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Nacar v Nistal

Facts: Sometime in 1968, petitioner’s stepfather, Isabelo


Nacar, incurred an indebtedness with the respondent in the
amount of P2,971.00. Despite repeated demands by the
respondent, Isabelo was not able to pay. Thus, prompting
the respondent to file a civil action for the collection of
money against Isabelo. In the year 1970, Isabelo died.
Respondent then filed a civil case entitled “Claim Against the
Estate of the Late Isabelo Nacar With Preliminary
Attachment”.

Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, to dissolve the writ of


preliminary attachment, and to order the return of the
carabaos. In his motion to dismiss, the petitioner raised the
issue of lack of jurisdiction and absence of cause of action.
Mr. Nacar averred that the indebtedness mentioned in the
complaint was alleged to have been incurred by the late
Isabelo Nacar and not by Nicanor Nacar. There was,
therefore, no cause of action against him.

Private respondent Japitana filed an opposition to this


motion while intervenor Antonio Doloricon filed a complaint
in intervention asserting that he was the owner of the
attached carabaos and that the certificates of ownership of
large cattle were in his name.
The respondent Judge denied the motion to dismiss
prompting Mr. Nacar to come to the Supreme Court.

Issue: Whether or not a complaint against a heir of a


decedent, who incurred indebtedness, is the correct action
for the collection of money

Held: The court held in the negative. Under the


circumstances of this case, respondent Japitana has no
cause of action against petitioner Nacar. The court said that,
a cause of action is an act or omission of one party in
violation of of the legal right of the other. Its essential
elements are, namely: (1) the existence of a legal right in the
plaintiff, (2) a correlative legal duty in the defendant, (3) an
act or omission of the defendant in violation of plaintiff’s right
with consequential injury or damage to the plaintiff for which
he may maintain an action for the recovery of damages or
other appropriate relief.
Respondent Japitana may have a legal right to recover an
indebtedness due to him, petitioner Nicanor Nacar has no
correlative duty to pay the debt for the simple reason that
there is nothing in the complaint to show that he incurred the
debt or had anything to do with the creation of the liability. As
far as the debt is concerned, there is no allegation or
showing that the petitioner had acted in violation of
Japitana’s rights with consequential injury or damage to the
latter as would create a cause of action against the former.

Anderson v Perkins

MARIA VDA. DE REYES, EFREN REYES, ELVIRA


REYES-TIMBOL, ERLINDA REYES-VALERIO, ERNESTO
REYES, ELIZABETH REYES, ALEX, RAFAEL II, EMELINA
and EVELYN, all surnamed REYES, represented by their
mother, MARIA VDA. DE REYES vs. THE COURT OF
APPEALS AND SPOUSES DALMACIO GARDIOLA and
ROSARIO MARTILLANO

DOCTRINE: Art. 777, the rights to the succession are


transmitted from the moment of decedent’s death.
The estate of the decedent would then be held in co-
ownership by the heirs. The co-heir or co-owner may validly
dispose of his share or interest in the property subject to the
condition that the portion disposed of is eventually allotted to
him in the division upon termination of the co-ownership.
Petitioners, as mere successors-in-interest of Rafael Reyes,
Jr., son of Rafael Reyes, Sr., can only acquire that which
Rafael, Jr. could transmit to them upon his death. Nemo
dare potest quod non habet.

FACTS: The petitioners in the case are successors-of-


interest of the deceased Rafael Reyes Jr. Rafael Reyes Jr.
was the grandson of the late Gavino Reyes and has
allegedly inherited a parcel of land from the latter.

Gavino Reyes owned a 70 hectare parcel of land located at


Sangayad, Ulong-Tubig, Carmona, Cavite. When Gavino
Reyes died on March 7, 1921, his property was admittedly
not yet covered by a torrens title. The application for Torrens
title registration then was prosecuted by his son, Marcelo
Reyes, who was the administrator of his property.

In 1936, the above property was surveyed and subdivided by


Gavino's heirs. They orally settled, subdivided and
partitioned Gavino Reyes' landed estate without formal
requirements of Rule 74 of the Rules of Court when a parcel
of land is covered by a torrens title. Each lot was indicated
for and assigned to a specific heir. It appears therein that
two lots, one of which is Lot No. I A-14, were allotted to
Rafael Reyes, Sr., one of Gavino's children. Per testimony of
Juan Poblete, the children thereafter secured tax
declarations for their respective shares.
In 1941, or about twenty (20) years after the death of
Gavino, the original certificate of title for the whole property
— OCT No. 255 — was issued. It was, however, kept by
Juan Poblete, son-in-law of Marcelo Reyes, who was by
then already deceased.

On 3 December 1943, Rafael Reyes, Sr. (son of deceased


Gavino) sold a parcel of land with an area of 23,431 square
meters, more or less, to private respondent Dalmacio
Gardiola (husband of his niece, Rosario Martillano).
According to the vendee, this parcel corresponds to Lot No.
1-A-14 of the subdivision plan. The deed of sale, however,
did not specifically mention Lot No. 1-A-14. The vendee
immediately took possession of the property and started
paying the land taxes therein.

On 21 October 1967, the grandchildren of the late Gavino


Reyes executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of
Estate. Private respondent Rosario Martillano signed the
deed in representation of her mother, Marta Reyes, one of
the children of Gavino Reyes.

The lots supposedly inherited by the grandchildren named in


the deed of 1967 were the same lots inherited and given to
their respective fathers or mothers in 1936 while the land
was not yet covered by the torrens system.

Hence, in the case of Rafael Reyes, Sr., the land inherited


by him was two (2) parcels of land known as Lots Nos. 1-A-3
and 1-A-14 described in the Subdivision plan of 1936, were
the same parcels of land allegedly inherited by Rafael
Reyes, Jr. from Gavino Reyes in representation of his father,
pursuant to the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate for
which TCT No. 27257 was issued.

Petitioners herein, as successors-in-interest of Rafael


Reyes, Jr., filed on 14 March 1983 with the Regional Trial
Court a civil case against private respondents for recovery of
possession or, in the alternative, for indemnification,
accounting and damages. In their answer, private
respondents deny the material averments in the complaint
and assert that they are the owners of the lot in question,
having bought the same from Rafael Reyes, Sr., that the
issuance of TCT No. 27257 is null and void, for such sale
was known to Rafael Reyes, Jr.; that they have been in
possession of the property and have been paying the land
taxes thereon; and that petitioners are barred by prescription
and/or laches.

Trial court concluded that petitioners' "title over the subject


property is valid and regular and thus they are entitled to its
possession and enjoyment." And that the continued
possession by private respondents, which it found to have
started in 1943, did not ripen into ownership because at that
time, the property was already registered, hence it cannot be
acquired by prescription or adverse possession.

The Court of Appeals declared that the appealed Judgment


is ordered REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one is
rendered declaring appellants to be the lawful owners of the
lot identified as Lot No. 1-A-14 in the TCT.

The evidence on record bears out the existence of a


subdivision plan which was not controverted nor denied by
the appellees. With the existence of a subdivision plan, and
from the uncontroverted testimony of appellants' witness, we
can only infer that at least an oral partition, which under the
law is valid and binding, was entered into by the heirs of
Gavino Reyes regarding his properties in 1936. As held in a
long line of decisions, extrajudicial partition can be done
orally, and the same would be valid if freely entered into
(Belen v. Belen, 49 O.G. 997, March 1953). The reason for
this is because a partition is not exactly a conveyance
for the reason that it does not involve transfer of
property from one to the other but rather a confirmation
by them of their ownership of the property.

ISSUE: Whether or not the sale of the land to Gardiola was


valid

RULING: Yes. upon the death of Gavino Reyes in 1921, his


heirs automatically became co-owners of his 70-hectare
parcel of land. The rights to the succession are transmitted
from the moment of death of the decedent. The estate of the
decedent would then be held in co-ownership by the heirs.
The co-heir or co-owner may validly dispose of his share or
interest in the property subject to the condition that the
portion disposed of is eventually allotted to him in the
division upon termination of the co-ownership.

In the case at bar, the lot sold by Rafael Reyes, Sr. to private
respondent Dalmacio Gardiola is his share in the estate of
his deceased father, Gavino Reyes. It is the same property
which was eventually adjudicated to his son and heir, Rafael
Reyes, Jr., represented in turn by his heirs-petitioners
herein-in the extrajudicial settlement of 1967.

Therefore, since under Art. 777, the rights to the succession


are transmitted from the moment of decedent’s death, the
sale of the land by Rafael Reyes Jr. was valid. Petitioners,
as mere successors-in-interest of Rafael Reyes, Jr., son of
Rafael Reyes, Sr., can only acquire that which Rafael, Jr.
could transmit to them upon his death. The latter never
became the owner of Lot No. 1-A-14 because it was sold by
his father in 1943. The issuance of TCT No. T- 27257 in the
name of Rafael Reyes, Jr., in so far as Lot No. 1-14-A is
concerned, was clearly erroneous because he never
became its owner. An extrajudicial settlement does not
create a right in favor of an heir. It is but a confirmation or
ratification of title or right to property. Thus, since he never
had any title or right to Lot No. 1-14-A, the mere execution of
the settlement did not improve his condition, and the
subsequent registration of the deed did not create any right
or vest any title over the property in favor of the petitioners
as heirs of Rafael Reyes, Jr. The latter cannot give them
what he never had before. Nemo dare potest quod non
habet.

Suarez v CA
Facts: Petitioners are brothers and sisters. Their father died.
His estate has not been liquidated or partitioned. Petitioners
widowed mother and Rizal Realty Corporation lost in a case
for rescission of contract and for damages and were ordered
to pay damages. 5 parcels of land were then levied and sold
with private respondent as highest bidder and were issued
certificates of sale

Before the expiration of the redemption period,


petitioners filed a reinvindicatory action against private
respondents for the annulment of the auction sale and
the recovery of the ownership of the levied pieces of
property. They alleged that being strangers to the case
decided against their mother, they cannot be held liable
therefor and that the five (5) parcels of land, of which
they are co-owners, can neither be levied nor sold on
execution. Teofista Suarez joined by herein petitioners
filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the order of the
RTC claiming that the parcels of land are co-owned by
them but was denied. Upon Motion for
Reconsideration, it was granted by the RTC.
Respondents appealed to the CA, which affirmed RTC
decision. Hence this petition

Issue: whether or not private respondents can validly acquire


all the five (5) parcels of land co-owned by petitioners and
registered in the name of petitioner’s deceased father?

Held: No. Under Article 777 of the Civil Code, the law
applicable at the time of the institution of the case.
"The rights to the succession are transmitted from the
moment of the death of the decedent." Article 888
further provides: "The legitime of the legitimate children
and descendants consists of one-half of the hereditary
estate of the father and of the mother. The latter may
freely dispose of the remaining half, subject to the rights
of illegitimate children and of the surviving spouse as
hereinafter provided." The proprietary interest of
petitioners in the levied and auctioned property is
different from and adverse to that of their mother.
Petitioners became coowners of the property not
because of their mother but through their own right as
children of their deceased father. Therefore, petitioners
are not barred in any way from instituting the action to
annul the auction sale to protect their own interest.

