[G.R. No. L-23135. December 26, 1967.] TESTATE ESTATE OF HILARION RAMAGOSA. MARIANO SUMILANG, Petitioner-Appellee, v.

SATURNINA RAMAGOSA, SANTIAGO RAMAGOSA, ENRIQUE PABELLA, LICERIA PABELLA and ANDREA RAVALO, Oppositors-Appellants. SYLLABUS 1. REMEDIAL LAW; PROBATE OF WILLS. — In petitions for probate the Court’s area of inquiry is limited to the extrinsic validity of the will, as the testamentary capacity and the compliance with the formal requisites or solemnities prescribed by law are the only questions presented for the resolution of the court. Any inquiry into the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions thereof or the legality of any devise or legacy is premature. (Nuguid v. Nuguid, L-23445, June 23, 1996). 2. ID.; ID.; IMPLIED REVOCATION DOES NOT WARRANT DISMISSAL OF PETITION FOR PROBATE. — An alleged disposal by testator to prior to his death of the properties involved in his will is no ground for the dismissal of the petition for probate. Probate is one thing; the validity of the testamentary provisions is another. The first decides the execution of the document and the testamentary capacity of the testator; the second relates to descent and distribution. 3. ID.; ID.; LACK OF INTEREST BARS OPPOSITION TO PROBATE. — In order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding, he must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate (Ñgo The Hua v. Chuang Kiat Hua, Et Al., L-17019, Sept 30, 1963) and an interested party is one who would be benefited by the estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor (Teotico v. Del Val, L-18753, March 26, 1965). Where oppositors do not take issue with the probate court’s finding that they are totally strangers to the deceased, or do not attempt to show that they have some interest in the estate which must be protected, the order striking out their opposition and all other pleadings pertinent thereto must be affirmed. 4. ID.; ID.; APPEALS; ORDER STRIKING OUT OPPOSITION TO PROBATE NOT INTERLOCUTORY. — An order striking out an opposition to the probate of the will on the ground that the oppositors have no personality to intervene in the case is final, and therefore appealable insofar as they are concerned. On July 5, 1960 Mariano Sumilang filed in the Court of First Instance of Quezon a petition for the probate of a document alleged to be the last will and testament of Hilarion Ramagosa, who died on December 1, 1959. Said document, written in Tagalog and dated February 26, 1949, institutes petitioner as sole heir of the testator. The petition for probate was opposed by two (2) sets of oppositors — appellants herein — who questioned the due execution of the document, claiming that it was made under duress and was not really intended by the deceased to be his last will and testament. Aside from merely opposing the petition for probate, the first set of oppositors — Saturnino and Santiago Ramagosa — also claimed that they, instead of petitioner, were entitled to inherit the estate of the deceased. The other oppositors, representing themselves simply as next of kin, appropriately prayed only for the disallowance of the will. At the hearings of the petition petitioner adduced his evidence, and then rested his case on February 16, 1961. Reception of oppositors’ evidence was set for July 14, 1961. However, on July 3, 1961 oppositors moved for the dismissal of the petition for probate mainly on the ground that "the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject-

matter because the last will and testament of the decedent, if ever it was really executed by him, was revoked by implication of law six years before his death." Oppositors alleged that after making the will Hilarion Ramagosa sold to petitioner Mariano Sumilang and his brother Mario the parcels of land described therein, so that at the time of the testator’s death the titles to said lands were no longer in his name. Petitioner filed his opposition to the motion for dismissal on July 17, 1961, supplemented it by another opposition on August 14, 1961, and by a rejoinder on August 21, 1961. Finally, on October 22, 1962 petitioner moved to strike out the oppositors’ pleadings on two grounds, namely:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "1. That oppositors have no legal standing in court and they are bereft of personality to oppose the probate of the last will and testament of the testator; and "2. That oppositors have no valid claims and interest in the distribution of (the) estate of the aforesaid testator and no existing valid right whatsoever."cralaw virtua1aw library On October 18, 1963 the court a quo issued the order now subject of this appeal, which read as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph "Acting on the motion to dismiss filed by the oppositors dated July 31, 1961, the same is hereby denied for the allegations contained therein goes (sic) to the very intrinsic value of the will and other grounds stated on said motion to dismiss are without merit. With respect to the motion to strike out opposition and all other pleadings of oppositors filed by the petitioner, it appears that oppositors have no relationship whatsoever within the fifth degree as pronded by law and therefore the oppositors are totally strangers to the deceased whose will is under probate. This being so, the motion to strike out opposition and all other pleadings pertinent thereto is hereby ordered stricken out of the record."cralaw virtua1aw library The petition below being for the probate of a will, the court’s area of inquiry is limited to the extrinsic validity thereof. The testator’s testamentary capacity and the compliance with the formal requisites or solemnities prescribed by law are the only questions presented for the resolution of the court. Any inquiry into the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will or the legality of any devise or legacy is premature. (Nuguid v. Nuguid, G.R. No. L-23445, June 23, 1966). "To establish conclusively as against everyone and once for all, the facts that a will was executed with the formalities required by law and that the testator was in a condition to make a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings .. for the probate of a will. The judgment in such proceedings determines and can determine nothing more." (Alemany, Et Al., v. CFI of Manila, 3 Phil. 424). Oppositors would want the court a quo to dismiss the petition for probate on the ground that the testator had impliedly revoked his will by selling, prior to his death, the lands disposed of therein. True or not, the alleged sale is no ground for the dismissal of the petition for probate. Probate is one thing; the validity of the testamentary provisions is another. The first decides the execution of the document and the testamentary capacity of the testator; the second relates to descent and distribution. "The alleged revocation implied from the execution of the deeds of conveyance in favor of the testamentary heir is plainly irrelevant to and separate from the question of whether the testament was duly executed. For one, if

Narciso. The uncontradicted evidence. 35 Phil. The order appealed from is hereby affirmed. is not that thereby the court maybe prevented from learning facts which would justify or necessitate a denial of probate. although now practically academic in view of our resolution of the main issues involved. 244. Et. etc. must be denied. L-23638 and Reyes. support the said court’s findings in this respect. 1963). are totally (sic) strangers to the deceased whose will is under probate. "It is a well-settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he must have an interest in the estate. 1967. Et.) "The reason for the rule excluding strangers from contesting the will. March 26. v. or in the will. . Al. October 12. L-23662. with costs against oppositors-appellants. there is no such will and hence there would be nothing to revoke. but merely implied from subsequent acts of the testatrix allegedly evidencing an abandonment of the original intention to bequeath or devise the properties concerned. Dimagiba." (Fernandez." (Paras v. but merely the particular devise or legacy. Chung Kiat Hua. 1965. was final and therefore appealable order in so far as they were concerned. . Et Al. Then.R No.. the revocation would not affect the will itself. The motion.) Sometime after this case was elevated to this Court appellee moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the order appealed from is interlocutory. L-18753. September 30.) In their brief. the revocation invoked by the oppositors-appellants is not an express one." They do not attempt to show that they have some interest in the estate which must be protected. oppositors do not take issue with the court a quo’s finding that they "have no relationship whatsoever within the fifth degree as provided by law and therefore . or in the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a claimant of the estate (Ngo The Hua v. since the order of the lower court striking out appellants’ opposition to the probate of the will on the ground that they have no personality to intervene in the case. or its probate is denied.the will is not entitled to probate. and an interested party has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor. v. del Val. again. Dimagiba. As such. G. consisting of certified true copies of the parties’ baptism and marriage certificates.. We deferred action on the motion until after the brief of both parties had been filed." (Teotico v. all questions of revocation become superfluous: in law. but rather that the courts and the litigants should not be molested by the intervention in the proceedings of persons with no interest in the estate which would entitle them to be heard with relation thereto. L-17091. . Al.

