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TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY AND INTENT testator’s understanding of the language used in the will be

expressed therein. It is a matter that may be established by

proof aliunde.
Testacy of Sixto Lopez; [No. L-1787. August 27, 1948] FORMS OF WILLS


IDENTIFICATION.—The purpose of the law in prescribing ET AL.
the paging of wills is to guard against fraud, and to afford In re will of Ana Abangan; [No. 13431. November 12, 1919.]
means of preventing the substitution or of detecting the loss
of any of its pages. (Abangan vs. Abangan, 40 Phil., 476.)
WILLS; ATTESTATION.—In a will consisting of two
The omission to put a page number on a sheet, if that be
necessary, may be supplied by other forms of identification sheets the first of which contains all the testamentary
more trustworthy than the conventional numeral words or dispositions and is signed at the bottom by the testator and
three witnesses and the second contains only the attestation
clause and is signed also at the bottom by the three
ID.; EVIDENCE; WITNESSES, CREDIBILITY OF; witnesses, it is not necessary that both sheets be further
CONTRADICTIONS ON INCIDENTS.—Such signed on their margins by the testator and the witnesses,
contradictions in the testimony of the instrumental or be paged.
witnesses as are set out in the appellant’s brief are
incidents, not all of which every one of the witnesses can be 2.
ID.; ID.; TESTATOR'S SIGNATURE.—The testator's
supposed to have perceived, or to recall in the same order in signature is not necessary in the attestation clause because
which they occurred. Far from being an evidence of this, as its name implies, appertains only to the witnesses
falsehood, the contradictions constitute an evidence of good and not to the testator.
ID.; SIGNATURE BY MARK.—A statute requiring a PRESUMPTION.—The circumstance appearing in the will
will to be “signed” is satisfied if the signature is made by the itself that.same was executed in the city of Cebu and in the
testator’s mark. dialect of this locality where the testatrix was a neighbor is
enough, in the absence of any proof to the contrary, to
ID.; EVIDENCE; ADMISSION OF FURTHER presume that she knew this dialect in which her will is
OF COURT.—It is within the discretion of the court
whether or not to admit further evidence after the party
offering the evidence has rested, and this discretion will not AUREA MATIAS, vs. HON. PRIMITIVO L. GONZALES,
be reviewed except where it has clearly been abused. ETC., ET AL.
[No. L-10907. June 29, 1957]
sound discretion of the court whether or not it will allow the
THE INTEREST OF SAID HEIR. Although the probate of
case to be reopened for the further introduction of evidence
the will and testament of the testatrix was denied by the
after a motion or request for a nonsuit, or a demurrer to the
Probate Court, the order to this effect is not, as yet, final
evidence, and the case may be reopened after the court has
and executory. It is pending review on appeal taken by the
announced its intention as to its ruling on the request,
universal heir. The probate of said alleged will being still
motion, or demurrer, or has granted it or has denied the
within the realm of legal possibility, the universal heir, and
same, or after the motion has been granted, if the order has
executrix designated in said instrument has a special
not been written, or entered upon the minutes or signed.
interest to protect during the pendency of said appeal. Thus,
in the case of Roxas vs. Pecson (46 Off. Gaz., 2058) the
Supreme Court held' that a widow, designated as executrix
PROOFS.—After the parties have produced their respective
in the alleged will and testament of her deceased husband,
direct proofs, they are allowed to offer rebutting evidence
the probate of which had been denied in an order pending
only, but the court, for good reasons, in the furtherance of
appeal, "has * * * the same beneficial interest after the
justice, may permit them to offer evidence upon their
decision of the court disapproving the will, which, is now
original case, and its ruling will not be disturbed in the
pending appeal, because the decision is not yet final and
appellate court where no abuse of discretion appears.
may be reversed by the appellate Court."
(Siuliong “i Co.. vs. Ylagan, 43 Phil., 393; U.S. vs. Alviar, 36
Phil., 804.) So, generally, additional evidence is allowed
when it is newly discovered, or where it has been omitted 2.
through inadvertence or mistake, or where the purpose of OF TWO OR MORE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS.—
the evidence is to correct evidence previously offered. Where it appears that there are, at least, two factions among the
heirs of the deceased, representing their respective interest in the
estate, and the probate Court deems it best to appoint more than
ID.; LANGUAGE; KNOWLEDGE OF TESTATOR one special administrator, justice and equity demands that both
NEED NOT BE EXPRESSED IN WILL; PROOF factions be represented in the management of the estate of the
“ALIUNDE."—There is no statutory requirement that the deceased.
BEATRIZ NERA ET AL. vs. NARCISA RIMANDO against contest is evidence of fraud or undue influence in
[No. 5971. February 27, 1911.] the execution of a will.

EXECUTION OF WlLLS; POSITION OF TESTATOR Same; Same; Fraud and undue influence are repugnant
AND WlTNESS WHEN WILL is SUBSCRIBED.—The allegations.—Allegations of fraud and undue influence are
position of testator and of the witnesses to a will, at the mutually repugnant and exclude each other; their joining as
moment of the subscription by each, must be such that they grounds for opposing probate shows absence of definite
may see each other sign if they choose to do so. evidence against the validity of the will.

ID. ; ID.; SIGNING IN THE PRESENCE OF EACH Same; Same; Inadvertent failure of an attesting witness to
OTHER.—The question whether the testator and the affix his signature to one page of a will not fatal.—The
subscribing witnesses to an alleged will sign the instrument inadvertent failure of an attesting witness to affix his
in the presence of each other does not depend upon proof of signature to one page of a testament, due to the
the fact that their eyes were actually cast upon the paper at simultaneous lifting of two pages in the course of signing, is
the moment of its subscription by each of them, , but not per se sufficient to justify denial of probate.
whether at that moment existing conditions and the position
of the parties, with relation to each other, were such that by Same; Same; Signed carbon duplicate of will needs no
merely casting their eyes in the proper direction they could publication.—That the signed carbon duplicate of a will was
have seen each other sign. produced and admitted without a new publication does not
affect the jurisdiction of the probate court, already conferred
ID.; ID.; ID.; ONE WITNESS IN OUTER ROOM WHEN by the original publication of the petition for probate, where
WILL is SIGNED.—If one subscribing witness to a will is the amended petition did not substantially alter the first
shown to have been in an outer room at the time when the one filed, but merely supplemented it by disclosing the
testator and the other witnesses attach their signatures to existence of said duplicate.
the instrument in an inner room, the will would be held
invalid—the attaching of the said signatures, under such
circumstances, not being done "in the presence" of the
witness in the outer room. TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE VICENTE CAGRO.
[No. L-5826. April 29, 1953]

CELSO ICASIANO vs. NATIVIDAD ICASIANO and Wills; Attestation Clause; Lack of Signatures of Attesting
ENRIQUE ICASIANO Witnesses at Bottom of Attestation Clause, is Fatal Defect.—
In the matter of the testate estate of the late Josefa Inasmuch as the signatures of the three witnesses to the
Villacorte; No. L-18979. June 30, 1964 will do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause,
although the page containing the same is signed by the
Wills; Probate; Policy of Court against undue curtailment of wit-nesses on the left-hand margin, the will is fatally
testamentary privileges.—The precedents cited in the case at defective. The attestation clause is "a memorandum of the
bar exemplify the Court's policy to require satisfaction of the facts attend-ing the execution of the will" required by law to
legal requirements in the probate of a will in order to guard be made by the attesting witnesses, and it must necessarily
against fraud and bad faith but without undue or bear their signatures.
unnecessary curtailment of the testamentary privilege.

