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Agtarap v Agtarap

1. Decedent Joaquin left (2) parcels of land with
improvements. He contracted (2) marriages. The
first marriage was with Lucia (W1), who died in 1924
and had three children with her named: Jesus (+),
Milagros (+), Jose (+)
2. Then
children, Eduardo, Sebastian, Mercedes


3. Son Eduardo (decedents child by second marriage)

filed petition for settlement of Joaquins intestate
estate. RTC issued resolution appointing Eduardo as
4. The RTC issued an Order of Partition on Oct 23, 2000
which ruled that bulk of estate property were
acquired during the existence of 2nd marriage, TCTs
showing Joaquin married to Caridad.
5. Eduardo, Sebastian, and oppositors Joseph & Teresa
(Jose children) filed their respective motions for
reconsiderations. The RTC denied Eduardo &
Sebastian MRs and Granted MR of Joseph & Teresa
6. Declared
conjugal partnership of Joaquin & Lucia and directed
Octobers Partition to reflect correct sharing of heirs
7. Eduardo & Sebastian both appealed to CA before RTC
could issue new order of partition. The CA dismissed
the appeals and affirmed the RTC resolution. The CA
also directed the partition of Joaquins properties.
Aggrieved, Sebastian and Eduardo filed separate MRs
which were denied. They filed separate petitions for
review which were eventually consolidated.

Sebastian contended that

a. Joseph & Teresa failed to establish that they
are legitimate heirs of Jose, and thus of their
grandfather Joaquin.
b. Certificates of title of subject property indicate
Joaquin married to Caridad which is conclusive
proof of ownership, and thus not subject to collateral
Eduardo alleged
a. CA erroneously settled Joaquins estate together with
the estates of Lucia, Jesus, Jose, Mercedes, Gloria and
Milagros in one proceeding
b. Estate of Milagros cannot be distributed, since a
proceeding was already conducted in another court
for the probate of Milagros will, thus violating the
rule on precedence of testate over intestate
c. RTC, acting as an intestate court with limited
jurisdiction has no jurisdiction to determine questions
of ownership which belongs to another court with
general jurisdiction
1. WON RTC as intestate court has jurisdiction to
resolve ownership of real properties?
2. WON CA settlement of Joaquin estate together
with the estates of the other heirs is correct?
3. WON Joseph & Teresa are legitimate

Eduardos petition granted. Sebastians petition

denied. CA affirmed with modification that the share
awarded in favor of Milagros shall not be distributed
until the final determination of the probate of the
will. Sebastian to be represented by wife and
children, given demise in 2010. Case remanded to
RTC for further settlement of Joaquins estate.

(1) RTC has jurisdiction to resolve ownership of

the real properties.
The general rule is that:
Jurisdiction of trial court, either as probate or
intestate court, relates only to matter shaving to do
with probate of will and or settlement of estate of
determination of questions of ownership that arise
during the proceedings.
Exceptions, as justified by expediency and
Probate court may provisionally pass upon in
an intestate or testate proceeding the question of
inclusion or exclusion, for inventory of a piece
of property w/o prejudice to final determination in a
separate action
If interested parties are all heirs or
question is one of collation/advancement
or parties consent to the assumption of
jurisdiction by the court and the rights
of third parties are not impaired
(2) However, we agree with Eduardos position that the
CA erred in distributing Joaquins estate pertinent to
the share allotted in favor of Milagros. Eduardo was
able to show that a separate proceeding was
instituted for the probate of the will allegedly
executed by Milagros before the RTC, Branch 108,
Pasay City. While there has been no showing that the
alleged will of Milagros, bequeathing all of her share
from Joaquins estate in favor of Eduardo, has already
been probated and approved, prudence dictates that
this Court refrain from distributing Milagros share in
Joaquins estate.
(3) Sebastian did not present evidence to support
averments to exclude Joseph and Teresa as heirs.

Sec 1 Rule 90: RTC granted jurisdiction to determine

lawful heirs of Joaquin as well as respective shares in
the payment of obligations.
The inclusion of Lucia, Jesus, Jose, Mercedes and Gloria was
merely a necessary consequence of the settlement of
Joaquins estate, they being his legal heirs.


1. Fortunata S. Vda. de Yance died. Francisco Azaola,
petitioner herein for probate of the holographic will,
submitted the said holographic will whereby Maria
Milagros Azaola was made the sole heir as against
the nephew of deceased Cesario Singson
2. Francisco Azaola testified:
a. That he saw the holographic will one month,
more or less, before the death of the testatrix,
as the same was handed to him and his wife;
b. That the witness testified also that he
recognized all the signatures appearing in the
holographic will as the handwriting of the
testatrix and to reinforce said statement,
witness presented the mortgage, the special
power of the attorney, and the general power
of attorney, besides the deeds of sale
including an affidavit, and that there were
further exhibited in court two residence
certificates to show the signatures of the
testatrix, for comparison purposes; that said
witness, Azaola, testified that the penmanship
appearing in the aforesaid documentary
evidence is in the handwriting of the testatrix
as well as the signatures appearing in the
aforesaid documentary evidence is in the

