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SUCCESSION CASES

MARIA USON, plaintif-appellee, vs.MARIA DEL ROSARIO,


CONCEPCION NEBREDA, CONRADO NEBREDA, DOMINADOR
NEBREDA, AND FAUSTINO NEBREDA, Jr., defendants-appellants.
G.R. No. L-4963, Januar !9, "9#3
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4963 Januar !9, "9#3
MARIA USON, plaintif-appellee,
vs.
MARIA DEL ROSARIO, CONCEPCION NEBREDA, CONRADO NEBREDA,
DOMINADOR NEBREDA, AND FAUSTINO NEBREDA, Jr., defendants-appellants.
Priscilo Evangelista for appellee.
Brigido G. Estrada for appellant.
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.$
This is an action for recover of the o!nership and possession of "ve #$% parcels of
land situated in the Municipalit of &abrador, Province of Pan'asinan, "led b Maria
(son a'ainst Maria del Rosario and her four children na)ed Concepcion, Conrado,
*o)inador, and +austino, surna)ed Nebreda, !ho are all of )inor a'e, before the
Court of +irst ,nstance of Pan'asinan.
Maria (son !as the la!ful !ife of +austino Nebreda !ho upon his death in -./$ left
the lands involved in this liti'ation. +austino Nebreda left no other heir e0cept his
!ido! Maria (son. 1o!ever, plaintif clai)s that !hen +austino Nebreda died in
-./$, his co))on-la! !ife Maria del Rosario too2 possession ille'all of said lands
thus deprivin' her of their possession and en3o)ent.
*efendants in their ans!er set up as special defense that on +ebruar 4-, -.5-,
Maria (son and her husband, the late +austino Nebreda, e0ecuted a public
docu)ent !hereb the a'reed to separate as husband and !ife and, in
consideration of their separation, Maria (son !as 'iven a parcel of land b !a of
ali)on and in return she renounced her ri'ht to inherit an other propert that
)a be left b her husband upon his death #E0hibit -%.
After trial, at !hich both parties presented their respective evidence, the court
rendered decision orderin' the defendants to restore to the plaintif the o!nership
and possession of the lands in dispute !ithout special pronounce)ent as to costs.
*efendants interposed the present appeal.
-
There is no dispute that Maria (son, plaintif-appellee, is the la!ful !ife of +austino
Nebreda, for)er o!ner of the "ve parcels of lands liti'ated in the present case.
There is li2e!ise no dispute that Maria del Rosario, one of the defendants-
appellants, !as )erel a co))on-la! !ife of the late +austino Nebreda !ith !ho)
she had four ille'iti)ate children, her no! co-defendants. ,t li2e!ise appears that
+austino Nebreda died in -./$ )uch prior to the efectivit of the ne! Civil Code.
6ith this bac2'round, it is evident that !hen +austino Nebreda died in -./$ the "ve
parcels of land he !as sei7ed of at the ti)e passed fro) the )o)ent of his death to
his onl heir, his !ido! Maria (son #Article 8$9, old Civil Code%.As this Court aptl
said, :The propert belon's to the heirs at the )o)ent of the death of the ancestor
as co)pletel as if the ancestor had e0ecuted and delivered to the) a deed for the
sa)e before his death: #,lustre vs. Alaras +rondosa, -9 Phil., 54-%. +ro) that
)o)ent, therefore, the ri'hts of inheritance of Maria (son over the lands in
;uestion beca)e vested.
The clai) of the defendants that Maria (son had relin;uished her ri'ht over the
lands in ;uestion because she e0pressl renounced to inherit an future propert
that her husband )a ac;uire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation
the had entered into on +ebruar 4-, -.5-, cannot be entertained for the si)ple
reason that future inheritance cannot be the sub3ect of a contract nor can it be
renounced #- Manresa, -45, si0th edition< Tolentino on Civil Code, p. -4< =sorio vs.
=sorio and >nchausti ?tea)ship Co., /- Phil., $5-%.
But defendants contend that, !hile it is true that the four )inor defendants are
ille'iti)ate children of the late +austino Nebreda and under the old Civil Code are
not entitled to an successional ri'hts, ho!ever, under the ne! Civil Code !hich
beca)e in force in @une, -.$A, the are 'iven the status and ri'hts of natural
children and are entitled to the successional ri'hts !hich the la! accords to the
latter #article 448/ and article 4B9, ne! Civil Code%, and because these successional
ri'hts !ere declared for the "rst ti)e in the ne! code, the shall be 'iven
retroactive efect even thou'h the event !hich 'ave rise to the) )a have
occurred under the prior le'islation #Article 44$5, ne! Civil Code%.
There is no )erit in this clai). Article 44$5 above referred to provides indeed that
ri'hts !hich are declared for the "rst ti)e shall have retroactive efect even thou'h
the event !hich 'ave rise to the) )a have occurred under the for)er le'islation,
but this is so onl !hen the ne! ri'hts do not pre3udice an vested or ac;uired ri'ht
of the sa)e ori'in. Thus, said article provides that :if a ri'ht should be declared for
the "rst ti)e in this Code, it shall be efective at once, even thou'h the act or event
!hich 'ives rise thereto )a have been done or )a have occurred under the prior
le'islation, provided said ne! ri'ht does not pre3udice or i)pair an vested or
ac;uired ri'ht, of the sa)e ori'in.: As alread stated in the earl part of this
decision, the ri'ht of o!nership of Maria (son over the lands in ;uestion beca)e
vested in -./$ upon the death of her late husband and this is so because of the
i)perative provision of the la! !hich co))ands that the ri'hts to succession are
trans)itted fro) the )o)ent of death #Article 8$9, old Civil Code%. The ne! ri'ht
reco'ni7ed b the ne! Civil Code in favor of the ille'iti)ate children of the
deceased cannot, therefore, be asserted to the i)pair)ent of the vested ri'ht of
Maria (son over the lands in dispute.
4
As re'ards the clai) that Maria (son, !hile her deceased husband !as lin' in
state, in a 'esture of pit or co)passion, a'reed to assi'n the lands in ;uestion to
the )inor children for the reason that the !ere ac;uired !hile the deceased !as
livin' !ith their )other and Maria (son !anted to assua'e so)e!hat the !ron'
she has done to the), this )uch can be said< apart fro) the fact that this clai) is
disputed, !e are of the opinion that said assi'n)ent, if an, parta2es of the nature
of a donation of real propert, inas)uch as it involves no )aterial consideration,
and in order that it )a be valid it shall be )ade in a public docu)ent and )ust be
accepted either in the sa)e docu)ent or in a separate one #Article 855, old Civil
Code%. ,nas)uch as this essential for)alit has not been follo!ed, it results that the
alle'ed assi'n)ent or donation has no valid efect.
61ERE+=RE, the decision appealed fro) is aCr)ed, !ithout costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, eyes, Jugo and !abrador,
JJ., concur.
ROMULO A. CORONEL, ALARICO A. CORONEL, ANNETTE A. CORONEL,
ANNABELLE C. GON%ALES &'or ()r*)+' an, on -)(a+' o' F+or.,a C.
Tu//)r, a* a00orn)-.n-'a102, CIELITO A. CORONEL, FLORAIDA A.
ALMONTE, an, CATALINA BALAIS MABANAG, petitioners,
3*.
T4E COURT OF APPEALS, CONCEPCION D. ALCARA%, an, RAMONA
PATRICIA ALCARA%, a**.*0), - GLORIA F. NOEL a* a00orn)-.n-'a10,
respondents.
G.R. No. "53#66. O10o-)r 6, "996
T1,R* *,D,?,=N
7G.R. No. "53#66. O10o-)r 6, "9968
ROMULO A. CORONEL, ALARICO A. CORONEL, ANNETTE A. CORONEL,
ANNABELLE C. GON%ALES &'or ()r*)+' an, on -)(a+' o' F+ora.,a C.
Tu//)r, a* a00orn)-.n-'a102, CIELITO A. CORONEL, FLORAIDA A.
ALMONTE, an, CATALINA BALAIS MABANAG,petitioners, vs. T4E
COURT OF APPEALS, CONCEPCION D. ALCARA% an, RAMONA
PATRICIA ALCARA%, a**.*0), - GLORIA F. NOEL a* a00orn)-.n-
'a10, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
MELO, J.$
5
The petition before us has its roots in a co)plaint for speci"c perfor)ance to
co)pel herein petitioners #e0cept the last na)ed, Catalina Balais Mabana'% to
consu))ate the sale of a parcel of land !ith its i)prove)ents located alon'
Roosevelt Avenue in Eue7on Cit entered into b the parties so)eti)e in @anuar
-.B$ for the price of P-,4/A,AAA.AA.
The undisputed facts of the case !ere su))ari7ed b respondent court in this
!iseF
=n @anuar -., -.B$, defendants-appellants Ro)ulo Coronel, et. al. #hereinafter
referred to as Coronels% e0ecuted a docu)ent entitled GReceipt of *o!n Pa)entH
#E0h. GAH% in favor of plaintif Ra)ona Patricia Alcara7 #hereinafter referred to as
Ra)ona% !hich is reproduced hereunderF
ECE"PT #$ %#&' P()ME'T
P*,+,-,---.-- . Total amount
/-,---.-- . %o0n payment
..........................................
P*,*1-,---.-- . Balance
eceived from Miss amona Patricia (lcaraz of *,2 Timog, 3uezon City, t4e sum of
$ifty T4ousand Pesos purc4ase price of our in4erited 4ouse and lot, covered by TCT
'o. **12+5 of t4e egistry of %eeds of 3uezon City, in t4e total amount
of P*,+,-,---.--.
&e bind ourselves to e6ect t4e transfer in our names from our deceased fat4er,
Constancio P. Coronel, t4e transfer certi7cate of title immediately upon receipt of
t4e do0n payment above.stated.
#n our presentation of t4e TCT already in or name, &e 0ill immediately e8ecute t4e
deed of absolute sale of said property and Miss amona Patricia (lcaraz s4all
immediately pay t4e balance of t4e P*,*1-,---.--.
Clearl, the conditions appurtenant to the sale are the follo!in'F
-. Ra)ona !ill )a2e a do!n pa)ent of +ift Thousand #P$A,AAA.AA% pesos
upon e0ecution of the docu)ent aforestated<
4. The Coronels !ill cause the transfer in their na)es of the title of the propert
re'istered in the na)e of their deceased father upon receipt of the +ift Thousand
#P$A,AAA.AA% Pesos do!n pa)ent<
5. (pon the transfer in their na)es of the sub3ect propert, the Coronels !ill
e0ecute the deed of absolute sale in favor of Ra)ona and the latter !ill pa the
/
for)er the !hole balance of =ne Million =ne 1undred Ninet Thousand
#P-,-.A,AAA.AA% Pesos.
=n the sa)e date #@anuar -$, -.B$%, plaintif-appellee Concepcion *. Alcara7
#hereinafter referred to as Concepcion%, )other of Ra)ona, paid the do!n pa)ent
of +ift Thousand #P$A,AAA.AA% Pesos #E0h. GBH, E0h. G4H%.
=n +ebruar 8, -.B$, the propert ori'inall re'istered in the na)e of the CoronelIs
father !as transferred in their na)es under TCT No. 549A/5 #E0h. G*H< E0h G/H%
=n +ebruar -B, -.B$, the Coronels sold the propert covered b TCT No. 549A/5 to
intervenor-appellant Catalina B. Mabana' #hereinafter referred to as Catalina% for
=ne Million +ive 1undred Ei'ht Thousand #P-,$BA,AAA.AA% Pesos after the latter has
paid Three 1undred Thousand #P5AA,AAA.AA% Pesos #E0hs. G+-5H< E0h. G8-CH%
+or this reason, Coronels canceled and rescinded the contract #E0h. GAH% !ith
Ra)ona b depositin' the do!n pa)ent paid b Concepcion in the ban2 in trust
for Ra)ona Patricia Alcara7.
=n +ebruar 44, -.B$, Concepcion, et. al., "led a co)plaint for a speci"c
perfor)ance a'ainst the Coronels and caused the annotation of a notice of lis
pendens at the bac2 of TCT No. 549/A5 #E0h. GEH< E0h. G$H%.
=n April 4, -.B$, Catalina caused the annotation of a notice of adverse clai)
coverin' the sa)e propert !ith the Re'istr of *eeds of Eue7on Cit #E0h. G+H<
E0h. G8H%.
=n April 4$, -.B$, the Coronels e0ecuted a *eed of Absolute ?ale over the sub3ect
propert in favor of Catalina #E0h. GJH< E0h. G9H%.
=n @une $, -.B$, a ne! title over the sub3ect propert !as issued in the na)e of
Catalina under TCT No. 5$-$B4 #E0h. G1H< E0h. GBH%.
#ollo, pp. -5/--58%
,n the course of the proceedin's before the trial court #Branch B5, RTC, Eue7on
Cit% the parties a'reed to sub)it the case for decision solel on the basis of
docu)entar e0hibits. Thus, plaintifs therein #no! private respondents% profered
their docu)entar evidence accordin'l )ar2ed as E0hibits GAH throu'h G@H,
inclusive of their correspondin' sub)ar2in's. Adoptin' these sa)e e0hibits as their
o!n, then defendants #no! petitioners% accordin'l ofered and )ar2ed the) as
E0hibits G-H throu'h G-AH, li2e!ise inclusive of their correspondin'
sub)ar2in's. (pon )otion of the parties, the trial court 'ave the) thirt #5A% das
!ithin !hich to si)ultaneousl sub)it their respective )e)oranda, and an
additional -$ das !ithin !hich to sub)it their correspondin' co))ent or repl
thereto, after !hich, the case !ould be dee)ed sub)itted for resolution.
=n April -/, -.BB, the case !as sub)itted for resolution before @ud'e Renaldo
Roura, !ho !as then te)poraril detailed to preside over Branch B4 of the RTC of
Eue7on Cit. =n March -, -.B., 3ud')ent !as handed do!n b @ud'e Roura fro)
$
his re'ular bench at Macabebe, Pa)pan'a for the Eue7on Cit branch, disposin' as
follo!sF
61ERE+=RE, 3ud')ent for speci"c perfor)ance is hereb rendered orderin'
defendant to e0ecute in favor of plaintifs a deed of absolute sale coverin' that
parcel of land e)braced in and covered b Transfer Certi"cate of Title No. 549/A5
#no! TCT No. 55-$B4% of the Re'istr of *eeds for Eue7on Cit, to'ether !ith all the
i)prove)ents e0istin' thereon free fro) all liens and encu)brances, and once
acco)plished, to i))ediatel deliver the said docu)ent of sale to plaintifs and
upon receipt thereof, the plaintifs are ordered to pa defendants the !hole balance
of the purchase price a)ountin' toP-,-.A,AAA.AA in cash. Transfer Certi"cate of
Title No. 55-$B4 of the Re'istr of *eeds for Eue7on Cit in the na)e of intervenor
is hereb canceled and declared to be !ithout force and efect. *efendants and
intervenor and all other persons clai)in' under the) are hereb ordered to vacate
the sub3ect propert and deliver possession thereof to plaintifs. PlaintifsI clai) for
da)a'es and attorneIs fees, as !ell as the counterclai)s of defendants and
intervenors are hereb dis)issed.
No pronounce)ent as to costs.
?o =rdered.
Macabebe, Pa)pan'a for Eue7on Cit, March -, -.B..
#ollo, p. -A8%
A )otion for reconsideration !as "led b petitioners before the ne! presidin'
3ud'e of the Eue7on Cit RTC but the sa)e !as denied b @ud'e Estrella T. Estrada,
thuslF
The praer contained in the instant )otion, i.e., to annul the decision and to render
ane! decision b the undersi'ned Presidin' @ud'e should be denied for the
follo!in' reasonsF #-% The instant case beca)e sub)itted for decision as of April
-/, -.BB !hen the parties ter)inated the presentation of their respective
docu)entar evidence and !hen the Presidin' @ud'e at that ti)e !as @ud'e
Renaldo Roura. The fact that the !ere allo!ed to "le )e)oranda at so)e future
date did not chan'e the fact that the hearin' of the case !as ter)inated before
@ud'e Roura and therefore the sa)e should be sub)itted to hi) for decision< #4%
6hen the defendants and intervenor did not ob3ect to the authorit of @ud'e
Renaldo Roura to decide the case prior to the rendition of the decision, !hen the
)et for the "rst ti)e before the undersi'ned Presidin' @ud'e at the hearin' of a
pendin' incident in Civil Case No. E-/8-/$ on Nove)ber --, -.BB, the !ere
dee)ed to have ac;uiesced thereto and the are no! estopped fro) ;uestionin'
said authorit of @ud'e Roura after the received the decision in ;uestion !hich
happens to be adverse to the)< #5% 6hile it is true that @ud'e Renaldo Roura !as
)erel a @ud'e-on-detail at this Branch of the Court, he !as in all respects the
Presidin' @ud'e !ith full authorit to act on an pendin' incident sub)itted before
this Court durin' his incu)benc. 6hen he returned to his =Ccial ?tation at
Macabebe, Pa)pan'a, he did not lose his authorit to decide or resolve cases
8
sub)itted to hi) for decision or resolution because he continued as @ud'e of the
Re'ional Trial Court and is of co-e;ual ran2 !ith the undersi'ned Presidin'
@ud'e. The standin' rule and supported b 3urisprudence is that a @ud'e to !ho) a
case is sub)itted for decision has the authorit to decide the case not!ithstandin'
his transfer to another branch or re'ion of the sa)e court #?ec. ., Rule -5$, Rule of
Court%.
Co)in' no! to the t!in praer for reconsideration of the *ecision dated March -,
-.B. rendered in the instant case, resolution of !hich no! pertains to the
undersi'ned Presidin' @ud'e, after a )eticulous e0a)ination of the docu)entar
evidence presented b the parties, she is convinced that the *ecision of March -,
-.B. is supported b evidence and, therefore, should not be disturbed.
,N D,E6 =+ T1E +=REJ=,NJ, the GMotion for Reconsideration andKor to Annul
*ecision and Render Ane! *ecision b the ,ncu)bent Presidin' @ud'eH dated March
4A, -.B. is hereb *EN,E*.
?= =R*ERE*.
Eue7on Cit, Philippines, @ul -4, -.B..
#ollo, pp. -AB--A.%
Petitioners thereupon interposed an appeal, but on *ece)ber -8, -..-, the
Court of Appeals #Buena, Jon7a'a-Rees, Abad-?antos #P%, @@.% rendered its decision
full a'reein' !ith the trial court.
1ence, the instant petition !hich !as "led on March $, -..4. The last pleadin',
private respondentsI Repl Me)orandu), !as "led on ?epte)ber -$, -..5. The
case !as, ho!ever, re-raLed to undersi'ned ponente onl on Au'ust 4B, -..8, due
to the voluntar inhibition of the @ustice to !ho) the case !as last assi'ned.
6hile !e dee) it necessar to introduce certain re"ne)ents in the dis;uisition
of respondent court in the aCr)ance of the trial courtIs decision, !e de"nitel "nd
the instant petition bereft of )erit.
The heart of the controvers !hich is the ulti)ate 2e in the resolution of the
other issues in the case at bar is the precise deter)ination of the le'al si'ni"cance
of the docu)ent entitled GReceipt of *o!n Pa)entH !hich !as ofered in evidence
b both parties. There is no dispute as to the fact that the said docu)ent e)bodied
the bindin' contract bet!een Ra)ona Patricia Alcara7 on the one hand, and the
heirs of Constancio P. Coronel on the other, pertainin' to a particular house and lot
covered b TCT No. --.849, as de"ned in Article -5A$ of the Civil Code of the
Philippines !hich reads as follo!sF
Ar0. "35#. A contract is a )eetin' of )inds bet!een t!o persons !hereb one
binds hi)self, !ith respect to the other, to 'ive so)ethin' or to render so)e
service.
6hile, it is the position of private respondents that the GReceipt of *o!n
Pa)entH e)bodied a perfected contract of sale, !hich perforce, the see2 to
9
enforce b )eans of an action for speci"c perfor)ance, petitioners on their part
insist that !hat the docu)ent si'ni"ed !as a )ere e0ecutor contract to sell,
sub3ect to certain suspensive conditions, and because of the absence of Ra)ona P.
Alcara7, !ho left for the (nited ?tates of A)erica, said contract could not possibl
ripen into a contract of absolute sale.
Plainl, such variance in the contendin' partiesI contention is brou'ht about b
the !a each interprets the ter)s andKor conditions set forth in said private
instru)ent. 6ithal, based on !hatever relevant and ad)issible evidence )a be
available on record, this Court, as !ere the courts belo!, is no! called upon to
ad3ud'e !hat the real intent of the parties !as at the ti)e the said docu)ent !as
e0ecuted.
The Civil Code de"nes a contract of sale, thusF
Ar0. "4#9. B the contract of sale one of the contractin' parties obli'ates hi)self
to transfer the o!nership of and to deliver a deter)inate thin', and the other to pa
therefor a price certain in )one or its e;uivalent.
?ale, b its ver nature, is a consensual contract because it is perfected b
)ere consent. The essential ele)ents of a contract of sale are the follo!in'F
a% Consent or )eetin' of the )inds, that is, consent to transfer o!nership in
e0chan'e for the price<
b% *eter)inate sub3ect )atter< and
c% Price certain in )one or its e;uivalent.
(nder this de"nition, a Contract to ?ell )a not be considered as a
Contract of ?ale because the "rst essential ele)ent is lac2in'. ,n a contract to sell,
the prospective seller e0plicitl reserves the transfer of title to the prospective
buer, )eanin', the prospective seller does not as et a'ree or consent to transfer
o!nership of the propert sub3ect of the contract to sell until the happenin' of an
event, !hich for present purposes !e shall ta2e as the full pa)ent of the purchase
price. 6hat the seller a'rees or obli'es hi)self to do is to ful"ll his pro)ise to sell
the sub3ect propert !hen the entire a)ount of the purchase price is delivered to
hi). ,n other !ords the full pa)ent of the purchase price parta2es of a suspensive
condition, the non-ful"ll)ent of !hich prevents the obli'ation to sell fro) arisin'
and thus, o!nership is retained b the prospective seller !ithout further re)edies
b the prospective buer. ,n o9ue vs. !apuz :12 ;C( 5,* <*1=->?, this Court had
occasion to ruleF
1ence, 6e hold that the contract bet!een the petitioner and the respondent !as a
contract to sell !here the o!nership or title is retained b the seller and is not to
pass until the full pa)ent of the price, such pa)ent bein' a positive suspensive
condition and failure of !hich is not a breach, casual or serious, but si)pl an event
that prevented the obli'ation of the vendor to conve title fro) ac;uirin' bindin'
force.
B
?tated positivel, upon the ful"ll)ent of the suspensive condition !hich is the
full pa)ent of the purchase price, the prospective sellerIs obli'ation to sell the
sub3ect propert b enterin' into a contract of sale !ith the prospective buer
beco)es de)andable as provided in Article -/9. of the Civil Code !hich statesF
Ar0. "469. A pro)ise to bu and sell a deter)inate thin' for a price certain is
reciprocall de)andable.
An accepted unilateral pro)ise to bu or to sell a deter)inate thin' for a price
certain is bindin' upon the pro)issor of the pro)ise is supported b a consideration
distinct fro) the price.
A contract to sell )a thus be de"ned as a bilateral contract !hereb the
prospective seller, !hile e0pressl reservin' the o!nership of the sub3ect propert
despite deliver thereof to the prospective buer, binds hi)self to sell the said
propert e0clusivel to the prospective buer upon ful"ll)ent of the condition
a'reed upon, that is, full pa)ent of the purchase price.
A contract to sell as de"ned hereinabove, )a not even be considered as a
conditional contract of sale !here the seller )a li2e!ise reserve title to the
propert sub3ect of the sale until the ful"ll)ent of a suspensive condition, because
in a conditional contract of sale, the "rst ele)ent of consent is present, althou'h it
is conditioned upon the happenin' of a contin'ent event !hich )a or )a not
occur. ,f the suspensive condition is not ful"lled, the perfection of the contract of
sale is co)pletel abated #cf. @omesite and @ousing Corp. vs. Court of (ppeals, *AA
;C( 555 <*1=,>%. 1o!ever, if the suspensive condition is ful"lled, the contract of
sale is thereb perfected, such that if there had alread been previous deliver of
the propert sub3ect of the sale to the buer, o!nership thereto auto)aticall
transfers to the buer b operation of la! !ithout an further act havin' to be
perfor)ed b the seller.
,n a contract to sell, upon the ful"ll)ent of the suspensive condition !hich is the
full pa)ent of the purchase price, o!nership !ill not auto)aticall transfer to the
buer althou'h the propert )a have been previousl delivered to hi). The
prospective seller still has to conve title to the prospective buer b enterin' into a
contract of absolute sale.
,t is essential to distin'uish bet!een a contract to sell and a conditional contract
of sale speciall in cases !here the sub3ect propert is sold b the o!ner not to the
part the seller contracted !ith, but to a third person, as in the case at bench. ,n a
contract to sell, there bein' no previous sale of the propert, a third person buin'
such propert despite the ful"ll)ent of the suspensive condition such as the full
pa)ent of the purchase price, for instance, cannot be dee)ed a buer in bad faith
and the prospective buer cannot see2 the relief of reconveance of the
propert. There is no double sale in such case. Title to the propert !ill transfer to
the buer after re'istration because there is no defect in the o!ner-sellerIs title per
se, but the latter, of course, )a be sued for da)a'es b the intendin' buer.
,n a conditional contract of sale, ho!ever, upon the ful"ll)ent of the suspensive
condition, the sale beco)es absolute and this !ill de"nitel afect the sellerIs title
thereto. ,n fact, if there had been previous deliver of the sub3ect propert, the
sellerIs o!nership or title to the propert is auto)aticall transferred to the buer
.
such that, the seller !ill no lon'er have an title to transfer to an third
person. Applin' Article -$// of the Civil Code, such second buer of the propert
!ho )a have had actual or constructive 2no!led'e of such defect in the sellerIs
title, or at least !as char'ed !ith the obli'ation to discover such defect, cannot be
a re'istrant in 'ood faith. ?uch second buer cannot defeat the "rst buerIs
title. ,n case a title is issued to the second buer, the "rst buer )a see2
reconveance of the propert sub3ect of the sale.
6ith the above postulates as 'uidelines, !e no! proceed to the tas2 of
decipherin' the real nature of the contract entered into b petitioners and private
respondents.
,t is a canon in the interpretation of contracts that the !ords used therein
should be 'iven their natural and ordinar )eanin' unless a technical )eanin' !as
intended #Tan vs. Court of (ppeals, +*+ ;C( /=2 <*11+>%. Thus, !hen petitioners
declared in the said GReceipt of *o!n Pa)entH that the --
Received fro) Miss Ra)ona Patricia Alcara7 of -/8 Ti)o', Eue7on Cit, the su) of
+ift Thousand Pesos /ur1(a*) /r.1) o' our .n()r.0), (ou*) an, +o0, covered
b TCT No. --..849 of the Re'istr of *eeds of Eue7on Cit, in the total a)ount
of P-,4/A,AAA.AA.
!ithout an reservation of title until full pa)ent of the entire purchase price, the
natural and ordinar idea conveed is that the sold their propert.
6hen the GReceipt of *o!n pa)entH is considered in its entiret, it beco)es
)ore )anifest that there !as a clear intent on the part of petitioners to transfer
title to the buer, but since the transfer certi"cate of title !as still in the na)e of
petitionerIs father, the could not full efect such transfer althou'h the buer !as
then !illin' and able to i))ediatel pa the purchase price. Therefore, petitioners-
sellers undertoo2 upon receipt of the do!n pa)ent fro) private respondent
Ra)ona P. Alcara7, to cause the issuance of a ne! certi"cate of title in their na)es
fro) that of their father, after !hich, the pro)ised to present said title, no! in
their na)es, to the latter and to e0ecute the deed of absolute sale !hereupon, the
latter shall, in turn, pa the entire balance of the purchase price.
The a'ree)ent could not have been a contract to sell because the sellers herein
)ade no e0press reservation of o!nership or title to the sub3ect parcel of
land. +urther)ore, the circu)stance !hich prevented the parties fro) enterin' into
an absolute contract of sale pertained to the sellers the)selves #the certi"cate of
title !as not in their na)es% and not the full pa)ent of the purchase price. (nder
the established facts and circu)stances of the case, the Court )a safel presu)e
that, had the certi"cate of title been in the na)es of petitioners-sellers at that ti)e,
there !ould have been no reason !h an absolute contract of sale could not have
been e0ecuted and consu))ated ri'ht there and then.
Moreover, unli2e in a contract to sell, petitioners in the case at bar did not
)erel pro)ise to sell the propert to private respondent upon the ful"ll)ent of the
suspensive condition. =n the contrar, havin' alread a'reed to sell the sub3ect
propert, the undertoo2 to have the certi"cate of title chan'e to their na)es and
i))ediatel thereafter, to e0ecute the !ritten deed of absolute sale.
-A
Thus, the parties did not )erel enter into a contract to sell !here the sellers,
after co)pliance b the buer !ith certain ter)s and conditions, pro)ised to sell
the propert to the latter. 6hat )a be perceived fro) the respective underta2in's
of the parties to the contract is that petitioners had alread a'reed to sell the house
and lot the inherited fro) their father, co)pletel !illin' to transfer o!nership of
the sub3ect house and lot to the buer if the docu)ents !ere then in order. ,t 3ust
so happened, ho!ever, that the transfer certi"cate of title !as then still in the na)e
of their father. ,t !as )ore e0pedient to "rst efect the chan'e in the certi"cate of
title so as to bear their na)es. That is !h the undertoo2 to cause the issuance of
a ne! transfer of the certi"cate of title in their na)es upon receipt of the do!n
pa)ent in the a)ount of P$A,AAA.AA. As soon as the ne! certi"cate of title is
issued in their na)es, petitioners !ere co))itted to i))ediatel e0ecute the deed
of absolute sale. =nl then !ill the obli'ation of the buer to pa the re)ainder of
the purchase price arise.
There is no doubt that unli2e in a contract to sell !hich is )ost co))onl
entered into so as to protect the seller a'ainst a buer !ho intends to bu the
propert in install)ent b !ithholdin' o!nership over the propert until the buer
efects full pa)ent therefor, in the contract entered into in the case at bar, the
sellers !ere the ones !ho !ere unable to enter into a contract of absolute sale b
reason of the fact that the certi"cate of title to the propert !as still in the na)e of
their father. ,t !as the sellers in this case !ho, as it !ere, had the i)pedi)ent
!hich prevented, so to spea2, the e0ecution of an contract of absolute sale.
6hat is clearl established b the plain lan'ua'e of the sub3ect docu)ent is
that !hen the said GReceipt of *o!n Pa)entH !as prepared and si'ned b
petitioners Ro)ulo A. Coronel, et. al., the parties had a'reed to a conditional
contract of sale, consu))ation of !hich is sub3ect onl to the successful transfer of
the certi"cate of title fro) the na)e of petitionersI father, Constancio P. Coronel, to
their na)es.
The Court si'ni"cantl notes that this suspensive condition !as, in fact, ful"lled
on +ebruar 8, -.B$ #E0h. G*H< E0h. G/H%. Thus, on said date, the conditional
contract of sale bet!een petitioners and private respondent Ra)ona P. Alcara7
beca)e obli'ator, the onl act re;uired for the consu))ation thereof bein' the
deliver of the propert b )eans of the e0ecution of the deed of absolute sale in a
public instru)ent, !hich petitioners une;uivocall co))itted the)selves to do as
evidenced b the GReceipt of *o!n Pa)ent.H
Article -/9$, in correlation !ith Article --B-, both of the Civil Code, plainl
applies to the case at bench. Thus,
Ar0. "46#. The contract of sale is perfected at the )o)ent there is a )eetin' of
)inds upon the thin' !hich is the ob3ect of the contract and upon the price.
+ro) that )o)ent, the parties )a reciprocall de)and perfor)ance, sub3ect to
the provisions of the la! 'overnin' the for) of contracts.
Ar0. ""9". ,n conditional obli'ations, the ac;uisition of ri'hts, as !ell as the
e0tin'uish)ent or loss of those alread ac;uired, shall depend upon the happenin'
of the event !hich constitutes the condition.
--
?ince the condition conte)plated b the parties !hich is the issuance of a
certi"cate of title in petitionerIs na)es !as ful"lled on +ebruar 8, -.B$, the
respective obli'ations of the parties under the contract of sale beca)e )utuall
de)andable, that is, petitioners, as sellers, !ere obli'ed to present the transfer
certi"cate of title alread in their na)es to private respondent Ra)ona P. Alcara7,
the buer, and to i))ediatel e0ecute the deed of absolute sale, !hile the buer
on her part, !as obli'ed to forth!ith pa the balance of the purchase price
a)ountin' to P-,-.A,AAA.AA.
,t is also si'ni"cant to note that in the "rst para'raph in pa'e . of their petition,
petitioners conclusivel ad)itted thatF
5. The petitioners-sellers Coronel bound the)selves Gto efect the transfer
in our na)es fro) our deceased father Constancio P. Coronel, the transfer
certi"cate of title i))ediatel upon receipt of the do!npa)ent above-
stated:. T() *a+) :a* *0.++ *u-;)10 0o 0(.* *u*/)n*.3)
1on,.0.on. #E)phasis supplied.%
#ollo, p. -8%
Petitioners the)selves reco'ni7ed that the entered into a contract of sale
sub3ect to a suspensive condition. =nl, the contend, continuin' in the sa)e
para'raph, thatF
. . . 1ad petitioners-sellers no0 1o</+.), !ith this condition of "rst transferrin' the
title to the propert under their na)es, there could be no perfected contract of
sale. #E)phasis supplied.%
#"bid.%
not a!are that the have set their o!n trap for the)selves, for Article --B8 of the
Civil Code e0pressl provides thatF
Ar0. ""96. The condition shall be dee)ed ful"lled !hen the obli'or voluntaril
prevents its ful"ll)ent.
Besides, it should be stressed and e)phasi7ed that !hat is )ore controllin'
than these )ere hpothetical ar'u)ents is the fact that the 1on,.0.on ()r).n
r)')rr), 0o :a* a10ua++ an, .n,.*/u0a-+ 'u+=++), on F)-ruar 6, "99#,
!hen a ne! title !as issued in the na)es of petitioners as evidenced b TCT No.
549/A5 #E0h. G*H< E0h. G/H%.
The inevitable conclusion is that on @anuar -., -.B$, as evidenced b the
docu)ent deno)inated as GReceipt of *o!n Pa)entH #E0h. GAH< E0h. G-H%, the
parties entered into a contract of sale sub3ect to the suspensive condition that the
sellers shall efect the issuance of ne! certi"cate title fro) that of their fatherIs
na)e to their na)es and that, on +ebruar 8, -.B$, this condition !as ful"lled #E0h.
G*H< E0h. G/H%.
6e, therefore, hold that, in accordance !ith Article --B9 !hich pertinentl
provides -
-4
Ar0. ""96. The efects of conditional obli'ation to 'ive, once the condition has
been ful"lled, shall retroact to the da of the constitution of the obli'ation . . .
,n obli'ations to do or not to do, the courts shall deter)ine, in each case, the
retroactive efect of the condition that has been co)plied !ith.
the ri'hts and obli'ations of the parties !ith respect to the perfected contract of
sale beca)e )utuall due and de)andable as of the ti)e of ful"ll)ent or
occurrence of the suspensive condition on +ebruar 8, -.B$. As of that point in
ti)e, reciprocal obli'ations of both seller and buer arose.
Petitioners also ar'ue there could been no perfected contract on @anuar -.,
-.B$ because the !ere then not et the absolute o!ners of the inherited propert.
6e cannot sustain this ar'u)ent.
Article 99/ of the Civil Code de"nes ?uccession as a )ode of transferrin'
o!nership as follo!sF
Ar0. 664. ?uccession is a )ode of ac;uisition b virtue of !hich the propert,
ri'hts and obli'ations to the e0tent and value of the inheritance of a person are
trans)itted throu'h his death to another or others b his !ill or b operation of la!.
Petitioners-sellers in the case at bar bein' the sons and dau'hters of the
decedent Constancio P. Coronel are co)pulsor heirs !ho !ere called to succession
b operation of la!. Thus, at the point their father dre! his last breath, petitioners
stepped into his shoes insofar as the sub3ect propert is concerned, such that an
ri'hts or obli'ations pertainin' thereto beca)e bindin' and enforceable upon
the). ,t is e0pressl provided that ri'hts to the succession are trans)itted fro) the
)o)ent of death of the decedent #Article 999, Civil Code< Cuison vs. Billanueva, 1-
P4il. =/- <*1/+>%.
Be it also noted that petitionersI clai) that succession )a not be declared
unless the creditors have been paid is rendered )oot b the fact that the !ere
able to efect the transfer of the title to the propert fro) the decedentIs na)e to
their na)es on +ebruar 8, -.B$.
Aside fro) this, petitioners are precluded fro) raisin' their supposed lac2 of
capacit to enter into an a'ree)ent at that ti)e and the cannot be allo!ed to no!
ta2e a posture contrar to that !hich the too2 !hen the entered into the
a'ree)ent !ith private respondent Ra)ona P. Alcara7. The Civil Code e0pressl
states thatF
Ar0. "43". Throu'h estoppel an ad)ission or representation is rendered conclusive
upon the person )a2in' it, and cannot be denied or disproved as a'ainst the
person relin' thereon.
1avin' represented the)selves as the true o!ners of the sub3ect propert at the
ti)e of sale, petitioners cannot clai) no! that the !ere not et the absolute
o!ners thereof at that ti)e.
-5
Petitioners also contend that althou'h there !as in fact a perfected contract of
sale bet!een the) and Ra)ona P. Alcara7, the latter breach her reciprocal
obli'ation !hen she rendered i)possible the consu))ation thereof b 'oin' to the
(nited ?tates of A)erica, !ithout leavin' her address, telephone nu)ber, and
?pecial Po!er of Attorne #Paragrap4s *, and */, (ns0er 0it4 Compulsory
Counterclaim to t4e (mended Complaint, p. +C ollo, p. ,A%, for !hich reason, so
petitioners conclude, the !ere correct in unilaterall rescindin' the contract of
sale.
6e do not a'ree !ith petitioners that there !as a valid rescission of the contract
of sale in the instant case. 6e note that these supposed 'rounds for petitionerIs
rescission, are )ere alle'ations found onl in their responsive pleadin's, !hich b
e0press provision of the rules, are dee)ed controverted even if no repl is "led b
the plaintifs #;ec. **, ule 2, evised ules of Court%. The records are absolutel
bereft of an supportin' evidence to substantiate petitionersI alle'ations. 6e have
stressed ti)e and a'ain that alle'ations )ust be proven b suCcient evidence #'g
C4o Cio vs. 'g %iong, **- P4il. ==+ <*12*>C ecaro vs. Embisan, + ;C( /1=
<*12*>%. Mere alle'ation is not an evidence #!agasca vs. %e Bera, 51 P4il. A52
<*1,5>%.
Even assu)in' arguendo that Ra)ona P. Alcara7 !as in the (nited ?tates of
A)erica on +ebruar 8, -.B$, !e cannot 3ustif petitioners-sellersI act of unilaterall
and e0tra3udiciall rescindin' the contract of sale, there bein' no e0press stipulation
authori7in' the sellers to e0tra3udiciall rescind the contract of sale. #cf. %ignos vs.
C(, */= ;C( A5/ <*1==>C Taguba vs. Bda. %e !eon, *A+ ;C( 5++ <*1=,>%
Moreover, petitioners are estopped fro) raisin' the alle'ed absence of Ra)ona
P. Alcara7 because althou'h the evidence on record sho!s that the sale !as in the
na)e of Ra)ona P. Alcara7 as the buer, the sellers had been dealin' !ith
Concepcion *. Alcara7, Ra)onaIs )other, !ho had acted for and in behalf of her
dau'hter, if not also in her o!n behalf. ,ndeed, the do!n pa)ent !as )ade b
Concepcion *. Alcara7 !ith her o!n personal Chec2 #E0h. GBH< E0h. G4H% for and in
behalf of Ra)ona P. Alcara7. There is no evidence sho!in' that petitioners ever
;uestioned ConcepcionIs authorit to represent Ra)ona P. Alcara7 !hen the
accepted her personal chec2. Neither did the raise an ob3ection as re'ards
pa)ent bein' efected b a third person. Accordin'l, as far as petitioners are
concerned, the phsical absence of Ra)ona P. Alcara7 is not a 'round to rescind the
contract of sale.
Corollaril, Ra)ona P. Alcara7 cannot even be dee)ed to be in default, insofar
as her obli'ation to pa the full purchase price is concerned. Petitioners !ho are
precluded fro) settin' up the defense of the phsical absence of Ra)ona P. Alcara7
as above-e0plained ofered no proof !hatsoever to sho! that the actuall
presented the ne! transfer certi"cate of title in their na)es and si'ni"ed their
!illin'ness and readiness to e0ecute the deed of absolute sale in accordance !ith
their a'ree)ent. Ra)onaIs correspondin' obli'ation to pa the balance of the
purchase price in the a)ount of P-,-.A,AAA.AA #as buer% never beca)e due and
de)andable and, therefore, she cannot be dee)ed to have been in default.
Article --8. of the Civil Code de"nes !hen a part in a contract involvin'
reciprocal obli'ations )a be considered in default, to !itF
-/
Ar0. ""69. Those obli'ed to deliver or to do so)ethin', incur in dela fro) the
ti)e the obli'ee 3udiciall or e0tra3udiciall de)ands fro) the) the ful"ll)ent of
their obli'ation.
0 0 0
,n reciprocal obli'ations, neither part incurs in dela .' 0() o0()r ,o)* no0
1o</+ or .* no0 r)a, 0o 1o</+ .n a /ro/)r <ann)r :.0( :(a0 .*
.n1u<-)n0 u/on (.<. +ro) the )o)ent one of the parties ful"ll his obli'ation,
dela b the other be'ins. #E)phasis supplied.%
There is thus neither factual nor le'al basis to rescind the contract of sale
bet!een petitioners and respondents.
6ith the fore'oin' conclusions, the sale to the other petitioner, Catalina B.
Mabana', 'ave rise to a case of double sale !here Article -$// of the Civil Code !ill
appl, to !itF
Ar0. "#44. ,f the sa)e thin' should have been sold to diferent vendees, the
o!nership shall be transferred to the person !ho )a have "rst ta2en possession
thereof in 'ood faith, if it should be )ovable propert.
?hould it be i))ovable propert, the o!nership shall belon' to the person
ac;uirin' it !ho in 'ood faith "rst recorded it in the Re'istr of Propert.
?hould there be no inscription, the o!nership shall pertain to the person !ho in
'ood faith !as "rst in the possession< and, in the absence thereof to the person !ho
presents the oldest title, provided there is 'ood faith.
The record of the case sho!s that the *eed of Absolute ?ale dated April 4$,
-.B$ as proof of the second contract of sale !as re'istered !ith the Re'istr of
*eeds of Eue7on Cit 'ivin' rise to the issuance of a ne! certi"cate of title in the
na)e of Catalina B. Mabana' on @une $, -.B$. Thus, the second para'raph of
Article -$// shall appl.
The above-cited provision on double sale presu)es title or o!nership to pass to
the buer, the e0ceptions bein'F #a% !hen the second buer, in 'ood faith, re'isters
the sale ahead of the "rst buer, and #b% should there be no inscription b either of
the t!o buers, !hen the second buer, in 'ood faith, ac;uires possession of the
propert ahead of the "rst buer. (nless, the second buer satis"es these
re;uire)ents, title or o!nership !ill not transfer to hi) to the pre3udice of the "rst
buer.
,n his co))entaries on the Civil Code, an accepted authorit on the sub3ect,
no! a distin'uished )e)ber of the Court, @ustice @ose C. Ditu', e0plainsF
The 'overnin' principle is prius tempore, potior Dure #"rst in ti)e, stron'er in
ri'ht%. Mno!led'e b the "rst buer of the second sale cannot defeat the "rst
buerIs ri'hts e0cept !hen the second buer "rst re'isters in 'ood faith the second
sale ##livares vs. Gonzales, */1 ;C( AA%. Conversel, 2no!led'e 'ained b the
second buer of the "rst sale defeats his ri'hts even if he is "rst to re'ister, since
-$
2no!led'e taints his re'istration !ith bad faith #see also (storga vs. Court of
(ppeals, G.. 'o. /=/A-, +2 %ecember *1=,%. ,n Cruz vs. Cabana :G.. 'o. /2+A+,
++ June *1=,, *+1 ;C( 2/2?, it !as held that it is essential, to )erit the protection
of Art. -$//, second para'raph, that the second realt buer )ust act in 'ood faith
in re'isterin' his deed of sale #citin' Carbonell vs. Court of (ppeals, 21 ;C( 11,
Crisostomo vs. C(, G.. 'o. 1/=,A, -+ ;eptember *11+%.
