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G.R. No. 157451 December 16, 2005 LETICIA VALMONTE vs. JOSEFINA C. VALMONTE, Respondent. DECISION PANGANIBAN, J.

: The law favors the probate of a will. Upon those who oppose it rests the burden of showing why it should not be allowed. In the present case, petitioner has failed to discharge this burden satisfactorily. For this reason, the Court cannot attribute any reversible error on the part of the appellate tribunal that allowed the probate of the will. The Case Before the Court is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to reverse and set aside the December 12, 2002 Decision 2 and the March 7, 2003 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 44296. The assailed Decision disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED, and the Decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In its place judgment is rendered approving and allowing probate to the said last will and testament of Placido Valmonte and ordering the issuance of letters testamentary to the petitioner Josefina Valmonte. Let this case be remanded to the court a quo for further and concomitant proceedings."4 The assailed Resolution denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. The Facts The facts were summarized in the assailed Decision of the CA, as follows: "x x x: Like so many others before him, Placido toiled and lived for a long time in the United States until he finally reached retirement. In 1980, Placido finally came home to stay in the Philippines, and he lived in the house and lot located at #9200 Catmon St., San Antonio Village, Makati, which he owned in common with his sister Ciriaca Valmonte and titled in their names in TCT 123468. Two years after his arrival from the United States and at the age of 80 he wed Josefina who was then 28 years old, in a ceremony solemnized by Judge Perfecto Laguio, Jr. on February 5, 1982. But in a little more than two years of wedded bliss, Placido died on October 8, 1984 of a cause written down as COR PULMONALE. "Placido executed a notarial last will and testament written in English and consisting of two (2) pages, and dated June 15, 1983 but acknowledged only on August 9, 1983. The ORTEGA, Petitioner,

first page contains the entire testamentary dispositions and a part of the attestation clause, and was signed at the end or bottom of that page by the testator and on the left hand margin by the three instrumental witnesses. The second page contains the continuation of the attestation clause and the acknowledgment, and was signed by the witnesses at the end of the attestation clause and again on the left hand margin. It provides in the body that: ‘LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF PLACIDO VALMONTE IN THE NAME OF THE LORD AMEN: ‘I, PLACIDO VALMONTE, of legal age, married to Josefina Cabansag Valmonte, and a resident of 9200 Catmon Street, Makati, Metro Manila, 83 years of age and being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do hereby declare this to be my last will and testament: 1. It is my will that I be buried in the Catholic Cemetery, under the auspices of the Catholic Church in accordance with the rites and said Church and that a suitable monument to be erected and provided my by executrix (wife) to perpetuate my memory in the minds of my family and friends; 2. I give, devise and bequeath unto my loving wife, JOSEFINA C. VALMONTE, one half (1/2) portion of the follow-described properties, which belongs to me as [co-owner]: a. Lot 4-A, Block 13 described on plan Psd-28575, LRC, (GLRO), situated in Makati, Metro Manila, described and covered by TCT No. 123468 of the Register of Deeds of Pasig, Metro-Manila registered jointly as co-owners with my deceased sister (Ciriaca Valmonte), having share and share alike; b. 2-storey building standing on the above-described property, made of strong and mixed materials used as my residence and my wife and located at No. 9200 Catmon Street, Makati, Metro Manila also covered by Tax Declaration No. A-025-00482, Makati, Metro-Manila, jointly in the name of my deceased sister, Ciriaca Valmonte and myself as co-owners, share and share alike or equal co-owners thereof; 3. All the rest, residue and remainder of my real and personal properties, including my savings account bank book in USA which is in the possession of my nephew, and all others whatsoever and wherever found, I give, devise and bequeath to my said wife, Josefina C. Valmonte; 4. I hereby appoint my wife, Josefina C. Valmonte as sole executrix of my last will and testament, and it is my will that said executrix be exempt from filing a bond; IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 15th day of June 1983 in Quezon City, Philippines.’ "The allowance to probate of this will was opposed by Leticia on the grounds that:

1. Petitioner failed to allege all assets of the testator, especially those found in the USA; 2. Petitioner failed to state the names, ages, and residences of the heirs of the testator; or to give them proper notice pursuant to law; 3. Will was not executed and attested as required by law and legal solemnities and formalities were not complied with; 4. Testator was mentally incapable to make a will at the time of the alleged execution he being in an advance sate of senility; 5. Will was executed under duress, or the influence of fear or threats; 6. Will was procured by undue and improper influence and pressure on the part of the petitioner and/or her agents and/or assistants; and/or 7. Signature of testator was procured by fraud, or trick, and he did not intend that the instrument should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto;’ and she also opposed the appointment as Executrix of Josefina alleging her want of understanding and integrity. "At the hearing, the petitioner Josefina testified and called as witnesses the notary public Atty. Floro Sarmiento who prepared and notarized the will, and the instrumental witnesses spouses Eugenio Gomez, Jr. and Feliza Gomez and Josie Collado. For the opposition, the oppositor Leticia and her daughter Mary Jane Ortega testified. "According to Josefina after her marriage with the testator they lived in her parents house at Salingcob, Bacnotan, La Union but they came to Manila every month to get his $366.00 monthly pension and stayed at the said Makati residence. There were times though when to shave off on expenses, the testator would travel alone. And it was in one of his travels by his lonesome self when the notarial will was made. The will was witnessed by the spouses Eugenio and Feliza Gomez, who were their wedding sponsors, and by Josie Collado. Josefina said she had no knowledge of the existence of the last will and testament of her husband, but just serendipitously found it in his attache case after his death. It was only then that she learned that the testator bequeathed to her his properties and she was named the executrix in the said will. To her estimate, the value of property both real and personal left by the testator is worth more or less P100,000.00. Josefina declared too that the testator never suffered mental infirmity because despite his old age he went alone to the market which is two to three kilometers from their home cooked and cleaned the kitchen and sometimes if she could not accompany him, even traveled to Manila alone to claim his monthly pension. Josefina also asserts that her husband was in good health and that he was hospitalized only because of a cold but which eventually resulted in his death.

"Sifting through the evidence. testified that it was in the first week of June 1983 when the testator together with the three witnesses of the will went to his house cum law office and requested him to prepare his last will and testament. She knew whereof she spoke because in 1983 Placido lived in the Makati residence and asked Leticia’s family to live with him and they took care of him. that they returned on June 15. She attacked the mental capacity of the testator. He likewise explained that though it appears that the will was signed by the testator and his witnesses on June 15. 1983. declaring that at the time of the execution of the notarial will the testator was already 83 years old and was no longer of sound mind. the testator’s physical and mental condition showed deterioration. Quezon City and requested them to accompany him to the house of Atty. He reasoned that he no longer changed the typewritten date of June 15. the notary public explained to them each and every term thereof in Ilocano. the day when it should have been executed had he not gone out of town. reduces the opposition to two grounds. After he had prepared the will the notary public kept it safely hidden and locked in his drawer. 1983. the notary public who notarized the te stator’s will. 1983 because of the absence of the notary public. the testator’s wife. "The oppositor Leticia declared that Josefina should not inherit alone because aside from her there are other children from the siblings of Placido who are just as entitled to inherit from him. and testified that the testator went alone to the house of spouses Eugenio and Feliza Gomez at GSIS Village. they were told to return on June 15. the formal execution was actually on August 9. 1983 for the execution of the will but were asked to come back instead on August 9. 1983. This was corroborated by her daughter Mary Jane Ortega for whom Placido took a fancy and wanted to marry. During that time. 1983 because he did not like the document to appear dirty. the court a quo held that [t]he evidence adduced. The notary public also testified that to his observation the testator was physically and mentally capable at the time he affixed his signature on the will. that after giving his instructions to Atty. the notary public told them to come back on June 15. 1983 to give him time to prepare it. Before the testator and his witnesses signed the prepared will. 1983. 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 August 9. Josefina was not with them. And that during the execution. After the testator instructed him on the terms and dispositions he wanted on the will. a dialect which the testator spoke and understood. Floro Sarmiento purposely for his intended will. that the contents of the will was explained by the notary public in the Ilocano and Tagalog dialect and that all of them as witnesses attested and signed the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. and which they did. namely: . that the testator executed the will in question in their presence while he was of sound and disposing mind and that he was strong and in good health. Floro Sarmiento."Notary Public Floro Sarmiento. "The attesting witnesses to the will corroborated the testimony of the notary public. aberrations and senility.

"III. Moreover. Hence. Whether or not the findings of the probate court are entitled to great respect. The CA upheld the credibility of the notary public and the subscribing witnesses who had acknowledged the due execution of the will. it held that the testator had testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of the will.7 Issues Petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration: "I.1. "II. It added that his "sexual exhibitionism and unhygienic. Whether or not Placido Valmonte has testamentary capacity at the time he allegedly executed the subject will. Main Issue: . crude and impolite ways" 6 did not make him a person of unsound mind. this Petition. the appellate court admitted the will of Placido Valmonte to probate. and that Placido Valmonte never intended that the instrument should be his last will and testament. and 2. This Court’s Ruling The Petition has no merit. petitioner assails the CA’s allowance of the probate of the will of Placido Valmonte."5 Ruling of the Court of Appeals Reversing the trial court. Non-compliance with the legal solemnities and formalities in the execution and attestation of the will. Whether or not the signature of Placido Valmonte in the subject will was procured by fraud or trickery."8 In short. and accordingly disallowed probate. Mental incapacity of the testator at the time of the execution of the will as he was then in an advanced state of senility "It then found these grounds extant and proven.

but maintains that the circumstances surrounding it are indicative of the existence of fraud. petitioner assails the validity of Placido Valmonte’s will by imputing fraud in its execution and challenging the testator’s state of mind at the time. who is the testator’s wife and sole beneficiary." In the present case. As an exception. conspired with the notary public and the three attesting witnesses in deceiving Placido to sign it. as follows: "Article 839. on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with. she alleges that respondent. at the time of its execution. (2) If the testator was insane. Petitioner contends that it was "highly dubious for a woman at the prime of her young life [to] almost immediately plunge into marriage with a man who [was] thrice her age x x . Article 839 of the Civil Code states the instances when a will may be disallowed. Particularly.9 The fact that public policy favors the probate of a will does not necessarily mean that every will presented for probate should be allowed. or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will. the evidence presented during the trial may be examined and the factual matters resolved by this Court when. Deception is allegedly reflected in the varying dates of the execution and the attestation of the will. as in the instant case. Existence of Fraud in the Execution of a Will Petitioner does not dispute the due observance of the formalities in the execution of the will. however. we stress that only questions of law may be raised in a Petition for Review under Section 1 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence.Probate of a Will At the outset. The law lays down the procedures and requisites that must be satisfied for the probate of a will. (3) If it was executed through force or under duress.10 Verily. (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud. the findings of fact of the appellate court differ from those of the trial court. or threats. or the influence of fear. (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto.

x and who happened to be [a] Fil-American pensionado. as well as by three or more credible witnesses who must also attest to it in the presence of the testator and of one another. did the testator and his witnesses come to your house? . and October 21. October 13. 1985. the conflict between the dates appearing on the will does not invalidate the document. in consequence of the deception regarding which the testator is led to make a certain will which. secret device. he would not have made. 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. as correctly ruled by the appellate court. by which the subject of it is cheated."11 thus casting doubt on the intention of respondent in seeking the probate of the will.20 In any event.are reproduced respectively as follows: "Atty. It is a settled doctrine that the omission of some relatives does not affect the due execution of a will.14 The burden to show otherwise shifts to the proponent of the will only upon a showing of credible evidence of fraud." 17 Moreover. Q On June 15. it supposedly "defies human reason. false statement. the will must be subscribed by the testator."21 The pertinent transcript of stenographic notes taken on June 11. specifying the date June 15 when the testator and his witnesses were supposed to be in your office? A Yes sir. 1986. Fraud "is a trick. logic and common experience"12 for an old man with a severe psychological condition to have willingly signed a last will and testament. 1985. We are not convinced. but for the fraud. as the sole beneficiary. other than the self-serving allegations of petitioner."18 More important.as quoted by the CA -. Moreover. the testator and the witnesses must acknowledge the will before a notary public. Floro Sarmiento: Q You typed this document exhibit C. or it may relate to some extrinsic fact. 1987 -. who was more than fifty years his junior. 1983. November 25." 13 We stress that the party challenging the will bears the burden of proving the existence of fraud at the time of its execution.16 That the testator was tricked into signing it was not sufficiently established by the fact that he had instituted his wife. or pretense.19Furthermore. who were the ones who had taken "the cudgels of taking care of [the testator] in his twilight years. and disregarded petitioner and her family. we agree with the CA that "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 the instrumental witnesses. no evidence of fraud was ever presented. 15 Unfortunately in this case. "because the law does not even require that a [notarial] will x x x be executed and acknowledged on the same occasion.

1985. (tsn. who were your companions? A The two witnesses. 1985. (tsn. xxxxxxxxx Q The document has been acknowledged on August 9. whereas in the acknowledgement it is dated August 9. Sarmiento together with Placido Valmonte and the two witnesses. 7-8) Felisa Gomez on cross-examination: Q Why did you have to go to the office of Atty. Was this the actual date when the document was acknowledged? A Yes sir. will you look at this document and tell us this discrepancy in the date? A We went to Atty. that was first week of June and Atty. August 9. Witness that it is dated June 15.A They did as of agreement but unfortunately. Sarmiento on June 15. 1983. I was out of town. Sarmiento told us to return on the 15th of June but when we returned. Q What about the date when the testator and the three witnesses affixed their respective signature on the first and second pages of exhibit C? A On that particular date when it was acknowledged. 1983. 1983 as per acknowledgement appearing therein. pp. Floro Sarmiento. November 25. Q When you did not find Atty. 8-10) Eugenio Gomez: Q It appears on the first page Mr. 1983. did you again go back? A We returned on the 9th of August and there we signed. 1983. Q This August 9. me and Placido Valmonte. Q Why did you not make the necessary correction on the date appearing on the body of the document as well as the attestation clause? A Because I do not like anymore to make some alterations so I put it in my own handwriting August 9. three times? xxxxxxxxx . Atty. 1983 on the acknowledgement. 1983 where you said it is there where you signed. June 11. Sarmiento was not there. pp.

1983. In order to make a will it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution. absent any showing of ill motives. petitioner failed to substantiate her claim of a "grand conspiracy" in the commission of a fraud. Sarmiento? A Yes. (tsn. 4-5)"22 Notably. 23 Their testimony favoring it and the finding that it was executed in accordance with the formalities required by law should be affirmed. October 21. Sarmiento said was that he will go back on the 15th of June. or shattered by disease. 1983 did you go back to the house of Atty. Sarmiento in his house on June 15. Q And on August 9. or that his mind be wholly unbroken. Sarmiento was not there so we were not able to sign it. The testimonies of the three subscribing witnesses and the notary are credible evidence of its due execution. Sir. To be of sound mind. When we returned on June 15. what transpired? A The wife of Atty. it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. unimpaired. 1986. "Article 799.A The reason why we went there three times is that. Q Were you able to sign the will you mentioned? A Yes sir. 1987.24 Capacity to Make a Will In determining the capacity of the testator to make a will. Sarmiento told us that we will be back on August 9. After that what they have talked what will be placed in the testament. for the third time we went there on August 9 and that was the time we affixed our signature. injury or other cause. October 13. Atty. 4-6) Josie Collado: Q When you did not find Atty. the first week of June was out first time. pp. . (tsn. the will. Sarmiento and Placido Valmonte about the last will and testament. There was no showing that the witnesses of the proponent stood to receive any benefit from the allowance of the will. That is why. pp. Q For what purpose? A Our purpose is just to sign the will. what Atty. We went there to talk to Atty. 1983. the Civil Code gives the following guidelines: "Article 798.

will not render a person incapable of making a will. and the character of the testamentary act. the Petition is DENIED. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind. it is not necessary that the mind be unbroken or unimpaired or unshattered by disease or otherwise. provided he has understanding and memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is about to do and how or to whom he is disposing of his property. the omission of some relatives from the will did not affect its formal validity. As regards the proper objects of his bounty. he was still able to identify accurately the kinds of property he owned. intent in its disposition becomes irrelevant. the extent of his shares in them and even their locations. CA." 26 WHEREFORE. There being no showing of fraud in its execution. or from age. one month. SO ORDERED. and the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals areAFFIRMED. (2) the proper objects of the testator’s bounty. To constitute a sound and disposing mind. or less." According to Article 799. it was sufficient that he identified his wife as sole beneficiary."It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of. Costs against petitioner. . or partial imbecility from disease of body. the three things that the testator must have the ability to know to be considered of sound mind are as follows: (1) the nature of the estate to be disposed of. As we have stated earlier. the person who maintains the validity of the will must prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval. the proper objects of his bounty. a weak or feebleminded person may make a valid will. but if the testator.25 which held thus: "Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which unquestionably carries with it full testamentary capacity. and that degrees of mental aberration generally known as insanity or idiocy. and (3) the character of the testamentary act. Applying this test to the present case. before making his will was publicly known to be insane. 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. It has been held that testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that a person shall actually be insane or of unsound mind. there are numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity and while on one hand it has been held that mere weakness of mind. "Article 800. we find that the appellate court was correct in holding that Placido had testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of his will. It must be noted that despite his advanced age. Worth reiterating in determining soundness of mind is Alsua-Betts v.

which failed of completion because of the refusal of Alejandro Genito to be party to the making of a will in which the testatrix took no part. and the proponent appealed. ATANASIO ABQUILAN. instead an attempt was made on the night of that day to fabricate another will. and that. she being in fact at that time suffering from paralysis to celebral hemorrhage in such degree as completely to discapacitate her for intelligent participation in the act of making a will. R. . and upon repeated perusal of the appealed decision.G. L-24665 October 13. with many of her authentic signatures leads to the conclusion that the signatures to the supposed will were made by some other person. in case of intestacy. vs. petitioner-appellant. The instrument before us was undoubtedly fabricated later. No. a sister.: This appeal has been brought to reverse an order of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Occidental Negros. Furthermore. Simeon Bitanga and Vicente Sotto for appellant. STREET. we find that the conclusions of fact stated therein are so completely in harmony with our own view of the case. 1926 Estate of the deceased Isidra Abquilan. A careful comparison of the name of the testatrix as signed in two places to the Exhibit A. the supposed testatrix was not in a condition such as to enable her to have participated in the act. who is the opponents. Upon hearing the cause the trial court found that the document propounded as the will of the deceased is apocryphal. We have carefully examined the evidence. Atanasio Abquilan. deceased. FELICIANA ABQUILAN. It appears that the deceased left no forced heirs. and that the instrument in question was not executed by the deceased. He therefore denied probate. the proponent of the will. the date when the will purports to have been executed. Nolan and Feria and La O for appellee. that the purported signatures of the deceased to the supposed will are forgeries. and Feliciana Abquilan. J. are her brother. the combined testimony of Juan Serato and Alejandro Genito completely demonstrate in our opinion that no will at all was made on November 6. refusing to legalize an instrument (Exhibit A) purporting to be the last will and testament of Isidra Abquilan. the date attributed to the questioned document. opponent-appellee. A clear preponderance of the evidence shows that on November 6.R. 1924. that no new exposition of the facts is necessary. and her only heirs.

Sotto and B. Exhibit A. 1933 In re will of the late Matea Abella. and it is so ordered. that the opposition filed by Marciana Abella is without merit and. the appellant assigns the following alleged errors in the decision of the court a quo. G. The lower court erred in decreeing the probate of the will. 3. In support of her appeal. she did not act under the illegal and undue influence of certain legatees. applicant-appellee.probably on November 7. Exhibit A. L-39033 November 13. 4. The judgment appealed from will be affirmed. this court is of the opinion.R. So ordered. SANTIAGO SANCHO. Astilla for appellant. as a true expression of her last will. No. 2. to wit: 1. opponent-appellant. VILLA-REAL. MARCIANA ABELLA. it is hereby denied. Exhibit A. Quitoriano for appellee. vs. J. The lower court erred in holding that the requirements of the law have been complied with in the execution of the will. therefore. The lower court erred in holding that Matea Abella was in the full enjoyment of her mental faculties and executed the document. Exhibit A. Exhibit A. and so holds.: This is an appeal taken by the opponent Marciana Abella from the judgment rendered by the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur. MONS. . at a time when the condition of the deceased was such as to make rational participation on her part in the act of making a will impossible. is hereby ordered and decreed probated as the last will and testament of the late Matea Abella. the dispositive part of which reads as follows: Wherefore. The application filed herein is granted and the document. The lower court erred in holding that when the late Matea Abella affixed her alleged signatures to the will. with costs against the appellant.

to consult the said physician in his clinic in San Fernando. Father Zoilo Aguda. Macario Calug read it to her and she approved it. When the will had been copied clean. Matea Abella. she did not care to sign the same suggesting that it be postponed to the following day. Inasmuch as he did not finish the interview on the second day. Antonio Querol of San Fernando La Union. that it was necessary to shout into her ear to call her for meals. she went to Dr. After the will had been signed. Matea Abella died of the senile debility in the municipality of Sinait at the age of 88 years. On or about April 26. April 29. which was done. although she had sold a parcel . Filomena Inay and some children who were then at the convent. Matea Abella ordered he niece. Filomena Inay. Matea Abella ordered a sexton of the convent to call Attorney Teodoro R. 1932. including Father Cordero. stopping at the convent of the parish church of the said municipality. that she used to urinate on her clothes without being aware of it. The testatrix Matea Abella was the first to sign it on a table in the presence of each and every one of the instrumental witnesses thereto and of other persons. to consult the said physician who. accompanied by her niece. she left her home situated in the said municipality of Sinait. in charge of Father Cordero with whom she was acquainted he having been the parish priest of Sinait. had been informed that Dr. Reinoso to whom she expressed her desire to make a will. to wit: The testatrix. During her stay in the said convent. Reinoso delivered the original and the copies thereof to the testatrix. Inasmuch as the aforesaid attorney had to attend to other business. in the presence of the Father Cordero's sister. that when one moved away from her and again approached her she was unable to recognize him. also in the presence of Father Cordero. On April 13. After the testatrix. Ilocos Sur. At the end of the interview. it was again read to the testatrix and she express her approval thereof. that she had a very poor memory inasmuch as she used to try to collect from her debtors in spite of the fact that they had already paid their debts. 1932. retaining one for his file. his sister. the said attorney returned again on the afternoon of the 28th and continued it in the presence of the same persons who entered and left the sala. to bring her some papers which were in her trunk. Attorney Teodoro R. 1932. but inasmuch as it was rather late at night. each of the instrument witnesses signed in the presence of the testatrix and of each and every one of the other witnesses. which she delivered to the said attorney. La Union. he could not finish his interview with the testatrix on the first day and had to continue it the following day. found that she was suffering from dyspepsia and cancer of the stomach. after submitting her to a general medical examination.The following facts have been proven by a preponderance of evidence presented during the trial. the signing of the will took place in the corridor of the convent. that once. At about 7:30 o'clock on the morning of April 29. After the will had been drafted in Ilocano. resident of the municipality of Sinait. The opponent herein attempted to prove that the testatrix was deaf and that her eyesight was defective. Filomena Inay. Macario Calug and the fiscal of the convent. Filomena Inay. 1932. Antonio Querol's clinic twice within the period of one week accompanied by her aforesaid niece. the dialect of the testatrix. 1932. On July 3. was a good physician.

and that she could not recall her recent acts. 521. Tablizo. 22 Phil. The mere fact that in her will Matea Abella disposed of properties. that she could not go downstairs without assistance. Antonio Querol — of whose ability she had heard so much — regarding her headaches and stomach trouble.. in her own handwriting. 485. De la Cruz. inasmuch as the testatrix was 88 years of age when she made her will. nor blindness. nor deafness. Jocson vs. 28 R. that the deceased complained of headache and of stomachache. 46 Phil. dispose of her properties and make a will. with full understanding thereof. Filomena Inay. which she had already donated to other persons at a prior date. Jocson.C. the fact of her having personally furnished said attorney all the data she wished to embody in her relative to her properties and the persons in whose favor she wished to bequeath them. nor so deaf.of land for P60 she said she had sold it for P160. that when she was called at mealtime she used to answer: "Why. 1932. We are face to face with two divergent theories regarding the mental state of the testatrix Matea Abella at the time of the execution of her will. The opponent claims that. the fact of her not wishing to sign her will on the night of April 28. that she had been suffering from the disabilities for more than two months previous to her death. is not an indication of mental insanity. the fact of her having walked twice to the aforesaid doctor's clinic. in order to go to San Fernando. accompanied by her niece. Torres and Lopez de Bueno vs. Exhibit A. 48 Phil. to consult Dr. nor so lacking in intelligence that she could not. that she could not remember her properties nor the names of her tenants. 227. Paguio. p. due to ignorance of the irrevocability of certain donations. On the other hand. that she already began to be dotty five years before. Amata and Almojuela vs. 94. 772. nor poor memory. Ilocos Sur.. the fact of her having called for Attorney Teodoro R.. as to the mental sanity of the testatrix at the time of the execution of her will. on April 13. 21 Phil. Neither senile debility. that she could no longer read. in order to be able to see it better.L. Reinoso. that in her will she bequeathed properties which she had already donated to other persons. the fact that she had personally furnished the aforesaid doctor with all the necessary data regarding the history of her illness the fact of her having brought with her in her trunk the deeds to her properties. Bagtas vs.. I have already eaten". but the following day. All these data show that the testatrix was not so physically weak. to the original as well as to the copies of her will which consisted of nine pages. that she was unable to go downstairs without assistance. and the fact of her having affixed her signature.. 44). par.net . nor so blind. Lopez. is by itself sufficient to incapacitate a person for making his ill (Avelino vs. she attempted to prove that the testatrix had very poor memory in connection with her properties and interest.lawphil. and particularly a few days previous to her death. that she often repeated to her tenants the same questions regarding their crops. 48 Phil. As an indication of her senile debility.. she was already suffering from senile debility and therefore her mental faculties were not functioning normally anymore and that she was not fully aware of her acts. 701. we have the undisputed fact of her having left her home in Sinait. At most it constitutes forgetfulness or a change of mind. stopping at the convent of the parish church. 1932. La Union.

