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NISTAL as Municipal Judge of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, PROVINCIAL SHERIFF of Agusan del Sur, ILDEFONSO JAPITANA and ANTONIO DOLORICON, respondents. Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr. for petitioner. Ildefonso Japitana and Antonio Boloricon for respondents.
respondent Japitana filed an opposition to this motion while intervenor Antonio Doloricon filed a complaint in intervention asserting that he was the owner of the attached carabaos and that the certificates of ownership of large cattle were in his name. The respondent Judge denied the motion to dismiss prompting Mr. Nacar to come to the Supreme Court. In a resolution dated January 12, 1971, this Court, upon the posting of a bond in the amount of P1,000.00, directed the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction. The respondents were enjoined from further enforcing the writ of attachment and to return the seized carabaos. The judge was restrained from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 65. We find the petition meritorious.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: Nicanor Nacar filed this petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with preliminary injunction to annul an order of the respondent judge of the municipal court of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur directing the attachment of seven (7) carabaos, to effect the return of four (4) carabaos seized under the questioned order, and to stop the respondent judge from further proceeding in Civil Case No. 65. Respondent Ildefonso Japitana filed the complaint in Civil Case No. 65 and entitled it "Claim Against the Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar With Preliminary Attachment:" On the basis of this complaint, including an allegation "that defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the above-named property (seven carabaos) with intent to defraud plaintiff herein", and considering that Mr. Japitana had given security according to the Rules of Court, Judge Nistal issued the order commanding the provincial sheriff to attach the seven (7) heads of cattle in the possession of petitioner Nicanor Nacar. Actually only four (4) carabaos were attached because three (3) carabaos had earlier been slaughtered during the rites preceding the burial of the late Isabelo Nacar. Nicanor Nacar filed a motion to dismiss, to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment, and to order the return of the carabaos. Private The pertinent portions of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana with the municipal court read as follows: ILDEFONSO JAPITANA Civil Case No. 65 Plaintiff, FOR: — Versus — CLAIM AGAINST THE ESTATE NICANOR NACAR THE LATE ISABELO NACAR WITH Defendant. PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT x --------------------------------x COMPLAINT COMES NOW the undersigned plaintiff and before this Honorable Court, respectfully avers: xxx xxx xxx
That at various dates since the year 1968, the defendant have (sic) incurred indebtedness to the plaintiff in the total sum of TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY ONE (P2,791.00) PESOS, which said amount had long been overdue for payment, and which the defendant up to this date have (sic) not been able to pay, despite repeated demands from the plaintiff; That the defendant Isabelo Nacar died last April, 1970 leaving among other things personal property consisting seven (7) heads of carabaos now in the possession of the defendant Nicanor Nacar; That plaintiff herein file a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar to recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.99; That defendant are (sic) about to remove and dispose the above mentioned property with intent to defraud plaintiff herein; That plaintiff is willing to put up a bond for the issuance of a preliminary attachment in an amount to be fixed by the Court, not exceeding the sum of P 2,791.00 which is the plaintiff's claim herein; WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that pending the hearing of this case, a writ of preliminary attachment be issued against the properties of the defendant to serve as security for the payment or satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered herein; and that after due hearing on the principal against the defendant for the sum of P 2,791,00 with legal interest from September 15, 1970 plus costs of this suit. (Annex "A", p. 7 rollo). In his motion to dismiss, the petitioner raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction and absence of a cause of action. Mr. Nacar averred that the indebtedness mentioned in the complaint was alleged to have
been incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar and not by Nicanor Nacar. There was, therefore, no cause of action against him. The petitioner also stated that a municipal court has no jurisdiction to entertain an action involving a claim filed against the estate of a deceased person. The same grounds have been raised in this petition. Mr. Nacar contends: xxx xxx xxx 9. That the respondent judge acted without jurisdiction.The municipal courts or inferior courts have NO jurisdiction to settle the estate of deceased persons. The proper remedy is for the creditor to file the proper proceedings in the court of first instance and file the corresponding claim. But assuming without admitting that the respondent judge had jurisdiction, it is very patent that he committed a very grave abuse of discretion and totally disregarded the provisions of the Rules of Court and decisions of this honorable Court when he issued an ex-parte writ of preliminary attachment, when there is no showing that the plaintiff therein has a sufficient cause of action, that there is no other security for the claim sought to be enforced by the plaintiff; or that the amount claimed in the action is as much as the sum for which the order is prayed for above all legal counterclaims; There was no bond to answer for whatever damages that herein petitioner may suffer; (Rollo, pp. 3- 4). xxx xxx xxx The respondent judge tried to avoid the consequences of the issues raised in the motion to dismiss by stating that although the title of the complaint styled it a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar, the allegations showed that the nature of the action was really for the recovery of an indebtedness in the amount of P2,791.99.
The rule cited by the judge is correctly stated but it is hardly relevant to the contents of the complaint filed by Mr. Japitana. It is patent from the portions of the complaint earlier cited that the allegations are not only vague and ambiguous but downright misleading. The second paragraph of the body of the complaint states that the defendant (herein petitioner Nicanor Nacar) at various dates since the year 1968 incurred debts to the plaintiff in the sum of P2,791.00. And yet, in the subsequent paragraphs, one clearly gathers that the debts were actually incurred by the late Isabelo Nacar, who died several months before the filing of the complaint. The complaint which the respondent judge reads as one for the collection of a sum of money and all the paragraphs of which are incidentally unnumbered, expressly states as a material averment: xxx xxx xxx That plaintiff herein file (sic) a claim against the estate of the late Isabelo Nacar to recover the aforementioned sum of P2,791.00; xxx xxx xxx Under the circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no cause of action against petitioner Nacar.Mathay v. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company (58 SCRA 559) gives the elements of a valid cause of action: A cause of action is an act or omission of one party in violation of the legal right of the other. Its essential elements are, namely: (1) the existence of a legal right in the plaintiff, (2) a correlative legal duty in the defendant, and (3) an act or omission of the defendant in violation of plaintiff's right with consequential injury or damage to the plaintiff for which he may maintain an action for the recovery of damages or other appropriate relief. ( Ma-ao Sugar Central Co., Inc. vs. Barrios, et al., 79 Phil. 666, 667; Ramitere et al. vs. Montinola Vda. de Yulo, et al., L19751, February 28, 1966, 16 SCRA 251, 255). On the
other hand, Section 3 of Rule 6 of the Rules of Court provides that the complaint must state the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's cause of action. Hence, where the complaint states ultimate facts that constitute the three essential elements of a cause of action, the complaint states a cause of action; (Community Investment and Finance Corp. vs. Garcia, 88 Phil. 215, 218) otherwise, the complaint must succumb to a motion to dismiss on that ground. Indeed, although respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an indebtedness due him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no correlative legal duty to pay the debt for the simple reason that there is nothing in the complaint to show that he incurred the debt or had anything to do with the creation of the liability. As far as the debt is concerned, there is no allegation or showing that the petitioner had acted in violation of Mr. Japitana's rights with consequential injury or damage to the latter as would create a cause of action against the former. It is also patent from the complaint that respondent Japitana filed the case against petitioner Nacar to recover seven (7) heads of carabaos allegedly belonging to Isabelo Nacar which Japitana wanted to recover from the possession of the petitioner to answer for the outstanding debt of the late Isabelo Nacar. This matter, however, is only ancillary to the main action. The ancillary matter does not cure a fatal defect in the complaint for the main action is for the recovery of an outstanding debt of the late lsabelo Nacar due respondent Japitana, a cause of action about which petitioner Nacar has nothing to do. In fact the fatal defect in the complaint was noticed by the respondent court when it advised respondent Japitana to amend his complaint to conform with his evidence and from the court's admission that it was inclined to dismiss the case were it not for the complaint in intervention of respondent Doloricon. Respondent Doloricon filed his complaint for intervention on the ground that the four carabaos, subject of the writ of attachment, were actually his carabaos. Thus, the respondent court in
Antonio Doloricon is hereby given 10 days from receipt hereof within which to file his third-party complaint. September 29. . to dissolve writ of preliminary attachment and in order the return of the carabaos said: . Pursuant thereto this Court has ruled that: As a rule the sufficiency of the complaint.its Order denying the petitioner's motion to dismiss. This Court further requires plaintiff to put up the additional bond of P I. With this conclusion. de Yulo. Acuna vs. L-20338. Considering the foregoing. even assuming that respondent Japitana had a legal right to the carabaos which were in the possession of petitioner Nacar.. We ruled in Mathay v. providing in part that: Within the time for pleading a motion to dismiss may be made on any of the following grounds. 6 SCRA 69. . (Rollo.. explicitly requires that the sufficiency of the complaint must be tested exclusively on the basis of the complaint itself and no other should be considered when the ground for motion to dismiss is that the complaint states no cause of action. 95 Phil. Inc. 1964. Dalandan. this Court for the interest of both parties will not for the meantime dismiss this case. Montinola Vda. The plaintiff who in his opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss pray (sic) for the custody of the carabaos. L. Ramitere et al. the proper procedure would not be to file an action for the recovery of the outstanding debts of the late Isabelo Nacar against his stepfather.. 10 SCRA 400. et al.00 after which the latter may be entitled of (sic) the custody of the carabaos subject of litigation pending final termination of this case. when challenged in a motion to dismiss. 1967. supra: Section I. February 29. vs.. 254. 531) Hence. vs. As we said in Maspil v. Julio. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. Moreover. See also De Jesus. 16 SCRA 250..19101.. Batac Producers Cooperative Marketing Association.. 365. Antonio Doloricon manifested before this Court that he is filing a third-party complaint alleging that he is the true and lawful owner of the carabaos in questions.. (g) That the complaint states no cause of action. De La Rama Steamship Co. Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. Inc. February 28. 72. 371. pp. Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. et al. 1962. et al. Romero (61 SCRA 197): Appropriate actions for the enforcement or defense of rights must be taken in accordance with procedural rules and cannot be left to the whims or caprices of litigants. vs. It cannot even be left to the untrammeled discretion of the courts of justice without sacrificing uniformity and equality in the application and effectivity thereof.. et al. we find no need to discuss the other issue on whether or not the . Belarmino et al.. must be determined exclusively on the basis of the facts alleged therein' (Uy Chao vs.000. the petitioner Nacar as defendant. et at. 20 SCRA 526.. 1966.. June 30. L14495.. 18-19) The respondent court's reason for not dismissing the case is contrary to applicable precedents on the matter. the respondent court's denial of the motion to dismiss the complaint and its issuance of a writ of attachment based on the allegations of the complaint are improper. it was error for the respondent court not to dismiss the case simply because respondent Doloricon filed the complaint for intervention alleging that he owned the carabaos. L-19751.
The fundamental error committed by the private respondents was in pursuing their claim in an ordinary action. As can be seen from the caption and the body of the complaint filed in Civil Case No. the same shall have to be dismissed.procedural rules on the issuance of a writ of attachment were followed by the respondent court in issuing the subject writ of attachment. and the claim prosecuted in the proper administration proceedings (Sec. Isabelo Nacar died before the said complaint was filed. the suit to recover the claim of the private respondents may not be filed against the administrator or executor of his estate...). . A municipal court may not entertain such a proceeding. Melencio-Herrera. and that by the respondent municipal judge in entertaining the same. A case had to be filed in order to justify the issuance of a writ of attachment. This is expressly provided for in Section 1 of Rule 87 of the Rules of Court. 5. Under these facts. 21. It is a claim for money arising from unpaid indebtedness granted on various dates. concur. 65 was to attach the seven carabaos owned by Isabelo Nacar. if really owned by Isabelo Nacar. . may be pursued only by filing the same in the administration proceedings that may be taken to settle the estate of the deceased Isabelo Nacar. If such a proceeding is instituted and the subject claim is not filed therein within the period prescribed. as follows: No action upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest thereon shall be commenced against the executor or administrator. concurring: I concur in the result. Ibid. Even if settlement proceedings had been taken to settle the estate of Isabelo Nacar. SO ORDERED. 1971 is made permanent and the cash bond filed by the petitioner in connection therewith is ordered returned to him. J. Teehankee (Chairman). Civil Case No. or pursued in the appropriate settlement proceedings.. Plana and Relova. under the law then in force. with probate jurisdiction. Rule 86. Separate Opinions VASQUEZ." (Sec. . 65 should accordingly be dismissed and the writ of attachment issued therein dissolved. being one arising from a contract. WHEREFORE. Even if this action were commenced during the lifetime of Isabelo Nacar. The claim of the private respondents may only be satisfied by a voluntary act on the part of the heirs of Isabelo Nacar. The carabaos. it not being vested. the same shall be deemed "barred forever. It does not appear that any proceeding has been filed to settle his estate. . pertained to his estate upon his death. the claim of the private respondents was not against herein petitioner Nicanor Nacar but against the estate of the deceased Isabelo Nacar. said remedy may not be allowed. JJ. The claim of private respondents. Rule 3.. Rules of Court). 65. It would seem that the main purpose of the private respondents in filing Civil Case No. the petition is hereby granted. The preliminary mandatory injunction issued on January 13. unfortunately. the filing of an ordinary action to recover said claim is not allowed in any court.
or give away to some charitable or educational institution institutions.000. section 2. D. (3) that the personalty sought to be sold represented the lifetime savings and collections of oppositor. pursuant to Rule 81.000. surviving spouse of the deceased entered an opposition to the probate of the will presented by petitioner Dora Perkins Anderson. 1958.000. the lower court. the court required the administrator to submit a specification of the properties sought to be sold.L. vs. authorizing the Sheriff of Manila to conduct the same. Lazaro A. electrical appliances. No. Ponce Enrile. the special administrator submitted to the court a petition seeking authority to sell. 1956 the special administrator submitted an inventory of all the assets which have come to his knowledge as belonging to the deceased Eugene Arthur Perkins at the time of his death. gadgets. oppositor Idonah Slade Perkins appealed to this court.R. On September 28. section 2.. petitioner Dora Perkins Anderson also filed a urgent petition for the appointment of Alfonso Ponce Enrile as special administrator of the estate. approved the proposed sale. oppositor-appellant. petitioner-appellee. contrary to Rule 81.B. It appears that said special proceedings were commenced on May 10. books. and (2) that unauthorized removal of fine pieces of furniture belonging to the estate had been made. by a petition presented by Dora Perkin Anderson for the probate of the supposed last will and testament of the late Eugene Arthur Perkins. When the motion was heard on September 25. S. The opposition notwithstanding. on October 21. Reasons. 1956. Rules of Court. REYES. 1959. and in compliance therewith. the lower court denied the above motion for reconsideration. J. 1956. Oppositor Idonah Slade Perkins moved to reconsider this order on the grounds (1) that said order in effect authorized the special administrator to sell the entire personal estate of the deceased. On July 9. who died in Manila on April 28. (4) that there is evidence on record showing unauthorized withdrawals from the properties of the estate. Marquez and J. and (5) that there is also evidence showing oppositor's separate rights to a substantial part of the personal estate. 1956 allegedly possessed of personal and real properties with a probable value of P5. (2) that said order was issued without a showing that the goods and chattels sought to be sold were perishable. Idonah Slade Perkins filed an opposetion to the proposed sale. and the sale of the inventoried lot would prevent identification and recovery of the articles removed. J. in order to avoid their further deterioration and to save whatever value migh be obtained in their disposition. or on September 4. on December 2. Reyna. the court issued an order appointing Alfonso Ponce Enrile as such special administrator upon his posting of a bond in the amount of P50. etc. About two years later. L-15388 January 31. Quirino for oppositor-appellant.G. On the same date of the filing of the aforesaid petition. 1961 DORA PERKINS ANDERSON. for the opposition were that (1) most of the properties sought to be sold were conjugal properties of herself and her deceased husband. IDONAH SLADE PERKINS. submitted to the court. in place of a specification. Idonah Slade Perkins. the special administrator. 1958. . On February 23. Rules of Court. 1958. and on the same day. with the statement that said items were too voluminous to enumerate. such as clothes. 1958. Montecillo and Belo for petitioner-appellee. On July 9. 1956.. certain personal effects left by the deceased. Whereupon.: Appeal against an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila in Special Proceedings No. a copy of the inventory of the personal properties belonging to the estate with the items sought to be sold marked with a check in red pencil. 29636 authorizing the special administrator of the testate estate of the late Eugene Arthur Perkins to sell at public auction certain personal properties left by the deceased. which were allegedly deteriorating both physically and in value.
to segregate the alleged exclusive property of the oppositor-appellant from the mass of the estate supposedly left by the deceased or to liquidate the conjugal partnership property of the oppositor-appellant and the deceased. personal property. 213 P. 2. Indeed the records show that up to the time the propose sale was asked for and judicially approved. which shows that the special administrator's power to sell is not limited to "perishable" property only. but its value as well. Until. 118 S. . the vigorous opposition presented thereto the appellant. the lower court's order of December 2. But it does not appear that appellant was given a reasonable opportunity to point out which items in the inventory she did not want sold. Rule 81. therefore the issue of the ownership of the properties sought to be sold is heard and decided. with costs against the special administrator Alfonso Ponce Enrile and petition-appellee Dora Perkins Anderson. 519). so that no reasons of extreme urgency justify the proposed sale at this time over the strong opposition and objection of oppositor-appellant who may later be adjudged owner of a substantial portion of the personal estate in question. the special administrator has no legal authority to sell them. Rule 81. various gadget and books — can easily be protected and preserved with proper care and storage measures in either or both of two residential houses (in Manila and in Baguio City left by the deceased. 149. at least. But it is not alone the specific property of the estate which is to be preserved. that section 2. the records do not even show that an inquiry was made as to the validity of the grounds of her opposition.. 244 N. also empowers such administrator to sell "other proerty as the court ordered sold. 53 Phil. Cascade Silver Mines & Mills. or because they are her own. 109 66 Mont. 155 Ga. Collins v. Sqydelko v. most of the items sought to be sold — pieces of furniture. an agreement be reached with a appellant as to which properties of the conjugal partnership she would not mind being sold to preserve their value the proposed sale is clearly premature. De Gala v. because section 2. a serious obstacle to the proposed sale.W. 886. 104. 1958 authorizing the special administrator to sell certain personal properties of the estate is set aside. et al. Gonzales. 729. 259 Mich. Rule 81. the surviving spouse of the deceased. exclusive. This argument is untenable. electrical appliances. Henry. or even started. or. namely. 488). specifically provides that the special administrator "may sell such perishable and other property as the court orders sold". It is in line with this general power of the special administrator to preserve not only the property of the estate but also its value. It is true that the function of a special administrator is only to collect and preserve the property of the deceased until a regular administrator is appointed (sec. on the ground that she is allegedly entitled to a large portion of the personal properties in question. WHEREFORE. either because the were conjugal property of herself and the deceased. no proceeding had as yet been taken.E." . however. her opposition to the proposed sale and later her motion for reconsideration to the order approving the same were overruled by the court without so much as stating reasons why the grounds for her opposition were not well-founded. Smith's Estate. In fact. kitchen and dinner ware. The special administrator claims in his brief that t oppositor-appellant should have indicated the alleged "fine furniture" which she did not want sold and that her refusal to do so is an indication of her unmeritorious claim. After all. There is. as shown by the legal provision for the sale by a special administrator of perishable property (Cao vs. and the conjugal partnership liquidated.Appellant first claims that the personal properties sought to be sold not being perishable. of the Rules of Court.
"6").. more or less. Tubig. MARIA VDA. DE REYES. who was by then already deceased. located at Sangayad..-G. Rafael Reyes. The vendee immediately took possession of the property and started paying the land taxes therein. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND SPOUSES DALMACIO GARDIOLA and ROSARIO MARTILLANOrespondents. No. Unfortunately. sold a parcel of land with an area of 23. ERNESTO REYES. the children thereafter secured tax declarations for their respective shares. did not specifically mention Lot No. "5"). It appears therein that two lots. 11934. who was the administrator of his property. each resultant lot was earmarked. petitioners. In 1941.. RTC-BCV-83-17 entitled Maria vda. kept by Juan Poblete. ERLINDA REYES-VALERIO. one of Gavino's children. Santos. 1991 MARIA VDA. In the subdivision plan. or about twenty (20) years after the death of Gavino. ALEX. one of which is Lot No. The application was prosecuted by his son. "6-A"). Per testimony of Juan Poblete. Sr. indicated for and assigned to a specific heir. the lot that was intended for Rafael Reyes. however. 1-A-14 of the subdivision plan aforestated. son-in-law of Marcelo Reyes. more or less. et al. On 3 December 1943. Spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and Rosario Martillano. I A-14 (Exh. promulgated on 20 October 1989. DE REYES. 2 and the resolution of 1 March 1990 denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration.:p Assailed before Us in this appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals in C.A.R. 92436 July 26. 1-A-14. the original certificate of title for the whole property — OCT No. was instead adjudicated to his only son and heir. ELIZABETH REYES. CV No. Pilapil & Associates for private respondents. one Gavino Reyes owned a parcel of land of approximately 70 hectares. According to the vendee.R. Ulong- . Sr. de Reyes. all surnamed REYES. 255 — was issued. Sr. and Spouses Ricardo M. this parcel corresponds to Lot No. The deed of sale. It was. the new title isOCT (0-4358) RO255 (Exhs. "4" to "4-A"). vs. who was already deceased. represented by their mother. Juan Poblete "revalidated" the original Certificate of Title. Marcelo Reyes. EFREN REYES. the following facts have been preponderantly established: During his lifetime. RAFAEL II. The heirs of Gavino were not aware of this fact. Carmona. De Lara. ELVIRA REYES-TIMBOL. J. when the heirs of Gavino Reyes executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate (Exh. As reconstituted. Cavite) of the Regional Trial Court of the Fourth Judicial Region in Civil Case No. In 1945 or thereabouts. Gardiola and Emelita Gardiola. As culled from both decisions and the pleadings of the parties. "D") based on the aforestated subdivision plan (Exh. however. He sought to bring said land under the operation of the Torrens System of registration of property. to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola (Exh. were allotted to Rafael Reyes. 1 reversing the decision of 1 October 1986 of Branch 21 (Imus.431 square meters. JR. On 21 October 1967. (the predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners herein). Rafael Reyes. Cavite. De Lunas & Rosales for petitioners. Private respondent DAVIDE. "6"). vs. Jr. he died in 1921 without the title having been issued to him.RIGHTS TO SUCCESSION G. EMELINA and EVELYN. In 1936 the above property was surveyed and subdivided by Gavino's heirs (Exh.
for such sale was known to Rafael Reyes. Jr. within the period of one(1) year from such foreclosure the questioned land was redeemed by the original defendants' son in the person of Ricardo M. Sr. 27257 is null and void. Meanwhile." (Lot No... 27257 in the name of Rafael Reyes. private respondents deny the material averments in the complaint and assert that they are the owners of the lot in question. that they have been in possession of the property and have been paying the land taxes thereon. . 1-A-14 from Hebron. on the basis of the following claims: xxx xxx xxx 9. 8 the trial court concluded that petitioners' "title over the subject property is valid and regular and thus they are entitled to its possession and enjoyment. 3 After obtaining the Transfer Certificate of Title for Lot No. as successors-in-interest of Rafael Reyes. and that petitioners are barred by prescription and/or laches. OCT RO-255 was cancelled and in lieu thereof.6 The prayer of the amended complaint now contains the alternative relief for indemnification for the reasonable value of the property "in the event restitution of the property is no longer possible. However. 1267. 1267. As a result of the Extrajudicial Settlement. one of the children of Gavino Reyes. accounting and damages. who was knowledgeable/aware of the pendency of the above captioned case. kept by one Candido Hebron. On 10 January 1969. For their failure to redeem the mortgage the same was foreclosed by the bank. Marta Reyes. which was docketed therein as Civil Case No. . Jr. several transfer certificates of title covering the subdivided lots were issued in the names of the respective adjudicatees. pursuant to the aforesaid order in Civil Case No. They further allege that they have been deprived by said defendants of the rightful possession and enjoyment of the property since September 1969 — which coincides with the date of the order in Civil Case No. covering Lot No. Gardiola. during his lifetime. The case was dismissed on 18 September 1969. but Candido Hebron was ordered by the trial court to deliver to the heirs concerned all the transfer certificates of title in his possession. having bought the same from Rafael Reyes. but defendants refused to vacate and surrender the possession of the said land to herein plaintiffs. petitioners herein. .. The corresponding redemption was effected through a deed of conveyance.. They allege therein that after "having definitely discovered that they are the lawful owners of the property. in the alternative. The Transfer Certificates of Title were." and accordingly decided thus: WHEREFORE." 7 In its decision of 1 October 1986. 1-A-14. . they. One of them is TCT No. Gardiola and Emerita Gardiola. however. the defendants or anyone acting for and in their behalf are hereby ordered to relinguish possession or vacate the property in question which is . some of the heirs of Gavino Reyes filed a case of Annulment of Partition and Recovery of Possession before the Court of First Instance of Cavite City. Jr. 5 Petitioners amended their complaint on 21 March 1985 to implead as additional defendants the spouses Ricardo M. during the presentation of the defendants spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and Rosario Martillano's evidence the former testified that they mortgaged the subject land to the Rural Bank of Carmona Inc." the last of the demands was allegedly made on 8 October 1982. One of the defendants in said case is herein private respondent Rosario Martillano. 1-A-14). Jr. 10.Rosario Martillano signed the deed in representation of her mother. made repeated demands to (sic) defendants to surrender the possession of and vacate the parcel of land belonging to the former. RTC-BCV-83-17 against private respondents (defendants therein) for recovery of possession or. "including Rafael Reyes. 1267. 4 In their answer. filed on 14 March 1983 with the Regional Trial Court the above-mentioned Civil Case No. that the issuance of TCT No. for indemnification.
Prescriptibility of an action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust is ten (10) years. to the defendants covered the land in question — Lot No. thus: On the first issue. a period of about sixteen (16) years had already elapsed. We believe that the lower court committed a reversible error when it declared that the landed estate of the late Gavino Reyes was partitioned only in 1967 by the latter's grandchildren. If there was fraud. 1983. the respondent Court of Appeals formulated the issues before it as follows: I Whether or not the lower court erred in declaring that the property of the late Gavino Reyes consisting of 70 hectares was partitioned only in 1967 by his grandchildren after discovery of the existence of OCT No. the description of the latter as indicated in the deed of sale (Exh. The trial court further held that the continued possession by private respondents. the lower court itself recognized the fact that the property of the late Gavino Reyes consisting of 70 hectares was surveyed and subdivided in 1936 as evidenced by the . "5") does not tally with the description of the former. 255 and that no actual partition was made in 1936 by the decedent's children. In like manner. T-27257 in favor of the plaintiffs. Sr. The conclusion of the trial court is based on its finding that (a) there is no evidence that the heirs of Gavino Reyes entered into any written agreement of partition in 1936 based on the subdivision plan. 6) which was not controverted nor denied by the appellees. again. that the sale made by Rafael Reyes. CV No. 10 and resolved such issues. Sr.. the property was already registered. T-27257 to Rafael Reyes. the defendant could have discovered the same in 1967 when the partition was made in as much as defendant Rosario Martillano was a party to that partition. 1-14-A and the land sold to private respondents by Rafael Reyes. 9 Private respondents appealed the said decision to the Court of Appeals which docketed the appeal as C. (b) there is no identity between Lot No.-G. the claim of the defendants is also barred. 1-A-14 — and that Transfer Certificate of Title No.A. and that no actual partition was made in 1936 by the decedents' (sic) children. which it found to have started in 1943. did not ripen into ownership because at that time. Jr. or otherwise stated. created a constructive or implied trust in favor of the defendants. The evidence on record bears out the existence of a subdivision plan (Exh. the late Rafael Reyes.covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Sr. to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was not the same parcel of land under litigation. All other claims and/or counterclaims of the parties relative to this case are dismissed for lack of proper substantiation.R. II Whether or not the lower court erred in concluding that the parcel of land sold by the appellees' predecessor-ininterest. In its decision of 20 October 1989. 11934. the claim of the defendants over the said property is already barred. and (c) moreover: Granting. hence it cannot be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. T-27257 was obtained by means of fraud. Let us grant further that the issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title No. Action for reconveyance prescribes in four (4) years from the discovery thereof. From 1967 to the filing of their answer (let us consider this as an action for reconveyance) to this case sometime in July. arguendo.
and from the uncontroverted testimony of appellants' witness. Sr. Decision). Belen. Sr. Coming to the second issue. which were the same parcels of land allegedly inherited by Rafael Reyes. 1943 (Exh. Andal. his property was admittedly not yet covered by a torrens title. because the litigants had already conceded that the parcel identified as Lot No. the Subdivision Plan (Exh. the presence of the Subdivision Plan (Exh. March 1953). 78 Phil. 997. pars. 6) is an (sic) evidence of such partition which appellees failed to controvert not to mention the fact that the lower court itself recognized the existence of said plan. 27257 was the same parcel of land identified as Cadastral Lot . in the same manner that it concluded that the property was already surveyed and actually subdivided in 1936 (page 3. extrajudicial partition can be done orally.. It is for this reason that the lots supposedly inherited by the grandchildren named in the deed of 1967 were the same lots inherited and given to their respective fathers or mothers in 1936 while the land was not yet covered by the torrens system. As held in a long line of decisions. in the case of Rafael Reyes. was entered into by the heirs of Gavino Reyes regarding his properties in 1936.said subdivision plan (Exh. 1-A-14 in TCT No. subdivided and partitioned Gavino Reyes' landed estate without formal requirements of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court when a parcel of land is covered by a torrens title. With this factual milieu. We can only infer that at least an oral partition. 6) undisputedly showed on its face that the 70 hectares of land belonging to the late Gavino Reyes was subdivided and partitioned by his children in 1936. which states: xxx xxx xxx Moreover. 176. as it was only in 1941 when said properties were brought into the application of the torrens system. From the foregoing considerations it is evident that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate (Exh. in favor of appellant Dalmacio Gardiola.G. from Gavino Reyes in representation of his father. 3 and 4. 5) executed by Rafael Reyes. As told earlier. in the Deed of Sale dated December 3. D) executed by the grandchildren of the late Gavino Reyes in 1967 is of no moment considering that the property subject of the partition in the deed was already partitioned in 1936 by the children of Gavino Reyes." This alone would confirm the contention of the appellants that there was already an actual partition (at least an oral partition) of the property of Gavino Reyes in 1936. the lower court likewise erred when it concluded that the parcel of land sold by appellee's predecessor-in-interest to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was not the same parcel of land under litigation. 6). 49 O. 1-A-3 and 1-A-14 described in the Subdivision plan of 1936 (Exh. 1921. the land sold therein was described as "na aking minana sa aking ama. It must be pointed out that the identity of the parcel of land which the appellees sought to recover from the appellants was never an issue in the lower court. the land inherited by him was two (2) parcels of land known as Lots Nos. it can also be concluded that his heirs have indeed settled. 27257 was issued. Jr. As aforestated. Hence. With the existence of a subdivision plan. On this score. pursuant to the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate for which TCT No. It must also be remembered that when Gavino Reyes died on March 7. which under the law is valid and binding. 6). The reason for this is because a partition is not exactly a conveyance for the reason that it does not involve transfer of property from one to the other but rather a confirmation by them of their ownership of the property. the partition of the said property even without the formal requirements under the rule is valid as held in the case of Hernandez vs. and the same would be valid if freely entered into (Belen v.
they claim that (a) TCT No. As ground for their plea for the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals. the appellees never denied the identity of the subject lot during the hearing at the lower court. however. 1-A-14" is bereft of merit under the foregoing circumstances. Sr. the assumption of the lower court that "if the land sold by Rafael Reyes." As correctly pointed out by the appellants however. neither he nor appellant Dalmacio Gardiola was aware of the existence of OCT No. sold the property in dispute to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola on December 3. . the lower court declared that "as described in the deed of sale (Exh. Sr. (b) private respondent Rosario Martillano was a party to the extrajudicial settlement of estate which was duly registered in the Registry of Deeds in 1967. 4766. Sr. 1-A-14. 27257.R. 1A-14 in TCT No. 4766. hence." In support thereof. as stated in the decision of the trial court. when Rafael Reyes. 4766. 5). 79882. 1228 and 1235 described in Tax Declaration No. 12 Their motion to reconsider the above decision having been denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution of 1 March 1990. the pronouncement of the Court of Appeals that private respondents are the lawful owners of the lot in question "militates against the indefeasible and incontrovertible character of the torrens title. However. petitioners allege that said court has decided questions of substance in a way not in accord with law or applicable jurisprudence when it held that "the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate (Exh. 5) was exactly the same land identified as Lot No."14 and allows reconveyance which is not tenable since the action therefor had already prescribed. What they were denying only was the sale made by Rafael Reyes. 11 It concluded that the trial court erred when it ordered the private respondents or anyone acting in their behalf to relinquish the possession or vacate the property in question. the discrepancy in the description was due to the fact that the description of the land sold in the Deed of Sale was expressed in layman's language whereas the description of Lot No. 1-A-14 in TCT No. The petition does not implead original new defendants Ricardo Gardiola and Emelita Gardiola. 1943. said registration is the operative act that gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land and also constituted constructive notice to the whole world. 5). 27257 was issued only in 1967. 1-A-14 in the Subdivision Plan (Exh. the appealed Judgment is ordered REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered declaring appellants to be the lawful owners of the lot identified as Lot No. 6) of 1936. because at that time. Despite this admission. "D") executed by the grandchildren of the late Gavino Reyes in 1967 is of no moment considering that the property subject of the partition was already partitioned in 1936 by the children of Gavino Reyes. he could have easily indicated Lot No. 27257 was done in technical terms. the only evidence of title to the land then available in so far as Rafael Reyes. It thus decreed: WHEREFORE. the Court of Appeals should have affirmed the decision of the trial court. the land subject of the Deed of Sale was described by the vendor in the manner as described in Tax Declaration No. was the one now in litigation. Consequently. 27257 covers two parcels of land. 255 as in fact TCT No. Accordingly. the lot described in paragraph 1 thereof is owned by petitioners and that ownership was confirmed by this Court in G. the land in litigation. Interestingly enough. Sr. to appellant Dalmacio Gardiola which does not hold true because of the document denominated as Deed of Sale (Exh. This was so because.No. No. The court cannot disregard the binding effect thereof Finally. was concerned was Tax Declaration No. the land's description does not tally with the description of Lot No. the description of the land appearing in the Deed of Sale (Exh. No costs. 13 petitioners filed the instant petition on 6 April 1990 after having obtained an extension of time within which to file it.
