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Topics:

783-795 Wills 796-803 Testamentary Capacity and Intent 804-819 Forms of Wills

PAULA CONDE VS. ROMAN ABAYA G.R. No.4275, March 23, 1909 FACTS: Casiano Abaya unmarried, son of Rumualdo Abaya and Sabina Labadia died on April 6, 1899. Paula Conde had natural children named Jose and Teopista Conde whom Paula states she had by Casiano Abaya, moved the settlement of intestate succession; Roman Abaya son of the parents of Casiano Abaya came forward and opposed the appointment and claimed that he was the nearest relative of the deceased; That he was granted by the court in 1906 and that Roman moved that the court declare him as the sole heir of Casiano Abaya to the exclusion of Paula Conde. Paula Conde in reply to the motion of Roman Abaya filed a petition wherein she stated that she acknowledge the relationship of Roman to the deceased but that she considred that her right was superior to his and moved for a hearing in the matter. The trial was held, both parties presented their documentary and oral evidence. The court entered a judgment that: the administrator of Casiano Abaya should recognize Teopista and Jose Condo as being natural children of Casiano Abaya. That the Petitioner Paula Conde should succeed to the hereditary rights of her children with respect to the inheritance of their deceased natural father Casiano Abaya; therefore, it is hereby declared that she is the only heir to the property of the said intestate estate, to the exclusion of the administrator, Roman Abaya. That Roman Abaya excepted to the foregoing judgment, appealed to this court, ISSUE: Whether or not the mother of the natural children (now deceased) but who survived the person who, it s claimed, was his natural father (deceased), bring an ACTION FOR THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the natural filiation in favor of such child in order to appear in his behalf to receive the inheritance from the person who is supposed to be his natural father. Held: No. In resolving a similar question Manresa says: An acknowledgment can only be demanded by the natural child and his descendants whom it shall benefit, and should they be minors or otherwise incapacitated, such person as legally represents them; the mother may ask it in behalf of her child so long as he is under her authority. The right of action for legitimacy lasts during the whole lifetime of the child, that is, it can always be brought against the presumed parents or their heirs by the child itself, while the right of action for the acknowledgment of a natural child does not last his whole lifetime, and, as a general rule, it cannot be instituted against the

heirs of the presumed parents, inasmuch as it can be exercised only during the life of the presumed parents. With regard to the question at issue, that is, the transmission to the heirs of the presumed parents of the obligation to admit the legitimate filiation, or to recognize the natural filiation, there exists the most radical difference in that the former continues during the life of the child who claims to be legitimate, and he may demand it either directly and primarily from the said presumed parents, or indirectly and secondarily from the heirs of the latter; while the second does not endure for life; as a general rule, it only lasts during the life of the presumed parents. Hence the other difference, derived as a consequence, that an action for legitimacy is always brought against the heirs of the presumed parents in case of the death of the latter, while the action for acknowledgment is not brought against the heirs of such parents, with the exception of the two cases prescribed by article 137. An action for the acknowledgment of a natural child may, as an exception, be exercised against the heirs of the presumed parents in two cases: first, in the event of the death of the latter during the minority of the child, and second, upon the discovery of some instrument of express acknowledgment of the child, executed by the father or mother, the existence of which was unknown during the life of the latter. But as such action for the acknowledgment of a natural child can only be exercised by him. It cannot be transmitted to his descendants, or to his ascendants. (Teves)

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GEMINIANO PAMPLONA and APOLONIA ONTE vs. VIVENCIO MORETO et al G.R. No. L-33187. March 31, 1980 Facts: Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega were husband and wife. During their marriage, they acquired adjacent lots Nos. 1495, 4545, and 1496 of the Calamba Friar Land Estate. The spouses begot during their marriage six (6) children, namely, Ursulo, Marta, La Paz, Alipio, Pablo, and Leandro, all surnamed Moreto. On May 6, 1946, Monica Maniega died intestate. Six (6) years after Flaviano Moreto, without the consent of the heirs of his said deceased wife Monica, and before any liquidation of the conjugal partnership of Monica and Flaviano could be effected, executed in favor of Geminiano Pamplona, married to defendant Apolonia Onte, the deed of absolute sale covering lot No. 1495 for P900.00. As a result of the sale, the said certificate of title was cancelled and a new transfer certificate of title No. T-5671 was issued in the name of Geminiano Pamplona married to Apolonia Onte. The spouses thereafter constructed their house and also a meter from the boundary of its lot, their son ereccted his hiuse. Flaviano Moreto died intestate. In 1961, the plaintiffs demanded on the defendants to vacate the premises where they had their house and piggery on the ground that Flaviano Moreto had no right to sell the lot which he sold to Geminiano Pamplona as the same belongs to the conjugal partnership of Flaviano and his deceased wife and the latter was already dead when the sale was executed without the consent of the plaintiffs who are the heirs of Monica. The spouses Geminiano Pamplona and Apolonia Onte refused to vacate. Issue: Whether or not the surviving spouse can validly dispose a conjugal property where there has been no liquidation nor partition yet between him and the surviving children. Held: Yes. The community property of the marriage, at the dissolution of this bond by the death of one of the spouses, ceases to belong to the legal partnership and becomes the property of a community, by operation of law, between the surviving spouse and the heirs of the deceased spouse, or the exclusive property of the widower or the widow, if he or she be the heir of the deceased spouse. Every co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and in the fruits and benefits derived therefrom, and he therefore may alienate, assign or mortgage it and even substitute another person in its enjoyment, unless personal rights are in question. At the time of the sale, the co-ownership constituted or covered these three lots adjacent to each

other. And since Flaviano Moreto was entitled to one-half pro-indiviso of the entire land area or 1,173 sq. meters as his share. Flaviano Moreto, the vendor, had the legal right to more than 781 sq. meters of the communal estate, a title which he could dispose, alienate in favor of the vendees-petitioners. Also, the private respondents acted on it only after nine years and during said period, the private respondents lived as neighbors to the petitioners-vendees, yet lifted no finger to question the occupation, possession and ownership of the land purchased by the Pamplonas, so that We are persuaded and convinced to rule that private respondents are in estoppel by laches to claim half of the property in dispute as null and void. Estoppel by laches is a rule of equity which bars a claimant from presenting his claim when, by reason of abandonment and negligence, he allowed a long time to elapse without presenting the same. Equity commands that the private respondents, the successors of both the deceased spouses, Flaviano Moreto and Monica Maniega be not allowed to impugn the sale executed by Flaviano Moreto who indisputably received the consideration of P900.00 and which he, including his children, benefited from the same. Private respondents are duty-bound to comply with the provisions of Articles 1458 and 1495, Civil Code, which is the obligation of the vendor of the property of delivering and transferring the ownership of the whole property sold, which is transmitted on his death to his heirs, the herein private respondents. Under Article 776, New Civil Code, the inheritance which private respondents received from their deceased parents and/or predecessors-in-interest included all the property rights and obligations which were not extinguished by their parents' death. (Lamigo)

