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SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

ARTICLE 850
AUSTRIA VS. REYES (ART 850)
RUBEN AUSTRIA, CONSUELO AUSTRIA-BENTA
and
LAURO
AUSTRIA
MOZO
vs. HON. ANDRES REYES, Judge, Court of First
Instance of Rizal, PERFECTO CRUZ, BENITA
CRUZ-MENEZ ISAGANI CRUZ, ALBERTO CRUZ
and LUZ CRUZ-SALONGA
G.R. No. L-23079 February 27, 1970
Facts: On July 7, 1956 Basilia Austria vda. de
Cruz filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal
(Special Proceedings 2457) a petition for
probate, ante mortem, of her last will and
testament. The probate was opposed by the
present petitioners Ruben Austria, Consuelo
Austria-Benta and Lauro Austria Mozo, and still
others who, like the petitioner, are nephews and
nieces of Basilia. This opposition was, however,
dismissed and the probate of the will allowed
after due hearing.
The bulk of the estate of Basilia, admittedly, was
destined under the will to pass on to the
respondents Perfecto Cruz, Benita Cruz-Meez,
Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz, and Luz Cruz-Salonga,
all of whom had been assumed and declared by
Basilia as her own legally adopted children.
On April 23, 1959, more than two years after her
will was allowed to probate, Basilia died. The
respondent Perfecto Cruz was appointed
executor without bond by the same court in
accordance with the provisions of the
decedent's will, notwithstanding the blocking
attempt pursued by the petitioner Ruben
Austria.
Finally, on November 5, 1959, the present
petitioners filed in the same proceedings a
petition in intervention for partition alleging in
substance that they are the nearest of kin of
Basilia, and that the five respondents Perfecto
Cruz, et al., had not in fact been adopted by the
decedent in accordance with law, in effect
rendering these respondents mere strangers to
the decedent and without any right to succeed
as heirs.

The uncontested premises are clear. Two


interests are locked in dispute over the bulk of
the estate of the deceased. Arrayed on one side
are the petitioners Ruben Austria, Consuelo
Austria-Benta and Lauro Austria Mozo, three of
a number of nephews and nieces who are
concededly the nearest surviving blood relatives
of the decedent. On the other side are the
respondents brothers and sisters, Perfecto Cruz,
Benita Cruz-Meez, Isagani Cruz, Alberto Cruz
and Luz Cruz-Salonga, all of whom heirs in the
will of the deceased Basilia, and all of whom
claim kinship with the decedent by virtue of
legal adoption. At the heart of the controversy is
Basilia's last will immaculate in its extrinsic
validity since it bears the imprimatur of duly
conducted probate proceedings.
Issue: WON the institution of these 5 adopted
children be invalidated because of the phrase
adopted children which turn out to be a false
cause.
Held: NO.
Before the institution of heirs may be annulled
under article 850 of the Civil Code, the following
requisites must concur: First, the cause for the
institution of heirs must be stated in the
will; second, the cause must be shown to be
false; and third, it must appear from the face of
the will that the testator would not have made
such institution if he had known the falsity of
the cause.
The petitioners would have us imply, from the
use of the terms, "sapilitang tagapagmana"
(compulsory heirs) and "sapilitang mana"
(legitime), that the impelling reason or cause for
the institution of the respondents was the
testatrix's belief that under the law she could
not do otherwise. If this were indeed what
prompted the testatrix in instituting the
respondents, she did not make it known in her
will. Surely if she was aware that succession to
the legitime takes place by operation of law,
independent of her own wishes, she would not
have found it convenient to name her supposed
compulsory heirs to their legitimes. Her express
adoption of the rules on legitimes should very
well indicate her complete agreement with that
statutory scheme. But even this, like the

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

petitioners' own proposition, is highly


speculative of what was in the mind of the
testatrix when she executed her will. One fact
prevails, however, and it is that the decedent's
will does not state in a specific or unequivocal
manner the cause for such institution of heirs.
We cannot annul the same on the basis of
guesswork or uncertain implications.
And even if we should accept the petitioners'
theory that the decedent instituted the
respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al. solely because
she believed that the law commanded her to do
so, on the false assumption that her adoption of
these respondents was valid, still such
institution must stand.
Article 850 of the Civil Code, quoted above, is a
positive injunction to ignore whatever false
cause the testator may have written in his will
for the institution of heirs. Such institution may
be annulled only when one is satisfied, after an
examination of the will, that the testator clearly
would not have made the institution if he had
known the cause for it to be false. Now, would
the late Basilia have caused the revocation of
the institution of heirs if she had known that she
was mistaken in treating these heirs as her
legally adopted children? Or would she have
instituted them nonetheless?
The decedent's will, which alone should provide
the answer, is mute on this point or at best is
vague and uncertain. The phrases, "mga
sapilitang
tagapagmana" and "sapilitang
mana," were borrowed from the language of
the law on succession and were used,
respectively, to describe the class of heirs
instituted and the abstract object of the
inheritance. They offer no absolute indication
that the decedent would have willed her estate
other than the way she did if she had known
that she was not bound by law to make
allowance for legitimes. Her disposition of the
free portion of her estate (libre disposicion)
which largely favored the respondent Perfecto
Cruz, the latter's children, and the children of
the respondent Benita Cruz, shows a perceptible
inclination on her part to give to the
respondents more than what she thought the
law enjoined her to give to them. Compare this
with the relatively small devise of land which the

decedent had left for her blood relatives,


including the petitioners Consuelo Austria-Benta
and Lauro Mozo and the children of the
petitioner Ruben Austria. Were we to exclude
the respondents Perfecto Cruz, et al. from the
inheritance, then the petitioners and the other
nephews and nieces would succeed to the bulk
of the testate by intestacy a result which
would subvert the clear wishes of the decedent.
At all events, the legality of the adoption of the
respondents by the testatrix can be assailed only
in a separate action brought for that purpose,
and cannot be the subject of a collateral attack.

