grandchildren in all).
In the testate proceeding, Beatriz Legarda Gonzales, a daughter of the testatrix, filed on
May 20, 1968 a motion to exclude from the inventory of her mother's estate the properties which
she inherited from her deceased daughter, Filomena, on the ground that said properties
are reservable properties which should be inherited by Filomena Legarda's three sisters and three
brothers and not by the children of Benito, Alejandro and Jose, all surnamed Legarda. That
motion was opposed by the administrator, Benito F. Legarda.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the disputed properties are reservable properties under article 891 of
the Civil Code, formerly article 811; and
60

2. Whether or not Filomena Races Vda. de Legarda could dispose of them in his will in
favor of her grandchildren to the exclusion of her six children.

RULING:
1. Yes. The properties in question were reservable properties in the hands of Mrs.
Legarda. Undoubtedly, she was a reservor. The reservation became a certainty when at the time
of her death the reservees or relatives within the third degree of the propositus Filomena Legarda
were living.
2. No, Mrs. Legarda could not convey in her holographic will to her sixteen
grandchildren the reservable properties which she had inherited from her daughter Filomena
because the reservable properties did not form part of her estate. The reservor cannot make a
disposition mortis causa of the reservable properties as long as the reservees survived the
reservor.
As repeatedly held in the Cano and Padura cases, the reservees inherit the reservable
properties from theprepositus, not from the reservor.
Article 891 clearly indicates that the reservable properties should be inherited by all the
nearest relatives within the third degree from the prepositus who in this case are the six children
of Mrs. Legarda. She could not select the reservees to whom the reservable property should be
given and deprive the other reservees of their share therein.

7. Padura vs. Baldovino
G.R. No. L-11960; December 27, 1958
104 Phil. 1065

FACTS:
Agustin Padura contracted two marriages during his lifetime. With his first wife Gervacia
Landig, he had one child, Manuel Padura. With the second wife, Benita Garing, he had two
children, Fortunato and Candelaria Padura.
Agustin died leaving a last will and testament wherein he bequeathed his properties
among his three children and his surviving spouse Benita. Fortunato was adjudicated four parcels
of land. He died unmarried without having executed a will and not having any issue. The parcels
of land were inherited exclusively by his mother Benita. Benita was issued a Torrens Certificate
of Title in her name, subject to the condition that the properties were reservable in favor of
relatives within the third degree belonging to the line from which said property came. Candelaria
died, leaving as her heirs her four legitimate children: Cristeta, Melania, Anicia, and Pablo
Baldovino (oppositors). Manuel also died, survived by his legitimate children Dionisia, Felisa,
Flora, Cornelio, Francisco, Juana, and Severino Padura (Petitioners).
Upon the death of Benita the heirs took possession of the reservable properties. The
Court of First Instance declared the children of Manuel and Candelaria to be the rightful
reservees, and as such, entitled to the reservable properties (the original reservees, Candelaria
and Manuel, having predeceased the reservista.
The Baldovino heirs filed a petition seeking to have the properties partitioned, such that
one-half be adjudicated to them, and the other half to the appellees, allegedly on the basis that
they inherited by right of representation from their respective parents, the original reservees.
Padura heirs opposed. The trial court declared all the reservees, without distinction, "co-owners,
pro-indiviso, inequal shares of the parcels of land."

ISSUE:
Whether or not the reserved properties should be apportioned among the heirs equally.

61

RULING:
No. The nephews of the whole blood should take a share twice as large as that of the
nephews of the half blood.
Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of the reservable
property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally
came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant
(reservista). The purpose of reserva troncal is accomplished once the property has devolved to
the specified relatives of the line of origin. But from this time on, there is no further occasion for
its application.

8. Tioco-De Papa vs. Tongco-Camacho
G.R. No. L-28032; September 24, 1986
144 SCRA 281

FACTS:
The plaintiffs are the grandaunt and granduncles of the defendant, Dalisay. They have as
a common ancestor the late Balbino Tioco (who had a sister named Romana Tioco), father of the
plaintiffs and great grandfather of Dalisay. During the lifetime of Romana, she gratuitously
donated four (4) parcels of land to her niece Toribia Tioco (legitimate sister of plaintiffs). The
latter died intestate survived by her husband Estacio Dizon and their two (2) legitimate children,
Faustino and Trinidad (mother of Dalisay) and leaving the said four (4) parcels of land as the
inheritance of the children in equal pro-indiviso shares. Subsequently, Balbino died intestate,
survived by his legitimate children and his wife (among the plaintiffs) and legitimate
grandchildren, Faustino and Trinidad. In the partition of his estate, three (3) parcels of land were
adjudicated as the inheritance of Toribia but as she had predeceased her father, the said three (3)
parcesl of land devolved upon her two legitimate children, Faustino and Trinidad in equal pro-
inidiviso shares. Faustino died intestate, singled and without issue, leaving his one-half (1/2) pro-
indiviso share in the seven (7) parcels of land to his father, Eustacio, as his sole intestate heir,
who reserved the said property subject to a reserva troncal. When Trinidad died intestate, her
rights and interests in the land were inherited by her only child, Dalisay and not long after,
Eustacio died intestate survived also by his only legitimate child, Dalisay. Dalisay now owns
one-half (1/2) of all the seven (7) parcels of land as her inheritance from Trinidad. Dalisay also
claims the other half of the said parcels of land by virtue of reserva troncal imposed thereon
upon the death of Faustino but the plaintiffs opposed such claim because they claim three-fourths
(3/4) of the one-half pro-indiviso interst in said parcel of land, which was inherited by Eustacio
from Faustino, or three-eights (3/8) of the said parcels of land, by virtue of their being also third
degree relatives of Faustino. The lower court declared that the parties are entitled to one-half
(1/2) of the seven (7) parcels of land in dispute, as reservatarios, in equal proportions. Not
satisfied, the defendant appealed.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not all the relatives of the propositus within the third degree in the
appropriate line succeed without distinction to the reservable property upon the death of the
reservista; and
2. Whether or not the rights of the plaintiffs are subject to, and should be determined by,
the rules on intestate succession.