Rafael Reyes. In said resolution. The requirement in Article 1358 of the Civil Code that acts which have for their object the creation. We required respondents to comment on the petition. De Lunas and Rosales. But even before it could do so. . It should be mentioned that in the Durumpili case before the Third Division. Attached as Annex "A" to private respondent's Memorandum.R. 18 A rejoinder was filed by private respondents on 29 August 1990. without obtaining prior leave of the Court. the Court of Appeals relied on the alleged confirmation of the sale executed by Angustia Reyes. that: (a) the findings of facts of respondent Court are contrary to those of the trial court and appear to be contradicted by the evidence on record thus calling for the review by this Court. The foregoing claim is not supported by the rollo of G. Considering that Angel Reyes sold this property to Basilio de Ocampo who. we honestly feel that the resolution that will be issued therein will not be applicable to the case before this Honorable Court's Second Division. 561 (1903)] The subsequent execution by the heirs of the Extrajudicial Partition in 1967 did not alter the oral partition as in fact the share pertaining to Angustia Reyes corresponded to that previously assigned to her father. which reveals the following: (a) On 18 September 1990. the latter. We gave due course to the petition on 19 September 1990 and required the parties to submit simultaneously their respective memoranda which they complied with. It was only on 15 June 1990 that private respondents filed their Comment. petitioners therein. which they complied with on 8 August 1990. in their replymemorandum dated 15 March 1991 and filed three days thereafter. is the Resolution of this Court (Third Division) of 20 August 1990 in G. who are the lawyers of petitioners in the instant case. The Court of Appeals and Spouses Dalmacio Gardiola and Rosario Martillano. although oral. 92811 entitled Spouses Artemio Durumpili and Angustia Reyes vs.R. 16 (b) it also committed misapprehension of the facts in this case and its findings are based on speculation. Moreover. conjecture and surmises. and the extrajudicial settlement in 1967. modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property must appear in a public instrument is only for convenience and not for validity or enforceability as between the parties themselves. while in the Reyes case before this Second Division. allege: Our failure to mention the aforementioned resolution before this Honorable Court is not deliberate nor with malice aforethought. (c) private respondents' attack on petitioners' title is a collateral attack which is not allowed. The reason is that to date. No. we have not yet received any resolution to our Motion For Leave of Court To Refer Case To The Honorable Supreme Court En Banc. was valid. there was no sale that was executed by the petitioners Reyes' predecessor-ininterest. In answer to the charge of private respondents that petitioners deliberately failed to cite this resolution. Jr. Que Bentec. filed a motion for the reconsideration of the resolution of 20 August 1990. we agree with the Court of Appeals that the latter lawfully acquired the property and are entitled to ownership and possession thereof. 19 b) This motion . among others. .In the resolution of 7 May 1990. even if it is allowed. [Thunga Hui vs. in turn. 92811. 2 Phil. 17 We required petitioners to reply thereto. which also involves the property of Gavino Reyes. The partition made in 1936. transmission. represented by De Lara. this Court held: . which was filed on 10 December 1990. No. sold the same to respondents. the partition thereof among his children in 1936. petitioner. the same had already prescribed and is now barred. filed on 29 May 1990 a so-called Supplemental Arguments in Support of The Petition For Review On certiorari 15 wherein they assert.
92811. Accordingly. Barcelona. this Court. the remedy open to the vendee was an action for reconveyance. There is no law that requires partition among heirs to be in writing to be valid. Sr. Additionally. What comes out prominently from the disquisitions of the parties is this simple issue: whether or not respondent Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court. There is nothing in said section from which it can be inferred that a writing or other formality is an essential requisite to the validity of the partition.R.. It follows then that the intrinsic validity of partition not executed with the prescribed formalities does not come into play when there are no creditors or the rights of creditors are not affected. Copy thereof was furnished the attorneys for petitioners. Sr. held that the requirement that a partition be put in a public document and registered has for its purpose the protection of creditors and at the same time the protection of the heirs themselves against tardy claims. 24 InHernandez vs. Andal. supra. to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola is indeed Lot No. the lot specified for and adjudicated to Rafael Reyes. We find none. 1-A-14 and that TCT No. (b) the land sold by Rafael Reyes. filed a Motion For Leave Of Court To Refer Case To The Honorable Supreme CourtEn Banc And/Or Motion For Reconsideration 21 wherein they specifically admit that said case and the instant petition have "identity and/or similarity of the parties. No. 23 e) Entry of judgment had already been made therein and a copy thereof was sent to petitioner's counsel per Letter of Transmittal of the Deputy Court and Chief of the Judicial Records Office dated 20 December 1990. and (c) if the land sold by Rafael Reyes. wife of Dalmacio. it is competent for the heirs of an estate to enter into an agreement for distribution in a manner and upon a plan different from those provided by law. yet. was valid and binding. to private respondents is not identical to Lot No. provides the reason why oral partition is valid and why it is not covered by the Statute of Frauds: partition among heirs or renunciation of an inheritance by some of them is not exactly a conveyance of real property for the reason that it does not involve transfer of property from one to the other. supra. Where no such rights are involved. 26 The estate of the decedent would then be held in co-ownership by the heirs. through the same lawyers. although oral. The co-heir or co-owner . The object of registration is to serve as constructive notice to others. an oral partition is valid. The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent. interpreting Section 1 of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. We would still arrive at the same conclusion for upon the death of Gavino Reyes in 1921. The Court of Appeals correctly held that the partition made by the children of Gavino Reyes in 1936. it admits that there was a survey and subdivision of the property and the adjudication of specific subdivision lots to each of the children of Gavino. in the partition agreement. was a party thereto. The trial court erred in holding that: (a) there was no partition among the children of Gavino Reyes in 1936 since there is no written evidence in support thereof. et al. the validity of such oral partition in 1936 has been expressly sustained by this Court in the Resolution of 20 August 1990 in G." even going to the extent of "graphically" illustrating where such similarities lie. the issues raised. but rather a confirmation or ratification of title or right of property by the heir renouncing in favor of another heir accepting and receiving the inheritance. the facts. Barcelona. 1-A-14. et al. petitioners therein. 25 But even if We are to assume arguendo that the oral partition executed in 1936 was not valid for some reason or another. 20 c) On 17 November 1990. which should have been brought within four (4) years from the discovery thereof in 1967 when the Extrajudicial Settlement was executed since private respondent Rosario Martillano. vs. The Court of Appeals was not bound to agree to such conclusions. T-27257 was obtained through fraud.was denied in the resolution of 1 October 1990. 22 d) This motion was denied in the resolution of 28 November 1990. his heirs automatically became co-owners of his 70-hectare parcel of land. Jr. The reversal of the trial court's decision is inevitable and unavoidable because the legal and factual conclusions made by the trial court are unfounded and clearly erroneous.
is none other than Lot No. Rafael Reyes. 27 this Court held that every co-heir has the absolute ownership of his share in the community property and may alienate. Thus. Jr. 1-14-A is concerned. 1-14-A. Sr. 1-14-A. on his observation that the description of the former does not tally with that of the latter. As this Court stated in the Barcelona case. In respect to the issue as to whether the property sold by Rafael Reyes. vendee of the share of Rafael Reyes. a daughter and an heir of Gavino Reyes. which was acquired by sale from Rafael Reyes. and the subsequent registration of the deed did not create any right or vest any title over the property in favor of the petitioners as heirs of Rafael Reyes. he should have specifically stated it in the deed since at that time. The participation of private respondent Rosario Gardiola in the Extrajudicial Settlement did not place private respondents in estoppel to question the issuance of TCT No. In addition to the contrary findings and conclusion of the respondent Court on this issue to which We fully agree... assign. son of Rafael Reyes. Upon the execution of the deed of sale. with respect to the coowners. Petitioners. the trial court based its conclusion that it is not. since he never had any title or right to Lot No. As correctly maintained by private respondents. The latter never became the owner of Lot No. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides: Each co-owner shall have the full ownership of his part and the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. the mere execution of the settlement did not improve his condition. 28 it is but a confirmation or ratification of title or right to property. vendee — herein private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola — immediately took possession of the property. The latter cannot give them what he never had before. she signed it in representation of her deceased mother. never took any action against private respondents from the time his father sold the lot . Jr. Nemo dare potest quod non habet. They therefore admit and concede that the property claimed by private respondent. Dalmacio Gardiola. 1-14-A. Rafael Reyes. Gavino Reyes. Sr. to private respondent Dalmacio Gardiola is his share in the estate of his deceased father. T-27257 in the name of Rafael Reyes. Jr. could transmit to them upon his death. 1-14-A. represented in turn by his heirs-petitioners herein-in the extrajudicial settlement of 1967. can only acquire that which Rafael. In Ramirez vs.. is identical to Lot No. shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. the certificate of title covering Lot No. moreover. Sr. 1-A-14 because it was sold by his father in 1943. Sr. the property had already been partitioned and said lot was adjudicated to him. The main evidence adduced for their claim of ownership and possession over it is TCT No. Sr. Jr. An extrajudicial settlement does not create a light in favor of an heir. was clearly erroneous because he never became its owner. it is to be stressed that Rafael had this property declared for taxation purposes and the tax declaration issued was made the basis for the description of the property in the deed of sale. Jr. if Rafael did intend to sell Lot No. T-27257. or mortgage the same. It is the same property which was eventually adjudicated to his son and heir. There is one more point that should be stressed here. But the effect of the alienation or the mortgage. in the estate of Gavino. Bautista.may validly dispose of his share or interest in the property subject to the condition that the portion disposed of is eventually allotted to him in the division upon termination of the co-ownership. Jr. Petitioners' immediate predecessor-in-interest. but the effect of any such transfer is limited to the portion which may be awarded to him upon the partition of the property. T-27257. as mere successors-ininterest of Rafael Reyes. except when personal rights are involved. She did not sign for and in behalf of her husband.. In the case at bar. in so far as Lot No. Sr.. Marta Reyes. The issuance of TCT No. and he may even substitute another person in its enjoyment. the lot sold by Rafael Reyes.. This is the very same property which is the subject matter of this case and which petitioners seek to recover from the private respondents. 1-14-A. except as to purely personal rights. The same did not operate to divest the vendee of the share of Rafael Reyes.
As stated earlier. 27257 by Candido Hebron to them. Jr. despite full knowledge that private respondents were in actual physical possession of the property. WHEREFORE. The instant petition then is without merit. And yet. it was only in or about September 1969 when. it was only about thirteen and one-half (13 1/2) years later that they decided to file an action for recovery of possession. There was then absolutely no basis for the trial court to place the burden on private respondents to bring an action for reconveyance within four (4) years from their discovery of the issuance of the transfer certificate of title in the name of Rafael Reyes. judgment is hereby rendered DENYING the petition with costs against petitioners.to the latter. Jr. after the delivery of TCT No. the original complaint was filed in the trial court on 14 March 1983. that they definitely discovered that they were the owners of the property in question. SO ORDERED. died. . As categorically admitted by petitioners in their complaint and amended complaint. Neither did petitioners bring any action to recover from private respondents the ownership and possession of the lot from the time Rafael Reyes.
On June 21. can neither be levied nor sold on execution. MARCELO I.. before the expiration of the redemption period. mother of herein petitioners. of which they are co-owners. for the annulment of the auction sale and the recovery of the ownership of the levied pieces of property. Metro Manila has not been liquidated or partitioned. they alleged.000 as damages. The judgment against petitioner's mother and Rizal Realty Corporation having become final and executory. Private respondents were then issued a certificate of sale which was subsequently registered on August 1. Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. 1983. The ultimate issue before Us is whether or not private respondents can validly acquire all the five (5) parcels of land co-owned by petitioners and registered in the name of petitioner's deceased father. and were ordered by Branch 1 of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal (now Branch 151. 94918 DANILO I. 1986. On July 31. CONCEPCION VITO AND VIRGINIA BANTA RESPONDENTS. On October 22. Their father died in 1955 and since then his estate consisting of several valuable parcels of land in Pasig. JR.GR NO. (worth to be millions then) were levied and sold on execution on June 24. Regional Trial Court. On March 1. On December 1985. herein respondents the aggregate principal amount of about P70. Metro Manila. 51203). 1984. SUAREZ. 1984. five (5) valuable parcels of land in Pasig. 1983 in favor of the private respondents as the highest bidder for the amount of P94. 1984. petitioners’ widowed mother and Rizal Realty Corporation lost in the consolidated cases for rescission of contract and for damages. 51203 an ExParte Motion to Dismiss complaint for failure to prosecute. 51203 a Motion to Dismiss for failure on the part of the petitioners to prosecute. On February 25. The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: Herein petitioners are brothers and sisters. SUAREZ. among others. was denied. claiming that the parcels of land are co-owned by them and further informing the Court the filing and pendency of an action to annul the auction sale (Civil Case No. RTC of Pasig) to pay. VIOLETA RAYMUNDO. Teofista Suarez joined by herein petitioners filed with Branch 151 a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated October 10. the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal issued to private respondents a final deed of sale over the properties. jointly and severally. that being strangers to the case decided against their mother. private respondent Valente Raymundo filed in Civil Case No. EVELYN SUAREZ-DE LEON AND REGINIO I. VALENTE RAYMUNDO. EUFROCINA SUAREZ-ANDRES. whose estate has not been partitioned or liquidated. SUAREZ. THE COURT OF APPEALS. Therein. VS. notwithstanding petitioner's pending motion for the issuance of alias . MA. In 1977. PETITIONERS. a writ of preliminary injunction was issued enjoining private respondents from transferring to third parties the levied parcels of land based on the finding that the auctioned lands are co-owned by petitioners. the surviving spouse of Marcelo Suarez. 51203. This was granted by Branch 155 through an Order dated May 29. petitioners filed a reinvindicatory action against private respondents and the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal. 1985. Marcelo Suarez. they cannot be held liable therefor and that the five (5) parcels of land. 1985. such motion was later denied by Branch 155. however.00. 1984. after the said properties were levied and publicly sold en masse to private respondents to satisfy the personal judgment debt of Teofista Suarez.170. Pasig. which motion however. thereafter docketed as Civil Case No.
The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code. On October 10. A motion for reconsideration was filed but was later denied. 21736-21739.summons to be served upon the other defendants in the said case. 1989 and February 26. 21736-21739 an Order directing Teofista Suarez and all persons claiming right under her to vacate the lots subject of the judicial sale. Respondents then appealed to the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the orders dated February 25. May 19. The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half. 51203.” Article 888 further provides: “The legitime of the legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother. 1986 issued in Civil Case Nos. 1987. 51203 are hereby annulled. further respondent judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 1990 issued in Civil Case No. the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and the questioned orders dated February 25. May 19. this appeal. 1990. petitioners filed with Branch 155 a Motion for reconsideration of the Order dated September 24. to desist from removing or alienating improvements thereon. 1985. 1984 and October 14. We cannot but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court. 1986. 1985. Branch 155 lifted its previous order of dismissal and directed the issuance of alias summons. To start with. 1989 and February 26. only one-half of the 5 parcels of land should have been the subject of the auction sale. 1990 issued in Civil Case No. The appellate court rendered its decision on July 27. No. RTC Branch 151 issued in Civil Case Nos. In an Order dated June 10. 1986. 51203. 1984. On December 4. and to surrender to private respondents the owner's duplicate copy of the torrens title and other pertinent documents. Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both petitioner and private respondents and the developments subsequent to the filing of the complaint. Teofista Suarez then filed with the then Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari to annul the Orders of Branch 151 dated October 10. It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the validity of the execution and the manner of publicly selling en masse subject properties for auction. subject to the rights of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided. 2 likewise provides: “If there are two or more legitimate children or descendants.” . the surviving spouse shall be entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the legitimate children or descendants. 51203 and further ordering respondent judge to dismiss Civil Case.” Article 892 par.” Hence. the law applicable at the time of the institution of the case: “The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent. the dispositive portion of which reads: “WHEREFORE.
Petitioners became co-owners of the property not because of their mother but through their own right as children of their deceased father. and Civil Case No.Thus. from the foregoing. WHEREFORE. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to petitioners and to annul the sale with regard to said portion. SO ORDERED. 1990 as well as its Resolution of August 28. petitioners are not barred in any way from instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their own interest. the legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of each child. . Therefore. The proprietary interest of petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is different from and adverse to that of their mother. 1990 are hereby REVERSED and set aside. the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 27.
Petitioner did not furnish the heirs with copies of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale nor of the subdivision plan and the certificates of title. private respondents reiterated that all the heirs signed the document before the land was surveyed and subdivided.: JOSEFA TORRES died intestate leaving a parcel of land located at Balagtas. Luna and Josefina S. and Lot 4-B with an area of four hundred and seven (407) square meters. there was as yet no definite area to be sold that could be indicated in the deed at the time of the signing. and acknowledged the sale to petitioner of said Lot 4-B. the Register of Deeds issued TCT No. would be present when the latter would seek permission from the Bureau of Lands and have the land surveyed. Roque.096) square meters. After having the document drafted . 116018.respondents. J. The lot. The heirs signed the document with the understanding that respondent Aurora S. is being occupied by spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim. hence. the heirs authorized petitioner to prepare the necessary Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale. However. vs. owned in common by the Torres heirs. Roque. Austria. The trial court entertained serious doubts with respect to the preparation and due execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement . CONSTANTINO. subdivided and then covered by TCT Nos. Among her heirs are respondents Aurora S. AUSTRIA. They also claimed that they were not notified about the survey and the subdivision of the lot and therefore they could not have agreed on the area supposedly sold to petitioner. the property was subsequently surveyed. the respondents learned that the area of the property purportedly sold to petitioner was much bigger than that agreed upon by the parties. November 13. PSD-03-009105 identified as Lot 4-A with an area of one thousand ninety-six (1. As a consequence. Upon securing a copy of the deed from the Registry of Deeds. Petitioner controverted the allegations of respondents by presenting the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale dated 10 October 1984 wherein respondents agreed to divide and adjudicate among themselves the inherited property with an area of one thousand five hundred and three (1. they caused the subdivision of the property into two (2) lots according to Plan No. Priscilla S. on 18 March 1985. is being occupied by petitioners’ mother and sister. T-292265 in the name of the heirs of Josefa Torres and TCT No. 1996] NELIA A. In the same document. with prayer for recovery of damages. which was already the subject of a previous agreement to sell between them and their predecessor. AURORA S. without the participation of any of the Torres heirs. as vendors. T-292265 and T-292266. also coowned by the heirs.R. and petitioner Nelia A. Pursuant to their agreement. In reply. No. PRISCILLA S.503) square meters. COURT OF APPEALS. petitioner. It already included the portion being occupied by the spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim. the subdivision plan and the certificates of title. attorney’s fees and costs of suit. Bulacan. On 25 June 1986 respondents filed with the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan an action for annulment of the deed and cancellation of the certificates of title. DECISION BELLOSILLO.INTESTATE [G. T-292266 in the name of petitioner. as vendee. the heirs of Josefa Torres. The respondent heirs insist that they could not have agreed to the extent of the area actually reflected in the deed because it included the portion being occupied by the Lim spouses. An adjoining lot. Constantino. On 2 June 1986. LUNA and JOSEFINA S. but to no avail. ROQUE. one of the heirs. Sometime in 1984. private respondents sent a letter to petitioner demanding the surrender to them of the deed of settlement and conveyance. entered into a contract to sell a parcel of land with a total land area of two hundred and fifty (250) square meters.with several spaces left blank including the specification as to the metes and bounds of the land petitioner asked the heirs to affix their signatures on the document.
 Petitioner faults respondent Court of Appeals: (a) for disregarding documentary evidence already presented. called the attention of the Court that Atty. Atty. and. substantial justice. (b) while petitioner claimed that the document was signed only after the survey of the land was completed. 1990. PSD-03-009105. On May 11. plaintiffs’ counsel. He asked that he be given 15 days to make a formal offer of evidence and which the Court granted. Atty. on the basis of the evidence on record. she was not able to enumerate all the signatories to the document. Thus. Moreover. Ponciano Mercado. not override. On motion of Atty.00 as partial payment for the lot occupied by Ka Baring and Lina (relatives of petitioner) and Iling (Consuelo Lim). Petitioner also insists that the real intent of the parties was to make the entire Lot 4-B the subject matter of the sale. and on 20 June 1994 denied the motion to reconsider its decision. would encourage needless delays and derail the speedy administration of justice. 1990. according to petitioner. such fact was negated by her own witness who testified that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984. It also ordered petitioner to pay private respondents P50.of Estate with Sale taking into account that (a) while petitioner claimed that all the heirs signed before the notary public and in her presence. 1990. and to pay the costs of suit. had already passed before petitioner’s counsel made effort to formally offer his evidence. At the scheduled hearing of April 03. the trial court relied heavily on the assertions of respondents as reflected in their demand letter that they did not give their consent to the sale of Lot 4B.P15. about three (3) months. marked and identified on a purely technical ground. A considerable lapse of time. which is to file his formal offer of evidence. We are not persuaded.00 for moral damages. 1990. Veneracion. the Court was in receipt of a motion to admit formal offer of exhibits filed by the defendant thru counsel. Court of Appeals. Petitioner argues that the trial court should not have denied her motion to admit formal offer of evidence merely on the basis of technicality such as late filing. citing Siguenza v. defendant’s right to file a formal offer of evidence was deemed waived. Ponciano Mercado x x x x was not in Court. On 16 March 1994 respondent Court of Appeals sustained the decision of the trial court. Ponciano Mercado.000. Roque admitted that she signed in behalf of her co-heirs a receipt for P30. the motion to admit formal offer of exhibits was denied (underscoring supplied). the assertions of private respondents to petitioner contained in the demand letter should not necessarily be true and that the validity of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale was not affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than . TCT Nos. Yet the holding is inapplicable to the present case as the trial court had a reasonable basis for denying petitioner’s motion - On February 6. we held in Siguenza that rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical sense as they are used only to help secure. and (b) for concluding that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale did not reflect the true intent of the parties. Veneracion waived the presentation of rebuttal evidence considering that the defendant can (sic) no longer make a formal offer of evidence. in effect. the trial court on 27 September 1990 ordered the annulment and cancellation of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale. She claims that during cross-examination respondent Aurora S. (c) while petitioner alleged that the document was signed and notarized in Manila no explanation was offered why the same could not have been signed and notarized in Bulacan where notaries public abound which could have been less inconvenient to the parties concerned. Additionally. Atty. manifested in Court that he has (sic) no more witness to present. For the trial court to grant petitioner’s motion to admit her exhibits would be to condone an inexcusable laxity if not non-compliance with a court order which. The trial court was correct in holding that petitioner waived the right to formally offer his evidence. defendant’s counsel. or on 10 October 1984. T-292265 and T-292266 and Subdivision Plan No. on May 02. Atty. Mercado has (sic) not yet filed and/or complied with the Court Order dated February 06. Atty. 1990. Indeed. Considering that the same was filed out of time and the plaintiffs having filed their memorandum already.00 for attorney’s fees.000. Veneracion.000.
would be present when the property would be surveyed after obtaining permission from the Bureau of Lands. where notaries public are easy to find. WHEREFORE. worthy of credit as against the contention of petitioner that they signed after the survey or on 10 October 1984. having the lots surveyed and subdivided. we find the allegation of respondents that they signed the deed prior to the survey. (b) It induced the other party to enter into the contract.where the subject matter thereof was situated. We ruled in the Sales case that the extrinsic validity of a document was not affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereof was located. (d) It resulted in damages and injury to the party seeking annulment. It is not easy to believe that petitioner and the ten (10) Torres heirs traveled all the way to Manila to have their questioned document notarized considering that they. As found by the trial court. the evidence of respondents had already amply substantiated their claims. But even without the letter. the claim of private respondents that they did not sign the document before a notary public is more plausible than petitioner’s feeble claim to the contrary. the supposed understanding was merely a ruse of petitioner to induce respondents to sign the deed without which the latter would not have given their conformity thereto. are residents of Balagtas. petitioner deceived respondents by filling the blank spaces in the deed. Bulacan. (c) It was serious. pursuant to their understanding. the trial court only lent credence to the assertions in the demand letter after having weighed the respective evidence of the parties. The trial court correctly appreciated the fact that the deed was notarized in Manila when it could have been notarized in Bulacan. 22. Apparently. and. the quantum of evidence shows that they did not. much less consent. What is more important under the Notarial Law is that the notary public has authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction. . it was still incomplete since petitioner who caused it to be prepared left several spaces blank. execution and signing of the deed. Br. Quite obviously. more particularly as regards the dimensions of the property to be sold. or before determination of the area to be sold. and then causing the issuance of transfer certificates of title without their knowledge. As it surfaced. Perhaps. Our concern here is not whether the notary public had the authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction but whether respondents indeed appeared before him and signed the deed. Thus all the elements of fraud vitiating consent for purposes of annulling a contract concur: (a) It was employed by a contracting party upon the other. These other arguments of petitioner are barren and futile. which leads us to the conclusion that handwritten figures thereon were not available at the time the document was formalized. Consequently. Likewise. which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos. with the exception of respondent Roque. However. The admission of respondent Roque cannot prevail in the face of the clear evidence that there was as yet no meeting of the minds on the land area to be sold since private respondents were still awaiting the survey to be conducted on the premises. when respondents affixed their signatures on the deed. citing Sales v. the instant petition is DENIED. such contention was contradicted by petitioner’s own witness who positively asserted in court that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984 or six (6) days after the signing. another compelling reason for the annulment of the document of settlement and conveyance is that the second page thereof clearly manifests that the number of the subdivision plan and the respective areas of Lots 4-A and 4-B were merely handwritten while all the rest of the statements therein were typewritten. Obviously. The heirs were persuaded to sign the document only upon the assurance of petitioner that respondent Roque. SO ORDERED. Bulacan. This additional detail casts doubt on the procedural regularity in the preparation. there being no error to warrant a reversal of the decision and resolution in question of respondent Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. The ruling in Sales is not applicable to the present case.
NAMELY: LETICIA ENCISO-GADINGAN. LEE AND GREGORIE W. Upon learning that “Golden Bay” sold portions of the parcels of land in question. No. ALEXANDER NG AND CRISTINA NG. DECISION PURISIMA. CHUA. of Branch 21 of the Regional Trial Court in Imus. SPS. SPS. The said Motion to Dismiss was granted by the respondent court in its Order dated October 25. RTC. Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the Order dismissing the Amended Complaint. the private respondents presented a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the complaint failed to state a cause of action. 1994. petitioners. as follows: Petitioners claim that they are the legal heirs of the late Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay. 1995. MARIE TES C. 1999] of 520. AND CARMELITA CHAN. JACINTO C. DY AND DIANA DY. AND NORBERTO ENCISO. Cavite. respondents. BRANCH 21. ROY S. and its Derivatives. DEL ROSARIO. REPRESENTED BY LETICIA ENCISO-GADINGAN. holding that petitioners “have not shown any proof or even a semblance of it except the allegations that they are the legal heirs of the above-named HEIRS OF GUIDO YAPTINCHAY AND ISABEL YAPTINCHAY. CAVITE. But the respondent court dismissed the Amended Complaint. that they have not established their status as heirs. JR. 493364. AURORA ENCISO. The motion was granted by the RTC in an Order dated July 7. NG.: At bar is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the Orders dated October 25. SPS. SPS.R. 1132 with an area of 96. 493366. 493665. DAVID MADRID AND VIOLETA MADRID. HON. IMUS. 493367. JR. MYLENE T. ONG AND JULIE LIM-IT. LIM AND ARTHUR LIM. that plaintiffs did not have a right of action. docketed as RTC BCV-94-127 before Branch 21 of the Regional Trial Court in Imus.235 square meters.[G. ATTORNEY-IN-FACT. which further allowed the herein petitioners to file a Second Amended Complaint. 1995 and February 23. GEORGE T. Cavite (“RTC”). With the discovery of what happened to subject parcels of land. Cavite. if not all. 1996. ALFONSO NG AND ANNABELLE CHUA. DE GUZMAN AND ROSITA C. JOSE MADRID AND BERNARDA MADRID. EVELYN K. SPS. SPS. JONATHAN NG. that the land being claimed is different from that of the defendants. 1994. of the aforesaid properties were titled in the name of respondent Golden Bay Realty and Development Corporation (“Golden Bay”) under Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 1995. DE GUZMAN. March 2. SPS.C. SAMUEL MADRID AND BELEN MADRID. GOLDEN BAY REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. and that plaintiffs’ claim was barred by laches. MISAEL ADELAIDA P. As Alternative Reconveyance of Realty WITH A PRAYER FOR A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION and/or RESTRAINING ORDER WITH DAMAGES. LEE. On August 12. more or less situated in Bancal. THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR TRECE MARTIRES CITY. SPS. On March 17. EMILIO ENCISO. 493363. VICTORIANO CHAN. petitioners executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the estate of the deceased Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay. vs. SOLIMAN AND FERDINAND SOLIMAN.638 and Lot No. 1995. petitioners filed with the “RTC” an Amended Complaint to implead new and additional defendants and to mention the TCTs to be annulled. (“TCT”) 225254 and 225255. petitioners discovered that a portion. SPS. J. RICARDO G. ADELAIDO S. which they promptly did. SPS. PRESIDING JUDGE. SPS. 1131 with an area . petitioners filed a complaint for ANNULMENT and/or DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF TCT NO. On August 26. SPS. The facts that matter are. Carmona. 124320. CHUA.. the owners-claimants of Lot No. ROSENDO L. respectively.
is a final order. 1537. Court of Appeals where the court held: "In Litam. Petitioners contend that the respondent court acted with grave abuse of discretion in ruling that the issue of heirship should first be determined before trial of the case could proceed. v. in which it is not as yet. Undaunted. al. 2071. this court opined that the declaration of heirship must be made in an administration proceeding. which is subject to appeal and not a proper subject of certiorari. the determination of who are the legal heirs of the deceased couple must be made in the proper special proceedings in court. a civil action is defined as “one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right. CA-G-R No.’ (p. This must take precedence over the action for reconveyance (Elena C.that they have been declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple. Rivera.that they have been declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple. et.). Under Section 3. August 12.. and not in an ordinary suit for reconveyance of property. Where appeal is available as a remedy.” The trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. v. the trial court in the civil case declared that the plaintiffs-appellants were not children of the deceased. Angelita Taligato. This doctrine was reiterated in Solivio v. will not be. Neither did the respondent court commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the questioned Order dismissing the Second Amended Complaint of petitioners. al.” Petitioners interposed a Motion for Reconsideration but to no avail. Rivera. Marcosa Rivera. and. et al.” It is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship can be made only in a special proceeding inasmuch as the petitioners here are seeking the establishment of a status or right. Monzon. We therefore hold that the respondent court did the right thing in dismissing the Second Amended Complaint. 33355. Rule 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court. To begin with. that the properties in question were paraphernal properties of his wife. where despite the pendency of the special proceedings for the settlement of the intestate estate of the deceased Rafael Litam. petitioners have come before this Court to seek relief from respondent court’s Orders under attack. 100 Phil. a right. On appeal to this Court. or a particular fact. v. petitioners’ Petition for Certiorari before this Court is an improper recourse. as it aptly ratiocinated and ruled: “But the plaintiffs who claimed to be the legal heirs of the said Guido and Isabel Yaptinchay have not shown any proof or even a semblance of it . et. entitled to inherit his one-half share of the conjugal properties acquired during his marriage to Marcosa Rivera. 1992). v. be it right or wrong. Their proper remedy should have been an appeal. The same was denied by the RTC in its Order of February 23. It is petitioners’ submission that the respondent court should have proceeded with the trial and simultaneously resolved the issue of heirship in the same case. 378). the plaintiffs-appellants filed a civil action in which they claimed that they were the children by a previous marriage of the deceased to a Chinese woman. hence. 1996. 364. An order of dismissal. in Civil Case No. Now. certiorari will not lie. Inc. it being within the exclusive competence of the court in Special Proceedings No. The petition is not impressed with merit. etc.. and that the latter was his only heir. and not in an independent civil action. we ruled that ‘such declarations (that Marcosa Rivera was the only heir of the decedent) is improper. it was ruled that: . ordinarily.Yaptinchays . in issue until the presentation of the project of partition. In Travel Wide Associated Sales (Phils. which stated no cause of action. Court of Appeals. or the prevention or redress of a wrong” while a special proceeding is “a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status. in issue.except the allegations that they are the legal heirs of the aforementioned Yaptinchays .” In Litam.
