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FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 116018. November 13, 1996]
NELIA A. CONSTANTINO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, AURORA S. ROQUE,
PRISCILLA S. LUNA and JOSEFINA S. AUSTRIA, respondents.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:
JOSEFA TORRES died intestate leaving a parcel of land located at Balagtas, Bulacan.
Among her heirs are respondents Aurora S. Roque, Priscilla S. Luna and Josefina S.
Austria. Sometime in 1984, the heirs of Josefa Torres, as vendors, and petitioner Nelia
A. Constantino, as vendee, entered into a contract to sell a parcel of land with a total
land area of two hundred and fifty (250) square meters. The lot, owned in common by
the Torres heirs, is being occupied by petitioners mother and sister. An adjoining lot,
also co-owned by the heirs, is being occupied by spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim.
Pursuant to their agreement, the heirs authorized petitioner to prepare the necessary
Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale.
After having the document drafted - with several spaces left blank including the
specification as to the metes and bounds of the land - petitioner asked the heirs to affix
their signatures on the document. The heirs signed the document with the
understanding that respondent Aurora S. Roque, one of the heirs, would be present
when the latter would seek permission from the Bureau of Lands and have the land
surveyed.
However, without the participation of any of the Torres heirs, the property was
subsequently surveyed, subdivided and then covered by TCT Nos. T-292265 and T292266. Petitioner did not furnish the heirs with copies of the Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement of Estate with Sale nor of the subdivision plan and the certificates of title.
Upon securing a copy of the deed from the Registry of Deeds, the respondents learned
that the area of the property purportedly sold to petitioner was much bigger than that
agreed upon by the parties. It already included the portion being occupied by the
spouses Severino and Consuelo Lim.
On 2 June 1986, private respondents sent a letter to petitioner demanding the surrender
to them of the deed of settlement and conveyance, the subdivision plan and the
certificates of title; but to no avail. On 25 June 1986 respondents filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Bulacan an action for annulment of the deed and cancellation of the
certificates of title, with prayer for recovery of damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit. i
[1]

Petitioner controverted the allegations of respondents by presenting the Deed of
Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale dated 10 October 1984 wherein
respondents agreed to divide and adjudicate among themselves the inherited property
with an area of one thousand five hundred and three (1,503) square meters. In the
same document, they caused the subdivision of the property into two (2) lots according
to Plan No. PSD-03-009105 identified as Lot 4-A with an area of one thousand ninetysix (1,096) square meters, and Lot 4-B with an area of four hundred and seven (407)
square meters, and acknowledged the sale to petitioner of said Lot 4-B. As a
consequence, on 18 March 1985, the Register of Deeds issued TCT No. T-292265 in
the name of the heirs of Josefa Torres and TCT No. T-292266 in the name of petitioner.
In reply, private respondents reiterated that all the heirs signed the document before the
land was surveyed and subdivided, hence, there was as yet no definite area to be sold
that could be indicated in the deed at the time of the signing. They also claimed that
they were not notified about the survey and the subdivision of the lot and therefore they
could not have agreed on the area supposedly sold to petitioner. The respondent heirs
insist that they could not have agreed to the extent of the area actually reflected in the
deed because it included the portion being occupied by the Lim spouses, which was
already the subject of a previous agreement to sell between them and their
predecessor.
The trial court entertained serious doubts with respect to the preparation and due
execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale taking into account
that (a) while petitioner claimed that all the heirs signed before the notary public and in
her presence, she was not able to enumerate all the signatories to the document; (b)
while petitioner claimed that the document was signed only after the survey of the land
was completed, or on 10 October 1984, such fact was negated by her own witness who
testified that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984; and, (c) while
petitioner alleged that the document was signed and notarized in Manila no explanation
was offered why the same could not have been signed and notarized in Bulacan where
notaries public abound which could have been less inconvenient to the parties
concerned. Additionally, the trial court relied heavily on the assertions of respondents as
reflected in their demand letter that they did not give their consent to the sale of Lot 4-B.
Thus, on the basis of the evidence on record, the trial court on 27 September 1990
ordered the annulment and cancellation of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of
Estate with Sale, TCT Nos. T-292265 and T-292266 and Subdivision Plan No. PSD-03009105. It also ordered petitioner to pay private respondents P50,000.00 for moral
damages, P15,000.00 for attorneys fees, and to pay the costs of suit. ii[2]
On 16 March 1994 respondent Court of Appeals sustained the decision of the trial
court,iii[3] and on 20 June 1994 denied the motion to reconsider its decision. iv[4]
Petitioner faults respondent Court of Appeals: (a) for disregarding documentary
evidence already presented, marked and identified on a purely technical ground, and (b)