RULING:
Article 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any
property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title
from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to
62

reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law
for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who
belong to the line from which said property came.
The reserva troncal merely determines the group of relatives reservatarios to whom the
property should be returned, but within that group, the individual right to the property should be
decided by the applicable rules of ordinary intestate succession, since Article 891 does not
specify otherwise. This conclusion is strengthened by the circumstance that the reserva being an
exceptional case, its application should be limited to what is strictly needed to accomplish the
purpose of the law.
Reversion of the reservable property being governed by the rules on instestate succession, the
plaintiffs must be held without any right thereto because, as aunt and uncles, respectively, of
Faustino (the propositus), they are excluded from the succession by his niece, the defendant,
although they are related to him within the same degree as the latter. Had the reversionary
property passed directly from the propositus, there is no doubt that the plaintiffs would have
been excluded by the defendant under the rules of intestate succession. There is no reason why a
different result should obtain simply because the transmission of the property was delayed by
the interregnum of the reserva, i.e., the property took a detour through an ascendant thereby
govong rise to the reservation before its transmission to the reservatario.
Dalisay Tongko-Camacho is entitled to the entirety of the reversionary property to the
exclusion of the plaintiffs.

63

X. Intestate Succession

1. Rodriguez vs. Borja
G.R. No. L-21993; J une 21, 1966
17 SCRA 418

FACTS:
Respondents Apolonia Pangilinan and Adelaida Jacalan delivered to the Clerk of Court of
Bulacan a purported last will and testament of Father Celestino Rodriguez on March 4, 1963.
Meanwhile the petitioners Angela, Maria, Abelardo and Antonio, surnamed Rodriguez, filed a
petition before the court to examine the purported will but which was later withdrawn, and a
petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of Father Rodriguez was subsequently field in
another court in Rizal.
The petitioners now sought the dismissal of the special proceeding on the settlement of
the decedent's estate based on the purported will, questioning therefore the jurisdiction of the
Court of First Instance (CFI) of Bulacan. The movants contend that since the intestate
proceedings in the CFI of Rizal was filed at 8:00 A.M. on March 12, 1963 while the petition for
probate was filed in the CFI of Bulacan at 11:00 A.M. on the same date, the latter Court has no
jurisdiction to entertain the petition for probate. Pangilinan and Jacalan, on the other hand, take
the stand that the CFI of Bulacan acquired jurisdiction over the case upon delivery by them of
the will to the Clerk of Court on March 4, 1963, and that the case in this Court therefore has
precedence over the case filed in Rizal on March 12, 1963.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the CFI Bulacan had jurisdiction to proceed with the testate proceedings.

RULING:
Yes. The jurisdiction of the CFI of Bulacan became vested upon the delivery thereto of
the will of the late Father Rodriguez, even if no petition for its allowance was filed until later,
because upon the will being deposited the court could, motu proprio, have taken steps to fix the
time and place for proving the will, and issued the corresponding notices conformably to what is
prescribed by section 3, Rule 76, of the Revised Rules of Court.
Moreover, aside from the rule that the Court first taking cognizance of the settlement of
the estate of a decedent shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, intestate
succession is only subsidiary or subordinate to the testate, since intestacy only takes place in the
absence of a valid operative will.

2. De Los Santos vs. De La Cruz
G.R. No. L-29192; February 22, 1971

FACTS:
Pelagia de la Cruz died intestate and without issue. She had a niece named Marciana
who is the mother of defendant, Maximo. Gertrudes de los Santos, who is Pelagia's grandniece,
and several co-heirs including Maximo, entered into an Extrajudicial Partition Agreement
purposely for the distribution of Pelagia's estate. They agreed to adjudicate three lots to Maximo,
in addition to his share, on condition that the latter would undertake the development and
subdivision of the estate which was the subject matter of the agreement.
Due to Maximo's failure to comply with his obligation, Gertrudes filed a complaint for
specific performance. In Maximo's answer, he stated that Gertrudes had no cause of action
against him because the said agreement was void with respect to her, for the reason that she was
64

not an heir of Pelagia and was included in the agreement by mistake. The lower court held that
Maximo, being a party to the extrajudicial partition agreement, was estopped from raising in
issue the right of the plaintiff to inherit from Pelagia, hence, he must abide by the terms of the
agreement. Maximo filed a Motion for New Trial but was denied.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Gertrudes is an heir of the decedent, and has the right to participate in the
partition by representing her mother Marciana.