. for lack of merit. the Petition under consideration is hereby DISMISSED.“ xxx If the suit is not brought in the name of or against the real party in interest. a motion to dismiss may be filed on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action. SO ORDERED.” WHEREFORE. No pronouncement as to costs.
G.R. No. 149017
November 28, 2008
VALENTE RAYMUNDO,petitioner, vs. TEOFISTA ISAGON VDA. DE SUAREZ, DANILO I. SUAREZ, EUFROCINA SUAREZ, MARCELO I. SUAREZ, JR, EVELYN SUAREZ, ET AL., respondents. DECISION NACHURA, J.: This petition, filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, assails the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision1and Resolution2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 58090 which reversed, set aside and recalled the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Orders3 in Civil Case No. 51203. First, the long settled facts. Marcelo and Teofista Isagon Suarez'4 marriage was blessed with both material wealth and progeny in herein respondents, namely, Danilo,5 Eufrocina, Marcelo Jr., Evelyn, and Reggineo,6 all surnamed Suarez. During their marriage, governed by the conjugal partnership of gains regime, they acquired numerous properties, which included the following: (1) a parcel of land situated in Barrio Caniogan, Pasig with an area of 348 square meters covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 30680; (2) property located in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig, with an area of 1,020 square meters under Tax Declaration No. A-016-01003; and (3) Lot Nos. 5, 6 & 7, Block 2 covered by Tax Declaration No. A01700723 (subject properties). After the death of Marcelo Sr. in 1955, Teofista and herein respondents, as well as Elpidio Suarez,7executed an Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate,8 partitioning Marcelo Sr.'s estate, thus: WHEREAS, the said deceased is survived by the parties hereto who are his only legal heirs: TEOFISTA ISAGON, being the surviving spouse, and EUFROCINA S. ANDRES, ELPIDIO
SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, EVELYN SUAREZ, MARCELO SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO SUAREZ, being the legitimate children of the deceased with the said TEOFISTA ISAGON; WHEREAS, the minors ELPIDIO, SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, EVELYN SUAREZ, MARCELO SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO SUAREZ are represented herein by EUFROCINA S. ANDRES, in her capacity as the guardian and legal administrator of the property of the said minors; WHEREAS, there are no known debts or financial obligations of whatever nature and amount against the estate of the deceased; NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises, the Parties have agreed to settle and liquidate the assets of the conjugal partnership between the deceased and TEOFISTA ISAGON, and to settle and adjudicate the estate of the said deceased, by and pursuance to these presents, in the following manner, to wit: 1. That TEOFISTA ISAGON, as the surviving spouse and partner of the deceased, shall receive in absolute and exclusive ownership the following properties as her lawful share in the assets of the conjugal partnership of gains between her and the deceased, to wit: (a) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6938, situated at Sitio Pantayan, Municipality of Taytay, Province of Rizal; (b) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel of land covered by Tax Declaration No. 6939, situated at Sitio Pantayan, Municipality of Taytay, Province of Rizal; (c) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel of land covered by TCT No. 38291, situated at Barrio Rosario, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal;
(d) Half (1/2) interest and participation in the parcel of land covered by TCT No. 38290, situated at Barrio Rosario, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal; (e) TWELVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS AND NINETY (P12,530.90) deposited with the Commercial Bank and Trust Company of the Philippines, and THIRTY-NINE PESOS (P39.00) deposited with Prudential Bank. 2. That the Parties TEOFISTA ISAGON, EUFROCINA S. ANDRES, ELPIDIO SUAREZ, DANILO SUAREZ, EVELYN SUAREZ, MARCELO SUAREZ, JR. and REGGINEO SUAREZ, shall each and all receive and be entitled to a share equivalent to one-seventh (1/7) of the estate of the deceased MARCELO SUAREZ, which estate is comprised of the following properties, to wit: (a) A parcel of land covered by TCT No. 30680, situated at Barrio Kaniogan, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with an assessed value of P4,150.00. (b) Three (3) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 33982, 33983 and 33984, situated at Barrio Pineda, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with an assessed value ofP560.00. (c) A parcel of land covered by TCT 33986, situated at Barrio Pineda, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with an assessed value of P440.00. (d) Two (2) parcels of land, being Lots Nos. 42 and 44 of the amendment-subdivision plan TY-4653-Amd., being a portion of Lot 2 described on the original plan II-4653, G.L.R.O. Record No. _____, situated at Barrio Santolan, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with a total assessed value of P590.00.
(e) Two parcels of land, being Lots Nos. 43 and 45 of the amendment-subdivision plan TY-4653-Amd., being a portion of Lot 2 described on the original plan II-4653, G.L.R.O. Record No. _______, situated at Barrio Santolan, Municipality of Pasig, Province of Rizal, with a total assessed value of P1,190.00. (f) A parcel of land, being Lot No. 6, Block 269 of the subdivision plan pos-112, being a portion of Lot 2, Block 348, Psd-3188, G.L.R.O. Record Nos. 375,699 and 917, situated at San Felipe Neri, Province of Rizal, with an assessed value of P6,340.00. (g) A parcel of land covered by OCT No. 391, situated in the Municipality of Taytay, Province of Rizal, with an assessed value of P1,840.00. (h) TWELVE THOUSAND (12,000) shares of stock of the Consolidated Mines, Inc. represented by Certificate No. 71-5-B (for 1,000 shares) and Certificate No. 12736 (for 11,000 shares). PROVIDED, that their title to the properties hereinabove mentioned shall be in common and the share of each heir being pro indiviso. Curiously, despite the partition, title to the foregoing properties, explicitly identified in the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate as forming part of Marcelo's and Isagon's property regime, remained in the couple's name. Not surprisingly, Teofista continued to administer and manage these properties. On the whole, apart from those now owned exclusively by Teofista, all the properties were held pro indiviso by Teofista and her children; and respective titles thereto were not changed, with Teofista asde facto administrator thereof. In 1975, Rizal Realty Corporation (Rizal Realty) and Teofista, the latter owning ninety percent (90%) of the former's shares of stock, were sued by petitioner Valente Raymundo, his wife Violeta, Virginia Banta
and Maria Concepcion Vito (plaintiffs) in consolidated cases for Rescission of Contract and Damages, docketed as Civil Case Nos. 21736 to 21739. Thereafter, in 1975, the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Rizal, Branch 1, rendered judgment: (1) rescinding the respective contracts of plaintiffs with Rizal Realty and Teofista, and (2) holding the two defendants solidarily liable to plaintiffs for damages in the aggregate principal amount of about P70,000.00.9 When the judgment of the CFI became final and executory, herein subject properties were levied and sold on execution on June 24, 1983 to satisfy the judgment against Teofista and Rizal Realty. The aforementioned plaintiffs were the highest bidder, and bought the levied properties for the amount ofP94,170.00. As a result, a certificate of sale was issued to them and registered in their favor on August 1, 1983. On July 31, 1984, the Provincial Sheriff of Rizal issued a final deed of sale over the subject properties. Parenthetically, before expiration of the redemption period, or on June 21, 1984, herein respondents filed a revindicatory action against petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion, docketed as Civil Case No. 51203, for the annulment of the auction sale and recovery of ownership of the levied properties. Essentially, respondents alleged in their complaint that they cannot be held liable for the judgment rendered against their mother, Teofista, not having been impleaded therein; and consequently, the subject properties, which they own pro indiviso with their mother, can neither be levied nor be sold on execution. Meanwhile, the RTC, Branch 151, formerly the CFI, Branch 1, in Civil Case Nos. 21376 to 21379, issued an Order10 directing Teofista: (1) to vacate the subject properties, (2) to desist from despoiling, dismantling, removing or alienating the improvements thereon, (3) to place petitioner Valente, Violeta, Virginia and Maria Concepcion in peaceful possession thereof, and (4) to surrender to them the owner's duplicate copy of the torrens title and other pertinent documents. Herein respondents, joined by their mother, Teofista, filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the subject properties are co-owned by them and further informing the RTC of the filing and pendency of Civil
Case No. 51203. Nonetheless, the trial court denied Teofista's and herein respondents' motion, reiterated its previous order, which included, among others, the order for Teofista and all persons claiming right under her, to vacate the lots subject of the judicial sale. Undaunted, Teofista and herein respondents filed a petition for certiorari before the CA to annul the foregoing orders. The appellate court, on July 6, 1987, dismissed Teofista's and herein respondents' petition, thus: We believe this petition cannot prosper for two reasons. First, as purported case for certiorari it fails to show how the respondent judge had acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. The two orders being assailed were preceded by a final judgment, a corresponding writ of execution, a levy on execution and a judicial sale, all of which enjoy a strong sense presumption of regularity. Secondly, as far as [petitioner] Teofista Suarez is concerned, she cannot complain about the levy because she was a party in the consolidated cases where judgment was rendered against her in her personal capacity. Since she did not appeal from the decision, she cannot say that the judgment is erroneous for an obligation that belong to the corporation. And with respect to the children of Teofista Suarez, who are co-petitioners in this proceedings [herein respondents], suffice it to point out that not being parties in the consolidated cases, what they should have done was to immediately file a third party claim. The moment levy was made on the parcels of land, which they claim are theirs by virtue of hereditary succession, they should have seasonably filed such claim to protect their rights. As the record discloses, however, the children chose to remain silent, and even allowed the auction sale to be held, filing almost a year later a half-hearted complaint to annul the proceedings which they allowed to be dismissed by not diligently prosecuting it. In Santos v. Mojica (10 SCRA 318), a partition case with thirdparty claimants, the Supreme Court came out with the following
they were admittedly the children of Teofista Suarez. the petition is denied and the restraining order previously issued is DISSOLVED. 51203. Branch 155.12 From this ruling. however. the petition for certiorari is hereby granted and the questioned orders dated February 25. WHEREFORE." . 51203 was dismissed by the RTC. The CA granted their petition. for he should have filed a separate and independent action making parties therein the sheriff and the plaintiffs responsible for the execution xxx. 51203. much less the third party claim contemplated by Section 17 of Rule 39. Violeta. 1985. It can. Violeta. which all rejected their bid to dismiss Civil Case No. But in yet another turn of events. thus: Even without touching on the incidents and issues raised by both petitioner [herein respondents] and private respondents [petitioner Valente. Branch 155. [w]e cannot but notice the glaring error committed by the trial court. It would be useless to discuss the procedural issue on the validity of the execution and the manner of publicly selling en masse the subject properties for auction. Finally. it was now petitioner Valente's.13we reversed the appellate court. the action to annul the judicial sale filed by herein private respondents is not the reinvindicatory suit. de Suarez and supposedly not parties in Civil Case Nos. herein respondents appealed to the Supreme Court. May 19. In Suarez v. 21376 . with costs against petitioners. thus: And the fact that herein private respondents. the RTC. WHEREFORE.21379 does not preclude the application of the doctrine of res judicata since. Violeta's. further respondent judge is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. Subsequently. a writ of preliminary injunction was issued by the RTC Pasig. 1989 and February 26. apart from the requisites constitutive of this procedural tenet. enjoining petitioner Valente. As successors-in-interest of Teofista Suarez. Thus. private respondents merely stepped into the shoes of their mother in regard to the levied pieces of property. Virginia's and Maria Concepcion's turn to file a petition for certiorari with the CA. 1990 issued in Civil Case No.ruling: "The procedure (a petition for certiorari) followed by him (a petitioner not party to the original partition case) in vindicating his right is not the one sanctioned by law. 51203. 51203 are hereby annulled. be said that (he) acted improperly in filing the present petition because his remedy was to file a separate and independent action to vindicate his ownership over the land. Virginia and Maria Concepcion from transferring to third parties the levied properties based on its preliminary finding that the auctioned properties are co-owned by Teofista and herein respondents. the law applicable at the time of the institution of the case: The rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent. as the legal heirs of Teofista Vda. who is the real party-in-interest in the previous final judgment. Branch 155. there is identity of parties. but where there is privity with them as in the cases of successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or where there is substantial identity. not only where the parties in both actions are the same. only one-half of the 5 parcels of land [subject properties] should have been the subject of the auction sale. Verily. on February 25. at the instance of petitioner Valente for failure of herein respondents to prosecute. assailing the various orders of the RTC.11 On the other litigation front concerning Civil Case No. Virginia and Maria Concepcion] and the developments subsequent to the filing of the complaint. Civil Case No. The law in point is Article 777 of the Civil Code. lifted its previous order of dismissal and directed the issuance of alias summons. To start with. Branch 155. Court of Appeals. 1985. therefore.
and as per standing instructions of Judge Graduacion A. 1990 are hereby REVERSED and set aside. 4. Petitioners [herein respondents] became co-owners of the property not because of their mother [Teofista] but through their own right as children of their deceased father [Marcelo Sr. Therefore. 51203 was remanded. repeatedly filed a Motion to Dismiss Civil Case No. and was still undermanned. WHEREFORE. That on October 25. and Civil Case No. each and every pleading filed by herein respondents. The latter may freely dispose of the remaining half. 1993. and as the Branch was newly formed." Thus. along with the other defendants. to wit: 1. part of the records went missing and were lost. Branch 71. The proprietary interest of petitioners [herein respondents] in the levied and auctioned property is different from and adverse to that of their mother [Teofista]. 2. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to petitioners and to annul the sale with regard to said portion. That the staff of Branch 71 at this time was sharing a small room with Branch 161 at the First Floor of the Justice Hall. the legitime of the surviving spouse is equal to the legitime of each child. . 51203." Article 892. Moreover. was hotly contested and opposed by therein defendants. it had no equipment or furniture of its own.]. 1990 as well as its Resolution of August 28. 51203 for the purported failure of herein respondents to prosecute the case. par. 1990 from the Court of Appeals that ruled the dismissal of the above-entitled case. Loquinario. filed a report on the records of the case. That sometime in August 1990. It was at this point when another series of events transpired. to which Civil Case No. the judge to which the case was raffled had to study the records anew. including petitioner Valente. In between all these. when the case had been remanded with a directive to "determine that portion which belongs to [herein respondents] and to annul the sale with regard to said portion. petitioner Valente. Upon our reinstatement of Civil Case No. Branch 71 moved to the staffroom of Branch 159 at the Second Floor of the Justice Hall. Most of these Motions to Dismiss were denied. the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 27. from the foregoing. even at that stage.Article 888 further provides: "The legitime of the legitimate children and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother. 51203. as plaintiffs therein. The first volume of the record in the above-entitled case was recorded as received on June 20. 3. culminating in the present petition. to the different court branches in Pasig City. 1990. the same was bound as volume 2 of the case. the Clerk of Court of RTC. With each transfer of Civil Case No. Reyes-Claravall." Civil Case No. petitioners [herein respondents] are not barred in any way from instituting the action to annul the auction sale to protect their own interest. the surviving spouse shall be entitled to a portion equal to the legitime of each of the legitimate children or descendants. subject to the rights of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter provided. by Sheriff Alejandro O. this Court received a Notice of Judgment dated October 22. 2 likewise provides: "If there are two or more legitimate children or descendants. On April 12. Expectedly. 51203 had to be re-raffled and transferred. 1990. for varied reasons.
for a judgment obligation worth only P70. among numerous others. 10. 11. An Urgent Motion [to direct compliance by plaintiffs (herein respondents) with Supreme Court Decision or to consider the matter submitted without evidence on the part of plaintiffs]20 filed by therein . Virginia and Maria Concepcion unjustly enriched themselves in appropriating the subject properties worth millions then. or documents entered as exhibits in other Courts. That it was only later on that this office discovered that important documents were indeed lost. That the undersigned now concludes that the first volume of the above-entitled case was probably lost during the renovation of the Justice Hall Building. That unfortunately. 7. it prayed that TCT No. 1993. the branch moved its Office to its present location. That on March 8. 6. three (3) incidents.14 In this regard. herein respondents filed a Motion for Reconstitution of Records15 of the case. The Supplemental Complaint further sought a rebidding with respect to Teofista's share in the subject properties. petitioner Valente. Virginia and Maria Concepcion be cancelled and TCT No. married to Teofista Isagon. 1992 of the Supreme Court)19 filed by herein respondents pointing out that the Supreme Court itself had noted the current increased value of the subject properties and that petitioner Valente. 6509 in the name of petitioner Valente. to wit: 1. 8. 13. the room was demolished before the undersigned could make a last check to see if everything was transferred.opposed the motion. be reinstated. 3. because of the unexpected notice we received that the room we were occupying was to be demolished in order to meet the schedule for the renovation of the building. 12.00. as the bid price was unconscionable and grossly inadequate to the current value of the subject properties. which was bundled along with other cases which were decided and/or archived. set off by the parties' pleadings. the trial court eventually granted the motion for reconstitution. Violeta. That all the efforts were in vain.00. for a measly bid price of P94.5. and ordered petitioner Valente and the other defendants to submit a copy of their Answer filed thereat and copies of other pleadings pertinent to the case.17 Thereafter. A Manifestation and Motion (to Execute/Enforce Decision dated September 4. Violeta. as said record could not be located anywhere. Virginia and Maria Concepcion -. this Court received a copy of a Decision of the Supreme Court reversing the earlier ruling of the Court of Appeals. including transcripts of stenographic notes in a case that was submitted for decision. 2.Violeta. Finally.000. That it was at this time that the first volume of this case. are worth mentioning.170. The Supplemental Complaint additionally prayed that the levy and sale at public auction of the subject properties be annulled and set aside. That sometime in May 1992. That from the time the same was found to be missing. Judge Claravall ordered that a search for the same be made in all of the offices wherein this branch was forced to share a room with. in the event that the same was transmitted to said Court. and will have to be reconstituted with the use of documents in the possession of the parties. 9. 30680 in the name of Marcelo Suarez. as well as the Court of Appeals. A Motion for Leave to File and Admit Supplemental Complaint18 filed by herein respondents. and the other defendants -. was reported as missing. That just before the Christmas vacation in 1991.16 However. Initially. the branch was forced to hastily move all of its records and equipment to branch 69.
The auction sale of the five (5) parcels of land and all prior and subsequent proceedings in relation thereto are declared null and void. pointing out that plaintiffs (herein respondents) have yet to comply with the RTC. and the Register of Deeds of Rizal. 1995.defendants. issued by Judge Apolinario B. aside from having been filed way out of time. the records reveal the following Orders issued by the different branches of the RTC: 1. including herein petitioner Valente. Branch 67 Order commanding them to submit (to the RTC) any evidence showing settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo Suarez. 1992 which mandates that: "xxx and Civil Case No. and after being able to do so." In order to enforce such mandate of the Supreme Court. the answer sought to be elicited through written interrogatories. 1992 of the Supreme Court). admitting herein respondents' Supplemental Complaint. 1996. 6509 in the name of defendant Valente Raymundo is also declared null and void. are entirely irrelevant. is ordered to issue a new one in the name of the deceased Marcelo Suarez or to reinstate Transfer Certificate of Title No. Transfer Certificate of Title No. being the final arbiter in any judicial dispute. In its decision of September 4. in order for the court to determine the portion in the estate which belongs to Teofista. thus: 2. 1992. which binds this court. The defendants [including herein petitioner Valente] did everything possible to expedite the disposition of this case while the plaintiffs [herein respondents] did everything possible to DELAY the disposition of the same obviously because the plaintiffs [herein respondents] are in full possession and enjoyment of the property in dispute. Pasig City. Santos resolving: (a) herein respondents' Manifestation and Motion (to execute/enforce Decision dated September 4. implements the decision of the Supreme Court dated September 4. therefore. WHEREFORE. resolved the incidents.21 2. 1992. this court. thus: From the foregoing uncontroverted facts. In said decision. should be implemented for the following reasons: xxxx On the request for Answers to Written Interrogatories filed by the defendants. 30680 in the name of Marcelo Suarez. premises considered. b. . and (b) therein defendants' (including herein petitioner Valente's) Request for Answer to Written Interrogatories. the SUPREME COURT nullified TWO final and executory DECISIONS of the Court of Appeals in an unprecedented action. it is obvious that at this stage of the proceedings where the Supreme Court had already pronounced the undisputed facts. Pasig City. Order dated March 17. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to petitioner and to annul the sale with regard to said portion. this court orders that: a. On these incidents. this Court is convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that the Decision of the Supreme Court of September 4. The Urgent Motion stated in paragraph 2. Branch 67. issued by Presiding Judge Rodrigo B.22 The RTC. the Supreme Court ordered the plaintiffs [herein respondents] to establish with evidence their personality as heirs of Marcelo Suarez. Order dated January 22. Lorenzo of Branch 266. to adduce evidence that would determine what portion belongs to plaintiffs hence the above matters need be litigated upon before the RTC can "annul the sale with regard to said portion" (belonging to the plaintiffs alleged heirs).
counsel for plaintiffs [herein respondents] is advised to secure all the documentary evidence she needs material to this case which will expedite the disposition of this case. xxxx It is a matter of record that there was no trial on the merits completed in the Regional Trial Court. 1996. 1999 at 8:30 a. respectively. d. and in order for counsel for the plaintiffs [herein respondents] to have the opportunity to complete all documentary evidence and in view of abbreviating the proceedings and as prayed for.170. ruling that these are interlocutory orders. may be levied on execution. Order dated April 8. 3. issued an Order dated January 11. issued by Pairing Judge Santiago Estrella which declared. 1996. which reads. 1996 and May 29. In resolving this latest crossfire between the parties. and failing which. [Herein respondents]. 1992). however. confronted with the . today's scheduled pre-trial is re-set for the last time to May 19. are hereby ordered to submit to this court any evidence showing settlement of the estate of the deceased. the Court is. In this connection. Naturally. In this connection. including petitioner Valente. 2000. 1999. Teofista Suarez is ordered to reimburse the amount of P94. Teofista Suarez. Order dated September 10. Branch 67. While this Court is of the view that trial on the merits is necessary for the purpose of giving the plaintiffs [herein respondents] a chance to adduce evidence to sustain their complaint and the defendants [including petitioner Valente] to prove their defense. the RTC. Therein defendants. in part: This Court is of the view that the Honorable Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Both parties duly filed their position papers. with herein respondents attaching thereto a copy of the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate executed by the heirs of Marcelo Suarez in 1957. It is in this context that the Honorable Supreme Court reinstated the "action [of herein respondents] to annul the auction sale to protect their [herein respondents] own interest. 1996 Orders.c. including Teofista Suarez.m. Marcelo Suarez. Judge Estrella issued an Order25 requiring the parties to file their respective position papers due to the "divergent views on the nature of the hearing that should be conducted in compliance with" our decision in Suarez.00. and. 51203. therefore. filed a Motion for Reconsideration which the trial court denied on May 29. the portion of the estate of Marcelo Suarez belonging to the surviving spouse. consistent with the directive of the Honorable Supreme Court (in its Decision promulgated on September 4. in order for this court to determine the portion in the estate which belongs to Teofista Suarez. issued by Judge Santos denying the appeal interposed by petitioner Valente from the January 22. precisely it directed that the records of this case be remanded to the Regional Trial Court for further proceedings. plus legal interest from the date of issuance of this order. xxx The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and ordered the reinstatement of Civil Case No. thus: Considering that counsel for the plaintiffs does not have the birth certificates of the heirs of the plaintiff to prove their affiliation with the deceased which is one of the matters written in the decision of the higher court which must be complied with. not appealable.24 This last Order and therein defendants' Urgent Motion spawned another contentious issue between the parties. there was no trial on the merits before this Court that allowed the parties to adduce evidence to establish their respective claims in the plaintiffs' [herein respondents] complaint and in the defendants' [including petitioner Valente] counter-claim.23 4.
Virginia and Maria Concepcion] filed a notice of appeal on the order of Judge Santos. 2000. March 2. Violeta.27 Consequently. No. Rule 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Court.R. Yet. 2000. issued an order to execute/enforce the decision of the Supreme Court xxx. or a particular fact. 51203 be reinstated in order to determine the portion in the estate which belongs to Teofista Suarez. 124320. 2000 and March 14. the Supreme Court (G. G. Del Rosario. 124320. On September 4. It disposed of the petition. 1996 denying the motion for reconsideration and the denial of the notice of appeal dated September 6. 1999" this case is dismissed without prejudice to the plaintiffs' [herein respondents'] filing a special proceeding consistent with said latest ruling. Del Rosario. et al. Del Rosario. et al. and reinstated Judge Santos' Orders dated May 29. 124320. The sale of the parcels of land was declared null and void. however. the title (TCT No. 67. All the defendants in the trial court were impleaded as private respondents in the petition.26 Herein respondents moved for reconsideration thereof which.R. herein respondents filed a petition for certiorari before the CA alleging grave abuse of discretion in the trial court's order dismissing Civil Case No. on motion of [herein respondents] was denied on September 10. Obviously. xxx xxxx Hon. 1996 and September 6. 94918) reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and mandates that Civil Case No. WHEREFORE. a civil action is defined as "one by which a party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right. In as much as the leading case on the matter is that of "Heirs of Yaptinchay v. The appeal. recalled and set aside RTC.R. G. The denial of petitioner Valente's Motion for Reconsideration prompted the filing of this present petition for certiorari. 51203 without prejudice. 128). Court of Appeals (182 SCRA 119. or the prevention or redress of a wrong" while a special proceeding is "a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status. the decision of the Supreme Court had become final and executory. The trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding. Necessarily. Apolinario Santos of Br. xxxx [Petitioner Valente. on January 22. Regional Trial Court.. 5809) in the name of respondents was also declared null and void. No. thus: We agree with [herein respondents]." It is then decisively clear that the declaration of heirship can be made only in a special proceeding inasmuch as the petitioners here are seeking the establishment of a status or right. The appellate court granted the petition. and not in an independent civil action. Pasig City. Branch 67 on March 14. No. No. this Court holds that in the light of the doctrine laid down in the case of "Heirs of Yaptinchay vs. 1996. March 2. Likewise. Branch 67's Orders dated January 11. 1999" where it held that The declaration of heirship must be made in an administration proceeding. 1999" it is left with no choice but to obey said latter doctrine. the foregoing premises considered. both orders of Judge Santos dated May 29.R. Under Section 3. . 1996. only petitioner Valente filed a Comment thereto. G. 1996 and on motion of [herein respondents]. curiously. a right. 1996 had also become final and executory.very recent decision of the Honorable Supreme Court in "Heirs of Guido Yaptinchay. This doctrine was reiterated in Solve vs. 1992. vs. March 2. was denied by the RTC.
and yet the latter did not allow an appeal to be taken therefrom ratiocinating that the questioned orders were interlocutory.29 It does not terminate or finally dismiss or finally dispose of the case. understand the available remedies therefrom. The key test to what is interlocutory is when there is something more to be done on the merits of the case.. Indeed. and therefore. as ruled by the CA. via Rule 45. and may be questioned before. On this score alone. herein respondents were directed to submit evidence showing settlement of the estate of the deceased Marcelo Sr.32 The Orders dated May 29. 1996 issued by Judge Santos are interlocutory. At the outset. the petition should have been dismissed outright. 1996 and September 6. we have disregarded this procedural flaw and now resolve this case based on the merits or lack thereof. in paragraph (d) of Judge Santos' Order dated May 29. Simply imputing in a petition that the decision sought to be reviewed is tainted with grave abuse of discretion does not magically transform a petition into a special civil action for certiorari. much less.Petitioner Valente posits that the appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion in recalling and setting aside the Orders of Judge Estrella and reinstating those of Judge Santos because: 1. we laid down the test to ascertain whether an order is interlocutory or final i. Petitioner apparently does not comprehend the distinction between an interlocutory order which is final and executory. We cannot overemphasize the rule that the correct identification of the nature of an assailed order determines the remedies available to an aggrieved party.31 On more than one occasion. That disposition is a final and executory order. 1996. not appealable. The CA ruled that the Orders dated May 29. In fact. 1996 and September 6. it is interlocutory. such as petitioner Valente." We reject petitioner's paltry contention. Petitioner should have filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. this Court by persons aggrieved thereby.e. not appealable. and 2. We have defined an interlocutory order as referring to something between the commencement and the end of the suit which decides some point or matter but it is not the final decision on the whole controversy. 1996 issued by Judge Santos were final and executory. However. filed thereat by herein respondents. Contrary to petitioner Valente's stance. The old Rules of Court in Section 2. a final order is one which leaves to the court nothing more to do to resolve the case. as they leave something more to be done on the merits of the case. thus: . Petitioner asseverates that the assailed CA ruling "is unfair and it amounts to a trickery to prevent an appeal against a final order by claiming that the appealed order is merely interlocutory and later maintain that the same order has become final after declaring it to be interlocutory. and a final order which disposes of the controversy or case. The CA decision disposed of the merits of a special civil action. but leaves something to be done by the court before the case is finally decided on the merits. the RTC Order denying petitioner Valente's Notice of Appeal attained finality when he failed to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. there is no trickery or chicanery in the CA's distinction between an interlocutory and a final order. "Does it leave something to be done in the trial court with respect to the merits of the case?" If it does. Del Rosario28 which held that a declaration of heirship must be made in a special proceeding and not in a civil action. Rule 41 reads. an original petition. The CA ignored and violated the Supreme Court's ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay v. it is final. we note that petitioner Valente incorrectly filed a petition for certiorari to appeal the CA decision. and therefore. We find the petition bereft of merit. if it does not.30 Upon the other hand. appealable to.
He should have filed a petition for certiorari. may be appealed to the Court by filing a petition for review. Under Rule 45. He tried to appeal the interlocutory orders of the RTC which are unappealable. It must be dismissed for lack of merit. the CA decision affirming the RTC's denial was correct. Thus.-Only final judgments or orders shall be subject to appeal. In contrast. or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable. petitioner Valente erroneously sought relief through reversed remedies. Clearly. Judgments or orders subject to appeal. even on the merits of the case. i. the remedy from a judgment or final order of the CA is appeal via petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules. . on this crucial distinction as applied to this case. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. and the CA correctly upheld the RTC. Rule 41 now provides for the appropriate remedy to be taken from an interlocutory order. petitioner Valente filed a petition for certiorarifrom the CA decision in CA-G. the RTC properly denied his Notice of Appeal. a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 is an independent action based on the specific grounds therein provided and proper only if there is no appeal or any plain. final orders or resolutions of the CA in any case. Court of Appeals33 we ruled in this wise: As a rule. 58090. On the other hand. It seeks to correct errors of judgment committed by the court. when the proper remedy is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. thus: SECTION 1. The correct and available remedy available to petitioner Valente was. from the final order of the CA. In fine. 2. or officer. which is not an interlocutory order. It is an extraordinary process for the correction of errors of jurisdiction and cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary appeal. Further. under Rule 65. he comes before this Court on a petition forcertiorari under Rule 65. the petition does not fare otherwise. 1996 was in order. 1996 and September 6. xxx In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not appealable. regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved. a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. No interlocutory or incidental judgment or order shall stay the progress of an action.An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case. Independently of this procedural infirmity.e. Subject of appeal. In the recent case of Jan-Dec Construction Corporation v. Thus. No appeal may be taken from: xxx (c) An interlocutory order.SEC. as previously discussed. which would be but a continuation of the appellate process over the original case. SP No.R. . decisions. xxxx With the advent of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. It is a final order which completely disposed of the merits of the case with nothing more left to be done therein. nor shall it be the subject of appeal until final judgment or order is rendered for one party or the other. tribunal. the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65. the denial of therein defendants' (including petitioner Valente's) appeal from the Orders dated May 29. Section 1..
undisputedly. Violeta's. This having been settled. petitioner Valente cannot assail. The heirs of the husband may impugn the legitimacy of the child only in the following cases: (1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for bringing his action. Marcelo Sr.R. the status of herein respondents as legitimate children of Marcelo Sr. . and Teofista. as children of Teofista. 21376 to 21379 consistent with the doctrine of res judicata.R. questioned the RTC. following our ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay v. the applicable law at the time of Marcelo's death.34 herein respondents must first be declared heirs of Marcelo Sr. Our ruling in Heirs of Yaptinchay is not applicable. petitioner Valente's. and Teofista cannot be indirectly or directly attacked by petitioner Valente in an action to annul a judicial sale. it explicitly recognized the latter's status as legitimate children of Teofista and Marcelo Sr. along with herein respondents. is wrong.'s heirs ― has been firmly established. Although the CA ruled against Teofista and herein respondents. The CA decision in CA-G. As was set forth in the dispositive portion of Suarez.Petitioner Valente insists that. Articles 262. it should no longer have been a litigated issue when we ordered a remand to the lower court. Court of Appeals. and likewise demand that herein respondents first prove their filiation to Marcelo Sr. 51203 is reinstated only to determine that portion which belongs to [herein respondents] and to annul the sale with regard to said portion. Moreover. SP No.. SP Nos. We categorically held therein that "the proprietary interest of [herein respondents] in the levied and auctioned [properties] is different from and adverse to that of [Teofista]. and heirs of their deceased father.39 We subsequently reversed this ruling on the wrong application of res judicata in the conclusive case of Suarez.35True. The following records bear out Marcelo. conjugal property of Teofista and Marcelo Sr. herein respondents' status as heirs of Marcelo Sr. bound by the judgment in Civil Case Nos. to wit: Art. this Court is not a trier of facts.. In short. (3) If the child was born after the death of the husband. herein respondents' long possessed status of legitimate children of Marcelo Sr. and Maria Concepcion's representation in the RTC that our ruling in Suarez required herein respondents to present evidence of their affiliation with the deceased. We disagree." Clearly. directly or indirectly. 1986." There is clearly no intimation in our decision for the RTC to have to determine an already settled issue i. and the latter's status as legitimate children: 1. Branch 151's Orders dated October 10. merely successors-in-interest of the latter to the property and by virtue thereof. [Herein respondents] became co-owners of the property not because of [Teofista] but through their own right as children of their deceased father [. and Teofista ― and thus.36 but as the final arbiter of disputes. support the foregoing conclusion. "Civil Case No. Sr. 10646 to 10649 where Teofista. Marcelo Sr.].e. and confirmed by this Court in Suarez v.41 265 and 26642 of the Civil Code. the CA's factual finding of herein respondents' status as heirs of Marcelo Sr. (2) If the husband should die after the filing of the complaint. however. 1984 and October 14.37 we found and so ruled that herein respondents are children.40 263. 20320 which incorrectly ruled that herein respondents were.'s and Teofista's paternity of herein respondents. We retained and affirmed. without having desisted from the same. Del Rosario. before they can file an action to annul the judicial sale of what is. Marcelo Sr. Herein respondents' status as legitimate children of Marcelo Sr. 262. Marcelo Sr.. The CA decision in CA-G. Virginia's. and38 2.