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People vs. Gloria Umali y and Suzeth Umali G.R. No. 84450. February 4, 1991 Facts: In Criminal Case, Gloria Umali and Suzeth Umali were charged for violation of Section 4, Article 1 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 because of selling, delivering and giving 'marijuana', a prohibited drug to one Francisco Manalo y Arellano. Previous to the case of Pierre Pangan was the case of Francisco Manalo. Aside from said case, accused Francisco Manalo was likewise facing other charges such as concealment of deadly weapon and other crimes against property. Pat. Felino Noguerra went to the Tiaong Municipal Jail, and sought the help of Francisco Manalo. Manalo was touched by the appeal made to him by the policeman and agreed to help in the identification of the source of the marijuana. Accused Pierre Pangan never disputed the claim of Francisco Manalo that the marijuana found in his possession was sold to him by the accused Gloria Umali. The defense also did not dispute the claim of the prosecution that in the investigation of Pierre Pangan, the police investigator came to know that Gloria Umali was the source of the marijuana leaves. The appellant Gloria Umali denied the findings of the lower court. She alleged that witness Francisco Manalo is not reputed to be trustworthy and reliable and that his words should not be taken on its face value.

bills hinges on the legality of the arrest and search on the person of the appellant. Since the search is predicated on a valid search warrant, absent any showing that such was procured maliciously the things seized are admissible in evidence. (DE CASTRO)

Issue: Whether or not the fact that the witness, Francisco Manalo, is facing several criminal charges when he testified disqualify him as a witness. Held: NO. The phrase "conviction of a crime unless otherwise provided by law" takes into account Article 821 of the Civil Code which states that persons "convicted of falsification of a document, perjury or false testimony" are disqualified from being witnesses to a will." Since the witness Francisco Manalo is not convicted of any of the above-mentioned crimes to disqualify him as a witness and this case does not involve the probate of a will, We rule that the fact that said witness is facing several criminal charges when he testified did not in any way disqualify him as a witness. The testimony of a witness should be given full faith and credit, in the absence of evidence that he was actuated by improper motive. The appellant's allegation that the search warrant is illegal cannot also be given any merit. "Where marked peso bills were seized by the police as a result of the search made on the appellant, the admissibility of these marked peso

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Dolor v. Diancia G.R. No. 33365. December 20, 1930 Facts: Will of the deceased Paulino Diancin was denied probate in the Court on the sole ground that the thumb marks appearing thereon were not the thumb marks of the testator A thumb mark appears at the end of the will and on the left hand margin of each of its pages of the will

YAP TUA vs. YAP CA KUAN and YAP CA LLU G.R. No. 6845. September 1, 1914 FACTS: August, 1909, one Perfecto Gabriel, representing the petitioner, Yap Tua, presented a petition in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, asking that the will of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong be admitted to probate, as the last will and testament of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, deceased. Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong died in the city of Manila on the 11th day of August, 1909. Together with the petition was the will, signed by deceased, as well as Anselmo Zacarias, Severo Tabora, and Timoteo Paez. During the hearing, Timoteo Paez and Pablo Agustin declared that they knew the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong; that she had died on the 11th day of August, 1909; that before her death she had executed a last will and testament; that he was present at the time of the execution of the same; that he had signed the will as a witness; that Aselmo Zacarias and Severo Tabora had also signed said will as witnesses and that they had signed the will in the presence of the deceased; that the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong signed the will voluntarily; and in their judgment, she was in the possession of her faculties; that there were no threats or intimidation used to induce her to sign the will; that she signed it voluntarily. It was ordered that the last will and testament of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong be allowed and admitted to probate. From the record it appears that no further proceedings were had until the 28th of February, 1910, when Yap Ca Kuan and Yap Ca Llu appeared and presented a petition, alleging that they were interested in the matters of the sail will and desired to intervene asked that a guardian ad litem be appointed to represented them in the cause. The court appointed guardian ad litem of said parties, Gabriel La O, appeared in court and presented a motion in which he alleged, in substance: XXX (b) Because at the time of the execution of the will, the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong was not then mentally capacitated to execute the same, due to her sickness. XXX ISSUE: Whether or not the court erred in declaring that the testator had clear knowledge and knew what she was doing at the time of signing the will. HELD: NO. Article 800 of the Civil Code states that: The law presumes that every person is of sound mind, in the absence of proof to the contrary. The burden of proof that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of making his dispositions is on the person who opposes the probate of the will; but if the testator, one month, or less, before making his will was publicly known to be insane, the person who maintains the

A document of sale containing an admittedly genuine thumb mark of Paulino Diancin, was presented to be compared to that on the will. 2 opposing sides came, one said it was genuine, the other said that what was on the will is not authentic Issue: WON the thumb marks are authentic? Held: YES. The requirement of the statute that the will shall be "signed" is satisfied not only by the customary written signature but also by the testator's or testatrix' thumb mark. Expert testimony as to the identity of thumb marks or fingerprints is of course admissible. The method of identification of fingerprints is a science requiring close study. Where thumb impressions are blurred and many of the characteristic marks far from clear, thus rendering it difficult to trace the features enumerated by experts as showing the identity or lack of identity of the impressions, the court is justified in refusing to accept the opinions of alleged experts and in substituting its own opinion that a distinct similarity in some respects between the admittedly genuine thumb mark and the questioned thumb marks, is evident. This we do here. (Delos Santos)

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validity of the will must prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval. We find the same conflict in the declarations of the witnesses which we found with reference to the undue influence. While the testimony of Dr. Papa is very strong relating to the mental condition of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, yet, nevertheless, his testimony related to a time perhaps twenty-four hours before the execution of the will in question (Exhibit A). Several witnesses testified that at the time the will was presented to her for her signature, she was of sound mind and memory and asked for a pen and ink and kept the will in her possession for ten or fifteen minutes and finally signed it. The lower court found that there was a preponderance of evidence sustaining the conclusion that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong was of sound mind and memory and in the possession of her faculties at the time she signed this will. In view of the conflict in the testimony of the witnesses and the finding of the lower court, we do not feel justified in reversing his conclusions upon that question. Upon a full consideration of the record, we find that a preponderance of the proof shows that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong did execute, freely and voluntarily, while she was in the right use of all of her faculties, the will dated August 11, 1909 (Exhibit A). Therefore the judgment of the lower court admitting said will to probate is hereby affirmed with costs. (Punzalan)

EUTIQUIA AVERA vs. MARINO GARCIA, and JUAN RODRIGUEZ, as guardian of the minors Cesar Garcia and Jose Garcia G.R. No. 15566, September 14, 1921 Facts: - In proceedings in the court below, instituted by Eutiquia Avera for probate of the will of one Esteban Garcia, contest was made by Marino Garcia and Juan Rodriguez, the latter in the capacity of guardian for the minors Jose Garcia and Cesar Garcia. -Garcia, thinking that the will would not be contested, presented only one witness out of the three witnesses required by law, to attest that the will was executed with all necessary external formalities, and that the testator was at the time in full possession of disposing faculties. -The opposition on the other hand, a single witness whose testimony tended to show in a vague and indecisive manner that at the time the will was made the testator was so debilitated as to be unable to comprehend what he was about. -The trial judge ruled that the will was executed validly. Upon appeal, the point of the lack of the attesting witnesses was raised by Avera. However, since this was the first time that said issue was raised the Court found no reason to disturb the ruling of the lower court as In the first place it eliminates the judicial criterion of the Court of First Instance upon the point there presented and makes the appellate court in effect a court of first instance with reference to that point, unless the case is remanded for a new trial. In the second place, it permits, if it does not encourage, attorneys to trifle with the administration of justice by concealing from the trial court and from their opponent the actual point upon which reliance is placed, while they are engaged in other discussions more simulated than real. Issue: The other issue raised was whether the will in question is rendered invalid by reason of the fact that the signature of the testator and of the three attesting witnesses are written on the right margin of each page of the will instead of the left margin. Held: No, the will remains valid. Under section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2645, it is essential to the validity of a will in this jurisdiction that the names of the testator and the instrumental witnesses should be written on the left margin of each page. However, some details at times creep into legislative enactments which are so trivial that it would be absurd to suppose that the Legislature could have attached any decisive importance to them. According to Justice Avancena, "The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guarantee their truth and authenticity. Therefore the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to

