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Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank vs.

G.R. No. L- 27860 and 27896 | 1974-03-29
By: Karen P. Lustica
Facts: Linnie Jane Hodges, an American citizen from Texas, died in Iloilo City leaving a
will executed on November 22, 1952
In her will, she left all her estate in favor of Charles Newton Hodges, her husband. She
also stated in her will that should Charles later die, the said estate shall be turned over
to her brother and sister.
Charles died while domiciled here. The lawyer of Charles filed a motion before the
probate court while there was an ongoing probate on the will of Linnie so that a certain
Avelina Magno may be appointed as the administratrix of the estate. Magno was the
most trusted employee of the Hodges when they were alive and who had been
employed for around thirty (30) years. It was manifested that Charles himself left a will
but the same was in an iron trunk in Charles office. The judge approved the
appointment of Magno as administratrix.
Charles will was found and so a new petition for probate was filed for the said will.
Magno opposed the said petition. The probate of Charles will was granted. The
Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank was appointed the administrator. Magno
refused to turn over the estate.
Magno arugued that in her will, Linnie wanted Charles to turn over the property to
Linnies brother and sister. Magno also contended that Linnie was a Texan at the time of
her death and that under Article 16 of the Civil Code, successional rights are governed
by Linnies national law. Under the Texas law, Linnies will shall be respected regardless
of the presence of legitimes.
PCIB applied the renvoi doctrine - the law of Texas refers the matter back to Philippine
laws because Linnie was domiciled outside Texas at the time of her death.
1. WON there is a testamentary substitution.
2. WON the Texas Law should apply
1. NO.
2. NO.

1. We overrule PCIB's contention that the provision in Mrs. Hodges' will in favor of
her brothers and sisters constitutes ineffective hereditary substitutions. But
neither are We sustaining, on the other hand, Magno's pose that it gave Hodges
only a lifetime usufruct. We hold that by said provision, Mrs. Hodges
simultaneously instituted her brothers and sisters as co-heirs with her husband,
with the condition, however, that the latter would have complete rights of
dominion over the whole estate during his lifetime and what would go to the
former would be only the remainder thereof at the time of Hodges' death. In other
words, whereas they are not to inherit only in case of default of Hodges, on the
other hand, Hodges was not obliged to preserve anything for them. Clearly then,
the essential elements of testamentary substitution are absent; the provision in
question is a simple case of conditional simultaneous institution of heirs, whereby
the institution of Hodges is subject to a partial resolutory condition the operative
contingency of which is coincidental with that of the suspensive condition of the
institution of his brothers and sisters-in-law, which manner of institution is not
prohibited by law.
2. We also hold, however, that the estate of Mrs. Hodges inherited by her brothers
and sisters could be more than just stated, but this would depend on (1) whether
upon the proper application of the principle of renvoi in relation to Article 16 of the
Civil Code and the pertinent laws of Texas, it will appear that Hodges had no
legitime as contended by Magno, and (2) whether or not it can be held that
Hodges had legally and effectively renounced his inheritance from his wife.
Under the circumstances presently obtaining and in the state of the record of
these cases, as of now, the Court is not in a position to make a final ruling,
whether of fact or of law, on any of these two issues, and We, therefore, reserve
said issues for further proceedings and resolution in the first instance by the court
a quo, as hereinabove indicated. We reiterate, however, that pending such
further proceedings, as matters stand at this stage, Our considered opinion is
that it is beyond cavil that since, under the terms of the will of Mrs. Hodges, her
husband could not have anyway legally adjudicated or caused to be adjudicated
to himself her whole share of their conjugal partnership, albeit he could have
disposed any part thereof during his lifetime, the resulting estate of Mrs. Hodges,
of which Magno is the uncontested administratrix, cannot be less than one-fourth
of the conjugal partnership properties, as of the time of her death, minus what, as
explained earlier, have been gratuitously disposed of therefrom, by Hodges in
favor of third persons since then, for even if it were assumed that, as contended
by PCIB, under Article 16 of the Civil Code and applying renvoi the laws of the
Philippines are the ones ultimately applicable, such one-fourth share would be
her free disposable portion, taking into account already the legitime of her
husband under Article 900 of the Civil Code.
Dispositive: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, judgment is hereby
rendered DISMISSING the petition.