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Cases on Fideicommissary Substitution

1. Rabadilla v. CA
In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and Testament of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla,
predecessor-in-interest of the herein petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as a devisee of 511, 855
square meters of that parcel of land surveyed as Lot No. 1392 of theBacolod Cadastre. The said Codicil,
which was duly probated and admitted in Special Proceedings No. 4046 before the then Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental.
That should Jorge Rabadilla die ahead of me, the aforementioned property and the rights which I shall set
forth hereinbelow, shall be inherited and acknowledged by the children and spouse of Jorge Rabadilla
a).It is also my command, in this my addition (Codicil), that should I die and Jorge Rabadilla shall have
already received the ownership of the said Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10942), and also at the time that the lease of Balbinito G. Guanzon of the
said lot shall expire, Jorge Rabadilla shall have the obligation until he dies, every year to give to Maria
Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza, Seventy (75) (sic) piculs of Export sugar and TwentyFive (25) piculs of
Domestic sugar, until the said Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza dies.
Should Jorge Rabadilla die, his heir to whom he shall give Lot No. 1392 of the Bacolod Cadastre, covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-4002 (10492), shall have the obligation to still give yearly, the sugar as
specified in the Fourth paragraph of his testament, to Maria Marlina Coscolluela y Belleza on the month of
December of each year.
If Dr. Rabadilla or his heirs decide to sell, lease or transfer, the buyer, lessee or transferee shall also have
the same obligation to the testators sister. Failure to do so will forfeit the property to the sister and
nearest relatives.
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was survived by his wife Rufina and children Johnny (petitioner),
Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida, all surnamed Rabadilla.
Coscolluella filed a case against the transferee bank and the heirs of Dr. Rabadilla. They were declared in
default except Johnny Rabadilla whose default order was lifted upon filing of an answer. He also entered
into a compromise agreement which he failed to fulfill.
RTC dismissed the complaint. CA reversed.
The petitioner theorizes further that there can be no valid substitution for the reason that the substituted
heirs are not definite, as the substituted heirs are merely referred to as near descendants without a
definite identity or reference as to who are the near descendants and therefore, under Articles 843 and
845 as not written.

Does the heirs of Jorge Rabadilla has the duty to comply with the obligation
imposed by the testatrix in the codicil despite of the fact that it was an obligation
imposed upon Jorge.
RULING: Substitution is the designation by the testator of a person or persons to take the place of the heir
or heirs first instituted. Under substitutions in general, the testator may either (1) provide for the
designation of another heir to whom the property shall pass in case the original heir should die before
him/her, renounce the inheritance or be incapacitated to inherit, as in a simple substitution, or (2) leave
his/her property to one person with the express charge that it be transmitted subsequently to another or
others, as in a fideicommissary substitution. The Codicil sued upon contemplates neither of the two.
In simple substitutions, the second heir takes the inheritance in default of the first heir by reason of
incapacity, predecease or renunciation. In the case under consideration, the provisions of subject Codicil
do not provide that should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla default due to predecease, incapacity or renunciation, the
testatrixs near descendantswould substitute him. What the Codicil provides is that, should Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla or his heirs not fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil, the property referred to shall be
seized and turned over to the testatrixs near descendants.

No fideicommissary substitution either. Dr. Rabadilla and his heirs are allowed to alienate the property. In
fideicommissary substitution, the heir is not allowed to alienate it because his duty is to preserve and
transmit it to the second heir. Also, if Dr. Rabadilla is the fiduciary and the near descendants of the testator
are the second heirs, it violates the requirement of law that the fiduciary and the fideicommissary must be
within the one degree relationship. In fact, the near descendants are not in anyway related to Dr. Rabadilla
or his heirs.
2. PCIB v. Escolin.
Short version: The Hodges lived in the Philippines for almost half a century and died leaving substantial
properties in Iloilo and in the US. The missus died 5 years before the husband, providing in her will that
while her estate would go to him, upon his death, the remainder should pass to her siblings. (They were
childless.) The court held that this testamentary provision, while probably ineffectual as a substitution
under the Civil Code, is not actually a substitution, but is a valid and simultaneous institution of heirs,
though the passing of title to the inheritance to the others (the siblings) was made to depend on a
resolutory condition (the husbands death). Case was remanded to the trial court for the determination of
the proper application of the renvoi principle (conflict of laws between Philippines and Texas law), and the
proper distribution of Linnies, Charles, and their conjugal estates.
Charles Newton Hodges and Linnie Jane Hodges were originally from Texas, USA. During their marriage,
they had acquired and accumulated considerable assets and properties in the Philippines and in Oklahoma
and Texas in the US. They both lived, worked and were domiciled in Iloilo City for around 50 years. Before
her death, Linnie Jane executed a will leaving her estate, less her debts and funeral expenses, to her
husband Charles. Should Charles die, the will provided that the remainder of her estate go to her brothers
and sisters, share and share alike. Should any of the brothers and sisters die before the husband, Linnie
willed that the heirs of the said sibling be substituted in the deceaseds siblings place.
When Linnie died, Charles took the will to probate court, and was appointed Executor, then later, Special
Administrator. He moved to be allowed to continue administering the family business, as per Linnie Janes
wishes, and to engage in sales, conveyances, leases, mortgages and other necessary transactions. He also
filed the necessary and appurtenant administration/accounting records, and income tax returns for the
estate. Charles named seven brothers and sisters of Linnie Jane as her heirs (Esta, Emma, Leonard, Aline,
David, Sadie, Era and Nimroy), but the order admitting the will to probate unfortunately omitted one of the
heirs, Roy (Nimroy?) Higdon, so Charles filed a verified motion to have Roys name included.
As an executor, he was bound to file tax returns for the estate he was administering under American law.
He did file such as estate tax return on August 8, 1958. In Schedule "M" of such return, he answered "Yes"
to the question as to whether he was contemplating "renouncing the will". On the question as to what
property interests passed to him as the surviving spouse, he answered:
None, except for purposes of administering the Estate, paying debts, taxes and other legal charges. It is
the intention of the surviving husband of deceased to distribute the remaining property and interests of
the deceased in their Community estate to the devisees and legatees named in the will when the debts,
liabilities, taxes and expenses of administration are finally determined and paid.

