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SPECPRO 3D- 2012

RULE 76

1. Fernandez v. Dimagiba

2. Mercado v. Santos
FACTS: Mercado filed a petition for the probate of the will of his deceased wife. The court admitted the
will to probate. 16 months after the probate of the will, the intervenors filed a complaint against Mercado
for falsification or forgery of the will probated. Mercado moved to dismiss claiming that the will alleged to
have been forged had already been probated and, further, that the order probating the will is conclusive
as to the authenticity and due execution thereof.

ISSUE: w/n the probate of the will bars criminal prosecution for the alleged forgery of the probated will.

HELD: YES

The decree of probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution thereof and cannot be
impugned on any of the grounds authorized by law, except that of fraud, in any separate or independent
action or proceeding. The probate of a will by the probate court having jurisdiction thereof is usually
considered as conclusive as to its due execution and validity, and is also conclusive that the testator was
of sound and disposing mind at the time when he executed the will, and was not acting under duress,
menace, fraud, or undue influence, and that the will is genuine and not a forgery.

The probate of a will is a proceeding in rem. The provision of notice by publication as a


prerequisite to the allowance of a will is constructive notice to the whole world, and when probate is
granted, the judgment of the court is binding upon everybody, even against the State.

Conclusive presumptions are inferences which the law makes so peremptory that it will not allow
them to be overturned by any contrary proof however strong. The will in question having been probated
by a competent court, the law will not admit any proof to overthrow the legal presumption that it is genuine
and not a forgery.

3. Sumilang v. Ramagosa

4. Balanay v. Martinez
FACTS: Leodegaria Julian died testate leaving her husband and 6 children as heirs. Her son Felix
Balanay, Jr. filed a petition for the probate of her will contained declarations of her ownership of the
southern half of their conjugal properties and that her properties be left undivided during her husband’s
lifetime and the heirs’ legitimes be satisfied from the fruits of the properties. Felix Balanay, Sr., though
initially opposed to the probate for he was preterited, later on relented and renounced his share in her
estate. The CFI gave effect to the widower’s conformity and appointed its clerk of court as special
administrator. When a purported lawyer for Felix Balanay, Jr. came and filed a motion for leave of court to
withdraw probate of the will, the CFI declared the will void and converted the testate proceedings into
intestate proceedings and ordered the issuance of notice to creditors. Felix Balanay, Jr. asked that the
lower court reconsider alleging that the purported lawyer was terminated hence the withdrawal of the
probate was unauthorized. When this was denied, the recourse was to the SC.

Issue: W/N the probate court erred in passing upon the intrinsic validity of the will before ruling on its
formal validity

Held:
The SC ruled that in view of certain unusual provisions in the will, which are of dubious legality and
because of the motion to withdraw assumed to have been filed with authorization, the trial court acted
correctly in passing upon the will’s intrinsic validity before formal validity can be established. The probate
of the will might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void. Where practical
considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon before it is probated, the court
should meet the issue.
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But the probate court erred when it converted the proceedings from testate to intestate despite the fact
that it gave effect to the conformity of the widower. The rule is that the invalidity of some of the
dispositions will not result in the invalidity of the other dispositions unless it is presumed that the testator
would not have made such other dispositions if the first invalid disposition had not been made. The illegal
dispositions such as the statement of the testatrix claiming ownership of the southern part of the conjugal
lands and the provision that her properties be left undivided contrary to law does not nullify the entire will.
Such may be disregarded. But by reason of the widower’s conformity, it had the effect of validating the
partition in the will without prejudice to the rights of the creditors and the legitimes of the compulsory
heirs. Hence the lower court erred when it did not proceed with the probate. Except in extreme cases
where the will on its face is intrinsically void, it is the probate court’s duty to pass first upon the validity of
the will.