of the new Civil Code. RIGHT OR POWER OF TESTATOR. but to such petition one Maria Catimbang filed an opposition alleging that she is the acknowledged natural daughter of petitioner but that she was completely ignored in the will thus impairing her legitime. MARIA CATIMBANG PALACIOS. 1956 before the Court of First Instance of Batangas a petition for its approval. and accordingly. Should he make a new will. The court. Maria Catimbang does not object to the probate of the will insofar as its due execution is concerned or on the ground that it has not complied with the formalities prescribed by law. 1959. set a date for the hearing of the opposition relative to the intrinsic validity of the will and. pp. ID. 1956 issued an order admitting the will to probate. however. and if he should die before he had a chance to present such petition. petitioner gave notice of his intention to appeal directly to the Supreme Court. v. It should be noted that petitioner instituted the present proceeding in order to secure the probate of his will availing himself of the provisions of Article 838. Palacios. On June 21. No. 53-54). as in the present case. Oppositor-Appellee. the record was elevated to this Court. ID. New Civil Code). with costs against petitioner. Maria Catimbang filed an opposition to the probate of the will alleging that she is the acknowledged natural daughter of petitioner but that she was completely ignored in said will thus impairing her legitime. the court issued another order declaring oppositor to be the natural child of petitioner and annulling the will insofar as it impairs her legitime. OPPOSITION TO INTRINSIC VALIDITY OF THE WILL NOT ALLOWED.. ] JUAN PALACIOS. L-12207. — Opposition to the intrinsic validity or to the legality of the provisions of the will cannot be entertained in probate proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance with the requirements of the law. Juan Palacios executed his last will and testament on June 25. 1956. paragraph 2. the court on July 6. SYLLABUS 1. In other words.. he instituted as his sole heirs his natural children Antonio C. which permit a testator to petition the proper court during his lifetime for the allowance of his will. In said will. is still alive and has merely filed a petition for the allowance of his will leaving the effects thereof after his death. The reason for this comment is that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777. This is especially so when the testator. December 24. after proper hearing concerning this incident. the ordinary probate proceedings after the testator’s death would be in order" (Report of the Code Commission. 1946 and availing himself of the provisions of the new Civil Code. — "After a will has been probated during the lifetime of a testator it does not necessarily mean that he cannot alter or revoke the same before his death. he filed on May 23. From this last order. much less if the purpose of the opposition is to show that the oppositor is an acknowledged natural child who allegedly has been ignored in the will for such issue cannot be raised here but in a separate action. 2. PROBATE DURING LIFETIME OF TESTATOR. WILLS. Palacios and Andrea C.R. rather she objects to its intrinsic validity or to the legality of . Petitioner-Appellant. After the presentation of petitioner’s evidence relative to the essential requisites and formalities provided by law for the validity of a will.[G. it would also be allowable on his petition.

The reason for this comment is that the rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777. Suesa. pp. the order appealed from is set aside. that may be impugned as being vicious or null. notwithstanding its authentication. 14 Phil. It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency of the provisions.. she is an acknowledged natural daughter of the testator."cralaw virtua1aw library On the other hand. The questions relating to these points remain entirely un-affected. and if he should die before he has had a chance to present such petition.the provisions of the will. Should he make a new will. Wherefore. new Civil Code). the ordinary probate proceedings after the testator’s death would be in order" (Report of the Code Commission. wherein we said: "The authentication of the will decides no other questions than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of a will. without pronouncement as to costs. "after a will has been probated during the lifetime of a testator it does not necessarily mean that he cannot alter or revoke the same before his death. It is clear that the trial court erred in entertaining the opposition and in annulling the portion of the will which allegedly impairs the legitime of the oppositor on the ground that. and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated. 53-54). We hold that such opposition cannot be entertained in this proceeding because its only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been executed in accordance with the requirements of the law. 676. . it would also be allowable on his petition. This is especially so when the testator. as it has found. is still alive and has merely filed a petition for the allowance of his will leaving the effects thereof after his death. This is in line with our ruling in Montañano v. This is an extraneous matter which should be threshed out in a separate action. much less if the purpose of the opposition is to show that the oppositor is an acknowledged natural child who allegedly has been ignored in the will for such issue cannot be raised here but in a separate action. as in the present case.

the mere fact that some influence is exercised by a person sustaining that relation does not invalidate a will.’ The rule as to what constitutes ’undue influence’ has been variously stated. appears to have known his own mind." He was an intelligent man.R. and remained in close communication with him until his death in February. and also provides for the payment to her of nineteen hundred Spanish duros by way of reimbursement for expenses incurred by her in taking care of the testator in Barcelona during the years 1909 to 1916. 1919. . existed at the time of its execution and we do not think that this burden has been carried in the present case.. rather than his own. even if illegitimate. to have that effect the influence must be ’undue. a married man and resident of the Philippine Islands. This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila setting aside a will on the ground of undue influence alleged to have been exerted over the mind of a testator by one Rosario Lopez. a lawyer by profession. unless it is further shown that the influence destroys the testator’s free agency. . mere affection. Petitioner-Appellant. While it is shown that the testator entertained strong affections for Rosario Lopez. FERMINA FERNANDEZ DEZA ET AL. when he is alleged to have suffered from severe illness. the influence exerted must be of a kind that so overpowers and subjugates the mind of the testator as to destroy his free agency and make him express the will of another. "Mere general or reasonable influence over a testator is not sufficient to invalidate a will.. or so near thereto as to be still operative. and it must result in the making of testamentary dispositions which the testator would not otherwise have made . There is no doubt that she exercised some influence over him and the only question for our determination is whether this influence was of such a character as to vitiate the will The English and American rule in regard to undue influence is thus stated in 40 Cyc. such influence must be actually exerted on the mind of the testator in regard to the execution of the will in question. The will gives the tercio de libre disposicion to an illegitimate son had by the testator with said Rosario Lopez. either at the time of the execution of the will. UNDUE INFLUENCE. December 22.. 1921. in the sense above expressed. objectors-appellees. WILLS. and may well have been actuated only by a legitimate sense of duty in making provisions for the welfare of his illegitimate son and by a proper feeling of gratitude in repaying Rosario Lopez for the sacrifices . to be sufficient to avoid a will. 1918. became acquainted with Rosario Lopez in Spain in 1898 and that he had illicit relations with her for many years thereafter. ". ". 16763. The evidence shows that the testator. SYLLABUS 1. is not undue influence and does not invalidate a will. with the object of procuring a will in favor of particular parties. v.[G. . . After his return to the Philippines she followed him. . but the substance of the different statements is that. ] PASCUAL COSO. . arriving in Manila in February. and while the same amount of influence may become ’undue’ when exercised by one occupying an improper and adulterous relation to testator. it does not appear that her influence so overpowered and subjugated his mind as to "destroy his free agency and make him express the will of another rather than his own. No."cralaw virtua1aw library The burden is upon the parties challenging the will to show that undue influence. 1144-1149. — In the absence of fraud or imposition.