Charles died in Iloilo in December 1962 without having liquidated Linnies estate, which includes her share
in the conjugal partnership. A longtime employee of the Hodges, Avelina Magno, was appointed
Administratrix (for Linnies estate) and a Special Administratrix (for Charles). Magno was appointed, but
later Harold Davies (representative of Charles heirs in the US) was designated Co-Special Administrator,
who was then replaced by one Joe Hodges, Charles nephew. One Atty. Mirasol was also appointed as coadministrator, and an order of probate and letters of administration were issued to Hodges and Mirasol.

At this point, the SC was already very much confused about the gaps in the facts, convinced that the
parties representing both estates had cooked up a modus operandi to settle money matters (a settlement
with records the Court never saw)which, however, went awry, with more and more heirs from the US
flocking to the Iloilo shores, and lawyers (Ozaetas! Mabantas! Manglapuses!) filing their respective claims
for retainer fees. Much much later, PCIB became the administrator of Charles estate, asserting a claim to

all of his estate, including those properties/assets that passed to him upon Linnie Janes death. Avelina
naturally opposed this, as Linnie Janes other heirs (the HIGDONS) would be prejudiced, so she continued
acting in her capacity as administrator (entering into sales and other such conveyances). For these acts,
the PCIB dismissed her as an employee of Charles estate, to which she responded by locking up the
premises being used by PCIB as offices, which were among the estates properties.

PCIBs Claims
Linnie Janes will should be governed by Philippine Law, with respect to the order of succession, the
amount of successional rights, and the intrinsic validity of its testamentary provisions.
Linnie intended Philippine laws to govern her Will.
Article 16, CC, provides that "the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration,
whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be
found", shall prevail. However, the Conflict of Law of Texas, which is the "national law" of the testatrix,
Linnie Jane Hodges, provide that the domiciliary law (Philippine law) should govern the testamentary
dispositions and successional rights over movables, and the law of the situs of the property (also Philippine
law as to properties located in the Philippines) as regards immovables.
Thus applying the "Renvoi Doctrine", as approved and applied in the Christensen case (1963), Philippine
law should apply.
Under Philippine and Texas law, the conjugal or community estate of spouses shall, upon dissolution, be
divided equally between them. Thus, upon Linnies death, of the entirety of the assets of the Hodges
spouses constituting their conjugal estate pertained automatically to Charles, not by way of inheritance,
but in his own right as partner in the conjugal partnership.
The other one-half (1/2) portion forming part of Linnies estate, cannot, under a clear and specific provision
of her Will, be enhanced or increased by income, earnings, rents, or emoluments accruing after her death.
All rents, emoluments and income from said estate shall belong to him (C. N. Hodges) and he is further
authorized to use any part of the principal of said estate as he may need or desire."
Articles 900, 995 and 1001 provide that the surviving spouse of a deceased leaving no ascendants or
descendants is entitled, as a matter of right and by way of irrevocable legitime, to at least one-half (1/2) of
the estate of the deceased, and no testamentary disposition by the deceased can legally and validly affect
this right of the surviving spouse. In fact, her husband is entitled to said one-half (1/2) portion of her estate
by way of legitime. (Article 886)
Clearly, therefore, immediately upon the death of Linnie Jane Hodges, C. N. Hodges was the owner of at
least 3/4 or 75% percent of all of the conjugal assets of the spouses, 50% by way of conjugal partnership
share and 1/4 or 25% by way of inheritance and legitime) plus all "rents, emoluments and income"
accruing to said conjugal estate from the moment of Linnie Jane Hodges' death.
In his capacity as sole heir and successor to Linnies estate, Charles appropriated to himself the entirety of
her estate. He operated all the assets, engaged in business and performed all acts in connection with the
entirety of the conjugal estate, in his own name alone, just as he had been operating, engaging and doing
while the late Linnie Jane Hodges was still alive. Upon his death on December 25, 1962, therefore, all said
conjugal assets were in his sole possession and control, and registered in his name alone, not as executor,
but as exclusive owner of all said assets.
As the sole and exclusive heir, Charles did not need to liquidate the estate. Neither was there any asset
left to Linnies estate at the time of Charles death, though Linnies estate may have referred to all of the
rest, residue and remainder of my estate which would go to her siblings in the event of Charles death. The
provision is thus void and invalid at least as to Philippine assets.
There are generally only two kinds of substitution provided for and authorized by our Civil Code (Articles
857-870), namely, (1) simple or common substitution, sometimes referred to as vulgar substitution (Article
859), and (2) fideicommissary substitution (Article 863). All other substitutions are merely variations of
these. The substitution provided for by paragraph four of the Will of Linnie Jane Hodges is not
fideicommissary substitution, because there is clearly no obligation on the part of C. N. Hodges as the first
heir designated, to preserve the properties for the substitute heirs. At most, it is
a vulgar or simple substitution. However, in order that a vulgar orsimple substitution can be valid, three
alternative conditions must be present, namely, that the first designated heir (1) should die before the
testator; or (2) should not wish to accept the inheritance; or (3) should be incapacitated to do so. None of
these conditions apply to C. N. Hodges, and, therefore, the substitution provided for by the above-quoted
provision of the Will is not authorized by the Code, and, therefore, it is void. Manresa even said, when
another heir is designated to inherit upon the death of a first heir, the second designation can have effect

