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G.R. No. 104223, JULY 12, 2001
In 1927, Apolonia Abao and her daughter Irenea Tolero (Tolero), in equal
and undivided share, owned Lot. No. 216 of the Cadastral survey of Nasipit,
Agusan del Norte covered by OCT No. RO-238. The latter OCT was reconstituted
on August 8, 1957 due to an affidavit of Extra-Judicial Settlement and
Confirmation of Sale and another certificate of title, OCT No. RT-476 was issued
under the name of Tolero share, and Nicolas Jadol share executed by Ignacio
Atupan. Later on, Lot No. 216 was subdivided in A and B where Lot 216-A was
issued with certificate of title in the name Tiburcio Samonte while Lot 216-B was
issued another set of certificate of title in the name of Tolero and Nicolas Jadol
The heirs of Abao and Tolero claims ownership of the entire Lot 216, since
the former and the latter are their grandmother and mother, respectively. They
claimed that Atupan is not a son of Abao since he merely grew up living with their
grandmother. Further, they claim that they nor their predecessor-in-interest have
not signed any document pertaining to the division nor partition of Lot 216.
In his answer, Samonte alleged that he was a purchaser in good faith and
was made to believe that all the documents in the possession of the vendors were in
order and have been in open, continuous, adverse and exclusive possession of the
portions of Lot 216 for more than 20 years. On the other hand, the Jadols claim
that they bought the half portion of Lot 216 from Atupan and Abao evidenced by a
notarized document signed by Tolero. The Court of Appeals ruled against Jadol and
Whether or not the division and partition of the estate of Abao and Tolero
was proper?
No. Ignacio Atupan committed fraud when he executed an affidavit of ExtraJudicial Settlement and Confirmation of Sale of the lot owned by Abao and Tolero

and naming himself as the sole heir of Abao when in truth and in fact he was not
even a son of Abao. He merely grew up living with the late Abao.
The defense of prescription in the action for reconveyance filed by the heirs
of Abao and Tolero did not prescribe yet. The prescriptive period should only be
counted from the time of discovery of fraud, which is only during the progress of
the case in court. It was during that time that the fraudulent act of Atupan was
G.R. No. 176943, OCTOBER 17, 2008
Maria Aluad and Zenado Aluad were adopted by childless spouses Matilde
and Crispin Aluad. Crispin owns six lots identified as Lot Nos. 674, 675, 676, 677,
680, and 682 of the Pilar Cadastre, Capiz. When Crispin died, all his properties
were passed on to his wife Matilde. On November 14, 1981, Matilde executed a
Deed of Donation of all six lots in favor of petitioners mother Maria. The Deed of
donation contained the following proviso:
to become effective upon the death of the DONOR, but in the event that
the DONEE should die before the DONOR, the present donation shall be deemed
rescinded further force and effect; Provided, however, that anytime during the
lifetime of the DONOR or anyone of them who should survive, they could use,
encumber or even dispose of any or even all of the parcels of land herein
Original Certificates of Title over Lot Nos. 674 and 676 were issued in
Matildes name. Subsequently, Matilde sold Lot No. 676 to Zenaido Aluad. And
Before her death, Matilde executed a last will and testament devising Lot Nos. 675,
677, 680, and 682 to Maria and Lot No. 674 to Zenaido. When Maria died within
the same year as Matilde, her heirs, petitioners filed a complaint before the RTC of
Roxas City for declaration and recovery of ownership and possession over Lot
Nos. 674 and 676. The RTC ruled in favor of the petitioners on the ground that
Matilde could not have transmitted any right over Lot Nos. 674 and 676 sin it was
alienated in favor of Maria via the donation. The Court of Appeals reversed the