handwriting of the testatrix as well as the

signatures of the testatrix.
3. Opposition to the probate
a. Grounds:
The execution of the will was procured by
undue and improper pressure and
influence on the part of the petitioner and
his wife
The testatrix did not seriously intend the
instrument to be her last will, and that the
same was actually written either on the
5th or 6th day of August 1957 and not on
November 20, 1956 as appears on the will.
probate was denied on the ground that under Article
811 of the Civil Code, the proponent must present three
witnesses who could declare that the will and the signature
are in the writing of the testatrix, the probate being
contested; and because the lone witness presented by the
proponent "did not prove sufficiently that the body of the
will was written in the handwriting of the testatrix."
WON the probate of the holographic will should be
Proponents Arguments:
1. He was not bound to produce more than one witness
because the will's authenticity was not questioned
2. Article 811 does not mandatorily require the production of
three witnesses to identify the handwriting and signature of
a holographic will, even if its authenticity should be denied
by the adverse party.
Held: YES
1. Since the authenticity of the will was not
contested, he was not required to produce
more than one witness;

a. But even if the genuineness of the

holographic will were contested, we are of
the opinion that Article 811 of our
present Civil Code cannot be interpreted
presentation of three witnesses to
identify the handwriting of the testator,
under penalty of having the probate
2. Since no witness may have been present at the
execution of a holographic will, none being required
by law (Art. 810, new Civil Code), it becomes obvious
that the existence of witness possessing the requisite
qualifications is a matter beyond the control of the
a. For it is not merely a question of finding and
producing any three witnesses; they must be
witnesses "who know the handwriting and
signature of the testator" and who can declare
(truthfully, of course, even if the law does not
so express) "that the will and the signature
are in the handwriting of the testator".
b. There may be no available witness of the
testator's hand; or even if so familiarized, the
witnesses may be unwilling to give a positive
opinion. Compliance with the rule of
paragraph 1 of Article 811 may thus become
an impossibility.
c. As can be seen, the law foresees the
possibility that no qualified witness may be
found (or what amounts to the same thing,
that no competent witness may be willing to
testify to the authenticity of the will), and
provides for resort to expert evidence to
supply the deficiency.
3. It may be true that the rule of this article (requiring
that three witnesses be presented if the will is
contested and only one if no contest is had) was
derived from the rule established for ordinary

a. But it cannot be ignored that the requirement

can be considered mandatory only in the case
of ordinary testaments, precisely because the
presence of at least three witnesses at the
execution of ordinary wills is made by law
essential to their validity (Art. 805).
b. Where the will is holographic, no witness
need be present (Art. 10), and the rule
requiring production of three witnesses
must be deemed merely permissive if
absurd results are to be avoided.
4. Again, under Article 811, the resort to expert
evidence is conditioned by the words "if the Court
deem it necessary", which reveal that what the law
deems essential is that the Court should be
convinced of the will's authenticity.
a. Where the prescribed number of witnesses is
produced and the court is convinced by their
testimony that the ill is genuine, it may
consider it unnecessary to call for expert
b. On the other hand, if no competent witness is
available, or none of those produced is
convincing, the Court may still, and in fact it
should, resort to handwriting experts.
c. The duty of the Court, in fine, is to exhaust all
available lines of inquiry, for the state is as
much interested as the proponent that the
true intention of the testator be carried into
5. The rule of the first paragraph of Article 811 of
the Civil Code is merely directory and is not


1. Florentino Hitosis executed a will in 1938 when he
was eighty years old. He was a childless widower
and he was survived by his brother, Leon Hitosis.
2. A petition for the probate of his will was filed in the
CFI of Sorsogon.
a. In that will, Florentino bequeathed his 1/2
share in the conjugal estate to his second
wife, Tecla Dollentas, and, should Tecla

predecease him, as was the case, his one-half

share would be assigned to the spouses Pedro
Gallanosa and Corazon Grecia, the reason
being that Pedro, Tecla's son by her first
marriage, grew up under the care of
b. Florentino likewise bequeathed his separate
properties consisting of three parcels of abaca
land and parcel of riceland to his protg,
Adolfo Fortajada, a minor.
3. Opposition to the probate of the will was registered
by the testator's legal heirs, namely, his surviving
brother, Leon, his nephews, and his nieces.
a. Judge Pablo S. Riverain in 1939, admitted the
will to probate and appointed Gallanosa as
4. The testamentary heirs, the Gallanosa spouses and
Adolfo Fortajada, submitted a project of partition.
a. The project of partition was approved by
Judge Doroteo Amador in 1943, thus
confirming the heirs' possession of their
respective shares.
b. The testator's legal heirs did not appeal from
the decree of probate trial from the order of
partition trial distribution.
5. Leon Hitosis, and the heirs of Florentino's deceased
brothers and sisters instituted an action in the CFI of
Sorsogon against Pedro Gallanosa for the recovery of
the said sixty-one parcels of land.
a. Judge Anatolio C. Maalac dismiss the
complaint on the ground of res judicata.
b. The plaintiffs did not appeal from that order of
dismissal which should have set the matter at
c. 28 years after the probate of the will another
action in the same court against the
Gallanosa spouses and Adolfo Fortajada for
the "annulment" of the will of Florentino
Hitosis and for the recovery of the same sixtyone parcels of land was filed.

