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BALTAZAR vs. LAXA | G.R. No. 174489 | April 11, 2012 | Del Castillo, J.

: ISSUE: Whether the authenticity and due execution of the will was sufficiently
established to warrant its allowance for probate.
FACTS: Paciencia was a 78 y/o spinster when she made her last will and
testament in the Pampango dialect on Sept. 13, 1981. The will, executed in the HELD: Yes. A careful examination of the face of the Will shows faithful
house of retired Judge Limpin, was read to Paciencia twice. After which, Paciencia compliance with the formalities laid down by law. The signatures of the testatrix,
expressed in the presence of the instrumental witnesses that the document is her Paciencia, her instrumental witnesses and the notary public, are all present and
last will and testament. She thereafter affixed her signature at the end of the said evident on the Will. Further, the attestation clause explicitly states the critical
document on page 3 and then on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof. requirement that the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses attested and
subscribed to the Will in the presence of the testator and of one another. In fact,
Childless and without any brothers or sisters, Paciencia bequeathed all her even the petitioners acceded that the signature of Paciencia in the Will may be
properties to respondent Lorenzo Laxa and his wife Corazon Laza and their authentic although they question of her state of mind when she signed the same as
children Luna and Katherine. Lorenzo is Paciencias nephew whom she treated as well as the voluntary nature of said act.
her own son. Conversely, Lorenzo came to know and treated Paciencia as his own
mother. The burden to prove that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the
execution of the will lies on the shoulders of the petitioners. The SC agree with the
Six days after the execution of the Will (Sept. 19, 1981), Paciencia left for USA. position of the CA that the state of being forgetful does not necessarily make a
There, she resided with Lorenzo and his family until her death on Jan. 4, 1996. In person mentally unsound so as to render him unfit to execute a Will. Forgetfulness
the interim, the Will remained in the custody of Judge Limpin. is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. Besides, Art. 799 of the NCC states:
To be of unsound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of
all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, unimpaired, or
More than 4 years after the death of Paciencia or on Apr. 27, 2000, Lorenzo filed a unshattered by disease, injury or other cause. It shall be sufficient if the testator
petition with the RTC of Guagua, Pampanga for the probate of the Will of Paciencia was able at the time of making the Will to know the nature of the estate to be
and for the issuance of Letters of Administration in his favor. disposed of, the proper objects of his bounty, and the character of the testamentary
On Jun 23, 2000 one of petitioners, Antonio Baltazar filed an opposition to
Lorenzos petition. Antonio averred that the properties subject of Paciencias Will AZNAR vs GARCIA 7 SCRA 95
belong to Nicomeda Mangalindan, his predecessor-in-interest; hence, Paciencia
had no right to bequeath them to Lorenzo. Also, one of the petitioners, Rosie
Mateo testified that Paciencia is in the state of being mangulyan or forgetful Facts:
making her unfit for executing a will and that the execution of the will had been
procured by undue and improper pressure and influence. Edward Christensen is a citizen of the State of California and domiciled
in the Philippines. He executed in his will acknowledging his natural daughter Maria
Petitioners also opposed the issuance of the Letters of Administration in Lorenzos Lucy Christensen as sole heir but left a legacy of some money in favor of Helen
favor arguing that Lorenzo was disqualified to be appointed as such, he being a Christensen Garcia who is declared by the Supreme Court in its decision as
citizen and resident of the USA. Petitioners prayed that Letters of Administration be acknowledged natural daughter of Edward C. Counsel of Helen asserts that her
instead issued in favor of Antonio. claim must be increased in view of the successional rights of illegitimate children
under Phil. law. Counsel of Maria insists that Art. 16 (2) provides that the
NATIONAL LAW OF THE PERSON applies in intestate and testamentary
RTC denies the petition for probate of the will and concluded that when Paciencia successions and since Edward C. is a citizen of CA, its law should be applied.
signed the will, she was no longer possessed of the sufficient reason or strength of Lower court ruled that CA law should be applied thus this petition for review.
mind to have the testamentary capacity. On appeal, CA reversed the decision of
the RTC and granted the probate of the will. The petitioner went up to SC for a
petition for review on Certiorari. Issue:
valid signature as it does not show distinct identifying ridgelines. And since the
finger mark was an invalid signature, there must appear in the attestation clause
What law should be applicable Philippine or California Law? that another person wrote the testators name at his request.

Ruling: ISSUE: W/N the will was valid.