ARTICLE 854
Maloles II v. Phillips
OCTAVIO S. MALOLES II, petitioner, vs. PACITA
DE LOS REYES PHILLIPS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 129505. January 31, 2000]
(Octavio Maloles II is the nephew of testator)
Facts:
In 1995, Dr. Arturo De Los Santos filed a
petition for probate of his will. He declared
that he has no compulsory heirs and that he is
naming as sole devisee and legatee the Arturo
de Santos Foundation, Inc. (ASF). The named
executrix is Pacita De Los Reyes Phillips. The
petition was filed in RTC Makati Branch 61.
Judge Fernando Gorospe of said court
determined that Arturo is of sound mind and
was not acting in duress when he signed his last
will and testament and so Branch 61 allowed
the last will and testament on February 16,
1996.
Shortly after the probate of his will, Dr. De
Santos died on February 26, 1996. Thereafter,
Pacita, as executrix, filed a motion for the
issuance of letters of testamentary with Branch
61. She however withdrew the motion but later
on refilled it with RTC Makati Branch 65.

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

On April 3, 1996, petitioner Octavio S. Maloles II


filed a motion for intervention claiming that, as
the only child of Alicia de Santos (testators
sister) and Octavio L. Maloles, Sr., he was the
sole full-blooded nephew and nearest of kin of
Dr. De Santos. He likewise alleged that he was a
creditor of the testator. Petitioner thus prayed
for the reconsideration of the order allowing
the will and the issuance of letters of
administration in his name.
Issue:

(1) Legitimate children and descendants, with


respect to their legitimate parents and
ascendants;
(2) In default of the foregoing, legitimate
parents and ascendants, with respect to their
legitimate children and descendants;
(3) The widow or widower;
(4) Acknowledged natural children, and natural
children by legal fiction;
(5) Other illegitimate children referred to in
Article 287 of the Civil Code.[18]

WON Maloles II was preterited? NO


Ruling:
Art. 854. The preterition or omission of one,
some, or all of the compulsory heirs in the
direct line, whether living at the time of the
execution of the will or born after the death of
the testator, shall annul the institution of heir;
but the devises and legacies shall be valid
insofar as they are not inofficious.
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die
before the testator, the institution shall be
effectual, without prejudice to the right of
representation.
Even if petitioner is the nearest next of kin of
Dr. De Santos, he cannot be considered an
"heir" of the testator. It is a fundamental rule
of testamentary succession that one who has
no compulsory or forced heirs may dispose of
his entire estate by will. Thus, Art. 842 of the
Civil Code provides:
One who has no compulsory heirs may dispose
by will of all his estate or any part of it in favor
of any person having capacity to succeed.
One who has compulsory heirs may dispose of
his estate provided he does not contravene the
provisions of this Code with regard to the
legitimate of said heirs.
Compulsory heirs are limited to the testators -

Petitioner, as nephew of the testator, is not a


compulsory heir who may have been preterited
in the testators will.

G.R. No. 72706 October 27, 1987


CONSTANTINO
C.
ACAIN
v.
HON.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, VIRGINIA A.
FERNANDEZ and ROSA DIONGSON,
Facts:
Nemesio Acain executed a will dated February
17, 1960 in which his brother, herein petitioner
Constantino, along with their other siblings were
instituted as heirs.
In said will, Nemesio provided that his share in
the properties jointly earned with his wife, Rosa
Diongson, shall all be given to his brother
Segundo. In case Segundo pre-deceased
Nemesio, the same shall be given to Segundos
children.
Unfortunately, Segundo pre-deceased Nemesio.
Thus, petitioner Constantino, one of the children
of Segundo, filed a petition for the probate of
the will of the late Nemesio. This was by
respondents Rosa, wife of Nemesio, and
Virginia, a legally adopted daughter of the
spouses on the ground that they were
preterited in the will, among others.

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

The trial court denied their motion to dismiss


but the unfavorable decision was reversed by
the IAC.
Issue: WON there was preterition.
Ruling:
Yes, but only insofar as Virgina, the legally
adopted daughter, is concerned.
Article 854 of the Civil Code provides:
The preterition or omission of one, some, or all
of the compulsory heirs in the direct line,
whether living at the time of the execution of
the will or born after the death of the testator,
shall annul the institution of heir; but the
devisees and legacies shall be valid insofar as
they are not inofficious.
If the omitted compulsory heirs should die
before the testator, the institution shall be
effectual, without prejudice to the right of
representation.
Preterition consists in the omission in the
testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of
them either because they are not mentioned
therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither
instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited.
In this case, insofar as the widow is concerned,
Article 854 of the Civil Code may not apply as
she does not ascend or descend from the
testator, although she is a compulsory heir.
Stated otherwise, even if the surviving spouse is
a compulsory heir, there is no preterition even if
she is omitted from the inheritance, for she is
not in the direct line.
Insofar as Virginia is concerned, there was
preterition. She has been totally omitted and
preterited in the will of the testator. In fact,
both respondents were deprived of at least their
legitimes. They were not expressly disinherited.
However, in the case of Virginia, being an
adopted child who has the same rights as that of
a legitimate child, she is considered as to be in
the direct line of Nemesio. Hence, this is a clear
case of preterition of the legally adopted child.
What is the effect of preterition?
Pretention annuls the institution of an heir and
annulment throws open to intestate succession
the entire inheritance. The only provisions which
do not result in intestacy are the legacies and
devises made in the will for they should stand
valid and respected, except insofar as the
legitimes are concerned.