RULING:
Plaintiff-appellee being a mere grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz could not inherit from
the latter by right of representation.
In the present case, the relatives nearest in degree to Pelagia de la Cruz are her
nephews and nieces, one of whom is defendant-appellant. Necessarily, plaintiff-appellee, a
grandniece is excluded by law from the inheritance.
It is quite apparent that in executing the partition agreement, the parties thereto were
laboring under the erroneous belief that plaintiff was one of the legal heirs of Pelagia.
Plaintiff not being such an heir, the partition is void with respect to her, pursuant to
article 1105 of the Civil Code.
In view of the Foregoing Considerations, appellee is hereby sentenced to restore or
reconvey to him his corresponding share of property she has received under the extrajudicial
partition.

3. Abellana-De Bacayo vs. Ferraris-De Borromeo
G.R. No. L-19382; August 31, 1965
14 SCRA 986

FACTS:
Melodia Ferraris left properties in Cebu City consisting of 1/3 share in the estate of her aunt
Rosa Ferraris. Ten years have elapsed since the last time she was known to be alive, she was
declared presumptively dead for purposes of opening her estate to succession and distribute her it
among her heirs. Hence, a petition for the summary settlement of her estate was filed. Melodia
left no surviving descendant, ascendant or spouse, but was survived only by collateral relatives,
namely, Filomena Abellana de Bacayo (petitioner), an aunt and half-sister of decedent's father,
Anacleto Ferraris; and by Gaudencia, Catalina, Conchita, and Juanito, all surnamed Ferraris
(oppositors), her nieces and nephew, who were the children of Melodia's only brother of full
blood, Arturo Ferraris, who predeceased her (the decedent). These two classes of heirs claim to
be the nearest intestate heirs and seek to participate in the estate of Melodia.
The trial court ruled that the oppositors as children of the only predeceased brother of the
decedent, exclude the aunt (petitioner) of the same decedent reasoning out that the former are
nearer in degree (two degrees) than the latter since nieces and nephews succeed by right of
representation, while petitioner is three degrees distant from the decedent, and that other
collateral relatives are excluded by brothers or sisters or children of brothers or sisters of the
decedent in accordance with Article 1009 of the Civil Code.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the aunt concurs with the nephews and nieces of the decedent as intestate
heirs.

65

RULING:
As an aunt of the deceased she is as far distant as the nephews and nieces from the decedent
(to the third degree of consanguinity) since in the collateral line to which both kinds of relatives
belong, degrees are counted by first ascending to the common ancestor and descending to the
heir (Art. 966, Civil Code). Petitioner is likewise right in her contention that nephews and nieces
alone do not inherit by right of representation unless concurring with brothers or sisters of the
deceased, as provided expressly by Art. 975.
Nevertheless, the trial court was correct when it held that, in case of intestacy, nephews and
nieces exclude all other collaterals (aunts and uncles, first cousins, etc.) from the succession.
This is readily apparent from articles 1001, 1004, 1005, and 1009 of the Civil Code.

4. Del Prado vs. Santos
G.R. L-20946; September 23, 1966
18 SCRA 68

FACTS:
Eugenio del Prado is a legitimate brother of Anastacio del Prado, who died single and
intestate. Anastacio cohabited with Aurea Santos (who was legally married) without the benefit
of matrimony and they begot a son named Jesus del Prado whom Anastacio admitted as his son
in Jesus birth certificate. At the time of Anastacios death, a parcel of land in his name was
adjudicated to Jesus del Prado. Eugenio then filed a complaint before CFI to annul the deed
executed by Aurea adjudicating to her son a parcel of land left by Anastacio alleging that he
(Eugenio) was deprived of his rightful share in the estate of his brother. The lower court
dismissed the petition, and upon appeal to CA, the appellate court certified the case to Supreme
Court that such involved purely legal questions.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the minor left by Anastacio has the better right to the parcel of land.

RULING:
Since Anastacio del Prado died in 1958, the new Civil Code applies (Article 2263).
Illegitimate children other than natural are entitled to successional rights (Article 287). Where, as
in this case, the deceased died intestate, without legitimate descendants or ascendants, then his
illegitimate child shall succeed to his entire estate (Article 988), to the exclusion of appellant
who is only a collateral relative.

5. Cacho vs. Udan
G.R. No. L-19996; April 30, 1965
13 SCRA 693

FACTS:
Silvina Udan, single, died leaving a will naming her son Francisco and one Wencesla
Cacho as her sole heirs, share and share alike. Cacho then filed a petition to probate the said Will
which was opposed by the testators legitimate brother, Rustico. Therafter, Francisco filed his
opposition to the probate of the Will while Rustico withdrew his opposition. After Franciscos
death, another legitimate brother of the testator, John, together with Rustico, filed their
respective oppositions. Consequently, Cacho filed a Motion to Dismiss the Oppositions filed by
John and Rustico. CFI issued an order disallowing the two oppositions for lack of interest in the
estate. The subsequent Motions for Reconsiderations were denied hence, this appeal.
66


ISSUE:
Whether or not John and Rustico Udan may claim to be heirs intestate of their legitimate
sister, Silvina.

