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Art.

841 Will valid even though there is no institution of heir


G.R. No. 76648 February 6! 1"88
#$% $%&R' (F #$% )A#% *A#&)+% *(N#&N()A,'AN'(N! -etitioners!
vs.
.(/R# (F A00%A)' and %+/AR+( F. $%RNAN+%1! res-ondents.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 promulgated August
29,1986 affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, ranch !!"" 2 dated March 21,
198#, the dispositive part of which reads$
%&'R'()R', the Court renders *udgment declaring the holographic will mar+ed in evidence as ',hi-it
.&. as one wholl/ written, dated, and signed freel/ -/ the late &erminia Montinola in accordance with law
while in possession of full testamentar/ capacit/, and allowing and admitting the same to pro-ate0
1pon the finalit/ of the decision, let letters testamentar/ issue to the e,ecutor, 'duardo (0 &ernande2, as
well as the certificate of pro-ate prescri-ed under 3ection 14 of Rule 56 of the Rules of Court0
3) )R6'R'60 4
This case arose from a petition filed -/ private respondent Att/0 'duardo (0 &ernande2 on April 22, 1981
with the Court of (irst "nstance of Manila 7now Regional Trial Court8 see+ing the pro-ate of the
holographic will of the late &erminia Montinola e,ecuted on 9anuar/ 28, 198:0 ; The testatri,, who died
single, parentless and childless on March 29,1981 at the age of 5: /ears, devised in this will several of
her real properties to specified persons0
)n April 29,1981, private respondent who was named e,ecutor in the will filed an urgent motion for
appointment of special administrator0 # %ith the conformit/ of all the relatives and heirs of the testatri,
e,cept oppositor, the court in its order of Ma/ #, 1981 6 appointed private respondent as 3pecial
Administrator of the testate estate of deceased0
)n 9une 29,1981, Matilde Montinola 3anson 7petitioner8, the onl/ surviving sister of the deceased -ut
who was not named in the said win, filed her )pposition to <ro-ate of %ill , 5 alleging inter alia$ that the
su-*ect will was not entirel/ written, dated and signed -/ the testatri, herself and the same was falsel/
dated or antedated= that the testatri, was not in full possession of her mental faculties to ma+e
testamentar/ dispositions= that undue influence was e,erted upon the person and mind of the testatri, -/
the -eneficiaries named in the win= and that the will failed to institute a residual heir to the remainder of
the estate0
After a hearing on the merits, the pro-ate court, finding the evidence presented in support of the petition
to -e conclusive and overwhelming, rendered its decision allowing the pro-ate of the disputed will0
<etitioner thus appealed the decision of the pro-ate court to the Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto
the decision0 8
)n 3eptem-er 2;,1986, petitioner filed with the respondent court a motion for new trial0 9 Attached to her
motion was the Affidavit of Merit of >regorio Montinola 3anson, petitioner?s son, alleging that witnesses
have -een located whose testimonies could shed light as to the ill health of the testatri, as well as undue
influence e,erted on the latter0
The appellate court in its resolution of )cto-er 14, 1986, 1: denied the motion for new trial of petitioner
on the following grounds$ 718 the Affidavit of merit attached to the motion alleged that efforts were e,erted
to locate unnamed witnesses onl/ after the court?s decision was handed down, and 728 the unnamed
witnesses would allegedl/ shed light on the fact of grave illness of the testatri, as well as the undue
influence e,erted on her which are merel/ corro-orative or cumulative since these facts were -rought to
light during the trial0
The motion for reconsideration of petitioner dated )cto-er 25, 1986 11 was li+ewise denied -/ the
appellate court in its resolution of @ovem-er 2:, 1986 12 on the ground that the affidavit of one <atricia
6elgado su-mitted with the motion constitutes cumulative evidence and the motion -eing in realit/ a
second motion for reconsideration which is prescri-ed -/ law0
"n the petition now -efore 1s, petitioner assigned the following errors$
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"n the meantime, petitioner who passed awa/ on @ovem-er 4, 1986, was su-stituted -/ her heirs0
"n the first and second assigned errors, petitioners maintain that the appellate court erred in den/ing the
motion for new trial insisting that the new evidence sought to -e presented is not merel/ corro-orative or
cumulative0
)n the other hand, the contention of private respondent is that the motion for new trial was a proEforma
motion -ecause it was not in accordance with 3ec0 1, Rule #4 of the Rules of Court0 %e find merit in this
contention0
3ection 1, Rule #4 provides F
efore a final order or *udgment rendered -/ the Court of appeals -ecomes e,ecutor/, a motion for new
trial ma/ -e filed on the ground of newl/ discovered evidence which could not have -een discovered prior
to the trial in the court -elow -/ the e,ercise of the diligence and which is of such a character as would
pro-a-l/ change the result0 The motion shall -e accompanied -/ affidavits showing the facts constituting
the grounds therefor and the newl/ discovered evidence0
The affidavit of merit e,ecuted -/ >regorio Montinola 3anson alleged the following$
,,, ,,, ,,,
40 That in her plea for new trial in the said case, " have e,erted efforts to locate witnesses whose
wherea-outs were not +nown to us during the trial in the lower court, -ut " have finall/ succeeded in
trac+ing them down=
;0 That despite their initial reluctance to testif/ in this case," am convinced that the/ would testif/
under proper su-poena for purposes of shedding light on the fact that the testatri, was gravel/ ill at or -ut
the time that the Guestioned will was allegedl/ e,ecuted=
#0 That the/ had the clear opportunit/ to +now the circumstances under which the purported will was
e,ecuted= and that the/ +now for a fact that there was ?undue influence? e,erted -/ petitioner and other
relatives to procure improper favors from the testatri,=
,,, ,,, ,,, 14
3aid motion for new trial is not in su-stantial compliance with the reGuirements of Rule #40 The lone
affidavit of a witness who was alread/ presented said the hearing is hardl/ sufficient to *ustif/ the holding
of new trial0 The alleged new witnesses were unnamed without an/ certaint/ as, to their appearance
-efore the court to testif/0 Affiant attests onl/ on his -elief that the/ would testif/ if and when the/ are
su-poenaed -/ the court0 (urthermore, the allegations in the affidavit as to the undue influence e,erted
on the testatri, are mere conclusions and not statement of facts0 The reGuisite affidavits must state facts
and not mere conclusions or opinions, otherwise the/ are not valid0 1; The affidavits are reGuired to avoid
waste of the court?s time if the newl/ discovered evidence turns out to -e immaterial or of an/ evidentiar/
weight0
Moreover, it could not -e said that the evidence sought to -e presented is new having -een discovered
onl/ after the trial0 "t is apparent from the allegations of affiant that efforts to locate the witnesses were
e,erted onl/ after the decision of the appellate court was handed down0 The trial lasted for a-out four
/ears so that petitioner had ample time to find said alleged witnesses who were admittedl/ +nown to her0
The evidence which the petitioner now propose to present could have -een discovered and presented
during the hearing of the case, and there is no sufficient reason for concluding that had the petitioner
e,ercised proper diligence she would not have -een a-le to discover said evidence0 1#
"n addition, %e agree with the appellate court that since the alleged illness of the testatri, as well as the
charges of undue influence e,erted upon her had -een -rought to light during the trial, and new evidence
on this point is merel/ corro-orative and cumulative which is generall/ not a ground for new trial0 16
Accordingl/, such evidence even if presented win not carr/ much pro-ative weight which can alter the
*udgment0 15
"t is ver/ patent that the motion for new trial was filed -/ petitioner onl/ for the purpose of dela/ing the
proceedings0 "n fact, petitioners son in his manifestation admitted that he had to reGuest a new law firm to
do ever/thing legall/ possi-le to meet the deadline for the filing of a motion for reconsideration andHor for
new trial0 18 This would e,plain the hapha2ard preparation of the motion, thus failing to compl/ with the
reGuirements of rule #4, which was filed on the last da/ of the reglementar/ period of appeal so that the
veracit/ of the ground relied upon is Guestiona-le0 The appellate court correctl/ denied the motion for new
trial0
The motion for new trial -eing proEforma, it does not interrupt the running of the period for appeal0 19
3ince petitioner?s motion was filed on 3eptem-er 2;,1986, the fifteenth or last da/ of the period to appeal,
the decision of the respondent court -ecame final on the following da/, 3eptem-er 2#0 And when the
motion for reconsideration of petitioner was filed on )cto-er 4:,1986, it was o-viousl/ filed out of time0
3ince the Guestioned decision has alread/ -ecome final and e,ecutor/, it is no longer within the province
of this Court to review it0 This -eing so, the findings of the pro-ate court as to the due e,ecution of the will
and the testamentar/ capacit/ of testatri, are now conclusive0 2:
At an/ rate, even assuming that %e can still review this case on its merits, the petition will also have to
fail0
6uring the hearing -efore the pro-ate court, not onl/ were three 748 close relatives of the testatri,
presented -ut also two 728 e,pert witnesses who declared that the contested will and signature are in the
handwriting of the testatri,0 These testimonies more than satisf/ the reGuirements of Art0 811 of the Civil
Code 21 in con*unction with 3ection 11 of Rule 56, Revised Rules of Court, 22 or the pro-ate of
holographic wills0
As regards the alleged antedating of the will, petitioner failed to present competent proof that the will was
actuall/ e,ecuted sometime in 9une 198: when the testatri, was alread/ seriousl/ ill and d/ing of terminal
lung cancer0 3he relied onl/ on the supposed inconsistencies in the testimon/ of Asuncion >emperle,
niece and constant companion of testatri,, which upon careful e,amination did not prove such claim of
antedating0
The factual findings of the pro-ate court and the Court of Appeals that the will in Guestion was e,ecuted
according to the formalities reGuired -/ law are conclusive on the 3upreme Court when supported -/
evidence0 24 %e have e,amined the records of this case and find no error in the conclusion arrived at -/
the respondent court that the contested will was dul/ e,ecuted in accordance with law0
<etitioner alleges that her e,clusion from the alleged holographic will was without rh/me or reason, -eing
the onl/ surviving sister of the testatri, with whom she shares an intimate relationship, thus demonstrating
the lac+ of testamentar/ capacit/ of testatri,0
"n the case of <ecson v0 Coronel, 2; it was held F
The appellants emphasi2e the fact that famil/ ties in this countr/ are ver/ strongl/ +nit and that the
e,clusion of a relative from one?s estate is an e,ceptional case0 "t is true that the ties of relationship in the
<hilippines are ver/ strong, -ut we understand that cases of preterition of relatives from the inheritance
are not rare0 The li-ert/ to dispose of one?s estate -/ will when there are no forced heirs is rendered
sacred -/ the Civil Code in force in the <hilippines since 1889000
Article 8;2 of the Civil Code provides that one who has no compulsor/ heirs ma/ dispose -/ will of all his
estate or an/ part of it in favor of an/ person having capacit/ to succeed0
"t is within the right of the testatri, not to include her onl/ sister who is not a compulsor/ heir in her will0
@evertheless, per testimon/ of Asuncion >emperle, the latter had reserved two -o,es of *ewelr/ worth
<8#:,:::0:: for petitioner0 (urthermore, petitioner?s son (rancis was instituted as an heir in the contested
will0
<etitioner still insists that the fact that in her holographic will the testatri, failed to dispose of all of her
estate is an indication of the unsoundness of her mind0
%e cannot su-scri-e to this contention0 Art0 8;1 of the Civil Code provides F
A will shall -e valid even though it should not contain an institution of an heir, or such institution should not
comprise the entire estate, and even though the person so instituted should not accept the inheritance or
should -e incapacitated to succeed0
"n such cases, the testamentar/ dispositions made in accordance with law shall -e complied with and the
remainder of the estate shall pass to the legal heirs0
Thus, the fact that in her holographic will, testatri, disposed of onl/ eleven 7118 of her real properties does
not invalidate the will, or is it an indication that the testatri, was of unsound mind0 The portion of the
estate undisposed of shall pass on to the heirs of the deceased in intestate succession0
@either is undue influence present *ust -ecause -lood relatives, other than compulsor/ heirs have -een
omitted, for while -lood ties are strong in the <hilippines, it is the testator?s right to disregard nonE
compulsor/ heirs0 2# The fact that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of neither fraud or
undue influence0 26 6iversit/ of apportionment is the usual reason for ma+ing a testament, otherwise, the
decedent might as well die intestate0 25
The contention of the petitioner that the will was o-tained -/ undue influence or improper pressure
e,erted -/ the -eneficiaries of the will cannot -e sustained on mere con*ecture or suspicion= as it is not
enough that there was opportunit/ to e,ercise undue influence or a possi-ilit/ that it ma/ have -een
e,ercised0 28 The e,ercise of improper pressure and undue influence must -e supported -/ su-stantial
evidence that it was actuall/ e,ercised0 29
(inall/, %e Guote with approval the o-servation of the respondent court F
There is li+ewise no Guestion as to the due e,ecution of the su-*ect %ill0 To )ur minds, the most authentic
proof that decreased had testamentar/ capacit/ at the time of the e,ecution of the %ill, is the %ill itself
which according to a report of one of the two e,pert witnesses 7',hi-its ! to !E48 reveals the e,istence of
significant handwriting characteristics such as$
10 3pontaneit/, freedom, and speed of writing
,,, ,,, ,,,
40 good line Gualit/0
;0 presence of natural variation000 7',hi-it !80
The characteristics of spontaneit/, freedom and good line Gualit/ could not -e achieved -/ the testatri, if
it was true that she was indeed of unsound mind andHor under undue influence or improper pressure
when she the %ill0
"@ C"'% )( T&' ()R'>)"@> C)@3"6'RAT")@3, the petition is 6'@"'6 for lac+ of merit with costs
against petitioner0 The decision of respondent court dated August 29, 1986 in toto the decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila dated March 21, 198# is here-/ declared to -e immediatel/ e,ecutor/0
3) )R6'R'60
Art. 84 (ne 2ho has no 3o4-ulsory heirs 4ay dis-ose by 2ill all of his estate
(3tober 11! 1"5
G.R. No. 6574
&n re of +olores .oronel! de3eased.
)(R%N1( 0%.'(N! a--li3ant,a--ellee!
vs.
AG/'#&N .(R(N%)! %# A).! o--onents,a--ellants.
)n @ovem-er 28, 1922, the Court of (irst "nstance of <ampanga pro-ated as the last will and testament
of 6olores Coronel, the document ',hi-it A, which translated is as follows$
"n the name of >od, Amen$
", 6olores Coronel, resident of etis, >uagua, <ampanga, <hilippine "slands, in the full e,ercise of m/
mental faculties, do here-/ ma+e m/ last will and testament, and revo+e all former wills -/ me e,ecuted0
" direct and order that m/ -od/ -e -uried in conformit/ with m/ social standing0
That having no forced heirs, " will all m/ properties, -oth mova-le and immova-le, to m/ nephew, Aoren2o
<ecson, who is married to m/ niece Angela Coronel, in consideration of the good services with he has
rendered, and is rendering to me with good will and disinterestedness and to m/ full satisfaction0
" name and appoint m/ aforesaid nephew, Aoren2o <ecson, e,ecutor of all that is willed and ordained in
this m/ will, without -ond0 3hould he not -e a-le to discharge his duties as such e,ecutor for an/ reason
whatsoever, " name and appoint as su-stitute e,ecutor m/ grandson Cictor <ecson, a native and resident
of the town of etis, without reGuiring him to give -ond0
All m/ real and paraphernal propert/ as well as m/ credits for " declare that " have no de-ts, are specified
in an inventor/0
"n testimon/ whereof and as " do not +now how to write m/ name, " have reGuested Cicente 90 (rancisco
to write m/ name at the foot hereof and on the left margin of each of its sheet -efore me and all the
undersigned witnesses this 9ul/ 1, 19180
C"C'@T' 90 (RA@C"3C)
.(or the testatri, 6olores Coronel
The foregoing document was e,ecuted and declared -/ 6olores Coronel to -e her last will and testament
in our presence, and as the testatri, does not +now how to write her name, she reGuested Cicente 90
(rancisco to sign her name under her e,press direction in our presence, at the foot, and on the left
margin of each and ever/ sheet, hereof0 "n testimon/ whereof, each of us signed these presents in the
presence of others and of the testatri, at the foot hereof and on the margin of each and ever/one of the
two sheets of which this document is composed, which are num-ered .one. and .two. on the upper part
of the face thereof0
73gd08 .MA!"M) C'R>ARA 3)T'R) 61MA1AA MARC)3 6' A)3 3A@T)3
MAR"A@) A0 CR"3)3T)M) <AA) ART)A)M' MARC)3 6' AA CR1I
6AM"A@ CR"3)3T)M)
)n the left margin of the two sheets of the will the following signatures also appear$
Mariano A0 Crisostomo, Cicente 90 (rancisco for the testatri, 6olores Coronel, M0 Cergara, <a-lo
artolome, 3otero 6umaual Crisostomo, Marcos de la Cru2, Marcos de los 3antos0
The petitioner for the pro-ate of the will is Aoren2o <ecson, hus-and of Angela Coronel, who is a niece of
the deceased 6olores Coronel0
The opponents are$ 'ri-erto Coronel, Tito Coronel, 9ulian >o2um, Cirila 3antiago, widow of the deceased
Macario >o2um, in her own -ehalf and that of her three minor children, &ilarion Coronel, >eronimo
Coronel, Maria Coronel and her hus-and 'ladio >ongco, 9uana ituin, widow of the deceased &ipolito
Coronel, in her own -ehalf and that of her three children, >enerosa, Maria, and 9ose, all minors, Rosario
Coronel, Agustin Coronel, (ilomeno Coronel, Casimiro Coronel, Ale*o Coronel, Maria Coronel, 3everina
Coronel, 3erapia Coronel, Maria 9uana de )campo, widow of the deceased Manuel Coronel, 6ionisia
Coronel, and her hus-and <antaleon >unlao0
The pro-ate of this will is impugned on the following grounds$ 7a8 That the proof does not that the
document ',hi-it A a-ove copied contains the last will of 6olores Coronel , and 7-8 that the attestation
clause is not in accordance with the provisions of section 618 of the Code of Civil <rocedure, as amended
-/ Act @o0 26;#0
These are the two principal Guestions which are de-ated in this case and which we will now e,amine
separatel/0
As to the first, which is the one raised in the first assignment of error, the appellants argue$ (irst, that it
was impro-a-le and e,ceptional that 6olores Coronel should dispose of her estate, as set forth in the
document ',hi-it A, her true -eing that the same -e distri-uted among her -lood relatives= and second,
that if such will not e,pressed in fact, it was due to e,traneous illegal influence0
Aet us e,amine the first point0
The opponents contend that it was not, nor could it -e, the will of the testatri,, -ecause it is not natural nor
usual that she should completel/ e,clude her -lood relatives from her vast estate, in order to will the
same to one who is onl/ a relative -/ affinit/, there appearing no sufficient motive for such e,clusion,
inasmuch as until the death of 6olores Coronel, she maintained ver/ cordial relations with the aforesaid
relatives who had helped her in the management and direction of her lands0 "t appears, however, from the
testimon/ of Attorne/ (rancisco 7page 51, transcript of the stenographic notes8 that 6olores Coronel
revealed to him her suspicion against some of her nephews as having -een accomplices in a ro--er/ of
which she had -een a victim0
As to whether or not Aoren2o <ecson rendered services to 6olores Coronel, the opponents admit that he
rendered them at least from the /ear 191;, although there is proof showing that he rendered such
services long -efore that time0
The appellants emphasi2e the fact that famil/ ties in this countr/ are ver/ strongl/ +nit and that the
e,clusion of relative one?s estate an e,ceptional case0 "t is true that ties of relationship in the <hilippines
are ver/ strong, -ut we understand that cases of preterition of relatives from the inheritance are not rare0
The li-ert/ to dispose of one?s estate -/ will when there are no forced heirs is rendered sacred -/ the civil
Code in force in the <hilippines since 18890 "t is so provided in the first paragraph of article in the
following terms$
An/ person who was no forced heirs ma/ dispose -/ will of all his propert/ or an/ part of it in favor of an/
person Gualified to acGuire it0
'ven ignoring the precedents of this legal precept, the Code em-od/ing it has -een in force in the
<hilippines for more than a Guarter of a centur/, and for this reason it is not tena-le to sa/ that the
e,cercise of the li-ert/ there-/ granted is necessaril/ e,ceptional, where it is not shown that the
inha-itants of this countr/ whose customs must have -een ta+e into consideration -/ the legislator in
adopting this legal precept, are averse to such a li-ert/0
As to preference given to Aoren2o <ecson, it is not purel/ ar-itrar/, nor a caprice or a whim of the
moment0 The proof adduced -/ this appelle, although contradicted, shows -/ a preponderance of
evidence that -esides the services which the opponents admit had -een rendered -/ him to 6olores
Coronel since the /ear 191;, he had also rendered services prior to that time and was the administrator
and manager of the affairs of said 6olores in the last /ears of her life0 And that this was not a whim of the
moment is shown -/ the fact that si, /ears -efore the e,ecution of the will in Guestion, said Aoren2o
<ecson was named and appointed -/ 6olores Coronel as her sole heir in the document ',hi-it , which,
translated, is as follows$
10 That m/ present propert/ was acGuired -/ me -/ inheritance from m/ parents, -ut a great part thereof
was acGuired -/ me -/ m/ own efforts and e,ertions=
20 That " have made no inventor/ of m/ properties, -ut the/ can -e seen in the title deeds in m/
possession and in the declarations of ownership=
40 That " institute Aoren2o <ecson, married to Angela Coronel, and a +nown resident of the town, m/ heir
to succeed to all m/ properties=
;0 That " appoint m/ said heir, Aoren2o <ecson, as e,ecutor, and, in his default, Cictor <ecson, a resident
of the same town=
#0 That as to m/ -urial and other things connected with the eternal rest of m/ soul, " leave them to the
sound direction of the aforesaid Aoren2o <ecson=
60 That as " cannot write " reGuested Martin <angilinan, a native and resident of this town, to write this will
in accordance with m/ wishes and precise instructions0
"n testimon/ whereof " had the said Martin <angilinan write m/ name and surname, and affi,ed m/ mar+
-etween m/ name and surname, and don (rancisco 6umaual, 6on Mariano 3unglao, 6on 3otero
6umaual, 6on Marcos de la Cru2 and 6on Martin <angilinan signed as witnesses, the/ having -een
present at the -eginning of, during, and after, the e,ecution of this m/ last will0
73gd08 .6)A)R'3 C)R)@'A
%itnesses$
73gd08 .MAR"A@) 31@>AA)
MARC)3 6' AA CR1I
(RA@C"3C) 61MA1AA
3)T'R) 61MA1AA
MART"@ <A@>"A"@A@.
The appellants find in the testament ',hi-it something to support their contention that the intention of
6olores Coronel was to institute the said <ecson not as sole -eneficiar/, -ut simpl/ as e,ecutor and
distri-utor of all her estate among her heirs, for while Aoren2o <ecson?s contention that he was appointed
sold -eneficiar/ is -ased on the fact that he en*o/ed the confidence of 6olores Coronel in 1918 and
administered all her propert/, he did not e,clusivel/ have this confidence and administration in the /ear
19120 Although such administration and confidence were en*o/ed -/ <ecson alwa/s *ointl/ with others
and never e,clusivel/, this fact does not show that the will of the testatri, was to appoint <ecson onl/ as
e,ecutor and distri-utor of her estate among the heirs, nor does it prevent her, the testatri,, from
instituting him in 1912 or 1918 as sole -eneficiar/= nor does it constitute, lastl/, a test for determining
whether or not such institution in favor of <ecson was the true will of the testatri,0
%e find, therefore, nothing strange in the preterition made -/ 6olores Coronel of her -lood relatives, nor
in the designation of Aoren2o <ecson as her sole -eneficiar/0 (urthermore, although the institution of the
-eneficiar/ here would not seem the most usual and customar/, still this would not -e null per se0
"n the a-sence of an/ statutor/ restriction ever/ person possesses a-solute dominion over his propert/,
and ma/ -estow it upon whomsoever he pleases without regard to natural or legal claim upon his -ount/0
"f the testator possesses the reGuisite capacit/ to ma+e a will, and the disposition of his propert/ is not
affected -/ fraud of undue influence, the will is not rendered invalid -/ the fact that it is unnatural,
unreasona-le, or un*ust0 @othing can prevent the testator from ma+ing a will as eccentric, as in*udicious,
or as un*ust as caprice, frivolit/, or revenge can dictate0 &owever, as has alread/ -een shown, the
unreasona-le or un*ustice of a will ma/ -e considered on the Guestion of testamentar/ capacit/0 7;: C/c0,
1:5908
The testamentar/ capacit/ of 6olores Coronel is not disputed in this case0
<assing to the second Guestion, to wit, whether or not the true last will of 6olores Coronel was e,pressed
in the testament ',hi-it A, we will -egin with e,pounding how the idea of ma+ing the aforesaid will here
controverted was -orne and carried out0
A-out the /ear 1916 or 1915, 6olores showed the document ',hi-it to Attorne/ (rancisco who was
then her legal adviser and who, considering that in order to ma+e the e,pression of her last will more
legall/ valid, though it necessar/ that the statement -e prepared in conformit/ with the laws in force at
time of the death of the testatri,, and o-serving that the will ',hi-it lac+ed the e,trinsic formalities
reGuired -/ Act @o0 26;# enacted after its e,ecution, advised 6olores Coronel that the will -e remade0
3he followed the advice, and Attorne/ (rancisco, after receiving her instructions, drew the will ',hi-it A in
accordance therewith, and -rought it to the house of 6olores Coronel for its e,ecution0
<a-lo artolome read ',hi-it A to 6olores Coronel in her presence and that of the witnesses and as+ed
her whether the will was in accordance with her wishes0 6olores Coronel answer that it was, and
reGuested her attorne/, Mr0 (rancisco, to sign the will for her, which the attorne/ accordingl/ did in the
presence of the witnesses, who in turn signed it -efore the testatri, and in the presence of each other0
1pon the filing of the motion for a rehearing on the first order allowing the pro-ate of the will, the
opponents presented an affidavit of <a-lo artolome to the effect that, following instructions of Aoren2o
<ecson, he had informed the testatri, that the contents of the will were that she entrusted <ecson with the
distri-ution of all her propert/ among the relatives of the said 6olores0 ut during the new trial <a-lo
artolome, in spite of -eing present in the court room on the da/ of the trial, was not introduced as a
witness, without such an omission having -een satisfactoril/ accounted for0
%hile it is true that the petitioner was -ound to present <a-lo artolome, -eing one of the witnesses who
signed the will, at the second hearing when the pro-ate was controverted, /et we cannot consider this
point against the appellee for this was not raised in an/ of the assignments of error made -/ the
appellants0 7Art0 2:, Rules of the 3upreme Court08
)n the other hand, it was incum-ent upon the opponents to present <a-lo artolome to prove -efore the
court the statement -/ him in his affidavit, since it was their dut/ to prove what the/ alleged, which was
that 6olores Coronel had not understood the true contents of the will ',hi-it A0 &aving suppressed,
without e,planation, the testimon/ of <a-lo artolome, the presumption is against the opponents and that
is, that such a testimon/ would have -een adverse had it -een produced at the hearing of the case -efore
the court0 73ec 44;, su-sec0 #, Code of Civil <rocedure08
The opponents call our attention to the fourth clause of the document which sa/s$ ." name and appoint m/
aforesaid nephew, Aoren2o <ecson, e,ecutor of all that is willed and ordained in this m/ will, without
-ond0 3hould he not -e a-le to discharge his duties as such e,ecutor for an/ reason whatsoever, " name
and appoint as a su-stitute e,ecutor m/ grandson Cictor <ecson, resident of the town of etis, without
reGuiring him to give -ond,. and contend that this clause is repugnant to the institution of Aoren2o <ecson
as sole -eneficiar/ of all her estate, for if such was the intention of the testatri,, there would have -een no
necessit/ of appointing an e,ecutor, nor an/ reason for designating a su-stitute in case that the first one
should not -e a-le to discharge his duties, and the/ perceived in this clause the idea which, according to
them, was not e,pressed in the document, and which was that <ecson was simpl/ to -e a mere e,ecutor
entrusted with the distri-ution to the estate among the relatives of the testatri,, and that should he not -e
a-le to do so, this dut/ would devolved upon his su-stitutes0
ut it is not the sole dut/ of an e,ecutor to distri-ute the estate, which in estate succession, such as the
instant case, has to -e distri-uted with the intervention of the court0 All e,ecutor has, -esides, other duties
and general and special powers intended for the preservation, defense, and liGuidation of the estate so
long as the same has not reached, -/ order of the court, the hands of those entitled thereto0
The fact that 6olores Coronel foresaw the necessit/ of an e,ecutor does not impl/ a negation of her
desire to will all her estate to Aoren2o <ecson0 "t is to -e noted, furthermore, that in the will, it was ordered
that her -od/ -e given a -urial in accordance with her social standing and she had a perfect right to
designate a person who should see to it that this order was complied with0 )ne of the functions of an
e,ecutor is the fulfillment of what is ordained in the will0
"t is argued that the will of the testatri, was to will her estate to her -lood relatives, for such was the
promise made to Maria Coronel, whom Rosario Coronel tends to corro-orate0 %e do not find such a
promise to have -een sufficientl/ proven, and much less to have -een seriousl/ made and coupled with a
positive intention on the part of 6olores Coronel to fulfill the same0 "n the a-sence of sufficient proof of
fraud, or undue influence, we cannot ta+e such a promise into account, for even if such a promise was in
fact made, 6olores Coronel could retract or forget it afterwards and dispose of her estate as she pleased0
%ills themselves, which contain more than mere promises, are essentiall/ revoca-le0
"t is said that the true will of 6olores Coronel not e,pressed in the will can -e inferred from the phrase
used -/ 9ose M0 Re/es in his deposition when spea+ing of the purpose for which Aoren2o <ecson was to
receive the estate, to wit$
in order that the latter might dispose of the estate in the most appropriate manner
%eight is given to this phrase from the circumstance that its author was reGuested -/ Attorne/ (rancisco
to e,plain the contents of ',hi-it and had acted as interpreter -etween 6olores Coronel and Attorne/
(rancisco at their interviews previous to the preparation of ',hi-it A, and had translated into the
<ampango dialect this last document, and, lastl/, was present at the e,ecution of the will in Guestion0
The disputed phrase .in order that the latter might dispose of the estate in the most appropriate manner.
