You are on page 1of 24

G.R. No.

L-14474

October 31, 1960

ONESIMA D. BELEN, petitioner-appellant, vs. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS and MILAGROS BELEN DE OLAGUERA, oppositorsappellees. E. A. E. P. R. F. Aviado for Trustee Bank. REYES, J.B.L., J.: Appeal from an order, dated May 23, 1958 of the Court of First Instance of Manila in Special Proceedings No. 9226, denying appellant's petition therein as hereafter discussed. Briefly, the facts and circumstances that brought about this present appeal may be narrated as follows: Benigno Diaz executed a codicil on September 29, 1944, the pertinent provisions of which read: 9.0 — En caso de muerte de alguno o de todos los legatarios nom brados por mi, seran beneficiarios o sea parasan los legados a favor solamente de los descendientes y ascendientes legitimos, pero no a los viudos conyuges. 10.0 — Transcurridos diez o quince años despues de mi muerte todas mispropiedades, muebles o inmuebles, derechos y ventajosos, pueden proceder a la venta de todos dando preferencia a los legatarios y de su importe total se deduciran mil pesos (P1,000) para los cuartrohijos de mi difunto hermano Fabian, todos los gastos y reservando una cantidad suficiente y bein calcumada para sufrugar se distriburia a las siguientes personas que aun vuiven, o a sus descendientes legitimos: A Isabel M. de Santiago — cincuente Los hijos de Domingo Legarda — treinta Filomena Diaz — diez por Nestor M. Santiago — diez por ciento (10%) por ciento por ciente ciento (50%) (30%) (10%) Beltran Villar for for appellant. appellees.

On November 7, 1944, Benigno Diaz died; and the aforesaid codicil, together with the will, was admitted to probate in Special Proceedings No. 894 of the same Court of First Instance of Manila. The proceedings for the administration of the estate of Benigno Diaz were closed in 1950 and the estate was thereafter put under the administration of the appellee Bank of the Philippine Islands, as trustee for the benefit of the legatees. Filomena Diaz died on February 8, 1954, leaving two legitimate children, Milagros Belen de Olsguera, married, with seven (7) legitimate children, and Onesima D. Belen, single. On March 19, 1958, Onesima D. Belen filed a petition in Special Proceedings No. 9226, contending that the amount that would have appertained to Filomena Diaz under the codicil should now be divided(equally) only between herself and Milagros Belen de Olaguera, as the surviving children of the said deceased, to the exclusion, in other words, of the seven (7) legitimate children of Milagros Belen de Olaguera. The court, in its order on May 23, 1958 denied, as initially pointed out Onesima's petition. More specifically, the court said:

After due consideration of the petition filed by Onesima D. Belen on March 19, 1958, wherein it is prayed that the trustee Bank of the Philippine Island be directed to deliver to her "one-half of whatever share is due to the deceased Filomena Diaz as legatee in the will and codicil of the deceased testator Benigno Diaz y Heredia, subject of trusteeship in these proceedings," this Court of the resolution of September 28, 1959, in which resolution the following was declared: "That the share of Filomena Diaz in the residue of the proceeds of the sale of the properties covered in paragraph 10 of the codicil aforesaid does not and should not from part of her estate; it pertains to her legitimate descendants; and "That the aforesaid share of Filomena Diaz should be distributed not only between her children, Milagros Belen de Olaguera and Onesima D. Belen, but also among her other legitimate descendants, if any, for descendientes include not only children but also grandchildren, etc., and in this connection. it is not amiss to observe that one may be a descendant and not yet not be an heir, and vice versa, one may be an heir and yet not be a descendant. From this order Onesima D. Belen has appealed to this Court, insisting that (1) the Court below was in error in holding that its former resolution of September 16, 1955 had been affirmed by our decision of February 28, 1958 in the case of Arguelles vs. Belen de Olaguera, G.R. No. L-10164 Feb. 28, 1958; and (2) that the term "sus descendeintes legitimos," as used in the codicil, should be interpreted to mean descendants nearest in the degree to the original legatee Filomena Diaz. In the present case, they are her two daughters (Milagros and Onesima Belen), thereby excluding the seven grandchildren of said legatee. As to her first point, the appellant is the correct ion her view that the trial court's interpretation of clause 10 of the codicil to the will of Benigno Diaz has not been affirmed in our previous decision (G.R. No. L-10164). Perusal of that judgment will show that this Court left the issue open at the time, contenting itself with pointing out that the then appellant Administrator of the estate of Folimena Diaz was not the proper party to the raise the particular issue. As the actual meaning of the provision — El restro se distribuira a las siguientes personas que aun viven, o a sus descendientes legitimos, it is undeniable that but this cluase the testator ordained a simple substitution ( sustitucion vulgar) with a plurality of substitutes for each legatee. This form of substitution authorized by the first poart of Article 860 of the Civil Code (Art. 778 of the Code of 1889): Two or more persons may be substituted for one and one person for two or more heirs. The issue is now squarely before us : do the words "sus descendientes legitimos" refer conjointly to all living descendant (children and grandchildren) of the legatee, as a class; or they refer to the descendants nearest in degree? Appellant Onesima Belen contends that the phrase should be taken to mean the relatives nearest in degree to Filomena Diaz; and that the legacy should be therefore divided equally between her and her sister Milagros Belen de Olaguera, to the exclusion of the latter's sons and daughters, grand children of the original legatee, Filomena Diaz. As authority in support of her thesis, appellant invokes Article 959 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (reproducing ne varieter Article 751 of the Code of 1889):

13. al que se presume que en todo lo demas quiso atemperase. en tanto que l asegunda se basa exclusivamente en la voluntad del testador. como su incapacidad. no tiene cabida en la sucesion testamentaria. debe "observarse el orden de la sucesion legitima. in order to benefit the relatives closest to him. en el parentesco con su consiguiente atributo de linea y grado. 72).. Y el maestro DE DIEGO. habria de ajustarse mas a ligadas al mismo (testador) por los vinculos de la sanger y de la familia (6 Manresa. as Manresa observes. en la doctrina española es opinion general que el derecho de representacion. es repelida por la testada. cit. in his monograph "El derecho de representacion y mecanimos jurididos afines en la sucesion testamentaria" (Reus. Asi. But the ratios legis (that among a testator's relative the closest are dearest) obviously does not supply where the beneficiaries are relatives of another person (the legatee) and noot of the testator . es evidente que no hay terminos habiles para el derecho de representacion: los llamamientos son individuales y la premoriencia del instituido. lo establece la doctrina cientifica en Portugal y en la Argentina y lo ha sancionado la jurisprudencia en Cuba. se entiende hecha en favor . Says Castan (op. Should Article 959 (old Art. atraida por la herencia legitima. 7th Ed.A distribution made in general terms in favor of the testator's relatives shall be understood as made in favor of those nearest in degree. no tiene lugar mas que en la sucesion intestada. nor can it be said that his affections would prefer the nearest relatives of the legatee to those more distant. como razon de ello. 1942). elemento diverso. En igual sentido. en la orderen legal. aunque haya ex excepciones. as recognized by the principal commentators on the Code of 1889. 14. cuando menos en principio. the law assumes that the testator intended to refer to the rules of intestacy. says on this question (Pp. 751) be applied by anology? There are various reasons against this. — la razon y la logica ha cen fundadamente suponer que.. 15): En el subgrupo ibericio de Europia y America predomina. al procurar este favorecer a sus parientes. piensa que como el titulo de la sucesion testada es de origen voluntario y caracter personalismo. not those of the legatee. Castan. Comm. Poe ello. aniquilan la institucion. al de la naturaleza o de la sandre". The most important one is that under this article. for he precisely made a testament and provided substitutes for each legatee. p. 562 Proyecto de 1851 quedo redactadso asi: "La disposicion hecha simple y generalmente a favor de los parientes del testador. dentro del Codigo civil. In such an event. since he envisages all of them in a group. MUCIUS SCAEVOLA juzga que la reopresentacion. y en la testamentaria en la parte refernte a las legitimas. la de que "la primera descansa en la ley de la sangre. There is no logical reason in this case to presume that the testator intended to refer to the rules of intestacy. el art. In the second place. the nearest of exclude all the farther relatives and right of representation does not operate. elementos propios o indispensabnles para la repretascion . 24): En nuestra Patria opino GARCIA GOYENA que debia tener a los parientos mas representacion aun cuando el testator llame abiertamente la voluntad del testador. and only as mere substitutes for a preferred beneficiary. the history of Article 751 (of the 1889 Code) shown that the right of representation wasdeliberately suppressed. The argument fails to note that this article is specifically limited in its application to the case where the beneficiaries are relatives of the testator. because. por ejemplo. y apunta. con orientacion anologa..