represented by his guardian. vs. 1979 FRANCISCA ALSUA-BETTS. ESTEBAN P. constitutes undue influence sufficient to justify the annulment of a legacy in favor of the bishop of a diocese made in her will by a testatrix 88 years of age. she did not have any difficulties in obtaining accommodations in his convent. due to lack of hotels. suffering from defective eyesight and hearing. Ilocos Sur. La Union. JOSEPH O. Nos. in the same capacity. Wherefore. when there is sufficient evidence of his mental sanity at the time of the execution of the will. So ordered. The fact of her having stopped at the convent of the parish church of San Fernando. .R. BETTS. petitioners. ALSUA and PABLO ALSUA. L-46430-31 July 30. RAMIREZ. AMPARO ALSUA BUENVIAJE. La Union. In view of the foregoing considerations. the town convents are usually given preference by strangers because they are given better accommodations and allowed more freedom. CLOTILDE S. In the present case. Sabido-Sabido & Associates and Madrid Law Office for private respondents. FERNANDO ALSUA. There is nothing in the records establishing such claim either directly or indirectly. with the costs against the appellant. COURT OF APPEALS. respondents. G. and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR ALBAY PROVINCE. nor a priest acting as a witness. nor the fact that the will was executed in the convent in question in the presence of the parish priest and witnessed by another priest. nor the presence of the parish priest. Rafael Triumfante for petitioners. is by itself sufficient to establish the presumption that the person suffering therefrom is not in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties. The fact that Matea Abella stopped at a convent and enjoyed the hospitality of a priest who gave her accommodations therein. nor blindness. could certainly not be considered as an influence which placed her under the obligation to bequeath of her property to the bishop of said diocese. is not unusual in the Philippines where. JOSE MADARETA. nor deafness. FERNANDO BUENVIAJE. the parish priest of the said town. we are of the opinion and so hold: (1) That neither senile ability. and (2) that neither the fact of her being given accommodations in a convent. Inasmuch as Father Cordero. it is hereby affirmed in toto. was well known to her having served in the church of Sinait.It is insinuated that the testatrix has been unduly influenced in the execution of her will. not finding any error in the judgment appealed from. the testatrix Matea Abella was a stranger in San Fernando. while she is stopping at a convent within the aforestated diocese. nor poor memory.

a Tinay (segundo parafo). Albay. and Amparo Alsua de Buenviaje.ñët This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Nos.a Florentina enumerated in a prepared inventory. unmarried (parafo tercero y cuatro). now the private respondents. entered into a duly notarized agreement.000.a Florentina Rella. to wit: têñ. 54492-R and 54493-R which reversed the decision of the Court of First Instance of Albay allowing the probate of the win of Don Jesus Alsua in Special Proceedings No. The antecedent events leading to the filing of these two consolidated actions are the following. all of them signed by the spouses and all the above named heirs in the left margin of every page (parafo primers).£îhqw⣠(1) Basis of the partition: Inventory (Annex A) of all the properties of the Alsua spouses. Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial (Exhibit 8). 26-29. On November 25. (4) An acknowledgment that on the basis of Article 1056 of the Civil Code (old) to avoid Possible misunderstanding among their children concerning the inheritance they are entitled to in the event of death of one of them they have decided to effectuate an extrajudicial partition of all the . together with all their living children. Doñ. petitioners herein.00). 1949. the essential features of which are stated in private respondents' Brief. which inventory consists of 97 pages. the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5. (3) An acknowledgment that during their marriage. to pay damages to the plaintiffs. to render an accounting of the properties in their possession and to reimburse the latter the net gain in the proportion that appertains to them in the properties from the date of the firing of the complaint up to complete restoration plus Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50. Exhibit 8-A. 699 and dismissing the complaint in Civil Case 3068 after declaring the two deeds of sale executed by Don Jesus Alsua legal and valid.000. Don Jesus Alsua and his wife. (2) An acknowledgment of the spouses that all the properties described in the inventory (Annex A) are conjugal properties with the exception of five parcels of land Identified with the figures of 1 to 5 and 30 shares of San Miguel Brewery stock which are paraphernal properties of the late Doñ.:1äwphï1. declared null and void the two sales subject of the complaint and ordered the defendants. over the then present and existing properties of the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. Fernando Alsua thru this judicial guardian Clotilde Samson.00) as attorney's fees and costs. both of Ligao. The respondent court 1 denied the probate of the will. Francisca Alsua-Betts.GUERRERO.R. Pablo Alsua. J. pp. they had nine children but five of them died minors.

740.00. meters. To Fernando Alsua.00.679. married to Joseph O. with a book or appraised value of P69. In consequence they waive any claim that they have or may have over said portion of said properties or any amount in cash during the lifetime of the surviving spouse. including any amount of cash deposited. To Amparo Alsua.a Tinay in the event the surviving spouse is Don Jesus.830.720.715 sq. (c) That in case of death of one of the spouses.00. . value. extension and location of the properties that are allotted to each and everyone.properties described in Annex "A" thereto under the following terms and conditions: (Parafo quinto): To Francisca Alsua. including any amount in cash.639. with a book or appraised value of P58.00.940. 26 parcels of land with a total land area of 5. They also waive any claim they have or they may have over the remaining portion of the properties. which spouses reserved for themselves.£îhqw⣠(a) Each and every one of the heirs named above acknowledge and admit that the totality of the properties allotted and adjudicated to the heirs as described in the preceding paragraph. meters. including any right or claim they have or they may have over the paraphernal properties of Doñ. married to Fernando Buenviaje were allotted or assigned all the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described from pages 33-47 of said inventory or. 47 parcels of land with a total land area of 5. Betts were allotted or assigned all the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described from pages 1-12 of said inventory or. each and everyone of the heirs acknowledge that the properties which are left in the possession of the surviving spouse. married to Teresa Locsin were allotted or assigned all the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described from pages 12-20 of said inventory or.810 sq. are even less than the one.364 sq. with a book or appraised value of P55.630. meters. constitute one half of the properties described in Annex "A".262 sq. (b) That all the heirs acknowledge and admit that all the properties assigned to them as their hereditary portion represent one-half not only of the conjugal properties but includes the paraphernal properties — waiving now and forever any complaint or claim they have or they may have concerning the amount. 34 parcels of land with a total land area of 5. 47 parcels of land with a total land area of 6. To Pablo Alsua. têñ.half that should correspond in absolute ownership as his legitimate participation in the conjugal properties. with a book or appraised value of P89. meters.300. married to Clotilde Samson were allotted or assigned all the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described from pages 20-33 of said inventory or.

write and understand. the surviving spouse waives any claim he or she may have over the properties assigned or adjudicated to the heirs under and by virtue of this deed. Filipina. this 5th day .a Tinay separately executed their respective holographic wills (Exhs.£îhqw⣠TESTAMENT I. in the concept of damages and prejudice. Philippines. (e) Any heir who may dare question the validity and legitimacy of the provision contained herein shall be under obligation to pay to the other heirs. The holographic will of Doñ. (g) In the event of death of one of the spouses.a Florentina. also known as Doñ. The wigs also declared that in the event of future acquisitions of other properties by either of them. (f) The provisions of this deed shall bind the successors of the herein heirs. the sum of P5. On January 5. DE ALSUA. Their holographic wills similarly provided for the institution of the other to his or her share in the conjugal properties. the provisions of which were in conformity and in implementation of the extrajudicial partition of November 25. the other half of the conjugal assets having been partitioned to constitute their legitime among their four living children in the Extrajudicial Partition of 1949.000.00 plus attorney's fees. The properties which were reserved for them (the spouses) should be considered as his or her legitimate participation in the conjugal properties and the fair compensation of his or her usufruct on the properties that the surviving spouse reserved for himself or herself which shag be distributed in equal shares among the heirs upon his or her death unless said properties of some of them have been disposed of during the lifetime of the surviving spouse. 1949. married to Don Jesus Alsua.(d) The spouses on their part in case of death of any one of them. FLORENTINA R. Province of Albay. and the other half shall be divided equally among the four children.a Tinay written in Spanish reads. being in the full possession of my mental and physical faculties freely and spontaneously execute this my last will and testament in my handwriting and signed by me and expressed in the Spanish language which I speak. one-half thereof would belong to the other spouse. the properties assigned or adjudicated to each and everyone of the heirs shall be considered as his share or participation in the estate or as his inheritance left by the deceased and each heir shall become the absolute owner of the properties adjudicated to him under this deed. as translated: têñ. Don Jesus and Doñ. 6-B and 7-B). 67 years old. resident of and with postal address in the Municipality of Ligao. 1955.

we were able to acquire conjugal properties consisting of abaca (abales) and cacao lands and urban lands registered in the office of the Registry of Property of the Province of Albay and in the City of Manila. the same shall be partitioned among my spouse and above named children or the children mentioned in above par. Pablo Alsua. Flores (Reg. month and year before Notary Public Segundo G. one-half (1/2) of my properties. I hereby sign in my own handwriting this testament on this 5th day of January. 1949 and ratified on the same day. in equal parts. The other five (5) died during their minority. 3 in the same proportion that is. and Amparo Alsua. real and personal. Third: That I institute as my heirs with right to inherit the following. Province of Albay. single and without children. Series of 1949) enjoining each and everyone of them to respect and faithfully comply with each and every clause contained in the said document. Betts. pursuant to a document dated November 25. No. . 15. Pablo Alsua. Fernando Alsua.my spouse Don Jesus Alsua. No. Province of Albay.£îhqw⣠(SGD. têñ. and the other half. Fernando Alsua and Amparo Alsua. 1955 in the Municipality of Ligao. IN VIRTUE WHEREOF. Second: That after my marriage to my husband Don Jesus Alsua and during our conjugal union.R. 1955 in the Municipality of Ligao. Fourth: That should I acquire new properties after the execution of this testament. married to Joseph O.) FLORENTINA DE ALSUA (Joint Record on appeal pp. 11. and as a result of our efforts and industry. married to Clotilde Samson. and the other half to my children in equal parts. 54492-R) R. to my children Francisco Alsua. and in which I ordain and provide: First: That in or about the year 1906 I was married to my husband Don Jesus Alsua and begot nine (9) children with him. Pag. four (4) of whom are still living and they are Francisco Alsua. It is to be understood. however. 525. that the other half that corresponds as legitime to my above named children have already been given to them.of January. one-half (1 1/2) to my spouse. Lib. married to Fernando Buenviaje. CA-G. Philippines. Fifth: That I name as my executor my husband Don Jesus Alsua without having to post any bond. 420-423.

a Florentina Ralla de Alsua. 484 (Jesus Alsua. Each spouse also declared that should she or he be the surviving spouse. whatever belongs to him or her or would pertain to him or her. conjugal and paraphernal. The 1/2 that would correspond to me covers all the properties that I have partitioned among my children in the Document of Partition dated November 25. the surviving spouse was designated mutually and reciprocally as the executor or administrator of all the properties reserved for themselves. 1956. would be divided equally among the four children. Lib. 485 (Doñ. 1955 in exactly the same terms and conditions as the above will of his wife. had been disposed of. written in Spanish reads.a Tinay executed their mutual and reciprocal codicils amending and supplementing their respective holographic wins. 525. Ligao of the Province of Albay and in the City of Manila. conveyed to and partitioned among their legitimate heirs in the "Escritura de Particion" of November 25.a Tinay. The codicil executed translated: têñ. No. with the exception of that portion that I bequeath to my husband as his inheritance and his legitimate. (Doc. Series of 1949) (and) even as the properties which by reason of this testament I leave to my husband as his share and the other half that corresponds to my husband constitutes an the properties that up to now have not been disposed of. No. Again. 1949 before Notary Public Segundo G. Don Jesus Alsua executed a separate but similar holographic will on the same day. That I institute as my heirs with the right to inherit my husband Don Jesus Alsua and my children Francisco Alsua. but that they reserved for themselves (the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. It was also declared in both codicils that upon the death of either of the spouses. the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. No. 5. Pag. Fernando Alsua and by Doñ. On May 21. 1956. Jr. 15. On August 14.a Tinay) the other half or those not disposed of to the said legitimate heirs under the above agreement of partition. the codicils similarly acknowledged and provided that one-half of all the properties of the spouses.As previously stated. Flores. That my spouse and I have agreed to divide the properties which we have acquired into 2 parts. and that they mutually and reciprocally bequeathed unto each other their participation therein as well as in all properties which might be acquired subsequently. Jan. Albay.a Tinay filed before the Court of First Instance of Albay their respective petitions for the probate of their respective holographic wins which were docketed as Special Proceedings No. Petitioner) and Special Proceedings No. as .£îhqw⣠CODICIL This codicil supplements and amends the preceding testament. Pablo Alsua. 11. the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. 1949. particularly the urban lands situated in Legaspi. Petitioner).

Amparo Alsua. A) of Don Jesus . 1959. Don Jesus executed also a separate but similar codicil in exactly the same terms and conditions as the above codicil of his wife. Albay. Esteban P. His lawyer. Philippines. and in the event that the properties granted to one or any of my children should exceed in quantity or value those corresponding to another or others. Gregorio imperial Sr. 1959 at Ms home in Ligao.a Tinay both filed their respective supplemental petitions for the probate of their respective codicils in the probate proceedings earlier filed. he took his oath of office and performed his duties as such until July 1. I leave to my spouse Don Jesus Alsua as his legitime and as Ws inheritance the part of the free portion of my property which have not been allocated in favor of my children in the Document of Partition aforecited and that which should exceed 1/2 of the conjugal property of gains that pertains to him as above stated. têñ. Don Jesus was named executor to serve without bond in an order issued by the probate court on October 13. This notarial will and testament (Exh. Albay. No. 1959. was then instructed to draft a new will which was duly signed by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses on November 14. 1959. should be divided equally among my above-mentioned heirs after my death. Also on the same day of August 14. CA-G. August 14. Upon the death of Doñ. Thereafter in the early part of November.a Tinay on October 2. On February 19. I hereby declare that it is my will that any and all kinds of property that pertain to me or would pertain to me. 423-425. In case it should be God's will that I survive my spouse.£îhqw⣠(SGD. Don Jesus cancelled his holographic will in the presence of his bookkeeper and secretary. August 14. 1957. the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. 1949 which correspond to each one of them and in the profits (fruits) expressed in the same. Atty. I leave to my aforecited children all the properties described in the above mentioned Document of Partition dated November 25. 54492-R) And as stated previously. 1956. which have not been disposed of pursuant to the partition. I hereby declare that it is my will that the same be divided among my children as their inheritance from the free portion of my property. Ligao.1956. on the same day.) FLORENTINA RALLA DE ALSUA (joint Record on Appeal pp. 1960. whom he instructed to make a list of all his remaining properties with their corresponding descriptions.R. Ramirez. Letters testamentary having been issued in favor of Don Jesus. including all those properties which we shall acquire after the execution of this document. their respective holographic wins and the codicils thereto were duly admitted to probate. 1956.

1964.three (33) premium agricultural lots with a total land area of 1. On May 20. Amparo and Fernando thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson. according to the oppositors therein (the private respondents now) did not include some properties appearing in the agreement of November 25. On May 6. 1959 as belonging to or should pertain to Don Jesus. 1959 (Exh. submitted to the probate court for approval a deed of partition executed on December 19. funeral charges and other expenses of the estate of Doñ. Doñ. Don Jesus Alsua. On the basis of Francisca's designation as executrix in the new will dated November 14. as the executrix named in the will of November 14. naming Francesca as executrix to serve without a bond. 1955 and his codicil of August 14. revoked and annulled all the provisions of Don Jesus' holographic will of January 5. 699. According to the oppositors. Francisco. and all his children. (c) that the will was not executed according to the formal requirements of the law. thru his judicial guardian Clotilde Samson. all her heirs including Don Jesus. 1959 had three essential features: (a) it expressly cancelled. essentially confirming and implementing the said partition of 1949 which had already been partially executed by all the signatories thereto in the partition of the estate of Doñ. and also contravened Don Jesus' own probated holographic will and codicil of 1955 and 1956. judicial" of 1949. these properties consist of thirty.a Tinay. Amparo and Fernando.executed on November 14. before his death.a Tinay. Don Jesus Alsua died. After all debts. the holographic will and codicil of Doñ. the Probate Court appointed her Administratrix of the estate of her late father. 1961 declared the termination of the proceedings on the estate of Doñ. 1964. the court approved the partition of 1959 and on January 6. Oppositions thereto were filed by Pablo. 1960. were to be given to Francisca and Pablo. 1959. respectively. and that such properties be taken into account in the partition of his estate among the children.187.a Tinay. 1959. 1956. his deceased spouse. 1949 or in the inventory attached thereto as Annex "A" and in the "Escritura de Particion" of December 19. (b) it provided for the collation of all his properties donated to his four living children by virtue of the "Escritura de Particion Extra. 7-Q) and which essentially confirmed the provisions of the partition of 1949. On July 6. on the following grounds: (a) that Don Jesus was not of sound and disposing mind at the time of the execution of the alleged will. 1959. and (c) it instituted his children as legatees/devisees of certain specific properties. or the signature of the testator was secured by or thru fraud. and as to the rest of the properties and whatever may be subsequently acquired in the future.a Tinay had been paid.a Tinay in December.970 square meters. and (d) that the alleged will subject of probate contravened the Extrajudicial Partition of 1949 agreed upon by him. or approximately 119 hectares and with a total . petitioner herein Francisca Alsua Betts. filed a petition for the probate of said new will of Don Jesus Alsua before the Court of First Instance of Albay and was docketed as Special Proceedings No. Pablo. (b) that the will was executed under duress or influence of fear or threats. She then filed with the Probate Court an inventory of the properties of the estate which. or it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the main beneficiaries and of person or persons in collusion with them.

the dispositive portion of which states: têñ. W). 1962 evidencing the sale of the four urban lots for the sum of P80.00) and to pay the costs. on November 14. alleging that she bought the properties from their father and presenting the two Deeds of Sale now being assailed. Francisco Alsua Betts Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50.00 and the other dated November 26.000. U) and the sale on November 26.£îhqw⣠WHEREFORE.00 or a probable total market value of P238. the oppositors filed Civil Case No.410. Albay. 1977. in view of all the foregoing. 1959.000. 2. and orders that the same be made the basis for division and distribution of the estate of said testator.260.00. judgment is hereby rendered. It appearing from the new will that these properties were bequeathed to Pablo Alsua and Francisco Alsua-Betts. the Court hereby dismisses the complaint and holds that the sale on August 26. 3 parcels of the 33 agricultural lands to Pablo and the rest to Francisco. 1959.000.00 at only P2. 1973. which upon agreement of the parties was then jointly heard and tried with Special Proceedings No. Francisco claimed ownership over the same.000.00. the Court hereby APPROVES and ALLOWS the Will executed by Don Jesus Alsua at Ligao. the Court of First Instance of Albay promulgated a decision on January 15. specifically. one dated August 26. with damages. 1962 (Exh. which had been marked as Exhibit A. to wit: 1. Claiming fraud in the sales.00) as damages and Fifty Thousand (P50. are lawful and valid sales and accordingly conveyed title to the VENDEE thereof. consisting of nine (9) pages. On appeal by herein respondents to the Court of Appeals. are ordered jointly and severally to pay to the defendant. seeking the annulment of the aforesaid two deeds of sale. and four (4) commercial urban lots Ideally located in the business section of Legazpi City including the lot and the building presently occupied by the well-known "Mayon Hotel" with an assessed value of approximately P117. thus —têñ. 1961 purporting to show the sale of the 33 parcels of agricultural land to Francisco by their father for the price of P70.£îhqw⣠. The Plaintiffs in Civil Case 3068.00 or a probable market value at the time of P469.000. 3068. the court reversed the appealed decision in a judgment rendered on April 4.00 per hectare.assessed value of P48. 699 for probate of the Last Will and Testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14. In Special Proceedings 699.040. the dispositive portion of which states. In Civil Case 3068. 1961 (Exh. In answer.000.00) Pesos for attorney's fees or a total of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100. as translated.000. the oppositors also raised in issue the non-inclusion of said properties in the inventory of the estate of their late father. After a joint hearing of the merits of these two cases.

and the costs. a ruling laid down in the case of Testate Estate of the Late Procopia Apostol Benedicta Obispo.00 as attorney's fees.B. an eminent and . The respondent court grossly erred in annulling the sales of August 26. 3068. paragraph 11.000. The respondent Court of Appeals erred in not affirming the findings of the probate court (Special Proceedings No. ordering them in addition to pay to the plaintiffs and oppositors the sum of P50. A. 50 O. to wit: têñ.000.£îhqw⣠I. U and W and the titles issued on the basis thereof are hereby declared null and void. On the first issue of estoppel raised in the assignment of errors. the sum of P5. The respondent Court of Appeals grossly erred in holding that testator Don Jesus Alsua cannot revoke his previous will.a Florentina Ralla de Alsua and in subsequently petitioning the court not to require Don Jesus Alsua to file any accounting as executor in the proceedings. 614. Exh. 3068 from the date of the filing of this complaint. in the proportion that appertains to them in the properties subject of litigation in Civil Case No. oppositors to the probate of the will. this Tribunal finds itself constrained to set aside as it hereby sets aside the decision appealed from in the following manner: (1) in Special Proceedings 699.L. The controversy as to the competency or incompetency of Don Jesus Alsua to execute his will cannot be determined by acts of the herein private respondents as oppositors to the will in formally agreeing in writing jointly with the petitioner Francisca Alsua de Betts that their father.00 and to render an accounting of properties in their possession and to reimburse the plaintiffs the net gain. 1961 (Exh. IV. We hold that the same is of no moment. Don Jesus Alsua. II. W). the petition at bar assailing the respondent court's decision on four assigned errors. The principle of estoppel is not applicable in probate proceedings. ordering the appellees Francisco Alsua and Joseph Betts to pay to the plaintiffs in the concept of fixed damages. are in estoppel to question the competence of testator Don Jesus Alsua. 485. the probate of the will. up to the complete restoration of the properties pertaining to (plaintiffs) pursuant to Article 2208 of the New Civil Code. is hereby denied. 699) that private respondents. U). Remedios Obispo. Hence. be appointed by the court executor of the will of their mother in Special Proceedings No. et al vs. which petitioners claim and was upheld by the trial court as constituting estoppel on the part of the private respondents from questioning the competence of Don Jesus Alsua. 1962 (Exh. III.IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. surmises or conjectures resulting in a gross misapprehension of facts. Testate Estate of Doñ. (2) in Civil Case No.G. Exhs. and of November 26. The respondent court's finding is grounded entirely on speculation. Reyes. penned by Justice J.