5. Pastor Jr. v. CA

6. US v. Chiu Guimco
Facts:
Joaquin Cruz, a chinese merchant living for many years in the municipality of Gingoog, Province of
Misamis, died while visiting China. Before his departure from the Philippines he had executed a will
before Anastacio Servillon, a notary public, in which Chiu Guimco and Co-Iden were named as executors.
Chiu Guimco is Joaquin Cruz’s brother.
Guimco, as attorney in fact and manager of the estate of his deceased brother, entered into an
agreement with his brother’s Filipina wife, whereby she relinquished her claims to the estate for a
consideration. He also entered into an agreement with Uy Cuan, his brother’s Chinese wife, for the
distribution of the estate and for the payment of rentals on her interest in the real estate. No payments
have, however, been made by Guimco.

Ramon Contreras, acting on behalf of Uy Cuan, wrote a letter to Guimco urging him to produce the will of
the decedent for the institution of lawful proceedings in accordance therewith. Guimco replied that the will
in question had never been in his possession and that he had never seen it.

A complaint was filed under section 628 of the Code of Civil Procedure charging Guimco with the failure
to produce the will within the time required by law. The court found the accused guilty and imposed upon
him a fine of P1800. Subsequently, the court, believing that the will was in his possession, ordered him to
produce it but Guimco still failed to do so. The court ordered the confinement of Guimco in the provincial
jail.

Issue: Whether the judge was acting within his power when he ordered the commitment of Guimco to the
provincial jail?

Held: No. Section 629 of the Code of Civil Procedure (now section 5 of Rule 75), which allows
imprisonment of a person who neglects to deliver a will after the death of the testator without reasonable
cause, can only be applied when a court is acting in the exercise of its jurisdiction over the administration
of the estates of deceased persons. Where administration proceedings are not already pending, the court,
before taking action under this section, should require that there be before it some petition, information, or
affidavit of such character as to make action by the court under this section appropriate.

The remedy provided in section 629 of the Code of Procedure is clearly a totally different remedy, having
no relation with that provided in section 628 (now section 4 of Rule 75). It is not permissible in a
prosecution under Sec. 628 to superimpose upon the penalty of fine therein prescribed the additional
penalty of imprisonment prescribed under Sec. 629.

To enforce the production of the will by the accused at a trial under Sec. 628 would virtually compel him to
convict himself, since the mere production of the will by him would be conclusive that he had possession
of it as charged in the criminal complaint. This would constitute an infringement of the provision of law
which says that in a criminal action the defendant shall be exempt from testifying against himself.
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7. Rodriguez v. Borja
Facts: Fr. Celestino Rodriguez died on February 12, 1963 in the City of Manila. On March 4, 1963,
Apolonia Pangilinan and Adelaida Jacalan delivered to the Clerk of Court of Bulacan a purported last will
and testament of Fr. Rodriguez; that on March 8, 1963, Maria Rodriguez and Angela Rodriguez, through
counsel filed a petition for leave of court to allow them to examine the alleged will; that on March 11, 1963
before the Court could act on the petition, the same was withdrawn; that on March 12, 1963,
aforementioned petitioners filed before the Court of First Instance of Rizal a petition for the settlement of
the intestate estate of Fr. Rodriguez alleging, among other things, that Fr. Rodriguez was a resident of
Parañaque, Rizal, and died without leaving a will and praying that Maria Rodriguez be appointed as
Special Administratrix of the estate; and that on March 12, 1963 Apolonia Pangilinan and Adelaida
Jacalan filed a petition in this Court for the probation of the will delivered by them on March 4, 1963. It
was stipulated by the parties that Fr. Rodriguez was born in Parañaque, Rizal; that he was Parish priest
of the Catholic Church of Hagonoy, Bulacan, from the year 1930 up to the time of his death in 1963; that
he was buried in Parañaque, and that he left real properties in Rizal, Cavite, Quezon City and Bulacan.

The movants contend that since the intestate proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Rizal was filed
at 8:00 A.M. on March 12, 1963 while the petition for probate was filed in the Court of First Instance of
Bulacan at 11:00 A.M. on the same date, the latter Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition for
probate. The petitioners Pangilinan and Jacalan, on the other hand, take the stand that the Court of First
Instance of Bulacan acquired jurisdiction over the case upon delivery by them of the will to the Clerk of
Court on March 4, 1963, and that the case in this Court therefore has precedence over the case filed in
Rizal on March 12, 1963.

Issue: Which court acquires jurisdiction over the settlement of Fr. Rodriguez’s estate.