Petitioner Valente. at the time the subject properties were sold on execution sale to answer for Teofista's judgment obligation. and payment therefor cannot be made through an execution sale of properties not absolutely owned by her. there is no need to re-declare herein respondents as heirs of Marcelo Sr. If the birth of the child has been concealed.47 Even without delving into the Extrajudicial Settlement of Marcelo Sr. or by an authentic document or a final judgment. It reserves a portion of the net estate of the decedent in favor of certain heirs. Ineluctably.49 where we scrutinized our rulings in Heirs of Yaptinchay and the cited cases . a separate declaration of heirship by herein respondents is not necessary to annul the judicial sale of their share in the subject properties.'s death. levied upon and sold on auction by the provincial sheriff of Rizal.48 Herein respondents' ownership of the subject properties is no longer inchoate. along with Violeta.44 The portion that is so reserved is the legitime. upon Marcelo Sr.Art. the term shall be counted from the discovery of the fraud.. Teofista's ownership over the subject properties is not absolute. only that portion could have been. Article 886 of the Civil Code defines legitime as "that part of the testator's property which he cannot dispose of because the law has reserved it for certain heirs who are. Portugal-Beltran. which explicitly recognizes herein respondents as Marcelo Sr.45 excluding secondary compulsory heirs. herein respondents. the filiation shall be proved by the continuous possession of status of a legitimate child. the complaint for annulment and/or declaration of nullity of certain TCT's was dismissed for failure of the petitioners to demonstrate "any proof or even a semblance of it" that they had been declared the legal heirs of the deceased couple. in fact. 265. Art. any of his heirs. prevailing over all kinds of succession. These properties were evidently conjugal properties and were. In fine. The same document settles and partitions the estate of Marcelo Sr. although their respective shares therein remained pro indiviso. In stark contrast. In the absence of the titles indicated in the preceding article. and prolong this case interminably. or combination of heirs. This judgment obligation is solely Teofista's. Significantly. Thus.'s share in the conjugal partnership was transmitted by operation of law to his compulsory heirs. If he or his heirs are absent. Plainly. it must be stressed that herein respondents' rights to the succession vested from the moment of their father's death. the records of this case reveal a document. 263. became owners of the subject properties only by virtue of an execution sale to recover Teofista's judgment obligation. the period shall be eighteen months if they should reside in the Philippines. Compulsory succession is a distinct kind of succession. 266. the spouses Yaptinchay.'s estate in 1957. and two years if abroad. albeit not categorized as such in Article 77843of the Civil Code. The filiation of legitimate children is proved by the record of birth appearing in the Civil Register. the inclusion of herein respondents' share therein was null and void. or group of heirs. married to Teofista. if the husband should be in the same place. specifying Teofista's paraphernal properties. Virginia and Maria Concepcion. an Extrajudicial Settlement of Marcelo Sr. therefore. Art. Marcelo Sr. Sr. Since Teofista owns only a portion of the subject properties. it became absolute upon Marcelo's death. by virtue of compulsory succession. even titled in the name of Marcelo. or in a proper case.46 and preferred over concurring compulsory heirs in the distribution of the decedent's estate. and was actually. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought within one year from the recording of birth in the Civil Register." Herein respondents are primary compulsory heirs. petitioner Valente does not even attempt to dispute the conjugal nature of the subject properties. In Heirs of Yaptinchay. and separates the properties she owns in common with her children. Thus.'s estate.'s legitimate children and heirs. called compulsory heirs. We note the recent case of Portugal v.
it should be judicially administered and the competent court should appoint a qualified administrator. The Orders dated May 29. Court of Appeals. or in case he did.51 and Guilas v. under the circumstances of the present case. Solivio and Guilas in which the adverse parties are putative heirs to the estate of a decedent or parties to the special proceedings for its settlement is that if the special proceedings are pending. to a special proceeding which could be long. heirship should be raised and settled in said special proceedings. then an ordinary civil action can be filed for his declaration as heir in order to bring about the annulment of the partition or distribution or adjudication of a property or properties belonging to the estate of the deceased. And it is superfluous in light of the fact that the parties to the civil casesubject of the present case. just to establish the status of petitioners as heirs is not only impractical.53 All told. there is no need to dismiss Civil Case No. Costs against the petitioner. In the case at bar. CFI Judge of Pampanga52 cited in Solivio. to still subject it. 1996 and September 6. not expeditious. Section of the Revised Rules of Court. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. a need to file one. 6. believing rightly or wrongly that she was the sole heir to Portugal's estate. respondent. however. the petition is DENIED. under the circumstances. under the circumstances of the case. or if there are no special proceedings filed but there is. in the order established in Sec. it is burdensome to the estate with the costs and expenses of an administration proceedings. under the circumstances of the case. among other issues. 58090 is AFFIRMED. . hence. that in the present case the only property of the intestate estate of Portugal is the Caloocan parcel of land. xxx It appearing. there being no compelling reason to still subject Portugal's estate to administration proceedings since a determination of petitioners' status as heirs could be achieved in the civil case filed by petitioners xxx. or if a putative heirs has lost the right to have himself declared in the special proceedings as co-heir and he can no longer ask for its re-opening.of Litam v. 51203 and require herein respondents to institute a separate special proceeding for a declaration of their heirship.. executed on February 15. 1996 issued by Judge Santos are REINSTATED. SP No. In fine. however. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 1988 the questioned Affidavit of Adjudication under the second sentence of Rule 74. premises considered. he failed to name an executor therein. then the determination of. could and had already in fact presented evidence before the trial court which assumed jurisdiction over the case upon the issues it defined during pretrial. We ruled thus: The common doctrine in Litam. Rule 78 in case the deceased left no will. Rivera50 and Solivio v. Where special proceedings had been instituted but had been finally closed and terminated.R. in addition to the already settled status of herein respondents as heirs of Marcelo Sr. Said rule is an exception to the general rule that when a person dies leaving property.
On due ELLA GAGARANI. T-27172 was issued in its name. JONATHAN. One of the lands inherited was a lot covered by Original date. versus - Certificate of Title (OCT) No. J. borrowed P100.R. Pursuant to the extrajudicial settlement of the estate with quitclaim executed by the spouses’ children. all surnamed ASOK. P-4272. petitioner’s ownership over the property was consolidated and TCT No. 1982. They mortgaged the subject lot as collateral to guarantee payment of the loan. . a certificate of sale was issued in favor of petitioner. CV No. 1989. a government financial institution created and operating under EO 81. a free patent issued on July 19. Respondents.G. 2005 decision and March 28.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the December 14. 1992.297. however.000 from petitioner Development Bank of the Philippines. On November 28. Asok and his wife. As a result. NIEVA. Asok owned several parcels of land. 1967. Petitioner. 1998. 2006 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. they failed to pay the loan and the mortgage was extrajudicially foreclosed pursuant to Act 3135. 1973 and February 22. respondent Ella Gagarani Asok. 2008 cancelled and Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. ISAGANI. Misamis Oriental with an area of 39. On March 25. the subject property was inherited by Denison Asok (Asok). T-9626 was issued and registered in his name on November 17.R. P-4272 was Promulgated: September 17. their eleven children inherited the properties. Petitioner emerged as the highest bidder with a bid of P163.552 sq. m. as amended by RA 8523. ADRIAN. 172248 DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES. 1987. The spouses Dionesio and Matea S. FLORENCE and JEREMIAS. This was registered on December 24. OCT No. x--------------------------------------------------x RESOLUTION CORONA. NATHANIEL. DIONESIO. Upon their death on September 14. respectively. On August 31. No. 64259. Manticao. 1991. located at Pagawan.
exercise their right to repurchase. i. the RTC dismissed the complaint. In a decision dated December 14.e. within a period of five years from date of the conveyance. 1997 to . 1999. 119 of In a decision dated January 7. November 28. 119 which covers homesteads and free patents because the free patent issued to Asok’s parents had already been cancelled 1992. Misamis Oriental. It held that the period of redemption started from the date of registration of the certificate of sale. 119. Petitioner raises the following issues: (1) whether Sec. respondents filed a complaint for repurchase against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Initao. Reconsideration was denied on February 3. The petition lacks merit. respondents had until November 28. they filed an amended complaint on learning that TCT No. On May 15. Aggrieved. T9626 had been cancelled by TCT No. They invoked their right to repurchase the property under Sec. Hence this petition. i. December 24. Reconsideration was denied in a resolution dated March 28.Meanwhile. i. 1993 and was succeeded by his surviving spouse and children (respondents). or legal heirs. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions. shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant. as amended: Sec.. 119 of CA 141. Branch 44. Thus. and not from the date of sale. Therefore.e.e. his widow. 2005. On July 3. when proper. respondents had until December 24. 2006. Then the five-year period provided under Sec. However. It ruled that the one-year period for redemption should be reckoned from the date of sale. docketed as Civil Case No. respondents appealed to the CA. November 28. CA 141 is applicable in this case. 119 of CA 141 should be counted from the expiration of the redemption period. 1998 which was beyond the prescribed period. the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision. (2) whether respondents are the legal heirs of the patentees and (3) whether the right to repurchase has already prescribed. 98-68. 1998 to repurchase the property and the complaint was seasonably filed. Petitioner contends that respondents cannot claim the right under Sec. 1998. T-27172 issued in the name of petitioner. 1991.. the complaint was filed on May 15. 1992. 1998. Asok died on October 24.. 1999.
The policy of the law is not difficult to understand. Thus. 119 is to give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve and keep in the family the land that the State has gratuitously given him as a reward for his labor in cleaning. This is particularly so in this case as the appellee is the son of the deceased. petitioners are legal heirs. Legal heirs are not necessarily compulsory heirs but they may be so if the law reserves a legitime for them. This is merely a recognition of how closely bound parents and children are in a Filipino family. Having been decreed under the rules on intestacy as entitled to xxx . the property mortgaged to it was no longer covered by a free patent but by a TCT. legal heirs include both testate and intestate heirs depending upon whether succession is by the will of the testator or by law. do not stop with him. It is used in a broad sense and the law makes no distinctions. It is broad enough to cover any person who is called to the succession either by provision of a will or by operation of law. Logic. xxx xxx Verily. 119. 119. In line with the rationale behind Sec. the fact that the land had been inherited by the patentees’ son (and a new title in his name issued) does not bring it outside the purview of Sec. however. There is no question then as to his status of being a legal heir. We disagree. In fact. In Madarcos v. Thus. de la Merced. Having ruled that Sec. As we explained in Ferrer v. Mangente: The applicant for a homestead is to be given all the inducement that the law offers and is entitled to its full protection. developing and cultivating it. The incentive for a pioneer to venture into developing virgin land becomes more attractive if he is assured that his effort will not go for naught should perchance his life be cut short. 119 is applicable to this case. we held that: The term “legal heirs” is used in Section 119 in a generic sense. Hence. The plain intent of Sec. we reject a restricted definition of legal heirs. Its blessings. This contention deserves scant consideration.and a new TCT had in fact been issued to him. the sense of fitness and of right. as well as pragmatic considerations thus call for continued adherence to the policy that not the individual applicant alone but those so closely related to him as are entitled to legal succession may take full advantage of the benefits the law confers. we now go to the next issue: are respondents the “legal heirs” contemplated in the provision? Petitioner argues that respondents are not the legal heirs of the patentees because respondents are merely their daughter-in-law and grandchildren. the policy behind the law is fulfilled because the land remains in the family of the patentee.
he or his heirs may repurchase the property within five (5) years from the expiration of the redemption period also pursuant to Section 119 of the Public Land Act. the mortgagor may redeem the property within one (1) year from the registration of the certificate of sale pursuant to Act No. they now step into the shoes of the decedents. their husband and father. The five-year period fixed in Sec. the debtor or his or her successors-in-interest may redeem the property within one year. this had already prescribed because the period should be counted from the date of conveyance which means the date of sale and not the date of registration of the certificate of sale. If he fails to do so. The above interpretation of "legal heirs" as contradistinguished from the restrictive construction given it by the lower court is more in keeping with the salutary purpose behind the enactment of Section 119 and the jurisprudence laid down on the matter. We have time and again said that between two statutory interpretations. v. we allowed the daughter and son-in-law of the patentees to repurchase the property because this would be “more in keeping with the spirit of the law. as daughter-in-law of the patentees. that which better serves the purpose of the law should Thus. There is no dispute that in extrajudicial foreclosures under Act 3135. it is not far-fetched to arrive at a more liberal conclusion if the section is analyzed in accordance with its purpose xxxx Finally. Indeed. Respondent Ella Gagarani Asok. who in turn inherited it from his parents. This redemption period should be reckoned from the date of registration of the certificate of sale.succeed to the estate of the Catain spouses due to the absence of compulsory heirs. can be considered as among the legal heirs who can repurchase the land in accordance with Salenillas v. 119. This is far from a novel issue. In that case. It was already resolved in Rural Bank of Davao City. petitioner asserts that even if respondents could be considered as being entitled to the right under Sec. This argument lacks merit. 3135. CA: Respondents inherited the property from Asok.” Furthermore. Inc. . 119 begins to run from the expiration of the one- prevail. CA. the law must be liberally construed in order to carry out its purpose. the rules on redemption in the case of an extrajudicial foreclosure of land acquired under free patent or homestead statutes may be summarized as follows: xxx If the land is mortgaged to parties other than rural banks. They should be considered as among the legal heirs contemplated by Section 119 as entitled to redeem the homestead.
the petition is hereby DENIED. Consequently. 1993. Here. 1998 was on time. Petitioner Development Bank of the Philippines is ordered to execute a deed of reconveyance in favor of respondents upon payment by the latter of the redemption price. or until December 24. . SO ORDERED.year redemption period. Reckoned from that day. No costs. the CA was correct in holding that the complaint filed on May 15. WHEREFORE. 119 of CA 141. 1998. to exercise their right to repurchase under Sec. the certificate of sale was registered on December 24. 1992 and the one-year redemption period expired on December 24. respondents had a five-year period.
68920 to respondent. 1343 to respondent. and petitioner. Abena as the executor of her will. respondent. The RTC had declared the last will and testament of Margarita S. M-1531. petitioner filed a petition for letters of administration of the estate of Margarita before the RTC of Makati. Norma A. 3) ordering the issuance of letters testamentary in favor of Lucia Abena.R. 1993 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). consisting of 209. It also ordered the issuance of letters testamentary in favor of respondent. grandparents and siblings predeceased her. and covered by TCT No. affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. Branch 66. petitioner. Margarita executed a Last Will and Testament3 on February 2. No. DECISION QUISUMBING. Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of decedent Margarita S. Before her death. and Florentino M. No. Margarita also left all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise designated as sole executor of her will. On March 2. Makati. Mayores probated and designated respondent Lucia D. the RTC rendered a decision declaring the last will and testament of Margarita probated and respondent as the executor of the will. ABENA. Manuelita Samaniego Sajonia. vs. 2008 PAZ SAMANIEGO-CELADA. She likewise bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at San Antonio Village. 145545 June 30. Isabelo M.REQUISITES OF A FORMAL WILL G. But the Court of Appeals. M-1531. 1987. 41756. Mayores (Margarita) while respondent was the decedent’s lifelong companion since 1929. 1993. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each. She was survived by her first cousins Catalina Samaniego-Bombay. The dispositive portion of the decision states: In view of the foregoing. No. and Amanda M. Abena. J. consisting of 225 square meters.R. Makati City. judgment is hereby rendered: 1) declaring the will as probated. On April 27. Margarita died single and without any ascending nor descending heirs as her parents. 1987. in a decision dated October 13. No. LUCIA D.: This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to reverse the Decision1dated October 13.4 Petitioner appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals. and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title 2) declaring Lucia Abena as the executor of the will who will serve as such without a bond as stated in paragraph VI of the probated will. The case was docketed as SP Proc. The case was docketed as SP Proc. 1987. The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ decision states: . 1987 where she bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a real property located at Singalong Manila.8 square meters. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each. 2000. On October 27. M-1607 and consolidated with SP Proc. respondent filed a petition for probate of the will of Margarita before the RTC of Makati. So ordered. 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Pahingalo. which affirmed the Decision2 dated March 2. On August 11. The facts are as follows: (TCT) No. CV No. Feliza Samaniego.
II. sustaining the findings of the trial court that the formalities required by law were duly complied with. SO ORDERED. foregoing premises considered. which may not be the subject of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. (2) whether said court erred in not declaring the will invalid because it was procured through undue influence and pressure.5 Hence. the instant petition citing the following issues: I. with cost to oppositors-appellants. jobless and entirely dependent upon respondent and her nephews for support. the Court of Appeals proceeded to tackle the assigned errors and rule that the will was validly executed. .WHEREFORE. argues in her Memorandum11 that the petition for review raises questions of fact. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN NOT INVALIDATING THE WILL SINCE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE FORMALITIES REQUIRED BY LAW. and these alleged handicaps allegedly affected her freedom and willpower to decide on her own. We find that the issues raised by petitioner concern pure questions of fact. She also argues that the signatures of the testator on pages A. Respondent. B. After careful consideration of the parties’ contentions. Margarita was weak. MAYORES AND IN NOT ISSUING LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION TO HER.7 argues that Margarita’s will failed to comply with the formalities required under Article 8058 of the Civil Code because the will was not signed by the testator in the presence of the instrumental witnesses and in the presence of one another. sickly. Petitioner likewise argues that the Court of Appeals should have declared her and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita since they are her only living collateral relatives in accordance with Articles 10099 and 101010 of the Civil Code.] AND III. we rule in favor of respondent. is herebyORDERED DISMISSED and the appealed Decision of the trial court AFFIRMED IN TOTO. for her part. The Court of Appeals also concurred with the findings of the trial court that the testator. in her Memorandum. findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal to the Supreme Court. and (3) whether it erred in not declaring petitioner and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita. not of law and as a rule. was of sound mind when she executed the will. indicating that they were not signed on the same day. She also points out that although the Court of Appeals at the outset opined there was no compelling reason to review the petition. and C of the will are not the same or similar. Petitioner thus concludes that Margarita’s total dependence on respondent and her nephews compelled her to sign the will. the issues are (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in not declaring the will invalid for failure to comply with the formalities required by law. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED ERROR IN NOT INVALIDATING THE WILL BECAUSE IT WAS PROCURED THROUGH UNDUE INFLUENCE AND PRESSURE[. She further argues that the will was procured through undue influence and pressure because at the time of execution of the will. Petitioner. Margarita.6 Briefly stated. and in not issuing letters of administration to petitioner. HER SIBLINGS AND COUSIN AS THE LEGAL HEIRS OF MARGARITA S. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING PETITIONER. the appeal having no merit in fact and in law.
The oppositors failed to establish. Ramon Lamberte. and whether or not undue influence was exerted upon the testator which compelled her to sign the will. Dr. witness for the oppositors. reveal that petitioner’s arguments lack basis. and (10) When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. Not one of the oppositor’s witnesses has mentioned any instance that they observed act/s of the testator during her lifetime that could be construed as a manifestation of mental incapacity. (6) When the Court of Appeals. Nonetheless. (7) When the findings are contrary to those of the trial court. Section 112 of Rule 45 limits this Court’s review to questions of law only. the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court.. attended to the testator months before her death. In fact. When supported by substantial evidence. unless the case falls under any of the following recognized exceptions: (1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation.13 We find that this case does not involve any of the abovementioned exceptions. by preponderance of evidence. are all questions of fact. Anent the contestants’ submission that the will is fatally defective for the reason that its attestation clause states that the will is composed of three (3) pages while in truth and in fact. the will consists of two (2) pages only because the attestation is . (4) When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken. a review of the findings of the RTC as upheld by the Court of Appeals. surmises and conjectures. The testator may be admitted to be physically weak but it does not necessarily follow that she was not of sound mind. whether or not the will was signed by the testator in the presence of the witnesses and of one another. The RTC correctly held: With [regard] to the contention of the oppositors [Paz Samaniego-Celada. whether or not the signatures of the witnesses on the pages of the will were signed on the same day.The issues that petitioner is raising now i. testified that Margarita Mayores could engage in a normal conversation and he even stated that the illness of the testator does not warrant hospitalization…. [The] testimonies of contestant witnesses are pure aforethought. in making its findings. (9) When the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners’ main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents. absurd or impossible. This Court does not resolve questions of fact in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.] that the testator [Margarita Mayores] was not mentally capable of making a will at the time of the execution thereof. in some occasions. said allegation and contradict the presumption that the testator was of sound mind (See Article 800 of the Civil Code). (5) When the findings of fact are conflicting. (8) When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. (3) Where there is a grave abuse of discretion. the same is without merit. et al. went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee. Well-settled is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. who.e.
In fine. The position of the court is in consonance with the "doctrine of liberal interpretation" enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code which reads: "In the absence of bad faith.R. we find no reason to disturb the abovementioned findings of the RTC. the picture reveals that the testator was in a good mood and smiling with the other witnesses while executing the subject will (See Exhibit "H"). There is no evidence to show that the first signature was procured earlier than February 2. The picture (Exhibit "H-3") shows that the testator was affixing her signature in the presence of the instrumental witnesses and the notary. and C which is a sufficient safeguard from the possibility of an omission of some of the pages. After examination of the signatures. petitioner and her siblings are not compulsory heirs of the decedent under Article 88715 of the Civil Code and as the decedent validly disposed of her properties in a will duly executed and probated. is of the considered opinion that error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the attestation clause is not material to invalidate the subject will. Finally. Since. It must be noted that the subject instrument is consecutively lettered with pages A. Costs against petitioner. the petition is DENIED.14 (Emphasis supplied. 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. texture and appearance as compared with the signatures in the succeeding pages. after examining the totality of the will. SO ORDERED. While it is true that the attestation clause is not a part of the will. the same is not accurate. . In fact." The court also rejects the contention of the oppositors that the signatures of the testator were affixed on different occasions based on their observation that the signature on the first page is allegedly different in size. the court finds that no pressure nor undue influence was exerted on the testator to execute the subject will. defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of Article 805. petitioner has no legal right to claim any part of the decedent’s estate. forgery or fraud. B. the court finds that the testator was mentally capable of making the will at the time of its execution. The error must have been brought about by the honest belief that the will is the whole instrument consisting of three (3) pages inclusive of the attestation clause and the acknowledgement. 1987. CV No. WHEREFORE. The assailed Decision dated October 13. or undue [and] improper pressure and influence.) Thus. the court.not a part of the notarial will. the court does not share the same observation as the oppositors. that the notarial will presented to the court is the same notarial will that was executed and that all the formal requirements (See Article 805 of the Civil Code) in the execution of a will have been substantially complied with in the subject notarial will. 41756 is AFFIRMED.
Sr. In his complaint. 14. REGINO B. RESOLUTION CORONA. 2008 that their signatures had likewise been forged and merely copied from their respective voters’ affidavits.1 Complainant. He claimed that no copy of the contested will could be found there because none was filed. petitioner. complainant averred that his father. complainant Manuel L.3 Furthermore.C. Page No. Book No. the purported witnesses to its execution. and (2) that the will in question was fake and spurious. Sr. 1965 and is available in this Office[’s] files.6 Respondent in his comment dated July 6. Sr. 1962. Tambago with violation of the Notarial Law and the ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament. Complainant averred that the signatures of his deceased father in the will and in the deed of donation were "in any way (sic) entirely and diametrically opposed from (sic) one another in all angle[s]. Furthermore. 1. Series of 1965 refers to an AFFIDAVIT executed by BARTOLOME RAMIREZ on June 30. respondent. however. save for a parcel of land which he devised to Vicente Lee. Regino B. the spurious will contained the forged signatures of Cayetano Noynay and Loreto Grajo. the decedent Vicente Lee." Respondent did not dispute complainant’s contention that no copy of the will was on file in the archives division of the NCCA.. The will was purportedly executed and acknowledged before respondent on June 30. Jr. 2000. common-law wife of Vicente Lee. and corroborated by the joint affidavit8 of the children of Vicente Lee. ATTY. pointed out that the residence certificate2 of the testator noted in the acknowledgment of the will was dated January 5. MANUEL L. and the last will and testament was validly executed and actually notarized by respondent per affidavit7 of Gloria Nebato. xxx.. 1999 stated: Doc. No. half-siblings of complainant. Lastly. the signature of the testator was not the same as his signature as donor in a deed of donation4 (containing his purported genuine signature). J. Jr. TAMBAGO. In this connection. respondent pointed out that complainant had no valid cause of action against him as he (complainant) did not first file an action for the declaration of nullity of the will and demand his share in the inheritance.A. Lee and Vicente N. Lee charged respondent Atty. Sr."9 Respondent further stated that the complaint was filed simply to harass him because the criminal case filed by complainant against him in the Office of the Ombudsman "did not prosper. namely Elena N. the certification of the chief of the archives division dated September 19. Lee. Complainant further asserted that no copy of such purported will was on file in the archives division of the Records Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). 4. and Elena Lee. vs. 1965. never executed the contested will. 5281 February 12. He alleged . He alleged that complainant was "not a legitimate son of Vicente Lee. the decedent supposedly bequeathed his entire estate to his wife Lim Hock Lee. In the said will. 2001 claimed that the complaint against him contained false allegations: (1) that complainant was a son of the decedent Vicente Lee."5 Complainant also questioned the absence of notation of the residence certificates of the purported witnesses Noynay and Grajo. Sr.: In a letter-complaint dated April 10. LEE.
particularly Canon 111 and Rule 1. with the formalities prescribed by law. report and recommendation.In a resolution dated October 17. The IBP Board of Governors. and. It involves an extra step undertaken whereby the signatory actually declares to the notary public that the same is his or her own free act and deed. The violation constituted an infringement of legal ethics. to control to a certain degree the disposition of his estate. resolved: [T]o ADOPT and APPROVE. the notation of the testator’s old residence certificate in the same acknowledgment was a clear breach of the law.14 We affirm with modification. Noynay and Grajo. as the contested will in this case. as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED. . Tambago is hereby suspended from the practice of law for one year and Respondent’s notarial commission is Revoked and Disqualified fromreappointment as Notary Public for two (2) years. In addition. The object of solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door on bad faith and fraud. and considering Respondent’s failure to comply with the laws in the discharge of his function as a notary public. The Civil Code likewise requires that a will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guarantee their truth and authenticity.21 The acknowledgment in a notarial will has a two-fold purpose: (1) to safeguard the testator’s wishes long after his demise and (2) to assure that his estate is administered in the manner that he intends it to be done. For one. The law provides for certain formalities that must be followed in the execution of wills. XVII-2006-285 dated May 26.18 This is in consonance with the rule that acts executed against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws shall be void. it should be attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.10 In his report. A will is an act whereby a person is permitted.20 An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before some competent officer or court and declaring it to be his act or deed. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case. 2001. the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. is required by law to be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself. in its Resolution No.0112 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). to take effect after his death. Similarly. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A".16 A notarial will.13 Thus. the investigating commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline recommended the suspension of respondent for a period of three months. A cursory examination of the acknowledgment of the will in question shows that this particular requirement was neither strictly nor substantially complied with. except when the law itself authorizes their validity. Atty.17 The will in question was attested by only two witnesses. These omissions by respondent invalidated the will.15 A will may either be notarial or holographic. Regino B.19 The importance of this requirement is highlighted by the fact that it was segregated from the other requirements under Article 805 and embodied in a distinct and separate provision. with modification. there was the conspicuous absence of a notation of the residence certificates of the notarial witnesses Noynay and Grajo in the acknowledgment. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. the investigating commissioner found respondent guilty of violation of pertinent provisions of the old Notarial Law as found in the Revised Administrative Code. the will must be considered void. On this circumstance alone. 2006.
806. place of issue. (emphasis supplied) Respondent’s failure. These formalities are mandatory and cannot be disregarded. to file in the archives division a copy of the notarized will was therefore not a cause for disciplinary action. – Every contract. 2. person executing. 3.25 The importance of such act was further reiterated by Section 6 of the Residence Tax Act26 which stated: When a person liable to the taxes prescribed in this Act acknowledges any document before a notary public xxx it shall be the duty of such person xxx with whom such transaction is had or business done. to require the exhibition of the residence certificate showing payment of the residence taxes by such person xxx. and date of each [cedula] residence certificate as aforesaid. nature of each instrument executed. The Notarial Law then in force required the exhibition of the residence certificate upon notarization of a document or instrument: Section 251.24 is bound to strictly observe these elementary requirements. sworn to. . or acknowledgment of the instrument. In the issuance of a residence certificate. respondent should be faulted for having failed to make the necessary entries pertaining to the will in his notarial register. to the signature. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witness. 4.As the acknowledging officer of the contested will. By having allowed decedent to exhibit an expired residence certificate. As much could be said of his failure to demand the exhibition of the residence certificates of Noynay and Grajo. The old Notarial Law required the entry of the following matters in the notarial register. As we held in Santiago v. or acknowledged before him. the law seeks to establish the true and correct identity of the person to whom it is issued. especially a lawyer. swearing to. or acknowledging the instrument. Nevertheless. date of execution. as well as the payment of residence taxes for the current year.23 A notary public. Article 806 provides: Art. witnesses. Requirement as to notation of payment of [cedula] residence tax. and to enter its number. inadvertent or not. They are required to certify that the party to every document acknowledged before him had presented the proper residence certificate (or exemption from the residence tax). if any. or other document acknowledged before a notary public shall have certified thereon that the parties thereto have presented their proper [cedula] residence certificate or are exempt from the [cedula] residence tax. place of issue and date as part of such certification. in chronological order: 1. deed. oath. respondent was required to faithfully observe the formalities of a will and those of notarization. respondent failed to comply with the requirements of both the old Notarial Law and the Residence Tax Act. Rafanan:22 The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and duties of notaries public. and there shall be entered by the notary public as a part of such certificate the number. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will. or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court. On the issue of whether respondent was under the legal obligation to furnish a copy of the notarized will to the archives division. considering the degree of importance and evidentiary weight attached to notarized documents.
the confidence of the public in the integrity of notarized deeds will be undermined. the evidence presented will not be admitted. Not only did he present a mere photocopy of the certification dated March 15. a lawyer should moreover make himself an example for . respondent’s attempt to controvert the certification dated September 21.5.34 Accordingly. A photocopy is a mere secondary evidence. Notaries public must observe with utmost care and utmost fidelity the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.33 Defects in the observance of the solemnities prescribed by law render the entire will invalid. xxx xxx xxx (f) The failure of the notary to make the proper notation regarding cedula certificates. This carelessness cannot be taken lightly in view of the importance and delicate nature of a will. Thus. be sufficient ground for the revocation of his commission: xxx xxx xxx (b) The failure of the notary to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial register touching his notarial acts in the manner required by law. respondent must be held accountable for his acts. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court37 and Canon 138 and Rule 1.0139 of the CPR. — The following derelictions of duty on the part of a notary public shall. a brief description of the substance of the instrument.36 These gross violations of the law also made respondent liable for violation of his oath as a lawyer and constituted transgressions of Section 20 (a). As a servant of the law. otherwise.27 In an effort to prove that he had complied with the abovementioned rule. and 7.31 its contents did not squarely prove the fact of entry of the contested will in his notarial register.29 otherwise. The first and foremost duty of a lawyer is to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. he presented a photocopy of his notarial register.41 While the duty to uphold the Constitution and obey the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen. as in this case. if the instrument is a contract. the photocopy of respondent’s notarial register was not admissible as evidence of the entry of the execution of the will because it failed to comply with the requirements for the admissibility of secondary evidence. Section 249 of the old Notarial Law provided: Grounds for revocation of commission. are no longer alive to 32 identify the instrument and to confirm its contents. In the same vein. As proof. The validity of the will was seriously compromised as a consequence of his breach of duty. fees collected by him for his services as notary. It is not admissible unless it is shown that the original is unavailable. a lawyer assumes responsibilities well beyond the basic requirements of good citizenship. considering that the testator and the witnesses. he presented a photocopy of a certification28 stating that the archives division had no copy of the affidavit of Bartolome Ramirez. 199930 must fail. The proponent must first prove the existence and cause of the unavailability of the original. respondent contended that he had crossed out a prior entry and entered instead the will of the decedent. 6. in the discretion of the proper judge of first instance. give each entry a consecutive number. uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. To reinforce his claim. 2000.40 For a lawyer is the servant of the law and belongs to a profession to which society has entrusted the administration of law and the dispensation of justice.35 In this connection.
