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8/31/2018 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 040

[No. 13431. November 12, 1919.]

In re will of Ana Abangan. GERTRUDIS ABANGAN,


executrix and appellee, vs. ANASTACIA ABANGAN ET
AL., opponents and appellants.

1. WILLS; ATTESTATION.—In a will consisting of two


sheets the first of which contains all the testamentary
dispositions and is signed

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VOL. 40, NOVEMBER 12, 1919 477

Abangan vs. Abangan.

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.

2. ID.; ID.; TESTATOR'S SIGNATURE.—The testator's


signature is not necessary in the attestation clause
because this, as its name implies, appertains only to the
witnesses and not to the testator.

3. ID.; DIALECT IN WHICH WRITTEN; PRESUMPTION.—


The circumstance appearing in the will itself that.same
was executed in the city of Cebu and in the dialect of this
locality where the testatrix was a neighbor is enough, in
the absence of any proof to the contrary, to presume that
she knew this dialect in which her will is written.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of


Cebu. Wislizenus, J.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.
Filemon Sotto for appellants.
M. Jesus Cuenco for appellee.

AVANCEÑA, J.:
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On September 19, 1917, the Court of First Instance of Cebu


admitted to probate Ana Abangan's will executed July,
1916. From this decision the opponents appealed.
Said document, duly probated as Ana Abangan's will,
consists of two sheets, the first of which contains all of 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; and
these omissions, according to appellants' contention, are
defects whereby the probate of the will should have been
denied. We are of the opinion that the will was duly
admitted to probate.
In requiring that each and every sheet of the will should
also be signed on the left margin by the testator and three
witnesses in the presence of each other, Act No. 2645
(which is the one applicable in the case) evidently has for
its ob-

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478 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED


Abangan vs. Abangan.

ject (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 three witnesses (as the instant case), 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. As these
signatures must be written by the testator and the
witnesses in the presence of each other, it appears that, if
the signatures at the bottom of the sheet guaranties its
authenticity, another signature on its left margin would be
unnecessary; and if they do not guaranty, same signatures,
affixed on another part of same sheet, would add nothing.
We cannot assume that the statute regards of such
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importance the place where the testator and the witnesses


must sign on the sheet that it would 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 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.
What has been said is also applicable to the attestation
clause. Wherefore, without considering whether or not this
clause is an essential part of the will, we hold that in the
one accompanying the will in question, the signatures of
the
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VOL. 40, NOVEMBER 12, 1919. 479


Abangan vs. Abangan.

testatrix and of the three 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 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.
Synthesizing our opinion, we hold that 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 primordial 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
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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 frustrative of the testator's last will, must be
disregarded.
As another ground for this appeal, it is alleged the
records do not show that the testatrix knew the dialect in
which the will is written. But the circumstance appearing
in the will itself that same was executed in the city of Cebu
and in the dialect of this locality where the testatrix was a
neighbor is enough, in the absence of any proof to the
contrary, to presume that she knew this dialect in which
this will is written.
For the foregoing considerations, the judgment appealed

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Florentino vs. Florentino.

from is hereby affirmed with costs against the appellants.


So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Johnson, Araullo, Street and


Malcolm, JJ., concur.

Judgment affirmed.

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