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OPULENCIA V. CA UY KIAO ENG vs. NIXON LEE G.R.No. 176831 January 15, 2010 Nachura, J.

: Facts: Respondent Nixon Lee filed a petition for mandamus with damages against his mother Uy Kiao Eng, herein petitioner, before the RTC of Manila to compel petitioner to produce the holographic will of his father so that probate proceedings for the allowance thereof could be instituted. Respondent had already requested his mother to settle and liquidate the patriarchs estate and to deliver to the legal heirs their respective inheritance, but petitioner refused to do so without any justifiable reason. Petitioner denied that she was in custody of the original holographic will and that she knew of its whereabouts. The RTC heard the case. After the presentation and formal offer of respondents evidence, petitioner demurred, contending that her son failed to prove that she had in her custody the original holographic will. The RTC, at first, denied the demurrer to evidence. However, it granted the same on petitioners motion for reconsideration. Respondents motion for reconsideration of this latter order was denied. Hence, the petition was dismissed. Aggrieved, respondent sought review from the appellate court. The CA initially denied the appeal for lack of merit. Respondent moved for reconsideration. The appellate court granted the motion, set aside its earlier ruling, issued the writ, and ordered the production of the will and the payment of attorneys fees. It ruled this time that respondent was able to show by testimonial evidence that his mother had in her possession the holographic will. Dissatisfied with this turn of events, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. The appellate court denied this motion. Left with no other recourse, petitioner brought the matter before this Court, contending in the main that the petition for mandamus is not the proper remedy and that the testimonial evidence used by the appellate court as basis for its ruling is inadmissible. Issue: Whether or not mandamus is the proper remedy of the respondent. Held: The Court cannot sustain the CAs issuance of the writ. Mandamus is a command issuing from a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the state or the sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, or board, or to some corporation or person requiring the performance of a

particular duty therein specified, which duty results from the official station of the party to whom the writ is directed or from operation of law. This definition recognizes the public character of the remedy, and clearly excludes the idea that it may be resorted to for the purpose of enforcing the performance of duties in which the public has no interest. The writ is a proper recourse for citizens who seek to enforce a public right and to compel the performance of a public duty, most especially when the public right involved is mandated by the Constitution. As the quoted provision instructs, mandamus will lie if the tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station. The writ of mandamus, however, will not issue to compel an official to do anything which is not his duty to do or which it is his duty not to do, or to give to the applicant anything to which he is not entitled by law. Nor will mandamus issue to enforce a right which is in substantial dispute or as to which a substantial doubt exists, although objection raising a mere technical question will be disregarded if the right is clear and the case is meritorious. As a rule, mandamus will not lie in the absence of any of the following grounds: [a] that the court, officer, board, or person against whom the action is taken unlawfully neglected the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from office, trust, or station; or [b] that such court, officer, board, or person has unlawfully excluded petitioner/relator from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which he is entitled. On the part of the relator, it is essential to the issuance of a writ of mandamus that he should have a clear legal right to the thing demanded and it must be the imperative duty of respondent to perform the act required. Recognized further in this jurisdiction is the principle that mandamus cannot be used to enforce contractual obligations. Generally, mandamus will not lie to enforce purely private contract rights, and will not lie against an individual unless some obligation in the nature of a public or quasi-public duty is imposed. The writ is not appropriate to enforce a private right against an individual.] The writ of mandamus lies to enforce the execution of an act, when, otherwise, justice would be obstructed; and, regularly, issues only in cases relating to the public and to the government; hence, it is called a prerogative writ. To preserve its prerogative character, mandamus is not used for the redress of private wrongs, but only in

matters relating to the public. Moreover, an important principle followed in the issuance of the writ is that there should be no plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law other than the remedy of mandamus being invoked. In other words, mandamus can be issued only in cases where the usual modes of procedure and forms of remedy are powerless to afford relief. Although classified as a legal remedy, mandamus is equitable in its nature and its issuance is generally controlled by equitable principles. Indeed, the grant of the writ of mandamus lies in the sound discretion of the court. In the instant case, the Court, without unnecessarily ascertaining whether the obligation involved herethe production of the original holographic willis in the nature of a public or a private duty, rules that the remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of by respondent Lee because there lies another plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Let it be noted that respondent has a photocopy of the will and that he seeks the production of the original for purposes of probate. The Rules of Court, however, does not prevent him from instituting probate proceedings for the allowance of the will whether the same is in his possession or not. There being a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the production of the subject will, the remedy of mandamus cannot be availed of. Suffice it to state that respondent Lee lacks a cause of action in his petition. Thus, the Court grants the demurrer. TESTATE ESTATE OF PILAPIL ORTEGA V. VALMONTE 478 SCRA 247 FACTS: Two years after the arrival of Placido from the United States and at the age of 80 he wed Josefina who was then 28 years old. But in a little more than two years of wedded bliss, Placido died. Placido executed a notarial last will and testament written in English and consisting of 2 pages, and dated 15 June 1983butacknowledged only on 9 August 1983. The allowance to probate of this will was opposed by Leticia, Placidos sister. According to the notary public who