only in case the first instituted heir dies before the testator, whether or not that was the true intention of
said testator.
The remedy of the Higdons, then, who are claiming dubious rights to of the conjugal estate of the
Hodges, is to file a claim against the estate of Charles.
It also follows that the conveyances executed by Avelina, claiming to be merely in continuation of the
Hodges businesses, and which corresponding deeds of sale were confirmed by the probate court, are null
and void and should be subject to reconveyance.
Avelinas Claims
(At one point, even Linnies heirs wanted to have Avelina removed from her capacity as administrator, but
the lower court reversed its earlier grant of the motion, on account of a previous injunction it issued.)
Linnie Jane merely gave Charles a life-estate or a usufruct over all her estate, and gave a vested
remainder-estate or the naked title over the same estate, to her relatives.
After Linnies death, Charles, as administrator and executor of the will, unequivocably and clearly through
oral and written declarations and sworn public statements, renounced, disclaimed and repudiated his lifeestate and usufruct.
Since there was no separation or segregation of the interests of Linnie and Charles in the combined
conjugal estate, as there has been no such separation or segregation, and because of Charles repudiation,
both interests have continually earned exactly the same amount of rents, emoluments and income.
1. Is Linnies disposition in favor of her siblings void? NO
2. How should the estate be partitioned/liquidated? REMAND!
1. To a certain extent, PCIBs contention that Linnies testamentary substitution, when viewed as a
substitution, may not be given effect, is correct. Indeed, legally speaking, Linnies will provides neither for
a simple or vulgar substitution under Article 859 of the Civil Code nor for a fideicommissary substitution
under Article 863 thereof. There is no vulgar substitution because there is no provision for either (1)
predecease of the testator by the designated heir or (2) refusal or (3) incapacity of the latter to accept the
inheritance, as required by Article 859; and neither is there a fideicommissary substitution therein because
no obligation is imposed thereby upon Hodges to preserve the estate or any part thereof for anyone else.
But from these premises, it is not correct to jump to the conclusion, as PCIB does, that the testamentary
dispositions in question are therefore inoperative and invalid.
The error in PCIB's position lies simply in the fact that it views the said disposition exclusively in the light of
substitutions covered by the Civil Code section on that subject, (Section 3, Chapter 2, Title IV, Book III)
when it is obvious that substitution occurs only when another heir is appointed in a will "so that he may
enter into inheritance in default of the heir originally instituted," (Article 857) and, in the present case, no
such possible default is contemplated. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not substitutes for
Hodges because, under her will, they are not to inherit what Hodges cannot, would not or may not inherit,
but what he would not dispose of from his inheritance; rather, therefore, they are also heirs instituted
simultaneously with Hodges, subject, however, to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar as Hodges
was concerned and correspondingly suspensive with reference to his brothers and sisters-in-law. It is
partially resolutory, since it bequeaths unto Hodges the whole of her estate to be owned and enjoyed by
him as universal and sole heir with absolute dominion over them only during his lifetime, which means that
while he could completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than
himself, he was not free to do so mortis causa, and all his rights to what might remain upon his death
would cease entirely upon the occurrence of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his brothers and
sisters-in-law to the inheritance, although vested already upon the death of Mrs. Hodges, would
automatically become operative upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in the event of actual
existence of any remainder of her estate then.
Contrary to Avelinas view, however, it was not the usufruct alone of Linnies estate, as contemplated in
Article 869, that she bequeathed to Charles during his lifetime, but the full ownership thereof, although the
same was to last also during his lifetime only, even as there was no restriction whatsoever against his
disposing or conveying the whole or any portion thereof to anybody other than himself. The Court saw no
legal impediment to this kind of institution, except that it cannot apply to the legitime of Charles as the
surviving spouse, consisting of one-half of the estate, considering that Linnie had no surviving ascendants
nor descendants. (Arts. 872, 900, and 904.)