Held: The SC ruled that the Bulacan Court of First Instance was entitled to priority in the settlement of the
estate in question and the intestate proceedings in the Rizal Court should be discontinued.

The jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Bulacan became vested upon the delivery thereto of the
will of the late Father Rodriguez on March 4, 1963, even if no petition for its allowance was filed until later,
because upon the will being deposited the court could, motu proprio, have taken steps to fix the time and
place for proving the will, and issued the corresponding notices conformably to what is prescribed by
section 3, Rule 76, of the Revised Rules of Court (Section 3, Rule 77, of the old Rules):

The use of the disjunctive in the words "when a will is delivered to OR a petition for the allowance of a will
is filed" plainly indicates that the court may act upon the mere deposit therein of a decedent's testament,
even if no petition for its allowance is as yet filed. Where the petition for probate is made after the deposit
of the will, the petition is deemed to relate back to the time when the will was delivered. Since the
testament of Fr. Rodriguez was submitted and delivered to the Court of Bulacan on March 4, while
petitioners initiated intestate proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Rizal only on March 12, eight
days later, the precedence and exclusive jurisdiction of the Bulacan court is incontestable.

The estate proceedings having been initiated in the Bulacan Court of First Instance ahead of any other,
that court is entitled to assume jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, even if it were a case of
wrong venue by express provisions of Rule 73 (old Rule 75) of the Rules of Court, since the same enjoins
that:

8. Teotico v. Del Val


Decedent Maria Mortera y Balsalobre vda. de Aguirre executed a will leaving a legacy to Dr. Rene
Teotico, husband of her neice and universal heir Josefina Mortera. Vicente Teotico, son of Rene and
Josefina, and herein petitioner, filed a petition for the probate of the will before the CFi of Manila. Ana Del
Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted child of one of the decedent’s sisters and a natural child of one of
her brothers filed and opposition alleging that the will was not executed as required by law, the testatrix
was physically and mentally incapable to execute the will, and the will was executed under duress. The

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probate court allowed the opposition, who further alleged that the legacy to Dr. Teotico was void, him
being the physician who took care of the testatrix during her last illness. The question whether the
oppositor has the right to oppose as well as the validity of the will are the main issues of the case.

It is a well settled rule that in order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he
must have an interest in the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it either as executor
or as a claimant of the estate. An interested party has been defined as one who would be benefited by the
estate such as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor. Under the terms of the
will, the oppositor has no right to intervene because she has no interest in the estate either as heir,
executor, administrator, nor does she have any claim to any property affected by the will. Even if the will
is denied probate, Del Val will not acquire any share of the estate because she is not a legal hair of the
deceased. The relationship of the adopter is limited between such adopter and adopted.

With regard to the validity of the will, the witnesses to the will all attest that the testatrix was physically and
mentally capable during the execution of the will and that the will conformed with the requisites of the law.
Lastly, there is no proof that Dr. Rene Teotico and his spouse exerted any pressure upon the testatrix in
order for her to execute a will leaving them a legacy and naming the spouse as the sole heir.

9. Fernando v. Crisostomo
Facts: This case involved 2 cases.
One: Guardianship of Rufino Crisostomo and his 4 minor children. In this case, Hermogenes Fernando
was appointed guardian of Rufino and his 4 minor children. When Rufino died, the children was left under
the guardianship of Hermogenes. He then filed for the approval of an extrajudicial settlement of the estate
of the deceased parents of the minors which was denied by the court ruling that the guardian of the
children is not the administrator of the estate until and after the said estate has been acquired by the
minors by proper proceedings.
Two: Intestate estate of Sps. Crisostomo. German Crisostomo filed a petition as next on kin for the
opening of intestate proceedings of the estate of the deceased and the appointment of himself and Pacita
Fernando as co-administrators which was granted by the court.

Issue: W/N the court’s appointment of Crisostomo and Fernando as co-administrators is valid

Held: YES!
No evidence is presented why the brother and sister of the deceased, as nearest of kin, should not be
appointed co-administrators of the Intestate Estate of said decedent either on account of their
incompetency or lack of moral qualifications.