Constantino v CA
Facts: Josefa Torres died intestate. Her heirs are Roque,
Luna and Austria. The heirs of Josefa as vendors and
petitioner Constantino as vendee entered into a contract to
sell a parcel of land. Constantino was to prepare the deed of
extrajudicial settlement of estate with sale. Such deed has
several spaces left blank including the specifications of the
metes and bounds of the land. The heirs signed the
document with the understanding that Roque, one of the
heirs, would be present during the survey of the land.
However, without participation of any of the heirs, the
property was surveyed, subdivided and then covered by TCT
T-292265 and T-292266. The heirs learned that the area
sold was much bigger than that agreed upon. The heirs filed
with the RTC of Bulacan an action for annulment of the deed
and cancellation of the certificate of titles with damages. The
heirs claimed that they signed the document before the land
was surveyed and subdivided, hence, there was as yet no
definite area to be sold that could be indicated in the deed at
the time of the signing. Also, they were not notified about the
survey and the subdivision of the lot and therefore they could
not have agreed on the area supposedly sold to petitioner.
Constantino claims that the heirs signed the deed after the
survey of the land was completed and before a notary public
in Manila. RTC and CA ruled in favor of the heirs.
Issue: Whether or not the deed of extrajudicial settlement of
estate with sale is valid
Held: NO, the deed is not valid. The court held that petitioner
Constantino violated their agreement that Roque should be
present when the lot is to be surveyed by the Bureau of
Lands. Petitioner deceived the heirs by filling the blank
spaces in the deed and having the lot surveyed and
subdivided on his own and without the knowledge and
consent of the heirs. Also, the claim of petitioner that the
heirs signed the deed after the survey was contradicted by
petitioner’s own witness who positively asserted in court that
the survey was conducted six days after the signing. The
court also doubts the procedural regularity in the execution
and signing of the deed. It is not easy to believe that
petitioner and the heirs would travel to Manila to have their
document notarized considering they live in Bulacan where
notaries public are easy to find. Another compelling reason
for the annulment of the document is that the second page
thereof clearly manifests that the number of the subdivision
plan and the respective areas of said lots were merely
handwritten while all the rest of the statements therein were
typewritten, which leads the court to the conclusion that
handwritten figures thereon were not available at the time
the document was formalized.

HEIRS OF GUIDO AND ISABEL YAPTINCHAY VS. CA


G.R. No. 124320 March 2, 1999


FACTS:Petitioners claim that they are the legal heirs of


spouses Yaptinchay, the owners-claimants of two lots
situated in Bancal, Carmona, Cavite. On March 17, 1994
petitioners executed an Extra-Judicial Settlement of the
estate of the deceased spouses. On August 26, 1994,
petitioners discovered that a portion, if not all, of the
aforesaid properties were titled in the name of respondent
Golden Bay Realty and Development Corporation ("Golden
Bay Realty"). With the discovery, petitioners filed a complaint
for annulment of TCTs over the properties. Upon learning
that Golden Bay sold portions of the subject land, petitioners
filed with the RTC an Amended Complaint to mention the
TCTs to be annulled. The RTC granted the same. On August
12, 1995, the private respondents presented a Motion to
Dismiss on the grounds that among others, the plaintiffs did
not have a cause of action being that they have not
established their status as heirs. The Motion to Dismiss was
granted, holding that t he petitioners have not shown any
proof that they have been declared legal heirs of the
deceased couple. Petitioners contend that the respondent
court acted with grave abuse of discretion in ruling that the
issue of heirship should first be determined before trial of the
case could proceed. They further contend that the
respondent court should have proceeded with the trial and
simultaneously resolve d the issue of heirship in the same
case. The Court denied their motion to dismiss. Hence, this
petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court can make a declaration


of heirship in the civil action?

HELD: NO. The Court ruled that the trial court cannot make
a declaration of heirship in the civil action for the reason that
such a declaration can only be made in a special
proceeding. The determination of who are legal heirs of t he
deceased couple must be made in the proper special
proceedings in court, and not in an ordinary suit for
reconveyance of property. Under Section 3, Rule 1 of the
Rules of Court, a civil action is defined as one by which a
party sues another for the enforcement or protection of a
right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong while a special
proceeding is a remedy which a party seeks to establish a
right, or particular fact. The Court held that the declaration of
heirship can be made only in a special proceeding inasmuch
as the petitioners in the case at bar are seeking the
establishment of a status or right.

7.
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES
v
ELLA GAGARANI, ISAGANI,
ADRIAN, NATHANIEL, NIEVA,
JONATHAN, DIONESIO,
FLORENCE and JEREMIAS,
all surnamed ASOK,

G.R. No. 172248


September 17, 2008

FACTS: Spouses Dionesio and Matea S. Asok owned


several parcels of land. Upon their death, their eleven
children inherited the properties. One of the lands inherited
was a lot covered by OCT No. P-4272, a free patent located
at Pagawan, Manticao, Misamis Oriental. Pursuant to the
extrajudicial settlement of the estate with quitclaim executed
by the spouses’ children, the subject property was inherited
by Denison Asok. OCT No. P-4272 was cancelled and TCT
No. T-9626 was issued and registered in his name.

Denison and his wife, respondent Ella Gagarani Asok,


borrowed 100k from petitioner, a government financial
institution created and operating under EO 81. They
mortgaged the subject lot as collateral to guarantee payment
of the loan. On due date, however, they failed to pay the loan
and the mortgage was extrajudicially foreclosed pursuant to
Act 3135. Petitioner emerged as the highest bidder.

Subsequently, a certificate of sale was issued in favor of


petitioner. This was registered on 24 December 1992.
Petitioners ownership over the property was consolidated
and TCT No. T-27172 was issued in its name.
Meanwhile, Denison died and was succeeded by his
surviving spouse and children (respondents). Respondents
then filed a complaint for repurchase against petitioner in the
RTC of Initao, invoking their right to repurchase the property
under Sec. 119 of CA 141 which provides:

Sec. 119. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free


patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be
subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal
heirs, within a period of five years from date of the
conveyance.

Petitioner contends that respondents cannot claim the right


under Sec. 119 which covers homesteads and free patents
because the free patent issued to Denison’s parents had
already been cancelled and a new TCT had in fact been
issued to him. Thus, the property mortgaged to it was no
longer covered by a free patent but by a TCT.

RTC dismissed the complaint, ruling that the one-year


period for redemption should be reckoned from the date of
sale ( 28 November 1991), while the five-year period
provided should be counted from the expiration of the
redemption period (28 November 1992). Therefore,
respondents had until 28 November 1997 to exercise their
right to repurchase. However, the complaint was filed on 15
May 1998 which was beyond the prescribed period. CA
reversed the decision. Hence, this petition.

ISSUES:
(1) Whether or not respondents are the legal heirs of the
decedent
(2) Whether or not the action for repurchase has prescribed

RULING: (1) YES. In line with the rationale behind Sec. 119,
the Court rejected a restricted definition of legal heirs. It is
used in a broad sense and the law makes no distinctions.

Respondents inherited the property from Denison, their


husband and father, who in turn inherited it from his parents.
Respondent Ella Gagarani, as daughter-in-law of the
patentees, can be considered as among the legal heirs who
can repurchase the land in accordance with Salenillas v. CA.
In that case, it was allowed that the daughter and son-in-law
of the patentees can repurchase the property because this
would be more in keeping with the spirit of the law. It has
been said, time and again, that between two statutory
interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the
law should prevail. Furthermore, the law must be liberally
construed in order to carry out its purpose.

(2) NO. There is no dispute that in extrajudicial foreclosures


under Act 3135, the debtor or his or her successors-in-
interest may redeem the property within one year. This
redemption period should be reckoned from the date of
registration of the certificate of sale. The five-year period
fixed in Sec. 119 begins to run from the expiration of the one-
year redemption period. Here, the certificate of sale was
registered on 24 December 1992 and the one-year
redemption period expired on 24 December 1993. Reckoned
from that day, respondents had a five-year period, or until 24
December 1998, to exercise their right to repurchase under
Sec. 119 of CA 141.

Paz v Abena
G.R. No. 145545 June 30, 2008
PAZ SAMANIEGO-CELADA, petitioner,
vs.
LUCIA D. ABENA, respondent.
Facts:
Petitioner Paz Samaniego-Celada was the first cousin of
decedent Margarita S. Mayores (Margarita) while respondent
was the decedent’s lifelong companion since 1929. On April
27, 1987, Margarita died single and without any ascending
nor descending heirs as her parents, grandparents and
siblings predeceased her. She was survived by her first
cousins including petitioner. Before her death, Margarita
executed a Last Will and Testament3 on February 2, 1987
where she bequeathed one-half of her undivided share of a
real property located at Singalong Manila, consisting of
209.8 square meters, and covered by Transfer Certificate of
Title (TCT) No. 1343 to respondent, Norma A. Pahingalo,
and Florentino M. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion
each. She likewise bequeathed one-half of her undivided
share of a real property located at San Antonio Village,
Makati, consisting of 225 square meters, and covered by
TCT No. 68920 to respondent, Isabelo M. Abena, and
Amanda M. Abena in equal shares or one-third portion each.
Margarita also left all her personal properties to respondent
whom she likewise designated as sole executor of her will.
On August 11, 1987, petitioner filed a petition for letters of
administration of the estate of Margarita before the RTC of
Makati while on On October 27, 1987, respondent filed a
petition for probate of the will of Margarita before the RTC of
Makati. On March 2, 1993, the RTC rendered a decision
declaring the last will and testament of Margarita probated
and respondent as the executor of the will. Petitioner
appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals. But the
Court of Appeals, in a decision dated October 13, 2000,
affirmed in toto the RTC ruling.
Petitioner argues that Margarita’s will failed to comply with
the formalities required under Article 8058 of the Civil Code
because the will was not signed by the testator in the
presence of the instrumental witnesses and in the presence
of one another. She also argues that the signatures of the
testator on pages A, B, and C of the will are not the same or
similar, indicating that they were not signed on the same
day. She further argues that the will was procured through
undue influence and pressure because at the time of
execution of the will, Margarita was weak, sickly, jobless and
entirely dependent upon respondent and her nephews for
support, and these alleged handicaps allegedly affected her
freedom and willpower to decide on her own. Petitioner
likewise argues that the Court of Appeals should have
declared her and her siblings as the legal heirs of Margarita
since they are her only living collateral relatives in
accordance with Articles 10099 and 101010 of the Civil Code.
Respondent, for her part, argues in her Memorandum11 that
the petition for review raises questions of fact, not of law and
as a rule, findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are final
and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal to the
Supreme Court.
Issues:
Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in not declaring
the will invalid for failure to comply with the formalities
required by law,
Held:
No, RTC correctly held with [regard] to the contention of the
oppositors [Paz Samaniego-Celada, et al.] that the testator
[Margarita Mayores] was not mentally capable of making a
will at the time of the execution thereof, the same is without
merit. The oppositors failed to establish, by preponderance
of evidence, said allegation and contradict the presumption
that the testator was of sound mind. Anent the contestants’
submission that the will is fatally defective for the reason that
its attestation clause states that the will is composed of three
(3) pages while in truth and in fact, the will consists of two (2)
pages only because the attestation is not a part of the
notarial will, the same is not accurate. While it is true that the
attestation clause is not a part of the will, the court, after
examining the totality of the will, is of the considered opinion
that error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the
attestation clause is not material to invalidate the subject will.
It must be noted that the subject instrument is consecutively
lettered with pages A, B, and C which is a sufficient
safeguard from the possibility of an omission of some of the
pages. The error must have been brought about by the
honest belief that the will is the whole instrument consisting
of three (3) pages inclusive of the attestation clause and the
acknowledgement. The position of the court is in
consonance with the "doctrine of liberal interpretation"
enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code. As for the
signatures, testator was affixing her signature in the
presence of the instrumental witnesses and the notary.
There is no evidence to show that the first signature was
procured earlier than February 2, 1987. Finally, the court
finds that no pressure nor undue influence was exerted on
the testator to execute the subject will. In fact, the picture
reveals that the testator was in a good mood and smiling
with the other witnesses while executing the subject will.
Thus, we find no reason to disturb the abovementioned
findings of the RTC. Since, petitioner and her siblings are not
compulsory heirs of the decedent under Article 88715 of the
Civil Code and as the decedent validly disposed of her
properties in a will duly executed and probated, petitioner
has no legal right to claim any part of the decedent’s estate.
Petition denied.

Case #9

Case: Lee vs. Atty Tambago, AC no 5281, February 12,


2008

Facts:

Complainant Manuel Lee charged respondent Atty.