in effect. Mercado has (sic) not yet filed and/or complied with the Court Order dated February 06. called the attention of the Court that Atty. 1990. citing Sales v. plaintiffs counsel. Yet the holding is inapplicable to the present case as the trial court had a reasonable basis for denying petitioners motion On February 6. we held in Siguenza that rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid and technical sense as they are used only to help secure. according to petitioner. Court of Appeals. Atty. A considerable lapse of time. Ponciano Mercado x x x x was not in Court. She claims that during cross-examination respondent Aurora S. Veneracion waived the presentation of rebuttal evidence considering that the defendant can (sic) no longer make a formal offer of evidence. defendants right to file a formal offer of evidence was deemed waived. had already passed before petitioners counsel made effort to formally offer his evidence.for concluding that the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale did not reflect the true intent of the parties. Petitioner argues that the trial court should not have denied her motion to admit formal offer of evidence merely on the basis of technicality such as late filing. On May 11. He asked that he be given 15 days to make a formal offer of evidence and which the Court granted.000. Court of Appeals. vi[6] . not override. citing Siguenza v. Roque admitted that she signed in behalf of her co-heirs a receipt for P30. Ponciano Mercado. defendants counsel. the assertions of private respondents to petitioner contained in the demand letter should not necessarily be true and that the validity of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate with Sale was not affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereof was situated. On motion of Atty. Considering that the same was filed out of time and the plaintiffs having filed their memorandum already. 1990. The trial court was correct in holding that petitioner waived the right to formally offer his evidence.00 as partial payment for the lot occupied by Ka Baring and Lina (relatives of petitioner) and Iling (Consuelo Lim). Atty. on May 02. 1990. Veneracion. substantial justice. Ponciano Mercado. Atty. 1990. Atty. Atty. which is to file his formal offer of evidence. Petitioner also insists that the real intent of the parties was to make the entire Lot 4-B the subject matter of the sale. would encourage needless delays and derail the speedy administration of justice. the Court was in receipt of a motion to admit formal offer of exhibits filed by the defendant thru counsel. Veneracion.v[5] We are not persuaded. manifested in Court that he has (sic) no more witness to present. about three (3) months. At the scheduled hearing of April 03. the motion to admit formal offer of exhibits was denied (underscoring supplied). For the trial court to grant petitioners motion to admit her exhibits would be to condone an inexcusable laxity if not non-compliance with a court order which. Indeed. 1990. Moreover.

But even without the letter. This additional detail casts doubt on the procedural regularity in the preparation. the trial court only lent credence to the assertions in the demand letter after having weighed the respective evidence of the parties. Quite obviously. we find the allegation of respondents that they signed the deed prior to the survey. The admission of respondent Roque cannot prevail in the face of the clear evidence that there was as yet no meeting of the minds on the land area to be sold since private respondents were still awaiting the survey to be conducted on the premises. Our concern here is not whether the notary public had the authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction but whether respondents indeed appeared before him and signed the deed. The heirs were persuaded to sign the document only upon the assurance of petitioner that respondent Roque. it was still incomplete since petitioner who caused it to be prepared left several spaces blank. and then causing the issuance of transfer certificates of title without their knowledge. The ruling in Sales is not applicable to the present case. The trial court correctly appreciated the fact that the deed was notarized in Manila when it could have been notarized in Bulacan.vii[7] Apparently. However. worthy of credit as against the contention of petitioner that they signed after the survey or on 10 October 1984. We ruled in the Sales case that the extrinsic validity of a document was not affected by the fact that it was notarized in a place other than where the subject matter thereof was located. Thus all the elements of fraud vitiating consent for purposes of annulling a contract concur: (a) It was employed by a contracting party upon the other. the claim of private respondents that they did not sign the document before a notary public is more plausible than petitioners feeble claim to the contrary. the quantum of evidence shows that they did not. would be present when the property would be surveyed after obtaining permission from the Bureau of Lands. where notaries public are easy to find. execution and signing of the deed. with the exception of respondent Roque. Bulacan. pursuant to their understanding. Obviously. the supposed understanding was merely a ruse of petitioner to induce respondents to sign the deed without which the latter would not have given their conformity thereto. much less consent. As it surfaced. having the lots surveyed and subdivided. Likewise. As found by the trial court. such contention was contradicted by petitioners own witness who positively asserted in court that the survey was conducted only on 16 October 1984 or six (6) days after the signing. What is more important under the Notarial Law is that the notary public has authority to acknowledge the document executed within his territorial jurisdiction.These other arguments of petitioner are barren and futile. more particularly as regards the dimensions of the property to be sold. when respondents affixed their signatures on the deed. (b) It . Consequently. are residents of Balagtas. or before determination of the area to be sold. petitioner deceived respondents by filling the blank spaces in the deed. It is not easy to believe that petitioner and the ten (10) Torres heirs traveled all the way to Manila to have their questioned document notarized considering that they. the evidence of respondents had already amply substantiated their claims.