Same; Same; Handwriting expert must have sufficient MARCELA RODELAS vs. AMPARO ARANZA, ET. AL.
standards of comparison to prove forgery of testatrix's In the matter of the petition to approve the will of Ricardo
signature.—The opinion of a handwriting expert trying to B. Bonilla, deceased, No. L-58509. December 7, 1982
prove forgery of the testatrix's signature fails to convince
the court, not only because it is directly contradicted by Civil Law; Wills; Holographic Will; Admissibility of photos
another expert but principally because of the paucity of the tatic or xerox copy of a lost or destroyed will.—However, if
standards used by him (only three other signatures), the holographic will has been lost or destroyed and no other
considering the advanced age of the testatrix, the evident copy is available, the will can not be probated because the
variability of her signatures, and the effect of writing best and only evidence is the handwriting of the testator in
fatigue. said will. It is necessary that there be a comparison between
sample handwritten statements of the testator and the
Same; Same; Variance in ink color not reliable when handwritten will. But, a photostatic copy or xerox copy of
writings affixed to different kinds of paper.—The slight the holographic will may be allowed because comparison can
variance in blueness of the ink in the admitted and be made with the standard writings of the testator. In the
questioned signatures does not appear reliable, considering case of Gan vs. Yap, 104 Phil 509, the Court ruled that ‘‘the
that the standard and challenged writings were affixed to execution and the contents of a lost or destroyed holographic
different kinds of paper. will may not be proved by the bare testimony of witnesses
who have seen and/or read such will. The will itself must be
Same; Same; Fraud or undue influence, diversity of presented; otherwise, it shall produce no effect. The law
apportionment and prohibition against contest no evidence regards the document itself as material proof of
of.—Neither diversity of apportionment nor prohibition authenticity.’’ But, in Footnote 8 of said decision, it says
that “Perhaps it may be proved by a photographic or
photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or carbon copy; or concur: (1) the presence of a final former judgment; (2) the
by other similar means, if any, whereby the authenticity of former judgment was rendered by a court having
the handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) the
tested before the probate court.” Evidently, the photostatic former judgment is a judgment on the merits; and (4) there
or xerox copy of the lost or destroyed holographic will may is, between the first and the second action, identity of
be admitted because then the authenticity of the parties, of subject matter, and of cause of action. We do not
handwriting of the deceased can be determined by the find here the presence of all the enumerated requisites.
probate court.
Same; Same; Same; Strictly speaking, no final judgment
rendered insofar as the probate of Adriana Maloto's will is
REVOCATION OF WILLS AND TESTAMENTARY concerned.—For one, there is yet, strictly speaking, no final
DISPOSITIONS judgment rendered insofar as the probate of Adriana
Maloto's will is concerned. The decision of the trial court in
Special Proceeding No. 1736, although final, involved only
TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANA the intestate Settlement of the estate of Adria iana. As such,
MALOTO, ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO, CONSTANCIO that j udgment could not in any manner be construed to be
MALOTO, PURIFICACION MIRAFLOR, ROMAN final with respect to the probate of the subsequently
CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MOLO, AND ASILO DE MOLO, discovered will of the decedent. Neither is it a judgment on
petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, PANFILO the merits of the action for probate. This is understandably
MALOTO AND FELINO MALOTO, respondents. so because the trial court, in the intestate proceeding, was
No. L-76464. February 29, 1988.* without jurisdiction to rule on the probate of the contested
will. After all, an action for probate, as it implies, is founded
Civil Law; Wills; Revocation of Will; To constitute an on the presence of a will and with the objective of proving its
effective revocation, the physical act of destruction of a will due execution and validity, something which can not be
must be coupled with animus revocandi on the part of the properly done in an intestate settlement of estate
testator.—It is clear that the physical act of destruction of a proceeding which is predicated on the assumption that the
will, like burning in this case, does not per se constitute an decedent left no will. Thus, there is likewise no identity
effective revocation, unless the destruction is coupled with between the cause of action in intestate proceeding and that
animus revocandi on the part of the testator. It is not in an action for probate, Be that as it may, it would be
imperative that the physical destruction be done by the remembered that it was precisely because of our ruling in
testator himself. It may be performed by another person but G.R. No. L-30479 that the petitioners instituted this
under the express direction and in the presence of the separate action for the probate of the late Adriana Maloto's
testator. Of course, it goes without saying that the will. Hence, on these grounds alone, the position of the
document destroyed must be the will itself. private respondents on this score can not be sustained.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Intention to revoke must be

accompanied by overt physical act of burning, tearing, INSTITUTION OF HEIR
obliterating or cancelling the will by the testator or by
another person in his presence and under his express
direction.—In this case, while animus revocandi, or the
intention to revoke, may be conceded, for that is a state of CONSTANTINO C. ACAIN vs. HON. INTERMEDIATE
mind, yet that requisite alone would not suffice. Animus APPELLATE COURT
revocandi is only one of the necessary elements for the No. L-72706. October 27,1987.*
effective revocation of a last will and testament. The
intention to revoke must be accompanied by the overt Civil Law; Succession; Preterition, meaning of; Article 854 of
physical act of burning, tearing, obliterating, or cancelling the Civil Code not applicable to the surviving spouse;
the will carried out by the testator or by another person in Adoption makes the adopted the legal heir of the adopter.—
his presence and under his express direction. There is Preterition consists in the omission in the testator’s will of
paucity of evidence to show compliance with these the forced heirs or anyone of them either because they are
requirements. For one, the document or papers burned by not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are
Adriana's maid, Guadalupe, was not satisfactorily neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited
established to be a will at all, much less the will of Adriana (Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA 450 [1966]; Maninang v. Court
Maloto. For another, the burning was not proven to have of Appeals, 114 SCRA [1982]. Insofar as the widow is
been done under the express direction of Adriana. And then, concerned, Article 854 of the Civil Code may not apply as
the burning was not in her presence. Both witnesses, she does not ascend or descend from the testator, although
Guadalupe and Eladio, were one in stating that they were she is a compulsory heir. Stated otherwise, even if the
the only ones present at the place where the stove surviving spouse is a compulsory heir, there is no
(presumably in the kitchen) was located in which the papers preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance, for
proferred as a will were burned. she is not in the direct line. (Art. 854, Civil Code) However,
the same thing cannot be said of the other respondent
Civil Procedure; Res Adjudicata; Doctrine of res adjudicata Virginia A. Fernandez, whose legal adoption by the testator
finds no application in the case at bar; Requisites of res has not been questioned by petitioner (Memorandum for the
adjudicata.—The doctrine of res adjudicata finds no Petitioner, pp. 8-9). Under Article 39 of P.D. No. 603, known
application in the present controversy. For a judgment to be as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, adoption gives to the
a bar to a subsequent case, the following requisites must 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 the will under exceptional circumstances.—Special
she was totally omitted and preterited in the will of the Proceedings No. 591-CEB is for the probate of a will. As
testator and that both adopted child and the widow were stated by respondent Court, the general rule is that the
deprived of at least their legitime. Neither can it be denied probate court’s authority is limited only to the extrinsic
that they were not expressly disinherited. Hence, this is a validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testator’s
clear case of preterition of the legally adopted child. testamentary capacity and the compliance with the
requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic
Same; Same; Same; Preterition annuls the institution of an validity of the will normally come only after the Court has
heir and creates intestate succession but legacies and devises declared that the will has been duly authenticated. Said
are valid and respected insofar as they are not inofficious.— court at this stage of the proceedings is not called upon to
Preterition annuls the institution of an heir and annulment rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of
throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance the will (Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA 449 [1966]; Sumilang
including “la portion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto en v. Ramagosa, supra; Maninang v. Court of Appeals, 114
virtual de legado, mejora o donation” (Manresa, as cited in SCRA 478 [1982]; Cayetano v. Leonidas, 129 SCRA 522
Nuguid v. Nuguid, supra; Maninang v. Court of Appeals, [1984]); and Nepomuceno v. Court of Appeals, 139 SCRA
114 SCRA [1982]). The only provisions which do not result 206 [1985]). The rule, however, is not inflexible and
in intestacy are the legacies and devises made in the will for absolute. Under exceptional circumstances, the probate
they should stand valid and respected, except in so far as court is not powerless to do what the situation constrains it
the legitimes are concerned. to do and pass upon certain provisions of the will
(Nepomuceno v. Court of Appeals, supra). In Nuguid v.