even though it induces the testator to make an unequal and unjust disposition of his property in favor of those who have contributed to his comfort and ministered to his wants. certainly no reason for giving the doctrine of undue influence a wider scope here than it enjoys in the United States. and that under the law in force in these Islands before the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure. S. if such disposition is voluntarily made.’ if no imposition or fraud be practiced. regard to execution of wills may be warranted when the right to so dispose of property is unlimited than when it is restricted to the extent it is in this jurisdiction There is. deceit. "Influence gained by kindness and affection will not be regarded as ’undue. . The present doctrine of undue influence originated in a legal system where the right of the testator to dispose of his property by will was nearly unlimited. Mere affection. is not undue influence and does not invalidate a will. the only outside influences affecting the validity of a will were duress. Manifestly.) It may be further observed that under the Civil Law the right of a person with legal heirs to dispose of his property by will is limited to only a portion of his estate. even if illegitimate." (Mackall v. 167. therefore. Mackall. 135 U. So ordered. greater safeguards in.. the decision of the lower court disallowing the will of Federico Gimenez Zoboli is hereby reversed and it is ordered that the will be admitted to probate. For the reasons stated.she had made for him. and fraud. No costs will be allowed. No imposition or fraud has been shown in the present case.

R. No. Hence. Issue: Whether or not the petition for probate was barred by the judgment of an earlier intestate proceeding. went to the same court asking to re-open the case alleging that Adriana actually left a will.Casiano vs Maloto G. Petitioners filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari and mandamus which was later dismissed by the Court saying that the proper remedy was to file a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will. niece and nephews. herein petitioners. L-32328 September 30. Constancio Maloto. The Court ruled that the petition for probate of the alleged will was the proper remedy. this petition for review. Held: Negative. and should not have been dismissed. Four years later. The earlier intestate proceeding is not a bar for the petition for probate of the will as to constitute res adjudicata. Petitioners then filed with CFI Iloilo a petition for probate of the said will but the court dismissed the same on the ground of res adjudicata and that the earlier intestate proceeding had made a finding that the will of the decedent was destroyed and revoked. Aldina and Constancio. . They moved for the annulment of the intestate proceeding and the allowance of the said will. The court dismissed the motion on the ground that it was filed out of time. and Felino Maloto. commenced on November 4. Panfilo Maloto. 1977 Facts: Aldina Maloto Casiano. 1963 in CFI-Iloilo an intestate proceeding. in the belief that the decedent died intestate. respectively. They partitioned the properties of Adriana among themselves. Panfilo and Felino opposed the motion. and said partition was approved by the court. The court also ruled that it was not proper for the court in the intestate proceeding to make a finding that the discovered will had been destroyed and revoked. (The lower court was directed to proceed with the hearing of the probate of the will). of the late Adriana Maloto.

Petitioners appealed from the order of denial. In the course of said intestate proceeding. 2 The Court of First Instance of Iloilo. a document dated January 3.chanrobles. niece and nephews. 1967.R. and Purificacion Miraflor also filed in Special Proceeding No. Constancio Maloto. Branch III.ph . then presided by Judge Emigdio V. Constancio Maloto. Aldina Maloto Casiano. 1968 denying the motion to reopen the proceedings on the ground that the said motion had been filed out of time. Panfilo Maloto. L30479. A motion for reconsideration of said order was denied. Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto executed an extrajudicial partition of the estate of Adriana Maloto on February 1. respectively. 1969 which reads:jgc:chanrobles. Nietes. The said will also allegedly made dispositions to certain devisees and/or legatees. A motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal was denied. commenced on November 4. The Court of First Instance of Iloilo. 1963 in Iloilo City. This Court dismissed the petition in a resolution dated May 14. CONSTANCIO MALOTO. 1736 petitions for the allowance of the will of Adriana Maloto. ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF MOLO.[G. the lower court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was filed late. Aldina Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto filed in Special Proceeding No. in Special Proceeding No. in the belief that decedent died intestate. No.com. 1940 purporting to be the last will and testament of Adriana Maloto was delivered to the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. and Felino Maloto are named as heirs but Aldina Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto allegedly have shares in said will which are bigger. the Roman Catholic Church of Molo. 1977. The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with the Supreme Court docketed as G. her place of residence. 1964 whereby they adjudicated said estate unto themselves in the proportion of one-fourth (1/4) share for each. 1736. Nietes. 5 The Asilo de Molo. 3 On April 1. and (3) for the allowance of the last will and testament of Adriana Maloto. PURIFICACION MIRAFLOR. among whom being the Asilo de Molo. Aldina Maloto Casiano. through Judge Emigdio V. PANFILO MALOTO and FELINO MALOTO. Oppositors-Appellees. L-32328. and Felino Maloto. No. 6 Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto opposed the motion of Aldina Maloto Casiano and Constancio Maloto. 1963 in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo an intestate proceeding docketed as Special Proceeding No. 1736 a motion (1) for reconsideration. 4 It appears that Aldina Maloto Casiano. 2176 dismissing the petition for the probate of a will. approved the extrajudicial partition on March 21. Constancio Maloto. Panfilo Maloto. A supplemental order dated April 1. 1964. September 30. different and more valuable than what they obtained in the extrajudicial partition. This is a petition to review the order dated April 13.R.] TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANO MALOTO: ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO. and ASILO DE MOLO. issued an order dated November 16.com:cralaw:red On May 24. the Roman Catholic Church of Molo. 1969 stating as additional ground that the appeal is improper was issued. Petitioners-Appellants. of Adriana Maloto. 1 One Adriana Maloto died on October 20. and Purificacion Miraflor. 1967. v. 1970 of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo. (2) annulment of the proceedings. On motion of Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto.