notarized the testators will, after the testator instructed him on the terms and dispositions he wanted on the will, the notary public told them to come back on 15 August 1983 to give him time to prepare. The testator and his witnesses returned on the appointed date but the notary public was out of town so they were instructed by his wife to come back on 9 August 1983. The formal execution was actually on 9 August 1983. He reasoned he no longer changed the typewritten date of 15 June 1983because he did not like the document to appear dirty. Petitioners argument: 1.At the time of the execution of the notarial will Placido was already 83 years old and was no longer of sound mind.2.Josefina conspired with the notary public and the 3 attesting witnesses in deceiving Placido to sign it. Deception is allegedly reflected in the varying dates of the execution and the attestation of the will. ISSUE:1.W/N Placido has testamentary capacity at the time he allegedly executed the will. 2.W/N the signature of Placido in the will was procured by fraud or trickery. HELD: 1.YES. Despite his advanced age, he was still able to identify accurately the kinds of property he owned, the extent of his shares in them and even their location. As regards the proper objects of his bounty, it was sufficient that he identified his wife as sole beneficiary. The omission of some relatives from the will did not affect its formal validity. There being no showing of fraud in its execution, intent in its disposition becomes irrelevant. 2.NO. Fraud is a trick, secret devise, false statement, or pretense, by which the subject of it is cheated. It may be of such character that the testator is misled or deceived as to the nature or contents of the document which he executes, or it may relate to some extrinsic fact, in consequence of the deception regarding which the testator is led to make a certain will which, but for fraud, he would not have made. The party challenging the will bears the burden of proving the existence of fraud at the time of its execution. The burden to show otherwise shifts to the proponent of the will only upon a showing of credible evidence of fraud. Omission of some relatives does not affect the due execution of a will. Moreover, the conflict between the dates appearing on the will does not invalidate the document, because the law does not even require that a notarial will be executed and acknowledged on the same occasion.

The variance in the dates of the will as to its supposed execution and attestation was satisfactorily and persuasively explained by the notary public and instrumental witnesses. REVILLA V. CA Revilla v CA (G.R. No. 95329) Facts: Don Cayetano Revilla, a bachelor, owned 2 pieces of land with buildings in Manila and 6 parcels of land in his hometown in Bulacan. These properties are worth P30M. In 1978, he executed a 13-page last will and testament, bequeathing all his properties to his 9 nephews and nieces including petitioner, Heracio Revilla. To each, he gave 1/10 of his estate reserving the last tenth for masses to be said after his death and for the care of religious images he kept in a chapel in Bulacan. During his lifetime, Don Cayetano sought the probate of his will to which the CFI Manila admitted. However, the City Hall of Manila was burned by fire where the records were also burned. A petition for reconstitution of the records was filed and it was granted. After Don Cayetano died, Heracio Revilla filed another petition of a will wherein he instituted Heracio as sole heir of his uncles estate and executor of the will allegedly executed in 1982. The probate was opposed by Heracios 8 brothers and sisters on the grounds that: - Since 1978 up to Cayetanos death, he never informed that he revoked the will executed in 1978 - The 1982 will was not executed in accordance with law and the signature of Cayetano was different from his usual and customary signature - Cayetano was of unsound mind when he executed the will - That the alleged will was executed with undue pressure and influence - That the 1978 will is void for the reason that it was executed under duress or the influence of fear or threats - Cayetano acted by mistake and the signatures in the alleged will were procured by fraud and he did not intend that the instrument be his will at the time of fixing his signature The trial court disallowed the second will. On appeal, the CA affirmed the trial court.