Tambago for violation of the Notarial Law and the ethics of
the legal profession for notarizing a spurious will and
testament. The complainant alleged that his deceased
father, the testator, never executed the will and that the will
contained forged signatures of the two witnesses, Nonay
and Grajo. Complainant also questioned the absence of
residence certificates of the two witnesses. In the said will,
the decedent bequeathed his entire estate to his wife Lim
Hock Lee save for a parcel of land for other heirs. The
complainant further alleged that his signature in the will is
not the same with that of the signature in the deed of
donation. Respondent of course claimed that these were
false allegations. The Court then referred the case to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation and report
and in the report, the investigating commissioner found
respondent guilty of violation of the old notarial law found
under the revised administrative code and Canon 1 Rule 10
of the CPR. The respondent was then revoked and
dismissed from being a Notary Public.

Issue:
Whether or not the will in the case at bar is valid

Held:

The Court ruled in the negative

The will in question was only attested by two witnesses and


for that reason alone, this will must fail. In a notarial will, it is
required by law that it be subscribed at the end by the
testator himself. In addition, it should be attested and
subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the
presence of the testator and of one another.
The Civil code likewise requires that the will must be
acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the
witnesses. An acknowledgment is the act of one who has
executed a deed in going before some competent officer or
court and declaring it to be his act or deed. It involves an
extra step undertaken whereby the signatory actually
declares to the notary public that the same is his or her own
free act and deed. The acknowledgment in a notarial will has
a two-fold purpose: (1) to safeguard the testators wishes
long after his demise and (2) to assure that his estate is
administered in the manner that he intends it to be done.

A cursory examination of the acknowledgment of the will in


question shows that this particular requirement was neither
strictly nor substantially complied with.

For one, there was the conspicuous absence of a notation of


the residence certificates of the notarial witnesses Noynay
and Grajo in the acknowledgment. Similarly, the notation of
the testators old residence certificate in the same
acknowledgment was a clear breach of the law. These
omissions by respondent invalidated the will. As the
acknowledging officer of the contested will, respondent was
required to faithfully observe the formalities of a will and
those of notarization.

The Notarial Law then in force required the exhibition of the


residence certificate upon notarization of a document or
instrument:

Section 251. Requirement as to notation of payment of


[cedula] residence tax. Every contract, deed, or other
document acknowledged before a notary public shall have
certified thereon that the parties thereto have presented their
proper [cedula] residence certificate or are exempt from the
[cedula] residence tax, and there shall be entered by the
notary public as a part of such certificate the number, place
of issue, and date of each [cedula] residence certificate as
aforesaid.

The importance of such act was further reiterated by Section


6 of the Residence Tax Act which stated:

When a person liable to the taxes prescribed in this Act


acknowledges any document before a notary public xxx it
shall be the duty of such person xxx with whom such
transaction is had or business done, to require the exhibition
of the residence certificate showing payment of the
residence taxes by such person xxx.
In the issuance of a residence certificate, the law seeks to
establish the true and correct identity of the person to whom
it is issued, as well as the payment of residence taxes for the
current year. By having allowed decedent to exhibit an
expired residence certificate, respondent failed to comply
with the requirements of both the old Notarial Law and the
Residence Tax Act. As much could be said of his failure to
demand the exhibition of the residence certificates of
Noynay and Grajo.

Aluad v Aluad
FACTS: Maria Aluad(mother of petitioners) as well as
their uncle, respondent Zenaido, were raiser by the childless
spouses Matilde and Crispin. Crispin was the owner of six
lots located in Capiz. When he died, Matilde the wife
adjudicated the lots to herself. On 14 November 1981,
Matilde executed a “Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter
vivos” in favor of petitioners’ mother Maria - covering all the
six lots. On 26 August 1991, Matilde sold Lot No. 676 to
respondent Zenaido by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real
property - and on her will she devised Lot 674 to Zenaido. In
1992, Matilde executed a Last Will devising Lot Nos. 675,
677, 682 and 680 to Maria, and her “remaining properties”
including Lot No. 674 to respondent Zenaido. Matilde died
on 25 January 1994, while Maria died on September 24
same year. On 21 August 1995, Maria’s heirs, herein
petitioners filed before the RTC - a complaint for declaration
and recovery of ownership and possession of lot nos. 674
and 676 and damages against respondent. As a defense,
Zenaido alleged that Lot No. 674 is owned by the defendant
as this lot was adjudicated to him in the last will of Matilde,
while lot 676 was purchased by him from Matilde. These two
lots are in his possession as true owners thereof. Petitioners
later filed a Motion for leave to amend complaint already filed
to conform to evidence to which it annexed an Amended
Complaint which cited the donation of the six lots via deed of
donation in favor of their mother Maria. RTC Branch 15
granted the motion and admitted the amended complaint.

ISSUE: Whether the CA erred when it reversed the RTC


Decision holding that the Deed of Donation inter vivos in
favor of petitioners’ mother is in fact a donation mortis causa.

HELD: No. It is mortis causa, having the following


characteristics; 1) it conveys no title or ownership to the
transferee before the death of the transferor. 2) that before
the death of the transferor, the transfer should be revocable
by the transferor or at will. 3) that the transfer should be void
if the transferor should survive the transferee. The phrase in
the deed of donation “to become effective upon the death of
the donor” admits of no other interpretation than to mean
that Matilde did not intend to transfer the ownership of the
six lots to petitioners’ mother during (Matilde’s) lifetime. The
donation being then mortis causa, the formalities of a will
should have been observed, which was not. It was
witnessed by only two, not three or more witnesses following
Article 805 of the civil code. Further, the witnesses did not
even sign the attestation clause: the execution of which
clause is a requirement seoarate from the subscription of the
will and the affixing of signatures on the left hand margins of
the pages of the will. Furthermore,the witnesses did not
acknowledge the will before the notary public, which is not in
accordance with the requirement of article 806 that every will
must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator
and the witnesses. The requirement that all the pages of the
will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the
upper part of each page was also not followed. The deed if
donation which is, one of mortis causa, not having followed
the formalities of a will, it is void and transmitted no right to
petitioners’ mother.

Estate of the deceased Victioriana Villaranda, EUSEBIA


LIM v Juliana Chinco

[This is a contest over the probable of a paper writing


purporting to be the will of Victorina Villaranda y Diaz.
The deceased left no descendants or ascendants, and
the document produced as her will purports to leave her
estate, valued at P50,000, more or less, to three
collateral relatives, Eusebia, Crispina, and Maria, of the
surname of Lim. This instrument was offered for probate
by Eusebia Lim. It was opposed by Juliana Chinco, a full
sister of the deceased. The trial court sustained the
opposition and disallowed the will on the ground that the
testatrix did not have testamentary capacity at the time
the instrument purports to have been executed by her.
From this judgment the proponent of the will appealed.]

FACTS:

The deceased was a resident of Meycauayan, Bulacan,


and was about 80 yrs old at the time of her death. On
the morning of June 2, 1929, she was stricken with
apoplexy, incident to cerebral hemorrhage, and was in
an unconscious condition, seated in a chair. Dr.
Geronimo Gaanan, a physician of Meycauayan, visited
the old lady 3 or 4 times, the first visit having occurred
between 6 and 7 p.m. of June 3. He found her insensible
and incapable of talking or controlling her movements.
On the same day the parish priest called to administer
the last rites of the church. Dr. Isidoro Lim, physician
from Manila, was also called to visit the patient and he
came to see her 2 or 3 times. They decided to take her
to San Juan de Dios hospital in Manila on the morning at
11AM of June 5, 1929 in charge of Dr. Guillermo Lopez
del Castillo, a resident physician of the hospital. She
died 4 days later.
The purported will, which is the subject of this
proceeding, was prepared by Atty. Perfecto Gabriel
whose wife is related to the chief beneficiaries named in
the will. Atty. Gabriel at the scene at 9 or 10AM of June
5, 1929. Knowing of the condition of the testatrix, he
went into a room adjacent to that occupied by the patient
and, taking a sheet from an exercise book, wrote the
instrument in question. He then took it into the sick
room for execution. Gabriel asked Dr. del Castillo to be a
witness, but the latter declined as he considered the old
lady to be lacking in testamentary capacity. Gabriel
asked Marcos Ira, a first cousin of the deceased, to be a
witness but he also declined. In the end 3 persons
served as witnesses, and two relatives of his wife. The
intended testatrix was not able to affix her signature to
the document, and it was signed for her by the attorney.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the testatrix had testamentary capacity at
the time the paper was signed.
HELD:
NO. The proof shows by a marked preponderance that
the deceased, on the morning of June 5, 1929, was in a
comatose condition and incapable of performing any
conscious and valid act. The testimony of Dr. Gaanan
and Dr. Del Castillo is sufficient and this testimony is
well corroborated by witnesses Paciana Diaz (the one
who chiefly cared for the deceased during her last illness
in Meycauayan) and Irene Ahorro (a neighbor, who was
called in when the stroke of apoplexy first occurred and
who visited the patient daily).
Witnesses said that the patient was in a continuous state
of coma during the entire period of her stay in
Meycauayan, subsequent to the attack, and that on the
morning of June 5, 1929, she did not have sufficient
command of her faculties to enable her to do any valid
act. Doctor Lim testified for the proponent of the will. He
said that the patient was not suffering from cerebral
hemorrhage but from uraemic trouble, and after the first
attack, the patient was much relieved and her mind so
far cleared up that she might have made a will on the
morning of June 5th. The attorney testified that he was
able to communicate with the deceased when the will
was made and that he read the instrument over to her
clause by clause and asked her whether it expressed
her wishes. He says that she made signs that enabled
him to understand that she concurred in what was
written. But it is clear, even upon the statement of
this witness, that the patient was unable to utter
intelligent speech. Upon the authority of Perry vs. Elio,
the paper offered for probate was properly disallowed.
The judgment appealed from will therefore be affirmed,
and it is so ordered, with costs against the appellant.

Barrera v Tanjoco

Heirs of late matilde montinola - sanson v CA

FACTS: This case arose from a petition filed by private


respondent Atty. Eduardo F. Hernandez with the CFI of
Manila (now RTC) seeking the probate of the holographic
will of the late HerminiaMontinola. The testatrix, who died
single, parentless and childless at the age of 70 years,
devised in this will several of her real properties to specified
persons.
Private Respondent who was named executor in the
will filed an urgent motion for appointment of special
administrator. With the conformity of all the relatives and
heirs of the testatrix except oppositor, the court appointed
private respondent as Special Administrator of the testate
estate of deceased.
Petitioner MatildeMontinolaSanson, the only
surviving sister of the deceased but who was not named in
the said win, filed her Opposition to Probate of Will, alleging
inter alia:
- that the testatrix was not in full possession of her mental
faculties to make testamentary dispositions;
- thatundue influence was exerted upon the person and mind
of the testatrix by the beneficiaries named in the win
- that the will failed to institute a residual heir to the
remainder of the estate.
After a hearing on the merits, the probate court,
finding the evidence presented in support of the petition to
be conclusive and overwhelming, rendered its decision
allowing the probate of the disputed will.
Petitioner thus appealed the decision of the probate
court to the Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the
decision.
Petitioner filed with the respondent court a motion for new
trial. Attached to her motion was the Affidavit of Merit of
Gregorio MontinolaSanson, petitioner's son, alleging that
witnesses have been located whose testimonies could shed
light as to the ill health of the testatrix as well as undue
influence exerted on the latter.
Hence the petition.

ISSUE: 1. WON the exclusion by the testatrix


of her only surviving sister (petitioner) from the
holographic will demonstrates her lack of
testamentary capacity.
2. WON the fact that in her holographic will the
testatrix failed to dispose of all of her estate is an indication
of the unsoundness of her mind.