. the herein petitioners commenced Special Proceeding No. it appearing that the more appropriate remedy of petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will in question. 1969. 2176 in the Court of First Instance of Iloilo for the probate of the alleged last will and testament of Adriana Maloto. Constancio Maloto. the probate court dismissed the petition for the probate of the will on the basis of the finding of said court in Special Proceeding No. 1968 in the intestate estate proceeding. 1736. 1970. 9 Panfilo Maloto and Felino Maloto filed an opposition with a motion to dismiss on the following grounds:jgc:chanrobles. THAT THE ESTATE OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO HAD ALREADY PASSED OUT OF EXISTENCE AND TITLE THERETO HAD ALREADY VESTED IN THE DISTRIBUTEES OF THEIR ASSIGNS. v." 8 Thereupon. et al." 10 In an order dated April 13. 1736 that the alleged will sought to be probated had been destroyed and revoked by the testatrix.. L-30479. Hon. 1968 of respondent Judge was made on time. THEY HAVING CEASED TO BE INTERESTED PARTIES. 2176. Et. Et Al. . etc. Nietes.ph "Acting on the motion for reconsideration and/or clarification filed by petitioner in G. the Court resolved to DENY the motion for reconsideration. this Court issued a resolution dated July 15. IV. wherein such matter will be more appropriately determined. Emigdio V. THAT THE INSTANT PETITION FOR PROBATE IS NOW BARRED BY PRIOR JUDGMENT OR ORDER (OR RES JUDICATA). No. Et. dated June 11. THAT THE ALLEGED WILL SOUGHT TO BE PROBATED HAD BEEN DESTROYED AND REVOKED BY THE TESTATRIX. Emigdio V. 1969. The probate court sustained the oppositors’ contention that the petition for probate is now barred by the order of November 16. R. Al. with the clarification that the matter of whether or not the pertinent findings of facts of respondent Judge in his herein subject order of November 16. Al. 1968 constitute res adjudicata may be raised in the proceedings for probate of the alleged will in question indicated in the resolution of this Court of May 14." 7 Acting on the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration and clarification. v.com.. CFI ILOILO) HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN REVOKED BY HER (ADRIANA MALOTO). Hon. etc. Special Proceeding No.com. 11 The herein petitioners allege that the probate court committed the following errors: "I THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ADMITTEDLY GENUINE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO (THE SUBJECT OF PETITION FOR PROBATE SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. without passing on the issue of whether or not the petitioners appeal from the order of November 16. III. II.) — THE COURT RESOLVED to dismiss the petition for certiorari and mandamus.ph "I. 1969 which reads:jgc:chanrobles."L-30479 (Constancio Maloto. Nietes. THAT PETITIONERS ALDINA MALOTO CASIANO AND CONSTANCIO MALOTO ARE NOW ESTOPPED FROM SEEKING THE REMEDY UNDER THIS PROCEEDING.

As a matter of fact. 1736 is not a bar to the present petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana Maloto. . I. INSTEAD. it is not proper to make a finding in an intestate estate proceeding that the discovered will has been revoked. WHEREFORE. ERRED IN DISMISSING THE AFORESAID PETITION FOR PROBATE OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO AND IN NOT. THEREFORE. the order of November 16."cralaw virtua1aw library In view of the foregoing. Indeed. 2176 on the merits.II THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT SAID PETITION (FOR PROBATE OF THE AFORESAID LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE LATE ADRIANA MALOTO) IS NOW BARRED BY PRIOR JUDGMENT. 1969 that "The more appropriate remedy of the petitioners in the premises stated in the petition is for petitioners to initiate a separate proceeding for the probate of the alleged will in question. Moreover. E.. 1968 in Special Proceeding No. GIVING IT (THE PETITION ABOVE-CITED DUE COURSE. 1968 that "Movants should have filed a separate action for the probate of the will. the motion to reopen the proceedings was denied because the same was filed out of time. the order dated April 13. the probate court in Special Proceeding No. III THE LOWER COURT. 1970 dismissing the petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana Maloto is hereby set aside and the lower court is directed to proceed with the hearing of the petition in Special Proceeding No. 1736 stated in the order of November 16. The probate court had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for the probate of the alleged will of Adriana Maloto in Special Proceeding No. SO ORDERED." 13 And this court stated in its resolution of May 14. 1736. with costs against the respondents. THAT THE MATTER CONCERNED IS NOW RES ADJUDICATA." 12 The instant petition for review is meritorious.

[G. 1131. WHEN LEGACIES AND DEVISES MERIT CONSIDERATION. is presumed to be "involuntary. WHEN COURT MAY RULE ON INTRINSIC VALIDITY. 1961.. legitimate or illegitimate. a peculiar situation exists. (III Tolentino. however. Said will rather than he labelled ineffective disinheritance is clearly one in which the said forced heirs suffer from preterition. 72 Phil. As to him. — The deceased left no descendants. EFFECTS FLOWING FROM PRETERITION AND DISINHERITANCE.] REMEDIOS NUGUID. ID. CASE AT BAR. Vol. in addition.) Disinheritance is always "voluntary" . ID. and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed the by law.. v. 3." 1956 ed. p." but only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited. III.. — Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly given as such in a will. SUCCESSION. unless in the will there are. such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs. PROBATE OF WILL. But she left forced heirs in the direct ascending time — her parents. Reyes and R. there being a justiciable controversy awaiting solution.. They questioned the intrinsic validity of the will.R. the court’s area of inquiry is limited to an examination of. though mentioned. preterition upon the other hand..) 4. . OMISSION OF NAMES OF FORCED HEIRS. "This annulment is in toto. Akutin. 8.. nothing will be gained. 2nd edition. the testatrix’s testamentary capacity. Nothing in Article 854 of the Civil Code suggests that the mere institution of a universal heir in a will — void because of preterition — would give the heir so instituted a share in the inheritance. There must he. L-23445. Preterition under Article 854 of the Civil Code "shall annul the institution of heir. No. "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heir of heir share in the legitime for a cause authorized by law." (Sanchez Roman. "An Outline of Philippine Civil Law. probability exists that the case will come up once again before this Court on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. COURT’S AREA OF INQUIRY LIMITED TO EXTRINSIC VALIDITY OF WILL. The result would be waste of time.L. But if the case were to be remanded for probate of the will. p. p. plus added anxiety. 1966. Edition. Estudios de Derecho Civil. PRETERITION DISTINGUISHED FROM DISINHERITANCE. in addition to such institution. Her will does not explicitly disinherit them but simply omits their names altogether. they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. a testamentary disposition granting him bequests or legacies apart and separate from the nullified institution of heir. — In a proceeding for the probate of a will. Al. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code. v. ID. In the case at bar.. 325. Normally. Puno. — The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance." which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition. Volume 20. the due execution thereof. at al. The parties shunted aside the question of whether or not the will should be allowed probate.. PRETERITION. testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies." (Neri.. — Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator’s will of the forced heirs or anyone of them. and resolution on. the extrinsic validity of the will. Civil Code of the Philippines. expense. ID. Petitioner-Appellant.C. FELIX NUGUID and PAZ SALONGA NUGUID SYLLABUS 1. in turn.) Disinheritance. citing cases. 2. Et. These practical considerations induce this Court to meet head-on the issue of the nullity of the provisions of the will in question. 6. in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived. ID. or. effort. p. ID. 172.B.) Better stated yet. In the event of probate or if the court rejects the will. this comes only after the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. June 23.. the will is inexistent. either because the are not mentioned therein. ID." (Justice J.