10. Araujo v. Celis


Facts: Rosario Araujo inherited from her mother, Asuncion, the hacienda known as Pangpang. She
subsequently married Jose Celis, Gregoria’s’s son. Rosario died leaving no descendants or ascendants,
but only collateral relatives. Such relatives asked that the property inherited by Rosario from her mother
be delivered to them. The property, however, is held by the Gregoria, who took possession of the same
after the death of her son Jose. He died a year after the death of Rosario in l889.

The defendant claims that Rosario died leaving a will in which she bequeathed all of her property to her
husband, Jose, and that the latter having died without a will, she, therefore, succeeded to all of his
property, rights, and actions, thereby lawfully acquiring all the property that had formerly belonged to her
daughter-in-law. The problem, however, is that the will could not be found alleging that insurgents had
burned the Court of Pototan where the will was kept. She instead offered secondary parol evidence as to
its contents. CFI allowed the evidence over the objection of the collateral relatives of Rosario and ruled in
favor of Gregoria. Hence this appeal.

Issue:

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W/N secondary parol evidence is sufficient to prove Rosario’s will?

Held:
NO. The loss of the alleged original will has not been sufficiently established. The principal witness,
Calixto Delgado testified that he had acted as procurador for Gregoria in an action brought against her by
one Jose involving the hacienda of Pangpang, and that as such there came into his possession a copy of
the will of Rosario which was introduced in evidence in that action. However, he likewise testified that he
never saw the original of that will because the same was retained by the notary. He likewise failed to
affirm whether the copy in question was a simple or certified copy. More importantly, he further testified
that the will was signed by two witnesses only. A will signed by two witnesses only could not under any
circumstances be valid under the law in force at the time referred to by the witness, and legally speaking
such will could not then have been probated or recorded.

As to the loss of the will, there is nothing to show that at the time these records were burned by the
insurgents there existed in the court-house of Pototan the copy of the will referred to. Moreover, the
testimony that all the notarial records were likewise burned as they were kept in the same courthouse is
inconclusive as the same is plainly and manifested contrary to the royal decree concerning the
organization of notaries, which provided that: “Notaries shall keep the protocols and books in the same
building where they live, in their custody, and shall be responsible therefor.”

Their testimony is absolutely insufficient to establish in a satisfactory manner the loss of the alleged will of
Rosario Darwin, and the court below should not have, therefore, allowed the secondary evidence
introduced by her as to the contents of the will, particularly in view of the fact that, as it appears from the
record, there had been pending since 1889 an action to declare this very will null and void.

11. Lim Billian v. Suntay


FACTS: When Jose B. Suntay died, his eldest son from his first marriage filed the intestate in the Court.
In the same court, his second wife Maria Billian also instituted for the probate of a will allegedly left by the
deceased. According to Maria, before the deceased died he left with her a sealed envelope (Exhibit A)
containing his will and also another documents said to be a true copy of the original contained in the
envelope.

While the witness showed the envelope to Suntay, they snatched and opened it, took its contents and
threw the envelope (they denied this). Upon these allegations, Maria asks that the children by the first
marriage of the deceased, be ordered to present the will in Court, that a day be set for the reception of
evidence on the will, and that she be appointed executrix pursuant to the designation made by the
deceased in he will.

ISSUE: Whether Exhibit B accompanying the petition is an authentic copy and whether it has been
executed with all the essential and necessary formalities required by law for its probate.

RULING: The evidence presented sufficiently establishes the loss of the will, thus justifying the
presentation of secondary evidence of its contents. It was ordered that the case be remanded to the court
of origin for further proceedings.

12. Basa v. Mercado


FACTS:
Hon. Hermogenes Reyes, Judge of Pampanga CFI, allowed and probated the last will and testament of
Ines Basa, decedent. The same judge also approved the account of the administrator of the estate,
declared him the only heir and closed the administration proceedings. Joaquin Basa, et al., filed a motion
to reopen the proceedings, alleging that the court lacked jurisdiction because there was failure to comply
with the requirements as to the publication of the notice of hearing. They contended that the hearing took
place only twenty-one days after the date of first publication instead of three full weeks. Moreover, they
questioned whether Ing Katipunan, the newspaper where the notice was published was a newspaper of
general circulation as contemplated by the law.