295. is that it is the duty of the court to effectuate.E. 502: têñ. 593.Y.S. 124 Misc. The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: .Y.' The next issue that commands Our attention is whether the respondent court erred in not allowing the probate of the last will and testament of Don Jesus Alsua. in so far as may be compatible with the public interest.. and he may and frequently does receive no personal benefit from the performance of the act.S. the devolutionary wishes of a deceased person (Matter of Watson's Wilt 262 N. The Civil Court is very clear and explicit in providing the cases where a will may be disallowed under Article 839 which provides as follows: têñ. but to determine whether or not the decedent has performed the acts specified by the pertinent statutes. 216 N.recognized authority on Civil Law when he was still in the Court of Appeals. 298. 320.Y. and We quote:têñ. 126.£îhqw⣠Art.S. Over and above the interest of private parties is that of the state to see that testamentary dispositions be carried out if. which are the essential prerequisites to personal direction of the mode of devolution of his property on death. Matter of Van Valkenburgh's Estate. 787. 290. would seem inimical to public policy. disregarding the facts as found by the trial court. Div. 581). 186. in effect. S. 672.Y. 284.. 160 Misc. 587. the court is. 219. The Supreme Court of New York aptly said in Re Canfield's Will. surmises or conjectures. N. and only if. when it win block the ascertainment of the truth as to the circumstances surrounding the execution of a testament. N. 294. 839. N. To that end. 208. S. probate proceedings involve public interest.. and the application therein of the rile of estoppel. 325. an additional party to every litigation affecting the disposal of the assets of the deceased.Y.. Matter of Draske's Estate.£îhqw⣠Finally. 300 N... affirmed 217 app. 733. Petitioners claim that the disallowance was based on speculations. Foley. One of the most fundamental conceptions of probate law. 164 Misc.. There is no legal but merely a moral duty resting upon a proponent to attempt to validate the wishes of the departed. Matter of Marriman's Estate. Henderson.S.S. executed conformably to law..Y. N..£îhqw⣠'The primary purpose of the proceeding is not to establish the existence of the right of any living person..

he crossed out in ink each and every page of said page he wrote on each page the word "cancelado".(1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with. Esteban P. or threats. Camarines Sur. Don Gregorio Imperial. Imperial. and affixed his signature thereon (Exh V-5.. 1955 and also its codicil dated August 14. declaring: têñ. têñ. and going back to the previous question.£îhqw⣠. About 2 weeks after said death of his wife. consecutively up to and including Exh. or the influence of fear. Jorge S. In the presence of his bookkeeper and secretary. (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence. Don Jesus informed his lawyers that he wanted to make a new will. V-6. thereby revoking and cancelling his previous holographic will which he made on January 5. (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud.. (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto. Don Jesus Alsua sent for his lawyer. 1959. Atty. Doñ. was executed in accordance with Arts. Exh. whether the questioned will and testament of November 14. and the latter came accompanied by his son. Albay. 1959. is now a judge of the Court of First Instance of Naga City. and accordingly gave more detailed instructions as to how he wanted to divide his properties among his four .£îhqw⣠On October 2. (2) If the testator was insane. or otherwise mentally incapable of making a wilt at the time of its execution. A. on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. who. Don Jesus Alsua decided to make a new will. (3) If it was executed through force or under duress. V-14). this Tribunal from the very beginning accepts the findings of the inferior court concerning the question. Ramirez. 805-809 of the New Civil Code. Meanwhile. The issue under consideration appears to Us to have been answered by the respondent court itself when it accepted the findings of the trial court on the due execution of the questioned will and testament of Don Jesus. Sr. He then instructed Ramirez to make a list of all s properties with their corresponding descriptions.a Florentina died at Ligao. incidentally. 1956.

and Mr. Jorge S. having a very high regard for Don Jesus. the then Register of Deeds of Albay. Mr. Madarieta was already informed by Don Jesus himself about the fact of signing the will that morning. stopped at the Legaspi residence of Mr. and Mr. They arrived at the residence of Don Jesus at Ligao. almost ten o'clock of that morning. Ramon Balana. and the latter requested them to be seated at the usual receiving room on the ground floor while he announced their arrival to Don Jesus who was on the second floor. Imperial Mr. and so. Albay. Thus in the morning of November 14. Mr. and Atty. Imperial to put the win in final form. He handed to them a list and on the left he indicated the name of the child to whom the listed properties shall pertain. riding in a sedan. considered it an honor to be so asked. and informed the latter that Don Jesus was requesting him to be one of the attesting witnesses to his will. without much delay. Jose Gaya who is a sort of employee of Don Jesus. on being advised by Mr. Balana. Jose Madarieta who is a friend of the family. He greeted Don Gregorio. Jorge S. Spanish is his major language. and they were ushered in by Mr. Ramon Balana. Madarieta proceeded to the residence of Don Jesus. 1959. Gaya that the Imperials had already arrived. he instructed Atty. Soon Don Jesus came down. namely: Don Jesus Alsua. Imperial. Mr. Jose Madarieta. Mr. Ramon Balana. Gaya called for Mr. Mr. whose residence is just across the road from the house of Don Jesus. there were now six people gathered in the living room. Jorge S. 1959. Don Gregorio Imperial Atty. Atty. To Don Jesus. With the coming of Madarieta and the coming back of Gaya. A few days before November 14. Imperial and immediately joined them in conversation. in the morning of November 14. Jose Gaya. Jorge Imperial took notes of the instructions of Don Jesus Alsua. and gladly went with the Imperials. Jose Gaya. Jose Madarieta. and after making a few minor corrections. and that the witnesses should be Mr. Atty. Balan. carrying with him the will to be signed placed inside a cartolina folder. Jorge Imperial that the signing of the will should be at his home in Ligao. Don Gregorio and Atty. 1959.children. All the witnesses who testified for the petitioner declared that Don Jesus was in bright and lively conversation which ran . Jorge S. as in fact his conversations with Don Gregorio are always in Spanish. Imperial showed to Don Jesus the semi-final draft of the will and after reading it Don Jesus said that it was as directed by him. Mr. He further told Atty.

the three sets were then passed to Mr. Don Jesus signed ten times. The original will was marked as Exh. t.' (pp. with Atty. Don Gregorio made a remark that it is about time to do what they were there for. Madarieta. and Mr. and this was followed by a more or less statement from Jesus. Mr. Mr.. Madarieta and Gaya) signed eleven times on each set. all of them moved to the big round table on another part of the same sala for convenience in signing because there were chairs all around this table. The will which consisted of nine pages. Madarieta finished signing all the three sets. On request of Don Jesus. A (or set A). Jose Madarieta signed next as another attesting witness. Ramon Balana who signed as attesting witness. Gaya were Identified by Mr.from problems of farming and the merits of French-made wines.s. Don Jesus. signed first. Mr. 1967. Sarte. Jorge S. On each of the three sets. (now Judge) imperial. Mr. esta satisfactoriamente hecho segun mis instrucciones. Balana. one at the end of the instrument proper and one below the attestation clause. the same were passed to Mr. After Mr. and when Mr. 43-44. Gaya were present and witnessed said signing. Madarieta and Atty. Balana. Mr. Each of the three attesting witnesses (Balana. It was also clearly established that when Don Jesus signed the will Mr. with a duplicate. Imperial assisting each person signing by indicating the proper place where the signature shall be written. Jose Gaya who also signed as the third attesting witness. Balana. who said: têñ. — one on the margin of each of the nine pages. At 1 1:00 o'clock. despues de lo he leido. and Mr. Como saben ustedes tengo cuatro (4) hijos todos egos.£îhqw⣠'Preisamente es por lo que he Hamado a ustedes que esten presentes para ser testigos de rni ultimo voluntad y testamento que ha sido preparado por el abogado Sr. K (or set K) and the triplicate of Don Jesus. hearing of December 7. and that when each of these three witnesses was signing. and triplicate was laid on the round table and the signing began. Gregorio Imperial segun mis instrucciones cuyo documento tengo aqui conmigo y encuentro que.n. and at the end of the instrument proper. — one on the margin of each of the nine pages. Madarieta. Don Jesus . After signing the original and the two other sets. the duplicate as Exh. as testator. Balana.

No.a Tinay together with their four children Francisco. The respondent court ruled that the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25. This finding is conclusive upon this Tribunal and We cannot alter. 1949 (Exh. denied probate of the will after . 54492-R) which findings are supported by the evidence. Jorge S. 804. Hence.M.. This cited portion of the appealed decision accepts as a fact that the findings of the lower court declaring the contested will as having been executed with all the formal requirements of a valid will. (CA Decision.R. Don Jesus was appointed executor of the will and in due time the partition of the properties or estate of Doñ. . Don Jesus and Doñ. Respondent court. 1955 and codicils dated August 14. We find no error in the conclusion arrived at that the contested will was duly executed in accordance with law. . Pablo. however. 474-480.a Tinay. barring him from violating said partition agreement. 13-16. are supported by the evidence.a Tinay subsequently executed separately their respective holographic wigs both dated January 5." First was the fact that the spouses Don Jesus and Doñ. At that moment. We rule that the questioned last will and testament of Don Jesus Alsua fully complied with the formal requirements of the law. 1956 with the same terms and conditions as reproduced herein earlier. Imperial as Notary Public with commission for the entire province of Albay.it is quite difficult to conclude that the same had not complied with the requirements of Arts. and Don Jesus invited all of them to lunch. 1960. Joint Record on Appeal in CA-G. as translated).. barring him from revoking his . there is no further need for Us to dwell on the matter as both the lower court and the respondent appellate court have declared that these are the facts and such facts are fully borne and supported by the records. A) which divided the conjugal properties of the spouses between the spouses themselves and the children under the terms and conditions and dispositions herein before stated and to implement its provisions. review or revise the same. notarized the wilt and sealed it with his notarial seat which seal he brought along that morning. Amparo and Fernando had executed the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25.'noting certain details which were a little bit difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of life. 1949 was an enforceable contract which was binding on Don Jesus Alsua as the surviving spouse.a Tinay was approved by the probate court on July 6. pp. Both holographic wills and codicils having been probated thereafter and upon the death of Doñ. The signing by the testator and the attesting witnesses having been completed. it was already about 12:30 P. After all the three sets were notarized.806 of the New Civil Code. which invitation was gladly accepted by all of then-L (pp. they were all given back to Don Jesus who placed them inside the same folder.and the two other attesting witnesses were present and Witnessing said Signing. Atty.

We do not agree with this ruling of the Court of Appeals. no contract may be entered into with respect to future inheritances. to partition his properties pursuant to the provisions of Article 1056 of the old Civil Code. Article 1056 specifically uses the word "testator" from which the clear intent of the law may be deduced that the privilege of partitioning one's estate by acts inter vivos is restricted only to one who has made a prior will or testament. 1955 and his codicil of August 14. In other words. supra. Nevertheless. such partition shall stand in so far as it does not prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs. and We quote the pertinent portions of the decision: têñ. 1271. in accordance with Article 1056. These Articles provide as follows: têñ... the Supreme Court categorically declared the necessity of a prior will before the testator can partition his properties among his heirs. even future ones. We do not agree with this ruling of the respondent court. In Legasto vs. 776. 1955 and in the codicil of August 14. Finally. 1959. 1956. which are not excluded from the commerce of man. We hold that the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25. and further barring him from executing his new will and testament of November 14. Again. 1949 was ratified in the holographic will executed by Don Jesus on Jan.holographic will of January 5. 54 Phil. except those the object of which is to make a division inter vivos of an estate. or by will. Verzosa. a person who executes a will is permitted at the same time or a little thereafter or even before as long as he mentions this fact in the will. Article 1056 being an exception cannot be given a wider scope as to include in the exception any person whether he has made a will or not. Verzosa. may be the subject-matter of contracts.£îhqw⣠. 5. The court further added that jurisprudence is to the effect that the partition presupposes the execution of the will that it ratifies or effectuates. Respondent court citing the same Article concluded that under both the old and new Civil Code. All services not contrary to law or to good morals may also be the subjectmatter of contract.£îhqw⣠Art. 1056. . All things. now the subject of the probate proceedings elevated to this Court. Art. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act inter vivos. citing the case of Legasto vs. 1949 is null and void under Article 1056 in relation to Article 1271 of the old Civil Code which are applicable hereto. 1956. respondent court held the opinion that the extrajudicial partition of November 14.

1903. it is evident that said difference likewise leads to the conclusion that a partition thus made should be on the basis of a testamentary or legal succession and should be made in conformity with the fundamental rules thereof and the order of the heirs entitled to the estate. otherwise. otherwise. in a decision rendered on June 13. must be understood in accordance with this distinction. The Idea is to divide the estate among the heirs designated by the testator. inasmuch as the second paragraph of article 1271 makes reference to the aforesaid article. Considering that. was valid and enforceable. partition his property referred to in the section wherein said article is found. nor included in the chapter referring to testaments. laid down the following doctrine: Considering that the language of article 1056 cannot be interpreted to mean that a person may. without the authority of a testament containing an expression of his last will. to the forms thereof. or the authority of law. for. The Supreme Court of Spain. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act inter vivos. the defendants and appellants herein. would have to be done upon the death of the testator in order to carry into effect the partition of the estate among the persons interested. or by will. because neither of the two provisions could be given a wider meaning or scope than that they simply provide for the division of the estate during the lifetime of the owner. and the provision of article 1056 authorizing the testator to dispose of his property by acts inter vivos or by last will. authorized. a partition thus made would be tantamount to making a will in a manner not provided for. whereby they give to their children the whole or a part of their property. This designation constitutes the disposition of the properties to take effect after his death. 1056. such partition shall stand in so far as it does not prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs. which. in providing that no contracts may be entered into with respect to future inheritances except those the object of which is to make a division inter vivos of the estate in accordance with article 1056.The first question to decide in the instant appeal is whether the partition made by Sabina Almadin of her property among her nieces. Article 1056 of the Civil Code provides: Art. and especially. Manresa comments on the same article as follows: A distinction must be made between the disposition of property and its division. . by acts inter vivos. which is entirely different from the legal consequences of a free disposition made by parents during their lifetime.

for purposes of partition the formal solemnities which must accompany every testament or last will are not necessary.and said act must necessarily appear in the testament because it is the expression of the testator's last will and must be surrounded by appropriate formalities. supra and the commentary of Manresa as quoted above. speaks of the partition inter vivos made by a testator of his property. are of opinion that a testator may. in article 1056 as well as in article 1057. it erred in holding that Don Jesus being a party to the extrajudicial partition of 1949 was contractually bound by the provisions thereof and hence could not revoke his participation therein by the simple expedience of making a new will with contrary provisions or dispositions. for without a will there can be no testator. Neither is it necessary to observe the special for. that the respondent court erred in denying probate to the will of Don Jesus dated November 14. It is an error because the so-called extrajudicial partition of 1949 is void and inoperative as a partition. realities required in case of donations. neither is it a valid or enforceable contract because it involved future inheritance. by an act inter vivos." the law evidently desired to distinguish between one who freely donates his property in life and one who disposes of it by will to take effect after his death. partition his property. 1959. Considering that the document. it necessarily refers to that property which he has devised to his heirs. makes allusion to the forms or manner of making the partition and not to the effects thereof. to wit. therefore. Manresa. but of dividing those which already have been legally disposed of. We rule that there was substantial compliance with the rules on donations inter vivos under the old Civil . And it could not be otherwise. Verzosa. A person who disposes of his property gratis inter vivos is not called a testator. is not warranted under the ruling of Legasto vs. the extrajudicial partition of November 25. it may only be given effect as a donation inter vivos of specific properties to the heirs made by the parents. but a donor. It is thus seen that both the Spanish Supreme Court and the learned and authoritative commentator. We rule. but he must first make a will with all the formalities provided for by law. or by an act inter vivos. because it is not a matter of disposing gratuitously of properties. Such a holding of the appellate court that a person who executes a will is permitted to partition his properties pursuant to the provisions of Article 1056 of the old Civil Code even before executing his will as long as he mentions this fact in the will. the division in conformity with that disposition. the law. which means that. 1949 which under the old Civil Code was expressly prohibited as against public policy had been validly ratified by the holographic will of Don Jesus executed on January 5. Then comes the second part. With these words. 1949. which we shall hereafter examine. In employing the word "testator. when the law. 1955 and his codicil of August 14. contained specific designation of properties allotted to each child. therefore. 1956. We are not in conformity with the holding of the respondent court that the extrajudicial partition of November 25. and the testator may make this division in the same will or in another will.

In her holographic will. It must be stressed here that the distribution of her properties was subject to her holographic win and codicil. This other half. 1955 and her codicil dated August 14. 633.a Tinay. made to their children valid donations of only one-half of their combined properties which must be charged against their legitime and cannot anymore be revoked unless inofficious.a Tinay and We find no indication whatsoever that Doñ. the other half remained entirely at the free disposal of the spouses with regards to their respective shares. The acceptance must be made in the deed of gift or in a separate public writing.a Tinay on October 2. remained as the disposable free portion of the spouses which may be disposed of in such manner that either of the spouses would like in regards to his or her share in such portion. therefore. as stated in the deed. is that Don Jesus and Doñ. This is fundamental because otherwise. authentic notice thereof shall be given the donor.£îhqw⣠. unencumbered by the provision enjoining the last surviving spouse to give equally to the children what belongs or-would pertain to him or her.Code (Article 633). but it shall produce no effect if not made during the lifetime of the donor. If the acceptance is made by separate public instrument. We have carefully examined the provisions of the holographic will and codicil of Doñ. therefore. mention of her children as heirs was made in the fourth clause but it only provided that. 818) and secondly because upon the death of Doñ.a Tinay. only her estate was being settled. 1959. Upon the death of Doñ. The end result. was to be divided equally among the children for the simple reason that the property or properties were not specifically described in the public instrument. there could have been no valid donation to the children of the other half reserved as the free portion of Don Jesus and Doñ. On the other hand. In order that a donation or real property be valid it must be made by public instrument in which the property donated must be specifically described and in the amount of the encumbrances to be assumed by the donee expressed.a Tinay which. and this proceeding shall be noted in both instruments. and not that of Don Jesus. 1956.a Tinay expressly or impliedly instituted both the husband and her children as heirs to her free portion of her share in the conjugal assets.£îhqw⣠Art. to wit: têñ. in the Deed of 1949. independently of the holographic will and codicil of Don Jesus executed by him on the same date. her share in the free portion was distributed in accordance with her holographic will dated January 25. an essential requirement under Article 633 which provides as follows: têñ. to consider both wills and codicils jointly would be to circumvent the prohibition of the Civil Code on joint wills (Art.

including all those properties which we shall acquire after the execution of this document. that is. In case it should be God's will that I survive my spouse. se dividan por igual entre mis herederos mencionados despues de mi muerte. For purposes of clarity and convenience. this fourth clause provided that "Should I acquire new properties after the execution of this testament.£îhqw⣠I leave to my spouse Don Jesus Alsua as his legitime and as his inheritance the part of the free portion of my property which have not been allocated in favor of my children in the Document of Partition aforecited and that which should exceed 1/2 of the conjugal property of gains that pertains to him as above stated. the children would only inherit together with Don Jesus whatever new properties Doñ. the above portion states: têñ. Likewise. Que si yo adquieriese nuevase propiedades despues de otorgado este mi testamento seran las mismas repartados entre mi esposo o hijos arriba mencionada en el parrafo tercero su la misma proporcion o sea: la mitad (1/2) para is esposa.Cuatro. . no dispuestas aun en la reparticion.a Tinay instituted her husband as sole heir to her share in the free portion of the conjugal assets.half (1/2) to my spouse. should be divided equally among my above-mentioned heirs after my death. y la otra mitad (1/2) para mis hijos en partes iguales. 3 in the same proportion.£îhqw⣠Dejo a mi esposo Jesus Alsua como su legitima y como herencia que se sacara de ni cuenta de libre disposicion todos aquellos bienes de los que no he dispuesto aun en favor de mis hijos en la escritura de reparticion precitada y que excedieran de la mitad de gananciales que le corresponds tal como arriba declare. Again for purposes of clarity and convenience. Para el caso de que Dios dispusiera que yo sobreviviera a mi esposo declaro que es mi voluntad que todas las propiedades de todo genero que me pertenecen y me pudieran pertenecer. which have not been disposed of pursuant to the partition. I hereby declare that it is my will that any and all kinds of property that pertains to me or would pertain to me. incluyendo todos aquenos bienes que se adquiriesen por nosotros despues de otorgado por mi este testamento. and We quote that part of the codicil: têñ.a Tinay would acquire after the execution of her will. one. the same shall be partitioned among my spouse and above named children or the children mentioned in above par. the codicil of Doñ." From the above-quoted provision. and the other half to my children in equal parts.

the meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of the wilt Normally this comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. would remain revokable at his discretion. In fine. To stress the point. the next issue for the Court's resolution is the validity of the provisions of the contested will. Respondents insist that Don Jesus was bound by the extrajudicial partition of November 25.a Tinay in the event that she should be the surviving spouse.. For them. 17 SCRA 499: têñ. Nuguid. therefore. New Civil Code). that Don Jesus was not forever bound thereby for his previous holographic will and codicil as such.a Tinay.a Tinay bequeathed to Don Jesus under her holographic win and codicil became part of Don Jesus' estate unburdened by any condition obligation or proviso.." There can be no restriction that may be made on his absolute freedom to revoke his holographic will and codicil previously made. 1949 and had in fact conformed to said Partition by making a holographic will and codicil with exactly the same provisions as those of Doñ.a Tinay's wig and codicil did not stipulate that Don Jesus will bestow the properties equally to the children. Don Jesus retained the liberty of disposing of his property before his death to whomsoever he chose. 739). however. . Art. After clearly establishing that only Don Jesus was named as sole heir instituted to the remaining estate of Doñ.£îhqw⣠The parties shunted aside the question of whether or not the will should be allowed to probate. provided the legitime of the forced heirs are not prejudiced. Though the law and jurisprudence are clear that only questions about the extrinsic validity of the will may be entertained by the probate court. 828 of the new Civil Code is clear: "A win may be revoked by the testator at any time before his death. We rule. all such properties she was bequeathing him.The children.a Tinay did not oblige her husband to give equally to the children. which is not herein claimed for it is undisputed that only the free portion of the whole Alsua estate is being contested. Any waiver or restriction of this right is void. passed upon the intrinsic validity of a will even before it had been authenticated. in law. . This would still hold true even if such previous will had as in the case at baralready been probated (Palacios v. Considering now the efficacy of Don Jesus' last will and testament executed on November 14. revoke his previous holographic will and codicil. 106 Phil. on more than one occasion. the rights to the succession are transmitted only from the moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777. Doñ. upon his death. Thus We declared inNuguid v. and after clearly pointing out that Don Jesus can.a Tinay in her holographic will and codicil resulting in all such properties becoming the properties of Don Jesus alone. And secondly. by making another win expressly cancelling and revoking the former. which respondent court sustained. Palacios. For in the first place. the Court had. probate only authenticates the will and does not pass upon the efficacy of the dispositions therein. it follows that all the properties of Doñ. 1959 in view of Our holding that Doñ. would only receive equal shares in the remaining estate of Doñ.

nevertheless it would be venturesome for the court to advance its own Idea of a just distribution of the property in the face of a different mode of disposition so clearly expressed by the testatrix in the latter will. expense. effort. it is beyond the place of judicial cognizance to inquire into the fairness or .. this litigation win be protracted and for ought that appears in the record. to Pablo and Francesca... We have clearly laid down this rule in Bustamante v. We cannot and may not sit in judgment upon the motives and sentiments of Don Jesus in doing so. .. to wit: têñ. or Pablo as in fact he was. it must be presumed that the intention of Don Jesus in his last win was not to revoke the donations already made in the Deed of 1949 but only to redistribute his remaining estate. 73 Phil. 635.. and a statement naming Francesca as executrix without bond. 1955 and the codicil of August 14. a statement bequeathing the rest of his properties and all that may be acquired in the future. and provided the law on legitimes has not been violated. The last Will and Testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14. The legitimes of the forced heirs were left unimpaired. On the contrary.a Tinay. Arevalo. If he now favored Francesca more. 1956. . before his death. This being so. a close scrutiny of the properties distributed to the children under the Deed of 1949 and those distributed under the contested will of Don Jesus does not show that the former had in fact been included in the latter. plus added anxiety. These are the practical considerations that induce us to a behalf that we might as well meet head-on the time of the validity of the provisions of the will in question. 1959 contained an express revocation of his holographic wig of January 5. The only functions of the courts in these cases is to carry out the intention of the deceased as manifested in the wig. not one of said forced heirs claimed or intimated otherwise.. Considering these testamentary provisions. the institution of all his children as devisees and legatees to certain specific properties. as claimed by private respondents. It would be a dangerous precedent to strain the interpretation of a will in order to effect what the court believes to be an equitable division of the estate of a deceased person.. as in fact. or that portion of the conjugal assets totally left to his free disposal and that which he received as his inheritance from Doñ.£îhqw⣠. in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will probability exists that the case win come up once again before us on the issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the wilt Result: waste of time.. Once that intention has been determined through a careful reading of the will or wills.. The properties that were disposed of in the contested will belonged wholly to Don Jesus Alsua's free portion and may be diamond of by him to whomsoever he may choose. a statement requiring that all of his properties donated to his children in the Deed of 1949 be collated and taken into account in the partition of his estate. If the case were to be remanded for probate of the wilt nothing will be gained.

or from age. Mere weakness of mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from age-does not render a person incapable of making a will. The test of testamentary capacity is at the time of the making of the win. to consider Don Jesus as a man of culture and honor and would not snow himself to violate the previous agreement. there are numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity and while on one hand it has been held that mere weakness of mind. or partial imbecility from disease of body. and that degrees of mental aberration generally known as insanity or Idiocy. or unshattered by disease. it is not necessary that the mind be unbroken or unimpaired or unshattered by disease or otherwise. the actual administration of his properties had been left to his assistant Madarieta who.. 799. (Bugnao vs. faced two alternatives-one. provided he has understanding and memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is about to do and how or to whom he is disposing of his property. because as already stated. 163).unfairness of any devise or bequeast. unimpaired. Ubag. for his part received instructions from Francisco and her husband.£îhqw⣠Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which unquestionably carries with it full testamentary capacity. or that his mind be wholly unbroken. which is not legally tenable. She was the sole judge of her own attitude toward those who expected her bounty. To constitute a sound and disposing mind. têñ. it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties. The court should not sit in judgment upon the motives and sentiments of the testatrix. According to the court. in trying to rationalize the will of Don Jesus which allegedly benefited and favored the petitioner to the prejudice of the other heirs who would have been entitled to an equal share under the extrajudicial partition of 1949. a weak or feebleminded person may make a valid will. Under Article 799 of the New Civil Code which provides as follows: têñ.. . It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of. first. To be of sound mind. Respondent court. and the other as one whose mental faculties or his possession of the same had been diminished considering that when the will was executed. will not render a person incapable of making a will. the proper objects of his bounty.£îhqw⣠Art. and secondly. he was already 84 years of age and in view of his weakness and advanced age. . Joseph Betts. the better explanation is the latter. because there are no adequate means of ascertaining the inward process of her conscience. 14 Phil. It has been held that testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that a person shall actually be insane or of unsound mind. nothing in the law restrained her from disposing of her property in any manner she desired. and the character of the testamentary act. injury or other cause.

surmises or . the acceptance by the respondent court of the findings of fact of the trial court on the due execution of the last win and testament of Don Jesus has foreclosed any and all claim to the contrary that the will was not executed in accordance with the requirements of the law. could be made the basis for finding that Don Jesus Alsua had regarded his other children with less favor. and that he was more sympathetic to Francisca so as to or forget the former depriving them of benefits already given to them and rewarding the latter with disproportionate advantages or benefits. (b) the semi-final draft of the contested will prepared by his lawyer w-as even corrected by Don Jesus. gleaned from the quoted portions of the appealed decision. he had no intention of seeking the probate thereof during his lifetime.The Civil Code itself provides under Article 798 that in order to make a will. "Don Jesus was in bright and lively spirits .£îhqw⣠Precisamente es por lo que he Ilamado a ustedes que eaten presentes para ser testigos de mi ultima voluntad y testamento que ha sido preparado por el abogado Sr. esta satisfactoriamente hecho segun mis ingtrucciones. In the case at bar.. despues de lo he leido. Gregorio Imperial segun mis instrucciones cuyo documents tengo aqui con migo y encuentro que. Exh. it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution. 1959 is concerned. the law presumes that every person is of sound mind in the absence of proof to the contrary. We find that: (a) it was Don Jesus himself who gave detailed instructions to his lawyer as to how he wanted to divide his properties among his children by means of a list of his properties should pertain. 1956 during his lifetime but insofar as the will of November 14. the described behavior of Don Jesus is not that of a mentally incapacitated person nor one suffering from "senile dementia" as claimed by private respondents.. From these accepted facts. Como saben ustedes tengo cuatro (4) hijos todos ellos. the alleged redundant and unnecessary proceedings undertaken by Don Jesus in the properties under question to petitioner Franciso AlsuaBetts when the same properties had already been bequeathed to her in the will of November 14.. 1959 and that "nothing. leading in the conversation which ran from problems of farming and the merits of French-made wines". Clearly then. absolutely nothing. Don Jesus knew exactly what his actions were and the fun implications thereof. and under Article 800. But more than that. to such an extreme as to violate his previous disposition consecrated in the previous extrajudicial partition. (c) on the day of the signing of the will at his house in Ligao. in the words of the decision "are a little bit difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of fife" such as the fact that Don Jesus had sought the probate of his will of January 5. 1955 and his codicil of August 14. 8." We agree with the petitioner that these details which respondent court found difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of life are mere conjectures. to wit: têñ. In rejecting probate of the wilt respondent court further pointed out other details which. (d) the signing of the will by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses was made after a statement from Don Jesus of the purpose of their meeting or gathering.