Hodges acts of administration and accounting strongly negate PCIBs claims that he had adjudicated to
himself all of Linnies estate. While he may have used language like herein executor (being) the only
devisee or legatee of the deceased, in accordance with the last will and testament already probated
there is no other person interested in the Philippines of the time and place of examining herein account to
be given notice, he wouldve known that doing so would impute bad faith unto him. Also, in his very
motions, Hodges asserted the rights of Linnies named heirs. He even moved to include Roys name
included in the probate courts order, lest Roys heirs think that they had been omitted.
Thus, he recognized, in his own way, the separate identity of his wifes estate from his own share of the
conjugal partnership up to the time of his death, more than 5 years after that of his wife. He never
considered the whole estate as a single one belonging exclusively to himself. The only conclusion one can
gather from this is that he could have been preparing the basis for the eventual transmission of his wife's
estate, or, at least, so much thereof as he would not have been able to dispose of during his lifetime, to
her brothers and sisters in accordance with her expressed desire, as intimated in his tax return in the US.
And assuming that he did pay the corresponding estate and inheritance taxes in the Philippines on the
basis of his being sole heir, such payment is not necessarily inconsistent with his recognition of the rights
of his co-heirs. The Court thus viewed that under the peculiar provisions of his wife's will, and for purposes
of the applicable inheritance tax laws, Hodges had to be considered as her sole heir, pending the actual
transmission of the remaining portion of her estate to her other heirs, upon the eventuality of his death,
and whatever adjustment might be warranted should there be any such remainder then is a matter that
could well be taken care of by the internal revenue authorities in due time. The Court also considered as
basis of Charles intentions several questionnaires in solemn forms in filing estate taxes abroad, though
they have not been introduced in evidence (!!!), only referred to several times by the parties.
It is obvious, though, that Charles procrastinating in settling Linnies estate, and his sole administration of
it, commingled his and his co-heirs interests, making it difficult to properly make an accounting of their
shares. PCIB, then, cannot administer the properties on its own. What would be just and proper is for both
administrators of the two estates to act conjointly until after said estates have been segregated from each
2. The parties were in disagreement as to how Article 16 of the Civil Code should be applied. On the one
hand, PCIB claimed that inasmuch as Linnie was a resident of the Philippines at the time of her death,
under said Article 16, construed in relation to the pertinent laws of Texas and the principle of renvoi, what
should be applied here should be the rules of succession under the Civil Code, and, therefore, her estate
could consist of no more than one-fourth of the said conjugal properties, the other fourth being, as already
explained, the legitime of her husband (Art. 900) which she could not have disposed of nor burdened with
any condition (Art. 872). On the other hand, Avelina denied that Linnie died a resident of the Philippines,
since allegedly she never changed nor intended to change her original residence of birth in Texas, United
States of America, and contends that, anyway, regardless of the question of her residence, she being
indisputably a citizen of Texas, under said Article 16 of the Civil Code, the distribution of her estate is
subject to the laws of said State which, according to her, do not provide for any legitime, hence, Linnies
brothers and sisters are entitled to the remainder of the whole of her share of the conjugal partnership
properties consisting of one-half thereof. Avelina further maintained that, in any event, Charles had
renounced his rights under the will in favor of his co-heirs, as allegedly proven by the documents touching
on the point already mentioned earlier, the genuineness and legal significance of which PCIB questioned.
The Court cannot decide on the claims, though, for neither the evidence submitted by the parties
appeared to be adequate enough for it to render an intelligent comprehensive and just resolution. No clear
and reliable proof of what in fact the possibly applicable laws of Texas are, was presented (Remember
judicial notice in case of foreign laws?). Then also, the genuineness of documents relied upon by Avelina is
disputed. In Justice, therefore, to all the parties concerned, these and all other relevant matters should first
be threshed out fully in the trial court in the proceedings thereafter to be held for the purpose of
ascertaining and adjudicating and/or distributing the estate of Mrs. Hodges to her heirs in accordance with
her duly probated will.
Linnies estate is the remainder of 1/4 of the conjugal partnership properties, considering that even PCIB
did not maintain that the application of the laws of Texas would result in the other heirs of Mrs. Hodges not
inheriting anything under her will. And since PCIB's representations in regard to the laws of Texas virtually
constitute admissions of fact which the other parties and the Court are being made to rely and act upon,
PCIB is not permitted to contradict them or subsequently take a position contradictory to or inconsistent
with them.