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make a will. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustrative of the testator's last will, must be disregarded." The instrument in question contains the necessary signatures on every page, and the only point of deviation from the requirement of the statute is that these signatures appear in the right margin instead of the left. By the mode of signing here adopted every page and provision of the will is authenticated and guarded from possible alteration in exactly the same degree that it would have been protected by being signed in the left margin. (Adrid)

In the matter of the testate estate of Antonio Mojal, deceased. Filomena Nayve vs. Leona Mojal and Luciana Aguilar G.R. No. 21755, December 29, 1934 Facts: This is a proceeding for the probate of the will of the deceased Antonio Mojal, instituted by his surviving spouse, Filomena Nayve and opposed by Leona Mojal and Luciana Aguilar, sister and niece, respectively, of the deceased. The will in question is composed of four sheets with written matter on only one side of each, that is, four pages written on four sheets paged ""Pag. 1," Pag. 2," "Pag. 3,", "Pag. 4," successively. Each of the first two sides or pages, which was used, was signed by the testator and the three witnesses on the margin, left side of the reader. On the third page actually used, the signatures of the three witnesses appear also on the margin, left side of the reader, but the signature of the testator is not on the margin, but about the middle of the page, at the end of the will and before the attestation clause. On the fourth page, the signatures of the witnesses do not appear on the margin, but at the bottom of the attestation clause, it being the signature of the testator that is on the margin, left side of the reader. Issue: WON the will executed by Don Antonio Mojal is valid. Held: Yes. In the respect the holding of this court in the case of Avera vs. Garcia and Rodriguez (42 Phil., 145), is applicable, wherein the will in question was signed by the testator and the witnesses, not on the left, but on the right, margin. The rule laid down in that case is that the document contained the necessary signatures on each page, whereby each page of the will was authenticated and safeguarded against any possible alteration. In that case, the validity of the will was sustained, and consequently it was allowed to probate. Applying that doctrine to the instant case, we hold that, as each and every page used of the will bears the signatures of the testator and the witnesses, the fact that said signatures do not all appear on the left margin of each page does not detract from the validity of the will. Turning to the second defect alleged, that is to say, the fact that the sheets of the document are not paged with letters, suffice it to cite the case of Unson vs. Abella (43 Phil., 494), where this court held that paging with Arabic numerals and not with letter, as in the case before us, is within the spirit of the law and is just as valid as paging with letters. As may be seen, the number of sheets is stated in said last paragraph of the will. It is true that in the case of Uy Coque vs. Navas L. Sioca (43 Phil., 405), it was held that the attestation clause must state the number of sheets or pages composing the will; but when, as in the case before

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us, such fact, while it is not stated in the attestation clause, appears at the end of the will proper, so that no proof aliunde is necessary of the number of the sheets of the will, then there can be no doubt that it complies with the intention of the law that the number of sheets of which the will is composed be shown by the document itself, to prevent the number of the sheets of the will from being unduly increased or decreased. With regard to the last defect pointed out, namely, that the testator does not appear to have signed on all the sheets of the will in the presence of the three witnesses, and the latter to have attested and signed in all the sheets in the presence of the testator and of each other, it must be noted that in the attestation clause it is said that the testator signed the will "in the presence of each of the witnesses" and the latter signed "in the presence of each other and of the testator." So that, as to whether the testator and the attesting witnesses saw each other sign the will, such a requirement was clearly and sufficiently complied with. What is not stated in this clause is whether the testator and the witnesses signed all the sheets of the will. The act of the testator and the witnesses seeing reciprocally the signing of the will is one which cannot be proven by the mere exhibition the will unless it is stated in the document. And this fact is expressly stated in the attestation clause now before us. But the fact of the testator and the witnesses having signed all the sheets of the will may be proven by the mere examination of the document, although it does not say anything about this, and if that is the fact, as it is the instant case, the danger of fraud in this respect, which is what the law tries to avoid, does not exist. Therefore, as in the instant case the fact that the testator and the witnesses signed each and every page of the will is proven by the mere examination of the signatures in the will, the omission to expressly state such evident fact does not invalidate the will nor prevent its probate. (Barona)

Testamentaria del finado Rev. P. Eleuterio Pilapil. ADRIANO MENDOZA vs. CALIXTO PILAPIL Y OTROS G. R. No. L-47931, June 27, 1941 Facts: Father Eleuterio Pilapil is a parish priest of Mualboal, Cebu. His brother Calixto Pilapil moved to be appointed as administrator of his estate and, subsequently, for the legalization of the priests last will and testament. However, the said will is contested on the ground that the priest is of old age and, hence, incompetent to make a will, that it was not proven that he speaks Spanish and that the will has not been prepared, signed and witnessed in accordance with Article 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Issue: WON the will is valid. Held: Yes. No evidence has been shown that the testator did not understand the language. In the attestation clause in a copy of the Testament and other subject matter, it is claimed by the three instrumental witnesses who signed it, which "Pre-insert the last will and testament, has been signed, declared and sworn by the testator, Rev. P. Eleuterin Pilapil in the presence of us all"; and immediately afterwards, was affirmed by the same witnesses that: "To beg of the testator, signed each of us, here in Cebu, Cebu, IF, today November 27, The purpose of the law to establish the formalities required in a will is undoubtedly ensure and guarantee their authenticity against the bad faith and fraud, to prevent those who are not entitled to succeed the testator, leaving it happen and benefit from the legalization of same. It has fulfilled that purpose in the event that has been talked about because, in the same body of the will and the same pages where the attestation clause, or the third, it expresses the will consists of three pages, and because each one of the first two takes in part the note in letters, and in part the note in figures, that are respectively the first and second pages of it. These facts clearly exclude all fear, suspicion, or shadow of a doubt that it has replaced some of its pages to another. Anything more in the case of wet it and Nayve against Aguilar (47 Phil., 160), which was clarified by Gumba cause against Gorecho and other (50 Phil., 31), is in this case because There was no more than the notes "Page 1", "Page 2" "Page 3" and "Page 4" on the face of respected tive four pages that make up, and this is the CLAT and above and is inserted in the record besides the first two lines of the tercel to page of exhibits A and C, that

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they are com positions of three pages, and contains two articles and sixteen six provisions. They are therefore the perfect application to the case that this is what we said in the reasons for Rodriguez against Yap, R. G. No. 45,924, May 18, 1939, and Blessed against De Gorostiza (57 Phil., 456). We said in those cases, respectively, as follows: "The wording of the attestation clause in this will is not technically free repairs, but is substantially a sufficient compliance with the law. We maintain the view that should be enforced strict substantive requirements of the will to ensure its authenticity, but at the same time we believe should not be considered defects that can not affect this purpose and the other part , taken into account, could thwart the will of the testator. "(Rodriguez v. Yap, supra.) "It should allow the legal formalities hinder the use of good common sense in consideration of wills and they frustrate the cleseos of the dead solemnly expressed in their wills, as to the granting of which there is not even a shadow of bad faith or fraud ". (Blessed against De Gorostiza, supra.) (Barona) Note: This is originally a spanish text.

TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ALIPIO ABADA, BELINDA CAPONONG-NOBLE vs.ALIPIO ABAJA and NOEL ABELLAR G.R. No. 147145, January 31, 2005 Facts: Abada died sometime in May 1940. His widow Paula Toray ("Toray") died sometime in September 1943. Both died without legitimate children. Alipio C. Abaja ("Alipio") filed with the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (now RTCKabankalan) a petition for the probate of the last will and testament of Abada. Abada allegedly named as his testamentary heirs his natural children Eulogio Abaja and Rosario Cordova. Alipio is the son of Eulogio. Nicanor Caponong opposed the petition on the ground that Abada left no will when he died in 1940. Caponong further alleged that the will, if Abada really executed it, should be disallowed for the following reasons: (1) it was not executed and attested as required by law; (2) it was not intended as the last will of the testator; and (3) it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiaries. Alipio filed another petition before the RTCKabankalan for the probate of the last will and testament of Toray. the RTC-Kabankalan admitted to probate the will of Toray. Since the oppositors did not file any motion for reconsideration, the order allowing the probate of Torays will became final and executory. the RTC-Kabankalan designated Belinda Caponong-Noble Special Administratrix of the estate of Abada and Toray. Caponong-Noble moved for the dismissal of the petition for probate of the will of Abada. The RTC-Kabankalan denied the motion the RTC-Kabankalan rendered a Resolution, as follows: There having been sufficient notice to the heirs as required by law; that there is substantial compliance with the formalities of a Will as the law directs and that the petitioner through his testimony and the deposition of Felix Gallinero was able to establish the regularity of the execution of the said Will and further, there being no evidence of bad faith and fraud, or substitution of the said Will, the Last Will and Testament of Alipio Abada dated June 4, 1932 is admitted and allowed probate. The RTC-Kabankalan ruled on the only issue raised by the oppositors in their motions to dismiss the petition for probate, that is, whether the will of Abada has an attestation clause as required by law. The RTC-Kabankalan further held that the

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failure of the oppositors to raise any other matter forecloses all other issues. Not satisfied with the Resolution, Caponong-Noble filed a notice of appeal. the Court of Appeals affirmed the Resolution of the RTC-Kabankalan. The appellate court found that the RTC-Kabankalan properly admitted to probate the will of Abada. Caponong-Noble argues that the attestation clause in Abadas will is defective, not having complied with the requirements of the applicable laws. ISSUE: WON the will of Abada has an attestation clause, and if so, whether the attestation clause complies with the requirements of the applicable laws; HELD: YES. The Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the RTC-Kabankalan in admitting to probate the will of Abada. This Court has applied the rule on substantial compliance even before the effectivity of the New Civil Code. the Court recognized that there are two divergent tendencies in the law on wills, one being based on strict construction and the other on liberal construction. It is, of course, not possible to lay down a general rule, rigid and inflexible, which would be applicable to all cases. More than anything else, the facts and circumstances of record are to be considered in the application of any given rule. If the surrounding circumstances point to a regular execution of the will, and the instrument appears to have been executed substantially in accordance with the requirements of the law, the inclination should, in the absence of any suggestion of bad faith, forgery or fraud, lean towards its admission to probate, although the document may suffer from some imperfection of language, or other non-essential defect. x x x. An attestation clause is made for the purpose of preserving, in permanent form, a record of the facts attending the execution of the will, so that in case of failure of the memory of the subscribing witnesses, or other casualty, they may still be proved. A will, therefore, should not be rejected where its attestation clause serves the purpose of the law. The Court explained the extent and limits of the rule on liberal construction, thus: The so-called liberal rule does not offer any puzzle or difficulty, nor does it open the door to serious consequences. The later decisions do tell us when and where to stop; they draw the dividing line with precision. They do not allow evidence aliunde to fill a void in any part of the document or supply missing details that should appear in the will itself.l^vvphi1.net They only permit a probe into the will, an exploration within its confines, to ascertain its meaning or to determine the existence or absence of the requisite formalities of law. This clear, sharp limitation eliminates uncertainty and ought to banish any fear of dire results. (Joel)

Tedoro CANEDA, et al. vs. Hon. COURT OF APPEALS and William CABRERA, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Mateo Caballero G.R. No. 103554, May 28, 1993 FACTS: Mateo Caballero, a widower without any children, executed a last will and testament before three attesting witnesses and he was duly assisted by his lawyer and a notary public. It was declare therein that, among other things, that the testator was leaving by way of legacies and devises his real and personal properties to specific persons, all of whom do not appear to be related to Mateo. Not long after, he himself filed a petition before the CFI seeking the probate of his last will and testament but the scheduled hearings were postponed, until the testator passed away before his petition could finally be heard by the probate court. Benoni Cabrera, one of the legatees named in the will, sought his appointment as special administrator of the testators estate but due to his death, he was succeeded by William Cabreara, who was appointed by RTC which is already the probate court. In the course of the hearing, herein petitioners claiming to be nephews and nieces of the testator, appeared as oppositors and objected to the allowance of the testators will on the ground that on the alleged date of its execution, the testator was already in the poor state of health such that he could not have possibly executed the same; and that the signature of the testator is not genuine. The probate court rendered a decision that such will is the Last Will and Testament of Mateo Caballero and that it was executed in accordance with all the requisites of the law. Upon appeal to CA, the petitioners asserted that the will in question is null and void for the reason that its attestation clause is fatally defective since it fails to specifically state the instrumental witnesses to the will witnessed the testator signing the will in their presence and that they also signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. However, CA affirmed the decision of the trial court ruling and ruling that the attestation clause in the Last Will substantially complies with Article 805 of the Civil Code. Due to denial of petitioners motion for reconsideration, hence this appeal before the Supreme Court. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the attestation clause in the last will of Mateo Caballero is fatally defective such that whether or not it affects the validity of the will. 2. Whether or not the attestation clause complies with the substantial compliance pursuant to Article 809 of the Civil Code. RULING: An attestation clause refers to that part of an ordinary will whereby the attesting witnesses certify that the instrument has been executed before them and to the manner of the execution of the same. It is a separate memorandum or record of the facts surrounding the conduct of execution and once signed by the witnesses, it gives affirmation to the fact that compliance with the essential formalities required by law has been observed. Under the 3rd paragraph of Article 805, such a clause, the