Los commentaristas convienen en que la supresion ha sido intencionada. ART. speaks of "cuatro hijos de mi difunto hermano Fabian" and of "los hijos de Domingo Legarda. distanciada de lo que exige la equidad y de lo que suelen establecer los Codiogos extranjeros. . xxx xxx xxx ART. we must declare that the testator had:. Observe that. a nuestro juicio. 982) and 1019. or to the same portion thereof. 1016. (a) Rejected. de Santiago. por lo tanto. or be incapacitated to receive it. Nestor Santiago and Isabel M. los de primer grado excluiran a los de segundo y asi sucesivamente. and (2) That one of the persons thus called die before the testator or renounce the inheritance. the inheritance would be limited to her children. The result would be that by applying to the descendants of Filorema Diaz the "nearest relatives" rule of Article 959. de representacion. the testator. and intended to replace such accretion with representation. In order that the right of accretion may take place in a testamentary succession. y por consiguiente el proposito del legaslador es que en esta clase de llamamientos no se da el derecho. 1019. or intended to reject. in referring to the substitutes of Filomena Diaz. This could hardly be the intention of the testator who. pro indiviso. Unquestionably. los autores del vigente Codigo han suprimido esta salvedad del Proyecto del 51. it shall be necessary: (1) That two or more persons be called to the same inheritance. was free to ordain that the more distant descendants should enjoy the right of representation as in intestate succession. con arreglo al tittulo siguiento".de los mas proximos en grado . in the selfsame clause 10 of his council (ante). Con poco acierto. to us indicating clearly that he understood well that hijos and descendientes are not synonymous terms. does not even use the description "sus hijos o descendientes. 915". the testator was at liberty to provide a series of successive substitutions in the order of proximity of relationship to the original legatee. La misma interpretacion dan al articulo de referencia NAVARRO AMANDI. or anyone of them. the rule of Article 846 (reproduced from Article 765 of the Code of 1889) providing that: Heirs instituted without designation of shares shall inherit in equal parts. (b) Refused. The heirs to whom the petition goes by the right of accretion take it in the same proportion that they inherit. Dice Manresa que el art. no a los parientes de mejor derecho. the right of accretion among co-heirs and co-legatees. toda vez que la art. It is suggested that "descendientes legitimos" could mean the nearest descendant but with the right of representation in favor of the more distant relatives." as well as of "descendientes legitimos" of the other legates." but only "descendientes". But to arrive at such conclusion. pero habra lugar al derecho de representacion con todos sus efectos. And he. 751 "tiene por favorecidos con tal institucion. SANCHEZ ROMAN y VALVERDE. likewise. MUCIUS SCAEVOLA. sino a los mas proximos en grado y. y con ello han instaurado una norma rigida. likewise. excluding the grandchildren altogether. as established for testamentary successions by Articles 10016 (old Art.

we deem expression "o a sus desecendientes legitimos. We conclude that in the absence of other indications of contrary intent. gives rise to succession per capita or per stripes. means all persons descending lineally from another. in case of a gift or conveyance to descendants or issue. has been frequently considered and decided by the Court of England and the United States. when the right of accretion does not take place. . 871. children take concurrently with their parents. The socalled English rule has been adhered to in New York..which would not obtain if the right of representation were to apply. But without any other supporting circumstances. even though their parents are living. and Tenessee. yet she has not done so. the Supreme Court of Illinois said. (c) Rejected finally the rule of Article 1022 (old Art. The order appealed from is affirmed. intended all members thereof to succeed per capita. So that the original legacy to Filomena Diaz should be equally divided among her surviving children and grandchidren. in consonance with article 846. et al.. and in default of these two. 986). the testator's intention being the cardinal rule of succession in the absence of compulsory (forced) heirs. that vacancies in the free part should be filed according to the rules of accretion or substitution (not representation). shall pass to the legal heirs of the testator. he could have rendered inoperative all the articles mentioned. Maine. the proper rule to apply in the instant case is that the testator. to the remotest degree. On the other hand. It is interesting to note that even under the Anglo-Saxon doctrine. with costs to the appellant. ultimately inherited by the testator's own heirs intestate: ART. children do not take currently with their parents. who shall receive it with the same charges and obligations. and that such descendants take per capita stripes. . by designating a class or group of legatees. if he had so desired. They established rule in England from an early date was that the word "descendants" or the word "issued" unexplained by anything in the context of the instrument. and includes persons descended. vs. if no substitute has been designated. . There is no doubt that. the courts are divided on the question whether a bequest to "relatives" or "issue. the courts of Massachusetts. 1022. It was incumbent upon appellant to prove such intention on the part of the testator. InWyeth. ." made in general terms. New Jersey.E." the testator Benigno Diaz did intend to circumvent all the legal provisions heretofore quoted. The courts of this country are divided on the question of whether in case of a gift or conveyance to "descendants" or "issue". Crane. In testamentary succession. Rhode Island and South Carolina have held that. The meaning of the word "descendants". when used in a will or deed to designate a class to take property passing by the will or deed. the vacant portion of the instituted heirs. unexplained by anything in the context of instrument. 174 N.

now deceased. who is survived by three daughters called Maria Salud. issued had by our deceased after Don Daniel Uson with one Leonarda Fernandez. unmarried. Maria Amparo. MORELAND. Second. Maria Romualda Uson. and Maria Asuncion. unmarried. share and share alike. We are of the opinion that the appellants' contention is well founded. ASUNCION NABLE JOSE. married to Don Vicente Puson. We see no words appellants in the clauses quoted which lead necessarily to the construction placed upon those paragraphs by the learned court below. referred to in my said testament. who has left tow daughters called Maria Rosario. and Maria Pilar Uson. Ramon Salinas Pedro M. I declare to be my sisters in lawful wedlock the persons named Doña Antonia Uson. each one. in case all or part of said property exists at my husband's death. The court below found that the children of the deceased sisters should take only that portion which their respective mothers would have taken if they been alive at the time the will was made. The question involved in this appeal arises from the interpretation of the first and second clauses of a codicil to the will of Filomena Uson. and Maria Paz.. we find expressions which seem to indicate with fair clearness that it was the intention of the testatrix to divide her property equally between her sisters and nieces.sixth to be divided among said children equally. who left three . Ignacia Uson. that each living sister should take one-sixth. MARIA IGNACIA USON. 1914 ET AL. widow. now deceased.a Sison for appellees. ET AL. so that they may have and enjoy it in equal parts as good sisters and relatives. and the children of each deceased sister should also take one-sixth. No.EN BANC G. defendants-appellees. plaintiff-appellants.R.. On the other hand. This appeal is taken from the judgment entered upon that finding.: for appellants. it is my will that at his death my sisters and nieces hereinafter named succeed him as heirs. Don Rafael Sison. They read as follows: First. appellants asserting that under a proper construction of the paragraphs of the codicil above-quoted the property should be divided equally between the living sisters and the children of the deceased sisters. alias Andao de Lingayen. L-8927 March 10. shall be the property of my aforesaid husband. Maria Manaoag Uson. J. Eufemia Uson. that the property should be divided into six equal parts corresponding to the number of sisters. The court below based its construction upon the theory that the other construction would be "an admission that the testatrix desired to favor her deceased sister Eufemia Uson. widow of Estanislao Lengson. I declare that all the property which belongs to me as conjugal property. a niece taking the same share that a sister receives. vs.