Let copies of this Resolution be furnished to all the courts of the land.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Regino B.45 These sanctions meted out to errant lawyers include disbarment. Because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of him as a notary public and as an officer of the court.49 Respondent. . Contrary to his claims that he "exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due regard to the provision of existing law and had complied with the elementary formalities in the performance of his duties xxx. as well.others to emulate. It is. Atty. respondent Atty. a sufficient basis for the revocation of his commission50 and his perpetual disqualification to be commissioned as a notary public. as notary public. (4) Art. suspension. he is PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as a notary public. as well as made part of the personal records of respondent.42 Being a lawyer. Regino B. he is supposed to be a model in the community in so far as respect for the law is concerned. or fine – will accomplish the end desired.48 The rule then is that disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court.46 We have held in a number of cases that the power to disbar must be exercised with great caution47 and should not be decreed if any punishment less severe – such as reprimand. Tambago is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one year and his notarial commission REVOKED.43 The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. Tambago is hereby found guilty of professional misconduct.51 WHEREFORE. (2) Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. He violated (1) the Lawyer’s Oath. suspension and reprimand. 806 of the Civil Code and (5) the provisions of the old Notarial Law." we find that he acted very irresponsibly in notarizing the will in question. Such recklessness warrants the less severe punishment of suspension from the practice of law. evidently failed in the performance of the elementary duties of his office. A disciplinary sanction is imposed on a lawyer upon a finding or acknowledgment that he has engaged in professional misconduct. (3) Canon 1 and Rule 1. SO ORDERED. Disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar Confidant.44 A breach of these conditions justifies disciplinary action against the erring lawyer.
for and in consideration of the love and affection of the DONOR [Matilde] for the DONEE [Maria]. 674. 675. 680. plaintiff[s] possessed the two (2) parcels of land abovedescribed until January 1991 when defendant entered and possessed the two (2) parcels of land claiming as the adopted son of Crispin Aluad who refused to give back possession until Matilde Aluad died in  and then retained the possession thereof up to and until the present time.5 Subsequently or on January 14. The Deed of Donation provided: That.] encumber or even dispose of any or even all of the parcels of land herein donated. alleging: That in 1978. Aluad. 677. DIVINA ALUAD. 2008 DANILO ALUAD.]9 To the complaint respondent alleged in his Answer.10 That Lot 674 is owned by the defendant as this lot was adjudicated to him in the Last Will and Testament of Matilde Aluad x x x while Lot 676 was purchased by him from Matilde Aluad. 682. Maria’s heirs-herein petitioners filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Roxas City a Complaint. 1995. vs. and CONNIE ALUAD.1 On November 14. Branch 15 of the RTC granted the motion and admitted the Amended Complaint. that anytime during the lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them who should survive. Crispin was the owner of six lots identified as Lot Nos. 1981. Maria Aluad who is the sole and only daughter of Matilde Aluad[. 676 to respondent by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property. thus. unto the DONEE the property above-described. That after the death of Matilde R. Capiz.G.11 (Underscoring supplied) Petitioners later filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint Already Filed to Conform to Evidence12 to which it annexed an Amended Complaint13 which cited the donation of the six lots via Deed of Donation in favor of their mother Maria. petitioners. 677.8 for declaration and recovery of ownership and possession of Lot Nos. and damages against respondent. 176943 October 17. On August 26. 1994. 674 and 676 were issued in Matilde’s name.R. while Maria died on September 24 of the same year.7 On August 21. 674 and 676. PROSPERO ALUAD. the plaintiffs succeeded by inheritance by right of representation from their deceased mother. but in the event that the DONEE should die before the DONOR. Provided. Matilde died on January 25.6 devising Lot Nos. his wife Matilde adjudicated the lots to herself. Matilde executed a last will and testament.14 . 675. and 680 to Maria. BY WAY OF DONATION. Matilde executed a document entitled "Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter Vivos"2(Deed of Donation) in favor of petitioners’ mother Maria3 covering all the six lots which Matilde inherited from her husband Crispin. These two lots are in his possession as true owners thereof. by these presents. transfer and convey. Maria Aluad (Maria). LEONORA ALUAD. No. depriving the plaintiffs of the enjoyment of said parcels of land x x x. 1986. respondent. 676. they could use[. 1992. 1991. Petitioners’ mother. the latter being adopted and hav[ing] been brought up by the former the DONOR. Original Certificates of Title over Lot Nos. After Crispin died. and 682 of the Pilar Cadastre. to become effective upon the death of the DONOR. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect. however. and her "remaining properties" including Lot No.4 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) On September 30. and respondent Zenaido Aluad were raised by the childless spouses Matilde Aluad (Matilde) and Crispin Aluad (Crispin). Matilde sold Lot No. 674 to respondent. ZENAIDO ALUAD.
000. Pilar Cadastre. inter alia. and the fact that that testator signed the will and every page thereof.Respondent filed an Amended Answer15 contending. judgment is hereby rendered: 1. it holding that the Deed of Donation was actually a donation mortis causa. in the presence of the instrumental witnesses. By Decision21 of August 10. . Declaring the plaintiffs as the rightful owners of the subject Lots Nos. 674. plus legal interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid. a year from 1991 up to the time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs. The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. the same was already revoked by Matilde "when [she] exercised all acts of dominion over said properties until she sold Lot 676 to defendant and until her death with respect to the other lots without any opposition from Maria Aluad.16 and that if ever said document does exist. Thus. in view of the foregoing.000. 3. 674 and 676 to respondent. under his express direction. also sign.00) as attorney’s fees. must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by some other person in his presence. but did not. except the last on the left margin and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page. comply with the formalities of a will. 1996. it found that the Deed of Donation was witnessed by only two witnesses and had no attestation clause which is not in accordance with Article 805 of the Civil Code. the trial court directed the issuance of a writ of execution pending appeal."17 The trial court. other than a holographic will. held that Matilde could not have transmitted any right over Lot Nos. and by his express direction.20 Possession of the subject lots appears to have in fact been taken by petitioners. she having previously alienated them to Maria via the Deed of Donation.00). as aforesaid. Defendant’s counterclaim is ordered dismissed for lack of merit. Thus it disposed: WHEREFORE. a year from 1991 up to the time said lot is delivered to the plaintiffs. 2006. together with the interest thereof at the legal rate until fully paid. Twenty thousand pesos (P20. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will shall. Ten thousand pesos (P10. SO ORDERED. representing the income from subject Lot 676. 2. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs: a. representing the income from the subject Lot No. each and every page thereof. and 18 d. 805. Every will. by Decision of September 20. and of one another. and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator.00). c. and as such it had to. 674 and 676. not inter vivos. that the Deed of Donation is forged and falsified and petitioners’ change of theory showed that "said document was not existing at the time they filed their complaint and was concocted by them after realizing that their false claim that their mother was the only daughter of Matild[e] Aluad cannot in anyway be established by them".19 On petitioners’ motion. Ordering the defendant to deliver the possession of the subject lots to the plaintiffs. b. and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.000. reading: Art. the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision. or caused some other person to write his name. Thirty thousand pesos (P30. The costs of the suit.
dated 20 September 1996. A new one is entered in its stead declaring defendant-appellant as the lawful owner of Lot [No. the Court finds the donation to petitioners’ mother one of mortis causa. 674.] 676of the Pilar Cadastre.22 (Emphasis in the original. 676. OF THE RULES OF COURT (AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO RETURN POSSESSION OF LOT 676 TO RESPONDENT) AND ORDERING PETITIONERS TO PAY ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COST[S] OF SUIT. in Civil Case No. V-6686 for declaration of ownership. and (3) That the transfer should be void if the transferor should survive the transferee. the transfer should be revocable by the transferor at will. underscoring supplied) Their Motion for Reconsideration23 having been denied. II X X X WHEN IT RULED THAT RESPONDENT IS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO. it did not so declare with respect to Lot No. (2) That before the death of the transferor. that the transferor should retain the ownership (full or naked) and control of the property while alive. Costs against plaintiffs-appellees. IV X X X WHEN IT HELD THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF EXECUTION PENDING APPEAL IS IN VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH (a) SECTION 2. Accordingly.25contending that the Court of Appeals erred I X X X WHEN IT REVERSED THE DECISION OF THE COURT BELOW (RTC. recovery of ownership and possession. and damages is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.26 As did the appellate court. Moreover.If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses. the same is hereby GRANTED and the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Roxas City. as Matilde’s last will and testament had not yet been probated.000. 674 AFTER HAVING RULED WHEN IT HELD THAT RESPONDENT CANNOT BE DECLARED OWNER THEREOF. plaintiffs-appellees are directed to return the possession of the said lot to the defendant-appellant. plaintiffs-appellees are ordered to pay P40. Roxas City) HOLDING THAT THE DEED OF DONATION INTER VIVOS IN FAVOR OF PETITIONERS’ MOTHER IS IN FACT A DONATION MORTIS CAUSA. RULE 39. or what amounts to the same thing. Branch 15. it having the following characteristics: (1) It conveys no title or ownership to the transferee before the death of the transferor.24 petitioners filed the present Petition for Review.00 to defendant-appellant as attorney’s fees and litigation expenses. but revocability may be provided for indirectly by means of a reserved power in the donor to dispose of the properties conveyed. III X X X WHEN IT FAILED TO DECLARE PETITIONERS THE RIGHTFUL OWNER OF LOT NO. SO ORDERED. 676 AS LOT BUYER ON THE BASIS OF A DEED OF SALE EXECUTED BY THE DONOR WHO HAD NO MORE RIGHT TO SELL THE SAME. finding the instant petition worthy of merit. Thus the Court of Appeals disposed: WHEREFORE. it shall be interpreted to them.ad nutum. Branch 15. While the appellate court declared respondent as the rightful owner of Lot No.27 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) .
the same became effective immediately and shall be "deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect" upon the arrival of a resolutory term or period. Understandably. "but in the event that the DONEE should die before the DONOR.30 The phrase in the Deed of Donation "or anyone of them who should survive" is of course out of sync. If she really intended that the donation should take effect during her lifetime and that the ownership of the properties donated to the donee or independently of.e. Mosqueda. they could use. however. and applied for free patents for which OCTs were issued under her name. the arrival of this resolutory term or period cannot rescind and render of no further force and effect a donation which has never become effective. For the Deed of Donation clearly stated that it would take effect upon the death of the donor."35 . thus: x x x [I]t is well to point out that the last provision (sentence) in the disputed paragraph should only refer to Matilde Aluad..34 (Underscoring supplied) As the Court of Appeals observed.31 The trial court. For the right to dispose of a thing without other limitations than those established by law is an attribute of ownership. thus: x x x [P]etitioners contend that the stipulation on rescission in case petitioners [donee] die ahead of [donor] Cabatingan is a resolutory condition that confirms the nature of the donation as inter vivos.The phrase in the earlier-quoted Deed of Donation "to become effective upon the death of the DONOR" admits of no other interpretation than to mean that Matilde did not intend to transfer the ownership of the six lots to petitioners’ mother during her (Matilde’s) lifetime. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect" the logical construction thereof is that after the execution of the subject donation. because she was the only surviving spouse at the time the donation was executed on 14 November 1981. she would not have expressed such proviso in the subject deeds. certainly what donation is there to be rescinded and rendered of no further force and effect upon the arrival of said resolutory term or period if there was no donation which was already effective at the time when the donee died?32 (Underscoring supplied) A similar ratio in a case had been brushed aside by this Court. appropriated the produce. because. encumber or even dispose of any or even all the parcels of land herein donated"29 means that Matilde retained ownership of the lots and reserved in her the right to dispose them. the donor. and not by reason of her death. in holding that the donation was inter vivos. "x x x [t]hat the donation is mortis causa is fortified by Matilde’s acts of possession as she continued to pay the taxes for the said properties which remained under her name. i. This is exactly what Cabatingan provided for in her donations. one of the decisive characteristics of a donation mortis causa is that the transfer should be considered void if the donor should survive the donee. the present donation shall be deemed rescinded and [of] no further force and effect". as her husband – Crispin Aluad [–] had long been dead as early as 1975. the death of the donee which shall occur before that of the donor. reasoned: x x x The donation in question is subject to a resolutory term or period when the donor provides in the aforequoted provisions. Petitioners themselves concede that such phrase does not refer to the donee.33 xxxx x x x The herein subject deeds expressly provide that the donation shall be rescinded in case [donees] the petitioners predecease [the donor] Conchita Cabatingan. As stated in Reyes v. said phrase could only have referred to the donor Matilde.28 The statement in the Deed of Donation reading "anytime during the lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them who should survive. When the donor provides that should the "DONEE" xxx die before the DONOR. Petitioners’ arguments are bereft of merit. hence.
674 to respondent by her last will and testament.44 For a contrary rule would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to present further evidence material to the new theory. 674 and 676 was transmitted to Maria. x x x It is the witnesses.40 which is not in accordance with the requirement of Article 806 of the Civil Code that every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. as mentioned earlier. that the witnesses are aware that the page they are signing forms part of the will. it is void and transmitted no right to petitioners’ mother. Even if the instrumental witnesses signed the left-hand margin of the page containing the unsigned attestation clause. hence. On the other hand. and that they witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. such signatures cannot demonstrate these witnesses’ undertakings in the clause. uninterrupted. the fact that the testator had signed the will and every page thereof. and issues not brought to the attention of the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. 674 in favor of their mother is indeedmortis causa. the witnesses did not acknowledge the will before the notary public. since the signatures that do appear on the page were directed towards a wholly different avowal. the witnesses did not even sign the attestation clause38 the execution of which clause is a requirementseparate from the subscription of the will and the affixing of signatures on the left-hand margins of the pages of the will. Indeed. 1991. adverse. . the petition is DENIED.43 Petitioners failed to raise the issue of acquisitive prescription before the lower courts.The donation being then mortis causa. since it was not probated. As a general rule. With respect to Lot No. More. Petitioners nevertheless argue that assuming that the donation of Lot No. and not the testator. Matilde could devise it to respondent. not three or more witnesses following Article 805 of the Civil Code. subject of course to the qualification that her (Matilde’s) will must be probated.42 Matilde thus validly disposed of Lot No. The requirement that all the pages of the will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page was not also followed. The signatures on the lefthand corner of every page signify. theories. and public possession of it in good faith and in the concept of an owner since 1978. which it could have done had it been aware of it at the time of the hearing before the trial court. the lot should nevertheless have been awarded to them because they had acquired it by acquisitive prescription. points of law. An unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested will.45 WHEREFORE. the formalities of a will should have been observed36 but they were not. SO ORDERED. they having been in continuous.37 Further. as already discussed. But even assuming arguendo that the formalities were observed. The only proof in the will that the witnesses have stated these elemental facts would be their signatures on the attestation clause. however. The respective intents behind these two classes of signature[s] are distinct from each other. as it was witnessed by only two. the signatures to the attestation clause establish that the witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the attestation clause itself. no right to Lot Nos. who are required under Article 805 to state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. 676. not having followed the formalities of a will. among others. the attestation clause is separate and apart from the disposition of the will.41 The Deed of Donation which is. been sold by Matilde to respondent on August 26. open. one of mortis causa. they having laid their claim on the basis of inheritance from their mother.39 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Furthermore. the same had. So the Court has emphasized: x x x Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that the instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will from the requisite that the will be "attested and subscribed by [the instrumental witnesses].
to her room. incident to cerebral hemorrhage. The vital question in the case is whether the supposed testatrix had testamentary capacity at the time the paper referred to was signed. Eusebia. Doctor Isidoro Lim. EUSEBIA LIM. petitioner-appellant. in the City of Manila. Ira replied in a discouraging tone. Camus and Delgado for appellee. No. J. and being unable to take her confession. more or less. and on the morning of June 5. The deceased left no descendants or ascendants. as was the trial judge. Province of Bulacan.R. 1929. m. chiefly to three collateral relatives. On the same day the parish priest called for the purpose of administering the last rites of the church. and was taken in an unconscious condition. Crispina. a practicing attorney of Manila. that the deceased. he found her insensible and incapable of talking or controlling her movements. and the attorney turned away without pressing the matter. whose wife appears to be related to the chief beneficiaries named in the will. taking a sheet from an exercise book. 1931 Estate of the deceased Victorina Villaranda. and two relatives of his wife. he limited himself to performing the office of extreme unction. visited the old lady. on that day she was embarked on the ambulance and taken to the hospital. 1929.m. This instrument was offered for probate by Eusebia Lim. JULIANA CHINCO. At about 11 c'clock a. STREET. all of whom were in friendly relations with the lawyer. Upon examining the patient. and it was signed for her by the attorney. the first visit having occurred between 6 and 7 p. Gaanan. of June 3d. it was decided to take the woman to the hospital of San Juan de Dios in Manila. vs. Another person present was Marcos Ira. was in a comatose . a resident physician of the hospital. Upon hearing the cause the trial court sustained the opposition and disallowed the will on the ground that the testatrix did not have testamentary capacity at the time the instrument purports to have been executed by her From this judgment the proponent of the will appealed. On the morning of June 2. named in the instrument as executrix Opposition was made by Juliana Chinco.TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY G. He then took it into the sick room for execution. of Manila. who died in the Hospital of San Juan de Dios. on June 9. was prepared by Perfecto Gabriel.: This is a contest over the probate of a paper writing purporting to be the will of Victorina Villaranda y Diaz. 1929. which is the subject of this proceeding. The intended testatrix was not able to affix her signature to the document. Perfecto Gabriel and Eusebio Orense for appellant. he went into a room adjacent to that occupied by the patient and. in charge of Doctor Guillermo Lopez del Castillo. a first cousin of the deceased. and attorney Gabriel asked him also whether or not he was willing to sign as one of the witnesses. three or four times.000. With this end in view Gabriel suggested to Doctor Lopez del Castillo that he would be pleased to have Doctor Castillo sign as a witness. of the surname of Lim. The deceased was a resident of Mercauayan. consisting of properties valued at P50. Upon this point we are of the opinion. wrote the instrument in question. and the document produced as her will purports to leave her estate. seated in a chair. With his approval. was also called upon to visit the patient and he came to see her two or three times. Doctor Geronimo Z. a former resident of the municipality of Meycauayan. The purported will. on the morning of June 5. oppositor-appellee. In the end three persons served as witnesses. Province of Bulacan. L-33592 March 31. with whom he was well acquianted. 1929. and Maria. she was stricken with apoplexy. After informing himself of the condition of the testatrix. the ambulance from this hospital arrived. a full sister of the deceased. a local physician of Meycauayan. 1929. but the latter excused himself for the reason that he considered the old lady to be lacking in testamentary capacity. where she died four days later. This gentlemen arrived upon the scene at 9 o'clock on the forenoon of June 5. and was about 80 years of age at the time of her death.
C. C. concur. The testimony of these witnesses is convincing to the effect that the patient was in a continuous state of coma during the entire period of her stay in Meycauayan. that the patient was unable to utter intelligent speech. but being absent at the date of the promulgation of the opinion. JJ. testified for the proponent of the will. Johnson. even upon the statement of this witness.J. Avanceña. J. and that. and that on the forenoon of June 5. His testimony tends to show that the patient was not suffering from cerebral hemorrhage but from uræmic trouble. Elio (29 Phil. Villamor and Villa-Real.. . The first of these witnesses was the one who chiefly cared for the deceased during her last illness in Meycauayan until she was carried away to the hospital in Manila. The judgment appealed from will therefore be affirmed. The testimony of Doctor Gaanan and Doctor Lopez del Castillo is sufficient upon this point. the physician from Manila. therefore. and the consequent reversal of the judgment appealed from. He says that she made signs that enabled him to understand that she concurred in what was written. I vote for its allowance. and this testimony is well corroborated by Paciana Diaz and Irene Ahorro. Upon the authority of Perry vs. Malcolm and Johns. concurred.J. 1929. Doctor Lim. — AVANCEÑA. The attorney testified that he was able to communicate with the deceased when the will was made. she did not have sufficient command of her faculties to enable her to do any valid act. and that he read the instrument over to her clause by clause and asked her whether it expressed her wishes. and the second was a neighbor. with costs against the appellant.. But it is clear. dissenting: I am of opinion that the will in question is genuine and that it was drawn up and signed with all the legal requisites. the paper offered for probate was properly disallowed. subsequent to the attack. the patient was much relieved and her mind so far cleared up that she might have made a will on the morning of June 5th. their names do not appear signed thereto. Separate Opinions ROMUALDEZ.condition and incapable of performing any conscious and valid act.. 134). JJ.. and it is so ordered. after the first attack.. who was called in when the stroke of apoplexy first occurred and who visited the patient daily until she was removed from Meycauayan.
Puno noted the wishes of Olivia. Atty. while he retained one.96. and at this juncture Atty.G. and the heirs instituted are nephews and nieces and grandchildren in the collateral line. and. He read the will to Olivia to find out whether it conformed to her wishes. JOSE TAMPOCO. 1948. but the will was disallowed because it was not the personal last will and testament of the deceased and it was not based on the finding that Olivia Villapaña did not furnish the names of the persons instituted as heirs and that the will was not read to her before she signed it. 1948.. Filemon Cajator for appellees. after preliminary greetings and courtesies. and that Olivia Villapaña saw Antonio sign only two or three times. Atty. Vicente Villapaña. a lawyer and justice of the peace of Concepcion. Puno. According to the petition the properties left by the testatrix are worth P94. giving the names of the heirs and the properties to be left. The Attorney again read the will aloud. Tarlac. C. a petition was filed by Agustin Barrera in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac for the probate of the will executed by Olivia Villapaña on July 17. he informed the old woman that he would prepare the will in his office in Concepcion and come back with it on the following Saturday. Puno. 1948. Atty. two or three days before July 10. Avelina Villapaña. As promised. and for the appointment of the petitioner as executor. After lunch Atty. of the will he drafted in accordance with the instructions of Olivia Villapaña.: Olivia Villapaña died in Tarlac. husband of Pilar Tañedo. The court found that Olivia Villapaña had testamentary capacity.J. Puno that she wanted him to prepare her will. also filed an opposition on substantially the same grounds on which the opposition of Jose and Victoriano Tampoco was based. Ursulo Villapaña. and she indicated that it was all right. The latter. went to the house of Pilar Tañedo in Singalong Street where Olivia was staying. disallowing the will. to come up. Marcos Villapaña. she proceeded to sign all the four copies. oppositors-appellees. Jesus G. The second ground is premised on the conclusion that attesting witness Laureano Antonio was not present when Olivia Villapaña and attesting witness Honorio Lacson signed the will. carrying with him one original and three copies. filed an opposition. in typewritten form. and Rosario Villapaña. and that petition of forced heirs is not a ground for denying probate. Tarlac. vs. as there was then no available typewriter. Lacson and Antonio did as requested. a decision was rendered by the Court of First Instance of Tarlac on August 11.R. Jose Tampoco and Victoriano Tampoco. ET AL. that there was no forgery. Puno returned to the house of Olivia Villapaña in Singalong. Puno gave a copy of the will to Olivia. PARAS. ET AL. On December 31. on December 13. advising the rest to check their respective copies. trickery or undue influence in the execution of the will. 1954 AGUSTIN BARRERA. Lacson and Antonio. whereupon Pilar Tañedo requested Honorio Lacson and Laureano Antonio. On July 10. on the lines previously placed by Atty. Puno arrived about noon. that the signature of Olivia Villapaña was obtained by fraud and trickery. Nemesio Villapaña. According to appellant's evidence. Atty. and that the testamentary provisions are illegal. and requested the latter to come to Manila for a conference with Olivia Villapaña.. No. on or July 17. aunt of Pilar. Agustin Barrera. that the testatrix lacked testamentary capacity. From this decision the petitioner has appealed. Puno to get the description of the properties from the herein appellant. Puno manifested that two other witnesses were necessary. Puno. complying with the request. L-5263 February 17. alleged grandchildren of the testatrix in the direct line. Jesus Villapaña. alleged nephews and nieces. followed successively by . 1948. 1948.852. informed Atty. After protracted trial. that there was undue influence and pressure in its execution. Consorcia Lintang. proponents-appellants. claiming that the will was not executed and attested in accordance with the law. that Antonio only partially saw the signing by attesting witness Modesto Puno. Pilar Tañedo called on Modesto Puno. 1948. who were then living in the first floor of the house. fraud. Atty. 1951. As Olivia Villapaña agreed to the will. and more than a year after submission of the case. Olivia Villapaña. Olivia Villapaña asked Atty. Barrera for appellants. Lacson and Antonio were then seated around a small rectangular table insala.
this fact should have caused him to be more careful in seeing to it that the formalities of the law were strictly complied with. The fact that Atty. Puno and Honorio Lacson outbalances the probative value of the testimony of Laureano Antonio. On this date her doctors lost all hope for her recovery and Olivia Villapaña was brought to Tarlac. she died on December 13. After a thorough study of the record and mature reflection on the conflicting evidence. where. From the testimony of Atty. we do not believe that Atty. Antonio testified that he arrived at the scene of the execution of the will after testatrix and Honorio Lacson had already signed and after Atty. Puno would have allowed the signing of the will to be proceeded with unless three attesting witnesses were already present. we cannot state that Laureano Antonio spoke the truth on the witness stand. In view of the opposition filed by the two sets of oppositors . Of the three attesting witnesses. since. the trial court gave the impression that Atty. the third attesting witness. the trial court believed the testimony of Laureano Antonio to the effect that he arrived at the place of the signing at about 2:30 in the afternoon. because Atty. we can fairly state that there was in fact no hurry on the part of any of the participants in the will. Puno when the latter was already half thru signing the document. Atty. left the house of Olivia Villapaña and they even stayed therein until after meriendatime. Atty. and it is improbable that he would unnecessarily risk his honor and reputation. Tarlac. After the signing. Puno gave the original and a copy to Olivia. Atty. Puno and Antonio. in the first place. and that Honorio Lacson is the husband of Bibiana Lacson who is a first cousin of Agustin Barrera. and retained the other two copies. and that the testatrix did not see Antonio sign all the copies. one of the beneficiaries of the will. Laureano Antonio. Indeed. in that attesting witness Laureano Antonio did not see the testatrix and attesting witness Lacson sign the will or any of its copies.T. Olivia Villapaña delivered her will to Agustin Barrera for safekeeping on October 17." and Honorio Lacson declared that he was called by Pilar Tañedo to act as witness at around two o'clock or two thirty. Puno . had to be presented by the petitioner but. we are constrained to conclude that the trial court erred in denying probate of the will. If Atty. Puno and Honorio Lacson the court concluded that the signing actually . 1948 when she was taken to the U. in the second place. namely. the will presented in the court by the petitioner was not executed in accordance with law. as already stated. none of the three witnesses. Modesto Puno. the weight of the testimony of Atty. Puno was half through affixing his signatures. the first two testified positively that the will was signed by the testatrix and the three witnesses in the presence of each other. and thereby found that a greater part of the proceeding was finished. that he saw Atty. Lacson and Antonio stayed for a while even ate merienda prepared by the sisters Pilar and Beatriz Tañedo. and that it was read to the testatrix before being signed. Puno id the brother of Jose Puno who is the husband of Carmen Tañedo. all in the presence of each other. On the other hand. is not sufficient to make then biased witnesses. Barrera before taking the witness stand. Modesto Puno is a lawyer and at the time a justice of the peace. In deciding against the probate of the will. and Laureano Antonio. Puno declared in one place that "the signing of the testament commenced around between one o'clock and two o'clock" and in another place that the signing took place "around two and three o'clock. her hometown.S. According to the evidence for the oppositors-appellees. Puno was anxious to strictly meet the requirements of the law and in the absence. contrary to expectations. 1948. Atty. as in the case at bar. 1948. of any reason for a hasty completion. there is enough evidence on the record to show that in his conferences with Atty. the attestation clause signed by him contradicts his pretense and. and this should be true with respect to Honorio Lacson. Honorio Lacson. Intrinsically. because the testatrix Olivia Villapaña was not dying (she died some five months after the execution of the will) and the parties could therefore take all the time that they wanted. Puno had any material interest. Antonio never gave the slightest indication that he was not present when the testatrix left before Antonio finished signing. Hospital where she remained until November 7.Lacson. herein petitioner and husband of Pilar Tañedo. Indeed. By numerical superiority alone. and that the testatrix left before Antonio finished signing all the copies.
since the former declared that it took place between two and three o'clock and Honorio Lacson stated that the time was two or two thirty. Puno placed the lines for signatures. it is not for us to discover the motives of Oliva Villapaña in leaving her properties to the person named in the will. — is that the testatrix and each of the three attesting witnesses must affix their signatures in the presence of one another. was long dead and (2) Marcelo Villapaña. after his father. Marcelo Villapaña. Joaquin Villapaña and Consolacion del Mundo. to commit the mistake of unwittingly mentioning a dead one. must have been reffered to. there is little or no reason for their version to prevail over the positive testimony is even corroborated by two other witnesses. Oppositors-appellees presented in corroboration of the testimony of Laureano Antonio. was non-existent. who was the child's god-mother. The trial court also concluded that the testatrix could not have furnished the names of the heirs instituted under the will. categorically affirmed that this procedure was followed. he would have consulted all the interested parties and would be sure that no mistake of the kind was made. since Oliva Villapaña did not have a grandson by such name. but it is not uncommon for a woman of old age. At any rate. confused by the big number of her relatives. the discrepancy relates to an insignificant matter which cannot vitally detract from the credibility of Atty. Puno and Honorio Lacson on the main and important fact that the will was signed by the testatrix and the three attesting witnesses in the presence of each other. It is not necessary that said will be read upon its signing and in the presence of the witnesses. Puno read the original after giving a copy to the testatrix. a painter allegedly was then the maid of Oliva Villapaña. a child of Ruperta Pineda. .commenced between one and two o'clock. because Oliva. in view of the lapse of time. Certainly the story of Joaquin Villapaña and Consolacion del Mundo can have no greater weight than that of Laureano Antonio. In the case before us. fraud. Puno testified that he placed the lines on which the testatrix and the witnesses were to sign before he read the document to the testatrix whom he gave the original witness Lacson testify that Atty. might have been a mistake by one or the other participant in the execution of Oliva's will. the signing could have taken place at about or after two thirty. Puno and Honorio Lacson. As we have already observed. the trial court found that it was not read to her. and in such a situation it becomes our duty to give expression to her will. With respect to the instituted heir. The discrepancy again refers to a minor detail which is not sufficient to negative the truthfulness of Atty. another instituted heir. another point invoked by the trial court against the probate of the will is the circumstance that. originally wanted said child to be baptized as Marcelo. Apart from the fact that there is evidence to show that both Joaquin Villapaña and Consolacion del Mundo were not yet employed in the house of Oliva when the latter's will was executed. and omitting therefrom the oppositors-appellees. there is evidence tending to show that Pioquinto Villapaña. In the holding that the will was not that of Oliva Villapaña. Moreover. while it appears that Oliva did not have a grandson answering to that name. and after reading Atty. trickery or undue influence. Puno and Honorio Lacson both attesting witnesses. As a closing observation. even under the testimony of Atty. and this finding was premised on the alleged contradiction of Atty. he read the will to her with a view to finding whether she was agreeable thereto. Suffice it to state that the trial court itself found the will to have been executed free from falsification. Puno to the effect that upon arrival at the house of Oliva Villapaña at about noon. It is true that Salvador Tañedo was already dead and the testatrix knew about it. Atty. What is important and decisive — and this should be impressed in the mind of an attorney preparing and taking charge of the signing of will. Puno and Honorio Lacson regarding the sequence of the reading of the will and the placing of the lines for signatures. with Oliva having testamentary capacity. We are of the opinion that the specification of the time of the signing refers to an immaterial or unimportant detail which. one of such heirs. and regarding the question whether a copy or the original was handed to the testatrix. Joaquin Villapaña. while Atty. because (1) Salvador Tañedo. Bibiana Lacson and Beatriz Tañedo. Puno had supplied the names instituted as heirs. if Atty.
and Labrador. is hereby allowed.. Reyes. Bengzon. Bautista Angelo. Jugo. Padilla. Pablo. concur.Wherefore. So ordered without costs. . JJ. Montemayor. 1948. the appealed order is reversed and the will executed by Oliva Villapaña on July 17.
as well as the certificate of probate prescribed under Section 13 of Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. and (2) the unnamed witnesses would allegedly shed light on the fact of grave illness of the testatrix as well as the GANCAYCO. dated and signed by the testatrix herself and the same was falsely dated or antedated. that the testatrix was not in full possession of her mental faculties to make testamentary dispositions. After a hearing on the merits. Eduardo F. 76648 February 26. HERNANDEZ. 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. J. private respondent who was named executor in the will filed an urgent motion for appointment of special administrator. filed her Opposition to Probate of Will. 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. On June 29. 1985. devised in this will several of her real properties to specified persons. who died single. On April 29. petitioners. the court in its order of May 5. vs. Hernandez on April 22. 5 With the conformity of all the relatives and heirs of the testatrix except oppositor. and allowing and admitting the same to probate. The appellate court in its resolution of October 13. dated. petitioner's son. Branch XXII 2 dated March 21. rendered its decision allowing the probate of the disputed will. the Court renders judgment declaring the holographic will marked in evidence as Exhibit "H" as one wholly written. COURT OF APPEALS and EDUARDO F.1986 affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.1981. and signed freely by the late Herminia Montinola in accordance with law while in possession of full testamentary capacity. 4 The testatrix. SO ORDERED.R. 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. 8 On September 24. respondents. let letters testamentary issue to the executor. the probate court. parentless and childless on March 29. Hernandez. that undue influence was exerted upon the person and mind of the testatrix by the beneficiaries named in the win. petitioner filed with the respondent court a motion for new trial. Upon the finality of the decision. 1980.1981 at the age of 70 years. Matilde Montinola Sanson (petitioner). 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. . 3 This case arose from a petition filed by private respondent Atty. 9 Attached to her motion was the Affidavit of Merit of Gregorio Montinola Sanson. No. 1981 6 appointed private respondent as Special Administrator of the testate estate of deceased. 1988 THE HEIRS OF THE LATE MATILDE MONTINOLASANSON.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 promulgated August 29. 7 alleging inter alia: that the subject will was not entirely written. 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.1981.1986. Eduardo F. 1986.G. the dispositive part of which reads: WHEREFORE.