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complete lack of which would result in the invalidity of the will, should state: 1. The number of pages used upon which the will is written; 2. That the testator signed, or expressly cause another to sign, the will and every page thereof in the presence of the attesting witnesses; and 3. That the attesting witnesses witnessed the signing by the testator of the will and all its pages, and that the said witnesses also signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. It will be noted that Article 805 requires that the witness should both attest and subscribe to the will in the presence of the testator and of one another. Attestation and subscription differ in meaning. Attestation is the act of sense, while subscription is the act of the hand. The attestation clause herein assailed is that while it recites that the testator indeed signed the will and all its pages in the presence of the three attesting witnesses and states as well the number of pages that were used, the same does not expressly state therein the circumstance that said witnesses subscribed their respective signatures to the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. What is then clearly lacking, is the statement that the witnesses signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. The absence of the statement required by law is a fatal defect or imperfection which must necessarily result in the disallowance of the will that is here sought to be admitted to probate. Petitioners are correct in pointing out that the defect in the attestation clause obviously cannot be characterized as merely involving the form of the will or the language used therein which would warrant the application of the substantial compliance rule, as contemplated in Article 809 of the Civil Code: In the absence of bad faith, forgery, or fraud or undue and improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfection in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is not proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805. The defects and imperfection must only be with respect to the form of the attestation or the language employed therein. Such defects or imperfection would not render a will invalid should it be proved that the will was really executed and attested in compliance with Article 805. These considerations do not apply where the attestation clause totally omits the fact that the attesting witnesses signed each and every page of the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. In such a situation, the defect is not only in the form or language of the attestation clause but the total absence of a specific element required by Article 805 to be specifically stated in the attestation clause of a will. That is precisely the defect complained of in the present case since there is no plausible way by which it can be read into the questioned attestation clause statement, or an implication thereof, that th

e attesting witness did actually bear witness to the signing by the testator of the will and all of its pages and that said instrumental witnesses also signed the will and every page thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.(Lamigo)

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Codoy vs. Calugay G.R. No. 123486 August 12, 1999 Facts: Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and Eufemia Patigas, devisees and legatees of the holographic will of the deceased Matilde Seo Vda. de Ramonal, filed with the Regional Trial Court a petition for probate of the holographic will of the deceased, who died on January 16, 1990. In the petition, respondents claimed that the deceased Matilde Seo Vda. de Ramonal, was of sound and disposing mind when she executed the will on that there was no fraud, undue influence, and duress employed in the person of the testator, and will was written voluntarily. Eugenia Ramonal Codoy and Manuel Ramonal filed an opposition to the petition for probate, alleging that the holographic will was a forgery and that the same is even illegible. This gives an impression that a "third hand" of an interested party other than the "true hand" of Matilde Seo Vda. de Ramonal executed the holographic will. Respondents presented six (6) witnesses and various documentary evidence. the lower Court issued an order in favor of petitioners. respondents filed a notice of appeal and in support of their appeal, the respondents once again reiterated the testimony of the following witnesses, namely: (1) Augusto Neri; (2) Generosa Senon; (3) Matilde Ramonal Binanay; (4) Teresita Vedad; (5) Fiscal Rodolfo Waga; and (6) Evangeline Calugay. According to the Court of Appeals, Evangeline Calugay, Matilde Ramonal Binanay and other witnesses definitely and in no uncertain terms testified that the handwriting and signature in the holographic will were those of the testator herself. Thus, upon the unrebutted testimony of appellant Evangeline Calugay and witness Matilde Ramonal Binanay, the Court of Appeals sustained the authenticity of the holographic will and the handwriting and signature therein, and allowed the will to probate. Hence, this petition. the petitioners ask whether the provisions of Article 811 of the Civil Code are permissive or mandatory. The article provides, as a requirement for the probate of a contested holographic will, that at least three witnesses explicitly declare that the signature in the will is the genuine signature of the testator. ISSUE: WON the provisions of Article 811 of the Civil Code are permissive or mandatory. HELD: MANDATORY. We are convinced, based on the language used, that Article 811 of the Civil Code is

mandatory. The word "shall" connotes a mandatory order. We have ruled that "shall" in a statute commonly denotes an imperative obligation and is inconsistent with the idea of discretion and that the presumption is that the word "shall," when used in a statute is mandatory. Laws are enacted to achieve a goal intended and to guide against an evil or mischief that aims to prevent. In the case at bar, the goal to achieve is to give effect to the wishes of the deceased and the evil to be prevented is the possibility that unscrupulous individuals who for their benefit will employ means to defeat the wishes of the testator. So, we believe that the paramount consideration in the present petition is to determine the true intent of the deceased. An exhaustive and objective consideration of the evidence is imperative to establish the true intent of the testator. It will be noted that not all the witnesses presented by the respondents testified explicitly that they were familiar with the handwriting of testator. In the case of Augusto Neri, He was not presented to declare explicitly that the signature appearing in the holographic was that of the deceased. Generosa E. Senon as presented to identify the signature of the deceased in the voter's affidavit, which was not even produced as it was no longer available. What Matilde Ramonal Binanay saw were pre-prepared receipts and letters of the deceased, which she either mailed or gave to her tenants. She did not declare that she saw the deceased sign a document or write a note. With regard to Evangeline, she can give as to why she was familiar with the handwriting of the deceased was because she lived with her since birth. She never declared that she saw the deceased write a note or sign a document. In the case of Ajero vs. Court of Appeals, we said that "the object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore, the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. However, we cannot eliminate the possibility of a false document being adjudged as the will of the testator, which is why if the holographic will is contested, that law requires three witnesses to declare that the will was in the handwriting of the deceased. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision appealed from is SET ASIDE. The records are ordered remanded to the court of origin with instructions to allow petitioners to adduce evidence in support of their opposition to the probate of the holographic will of the deceased Matilde Seo vda. De Ramonal.(Joel)

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AJERO v. CA G.R. No. 106720 September 15, 1994 FACTS: This is an appeal by certiorari from the Decision of the Court of Appeals reversing RTCs decision of probating the holographic will of the late Annie Sand, who died on November 25, 1982. Petitioners and respondents were named as devisees. Petitioner spouses instituted for the probate of the will and they alleged that at the time of its execution, decedent was of sound and disposing mind, not acting under duress, fraud or undue influence, and was in every respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will. Private respondent opposed the petition alleging that the will was not written by the decedent, it contained alterations and was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue influence. HELD: In the case at bench, respondent court held that the holographic will of Anne Sand was not executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. It held that Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code, ante, were not complied with, hence, it disallowed the probate of said will. This is erroneous. For purposes of probating non-holographic wills, these formal solemnities include the subscription, attestation, and acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code. In the case of holographic wills, on the other hand, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally 7 autographic or handwritten by the testator himself, as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code, thus: A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. (Emphasis supplied.) A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render the whole testament void. Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate, notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of Article 814. Thus, unless the unauthenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will 9 or on testator's signature, their presence does not 10 invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes. (CRUZ)

FEDERICO AZAOLA vs. CESARIO SINGSON G.R. No. L-14003. August 5, 1960. Facts: Sep. 9, 1957 testatrix Fortunata S. Vda. de Yance died in QC Francisco Azaola petitioner herein for probate of the holographic will, submitted the said holographic will where Maria Milagros Azaola was made the sole heir as against the nephew of the deceased Cesario Singson. Azaola presented several documents for purposes of comparison as to the signature of the testarix in the holographic will. The opposition to the probate was on the ground that (1) the execution of the will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the petitioner and his wife, and (2) that the testatrix did not seriously intend the instrument to be her last will. The probate was denied for failure to present three witnesses as required by Article 811 of the NCC.