In the third place. so clear in fact that it is unnecessary to bring in extraneous arguments to reach a conclusion as to what she intended. Among them we find the names of the nieces as well as of the sisters. . The nieces are referred to in no way different from the sisters. declares that after her husband's death she desires that "my sisters and nieces. we note. Among those mentioned specially are the nieces as well as the sisters. more than her other deceased sister Antonia Uson. No costs in this instance. in the second place. That being so. that the testatrix. the living sisters and the children of the deceased sisters shall take per capita and in equal parts. of the property passing under the codicil herein above referred to.children. it seems to us. is decisive of the intention of the testatrix. shall succeed him as heirs. it appears to us that the testatrix's intention is fairly clear. in the first paragraph thereof. the last clause of the second paragraph of the codicil which. in each one of the persons whom she desires shall succeed her husband in the property. one of whom was married at the time of the execution of the said codicil and without doubt had children. in the second paragraph of the codicil. taken together with the last clause of the first paragraph of the codicil. The judgment appealed from is hereby modified by declaring that. that the testatrix." We note. as hereinafter named. who left two children. names and identifies each one of her heirs then living. with interest. first. In the last clause she says that she names all of the persons whom she desires to take under her will be name "so that they must take and enjoy the property in equal parts as good sisters and relatives. We have also the final declaration of the testatrix that she desires that the sisters and the nieces shall take and enjoy the property in equal parts. and moreover both would be more favored than any of the other four surviving sisters. and as so modified the judgment is affirmed. Each one stands out in the second paragraph of the codicil as clearly as the other and under exactly the same conditions." As we look at the codicil we observe." We have then in the first paragraph a declaration as to who the testatrix desires shall become the owners of her property on the death of her husband.

Villareal. De los Santos and De los Santos for respondent Perfecto Cruz. dismissed and the probate of the will allowed after due hearing. J. ALBERTO CRUZ and LUZ CRUZ-SALONGA respondents. CONSUELO AUSTRIA-BENTA and LAURO AUSTRIA MOZO. of her last will and testament. Sicat and Associates for petitioners. Navarra and Amores for other respondents. This opposition was. ANDRES REYES. Isagani Cruz. ante mortem. like the petitioner. Judge. de Cruz filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Special Proceedings 2457) a petition for probate. and still others who. The bulk of the estate of Basilia. Ruben Austria for himself and co-petitioners. The respondent Perfecto Cruz was appointed executor without bond by the same court in accordance with . 1959.: On July 7. more than two years after her will was allowed to probate. Court of First Instance of Rizal. 1956 Basilia Austria vda.R. was destined under the will to pass on to the respondents Perfecto Cruz. CASTRO. admittedly. Yap. De los Santos. HON. No. On April 23. vs. and Luz Cruz-Salonga. Salonga. Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Austria Mozo. L-23079 February 27. however. Basilia died. Alberto Cruz. petitioners. Benita Cruz-Meñez. all of whom had been assumed and declared by Basilia as her own legally adopted children.G. BENITA CRUZ-MENEZ ISAGANI CRUZ. The probate was opposed by the present petitioners Ruben Austria. Almacen. PERFECTO CRUZ. 1970 RUBEN AUSTRIA. are nephews and nieces of Basilia. Ordoñez.

] dated November 5. and obtained written depositions from two of them denying any knowledge of the pertinent adoption proceedings. the respondent Benita Cruz-Meñez who entered an appearance separately from that of her brother Perfecto Cruz. 1959. The petitioners Ruben Austria. managed to obtain a preliminary opinion from a Constabulary questioned-document examiner whose views undermine the authenticity of the said documents. 1963. however.. thus moved the lower court to refer the adoption papers to the Philippine Constabulary for further study. more than three years after they were allowed to intervene. the contending sides debated the matter of authenticity or lack of it of the several adoption papers produced and presented by the respondents. Both sides subsequently submitted their respective memoranda. 1963 the same court denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Austria Mozo. the lower court issued an order on June 4. 1963. et al. The petitioners likewise located former personnel of the court which appeared to have granted the questioned adoption. 1963 a motion asking the lower court. to properties not disposed of in the will of the decedent. delimiting the petitioners' intervention to the properties of the deceased which were not disposed of in the will. had not in fact been adopted by the decedent in accordance with law. The petitioners moved the lower court to reconsider this latest order. et al. filed on February 28. the petitioners Ruben Austria. 1964. evidently dissatisfied with the results. On motion of the petitioners Ruben Austria. praying this Court to annul the orders of June 4 and October 25. let al. On October 25. Hence this petition for certiorari. report seems to bear out the genuineness of the documents. moved the lower court to set for hearing the matter of the genuineness of the adoption of the respondents Perfecto Cruz. and that the five respondents Perfecto Cruz. couched in broad terms.. et al. et al.. all restricting petitioners' intervention to properties that were not included in the decedent's testamentary dispositions. by way of alternative relief. 1963 and the order of April 21. the court a quo allowed the petitioners' intervention by its order of December 22. and finally.. notwithstanding the blocking attempt pursued by the petitioner Ruben Austria.. on November 5. eliciting thereby an opposition. from the respondents. as executor of the estate. to confine the petitioners' intervention. 1959 is hereby granted. On February 6. et al. On March 4. A second motion for reconsideration which set off a long exchange of memoranda from both sides. 1964. but the petitioners. The uncontested premises are clear.B. the lower court heard the respondent Benita's motion.the provisions of the decedent's will. was summarily denied on April 21.. in effect rendering these respondents mere strangers to the decedent and without any right to succeed as heirs. Arrayed on one side are the petitioners Ruben Austria. 1963.I. Before the date set by the court for hearing arrived. 1959. Notwithstanding opposition by the respondent Perfecto Cruz. N. should it be permitted. three of a number of nephews and nieces who are concededly the nearest . as follows: "The Petition in Intervention for Partition filed by the above-named oppositors [Ruben Austria. Two interests are locked in dispute over the bulk of the estate of the deceased. these documents were referred to the National Bureau of Investigation for examination and advice. the present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in intervention for partition alleging in substance that they are the nearest of kin of Basilia. Finally." In the meantime. by the late Basilia.

ay aking ipinamamana ang aking mga ari-ariang maiiwan. On the other side are the respondents brothers and sisters. upon the other hand. na pawang may apelyidong Cruz. Alberto Cruz and Luz Cruz-Salonga. At the heart of the controversy is Basilia's last will — immaculate in its extrinsic validity since it bears the imprimatur of duly conducted probate proceedings. article 850 of the Civil Code which reads: The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall be considered as not written. unless it appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of such cause. however. for to that extent intestate succession can take place and the question of the veracity of the adoption acquires relevance. Perfecto Cruz. The lower court must have assumed that since the petitioners nephews and niece are not compulsory heirs. The complaint in intervention filed in the lower court assails the legality of the tie which the respondent Perfecto Cruz and his brothers and sisters claim to have with the decedent. will nevertheless succeed not as compulsory heirs but as testamentary heirs instituted in Basilia's will. The petitioners nephews and niece. Coming closer to the center of the controversy. all of whom heirs in the will of the deceased Basilia. if any.. and all of whom claim kinship with the decedent by virtue of legal adoption. 842 of the Civil Code which reads: One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose of by will all his estate or any part of it in favor of any person having capacity to succeed. insist that the entire estate should descend to them by intestacy by reason of the intrinsic nullity of the institution of heirs embodied in the decedent's will. This ruling apparently finds support in article. Benita at Isagani. The petitioners' interest is confined to properties. the respondents Perfecto Cruz. One who has compulsory heirs may dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the provisions of this Code with regard to the legitime of said heirs. Alberto. The lower court had. even if the adoption in question were spurious. They have thus raised squarely the issue of whether or not such institution of heirs would retain efficacy in the event there exists proof that the adoption of the same heirs by the decedent is false. Luz. Benita Cruz-Meñez. that the validity or invalidity of the adoption is not material nor decisive on the efficacy of the institution of heirs. the petitioners have called the attention of the lower court and this Court to the following pertinent portions of the will of the deceased which recite: III Ang aking mga sapilitang tagapagmana (herederos forzosos) ay ang aking itinuturing na mga anak na tunay (Hijos legalmente adoptados) na sina Perfecto.surviving blood relatives of the decedent. as the controlling rule. assumed. et al. xxx xxx xxx Kung ako ay bawian ng Dios ng buhay. sa kaparaanang sumusunod: . The petitioners cite. Isagani Cruz. for. by its orders in question. that have not been disposed of in the will. they do not possess that interest which can be prejudiced by a free-wheeling testamentary disposition.