RULING 1:In the case of Pecson v. Coronel, it was held —


The appellants emphasize the fact that family ties in
this country are very strongly knit and that the exclusion
of a relative from one's estate is an exceptional case. It
is true that the ties of relationship in the Philippines are
very strong, but we understand that cases of preterition
of relatives from the inheritance are not rare.The liberty
to dispose of one's estate by will when there are no
forced heirs is rendered sacred by the Civil Code in
force in the Philippines since 1889...
Article 842 of the Civil Code provides that one who has no
compulsory heirs may dispose by will of all his estate or any
part of it in favor of any person having capacity to succeed.
It is within the right of the testatrix not to include her only
sister who is not a compulsory heir in her will. Nevertheless,
per testimony of Asuncion Gemperle, the latter had reserved
two boxes of jewelry worth P850,000.00 for petitioner.
Furthermore, petitioner's son Francis was instituted as an
heir in the contested will.

RULING 2: Art. 841 of the Civil Code provides —


A will shall be valid even though it should not contain an
institution of an heir, or such institution should not comprise
the entire estate, and even though the person so instituted
should not accept the inheritance or should be incapacitated
to succeed.
In such cases, the testamentary dispositions made in
accordance with law shall be complied with and the
remainder of the estate shall pass to the legal heirs.
Thus, the fact that in her holographic will, testatrix disposed
of only eleven (11) of her real properties does not invalidate
the will, or is it an indication that the testatrix was of unsound
mind. The portion of the estate undisposed of shall pass on
to the heirs of the deceased in intestate succession.
Neither is undue influence present just because blood
relatives, other than compulsory heirs have been omitted, for
while blood ties are strong in the Philippines, it is the
testator's right to disregard non-compulsory heirs. 25 The fact
that some heirs are more favored than others is proof of
neither fraud or undue influence. 26 Diversity of
apportionment is the usual reason for making a testament,
otherwise, the decedent might as well die intestate.

SPOUSES ROBERTO AND THELMA AJERO vs. CA [G.R.


No. 106720. September 15, 1994.]

Doctrine: Unless the unauthenticated alterations,


cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the
holographic will or on testator's signature, their presence
does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication
will only result in disallowance of such changes.

Facts: An earlier Decision was rendered by the RTC of


Quezon City on the instrument submitted for probate which
is the holographic will of the late Annie Sand, who died on
November 25, 1982.

In the will, decedent named as devisees, the following:


petitioners Roberto and Thelma Ajero, private respondent
Clemente Sand, Meriam S. Arong, Leah Sand, Lilia Sand,
Edgar Sand, Fe Sand, Lisa S. Sand, and Dr. Jose Ajero, Sr.,
and their children.

Petitioners instituted Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, for allowance of


decedent's holographic will. They alleged that at the time of
its execution, she was of sound and disposing mind, not
acting under duress, fraud or undue influence, and was in
every respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will.

Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that:


neither the testament's body nor the signature therein was in
decedent's handwriting; it contained alterations and
corrections which were not duly signed by decedent; and,
the will was procured by petitioners through improper
pressure and undue influence. The petition was likewise
opposed by Dr. Jose Ajero. He contested the disposition in
the will of a house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan
Del Norte. He claimed that said property could not be
conveyed by decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole
owner.

Notwithstanding the oppositions, the trial court admitted the


decedent's holographic will to probate on the ground that no
evidence was presented to show that the will in question is
different from the will actually executed by the testatrix.

On appeal, said Decision was reversed, and the petition for


probate of decedent's will was dismissed. The Court of
Appeals found that, "the holographic will fails to meet the
requirements for its validity." It held that the decedent did not
comply with Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code. It
alluded to certain dispositions in the will which were either
unsigned and undated, or signed but not dated. It also found
that the erasures, alterations and cancellations made
thereon had not been authenticated by decedent.

Issue: Whether or not the will is valid

Ruling: Yes. In the case of holographic wills, what assures


authenticity is the requirement that they be totally
autographic or handwritten by the testator himself, as
provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code. Failure to
strictly observe other formalities will not result in the
disallowance of a holographic will that is unquestionably
handwritten by the testator.

A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its
requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained
in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails
to sign and date some of the dispositions, the result is that
these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure,
however, does not render the whole testament void.
Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate,
notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of Article
814.

It is also proper to note that the requirements of


authentication of changes and signing and dating of
dispositions appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814)
separate from that which provides for the necessary
conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810).
This separation and distinction adds support to the
interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the
New Civil Code — and not those found in Articles 813 and
814 of the same Code — are essential to the probate of a
holographic will.

The Court of Appeals further held that decedent Annie Sand


could not validly dispose of the house and lot located in
Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, in its entirety. This is correct
and must be affirmed. LexLib

As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited


to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to
be probated. However, in exceptional instances, courts are
not powerless to do what the situation constrains them to do,
and pass upon certain provisions of the will. In the case at
bench, decedent herself indubitably stated in her holographic
will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late
father, John H. Sand (which led oppositor Dr. Jose Ajero to
question her conveyance of the same in its entirety.). Thus,
as correctly held by respondent court, she cannot validly
dispose of the whole property, which she shares with her
father's other heirs.

MENTARY CAPACITY ESTATE OF THE DECEASED


VICTORINA VILLARANDA. EUSEBIA LIM VS JULIANA
CHINCO G.R. No. 33592. March 31, 1931 TOPIC: WILLS;
LACK OF TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY; COMA
RESULTING FROM CEREBRAL HEMORRHAGE. FACTS:
On the morning of June 2, 1929, Victorina Villaranda y Diaz,
was in a comatose condition due to apoplexy, incident to
cerebral hemorrage. After examination, she was allowed to
be taken to San Juan de Dios Hospital. Four days after June
5, 1929, she died. The contested document produced as her
will, was prepared by Perfecto Gabriel. His wife appeared to
be related to the named beneficiaries, who were collateral
relatives of the deceased, named Eusebia, Crispina, and
Maria Lim. At 9 or 10 o'clock on the forenoon of June 5,
1929, upon being informed of the condition of the testatrix,
he took a sheet from his exercise book, wrote the instrument
in question, and brought it into the sick room for execution.
He suggested that the attending physician, Lopez del
Castillo to sign as a witness. However, he refused on the
ground of lack of testamentary capacity of the old lady. He
also asked Marcos Ira, first cousin of the deceased, to sign
as one of the witnesses, but he refused as well. In the end
three persons served as witnesses, and two relatives of his
wife. Victorina was not able to affix her signature to the
document, and it was signed for her by the attorney.
Eusebia, named as executrix, offered such as probate.
However, the sister of the deceased, Chinco, opposed. The
trial court favored the latter and disallowed the will on the
ground that the testatrix did not have testamentary capacity
at the time the instrument purports to have been executed by
her. ISSUE: WON THE TESTRATIX HAD TESTAMENTARY
CAPACITY AT THE TIME THE PAPER REFERRED TO
WAS IGNED HELD: NO. At the time the will was made, the
proof showed that the testatrix was in a comatose condition
and devoid of the power of articulate speech. Held, that
testamentary capacity was lacking and that the purported will
was not valid. As shown a marked preponderance, that the
deceased, she was in a comatose condition and incapable of
performing any conscious and valid act. The testimony of
these witnesses is convincing to the effect that the patient
was in a continuous state of coma and did not have sufficient
command of her faculties to enable her to do any valid act.

Testate estate of Edward Aznar v Garcia

Bellis v Bellis

Dorotheo v. CA
GR No. 108581, December 8, 1999

FACTS:
Aniceta Reyes died in 1969 without her estate being settled.
Thereafter, her husband Alejandro also died. In 1977,
Lourdes Dorotheo filed a special proceeding for the probate
of Alejandro’s last will and testament. The children of
spouses filed their opposition. The RTC ruled that Lourdes
being not the wife of Alejandro the will is intrinsically void;
the oppositors are the only heir entitled to the estate.
Lourdes filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that she
is entitled to some compensation since she took care of
Alejandro prior to his death although they were not legally
married to each other. This was denied by the trial court. The
CA dismissed her appeal for her failure to wile the same
within the extended period.

ISSUE:
May a last will and testament admitted to probate but
declared intrinsically void in an order that has become final
and executor still be given effect?

HELD:
No. A final and executory decision or order can no longer be
disturbed or reopened no matter how erroneous it may be.
The Supreme Court ruled that the will of Alejandro was
extrinsically valid but the intrinsic provisions thereof are void.
Alejandro gave all the property to the concubine. Such is
invalid because one cannot dispose what he does not own.
In this case, the whole property is the conjugal property of
Alejandro and Aniceta. Such has become final and executor.
The only instance where a party interested in probate
proceeding may have a final liquidation set aside is when he
is left out by reason of circumstances beyond his control or
through mistake or inadvertence not imputable to negligence
with circumstances do not concur herein.
17. Bellis Vs. Bellis
G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967
TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased.
PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor.
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS,
oppositors-appellants,
vs.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.
Doctrine:
A provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his
properties shall be distributed in accordance with
Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal
and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in
regard to those matters.
Facts:
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State
of Texas and of the United States."
By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had
five legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who
pre-deceased him in infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander
Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman;
By his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he
had three legitimate children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S.
Bellis and Dorothy Bellis;
and finally, he had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis,
Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis.
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the
Philippines, in which he directed that after all taxes,
obligations, and expenses of administration are paid for, his
distributable estate should be divided.
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a
resident of San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted
to probate in the Court of First Instance of Manila on
September 15, 1958.
On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam
Palma Bellis filed their respective oppositions to the project
of partition on the ground that they were deprived of their
legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore, compulsory
heirs of the deceased.
Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to
him, proof of service of which is evidenced by the registry
receipt submitted on April 27, 1964 by the executor.
Lower Court:
Issued an order overruling the oppositions and approving the
executor's final account, report and administration and
project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code,
it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this
case is Texas law, which did not provide for legitimes.
Lower court denied the motion for reconsideration.

Issue:
Whether or no Texas law or Philippines law must apply.
Held:
Texas Law must apply.
Renvoi Doctrine - Said doctrine is usually pertinent where
the decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of
another.
In the present case, it is not disputed that the decedent
was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at
the time of his death.2 So that even assuming Texas has a
conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law
of the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in
a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still
refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if Texas has a conflicts
rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the
application of the law of the place where the properties are
situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here
involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence,
however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it
should not be presumed different from ours.3 Appellants'
position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As
stated, they never invoked nor even mentioned it in their
arguments.
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good
customs may be involved in our System of legitimes,
Congress has not intended to extend the same to the
succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically
chosen to leave, inter alia, the amount of successional
rights, to the decedent's national law. Specific provisions
must prevail over general ones.
A provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his
properties shall be distributed in accordance with
Philippine law and not with his national law, is illegal
and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in
regard to those matters.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a
citizen of the State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws
of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes. Accordingly,
since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the
amount of successional rights are to be determined under
Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied
to the testacy of Amos G. Bellis.

Azuela v CA

FELIX AZUELA vs. COURT OF APPEALS, GERALDA


AIDA CASTILLO substituted by ERNESTO G. CASTILLO

FACTS:
A petition was filed by petitioner Felix Azuela seeking to
admit to probate the notarial will of the late Eugenia E.
Igsolo, which was notarized on 10 June 1981. Petitioner is
the son of the cousin of the decedent. The will consisted of 2
pages and was written in the vernacular Pilipino. The three
witnesses to the will affixed their signatures on the left-hand
margin of both pages of the will, but not at the bottom of the
attestation clause. The probate petition adverted to only 2
heirs, legatees and devisees of the decedent, namely:
petitioner himself, and one Irene Lynn Igsolo, who was
alleged to have resided abroad. Petitioner prayed that the
will be allowed, and that letters testamentary be issued to
the designated executor, Vart Prague.
The petition was opposed by Geralda Castillo, who
represented herself as the attorney-in-fact of "the 12
legitimate heirs" of the decedent. Geralda claimed that:
The will is a forgery, and that the true purpose of its
emergence was so it could be utilized as a defense in
several court cases filed by oppositor against petitioner,
particularly for forcible entry and usurpation of real property,
all centering on petitioner's right to occupy the properties of
the decedent.
She also asserted that contrary to the representations of
petitioner, the decedent was actually survived by 12
legitimate heirs, namely her grandchildren, who were then
residing abroad.