and 6 brothers and sisters namely: Alfredo. oppositors — who are compulsory heirs of the deceased in the direct ascending line — were illegally preterited and that in consequence the institution is void. — Petitioner insists that the compulsory heirs ineffectively disinherited are entitled to receive their legitimes. 1963. If every case of institution of heirs may be made to fall into the concept of legacies and betterments reducing the bequest accordingly. The parties shunted aside the question of whether or not the will should he allowed probate. 1963. The court’s area of inquiry is limited — to an examination of.. For them. 1962. if adopted. Conrado. On September 6. Ground therefor. will result in a complete abrogation of Articles 814 and 851 of the Civil Code. oppositors moved to dismiss on the ground of absolute preterition. and resolution on.. The due execution thereof. legitimate or illegitimate. by the court. 1. and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities by law prescribed. A motion to reconsider having been thwarted below. Petitioner prayed that said will be admitted to probate and that letters of administration with the will annexed be issued to her. single. Normally. On June 25. Right at the outset. The court’s order of November 8. petitioner Remedios Nuguid filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal a holographic will allegedly executed by Rosario Nuguid on November 17. On May 18. ID. the testatrix’s testamentary capacity. concededly the legitimate father and mother of the deceased Rosario Nuguid. ID. a procedural aspect has engaged our attention. the extrinsic validity of the will. Federico. And the remaining provisions contained in said articles concerning the reduction of inofficious legacies or betterments would be a surplusage because they would be absorbed by Article 817 of the same code. INSTITUTION OF HEIRS CANNOT BE CONSIDERED LEGACY. before a hearing was had on the petition for probate and objection thereto. some 11 years before her demise. this comes only after the court has declared that the will been duly authenticated. The case is for the probate of a will." although the inheritance of the heir so instituted is reduced to the extent of said legitimes. Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. without descendants. died on December 30. held that "the will in question is a complete nullity and will perforce create intestacy of the estate of the deceased Rosario Nuguid" and dismissed the petition without costs. petitioner came to this Court on appeal. in . but that the institution of heir "is not invalidated. 1963. Remedios. This theory. Said court — at this stage of the proceedings — is not called upon to rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will.. the legality of any devise or legacy therein. Rosario Nuguid. 1 A peculiar situation is here thrust upon us. 2 But petitioner and oppositors. then the provisions of Articles 814 and 851 regarding total or partial nullity of the institution. Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. would be absolutely meaningless and will never have any application at all.7. and to be acted upon. inter alia. a resident of Quezon City. On August 29. are the questions solely to be represented. entered their opposition to the probate of her will. all surnamed Nuguid. Surviving her were her legitimate parents. 1951. ID. Lourdes and Alberto. is that by the institution of petitioner Remedios Nuguid as universal heir of the deceased. 1963. the meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of the will. petitioner registered her opposition to the motion to dismiss. 1963.

It may now appear trite but nonetheless helpful in giving us a clear perspective of the problem before us. obliterate. to make void or of no effect.." virtua1aw library A comprehensive understanding of the term preterition employed in the law becomes a necessity. Q. And for aught that appears in the record. N. effort. shall annul the institution of heir. Result: waste of time.S. or all of the compulsory heirs in the direct line. 484. . "ANNUL. This exacts from us a study of the disputed will and the applicable statute. plus added anxiety. 342. 2:50 — 38 (now N. to abolish. travelled on the issue of law.In re Morrow’s Estate. 854. whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator. If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will. being of sound and disposing mind and memory. The preterition of one or all of the forced heirs in the direct line.C. to annihilate. nineteen hundred and fifty-one. The preterition or omission of one.2A:34-25). whether living at the time of the execution of the will or born after the death of the testator. age 34. probability exists that the case will come once again before us on the same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. 814. shall void the institution of heir. to abolish." 6 "The word ’annul’ as used in the statute requiring court to annul alimony provisions of divorce decree upon wife’s remarriage means to reduce to nothing. do hereby give. having amassed a certain amount of property. Petitioner’s sole assignment of error challenges the correctness of the conclusion below that the will is a complete nullity. I. there exists a justiciable controversy crying for solution. I have signed my name this seventh day of November. On the contrary. some. . Reproduced hereunder is the will: "Nov. nothing will be gained. thus — "Art. . To reduce to nothing. 17. to wit: Is the will intrinsically a nullity? We pause to reflect. . 2. expense.S. in so far as they are not inofficious.A. devise. the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious . 54 A. 204 Pa.J. obliterate. 1951. . to nullify. blot out. which is similarly herein copied. These are the practical considerations that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head-on the issue of the nullity of the provisions of the will in question. residing with me at 38-B Iriga. in part. . in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will. to have on hand a clear-cut definition of the word annul: "To ’annul’ means to abrogate. to do . 343. the foregoing is a reproduction of Article 814 of the Civil Code of Spain of 1889. this litigation will be protracted. to make void or of no effect.) Illegible T/ ROSARIO NUGUID" The statute we are called upon to apply is Article 854 of the Civil Code which. but the legacies and betterments 4 shall be valid. (Sgd. annihilate. to nullify.J.” virtua1aw library Except for inconsequential variation in terms. and bequeath all of the property which I may have when I die to my beloved sister Remedios Nuguid. ROSARIO NUGUID.the court below and here on appeal. to make void. In witness whereof. provides: "Art. 3 After all.

. Giving it an expansive meaning will tear up by the roots the fabric of the statute. a testamentary disposition granting him bequests or legacies apart and separate from the nullified institution of heir. todas aquellas otras disposiciones que no se refieren a la institución de heredero . now 854. though mentioned. Ex parte Mitchell. . 20 . there is no escaping the conclusion that the universal institution of petitioner to the entire inheritance results in totally abrogating the will. No specific legacies or bequests are therein provided for. the nullification of such institution of universal heir — without any other testamentary disposition in the will — amounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written. Sanchez Roman. The deceased Rosario Nuguid left no descendants.E. Really." 13 As Manresa puts it. the same must be supported by a legal cause specified in the will itself. neither were they expressly disinherited. in turn. But she left forced heirs in the direct ascending line — her parents. . We should not be led astray by the statement in Article 854 that." 8 And now. This is a clear case of preterition. Such preterition in the words of Manresa "anulara siempre la institución de heredero. Carefully worded and in clear terms. speaking of the two component parts of Article 814. And. there is no other provision in the will before us except the institution of petitioner as universal heir." 17 In Manresa’s own words: "La privación expresa de la legitima constituye le desheredación." Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly given as such in a will. "pero subsistiendo. by itself. Perforce. Nothing in Article 854 suggests that the mere institution of a universal heir in a will — void because of preterition — would give the heir so instituted a share in the inheritance. 283. "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heir of his share in the legitime for a cause authorized by law. It is in this posture that we say that the nullity is complete. tacitly." 15 From this. dando caracter absoluto a este ordenamiento." 19 Express as disinheritance should be. either because they are not mentioned therein. now 854 of the Civil Code. they were deprived of their legitime. back to the facts and the law. they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited. . 771. is presumed to be "involuntaria." This argument fails to appreciate the distinction between preterition and disinheritance." referring to the mandate of Article 814. That institution.sentence will here institutes petitioner as the sole. preterition. or. 774. the will is inexistent. 2d. legitimate or illegitimate. 3. 123 W. Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator’s will of the forced heirs or anyone of them. . Va. There must be. intestate succession ensues. as we analyze the word annul employed in the statute. annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance. petitioner draws the conclusion that Article 854 "does not apply to the case at bar. Because. the will completely omits both of them: They thus received nothing by the testament. As aforesaid. Article 854 offers no leeway for inferential interpretation. states that preterition annuls the institution of the heir "totalmente por la preterición" . 18 Sanchez Roman emphasizes the distinction by stating that disinheritance "es siempre voluntaria" . As to him. And. "the devises and legacies shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious. 9 The one. 4. La privación tacita de la misma se denomina preterición. universal heir — nothing more. is null and void. in addition to such institution. annulment notwithstanding. Petitioner’s mainstay is that the present is "a case of ineffective disinheritance rather than one of preterition. now oppositors Felix Nuguid and Paz Salonga Nuguid. Rosario Nuguid died intestate. S." 16 Disinheritance.away with. but added (in reference to legacies and bequests). upon the other hand.