The only question that remains to be settled in the remand to the court below are:
(1) whether or not the applicable laws of Texas do provide in effect for more, such as, when there is no
legitime provided therein
(2) whether or not Hodges has validly waived his whole inheritance from Mrs. Hodges.
In the course of the deliberations, it was brought out by some members of the Court that to avoid or, at
least, minimize further protracted legal controversies between the respective heirs of the Hodges spouses,
it is imperative to elucidate on the possible consequences of dispositions made by Charles after Linnies
death, from the mass of the unpartitioned estates without any express indication in the pertinent
documents as to whether his intention is to dispose of part of his inheritance from his wife or part of his
own share of the conjugal estate as well as of those made by PCIB after the death of Hodges. After a long
discussion, the consensus arrived at was as follows:
(1) any such dispositions made gratuitously in favor of third parties, whether these be individuals,
corporations or foundations, shall be considered as intended to be of properties constituting part of
Hodges' inheritance from his wife, it appearing from the tenor of his motions of May 27 and December 11,
1957 that in asking for general authority to make sales or other disposals of properties under the
jurisdiction of the court, which include his own share of the conjugal estate, he was not invoking
particularly his right over his own share, but rather his right to dispose of any part of his inheritance
pursuant to the will of his wife;
(2) as regards sales, exchanges or other remunerative transfers, the proceeds of such sales or the
properties taken in by virtue of such exchanges, shall be considered as merely the products of "physical
changes" of the properties of her estate which the will expressly authorizes Hodges to make, provided that
whatever of said products should remain with the estate at the time of the death of Hodges should go to
her brothers and sisters;
(3) the dispositions made by PCIB after the death of Hodges must naturally be deemed as covering only
the properties belonging to his estate considering that being only the administrator of the estate of
Hodges, PCIB could not have disposed of properties belonging to the estate of his wife. Neither could such
dispositions be considered as involving conjugal properties, for the simple reason that the conjugal
partnership automatically ceased when Linnie died, and by the peculiar provision of her will, under
discussion, the remainder of her share descended also automatically upon the death of Hodges to her
brothers and sisters, thus outside of the scope of PCIB's administration. Accordingly, these constructions of
Linnies will should be adhered to by the trial court in its final order of adjudication and distribution and/or
partition of the two estates in question.
Remand for determination of proper application of Art. 16, CC (renvoi), and of Charles alleged renunciation
of his ineritance under Linnies will. Avelina remains to be the administrator of Linnies estate. The said
estate consists of of the community properties of the said spouses, as of the time of Linnies death on
May 23, 1957, minus whatever the husband had already gratuitously disposed of in favor of third persons
from said date until his death, provided, first, that with respect to remunerative dispositions, the proceeds
thereof shall continue to be part of the wife's estate, unless subsequently disposed of gratuitously to third
parties by the husband, and second, that should the purported renunciation be declared legally effective,
no deductions whatsoever are to be made from said estate. PCIB and Avelina should act thenceforth
always conjointly, never independently from each other, as administrators.
Fernandoconcurred with procedural aspect of the decision.
Teehankeeagreed with most parts but had substantial differences in the reasoning:
C. N. Hodges could not validly make gratuitous dispositions of any part or all of his wife's estate
"completely and absolutely dispose of any portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than himself" in the
language of the main opinion and thereby render ineffectual and nugatory her institution of her brothers
and sisters as her designated heirs to succeed to her whole estate "at the death of (her) husband."
If according to the main opinion, Hodges could not make such gratuitous "complete and absolute
dispositions" of his wife Linnie's estate "mortis causa," it would seem that by the same token and rationale
he was likewise proscribed by the will from making such dispositions of Linnie's estate inter vivos.

of renvoi and renunciation should
resolved preferentially and expeditiously by the probate court ahead of the partition and segregation of
the minimum one-fourth of the conjugal or community properties constituting Linnie Jane
Hodges' separate estate, which task considering that it is now seventeen (17) years since Linnie Jane
Hodges' death and her conjugal estate with C. N. Hodges has remained unliquidated up to now might take
a similar number of years to unravel with the numerous items, transactions and details of the sizable
estates involved.
Such partition of the minimum one-fourth would not be final, since if the two prejudicial questions
of renvoi and renunciation were resolved favorably to Linnie's estate meaning to say that if it should be
held that C. N. Hodges is not entitled to any legitime of her estate and at any rate he had totally
renounced his inheritance under the will), then Linnie's estate would consist not only of the minimum onefourth but one-half of the conjugal or community properties of the Hodges spouses, which would require
to complete Linnie's separate estate.
Justice Teehankee also drew up suggested guidelines for application in the probate court. Please see
original case.
Makalintal, CJ.
Regardless of whether or not C. N. Hodges was entitled to a legitime in his deceased wife's estate which
question, still to be decided by the said probate court, may depend upon what is the law of Texas and upon
its applicability in the present case the said estate consists of one-half, not one-fourth, of the conjugal
properties. There is neither a minimum of one-fourth nor a maximum beyond that. It is important to bear
this in mind because the estate of Linnie Hodges consists of her share in the conjugal properties, is still
under administration and until now has not been distributed by order of the court.
The reference in both the main and separate opinions to a one-fourth portion of the conjugal properties as
Linnie Hodges minimum share is a misnomer and is evidently meant only to indicate that if her husband
should eventually be declared entitled to a legitime, then the disposition made by Linnie Hodges in favor of
her collateral relatives would be valid only as to one-half of her share, or one-fourth of the conjugal
properties, since the remainder, which constitutes such legitime, would necessarily go to her husband in
absolute ownership, unburdened by any substitution, term or condition, resolutory or otherwise. And until
the estate is finally settled and adjudicated to the heirs who may be found entitled to it, the administration
must continue to cover Linnie's entire conjugal share.