Per records, it was alleged that decedent was the widow of


Bonifacio Igsolo, who died in 1965,and the mother of a
legitimate child, Asuncion E. Igsolo, who predeceased her
mother by 3 months.

Oppositor Geralda Castillo also argued that the will was not
executed and attested to in accordance with law. She
pointed out that decedent's signature did not appear on the
second page of the will, and the will was not properly
acknowledged. These twin arguments are among the central
matters to this petition.

RTC: It admitted the will to probate. The RTC favorably took


into account the testimony of the three (3) witnesses to the
will: Quirino Agrava, Lamberto Leano, and Juanito Estrada.
The RTC also called to fore "the modern tendency in respect
to the formalities in the execution of a will with the end in
view of giving the testator more freedom in expressing his
last wishes;" and from this perspective, rebutted oppositor's
arguments that the will was not properly executed and
attested to in accordance with law.

CA: The Order was appealed to the Court of Appeals by


Ernesto Castillo, who had substituted his since deceased
mother-in-law, Geralda Castillo. CA reversed the trial court
decision and ordered the dismissal of the petition for
probate. CA noted that the attestation clause failed to state
the number of pages used in the will, thus rendering the will
void and undeserving of probate.

Hence, the present petition.

Petitioner’s contention: Petitioner argues that the


requirement under Article 805 of the Civil Code that "the
number of pages used in a notarial will be stated in the
attestation clause" is merely directory, rather than
mandatory, and thus susceptible to what he termed as "the
substantial compliance rule."

ISSUE:
Whether the notarial will complied with the requirements of
the law and should be admitted to probate

HELD:
No. Petition was denied. The court laid down additional
defects of the notarial will of the deceased.
1. The attestation clause fails to state the number of pages
of the will. The purpose of the law in requiring the clause to
state the number of pages on which the will is written is to
safeguard against possible interpolation or omission of one
or some of its pages and to prevent any increase or
decrease in the pages. The failure to state the number of
pages equates with the absence of an averment on the part
of the instrumental
witnesses as to how many pages consisted the will, the
execution of which they had ostensibly just witnessed and
subscribed to. z

2. The attestation clause was not signed by the instrumental


witnesses. While the signatures of the instrumental
witnesses appear on the left- hand margin of the will, they do
not appear at the bottom of the attestation clause which after
all consists of their averments before the notary public.
Article 805 particularly segregates the requirement that the
instrumental witnesses sign each page of the will, from the
requisite that the will be "attested and subscribed by [the
instrumental witnesses]." The respective intents behind
these two classes of signature are distinct from each other.
The signatures on the left-hand corner of every page signify,
among others, that the witnesses are aware that the page
they are signing forms part of the will. On the other hand, the
signatures to the attestation clause establish that the
witnesses are referring to the statements contained in the
attestation clause itself. Indeed, the attestation clause is
separate and apart from the disposition of the will. An
unsigned attestation clause results in an unattested will.
3. The requirement under Article 806 that "every will must be
acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the
witnesses" has also not been complied with. An
acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed
in going before some competent officer or court and
declaring it to be his act or deed. It involves an extra step
undertaken whereby the signor actually declares to the
notary that the executor of a document has attested to the
notary that the same is his/her own free act and deed. A
notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary public
by the testator and the witnesses is fatally defective, even if
it is subscribed and sworn to before a notary public.
4. There are two other requirements under Article 805 which
were not fully satisfied by the will in question. However they
are no longer material to the disposition of the case. The
provision requires that the testator and the instrumental
witnesses sign each and every page of the will on the left
margin, except the last; and that all the pages shall be
numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of
each page. In this case, the decedent, unlike the witnesses,
failed to sign both pages of the will on the left margin, her
only signature appearing at the so-called "logical end" of the
will on its first page. Also, the will itself is not numbered
correlatively in letters on each page, but instead numbered
with Arabic numerals.

Alvaro v Hon Gaviola

G.R. No. 74695 September 14, 1993


In the Matter of the Probate of the Last Will and
Testament of the Deceased Brigido Alvarado, CESAR
ALVARADO, petitioner,
vs.
HON. RAMON G. GAVIOLA, JR., Presiding Justice, HON.
MA. ROSARIO QUETULIO LOSA and HON. LEONOR
INES LUCIANO, Associate Justices, Intermediate
Appellate Court, First Division (Civil Cases), and
BAYANI MA. RINO, respondents.
FACTS: On 5 November 1977, the 79-year old Brigido
Alvarado executed a notarial will entitled "Huling Habilin"
wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son (petitioner Cesar
Alvarado) and expressly revoked a previously executed
holographic will at the time awaiting probate before the RTC
of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
As testified to by the three instrumental witnesses, the notary
public and by private respondent Bayani Rino, who were
present at the execution, the testator did not read the final
draft of the will himself. Instead, Bayani Rino (as the lawyer)
who drafted the 8-paged document, read the same aloud in
the presence of the testator, the three instrumental
witnesses and the notary public.
Meanwhile, Brigido's holographic will was subsequently
admitted to probate on 9 December 1977. On the 29th day
of the same month, a codicil was executed changing some
dispositions in the notarial will to generate cash for the
testator's eye operation. Brigido was then suffering from
glaucoma. But the disinheritance and revocatory clauses
were unchanged. As in the case of the notarial will, the
testator did not personally read the final draft of the codicil.
Instead, it was private respondent who read it aloud in his
presence and in the presence of the three instrumental
witnesses (same as those of the notarial will) and the notary
public.
A petition for the probate of the notarial will and codicil was
filed upon the testator's death on 3 January 1979 by private
respondent as executor with the RTC of Siniloan, Laguna.
Herein petitioner filed an Opposition on the following
grounds: (1) that the will sought to be probated was not
executed and attested as required by law; (2) that the
testator was insane or otherwise mentally incapacitated to
make a will at the time of its execution due to senility and old
age; (3) that the will was executed under duress, or influence
of fear and threats; (4) that the signature of the testator was
procured by fraud or trick. However, petitioner failed to
substantiate the grounds relied upon thus a Probate Order
was issued.
Upon Appeal, petitioner alleged that Brigado was blind at the
time of the execution of the will and codicil hence Art. 808
was not complied with. However, the CA ruled that Art 808
was complied with.
ISSUE: Whether or not Art 808 was complied with
RULING: Petition denied. Brigido Alvarado was not totally
blind at the time the will and codicil were executed. However,
his vision on both eyes was only of "counting fingers at three
(3) feet" by reason of the glaucoma which he had been
suffering from for several years and even prior to his first
consultation with an eye specialist.
Art. 808. If the testator is blind, the will shall be read to him
twice; once, by one of the subscribing witnesses, and again,
by the notary public before whom the will is acknowledged.
In the case at bar, private respondent read the testator's will
and codicil aloud in the presence of the testator, his three
instrumental witnesses, and the notary public. Prior and
subsequent thereto, the testator affirmed, upon being asked,
that the contents read corresponded with his instructions.
Only then did the signing and acknowledgement take place.
There is no evidence, and petitioner does not so allege, that
the contents of the will and codicil were not sufficiently made
known and communicated to the testator. On the contrary,
with respect to the "Huling Habilin," the day of the execution
was not the first time that Brigido had affirmed the truth and
authenticity of the contents of the draft. The uncontradicted
testimony of Atty. Rino is that Brigido Alvarado already
acknowledged that the will was drafted in accordance with
his expressed wishes even prior to 5 November 1977 when
Atty. Rino went to the testator's residence precisely for the
purpose of securing his conformity to the draft.
The spirit behind the law was served though the letter was
not. Although there should be strict compliance with the
substantial requirements of the law in order to insure the
authenticity of the will, the formal imperfections should be
brushed aside when they do not affect its purpose and
which, when taken into account, may only defeat the
testator's will. Hence, substantial compliance suffices where
the purpose has been served.

Petition denied.

G.R. No. 76714 June 2, 1994


SALUD TEODORO VDA. DE PEREZ, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ZOTICO A. TOLETE in his capacity as Presiding
Judge, Branch 18, RTC, Bulacan, respondent
FACTS:
Dr. Jose F. Cunanan and his wife, Dr. Evelyn Perez--
Cunanan, who became American citizens, established a
successful medical practice in New York, U.S.A. The
Cunanans lived at No. 2896 Citation Drive, Pompey,
Syracuse, New York, with their children, Jocelyn, 18;
Jacqueline, 16; and Josephine, 14.
On August 23, 1979, Dr. Cunanan executed a last will and
testament, bequeathing to his wife “all the remainder” of his
real and personal property at the time of his death
“wheresoever situated”. In the event he would survive his
wife, he bequeathed all his property to his children and
grandchildren with Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee. He
appointed his wife as executrix of his last will and testament
and Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as substitute executor.
Article VIII of his will states:
“If my wife, EVELYN PEREZ-CUNANAN, and I shall die
under such circumstances that there is not sufficient
evidence to determine the order of our deaths, then it shall
be presumed that I predeceased her, and my estate shall be
administered and distributed, in all respects, in accordance
with such presumption”
Four days later, on August 27, Dr. Evelyn P. Cunanan
executed her own last will and testament containing the
same provisions as that of the will of her husband. Article
VIII of her will states:
“If my husband, JOSE F. CUNANAN, and I shall die under
such circumstances that there is not sufficient evidence to
determine the order of our deaths, then it shall be presumed
that he predeceased me, and my estate shall be
administered and distributed in all respects, in accordance
with such presumption”
On January 9, 1982, Dr. Cunanan and his entire family
perished when they were trapped by fire that gutted their
home. Thereafter, Dr. Rafael G. Cunanan, Jr. as trustee and
substitute executor of the two wills, filed separate
proceedings for the probate thereof with the Surrogate Court
of the County of Onondaga, New York. On April 7, these two
wills were admitted to probate and letters testamentary were
issued in his favor.
However, Evelyn’s mother, Salud Perez, filed a petition for
reprobate in Bulacan. Rafael opposed, arguing that Salud
was not an heir according to New York law. He contended
that since the wills were executed in New York, New York
law should govern. He further argued that, by New York law,
he and his brothers and sisters were Jose’s heirs and as
such entitled to notice of the reprobate proceedings, which
Salud failed to give.
For her part, Salud said she was the sole heir of her
daughter, Evelyn, and that the two wills were in accordance
with New York law. But before she could present evidence to
prove the law of New York, the reprobate court already
issued an order, disallowing the wills.
On February 21, 1984, Judge de la Llana issued an order,
disallowing the reprobate of the two wills, recalling the
appointment of petitioner as special administratrix, requiring
the submission of petitioner of an inventory of the property
received by her as special administratrix and declaring all
pending incidents moot and academic. Judge de la Llana
reasoned out that petitioner failed to prove the law of New
York on procedure and allowance of wills and the court had
no way of telling whether the wills were executed in
accordance with the law of New York. In the absence of
such evidence, the presumption is that the law of succession
of the foreign country is the same as the law of the
Philippines. However, he noted, that there were only two
witnesses to the wills of the Cunanan spouses
and the Philippine law requires three witnesses and that the
wills were not signed on each and every page, a requirement
of the Philippine law.
Petitioner insists to probate the will jointly however the
respondent Judge opposed, that it should be probated
separately, however petitioner still insists and contends that
the wills had been admitted to probate in the Surrogate
Court’s Decision of April 13, 1983 and that the proceedings
were terminated on November 29, 1984.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the reprobate of the wills should be allowed
HELD:
NO, However respondent Judge shall allow petitioner
reasonable time within which to submit evidence needed for
the joint probate of the wills of the Cunanan spouses and
see to it that the brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan
are given all notices and copies of all pleadings pertinent to
the probate proceedings.
-The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses, who were
American citizens, will only be effective in this country upon
compliance with the following provision of the Civil Code of
the Philippines:
“Art. 816. The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect
in the Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed by
the law of the place in which he resides, or according to the
formalities observed in his country, or in conformity with
those which this Code prescribes.”
Thus, proof that both wills conform with the formalities
prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is
imperative.
-Evidence for Reprobate of Wills Probated outside the
Philippines:
Requirements:
The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of
wills which have been probated outside of the Philippines
are as follows:
(1) The due execution of the will in accordance with the
foreign laws;
(2) The testator has his domicile in the foreign country and
not in the Philippines;
(3) The will has been admitted to probate in such country;
(4) The fact that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and
(5) The laws of a foreign country on procedure and
allowance of wills. Except for the first and last requirements,
the petitioner submitted all the needed evidence.
The necessity of presenting evidence on the foreign laws
upon which the probate in the foreign country is based is
impelled by the fact that our courts cannot take judicial
notice of them.
On Lack of Notice to Jose’s Heirs