:J. Bitug, Compendium of Civil !a0 and Jurisprudence, *11A Edition, p. 2-,%.
Petitioners point out that the notice of lis pendens in the case at bar !as
annotated on the title of the sub3ect propert onl on +ebruar 44, -.B$, !hereas,
the second sale bet!een petitioners Coronels and petitioner Mabana' !as
supposedl perfected prior thereto or on +ebruar -B, -.B$. The idea conveed is
that at the ti)e petitioner Mabana', the second buer, bou'ht the propert under a
clean title, she !as una!are of an adverse clai) or previous sale, for !hich reason
she is a buer in 'ood faith.
6e are not persuaded b such ar'u)ent.
,n a case of double sale, !hat "nds relevance and )aterialit is not !hether or
not the second buer in 'ood faith but !hether or not said second buer re'isters
such second sale in 'ood faith, that is, !ithout 2no!led'e of an defect in the title
of the propert sold.
As clearl borne out b the evidence in this case, petitioner Mabana' could not
have in 'ood faith, re'istered the sale entered into on +ebruar -B, -.B$ because
as earl as +ebruar 44, -.B$, a notice of lis pendens had been annotated on the
transfer certi"cate of title in the na)es of petitioners, !hereas petitioner Mabana'
re'istered the said sale so)eti)e in April, -.B$. At the ti)e of re'istration,
therefore, petitioner Mabana' 2ne! that the sa)e propert had alread been
previousl sold to private respondents, or, at least, she !as char'ed !ith 2no!led'e
that a previous buer is clai)in' title to the sa)e propert. Petitioner Mabana'
cannot close her ees to the defect in petitionersI title to the propert at the ti)e of
the re'istration of the propert.
This Court had occasions to rule thatF
,f a vendee in a double sale re'isters the sale after he has ac;uired 2no!led'e that
there !as a previous sale of the sa)e propert to a third part or that another
person clai)s said propert in a previous sale, the re'istration !ill constitute a
re'istration in bad faith and !ill not confer upon hi) an ri'ht. #;alvoro vs. Tanega,
=5 ;C( A,1 <*15=>C citing Palarca vs. %irector of !and, ,A P4il. *,2C Cagaoan vs.
Cagaoan, ,A P4il. //,C $ernandez vs. Mercader, ,A P4il. /=*.%
Thus, the sale of the sub3ect parcel of land bet!een petitioners and Ra)ona P.
Alcara7, perfected on +ebruar 8, -.B$, prior to that bet!een petitioners and
Catalina B. Mabana' on +ebruar -B, -.B$, !as correctl upheld b both the courts
belo!.
Althou'h there )a be a)ple indications that there !as in fact an a'enc
bet!een Ra)ona as principal and Concepcion, her )other, as a'ent insofar as the
sub3ect contract of sale is concerned, the issue of !hether or not Concepcion !as
also actin' in her o!n behalf as a co-buer is not s;uarel raised in the instant
-8
petition, nor in such assu)ption disputed bet!een )other and dau'hter. Thus, 6e
!ill not touch this issue and no lon'er disturb the lo!er courtsI rulin' on this point.
>4EREFORE, pre)ises considered, the instant petition is hereb *,?M,??E*
and the appealed 3ud')ent A++,RME*.
SO ORDERED.
'arvasa, C.J. :C4airman?, %avide, Jr., and $rancisco, JJ., concur.
Panganiban, J., no part.
ISIDORO M. MERCADO, plaintif-appellee,
3*.
LEON C. ?IARDO an, PRO?INCIAL S4ERIFF OF NUE?A ECIJA,
defendants-appellants.
G.R. No. L-"4"!6, Au@u*0 !", "96!
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-"4"!6 Au@u*0 !", "96!
ISIDORO M. MERCADO, plaintif-appellee,
vs.
LEON C. ?IARDO an, PRO?INCIAL S4ERIFF OF NUE?A ECIJA, defendants-
appellants.
-----------------------------
G.R. No. L-"4"!9 Au@u*0 !", "96!
LEON C. ?IARDO, plaintif-appellant,
vs.
PILAR BELMONTE, PATRICIA DRI%, JOAAUINA DRI%, ISIDORO MERCADO,
TRINIDAD ISIDRO, %ACARIAS BELMONTE, TERESITA FLORES,
P4ILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANB, INC. an,
P4ILIPPINE NATIONAL BANC,defendants-appellees.
'o. !.*,*+5E
(gustin C. Bagasao for plainti6.appellee.
Manuel (. Concordia for defendants.appellants.
'o. !.*,*+=E
Manuel (. Concordia for plainti6.appellant.
E. (. Bello, M. ). Macias and (. (. eyes for defendant.appellee P4ilippine (merican
-9
General "nsurance Company, "nc.
Cecilio $. &ycoco for defendants.appellees Pilar Belmonte and Teresita $lores.
Carlos M. $errer for defendants.appellees Patricia %riz, et al.
PADILLA, J.:
,n civil case No. 98-- of the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva Eci3a, entitled &eon C.
Diardo vs. Bartolo)e *ri7 and Pilar Bel)onte, a !rit of e0ecution !as issued and
lev !as )ade :upon all the ri'hts, interest and participation !hich the spouses
Bartolo)e *ri7 and Pilar Bel)onte have or )i'ht have: in a parcel of land covered
b ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/ of the Re'istrar of *eeds in and for the
province of Nueva Eci3a #E0hibit A, p.5%. This certi"cate of title covers a parcel of
land #&ot No. -, Psu--/59-% in the barrios of Nieves and ?anto Rosario, )unicipalit
of Nara'o7a, province of Nueva Eci3a, containin' an area of -,-.4,99$ s;uare
)eters, )ore or less. The land is re'istered in the na)es of :&eonor Bel)onte,
+elisa Bel)onte, Pilar Bel)onte and ,nes de Ju7)an, sub3ect . . . to the condition
that O share PthatQ belon's to ,nes de Ju7)an is usufructuar :correspondiendo la
nuda propiedad a sus tres hi3as arriba citadas en participaciones i'uales ;uienes se
consolidara el do)inio despues del falleci)iento de su )adreR : #E0hibit A, p. 4%.
=n 4$ +ebruar -./-, b virtue of the !rit of e0ecution above )entioned, the
provincial sherif of Nueva Eci3a sold at public auction one-half #S% of the follo!in'
propertF
TAT *EC&ARAT,=N N=. --5-5 =+ T1E M(N,C,PA&,T> =+ NARAJ=NA, PR=D,NCE =+
N(EDA EC,@A AN* C=DERE* B> =R,J,NA& CERT,+,CATE =+ T,T&E N=. 5/B/ =+ T1E
&AN* REC=R*? =+ N(EDA EC,@A.
A parcel of land, situated in the sitio of Dalde7, barrio ?to. Rosario,
)unicipalit of Nara'o7a, Province of Nueva Eci3a. Bounded on the North b
propert of +elisa Bel)onte< on the East b ?apan' *ala'ot< on the ?outheast
b ,nes de Ju7)an< on the ?outh b the propert of +elisa Bel)onte< and on
then 6est b the propert of Cirilo Acosta< containin' an area of T1,RT> #5A%
1ECTARE?, )ore or less. *eclared under ta0 No. --5-5 in the na)e of Pilar
Bel)onte !ith an assessed value of PB,/AA.AA.
The hi'hest bidder at the auction sale !as the 3ud')ent creditor, &eon C. Diardo,
!ho paid P4,-4$.8/ for the interest sold and PB5.-$ for the land ta0 correspondin'
to such interest #E0hibit B%. 6hen the 3ud')ent debtors failed to redee) the
propert !ithin the statutor period of one ear fro) the date of sale #4- +ebruar
-./-%, the provincial sherif of Nueva Eci3a e0ecuted on -4 Ma -./5 a +inal Bill of
?ale of the propert described in E0hibit B in favor of &eon C. Diardo #E0hibit C%. =n
5 Ma -./5 a co-o!nerRs cop of the certi"cate of title !as issued to &eon C. Diardo
#E0hibit A, p. 5%.
=n 4B *ece)ber -./$ the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva Eci3a, in &and
Re'istration Case No. .-B, J.&.R.=. Record No. -9.-A, actin' upon a veri"ed
petition of &eon C. Diardo, ordered the Re'istrar of *eeds in and for Nueva Eci3a U
-B
to cancel =ri'inal Certi"cate of Title No. 5/B/ and to issue another in lieu
thereof in the na)e of and in the proportion as follo!sF &E=N=R BE&M=NTE
O share< +E&,?A BE&M=NTE, O share< P,&AR BE&M=NTE, VKB share< &E=N C.
D,AR*=, VKB share< and ,NE? *E J(NMAN, O share, upon the pa)ent of the
correspondin' fees #E0hibit *%.
1o!ever, it appears fro) =ri'inal Certi"cate of Title No. 5/B/ #E0hibit A% that the
above-)entioned order !as not carried out and that said ori'inal certi"cate of title
!as not cancelled.
=n 49 Ma -./8 Bartolo)e *ri7 and Pilar Bel)onte "led in the Court of +irst
,nstance of Nueva Eci3a a co)plaint a'ainst &eon C. Diardo #civil case No. -8-%
prain' that 3ud')ent be rendered a'ainst the defendantF
#a% =rderin' the defendant to reconve the propert in ;uestion in favor of
plaintifs herein upon pa)ent b the latter of the la!ful rede)ption price in
accordance !ith la!, or the su) of P4,-4$.8/ !ith interest at the rate of one
per centu) #-W% per )onth for t!elve #-4% )onths fro) +ebruar 49, -./-
to +ebruar 49, -./4. #E0hibit E.%
=n / @une -./8 Patricia Blando, attorne for the plaintifs Bartolo)e *ri7 and Pilar
Bel)onte, re;uested the Re'istrar of *eeds in and for Nueva Eci3a for U
the annotation of a Notice of &,? PEN*EN? on the bac2 of =R,J,NA&
CERT,+,CATE =+ T,T&E N=. 5/B/ of the =Cce of the Re'ister of *eeds for the
Province of Nueva Eci3a, afectin' the undivided one-half #S% portion of the
propert of the plaintifs in the above-entitled cause, situated in the ?itio of
Dalde7, Barrio of ?to. Rosario, Municipalit of Nara'o7a, !hich is involved in
the said controvers a'ainst the defendant &E=N C. D,AR*=, and !hich is
)ore particularl described under para'raph #/% of the plaintifsR co)plaint a
cop of !hich is hereb presented, hereunto attached. #E0hibit +.%
=n 8 @une -./8 the Re'istrar of *eeds )ade the follo!in' annotation on the bac2 of
ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/F
Entr No. 55/9KA-5/B/F Mind U &is Pendens U E0ecuted in favor of Bartolo)e
*ri7 and Pilar Bel)onte< Conditions U Al the ri'hts, interests, and
participation of &eon C. Diardo in this title is the sub3ect of a co)plaint "led in
Civil Case No. -8 of the C.+.,. of N.E. no! pendin' for action. *ate of the
instru)ent U @une /, -./8< *ate of the inscription U @une 8, -./8 at 5F-B #X%
p.). #?'d.% +.C. Cui7on, Actin' Re'ister of *eeds. #E0hibit A, p. 5.%
6hile the above-)entioned case !as pendin' in the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva
Eci3a, Pilar Bel)onte, one of the plaintifs, entered into the follo!in' contracts
involvin' her interest or ri'hts over the parcel of land covered b ori'inal certi"cate
of title No. 5/B/F
#-% Entr No. -A.B/F Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U ,sidro M. Mercado Y
Trinidad ,sidro< Conditions--Pilar Bel)onte sold a portion of ?even and =ne-
-.
1alf #9-S% hectares of the propert described in this title for the su) of
P$,$AA.AA #*--48F P-.AF B---F ?--./B, 1er)inio E. Al'as, N. E.% *ate of the
,nst. U @une 4B, -./B at -F5A p.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
#4% Entr No. -A.B$KA-5/B/F Mind U ?ale !ith ri'ht of repurchaseF E0ecuted in
favor of U +ederico A;uino< Conditions U Pilar Bel)onte sold !ith a ri'ht of
repurchase seven and one-half #9-S% hectares of her share, interest and
participation in this title for the su) of P5,8AA.AA #*--49F P-.AF B---F ?-/B. 1.
Al'as, N. E.% *ate of the ,nst. U @une 4B, -./B< *ate of the ,nscription U @une
4B, -./B at -F5A p.). #?'d.% +. C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
#5% Entr No. -$--AKA-5/B/F Mind U ResaleF E0ecuted in favor of U Pilar
Bel)onte< Conditions U +ederico A;uino resold his share in this title
consistin' of 9-S 1as. for the su) of P5,8AA.AA #*-85F P--$F B-8F ?--./., @ose
E. CastaZeda, Manila% *ate of the ,nst. U March B, -.$BF *ate of the
,nscription U April B, -./. at --F5A a.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of
*eeds.
#/% Entr No. -$---KA-5/B/F Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U *o)inador
Asuncion and To)asita *ansilF Pilar Bel)onte sold a portion of seven #9% 1as.
of her share and participation in this title for the su) of P9,AAA.AA. #*-8/F P-
-$F B-8F ?--./., @. E. CastaZeda, Manila% *ate of the ,nst. U March ., -./.<
*ate of the ,nscription U April B, -./. at --F5A a.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N,
Re'ister of *eeds. #E0hibit A, p. /%
=n -- April -.$A the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva Eci3a rendered 3ud')ent in
civil case No. -8-, as follo!sF
,N D,E6 =+ T1E +=REJ=,NJ, the Court absolves the defendant fro) the co)plaint
of the plaintifs, in the sa)e )anner that plaintifs are absolved fro) the counter
co)plaint of the defendant. *efendant is the le'al o!ner of the land in ;uestion
and the ri'ht of rede)ption of the plaintif of said land had alread elapsed. 6ith
costs to the plaintif. #E0hibit J.%
Not satis"ed !ith the 3ud')ent dis)issin' his counter-clai), the defendant &eon C.
Diardo appealed to the Court of Appeals. 6hile the appeal !as pendin', the
follo!in' transactions involvin' the interest or ri'hts of Pilar Bel)onte over the
parcel of land covered b ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/ too2 placeF
#-% Entr No. 9.89KNT--$-84F Mind U PartitionF E0ecuted in favor of U +elisa
Bel)onte, et al.< Conditions U B virtue of a deed of partition, the share of
the deceased ,nes de Ju7)an and ,sidro Bel)onte has been ad3udicated in
favor of the heirs of said deceased. #*-B.-F P-99F B-DF ?--./B, Manuel E.
CastaZeda, Manila% *ate of the ,nst. U March 5-, -./BF *ate of the
,nscription U +eb. -B, -.$/ at -AF-B a.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of
*eeds.
#4% Entr No. 9.8BKNT--$-84F Mind U A'ree)entF E0ecuted in favor of U
+elisa Bel)onte, et al< Conditions U B virtue of an a'ree)ent of the parties
4A
concerned in the partition, &ots Nos. --* and --@, !ith an area of 5AA,AAA s;.
). and BA,AAA s;.)., )ore or less, respectivel in the subdivision plan Psd-
585/A, a portion of lot - described on plan Psu--/59-, of this title, have been
ad3udicated in favor of +elisa Bel)onte and &ot --J !ith an area of 9$,AAA
s;.)., )ore or less, of the sa)e subdivision, has been ad3udicated in favor of
,sidoro Mercado, ?ee TCT No. -$-84 and -$-85, Dol. No. 98. #*-4--F P-//F B-
,DF ?--.$4, P. Bautista, Cab. Cit% *ate of the ,nst. U @an. 44, -.$4F *ate of
the ,nscription U +eb. -B, -.$/ at -AF-B a.).#?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of
*eeds.
#5% Entr No. .9-$KNT--$9/8F Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U ?p.
Nacarias Bel)onte and Teresita +lores< Conditions U *o)inador Asuncion
and To)asita *ansil sold all their ri'hts and interest in this title consistin' of
seven hectares for the su) of P8,AAA.AA. #*--99F P-59F B-,DF ?--.$4< R. ?.
Pen'son, N.E.% *ate of the ,nst. U +eb. /, -.$4< *ate of ,nscription U Ma -5,
-.$/ at -AFAB a.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
#/% Entr No. -4-8BKNT--$-84F Mind U Pro3ect of Partition U E0ecuted in favor
of Pilar Bel)onte< Conditions U B virtue of a pro3ect of partition re-estate of
the late ,nes de Ju7)an, a portion of -5.499$ hectares of the land described
in this title has been ad3udicated in favor of Pilar Bel)onte. #*-B.-F P-99F B-DF
?--./B, Manuel E. CastaZeda, Manila% *ate of the ,nst. U March 5-, -./BF
*ate of the ,nscription U Au'. 45, -.$/ at 4FAA p.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N,
Re'ister of *eeds.*F0p4G*.HIt
#$% Entr No. -4-8.KNT--8//AF Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U @oa;uin
*ri7F Conditions U Pilar Bel)onte sold &ot --B of the subdivision plan of this
title Psd-585/A a portion ta2en fro) her undivided -5.499$ hectares !ith an
area of $4,99$ s;.)., )ore or less, for the su) of PBAA.AA. ?ee TCT NT-
-8//A, Dol. No. B5. #*--8AF P-55F B-,F ?--.$/, Adolfo ?an @uan, Cab. Cit% *ate
of the ,nst. U Au'. 45, -.$/< *ate of the ,nscription U Au'. 45, -.$/ at 4FAA
p.). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
#8% Entr No. -459AKNT--8/BBF Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U Patricia
*ri7F Conditions U Pilar Bel)onte sold &ot --A of the subdivision plan Psd-
585/A bein' a portion of &ot - described in plan Psu--/59-, J.&.R.=. Cad.
Record No. -9.-A, of this title for the su) of P-,AAA.AA !ith an area of
BA,AAA s;.)., !ith respect to her share of -5.499$ hectares. ?ee TCT No. NT-
-8/BB, Dol. B5. #*-//AF P-.AF B-DF ?--.$/, 1. D. Jarcia, Cab. Cit% *ate of the
,nst. U Au'. 5-, -.$/F *ate of the ,nscription U ?ept. 4, -.$/ at BFAA p.).
#?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
#9% Entr No. -4$-4KNT--8$/8F Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted in favor of U Patricia
*ri7F Conditions U Pilar Bel)onte sold &ots Nos. --1 and --, of the subdivision
plan Psd-5A5/A of the propert described in this title for the su) of PB$A.AA.
?ee TCT No. NT--8$4/, Dol. B5. #*--89F P-5$F B-,F ?--.$/, Adolfo ?an @uan,
Cab. Cit% *ate of the ,nst. U ?ept. ., -.$/< *ate of the ,nscription U ?ept. .,
-.$/ at --F$A a.). #?'d.% +. C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds.
4-
#B% Entr No. -4$8.KNT--8$/8F Mind U ?ale< E0ecuted favor of U Patricia *ri7<
Conditions U Pilar Bel)onte sold &ot ,-E of the subdivision plan Psd-5A5/A of
the propert described in this title, !ith an area of 9.,B/B s;.)., )ore or less
the subdivision plan of this title, !as sold for the su) of P4,AAA.AA. ?ee TCT
No. NT--8$/8, Dol. B5. #*--94F P-58F B?--.$/, Adolfo ?an @uan, Cab. Cit%
*ate of the ,nst. U ?ept. --, -.$/< *ate of the ,nscription U ?ept. -5, -.$/
at BF4A a). #?'d.% +.C. C(,N=N, Re'ister of *eeds. #E0hibit A, pp. /-$.%
=n 44 ?epte)ber -.$/, a fe! das after the last transactions )entioned above, the
Court of Appeals passed a resolution 'rantin' the praer of defendant-appellant
&eon C. Diardo that the children and onl heirs, na)el, Arte)io, Patricia, Mario,
*o)in'o, @oa;uina and Catalina, surna)ed *ri7, !ho !ere all of a'e, be substituted
for the deceased appellee Bartolo)e *ri7 #the husband of Pilar Bel)onte%. #E0hibit
1--%.
=n 4$ ?epte)ber -.$/ the Court of Appeals rendered 3ud')ent a!ardin' da)a'es
praed for in the counterclai) of &eon D. Diardo. The 3ud')ent )ade the follo!in'
"ndin's and conclusionsF
. . . The area of the contested propert is -$ hectares. B co)putation, this is
capable of producin' 9$A cavans of pala a ear. =n the basis of 9A-5A,
defendant is entitled to 44$ cavans of pala a ear. Therefore, plaintifs are
under obli'ation to deliver to defendant this ;uantit of pala ever
a'ricultural ear fro) the "lin' of defendantRs ans!er on Au'ust $, -./8, up
to the ti)e he vacates said land, or pa the e;uivalent value thereof at
P-4.AA a cavan.
1avin' been declared o!ner of the land in dispute, defendant is entitled to its
possession. ,nas)uch as the court belo! did not order plaintifs to restore the
possession of the land in ;uestion, !e hereb order the) to vacate the sa)e
and restore possession thereof to defendant. #E0hibit 1.%
This 3ud')ent of the Court of Appeals beca)e "nal and e0ecutor and the records
!ere re)anded to the lo!er court. =n -8 *ece)ber -.$/ the Court of +irst ,nstance
of Nueva Eci3a issued a !rit of e0ecution #E0hibit 6%. The return )ade b Chief of
Police of the Municipalit of Nara'o7a on -/ +ebruar -.$$ states that &eon C.
Diardo had been placed in possession of the parcel of land referred to in the !rit and
that lev !as )ade on a total of B8 cavans and 9/ 2ilos of pala, and that the sa)e
!ere deposited in a !arehouse #E0hibit T%.
=n or about / @anuar -.$$ ,sidoro M. Mercado "led a third part clai) !ith the
Provincial ?herif of Nueva Eci3a #E0hibit >%. The aCdavit attached to the clai)
states that ,sidoro M. Mercado and his !ife purchased fro) Pilar Bel)onte on 4B
@une -./B seven and one-half hectares of her undivided share in the land described
in ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/, that on the sa)e da the deed of sale !as
re'istered, that a transfer certi"cate of title !as issued in their na)es, and that
since -./B up to the ti)e of the lev on e0ecution he had been in actual possession
of the parcel of land, pain' the correspondin' ta0es thereon and had e0clusivel
bene"ted fro) the harvests therein, #E0hibit >--%. The sherif !as re;uested not to
continue !ith the lev on the harvest in the parcel of land the !ere clai)in'.
44
=n 4 +ebruar -.$$ ,sidoro M. Mercado "led in the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva
Eci3a a co)plaint doc2eted as civil case No. -9-B, a'ainst &eon C. Diardo and the
Provincial ?herif. The co)plaint alle'ed that i)proper lev had been )ade on the
harvest in plaintifRs parcel of land and praed that 3ud')ent be rendered orderin'
the defendants to return the pala levied upon, to'ether !ith da)a'es. =n 48
+ebruar -.$$ the defendants ans!ered that plaintifsR purchase of the parcel of
land in ;uestion fro) Pilar Bel)onte !as sub3ect to !hatever 3ud')ent the courts
)i'ht render in civil case No. -8- bet!een Pilar Bel)onte and &eon C. Diardo. =n -9
=ctober -.$$ the Court of +irst ,nstance of Nueva Eci3a entered an order suspendin'
the trial of the case, in vie! of the infor)ation b counsel for the defendant that his
client &eon C. Diardo !ould "le a co)plaint a'ainst all persons clai)in' o!nership
of or interest in the parcel of land covered b ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/
#Record on Appeal, pp. 4---%.
=n $ *ece)ber -.$$ civil case No. 4AA/ !as "led b &eon D. Diardo a'ainst Pilar
Bel)onte, Patricia *ri7, @oa;uina *ri7, ,sidoro Mercado, Trinidad ,sidro, Nacarias
Bel)onte, Teresita +lores, Philippine A)erican Jeneral ,nsurance Co., ,nc. and the
Philippine National Ban2, as parties clai)in' so)e ri'ht, participation, share or
interest in the parcel of land covered b ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/ or b
trader certi"cates of title derived therefro). The defendants "led their ans!ers.
After trial,
-
on 4/ Au'ust -.$8 the trial court rendered 3ud')ent in civil cases Nos.
-9-B and 4AA/, the dispositive part of !hich reads as follo!sF
,N D,E6 =+ T1E +=REJ=,NJ C=N?,*ERAT,=N?, in Civil Case 4AA/, &eon C.
Diardo, ,sidoro M. Mercado, Nacarias Bel)onte and Patricia *ri7 are hereb
declared C=-=6NER? PR=-,N*,D,?= of lots --A P?*--8B8/, !hich is the O
share of Pilar Bel)onte in &ot -, P?( -/59-, =CT No. 5/B/ in the follo!in'
proportionsF =NE-1A&+ for &E=N C. D,AR*=< 9S hectares for ,sidoro M.
Mercado< 9 hectares for Nacarias Bel)onte, and the re)ainder for Patricia
*ri7, it bein' understood that !hatever is ad3udicated to Patricia *ri7 in the
partition shall be sub3ect to the )ort'a'e in favor of the Philippine National
Ban2< the deeds of sale e0ecuted b Pilar Bel)onte in favor of Patricia *ri7,
E0hibits R and ? are declared N(&& AN* D=,*< the deeds of partition E0hibits
& and N, are set aside, and the certi"cates of title issued in favor of Nacarias
Bel)onte, ,sidoro M. Mercado and Patricia *ri7, E0hibits P, E, R-- and ?-- are
ordered cancelled. And in civil case -9-B ,sidoro M. Mercado is hereb
declared to be entitled to the products !hich had been levied upon b the
Provincial ?herif. No da)a'es are a!arded. The parties in civil case 4AA/
shall co)e to an a)icable settle)ent !ith respect to the partition. (pon their
failure to arrive at an a)icable settle)ent, co))issioner shall be appointed
b this Court in accordance !ith a la! to )a2e the partition.
6ith costs a'ainst the defendants in both cases.
=nl &eon C. Diardo, plaintif in civil case No. 4AA/ and defendant in civil case No.
-9-B, appealed to the Court of Appeals. =n 4- Ma -.$B the latter certi"ed and
for!arded the appeals to this Court because the facts are not in dispute and :the
;uestions raised b appellant in his brief are purel le'al in nature.:
45
,n his "rst assi'n)ent of error the appellant contends that the trial court :erred in
not annullin' the sale e0ecuted b Pilar Bel)onte to ,sidoro M. Mercado, )ar2ed as
E0hibit ,, and to *o)inador Asuncion and Teresita Bansil #E0hibit @% and the sale b
*o)inador Asuncion to Nacarias Bel)onte and Teresita +lores in a *eed of ?ale
)ar2ed E0hibit M.: ,n support thereof he ar'ues that the three sales too2 place and
!ere re'istered after he had beco)e the absolute o!ner of an undivided one-half
interest in the parcel of land o!ned b Pilar Bel)onte and after notice of lis
pendens had been recorded on the title of Pilar Bel)onte.
The ar'u)ent is !ithout )erit. ,t is true that the appellant beca)e the absolute
o!ner of an undivided one-half interest in the undivided one-fourth interest o!ned
b Pilar Bel)onte in the parcel of land described in ori'inal certi"cate of title No.
5/B/< that before Pilar Bel)onte sold parts of her undivided share in the parcel of
land to ,sidoro M. Mercado and *o)inador Asuncion and the last in turn sold his part
to Nacarias Bel)onte, there !as notice of lis pendens recorded on the certi"cate of
title< and that this notice is bindin' upon all !ho should ac;uire an interest in the
propert subse;uent to the record of the lis pendens. The notice of lis
pendens #E0hibit A%, ho!ever, !as li)ited to one-half interest ac;uired b &eon C.
Diardo fro) Pilar Bel)onte. The other one-half undivided interest of the latter !as
not in liti'ation and therefore the trial court correctl held that Pilar Bel)onte, as
the o!ner of this undivided one-half interest, had a ri'ht to sell it and could conve
absolute title thereto or to parts thereof. =f course, the deeds of sale e0ecuted b
Pilar Bel)onte appears to conve de"nite or se're'ated parts of her re)ainin'
interest in the parcel of land described in ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/, !hich
she could not do, because this one-fourth in interest had not et been subdivided to
sho! the interest ac;uired b &eon C. Diardo, a)ountin' to one-half of the said one-
fourth interest. This defect, ho!ever, does not result in the nullit of the deeds of
sale she had e0ecuted relatin' to her re)ainin' interest of one-ei'hth. The sales
!ere valid, sub3ect onl to the condition that the interests ac;uired b the vendees
!ere li)ited to the parts !hich )i'ht be assi'ned to the) in the division upon the
ter)ination of the co-o!nership #Article /.5, Civil Code%.
,n the second assi'n)ent of error the appellant contends that the trial court :erred
in not annullin' the sales e0ecuted b Pilar Bel)onte in favor of her dau'hters
@oa;uina and Patricia *ri7 of lots --B and --A, E0hibits ( and D of Plan P?* 585/A.:
&ots --B and --A of Plan P?*-585/A are ta2en, not fro) the ori'inal one-fourth
interest of Pilar Bel)onte in the parcel of land covered b ori'inal certi"cate of title
No. 5/B/, !hich interest !as levied upon and thereafter ac;uired b &eon C. Diardo
to the e0tent of one-half, but fro) another one-fourth interest in the sa)e parcel of
land, !hich belon'ed ori'inall to ,nes de Ju7)an, the )other of Pilar Bel)onte.
This one-fourth interest subse;uentl devolved upon Pilar Bel)onte and her t!o
sisters. The three sisters partitioned this one-fourth interest a)on' the)selves and
lots --A and --B !ere assi'ned to Pilar Bel)onte !ho, in turn, sold the) to her
dau'hters. These sales, the appellant contends, are "ctitious and in fraud of his
ri'hts as creditor.
The onl evidence adduced b the appellant in support of this contention is that the
sales !ere )ade b the )other to her dau'hters. This is not enou'h evidence to
hold the sale "ctitious and fraudulent. There is no evidence !hatsoever that Pilar
4/
Bel)onte, at the ti)e she sold the lots, had outstandin' debts or !as in an
other!ise e)barrasin' "nancial position. Even the credit of &eon C. Diardo, the
appellant, !as established onl after the sales !ere e0ecuted, !hen the Court of
Appeals )odi"ed the 3ud')ent of the trial court in civil case No. -8- b a!ardin'
da)a'es to hi). There is no )erit, therefore, in the second assi'n)ent of error.
,n the third assi'n)ent of error the appellant contends that the trial court :erred in
declarin' that the :product raised in the portion under the occupanc of ,sidoro
Mercado, therefore, pertains to hi) and !as not sub3ect to the lev or e0ecution in
favor of &eon C. Diardo in Civil Case No. -8-.: ,n support of this assi'n)ent the
appellant a'ain harps on the fact that the ti)e ,sidoro Mercado ac;uired an interest
in the propert, there !as notice of lis pendens, and therefore ,sidoro Mercado :is
not a purchaser in 'ood faith.:
This contention has been overruled in the "rst assi'n)ent of error !hen the notice
of lis pendens #E0hibits A and +% !as held to refer not to the re)ainin' one-ei'hth
interest of Pilar Bel)onte in the parcel of land described in ori'inal certi"cate of title
No. 5/B/, but to the one-ei'hth interest !hich &eon C. Diardo had ac;uired fro)
Pilar Bel)onte, and !hich the latter !as trin' to recover fro) hi) in civil case No.
-8-. ,t !as Pilar Bel)onte !ho caused the notice of lis pendens to be recorded to
sub3ect :all the ri'hts, interests and participation of &eon C. Diardo in this Title: to
the result of the liti'ation in the aforesaid civil case No. -8-. Pilar Bel)onte did not
thereb sub3ect her re)ainin' one-ei'hth interest to the result of civil case No. -8-
!hich she had "led a'ainst &eon C. Diardo. ,f the latter !anted to sub3ect the
re)ainin' one-ei'hth interest of Pilar Bel)onte to the outco)e of his counterclai)
in civil case No. -8-, he should have as2ed for it.
The vie! held b this Court in passin' upon the third assi'n)ent of error renders it
unnecessar for the Court to discuss the respective ri'hts and liabilities of co-
o!ners !hen one co-o!ner, !ithout the 2no!led'e andKor consent of the other co-
o!ners, plants or builds on the propert o!ned in co))on.
The appellant further contends that the trial court erred :in concludin' that the
heirs of Bartolo)e *ri7 could not be held personall liable for the 3ud')ent
rendered a'ainst the plaintifs in Civil Case No. -8- and therefore &ots --A and --B
cannot be sub3ect to the pa)ent of the 3ud')ent in favor of &eon C. Diardo.:
The onl 'round of appellant for this contention is that the present o!ners of these
lots are the children of the spouses Pilar Bel)onte and Bartolo)e *ri7, the plaintifs
in civil case No. -8-, and that, upon the death of Bartolo)e *ri7 durin' the
pendenc of the appeal in civil case No. -8-, these children !ere substituted as
parties. This assi'n)ent of error is !ithout )erit. The substitution of parties !as
)ade obviousl because the children of Bartolo)e *ri7 are his le'al heirs and
therefore could properl represent and protect !hatever interest he had in the case
on appeal. But such a substitution did not and cannot have the efect of )a2in'
these substituted parties personall liable for !hatever 3ud')ent )i'ht be rendered
on the appeal a'ainst their deceased father. Article 99/ of the Civil Code providesF
?uccession is a )ode of ac;uisition b virtue of !hich the propert, ri'hts
and obli'ations to t4e e8tent of t4e value of t4e in4eritance, of a person are
4$
trans)itted throu'h his death to another or others either b his !ill or b
operation of la!. #E)phasis supplied.%
The trial court, therefore, correctl ruled that the re)ed of &eon C. Diardo, the
creditor, !as to proceed a'ainst the estate of Bartolo)e *ri7.
Moreover, it appears fro) the evidence that Bartolo)e *ri7 !as onl a for)al part
to civil case No. -8-, the real part in interest bein' his !ife Pilar Bel)onte. The
sub3ect )atter in liti'ation !as Pilar Bel)onteRs interest in the parcel of land
described in ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/, !hich appears to be paraphernal
propert.
The appellantRs "fth and last assi'n)ent of error is that :the trial court erred in not
a!ardin' da)a'es to the plaintif &eon C. Diardo in Civil Case No. 4AA/.: =bviousl
the appellant refers to the praer in his co)plaint that P$,AAA be a!arded to hi)
a'ainst Pilar Bel)onte for attorneRs fees. 1e )aintains that appellee Pilar
Bel)onte had disposed of all her propert !ith the intent of avoidin' pa)ent of
her liabilit or debt to hi).
A revie! of the record lends credence to the appellantRs clai). Appellee Pilar
Bel)onte had one-fourth interest in a parcel of land containin' an area of --..499$
hectares. =n -4 Ma -./5 &eon C. Diardo ac;uired one-half interest of Pilar
Bel)onteRs one-fourth interest. ,n a partition, !here the appellant did not
participate but !hich he does not i)pu'n, Pilar Bel)onteRs ori'inal one-fourth
interest !as se're'ated and deli)ited. ?he !as assi'ned in that partition and
subdivision, &ot --A of Plan P?*--8B8/, containin' an area of 5A hectares #E0hibit
M%. (pon the death of her )other, she ac;uired another -5.499$ hectares. These
-5.499$ hectares she sold to her t!o dau'hters and the validit of the sales has
been upheld b this Court. 6ith the ori'inal 5A hectares, ho!ever, Pilar Bel)onte
did not act in 'ood faith !hen she sold )ore than -$ hectares to her dau'hter
Patricia *ri7. Mno!in' that one-half of said 5A hectares or a total of -$ hectares
belon'ed to the appellant &eon C. Diardo, she nevertheless proceeded to enter into
the follo!in' transactionsF #-% sale of seven and one-half hectares to ,sidoro
Mercado, dated 4B @une -./B, E0hibit A< #4% sale of seven hectares to *o)inador
Asuncion, !ho later sold the sa)e parcel or interest to Nacarias Bel)onte, dated .
March -./., E0hibit A< #5% subdivision and partition of her lot --A, P?*--8B8/, into
lots --E, --+, --J, --1 and --,, !ithout the 2no!led'e of her co-o!ner &eon C.
Diardo, Plan P?*-585/A, E0hibit =< #/% sale in favor of her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 of
lots --1 and --,, Plan P?*-585/A, containin' an area of 4A,AAA and $$,-$4 s;.
)eters, respectivel, dated . ?epte)ber -.$/, E0hibits R and A< and #$% sale in
favor of her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 of lot --E< Plan P?*-585/A, containin' an area of
9.,B/B s;. )eters, dated -- ?epte)ber -.$/, E0hibits ? and A.
,t !ill thus be seen that on . March -./., after Pilar Bel)onte had sold seven
hectares to *o)inador Asuncion, she had onl one-half hectare left to dispose of,
since out of her ori'inal thirt hectares #&ot --A, P?*--8B8/% the appellant &eon C.
Diardo had ac;uired one-half or "fteen hectares, ,sidoro Mercado, seven and one-
half hectares, and *o)inador Asuncion, seven hectares.
48
+ull a!are that one-half hectare re)ained her onl propert, Pilar Bel)onte
nevertheless proceeded to sell to her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 three lots containin' a
co)bined area of )ore than "fteen hectares. ,t is obvious, therefore, that the sales
to Patricia *ri7 cannot be sustained, re'ardless of !hether Pilar Bel)onte !as
a!are or suspected that she !ould be held liable for da)a'es to &eon C. Diardo in
civil case No. -8-, as in fact she !as held liable b the Court of Appeals about t!o
!ee2s after she had e0ecuted the sales in favor of her dau'hter. The sales above
referred to stand on a diferent footin' fro) the sales )ade in favor of ,sidoro
Mercado and *o)inador Asuncion, because in the latter sales Pilar Bel)onte still
had so)ethin' to sell, na)el, her re)ainin' "fteen hectares. But after she had
disposed of fourteen and one-half hectares to Mercado and Asuncion she had onl
one-half hectare left and therefore could not sell another "fteen hectares.
The trial court, ho!ever, did not co)pletel annul the sales )ade b Pilar Bel)onte
in favor of her dau'hter. ,t )erel reduced the sale of "fteen hectares to a sale of
one-half hectare, obviousl in the belief that the sales should be sustained to the
e0tent of Pilar Bel)onteRs re)ainin' interest. The record sho!s that both Pilar
Bel)onte and her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 2ne! that one-half hectare onl re)ained
as the for)erRs propert, but the nevertheless proceeded to sell and purchase
)ore than "fteen hectares. 6hen it is considered further that the "nal 3ud')ent in
civil case No. -8- a!arded da)a'es to &eon C. Diardo a)ountin' to 44$ cavans of
pala fro) -./8 #E0hibit 1% and that !hen this 3ud')ent !as e0ecuted in -.$/ no
propert of Pilar Bel)onte could be found to satisf the da)a'es #p. --, t.s.n.%, it is
evident that Pilar Bel)onte and her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 had conspired to dispose
of all the propert of Pilar Bel)onte in order to frustrate an a!ard of da)a'es the
Court of Appeals )i'ht )a2e in favor of &eon C. Diardo and that this conspirac
)ust have ta2en place at the latest on . ?epte)ber -.$/ !hen Pilar Bel)onte
proceeded to sell to her dau'hter Patricia *ri7 parcels of land !hich no lon'er
belon'ed to her.
The 3ud')ent appealed fro) is )odi"ed b holdin' and declarin' that #-% &eon C.
Diardo, ,sidoro M. Mercado, Nacarias Bel)onte and Pilar Bel)onte #not Patricia *ri7%
are the co-o!ners pro-indiviso of lot --A, Plan P?*--8B8/, !hich is the one-fourth
share of Pilar Bel)onte in lot -, P?*--/59-, ori'inal certi"cate of title No. 5/B/, in
the follo!in' proportionF one-half or "fteen hectares o!ned b &eon C. Diardo,
seven and one-half hectares b ,sidoro M. Mercado, seven hectares b Nacarias
Bel)onte, and one-half hectares b Pilar Bel)onte, sub3ect to the ri'hts of &eon C.
Diardo to the balance of his 3ud')ent credit a'ainst Pilar Bel)onte< and #4% &eon C.
Diardo is a!arded da)a'es of P-,AAA a'ainst Pilar Bel)onte. ,n all other respects,
the 3ud')ent appealed fro) is aCr)ed, !ith costs a'ainst appellees Pilar Bel)onte
and Patricia *ri7.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista (ngelo, !abrador, Concepcion, eyes, J.B.!., Barrera,
Paredes, %izon, egala and MaJalintal, JJ., concur.
Foo0no0)*
49
-
=n 5A @une -.$8 the co)plaint a'ainst the Philippine A)erican Jeneral
,nsurance Co)pan. ,nc. !as dis)issed because the co)pan no lon'er had
an interest in the parcel of and in dispute. ,t !as )ade a defendant because
it !as the )ort'a'ee of a part of the land. 6hen the )ort'a'e debt !as
paid, it released the )ort'a'e.
In0)*0a0) o' 0() +a0) AGUSTIN MONTILLA, SR.D PEDRO LITONJUA, a
movant-appellant,
3*.
AGUSTIN B. MONTILLA, JR., administrator-appellee;
CLAUDIO MONTILLA, oppositor-appellee.
G.R. No. L-4"65, Januar 3", "9#!
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4"65 Januar 3", "9#!
In0)*0a0) o' 0() +a0) AGUSTIN MONTILLA, SR.D PEDRO LITONJUA, a )ovant-
appellant,
vs.
AGUSTIN B. MONTILLA, JR., ad)inistrator-appellee<
CLAUDIO MONTILLA, oppositor-appellee.
Carlos @ilado and Jose B. CoruHa for t4e administrator.
Jose M. Estacion for movant. Gaudencio #cceHo and Jose Kr. Carbonell for oppositor.
PARAS, C.J.$
,n Civil Case No. B8B of the court of +irst ,nstance of Ne'ros =ccidental, Pedro &.
&iton3ua obtained a 3ud')ent a'ainst Claudio Montilla for the pa)ent of the su) of
P/,AAA !ith le'al interest, plus costs a)ountin' to P5..AA ,n due ti)e, a !rit of
e0ecution !as issued, but no propert of Claudio Montilla !as found !hich could be
levied upon.
=n @une -4, -.$A Pedro &. &iton3ua "led in special Proceedin' No 54 of the Court of
+irst ,nstance of Ne'ros =ccidental, ,ntestate Estate of A'ustin Montilla, ?r.,
deceased, a )otion prain' that the interest, propert and participation of Claudio
Montilla, one of the heirs of A'ustin Montilla, ?r., in the latterRs intestate estate be
sold and out of the proceed the 3ud')ent debt of Claudio Montilla in favor of Pedro
4B
&. &iton3ua be paid. This )otion !as opposed b Claudio Montilla and b A'ustin
Montilla, @r., ad)inistrator of the intestate estate.
=n Au'ust 9, -.$A, the Court of +irst ,nstance of Ne'ros =ccidental issued an order
denin' the )otion. +ro) this order Pedro &. &iton3ua appealed. ,n the case
of #rtiga Brot4ers and Co. vs. Enage and )ap Tico, -B Phil. 5/$, it !as held that the
creditor of the heirs of a deceased person is entitled to collect his clai) out of the
propert !hich pertains b inheritance to said heirs, onl after the debts of the
testate or intestate succession have been paid and !hen the net assets that are
divisible a)on' the heirs are 2no!n, because the debts of the deceased )ust "rst
be paid before his heirs can inherit. ,t !as therein also held that a person !ho is not
a creditor of a deceased, testate or intestate, has no ri'ht to intervene either in the
proceedin's brou'ht in connection !ith the estate or in the settle)ent of the
succession. 6e ;uote hereunder pertinent passa'es of the decision.
A person !ho, havin' clai) a'ainst a deceased person !hich should be considered
b the co))ittee does not, after publication of the re;uired notice, e0hibit his clai)
to the co))ittee as provided b la!, shall be barred fro) recoverin' such de)and
or fro) pleadin' the sa)e as an ofset to an action, under the provisions of section
8.$ of the Code of Civil Procedure, e0ceptin' the case referred to in section 9A- of
the sa)e< !ith still less reason can one !ho is not a creditor of the said deceased
intervene in the proceedin's relative to the latterRs intestate estate and to the
settle)ent of his succession #article -A5/ of the Civil Code%, because such creditor
has no ri'ht or interest that call for the protection of the la! and the courts, e0cept in
an re)ainder !hich )a be found due the heir.