In this case, the universal institution of


petitioner together with his brothers and sisters
to the entire inheritance of the testator results
in totally abrogating the will because the
nullification of such institution of universal
heirs-without
any
other
testamentary
disposition in the will-amounts to a declaration
that nothing at all was written.
JLT Agro vs. Balansag
G.R. No. 141882
March 11, 2005
JLT Agro Inc., represented by its Manager Julian
L. Teves, petitioner vs. Antonio Balansag and
Hilaria Cadayday, respondents
Facts:
Don Julian Teves contracted two marriages, first
with Antonia Baena, and after her death, with
Milagros Donio. He had two children with
Antonia and four children with Milagros.
What is in dispute here is a 954 square meter
parcel of land which was originally registered in
the name of the conjugal partnership of Don
Julian and Antonia under an OCT. When Antonia
died, the land was among properties involved in
an action for partition and damages in a civil
case between the children of Antonia. In that
case, the parties entered into a Compromise
Agreement which embodied the partition of all
the properties of Don Julian.
On the basis of the Compromise Agreement, the
CFI declared the tract of land known as
Hacienda Medalla Milagrosa as property owned
in common by Don Julian and his 2 children of
the first marriage. The property was to remain
undivided during the lifetime of Don Julian.
Subsequently Julian, Emilio and Antonina
executed a Deed of Assignment and a
Supplemental Deed over Lot 63 in favor of JLT
Agro. JLT Agro relying on the instrument sought
the registration of the subject lot in its name.
Meanwhile, Milagros and her children had
occupied the subject lot after the execution of
the Compromise Agreement, and had entered
into a yearly lease agreement with Spouses
Antonio Balansag and Hilaria Cadayday. They

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

subsequently bought the property from


Milagros, completely unaware that the same
was already registered under the name of JLT
Agro.
RTC ruled that a direct adjudication of the
properties listed in the Compromise Agreement
was only in favor of Don Julian and his two
children by the first marriage, Josefa and Emilio.
As such, Don Julian was under no impediment to
alienate the subject lot.
CA reversed the RTCs decision.
Issue:
Whether Don Julian validly transferred
ownership of the lot during his lifetime. NO
Ruling:
Article 854 provides that the preterition or
omission of one, some, or all of the compulsory
heirs in the direct line, whether living at the
time of the execution of the will or born after
the death of the testator, shall annul the
institution of heir; but the devises and legacies
shall be valid insofar as they are not inofficious.
Manresa defines preterition as the omission of
the heir in the will, either by not naming him at
all or, while mentioning him as father, son, etc.,
by not instituting him as heir without
disinheriting him expressly, nor assigning to him
some part of the properties. It is the total
omission of a compulsory heir in the direct line
from inheritance. It consists in the silence of the
testator with regard to a compulsory heir,
omitting him in the testament, either by not
mentioning him at all, or by not giving him
anything in the hereditary property but without
expressly disinheriting him, even if he is
mentioned in the will in the latter case. But
there is no preterition where the testator
allotted to a descendant a share less than the
legitime, since there was no total omission of a
forced heir.
In the case at bar, Don Julian did not execute a
will since what he resorted to was a partition
inter vivos of his properties, as evidenced by
the court approved Compromise Agreement.
Thus, it is premature if not irrelevant to speak of
preterition prior to the death of Don Julian in

the absence of a will depriving a legal heir of his


legitime. Besides, there are other properties
which the heirs from the second marriage could
inherit from Don Julian upon his death. A couple
of provisions in the Compromise Agreement are
indicative of Don Julians desire along this line.
Hence, the total omission from inheritance of
Don Julians heirs from the second marriage, a
requirement for preterition to exist, is hardly
imaginable as it is unfounded.
Despite the debunking of respondents argument
on preterition, still the petition would ultimately
rise or fall on whether there was a valid transfer
effected by Don Julian to petitioner.
JLT Agros method of acquiring the OCT was
patently illegal. Instead of presenting the
Supplemental Deed which was its supposed
basis for the transfer of ownership over the
property, it resorted to a proceeding for
reconstitution alleging that the duplicate OCT
was lost. It was so constrained to do because
the Supplemental Deed does not constitute a
deed of conveyance of the registered land in fee
simple in a form sufficient in law, as required by
Section 57 of P.D. No. 1529. The deed provides:
NOW, THEREFORE, for and in consideration of
the above premises the ASSIGNOR hereby
transfers, conveys, and assigns unto J.L.T. AGRO,
INC., the above described parcel of land[s] with
a fair market value of EIGHTY-FOUR
THOUSAND PESOS (P84,000.00), Philippine
Currency, and which transfer, conveyance and
assignment shall become absolute upon
signing.[54] (Emphasis supplied)
The amount of P84,000.00 adverted to in the
dispositive portion of the instrument does not
represent the consideration for the assignment
made by Don Julian. Rather, it is a mere
statement of the fair market value of all the
nineteen (19) properties enumerated in the
instrument, of which Lot No. 63 is just one, that
were transferred by Don Julian in favor of JLT
Agro. Consequently, their testimony that the
assignment is supported by consideration
cannot prevail over the clear provision to the
contrary in the Supplemental Deed.
Thus, there being no consideration, and the
presence of consideration being one of the

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

essential requisites of contracts, the contract is


void. The transfer of title in favor of JLT was
invalid.
Neither can the Supplemental Deed qualify as a
donation since being a donation of real
property, its acceptance should have been
embodied in the same deed or in a public
document, which was not done in this case.
DY YIENG SEANGIO, BARBARA D. SEANGIO and
VIRGINIA
D.
SEANGIO, Petitioners,
vs.
HON. AMOR A. REYES, in her capacity as
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, National
Capital Judicial Region, Branch 21, Manila,
ALFREDO D. SEANGIO, ALBERTO D. SEANGIO,
ELISA D. SEANGIO-SANTOS, VICTOR D.
SEANGIO, ALFONSO D. SEANGIO, SHIRLEY D.
SEANGIO-LIM, BETTY D. SEANGIO-OBAS and
JAMES D. SEANGIO, Respondents.
G.R. Nos. 140371-72
November 27, 2006