Nuguid the oppositors to the probate moved to dismiss on
Same; Same; Same; Same; Institution of petitioner and his the ground of absolute preterition. The probate court acting
brothers and sisters to the entire inheritance totally
on the motion held that the will in question was a complete
abrogates the will.—The universal institution of petitioner nullity and dismissed the petition without costs. On appeal
together with his brothers and sisters to the entire the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the probate court,
inheritance of the testator results in totally abrogating the induced by practical considerations.
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 Same; Same; Same; Same; Trial Court could have denied
written. Carefully worded and in clear terms, Article 854 of outright the probate of the will or have passed upon its
the Civil Code offers no leeway for inferential interpretation intrinsic validity where on its face it appears to be
(Nuguid v. Nuguid), supra. No legacies nor devises having intrinsically void.—For private respondents to have
been provided in the will the whole property of the deceased tolerated the probate of the will and allowed the case to
has been left by universal title to petitioner and his brothers progress when on its face the will appears to be intrinsically
and sisters. The effect of annulling the institution of heirs void as petitioner and his brothers and sisters were
will be, necessarily, the opening of a total intestacy (Neri v. instituted as universal heirs coupled with the obvious fact
Akutin, 74 Phil. 185 [1943]) except that proper legacies and that one of the private respondents had been preterited
devises must, as already stated above, be respected. would have been an exercise in futility. It would have meant
a waste of time, effort, expense, plus added futility. The trial
court could have denied its probate outright or could have
Same; Same; Probate of a will; Petitioner has no legal
passed upon the intrinsic validity of the testamentary
standing to petition for the probate of the will of the provisions before the extrinsic validity of the will was
deceased, hence Special Proceeding No. 591-A-CEB must be resolved (Cayetano v. Leonidas, supra; Nuguid v. Nuguid,
dismissed.—In order that a person may be allowed to supra). The remedies of certiorari and prohibition were
intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an interest
properly availed of by private respondents.
in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected
by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate and an
interested party is one who would be benefited by the estate Certiorari; Remedy of Certiorari cannot be a substitute for
such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate appeal, exception.—As a general rule certiorari cannot be a
like a creditor (Sumilang v. Ramagosa, 21 SCRA 1369/1967). substitute for appeal, except when the questioned order is
Petitioner is not the appointed executor, neither a devisee or an oppressive exercise of judicial authority (People v.
a legatee there being no mention in the testamentary Villanueva, 110 SCRA 465 [1981]; Vda. de Caldito v.
disposition of any gift of an individual item of personal or Segundo, 117 SCRA 573 [1982]; Co Chuan Seng v. Court of
real property he is called upon to receive (Article 782, Civil Appeals, 128 SCRA 308 [1984]; and Bautista v. Sarmiento,
Code). At the outset, he appears to have an interest in the 138 SCRA 587 [1985]). It is axiomatic that the remedies of
will as an heir, defined under Article 782 of the Civil Code certiorari and prohibition are not available where the
as a person called to the succession either by the provision petitioner has the remedy of appeal or some other plain,
of a will or by operation of law. However, intestacy having speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law (D.D.
resulted from the preterition of respondent adopted child Comendador Construction Corporation v. Sayo (118 SCRA
and the universal institution of heirs, petitioner is in effect 590 [1982]). They are, however, proper remedies to correct a
not an heir of the testator. He has no legal standing to grave abuse of discretion of the trial court in not dismissing
petition for the probate of the will left by the deceased and a case where the dismissal is founded on valid grounds
Special Proceedings No. 591-A-CEB must be dismissed. (Vda. de Bacang v. Court of Appeals, 125 SCRA 137 [1983]).

Same; Same; Same; Rule that probate Court’s authority is Same; Same; Certiorari may be entertained where appeal
limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will, not inflexible will not afford a speedy and adequate relief.—Thus, this
and absolute; Court may pass upon the intrinsic validity of Court ruled that where the grounds for dismissal are
indubitable, the defendants had the right to resort to the cannot again be questioned in a subsequent proceeding, not
more speedy, and adequate remedies of certiorari and even in a criminal action for the forgery of the will. (3
prohibition to correct a grave abuse of discretion, amounting Moran’s Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, p.
to lack of jurisdiction, committed by the trial court in not 395; Manahan vs. Manahan, 58 Phil. 448). After the finality
dismissing the case, (Vda. de Bacang v. Court of Appeals, of the allowance of a will, the issue as to the voluntariness
supra) and even assuming the existence of the remedy of of its execution cannot be raised anymore (Santos vs. De
appeal, the Court harkens to the rule that in the broader Buenaventura, L-22797, September 22, 1966, 18 SCRA 47).
interests of justice, a petition for certiorari may be
entertained, particularly where appeal would not afford Same; Same; Same; Decree of adjudication in a testate
speedy and adequate relief. proceeding is binding on the whole world.—On the other
hand, the 1943 decree of adjudication rendered by the trial
court in the testate proceeding for the settlement of the
ALLOWANCE AND DISALLOWANCE OF WILLS estate of Florentino Hitosis, having been rendered in a
proceeding in rem, is, under the abovequoted section 49(a),
binding upon the whole world (Manalo vs. Paredes, 47 Phil.
938; In re Estate of Johnson, 39 Phil. 156; De la Cerha vs.