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ISSUEs:

Whether or not there was compliance with the publication requirement

Whether or not Ing Katipunan is a newspaper of general circulation

RULING:
The language used in section 630 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not mean that the notice, referred
to therein, should be published for three full weeks before the date set for the hearing of the will. In other
words, the first publication of the notice need not be made 21 days before the day appointed for the
hearing.
The records show that Ing Katipunan is a newspaper of general circulation in view of the fact that it is
published for the dissemination of local news and general information; that it has a bona fide subscription
list of paying subscribers; that it is published at regular intervals and that the trial court ordered the
publication to be made in Ing Katipunan precisely because it was a newspaper of general circulation in
the Province of Pampanga.

13. De Aranz v. Galing


Doctrine: Failure to effect personal notification to legatees deprives the probate court of jurisdiction.

Joaqin Infante (RESPONDENT) filed a petition at the RTC of Pasig for the probate of the will of Monseratt
Infante Y Pola. His petition named several individuals (PETITIONERS) with the surname Infante-Roxas
as legatees and devisees.

Thereafter, the probate court issued an order for the requisite hearing and the judge complied with the
mandatory three week publication of the order. Come hearing date, no oppositor appeared and so the
judge reset the hearing date. No oppositor made manifestation on the later date, compelling the judge to
request for the submission of evidence ex-parte. Joaquin Infante immediately presented evidence that
same fateful day. He called a lone witness to the stand.

Two days passed and the ten Petitioners made an appearance contesting the probate on the ground that
no notice was ever sent to them. They requested ten days to file an opposition. Petitioners assert that
failure to notify the legatees/devisees deprives the court of jurisdiction.

Joaqin Infante opposed the opposition and garnered the affirmation of both the RTC and the CA. The
petition to deny probate was therefore denied.

ISSUE:
w/n probate may proceed despite the failure of personal notice to the legatees/devisees?\

HELD:

No. The probate proceedings was mired in procedural lapses which deprived the court of jurisdiction. The
pertinent rule follows:

Sec. 4, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court reads:

SEC. 4. Heirs, devisees, legatees, and executors to be notified by mail or personally. — 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 resident
in the Philippines at their places of residence, and deposited in the post office with the postage
thereon prepaid at least twenty (20) days before the hearing, if such places of residence be
known. A copy of the notice must in like manner be mailed to the person named as executor, if he
be not the petitioner; also, to any person named as co-executor not petitioning, if their places of
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residence be known. Personal service of copies of the notice at least ten (10) days before the day
of hearing shall be equivalent to mailing.

The CA’s ruling that notification was merely a matter of convenience sits in stark disregard of the law
which makes notice mandatory. Probate is a proceeding in rem and for the validity of such proceedings
personal notice or by publication or both to all interested parties must be made. The will and the alleged
probate thereof cannot be said to have been done in accordance with the accepted basic and
fundamental concepts and principles followed in the probate and allowance of wills. The Supreme Court
remanded the case to the RTC for further proceedings after nullifying the CA.

14. In re Estate of Johnson (3D 09-10)


FACTS
• On February 4, 1916, Emil H. Johnson, a native of Sweden and a naturalized citizen of the United
States, died in the city of Manila, leaving a will by which he disposed of an estate valued at P231,800
• This document is a holographic instrument, being written in the testator's own handwriting, and is
signed by himself and two witnesses only, instead of three witnesses required by section 618 of the
Code of Civil Procedure
• This will, therefore, was not executed in conformity with the provisions of law generally applicable to
wills executed by inhabitants of these Islands
• Thereafter a petition was presented in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila for the probate of
this will, on the ground that Johnson was at the time of his death a citizen of the State of Illinois, United
States of America; that the will was duly executed in accordance with the laws of that State; and hence
could properly be probated here pursuant to section 636 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
• Thereafter the document was declared to be legal and was admitted to probate.
• Three months after the will had been probated, the attorneys for Ebba Ingeborg Johnson entered an
appearance in her behalf and asserted that Ebba is a legitimate heir of the testator. Thus, she cannot
be deprived of the legitime to which she is entitled under the law governing testamentary successions
in these Islands.
• Therefore, she moved to annul the decree of probate and put the estate into intestate administration in
order for her to claim the estate as the sole legitimate heir of her father.