During the settlement of the intestate estate of


Segundo Seangio, Dy Yieng, Barbara and
Virginia, all surnamed Seangio, opposed the
petition. Their main contention was that
Segundo left a holographic will, dated
September 20, 1995, disinheriting one of the
private respondents, Alfredo Seangio, for cause.
They contend that when it is shown that the
deceased has a will, intestate proceedings
should be suspended.
Alberto Seangio and Alfredo moved for the
dismissal of the probate proceedings primarily
on the ground that the document purporting to
be the holographic will of Segundo does not
contain any disposition of the estate of the
deceased and thus does not meet the definition
of a will under Article 783 of the Civil Code.
According to them, the will only shows an
alleged act of disinheritance by the decedent of
his eldest son, Alfredo, and nothing else; that all
other compulsory heirs were not named nor
instituted as heir, devisee or legatee, hence,
there is preterition which would result to
intestacy.
Issue 1: Was there a valid disinheritance? Yes
Article 919. The following shall be sufficient
causes for the disinheritance of children and
descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate:

(1) When a child or descendant has been found


guilty of an attempt against the life of the
testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or
ascendants;
(2) When a child or descendant has accused the
testator of a crime for which the law prescribes
imprisonment for six years or more, if the
accusation has been found groundless;
(3) When a child or descendant has been
convicted of adultery or concubinage with the
spouse of the testator;
(4) When a child or descendant by fraud,
violence, intimidation, or undue influence
causes the testator to make a will or to change
one already made;
(5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support
the parents or ascendant who disinherit such
child or descendant;
(6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or
deed, by the child or descendant
(7) When a child or descendant leads a
dishonorable or disgraceful life;
(8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it
the penalty of civil interdiction.
The holographic will of Segundo explicitly says in
detail the reason why Alfredo was disinherited:
Ako si Segundo Seangio Filipino may asawa
naninirahan sa 465-A Flores St., Ermita, Manila
at nagtatalay ng maiwanag na pag-iisip at
disposisyon ay tahasan at hayagang inaalisan ko
ng lahat at anumang mana ang paganay kong
anak na si Alfredo Seangio dahil siya ay naging
lapastangan sa akin at isan beses siya ng sasalita
ng masama harapan ko at mga kapatid niya na si
Virginia Seangio labis kong kinasama ng loob ko
at sasabe rin ni Alfredo sa akin na ako nasa
ibabaw gayon gunit daratin ang araw na ako
nasa ilalim siya at siya nasa ibabaw.
Labis kong ikinasama ng loob ko ang gamit ni
Alfredo ng akin pagalan para makapagutang na
kuarta siya at kanya asawa na si Merna de los
Reyes sa China Bangking Corporation na millon
pesos at hindi ng babayad at hindi ng babayad
ito ay nagdulot sa aking ng malaking kahihiya sa
mga may-ari at stockholders ng China Banking.
At ikinagalit ko pa rin ang pagkuha ni Alfredo at
ng kanyang asawa na mga custome[r] ng Travel
Center of the Philippines na pinagasiwaan ko at
ng anak ko si Virginia.
Dito ako nagalit din kaya gayon ayoko na bilanin
si Alfredo ng anak ko at hayanan kong inaalisan
ng lahat at anoman mana na si Alfredo at si

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

Alfredo Seangio ay hindi ko siya anak at hindi


siya makoha mana.
Issue 2: Were the formal requisites of a
holographic will present? Yes
Segundos document, although it may initially
come across as a mere disinheritance
instrument, conforms to the formalities of a
holographic will prescribed by law. It is written,
dated and signed by the hand of Segundo
himself. An intent to dispose mortis causa can
be clearly deduced from the terms of the
instrument, and while it does not make an
affirmative disposition of the latters property,
the disinheritance of Alfredo, nonetheless, is an
act of disposition in itself. In other words, the
disinheritance results in the disposition of the
property of the testator Segundo in favor of
those who would succeed in the absence of
Alfredo.
Holographic wills, therefore, being usually
prepared by one who is not learned in the law,
as illustrated in the present case, should be
construed more liberally than the ones drawn by
an expert, taking into account the circumstances
surrounding the execution of the instrument
12
and the intention of the testator. In this
regard, the Court is convinced that the
document, even if captioned as Kasulatan ng
Pag-Aalis ng Mana, was intended by Segundo to
be his last testamentary act and was executed
by him in accordance with law in the form of a
holographic will. Unless the will is
13
probated, the disinheritance cannot be given
effect.
Issue 3: Were the compulsory heirs preterited?
No
With regard to the issue on preterition, the
Court believes that the compulsory heirs in the
direct line were not preterited in the will.
Segundos last expression to bequeath his estate
to all his compulsory heirs, with the sole
exception of Alfredo. Also, Segundo did not
institute an heir to the exclusion of his other
compulsory heirs. The mere mention of the
name of one of the petitioners, Virginia, in the
document did not operate to institute her as the
universal heir. Her name was included plainly as
a witness to the altercation between Segundo
and his son, Alfredo.

Heirs of Ureta Sr v Ureta


G.R. No. 165748
Facts:
Alfonso Ureta (Alfonso) begot 14 children,
namely, Policronio, Liberato, Narciso, Prudencia,
Vicente, Francisco, Inocensio, Roque, Adela,
Wenefreda, Merlinda, Benedicto, Jorge, and
Andres. The children of Policronio (Heirs of
Policronio), are opposed to the rest of Alfonsos
children and their descendants (Heirs of
Alfonso).
Alfonso was financially well-off during his
lifetime. Policronio, the eldest, was the only
child of Alfonso who failed to finish schooling
and instead worked on his fathers lands.
Sometime in October 1969, Alfonso and four of
his children, namely, Policronio, Liberato,
Prudencia, and Francisco, met at the house of
Liberato. Francisco, who was then a municipal
judge, suggested that in order to reduce the
inheritance taxes, their father should make it
appear that he had sold some of his lands to his
children. Accordingly, Alfonso executed four
(4) Deeds of Sale covering several parcels of
land. The Deed of Sale executed in favor of
Policronio, covered six parcels of land, which are
the properties in dispute in this case.
Since the sales were only made for taxation
purposes and no monetary consideration was
given, Alfonso continued to own, possess and
enjoy the lands and their produce.
When Alfonso died on October 11, 1972,
Liberato acted as the administrator of his
fathers estate. He was later succeeded by his
sister Prudencia, and then by her daughter,
Carmencita Perlas. Except for a portion of parcel
5, the rest of the parcels transferred to
Policronio were tenanted by the Fernandez
Family. These tenants never turned over the
produce of the lands to Policronio or any of his
heirs, but to Alfonso and, later, to the
administrators of his estate.
Policronio died on November 22, 1974. Except
for the said portion of parcel 5, neither
Policronio nor his heirs ever took possession of
the subject lands.