was used -/ the witness Re/es while sic+ in a hospital and testif/ing in the course of the ta+ing of his
deposition0
The appellants interpret the e,pression .dispose in the most appropriate manner. as meaning to sa/
.distri-ute it among the heirs0. Aimiting ourselves to its meaning, the e,pression is a -road one, for the
disposition ma/ -e effected in several and various wa/s, which ma/ not necessaril/ -e a .distri-ution
among the heirs,. and still -e a .disposition in the most appropriate manner0. .To dispose. is not the same
as .to distri-ute0.
To *udge correctl/ the import of this phrase, the circumstances under which it was used must -e ta+en
into account in this particular instance0 The witness Re/es, the author of the phrase, was not e,pressing
his own original ideas when he used it, -ut was translating into 3panish what 6olores Coronel had told
him0 According to the facts, the said witness is not a 3paniard, that is to sa/, the 3panish language is not
his native tongue, -ut, perhaps, the <ampango dialect0 "t is an admitted fact -ased on reason and
e,perience that when a person translates from one language to another, it is easier for him to e,press
with precision and accurac/ when the version is from a foreign language to a native one than viceEversa0
The witness Re/es translated from the <ampango dialect, which must -e more familiar to him, to the
3panish language which is not his own tongue0 And *udging from the language used -/ him during his
testimon/ in this case, it cannot -e said that this witness masters the 3panish language0 Thus is
e,plained the fact that when as+ed to give the reason for the appointment of an e,ecutor in the will, he
should sa/ at the morning session that .6olores Coronel did appoint 6on Aoren2o <ecson and in his
default, Cictor <ecson, to act during her lifetime, -ut not after he death,. which was e,plained at the
afternoon session -/ sa/ing .that 6olores Coronel did appoint 6on Aoren2o <ecson e,ecutor of all her
estate during his lifetime and that in his default, either through death or incapacit/, Mr0 Cictor <ecson was
appointed e,ecutor0. Ta+ing into account all the circumstances of this witness, there is ground to attri-ute
his inaccurac/ as to the discharge of the duties of an e,ecutor, not to ignorance of the elementar/ rule of
law on the matter, for the practice of which he was Gualified, -ut to a nonEmaster/ of the 3panish
language0 %e find in this detail of translation made -/ the witness Re/es no sufficient reason to -elieve
that the will e,pressed -/ 6olores Coronel at the said interview with Attorne/ (rancisco was to appoint
Aoren2o <ecson e,ecutor and mere distri-utor of her estate among her heirs0
As to whether or not the -urden of proof was on the petitioner to esta-lish that he was the sole legatee to
the e,clusion of the relatives of 6olores Coronel, we understand that it was not his dut/ to show the
reasons which the testatri, ma/ have had for e,cluding her relatives from her estate, giving preference to
him0 &is dut/ was to prove that the will was voluntar/ and authentic and he, who alleges that the estate
was willed to another, has the -urden of proving his allegation0
Attorne/ (rancisco is charged with having emplo/ed improper means of ma+ing Aoren2o <ecson appear
in the will as sole -eneficiar/0 &owever, after an e,amination of all the proceedings had, we cannot find
an/thing in the -ehavior of this law/er, relative to the preparation and e,ecution of the will, that would
*ustif/ an unfavora-le conclusion as to his personal and professional conduct, nor that he should har-or
an/ wrongful or fraudulent purpose0
%e find nothing censura-le in his conduct in advising 6olores Coronel to ma+e a new will other than the
last one, ',hi-it 7in the drawing of which he does not appear to her intervened8, so that the instrument
might -e e,ecuted with all the new formalities reGuired -/ the laws then in force= nor in the preparation of
the new will su-stantiall/ in accordance with the old one= nor in the selection of attesting witnesses who
were persons other than the relatives of 6olores Coronel0 Jnowing, as he did, that 6olores was e,cluding
her -lood relatives from the inheritance, in spite of her having -een as+ed -/ him whether their e,clusion
was due to a mere inadvertence, there is a satisfactor/ e,planation, compati-le with honora-le conduct,
wh/ said attorne/ should prescind from such relatives in the attesting of the will, to the end that no
o-stacle -e placed in the wa/ to the pro-ating thereof0
The fact that this attorne/ should presume that 6olores was to as+ him to sign the will for her and that he
should prepare it containing this detail is not in itself fraudulent0 There was in this case reason so to
presume, and it appears that he as+ed her, through <a-lo artolome, whom she wanted to sign the
document in her stead0
@o imputation can -e made to this attorne/ of an/ interest in favoring Aoren2o <ecson in the will, -ecause
the latter was alread/ his client at the e,ecution of said will0 Attorne/ (rancisco denied this fact, which we
cannot consider proven after e,amining the evidence0
The conduct o-served -/ this attorne/ after the death of 6olores Coronel in connection with the
attempted arrangement -etween Aoren2o <ecson and the opponents, does not, in our opinion, constitute
an/ data leading to the conclusion that an heir different from the true one intended -/ the testatri, should
have -een fraudulentl/ made to appear instituted in the will e,hi-it A0 &is attitude towards the opponents,
as can -e gathered from the proceedings and especiall/ from his letter ',hi-it 6, does not show an/
perverse or fraudulent intent, -ut rather a conciliator/ purpose0 "t is said that such a step was well
calculated to prevent ever/ possi-le opposition to the pro-ate of the will0 'ven admitting that one of his
o-*ects in entering into such negotiations was to avoid ever/ possi-le to the pro-ate of the will, such
o-*ect is not incompati-le with good faith, nor does it necessaril/ *ustif/ the inference that the heir
instituted in the instrument was not the one whom the testatri, wanted appointed0
The appellants find rather suspicious the interest shown -/ the said attorne/ in tr/ing to persuade
Aoren2o <ecson to give them some share of the estate0 These negotiations were not carried out -/ the
attorne/ out of his own initiative, -ut at the instance of the same opponent, Agustin Coronel, made -/ the
latter in his own -ehalf and that of his coopponents0
As to Aoren2o <ecson, we do not find in the record sufficient proof to -elieve that he should have tried,
through fraud or an/ undue influence, to frustrate the alleged intention of the testatri, to leave her estate
to her -lood relatives0 The opponents insinuate that Aoren2o <ecson emplo/ed Attorne/ (rancisco to
carr/ out his reproacha-le designs, -ut such depraved instrumentalit/ was not proven, nor was it shown
that said law/er, or Aoren2o <ecson, should have contrived or put into e,ecution an/ condemna-le plan,
nor that -oth should have conspired for illegal purposes at the time of the preparation and e,ecution of
the will ',hi-it A0
Although @or-erto <aras testified having heard, when the will was -eing read to 6olores Coronel, the
provision where-/ the estate was ordered distri-uted among the heirs, the preponderance of the
evidence is to the effect that said @or-erto <aras was not present at such reading of the will0 Appellant do
not insist on the pro-ative force of the testimon/ of this witness, and do not oppose its -eing stric+en out0
The data furnished -/ the case do not show, to our mind, that 6olores Coronel should have had the
intention of giving her estate to her -lood relatives instead of to Aoren2o <ecson at the time of the
e,ecution of the will ',hi-it A, nor that fraud or whatever other illegal cause or undue influence should
have intervened in the e,ecution of said testament0 @either fraud nor evil is presumed and the record
does not show either0
Turning to the second assignment of error, which is made to consist in the will having -een pro-ated in
spite of the fact that the attestation clause was not in conformit/ with the provision of section 618 of the
Code of Civil <rocedure, as amended -/ Act @o0 26;#, let us e,amine the tenor of such clause which
literall/ is as follows$
The foregoing document was e,ecuted and declared -/ 6olores Coronel to -e her last will testament in
our presence, and as testatri, does not +now how to write her name, she reGuested Cicente 90 (rancisco
to sign her name under her e,press direction in our presence at the foot and on the left margin of each
and ever/ sheet hereof0 "n testimon/ whereof, each of us signed these presents in the presence of others
of the testatri, at the foot hereof and on the margin of each and ever/one of the two pages of which this
document is composed0 These sheets are num-ered correlativel/ with the words .one and .two on the
upper part of the face thereof0
73gd08 .Ma,imo Cergara, 3otero 6umaual, Marcos de los 3antos, Mariano A0
Crisostomo, <a-lo artolome, Marcos de la Cru2, 6amian Crisostomo0.
Appellants remar+ that it is not stated in this clause that the will was signed -/ the witnesses in the
presence of the testatri, and of each other, as reGuired -/ section 618 of the Code of Civil <rocedure, as
amended, which on this particular point provides the following$
The attestation shall state the num-er of sheets or pages used, upon which the will is written, and the fact
that the testator signed the will and ever/ page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name,
under his e,press direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and the latter witnessed and signed the
will and all pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of each other0
3tress is laid on the phrase used in the attestation clause a-ove copied, to wit$
each of us signed in the presence of others0
Two interpretations can a-solutel/ -e given here to the e,pression .of others0. )ne, that insinuated -/ the
appellants, namel/, that it is eGuivalent to .of other persons,. and the other, that contended -/ the
appellee, to wit, that the phrase should -e held to mean .of the others,. the article .the. having
inadvertentl/ -een omitted0
3hould the first interpretation prevail and .other persons. -e ta+en to mean persons different from the
attesting witnesses, then one of the solemnities reGuired -/ law would -e lac+ing0 3hould the second -e
adopted and .of others. construed as meaning the other witnesses to the will, then the law would have
-een complied with in this respect0
"ncluding the concomitant words, the controverted phrase results thus$ .each of us signed these presents
in the presence of others and of the testatri,0.
"f we should omit the words .of others and,. the e,pression would -e reduced to .each of us signed these
presents in the presence of the testatri,,. and the statement that the witnesses signed each in the
presence of the others would -e lac+ing0 ut as a matter of fact, these words .of others and. are present0
Then, what for are the/ thereK "s it to sa/ that the witnesses signed in the presence of other persons
foreign to the e,ecution of the will, which is completel/ useless and to no purpose in the case, or was it
for some useful, rational, necessar/ o-*ect, such as that of ma+ing it appear that the witnesses signed the
will each in the presence of the othersK The first theor/ presupposes that the one who drew the will, who
is Attorne/ (rancisco, was an unreasona-le man, which is an inadmissi-le h/pothesis, -eing repugnant to
the facts shown -/ the record0 The second theor/ is the most o-vious, logical and reasona-le under the
circumstances0 "t is true that the e,pression proved to -e deficient0 The deficienc/ ma/ have -een caused
-/ the drawer of the will or -/ the t/pist0 "f -/ the t/pist, then it must -e presumed to have -een merel/
accidental0 "f -/ the drawer, it is e,plaina-le ta+ing into account that 3panish is not onl/ not the native
language of the (ilipinos, who, in general, still spea+ until nowada/s their own dialects, -ut also that such
language is not even the onl/ official language since several /ears ago0
"n Re will of A-angan 7;: <hil0, ;568, this court said$
The o-*ect of the solemnities surrounding the e,ecution of wills is to close the door against -ad faith and
fraud, to avoid su-stitution of wills and testaments and to guarantee their truth and authenticit/0 Therefore
the laws on this su-*ect should -e interpreted in such a wa/ as to attain these primordial ends0 ut, on the
other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the o-*ect of the law to restrain and curtail
the e,ercise of the right to ma+e a will0 3o when an interpretation alread/ given assures such ends, an/
other interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing -ut demands more reGuisite entirel/ unnecesar/,
useless and frustrative of the testator?s last will, must -e disregarded0
%e -elieve it to -e more reasona-le to construe the disputed phrase .of others. as meaning .of the other
witnesses,. and that a grammatical or clerical error was committed consisting in the omission of the article
.the.0
>rammatical or clerical errors are not usuall/ considered of vital importance when the intention is
manifest in the will0
The court ma/ correct clerical mista+es in writing, and disregard technical rules of grammar as to the
construction of the language of the will when it -ecomes necessar/ for it to do so in order to effectuate the
testators manifest intention as ascertained from the conte,t of the will0 ut unless a different construction
is so reGuired the ordinar/ rules of grammar should -e adhered to in construing the will0 7;: C/c0, 1;:;80
And we understand that in the present case the interpretation we adopt is imperative, -eing the most
adeGuate and reasona-le0
The case of "n the matter of the estate of >eronima 1/ CoGue 7;4 <hil0, ;:#8, decided -/ this court and
invo+ed -/ the appellants, refers so far as pertinent to the point herein at issue, to an attestation clause
wherein the statement that the witnesses signed the will in the presence of each other is totall/ a-sent0 "n
the case at -ar, there is the e,pression .in the presence of others. whose reasona-le interpretation is, as
we have said, .in the presence of the other witnesses0. %e do not find an/ part/ -etween the present
case and that of Re 'state of >eronima 1/ CoGue a-ove cited0
(inall/, we will ta+e up the Guestion su-mitted -/ the opponents as to the alleged insufficienc/ of the
evidence to show that the attesting witnesses 6amian Crisostomo and 3otero 6umaual were present at
the e,ecution of the will in controvers/0 Although this point is raised in the first assignment of error made
-/ the appellants, and not in the second, it is discussed in this place -ecause it refers to the ver/ fact of
attestation0 &owever, we do not -elieve it necessar/ to anal/2e in detail the evidence of -oth parties on
this particular point0 The evidence leads us to the conclusion that the two witnesses aforementioned were
present at the e,ecution and signing of the will0 3uch is also the conclusion of the trial *udge who, in this
respect, states the following, in his decision$
As to the Guestion of whether or not the testatri, and witnesses signed the document ',hi-it A in
accordance with the provisions of law on the matter, that is, whether or not the testatri, signed the will, or
caused it to -e signed, in the presence of the witnesses, and the latter in turn signed in her presence and
that of each other, the court, after o-serving the demeanor of the witnesses for -oth parties, is of the
opinion that those for the petitioner spo+e the truth0 "t is neither pro-a-le nor li+el/ that a man versed in
the law, such as Attorne/ (rancisco, who was present at the e,ecution of the will in Guestion, and to
whose conscientiousness in the matter of compliance with all the e,trinsic formalities of the e,ecution of a
will, and to nothing else, was due the fact that the testatri, had cancelled her former will 7',hi-it 8 and
had new one 7',hi-it A8 prepared and e,ecuted, should have consented the omission of formalit/
compliance with which would have reGuired little or no effort= namel/, that of seeing to it that the testatri,
and the attesting witnesses were all present when their respective signatures were affi,ed to the will0. And
the record does not furnish us sufficient ground for deviating from the line reasoning and findings of the
trial *udge0
"n conclusion we hold that the assignments of error made -/ the appellants are not supported -/ the
evidence of record0
The *udgment appealed from if affirmed with costs against the appellants0 3o ordered0
G.R. No. 1"767 8anuary 51! 666
(.#A9&( '. *A)()%' &&! -etitioner!
vs.
0A.&#A +% )(' R%:%' 0$&))&0'! res-ondent.
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
G.R. No. 15557" 8anuary 51! 666
(.#A9&( '. *A)()%' &&! -etitioner!
vs.
.(/R# (F A00%A)'! $(N. F%RNAN+( 9. G(R('0%! 8R.! in his (ffi3ial .a-a3ity as 0residing
8udge of R#.,*a;ati! <ran3h 61! and 0A.&#A 0$&))&0' as the alleged e=e3utri= of the alleged 2ill
of the late +r. Arturo de 'antos! res-ondents.
These are petitions for review on certiorari of the decisions of the Thirteenth and the 3pecial 'ighth
6ivisions of the Court of Appeals which ruled that petitioner has no right to intervene in the settlement of
the estate of 6r0 Arturo de 3antos0 The cases were consolidated considering that the/ involve the same
parties and some of the issues raised are the same0
The facts which gave rise to these two petitions are as follows$
)n 9ul/ 2:, 199#, 6r0 Arturo de 3antos, (ilipino and a resident of Ma+ati Cit/, filed a petition for pro-ate of
his will1 in the Regional Trial Court, ranch 61, Ma+ati, doc+eted as 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;2240 "n his petition,
6r0 6e 3antos alleged that he had no compulsor/ heirs= that he had named in his will as sole legatee and
devisee the Arturo de 3antos (oundation, "nc0= that he disposed -/ his will his properties with an
appro,imate value of not less than <2,:::,:::0::= and that copies of said will were in the custod/ of the
named e,ecutri,, private respondent <acita de los Re/es <hillips0 A cop/ of the will2 was anne,ed to the
petition for pro-ate0
)n (e-ruar/ 16, 1996, 9udge (ernando C0 >orospe, 9r0 of RTCEMa+ati, ranch 61 issued an order
granting the petition and allowing the will0 The order reads$
)n :4 August 199#, the Court issued an )rder setting the hearing of the petition on 12 3eptem-er 199#,
at 8$4: o?cloc+ in the morning, copies of which were served to Arturo de 3antos (oundation, "nc0 and Ms0
<acita de los Re/es <hillips 7)fficer?s Return, dated :; 3eptem-er 199# attached to the records80 %hen
the case was called for hearing on the date set, no oppositor appeared nor an/ written opposition was
ever filed and on motion of petitioner, he was allowed to adduce his evidence in support of the petition0
<etitioner personall/ appeared -efore this Court and was placed on the witness stand and was directl/
e,amined -/ the Court through .free wheeling. Guestions and answers to give this Court a -asis to
determine the state of mind of the petitioner when he e,ecuted the su-*ect will0 After the e,amination, the
Court is convinced that petitioner is of sound and disposing mind and not acting on duress, menace and
undue influence or fraud, and that petitioner signed his Aast %ill and Testament on his own free and
voluntar/ will and that he was neither forced nor influenced -/ an/ other person in signing it0
(urthermore, it appears from the petition and the evidence adduced that petitioner in his lifetime,
e,ecuted his Aast %ill and Testament 7',hs0 .A., .AE1., .AE2., .AE;., .AE#.8 at his residence situated at 9
auhinia corner "ntsia 3treets, (or-es <ar+, Ma+ati Cit/= said Aast %ill and Testament was signed in the
presence of his three 748 witnesses, namel/, to wit$ 6r0 'lpidio Calencia 7',hs0 .AE6., .AE5., .AE8., .AE16.,
.AE16EA.8, Att/0 'dward 90 erenguer 7',hs0 .AE4., .AE4EA., .AE9., .AE1:., L .AE11.8, and Att/0 Cictoria C0
delos Re/es 7',hs0 .AE12., .AE14., .AE1;., .AE15., L .AE18.8, who in turn, in the presence of the testator
and in the presence of each and all of the witnesses signed the said Aast %ill and Testament and dul/
notari2ed -efore @otar/ <u-lic Anna Melissa A0 Rosario 7',h0 .AE1#.8= on the actual e,ecution of the Aast
%ill and Testament, pictures were ta+en 7',hs0 .. to .E4.80
<etitioner has no compulsor/ heirs and Arturo de 3antos (oundation, "nc0, with address at @o0 9 auhinia
corner "ntsia 3treets, (or-es <ar+, Ma+ati Cit/ has -een named as sole legatee and devisee of
petitioner?s properties, real and personal, appro,imatel/ valued at not less than <2 million, Ms0 <acita de
los Re/es <hillips was designated as e,ecutor and to serve as such without a -ond01Mwphi10nNt
(rom the foregoing facts, the Court finds that the petitioner has su-stantiall/ esta-lished the material
allegations contained in his petition0 The Aast %ill and Testament having -een e,ecuted and attested as
reGuired -/ law= that testator at the time of the e,ecution of the will was of sane mind andHor not mentall/
incapa-le to ma+e a %ill= nor was it e,ecuted under duress or under the influence of fear or threats= that it
was in writing and e,ecuted in the language +nown and understood -/ the testator dul/ su-scri-ed
thereof and attested and su-scri-ed -/ three 748 credi-le witnesses in the presence of the testator and of
another= that the testator and all the attesting witnesses signed the Aast %ill and Testament freel/ and
voluntaril/ and that the testator has intended that the instrument should -e his %ill at the time of affi,ing
his signature thereto0
%&'R'()R', as pra/ed for -/ the petitioner 7testator himself8 the petition for the allowance of the Aast
%ill and Testament of Arturo de 3antos is here-/ A<<R)C'6 and AAA)%'60
3hortl/ after the pro-ate of his will, 6r0 6e 3antos died on (e-ruar/ 26, 19960
)n April 4, 1996, petitioner )ctavio 30 Maloles "" filed a motion for intervention claiming that, as the onl/
child of Alicia de 3antos 7testator?s sister8 and )ctavio A0 Maloles, 3r0, he was the sole fullE-looded
nephew and nearest of +in of 6r0 6e 3antos0 &e li+ewise alleged that he was a creditor of the testator0
<etitioner thus pra/ed for the reconsideration of the order allowing the will and the issuance of letters of
administration in his name0
)n the other hand, private respondent <acita de los Re/es <hillips, the designated e,ecutri, of the will,
filed a motion for the issuance of letters testamentar/ with ranch 610 Aater, however, private respondent
moved to withdraw her motion0 This was granted, while petitioner was reGuired to file a memorandum of
authorities in support of his claim that said court 7ranch 618 still had *urisdiction to allow his intervention04
<etitioner filed his memorandum of authorities on Ma/ 14, 19960 )n the other hand, private respondent,
who earlier withdrew her motion for the issuance of letters testamentar/ in ranch 61, refiled a petition for
the same purpose with the Regional Trial Court, Ma+ati, which was doc+eted as 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;4
and assigned to ranch 6#0
1pon private respondent?s motion, 9udge 3alvador A-ad 3antos of ranch 6# issued an order, dated
9une 28, 1996, appointing her as special administrator of 6r0 6e 3antos?s estate0
)n 9ul/ 29, 1996, petitioner sought to intervene in 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;4 and to set aside the appointment
of private respondent as special administrator0 &e reiterated that he was the sole and full -looded nephew
and nearest of +in of the testator= that he came to +now of the e,istence of 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;4 onl/ -/
accident= that the pro-ate proceedings in 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;224 -efore ranch 61 of the same court was
still pending= that private respondent misdeclared the true worth of the testator?s estate= that private
respondent was not fit to -e the special administrator of the estate= and that petitioner should -e given
letters of administration for the estate of 6r0 6e 3antos0
)n August 28, 1996, 9udge A-ad 3antos ordered the transfer of 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;4 to ranch 61, on
the ground that .OitP is related to the case -efore 9udge >orospe of RTC ranch 61 0 0 0.