RULING:
It is clear from Article 988 and 1003 of the governing Civil Code of the Philippines, in
force at the time of the death of the testatrix that the oppositor brothers may not claim to be heirs
intestate of their legitimate sister, Silvina.
Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants,
the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased.
Art. 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate
children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to
the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles.
These legal provisions decree that collateral relatives of one who died intestate inherit
only in the absence of descendants, ascendants, and illegitimate children. Albeit the brothers and
sister can concur with the widow or widower, they do not concur, but are excluded by the
surviving children, legitimate or illegitimate.
Further, the death of Francisco does not improve the situation of appellants. The rights
acquired by the former are only transmitted by his death to his own heirs at law not to the
appellants, who are legitimate brothers of his mother, pursuant to Article 992.
Art. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestate
from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall
such children or relatives inherit the same manner from the illegitimate
child.
However, the hearing on the probate must still proceed to ascertain the rights of Cacho as
testamentary heir.

6. Grey vs. Fabie
G.R. No. L-45160; May 23, 1939
68 Phil. 128

FACTS:
Jose Fabie y Gutierrez, Ramon Fabie y Gutierrez, Miguel Fabie y Gutierrez, and Vicenta
Fabie y Gutierrez were legitimate brothers and sister. Jose Fabie y Gutierrez, had a daughter
named Rosario Fabie Grey, who is the testatrix. Ramon Fabie Gutierrez also had two
acknowledged natural children named Jose Fabie and Serafin Fabie, who are the oppositors in
these proceedings.
Rosario in her will instituted as heirs her maternal cousins Jose, Juan and Francisco,
surnamed Grey. After the death of Rosario, her alleged will was presented to the court for
probate. It was assailed on two legal grounds by Serafin and Jose, and the court resolving the
question of lack of personality of the oppositors, held that, as the latter could not inherit intestate
from their natural cousin, the testatrix, they had no interest in the will in question, hence, they
have no right to impugn it.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Serafin and Jose may inherit intestate from Rosario if her will is annulled.

RULING:
67

No. The pronouncement of the court that the oppositors cannot inherit intestate from the
deceased Rosario, on the assumption that the latter's will should be annulled, is clearly borne out
by the facts set out and by the law. Under Article 943 of the Civil Code, the oppositors, as
natural children of Ramon, cannot succeed ab intestato from their deceased cousin Rosario.
The oppositors are not children of brothers or sisters of the deceased Rosario, but of the
latter's uncle, Ramon, hence, it is unnecessary to state that the right of representation does not lie
in this case. From this it inevitably follows that the oppositors have no interest whatsoever in the
will of the deceased Rosario, wherefore, they are not entitled to intervene in the proceedings for
the probate of the said will.

7. Corpus vs. Corpus
G.R. No. L-22469; October 23, 1978
85 SCRA 567

FACTS:
Teodoro R. Yangco died in Manila on April 20, 1939. 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 (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.
His will dated August 29, 1934 was probated in the CFI of Manila, and the decree of
probate was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Pursuant to the order of the probate court, a project
of partition was submitted by the administrator and the legatees named in the will.Said project of
partition was approved by the probate court. Pedro Martinez, Juliana de Castro , Juanita Corpus
(deceased) and the estate of Luis R. Yangco appealed to the SC, but these were dismissed after
the legatees and the appellants entered into compromise agreements. Appellant Tomas Corpus
signed that compromise settlement as the sole heir of Juanita Corpus.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.
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 imposing 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 dismissed the action on the grounds of res judicata and laches. Tomas
Corpus appealed to the Court of Appeals which certified the appeal to this Court because it
involves real property valued at more than fifty thousand pesos.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Juanita Corpus, was a legal heir of Yangco, thus giving Tomas Corpus a
cause of action to recover his mother's supposed intestate share in Yangco's estate

RULING:
No. The trial court found that Teodoro R. Yangco was an acknowledged natural child and
not a legitimate child. 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.
68

Juanita Corpus was not a legal heir of Yangco because there is no reciprocal succession between
legitimate and illegitimate relatives.
Article 943 of the old Civil code "prohibits all successory reciprocity mortis causa
between legitimate and illegitimate relatives". 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.
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.

