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1.

Language

Suroza VS Honrado
110 SCRA 388 Succession Will Should be Written in a Language Known to the Testator
In 1973, Marcelina Suroza supposedly executed a notarial will bequeathing her house and lot to a
certain Marilyn Suroza. In 1974, Marcelina died. Marina Paje was named as the executrix in the said will
and she petitioned before CFI Rizal that the will be admitted to probate. The presiding judge, Honrado
admitted the will to probate and assigned Paje as the administratrix. Honrado also issued an ejectment
order against the occupants of the house and lot subject of the will.
Nenita Suroza, daughter in law of Marcelina (her husband, son of Marcelina was confined in the
Veterans Hospital), learned of the probate proceeding when she received the ejectment order (as she
was residing in said house and lot).
Nenita opposed the probate proceeding. She alleged that the said notarial will is void because (a) the
instituted heir therein Marilyn Suroza is actually Marilyn Sy and she is a stranger to Marcelina, (b) the
only son of Marcelina, Agapito Suroza, is still alive and is the compulsory heir, (c) the notarial will is
written in English a language not known to Marcelina because the latter was illiterate so much so that
she merely thumbmarked the will, (d) the notary public who notarized will admitted that Marcelina
never appeared before him and that he notarized the said will merely to accommodate the request of a
lawyer friend but with the understanding that Marcelina should later appear before him but that never
happened.
Honrado still continued with the probate despite the opposition until testamentary proceeding closed
and the property transferred to Marilyn Sy.
Nenita then filed this administrative case against Honrado on the ground of misconduct.
ISSUE: Whether or not Honrado is guilty of misconduct for admitting into probate a void will.
HELD: Yes. Despite the valid claim raised by Nenita, he still continued with the testamentary
proceeding, this showed his wrongful intent. He may even be criminally liable for knowingly rendering
an unjust judgment or interlocutory order or rendering a manifestly unjust judgment or interlocutory
order by reason of inexcusable negligence or ignorance.
The will is written in English and was thumb marked by an obviously illiterate Marcelina. This could
have readily been perceived by Honrado that that the will is void. In the opening paragraph of the will,
it was stated that English was a language understood and known to the testatrix. But in its
concluding paragraph, it was stated that the will was read to the testatrix and translated into Filipino
language. That could only mean that the will was written in a language not known to the illiterate
testatrix and, therefore, it is void because of the mandatory provision of Article 804 of the Civil Code
that every will must be executed in a language or dialect known to the testator. Had Honrado been
careful and observant, he could have noted not only the anomaly as to the language of the will but
also that there was something wrong in instituting to Marilyn Sy as sole heiress and giving nothing at
all to Agapito who was still alive.

Honrado was fined by the Supreme Court.

Abangan v. Abangan, 40 Phil 476, AVANCENA

Facts: On September 19, 1917, CFI of Cebu admitted to probate Ana Abangans will executed July,
1916. From this decision the opponents appealed.
The will consists of 2 sheets. The first contains all the disposition of the testatrix, duly signed at the
bottom by Martin Montalban (in the name and under the direction of the testatrix) and by three
witnesses. The following sheet contains only the attestation clause duly signed at the bottom by the
three instrumental witnesses. Neither of these sheets is signed on the left margin by the testatrix and
the three witnesses, nor numbered by letters. These omissions, according to appellants contention,
are defects whereby the probate of the will should have been denied.
Issue: Whether or not the will was duly admitted to probate.
Held: YES. In requiring that each and every sheet of the will be signed on the left margin by the
testator and three witnesses in the presence of each other, Act No. 2645 evidently has for its object
the avoidance of substitution of any of said sheets which may change the disposition of the testatrix.
But when these dispositions are wholly written on only one sheet (as in the instant case) signed at the
bottom by the testator and three witnesses, their signatures on the left margin of said sheet are not
anymore necessary as such will be purposeless.
In requiring that each and every page of a will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the
upper part of the sheet, it is likewise clear that the object of Act No. 2645 is to know whether any sheet
of the will has been removed. But, when all the dispositive parts of a will are written on one sheet only,
the object of the statute disappears because the removal of this single sheet, although unnumbered,
cannot be hidden.
In a will consisting of two sheets the first of which contains all the testamentary dispositions and is
signed at the bottom by the testator and three witnesses and the second contains only the attestation