na namana ko sa aking yumaong ama na si Calixto Austria. et al. bilang kanilang sapilitang mana (legiti[ma]). she would not have instituted the respondents at all — the basis of the institution being solely her belief that they were compulsory heirs. Proof therefore of the falsity of the adoption would cause a nullity of the institution of heirs and the opening of the estate wide to intestacy. like the petitioners' own proposition. is mute on this point or at best is vague and uncertain. " sapilitang tagapagmana" (compulsory heirs) and "sapilitang mana" (legitime). na pawang may apelyidong Cruz. after an examination of the will.A. 1 ng parafo IV ng testamentong ito. ang kalahati (½) ng aking kaparti sa lahat ng aming ari-ariang gananciales ng aking yumaong asawang Pedro Cruz na napapaloob sa Actuacion Especial No. second. Alberto.—Aking ipinamamana sa aking nabanggit na limang anak na sina Perfecto. however. the cause for the institution of heirs must be stated in the will. is highly speculative of what was in the mind of the testatrix when she executed her will. that the testator clearly would not have made the institution if he had known the cause for it to be false. Now. et al. is a positive injunction to ignore whatever false cause the testator may have written in his will for the institution of heirs. gives rise to the inference that the late Basilia was deceived into believing that she was legally bound to bequeath one-half of her entire estate to the respondents Perfecto Cruz. If this were indeed what prompted the testatrix in instituting the respondents. Article 850 of the Civil Code. Luz. as the latter's legitime. solely because she believed that the law commanded her to do so. We cannot annul the same on the basis of guesswork or uncertain implications. Did the lower court then abuse its discretion or act in violation of the rights of the parties in barring the petitioners nephews and niece from registering their claim even to properties adjudicated by the decedent in her will? Before the institution of heirs may be annulled under article 850 of the Civil Code. Such institution may be annulled only when one is satisfied. And even if we should accept the petitioners' theory that the decedent instituted the respondents Perfecto Cruz. she did not make it known in her will. na aking namana sa yumao kong kapatid na si Fausto Austria. Rizal. quoted above. na parepareho ang kaparti ng bawa't isa at walang lamangan (en partes iguales). Her express adoption of the rules on legitimes should very well indicate her complete agreement with that statutory scheme. the petitioners argue. and third. The petitioners further contend that had the deceased known the adoption to be spurious. Bulacan. that the impelling reason or cause for the institution of the respondents was the testatrix's belief that under the law she could not do otherwise. on the false assumption that her adoption of these respondents was valid. the cause must be shown to be false. The petitioners would have us imply. it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had known the falsity of the cause. Benita at Isagani. One fact prevails. ang kalahati (½) ng mga lagay na lupa at palaisdaan na nasa Obando at Polo. Surely if she was aware that succession to the legitime takes place by operation of law. "mga sapilitang tagapagmana" and "sapilitang mana. still such institution must stand. and it is that the decedent's will does not state in a specific or unequivocal manner the cause for such institution of heirs. 640 ng Hukumang Unang Dulugan ng Rizal at itinutukoy sa No. which alone should provide the answer. from the use of the terms. The phrases. would the late Basilia have caused the revocation of the institution of heirs if she had known that she was mistaken in treating these heirs as her legally adopted children? Or would she have instituted them nonetheless? The decedent's will. the following requisites must concur: First. But even this. she would not have found it convenient to name her supposed compulsory heirs to their legitimes. Malabon. The tenor of the language used. at ang kalahati (½) ng ilang lagay na lupa na nasa Tinejeros." were borrowed . independent of her own wishes.

Moreover." 1 Testacy is favored and doubts are resolved on its side. the latter's children. from the inheritance. Her disposition of the free portion of her estate ( libre disposicion) which largely favored the respondent Perfecto Cruz. respectively. including the petitioners Consuelo Austria-Benta and Lauro Mozo and the children of the petitioner Ruben Austria.7 ACCORDINGLY. de Cruz was possessed of testamentary capacity and her last will executed free from falsification. Every court has the inherent power to amend and control its processes and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justices. especially where the will evinces an intention on the part of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate. and of two modes of interpreting a will. the subsequent orders complained of served merely to clarify the first — an act which the court could legally do.6 That the court a quo has limited the extent of the petitioners' intervention is also within its powers as articulated by the Rules of Court. suffice it to state that. In this situation. 4 At all events. 1959. 2 as was done in this case. 5 To the petitioners' charge that the lower court had no power to reverse its order of December 22. to describe the class of heirs instituted and the abstract object of the inheritance. shows a perceptible inclination on her part to give to the respondents more than what she thought the law enjoined her to give to them. by final judgment. it becomes our duty to give full expression to her will. the present petition is denied. that we could even vary the language of the will for the purpose of giving it effect. They offer no absolute indication that the decedent would have willed her estate other than the way she did if she had known that she was not bound by law to make allowance for legitimes. that the late Basilia Austria Vda. then the petitioners and the other nephews and nieces would succeed to the bulk of the testate by intestacy — a result which would subvert the clear wishes of the decedent. so compelling is the principle that intestacy should be avoided and the wishes of the testator allowed to prevail. Whatever doubts one entertains in his mind should be swept away by these explicit injunctions in the Civil Code: "The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect. rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative. that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy. the legality of the adoption of the respondents by the testatrix can be assailed only in a separate action brought for that purpose. and cannot be the subject of a collateral attack. as borne by the records.from the language of the law on succession and were used. et al. and the children of the respondent Benita Cruz. at petitioners cost. trickery or undue influence. fraud. Compare this with the relatively small devise of land which the decedent had left for her blood relatives.3 A probate court has found. . Were we to exclude the respondents Perfecto Cruz.

on the other. P. but he should so share in the inheritance as not to prejudice the legitimate of the other heirs.. 1928 In re estate of Jose Macrohon Tiahua. VILLA-REAL. FRANCISCO BARRIOS. M. J. his adulterous son. such as not presenting the will to the court. (2) that in making Ignacio Macrohon an heir under his will. J. Moore for heirs and appellants.G. the testator did not observe the limitations prescribed by law. Juan S. IGNACIO MACROHON. (4) that as Exhibit 1 deals with certain acts contrary to law. administrator-appellee. heirs-appellants. vs. and Ignacio Macrohon. L-29789 December 22. Alvarez. No appearance for appellee. nor do the admissions made by them therein constitute estoppel. whereupon it . from an order of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga. (3) that the institution of Ignacio Macrohon as heir under the will ought not to be declared absolutely void. EDUARDA ENRIQUEZ. laying down the following conclusions of law: (1) That an adulterous child may be instituted heir within the limits provided by law.R. said exhibit cannot bind the parties.: This is an appeal taken by Eduarda Enriquez. and the latter's legitimate children on the one side. No. Pablo Lorenzo. surviving spouse of the deceased Jose Macrohon Tiahua. ET AL. Perfecto Gabriel. and as some minors took part in it through their guardian without the latter being authorized by the court to enter into the transaction in their behalf. and Delfin Joven for appellant Macrohon. appellant.