This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching


on a very glaring fact - petitioner has always considered
herself the sole heir of Dr. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and
because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. Jose F.
Cunanan, she noticeably failed to notify his heirs of the filing
of the proceedings. Thus, even in the instant petition, she
only impleaded respondent Judge, forgetting that a judge
whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal
party.
The rule that the court having jurisdiction over the reprobate
of a will shall "cause notice thereof to be given as in case of
an original will presented for allowance" (Revised Rules of
Court, Rule 27, Section 2) means that with regard to notices,
the will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an
"original will" or a will that is presented for probate for the
first time. Accordingly, compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of
Rule 76, which require publication and notice by mail or
personally to the "known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the
testator resident in the Philippines" and to the executor, if he
is not the petitioner, are required.
The brothers and sisters of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, contrary to
petitioner's claim, are entitled to notices of the time and
place for proving the wills. Under Section 4 of Rule 76 of the
Revised Rules of Court, the "court shall also cause copies of
the notice of the time and place fixed for proving the will to
be addressed to the designated or other known heirs,
legatees, and devisees of the testator, . . . "
WHEREFORE, the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. SO
ORDERED.

Garcia v La Cuesta
G.R. No. L-4067 November 29, 1951
In the Matter of the will of ANTERO MERCADO, deceased.
ROSARIO GARCIA, petitioner,
vs.
JULIANA LACUESTA, ET AL., respondents.
Elviro L. Peralta and Hermenegildo A. Prieto for petitioner.
Faustino B. Tobia, Juan I. Ines and Federico Tacason for
respondents.
Facts : CFI approved the attestation clause and allowed the
will of Antero Mercado which was written in Ilocano dialect.
However, the CA reversed the decision of the CFI and ruled
that the attestation clause failed (1) to certify that the will was
signed on all the left margins of the three pages and at the
end of the will by Atty. Florentino Javier at the express
request of the testator in the presence of the testator and
each and every one of the witnesses; (2) to certify that after
the signing of the name of the testator by Atty. Javier at the
former's request said testator has written a cross at the end
of his name and on the left margin of the three pages of
which the will consists and at the end thereof; (3) to certify
that the three witnesses signed the will in all the pages
thereon in the presence of the testator and of each other.
The will appears to have been signed by Atty. Florentino
Javier who wrote the name of Antero Mercado, followed
below by "A reugo del testator" and the name of Florentino
Javier. Antero Mercado is alleged to have written a cross
immediately after his name. Petitioner argued that there is
no need for such recital because the cross written by the
testator after his name is a sufficient signature and the
signature of Atty. Florentino Javier is a surplusage.
Petitioner's theory is that the cross is as much a signature as
a thumbmark as decided in some of the cases by the court.
Issue :1. W/N the cross can be admitted as a signature of
the testator
2. W/N the will is void due to the nullity of attestation
clause
Held : 1. No. The court ruled that the cross made by the
testator is not his usual signature or even one of the ways by
which he signed his name. The cross cannot be considered
to be the same of a thumbmark because the cross cannot
and does not have the trustworthiness of a thumbmark.
2. Yes. The will is void because the attestation clause is
fatally defective for failing to state that Antero Mercado
caused Atty. Florentino Javier to write the testator's name
under his express direction, as required by section 618 of
the Code of Civil Procedure. What has been said makes it
unnecessary for the court to determine there is a sufficient
recital in the attestation clause as to the signing of the will by
the testator in the presence of the witnesses, and by the
latter in the presence of the testator and of each other.

Yap Tua v Yap Ka Kuan

13. In Re will of Ana Abangan: Gertrude Abangan vs


Anastacia Abangan et. al
G.R. No. L-13431 November 12, 1919

FACTS:
Ana Abangan’s will was duly probated and said document
consisted of two sheets, the first page contains all the
dispositions of the testatrix and 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 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

ISSUE:
Whether or not the will was duly admitted to probate.

HELD:
Yes, the Court ruled that the will was duly probated. The
Court held 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.

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 seeks
to avoid the substitution of any of said sheets, thereby
changing the testator’s dispositions. In the case at bar, the
dispositions are wholly written on only one sheet and signed
by the testator and the three witnesses. Therefore, the
requirement of the marginal signatures would be
purposeless. The signatures at the bottom already
guarantees its authenticity. Another signature on the margin
would be unnecessary.

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.

The signatures provided by the testatrix and the witnesses in


the attestation clause are already sufficient as what has
been said is also applicable to the attestation clause. The
Court held that the signatures of the testatrix and the three
witnesses on the margin and the numbering of the pages of
the sheet are formalities not required by the statute. With
respect to the signature of the testatrix in the attestation
clause, the Court held that it is not necessary as the
attestation clause only refers to the act of the witnesses, as
they are the ones who attest to the execution of the will.
Therefore, the will was duly probated.

14) JOSE S. LOPEZ vs. AGUSTIN LIBORO


G.R. No. L-1787; August 27, 1948

FACTS: In 1947, Don Sixto Lopez executed a will where


Jose Lopez was named an heir. Agustin Liboro questioned
the validity of the said will based on the following grounds:
(1) that the deceased never executed the alleged will; (2)
that his signature appearing in said will was a forgery; (3)
that at the time of the execution of the will, he was wanting in
testamentary as well as mental capacity due to advanced
age; (4) that, if he did ever execute said will, it was not
executed and attested as required by law, and one of the
alleged instrumental witnesses was incapacitated to act as
such; and it was procured by duress, influence of fear and
threats and undue and improper pressure and influence on
the part of the beneficiaries instituted therein, principally the
testator's sister, Clemencia Lopez, and the herein
proponent, Jose S. Lopez; (5) that the signature of the
testator was procured by fraud or trick and that (6) there was
no indication in the will that the language used therein is
known by Don Sixto Lopez.

ISSUE: Whether or not the will is valid.

HELD: Yes, the will is valid. The omission to put a page


number on the first sheet, if that be necessary, is supplied by
other forms of identification more trustworthy than the
conventional numeral words or characters. The unnumbered
page is clearly identified as the first page by the internal
sense of its contents considered in relation to the contents of
the second page. By their meaning and coherence, the first
and second lines on the second page are undeniably a
continuation of the last sentence of the testament, before the
attestation clause, which starts at the bottom of the
preceding page. Further, the first pages is captioned
“Testamento”. The contradictions in the testimony of the
instrumental witnesses as are set out in Liboro’s appellant's
brief are incidents not all of which every one of the witnesses
can be supposed to have perceived, or to recall in the same
order in which they occurred. Don Sixto affixed his thumb
mark to the instrument instead of signing his name. The
reason for this was that he was suffering from “partial
paralysis.” There is nothing curious or suspicious in the fact
that the testator chose the use of mark as the means of
authenticating his will. It was a matter of taste or preference.
Both ways are good. There is no statutory requirement which
prescribes that it must be expressly placed in the will that the
testator knows the language being used therein. It is a
matter that may be established by proof aliunde.

Garcia v Lacuesta--same sa 21st case.

Taboada v Rosal
Taboada vs Rosal
Facts:
Petitioner filed a petition for probate of the will of the late
Dorotea Perez and presented as evidence the alleged will
and the testimony of one of the subscribing witnesses
thereto. the will consists of two pages. The first page
contains the entire testamentary dispositions and is signed
at the end or bottom of the page by the testatrix alone and at
the left hand margin by the three (3) instrumental witnesses.
The second page which contains the attestation clause and
the acknowledgment is signed at the end of the attestation.

However, the trial court disallowed the will for want of


formality in its execution because the will was signed at the
bottom of the page solely by the testatrix and at the left hand
margin by three instrumental witnesses. Respondent judge
interpreted Article 805 of the Civil Code to require that, for a
notarial will to be valid, it is not enough that only the testatrix
signs at the "end" of the will but all the three subscribing
witnesses must also sign at the same place or at the end, in
the presence of the testatrix and of one another, because
the attesting witnesses to the will attest not merely the will
itself but also the signature of the testator.

Issue: For the validity of a formal notarial will, does Article


805 of the Civil Code require that the testatrix and all the
three instrumental and attesting witnesses sign at the end of
the will and in the presence of the testatrix and of one
another?

Held:
No.
Under Article 805 of the Civil Code, the will must be
subscribed or signed at
its end by the testator himself or by the testator's name
written by another person in his presence, and by his
express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or
more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and
of one another.

The objects of attestation and of subscription were fully met


and satisfied in the present case when the instrumental
witnesses signed at the left margin of the sole page which
contains all the testamentary dispositions, especially so
when the will was properly identified by subscribing witness
Vicente Timkang to be the same will executed by the
testatrix. There was no question of fraud or substitution
behind the questioned order.

The attestation clause failed to state the number of pages


used in writing the will. This would have been a fatal defect
were it not for the fact that, in this case, it is discernible from
the entire will that it is really and actually composed of only
two pages duly signed by the testatrix and her instrumental
witnesses. As earlier stated, the first page which contains
the entirety of the testamentary dispositions is signed by the
testatrix at the end or at the bottom while the instrumental
witnesses signed at the left margin. The other page which is
marked as "Pagina dos" comprises the attestation clause
and the acknowledgment. The acknowledgment itself states
that "This Last Will and Testament consists of two pages
including this page."

Nera v Rimando
G.R. No. L-5971. February 27, 1911.

Facts:
Narcisa Rimando, question the admission for probate of the
said will. One of the subscribing witnesses, Javellana was
present in the small room where it was executed at the time
when the testator and deceased, Pedro Rimando, and the
other subscribing witnesses attached their signature. It was
alleged that during that time he was outside, some eight or
ten feet away, in a large room connecting with the smaller
room by a doorway, across which was hung a curtain which
made it impossible for one in the outside room to see the
testator and the other subscribing witnesses in the act of
attaching their signatures to the instrument.

Issue: WON one of the subscribing witnesses was present


in the small room where it was executed at the time when
the testator and the other witnesses attached their
signatures

HELD:YES

A majority of the members of the court is of opinion


that this subscribing witness was in the small room with the
testator and the other subscribing witnesses at the time
when they attached their signatures to the instrument.

In the case just cited, on which the trial court relied, SC held
that: "The true test of presence of the testator and the
witnesses in the execution of a will is not whether they
actually saw each other sign, but whether they might
have been seen each other sign, had they chosen to do
so, considering their mental and physical condition and
position with relation to each other at the moment of
inscription of each signature.