Issue: Whether or not Azaola was required by law to present three witnesses to prove the authenticity of the signature of the testatrix in the holographic will. Held: No.Since the authenticity of the holographic will was not contested, proponent was not required to produce more than one witness; but even if the genuineness of the holographic will were contested, Article 811 of our present Civil Code cannot be interpreted as to require the compulsory presentation of three witnesses to identify the handwriting of the testator, under penalty of having the probate denied. Since no witness may have been present at the execution of a holographic will, none being required by law, it becomes obvious that the existence of witnesses possessing the requisite qualifications is a matter beyond the control of the proponent. The rule of the first paragraph of Article 811 of the Civil Code is merely directory and is not mandatory. (Lamigo)

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Nazareno v. CA GR No. 138842, 18 Oct 2000 Facts: Maximino Nazareno, Sr. and Aurea Poblete were husband and wife. Aurea died on April 15, 1970, while Maximino, Sr. died on December 18, 1980. They had five children, namely, Natividad, Romeo, Jose, Pacifico, and Maximino, Jr. Natividad and Maximino, Jr. are petitioners in this case, while the estate of Maximino, Sr., Romeo, and his wife Eliza Nazareno are the respondents. After the death of Maximino, Sr., Romeo filed an intestate case and was appointed administrator of his father's estate. In the course of the intestate proceedings, Romeo discovered that his parents had executed several deeds of sale conveying a number of real properties in favor of his sister, Natividad. One of the deeds involved six lots in Quezon City which were allegedly sold by Maximino, Sr., with the consent of Aurea, to Natividad on January 29, 1970. By virtue of these deeds, TCTs were issued to Natividad for lots 3-B, 3, 10, 11, 13 & 14 Unknown to Romeo, Natividad sold Lot 3-B, w/c had been occupied by Romeo, his wife, & Maximino, Jr., to Maximino, Jr. Romeo filed the present case for annulment of sale w/ damages against Natividad & Maximino Jr. on the ground that both sales were void for lack of consideration Romeo presented the Deed of Partition & Distribution executed by Maximino Sr. & Aurea in 1962 & duly signed by all of their children, except Jose, who was then abroad. However, this deed was not carried out. In 1969, their parents instead offered to sell to them the lots He testified that, although the deeds of sale executed by his parents in their favor stated that the sale was for a consideration, they never really paid any amount for the supposed sale. The transfer was made in this manner in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes. Allegedly, it was only Natividad who bought the lots in question because she was the only one financially able to do so The trial court rendered a decision declaring the nullity of the Deed of Sale dated January 29, 1970, except as to Lots 3, 3-B, 13 and 14 which had passed on to third persons. On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the decision of the trial court was modified in the sense that titles to Lot 3 (in the name of Romeo Nazareno) and Lot 3-B (in the name of Maximino Nazareno, Jr.), as well as to Lots 10 and 11 were cancelled and ordered restored to the estate of Maximino Nazareno, Sr. Hence, the present petition. Issue: 1) Whether the restoration of the titles to the lots in question to the estate of Maximino Sr. was proper 2) Whether it was the intention of Maximino, Sr. to give the subject lots to Natividad

Held: 1) Yes. The Nazareno spouses transferred their properties to their children by fictitious sales in order to avoid the payment of inheritance taxes. Facts & circumstances indicate badges of a simulated sale w/c make the Jan 29, 1970 sale void & of no effect. Natividad never acquired ownership over the property because the Deed of Sale in her favor is also void for being w/o consideration. 2) Yes. It cannot be denied that Maximino, Sr. intended to give the six Quezon City lots to Natividad. As Romeo testified, their parents executed the Deed of Sale in favor of Natividad because the latter was the only "female and the only unmarried member of the family." She was thus entrusted with the real properties in behalf of her siblings. As she herself admitted, she intended to convey Lots 10 and 11 to Jose in the event the latter returned from abroad. There was thus an implied trust constituted in her favor. Art. 1449 of the Civil Code states: There is also an implied trust when a donation is made to a person but it appears that although the legal estate is transmitted to the donee, he nevertheless is either to have no beneficial interest or only a part thereof. There being an implied trust, the lots in question are therefore subject to collation in accordance with Art. 1061 which states: Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the estate any property or right which he may have received from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir, and in the account of the partition. As held by the trial court, the sale of Lots 13 and 14 to Ros-Alva Marketing, Corp. will have to be upheld for it is an innocent purchaser for value which relied on the title of Natividad. (Calo)

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JOSE RIVERA vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and ADELAIDO J. RIVERA G.R. Nos. 75005-06. February 15, 1990 Facts:- A prominent and wealthy resident of Pampanga named Venancio Rivera died. Jose Rivera, claiming to be the only surviving legitimate son of the deceased, filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration over Venancio's estate which was opposed by Adelaido Rivera who averred that Venancio was not Joses father and that he did not die intestate but left two holographic wills.The judge found that Jose Rivera was not the son of the decedent but of a different Venancio Rivera who was married to Maria Vital. The Venancio Rivera whose estate was in question was married to Maria Jocson, by whom he had seven children, including Adelaido. Jose Rivera had no claim to this estate because the decedent was not his father. The holographic wills were also admitted to probate. The contention as well as the existence and validity of the holographic wills were questioned by Jose.On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed by the IAC. Issue: WON Jose Rivera had legal personality to question the wills Held: NONE.The respondent court considered the holographic wills valid because it found them to have been written, dated and signed by the testator himself in accordance with Article 810 of the Civil Code. It also held there was no necessity of presenting the three witnesses required under Article 811 because the authenticity of the wills had not been questioned. The existence and therefore also the authenticity of the holographic wills were questioned by Jose Rivera. In his own petition in SP No. 1076, he declared that Venancio Rivera died intestate; and in SP No. 1091, he denied the existence of the holographic wills presented by Adelaido Rivera for probate. In both proceedings, Jose Rivera opposed the holographic wills submitted by Adelaido Rivera and claimed that they were spurious. Consequently, it may be argued, the respondent court should have applied Article 811 of the Civil Code, providing as follows: In the probate of a holographic will, it shall be necessary that at least one witness who knows the handwriting and signature of the testator explicitly declare that the will and the signature are in the handwriting of the testator. If the will is contested, at least three of such witnesses shall be required. The flaw in this argument is that, as we have already determined, Jose Rivera is not the son of the deceased Venancio Rivera whose estate is in question. Hence, being a mere stranger, he had no personality to contest the wills and his opposition thereto did not have the legal effect of requiring the three witnesses. The testimony of Zenaida and Venancio Rivera, Jr., who authenticated the wills as having been written and signed by their father, was sufficient. (Parrenas)

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF MELECIO LABRADOR. SAGRADO LABRADOR (Deceased), substituted by ROSITA LABRADOR, ENRICA LABRADOR, and CRISTOBAL LABRADOR vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. Nos. 83843-44, April 5, 1990 FACTS: On June 10, 1972, Melecio Labrador died in Zambales, where he was residing, leaving behind a parcel of land designated as Lot No. 1916 under Original Certificate of Title No. P-1652, and the following heirs, namely: Sagrado, Enrica, Cristobal, Jesus, Gaudencio, Josefina, Juliana, Hilaria and Jovita, all surnamed Labrador, and a holographic will. Sagrado Labrador (now deceased but substituted by his heirs), Enrica Labrador and Cristobal Labrador, filed in the court a quo a petition for the probate Special Proceeding of the holographic will of the late Melecio Labrador. Subsequently, Jesus Labrador (now deceased but substituted by his heirs), and Gaudencio Labrador filed an opposition to the petition on the ground that the will has been extinguished or revoked by implication of law, alleging therein that on September 30, 1971, that is, before Melecio's death, for the consideration of P6,000, testator Melecio executed a Deed of Absolute Sale, selling, transferring and conveying in favor of oppositors Jesus and Gaudencio Lot No. 1916 and that as a matter of fact, O.C.T. No. P-1652 had been cancelled by T.C.T. No. T-21178. Earlier however, in 1973, Jesus Labrador sold said parcel of land to Navat for only P5000. Sagrado filed, on November against his brothers, Gaudencio and Jesus, for the annulment of said purported Deed of Absolute Sale over a parcel of land which Sagrado allegedly had already acquired by devise from their father Melecio Labrador under a holographic will executed on March 17, 1968. The trial court rendered a joint decision allowing the probate of the holographic will and declaring null and void the Deed of Absolute sale. The court a quo had also directed the respondent to reimburse to the petitioners the sum of P5,000.00 representing the redemption price for the property paid by the plaintiff-petitioner Sagrado with legal interest thereon from December 20, 1976, when it was paid to vendee a retro. Respondents appealed the joint decision to the Court of Appeals, which modified said joint decision of the court a quo by denying the allowance of the probate of the will for being undated and reversing the order of reimbursement. Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: whether or not the alleged holographic will of one Melecio Labrador is dated, as provided for in Article 810