PEDRO D. H. GALLANOSA, CORAZON GRECIA- Potot, 120 Phil. 1361, 1364; McMaster vs. Henry Reissmann
GALLONOSA and ADOLFO FORTAJADA, the deceased & Co., 68 Phil. 142).
Pedro Gallanosa substituted by his legal heirs, namely, his
above-named widow and his children, and grandchildren Same; Same; Same; Judgment; Grounds for annulment of
named, children of the late vs. HON. UBALDO Y. judgment after period for filing petition for relief expires.—
ARCANGEL and FLORENTINO G. HITOSIS, et. al. After the period for seeking relief from a final order or
judgment under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court has expired, a
Settlement of Estate; Wills; Res Judicata; Prescription; An final judgment or order can be set aside only on the grounds
action instituted in 1967 for the annulment of a last will and of (a) lack of jurisdiction or lack of due process of law or (b)
testament duly probated way back in 1939 will not that the judgment was obtained by means of extrinsic or
prosper.—What the plaintiffs seek is the “annulment” of a collateral fraud. In the latter case, the period for annulling
last will and testament duly probated in 1939 by the lower the judgment is four years from the discovery of the fraud (2
court itself. The proceeding is coupled with an action to Moran’s Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 Edition, pp.
recover the lands adjudicated to the defendants by the same 245-246; Mauricio vs. Villanueva, 106 Phil. 1159).
court in 1943 by virtue of the probated will, which action is
a resuscitation of the complaint of the same parties that the Same; Same; Contracts; Prescription; The Civil Law rule
same court dismissed in 1952. It is evident from the that an action for declaration of inexistence of a contract
allegations of the complaint and from defendants’ motion to does not prescribe cannot be applied to last wills and
dismiss that plaintiffs’ 1967 action is barred by res judicata, testaments.—To hurdle over the obstacle of prescription, the
a double-barrelled defense, and by prescription, acquisitive trial court, naively adopting the theory of plaintiffs counsel,
and extinctive, or by what are known in the jus civile and held that the action for the recovery of the lands had not
the jus gentium as usucapio, longi temporis possesio and prescribed because the rule in Article 1410 of the Civil Code,
praescriptio (See Ramos vs. Ramos, L-19872, December 3, that “the action or defense for the declaration of the
1974 61 SCRA 284). inexistence of a contract does not prescribe”, applies to wills.
That ruling is a glaring error. Article 1410 cannot possibly
Same; Same; Pleadings and Practice. The Rules of Court apply to last wills and testaments.
does not sanction an action for “annulment” of a will.—Our
procedural law does not sanction an action for the
“annulment” of a will. In order that a will may take effect, it
has to be probated, legalized or allowed in the proper SUBSTITUTION OF HEIRS
testamentary proceeding. The probate of the will is
mandatory (Art. 838, Civil Code; sec. 1, Rule 75, formerly
sec. 1, Rule 76, Rules of Court; Guevara vs. Guevara, 74 MARIA LUISA PALACIOS vs. MARCELLE D. VDA. DE
Phil. 479; Guevara vs. Guevara, 98 Phil. 249). The RAMIREZ, ET AL., JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ
testamentary proceeding is a special proceeding for Testate Estate of Jose Eugenio Ramirez, No. L-27952.
settlement of the testators estate. A special proceeding is February 15, 1982.*
distinct and different from an ordinary action (Secs. 1 and 2,
Rule 2 and sec. 1, Rule 72. Rules of Court).
Testate Succession, The testator cannot impose any lien,
substitution, or condition on his widow’s legitime.—The
Same; Same; Res Judicata; Consequences of due probate of a appellant’s do not question the legality of giving Marcelle
will.—The 1939 decree of probate is conclusive as to the due one-half of the estate in full ownership. They adroit that the
execution or formal validity of the will (Sec. 625, Act 190, testator’s dispositions impaired his widow’s legitime.
sec. 1, Rule 76, now sec. 1, Rule 75, Rules of Court; Last par. Indeed, under Art. 900 of the Civil Code, “If the only
of art. 828, Civil Code). That means that the testator was of survivor is the widow or widower, she or he shall be entitled
sound and disposing mind at the time when he executed the to one-half of the hereditary estate.” And since Marcelle
will and was not acting under duress, menace, fraud, or alone survived the deceased, she is entitled to one-half of his
undue influence; that the will was signed by him in the estate over which he could impose no burden, encumbrance,
presence of the required number of witnesses, and that the condition or substitution of any kind whatsoever. (Art. 904,
will is genuine and is not a forgery. Accordingly, these facts par. 2, Civil Code.)
Same; The proposed creation by the administratrix in favor LEGITIME
of the testator’s widow of a usufruct over 113 of the free
portion of the testator’s estate cannot be made where it will
run counter to testator’s express will.—It is the one-third
usufruct over the free portion which the appellants question
and justifiably so. It appears that the court a quo approved INSTANCE OF MANILA
the usufruct in favor of Marcelle because the testament No. L-34395. May 19, 1981.*
provides for a usufruct in her favor of one-third of the
estate. The court a quo erred for Marcelle who is entitled to Appeal; In an appeal under Republic Act No. 5440 only legal
one-half of the estate “en pleno dominio” as her legitime and issues can be raised.—In an appeal under Republic Act No.
which is more than what she is given under the will is not 5440 only legal issues can be raised under undisputed facts
entitled to have any additional share in the estate. To give Since on the basis of the stipulated facts the lower court
Marcelle more than her legitime will run counter to the resolved only the issue of whether the properties in question
testator’s intention for as stated above his dispositions even are subject to reserva troncal, that is the only legal issue to
impaired her legitime and tended to favor Wanda. be resolved in this appeal.

Same; A vulgar substitution of heirs is valid even if the heir Property; Succession; “Reserva Troncal” explained.—In
designated survives the testator inasmuch us vulgar reserva troncal, (1) a descendant inherited or acquired by
substitution can take place also by refusal or incapacity to gratuitous title property from an ascendant or from a
inherit of the first heir.—They allege that the substitution in brother or sister; (2) the same property is inherited by
its vulgar aspect is void because Wanda survived the another ascendant or is acquired by him by operation of law
testator or stated differently because she did not predecease from the said descendant, and (3) the said ascendant should
the testator. But dying before the testator is not the only reserve the said property for the benefit of relatives who are
case for vulgar substitution for it also includes refusal or within the third degree from the deceased descendant
incapacity to accept the inheritance as provided in Art. 859 (prepositus) and who belong to the line from which the said
of the Civil Code, supra. Hence, the vulgar substitution is property came.