It is true that the jurisprudence of this Court in cases brought to Us from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising the errors of law imputed to it. Private respondents mainly contend that the sales were fictitious or simulated. The fact that Don Jesus did not cause his will to be probated during his lifetime while his previous holographic win and codicil were duly probated when he was still alive is a mere speculation which depends entirely on the discretion of Don Jesus as the testator. A conjecture is always a conjecture. surmises or conjectures (Joaquin vs. The general rule laid down by the Supreme Court does not declare the absolute correctness of all the findings of fact made by the Court of Appeals. 2. where We have reviewed and revised the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals. When the inference made is manifestly mistaken. These are exceptions to the general rule. Navarro. do not warrant or justify disallowance of the probate of the win of Don Jesus. When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation. The law does not require that a will be probated during the lifetime of the testator and for not doing so there cannot arise any favorable or unfavorable consequence therefrom. This is as good a conjecture as the respondents may offer or as difficult to accept which respondent court believes. there having been no actual consideration paid. the annulment case. 74 Phil. Among the exceptions to the rule that findings of fact by the Court of Appeals cannot be reviewed on appeals by certiorari are: 1. petitioners herein maintain that it was error for the respondent court to set aside on appeal the factual findings of the trial court that the two sales were valid. therefore. and this same principle applies even if the Court of Appeals was in disagreement with the lower court as to the weight of evidence with a consequent reversal of its findings of fact. 15). . it can never be admitted as evidence. speculation or conjecture is no valid and legal ground to reject allowance or disallowance of the wig. however. Such surmise. On the other hand. The only issue raised anent the civil case for annulment of the two Deeds of Sale executed by and between Don Jesus and petitioner Francisco is their validity or nullity. Now. They further insist that the issue raised is a question of fact and. not reviewable in a certiorari proceeding before the Supreme Court. its findings of fact being conclusive. The parties cannot correctly guess or surmise the motives of the testator and neither can the courts. Linatok. While We can speculate that Don Jesus desired to have possession of the properties transferred to Francisca after the sale instead of waiting for his death may be a reasonable explanation or speculation for the act of the testator and yet there is no certainty that such was actually the reason. 93 Phil. The same thing can be said as to whatever reason Don Jesus had for selling the properties to his daughter Francisca when he had already assigned the same properties to her in his will. absurd or impossible (Luna vs. But what should not be ignored by lawyers and litigants alike is the more basic principle that the "findings of fact" described as "final" or "conclusive" are those borne out by the record or those which are based upon substantial evidence. 257).speculations which.

People. went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee (Evangelists vs. L-9590. 1962 with a notation acknowledging the receipt of BPI Check No.3. a deed of sale over agricultural lands executed on August 26. Co.000. and the signature of Pablo Alsua as an instrumental witness. also admittedly not a forgery. April 23. (3) Exhibit "F". Evident from the records are the following documentary evidence: (1) Exhibit U. 4. his signatures thereon were not assailed. D-6980 in the amount of P47.355. In the case at bar. in making its findings. again not assailed as a forgery nor alleged as done thru fraud. 1958. drawn by Francisco and payable to Don Jesus. a deed of sale over urban lots executed on November 16. and 6. April 30. again. Nov.29 from Don Jesus Alsua in payment of Balance of Transfer of Tax Ass.G.29. 9. L-22533.71. (6) Exhibit "X-3 " and "X-5 ". which document bears the signature of Don Jesus. 1967. acknowledging receipt of a Bank of Philippine Island Check No. (7) Exhibit "A" (in the annulment case). 1961 by Don Jesus in favor of Francisca for the consideration of Seventy Thousand Pesos (P70. Alto Surety & Ins. 19 SCRA 289).644. 2927). (5) Exhibit "X-1". Where there is a grave abuse of discretion (Buyco vs.. The claim of the private respondents that the sales were fictitious and void for being without cause or consideration is as weak and flimsy as the ground upon which the respondent court upheld said claim on the basis that there was no need for funds in Don . Sosing. 1962 in the amount of ?47. 1961 and signed by Don Jesus and Pablo Alsua as witness.00). 1962 for the consideration of Eighty Thousand Pesos (P80. (4) Exhibit "X". a Bank of the Philippine Islands Check No.000.00). in the amount of P32. D-6979 dated November 26. payable to Don Jesus. 1962. force or threat. Pepsi Cola. again. (2) Exhibit "W". Francisca for the total consideration of P150. Pablo did not deny the genuineness of his signature. We are convinced and satisfied from this array of documentary evidence that in fact. D-6980) also dated November 26. not assailed as a forgery.000. When the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica vs.00) for the sale of 33 parcels of agricultural land to Francisco under the same date. Villaseca. When the Court of Appeals.000. EA-35415-19 plus interest. a document dated August 26. endorsements on the back of the last two checks by Don Jesus. which document also bears the signature of Don Jesus. a second Bank of Philippine Islands Check (No. 5. When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts (Cruz vs. We find and so declare that the respondent court's conclusion as to the nullity of the contested sales was not supported by the evidence on record and adduced during the trial. 27.355. a Bureau of Internal Revenue Receipt (No. Feb. 1957). 51 O. drawn and signed by Francesca.00. No. 0252 in the amount of Seventy Thousand Pesos (P70. Don Jesus sold the subject properties to his daughter. 1953). L-4875. L-11139. Ramos vs. 2347260) dated November 29.

as a witness. RAMIREZ.R. which show that the checks of Francisco made payable to Don Jesus. the genuineness of which were not at all assailed at any time during this long drawn-out litigation of 15 years standing. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. LIRIO PFANNENSCHMIDT RAMIREZ. We find his allegation belied by Exhibits "X-3 " and "X-5 ".: . L-19910 May 31. No. Private respondents further insist that the sales were fraudulent because of the inadequacy of the given price. 699 and Civil Case No. that there was fraud. G. with costs against respondents. Diokno for petitioner-appellant. JOSE MA. petitioner-appellant. (Article 1355.Jesus' old age aside from the speculation that there was nothing in the evidence that showed what motivated Don Jesus to change his mind as to favor Francesca and discriminate against the other children. SO ORDERED. That the consideration stated in the contracts were paid is also sufficiently proved as the receipts thereof by Don Jesus were even signed by one of the private respondents. We do not find the stipulated price as so inadequate to shock the court's conscience. New Civil Code). The two contracts of same executed by Don Jesus in favor of Francesca are evidenced by Exhibits "U" and "W". The latter cannot now deny the payment of the consideration And even of he now allege that in fact no transfer of money was involved. Pablo Alsua. 3068 is hereby reinstated. Jose W. mistake or undue influence. The decision of the Court of First Instance Of Albay in Special Proceedings No. J. considering that the price paid was much higher than the assessed value of the subject properties and considering that the sales were effected by a father to her daughter in which case filial love must be taken into account. oppositor-appellee. Inadequacy of consideration does not vitiate a contract unless it is proven which in the case at bar was not. WHEREFORE. were in fact given to Don Jesus as he endorsed them on the back thereof. Sycip. Salazar. MAKALINTAL. Luna & Associates for oppositor-appellee. which proved that Don Jesus actually used Exhibit "XI " to complete payment on the estate and inheritance tax on the estate of his wife to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. vs. and most specifically Exhibit "A" in the annulment case. the decision appealed from is hereby set aside. 1971 IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF MARIE GARNIER GARREAU.

At issue in this appeal is the due execution of the last will and testament of Maria Gamier Garreau, which was denied probate by the Court of First Instance of Manila in its order of August 15, 1961 (Special Proceeding No. 39365) on the ground of the testatrix' lack of testamentary capacity. Maria Gamier Garreau, widow of Ramon Ramirez, was a native of Asnier Paris, France, but a Filipino citizen residing in Madrid, Spain, where she died childless at the age of 84 on January 11, 1959. The will in question was an "open" one, executed before a notary public in Madrid on May 24, 1958, and instituting her niece Lirio (Lily) Pfannenschmidt now appellant, as sole and universal heir. Lirio is one of the four children of Jose Ramirez, brother of the testatrix husband Ramon, the other three being Elsa, Esperanza and Horacio. Ramon had a half-brother, Jorge P. Ramirez, whose son, Jose Maria Ramirez, now appellee, opposed the petition for probate filed by Urio on February 20, 1959, alleging in his opposition, inter alia, that there was a prior will executed by the testatrix in Manila in 1949. The photostat copy of that will, marked in the record as Exhibit D and Exhibit 2-J, shows that the testatrix instituted her husband as her universal 'heir, and in the event that he should predecease her (which he did), named her niece Lily Ramirez and her nephews Horacio Ramirez and Jose Ma. Ramirez as substitute heirs to all her properties in equal shares. This previous will, however, is not involved in this case, and has been referred to by the parties only in relation to the background circumstances concerning the execution of the "open" will in 1958. Ironically enough — and certainly not without some overtones of poetic justice — the order of the trial court denying probate is based in no small part on a number of letters written by the petitioner herself, in which she used quite strong terms to describe the mental infirmity of the testatrix. Those letters were written by her in 1956 and 1957 to her uncle, Jose Eugenio Ramirez de la Cavada, another brother of the testatrix husband, Ramon Ramirez. Even before then, however, the testatrix' mental condition was already the object of serious concern among her close relatives. The testimony of Jose Eugenio Ramirez, given in the form of deposition and submitted as Exhibit 3, discloses the following facts: He arrived in Madrid in 1954. His niece Lily who was then residing there, came to him and said that she could not accept the fact that Jose Maria Ramirez (herein oppositorappellee) had been named as heir in the will of her aunt, not being a member of the same family group. Lily, obviously referring to the 1949 will, then suggested to her uncle that he do something to correct the same, which suggestion he turned down, pointing out that the testatrix had the right to name her nephew Jose as one of her heirs. When he arrived in Madrid he found his sister-in-law "ya una mujer muy incapacitada." In 1955 he consulted a physician, Dr. Romero de Arcos and asked him to examine her. Dr. de Arcos had been treating the patient for various ailments, and it was he who suggested, after conducting his examination, that Dr. Jose Germain, competent specialist, be called to make his own diagnosis. The medical opinions of these two doctors will be discussed later. But from his own observations, Jose Eugenio Ramirez declared that his sister-inlaw was even then mentally incapacitated, citing by way of example her attitude and personal reaction when her husband died in 1956. She was present at his death and

saw his body just before he was buried; but when she went to her room after the funeral and saw that his bed was no longer there she came out crying asking where her husband was and saying that she was going to look for him. She had totally forgotten that he had passed away. Apart from that, she was easily susceptible to any suggestion from others, particularly those close to her, and after doing what she was told would promptly forget all about it. Another deponent, Julio Escribano Langa, a resident of Madrid who had known the spouses Ramon Ramirez and Maria Gamier Garreau for about nine years, testified to the same mental condition of the testatrix: her susceptibility to another person's influence; her lack of memory for recent events, her lack of understanding of, or volition for deciding, certain matters such as the making of a last will. Dr. Manuel Ramon de Arcos was first called to the Ramirez household in 1953 to treat Ramon Ramirez, and after that his wife, on a number of occasions until 1958. The material statements in his deposition are as follows: ... Alla por 1953 debia tener 77 o 78 años de edad, y en esa señora se notaba cada vez mas falta de memoria, eso mucho, y a veces tenia cosas extranas, como imaginarse que habia hecho un viaje que no habia hecho o de escribir cosas como sobre la casa de un cunado suyo en Palma donde nunca habia estado, y con el tiempo fue siguiendo la cosa asi pero motives de alarma en cuanto a su vida no. xxx xxx xxx Desde hacia tiempo ya que esta senora no tenia lucidez mental y antes se me pidio que yo certificara de su estado exacto y yo me encontre poco competente para ello, y efectivamente due que yo queria Ilevar adelante una exploracion en el sentido neurologico y yo necesitaba que alguien que se dedique a esa especialidad venga conmigo y entonces se Ilamano al Dr. Germain, y esto fue en marzo de 1955. El diagnostico a que Ilegamos, que despues fue confirmado, era de una involucion cerebral senil que Ilamanos a una involucion regresiva debido a defectos cerebrales de arteriosclerosis, y cuando se tiene eso cuando las cosas son asi realmente, la enfermedad no retrocede y la involucion avanza; es posible que algana vez yo la saludara y ella me contestara con mas afecto y pareciese que estaba mejor pero en realidad la involucion avanzaba como es normal. Dr. Jose Germain, who had been called in consultation by Dr. de Arcos in April 1955, presented an impressivecurriculum vitae attesting to his qualifications as a psychiatrist. The conclusions he arrived at after his examination of the patient are set forth in his deposition as follows:

xxx xxx xxx P. Quiere usted explicar la naturalization de los servicios prestados por usted? R. Sencillamente estudiar a la enferma bajo el punto de vista psiquiatrico y analizar sus reacciones ante las preguntas normales de orientation del tiempo y del espacio y contestaciones a una serie de pruebas o tests, y sobre esto forme un juicio que transmiti al Dr. Romero. P. Que juicio forms usted? R. Que esta senora padecia un proceso arterioesclerotic cerebral con alteracion del pensamiento y de la conducta que evidenciaba un estado de demencia presenila en evolucion. P. Ese estado de demencia presenilla la incapacitaba para realizar actos como un testamento con lucidez? R. Indudablemente. P. La evolucion de la enfermedad hace suponer posible que sea curable? R. No, señor, es un proceso irreversible y progresivo. P. Que experiencias hizo usted con la enferma? R. No recuerdo, pero eran las usuales. P. Tenia memoria? R. Si señor, pero perturbada. P. Gravemente perturbada? R. Perturbada para las circumstancias normales de la vida. P. Un sujeto en esas condiciones, tiene voluntad libre o es facilmente presionable de ser llevado por personas extranas a resoluciones no personales del enfermo?

P. Repito que es un proceso irreversible y. No. P. Si senor. Al reconocer a ella. Usted dijo que era una enfermedad irreversible. Exacto. No. P. conoce los requisitos para una . P. Ha expedido usted un certificado? R. es decir que no tiene curacion? R. Si senor. el primero que venga. Esta senora incurria en todos los elementos para ser incapacitada totalmente? R. Normalmente por personal de su intimidad? R. Por cualquier persona. Todos estos enfermos lo que tienen es una disminucion del criterio personal y. senor. SR. son susceptibles de ser influenciados. la sintomatologia tenia que seguir mas o menos en el primer plano de su personalidad. Pero puede mejorarse? R.R. por tanto. senor. por tanto. P. GALLARDON: Nada mas. tenia usted algun prejuicio? R. Pero usted incapacitacion? R. Si senor. P. P. Podia esta persona tener intervalos lucidos para que fueran validos? R. irreversible y progresiva es un proceso degenerativo cerebral. xxx xxx xxx P.

. In another letter (Exh. She must have done that with Irene.000 telling her that with that money they would go to Paris and if Mr. 3-F) dated May 4. Everyday several times a day she (Doña Marie) tells me she is going back to Paris. In her letter of January 8.S. 2-A) she wrote: I am trying to do all I can for poor Tia Marie who refuses to be helped. Poor dear she is getting worse and worse everyday. 2-B) dated July 15. 1956 (Exh. On January 29. 1956. assume a vital significance on the issue of testamentary capacity. as Tia Marie would have forgotten about the money no sooner having collected it." Such was the testatrix' mental condition that as early as 1956 appellant. Appellants. Her mind does not register anything y es terriblemente dura de cabeza. in which she said: Tia Marie has completely forgotten Irene from the second day she left. in her letter of January 8. Tia Marie signed for the money I went to collect and when I came back from the bank she did not ask me for it. 1957. and of her own credibility as proponent of the probate of the will. 1957 (Exh. 1957 appellant again wrote a letter to her uncle. * You will remember that Irene was with them when the thousands of pesos the Tios had for a rainy day were spent in two shakes of a lamb's tail. she would have kept it for herself. had the same idea. Jose Eugenio Ramirez. 3-C) contained the following postcript: P.In the light of the foregoing expert medical opinions the letters written by herein appellant to her uncle. and Doña Maria had "completely forgotten (her) from the second day after she left. Collard would have had the money to send. the Philippine administrator of the family of the testatrix. she said to her uncle: I think it is my duty to look after her (Doña Marie) now that she is alone especially since the poor dear is completely in Irene's hands. This morning she asked me where Tio Ramon (who had died the previous year) was. Cavanna. and so expressed it in his letter to appellant (Exh. succeeded in leaving her dismissed from the service." Jose M. having suspected the maid Irene of taking advantage of Doña Marie's susceptibility to extraneous influence. Irene must have told Tia Marie to ask Mr. Collard for the 40. Appellant's letter of January 17. told her uncle that she was thinking of having her aunt judicially pronounced incapacitated and asked him to send her "the papers of the doctors who declared Tios Ramon and Marie incapaces.

Jose Eugenio Ramirez. me lo negaron y aseguraron no haber recibido de mi ninguna cantidad de dinero. en que trataban de negar mis afirmaciones. En otra occasion anterior a estos acontecimientos tambien me aseguraron no haber recibido uno de los giros de $300. No solo no devolvian el duplicado sino que no acusaban recibo de ella y en muchisimas ocasiones no sabian en donde lo habia dejado. confeso que se habia olvidado y no se volvio a hablar de ese asunto." and that "Irene has taken complete possession of every penny and gives Tia Marie no account of anything. en vista del hecho de que ella misma habia firmado todos los cheques y no pudo seguir negando el hecho.00 enviados y hechas las correspondientes avariguaciones resulto haber sido cobrador por Da Marie.000 pesetasso that she could draw regularly thereon which she did. Pepe Eugenio para que actuara en sus intereses en Espana y les enviara los fondos que se recibian de Manila en forma tal que no les hiciera falta nada para que no se les perdiera tantos fondos. Estaba entonces presente D. Pepe Eugenio y yo y alli se corroboro todas mis afirmaciones y quedo probada la poca o casi ninguna memoria que existia en Da Marie. pues Ilego a suspecharse de una sirvienta que entonces tenian que resultaba mas que sirvienta una ama de compania." * appellant expressed herself quite strongly in this wise: . Legal a pensarse la conveniencia de promover un expediente de tutela pero no se Ilevo a cabo para que no sufrieran en vida la vajacion de ser judicialmente declarados incapacitados por su avanza da edad. when after a year he again went to Madrid Doña Marie. dieran su conformidad y devolviesen uno de los ejemplares. denied ever having received any money from Cavanna. Pepe Eugenio que habiendo oido sus insistentes protestas de no haber recibido el ano anterior cantidad alguna mia a exepcion de los giros mensuales. Pero este hecho dio lugar que desde entonces los familiares comprendiendo el exceso de gastos que hacia y la suma tan gruesa que se habia gastado en aquel ano acordaron designar como en efecto se designo a Dn. Lamenting the fact that her aunt was "completely in Irene's hands. Referring to that incident. Tambien entonces habia hecho constar que se les enviaba trimestralmente las cuentas de sus fondos por duplicado con objeto de que despues de estudiada. in the presence of her brother-in-law. Al dia siguiente nos constituimos en el Banco D. He had deposited for her account in a bank in Madrid the sum of 100. However. note que llego dudar de mis afirmaciones y entonces le invite ir al Banco en donde habia hecho el deposito para cerciorarse de aquellos hechos.making reference to the fact that the testatrix had very little memory or almost none at all. Cavanna continued in his letter to appellant: Recordandoles la suma que les habia dejado en mi visita el ano anterior.

A subsequent letter of appellant. that will never came to light. "to know the nature of the estate to be disposed of. a degenerative mental. appellee herein. As you will note the date is Feb. Evidently Horacio was also an heir therein. Civil Code). I am doing this so that the letter appears to have been written before her new will." so if Boby by any chance tries to contend it you will have her letter as a farther proof that is what she had every intention to do. and the character of the testamentary act" (Art. . The less people know of the new will the better in case action should be taken against it. Romero de Arcos and by a qualified psychiatrist. wherein Jose Maria Ramirez. this time addressed to her brother Horacio.. was mentioned as one of the heirs." The manifestations of this condition are amply illustrated in the letters written by appellant herself as well as in the testimony of her uncle. The same fear was reiterated in her letter of February 2. 3-E). Dr. but then was subsequently eliminated in the 1958 will which was actually presented for probate by appellant. Tear this letter no sooner read in case it falls into wrong hands. The foregoing letter appears quite conspiratorial. and actually took the initial steps towards that end. 799. 1957 (Exh. reveals a significant development.. that is." For some reason not disclosed in the record. Appellant wrote to her brother: Enclosed am sending Tia Marie's letter to you. leads to the definite conclusion that Marie Gamier Garreau was indeed mentally incapacitated to make a will. Dr. had been changed with a new one eliminating him. as. the proper objects of (her) bounty. and the enclosed letter of the testatrix had been antedated to February 2 so that it would appear "to have been written before her new will. dated April 9. though the will referred to in it had been obtained by appellant in order to cut off Boby (appellee) from any share in the inheritance. As early as 1955. Jose Eugenio Ramirez. Apparently the 1949 will. when she was examined by the family physician. Que chasco y disgusto tendriamos si resultase Irene la heredera de los Tios. 2nd.After all if the worst comes to the worst it is better that I who am a member of the family should cheat Tia Marie rather than an absolute stranger. cumulatively considered. Keep her letter where it will be clear to see that the reason why Boby (appellee) does not appear in her new will is because he intended to take Tio Ramon to the "Tribunates. Cosa muy posible conociendo las cosas que ha hecho y lo engañados que tenia a los pobres Tios. So Cillo (Horacio) for goodness sake keep it in a safe or in the bank until you will have use of it. In fact these two were convinced that the testatrix should be placed under judicial guardianship. The evidence hereinabove discussed. 2-K). Appellant's subsequent turn-about in her opinion of the testatrix' mental condition is of course understandable. Jose Germain. she was already suffering from pre-senile dementia. infirmity that was described by them as "a progressive and irreversible process. 1957 (Exh. considering that in the will she is named as sole and universal .