ISSUES & ARGUMENTS


• W/N the order of the probate can be set aside on the ground that the testator was not a resident of
the State of Illinois and that the will was not made in conformity with the laws of that State.

HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI


NO.

• In the testimony submitted to the trial court it appears that, when Johnson first came to the United
States as a boy, he took up his abode in the State of Illinois and there remained until he came as a
soldier in the United States Army to the Philippine Islands.
• Although he remained in these Islands for sometime after receiving his discharge, no evidence was
adduced showing that at the time he returned to the United States, in the autumn of 1902, he had then
abandoned Illinois as the State of his permanent domicile.
• Further, there is no law in force at that time by virtue of which any person of foreign nativity can
become a naturalized citizen of the Philippine Islands;
• Thus, it was impossible for the testator, even if he had so desired, to expatriate himself from the United
States and change his political status from a citizen of the United States to a citizen of these Islands.
• This being true, it is to be presumed that he retained his citizenship in the State of Illinois along with
his status as a citizen of the United States
• SC held that: the probate of the will does not affect the intrinsic validity of its provisions, the decree of
probate being conclusive only as regards the due execution of the will.
• Further, the intrinsic validity of the provisions of this will must be determined by the law of Illinois and
not of the Philippines.

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• In paragraph 2 of article 10 of the Civil Code it is declared that "legal and testamentary successions,
with regard to the order of succession, as well as to the amount of the successional rights and to the
intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the laws of the nation of the person whose
succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property and the country where it may be
situate."
• In this case the petition submitted to the lower court was insufficient to warrant the setting aside of the
order, probating the will in question, whether said petition be considered as an attack on the validity of
the decree for error apparent, or whether it be considered as an application for a rehearing based
upon the new evidence submitted in the affidavits which accompany the petition.
• Further, in the latter aspect the petition is subject to the further fatal defect that it was not presented
within the time allowed by law.
• Thus, the trial court committed no error in denying the relief sought. The order appealed from is
accordingly affirmed

15. Abut v. Abut


Facts:
Generoso Abut is one of the children of the deceased Cipriano Abut by his second marriage. On August
4, 1965, Generoso filed a petition before the CFI of Misamis, a petition for the allowance of the will of the
said deceased and the issuance of letters testamentary in his favor alleging that he is the person named
as executor in a will allegedly executed by his father. In an order dated September 1, 1965 the court a
quo motu proprio set the petition for hearing and further directed compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of
Rule 76 of the Rules of Court. These procedural steps admittedly took place. Opposition to the petition
was filed by the children of Cipriano Abut by his first marriage.

During the pendency of the case below but before the court a quo could even start the formal hearing of
the petition, Generoso died on January 10, 1966. This eventuality prompted Gavina Abut, a sister of
Generoso and an heir and devisee under the will of the testator Cipriano Abut, to ask the court a quo to
substitute her in lieu of Generoso and to admit an amended petition wherein she prayed that the probate
of the will be allowed and that letters of administration with the will annexed be issued in her favor.

The lower court dismissed the petition originally brought by the deceased Generoso, "without prejudice to
the filing of another petition pursuant to the requirements of the Rules of Court". Said dismissal was
based on the theory that the amended petition filed Gavaina, seeking to substitute her in place of the
original petitioner, required a new publication in order to invest the court with jurisdiction.

Issue:
Whether or not the probate court correctly dismissed the petition simply because the original petitioner —
who was the executor named in the will sought to be probated — died before the petition could be heard
and/or terminated.

Ruling:
The Court found the dismissal of the original petition for probate and the refusal of the probate court to
admit the amended petition to be untenable. The jurisdiction of the court became vested upon the filing of
the original petition and upon compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76.

A proceeding for the probate of a will is one in rem, such that with the corresponding publication of the
petition the court's jurisdiction extends to all persons interested in said will or in the settlement of the
estate of the deceased. The fact that the amended petition named additional heirs not included in the
original petition did not require that notice of the amended petition be published anew. All that Section 4 of
Rule 76 provides is that those heirs be notified of the hearing for the probate of the will, either by mail or
personally.