But it is especially to be noted that the position of the


parties with relation to each other at the moment of the
subscription of each signature, must be such that they may
see each other sign if they choose to do so. This, of course,
does not mean that the testator and the subscribing
witnesses may be held to have executed the instrument in
the presence of each other if it appears that they would not
have been able to see each other sign at that moment,
without changing their relative positions or existing
conditions. Whether the testator and the subscribing
witnesses to an alleged will sign the instrument in the
presence of each other does not depend upon proof of the
fact that their eyes were actually cast upon the paper at the
moment of its subscription by each of them, but that at that
moment existing conditions and their position with relation to
each other were such that by merely casting the eyes in the
proper direction they could have seen each other sign.

The trial judge does not appear to have considered


the determination of this question of fact of vital importance
in the determination of this case. But SC is of the opinion
that had this subscribing witness been proven to have been
in the outer room at the time when the testator and the other
subscribing witnesses attached their signatures to the
instrument in the inner room, it would have been invalid as a
will, the attaching of those signatures under circumstances
not being done "in the presence" of the witness in the outer
room. This because the line of vision from this witness to the
testator and the other subscribing witnesses would
necessarily have been impeded by the curtain separating the
inner from the outer one "at the moment of inscription of
each signature.
Cayetano v Leonidas
POLLY CAYETANO vs. HON. TOMAS T. LEONIDAS
G.R. No. L-54919 May 30, 1984
Facts:
Adoracion C. Campos died, leaving her father, petitioner
Hermogenes Campos and her sisters, private respondent
Nenita C. Paguia, Remedios C. Lopez and Marieta C.
Medina as the surviving heirs. As Hermogenes Campos was
the only compulsory heir, he executed an Affidavit of
Adjudication whereby he adjudicated unto himself the
ownership of the entire estate of the deceased Adoracion
Campos. Eleven months after, Nenita C. Paguia filed a
petition for the reprobate of a will of the deceased, Adoracion
Campos, which was allegedly executed in the United States
and for her appointment as administratrix of the estate of the
deceased testatrix.
Nenita alleged that the testatrix was an American citizen at
the time of her death and was a permanent resident of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; that the testatrix died in
Manila while temporarily residing with her sister at Malate,
Manila; that during her lifetime, the testatrix made her last
will and testament according to the laws of Pennsylvania,
U.S.A., nominating Wilfredo Barzaga of New Jersey as
executor; that after the testatrix death, her last will and
testament was presented, probated, allowed, and registered
with the Registry of Wins at the County of Philadelphia,
U.S.A.
The respondent judge issued an order affirming that at the
hearing, the allegations of Nenita were confirmed and that
the Last Will and Testament of the late Adoracion C.
Campos is hereby admitted to and allowed probate in the
Philippines, and Nenita Campos Paguia is hereby appointed
Administratrix of the estate of said decedent.
Petitioner Hermogenes Campos died and left a will, which,
incidentally has been questioned by the respondent, his
children and forced heirs as, on its face, patently null and
void, and a fabrication, appointing Polly Cayetano as the
executrix of his last will and testament. Cayetano, therefore,
filed a motion to substitute herself as petitioner in the instant
case which was granted by the court.
A motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the rights
of the petitioner Hermogenes Campos merged upon his
death with the rights of the respondent and her sisters, only
remaining children and forced heirs was denied. Petitioner
Cayetano persists with the allegations that the respondent
judge acted without or in excess of his jurisdiction when he
ruled that the right of a forced heir to his legitime can be
divested by a decree admitting a will to probate in which no
provision is made for the forced heir in complete disregard of
Law of Succession.

Issue:
Whether or not respondent judge acted without or in excess
of his jurisdiction when he ruled that the right of a forced heir
to his legitime can be divested by a decree admitting a will to
probate in which no provision is made for the forced heir in
complete disregard of Law of Succession.

Held:
No, this contention is without merit. As a general rule, the
probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity
of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's
testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites
or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of the
will normally comes only after the court has declared that the
will has been duly authenticated. However, where practical
considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be
passed upon, even before it is probated, the court should
meet the issue. Although on its face, the will appeared to
have preterited the petitioner and thus, the respondent judge
should have denied its reprobate outright, the private
respondents have sufficiently established that Adoracion
was, at the time of her death, an American citizen and a
permanent resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Therefore, under Article 16 par. (2) and 1039 of the Civil
Code which respectively provide:
Art. 16 par. (2).
xxx xxx xxx
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with
respect to the order of succession and to the amount of
successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national
law of the person whose succession is under consideration,
whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless
of the country wherein said property may be found.
Art. 1039.
Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of
the decedent.
The law which governs Adoracion Campo's will is the law of
Pennsylvania, U.S.A., which is the national law of the
decedent. Although the parties admit that the Pennsylvania
law does not provide for legitimes and that all the estate may
be given away by the testatrix to a complete stranger, the
petitioner argues that such law should not apply because it
would be contrary to the sound and established public policy
and would run counter to the specific provisions of Philippine
Law.
It is a settled rule that as regards the intrinsic validity of the
provisions of the will, as provided for by Article 16(2) and
1039 of the Civil Code, the national law of the decedent must
apply.

Alsua - Betts v CA

Facts:
On November 25, 1949, Don Jesus Alsua and his wife, Doña
Florentina Ralla, entered into a duly notarized agreement,
Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial, over the then present
and existing properties of the spouses Don Jesus and Doña
Florentina enumerated in a prepared inventory.

On May 21, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doña Tinay
filed before the Court of First Instance of Albay their
respective petitions for the probate of their respective
holographic wills.

On August 14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doña


Tinay executed their mutual and reciprocal codicils
amending and supplementing their respective holographic
wills. Again, the codicils similarly acknowledged and
provided that one-half of all the properties of the spouses,
conjugal and paraphernal, had been disposed of, conveyed
to and partitioned among their legitimate heirs in the
"Escritura de Particion" of November 25, 1949, but that they
reserved for themselves (the spouses Don Jesus and Doña
Tinay) the other half or those not disposed of to the said
legitimate heirs under the above agreement of partition, and
that they mutually and reciprocally bequeathed unto each
other their partici-pation therein as well as in all properties
which might be acquired subsequently.

On August 14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doña


Tinay both filed their respective supplemental petitions for
the probate of their respective codicils in the probate
proceedings earlier filed. On February 19, 1957, their
respective holographic wills and the codicils thereto were
duly admitted to probate.

Upon the death of Doña Tinay on October 2, 1959, Don


Jesus was named executor to serve without bond in an order
issued by the probate court on October 13, 1959. Letters
testamentary having been issued in favor of Don Jesus, he
took his oath of office and performed his duties as such until
July 1, 1960.

Thereafter in the early part of November, 1959, Don Jesus


cancelled his holographic will in the presence of his
bookkeeper and secretary, Esteban P. Ramirez, whom he
instructed to make a list of all his remaining properties with
their corresponding descriptions. His lawyer, Atty. Gregorio
Imperial, Sr. was then instructed to draft a new will which
was duly signed by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses
on November 14, 1959 at his home in Ligao, Albay. This
notarial will and testament of Don Jesus executed on
November 14, 1959 had three essential features: (a) it
expressly cancelled, revoked and annulled all the provisions
of Don Jesus' holographic will of January 5, 1955 and his
codicil of August 14, 1956; (b) it provided for the collation of
all his properties donated to his four living children by virtue
of the "Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial" of 1949, and that
such properties be taken into account in the partition of his
estate among the children; and (c) it instituted his children as
legatees/devisees of certain specific properties, and as to
the rest of the properties and whatever may be subsequently
acquired in the future, before his death, were to be given to
Francisca and Pablo, naming Francisca as executrix to
serve without a bond.

After all debts, funeral charges and other expenses of the


estate of Doña Tinay had been paid, all her heirs including
Don Jesus, submitted to the probate court for approval a
deed of partition executed on December 19, 1959 (Exh. 7-Q)
and which essentially confirmed the provisions of the
partition of 1949, the holographic will and codicil of Doña
Tinay. On July 6, 1960, the court approved the partition of
1959 and on January 6, 1961 declared the termination of the
proceedings on the estate of Doña Tinay.

On May 6, 1964, Don Jesus Alsua died.

On May 20, 1964, petitioner herein Francisca Alsua Betts, as


the executrix named in the will, filed a petition for the probate
of said new will of Don Jesus Alsua before the Court of First
Instance of Albay. Oppositions thereto were filed by Pablo,
Amparo and Fernando, thru his judicial guardian Clotilde
Samson.

On the basis of Francisca's designation as executrix in the


new will, the Probate Court appointed her Administratrix of
the estate of her late father, Don Jesus Alsua. She then filed
with the Probate Court an inventory of the properties of the
estate which, according to the oppositors therein (the private
respondents now) did not include some properties appearing
in the agreement of November 25, 1949 or in the inventory
attached thereto and in the "Escritura de Particion" of
December 19, 1959 as belonging to or should pertain to Don
Jesus. According to the oppositors, these properties consist
of thirty-three (33) premium agricultural lots.
After a joint hearing of the merits of these two cases, the
Court of First Instance of Albay promulgated a decision on
January 15, 1973 that approved and allowed the 1959 will of
Don Jesus.

On appeal by herein respondents to the Court of Appeals,


the court reversed the appealed decision in a judgment
rendered on April 4, 1977, the dispositive portion of which
states, as translated, thus -

"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Tribunal finds itself


constrained to set aside as it hereby sets aside the decision
appealed from in the following manner: (1) in Special
Proceedings 699, the probate of the will, Exh. A, is hereby
denied; (2) in Civil Case No. 3068, Exhs. U and W and the
titles issued on the basis thereof are hereby declared null
and void, ordering the appellees Francisca Alsua and
Joseph Betts to pay to the plaintiffs in the concept of fixed
damages, the sum of P5,000.00 and to render an accounting
of properties in their possession and to reimburse the
plaintiffs the net gain, in the proportion that appertains to
them in the properties subject of litigation in Civil Case No.
3068 from the date of the filing of this complaint, up to the
complete restoration of the properties pertaining to (plaintiffs)
pursuant to Article 2208 of the New Civil Code, paragraph,
ordering them in addition to pay to the plaintiffs and
oppositors the sum of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees, and the
costs."

Issues:
WON the private respondents, oppositors to the probate of
the will, are in estoppel to question the competence of
testator Don Jesus Alsua.

WON the CA erred in denying the probate of the will

Held:

No. On the first issue of estoppel, We hold that the same is


of no moment. The controversy as to the competency or
incompetency of Don Jesus Alsua to execute his will cannot
be determined by acts of the herein private respondents as
oppositors to the will. The Court goes on to say that estoppel
is not applicable in probate proceedings by quoting an old
decision that states:

Finally, probate proceedings involve public interest, and the


application therein of the rile of estoppel, when it will block
the ascertainment of the truth as to the circumstances
surrounding the execution of a testament, would seem
inimical to public policy. Over and above the interest of
private parties is that of the state to see that testamentary
dispositions be carried out if, and only if, executed
conformably to law.

2. Yes. The issue under consideration appears


to Us to have been answered by the respondent court itself
when it accepted the findings of the trial court on the due
execution of the questioned will and testament of Don Jesus,
declaring:

"x x x and going back to the previous question, whether the


questioned will and testament of November 14, 1959, Exh.
A, was executed in accordance with Arts. 805-809 of the
New Civil Code, - this Tribunal from the very beginning
accepts the findings of the inferior court concerning the
question.”

This cited portion of the appealed decision accepts as a fact


that the findings of the lower court declaring the contested
will as having been executed with all the formal requirements
of a valid will, are supported by the evidence. This finding is
conclusive upon this Tribunal and We cannot alter, review or
revise the same. Hence, there is no further need for Us to
dwell on the matter as both the lower court and the
respondent appel-late court have declared that these are the
facts and such facts are fully borne and supported by the
records. We find no error in the conclusion arrived at that the
contested will was duly executed in accordance with law.
We rule that the questioned last will and testament of Don
Jesus Alsua fully complied with the formal requirements of
the law.