deceased. said Ignacio Macrohon had a right under the terms of the will and the law. all of law. to wit: Now come the herein surviving spouse. as an heir in his will. 4. as submitted by the herein executor. Ignacio Macrohon.disapproved the scheme of partition presented by the administrator and ordered him to file another in consonance with the conclusions therein laid down. to inherit a portion of the estate of the deceased. In not holding that the right of the said Ignacio Macrohon as heir of said deceased cannot. 3. to the prejudice of the legitimate descendants and heirs of the said Jose Macrohon Tiahua. that is. as follows: 1. deceased. or one-tenth of the whole hereditary estate. Francisco Barrios. Eduarda Enriquez. Ignacio Macrohon. and the latter's legitimate children assign the following alleged errors as committed by the trial court in its judgment. In not allowing said Ignacio Marcrohon the full share allotted to him in and by the will of the testator.1awphi1. II. under and in accordance with the will of the latter. a portion equal to that granted in said will to each of the legitimate of the deceased. be questioned by the other heirs. The questions. Eduarda Enriquez. by reason of the doctrine of estoppel. In holding that the deceased. the lower court committed the following errors: I. together and in a like manner with his legitimate descendants and heirs. thru the undersigned attorney's and to this Honorable Court respectfully submits that the lower court erred. raised by the respective parties in their respective appeals. In holding that its order dated November 10. In holding that the manner the institution of the heirs was made in the will of the testator herein falls under. in support of his appeal. to wit: Comes now the appellant Ignacio Macrohon. Jose Macrohon Tiahua. deceased. or is the case contemplated by.net III. 1926. 2. may be reduced to the following: (1) Did the deceased Jose Macrohon Tiahua have a right to dispose of a part of his estate by will in favor of his adulterous son? (2) If so. and the legitimate heirs of Jose Macrohon Tiahua. and allege that under the law and the evidence in the above-entitled proceeding. widow of Jose Macrohon Tiahua. having been so instituted and named in the will of the said Jose Macrohon Tiahua. had any right to institute and name his bastard son. article 765 of the Civil Code. And in holding that the said bastard son. In not approving the project of distribution of the estate of the herein deceased. Jose Marcohon Tiahua. assigns the following alleged errors as committed by the trial court in its judgment. has the deceased Jose Macrohon Tiahua infringed the limitations prescribed by the law in putting his adulterous son Ignacio Macrohon on the same footing as his legitimate children by giving him a share equal to that of each of the latter? . Ignacio Macrohon. adulterous son of the deceased Jose Macrohon Tiahua in turn. Jose Macrohon Tiahua. did not constitute res adjudicata as to question of the right of the appellant Ignacio Macrohon to inherit from his deceased father. In support of their appeal. by their undersigned attorney.

he did not go beyond the limits provided by law for such cases.fourths or one twenty-seventh of the whole estate. and according to article 806 of the same Code. In other words. With respect to the second question of law. and the said legitime therefore remains intact. that is ten-twentieth parts (10/20). son and daughter. When Jose Macrohon Tiahua. because. there is no legal. Hence." and therefore cannot demand anything more of those bound by law to support them. we are of opinion and so hold. that Jose Macrohon Tiahua could dispose of the free third of his estate in favor of his adulterous son. to wit: One-half (½) pro indiviso of my whole estate to my wife Eduarda Enriquez. while it is true that article 845 of the Civil Code provides that "illegitimate children who have not the status of natural children shall be entitled to support only. the son. Ignacio Macrohon. which only amounts to one twenty-seventh. Ignacio Macrohon. 808 of the Civil Code). the legitime of legitimate children and descendants consists of two-thirds of the hereditary estate of the father and of the mother. is by the law reserved for the forced heirs and the testator cannot dispose of it in any other way. of my deceased daughter. In the present case the testator has not disposed of any of the two parts forming the legitime in order to give it as betterment to any of his children. Included among the children mentioned by the testator in said will. each to receive one-twentieth part. he did not infringe any legal prohibition and his testamentary disposition to this effect is valid and effective. Jose Macrohon Tiahua states the following in his will: After all my debts. his adulterous son. and the other half (½) in equal parts pro indiviso to each of my children. as follows. Gregoria Macrohon. which divided equally among them would give to each. real. by reason of blood. among his nine legitimate children and his adulterous son. each of them will be entitled to one-twentieth of the whole estate. it does not prohibit said illegitimate children from receiving. has a preferential right over a stranger unless by his behaviour he has become unworthy of such consideration. and to whom he gave the one-half of the property corresponding to him from the conjugal partnership. one-twentieth for each of his legitimate children is more than each of his legitimate children should receive as his legitime. since Jose Macrohon Tiahua could dispose of the free third of his herediatary estate in favor of his adulterous son. does the twentieth part corresponding to the share of Ignacio Macrohon impair the legitimate corresponding to each of the nine legitimate children? According to article 808 of the Civil Code. therefore. that is. two fifty. is the herein appellant Ignacio Macrohon. something more than support. into equal parts. moral or social reason to prevent him from making over that third to his illlegitimate son who has not the status of a natural son. provided in his will that the one-half of the conjugal property belonging to him was to be divided equally among his nine legitimate children and one adulterous son. who shall receive the portion corresponding to the share of my said daughter. Now then. obligations. personal. 1/44 for each of the two. nor their parents from giving them. and as he only gave a part of said free third to the latter. respectively. If the law permits a testator to dispose of the free third of his hereditary estate in favor of a stranger (art. and mixed. On the contrary. and funeral expenses have been paid. Ignacio Macrohon. Dividing this half. the nine-legitimate children are entitled to two-thirds of said half. I hereby bequeath and devise all my property. For these reasons. or two-sixths of the whole. the latter being allowed to dispose of one of said two parts in order to give it as a betterment to their legitimate children or descendants. . so long as the legitimate children are not prejudiced.As to the first question. although illegitimate. including Fernando Quintas and Julia Quintas.

. The attesting witnesses testified that the testratrix signed before they did. Thomas Cary Welch and Camus. and below her surname is the signature of the other witness . she used to sign with that hand. R. There are three salient arguments among those adduced by the opponents in support of their opposition. So ordered. The will appears to be signed by the testatrix and three witnesses on the left margin of each of the sheets. The three attesting witnesses to this will. without special pronouncement of costs. No. The testatrix from girlhood knew how to sign her name and did so with her right hand. C. up to the time of her death.R. Basa. Opponents allege that Florencia Mateo did not sign this will. Delgado and Recto for appellants. but as the right side of her body later became paralyzed. Carlos S. The testatrix died on August 13. 1927 Testate Estate of Florencia R.Having arrived at these conclusions there is no need to discuss the other questions of law raised by the parties in their respective assignments of error. vs. opponents-appellants. G. Gonzales Lloret. 1925. Mateo. J. AVANCEÑA. 1923. PERFECTO GABRIEL. RITA R. the order appealed from is modified and it is ordered that the dispositons made by Jose Macrohon Tiahua in his last will and testament be strictly complied with. Opposition to such probate was filed by Rita Mateo. testifying in this case. The appellee in his own behalf. ET AL. By virtue whereof. and by other relatives. she learned to sign with her left hand and for many years thereafter. declared that the signature of the testatrix were written in their presence and that they signed their names in the presence of the testatrix and of each other. petitioner-appellee. L-26545 December 16. The signatures of the testatrix on the left margin of the two sheets of the will are between the signatures of the two witnesses Vidal Rañoa and Julio Gabriel.: The judgment appealed from allowed the will of Florencia Mateo dated February 6. composed of two used sheets to probate. and by the three witnesses after the attestation clause. the testatrix's sister. MATEO. by the testatrix alone at the bottom.