Same; Same; Same.—So, three transmissions are involved:
Same; A fideicommissary substitution is void if first heir is (1) a first transmission by lucrative title (inheritance or
not related in the 1st degree to the second heir.—As regards donation) from an ascendant or brother or sister to the
the substitution in its fideicommissary aspect, the deceased descendant; (2) a posterior transmission, by
appellants are correct in their claim that it is void for the operation of law (intestate succession or legitime) from the
following reasons: The substitutes (Juan Pablo Jankowski deceased descendant (causante de la reserva)in favor of
and Horace V. Ramirez) are not related to Wanda, the heir another ascendant, the reservor or reservista, which two
originally instituted. Art 863 of the Civil Code validates a transmissions precede the reservation, and (3) a third
fideicommissary substitution “provided such substitution transmission of the same property (in consequence of the
does not go beyond one degree from the heir originally reservation) from the reservor to the reservees
instituted.” (reservatarios) or the relatives within the third degree from
the deceased descendant belonging to the line of the first
Same; Constitutional Law; The Constitutional provision ascendant, brother or sister of the deceased descendant.
which allows aliens to acquire lands by succession does not
apply to testamentary succession.—We are of the opinion Same; Same; Same.—The persons involved in reserva
that the Constitutional provision which enables aliens to troncal are (1) the ascendant or brother or sister from whom
acquire private lands does not extend to testamentary the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or
succession for otherwise the prohibition will be for naught gratuitous title, (2) the descendant or prepositus (propositus)
and meaningless. Any alien would be able to circumvent the who received the property, (3) the reservor (reservista), the
prohibition by paying money to a Philippine landowner in other ascendant who obtained the property from the
exchange for a devise of a piece of land. prepositus by operation of law and (4) the reservee
(reservatario) who is within the third degree from the
Same; Same; An alien may be bestowed usufructuary rights prepositus and who belongs to the line (linea o tronco) from
over a parcel of land in the Philippines.—We uphold the which the property came and for whom the property should
usufruct in favor of Wanda because a usufruct, albeit a real be reserved by the reservor.
right, does not vest title to the land in the usufructuary and
it is the vesting of title to land in favor of aliens which is Same; Same; The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable
proscribed by the Constitution. property and holds title subject to a resolutory condition.—
The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the
reservable property but subject to the resolutory condition
that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased
the reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the
reservable property. He may alienate it subject to the
reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and
conditional ownership of the reservor. The transferee’s
rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at the
time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible
when the reservees predecease the reservor.
Same; Same; The reservee has only an inchoate right. He MARIQUITA O. SUMAYA and LAGUNA AGRO-
cannot impugn a conveyance made by the reservor.—On the INDUSTRIAL COCONUT COOPERATIVE, INC., vs.
other hand, the reservee has only an inchoate, expectant or THE HON. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT
contingent right. His expectant right would disappear if he G.R. Nos. 68843–44. September 2, 1991.*
predeceased the reservor. It would become absolute should
the reservor predecease the reservee. The reservee cannot Succession; Reserva troncal; Petitioners not innocent
impugn any conveyance made by the reservor but he can purchasers for value and in good faith.—Petitioners would
require that the reservable character of the property be want this Court to reverse the findings of the court a quo,
recognized by the purchaser. which the appellate court affirmed, that they were not
innocent purchasers for value, xxx xxx The court a quo
Same; Same; A reservee may sell his right but may not found otherwise. Upon the death of the propositus, Raul
renounce it.—There is a holding that the renunciation of the Balantakbo, the reservista, Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo
reservee’s right to the reservable property is illegal for being caused the registration of an affidavit of self-adjudication of
a contract regarding future inheritance (Velayo Bernardo the estate of Raul, wherein it was clearly stated that the
vs. Siojo, 58 Phil. 89, 96). And there is a dictum that the properties were inherited by Raul from his father Jose, Sr.,
reservee’s right is a real right which he may alienate and as regards the subject matter of Civil Case No. SC-956 and
dispose of conditionally. The condition is that the alienation from his maternal grandmother, Luisa Bautista, as regards
shall transfer ownership to the vendee only if and when the the subject matter of Civil Case No. SC-957. The court a quo
reservee survives the reservor (Sienes vs. Esparcia, 111 further ruled that said affidavit was, in its form, declaration
Phil. 349, 353). and substance, a recording with the Registry of Deeds of the
reservable character of the properties. xxx xxx.
Same; Same; Case at bar involve a reserva troncal.—In the
instant case, the properties in question were indubitably Same; Same; Property registration decree; Constructive
reservable properties in the hands of Mrs. Legarda notice of reservable character of property.—It was admitted
Undoubtedly, she was a reservor. The reservation became a that the certificates of titles covering the properties in
certainty when at the time of her death the reservees or question show that they were free from any liens and
relatives within the third degree of the prepositus Filomena encumbrances at the time of the sale. The fact remains
Legarda were living or they survived Mrs. Legarda. however, that the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by
Consuelo stating the source of the properties thereby
Same; Same; All reservees are equally entitled to share in showing the reservable nature thereof was registered with
reserva troncal.—This Court noted that, while it is true that the Register of Deeds of Laguna, and this is sufficient notice
by giving the reservable property to only one reservee it did to the whole world in accordance with Section 52 of the
not pass into the hands of strangers, nevertheless, it is Property Registration Decree.
likewise true that the heiress of the reservor was only one of
the reservees and there is no reason founded upon law and Same; Same; Same; Obligation to annotate reservable
justice why the other reservees should be deprived of their character of property in the Registry of Property.—
shares in the reservable property (pp. 894-5). Consistent with the rule in reserva viudal where the person
obliged to reserve (the widowed spouse) had the obligation
to annotate in the Registry of Property the reservable
character of the property, in reserva troncal, the reservor
CONSTANCIO SIENES, et al. vs. FIDEL ESPARCIA, et (the ascendant who inherited from a descendant property
al.; No. L-12957. March 24, 1961. which the latter inherited from another ascendant) has the
duty to reserve and therefore, the duty to annotate also. The
Succession; Reserva troncal; Reservor has legal title over jurisprudential rule requiring annotation in the Registry of
property subject to a resolutory condition.—In reserva Property of the right reserved in real property subject of
troncal the reservor has the legal title and dominion over reserva viudal insofar as it is applied to reserva troncal
the reservable property but subject to a resolutory condition. stays despite the abolition of reserva viudal in the New Civil
He may alienate the same but subject to the reservation, Code. This rule is consistent with the rule provided in the
i.e., the rights acquired by the transferee are revoked upon second paragraph of Section 51 of P.D. 1529, which provides
the survival of reservees at the time of death of the reservor. that: “The act of registration shall be the operative act to
convey or affect the land insofar as third persons are
Same; Eight of reservee is alienable, subject to a resolutory concerned x x x.” (italics supplied)
condition.—The reserva instituted by law in favor of the
heirs within the third degree belonging to the line from Same; Same; Prescription; When cause of action
which the reservable property came constitutes a real right commenced.—The respondent appellate court did not err in
which the reservee may alienate and dispose of, although finding that the cause of action of the private respondents
conditionally, the condition being that the alienation would did not prescribe yet. The cause of action of the reservees
transfer ownership to the vendee only if and when the did not commence upon the death of the propositus Raul
reservee survives the reservor. Balantakbo on June 13, 1952 but upon the death of the
reservor Consuelo Vda. de Balantakbo on June 3, 1968.