WON the private respondents have a cause of action
for the "annulment" of the will of Florentino Hitosis
and for the recovery of the sixty-one parcels of land
adjudicated under that will to the petitioners.
Held: NO.
1. It is evident from the allegations of the
complaint that plaintiffs' 1967 action is barred
by res judicata, a double-barrelled defense,
2. After the finality of the allowance of a will, the
issue as to the voluntariness of its execution
cannot be raised anymore.
3. The SC also held that the decree of adjudication,
having rendered in a proceeding in rem, is binding
upon the whole world. Moreover, the dismissal of the
first civil case, which is a judgment in personam, was
an adjudication on the merits. Thus. It constitutes a
bar by former judgment under the Rules of Court.
4. The SC ruled that the Art. 1410 of NCC (the action or
defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a
contract does not prescribe) cannot apply to last wills
and testaments.
5. The Rules of Court does not sanction an action for
annulment of a will. A final decree of probate is
conclusive as to the due execution of the will.
6. A decree of adjudication in a testate proceeding is
binding on the whole world. After the period for
seeking relief from a final order or judgment under
Rule 38 of the Rules of court has expired, a final
judgment or order can be set aside only on the
grounds of: (a) lack of jurisdiction or lack of due
process of law or (b) that the judgment was obtained
by means of extrinsic or collateral fraud. In the latter
case, the period for annulling the judgment is four (4)
years from the discovery of fraud.

Pascual vs. Dela Cruz

1. Catalina de la Cruz, single and without any surviving
descendant or ascendant, died at the age of 89.
Andres Pascual filed a petition for the probate of her
alleged will. Andres was named in the said will as
executor and sole heir of Catalina. Catalina regarded
Andres as her own son. Florentina Cruz, Catalinas
sister, also made him also her sole heir to her
property in her will without any objection from
Catalina and Valentina Cruz. (This was when Catalina
was still alive).
2. Opposing the petition, Pedro de la Cruz and 26 other
nephews and nieces of the late Catalina de la Cruz
contested the validity of the will on the following
formalities required by law were not complied
that the testatrix was mentally incapable of
disposing of her properties by will at the time of
its execution
that the will was procured by undue and improper
pressure and influence on the part of the
and that the signature of the testatrix was
obtained through fraud.
3. The probate court rendered judgment upholding the
due execution of the will. It appointed petitioner
Andres Pascual executor and administrator of the
estate of the late Catalina de la Cruz without bond
4. Nephews and nieces allegations of undue influence:
Andres Pascual asserted in his testimony that
deceased Catalina "did not like to sign anything
unless I knew it,"

Andres Pascual purchased a building in Manila for

the testatrix, placed the title in his name, but
caused the name "Catalina de la Cruz" to be
painted therein in bold letters to mislead the
Andres Pascual and not the testatrix Catalina
asked Dr. Sanchez to be one of the instrumental
witnesses evidence of such undue influence

Contestants further assail the admission to probate

on the ground that the execution of the will was
tainted by fraud and undue influence exerted by
proponent on the testatrix.

WON the will should be disallowed because of undue
and improper influence and fraud

Held: NO

It is a settled rule in this jurisdiction that the mere fact that

a will was made in favor of a stranger is not in itself proof
that the same was obtained through fraud and undue
pressure and influence, for we have numerous instances
where strangers are preferred to blood relatives in the
institution of heirs. But in the case at bar, Andres Pascual,
although not related by blood to the deceased Catalina dela
Cruz, was definitely not a stranger to the latter for she
considered him as her own son. As a matter of fact it was
not only Catalina de la Cruz who loved and cared for Andres
Pascual but also her sisters held him with affection so much
so that Catalina's sister, Florentina Cruz, made him also her
sole heir to her property in her will without any objection
from Catalina and Valentina Cruz. Before considering the
correctness of these findings, it is worthwhile to recall the
basic principles of undue pressure and influence as laid
down by the jurisprudence on this Court:
that to be sufficient to avoid a will, the influence
exerted must be of a kind that so overpowers and
subjugates the mind of the testator as to destroy his

free agency and make him express the will of

another rather than his own
that the contention that a will was obtained by undue
influence and improper pressure cannot be sustained
on mere conjecture or suspicion, as it is not enough
that there was opportunity to exercise undue
influence or a possibility that it may have been
that the exercise of improper pressure and undue
influence must be supported by substantial evidence
that it was actually exercised
that the burden is on the person challenging the will
to show that such influence was exerted at the time
of its execution
that mere general or reasonable influence is not
sufficient to invalidate a will
nor is moderate and reasonable solicitation and
entreaty addressed to the testator
or omission of relatives, not forced heirs, evidence of
undue influence

