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G.R. No. 123486 August 12, 1999

On April 6, 1990, respondents Evangeline Calugay, Josephine Salcedo and Eufemia
Patigas, being the devisees and legatees of the holographic will of the deceased
Matilde Seo Vda. De Ramonal, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Misamis
Oriental, a petition for probate of the said holographic will. On the other hand,
petitioners Eugenia Ramonal Codoy and Manuel Ramonal filed an opposition thereto,
alleging that the holographic will was a forgery and that the same was even illegible
which gives an impression that a "third hand" of an interested party other than the true
hand of Matilde Seno Vda. De Ramonal executed the holographic will. At the hearing,
respondents presented six ordinary witnesses and various documentary evidence.
Petitioners, instead of presenting their evidence, filed a demurrer to evidence which the
trial court granted. Respondents appealed, and in support thereof, they once again
reiterated the testimony of their ordinary witnesses who testified as to the similarity,
authenticity genuiness of the signature of the deceased in the holographic will. On
October 9, 1995, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision which ruled that the appeal
was meritorious.
WON the provision of Article 811 of the Civil Code, which 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, are
permissive or mandatory wphi1.nt
Based on the language used, Article 811 of the Civil Code is mandatory. The word
"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.