When reservee becomes exclusive owner.—-Upon the death of Relatives within the third degree in whose favor the right
the reservor, there being a surviving reservee, the (or property) is reserved have no title of ownership or of fee
reservable property passes in exclusive ownership to the simple over the reserved property during the lifetime of the
latter. reservor; Only when the reservor should die before the
reservees will the latter acquire the reserved property, thus
creating a fee simple, and only then will they take their corresponding certificates of titles were issued. The
place in the succession of the descendant of whom they are properties are presently in the name of Agro-Industrial
relatives within the third degree. Coconut Cooperative, Inc., 2/3 share and the remaining 1/3
PETITION for certiorari to review the decision of the then share is in the name of Sancho Balantakbo.
Intermediate Appellate Court
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Also on December 30, 1963, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de
Ceriaco A. Sumaya for petitioners. Balantakbo sold the properties described in the complaint in
Tomas P. Añonuevo for private respondents. Civil Case No. SC-957 to Villa Honorio Development
Corporation, Inc. The latter in turn transferred and
MEDIALDEA, J.: assigned all its rights to the properties in favor of Laguna
Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc. which properties
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of are presently in its possession.
the Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals) in
C.A, G.R, No. CV-01292–93, which affirmed the decision of The parties admit that the certificates of titles covering the
the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of above described properties do not contain any annotation of
Laguna in the consolidated cases in Civil Case No. SC-9561 its reservable character.
and Civil Case No. SC-957.2
On June 3, 1968, Consuelo Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo
The parties entered into a stipulation of facts in the court a died.
quo, which is summarized as follows:
On March 4, 1970, Amadeo, Sancho, Donato, Luis, and
Raul Balantakbo inherited from two (2) different ascendants Erasto, all surnamed Balantakbo, brothers in full blood of
the two (2) sets of properties subject of this case: 1) A one- Raul Balantakbo and Luisa, Jose and Dolores, also all
third (1/3) interest, pro-indiviso in a parcel of land situated surnamed Balantakbo, surviving children of deceased Jose
in Dita, Lilio (Liliw) Laguna and described in paragraph 7 of Balantakbo, Jr., another brother of the first named
the complaint in Civil Case No. SC-956 from his father Jose, Balantakbos, filed the above mentioned civil cases to recover
Sr., who died on January 28? 1945; and 2) A one-seventh the properties described in the respective complaints which
(1/7) interest pro-indiviso in ten (10) parcels of registered they claimed were subject to a reserva troncal in their favor.
lands described in paragraph 6 of the complaint in Civil
Case No. SC-957 from his maternal grandmother, Luisa The court a quo found that the two (2) cases varied only in
Bautista, who died on November 3, 1950. the identity of the subject matter of res involved, the
transferees, the dates of the conveyances but involve the
On June 13, 1952, Raul died intestate, single, without any same legal question of reserva troncal. Hence, the
issue, and leaving only his mother, Consuelo Joaquin Vda. consolidation of the two (2) cases.
de Balantakbo, as his sole surviving heir to the real
properties above-mentioned. After trial, the court a quo rendered a joint decision in favor
On November 3, 1952, Consuelo adjudicated unto herself of the Balantakbos, the dispositive portion of which reads:
the above described properties in an Affidavit entitled
“Caudal Herederario del finado Raul Balantakbo” which “WHEREFORE, in both Civil Cases Nos. SC-956 and SC-957,
provided, among others: judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against
Que de mi legitimo matrimonio con mi difunto esposo, Jose Balantakbo, the defendants, as follows:
he tenido varios hijos, entre ellos si difunto hijo, llamado Raul Balantakbo. “1. Ordering the defendant Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut
Que mi referido hijo Raul Balantakbo, fallencio el 13 de Junio de 1952, Cooperative, Inc. to convey to the plaintiffs—
en la Ciudad de Pasay, durante su minoria de edad sin dejar testamento
In Civil Case No. SC-956—the one-third (1/3) interest and
Que el finado Raul Balantakbo al morir no ha dejado descendiente ownership, pro-indiviso, in and over the parcel of land described in
alguno. paragraph three (3) subparagraph 1, of pages one (1) and two (2) of
Que soy la unica ascendiente superviviento de mi referido hijo Raul this decision;
Balantakbo y por lo tanto su unica heredera formosa, legitima y universal. “b.)
In Civil Case No. SC-957—the one-seventh (1/7) interest and
Que el finado Raul Balantakbo murio sin dejar deuda alguna. ownership, pro-indiviso, in and over the ten (10) parcels of land
Que el finado ed morir dejo propiedades consistentes en bienes described in paragraph three (3), subparagraph 2, of pages two (2)
inmuebles situados en la Provincia de Laguna.
and three (3) of this decision;
Que dichas propriedades fueron a su vez adquiridas por el finado Raul
Balantakbo per herencia de su difunto padre, Jose Balantakbo, y de su tia “c.)
The plaintiffs are to share equally in the real properties herein
abuela Luisa Bautista. ordered to be conveyed to them by the defendants with plaintiffs
“x x x,” (Rollo, p. 29) Luisa, Jose and Dolores, all surnamed Balantakbo, receiving one-
third (1/3) of the one share pertaining to the other plaintiffs who are
their uncles:
On December 21, 1959, Consuelo Joaquin vda de.
Balantakbo sold the property described in Civil Case No. “2.
Ordering the Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc.
SC-956 to Mariquita H. Sumaya. The sale was evidenced by to account for and pay to the plaintiffs the value of the produce from
a deed attached as Annex “C" to the complaint. The same the properties herein ordered to be returned to the plaintiffs, said
property was subsequently sold by Mariquita Sumaya to accounting and payment of income being for the period from
Villa Honorio Development Corporation, Inc., on December January 3, 1968 until date of reconveyance of the properties herein
30, 1963. On January 23, 1967, Villa Honorio Development ordered:
Corporation transferred and assigned its rights over the
In each of Civil Cases Nos. SC-956 and SC-957, defendants are
property in favor of Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, e to pay plaintiffs—
Inc. The documents evidencing these transfers were “a.
One Thousand (P1 ,000.00) Pesos in litigation expenses
registered in the Registry of Deeds of Laguna and the “b.
Two Thousand Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos in attorney’s fees.
Defendants are to pay the costs in each of Civil Cases Nos. SC- constructive notice to all persons from the time of such registering,
956 and 957. filing or entering.”
“x x x” (p. 46, Rollo.)
Thus, in Gatioan v. Gaffud, G.R. No. L-21953, March 28,
This decision was appealed to the appellate court which 1969, 27 SCRA 706, 712–713, cited in People v. Reyes, G.R.
affirmed the decision of the court a quo in toto, The motion Nos. 74226–27, July 27, 1989, 175 SCRA 597; Garcia v. CA
for reconsideration was denied (p. 65, Rollo) by the appellate and PNB v. CA, et al., G.R. Nos. L-48971 and L-40911, both
court which found no cogent reason to reverse the decision. dated January 22,1980, 95 SCRA 380 and Legarda and
Prieto v. Saleeby, 31 Phil. 590, 600, We held:
This petition, before Us was filed on November 12,1984 with the
petitioners assigning the following errors allegedly committed by
the appellate court: “When a conveyance has been properly recorded such record is
The trial court erred in not finding defendants an (sic) innocent constructive notice of its contents and all interests, legal and
purchaser for value and in good faith of the properties covered by equitable, included therein. , .
certificates of title subject of litigation.