,t is true that >ap Tico, as the creditor of the !ido! and heirs of the deceased
,ldefonso, is entitled to collect !hat is due hi) out of the propert left b the latter
and !hich !as inherited b such !ido! and heirs, but it is no less that onl after all
the debts of the said estate have been paid can it be 2no!n !hat net re)ainder !ill
be left for division a)on' the heirs, because the debts of the deceased )ust be paid
before his heirs can inherit. #Arts. 8$. et se;. -A48, -A49, and -A54 of the civil Code,
and secs. 95/ et se9., Code of Civil Code Procedure.%
An e0ecution cannot le'all be levied upon the propert of an intestate
succession to pa the debts of the !ido! and heirs of the deceased, until the
credits held a'ainst the latter at the ti)e of his death shall have been paid
can the re)ainin' propert that pertains to the said debtors heirs can be
attached #Art. -A5/, aforecited, Civil Code.% #pp. 5$A-4$-%
The fore'oin' pronounce)ents are perfectl applicable to the case at bar, because
the appellant is not a creditor of the deceased A'ustin Montilla, ?r. and he see2s to
collect his clai) out of the inheritance of Claudio Montilla, an heir, before the net
assets of the intestate estate have been deter)ined.
6herefore, the appealed order is aCr)ed, and it is so ordered !ith costs a'ainst
the appellant.
Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, eyes, Jugo and Bautista (ngelo,
JJ., concur.
4.
SOCORRO LEDESMA an, ANA AUITCO LEDESMA, plaintifs-appellees,
3*.
CONC4ITA MCLAC4LIN, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
G.R. No. L-44936, No3)<-)r !3, "939
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-44936 No3)<-)r !3, "939
SOCORRO LEDESMA an, ANA AUITCO LEDESMA, plaintifs-appellees,
vs.
CONC4ITA MCLAC4LIN, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
(driano T. de la Cruz for appellants.
;imeon Bitanga for appellees.

?ILLA-REAL, J.:
This case is before us b virtue of an appeal ta2en b the defendants Conchita
Mc&achlin, &oren7o Euitco, @r., ?abina Euitco, Rafael Euitco and Marcela Euitco,
fro) the decision of the Court of +irst ,nstance of =ccidental Ne'ros, the dispositive
part of !hich readsF
+or the fore'oin' considerations, the court renders 3ud')ent in this case
declarin' Ana Euitco &edes)a an ac2no!led'ed natural dau'hter of the
deceased &oren7o M. Euitco, for le'al purposes, but absolvin' the defendants
as to the praer in the "rst cause of action that the said Ana Euitco &edes)a
be declared entitled to share in the properties left b the deceased Eusebio
Euitco.
As to the second cause of action, the said defendants are ordered to pa to
the plaintif ?ocorro &edes)a, 3ointl and severall, onl the su) of one
thousand "ve hundred pesos#P-,$AA%, !ith le'al interest thereon fro) the
"lin' of this co)plaint until full paid. No pronounce)ent is )ade as to the
costs. ?o ordered.
,n support of their appeal, the appellants assi'n the follo!in' errors alle'edl
co))itted b the trial court in its aforesaid decisionF
5A
-. That the trial court erred in holdin', that the action for the recover of the
su) of P-,$AA, representin' the last install)ent of the note E0hibit C has not
et prescribed.
4. That the trial court erred in holdin' that the propert inherited b the
defendants fro) their deceased 'randfather b the ri'ht of representation is
sub3ect to the debts and obli'ations of their deceased father !ho died
!ithout an propert !hatsoever.la0p4i*.net
5. That the trial court erred in conde)nin' the defendants to pa 3ointl and
severall the plaintif ?ocorro &edes)a the su) of P-,$AA.
The onl facts to be considered in the deter)ination of the le'al ;uestions raised in
this appeal are those set out in the appealed decision, !hich have been established
at the trial, na)elF
,n the ear -.-8, the plaintif ?ocorro &edes)a lived )aritall !ith &oren7o
M. Euitco, !hile the latter !as still sin'le, of !hich relation, lastin' until the
ear -.4-, !as born a dau'hter !ho is the other plaintif Ana Euitco
&edes)a. ,n -.4-, it see)s that the relation bet!een ?ocorro &edes)a and
&oren7o M. Euitco ca)e to an end, but the latter e0ecuted a deed #E0hibit A%,
ac2no!led'in' the plaintif Ana Euitco &edes)a as his natural dau'hter and
on @anuar 4-, -.44, he issued in favor of the plaintif ?ocorro &edes)a a
pro)issor note #E0hibit C%, of the follo!in' tenorF
P4,AAA. +or value received , pro)ise to pa Miss ?ocorro &edes)a the su) of
t!o thousand pesos #P4,AAA%. Philippine currenc under the follo!in' ter)sF
T!o hundred and "ft pesos #P4$A% to be paid on the "rst da of March -.44<
another t!o hundred and "ft pesos #P4$A%to be paid on the "rst da of
Nove)ber -.44< the re)ainin' one thousand and "ve hundred #P-,$AA% to
be paid t!o ears fro) the date of the e0ecution of this note. ?an Enri;ue,
=cc. Ne'ros, P. ,., @an. 4-, -.44.
?ubse;uentl, &oren7o M. Euitco )arried the defendant Conchita Mc&achlin,
!ith !ho) he had four children, !ho are the other defendants. =n March .,
-.5A, &oren7o M. Euitco died #E0hibit $%, and, still later, that is, on *ece)ber
-$, -.54, his father Eusebio Euitco also died, and as the latter left real and
personal properties upon his death, ad)inistration proceedin's of said
properties !ere instituted in this court, the said case bein' 2no!n as the
:,ntestate of the deceased Eusebio Euitco,: civil case No. 8-$5 of this court.
(pon the institution of the intestate of the deceased Eusebio Euitco and the
appoint)ent of the co))ittee on clai)s and appraisal, the plaintif ?ocorro
&edes)a, on Au'ust 48, -.5$, "led before said co))ittee the afore;uoted
pro)issor note for pa)ent, and the co))issioners, upon receipt of said
pro)issor note, instead of passin' upon it, elevated the sa)e to this court
en consulta #E0hibit +%, and as the 1onorable @ose &ope7 Dito, presidin' over
the +irst Branch, returned said consulta and refrained fro) 'ivin' his opinion
thereon #E0hibit C%, the aforesaid co))issioners on clai)s and appraisal,
5-
alle'in' lac2 of 3urisdiction to pass upon the clai), denied he sa)e #E0hibit
1%.
=n Nove)ber -/, -.55 #E0hibit ,%, the court issued an order of
declaration of heirs in the intestate of the deceased Eusebio Euitco, and as
Ana Euitco &edes)a !as not included a)on' the declared heirs, ?ocorro
&edes)a, as )other of Ana Euitco &edes)a, as2ed for the reconsideration of
said order, a petition !hich the court denied. +ro) the order denin' the said
petition no appeal !as ta2en, and in lieu thereof there !as "led the co)plaint
!hich 'ives rise to this case.
The "rst ;uestion to be decided in this appeal, raised in the "rst assi'n)ent of
alle'ed error, is !hether or not the action to recover the su) of P-,$AA,
representin' the last install)ent for the pa)ent of the pro)issor note E0hibit C,
has prescribed.
Accordin' to the pro)issor note E0hibit C, e0ecuted b the deceased &oren7o M.
Euitco, on @anuar 4-, -.44, the last install)ent of P-,$AA should be paid t!o ears
fro) the date of the e0ecution of said pro)issor note, that is, on @anuar 4-, -.4/.
The co)plaint in the present case !as "led on @une 48, -.5/, that is, )ore than ten
ears after he e0piration of the said period. The fact that the plaintif ?ocorro
&edes)a "led her clai), on Au'ust 48, -.55, !ith the co))ittee on clai)s and
appraisal appointed in the intestate of Eusebio Euitco, does not suspend the
runnin' of the prescriptive period of the 3udicial action for the recover of said debt,
because the clai) for the unpaid balance of the a)ount of the pro)issor note
should no have been presented in the intestate of Eusebio Euitco, the said
deceased not bein' the one !ho e0ecuted the sa)e, but in the intestate of &oren7o
M. Euitco, !hich should have been instituted b the said ?ocorro &edes)a as
provided in section 8/4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, authori7in' a creditor to
institute said case throu'h the appoint)ent of an ad)inistrator for the purpose of
collectin' his credit. More than ten ears havin' thus elapsed fro) the e0piration of
the period for the pa)ent of said debt of P-,$AA, the action for its recover has
prescribed under section /5, No. -, of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The "rst assi'n)ent of alle'ed error is, therefore, !ell-founded.
As to the second assi'n)ent of alle'ed error, consistin' in that the trial court erred
in holdin' that the properties inherited b the defendants fro) their deceased
'randfather b representation are sub3ect to the pa)ent of debts and obli'ations
of their deceased father, !ho died !ithout leavin' an propert, !hile it is true that
under the provisions of articles .4/ to .49 of the Civil Code, a children presents his
father or )other !ho died before hi) in the properties of his 'randfather or
'rand)other, this ri'ht of representation does not )a2e the said child ans!erable
for the obli'ations contracted b his deceased father or )other, because, as )a
be seen fro) the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure referrin' to partition of
inheritances, the inheritance is received !ith the bene"t of inventor, that is to sa,
the heirs onl ans!er !ith the properties received fro) their predecessor. The
herein defendants, as heirs of Eusebio Euitco, in representation of their father
&oren7o M. Euitco, are not bound to pa the indebtedness of their said father fro)
!ho) the did not inherit anthin'.
54
The second assi'n)ent of alle'ed error is also !ell-founded.
Bein' a )ere se;uel of the "rst t!o assi'n)ents of alle'ed errors, the third
assi'n)ent of error is also !ell-founded.
+or the fore'oin' considerations, !e are of the opinion and so holdF #-% That the
"lin' of a clai) before the co))ittee on clai)s and appraisal, appointed in the
intestate of the father, for a )onetar obli'ation contracted b a son !ho died
before hi), does not suspend the prescriptive period of the 3udicial action for the
recover of said indebtedness< #4% that the clai) for the pa)ent of an
indebtedness contracted b a deceased person cannot be "led for its collection
before the co))ittee on clai)s and appraisal, appointed in the intestate of his
father, and the propertiesinherited fro) the latter b the children of said deceased
do not ans!er for the pa)ent of the indebtedness contracted durin' the lifeti)e of
said person.
6herefore, the appealed 3ud')ent is reversed, and the defendants are absolved
fro) the co)plaint, !ith the costs to the appellees. ?o ordered.
(vanceHa, C.J., "mperial, %iaz, !aurel and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
DCC 4OLDINGS CORPORATION,petitioner,
3*.
COURT OF APPEALS, ?ICTOR U. BARTOLOME an, REGISTER OF
DEEDS FOR METRO MANILA, DISTRICT III, respondents.
G.R. No. ""9!49, A/r.+ #, !555
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
+,R?T *,D,?,=N
G.R. No. ""9!49 A/r.+ #, !555
DCC 4OLDINGS CORPORATION,petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, ?ICTOR U. BARTOLOME an, REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR
METRO MANILA, DISTRICT III, respondents.
BNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This is a petition for revie! on certiorari see2in' the reversal of the *ece)ber $,
-../ *ecision of the Court of Appeals in CA-J.R. CD No. /AB/. entitled :*MC
1oldin's Corporation vs. Dictor (. Bartolo)e, et al.:,
-
aCr)in' in toto the @anuar /,
-..5 *ecision of the Re'ional Trial Court of Dalen7uela, Branch -94,
4
!hich
55
dis)issed Civil Case No. 5559-D-.A and ordered petitioner to pa P5A,AAA.AA as
attorneRs fees.
The sub3ect of the controvers is a -/,A4- s;uare )eter parcel of land located in
Malinta, Dalen7uela, Metro Manila !hich !as ori'inall o!ned b private respondent
Dictor (. Bartolo)eRs deceased )other, Encarnacion Bartolo)e, under Transfer
Certi"cate of Title No. B-598-$ of the Re'ister of *eeds of Metro Manila, *istrict ,,,.
This lot !as in front of one of the te0tile plants of petitioner and, as such, !as seen
b the latter as a potential !arehouse site.
=n March -8, -.BB, petitioner entered into a Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu
!ith Encarnacion Bartolo)e, !hereb petitioner !as 'iven the option to lease or
lease !ith purchase the sub3ect land, !hich option )ust be e0ercised !ithin a
period of t!o ears counted fro) the si'nin' of the Contract. ,n turn, petitioner
undertoo2 to pa P5,AAA.AA a )onth as consideration for the reservation of its
option. 6ithin the t!o-ear period, petitioner shall serve for)al !ritten notice upon
the lessor Encarnacion Bartolo)e of its desire to e0ercise its option. The contract
also provided that in case petitioner chose to lease the propert, it )a ta2e actual
possession of the pre)ises. ,n such an event, the lease shall be for a period of si0
ears, rene!able for another si0 ears, and the )onthl rental fee shall be
P-$,AAA.AA for the "rst si0 ears and P-B,AAA.AA for the ne0t si0 ears, in case of
rene!al.
Petitioner re'ularl paid the )onthl P5,AAA.AA provided for b the Contract to
Encarnacion until her death in @anuar -..A. Thereafter, petitioner coursed its
pa)ent to private respondent Dictor Bartolo)e, bein' the sole heir of Encarnacion.
Dictor, ho!ever, refused to accept these pa)ents.
Mean!hile, on @anuar -A, -..A, Dictor e0ecuted an ACdavit of ?elf-Ad3udication
over all the properties of Encarnacion, includin' the sub3ect lot. Accordin'l,
respondent Re'ister of *eeds cancelled Transfer Certi"cate of Title No. B-598-$ and
issued Transfer Certi"cate of Title No. D--/4/. in the na)e of Dictor Bartolo)e.
=n March -/, -..A, petitioner served upon Dictor, via re'istered )ail, notice that it
!as e0ercisin' its option to lease the propert, tenderin' the a)ount of P-$,AAA.AA
as rent for the )onth of March. A'ain, Dictor refused to accept the tendered rental
fee and to surrender possession of the propert to petitioner.
Petitioner thus opened ?avin's Account No. --A/-A4$$B-,-- !ith the China Ban2in'
Corporation, Cubao Branch, in the na)e of Dictor Bartolo)e and deposited therein
the P-$,AAA.AA rental fee for March as !ell as P8,AAA.AA reservation fees for the
)onths of +ebruar and March.
Petitioner also tried to re'ister and annotate the Contract on the title of Dictor to the
propert. Althou'h respondent Re'ister of *eeds accepted the re;uired fees, he
nevertheless refused to re'ister or annotate the sa)e or even enter it in the da
boo2 or pri)ar re'ister.*L0p4i*.nMt
5/
Thus, on April 45, -..A, petitioner "led a co)plaint for speci"c perfor)ance and
da)a'es a'ainst Dictor and the Re'ister of *eeds,
5
doc2eted as Civil Case No.
5559-D-.A !hich !as raLed of to Branch -9- of the Re'ional Trial Court of
Dalen7uela. Petitioner praed for the surrender and deliver of possession of the
sub3ect land in accordance !ith the Contract ter)s< the surrender of title for
re'istration and annotation thereon of the Contract< and the pa)ent of
P$AA,AAA.AA as actual da)a'es, P$AA,AAA.AA as )oral da)a'es, P$AA,AAA.AA as
e0e)plar da)a'es and P5AA,AAA.AA as attorneRs fees.
Mean!hile, on Ma B, -..A, a Motion for ,ntervention !ith Motion to *is)iss
/
!as
"led b one Andres &ano7o, !ho clai)ed that he !as and has been a tenant-tiller of
the sub3ect propert, !hich !as a'ricultural riceland, for fort-"ve ears. 1e
;uestioned the 3urisdiction of the lo!er court over the propert and invo2ed the
Co)prehensive A'rarian Refor) &a! to protect his ri'hts that !ould be afected b
the dispute bet!een the ori'inal parties to the case.
=n Ma -B, -..A, the lo!er court issued an =rder
$
referrin' the case to the
*epart)ent of A'rarian Refor) for preli)inar deter)ination and certi"cation as to
!hether it !as proper for trial b said court.
=n @ul /, -..A, the lo!er court issued another =rder
8
referrin' the case to Branch
-94 of the RTC of Dalen7uela !hich !as desi'nated to hear cases involvin' a'rarian
land, after the *epart)ent of A'rarian Refor) issued a letter-certi"cation statin'
that referral to it for preli)inar deter)ination is no lon'er re;uired.
=n @ul -8, -..A, the lo!er court issued an =rder denin' the Motion to
,ntervene,
9
holdin' that &ano7oRs ri'hts )a !ell be ventilated in another
proceedin' in due ti)e.
After trial on the )erits, the RTC of Dalen7uela, Branch -94 rendered its *ecision on
@anuar /, -..5, dis)issin' the Co)plaint and orderin' petitioner to pa Dictor
P5A,AAA.AA as attorneRs fees. =n appeal to the CA, the *ecision !as aCr)ed in
toto.
1ence, the instant Petition assi'nin' the follo!in' errorsF
#A%
+,R?T A??,JNMENT =+ ERR=R
T1E 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT =+ APPEA&? ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1E PR=D,?,=N
=N T1E N=T,CE T= ETERC,?E =PT,=N 6A? N=T TRAN?M,??,B&E.
#B%
?EC=N* A??,JNMENT =+ ERR=R
5$
T1E 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT =+ APPEA&? ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1E N=T,CE =+
=PT,=N M(?T BE ?ERDE* B> *MC (P=N ENCARNAC,=N BART=&=ME
PER?=NA&&>.
#C%
T1,R* A??,JNMENT =+ ERR=R
T1E 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT =+ APPEA&? ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1E C=NTRACT
6A? =NE-?,*E* AN* =NER=(? ,N +AD=R =+ *MC.
#*%
+=(RT1 A??,JNMENT =+ ERR=R
T1E 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT =+ APPEA&? ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1E ET,?TENCE
=+ A REJ,?TERE* TENANC> 6A? +ATA& T= T1E DA&,*,T> =+ T1E C=NTRACT.
#E%
+,+T1 A??,JNMENT =+ ERR=R
T1E 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT =+ APPEA&? ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT P&A,NT,++-
APPE&&ANT 6A? &,AB&E T= *E+EN*ANT-APPE&&EE +=R ATT=RNE>R? +EE?.
B
The issue to be resolved in this case is !hether or not the Contract of &ease !ith
=ption to Bu entered into b the late Encarnacion Bartolo)e !ith petitioner !as
ter)inated upon her death or !hether it binds her sole heir, Dictor, even after her
de)ise.
Both the lo!er court and the Court of Appeals held that the said contract !as
ter)inated upon the death of Encarnacion Bartolo)e and did not bind Dictor
because he !as not a part thereto.
Art. -5-- of the Civil Code provides, as follo!s U
Art. -5--. Contracts ta2e efect onl bet!een the parties, their assi'ns and
heirs, e0cept in case !here the ri'hts and obli'ations arisin' fro) the
contract are not trans)issible b their nature, or b stipulation or b
provision of la!. The heir is not liable beond the value of the propert he
received fro) the decedent.
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
The 'eneral rule, therefore, is that heirs are bound b contracts entered into b
their predecessors-in-interest e0cept !hen the ri'hts and obli'ations arisin'
therefro) are not trans)issible b #-% their nature, #4% stipulation or #5% provision of
la!.
58
,n the case at bar, there is neither contractual stipulation nor le'al provision )a2in'
the ri'hts and obli'ations under the contract intrans)issible. More i)portantl, the
nature of the ri'hts and obli'ations therein are, b their nature, trans)issible.
The nature of intrans)issible ri'hts as e0plained b Arturo Tolentino, an e)inent
civilist, is as follo!sF
A)on' contracts !hich are intrans)issible are those !hich are purel
personal, either b provision of la!, such as in cases of partnerships and
a'enc, or b the ver nature of the obli'ations arisin' therefro), such as
those re;uirin' special personal ;uali"cations of the obli'or. ,t )a also be
stated that contracts for the pa)ent of )one debts are not trans)itted to
the heirs of a part, but constitute a char'e a'ainst his estate. Thus, !here
the client in a contract for professional services of a la!er died, leavin'
)inor heirs, and the la!er, instead of presentin' his clai) for professional
services under the contract to the probate court, substituted the )inors as
parties for his client, it !as held that the contract could not be enforced
a'ainst the )inors< the la!er !as li)ited to a recover on the basis
of 9uantum meruit.
.
,n A)erican 3urisprudence, :#6%here acts stipulated in a contract re;uire the
e0ercise of special 2no!led'e, 'enius, s2ill, taste, abilit, e0perience, 3ud')ent,
discretion, inte'rit, or other personal ;uali"cation of one or both parties, the
a'ree)ent is of a personal nature, and ter)inates on the death of the part !ho is
re;uired to render such service.:
-A
,t has also been held that a 'ood )easure for deter)inin' !hether a contract
ter)inates upon the death of one of the parties is !hether it is of such a character
that it )a be perfor)ed b the pro)issorRs personal representative. Contracts to
perfor) personal acts !hich cannot be as !ell perfor)ed b others are dischar'ed
b the death of the pro)issor. Conversel, !here the service or act is of such a
character that it )a as !ell be perfor)ed b another, or !here the contract, b its
ter)s, sho!s that perfor)ance b others !as conte)plated, death does not
ter)inate the contract or e0cuse nonperfor)ance.
--
,n the case at bar, there is no personal act re;uired fro) the late Encarnacion
Bartolo)e. Rather, the obli'ation of Encarnacion in the contract to deliver
possession of the sub3ect propert to petitioner upon the e0ercise b the latter of its
option to lease the sa)e )a ver !ell be perfor)ed b her heir Dictor.
As earl as -.A5, it !as held that :#1%e !ho contracts does so for hi)self and his
heirs.:
-4
,n -.$4, it !as ruled that if the predecessor !as dut-bound to reconve
land to another, and at his death the reconveance had not been )ade, the heirs
can be co)pelled to e0ecute the proper deed for reconveance. This !as 'rounded
upon the principle that heirs cannot escape the le'al conse;uence of a transaction
entered into b their predecessor-in-interest because the have inherited the
propert sub3ect to the liabilit afectin' their co))on ancestor.
-5
59
,t is futile for Dictor to insist that he is not a part to the contract because of the
clear provision of Article -5-- of the Civil Code. ,ndeed, bein' an heir of
Encarnacion, there is privit of interest bet!een hi) and his deceased )other. 1e
onl succeeds to !hat ri'hts his )other had and !hat is valid and bindin' a'ainst
her is also valid and bindin' as a'ainst hi).
-/
This is clear fro) ParaHa9ue Nings
Enterprises vs. Court of (ppeals,
-$
!here this Court re3ected a si)ilar defense U
6ith respect to the contention of respondent Ra)undo that he is not priv
to the lease contract, not bein' the lessor nor the lessee referred to therein,
he could thus not have violated its provisions, but he is nevertheless a proper
part. Clearl, he stepped into the shoes of the o!ner-lessor of the land as, b
virtue of his purchase, he assu)ed all the obli'ations of the lessor under the
lease contract. Moreover, he received bene"ts in the for) of rental
pa)ents. +urther)ore, the co)plaint, as !ell as the petition, praed for the
annul)ent of the sale of the properties to hi). Both pleadin's also alle'ed
collusion bet!een hi) and respondent ?antos !hich defeated the e0ercise b
petitioner of its ri'ht of "rst refusal.
,n order then to accord co)plete relief to petitioner, respondent Ra)undo
!as a necessar, if not indispensable, part to the case. A favorable
3ud')ent for the petitioner !ill necessaril afect the ri'hts of respondent
Ra)undo as the buer of the propert over !hich petitioner !ould li2e to
assert its ri'ht of "rst option to bu.
,n the case at bar, the sub3ect )atter of the contract is li2e!ise a lease, !hich is a
propert ri'ht. The death of a part does not e0cuse nonperfor)ance of a contract
!hich involves a propert ri'ht, and the ri'hts and obli'ations thereunder pass to
the personal representatives of the deceased. ?i)ilarl, nonperfor)ance is not
e0cused b the death of the part !hen the other part has a propert interest in
the sub3ect )atter of the contract.
-8
(nder both Article -5-- of the Civil Code and 3urisprudence, therefore, Dictor is
bound b the sub3ect Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu.
That bein' resolved, !e no! rule on the issue of !hether petitioner had co)plied
!ith its obli'ations under the contract and !ith the re;uisites to e0ercise its option.
The pa)ent b petitioner of the reservation fees durin' the t!o-ear period !ithin
!hich it had the option to lease or purchase the propert is not disputed. ,n fact, the
pa)ent of such reservation fees, e0cept those for +ebruar and March, -..A !ere
ad)itted b Dictor.
-9
This is clear fro) the transcripts, to !it U
ATT>. M=@A*=F
=ne re;uest, >our 1onor. The last pa)ent !hich !as alle'edl )ade in
@anuar -..A 3ust indicate in that stipulation that it !as issued Nove)ber of
-.B. and postdated @anuar -..A and then !e !ill ad)it all.
C=(RTF
5B
All reservation feeX
ATT>. M=@A*=F
>es, >our 1onor.
C=(RTF
All as part of the leaseX
ATT>. M=@A*=F
Reservation fee, >our 1onor. There !as no pa)ent !ith respect to pa)ent
of rentals.
-B
Petitioner also paid the P-$,AAA.AA )onthl rental fee on the sub3ect propert b
depositin' the sa)e in China Ban2 ?avin's Account No. --A/-A4$$B-,--, in the na)e
of Dictor as the sole heir of Encarnacion Bartolo)e,
-.
for the )onths of March to
@ul 5A, -..A, or a total of "ve #$% )onths, despite the refusal of Dictor to turn over
the sub3ect propert.
4A
&i2e!ise, petitioner co)plied !ith its dut to infor) the other part of its intention
to e0ercise its option to lease throu'h its letter dated Match -4, -..A,
4-
!ell !ithin
the t!o-ear period for it to e0ercise its option. Considerin' that at that ti)e
Encarnacion Bartolo)e had alread passed a!a, it !as le'iti)ate for petitioner to
have addressed its letter to her heir.*L0p4i*
,t appears, therefore, that the e0ercise b petitioner of its option to lease the
sub3ect propert !as )ade in accordance !ith the contractual provisions.
Conco)itantl, private respondent Dictor Bartolo)e has the obli'ation to surrender
possession of and lease the pre)ises to petitioner for a period of si0 #8% ears,
pursuant to the Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu.
Co)in' no! to the issue of tenanc, !e "nd that this is not for this Court to pass
upon in the present petition. 6e note that the Motion to ,ntervene and to *is)iss of
the alle'ed tenant, Andres &ano7o, !as denied b the lo!er court and that such
denial !as never )ade the sub3ect of an appeal. As the lo!er court stated in its
=rder, the alle'ed ri'ht of the tenant )a !ell be ventilated in another proceedin'
in due ti)e.
61ERE+=RE, in vie! of the fore'oin', the instant Petition for Revie! is JRANTE*.
The *ecision of the Court of Appeals in CA-J.R. CD No. /AB/. and that of the
Re'ional Trial Court of Dalen7uela in Civil Case No. 5559-D-.A are both ?ET A?,*E
and a ne! one rendered orderin' private respondent Dictor Bartolo)e toF
#a% surrender and deliver possession of that parcel of land covered b
Transfer Certi"cate of Title No. D--/4/. b !a of lease to petitioner and to
perfor) all obli'ations of his predecessor-in-interest, Encarnacion Bartolo)e,
under the sub3ect Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu<
5.
#b% surrender and deliver his cop of Transfer Certi"cate of Title No. D--/4/.
to respondent Re'ister of *eeds for re'istration and annotation thereon of
the sub3ect Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu<
#c% pa costs of suit.
Respondent Re'ister of *eeds is, accordin'l, ordered to re'ister and annotate the
sub3ect Contract of &ease !ith =ption to Bu at the bac2 of Transfer Certi"cate of
Title No. D--/4/. upon sub)ission b petitioner of a cop thereof to his oCce.
?= =R*ERE*.*L0p4i*.nMt
%avide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Napunan and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Foo0no0)*
-
Penned b Associate @ustice Corona ,ba-?o)era, concurred in b @ustices
Asaali ?. ,snani and Celia &ipana-Rees.
4
Penned b @ud'e Teresita *i7on-Capulon'.
5
Records, Civil Case No. 5559-D-.A, pp. --4B.
/
"d., pp. 5$-/5.
$
"d., p. 8A.
8
"d., p. -4..
9
"d., p. -5A.
B
Petition for Revie!, pp. .--A< ollo, pp. -A---.
.
,D Tolentino, C,D,& C=*E =+ T1E P1,&,PP,NE?, /5A #-.B8%.
-A
Mana!ha Ban2in' Y Trust Co. v. Jilbert, /8 ?.E. 4d 44$, -5- 6. Da. BB<
Ro!e v. Co)pensation Research Bureau, ,nc., 84 N.6. 4d $B-, 48$ 6is. $B.<
+ressil v. Nichols, --/ ?o. /5-, ./ +la. /A5< Cutler v. (nited ?hoe
Manufacturin' Corporation, -9/ N.E. $A9, 49/ Mass. 5/-, cited in -9A C.@.?.
?ec. /8$.
--
-9 A). @ur. 4d, ?ec. /-5, p. B88.
-4
Elei7e'ui v. &a!n Tennis Club, J.R. No. .89, 4 Phil. 5A., 5-5
#-.A5%, citing Article -4$9 of the old Civil Code.
/A
-5
Carillo v. ?ala2 de Pa7, J.R. No. &-/-55, .- Phil. 48$ #-.$4%.
-/
;ee Jalsinao v. Austria, J.R. No. &-9.-B, .9 Phil. B4, B9 #-.$$%.
-$
J.R. No. ---$5B, 48B ?CRA 949, 9/$ #-..9%.
-8
-9A C.@.?. ?ection /8$, p. 849.
-9
;ee T.?.N., -. =ctober -..-, pp. ----4, -/, -8, -. and 4A-4-.
-B
T.?.N., 4. =ctober -..-, pp. 4A-4-.
-.
;ee E0hibit :M:< Records, Civil Case No. 5559-D-.A, pp. 49/-498.
4A
;ee T.?.N., . @anuar -..4, pp. -8--9.
4-
E0h. :@:, Records, Civil Case No. 5559-D-.A, pp. 494-495.
ARUEGO ?S CA
!#4 SCRA 6""
+,R?T *,D,?,=N
7G.R. No. ""!"93. Mar1( "3, "9968
JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., SIMEONA SAN JUAN ARUEGO, MA. IMMACULADA T.
ALANON, ROBERTO A. TORRES, CRISTINA A. TORRES, JUSTO JOSE
TORRES an, AGUSTIN TORRES, petitioners, vs. T4E 4ON. COURT OF
APPEALS, T4IRTEENT4 DI?ISION an, ANTONIA
ARUEGO, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
4ERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:
=n March 9, -.B5, a Co)plaint
P-Q
for Co)pulsor Reco'nition and Enforce)ent
of ?uccessional Ri'hts !as "led before Branch 5A of the Re'ional Trial Court of
Manila b the )inors, private respondent Antonia +. Arue'o and her alle'ed sister
Eveln +. Arue'o, represented b their )other and natural 'uardian, &u7 M. +abian.
Na)ed defendants therein !ere @ose E. Arue'o, @r. and the "ve #$% )inor children of
the deceased Jloria A. Torres, represented b their father and natural 'uardian,
@usto P. Torres, @r., no! the petitioners herein.
/-
,n essence, the co)plaint avers that the late @ose M. Arue'o, ?r., a )arried )an,
had an a)orous relationship !ith &u7 M. +abian so)eti)e in -.$. until his death
on March 5A, -.B4. =ut of this relationship !ere born Antonia +. Arue'o and Eveln
+. Arue'o on =ctober /, -.84 and ?epte)ber 5, -.85, respectivel. The co)plaint
praed for an =rder prain' that herein private respondent and Eveln be declared
the ille'iti)ate children of the deceased @ose M. Arue'o, ?r< that herein petitioners
be co)pelled to reco'ni7e and ac2no!led'e the) as the co)pulsor heirs of the
deceased @ose M. Arue'o< that their share and participation in the estate of their
deceased father be deter)ined and ordered delivered to the).
The )ain basis of the action for co)pulsor reco'nition is their alle'ed Gopen
and continuous possession of the status of ille'iti)ate childrenH as stated in
para'raphs 8 and 9 of the Co)plaint, to !itF
G8. The plaintifsI father, @ose M. Arue'o, ac2no!led'ed and reco'ni7ed the herein
plaintifs as his children verball a)on' plaintifsI and their )otherIs fa)il friends,
as !ell as b )riad diferent paternal !as, includin' but not li)ited to the
follo!in'F
#a% Re'ular support and educational e0penses<
#b% Allo!ance to use his surna)e<
#c% Pa)ent of )aternal bills<
#d% Pa)ent of baptis)al e0penses and attendance therein<
#e% Ta2in' the) to restaurants and depart)ent stores on occasions of
fa)il re3oicin'<
#f% Attendance to school proble)s of plaintifs<
#'% Callin' and allo!in' plaintifs to his oCce ever no! and then<
#h% ,ntroducin' the) as such children to fa)il friends.
9. The plaintifs are thus, in 1on0.nuou* /o**)**.on o' 0() *0a0u*
o' #ille'iti)ate% 1(.+,r)n of the deceased @ose M. Arue'o !ho sho!ered the), !ith
the continuous and clear )anifestations of paternal care and afection as above
outlined.H
P4Q
Petitioners denied all these alle'ations.
After trial, the lo!er court rendered 3ud')ent, dated @une -$, -..4, the
dispositive portion of !hich readsF
G61ERE+=RE, 3ud')ent is rendered -
-. *eclarin' Antonia Arue'o as ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o and
&u7 +abian<
4. Eveln +abian is not an ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o !ith &u7
+abian<
5. *eclarin' that the estate of deceased @ose Arue'o are the follo!in'F
/4
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
/. Antonia Arue'o is entitled to a share e;ual to S portion of share of the
le'iti)ate children of @ose Arue'o<
$. *efendants are hereb ordered to reco'ni7e Antonia Arue'o as the
ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o !ith &u7 +abian<
8. *efendants are hereb ordered to deliver to Antonia Arue'o #her% share
in the estate of @ose Arue'o, ?r.<
9. *efendants to pla #sic% plaintifIs #Antonia Arue'o% counsel the su) of
P-A,AAA.AA as att.Is fee<
B. Cost a'ainst the defendants.H
P5Q
1erein petitioners "led a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the decision
alle'in' loss of 3urisdiction on the part of the trial court over the co)plaint b virtue
of the passa'e of E0ecutive =rder No. 4A. #as a)ended b E0ecutive =rder No.
449%, other!ise 2no!n as the +a)il Code of the Philippines !hich too2 efect on
Au'ust 5, -.BB. This )otion !as denied b the lo!er court in the =rder,
dated @anuar -/, -..5.
Petitioners interposed an appeal but the lo!er court refused to 'ive it due
course on the 'round that it !as "led out of ti)e.
A Petition for Prohibition and Certiorari !ith praer for a 6rit of Preli)inar
,n3unction !as "led b herein petitioners before respondent Court of Appeals, the
petition !as dis)issed for lac2 of )erit in a decision pro)ul'ated on Au'ust 5-,
-..5. A Motion for Reconsideration !hen "led !as denied b the respondent court
in a )inute resolution, dated=ctober -5, -..5.
1ence, this Petition for Revie! on Certiorari under Rule ,/ alle'in' the follo!in'
'roundsF
A
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT 1A* *EC,*E* A E(E?T,=N =+ ?(B?TANCE ,N A 6A> N=T ,N
ACC=R* 6,T1 T1E &A6 AN* ,? *,RECT&> C=NTRA*,CT=R> T= T1E APP&,CAB&E
*EC,?,=N A&REA*> ,??(E* B> T1,? 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT.
B
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT ERRE* ,N 1=&*,NJ T1AT T1E PET,T,=N +,&E* B> PET,T,=NER?
BE+=RE ,T *=E? N=T ,ND=&DE A E(E?T,=N =+ @(R,?*,CT,=N.
C
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT 1A* C&EAR&> ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1ERE ,? N=
PERCEPT,B&E *,++ERENCE BET6EEN T1E C,D,& C=*E PR=D,?,=N AN* T1=?E =+
T1E +AM,&> C=*E ANENT T1E T,ME AN ACT,=N +=R C=MP(&?=R> REC=JN,T,=N
MA> BE MA*E AN* T1AT T1ERE ,? N= *,++ERENCE (N*ER T1E C,D,& C=*E +R=M
T1AT =+ T1E +AM,&> C=*E C=NCERN,NJ T1E REE(,REMENT T1AT AN ACT,=N +=R
C=MP(&?=R> REC=JN,T,=N =N T1E JR=(N* =+ C=NT,N(=(? P=??E??,=N =+
/5
T1E ?TAT(? =+ AN ,&&EJ,T,MATE C1,&* ?1=(&* BE +,&E* *(R,NJ T1E &,+ET,ME =+
T1E P(TAT,DE PARENT, ,N (TTER *,?REJAR* =+ T1E R(&,NJ =+ T1,? 1=N=RAB&E
C=(RT ,N T1E (>J(ANJC= CA?E T1AT T1E C,D,& C=*E PR=D,?,=N 1A* BEEN
?(PER?E*E*, =R AT &EA?T M=*,+,E* B> T1E C=RRE?P=N*,NJ ART,C&E? ,N T1E
+AM,&> C=*E.
D
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT ERRE* ,N *,?M,??,NJ PET,T,=NER?I PET,T,=N +=R
PR=1,B,T,=N AN* ,N 1=&*,NJ T1AT PET,T,=NER? REME*> ,? T1AT =+ AN APPEA&
61,C1 A&&EJE*&> 1A* A&REA*> BEEN &=?T.
P/Q
Private respondentIs action for co)pulsor reco'nition as an ille'iti)ate child
!as brou'ht under Boo2 ,, Title D,,, of the Civil Code on PER?=N?, speci"call Article
4B$ thereof, !hich states the )anner b !hich ille'iti)ate children )a prove their
"liation, to !itF
GArt. 4B$. The action for the reco'nition of natural children )a be brou'ht onl
durin' the lifeti)e of the presu)ed parents, e0cept in the follo!in' casesF
#-% ,f the father or )other died durin' the )inorit of the child, in !hich case the
latter )a "le the action before the e0piration of four ears fro) the attain)ent of
his )a3orit< 0 0 0.H
Petitioners, on the other hand, sub)it that !ith the advent of the Ne! +a)il Code
on Au'ust 5, -.BB, the trial court lost 3urisdiction over the co)plaint of private
respondent on the 'round of prescription, considerin' that under
Article -9$, para'raph 4, in relation to Article -94 of the Ne! +a)il Code, it is
provided that an action for co)pulsor reco'nition of ille'iti)ate "liation, if based
on the Gopen and continuous possession of the status of an ille'iti)ate child,H )ust
be brou'ht durin' the lifeti)e of the alle'ed parent !ithout an e0ception,
other!ise the action !ill be barred b prescription. The la! cited readsF
GArticle -94. The "liation of le'iti)ate children is established b an of the
follo!in'F
#-% The record of birth appearin' in the civil re'ister or a "nal 3ud')ent< or
#4% An ad)ission of le'iti)ate "liation in a public docu)ent or a private
hand!ritten instru)ent and si'ned b the parent concerned.
,n the absence of the fore'oin' evidence, the le'iti)ate "liation shall be proved
bF
#-% The o/)n an, 1on0.nuou* /o**)**.on o' 0() *0a0u* o' a +)@.0.<a0)
1(.+,< or
#4% An other )eans allo!ed b the Rules of Court and special la!s.H
//
GArticle -9$. ,lle'iti)ate children )a establish their ille'iti)ate "liation in the
sa)e !a and on the sa)e evidence as le'iti)ate children.
The action )ust be brou'ht !ithin the sa)e period speci"ed in Article -95
Pdurin' the lifeti)e of the childQ, )E1)/0 :()n 0() a10.on .* -a*), on 0()
*)1on, /ara@ra/( o' Ar0.1+) "6!, .n :(.1( 1a*) 0() a10.on <a -) -rou@(0
,ur.n@ 0() +.')0.<) o' 0() a++)@), /ar)n0.F
,n the case at bench, petitioners point out that, since the co)plaint of private
respondent and her alle'ed sister !as "led on March 9, -.B5, or al)ost one #-%
ear after the death of their presu)ed father on March 5A, -.B4, the action has
clearl prescribed under the ne! rule as provided in the +a)il Code. Petitioners,
further, )aintain that even if the action !as "led prior to the efectivit of the
+a)il Code, this ne! la! )ust be applied to the instant case pursuant to Article
4$8 of the +a)il Code !hich providesF
GThis Code shall have retroactive efect insofar as it does not pre3udice or i)pair
vested or ac;uired ri'hts in accordance !ith the Civil Code or other la!s.H
The basic ;uestion that )ust be resolved in this case, therefore, appears to beF
?hould the provisions of the +a)il Code be applied in the instant caseX As a
corollar 6ill the application of the +a)il Code in this case pre3udice or i)pair an
vested ri'ht of the private respondent such that it should not be 'iven retroactive
efect in this particular caseX
The phrase Gvested or ac;uired ri'htsH under Article 4$8, is not de"ned b the
+a)il Code. GThe Co))ittee did not de"ne !hat is )eant b a [vested or ac;uired
ri'ht,I thus leavin' it to the courts to deter)ine !hat it )eans as each particular
issue is sub)itted to the). ,t is diCcult to provide the ans!er for each and ever
;uestion that )a arise in the future.H
P$Q
,n Taa' vs. Court of Appeals,
P8Q
a case !hich involves a si)ilar co)plaint
deno)inated as GClai) for ,nheritanceH but treated b this court as one to co)pel
reco'nition as an ille'iti)ate child brou'ht prior to the efectivit of the +a)il Code
b the )other of the )inor child, and based also on the Gopen and continuous
possession of the status of an ille'iti)ate child,H !e had occasion to rule thatF
G(nder the circu)stances obtainin' in the case at bar, !e hold that the ri'ht of
action of the )inor child has been vested b the "lin' of the co)plaint in court
under the re'i)e of the Civil Code and prior to the efectivit of the +a)il Code.
6e herein adopt our rulin' in the recent case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Court
of Appeals, et. al.
P9Q
!here !e held that 0() 'a10 o' =+.n@ o' 0() /)0.0.on a+r)a,
3)*0), .n 0() /)0.0.on)r ()r r.@(0 0o =+) .0 an, 0o (a3) 0() *a<) /ro1)), 0o
=na+ a,;u,.1a0.on .n a11or,an1) :.0( 0() +a: .n 'or1) a0 0() 0.<), an, *u1(
r.@(0 1an no +on@)r -) /r);u,.1), or .</a.r), - 0() )na10<)n0 o' a n):
+a:.
000 000 000
A11or,.n@+, Ar0.1+) 175 o' 0() Fa<.+ Co,) =n,* no /ro/)r a//+.1a0.on 0o
0() .n*0an0 1a*) *.n1) .0 :.++ .n)+u10a-+ aG)10 a,3)r*)+ a r.@(0 o' /r.3a0)
/$
r)*/on,)n0 an,, 1on*)Hu)n0.a++, o' 0() <.nor 1(.+, *() r)/r)*)n0*, -o0(
o' :(.1( (a3) -))n 3)*0), :.0( 0() =+.n@ o' 0() 1o</+a.n0 .n 1our0. The trial
court is, therefore, correct in applin' the provisions of Article +=/ of the Civil Code
and in holdin' that private respondentIs cause of action has not et prescribed.H
Taa@ applies four-s;uare !ith the case at bench. The action brou'ht b private
respondent Antonia Arue'o for co)pulsor reco'nition and enforce)ent of
successional ri'hts !hich !as "led prior to the advent of the +a)il Code, )ust be
'overned b Article 4B$ of the Civil Code and not b Article -9$, para'raph 4 of the
+a)il Code. The present la! cannot be 'iven retroactive efect insofar as the
instant case is concerned, as its application !ill pre3udice the vested ri'ht of private
respondent to have her case decided under Article 4B$ of the Civil Code. The ri'ht
!as vested to her b the fact that she "led her action under the re'i)e of the Civil
Code. Prescindin' fro) this, the conclusion then ou'ht to be that the action !as not
et barred, not!ithstandin' the fact that it !as brou'ht !hen the putative father
!as alread deceased, since private respondent !as then still a )inor !hen it !as
"led, an e0ception to the 'eneral rule provided under Article 4B$ of the Civil Code.