Digest by Pia
3. Palacios v. Ramirez
Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his widow as
compulsory heir. His will was admitted to probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch X, on July
27, 1965. Maria Luisa Palacios was appointed administratrix of the estate.
On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted a project of partition as follows: the property of the
deceased is to be divided into two parts. One part shall go to the widow en plenodominio in satisfaction
of her legitime; the other part or free portion shall go to Jorge and Roberto Ramirez en nudapropriedad.
Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion is charged with the widows usufruct and the remaining
two-third (2/3) with a usufruct in favor of Wanda.
-APPEAL for the partitioning of testate estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez (a Filipino national, died in Spain on
December 11, 1964) among principal beneficiaries:
Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez
-French who lives in Paris
-received (as spouse) and usufructuary rights over 1/3 of the free portion
Roberto and Jorge Ramirez
-two grandnephews
-lives in Malate

-received the (free portion)

Wanda de Wrobleski
-Austrian who lives in Spain
-received usufructuary rights of 2/3 of the free portion
-vulgar substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez
-Maria Luisa Palacios -administratix
-Jorge and Roberto Ramirez opposed because
a. vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda wrt widows usufruct and in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and
Horacio Ramirez, wrt to Wandas usufruct is INVALID because first heirs (Marcelle and Wanda) survived the
b. fideicommissary substitutions are INVALID because first heirs not related to the second heirs or
substitutes within the first degree as provided in Art 863 CC
c. grant of usufruct of real property in favor of an alien, Wanda, violated Art XIII Sec 5
d. proposed partition of the testators interest in the Santa Cruz Building between widowand appellants
violates testators express will to give this property to them
-LC: approved partition
WON the partition is valid insofar as
a. widows legitime
b. substitutions
c. usufruct of Wanda
a. YES, appellants do not question because Marcelle is the widow[1]and over which hecould impose no
burden, encumbrance, condition or substitution of any kind hatsoever[2]
-the proposed creation by the admininstratix in favor of the testators widow of a usufruct over 1/3 of the
free portion of the testators estate cannot be made where it will run counter to the testators express will.
The Court erred for Marcelle who is entitled to of the state enpleno dominio as her legitime and which
is more than what she is given under the will is not entitled to have any additional share in the estate. To
give Marcelle more than her legitime will run counter to the testators intention for as stated above his
disposition even impaired her legitime and tended to favor Wanda.
b. Vulgar substitutions are valid because dying before the testator is not the only case where a vulgar
substitution can be made. Also, according to Art 859 CC, cases also include refusal or incapacity to accept
inheritance therefore it is VALID.
BUT fideicommissary substitutions are VOID because Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace Ramirez are not
related to Wande and according to Art 863 CC, it validates a fideicommissary substitution provided that
such substitution does not go beyond one degreefrom the heir originally instituted. Another is that
there is no absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit the usufructuary to the substitutes and in fact the
apellee agrees that the testator contradicts the establishment of the fideicommissary substitution when he
permits the properties be subject to usufruct to be sold upon mutual agreement ofthe usufructuaries and
naked owners.
c. YES, usufruct of Wanda is VALID
-Art XIII[3]Sec 5 (1935): Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private agricultural land shall be
transferred or assigned except toindividuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold land
of the public domain in the Philippines.[4]
The lower court upheld the usufruct thinking that the Constitution covers not only succession by operation
of law but also testamentary succession BUT SC is of the opinion that this provision does not apply to
testamentary succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught and meaningless. Any alien would
circumvent the prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in exchange for a devise of a piece
of land BUT an alienmay be bestowed USUFRUCTUARY RIGHTS over a parcel of land in the Philippines.
Therefore, the usufruct in favor of Wanda, although a real right, is upheld because it does not vest title to
the land in the usufructuary (Wanda) and it is the vesting of title to land in favor of aliens which is
proscribed by the Constitution.
Decision: Marcelle (as legitime), Jorge and Roberto Ramirez (free portion) in naked ownership and the
usufruct to Wanda de Wrobleski with simple substitution in favor of Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace


FACTS: P21,428.58 is on deposit in the plaintiff's name, with the La Urbana in Manila, as the final payment
of the liquidated credit of Ana Maria Alcantara, deceased, whose heiress is said plaintiff, against Andres
Garchitorena, also deceased, represented by his son, the defendant Mariano Garchitorena.The la atter held
a judgement for P7,872.23 for due execution against the husband of Ana Maria, Joaquin Perez Alcantara
hence the deposited amount in La Urbana was attached. The plaintiff, alleging that said deposit belongs to
the fideicommissary heirs of the decedent Ana Maria Alcantara, secured a preliminary injunction
restraining the execution of said judgment on the sum so attached. The defendants contend that the
plaintiff is the decedent's universal heiress, and pray for the dissolution of the injunction.The court held
that said La Urbana deposit belongs to the plaintiff's children as fideicommissary heirs of Ana Maria
Alcantara, and granted a final writ of injunction.
ISSUE: Whether or not the testatrix has ordered a simple substitution, or a fideicommissary substitution.
RULING: There is a fideicommissary substitution.All the elements of this kind of substitution are present:
1. At first heir primarily called to the enjoyment of the estate. In this case the plaintiff was instituted an
heiress, called to the enjoyment of the estate, according to clause IX of the will.
2. An obligation clearly imposed upon the heir to preserve and transmit to a third person the whole or a
part of the estate. Such an obligation is imposed in clause X which provides that the "whole estate shall
pass unimpaired to her (heiress's) surviving children;" thus, instead of leaving the heiress at liberty to
dispose of the estate by will, or of leaving the law to take its course in case she dies intestate, said clause
not only disposes of the estate in favor of the heiress instituted, but also provides for the disposition
thereof in case she should die after the testatrix.
3. A second heir. Such are the children of the heiress instituted, who are referred to as such second heirs
both in clause X and in clause XI.
As a consequence, the inheritance in question does not belong to the heiress instituted, the plaintiff
herein, as her absolute property, but to her children, from the moment of the death of the testatrix, Ana
Maria Alcantara.
Therefore, said inheritance, of which the amount referred to at the beginning, which is on deposit with the
association known as La Urbana in the plaintiff's name, is a part, does not belong to her nor can it be
subject to the execution of the judgment against Joaquin Perez, who is not one of the fideicommissary
The judgment appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the appellant, Mariano Garchitorena.

DR. MANUEL SINGSON, defendant-

FACTS: The spouses Consolacion Florentino and Francisco Crisologo commenced an action for partition
against Manuel Singson in connection with a residential lot located at Plaridel St., Vigan, Ilocos Sur, with an
area of approximately 193 square meters, and the improvements existing thereon, covered by Tax No.
10765-C. Their complaint alleged that Singson owned one-half pro-indiviso of said property and that
Consolacion Florentino owned the other half by virtue of the provisions of the duly probated last will of
Da. Leona Singson, the original owner, and the project of partition submitted to, and approved by the
Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur in special Proceeding No. 453; that plaintiffs had made demands for the
partition of said property, but defendant refused to accede thereto, thus compelling them to bring action. It
is admitted that Da. Leona Singson, who died single on January 13, 1948, was the owner of the property
in question at the time of her death. On July 31, 1951 she executed her last will which was admitted to
probate in Special Proceeding No. 453 of the lower court whose decision was affirmed by the Court of
Appeals in G.R. No. 3605-R. At the time of the execution of the will, her nearest living relatives were her
brothers Evaristo, Manuel and Dionisio Singson, her nieces Rosario, Emilia and Trinidad, and her
grandniece Consolation, all surnamed Florentino. The lower court rendered judgment in favor of the
plaintiffs.Defendant appealed.
ISSUE: Whether or not the testamentary disposition provided for what is called substitucion vulgar or for a
sustitucion fideicomisaria.
RULING: The last will of the deceased Da. Leona Singson, established a mere sustitucion vulgar, the
substitution Consolacion Florentino by the brothers of the testatrix to be effective or to take place upon the
death of the former, whether it happens before or after that of the testatrix.The substitution of heirs
provided for in the will is not expressly made of the fideicommissary kind, nor does it contain a clear