"t appears, however, that in 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;224, 9udge >orospe had denied on August 26, 1996
petitioner?s motion for intervention0 <etitioner -rought this matter to the Court of Appeals which, in a
decision; promulgated on (e-ruar/ 14, 1998, upheld the denial of petitioner?s motion for intervention0
Meanwhile, 9udge >orospe issued an order, dated 3eptem-er ;, 1996, returning the records of 3p0 <roc0
@o0 ME;4;4 to ranch 6# on the ground that there was a pending case involving the 'state of 6ecedent
Arturo de 3antos pending -efore said court0 The order reads$
Acting on the )R6'R dated 28 August 1996 of ranch 6#, this Court, transferring this case to this ranch
61 on the ground that this case is related with a case -efore this Court, let this case -e returned to ranch
6# with the information that there is no related case involving the '3TAT' )( 6'C'6'@T ART1R) 6'
3A@T)3 pending -efore this ranch0
There is, however, a case filed -/ ART1R) 6' 3A@T)3, as petitioner under Rule 56 of the Rules of
Court for the Allowance of his will during his lifetime doc+eted as 3<0 <R)C0 @)0 ME;224 which was
alread/ decided on 16 (e-ruar/ 1996 and has -ecome final0
"t is noted on records of Case @o0 ME;224 that after it -ecame final, herein <etitioner <acita de los Re/es
<hillips filed a M)T")@ ()R T&' "331A@C' )( A'TT'R3 T'3TAM'@TARB, which was su-seGuentl/
withdrawn after this Court, during the hearing, alread/ ruled that the motion could not -e admitted as the
su-*ect matter involves a separate case under Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, and movant withdrew her
motion and filed this case 7@o0 ;4;480
)ctavio de 3antos Maloles O""P filed a M)T")@ ()R "@T'RC'@T")@ -efore Case @o0 ME;224 and this
motion was alread/ 6'@"'6 in the order 7ranch 618 of 26 August 1996 li+ewise for the same grounds
that the matter is for a separate case to -e filed under Rule 58 of the Rules of Court and cannot -e
included in this case filed under Rule 56 of the Rules of Court0
"t is further noted that it is a matter of polic/ that consolidation of cases must -e approved -/ the
<residing 9udges of the affected ranches0
"nitiall/, in his decision dated 3eptem-er 24, 1996,# 9udge A-ad 3antos appeared firm in his position that
. 0 0 0 it would -e improper for 7ranch 6#8 to hear and resolve the petition 73p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;48,.
considering that the pro-ate proceedings were commenced with ranch 610 &e thus ordered the transfer
of the records -ac+ to the latter -ranch0 &owever, he later recalled his decision and too+ cogni2ance of
the case .to e,pedite the proceedings0. Thus, in his )rder, dated )cto-er 21, 1996, he stated$
Considering the refusal of the &on0 (ernando C0 >orospe, 9r0 of ranch 61 to continue hearing this case
notwithstanding the fact that said -ranch -egan the pro-ate proceedings of the estate of the deceased
and must therefore continue to e,ercise its *urisdiction to the e,clusion of all others, until the entire estate
of the testator had -een partitioned and distri-uted as per )rder dated 24 3eptem-er 1996, this -ranch
7Regional Trial Court ranch 6#8 shall ta+e cogni2ance of the petition if onl/ to e,pedite the proceedings,
and under the concept that the Regional Trial Court of Ma+ati Cit/ is -ut one court0
(urnish a cop/ of this order to the )ffice of the Chief *ustice and the )ffice of the Court Administrator, of
the 3upreme Court= the &on0 (ernando C0 >orospe, 9r0= <acita 6e Aos Re/es <hillips, <etitioner= and
)ctavio de 3antos Maloles, "ntervenor0
)n @ovem-er ;, 1996, 9udge A-ad 3antos granted petitioner?s motion for intervention0 <rivate
respondent moved for a reconsideration -ut her motion was denied -/ the trial court0 3he then filed a
petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals which, on (e-ruar/ 26, 1995, rendered a decision6 setting
aside the trial court?s order on the ground that petitioner had not shown an/ right or interest to intervene in
3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;40
&ence, these petitions which raise the following issues$
10 %hether or not the &onora-le Regional Trial Court F Ma+ati, ranch 61 has lost *urisdiction to proceed
with the pro-ate proceedings upon its issuance of an order allowing the will of 6r0 Arturo de 3antos0
20 %hether or not the &onora-le 7Regional Trial Court F Ma+ati, ranch 6#8 acGuired *urisdiction over the
petition for issuance of letters testamentar/ filed -/ 7private8 respondent0
40 %hether or not the petitioner, -eing a creditor of the late 6r0 Arturo de 3antos, has a right to intervene
and oppose the petition for issuance of letters testamentar/ filed -/ the respondent0
;0 %hether or not 7private8 respondent is guilt/ of forum shopping in filing her petition for issuance of
letters testamentar/ with the Regional Trial Court F Ma+ati, ranch 6# +nowing full/ well that the pro-ate
proceedings involving the same restate estate of the decedent is still pending with the Regional Trial
Court F Ma+ati, ranch 610
(irst0 <etitioner contends that the pro-ate proceedings in ranch 61 of RTCEMa+ati did not terminate
upon the issuance of the order allowing the will of 6r0 6e 3antos0 Citing the cases of 3antieste-an v0
3antieste-an5 and Tagle v0 Manalo,8 he argues that the proceedings must continue until the estate is full/
distri-uted to the lawful heirs, devisees, and legatees of the testator, pursuant to Rule 54, Q1 of the Rules
of Court0 ConseGuentl/, petitioner contends that ranch 6# could not lawfull/ act upon private
respondent?s petition for issuance of letters testamentar/0
The contention has no merit0
"n cases for the pro-ate of wills, it is wellEsettled that the authorit/ of the court is limited to ascertaining the
e,trinsic validit/ of the will, i0e0, whether the testator, -eing of sound mind, freel/ e,ecuted the will in
accordance with the formalities prescri-ed -/ law09
)rdinaril/, pro-ate proceedings are instituted onl/ after the death of the testator, so much so that, after
approving and allowing the will, the court proceeds to issue letters testamentar/ and settle the estate of
the testator0 The cases cited -/ petitioner are of such nature0 "n fact, in most *urisdictions, courts cannot
entertain a petition for pro-ate of the will of a living testator under the principle of am-ulator/ nature of
wills01:
&owever, Art0 848 of the Civil Code authori2es the filing of a petition for pro-ate of the will filed -/ the
testator himself0 "t provides$
C"C"A C)6', ART0 8480 @o will shall pass either real or personal propert/ unless it is proved and allowed
in accordance with the Rules of Court0
The testator himself ma/, during his lifetime, petition the court having *urisdiction for the allowance of his
will0 "n such case, the pertinent provisions of the Rules of Court for the allowance of wills after the
testator?s death shall govern0
The 3upreme Court shall formulate such additional Rules of Court as ma/ -e necessar/ for the allowance
of wills on petition of the testator0
3u-*ect to the right of appeal, the allowance of the will, either during the lifetime of the testator or after his
death, shall -e conclusive as to its due e,ecution0
Rule 56, Q1 li+ewise provides$
3ec0 10 %ho ma/ petition for the allowance of will0 F An/ e,ecutor, devisee, or legatee named in a will, or
an/ other person interested in the estate, ma/, at an/ time after the death of the testator, petition the court
having *urisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same -e in his possession or not, or is lost or
destro/ed0
The testator himself ma/, during his lifetime, petition in the court for the allowance of his will0
The rationale for allowing the pro-ate of wills during the lifetime of testator has -een e,plained -/ the
Code Commission thus$
Most of the cases that reach the courts involve either the testamentar/ capacit/ of the testator or the
formalities adopted in the e,ecution of wills0 There are relativel/ few cases concerning the intrinsic validit/
of testamentar/ dispositions0 "t is far easier for the courts to determine the mental condition of a testator
during his lifetime than after his death0 (raud, intimidation and undue influence are minimi2ed0
(urthermore, if a will does not compl/ with the reGuirements prescri-ed -/ law, the same ma/ -e
corrected at once0 The pro-ate during the testator?s life, therefore, will lessen the num-er of contest upon
wills0 )nce a will is pro-ated during the lifetime of the testator, the onl/ Guestions that ma/ remain for the
courts to decide after the testator?s death will refer to the intrinsic validit/ of the testamentar/ dispositions0
"t is possi-le, of course, that even when the testator himself as+s for the allowance of the will, he ma/ -e
acting under duress or undue influence, -ut these are rare cases0
After a will has -een pro-ated during the lifetime of the testator, it does not necessaril/ mean that he
cannot alter or revo+e the same -efore his death0 3hould he ma+e a new will, it would also -e allowa-le
on his petition, and if he should die -efore he has had a chance to present such petition, the ordinar/
pro-ate proceeding after the testator?s death would -e in order011
Thus, after the allowance of the will of 6r0 6e 3antos on (e-ruar/ 16, 1996, there was nothing else for
ranch 61 to do e,cept to issue a certificate of allowance of the will pursuant to Rule 54, Q12 of the Rules
of Court0 There is, therefore, no -asis for the ruling of 9udge A-ad 3antos of ranch 6# of RTCEMa+ati
that F
ranch 61 of the Regional Trial Court of Ma+ati having -egun the pro-ate proceedings of the estate of the
deceased, it continues and shall continue to e,ercise said *urisdiction to the e,clusion of all others0 "t
should -e noted that pro-ate proceedings do not cease upon the allowance or disallowance of a will -ut
continues up to such time that the entire estate of the testator had -een partitioned and distri-uted0
The fact that the will was allowed during the lifetime of the testator meant merel/ that the partition and
distri-ution of the estate was to -e suspended until the latter?s death0 "n other words, the petitioner,
instead of filing a new petition for the issuance of letters testamentar/, should have simpl/ filed a
manifestation for the same purpose in the pro-ate court012
<etitioner, who defends the order of ranch 6# allowing him to intervene, cites Rule 54, Q1 which states$
%here estate of deceased persons settled0 F "f the decedent is an inha-itant of the <hilippines at the
time of his death, whether a citi2en or an alien, his will shall -e proved, or letters of administration
granted, and his estate settled, in the Court of (irst "nstance in the province in which he resides at the
time of his death, and if he is an inha-itant of a foreign countr/, the Court of (irst "nstance of an/ province
in which he had estate0 The court first ta+ing cogni2ance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent,
shall e,ercise *urisdiction to the e,clusion of all other courts0 The *urisdiction assumed -/ a court, so far
as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of his estate, shall not -e
contested in a suit or proceeding, e,cept in an appeal from that court, in the original case, or when the
want of *urisdiction appears on the record0
The a-ove rule, however, actuall/ provides for the venue of actions for the settlement of the estate of
deceased persons0 "n >arcia (ule v0 Court of Appeals, it was held$14
The aforeGuoted 3ection 1, Rule 54 7formerl/ Rule 5#, 3ection 18, specificall/ the clause .so far as it
depends on the place of residence of the decedent, or of the location of the state,. is in realit/ a matter of
venue, as the caption of the Rule indicates$ .3ettlement of 'state of 6eceased <ersons0 Cenue and
<rocesses0. "t could not have -een intended to define the *urisdiction over the su-*ect matter, -ecause
such legal provision is contained in a law of procedure dealing merel/ with procedural matters0 <rocedure
is one thing, *urisdiction over the su-*ect matter is another0 The power or authorit/ of the court over the
su-*ect matter .e,isted was fi,ed -efore procedure in a given cause -egan0. That power or authorit/ is
not altered or changed -/ procedure, which simpl/ directs the manner in which the power or authorit/
shall -e full/ and *ustl/ e,ercised0 There are cases though that if the power is not e,ercised conforma-l/
with the provisions of the procedural law, purel/, the court attempting to e,ercise it loses the power to
e,ercise it legall/0 &owever, this does not amount to a loss of *urisdiction over the su-*ect matter0 Rather,
it means that the court ma/ there-/ lose *urisdiction over the person or that the *udgment ma/ there-/ -e
rendered defective for lac+ of something essential to sustain it0 The appearance of this provision in the
procedural law at once raises a strong presumption that it has nothing to do with the *urisdiction of the
court over the su-*ect matter0 "n plain words, it is *ust a matter of method, of convenience to the parties0
"ndeed, the *urisdiction over pro-ate proceedings and settlement of estates with appro,imate value of
over <1::,:::0:: 7outside Metro Manila8 or <2::,:::0:: 7in Metro Manila8 -elongs to the regional trial
courts under 0<0 lg0 129, as amended0 The different -ranches comprising each court in one *udicial
region do not possess *urisdictions independent of and incompati-le with each other01;
"t is noteworth/ that, although Rule 54, Q1 applies insofar as the venue of the petition for pro-ate of the
will of 6r0 6e 3antos is concerned, it does not -ar other -ranches of the same court from ta+ing
cogni2ance of the settlement of the estate of the testator after his death0 As held in the leading case of
acalso v0 Ramolote$1#
The various -ranches of the Court of (irst "nstance of Ce-u under the (ourteenth 9udicial 6istrict, are a
coordinate and coEeGual courts, and the totalit/ of which is onl/ one Court of (irst "nstance0 The
*urisdiction is vested in the court, not in the *udges0 And when a case is filed in one -ranch, *urisdiction
over the case does not attach to the -ranch or *udge alone, to the e,clusion of the other -ranches0 Trial
ma/ -e held or proceedings continue -/ and -efore another -ranch or *udge0 "t is for this reason that
3ection #5 of the 9udiciar/ Act e,pressl/ grants to the 3ecretar/ of 9ustice, the administrative right or
power to apportion the cases among the different -ranches, -oth for the convenience of the parties and
for the coordination of the wor+ -/ the different -ranches of the same court0 The apportionment and
distri-ution of cases does not involve a grant or limitation of *urisdiction, the *urisdiction attaches and
continues to -e vested in the Court of (irst "nstance of the province, and the trials ma/ -e held -/ an/
-ranch or *udge of the court0
@ecessaril/, therefore, ranch 6# of the RTC of Ma+ati Cit/ has *urisdiction over 3p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;40
3econd0 <etitioner claims the right to intervene in and oppose the petition for issuance of letters
testamentar/ filed -/ private respondent0 &e argues that, as the nearest ne,t of +in and creditor of the
testator, his interest in the matter is material and direct0 "n ruling that petitioner has no right to intervene in
the proceedings -efore ranch 6# of RTCEMa+ati Cit/, the Court of Appeals held$
The private respondent herein is not an heir or legatee under the will of the decedent Arturo de 3antos0
@either is he a compulsor/ heir of the latter0 As the onl/ and nearest collateral relative of the decedent, he
can inherit from the latter onl/ in case of intestac/0 3ince the decedent has left a will which has alread/
-een pro-ated and disposes of all his properties the private respondent can inherit onl/ if the said will is
annulled0 &is interest in the decedent?s estate is, therefore, not direct or immediate0
&is claim to -eing a creditor of the estate is a -elated one, having -een raised for the first time onl/ in his
repl/ to the opposition to his motion to intervene, and, as far as the records show, not supported -/
evidence0
0 0 0 0 OTPhe opposition must come from one with a direct interest in the estate or the will, and the private
respondent has none0 Moreover, the ground cited in the private respondent?s opposition, that the
petitioner has deli-eratel/ misdeclared the truth worth and value of the estate, is not relevant to the
Guestion of her competenc/ to act as e,ecutor0 3ection 2, Rule 56 of the Rules of Court reGuires onl/ an
allegation of the pro-a-le value and character of the propert/ of the estate0 The true value can -e
determined later on in the course of the settlement of the estate016
Rule 59, Q1 provides$
)pposition to issuance of letters testamentar/0 3imultaneous petition for administration0 F An/ person
interested in a will ma/ state in writing the grounds wh/ letters testamentar/ should not issue to the
persons named therein as e,ecutors, or an/ of them, and the court, after hearing upon notice, shall pass
upon the sufficienc/ of such grounds0 A petition ma/, at the same time, -e filed for letters of administration
with the will anne,ed0
1nder this provision, it has -een held that an .interested person. is one who would -e -enefited -/ the
estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor, and whose interest
is material and direct, not merel/ incidental or contingent015
'ven if petitioner is the nearest ne,t of +in of 6r0 6e 3antos, he cannot -e considered an .heir. of the
testator0 "t is a fundamental rule of testamentar/ succession that one who has no compulsor/ or forced
heirs ma/ dispose of his entire estate -/ will0 Thus, Art0 8;2 of the Civil Code provides$
)ne who has no compulsor/ heirs ma/ dispose -/ will of all his estate or an/ part of it in favor of an/
person having capacit/ to succeed0
)ne who has compulsor/ heirs ma/ dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the provisions
of this Code with regard to the legitimate of said heirs0
Compulsor/ heirs are limited to the testator?s F
718 Aegitimate children and descendants, with respect to their legitimate parents and ascendants=
728 "n default of the foregoing, legitimate parents and ascendants, with respect to their legitimate children
and descendants=
748 The widow or widower=
7;8 Ac+nowledged natural children, and natural children -/ legal fiction=
7#8 )ther illegitimate children referred to in Article 285 of the Civil Code018
<etitioner, as nephew of the testator, is not a compulsor/ heir who ma/ have -een preterited in the
testator?s will0
@or does he have an/ right to intervene in the settlement proceedings -ased on his allegation that he is a
creditor of the deceased0 3ince the testator instituted or named an e,ecutor in his will, it is incum-ent
upon the Court to respect the desires of the testator0 As we stated in )2aeta v0 <ecson$19
The choice of his e,ecutor is a precious prerogative of a testator, a necessar/ concomitant of his right to
dispose of his propert/ in the manner he wishes0 "t is natural that the testator should desire to appoint one
of his confidence, one who can -e trusted to carr/ out his wishes in the disposal of his estate0 The
curtailment of this right ma/ -e considered a curtailment of the right to dispose0
)nl/ if the appointed e,ecutor is incompetent, refuses the trust, or fails to give -ond ma/ the court
appoint other persons to administer the estate02: @one of these circumstances is present in this case0
Third0 <etitioner contends that private respondent is guilt/ of forum shopping when she filed the petition
for issuance of letters testamentar/ 73p0 <roc0 @o0 ME;4;48 while the pro-ate proceedings 73p0 <roc0 @o0
ME;2248 were still pending0 According to petitioner, there is identit/ of parties, rights asserted, and reliefs
pra/ed for in the two actions which are founded on the same facts, and a *udgment in either will result in
res *udicata in the other0
This contention has no merit0 As stated earlier, the petition for pro-ate was filed -/ 6r0 6e 3antos, the
testator, solel/ for the purpose of authenticating his will0 1pon the allowance of his will, the proceedings
were terminated01Mwphi10nNt
)n the other hand, the petition for issuance of letters testamentar/ was filed -/ private respondent, as
e,ecutor of the estate of 6r0 6e 3antos, for the purpose of securing authorit/ from the Court to administer
the estate and put into effect the will of the testator0 The estate settlement proceedings commenced -/
the filing of the petition terminates upon the distri-ution and deliver/ of the legacies and devises to the
persons named in the will0 Clearl/, there is no identit/ -etween the two petitions, nor was the latter filed
during the pendenc/ of the former0 There was, conseGuentl/, no forum shopping0
%&'R'()R', the petition is 6'@"'6 and the decisions of the Court of Appeals are here-/ A(("RM'60
3) )R6'R'60
Art. 844 %rror in na4es and surna4es
*ay 1"! 1"65
G.R. No. 167
RA*(N +%) R('AR&(! -laintiff,a--ellee!
vs.
.)%*%N#% +%) R('AR&(! defendant,a--ellant.
"0 6on @icolas del Rosario died in this cit/ on 9ul/ 1;, 1895, leaving a last will, the eighth, ninth, eleventh,
and eighteenth clauses of which are as follows$
'ight0 The testator declares that the #,::: pesos which he -rought to his marriage he here-/ -eGueathes
to his nephew 'nriGue >loria / Rosario and Ramon del Rosario, natural children of his -rother Clemente
del Rosario, notwithstanding the fact that the/ purport to -e the issue of the marriage of 'scolastico
>loria and Rosendo del Rosario, successivel/0
@inth0 The testator declares that the said sum of #,::: pesos is to -e divided, 4,::: pesos for the first
named and 2,::: pesos for the second named, the deliver/ of the said sums to -e effected -/ the wife of
the testator, provided that these /oung men -ehave themselves as the/ have done up to the present time,
and do not cease to stud/ until ta+ing the degree of -achelor of arts, and then ta+e a -usiness course, if
their health will permit, their support to -e paid out of the testamentar/ estate and the/ to live in the house
of the widow0
'leventh0 The testator declares that in a case the said /oung men should -e still engaged in stud/ at the
time of the death of the testator?s wife, the/ shall continue to -e supported at the e,pense of the
testamentar/ estate, without deducting such e,penses from their legacies, if the/ should desire to
continue the same studies0
'ighteenth0 The testator further states that although his wife is at the present time fift/Efive /ears of age,
and conseGuentl/ is not li+el/ to marr/ again, as she herself sa/s, nevertheless it is impossi-le that the
opposite of what she asserts might occur, and, if so, then it is to -e regarded as sufficient reason to
authori2e the /oung men Ramon and 'nriGue, so often referred to, separate from their aunt, in which
event the/ are to -e supported -/ the testamentar/ estate on a small allowance of twent/Efive pesos per
month, provided that the/ continue their studies or should -e in poor health, this without in an/ respect
reducing the amount of their shares0
6on Ramon del Rosario, one of the persons mentioned in these clauses, -rought this action in 19:2
against 6on Clemente del Rosario, the then e,ecutor, as+ing, among other things, that the said e,ecutor
pa/ him an allowance from the death of the widow of the testator at the rate of 5# pesos a month, and
that the e,ecutor allow him to live in the house in which the widow was living at that time0
The widow of the testator, 6oRa &onorata Calde2, died on 9ul/ 5, 19::0
The court -elow ordered *udgment in respect to this allowance, and the right to live in the house as
pra/ed for -/ the plaintiff0 "n this we thin+ that the court erred0
%hile -/ the eight clause the support of the plaintiff and of 6on 'nriGue >loria is charged against the
estate, /et the eleventh clause ma+es it plain that this unconditional right was to last onl/ during the
lifetime of the widow0 After her death the right to this allowance is made to depend on the continuance of
their studies0 That this is the correct construction of the will is made more plain -/ the eighteenth clause
a-ove Guoted0 "n the case of their separation from their aunt -/ her remarriage, the/ were entitled to the
specified allowance of 2# pesos a month onl/ on condition that the/ were pursuing their studies or were in
poor health0
The court did not find that the plaintiff was still pursuing his studies0 )n the contrar/, he found that the
plaintiff had fulfilled the condition -/ o-taining the degree of -achelor of arts in 18980
The right to live in the house of the widow terminated at her death0
""0 The seventh clause of the will of 6on @icolas is as follows$
3eventh0 The testator states that in the present condition of his affairs he has acGuired, during his married
life, some tens of thousands of dollars, of which oneEhalf -elongs to his wife as her share of the profits of
the con*ugal partnership, and the other half -elongs to him as his share of such profits= -ut, in view of the
agreement entered into -etween the two spouses, the propert/ will not -e partitioned, and upon the death
of the testator all the said propert/ will pass to his wife, in order that she ma/ en*o/ the revenue therefrom
during her lifetime, -ut without authorit/ to conve/ an/ of such propert/, inasmuch as she, -eing grateful
for the -enefit resulting to her, -inds herself in turn to deliver said propert/ at her death to the testator?s
-rothers, 6on Clemente del Rosario and 6on Rosendo del Rosario, and his sister, 6oRa Auisa del
Rosario, who shall en*o/ the revenue from the said propert/ during their respective lives, and shall then,
in turn, transmit the same to their male children, -oth those -orn in wedloc+ and natural children who ma/
-e +nown0
This was later modified -/ a codicil, as follows$
That in seventh clause of said testament he desires and wills that in the distri-ution of his propert/ and
that of his wife among the male children of his -rothers, Clemente and Rosendo del Rosario, and those of
his sister, Auisa del Rosario, in such distri-ution his nephews 'nriGue >loria and Ramon del Rosario must
-e understood to -e included, in addition to the legacies mentioned in his said testament0
The thirteenth clause of his will was as follows$
The testator declares that in case 6oRa Auisa del Rosario should die -efore or after the wife of the
testator, then the legac/ due her -/ virtue of this will shall not pass in its entiret/ to her male children,
e,cept as to the sum of 1,::: pesos, the remainder to pass to 6on 'nriGue >loria Rosario and 6on
Ramon del Rosario, natural sons of 6on Clemente del Rosario, as alread/ stated0
This was modified -/ the codicil as follows$
That in the thirteenth clause the testator provided that upon the death of his sister, Auisa del Rosario, her
male children were to inherit from her up to the sum of 1,::: pesos, and this he rectifies, for -etter
understanding, to the effect that it is his will that the remainder of all her portion should -e divided into
eGual parts, oneEthird to go to his -rother 6on Clemente del Rosario and the other twoEthirds to -e divided
eGuall/ among his said nephews, 'nriGue >loria and Ramon del Rosario0
6oRa &onorata Calde2 made her will three da/s after that of her hus-and0 The seventh clause is as
follows$
The testatri, declares that she institutes her -eloved hus-and, 6on @icolas del Rosario / Ale*o, as her
heir to all the propert/ which she ma/ have at her death, and in the une,pected case of the death of her
said hus-and then she institute as heirs her -rothersEinElaw, 6on Rosendo and 6on Clemente del Rosario
/ Ale*o, and her sisterEinElaw, 6oRa Auisa del Rosario, who shall en*o/ the usufruct during their lifetime of
all the revenue of the said propert/0 1pon the death of an/ of them, the propert/ shall pass to the male
children of her said -rothersEinElaw and sisterEinElaw, the issue of lawful marriage or natural children who
ma/ -e +nown= that upon the death of her sisterEinElaw, 6oRa Auisa, then her share shall not pass in its
entiret/ to her male children, e,cept the sum of 1,::: pesos, 'nriGue >loria and 6on Ramon del Rosario,
natural children of her -rotherEinElaw 6on Clemente del Rosario0
6oRa Auisa died one /ea after 6on @icolas and two /ears -efore the death of 6oRa &onorata, which, as
has -een said, occurred on 9ul/, 5, 19::0
6on 'nriGue >loria died on 9ul/ 6, 19::0
6on Ramon del Rosario claims in this action that he is now entitled, -/ virtue of -oth wills, to a certain
part of the share of the estates left to said 6oRa Auisa during her life, and he as+s that the defendant -e
directed to render accounts and to proceed to the partition of the said estates0 The controvers/ -etween
the parties upon this -ranch of the case is as follows$
The defendant claims that the plaintiff is entitled to nothing under the wills, -ecause the gift to him was
conditional, the condition -eing that he should -e the natural son of 6on Clemente, recogni2ed -/ the
latter as such in one of the wa/s pointed out -/ the Civil Code= that he can not prove such recognition, the
parol evidence presented at the trial -eing prohi-ited -/ said Code, and that he has therefore not