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

Alfonsos heirs executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial


Partition, which included all the lands that were
covered by the four (4) deeds of sale that were
previously executed by Alfonso for taxation
purposes. Conrado, Policronios eldest son,
representing the Heirs of Policronio, signed the
Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition in behalf of his
co-heirs.
After their fathers death, the Heirs of Policronio
found tax declarations in his name covering the
six parcels of land. They obtained a copy of the
Deed of Sale executed in favor of Policronio. Not
long after the Heirs of Policronio allegedly
learned about the Deed of Extra-Judicial
Partition involving Alfonsos estate when it was
published in the July 19, 1995 issue of the Aklan
Reporter.
Believing that the six parcels of land belonged to
their late father, and as such, excluded from the
Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition, the Heirs of
Policronio sought to amicably settle the matter
with the Heirs of Alfonso. Earnest efforts
proving futile, the Heirs of Policronio filed a
Complaint for Declaration of Ownership,
Recovery of Possession, Annulment of
Documents, Partition, and Damages against the
Heirs of Alfonso before the RTC
PETITIONER: Conrado (eldest son of Policronio
who signed in the EJ Partition) claimed that he
did not understand the full significance of his
signature when he signed in behalf of his coheirs, as a gratutitous assertion
RESPONDENT: The Heirs of Alfonso were of the
position that the absence of the Heirs of
Policronio in the partition or the lack of
authority of their representative results, at the
very least, in their preterition and not in the
invalidity of the entire deed of partition. Accdg
to them, Conrado, who received Policronios
share, should then fully account for what he had
received to his other co-heirs and be directed to
deliver their share in the inheritance.
RTC: The Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition was
declared valid by the RTC as all the heirs of
Alfonso were represented and received equal
shares and all the requirements of a valid extrajudicial partition were met. The RTC considered

Conrados claim that he did not understand the


full significance of his signature when he signed
in behalf of his co-heirs, as a gratutitous
assertion. The RTC was of the view that when he
admitted to have signed all the pages and
personally appeared before the notary public,
he was presumed to have understood their
contents.
CA: annulled the Deed of Extra-Judicial
Partition due to the incapacity of one of the
parties to give his consent to the contract. It
held that before Conrado could validly bind his
co-heirs to the Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition, it
was necessary that he be clothed with the
proper authority. Without a special power of
attorney, it was held that Conrado lacked the
legal capactiy to give the consent of his co-heirs,
thus, rendering the Deed of Extra-Judicial
Partition voidable under Article 1390 (1) of the
Civil Code.
Issue: WON there is pretertition? NO
Ruling:
Their posited theory on preterition is no longer
viable. It has already been determined that the
Heirs of Policronio gave their consent to the
Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition and they have
not been excluded from it. Nonetheless, even
granting that the Heirs of Policronio were
denied their lawful participation in the partition,
the argument of the Heirs of Alfonso would still
fail.

Preterition has been defined as the total


omission of a compulsory heir from the
inheritance. It consists in the silence of the
testator with regard to a compulsory heir,
omitting him in the testament, either by not
mentioning him at all, or by not giving him
anything in the hereditary property but without
expressly disinheriting him, even if he is
mentioned in the will in the latter case.
Preterition is thus a concept of testamentary
succession and requires a will. In the case at
bench, there is no will involved. Therefore,
preterition cannot apply.
Assuming there was actual preterition, it did not
render the Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition
voidable. Citing Article 1104 of the Civil Code,
they aver that a partition made with preterition

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

of any of the compulsory heirs shall not be


rescinded, but the heirs shall be proportionately
obliged to pay the share of the person
omitted. Thus, the Deed of Extra-Judicial
Partition should not have been annulled by the
CA. Instead, it should have ordered the share of
the heirs omitted to be given to them.

ARTICLE 857 & 863


G.R. Nos. L-27860 and L-27896 March 29, 1974
PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL
BANK, Administrator of the Testate Estate of
Charles
Newton
Hodges
vs.
THE HONORABLE VENICIO ESCOLIN, Presiding
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo,
Branch II, and AVELINA A. MAGNO
Facts:
Linnie Jane Hodges died in Iloilo City leaving a
will executed on November 22, 1952. This will
was subsequently probated in aforementioned
Special Proceedings No. 1307 of respondent
court on June 28, 1957, with the widower
Charles Newton Hodges being appointed as
Executor, pursuant to the provisions thereof.
Previously, on May 27, 1957, the said widower
(hereafter to be referred to as Hodges) had
been appointed Special Administrator.
In her will, she left all her estate in favor of her
husband, Charles Newton Hodges. Linnie
however also stated in her will that should her
husband later die, said estate shall be turned
over to her brother and sister.
In December 1962, Charles died (it appears he
was also domiciled here). Atty. Leon Gellada, the
lawyer of Charles filed a motion before the
probate court (there was an ongoing probate on
the will of Linnie) so that a certain Avelina
Magno may be appointed as the administratrix
of the estate. Magno was the trusted employee
of the Hodges when they were alive. Atty.
Gellada manifested that Charles himself left a
will but the same was in an iron trunk in Charles
office. Hence, in the meantime, hed like to have
Magno appointed as administratrix. Judge

Venicio Escolin approved the motion.