The court refers to Art. 16 (2) providing that intestate and testamentary HELD: YES. As to the clarity of the ridge impressions, it is so dependent on
successions with respect to order of succession and amt. of successional right is aleatory requirements as to require dexterity that can be expected of very few
regulated by the NATIONAL LAW OF THE PERSON. California Probate persons; testators should not be required to possess the skill of trained officers.
Code provides that a testator may dispose of his property in the form and manner And as to the validity of the thumbprints as signature, the SC held that it has been
he desires. Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California provides that if no law on the held in a long line of cases that a thumbprint is always a valid and sufficient
contrary, the place where the personal property is situated is deemed to follow the signature for the purpose of complying with the requirement of the article.
person of its owner and is governed by the LAW OF HIS DOMICILE. Furthermore, the validity of thumbprints should not be limited in cases of illness or
infirmity. A thumbprint is considered as a valid and sufficient signature in complying
with the requirements of the article.
These provisions are cases when the Doctrine of Renvoi may be applied where
the question of validity of the testamentary provision in question is referred back to
the decedents domicile the Philippines. S.C. noted the California law provides 2
sets of laws for its citizens: One for residents therein as provided by the CA
Probate Code and another for citizens domiciled in other countries as provided by NERA vs RIMANDO
Art. 946 of the Civil Code of California. The conflicts of law rule in CA (Art. 946)
authorize the return of question of law to the testators domicile. The court must 18 Phil 450 Succession What In the presence of each other means
apply its own rule in the Philippines as directed in the conflicts of law rule in CA,
otherwise the case/issue will not be resolved if the issue is referred back and forth
between 2 states. When a certain will was being signed, it was alleged that the testator and some
subscribing witnesses were in the inner room while the other subscribing witnesses
were in the outer room. What separates the inner room from the outer room was a
The SC reversed the lower courts decision and remanded the case back to it for curtain. The trial court ignored this fact in its determination of the case as it ruled
decision with an instruction that partition be made applying the Philippine law. that the determination of this specific fact will not affect the outcome of the case.

ISSUE: What is the true test of the testators or the witness presence in the
signing of a will?
Matias v.Salud L-10751, 23 June 1958
HELD: The Supreme Court emphasized that the true test of presence of the
FACTS: The CFI denied probate of the will of Gabina Raquel. It must be noted that testator and the witnesses in the execution of a will is not whether they actually
Gabina Raquel was suffering from herpes zoster that afflicted the right arm and saw each other sign, but whether they might have seen each other sign, had they
shoulder of the testatrix, which made writing difficult and a painful act. Thus, upon chosen to do so, considering their mental and physical condition and position with
the insistence of the attorney, Gabina attempted to sign, but since it was so painful relation to each other at the moment of inscription of each signature.
she just managed to thumbmarked the foot of the document and the left margin at
each page. The parties opposing the probate of the will contended that the will was The position of the parties with relation to each other at the moment of the
void due to the irregularities in the execution thereof. One of the points raised by subscription of each signature, must be such that they may see each other sign if
the oppositors was that the finger mark can not be regarded as the decedents they choose to do so.
The Supreme Court, in this case, determined that all the parties were in the same Finally, the function of a notary among others is to guard against any illegal or
small room when each other signed. Hence, they were in each others presence immoral arrangements, a function defeated if he were to be one of the attesting or
(though the facts of the case didnt elaborate the SC just ruled so). The SC ruled instrumental witnesses. He would be interested in sustaining the validity of the will
that if some of the witnesses were really in the outer room (a fact which was not as it directly involves himself and the validity of his own act. he would be in an
established according to the SC) separated by a curtain, then the will is invalid, the inconsistent position, thwarting the very purpose of the acknowledgment, which is
attaching of those signatures under circumstances not being done in the to minimize fraud.
presence of the witness in the outer room.
Garcia v. Lacuesta G.R. L-4067 November 29, 1951
Cruz v. Villasor G.R. L-32213 November 26, 1973
1. The CA disallowed the probate of the will of Antero Mercado dated Jan 1943.
1. The CFI of Cebu allowed the probate of the last will and testament of the late The said will was written in Ilocano dialect.
Valenti Cruz. However, the petitioner opposed the allowance of the will alleging
that it was executed through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and undue influence. 2. The will appears to have been signed by Atty. Florentino Javier who wrote the
He further alleged that the instrument was executed without the testator having name of the testator followed below by 'A ruego del testador' and the name of
been informed of its contents and finally, that it was not executed in accordance Florentino Javier. In effect, it was signed by another although under the express
with law. direction of the testator. This fact however was not recited in the attestation clause.
Mercado also affixed a cross on the will.