statement to the effect that appellee, during her lifetime, shall only enjoy usufructuary rights over the
property bequeathed to her, naked ownership thereof being vested in the brothers of the testatrix. As
already stated, it merely provides that upon appellee's death whether this happens before or after that
of the testatrix her share shall belong to the brothers of the testatrix.The appealed judgment is affirmed,
with costs.
207 SCRA 600; March 27, 1992
FACTS: Maria Lizares y Alunan died and left her "testamento" in the possession and custody of her niece,
Eustaquia Lizares, who later filed a petition for the settlement of her estate. The probate court declared the
will probated and appointed Eustaquia as the executrix of the estate of Maria Lizares.
- Eustaquia filed a project of partition, which was granted by the probate court. Simultaneously, said court
declared the heirs, devisees, legatees and usufructuaries mentioned in the project of partition as the only
heirs, devisees, legatees and usufructuaries of the estate; adjudicated to them the properties respectively
assigned to them, and ordered the Register of Deeds to effect the corresponding transfer of properties.
- Eustaquia filed an urgent motion to reopen the testate proceedings in order that some properties of Maria
Lizares which had been omitted in the partition be adjudicated to her. The Court granted the motion and
adjudicated to Eustaquia certain shares of stocks, a revolving fund certificate, plantation credits and sugar
quota allocations, and real or personal properties of Maria Lizares which were not given by her to any other
person in her last will and testament. The heirs executed an agreement of partition and subdivision,
thereby terminating their co-ownership over the inherited land.
- Eustaquia Lizares died single without any descendant.
- Rodolfo and Amelo Lizares were appointed joint administrators of her intestate estate.
- On the strength of the testamentary provisions contained in pars. 10 and 11 of the will of Maria Lizares,
which were allegedly in the nature of a simple substitution, CelsaL. Vda. de Kilayko, et al. filed a motion to
reopen once again the testate estate proceedings of Maria Lizares. They prayed among others that a
substitute administrator be appointed.
- The intestate heirs of Eustaquia opposed the motion, alleging that the court had no more jurisdiction to
reopen the testate estate proceedings of Maria Lizares as the order of closure had long become final and
that the testamentary provisions sought to be enforced are null and void. The Court denied the motion to
reopen the testate proceedings.
- Celsa L. Vda. de Kilayko, et al. filed a complaint for recovery of ownership and possession of real property
against the joining administrators of the estate of Eustaquia Lizares.
- The joint administrators filed the present petition. Petitioners contend, among others, that the claim of
petitioners over the properties left by their niece Eustaquia and which the latter had inherited by will from
Maria Lizares, was groundless because paragraphs 10 and 11 of Maria's will on which Celsa L. Vda. de
Kilayko, et al. base their claim, conceived of a fideicommissary substitution of heirs. Petitioners claim that
said provisions of the will are not valid because under Article 863 of the Civil Code, they constitute an
invalid fideicommissary substitution of heirs.
1. WON the independent action for reconveyance should prosper.
2. WON petitioners are the conditional substitute heirs of Eustaquia in the testate estate of Maria Lizares
1. NO
A final decree of distribution of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of
the estate in the distributees. If the decree is erroneous, it should be corrected by opportune
appeal, for once it becomes final, its binding effect is like any other judgment in rem, unless
properly set aside for lack of jurisdiction or fraud.
Any challenge to the validity of a will, any objection to the authentication thereof, and every demand or
claim which any heir, legatee or party interested in a testate or intestate succession may make, must be
acted upon and decided within the same special proceedings, not in a separate action, and the same judge
having jurisdiction in the administration of the estate shall take cognizance of the question raised,
inasmuch as when the day comes he will be called upon to make distribution and adjudication of the

property to the interested parties.- The facts show that the petitioners recognized the decree of partition
sanctioned by the probate court and in fact reaped the fruits thereof.
Hence, they are now precluded from attacking the validity of the partition or any part of it in the guise of a
complaint for reconveyance. A party cannot, in law and in good conscience be allowed to reap the fruits of
a partition, agreement or judgment and repudiate what does not suit him. Thus, where a piece of land has
been included in a partition and there is no allegation that the inclusion was affected through improper
means or without petitioners knowledge, the partition barred any further litigation on said title and
operated to bring the property under the control and jurisdiction of the court for its proper disposition
according to the tenor of the partition.
- Moreover, when petitioners. moved for the reopening of the testate estate proceedings of Maria Lizares,
the judicial decree of partition and order of closure of such proceedings was already final and executory,
then reglementary period of thirty days having elapsed from the time of its issuance, with no timely appeal
having been filed by them.- The only instance where a party interested in a probate proceeding may have
a final liquidation set aside is when he is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control or through
mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence. Even then, the better practice to secure relief is the
opening of the same by proper motion within the reglementary period, instead of an independent action,
the effect of which if successful, would be for another court or judge to throw out a decision or order
already final and executed and reshuffle properties long ago distributed and disposedof.
2. NO
When a testator merely names an heir and provides that if such heir should die a second heir
also designated shall succeed, there is no fideicommissary substitution. The substitution
should then be construed as a vulgar or simple substitution under Art.859 of the Civil Code but
it shall be effective only if the first heir dies before the testator.
Although the testatrix intended a fideicommissary substitution in paragraphs 10 and11 of her will, the
substitution can have no effect because the requisites for it to be valid, had not been satisfied. The
allegation of the joint administrators that paragraphs 10 and 11 of Maria Lizares' last will and testament
conceives of a fideicommissary substitution under Article 863 of the Civil Code is baseless as said
paragraphs do not impose upon Eustaquia a clear obligation to preserve the estate in favor of Celsa L. Vda.
de Kilayko, et al., neither may said paragraphs be considered as providing for a vulgar or simple
substitution.- In this case, the instituted heir, Eustaquia, survived the testatrix, Maria Lizares. Hence, there
can be no substitution of heirs for, upon Maria Lizares' death, the properties involved unconditionally
devolved upon Eustaquia. Under the circumstances, the sisters of Maria Lizares could only inherit the
estate of Eustaquia by operation of the law of intestacy.