RIZALINA GABRIEL GONZALES vs. CA and LUTGARDA


SANTIAGO

DOCTRINE: In probate proceedings, the instrumental


witnesses are not character witnesses for they merely attest
the execution of a will or testament and affirm the formalities
attendant to said execution therefore it is not mandatory that
evidence be first established on record that the witnesses
have a good standing in the community or that they are
honest and upright or reputed to be trustworthy and reliable,
for a person is presumed to be such unless the contrary is
established otherwise.

FACTS:
Petitioner Rizalina Gonzales and Respondent Lutgarda
Santiago are both nieces of the testatrix Isabel Gabriel who
died a widow. A will was submitted for probate by the
respondent.

The will was typewritten, in Tagalog, executed two months


before the death of testatrix, consisted of 5 pages including
attestation and acknowledgement, with the complete
signatures of testatrix and three witnesses on every page
including the end and the left margin.

Petitioner opposed; thereafter the lower court denied the


probate on the grounds that qualifications of the witnesses
was not established as proof that the three witnesses were
credible witnesses, and the term “credible” is not
synonymous with “competent” for a witness may be
competent under Articles 820 and 821 but not “credible”
under Article 805 in harmony with the Naturalization Law
where the law is mandatory that the petition for naturalization
must be supported by two character witnesses who must
prove their good standing in the community, reputation for
trustworthiness and reliableness, their honesty and
uprightness.

CA reversed the lower court’s decision. Hence this case.

ISSUES:
Whether or not, evidence on record of credibility by the three
instrumental witnesses must be established as evidence on
record.
Whether or not, the term “credible” in the Civil Code should
be given the same meaning it has under the Naturalization
Law

HELD:
No, it is not mandatory that the credibility of the
witnesses must be established as evidence on record. It is
enough that the qualifications enumerated under Article 820
are complied with such that there is soundness of mind, 18
years of age, not blind, deaf and able to read and write, and
none of the disqualifications set in Article 821, any person
not domiciled in the Philippines, those who have been
convicted of falsification of a document or perjury. The court
held that the good standing of the witness in the community,
his reputation for trustworthiness and reliableness, his
honesty and uprightness, are attributes presumed of the
witness unless the contrary is proved otherwise by the
opposing party.

No, the terms have different meanings. In


Naturalization Law it is mandatory that the witnesses prove
their good standing and reputation and that they personally
know the petitioner to be a resident of the Philippines for the
period of time required by the Act and a person of good
repute and morally irreproachable and that said petitioner
has in their opinion all the qualifications necessary to
become a citizen of the Philippines. While in probate
proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character
witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a will or
testament and affirm the formalities attendant to said
execution. Competency is distinguished from credibility, the
former being determined by Art. 820 while the latter does not
require evidence of such good standing. Credibility depends
on the convincing weight of his testimony in court

Therefore the court rejects petitioner's position that it


was fatal for respondent not to have introduced prior and
independent proof of the fact that the witnesses were
"credible witnesses that is, that they have a good standing in
the community and reputed to be trustworthy and reliable.

Testa estate of Moloto v CA

GAN VS. YAP

TESTATE ESTATE OF FELICIDAD ESGUERRA ALTO-


YAP deceased. FAUSTO E. GAN, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
ILDEFONSO YAP,
On November 20, 1951, Felicidad Esguerra Alto Yap died of
heart failure in the University of Santo Tomas Hospital,
leaving properties in Pulilan, Bulacan, and in the City of
Manila.
On March 17, 1952, Fausto E. Gan initiated them
proceedings in the Manila court of first instance with a
petition for the probate of a holographic will allegedly
executed by the deceased, substantially in these words:

Nobyembre 5, 1951.

Ako, si Felicidad E. Alto-Yap, may asawa, at ganap na pag-


iisip, ay nagsasalaysay na ang aking kayamanan sa bayan
ng Pulilan, Bulacan ay aking ipinamamana sa aking mga
kamag-anakang sumusunod:
Vicente Esguerra, Sr. 5 Bahagi
.............................................

Fausto E. Gan 2 Bahagi


.........................................................
Rosario E. Gan 2 Bahagi
.........................................................

Filomena Alto 1 Bahagi


..........................................................

Beatriz Alto 1 Bahagi


..............................................................

At ang aking lahat ng ibang kayamanan sa Maynila at iba


panglugar ay aking ipinamamana sa aking asawang si
Idelfonso D. Yap sa kondisyong siya'y magpapagawa ng
isang Health Center na nagkakahalaga ng di kukulangin sa
halagang P60,000.00 sa bayan ng Pulilan, Bulacan, na
nakaukit ang aking pangalang Felicidad Esguerra-Alto. At
kung ito ay may kakulangan man ay bahala na ang aking
asawa ang magpuno upang matupad ang aking kagustuhan.

(Lagda) Felicidad E. Alto-Yap.

Opposing the petition, her surviving husband Ildefonso Yap


asserted that the deceased had not left any will, nor
executed any testament during her lifetime.
ISSUE
WON a holographic will be probated upon the testimony of
witnesses who have allegedly seen it andwho declare that it
was in the handwriting of the testator?

HELD:
No. In the case of holographic wills, if oral testimony were
admissible only one man could engineer the fraud this way:
after making a clever or passable imitation of the handwriting
and signature of the deceased, he may contrive to let three
honest and credible witnesses see and read the forgery; and
the latter, having no interest, could easily fall for it, and in
court they would in all good faith affirm its genuineness and
authenticity. The will having been lost — the forger may
have purposely destroyed it in an "accident" — the
oppositors have no way to expose the trick and the error,
because the document itself is not at hand. And considering
that the holographic will may consist of two or three pages,
and only one of them need be signed, the substitution of the
unsigned pages, which may be the most important ones,
may go undetected. Obviously, when the will itself is not
submitted, these means of opposition, and of assessing the
evidence are not available. And then the only guaranty of
authenticity3— the testator's handwriting — has
disappeared.

Rodelas v Aranza

FACTS: Ricardo Bonilla executed a holographic will and


thereafter died. When said will was being probated, Aranza
opposed the validity of the will claiming since the petitioner
could not produce the original copy of the will, it could not
have any effect on the estate of the deceased. Citing the
case of Gam v Yap where the SC held that “The alleged
holographic will itself,and not an alleged copy thereof, must
be produced, otherwise it would produce no effect.”

ISSUE: WON a holographic will may be probated by means


of a photostatic copy.

Held: Yes. The SC held that in the Gam case there was
footnote that said “Perhaps it may be proved by a
photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or
carbon copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the
authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased may be
exhibited and tested before the probate court," Evidently, the
photostatic or xerox copy of the lost or destroyed
holographic will may be admitted because then the
authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased can be
determined by the probate court.

Gago v Mamuyac
Francisco Gago vs. Cornelio Mamuyac et.al.,
GR L- 263317

FACTS: Migue Mamuyac made a will in 1918. He made


another will in 1919 which revoke the 1918 will. The 1919
will was typed by Jose Fenoy and seen by Carlos Bejar in
1919. Mamuyac said to Bejar that the 1919 will cancelled the
1918 will. Narcisa Gago said that she saw the 1919 will with
Mamuyac’s father. Migue Mamuyac died in 1922. The 1918
will could no longer be found.

When Mamuyac died, the Petitioner presented a petition for


probate of the 1918 will under his possession. The petition
was denied on the grounds that there was a 1919 will.
Petitioner again filed a petition for probate, this time for the
1919 will. The Respondents opposed it again on the grounds
that:
1. The Will in the Petitioner’s possession is only a copy of
the real 1919 will.
2. The 1919 will was cancelled and revoked during the
testator’s lifetime.
3. It was not the last will and testament of the testator
because there is 1920 will.

Probate court held that the 1919 will was revoked by a 1920
will.

ISSUE #1: Should there be a positive proof that a will


has been cancelled?
HELD: NO. The law does not require any evidence of the
revocation or cancellation of a will to be preserved.
Cancellation or revocation may be proved from evidence
showing that the original cannot be found after due search. If
a will is not found but was shown to be in last seen in the
possession of the testator, it shall be considered cancelled
or destroyed in the absence of other competent evidence.

This presumption also arises when the testator had ready


access to the will and it cannot be found after his death. This
presumption is never conclusive and may be overcome by
proof that the will was not actually destroyed with the intent
to revoke it.

In a probate proceeding, the petitioner has the burden of


proof to establish not only its execution but its existence.
Once execution is proved, the contestant has the burden of
proof to show that it has been revoked.

ISSUE #2: Can a duplicate be admitted in probate court?


HELD: YES. When it is proven by proper testimony that a
will was executed in duplicate and each copy was executed
with all the formalities and requirements of the law, then the
duplicate may be admitted in evidence when it is made to
appear that the original has been lost and was not cancelled
or destroyed by the testator (Borromeo vs. Casquijo, GR L-
26063)
Leonardo v. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-51263. February 28, 1983

Petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 43476-R, promulgated on February
21, 1979, reversing the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal in favor of petitioner:

From the record, it appears that Francisca Reyes who died


intestate on July 12, 1942 was survived by two (2)
daughters, Maria and Silvestra Cailles, and a grandson,
Sotero Leonardo, the son of her daughter, Pascuala Cailles
who predeceased her. Sotero Leonardo died in 1944, while
Silvestra Cailles died in 1949 without any issue.

On October 29, 1964, petitioner Cresenciano Leonardo,


claiming to be the son of the late Sotero Leonardo, filed a
complaint for ownership of properties, sum of money and
accounting in the Court of First Instance of Rizal seeking
judgment (1) to be declared one of the lawful heirs of the
deceased Francisca Reyes, entitled to one-half share in the
estate of said deceased jointly with defendant, private
respondent herein, Maria Cailles, (2) to have the properties
left by said Francisca Reyes, described in the complaint,
partitioned between him and defendant Maria Cailles, and
(3) to have an accounting of all the income derived from said
properties from the time defendants took possession thereof
until said accounting shall have been made, delivering to him
his share therein with legal interest.

Answering the complaint, private respondent Maria Cailles


asserted exclusive ownership over the subject properties
and alleged that petitioner is an illegitimate child who cannot
succeed by right of representation. For his part, the other
defendant, private respondent James Bracewell, claimed
that said properties are now his by virtue of a valid and legal
deed of sale which Maria Cailles had subsequently executed
in his favor. These properties were allegedly mortgaged to
respondent Rural Bank of Parañaque, Inc. sometime in
September 1963.

RTC = petitioner
CA = reversed

W/N : RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT


PETITIONER, AS THE GREAT GRANDSON OF
FRANCISCA REYES, HAS NO LEGAL RIGHT TO INHERIT
BY REPRESENTATION

CIVIL LAW; INTESTATE SUCCESSION; ILLEGITIMATE


CHILDREN NOT ENTITLED TO INHERIT AB INTESTATO
FROM THE LEGITIMATE CHILDREN AND RELATIVES OF
HIS FATHER OR MOTHER; CASE AT BAR. — Even if it is
true that petitioner is the child of Sotero Leonardo, still he
cannot, by right of representation, claim a share of the estate
left by the deceased Francisca Reyes considering that, as
found by the Court of Appeals, he was born outside wedlock
as shown by the fact that when he was born on September
13, 1938, his alleged putative father and mother were not yet
married, and what is more, his alleged father's first marriage
was still subsisting. At most , petitioner would be an
illegitimate child who has no right to inherit ab intestato from
the legitimate children and relatives of his father like the
Deceased Francisco Reyes.

--The iron curtain rule / barrier rule only applies in intestate


succession. There is a barrier recognized by law between
the legitimate relatives and the illegitimate child so that one
cannot inherit from the other and vice-versa.

Rationale: The law presumes the existence of antagonism


between the illegitimate child and the legitimate relatives of
his parents.

Lopez v Gonzaga

Caniza v CA