decision arguing that the donation in favor of Maria was a donation mortis causa,
not inter vivos, hence it did not comply with the formalities of a valid will under
Article 805 of the Civil Code. Thus, Lot No. 676 was not properly devised in favor
of Zenaido. However, the appellate court awarded Lot No. 674 to Zenaido as
rightful owner via a Deed of Absolute Sale executed in his favor.
Whether or not the donation was in fact mortis causa?
Yes. The donation to petitioners mother was mortis causa. It conveys no
title or ownership to the done before the death of the donor. In addition, it reserved
to the donor the right to dispose or alienate the properties conveyed.
This means that Matilde did not intent to transfer to Maria the six lots during
the formers lifetime. The donation mortis causa was further strengthened by
Matildes acts of possession by continuing to pay the taxes thereon which remained
in her name, appropriated the fruits, and applied for free patents for which OCTs
were issued in her name.
However, the fatal defect of insufficient witnesses to the will and the lack of
signature in each and every page of the will and the attestation clause, rendered the
will void. Hence, Lot No. 676 have not been validly passed to Zenaido. The Court
of Appeals was correct in granting exclusive ownership of Lot No. 674 to Zenaido
G.R. No. 176831, JANUARY 15, 2010
Nixon Lee, alleging that his father died on June 22, 1992, filed a petition for
mandamus with damages before the RTC of Manila to compel his mother, Uy Kiao
Eng, to produce the holographic will in her custody to be probated. In her answer,
Eng posited that the complaint should be dismissed for lack of cause of action and
for not complying with the condition precedent for filing thereof. Further, Eng
denied having custody of the original holographic will or that she knew its

whereabouts. Instead, she asserted that Lee and his siblings were given
photocopies of the will.
After the formal offer of evidence by the respondent, Eng demurred for
failure of respondent to prove she had custody of the original holographic will and
that the evidences presented are immaterial since they do not prove that she
neglected the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins her as a
duty resulting from an office, trust or station, for the court to issue a writ of
mandamus. The RTC granted the demurrer to evidence by Eng. The Court of
Appeals first denied the appeal for lack of merit but later on granted the writ of
Is the issuance of a writ of mandamus proper?
No. The Supreme Court emphasize that a writ of mandamus is a command
issued by a court of law of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the State, or the
sovereign, directed to some inferior court, tribunal, board, or to some corporation
or person requiring the performance of a particular duty specified therein, which
duty results from the official station of the party whom the writ is directed or form
operation of law.
The meaning of a writ of mandamus recognizes the public character of the
remedy and excludes the idea that it may be resorted to for enforcing the
performance of duties which the public has no interest. It cannot be used to enforce
contractual obligations.
Furthermore, the writ shall only issue if there is no plain, speedy and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Lee is not barred to institute the
probate of a holographic will under Rule 76, Section 1 of the Rules of Court which
states in part whether the same (will) is in his possession or not. An adequate
remedy is provided also by Rule 75, Sections 2 to 5 where the custodian and/or
executor of the will is directed to deliver the holographic will within 20 days, after
discovery of death of the testator, to the court having jurisdiction. In addition, same
persons will be subject to a fine or imprisonment in case of non-compliance.

G.R. Nos. L-3087 AND L-3088, July 31, 1954
Jose B. Suntay died in Amoy, Fookien Province, China. He entered into a
contract of marriage twice in his lifetime. He had children, including Federico
Suntay with the late Manuela Cruz and another son, Silvino Suntay, with Maria
Natividad Lim Billian who survived him. Intestate proceedings were instituted in
the CFI of Bulacan. After the death of Apolonio Suntay, the administrator of the
estate of Jose, Federico was appointed as the administrator.
On October 15, 1934, Maria, the surviving widow of Jose filed a petition in
the CFI of Bulacan for the probate of the last will and testament of Jose claimed to
have been executed and signed in the Philippines in 1929. The petition was denied
due to the loss of the will after the filing of the petition and before the hearing
thereof and of the insufficiency of the evidence to establish the loss. Appeal was
taken before the Supreme Court and the case was later remanded to CFI of Bulacan
for sufficiency to prove the loss. Nonetheless, the petition was not given due
course. Then, the Pacific war supervened.
After the liberation, Silvino filed a petition for intestate proceeding praying
for the probate of the will executed in the Philippines on November 1929 or of the
will executed in Fookien, China on January 4, 1931. He claimed that he found the
document among the files of his late father and a testament in Chinese characters
executed and signed by Jose. The latter will was claimed to be probated and
recorded in Amoy District Court, Province of Fookien, China. The lost will was
witnessed by Go Toh, Anastacio Teodoro, and Ana Suntay and Manual Lopez but
the latter died at the time of hearing of this petition. The CFI of Bulacan disallowed
the alleged last will and testament executed in November 1929 and the one
executed in Amoy, Fookien, China.