clause and is signed also at the bottom by the three witnesses, it is not necessary that both sheets be
further signed on their margins by the testator and the witnesses, or be paged.
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith
and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity.
Therefore the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordal
ends. But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law
to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. So when an interpretation already given
assures such ends, any other interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more
requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustative of the testators last will, must be disregarded.

Testate Estate of Cagro vs. Cagro, G.R. L-5826

Facts: The case is an appeal interposed by the oppositors from a decision of the CFI of Samar which
admitted to probate a will allegedly executed by Vicente Cagro who died in Pambujan, Samar on Feb.
14, 1949.
The appellants insisted that the will is defective because the attestation was not signed by the
witnesses at the bottom although the page containing the same was signed by the witnesses on the
left hand margin.
Petitioner contended that the signatures of the 3 witnesses on the left hand margin conform
substantially to law and may be deemed as their signatures to the attestation clause.
Issue: Whether or not the will is valid
Held: Will is not valid. The attestation clause is a memorandum of the facts attending the execution of
the will. It is required by law to be made by the attesting witnesses and it must necessarily bear their
signatures.
An unsigned attestation clause cannot be considered as an act of the witnesses since the omission of
their signatures at the bottom negatives their participation.
Moreover, the signatures affixed on the let hand margin is not substantial conformance to the law. The
said signatures were merely in conformance with the requirement that the will must be signed on the
left-hand margin of all its pages. If the attestation clause is unsigned by the 3 witnesses at the bottom,
it would be easier to add clauses to a will on a subsequent occasion and in the absence of the testator
and any or all of the witnesses.

The probate of the will is denied.

2. Subscription by testator (ART. 805)


Matias vs. Salud
Facts:
1. This case is an appeal from a CFI Cavite order denying the probate of the will of Gabina Raquel. The
document consist of 3 pages and it seems that after the attestation clause, there appears the
siganture of the testatrix 'Gabina Raquel', alongside is a smudged in violet ink claimed by the
proponents as the thumbmark allegedly affixed by the tetratrix. On the third page at the end of the
attestation clause appears signatures on the left margin of each page, and also on the upper part of
each left margin appears the same violet ink smudge accompanied by the written words 'Gabina
Raquel' with 'by Lourdes Samonte' underneath it.
2. The proponent's evidence is to the effect that the decedent allegedly instructed Atty. Agbunag to
drat her will and brought to her on January 1950. With all the witnesses with her and the lawyer, the
decedent affixed her thumbmark at the foot of the document and the left margin of each page. It was
also alleged that she attempted to sign using a sign pen but was only able to do so on the lower half of
page 2 due to the pain in her right shoulder. The lawyer, seeing Gabina unable to proceed instructed
Lourdes Samonte to write 'Gabina Raquel by Lourdes Samonte' next to each thumbmark, after which
the witnesses signed at the foot of the attestation clause and the left hand margin of each page.
3. The probate was opposed by Basilia Salud, the niece of the decedent.
4. The CFI of cavite denied the probate on the ground that the attestation clause did not state that the
testatrix and the witnesses signed each and every page nor did it express that Lourdes was specially
directed to sign after the testatrix.
Issue: Whether or not the thumbprint was sufficient compliance with the law despite the
absence of a description of such in the attestation clause
HELD: YES
The absence of the description on the attestation clause that another person wrote the testatrix' name
at her request is not a fatal defect, The legal requirement only ask that it be signed by the testator, a
requirement satisfied by a thumbprint or other mark affixed by him.
As to the issue on the clarity of the ridge impression, it is held to be dependent on the aleatory
circumstances. Where a testator employs an unfamiliar way of signing and that both the attestation
clause and the will are silent on the matter, such silence is a factor to be considered against the
authenticity of the testament. However, the failure to describe the signature itself alone is not

sufficient to refuse probate when evidence fully satisfied that the will was executed and witnessed in
accordance with law.