1ence, the trial court, !hich ac;uired 3urisdiction over the case b the "lin' of the
co)plaint, never lost 3urisdiction over the sa)e despite the passa'e of E.=. No. 4A.,
also 2no!n as the +a)il Code of the Philippines.
=ur rulin' herein reinforces the principle that the 3urisdiction of a court, !hether
in cri)inal or civil cases, once attached cannot be ousted b subse;uent
happenin's or events, althou'h of a character !hich !ould have prevented
3urisdiction fro) attachin' in the "rst instance, and it retains 3urisdiction until it
"nall disposes of the case.
PBQ
>4EREFORE, the petition is *EN,E* and the decision of the Court of Appeals
dated Au'ust 5-, -..5 and its Resolution dated =ctober -5, -..5 are hereb
A++,RME*.
SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, and Napunan, JJ., concur.
Bitug, J., also believes that the Court of Appeals did not err in holdin' that the
petition before it did not involve a ;uestion of 3urisdiction and cannot thus be a
substitute for a lost appeal.
P-Q
*oc2eted as Civil Case No. B5--8A.5.
P4Q
ollo, p. /$.
P5Q
ollo, pp. -A---.
P/Q
ollo, p. $$.
P$Q
?e)pio-*i, Alicia B., 1andboo2 on the +a)il Code of the Philippines, -.BB ed.,
p. 54$.
P8Q
4A. ?CRA 88$ P-..4Q.
P9Q
4A$ ?CRA 5$8 P-..4Q.
/8
PBQ
Re'alado, +loren7 *., Re)edial &a! Co)pendiu), Dolu)e =ne, +ifth Revised
Edition, p.., citin' Ra)os, et al. v. Central Ban2, &-4.5$4, =ctober /, -.9-<
*io;uino v. Cru7, et al., &-5B$9., ?epte)ber ., -.B4< Republic v. Piela'o, et al., J.R.
No. 944-B, @ul 4-, -.B8.
ARUEGO ?S CA
!#4 SCRA 6""
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
+,R?T *,D,?,=N

G.R. No. ""!"93 Mar1( "3, "996
JOSE E. ARUEGO, JR., SIMEONA SAN JUAN ARUEGO, MA. IMMACULADA T.
ALANON, ROBERTO A. TORRES, CRISTINA A. TORRES, JUSTO JOSE TORRES
an, AGUSTIN TORRES, petitioners,
vs.
T4E 4ON. COURT OF APPEALS, T4IRTEENT4 DI?ISION an, ANTONIA
ARUEGO, respondents.

4ERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:p
=n March 9, -.B5, a Co)plaint
"
for Co)pulsor Reco'nition and Enforce)ent of
?uccessional Ri'hts !as "led before Branch 5A of the Re'ional Trial Court of Manila
b the )inors, private respondent Antonia +. Arue'o and her alle'ed sister Eveln +.
Arue'o, represented b their )other and natural 'uardian, &u7 M. +abian. Na)ed
defendants therein !ere @ose E. Arue'o, @r. and the "ve #$% )inor children of the
deceased Jloria A. Torres, represented b their father and natural 'uardian, @usto P.
Torres, @r., no! the petitioners herein.
/9
,n essence, the co)plaint avers that the late @ose M. Arue'o, ?r., a )arried )an,
had an a)orous relationship !ith &u7 M. +abian so)eti)e in -.$. until his death on
March 5A, -.B4. =ut of this relationship !ere born Antonia +. Arue'o and Eveln +.
Arue'o on =ctober $, -.84 and ?epte)ber 5, -.85, respectivel. The co)plaint
praed for an =rder prain' that herein private respondent and Eveln be declared
the ille'iti)ate children of the deceased @ose M. Arue'o, ?r.< that herein petitioners
be co)pelled to reco'ni7e and ac2no!led'e the) as the co)pulsor heirs of the
deceased @ose M. Arue'o< that their share and participation in the estate of their
deceased father be deter)ined and ordered delivered to the).
The )ain basis of the action for co)pulsor reco'nition is their alle'ed :open and
continuous possession of the status of ille'iti)ate children: as stated in para'raphs
8 and 9 of the Co)plaint, to !itF
8. The plaintifsR father, @ose M. Arue'o, ac2no!led'ed and reco'ni7ed
the herein plaintifs as his children verball a)on' plaintifsR and their
)otherRs fa)il friends, as !ell as b )riad diferent paternal !as,
includin' but not li)ited to the follo!in'F
#a% Re'ular support and educational e0penses<
#b% Allo!ance to use his surna)e<
#c% Pa)ent of )aternal bills<
#d% Pa)ent of baptis)al e0penses and attendance therein<
#e% Ta2in' the) to restaurants and depart)ent stores on occasions of
fa)il re3oicin'<
#f% Attendance to school proble)s of plaintifs<
#'% Callin' and allo!in' plaintifs to his oCce ever no! and then<
#h% ,ntroducin' the) as such children to fa)il friends.
9. The plaintifs are thus, in continuous possession of t4e status
of #ille'iti)ate% c4ildren of the deceased @ose M. Arue'o !ho sho!ered
the), !ith the continuous and clear )anifestations of paternal care
and afection as above outlined.
!
Petitioners denied all these alle'ations.
After trial, the lo!er court rendered 3ud')ent, dated @une -$, -..4, the dispositive
portion of !hich readsF
61ERE+=RE, 3ud')ent is rendered U
/B
-. *eclarin' Antonia Arue'o as ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o
and &u7 +abian<
4. Eveln +abian is not an ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o !ith &u7
+abian<
5. *eclarin' that the estate of deceased @ose Arue'o are the follo!in'F
000 000 000
/. Antonia Arue'o is entitled to a share e;ual to -K4 portion of share of
the le'iti)ate children of @ose Arue'o<
$. *efendants are hereb ordered to reco'ni7e Antonia Arue'o as the
ille'iti)ate dau'hter of @ose Arue'o !ith &u7 +abian<
8. *efendants are hereb ordered to deliver to Antonia Arue'o #her%
share in the estate of @ose Arue'o, ?r.<
9. *efendants to pla #sic% plaintifs #Antonia Arue'o% counsel the su)
of P-A,AAA.AA as attRs fee<
B. Cost a'ainst the defendants.
3
1erein petitioners "led a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the decision alle'in'
loss of 3urisdiction on the part of the trial court over the co)plaint b virtue of the
passa'e of E0ecutive =rder No. 4A. #as a)ended b E0ecutive =rder No. 449%,
other!ise 2no!n as the +a)il Code of the Philippines !hich too2 efect on Au'ust
5, -.BB. This )otion !as denied b the lo!er court in the =rder, dated @anuar -/,
-..5.
Petitioners interposed an appeal but the lo!er court refused to 'ive it due course on
the 'round that it !as "led out of ti)e.
A Petition for Prohibition and Certiorari !ith praer for a 6rit of Preli)inar
,n3unction !as "led b herein petitioners before respondent Court of Appeals, the
petition !as dis)issed for lac2 of )erit in a decision pro)ul'ated on Au'ust 5-,
-..5. A Motion for Reconsideration !hen "led !as denied b the respondent court
in a )inute resolution, dated =ctober -5, -..5.
1ence, this Petition for Revie! on Certiorari under Rule /$ alle'in' the follo!in'
'roundsF
A
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT 1A* *EC,*E* A E(E?T,=N =+ ?(B?TANCE ,N A
6A> N=T ,N ACC=R* 6,T1 T1E &A6 AN* ,? *,RECT&>
C=NTRA*,CT=R> T= T1E APP&,CAB&E *EC,?,=N A&REA*> ,??(E* B>
T1,? 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT.
/.
B
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT ERRE* ,N 1=&*,NJ T1AT T1E PET,T,=N +,&E* B>
PET,T,=NER? BE+=RE ,T *=E? N=T ,ND=&DE A E(E?T,=N =+
@(R,?*,CT,=N.
C
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT 1A* C&EAR&> ERRE* ,N R(&,NJ T1AT T1ERE ,?
N= PERCEPT,B&E *,++ERENCE BET6EEN T1E C,D,& C=*E PR=D,?,=N
AN* T1=?E =+ T1E +AM,&> C=*E ANENT T1E T,ME AN ACT,=N +=R
C=MP(&?=R> REC=JN,T,=N MA> BE MA*E AN* T1AT T1ERE ,? N=
*,++ERENCE (N*ER T1E C,D,& C=*E +R=M T1AT =+ T1E +AM,&> C=*E
C=NCERN,NJ T1E REE(,REMENT T1AT AN ACT,=N +=R C=MP(&?=R>
REC=JN,T,=N =N T1E JR=(N* =+ C=NT,N(=(? P=??E??,=N =+ T1E
?TAT(? =+ AN ,&&EJ,T,MATE C1,&* ?1=(&* BE +,&E* *(R,NJ T1E
&,+ET,ME =+ T1E P(TAT,DE PARENT, ,N (TTER *,?REJAR* =+ T1E
R(&,NJ =+ T1,? 1=N=RAB&E C=(RT ,N T1E (>J(ANJC= CA?E T1AT
T1E C,D,& C=*E PR=D,?,=N 1A* BEEN ?(PER?E*E* =R AT &EA?T
M=*,+,E* B> T1E C=RRE?P=N*,NJ ART,C&E? ,N T1E +AM,&> C=*E.
*
RE?P=N*ENT C=(RT ERRE* ,N *,?M,??,NJ PET,T,=NER?R PET,T,=N
+=R PR=1,B,T,=N AN* ,N 1=&*,NJ T1AT PET,T,=NER? REME*> ,?
T1AT =+ AN APPEA& 61,C1 A&&EJE*&> 1A* A&REA*> BEEN &=?T.
4
Private respondentRs action for co)pulsor reco'nition as an ille'iti)ate child !as
brou'ht under Boo2 ,, Title D,,, of the Civil Code on PER?=N?, speci"call Article 4B$
thereof, !hich state the )anner b !hich ille'iti)ate children )a prove their
"liation, to !itF
Art. 4B$. The action for the reco'nition of natural children )a be
brou'ht onl durin' the lifeti)e of the presu)ed parents, e0cept in the
follo!in' casesF
#-% ,f the father or )other died durin' the )inorit of the child, in
!hich case the latter )a "le the action before the e0piration of four
ears fro) the attain)ent of his )a3orit< . . . .
Petitioners, on the other hand, sub)it that !ith the advent of the Ne! +a)il
Code on Au'ust 5, -.BB, the trial court lost 3urisdiction over the co)plaint of
private respondent on the 'round of prescription, considerin' that under
Article -9$, para'raph 4, in relation to Article -94 of the Ne! +a)il Code, it
is provided that an action for co)pulsor reco'nition of ille'iti)ate "liation, if
based on the :open and continuous possession of the status of an ille'iti)ate
child,: )ust be brou'ht durin' the lifeti)e of the alle'ed parent !ithout an
e0ception, other!ise the action !ill be barred b prescription.
$A
The la! cited readsF
Art. -94. The "liation of le'iti)ate children is established b an of the
follo!in'F
#-% The record of birth appearin' in the civil re'ister or a "nal
3ud')ent< or
#4% An ad)ission of le'iti)ate "liation in a public docu)ent or a
private hand!ritten instru)ent and si'ned b the parent concerned.
,n the absence of the fore'oin' evidence, the le'iti)ate "liation shall
be proved bF
#-% The open and continuous possession of t4e status of a legitimate
c4ild< or
#4% An other )eans allo!ed b the Rules of Court and special la!s.
Art. -9$. ,lle'iti)ate children )a establish their ille'iti)ate "liation in
the sa)e !a and on the sa)e evidence as le'iti)ate children.
The action )ust be brou'ht !ithin the sa)e period speci"ed in Article
-95 Pdurin' the lifeti)e of the childQ, e8cept 04en t4e action is based
on t4e second paragrap4 of (rticle *5+, in 04ic4 case t4e action may
be broug4t during t4e lifetime of t4e alleged parent.
,n the case at bench, petitioners point out that, since the co)plaint of private
respondent and her alle'ed sister !as "led on March 9, -.B5, or al)ost one
#-% ear after the death of their presu)ed father on March 5A, -.B4, the
action has clearl prescribed under the ne! rule as provided in the +a)il
Code. Petitioners, further, )aintain that even if the action !as "led prior to
the efectivit of the +a)il Code, this ne! la! )ust be applied to the instant
case pursuant to Article 4$8 of the +a)il Code !hich providesF
This Code shall, have retroactive efect insofar as it does not pre3udice
or i)pair vested of ac;uired ri'hts in accordance !ith the Civil Code or
other la!s.
The basic ;uestion that )ust be resolved in this case, therefore, appears to beF
?hould the provisions of the +a)il Code be applied in the instant caseX As a
corollar 6ill the application of the +a)il Code in this case pre3udice or i)pair an
vested ri'ht of the private respondent such that it should not be 'iven retroactive
efect in this particular caseX
The phrase :vested or ac;uired ri'hts: under Article 4$8, is not de"ned b the
+a)il Code. :The Co))ittee did not de"ne !hat is )eant b a Rvested or ac;uired
ri'ht,R thus leavin' it to the courts to deter)ine !hat it )eans as each particular
$-
issue is sub)itted to the). ,t is diCcult to provide the ans!er for each and ever
;uestion that )a arise in the future.:
#
,n Tayag vs. Court of (ppeals,
6
a case !hich involves a si)ilar co)plaint
deno)inated as :Clai) for ,nheritance: but treated b this court as one to co)pel
reco'nition as an ille'iti)ate child brou'ht prior to the efectivit of the +a)il Code
b the )other of the )inor child, and based also on the :open and continuous
possession of the status of an ille'iti)ate child,: !e had occasion to rule thatF
(nder the circu)stances obtainin' in the case at bar, !e hold that the
ri'ht of action of the )inor child has been vested b the "lin' of the
co)plaint in court under the re'i)e of the Civil Code and prior to the
efectivit of the +a)il Code. 6e herein adopt our rulin' in the recent
case of epublic of t4e P4ilippines vs. Court of (ppeals, et. al.
6
!here
!e held that t4e fact of 7ling of t4e petition already vested in t4e
petitioner 4er rig4t to 7le it and to 4ave t4e same proceed to 7nal
adDudication in accordance 0it4 t4e la0 in force at t4e time, and suc4
rig4t can no longer be preDudiced or impaired by t4e enactment of a
ne0 la0.
000 000 000
(ccordingly, (rticle *5/ of t4e $amily Code 7nds no proper application
to t4e instant case since it 0ill ineluctably a6ect adversely a rig4t of
private respondent and, conse9uentially, of t4e minor c4ild s4e
represents, bot4 of 04ic4 4ave been vested 0it4 t4e 7ling of t4e
complaint in court. The trial court is, therefore, correct in applin' the
provisions of Article 4B$ of the Civil Code and in holdin' that private
respondentRs cause of action has not et prescribed.
Tayag applies four-s;uare !ith the case at bench. The action brou'ht b private
respondent Antonia Arue'o for co)pulsor reco'nition and enforce)ent of
successional ri'hts !hich !as "led prior to the advent of the +a)il Code, )ust be
'overned b Article 4B$ of the Civil Code and not b Article -9$, para'raph 4 of the
+a)il Code. The present la! cannot be 'iven retroactive efect insofar as the
instant case is concerned, as its application !ill pre3udice the vested ri'ht of private
respondent to have her case decided under Article 4B$ of the Civil Code. The ri'ht
!as vested to her b the fact that she "led her action under the re'i)e of the Civil
Code. Prescindin' fro) this, the conclusion then ou'ht to be that the action !as not
et barred, not!ithstandin' the fact that it !as brou'ht !hen the putative father
!as alread deceased, since private respondent !as then still a )inor !hen it !as
"led, an e0ception to the 'eneral rule provided under Article 4B$ of the Civil Code.
1ence, the trial court, !hich ac;uired 3urisdiction over the case b the "lin' of the
co)plaint, never lost 3urisdiction over the sa)e despite the passa'e of E.=. No. 4A.,
also 2no!n as the +a)il Code of the Philippines.
=ur rulin' herein reinforces the principle that the 3urisdiction of a court, !hether in
cri)inal or civil cases, once attached cannot be ousted b subse;uent happenin's
or events, althou'h of a character !hich !ould have prevented 3urisdiction fro)
$4
attachin' in the "rst instance, and it retains 3urisdiction until it "nall disposes of
the case.
9
61ERE+=RE, the petition is *EN,E* and the decision of the Court of Appeals dated
Au'ust 5-, -..5 and its Resolution dated =ctober -5, -..5 are hereb A++,RME*.
?= =R*ERE*.
Padilla, Bellosillo and Napunan, JJ., concur.
S)/ara0) O/.n.on*

?ITUG, J., concurrin'F
, also believe that the Court of Appeals did not err in holdin' that the petition before
it did not involve a ;uestion of 3urisdiction and cannot thus be a substitute for a lost
appeal.

S)/ara0) O/.n.on*
?ITUG, J., concurrin'F
, also believe that the Court of Appeals did not err in holdin' that the petition before
it did not involve a ;uestion of 3urisdiction and cannot thus be a substitute for a lost
appeal.
Foo0no0)*
- *oc2eted as Civil Case No. B5--8A.5.
4 ollo, p. /$.
5 ollo, pp. -A---.
/ ollo, p. $$.
$ ?e)pio-*i, Alicia D, 1andboo2 on the +a)il Code of the Philippines, -.BB
ed., p. 54$.
8 4A. ?CRA 88$ P-..4Q.
9 4A$ ?CRA 5$8 P-..4-.
$5
B Re'alado, +loren7 *., Re)edial &a! Co)pendiu), Dolu)e =ne, +ifth
Revised Edition, p. . citing Ra)os, et al. v. Central Ban2, &-4.5$4, =ctober /,
-.9-< *io;uino v. Cru7, et al., &-5B$9., ?epte)ber ., -.B4< Republic v.
Piela'o, et al., J.R. No. 944-B, @ul 4-, -.B8.
LOREN%O ?S POSADAS
64 P4IL 3#3
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-4359! Jun) "9, "936
PABLO LOREN%O, a* 0ru*0)) o' 0() )*0a0) o' T(o<a* 4an+),
,)1)a*),, plaintif-appellant,
vs.
JUAN POSADAS, JR., Co++)10or o' In0)rna+ R)3)nu), defendant-appellant.
Pablo !orenzo and %el7n Joven for plainti6.appellant.
#Oce of t4e ;olicitor.General @ilado for defendant.appellant.
LAUREL, J.:
=n =ctober /, -.54, the plaintif Pablo &oren7o, in his capacit as trustee of the
estate of Tho)as 1anle, deceased, brou'ht this action in the Court of +irst
,nstance of Na)boan'a a'ainst the defendant, @uan Posadas, @r., then the Collector
of ,nternal Revenue, for the refund of the a)ount of P4,A$4.9/, paid b the plaintif
as inheritance ta0 on the estate of the deceased, and for the collection of interst
thereon at the rate of 8 per cent per annu), co)puted fro) ?epte)ber -$, -.54,
the date !hen the aforesaid ta0 !as Ppaid under protest. The defendant set up a
counterclai) for P-,-.-.49 alle'ed to be interest due on the ta0 in ;uestion and
!hich !as not included in the ori'inal assess)ent. +ro) the decision of the Court of
+irst ,nstance of Na)boan'a dis)issin' both the plaintifRs co)plaint and the
defendantRs counterclai), both parties appealed to this court.
,t appears that on Ma 49, -.44, one Tho)as 1anle died in Na)boan'a,
Na)boan'a, leavin' a !ill #E0hibit $% and considerable a)ount of real and personal
properties. =n 3une -/, -.44, proceedin's for the probate of his !ill and the
settle)ent and distribution of his estate !ere be'un in the Court of +irst ,nstance of
Na)boan'a. The !ill !as ad)itted to probate. ?aid !ill provides, a)on' other
thin's, as follo!sF
/. , direct that an )one left b )e be 'iven to ) nephe! Matthe! 1anle.
$/
$. , direct that all real estate o!ned b )e at the ti)e of ) death be not
sold or other!ise disposed of for a period of ten #-A% ears after ) death,
and that the sa)e be handled and )ana'ed b the e0ecutors, and proceeds
thereof to be 'iven to ) nephe!, Matthe! 1anle, at Castle)ore,
Balla'haderine, Count of Roseco))on, ,reland, and that he be directed that
the sa)e be used onl for the education of ) brotherRs children and their
descendants.
8. , direct that ten #-A% ears after ) death ) propert be 'iven to the
above )entioned Matthe! 1anle to be disposed of in the !a he thin2s
)ost advanta'eous.
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. , state at this ti)e , have one brother livin', na)ed Malachi 1anle, and
that ) nephe!, Matthe! 1anle, is a son of ) said brother, Malachi
1anle.
The Court of +irst ,nstance of Na)boan'a considered it proper for the best interests
of ther estate to appoint a trustee to ad)inister the real properties !hich, under the
!ill, !ere to pass to Matthe! 1anle ten ears after the t!o e0ecutors na)ed in the
!ill, !as, on March B, -.4/, appointed trustee. Moore too2 his oath of oCce and
'ave bond on March -A, -.4/. 1e acted as trustee until +ebruar 4., -.54, !hen he
resi'ned and the plaintif herein !as appointed in his stead.
*urin' the incu)benc of the plaintif as trustee, the defendant Collector of ,nternal
Revenue, alle'in' that the estate left b the deceased at the ti)e of his death
consisted of realt valued at P49,.4A and personalt valued at P-,/8$, and allo!in'
a deduction of P/BA.B-, assessed a'ainst the estate an inheritance ta0 in the
a)ount of P-,/5/.4/ !hich, to'ether !ith the penalties for deli;uenc in pa)ent
consistin' of a - per cent )onthl interest fro) @ul -, -.5- to the date of pa)ent
and a surchar'e of 4$ per cent on the ta0, a)ounted to P4,A$4.9/. =n March -$,
-.54, the defendant "led a )otion in the testa)entar proceedin's pendin' before
the Court of +irst ,nstance of Na)boan'a #?pecial proceedin's No. 5A4% prain' that
the trustee, plaintif herein, be ordered to pa to the Jovern)ent the said su) of
P4,A$4.9/. The )otion !as 'ranted. =n ?epte)ber -$, -.54, the plaintif paid said
a)ount under protest, notifin' the defendant at the sa)e ti)e that unless the
a)ount !as pro)ptl refunded suit !ould be brou'ht for its recover. The
defendant overruled the plaintifRs protest and refused to refund the said a)ount
hausted, plaintif !ent to court !ith the result herein above indicated.
,n his appeal, plaintif contends that the lo!er court erredF
,. ,n holdin' that the real propert of Tho)as 1anle, deceased, passed to his
instituted heir, Matthe! 1anle, fro) the )o)ent of the death of the for)er,
and that fro) the ti)e, the latter beca)e the o!ner thereof.
,,. ,n holdin', in efect, that there !as deli;uenc in the pa)ent of
inheritance ta0 due on the estate of said deceased.
$$
,,,. ,n holdin' that the inheritance ta0 in ;uestion be based upon the value of
the estate upon the death of the testator, and not, as it should have been
held, upon the value thereof at the e0piration of the period of ten ears after
!hich, accordin' to the testatorRs !ill, the propert could be and !as to be
delivered to the instituted heir.
,D. ,n not allo!in' as la!ful deductions, in the deter)ination of the net
a)ount of the estate sub3ect to said ta0, the a)ounts allo!ed b the court as
co)pensation to the :trustees: and paid to the) fro) the decedentRs estate.
D. ,n not renderin' 3ud')ent in favor of the plaintif and in denin' his )otion
for ne! trial.
The defendant-appellant contradicts the theories of the plaintif and assi'ns the
follo!in' error besidesF
The lo!er court erred in not orderin' the plaintif to pa to the defendant the
su) of P-,-.-.49, representin' part of the interest at the rate of - per cent
per )onth fro) April -A, -.4/, to @une 5A, -.5-, !hich the plaintif had failed
to pa on the inheritance ta0 assessed b the defendant a'ainst the estate of
Tho)as 1anle.
The follo!in' are the principal ;uestions to be decided b this court in this appealF
#a% 6hen does the inheritance ta0 accrue and !hen )ust it be satis"edX #b% ?hould
the inheritance ta0 be co)puted on the basis of the value of the estate at the ti)e
of the testatorRs death, or on its value ten ears laterX #c% ,n deter)inin' the net
value of the estate sub3ect to ta0, is it proper to deduct the co)pensation due to
trusteesX #d% 6hat la! 'overns the case at barX ?hould the provisions of Act No.
58A8 favorable to the ta0-paer be 'iven retroactive efectX #e% 1as there been
deli;uenc in the pa)ent of the inheritance ta0X ,f so, should the additional
interest clai)ed b the defendant in his appeal be paid b the estateX =ther points
of incidental i)portance, raised b the parties in their briefs, !ill be touched upon in
the course of this opinion.
#a% The accrual of the inheritance ta0 is distinct fro) the obli'ation to pa the sa)e.
?ection -$58 as a)ended, of the Ad)inistrative Code, i)poses the ta0 upon :ever
trans)ission b virtue of inheritance, devise, be;uest, 'iftmortis causa, or advance
in anticipation of inheritance,devise, or be;uest.: The ta0 therefore is upon
trans)ission or the transfer or devolution of propert of a decedent, )ade efective
b his death. #8- C. @., p. -$.4.% ,t is in realit an e0cise or privile'e ta0 i)posed on
the ri'ht to succeed to, receive, or ta2e propert b or under a !ill or the intestac
la!, or deed, 'rant, or 'ift to beco)e operative at or after death. Acordin' to article
8$9 of the Civil Code, :the ri'hts to the succession of a person are trans)itted fro)
the )o)ent of his death.: :,n other !ords:, said Arellano, C. @., :. . . the heirs
succeed i))ediatel to all of the propert of the deceased ancestor. The propert
belon's to the heirs at the )o)ent of the death of the ancestor as co)pletel as if
the ancestor had e0ecuted and delivered to the) a deed for the sa)e before his
death.: #Bondad vs. Bondad, 5/ Phil., 454. ;ee also, Mi3ares vs. Ner, 5 Phil., -.$<
?uilon' Y Co., vs. Chio-Tasan, -4 Phil., -5< &ubrico vs. Arbado, -4 Phil., 5.-<
,nnocencio vs. Jat-Pandan, -/ Phil., /.-< Aliasas vs.Alcantara, -8 Phil., /B.< ,lustre
$8
vs. Alaras +rondosa, -9 Phil., 54-< Malahacan vs. ,'nacio, -. Phil., /5/< Bo!a vs.
Briones, 5B Phil., 49< =sario vs. =sario Y >uchausti ?tea)ship Co., /- Phil., $5-< +ule
vs. +ule, /8 Phil., 5-9< *ais vs. Court of +irst ,nstance of Capi7, $- Phil., 5.8< Baun
vs. 1eirs of Baun, $5 Phil., 8$/.% Plaintif, ho!ever, asserts that !hile article 8$9 of
the Civil Code is applicable to testate as !ell as intestate succession, it operates
onl in so far as forced heirs are concerned. But the lan'ua'e of article 8$9 of the
Civil Code is broad and )a2es no distinction bet!een diferent classes of heirs. That
article does not spea2 of forced heirs< it does not even use the !ord :heir:. ,t spea2s
of the ri'hts of succession and the trans)ission thereof fro) the )o)ent of death.
The provision of section 84$ of the Code of Civil Procedure re'ardin' the
authentication and probate of a !ill as a necessar condition to efect trans)ission
of propert does not afect the 'eneral rule laid do!n in article 8$9 of the Civil
Code. The authentication of a !ill i)plies its due e0ecution but once probated and
allo!ed the trans)ission is efective as of the death of the testator in accordance
!ith article 8$9 of the Civil Code. 6hatever )a be the ti)e !hen actual
trans)ission of the inheritance ta2es place, succession ta2es place in an event at
the )o)ent of the decedentRs death. The ti)e !hen the heirs le'all succeed to
the inheritance )a difer fro) the ti)e !hen the heirs actuall receive such
inheritance. :Poco importa:, sas Manresa co))entin' on article 8$9 of the Civil
Code, :9ue desde el falleimiento del causante, 4asta 9ue el 4eredero o legatario
entre en posesion de los bienes de la 4erencia o del legado, transcurra muc4o o
poco tiempo, pues la ad9uisicion 4a de retrotraerse al momento de la muerte, y asi
lo ordena el articulo 1=1, 9ue debe considerarse como complemento del presente.:
#$ Manresa, 5A$< see also, art. //A, par. -, Civil Code.% Tho)as 1anle havin' died
on Ma 49, -.44, the inheritance ta0 accrued as of the date.
+ro) the fact, ho!ever, that Tho)as 1anle died on Ma 49, -.44, it does not
follo! that the obli'ation to pa the ta0 arose as of the date. The ti)e for the
pa)ent on inheritance ta0 is clearl "0ed b section -$// of the Revised
Ad)inistrative Code as a)ended b Act No. 5A5-, in relation to section -$/5 of the
sa)e Code. The t!o sections follo!F
?EC. -$/5. E8emption of certain ac9uisitions and transmissions. U The
follo!in' shall not be ta0edF
#a% The )er'er of the usufruct in the o!ner of the na2ed title.
#b% The trans)ission or deliver of the inheritance or le'ac b the
"duciar heir or le'atee to the trustees.
#c% The trans)ission fro) the "rst heir, le'atee, or donee in favor of
another bene"ciar, in accordance !ith the desire of the predecessor.
,n the last t!o cases, if the scale of ta0ation appropriate to the ne!
bene"ciar is 'reater than that paid b the "rst, the for)er )ust pa the
diference.
?EC. -$//. &4en ta8 to be paid. U The ta0 "0ed in this article shall be paidF
$9
#a% ,n the second and third cases of the ne0t precedin' section, before
entrance into possession of the propert.
#b% ,n other cases, !ithin the si0 )onths subse;uent to the death of the
predecessor< but if 3udicial testa)entar or intestate proceedin's shall be
instituted prior to the e0piration of said period, the pa)ent shall be )ade b
the e0ecutor or ad)inistrator before deliverin' to each bene"ciar his share.
,f the ta0 is not paid !ithin the ti)e hereinbefore prescribed, interest at the rate of
t!elve per centu) per annu) shall be added as part of the ta0< and to the ta0 and
interest due and unpaid !ithin ten das after the date of notice and de)and thereof
b the collector, there shall be further added a surchar'e of t!ent-"ve per centu).
A certi"ed of all letters testa)entar or of ad)isitration shall be furnished the
Collector of ,nternal Revenue b the Cler2 of Court !ithin thirt das after their
issuance.
,t should be observed in passin' that the !ord :trustee:, appearin' in subsection #b%
of section -$/5, should read :"deico))issar: or :cestui 9ue trust:. There !as an
obvious )ista2e in translation fro) the ?panish to the En'lish version.
The instant case does fall under subsection #a%, but under subsection #b%, of section
-$// above-;uoted, as there is here no "duciar heirs, "rst heirs, le'atee or donee.
(nder the subsection, the ta0 should have been paid before the deliver of the
properties in ;uestion to P. @. M. Moore as trustee on March -A, -.4/.
#b% The plaintif contends that the estate of Tho)as 1anle, in so far as the real
properties are concerned, did not and could not le'all pass to the instituted heir,
Matthe! 1anle, until after the e0piration of ten ears fro) the death of the
testator on Ma 49, -.44 and, that the inheritance ta0 should be based on the value
of the estate in -.54, or ten ears after the testatorRs death. The plaintif introduced
evidence tendin' to sho! that in -.54 the real properties in ;uestion had a
reasonable value of onl P$,9B9. This a)ount added to the value of the personal
propert left b the deceased, !hich the plaintif ad)its is P-,/8$, !ould 'enerate
an inheritance ta0 !hich, e0cludin' deductions, interest and surchar'e, !ould
a)ount onl to about P-8..$4.
,f death is the 'eneratin' source fro) !hich the po!er of the estate to i)pose
inheritance ta0es ta2es its bein' and if, upon the death of the decedent, succession
ta2es place and the ri'ht of the estate to ta0 vests instantl, the ta0 should be
)easured b the vlaue of the estate as it stood at the ti)e of the decedentRs death,
re'ardless of an subse;uent contin'enc value of an subse;uent increase or
decrease in value. #8- C. @., pp. -8.4, -8.5< 48 R. C. &., p. 454< Bla2e)ore and
Bancroft, ,nheritance Ta0es, p. -59. ;ee also Mno!lton vs. Moore, -9B (.?., /-< 4A
?up. Ct. Rep., 9/9< // &a!. ed., .8..% :The ri'ht of the state to an inheritance ta0
accrues at the )o)ent of death, and hence is ordinaril )easured as to an
bene"ciar b the value at that ti)e of such propert as passes to hi). ?ubse;uent
appreciation or depriciation is i))aterial.: #Ross, ,nheritance Ta0ation, p. 94.%
=ur attention is directed to the state)ent of the rule in Cclopedia of &a! of and
Procedure #vol. 59, pp. -$9/, -$9$% that, in the case of contin'ent re)ainders,
$B
ta0ation is postponed until the estate vests in possession or the contin'enc is
settled. This rule !as for)erl follo!ed in Ne! >or2 and has been adopted in ,llinois,
Minnesota, Massachusetts, =hio, Pennslvania and 6isconsin. This rule, horever, is
b no )eans entirel satisfactor either to the estate or to those interested in the
propert #48 R. C. &., p. 45-.%. Reali7in', perhaps, the defects of its anterior sste),
!e "nd upon e0a)ination of cases and authorities that Ne! >or2 has varied and
no! re;uires the i))ediate appraisal of the postponed estate at its clear )ar2et
value and the pa)ent forth!ith of the ta0 on its out of the corpus of the estate
transferred. #"n re Danderbilt, -94 N. >., 8.< 8. N. E., 9B4< "n re 1uber, B8 N. >. App.
*iv., /$B< B5 N. >. ?upp., 98.< Estate of Trac, -9. N. >., $A-< 94 N. >., $-.< Estate of
Bre7, -94 N. >., 8A.< 8/ N. E., .$B< Estate of Post, B$ App. *iv., 8--< B4 N. >. ?upp.,
-A9.. Bide also, ?altoun vs. &ord Advocate, - Peter. ?c. App., .9A< 5 Mac;. 1. &.,
8$.< 45 En'. Rul. Cas., BBB.% California adheres to this ne! rule #?tats. -.A$, sec. $,
p. 5/5%.
But !hatever )a be the rule in other 3urisdictions, !e hold that a trans)ission b
inheritance is ta0able at the ti)e of the predecessorRs death, not!ithstandin' the
postpone)ent of the actual possession or en3o)ent of the estate b the
bene"ciar, and the ta0 )easured b the value of the propert trans)itted at that
ti)e re'ardless of its appreciation or depreciation.
#c% Certain ite)s are re;uired b la! to be deducted fro) the appraised 'ross in
arrivin' at the net value of the estate on !hich the inheritance ta0 is to be
co)puted #sec. -$5., Revised Ad)inistrative Code%. ,n the case at bar, the
defendant and the trial court allo!ed a deduction of onl P/BA.B-. This su)
represents the e0penses and disburse)ents of the e0ecutors until March -A, -.4/,
a)on' !hich !ere their fees and the proven debts of the deceased. The plaintif
contends that the co)pensation and fees of the trustees, !hich a''re'ate
P-,-B9.4B #E0hibits C, AA, EE, PP, 11, @@, &&, NN, ==%, should also be deducted under
section -$5. of the Revised Ad)inistrative Code !hich provides, in part, as follo!sF
:,n order to deter)ine the net su) !hich )ust bear the ta0, !hen an inheritance is
concerned, there shall be deducted, in case of a resident, . . . the 3udicial e0penses
of the testa)entar or intestate proceedin's, . . . .:
A trustee, no doubt, is entitled to receive a fair co)pensation for his services
#Barne vs. ?aunders, -8 1o!., $5$< -/ &a!. ed., -A/9%. But fro) this it does not
follo! that the co)pensation due hi) )a la!full be deducted in arrivin' at the
net value of the estate sub3ect to ta0. There is no statute in the Philippines !hich
re;uires trusteesR co))issions to be deducted in deter)inin' the net value of the
estate sub3ect to inheritance ta0 #8- C. @., p. -9A$%. +urther)ore, thou'h a
testa)entar trust has been created, it does not appear that the testator intended
that the duties of his e0ecutors and trustees should be separated. #"bid.< "n
re Dannec2Rs Estate, -8- N. >. ?upp., B.5< -9$ App. *iv., 585< "n re CollardRs Estate,
-8- N. >. ?upp., /$$.% =n the contrar, in para'raph $ of his !ill, the testator
e0pressed the desire that his real estate be handled and )ana'ed b his e0ecutors
until the e0piration of the period of ten ears therein provided. @udicial e0penses are
e0penses of ad)inistration #8- C. @., p. -9A$% but, in ?tate vs. 1ennepin Count
Probate Court #--4 N. 6., B9B< -A- Minn., /B$%, it !as saidF :. . . The co)pensation
of a trustee, earned, not in the ad)inistration of the estate, but in the )ana'e)ent
thereof for the bene"t of the le'atees or devises, does not co)e properl !ithin the
$.
class or reason for e0e)ptin' ad)inistration e0penses. . . . ?ervice rendered in that
behalf have no reference to closin' the estate for the purpose of a distribution
thereof to those entitled to it, and are not re;uired or essential to the perfection of
the ri'hts of the heirs or le'atees. . . . Trusts . . . of the character of that here before
the court, are created for the the bene"t of those to !ho) the propert ulti)atel
passes, are of voluntar creation, and intended for the preservation of the estate.
No sound reason is 'iven to support the contention that such e0penses should be
ta2en into consideration in "0in' the value of the estate for the purpose of this ta0.:
#d% The defendant levied and assessed the inheritance ta0 due fro) the estate of
Tho)as 1anle under the provisions of section -$// of the Revised Ad)inistrative
Code, as a)ended b section 5 of Act No. 58A8. But Act No. 58A8 !ent into efect
on @anuar -, -.5A. ,t, therefore, !as not the la! in force !hen the testator died on
Ma 49, -.44. The la! at the ti)e !as section -$// above-)entioned, as a)ended
b Act No. 5A5-, !hich too2 efect on March ., -.44.
,t is !ell-settled that inheritance ta0ation is 'overned b the statute in force at the
ti)e of the death of the decedent #48 R. C. &., p. 4A8< / Coole on Ta0ation, /th ed.,
p. 5/8-%. The ta0paer can not foresee and ou'ht not to be re;uired to 'uess the
outco)e of pendin' )easures. =f course, a ta0 statute )a be )ade retroactive in
its operation. &iabilit for ta0es under retroactive le'islation has been :one of the
incidents of social life.: #?eattle vs. Melleher, -.$ (. ?., 58A< /. &a!. ed., 454 ?up.
Ct. Rep., //.% But le'islative intent that a ta0 statute should operate retroactivel
should be perfectl clear. #?c!ab vs. *ole, /4 ?up. Ct. Rep., /.-< ?)ietan2a vs.
+irst Trust Y ?avin's Ban2, 4$9 (. ?., 8A4< ?toc2dale vs. ,nsurance Co., 4A 6all.,
545< &unch vs. Turrish, 4/9 (. ?., 44-.% :A statute should be considered as
prospective in its operation, !hether it enacts, a)ends, or repeals an inheritance
ta0, unless the lan'ua'e of the statute clearl de)ands or e0presses that it shall
have a retroactive efect, . . . .: #8- C. @., P. -8A4.% Thou'h the last para'raph of
section $ of Re'ulations No. 8$ of the *epart)ent of +inance )a2es section 5 of Act
No. 58A8, a)endin' section -$// of the Revised Ad)inistrative Code, applicable to
all estates the inheritance ta0es due fro) !hich have not been paid, Act No. 58A8
itself contains no provisions indicatin' le'islative intent to 'ive it retroactive efect.
No such efect can be'iven the statute b this court.
The defendant Collector of ,nternal Revenue )aintains, ho!ever, that certain
provisions of Act No. 58A8 are )ore favorable to the ta0paer than those of Act No.
5A5-, that said provisions are penal in nature and, therefore, should operate
retroactivel in confor)it !ith the provisions of article 44 of the Revised Penal
Code. This is the reason !h he applied Act No. 58A8 instead of Act No. 5A5-.
,ndeed, under Act No. 58A8, #-% the surchar'e of 4$ per cent is based on the ta0
onl, instead of on both the ta0 and the interest, as provided for in Act No. 5A5-,
and #4% the ta0paer is allo!ed t!ent das fro) notice and de)and b rthe
Collector of ,nternal Revenue !ithin !hich to pa the ta0, instead of ten das onl
as re;uired b the old la!.
Properl spea2in', a statute is penal !hen it i)poses punish)ent for an ofense
co))itted a'ainst the state !hich, under the Constitution, the E0ecutive has the
po!er to pardon. ,n co))on use, ho!ever, this sense has been enlar'ed to include
!ithin the ter) :penal statutes: all status !hich co))and or prohibit certain acts,
8A
and establish penalties for their violation, and even those !hich, !ithout e0pressl
prohibitin' certain acts, i)pose a penalt upon their co))ission #$. C. @., p. ---A%.
Revenue la!s, 'enerall, !hich i)pose ta0es collected b the )eans ordinaril
resorted to for the collection of ta0es are not classed as penal la!s, althou'h there
are authorities to the contrar. #;ee ?utherland, ?tatutor Construction, 58-< T!ine
Co. vs. 6orthin'ton, -/- (. ?., /8B< -4 ?up. Ct., $$< Rice vs. (. ?., / C. C. A., -A/<
$5 +ed., .-A< Co). vs. ?tandard =il Co., -A- Pa. ?t., -$A< ?tate vs. 6heeler, // P.,
/5A< 4$ Nev. -/5.% Article 44 of the Revised Penal Code is not applicable to the case
at bar, and in the absence of clear le'islative intent, !e cannot 'ive Act No. 58A8 a
retroactive efect.
#e% The plaintif correctl states that the liabilit to pa a ta0 )a arise at a certain
ti)e and the ta0 )a be paid !ithin another 'iven ti)e. As stated b this court,
:the )ere failure to pa oneRs ta0 does not render one delin;ent until and unless
the entire period has eplased !ithin !hich the ta0paer is authori7ed b la! to
)a2e such pa)ent !ithout bein' sub3ected to the pa)ent of penalties for fasilure
to pa his ta0es !ithin the prescribed period.: #(. ?. vs. &abadan, 48 Phil., 45..%
The defendant )aintains that it !as the dut of the e0ecutor to pa the inheritance
ta0 before the deliver of the decedentRs propert to the trustee. ?tated other!ise,
the defendant contends that deliver to the trustee !as deliver to the cestui 9ue
trust, the bene"cier in this case, !ithin the )eanin' of the "rst para'raph of
subsection #b% of section -$// of the Revised Ad)inistrative Code. This contention
is !ell ta2en and is sustained. The appoint)ent of P. @. M. Moore as trustee !as
)ade b the trial court in confor)it !ith the !ishes of the testator as e0pressed in
his !ill. ,t is true that the !ord :trust: is not )entioned or used in the !ill but the
intention to create one is clear. No particular or technical !ords are re;uired to
create a testa)entar trust #8. C. @., p. 9--%. The !ords :trust: and :trustee:,
thou'h apt for the purpose, are not necessar. ,n fact, the use of these t!o !ords is
not conclusive on the ;uestion that a trust is created #8. C. @., p. 9-/%. :To create a
trust b !ill the testator )ust indicate in the !ill his intention so to do b usin'
lan'ua'e suCcient to separate the le'al fro) the e;uitable estate, and !ith
suCcient certaint desi'nate the bene"ciaries, their interest in the ttrust, the
purpose or ob3ect of the trust, and the propert or sub3ect )atter thereof. ?tated
other!ise, to constitute a valid testa)entar trust there )ust be a concurrence of
three circu)stancesF #-% ?uCcient !ords to raise a trust< #4% a de"nite sub3ect< #5% a
certain or ascertain ob3ect< statutes in so)e 3urisdictions e0pressl or in efect so
providin'.: #8. C. @., pp. 9A$,9A8.% There is no doubt that the testator intended to
create a trust. 1e ordered in his !ill that certain of his properties be 2ept to'ether
undisposed durin' a "0ed period, for a stated purpose. The probate court certainl
e0ercised sound 3ud')ent in appoint)ent a trustee to carr into efect the
provisions of the !ill #see sec. $B4, Code of Civil Procedure%.