Section 1. We find merit in this contention. In the first and second assigned errors. 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. DATED AND SIGNED BY THE LATE HERMINIA MONTINOLA. In the petition now before Us. 1986 11 was likewise denied by the appellate court in its resolution of November 20. 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.undue influence exerted on her which are merely corroborative or cumulative since these facts were brought to light during the trial. 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. III AT ANY RATE. VI THE SAID COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL IN QUESTION TO PROBATE. was substituted by her heirs. 1986. On the other hand. THE SAID COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL IN QUESTION WAS WHOLLY WRITTEN. V 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. The motion for reconsideration of petitioner dated October 27. 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. Rule 53 provides — Before a final order or judgment rendered by the Court of appeals becomes executory. 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 . In the meantime. petitioner who passed away on November 3. Rule 53 of the Rules of Court. 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. II THE SAID COURT ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE RESOLUTION DENYING THE AFORESAID MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL. 1.
to their appearance before the court to testify.18 This would explain the haphazard preparation of the motion. but I have finally succeeded in tracking them down. thus failing to comply with the requirements of rule 53. That despite their initial reluctance to testify in this case. . xxx xxx xxx 13 Said motion for new trial is not in substantial compliance with the requirements of Rule 53. 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. 15 In addition. The alleged new witnesses were unnamed without any certainty as. otherwise they are not valid. The appellate court correctly denied the motion for new trial.the court below by the exercise of the diligence and which is of such a character as would probably change the result. Furthermore. The trial lasted for about four years so that petitioner had ample time to find said alleged witnesses who were admittedly known to her. 16 Accordingly. such evidence even if presented win not carry much probative weight which can alter the judgment. 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 lone affidavit of a witness who was already presented said the hearing is hardly sufficient to justify the holding of new trial. 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. Affiant attests only on his belief that they would testify if and when they are subpoenaed by the court. 17 It is very patent that the motion for new trial was filed by petitioner only for the purpose of delaying the proceedings. The evidence which the petitioner now propose to present could have been discovered and presented during the hearing of the case. That in her plea for new trial in the said case. That they had the clear opportunity to know the circumstances under which the purported will was executed. it could not be said that the evidence sought to be presented is new having been discovered only after the trial. Moreover. 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. and new evidence on this point is merely corroborative and cumulative which is generally not a ground for new trial.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. 4. The requisite affidavits must state facts and not mere conclusions or opinions. and that they know for a fact that there was 'undue influence' exerted by petitioner and other relatives to procure improper favors from the testatrix. In fact. The affidavit of merit executed by Gregorio Montinola Sanson alleged the following: xxx xxx xxx 3. 5. The motion shall be accompanied by affidavits showing the facts constituting the grounds therefor and the newly discovered evidence. 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. which was filed on the last day of the reglementary period of appeal so that the veracity of the ground relied upon is questionable. I have exerted efforts to locate witnesses whose whereabouts were not known to us during the trial in the lower court. the allegations in the affidavit as to the undue influence exerted on the testatrix are mere conclusions and not statement of facts.
The motion for new trial being pro-forma, it does not interrupt the running of the period for appeal. 19 Since petitioner's motion was filed on September 24,1986, the fifteenth or last day of the period to appeal, the decision of the respondent court became final on the following day, September 25. And when the motion for reconsideration of petitioner was filed on October 30,1986, it was obviously filed out of time. Since the questioned decision has already become final and executory, it is no longer within the province of this Court to review it. This being so, the findings of the probate court as to the due execution of the will and the testamentary capacity of testatrix are now conclusive. 20 At any rate, even assuming that We can still review this case on its merits, the petition will also have to fail. During the hearing before the probate court, 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. These testimonies more than satisfy the requirements of Art. 811 of the Civil Code 21 in conjunction with Section 11 of Rule 76, Revised Rules of Court, 22 or the probate of holographic wills. As regards the alleged antedating of the will, 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. She relied only on the supposed inconsistencies in the testimony of Asuncion Gemperle, niece and constant companion of testatrix, which upon careful examination did not prove such claim of antedating. 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. 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. Petitioner alleges that her exclusion from the alleged holographic will was without rhyme or reason, being the only surviving sister of the testatrix with whom she shares an intimate relationship, thus demonstrating the lack of testamentary capacity of testatrix. In the case of Pecson v. Coronel, 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. It is true that the ties of relationship in the Philippines are very strong, but we understand that cases of preterition of relatives from the inheritance are not rare. 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... 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. It is within the right of the testatrix not to include her only sister who is not a compulsory heir in her will. Nevertheless, per testimony of Asuncion Gemperle, the latter had reserved two boxes of jewelry worth P850,000.00 for petitioner. Furthermore, petitioner's son Francis was instituted as an heir in the contested will. 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. We cannot subscribe to this contention. Art. 841 of the Civil Code provides —
A will shall be valid even though it should not contain an institution of an heir, or such institution should not comprise the entire estate, and even though the person so instituted should not accept the inheritance or should be incapacitated to succeed. In such cases, the testamentary dispositions made in accordance with law shall be complied with and the remainder of the estate shall pass to the legal heirs. Thus, the fact that in her holographic will, testatrix disposed of only eleven (11) of her real properties does not invalidate the will, or is it an indication that the testatrix was of unsound mind. The portion of the estate undisposed of shall pass on to the heirs of the deceased in intestate succession. Neither is undue influence present just because blood relatives, other than compulsory heirs have been omitted, for while blood ties are strong in the Philippines, it is the testator's right to disregard noncompulsory heirs. 25 The fact that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of neither fraud or undue influence. 26 Diversity of apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament, otherwise, the decedent might as well die intestate. 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; as it is not enough that there was opportunity to exercise undue influence or a possibility that it may have been exercised. 28 The exercise of improper pressure and undue influence must be supported by substantial evidence that it was actually exercised.29 Finally, We quote with approval the observation of the respondent court — There is likewise no question as to the due execution of the subject Will. To Our minds, the most authentic proof that decreased had testamentary capacity at the time of
the execution of the Will, 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. Spontaneity, freedom, and speed of writing xxx xxx xxx 3. good line quality. 4. presence of natural variation... (Exhibit X). The characteristics of spontaneity, 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. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit with costs against petitioner. The decision of respondent court dated August 29, 1986 in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila dated March 21, 1985 is hereby declared to be immediately executory. SO ORDERED.
HOLOGRAPHIC WILL G.R. No. 106720 September 15, 1994 SPOUSES ROBERTO AND THELMA AJERO, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND CLEMENTE SAND, respondents. Miguel D. Larida for petitioners. Montilla Law Office for private respondent.
of its execution, she was of sound and disposing mind, not acting under duress, fraud or undue influence, and was in every respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will. Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither the testament's body nor the signature therein was in decedent's handwriting; it contained alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by decedent; and, the will was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue influence. The petition was likewise opposed by Dr. Jose Ajero. He contested the disposition in the will of a house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan Del Norte. He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner. Notwithstanding the oppositions, the trial court admitted the decedent's holographic will to probate. It found, inter alia: Considering then that the probate proceedings herein must decide only the question of identity of the will, its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix, this probate court finds no reason at all for the disallowance of the will for its failure to comply with the formalities prescribed by law nor for lack of testamentary capacity of the testatrix. For one, no evidence was presented to show that the will in question is different from the will actually executed by the testatrix. The only objections raised by the oppositors . . . are that the will was not written in the handwriting of the testatrix which properly refers to the question of its due execution, and not to the question of identity of will. No other will was alleged to have been executed by the testatrix other than the will herein presented. Hence, in the light of the evidence adduced, the identity of the will presented for probate must be accepted, i.e., the will submitted in Court must be deemed to be the will actually executed by the testatrix.
PUNO, J.: This is an appeal by certiorari from the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1 in CA-G.R. CV No. 22840, dated March 30, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads; PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision of November 19, 1988 of the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the petition for probate is hereby DISMISSED. No costs. The earlier Decision was rendered by the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 94, 2 in Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, and the instrument submitted for probate is the holographic will of the late Annie Sand, who died on November 25, 1982. In the will, decedent named as devisees, the following: petitioners Roberto and Thelma Ajero, private respondent Clemente Sand, Meriam S. Arong, Leah Sand, Lilia Sand, Edgar Sand, Fe Sand, Lisa S. Sand, and Dr. Jose Ajero, Sr., and their children. On January 20, 1983, petitioners instituted Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, for allowance of decedent's holographic will. They alleged that at the time
the petitioners. the evidence adduced have not shown any instance where improper pressure or influence was exerted on the testatrix. at or around which time the holographic will in question was executed by the testatrix. Three (3) witnesses who have convincingly shown knowledge of the handwriting of the testatrix have been presented and have explicitly and categorically identified the handwriting with which the holographic will in question was written to be the genuine handwriting and signature of the testatrix. the aforesaid will .e.. the requirement of the law that the holographic will be entirely written. She even identified the lot number and square meters of the lots she had conveyed by will. this Court cannot find convincing reason for the disallowance of the will herein. testate succession should be preferred over intestate succession. all show the unlikelihood of her being unduly influenced or improperly pressured to make the aforesaid will. And considering that she had even written a nursing book which contained the law and jurisprudence on will and succession. To be of sound mind. Given then the aforesaid evidence. and thecharacter of the testamentary act . no evidence was presented to show sufficient reason for the disallowance of herein holographic will. . dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix. Likewise. under the circumstances. dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been disputed. The will itself shows that the testatrix even had detailed knowledge of the nature of her estate. In this wise. i. Hence. there is more than sufficient showing that she knows the character of the testamentary act. xxx xxx xxx As to the question of the testamentary capacity of the testratix. . however. it is sufficient that the testatrix. Her independence of character and to some extent. its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix has to be resolved in favor of the allowance of probate of the will submitted herein.xxx xxx xxx While the fact that it was entirely written. at or around the time of her birth anniversary celebration in 1981. and the fact that no convincing grounds were presented and proven for the disallowance of the holographic will of the late Annie Sand. have satisfactorily shown in Court that the holographic will in question was indeed written entirely. While it was alleged that the said will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. (private respondent) Clemente Sand himself has testified in Court that the testatrix was completely in her sound mind when he visited her during her birthday celebration in 1981. the question of identity of the will. It was also established that she is a very intelligent person and has a mind of her own. dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been complied with. knew the value of the estate to be disposed of. at the time of making the will. (Private respondent) Clemente Sand has testified that the testatrix was still alert at the time of the execution of the will. the proper object of her bounty. her sense of superiority. It must be noted that the undue influence or improper pressure in question herein only refer to the making of a will and not as to the specific testamentary provisions therein which is the proper subject of another proceeding. Considering then that it is a well-established doctrine in the law on succession that in case of doubt. which has been testified to in Court. The objects of her bounty were likewise identified explicitly.
Art. "the holographic will fails to meet the requirements for its validity. 814: In case of insertion. It also found that the erasures. and he did not intend that the instrument should be his will at the time of fixing his signature thereto. 3 (Citations omitted. or threats. such date validates the dispositions preceding it. or the influence of fear. Rule 76 of the Rules of Court provides that will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: (a) If not executed and attested as required by law. It alluded to certain dispositions in the will which were either unsigned and undated. 839: The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases. (c) If it was executed under duress. or threats. on the part of the beneficiary.submitted herein must be admitted to probate. this appeal which is impressed with merit. ." 4 It held that the decedent did not comply with Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code. The Court of Appeals found that. at the time of its execution. which read. 813: When a number of dispositions appearing in a holographic will are signed without being dated. In the same vein. as follows: Art. said Decision was reversed. (3) If it was executed through force or under duress. cancellation. and the last disposition has a signature and date. (d) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence. whatever be the time of prior dispositions. (e) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick. (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with. erasure or alteration in a holographic will. (2) If the testator was insane. the testator must authenticate the same by his full signature. at the time of its execution. alterations and cancellations made thereon had not been authenticated by decedent.) On appeal. or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will. Section 9. Article 839 of the New Civil Code reads: Art. on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person. Thus. (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. and the petition for probate of decedent's will was dismissed. or otherwise mentally incapable to make a will. or signed but not dated. (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud. or of some other person for his benefit. (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence. or the influence of fear. (b) If the testator was insane.
any other interpretation whatsoever. respondent court held that the holographic will of Anne Sand was not executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of Article 814. ante. these formal solemnities include the subscription. Therefore. In the case of Kalaw vs. and signed by the hand of the testator himself. (3) whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed. 6 In the case at bench. 5 Thus. attestation. useless and frustrative of the testator's last will. does not render the whole testament void.) Thus. Such failure. . that: The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud. It held that Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code. what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally autographic or handwritten by the testator himself. (4) whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent. For purposes of probating non-holographic wills. that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary. also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions. must be disregarded. 40 Phil. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends. This is erroneous. no other grounds can serve to disallow a will. the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. however. corrections. cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on . were not complied with. and interlineations made by the testator in a holographic Will have not been noted under his signature. but at most only as respects the particular words erased. when a number of erasures. dated. to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. In the case of holographic wills. unless the unauthenticated alterations. A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained in the holographic will. 7 as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code. We reiterate what we held in Abangan vs. the decedent's last will and testament. the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. 479 (1919). But. Manresa gave an identical commentary when he said "la omission de la salvedad no anula el testamento. Likewise. Abangan. the only issues to be resolved are: (1) whether the instrument submitted is. and acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code. Relova 132 SCRA 237 242 (1984). it disallowed the probate of said will. and. corrected or interlined. on the other hand. segun la regla de jurisprudencia establecida en la sentencia de 4 de Abril de 1985. 476.) Failure to strictly observe other formalities will not result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is unquestionably handwritten by the testator. and need not be witnessed. (2) whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law.These lists are exclusive. on the other hand. in a petition to admit a holographic will to probate. . indeed. It is subject to no other form. . a holographic will can still be admitted to probate." 8 (Citations omitted. hence. the Will is not thereby invalidated as a whole. (Emphasis supplied. this Court held: Ordinarily. but not its probate. and may be made in or out of the Philippines. thus: A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written.
dated March 30.testator's signature. 688: Holographic wills may be executed only by persons of full age. as correctly held by respondent court. from which the present provisions covering holographic wills are taken. No. If it should contain any erased. the instant petition is GRANTED. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. in its entirety. In order that the will be valid it must be drawn on stamped paper corresponding to the year of its execution. and pass upon certain provisions of the will. 9 their presence does not invalidate the will itself. Jose Ajero to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety). admitting to probate the holographic will of decedent Annie Sand. Branch 94 in Sp. Thus. except with respect to the invalidity of the disposition of the entire house and lot in Cabadbaran. 678: A will is called holographic when the testator writes it himself in the form and with the requisites required in Article 688. CV No. However.R. The distinction can be traced to Articles 678 and 688 of the Spanish Civil Code. and must contain a statement of the year. written in its entirety by the testator and signed by him. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. As a general rule. . the testator must identify them over his signature. Art. This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code — and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code — are essential to the probate of a holographic will. Sand (which led oppositor Dr. which she shares with her father's other heirs. courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated. 11 In the case at bench. IN VIEW WHEREOF. 22840. No costs. They read as follows: Art. corrected. in exceptional instances. Q-37171. 10 The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes. Agusan del Norte. Proc. courts are not powerless to do what the situation constrains them to do. The Court of Appeals further held that decedent Annie Sand could not validly dispose of the house and lot located in Cabadbaran. 1992. decedent herself indubitably stated in her holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late father. dated November 19. John H. is hereby REINSTATED. month and day of its execution. Agusan del Norte. It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810). This is correct and must be affirmed. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 1988. with the above qualification as regards the Cabadbaran property. SO ORDERED. she cannot validly dispose of the whole property. or interlined words. Foreigners may execute holographic wills in their own language.
The will was executed in Manila on March 5.S. L-16749 January 31. is exhausted. named MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN (now Mrs. personal and/or mixed. AZNAR. unto my well-beloved daughter. Hon. U. xxx xxx xxx 12. It is in accordance with the above-quoted provisions that the executor in his final account and project of partition ratified the payment of only P3. LABRADOR. I further declare that I now have no living ascendants. Los Angeles. vs. in accordance with the provisions of the will of the testator Edward E. Bernard Daney).. M. of whatsoever kind or character. presiding. No. Philippines. now residing as aforesaid at No. who was born in the Philippines about twenty-eight years ago. devise and bequeath unto MARIA HELEN CHRISTENSEN. and who. directing the executor to reimburse Maria Lucy Christensen the amount of P3. Borton. 665 Rodger Young Village. Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN. HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA. California.. Christensen.00).. Abellera and Jovito Salonga for oppositor-appellant. and who is now residing at No. and in case of death without issue.. Digos.600. Leopoldo M..A. Jr. real. CHRISTENSEN. ADOLFO C. of which I may be possessed at my death and which may have come to me from any source whatsoever.R. the sum of THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED PESOS (P3.A. notwithstanding the fact that she was baptized Christensen. Heir of the deceased. Los Angeles.600 paid by her to Helen Christensen Garcia as her legacy. all the income from the rest. xxx xxx xxx IN THE MATTER OF THE TESTATE ESTATE OF EDWARD E. 1951 and contains the following provisions: 3. 665 Rodger Young Village. Executor and Heir-appellees.. in Special Proceeding No. Philippine Currency per month until the principal thereof as well as any interest which may have accrued thereon. about eighteen years of age and who. the said MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY (Mrs. and residue of my property and estate. during her lifetime: . and wheresoever situated. DECEASED. Philippine Currency the same to be deposited in trust for the said Maria Helen Christensen with the Davao Branch of the Philippine National Bank..: This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao. I hereby give.INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC VALIDITY G.600 to Helen Christensen Garcia and proposed that the residue of the estate be transferred to his daughter. . nor has she been at any time adopted by me. I give..S. 622 of said court. Sotelo for executor and heir-appellees. and no descendants except my above named daughter. Davao. Cusi. dated September 14. is not in any way related to me. 1949. that I have but ONE (1) child. Maria Lucy Christensen. one-half of said residue to be payable to Mrs. 1963 4. and declaring Maria Lucy Christensen entitled to the residue of the property to be enjoyed during her lifetime. Bernard Daney). MARIA LUCY CHRISTENSEN DANEY. devise and bequeath. I declare . J. oppositor-appellant. and paid to her at the rate of One Hundred Pesos (P100. from all information I have now resides in Egpit.. Carrie Louise C. approving among things the final accounts of the executor. now married to Eduardo Garcia. etc. California. remainder. U. 7.00). R. Vicente N.
CHRISTENSEN AND. Hence. insofar as it deprives her (Helen) of her legitime as an acknowledged natural child. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the State of California at the time of his death. 192. because the right of absolute dominion over his property is sacred and inviolable (In re McDaniel's Estate. The legal grounds of opposition are (a) that the distribution should be governed by the laws of the Philippines. and In re Kaufman. which requires that the domicile of the decedent should apply. It was also alleged that Maria Helen Christensen having been declared an acknowledged natural child of the decedent. ELEMENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES CALLING FOR THE APPLICATION OF INTERNAL LAW. THE INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE TESTAMENTARY DISPOSITION OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED EDWARD E.R. In amplification of the above grounds it was alleged that the law that should govern the estate of the deceased Christensen should not be the internal law of California alone. 286. this appeal. she having been declared by Us in G. IV THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT THE SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION SUBMITTED BY THE EXECUTOR IS CONTRARY TO THE PHILIPPINE LAWS.Opposition to the approval of the project of partition was filed by Helen Christensen Garcia. Christensen. 2d 877. Section 946 of the California Civil Code. she is deemed for all purposes legitimate from the time of her birth. The court below ruled that as Edward E. IN DEPRIVING HER OF HER JUST SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE. Oppositor Maria Helen Christensen. but the entire law thereof because several foreign elements are involved. 2d 952. PARTICULARLY UNDER THE RENVOI DOCTRINE. one of two acknowledged natural children. cited in page 179. the successional rights and intrinsic validity of the provisions in his will are to be governed by the law of California. The most important assignments of error are as follows: I THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN IGNORING THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT THAT HELEN IS THE ACKNOWLEDGED NATURAL CHILD OF EDWARD E. filed various motions for reconsideration. Record on Appeal). 77 Cal. that the forum is the Philippines and even if the case were decided in California. and (b) that said order of distribution is contrary thereto insofar as it denies to Helen Christensen. but these were denied. 49 Pac. onehalf of the estate in full ownership. Nos. in accordance with which a testator has the right to dispose of his property in the way he desires. CHRISTENSEN SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE PHILIPPINES. There is no question that Edward E. as witness the following facts admitted by the executor himself in appellee's brief: . 117 Cal. Appl. through counsel. V THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT DECLARING THAT UNDER THE PHILIPPINE LAWS HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA IS ENTITLED TO ONE-HALF (1/2) OF THE ESTATE IN FULL OWNERSHIP. L-11483-84 an acknowledged natural child of the deceased Edward E. II THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ENTIRELY IGNORING AND/OR FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THE EXISTENCE OF SEVERAL FACTORS. CONSEQUENTLY. 176 P. Christensen was a citizen of the United States and of the State of California at the time of his death. should be applicable. III THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THAT UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW. But there is also no question that at the time of his death he was domiciled in the Philippines.
in 1928.S. 1953. between which he divides his time. California. Thus one may be domiciled in a place where he has never been. Some nine years later. Army Transport "Sheridan" with Port of Embarkation as the City of San Francisco. we are persuaded by the fact that he was born in New York. U. "MM-2Daney" and p. the facts of record show that the deceased Edward E. We find that the citizenship that he acquired in California when he resided in Sacramento. 16. The terms "'residence" and "domicile" might well be taken to mean the same thing. However. Edward E. Christensen was interned by the Japanese Military Forces in the Philippines during World War II.S. in 1938. He stayed in the Philippines until 1904. a place of permanent abode.In the proceedings for admission of the will to probate. migrated to California and resided there for nine years. was never lost by his stay in the Philippines. Sp. and since he came to the Philippines in 1913 he returned to California very rarely and only for short visits (perhaps to relatives). was on July 1. CFI Davao. 1875 in New York City. The man with two homes. 1901. (pp. and considering that he appears never to have owned or acquired a home or properties in that state. on board the U. however. Sec. But if he went on business which would require his presence for several weeks or months. as an appointed school teacher. July 21. Luke's Hospital in the City of Manila on April 30. so that he appears never to have intended to abandon his California citizenship by acquiring another. and came back to the Philippines the following year. certainly resides in each one. Mr. for the latter was a territory of the United States (not a state) until 1946 and the deceased appears to have considered himself as a citizen of California by the fact that when he executed his will in 1951 he declared that he was a citizen of that State. 1929. he again departed the Philippines for the United States and came back here the following year. Proc. in April 1945. But domicile. in the State of California.A. the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court. "MM-l". 1939.n. (Goodrich on Conflict of Laws. his first arrival in the Philippines. In December.. 1904. Wherefore. Upon liberation. and was teaching school in Sacramento. Christensen was born on November 29. without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. "MM".A. he again returned to his own country. it is used to denote something more than mere physical presence. 622. 1951. He died at the St. t. as has been shown. Exhs. California from 1904 to 1913. And he may reside in a place where he has no domicile.. 1953. "BB" and "CC-Daney". N. 1945.ñët Being an American citizen. he might properly be said to have sufficient . as Exhibits "AA". 1951. Mr. Christensen returned once more to California shortly after the making of his last will and testament (now in question herein) which he executed at his lawyers' offices in Manila on March 5. 2-3) In arriving at the conclusion that the domicile of the deceased is the Philippines.s. Mr. 1äwphï1. he left for the United States but returned to the Philippines in December. Christensen's next arrival in the Philippines was in July of the year 1913. p. Generally..Y.S. while living in it.) In April. Appellees Collective Exhibits "6". Residence is a term used with many shades of meaning from mere temporary presence to the most permanent abode. has acquired a technical meaning. U. Christensen returned to the United States and stayed there for the following nine years until 1913. This conclusion is in accordance with the following principle expounded by Goodrich in his Conflict of Laws. which would indicate that he would ultimately abandon the Philippines and make home in the State of California. 29) As to his citizenship. during which time he resided in. however. 473.
16. whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country where said property may be found. Appl. (Only the case of Kaufman is correctly cited. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. The existence of this provision is alleged in appellant's opposition and is not denied. and it is not safe to insist that any one use et the only proper one. sustains the contention of the executor-appellee that under the California Probate Code." Residence. insists that Article 946 should be applicable. intestate and testamentary successions. which is as follows: If there is no law to the contrary. it is deemed to follow the person of its owner. from the merest temporary presence to the most permanent abode. There is no single American law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United States. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. however. on the other hand." he could not be a domiciled New Yorker. if he treated his settlement as continuing only for the particular business in hand. The application of this article in the case at bar requires the determination of the meaning of the term "national law" is used therein. "Residence simply requires bodily presence of an inhabitant in a given place. and in accordance therewith and following the doctrine of therenvoi. which is as follows: ART. while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one's domicile. relies on the case cited in the decision and testified to by a witness. that. (Goodrich. 2d 877. not giving up his former "home. and is governed by the law of his domicile. which is the Philippines. the question of the validity of the testamentary provision in question should be referred back to the law of the decedent's domicile. the internal law thereof. 29) The law that governs the validity of his testamentary dispositions is defined in Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. such law being in force in the State of California of which Christensen was a citizen. Acquisition of a domicile of choice requires the exercise of intention as well as physical presence. thus: The problem has been stated in this way: "When the Conflict of Laws rule of the forum refers a jural matter to a foreign law for decision. citing the case of Estate of McDaniel. The next question is: What is the law in California governing the disposition of personal property? The decision of the court below. should govern the determination of the validity of the testamentary provisions of Christensen's will. on the other hand. Appellant. 176 P. in the place where personal property is situated. which is that given in the abovecited case.) It is argued on executor's behalf that as the deceased Christensen was a citizen of the State of California. We have checked it in the California Civil Code and it is there. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. 77 Cal. However. p. is the reference to the purely internal rules of law of . Appellee. 2d 952. possibly mean or apply to any general American law. is a term used with many shades of meaning. The theory of doctrine of renvoi has been defined by various authors. however. But appellant invokes the provisions of Article 946 of the Civil Code of California. therefore. It is clear. a testator may dispose of his property by will in the form and manner he desires. So it can refer to no other than the private law of the State of California. each state of the Union having its own private law applicable to its citizens only and in force only within the state. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil Code above quoted can not.connection with the place to be called a resident.
judgment would be for the woman. but any further reference goes only to the internal law. In these cases the Conflict of Laws rule of the situs of the land. or whatever corresponds thereto in French law.e. or the domicile of the parties in the divorce case. and where the validity of a decree of divorce is challenged. thus rejecting the renvoi or the reference back. leaving movable property in Massachusetts. on the assumption that this is what a French court would do. i. is applied by the forum. to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict of Laws rules?" On logic. So on the surface of things the Massachusetts court has open to it alternative course of action: (a) either to apply the French law is to intestate succession. however. it would refer the distribution to the national law of the deceased. (Goodrich. The Michigan court chose to accept the renvoi.the foreign system. And still more strange is the fact that the only way to achieve uniformity in this choice-of-law problem is if in the dispute the two states whose laws form the legal basis of the litigation disagree as to whether the renvoi should be accepted. There the rule of the conflict of laws as to intestate succession to movables calls for an application of the law of the deceased's last domicile. Yet there seems no compelling logical reason why the original reference should be the internal law rather than to the Conflict of Laws rule. Since by hypothesis X's last domicile was France. This is one type of renvoi. thus applying the Massachusetts statute of distributions. it will follow the latter course. recognized by the situs. 7. domiciled in France. or (b) to resolve itself into a French court and apply the Massachusetts statute of distributions. judgment would have been against the woman. It is true that such a solution avoids going on a merry-go-round. and France. if both courts accepted the renvoi. the result of the litigation will vary with the choice of the forum. the solution is not an easy one. pp. or both accept the doctrine. but those who have accepted the renvoitheory avoid this inextricabilis circulas by getting off at the second reference and at that point applying internal law. An examination of French law. valid by the domicile of the parties. had the Michigan court rejected the renvoi. though the courts would switch with respect to which would hold liability. Thus. Conflict of Laws. Sec. and they too rejected the renvoi. But once having determined the the Conflict of Laws principle is the rule looked to. thus applying its own law. A jural matter is presented which the conflict-of-laws rule of the forum refers to a foreign law. The Restatement accepts the renvoi theory in two instances: where the title to land is in question. and decree a distribution accordingly. Perhaps the opponents of the renvoi are a bit more consistent for they look always to internal law as the rule of reference. If both reject. the natural thing for the Massachusetts court to do would be to turn to French statute of distributions. Strangely enough. The same result would happen. If it accepts the socalled renvoidoctrine. will be valid everywhere. In the case stated above. if the suit had been brought in the Illinois courts. The opponents of the renvoi would have looked merely to the internal law of Illinois. This would have resulted in the "endless chain of references" which has so often been criticized be legal writers. would show that if a French court were called upon to determine how this property should be distributed. the . applied the Conflict of Laws rule of Illinois which referred the matter back to Michigan law. it is difficult to see why the reference back should not have been to Michigan Conflict of Laws. that is. England. 1314. Assume (1) that this question arises in a Massachusetts court. and every divorce. a person's title to land. dies intestate. both the advocates for and the objectors to the renvoi plead that greater uniformity will result from adoption of their respective views.. a citizen of Massachusetts. will be recognized by every court. The question arises as to how this property is to be distributed among X's next of kin.) X.
known as the "doctrine of renvoi". in 1900.) After a decision has been arrived at that a foreign law is to be resorted to as governing a particular case. or the "Ruchversweisung". 296) The scope of the theory of renvoi has also been defined and the reasons for its application in a country explained by Prof. The theory of the doctrine of renvoiis that the court of the forum. but its rules of the conflict of laws as well. and desires that said personal statute shall be determined by the law of the domicile. (16 C. Lorenzen in an article in the Yale Law Journal. xxx xxx xxx Von Bar presented his views at the meeting of the Institute of International Law.'" (Harvard Law Review. 31. which agree in attributing the determination of a question to the same system of law. provided it be certain that one of them is necessarily competent. Vol. the further question may arise: Are the rules as to the conflict of laws contained in such foreign law also to be resorted to? This is a question which. for example. (2) Provided that no express provision to the contrary exists. The doctrine of therenvoi has generally been repudiated by the American authorities. 27. refers the matter back again to the law of the forum. The German term for this judicial process is 'Ruckverweisung. the court shall respect: (a) The provisions of a foreign law which disclaims the right to bind its nationals abroad as regards their personal statute. the English law directs its judge to distribute the personal estate of an Englishman who has died domiciled in Belgium in accordance with the law of his domicile. . pp. has been advanced. and then apply the law to the actual question which the rules of the other jurisdiction prescribe. and the doctrine involved has been descriptively designated by them as the "Renvoyer" to send back. Vol. 1917-1918. in the form of the following theses: (1) Every court shall observe the law of its country as regards the application of foreign laws. . (2 Am. Jur. or the "Weiterverweisung". and if he finds that the Belgian law would make the distribution in accordance with the law of nationality — that is the English law — he must accept this reference back to his own law.conflict-of-laws rule of which. he must first inquire whether the law of Belgium would distribute personal property upon death in accordance with the law of domicile. 529-531. but also its rules as to conflict of laws. (b) The decision of two or more foreign systems of law. since an affirmative answer to the question postulated and the operation of the adoption of the foreign law in toto would in many cases result in returning the main controversy to be decided according to the law of the forum. pp. According to this theory 'the law of a country' means the whole of its law. The pertinent parts of the article are quoted herein below: The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the conflict of laws are to be understood as incorporating not only the ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or country. This may be the law of the forum. 523571. must take into account the whole law of the other jurisdiction. This is renvoi in the narrower sense. xxx xxx xxx If. has been the subject of frequent discussion by textwriters and essayists.) Another theory. while it has been considered by the courts in but a few instances.. in turn. in determining the question before it.. at Neuchatel.S. or even by the law of the place where the act in question occurred.J. 872.