22. which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos. and Hermosisima. concur. the instant petition is DENIED. Vitug. Jr. Br. . (c) It was serious. and. SO ORDERED. Padilla (Chairman). JJ. WHEREFORE. viii[8] Perhaps. (d) It resulted in damages and injury to the party seeking annulment. another compelling reason for the annulment of the document of settlement and conveyance is that the second page thereof clearly manifests that the number of the subdivision plan and the respective areas of Lots 4-A and 4-B were merely handwritten while all the rest of the statements therein were typewritten. there being no error to warrant a reversal of the decision and resolution in question of respondent Court of Appeals. Bulacan. which leads us to the conclusion that handwritten figures thereon were not available at the time the document was formalized... Kapunan.induced the other party to enter into the contract.

i ii iii .

Jose Espiritu and Gibbs. The many points pressed by contending counsel can be best disposed of by. making a statement of the facts. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS . 1921. 1922 FROILAN LOPEZ. and.R. McDonough and Johnson for defendants-appellants. considering plaintiff's appeal. lastly.495. SALVADOR V. MALCOLM. considering defendant's appeal. first. No. DEL ROSARIO and BENITA QUIOGUE DE V. next. without special finding as to costs. J. DEL ROSARIO.21 with legal interest from May 13. plaintiff-appellant. L-19189 November 27. vs. Araneta and Zaragoza for plaintiff-appellant.iv vRepublic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT ManilaEN BANC G. rendering judgment. defendantsappellants.: Both parties to this action appeal from the judgment of Judge Simplicio del Rosario of the Court of First Instance of Manila awarding the plaintiff the sum of 88. next.

an agreement between Mrs.On and prior to June 6. collected by her from the companies.. with the addition of the money received from the salvaged copra amounting to P49. the South British Insurance Co. 1920. cost of which is in addition to storage.000. on August 24. but not thereafter. She was engaged in the business of a warehouse keeper. shall be made in advance. or quedans (as they are variously termed) of Lopez named a declared value of P107. D.) Mrs.95. (Exhibits N. etc. Ltd. authorized Attorney F. Del Rosario..990. to effect a settlement between the insurance companies and Mrs. P. Del Rosario and the insurance companies to submit the matter to administration was executed in September. and/or within five (5) days after presentation of bill. Mrs. del Rosario. O. (Exhibit B. G. Following an unsuccessful attempt by Henry Hunter Bayne. It is admitted that insurance was paid by Lopez to May 18. del Rosario.683..985 was salvaged. Del Rosario laid claim before the arbitrators. and Q.. Del Rosario P363. H. Benita Quiogue de V. Ltd.610. only an amount equal to P49. The warehouse was a total loss. in favor of the Compañia Coprera de Tayabas. the Alliance Insurance Company. the Commercial Union Insurance Company.800. Del Rosario secured insurance on the warehouse and its contents with the National Insurance Co. which. (2) the company reserves to itself the right to raise and/or lower the rates of storage and/or of insurance on giving one calendar month's notice in writing..) Mrs. the holder of fourteen warehouse receipts in his own name. or negotiable warrants. while of the copra stored therein.40 (Exhibits L-1 to L-13). with the exception of Froilan Lopez.) As a result. was the owner of a bonded warehouse situated in the City of Manila. Among the persons who had copra deposited in the Del Rosario warehouse was Froilan Lopez. Benita Quiogue de V.258. 1920. Del Rosario. All the policies were in the name of Sra. . Fire Loss Adjuster. Del Rosario and its contents were destroyed by fire on June 6. and stored copra and other merchandise in the said building. in the amount of P404. (3) this warrant carries no insurance unless so noted on the face hereof. to P419. The arbitrators in their report allowed Mrs. F. (5) payment for storage and/or insurance.) The warehouse receipts. (Exhibits C. Del Rosario seems to have satisfied all of the persons who had copra stored in her warehouse. and interest. Inc. and the British Traders Insurance Co. Ineffectual attempts by Mrs. 1920. (Exhibit A. including the stockholders in the Compañia Coprera de Tayabas (whose stock she took over). the plaintiff. (Exhibits E.. for P40. R-1 to R-4. Muir and Campbell.985. and the proceeds of the salvage sale. with the exception of one of the National Insurance Company. 1920. Fisher to negotiate with the various insurance companies. C. 1920. (4) the time for which storage and/or insurance is charged is thirty (30) days. The warehouse receipts provided: (1) For insurance at the rate of 1 per cent per month on the declared value. Zamora. Inc.. Messrs. whom we will hereafter call Mrs. and the name of Elias T. the latter. and R. made a total of P414..) The warehouse of Mrs.

) PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL Plaintiff. The agency can be deduced from the warehouse receipts. and finally reduced to P17. in taking out insurance on the contents of the bodega. After all. 1108. 844. Giving a natural expression to the terms of the warehouse receipts. Scævola. J. are too remote and speculative to be allowed. Codigo Civil. Plaintiff has exactly the rights of any litigant. 17 C. and no more. Rueda Hermanos & Co.. vol.21 allowed by the trial court. 14 Phil. 576.lawph!l. The slight difference of P100. we remain unimpressed by many of these arguments. Gonzales Quiros vs. The deprivation of an opportunity for making money which might have proved beneficial or might have been ruinous is of too uncertain character to be weighed in the even balances of the law. or whether the defendant acted as a reinsurer of the copra. 675. 4. later raised to P72. 126. 1. 37 Phil. and the circumstances surrounding the transaction.43. Damages in the form of interest at the rate of 12 per cent. by means of his assignment of error. Tin Fian vs. 5 Phil.000. as claimed by the plaintiff.43 in lieu of P88. of whether the defendant acted as the agent of the plaintiff. lays claim to P88.) DEFENDANT'S APPEAL Counsel for defendant have adroitly and ingeniously attempted to avoid all liability. (Civil Code. 3.22 is asked for so that plaintiff can participate in the interest money which accrued on the amount received for the salvaged copra. 8.724. 19. 7. or.994. his attorney contended for him. 6. 5.. 8 R. that he should receive not a centavo less than P88.595. of Canada vs. art. 463.595..) But Lopez stubbornly contended. The controversy is merely one which unfortunately all too often arises between litigious persons. We fail to grasp plaintiff's point of view. We think the additional sum should accrue to the plaintiff. however.Del Rosario to effect a compromise with Lopez first for P71.. Sun Life Insurance Co. Tan [1909]. (Exhibits Y. equally situated. (Exhibits EE and FF. and that the plaintiff should recover interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum. Palanca Tan-Guinlay [1906]. the first hypothesis is the correct one. 864. for it might well be — although we do not have to decide — that under any aspect of the case. at least. the defendant would be liable.495. C. The defendant has not sought to elude her moral and legal obligations.) Defendant makes no specific denial of this claim. this is not so vitally important. and Delgado [1918].net Much time has been spent by counsel for both parties in discussing the question. The law is . 12. L. However. were made. Plaintiff's second and third assignment of error present the point that the defendant has fraudulently — and even criminally — refrained from paying the plaintiff. p. (Exhibits 4. It has been the constant practice of the court to make article 1108 of the Civil Code the basis for the calculation of interest.. the insurance policies.

93 U. Del Rosario. Carr [1878]. believe that all the assets should be marshalled and that the plaintiff should receive the benefit accruing from the gross amount realized from all the policies. Home Insurance Co. no deduction for this claim can be made. . of New York vs. or as obligatory. Baltimore Warehouse Co. Ann.. Baltimore Warehouse Co. Even if one secured insurance covering his own goods and goods stored with him. 32 Am. vs. and the other the statement of claim of Mrs. equally and proportionately to the benefit of all the owners of the property insured. supra. Rep. Del Rosario's warehouse but the products stored in the warehouse by Lopez and others. S. and would have preferred at least to eliminate the policy for which premiums were paid. Broussard vs.. 103 Tex. (Exhibits B and C-3. against risk of loss by fire. including the writer of this opinion. inures. and that notice of an intention to cancel the insurance was ever given the plaintiff. but by Compañia Coprera de Tayabas... she acknowledged her responsibility to the owners of the stored merchandise. in the event of a loss.. [1910].) Moreover. and did not ratify it before the payment of the loss. 363. but for the purpose of assisting the court in calculating the amount of liability. 535. (Home Insurance Co. [1876]. 142.that a policy effected by bailee and covering by its terms his own property and property held in trust. Plaintiff's rights to the insurance money have not been forfeited by failure to pay the insurance provided for in the warehouse receipts. however. 3. have been favorable impressed by this argument. Consequently. Nor is it shown that the plaintiff ever refused to pay the insurance when the bills were presented to him. 61 Ala. (Snow vs. Special emphasis has been laid upon one policy (Exhibit 9) in the name of the Compañia Coprera de Tayabas.) Counsel for the defendant have dwelt at length on the phraseology of the policies of the National Insurance Company. against the insurance companies. The record of the proceedings before the board of arbitrators. In this connection it may be said that three members of the court. Del Rosario on behalf of Lopez and others. Inc. one the agreement for arbitration. adjustments of loss made by an expert or by a board of arbitrators may be submitted to the court not as evidence of the facts stated therein. In a case of contributing policies. it has not escaped our notice that in two documents. yet it has been held by a reputable court that the warehouseman is liable to the owner of such stored goods for his share. 527. Cas. not by Mrs.) The award of the arbitrators covered not alone Mrs. South Texas Rice Co. and even if the owner of the stored goods did not request or know of the insurance. 1913-A.. were properly taken into consideration by the trial court as a basis for the determination of the amount due from the defendant to the plaintiff. and its report and findings. A majority of the court.. and note. A preponderance of the proof does not demonstrate that the plaintiff ever ordered the cancellation of his insurance with the defendant.