among other things. that it is not proper to set aside the will for this reason alone. From this detail it is pretended to draw the inference that the attesting witnesses signed before testatrix. if. contrary to their testimony that she singed before they did. On the other hand. but it cannot be so explained in the second. The signatures of Vidal Rañoa and Julio Gabriel are on a level with each other. finding the space below the testatrix signature free. And this may be attributed to carelessness in the first case. or it may have been due to the fact that the attesting witnesses dipped lightly in the ink while the testatrix dipped the pen so as to take up the ink from the bottom of the well. logic that the testatrix signed before him. only one of these witnesses declared this. when this could have been avoided by simply putting it a little higher. Attention is also called to the apparently different kinds of ink used by the testatrix in her signature and by the attesting witnesses. is unnecessary. as alleged. The third scarcely made reference to this particular. the opposition presented the expert Del Rosario who asserted. which supposition is not all probable. But. Really an examination of these signature reveals a somewhat deeper intensity of ink in the signature of the testatrix than in those of the attesting witnesses. If this opinion is correct and if.Felicisimo Gabriel.net At all events. as is reasonable to suppose when we consider that the testatrix was a paralytic and wrote with her left hand. one of them being a lawyer of twelve year's practice. .lawphi1. considering that this will was signed two years before the date on which these witnesses gave their testimony. it is strange that the latter should have done so in such a way as to write it above Gabriel's signature while following the horizontal line. This deduction. after having prepared the will and made the witnesses sign. allowed sometime to elapsed before forging the testatrix's signature. it would mean that the forgers. The attesting witnesses to this will. he. It may be inferred with equal. this apparent difference in ink may be merely due — supposing that the same ink and pen were used — to the difference in pressure employed in writing these signatures. At all events. To bring out this irregularity. but tend to rise and her surname reaches a level with Julio Gabriel's signature. while that of Felicisimo Gabriel is found a little lower down. notwithstanding the fact that there was no signature with which she might interfere if she continued to write in a straight horizontal line. if not greater. which would have been the case had she continued on the horizontal line on which she had written her first name. showed themselves to be intelligent and honest. signed his name there. or whether or not they signed with the same pen and ink. Furthermore. however. these are details of such trivial importance. who testified also as witnesses at the trial of this case. It is said that this direction of the testatrix's signature was due to the fact that when it was written Felicisimo Gabriel's signature was already there. nor has it been explained. It is alleged that this circumstance cannot be reconciled with the declaration of the attesting witnesses that they used the same pen and ink as the testatrix. The other one was not sure of it and said that he said that he did not perfectly remember this detail. and so she had to write her surname upwards in order to avoid interfering with that Felicisimo Gabriel. and when it came to the witness Gabriel's turn. as the opposition alleges. the testatrix's signature is forged. it may be noted that the testatrix's other signature at the bottom of the will also shows a more or less marked tendency to rise. and that they falsified the will in question. and there is no reason to reject their testimony. that the signature of the testatrix is more recent than that of the attesting witnesses. and to suppose that they were untruthful in testifying. even admitting that there is a certain question as to whether the attesting witnesses signed before or after the testatrix. The testatrix's signatures start on the line with Felicisimo Gabriel's signature. the testatrix's signature is not genuine and was placed there by another person.

the executrix-appellee) are the oppositors-appellants. Agripina J. He testified that the signatures of the testatrix in the will are not genuine. ANGELINA DIZON and LILIA DIZON. . to wit. to whom she had been so affectionate during life.: Appeal from orders of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga approving the Executrix-appellee's project of partition instead of Oppositors-Appellants' proposed counter-project of partition. six legitimate children named Estela Dizon. DIZON. TOMAS V. Marina Dizon (herein executrix-appellee). but it seems reasonable. over the testimony of these experts. JOSEFINA DIZON. executrix-appellee. that she held all her nephews and nieces in equal regard. But. died in Angeles. BERNARDITA DIZON. on the other hand. 1 On January 28. Yabut & Eusebio for executrix-appellee. according to the evidence of the testatrix when the former was but 3 years old. L-24561 June 30. the testatrix. Six of these seven compulsory heirs (except Marina Dizon. there is nothing strange in the testatrix having left nothing to the opponents. vs. and she only stated that she was on good terms with her sister during the latter's lifetime. with costs against the appellants. 1970 MARINA DIZON-RIVERA. 1961. attention is called to the unreasonableness of the testatrix in not leaving anything to the principal opponent. that the said sister used to give her a sack or some gantas of rice. her sister Rita Mateo. And not only is it not strange. Pedro Serrano Laktao. Angelina Dizon and Josefina Dizon. The petitioner. a little money. Tomas Mateo. and was survived by seven compulsory heirs. No. Bernardita Dizon. and to her nephews and nieces. and a legitimate granddaughter named Lilia Dizon. ESTELA DIZON. since. Valdez. who affirmed that these signatures are genuine. who is also one of her nieces. and from then on up to the time of her death had never been separated from her. TEEHANKEE. or in her having left all of her estate to the only heir instituted in her will. But even supposing that this were so. But as to the affectionate relations between the deceased and the opponents. Dizon. we have the categorical and positive declaration of veracious witnesses who affirm that these signatures were written by the testatrix herself. who is the only legitimate child and heir of Ramon Dizon. G. Leonardo Abola for oppositors-appellants. The opposition presented Doctor Banks as expert. Tomas V. oppositors-appellants. J. Punzalan.R. The judgment appealed from is affirmed. and.Lastly. So ordered. a widow. Pampanga. presented another expert. a pre-deceased legitimate son of the said decedent. only the opponent Rita Mateo testified. a times.

......00... .....254.......... 1964....... Cayetano Dizon........ The appraised values of the real properties thus respectively devised by the testatrix to the beneficiaries named in her will..........The deceased testatrix left a last will executed on February 2. together with seven other legitimate grandchildren. Angelina...41 6. Jr.. the last will and testament of the decedent was duly allowed and admitted to probate................ Dr....96 as legitime for a basis Marina (exacultrix-appellee) and Tomas (appellant) are admittedly considered to have received in the will more than their respective legitime.960.............. Cayetano Dizon....500.00) among her above-named heirs.849.00 9.. in substance adjudicating the estate as follows: (1) with the figure of P129. Garcia... 3 (¹/7 of the half of the estate reserved for the legitime of legitimate children and descendants)...95 and ten shares of Pampanga Sugar Development Company valued at P350....... and the appellee Marina Dizon-Rivera was appointed executrix of the testatrix' estate... 52. Gilbert Garcia..47 7.. 69...11.. Marina Dizon ..... Josefina and Lilia received less than their respective legitime... 51........06 3... Gilbert D........ Dioli or Jolly Jimenez.. Named beneficiaries in her will were the above-named compulsory heirs.... After the executrix filed her inventory of the estate.... 131. 106....695. 72...........474.. Jolly Jimenez and Laureano Tiambon...... Angelina Dizon .... and upon her filing her bond and oath of office... 1960 and written in the Pampango dialect.... Pablo Rivera. The real and personal properties of the testatrix at the time of her death thus had a total appraised value of P1...987..... whereby she devised and bequeathed specific real properties comprising practically the entire bulk of her estate among her six children and eight grandchildren..... distributed and disposed of all her properties appraised at P1... namely.00 Total Value ......063. and the legitime of each of the seven compulsory heirs amounted to P129.............182... 1961..........960. Estela Dizon ..... He filed in due course his report of appraisal and the same was approved in toto by the lower court on December 12...... Francisco Rivera... Laureano Tiamzon ... P 98..307.... Francisco Rivera.......60. namely Pablo Rivera.. Lilia Dizon..39 5.17 4...280. Pampanga was appointed commissioner to appraise the properties of the estate..362.00 (except two small parcels of land appraised at P5. Adelaido Bernardo of Angeles. In her will. the testatrix divided........60........ Agripina Ayson............ the testatrix "commanded that her property be divided" in accordance with her testamentary disposition.. 4 In her will.........148..... letters testamentary were duly issued to her... Josefina Dizon . Jr. while the rest of the appellants...968... 1........ .. Tomas Dizon ..540........... are as follows: 1.. a bank deposit in the sum of P409...... Bernardita Dizon ..801. Lilia Dizon .801.80 2......71 8..... Estela......... Bernardita..... household furniture valued at P2. 72.811.. P1.....056.01 The executrix filed her project of partition dated February 5..... 1963 upon joint petition of the parties.... Agripina Ayson........ Testate proceedings were in due course commenced 2 and by order dated March 13....