Later, Charles will was found and so a new
petition for probate was filed for the said will.
Since said will basically covers the same estate,
Magno, as admininistratrix of Linnies estate
opposed the said petition. Eventually, the
probate of Charles will was granted. Eventually
still, the Philippine Commercial and Industrial
Bank was appointed as administrator. But
Magno refused to turn over the estate.
Magno contended that in her will, Linnie wanted
Charles to turn over the property to Linnies
brother and sister and since that is her will, the
same must be respected. Magno also contended
that Linnie was a Texan at the time of her death
(an alien testator); that under Article 16 of the
Civil Code, successional rights are governed by
Linnies national law; that under Texas law,
Linnies will shall be respected regardless of the
presence of legitimes (Charles share in the
estate).
It s PCIB's contention that, viewed as a
substitution, the testamentary disposition in
favor of Mrs. Hodges' brothers and sisters may
not be given effect.
Issue: WON there was substitution in the will of
Mrs. Hodges. - NO
Ruling:
Mrs. Hodges' will provides neither for a simple
or vulgar substitution under Article 859 of the
Civil Code nor for a fideicommissary substitution
under Article 863 thereof. There is no vulgar
substitution therein because there is no
provision for either (1) predecease of the
testator by the designated heir or (2) refusal or
(3) incapacity of the latter to accept the
inheritance, as required by Article 859; and
neither is there a fideicommissary substitution
therein because no obligation is imposed
thereby upon Hodges to preserve the estate or
any part thereof for anyone else. But from these
premises, it is not correct to jump to the
conclusion, as PCIB does, that the testamentary
dispositions in question are therefore
inoperative and invalid.
The error in PCIB's position lies simply in the fact
that it views the said disposition exclusively in

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

the light of substitutions covered by the Civil


Code section on that subject, (Section 3, Chapter
2, Title IV, Book III) when it is obvious that
substitution occurs only when another heir is
appointed in a will "so that he may enter into
inheritance in default of the heir originally
instituted," (Article 857, id.) and, in the present
case, no such possible default is contemplated.
The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hodges are not
substitutes for Hodges because, under her will,
they are not to inherit what Hodges cannot,
would not or may not inherit, but what he
would not dispose of from his inheritance;
rather, therefore, they are also heirs instituted
simultaneously with Hodges, subject, however,
to certain conditions, partially resolutory insofar
as Hodges was concerned and correspondingly
suspensive with reference to his brothers and
sisters-in-law.
It is partially resolutory, since it bequeaths unto
Hodges the whole of her estate to be owned
and enjoyed by him as universal and sole heir
with absolute dominion over them only during
his lifetime, which means that while he could
completely and absolutely dispose of any
portion thereof inter vivos to anyone other than
himself, he was not free to do so mortis causa,
and all his rights to what might remain upon his
death would cease entirely upon the occurrence
of that contingency, inasmuch as the right of his
brothers and sisters-in-law to the inheritance,
although vested already upon the death of Mrs.
Hodges, would automatically become operative
upon the occurrence of the death of Hodges in
the event of actual existence of any remainder
of her estate then.

ARTICLES 859, 863 & 882


[G.R. No. 113725. June 29, 2000]
JOHNNY S. RABADILLA,[1] petitioner, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS AND MARIA MARLENA[2]
COSCOLUELLA Y BELLEZA VILLACARLOS,
respondents.
Facts:
In a Codicil appended to the Last Will and
Testament of testatrix Aleja Belleza, Dr. Jorge

10

Rabadilla, predecessor-in-interest of the herein


petitioner, Johnny S. Rabadilla, was instituted as
a devisee of a parcel of land of the Bacolod
Cadastre. The codicil was duly probated and
admitted before the then Court of First Instance
of Negros Occidental.
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla died in 1983 and was
survived by his wife Rufina and children Johnny
(petitioner), Aurora, Ofelia and Zenaida.
On August 21, 1989, Maria Marlena Coscolluela
y Belleza Villacarlos brought a complaint, against
the above-mentioned heirs of Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla, to enforce the provisions of subject
Codicil. The Complaint alleged that the
defendant-heirs violated the conditions of the
Codicil, in that:
1. Lot No. 1392 was mortgaged to the Philippine
National Bank and the Republic Planters Bank in
disregard of the testatrix's specific instruction to
sell, lease, or mortgage only to the near
descendants and sister of the testatrix.
2. Defendant-heirs failed to comply with their
obligation to deliver one hundred (100) piculs of
sugar (75 piculs export sugar and 25 piculs
domestic sugar) to plaintiff Maria Marlena
Coscolluela y Belleza from sugar crop years 1985
up to the filing of the complaint as mandated by
the Codicil, despite repeated demands for
compliance.
3. The banks failed to comply with the 6th
paragraph of the Codicil which provided that in
case of the sale, lease, or mortgage of the
property, the buyer, lessee, or mortgagee shall
likewise have the obligation to deliver 100 piculs
of sugar per crop year to herein private
respondent.
On July 22, 1991, the Regional Trial Court came
out with a decision, dismissing the complaint.
On appeal by plaintiff, the First Division of the
Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the
trial court ordering defendants-appellees, as
heirs of Jorge Rabadilla, to reconvey title,
together with its fruits and interests, to the
estate of Aleja Belleza.
Issue: WON there was provision in the codicil as
to the substitution of the testatrixs relatives
should Rabadilla predecease the testatrix,
incapacitated, or renounced the inheritance.
(Art. 859) - NONE

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

WON there is fideicommissary substitution. (Art.