Ortega v. Valmonte

Facts: Two years after the arrival of Placido from the United States and at the age of 80 he wed
Josefina who was then 28 years old. But in a little more than two years of wedded bliss, Placido died.
Placido executed a notarial last will and testament written in English and consisting of 2 pages, and
dated 15 June 1983but acknowledged only on 9 August 1983. The allowance to probate of this will
was opposed by Leticia, Placidos sister. According to the notary public who notarized the testators
will, after the testator instructed him on the terms and dispositions he wanted on the will, the notary
public told them to come back on 15 August 1983 to give him time to prepare. The testator and his
witnesses returned on the appointed date but the notary public was out of town so they were
instructed by his wife to come back on 9 August 1983. The formal execution was actually on 9 August
1983. He reasoned he no longer changed the typewritten date of 15 June 1983 because he did not like
the document to appear dirty. Petitioners argument: 1. At the time of the execution of the notarial will
Placido was already 83 years old and was no longer of sound mind. 2. Josefina conspired with the
notary public and the 3 attesting witnesses in deceiving Placido to sign it. Deception is allegedly
reflected in the varying dates of the execution and the attestation of the will.
ISSUE: 1. W/N Placido has testamentary capacity at the time he allegedly executed the will.
2. W/N the signature of Placido in the will was procured by fraud or trickery.
HELD:
1. YES. Despite his advanced age, he was still able to identify accurately the kinds of property he
owned, the extent of his shares in them and even their location. As regards the proper objects of his
bounty, it was sufficient that he identified his wife as sole beneficiary. The omission of some relatives
from the will did not affect its formal validity. There being no showing of fraud in its execution, intent in
its disposition becomes irrelevant.
2. NO. Fraud is a trick, secret devise, false statement, or pretense, by which the subject of it is cheated.
It may be of such character that the testator is misled or deceived as to the nature or contents of the
document which he executes, or it may relate to some extrinsic fact, in consequence of the deception
regarding which the testator is led to make a certain will which, but for fraud, he would not have made.
The party challenging the will bears the burden of proving the existence of fraud at the time of its
execution. The burden to show otherwise shifts to the proponent of the will only upon a showing of
credible evidence of fraud. Omission of some relatives does not affect the due execution of a will.
Moreover, the conflict between the dates appearing on the will does not invalidate the document,

because the law does not even require that a notarial will be executed and acknowledged on the
same occasion. The variance in the dates of the will as to its supposed execution and attestation was
satisfactorily and persuasively explained by the notary public and instrumental witnesses.

Barut VS Cabacungan

Facts:

1.Pedro Barut applied for the probate of the will of Maria Salomon. It is alleged in the petition that testatrix died on Nov. 1908 in Sinait,
Ilocos Sur leaving the will dated March 3, 1907. The said will was witnessed by 3 persons. From the terms it appears that the petitioner
received a larger part of decedent's property. After this disposition, the testatrix revoked all other wills and stated that since she is unable
to read nor write, the will was read to her and that she has instructed Severino Agapan, one of the witnesses to sign her name in her
behalf.

2. The lower court ruled that the will is not entitled to probate on the sole ground that the handwriting of the person who signed the name
of the testatrix does not appear to be that of Agapan but that of another witness.

Issue: Whether or not a will's validity is affected when the person instructed by a testator to write his name did not sign his name

HELD: No, it is immaterial who wrote the name of the testator provided it is written at her request and in her present, and in the
presence of the witnesses. This is the only requirement under Sec. 618 of the Civil Code of procedure at that time.

As regards the validity of the will, it is unimportant whether the person who writes the name of the
testatrix signs his own or not. The important thing is that it clearly appears that the name of the
testatrix was signed at her express direction in the presence of the three witnesses and that they
attested and subscribed it in her presence and in the presence of each other.

It may be wise, as a practical matter that the one who signs the testators name signs also hi own;
but that is not essential to the validity of the will.