2. One of the witnesses, Angel Tevel Jr. was also the notary before whom the will
was acknowledged. Despite the objection, the lower court admitted the will to 3. The lower court admitted the will to probate but this order was reversed by the
probate on the ground that there is substantial compliance with the legal Court of Appeals on the ground that the attestation failed to recite the facts
requirements of having at least 3 witnesses even if the notary public was one of surrounding the signing of the testator and the witnesses.
Issue: Whether or not the attestation clause in the will is valid
Issue: Whether or not the will is valid in accordance with Art. 805 and 806 of
the NCC
HELD: NO the attestation is fatally defective for its failure to state that Antero or the
testator caused Atty. Javier to write the former's name under his express direction
HELD: NO. as required by Sec. 618 of the Civil Procedure. Finally, on the cross affixed on the
will by the testator, the Court held that it is not prepared to liken the mere sign of a
The will is not valid. The notary public cannot be considered as the third cross to a thumbmark for obvious reasons- the cross does not have the
instrumental witness since he cannot acknowledge before himself his having trustworthiness of a thumbmark so it is not considered as a valid signature.
signed the said will. An acknowledging officer cannot serve as witness at the same
time. To acknowledge before means to avow, or to own as genuine, to assent, Caneda v. CA
admit, and 'before' means in front of or preceding in space or ahead of. The notary
cannot split his personality into two so that one will appear before the other to
acknowledge his participation int he making of the will. To permit such situation FACTS:
would be absurd.
On December 5, 1978, Mateo Caballero, a widower without any children and
already in the twilight years of his life, executed a last will and testament at his
residence before 3 witnesses. He was assisted by his lawyer, Atty. Emilio
Lumontad. In the will, it was declared that the testator was leaving by way of It is a separate memorandum or record of the facts surrounding the conduct of
legacies and devises his real and personal properties to several people all of whom execution and once signed by the witnesses it gives affirmation to the fact that
do not appear to be related to the testator. 4 months later, Mateo Caballero himself compliance with the essential formalities required by law has been observed.
filed a case seeking the probate of his last will and testament, but numerous
postponements pushed back the initial hearing of the probate court regarding the The attestation clause, therefore, provides strong legal guaranties for the due
will. On May 29, 1980, the testator passed away before his petition could finally be execution of a will and to insure the authenticity thereof.
heard by the probate court. Thereafter one of the legatees, Benoni Cabrera, sought
his appointment as special administrator of the testators estate. Thereafter, the
petitioners, claiming to be nephews and nieces of the testator, instituted a second It is contended by petitioners that the attestation clause in the will failed to
petition for intestate proceedings. They also opposed the probate of the testators specifically state the fact that the attesting witnesses witnessed the testator sign
will and the appointment of a special administrator for his estate. the will and all its pages in their presence and that they, the witnesses, likewise
signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of each
other. And the Court agrees.
Benoni Cabrera died and was replaced by William Cabrera as special administrator
and gave an order that the testate proceedings for the probate of the will had to be
heard and resolved first. In the course of the proceedings, petitioners opposed to The attestation clause does not expressly state therein the circumstance that said
the allowance of the testators will on the ground that on the alleged date of its witnesses subscribed their respective signatures to the will in the presence of the
execution, the testator was already in poor state of health such that he could not testator and of each other.
have possibly executed the same. Also the genuineness of the signature of the
testator is in doubt. The phrase, and he has signed the same and every page thereof, on the space
provided for his signature and on the left hand margin, obviously refers to the
On the other hand, one of the attesting witnesses and the notary public testified testator and not the instrumental witnesses as it is immediately preceded by the
that the testator executed the will in question in their presence while he was of words as his last will and testament.
sound and disposing mind and that the testator was in good health and was not
unduly influenced in any way in the execution of his will. Probate court then Clearly lacking is the statement that the witnesses signed the will and every page
rendered a decision declaring the will in question as the last will and testament of thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. That the absence of the
the late Mateo Caballero. 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 probated.
CA affirmed the probate courts decision stating that it substantially complies with
Article 805. Hence this appeal. Also, Art. 809 does not apply to the present case because the attestation clause
totally omits the fact that the attesting witnesses signed each and every page of the
ISSUE: W/N the attestation clause in the will of the testator is fatally defective or will in the presence of the testator and of each other. The defect in this case is not
can be cured under the art. 809. only with respect to the form or the language of the attestation clause. The defects
must be remedied by intrinsic evidence supplied by the will itself which is clearly
lacking in this case.