P. @. M. Moore beca)e trustee on March -A, -.4/. =n that date trust estate vested
in hi) #sec. $B4 in relation to sec. $.A, Code of Civil Procedure%. The )ere fact that
the estate of the deceased !as placed in trust did not re)ove it fro) the operation
of our inheritance ta0 la!s or e0e)pt it fro) the pa)ent of the inheritance ta0.
The correspondin' inheritance ta0 should have been paid on or before March -A,
-.4/, to escape the penalties of the la!s. This is so for the reason alread stated
that the deliver of the estate to the trustee !as in esse deliver of the sa)e estate
8-
to the cestui 9ue trust, the bene"ciar in this case. A trustee is but an instru)ent or
a'ent for thecestui 9ue trust #?helton vs. Min', 4.. (. ?., .A< 55 ?up. Ct. Rep., 8B.<
$9 &a!. ed., -AB8%. 6hen Moore accepted the trust and too2 possesson of the trust
estate he thereb ad)itted that the estate belon'ed not to hi) but to hiscestui 9ue
trust #Tolentino vs. Ditu', 5. Phil.,-48, cited in 8$ C. @., p. 8.4, n. 85%. 1e did not
ac;uire an bene"cial interest in the estate. 1e too2 such le'al estate onl as the
proper e0ecution of the trust re;uired #8$ C. @., p. $4B% and, his estate ceased upon
the ful"ll)ent of the testatorRs !ishes. The estate then vested absolutel in the
bene"ciar #8$ C. @., p. $/4%.
The hi'hest considerations of public polic also 3ustif the conclusion !e have
reached. 6ere !e to hold that the pa)ent of the ta0 could be postponed or
delaed b the creation of a trust of the tpe at hand, the result !ould be plainl
disastrous. Testators )a provide, as Tho)as 1anle has provided, that their
estates be not delivered to their bene"ciaries until after the lapse of a certain period
of ti)e. ,n the case at bar, the period is ten ears. ,n other cases, the trust )a last
for "ft ears, or for a lon'er period !hich does not ofend the rule a'ainst
petuities. The collection of the ta0 !ould then be left to the !ill of a private
individual. The )ere su''estion of this result is a suCcient !arnin' a'ainst the
accpetance of the essential to the ver e0eistence of 'overn)ent. #*obbins vs. Erie
Countr, -8 Pet., /5$< -A &a!. ed., -A44< Mir2land vs. 1otch2iss, -AA (. ?., /.-< 4$
&a!. ed., $$B< &ane Count vs. =re'on, 9 6all., 9-< -. &a!. ed., -A-< (nion
Refri'erator Transit Co. vs. Mentuc2, -.. (. ?., -./< 48 ?up. Ct. Rep., 58< $A &a!.
ed., -$A< Charles River Brid'e vs. 6arren Brid'e, -- Pet., /4A< . &a!. ed., 995.% The
obli'ation to pa ta0es rests not upon the privile'es en3oed b, or the protection
aforded to, a citi7en b the 'overn)ent but upon the necessit of )one for the
support of the state #*obbins vs. Erie Countr, supra%. +or this reason, no one is
allo!ed to ob3ect to or resist the pa)ent of ta0es solel because no personal
bene"t to hi) can be pointed out. #Tho)as vs. Ja, -8. (. ?., 48/< -B ?up. Ct.
Rep., 5/A< /5 &a!. ed., 9/A.% 6hile courts !ill not enlar'e, b construction, the
'overn)entRs po!er of ta0ation #Bro)le vs. McCau'hn, 4BA (. ?., -4/< 9/ &a!.
ed., 448< $A ?up. Ct. Rep., /8% the also !ill not place upon ta0 la!s so loose a
construction as to per)it evasions on )erel fanciful and insubstantial distictions.
#(. ?. vs. 6atts, - Bond., $BA< +ed. Cas. No. -8,8$5< (. ?. vs. 6i''lesirth, 4 ?tor,
58.< +ed. Cas. No. -8,8.A, follo!ed in +roelich Y Muttner vs. Collector of Custo)s,
-B Phil., /8-, /B-< Castle Bros., 6olf Y ?ons vs. McCo, 4- Phil., 5AA< MuZo7 Y Co.
vs. 1ord, -4 Phil., 84/< 1on'2on' Y ?han'hai Ban2in' Corporation vs. Rafert, 5.
Phil., -/$< &u7on ?tevedorin' Co. vs. Trinidad, /5 Phil., BA5.% 6hen proper, a ta0
statute should be construed to avoid the possibilities of ta0 evasion. Construed this
!a, the statute, !ithout resultin' in in3ustice to the ta0paer, beco)es fair to the
'overn)ent.
That ta0es )ust be collected pro)ptl is a polic deepl intrenched in our ta0
sste). Thus, no court is allo!ed to 'rant in3unction to restrain the collection of an
internal revenue ta0 # sec. -$9B, Revised Ad)inistrative Code< ?arasola vs. Trinidad,
/A Phil., 4$4%. ,n the case of &i) Co Chui vs. Posadas #/9 Phil., /8-%, this court had
occassion to de)onstrate trench)ent adherence to this polic of the la!. ,t held
that :the fact that on account of riots directed a'ainst the Chinese on =ctober -B,
-., and 4A, -.4/, the !ere prevented fro) prain' their internal revenue ta0es on
ti)e and b )utual a'ree)ent closed their ho)es and stores and re)ained therein,
84
does not authori7e the Collector of ,nternal Revenue to e0tend the ti)e prescribed
for the pa)ent of the ta0es or to accept the) !ithout the additional penalt of
t!ent "ve per cent.: #?llabus, No. 5.%
:. . . ,t is of the ut)ost i)portance,: said the ?upre)e Court of the (nited ?tates,
:. . . that the )odes adopted to enforce the ta0es levied should be interfered !ith
as little as possible. An dela in the proceedin's of the oCcers, upon !ho) the
dut is developed of collectin' the ta0es, )a deran'e the operations of
'overn)ent, and thereb, cause serious detri)ent to the public.: #*o!s vs.
Chica'o, -- 6all., -AB< 4A &a!. ed., 8$, 88< Churchill and Tait vs. Rafert, 54 Phil.,
$BA.%
,t results that the estate !hich plaintif represents has been delin;uent in the
pa)ent of inheritance ta0 and, therefore, liable for the pa)ent of interest and
surchar'e provided b la! in such cases.
The delin;uenc in pa)ent occurred on March -A, -.4/, the date !hen Moore
beca)e trustee. The interest due should be co)puted fro) that date and it is error
on the part of the defendant to co)pute it one )onth later. The provisions cases is
)andator #see and cf. &i) Co Chui vs. Posadas, supra%, and neither the Collector of
,nternal Revenuen or this court )a re)it or decrease such interest, no )atter ho!
heavil it )a burden the ta0paer.
To the ta0 and interest due and unpaid !ithin ten das after the date of notice and
de)and thereof b the Collector of ,nternal Revenue, a surchar'e of t!ent-"ve per
centu) should be added #sec. -$//, subsec. #b%, par. 4, Revised Ad)inistrative
Code%. *e)and !as )ade b the *eput Collector of ,nternal Revenue upon Moore
in a co))uniction dated =ctober -8, -.5- #E0hibit 4.%. The date "0ed for the
pa)ent of the ta0 and interest !as Nove)ber 5A, -.5-. Nove)ber 5A bein' an
oCcial holida, the tenth da fell on *ece)ber -, -.5-. As the ta0 and interest due
!ere not paid on that date, the estate beca)e liable for the pa)ent of the
surchar'e.
,n vie! of the fore'oin', it beco)es unnecessar for us to discuss the "fth error
assi'ned b the plaintif in his brief.
6e shall no! co)pute the ta0, to'ether !ith the interest and surchar'e due fro)
the estate of Tho)as 1anle inaccordance !ith the conclusions !e have reached.
At the ti)e of his death, the deceased left real properties valued at P49,.4A and
personal properties !orth P-,/8$, or a total of P4.,5B$. *eductin' fro) this a)ount
the su) of P/BA.B-, representin' allo!able deductions under secftion -$5. of the
Revised Ad)inistrative Code, !e have P4B,.A/.-. as the net value of the estate
sub3ect to inheritance ta0.
The pri)ar ta0, accordin' to section -$58, subsection #c%, of the Revised
Ad)inistrative Code, should be i)posed at the rate of one per centu) upon the "rst
ten thousand pesos and t!o per centu) upon the a)ount b !hich the share
e0ceed thirt thousand pesos, plus an additional t!o hundred per centu). =ne per
85
centu) of ten thousand pesos is P-AA. T!o per centu) of P-B,.A/.-. is P59B.AB.
Addin' to these t!o su)s an additional t!o hundred per centu), or P.8$.-8, !e
have as pri)ar ta0, correctl co)puted b the defendant, the su) of P-,/5/.4/.
To the pri)ar ta0 thus co)puted should be added the su)s collectible under
section -$// of the Revised Ad)inistrative Code. +irst should be added P-,/8$.5-
!hich stands for interest at the rate of t!elve per centu) per annu) fro) March
-A, -.4/, the date of delin;uenc, to ?epte)ber -$, -.54, the date of pa)ent
under protest, a period coverin' B ears, 8 )onths and $ das. To the ta0 and
interest thus co)puted should be added the su) of P94/.BB, representin' a
surhcar'e of 4$ per cent on both the ta0 and interest, and also P-A, the
co)pro)ise su) "0ed b the defendant #E0h. 4.%, 'ivin' a 'rand total of
P5,85/./5.
As the plaintif has alread paid the su) of P4,A$4.9/, onl the su)s of P-,$B-.8. is
le'all due fro) the estate. This last su) is P5.A./4 )ore than the a)ount
de)anded b the defendant in his counterclai). But, as !e cannot 'ive the
defendant )ore than !hat he clai)s, !e )ust hold that the plaintif is liable onl in
the su) of P-,-.-.49 the a)ount stated in the counterclai).
The 3ud')ent of the lo!er court is accordin'l )odi"ed, !ith costs a'ainst the
plaintif in both instances. ?o ordered.
(vanceHa, C.J., (bad ;antos, "mperial, %iaz and Concepcion, JJ., concur.
Billa.eal, J., concurs.
CASTAIEDA 3*. ALEMANB
3 P4IL 4!6
J.R. No. -/5., Castaneda v. Ale)an, 5 Phil. /48
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
March -., -.A/
J.R. No. -/5.
ANTONIO CASTAIEDA, plaintif-appellee,
8/
vs.
JOSE E. ALEMANB, defendant-appellant.
!edesma, ;umulong and 3uintos for appellant.
The court erred in holdin' that all le'al for)alities had been co)plied !ith in the
e0ecution of the !ill of *oZa @uana Moreno, as the proof sho!s that the said !ill !as
not !ritten in the presence of under the e0press direction of the testratri0 as
re;uired b section 8-B of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(ntonio B. @errero for appellee.
The 'rounds upon !hich a !ill )a be disallo!ed are li)ited to those )entioned in
section 85/ of the Code of Civil Procedure.
>ILLARD, J.:
#-% The evidence in this case sho!s to our satisfaction that the !ill of *oZa @uana
Moreno !as dul si'ned b herself in the presence of three !itnesses, !ho si'ned it
as !itnesses in the presence of the testratri0 and of each other. ,t !as therefore
e0ecuted in confor)it !ith la!.
There is nothin' in the lan'ua'e of section 8-B of the Code of Civil Procedure !hich
supports the clai) of the appellants that the !ill )ust be !ritten b the testator
hi)self or b so)eone else in his presence and under his e0press direction. That
section re;uires #-% that the !ill be in !ritin' and #4% either that the testator si'n it
hi)self or, if he does si'n it, that it be si'ned b so)e one in his presence and b
his e0press direction. 6ho does the )echanical !or2 of !ritin' the !ill is a )atter
of indiference. The fact, therefore, that in this case the !ill !as tpe!ritten in the
oCce of the la!er for the testratri0 is of no conse;uence. The En'lish te0t of
section 8-B is ver plain. The )ista2es in translation found in the "rst ?panish
edition of the code have been corrected in the second.
#4% To establish conclusivel as a'ainst everone, and once for all, the facts that a
!ill !as e0ecuted !ith the for)alities re;uired b la! and that the testator !as in a
condition to )a2e a !ill, is the onl purpose of the proceedin's under the ne! code
for the probate of a !ill. #?ec. 84$.% The 3ud')ent in such proceedin's deter)ines
and can deter)ine nothin' )ore. ,n the) the court has no po!er to pass upon the
validit of an provisions )ade in the !ill. ,t can not decide, for e0a)ple, that a
certain le'ac is void and another one valid. ,t could not in this case )a2e an
8$
decision upon the ;uestion !hether the testratri0 had the po!er to appoint b !ill a
'uardian for the propert of her children b her "rst husband, or !hether the person
so appointed !as or !as not a suitable person to dischar'e such trust.
All such ;uestions )ust be decided in so)e other proceedin'. The 'rounds on
!hich a !ill )a be disallo!ed are stated the section 85/. (nless one of those
'rounds appears the !ill )ust be allo!ed. The all have to do !ith the personal
condition of the testator at the ti)e of its e0ecution and the for)alities connected
there!ith. ,t follo!s that neither this court nor the court belo! has an 3urisdiction
in his proceedin's to pass upon the ;uestions raised b the appellants b the
assi'n)ent of error relatin' to the appoint)ent of a 'uardian for the children of the
deceased.
,t is clai)ed b the appellants that there !as no testi)on in the court belo! to
sho! that the !ill e0ecuted b the deceased !as the sa)e !ill presented to the
court and concernin' !hich this hearin' !as had. ,t is true that the evidence does
not sho! that the docu)ent in court !as presented to the !itnesses and identi"ed
b the), as should have been done. But !e thin2 that !e are 3usti"ed in sain' that
it !as assu)ed b all the parties durin' the trial in the court belo! that the !ill
about !hich the !itnesses !ere testifin' !as the docu)ent then in court. No
su''estion of an 2ind !as then )ade b the counsel for the appellants that it !as
not the sa)e instru)ent. ,n the last ;uestion put to the !itness Jon7ales the
phrase :this !ill: is used b the counsel for the appellants. ,n their ar'u)ent in that
court, found on pa'e -$ of the record, the treat the testi)on of the !itnesses as
referrin' to the !ill probate the !ere then opposin'.
The 3ud')ent of the court belo! is aCr)ed, eli)inatin' therefro), ho!ever, the
clause :el cual debera e3ecutarse "el e0acta)ente en todas sus partes.: The costs
of this instance !ill be char'ed a'ainst the appellants.
(rellano, C. J., Torres, Cooper, Mapa, Mc%onoug4 and Jo4nson, JJ., concur.
IN RE >ILL OF RIOSA
39 P4IL !3
88
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-6"99 Au@u*0 9, "9#4
In r)$ >.++ an, T)*0a<)n0 o' 0() ,)1)a*), RE?EREND SANC4O ABADIA.
SE?ERINA A. ?DA. DE ENRIAUE%, ET AL., petitioners-appellees,
vs.
MIGUEL ABADIA, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
Manuel (. Posa, !uis B. !adonga, Mariano (. Posa and B. G. (dvincula for
appellants.
C. de la Bictoria for appellees.
MONTEMABOR, J.$
=n ?epte)ber 8, -.45, +ather ?ancho Abadia, parish priest of Talisa, Cebu,
e0ecuted a docu)ent purportin' to be his &ast 6ill and Testa)ent no! )ar2ed
E0hibit :A:. Resident of the Cit of Cebu, he died on @anuar -/, -./5, in the
)unicipalit of Alo'uinsan, Cebu, !here he !as an evacuee. 1e left properties
esti)ated at PB,AAA in value. =n =ctober 4, -./8, one Andres Enri;ue7, one of the
le'atees in E0hibit :A:, "led a petition for its probate in the Court of +irst ,nstance of
Cebu. ?o)e cousins and nephe!s !ho !ould inherit the estate of the deceased if
he left no !ill, "led opposition.
*urin' the hearin' one of the attestin' !itnesses, the other t!o bein' dead,
testi"ed !ithout contradiction that in his presence and in the presence of his co-
!itnesses, +ather ?ancho !rote out in lon'hand E0hibit :A: in ?panish !hich the
testator spo2e and understood< that he #testator% si'ned on he left hand )ar'in of
the front pa'e of each of the three folios or sheets of !hich the docu)ent is
co)posed, and nu)bered the sa)e !ith Arabic nu)erals, and "nall si'ned his
na)e at the end of his !ritin' at the last pa'e, all this, in the presence of the three
attestin' !itnesses after tellin' that it !as his last !ill and that the said three
!itnesses si'ned their na)es on the last pa'e after the attestation clause in his
presence and in the presence of each other. The oppositors did not sub)it an
evidence.
The learned trial court found and declared E0hibit :A: to be a holo'raphic !ill< that
it !as in the hand!ritin' of the testator and that althou'h at the ti)e it !as
e0ecuted and at the ti)e of the testatorRs death, holo'raphic !ills !ere not
per)itted b la! still, because at the ti)e of the hearin' and !hen the case !as to
be decided the ne! Civil Code !as alread in force, !hich Code per)itted the
e0ecution of holo'raphic !ills, under a liberal vie!, and to carr out the intention of
89
the testator !hich accordin' to the trial court is the controllin' factor and )a
override an defect in for), said trial court b order dated @anuar 4/, -.$4,
ad)itted to probate E0hibit :A:, as the &ast 6ill and Testa)ent of +ather ?ancho
Abadia. The oppositors are appealin' fro) that decision< and because onl
;uestions of la! are involved in the appeal, the case !as certi"ed to us b the Court
of Appeals.
The ne! Civil Code #Republic Act No. 5B8% under article B-A thereof provides that a
person )a e0ecute a holo'raphic !ill !hich )ust be entirel !ritten, dated and
si'ned b the testator hi)self and need not be !itnessed. ,t is a fact, ho!ever, that
at the ti)e that E0hibit :A: !as e0ecuted in -.45 and at the ti)e that +ather Abadia
died in -./5, holo'raphic !ills !ere not per)itted, and the la! at the ti)e i)posed
certain re;uire)ents for the e0ecution of !ills, such as nu)berin' correlativel
each pa'e #not folio or sheet% in letters and si'nin' on the left hand )ar'in b the
testator and b the three attestin' !itnesses, re;uire)ents !hich !ere not
co)plied !ith in E0hibit :A: because the bac2 pa'es of the "rst t!o folios of the !ill
!ere not si'ned b an one, not even b the testator and !ere not nu)bered, and
as to the three front pa'es, the !ere si'ned onl b the testator.
,nterpretin' and applin' this re;uire)ent this Court in the case of ,n re Estate of
?a'uinsin, /- Phil., B9$, B9., referrin' to the failure of the testator and his
!itnesses to si'n on the left hand )ar'in of ever pa'e, saidF
. . . . This defect is radical and totall vitiates the testa)ent. ,t is not enou'h
that the si'natures 'uaranteein' authenticit should appear upon t!o folios
or leaves< three pa'es havin' been !ritten on, the authenticit of all three of
the) should be 'uaranteed b the si'nature of the alle'ed testatri0 and her
!itnesses.
And in the case of (spe vs. Prieto, /8 Phil., 9AA, referrin' to the sa)e re;uire)ent,
this Court declaredF
+ro) an e0a)ination of the docu)ent in ;uestion, it appears that the left
)ar'ins of the si0 pa'es of the docu)ent are si'ned onl b Dentura Prieto.
The nonco)pliance !ith section 4 of Act No. 48/$ b the attestin' !itnesses
!ho o)itted to si'n !ith the testator at the left )ar'in of each of the "ve
pa'es of the docu)ent alle'ed to be the !ill of Dentura Prieto, is a fatal
defect that constitutes an obstacle to its probate.
6hat is the la! to appl to the probate of E0h. :A:X Ma !e appl the provisions of
the ne! Civil Code !hich not allo!s holo'raphic !ills, li2e E0hibit :A: !hich
provisions !ere invo2ed b the appellee-petitioner and applied b the lo!er courtX
But article 9.$ of this sa)e ne! Civil Code e0pressl providesF :The validit of a !ill
as to its for) depends upon the observance of the la! in force at the ti)e it is
)ade.: The above provision is but an e0pression or state)ent of the !ei'ht of
authorit to the afect that the validit of a !ill is to be 3ud'ed not b the la!
enforce at the ti)e of the testatorRs death or at the ti)e the supposed !ill is
presented in court for probate or !hen the petition is decided b the court but at
the ti)e the instru)ent !as e0ecuted. =ne reason in support of the rule is that
althou'h the !ill operates upon and after the death of the testator, the !ishes of
8B
the testator about the disposition of his estate a)on' his heirs and a)on' the
le'atees is 'iven sole)n e0pression at the ti)e the !ill is e0ecuted, and in realit,
the le'ac or be;uest then beco)es a co)pleted act. This rulin' has been laid
do!n b this court in the case of ,n re 6ill of Riosa, 5. Phil., 45. ,t is a !holeso)e
doctrine and should be follo!ed.
=f course, there is the vie! that the intention of the testator should be the rulin'
and controllin' factor and that all ade;uate re)edies and interpretations should be
resorted to in order to carr out said intention, and that !hen statutes passed after
the e0ecution of the !ill and after the death of the testator lessen the for)alities
re;uired b la! for the e0ecution of !ills, said subse;uent statutes should be
applied so as to validate !ills defectivel e0ecuted accordin' to the la! in force at
the ti)e of e0ecution. 1o!ever, !e should not for'et that fro) the da of the death
of the testator, if he leaves a !ill, the title of the le'atees and devisees under it
beco)es a vested ri'ht, protected under the due process clause of the constitution
a'ainst a subse;uent chan'e in the statute addin' ne! le'al re;uire)ents of
e0ecution of !ills !hich !ould invalidate such a !ill. B parit of reasonin', !hen
one e0ecutes a !ill !hich is invalid for failure to observe and follo! the le'al
re;uire)ents at the ti)e of its e0ecution then upon his death he should be re'arded
and declared as havin' died intestate, and his heirs !ill then inherit b intestate
succession, and no subse;uent la! !ith )ore liberal re;uire)ents or !hich
dispenses !ith such re;uire)ents as to e0ecution should be allo!ed to validate a
defective !ill and thereb divest the heirs of their vested ri'hts in the estate b
intestate succession. The 'eneral rule is that the &e'islature can not validate void
!ills #$9 A). @ur., 6ills, ?ec. 45-, pp. -.4--.5%.
,n vie! of the fore'oin', the order appealed fro) is reversed, and E0hibit :A: is
denied probate. 6ith costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, eyes, (., Jugo, Bautista (ngelo, !abrador,
Concepcion and eyes J.B.!., JJ., concur.
ENRIAUE% ?S ABADIA
9# SCRA 6!6
8.
J.R. No. &-9-BB, ,n re 6ill of ?ancho Abadia. Dda. de Enri;ue7 et al. v. Abadia et al.,
.$ Phil. 849
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
Au'ust ., -.$/
J.R. No. &-9-BB
In r)$ >.++ an, T)*0a<)n0 o' 0() ,)1)a*), RE?EREND SANC4O ABADIA.
SE?ERINA A. ?DA. DE ENRIAUE%, ET AL., petitioners-appellees,
vs.
MIGUEL ABADIA, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
Manuel (. Posa, !uis B. !adonga, Mariano (. Posa and B. G. (dvincula for
appellants.
C. de la Bictoria for appellees.
MONTEMABOR, J.$
=n ?epte)ber 8, -.45, +ather ?ancho Abadia, parish priest of Talisa, Cebu,
e0ecuted a docu)ent purportin' to be his &ast 6ill and Testa)ent no! )ar2ed
E0hibit :A:. Resident of the Cit of Cebu, he died on @anuar -/, -./5, in the
)unicipalit of Alo'uinsan, Cebu, !here he !as an evacuee. 1e left properties
esti)ated at PB,AAA in value. =n =ctober 4, -./8, one Andres Enri;ue7, one of the
le'atees in E0hibit :A:, "led a petition for its probate in the Court of +irst ,nstance of
Cebu. ?o)e cousins and nephe!s !ho !ould inherit the estate of the deceased if
he left no !ill, "led opposition.
*urin' the hearin' one of the attestin' !itnesses, the other t!o bein' dead,
testi"ed !ithout contradiction that in his presence and in the presence of his co-
!itnesses, +ather ?ancho !rote out in lon'hand E0hibit :A: in ?panish !hich the
testator spo2e and understood< that he #testator% si'ned on he left hand )ar'in of
the front pa'e of each of the three folios or sheets of !hich the docu)ent is
co)posed, and nu)bered the sa)e !ith Arabic nu)erals, and "nall si'ned his
na)e at the end of his !ritin' at the last pa'e, all this, in the presence of the three
attestin' !itnesses after tellin' that it !as his last !ill and that the said three
!itnesses si'ned their na)es on the last pa'e after the attestation clause in his
9A
presence and in the presence of each other. The oppositors did not sub)it an
evidence.
The learned trial court found and declared E0hibit :A: to be a holo'raphic !ill< that
it !as in the hand!ritin' of the testator and that althou'h at the ti)e it !as
e0ecuted and at the ti)e of the testatorRs death, holo'raphic !ills !ere not
per)itted b la! still, because at the ti)e of the hearin' and !hen the case !as to
be decided the ne! Civil Code !as alread in force, !hich Code per)itted the
e0ecution of holo'raphic !ills, under a liberal vie!, and to carr out the intention of
the testator !hich accordin' to the trial court is the controllin' factor and )a
override an defect in for), said trial court b order dated @anuar 4/, -.$4,
ad)itted to probate E0hibit :A:, as the &ast 6ill and Testa)ent of +ather ?ancho
Abadia. The oppositors are appealin' fro) that decision< and because onl
;uestions of la! are involved in the appeal, the case !as certi"ed to us b the Court
of Appeals.
The ne! Civil Code #Republic Act No. 5B8% under article B-A thereof provides that a
person )a e0ecute a holo'raphic !ill !hich )ust be entirel !ritten, dated and
si'ned b the testator hi)self and need not be !itnessed. ,t is a fact, ho!ever, that
at the ti)e that E0hibit :A: !as e0ecuted in -.45 and at the ti)e that +ather Abadia
died in -./5, holo'raphic !ills !ere not per)itted, and the la! at the ti)e i)posed
certain re;uire)ents for the e0ecution of !ills, such as nu)berin' correlativel
each pa'e #not folio or sheet% in letters and si'nin' on the left hand )ar'in b the
testator and b the three attestin' !itnesses, re;uire)ents !hich !ere not
co)plied !ith in E0hibit :A: because the bac2 pa'es of the "rst t!o folios of the !ill
!ere not si'ned b an one, not even b the testator and !ere not nu)bered, and
as to the three front pa'es, the !ere si'ned onl b the testator.
,nterpretin' and applin' this re;uire)ent this Court in the case of ,n re Estate of
?a'uinsin, /- Phil., B9$, B9., referrin' to the failure of the testator and his
!itnesses to si'n on the left hand )ar'in of ever pa'e, saidF
. . . . This defect is radical and totall vitiates the testa)ent. ,t is not enou'h that
the si'natures 'uaranteein' authenticit should appear upon t!o folios or leaves<
three pa'es havin' been !ritten on, the authenticit of all three of the) should be
'uaranteed b the si'nature of the alle'ed testatri0 and her !itnesses.
And in the case of (spe vs. Prieto , /8 Phil., 9AA, referrin' to the sa)e re;uire)ent,
this Court declaredF
+ro) an e0a)ination of the docu)ent in ;uestion, it appears that the left )ar'ins
of the si0 pa'es of the docu)ent are si'ned onl b Dentura Prieto. The
nonco)pliance !ith section 4 of Act No. 48/$ b the attestin' !itnesses !ho
o)itted to si'n !ith the testator at the left )ar'in of each of the "ve pa'es of the
docu)ent alle'ed to be the !ill of Dentura Prieto, is a fatal defect that constitutes
an obstacle to its probate.
6hat is the la! to appl to the probate of E0h. :A:X Ma !e appl the provisions of
the ne! Civil Code !hich not allo!s holo'raphic !ills, li2e E0hibit :A: !hich
provisions !ere invo2ed b the appellee-petitioner and applied b the lo!er courtX
But article 9.$ of this sa)e ne! Civil Code e0pressl providesF :The validit of a !ill
as to its for) depends upon the observance of the la! in force at the ti)e it is
9-
)ade.: The above provision is but an e0pression or state)ent of the !ei'ht of
authorit to the afect that the validit of a !ill is to be 3ud'ed not b the la!
enforce at the ti)e of the testatorRs death or at the ti)e the supposed !ill is
presented in court for probate or !hen the petition is decided b the court but at
the ti)e the instru)ent !as e0ecuted. =ne reason in support of the rule is that
althou'h the !ill operates upon and after the death of the testator, the !ishes of
the testator about the disposition of his estate a)on' his heirs and a)on' the
le'atees is 'iven sole)n e0pression at the ti)e the !ill is e0ecuted, and in realit,
the le'ac or be;uest then beco)es a co)pleted act. This rulin' has been laid
do!n b this court in the case of ,n re 6ill of Riosa, 5. Phil., 45. ,t is a !holeso)e
doctrine and should be follo!ed.
=f course, there is the vie! that the intention of the testator should be the rulin'
and controllin' factor and that all ade;uate re)edies and interpretations should be
resorted to in order to carr out said intention, and that !hen statutes passed after
the e0ecution of the !ill and after the death of the testator lessen the for)alities
re;uired b la! for the e0ecution of !ills, said subse;uent statutes should be
applied so as to validate !ills defectivel e0ecuted accordin' to the la! in force at
the ti)e of e0ecution. 1o!ever, !e should not for'et that fro) the da of the death
of the testator, if he leaves a !ill, the title of the le'atees and devisees under it
beco)es a vested ri'ht, protected under the due process clause of the constitution
a'ainst a subse;uent chan'e in the statute addin' ne! le'al re;uire)ents of
e0ecution of !ills !hich !ould invalidate such a !ill. B parit of reasonin', !hen
one e0ecutes a !ill !hich is invalid for failure to observe and follo! the le'al
re;uire)ents at the ti)e of its e0ecution then upon his death he should be re'arded
and declared as havin' died intestate, and his heirs !ill then inherit b intestate
succession, and no subse;uent la! !ith )ore liberal re;uire)ents or !hich
dispenses !ith such re;uire)ents as to e0ecution should be allo!ed to validate a
defective !ill and thereb divest the heirs of their vested ri'hts in the estate b
intestate succession. The 'eneral rule is that the &e'islature can not validate void
!ills #$9 A). @ur., 6ills, ?ec. 45-, pp. -.4--.5%.
,n vie! of the fore'oin', the order appealed fro) is reversed, and E0hibit :A: is
denied probate. 6ith costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, eyes, (., Jugo, Bautista (ngelo, !abrador,
Concepcion and eyes J.B.!., JJ., concur.
T)*0a0) E*0a0) o' Jo*)/( G. Br.<o, JUAN MICIANO, a,<.n.*0ra0or 3*.
ANDRE BRIMO
#5 P4IL 966
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
94
G.R. No. L-!!#9# No3)<-)r ", "9!6
T)*0a0) E*0a0) o' Jo*)/( G. Br.<o, JUAN MICIANO, a,<.n.*0ra0or, petitioner-
appellee,
vs.
ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant.
oss, !a0rence and ;elp4 for appellant.
Camus and %elgado for appellee.

ROMUALDE%, J.:
The partition of the estate left b the deceased @oseph J. Bri)o is in ;uestion in this
case.
The 3udicial ad)inistrator of this estate "led a sche)e of partition. Andre Bri)o,
one of the brothers of the deceased, opposed it. The court, ho!ever, approved it.
The errors !hich the oppositor-appellant assi'ns areF
#-% The approval of said sche)e of partition< #4% denial of his participation in the
inheritance< #5% the denial of the )otion for reconsideration of the order approvin'
the partition< #/% the approval of the purchase )ade b the Pietro &ana of the
deceasedRs business and the deed of transfer of said business< and #$% the
declaration that the Tur2ish la!s are i)pertinent to this cause, and the failure not to
postpone the approval of the sche)e of partition and the deliver of the deceasedRs
business to Pietro &an7a until the receipt of the depositions re;uested in reference
to the Tur2ish la!s.
The appellantRs opposition is based on the fact that the partition in ;uestion puts
into efect the provisions of @oseph J. Bri)oRs !ill !hich are not in accordance !ith
the la!s of his Tur2ish nationalit, for !hich reason the are void as bein' in
violation or article -A of the Civil Code !hich, a)on' other thin's, provides the
follo!in'F
Nevertheless, le'al and testa)entar successions, in respect to the order of
succession as !ell as to the a)ount of the successional ri'hts and the
intrinsic validit of their provisions, shall be re'ulated b the national la! of
the person !hose succession is in ;uestion, !hatever )a be the nature of
the propert or the countr in !hich it )a be situated.
But the fact is that the oppositor did not prove that said testi)entar dispositions
are not in accordance !ith the Tur2ish la!s, inas)uch as he did not present an
evidence sho!in' !hat the Tur2ish la!s are on the )atter, and in the absence of
evidence on such la!s, the are presu)ed to be the sa)e as those of the
Philippines. #&i) and &i) vs. Collector of Custo)s, 58 Phil., /94.%
95
,t has not been proved in these proceedin's !hat the Tur2ish la!s are. 1e, hi)self,
ac2no!led'es it !hen he desires to be 'iven an opportunit to present evidence on
this point< so )uch so that he assi'ns as an error of the court in not havin' deferred
the approval of the sche)e of partition until the receipt of certain testi)on
re;uested re'ardin' the Tur2ish la!s on the )atter.
The refusal to 'ive the oppositor another opportunit to prove such la!s does not
constitute an error. ,t is discretionar !ith the trial court, and, ta2in' into
consideration that the oppositor !as 'ranted a)ple opportunit to introduce
co)petent evidence, !e "nd no abuse of discretion on the part of the court in this
particular. There is, therefore, no evidence in the record that the national la! of the
testator @oseph J. Bri)o !as violated in the testa)entar dispositions in ;uestion
!hich, not bein' contrar to our la!s in force, )ust be co)plied !ith and
e0ecuted. la0p4il.net
Therefore, the approval of the sche)e of partition in this respect !as not erroneous.
,n re'ard to the "rst assi'n)ent of error !hich deals !ith the e0clusion of the
herein appellant as a le'atee, inas)uch as he is one of the persons desi'nated as
such in !ill, it )ust be ta2en into consideration that such e0clusion is based on the
last part of the second clause of the !ill, !hich sasF
?econd. , li2e desire to state that althou'h b la!, , a) a Tur2ish citi7en, this
citi7enship havin' been conferred upon )e b con;uest and not b free
choice, nor b nationalit and, on the other hand, havin' resided for a
considerable len'th of ti)e in the Philippine ,slands !here , succeeded in
ac;uirin' all of the propert that , no! possess, it is ) !ish that the
distribution of ) propert and everthin' in connection !ith this, ) !ill, be
)ade and disposed of in accordance !ith the la!s in force in the Philippine
islands, re;uestin' all of ) relatives to respect this !ish, other!ise, , annul
and cancel beforehand !hatever disposition found in this !ill favorable to the
person or persons !ho fail to co)pl !ith this re;uest.
The institution of le'atees in this !ill is conditional, and the condition is that the
instituted le'atees )ust respect the testatorRs !ill to distribute his propert, not in
accordance !ith the la!s of his nationalit, but in accordance !ith the la!s of the
Philippines.
,f this condition as it is e0pressed !ere le'al and valid, an le'atee !ho fails to
co)pl !ith it, as the herein oppositor !ho, b his attitude in these proceedin's has
not respected the !ill of the testator, as e0pressed, is prevented fro) receivin' his
le'ac.
The fact is, ho!ever, that the said condition is void, bein' contrar to la!, for article
9.4 of the civil Code provides the follo!in'F
,)possible conditions and those contrar to la! or 'ood )orals shall be
considered as not i)posed and shall not pre3udice the heir or le'atee in an
)anner !hatsoever, even should the testator other!ise provide.
9/
And said condition is contrar to la! because it e0pressl i'nores the testatorRs
national la! !hen, accordin' to article -A of the civil Code above ;uoted, such
national la! of the testator is the one to 'overn his testa)entar dispositions.
?aid condition then, in the li'ht of the le'al provisions above cited, is considered
un!ritten, and the institution of le'atees in said !ill is unconditional and
conse;uentl valid and efective even as to the herein oppositor.
,t results fro) all this that the second clause of the !ill re'ardin' the la! !hich
shall 'overn it, and to the condition i)posed upon the le'atees, is null and void,
bein' contrar to la!.
All of the re)ainin' clauses of said !ill !ith all their dispositions and re;uests are
perfectl valid and efective it not appearin' that said clauses are contrar to the
testatorRs national la!.
Therefore, the orders appealed fro) are )odi"ed and it is directed that the
distribution of this estate be )ade in such a )anner as to include the herein
appellant Andre Bri)o as one of the le'atees, and the sche)e of partition
sub)itted b the 3udicial ad)inistrator is approved in all other respects, !ithout an
pronounce)ent as to costs.
?o ordered.
;treet, Malcolm, (vanceHa, Billamor and #strand, JJ., concur.
BELLIS 3* BELLIS
!5 SCRA 3#9
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-!3669 Jun) 6, "966
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, ,)1)a*),.
PEOPLEJS BANC an, TRUST COMPANB, e0ecutor.
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS an, MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants,
vs.
ED>ARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
Bicente . Macasaet and Jose %. Billena for oppositors appellants.
Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and 'azareno for 4eirs.appellees E. (. Bellis, et al.
3uiDano and (rroyo for 4eirs.appellees &. ;. Bellis, et al.
9$
J. . BalonJita for appellee PeopleQs BanJ R Trust Company.
#zaeta, Gibbs and #zaeta for appellee (. B. (llsman.
BENG%ON, J.P., J.:
This is a direct appeal to (s, upon a ;uestion purel of la!, fro) an order of the
Court of +irst ,nstance of Manila dated April 5A, -.8/, approvin' the pro3ect of
partition "led b the e0ecutor in Civil Case No. 59AB. therein.*F0p4G*.HIt
The facts of the case are as follo!sF
A)os J. Bellis, born in Te0as, !as :a citi7en of the ?tate of Te0as and of the (nited
?tates.: B his "rst !ife, Mar E. Mallen, !ho) he divorced, he had "ve le'iti)ate
childrenF Ed!ard A. Bellis, Jeor'e Bellis #!ho pre-deceased hi) in infanc%, 1enr
A. Bellis, Ale0ander Bellis and Anna Bellis Alls)an< b his second !ife, Diolet
Menned, !ho survived hi), he had three le'iti)ate childrenF Ed!in J. Bellis, 6alter
?. Bellis and *oroth Bellis< and "nall, he had three ille'iti)ate childrenF A)os
Bellis, @r., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miria) Pal)a Bellis.
=n Au'ust $, -.$4, A)os J. Bellis e0ecuted a !ill in the Philippines, in !hich he
directed that after all ta0es, obli'ations, and e0penses of ad)inistration are paid
for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the follo!in' order and
)annerF #a% \4/A,AAA.AA to his "rst !ife, Mar E. Mallen< #b% P-4A,AAA.AA to his
three ille'iti)ate children, A)os Bellis, @r., Maria Cristina Bellis, Miria) Pal)a Bellis,
or P/A,AAA.AA each and #c% after the fore'oin' t!o ite)s have been satis"ed, the
re)ainder shall 'o to his seven survivin' children b his "rst and second !ives,
na)elF Ed!ard A. Bellis, 1enr A. Bellis, Ale0ander Bellis and Anna Bellis Alls)an,
Ed!in J. Bellis, 6alter ?. Bellis, and *oroth E. Bellis, in e;ual shares.*F0p4G*.HIt
?ubse;uentl, or on @ul B, -.$B, A)os J. Bellis died a resident of ?an Antonio,
Te0as, (.?.A. 1is !ill !as ad)itted to probate in the Court of +irst ,nstance of Manila
on ?epte)ber -$, -.$B.
The PeopleRs Ban2 and Trust Co)pan, as e0ecutor of the !ill, paid all the be;uests
therein includin' the a)ount of \4/A,AAA.AA in the for) of shares of stoc2 to Mar
E. Mallen and to the three #5% ille'iti)ate children, A)os Bellis, @r., Maria Cristina
Bellis and Miria) Pal)a Bellis, various a)ounts totallin' P/A,AAA.AA each in
satisfaction of their respective le'acies, or a total of P-4A,AAA.AA, !hich it released
fro) ti)e to ti)e accordin' as the lo!er court approved and allo!ed the various
)otions or petitions "led b the latter three re;uestin' partial advances on account
of their respective le'acies.
=n @anuar B, -.8/, preparator to closin' its ad)inistration, the e0ecutor
sub)itted and "led its :E0ecutorRs +inal Account, Report of Ad)inistration and
Pro3ect of Partition: !herein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the le'ac of
Mar E. Mallen b the deliver to her of shares of stoc2 a)ountin' to \4/A,AAA.AA,
and the le'acies of A)os Bellis, @r., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miria) Pal)a Bellis in
the a)ount of P/A,AAA.AA each or a total of P-4A,AAA.AA. ,n the pro3ect of partition,
the e0ecutor U pursuant to the :T!elfth: clause of the testatorRs &ast 6ill and
98
Testa)ent U divided the residuar estate into seven e;ual portions for the bene"t
of the testatorRs seven le'iti)ate children b his "rst and second )arria'es.
=n @anuar -9, -.8/, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miria) Pal)a Bellis "led their
respective oppositions to the pro3ect of partition on the 'round that the !ere
deprived of their le'iti)es as ille'iti)ate children and, therefore, co)pulsor heirs
of the deceased.
A)os Bellis, @r. interposed no opposition despite notice to hi), proof of service of
!hich is evidenced b the re'istr receipt sub)itted on April 49, -.8/ b the
e0ecutor.
-
After the parties "led their respective )e)oranda and other pertinent pleadin's,
the lo!er court, on April 5A, -.8/, issued an order overrulin' the oppositions and
approvin' the e0ecutorRs "nal account, report and ad)inistration and pro3ect of
partition. Relin' upon Art. -8 of the Civil Code, it applied the national la! of the
decedent, !hich in this case is Te0as la!, !hich did not provide for le'iti)es.
Their respective )otions for reconsideration havin' been denied b the lo!er court
on @une --, -.8/, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to raise the issue of
!hich la! )ust appl U Te0as la! or Philippine la!.
,n this re'ard, the parties do not sub)it the case on, nor even discuss, the doctrine
of renvoi, applied b this Court in (znar v. C4ristensen Garcia, &--89/., @anuar 5-,
-.85. ?aid doctrine is usuall pertinent !here the decedent is a national of one
countr, and a do)icile of another. ,n the present case, it is not disputed that the
decedent !as both a national of Te0as and a do)icile thereof at the ti)e of his
death.
4
?o that even assu)in' Te0as has a con]ict of la! rule providin' that the
do)iciliar sste) #la! of the do)icile% should 'overn, the sa)e !ould not result in
a reference bac2 #renvoi% to Philippine la!, but !ould still refer to Te0as la!.
Nonetheless, if Te0as has a con]icts rule adoptin' the situs theor #le0 rei sitae%
callin' for the application of the la! of the place !here the properties are situated,
renvoi !ould arise, since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. ,n
the absence, ho!ever, of proof as to the con]ict of la! rule of Te0as, it should not
be presu)ed diferent fro) ours.
5
AppellantsR position is therefore not rested on the
doctrine of renvoi. As stated, the never invo2ed nor even )entioned it in their
ar'u)ents. Rather, the ar'ue that their case falls under the circu)stances
)entioned in the third para'raph of Article -9 in relation to Article -8 of the Civil
Code.
Article -8, par. 4, and Art. -A5. of the Civil Code, render applicable the national la!
of the decedent, in intestate or testa)entar successions, !ith re'ard to four ite)sF
#a% the order of succession< #b% the a)ount of successional ri'hts< #e% the intrinsic
validit of the provisions of the !ill< and #d% the capacit to succeed. The provide
that U
ART. -8. Real propert as !ell as personal propert is sub3ect to the la! of the
countr !here it is situated.
99
1o!ever, intestate and testa)entar successions, both !ith respect to the
order of succession and to the a)ount of successional ri'hts and to the
intrinsic validit of testa)entar provisions, shall be re'ulated b the national
la! of the person !hose succession is under consideration, !hatever )a he
the nature of the propert and re'ardless of the countr !herein said
propert )a be found.