19. No puedo decir eso pero ella estaba con su sobrina. Diga usted si Doña Maria Garnier Garreau se daba cuenta de que estaba otorgando un testamento? R. The notary public. Haga usted el favor de explicar su contestacion a la pregunta anterior. It would seem that he was aware that he had no sufficient basis for a categorical opinion on the subject. pues si estaba capacitada sabia lo que hacia. aunque supongo que recordara a sus parientes. No selo que quieren decir con esa pregunta. The most pertinent evidence in behalf of appellant is the testimony of the notary public before whom the will in question was executed and the testimony of two of the three instrumental witnesses. 21. that the testatrix had a recollection of her properties or of the relatives who would logically inherit from her and when asked to explain his answer to the question concerning her mental state. But precisely for this reason not much reliance can be placed upon her testimony to the effect that the testatrix was possessed of the necessary testamentary capacity. They are vague and evasive. He affirmed that the testatrix was in "perfect" mental condition at the time of the execution of the will. Manuel Gomez Tortajada was one of the instrumental witnesses. Diga usted si la testadora recordaba sus parientes? R. A mi juicio estaba bien.heir. As may be noted. he simply referred to the certification in the will on that point. and so declined to fully commit himself. and tend to beg the very issue. Diga usted si la testadora recordaba sus propriedades? R. Braulio Nolasco Carrasquedo. gave the following statements on the subject of the testatrix' mental condition: 17. Supongo que si aunque el en testamento no se permite a menos que se hagan legados. the foregoing statements of the notary public are far from satisfactory. Se contesta con la repuesta anterior. that . Sabe usted cual era el estado mental de dicha senora cuando otorgo el testamento anexo 1? R. Yom juzgo que ella estaba capacitada y hay una clausula all de que esta capacitada legalmente. 20. pero aqui es un testamento en terminos generales. 18. R. Thus the witness could not say. but merely supposed.

pero el lenguaje de ellas no lo entendia y no se si podian hablar de propiedades u otras cosas. by way of rebuttal. were presented by appellant. The affirmation is rather strange' not to say incredible. who were a niece and a sister of that niece.she knew "perfectly" that he was executing a will. whose deposition is marked Exhibit Q. the witnesses and the notary himself. . P. and about her relatives. that on another occasion she had even told him about certain properties of hers. His diagnosis was that she had a "brain lesion" "(lesion en el cerebro). and that all that took place then was that the said will was read by the notary and then signed by the testatrix. the recollection of the properties to be disposed of and of the relatives who might have a claim upon the testatrix' generosity. such as capacity to comprehend the nature of the testamentary act. And according to the latter he did not ask her anything about her properties or her relatives. Yo oi que ella hablaba con la senorita que le acompafiaba y creo que tenian parentezco pero hablaban en el idioma de ellas." The foregoing testimony leaves much to he desired insofar as the issue of testamentary capacity is concerned: no reference whatsoever was made therein to the very elements of that issue. saying that she had a recollection of her properties as well as of her relatives.. The testimony of this witness on deposition gives the distinct impression of officiousness. The other instrumental witness was Antonio Fernandez Caballero. considering that he met the testatrix for the first and only time in the office of the notary public on the occasion of the execution of the will. of pretending to be more intimately familiar with the affairs of the testatrix than their casual acquaintance justified. He likewise affirmed the good condition of the testatrix' mental faculties. Yo quicro decir que esta senora como hablaba algo diferente de nosotros todo lo que pudiera hablar no me entraba bien si ella hablaba con la sobrina. The first was Dr.. He said that as a neurologist and a psychiatrist he was called several times in 1957 to Marie Garnier Garreau. Indeed this instrumental witness admitted that he did not understand the language spoken by the testatrix on that occasion: R. Three additional witnesses. but had a mentality corresponding to her age. In any case his affirmation of the testatrix "perfect" mental condition was so obviously an exaggeration in the face of the clear and convincing evidence to the contrary that it only serves to weaken his credibility. En un test que se hubiera hecho con ella hubieramos visto resultados contradictorias segun el momento de atencion en que se lo hicieramos que era muy variable. Suils Perez. "Era una mujer que en interes o atencion dejaba mucho que desear salvo en las cosas que le interesaban . But did the testatrix talk about her relatives on that occasion? R .

cuando estaba ya Lily con ella que fue cuando la vi. From the tenor of his testimony the testatrix was a completely normal person during the period of their acquaintance. the weaknesses in their statements. was the second rebuttal witness for appellant. he said. he actually remained in another room. a priest." Gonzalo Conejos Fernandez was the third rebuttal witness. and told him that she had previously made a will in Manila where she was leaving her properties to her niece Lily. Although he was present when the will was executed. He was therefore in a position to cure. and even told him that she had a house in Paris. y que este . The testimony of this witness was not given weight by the trial court. A lawyer by profession. he said he was consulted by the testatrix. she was never absent-minded (alelada). porque no iba a ver a la difunta precisamente sino a Lily. y despues cuando volvia yo ya no se acordaba de que habia estado yo alli. also by deposition." Asked whether the testatrix remembered things normally. and he did not know that she was suffering from cerebral arteriosclerosis or from pre-senile dementia. una hermana o hermano. The testatrix. after he came to know her in 1956.Salustiano Reyero." (evidently referring to appellee). y que el motive de decidir que toda su herencia fuera de Lily. Cavanna and the designation of another in his place as well as the proceedings for the adoption of appellant by the said testatrix. whose testimony was given in the form of deposition. His impression was that she was not susceptible to suggestion coming from or influence exerted by other persons. the notary public and the instrumental witnesses transacted the business at hand. was in possession of her mental faculties. about certain personal matters. reacted well to questions directed at her. y estaba como si no tuviera interest. this witness answered: "Algunas veces no. The witness was present at the execution of the will in question on May 24. esta Senora (testatrix) me dijo que tenia otorgado un testamento en Manila distribuyendo la herencia entre Lily. that she was aware of the nature of the act in which she was engaged and that she had a recollection of her relatives and properties. he qualified his assertions as follows: algunos ratos parecia que estaba alelada. However. and he noted. to a brother or a sister of the latter and to a "senor Ramirez. y un Señor Ramirez (appellee). who had been present during the taking of the depositions of the previous witnesses for appellant. He was presented as a rebuttal witness. It does suffer from the view point of credibility. rectificando su anterior testamento. but that because of certain actuations of appellee which did not please her she did not consider him deserving of being her heir. era debido aparte de las consideraciones de tipo afectivo a que me he referido al hecho de que ella estuvo casada con un Senor Ramirez.. She consulted him also about what kinds of wills were permitted under the Spanish law. the "antesala. 1958. he said. The witness was quite elaborate about the motive behind the execution of the new will making appellant the sole heir. He said: . as he apparently tried to do. "algunes veces note" eso cuando fui. hijo natural de su padre. among them the revocation of a power-ofattorney given to Jose M.." which was separated by a glass partition from the room where the testatrix.

G. and we cannot say that his conclusion as to the testamentary incapacity of the testatrix is erroneous. It is based mainly on expert medical testimony to the effect that her mental infirmity was observed by the family physician as far back as 1953 and confirmed in 1955 by a competent psychiatrist. on the written admissions and declarations of appellant herself. 1988 THE HEIRS OF THE LATE MATILDE MONTINOLA-SANSON. J. The issue here is essentially one of fact. with costs against appellant. and on the testimony of the testatrix' brother-in-law. If the foregoing were true. conflicting as they do not only with the evidence for appellee but also with that given by the other witnesses for appellant. inconclusive statements of the notary public who authenticated the will and of the two instrumental witnesses. appellant's full brother who was one of the heirs mentioned in the previous will executed in Manila and against whom the testatrix entertained no grievance.Senor tenia un hijo legitimo. petitioners. 1985. GANCAYCO. who would have no motive then to falsify the facts.1986 affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. a quien habia procedido de esa forma. cuando murio el hijo (evidently referring to appellee) de este hijo legitime quiso anular las disposiciones de su padre que no distinguio entre Ia condicion natural or legitimo.R. y por esta razon. que era sobrino de la difunta no le consideraba acreedora ser heredero de ella. That issue was addressed in the first instance to the trial Judge. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS. and had indeed been confided to the witness by the testatrix. 76648 February 26. respondents. Horacio Ramirez. No. the order appealed from is affirmed. Jose Eugenio Ramirez. Branch XXII 2 dated March 21.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 promulgated August 29. COURT OF APPEALS and EDUARDO F. nor even of the testimony of the rebuttal witnesses. the more categorical character of whose affirmations only serve to weaken their credibility. vs. HERNANDEZ. who described the process of the mental degeneration as progressive and irreversible. y a pesar de Ilevarse en buenas relaciones. and involves an appraisal of the conflicting evidence presented by the parties. it is strange that she should cut off from her new will not only the appellee but also the other nephew. the dispositive part of which reads: . we find no ground to disregard such evidence in favor of the vague. On the question of credibility.

4 The testatrix. as well as the certificate of probate prescribed under Section 13 of Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. petitioner's son.1981. 1980. After a hearing on the merits. 9 Attached to her motion was the Affidavit of Merit of Gregorio Montinola Sanson. 3 This case arose from a petition filed by private respondent Atty. Hernandez on April 22. 1981 6 appointed private respondent as Special Administrator of the testate estate of deceased. and allowing and admitting the same to probate. let letters testamentary issue to the executor. private respondent who was named executor in the will filed an urgent motion for appointment of special administrator. Eduardo F. filed her Opposition to Probate of Will. Petitioner thus appealed the decision of the probate court to the Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the decision. and that the will failed to institute a residual heir to the remainder of the estate. alleging that witnesses have been located whose testimonies could shed light as to the ill health of the testatrix as well as undue influence exerted on the latter.1986. 1981 with the Court of First Instance of Manila (now Regional Trial Court) seeking the probate of the holographic will of the late Herminia Montinola executed on January 28. . who died single. Upon the finality of the decision. devised in this will several of her real properties to specified persons. finding the evidence presented in support of the petition to be conclusive and overwhelming. the only surviving sister of the deceased but who was not named in the said win. 8 On September 24.1981. On April 29. parentless and childless on March 29. the Court renders judgment declaring the holographic will marked in evidence as Exhibit "H" as one wholly written. Eduardo F. dated.1981 at the age of 70 years. 7 alleging inter alia: that the subject will was not entirely written. dated and signed by the testatrix herself and the same was falsely dated or antedated. Hernandez.WHEREFORE. and signed freely by the late Herminia Montinola in accordance with law while in possession of full testamentary capacity. the court in its order of May 5. 5 With the conformity of all the relatives and heirs of the testatrix except oppositor. that the testatrix was not in full possession of her mental faculties to make testamentary dispositions. On June 29. Matilde Montinola Sanson (petitioner). that undue influence was exerted upon the person and mind of the testatrix by the beneficiaries named in the win. the probate court. petitioner filed with the respondent court a motion for new trial. rendered its decision allowing the probate of the disputed will. SO ORDERED.

petitioner assigned the following errors: I THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL ON THE GROUND THAT THE EVIDENCE SOUGHT TO BE PRESENTED IS MERELY CUMULATIVE. 10 denied the motion for new trial of petitioner on the following grounds: (1) the Affidavit of merit attached to the motion alleged that efforts were exerted to locate unnamed witnesses only after the court's decision was handed down.The appellate court in its resolution of October 13. IV THE SAID COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ALLEGED WILL WAS FRAUDULENTLY ANTEDATED TO CONCEAL ITS ACTUAL DATE OF EXECUTION AND TO SHIELD IT FROM PROBABLE DISPUTES AS TO THE TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY ON THE PART OF THE ALLEGED TESTATRIX AT THE TIME OF ITS ACTUAL EXECUTION. In the petition now before Us. III AT ANY RATE. The motion for reconsideration of petitioner dated October 27. THE SAID COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL IN QUESTION WAS WHOLLY WRITTEN. 1986. 1986 11 was likewise denied by the appellate court in its resolution of November 20. II THE SAID COURT ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE RESOLUTION DENYING THE AFORESAID MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL. DATED AND SIGNED BY THE LATE HERMINIA MONTINOLA. and (2) the unnamed witnesses would allegedly shed light on the fact of grave illness of the testatrix as well as the undue influence exerted on her which are merely corroborative or cumulative since these facts were brought to light during the trial. V . 1986 12 on the ground that the affidavit of one Patricia Delgado submitted with the motion constitutes cumulative evidence and the motion being in reality a second motion for reconsideration which is prescribed by law.

4. The motion shall be accompanied by affidavits showing the facts constituting the grounds therefor and the newly discovered evidence. Rule 53 provides — Before a final order or judgment rendered by the Court of appeals becomes executory. was substituted by her heirs. On the other hand. Section 1. VI THE SAID COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL IN QUESTION TO PROBATE.I am convinced that they would testify under proper subpoena for purposes of shedding light on the fact that the testatrix was gravely ill at or but the time that the questioned will was allegedly executed. We find merit in this contention. That they had the clear opportunity to know the circumstances under which the purported will was executed. a motion for new trial may be filed on the ground of newly discovered evidence which could not have been discovered prior to the trial in the court below by the exercise of the diligence and which is of such a character as would probably change the result. Rule 53 of the Rules of Court. In the meantime. The affidavit of merit executed by Gregorio Montinola Sanson alleged the following: xxx xxx xxx 3. That in her plea for new trial in the said case. I have exerted efforts to locate witnesses whose whereabouts were not known to us during the trial in the lower court. 1986. In the first and second assigned errors. petitioner who passed away on November 3. 1. 5. and that they know for a fact that .THE SAID COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE LATE HERMINIA MONTINOLA WAS NOT SUBJECTED TO UNDUE PRESSURE AND IMPROPERIMPORTUNINGS ON THE PART OF THOSE STANDING TO BENEFIT FROM THE ALLEGED WILL. but I have finally succeeded in tracking them down. petitioners maintain that the appellate court erred in denying the motion for new trial insisting that the new evidence sought to be presented is not merely corroborative or cumulative. the contention of private respondent is that the motion for new trial was a pro-forma motion because it was not in accordance with Sec. That despite their initial reluctance to testify in this case.

there was 'undue influence' exerted by petitioner and other relatives to procure improper favors from the testatrix. The appellate court correctly denied the motion for new trial. The motion for new trial being pro-forma. Moreover. petitioners son in his manifestation admitted that he had to request a new law firm to do everything legally possible to meet the deadline for the filing of a motion for reconsideration and/or for new trial. The alleged new witnesses were unnamed without any certainty as. 16 Accordingly. 15 In addition.1986. We agree with the appellate court that since the alleged illness of the testatrix as well as the charges of undue influence exerted upon her had been brought to light during the trial. The evidence which the petitioner now propose to present could have been discovered and presented during the hearing of the case. And when the motion for reconsideration of petitioner was filed on October 30. otherwise they are not valid. and new evidence on this point is merely corroborative and cumulative which is generally not a ground for new trial. The lone affidavit of a witness who was already presented said the hearing is hardly sufficient to justify the holding of new trial. such evidence even if presented win not carry much probative weight which can alter the judgment. 14 The affidavits are required to avoid waste of the court's time if the newly discovered evidence turns out to be immaterial or of any evidentiary weight. thus failing to comply with the requirements of rule 53. . 18This would explain the haphazard preparation of the motion. Affiant attests only on his belief that they would testify if and when they are subpoenaed by the court. In fact. to their appearance before the court to testify.1986. The requisite affidavits must state facts and not mere conclusions or opinions. the decision of the respondent court became final on the following day. it could not be said that the evidence sought to be presented is new having been discovered only after the trial. it does not interrupt the running of the period for appeal. it was obviously filed out of time. 17 It is very patent that the motion for new trial was filed by petitioner only for the purpose of delaying the proceedings. and there is no sufficient reason for concluding that had the petitioner exercised proper diligence she would not have been able to discover said evidence. the allegations in the affidavit as to the undue influence exerted on the testatrix are mere conclusions and not statement of facts. Furthermore. which was filed on the last day of the reglementary period of appeal so that the veracity of the ground relied upon is questionable. It is apparent from the allegations of affiant that efforts to locate the witnesses were exerted only after the decision of the appellate court was handed down. the fifteenth or last day of the period to appeal. The trial lasted for about four years so that petitioner had ample time to find said alleged witnesses who were admittedly known to her. 19 Since petitioner's motion was filed on September 24. September 25. xxx xxx xxx 13 Said motion for new trial is not in substantial compliance with the requirements of Rule 53.

the findings of the probate court as to the due execution of the will and the testamentary capacity of testatrix are now conclusive. 22 or the probate of holographic wills. These testimonies more than satisfy the requirements of Art. Revised Rules of Court. In the case of Pecson v. Coronel. the petition will also have to fail. During the hearing before the probate court. The factual findings of the probate court and the Court of Appeals that the will in question was executed according to the formalities required by law are conclusive on the Supreme Court when supported by evidence. The liberty to dispose of one's estate by will when there are no forced heirs is rendered sacred by the Civil Code in force in the Philippines since 1889. 24 it was held — The appellants emphasize the fact that family ties in this country are very strongly knit and that the exclusion of a relative from one's estate is an exceptional case. As regards the alleged antedating of the will. 23 We have examined the records of this case and find no error in the conclusion arrived at by the respondent court that the contested will was duly executed in accordance with law. being the only surviving sister of the testatrix with whom she shares an intimate relationship. It is true that the ties of relationship in the Philippines are very strong. it is no longer within the province of this Court to review it.. the latter had . 20 At any rate. She relied only on the supposed inconsistencies in the testimony of Asuncion Gemperle. It is within the right of the testatrix not to include her only sister who is not a compulsory heir in her will. thus demonstrating the lack of testamentary capacity of testatrix. per testimony of Asuncion Gemperle. but we understand that cases of preterition of relatives from the inheritance are not rare. 811 of the Civil Code 21 in conjunction with Section 11 of Rule 76. not only were three (3) close relatives of the testatrix presented but also two (2) expert witnesses who declared that the contested will and signature are in the handwriting of the testatrix. niece and constant companion of testatrix..Since the questioned decision has already become final and executory. Petitioner alleges that her exclusion from the alleged holographic will was without rhyme or reason. Article 842 of the Civil Code provides that one who has no compulsory heirs may dispose by will of all his estate or any part of it in favor of any person having capacity to succeed. This being so. which upon careful examination did not prove such claim of antedating. even assuming that We can still review this case on its merits. petitioner failed to present competent proof that the will was actually executed sometime in June 1980 when the testatrix was already seriously ill and dying of terminal lung cancer. Nevertheless.

other than compulsory heirs have been omitted. testatrix disposed of only eleven (11) of her real properties does not invalidate the will. as it is not enough that there was opportunity to exercise undue influence or a possibility that it may have been exercised. 26 Diversity of apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament. and speed of writing . otherwise. and even though the person so instituted should not accept the inheritance or should be incapacitated to succeed. Furthermore. Petitioner still insists that the fact that in her holographic will the testatrix failed to dispose of all of her estate is an indication of the unsoundness of her mind. or such institution should not comprise the entire estate. 841 of the Civil Code provides — A will shall be valid even though it should not contain an institution of an heir.000. petitioner's son Francis was instituted as an heir in the contested will. Spontaneity. In such cases. the decedent might as well die intestate. Thus. 27 The contention of the petitioner that the will was obtained by undue influence or improper pressure exerted by the beneficiaries of the will cannot be sustained on mere conjecture or suspicion. To Our minds. it is the testator's right to disregard non-compulsory heirs. or is it an indication that the testatrix was of unsound mind. freedom. 25 The fact that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of neither fraud or undue influence.29 Finally. the most authentic proof that decreased had testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of the Will. The portion of the estate undisposed of shall pass on to the heirs of the deceased in intestate succession. is the Will itself which according to a report of one of the two expert witnesses (Exhibits X to X-3) reveals the existence of significant handwriting characteristics such as: 1. Neither is undue influence present just because blood relatives.reserved two boxes of jewelry worth P850. for while blood ties are strong in the Philippines. the fact that in her holographic will.00 for petitioner. We cannot subscribe to this contention. 28 The exercise of improper pressure and undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence that it was actually exercised. the testamentary dispositions made in accordance with law shall be complied with and the remainder of the estate shall pass to the legal heirs. Art. We quote with approval the observation of the respondent court — There is likewise no question as to the due execution of the subject Will.

MARGARITA LOPEZ. leaving a considerable estate. good line quality. and (3) that the signature of Tomas Rodriguez to the document was obtained through fraud and deceit. 1986 in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila dated March 21. presence of natural variation. 1985 is hereby declared to be immediately executory. SO ORDERED. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit with costs against petitioner. (Exhibit X). and LUZ LOPEZ L-24569 DE BUENO. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS. freedom and good line quality could not be achieved by the testatrix if it was true that she was indeed of unsound mind and/or under undue influence or improper pressure when she the Will. petitioner-appellant appellant. The characteristics of spontaneity. MANUEL TORRES. Shortly thereafter Manuel Torres. among others.. Capili & Ocampo and Thomas Cary Welch for appellee.xxx xxx xxx 3. opponent-appellee. one of the executors named in the will asked that the will of Rodriguez be allowed. Marcaida. Araneta & Zaragoza for appellant. (2) that undue influence had been exercised by the persons benefited in the document in conjunction with others who acted in their behalf. 1926 G.. Tomas Rodriguez died in the City of Manila Philippine Islands. J. After a prolonged trial judgment was rendered denying the legalization of the will. On February 25. vs. The decision of respondent court dated August 29. 4. No. February 26. the first cousin of the deceased on the grounds: (1) That the testator lacked mental capacity because at the time of senile dementia and was under guardianship.R.: This case concerns the probate of the alleged will of the late Tomas Rodriguez y Lopez. Malcolm. these findings: . Opposition was entered by Margarita Lopez. 1924. In the decision of the trial judge appeared.

It must also be taken into account that Tomas Rodriguez was an old man 76 years of age. One brief contains two hundred seventy-four pages. Two errors are specified. The usual oral argument has been had. which Exhibit 4. The topics suggested by the assignments of error – Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence – will be taken up separately and in order. 23) From the decision and judgment above-mentioned the proponents have appealed. p. made by persons interested in the executions of said will. and (2) the court below erred in holding that the signatures of Tomas Rodriguez to the will were obtained through fraudulent and deceitful representations. Tomas Rodriguez did not possess the mental capacity necessary to make the same. viz: (1) The court below erred in holding that at the time of signing his will. due to his being mentally and physically incapacitated and therefore unable to manage his property and take care of himself. Exhibit A. The record is voluminous – close to two thousand typewritten pages. The court must scale this mountains of evidence more or less relevant and of argument intense and prolific to discover the fertile valleys of fact and principle. the other four hundred fifteen pages.All this evidence taken together with the circumstances that before and at the time Tomas Rodriguez was caused to sign the supposed will Exhibit A. the court is of the opinion that the will cannot be probated for it appears from the declaration of the attesting witness Elias Bonoan that when the legatee Luz Lopez presented the supposed will. and was sick in the hospital when his signature to the supposed will was obtained. then pending in the justice of the peace court. competent to make a will. she told him to sign said Exhibit A because it was a document relative to the complaint against one Castito. But even supposing as contended by petitioner’s counsel that Tomas Rodriguez was at the time of execution of the will. All of this shows that the signature of Tomas Rodriguez appearing in the will was obtained through fraudulent and deceitful representations of those who were interested in it. An attempt . and for the further reason that said Tomas Rodriguez was then under guardianship. to Tomas Rodriguez. with a varied assortment of exhibits. (Record on Appeal. and the copies thereof there already existed a final judgment as to his mental condition wherein he was declared physically and mentally incapacitated to take care of himself and manage his estate shows in a clear and conclusive manner that at the time of signing the supposed will of Tomas Rodriguez did not possess such mental capacity as was necessary to be able him to dispose of his property by the supposed will.