863) - NONE
Ruling:
In simple substitutions, the second heir takes
the inheritance in default of the first heir by
reason
of
incapacity,
predecease
or
renunciation.[14]
In
the
case
under
consideration, the provisions of subject Codicil
do not provide that should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla
default due to predecease, incapacity or
renunciation, the testatrix's near descendants
would substitute him. What the Codicil provides
is that, should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or his heirs not
fulfill the conditions imposed in the Codicil, the
property referred to shall be seized and turned
over to the testatrix's near descendants.
Neither is there a fideicommissary substitution
here and on this point, petitioner is correct. In a
fideicommissary substitution, the first heir is
strictly mandated to preserve the property and
to transmit the same later to the second heir. In
the case under consideration, the instituted heir
is in fact allowed under the Codicil to alienate
the property provided the negotiation is with
the near descendants or the sister of the
testatrix. Thus, a very important element of a
fideicommissary substitution is lacking; the
obligation clearly imposing upon the first heir
the preservation of the property and its
transmission to the second heir. "Without this
obligation to preserve clearly imposed by the
testator in his will, there is no fideicommissary
substitution."
Also, the near descendants' right to inherit from
the testatrix is not definite. The property will
only pass to them should Dr. Jorge Rabadilla or
his heirs not fulfill the obligation to deliver part
of the usufruct to private respondent.
Another
important
element
of
a
fideicommissary substitution is also missing
here. Under Article 863, the second heir or the
fideicommissary to whom the property is
transmitted must not be beyond one degree
from the first heir or the fiduciary. A
fideicommissary substitution is therefore, void if
the first heir is not related by first degree to the
second heir. In the case under scrutiny, the near

11

descendants are not at all related to the


instituted heir, Dr. Jorge Rabadilla.
The Court of Appeals erred not in ruling that the
institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under subject
Codicil is in the nature of a modal institution and
therefore, Article 882 of the New Civil Code is
the provision of law in point. Articles 882 and
883 of the New Civil Code provide:
Art. 882. The statement of the object of the
institution or the application of the property left
by the testator, or the charge imposed on him,
shall not be considered as a condition unless it
appears that such was his intention.
That which has been left in this manner may be
claimed at once provided that the instituted heir
or his heirs give security for compliance with the
wishes of the testator and for the return of
anything he or they may receive, together with
its fruits and interests, if he or they should
disregard this obligation.
Art. 883. When without the fault of the heir, an
institution referred to in the preceding article
cannot take effect in the exact manner stated by
the testator, it shall be complied with in a
manner most analogous to and in conformity
with his wishes.
The institution of an heir in the manner
prescribed in Article 882 is what is known in the
law of succession as an institucion sub modo or
a modal institution. In a modal institution, the
testator states (1) the object of the institution,
(2) the purpose or application of the property
left by the testator, or (3) the charge imposed by
the testator upon the heir. A "mode" imposes an
obligation upon the heir or legatee but it does
not affect the efficacy of his rights to the
succession. On the other hand, in a conditional
testamentary disposition, the condition must
happen or be fulfilled in order for the heir to be
entitled to succeed the testator. The condition
suspends but does not obligate; and the mode
obligates but does not suspend. To some extent,
it is similar to a resolutory condition.
From the provisions of the Codicil litigated upon,
it can be gleaned unerringly that the testatrix
intended that subject property be inherited by
Dr. Jorge Rabadilla. It is likewise clearly worded

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

that the testatrix imposed an obligation on the


said instituted heir and his successors-in-interest
to deliver one hundred piculs of sugar to the
herein private respondent, Marlena Coscolluela
Belleza, during the lifetime of the latter.
However, the testatrix did not make Dr. Jorge
Rabadilla's inheritance and the effectivity of his
institution as a devisee, dependent on the
performance of the said obligation. It is clear,
though, that should the obligation be not
complied with, the property shall be turned over
to the testatrix's near descendants. The manner
of institution of Dr. Jorge Rabadilla under
subject Codicil is evidently modal in nature
because it imposes a charge upon the
instituted heir without, however, affecting the
efficacy of such institution.
Then too, since testamentary dispositions are
generally acts of liberality, an obligation
imposed upon the heir should not be considered
a condition unless it clearly appears from the
Will itself that such was the intention of the
testator. In case of doubt, the institution should
be considered as modal and not conditional.

ARTICLE 863
G.R. No. L-27952 February 15, 1982
TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSE EUGENIO RAMIREZ,
MARIA
LUISA
PALACIOS,
vs.
MARCELLE D. VDA. DE RAMIREZ, ET AL.,
oppositors, JORGE and ROBERTO RAMIREZ,
Facts:
Jose Eugenio Ramirez, a Filipino national, died in
Spain on December 11, 1964, with only his
widow as compulsory heir. His will was admitted
to probate by the Court of First Instance of
Manila, Branch X, on July 27, 1965. Maria Luisa
Palacios was appointed administratrix of the
estate.
On June 23, 1966, the administratrix submitted
a project of partition as follows: the property of
the deceased is to be divided into two parts.
One part shall go to the widow en
plenodominio in satisfaction of her legitime;

12

the other part or free portion shall go to Jorge


and Roberto Ramirez en nudapropriedad.
Furthermore, one third (1/3) of the free portion
is charged with the widows usufruct and the
remaining two-third (2/3) with a usufruct in
favor of Wanda.
-APPEAL for the partitioning of testate estate of
Jose Eugenio Ramirez (a Filipino national, died in
Spain on December 11, 1964) among principal
beneficiaries:
Marcelle Demoron de Ramirez
-widow
-French who lives in Paris
-received (as spouse) and usufructuary rights
over 1/3 of the free portion
Roberto and Jorge Ramirez
-two grandnephews
-lives in Malate
-received the (free portion)
Wanda de Wrobleski
-companion
-Austrian who lives in Spain
-received usufructuary rights of 2/3 of the free
portion
-vulgar substitution in favor of Juan Pablo
Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez
-Maria Luisa Palacios -administratix
Jorge and Roberto Ramirez opposed because:
a. vulgar substitution in favor of Wanda wrt
widows usufruct and in favor of Juan Pablo
Jankowski and Horacio Ramirez, wrt to Wandas
usufruct is INVALID because first heirs (Marcelle
and Wanda) survived the testator
b. fideicommissary substitutions are INVALID
because first heirs not related to the second
heirs or substitutes within the first degree as
provided in Art 863 CC
c. grant of usufruct of real property in favor of
an alien, Wanda, violated Art XIII Sec 5
d. proposed partition of the testators interest
in the Santa Cruz Building between widow and
appellants violates testators express will to give
this property to them
Issue: WON there was valid substitution.
Rule:
Vulgar substitutions are valid because dying
before the testator is not the only case where a
vulgar substitution can be made. Also, according

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

to Art 859 CC, cases also include refusal or


incapacity to accept inheritance therefore it is
VALID.
BUT fideicommissary substitutions are VOID
because Juan Pablo Jankowski and Horace
Ramirez are not related to Wande and according
to Art 863 CC, it validates a fideicommissary
substitution provided that such substitution
does not go beyond one degreefrom the heir
originally instituted. Another is that there is no
absolute duty imposed on Wanda to transmit
the usufructuary to the substitutes and in fact
the apellee agrees that the testator contradicts
the establishment of the fideicommissary
substitution when he permits the properties be
subject to usufruct to be sold upon mutual
agreement ofthe usufructuaries and naked
owners.