Tested against these rulings, the circumstances marshalled

by the contestants certainly fail to establish actual undue
influence and improper pressure exercised on the testatrix
by the proponent.
Their main reliance is on the assertion of the latter,
in the course of his testimony, that the deceased "did
not like to sign anything unless I knew it," which does
not amount to proof that she would sign anything
that proponent desired.
On the contrary, the evidence of contestantsappellants, that proponent purchased a building in
Manila for the testatrix, placed the title in his name,
but caused the name "Catalina de la Cruz" to be
painted therein in bold letters to mislead the
deceased, even if true, demonstrates that
proponent's influence was not such as to overpower
and destroy the free will of the testatrix. Because if
the mind of the latter were really subjugated by him

to the extent pictured by the contestants, then

proponent had no need to recourse to the deception
Nor is the fact that it was proponent, and not the
testatrix who asked Dr. Sanchez to be one of the
instrumental witnesses evidence of such undue
influence, for the reason that the rheumatism of the
testatrix made it difficult for her to look for all the
That she did not resort to relative or friend is,
likewise, explainable: it would have meant the
disclosure of the terms of her will to those interested
in her succession but who were not favored by her,
thereby exposing her to unpleasant importunity and
recrimination that an aged person would naturally
seek to avoid. The natural desire to keep the making
of a will secret can, likewise, account for the failure
to probate the testament during her lifetime. We
conclude that the trial court committed no error in
finding that appellants' evidence established at most
grounds for suspicion but fell short of establishing
actual exercise of improper pressure or influence.
Considering that the testatrix considered proponent
as her own son, to the extent that she expressed no
objection to his being made sole heir of her sister,
Florentina Cruz, in derogation of her own rights, we
find nothing abnormal in her instituting proponent
also as her own beneficiary. Appellants invoke a
presumption of undue influence held to exist by
participates in the drafting or execution of the will
favoring him; but since the will was prepared by Atty.
Pascual, although a nephew of the proponent, we do
not think the presumption applies; for in the normal
course of events, said attorney would follow the
instructions of the testatrix; and a member of the bar
in good standing may not be convicted of
unprofessional conduct, or of having conspired to
falsify a statement, except upon clear proof.


1. Casimiro V. Madarang, Sr. died intestate on June 3, 1995,
leaving real and personal. He was survived by his wife Dolores
and their five children, namely Casimiro, Jr., Jose, Ramiro,
Vicente and Corazon.
2. In the intestate proceedings filed by the Jose Dolores was
appointed as administratrix.
3. Dolores submitted an Inventory Report listing the properties of
the decedents estate. Jose filed his Comment alleging that it
omitted six lots including the subject lot of this case.
4. RTC held that said properties appear to have been acquired by
the spouses during their marriage and instructed Dolores to
revise her Inventory Report to include the six lots as it is
presumed to be conjugal properties in the absence of proof to
the contrary..
5. Dolores and her children, except Jose who opposed the said
order of the court They alleged that the subject lot was




transferred during the lifetime of the decedent by a Deed of

Donation executed by the decedent and his wife, Dolores in
favor of Vicente.
The RTC modified its first Order and held that Lot 829 B-4-B
should be excluded.
Jose moved to reconsider, arguing that since the title to Lot 829B-4-B remained registered in the name of his parents, it should
not be excluded from the Inventory; and that the Deed of
Donation in Vicentes favor was not notarized nor registered with
the Register of Deeds.
During the pendency of appeal, Jose filed a Motion to
Withdraw Petition
The CA affirmed the RTCs decision on in excluding the
subject lot to the estate of the deceased since Vicente
Madarang [to whom the questioned lot was
donated] and his family have been in continuous,
actual and physical possession of the donated
lot for over twenty (20) years, even before the execution
of the so called donation inter vivos in 1992. . . . Vicente
Madarang has his residential house thereon and that his
ownership over the donated lot has been fully
recognized by the entire Madarang Clan, including all
his brothers and sisters, except the much belated
objection by the appellant (Jose), allegedly resorted to
as an act of harassment.
Petitioners contend that since the only issue for
consideration by the appellate court was the merit
of Joses Motion to Withdraw Petition, it exceeded
its jurisdiction when it passed upon the merits of
excluding Lot 829-B-4-B from the Inventory.

WON the CA erred in excluding the subject lot from Inventory?


While a probate court, being of special and limited jurisdiction,

cannot act on questions of title and ownership, it can, for purposes of
inclusion or exclusion in the inventory of properties of a decedent,

make a provisional determination of ownership, without prejudice to

a final determination through a separate action in a court of general
The facts obtaining in the present case, however, do not call for the
probate court to make a provisional determination of ownership
of Lot 829-B-4-B. It bears stress that the question is one
of collation or advancement by the decedent to an heir over which
the question of title and ownership can be passed upon by a probate
As earlier reflected, Vicentes claim of ownership over Lot 829-B-4-B
rests upon a deed of donation by his father (decedent) and his
Article 1061 of the Civil Code expressly provides:
Article 1061. Every compulsory heir, who succeeds with
other compulsory heirs, must bring into the mass of the
estate any property or right which he may have received
from the decedent, during the lifetime of the latter, by way of
donation, or any other gratuitous title, in order that it may be
computed in the determination of the legitime of each heir
and in the account of partition.
in relation to which, Section 2, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court
Sec. 2. Questions as to advancement to be
determined. Questions as to advancement made,
or alleged to have been made, by the deceased to
any heir may be heard and determined by the court
having jurisdiction of the estate proceedings; and
the final order of the court thereon shall be
binding on the person raising the questions and
on the heir.
By express provision of law then, Lot 829-B-4-B, which was
alleged to have been donated by the decedent and his wife to their

son-respondent Vicente, should not be excluded from the inventory

of the properties of the decedent.