and the amounts can be figured in several different ways. C.028.85. As no intimation is made that the expenses were exorbitant.258. etc.90.88. If our mathematics are correct. due for insurance and storage. 382. the proportionate part of the expenses with reference to the copra. 3. and Romualdez.65.85 or P7. Johns.595. Wherefore.600.600 equals P31. or approximately a net amount of P81..558 was for copra and the remainder for buildings. P382. Mrs. to P31.093. while he benefits from the amicable adjustment of the insurance claims. Without special finding as to costs in either instance.. minus P315. This sum the defendant must disgorge. JUDGMENT In resume. The expenses for collecting the P414. J. corn. JJ. took no part. Araullo. Avanceña.558/414.558. it is so ordered. Although the plaintiff did not expressly authorize the agreement to submit the matter to arbitration. plaintiff is entitled to P88. 5. we necessarily accept the statement of the same appearing in Exhibits Q and 8. Of the expenses amounting.. Street.258 totalled P33. until paid. with legal interest.875. the result is to sustain plaintiff's first assignment of error and to overrule his second and third assignments of error.028.185. 6. his share of the expenses. is well taken. Del Rosario was acting as his agent in securing insurance.90. Villamor.The remaining contention of the defendant that the plaintiff cannot claim the benefits of the agency without sharing in the expenses. as we have said. Johnson. yet on his own theory of the case. concur.258 of 33. to overrule defendant's assignment of error 1.028.00 of P31.85. and 4 in toto and to accede to defendant's assignments of error. totalling P414. with interest at 6 per cent per annum from May 13. J.595. .185.43/382. plaintiff would be liable for his proportionate share or 88. 2. and 7 in part.65.093. judgment is modified and the plaintiff shall have and recover from the defendants the sum of P81. Of the insurance money. Ostrand. The parties finally agree that the plaintiff at the time of the fire was indebted to the defendant for storage and insurance in the sum of P315.43 minus P7. 1921.

AQUINO. J. 7816). They were childless. No.S. vs. married Marcelina Salvador in 1923 (p. 1981 NENITA DE VERA SUROZA. respondents. Army (Philippine Scouts).Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION A. 2026-CFI December 19. which on its face is void because it is written in English. Proc.: Should disciplinary action be taken against respondent judge for having admitted to probate a will. a language not known to the illiterate testatrix. Deputy Clerk of Court. No. JUDGE REYNALDO P. a corporal in the 45th Infantry of the U. Pasig Branch 25 and EVANGELINE S. YUIPCO. and which is probably a forged will because she and the attesting witnesses did not appear before the notary as admitted by the notary himself? That question arises under the pleadings filed in the testate case and in the certiorari case in the Court of Appeals which reveal the following tangled strands of human relationship: Mauro Suroza. complainant. Spec. 150. They reared a boy named Agapito who used the surname Suroza and who considered them as his parents as shown in his 1945 marriage contract with Nenita de Vera . Fort McKinley. HONRADO of the Court of First Instance of Rizal.M.

38-39. That will which is in English was thumbmarked by her. 16. Judge Bienvenido A. 87. CA Rollo). No. 08654-R). In that connection. Makati. Agapito also became a soldier. Marcelina. CA Rollo) and the executrix in her will (the alternate executrix was Juanita Macaraeg. Mauro died in 1942. Roxas Street. 1974 at the Veterans Hospital in Quezon City. Marina Paje. 08654-R. She acquired the lot in 1966 (p.R. Rollo of CA-G. Tan dismissed the second guardianship proceeding and confirmed Nenita's appointment as guardian of Agapito (p. No. mother of . Marilyn used the surname Suroza. Agapito has been staying in a veteran's hospital in San Francisco or Palo Alto. became a pensioner of the Federal Government. the spouses Antonio Sy and Hermogena Talan begot a child named Marilyn Sy. Record). as a veteran's widow. On January 13. 148. 23-26. Marcelina died on November 15. 61-63. Rollo of CA-G. At the time of her death.B. Rollo of CA case). p. Olimpia. Her letters in English to the Veterans Administration were also thumbmarked by her (pp. when she was 73 years old. He was disabled and his wife Nenita was appointed as his guardian in 1953 when he was declared an incompetent in Special Proceeding No. 15. She owned a 150-square meter lot and house in that place. She married Oscar Medrano and is residing at 7666 J. apparently a neighbor of Marina Paje. Agapito and Nenita begot a child named Lilia who became a medical technologist and went abroad.B. Record of testate case).SP-08654-R). In that wig. 16. Roxas Street. 1973. 1975. Rollo of CA-G. Rollo of Testate Case showing that Agapito was 5 years old when Mauro married Marcelina in 1923). 134.R. was entrusted to Arsenia de la Cruz (apparently a girl friend of Agapito) and who was later delivered to Marcelina Salvador Suroza who brought her up as a supposed daughter of Agapito and as her granddaughter (pp. when a few days old. Arsenia tried to prove that Nenita was living separately from Agapito and that she (Nenita) admitted to Marcelina that she was unfaithful to Agapito (pp. Record of testate case). Rizal. 1807 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal. Marcelina supposedly executed a notarial will in Manila on July 23. Pasig Branch I (p.R. California (p. 97. Marcelina bequeathed all her estate to her supposed granddaughter Marilyn. No. who. That explains why on her death she had accumulated some cash in two banks.(p. a resident of 7668 J. She was illiterate. alleged to be a laundrywoman of Marcelina (P. She stayed with Marcelina but was not legally adopted by Agapito. she was a resident of 7374 San Maximo Street. On a date not indicated in the record. Makati. it should be noted that a woman named Arsenia de la Cruz wanted also to be his guardian in another proceeding.