The trial court erred in finding it unnecessary to annotate the “Under the rule of notice, it is presumed that the purchaser has
reservable interest of the reservee in the properties covered by examined every instrument of record affecting the title. Such
certificates of title subject of litigation. presumption is irrebuttable. He is charged with notice of every fact
The trial court erred in finding that ‘the cause of action of the shown by the record and is presumed to know every fact which an
plaintiffs (private respondents) has not yet prescribed. examination of the record would have disclosed. This presumption
The trial court erred in awarding moral and actual damages in cannot be overcome by proof of innocence or good faith. Otherwise,
favor of the plaintiffs by virtue of the institution of Civil Cases Nos. the very purpose and object of the law requiring a record would be
956 and 957. destroyed. Such presumption cannot be defeated by proof of want of
knowledge of what the record contains any more than one may be
Petitioners would want this Court to reverse the findings of permitted to show that he was ignorant of the provisions of the law.
The rule that all persons must take notice of the facts which the
the court a quo, which the appellate court affirmed, that
public record contains is a rule of law. The rule must be absolute,
they were not innocent purchasers for value. According to any variation would lead to endless confusion and useless litigation.
petitioners, before they agreed to buy the properties from x x x”
the reservor (also called reservista), Consuelo Joaquin vda.
de Balantakbo, they first sought the legal advice of their In the case of Bass v. De la Rama, 73 Phil. 682, 685, the rule was
family consultant who found that there was no laid down that the mere entry of a document in the day book
encumbrance nor any lien annotated on the certificate of without noting it on the certificate of title is not sufficient
title covering the properties. registration. However, that ruling was superseded by the holding in
the’ later six cases of Levin v, Bass, 91 Phil. 420. As explained in
Garcia v. C.A., et al., G.R. Nos. L-48971 and 49011, January 20,
The court a quo found otherwise. Upon the death of the
1980, 95 SCRA 380, 388, which is the prevailing doctrine in this
propositus, Raul Balantakbo, the reservista, Consuelo vda. jurisdiction,
de Balantakbo caused the registration of an affidavit of self-
adjudication of the estate of Raul, wherein it was clearly
‘That ruling was’ superseded by the holding in the later six cases of
stated that the properties were inherited by Raul from his Levin v. Bass, 91 Phil. 420, where a distinction was made between
father Jose, Sr., as regards ds the subject matter of Civil voluntary and involuntary registration, such as the registration of
Case No. SC-956 and from his maternal grandmother, Luisa an attachment, levy upon execution, notice of lis pendens, and the
Bautista, as regards the subject matter of Civil Case No. like. In cases of involuntary registration, an entry thereof in the day
SC-957. The court a quo further ruled that said affidavit book is a sufficient notice to all persons even if the owner’s
was, in its form, declaration and substance, a recording with duplicate certificate of title is not presented to the register of deeds.
the Registry of Deeds of the reservable character of the
properties. In Spanish language, the affidavit clearly stated “On the other hand, according to the said cases of Levin v. Bass, in
that the affiant, Consuelo, was a lone ascendant and heir to case of voluntary registration of documents an innocent purchaser
Raul Balantakbo, her son, who died leaving properties for value of registered land becomes the registered owner, and, in
previously inherited from other ascendants and which contemplation of law the holder of a certificate of title, the moment
he presents and files a duly notarized and valid deed of sale and the
properties were inventoried in the said affidavit.
same is entered in the day book and at the same time he surrenders
or presents the owner’s duplicate certificate of title covering the
It was admitted that the certificates of titles covering the land sold and pays the registration fees, because what remains to
properties in question show that they were free from any be done lies not within his power to perform. The register of deeds
liens and encumbrances at the time of the sale. The fact is duty bound to perform it.” (See Potenciano v. Dineros, 97 Phil.
remains however, that the affidavit of self-adjudication
executed by Consuelo stating the source of the properties
thereby showing the reservable nature thereof was In this case, the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by
registered with the Register of Deeds of Laguna, and this is Consuelo vda. de Balantakbo which contained a statement
sufficient notice to the whole world in accordance with that the property was inherited from a descendant, Raul,
Section 52 of the Property Registration Decree (formerly which has likewise inherited by the latter from another
Sec. 51 of R.A. 496) which provides: ascendant, was registered with the Registry of Property.
The failure of the Register of Deeds to annotate the
“SEC. 52. CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE UPON REGISTRATION.— reservable character of the property in the certificate of title
Every conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien attachment, order, cannot be attributed to Consuelo.
judgment, instrument or entry affecting registered land shall, if
registered, filed or entered in the Office of the Register of Deeds for Moreover, there is sufficient proof that the petitioners had
the province or city where the land to which it relates lies, be
actual knowledge of the reservable character of the
properties before they bought the same from Consuelo. This order of succession, to said relatives, or to the nearest of kin among
matter appeared in the deed of sale (Exhibit “C") executed them, which question not being pertinent to this case, need not now
by Consuelo in favor of Mariquita Sumaya, the first vendee be determined. But if this condition is not fulfilled, the property is
released and will be adjudicated in accordance with the regular
of the property litigated in Civil Case No. SC-956, as
order of succession. The fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the
follows: resolutory condition, the efficacy or cessation of the reservation, the
acquisition of rights or loss of the vested ones, are phenomena
“That, I (Consuelo, vendor) am the absolute and exclusive owner of which have nothing to do with whether the reservation has been
the one-third (1/3) portion of the above described parcel of land by noted or not in the certificate of title to the property. The purpose of
virtue of the Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition executed by the Heirs the notation is nothing more than to afford to the persons entitled to
of the deceased Jose Balantakbo dated December 10, 1945 and said the reservation, if any, due protection against any act of the reservor,
portion in accordance with the partition above-mentioned was which may make it ineffective x x x.” (p. 292, ibid)
adjudicated to Raul Balantakbo, single, to (sic) whom I inherited
after his death and this property is entirely free from any Likewise, in Dizon and Dizon v. Galang, G.R. No. 21344, January
encumbrance of any nature or kind whasoever, x x x.” (p. 42, Rollo) 14,1926, 48 Phil. 601, 603, this Court ruled that the reservable
character of a property may be lost to innocent purchasers for
It was admitted though that as regards the properties value. Additionally, it was ruled therein that the obligation imposed
litigated in Civil Case SC-957, no such admission was made on a widowed spouse to annotate the reservable character of a
property subject of reserva viudal is applicable to reserva troncal.
by Consuelo to put Villa Honorio Development on notice of
(See also Edrozo v. Sablan, G.R. No. 6878, September 13, 1913, 25
the reservable character of the properties. The affidavit of Phil. 295).
selfadjudication executed by Consuelo and registered with
the Registry would still be sufficient notice to bind them.
“Since these parcels of land have been legally transferred to third
persons, Vicente Galang has lost ownership thereof and cannot now
Moreover, the court a quo found that the petitioners and register nor record in the Registry of Deeds their reservable
private respondents were long time acquaintances; that the character; neither can he effect the fee simple, which does not
Villa Honorio Development Corporation and its successors, belong to him, to the damage of Juan Medina and Teodoro Jurado,
the Laguna Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative Inc., are who acquired the said land in good faith, free of all incumbrances.