His breakdown was undoubtedly due to organic weakness. There he was to remain sick in bed until his . A trial had at which considerable oral testimony for the petitioner was received. it may as well be mentioned here as later. Tomas Rodriguez designated Vicente F. 642. This episode concerns the effort of deputy sheriff Joaquin Garcia to make service on Tomas Rodriguez on October 31. to advancing years and to an accident which occurred in 1921 (Exhibit 6). I. I again entered his room. . Tomas Rodriguez was taken to the Philippine General Hospital on November 27. on his initiative. but he asked what the order said. R. TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY A. We will let the witness tell in his own words what happened on the occasions in question: I found him lying down on his bed. . but after reading the order he asked me what the order meant. ‘I read it to you so that you may appear before the court. The deposition of Tomas Rodriguez was taken and a perusal of the same shows that he was able to answer nearly all of the questions propounded intelligently (Exhibit 5-g). – For a long time prior to October. declaring Tomas Rodriguez incapacitated to take care of himself and to manage his property and naming Vicente F.. On October 22. Lopez. Ultimately. 1923. on August 10 1923. And when it (the cleaning of his head) was finished.) To return to our narrative – possibly inspired by the latter portion of the order of Judge Diaz. (Exhibit 37).will be made under each subject first to make findings of fact quite separate and apart from those of the judge and second to make findings of law and the law by rendering judgment.’ then I read it again. 1923. in view of that fact I left the order and departed from the house. he was yet capable of looking after his property with the assistance of his administrator. . (S. and told him that I had an order of the court which I wanted to read as I did read to him. understand. Tomas Rodriguez was in feeble health. Inasmuch as counsel for the appellee make such of one incident which occurred in connection with the guardianship proceedings. Vicente F. Facts. 1923. 1923. Margarita Lopez petitioned the Court of First Instance of Manila to name a guardian for Tomas Rodriguez because of his age and pathological state. Lopez as his guardian. This petition was opposed by Attorney Gregorio Araneta acting on behalf of Tomas Rodriguez for the reason that while Rodriguez was far from strong on account of his years. an order was issued by the presiding judge. p. Lopez as the administrator of his property (Exhibit 7). At the conclusion of the hearing.

Santiago Lopez states that on one occasion when he was visiting Tomas Rodriguez in the hospital . and Gregorio Araneta ((Exhibit 9). In corroboration of the above statements. Lopez (S. it is our duty to comply with it. Elias Domingo. Antonio Haman. Romana Lopez. there were permitted to visit the patient only the following named persons: Santiago Lopez. On the door of the patient’s room was placed a placard reading – “No visitors. Indeed the last named persons experienced considerable difficulty in penetrating in to the room of Rodriguez. Manuel Ramirez. Then I arrived in the house of Vicente Lopez. The attorney expected to return to the hospital on December 31st to have the will executed but was unable to do so on account of having to make a trip to the provinces. Rodriguez expressed to him a desire to make a will and suggested that the matter be taken up with Vicente F. then we agreed that on the morning next to the following evening that is on the 16th. we transcribe a portion of Judge Mina’s testimony which has not been challenged in any way: ARANETA: Q. who then interviewed Maximino Mina. Apolonia Lopez. he consulted me or presented the question as to whether or not D. This information Santiago Lopez communicated to Vicente F. Accordingly. Luz Lopez de Bueno. sisters. I should go to the General Hospital and so I did. Decubitus” (Exhibit 8). The physician in charge during this period was Dr. R. having announced his desire to do so. the papers were left with Santiago Lopez. except father. In the clinical case record of the hospital under the topic “Diagnosis (in full). Hernia inguinal. mother. Benita Lopez. Lopez. p. I told him that it seemed that we were not called upon to decide or give an opinion as to whether or not he can make a will.” (Testimony of head nurse physician. The list did not include the names of Margarita Lopez and her husband Antonio Ventura. 550). Trinidad Vizcarra. and brothers. . He ascertained the wishes of Rodriguez and wrote up a testament in rough draft. Remedio Lopez. Will you please tell your motive for holding an interview with Vicente Lopez? MAXIMINO MINA: A. Tomas could make his will.” we find the following “Senility. In accordance with this request. it is a question to be submitted to the court.. a practicing attorney in the City of Manila. for the purpose of securing him to prepare the will. Then he requested me to do what was necessary to comply with his wishes: I told him I was to see him.death. but as he had announced his desire. Judge Mina conferred with Tomas Rodriguez in the hospital in December 16th and December 29th. after the usual greeting and other unimportant things.

Manuel or Santiago Lopez also. Won’t you specify the property to be given to each of them? What for? All my property. Well and as legacy won’t you give property to other persons? answers. What.’ ‘ How do you do? Very well. Did D. and then he also asked me. He cannot come because he has many things to do. your tenant. I think. Did you go to the hospital in the evening of the 16th? – A. ‘ Good evening. Tomas tell you his desire to make a will? OCAMPO: Leading. attorney. The profession gives almost nothing it is better to have properties. if anything. Then I asked him. sir. Tomas tell you on that occasion when you saw him there? – A. Where is your office? I work in the office of Mr. Unfortunately. Did you meet D. so he told me to come. sir. Where have you studied?’ ‘In the University of Santo Tomas. would you want to be your executor? After hesitating a little. Tomas. Chicote must be rich. D. Tomas Rodriguez? – A. it seems to me that he is. do you want to specify said properties. What is your religion? He answered. The conversation I had with him that evening – according to my best recollection – I cannot tell the exact words and perhaps the order.’ Mina. What for? they know them.’ Oh. Q. and besides it is hard for him and makes him tired. Please tell us what conversation you had with D. ARANETA: I withdraw. He told me that. Tomas.’ How are you. I have none. Which properties do you want to give to your cousin and niece? All my properties. Yes. since you want to make a will. did D. Well. in Quiapo. I am an attorney but do not depend upon my profession. I interrupted D.’ Are you an attorney? Yes. Q. just came here in the name of D. After being asked. Q. sir I have. Won’t you give any to those relatives? What for? was his answer. Roman Apostolic Catholic.’ Well. a good district. I also said. and your? Also Roman Apostolic Catholic. That Mr. it is gay a commercial place you must have some business there because that is a commercial place. Yes. something. he is my attorney-in-fact as to all property. what did you have anything more to say . After the usual greetings. Tomas saying. Vicente Lopez why does he not come. Chicote. you must be have because the profession alone does not give enough. Whom do you think. And you. This Torres. D. to say what they are? and he again said. Tomas? – A. To whom else? To my cousin Vicente Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez. they will know it. Good evening. when and to whom do you want to leave your fortune? Then he said.’ ‘It is convenient to preserve the Catholic religion that our descendants have left us. Don’t you have any other relatives? Yes.’ Where do you live? I live in Quiapo.Q.

Q. Yes. After the greetings.. Good Christmas present. Yes. After this believing to have done my duty. With Santiago Lopez and Don Tomas. and he again asked. and especially now that the fiesta of Quiapo is co ming near. dating it the 31st of December. Did you have any other occasion to see him? – A. Tomas. Q. ‘You know that Vicente Lopez has sent me to get these dispositions of yours. With whom did you make the arrangement to make the will on the evening of the 31st of December – you said that it was agreed that the will be executed on the evening of December 31st? – A. putting everything in order. When do you want it done? Later on. Q. Tomas. the fiesta of the Holy Child and of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ because we also talked about the fiesta of San Sebastian. Because as I had not received any message either from Vicente Lopez or Tomas Rodriguez. 1923. and he said. so I went to the General Hospital of my own accord – since I had not received any messages from them – with a rough draft which I had prepared in accordance with what he had told me in our conversation. Here I am D. we agreed that Santiago . Q. We can do it takes only a few minutes. Q. Do you want to read it?’ ‘Please do me the favor of reading it. isn’t it?’ I did not tell him anything and in view of that I did not deem it necessary to stay there any longer. After reading. I fixed up the draft which I had. Why did you go to see him? – A. also in the evening. I called his attention. as I had received notices in connection with the few cases I had in the provinces particularly in Tayabas. Then I remind him.’ In view of that statement of his.’ I asked him.’ and then I interrupted him. I again reminded him that we could not do it because the witnesses were not there and he explained. Is it all right. I told him. I read it slowly to him in order that he could understand it . Where were you born? I told him in Quiapo. which compelled me to be absent from Manila until January 1st at least.’ I looked out through the door to see if I could call some witnesses but it was late then and it was thought better to do it on the 31st of December. Then we talked about other things. Was the will executed on the 31st of December? – A. When? – A. D. do it. now I can execute the will. On December 29. ‘ But we don’t have witnesses. good district. Ah. that is the way.few words – you see it takes only a few minutes. this is the rough draft of your will in accordance with your former statements to me in order to submit it to you. I will send for you. I bade him good-bye. Yes. for I might be there for several days. What happened is this: In view of that agreement. he answered.as to your testamentary dispositions? No.

the will which was prepared by him is identical with that signed by the testator and the attesting witnesses with the single exception of the change of the date from December 31. 1924. Philippine Islands. 244-249. tell me if that is the will or copy of the will which you delivered to Santiago Lopez on December 21. in the presence of the witness who sign below. What may be the meaning of those words good Christmas present? – A. I name my cousin Vicente F. Q.) As the witness stated. Two copies besides the original of the will were made. Manuel Torres and D. Philippines Islands. 1923. With the exception of the words ’3 de enero de 1924′ It seems to be literally identical. The will is brief and simple in terminology. to January 3. (S. 1923? – A. Third. They are given a Christmas present when Christmas comes or on the occasion of Christmas.) TOMAS RODRIGUEZ . For purposes of record. we copy the will as here translated into English: ONLY PAGE In the City of Manila. I appoint D. 1924. pp. but it happened that before the arrival of that date Santiago Lopez came and told me that I need not trouble about going to the General Hospital. do freely and voluntarily make this my will and testament in the Spanish language which I know. with the following clauses: First I declare that I am a Roman Apostolic Catholic. of age and resident of the City of Manila. (Sgd. I. consisting of one single page. I show you this document which is marked Exhibit A. and order that my body be buried in accordance with my religion. Tomas Rodriguez. standing and circumstances. I told Santiago Lopez that I would leave the papers with him because I might go to the provinces. In view of this and bearing always in mind that on the following day I had to go to the provinces. In witness whereof I sign this typewritten will. Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno as my only universal heirs of all my property. Santiago Lopez as my prosecutors. Second.would meet me on 31st day between five and six in the evening or a little before. Q. R. because it could not be carried out for the reason that certain requisites were lacking. this January 3. 31.

Dr. S. 8 of Vl. Luz Lopez de Bueno and Mrs. (Sgd. 34. De Asis. Q. Doctor Bonoan’s testimony along this line is as follows: QUESTIONS. L. p. physicians. R. such as the identification of the signatures to the will .. One emanates from the attesting witness. S. Elias Fernando Calderon. Legarda. 1924 there gathered in the quarters of Tomas Rodriguez in the Philippine General Hospital. Court: Objection overruled. MARCAIDA : Q. A. LEGARDAELIAS BONOAN A. daughter of Vicente Lopez. As to what actually happened. Elias Domingo and Dr. .On cross-examination. Who is that Luz whom you have mentioned? – A.) On the afternoon of January 3. Bonoan: A. Luz Lopez. DE ASIS (Exhibit A. DE ASIS We hereby certify that on the date and in the place above indicated. He testified on direct examination as to formal matters. Florentino Herrera. we have in the record two absolutely contradictory accounts. Doctor Bonoan. The other is the united testimony of all remaining persons who were there. attesting witness. at least they were hovering in the background. Because I was called up by Mrs. ) Possibly also Mrs. we signed at the bottom thereof in the presence of the testator and of each other. Dr. and Dr. Luz by telephone telling me to be in the hospital at 3 o’clock sharp in the afternoon of the 3d of January. Santiago Lopez and Dr. LEGARDA A. L. (Testimony of Elias Bonoan. p.) V. he rather started the proponents of the will by stating that Luz Lopez de Bueno told Tomas Rodriguez to sign the document it concerned a complaint against Castito and that nobody read the will to the testator. Nena Lopez were present. R. there for purposes of observation. having signed at the bottom of the will in the presence of us who saw as witnesses the execution of this will. consisting of one single typewritten page. Doctor Elias Bonoan was the first witness called at the trial. Don Tomas Rodriguez executed this will. Why were you a witness to the will of Tomas Rodriguez? Araneta: I object to the question as being immaterial.(Left marginal signatures:) TOMAS RODRIGUEZ ELIAS BONOAN V.

Q. sir. Q. What day. Q. Nena immediately answered in advance and introduced me to him saying that I was the brother of his godson. What time approximately did you go to the General Hospital on January 3d? – A. sir. I met one of the nieces of the deceased Tomas Rodriguez. Don’t you know where the will of Tomas Rodriguez was made? – A. Antonio de Asis. Did D. Q. in the General Hospital in what position did you find him?. Q. I cannot tell the day. I did. 1924. After you. Nena Lopez and Dna. January 3. later on Doctor Calderon arrived with Doctor Elias Domingo and lastly Santiago Lopez came and then Mr. He was lying down. That Tomas Rodriguez would make a will. . Dna. Q. When you entered the room of the patient.A. When you went to the General Hospital on January 3. When did Luz Lopez talk to you in connection with your going to the hospital? – A. Tomas Rodriguez? A. On the morning? – A. Q. Tomas Rodriguez answer you? – A. who were the persons you met in the room where the patients was ? – A. Was that document written in the hospital? – A. Yes. Q. – on that occasion when I was called up by her about the deceased Vicente Lopez. Luz Lopez. What did she tell you when you went to the house of Vicente Lopez one week approximately before signing the will? – A. Q. sir. On the morning. did Luz Lopez talk to you? A. I have not seen it. 1924. Did you greet D. who came? – A. Before January 3. it was approximately one week before. 1924? A. Yes. Were those the only persons? – A. Q. A quarter to 3. In the General Hospital. Legarda. Mrs. when the will of Tomas Rodriguez was signed. Q. D. Q. Yes. On the morning of the 3d she called me up by telephone. Doctor Herrera. Q. Q. How many days approximately before was it? – A. Tomas Rodriguez.Q.

Calderon. I have not seen it. Tomas said. R. Did other persons whom you have mentioned. Nobody read the will to him.Q. Tomas? – A.? – A. did they read it to him? – A. ‘You sign this document. No. the deceased Tomas Rodriguez before signing the document asked what that was which he was to sign. He testified in part: ARANETA : Q. ‘What is this?” And Luz Lopez answered. Lying down. Q. Tomas read the will? – A. What did Luz Lopez tell Tomas Rodriguez in order that he should sign the will? – A. Luz Lopez. It has not been the subject of the direct examination. Mr. tell what transpired. Vicente Legarda had it his own hands. Yes. Messrs. Q. To sign it. Q. Herrera. because this is about the complaint against Castito. Then Tomas Rodriguez signed the will? – A. Luz Lopez told him to sign it because it concerned a complaint against Castito. Was the will read by Tomas Rodriguez or any person present at the time of signing the will. What did anybody answer to that question of D. who appears to have assumed the leading role. Q. Q. She told him to sign the document. Q. Domingo. COURT: Objection overruled. Tomas told when he signed the will. A-1. Legarda. p. De Asis and Legarda greet Tomas Rodriguez? ARANETA: I object to the question as being improper cross-examination. ( S. and A-2? . Q. ARANETA: Exception. D. Who exhibited to you those documents. we will let Vicente L. sir. 8) As it would be quite impracticable to transcribe the testimony of all the others who attended the making of the will. A. Was the will signed by Tomas Rodriguez lying down. Did not D. they joined us. uncle Tomas. Tomas to sign the will? – A. on his feet or seated? – A. Who told D. Q. sir. Exhibits A. What was D. Who had the will? Who was holding it? – A. Yes. Were you present? – A. Q. Q. sir. viz.

Tomas Rodriguez. A-1. The time to make it clean? – A. put them on and as he saw that the electric lamp . Q. Tomas do when you said that his will you were showing to him was ready? – A. In the room of D. What did D. 1923. I approached D. Q. Tomas Rodriguez were written clean.LEGARDA: A. Did he show you the same document? – A. was it not when Exhibits A. Tomas Rodriguez and told him: Don Tomas. About nine or ten minutes approximately. a tentative will. and A-2. xxxxxxxxx Q. A-1. Q. sir. sir. Q. and they came forward. Yes. First that is to say the first document he presented to me was a rough draft. please come forward. Q. Q. Exhibit A. and I called his attention to the fact that the date was not December 31. that of my family how my family was my girl. Were you talking with him during that time. Tomas got up and then took his eyeglasses. Where were you during that time? – A. and it was dated December 31st. The first thing he asked was: the witnesses? Then I called the witnesses – Gentlemen. – A. here is this will which is ready for your signature. he said that it was a pity that it had been lost because he knew that my father-in-law was the owner of the steamer Ildefonso. About what things were you talking with him? – A. will you please tell what happened? – A. whether we were living in Pasay. Did any time elapse from your making the suggestion that the document which you delivered to Santiago Lopez be written until those three Exhibits A. sir. Q. Tomas. Q. he asked me about the steamer Ildefonso. When those documents. and it was done. Yes. Do you any know where it was written? – A. and I handed the documents to D. Yes. D. A-1. In the General Hospital. Santiago Lopez. And it was then. Q. that is the original and two copies of the will signed by D. 1924. and A-2 were written? – A. and A-2 were presented to you? – A. He was asking me about my health. When Santiago Lopez gave them to me clean. and that it was necessary to change the date to January 3.

On this point. she said nothing. no. Q. Tomas after the signing of the will? – A. After the signing of the will. p. R. did you have any conversation with Tomas Rodriguez? – A. and as he could not read much for a long time. He said to me. ‘Well. R. Q. Yes. What happened after you had read it to him? – A. p. Is it true that Tomas Rodriguez asked at that time ‘What is that which I am going to sign?’ and Luz Lopez told him: ‘It is in connection with the complaint against Castito?’ – A. He asked him how the business of making loans at 18 per cent. According to you. Legarda. It seems that Tomas Rodriguez answered: That loan at 18 per cent is illegal. did you hear Luz Lopez say anything to Tomas Rodriguez? – A. for he unexpectedly felt tired and took off the eyeglasses. sir..’ then somebody came forward bringing an electric lamp. Q. it is usury. During the signing of the will. Q. Tomas do when that electric lamp was put in place? – A. sir. Nobody. testified: . Tomas Rodriguez some questions. 568). it is all right. I suggested that it be read to him and he stopped reading and I read the will to him. Don’t you have any pen?’ I asked a pen of those who were there and handed it to D. I called the witnesses and we signed in the presence of each other and of Tomas Rodriguez. What happened after the signing of the will by Tomas Rodriguez? – A. (S. and as I saw that the poor man was tired.at the center was not sufficiently clear. Tomas Rodriguez signed of his own accord? – A. I remember that afterwards Doctor Calderon talked to him about business. Q. and Herrera. 38. suffice it to say that Luz Lopez de Bueno denied categorically the statements attributed to her by Doctor Bonoan (S. Tomas. Do you remember the questions and the conversation held between Doctor Calderon and D.. No. Q. Doctor Calderon asked D. Sir. Domingo. an architect and engineer in the Bureau of Public Works and professor of engineering and architecture in the University of Santo Tomas. Q. What did D. she is corroborated by Doctor Calderon. It is not true. It is my wish and my will. The eyeglasses were adjusted again and then he began to read. Q. Q. Did nobody tell him to sign? – A. In this stand. he said: ‘There is no more light. the attending physicians. Doctor Calderon the Director of the Philippine General Hospital and Dean of the College of Medicine in the University of the Philippines.) In addition to the statements under oath made by Mr.

Yes. Did he sign without anybody having indicated to him where he was to sign? – A. Q. Q. I don’t know. Q. we also saw him sign that will. D. he was at that time in a perfect mental state. Yes. ‘ That is usury it shows that he is all right. ARANETA: Q. Santiago Lopez and the three witnesses were there. Tomas Rodriguez asked what that was which he was to sign and that Luz Lopez answered.’ Is that true? – A. namely. sir. sir. Was Luz Lopez there? – A. I asked him. but as the light was not sufficient. Tomas Rodriguez. It was said here that when the will was handed to him. it is a detail which I don’t remember well. I have not heard anything of the kind. D. Were you present when Mr. R.Mr. Do you know whether D. CALDERON: A. he asked for more light. sir. But did he sign without hesitation ? – A. I don’t remember that Luz Lopez was there. it was read to him and he heard that in that will Vicente Lopez and Luz Lopez were appointed heirs. Yes. Q. would you have heard it? – A. He asked for more lights. sir. and he signed not only the original but also the other copies of the will and we also saw how the witnesses signed the will. Q. When a man answers in that way. sir. Had anybody told that to the deceased.. Legarda offered to read the will. Q. ‘That is usury. without anybody having indicated it to him. Q. as I have said before. sir. Legarda handed the will to him? – A. What have you seen or heard with regard to the execution of the will? Dr. ‘ he answered. we heard that D. p. Do you remember whether he was given a pen or he himself asked for it? – A. Tomas asked for his eyeglass. would you have heard it? A. Q. Q. he heard that D. I have not heard anything of the kind. wanted to read and it was extremely hard for him to do so. so that whether or not he was given a pen or he himself asked for it. how are you? Well I am well. (S. I do not remember. Tomas asked for light at that moment. Mr. Legarda handled the will to D. Yes. Had anybody told that to the deceased. ‘That is but a complaint in connection with Castito. Tomas asked for light at that moment. Q. D. Tomas Rodriguez asked for more light before signing? – A. Did any person there tell Don Tomas that was a complaint to be filed against one Castito? – A. They first lighted the lamps. Mr. Yes. Q. ‘and he answered. that of making loans at the rate of 18 per cent. Q. With no hesitation. And we remained there after the will was executed. Yes. .993). No. I don’t remember having seen her. I am not sure. Do you remember that detail? – A. Do you remember very well that he asked for light? – A. ‘How do you feel. ‘ How is the business? There is a crisis at there is one good business.

It is that on January 7. (Sgd. by way of remuneratory donation. The only explanation we can offer relative to the testimony of Doctor Bonoan is that possibly he may have arrived earlier than the others with the exception of Luz Lopez de Bueno.) LUZ LOPEZ DE BUENO (Exhibit 1) There is a sharp conflict of testimony. Don Tomas Rodriguez and the due probate thereof. as is natural between Doctor Bonoan and Luz Lopez de Bueno relative to the execution of the above document. We shall not attempt to settle these differences as in the final analysis it will not affect the decision one way or the other. The Luz Lopez faction had secured the services of Doctor Domingo. There is however no possible explanation of the statement of Doctor Bonoan to the effect that no one read the will to Rodriguez when at least five other persons recollect that Vicente Legarda read it to him and recall the details connected with the reading. Fernando Calderon the Director of the Philippine General . the sum of one thousand pesos (P1. Elias Bonoan in connection with the execution of the will of my uncle.A clear preponderance of the evidence exists in favor of the testimony of Vicente Legarda. as associated with him for purposes of investigation Dr. as we said on February 25. There is one curious occurrence which transpired shortly after the making of the will which should here be mentioned.000). Philippine currency.000). Luz Lopez de Bueno signed a document in favor of Doctor Bonoan in the amount of one thousand pesos (P1. Not even prior to his demise the two actions in the Lopez family had prepared themselves for a fight over the estate. I sign this document which was freely and spontaneously executed by me in Manila. But the event cannot easily be explained away. Luz Lopez de Bueno in consideration of the services which at my instance were and will when necessary be rendered by Dr. and that Luz Lopez de Bueno may have made some sort of an effort to influence Tomas Rodriguez. 1923 (1924). as soon as said services shall have been fully rendered and I shall be in possession of the inheritance which in said will is given to me. This paper reads as follow: Be it know by these present: That I. The most reasonable supposition is that Luz Lopez de Bueno imprudently endeavored to bring over Doctor Bonoan to her side of the race by signing and giving to him Exhibit 1. Tomas Rodriguez passed away in the Philippine General Hospital. In witness whereof. as attending physician. the physician in charge of the Department of Insane of San Lazaro Hospital an Assistant Professor of Nervous and Mental Diseases in the University of the Philippines. 1923. 1924. this January 7. do hereby agree to pay said doctor. corroborated as it is by other witnesses of the highest standing in the community.

Doctors Calderon. Tomas Rodriguez. Domingo and Herrera examined Tomas Rodriguez individually and jointly before the date when the will was executed. as we have noticed were. of Medicine. Their deductions from these facts disclose a substantial divergence of opinion. 1924. room No. hernia inguinal. All of them. and Dr. Doctors De Asis and Bonoan as attesting witnesses. due to his physical condition and old age. at 1:25 p. or events which have recently occurred.) FLORENTINO HERRERA Tuberias 1264 Quiapo . The best that we can do under the circumstances is to set forth the findings of the Calderon committed on the hand and of the De Los Angeles committee on the other. thereafter by continuing Doctors de Los Angeles and Tietze to examine Tomas Rodriguez and by associating with them Dr. which is almost a loss for recent facts. In testimony whereof. An examination of the certificates made by the two sets of physicians and of their testimony shows that on most facts they concur. chronic dyspepsia and senility. Samuel Tietze. As to his mental state the result of the different tests to which this patient was submitted is that his intellectual faculties are sound. present at the signing of the will to note the reactions of the testator. and had arranged to have two members of the medical fraternity. Sixto de los Angeles Professor and Chief of the Department of Legal Medicine in the University of the Philippines. confined in the General Hospital. On the same day that the will was accomplished. The Margarita Lopez faction had taken equal precautions by calling a witnesses in the guardship proceedings Dr. They also certify that they were present at the time he signed his will on January 3. and have found his mental state in the same condition as was found by the undersigned in their former examination and that in executing said will the testator and full knowledge of the contents thereof. William Burke. Out of such situations. we sign in Manila this January 3. Skilled lawyers were available to aid and abet the medical experts. a physician in active practice in the City of Manila. a well-known physician of the City of Manila. floor No. except that his memory is weak. with long experience in mental diseases.Hospital and Dr. do will contests arise.m. and engaged in the practice of their profession do hereby certify: That they have jointly examined Mr. Drs. the three doctors signed the following certificate: The undersigned. (Sgd. 1924. 361 on three different occasion and on different days and have found that said patient is suffering from anemia. Florentino Herrera. It is a hopeless task to try to reconcile the views of these distinguished gentlemen who honestly arrived at definite but contradictory conclusions. 3. with offices in the City of Manila.