will result in a complete abrogation of articles 814 and 851 of the Civil Code." Considering.The will here does not explicitly disinherit the testatrix’s parents. . which is the only provision material to the disposition of this case. unless in the will there are. 22 según el caso. Institution of heirs is a bequest by universal title of property that is undetermined. deshereda dos. But again an institution of heirs cannot be taken as a legacy. the order of November 8. If every case of institution of heirs may be made to fall into the concept of legacies and betterments reducing the bequest accordingly." Article 854 of the Civil Code in turn merely nullifies "the institution of heir. if adopted. the forced heirs. This theory. and nothing more. in addition. 1963 under review is hereby affirmed. accordingly. instead of construing." The disputed order. Said will rather than be labeled ineffective disinheritance is clearly one in which the said forced heirs suffer from preterition." which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition. No costs allowed. On top of this the fact that the effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. . but that the institution of heir "is not invalidated. And they are separate and distinct not only because they are distinctly and separately treated in said article but because they are in themselves different. 24 This is best answered by a reference to the opinion of Mr. adquieren el derecho a todo. such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs. we would be destroying integral provisions of the Civil Code. Legacy refers to specific property bequeathed by a particular or special title." 23 5. And the remaining provisions contained in said articles concerning the reduction of inofficious legacies or betterments would be a surplusage because they would be absorbed by article 817. in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived." This annulment is in toto. we observe. solo les corresponde un tercio o dos tercios. With reference to Article 814. it must be observed that the institution of heirs is therein dealt with a thing separate and distinct from legacies or betterment. Upon the view we take of this case. it must not be entirely annulled but merely reduced. the result is the same. Manresa’s expressive language. . Thus. however. Petitioner insists that the compulsory heirs ineffectively disinherited are entitled to receive their legitimes. and a general from a special provision. The entire will is null. then the provisions of articles 814 and 851 regarding total or partial nullity of the institution. Preterition under Article 854 of the Civil Code. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code. The destructive effect of the theory thus advanced is due mainly to a failure to distinguish institution of heirs from legacies and betterments. So ordered. 21 Better stated yet. It simply omits their names altogether. viz: "But the theory is advanced that the bequest made by universal title in favor of the children by the second marriage should be treated as legado and mejora and. that the will before us solely provides for the institution of petitioner as universal heir." although the inheritance of the heir so instituted is reduced to the extent of said legitimes. we repeat. testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. in commenting on the rights of the preterited heirs in the case of preterition on the one hand and legal disinheritance on the other. "shall annul the institution of heir. runs thus: "Preteridos. Justice Moran in the Neri case heretofore cited. would be absolutely meaningless and will]l never have application at all." but only "insofar as it may prejudice the person disinherited. declares the will in question "a complete nullity.

Appeal by Paula de la Cerna and others from a decision of the Court of Appeals. December 23. the spouses. Manuela Rebaca being married to Nicolas Potot’. PROBATE COURTS. 1964. 23763-R) reversing that of the Court of First Instance of Cebu (Civ. Case No. another petition for the probate of the same will insofar as Gervasia was concerned was filed . and that ’while each of the testator is yet living. ID.-G. ID. The factual background appears in the following portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals: "It appears that on May 9. Testamentaria Finado Bernabe de la Cerna). on her death. whom we have nurtured since childhood. WILLS. and a joint will being prohibited by law. and the aforesaid will was submitted to probate by said Gervasia and Manuela before the Court of First Instance of Cebu which. 499. the said two parcels of land being covered by Tax No. ET AL. the estate of the wife should pass upon her death to her intestate heirs and not to the testamentary heirs. executed a joint last will and testament in the local dialect whereby they willed that ’our two parcels of land acquired during our marriage together with all improvements thereon shall be given to Manuela Rebaca. y habido consideracion de la cuantia de dichos bienes. 499. — A final probate decree of a joint will of husband and wife affects only the share of the deceased spouse and cannot include the disposition of the share of the surviving spouse.A.R. Sixth Division (C. considering that a joint will is a separate will of each testator. 3. in so far as the estate of the latter spouse is concerned. both situated in sitio Bucao. by Order of October 31. ET AL. said will was admitted to probate by a final decree of the court although erroneous.] PAULA DE LA CERNA.’ (Act. Petitioners. he or she will continue to enjoy the fruits of the two lands aforementioned’. v.[G. because God did not give us any child in our union. Bernabe de la Cerna and Gervasia Rebaca. 1952. municipality of Borbon. 1939. ’declara legalizado el documento Exhibito A como el testamento y ultima voluntad del finado Bernabe de la Cerna con derecho por parte de su viuda superstite Gervasia Rebaca y otra testadora al proprio tiempo segun el Exhibito A de gozar de los frutos de los terrenos descritos en dicho documento. after due publication as required by law and there being no opposition. se derecta la distribucion sumaria de los mismos en favor de la legataria universal Manuela Rebaca de Potot previa prestacion por parte de la misma de una fianza en la suma de P500. The validity of said joint will. reexamined and adjudicated de novo.R. our niece. heard the evidence. R-3819) and ordering the dismissal of an action for partition. JUDGMENTS. — Where a husband and wife executed a join will and upon the death of the husband. 2. 4676 and Tax No. No. must be. EFFECT OF VALIDITY OF JOINT WILL AS TO SHARE OF WIFE WHO DIES LATER THAN THE HUSBAND.. — An error of law committed in admitting a joint will to probate does not affect the jurisdiction of the probate court nor the conclusive effect of its final decision. L-20234. in Special Proceedings No. Upon the death of Gervasia Rebaca on October 14. Bernabe de la Cerna died on August 30. 1939. 6677..00 para responder de cualesquiera reclamaciones que se presentare contra los bienes del finado Bernabe de la Cerna dentro de los años desde esta fecha. 1939. No. MANUELA REBACA POTOT. SYLLABUS 1. ERROR OF LAW DOES NOT AFFECT JURISDICTION OF NOR CONCLUSIVE EFFECT OF DECISION. and the wife dies later. barrio Lugo. province of Cebu. PROBATE DECREE OF JOINT WILL AFFECTS ONLY SHARE OF DECEASED SPOUSE. it is held that said first decree of probate affects only the estate of the husband but cannot affect the estate of the wife.. Esp. unless some other valid will is shown to exist in favor of the latter or unless the testamentary heir is the only heir intestate of said wife. and.