Honrado. to deliver them to Marina. To that motion was attached an affidavit of Zenaida A. . 109. filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal. that he has a daughter named Lilia. a petition for the probate of Marcelina's alleged will. Later. Nenita in that motion reiterated her allegation that Marilyn was a stranger to Marcelina. 1975. Evangeline S. that the will was not duly executed and attested. Pasig Branch 25. 83-91. were claiming Marcelina's estate. In an order dated March 31. Record of testate case). Record). 74-77. Judge Honrado appointed Marina as administratrix. Suroza. They alleged that the decedent's son Agapito was the sole heir of the deceased. In spite of the fact that Judge Honrado was already apprised that persons.Oscar. On the following day. Yuipco. On April 24. Nenita further alleged that the institution of Marilyn as heir is void because of the preterition of Agapito and that Marina was not qualified to act as executrix (pp. Upon motion of Marina. That order alerted Nenita to the existence of the testamentary proceeding for the settlement of Marcelina's estate. other than Marilyn. that Nenita was Agapito's guardian and that Marilyn was not Agapito's daughter nor the decedent's granddaughter (pp. 52-68. to hear the evidence. who swore that the alleged will was falsified (p. that it was procured by means of undue influence employed by Marina and Marilyn and that the thumbmarks of the testatrix were procured by fraud or trick. Record). admit opposition with counter-petition for administration and preliminary injunction". among whom was Nenita V. he issued on April 23 an order probating her supposed will wherein Marilyn was the instituted heiress (pp. Judge Honrado issued another order dated April 11. The case was assigned to Judge Reynaldo P. and to place Marina in possession thereof. 1975. instructing a deputy sheriff to eject the occupants of the testatrix's house. She and the other occupants of the decedent's house filed on April 18 in the said proceeding a motion to set aside the order of April 11 ejecting them. Nenita filed in the testate case an omnibus petition "to set aside proceedings. they questioned the probate court's jurisdiction to issue the ejectment order. the custodian of the passbooks. Judge Honrado commissioned his deputy clerk of court. Suroza and Marilyn Suroza and requiring Corazon Castro. As there was no opposition. Penaojas the housemaid of Marcelina. Judge Honrado issued two orders directing the Merchants Banking Corporation and the Bank of America to allow Marina to withdraw the sum of P10. Record).000 from the savings accounts of Marcelina S. The transcripts of the stenographic notes taken at the hearing before the deputy clerk of court are not in the record. April 1. Marilyn's husband).

143. closed the testamentary proceeding. who swore that Marcelina never executed a win (pp. The complainant reiterated her contention that the testatrix was illiterate as shown by the fact that she affixed her thumbmark to the will and that she did not know English. April 25. Instead of appealing from that order and the order probating the wig. in a verified complaint dated October 12. Judge Honrado in his order dated December 22. About ten months later. filed in this Court. 398-402. her nieces and nephews (pp. 332. Nenita was not aware of the decree of probate dated April 23. Judge Honrado in his order of June 8. That case. 208-209. and that the estate tax had been paid. 1976 "denied" the various incidents "raised" by Nenita (p. 24276. for the consolidation of all pending incidents. Nenita assailed the due execution of the will and stated the names and addresses of Marcelina's intestate heirs. 1977. Paje and Honrado (p. Record). Marcelina's niece. was also assigned to Judge Honrado. Record). 1975. 124-125. Record). Nenita filed the next day. 1975 dismissed Nenita's counter-petition for the issuance of letters of administration because of the non-appearance of her counsel at the hearing. the language in which the win was written. Record). In that opposition. 1978. 1977 (pp. 284. an opposition to the probate of the will and a counter-petition for letters of administration. 398. 1975. Civil Case No.) . Judge Honrado in his order of July 17. Record). In a motion dated December 5. Nenita charged Judge Honrado with having probated the fraudulent will of Marcelina. Marina in her answer to Nenita's motion to set aside the proceedings admitted that Marilyn was not Marcelina's granddaughter but was the daughter of Agapito and Arsenia de la Cruz and that Agapito was not Marcelina's son but merely an anak-anakan who was not legally adopted (p. She moved for the reconsideration of that order. after noting that the executrix had delivered the estate to Marilyn. He dismissed it in his order of February 16. Record). Nenita "filed a case to annul" the probate proceedings (p. To that opposition was attached an affidavit of Dominga Salvador Teodocio. Record). Nenita V. (In the decree of probate Judge Honrado did not make any finding that the will was written in a language known to the testatrix. 113-121. Record).Not content with her motion to set aside the ejectment order (filed on April 18) and her omnibus motion to set aside the proceedings (filed on April 24). Suroza reiterated her contention that the alleged will is void because Marcelina did not appear before the notary and because it is written in English which is not known to her (pp. Suroza vs.