8. Leonardo vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-51263; February 28, 1983
120 SCRA 890

FACTS:
Francisca Reyes died intestate. She was survived by 2 daughters, Maria and Silvestra, and
a grandson, Sotero Leonardo, the son of her daughter, Pascuala, who predeceased her. Sotero and
Silvestra both died.
Cresenciano Leonardo, who claimed to be the son of the late Sotero Leonardo, filed a
complaint for ownership of properties seeking judgment, among others, 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 the other remaining heir Maria. Maria, on the other hand, asserted
exclusive ownership saying that Cresenciano was an illegitimate child who cannot succeed by
right of representation.
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Cresenciano. The Court of Appeals reversed
the decision.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Cresenciano is an heir and can inherit by representation

RULING:
No. Other than his bare allegation, Cresenciano did not submit any durable evidence
showing that the 'Alfredo Leonardo' mentioned in the birth certificate is no other than he himself.
SC safely concluded that Cresenciano 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. EVEN IF
its true that Cresenciano is the child of Sotero, 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
CA, he was born outside wedlock and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage was still
subsisting. At most, Cresenciano 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. (Art. 992, Civil Code)

69

9. Diaz vs. I ntermediate Appellate Court
G.R. No. L-66574; J une 17, 1987
150 SCRA 645

FACTS:
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. Juliana married Simon Jardin and out of their union were born Felisa and
another child who died during infancy. Simona is the widow of Pascual Santero and the mother
of Pablo Santero. Pablo Santero was the only legitimate son of his parents Pascual and Simona.
Pascual died in 1970, Pablo in 1973, and Simona in 1976. Pablo, at the time of his death, was
survived by his mother Simona and his six minor natural children to wit: four minor children
with Anselma Diaz and two minor children with Felixberta Pacursa.
In the probate proceedings, Felisa was declared as the sole legitimate heir of Simona.
Anselma, as guardian of her minor children, filed her "Opposition and Motion to Exclude Felisa
Pamuti Jardin" from further taking part or intervening in the settlement of the intestate estate of
Simona, as well as in the intestate estate of Pascual and Pablo. Felixberta, guardian for her minor
children, filed her Manifestation adopting the Opposition and Motion filed by Anselma. An order
was issued excluding Felisa from further taking part or intervening in the settlement of the
intestate estate of Simona, as well as in the intestate estates of Pascual and Pablo and declared
her to be, not an heir of Simona. The Intermediate Appellate Court reversed the decision of the
trial court.

ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioners Anselma and Felixberta, illegitimate children of Pablo, may
inherit from Simona by right of representation of their father Pablo, a legitimate child of Simona.

RULING:
No. The 6 minor children cannot represent their father Pablo in the succession of the
latter to the intestate estate of his legitimate mother Simona because of the barrier provided for
under Art. 992 of the Civil Code.
Pablo is a legitimate child. However, his 6 minor children are illegitimate. Art 992
provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestate 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.
JBL Reyes reflections on this which also finds full support from other civilists: in the
Spanish Civil Code of 1989, the right of representation was admitted only within the legitimate
family. An illegitimate child cannot inherit ab intestate from the legitimate children and relatives
of his father and mother. The Civil Code of the Philippines adhered to this principle since it
reproduced Art 943 in its own Art 992, but with fine inconsistency in subsequent articles (990,
995, 998) which allows the hereditary portion of the illegitimate child to pass to his own
descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

10. Diaz vs. I ntermediate Appellate Court
G.R. No. L-66574; February 21, 1990
182 SCRA 427

FACTS:
70

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.
The decision of the Second Division of the Supreme Court in the case of Anselma Diaz,
et al. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., G.R. No. L-66574, 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, were challenged in a Second Motion for Reconsideration
dated July 5, 1988.
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.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the term "relatives" in Article 992 of the Civil Code includes the
legitimate parents of the father or mother of the illegitimate children; and
2. Whether or not petitioners, as illegitimate children of Pablo Santero, can 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.

RULING:
1. Yes. 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 is not so in the case at bar.
It is clear from Article 992 of the 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.
2. Felisa Pamuti-Jardin is the legal heir of Simona. The right of representation is not
available to illegitimate descendants of legitimate children in the inheritance of a legitimate
grandparent. 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.

11. De la Merced vs. De la Merced
G.R. No. 126707; February 25, 1999

FACTS:
Evarista M. dela Merced died intestate, without issue and left five parcels of land. At the
time of her death, Evarista was survived by three sets of heirs. Francisco (Evarista's brother) died
71

after a year. He was survived by his wife Blanquita Errea dela Merced and their three legitimate
children, namely, Luisito E. dela Merced, Blanquita M. Macatangay and Ma. Olivia M. Paredes.
On April 20, 1989, the three sets of heirs of the decedent, executed an extrajudicial
settlement, adjudicating the properties of Evarista to them, each set with a share of (1/3) pro-
indiviso.
Joselito P. Dela Merced, illegitimate son of the late Francisco de la Merced, filed a
"Petition for Annulment of the Extrajudicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Evarista M.
Dela Merced with Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order", alleging that he was fraudulently
omitted from the said settlement made by petitioners, who were fully aware of his relation to the
late Francisco. Claiming successional rights, Joselito prayed that he be included as one of the
beneficiaries, to share in the one-third pro-indiviso share in the estate of the deceased Evarista,
corresponding to the heirs of Francisco.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Joselito, as an illegitimate child, is barred from inheriting from Evaristas
estate.

