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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-41947

January 16, 1936

In re Will of the deceased Silvestra Baron.
VIVENCIO CUYUGAN, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
FAUSTINA BARON and GUILLERMO BARON, oppositors-appellees.
Pedro Abad Santos, Quirino Abad Santos, Francisco M. Ramos, and Aurelio Pineda for
appellant.
Arturo Joven for appellee Guillermo Baron.
Vicente J. Francisco and Jesus E. Blanco for appellee Faustina Baron.
BUTTE, J.:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga denying all the
petition of Vivencio Cuyugan for the probate of the will of Silvestra Baron.
The petition which was filed on February 1, 1933, recites among other things that Silvestra
Baron died on January 30, 1933. The death certificate recites that she was eighty-six years
of age and died of heart failure. The petition further recites that she left an estate exceeding
in value the sum of P80,000 which she disposed of by will dated December 17, 1932, that
she died single without forced heirs.
The will appointed Vivencio Cuyugan, her nephew, as executor and contains the following
paragraphs which dispose of her estate:
Que despues de pagados todos los gastos quese han de ocasioner desde que me
caiga enferma hasta el entiero de mi cadaver, los bienes y propiedades que he de
dejar se repartiran buenamente y en partes iguales mis hermanos Ilamados
Guillermo Baron, con exception de todo el dinero en metalico y mi casa de materiales
fuertes construida en el barrio del Pilar, San Fernando, Pampanga que actualmente
habita mi hermano Guillermo Baron, porque estos los doy de una manera absoluta
como herencia de mi sobrino Vivencio Cuyugan.
Que a la muerte de mis hermanos Guillermo y Faustina Baron, todos los terrenos que
en virtud de este test tamento les dejo en herencia, los doy herencia a mi so brino
VIVENCIO CUYUGAN, por lo que, encargo y prohibo a mis citados hermanos Guillermo
y Faustina Baron, que graven o pongan cualquiera clase de obligacion sobre los
bienes que les dejo en herencia.
The original of this will is signed "Silestra On" and the copy is signed "Silestra Baron" (t.s.n.
pp. 170, 171). Both copies are written in the Pampanga dialect and consist of one sheet and

no solamente cuando se otorgo el testamento. Upon the issues thus drawn by the pleadings of the judge of the Court of First Instance.are witnessed in due form by Vicente David. . and not acting under duress. con pretericion de sus hermanos. the said testatrix was about 80 years old. el Juzgado no puede menos de llegar a la con ser legalizado como el testamento y ultima voluntad de la finada Silvestra Baron. 1932. fraud. con quien habia conviviendo durante 40 años . brother of the deceased. that at the time of the execution of the alleged will. Sentadas las premisas de hecho y de derecho que an teceden. . The amended oppositions of Guillermo Baron. and was in every respect competent to dispose of her estate by will. menace. . la ausencia de Faustina Baron impedida de presenciarlo por algunos soldados de la Constabularia y el Jefe de Policia Municipal. after and extended trial and a full consideration of the evidence. Solo asi se explica el que ella haya dejado toda la propiedad de sus bienes a sus sobrinos. que ella no gozo de una completa libertad para disponer de sus bienes en testamento. more or less. especialmente de la opositora Faustina Baron. Zacarias Nuguid. that her signature and alleged consent to the said will was obtained and the attorney who prepared the document and the witnesses who affixed their signatures thereto. An instrument purporting to be a will executed and witnessed in accordance with the formalities required by the statute is entitled to the presumption of regularity. That on the date of the execution of said will. y por lo tanto. allege in substance first. second. But the . sister of the deceased. con quienes habia estado en pleito. Cuando existen pruebas suficien tes para concencer al Juzgado de que se ha ejercido in fluencia indebida en el animo de la testadora y que como resultado de dicha influencia indebida esta ha otorgado el testamento de la voluntad de la supuesta testadora sino de los que sobre ella ejercieron la influencia indebida. sino cuando ella fue transladada de casa contra su voluntad y cuando se le hizo firmar el Exhibit 10. o con pleno conocimiento del alcance de su contendido. Silvestra Baron was mentally and physically incapacitated for the execution of a will. or undue influence. on December 17. The petition for probate recites: 9. came to the following conclusion: Opinamos que influyeron indebidamente e impropia mente en la voluntad ya debilitada de doña Silvestra Baron por su avanzada edad la presencia de sus sobrinos Vivencio Cuyugan y Regino Cuyugan durante el otorgamiento del Exhibit A. and Faustina Baron. Valeriano Silva and Zacarias Nuguid (known to the testator). that is to say. la oposicion de Regino Cuyugan a que ella firmase el documento preparado por el abogado Narciso declarando que no habia otorgado testamento el dia anterior a su translado forzoso a San Fernando para que no se hisciese firmar documento analogo y la presencia del cabo Morales y del algunos otros soldados. and. and was found and disposing mind.

