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Baltazar v. Laxa 7.

The RTC concluded that at the time Paciencia signed the Will, she was no longer possessed of
April 11, 2012 | Article 839 sufficient reason or strength of mind to have testamentary capacity. The CA reversed.
PETITIONER: Antonio Baltazar, Sebastian Baltazar, Antonio Mangalindan, Rosie 8. In this petition, petitioners allege, among others, that the CA erred when it allowed the probate
Mateo, Nenita Pacheco, Virgilio Regala Jr and Rafael Titco of the Will despite utter failure to comply with Section 11, Rule 76 of the ROC.
RESPONDENT: Lorenzo Laxa
ISSUES: WON the authenticity and due execution of the notarial Will was sufficiently
SUMMARY: Paciencia bequeathed to her nephew, Lorenzo, her properties before she established to warrant its allowance for probate – YES.
died. At the probate proceedings, Antonio, one of the predecessors-in-interest of the
alleged real owner of the properties, opposed on several grounds. The lower court RULING: DENIED
disallowed the will but this was reversed by the CA. On appeal, the petitioners claim that
the allowance of the will violated Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. The SC denied the petition. RATIO:
1. Faithful compliance with the formalities laid down by law is apparent from the face of
DOCTRINE: Rule 75 in relation to Article 838. Subject to the right of appeal, such the Will.
allowance of the will shall be conclusive as to its due execution. | The very existence of  A careful examination of the face of the will shows faithful compliance with the
the Will is in itself prima facie proof that he supposed testatrix has will that her estate be formalities laid down by law under Art. 805 and 806 of the Civil Code. The
distributed in the manner therein provided, and it is incumbent upon the state that, if legally signatures of the testatrix, Pacencia, her instrumental witnesses and the notary
tenable, such desire be given full effect independent of the attitude of the parties affected public, are all present and evident on the will.
thereby.  The attestation clause explicitly states the critical requirement that the testatrix and
her instrumental witnesses signed the will in the presence of one another and that
FACTS:
1. Paciencia Regala was a 78 year old spinster when she made her last will and testament in the the witnesses attested and subscribed to the will in the presence of the testator and
Pampango dialect on September 13, 1981. The Will, executed in the house of retired Judge Ernestino G. of one another.
Limpin (Judge Limpin), was read to Paciencia twice. Paciencia expressed in the presence of the  Petitioners acceded that the signature may be authentic although they question
instrumental witnesses that the document is her last will and testament. She thereafter affixed her signature Pacencia’s state of mind when she signed the same as well as the voluntary nature
at the end of the said document on page 3and then on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof. of said act.
2. The witnesses to the Will were Dra. Maria Lioba A. Limpin (Dra. Limpin), Francisco Garcia 2. The burden to prove that Pacencia was of unsound mind at the time of the execution of
(Francisco) and Faustino R. Mercado (Faustino). The three attested to the Will’s due execution by affixing the will lies on the shoulders of the petitioners. Apart from the testimony of Rosie, there is
their signatures below its attestation clause and on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof, in the no substantial evidence, medical or otherwise, that would show that Pacenica was of
presence of Paciencia and of one another and of Judge Limpin who acted as notary public. unsound mind at the time of the execution of the Will.
3. Paciencia bequeathed all her properties to her nephew, respondent Lorenzo R. Laxa (Lorenzo) 3. Bare allegations of duress or influence of fear or threats, undue and improper influence
and his wife Corazon F. Laxa and their children Luna Lorella Laxa and Katherine Ross Laxa. Pacencia and pressure, fraud and trickery cannot be used as basis to deny the probate of a will. A
then left for the US and lived with the Laxa family. The Will remained in the custody of Judge Limpin. purported will is not to be denied legalization on dubious grounds.
4. More than four years after the death of Paciencia, Lorenzo filed a petition with the RTC of 4. Courts should be convinced by the evidence presented before it (not necessarily from
Guagua, Pampanga for the probate of the Will of Paciencia and for the issuance of Letters of the attesting witnesses) that the Will was duly executed.
Administration in his favor. The RTC issued an Order allowing Lorenzo to present evidence. Dra. Limpin  Rule 76 Section 111 requires that subscribing witnesses be produced or accounted
testified to the due execution of the Will. for where the will is contested.
5. Antonio Baltazar (Antonio) filed an opposition to Lorenzos petition. Antonio averred that the  Petitioners insist that all the witnesses and notary public should have been presented
properties subject of the Will belong to Nicomeda Regala Mangalindan, his predecessor-in-interest; hence, in court since all but Francisco are still living.
Paciencia had no right to bequeath them to Lorenzo. Among others, he argued that Paciencia was mentally  The Court disagrees, noting that the inability of Faustino and Judge Limpin to
incapable to make a Will at the time of its execution; that the Will was not executed and attested to in appear and testify before the court was satisfactorily explained during the probate
accordance with the requirements of the law. proceedings. As testified to by his son, Faustino has a heart attack and was already
6. For petitioners, Rosie Mateo testified that her mother and Paciencia were first cousins. Rosie bedridden and could no longer talk (with medical certificate). Dra. Limpin testified
testified that Paciencia was referred to as magulyan or forgetful because she would sometimes leave her that Judge Limpin suffered a stroke and could no longer talk and could not even
wallet in the kitchen then start looking for it moments later. On cross examination, it was established that remember his daughter’s name.
Rosie was neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist, that her conclusion that Paciencia was magulyan was based
on her personal assessment.

1 examined, and the death, absence, or insanity of any of them must be satisfactorily shown to the court.
If the will is contested, all the subscribing witnesses, and the notary in the case of wills executed under
the Civil Code of the Philippines, if present in the Philippines and not insane, must be produced and xxx