RULING:
No. Art. 992 of the NCC is not applicable because involved here is not a situation where
an illegitimate child would inherit ab intestato from a legitimate sister of his father, which is
prohibited by the aforesaid provision of law. Rather, it is a scenario where an illegitimate child
inherits from his father, the latter's share in or portion of, what the latter already inherited from
the deceased sister, Evarista.
As opined by the Court of Appeals, the law in point in the present case is Article 777 of
the NCC, which provides that the rights to succession are transmitted from the moment of death
of the decedent.
Since Evarista died ahead of her brother Francisco, the latter inherited a portion of the
estate of the former as one of her heirs. Subsequently, when Francisco died, his heirs, namely:
his spouse, legitimate children, and Joselito, an illegitimate child, inherited his (Francisco's)
share in the estate of Evarista. It bears stressing that Joselito does not claim to be an heir of
Evarista by right of representation but participates in his own right, as an heir of the late
Francisco, in the latter's share (or portion thereof) in the estate of Evarista.

12. Vda. de Crisologo vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-44051; J une 27, 1985
137 SCRA 233

FACTS:
Julia Capiao had an extra-marital affair with Victoriano Taccad, with one child and/or
forced heir, named Lutgarda Capiao, who then married Raymundo Zipagan. Raymundo and
Lutgarda were childless. Raymundo and Lutgarda died, the latter leaving no will. The plaintiffs
herein (relatives within the fifth degree) were consequently instituted as Lutgardas legal heirs to
inherit all the properties which were hers by virtue of the extra-judicial partition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the relatives of Julia may inherit from her illegitimate child Lutgarda.

RULING:
72

Relatives on the legitimate line, has to right to inherit from an illegitimate daughter.It is
clear from the records that the petitioners cannot inherit the properties in question because of
Article 992 of the Civil Code. Being relatives on the legitimate line of Julia Capiao, they cannot
inherit from her illegitimate daughter. Their relative Julia Capiao predeceased the daughter,
Lutgarda.

13. Santillon vs. Miranda
G.R. No. L-19281; J une 30, 1965
14 SCRA 563

FACTS:
Pedro Santillon died without testament leaving his wife, Perfecta Miranda and one son,
Claro. Four years after Pedros death, Claro filed a petition for letters of administration which
was opposed by his mother and spouses Benito Miranda and Rosario Corrales. The court
appointed commissioners to draft a project of partition and distribution of all properties of Pedro.
Claro then filed a motion to declare share of heirs and to resolve conflicting claims of the parties
invoking Art. 892 of the New Civil Code insisting that after deducting from the conjugal
properties (conjugal share of Perfecta), the remaining must be divided as follows: for her
and for him. On the other hand, Perfecta claimed besides her conjugal half, she was entitled
under Art. 996 of the NCC to another of the remaining half. After due notice and hearing, the
court held that Perfecta is entitled to share and the remaining share for Claro after deducting
the share of the widow as co-owner of the conjugal properties. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Perfecta is entitled to the same share as Claro.

RULING:
Intestate proceedings in the New Civil Codes chapter on legal or intestate succession, the
only article applicable is Art. 996.
Our conclusion (equal shares) seems a logical inference from the circumstance that
whereas Article 834 of the Spanish Civil Code form 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 legislators desire to promulgate just one general rule applicable to both situations.

73

XI. Common Testate and Intestate Provisions:

1. Baritua vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 82233; March 22, 1990
183 SCRA 565

FACTS:
In the evening of November 7, 1979, the tricycle then being driven by Bienvenido
Nacario figured in an accident with JB Bus No. 80 driven by petitioner Edgar Bitancor and
owned and operated by petitioner Jose Baritua. As a result of that accident Bienvenido and his
passenger died and the tricycle was damaged. As a consequence of the extra-judicial settlement
negotiated by the petitioners and the bus insurer Bienvenido's widow, Alicia Baracena Vda. de
Nacario, received P18,500.00. In consideration of the amount she received, Alicia executed a
"Release of Claim" in favor of the petitioners. Alicia likewise executed an affidavit of desistance.
Parents of Bienvenido filed a complaint for damages against the petitioners with the
Court of First Instance alleging that during the vigil for their deceased son, the petitioners
through their representatives promised them that as extra-judicial settlement, they shall be
indemnified for the death of their son, for the funeral expenses incurred by reason thereof, and
for the damage for the tricycle the purchase price of which they only loaned to the victim. The
petitioners, however, reneged on their promise and instead negotiated and settled their
obligations with the long-estranged wife of their late son.
The trial court dismissed the complaint. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of
the trial court.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Alicia, a long-estranged wife, was the proper successor-in-interest to
receive payment from petitioners.

RULING:
Yes. Alicia and her son with the deceased are the successors in interest referred to in
Article 887 of the Civil Code as the persons authorized to receive payment.
It is patently clear that the parents of the deceased succeed only when the latter dies
without a legitimate descendant. On the other hand, the surviving spouse concurs with all classes
of heirs. As it has been established that Bienvenido was married to Alicia and that they begot a
child, the parents are not successors-in-interest of Bienvenido; they are not compulsory heirs.
The petitioners therefore acted correctly in settling their obligation with Alicia as the widow of
Bienvenido and as the natural guardian of their lone child. This is so even if Alicia had been
estranged from Bienvenido. Mere estrangement is not a legal ground for the disqualification of a
surviving spouse as an heir of the deceased spouse.