Nada. P. P. By reason of her advanced age and the gravity of her illness. ¿ha dicho ella algo o no ha dicho nada? — R.burden of the evidence passed to the proponent when the oppositors submit credible evidence tending to show that the supposed testator did not possess testamentary capacity at the time or that the document was not the free and voluntary expression of the alleged testator or that the will. The finding that the will was executed under due influence or by the fraud of another presupposes testamentary capacity. Desde que los tres abogados Abad Santos. is void in law. for any other reason. Epifania Sampang. telephoned a message to Vivencio Cuyugan at San Fernando. but all of them admitted that although they were in her house about two hours not one of them exchanged a single word of conversation with Silvestra. In the present case the learned trial judge refused the probate of the alleged will on the ground that it was executed under the due influence of other persons and we think the record warrants his findings in this respect. Neither the doctor nor the nurse were presented as witnesses by the proponent. The subscribing witness Zacarias Nuguid testified in part as follows: P. that she called to her but she did not answer and only groaned. The trial court also made findings of fact tending to show actual lack of testamentary capacity of Silvestra Baron and we have preferred to base our conclusion on that finding. As the doctor and the nurse were leaving. Epifania Sampang. admittedly an intelligent young woman. hasta que tanto ella como usteded firmaron el testamento. she was unable to do anything for herself. some fourteen kilometers distant. Vivencio Cuyugan. ¿ha pronunciado ella alguna palabra? ¿ha dicho ella algo o no? — R. . The testamentary capacity of Silvestra Baron at the time she executed the said purported will. No recuerdo. Pero. The evidence shows that the same morning when Silvestra Baron signed the alleged will she suffered a physical collapse of such a serious nature that a physician and a nurse were immediately called in. El señor Quirino Abad Santos ¿le ha dicho algo a ella? — R. Doctor Teopaco and a nurse arrived at about ten o'clock and treated the patient with a plaster on her back and ice packs over her heart and the doctor gave her a hypodermic injection in the arm. Nada. Her grandniece. who reached the house about one hour or so after the old lady's collapse. ¿Usted ha dicho algo a ella? — R. Silva y David y usted y Vivencio Cuyugan se acercaron a la cama de la finada. P. that her mouth was twisted and her lower lip swollen. The subscribing witnesses stated that it was their belief that Silvestra understood the alleged will which she signed. with an attorney and three witnesses. who was the first to reach Silvestra Baron and remained throughout the morning attended to her. No he oido. very pale and unconscious. testified that when she reached the house she found her grandaunt lying in bed. entered the house prepared to obtain the will of Silvestra Baron. She went out to call a doctor but all the doctors in Magalang were out whereupon she telephoned as stated to San Fernando for a doctor. por lo que usted recuerda. No recuerdo. that Silvestra had an attack and was in a serious condition and requested that a doctor be sent immediately.

The doctrine that where the testator has had an opportunity to revoke his will subsequent to the operation of . Si ella hubiese dicho algo a los abogados. and when this defect was noted by one of the astute subscribing witnesses. usted hubiera oido porque usted estaba cerca. It was immediately taken away by an attorney who kept it in his possession alleging that she had instructed him to keep it secret. ¿Y ella lo cogio con sus manos? — R. credible evidence in the record that before her death she had denied to several persons that she made any will. page 109) which was done.P. She never saw the alleged will at any time again prior to her death which occurred forty-four days later. Si señor.s. P. P. P. efectivamente. We don't know what drug the doctor administered but it is clear to us from the evidence that in her dazed physical and mental condition she had no adequate understanding of what she was doing at that time. ¿Pero. Vivencio Cuyugan. P. asi como los abogados hubieran hablado a ella. no lo leia? — R. Los otros abogados Silva y David ¿le han dicho algo ? — R. Despues de leido el testamento. he suggested that they have her sign another copy (t. Lo entregue a sus manos. No he oido que dijera algo. ¿dijo algo la vieja? — R. however. Standing at her bedside was the attorney with three witnesses and the chief beneficiary. ¿Y lo tuvo en sus manos leyendo. Si señor. The person who read the will to her testified as follows: R. P. P. Lo estuvo mirando por mucho tiempo asi. Cuando el senor Silva termino de leer el testamento. hubiera podido oir. P.n. There is no affirmative evidence that she understood the document when it was read to her. There is no evidence that Silvestra Baron took any active part in the preparation of the alleged will except that when she was asked if she wished to include her sister Faustina in the will she said "Yes" in Pampanga. ¿Ella ha dicho algo a cualquiera de osos tres o a los abogados? — R. cogio el testamento de manos de usted? — R. This belief on her part that she had not made any will explains her failure to do any act of revocation in the forty-four days during which she lingered in this life. No he oido. She could not even sign her name to the original will properly or correctly. tuve que entregarlo a doña Silvestra. y lo miro algun rato. There is. not a word was exchanged between any of them and the suffering old woman. Mirandolo asi. ¿no es verdad? — R. and yet so far as this record shows. No he oido que dijera algo. mirando? — R. ¿Y ella.

where from the day of execution until the death of the testator his mental condition is such that he cannot judge the propriety of revoking the will. In view of the premises. moreover. has no application to cases in which there has been an initial lack of testamentary capacity.an alleged undue influence upon him but makes no change in it. the judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellant. . the courts will consider this fact as weighing heavily against the testimony of undue influence. Nor obviously does it apply to a case where the alleged testator harbors the belief that he had not executed the will in question. It has no application.