Proc. Interest rei publicae ut finis sit litium. and when. that the probate decree in 1939 could only affect the share of the deceased husband. . and her attorney. It follows that the validity of the joint will. new Civil Code) prohibits the making of a will jointly by two or more persons either for their reciprocal benefit or for the benefit of a third person. Petitioners. however erroneous. 39 Phil. nor the conclusive effect of its final decision. or in favor of a third party (Art. Manuela R. on the ground that the decree of probate in 1939 was issued by a court of probate jurisdiction and conclusive on the due execution of the testament. this form of will has long been sanctioned by use. as in the present case. for being executed contrary to the prohibition of joint wills in the Civil Code (Art. 938. reciprocally. the Court of Appeals declared that: ". In re Estate of Johnson. Bernabe de la Cerna. 1952. as heirs and successors of the late Bernabe de la Cerna. old Civil Code. on her death. old Civil Code). 156). It is true the law (Art. However. . Manuel Potot to appear. but which did not affect the jurisdiction of the probate court. precisely because her estate could not then be in issue. Art. despite the fact that even then the Civil Code already decreed the invalidity of joint wills. wherein our Supreme Court gave effect to the provisions of the joint will therein mentioned. 669. there seems to be no alternative except to give effect to the provisions thereof that are not contrary to law." library The Court of First Instance ordered the petition heard and declared the testament null and void. and here they have spoken with finality when the will was probated in 1939. but for failure of the petitioner. 1016-R of the same Court of First Instance of Cebu. one such joint last will and testament has been admitted to probate by final order of a Court of competent jurisdiction. whether in favor of the joint testators. who was then still alive. Be it remembered that prior to the Civil Code. Saavedra. 669. a will could not be probated during the testator’s lifetime. The appealed decision correctly held that the final decree of probate. and public policy and sound practice demand that at the risk of occasional errors. but on appeal by the testamentary heir. The contention that being void the will cannot be validated overlooks that the ultimate decision on whether an act is valid or void rests with the courts. saying ’assuming that the joint will in question is valid’. 1016-R. But the Court of Appeals should have taken into account also. are concluded by the 1939 decree admitting his will to probate.on November 6. Civil Code of 1889 and Art. 51 Phil. Paredes. and over whose interest in the conjugal properties the probate court acquired no jurisdiction. 669. Civil Code of the Philippines). died). 267. and the same has continued to be used. judgment of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law. 47 Phil. must be. On this count." library Whence this appeal by the heirs intestate of the deceased husband. Bernabe de la Cerna. being Special Proceedings No. as was done in the case of Macrohon v. 818. Bernabe de la Cerna. the case was dismissed on March 30. to avoid future misunderstanding. A final judgment rendered on a petition for the probate of a will is binding upon the whole world (Manalo v. Gervasia Rebaca. for the hearing of said petition. 1954 (Spec. The error thus committed by the probate court was an error of law. that should have been corrected by appeal. since a joint will is considered a separate will of each testator. 818. has conclusive effect as to his last will and testament. in so far as the estate of the wife was concerned. Thus . No. reexamined and adjudicated de novo. It could not include the disposition of the share of the wife. the Court of Appeals reversed. Potot. entered in 1939 by the Court of First Instance of Cebu (when the testator. In the matter of the Probate of the Will of Gervasia Rebaca). the dismissal of their action for partition was correct. Further.

7. 144. and not exclusively to the testamentary heir. the judgment of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. for the reasons extensively discussed in our decision in Bilbao v. the holding of the Court of First Instance of Cebu that the joint will is one prohibited by law was correct as to the participation of the deceased Gervasia Rebaca in the properties in question.R. and no usage to the contrary may prevail against their observance (Art. Art. . 51 Phil. It is unnecessary to emphasize that the fact that joint wills should be in common usage could not make them valid when our Civil Codes consistently invalidated them. 5. Bilbao. 267. Saavedra. Code of 1889. 87 Phil. WITH THE FOREGOING MODIFICATION. 23763-R is affirmed. Therefore. No costs. because laws are only repealed by other subsequent laws. unless some other valid will in her favor is shown to exist. Civil Code of the Philippines of 1950). No..regarded. Civ. that explained the previous holding in Macrohon v. or unless she be the only heir intestate of said Gervasia. the undivided interest of Gervasia Rebaca should pass upon her death to her heirs intestate.

on the ground that the order was merely "interlocutory". Order is hereby issued declaring Lourdes Legaspi not the wife of the late Alejandro Dorotheo. the court issued an order admitting Alejand ro’s will to probate.R. v. the dispositive portion of which reads: "WHEREFORE. Alejandro died thereafter. filed a special proceeding for the probate of the latter’s last will and testament. hence not final in character. they filed a "Motion To Declare The Will Intrinsically Void. private respondents filed a petition before the Court of Appeals. In 1981. Sometime in 1977. The latter died in 1969 without her estate being settled. DOROTHEO. and declaring the oppositors Vicente Dorotheo. Petitioner. 108581. Judge Angas cannot be said to have no jurisdiction because he was particularly designated to hear the case. 1991. as well as the Order directing the issuance of the writ of execution. private respondents filed several motions including a motion to compel petitioner to surrender to them the Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCT) covering the properties of the late Alejandro. Aggrieved. after Alejandro’s death. whose respective estates shall be liquidated and distributed according to the laws on intestacy upon payment of estate and other taxes due to the government. COURT OF APPEALS May a last will and testament admitted to probate but declared intrinsically void in an order that has become final and executory still be given effect? This is the issue that arose from the following antecedents: Private respondents were the legitimate children of Alejandro Dorotheo and Aniceta Reyes. Private respondents filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied in an Order dated February 1. 1989 and a corresponding entry of judgment was forthwith issued by the Court of Appeals on May 16. 1990 and February 1. petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. 1991." 1 Petitioner moved for reconsideration arguing that she is entitled to some compensation since she took care of Alejandro prior to his death although she admitted that they were not married to each other. in view of the foregoing. but the same was dismissed for failure to file appellant’s brief within the extended period granted. Jose Dorotheo and Nilda Dorotheo Quintana as the only heirs of the late spouses Alejandro Dorotheo and Aniceta Reyes. Petitioner likewise assails the Order of the Court of Appeals upholding the validity of the January 30.[G. December 8. who claims to have taken care of Alejandro before he died.] LOURDES L. Private respondents did not appeal from said order. 2 This dismissal became final and executory on February 3. private respondents filed a motion for cancellation of said titles and for issuance of new titles in their names. An Order was issued on November 29. The court added that the dispositive portion of the said Order even directs the distribution of the estate of the deceased spouses. petitioner instituted a petition for review arguing that the case filed by private respondents before the Court of Appeals was a petition under Rule 65 on the ground of grave abuse of discretion or lack of jurisdiction. When petitioner refused to surrender the TCT’s. which nullified the two assailed Orders dated November 29. Consequently. 1986. No. In 1983. the provisions of the last will and testament of Alejandro Dorotheo as intrinsically void. Angas setting aside the final and executory Order dated January 30. Petitioner opposed the motion. Petitioner contends that in issuing the two assailed orders. Thus. 1999. 1990 by Judge Zain B." The trial court granted the motion and issued an order. Upon denial of her motion for reconsideration. A writ of execution was issued by the lower court to implement the final and executory Order. 1986 Order which declared the intrinsic invalidity of Alejandro’s will that was earlier admitted to probate. Petitioner. 1989. Petitioner also filed a motion to reinstate her as executrix of the estate of the late Alejandro and to maintain the status .