HELD: No. It does not comply with the provisions of the law.

Therefore, the probate of the will is set aside and the case for the intestate
Ordinary or attested wills are governed by Arts. 804 to 809. The will must be proceedings shall be revived.
acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the attesting witnesses.
The attestation clause need not be written in a language known to the testator or
even to the attesting witnesses. Article 809 cannot be used to cure the defects of the will when it does not pertain
to the form or language of the will. This is because there is not substantial
compliance with Article 805.
IN MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE PROBATE OF THE LAST WILL AND ART. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end
TESTAMENT OF ENRIQUE LOPEZ 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
The Facts: by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one
Enrique died on June 21, 1999, leaving behind his wife, Wendy, and four legitimate
children, Richard, Diane Jeanne, Marybeth and Victoria. Before his death, he The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental
executed a Last Will and Testament naming Richard as the executor and witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof,
administrator. Thus, on September 27, 1999, Richard filed a petition for the except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall be numbered
probate of his last will and testament before the RTC of Manila. Marybeth filed an correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.
opposition, joined by Victoria, alleging that the the will was procured by undue and
improper pressure on Enrique by Richard. After compliance with the jurisdictional The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written,
requisites, Richard presented the attesting witnesses, Reynaldo, Romulo, and Ana and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused
Marie as well as the notary public who notarised the will, Atty. Perfecto Nolasco. some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence
They attested to the fact that Enrique signed the will on each and every page and of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and
they read the same in the latters presence and of one another. Perfecto testified all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.
that Enrique had been his client for 20 years, and consulted him in the preparation
of the will. He prepared it in accordance with the latters wishes. It was Ana Maria If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall be
who prepared the drafts and revisions of the will before the final copy was made. interpreted to them. (underscoring supplied)

In a Decision rendered on August 26, 2005, the RTC disallowed the probate of the ART. 809. In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud, or undue and improper
will for failure to comply with Article 805 of the Civil Code, requiring a statement in pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in
the attestation clause of the number of pages upon which the will is written. It the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will
noted that while the attestation clause stated that the will consisted of eight (8) was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the
pages, the actual number of pages was seven (7) only. While Article 809 of the requirements of Article 805.
Civil Code requires mere substantial compliance of the form laid down in Art. 805,
the rule applies only if the number of pages is reflected somewhere else in the
document without resorting to evidence aliunde or extrinsic evidence required. The law is clear that the attestation must state the number of pages used upon
Thus the will failed to comply with the formalities of law. Richard filed a Notice of which the will is written. The purpose of the law is to safeguard against possible
Appeal of the RTC decision to the CA. The appellate court denied the appeal, interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages and prevent any increase or
noting that in special proceedings, a record on appeal, not a notice of appeal, is decrease in the pages1.
required. Further, the RTC did not err in disallowing the will for non-compliance
with Art. 805 of the Civil Code. While Article 809 allows substantial compliance for defects in the form of the
attestation clause, Richard likewise failed in this respect. The statement in the
The Issue/s: Whether or not the RTC and the CA erred in not allowing the probate Acknowledgment portion of the subject LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT that it
of the will. consists of 7 pages including the page on which the ratification and
acknowledgment are written2 cannot be deemed substantial compliance. The
will actually consists of 8 pages including its acknowledgment which discrepancy
The Courts ruling: The petition lacks merit. cannot be explained by mere examination of the will itself but through the
presentation of evidence aliunde3. On this score is the comment of Justice
The provisions of the Civil Code on Forms of Wills, particularly, Articles 805 and J.B.L. Reyes regarding the application of Article 809, to wit:
809 of the Civil Code provide:
x x x The rule must be limited to disregarding those defects that can be supplied by Ajero v. CA 236 SCRA 488
an examination of the will itself: whether all the pages are consecutively numbered;
whether the signatures appear in each and every page; whether the subscribing FACTS:
witnesses are three or the will was notarized. All these are facts that the will itself
can reveal, and defects or even omissions concerning them in the attestation
clause can be safely disregarded. But the total number of pages, and whether all The holographic will of Annie San was submitted for probate.
persons required to sign did so in the presence of each other must substantially Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither the
appear in the attestation clause, being the only check against perjury in the probate testaments body nor the signature therein was in decedents handwriting; it
proceedings.4 (Emphasis supplied) contained alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by decedent;
and, the will was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue
Hence, the CA properly sustained the disallowance of the will. Moreover, it
correctly ruled that Richard pursued the wrong mode of appeal as Section 2(a),
Rule 41 of the Rules of Court explicitly provides that in special proceedings, as in The petition was also contested by Dr. Ajero with respect to the disposition in the
this case, the appeal shall be made by record on appeal. will of a house and lot. He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by
decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. SO ORDERED.