Should the will executed in Amoy, Fookien, China be allowed and recorded
by the court?
No. Certain facts as to the due execution of the will were not established.
Rule 78, Section 1, 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court provides, respectively:
Wills proved and allowed in a foreign country, according to the laws of such
country, may be allowed, filed, and recorded by the proper court in the
When a copy of such will and the allowance thereof, duly authenticated, is
filed with a petition for allowance in the Philippines, by the executor or other
person interested, in the court having jurisdiction, such court shall fix a time and
place for the hearing and cause notice thereof to be given as in case of an original
will presented for allowance.
If it appears at the hearing that the will should be allowed in the
Philippines, the court shall so allow it, and a certificate of its allowance, signed by
the Judge, and attested by the seal of the courts, to which hall be attached a copy
of a will, shall be filed, and recorded by the clerk, and the will shall have the same
effect as if originally proved and allowed in such court.
The fact that the municipal court of Amoy, China is a probate court must be
proved; including the procedure for the probate or allowance of wills. The legal
requirements and the law for the execution of a valid will in China must also be
proved and established by competent evidence.
For failure to established the aforementioned evidentiary facts, the doctrine
of processual presumption applies where the law on probate in China is presumed
to be the same as the procedure in the matter of probate of wills and allowance
thereof as in our laws.
G.R. No. L-58509, DECEMBER 7, 1982

Marcela Rodelas filed a petition before the CFI of Rizal for the probate of
the holographic will of Ricardo B. Bonilla and the issuance of letters testamentary
in her favor. It was opposed by Amparo Aranza Bonilla et al. arguing that Rodelas
is estopped from claiming that the deceased left a will by failing to produce it
within 20 days as per Rule 75, Section 2 of the Rules of Court, the holographic will
does not contain any disposition of property after death, that only the original copy
of the alleged holographic will can prove the existence and due execution of the
same, and that in fact the deceased did not leave any will. Further, they alleged that
lost or destroyed holographic will cannot be proved by secondary evidence.
Whether a holographic will, lost or cannot be found, can be proved by means
of photostatic copy?
Yes. In the case of Gam vs. Yap (104 Phil 509), the case relied upon by the
appellees, the Court ruled that "the execution and the contents of a lost or
destroyed holographic will may not be proved by the bare testimony of witnesses
who have seen and/or read such will. The will itself must be presented; otherwise,
it shall produce no effect. The law regards the document itself as material proof of
authenticity." But, in Footnote 8 of said decision, it says that "Perhaps it may be
proved by a photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or carbon
copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the authenticity of the
handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and tested before the probate court,"
Evidently, the photostatic or xerox copy of the lost or destroyed holographic will
may be admitted because then the authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased
can be determined by the probate court.
G.R. No. L-12190, AUGUST 30, 1958

Before the death of Felicidad Esguerra, she confided to her cousin Vicente
Esguerra her desire to make a will without her husbands knowledge. Preparing
then for the bar examinations, Fausto E. Gan advised that the will could be made
without any witnesses, provided the document was entirely in her handwriting,
signed and dated by the testator. On November 5, 1951, Felicidad allegedly
executed a holographic will substantially of the tenor as advised by Fausto.
According to the petitioner, the holographic will was shown by Felicidad to several
relatives. On the same year, Felicidad was confined in a hospital for her illness and
purportedly entrusted the will, contained in a purse, to Felina Esguerra which the
latter gave to Ildefonso Yap when he asked for the purse. The purse was later
returned by Yap to Felina. Shortly before Felicidads death, Yap ask again for the
purse but not before Felina opened the purse and read the will.
When Fausto E. Gan filed a petition to probate the holographic will of
Felicidad, supported by the above enumeration of events, the latters husband, Yap
opposed the petition. The trial court ruled against petitioner for several reasons.
One of which is that if Felicidad wanted her will to be kept secret, it is dubious that
she would show the same to several relatives.
May a holographic will be probated solely upon the testimony of witnesses
who have allegedly seen it and who declare that it was in the handwriting of the
No. In holographic wills, the only guarantee of authenticity of the will is the
handwriting itself. When a holographic is loss or destroyed, the only medium of
proof is lost. There will be no mode of comparison of the handwriting of the
testator in a holographic will to determine its authenticity.
Furthermore, without the holographic will presented or a copy thereof in a
petition for probate, the oppositor, Yap, cannot prove that such document was not
in Felicidads handwriting. If testimonial evidence of holographic wills will be
permitted, feasibility of forgery would be another objectionable feature.


