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Javellana v.

Ledesma
June 30, 1955 | Reyes, JBL, J. | Wills > Forms > Notarial will; acknowledged

PETITIONER-APPELLEE: Felicidad Javellana


OPPOSITOR-APPELLANT: Doa Matea Ledesma

SUMMARY: Matea Ledesma, the sister of the decedent Apolinaria, is contesting the probate of
Apolinaria's will saying (among other accusations) that it wasn't executed in conformity with the
law because the acknowledgment was done separately from the execution of the will. She also
said that the witnesses to the execution of the will coerced her sister in its execution. SC affirmed
the CFI's decision to probate the will of Apolinaria, stating that the acknowledgment of the will
does not have to be done at the same time that the will was executed.

DOCTRINE: The NEW Civil Code DOES NOT require that the signing of the testator, witnesses,
and notary should be accomplished in one single act. || According to Art. 806 of the new Civil
Code, it reveals that while the testator and the witnesses sign in the presence of each other, all
that is required after is that "every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the
testator and the witnesses". It does not require that the testator and the witnesses should
acknowledge the testament on the same day or occasion that it was executed.

FACTS:

1. Deceased Apolinaria Ledesma vda. de Javellana executed a testament on March 30, 1950,
and a codicil on May 29, 1952. These were witnessed by the Tabianas and Yap.
2. CFI Iloilo admitted the wills to probate on July 23, 1953.
3. Appellant Matea Ledesma (sister of deceased Apolinaria) contested the probate, stating that
the exhibits (testament and codicil) were not executed in conformity with the law.
Matea also stated that the testatrix (Apolinaria) lacked the testamentary capacity to
produce the will and that the dispositions made were done through undue influence.
Matea argues that CFI erred in refusing to give credence to her witnesses, Paderogao
and Allado, who were the cook and the driver of Apolinaria. They testified that they allegedly
saw and heard that Yap (one of the witnesses) forced and insisted that Apolinaria sign the
will at the attorney's office (Tabiana). They alleged that Apolinaria signed the will in Yap's
presence alone and returned it saying that no one would questioned it because the property
involved was exclusively hers.
Matea contends that the signing of the certificate of acknowledgment was in Spanish,
and that it was appended to the codicil in Visayan. CONTEXT: The codicil was executed after
the enactment of the New Civil Code, and therefore, had to be acknowledged before a notary
public (Art. 806).
4. CFI Iloilo rejected the testimonies of Paderogao and Allado.
Yap and the Tabianas asserted under oath that the testament was executed by
Apolinaria and the witnesses Yap and Tabiana in the presence of each other at her
house.
It is highly unlikely that either Tabiana or Yap should've insisted that Apolinaria, an infirm
lady over 80 years old, should leave her own house in order to execute her will, when
they could've just went to her.
According to the Tabianas and Yap, after the codicil was signed by Apolinaria and the
witnesses at the hospital, this was signed and sealed by notary public Gimotea on the
same occasion.
5. Appellant Matea Ledesma appealed the CFI's decision to the Supreme Court, since the value
of the property was over P200,000. Hence this case.

ISSUES:
WON the acknowledgment clause was signed and the notarial seal affixed by tnhe
notary public WITHOUT the presence of the testatrix (Apolinaria) and the witnesses
(Yap and the Tabianas)? NO, it was signed and notarized in the presence of Apolinaria
and her witnesses.
WON as a result, the codicil was thereby rendered invalid and ineffective? NO,
since it complied with the law.

RULING:
CFI Ruling admitting the will to probate AFFIRMED. Costs against Ledesma.

RATIO:

1. Whether or not the notary Gimotea signed the certification of acknowledgment in the presence
of Apolinaria and her witnesses, THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE CODICIL.
2. UNLIKE the Code of 1889 (Art. 699), the NEW Civil Code DOES NOT require that the signing
of the testator, witnesses, and notary should be accomplished in one single act.
3. Art. 806 of the New Civil Code reveals that while the testator and the witnesses sign in the
presence of each other, all that is required after is that "every will must be acknowledged before a
notary public by the testator and the witnesses" according to Art. 806.
This means that the witnesses should avow to the notary/certifying officer the authenticity
of their signatures and the voluntariness of their actions in executing the testamentary
decision.
In Art. 806 of the New Civil Code, it does not require that the testator and the witnesses
should acknowledge the testament on the same day or occasion that it was executed.
4. IN THIS CASE: This was complied with. (See bulletpoint 3 under Fact 4) The subsequent
signing and sealing by the notary (Gimotea) of his certification that the testament was duly
acknowledged by the participants is not part of the acknowledgment itself nor of the testamentary
act.
5. So even if the codicil was executed separately from the notary's acknowledgment, this doesn't
violate the rule that the testament should've been completed without interruption. It WAS
completed when it was executed. It doesn't say that the acknowledgment done by the notary
should've been done along with the execution of the testament.