complied with the condition0
The plaintiff claims that such evidence was proper, that -oth wills state that 6on Ramon del Rosario is the
natural son of 6on Clemente, and that in an/ event the -eGuests are made to the plaintiff -/ name0
The court -elow, holding the parol evidence immaterial, ordered *udgment for the plaintiff as pra/ed for0
718 3o far as the disposition of that part of the inheritance left in the aunt?s will to 6oRa Auisa for life is
concerned, the Guestion is free from dou-t0 "t is distinctl/ declared that Ramon del Rosario and 'nriGue
>loria shall ta+e certain parts of it after 1,::: pesos have -een deducted0 The/ are pointed out -/ name
as the legatees0 "t is true that the/ are called the natural sons of 6on Clemente0 ut this is merel/ a
further description of persons alread/ well identified, and, if false, can -e re*ected in accordance with the
provision of article 554 of the Civil Code, which -/ article 589 is applica-le to legatees0
728 The ninth clause of the will of 6oRa &onorata is as follows$
The testatri, -eGueaths the sum of 4,::: pesos to her nephews 'nriGue >loria and Ramon del Rosario in
eGual parts F that is, 1,#:: pesos each0
The plaintiff was entitled to oneEhalf of this legac/ in his own right0 This has -een paid to him0 6on
'nriGue >loria died -efore his the testatri,0 / the provisions of articles 982 and 984 of the Civil Code the
right of accretion e,ists as to the other half in favor of the plaintiff and he is entitled to have it paid to him0
748 The will of 6oRa &onorata plainl/ declares that, on the death of an/ one of the life tenants, the male
children of such tenant shall inherit, and in respect to 6oRa Auisa it is e,pressl/ declared that this shall
ta+e place whether she dies -efore or after the testatri,0 The derecho de acrecer did not therefore e,ist in
favor of the other two life tenants, 6on Clemente and 6on Rosendo0 .'n la sucesion testada es le/
preferente la voluntad del testador, de modo Gue este prohi-iendo e,presamente el derecho de acrecer,
nom-rando sustitutos, o marcando el destino especial de cada porcion vacante, e,clu/e la aplicacion de
los articulos Gue vamos a e,aminar0. 75 Manresa, Comentarios al Codigo Civil, p0 25608
This right does, however, e,ist in the share of 6oRa Auisa in favor of the plaintiff, for the reasons stated in
connection with the legac/ of 4,::: pesos0
7;8 %e have passed upon the rights of the plaintiff to the share of 6oRa Auis under the will of 6oRa
&onorata, -ecause the interest is e,pressl/ left to him 7en concepto de legado8 as a legac/0 This is
controlling0 7# Manresa, 41#08
These or eGuivalent words are wanting in the will of 6on @icolas0 Appl/ing article 668 of the Civil Code,
we must hold that an/ interest which the plaintiff ma/ have ta+en in the share of 6oRa Auisa under the will
of 6on @icolas he too+ as an heir and not as a legatee0
The distinction -etween the two is constantl/ maintained throughout the Code, and their rights and
o-ligations differ materiall/0 7Arts0 66:, 668, 568, 59:, 8#8, 891, 1::408
7#8 The legatee can demand his legac/ from the heir or from the e,ecutor, when the latter is authori2ed to
give it0 7Art0 88#08 The powers given to the e,ecutors -/ the will of 6oRa &onorata are contained in the
fourteenth clause, which is as follows$
The testatri, appoints as the e,ecutors of her will, in the first place, her -eloved hus-and, @icolas del
Rosario / Ale*o, in the second place her -rotherEinElaw Clemente del Rosario, in the third place her
-rotherEinElaw Rosendo del Rosario, in the fourth place 6on Ramon del Rosario when he shall attain his
ma*orit/, all of them without -ond and free from the o-ligation of terminating the administration within the
legal term0 At her death the/ shall ta+e possession of all such goods and things as ma/ -e her propert/,
and are here-/ authori2ed full/ and as reGuired -/ law to prepare an inventor/ of said propert/, and to
effect the division and partition of the estate among her heirs0 3he also authori2es them to e,ecute and
sign deeds of partition, sales with a resolutor/ condition, cancellations, receipts, acGuittances, and such
other documents as ma/ -e necessar/0
The twent/Efirst clause of the will of 6on @icolas is su-stantiall/ the same0 'ach will prohi-ited an/ *udicial
intervention in the settlement of the estates0
The clause in the will of 6oRa &onorata which is a cop/ of that in the will of 6on @icolas is as follows$
The testatri, declares that she e,pressl/ prohi-its an/ *udicial intervention in this her will, although
minors, a-sentees, or persons under disa-ilit/ -e interested therein, as it is her wish and will that all the
proceedings -e conducted e,tra*udiciall/, and in case a famil/ council should -e necessar/, she
designates the persons who, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code now in force, should form
such council, or else leaves their appointment to the discretion of her e,ecutors0
"f the e,ecutor was not authori2ed to pa/ these legacies, the heirs must pa/ them0
The life tenants and the heirs who ta+e the remainder under these wills are numerous0 "f the/ did not pa/
the legacies and did not agree upon an administrator, *udicial intervention would -e necessar/, the ver/
thing which the testators had e,pressl/ prohi-ited0 The important power of ma+ing the partition was
attempted to -e given to the e,ecutors0 "n view of these considerations and a stud/ of the whole will, we
hold that the e,ecutors are given power to pa/ the legacies0
The action, therefore, was properl/ directed against the e,ecutor so far as it related to the allowance and
the legac/ of 4,::: pesos0 As to these legacies, the action ma/ -e supported also under article 9:2, 2,
which allows e,ecutors to pa/ mone/ legacies0
"t was also properl/ directed against him, so far as it related to the share to which the plaintiff is entitled
under the will of6oRa &onorata in the portion to 6oRa Auisa for life0
The provisions of articles 1:2#E1:25 are no o-stacle to this suit0 That an inventor/ is -eing formed, or that
the creditors have not -een paid, is a matter of defense which should have -een set up in the answer0
"t was not properl/ directed against him in so far as it related to the similar share left to him -/ the will of
6on @icolas0 &e too+ that as heir and not a legatee, and the heir can maintain no such action against the
e,ecutor0
The fact that the plaintiff under the will of 6oRa &onorata is a legatee of an aliGuot part of the estate,
having -ecome entitled to receive oneEthird of it on the death of 6oRa Auisa, does not prevent him from
maintaining this action against the e,ecutor0 Though such a legatee closel/ resem-les an heir, /et, li+e all
other legatees, he must see+ his share from the heir or e,ecutor0 76 Manresa, #6108
768 %hile in this action he has a right to have his interest as legatee declared, /et it can not -e delivered
to him without a partition of the estate0
"t remains to -e considered whether the e,ecutor has power to ma+e the partition0 3uch power is
e,pressl/ given -/ the will0 This provision is, however, void under the terms of article 1:#5 of the Civil
Code, which is as follows$
The testator ma/, -/ an act inter vivos or causa mortis, intrust the mere power of ma+ing the division after
his death to an/ person who is not one of the coheirs0
The provisions of this and the foregoing articles shall -e o-served even should there -e a minor or a
person su-*ect to guardianship among the coheirs= -ut the trustee must in such case ma+e an inventor/
of the propert/ of the inheritance, citing the coheirs, the creditors, and the legatees0
6on Clemente, the e,ecutor, against whom the action was directed, was not onl/ an heir as a life tenant
-ut also in the fee after his death of 6on Rosendo if the latter died without issue0 1pon the death of the
widow, 6oRa Auisa then -eing dead, it -ecame his dut/ to divide the estate into three parts, or at least to
set off the third, which was to pass to the plaintiff -/ the death of the widow and 6oRa Auisa0 "n this
partition he was directl/ interested, for, with his -rother 6on Rosendo, he had a life interest in the part of
the estate not set off to the plaintiff0 Article 1:#5 prohi-ited an heir from -eing contador for this ver/
reason, namel/, that the partition should -e made impartiall/0
Although the e,ecutor has no power to ma+e the partition, the heirs can do so0 Arts0 1:#8E1:6:, Civil
Code08
The plaintiff is not -ound to remain a coEowner with the other heirs0 eing a legatee of an aliGout part, he
has the same right to see+ a partition that an heir has0 75 Manresa, #58= art0 1:#1, Codigo Civil08 ut in so
see+ing it he must ma+e parties to his suit all persons interested in the estate 75 Manresa, #5580 This he
has not done in this suit, and he conseGuentl/ is not entitled to the partition ordered -/ the court -elow0
758 %e have held that the onl/ thing that can -e decided in this case is the rights of the plaintiff as
legatee0
The court -elow ordered the e,ecutor to render accounts of his administration of -oth estates0
As to the estate of 6on @icolas, the onl/ thing here in Guestion is the right to the allowance0 As we hold
that the plaintiff is not entitled to it, he is not entitled to an/ statement of accounts as such pretended
legatee0
As to the estate of 6oRa &onorata, he is entitled to -e paid a legac/ of 1,#:: pesos0 Article 9:5 reGuires
the e,ecutor to render accounts to the heir, not to the legatee= and although -/ article 589 all of the
provisions of Chapter "" 7in which -oth articles are found8 relating to heirs are made applica-le to
legatees, we can not hold that this reGuires an e,ecutor to su-mit his accounts to one who has no interest
in the estate e,cept to a mone/ legac/ when there is no suggestion that it will not -e paid when the right
to it is esta-lished0
"n respect to the share of 6oRa Auisa, there is reason for sa/ing that a legatee on an aliGuot part is
entitled to an accounting0 ut, inasmuch as in this case there can -e no final determination of the rights of
the parties interested in the estate, -ecause the/ are not all parties to this suit, the e,ecutor should not in
this suit -e ordered to su-mit his accounts0
788 The plaintiff in his complaint has limited himself to claiming the allowance, his rights to the share of
6oRa Auisa, and the legacies left to him0
The Guestion as to whether he would -e entitled to an/ part of the share of 6on Clemente upon the
latter?s death, under the seventh clause of the two wills, was not presented -/ the complaint nor passed
upon -/ the court and is not -efore us for decision0
798 The result of the foregoing considerations is$
10 The plaintiff is not entitled to an/ allowance under either will0
20 &e is not entitled to live in the house @o0 128 Calle Clavel0
40 &e is entitled to -e paid, under the ninth clause of the will of 6oRa &onorata, the sum of 1,#:: pesos,
in addition to the 1,#:: pesos alread/ received under that clause0
;0 &e is entitled to the share of the estate left -/ the will of 6oRa &onorata to 6oRa Auisa during her life,
after deducting 1,::: pesos0
#0 This share can not -e set off to him in this suit, -ut onl/ in a proceeding to which all persons interested
in the estate are parties0
60 &is interest in the share left to 6oRa Auis during her life -/ the will of 6on @icolas can not -e
determined in this suit0
50 The e,ecutor can not -e reGuired to render in this suit his accounts as such e,ecutor0
80 The plaintiff?s rights under the seventh clause of the two wills, to the share left to 6on Clemente for life
are not -efore us for decision0
"""0 After *udgment had -een rendered in the court -elow and a -ill of e,ceptions allowed, -ut -efore the
record had -een sent to this court, 6on Clemente del Rosario, the defendant, died0 After his death 6on
Rosendo del Rosario, who was named in -oth wills to succeed to the e,ecutorship on the death of 6on
Clemente, appeared in the court -elow and withdrew the appeal and -ill of e,ceptions0 Thereupon the
widow of 6on Clemente, for herself and in representation of the minor son of her late hus-and, as+ed and
was granted leave to prosecute the appeal0
This ruling was correct0 According to the 3panish authorities, an/one legall/ affected -/ the *udgment
might appeal0 According to the American authorities, if a trustee refuses to appeal, the -eneficiar/ ma/ do
so in his name0
That the son of 6on Clemente has a direct interest in the Guestion of the allowance of 5# pesos a month
to the plaintiff is plain0 %e have held that in respect to this allowance the e,ecutor represents the estate
and the *udgment against him -inds it0
"t would -e manifestl/ un*ust to allow an e,ecutor, with perhaps onl/ a slight personal interest in an
estate, -/ withdrawing an appeal, to fasten upon the estate a claim which, as we hold, it should not -ear0
"C0 At the argument of this case on the merits, after the appellant had closed, the respondent made the
point for the first time that the appellant?s -rief contained no assignment of errors0
This is true0 ut a full assignment of errors is found in the -ill of e,ceptions at pages 1; and 1#0 The
appellee answered the -rief of the appellant without ma+ing an/ suggestion of this mista+e0 &e has -een
in no wa/ pre*udiced -/ it, and we can not affirm the *udgment on this ground0
The *udgment of the court -elow is reversed and the case remanded with directions to the court -elow to
enter *udgment in accordance with this opinion0 The costs of this instance will -e eGuall/ divided -etween
the parties0 3o ordered0
Art. 876 'tate4ent of False .ause for &nstitution
G.R. No. ),567" February 7! 1"76
R/<%N A/'#R&A! .(N'/%)( A/'#R&A,<%N#A and )A/R( A/'#R&A *(1(! -etitioners!
vs.
$(N. AN+R%' R%:%'! 8udge! .ourt of First &nstan3e of Ri>al! 0%RF%.#( .R/1! <%N&#A .R/1,
*%N%1 &'AGAN& .R/1! A)<%R#( .R/1 and )/1 .R/1,'A)(NGA res-ondents.
)n 9ul/ 5, 19#6 asilia Austria vda0 de Cru2 filed with the Court of (irst "nstance of Ri2al 73pecial
<roceedings 2;#58 a petition for pro-ate, ante mortem, of her last will and testament0 The pro-ate was
opposed -/ the present petitioners Ru-en Austria, Consuelo AustriaEenta and Aauro Austria Mo2o, and
still others who, li+e the petitioner, are nephews and nieces of asilia0 This opposition was, however,
dismissed and the pro-ate of the will allowed after due hearing0
The -ul+ of the estate of asilia, admittedl/, was destined under the will to pass on to the respondents
<erfecto Cru2, enita Cru2EMeRe2, "sagani Cru2, Al-erto Cru2, and Au2 Cru2E3alonga, all of whom had
-een assumed and declared -/ asilia as her own legall/ adopted children0
)n April 24, 19#9, more than two /ears after her will was allowed to pro-ate, asilia died0 The respondent
<erfecto Cru2 was appointed e,ecutor without -ond -/ the same court in accordance with the provisions
of the decedent?s will, notwithstanding the -loc+ing attempt pursued -/ the petitioner Ru-en Austria0
(inall/, on @ovem-er #, 19#9, the present petitioners filed in the same proceedings a petition in
intervention for partition alleging in su-stance that the/ are the nearest of +in of asilia, and that the five
respondents <erfecto Cru2, et al0, had not in fact -een adopted -/ the decedent in accordance with law,
in effect rendering these respondents mere strangers to the decedent and without an/ right to succeed as
heirs0
@otwithstanding opposition -/ the respondent <erfecto Cru2, as e,ecutor of the estate, the court a Guo
allowed the petitioners? intervention -/ its order of 6ecem-er 22, 19#9, couched in -road terms, as
follows$ .The <etition in "ntervention for <artition filed -/ the a-oveEnamed oppositors ORu-en Austria, et
al0,P dated @ovem-er #, 19#9 is here-/ granted0.
"n the meantime, the contending sides de-ated the matter of authenticit/ or lac+ of it of the several
adoption papers produced and presented -/ the respondents0 )n motion of the petitioners Ru-en Austria,
et al0, these documents were referred to the @ational ureau of "nvestigation for e,amination and advice0
@00"0 report seems to -ear out the genuineness of the documents, -ut the petitioners, evidentl/
dissatisfied with the results, managed to o-tain a preliminar/ opinion from a Consta-ular/ GuestionedE
document e,aminer whose views undermine the authenticit/ of the said documents0 The petitioners
Ru-en Austria, et al0, thus moved the lower court to refer the adoption papers to the <hilippine
Consta-ular/ for further stud/0 The petitioners li+ewise located former personnel of the court which
appeared to have granted the Guestioned adoption, and o-tained written depositions from two of them
den/ing an/ +nowledge of the pertinent adoption proceedings0
)n (e-ruar/ 6, 1964, more than three /ears after the/ were allowed to intervene, the petitioners Ru-en
Austria, let al0, moved the lower court to set for hearing the matter of the genuineness of the adoption of
the respondents <erfecto Cru2, et al0, -/ the late asilia0 efore the date set -/ the court for hearing
arrived, however, the respondent enita Cru2EMeRe2 who entered an appearance separatel/ from that of
her -rother <erfecto Cru2, filed on (e-ruar/ 28, 1964 a motion as+ing the lower court, -/ wa/ of
alternative relief, to confine the petitioners? intervention, should it -e permitted, to properties not disposed
of in the will of the decedent0
)n March ;, 1964, the lower court heard the respondent enita?s motion0 oth sides su-seGuentl/
su-mitted their respective memoranda, and finall/, the lower court issued an order on 9une ;, 1964,
delimiting the petitioners? intervention to the properties of the deceased which were not disposed of in the
will0
The petitioners moved the lower court to reconsider this latest order, eliciting there-/ an opposition, from
the respondents0 )n )cto-er 2#, 1964 the same court denied the petitioners? motion for reconsideration0
A second motion for reconsideration which set off a long e,change of memoranda from -oth sides, was
summaril/ denied on April 21, 196;0
&ence this petition for certiorari, pra/ing this Court to annul the orders of 9une ; and )cto-er 2#, 1964
and the order of April 21, 196;, all restricting petitioners? intervention to properties that were not included
in the decedent?s testamentar/ dispositions0
The uncontested premises are clear0 Two interests are loc+ed in dispute over the -ul+ of the estate of the
deceased0 Arra/ed on one side are the petitioners Ru-en Austria, Consuelo AustriaEenta and Aauro
Austria Mo2o, three of a num-er of nephews and nieces who are concededl/ the nearest surviving -lood
relatives of the decedent0 )n the other side are the respondents -rothers and sisters, <erfecto Cru2,
enita Cru2EMeRe2, "sagani Cru2, Al-erto Cru2 and Au2 Cru2E3alonga, all of whom heirs in the will of the
deceased asilia, and all of whom claim +inship with the decedent -/ virtue of legal adoption0 At the heart
of the controvers/ is asilia?s last will F immaculate in its e,trinsic validit/ since it -ears the imprimatur of
dul/ conducted pro-ate proceedings0
The complaint in intervention filed in the lower court assails the legalit/ of the tie which the respondent
<erfecto Cru2 and his -rothers and sisters claim to have with the decedent0 The lower court had,
however, assumed, -/ its orders in Guestion, that the validit/ or invalidit/ of the adoption is not material
nor decisive on the efficac/ of the institution of heirs= for, even if the adoption in Guestion were spurious,
the respondents <erfecto Cru2, et al0, will nevertheless succeed not as compulsor/ heirs -ut as
testamentar/ heirs instituted in asilia?s will0 This ruling apparentl/ finds support in article, 8;2 of the Civil
Code which reads$
)ne who has no compulsor/ heirs ma/ dispose of -/ will all his estate or an/ part of it in favor of an/
person having capacit/ to succeed0
)ne who has compulsor/ heirs ma/ dispose of his estate provided he does not contravene the provisions
of this Code with regard to the legitime of said heirs0
The lower court must have assumed that since the petitioners nephews and niece are not compulsor/
heirs, the/ do not possess that interest which can -e pre*udiced -/ a freeEwheeling testamentar/
disposition0 The petitioners? interest is confined to properties, if an/, that have not -een disposed of in the
will, for to that e,tent intestate succession can ta+e place and the Guestion of the veracit/ of the adoption
acGuires relevance0
The petitioners nephews and niece, upon the other hand, insist that the entire estate should descend to
them -/ intestac/ -/ reason of the intrinsic nullit/ of the institution of heirs em-odied in the decedent?s
will0 The/ have thus raised sGuarel/ the issue of whether or not such institution of heirs would retain
efficac/ in the event there e,ists proof that the adoption of the same heirs -/ the decedent is false0
The petitioners cite, as the controlling rule, article 8#: of the Civil Code which reads$
The statement of a false cause for the institution of an heir shall -e considered as not written, unless it
appears from the will that the testator would not have made such institution if he had +nown the falsit/ of
such cause0
Coming closer to the center of the controvers/, the petitioners have called the attention of the lower court
and this Court to the following pertinent portions of the will of the deceased which recite$
"""
Ang a+ing mga sapilitang tagapagmana 7herederos for2osos8 a/ ang a+ing itinuturing na mga ana+ na
tuna/ 7&i*os legalmente adoptados8 na sina <erfecto, Al-erto, Au2, enita at "sagani, na pawang ma/
apel/idong Cru20
,,, ,,, ,,,
Jung a+o a/ -awian ng 6ios ng -uha/, a/ a+ing ipinamamana ang a+ing mga ariEariang maiiwan, sa
+aparaanang sumusunod$
A0FA+ing ipinamamana sa a+ing na-anggit na limang ana+ na sina <erfecto, Al-erto, Au2, enita at
"sagani, na pawang ma/ apel/idong Cru2, na parepareho ang +aparti ng -awa?t isa at walang lamangan
7en partes iguales8, -ilang +anilang sapilitang mana 7legitiOmaP8, ang +alahati 7S8 ng a+ing +aparti sa lahat
ng aming ariEariang gananciales ng a+ing /umaong asawang <edro Cru2 na napapaloo- sa Actuacion
'special @o0 6;: ng &u+umang 1nang 6ulugan ng Ri2al at itinutu+o/ sa @o0 1 ng parafo "C ng
testamentong ito, ang +alahati 7S8 ng mga laga/ na lupa at palaisdaan na nasa )-ando at <olo, ulacan,
na namana +o sa a+ing /umaong ama na si Cali,to Austria, at ang +alahati 7S8 ng ilang laga/ na lupa na
nasa Tine*eros, Mala-on, Ri2al, na a+ing namana sa /umao +ong +apatid na si (austo Austria0
The tenor of the language used, the petitioners argue, gives rise to the inference that the late asilia was
deceived into -elieving that she was legall/ -ound to -eGueath oneEhalf of her entire estate to the
respondents <erfecto Cru2, et al0 as the latter?s legitime0 The petitioners further contend that had the
deceased +nown the adoption to -e spurious, she would not have instituted the respondents at all F the
-asis of the institution -eing solel/ her -elief that the/ were compulsor/ heirs0 <roof therefore of the falsit/
of the adoption would cause a nullit/ of the institution of heirs and the opening of the estate wide to
intestac/0 6id the lower court then a-use its discretion or act in violation of the rights of the parties in
-arring the petitioners nephews and niece from registering their claim even to properties ad*udicated -/
the decedent in her willK
efore the institution of heirs ma/ -e annulled under article 8#: of the Civil Code, the following reGuisites
must concur$ (irst, the cause for the institution of heirs must -e stated in the will= second, the cause must
-e shown to -e false= and third, it must appear from the face of the will that the testator would not have
made such institution if he had +nown the falsit/ of the cause0
The petitioners would have us impl/, from the use of the terms, .sapilitang tagapagmana. 7compulsor/
heirs8 and .sapilitang mana. 7legitime8, that the impelling reason or cause for the institution of the
respondents was the testatri,?s -elief that under the law she could not do otherwise0 "f this were indeed
what prompted the testatri, in instituting the respondents, she did not ma+e it +nown in her will0 3urel/ if
she was aware that succession to the legitime ta+es place -/ operation of law, independent of her own
wishes, she would not have found it convenient to name her supposed compulsor/ heirs to their legitimes0
&er e,press adoption of the rules on legitimes should ver/ well indicate her complete agreement with that
statutor/ scheme0 ut even this, li+e the petitioners? own proposition, is highl/ speculative of what was in
the mind of the testatri, when she e,ecuted her will0 )ne fact prevails, however, and it is that the
decedent?s will does not state in a specific or uneGuivocal manner the cause for such institution of heirs0
%e cannot annul the same on the -asis of guesswor+ or uncertain implications0
And even if we should accept the petitioners? theor/ that the decedent instituted the respondents <erfecto
Cru2, et al0 solel/ -ecause she -elieved that the law commanded her to do so, on the false assumption
that her adoption of these respondents was valid, still such institution must stand0
Article 8#: of the Civil Code, Guoted a-ove, is a positive in*unction to ignore whatever false cause the
testator ma/ have written in his will for the institution of heirs0 3uch institution ma/ -e annulled onl/ when
one is satisfied, after an e,amination of the will, that the testator clearl/ would not have made the
institution if he had +nown the cause for it to -e false0 @ow, would the late asilia have caused the
revocation of the institution of heirs if she had +nown that she was mista+en in treating these heirs as her
legall/ adopted childrenK )r would she have instituted them nonethelessK
The decedent?s will, which alone should provide the answer, is mute on this point or at -est is vague and
uncertain0 The phrases, .mga sapilitang tagapagmana. and .sapilitang mana,. were -orrowed from the
language of the law on succession and were used, respectivel/, to descri-e the class of heirs instituted
and the a-stract o-*ect of the inheritance0 The/ offer no a-solute indication that the decedent would have
willed her estate other than the wa/ she did if she had +nown that she was not -ound -/ law to ma+e
allowance for legitimes0 &er disposition of the free portion of her estate 7li-re disposicion8 which largel/
favored the respondent <erfecto Cru2, the latter?s children, and the children of the respondent enita
Cru2, shows a percepti-le inclination on her part to give to the respondents more than what she thought
the law en*oined her to give to them0 Compare this with the relativel/ small devise of land which the
decedent had left for her -lood relatives, including the petitioners Consuelo AustriaEenta and Aauro
Mo2o and the children of the petitioner Ru-en Austria0 %ere we to e,clude the respondents <erfecto
Cru2, et al0 from the inheritance, then the petitioners and the other nephews and nieces would succeed to
the -ul+ of the testate -/ intestac/ F a result which would su-vert the clear wishes of the decedent0
%hatever dou-ts one entertains in his mind should -e swept awa/ -/ these e,plicit in*unctions in the Civil
Code$ .The words of a will are to receive an interpretation which will give to ever/ e,pression some effect,
rather than one which will render an/ of the e,pressions inoperative= and of two modes of interpreting a
will, that is to -e preferred which will prevent intestac/0. 1
Testac/ is favored and dou-ts are resolved on its side, especiall/ where the will evinces an intention on
the part of the testator to dispose of practicall/ his whole estate,2 as was done in this case0 Moreover, so
compelling is the principle that intestac/ should -e avoided and the wishes of the testator allowed to
prevail, that we could even var/ the language of the will for the purpose of giving it effect04 A pro-ate
court has found, -/ final *udgment, that the late asilia Austria Cda0 de Cru2 was possessed of
testamentar/ capacit/ and her last will e,ecuted free from falsification, fraud, tric+er/ or undue influence0
"n this situation, it -ecomes our dut/ to give full e,pression to her will0;
At all events, the legalit/ of the adoption of the respondents -/ the testatri, can -e assailed onl/ in a
separate action -rought for that purpose, and cannot -e the su-*ect of a collateral attac+0#
To the petitioners? charge that the lower court had no power to reverse its order of 6ecem-er 22, 19#9,
suffice it to state that, as -orne -/ the records, the su-seGuent orders complained of served merel/ to
clarif/ the first F an act which the court could legall/ do0 'ver/ court has the inherent power to amend
and control its processes and orders so as to ma+e them conforma-le to law and *ustices06 That the court
a Guo has limited the e,tent of the petitioners? intervention is also within its powers as articulated -/ the
Rules of Court05
ACC)R6"@>AB, the present petition is denied, at petitioners cost0
Art. 874 0reterition
8anuary 7! 1"67
G.R. No. ),17818
#&R'( #. R%:%'! as guardian of the 4inors A>u3ena Flordelis and #irso! 8r.! all surna4ed Reyes y
<arretto! -laintiffs,a--ellants!
vs.