Here. it is not that the domiciliary has effect beyond the borders of the domiciliary state. i. such action would leave the issue incapable of determination because the case will then be like a football.We note that Article 946 of the California Civil Code is its conflict of laws rule. when business intercourse and the process of accumulating property take but little notice of boundary lines.e. But as above explained the laws of California have prescribed two sets of laws for its citizens. When a man dies leaving personal property in one or more states. The court of the domicile can not and should not refer the case back to California. the Philippines in the case at bar. and its conflict-of-laws rule for those domiciled abroad. pp. is one of the universal application. and enforce the conflict of laws rules for the citizens domiciled abroad. each in its own intended and appropriate sphere. 164. the principle cited In re Kaufman should apply to citizens living in the State. as so declared in Article 16 of our Civil Code. then we must enforce the law of California in accordance with the express mandate thereof and as above explained. while the rule applied in In re Kaufman. precisely refers back the case. If the law on succession and the conflict of laws rules of California are to be enforced jointly. 442-443. Civil Code. almost as completely as the law of situs is consulted in questions about the devise of land. to the law of his domicile. It had its origin in that international comity which was one of the first fruits of civilization. and it this age. is the general convenience of the doctrine. Sec. apply the internal law for residents therein. The New York court has said on the point: 'The general principle that a dispostiton of a personal property. The rule laid down of resorting to the law of the domicile in the determination of matters with foreign element involved is in accord with the general principle of American law that the domiciliary law should govern in most matters or rights which follow the person of the owner. when a decedent is not domiciled in California. As explained in the various authorities cited above the national law mentioned in Article 16 of our Civil Code is the law on conflict of laws in the California Civil Code. Conflict of Laws. one for residents therein and another for those domiciled in other jurisdictions.. . Arts. valid at the domicile of the owner. Reason demands that We should enforce the California internal law prescribed for its citizens residing therein. the practical wisdom and justice of the rule is more apparent than ever.e. the same rules should determine the validity of an attempted testamentary dispostion of the property. also. if the question has to be decided. but Article 946 should apply to such of its citizens as are not domiciled in California but in other jurisdictions. makes natural children legally acknowledged forced heirs of the parent recognizing them.. (Goodrich. and the reason for the recognition as in the case of intestate succession.) Appellees argue that what Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines pointed out as the national law is the internal law of California. Supra. its internal law. and leaves a will directing the manner of distribution of the property. It is argued on appellees' behalf that the clause "if there is no law to the contrary in the place where the property is situated" in Sec. especially as the application of the internal law of California provides no legitime for children while the Philippine law. Article 946. between the country of which the decedent was a citizen and the country of his domicile. It is logical that. If we must enforce the law of California as in comity we are bound to go. the law of the state where he was domiciled at the time of his death will be looked to in deciding legal questions about the will. since the domiciliary rules control devolution of the personal estate in case of intestate succession. 887(4) and 894. is valid anywhere. The Philippine court must apply its own law as directed in the conflict of laws rule of the state of the decedent. i. which authorizes the reference or return of the question to the law of the testator's domicile. The conflict of laws rule in California. tossed back and forth between the two states. The rules of the domicile are recognized as controlling by the Conflict of Laws rules at the situs property. This contention can not be sustained. Civil Code of the Philippines. 946 of the California Civil Code refers to Article 16 of the Civil Code of the Philippines and that the law to the contrary in the Philippines is the provision in said Article 16 that the national law of the deceased should govern. Article 946.
Judgment reversed. the domicile. with costs against appellees. Government. a citizen of California. Rider Babcock. 39 Phil. the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and the case returned to the lower court with instructions that the partition be made as the Philippine law on succession provides. i. the appellant. a law similar to or identical with Art. Riera vs. 52 Phil. 105. 130. 946 of the Civil Code of California.) cited by appellees to support the decision can not possibly apply in the case at bar. the subject in each case does not appear to be a citizen of a state in the United States but with domicile in the Philippines. 59 Phil. not by the internal law of California. Miciano vs. 40 Phil. Palmaroli. should be governed by the Philippine Law. pursuant to Art. is the Philippines.. for two important reasons. Brimo. 867. and Gibbs vs. and it does not appear in each case that there exists in the state of which the subject is a citizen. 156. 946 of the California Civil Code..The Philippine cases (In re Estate of Johnson. the validity of the provisions of his will depriving his acknowledged natural child. 293. Babcock Templeton vs.e. We therefore find that as the domicile of the deceased Christensen. WHEREFORE. . 50 Phil.
ñët The facts of the case are as follows: Amos G.G. BELLIS. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on September 15. 1964.A. L-23678 June 6. he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis.000. Jr. In the project of partition." By his first wife. Bellis. Jr. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40. the remainder shall go to his seven surviving children by his first and second wives.1äwphï1. BELLIS. et al.00 each or a total of P120.00. 1958.ñët Subsequently. ET AL. On January 8. EDWARD A. 1964. Amos Bellis. Amos G. Maria Cristina Bellis. Report of Administration and Project of Partition" wherein it reported.00 in the form of shares of stock to Mary E. Bellis. in which he directed that after all taxes. Bellis.. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company.1äwphï1. various amounts totalling P40.000. or on July 8. (b) P120. in trust. Walter S. Mallen. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines. inter alia. J. Bellis.. as executor of the will. The People's Bank and Trust Company. On January 17. whom he divorced. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children. Villena for oppositors appellants. Bellis. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.000.000.R.. Ozaeta.000. executor.00. Edwin G. 1958. paid all the bequests therein including the amount of $240. Mary E. Allsman. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis. Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman. Mary E. and the legacies of Amos Bellis. from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30. Walter S. Poblador. J. Mallen. namely: Edward A.000. born in Texas. was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States. BENGZON. 1967 TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. U.: This is a direct appeal to Us. Jr. B.S. obligations. MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS.000.00 to his three illegitimate children. oppositors-appellants. who survived him. or a total of P120. approving the project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. his distributable estate should be divided. 1952. in equal shares.000. Bellis. vs. preparatory to closing its administration. and Dorothy E. Macasaet and Jose D. Henry A. he had three legitimate children: Edwin G. A..00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies. On August 5. R. Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E.. Bellis. in the following order and manner: (a) $240. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to the project of partition on the .00 each and (c) after the foregoing two items have been satisfied. Bellis. 37089 therein. Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.00. Bellis. Paredes. and finally. the executor — pursuant to the "Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament — divided the residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting to $240.P. Bellis. 1964.00 to his first wife. Vicente R. the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary E. Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. and expenses of administration are paid for. heirs-appellees. Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman. deceased. Bellis. et al. J. Amos Bellis.000. No. Jr. which it released from time to time according as the lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective legacies. Texas. Amos G.. by his second wife. he had five legitimate children: Edward A. S. upon a question purely of law. or P40. Violet Kennedy. George Bellis (who pre-deceased him in infancy). PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY. Miriam Palma Bellis. Henry A. the executor submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account. Bellis died a resident of San Antonio.
therefore. renvoi would arise. and a domicile of another. and those which have for their object public order. 16 of the Civil Code. 1039 of the Civil Code. Relying upon Art. L-16749. since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. However. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is situated. (b) the amount of successional rights. 16. 1964. but would still refer to Texas law. paragraph three. shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration. January 31. both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions. which did not provide for legitimes. Jr. they argue that their case falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17 in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code. 2. stating that — Prohibitive laws concerning persons. Amos Bellis. while reproducing without substantial change the . ART. Precisely. Nonetheless.2 So that even assuming Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of the domicile) should govern. the doctrine of renvoi. whatever may he the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. 1963. intestate and testamentary successions. on April 30. the parties do not submit the case on. if Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place where the properties are situated. "notwithstanding the provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated Art. 1039. report and administration and project of partition. in intestate or testamentary successions. and Art. it should not be presumed different from ours. 1964. (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will. This is not correct. and (d) the capacity to succeed. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent. par. prevails as the exception to Art. nor even discuss. the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law. 17. render applicable the national law of the decedent. Christensen Garcia. interposed no opposition despite notice to him. 16. par. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the decedent is a national of one country. applied by this Court in Aznar v. In the absence. however. it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death. They provide that — ART. proof of service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27. they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their arguments. 1964 by the executor. In the present case. of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas. public policy and good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated. with regard to four items: (a) the order of succession. which in this case is Texas law. their acts or property. Rather. 17 of the new Civil Code. Article 16. it applied the national law of the decedent. oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of which law must apply — Texas law or Philippine law. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. of the Civil Code. compulsory heirs of the deceased.1 After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent pleadings. the lower court. Appellants would however counter that Art. or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country. As stated. issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the executor's final account. In this regard. 2 of the Civil Code aforequoted.3 Appellants' position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi.ground that they were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and. Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the lower court on June 11. Congressdeleted the phrase.
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be involved in our System of legitimes. with costs against appellants. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones. inter alia.second paragraph of Art. a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his national law. the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of Amos G. Wherefore. there are no forced heirs or legitimes. 50 Phil. the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto. U. under Art. Bellis. Assuming that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine will. it would not alter the law. 16 a specific provision in itself which must be applied in testate and intestate succession. the amount of successional rights. .. is illegal and void. to the decedent's national law. Brimo. 16 in the new. and that under the laws of Texas. since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under Texas law.S. Accordingly. Bellis. was a citizen of the State of Texas. So ordered. For it has specifically chosen to leave.A. for his national law cannot be ignored in regard to those matters that Article 10 — now Article 16 — of the Civil Code states said national law should govern. 870. The parties admit that the decedent. Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills — one to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate — arguing from this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. Congress has not intended to extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Congress added a new provision. Amos G. As further indication of this legislative intent. 867. for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. 1039. which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law of the decedent. 10 of the old Civil Code as Art. It must have been their purpose to make the second paragraph of Art.
R. Igsolo (decedent). Article 806 likewise imposes another safeguard to the validity of notarial wills — that they be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the AKO. Sampaloc. read in full: HULING HABILIN NI EUGENIA E. Full and faithful compliance with all the detailed requisites under Article 805 of the Code leave little room for doubt as to the validity in the due execution of the notarial will.NOTARIAL WILL witnesses. a will which does not contain an acknowledgment. all self-evident in view of Articles 805 and 806 of the Civil Code. nasa hustong pagi-isip. Petitioner. Manila kay Felix Azuela at ang pagkakaloob kong ito ay walang pasubali’t at kondiciones. A will whose attestation clause does not contain the number of pages on which the will is written is fatally defective. pag-unawa at memoria ay nag-hahayag na ito na ang aking huling habilin at testamento. Manila. at binabali wala ko lahat ang naunang ginawang habilin o testamento: Una-Hinihiling ko na ako ay mailibing sa Sementerio del Norte. yaong mga bahay na nakatirik sa lote numero 28. Petitioner is the son of the cousin of the decedent. The petition filed by petitioner Felix Azuela sought to admit to probate the notarial will of Eugenia E. Lot 42. And perhaps most importantly. La Loma sang-ayong sa kaugalian at patakaran ng simbahang katoliko at ang taga-pag-ingat (Executor) ng habiling ito ay magtatayo ng bantayog upang silbing ala-ala sa akin ng aking pamilya at kaibigan. DECISION TINGA. No. the Court is provided the opportunity to assert a few important doctrinal rules in the execution of notarial wills. IGSOLO G. is fatally defective. na siyang nag-alaga sa akin sa mahabang panahon. The will. purportedly executed by Eugenia E. Any one of these defects is sufficient to deny probate. numero 43. Ipinagkakaloob kong buong buo ang lahat ng karapatan sa bahay at lupa na nasa 500 San Diego St. nakatira sa 500 San Diego St. which was notarized on 10 June 1981. 122880 April 12. consisting of two (2) pages and written in the vernacular Pilipino.. pitongput siyam (79) na gulang. Respondents. 2006 FELIX AZUELA.. A notarial will executed with indifference to these two codal provisions opens itself to nagging questions as to its legitimacy. ganoon din ibinibigay ko ang lahat ng karapatan sa bahay na nakatirik sa inoopahan kong lote. who died on 16 December 1982 at the age of 80. CASTILLO. Block 24. There is a distinct and consequential reason the Civil Code provides a comprehensive catalog of imperatives for the proper execution of a notarial will. Pangalawa-Aking ipinagkakaloob at isinasalin ang lahat ng karapatan sa aking pamangkin na si Felix Azuela. A notarial will with all three defects is just aching for judicial rejection. Igsolo. AMEN: The core of this petition is a highly defective notarial will. COURT OF APPEALS. . IGSOLO.: SA NGALAN NG MAYKAPAL. GERALDA AIDA CASTILLO substituted by ERNESTO G. vs. Sampaloc. si EUGENIA E. but a merejurat. A will whose attestation clause is not signed by the instrumental witnesses is fatally defective. Block 24 at nakapangalan sa Pechaten Korporasyon. Block 24 na pag-aari ng Pechaten Corporation. In refusing to give legal recognition to the due execution of this document. The case stems from a petition for probate filed on 10 April 1984 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. J.
Cert. 1981 Book No. 21. namely: petitioner himself.) PETRONIO Y. 1981 dito sa Lungsod ng Maynila. Igsolo. 31. Cavite on Feb. Cert. Cavite Res. No. who represented herself as the attorney-in-fact of "the 12 legitimate heirs" of the decedent. The petition was opposed by Geralda Aida Castillo (Geralda Castillo). A-7717-37 Issued at Manila on March 10. Nilagdaan ko at ninotario ko ngayong 10 ng Hunyo 10. IGSOLO (Tagapagmana) PATUNAY NG MGA SAKSI Ang kasulatang ito. City of Manila Res. No. 43 . IGSOLO address: 500 San Diego St. (Sgd. and that letters testamentary be issued to the designated executor. Manila Res. at kami namang mga saksi ay lumagda sa harap ng nasabing tagapagmana at sa harap ng lahat at bawa’t isa sa amin. na ipinahayag sa amin ni Eugenia E.4 and the mother of a legitimate . who died in 1965. tagapagmana na siya niyang Huling Habilin. Until Dec. na binubuo ng ____ dahon pati ang huling dahong ito.MA. PTR-152041-1/2/81-Manila Series of 1981 TAN # 1437-977-81 The three named witnesses to the will affixed their signatures on the left-hand margin of both pages of the will. particularly for forcible entry and usurpation of real property. 86 . 1981. LEAÑO address: Avenue 2. the decedent was actually survived by 12 legitimate heirs. EUGENIA E. A-768277 issued at Carmona. Blcok 7. who were then residing abroad. 1981 LAMBERTO C. Sampaloc. 7. 1981. but not at the bottom of the attestation clause.Pangatlo. A-458365 Issued at Manila on Jan.. ay nilagdaan ng nasabing tagapagmana sa ilalim ng kasulatang nabanggit at sa kaliwang panig ng lahat at bawa’t dahon. (Sgd. and that the true purpose of its emergence was so it could be utilized as a defense in several court cases filed by oppositor against petitioner. San Gabriel. namely her grandchildren. ngayon ika-10 ng Hunyo 1981. Kahilum Pandacan. NOTARIO PUBLIKO Page No.Na ninunumbrahan ko si VART PAGUE na siyang nagpapatupad ng huling habiling ito at kagustuhan ko rin na hindi na kailanman siyang mag-lagak ng piyansiya. legatees and devisees of the decedent. G.3 It also asserted that contrary to the representations of petitioner. Cert. Cert. who was alleged to have resided abroad. No. Aking nilagdaan ang Huling Habilin na ito dito sa Maynila ika 10 ng Hunyo. and one Irene Lynn Igsolo. Manila Res.2 Geralda Castillo claimed that the will is a forgery. QUIRINO AGRAVA address: 1228-Int. 3. No. sa harap ng lahat at bawa’t sa amin. sa ilalim ng nasabing kasulatan at sa kaliwang panig ng lahat at bawa’t dahon ng kasulatan ito. No.) EUGENIA E. 1981 JUANITO ESTRERA address: City Court Compound. it was subsequently alleged that decedent was the widow of Bonifacio Igsolo. Per records. The probate petition adverted to only two (2) heirs. A574829 Issued at Manila on March 2. Petitioner prayed that the will be allowed. 1232 . all centering on petitioner’s right to occupy the properties of the decedent. Vart Prague. BAUTISTA Doc. 1981. Lot 61.
this Court is persuaded to rule that the will in question is authentic and had been executed by the testatrix in accordance with law. For the same reason. the RTC admitted the will to probate. With regard to the oppositor’s argument that the will was not numbered correlatively in letters placed on upper part of each page and that the attestation did not state the number of pages thereof. the testimonies of the three subscribing witnesses to the will are convincing enough to establish the genuineness of the signature of the testatrix and the due execution of the will. na ipinahayag sa amin ni Eugenia N. tagapagmana na siya niyang Huling Habilin.9 The Court of Appeals noted that the attestation clause failed . instead of at the bottom thereof. this Court has noted that at the end of the will after the signature of the testatrix. ngayong ika-10 ng Hunyo 1981. it is worthy to note that the will is composed of only two pages." The aforequoted declaration comprises the attestation clause and the acknowledgement and is considered by this Court as a substantial compliance with the requirements of the law. In a Decision dated 17 August 1995. These twin arguments are among the central matters to this petition. sa harap ng lahat at bawa’t sa amin. On the oppositor’s contention that the attestation clause was not signed by the subscribing witnesses at the bottom thereof. After a careful examination of the will and consideration of the testimonies of the subscribing and attesting witnesses. the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and ordered the dismissal of the petition for probate. Geralda Castillo. Lamberto Leano. who predeceased her mother by three (3) months. the following statement is made under the sub-title.8 The Order was appealed to the Court of Appeals by Ernesto Castillo. Igsolo. On the issue of lack of acknowledgement. and the second page contains the last portion of the attestation clause and acknowledgement. Such being so. and the will was not properly acknowledged. Asuncion E. ay nilagdaan ng nasabing tagapagmana sa ilalim ng kasulatang nabanggit at sa kaliwang panig ng lahat at bawa’t dahon. i.. na binubuo ng _____ dahon pati ang huling dahong ito. Igsolo. sa ilalim ng nasabing kasulatan at sa kaliwang panig ng lahat at bawa’t dahon ng kasulatan ito. She pointed out that decedent’s signature did not appear on the second page of the will. After due trial. who had substituted his since deceased mother-in-law. The RTC also called to fore "the modern tendency in respect to the formalities in the execution of a will x x x with the end in view of giving the testator more freedom in expressing his last wishes. at kami namang mga saksi ay lumagda sa harap ng nasabing tagapagmana at sa harap ng lahat at bawa’t isa sa amin. in an Order dated 10 August 1992.5 Oppositor Geralda Castillo also argued that the will was not executed and attested to in accordance with law. which contains only the last portion of the attestation clause and acknowledgment is not a fatal defect. The first page contains the entire text of the testamentary dispositions. and having in mind the modern tendency in respect to the formalities in the execution of a will. rebutted oppositor’s arguments that the will was not properly executed and attested to in accordance with law. "Patunay Ng Mga Saksi": "Ang kasulatang ito. and Juanito Estrada. substantially satisfies the purpose of identification and attestation of the will. the failure of the testatrix to affix her signature on the left margin of the second page. this Court is of the view that the signing by the subscribing witnesses on the left margin of the second page of the will containing the attestation clause and acknowledgment.6 The RTC favorably took into account the testimony of the three (3) witnesses to the will. the defects are not of a serious nature as to invalidate the will.e. Quirino Agrava.child. the liberalization of the interpretation of the law on the formal requirements of a will with the end in view of giving the testator more freedom in expressing his last wishes. As regards the oppositor’s assertion that the signature of the testatrix on the will is a forgery."7 and from this perspective.
the attestation clause fails to state the number of pages of the will. and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof."11 The solution to this case calls for the application of Articles 805 and 806 of the Civil Code. and thus susceptible to what he termed as "the substantial compliance rule.12 There was an incomplete attempt to comply with this requisite. and by his express direction.to state the number of pages used in the will. Every will. a space having been allotted for the insertion of the number of pages in the attestation clause. The appellate court. on the other hand. If. citing in the process Uy Coque v. shall also sign. each and every page thereof. Navas L. considered only one defect. except the last. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will. it shall be interpreted to them.14 In Uy Coque. in the presence of the instrumental witnesses. The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. the present petition. and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page. other than a holographic will. or caused some other person to write his name. Yet the blank was never filled in. The Court of Appeals pounced on this defect in reversing the trial court. As admitted by petitioner himself. Art. the requisite was left uncomplied with. rather than mandatory. in its Decision. If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses. 805. the document might easily be so prepared that the removal of a sheet would completely change the testamentary dispositions of the will and in the absence of a statement of the total number of sheets such removal might be effected by taking out the sheet and changing the numbers at the top of the following sheets or pages. on the left margin. 806. as aforesaid. the Court made the following consideration which remains highly relevant to this day: "The purpose of requiring the number of sheets to be stated in the attestation clause is obvious. But an examination of the will itself reveals several more deficiencies. must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence. and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. a matter attended with much greater difficulty. Sioca13 and In re: Will of Andrada. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will. or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court. the Court noted that among the defects of the will in question was the failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages contained in the will. and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another. under his express direction. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses."16 The case of In re Will of Andrada concerned a will the attestation clause of which failed to state the number of sheets or pages used. This consideration alone was sufficient for the Court to declare "unanim[ity] upon the point that the defect pointed out in the attesting . Art. thus rendering the will void and undeserving of probate.15 In ruling that the will could not be admitted to probate. Petitioner argues that the requirement under Article 805 of the Civil Code that "the number of pages used in a notarial will be stated in the attestation clause" is merely directory. hence. the total number of sheets is stated in the attestation clause the falsification of the document will involve the inserting of new pages and the forging of the signatures of the testator and witnesses in the margin.10 Hence. which we replicate in full. the failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages of the will.
Navas L. Morata.. But here the situation is different. 2645. Hon. et al. Gumban vs. The acknowledgment itself states that "this Last Will and Testament consists of two pages including this page" (pages 200-201. Echevarria vs." supra. .. it is discernible from the entire will that it is really and actually composed of only two pages duly signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses. and made the following distinction which petitioner is unable to rebut. as amended by Act No. supra.clause is fatal. et al. not by evidence aliunde. the same was found in the last part of the body of the Will: "x x x The law referred to is article 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Yet the appellate court itself considered the import of these two cases. which requires that the attestation clause shall state the number of pages or sheets upon which the will is written."18 Against these cited cases. the last part of the body of the will contains a statement that it is composed of eight pages. and as the Legislature has seen fit to prescribe this requirement. 611). Uy Coque vs. We are not impervious of the Decisions of the Supreme Court in "Manuel Singson versus Emilia Florentino. 118 SCRA 195. the first page which contains the entirety of the testamentary dispositions is signed by the testatrix at the end or at the bottom while the instrumental witnesses signed at the left margin. 54 Phil." although the attestation in the subject Will did not state the number of pages used in the will. it must be considered material. et al. however. 180. Florentino19 and Taboada v. in this case. however.20 wherein the Court allowed probate to the wills concerned therein despite the fact that the attestation clause did not state the number of pages of the will. Avelino Rosal. Hence. supra) (Underscoring supplied). Sarmiento. As earlier stated. Avelino Rosal. 66 Phil. 92 Phil. Gorcho. Sioca. et al. but by a consideration or examination of the will itself."17 It was further observed that "it cannot be denied that the x x x requirement affords additional security against the danger that the will may be tampered with. 161 and Apolonio [Taboada] versus Hon. Rosal. the Will is void and undeserving of probate. 50 Phil. it will have the effect of invalidating the will if the deficiency cannot be supplied. This would have been a fatal defect were it not for the fact that." to the effect that a will may still be valid even if the attestation does not contain the number of pages used upon which the Will is written. petitioner cites Singson v. 42 Phil. and which we adopt with approval: Even a cursory examination of the Will (Exhibit "D").. supra) (Underscoring supplied) In "Apolonio Tabaoda versus Hon. Quinto vs. which circumstance in our opinion takes this case out of the rigid rule of construction and places it within the realm of similar cases where a broad and more liberal view has been adopted to prevent the will of the testator from being defeated by purely technical considerations. will readily show that the attestation does not state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. However. which requirement has been held to be mandatory as an effective safeguard against the possibility of interpolation or omission of some of the pages of the will to the prejudice of the heirs to whom the property is intended to be bequeathed (In re Will of Andrada. 30. the notarial acknowledgement in the Will states the number of pages used in the: "x x x We have examined the will in question and noticed that the attestation clause failed to state the number of pages used in writing the will.. The other page which is marked as "Pagina dos" comprises the attestation clause and the acknowledgment. 481. This is so because. The ratio decidendi of these cases seems to be that the attestation clause must contain a statement of the number of sheets or pages composing the will and that if this is missing or is omitted. in the case of "Manuel Singson versus Emilia Florentino. 43 Phil. 405." (page 165-165. the Decisions of the Supreme Court are not applicable in the aforementioned appeal at bench. While the attestation clause does not state the number of sheets or pages upon which the will is written.
is that omission which can be supplied by an examination of the will itself. that may vary from the philosophy that governed these two cases. will not be fatal and.L. in the appeal at bench. as it now stands. at least insofar as the attestation clause is concerned. Caneda suggested: "[I]t may thus be stated that the rule." In the same vein. the Code Commission opted to recommend a more liberal construction through the "substantial compliance rule" under Article 809. as examples of the application of the rule of strict construction.B."25 Caneda v. correspondingly. However.29 (Emphasis supplied. speaking for the Court on the conflicting views on the manner of interpretation of the legal formalities required in the execution of the attestation clause in wills. The will does not even contain any notarial acknowledgment wherein the number of pages of the will should be stated. along with several other cases.21 Both Uy Coque and Andrada were decided prior to the enactment of the Civil Code in 1950. considering that the failure to state the number of pages of the will in the attestation clause is one of the defects which cannot be simply disregarded.28 However. and whether all persons required to sign did so in the presence of each other must substantially appear in the attestation clause.However. In Caneda itself. petitioner cites the report of the Civil Code Commission. Reyes as to how Article 809 should be applied: x x x The rule must be limited to disregarding those defects that can be supplied by an examination of the will itself: whether all the pages are consecutively numbered.B. at a time when the statutory provision governing the formal requirement of wills was Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure.27 Uy Coque and Andrada are cited therein. Court of Appeals26 features an extensive discussion made by Justice Regalado. All these are facts that the will itself can reveal.30 the other omission cited by Justice J. Reyes in its assailed decision.23 However. Reyes which to his estimation cannot be lightly disregarded. the Court refused to allow the probate of a will whose attestation clause failed to state that the witnesses subscribed their respective signatures to the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. of the will ."24 However. those omissions which cannot be supplied except by evidence aliunde would result in the invalidation of the attestation clause and ultimately. A cautionary note was struck though by Justice J. would not obstruct the allowance to probate of the will being assailed.L. being the only check against perjury in the probate proceedings. defects and imperfections in the form of attestation or in the language used therein shall not render the will invalid if it is proved that the will was in fact executed and attested in substantial compliance with all the requirements of article 805.) The Court of Appeals did cite these comments by Justice J. the enactment of the Civil Code in 1950 did put in force a rule of interpretation of the requirements of wills. or fraud. which stated that "the underlying and fundamental objective permeating the provisions on the [law] on [wills] in this project consists in the [liberalization] of the manner of their execution with the end in view of giving the testator more [freedom] in [expressing] his last wishes. considering that the requirement that the attestation state the number of pages of the will is extant from Section 618. and defects or even omissions concerning them in the attestation clause can be safely disregarded. forgery.22 Reliance on these cases remains apropos. the number of pages used in the will is not stated in any part of the Will. whether the subscribing witnesses are three or the will was notarized. or undue and improper pressure and influence. This objective is in accord with the [modern tendency] in respect to the formalities in the execution of wills. Article 809 of the Civil Code states: "In the absence of bad faith.B. that such liberalization be "but with sufficient safeguards and restrictions to prevent the commission of fraud and the exercise of undue and improper pressure and influence upon the testator. whether the signatures appear in each and every page.L. without the need of resorting to extrinsic evidence. But the total number of pages. petitioner conveniently omits the qualification offered by the Code Commission in the very same paragraph he cites from their report.
rendering the will fatally defective. The purpose of the law in requiring the clause to state the number of pages on which the will is written is to safeguard against possible interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages and to prevent any increase or decrease in the pages. in this case. An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of the witnesses. Cagro36 is material on this point. However. a majority of six (6). the execution of which they had ostensibly just witnessed and subscribed to.33 The failure to state the number of pages equates with the absence of an averment on the part of the instrumental witnesses as to how many pages consisted the will. The Court could thus end here and affirm the Court of Appeals.35 The transcendent legislative intent. although the page containing the same is signed by the witnesses on the left-hand margin. convinced that these remained effective safeguards against the forgery or intercalation of notarial wills. We are of the opinion that the position taken by the appellant is correct.34 Compliance with these requirements. and not for the indulgent admission of wills to probate. since that fact can be checked by a visual examination. even as expressed in the cited comments of the Code Commission. For one. while a failure by the attestation clause to state that the witnesses signed in one another’s presence should be considered a fatal flaw since the attestation is the only textual guarantee of compliance. affords the public a high degree of comfort that the testator himself or herself had decided to convey property post mortem in the manner established in the will. This is . the fact remains that they saw fit to prescribe substantially the same formal requisites as enumerated in Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Following Caneda. they do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause which after all consists of their averments before the notary public.itself. as was the situation inSingson and Taboada. and it must necessarily bear their signatures. speaking through Chief Justice Paras. the attestation clause was not signed by the instrumental witnesses. At the same time. since the omission of their signatures at the bottom thereof negatives their participation. however picayune in impression. There is no question that the signatures of the three witnesses to the will do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause."37 While three (3) Justices38 considered the signature requirement had been substantially complied with. As in this case. Cagro v. The attestation clause is "a memorandum of the facts attending the execution of the will" required by law to be made by the attesting witnesses. an examination of the will itself reveals a couple of even more critical defects that should necessarily lead to its rejection. The petitioner and appellee contends that signatures of the three witnesses on the left-hand margin conform substantially to the law and may be deemed as their signatures to the attestation clause. is for the fruition of the testator’s incontestable desires. despite Article 809. "the signatures of the three witnesses to the will do not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause. there is substantial compliance with this requirement if the will states elsewhere in it how many pages it is comprised of. there could have been no substantial compliance with the requirements under Article 805 since there is no statement in the attestation clause or anywhere in the will itself as to the number of pages which comprise the will. Article 809 should not deviate from the need to comply with the formal requirements as enumerated under Article 805. While the signatures of the instrumental witnesses appear on the left-hand margin of the will."31 Thus.32 The failure of the attestation clause to state the number of pages on which the will was written remains a fatal flaw. although the page containing the same is signed by the witnesses on the left-hand margin. ruled that the attestation clause had not been duly signed. However. Whatever the inclinations of the members of the Code Commission in incorporating Article 805. a failure by the attestation clause to state that the testator signed every page can be liberally construed.
who are required under Article 805 to state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. The Court may be more charitably disposed had the witnesses in this case signed the attestation clause itself. such signatures cannot demonstrate these witnesses’ undertakings in the clause. 1981 dito sa Lungsod ng Maynila. The only proof in the will that the witnesses have stated these elemental facts would be their signatures on the attestation clause. the language of the jurat should avow that the document was subscribed and sworn before the notary public. Yet even if we consider what was affixed by the notary public as a jurat. Without diminishing the value of the instrumental witnesses’ signatures on each and every page. and should be treated as of equivalent import. which in this case would involve the decedent and the instrumental witnesses. the notary public. A jurat is that part of an affidavit where the notary certifies that before him/her. the signatures to the attestation clause establish that the witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the attestation clause itself. On the other hand. the fact must be noted that it is the attestation clause which contains the utterances reduced into writing of the testamentary witnesses themselves. Even if the instrumental witnesses signed the left-hand margin of the page containing the unsigned attestation clause. while in this case. because said signatures are in compliance with the legal mandate that the will be signed on the left-hand margin of all its pages. Petronio Y. In lieu of an acknowledgment. that the witnesses are aware that the page they are signing forms part of the will. be admitted as sufficient. as the express . Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that the instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will. even though it does not hew to the usual language thereof. The importance of this requirement is highlighted by the fact that it had been segregated from the other requirements under Article 805 and entrusted into a separate provision. the fact that the testator had signed the will and every page thereof. the notary public averred that he himself "signed and notarized" the document. and not the testator. the subject will cannot be considered to have been validly attested to by the instrumental witnesses."40 By no manner of contemplation can those words be construed as an acknowledgment. The requirement under Article 806 that "every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses" has also not been complied with. Bautista. wrote "Nilagdaan ko at ninotario ko ngayong10 ng Hunyo 10 (sic). the attestation clause is separate and apart from the disposition of the will.42 Ordinarily. the document was subscribed and sworn to by the executor.untenable." The respective intents behind these two classes of signature are distinct from each other. It might be possible to construe the averment as a jurat. since the signatures that do appear on the page were directed towards a wholly different avowal. The non-observance of Article 806 in this case is equally as critical as the other cited flaws in compliance with Article 805. Indeed.41 It involves an extra step undertaken whereby the signor actually declares to the notary that the executor of a document has attested to the notary that the same is his/her own free act and deed. as they failed to sign the attestation clause.39 The Court today reiterates the continued efficacy of Cagro. If an attestation clause not signed by the three witnesses at the bottom thereof. it would be easy to add such clause to a will on a subsequent occasion and in the absence of the testator and any or all of the witnesses. and that they witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another. Thus. there is another fatal defect to the will on which the denial of this petition should also hinge. An unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested will. from the requisite that the will be "attested and subscribed by [the instrumental witnesses]. but not the left-hand margin of the page containing such clause. Yet. Possibly though. The signatures on the left-hand corner of every page signify. Article 806. the word "ninotario" or "notarized" encompasses the signing of and swearing in of the executors of the document. It is the witnesses. the will would nonetheless remain invalid. An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before some competent officer or court and declaring it to be his act or deed. among others.