Issue: Whether or not the court erred in disallowing the second will. Held: When Don Cayetano testified in the reconstitution proceedings, he was unaware of the second will which he supposedly made. He identified his first will and declared that it was his true and only will. He could not have executed a second will because he was sick in the hospital during that time (he stayed there for 2 months) and he could not sign any papers while he was confined in the hospital. During the reconstitution proceedings, the will was produced. It was placed in a browned envelope stating Buksan ito pagkalibing ko to which Cayetano agreed to open. He recognized the original will and acknowledged that he signed it. In the court records, Cayetano declared that he did not execute another last will and testament after the original will had been probated. Significantly, although the petitioner opposed the reconstitution of Don Cayetano's first will, he did not reveal the second will which Don Cayetano supposedly made only 2months before he testified in the reconstitution proceeding. If the second will already existed on November 27, 1982, it would have been Heracio's strongest argument against the reconstitution of the probate of the first will. Since the execution of the second will could not have occurred on the alleged date (September 13, 1982) appearing therein (for Don Cayetano was admittedly sick in the hospital then) it must have been procured at the time when the testator was a virtual prisoner, held incommunicado, in his house. Judge Eduardo Bengson had to issue an order commanding the petitioner to allow his 8 brothers and sisters to visit Don Cayetano. Only then were they able to penetrate the iron curtain that Heracio had placed around their uncle. A videotape, taken during their visit and shown in court, belied Heracio's allegation that Don Cayetano was displeased with his said nephews and nieces, that was why he left them out of his second will. Despite Judge Bengzon's order, Heracio did not cease his efforts to monopolize Don Cayetano and his estate. To isolate Don Cayetano and make him inacessible to the private respondents, Heracio transferred him from his own house in Manila to Heracio's house in Quezon City. The execution of the second will in an environment of secrecy and seclusion and the disinheritance of his 8 other nephews and nieces, justified the trial court's and the Court of Appeals' belief that undue influence was exercised by Horacio over

Don Cayetano to make him sign the second will (which Don Cayetano did not know to be such) in order to deprive his brothers and sisters of their rightful share in their uncle's estate. There was fraud because Don Cayetano was not apprised that the document he was signing with Co, Barredo and Lim ( as witnesses) was a second will revoking the dispositions of property that he made in his first will. Had he been aware that it was a second will, and if it were prepared at his own behest, he would not have denied that he made it. He would probably have caused it to be probated while he was still alive, as he did with his first will. But apparently, the instrument was foisted on him without his being aware of its true nature which the petitioner assiduously concealed, not only from the court and the private respondents, but from Don Cayetano himself. That the dispositions in the second will were not made by Don Cayetano is proven by the omission of Don Cayetano's reservation of one-tenth of his properties and the income thereof to pay for holy masses and to be spent for the maintenance of his family chapel. That provision in his first will, for his personal benefit, would not have been deleted by Don Cayetano if his only purpose in making a second will was to disinherit his nephews and nieces. But Heracio overdid himself. He wanted everything. *Assuming for the sake of arguments that the second will was executed, the testimonies of the notary public, as well as those of the three (3) instrumental witnesses were not given credit because of major contradictions in testimonies. MICIANO VS BRIMO FACTS: Juan Miciano, judicial administrator of the estate in question, filed a scheme of partition. Andre Brimo, one of the brothers of the deceased (Joseph Brimo) opposed Micianos participation in the inheritance. Joseph Brimo is a Turkish citizen. ISSUE: Whether Turkish law or Philippine law will be the basis on the distribution of Joseph Brimos estates. HELD: Though the last part of the second clause of the will expressly said that it be made and disposed of in accordance with the laws in force in the Philippine

Island, this condition, described as impossible conditions, shall be considered as not imposed and shall not prejudice the heir or legatee in any manner whatsoever, even should the testator otherwise provide. Impossible conditions are further defined as those contrary to law or good morals. Thus, national law of the testator shall govern in his testamentary dispositions. The court approved the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator, in such manner as to include Andre Brimo, as one of the legatees. PAULA LLORENTE V. CA Facts: On February 22, 1937, Lorenzo and petitioner Paula were married before a parish priest in Nabua, Camarines Sur. On November 30, 1943, Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and Certificate of Naturalization No. 5579816 was issued in his favor by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Upon the liberation of the Philippines by the American Forces in 1945, Lorenzo was granted an accrued leave by the U. S. Navy, to visit his wife and he visited the Philippines. He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and was living in and having an adulterous relationship with his brother, Ceferino Llorente. Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her . He then returned to the United States and on November 16, 1951 filed for divorce with the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego. Paula was represented by counsel, John Riley, and actively participated in the proceedings. On November 27, 1951, the Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of San Diego found all factual allegations to be true and issued an interlocutory judgment of divorce. On December 4, 1952, the divorce decree became final. Lorenzo went back to the Philippines and on January 16, 1958 married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila. From 1958 to 1985, Lorenzo and Alicia lived together as husband and wife. Their twenty-five (25) year union produced three children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surnamed Llorente.