) Doctor Calderon while on the witness-stand expressed a definite opinion as to the mentality of Tomas Rodriguez What follows is possibly the most significant of the doctor’s statements: Dr. Then I told him that I had been living in the house of the gentlemen. Q. I saw Tomas Rodriguez in his room alone twice to have interviews with his. I should have ordered his transfer to the San Lazaro Hospital or to other places.) Dr. Will you place state the result of the observation you made alone before those made by the three of you jointly? – A. Pursuant to my desire. I have been there with Messrs. who he said of course that he knew. at the end of the interviews I became convinced that there was nothing wrong with him. Then in . Herrera and Elias Domingo. CALDERON testifying after interruption: A. he remembered him because he was his companion and was a successful attorney. I had not seen anything indicating that he was insane and for this reason I accepted the request of my companions and joined them. FERNANDO CALDERONGeneral (Sgd. I asked him whether he remembered one Calderon who was living in the upper floor of the house and then he told me yes. Calle Real. – now I remember that he had two daughters. I was naturally interested in finding out the true mental state of Tomas Rodriguez and that was the chief reason why I accepted and gave my cooperation to Messrs.) Dr. I asked Tomas Rodriguez some questions when I went alone there. Matilde and Paz. I asked him were he was living formerly and he well remembered that in Intramuros. Felipe Calderon. I told him that Antonio Jimenez was his tenant of the upper story. that is that he was living on the ground floor and Antonio Jimenez upstairs and he remembered all of this I also began to talk of my brother. we have been on five different occasions examining Tomas Rodriguez jointly from the physical standpoint but chiefly from the standpoint of his mental state. and would not have left him in the General Hospital. than I asked him about his tenant by the name of Antonio Jimenez and he told me yes. Elias Domingo and Florentino Herrera because had I found that Tomas Rodriguez and Florentino Herrera because had I found that Tomas Rodriguez was really insane.(Sgd. This was when I had an interview with him. ELIAS DOMINGO613 RemediosMalate HospitalManila (Exhibit E in relation with Exhibits C and D. 1924 – five consecutive days in which he have been together besides my particular visits. 10 and 31 of December and the 22nd of January. he begging a person whom I knew since several years ago. Antonio Jimenez already dead – in the upper story of the house belonged to Tomas Rodriguez. 29. examining Tomas Rodriguez and submitting to a mental test on the 28.

but I have found absolutely no incoherence in his ideas. my first cousin. xxxxxxxxx Q. you would not notice in the conversation any alteration in his mind nor that man had lost the reasoning power or logic. he answered my questions well and as I was observing him there were times when he did not remember things of the present – because this must be admitted – but on the other hand he had a wonderful memory of past events. sick: Yes. Domingo and myself went there. About things of the past. to whom are you going to leave your property? Don’t you have any relatives? I have a relative. From the result f the conversation you had with Tomas Rodriguez on those two visits what is your opinion as to his mental capacity? – A. he told me that he had three estates. – one on Calle Magallanes. sir. Q. Yes. Tomas Rodriguez: You are an old man aged.’ Q. Did you notice any loss of memory. ‘he said. to whom.’ In that case. I don’t remember the details. Q. Why would you not give anything to Margarita Lopez? No because her husband is very bad. Did you talk with him on that occasion about his estate? – A. I asked D. but I am decided to leave it to my cousin. So that before joining Doctors Herrera and Domingo you had already paid two visits to the patient? – A. In fine. I saw him again and we began to speak of something which I don’t remember now. very little. in talking with him. Yes. no stenographic notes were taken of what happened there. . Vicente Lopez. another on Calle Cabildo and the third on Calle Juan Luna and besides he had money in the Monte de Piedad and Hogar Filipino. Elias Domino and Florentino Herrera to join then the first and second time that Herrera. Then in case you decide to make a will. Q. I mean that you talk to him now about specific matters. sir. Vicente Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez. Do you remember the conversation you had with him for the first time when the three of you paid a visit to the patient? – A. do you want to leave your property? Why. that he was weak. ‘to use his exact language is very bad. but I do remember the questions I put to him. or that his memory was weakening about things of the past? – A. and Margarita Lopez my first cousin they are brothers.order to observe better and to be sure of my judgment or opinion about the mental state of Tomas Rodriguez. I don’t have much. we talked of things of interest and as I had finally accepted the request of Drs. But why don’t you decide? There is no hurry there is time to make a will. That he was sick. I am thinking to make a will. and after about five or ten minutes he no longer remembers what had been talked of.

Did you really examine his mental condition or capacity during the months of October and November? – A. From the question made by you and the answers given by Mr. When did you begin to attend him as physician? – A. R. that his ideas were incoherent. (S. I don’t remember exactly but I visited him about five or six times. DOMINGO: A. 1923. Have you known D. that the thought with logic. did not need that anybody should make him any suggestion because he answered in such a way that if you permit me now to show you my stenographic notes. what is your opinion as to his mental capacity? – A. I am not going to tell here the physically result but the result of the mental examination. was likewise certain that Rodriguez possessed sufficient mentality to make a will. Yes. who was the attending physician for Tomas Rodriguez throughout all the time that Rodriguez in the hospital had examined him. Tomas Rodriguez? Dr. I examined him physically and mentally. argued even with power and generally in some of the interviews I have arrived at the conclusion that Tomas Rodriguez had an initiative of his own. sir. I had been attending him as physician from November 28th although it true that I had opportunities to see and examine him during the months of October and November. Q. Yes. Tomas Rodriguez as physician? – A. How many times did you visit him? – A. sir. Q.) Doctor Elias Domingo. Q. xxxxxxxxx Q. but is all right with regard to matters or facts of the past. Q. smoking a cigarette and asked for a . Doctor Domingo testified: ARANETA: Q.xxxxxxxxx Q. On November 28 or October 28. p. Did you attend D. Q. Among other things. they will prove to you conclusively that he had an initiative of his own and had no need of anybody making him any question. do you remember? – A. Please tell us the result of your examination during those months of October and November? – A. sir. What was the object of your visits or attendance during the months of October and November? – A. 72. It was for the purpose of observing his mental state. On November 28. until his death. Tomas Rodriguez on that occasion. The following: That the memory of Tomas Rodriguez somewhat failed as to things of the present. and that is: General Conduct: In most of the times that I have seen him I found him lying on his bed. Q. Yes.

‘and he correctly answered Tomas Rodriguez. seeing to it that it did not fall on the blankets. he also was careful not to throw the stub of the cigarette in any place to avoid fire. I asked him with what he supported himself and he said that he lived upon his income. His capacity. Q. especially with regard to recent events. He very easily remembered past events and when he described them he did it with such pleasure the he used to smile afterwards – if it was a fact upon which one must smile. what would you do with it ?’ He told me that he would take the bill and give it to the manager in order that the latter may look for the owner if possible. after I had seen him thrice he remembered my name and he recognized me. No. I found it rather superficial. His memory of recent facts was very much lessened. I asked him if he was married and he answered ‘No. As to his memory. and he oftentimes got angry due to his physical disease. and other on a rocking chair. I also observed his emotional status and effectivity. but was quite all right as to past events.’ I asked him his profession and he answered that formerly he was an attorney but that at the time I was making the examination he was not practising the profession. at that time. I asked him if he had any relatives and he answered correctly saying that he had. I based these points of my declaration on the questions which are usually asked when making a mental examination for instance I asked him.bottle of lemonade from time to time. I asked him what the source of this income was and he said that it came from his property. I also observed that he was very careful when throwing the ash of the cigarette. Proceed. Did you ask him about his property? – A.’ I also asked him what the amount of him income was and he answered that it was about P900. I found that he showed a moderated retardation in the flow of his thought. I made more observations as to his general conduct and I found that sometimes Don Tomas could move within the place although with certain difficulty. He mentioned Vicente Lopez. His memory of the past. His reasoning. seated in the chair. but he believed that he could perform with sufficient ease mental acts. Insight and judgment. his judgment was also all right because I asked him this question: ‘Supposing that you could find a bill of P5 in the vestibule of a hotel. – A. once seated at the table. he said verbatim. I also examined his manner of talking and to all questions that I put to him he answered with a coherence and in a relevant manner. He believed that he was capable of thinking . On two occasions I found him seated. I say this because on various occasions and not having known me when he had a better memory. although sometimes he showed eagerness and certain delay. What is your name. and Luz Lopez. Margarita Lopez. Q. ‘I live on my income. I arrived at the conclusion that he had fair knowledge of himself because he knew that he was sick and could not be moving with ease.

and Samuel Tietze. running parallel with such pathological basis. This is in few words the result of my examination. and February 10th. and Burke. the undersigned Doctors. We. we have separately and partly jointly observed and examined said patient on various occasions. and as a result of the medical examinations and the history of the case we found and hereby certify to the following conclusions: (a) That he was of unsound mind suffering from senile dementia. Tomas Rodriguez was likewise examined thoroughly by Doctors De los Angeles. Dr. they prepared and signed the following: MEDICAL CERTIFICATE In the Matter of Tomas Rodriguez y Lopez. This form of mental disease is progressive in its pathological tendency. 1924. 1923. Doctors Tietze and Burke together examined Rodriguez on January 17. or of mental impairment exceeding to a pathological extent the unusual conditions and changes found to occur in the involutional period of life. single and residing or being confined in the Philippine General Hospital. and that he would naturally have continued without improvement. 1923. and 24. Sixto de los Angeles. . do hereby certify as follows: 1. and 24. and on January 15. 1924. 1924. going on to progressive atropy and degeneration of the brain. 76 years of age. Dr. (b) That he was under the influence of the above condition continuously. The conclusion is that his memory is lost for recent events tho not totally and diminution of his intellectual vigor. the mental symptoms.properly although what did not permit him to do so was his physical decrepit condition. and at the Philippine General Hospital no January 17th. W. January 27th and 28th. 1923. Doctor De los Angeles had been a witness in the gurardianship proceedings and had seen the patient of November 6 and 7. of course. The three physicians conducted a joint examination result. at the patient’s home on November 9th and 12th. 1924. Doctor Tietze had also been a witness in the guardianship case and had visited the patient on November 9 and 12. 2. and are in the actual practice of the medical profession in the Philippines. Tietze. on November 6th and 7th . 20th. Samuel Tietze. on March 15. 246 Magallanes St. we three have with care the diligence jointly and personally examined the person of said Tomas Rodriguez y Lopez. Sixto de los Angeles. as these cases of insanity are due to organic pathological changes of the brain. Burke. duly registered under the Medical Act. B. male. 1923. Manila. till the date of our joint reexamination. That on January 27th and 28th. at least from November.. That we are physicians. 1924. and February 10th. at the Philippine General Hospital. 1924. at the patient’s home. 20. and previous to these dated. 1923.

approaching the deteriorated stage upon the following detailed mental examination: (a) Disorder of memory. saying that the latter was single or spinster. Vicente Lopez frequently visited him in the hospital. Luz Lopez de Bueno. Regarding his personal relation. 1924. who was the administrator of his properties. he forgot that Mr. so that with a relatively less resistance. Antonio Ventura is the husband of his nearest woman cousin. 3. and to free himself from the influences of importunities. to understand and comprehend the extent and condition of his properties. We have diagnosed this case as senile demential of the simple type. – He could not name the date when asked (day or month). which is a characteristic symptom of senile dementia. – There was almost an absolute loss of memory of recent events. threats and ingenuities. one of his nearest relatives. the Mrs. He showed no comprehension of the elemental routine required in the management of his properties. (b) Disorientation of time. and failed to recognize the fact that Doctor Domingo was his physician. and consequences of the business he was engaged in. during the past twentyfive years.e. his own physician. and who now appears to be the only living beneficiary of his will. could not name the hospital wherein he was confined. to collect and to hold in his mind the particulars and details of his business transactions and his relations to the persons who were or might have been the objects of his bounty. he was aware of their marriage life. However. Vicente Lopez. in spite of the fact that formerly. He also stated that Mr. – He was almost completely indifferent to what was going on about him. in what banks he deposited his money or the amount of money deposited in such banks. Margarita Lopez was married.(c) That on account of such disease and conditions his mind and memory were so greatly impaired as to make him unable to know or to appreciate sufficiently the nature. He also failed to recognize the true value of objects shown him. even failing to name Mrs. Faces and names of person introduced to him were not remembered after a short moment even without leaving his bedside .: who were the lessees of his houses. He did not know the names of the sons and daughters of Mr. to the extent that things and occurrences seen or observed only a few minutes previously were completely forgotten. though the latter died on January 7th. effect. (c) Disorders of perception. a daughter of said Vicente Lopez. that is he failed to recognized the ‘Saturday Evening Post’ nor . i. he might had been induced to do what others would not have done. He did not recognized and remember the name and face of Doctor Domingo. the memory for remote events was generally good. what rents they were paying. place and persons.

He did not appreciate the attitude of the parties concerned in his case. he would break down and cry as a child. If the servants did not immediately answer his call. – There was a laxity of the internal connection of ideas. His impairment of the intellectual field was further shown by his inability. and in the false belief that he was fully able to administer his business personally. he would on several occasion become suspicious and fail to comprehend the purpose of our examination. he showed complete indifference. Although for a long time confined to bed and seriously ill for a long period. (d) Emotional deterioration. No recuerdo en este momento.would he deny that it was a will when presented as such. well versed in the transaction of cheques. however. When questioned whether he would make a will. The patient has shown no insight regarding his own condition. No proper question were asked why the cheque was given by the King. Making no effort to correlate facts or to understand matters discussed in their proper light. he would becomes abusive in his language and show marked emotional outburst. or if there is a King of Africa at present. certainly shows a breaking down of the above field. He showed loss of emotional control by furious outbreaks over trifling matter and actually behaved like a child. When He was informed.000 from the King of Africa payable to you so that you may deposit it in the bank. He further shows doubt in his mental capability by the following questions and answers: “MARCAIDA: P.’ Such answer given by a man after long experience in business life. It may be a surprise. 1924. and failed to explain the former. ¿Tiene usted actualmente algún asunto en los tribunales de justicia de Manila? — R. he denied the latter statement. who the King was. – The patient was not known during his time of physical incapacity to express in any way or lament the fact that he was unable to enjoy the happiness that was due him with his wealth. why he was selected by the King of Africa. He also failed to show normal intellectual perception. he stated to Doctor Tietze that he intended to bequeath his money to San Juan de Dios Hospital and Hospicio de San Jose. (e) Symptoms of decreased intellectual capacity. He was inconsistent in his ideas and failed to grasp the meaning of his own statements. De tener usted algún asunto propio en los tribunales de justicia de . “P. As a matter of fact. despite his knowledge of world affairs. if his food did not arrive immediately of when his cigar was not lit soon. that he had made a will on January 31. to appreciate the relative value of the statement made by Doctor Tietze as follows: ‘We have here a cheque of P2. for example. Do you want to accept the cheque?’ His answer was as follows: ‘Now I cannot give my answer. who had handled real estate property. he expressed himself as sound physically and mentally.

ya no me acuerdo. nombrarÃÂa al Sr. De vista. “Dr. ¿Qué profesión tenemos? (Señalando a los Sres. ÁNGELES: P. (P. ¿No recuerda usted que usted me ha encomendado como abogado para que me oponga a que le declaren a usted loco o incapacitado?–R. No.. o sea desde el 25 de octubre de 1923 hasta hoy. “P. Jan. ¿Me conoce usted.–R.) “Dr. ¿Y lso dos? (Señalando a los Doctores Õngeles y Tietze). (P. con algún abogado para que le defendiera algún asunto ante el Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Manila?–R. Nos vamos a despedir ya. 1923. 1924. ¿le conoce usted?–R. N. usted me conoce?–R.. ¿a qué abogado confiarÃÂa usted la defensa del mismo?–R. 4. Õngeles. ¿Don Tomás. but did not pursue his practice. 28. Jan.–R. Este es el Doctor Burke. 28. ¿recuerda usted su nombre?–R.–R. 9. II. SÃÂ. 1924. N. 28. deposition. Marcaida. sé. – He was a lawyer. Nov. 6. ¿Ha hablado usted y conferenciado alguna vez o varias veces en estos dÃÂas. No. sten. Este es el Doctor Burke. ¿Quién soy. Al Sr. And 5. me conoce usted? ¿Se acuerda usted que soy el Doctor Domingo?–R. ¿me conoce usted?–R. su nombre ya lo he olvidado. De nombre. He was generally regarded by his neighbors as miserly and erratic in the ordinary habits of life. DOMINGO: P. 19. porque en caso de nombrar. making no attempt to clean the filth of . Feb. No me acuerdo en este momento.. 1924. 5. “P. Marcaida. Este es el Doctor Domingo. quien ha solicitado? (P. “P. Le conozco de vista. Don Tomás. Burke y Tietze). “P. 19. YO creo que son doctores. devoting the greater part of his life to collecting antiquities. señor. sten. sten. He lead a very unhygienic life. “P.–R.Manila. sten. De nombre. 1924. N.) “P. Nov. BURKE: P. (P. deposition.) “P. ¿le conoce usted?–R. Con ninguno. Personal history. sten. Don Tomás. No sé. Yo soy el Doctor Ángeles. 7. como conocido antiguo.¿Usted nos ve a los tres? (Doctores Õngeles. 10. Tomás?–R.. de usted.) “ARANETA: P.–R. Jan. “P. D.) “Dr. Burke y Tietze). “P. Feb. 6.. SÃÂ. – His parents were noted to be of nervous temper and irritable. N.¿Usted conoce a este Doctor? (Señalando al Doctor Burke). N. ¿Y este señor? (Señalando al Doctor Õngeles). (P. 1924. 1923.) (f) Other facts bearing upon the history of the case obtained by investigation of Doctor Angeles: I. De vista. 10. (P. Ya lo creo.) “P. 10. Family History. (P.

M. I observed that by the fact that whenever I touched the body of the patient he complained of some pain. 8-B. 1924. How did you touch him. Q. On all the parts of his body. Slightly. On what part of the body did you touch him? – A. nurse: A. He frequently complained of attacks of dizziness and headache.) Another angle to the condition of the patient on or about January 3. where are my 50 centavos. What words did he say when. and was confined in the Philippine General Hospital for treatment. where is my key. P. 1924. from which he became temporarily unconscious. Q. His condition became progressively worse up to his death. from which incident. Q. Direct questions of Attorney OCAMPO: Q. 4. following this injury.’ repeating it ‘Where are my 50 centavos. BURKE. and about two years ago. we have reason to believe. As for instance. and 8-C. This incident itself can most probably be considered as a failure of memory. When you touched him slightly. the nurse Apolonio Floreza testified.dirt that was around him. the testimony of the nurses is that Rodriguez was in the habit for no reason at all of calling “Maria. suffered form a large hernia. Among your observations on the 1st of January. 1924.I.B. he was fined for failure in filing his income tax. in which appear the nurse’s remarks.’ How could you observe that he had pains all over the body? APOLONIO FLOREZA. 1921. SAMUEL TIETZE (Exhibit 33 in relation with Exhibits 28 and 29. he suffered an injury to his forehead. Manila. he uttered incoherent words whenever he awakes? – A. (Sgd.D. (Exhibits 8-A. and uttered some incoherent words of the same topics whenever is awakened. what did he do? – A. On April. according to your note. is disclosed by the treatment record kept daily by the nurses.” In explanation of the observation made by the nurses. March 15. The undersigned have stated all the above facts contained in this certificate to the best of our knowledge and belief. where is my key?’ . He was neglectful in personal habits. He said that it was aching. ‘Maria.. the onset of his mental condition took place. xxxxxxxxx Q.) SIXTO DE LOS ANGELES W.) In this connection. strongly or not? – A. you say ‘with pains all over the body.

He was talking to himself. 1924. Q.’ How did you happen to know the pain which you have noted here? A. He repeated the same words I have said before – Maria the 50 centavos the key. On January 3. Q. He was suffering from anemia. COURT: Overruled. do you know whether he did any extraordinary thing? A. In the observation correspondingly to January 2. This remark on Exhibit 8-B when was it written by you? A.’ Did you really observe this in the patient? – A. When did this observation occur which appear on page 8-C? – A. Only the word Maria. Q. How long approximately was he talking uttering the name of ‘Maria. did you answer him when he said Maria? – A. Doctors . In this observation of yours appearing on page 8-C you say among other things with pain all over the body and shouted whenever he is given injection. sir. the key. On that date January 2. He used to say Maria where is Maria? Q. Acts or words? A.) On certain facts pertaining to the condition of Tomas Rodriguez there is no dispute. ARANETA: Exception. Besides saying that it ached when you touched the body. Where are my 50 centavos. Yes. Q. You mean to say acts? Q. For two or three minutes. 1924. As to the mental state of Tomas Rodriguez on January 3. 50 centavos. I have observed them when giving him baths. No sir. In a loud voice. 1924. 1924. and senility. 5595. Yes. 1924.’ and where is my key? – A. p. Can you tell the court whether on those occasions when he said the name of Maria he said other words and was talking with somebody? – A. Rodriguez had reached the advanced age of 76 years. A. On January 3. like those words which I have already said which he used to say – Maria. hernia inguinal. Did you hear him talk of Maria? – A. Q. Q. Q. (S. Q. Q. 1924 you say. Physically he was a wreck. ‘With pains over the body. sir. You say that he called Maria. chronic dypsia. January 2. How did he shout? ARANETA: Objection as being immaterial.’ and later on talked too much whenever patient is awakened. What did he say about Maria on that date January 2.Q. 1924? – A. R. The pains all over the body. Q. Besides shouting do you remember whether he said anything? – A .

Doctors Calderon Domingo.. except that his memory is weak.) The mental capacity of the testator is determined as of the date of the execution of his will (Civil Code. and to comprehend the manner in which the instrument will distribute his property among the objects of his bounty.) Predicated on these statutory provisions. followed in Bagtas vs.Calderon. Law. This rule concerns the nature and rationality of the . They. 614). Doctors De Los Angeles.’” (Bugnao vs. weakness of the memory. or on other disputed point.” (Code of Civil Procedure. insofar as the facts are concerned. art. this court has adopted the following definition of testamentary capacity: “‘Testamentary capacity is the capacity to comprehend the nature of the transaction in which the testator is engaged at the time. Of the specific tests of capacity. He was given to irrational exclamations symptomatic of a deceased mind. Each case rests on its own facts and must be decided by its own facts.” One of the grounds for disallowing a will is “If the testator was insane or otherwise mentally incapable of the execution. 14 Phil. Tietze. Various tests of testamentary capacity have been announced by the courts only later to be rejected as incomplete. – The Code of Civil Procedure prescribes as a requisite to the allowance of a will that the testator be of “sound mind” (Code of Civil Procedure. 634 [2]. to recollect the property to be disposed of and the persons who would naturally be supposed to have claims upon the testator. physical infirmities. 1924. 46 Phil.. While. further declare that his memory however for remote events was generally good. however. Domingo and Herrera admit that he was senile. Ubag [1909]. There is one particular test relative to the capacity to make a will which is of some practical utility. possess sufficient mentality to make a will. A “sound mind” is a “disposing mind. Without attempting at this stage to pass in judgment on the antagonistic conclusions of the medical witnesses. and Herrera certify that the intellectual faculties of the patient are “sound. sec.” and that in executing the will the testator had full understanding of the act he was performing and full knowledge of the contents thereof. or had he passed so far along in senile dementia as to require the court to find him of unsound? We leave the facts in this situation to pass on to a discussion of the legal phases of the case. sec. the appointment of a guardian. nor eccentricities are sufficient singly or jointly to show testamentary incapacity. B. together with Doctors De los Angeles. 666). neither old age. and Burke. 701. a resolution of the case comes down to this: Did Tomas Rodriguez on January 3. Tietze and Burke certify that Tomas Rodriguez was of unsound mind and that they diagnosed his case as senile dementia of the simple type approaching the deteriorated stage. 163. Paguio [1912]. feebleness of mind.