2. People vs. Reyes
G.R. Nos. 74226-27; J uly 27, 1989
175 SCRA 597

FACTS:
A parcel of land owned by deceased spouses Julio Rizare and Patricia Pampo was
conveyed through a notarized deed of sale executed and signed on May 19, 1961 in favor of their
daughter accused Mizpah R. Reyes and registered with the Register of Deeds on May 26, 1961.
Upon examination of the document, complainants (sisters of the accused) found that the
74

signature of their parents were allegedly falsified and that accused also made an untruthful
statement that she was single although she was married to one Benjamin Reyes.
The fiscal filed with the Regional Trial Court on October 18, 1984 two informations both
for falsification of public document, for allegedly making it appear in the notarized deed of sale
that Patricia Pampo, the mother of the accused, participated in the sale of a parcel of land by
falsifying Pampo's signature, and the second, for allegedly making an untruthful statement of fact
in the deed of sale, more specifically, by stating that accused was single. Before arraignment,
accused filed a motion to quash both informations. One of the grounds was that the criminal
action or liability has been extinguished by prescription of the crime.
The trial court quashed the informations. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the prescriptive period for filing the suit has lapsed.

RULING:
Yes. The criminal informations for falsification of a public document having been filed
only on October 18, 1984, or more than ten years from May 26, 1961, the crime for which the
accused was charged has prescribed.
The considerations in providing for prescription of civil suits are based mainly on
practical and equitable grounds. The lapse of a considerably long period of time obscures the
surrounding circumstances of a particular claim or right and erodes the integrity of whatever
evidence may be presented in support of an action to enforce or contest such claim or right.
Moreover, where a particular right has accrued in favor of a party, the enjoyment of such right
cannot forever be left on a precarious balance, always susceptible to possible challenge by an
adverse party. After a certain period of time fixed by law, the right enjoyed by a party must be
accorded respect by prohibiting adverse claims the factual basis of which can no longer be
verified with certainty. Hence, the law on prescription of civil suits is properly called a statute of
repose.
When an extrajudicial partition of the property of the deceased was executed by some of
his heirs, the registration of the instrument of partition with the Register of Deeds is constructive
notice that said heirs have repudiated the fiduciary relationship between them and the other heirs
vis-a-vis the property in question. The heirs who were not included in the deed of partition are
deemed to have notice of its existence from the time it was registered with the Register of Deeds.

3. Legarda and Prieto vs. Saleeby
G.R. No. L-8936; October 2, 1915
31 Phil. 590

FACTS:
A stone wall stands between the adjoining lot of Legarda and Saleeby. The said wall and
the strip of land where it stands were registered in the Torrens system under the name of Legarda
in 1906. Six years after the decree of registration was released in favor of Legarda, Saleeby
applied for registration of his lot under the Torrens system in 1912, and the decree issued in
favor of the latter included the stone wall and the strip of land where it stands.
When plaintiffs discovered this fact several months later, they presented a petition in the
Court of Land Registration for adjustment and correction of the error. The lower court denied the
petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the wall is owned by Legarda.
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RULING:
Yes, the wall is considered to be owned by Legarda.
For the issue involved, The Land Registration Act (Act 496) affords no remedy.
However, it can be construed that where two certificates purports to include the same registered
land, the holder of the earlier one continues to hold title and will prevail.
The real purpose of the Torrens system of registration, is to quiet title to land; to put a
stop forever to any question of the legality of the title, except claims which were noted at the
time of registration, in the certificate, or which may arise subsequent thereto. That being the
purpose of the law, once a title is registered the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of
waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the mirador de su casa, to avoid the possibility
of losing his land. The law guarantees the title of the registered owner once it has entered into the
Torrens system.
While the proceeding is judicial, it involves more in its consequences than does an
ordinary action. All of the world are parties, including the government. After the registration is
complete and final and there exists no fraud, there are no innocent third parties who may claim
an interest. The rights of all the world are foreclosed by the decree of registration. The
government itself assumes the burden of giving notice to all parties. To permit persons who are
parties in the registration proceeding (and they are all the world) to again litigate the same
questions, and to again cast doubt upon the validity of the registered title, would destroy the very
purpose and intent of the law.

4. Garcia vs. Gozon; Philippine National Bank vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. Nos. L-48971 and 49011; J anuary 22, 1980
95 SCRA 380