)/.&A *&)AGR(' <ARR%##(,+A#/! defendant,a--ellee.
6irect appeal from a *udgment of the Court of (irst "nstance of ulacan, in its Civil Case @o0 1:8;,
dismissing the complaint of appellant Tirso T0 Re/es and ordering the same to deliver to the defendantE
appellee, Aucia Milagros arrettoE6atu, the properties receivea -/ his deceasea wife under the terms of
the will of the late i-iano arretto, consisting of lots in Manila, Ri2al, <ampanga and ulacan, valued at
more than <2::,:::0
The decision appealed from sets the antecedents of the case to -e as follows$
.This is an action to recover oneEhalf share in the fishpond, located in the -arrio of 3an RoGue, &agono/,
ulacan, covered -/ Transfer Certificate of Title @o0 TE1454; of the Aand Records of this <rovince, -eing
the share of plaintiff?s wards as minor heirs of the deceased 3alud arretto, widow of plaintiff Tirso Re/es,
guardian of said minors0.
"t appears that i-iano arretto was married to Maria >erardo0 6uring their lifetime the/ acGuired a vast
estate, consisting of real properties in Manila, <ampanga, and ulacan, covered -/ Transfer Certificates
of Title @os0 ;1;24, 22;;4, 88#8, 42989, 41:;6, 2528#, 6255, 6#::, 2:#5, 6#:1, 2991, #5;:4 and
12#:5HTE4450
%hen i-iano arretto died on (e-ruar/ 18, 1946, in the Cit/ of Manila, he left his share of these
properties in a will 3alud arretto, mother of plaintiff?s wards, and Aucia Milagros arretto and a small
portion as legacies to his two sisters Rosa arretto and (elisa arretto and his nephew anT niecesU The
usufruct oV the fishponT situateT iW -arrio 3aW RoGueX &agono/, ulacan, a-oveEmentioned, however,
was reserved for his widow, Maria >erardoU "W the meantimeX Maria >erardo was appointeT
administratri,0 / virtue thereof, she prepared a pro*ect of partition, which was signed -/ her in her own
-ehalf and as guardian of the minor Milagros arretto0 3aid pro*ect of partition was approved -/ the Court
of (irst "nstance of Manila on @ovem-er 22, 19490 The distri-ution of the estate and the deliver/ of the
shares of the heirs followed forthwith0 As a conseGuence, 3alud arretto too+ immediate possession of
her share and secured the cancellation of the original certificates of title and the issuance of new titles in
her own name0
'ver/thing went well since then0 @o-od/ was heard to complain of an/ irregularit/ in the distri-ution of the
said estate until the widow, Maria >erardo died on March #, 19;80 1pon her death, it was discovered that
she had e,ecuted two wills, in the first of which, she instituted 3alud and Milagros, -oth surnamed
arretto, as her heirs= and, in the second, she revo+ed the same and left all her properties in favor of
Milagros arretto alone0 Thus, the later will was allowed and the first re*ected0 "n re*ecting the first will
presented -/ Tirso Re/es, as guardian of the children of 3alud arretto, the lower court held that 3alud
was not the daughter of the decedent Maria >erardo -/ her hus-and i-iano arretto0 This ruling was
appealed to the 3upreme Court, which affirmed the same0OO1PP
&aving thus lost this fight for a share in the estate of Maria >erardo, as a legitimate heir of Maria >erardo,
plaintiff now falls -ac+ upon the remnant of the estate of the deceased i-iano arretto, which was given
in usufruct to his widow Maria >erardo0 &ence, this action for the recover/ of oneEhalf portion, thereof0
This action afforded the defendant an opportunit/ to set up her right of ownership, not onl/ of the fishpond
under litigation, -ut of all the other properties willed and delivered to 3alud arretto, for -eing a spurious
heir, and not entitled to an/ share in the estate of i-iano arretto, there-/ directl/ attac+ing the validit/,
not onl/ of the pro*ect of partition, -ut of the decision of the court -ased thereon as well0
The defendant contends that the <ro*ect of <artition from which 3alud acGuired the fishpond in Guestion is
void a- initio and 3alud arretto did not acGuire an/ valid title thereto, and that the court did not acGuire
an/ *urisdiction of the person of the defendant, who was then a minor0?
(inding for the defendant 7now appellee8, Milagros arretto, the lower court declared the pro*ect of
partition su-mitted in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of i-iano arretto 7Civil Case @o0
;9629 of the Court of (irst "nstance of Manila8 to -e null and void a- initio 7not merel/ voida-le8 -ecause
the distri-utee, 3alud arretto, predecessor of plaintiffs 7now appellants8, was not a daughter of the
spouses i-iano arretto and Maria >erardo0 The nullit/ of the pro*ect of partition was decreed on the
-asis of Article 1:81 of the Civil Code of 1889 7then in force8 providing as follows$
A partition in which a person was -elieved to -e an heir, without -eing so, has -een included, shall -e null
and void0
The court a Guo further re*ected the contention advanced -/ plaintiffs that since i-iano arretto was free
to dispose of oneEthird 71H48 of his estate under the old Civil Code, his will was valid in favor of 3alud
arretto 7nee Aim oco8 to the e,tent, at least, of such free part0 And it concluded that, as defendant
Milagros was the onl/ true heir of i-iano arretto, she was entitled to recover from 3alud, and from the
latter?s children and successors, all the <roperties received -/ her from i-iano?s estate, in view of the
provisions of Article 1;#6 of the new Civil Code of the <hilippines esta-lishing that propert/ acGuired -/
fraud or mista+e is held -/ its acGuirer in implied trust for the real owner0 &ence, as stated at the
-eginning of this opinion, the Court a Guo not onl/ dismissed the plaintiffs? complaint -ut ordered them to
return the properties received under the pro*ect of partition previousl/ mentioned as pra/ed for in
defendant Milagros arretto?s counterclaim0 &owever, it denied defendant?s pra/er for damages0 &ence,
this appeal interposed -/ -oth plaintiffs and defendant0
<laintiffsEappellants correctl/ point out that Article 1:81 of the old Civil Code has -een misapplied to the
present case -/ the court -elow0 The reason is o-vious$ 3alud arretto admittedl/ had -een instituted
heir in the late i-iano arretto?s last will and testament together with defendant Milagros= hence, the
partition had -etween them could not -e one such had with a part/ who was -elieved to -e an heir
without reall/ -eing one, and was not null and void under said article0 The legal precept 7Article 1:818
does not spea+ of children, or descendants, -ut of heirs 7without distinction -etween forced, voluntar/ or
intestate ones8, and the fact that 3alud happened not to -e a daughter of the testator does not preclude
her -eing one of the heirs e,pressl/ named in his testament= for i-iano arretto was at li-ert/ to assign
the free portion of his estate to whomsoever he chose0 %hile the share 7S8 assigned to 3alud impinged
on the legitime of Milagros, 3alud did not for that reason cease to -e a testamentar/ heir of i-iano
arretto0
@or does the fact that Milagros was allotted in her father?s will a share smaller than her legitime invalidate
the institution of 3alud as heir, since there was here no preterition, or total ommission of a forced heir0 (or
this reason, @eri vs0 A+utin, 52 <hil0 422, invo+ed -/ appellee, is not at all applica-le, that case involving
an instance of preterition or omission of children of the testator?s former marriage0
Appellee contends that the partition in Guestion was void as a compromise on the civil status of 3alud in
violation of Article 181; of the old Civil Code0 This view is erroneous, since a compromise presupposes
the settlement of a controvers/ through mutual concessions of the parties 7Civil Code of 1889, Article
18:9= Civil Code of the <hilippines, Art0 2:288= and the condition of 3alud as daughter of the testator
i-iano arretto, while untrue, was at no time disputed during the settlement of the estate of the testator0
There can -e no compromise over issues not in dispute0 And while a compromise over civil status is
prohi-ited, the law nowhere for-ids a settlement -/ the parties over the share that should correspond to a
claimant to the estate0
At an/ rate, independentl/ of a pro*ect of partition which, as its own name implies, is merel/ a proposal for
distri-ution of the estate, that the court ma/ accept or re*ect, it is the court alone that ma+es the
distri-ution of the estate and determines the persons entitled thereto and the parts to which each is
entitled 7Camia vs0 Re/es, 64 <hil0 629, 6;4= Act 19:, 3ection 5#:= Rule 9:, Rules of 19;:= Rule 91,
Revised Rules of Court8, and it is that *udicial decree of distri-ution, once final, that vests title in the
distri-utees0 "f the decree was erroneous or not in conformit/ with law or the testament, the same should
have -een corrected -/ opportune appeal= -ut once it had -ecome final, its -inding effect is li+e that of
an/ other *udgment in rem, unless properl/ set aside for lac+ of *urisdiction or fraud0
"t is thus apparent that where a court has validl/ issued a decree of distri-ution of the estate, and the
same has -ecome final, the validit/ or invalidit/ of the pro*ect of partition -ecomes irrelevant0
"t is, however, argued for the appellee that since the court?s distri-ution of the estate of the late i-iano
arretto was predicated on the pro*ect of partition e,ecuted -/ 3alud arretto and the widow, Maria
>erardo 7who signed for herself and as guardian of the minor Milagros arretto8, and since no evidence
was ta+en of the filiation of the heirs, nor were an/ findings of fact or law made, the decree of distri-ution
can have no greater validit/ than that of the -asic partition, and must stand or fall with it, -eing in the
nature of a *udgment -/ consent, -ased on a compromise0 3aminiada vs0 Mata, 92 <hil0 ;26, is invo+ed in
support of the proposition0 That case is authorit/ for the proposition that a *udgment -/ compromise ma/
-e set aside on the ground of mista+e or fraud, upon petition filed in due time, where petition for .relief
was filed -efore the compromise agreement a proceeding, was consummated. 7cas0 cit0 at p0 ;4680 "n the
case -efore us, however, the agreement of partition was not onl/ ratified -/ the court?s decree of
distri-ution, -ut actuall/ consummated, so much so that the titles in the name of the deceased were
cancelled, and new certificates issued in favor of the heirs, long -efore the decree was attac+ed0 &ence,
3aminiada vs0 Mata does not appl/0
Moreover, the defendantEappellee?s argument would -e plausi-le if it were shown that the sole -asis for
the decree of distri-ution was the pro*ect of partition0 ut, in fact, even without it, the distri-ution could
stand, since it was in conformit/ with the pro-ated will of i-iano arretto, against the provisions whereof
no o-*ection had -een made0 "n fact it was the court?s dut/ to do so0 Act 19:, section 6;:, in force in
1949, provided$
3'C0 6;:0 'state, &ow Administered0 F %hen a will is thus allowed, the court shall grant letters
testamentar/, or letters of administration with the will anne,ed, and such letters testamentar/ or of
administration, shall e,tend to all the estate of the testator in the <hilippine "slands0 3uch estate, after the
pa/ment of *ust de-ts and e,penses of administration, shall -e disposed of according to such will, so far
as such will ma/ operate upon it= and the residue, if an/, shall -e disposed of as is provided -/ law in
cases of estates in these "slands -elonging to persons who are inha-itants of another state or countr/0
7'mphasis supplied8
That defendant Milagros arretto was a minor at the time the pro-ate court distri-uted the estate of her
father in 1949 does not impl/ that the said court was without *urisdiction to enter the decree of distri-ution0
<assing upon a li+e issue, this Court ruled in Ramos vs0 )rtu2ar, 89 <hil0 Reports, pp0 5;1 and 5;2$
"f we are to assume that Richard &ill and Marvin &ill did not formall/ intervene, still the/ would -e
concluded -/ the result of the proceedings, not onl/ as to their civil status -ut as the distri-ution of the
estate as well0 As this Court has held in Manolo vs0 <aredes, ;5 <hil0 948, .The proceeding for pro-ate is
one in rem 7;: C/c0, 126#8 and the court acGuires *urisdiction over all persons interested, through the
pu-lication of the notice prescri-ed -/ section 64: C0<0C0= and an/ order that an/ -e entered therein is
-inding against all of them0. 73ee also in re 'state of 9ohnson, 49 <hil0 1#608 .A final order of distri-ution
of the estate of a deceased person vests the title to the land of the estate in the distri-utees.0 73antos vs0
Roman Catholic ishop of @ueva Caceres, ;# <hil0 89#08 There is no reason wh/, -/ analog/, these
salutar/ doctrines should not appl/ to intestate proceedings0
The onl/ instance that we can thin+ of in which a part/ interested in a pro-ate proceeding ma/ have a
final liGuidation set aside is when he is left out -/ reason of circumstances -e/ond his control or through
mista+e or inadvertence not imputa-le to negligence0 'ven then, the -etter practice to secure relief is
reopening of the same case -/ proper motion within the reglementar/ period, instead of an independent
action the effect of which, if successful, would -e, as in the instant case, for another court or *udge to
throw out a decision or order alread/ final and e,ecuted and reshuffle properties long ago distri-uted and
disposed of0
"t is well to o-serve, at this *uncture, as this Court e,pressl/ declared in Re/es vs0 arretto 6atu, 9; <hil0
;;6 7Am?d Rec0 Appeal, pp0 1#6, 1#58, that$
000 "t is argued that Aucia Milagros arretto was a minor when she signed the partition, and that Maria
>erardo was not her *udiciall/ appointed guardian0 The claim is not true0 Maria >erardo signed as
guardian of the minor0 73ecs0 4 and #, Rule 95, Rules of Court08 The mere statement in the pro*ect of
partion that the guardianship proceedings of the minor Aucia Milagros arretto are pending in the court,
does not mean that the guardian had not /et -een appointed= it meant that the guardianship proceedings
had not /et -een terminated, and as a guardianship proceedings -egin with the appointment of a
guardian, Maria >erardo must have -een alread/ appointed when she signed the pro*ect of partition0
There is, therefore, no irregularit/ or defect or error in the pro*ect of partition, apparent on the record of
the testate proceedings, which shows that Maria >erardo had no power or authorit/ to sign the pro*ect of
partition as guardian of the minor Aucia Milagros arretto, and, conseGuentl/, no ground for the
contention that the order approving the pro*ect of partition is a-solutel/ null and void and ma/ -e attac+ed
collaterall/ in these proceedings0
3o that it is now incontesta-le that appellee Milagros arretto was not onl/ made a part/ -/ pu-lication
-ut actuall/ appeared and participated in the proceedings through her guardian$ she, therefore, can not
escape the *urisdiction of the Manila Court of (irst "nstance which settled her father?s estate0
6efendantEappellee further pleads that as her mother and guardian 7Maria >erardo8 could not have
ignored that the distri-utee 3alud was not her child, the act of said widow in agreeing to the oftEcited
partition and distri-ution was a fraud on appellees rights and entitles her to relief0 "n the first place, there
is no evidence that when the estate of i-iano arretto was *udiciall/ settled and distri-uted appellants?
predecessor, 3alud Aim oco arretto to, +new that she was not i-iano?s child$ so that if fraud was
committed, it was the widow, Maria >erardo, who was solel/ responsi-le, and neither 3alud nor her minor
children, appellants herein, can -e held lia-le therefor0 "n the second placegranting that there was such
fraud, relief therefrom can onl/ -e o-tained within ; /ears from its discover/, and the record shows that
this period had elapsed long ago0
ecause at the time of the distri-ution Milagros arretto was onl/ 16 /ears old 7',hi-it 2;8, she -ecame
of age five /ears later, in 19;;0 )n that /ear, her cause of action accrued to contest on the ground of
fraud the court decree distri-uting her father?s estate and the fourE/ear period of limitation started to run,
to e,pire in 19;8 73ection ;4, Act0 19:80 "n fact, conceding that Milagros onl/ -ecame aware of the true
facts in 19;6 7Appellee?s rief, p0 258, her action still -ecame e,tinct in 19#:0 Clearl/, therefore, the action
was alread/ -arred when in August 41, 19#6 she filed her counterclaim in this case contesting the decree
of distri-ution of i-iano arretto?s estate0
"n order to evade the statute of limitations, Milagros arretto introduced evidence that appellant Tirso
Re/es had induced her to dela/ filing action -/ ver-all/ promising to reconve/ the properties received -/
his deceased wife, 3alud0 There is no relia-le evidence of the alleged promise, which rests e,clusivel/ on
the oral assertions of Milagros herself and her counsel0 "n fact, the trial court made no mention of such
promise in the decision under appeal0 'ven more$ granting arguendo that the promise was made, the
same can not -ind the wards, the minor children of 3alud, who are the real parties in interest0 An
a-dicative waiver of rights -/ a guardian, -eing an act of disposition, and not of administration, can not
-ind his wards, -eing null and void as to them unless dul/ authori2ed -/ the proper court 7Aedesma
&ermanos vs0 Castro, ## <hil0 146, 1;280
"n resume, we hold 718 that the partition had -etween 3alud and Milagros arretto in the proceedings for
the settlement of the estate of i-iano arretto dul/ approved -/ the Court of (irst "nstance of Manila in
1949, in its Civil Case @o0 ;9629, is not void for -eing contrar/ to either Article 1:81 or 181; of the, Civil
Code of 1889= 728 that Milagros arretto?s action to contest said partition and decree of distri-ution is
-arred -/ the statute of limitations= and 748 that her claim that plaintiffEappellant guardian is a possessor in
-ad faith and should account for the fruits received from the properties inherited -/ 3alud arretto 7nee
Aim oco8 is legall/ untena-le0 "t follows that the plaintiffs? action for partition of the fishpond descri-ed in
the complaint should have -een given due course0
%herefore, the decision of the Court of (irst "nstance of ulacan now under appeal is reversed and set
aside in so far as it orders plaintiffEappellant to reconve/ to appellee Milagros arretto 6atu the properties
enumeracted in said decision, and the same is affirmed in so far as it denies an/ right of said appellee to
accounting0 Aet the records -e returned to the court of origin, with instructions to proceed with the action
for partition of the fishpond 7Aot @o0 ;, <lan <suE;5:98, covered -/ TCT @o0 TE1454; of the )ffice of the
Register of 6eeds of ulacan, and for the accounting of the fruits thereof, as pra/ed for in the complaint
@o costs0
8une 56! 1"66
G.R. No. ),4567
&N #$% *A##%R (F #$% &N#%'#A#% %'#A#% (F %+WAR+ %. .$R&'#%N'%N! de3eased. A+()F(
.. A1NAR! e=e3utor and a--ellee!
vs.
*AR&A )/.: .$R&'#%N'%N +/N.AN! o--ositor and a--ellant.
*AR&A $%)%N .$R&'#%N'%N! o--ositor and a--ellee.
'dward '0 Christensen, a citi2en of California with domicile in the <hilippines, died leaving a will e,ecuted
on March #, 19#10 The will was admitted to pro-ate -/ the Court of (irst "nstance of 6avao in its decision
of (e-ruar/ 28, 19#;0 "n that same decision the court declared that Maria &elen Christensen >arcia
7hereinafter referred to as &elen >arcia8 was a natural child of the deceased0 The declaration was
appealed to this Court, and was affirmed in its decision of (e-ruar/ 1;, 19#8 7>0R0 @o0 AE11;8;80
"n another incident relative to the partition of the deceased?s estate, the trial court approved the pro*ect
su-mitted -/ the e,ecutor in accordance with the provisions of the will, which said court found to -e valid
under the law of California0 &elen >arcia appealed from the order of approval, and this Court, on 9anuar/
41, 1964, reversed the same on the ground that the validit/ of the provisions of the will should -e
governed -/ <hilippine law, and returned the case to the lower court with instructions that the partition -e
made as provided -/ said law 7>0R0 @o0 AE165;980
)n )cto-er 29, 196;, the Court of (irst "nstance of 6avao issued an order approving the pro*ect of
partition su-mitted -/ the e,ecutor, dated 9une 4:, 196;, wherein the properties of the estate were
divided eGuall/ -etween Maria Auc/ Christensen 6uncan 7named in the will as Maria Auc/ Christensen
6ane/, and hereinafter referred to as merel/ Auc/ 6uncan8, whom the testator had e,pressl/ recogni2ed
in his will as his daughter 7natural8 and &elen >arcia, who had -een *udiciall/ declared as such after his
death0 The said order was -ased on the proposition that since &elen >arcia had -een preterited in the will
the institution of Auc/ 6uncan as heir was annulled, and hence the properties passed to -oth of them as if
the deceased had died intestate, saving onl/ the legacies left in favor of certain other persons, which
legacies have -een dul/ approved -/ the lower court and distri-uted to the legatees0
The case is once more -efore us on appeal, this time -/ Auc/ 6uncan, on the sole Guestion of whether
the estate, after deducting the legacies, should pertain to her and to &elen >arcia in eGual shares, or
whether the inheritance of Auc/ 6uncan as instituted heir should -e merel/ reduced to the e,tent
necessar/ to cover the legitime of &elen >arcia, eGuivalent to 1H; of the entire estate0
The will of 'dward '0 Christensen contains, among others, the following clauses which are pertinent to
the issue in this case$
40 " declare 000 that " have -ut )@' 718 child, named MAR"A A1CB C&R"3T'@3'@ 7@ow Mrs0 ernard
6ane/8, who was -orn in the <hilippines a-out twent/Eeight /ears ago, who is now residing at @o0 66#
Rodger Boung Cillage, Aos Angeles, California, 1030A0
;0 " further declare that " now have no living ascendants, and no descendants e,cept m/ a-oveEnamed
daughter, MAR"A A1CB C&R"3T'@3'@ 6A@'B0
, , , , , , , , ,
50 " give, devise, and -eGueath unto MAR"A &'A'@ C&R"3T'@3'@, now married to 'duardo >arcia,
a-out eighteen /ears of age and who, notwithstanding the fact that she was -apti2ed Christensen, is not
in an/ wa/ related to me, nor has she -een at an/ time adopted -/ me, and who, from all information "
have now resides in 'gpit, 6igos, 6avao, <hilippines, the sum of T&R'' T&)13A@6 3"! &1@6R'6
<'3)3 7<4,6::0::8, <hilippine Currenc/, the same to -e deposited in trust for the said Maria &elen
Christensen with the 6avao ranch of the <hilippine @ational an+, and paid to her at the rate of )ne
&undred <esos 7<1::0::8, <hilippine Currenc/ per month until the principal thereof as well as an/
interest which ma/ have accrued thereon, is e,hausted0
, , , , , , , , ,
120 " here-/ give, devise and -eGueath, unto m/ wellE-eloved daughter, the said MAR"A A1CB
C&R"3T'@3'@ 6A@'B 7Mrs0 ernard 6ane/8 now residing, as aforesaid, at @o0 66# Rodger Boung
Cillage, Aos Angeles, California, 1030A0, all the income from the rest, remainder, and residue of m/
propert/ and estate, real, personal andHor mi,ed, of whatsoever +ind or character, and wheresoever
situated, of which " ma/ -e possessed at m/ death and which ma/ have come to me from an/ source
whatsoever, during her lifetime= <rovided, however, that should the said MAR"A A1CB C&R"3T'@3'@
6A@'B at an/time prior to her decease having living issue, then and in that event, the life interest herein
given shall terminate, and if so terminated, then " give, devise, and -eGueath to m/ daughter, the said
MAR"A A1CB C&R"3T'@3'@ 6A@'B the rest, remainder and residue of m/ propert/ with the same
force and effect as if " had originall/ so given, devised and -eGueathed it to her= and provided, further, that
should the said MAR"A A1CB C&R"3T'@3'@ 6A@'B die without living issue, then, and in that event, "
give, devise and -eGueath all the rest, remainder and residue of m/ propert/ oneEhalf 71H28 to m/ wellE
-eloved sister, Mrs0 CARR"' A)1"3' C0 )RT)@, now residing at @o0 212;, Twentieth 3treet,
a+ersfield, California, 1030A0, and oneEhalf 71H28 to the children of m/ deceased -rother, 9)3'<& C0
C&R"3T'@3'@, namel/$ Mrs0 Carol (0 Ruggaver, of Aos Angeles, California, 1030A0, and 9oseph
Ra/mond Christensen, of Manhattan each, California, 1030A0, share and share ali+e, the share of an/ of
the three a-ove named who ma/ predecease me, to go in eGual parts to the descendants of the
deceased= and, provided further, that should m/ sister Mrs0 Carol Aouise C0 orton die -efore m/ own
decease, then, and in that event, the share of m/ estate devised to her herein " give, devise and -eGueath
to her children, 'li2a-eth orton de TreviRo, of Me,ico Cit/ Me,ico= ar-ara orton <hilips, of
a+ersfield, California, 1030A0, and Richard orton, of a+ersfield, California, 1030A0, or to the heirs of
an/ of them who ma/ die -efore m/ own decease, share and share ali+e0
The trial court ruled, and appellee now maintains, that there has -een preterition of &elen >arcia, a
compulsor/ heir in the direct line, resulting in the annulment of the institution of heir pursuant to Article
8#; of the Civil Code, which provides$
ART0 8#;0 The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsor/ heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the e,ecution of the will or -orn after the death of the testator, shall annul the
institution of heir= -ut the devises and legacies shall -e valid insofar as the/ are not inofficious0
)n the other hand, appellant contends that this is not a case of preterition, -ut is governed -/ Article 9:6
of the Civil Code, which sa/s$ .An/ compulsor/ heir to whom the testator has left -/ an/ title less than the
legitime -elonging to him ma/ demand that the same -e full/ satisfied0. Appellant also suggests that
considering the provisions of the will where-/ the testator e,pressl/ denied his relationship with &elen
>arcia, -ut left to her a legac/ nevertheless although less than the amount of her legitime, she was in
effect defectivel/ disinherited within the meaning of Article 918, which reads$
ART0 9180 6isinheritance without a specification of the cause, or for a cause the truth of which, if
contradicted, is not proved, or which is not one of those set forth in this Code, shall annul the institution of
heirs insofar as it ma/ pre*udice the person disinherited= -ut the devices and legacies and other
testamentar/ dispositions shall -e valid to such e,tent as will not impair the legitimate0
Thus, according to appellant, under -oth Article 9:6 and 918, &elen >arcia is entitled onl/ to her legitime,
and not to a share of the estate eGual that of Auc/ 6uncan as if the succession were intestate0
Article 8#; is a reproduction of Article 81; of the 3panish Civil Code= and Article 9:6 of Article 81#0
Commenting on Article 81#, Manresa e,plains$
Como dice >o/ena, en el caso de pretericion puede presumirse ignorancia o falta de memoria en el
testador= en el de de*ar algo al heredero for2oso no0 'ste no se encuentra plivado totalmente de su
legitima$ ha reci-ido por cualGuir titulo una porcion de los -ienes hereditarios, porcion Gue no alcan2a a
completar la legitima, pero Gue influe/e poderosamente en el animo del legislador para decidirle a
adoptar una solucion -ien diferente de la seRalada para el caso de pretericion0
'l testador no ha olvidado por completo al heredero for2oso= le ha de*ado -ienes= pero haciendo un
calculo eGuivocado, ha repartido en favor de e,traRos o en favor de otros legitimarios por via de legado
donacion o me*ora ma/or cantidad de la Gue la le/ de consentia disponer0 'l heredero for2oso no puede
perder su legitima, pero tampoco puede pedir mas Gue la misma0 6e aGui su derecho a reclamar
solamente lo Gue le falta= al complemento de la porcion Gue for2osamente la corresponde0
000 6e*ar el testador por cualGuier titulo, eGuivale a disponer en testamento por titulo de herencia legado o
me*ora, / en favor de legitimarios, de alguna cantidad o porcion de -ienes menos Gue la legitima o igual a
la misma0 Tal sentido, Gue es el mas proprio en al articulo 81#, no pugna tampoco con la doctrina de la
le/0 Cuando en el testamento se de*a algo al heredero for2oso, la pretericion es incompleta$ es mas
formularia Gue real0 Cuando en el testamento nada se de*a el legitimario, ha/ verdadera pretericion0 76
