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ABANGAN v. ABANGAN 40 Phil.

477 (1919)

FACTS: The last will of Ana Abangan consisted of 2 sheets, the first of which
contained the entire disposition of the testatrix, duly signed at the bottom by
Martin Montalban (in the name and under the direction of the testatrix) and by 3
witnesses. The following sheet contained only the attestation clause duly signed at
the bottom by the 3 instrumental witnesses. Neither of the sheets was signed on the
left margin by the testatrix and the 3 witnesses, nor numbered by letters.
According to the oppositors to the probate of the will, these defects dictate that
the will not be admitted to probate.

ISSUE: Is it indispensable that the signatures of the testatrix and the 3 witnesses
appear on the left margin, and that all pages of the will be numbered?

HELD: In requiring that each and every sheet of the will should also be signed on
the left margin by the testator and 3 witnesses in the presence of each other, Act
No. 2645 evidently has for its object (referring to the body of the will itself) to
avoid the substitution of any of said sheets, thereby changing the testator�s
dispositions. But when these dispositions are wholly written on only one sheet
signed at the bottom by the testator and 3 witnesses, their signatures on the left
margin of said sheet would be completely purposeless. In requiring this signature
on the margin, the statute took into consideration, undoubtedly, the case of a will
written on several sheets and must have referred to the sheets which the testator
and the witnesses do not have to sign at the bottom. A different interpretation
would assume that the statute requires that this sheet, already signed at the
bottom, be signed twice. We cannot attribute to the statute such an intention. We
cannot assume that the statute regards of such importance the place where the
testator and the witnesses must sign on the sheet that it could consider that their
signatures written on the bottom do not guaranty the authenticity of the sheet but,
if repeated on the margin, give sufficient security.

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 the law 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.

As to the attestation clause accompanying the will, the signatures of the testatrix
and of the 3 witnesses on the margin and the numbering of the pages of the sheet
are formalities not required by the statute. Moreover, referring specially to the
signature of the testatrix, we can add that the same is not necessary in the
attestation clause because this, as its name implies, appertains only to the
witnesses and not to the testator since the latter does not attest, but executes
the will.