An acknowledgement is not an empty meaningless act.requirement of Article 806 is that the will be "acknowledged". they need not be dwelt on. In this case. these omissions. selfevident as it is under Article 806. All told. There is a line of thought that has disabused the notion that these two requirements be construed as mandatory. even if it is subscribed and sworn to before a notary public. by themselves. The acknowledgment made in a will provides for another all-important legal safeguard against spurious wills or those made beyond the free consent of the testator. that the decedent and the instrumental witnesses executed or signed the will as their own free act or deed.43 The acknowledgment coerces the testator and the instrumental witnesses to declare before an officer of the law that they had executed and subscribed to the will as their own free act or deed. The will does not present any textual proof. unlike the witnesses. We need not discuss them at length. and that all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page. It also provides a further degree of assurance that the testator is of certain mindset in making the testamentary dispositions to those persons he/she had designated in the will. the petition is DENIED. SO ORDERED. may not be sufficient to deny probate to a will. her only signature appearing at the socalled "logical end"44 of the will on its first page. . failed to sign both pages of the will on the left margin. thus allowing for the criminal prosecution of persons who participate in the execution of spurious wills. Such declaration is under oath and under pain of perjury. There are two other requirements under Article 805 which were not fully satisfied by the will in question. The provision requires that the testator and the instrumental witnesses sign each and every page of the will on the left margin. the string of mortal defects which the will in question suffers from makes the probate denial inexorable.45 Taken in isolation. as they are no longer material to the disposition of this case. much less one under oath. though indicative as they may be of a general lack of due regard for the requirements under Article 805 by whoever executed the will. the will itself is not numbered correlatively in letters on each page. except the last. Costs against petitioner. Also. or those executed without the free consent of the testator. Yet even as these omissions are not decisive to the adjudication of this case. It may not have been said before. WHEREFORE. and not merely subscribed and sworn to. but we can assert the rule. the decedent. but instead numbered with Arabic numerals. A notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses is fatally defective.
Laguna. and BAYANI MA. 74695 September 14. in turn. First Division (Civil Cases).: Before us is an appeal from the Decision dated 11 April 1986 1 of the First Civil Cases Division of the then Intermediate Appellate Court. 5Petitioner. MA. When the oppositor (petitioner) failed to substantiate the grounds relied upon in the Opposition. Laguna. now Court of Appeals. that the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick. Brigido's holographic will was subsequently admitted to probate on 9 December 1977. the notary public and by private respondent who were present at the execution. 1993 In the Matter of the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of the Deceased Brigido Alvarado. Bayani Ma. Cruz. the testator did not read the final draft of the will himself. a codicil entitled "Kasulatan ng Pagbabago sa Ilang Pagpapasiya na Nasasaad sa Huling Habilin na may Petsa Nobiembre 5.R. which affirmed the Order dated 27 June 1983 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Sta. or influence of fear and threats. the 79-year old Brigido Alvarado executed a notarial will entitled "Huling Habilin" wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son (petitioner) and expressly revoked a previously executed holographic will at the time awaiting probate before Branch 4 of the Regional Trial Court of sta. Instead. On 5 November 1977. a Probate Order was issued on 27 June 1983 from which an appeal was made to respondent court. Meanwhile. LEONOR INES LUCIANO. as the lawyer who drafted the eight-paged document. But the disinheritance and revocatory clauses were unchanged. private respondent. the three instrumental witnesses and the notary public. petitioner. A petition for the probate of the notarial will and codicil was filed upon the testator's death on 3 January 1979 by private respondent as executor with the Court of First Instance.. Rino for and in his own behalf. The latter four followed the reading with their own respective copies previously furnished them. Intermediate Appellate Court. Laguna. RAMON G. . HON. filed an Opposition on the following grounds: that the will sought to be probated was not executed and attested as required by law. that since the reading required by Art. that the will was executed under duress. that the testator was insane or otherwise mentally incapacitated to make a will at the time of its execution due to senility and old age.BLIND TESTATOR G. Cruz. Instead. JR. admitting to probate the last will and testament 3 with codicil 4 of the late Brigido Alvarado. As in the case of the notarial will. 1977 ni Brigido Alvarado" was executed changing some dispositions in the notarial will to generate cash for the testator's eye operation. On the 29th day of the same month. Brigido was then suffering from glaucoma. HON. the testator did not personally read the final draft of the codicil. respondents. of Siniloan. vs. CESAR ALVARADO. ROSARIO QUETULIO LOSA and HON. GAVIOLA. Redor for petitioner. The main thrust of the appeal was that the deceased was blind within the meaning of the law at the time his "Huling Habilin" and the codicil attached thereto was executed. read the same aloud in the presence of the testator. BELLOSILLO. that it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary who stands to get the lion's share of the testator's estate. J. Presiding Justice. now Regional Trial Court. As testified to by the three instrumental witnesses. it was private respondent who read it aloud in his presence and in the presence of the three instrumental witnesses (same as those of the notarial will) and the notary public who followed the reading using their own copies. Vicente R. Associate Justices. No. and lastly. RINO.
he could no longer read either printed or handwritten matters as of 14 December 1977. the reading requirement of Art. the court a quo concluded that Art." 9 Since the testator was still capable of reading at that time. so that he may be able to object if they are not in accordance with his wishes ." 11 or "blurred" 12 vision making it necessary for private respondent to do the actual reading for him. 6 the contents of which were interpreted in layman's terms by Dr. probate of the deceased's last will and codicil should have been denied. However. contrary to the medical testimony. 7 Dr. If the testator is blind. Roasa explained that although the testator could visualize fingers at three (3) feet. To support his stand. Salceda. that assuming his blindness. 808 at the time his "Huling Habilin" and its codicil were executed? If so. are "incapable of reading the(ir) will(s). Vasquez 13 provides an insight into the scope of the term "blindness" as used in Art. he can be so considered within the scope of the term as it is used in Art. Regardless of respondent's staunch contention that the testator was still capable of reading at the time his will and codicil were prepared. 808 need not be complied with. by one of the subscribing witnesses. the Court of Appeals rendered the decision under review with the following findings: that Brigido Alvarado was not blind at the time his last will and codicil were executed. 808. The point of dispute is whether the foregoing circumstances would qualify Brigido as a "blind" testator under Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also to those who. . Salvador R. the will shall be read to him twice.808 of the Civil Code was admittedly not complied with. for one reason or another." Since Brigido Alvarado was . . was the double-reading requirement of said article complied with? Regarding the first issue. 808 was not followed to the letter. there was substantial compliance since its purpose of making known to the testator the contents of the drafted will was served. 808. there is no dispute on the following facts: Brigido Alvarado was not totally blind at the time the will and codicil were executed. by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged. petitioner presented before the trial court a medical certificate issued by Dr. 808 which reads: Art. 808 was substantially complied with when both documents were read aloud to the testator with each of the three instrumental witnesses and the notary public following the reading with their respective copies of the instruments. that Brigido did not do so because of his "poor." 10 "defective. to wit: The rationale behind the requirement of reading the will to the testator if he is blind or incapable of reading the will himself (as when he is illiterate). The issues now before us can be stated thus: Was Brigido Alvarado blind for purpose of Art. The appellate court then concluded that although Art. held that the testator could still read on the day the will and the codicil were executed but chose not to do so because of "poor eyesight. once. Clear from the foregoing is that Art. Ruperto Roasa. the day of his first consultation. We agree with petitioner in this respect. 8 On the other hand. the fact remains and this was testified to by his witnesses. his vision on both eyes was only of "counting fingers at three (3) feet" by reason of the glaucoma which he had been suffering from for several years and even prior to his first consultation with an eye specialist on 14 December 1977. Director of the Institute of Opthalmology (Philippine Eye Research Institute). and again. Petitioner contends that although his father was not totally blind when the will and codicil were executed. 808. whose expertise was admitted by private respondent. On 11 April 1986. the Court of Appeals. The following pronouncement in Garcia vs. is to make the provisions thereof known to him.
Unless the contents were read to him. there can be no other course for us but to conclude that Brigido Alvarado comes within the scope of the term "blind" as it is used in Art. The spirit behind the law was served though the letter was not. Hence. Afterwards. with respect to the "Huling Habilin." the day of the execution was not the first time that Brigido had affirmed the truth and authenticity of the contents of the draft. Instead of the notary public and an instrumental witness. one being his physician (Dr. petitioner maintains that the only valid compliance or compliance to the letter and since it is admitted that neither the notary public nor an instrumental witness read the contents of the will and codicil to Brigido. by the notary public before whom the will was acknowledged. Only then did the signing and acknowledgement take place. Nonia de la Pena (the notary public) and Dr. the petition must be denied. Ranieses) being known to him since childhood. This is especially true when we consider the fact that the three instrumental witnesses were persons known to the testator. to consider his will as validly executed and entitled to probate. the testator affirmed. it is essential that we ascertain whether Art. 808. 15 Moreover. not twice as Art. Prior and subsequent thereto. that the contents read corresponded with his instructions. This Court has held in a number of occasions that substantial compliance is acceptable where the purpose of the law has been satisfied. The notary public and the three instrumental witnesses likewise read the will and codicil. 808 was not followed strictly is beyond cavil. Rino who read the documents on 5 November and 29 December 1977. private respondent read the testator's will and codicil aloud in the presence of the testator. and read them only once. Rino went to the testator's residence precisely for the purpose of securing his conformity to the draft. The purpose is to make known to the incapacitated testator the contents of the document before signing and to give him an opportunity to object if anything is contrary to his instructions." or "blurred" vision. The uncontradicted testimony of Atty. once. Although there should be strict compliance with the substantial . he had no way of ascertaining whether or not the lawyer who drafted the will and codicil did so confortably with his instructions. Article 808 requires that in case of testators like Brigido Alvarado. Evidente) and another (Potenciano C. and petitioner does not so allege. 16 With four persons following the reading word for word with their own copies. 808 had been complied with. the will shall be read twice. Crescente O. it was the lawyer (private respondent) who drafted the eight-paged will and the five-paged codicil who read the same aloud to the testator. Evidente (one of the three instrumental witnesses and the testator's physician) asked the testator whether the contents of the document were of his own free will. On the contrary. it can be safely concluded that the testator was reasonably assured that what was read to him (those which he affirmed were in accordance with his instructions). 808 requires. Private respondent however insists that there was substantial compliance and that the single reading suffices for purposes of the law. probate of the latter's will and codicil should have been disallowed. Brigido answered in the affirmative.incapable of reading the final drafts of his will and codicil on the separate occasions of their execution due to his "poor. Atty. that the contents of the will and codicil were not sufficiently made known and communicated to the testator. the reason being that the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills are intended to protect the testator from all kinds of fraud and trickery but are never intended to be so rigid and inflexible as to destroy the testamentary privilege. albeit silently. That Art. by one of the instrumental witnesses and. On the other hand. upon being asked. and the notary public. again. We sustain private respondent's stand and necessarily. There is no evidence. 14 In the case at bar. it was not only Atty. his three instrumental witnesses. Rino is that Brigido Alvarado already acknowledged that the will was drafted in accordance with his expressed wishes even prior to 5 November 1977 when Atty." "defective. were the terms actually appearing on the typewritten documents.
We are unwilling to cast these aside fro the mere reason that a legal requirement intended for his protection was not followed strictly when such compliance had been rendered unnecessary by the fact that the purpose of the law. the formal imperfections should be brushed aside when they do not affect its purpose and which. substantial compliance suffices where the purpose has been served. 17 As a final word to convince petitioner of the propriety of the trial court's Probate Order and its affirmance by the Court of Appeals. Brigido Alvarado had expressed his last wishes in clear and unmistakable terms in his "Huling Habilin" and the codicil attached thereto. this decision is immediately executory. Considering the length of time that this case has remained pending.e. Abangan. when taken into account. SO ORDERED.. we quote the following pronouncement in Abangan v. . may only defeat the testator's will. on the other hand. had already been accomplished.requirements of the law in order to insure the authenticity of the will. i. To reiterate. Costs against petitioner. that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary. any other interpretation whatsoever. useless and frustrative of the testator's will. also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. the petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of respondent Court of Appeals dated 11 April 1986 is AFFIRMED. to avoid the substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends. to make known to the incapacitated testator the contents of the draft of his will. But. 18 to wit: The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud. Therefore the laws on the subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. must be disregarded (emphasis supplied). WHEREFORE.
On February 21. p. with their children. in all respects. CUNANAN. Malolos. Perez for petitioner. (Rollo. vs. He appointed his wife as executrix of his last will and testament and Dr.S.A. then it shall be presumed that he predeceased me. filed separate proceedings for the probate thereof with the Surrogate Court of the County of Onondaga. Dr. 31). 1982. and my estate shall be administered and distributed. 16. in Special Proceedings No. and Josephine. Rafael G. as trustee and substitute executor of the two wills. On January 9. petitioner. Dr. Syracuse. who became American citizens. on August 27. 18. 76714 June 2. Salud Teodoro Perez. 1986 of the Regional Trial Court. the mother of Dr. Cunanan executed a last will and testament. and petitioner herein. II Dr. ZOTICO A. bequeathing to his wife "all the remainder" of his real and personal property at the time of his death "wheresoever situated" (Rollo. and petitioner herein. and I shall die under such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to determine the order of our deaths. RTC. filed with the Regional Trial Court. p. Cunanan and his entire family perished when they were trapped by fire that gutted their home. Bulacan a petition for the reprobate of the two bills ancillary to the probate proceedings in New York. Branch 18. Rafael G. Librojo for private respondents. Tolete. DE PEREZ. and I shall die under such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to determine the order of our deaths. Cunanan and his wife. Cunanan. 41). Jr. JOSE F. Jose F. HON. In the event he would survive his wife. On August 23. Cunanan. as substitute executor. 1793-M. in accordance with such presumption (Rollo. established a successful medical practice in New York. Benedicto T. trustee. Cunanan. Dr. Four days later. these two wills were admitted to probate and letters testamentary were issued in his favor. Cunanan. The Cunanans lived at No. as . Cunanan. New York. Branch 18. Dr. 1983. Rafael G. TOLETE in his capacity as Presiding Judge.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court to set aside the Order dated November 19. Article VIII of his will states: If my wife. Jacqueline. Jr. 14. in accordance with such presumption. New York. She also asked that she be QUIASON. Thereafter. Jr. he bequeathed all his property to his children and grandchildren with Dr. then it shall be presumed that I predeceased her. U. Cunanan executed her own last will and testament containing the same provisions as that of the will of her husband. respondent. 1994 SALUD TEODORO VDA. Pompey. Jocelyn. Dr. Bulacan. and my estate shall be administered and distributed in all respects.HEIRS G. p. We grant the petition.R. J. Article VIII of her will states: If my husband. Natividad T. Evelyn P. 1979. On April 7. EVELYN PEREZ-CUNANAN. No. Bulacan presided by respondent Judge Zotico A. Evelyn P. 35). Evelyn Perez-Cunanan. filed with the Regional P. 2896 Citation Drive.
had. it was presumed that the husband predeceased the wife.85. stating that said company had delivered to petitioner the amount of P49. Cunanan and Dr. 1983. Dr. Atty. the probate court granted petitioner's motion of May 19. Jose F. Felipe F. and the Family Savings Bank time deposit certificates in the total amount of P12. and produced "effects in this jurisdiction in accordance with Art." they should be notified of the proceedings (Records. (4) that Dr. 1983. 1983. petitioner as special administratrix of the estates of Dr. Dr.appointed the special administratrix of the estate of the deceased couple consisting primarily of a farm land in San Miguel. Cunanan. Sr. He prayed for deferment of the hearing on the motions of May 19. 816 of the Civil Code". Rafael Cunanan.000. 1983. (2) that the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix be set . Jr. Rafael Cunanan. issued an order. Jr. 1983. In a motion dated May 19.000.00 bond. Cunanan" and therefore. representing the proceeds of the life insurance policy of Dr. Bulacan. Cunanan" (Records.765.. Jose F. praying that the Philippine Life Insurance Company be directed to deliver the proceeds in the amount of P50. being American citizens. by virtue of a verified power of attorney. On March 9. Jose F. Rafael Cunanan. Cunanan. they had been "deliberately excluded" in the petition for the probate of the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses thereby misleading the Bulacan court to believe that petitioner was the sole heir of the spouses. Rafael G. The following day. As her first act of administration. Sr. on July 21. Jose F. (3) that the "misrepresentation and concealment committed by" petitioner rendered her unfit to be a special administratrix. Cunanan and Loreto Cunanan Concepcion (Cunanan heirs). Evelyn Perez-Cunanan. On May 31. or to disqualify. be ordered to deliver to her a Philippine Trust Company passbook with P25. Counsel for the Philippine American Life Insurance Company then filed a manifestation. heirs as heirship is only by institution" under a will or by operation of the law of New York (Records. the Cunanan heirs filed a motion to nullify the proceedings and to set aside the appointment of. the executor of the estate of the Cunanan spouses. much less. petitioner filed a motion.52. (3) that under Article VIII of the two wills. Priscilla Cunanan Bautista. namely. Federico Alday filed a notice of appearance as counsel for the heirs of Dr. He also manifested that before receiving petitioner's motion of May 19. Jose F. Cunanan. they prayed: (1) that the proceedings in the case be declared null and void. they had "no legal or proprietary interests to protect" and "no right to intervene".412. and (5) that Dr. is qualified to be a regular administrator "as practically all of the subject estate in the Philippines belongs to their brother. presided by Judge Gualberto J. (2) that the wills of Dr. "in the interest of simple fair play. pp. were executed in accordance with the solemnities and formalities of New York laws. Dr. 110). 118-122). Rafael Cunanan. Cunanan and Dr. p. However. the Regional Trial Court. to be his attorney-in-fact.00 of the life insurance policy taken by Dr. 16 in relation to Art. stating that said company then filed a manifestation. Bulacan. was likewise not notified of the hearings in the Bulacan court. Cunanan with Dr. Branch 16. Jose F. asserting: (1) that the "Cunanan collaterals are neither heirs nor creditors of the late Dr. Jose F. Rafael G. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan and their daughter Jocelyn as beneficiaries. directing the issuance of letters of special administration in favor of petitioner upon her filing of a P10. de la Llana. Cunanan. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan. Sr. petitioner asked that Dr. pp. his clients were unaware of the filing of the testate estate case and therefore.00 in savings deposit. Lydia Cunanan Ignacio. legatees or beneficiaries. Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court. Cunanan. Sr. Jose F. authorized his father.. On June 23. The motion stated: (1) that being the "brothers and sisters and the legal and surviving heirs" of Dr. that such "misrepresentation" deprived them of their right to "due process in violation of Section 4.594. Malolos. The trial court granted the motion.. Petitioner then filed a counter manifestation dated June 13. and (4) that "the Cunanan collaterals are neither distributees. 112-113). petitioner posted the bond and took her oath as special administration. (2) that Dr. Hence.
had unlawfully disbursed $215. (2) that petitioner be disqualified as special administratrix. petitioner asserted: (1) that she was the "sole and only heir" of her daughter. Rafael G. he noted. p. the Cunanan heirs filed a motion requiring petitioner to submit an inventory or accounting of all monies received by her in trust for the estate. Rafael G. because his name was prominently mentioned not only in the two wills but also in the decrees of the American surrogate court. p. Cunanan. She also alleged that she had impugned the agreement of November 24. 242). recalling the appointment of petitioner as special administratrix. The Cunanans heirs opposed this motion and filed a manifestation. petitioner moved for the suspension of the proceedings as she had "to attend to the settlement proceedings" of the estate of the Cunanan spouses in New York (Records. (3) that she be ordered to submit an inventory of all goods. executors. Cunanan.00 to the Cunanan heirs. Cunanan. 1983. and (5) that Dr. Cunanan’s executor to be then distributed pursuant to EPTL4-1. 231). However. Rafael G.aside. Jr. (3) that the rule applicable to the case is Rule 77. 151-160).000. the Cunanan heirs replied that petitioner was estopped from claiming that they were heirs by the agreement to divide equally the estates. disallowing the reprobate of the two wills. 184-185). Judge de la Llana reasoned out that petitioner failed to prove the law of New York on procedure and allowance of wills and the court had no way of telling whether the wills were executed in accordance with the law of New York. be appointed the regular administrator of the estate of the deceased spouses. (4) that even if the Bulacan estate came from the "capital" of Dr. he had willed all his worldly goods to his wife and nothing to his brothers and sisters. Dr. misappropriated $15. Petitioner filed a rejoinder. 4 and 5 of Rule 76 on the requirement of notice to all heirs. Cunanan. Sr. stating that petitioner had received $215. by the same provision. p. Petitioner asked that Dr.1 subd [a] par " (Rollo." and that under Section 2 of Rule 77 the "court shall fix a time and place for the hearing and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original will presented for allowance" (Records. pp. stating that in violation of the April 13. requiring the submission of petitioner of an inventory of the property received by her as special administratrix and declaring all pending incidents moot and academic. Sr. because it involved the allowance of wills proved outside of the Philippines and that nowhere in Section 2 of Rule 77 is there a mention of notice being given to the executor who. Rafael G. 1983 decision of the American court Dr. Jose F. 1982 (Records. be cited for contempt of court for failure to comply with the Order of June 23. the Cunanan heirs stressed that on November 24. 1982 before the Surrogate Court of Onondaga.000. (2) that she could not have "concealed" the name and address of Dr. Rafael Cunanan. New York which rendered a decision on April 13. the presumption is that the law of succession of the foreign country is the same as the law of the Philippines. In the absence of such evidence. be appointed the regular administrator. 248). In their reply. not Rule 76. 52). and (3) that Dr. They asserted that by virtue of Section 2 of Rule 77 of the Rules of Court. should himself file the necessary ancillary proceedings in this country. chattels and monies which she had received and to surrender the same to the court. 1982" (Records. On February 21. 1983 and for appropriating money of the estate for his own benefit.000. that there were only two witnesses to . made "unauthorized disbursements from the estates as early as July 7. 1982. 1984. They reiterated their prayer: (1) that the proceedings in the case be nullified. p. devisees and legatees must be complied with. the provisions of Sections 3. Cunanan. finding that "all assets are payable to Dr. pp. and (4) that Dr. Rafael Cunanan.00 "from the Surrogate’s Court as part of legacy" based on the aforesaid agreement of November 24. Judge de la Llana issued an order.00 for himself and irregularly assigned assets of the estates to his American lawyer (Records. petitioner and the Cunanan heirs had entered into an agreement in the United States "to settle and divide equally the estates. Jr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan to the exclusion of the "Cunanan collaterals". Thereafter. Jr. Evelyn P. Thereafter. In her opposition. On their part. Jr. hence they were complete strangers to the proceedings and were not entitled to notice.
After the hearing of the motion on April 25. . the Cunanans heirs filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order of August 19. without waiting for petitioner to adduce the additional evidence. . On April 30.A. 302). 1985. Three days later. On August 12. Judge de la Llana issued another order.the wills of the Cunanan spouses and the Philippine law requires three witnesses and that the wills were not signed on each and every page. 1986 that he found "no compelling reason to disturb its ruling of March 31. respondent Judge granted the motion and reconsidered the Order of April 30. pp. New Jersey. and that proceedings were held on a foreign tribunal and proofs taken by a competent judge who inquired into all the facts and circumstances and being satisfied with his findings issued a decree admitting to probate the wills in question. filed a motion praying that since petitioner was ailing in Fort Lee. 381). Contending that the second portion of the second order left its finality to the discretion of counsel for petitioner. 1986. the Cunanans filed a motion for the reconsideration of the objectionable portion of the said order so that it would conform with the pertinent provisions of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 and the Interim Rules of Court. respondent Judge issued an order wherein he conceded that insufficiency of evidence to prove the foreign law was not a fatal defect and was curable by adducing additional evidence. petitioner filed a motion praying for the reconsideration of the Order of April 30. respondent Judge to which the case was reassigned denied the motion for reconsideration holding that the documents submitted by petitioner proved "that the wills of the testator domiciled abroad were properly executed. p. On March 31. . He granted petitioner 45 days to submit the evidence to that effect. she (the counsel) should be named substitute special administratrix.S. 1984. issued an order stating that "(W)hen the last will and testament . a requirement of the Philippine law. 1985. petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order dated February 21. respondent Judge ruled in his order dated June 20. who happens to be her daughter. 1984. petitioner filed a motion to resume proceedings on account of the final settlement and termination of the probate cases in New York. alleging that respondent Judge "failed to appreciate the significant probative value of the exhibits . closed (Records. and therefore incapacitated to act as special administratrix. On April 9. counsel for petitioner. which all refer to the offer and admission to probate of the last wills of the Cunanan spouses including all procedures undertaken and decrees issued in connection with the said probate" (Records. that letters testamentary were issued. where she had sufficiently proven the applicable laws of New York governing the execution of last wills and testaments. It considered the proceedings for all intents and purposes. Natividad. 1986. genuine and sufficient to possess real and personal property. 1984 Order granting her a period of 15 days upon arrival in the country within which to act on the denial of probate of the wills of the Cunanan spouses. She also filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of February 21. to which the reprobate case was reassigned. Malolos. the respondent Judge of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court. Thereafter. However. On August 19. On August 27. 1985 on the strength of the February 21. petitioner filed a motion to allow her to present further evidence on the foreign law. On August 29. 313-323). 1984 Order by requiring petitioner to turn over to the estate the inventoried property. On the same day. denying probate to the wills of the Cunanan spouses." the case was terminated and therefore all orders theretofore issued should be given finality. 1985. ." However. denying the motion of petitioner for the suspension of the proceedings but gave her 15 days upon arrival in the country within which to act on the other order issued that same day. alleging lack of notice to their counsel. respondent Judge said that the documents did not establish the law of New York on the procedure and allowance of wills (Records. 1985. p. . was denied probate. The same Order amended the February 21. U. 1986.
She pointed out that separate proceedings for the wills of the spouses which contain basically the same provisions as they even named each other as a beneficiary in their respective wills. p. On September 11. p. p. 1986 prompted petitioner to file a second motion for reconsideration stating that she was "ready to submit further evidence on the law obtaining in the State of New York" and praying that she be granted "the opportunity to present evidence on what the law of the State of New York has on the probate and allowance of wills" (Records. 57 Phil. petitioner stated that she had furnished a copy of the motion to the counsel of the Cunanan heirs and reiterated her motion for a "final ruling on her supplemental motion" (Records. (b) two certifications from the Secretary of State of New York and Custodian of the Great Seal on the facts that Judge Bernard L. "F-2" and "G-2"). arguing that the evidence offered at the hearing of April 11. 393). "F-3". pp. (d) the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs. petitioner instituted the instant petition. just and speedy determination of the proceedings" (Records. 421). but respondent Judge found that this pleading had been filed out of time and that the adverse party had not been furnished with a copy thereof. p. p. (c) two certificates of Judge Reagan and Chief Clerk Donald E. 405-407). 1986. respondent Judge denied the motion holding that to allow the probate of two wills in a single proceeding "would be a departure from the typical and established mode of probate where one petition takes care of one will. On November 19. 1983 sufficiently proved the laws of the State of New York on the allowance of wills. denying the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner on the grounds that "the probate of separate wills of two or more different persons even if they are husband and wife cannot be undertaken in a single petition" (Records. and that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses need not be probated in separate proceedings. On July 18. 1986. 411). petitioner filed a supplement to the motion for reconsideration. citing Section 3. Reagan is the Surrogate of the Country of Onondaga which is a court of record. that his signature and seal of office are genuine. On August 13. citing Benigno v. petitioner filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order of July 18. they were dealt with in separate proceedings" (Records. "F-1" and "G-1"). De La Peña. 395). would go against "the grain of inexpensive. 1986. In her compliance. The Order dated June 20. 391). II Petitioner contends that the following pieces of evidence she had submitted before respondent Judge are sufficient to warrant the allowance of the wills: (a) two certificates of authentication of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose by the Consulate General of the Philippines (Exhs. 305 (1932) (Records. which provides that no party may institute more than one suit for a single cause of action. respondent Judge issued an order. "F" and "G"). ." He pointed out that even in New York "where the wills in question were first submitted for probate. "F-6" and Exh. 1982 (Exhs. and that the Surrogate is duly authorized to grant copy of the respective wills of Evelyn and Jose (Exhs.1986" but allowed petitioner to "file anew the appropriate probate proceedings for each of the testator" (Records. "G-3" — "G-6"). Hence. Moore stating that they have in their records and files the said wills which were recorded on April 7. Rule 2 of the Rules of Court. pp. 376-378).
proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is imperative. 1983 and that the proceedings were terminated on November 29. Petitioner adds that the wills had been admitted to probate in the Surrogate Court’s Decision of April 13. (g) certifications from the Secretary of State that Judge Reagan is duly authorized to grant exemplified copies of the decree of probate. and (l) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk on the genuineness and authenticity of each other’s signatures in the exemplified copies of the decrees of probate.(e) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk certifying to the genuineness and authenticity of the exemplified copies of the two wills (Exhs. "H-5" and "I-5"). "H" and "F"). "H-1" and "I-1"). The necessity of presenting evidence on the foreign laws upon which the probate in the foreign country is based is impelled by the fact that our courts cannot take judicial notice of them (Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v. 13-16). "H-2" and "I-2"). "H4" and "I-5"). who were American citizens. The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed by the law of the place in which he resides. Cunanan (Exhs. Fluemer v. The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have been probated outside of the Philippines are as follows: (1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign laws. Suntay. (i) certification to the effect that it was during the term of Judge Reagan that a decree admitting the wills to probate had been issued and appointing Rafael G. or according to the formalities observed in his country. 500 . "F-7" and "F7"). The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses. 1970 ed. pp. letters testamentary and proceedings held in their court (Exhs. (j) the decrees on probate of the two wills specifying that proceedings were held and proofs duly taken (Exhs. (3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country. pp. genuine and valid and that the said instruments were admitted to probate and established as wills valid to pass real and personal property (Exhs. letters testamentary and all proceedings had and proofs duly taken (Exhs. 419-429. 816. 56 SCRA 266 ). Suntay v. (h) certificates of Judge Reagan and the Chief Clerk that letters testamentary were issued to Rafael G. Except for the first and last requirements. 95 Phil. Thus. Hix. and (5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of wills (III Moran Commentaries on the Rules of Court.. Escolin. (k) decrees on probate of the two wills stating that they were properly executed. Cunanan as alternate executor (Exhs. (2) the testator has his domicile in the foreign country and not in the Philippines. will only be effective in this country upon compliance with the following provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines: Art. (4) the fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court. or in conformity with those which this Code prescribes. 1984. 54 Phil. "H-3" and "I-10"). 610 ). the petitioner submitted all the needed evidence. (f) two certificates of authentication from the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York (Exh. "H-6" and "I-6") (Rollo. .
Respondent Judge’s view that the Rules on allowance of wills is couched in singular terms and therefore should be interpreted to mean that there should be separate probate proceedings for the wills of the Cunanan spouses is too literal and simplistic an approach. " WHEREFORE. Jose F. which require publication and notice by mail or personally to the "known heirs. Cunanan. Jose F. and devisees of the testator resident in the Philippines" and to the executor. even in the instant petition. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the Revised Rules of Court. 129 SCRA 33 ). 215 SCRA 876 ). she noticeably failed to notify his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of Court. if he is not the petitioner. In the case at bench. Leonidas. . . legatees. Such view overlooks the provisions of Section 2. . Article 818). The rule that the court having jurisdiction over the reprobate of a will shall "cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original will presented for allowance" (Revised Rules of Court. This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on a very glaring fact — petitioner has always considered herself the sole heir of Dr. it will always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of future litigation (Motoomull v. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. . 81 SCRA 393 ). Rule 27. 187 SCRA 743 ). SO ORDERED. are entitled to notices of the time and place for proving the wills. the will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an "original will" or a will that is presented for probate for the first time. Court of Appeals. Respondent Judge shall allow petitioner reasonable time within which to submit evidence needed for the joint probate of the wills of the Cunanan spouses and see to it that the brothers and sisters of Dr. Cunanan. practical considerations dictate their joint probate. Since the two wills contain essentially the same provisions and pertain to property which in all probability are conjugal in nature. Roberts v. speedy. Solicitor General. Dela Paz. Cunanan are given all notices and copies of all pleadings pertinent to the probate proceedings. the Cunanan spouses executed separate wills. The brothers and sisters of Dr. Thus. What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either for the testator’s reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person (Civil Code of the Philippines. As this Court has held a number of times. contrary to petitioner's claim. Intermediate Appellate Court. are required. and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Jose F. the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. 155 SCRA 100 .Petitioner must have perceived this omission as in fact she moved for more time to submit the pertinent procedural and substantive New York laws but which request respondent Judge just glossed over. which advise that the rules shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just. Accordingly. forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal party (Calderon v. the goal is to receive the best evidence of which the matter is susceptible before a purported will is probated or denied probate (Vda. de Ramos v. While the probate of a will is a special proceeding wherein courts should relax the rules on evidence. Section 2) means that with regard to notices. the "court shall also cause copies of the notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will to be addressed to the designated or other known heirs. compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76. and devisees of the testator. she only impleaded respondent Judge. There is merit in petitioner’s insistence that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly. legatees." A literal application of the Rules should be avoided if they would only result in the delay in the administration of justice (Acain v.
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