On December 14. Evangeline allegedly advised Nenita to desist from claiming the properties of the testatrix because she (Nenita) had no rights thereto and. 1976 she asked for a thirty day period within which to vacate the house of the testatrix. He submitted a report dated October 7. Judge Honrado in his brief comment did not deal specifically with the allegations of the complaint. should she persist. vehemently and flatly denied" Nenita's charge that she (Evangeline) said that the sum of ten thousand pesos was needed in order that Nenita could get a favorable decision. Nenita denounced Judge Honrado for having acted corruptly in allowing Marina and her cohorts to withdraw from various banks the deposits Marcelina. Evangeline branded as a lie Nenita's imputation that she (Evangeline) prevented Nenita from having access to the record of the testamentary proceeding. Nenita also said that Evangeline insinuated that if she (Nenita) had ten thousand pesos. Evangeline S. the decree of probate and all the proceedings in the probate case be declared void. The case was referred to Justice Juan A. He merely pointed to the fact that Nenita did not appeal from the decree of probate and that in a motion dated July 6. Evangeline " strongly. who was preterited in the will. Nenita filed in the Court of Appeals against Judge Honrado a petition for certiorari and prohibition wherein she prayed that the will. Evangeline was not the custodian of the record. Nenita disclosed that she talked several times with Judge Honrado and informed him that the testatrix did not know the executrix Marina Paje. Yuipco. 1978.Nenita further alleged that Judge Honrado. 1980. . The 1978 complaint against Judge Honorado was brought to attention of this Court in the Court Administrator's memorandum of September 25. for not giving her access to the record of the probate case by alleging that it was useless for Nenita to oppose the probate since Judge Honrado would not change his decision. in spite of his knowledge that the testatrix had a son named Agapito (the testatrix's supposed sole compulsory and legal heir). did not take into account the consequences of such a preterition. she might lose her pension from the Federal Government. that the beneficiary's real name is Marilyn Sy and that she was not the next of kin of the testatrix. report and recommendation. Sison of the Court of Appeals for investigation. Evangeline also denied that she has any knowledge of Nenita's pension from the Federal Government. Yuipco in her affidavit said that she never talked with Nenita and that the latter did not mention Evangeline in her letter dated September 11. 1981. She also denounced Evangeline S. 1978 to President Marcos. the deputy clerk of court. the case might be decided in her favor.

214-215). Judiciary Law). May 24. No. 21. Inefficiency implies negligence. Administrative action may be taken against a judge of the court of first instance for serious misconduct or inefficiency ( Sec.Attached to the petition was the affidavit of Domingo P. 204 to 206. Honrado. incompetence. 43 Phil. A judge may be criminally liable or knowingly rendering an unjust judgment or interlocutory order or rendering a manifestly unjust judgment or interlocutory order by reason of inexcusable negligence or ignorance (Arts. Jan. Adm. it was stated that the will was read to the testatrix "and translated into Filipino language". 1981 a motion to dismiss the administrative case for having allegedly become moot and academic. 67. A judge would be inexcusably negligent if he failed to observe in the performance of his duties that diligence. 1981). could have readily perceived that the will is void. 1974. not a mere error of judgment. Misconduct implies malice or a wrongful intent. That could only mean that the will was written in a language not known to the illiterate testatrix and. Aquino. prudence and circumspection which the law requires in the rendition of any public service (In re Climaco. 55 SCRA 107. 16. on perusing the will and noting that it was written in English and was thumbmarked by an obviously illiterate testatrix. SP-08654. there must be reliable evidence showing that the judicial acts complained of were corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law. respondent judge. who notarized the will. 134-J.R. therefore. it is void because of the mandatory provision of article 804 of the Civil Code . 119). Case No. "For serious misconduct to exist. We hold that disciplinary action should be taken against respondent judge for his improper disposition of the testate case which might have resulted in a miscarriage of justice because the decedent's legal heirs and not the instituted heiress in the void win should have inherited the decedent's estate. In this case. Record of testate case). 212. Judge Honrado filed on November 17. CA-G. Revised Penal Code). ignorance and carelessness. (p. or were in persistent disregard of well-known legal rules" (In re lmpeachment of Horrilleno. In the opening paragraph of the will. Relying on that decision. it was stated that English was a language "understood and known" to the testatrix. He swore that the testatrix and the three attesting witnesses did not appear before him and that he notarized the will "just to accommodate a brother lawyer on the condition" that said lawyer would bring to the notary the testatrix and the witnesses but the lawyer never complied with his commitment. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition because Nenita's remedy was an appeal and her failure to do so did not entitle her to resort to the special civil action of certiorari (Suroza vs. But in its concluding paragraph.