An attempt was made to prove that when Juan Medina was advised
family corporations of the Sumayas and that the petitioners
not to buy the land he remarked, Why, did he (Vicente Galang) not
knew all along that the properties litigated in this case were inherit it from his son?’ Aside from the fact that it is not clear
inherited by Raul Balantakbo from his father and from his whether this conservation took place in 1913 or 1914, that is, before
maternal grandmother, and that Consuelo Vda. de or after the sale, it does not signify that he had any knowledge of
Balantakbo inherited these properties from his son Raul. the reservation. This did not arise from the fact alone that Vicente
Galang had inherited the land from his son, but also from the fact
that, by operation of law, the son had inherited it from his mother
The obligation to reserve rests upon the reservor, Consuelo
Rufina Dizon, which circumstance, so far as the record shows, Juan
Joaquin vda. de Balantakbo. Article 891 of the New Civil Medina had not been aware of. We do not decide, however, whether
Code on reserva troncal provides: or not Juan Medina and Teodoro Jurado are obliged to acknowledge
the reservation and to note the same in their deeds, for the reason
“Art. 891. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any that there was no prayer to this effect in the complaint and no
property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title question raised in regard thereto.”
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 Consistent with the rule in reserva viudal where the person
benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong
obliged to reserve (the widowed spouse) had the obligation
to the line from which said property came.” (italics supplied)
to annotate in the Registry of Property the reservable
character of the property, in reserva troncal, the reservor
We do not agree, however, with the disposition of the (the ascendant who inherited from a descendant property
appellate court that there is no need to register the which the latter inherited from another descendant) has the
reservable character of the property, if only for the duty to reserve and therefore, the duty to annotate also.
protection of the reservees, against innocent third persons.
This was suggested as early as the case of Director of Lands
The jurisprudential rule requiring annotation in the
v. Aguas, G.R. No. 42737, August 11, 1936, 63 Phil. 279. The
Registry of Property of the right reserved in real property
main issue submitted for resolution therein was whether
subject of reserva viudal insofar as it is applied to reserva
the reservation established by Article 811 (now Art. 891 of
troncal stays despite the abolition of reserva viudal in the
the New Civil Code) of the Civil Code, for the benefit of ‘the
New Civil Code. This rule is consistent with the rule
relatives’ within the third degree belonging to the line of the
provided in the second paragraph of Section 51 of P.D. 1529,
descendant from whom the ascendant reservor received the
which provides that: “The act of registration shall be the
property, should be understood as made in favor of all the
operative act to convey of affect the land insofar as third
relatives within said degree and belonging to the line above-
persons are concerned x x x.” (italics supplied)
mentioned, without distinction legitimate, natural and
illegitimate ones not having the legal status of natural
children. However, in an obiter dictum this Court stated The properties involved in this case are already covered by a
therein: Torrens title and unless the registration of the limitation is
effected (either actual or constructive), no third persons
“The reservable character of a property is but a resolutory condition
shall be prejudiced thereby.
of the ascendant reservor’s right of ownership. If the condition is
fulfilled, that is, if upon the ascendant reservor’s death there are The respondent appellate court did not err in finding that
relatives having the status provided in Article 811 (Art. 891, New the cause of action of the private respondents did not
Civil Code), the property passes, in accordance with this special prescribe yet. The cause of action of the reservees did not
commence upon the death of the propositus Raul MARIA CANO vs. DIRECTOR OF LANDS
Balantakbo on June 13, 1952 but upon the death of the [No. L-10701. January 16, 1959]
reservor Consuelo Vda. de Balantakbo on June 3, 1968.
Relatives within the third degree in whose favor the right 1.
(or property) is reserved have no title of ownership or of fee RESERVA; DEATH OF RESERVISTA; ISSUANCE OF
simple over the reserved property during the lifetime of the CERTIFICATE OF TlTLE TO RESERVEE.—Once an
reservor. Only when the reservor should die before the original certificate of title by virtue of the final decree of the
reservees will the latter acquire the reserved property, thus land court was duly issued in the name of the reservista,
creating a fee simple, and only then will they take their subject to reserva, troncal, and subsequently the latter died,
place in the succession of the descendant of whom they are the registration court, in view of the said recorded reserva
relatives within the third degree (See Velayo Bernardo v. has authority under Sec. 112 of Act 496 to order the
Siojo, G.R. No. 36078, March 11, 1933, 58 Phil. 89). The reservatario; for the reason that the death of the reservista
reserva is extinguished upon the death of the reservor, as it vested the ownership of the property in the sole reservatario
then becomes a right of full ownership on the part of the troncal.
reservatarios, who can ‘bring a reivindicatory suit therefor.
Nonetheless, this right if not exercised within the time for
ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; EXCEPTION.—Where, however,
recovery may prescribe in ten (10) years under the old Code
of Civil Procedure (see Carillo v, De Paz, G.R. No. L-22601, the registration decree merely specifies the reservable
October 28,1966,18 SCRA 467, 473) or in thirty years under character of the property, without determining the identity
Article 1141 of the New Civil Code. The actions for recovery of the reservatario (as in the case of Director of Lands vs.
of the reserved property was brought by herein private Aguas, 63 Phil., 279) or where several reservatories dispute
respondents on March 4, 1970 or less than two (2) years the property among themselves, further proceedings would
from the death of the reservor. Therefore, private be unavoidable.
respondents’ cause of action has not prescribed yet.
Finally, the award of one thousand pesos (P1 ,000.00) for RESERVE.—The only requisites for the passing of the title
actual litigation expenses and two thousand pesos from the reservista to the reservee are (1) the death of the
(P2,000.00) for attorney’s fees is proper under Article reservista; and (2) the fact that the reservatario has survived
2208(2) of the New Civil Code. Private respondents were the reservista.
compelled to go to court to recover what rightfully belongs to
them. 4.
SUCCESSOR MORTIS CAUSA.—The reservatario is not
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED. The questioned decision the reservista's successor mortis causa nor is the reservable
of the Intermediate Appellate Court is AFFIRMED, except for the property part of the reservista's estate; the reservatario
modification on the necessity to annotate the reversable character receives the property as a conditional heir of the descendant
of a property subject of reserva troncal. (prepositus), the property merely reverting to the line of
origin from which it had temporarily and accidentally
SO ORDERED. strayed during the reservista's lifetime. The authorities are
all agreed that there being reservatarios that survive the
Narvasa (Chairman), Cruz and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur. reservista, the latter must be deemed to have enjoyed no
more than a life interest In the reservable property.
Petition denied. Decision affirmed.
Note.—When land is reservable property it is obligatory to
reserve such property for the benefit of the real heir. (Aglibot vs. RESERVABLE PROPERTY.—Upon the death of the
Mañalac, 4 SCRA 1030.) reservatario nearest to the prepositus becomes,
automatically and by operation of law, the owner of the
——o0o—— reservable property.


reservable property cannot be transmitted by a reservista to
her or his own successors mortis causa so long as a
reservatario, within the third degree from the prepositus
and belonging to the line whence the property came, is in
existence when the reservista dies.