........ to each of the latter are adjudicated the properties respectively given them in the will........... the value of the said one-half (½) amounting to P905....50 ............115....(2) thus.04 36..04 26.534.. 3... wherein they proposed the distribution of the estate on the following basis: (a) all the testamentary dispositions were proportionally reduced to the value of one-half (½) of the entire estate.78) would be deemed as constituting the legitime of the executrix-appellee and oppositors-appellants......... Pablo Rivera. Marina Dizon .<äre||anº•1àw> On the other hand oppositors submitted their own counter-project of partition dated February 14.........362...... to complete their respective legitimes to P129......... to be divided among them in seven equal parts of P129........ were proposed to be reduced to the amounts set forth after the names of the respective heirs and devisees totalling one-half thereof as follows: 1......485.. of the sums by which the devise in their favor should be proportionally reduced........... Estela Dizon . Marina and Tomas are adjudicated the properties that they received in the will less the cash and/or properties necessary to complete the prejudiced legitime mentioned in number 2 above... et al... While it is true that this process has been followed and adhered to in the two projects of partition.38 65.. will substantially result in a distribution of intestacy. The proposition of the oppositors...78 while the other half of the estate (P905...... the testamentary disposition made by the testatrix of practically her whole estate of P1... 8..452... 4.. after hearing..11 as their respective legitimes....... which is in controversion of Article 791 of the New Civil Code" adding that "the testatrix has chosen to favor certain heirs in her will for reasons of her own.........82 34.78.........874... (3) on the other hand. Garcia...960................. P905...96. Under the oppositors' counter-project of partition. cannot be 49... 9.814...... Dizon ... if upheld.. plus the devises in their favor proportionally reduced.... (4) the adjudications made in the will in favor of the grandchildren remain untouched................ Bernardita Dizon .............13 576.159. as above stated......56 53.801. 5.. the properties devised to them plus other properties left by the Testatrix and/or cash are adjudicated to them.... 6........ ruling that "(A)rticles 906 and 907 of the New Civil Code specifically provide that when the legitime is impaired or prejudiced...... ... Lilia Dizon ...... Angelina Dizon ..................534....................................... plus cash and/or properties....42 26... sustained and approved the executrix' project of partition..... 7..................534...... (c) in payment of the total shares of the appellants in the entire estate.. P 2....... 1964.............254.....421... Grandchildren Gilbert Garcia et al ......... the same shall be completed and satisfied.........01...... Josefina Dizon .... (b) the shares of the Oppositors-Appellants should consist of their legitime. Tomas V..... and (d) to the grandchildren who are not compulsory heirs are adjudicated the properties respectively devised to them subject to reimbursement by Gilbert D....... The lower court..... 36........80 T o t a l ........ it is observed that the executrix and the oppositors differ in respect to the source from which the portion or portions shall be taken in order to fully restore the impaired legitime... Jr.273....938...

she expressly provided that "it is my wish and I command that my property be divided" in accordance with the dispositions immediately thereafter following. principally by the executrix as the largest beneficiary of the will to be paid to her five co-heirs. rather than one which will render any of the expressions inoperative. in the third paragraph of her will.B." 5 In consonance therewith. relative to its execution and fulfillment. Whether the appellants may be compelled to accept payment in cash on account of their legitime. Guided and restricted by these fundamental premises. and of two modes of interpreting a will. and raise anew the following issues: . and therefore subject to reduction. in case of doubt. the Court finds for the appellee. as contemplated and authorized in the first paragraph of Article 1080 of the Civil Code. 7 the Court. as aforecited. Whether or not the testamentary dispositions made in the testatrix' will are in the nature of devises imputable to the free portion of her estate. overturned the lower court's decision and stressed that "the intention and wishes of the testator. Juico 6 for violation of these rules of interpretation as well as of Rule 123. The issues raised present a matter of determining the avowed intention of the testatrix which is "the life and soul of a will." With reference to the payment in cash of some P230. 9 when expressed clearly and precisely in his last will amount to the only law whose mandate must imperatively be faithfully obeyed and complied with by his executors." 8 The testator's wishes and intention constitute the first and principal law in the matter of testaments. and neither these interested parties nor the courts may substitute their own criterion for the testator's will. 1. Thus. which were adversely decided against them in the proceedings below. 2. Whether the appellants are entitled to the devise plus their legitime under Article 1063. and to paraphrase an early decision of the Supreme Court of Spain.38. after commanding that upon her death all her obligations as well as the expenses of her last illness and funeral and the expenses for probate of her last will and for the administration of her property in accordance with law. section 59 of the old Rules of Court. the oppositors (excluding Tomas Dizon). Justice J. This is legally permissible within the limitation of the law. heirs and devisees and legatees. whereby she specified each real property in her estate and designated the particular heir among her seven compulsory heirs and seven other grandchildren to whom she bequeathed the same. that interpretation by which the disposition is to be operative shall be preferred" and "(T)he words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to every expression some effect. Reyes. to complete their impaired legitimes. that is to be preferred which will prevent intestacy.doubted. and 3. unless it clearly appears that his intention was otherwise." From the lower court's orders of approval. in our opinion. instead of some of the real properties left by the Testatrix. be paid. Decisive of the issues at bar is the fact that the testatrix' testamentary disposition was in the nature of a partition of her estate by will. our Civil Code included the new provisions found in Articles 788 and 791 thereof that "(I)f a testamentary disposition admits of different interpretations. providing that . oppositors-appellants have filed this appeal. 1. constitute the fixed law of interpretation. or merely to demand completion of their legitime under Article 906 of the Civil Code. speaking through Mr.L. This was a valid partition 10of her estate. following the plain and literal meaning of the testator's words. must be settled in accordance therewith. when clearly expressed in his will. a practical and valid solution in order to give effect to the last wishes of the testatrix.552." InVillanueva vs. the lower court ruled that "(T)he payment in cash so as to make the proper adjustment to meet with the requirements of the law in respect to legitimes which have been impaired is. and all questions raised at the trial.