but that a final and executory decision of which the party had the opportunity to challenge before the higher tribunals must stand and should no longer be reevaluated. 1986 Order that has attained finality. the decedent’s last will and testament. It has been ruled that a final judgment on probated will. Failure to avail of the remedies provided by law constitutes waiver. Thus. And if the party does not avail of other remedies despite its belief that it was aggrieved by a decision or court action. Interes rei publicae ut finis sit litium — the very object of which the courts were constituted was to put an end to controversies. As early as 1918. ð the testamentary capacity of the testator. then it is deemed to have fully agreed and is satisfied with the decision or order. 8 ð and the due execution of the last will and testament. is binding on the whole world. that he had freely executed the will and was not acting under duress. Even if the will was validly executed. It is well settled that a lower court cannot reverse or set aside decisions or orders of a superior court. fraud. 6 It should be noted that probate proceedings deals generally with the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated. 5 Such final order makes the will conclusive against the whole world as to its extrinsic validity and due execution. it does not necessarily follow that an extrinsically valid last will and testament is always intrinsically valid. 10 that he was of the proper testamentary age and that he is a person not expressly prohibited by law from making a will. judgments of courts must at some point of time fixed by law 14 become final otherwise there will be no end to litigation. the order allowing the will became final and the question determined by the court in such order can no longer be raised anew. Not that this Court finds the will to be intrinsically valid. it has been declared that public policy and sound practice demand that. have . 9 Under the Civil Code. for to do so would be to negate the hierarchy of courts and nullify the essence of review. albeit erroneous. 12 Thus.quo or lease of the premises thereon to third parties. Such determination having attained that character of finality is binding on this Court which will no longer be disturbed. 7 particularly on three aspects: ð whether the will submitted is indeed. the trial court in effect nullified the entry of judgment made by the Court of Appeals. the same attains finality by mere lapse of time. The matters of due execution of the will and the capacity of the testator acquired the character of res judicata and cannot again be brought into question. certain time limits. This is specially so when the courts had already determined in a final and executory decision that the will is intrinsically void. menace or undue influence and that the will is genuine and not a forgery. 3 Private respondents opposed the motion on the ground that petitioner has no interest in the estate since she is not the lawful wife of the late Alejandro. due execution includes a determination of whether the testator was of sound and disposing mind at the time of its execution. more or less arbitrary. A final and executory decision or order can no longer be disturbed or reopened no matter how erroneous it may be. at the risk of occasional errors. either in the same proceedings or in a different motion. 4 It has been consistently held that if no appeal is taken in due time from a judgment or order of the trial court. 11 The intrinsic validity is another matter and questions regarding the same may still be raised even after the will has been authenticated. 15 To fulfill this purpose and to do so speedily. 13 the unlawful provisions/dispositions thereof cannot be given effect. if the testator provides for dispositions that deprives or impairs the lawful heirs of their legitime or rightful inheritance according to the laws on succession. ð compliance with the prescribed formalities for the execution of wills. all juridical questions in connection therewith being for once and forever closed. In setting aside the January 30. The petition is without merit.

the petition is DENIED and the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. the rules of intestacy apply as correctly held by the trial court. 18 It is clear from the executory order that the estates of Alejandro and his spouse should be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. If the will is extrinsically void. it has no option but to implement that order of intestate distribution and not to reopen and again re-examine the intrinsic provisions of the same will. hence it can still be set aside by the trial court. on the law of successional rights that testacy is preferred to intestacy. therefore. Petitioner’s motion for appointment as administratrix is rendered moot considering that she was not married to the late Alejandro and. whom he described as his "only beloved wife". . Petitioner cannot again raise those matters anew for relitigation otherwise that would amount to forumshopping. It can be clearly inferred from Article 960 of the Civil Code. is not an heir. whose only heirs are his three legitimate children (petitioners herein). SO ORDERED. Alejandro’s disposition in his will of the alleged share in the conjugal properties of his late spouse. If it is extrinsically valid. 1986 Order is merely interlocutory. the trial court also said that the estate of the late spouses be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. WHEREFORE. 17 which circumstances do not concur herein.to be set up to spur on the slothful. In this case. the next test is to determine its intrinsic validity — that is whether the provisions of the will are valid according to the laws of succession. and at the same time it nullified the will. 1986 wherein private respondents were declared as the only heirs do not bind those who are not parties thereto such as the alleged illegitimate son of the testator. It should be remembered that forum shopping also occurs when the same issue had already been resolved adversely by some other court. Matters with respect to who owns the properties that were disposed of by Alejandro in the void will may still be properly ventilated and determined in the intestate proceedings for the settlement of his and that of his late spouse’s estate. 20 But before there could be testate distribution. Thus. 1986 Order that petitioner is not the legal wife of Alejandro. In support thereof. But it should be noted that in the same Order. Testamentary dispositions of properties not belonging exclusively to the testator or properties which are part of the conjugal regime cannot be given effect. Petitioner was privy to the suit calling for the declaration of the intrinsic invalidity of the will. the same constitutes res judicata with respect to those who were parties to the probate proceedings. aside from the fact that the transfer of the estate is usually onerous in nature and that no one is presumed to give — Nemo praesumitur donare. Petitioner posits that the January 30. 21 No intestate distribution of the estate can be done until and unless the will had failed to pass both its extrinsic and intrinsic validity. is not a valid reason to reverse a final and executory order. Furthermore. 16 The only instance where a party interested in a probate proceeding may have a final liquidation set aside is when he is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control or through mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence. the court had ruled that the will of Alejandro was extrinsically valid but the intrinsic provisions thereof were void. petitioner argues that "an order merely declaring who are heirs and the shares to which set of heirs is entitled cannot be the basis of execution to require delivery of shares from one person to another particularly when no project of partition has been filed. the will must pass the scrutinizing test and safeguards provided by law considering that the deceased testator is no longer available to prove the voluntariness of his actions. Accordingly." 19 The trial court declared in the January 30. as she precisely appealed from an unfavorable order therefrom. Although the final and executory Order of January 30. the rules of intestacy apply regardless of the intrinsic validity thereof.

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