ART. -A5.. Capacit to succeed is 'overned b the la! of the nation of the
decedent.
Appellants !ould ho!ever counter that Art. -9, para'raph three, of the Civil Code,
statin' that U
Prohibitive la!s concernin' persons, their acts or propert, and those !hich
have for their ob3ect public order, public polic and 'ood custo)s shall not be
rendered inefective b la!s or 3ud')ents pro)ul'ated, or b deter)inations
or conventions a'reed upon in a forei'n countr.
prevails as the e0ception to Art. -8, par. 4 of the Civil Code afore-;uoted. This is not
correct. Precisel, Con'ressdeleted the phrase, :not!ithstandin' the provisions of
this and the ne0t precedin' article: !hen the incorporated Art. -- of the old Civil
Code as Art. -9 of the ne! Civil Code, !hile reproducin' !ithout substantial chan'e
the second para'raph of Art. -A of the old Civil Code as Art. -8 in the ne!. ,t )ust
have been their purpose to )a2e the second para'raph of Art. -8 a speci"c
provision in itself !hich )ust be applied in testate and intestate succession. As
further indication of this le'islative intent, Con'ress added a ne! provision, under
Art. -A5., !hich decrees that capacit to succeed is to be 'overned b the national
la! of the decedent.
,t is therefore evident that !hatever public polic or 'ood custo)s )a be involved
in our ?ste) of le'iti)es, Con'ress has not intended to e0tend the sa)e to the
succession of forei'n nationals. +or it has speci"call chosen to leave, inter alia,
the amount of successional ri'hts, to the decedentRs national la!. ?peci"c
provisions )ust prevail over 'eneral ones.
Appellants !ould also point out that the decedent e0ecuted t!o !ills U one to
'overn his Te0as estate and the other his Philippine estate U ar'uin' fro) this that
he intended Philippine la! to 'overn his Philippine estate. Assu)in' that such !as
the decedentRs intention in e0ecutin' a separate Philippine !ill, it !ould not alter
the la!, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, $A Phil. B89, B9A, a provision in a
forei'nerRs !ill to the efect that his properties shall be distributed in accordance
!ith Philippine la! and not !ith his national la!, is ille'al and void, for his national
la! cannot be i'nored in re'ard to those )atters that Article -A U no! Article -8 U
of the Civil Code states said national la! should 'overn.
The parties ad)it that the decedent, A)os J. Bellis, !as a citi7en of the ?tate of
Te0as, (.?.A., and that under the la!s of Te0as, there are no forced heirs or
le'iti)es. Accordin'l, since the intrinsic validit of the provision of the !ill and the
9B
a)ount of successional ri'hts are to be deter)ined under Te0as la!, the Philippine
la! on le'iti)es cannot be applied to the testac of A)os J. Bellis.
6herefore, the order of the probate court is hereb aCr)ed in toto, !ith costs
a'ainst appellants. ?o ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., eyes, J.B.!., %izon, egala, MaJalintal, Paldivar, ;anc4ez and
Castro, JJ., concur.

Foo0no0)*
-
1e later "led a )otion prain' that as a le'al heir he be included in this case
as one of the oppositors-appellants< to "le or adopt the opposition of his
sisters to the pro3ect of partition< to sub)it his brief after pain' his
proportionate share in the e0penses incurred in the printin' of the record on
appeal< or to allo! hi) to adopt the briefs "led b his sisters U but this Court
resolved to den the )otion.
4
?an Antonio, Te0as !as his le'al residence.
5
&i) vs. Collector, 58 Phil. /94< "n re Testate Estate of ?unta, .$ Phil. $AA.
Bu@nao 3. U-a@
"4 P4IL "63
J.R. No. ///$, Bu'nao v. (ba' et al., -/ Phil. -85
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
?epte)ber -B, -.A.
9.
J.R. No. ///$
CATALINA BUGNAO, proponent-appellee,
vs.
FRANCISCO UBAG, ET AL., contestants-appellants.
odriguez and %el osario for appellants.
$ernando ;alas for appellee.
CARSON, J.:
This is an appeal fro) an order of the Court of +irst ,nstance of =riental Ne'ros,
ad)ittin' to probate a docu)ent purportin' to be the last !ill and testa)ent of
*o)in'o (ba', deceased. The instru)ent !as propounded b his !ido!, Catalina
Bu'nao, the sole bene"ciar thereunder, and probate !as contested b the
appellants, !ho are brothers and sisters of the deceased, and !ho !ould be entitled
to share in the distribution of his estate, if probate !ere denied, as it appears that
the deceased left no heirs in the direct ascendin' or descendin' line.
Appellants contend that the evidence of record is not suCcient to establish the
e0ecution of the alle'ed !ill in the )anner and for) prescribed in section 8-B of
theCode of Civil Procedure < and that at the ti)e !hen it is alle'ed that the !ill !as
e0ecuted, (ba' !as not of sound )ind and )e)or, and !as phsicall and
)entall incapable of )a2in' a !ill.
The instru)ent propounded for probate purports to be the last !ill and testa)ent of
*o)in'o (ba', si'ned b hi) in the presence of three subscribin' and attestin'
!itnesses, and appears upon its face to have been dul e0ecuted in accordance
!ith the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure touchin' the )a2in' of !ills.
T!o of the subscribin' !itnesses, Dictor @. Bin'to and Catalino MariZo, testi"ed in
support of the !ill, the latter bein' the 3ustice of the peace of the )unicipalit
!herein it !as e0ecuted< and their testi)on !as corroborated in all i)portant
details b the testi)on of the proponent herself, !ho !as present !hen the !ill
!as )ade. ,t does not appear fro) the record !h the third subscribin' !itness !as
not called< but since counsel for the contestants )a2es no co))ent upon his
absence, !e thin2 it )a safel be inferred that there !as so)e 'ood and suCcient
reason therefore. ,n passin', ho!ever, it )a be !ell to observe that, !hen because
of death, sic2ness, absence, or for an other reason, it is not practicable to call to
the !itness stand all the subscribin' !itnesses to a !ill ofered for probate, the
reason for the absence of an of these !itnesses should be )ade to appear of
record, and this especiall in cases such as the one at bar, !herein there is a
contests.
The subscribin' !itnesses 'ave full and detailed accounts of the e0ecution of the
!ill and s!ore that the testator, at the ti)e of its e0ecution, !as of sound )ind and
)e)or, and in their presence attached his si'nature thereto as his last !ill and
testa)ent, and that in his presence and in the presence of each other, the as !ell
as the third subscribin' !itness. *espite the searchin' and e0haustive cross-
BA
e0a)ination to !hich the !ere sub3ected, counsel for appellants could point to no
]a! in their testi)on save an alle'ed contradiction as to a sin'le incident !hich
occurred at or about the ti)e !hen the !ill !as e0ecuted a contradiction, ho!ever,
!hich !e thin2 is )ore apparent than real. =ne of the !itnesses stated that the
deceased sat up in bed and si'ned his na)e to the !ill, and that after its e0ecution
food !as 'iven hi) b his !ife< !hile the other testi"ed that he !as assisted into a
sittin' position, and !as 'iven so)ethin' to eat before he si'ned his na)e. 6e
thin2 the evidence discloses that his !ife aided the sic2 )an to sit up in bed at the
ti)e !hen he si'ned his na)e to the instru)ent, and that he !as 'iven
nourish)ent !hile he !as in that position, but it is not ;uite clear !hether this !as
i))ediatel before or after, or both before and after he attached his si'nature to
the !ill. To sa that the sic2 )an sat up or raised hi)self up in bed is not
necessaril in con]ict !ith the fact that he received assistance in doin' so< and it is
not at all i)probable or i)possible that nourish)ent )i'ht have been 'iven to hi)
both before and after si'nin' the !ill, and that one !itness )i'ht re)e)ber the
for)er occasion and the other !itness )i'ht recall the latter, althou'h neither
!itness could recall both. But, ho!ever this )a have been, !e do not thin2 that a
sli'ht lapse of )e)or on the part of one or the other !itness, as to the precise
details of an uni)portant incident, to !hich his attention )a not have been
particularl directed, is suCcient to raise a doubt as to the veracit of these
!itnesses, or as to the truth and accurac of their recollection of the fact of the
e0ecution of the instru)ent. =f course, a nu)ber of contradictions in the testi)on
of alle'ed subscribin' !itnesses to a !ill as to the circu)stances under !hich it !as
e0ecuted, or even a sin'le contradiction as to a particular incident, !here the
incident !as of such a nature that the intention of an person !ho !as present
)ust have been directed to it, and !here the contradictor state)ents in re'ard to
it are so clear and e0plicit as to ne'ative the possibilit or probabilit of )ista2e,
)i'ht !ell be suCcient to 3ustif the conclusion that the !itnesses could not
possibl have been present, to'ether, at the ti)e !hen it is alle'ed the !ill !as
e0ecuted< but the apparent contradictions in the testi)on of the !itnesses in the
case at bar fall far short of raisin' a doubt a to their veracit, and on the other hand
their testi)on as a !hole 'ives such clear, e0plicit, and detailed account of all that
occurred, and is so convincin' and alto'ether satisfactor that !e have no doubt
that the trial 3ud'e !ho heard the) testif properl accepted their testi)on as
!orth of entire con"dence and belief.
The contestants put upon the stand four !itnesses for the purpose of provin' that
at the ti)e and on the occasion !hen the subscribin' !itnesses testi"ed that the
!ill !as e0ecuted, these !itnesses !ere not in the house !ith the testator, and that
the alle'ed testator !as at that ti)e in such phsical and )ental condition that it
!as i)possible for hi) to have )ade a !ill. T!o of these !itnesses, upon cross-
e0a)ination, ad)itted that the !ere not in the house at or bet!een the hours of
four and si0 in the afternoon of the da on !hich the !ill is alle'ed to have been
)ade, this bein' the ti)e at !hich the !itnesses in support of the !ill testi"ed that
it !as e0ecuted. =f the other !itnesses, one is a contestant of the !ill, Macario
(ba', a brother of the testator, and the other, Canuto ?ino, his close relative.
These !itnesses s!ore that the !ere in the house of the deceased, !here he !as
lin' ill, at or about the ti)e !hen it is alle'ed that the !ill !as e0ecuted, and that
at that ti)e the alle'ed subscribin' !itnesses !ere not in the house, and the
alle'ed testator !as so sic2 that he !as unable to spea2, to understand, or to )a2e
B-
hi)self understood, and that he !as !holl incapacitated to )a2e a !ill. But the
testi)on of Macario (ba' is in our opinion !holl un!orth of credence. ,n
addition to his )anifest interest in the result of the investi'ation, it clearl discloses
a "0ed and settled purpose to overthro! the !ill at all costs, and to that end an
utter disre'ard of the truth, and readiness to s!ear to an fact !hich he i)a'ined
!ould aid in securin' his ob3ect. An ad)ittedl 'enuine and authentic si'nature of
the deceased !as introduced in evidence for co)parison !ith the si'nature
attached to the !ill, but this !itness in his an0iet to den the 'enuineness of the
si'nature of his brother to the !ill, pro)ptl and positivel s!ore that the
ad)ittedl 'enuine si'nature !as not his brotherRs si'nature, and onl corrected his
erroneous state)ent in response to a so)e!hat su''estive ;uestion b his
attorne !hich evidentl 'ave hi) to understand that his for)er ans!er !as li2el
to pre3udice his o!n cause. =n cross-e0a)ination, he !as forced to ad)it that
because his brother and his brotherRs !ife #in those favor the !ill !as )ade% !ere
A'lipaanos, he and his other brothers and sisters had not visited the) for )an
)onths prior to the one particular occasion as to !hich testi"ed< and he ad)itted
further, that, althou'h he lived near at hand, at no ti)e thereafter did he or an of
the other )e)bers of his fa)il visit their din' brother, and that the did not even
attend the funeral. ,f the testi)on of this !itness could be accepted as true, it
!ould be a re)ar2able coincidence indeed, that the subscribin' !itnesses to the
alle'ed !ill should have falsel pretended to have 3oined in its e0ecution on the ver
da, and at the precise hour, !hen this interested !itness happened to pa his onl
visit to his brother durin' his last illness, so that the testi)on of this !itness !ould
furnish conclusive evidence in support of the alle'ations of the contestants that the
alle'ed !ill !as not e0ecuted at the ti)e and place or in the )anner and for)
alle'ed b the subscribin' !itnesses. 6e do not thin2 that the testi)on of this
!itness nor an of the other !itnesses for the contestants is suCcient to raise even
a doubt as to the truth of the testi)on of the subscribin' !itnesses as to the fact
of the e0ecution of the !ill, or as to the )anner and fro) in !hich it !as e0ecuted.
,n the course of the proceedin's, an ad)ittedl 'enuine si'nature of the deceased
!as introduced in evidence, and upon a co)parison of this si'nature !ith the
si'nature attached to the instru)ent in ;uestion, !e are !holl of the opinion of the
trial 3ud'e, !ho held in this connection as follo!sF
No e0pert evidence has been adduced !ith re'ard to these t!o si'natures, and the
presidin' 3ud'e of this court does not clai) to possess an special e0pert
2no!led'e in the )atter of si'natures< nevertheless, the court has co)pared these
t!o si'natures, and does not "nd that an )aterial diferences e0ists bet!een the
sa)e. ,t is true that the si'nature !hich appears in the docu)ent ofered for
authentication discloses that at the ti)e of !ritin' the subscriber !as )ore
deliberate in his )ove)ents, but t!o facts )ust be ac2no!led'eF +irst, that the
testator !as seriousl ill, and the other fact, that for so)e reason !hich is not
stated the testator !as unable to see, and !as a person !ho !as not in the habit of
si'nin' his na)e ever da.
These facts should suCcientl e0plain !hatever diference )a e0ist bet!een the
t!o si'natures, but the court "nds that the principal stro2es in the t!o si'natures
are identical.
B4
That the testator !as )entall capable of )a2in' the !ill is in our opinion full
established b the testi)on of the subscribin' !itnesses !ho s!ore positivel that,
at the ti)e of its e0ecution, he !as of sound )ind and )e)or. ,t is true that their
testi)on discloses the fact that he !as at that ti)e e0tre)el ill, in an advanced
sta'e of tuberculosis co)plicated !ith severe inter)ittent attac2s of asth)a< that
he !as too sic2 to rise unaided fro) his bed< that he needed assistance even to rise
hi)self to a sittin' position< and that durin' the paro0s)s of asth)a to !hich he
!as sub3ect he could not spea2< but all this evidence of phsical !ea2ness in no
!ise establishes his )ental incapacit or a lac2 of testa)entar capacit, and
indeed the evidence of the subscribin' !itnesses as to the aid furnished the) b
the testator in preparin' the !ill, and his clear recollection of the boundaries and
phsical description of the various parcels of land set out therein, ta2en to'ether
!ith the fact that he !as able to 'ive to the person !ho !rote the !ill clear and
e0plicit instructions as to his desires touchin' the disposition of his propert, is
stron' evidence of his testa)entar capacit.
Counsel for appellant su''ests that the fact that the alle'ed !ill leaves all the
propert of the testator to his !ido!, and !holl fails to )a2e an provision for his
brothers or sisters, indicates a lac2 of testa)entar capacit and undue in]uence<
and because of the inherent i)probabilit that a )an !ould )a2e so unnatural and
unreasonable a !ill, the contend that this fact indirectl corroborates their
contention that the deceased never did in fact e0ecute the !ill. But !hen it is
considered that the deceased at the ti)e of his death had no heirs in the ascendin'
or descendin' line< that a bitter fa)il ;uarrel had lon' separated hi) fro) his
brothers and sisters, !ho declined to have an relations !ith the testator because
he and his !ife !ere adherents of the A'lipaano Church< and that this ;uarrel !as
so bitter that none of his brothers or sisters, althou'h so)e of the) lived in the
vicinit, !ere present at the ti)e of his death or attended his funeral< !e thin2 the
fact that the deceased desired to leave and did leave all of his propert to his !ido!
and )ade no provision for his brothers and sisters, !ho the)selves !ere 'ro!n
)en and !o)en, b no )eans tends to disclose either an unsound )ind or the
presence of undue in]uence on the part of his !ife, or in an !ise corroborates
contestantsR alle'ation that the !ill never !as e0ecuted.
,t has been said that :the diCcult of statin' standards or tests b !hich to
deter)ine the de'ree of )ental capacit of a particular person has been
ever!here reco'ni7ed, and 'ro!s out of the inherent i)possibilit of )easurin'
)ental capacit, or its i)pair)ent b disease or other causes: #Jreene vs. Jreene,
-/$ ,,,., 48/, 498%< and that :it is probable that no court has ever atte)pted to la
do!n an de"nite rule in respect to the e0act a)ount of )ental capacit re;uisite
for the )a2in' of a valid !ill, !ithout appreciatin' the diCcult of the underta2in':
#Trish vs. Ne!ell, 84 ,,,., -.8, 4A5%.
Bet!een the hi'hest de'ree of soundness of )ind and )e)or !hich
un;uestionabl carries !ith it full testa)entar capacit, and that de'ree of )ental
aberration 'enerall 2no!n as insanit or idioc, there are nu)berless de'rees of
)ental capacit or incapacit, and !hile on one hand it has been held that :)ere
!ea2ness of )ind, or partial i)becilit fro) the disease of bod, or fro) a'e, !ill
not render a person incapable of )a2in' a !ill, a !ea2 or feeble )inded person
)a )a2e a valid !ill, provided he has understandin' )e)or suCcient to enable
hi) to 2no! !hat he is about, and ho! or to !ho) he is disposin' of his propert:
B5
#&od'e vs. &od'e, 4 1oust. #*el.%, /-B%< that, :To constitute a sound and disposin'
)ind, it is not necessar that the )ind should be unbro2en or uni)paired,
unshattered b disease or other!ise: #?loan vs. Ma0!ell, 5 N. @. E;., $85%< that :it
has not been understood that a testator )ust possess these ;ualities #of sound and
disposin' )ind and )e)or% in the hi'hest de'ree. . . . +e! indeed !ould be the
!ills con"r)ed, if this is correct. Pain, sic2ness, debilit of bod, fro) a'e or
in"r)it, !ould, accordin' to its violence or duration, in a 'reater or less de'ree,
brea2 in upon, !ea2en, or deran'e the )ind, but the deran'e)ent )ust be such as
deprives hi) of the rational faculties co))on to )an: #*en. vs. Dancleve, $ N. @.
&.,8BA%< and, that :?ound )ind does not )ean a perfectl balanced )ind. The
;uestion of soundness is one of de'ree: #Bou'hton vs. Mni'ht, &. R.,5 P. Y *., 8/< /4
&. @. P., 4$%< on the other hand, it has been held that :testa)entar incapacit does
not necessaril re;uire that a person shall actuall be insane or of an unsound
)ind. 6ea2ness of intellect, !hether it arises fro) e0tre)e old a'e fro) disease, or
'reat bodil in"r)ities or suferin', or fro) all these co)bined, )a render the
testator incapable of )a2in' a valid !ill, providin' such !ea2ness reall dis;uali"es
her fro) 2no!in' or appreciatin' the nature, efects, or conse;uences of the act
she is en'a'ed in: #Manatt vs. ?cott, -A8 ,o!a, 4A5< 8B A). ?t. Rep., 4.5, 5A4%.
But for the purposes of this decision it is not necessar for us to atte)pt to la
do!n a de"nition of testa)entar capacit !hich !ill cover all possible cases !hich
)a present the)selves, because, as !ill be seen fro) !hat has alread been said,
the testator !as, at the ti)e of )a2in' the instru)ent under consideration,
endo!ed !ith all the ele)ents of )ental capacit set out in the follo!in' de"nition
of testa)entar capacit !hich has been fre;uentl announced in courts of last
resort in En'land and the (nited ?tates< and !hile is so)e cases testa)entar
capacit has been held to e0ist in the absence of proof of so)e of these ele)ents,
there can be no ;uestion that, in the absence of proof of ver e0ceptional
circu)stances, proof of the e0istence of all these ele)ents in suCcient to establish
the e0istence of testa)entar capacit.
Testa)entar capacit is the capacit to co)prehend the nature of the transaction
!hich the testator is en'a'ed at the ti)e, to recollect the propert to be disposed
of and the person !ho !ould naturall be supposed to have clai)s upon the
testator, and to co)prehend the )anner in !hich the instru)ent !ill distribute his
propert a)on' the ob3ects of his bount.
#Cf. lar'e arra of cases cited in support of this de"nition in the Encclopedia of
&a!, vol. 45, p. 9-, second edition.%
,n our opinion, the evidence of record establishes in a stri2in'l conclusive )anner
the e0ecution of the instru)ent propounded as the last !ill and testa)ent of the
deceased< that it !as )ade in strict confor)it !ith the re;uisites prescribed b
la!< and that, at the ti)e of its e0ecution, the deceased !as of sound )ind and
)e)or, and e0ecuted the instru)ent of his o!n free !ill and accord.
The order probatin' the !ill should be land is hereb aCr)ed, !ith the cost of this
instance a'ainst the appellants.
(rellano, C. J., Torres, Jo4nson, and Moreland, JJ., concur.
B/
JULIANA BAGTAS, /+a.n0.G*-a//)++)), 3*. ISIDRO PAGUIO, ET
AL., ,)')n,an0*-a//)++an0*.
!! P4IL !!6
J.R. No. 8BA-, Ba'tas v. Pa'uio et al., 44 Phil. 449
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
March -/, -.-4
J.R. No. 8BA-
JULIANA BAGTAS, plaintifs-appellee,
vs.
ISIDRO PAGUIO, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
;alas and Nala0 for appellants.
Jose ;antiago for appellee.
TRENT, J.F
This is an appeal fro) an order of the Court of +irst ,nstance of the Province
of Bataan, ad)ittin' to probate a docu)ent !hich !as ofered as the last
!ill and testa)ent of Pio;uinto Pa'uio Pi7arro. The !ill purports to have
been e0ecuted in the pueblo of Pilar, Province of Bataan, on the -.th da of
April, -.AB. The testator died on the 4Bth of ?epte)ber, -.A., a ear and
"ve )onths follo!in' the date of the e0ecution of the !ill. The !ill !as
propounded b the e0ecutri0, @uliana Ba'tas, !ido! of the decedent, and the
opponents are a son and several 'randchildren b a for)er )arria'e, the
latter bein' the children of a deceased dau'hter.
The basis of the opposition to the probation of the !ill is that the sa)e !as
not e0ecuted accordin' to the for)alities and re;uire)ents of the la!
touchin' !ills, and further that the testator !as not in the full of en3o)ent
and use of his )ental faculties and !as !ithout the )ental capacit
necessar to e0ecute a valid !ill.
B$
The record sho!s that the testator, Pio;uinto Pa'uio, for so)e fourteen of
"fteen ears prior to the ti)e of his death sufered fro) a paralsis of the
left side of his bod< that a fe! ears prior to his death his hearin' beca)e
i)paired and that he lost the po!er of speech. =!in' to the paralsis of
certain )uscles his head fell to one side, and saliva ran fro) his )outh. 1e
retained the use of his ri'ht hand, ho!ever, and !as able to !rite fairl !ell.
Throu'h the )ediu) of si'ns he !as able to indicate his !ishes to his !ife
and to other )e)bers of his fa)il.
At the ti)e of the e0ecution of the !ill there !ere present the four
testa)entar !itnesses, A'ustin Pa'uio, Anacleto Pa'uio, and Pedro Pa'uio,
and attorne, ?eZor Marco, and one +lorentino Ra)os. Anacleto Pa'uio and
the attorne have since died, and conse;uentl their testi)on !as not
available upon the trial of the case in the lo!er court. The other three
testa)entar !itnesses and the !itness +lorentino Ra)os testi"ed as to the
)anner in !hich the !ill !as e0ecuted. Accordin' to the uncontroverted
testi)on of these !itnesses the !ill !as e0ecuted in the follo!in' )annerF
Pio;uinto Pa'uio, the testator, !rote out on pieces of paper notes and ite)s
relatin' to the disposition of his propert, and these notes !ere in turn
delivered to ?eZor Marco, !ho transcribed the) and put the) in for). The
!itnesses testif that the pieces of paper upon !hich the notes !ere !ritten
are delivered to attorne b the testator< that the attorne read the) to the
testator as2in' if the !ere his testa)entar dispositions< that the testator
assented each ti)e !ith an aCr)ative )ove)ent of his head< that after the
!ill as a !hole had been thus !ritten b the attorne, it !as read in a loud
voice in the presence of the testator and the !itnesses< that ?eZor Marco
'ave the docu)ent to the testator< that the latter, after loo2in' over it,
si'ned it in the presence of the four subscribin' !itnesses< and that the in
turn si'ned it in the presence of the testator and each other.
These are the facts of record !ith reference to the e0ecution of the !ill and
!e are in perfect accord !ith the 3ud')ent of the lo!er court that the
for)alities of the Code of Civil Procedure have been full co)plied !ith.
This brin's us no! to a consideration of appellantsR second assi'n)ent of
error, vi7, the testatorRs alle'ed )ental incapacit at the ti)e of the
e0ecution of the !ill. (pon this point considerable evidence !as adduced at
the trial. =ne of the attestin' !itnesses testi"ed that at the ti)e of the
e0ecution of the !ill the testator !as in his ri'ht )ind, and that althou'h he
!as seriousl ill, he indicated b )ove)ents of his head !hat his !ishes
!ere. Another of the attestin' !itnesses stated that he !as not able to sa
!hether decedent had the full use of his )ental faculties or not, because he
had been ill for so)e ears, and that he #the !itnesses% !as not a phsician.
The other subscribin' !itness, Pedro Pa'uio, testi"ed in the lo!er court as a
!itness for the opponents. 1e !as unable to state !hether or not the !ill
B8
!as the !ish of the testator. The onl reasons he 'ave for his state)ent
!ere the in"r)it and advanced a'e of the testator and the fact that he !as
unable to spea2. The !itness stated that the testator si'ned the !ill, and he
veri"ed his o!n si'nature as a subscribin' !itness.
+lorentino Ra)os, althou'h not an attestin' !itness, stated that he !as
present !hen the !ill !as e0ecuted and his testi)on !as cu)ulative in
corroboration of the )anner in !hich the !ill !as e0ecuted and as to the fact
that the testator si'ned the !ill. This !itness also stated that he had
fre;uentl transacted )atters of business for the decedent and had !ritten
letters and )ade inventories of his propert at his re;uest, and that
i))ediatel before and after the e0ecution of the !ill he had perfor)ed
oCces of his character. 1e stated that the decedent !as able to
co))unicate his thou'hts b !ritin'. The testi)on of this !itness clearl
indicates the presence of )ental capacit on the part of the testator. A)on'
other !itnesses for the opponents !ere t!o phsician, *octor Basa and
*octor Diado. *octor Basa testi"ed that he had attended the testator so)e
four or "ve ears prior to his death and that the latter had sufered fro) a
cerebral con'estion fro) !hich the paralsis resulted. The follo!in' ;uestion
!as propounded to *octor BasaF
E. Referrin' to )ental condition in !hich ou found hi) the last ti)e ou
attended hi), do ou thin2 he !as in his ri'ht )indX
A. , can not sa e0actl !hether he !as in his ri'ht )ind, but , noted
so)e )ental disorder, because !hen , spo2e to hi) he did not ans!er )e.
*octor Basa testi"ed at )ore len'th, but the substance of his testi)on is
that the testator had sufered a paralsis and that he had noticed so)e
)ental disorder. 1e does not sa that the testator !as not in his ri'ht )ind
at the ti)e of the e0ecution of the !ill, nor does he 'ive it at his opinion that
he !as !ithout the necessar )ental capacit to )a2e a valid !ill. 1e did
not state in !hat !a this )ental disorder had )anifested itself other than
that he had noticed that the testator did not repl to hi) on one occasion
!hen he visited hi).
*octor Diado, the other phsician, have never seen the testator, but his
ans!er !as in repl to a hpothetical ;uestion as to !hat be the )ental
condition of a person !ho !as 9. ears old and !ho had sufered fro) a
)alad such as the testator !as supposed to have had accordin' to the
testi)on of *octor Basa, !hose testi)on *octor Diado had heard. 1e
replied and discussed at so)e len'th the s)pto)s and conse;uences of
the decease fro) !hich the testator had sufered< he read in support of his
state)ents fro) a !or2 b a Jer)an Phsician, *r. 1er)an Eichost. ,n
ans!er, ho!ever, to a direct ;uestion, he stated that he !ould be unable to
B9
certif to the )ental condition of a person !ho !as suferin' fro) such a
disease.
6e do not thin2 that the testi)on of these t!o phsicians in an !a
stren'thens the contention of the appellants. Their testi)on onl con"r)s
the fact that the testator had been for a nu)ber of ears prior to his death
aLicted !ith paralsis, in conse;uence of !hich his phsician and )ental
stren'th !as 'reatl i)paired. Neither of the) atte)pted to state !hat !as
the )ental condition of the testator at the ti)e he e0ecuted the !ill in
;uestion. There can be no doubt that the testatorRs in"r)ities !ere of a ver
serious character, and it is ;uite evident that his )ind !as not as active as it
had been in the earlier ears of his life. 1o!ever, !e can not include fro)
this that he !antin' in the necessar )ental capacit to dispose of his
propert b !ill.
The courts have been called upon fre;uentl to nullif !ills e0ecuted under
such circu)stances, but the !ei'ht of the authorit is in support if the
principle that it is onl !hen those see2in' to overthro! the !ill have clearl
established the char'e of )ental incapacit that the courts !ill intervene to
set aside a testa)entar docu)ent of this character. ,n the case of Bugnao
vs. Kbag #-/ Phil. Rep., -85%, the ;uestion of testa)entar capacit !as
discussed b this court. The nu)erous citations there 'iven fro) the
decisions of the (nited ?tates courts are especiall applicable to the case at
bar and have our approval. ,n this 3urisdiction the presu)ption of la! is in
favor of the )ental capacit of the testator and the burden is upon the
contestants of the !ill to prove the lac2 of testa)entar capacit. #,n the
)atter of the !ill of Cabi'tin', -/ Phil. Rep., /85< in the )atter of the !ill of
Butalid, -A Phil. Rep., 49< 1ernae7 vs. 1ernae7,- Phil. Rep., 8B..%
The rule of la! relatin' to the presu)ption of )ental soundness is !ell
established, and the testator in the case at bar never havin' been ad3ud'ed
insane b a court of co)petent 3urisdiction, this presu)ption continues, and
it is therefore incu)bent upon the opponents to overco)e this le'al
presu)ption b proper evidence. This !e thin2 the have failed to do. There
are )an cases and authorities !hich !e )i'ht cite to sho! that the courts
have repeatedl held that )ere !ea2ness of )ind and bod, induced b a'e
and disease do not render a person incapable of )a2in' a !ill. The la! does
not re;uire that a person shall continue in the full en3o)ent and use of his
pristine phsical and )ental po!ers in order to e0ecute a valid !ill. ,f such
!ere the le'al standard, fe! indeed !ould be the nu)ber of !ills that could
)eet such e0actin' re;uire)ents. The authorities, both )edical and le'al,
are universal in state)ent that the ;uestion of )ental capacit is one of
de'ree, and that there are )an 'radations fro) the hi'hest de'ree of
)ental soundness to the lo!est conditions of diseased )entalit !hich are
deno)inated as insanit and idioc.
BB
The ri'ht to dispose of propert b testa)entar disposition is as sacred as
an other ri'ht !hich a person )a e0ercise and this ri'ht should not be
nulli"ed unless )ental incapacit is established in a positive and conclusive
)anner. ,n discussin' the ;uestion of testa)entar capacit, it is stated in
volu)e 4B, 9A, of the A)erican and En'lish Encclopedia of &a!, that U
Contrar to the ver prevalent la i)pression, perfect soundness of )ind is
not essential to testa)entar capacit. A testator )a be aLicted !ith a
variet of )ental !ea2nesses, disorders, or peculiarities and still be capable
in la! of e0ecutin' a valid !ill. #?ee the nu)erous cases there cited in
support of this state)ent.%
The rule relatin' to testa)entar capacit is stated in Bus!ell on ,nsanit,
section 58$, and ;uoted !ith approval in Campbell vs. Campbell #-5A ,ll.,
/88%, as follo!sF
To constitute a sound and disposin' )ind, it is not necessar that the )ind
shall be !holl unbro2en, uni)paired, or unshattered b disease or
other!ise, or that the testator should be in the full possession of his
reasonin' faculties.
,n note, - @ar)an on 6ills, 5B, the rule is thus statedF
The ;uestion is not so )uch, that !as the de'ree of )e)or possessed b
the testator, as, had he a disposin' )e)orX 6as he able to re)e)ber the
propert he !as about to be;ueath, the )anner of disturbin' it, and the
ob3ects of his bountX ,n a !ord, !ere his )ind and )e)or suCcientl
sound to enable hi) to 2no! and understand the business in !hich he !as
en'a'ed at the ti)e !hen he e0ecuted his !ill. #?ee authorities there cited.%
,n &ilson vs. Mitc4ell #-A- Penn., /.$%, the follo!in' facts appeared upon the
trial of the caseF The testator died at the a'e of nearl -A4 ears. ,n his earl
ears he !as an intelli'ent and !ell infor)ed )an. About seven ears prior
to his death he sufered a paraltic stro2e and fro) that ti)e his )ind and
)e)or !ere )ush enfeebled. 1e beca)e ver dull of hearin' and in
conse;uence of the shrin2in' of his brain he !as afected !ith senile
cataract causin' total blindness. 1e beca)e "lth and obscene in his habits,
althou'h for)erl he !as observant of the properties of life. The court, in
co))entin' upon the case, saidF
Neither a'e, nor sic2ness, nor e0tre)e distress, nor debilit of bod !ill
afect the capacit to )a2e a !ill, if suCcient intelli'ence re)ains. The
failure of )e)or is not suCcient to create the incapacit, unless it be total,
or e0tend to his i))ediate fa)il or propert. . . .
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B.
*ou'al #the testator% had lived over one hundred ears before he )ade the
!ill, and his phsical and )ental !ea2ness and defective )e)or !ere in
stri2in' contrast !ith their stren'th in the )eridian of his life. 1e !as blind<
not deaf, but hearin' i)paired< his )ind acted slo!l, he !as for'etful or
recent events, especiall of na)es, and repeated ;uestions in conversation<
and so)eti)es, !hen aroused for sleep or slu)ber, !ould see) be!ildered.
,t is not sin'ular that so)e of those !ho had 2no!n hi) !hen he !as
re)ar2able for vi'or and intelli'ence, are of the opinion that his reason !as
so far 'one that he !as incapable of )a2in' a !ill, althou'h the never
heard hi) utter an irrational e0pression.
,n the above case the !ill !as sustained. ,n the case at bar !e )i'ht dra!
the sa)e contrast as !as pictured b the court in the case 3ust ;uoted. The
stri2in' chan'e in the phsical and )ental vi'or of the testator durin' the
last ears of his life )a have led so)e of those !ho 2ne! hi) in his earlier
das to entertain doubts as to his )ental capacit to )a2e a !ill, et !e
thin2 that the state)ents of the !itnesses to the e0ecution of the !ill and
state)ents of the conduct of the testator at that ti)e all indicate that he
un;uestionabl had )ental capacit and that he e0ercised it on this
occasion. At the ti)e of the e0ecution of the !ill it does not appear that his
conduct !as irrational in an particular. 1e see)s to have co)prehended
clearl !hat the nature of the business !as in !hich he !as en'a'ed. The
evidence sho! that the !ritin' and e0ecution of the !ill occupied a period
several hours and that the testator !as present durin' all this ti)e, ta2in'
an active part in all the proceedin's. A'ain, the !ill in the case at bar is
perfectl reasonable and its dispositions are those of a rational person.
+or the reasons above stated, the order probatin' the !ill should be and the
sa)e is hereb aCr)ed, !ith costs of this instance a'ainst the appellants.
(rellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Jo4nson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.
TRINIDAD NEBRA, /+a.n0.G-a//)++an0, 3*. ENCARNACION
NEBRA, ,)')n,an0-a//)++))
66 P4IL 333
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
C.A. No. 956# Mar1( !#, "946
.A
TRINIDAD NEBRA, plaintif-appellant,
vs.
ENCARNACION NEBRA, defendant-appellee.
(leDandro M. Panis for appellant.
!ucio Javillonar for appellee.
DE JOBA, J.$
=n =ctober 4$, -.5., Trinidad Nera "led a co)plaint a'ainst her sister,
Encarnacion Nera, in the Court of +irst ,nstance of the Cit of Manila, for the
recover of one-half #S% of the propert )entioned and described therein, !hich
had been left b their deceased father, ?evero Nera, and !hich had been
previousl divided e;uall bet!een the t!o e0tra3udiciall, de)andin' at the sa)e
ti)e one-half #S% of the rents collected on the said propert b the defendant
Encarnacion Nera. The defendant "led an ans!er ad)ittin' that the propert
)entioned and described therein !as co))unit propert, and at the sa)e ti)e
set up counterclai)s a)ountin' to over P-,AAA, for )one spent, durin' the last
illness of their father, and for )one loaned to the plaintif.
After the trial of the case, the court found that the plaintif !as reall entitled to
one-half #S% of the said propert, ad3udicatin' the sa)e to her, but at the sa)e
ti)e ordered said plaintif to pa to the defendant the su) of P949.99, plus
interests, b virtue of said counterclai)s.
Plaintif Trinidad Nera appealed fro) the said decision, to the Court of Appeals for
Manila, alle'in' several errors, attac2in' the e0ecution and validit of said
a'ree)ent< and on Nove)ber -A, -./4, said appeal !as dis)issed, pursuant to the
to an a'ree)ent or co)pro)ise entered into b the parties, as sho!n b the
correspondin' docu)ent, dated Nove)ber 5, -./4, !hich !as "led in the case the
follo!in' da, Nove)ber /, -./4.
,n the )ean!hile, Encarnacion Nera, !ho had been sic2l for about t!o ears,
une0pectedl died, on Nove)ber /, -./4 at the a'e of /B, alle'edl fro) heart
attac2, as a conse;uence of AddisonRs disease fro) !hich, it !as clai)ed, she had
been suferin' for so)eti)e.
,n vie! of the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated Nove)ber -A, -./4,
dis)issin' the appeal, b virtue of said a'ree)ent or co)pro)ise, Att. &ucio
@avillonar, clai)in' to represent Encarnacion Nera, !ho had died since Nove)ber
/, -./4, and other relatives of hers, "led a petition, dated Nove)ber 45, -./4,
as2in' for the reconsideration of said decision of the Court of Appeals, dis)issin'
the appeal, clai)in' that the alle'ed co)pro)ise or a'ree)ent, dated Nove)ber 5,
-./4, could not have been understood b Encarnacion Nera, as she !as alread
then at the threshold of death, and that as a )atter of fact she died the follo!in'
da< and that if it had been si'ned at all b said Encarnacion Nera, her thu)b)ar2
appearin' on said docu)ent )ust have been aC0ed thereto b Trinidad NeraRs
attorne, a'ainst EncarnacionRs !ill< and that the court had no )ore 3urisdiction
.-
over the case, !hen the alle'ed a'ree)ent !as "led on Nove)ber /, -./4, at the
instance of Trinidad Nera, as Encarnacion !as alread dead at the ti)e.
The principal ;uestion to be decided, in connection !ith said petition for
reconsideration, is !hether or not said co)pro)ise or a'ree)ent had been le'all
e0ecuted and si'ned b Encarnacion Nera, on Nove)ber 5, -./4. Trinidad Nera
)aintains the aCr)ative.
The volu)inous evidence, testi)onial and docu)entar, adduced b the parties, in
this case, has full established the follo!in' factsF
That ?evero Nara died intestate in the Cit of Manila, on Ma 8, -.5B, leavin'
certain properties and t!o children, b his "rst )arria'e, na)ed Encarnacion Nera
and Trinidad Nera, and other children b his second )arria'e< That after the death
of ?evero Nera, the t!o sisters, Encarnacion Nera and Trinidad Nera, had serious
)isunderstandin's, in connection !ith the properties left b their deceased father,
and so serious !ere their dissensions that, after March 5-, -.5., the had t!o
liti'ations in the Court of +irst ,nstance of Manila, concernin' said properties. ,n the
"rst case, "led in March 5-, -.5., Trinidad Nera and others de)anded b
Encarnacion Nera and others the annul)ent of the sale of the propert located at
No. 588 Raon ?treet, Manila !hich !as "nall decided in favor of the defendants, in
the court of "rst instance, and in the Court of Appeals, on *ece)ber 4-, -./5 #J.R.
No. B-84%< and the second is the instance case.
That Encarnacion Nera, !ho had re)ained sin'le, and !ho had no lon'er an
ascendants, e0ecuted a !ill on ?epte)ber -/, -.5., )ar2ed E0hibit -8, disposin' of
her properties in favor of the :Con're'acion de Reli'iosas de la Dir'en Maria: and
her other relatives, na)ed Teodora Nera, Pilar de Ju7)an and Maria @acobo Dda.
de Blanco, )a2in' no provision !hatsoever in said !ill, in favor of her onl sister of
the !hole blood, Trinidad Nera, !ho had beco)e her bitter ene)< that !hen the
said !ill !as brou'ht to the attention of the authorities of said Con're'ation, after
due deliberation and consideration, said reli'ious or'ani7ation declined the bount
ofered b Encarnacion Nera, and said decision of the Con're'ation !as dul
co))unicated to her< that in order to overco)e the diCculties encountered b said
reli'ious or'ani7ation in not acceptin' the 'enerosit of Encarnacion Nera, the
latter decided to )a2e a ne! !ill, and for that purpose, about one !ee2 before her
death, sent for Att. Ricardo ?i2at, and 'ave hi) instructions for the preparation of a
ne! !ill< that Att. ?i2at, instead of preparin' a ne! !ill, )erel prepared a draft of
a codicil, a)endin' said !ill, dated ?epte)ber -/, -.5., a'ain na)in' said
reli'ious or'ani7ation, a)on' others as bene"ciar, and said draft of a codicil !as
also for!arded to the authorities of reli'ious or'ani7ation, for their consideration
and acceptance< but it !as also re3ected.
,n the )ean!hile, Encarnacion Nera had beco)e seriousl ill, suferin' fro)
AddisonRs disease, and on =ctober 5-, -./4, she sent for her reli'ious adviser and
confessor, Mons. Dicente +ernande7 of the Euiapo Church to )a2e confession, after
!hich she re;uested that hol )ass be celebrated in her house at No. 588 Raon
?treet, Cit of Manila, so that she )i'ht ta2e hol co))union< that Mons.
+ernande7 caused the necessar arran'e)ents to be )ade, and, as a )atter of
fact, on Nove)ber -, -./4, hol )ass !as sole)ni7ed in her house b +ather
.4
Teodoro Jarcia, also of the Euiapo Church, on !hich occasion, Encarnacion Nera,
!ho re)ained in bed, too2 hol co))union< that after the )ass, +ather Jarcia
tal2ed to Encarnacion Nera and advised reconciliation bet!een the t!o sisters,
Encarnacion and Trinidad Nera. Encarnacion accepted said advise and, at about
noon of the sa)e da #Nove)ber -, -./4%, sent Eusta;uio Mendo7a to fetch her
sister Trinidad, !ho ca)e at about 4F5A that sa)e afternoon< that the t!o sisters
'reeted each other in )ost afectionate )anner, and beca)e reconciled and t!o
had a lon' and cordial conversation, in the course of !hich the also tal2ed about
the properties left b their father and their liti'ations !hich had reached the Court
of Appeals for the Cit of Manila, the instant case bein' the second, and the
a'reed to have the latter dis)issed, on the condition that the propert involved
therein should be 'iven e0clusivel to Trinidad Nera, that the latter should !aive
her share in the rents of said propert collected b Encarnacion, and the Trinidad
had no )ore indebtedness to Encarnacion. The also a'reed to send for Att.
Ale3andro M. Panis, to prepare the necessar docu)ent e)bodin' the said
a'ree)ent, but Attorne Panis could co)e onl in the afternoon of the follo!in'
da, Nove)ber 4, -./4, !hen Encarnacion 'ave hi) instructions for the
preparation of the docu)ent e)bodin' their a'ree)ent, and other instructions for
the preparation of her last !ill and testa)ent< that Attorne Panis prepared said
docu)ent of co)pro)ise as !ell as the ne! !ill and testa)ent, na)in' Trinidad
Nera and Eusta;uio Mendo7a bene"ciaries therein, pursuant to EncarnacionRs
e0press instructions, and the t!o docu)ents !ere prepared, in duplicate, and !ere
read for si'nature, since the )ornin' of Nove)ber 5, -./4< that in the afternoon of
that da, of co)pro)ise and last !ill and testa)ent to Encarnacion Nera, slo!l
and in a loud voice, in the presence of +ather Teodoro Jarcia, *r. Moises B. Abad, *r.