. 1 Phil. the finding of insanity is conclusive as to the existence of insanity during the continuance of adjudication. The burden of providing sanity in such case is cast upon the proponents. 529. To constitute complete senile dementia there must be such failure of the mind as to deprive the testator of intelligent action. It is here claimed that the unsoundness of mind of the testator was the result of senile dementia. I. 689. 484. 647. a Cooley suffering under the variable weather of the mind. supra. by force of statute. the evidence should be permitted to take a wide range in order that all facts may be brought out which will assist in determining the question. Boggs [1882]. is found to rest on local statutes. 433. The provisions of the cited section were taken from California. vol. 100 et seq.J.) Counsel for the appellee make capital of the testator being under guardianship at the time he made his will.will. Hernaez [1903].. Had Shakespeare’s King Lear made a will. It is only when those seeking to overthrow the will have clearly established the charge of mental incapacity that the courts will intervene to set aside a testamentary document. Senile dementia usually called childishness has various forms and stages. however. 62 Cal.. Paguio.” would have proved historic subjects for expert dispute. Citing section 306 of the Code of Civil Procedure and certain authorities. 57 Cal. (Hernaez vs.. Paschal. Is the will simple or complicated? Is it natural or unnatural? The mere exclusion of heirs will not. The evidence of those present at the execution of the will and of the attending physician is also to be relied upon. vol. On the issue of testamentary capacity. 190. In the matter of the Estate of Johnson [1881].. in itself indicate that the will was the offspring of an unsound mind. The rule announced that in some states. the most that can be said for the finding is that it raises a presumption of incapacity to make a will but does not invaluable the testament if competency can be shown. without any question it would have invited litigation and doubt. The testimony of subscribing witnesses to a will concerning the testator’s mental condition is entitled to great weight where they are truthful and intelligent. Gridley vs.) Even where the question of insanity is out in issue in the guardianship proceedings. (32 C. A Newton. In the first stages of the .) The presumption is that every adult is sane. and there the Supreme court has never held what is now urged upon us by the appellee. To this statement we cannot write down our conformity. the flying vapors of incipient lunacy. pp. (Alexander on Willis. This is the form of mental decay of the aged upon which will are most often contested. Bagtas vs. I pp. they insist that the effect of the judgment is conclusive with respect to the condition of the person. Wharton & Stille’s Medical Jurisprudence. of which no counterpart is found in the Philippines.

227. vol. She was over 80 years of age. I. 1 Phil.. 145 et seq. Yet after an examination of the evidence in the will.. and two days afterwards she died. A. we propose to make particular mention of four of the earlier cases of this court. J. In the matter of the will o f Butalid [1908] 10 Phil. 26 Phil. J. C.. per Torres. 163. Galvez vs. she being over 90 years of age. Ubag [1909] 14. relating to the testator having a sound and disposing mind.” as a result of her senile debility.. S.” The chief Justice reached the conclusion that neither from the facts elicited by the interrogatories nor the documents presented “can the conclusion be reached that the testatrix was deprived of her mental faculties.. J. and which have been brought to our notice by counsel. The annulment of the will was sought first upon the ground of the incapacity of the testatrix. 41. . Hernaez supra the subject of the action was the will executed by Dona Juana Espinosa.. R. (See Hernaez vs. N.J. In the case of Hernaez vs. senseless and unable to utter a single word so that she did not know what she was doing when she executed the will while the document was claimed to have been executed under the influence and by the direction of one of the heirs designated in the will. Schouler on Wills. per Arellano.... every one of them has allowed the will. 573. pp. Alimurong [1910]. These decisions also show great tenderness on the part of the court towards the last will and testament of the aged. per Villamor. J.. 22 Phil. Prior thereto she walked in a stooping attitude and gave contradictory orders. supra. Macapinlac vs. I.diseases.. per Carson.. per Ostrand. 243. 44 Phil. 27 per Arellano.. Paguio [1912]. Bagtas vs. Yet after an examination of the evidence in the will. per Arellano. [1910]. a person may possess reason and have will power. Hernaez [1903]. Corrales Tan Quintin [1923].” The will was held valid and efficacious. J.. and Jocson vs. 16 Phil.) Because of their peculiar applicability. Jocson [1922]. J.) It is a rather remarkable coincidence that of all the leading cases which have gone forth from this court. C. even when it was necessary to reverse the judgment of the trial court. In the case of In the matter of the will of Butalid. 689. lying in bed seriously ill. so ill that three days extreme unction. C. A study of these cases discloses a consistent tendency to protect the wishes of the deceased whenever it be legally possible. J. vol. Wharton & Stille’s Medical Jurisprudence. Phil. 89. Samson vs.. 46 Phil. Bugnao vs. the will was contested for the reason that Dominga Butalid at the date of the execution of the document was not in the date of the execution of the document was not in the free use of her intellectual powers. Galvez [1913]. (27 L. pp. p. 791 et seq. 701.. The Chief Justice rendered judgment reversing the judgment appealed from and declaring the will presented for legalization to be valid and sufficient.. per Trent.

will to render a person incapable of making a will a weak or feeble minded person may make a valid will provided he has understanding and memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is about and how or to whom he is disposing of his property’ (Lodge vs.. J. 2 Houst. 25). or great bodily infirmities of suffering. # N. laid down the following legal principles: Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which unquestionably carries with it full testamentary known as insanity or idiocy there are numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity and while on one hand it had been held that mere weakness of mind or partial imbecility from disease of body. Justice Carson.. L. 293. . it has been held that testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that a person shall actually be insane or of an unsound mind. J. 6 80). 5 N. the record shows that the testator for some fourteen or fifteen years prior to the time of his death suffered from a paralysis of the left side of his body. Ubag. break in upon. Weakness of intellect. 68 Am. weaken.. but the derangement must be such as deprives him of the rational faculties common to man’ (Den. Vancleve. The will was attacked n the ground that the testator lacked mental capacity at the time of its execution. that a few years prior to his death his hearing became impaired and that he had lost the power of speech. [Del. “To constitute a sound be unbroken or unimpaired. L. 563). providing such weakness really disqualifies for from knowing or appreciating the nature. debility of body from age or infirmity. Knight. Paquio. would according to its violence or duration in a greater or less degree. Through the medium of signs.... P. on the other hand. 3 P. Rep. from disease. In the case of Nagtas vs. supra. unshattered by disease or otherwise (Sloan vs.In the case of Bugnao vs. whether it arises from extreme old age. and that Sound mind does not mean a perfectly balanced mind. R.Few indeed would be the wills confirmed it this is correct. & D. sickness.] 418). vs. The will was nevertheless admitted to . Pain. effects. . speaking for court. 302). Eq. that. Based on these and other facts. P. he was able to indicate his wishes to his family. However. or from age. supra the court gave credence to the testimony of the subscribing witnesses who swore positively that at the time of the execution of the will the testator was of sound mind and memory. . 64. Mr. may render the testator in capable of making a valid will. Scott. 203. that it has not been understood that a testator must possess these qualities (of sound and disposing mind and memory) in the highest degree. Maxwell. The question of soundness is one of degree’ (Boughton vs. or from all these combined. or consequences of the act she is engaged in (Manatt vs. 106 Iowa. 42 L. St. he retained the use of his hand and could write fairly well. or derange the mind. Lodge.

probate, Mr. Justice Trent, speaking for the court, announcement the following pertinent legal doctrines: * * * There are many cases and authorities which we might cite to show that the courts have repeatedly held that mere weakness of mind and body, induced by age and disease do not render a person incapable of making a will. The law does not require that a person shall continue in the full enjoyment and use of his pristine physical and mental powers in order to execute a valid will. If such were the legal standard few indeed would be the number of wills that could meet such exacting requirements. The authorities, both medical and legal are universal in the statement that the question of mental capacity is one of degree and that there are many graduations from the highest degree of mental soundness to the lowest conditions of diseased mentality which are denominated as insanity and idiocy. The right to dispose of property by testamentary disposition is as sacred as any other right which a person may exercise and this right should be nullified unless mental incapacity is established in a positive and conclusive manner. In discussing the question of testamentary capacity, it is stated in volume 28, page 70, of the American and English Encyclopedia of Law that – ‘Contrary to the very prevalent lay impression perfect soundness of mind is not essential to testamentary capacity. A testator may be afflicted with a variety of mental weakness, disorders or peculiarities and still be capable in law of executing a valid will.’ (See the numerous cases there cited in support of this statement.) The rule relating to testamentary capacity is stated in Buswel on Insanity, section 365 and quoted with approval in Campbell vs. Campbell (130 Ill. 466) as follows: To constitute a sound and disposing mind, it is not necessary that the mind shall be wholly unbroken unimpaired or unshattered by disease or otherwise or that the testator should be in the full possession of his reasoning faculties. In note, 1 Jarnan on Wills, 38, the rule is thus stated: The question is not so much, what was the degree of memory possessed by the testator as had, he a disposing memory? Was he able to remember the property he was about to bequeth the manner of distributing it and the object of his bounty? In a word, were his mind and memory sufficiently sound to enable him to know and understand the business in which he was engaged at the time when he executed his will.’ (See authorities there cited) In Wilson vs. Mitchell (101 Penn., 495), the following facts appeared upon the trial of the case: The testator died at the age of nearly 102 years. In his early years he was an intelligent and well informed man. About seven years

prior to his death he suffered a paralytic stroke and from that time his mind and memory were much enfeebled. He became very dull of hearing and in consequence of the shrinking of his brain he was affected with senile cataract causing total blindness. He became filthy and obscene in his habits, although formerly he was observant of the proprieties of life. The court, in commenting upon the case, said: Neither age, nor sickness, nor extreme distress, nor debility of body will affect the capacity to make a will, if sufficient intelligence remains. The failure of memory is not sufficient to create the incapacity, unless it be total or extend to his immediate family to property. . . . x x x x x x x x x Dougal (the testator) had lived over one hundred years before he made the will and his physical and mental weakness and defective memory were in striking contrast with their strength in the meridian of his life. He was blind; not deaf, but hearing impaired; his mind acted slowly, he was forgetful of recent events, especially of names and repeated questions in conversation; and sometimes, when aroused from sleep or slumber, would seem bewildered. It is not singular that some of those who had known him when he was remarkable for vigor and intelligence are of the opinion that his reason was so far gone that he was incapable of making a will, although they never heard him utter an irrational expression. In the above case the will was sustained. In the case at bar we might draw the same contract as was pictured by the court in the case just quoted. . . . The particular difference between all of the Philippine case which are cited and the case at bar are that in none of the Philippine cases was there any declaration of incomplicated and in none of them were the facts quite as complicated as they are here. A case in point where the will was contested, because the testator was not of sound and disposing mind and memory and because at the time of the making of the will he was acting under the undue influence of his brothers and where he had a guardian when he executed his will, is Ames’ Will ([1902] 40 Ore., 495). Mr. Justice Moore, delivering the opinion of the court, in part said: It is contended by contestant’s counsel that on the day said pretended will purports to have been executed, Lowell was declared incompetent by a court which had jurisdiction of the person and subject-matter and that the decree therein appointing a guardian of his person and estate raises the distable presumption that he did not possess sufficient testamentary capacity at the time to overcome which required evidence so strong as to leave no reasonable doubt as to his capacity to make a valid will, and the testimony introduced by the proponent being insufficient for that purpose the court

erred in admitting it to probate. The appointment of a guardian of a person alleged to be non compos mentis, by a court having jurisdiction must necessarily create a presumption of the mental infirmity of the ward; but such decree does not conclusively show that the testamentary capacity of the person under guardianship is entirely destroyed and the presumption thus created may be overcome by evidence proving that such person at the time he executed a will was in fact of sound and disposing mind and memory: Stone vs. Damon, 12 Mass., 487; Breed vs. Pratt, 18 Pick, 115: In re Slinger’s Will, 72 Wis., 22 (37 N. W. 236). The testimony shows that the testator retained a vivid recollection of the contents of the books he had read and studied when he was young but that he could not readily recall to his mind the ordinary incidents of his later life. The depth and intensity of mental impression always depend upon and are measured by the degree of attention given to the perception of truth, which demands reflection; and hence the inability of a person to recollect events and hence the inability is evidence of mental decay, because it manifest a want of power on concentration of the mind. The aged live in the past and the impression retained in their minds are those that were made in their younger days, because at that period of their lives they were able to exercise will power by giving attention. While the inability of a person of advanced years to remember recent events distinctly undoubtedly indicates a decay of the human faculties, it does not conclusively establish senile dementia, which is something more than a mere loss of mental power, resulting from old age and is not only a feeble condition of the mind but a derangement thereof. . . . The rule is settled in this state that if a testator at the time he executes his will understand the business in which he is engaged and has a knowledge of his property and how he wishes to dispose of it among those entitled to his bounty, he possess sufficient testamentary capacity, notwithstanding his old age, sickness debility of body, or extreme distress. x x x x x x x x x It is contented by contestant’s counsel that if Lowell at the time he executed the pretended will, was not wholly lacking in testamentary capacity, he was, in consequence of age ill health, debility of body and infirmity of will power, Andrew and Joseph having knowledge thereof took advantage of his physical and mental condition and unduly influenced him to device and bequeth his property in the manner indicated, attempting thereby to deprive the contestant of all interest therein except such as was given her by statute. . . . Assuming that he was easily persuaded and that his brothers and the persons employed by them to care for him took advantage of his enfeebled condition and prejudiced his mind against the contestant did such undue

and it was Luz Lopez de Bueno who appears to have gathered the witnesses and physicians for the execution of the will. possess sufficient mentality to make a will which would meet the legal test regarding testamentary capacity and have the proponents of the will carried successfully the burden of proof and shown him to be of sound mind on that date? II. it is the duty of the courts to uphold it. Herrera. on the suggestion of Rodriguez secured Maximino Mina to prepare the will. – The will was attacked on the further ground of undue influence exercised by the persons benefited in the will in collaboration with others. Domingo. The trial judge may be correct in this supposition. that the findings of the circuit court are supported by the weight of the testimony its decree is affirmed. Moreover. rather named was acting according to the best of his ability to assist in a legitimate act in a legitimate manner. UNDUE INFLUENCE A. Lopez as his administrator. considering the attitude of Tomas Rodriguez toward Margarita Lopez and her . and De Asis and Mr. . Tomas Rodriguez voluntary named Vicente F. Doctors Calderon. It is hard to believe. The latter subsequently became his guardian. This faction of the Lopez family was also a favor through the orders of Doctor Domingo as to who could be admitted to see the patient. Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno. who. The trial judge found this allegation to have been established and made it one of the bases of his decision. 1924. if the testator possessed a sound and disposing mind and memory and was free from restraint and not acting under undue influence notwithstanding sympathy for persons legally entitled to the testator’s bounty and a sense of innate justice might suggest a different testamentary disposition. Legarda would so demean themselves and so fully their characters and reputation as to participate in a scheme having for its purpose to delude and to betray an old man in his age. . When a will has been properly executed. as we do. Believing. The trial judge entertained the opinion that there existed “a preconceived plan on the part of the persons who surrounded Tomas Rodriguez” to secure his signature to the testament. Facts.influence render the will therefore executed void? . it was Vicente F. Lopez. Insofar as the law on testamentary capacity to make a will is concerned and carrying alone one step further the question suggested at the end of the presentation of the facts on the same subject a resolution of the case comes down to this: Did Tomas Rodriguez on January 3. however. Again. There is every indication that of all his relatives Tomas Rodriguez reposed the most confidence in Vicente F. it is now for us to say if the facts justify this finding. that men of the standing of Judge Mina.

It was reasonable. He signed the will and its two copies in the proper places at the bottom and on the left margin. With special reference of the definition of testamentary capacity. 1924. LAW.. The other subscribing witness.husband and his apparent enmity toward them. we may say this: On January 3. Undue influence. 1265). 1924. The theory of undue influence is totally rejected as not proved. The advantage on those facts is all with those who offer the will for probate. The will was read to him by Mr. – One of the grounds for disallowing a will is that it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the art of the beneficiary or some other person for his benefit (Code of Civil Procedure. one a physician clearly to the regular manner in which the will was executed and to the testator’s mental condition. Legarda. also. a physician on the contrary testified to a fact which. who were present at the execution of the will. As against this we have the professional speculations of three other equally eminent members of the medical profession when the will was executed. Tomas Rodriguez. if substantiated. he would have prepared somewhat a similar document. It could easily be understood by a person in physical distress. and knew what the will was to contain. would require the court to disallow the will. The attending physician and three other eminent members of the medical fraternity. it was reasonable if we take into account the evident prejustice of the testator against the husband of Margarita Lopez. may be defined as that which compelled the testator to do that which is against the will from fear the desire of peace or from other feeling which is unable to resist. sec. At that time the testator recollected the property to be disposed of and the persons who would naturally be supposed to have claims upon him While for some months prior to the making of the will he had not manage his property . The will was short. He had two conferences with his lawyer. in our opinion comprehended the nature of the transaction in which he was engaged. as here mentioned in connection with the law of wills and as further mentioned in the Civil Code (art. expressed opinions entirely favorable to the capacity of the testator. III. JUDGMENT To restate the combined issued of fact and law in this case pertaining to testamentary capacity: Did Tomas Rodriguez on January 3. Judge Mina. that is. possess sufficient mentality to make a will which would meet the legal test regarding testamentary capacity and have the proponents of the will carried successfully the burden of proof and shown him to be of sound mind on that date? Two of the subscribing witnesses to the will. B. 634[4]). it seems fairly evident that even if the will had been made in previous years when Rodriguez was more nearly in his prime.

Villamor. Luz Lopez de Bueno. On January 3. and after giving to the case the serious consideration which it deserves. Tomas Rodriguez may have been of advanced years. vs. may have suffered a loss of memory.he seem to have retained a distinct recollection of what it consisted and of his income. Ordinarily. after weighing the evidence for the oppositors. Delgado and Recto for appellant. Marcaida.. His conversations with Judge Mina disclosed as insistence on giving all of his property to the two persons whom he specified. STREET. he seemed to entertain a prediliction towards Vicente F. G. MARGARITA LOPEZ. he knew who they were. Avanceña. appellee.. which the law terms “testamentary capacity. while the appellee. Capili and Ocampo and Camus. special administrator. decedent. deceased. and LUZ LOPEZ DE BUENO. heir. 1926 In the matter of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez. The appellant. No. but he still possessed the spark of reason and of life.” That in effect is the definite opinion which we reach after an exhaustive and exhausting study of a tedious record. and Villa-Real. may have been weak in intellect. that strength of mind to form a fixed intention and to summon his enfeebled thoughts to enforce that intention. Araneta and Zaragoza for appellee. Occasionally his memory failed him with reference to the names of his relatives. The judgment of the trial court will be set aside and the will of Tomas Rodriguez will be admitted to probate without special pronouncement as to costs in this instance. Johns. J. Johnson. Margarita Lopez. C. concur.: This appeal involves a controversy over one-half of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez. 1924. L-25966 November 1. MANUEL TORRES. opponent-appellant. J. . may have been physically decrepit. Romualdez. may have had a guardian and may have a been extremely eccentric. JJ.R. claims said half by the intestate succession as next of kin and nearest heir. Lopez as would be natural since Lopez was nearest in which the instrument distributed the property naming the objects of his bounty.

claims the same by accredition and in the character of universal heir the will of the decedent. not only the undivided half which she would have received in conjunction with her father if he had been alive and qualified to take. has been admitted to probate by judicial determination (Torres and Lopez de Buenovs. 772). first when the two or more persons are called to the same inheritance or the same portion thereof without special designation of shares. Margariat Lopez was a cousin and nearest relative of the decedent. Lopez had not presented his final accounts as guardian. Vicente F. but a special incapacity due to the accidental relation of guardian and ward existing between the parties. when one of the persons so called dies before the testator or renounces the inheritance or is disqualifying to receive it. . In addition to this. with certain exceptions in favor of near relatives. At the time the will was made Vicente F. and after having been contested. therefore. Lopez was not any general incapacity on his part. Tomas Rodriguez. in effect. 48 Phil. defining the right of accretion. 1924. and the testator. one of the persons named as heir has predeceased the testator. On January 7. Tomas Rodriguez executed his last will and testament. Luz Lopez de Bueno. The facts necessary to an understanding of the case are these: On January 3. and Margariat Lopez appealed. The trial court decided the point of controversy in favor of Luz Lopez de Bueno. In the case before us we have a will calling Vicente F. this person being also disqualified to receive the estate even if he had been alive at the time of the testator's death. and its effect is to give to the survivor. but also the half which pertained to him. in the second clause of which he declared: I institute as the only and universal heirs to all my property.. Luz Lopez de Bueno. Lopez and his daughter. Tomas Rodriguez. It is there declared. had been judicially declared incapable of taking care of himself and had been placed under the care of his cousin Vicente F. This provision is of undoubted application to the situation before us. Lopez died. and secondly. my cousin Vicente F. We now pass to article 982 of the Civil Code. There was no error whatever. died on February 25. or only four days after the will above-mentioned was made. 1924. 1924. as guardian. Prior to the time of the execution of this will the testator. Our discussion of the legal problem presented should begin with article 753 of the Civil Code which in effect declares that. Lopez. and the provision made in the will of Tomas Rodriguez in favor of Vicente F. that accretion take place in a testamentary succession. no testamentary provision shall be valid when made by a ward in favor of his guardian before the final accounts of the latter have been approved. The will referred to. to the same inheritance without special designation of shares. Lopez. Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno. in the order of the trial court declaring Luz Lopez de Bueno entitled to the whole estate. This article (982) is therefore also of exact application to the case in hand. and no such accounts had been presented by him at the time of his death. thereafter.

and that as a consequence Margarita Lopez s entitled to inherit the share of said disqualified heir. tend to the conclusion that the right of accretion with regard to portions of . with the general topic of intestate succession while the latter is more specific. therefore. yet it must be so understood. as next of kin and sole heir at law of the decedent. that a will may be valid even though the person instituted as heir is disqualified to inherit. Indeed. and at any rate the disability to which Vicente F. Upon these provisions an argument is planted conducting to the conclusion that the will of Tomas Rodriguez was valid. In playing the provisions of the Code it is the duty of the court to harmonize its provisions as far as possible. in view of the rule of interpretation above referred to. dealing. so far as they have expressed themselves on the subject. giving due effect to all. that legal succession takes place if the heir dies before the testator and also when the heir instituted is disqualified to succeed. among other things. We are of the opinion that the case cannot be made to turn upon so refined an interpretation of the language of the Code. a consideration which makes a case for accretion rather than for intestate succession. while. intestate succession occurs when the heir instituted is disqualified to succeed (incapaz de suceder). the provisions of the former article must be considered limited by the latter. notwithstanding the fact that one of the individuals named as heirs in the will was disqualified to take. Lopez and that this half has descended to the appellant. As between articles 912 and 983. article 986 of the Civil Code affords independent proof that intestate succession to a vacant portion can only occur when accretion is impossible. by which the more specific is held to control the general. In addition to this. Margarita Lopez. and it is contended that the disability of Vicente F. defining the particular conditions under which accretion takes place. it is obvious that the former is the more general of the two." It is true that the same express qualification is not found in subsection 4 of article 912. among other things. Lopez was subject was not a general disability to succeed but an accidental incapacity to receive the legacy.The argument in favor of the appellant supposes that there has supervened a partial intestacy with respect to the half of the estate which was intended for Vicente F. The opinions of the commentators. this interpretation supplies the only possible means of harmonizing the two provisions. as it does. in subsection 3 of article 912 the provision with respect to intestate succession is expressly subordinated to article 983 by the expression "and (if) there is no right of accretion. In case of conflict. The attorneys for the appellant direct attention to the fact that. In this connection attention is directed to article 764 of the Civil Code wherein it is declared. under the last provision in paragraph 2 of article 982. under paragraph 4 of article 912. and in case of conflict between two provisions the more general is to be considered as being limited by the more specific. Our attention is next invited to article 912 wherein it is declared. accretion occurs when one of the persons called to inherit under the will is disqualified to receive the inheritance (incapaz de recibirla). A distinction is then drawn between incapacity to succeed and incapacity to take. We are the opinion that this contention is untenable and that the appellee clearly has the better right. Besides. Lopez was such as to bring the case under article 912 rather than 982.

In Roman law. Says Escriche: "It is to be understood that one of the coheirs or colegatees fails if nonexistent at the time of the making of the will. I. 311. (Diccionario de Legislacion y Jurisprudencia. if the condition be not fulfilled. and it is so ordered. vol. to the extent supposed in appellant's brief. amounting to a mild presumption. . The judgment appealed from will be affirmed.net In conclusion it may be worth observing that there has always existed both in the civil and in the common law a certain legal intendment. by provisions of the Code relative to intestate succession (Manresa. . or if he becomes otherwise incapacitated. pp. 285-287. if he dies before the testator. — a presumption which has its basis in the supposed intention of the testator. 373. 16 Mucius Scaevola.. id. 34. 372. or he renounces the inheritance or legacy. without being limited. .an inheritance left vacant by the death or disqualification of one of the heirs or his renunciation of the inheritance is governed by article 912. vol. VII. 4th ed. p. pp. partial testacy systems a presumption against it. 13 Mucius Scaevola. . as is well known. 186).. 310.)lawphil. 225. with costs against the appellant. against partial intestacy. Comentarios al Codigo Civil Español.