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HELD: YES The will has been dated in the hand of the testator himself in perfect compliance with Article 810. It is worthy of note to quote the first paragraph of the second page of the holographic will, viz: And this is the day in which we agreed that we are making the partitioning and assigning the respective assignment of the said fishpond, and this being in the month of March, 17th day, in the year 1968, and this decision and or instruction of mine is the matter to be followed. And the one who made this writing is no other than MELECIO LABRADOR, their father. The law does not specify a particular location where the date should be placed in the will. The only requirements are that the date be in the will itself and executed in the hand of the testator. These requirements are present in the subject will. Respondents claim that the date 17 March 1968 in the will was when the testator and his beneficiaries entered into an agreement among themselves about "the partitioning and assigning the respective assignments of the said fishpond," and was not the date of execution of the holographic will; hence, the will is more of an "agreement" between the testator and the beneficiaries thereof to the prejudice of other compulsory heirs like the respondents. This was thus a failure to comply with Article 783 which defines a will as "an act whereby a person is permitted, with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take effect after his death." Respondents are in error. The intention to show 17 March 1968 as the date of the execution of the will is plain from the tenor of the succeeding words of the paragraph. As aptly put by petitioner, the will was not an agreement but a unilateral act of Melecio Labrador who plainly knew that what he was executing was a will. The act of partitioning and the declaration that such partitioning as the testator's instruction or decision to be followed reveal that Melecio Labrador was fully aware of the nature of the estate property to be disposed of and of the character of the testamentary act as a means to control the disposition of his estate. The decision of the Court of Appeal is reversed. The holographic will of Melecio Labrador is approved and allowed probate. The private respondents are directed to REIMBURSE the petitioners the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). (Teves)

Dy Yieng SEANGIO, Barbara D. SEANGIO and Virginia D. SEANGIO vs. Hon. Amor A. REYES, Alfredo SEANGIO, et al. G.R. Nos. 140371-72, November 27, 2006 FACTS: Private respondents filed a petition for the settlement of the intestate estate of the late Segundo Seangio and praying for the appointment of private respondent Elisa D. Seangio-Santos as special administrator and guardian ad litem of Dy Yieng Seangio. However, petitioners Dy Yieng, Barbara and Virginia opposed the petition contending that: 1) Dy Yieng is still very healthy; 2) Segundo executed a general power of attorney in favor of Virginia giving her the power to manage and exercise control and supervision over his business in the Philippines; 3) Virginia is the most competent and qualified to serve as the administrator of the estate; and 4) Segundo left a holographic will disinheriting one of the private respondents. Thereafter, a petition for the probate of the holographic will of Segundo was filed by the petitioner and reiterating that the probate proceedings should take precedence over the petition filed by the private respondents because testate proceedings take precedence and enjoy priority over the intestate proceedings. The two petitions were then consolidated. Private respondents moved for the dismissal of the probate proceedings on the ground that the document purporting to be the holographic will of Segundo does not contain any disposition of the estate of the deceased and thus does not meet the definition of a will under Article 783 of the Civil Code, of which petitioners filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss. RTC then issued an order dismissing the petition for probate proceedings. Due to petitioners denial of motion for reconsideration, hence this present action. ISSUES: Whether or not the holographic will is valid thus making the disinheritance is valid. Held: Yes. A holographic will, as provided under Article 819 of the Civil Code, must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need to be witnessed. Segundos document, although it may initially come across as a mere disinheritance instrument, conforms to the formalities of a holographic will prescribed by law. It is written, dated and signed by the hand of Segundo himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa can be clearly deduced from the terms of the instrument, and while it does not make an affirmative disposition of the latters property, the disinheritance of Alfredo, nonetheless, is an act of disposition in itself. In other words, the disinheritance results in the disposition of the property of the testator Segundo in favor of those who would succeed in the absence of Alfredo. The document entitled, Kasulatan ng Pag-Alis ng Mana, unmistakably showed Segundos intention of excluding his

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eldest son, Alfredo, as an heir to his estate for the reasons that he cited therein. In effect, Alfredo was disinherited by Segundo. For disinheritance to be valid, Article 916 of the Civil Code requires that the same must be effected through a will wherein the legal cause therefore shall be specified. With regard to the reasons for the disinheritance that were stated by Segundo in his document, the Court believes that the incidents, taken as a whole, can be considered a form of maltreatment of Segundo by his son, Alfredo and that the matter presents a sufficient cause for the disinheritance of a child or descendant under Article 919 of the Civil Code. In view of the foregoing, the trial court, therefore, should have allowed the holographic will to be probated, it is settled that testate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the decedent to take precedence over intestate proceedings for the same purpose. (Lamigo)

SPOUSES ILUMINADA and CIRILO CAPITLEv. FORTUNATA ELBAMBUENA et al. G.R. No. 169193 Facts: A Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) was issued to Cristobal Olar covering a parcel of agricultural land situated in Nueva Ecija. Consequently, a Transfer Certificate of Title in his name was issued. When Olar died, respondents FortunataElbambuena and Rosalinda Olar, spouse and daughter- in-law, respectively, claim that Olar relinquished one-half of the lot in favour of Rosalinda; and that the remaining portion of the lot was surrendered to Fortunata. Spouses Iluminada and CiriloCapitle, on the other hand, claim that they have been in possession of the lot since 1960 and presented a "Waiver of Rights" executed by Olar, wherein he acknowledged that he co-possessed the lot with petitioners Capitle. A PinagsamangPatunay certifying that they are the actual tillers and possessors of the lot was likewise presened. While Elbambuena and Olars petition was pending before the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD), petitioners Capitle filed before the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO), Nueva Ecija a petition for cancellation of the CLOA issued to Olar, on the ground that they are the new farmer-beneficiaries as shown by, among other things, the "Waiver of Rights" executed by Olar. Although the CLOA was issued to Olar, petitioners contend that their preferential right over the lot should be recognized, they being the transferees pursuant to the Waiver of Rights and the actual tillers thereof. PARAD ruled in favor of petitioners Capitle. Elbambuena and Olar appealed the decision to the DARAB. The DARAB set aside PARADs decision. The case was then elevated to the Court of Appeals via petition for review. The appellate court affirmed in toto the DARAB decision. Issue: WON petitioner has the preferential right over the lot Held: Petitioners Capitle argument that "it would be absurd for Olar to bequeath his property to his estranged wife not to a relative who had indeed helped him in tilling the property and took good care of his needs," is a virtual admission that their possession was not in the concept of owners, they having merely "helped" in tilling the lot, thereby acknowledging that Olar was the actual possessor and tiller. Absent evidence to the contrary, the presumption that the public officers who issued the CLOA to Olar regularly performed their duties, including adhering to the provisions of Section 22 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) which provides that lands covered by the CARP shall be distributed as much as possible to landless residents of the same barangay, or in the absence thereof, landless residents of the same municipality in the order of priority provided. Even assuming arguendo that petitioners were indeed the actual