FACTS:
A deed of sale for lots E and G of Hacienda Maysilo and covered by OCT No. 983 was
executed in favor of Ismael Lapus, a bona fide occupant thereof. The deed of sale was presented
for registration and contained entries showing that it was annotated on the back of the OCT.
Contrary to SOP however, the deed of sale was not annotated on the OCT and that consequently,
that title was apparently not cancelled.
As a result of the registration of the deed of sale, TCT No. 4910 (Lapus Title) was
issued to Lapus. Upon his death, the two lots were inherited by his daughter Carolina Lapuz-
Gozon, who had the land subdivided into 55 lots and sold some to her now co-respondents.
Lapus and successors-in-interest have been in possession of the lands even before 1910 of more
than 70 years.
In 1962, the Riveras, alleged heirs of the late Maria de la Concepcion Vidal filed a
motion in land registration cases, alleging that they were deprived of their participation in the
Hacienda Maysilo. Since per the OCT the land seemed unencumbered, the court adjudicated the
land in their favor. The OCT was then cancelled and TCT No. 112235 (Rivera Title) was
issued to the Riveras. Lots 5 and 7 (E and G) were then assigned to Bartolome Rivera to Sergio
Cruz and Pacifico Garcia, and subsequent TCTs were issued in their behalf.
Garcia had Lot 7 (G) subdivided into lots A and B, retained lot A and assigned B to
Antonio Munoz. Munoz mortgaged lot B to Associated Banking Corp. On the other hand, Cruz
sold Lot 5 (E) to Santiago Go. Go mortgaged Lot 5 to Philippine National Bank. Both Munoz
and Go did not pay their mortgage debts, hence the two banks foreclosed the properties. PNB
bought the mortgaged Lot 5 at the auction, but notice of lis pendens was already annotated on the
title. Riveras and their successors-in-interest have never set foot on the disputed lots.
Gozon finally learned about the Riveras and others acquiring the land, had her adverse
claims registered on the titles of lots 5 and 7 and filed an action to quiet title and damages.
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The trial court ruled in favor of Gozon and co-plaintiffs and voided the TCTs issued to
the Riveras, others. CA affirmed the decision. Garcia and PNB appealed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the 1920 Lapus title prevails over the 1963 Rivera title and subsequent
titles derived from it.

RULING:
Yes, the Lapus title prevails. Lapus was an innocent purchaser for value who validly
transmitted to his successors-in-interest his indefeasible title or ownership over the disputed lots.
That title could not be nullified or defeated by the issuance 43 years later to other persons of
another title over the same lots due to the failure of the register of deeds to cancel the title
preceding the title issued to Lapus. This must be so considering that Lapus and his successors-in-
interest remained in possession of the disputed lots and the rival claimants never possessed the
same.
The general rule is that in the case of two certificates of title, purporting to include the
same land, the earlier in date prevails. It is settled that in this jurisdiction the maxim prior est in
tempore, potior est in jure (he who is first in time is preferred in right) is followed in land
resgistration matters.
The contention of PNB that it was a buyer in good faith has no merit because the deed of
sale in favor of Lapus and the titles issued to him and his successors-in-interest are all a matter of
public record in the registry of deeds. When a conveyance has been properly recorded, such
record is a constructive notice of its contents and all interests, legal and equitable, included
therein. Under the rule of notice, it is presumed that the purchaser has examined every
instrument of record affecting the title. This presumption cannot be overcome by proof of
innocence and good faith otherwise the very purpose of the law requiring a record would be
destroyed. The bank should have made an on-the-spot investigation of the lot mortgaged.
The decision of the respondent court was affirmed.

5. Viado-Non vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 137287; February 15, 2000

FACTS:
During their lifetime, the spouses Julian C. Viado and Virginia P. Viado owned several
pieces of property, among them a house and lot. Surviving them were their children: Nilo Viado,
Leah Viado Jacobs, and petitioners Rebecca Viado, married to Jose Non, and Delia Viado. Nilo
and Leah both died. Nilo left behind as his own sole heirs herein respondents: his wife Alicia
Viado and their two children Cherri Viado and Fe Fides Viado. Petitioners and respondents
shared the common residence. Soon, however, tension would appear to have escalated between
petitioner Rebecca and respondent Alicia after the former had asked that the property be equally
divided between the two families to make room for the growing children. Respondents claimed
absolute ownership over the entire property and demanded that petitioners vacate the portion
occupied by the latter.
Petitioners, asserting co-ownership over the property in question, filed a case for partition
before the Regional Trial Court. Respondents predicated their claim of absolute ownership over
the subject property on two documents: a deed of donation executed by the late Julian Viado
covering his one-half conjugal share of the property in favor of Nilo Viado and a deed of
extrajudicial settlement in which Julian Viado, Leah Viado Jacobs (through a power of attorney
in favor of Nilo Viado) and petitioner Rebecca Viado waived in favor of Nilo Viado their rights
and interests over their share of the property inherited from Virginia Viado. The trial court ruled
for respondents and was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
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ISSUE:
Whether or not the property remains a co-owned property despite the deeds of donation
and extrajudicial settlement.

RULING:
No. When Virginia died intestate, her part of the conjugal property was transmitted to her
heirs: her husband Julian and their children Nilo, Rebecca, Leah, and Delia. The inheritance,
which vested from the moment of death of the decedent, remained under a co-ownership regime
among the heirs until partition. Every act intended to put an end to indivision among co-heirs and
legatees or devisees would be a partition although it would purport to be a sale, an exchange, a
compromise, a donation or an extrajudicial settlement.
The fact alone that the two deeds were registered five years after the date of their
execution did not adversely affect their validity nor would such circumstance alone be indicative
of fraud. The registration of the documents was a ministerial act and merely created a
constructive notice of its contents against all third persons. Among the parties, the instruments
remained completely valid and binding.