Manresa, 5th 'd0, 19#1, p0 ;4508
)n the difference -etween preterition of a compulsor/ heir and the right to as+ for completion of his
legitime, 3anche2 Roman sa/s$
Aa desheredacion, como e,presa, es siempre voluntaria= la pretericion puede serlo pero se presume
involuntaria la omision en Gue consiste en cuanto olvida o no atiende el testador en su testamento a la
satisfaccion del derecho a la legitima del heredero for2oso preterido, prescindiendo a-soluta / totalmente
de el / no mencionandole en ninguna de sus disposiciones testamentarias, o no institu/endole en parte
alguna de la herencia, ni por titulo de heredero ni por el de legatar o aunGue le mencionara o nom-rara
sin de*arle mas o menos -ienes0 3i le de*ara algunos, por pocos Gue sean e insuficientes para cu-rir su
legitima, /a no seria caso de pretericion, sino de complemento de aGuella0 'l primer supuesto o de
pretericion se regula por el articulo 81;, / produce accion de nulidad de la institucion de heredero= / el
segundo, o de complemento de legitima por el 81# / solo original la accion ad suplementum, para
completar la legitima0 73anche2 Roman, Tomo C", Col0 2, p0 114108
Manresa defines preterition as the omission of the heir in the will, either -/ not naming him at all or, while
mentioning him as father, son, etc0, -/ not instituting him as heir without disinheriting him e,pressl/, nor
assigning to him some part of the properties0 Manresa continues$
3e necesita pues 7a8 Due la omision se refiera a un heredero for2oso= 7-8 Due la omision sea completa=
Gue el heredero for2oso nada reci-a en el testamento0
, , , , , , , , ,
0 Due la omision sea completa F 'sta condicion se deduce del mismo Articulo 81; / resulta con
evidencia al relacionar este articulo con el 81#0 'l heredero for2oso a Guien el testador de*a algo por
cualGuier titulo en su testamento, no se halla propiamente omitido pues se le nom-ra / se le reconoce
participacion en los -ienes hereditarios0 <odria discutirse en el Articulo 81; si era o no necesario Gue se
reconociese el derecho del heredero como tal heredero, pero el articulo 81# desvanece esta duda0 AGuel
se ocupa de privacion completa o total, tacita este, de la privacion parcial0 Aos efectos de-en ser / son,
como veremos completamente distintos 76 Manresa, p0 ;2808
Aa privacion de la legitima puede ser total o parcial0
<rivar totalmente de la legitima es negarla en a-soluto al legitimario, despo*arle de ella por completo0 A
este caso se refiere el articulo 81;0 <rivar parcialmente de la legitima, es menguarla o reducirla de*ar al
legitimario una porcion, menor Gue la Gue le corresponde0 A este caso se refiere el articulo 81#0 'l 814
sienta, pues, una regla general, / las consecuencias del Gue -rantamiento de esta regla se determina en
los articulos 81; / 81#0 76 Manresa p0 ;1808
Again 3anche2 Roman$
D1' AA )M"33")@ 3'A T)TAA0 F AunGue el articulo 81; no consigna de modo e,preso esta
circunstancia de Gue la pretericion o falta de mencion e institucion o disposicion testamentaria a su favor,
sea total, completa / a-soluta, asi se deduce de no hacer distincion o salvedad alguna empleandola en
terminos generales= pero sirve a confirmarlo de un modo induda-le el siguiente articulo 81#, al decir Gue
el heredero for2oso a Guien el testador ha/a de*ado por cualGuier titulo, menos de la legitima Gue la
corresponda, podria pedir el complemento de la misma, lo cual /a no son el caso ni los efectos de la
pretericion, Gue anula la institucion, sino simplemente los del suplemento necesario para cu-rir su
legitima0 73anche2 Roman F Tomo C", Col0 20: p0 114408
The Guestion ma/ -e posed$ "n order that the right of a forced heir ma/ -e limited onl/ to the completion
of his legitime 7instead of the annulment of the institution of heirs8 is it necessar/ that what has -een left
to him in the will .-/ an/ title,. as -/ legac/, -e granted to him in his capacit/ as heir, that is, a titulo de
herederoK "n other words, should he -e recogni2ed or referred to in the will as heirK This Guestion is
pertinent -ecause in the will of the deceased 'dward '0 Christensen &elen >arcia is not mentioned as an
heir F indeed her status as such is denied F -ut is given a legac/ of <4,6::0::0
%hile the classical view, pursuant to the Roman law, gave an affirmative answer to the Guestion,
according to -oth Manresa 76 Manresa 5th 4rd0 ;468 and 3anche2 Roman 7Tomo C", Col0 20: F p0 9458,
that view was changed -/ Article 6;# of the .<ro/ecto de Codigo de 18#1,. later on copied in Article 9:6
of our own Code0 3anche2 Roman, in the citation given a-ove, comments as follows$
R'3<'CT) 6'A C)M<A'M'@T) 6' AA A'>"T"MA0 F 3e inspira el Codigo en esta materia en la
doctrina clasica del 6erecho romano / patrio 728= pero con alguna racional modificacion0 Concedian
aGuellos precedentes legales al heredero for2oso, a Guien no se le de*a-a por titulo de tal el completo de
su legitima, la accion para invalidar la institucion hecha en el testamento / reclamar / o-tener aGuella
mediante el e*ercicio de la Guerella de inoficioso, / aun cuando resultara favorecido como donotario, por
otro titulo Gue no fuera el de heredero, sino al honor de Gue se le priva-a no dandole este caracter, / solo
cuando era instituido heredero en parte o cantidad inferior a lo Gue le correspondiera por legitima, era
cuando -asta-a el e*ercicio de la accion ad suplementum para completarla, sin necesidad de anular las
otras instituciones de heredero o demas disposiciones contenidas en el testamento0
'l Articulo 8#1 se aparta de este criterio estricto / se a*usta a la unica necesidad Gue le inspira cual es la
de Gue se complete la legitima del heredero for2oso, a Guien por cualGuier titulo se ha/a de*ado menos
de lo Gue le corresponda, / se le otorga tan solo el derecho de pedir el complemento de la misma sin
necesidad de Gue se anulen las disposiciones testamentarias, Gue se reduciran en lo Gue sean
inoficiosas conforme al articulo 815, cu/a interpretacion / sentido tienen /a en su apo/o la sancion de la
*urisprudencia 748= siendo condicion precisa Gue lo Gue se hu-iere de*ado de menos de la legitima al
heredero for2oso, lo ha/a sido en el testamento, o sea por disposicion del testador, segun lo revela el
te,to del articulo, .el heredero for2oso a Guien el testador ha/a de*ado, etc0, esto es por titulo de legado o
donacion mortis causa en el testamento /, no fuera de al0 73anche2 Roman, Tomo C", Col0 20: F p0 94508
Manresa cites particularl/ three decisions of the 3upreme Court of 3pain dated 9anuar/ 16, 189#, Ma/
2#, 1915, and April 24, 1942, respectivel/0 "n each one of those cases the testator left to one who was a
forced heir a legac/ worth less than the legitime, -ut without referring to the legatee as an heir or even as
a relative, and willed the rest of the estate to other persons0 "t was held that Article 81# applied, and the
heir could not as+ that the institution of heirs -e annulled entirel/, -ut onl/ that the legitime -e completed0
76 Manresa, pp0 ;48, ;;108
The foregoing solution is indeed more in consonance with the e,pressed wishes of the testator in the
present case as ma/ -e gathered ver/ clearl/ from the provisions of his will0 &e refused to ac+nowledge
&elen >arcia as his natural daughter, and limited her share to a legac/ of <4,6::0::0 The fact that she
was su-seGuentl/ declared *udiciall/ to possess such status is no reason to assume that had the *udicial
declaration come during his lifetime his su-*ective attitude towards her would have undergone an/
change and that he would have willed his estate eGuall/ to her and to Auc/ 6uncan, who alone was
e,pressl/ recogni2ed -/ him0
The decision of this Court in @eri, et al0 v0 A+utin, 5; <hil0 18#, is cited -/ appellees in support of their
theor/ of preterition0 That decision is not here applica-le, -ecause it referred to a will where .the testator
left all his propert/ -/ universal title to the children -/ his second marriage, and 7that8 without e,pressl/
disinheriting the children -/ his first marriage, he left nothing to them or, at least, some of them0. "n the
case at -ar the testator did not entirel/ omit oppositorEappellee &elen >arcia, -ut left her a legac/ of
<4,6::0::0
The estate of the deceased Christensen upon his death consisted of 499 shares of stoc+s in the
Christensen <lantation Compan/ and a certain amount in cash0 )neEfourth 71H;8 of said estate descended
to &elen >arcia as her legitime0 3ince she -ecame the owner of her share as of the moment of the death
of the decedent 7Arts0 55;, 555, Civil Code8, she is entitled to a corresponding portion of all the fruits or
increments thereof su-seGuentl/ accruing0 These include the stoc+ dividends on the corporate holdings0
The contention of Auc/ 6uncan that all such dividends pertain to her according to the terms of the will
cannot -e sustained, for it would in effect impair the right of ownership of &elen >arcia with respect to her
legitime0
)ne point deserves to -e here mentioned, although no reference to it has -een made in the -rief for
oppositorEappellant0 "t is the institution of su-stitute heirs to the estate -eGueathed to Auc/ 6uncan in the
event she should die without living issue0 This su-stitution results in effect from the fact that under
paragraph 12 of the will she is entitled onl/ to the income from said estate, unless prior to her decease
she should have living issue, in which event she would inherit in full ownership= otherwise the propert/ will
go to the other relatives of the testator named in the will0 %ithout deciding this, point, since it is not one of
the issues raised -efore us, we might call attention to the limitations imposed -/ law upon this +ind of
su-stitution, particularl/ that which sa/s that it can never -urden the legitime 7Art0 86; Civil Code8, which
means that the legitime must descend to the heir concerned in fee simple0
%herefore, the order of the trial court dated )cto-er 29, 196;, approving the pro*ect of partition as
su-mitted -/ the e,ecutorEappellee, is here-/ set aside= and the case is remanded with instructions to
partition the hereditar/ estate anew as indicated in this decision, that is, -/ giving to oppositorEappellee
Maria &elen Christensen >arcia no more than the portion corresponding to her as legitime, eGuivalent to
oneEfourth 71H;8 of the hereditar/ estate, after deducting all de-ts and charges, which shall not include
those imposed in the will of the decedent, in accordance with Article 9:8 of the Civil Code0 Costs against
appellees in this instance0
8une 5! 1"66
G.R. No. ),5447
R%*%+&(' N/G/&+! -etitioner and a--ellant!
vs.
F%)&? N/G/&+ and 0A1 'A)(NGA N/G/&+! o--ositors and a--ellees.
.ustodio (. 0artade for -etitioner and a--ellant.
<eltran! <eltran and <eltran for o--ositors and a--ellees.
3A@C&'I, 90$
Rosario @uguid, a resident of Due2on Cit/, died on 6ecem-er 4:, 1962, single, without descendants,
legitimate or illegitimate0 3urviving her were her legitimate parents, (eli, @uguid and <a2 3alonga
@uguid, and si, 768 -rothers and sisters, namel/$ Alfredo, (ederico, Remedios, Conrado, Aourdes and
Al-erto, all surnamed @uguid0
)n Ma/ 18, 1964, petitioner Remedios @uguid filed in the Court of (irst "nstance of Ri2al a holographic
will allegedl/ e,ecuted -/ Rosario @uguid on @ovem-er 15, 19#1, some 11 /ears -efore her demise0
<etitioner pra/ed that said will -e admitted to pro-ate and that letters of administration with the will
anne,ed -e issued to her0
)n 9une 2#, 1964, (eli, @uguid and <a2 3alonga @uguid, concededl/ the legitimate father and mother of
the deceased Rosario @uguid, entered their opposition to the pro-ate of her will0 >round therefor, inter
alia, is that -/ the institution of petitioner Remedios @uguid as universal heir of the deceased, oppositors
F who are compulsor/ heirs of the deceased in the direct ascending line F were illegall/ preterited and
that in conseGuence the institution is void0
)n August 29, 1964, -efore a hearing was had on the petition for pro-ate and o-*ection thereto,
oppositors moved to dismiss on the ground of a-solute preterition0
)n 3eptem-er 6, 1964, petitioner registered her opposition to the motion to dismiss0
The court?s order of @ovem-er 8, 1964, held that .the will in Guestion is a complete nullit/ and will
perforce create intestac/ of the estate of the deceased Rosario @uguid. and dismissed the petition
without costs0
A motion to reconsider having -een thwarted -elow, petitioner came to this Court on appeal0
10 Right at the outset, a procedural aspect has engaged our attention0 The case is for the pro-ate of a will0
The court?s area of inGuir/ is limited F to an e,amination of, and resolution on, the e,trinsic validit/ of the
will0 The due e,ecution thereof, the testatri,?s testamentar/ capacit/, and the compliance with the
reGuisites or solemnities -/ law prescri-ed, are the Guestions solel/ to -e presented, and to -e acted
upon, -/ the court0 3aid court at this stage of the proceedings F is not called upon to rule on the intrinsic
validit/ or efficac/ of the provisions of the will, the legalit/ of an/ devise or legac/ therein0OO1PP
A peculiar situation is here thrust upon us0 The parties shunted aside the Guestion of whether or not the
will should -e allowed pro-ate0 (or them, the meat of the case is the intrinsic validit/ of the will0 @ormall/,
this comes onl/ after the court has declared that the will has -een dul/ authenticated0OO2PP ut petitioner
and oppositors, in the court -elow and here on appeal, travelled on the issue of law, to wit$ "s the will
intrinsicall/ a nullit/K
%e pause to reflect0 "f the case were to -e remanded for pro-ate of the will, nothing will -e gained0 )n the
contrar/, this litigation will -e protracted0 And for aught that appears in the record, in the event of pro-ate
or if the court re*ects the will, pro-a-ilit/ e,ists that the case will come up once again -efore us on the
same issue of the intrinsic validit/ or nullit/ of the will0 Result$ waste of time, effort, e,pense, plus added
an,iet/0 These are the practical considerations that induce us to a -elief that we might as well meet headE
on the issue of the validit/ of the provisions of the will in Guestion0OO4PP After all, there e,ists a *usticia-le
controvers/ cr/ing for solution0
20 <etitioner?s sole assignment of error challenges the correctness of the conclusion -elow that the will is
a complete nullit/0 This e,acts from us a stud/ of the disputed will and the applica-le statute0
Reproduced hereunder is the will$
@ov0 15, 19#1
", R)3AR") @1>1"6, -eing of sound and disposing mind and memor/, having amassed a certain
amount of propert/, do here-/ give, devise, and -eGueath all of the propert/ which " ma/ have when " die
to m/ -eloved sister Remedios @uguid, age 4;, residing with me at 48E "riga, D0C0 "n witness whereof, "
have signed m/ name this seventh da/ of @ovem-er, nineteen hundred and fift/Eone0
73gd08 "llegi-le
TH R)3AR") @1>1"6
The statute we are called upon to appl/ in Article 8#; of the Civil Code which, in part, provides$
ART0 8#;0 The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsor/ heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the e,ecution of the will or -orn after the death of the testator, shall annul the
institution of heir= -ut the devises and legacies shall -e valid insofar as the/ are not inofficious0 0
',cept for inconseGuential variation in terms, the foregoing is a reproduction of Article 81; of the Civil
Code of 3pain of 1889, which is similarl/ herein copied, thus F
Art0 81;0 The preterition of one or all of the forced heirs in the direct line, whether living at the time of the
e,ecution of the will or -orn after the death of the testator, shall void the institution of heir= -ut the legacies
and -ettermentsOO;PP shall -e valid, in so far as the/ are not inofficious0 0
A comprehensive understanding of the term preterition emplo/ed in the law -ecomes a necessit/0 )n this
point Manresa comments$
Aa pretericion consiste en omitar al heredero en el testamento0 ) no se le nom-ra siGuiera o aun
nom-randole como padre, hi*o, etc0, no se le institu/a heredero ni se le deshereda e,presamente ni se le
asigna parte alguna de los -ienes, resultando privado de un modo tacito de su derecho a legitima0
<ara Gue e,ista pretericion, con arreglo al articulo 81;, -asta Gue en el testamento omita el testador a
uno cualGuiera de aGuellos a Guienes por su muerte corresponda la herencia for2osa0
3e necesita, pues, a8 Due la omision se refiera a un heredero for2oso0 -8 Due la omision sea completa=
Gue el heredero for2oso nada reci-a en el testamento0
"t ma/ now appear trite -at nonetheless helpful in giving us a clear perspective of the pro-lem -efore us,
to have on hand a clearEcut definition of the word annul$
To .annul. means to a-rogate, to ma+e void 000 "n re Morrow?s 'state, #; A0 4;2, 4;4, 2:; <a0 ;8;0OO6PP
The word .annul. as used in statute reGuiring court to annul alimon/ provisions of divorce decree upon
wife?s remarriage means to reduce to nothing= to annihilate= o-literate= -lot out= to ma+e void or of no
effect= to nullif/= to a-olish0 @09030A0 2$#: F 48 7now @09030 2A$4;E4#80 Madden vs0 Madden, ;: A0 2d 611,
61;, 146 @009 'G0 1420OO5PP
A@@1A0 To reduce to nothing= annihilate= o-literate= to ma+e void or of no effect= to nullif/= to a-olish= to
do awa/ with0 ', parte Mitchell, 124 %0 Ca0 284, 1; 30'0 2d0 551, 55;0OO8PP
And now, -ac+ to the facts and the law0 The deceased Rosario @uguid left no descendants, legitimate or
illegitimate0 ut she left forced heirs in the direct ascending line her parents, now oppositors (eli, @uguid
and <a2 3alonga @uguid0 And, the will completel/ omits -oth of them$ The/ thus received nothing -/ the
testament= tacitl/, the/ were deprived of their legitime= neither were the/ e,pressl/ disinherited0 This is a
clear case of preterition0 3uch preterition in the words of Manresa .anulara siempre la institucion de
heredero, dando caracter a-soluto a este ordenamiento referring to the mandate of Article 81;, now 8#;
of the Civil Code0OO9PP The oneEsentence will here institutes petitioner as the sole, universal heir F nothing
more0 @o specific legacies or -eGuests are therein provided for0 "t is in this posture that we sa/ that the
nullit/ is complete0 <erforce, Rosario @uguid died intestate0 3a/s Manresa$
'n cuanto a la institucion de heredero, se anula0 Ao Gue se anula de*a de e,istir, en todo o en parteK @o
se aRade limitacion alguna, como en el articulo 8#1, en el Gue se e,presa Gue se anulara la institucion de
heredero en cuanto pre*udiGue a la legitima del deseheredado 6e-e, pues, entenderse Gue la anulacion
es completa o total, / Gue este articulo como especial en el caso Gue le motiva rige con preferencia al
8150 OO1:PP
The same view is e,pressed -/ 3anche2 Roman$ F
Aa consecuencia de la anulacion o nulidad de la institucion de heredero por pretericion de uno, varios o
todos los for2osos en linea recta, es la apertura de la sucesion intestada total o parcial0 3era total,
cuando el testador Gue comete la pretericion, hu-iese dispuesto de todos los -ienes por titulo universal
de herencia en favor de los herederos instituidos, cu/a institucion se anula, porGue asi lo e,ige la
generalidad del precepto legal del art0 81;, al determinar, como efecto de la pretericion, el de Gue
.anulara la institucion de heredero0. 000 OO11PP
Reall/, as we anal/2e the word annul emplo/ed in the statute, there is no escaping the conclusion that
the universal institution of petitioner to the entire inheritance results in totall/ a-rogating the will0 ecause,
the nullification of such institution of universal heir F without an/ other testamentar/ disposition in the will
F amounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written0 Carefull/ worded and in clear terms, Article
8#; offers no leewa/ for inferential interpretation0 >iving it an e,pansive meaning will tear up -/ the roots
the fa-ric of the statute0 )n this point, 3anche2 Roman cites the .Memoria annual del Tri-unal 3upreme,
correspondiente a 19:8., which in our opinion e,presses the rule of interpretation, vi2$
000 'l art0 81;, Gue preceptua en tales casos de pretericion la nulidad de la institucion de heredero, no
consiente interpretacion alguna favora-le a la persona instituida en el sentido antes e,puesto aun cuando
pare2ca, / en algun caso pudiera ser, mas o menos eGuitativa, porGue una nulidad no significa en
6erecho sino la suposicion de Gue el hecho o el acto no se ha reali2ado, de-iendo por lo tanto
procederse so-re tal -ase o supuesto, / consiguientemente, en un testamento donde falte la institucion,
es o-ligado llamar a los herederos for2osos en todo caso, como ha-ria Gue llamar a los de otra clase,
cuando el testador no hu-iese distri-udo todos sus -ienes en legados, siendo tanto mas o-ligada esta
consecuencia legal cuanto Gue, en materia de testamentos, sa-ido es, segun tiene declarado la
*urisprudencia, con repeticion, Gue no -asta Gue sea conocida la voluntad de Guien testa si esta voluntad
no aparece en la forma / en las condiciones Gue la le/ ha e,igido para Gue sea valido / efica2, por lo Gue
constituiria una interpretacion ar-itraria, dentro del derecho positivo, reputar como legatario a un
heredero cu/a institucion fuese anulada con prete,to de Gue esto se acomoda-a me*or a la voluntad del
testador, pues aun cuando asi fuese, sera esto ra2on para modificar la le/, pero no autori2a a una
interpretacion contraria a sus terminos / a los principios Gue informan la testamentifaccion, pues no
porGue pare2ca me*or una cosa en el terreno del 6erecho constitu/ente, ha/ ra2on para convereste *uicio
en regla de interpretacion, desvirtuando / anulando por este procedimiento lo Gue el legislador Guiere
esta-lecer0 OO12PP
40 %e should not -e led astra/ -/ the statement in Article 8#; that, annullment notwithstanding, .the
devises and legacies shall -e valid insofar as the/ are not inofficious.0 Aegacies and devises merit
consideration onl/ when the/ are so e,pressl/ given as such in a will0 @othing in Article 8#; suggests that
the mere institution of a universal heir in a will F void -ecause of preterition F would give the heir so
instituted a share in the inheritance0 As to him, the will is ine,istent0 There must -e, in addition to such
institution, a testamentar/ disposition granting him -eGuests or legacies apart and separate from the
nullified institution of heir0 3anche2 Roman, spea+ing of the two component parts of Article 81;, now 8#;,
states that preterition annuls the institution of the heir .totalmente por la pretericion.= -ut added 7in
reference to legacies and -eGuests8 .pero su-sistiendo 000 todas aGuellas otras disposiciones Gue no se
refieren a la institucion de heredero 000 0 OO14PP As Manresa puts it, annulment throws open to intestate
succession the entire inheritance including .la porcion li-re 7Gue8 no hu-iese dispuesto en virtud de
legado, me*ora o donacion0 OO1;PP
As aforesaid, there is no other provision in the will -efore us e,cept the institution of petitioner as
universal heir0 That institution, -/ itself, is null and void0 And, intestate succession ensues0
;0 <etitioner?s mainsta/ is that the present is .a case of ineffective disinheritance rather than one of
preterition.0 OO1#PP (rom this, petitioner draws the conclusion that Article 8#; .does not appl/ to the case at
-ar.0 This argument fails to appreciate the distinction -etween pretention and disinheritance0
<reterition .consists in the omission in the testator?s will of the forced heirs or an/one of them, either
-ecause the/ are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, the/ are neither instituted as heirs nor are
e,pressl/ disinherited0. OO16PP 6isinheritance, in turn, .is a testamentar/ disposition depriving an/
compulsor/ heir of his share in the legitime for a cause authori2ed -/ law0 . OO15PP "n Manresa?s own
words$ .Aa privacion e,presa de la legitima constitu/e la desheredacion0 Aa privacion tacita de la misma
se denomina pretericion0. OO18PP 3anche2 Roman emphasi2es the distinction -/ stating that disinheritance
.es siempre voluntaria.= preterition, upon the other hand, is presumed to -e .involuntaria.0 OO19PP ',press
as disinheritance should -e, the same must -e supported -/ a legal cause specified in the will itself0 OO2:PP
The will here does not e,plicitl/ disinherit the testatri,?s parents, the forced heirs0 "t simpl/ omits their
names altogether0 3aid will rather than -e la-eled ineffective disinheritance is clearl/ one in which the
said forced heirs suffer from preterition0
)n top of this is the fact that the effects flowing from preterition are totall/ different from those of
disinheritance0 <reterition under Article 8#; of the Civil Code, we repeat, .shall annul the institution of
heir.0 This annulment is in toto, unless in the will there are, in addition, testamentar/ dispositions in the
form of devises or legacies0 "n ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code, such
disinheritance shall also .annul the institution of heirs., put onl/ .insofar as it ma/ pre*udice the person
disinherited., which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition0 OO21PP etter stated /et, in
disinheritance the nullit/ is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have -een
illegall/ deprived0 Manresa?s e,pressive language, in commenting on the rights of the preterited heirs in
the case of preterition on the one hand and legal disinheritance on the other, runs thus$ .<reteridos,
adGuiren el derecho a todo= desheredados, solo les corresponde un tercio o dos tercios, OO22PP el caso0
OO24PP
#0 <etitioner insists that the compulsor/ heirs ineffectivel/ disinherited are entitled to receive their
legitimes, -ut that the institution of heir .is not invalidated,. although the inheritance of the heir so
instituted is reduced to the e,tent of said legitimes0 OO2;PP
This is -est answered -/ a reference to the opinion of Mr0 Chief 9ustice Moran in the @eri case heretofore
cited, vi2$
ut the theor/ is advanced that the -eGuest made -/ universal title in favor of the children -/ the second
marriage should -e treated as legado and me*ora and, accordingl/, it must not -e entirel/ annulled -ut
merel/ reduced0 This theor/, if adopted, will result in a complete a-rogation of Articles 81; and 8#1 of the
Civil Code0 "f ever/ case of institution of heirs ma/ -e made to fall into the concept of legacies and
-etterments reducing the -eGuest accordingl/, then the provisions of Articles 81; and 8#1 regarding total
or partial nullit/ of the institution, would0 -e a-solutel/ meaningless and will never have an/ application at
all0 And the remaining provisions contained in said article concerning the reduction of inofficious legacies
or -etterments would -e a surplusage -ecause the/ would -e a-sor-ed -/ Article 8150 Thus, instead of
construing, we would -e destro/ing integral provisions of the Civil Code0
The destructive effect of the theor/ thus advanced is due mainl/ to a failure to distinguish institution of
heirs from legacies and -etterments, and a general from a special provision0 %ith reference to article 81;,
which is the onl/ provision material to the disposition of this case, it must -e o-served that the institution
of heirs is therein dealt with as a thing separate and distinct from legacies or -etterments0 And the/ are
separate and distinct not onl/ -ecause the/ are distinctl/ and separatel/ treated in said article -ut
-ecause the/ are in themselves different0 "nstitution of heirs is a -eGuest -/ universal title of propert/ that
is undetermined0 Aegac/ refers to specific propert/ -eGueathed -/ a particular or special title0 000 ut again
an institution of heirs cannot -e ta+en as a legac/0 OO2#PP
The disputed order, we o-serve, declares the will in Guestion .a complete nullit/.0 Article 8#; of the Civil
Code in turn merel/ nullifies .the institution of heir.0 Considering, however, that the will -efore us solel/
provides for the institution of petitioner as universal heir, and nothing more, the result is the same0 The
entire will is null0
1pon the view we ta+e of this case, the order of @ovem-er 8, 1964 under review is here-/ affirmed0 @o
costs allowed0 3o ordered0
G.R. No. 7766 (3tober 7! 1"87
.(N'#AN#&N( .. A.A&N! -etitioner!
vs.