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tillers of the lot, their petition for the cancellation of the CLOA issued in favor of Olar would not bind respondents as they were not impleaded. Although estranged from Olar, respondent Fortunata remained his wife and legal heir, mere estrangement not being a legal ground for the disqualification of a surviving spouse as an heir of the deceased spouse. Rosalinda, on the other hand, is the surviving spouse of Olars son. The two are thus real parties-in-interest who stand to be injured or benefited by the judgment on the cancellation of the CLOA issued in Olars name. (Parrenas)

BELLA A. GUERRERO vs. RESURRECCION A. BIHIS G.R. No. 174144. April 17, 2007 FACTS: - On February 19, 1994, Felisa Tamio de Buenaventura, mother of petitioner Bella A. Guerrero and respondent Resurreccion A. Bihis, died. - On May 24, 1994, petitioner filed a petition for the probate of the last will and testament of the decedent in Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. - The petition alleged the following: petitioner was named as executrix in the decedent's will and she was legally qualified to act as such. Respondent opposed her elder sister's petition. -The trial court appointed petitioner as special administratrix of the decedent's estate. Respondent opposed petitioner's appointment but subsequently withdrew her opposition. - On January 17, 2000, after petitioner presented her evidence, respondent filed a demurrer thereto alleging that petitioner's evidence failed to establish that the decedent's will complied with Articles 804 and 805 of the Civil Code. -In a resolution dated July 6, 2001, the trial court denied the probate of the will ruling that Article 806 of the Civil Code was not complied with because the will was "acknowledged" by the testatrix and the witnesses at the testatrix's residence. - Petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals but the appellate court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the resolution of the trial court. Thus, this petition. -In her brief, petitioner admits that the will was acknowledged by the testatrix and the witnesses at the testatrix's residence in Quezon City before Atty. Directo and that, at that time, Atty. Directo was a commissioned notary public for and in Caloocan City. She, however, asserts that the fact that the notary public was acting outside his territorial jurisdiction did not affect the validity of the notarial will. ISSUE: Whether or not the will "acknowledged" by the testatrix and the instrumental witnesses before a notary public acting outside the place of his commission satisfy the requirement under Article 806 of the Civil Code. HELD: NO, it did not. One of the formalities required by law in connection with the execution of a notarial will is that it must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. 6 This formal requirement is one of the indispensable requisites for the validity of a will. 7 In other words, a notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the instrumental witnesses is void and cannot be accepted for probate. An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before some competent officer and declaring it to be his act or deed. 8 In the case of a notarial will, that competent officer is the notary public. The acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator and the instrumental witnesses to declare before an officer of the law, the notary public, that they executed and subscribed to the will as their own free act or deed. 9 Such declaration is under oath and under pain of perjury, thus

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paving the way for the criminal prosecution of persons who participate in the execution of spurious wills, or those executed without the free consent of the testator. It also provides a further degree of assurance that the testator is of a certain mindset in making the testamentary dispositions to the persons instituted as heirs or designated as devisees or legatees in the will. Acknowledgment can only be made before a competent officer, that is, a lawyer duly commissioned as a notary public. A notary public's commission is the grant of authority in his favor to perform notarial acts. It is issued "within and for" a particular territorial jurisdiction and the notary public's authority is co-extensive with it. In other words, a notary public is authorized to perform notarial acts, including the taking of acknowledgments, within that territorial jurisdiction only. Outside the place of his commission, he is bereft of power to perform any notarial act; he is not a notary public. Any notarial act outside the limits of his jurisdiction has no force and effect. Since Atty. Directo was not a commissioned notary public for and in Quezon City, he lacked the authority to take the acknowledgment of the testatrix and the instrumental witnesses. In the same vein, the testatrix and her witnesses could not have validly acknowledged the will before him. Thus, Felisa Tamio de Buenaventura's last will and testament was, in effect, not acknowledged as required by law. (Tugade)

PAZ SAMANIEGO-CELADA vs. LUCIA D. ABENA G.R. No. 145545. June 30, 2008 FACTS: - Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of decedent Margarita S. Mayores (Margarita) while respondent was the decedent's lifelong companion since 1929. - On April 27, 1987, Margarita died single and without any ascending nor descending heirs as her parents, grandparents and siblings predeceased her. She was survived by her first cousins Catalina Samaniego-Bombay, Manuelita Samaniego Sajonia, Feliza Samaniego, and petitioner. - She bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at Singalong Manila, consisting of 209.8 square meters, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 1343 to respondent, Norma A. Pahingalo, and Florentino M. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each. - She likewise bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at San Antonio Village, Makati, consisting of 225 square meters, and covered by TCT No. 68920 to respondent, Isabelo M. Abena, and Amanda M. Abena in equal shares or onethird portion each. Margarita also left all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise designated as sole executor of her will. - On August 11, 1987, petitioner filed a petition for letters of administration of the estate of Margarita before the RTC of Makati. On October 27, 1987, respondent filed a petition for probate of the will of Margarita before the RTC of Makati. The case was docketed as and consolidated. - The RTC rendered a decision declaring the last will and testament of Margarita probated and respondent as the executor of the will. Petitioner appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals. But the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. Hence, the instant petition. -In her brief, petitioner contended that Margarita's will failed to comply with the formalities required under Article 805 of the Civil Code because the will was not signed by the testator in the presence of the instrumental witnesses and in the presence of one another. She also argues that the signatures of the testator on pages A, B, and C of the will are not the same or similar, indicating that they were not signed on the same day. ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in not declaring the will invalid for failure to comply with the formalities required by law. HELD: NO, the Court did not err on the same. Anent the contestants' submission that the will is fatally defective for the reason that its attestation clause states that the will is composed of three (3) pages while in truth and in fact, the will consists of two (2) pages only because the attestation is not a part of the notarial will, the same is not accurate. While it is true that the attestation clause is not a part of the will, the court, after examining the totality of the will, is of the considered opinion that error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the attestation clause is not material

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to invalidate the subject will. It must be noted that the subject instrument is consecutively lettered with pages A, B, and C which is a sufficient safeguard from the possibility of an omission of some of the pages. The error must have been brought about by the honest belief that the will is the whole instrument consisting of three (3) pages inclusive of the attestation clause and the acknowledgement. The position of the court is in consonance with the "doctrine of liberal interpretation" enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code which reads: DTIACH "In the absence of bad faith, forgery or fraud, or undue [and] improper pressure and influence, defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805." The court also rejects the contention of the oppositors that the signatures of the testator were affixed on different occasions based on their observation that the signature on the first page is allegedly different in size, texture and appearance as compared with the signatures in the succeeding pages. After examination of the signatures, the court does not share the same observation as the oppositors. The picture (Exhibit "H-3") shows that the testator was affixing her signature in the presence of the instrumental witnesses and the notary. There is no evidence to show that the first signature was procured earlier than February 2, 1987. (Tugade)