Heirs of Policronio Ureta v. Heirs of Liberato

In his lifetime, Alfonso Ureta begot 14 children.
Among these 14 belong the ascendants of the
parties in this case Policronio and Liberato.
Here, the descendants of Policronio are up
against the rest of Alfonsos children and their
descendants (including those of Liberato)
When he was alive, Alfonso was well-off he
owned several fishpens, a fishpond and a sarisari store, among others.
On October 1969, four of Alfonsos children
(Policronio, Liberato, Prudencia, and Francisco),
together with their father met in Liberatos
house. Francisco, who was then a municipal

judge suggested that to reduce the inheritance

taxes, their father should make it appear that he
sold some of his lands to his children. As such,
Alfonso executed 4 deeds of sale covering
parcels of land in favor of Policronio, Liberato,
Prudencia, and his common-law wife, Valeriana
dela Cruz.
The dispute of this case is centered on the deed
of sale in favor of Policronio which covered six
parcels of land.
Since the sale was only made to avoid taxes and
that no monetary consideration was received,
Alfonso continued to enjoy the lands.
When Alfonso died, except for a portion of
parcel 5, the rest of the parcels transferred to
Policronio were never turned over to him.
Instead, these were turned over to the
administrators of Alfonsos estate Liberato,
succeeded by Prudencia, and then by her
daughter Carmencita Perlas.
Subsequently, Alfonsos heirs executed a Deed
of Extrajudicial Partition, which included all the
lands covered by the 4 deeds of sale executed
by Alfonso for tax purposes.
When the heirs of Policronio learned about the
extrajudicial partition involving Alfonsos estate
(Conrado, the Policronio heirs representative
avers that he did not understand the partitions
terms when he signed it) which excludes
them, they sought to amicably settle the matter
with the rest of the heirs of Alfonso.
Given the futility of these talks, the heirs of
Policronio filed a complaint for declaration of
ownership, recovery of possession, annulment
of documents, partition, and damages.

Note: a will was never mentioned in this case

RTC Judgment
In favor of the Heirs of Alfonso. According to the
court, it was clearly established that the deed of
sale was null and void. Policronios heirs never
took possession of the involved lots and not
even a single centavo was paid for consideration
of the sale. Even assuming there was, the 2000
pesos for the six parcels of land the heirs of
Policronio claimed that was paid to Alfonso was
grossly inadequate.

The deed of extrajudicial partition was declared

valid by the RTC. The Court considered
Conrados (the representative of the heirs of
Policronio) claim that he did not understand the
full significance of his signature when he signed
in behalf of his co-heirs, as a gratuitous
assertion. The RTC said that given his signature
in all the pages of the extrajudicial partition and
having appeared personally before the notary
public, he is presumed to have understood the

Court of Appeals Judgment

Partially Granted the CA, disagreeing with the
RTC, declared that the Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition was void. This decision of the CA was
predicated on the incapacity of one of the
parties to give his consent to the contract. It
held that for Conrado to bind his co-heirs to the
partition, it was necessary that he acquired
special powers of attorney from them pursuant
to Article 1878 of the Civil Code.

The CA said that the case should be remanded

to determine the proper portions to be awarded
to the heirs

preterition raised for the first time on appeal
may be entertained

No preterition in this case

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 the preterition and not the invalidity of
the entire deed of partition. They argue that
remanding the case to determine proper inheritance is
no longer necessary since the issue is purely legal.
Conrado then, according to them, should just fully
account for what he received and deliver to his coheirs their respective shares in the inheritance.
This cannot be given credence AT ALL
Their posited theory on preterition is no longer
Preterition has been defined as the total omission of a
compulsory heir from the disinheritance. It consists in
the silence of the testator with regard to a compulsory
heir, omitting him in the testatment, either by not
mentioning him at all, or by not giving him anything in
the hereditary property buy without expressly
disinheriting him, even if he is mentioned in the will in
the latter case

will, there can be no preterition.