However, the trial court still admitted the decedents holographic will to probate.
The trial court held that since it must decide only the question of the identity of the
Kalaw v. Relova G.R. No. L-40207 September 28, 1984 will, its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix, it finds no
reason for the disallowance of the will for its failure to comply with
Facts: the formalitiesprescribed by law nor for lack of testamentary capacity of the
1. Gregorio Kalaw, the private respondent, claiming to be the sole heir of sister
Natividad, filed a peition for probate of the latter's holographic will in 1968. The will On appeal, the CA reversed said Decision holding that the decedent did not
contained 2 alterations: a) Rosa's name, designated as the sole heir was crossed comply with Articles 313 and 314 of the NCC. It found that certain dispositions in
out and instead "Rosario" was written above it. Such was not initialed, b) Rosa's the will were either unsigned or undated, or signed by not dated. It also found that
name was crossed out as sole executrix and Gregorio's ma,e was written above it. the erasures, alterations and cancellations made had not been authenticated by
This alteration was initialed by the testator. decedent.

2. Rosa contended that the will as first written should be given effect so that she ISSUE:
would be the sole heir. The lower court denied the probate due to the
unauthenticated alterations and additions. Whether the CA erred in holding that Articles 813 and 814 of the NCC were not
complies with.
Issue: Whether or not the will is valid
RULING: No, the will is voided or revoked since nothing remains in the will which
could remain valid as there was only one disposition in it. Such was altered by the YES. A reading of Article 813 shows that its requirement affects the validity of
substitution of the original heir with another. To rule that the first will should be the dispositions contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator
given effect is to disregard the testatrix' change of mind. However, this change of fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the result is that
mind cannot be given effect either as she failed to authenticate it in accordance these dispositionscannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render
with Art. 814, or by affixing her full signature. the whole testament void.
Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate notwithstanding non- In the case of holographic wills, what assures authenticity is the requirement that
compliance with the provisions of Article 814. they be totally authographic or handwritten by the testator himself. Failure to strictly
observe other formalities will no result in the disallowance of a holographicwill that
Unless the authenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the is unquestionable handwritten by the testator.
date of the holographic will or on testators signature, their presence does not
invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of Maloto v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 76464 February 29, 1988
such changes.
It is also proper to note that he requirements of authentication of changes and
signing and dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Article 813 and 814) 1. Petitioners and respondents are the neices/nephews or Adriana Maloto who
separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of died in 1963. The four heirs believed that the deceased did not leave a will,
the holographic will (Article 810). hesnce they filed an intestate proceeding. However, the parties executed an
extrajudicial settlement of the estate dividing it into four equal parts.
This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only
the requirements of Article 810 of the NCC and not those found in Articles 813 2. In 1967, Atty. Sulpicio Palma, ex-associate of the deceased's counsel allegedly
and 814 are essential to the probate of a holographic will. discovered her last will which was purportedly dated 1940, inside a cabinet. Hence
the annulment of the proceedings and a probate petition was filed by the devisees
Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court and Article 839 of the Civil Code and legatees. The said will was allegedly burned by the househelp under
enumerate the grounds for disallowance of wills. These lists are exclusive; no other the instruction of the deceased
grounds can serve to disallow a will.
3. The lower court denied the probate on the ground that the animus revocandi in
In a petition to admit a holographic will, the only issues to be resolved are: the burning of the will was sufficiently proven.

1.whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedents last will and Issue: Whether or not there was valid revocation of the will
RULING: No, there was no revocation. For a valid revocation to
2.whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by occur,the 'corpus' and 'animus' must concur, one without the other will not produce
law; a valid revocation. The physical act of destruction of a will must come with an
intention to revoke (animus revocandi). In this case, there's paucity of evidence to
3.whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the comply with the said requirement. The paper burned was not established to be the
will was executed; and will and the burning though done under her express direction was not done in her
4.whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the
decedent. Under Art. 830, the physical act of destruction, in this case the burning of the will,
does not constitute an effective revocation, unless it is coupled with animus
revocandi on the part of the testator. Since animus is a state of mind, it has to be
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door accompanied by an overt physical act of burning, tearing, obliterating or cancelling
against bad faith and fraud; accordingly, laws on this subject should be interpreted done by the testator himself or by another under his express direction
to attain these primordial ends. and presence.