Eladio Aldecoa, Trinidad Nera, and others, after !hich he as2ed her if their ter)s
!ere in accordance !ith her !ishes, or if she !anted an chan'e )ade in said
docu)ents< that Encarnacion Nera did not su''est an chan'e, and as2ed for the
pad and the t!o docu)ents, and, !ith the help of a son of Trinidad, placed her
thu)b)ar2 at the foot of each one of the t!o docu)ents, in duplicate, on her bed
in the sala, in the presence of attestin' !itnesses, *r. Moises B. Abad, *r. Eladio R.
Aldecoa and Att. Ale3andro M. Panis, after !hich said !itnesses si'ned at the foot of
the !ill, in the presence of Encarnacion Nera, and of each other. The a'ree)ent
!as also si'ned b Trinidad Nera, as part, and b *r. M. B. Abad and Eusta;uio
Mendo7a, a prote'e, as !itnesses.
+ather Teodoro Jarcia !as also present at the si'nin' of the t!o docu)ents, at the
re;uest of Encarnacion Nera.
The fore'oin' facts have been established b the !itnesses presented b Trinidad
Nera, !ho are all trust!orth )en, and !ho had absolutel no interest in the "nal
outco)e of this case. T!o of the) are )inisters of the Jospel, !hile three of the
attestin' !itnesses are professional )en of irreproachable character, !ho had
2no!n and seen and actuall tal2ed to the testatri0.
Petitioner Teodora Nera, half sister of Encarnacion, and her young dau'hter
Ceferina de la Cru7, and Presentacion Blanco, dau'hter of petitioner Maria @acobo
Dda. de Blanco, substantiall corroborated the testi)on of the !itnesses presented
b Trinidad Nera, !ith reference to the si'nin' of docu)ents, in the bedroo) of
Encarnacion Nera, in the afternoon of Nove)ber 5, -./4.
.5
Teodora Nera, Presentacion Blanco and Ceferina de la Cru7 testi"ed, ho!ever, that
!hen the thu)b)ar2 of Encarnacion Nera !as aC0ed to the a'ree)ent in
;uestion, dated Nove)ber 5, -./4, she !as sleepin' on her bed in the sala< and
that the attestin' !itnesses !ere not present, as the !ere in the caida.
But Ceferina de la Cru7 also stated that the attestin' !itnesses si'ned the
docu)ents thu)b)ar2ed b Encarnacion Nera, in the sala near her bed, thus
contradictin' herself and Teodora Nera and Presentacion Blanco.
?tran'e to sa, Teodora Nera, Presentacion Blanco and Ceferina de la Cru7 also
testi"ed that Encarnacion NeraRs, thu)b)ar2 !as aC0ed to the !ill, onl in the
)ornin' of Nove)ber /, -./4, b Trinidad Nera and one ,ldefonso del Barrio, !hen
Encarnacion !as alread dead.
The testi)on of *r. *ionisio Parulan, alle'ed )edical e0pert, as to the nature of
efects of AddisonRs disease, is absolutel unreliable. 1e had never seen or tal2ed to
the testatri0 Encarnacion Nera.
Accordin' to )edical authorities, persons suferin' fro) AddisonRs disease often live
as lon' as ten #-A% ears, !hile others die after a fe! !ee2s onl, and that as the
disease pro'resses, asthenia sets in, and fro) BA per cent to .A per cent of the
patients develop tuberculosis, and co)plications of the heart also appear. #Cecil,
Te0tboo2 of Medicine, 5d ed., -.5$, pp. -4$A--4$5< McCrae, =slerRs Modern
Medicine, 5d ed., Dol. D, pp. 494-49..%
And it has been conclusivel sho!n that Encarnacion Nera died on Nove)ber /,
-./4, due to a heart attac2, at the a'e of /B, after an illness of about t!o #4% ears.
,n connection !ith )ental capacit, in several cases, this court has considered the
testi)on of !itnesses, !ho had 2no!n and tal2ed to the testators, )ore
trust!orth than the testi)on of the alle'ed )edical e0perts.
,nso)nia, in spite of the testi)on of t!o doctors, !ho testi"ed for the opponents
to the probate of a !ill, to the efect that it tended to destro )ental capacit, !as
held not to efect the full possession of )ental faculties dee)ed necessar and
suCcient for its e0ecution. #Ca'uioa vs. Calderon, 4A Phil., /AA.% The testatri0 !as
held to have been compos mentis, in spite of the phsicianRs testi)on to the
contrar, to the efect that she !as ver !ea2, bein' in the third or last sta'e of
tuberculosis. #>ap Tua vs. >ap Ca Muan and >ap Ca &lu, 49 Phil., $9..% The testi)on
of the attendin' phsician that the deceased !as suferin' fro) diabetes and had
been in a co)atose condition for several das, prior to his death, !as held not
suCcient to establish testa)entar incapacit, in vie! of the positive state)ent of
several credible !itnesses that he !as conscious and able to understand !hat !as
said to hi) and to co))unicate his desires. #?a)son vs. Corrales Tan Euintin, //
Phil., $95.% 6here the )ind of the testator is in perfectl sound condition, neither
old a'e, nor ill health, nor the fact that so)ebod had to 'uide his hand in order
that he )i'ht si'n, is suCcient to invalidate his !ill #A)ata and
Al)o3uelavs. Tabli7o, /B Phil., /B$.%
./
6here it appears that a fe0 4ours and also a fe! das after the e0ecution of the
!ill, the testator intelli'entl and intelli'ibl conversed !ith other persons, althou'h
lin' do!n and unable to )ove or stand up unassisted, but could still efect the sale
of propert belon'in' to hi), these circu)stances sho! that the testator !as in a
perfectl sound )ental condition at the ti)e of the e0ecution of the !ill. #A)ata
and Al)o3uela vs. Tabli7o, /B Phil., /B$.%
Presentacion Blanco, in the course of her cross-e0a)ination, fran2l ad)itted that,
in the )ornin' and also at about 8 oRcloc2 in he afternoon of Nove)ber 5, -./4,
Encarnacion Nera tal2ed to her that the understood each other clearl, thus
sho!in' that the testatri0 !as reall of sound )ind, at the ti)e of si'nin' and
e0ecution of the a'ree)ent and !ill in ;uestion.
,t )a, therefore, be reasonabl concluded that the )ental faculties of persons
suferin' fro) AddisonRs disease, li2e the testatri0 in this case, re)ain uni)paired,
partl due to the fact that, on account of the sleep the en3o, the necessaril
receive the bene"t of phsical and )ental rest. And that li2e patients suferin' fro)
tuberculosis, inso)nia or diabetes, the preserve their )ental faculties until the
)o)ents of their death.
@ud'in' b the authorities above cited, the lo'ical conclusion is that Encarnacion
Nera !as of sound )ind and possessed the necessar testa)entar and )ental
capacit, at the ti)e of the e0ecution of the a'ree)ent and !ill, dated Nove)ber 5,
-./4.
The contention that the attestin' !itnesses !ere not present, at the ti)e
Encarnacion Nera thu)b)ar2ed the a'ree)ent and !ill in ;uestion, on her bed, in
the sala of the house, as the !ere alle'edl in the caida, is untenable. ,t has been
full sho!n that said !itnesses !ere present, at the ti)e of the si'nin' and
e0ecution of the a'ree)ent and !ill in ;uestion, in the sala, !here the testatri0 !as
lin' on her bed. The true test is not !hether the actuall sa! each other at the
ti)e of the si'nin' of the docu)ents, but !hether the )i'ht have seen each other
si'n, had the chosen to do so< and the attestin' !itnesses actuall sa! it all in this
case. #@aboneta vs.Justilo, $ Phil., $/-.% And the thu)b)ar2 placed b the testatri0
on the a'ree)ent and !ill in ;uestion is e;uivalent to her si'nature. #>ap
Tua vs. >ap Ca Muan and >ap Ca &lu, 49 Phil., $9..%
Teodora Nera and her principal !itnesses are all interested parties, as the are
children of le'atees na)ed in the !ill, dated ?epte)ber -/, -.5., but eli)inated
fro) the !ill, dated Nove)ber 5, -./4.
+urther)ore, the testi)on of Teodora Nera and her !itnesses, to the efect that
there could have been no reconciliation bet!een the t!o sisters, and that the
thu)b)ar2 of Encarnacion Nera !as aC0ed to the docu)ents e)bodin' the
a'ree)ent, !hile she !as sleepin', on Nove)ber 5, -./4, in their presence< and
that her thu)b)ar2 !as aC0ed to the !ill in ;uestion, !hen she !as alread dead,
in the )ornin' of Nove)ber /, -./4, !ithin their vie!, is absolutel devoid of an
se)blance of truth. ?aid testi)on is contrar to co))on sense. ,t violates all
sense of proportion. Teodora Nera and her !itnesses could not have told the truth<
the have testi"ed to deliberate falsefoods< and the are, therefore, absolutel
.$
un!orth of belief. And to the evidence of the petitioners is co)pletel applicable
the le'al aphoris) U falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. #Jon7ales vs. Mauricio, $5
Phil., 94B, 95$.%
To sho! the alle'ed i)probabilit of reconciliation, and the e0ecution of the t!o
docu)ents, dated Nove)ber 5, -./4, petitioners have erroneousl placed 'reat
e)phasis on the fact that, up to =ctober 5-, -./4, the t!o sisters Encarnacion and
Trinidad Nera !ere bitter ene)ies. The !ere ban2in' evidentl on the co))on
belief that the hatred of relatives is the )ost violent. Terrible indeed are the feuds of
relatives and diCcult the reconciliation< and et not i)possible. The had for'otten
that Encarnacion Nera !as a reli'ious !o)an instructed in the ancient virtues of
the Christian faith, and hope and charit, and that to for'ive is a divine attribute.
The had also for'otten that there could be no )ore subli)e love than that
e)bal)ed in tears, as in the case of a reconciliation.
,t !as )ost natural that there should have been reconciliation bet!een the t!o
sisters, Encarnacion and Trinidad Nera, as the latter is the nearest relative of the
for)er, her onl sister of the !hole blood. The approach of i))inent death )ust
have evo2ed in her the tenderest recollections of fa)il life. And believin' perhaps
that her little triu)phs had not al!as brou'ht her happiness, and that she had
al!as been 3ust to her sister, !ho had been de)andin' insistentl !hat !as her
due, Encarnacion "nall decided upon reconciliation, as she did not !ant to 'o to
her eternal rest, !ith hatred in her heart or !rath upon her head. ,t !as, therefore,
)ost lo'ical that Encarnacion should )a2e Trinidad the beni"ciar of her 'enerosit,
under her last !ill and testa)ent, and end all her troubles !ith her, b e0ecutin'
said a'ree)ent, and thus depart in perfect peace fro) the scenes of her earthl
labors.
,t havin' been sho!n that the said co)pro)ise or a'ree)ent had been le'all
si'ned and e0ecuted b Encarnacion Nera on Nove)ber 5, -./4, in the presence
of credible and trust!orth !itnesses, and that she !ascompos mentis and
possessed the necessar testa)entar and )ental capacit of the ti)e< the petition
for the reconsideration "led b Att. &ucio @avillonar, on Nove)ber 45, -./4, on
behalf of a client, Encarnacion Nera, !ho had been dead since Nove)ber /, -./4,
and so)e of her relatives, !ho have appeared, in accordance !ith the provisions of
section -9 of Rule 5 of the Rules of Court, is hereb denied< and the decision of the
Court of Appeals for Manila, dated Nove)ber -A, -./4, dis)issin' the appeal,
is 4ereby re.aOrmed, !ithout costs. ?o ordered.
#zaeta, Perfecto, @ilado, and Bengzon, JJ., concur.
In r) )*0a0) o' P.ra*o, ,)1)a*),. SIKTO ACOP, /)0.0.on)r-a//)++an0,
3*. SALMING PIRASO, ET AL., o//on)n0*-a//)++))*.
#! P4IL 665
J.R. No. 4B./8, Acop v. Piraso et al., $4 Phil. 88A
.8
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
@anuar -8, -.4.
J.R. No. 4B./8
In r) )*0a0) o' P.ra*o, ,)1)a*),.
SIKTO ACOP, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
SALMING PIRASO, ET AL., opponents-appellees.
Gibbs and Mc%onoug4 and oman #zaeta for appellant.
(dolfo (. ;c4eerer for appellees.
ROMUALDE%, J.:
This appeal !as ta2en fro) the 3ud')ent of the Court of +irst ,nstance of Ben'uet,
denin' the probate of the instru)ent E0hibit A, as the last !ill and testa)ent of
the deceased Piraso.
The proponent-appellant assi'ns the follo!in' as alle'ed errors of the lo!er courtF
-. ,n holdin' that in order to be valid the !ill in ;uestion should have been dra!n up
in the ,locano dialect.
4. ,n not holdin' that the testator Piraso did not 2no! the ,locano dialect !ell
enou'h to understand a !ill dra!n up in said dialect.
5. ,n refusin' to ad)it the !ill in ;uestion to probate.
The funda)ental errors assi'ned refer chie] to the part of the 3ud')ent !hich
reads as follo!sF
The evidence sho!s that Piraso 2ne! ho! to spea2 the ,locano dialect, althou'h
i)perfectl, and could )a2e hi)self understood in that dialect, and the court is of
the opinion that his !ill should have been !ritten in that dialect.
.9
?uch state)ents !ere not unnecessar for the decision of the case, once it has
been proved !ithout contradiction, that the said deceased Piraso did not 2no!
En'lish, in !hich lan'ua'e the instru)ent E0hibit A, alle'ed to be his !ill, is dra!n.
?ection 84B of the Code of Civil Procedure, strictl provides thatF
:'o 0ill, e0cept as provides in the precedin' section: #as to !ills e0ecuted b a
?paniard or a resident of the Philippine ,slands, before the present Code of Civil
Procedure !ent into efect%, :s4all be valid to pass an estate, real or personal, nor
char'e or afect the sa)e, unless it be 0ritten in t4e language or dialect Jno0n by
t4e testator,: etc. #E)phasis supplied.% Nor can the presu)ption in favor of the !ill
established b this court in Aban'an vs. Aban'an #/A Phil., /98%, to the efect that
the testator is presu)ed to 2no! the dialect of the localit !here he resides, unless
there is proof to the contrar, even he invo2ed in support of the probate of said
docu)ent E0hibit A, as a !ill, because, in the instant case, not onl is it not proven
that En'lish is the lan'ua'e of the Cit of Ba'uio !here the deceased Piraso lived
and !here E0hibit A !as dra!n, but that the record contains positive proof that said
Piraso 2ne! no other lan'ua'e than the ,'orrote dialect, !ith a s)atterin' of
,locano< that is, he did not 2no! the En'lish lan'ua'e in !hich E0hibit A is !ritten.
?o that even if such a presu)ption could have been raised in this case it !ould
have been !holl contradicted and destroed.
6e consider the other ;uestion raised in this appeal needless and i))aterial to the
ad3udication of this case, it havin' been, as it !as, proven, that the instru)ent in
;uestion could not be probated as the last !ill and testa)ent of the deceased
Piraso, havin' been !ritten in the En'lish lan'ua'e !ith !hich the latter !as
unac;uainted.
?uch a result based upon solidl established facts !ould be the sa)e !hether or
not it be technicall held that said !ill, in order to be valid, )ust be !ritten in the
,locano dialect< !hether or not the ,'orrote or ,nibaloi dialect is a cultivated
lan'ua'e and used as a )eans of co))unication in !ritin', and !hether or not the
testator Piraso 2ne! the ,locano dialect !ell enou'h to understand a !ill !ritten in
said dialect. The fact is, !e repeat, that it is ;uite certain that the instru)ent
E0hibit A !as !ritten in En'lish !hich the supposed testator Piraso did not 2no!,
and this is suCcient to invalidate said !ill accordin' to the clear and positive
provisions of the la!, and inevitabl prevents its probate.
The 3ud')ent appealed fro) is aCr)ed, !ith the costs of this instance a'ainst the
appellant. ?o ordered.
(vanceHa, C. J., Malcolm, Billamor, #strand and Billa.eal, JJ., concur.
GERMAN JABONETA, /+a.n0.G-a//)++an0, 3*. RICARDO GUSTILO, ET
AL., ,)')n,an0*-a//)++))*.
# P4IL #4"
REPUBLUC OF T4E P4ILIPPINES
SUPREME COURT
Man.+a
.B

EN BANC
7G.R. No. "64". Januar "9, "956. 8
GERMAN JABONETA, Plaintif-Appellant, 3. RICARDO GUSTILO, ET
Defendants-Appellees.
L),)*<a, Su<u+on@ L Au.n0o*, 'or Appellant.
D)+-Pan, Or0.@a* L F.*()r, 'or Appellees.
SBLLABUS
-. 6,&&?< PRE?ENCE =+ TE?TAT=R AN* 6,TNE??E?< DA&,*,T>. U The true
test of presence of the testator and the !itnesses in the e0ecution of a !ill is
not !hether the actuall sa! each other si'n, but !hether the )i'ht have
seen each other si'n, had the chosen to do so, considerin' their )ental
and phsical condition and position !ith relation to each other at the
)o)ent of inscription of each si'nature.
D E C I S I O N
CARSON, J. $
,n these proceedin's probate !as denied the last !ill and testa)ent of
Macario @aboneta, deceased, because the lo!er court !as of the opinion
fro) the evidence adduced at the hearin' that @ulio @avellana, one of the
!itnesses, did not attach his si'nature thereto in the presence of ,sabelo
@ena, another of the !itnesses, as re;uired b the provisions of section 8-B
of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The follo!in' is a cop of the evidence !hich appears of record on this
particular point, bein' a part of the testi)on of the said ,sabelo
@enaF3'cFchanrobles.co).ph
:E. 6ho "rst si'ned the !illX
:A. , si'ned it "rst, and after!ards Aniceto and the others.
:E. 6ho !ere those others to !ho) ou have 3ust referredX
:A. After the !itness Aniceto si'ned the !ill , left the house, because , !as in
a hurr, and at the )o)ent !hen , !as leavin' , sa! @ulio @avellana !ith the
pen in his hand in position read to si'n #en actitud de "r)ar%. , believe he
si'ned, because he !as at the table. . . .
..
:E. ?tate positivel !hether @ulio @avellana did or did not si'n as a !itness to
the !ill.
:A. , canIt sa certainl, because as , !as leavin' the house , sa! @ulio
@avellana !ith the pen in his hand, in position read to si'n. , believe he
si'ned.
:E. 6h do ou believe @ulio @avellana si'nedX
:A. Because he had the pen in his hand, !hich !as restin' on the paper,
thou'h , did not actuall see hi) si'n.
:E. E0plain this contradictor state)ent.
:A. After , si'ned , as2ed per)ission to leave, because , !as in a hurr, and
!hile , !as leavin' @ulio had alread ta2en the pen in his hand, as it
appeared, for the purpose of si'nin', and !hen , !as near the door ,
happened to turn ) face and , sa! that he had his hand !ith the pen
restin' on the !ill, )ovin' it as if for the purpose of si'nin'.
:E. ?tate positivel !hether @ulio )oved his hand !ith the pen as if for the
purpose of si'nin', or !hether he !as si'nin'.
:A. , believe he !as si'nin'.:crala! virtua-a! librar
The truth and accurac of the testi)on of this !itness does not see) to
have been ;uestioned b an of the parties to the proceedin's, but the
court, nevertheless, found the follo!in' factsF3'cFchanrobles.co).ph
:=n the 48th da of *ece)ber, -.A-, Macario @aboneta e0ecuted under the
follo!in' circu)stances the docu)ent in ;uestion, !hich has been
presented for probate as his !illF3'cFchanrobles.co).ph
:Bein' in the house of Arcadio @arandilla, in @aro, in this province, he ordered
that the docu)ent in ;uestion be !ritten, and callin' @ulio @avellana, Aniceto
@albuena, and ,sabelo @ena as !itnesses, e0ecuted the said docu)ent as his
!ill. The !ere all to'ether, and !ere in the roo) !here @aboneta !as, and
!ere present !hen he si'ned the docu)ent, ,sabelo @ena si'nin' after!ards
as a !itness, at his re;uest, and in his presence and in the presence of the
other t!o !itnesses. Aniceto @albuena then si'ned as a !itness to the
presence of the testator, and in the presence of the other t!o persons !ho
si'ned as !itnesses. At that )o)ent ,sabelo @ena, bein' in a hurr to leave,
too2 his hat and left the roo). As he !as leavin' the house @ulio @avellana
too2 the pen in his hand and put hi)self in position to si'n the !ill as a
!itness, but did not si'n in the presence of ,sabelo @ena< but nevertheless,
after @ena had left the roo) the said @ulio @avellana si'ned as a !itness in
the presence of the testator and of the !itness Aniceto @albuena.:crala!
virtua-a! librar
-AA
6e can not a'ree !ith so )uch of the above "ndin's of facts as holds that
the si'nature of @avellana !as not si'ned in the presence of @ena, in
co)pliance !ith the provisions of section 8-B of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The fact that @ena !as still in the roo) !hen he sa! @avellana )ovin' his
hand and pen in the act of aC0in' his si'nature to the !ill, ta2en to'ether
!ith the testi)on of the re)ainin' !itnesses, !hich sho!s that @avellana
did in fact there and then si'n his na)e to the !ill, convinces us that the
si'nature !as aC0ed in the presence of @ena. The fact that he !as in the act
of leavin', and that his bac2 !as turned !hile a portion of the na)e of the
!itness !as bein' !ritten, is of no i)portance. 1e, !ith the other !itnesses
and the testator, has asse)bled for the purpose of e0ecution the testa)ent,
and !ere to'ether in the sa)e roo) for that purpose, and at the )o)ent
!hen the !itness @avellana si'ned the docu)ent he !as actuall and
phsicall present and in such position !ith relation to @avellana that he
could see everthin' !hich too2 place b )erel castin' his ees in the
proper direction, and !ithout an phsical obstruction to prevent his doin'
so, therefore !e are of opinion that the docu)ent !as in fact si'ned before
he "nall left the roo).
:The purpose of a statutor re;uire)ent that the !itness si'n in the
presence of the testator is said to be that the testator )a have ocular
evidence of the identit of the instru)ent subscribed b the !itness and
hi)self, and the 'enerall accepted tests of presence are vision and )ental
apprehension. #?ee A). Y En'. Enc. of &a!, vol. 5A, p. $.., and cases there
cited.%:
,n the )atter of Bedell #4 Connol #N.>.% , 54B% it !as held that it is suCcient
if it !itnesses are to'ether for the purpose of !itnessin' the e0ecution of
the !ill, and in a position to actuall see the testator !rite, if the choose to
do so< and there are )an cases !hich la! do!n the rule that the true test
of vision is not !hether the testator actuall sa! the !itness si'n, but
!hether he )i'ht have seen hi) si'n, considerin' his )ental and phsical
condition and position at the ti)e of the subscription. #?poone)ore v.
Cables, 88 Mo., $9..%
The principles on !hich these cases rest and the tests of presence as
bet!een the testator and the !itnesses are e;uall applicable in
deter)inin' !hether the !itnesses si'ned the instru)ent in the presence of
each other, as re;uired b the statute, and applin' the) to the facts
proven in these proceedin's !e are of opinion that the statutor re;uisites
as to the e0ecution of the instru)ent !ere co)plied !ith, and that the lo!er
court erred in denin' probate to the !ill on the 'round stated in the rulin'
appealed fro).
6e are of opinion fro) the evidence of record that the instru)ent
propounded in these proceedin's !as satisfactoril proven to be the last !ill
and testa)ent of Macario @aboneta, deceased, and that it should therefore
be ad)itted to probate.
The 3ud')ent of the trial court is reversed, !ithout especial conde)nation
-A-
of costs, and after t!ent das the record !ill be returned to the court fro)
!hence it ca)e, !here the proper orders !ill be entered in confor)ance
here!ith. ?o ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa and @ohnson, JJ., concur.
E(T,E(,A ADERA, petitioner-appellee, vs. MAR,N= JARC,A, and @(AN R=*R,J(EN,
as 'uardian of the )inors Cesar Jarcia and @ose Jarcia,ob3ectors-appellants
/4 P1,& /$
EUTIAUIA A?ERA, petitioner-appellee, vs. MARINO GARCIA, an, JUAN
RODRIGUE%, a* @uar,.an o' 0() <.nor* C)*ar Gar1.a an, Jo*)
Gar1.a,ob3ectors-appellants.
STREET, J.:
,n proceedin's in the court belo!, instituted b Euti;uia Avera for probate of the !ill
of one Esteban Jarcia, contest !as )ade b Marino Jarcia and @uan Rodri'ue7, the
latter in the capacit of 'uardian for the )inors @ose Jarcia and Cesar Jarcia. (pon
the date appointed for the hearin', the proponent of the !ill introduced one of the
three attestin' !itnesses !ho testi"ed U !ith details not necessar to be here
speci"ed U that the !ill !as e0ecuted !ith all necessar e0ternal for)alities, and
that the testator !as at the ti)e in full possession of disposin' faculties. (pon the
latter point the !itness !as corroborated b the person !ho !rote the !ill at the
re;uest of the testator. T!o of the attestin' !itnesses !ere not introduced, nor !as
their absence accounted for b the proponent of the !ill.
6hen the proponent rested the attorne for the opposition introduced a sin'le
!itness !hose testi)on tended to sho! in a va'ue and indecisive )anner that at
the ti)e the !ill !as )ade the testator !as so debilitated as to be unable to
co)prehend !hat he !as about.
After the cause had been sub)itted for deter)ination upon the proof thus
presented, the trial 3ud'e found that the testator at the ti)e of the )a2in' of the
!ill !as of sound )ind and disposin' )e)or and that the !ill had been properl
e0ecuted. 1e accordin'l ad)itted the !ill to probate.
+ro) this 3ud')ent an appeal !as ta2en in behalf of the persons contestin' the !ill,
and the onl errors here assi'ned have reference to the t!o follo!in' points,
na)el, "rst, !hether a !ill can be ad)itted to probate, !here opposition is )ade,
upon the proof of a sin'le attestin' !itness, !ithout producin' or accountin' for the
absence of the other t!o< and, secondl, !hether the !ill in ;uestion is rendered
invalid b reason of the fact that the si'nature of the testator and of the three
attestin' !itnesses are !ritten on the ri'ht )ar'in of each pa'e of the !ill instead
of the left )ar'in.
(pon the "rst point, !hile it is undoubtedl true that an uncontested !ill ba be
proved b the testi)on of onl one of the three attestin' !itnesses, nevertheless
in Caban' vs. *el"nado #5/ Phil., 4.-%, this court declared after an elaborate
-A4
e0a)ination of the A)erican and En'lish authorities that !hen a contest is
instituted, all of the attestin' !itnesses )ust be e0a)ined, if alive and !ithin reach
of the process of the court.
,n the present case no e0planation !as )ade at the trial as to !h all three of the
attestin' !itnesses !ere not produced, but the probable reason is found in the fact
that, althou'h the petition for the probate of this !ill had been pendin' fro)
*ece)ber 4-, -.-9, until the date set for the hearin', !hich !as April $, -.-., no
for)al contest !as entered until the ver da set for the hearin'< and it is probable
that the attorne for the proponent, believin' in 'ood faith the probate !ould not be
contested, repaired to the court !ith onl one of the three attestin' !itnesses at
hand, and upon "ndin' that the !ill !as contested, incautiousl per)itted the case
to 'o to proof !ithout as2in' for a postpone)ent of the trial in order that he )i'ht
produce all the attestin' !itnesses.
Althou'h this circu)stance )a e0plain !h the three !itnesses !ere not
produced, it does not in itself suppl an basis for chan'in' the rule e0pounded in
the case above referred to< and !ere it not for a fact no! to be )entioned, this
court !ould probabl be co)pelled to reverse this case on the 'round that the
e0ecution of the !ill had not been proved b a suCcient nu)ber of attestin'
!itnesses.
,t appears, ho!ever, that this point !as not raised b the appellant in the lo!er
court either upon the sub)ission of the cause for deter)ination in that court or
upon the occasion of the "lin' of the )otion for a ne! trial. Accordin'l it is insisted
for the appellee that this ;uestion cannot no! be raised for the "rst ti)e in this
court. 6e believe this point is !ell ta2en, and the "rst assi'n)ent of error )ust be
declared not be !ell ta2en. This e0act ;uestion has been decided b the ?upre)e
Court of California adversel to the contention of the appellant, and !e see no
reason !h the sa)e rule of practice should not be observed b us. #Estate of
McCart, $B Cal., 55$, 559.%
There are at least t!o reason !h the appellate tribunals are disinclined to per)it
certain ;uestions to be raised for the "rst ti)e in the second instance. ,n the "rst
place it eli)inates the 3udicial criterion of the Court of +irst ,nstance upon the point
there presented and )a2es the appellate court in efect a court of "rst instance !ith
reference to that point, unless the case is re)anded for a ne! trial. ,n the second
place, it per)its, if it does not encoura'e, attornes to tri]e !ith the ad)inistration
of 3ustice b concealin' fro) the trial court and fro) their opponent the actual point
upon !hich reliance is placed, !hile the are en'a'ed in other discussions )ore
si)ulated than real. These considerations are, !e thin2, decisive.
,n rulin' upon the point above presented !e do not !ish to be understood as lain'
do!n an hard and fast rule that !ould prove an e)barrass)ent to this court in the
ad)inistration of 3ustice in the future. ,n one !a or another !e are constantl here
considerin' aspects of cases and applin' doctrines !hich have escaped the
attention of all persons concerned in the liti'ation belo!< and this is necessar if
this court is to contribute the part due fro) it in the correct decision of the cases
brou'ht before it. 6hat !e )ean to declare is that !hen !e believe that substantial
3ustice has been done in the Court of +irst ,nstance, and the point relied on for
-A5
reversal in this court appears to be one !hich ou'ht properl to have been
presented in that court, !e !ill in the e0ercise of a sound discretion i'nore such
;uestion relates a defect !hich )i'ht have been cured in the Court of +irst ,nstance
if attention had been called to it there. ,n the present case, if the appellant had
raised this ;uestion in the lo!er court, either at the hearin' or upon a )otion for a
ne! trial, that court !ould have had the po!er, and it !ould have been is dut,
considerin' the tard institution of the contest, to have 'ranted a ne! trial in order
that all the !itnesses to the !ill )i'ht be brou'ht into court. But instead of thus
callin' the error to the attention of the court and his adversar, the point is "rst
raised b the appellant in this court. 6e hold that this is too late.
Properl understood, the case of Caban' vs. *el"nado, supra, contains nothin'
inconsistent !ith the rulin' !e no! )a2e, for it appears fro) the opinion in that
case that the proponent of the !ill had obtained an order for a republication and
ne! trial for the avo!ed purpose of presentin' the t!o additional attestin'
!itnesses !ho had not been previousl e0a)ined, but nevertheless subse;uentl
failed !ithout an apparent reason to ta2e their testi)on. Both parties in that case
!ere therefore full apprised that the ;uestion of the nu)ber of !itnesses
necessar to prove the !ill !as in issue in the lo!er court.
The second point involved in this case is !hether, under section 8-B of the Code of
Civil Procedure, as a)ended b Act No. 48/$, it is essential to the validit of a !ill in
this 3urisdiction that the na)es of the testator and the instru)ental !itnesses
should be !ritten on the left )ar'in of each pa'e, as re;uired in said Act, and not
upon the ri'ht )ar'in, as in the !ill no! before us< and upon this !e are of the
opinion that the !ill in ;uestion is valid. ,t is true that the statute sas that the
testator and the instru)ental !itnesses shall si'n their na)es on the left )ar'in of
each and ever pa'e< and it is undeniable that the 'eneral doctrine is to the efect
that all statutor re;uire)ents as to the e0ecution of !ills )ust be full co)plied
!ith. The sa)e doctrine is also deducible fro) cases heretofore decided b this
court.
?till so)e details at ti)es creep into le'islative enact)ents !hich are so trivial it
!ould be absurd to suppose that the &e'islature could have attached an decisive
i)portance to the). The provision to the efect that the si'natures of the testator
and !itnesses shall be !ritten on the left )ar'in of each pa'e U rather than on the
ri'ht )ar'in U see)s to be this character. ?o far as concerns the authentication of
the !ill, and of ever part thereof, it can )a2e no possible diference !hether the
na)es appear on the left or no the ri'ht )ar'in, provided the are on one or the
other. ,n Carai' vs. Tatlon'hari #R. J. No. -4$$B, decided March 45, -.-B, not
reported%, this court declared a !ill void !hich !as totall lac2in' in the si'natures
re;uired to be !ritten on its several pa'es< and in the case of Re estate of ?a'uinsin
#/- Phil., B9$%, a !ill !as li2e!ise declared void !hich contained the necessar
si'natures on the )ar'in of each leaf # folio%, but not in the )ar'in of each pa'e
containin' !ritten )atter.
The instru)ent no! before us contains the necessar si'natures on ever pa'e,
and the onl point of deviation fro) the re;uire)ent of the statute is that these
si'natures appear in the ri'ht )ar'in instead of the left. B the )ode of si'nin'
adopted ever pa'e and provision of the !ill is authenticated and 'uarded fro)
-A/
possible alteration in e0actl the sa)e de'ree that it !ould have been protected b
bein' si'ned in the left )ar'in< and the resources of casuistr could be e0hausted
!ithout discoverin' the sli'htest diference bet!een the conse;uences of aC0in'
the si'natures in one )ar'in or the other.
The sa)e could not be said of a case li2e that of Estate of ?a'uinsin, supra, !here
onl the leaves, or alternate pa'es, !ere si'ned and not each !ritten pa'e< for as
observed in that case b our late la)ented Chief @ustice, it !as possible that in the
!ill as there ori'inall e0ecuted b the testratri0 onl the alternative pa'es had
been used, leavin' blan2s on the reverse sides, !hich conceivabl )i'ht have been
"lled in subse;uentl.
The controllin' considerations on the point no! before us !ere !ell stated "n e !ill
of Aban'an #/A Phil., /98, /9.%, !here the court, spea2in' throu'h Mr. @ustice
AvanceZa, in a case !here the si'natures !ere placed at the botto) of the pa'e
and not in the )ar'in, saidF
The ob3ect of the sole)nities surroundin' the e0ecution of !ills is to close the
door a'ainst bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution o !ill and testa)ents
and to 'uarantee their truth and authenticit. Therefore the la!s on this
sub3ect should be interpreted in such a !a as to attain these pri)ordial
ends. But, on the other hand, also one )ust not lose si'ht of the fact that it is
not the ob3ect of the la! to restrain and curtail the e0ercise of the ri'ht to
)a2e a !ill. ?o !hen an interpretation alread 'iven assures such ends, an
other interpretation !hatsoever, that adds nothin' but de)ands )ore
re;uisites entirel unnecessar, useless and frustrative of the testatorRs last
!ill, )ust be disre'arded.
,n the case before us, !here in'enuit could not su''est an possible pre3udice to
an person, as attendant upon the actual deviation fro) the letter of the la!, such
deviation )ust be considered too trivial to invalidate the instru)ent.
,t results that the le'al errors assi'ned are not sustainable, and the 3ud')ent
appealed fro) !ill be aCr)ed. ,t is so ordered, !ith costs a'ainst the appellants.
In 0() <a00)r o' 0() 0)*0a0) )*0a0) o' An0on.o Mo;a+, ,)1)a*),. FILOMENA
NAB?E, petitioner-appellee, vs. LEONA MOJAL an, LUCIANA
AGUILAR, opponents-appellants.
ROMUALDE%, J.:
This is a proceedin' for the probate of the !ill of the deceased Antonio Mo3al
instituted b his survivin' spouse, +ilo)ena Nave. The probate is opposed b
&eona Mo3al and &uciana A'uilar, sister and niece, respectivel, of the deceased.
The Court of +irst ,nstance of Alba, !hich tried the case, overruled the ob3ections to
the !ill, and ordered the probate thereof, holdin' that the docu)ent in controvers
!as the last !ill and testa)ent of Antonio Mo3al, e0ecuted in accordance !ith la!.
-A$
+ro) this 3ud')ent the opponents appeal, assi'nin' error to the decree of the court
allo!in' the !ill to probate and overrulin' their opposition.
The !ill in ;uestion, E0hibit A, is co)posed of four sheets !ith !ritten )atter on
onl side of each, that is, four pa'es !ritten on four sheets. The four sides or pa'es
containin' !ritten )atter are pa'ed :Pa'. -,: :Pa'. 4,: :Pa'. 5,: :Pa'. /,:
successivel. Each of the "rst t!o sides or pa'es, !hich !as issued, !as si'ned b
the testator and the three !itnesses on the )ar'in, left side of the reader. =n the
third pa'e actuall used, the si'natures of the three !itnesses appear also on the
)ar'in, left side of the reader, but the si'nature of the testator is not on the
)ar'in, but about the )iddle of the pa'e, at the end of the !ill and before the
attestation clause. =n the fourth pa'e, the si'natures of the !itnesses do not
appear on the )ar'in, but at the botto) of the attestation clause, it bein' the
si'nature of the testator that is on the )ar'in, left side of the reader.
The defects attributed to the !ill areF
#a% The fact of not havin' been si'ned b the testator and the !itnesses on each
and ever sheet on the left )ar'in< #b% the fact of the sheets of the docu)ent not
bein' pa'ed !ith letters< #c% the fact that the attestation clause does not state the
nu)ber of sheets or pa'es actuall used of the !ill< and #d% the fact that the
testator does not appear to have si'ned all the sheets in the presence of the three
!itnesses, and the latter to have attested and si'ned all the sheets in the presence
of the testator and of each other.
As to the si'natures on the )ar'in, it is true, as above stated, that the third pa'e
actuall used !as si'ned b the testator, not on the left )ar'in, as it !as b the
!itnesses, but about the )iddle of the pa'e and the end of the !ill< and that the
fourth pa'e !as si'ned b the !itnesses, not on the left )ar'in, as it !as b the
testator, but about the )iddle of the pa'e and at the end of the attestation clause.
,n this respect the holdin' of this court in the case of (vera vs. Garcia and
odriguez #/4 Phil., -/$%, is applicable, !herein the !ill in ;uestion !as si'ned b
the testator and the !itnesses, not on the left, but ri'ht, )ar'in. The rule laid do!n
in that case is that the docu)ent contained the necessar si'natures on each pa'e,
!hereb each pa'e of the !ill !as authenticated and safe'uarded a'ainst an
possible alteration. ,n that case, the validit of the !ill !as sustained, and
conse;uentl it !as allo!ed to probate.
Applin' that doctrine to the instant case, !e hold that, as each and ever pa'e
used of the !ill bears the si'natures of the testator and the !itnesses, the fact that
said si'natures do not all appear on the left )ar'in of each pa'e does not detract
fro) the validit of the !ill.la0p4i*.net
Turnin' to the second defect alle'ed, that is to sa, the fact that the sheets of the
docu)ent are not pa'ed !ith letters, suCce it to cite the case of Knson vs.
(bella #/5 Phil., /./%, !here this court held that pa'in' !ith Arabic nu)erals and
not !ith letters, as in the case before us, is !ithin the spirit of the la! and is 3ust as
valid as pa'in' !ith letters.
-A8
As to the proposition that the attestation clause does not state the nu)ber of
sheets or pa'es of the !ill, !hich is the third defect assi'ned, it )ust be noted that
the last para'raph of the !ill here in ;uestion and the attestation clause, co)in'
ne0t to it, are of the follo!in' tenorF
,n !itness !hereof, , set ) hand unto this !ill here in the
to!n of Ca)ali', Alba, Philippine ,slands, this 48th da of
Nove)ber, nineteen hundred and ei'hteen, co)posed of four
sheets, includin' the ne0tF
ANT=N,=
M=@A&
#?i'ned and declared b the testator *on Antonio Mo3al to be
his last !ill and testa)ent in the presence of each of us, and at
the re;uest of said testator *on Antonio Mo3al, !e si'ned this
!ill in the presence of each other and of the testator.%
PE*R= CAR=
?,&DER,=
M=RC=
N=,&= MA?,NA?
As )a be seen, the nu)ber of sheets is stated in said last para'raph of the !ill. ,t
is true that in the case of Ky Co9ue vs. 'avas !. ;ioca #/5 Phil., /A$%, it !as held
that the attestation clause )ust state the nu)ber of sheets or pa'es co)posin' the
!ill< but !hen, as in the case before us, such fact, !hile it is not stated in the
attestation clause, appears at the end of the !ill proper, so that no proof aliunde is
necessar of the nu)ber of the sheets of the !ill, then there can be no doubt that it
co)plies !ith the intention of the la! that the nu)ber of sheets of !hich the !ill is
co)posed be sho!n b the docu)ent itself, to prevent the nu)ber of the sheets of
the !ill fro) bein' undul increased or decreased.
6ith re'ard to the last defect pointed out, na)el, that the testator does not
appear to have si'ned on all the sheets of the !ill in the presence of the three
!itnesses, and the latter to have attested and si'ned on all the sheets in the
presence of the testator and of each other, it )ust be noted that in the attestation
clause above set out it is said that the testator si'ned the !ill Sin t4e presence of
eac4 of t4e 0itnessesS and the latter si'ned Sin t4e presence of eac4 ot4er and of
t4e testator.S ?o that, as to !hether the testator and the attestin' !itnesses sa!
each other si'n the !ill, such a re;uire)ent !as clearl and suCcientl co)plied
!ith. 6hat is not stated in this clause is !hether the testator and the !itnesses
si'ned all the sheets of the !ill.
The act of the testator and the !itnesses seein' reciprocall the si'nin' of the !ill
is one !hich cannot be proven b the )ere e0hibition of the !ill unless it is stated
in the docu)ent. And this fact is e0pressl stated in the attestation clause no!
before us. But the fact of the testator and the !itnesses havin' si'ned all the sheets
of the !ill )a be proven b the )ere e0a)ination of the docu)ent, althou'h it
does not sa anthin' about this, and if that is the fact, as it is in the instant case,
-A9
the dan'er of fraud in this respect, !hich is !hat the la! tries to avoid, does not
e0ist.
Therefore, as in the instant case the fact that the testator and the !itnesses si'ned
each and ever pa'e of the !ill is proven b the )ere e0a)ination of the si'natures
in the !ill, the o)ission to e0pressl state such evident fact does not invalidate the
!ill nor prevent its probate.
The order appealed fro) is aCr)ed !ith the costs a'ainst the appellants. ?o
ordered.
S)/ara0) O/.n.on*
A?ANCEIA, J., dissentin'F
,n ) opinion the 3ud')ent appealed fro) )ust be reversed, and the probate of the
!ill denied on the 'round that the nu)ber of sheets or pa'es co)posin' the !ill is
not stated in the attestation clause.
The attestation clause is necessar and essential for the validit of the !ill #"n
re Estate of Neu)ar2, /8 Phil., B/-%. The la! re;uires that the attestation clause
should state the nu)ber of sheets or pa'es of the !ill and "n re6ill of Andrada #/4
Phil., -BA% it !as held that a docu)ent said to be the !ill of a deceased person
cannot be probate !hen the attestation clause does not state the nu)ber of sheets
or pa'es co)posin' the !ill. The fact that in the !ill proper the nu)ber of pa'es
co)posin' it is stated, does not cure the defect of it not havin' been stated in the
attestation clause. The intention of the la! in providin' that it should be stated
necessaril in the attestation clause is undoubtedl that the attestin' !itnesses and
not the testator should certif this fact. As held in the case of (bangan vs.
(bangan #/A Phil., /98%, the attestation clause pertains to the attestin' !itnesses
and it is not necessar that the testator should also si'n it. =n the other hand the
!ill proper pertains to the testator, and not to the attestin' !itnesses and it is not
necessar also that the latter should si'n it #"n re 6ill of Tan *iuco, /$ Phil., BA9%, as
in fact the did not si'n it in the instant case. Therefore, the state)ent of the
nu)ber of sheets or pa'es of the !ill in the !ill proper is not a co)pliance !ith the
la!, for in that !a it is onl the testator !ho states the fact and not the attestin'
!itnesses, as re;uired b the la!.