$(N. &N#%R*%+&A#% A00%))A#% .(/R# @#hird '-e3ial .ases +ivisionA! 9&RG&N&A A.
F%RNAN+%1 and R('A +&(NG'(N! res-ondents.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision Y of respondent0 Court of Appeals in ACE>0R0 3<
@o0 :#5;; promulgated on August 4:, 198# 7Rollo, p0 1:88 ordering the dismissal of the petition in 3pecial
<roceedings @o, #91 AC' and its Resolution issued on )cto-er 24, 198# 7Rollo, p0 528 den/ing
respondents? 7petitioners herein8 motion for reconsideration0
The dispositive portion of the Guestioned decision reads as follows$
%&'R'()R', the petition is here-/ granted and respondent Regional Trial Court of the 3eventh 9udicial
Region, ranch !""" 7Ce-u Cit/8, is here-/ ordered to dismiss the petition in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91
AC' @o special pronouncement is made as to costs0
The antecedents of the case, -ased on the summar/ of the "ntermediate Appellate Court, now Court of
Appeals, 7Rollo, pp0 1:8E1:98 are as follows$
)n Ma/ 29, 198; petitioner Constantino Acain filed on the Regional Trial Court of Ce-u Cit/ ranch !""", a
petition for the pro-ate of the will of the late @emesio Acain and for the issuance to the same petitioner of
letters testamentar/, doc+eted as 3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91 AC' 7Rollo, p0 298, on the premise that
@emesio Acain died leaving a will in which petitioner and his -rothers Antonio, (lores and 9ose and his
sisters Anita, Concepcion, Duirina and Aaura were instituted as heirs0 The will allegedl/ e,ecuted -/
@emesio Acain on (e-ruar/ 15, 196: was written in isa/a 7Rollo, p0 258 with a translation in 'nglish
7Rollo, p0 418 su-mi?tted -/ petitioner without o-*ection raised -/ private respondents0 The will contained
provisions on -urial rites, pa/ment of de-ts, and the appointment of a certain Att/0 "gnacio >0 Cillagon2alo
as the e,ecutor of the testament0 )n the disposition of the testator?s propert/, the will provided$
T&"R6$ All m/ shares that " ma/ receive from our properties0 house, lands and mone/ which " earned
*ointl/ with m/ wife Rosa 6iongson shall all -e given -/ me to m/ -rother 3'>1@6) ACA"@ (ilipino,
widower, of legal age and presentl/ residing at 4#5EC 3anciang+o 3treet, Ce-u Cit/0 "n case m/ -rother
3egundo Acain preEdeceased me, all the mone/ properties, lands, houses there in anta/an and here in
Ce-u Cit/ which constitute m/ share shall -e given to me to his children, namel/$ Anita, Constantino,
Concepcion, Duirina, laura, (lores, Antonio and 9ose, all surnamed Acain0
)-viousl/, 3egundo preEdeceased @emesio0 Thus it is the children of 3egundo who are claiming to -e
heirs, with Constantino as the petitioner in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91 AC'
After the petition was set for hearing in the lower court on 9une 2#, 198; the oppositors 7respondents
herein Cirginia A0 (ernande2, a legall/ adopted daughter of tile deceased and the latter?s widow Rosa
6iongson Cda0 de Acain filed a motion to dismiss on the following grounds for the petitioner has no legal
capacit/ to institute these proceedings= 728 he is merel/ a universal heir and 748 the widow and the
adopted daughter have -een pretirited0 7Rollo, p0 1#880 3aid motion was denied -/ the trial *udge0
After the denial of their su-seGuent motion for reconsideration in the lower court, respondents filed with
the 3upreme Court a petition for certiorari and prohi-ition with preliminar/ in*unction which was
su-seGuentl/ referred to the "ntermediate Appellate Court -/ Resolution of the Court dated March 11,
198# 7Memorandum for <etitioner, p0 4= Rollo, p0 1#980
Respondent "ntermediate Appellate Court granted private respondents? petition and ordered the trial court
to dismiss the petition for the pro-ate of the will of @emesio Acain in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91 AC'
&is motion for reconsideration having -een denied, petitioner filed this present petition for the review of
respondent Court?s decision on 6ecem-er 18, 198# 7Rollo, p0 680 Respondents? Comment was filed on
9une 6, 1986 7Rollo, p0 1;680
)n August 11, 1986 the Court resolved to give due course to the petition 7Rollo, p0 1#480 Respondents?
Memorandum was filed on 3eptem-er 22, 1986 7Rollo, p0 1#58= the Memorandum for petitioner was filed
on 3eptem-er 29, 1986 7Rollo, p0 15580
<etitioner raises the following issues 7Memorandum for petitioner, p0 ;8$
7A8 The petition filed in ACE>0R0 @o0 :#5;; for certiorari and prohi-ition with preliminar/ in*unction is
not the proper remed/ under the premises=
78 The authorit/ of the pro-ate courts is limited onl/ to inGuiring into the e,trinsic validit/ of the will
sought to -e pro-ated and it cannot pass upon the intrinsic validit/ thereof -efore it is admitted to pro-ate=
7C8 The will of @emesio Acain is valid and must therefore, -e admitted to pro-ate0 The preterition
mentioned in Article 8#; of the @ew Civil Code refers to preterition of .compulsor/ heirs in the direct line,.
and does not appl/ to private respondents who are not compulsor/ heirs in the direct line= their omission
shall not annul the institution of heirs=
768 6"CAT T'3TAT)R 'T M'R"T A'!0 %hat the testator sa/s will -e the law=
7'8 There ma/ -e nothing in Article 8#; of the @ew Civil Code, that suggests that mere institution of a
universal heir in the will would give the heir so instituted a share in the inheritance -ut there is a definite
distinct intention of the testator in the case at -ar, e,plicitl/ e,pressed in his will0 This is what matters and
should -e in viola-le0
7(8 As an instituted heir, petitioner has the legal interest and standing to file the petition in 3p0 <roc0
@o0 #91 AC' for pro-ate of the will of @emesio Acain and
7>8 Article 8#; of the @ew Civil Code is a -ill of attainder0 "t is therefore unconstitutional and
ineffectual0
The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not private respondents have -een pretirited0
Article 8#; of the Civil Code provides$
Art0 8#;0 The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsor/ heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the e,ecution of the will or -orn after the death of the testator, shall annul the
institution of heir= -ut the devisees and legacies shall -e valid insofar as the/ are not= inofficious0
"f the omitted compulsor/ heirs should die -efore the testator, the institution shall he effectual, without
pre*udice to the right of representation0
<reterition consists in the omission in the testator?s will of the forced heirs or an/one of them either
-ecause the/ are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, the/ are neither instituted as heirs nor are
e,pressl/ disinherited 7@uguid v0 @uguid, 15 3CRA ;#: O1966P= Maninang v0 Court of Appeals, 11; 3CRA
;58 O1982P80 "nsofar as the widow is concerned, Article 8#; of the Civil Code ma/ not appl/ as she does
not ascend or descend from the testator, although she is a compulsor/ heir0 3tated otherwise, even if the
surviving spouse is a compulsor/ heir, there is no preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance,
for she is not in the direct line0 7Art0 8#;, Civil code8 however, the same thing cannot -e said of the other
respondent Cirginia A0 (ernande2, whose legal adoption -/ the testator has not -een Guestioned -/
petitioner 70Memorandum for the <etitioner, pp0 8E980 1nder Article 49 of <060 @o0 6:4, +nown as the Child
and Bouth %elfare Code, adoption gives to the adopted person the same rights and duties as if he were a
legitimate child of the adopter and ma+es the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter0 "t cannot -e
denied that she has totall/ omitted and preterited in the will of the testator and that -oth adopted child and
the widow were deprived of at least their legitime0 @either can it -e denied that the/ were not e,pressl/
disinherited0 &ence, this is a clear case of preterition of the legall/ adopted child0
<retention annuls the institution of an heir and annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire
inheritance including .la porcion li-re 7Gue8 no hu-iese dispuesto en virtual de legado me*ora o donacion.
Maniesa as cited in @uguid v0 @uguid, supra= Maninang v0 Court of Appeals, 11; 3CRA O1982P80 The onl/
provisions which do not result in intestac/ are the legacies and devises made in the will for the/ should
stand valid and respected, e,cept insofar as the legitimes are concerned0
The universal institution of petitioner together with his -rothers and sisters to the entire inheritance of the
testator results in totall/ a-rogating the will -ecause the nullification of such institution of universal heirsE
without an/ other testamentar/ disposition in the willEamounts to a declaration that nothing at all was
written0 Carefull/ worded and in clear terms, Article 8#; of the Civil Code offers no leewa/ for inferential
interpretation 7@uguid v0 @uguid8, supra0 @o legacies nor devises having -een provided in the will the
whole propert/ of the deceased has -een left -/ universal title to petitioner and his -rothers and sisters0
The effect of annulling the ."nstitution of heirs will -e, necessaril/, the opening of a total intestac/ 7@eri v0
A+utin, 5; <hil0 18# O19;4P8 e,cept that proper legacies and devises must, as alread/ stated a-ove, -e
respected0
%e now deal with another matter0 "n order that a person ma/ -e allowed to intervene in a pro-ate
proceeding he must have an interest iii the estate, or in the will, or in the propert/ to -e affected -/ it
either as e,ecutor or as a claimant of the estate and an interested part/ is one who would -e -enefited -/
the estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate li+e a creditor 73umilang v0
Ramagosa, 21 3CRA 1469H196580 <etitioner is not the appointed e,ecutor, neither a devisee or a legatee
there -eing no mention in the testamentar/ disposition of an/ gift of an individual item of personal or real
propert/ he is called upon to receive 7Article 582, Civil Code80 At the outset, he appears to have an
interest in the will as an heir, defined under Article 582 of the Civil Code as a person called to the
succession either -/ the provision of a will or -/ operation of law0 &owever, intestac/ having resulted from
the preterition of respondent adopted child and the universal institution of heirs, petitioner is in effect not
an heir of the testator0 &e has no legal standing to petition for the pro-ate of the will left -/ the deceased
and 3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91 AEC' must -e dismissed0
As a general rule certiorari cannot -e a su-stitute for appeal, e,cept when the Guestioned order is an
oppressive e,ercise of * *udicial authorit/ 7<eople v0 Cillanueva, 11: 3CRA ;6# O1981P= Cda0 de Caldito v0
3egundo, 115 3CRA #54 O1982P= Co Chuan 3eng v0 Court of Appeals, 128 3CRA 4:8 O198;P= and
autista v0 3armiento, 148 3CRA #85 O198#P80 "t is a,iomatic that the remedies of certiorari and prohi-ition
are not availa-le where the petitioner has the remed/ of appeal or some other plain, speed/ and
adeGuate remed/ in the course of law 766 Comendador Construction Corporation v0 3a/o 7118 3CRA
#9: O1982P80 The/ are, however, proper remedies to correct a grave a-use of discretion of the trial court in
not dismissing a case where the dismissal is founded on valid grounds 7Cda0 de acang v0 Court of
Appeals, 12# 3CRA 145 O1984P80
3pecial <roceedings @o0 #91 AC' is for the pro-ate of a will0 As stated -/ respondent Court, the general
rule is that the pro-ate court?s authorit/ is limited onl/ to the e,trinsic validit/ of the will, the due e,ecution
thereof, the testator?s testamentar/ capacit/ and the compliance with the reGuisites or solemnities
prescri-ed -/ law0 The intrinsic validit/ of the will normall/ comes onl/ after the Court has declared that
the will has -een dul/ authenticated0 3aid court at this stage of the proceedings is not called upon to rule
on the intrinsic validit/ or efficac/ of the provisions of the will 7@uguid v0 @uguid, 15 3CRA ;;9 O1966P=
3umilang v0 Ramagosa, supra= Maninang v0 Court of Appeals, 11; 3CRA ;58 O1982P= Ca/etano v0
Aeonides, 129 3CRA #22 O198;P= and @epomuceno v0 Court of Appeals, 149 3CRA 2:6 O198#P80
The rule, however, is not infle,i-le and a-solute0 1nder e,ceptional circumstances, the pro-ate court is
not powerless to do what the situation constrains it to do and pass upon certain provisions of the will
7@epomuceno v0 Court of Appeals, supra80 "n @uguid v0 @uguid the oppositors to the pro-ate moved to
dismiss on the ground of a-solute preteriton The pro-ate court acting on the motion held that the will in
Guestion was a complete nullit/ and dismissed the petition without costs0 )n appeal the 3upreme Court
upheld the decision of the pro-ate court, induced -/ practical considerations0 The Court said$
%e pause to reflect0 "f the case were to -e remanded for pro-ate of the will, nothing will -e gained0 )n the
contrar/, this litigation will -e protracted0 And for aught that appears in the record, in the event of pro-ate
or if the court re*ects the will, pro-a-ilit/ e,ists that the case will come up once again -efore us on the
same issue of the intrinsic validit/ or nullit/ of the will0 Result$ waste of time, effort, e,pense, plus added
an,iet/0 These are the practical considerations that induce us to a -elief that we might as well meet headE
on the issue of the validit/ of the provisions of the will in Guestion0 After all there e,ists a *usticia-le
controvers/ cr/ing for solution0
"n 3aguimsim v0 Ainda/ag 76 3CRA 85; O1962P8 the motion to dismiss the petition -/ the surviving spouse
was grounded on petitioner?s lac+ of legal capacit/ to institute the proceedings which was full/
su-stantiated -/ the evidence during the hearing held in connection with said motion0 The Court upheld
the pro-ate court?s order of dismissal0
"n Ca/etano v0 Aeonides, supra one of the issues raised in the motion to dismiss the petition deals with
the validit/ of the provisions of the will0 Respondent 9udge allowed the pro-ate of the will0 The Court held
that as on its face the will appeared to have preterited the petitioner the respondent *udge should have
denied its pro-ate outright0 %here circumstances demand that intrinsic validit/ of testamentar/ provisions
-e passed upon even -efore the e,trinsic validit/ of the will is resolved, the pro-ate court should meet the
issue0 7@epomuceno v0 Court of Appeals, supra= @uguid v0 @uguid, supra80
"n the instant case private respondents filed a motion to dismiss the petition in 3p0 <roceedings @o0 #91
AC' of the Regional Trial Court of Ce-u on the following grounds$ 718 petitioner has no legal capacit/ to
institute the proceedings= 728 he is merel/ a universal heir= and 748 the widow and the adopted daughter
have -een preterited 7Rollo, p0 1#880 "t was denied -/ the trial court in an order dated 9anuar/ 21, 198#
for the reason that .the grounds for the motion to dismiss are matters properl/ to -e resolved after a
hearing on the issues in the course of the trial on the merits of the case 7Rollo, p0 4280 A su-seGuent
motion for reconsideration was denied -/ the trial court on (e-ruar/ 1#, 198# 7Rollo, p0 1:980
(or private respondents to have tolerated the pro-ate of the will and allowed the case to progress when
on its face the will appears to -e intrinsicall/ void as petitioner and his -rothers and sisters were instituted
as universal heirs coupled with the o-vious fact that one of the private respondents had -een preterited
would have -een an e,ercise in futilit/0 "t would have meant a waste of time, effort, e,pense, plus added
futilit/0 The trial court could have denied its pro-ate outright or could have passed upon the intrinsic
validit/ of the testamentar/ provisions -efore the e,trinsic validit/ of the will was resolved 7Ca/etano v0
Aeonides, supra= @uGuid v0 @uguid, supra0 The remedies of certiorari and prohi-ition were properl/
availed of -/ private respondents0
Thus, this Court ruled that where the grounds for dismissal are indu-ita-le, the defendants had the right
to resort to the more speed/, and adeGuate remedies of certiorari and prohi-ition to correct a grave a-use
of discretion, amounting to lac+ of *urisdiction, committed -/ the trial court in not dismissing the case,
7Cda0 de acang v0 Court of Appeals, supra8 and even assuming the e,istence of the remed/ of appeal,
the Court har+ens to the rule that in the -roader interests of *ustice, a petition for certiorari ma/ -e
entertained, particularl/ where appeal would not afford speed/ and adeGuate relief0 7Maninang Court of
Appeals, supra80
<R'M"3'3 C)@3"6'R'6, the petition is here-/ 6'@"'6 for lac+ of merit and the Guestioned decision
of respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on August 4:, 198# and its Resolution dated )cto-er 24,
198# are here-/ A(("RM'60
3) )R6'R'60
G.R. No. ),41"71 Nove4ber "! 1"85
1(N&A ANA #. '()AN(! -etitioner!
vs.
#$% .(/R# (F A00%A)'! <&%N9%N&+( '. GAR.&A! and %*%#%R&A '. GAR.&A! res-ondents.
A <etition for Review on certiorari of the 6ecision of the then Court of Appeals affirming the *udgment
rendered -/ the former Court of (irst "nstance of Al-a/, ranch "", in Civil Case @o0 49#6, an action for
Recognition0
)n 9ul/ 5, 1969, ienvenido >arcia and 'meteria >arcia 7>ARC"A38, claiming to -e illegitimate children
of 6r0 Meliton 3)AA@), filed an action for recognition against him0 "n his Answer, 3)AA@) denied
paternit/0 )n (e-ruar/ 4, 195:, during the pendenc/ of the suit, 3)AA@) died0 <etitioner I)@"A Ana
3olano was ordered su-stituted for the 6'C'6'@T as the onl/ surviving heir mentioned in his Aast %ill
and Testament pro-ated on March 1:, 1969, or prior to his death, in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;2 of the
same Court0 I)@"A entered her formal appearance as a .su-stitute defendant. on March ;, 195:
claiming additionall/ that she was the sole heir of her father, 3)AA@), and as+ing that she -e allowed to
assume her duties as e,ecutri, of the pro-ated %ill with the least interference from the >ARC"A3 who
were .mere pretenders to -e illegitimate children of 3)AA@).0
)n April 6, 195:, the >ARC"A3 filed their .Repl/ to I)@"A?s Appearance and 3upplemental Cause of
Action. impugning the recognition of I)@"A as an ac+nowledged natural child with the pra/er that she -e
declared instead, li+e them, as an adulterous child of the 6'C'6'@T0 I)@"A did not file an/ responsive
pleading and the case proceeded to trial0 The >ARC"A3 further moved for the impleading of the 3)AA@)
estate in addition to I)@"A, which was opposed -/ the latter, -ut which the Trial Court granted in its
)rder dated April 1#, 195:0 1
"n the hearing of Ma/ 14, 195:, the Trial Court specified the legal issues to -e treated in the parties?