ARTICLE 888
Francisco v. Francisco-Alfonso
REGINA FRANCISCO AND ZENAIDA PASCUAL,
petitioners, vs. AIDA FRANCISCO-ALFONSO,
respondent.
[G.R. No. 138774. March 8, 2001]
Facts:
Respondent Aida Francisco-Alfonso (hereafter
Aida) is the only daughter of spouses Gregorio
Francisco and Cirila de la Cruz, who are now
both deceased. Petitioners, on the other hand,
are daughters of the late Gregorio Francisco
with his common law wife Julia Mendoza, with
whom he begot seven (7) children.
Gregorio Francisco (hereafter Gregorio) owned
two parcels of residential land, situated in
Barangay Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan, covered
by TCT Nos. T-32740 and T-117160. When
Gregorio was confined in a hospital in 1990, he
confided to his daughter Aida that the
certificates of title of his property were in the
possession of Regina Francisco and Zenaida
Pascual.
After Gregorio died on July 20, 1990, Aida
inquired about the certificates of title from her
half sisters. They informed her that Gregorio
had sold the land to them on August 15, 1983.
After verification, Aida learned that there was

13

indeed a deed of absolute sale in favor of Regina


Francisco and Zenaida Pascual. Thus, on August
15, 1983, Gregorio executed a Kasulatan sa
Ganap na Bilihan, whereby for P25,000.00, he
sold the two parcels of land to Regina Francisco
and Zenaida Pascual. By virtue of the sale, the
Register of Deeds of Bulacan issued TCT No. T59.585 to Regina Francisco and TCT T-59.586 to
Zenaida Pascual
On April 1, 1991, Aida filed with the Regional
Trial Court, Bulacan a complaint against
petitioners for annulment of sale with
damages.[5] She alleged that the signature of
her late father, Gregorio Francisco, on the
Kasulatan sa Ganap na Bilihan dated August 15,
1983, was a forgery.
In their joint answer to the complaint,
petitioners denied the alleged forgery or
simulation of the deed of sale. After due
proceedings, on July 21, 1994, the trial court
rendered a decision dismissing the complaint.
CA reversed the TCs decision.
Issue:
WON a legitimate daughter be deprived of her
share in the estate of her deceased father by a
simulated contract transferring the property of
her father to his illegitimate children? NO
Ruling:
(Just in case maam will ask about the sale)
First: The kasulatan was simulated. There was
no consideration for the contract of sale.
Felicitas de la Cruz, a family friend of the
Franciscos, testified that Zenaida Pascual and
Regina Francisco did not have any source of
income in 1983, when they bought the property,
until the time when Felicitas testified in 1991.
As proof of income, however, Zenaida Pascual
testified that she was engaged in operating a
canteen, working as cashier in Mayon Night Club
as well as buying and selling RTW (Ready to
Wear) items in August of 1983 and prior
thereto.
Zenaida alleged that she paid her father the
amount of P10,000.00. She did not withdraw
money from her bank account at the Rural Bank
of Meycauayan, Bulacan, to pay for the
property. She had personal savings other than
those deposited in the bank. Her gross earnings
from the RTW for three years was P9,000.00,
and she earned P50.00 a night at the club.
Regina Francisco, on the other hand, was a
market vendor, selling nilugaw, earning a net

SUCCESSION DIGEST (Article 850 to 888)

income of P300.00 a day in 1983. She bought


the property from the deceased for
P15,000.00.[17] She had no other source of
income.
We find it incredible that engaging in buy and
sell could raise the amount of P10,000.00, or
that earnings in selling goto could save enough
to pay P15,000.00, in cash for the land.
The testimonies of petitioners were incredible
considering their inconsistent statements as to
whether there was consideration for the sale
and also as to whether the property was bought
below or above its supposed market value. They
could not even present a single witness to the
kasulatan that would prove receipt of the
purchase price.
Since there was no cause or consideration for
the sale, the same was a simulation and hence,
null and void.
(More important part)
Second: Even if the kasulatan was not
simulated, it still violated the Civil Code
provisions insofar as the transaction affected
respondents legitime. The sale was executed in
1983, when the applicable law was the Civil
Code, not the Family Code.
Obviously, the sale was Gregorios way to
transfer the property to his illegitimate
daughters at the expense of his legitimate
daughter. The sale was executed to prevent
respondent Alfonso from claiming her legitime
and rightful share in said property. Before his
death, Gregorio had a change of heart and
informed his daughter about the titles to the
property.
According to Article 888, Civil Code:
The legitime of legitimate children and
descendants consists of one-half of the
hereditary estate of the father and of the
mother.
The latter may freely dispose of the remaining
half subject to the rights of illegitimate children
and of the surviving spouse as hereinafter
provided.
Gregorio Francisco did not own any other
property. If indeed the parcels of land involved
were the only property left by their father, the
sale in fact would deprive respondent of her
share in her fathers estate. By law, she is
entitled to half of the estate of her father as his
only legitimate child.
The legal heirs of the late Gregorio Francisco
must be determined in proper testate or

14

intestate proceedings for settlement of the


estate. His compulsory heir cannot be deprived
of her share in the estate save by disinheritance
as prescribed by law.