OSTRAND, J., dissentin'F
, concur in the dissentin' opinion of Mr. @ustice AvanceZa. The )a3orit opinion is
directl contrar to the decisions of this court in the cases of "n re 6ill of Andrada
#/4 Phil., -BA% and Ky Co9ue vs. 'avas !. ;ioca #/5 Phil., /A$% and violates the !ell-
2no!n rule that statutes prescribin' the for)alities to be observed in the e0ecution
of !ills )ust be strictl construed. And this is done in the face of the fact that the
attestation clause in the !ill before us evidentl is dra!n in accordance !ith the
ori'inal te0t of section 8-B of the Code of Civil Procedure !hich the &e'islature, b
Act No. 48/$, found it necessar to a)end and stren'then b addin' precisel the
re;uire)ents !hich the court no! virtuall declares non-essential.
-AB
Pro-a0) o' 0() +a0) R)3. P. E+)u0)r.o P.+a/.+. ADRIAN MENDO%A, petitioner
and respondent,
vs.. CALIKTO P.+a/.+ AND OT4ERS, opponents and appellants.
DIA%, J. $
The )ain issues !e face opponents for resolution, to appeal the decision of the
Court of +irst ,nstance of Cebu, issued in "le No. /A9 of the Probate Court can be
reduced to the folo!in'.
A. ^ ,f the Court of Cebu could na)e the March /, -.5., the appellee as
ad)inistrator of the estate relict of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil #probate record No.
/A9%, bein' as it !as then actin' as ad)inistrator of the sa)e 'oods fro) the
+ebruar 9, -.5., appellant Cali0to Pilapil, !hich pro)oted the da before, the
record of the sa)e deceased ,ntestate P. Eleuterio Pilapil, in this Court #+ile No. 5..,
Court of Cebu%, and
4. Meetin's as appropriate and as !ill be the le'ali7ation or provision of last !ill of
the late P. Pilapil Eleuterio, the docu)ents before the Court as E0hibit A !hich is a
duplicate to the coal of E0hibit C.
The relevant facts to be ta2en into account in resolvin' the issues proposed are,
accordin' to ]o! fro) the decision appealed and the sa)e docu)ents as the court
stated to be testa)ent and last !ill of the late P.Eleuterio Pilapil, !hich are
recounted belo!F
The P. Eleuterio Pilapil, bein' the parish priest of Mualboal of the Province of Cebu,
died in the cit of that na)e on *ece)ber 8, -.5$. There havin' been no sub)itted
his !ill after his death, at least until earl +ebruar -.5., his brother Cali0to Pilapil
pro)oted the 8th of said )onth and ear, the case of intestac No. 5.. to as2 the
propert )ana'er fueseno)brado re)nants of the. Received proof that he had
sub)itted the re;uest for elindicado end, previous publications of notices presritos
b la!, and hearin' the court prior to the ;ueco)parecieron to oppose it, a)on'
!hich !ere the sa)e and ?i)eona Pilapil appealed, the court 'ranted it, na)in'
hi) ad)inistrator thereupon said ,ntestate. 6ithin a fe! das, or the March /,
-.5., the appellee in turn pro)oted "le No. /A9 previousl )ade )ention, to
de)and the le'ali7ation as a testa)ent of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil of E0hibit A
!hich is the duplicate to the coal of E0hibit C. Bet!een the clauses of these t!o
docu)ents, !hich are inserted belo! their relevance to the issues raised and also
the i)portance
,, Eleuterio Pilapil, priest of the Ro)an Catholic Apostolic Church, si0t-ei'ht
ears old, born in &iloan currentl Parish Priest of the Parish of Mualboal,
Province of Cebu, P,, en3oin' health and the best of ) MENTA& P=6ER?,
hereb publish, declare and 'rant the follo!in' as M> &A?T 6,&& AN*
TE?TAMENTF
ART. +,R?TF instituted and appointed Mr Adrian Mendo7a, ) nephe!,
)arried, of le'al a'e and resident of the Municipalit of &iloan, Cebu
-A.
Province, ,+, ETEC(T=R-ETEC(T=R of this ) &ast 6ill and
Testa)entF Provided , That in case of failure, ne'li'ence or other!ise self-
conscious that enforce this ) &ast 6ill and Testa)ent, b bond, , order and
ordered to be replaced in the oCce of e0ecutor, e0ecutor of this ) &ast 6ill
and Testa)ent, ) cousin, @ose Cabatin'an, )arried, adult, resident of
Mualboal Municipiop, Province of Cebu, P,, !ho !ill ta2e care and !ill )a2e
co)pliance !ith these provisions as follo!sF
000 000 000
4. ^ *ECREE and , co))and this ) &ast 6ill and Testa)ent is not aired in
court, since the &ast 6ill and Testa)ent, si)pl corroborates clai)s and
ensure the le'iti)ac of the docu)ents for the sale of ) propert<
000 000 000
ART. ?EC=N*F , hereb, , note that this ) last !ill and testa)ent, !hich
corroborates clai)s and ensure the le'iti)ac of docu)ents issued b )
buers consists of t!o articles, containin' si0teen provisions and is !ritten on
three pa'es<
000 000 000
Cebu, Cebu, P,, toda Nove)ber 49, -.5$.
#?i'ned% E&E(TER,= Pilapil Testator <

at the end of the) #e0hibits A and C%, there is this clause of attestationF
B !ho readsF
1EA&T1
6e !ho si'ned belo!, !e stateF That the pre-insert and &ast Testa)ent 6ill
!as si'ned, declared and s!orn b the Testator, Rev. P. Eleuterio Pilapil in the
presence of us all and pra for the Testator, si'n each of us in the presence of
us, here in Cebu, Cebu, P,, toda Nove)ber 49, -.5$.
#?i'ned% 6ENCE?&A= Pilapil &itness

MARCE&= Pilapil &itness

E(JENE M. Pilapil &itness

The t!o docu)ents, e0hibits A and C, consist of three pa'es, and in the left )ar'in
of each of the "rst t!o, are "r)s that are at the end of the )ain bod of these
docu)ents and their attestation clause, and that are, accordin' to the evidence,
si'natures of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil, and !itnesses 6enceslas Pilapil, and
Eu'enio Marcelo M. Pilapil Pilapil.
--A
,n place of the date both of the t!o docu)ents and their attestation clause, is
!ritten the !ord :Cebu: on !hich , tr to scratch but still can be seen that said
:Mualboal: and are also the "'ure :49: and the na)e of )ore, :Nove)ber:, the
latter !ritten on a !ord that can still be scraped too !ithout an diCcult, at least
in E0hibit A, !hich sasF :=ctober:. ,n the last para'raph of pa'e 4 !hich appears
belo! in the "rst t!o lines on the ne0t pa'e #pa'e 5%, !hich is the last, there is the
follo!in' e0plicit )ention :containin' si0teen provisions and is !ritten in three
pa'es.: At the foot of the pa'es #-% and #4% is respectivel the follo!in' notesF :Jo
to 4. Pa'e:, :s2ip to 5. Pa'e.: And it should be noted that both the one and the
other of the afore)entioned E0hibits A and C, no )ore than t!o ite)s #:Art +irst:
and :Article T!o:%, and dieceseis provisions.
The 'rounds on !hich the appellants rel to support the le'ali7ation co)es not fro)
an of the t!o docu)ents e0pressed as a testa)ent of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil,
are theseF
# a % The contain erasures and alterations to the respondent leave to e0plain<
# b % That has not been proven that the deceased, - prescindi)iento of !hat is
stated in the docu)ents in e0hibits A and C - !as responsible for testin' old<
# c % That has not been proven that the deceased possessed the ?panish lan'ua'e is
that these docu)ents are !ritten<
# d % That one of the clauses of these docu)ents is the ban on the airin' courts in
slab<
# e % That neither is prepared, si'ned and !itnessed in accordance !ith the
provisions of Article 8-B of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Re'ardin' the "rst ;uestion )ust be said that, accordin' to tells us the sa)e part of
appeals of the appellants, the t!o cases Nos. 5.. and /A9 is pro)oted in t!o
diferent roo)s of the Court of +irst ,nstance of Cebu. The "rst !as pro)oted in the
Third *ivision, and the last, in Roo) ,,. (pon hearin' the 3ud'e of one of those
boards that had a direct relationship bet!een 'rease and other, provided that the
t!o !ere 2no!n b a sin'le 3ud'e, hence both are considered as one to avoid !hat
the court said saidF :inco)patibilit in the ad)inistration of the assets of the
deceased :, referrin' to< late P. Eleuterio Pilapil.
Certainl not the reason , )iss Cebu court to appoint special )ana'er in "le No.
/A9, the appellee, because there are docu)ents such as !ills trin' to le'ali7e and
disposition of last !ill of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil, has an e0press )andate to
)a2e it so. ,n addition, there !as not no la! that prohibits the courts hearin' a case
of intestate estate or to appoint )ore than one ad)inistrator, and, in the case in
;uestion happened to be left !ithout efect the appoint)ent of the appellant as
ad)inistrator, then that )er'ed the t!o )entioned cases. But still, if the purpose of
the appellants to propose the ;uestion that !e are spea2in', is to annul the
appoint)ent issued to appellee as special ad)inistrator, is vain and futile purpose
has to be said, because the e;uivalent stress be appealin' a court order appointin'
---
a special ad)inistrator and the la! does not allo! appeals a'ainst orders of that
nature. ,s "nal disposition of the la! that sas, :*o not allo! the appeal a'ainst the
appoint)ent of the special ad)inistrator.: #Art. 88A, &a! No. -.A.%
,n addition to all this )ust be said that if there !as an error in appelleeRs
appoint)ent as special ad)inistrator, for the reason that another propert and !as
appointed b the court, the error, if such can be called, has not been so nature that
has caused an har) to anone, least of Probate of the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil.
?cratches and chan'es that are noted in e0hibits A and C are so)e facts that no!
for the "rst ti)e, and in this instance, ou !ant lla)r attention, !hen it should have
been done !hile the cause !as still in court of ori'in. 6e can not ta2e the) into
account in the present state of the proceedin's because, assu)in' that b then
e0isted, can and should be, but did not sa in e0press ter)s the Court of Cebu,
!hich , consider not vitiate these docu)ents, it is presu)ption rebuttable t4at :all
the facts relatin' to the ite)s discussed at trial !ere e0posed to and appreciated b
the court.: #Art. 55/, par. -8, &a! No. -.A.% And in fact not vitiated because it
follo!s the sa)e circu)stances, !hich !ere )ade 3ust to put thin's in their proper
place. The t!o e0hibits A and C !ere prepared b the late P. Eleuterio Pilapil in
Mualboal !here he !as parish priest before that he be transferred for treat)ent of
their illness that caused her death, the ?outhern ,slands 1ospital in Cebu, !here he
died. Relin' on these facts the court that !ere tested in court, declare as follo!sF
:The intervention of the three instru)ental !itnesses of the docu)ent too2 place in
a hapha7ard )anner, on the occasion in !hich the sa)e !ere to visit hi) Eleuterio
Pilapil !ho !as ill in the ?outhern ,slands 1ospital, and there the no! deceased
be''ed the) to act as !itnesses of the docu)ent and then had prepared. :
To prepare the, bein' in Mualboal, !as no )ore than natural that e0pressed in it
that there !ere read, and leave the date blan2 but still put the na)e of the )onth
that !ere put into clean, ie =ctober -.5$.
The a'e of the testator as to !hether he spo2e ?panish is the lan'ua'e of the t!o
e0hibits are dra!n or not be said that bein' a priest and the parish priest of
Mualboal, Cebu, )ust be presu)ed that had the old fundade)ente co)petent to
test, and he understood and spo2en the ?panish, it is co))on 2no!led'e that to be
a parish priest, one )ust be a priest, and to be so, it ta2es )an ears of stud in
se)inars !here ?panish is spo2en is as oCcial lan'ua'e as En'lish. Moreover, no
evidence has been proved that the testator did not understand that lan'ua'e.
The disposition of the testator that his :&ast 6ill and Testa)ent is not aired in the
court: can not deprive courts of their authorit to deter)ine if our referral !ill is
le'ali7able or not. The are not sta2eholders in one !a or another in a )atter,
!hich )a confer or re)ove 3urisdiction and authorit to Trubunales to resolve and
decide !hat the la! !ants it to be resolved and decided. Please note that the la!
re;uires, under penalt, to be delivered to the Court an !ill )ade b a testator,
after his death, in the person to !ho) custod is entrusted, so it can certainl
deter)ine !hether their le'ali7ation and at the sa)e ti)e to dispose of their
propert as )andated in the sa)e, or !hether the contract should be declared
dead intestate, not bein' susceptible of le'ali7ation !hich had been 'iven. #Articles
848 to 85-, Act No. -.A.% ,n addition, not bein' a la!er the testator, it is not
--4
surprisin' that there is recorded in his !ill that prohibition - usin' his o!n !ords - :is
aired in court: .
And as to the e0hibits A and C can not be le'ali7ed because the are not prepared
or si'ned in accordance !ith the la!, sain' that their pa'es are not nu)bered !ith
letters, and because in his attestation clause is not e0pressed that the !ere si'ned
b the three instru)ental !itnesses in the presence of the testator, suCce to dra!
attention to the fact that the botto) of the "rst pa'e are in lrics the notice that
sas clearlF :Jo to 4. second pa'e: and the fact that at the foot of the second
pa'e, there is another noteF :Jo to 5. second pa'e,: and also suCcient to call
attention to the "rst t!o lines of the third pa'e is the last, !here, to co)plete the
provision that is contained in the last para'raph of the previous pa'e, or second, it
statesF
. . . consists of t!o articles< contien
si0teen provisions and is !ritten
in three pa'es,
!hich a'rees closel !ith the true facts as the appear in the above t!o e0hibits,
because the actuall contain t!o articles and si0teen provisions, and no )ore, not
less.
,n the attestation clause in a Testa)ent and a cop of the sub3ect )atter, is
aCr)ed b the three instru)ental !itnesses !ho si'ned it, !hich
pre-insert the last !ill and testa)ent,
has been si'ned, declared and s!orn b
the Testator, Rev. P. Eleuterio Pilapil
in the presence of us all<
ro! and follo!ed, it is clai)ed also b the sa)e !itnesses thatF
to as2 of the Testator, si'n
each of us, here in Cebu, Cebu,
,+, toda Nove)ber 49, -.5$.
The fra7e :to be' of the testator: that attached to the si'ned and si'ned his !ill in
the presence of the attestin' !itnesses, per)its and 3usti"es the inference that the
testator !as present !hen the last aC0ed their si'natures there.
The purpose of the la! to establish the for)alities re;uired for authenticit, is
undoubtedl ensure and 'uarantee their authenticit a'ainst bad faith and fraud, to
prevent those !ho have no ri'ht to succeed to the testator, !ill happen and !in-!in
!ith the le'ali7ation thereof. ,t has ful"lled that purpose in the event that there has
been tal2 because, in the sa)e bod of the !ill and the sa)e pa'e !here it appears
the attestation clause, or one third, e0presses the !ill consists of three pa'es and
because each one of the "rst t!o ta2es in part the note in letters, and in part and
second pa'es of it. These facts clearl e0clude all fear, suspicion, or an se)blance
of doubt that has replaced so)e of its pa'es to another.
--5
?o)ethin' )ore than in the case of Nave against Mo3al and A'uilar #/9 Phil., -8A%,
!hich !as clari"ed b the cause of Ju)ban against Jorecho and other #$A Phil.,
5-%, there is in this case because there there !as but notesF :Pa'e -:, :PAJE 4:,
:PAJE 5: and :PAJE /: on the respective faces of the four pa'es that )a2e up, and
this is data )entioned above and is also the record inserted in the "rst t!o lines of
the third pa'e of the e0hibits A and C, that the are co)posed of three pa'es, and
contains t!o articles and si0teen provisions.
The are therefore perfect application of the case is !hat !e said in the causes of
Rodri'ue7 against >ap, JR No. /$.4/, Ma -B, -.5., and blessed is against *e
Jorosti7a #$9 Phil., /$8%. 6e said in these cases, respectivel, the follo!in'F
The !ordin' of the attestation clause in this !ill not technicall free repairs,
but is essentiall a la! enforce)ent.
6e )aintain the vie! that should be re;uired strict adherence to the
substantial re;uire)ents of the !ill, to ensure its authenticit, but !e also
believe that the should not be considered defects that can not afect this
purpose and the other part , to be ta2en into account, could th!art the !ill of
the testator. #Rodri'ue7against >ap, supra .%
?hould not be allo!ed to hinder the le'al for)alities use of co))on sense in
the consideration of !ills and to frustrate the !ishes of the dead sole)nl
e0pressed in their !ills, as to the 'rantin' of !hich there is not even a
shado! of bad faith or fraud. #Blessed against *e Jorosti7a, supra .%
+or these reasons, "ndin' the ri'ht arran'ed to appeal decision of the Court of +irst
,nstance of Cebu, for the present, con"r), sentenced the appellants to pa the
costs. ?o ordered.
S)/ara0) O/.n.on*
MORAN, M., dissentin'F
The attestation clause is as follo!sF
6e !ho si'ned belo!, !e stateF That the pre-insert Testa)ent and &ivin' 6ill
has been si'ned, declared and s!orn b the Testator, Rev. P. Eleuterio Pilapil
in the presence of us all and pra for the Testator, si'n each of us in the
presence of us, here in Cebu, Cebu, P,, toda Nove)ber 49, -.5$.
Not stated in this clause that the attestin' !itnesses have si'ned the !ill in the
presence of the testator and, conse;uentl, !ill not be le'ali7ed. But the )a3orit
ar'ues that :the phrase Rto as2 of the testator,: that attached to the si'ned and
si'ned his !ill in the presence of the attestin' !itnesses, allo!ed and 3usti"ed
inference that the testator !as present !hen there last sta)ped their si'natures.
: But !e have said repeatedl that the for)alities of a !ill as re;uired b la! can
not be sho!n b evidence aliunde . Therefore, inference tests are inad)issible,
)ostl if the inference is not entirel ad3usted to the lo'ic.
--/
+or these reasons, , dissent fro) the )a3orit opinion.
IN T4E MATTER OF T4E TESTATE ESTATE OF T4E LATE JOSEFA
?ILLACORTE.
CELSO ICASIANO, /)0.0.on)r-a//)++)), 3*. NATI?IDAD ICASIANO an,
ENRIAUE ICASIANO, o//o*.0or*-a//)++an0*.
"" SCRA 4!3
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-"9969 Jun) 35, "964
IN T4E MATTER OF T4E TESTATE ESTATE OF T4E LATE JOSEFA ?ILLACORTE.
CELSO ICASIANO, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
NATI?IDAD ICASIANO an, ENRIAUE ICASIANO, oppositors-appellants.
Jose &. %ioJno for petitioner.appellee.
osendo J. Tansinin for oppositor.appellant 'atividad "casiano.
Jaime . 'uevas for oppositor.appellant Enri9ue "casiano.
REBES, J.B.L., J.:
Appeal fro) an order of the Court of +irst ,nstance of Manila ad)ittin' to probate
the docu)ent and its duplicate, )ar2ed as E0hibits :A: and :A--:, as the true last
!ill and testa)ent of @osefa Dillacorte, deceased, and appointin' as e0ecutor Celso
,casiano, the person na)ed therein as such.
This special proceedin' !as be'un on =ctober 4, -.$B b a petition for the
allo!ance and ad)ission to probate of the ori'inal, E0hibit :A: as the alle'ed !ill of
@osefa Dillacorte, deceased, and for the appoint)ent of petitioner Celso ,casiano as
e0ecutor thereof.
The court set the provin' of the alle'ed !ill for Nove)ber B, -.$B, and caused
notice thereof to be published for three #5% successive !ee2s, previous to the ti)e
appointed, in the ne!spaper :Manila chronicle:, and also caused personal service of
copies thereof upon the 2no!n heirs.
=n =ctober 5-, -.$B, Natividad ,casiano, a dau'hter of the testatri0, "led her
opposition< and on Nove)ber -A, -.$B, she petitioned to have herself appointed as
a special ad)inistrator, to !hich proponent ob3ected. 1ence, on Nove)ber -B,
-.$B, the court issued an order appointin' the Philippine Trust Co)pan as special
ad)inistrator.
=n +ebruar -B, -.$., Enri;ue ,casiano, a son of the testatri0, also "led a
)anifestation adoptin' as his o!n NatividadRs opposition to the probate of the
alle'ed !ill.
=n March -., -.$., the petitioner proponent co))enced the introduction of his
evidence< but on @une -, -.$., he "led a )otion for the ad)ission of an a)ended
--$
and supple)ental petition, alle'in' that the decedent left a !ill e0ecuted in
duplicate !ith all the le'al re;uire)ents, and that he !as, on that date, sub)ittin'
the si'ned duplicate #E0hibit :A--:%, !hich he alle'edl found onl on or about Ma
48, -.$.. =n @une -9, -.$., oppositors Natividad ,casiano de Jo)e7 and Enri;ue
,casiano "led their 3oint opposition to the ad)ission of the a)ended and
supple)ental petition, but b order of @ul 4A, -.$., the court ad)itted said
petition, and on @ul 5A, -.$., oppositor Natividad ,casiano "led her a)ended
opposition. Thereafter, the parties presented their respective evidence, and after
several hearin's the court issued the order ad)ittin' the !ill and its duplicate to
probate. +ro) this order, the oppositors appealed directl to this Court, the a)ount
involved bein' over P4AA,AAA.AA, on the 'round that the sa)e is contrar to la!
and the evidence.
The evidence presented for the petitioner is to the efect that @osefa Dillacorte died
in the Cit of Manila on ?epte)ber -4, -.$B< that on @une 4, -.$8, the late @osefa
Dillacorte e0ecuted a last !ill and testa)ent in duplicate at the house of her
dau'hter Mrs. +elisa ,casiano at Pedro Juevara ?treet, Manila, published before and
attested b three instru)ental !itnesses, na)elF attornes @usto P. Torres, @r. and
@ose D. Natividad, and Mr. Dinicio B. *i< that the !ill !as ac2no!led'ed b the
testatri0 and b the said three instru)ental !itnesses on the sa)e date before
attorne @ose =en'co =n', Notar Public in and for the Cit of Manila< and that the
!ill !as actuall prepared b attorne +er)in ?a)son, !ho !as also present durin'
the e0ecution and si'nin' of the decedentRs last !ill and testa)ent, to'ether !ith
for)er Jovernor E)ilio Rustia of Bulacan, @ud'e Ra)on ,casiano and a little 'irl. =f
the said three instru)ental !itnesses to the e0ecution of the decedentRs last !ill
and testa)ent, attornes Torres and Natividad !ere in the Philippines at the ti)e of
the hearin', and both testi"ed as to the due e0ecution and authenticit of the said
!ill. ?o did the Notar Public before !ho) the !ill !as ac2no!led'ed b the
testatri0 and attestin' !itnesses, and also attornes +er)in ?a)son, !ho actuall
prepared the docu)ent. The latter also testi"ed upon cross e0a)ination that he
prepared one ori'inal and t!o copies of @osefa Dillacorte last !ill and testa)ent at
his house in Baliua', Bulacan, but he brou'ht onl one ori'inal and one si'ned cop
to Manila, retainin' one unsi'ned cop in Bulacan.
The records sho! that the ori'inal of the !ill, !hich !as surrendered si)ultaneousl
!ith the "lin' of the petition and )ar2ed as E0hibit :A: consists of "ve pa'es, and
!hile si'ned at the end and in ever pa'e, it does not contain the si'nature of one
of the attestin' !itnesses, Att. @ose D. Natividad, on pa'e three #5% thereof< but the
duplicate cop attached to the a)ended and supple)ental petition and )ar2ed as
E0hibit :A--: is si'ned b the testatri0 and her three attestin' !itnesses in each and
ever pa'e.
The testi)on presented b the proponents of the !ill tends to sho! that the
ori'inal of the !ill and its duplicate !ere subscribed at the end and on the left
)ar'in of each and ever pa'e thereof b the testatri0 herself and attested and
subscribed b the three )entioned !itnesses in the testatri0Rs presence and in that
of one another as !itnesses #e0cept for the )issin' si'nature of attorne Natividad
on pa'e three #5% of the ori'inal%< that pa'es of the ori'inal and duplicate of said !ill
!ere dul nu)bered< that the attestation clause thereof contains all the facts
--8
re;uired b la! to be recited therein and is si'ned b the aforesaid attestin'
!itnesses< that the !ill is !ritten in the lan'ua'e 2no!n to and spo2en b the
testatri0 that the attestation clause is in a lan'ua'e also 2no!n to and spo2en b
the !itnesses< that the !ill !as e0ecuted on one sin'le occasion in duplicate copies<
and that both the ori'inal and the duplicate copies !ere dul ac2no!led'ed before
Notar Public @ose =en'co of Manila on the sa)e date @une 4, -.$8.
6itness Natividad !ho testi"ed on his failure to si'n pa'e three #5% of the ori'inal,
ad)its that he )a have lifted t!o pa'es instead of one !hen he si'ned the sa)e,
but aCr)ed that pa'e three #5% !as si'ned in his presence.
=ppositors-appellants in turn introduced e0pert testi)on to the efect that the
si'natures of the testatri0 in the duplicate #E0hibit :A--:% are not 'enuine nor !ere
the !ritten or aC0ed on the sa)e occasion as the ori'inal, and further aver that
'rantin' that the docu)ents !ere 'enuine, the !ere e0ecuted throu'h )ista2e
and !ith undue in]uence and pressure because the testatri0 !as deceived into
adoptin' as her last !ill and testa)ent the !ishes of those !ho !ill stand to bene"t
fro) the provisions of the !ill, as )a be inferred fro) the facts and circu)stances
surroundin' the e0ecution of the !ill and the provisions and dispositions thereof,
!hereb proponents-appellees stand to pro"t fro) properties held b the) as
attornes-in-fact of the deceased and not enu)erated or )entioned therein, !hile
oppositors-appellants are en3oined not to loo2 for other properties not )entioned in
the !ill, and not to oppose the probate of it, on penalt of forfeitin' their share in
the portion of free disposal.
6e have e0a)ined the record and are satis"ed, as the trial court !as, that the
testatri0 si'ned both ori'inal and duplicate copies #E0hibits :A: and :A--:,
respectivel% of the !ill spontaneousl, on the sa)e in the presence of the three
attestin' !itnesses, the notar public !ho ac2no!led'ed the !ill< and Att. ?a)son,
!ho actuall prepared the docu)ents< that the !ill and its duplicate !ere e0ecuted
in Ta'alo', a lan'ua'e 2no!n to and spo2en b both the testator and the !itnesses,
and read to and b the testatri0 and Att. +er)in ?a)son, to'ether before the
!ere actuall si'ned< that the attestation clause is also in a lan'ua'e 2no!n to and
spo2en b the testatri0 and the !itnesses. The opinion of e0pert for oppositors, Mr.
+elipe &o'an, that the si'natures of the testatri0 appearin' in the duplicate ori'inal
!ere not !ritten b the sa)e had !hich !rote the si'natures in the ori'inal !ill
leaves us unconvinced, not )erel because it is directl contradicted b e0pert
Martin Ra)os for the proponents, but principall because of the paucit of the
standards used b hi) to support the conclusion that the diferences bet!een the
standard and ;uestioned si'natures are beond the !riterRs ran'e of nor)al
scriptural variation. The e0pert has, in fact, used as standards onl three other
si'natures of the testatri0 besides those aC0ed to the ori'inal of the testa)ent
#E0h. A%< and !e feel that !ith so fe! standards the e0pertRs opinion and the
si'natures in the duplicate could not be those of the testatri0 beco)es e0tre)el
ha7ardous. This is particularl so since the co)parison charts Nos. 5 and / fail to
sho! convincin'l that the are radical diferences that !ould 3ustif the char'e of
for'er, ta2in' into account the advanced a'e of the testatri0, the evident
variabilit of her si'natures, and the efect of !ritin' fati'ue, the duplicate bein'
si'ned ri'ht the ori'inal. These, factors !ere not discussed b the e0pert.
--9
?i)ilarl, the alle'ed sli'ht variance in blueness of the in2 in the ad)itted and
;uestioned si'natures does not appear reliable, considerin' the standard and
challen'ed !ritin's !ere aC0ed to diferent 2inds of paper, !ith diferent surfaces
and re]ectin' po!er. =n the !hole, therefore, !e do not "nd the testi)on of the
oppositorRs e0pert suCcient to overco)e that of the notar and the t!o
instru)ental !itnesses, Torres and Natividad #*r. *i bein' in the (nited ?tates
durin' the trial, did not testif%.
Nor do !e "nd ade;uate evidence of fraud or undue in]uence. The fact that so)e
heirs are )ore favored than others is proof of neither #see "n re Butalid, -A Phil. 49<
Bu'nao vs. (ba', -/ Phil. -85< Pecson vs. Coronal, /$ Phil. 4-8%. *iversit of
apportion)ent is the usual reason for )a2in' a testa)ent< other!ise, the decedent
)i'ht as !ell die intestate. The testa)entar dispositions that the heirs should not
in;uire into other propert and that the should respect the distribution )ade in the
!ill, under penalt of forfeiture of their shares in the free part do not suCce to
prove fraud or undue in]uence. The appear )otivated b the desire to prevent
prolon'ed liti'ation !hich, as sho!n b ordinar e0perience, often results in a
si7eable portion of the estate bein' diverted into the hands of non-heirs and
speculators. 6hether these clauses are valid or not is a )atter to be liti'ated on
another occassion. ,t is also !ell to note that, as re)ar2ed b the Court of Appeals
in ;ideco vs. ;ideco, /$ =f. Ja7. -8B, fraud and undue in]uence are )utuall
repu'nant and e0clude each other< their 3oinin' as 'rounds for opposin' probate
sho!s absence of de"nite evidence a'ainst the validit of the !ill.
=n the ;uestion of la!, !e hold that the inadvertent failure of one !itness to aC0
his si'nature to one pa'e of a testa)ent, due to the si)ultaneous liftin' of t!o
pa'es in the course of si'nin', is not per se suCcient to 3ustif denial of probate.
,)possibilit of substitution of this pa'e is assured not onl the fact that the
testatri0 and t!o other !itnesses did si'n the defective pa'e, but also b its
bearin' the coincident i)print of the seal of the notar public before !ho) the
testa)ent !as rati"ed b testatri0 and all three !itnesses. The la! should not be so
strictl and literall interpreted as to penali7e the testatri0 on account of the
inadvertence of a sin'le !itness over !hose conduct she had no control, !here the
purpose of the la! to 'uarantee the identit of the testa)ent and its co)ponent
pa'es is suCcientl attained, no intentional or deliberate deviation e0isted, and the
evidence on record attests to the full observance of the statutor re;uisites.
=ther!ise, as stated in Bda. de Gil. vs. Murciano, /. =f. Ja7. -/$., at -/9.
#decision on reconsideration% :!itnesses )a sabota'e the !ill b )uddlin' or
bun'lin' it or the attestation clause:.
That the failure of !itness Natividad to si'n pa'e three #5% !as entirel throu'h
pure oversi'ht is sho!n b his o!n testi)on as !ell as b the duplicate cop of
the !ill, !hich bears a co)plete set of si'natures in ever pa'e. The te0t of the
attestation clause and the ac2no!led')ent before the Notar Public li2e!ise
evidence that no one !as a!are of the defect at the ti)e.
--B
This !ould not be the "rst ti)e that this Court departs fro) a strict and literal
application of the statutor re;uire)ents, !here the purposes of the la! are
other!ise satis"ed. Thus, despite the literal tenor of the la!, this Court has held
that a testa)ent, !ith the onl pa'e si'ned at its foot b testator and !itnesses,
but not in the left )ar'in, could nevertheless be probated #Aban'an vs. Aban'an,
/- Phil. /98%< and that despite the re;uire)ent for the correlative letterin' of the
pa'es of a !ill, the failure to )a2e the "rst pa'e either b letters or nu)bers is not
a fatal defect #&ope7 vs. &iboro, B- Phil. /4.%. These precedents e0e)plif the
CourtRs polic to re;uire satisfaction of the le'al re;uire)ents in order to 'uard
a'ainst fraud and bid faith but !ithout undue or unnecessar curtail)ent of the
testa)entar privile'e.
The appellants also ar'ue that since the ori'inal of the !ill is in e0istence and
available, the duplicate #E0h. A--% is not entitled to probate. ?ince the opposed
probate of ori'inal because it lac2ed one si'nature in its third pa'e, it is easil
discerned that oppositors-appellants run here into a dile))a< if the ori'inal is
defective and invalid, then in la! there is no other !ill but the dul si'ned carbon
duplicate #E0h. A--%, and the sa)e is probatable. ,f the ori'inal is valid and can be
probated, then the ob3ection to the si'ned duplicate need not be considered, bein'
super]uous and irrelevant. At an rate, said duplicate, E0hibit A--, serves to prove
that the o)ission of one si'nature in the third pa'e of the ori'inal testa)ent !as
inadvertent and not intentional.
That the carbon duplicate, E0hibit A--, !as produced and ad)itted !ithout a ne!
publication does not afect the 3urisdiction of the probate court, alread conferred
b the ori'inal publication of the petition for probate. The a)ended petition did not
substantiall alter the one "rst "led, but )erel supple)ented it b disclosin' the
e0istence of the duplicate, and no sho!in' is )ade that ne! interests !ere involved
#the contents of E0hibit A and A-- are ad)ittedl identical%< and appellants !ere
dul noti"ed of the proposed a)end)ent. ,t is no!here proved or clai)ed that the
a)end)ent deprived the appellants of an substantial ri'ht, and !e see no error in
ad)ittin' the a)ended petition.
,N D,E6 =+ T1E +=REJ=,NJ, the decision appealed fro) is aCr)ed, !ith costs
a'ainst appellants.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista (ngelo, !abrador, Concepcion, Paredes, egala and
MaJalintal, JJ., concur.
Barrera and %izon, JJ., tooJ no part.
T)*0a0) )*0a0) o' 0() +a0) ?ICENTE CAGRO. JESUSA
CAGRO, /)0.0.on)r-a//)++)), 3*.
PELAGIO CAGRO, ET AL., o//o*.0or*-a//)++an0*.
9! P4IL "533
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-#9!6 A/r.+ !9, "9#3
--.
T)*0a0) )*0a0) o' 0() +a0) ?ICENTE CAGRO. JESUSA CAGRO, petitioner-
appellee,
vs.
PELAGIO CAGRO, ET AL., oppositors-appellants.
Clouduallo !ucero and Bicente C. ;antos for appellants.
Marciano C4itongco and Posimo B. Ec4anova for appellee.
PARAS, C.J.$
This is an appeal interposed b the oppositors fro) a decision of the Court of +irst
,nstance of ?a)ar, ad)ittin' to probate the !ill alle'edl e0ecuted b Dicente
Ca'ro !ho died in &aoan'an, Pa)bu3an, ?a)ar, on +ebruar -/, -./..
The )ain ob3ection insisted upon b the appellant in that the !ill is fatall defective,
because its attestation clause is not si'ned b the attestin' !itnesses. There is no
;uestion that the si'natures of the three !itnesses to the !ill do not appear at the
botto) of the attestation clause, althou'h the pa'e containin' the sa)e is si'ned
b the !itnesses on the left-hand )ar'in.
6e are of the opinion that the position ta2en b the appellant is correct. The
attestation clause is Ra )e)orandu) of the facts attendin' the e0ecution of the !illR
re;uired b la! to be )ade b the attestin' !itnesses, and it )ust necessaril bear
their si'natures. An unsi'ned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of
the !itnesses, since the o)ission of their si'natures at the botto) thereof
ne'atives their participation.
The petitioner and appellee contends that si'natures of the three !itnesses on the
left-hand )ar'in confor) substantiall to the la! and )a be dee)ed as their
si'natures to the attestation clause. This is untenable, because said si'natures are
in co)pliance !ith the le'al )andate that the !ill be si'ned on the left-hand
)ar'in of all its pa'es. ,f an attestation clause not si'ned b the three !itnesses at
the botto) thereof, be ad)itted as suCcient, it !ould be eas to add such clause to
a !ill on a subse;uent occasion and in the absence of the testator and an or all of
the !itnesses.
6herefore, the appealed decision is reversed and the probate of the !ill in ;uestion
denied. ?o ordered !ith costs a'ainst the petitioner and appellee.
Pablo, Bengzon, Montemayor, Jugo and !abrador, JJ., concur.
S)/ara0) O/.n.on*
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J., dissentin'F
, dissent. ,n ) opinion the !ill in ;uestion has substantiall co)plied !ith the
for)alities of the la! and, therefore, should be ad)itted to probate . ,t appears that
the !ill !as si'ned b the testator and !as attested b three instru)ental
!itnesses, not onl at the botto), but also on the left-hand )ar'in. The !itnesses
-4A
testi"ed not onl that the !ill !as si'ned b the testator in their presence and in
the presence of each other but also that !hen the did so, the attestation clause
!as alread !ritten thereon. Their testi)on has not been contradicted. The onl
ob3ection set up b the oppositors to the validit of the !ill is the fact that the
si'natures of the instru)ental !itnesses do not appear i))ediatel after the
attestation clause.
This ob3ection is too technical to be entertained. ,n the case of Aban'an vs.
Aban'an, #/A Phil., /98%, this court said that !hen the testa)entar dispositions
:are !holl !ritten on onl one sheet si'ned at the botto) b the testator and three
!itnesses #as the instant case%,their si'natures on the left )ar'in of said sheet
!ould be co)pletel purposeless.: ,n such a case, the court said, the re;uire)ent
of the si'natures on the left hand )ar'in !as not necessar because the purpose of
the la! U !hich is to avoid the substitution of an of the sheets of the !ill, thereb
chan'in' the testatorRs dispositions U has alread been acco)plished. 6e )a sa
the sa)e thin' in connection !ith the !ill under consideration because !hile the
three instru)ental !itnesses did not si'n i))ediatel b the )a3orit that it )a
have been onl added on a subse;uent occasion and not at the uncontradicted
testi)on of said !itnesses to the efect that such attestation clause !as alread
!ritten in the !ill !hen the sa)e !as si'ned.
The follo!in' observation )ade b this court in the Aban'an case is ver "ttin'F
The ob3ect of the sole)nities surroundin' the e0ecution of !ills is to close the
door a'ainst bad faith and fraud to avoid substitution of !ills and testa)ents
and to 'uarant their truth and authenticit. Therefore the la!s on this
sub3ect should be interpreted in such a !a as to attain these pri)ordial
ends. But, on the other hand, also one )ust not lose si'ht of the fact that it i
not the ob3ect of the la! to restrain and curtail the e0ercise of the ri'ht to
)a2e a !ill. ?o !hen an interpretation alread 'iven assures such ends, an
other interpretation alread 'iven assures such ends, an other interpretation
!hatsoever, that adds nothin' but de)ands )ore re;uisites entirel
unnecessar useless and frustrative of the testatorRs last !ill, )ust be
disre'arded. #supra%
6e should not also overloo2 the liberal trend of the Ne! Civil Code in the )atter of
interpretation of !ills, the purpose of !hich, in case of doubt, is to 'ive such
interpretation that !ould have the efect of preventin' intestac #article 9BB and
9.-, Ne! Civil Code%
, a) therefore of the opinion that the !ill in ;uestion should be ad)itted to probate.
$eria, J., concurs.
TUASON, J., dissentin'F
, cuncur in Mr. @ustice BautistaRs dissentin' opinion and )a add that the )a3orit
decision erroneousl sets do!n as a fact that the attestation clause !as no si'ned
!hen the !itnesses si'natures appear on the left )ar'in and the real and onl
;uestion is !hether such si'natures are le'all suCcient.
-4-
The onl ans!ers, in our hu)ble opinion, is es. The la! on !ills does not provide
that the attestin' !itness should si'n the clause at the botto). ,n the absence of
such provision, there is no reason !h si'natures on the )ar'in are not 'ood. A
letter is not an the less the !ritterRs si)pl because it !as si'ned, not at the
conventional place but on the side or on top.
$eria, J., concurs.
BEATRI% NERA, ET AL., /+a.n0.G*-a//)++))*, 3*. NARCISA
RIMANDO, ,)')n,an0-a//)++an0..
"9 P4IL 4#5
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-#96" F)-ruar !6, "9""
BEATRI% NERA, ET AL., plaintifs-appellees,
vs.
NARCISA RIMANDO, defendant-appellant.
Balerio $ontanilla and (ndres (sprer for appellant.
(nacleto %iaz for appellees.
CARSON, J.F
The onl ;uestion raised b the evidence in this case as to the due e0ecution of the
instru)ent propounded as a !ill in the court belo!, is !hether one of the
subscribin' !itnesses !as present in the s)all roo) !here it !as e0ecuted at the
ti)e !hen the testator and the other subscribin' !itnesses attached their
si'natures< or !hether at that ti)e he !as outside, so)e ei'ht or ten feet a!a, in
a lar'e roo) connectin' !ith the s)aller roo) b a door!a, across !hich !as
hun' a curtain !hich )ade it i)possible for one in the outside roo) to see the
testator and the other subscribin' !itnesses in the act of attachin' their si'natures
to the instru)ent.
A )a3orit of the )e)bers of the court is of opinion that this subscribin' !itness
!as in the s)all roo) !ith the testator and the other subscribin' !itnesses at the
ti)e !hen the attached their si'natures to the instru)ent, and this "ndin', of
course, disposes of the appeal and necessitates the aCr)ance of the decree
ad)ittin' the docu)ent to probate as the last !ill and testa)ent of the deceased.
The trial 3ud'e does not appear to have considered the deter)ination of this
;uestion of fact of vital i)portance in the deter)ination of this case, as he !as of
opinion that under the doctrine laid do!n in the case of Jaboneta vs. Gustilo #$ Phil.
Rep., $/-% the alle'ed fact that one of the subscribin' !itnesses !as in the outer
roo) !hen the testator and the other describin' !itnesses si'ned the instru)ent in
the inner roo), had it been proven, !ould not be suCcient in itself to invalidate the
e0ecution of the !ill. But !e are unani)ousl of opinion that had this subscribin'
!itness been proven to have been in the outer roo) at the ti)e !hen the testator
and the other subscribin' !itnesses attached their si'natures to the instru)ent in
the inner roo), it !ould have been invalid as a !ill, the attachin' of those
si'natures under circu)stances not bein' done :in the presence: of the !itness in
the outer roo). This because the line of vision fro) this !itness to the testator and
-44
the other subscribin' !itnesses !ould necessaril have been i)peded b the
curtain separatin' the inner fro) the outer one :at the )o)ent of inscription of
each si'nature.:
,n the case 3ust cited, on !hich the trial court relied, !e held thatF
The true test of presence of the testator and the !itnesses in the e0ecution of
a !ill is not !hether the actuall sa! each other si'n, but !hether the
)i'ht have been seen each other si'n, had the chosen to do so, considerin'
their )ental and phsical condition and position !ith relation to each other at
the )o)ent of inscription of each si'nature.
But it is especiall to be noted that the position of the parties !ith relation to each
other at t4e moment of t4e subscription of eac4 signature, )ust be such that the
)a see each other si'n if the choose to do so. This, of course, does not )ean that
the testator and the subscribin' !itnesses )a be held to have e0ecuted the
instru)ent in the presence of each other if it appears that the !ould not have
been able to see each other si'n at that )o)ent, !ithout chan'in' their relative
positions or e0istin' conditions. The evidence in the case relied upon b the trial
3ud'e discloses that :at the )o)ent !hen the !itness @avellana si'ned the
docu)ent he !as actuall and phsicall present and in such position !ith relation
to @aboneta that he could see everthin' that too2 place b )erel castin' his ees
in the proper direction and 0it4out any p4ysical obstruction to prevent 4is doing
so.: And the decision )erel laid do!n the doctrine that the ;uestion !hether the
testator and the subscribin' !itnesses to an alle'ed !ill si'n the instru)ent in the
presence of each other does not depend upon proof of the fact that their ees !ere
actuall cast upon the paper at the )o)ent of its subscription b each of the), but
that at that )o)ent e0istin' conditions and their position !ith relation to each
other !ere such that b )erel castin' the ees in the proper direction the could
have seen each other si'n. To e0tend the doctrine further !ould open the door to
the possibilit of all )anner of fraud, substitution, and the li2e, and !ould defeat
the purpose for !hich this particular condition is prescribed in the code as one of
the re;uisites in the e0ecution of a !ill.
The decree entered b the court belo! ad)ittin' the instru)ent propounded
therein to probate as the last !ill and testa)ent of Pedro Ri)ando, deceased, is
aCr)ed !ith costs of this instance a'ainst the appellant.
(rellano, C. J., Mapa, Moreland and Trent, JJ., concur.
READ F.r*0 35 ar0.1+)* .n Su11)**.on
-45