SO ORDERED. Ericta and Escolin JJ.. Firm Adm. Matter No. respondent judge could have noticed that the notary was not presented as a witness. WHEREFORE. 1980. Since September 1.. which was not known to the Igorot testator. She is beyond this Court's disciplinary jurisdiction (Peralta vs. 1981). a will written in English. Abad Santos.that every will must be executed in a language or dialect known to the testator.. he could have noted not only the anomaly as to the language of the will but also that there was something wrong in instituting the supposed granddaughter as sole heiress and giving nothing at all to her supposed father who was still alive. 2044-CFI November 21. took no part. The case against respondent Yuipco has become moot and academic because she is no longer employed in the judiciary. The hasty preparation of the will is shown in the attestation clause and notarial acknowledgment where Marcelina Salvador Suroza is repeatedly referred to as the "testator" instead of "testatrix". Had respondent judge been careful and observant. concur. for inefficiency in handling the testate case of Marcelina S. Concepcion Jr. after the hearing conducted by respondent deputy clerk of court. J. J. Suroza. a fine equivalent to his salary for one month is imposed on respondent judge (his compulsory retirement falls on December 25.. is on leave. 1980 she has been assistant city fiscal of Surigao City. we find his negligence and dereliction of duty to be inexcusable. Piraso. 660). Thus. Barredo (Chairman). is void and was disallowed (Acop vs. . De Castro. Furthermore. Under the circumstances. In spite of the absence of an opposition. respondent judge should have personally conducted the hearing on the probate of the will so that he could have ascertained whether the will was validly executed. 52 Phil. 101 SCRA 225).

R. 1921 .vi vii Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. 16008 September 29. No.

Tirol. By section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure." "four." "three. it is required that each and every page of the will shall be numbered correlatively in letters and that the attesting clause shall state the number of sheets or pages used. In two cases we have held that the failure to comply with the strict requirements of this law does not invalidate the instrument. The attesting clause of the will in question is incorporated in the will itself. the defect in one case being that a willin which the dispositive part consisted of . LUCILA ARCE. and as the Legislature has seen fit to prescribe this requirement. and J. his Honor. In light of these requirements it is really difficult to see any practical necessity for the additional requirement that the attesting clause shall state the number of sheets or pages used. it must be considered material. and its defect consists in the fact that it does not state the number of sheets or pages upon which the will is written. Nevertheless. 2645. petitioner-appellant." "tatlo. The law plainly says that the attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages used.: Lucina Andrada died on June 5. Upon hearing the petition." Visayan being the dialect in which the instrument is written. Province of Capiz. Each of the pages moreover bears successively the Visayan words. constituting the last paragraph thereof. though it does state that the testatrix and the instrumental witnesses signed on every page." "apat. STREET. and the petitioner appealed. as is in fact obvious from an inspection of the instrument." "two. the court is unanimous upon the point that the defect pointed out in the attesting clause is fatal.IN RE WILL OF THE DECEASED LUCINA ANDRADA. the eident purpose being to safeguard the document from the possiblity of the interpolation of additional pages or the omission of some of the pages actually used. as amended by Act No. J. J. J. and soon thereafter a petition was presented to the Cour of First Instance of Capiz by Lucila Arce to establish a document purporting to be the last will and testament of the deceased. Without decising in this case whether the will in question is rendered invalid by reason of the manner in which the pages are numbered. as amended by Act No. 19919. 2645 of the Philippine Legislature." which mean respectively "one. Hontiveros for appellant. declared that the document in question had not been executed in conformity with the requirements of section 618 of the Coe of Civil Procedure. but the irregularities presented in those cases were entirely rivial. Judge Antonio Villareal. He therefore refused to admit the purported will to probate. in the Municipality of Capiz." "five." "lima. Dorado." "duha. "isa. It is true that this point is also safeguarded by the other two requirements that the pages shall be consecutively lettered and that each page shall be singed on the left margin by the testator and the witnesses. it cannot be denied that the last mentioned requirement affords additional secuirty against the danger that the will may be tampered with.

with costs against the appellant. Garcia and Rodriguez. decided March 23. 1918. viii . that the pages comprising the body of the will were signed by the testator and witnesses on the right margin instead of the left (Avera vs. Araullo. 476). Avanceña and Villamor. concur. 145. In the case now before us the defect is... in our opinion. JJ. R. of more significance. not reported. 875). 40 Phil. It is so ordered. 41 Phil.. in each of which the will was held to be invalid. Tatlonghari. Johnson. and the judgment must be affirmed. in the others. and the rule here applicable is that enunciated in Caraig vs. 12558. and (In re estate of Saguinsim. It results that the trial judge did not err in refusing probate of the will. No. p.G. ante).a single sheet was not signed in the margin in addition to being signed at the bottom (In re will of Abangan.