G.R. No. 106720, September 15, 1994
On November 25, 1982, Annie Sand died leaving a holographic will naming
several devisees including Spouses Ajero, Clemente Sand, and Dr. Jose Ajero Sr.,
and others. Spouses Ajero filed a petition for the allowance of the holographic will
of Annie, alleging the due execution of the same, and that decedent was of sound
mind not acting under duress, fraud, or undue influence when the will was
The petition was opposed by Clemente Sand alleging that the testaments
body nor the signature therein was in decedents handwriting. It also contained
alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by the decedent. In
addition, Clemente posits that Spouses Ajero obtained the will through improper
pressure and influence. Another oppositor, Dr. Jose Ajero Sr. contested the
disposition of a house and lot in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte since decedent is
not the sole owner thereof. The trial court was not impressed with the allegations
of Clemente which were not supported by evidence. The trial court found that the
will was duly executed by a capacitated testatrix and there is no question as to the
identity of the will.
The Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts decision on the ground that
the alterations, or insertions in a holographic will which are not signed,
authenticated and without being dated by decedent invalidates the will as provided
by Article 813 and 814 of the Civil Code.
Whether or not the alterations, cancellations, and insertions in a holographic
will not authenticated, signed and dated by the decedent is a ground for its
No. In holographic wills, the assurance of authenticity is the requirement
that they be totally handwritten by the testator to himself as provided under Article
810 of the Civil Code. A person may execute a holographic will which must be
entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject

to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be
The alterations, cancellations and insertions in the holographic will which
are not authenticated, signed and dated by the decedent himself only affects the
validity of the dispositions contained in the holographic will, but not its probate.
The failure to sign and date some dispositions would only result to an ineffective
disposition. It does not invalidate the whole will itself. The Court of Appeals
decision is reversed except with respect to the invalidity of the disposition of the
entire house and lot in Cabadbaran.
G.R. No. 169400, September 12, 2008
Lucia Rama Limchiu executed a will designating Napoleon Rama as
executor. When she died, a large portion of her estate was given to her nephew Jose
Limciu Jr. including the real property located in Lot 3, Block 12, Guadalupe
Heights, Cebu City. The said lot was sold by Jose to Spouses Joaquin.
Gladys Limchiu, Joses wife and judicial guardian, filed a complaint to
nullify the deed of absolute sale executed by Jose in favor of the Spouses Joaquin.
She alleged that the deed was forged by Jose and it was not personally subscribed
before a notary public. Rama filed an intervention on the same grounds advanced
by Gladys and included that the sale was in violation of the decedents will which
prohibits her devisees from disposing the properties given to them before reaching
the age of 30.
In their complaint in intervention, Spouses Joaquin alleged that the said
prohibition does not apply to the Guadalupe Heights property. The trial court
declared the sale void as per the prohibition of the testatrix. On appeal, the decision
was reversed.
Was the sale of the contested property covered by the prohibition provided
by the will of the testatrix?

No. The prohibition to encumber, alienate, or dispose the properties before
the age of 30 only applies to those real properties listed under the third disposition
on pages 1, 2, and 3 of the will. The use of the said real properties showed the
testatrix intention to prohibit alienation of only the identified and listed properties.
The Guadalupe Heights property was a part of the residual estate of the
testatrix. It was acquired after the execution of the testatrix will. Hence, it is only
proper to give weight to the fourth disposition which covers disposition of the
testatrix residual properties. The sale of the Guadalupe Heights property was valid.