On March 13, 1981, Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament. The will was notarized by Notary Public Salvador M. Occiano, duly signed by Lorenzo with attesting witnesses Francisco Hugo, Francisco Neibres and Tito Trajano. In the will, Lorenzo bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three children. On December 14, 1983, Lorenzo filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iriga, Camarines Sur, a petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein Lorenzo moved that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix of his estate. On January 24, 1984, finding that the will was duly executed, the trial court admitted the will to probate but before the proceedings could be terminated , Lorenzo died. Paula filed with the same court a petition for letters of administration over Lorenzos estate in her favor contending that she was Lorenzos surviving spouse, that such properties were acquired during their marriage and that Lorenzos will would encroach her legitime. Alicia filed in the testate proceeding , a petition for the issuance of letters testamentary. On October 14, 1985, without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial court gave due course to Paulas petition. The Regional Trial Court found that the divorce decree granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines, therefore the marriage he contracted with Alicia Fortunato on January 16, 1958 at Manila is likewise void. This being so the petition of Alicia F. Llorente for the issuance of letters testamentary is denied. Likewise, she is not entitled to receive any share from the estate even if the will especially said so her relationship with Lorenzo having gained the status of paramour which is under Art. 739 (1). Petitioner, Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the deceased, Lorenzo Llorente. Issue: Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo N. Llorente?

Held: The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained dispositions in favor of Alice, who in the trial courts opinion was a mere paramour. The trial court threw the will out, leaving Alice, and her two children, Raul and Luz, with nothing. The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one half (1/2) of whatever property she and Lorenzo acquired during their cohabitation, applying Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will, already probated as duly executed in accordance with the formalities of Philippine law, is fatal, especially in light of the factual and legal circumstances here obtaining. Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long before and at the time of: (1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) execution of his will; and (4) death, is duly established, admitted and undisputed. Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by foreign law. Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. But the hasty disregard of both the RTC and CA of Lorenzos Will by calling to the fore the RENVOI doctrine, claiming that American law follows domiciliary rule is unjustified. There is no such thing as American law for the whole nation of the US, for the country comprises of a group of States, each State having its own applicable law, enforceable only within that state. As to the validity of the foreign divorce , jurisprudence reiterates that once it is proven that an individual is no longer a Filipino, thus an alien, when he obtains a divorce abroad, its effects shall be recognized in the Philippines.

The Supreme Court held that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from his first wife Paula was valid and recognized in this jurisdiction as a matter of comity. Now, the effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate of the decedent) are matters best left to the determination of the trial court. Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are issues best proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether the will was executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by referring to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated. The decision of the CA is set aside and that of the RTC is reversed. Court REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo N. Llorentes will and determination of the parties successional rights allowing proof of foreign law with instructions that the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of the deceased within the framework of the Rules of Court. DOROTHEO V. CA 320 SCRA 12 FACTS: Private respondents were the legitimate children of Alejandro Dorotheo and Aniceta Reyes. The latter died in 1969without her estate being settled. Alejandro died thereafter. Sometime in 1977, after Alejandro's death, petitioner, who claims to have taken care of Alejandro before he died, filed a special proceeding for the probate of the latter's last will and testament. In1981, the court issued an order admitting Alejandro's will to probate. Private respondents did not appeal from said order. In1983, they filed a "Motion to Declare the Will Intrinsically Void." The trial court granted the motion and issued an order. Petitioner moved for reconsideration arguing that she is entitled to some compensation since she took care of Alejandro prior to his death although she admitted that they were not married to each other. Later on, Judge Zain B. Angas set aside the final and executory Order, as well as the Order directing the issuance of the writ of execution, on the ground that the order was merely interlocutory", hence not final in character