Esculin vs. Esculin

In 1899, Emilio Antonio Escuin de los Santos executed a will
in Spain stating therein that he was a native of Cavite, the
son of Francisco Escuin and Eugenia de los Santos, the latter
being deceased; that he was married about six months
previously to Maria Teresa Ponce de Leon, and that he had
no lawful descendants; the testator, however, stated in
clause three of his will, that in case he had a duly registered
successor, his child would be his sole and universal heir; but
that if, as would probably be the case, there should be no
such heir, then in clause four he named his said father
Francisco Escuin, and his wife Maria Teresa Ponce de Leon
his universal heirs, they to divide the estate in equal shares
between them.
The testator died on the 20th of January, 1899. In 1905, the
court found that one Emilio Escuin y Batac was the
recognized natural child of the decedent; that the testator
was also the natural son of the defendant Francisco Escuin
and Eugenia de los Santos, and was recognized by his
father; and that the plaintiff minor, Emilio Escuin y Batac, is
one of the heirs of the late testator.
WON the institution of heirs should be annulled?
YES in so far as the legal portion of the said
minor was thereby impaired
It should be noted that the late testator did not leave any
legitimate descendants or ascendants, but did leave a
recognized natural child, the appellant minor, and a widow;
that the said minor, Emilio Escuin y Batac, is the general
heir of his natural father, the said testator, who recognized
him while living (art. 807, Civil Code), and in the present
case is entitled to one-third of his estate, which amount

constitutes the legal portion of a natural child (art. 842 of

the said code); and for the reason that the minor was
ignored by his natural father in his will, the designation of
heirs made therein was, as a matter of fact annulled by
force of law, in so far as the legal portion of the said minor
was thereby impaired. Legacies and betterments shall
be valid, in so far as they are not illegal, for the
reason that a testator cannot deprive the heirs of
their legal portions, except in the cases expressly
indicated by law. (Arts. 763, 813, 814, Civil Code.)
As has been seen, the testator wished to dispose of
his property in his will, designating as heirs his
natural father, Francisco Escuin, and his wife, Maria
Teresa Ponce de Leon, altogether ignoring his
recognized natural child who is his general heir. In
view thereof, and for the reason that he exceeded his
rights, the said designation of heirs became void in
so far as it impaired the right of his general heir and
deprived him of his legal portion; the will, however, is
valid with respect to the two-thirds of the property
which the testator could freely dispose of. (Arts. 763,
764, 806, 813, 842, Civil Code.)
It is clear and unquestionable that it was the wish of the
testator to favor his natural father and his wife with certain
portions of his property which, under the law, he had a right
to dispose of by will, as he has done, provided the legal
portion of his general heir was not thereby impaired, the
two former persons being considered as legatees under the
The above-mentioned will is neither null, void, nor illegal in
so far as the testator leaves two-thirds of his property to his
father and wife; testamentary provisions impairing the legal
portion of a general heir shall be reduced in so far as they
are illegal or excessive. (Art. 817, Civil Code.) The partition
of the property of the said testator shall be proceeded with
in accordance with the foregoing legal bases.

By virtue of the foregoing considerations it is our opinion

that the orders of the court below, of October 30, 1906, and
August 24, 1907, should be reversed, and upon receipt of a
certified copy of this decision the court below shall take
action in accordance with the law and the terms herein
contained with respect to the claims and appeals from the
resolutions of the commissioners pending judicial decision.
So ordered.


Marcelina Edroso was married to Victoriano Sablan until his
death on September 22,1882. In this marriage they had a
son named Pedro, who was born on August 1,1881, and who
at his father's death inherited the two said parcels. Pedro
also died on July 15, 1902, unmarried and without issue and
by this decease the two parcels of land passed through
inheritance to his mother, Marcelina Edroso..
Hence, Marccelina applied for the registration of her
ownership over the two parcels of land she inherited from
her son. Two legitimate brothers of Victoriano Sablan that
is, two uncles of Pedro Sablan appeared in the case to
oppose the registration, claiming one of two things: Either
that the registration be denied, "or that if granted, the right
reserved by law to the opponents be recorded in the
registration of each parcel." The Court of Land Registration
denied the registration.
Appellants Contention:
1. The applicant acquired said lands from her descendant
Pedro Sablan by inheritance;

2. Pedro Sablan had acquired them from his ascendant

Victoriano Sablan, likewise by inheritance;
3. Victoriano Sablan had likewise acquired them by
inheritance from his ascendants, Mariano Sablan and
Maria Rita Fernandez, they having been adjudicated to
him in the partition of hereditary property had between
him and his brothers. These are admitted facts.
4. The appellant also contends that it is not proven that the
two parcels of land in question have been acquired by
operation of law, and that only property acquired without
a valuable consideration, which is by operation of law, is
required by law to reserved.
Appellees Contention:
1. Argue that the appellants defense was not alleged or
discussed in first instance, but only herein. Certainly,
the allegation in first instance was merely that "Pedro
Sablan acquired the property in question in 1882,
before the enforcement of the Civil Code, which
establishes the alleged right required by law to be
reserved, of which the opponents speak; hence,
prescription of the right of action; and
2. finally, opponents' renunciation of their right,
admitting that it existed and that they had it"
RTC Ruling:
The trial court held that the parcels of land in question
partake of the nature of property required by law to be
reserved and that in such a case application could only be
presented jointly in the names of the mother and the said
two uncles of Pedro Sablan.
Whether or not the lands which are the subject
matter of the application are required by law to be
Art. 811, OCC provides:

The ascendant who inherits from his descendant property

which the latter acquired without a valuable consideration
from another ascendant, or from a brother or sister, is under
obligation to reserve what he has acquired by operation of
law for the relatives who are within the third degree and
belong to the line whence the property proceeded.
Marcelina Edroso, ascendant of Pedro Sablan, inherited from
him these two parcels of land which he acquired without a
valuable consideration that is, by inheritance from another
ascendant, his father Victoriano. Having acquired them by
operation of law, she is obligated to reserve them intact for
the claimants, who are uncles or relatives within the third
degree and belong to the line of Mariano Sablan and Maria
Rita Fernandez, whence the lands proceeded. The trial
court's ruling that they partake of the nature of property
required by law to be reserved is therefore in accordance
with the law.
If Pedro Sablan had instituted his mother in a will as the
universal heiress of his property, all he left at death would
not be required by law to be reserved, but only what he
would have perforce left her as the legal portion of a
legitimate ascendant.[Art. 809, OCC.] In such case only the
half constituting the legal portion would be required by law
to be reserved, because it is what by operation of law would
fall to the mother from her son's inheritance; the other half
at free disposal would not have to be reserved.
In this case, the interested party has not proved that either
of the lots became Marcelinas inheritance through the free
disposal of her son. Two kinds of property required by law to
be reserved are distinguished in the Civil Code.
What are the rights in the property of the person
who holds it subject to the reservation of article 811
of the Old Civil Code?
The person required by article 811 to reserve the right has,
beyond any doubt at all, the rights of use and usufruct. He

has, moreover, the legal title and dominion, although under

a condition subsequent. Clearly he has, under an express
provision of the law, the right to dispose of the property
reserved, and to dispose of is to alienate, although under a
condition. He has the right to recover it, because he is the
one who possesses or should possess it and have title to it,
although a limited and revocable one. In a word, the legal
title and dominion, even though under a condition, reside in
him while he lives. After the right required by law to be
reserved has been assured, he can do anything that a
genuine owner can do. On the other hand, the relatives
within the third degree in whose favor the right is reserved
cannot dispose of the property, first because it is no way,
either actually, constructively or formally, in their
possession; and, moreover, because they have no title of
ownership or of fee simple which they can transmit to
another, on the hypothesis that only when the person who
must reserve the right should die before them will they
acquire it, thus creating a fee simple, and only then will they
take their place in the succession of the descendant of
whom they are relatives within the third degree, that is to
say, a second contingent place in said legitimate succession
in the fashion of aspirants to a possible future legacy.
If any of the persons in whose favor the right is reserved
should, after their right has been assured in the registry,
dare to dispose of even nothing more than the fee simple of
the property to be reserved his act would be null and void,
for it is impossible to determine the part "that might pertain
therein to the relative at the time he exercised the right,
because in view of the nature and scope of the right
required by law to be reserved the extent of his right cannot
be foreseen, for it may disappear by his dying before the
person required to reserve it, just as it may even become
absolute should that person die. "No act of disposal inter
vivos of the person required by law to reserve the right can
be impugned by him in whose favor it is reserved, because
such person has all, absolutely all, the rights inherent in
ownership, except that the legal title is burdened with a
condition that the third party acquirer may ascertain from

the registry in order to know that he is acquiring a title

subject to a condition subsequent. In conclusion, it seems to
us that only an act of disposal mortis causa in favor of
persons other than relatives within the third degree of the
descendant from whom he got the property to be reserved
must be prohibited to him, because this alone has been the
object of the law: "To prevent persons outside a family from
securing, by some special accident of life, property that
would otherwise have remained therein."
Can the heir of the property required by law to be
reserved himself alone register the ownership of the
property he has inherited?
YES. When the persons in whose favor the reservation must
be made agree thereto and provided that the right reserved
to them in the two parcels of land is recorded, as the law

intestate proceeding the court adjudicated half of lot in

question to Consolacion and the other half to their only son,
Juanito. The two sons in the first marriage, Lorenzo and
Ignacio, received P3k and P1550respectively. (Manuel
already died).
Juanito also died intestate without issue. Consolacion de la
Torre executed a declaration of heirship adjudicating inher
favor the pro-indiviso share of her son Juanito in the lot in
question. When dela Torre died, Ignacio and the heirs of
Lorenzo filed a complaint praying that the one-half portion
of the Lot be declared as a reservable property for the
reason that the lot in question was subject to reserval
troncal pursuant to Article 981 NCC.
Lower court dismissed complaint.
WON property in question was acquired by Juanito
Frias Chua from his father Jose Frias Chua
gratuitously (as first requisite of Reserva Troncal).
Held: Yes

Chua vs. CFI

Jose Frias Chua had 2 marriages. First with Patricia, he had 3
children- Ignacio, Manuel and Lorenzo. When Patricia died,
he married Consolacion de la Torre and had one childJuanito Frias Chua. Jose Frias Chua died intestate. After the