respective Memoranda as$ 18 the Guestion of recognition of the >ARC"A3= 28 the correct status of I)@"A,
and 48 the hereditar/ share of each of them in view of the pro-ated %ill0 2
)n 9ul/ 1;, 195:, the Trial Court, presided -/ 9udge '2eGuiel 30 >rageda, rendered *udgment the
dispositive portion of which decrees$ tNR0ZWhGwMZ
%&'R'()R', *udgment is here-/ rendered declaring the plaintiffs ienvenido 30 >arcia and 'meteria
30 >arcia and the defendant 3onia Ana Tuagnon as the illegitimate children of the late 6r0 Meliton 3olano
under the class of A61AT'R)13 C&"A6R'@, with all the rights granted them -/ law0 The institution of
3onia Ana 3olano as sole and universal heir of the said deceased in the will is here-/ declared null and
void and the three 748 children shall share eGuall/ the estate or oneE third 71H48 each, without pre*udice to
the legac/ given to Trinidad Tuagnon and the right of an/ creditors of the estate0 @o pronouncement as to
costs0
Appealed to the Court of Appeals -/ I)@"A, said Court affirmed the *udgment in toto 7CAE>0R0 @o0
;9:1880
I)@"A see+s a reversal of that affirmance in this petition, which was given due course0
At the outset, we should state that we are -ound -/ the findings of fact of -oth the Trial Court and the
Appellate Court, particularl/, the finding that the >ARC"A3 and I)@"A are, in fact, illegitimate children of
the 6'C'6'@T0 The oral testimon/ and the documentar/ evidence of record inevita-l/ point to that
conclusion, as ma/ -e gleaned from the following -ac+ground facts$ 3)AA@), a resident of Ta-aco,
Al-a/, married <ilar Riosa0 The latter died0 )n a world tour he met a (rench woman, Aill/ >orand, who
-ecame his second wife in 19280 The union was shortElived as she left him in 19290 "n the earl/ part of
194:, 3)AA@) started having amorous relations with 9uana >arcia, out of which affair was -orn
ienvenido >arcia on March 2;, 1941 7',hi-its .A. L .4.8= and on @ovem-er 4, 194#, 'meteria >arcia
was -orn 7',hi-its . . L .2.80 Their -irth certificates and -aptismal certificates mention onl/ the mother?s
name without the father?s name0 The facts esta-lish, however, that 3)AA@) during his lifetime
recogni2ed the >ARC"A3 as his children -/ acts of support and provisions for their education0
"n 194#, 3)AA@) started living with Trinidad Tuagnon0 Three children were -orn out of this relation -ut
onl/ petitioner I)@"A Ana Tuagnon, -orn on 9ul/ 26, 19;1, is living0 "n her irth Certificate, her status
was listed as .illegitimate.= her mother as Trinidad Tuagnon= her father as .<0@0C0 . 7',hi-it .C.8, or .padre
no conocido.0
6uring the 9apanese occupation, 3)AA@) o-tained a divorce from Aill/ >orand on @ovem-er 29, 19;4
7',hi-its .RE1. and .3E1.80 )n 6ecem-er 22, 19;4, 3)AA@) and Trinidad Tuagnon e,ecuted an
.'scritura de Reconocimiento de 1nit &i*a @atural. 7',hi-it .D.= .5.8, ac+nowledging I)@"A as a .natural
child. and giving her the right to use the name I)@"A Ana 3olano / Tuagnon0 The document was
registered with the Aocal Civil Registrar on the same date0
)n 9anuar/ 18, 1969, 3)AA@) e,ecuted his .1ltima Coluntad / Testamento. 7',hi-it .11.8, instituting
I)@"A as his universal heir to all his personal and real properties in Camalig, Ta-aco and Malinao, all in
the province of Al-a/, e,cept for five parcels of land in anta/an, Ta-aco, Al-a/, which were given to
Trinidad Tuagnon in usufruct 1pon 3)AA@)?s petition 7',hi-it .1:.8, the %ill was dul/ pro-ated on March
1:, 1969 in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;2 of the Court of (irst "nstance of Al-a/, ranch "", in a 6ecision
also rendered -/ 9udge '2eGuiel 30 >rageda 7',hi-it .12.80
As a-ove stated, these facts are not in Guestion0
<etitioner maintains, however, that$ tNR0ZWhGwMZ
"
The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial Court, acted without *urisdiction or in e,cess of *urisdiction in
declaring su-stitute defendant Ionia Ana 3olano, now petitioner, an illegitimate child of the late 6r0
Meliton 3olano in an action where private respondents, as plaintiffs in the Court -elow, sought recognition
as natural children of 6r0 Meliton 3olano0
""
The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial Court, acted without *urisdiction or in e,cess of *urisdiction in
ordering the division of the estate of 6r0 Meliton 3olano -etween the petitioner and private respondents,
when said estate is under the *urisdiction and control of the pro-ate Court in 3pecial <roceedings @o0
8;20
"""
The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial Court, acted without *urisdiction or in e,cess of *urisdiction in
declaring nun and void the institution of heir in the last will and testament of 6r0 Meliton 3olano, which
was dul/ pro-ated in special proceedings @o0 8;2 of the Court of (irst "nstance of Al-a/, and in
concluding that total intestac/ resulted there from0 4
6irectl/ challenged is the *urisdiction of the lower Court, in an action for recognition$ 18 to declare I)@"A
as an illegitimate child of 3)AA@)= 28 to order the division of the estate in the same action despite the
pendenc/ of 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;2= and 48 to declare null and void the institution of heir in the Aast
%in and Testament of 3)AA@), which was dul/ pro-ated in the same 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;2, and
concluding that total intestac/ resulted0
"t is true that the action -elow was -asicall/ one for recognition0 &owever, upon notice of 3)AA@)?s
death, the Trial Court ordered his su-stitution -/ I)@"A, .the onl/ surviving heir 000 as of as of now. ; "n
her .Appearance of 3u-stitute 6efendant Ionia Ana T0 3olano 000 3ole and 1niversal &eir., I)@"A
specificall/ pra/ed that she -e 6 allowed to assume her duties as e,ecutri, and administratri, of the
pro-ated will and testament of the late 6r0 Meliton 3olano, under 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;2, which is
alread/ final and e,ecutor/, with least interference from the plaintiffs 7>ARC"A38 who ma/ -e classified
for the moment as onl/ pretenders to -e illegitimate children.0 "n other words, I)@"A did not onl/ rel/
upon 3)AA@)?s Answer alread/ of record -ut asserted new rights in her capacit/ as sole and universal
heir, .e,ecutri, and administratri,, .and challenged the right of the >ARC"A3 to recognition0 Thus, she
was not defending the case as a mere representative of the deceased -ut asserted rights and defenses in
her own personal capacit/0 3o it was that the >ARC"A3 filed a .Repl/ to Appearance of I)@"A 000 and
3upplemental Cause of Action 000 .vigorousl/ den/ing that I)@"A was 3)AA@)?s sole and universal heir=
that I)@"A could not legall/ -e considered as 3)AA@)?s ac+nowledged natural child -ecause of a legal
impediment= that the admission to pro-ate of 3)AA@)?s %ill was merel/ conclusive as to its due
e,ecution= that the supposed recognition under a notarial instrument of I)@"A as an ac+nowledged
natural child was fraudulent and a product of misrepresentation= that I)@"A?s recognition in the %ill as an
ac+nowledged natural child is su-*ect to nullification and that at most I)@"A is, li+e them, an adulterous
child of 3)AA@) with Trinidad Tuagnon0
6uring the trial, the >ARC"A3 presented evidence to prove their allegations not onl/ in their main
complaint -ut also in their .Repl/ to Appearance and 3upplemental Cause of Action.0 I)@"A presented
no o-*ection to the presentation -/ the >ARC"A3 of their oral and documentar/ evidence and even crossE
e,amined their witnesses0 I)@"A, for her part, presented her own testimonial and documentar/ evidence,
denied the relationship of the >ARC"A3? to 3)AA@) and presented the notarial recognition in her favor
as an ac+nowledged natural child -/ 3)AA@) and Trinidad Tuagnon 7',hi-it .D.80 Thus, as raised -/ the
parties in their own pleadings and pursuant to their respective evidence during the trial, the litigation was
converted into a contest -etween the >ARC"A3 and I)@"A precisel/ as to their correct status as heirs
and their respective rights as such0 @o error was committed -/ either the Trial Court or the Appellate
Court, therefore, in resolving the issue of I)@"A?s status0
I)@"A additionall/ assails the *urisdiction of the Trial Court in declaring null and void the institution of heir
in 3)AA@)?s will= in concluding that total intestac/ resulted therefrom= and distri-uting the shares of the
parties in 3)AA@)?s estate when said estate was under the *urisdiction and control of the <ro-ate Court
in 3pecial <roceedings @o0 8;20
@ormall/, this would -e the general rule0 &owever, a peculiar situation is thrust upon us here0 "t should -e
recalled that 3)AA@) himself instituted the petition for pro-ate of the %ill during his lifetime0 That
proceeding was not one to settle the estate of a deceased person that would -e deemed terminated onl/
upon the final distri-ution of the residue of the hereditar/ estate0 %ith the %ill allowed to pro-ate, the
case would have terminated e,cept that it appears that the parties, after 3)AA@)?s death, continued to
file pleadings therein0 3econdl/, upon motion of the >ARC"A3, and over the o-*ection of I)@"A, the Trial
Court ordered the impleading of the estate of 3)AA@) and proceeded on that -asis0 "n effect, therefore,
the two cases were consolidated0 The records further disclose that the action for recognition 7Civil Case
@o0 49#68 and 3pec0 <rocs0 @o0 8;2 were pending -efore the same ranch of the Court and -efore the
same presiding 9udge0 Thirdl/, it is settled that the allowance of a %ill is conclusive onl/ as to its due
e,ecution0 # A pro-ate decree is not concerned with the intrinsic validit/ or legalit/ of the provisions of the
%ill0 6
Thus, the Trial Court and the Appellate Court had *urisdiction to conclude that, upon the facts, the
>ARC"A3 and I)@"A were in the same categor/ as illegitimate children= that I)@"A?s ac+nowledgment
as a .natural child. in a notarial document e,ecuted -/ 3)AA@) and Trinidad Tuagnon on 6ecem-er 22,
19;4 was erroneous -ecause at the time of her -irth in 19;1, 3)AA@) was still married to Aill/ >orand,
his divorce having -een o-tained onl/ in 19;4, and, therefore, did not have the legal capacit/ to contract
marriage at the time of I)@"A?s conception, 5 that -eing compulsor/ heirs, the >ARC"A3 were, in fact,
pretended from 3)AA@)?s Aast? %ill and Testament= and that as a result of said preterition, the institution
of I)@"A as sole heir -/ 3)AA@) is null and void pursuant to Article 8#; of the Civil Code0 tNR0ZWhGwMZ
The preterition or omission of one, some, or all of the compulsor/ heirs in the direct line, whether living at
the time of the e,ecution of the will or -orn after the death of the testator, shall annul the institution of heir=
-ut the devises and legacies shall -e valid insofar as the/ are not inofficious0 000 8
As provided in the foregoing provision, the disposition in the %ill giving the usufruct in favor of Trinidad
Tuagnon over the five parcels of land in anta/an, Ta-aco, Al-a/, is a legac/, recogni2ed in Article #64 of
the Civil Code, 9 and should -e respected in so far as it is not inofficious0 1:
3o also did the Trial Court have *urisdiction in resolving the issue of the hereditar/ shares of the
>ARC"A3 and I)@"A0 &owever, contrar/ to the conclusions of the Courts -elow, holding that the entire
%ill is void and intestac/ ensues, the pretention of the >ARC"A3 should annul the institution of I)@"A as
heir onl/ insofar as the legitime of the omitted heirs is impaired0 The %ill, therefore, is valid su-*ect to that
limitation0 11 "t is a plain that the intention of the testator was to favor I)@"A with certain portions of his
propert/, which, under the law, he had a right to dispose of -/ %ill, so that the disposition in her favor
should -e upheld as to the oneEhalf 71H28 portion of the propert/ that the testator could freel/ dispose of0
12 3ince the legitime of illegitimate children consists of one half 71H28 of the hereditar/ estate, 14 the
>ARC"A3 and I)@"A each have a right to participation therein in the proportion of oneEthird 71H48 each0
I)@"A?s hereditar/ share will, therefore, -e 1H2 [ 71H4 of 1H28 or ;H6 of the estate, while the >ARC"A3 will
respectivel/ -e entitled to 1H4 of 1H2 or 1H6 of the value of the estate0
As heretofore stated, the usufruct in favor of Trinidad Tuagnon over the properties indicated in the %ill is
valid and should -e respected0
The case of @uguid vs0 @uguid, et al0, 1; reiterating the ruling in @eri, et al0 vs0 A+utin, et al0, 1# which
held that where the institution of a universal heir is null and void due to pretention, the %ill is a complete
nullit/ and intestate succession ensues, is not applica-le herein -ecause in the @uguid case, onl/ a oneE
sentence %ill was involved with no other provision e,cept the institution of the sole and universal heir=
there was no specification of individual propert/= there were no specific legacies or -eGuests0 "t was upon
that factual setting that this Court declared$ tNR0ZWhGwMZ
The disputed order, we o-serve, declares the will in Guestion ?a complete nullit/0 Article 8#; of the Civil
Code in turn merel/ nullifies ?the institution of heir?0 Considering, however, that the will -efore us solel/
provides for the institution of petitioner as universal heir, and nothing more, the result is the same0 The
entire will is null0. 7at p0 ;#98
"n contrast, in the case at -ar, there is a specific -eGuest or legac/ so that Article 8#; of the Civil Code,
supra, applies merel/ annulling the .institution of heir.0
Aastl/, it should -e pointed out that the *urisdiction of the Trial Court and the Appellate Court was never
Guestioned -efore either Court0 I)@"A herself had gone, without o-*ection, to trial on the issues raised
and as defined -/ the Trial Court0 @either had I)@"A assigned lac+ of *urisdiction of the Trial Court as an
error -efore the Appellate Court0 3he should now -e held estopped to repudiate that *urisdiction to which
she had voluntaril/ su-mitted, after she had received an unfavora-le *udgment, The leading case of Ti*am
vs0 3i-onghano/, 16 on this point, declared$ tNR0ZWhGwMZ
A part/ cannot invo+e the *urisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and after
failing to o-tain such relief, repudiate or Guestion the same *urisdiction0 The Guestion whether the court
has *urisdiction either of the su-*ect matter of the action or of the parties is not -ecause the *udgment or
order of the court is valid and conclusive as an ad*udication -ut for the reason that such practice cannot
-e tolerated o-viousl/ for reasons of pu-lic polic/0 After voluntaril/ su-mitting a cause and encountering
an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to Guestion the *urisdiction or power of the
court0
%&'R'()R', the *udgment under review is here-/ modified in that the hereditar/ share in the estate of
the decedent of petitioner Ionia Ana T0 3olano is here-/ declared to -e 71H2 [ 71H4 of 1H28 or ;H6 of said
estate, while that of private respondents, ienvenido 30 >arcia and 'meteria 30 >arcia, shall each -e 71H4
of 1H28 or 71H68 of the estate0 The usufruct in favor of Trinidad Tuagnon shall -e respected0 The *udgment
is affirmed in all other respects0 @o costs0
3) )R6'R'60
G.R. No. ),77848 8une 1"! 1"8
RAFA%) %. *AN&NANG and '()%+A+ ). *AN&NANG! -etitioners!
vs.
.(/R# (F A00%A)'! $(N. R&.AR+( ). 0R(N(9%! 8R.! as 8udge of the .ourt of First &nstan3e of
Ri>al and <%RNAR+( '. A'%N%#A! res-ondents.
A <etition to Review the 6ecision of April 28, 1981 of respondent Appellate Court in CAE>0R0 @o0 12:42ER
entitled .Rafael '0 Maninang and 3oledad A0 Maninang vs0 &on0 Ricardo <ronove, 9udge of the Court of
(irst "nstance of Ri2al, <asig, ranch !", and ernardo 30 Aseneta.0
<ertinent to the controvers/ are the following antecedental facts$
)n Ma/ 21, 1955, Clemencia Aseneta, single, died at the Manila 3anitarium &ospital at age 810 3he left a
holographic will, the pertinent portions of which are Guoted hereunder$
,,, ,,, ,,,
"t is m/ will that all m/ real properties located in Manila, Ma+ati, Due2on Cit/, Al-a/ and Aegaspi Cit/ and
all m/ personal properties shagll-e inherited upon m/ death -/ 6ra0 3oledad A0 Maninang with whose
famil/ " have lived continuousl/ for around the last 4: /ears now0 6ra0 Maninang and her hus-and
<amping have -een +ind to me0 000 " have found peace and happiness with them even during the time
when m/ sisters were still alive and especiall/ now when " am now -eing trou-led -/ m/ nephew
ernardo and niece 3alvacion0 " am not incompetent as @ono/ would li+e me to appear0 " +now what is
right and wrong0 " can decide for m/self0 " do not consider @ono/ as m/ adopted son0 &e has made me
do things against m/ will0
,,, ,,, ,,,
)n 9une 9, 1955, petitioner 3oledad Maninang filed a <etition for pro-ate of the %ill of the decedent with
the Court of (irst "nstanceEranch "C, Due2on Cit/ 73p0 <roc0 @o0 DE244:;, hereinafter referred to as the
Testate Case80
)n 9ul/ 2#, 1955, herein respondent ernardo Aseneta, who, as the adopted son, claims to -e the sole
heir of decedent Clemencia Aseneta, instituted intestate proceedings with the Court of (irst "nstanceE
ranch !", <asig, Ri2al 73p0 <roc0 @o0 8#69, called hereinafter the "ntestate Case. for -revit/80
)n 6ecem-er 24, 1955, the Testate and "ntestate Cases were ordered consolidated -efore ranch !",
presided -/ respondent 9udge0
Respondent ernardo then filed a Motion to 6ismiss the Testate Case on the ground that the holographic
will was null and void -ecause he, as the onl/ compulsor/ heir, was preterited and, therefore, intestac/
should ensue0 "n support of said Motion to 6ismiss, respondent ernardo cited the cases of @eri vs0
A+utin 752 <hil0 4228= @uguid vs0 @uguid 715 3CRA ;;98, and Ramos vs0 aldovino 72 CA Rep0 2nd, 85880
1
"n her )pposition to said Motion to 6ismiss, petitioner 3oledad averred that it is still the rule that in a case
for pro-ate of a %ill, the Court?s area of inGuir/ is limited to an e,amination of and resolution on the
e,trinsic validit/ of the will= and that respondent ernardo was effectivel/ disinherited -/ the decedent0 2
)n 3eptem-er 8, 198:, the lower Court ordered the dismissal of the Testate Case in this wise$
(or reasons stated in the motion to dismiss filed -/ petitioner ernardo 30 Aseneta which the Court finds
meritorious, the petition for pro-ate of will filed -/ 3oledad A0 Maninang and which was doc+eted as 3p0
<roc0 @o0 DE244:; is 6"3M"33'6, without pronouncement as to costs0
)n 6ecem-er 19, 198:, the lower Court denied reconsideration for lac+ of merit and in the same )rder
appointed ernardo as the administrator of the intestate estate of the deceased Clemencia Aseneta
.considering that he is a forced heir of said deceased while oppositor 3oledad Maninang is not, and
considering further that ernardo Aseneta has not -een shown to -e unfit to perform the duties of the
trust0 .
<etitioners Maninang resorted to a certiorari <etition -efore respondent Court of Appeals alleging that the
lower Court e,ceeded its *urisdiction in issuing the )rders of dismissal of the Testate Case 73eptem-er 8,
198:8 and denial of reconsideration 76ecem-er 19, 198:80
)n April 28, 1981, respondent Court 4 denied certiorari and ruled that the trial 9udge?s )rder of dismissal
was final in nature as it finall/ disposed of the Testate Case and, therefore, appeal was the proper
remed/, which petitioners failed to avail of0 Continuing, it said that even granting that the lower Court
committed errors in issuing the Guestioned )rders, those are errors of *udgment reviewa-le onl/ -/
appeal and not -/ Certiorari0 ?Thus, this <etition -efore us0
%e find that the Court a Guo a Guo acted in e,cess of its *urisdiction when it dismissed the Testate Case0
>enerall/, the pro-ate of a %ill is mandator/0
@o will shall pass either real or personal propert/ unless it is proved and allowed in accordance with the
Rules of Court0 ;
The law en*oins the pro-ate of the %ill and pu-lic polic/ reGuires it, -ecause unless the %ill is pro-ated
and notice thereof given to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his propert/ -/ %ill ma/ -e
rendered nugator/0 #
@ormall/, the pro-ate of a %ill does not loo+ into its intrinsic validit/0
000 The authentication of a will decides no other Guestion than such as touch upon the capacit/ of the
testator and the compliance with those reGuisites or solemnities which the law prescri-es for the validit/ of
wills0 "t does not determine nor even -/ implication pre*udge the validit/ or efficienc/ 7sic8 of the
provisions, these ma/ -e impugned as -eing vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication0 The
Gue:stions relating to these points remain entirel/ unaffected, and ma/ -e raised even after the will has
-een authenticated 0000 6
)pposition to the intrinsic validit/ or legalit/ of the provisions of the will cannot -e entertained in <ro-ate
proceeding -ecause its onl/ purpose is merel/ to determine if the will has -een e,ecuted in accordance
with the reGuirements of the law0 5
Respondent ernardo, however, relies on the pronouncement in @uguid vs0 @uguid 8, reading$
"n a proceeding for the pro-ate of a will, the Court?s area of inGuir/ is limited to an e,amination of, and
resolution on, the e,trinsic validit/ of the will, the due e,ecution thereof, the testatri,?s testamentar/
capacit/ and the compliance with the reGuisites or solemnities prescri-ed -/ law0 The intrinsic validit/ of
the will normall/ comes onl/ after the court has declared that the will has -een dul/ authenticated0
&owever, where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validit/ of the will -e passed upon,
even -efore it is pro-ated, the Court should meet that issue0 7'mphasis supplied8
)ur ruling in alana/ vs0 &on0 Martine2 9 had a similar thrust$
The trial court acted correctl/ in passing upon the will?s intrinsic validit/ even -efore its formal validit/ had
-een esta-lished0 The pro-ate of a will might -ecome an "dle ceremon/ if on its face it appears to -e
intrinsicall/ void0 %here practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validit/ of the will -e passed
upon, even -efore it is pro-ated, the court should meet the issue0
The @uguid and the alana/ cases provide the e,ception rather than the rule0 The intrinsic validit/ of the
%ills in those cases was passed upon even -efore pro-ate -ecause .practical considerations. so
demanded0 Moreover, for the parties in the @uguid case, the .meat of the controvers/. was the intrinsic
validit/ of the %ill= in fact, the parties in that case .shunted aside the Guestion of whether or not the %ill
should -e allowed pro-ate0. @ot so in the case -efore us now where the pro-ate of the %ill is insisted on
-/ petitioners and a resolution on the e,trinsic validit/ of the %ill demanded0
Moreover, in the @uguid case, this Court ruled that the %ill was intrinsicall/ invalid as it completel/
preterited the parents of the testator0 "n the instant case, a crucial issue that calls for resolution is whether
under the terms of the decedent?s %ill, private respondent had -een preterited or disinherited, and if the
latter, whether it was a valid disinheritance0 <reterition and disinheritance are two diverse concepts0
000 <reterition .consists in the omission in the testator?s will of the forced heirs or an/one of them, either
-ecause the/ are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, the/ are neither instituted as heirs nor are
e,pressl/ disinherited0. 7@eri vs0 A+utin, 52 <hil0 42#80 6isinheritance, in turn, .is a testamentar/
disposition depriving an/ compulsor/ heirs of his share in the legitimate for a cause authori2ed -/ law0.
79ustice 900A0 Re/es and R0C0 <uno, .An )utline of <hilippine Civil Aaw., 19#6 ed0, Col0 """, p0 8, citing
cases8 6isinheritance is alwa/s .voluntar/., preterition upon the other hand, is presumed to -e
.involuntar/. 73anche2 Roman, 'studios de 6erecho Civil 2nd edition, Colume 20o p0 114180 1:
The effects of preterition and disinheritance are also totall/ different0
000 The effects flowing from preterition are totall/ different from those of disinheritance0 <retention under
Article 8#; of the @ew Civil Code shall annul the institution of heir0 This annulment is in toto, unless in the
wail there are, in addition, testamentar/ dispositions in the form of devises or legacies0 "n ineffective
disinheritance under Article 918 of the same Code, such disinheritance shall also .annul the institution of
heirs., -ut onl/ .insofar as it ma/ pre*udice the person disinherited., which last phrase was omitted in the
case of preterition 7""" Tolentino, Civil Code of the <hilippines, 1961 'dition, p0 15280 etter stated /et, in
disinheritance the nullit/ is limited to that portion of the estate of which the disinherited heirs have -een
illegall/ deprived0 11
/ virtue of the dismissal of the Testate Case, the determination of that controversial issue has not -een
thoroughl/ considered0 %e gather from the assailed )rder of the trial Court that its conclusion was that
respondent ernardo has -een preterited %e are of opinion, however, that from the face of the %ill, that
conclusion is not indu-ita-le0
As held in the case of Cda0 de <recilla vs0 @arciso 12
000 it is as important a matter of pu-lic interest that a purported will is not denied legali2ation on du-ious
grounds0 )therwise, the ver/ institution of testamentar/ succession will -e sha+en to its foundation, 000
Coming now to the procedural aspect, suffice it to state that in view of our finding that respondent 9udge
had acted in e,cess of his *urisdiction in dismissing the Testate Case, certiorari is a proper remed/0 An act
done -/ a <ro-ate Court in e,cess of its *urisdiction ma/ -e corrected -/ Certiorari0 14 And even
assuming the e,istence of the remed/ of appeal, we har+en to the rule that in the -roader interests of
*ustice, a petition for certiorari ma/ -e entertained, particularl/ where appeal would not afford speed/ and
adeGuate relief0
%&'R'()R', the 6ecision in Guestion is set aside and the )rders of the Court of (irst "nstanceEranch
!", Ri2al, dated 3eptem-er 8, 198: and 6ecem-er 19, 198:, are nullified0 3pecial <roceeding @o0 DE
244:; is here-/ remanded to said Court of (irst "nstanceEranch !"0 Ri2al, therein to -e reinstated and
consolidated with 3pecial <roceeding @o0 8#69 for further proceedings0
@o pronouncement as to costs0
Art. 876 %ffe3t of 0rede3ease
February "! 1"7
G.R. No. ),5"5
&N #$% *A##%R (F #$% %'#A#% (F #$% )A#% )%(+%GAR&A 9&))AN/%9A.
%)&'A ./&'(N! %# A).! -etitioners,a--ellants!
vs.
N&.()A' 9&))AN/%9A! %# A).! o--ositors,a--ellees.
F)A9&AN( )A.'(N! Budi3ial ad4inistrator.
This case, originating in the Court of first "nstance of @egros occidental, involves man/ facts, -ut onl/
those necessar/ to the solution of the appeal will -e stated and -riefl/ the/ are, as follows$
)n (e-ruar/ 1;, 1949, Manuel Cuison filed in the Court of (irst "nstance of @egros )ccidental a petition
for the pro-ate of a document mar+ed e,hi-it .A., said to -e the last will and testament of Aeodegaria
Cillanueva who died on 6ecem-er 1;, 19480 The heirs instituted in said will were Re/naldo Cuison, a
nephew of the testatri, and si, minor children F Maria 6olores, &ernando, Aeonardo, Angel, Maria
9imena and Telma, all surnamed Macasa, said to -e grandnephews and nieces0 <etitioner Manuel Cuison
was appointed administrator and he Gualified as such0
The petition for pro-ate was opposed -/ @icolas Cillanueva and others who claim to -e relatives of the
testatri,0
)n 9anuar/ 29, 19;1, the lower court, presided over -/ 9udge 3otero Rodas, dismissed the petition .por
falta de gestion de solicitante0. 1pon motion of the petitioner the order of dismissal was reconsidered, the
case reinstated and later, -/ order of @ovem-er 28, 19;1, the lower court denied the pro-ate of the will
and declared that the deceased Aeodegaria Cillanueva died intestate0 1pon another motion for
reconsideration filed -/ Manuel Cuison the order of denial of pro-ate was reconsidered and Manuel
Cuison was ordered to secure a transcript of the stenographic notes ta+en during the hearing of pro-ate
held on March 1#, 19;10 This order of reconsideration was dated 6ecem-er 6, 19;10 )ne or two da/s
later the <acific war -ro+e out0
)n 6ecem-er 16, 19;8, the oppositor @icolas Cillanueva, et al0, move for the definite dismissal of the
petition for pro-ate0 / order of 9anuar/ 1:, 19;9, 9udge 9ose Teodoro, then presiding over the trial court,
definitel/ denied the petition for pro-ate0 )n 9anuar/ 22, 19;9, petitioner Manuel Cuison moved for the
reconsideration of the order of denial of the petition for pro-ate0
)n August 16, 19;9, 'lisa, Ricardo, 9osefina, Auis, &ermenigilda, all surnamed Cuison, for the first time,
entered this case, claiming to -e legitimate -rothers and sisters of Re/naldo Cuison the nephew of the
testatri, Aeodegaria Cillanueva instituted as one of the heirs in the will, e,hi-it .A.0 (urther claiming that
said Re/naldo Cuison died intestate on (e-ruar/ 12, 1949, a-out two months after the death of the
testatri,, the/ filed a petition for relief under 3ections 2 and 4, Rule 48 of the Rules of Court, from the
order 9anuar/ 1:, 19;9 definitel/ den/ing pro-ate of the will0 The petitioners 'lisa Cuison, et al0, further
claimed that Re/naldo Cuison, their -rother, upon his death, left neither legitimate nor natural
ac+nowledged children, conseGuentl/, his onl/ heirs are the said petitioners and their -rother Manuel
Cuison0 The petition for relief was -ased on the allegation that the/ had no actual +nowledge of the order
of 9anuar/ 1:, 19;9, den/ing the pro-ate of the will, until the month of 9ul/, 19;9= that up to the filing of
the petition for relief, petitioners had never -een direct or actual parties to the pro-ate proceedings -ut
the/ were constructive parties, since the proceedings were in rem and the order of the denial of pro-ate
would affect them as heirs of the legatee Re/naldo Cuison= that there nonEappearance or participation in
the pro-ate proceedings ma/ -e regarded as e,cusa-le negligence= and that if the/ were given a chance,
the/ would prove the validit/ and the due e,ecution of the will in Guestion and would present the
instrumental witnesses0 The trial court presided over -/ 9udge 'duardo 60 'nriGue2, acting upon the
petition, denied the same -/ order of (e-ruar/ 18, 19#:0 &owever, instead of considering the merits of
the petition for relief, 9udge 'nriGue2 -ased his order of denial on the ground that, pursuant to the
provisions of Article 92# of the Civil Code, present petitioner have no right to represent their deceased
-rother, Re/naldo Cuison, in the inheritance of the testatri, Aeodegaria Cillanueva, conseGuentl/ the/
have no interest in the will or the propert/ involved and so have no personalit/ to intervene in these
proceedings -/ filing the petition for relief0 "t is from that order of (e-ruar/ 18, 19#:, den/ing the petition
for relief, that the petitioners 'lisa Cuison et al0, are appealing0
The trial court was right in holding that -efore an/ person ma/ intervene in the proceedings for the
pro-ate of a will, he should show an interest in said will or the propert/ affected there-/ 7<aras vs0
@arciso, 4# <hil, 2;;80 The lower court was eGuall/ right in holding that under Art0 92#, paragraph 2, of the
old Civil Code, the right of representation shall ta+e place onl/ infavor of children of -rothers and sisters,
which petitioners 'lisa Cuison et al0, are not0 ut said trial court erred in holding and assuming that
petitioners 'lisa Cuison et al0, were invo+ing the right to represent their -rother Re/naldo Cuison, for the/
were not0 The/ see+ to inherit the legac/ of their -rother provided for in the will for their own right and not
in representation of their deceased -rother0 The law is clear that there is representation onl/ when
relatives of a deceased person tr/ to succeed him in his rights which he would have had still living0 "n the
present case, however, said deceased had alread/ succeeded his aunt, the testatri, herein, and had
acGuired the right to the legac/ given -/ her to him, upon for death, for the reason that under Arts0 6#5
and 6#l of the Civil Code the rights to the succession of a person transmitted from the moment of his
death and an heir succeeds to all rights and o-ligations of the decedent -/ the mere fact of the latter?s
death0 "t is a fact that the time of the death of the testatri,, Re/naldo Cuison was still alive0 &e died two
months after her 7testatri,?s8 death0 And upon his death, he transmitted to his heirs, the petitioners herein
'lisa Cuison et al0, the legac/ or the right to succeed to the legac/, which he received -/ virtue of the will0
"n other words, the herein petitionersEappellants are not tr/ing to succeed to the right to the propert/ of
the testatri,, -ut rather to the right of the legatee Re/naldo Cuison in said propert/0
"nasmuch as the appellants as heirs of the legatee Re/naldo Cuison, clearl/ have an interest in the will or
in the propert/ affected -/ it, the/ had the right to intervene in the pro-ate proceedings and to file the
petition for relief under Rule 48 of the Rules of Court0 The order appealed from is here-/ set aside and
this case is ordered remanded to the trial court for further proceedings, particularl/ to rule upon the
petition for relief on the -asis of its merits0 @o pronouncement as to costs0 3o ordered0