as being a partition by will." 3. 659. especially when. became the absolute owner of said lots because 'A partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of the property adjudicated to him' (Article 1091." 11 This was intended to repeal the then prevailing doctrine 12 that for a testator to partition his estate by an act inter vivos. other codal provisions support the executrixappellee's project of partition as approved by the lower court rather than the counter-project of partition proposed by oppositors-appellants whereby they would reduce the testamentary disposition or partition made by the testatrix to one-half and limit the same. Imbo. and 661. This was properly complied with in the executrix-appellee's project of partition. Testamentary dispositions that impair or diminish the legitime of the compulsory heirs shall be reduced on petition of the same. she can not be deprived of her rights thereto except by the methods provided for by law (Arts. ART. Authoritative commentators doubt the efficacy of the amendment 13 but the question does not here concern us. were adjudicated the properties respectively distributed and assigned to them by the testatrix in her will. Oppositors' proposal would amount substantially to a distribution by intestacy and pro tanto nullify the testatrix' will. subject to rights and obligations of the latter..11 each were taken from the cash and/or properties of the executrix-appellee. which perforce must be given full validity and effect. In Habana vs. insofar as it does not prejudice the legitime of the compulsory heirs. It would further run counter to the provisions of Article 1091 of the Civil Code that "(A) partition legally made confers upon each heir the exclusive ownership of the property adjudicated to him. from the death of her ancestors. Tomas. which should be respected insofar as it does not prejudice the legitime of the compulsory heirs. The Civil Code thus provides the safeguard for the right of such compulsory heirs: ART. The only amendment in the provision was that Article 1080 "now permits any person (not a testator. 2. and their co-oppositor-appellant. wherein the five oppositors-appellants namely Estela. duly admitted to probate. 906. Marina. and the differential to complete their respective legitimes of P129. insofar as they may be inofficious or excessive. as against adverse claims of other compulsory heirs. 907. Any compulsory heir to whom the testator has left by any title less than the legitime belonging to him may demand that the same be fully satisfied."(S)hould a person make a partition of his estate by an act inter vivos or by will. In upholding the sale made by Concepcion to a stranger of the plantations thus partitioned in her favor in the deceased's will which was being questioned by the other compulsory heirs. 15 Concepcion Teves could. such partition shall be respected. New Civil Code). and. in accordance with Article 1080 of the Civil Code. the Court ruled that "Concepcion Teves by operation of law. Josefina and Lilia.362. for this is a clear case of partition by will. as in the present case." .. Angelina. Bernardita. contrary to Article 791 of the Civil Code. sell the lots in question as part of her share of the proposed partition of the properties. 657. the sale has been expressly recognized by herself and her co-heirs . Civil Code). Aside from the provisions of Articles 906 and 907 above quoted. he must first make a will with all the formalities provided by law. and apply the other half of the estate to payment of the legitimes of the seven compulsory heirs. Concepcion. which they would consider as mere devises or legacies. as under the old law) to partition his estate by actinter vivos. to one-half of the estate as the disposable free portion. as she did. This right of a testator to partition his estate by will was recognized even in Article 1056 of the old Civil Code which has been reproduced now as Article 1080 of the present Civil Code. 14 the Court upheld the distribution made in the will of the deceased testator Pedro Teves of two large coconut plantations in favor of his daughter. who admittedly were favored by the testatrix and received in the partition by will more than their respective legitimes." This right of a testator to partition his estate is subject only to the right of compulsory heirs to their legitime.

Furthermore. who admittedly was favored by the testatrix with the large bulk of her estate in providing that "(T)he devisee who is entitled to a legitime may retain the entire property. From this erroneous premise. do not have to be taken only from the free portion of the estate. without her having made any previous donations during her lifetime which would require collation to determine the legitime of each heir nor having left merely some properties by will which would call for the application of Articles 1061 to 1063 of the Civil Code on collation." 18 Fundamentally. such as to convert the same into devises to be taken solely from the free one-half disposable portion of the estate. of course." And even going by oppositors' own theory of bequests." For "diversity of apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament. which by mandate of Article 1080 of the Civil Code and of the other cited codal provisions upholding the primacy of the testator's last will and testament. The burden of oppositors' contention is that the testamentary dispositions in their favor are in the nature of devises of real property. for the adjudications and assignments in the testatrix' will of specific properties to specific heirs cannot be considered all devises. while it may have some plausibility 19 in an appropriate case.4. The testamentary dispositions of the testatrix. if the testator has not otherwise provided. the remainder of the estate after deducting the legitime of the compulsory heirs . have to be respected insofar as they do not prejudice the legitime of the other compulsory heirs. they proceed to the equally erroneous conclusion that "the legitime of the compulsory heirs passes to them by operation of law and that the testator can only dispose of the free portion. The amount of the legitime of the heirs is here determined and undisputed." 17 Oppositors' conclusions necessarily are in error. for it clearly appear from the whole context of the will and the disposition by the testatrix of her whole estate (save for some small properties of little value already noted at the beginning of this opinion) that her clear intention was to partition her whole estate through her will. as contended. With this resolution of the decisive issue raised by oppositors-appellants. his forced heirs under the law enforced at the time of my death shall inherit the properties I bequeath to said deceased. we have a case of a distribution and partition of the entire estate by the testatrix. either in the nature of institution of heirs or of devises or legacies.. and that said dispositions were therefore on account of the respective legitimes of the compulsory heirs is expressly borne out in the fourth paragraph of her will. immediately following her testamentary adjudications in the third paragraph in this wise: "FOURTH: I likewise command that in case any of those I named as my heirs in this testament any of them shall die before I do." 16 Oppositors err in their premises. Oppositors' invoking of Article 1063 of the Civil Code that "(P)roperty left by will is not deemed subject to collation. has no application in the present case. the second paragraph of Article 912 Civil Code covers precisely the case of the executrix-appellee. Here. the secondary issues are likewise necessarily resolved. the decedent might as well die intestate. the dispositions by the testatrix constituted a partition by will. The repeated use of the words "I bequeath" in her testamentary dispositions acquire no legal significance. for the second paragraph of Article 842 of the Civil Code precisely provides that "(O)ne who has compulsory heirsmay dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the provisions of this Code with regard to the legitime of said heirs. being dispositions in favor of compulsory heirs.. citing the testatrix' repeated use of the words "I bequeath" in her assignment or distribution of her real properties to the respective heirs. provided its value does not exceed that of the disposable portion and of the share pertaining to him as legitime. and all testamentary dispositions. otherwise. Their right was merely to demand completion of their legitime under . but the legitime shall in any case remain unimpaired" and invoking of the construction thereof given by some authorities that "'not deemed subject to collation' in this article really means not imputable to or chargeable against the legitime". 5. the testatrix' intent that her testamentary dispositions were by way of adjudications to the beneficiaries as heirs and not as mere devisees. that is. have to be taken from the remainder of the testator's estate constituting the free portion.

the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed. which. 1961 provides no legal basis or justification for overturning the wishes and intent of the testatrix.000. as far as feasible to comply with and give effect to the intention of the testatrix as solemnized in her will. per the approved project of partition. like Bernardita. 20 "does not in any way affect the adjudication made to her in the projects of partition of either party as the same is a mere advance of the cash that she should receive in both projects of partition. whereas they could have received them earlier. 21 That her cooppositors would receive their cash differentials only now when the value of the currency has declined further. the value thereof must be reckoned as of then. estates would never be settled if there were to be a revaluation with every subsequent fluctuation in the values of the currency and properties of the estate. and the heirs are called upon. The transmission of rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death of the decedent (Article 777. one of the oppositors. .00 on account of her inheritance. and hence. principally the executrix-appellee. Civil Code) and accordingly. per the parties' manifestation. at the time of approval of the project of partition and when the peso's purchasing value was higher. Without cost. as the testatrix had specifically partitioned and distributed them to her heirs. The properties are not available for the purpose. ACCORDINGLY. as bequeathed and partitioned by the testatrix principally to the executrix-appellee. The appraisal report of the properties of the estate as filed by the commissioner appointed by the lower court was approved in toto upon joint petition of the parties. by implementing her manifest wish of transmitting the real properties intact to her named beneficiaries. and they can no longer demand a further share from the remaining portion of the estate. Neither may the appellants legally insist on their legitime being completed with real properties of the estate instead of being paid in cash. 1964. There is evidence in the record that prior to November 25. The plaint of oppositors that the purchasing value of the Philippine peso has greatly declined since the testatrix' death in January. accepted the sum of P50.Article 906 of the Civil Code and this has been complied with in the approved project of partition. there cannot be said to be any question — and none is presented — as to fairness of the valuation thereof or that the legitime of the heirs in terms of cash has been understated. as otherwise. Bernardita." The payment in cash by way of making the proper adjustments in order to meet the requirements of the law on non-impairment of legitimes as well as to give effect to the last will of the testatrix has invariably been availed of and sanctioned. is due to their own decision of pursuing the present appeal.