In order that a property may be impressed with a reservable

character the following requisites must exist, to wit:
1. that the property was acquired by a descendant
from an ascendant or from a brother or sister by
gratuitous title;
2. that said descendant died without an issue;
3. that the property is inherited by another ascendant
by operation of law; and
4. that there are relatives within the third degree
belonging to the line from which said property came.
All of the foregoing requisites are present. Thus, as borne
out by the records, Juanoito Frias Chua of the second
marriage died intestate in 1952; he died with our leaving
any issue; his pro-indiviso of 1/2 share of Lot No. 399 was

acquired by his mother, Consolacion de la Torre died,

Juannnito Frias Chua who died intestate had relatives within
the third degree. These relatives are Ignacio Frias Chua and
Dominador Chua and Remidios Chua, the suppose legitimate
children of the deceased Lorenzo Frias Chua, who are the
petitioners herein

Teotica vs. Del Val Chan

1. Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre die d
in1955. She left a will written in Spanish.

According to Manresa, "The transmission is gratuitous or by

gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in
return." It matters not whether the property transmitted be
or be not subject to any prior charges; what is essential is
that the transmission be made gratuitously, or by an act of
mere liberality of the person making it, without imposing
any obligation on the part of the recipient; and that the
person receiving the property gives or does nothing in

2. Among the many legacies and devises made in the

will was to Rene A. Teotico, married to the testatrix's
niece named Josefina Mortera. To said spouses the
testatrix left the usufruct of her interest in the Calvo
building, while the naked ownership thereof she left
in equal parts to her grandchildren who are the
legitimate children of said spouses. The testatrix also
instituted Josefina Mortera as her sole and universal
heir to all the remainder of her properties not
otherwise disposed of in the will.

"the essential thing is that the person who transmits it does

so gratuitously, from pure generosity, without requiring from
the transferee any prestation." It is evident from the record
that the transmission of the property in question to Juanito
Frias Chua of the second marriage upon the death of his
father Jose Frias Chua was by means of a hereditary
succession and therefore gratuitous.

3. Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of

Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the testatrix,
as well as an acknowledged natural child of Jose
Mortera, a deceased brother of the same testatrix,
filed an opposition to the probate of the will alleging
the following grounds: (1) said will was not executed
as required by law; (2) the testatrix was physically
and mentally incapable to execute the will at the
time of its execution; and (3) the will was executed
under duress, threat or influence of fear.

As long as the transmission of the property to the heirs is

free from any condition imposed by the deceased himself
and the property is given out of pure generosity, it is

4. The probate court rendered its admitting the will to

probate but declaring the disposition made in favor
of Dr. Rene Teotico void with the statement that the
portion to be vacated by the annulment should pass
to the testatrix's heirs by way of intestate
(1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to intervene in
this proceeding?

(2) Has the will in question been duly admitted to probate?;

(3) Did the probate court commit an error in passing on the
intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will and in
determining who should inherit the portion to be vacated by
the nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr. Rene
(1) Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no right to
intervene because she has no interest in the estate either as
heir, executor, or administrator, nor does she have any
claim to any property affected by the will, because it
nowhere appears therein any provision designating her as
heir, legatee or devisee of any portion of the estate. She has
also no interest in the will either as administratrix or
executrix. Neither has she any claim against any portion of
the estate because she is not a co-owner thereof, and while
she previously had an interest in the Calvo building located
in Escolta, she had already disposed of it long before the
execution of the will.
The oppositor cannot also derive comfort from the fact that
she is an adopted child of Francisca Mortera because under
our law the relationship established by adoption is limited
solely to the adopter and the adopted does not extend to
the relatives of the adopting parents or of the adopted child
except only as expressly provided for by law.
Hence, no relationship is created between the adopted and
the collaterals of the adopting parents. As a consequence,
the adopted is an heir of the adopter but not of the relatives
of the adopter.
(2) Moreover, the mere claim that Josefina Mortera and her
husband Rene Teotico had the opportunity to exert pressure
on the testatrix simply because she lived in their house
several years prior to the execution of the will and that she
was old and suffering from hypertension in that she was

virtually isolated from her friends for several years prior to

her death is insufficient to disprove what the instrumental
witnesses had testified that the testatrix freely and
voluntarily and with full consciousness of the solemnity of
the occasion executed the will under consideration.
The exercise of improper pressure and undue influence must
be supported by substantial evidence and must be of a kind
that would overpower and subjugate the mind of the
testatrix as to destroy her free agency and make her
express the will of another rather than her own (Coso vs.
Deza, 42 Phil., 596). The burden is on the person
challenging the will that such influence was exerted at the
time of its execution, a matter which here was not done, for
the evidence presented not only is sufficient but was
disproved by the testimony the instrumental witnesses.
(3) The question of whether the probate court could
determine the intrinsic validity of the provisions of a will has
been decided by this Court in a long line of decisions among
which the following may be cited: "Opposition to the
intrinsic validity or legality of the provisions of the will
cannot be entertained in probate proceeding because its
only purpose is merely to determine if the will has been
executed in accordance with the requirements of the law."
In them the court has no power to pass upon the validity of
any provisions made in the will. It cannot decide, for
example, that a certain legacy is void and another one