Jurisdiction of the court once acquired continues until the termination of the case, and remains unaffected
by subsequent events. The court below erred in holding that it was divested of jurisdiction just because
the original petitioner died before the petition could be formally heard. Parties who could have come in
and opposed the original petition, as herein appellees did, could still come in and oppose the amended
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petition, having already been notified of the pendency of the proceeding by the publication of the notice
thereof.

16. Rodelas v. Aranza

17. Gan v. Yap


FACTS: Gan filed a petition for probate of the holographic will allegedly executed by Felicidad 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. The will itself was not presented. Petitioners tried to
establish its contents and due execution by the statements of 4 witnesses who testified that Felicidad
wrote, signed and dated a holographic will and that Felicidad allowed them to read the will.

ISSUE: w/n a holographic will may be probated upon the testimony of witnesses.

HELD: NO

When the will itself is not submitted, the means of opposition, and of assessing the evidence are
not available. And then the only guaranty of authenticity—the testator’s handwriting—has disappeared.

Unlike holographic wills, ordinary wills may be proved by testimonial evidence when lost or
destroyed. The difference lies in the nature of the wills:

Holographic will Ordinary will


1. guarantee of authenticity: the handwriting 1. guarantee of authenticity: testimony of the
itself subscribing or instrumental witnesses
2. if oral testimonies were admissible, only 2. hard to convince 3 witnesses deliberately
one man could engineer the whole fraud. to lie.
3. In case of a lost holographic will, the 3. In case of a lost will, the 3 subscribing
witnesses would testify as to their opinion witnesses would be testifying to a fact
of the handwriting which they allegedly which they saw the act of the testator
saw, an opinion which cannot be tested in subscribing the will.
court because the handwriting itself is not
at hand.

18. Gago v. Mamuyac

19. Aldanese v. Salutillo (3D 09-10)


FACTS
• Salome Avila died a resident of Cebu. Her will appears to be executed by Moreta, Borromeo, and
Rafols, all residents of Manila. Since Avila left no ascendants or descendants, under her will she
disposed the greater part of her estate in favor of petitioner Aldanese and his sister.
• The petition for probate was filed in the CFI of Cebu. The respondents surnamed Salutillo and Llanos
appeared as opponents, alleging that the will should be denied probate on the ground of fraud, undue
influence, and testamentary incapacity of Avila at the time of execution. They also alleged that they
were the nearest relatives of Avila and should thus succeed to her estate by operation of law.
• Aldanese filed a motion asking the court to authorize the taking of the depositions of the witnesses to
the will, since they were unable to appear personally before the CFI of Cebu – granted.
• The Salutillos then filed a motion asking to the court to revoke the order authorizing the taking of
depositions on the ground that it has not been sufficiently shown that it was impossible for the
witnesses to appear personally before the court – and this was also granted. However, by the time
that notice of this order was sent to Aldanese, the depositions had already been taken.
• After hearing, the CFI denied probate of the will, holding that the depositions were inadmissible in
evidence. Hence this petition.

ISSUES & ARGUMENTS

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• W/N the CFI erred in declaring that the depositions taken were inadmissible as evidence in the
probate proceedings.

HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI

YES. THE CA ERRED IN DECLARING THE DEPOSITIONS AS INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE.

• While the rule in this jurisdiction is that when a will is contested the attesting witnesses must be called
to prove the will, that does not necessarily mean that they must be brought bodily before the court. It
is their testimony which is needed, not their actual presence.
• Section 355 of the (old) Code of Civil Procedure provides:
“The testimony of a witness in the Philippine Islands may be taken by deposition…in a special
proceeding, after the question of fact has arisen therein, in the following cases:

2. When the witness resides out of the province in which his testimony is to be used.”

• Section 406 of the same Code reads:


“A witness is not obliged to attend as a witness in a civil action before any court, judge, justice, or
other officer out of the province in which he resides, unless the distance be less than thirty miles from
his place of residence to the place of trial by the usual course of travel, but his testimony may be
taken in such case in the form of a deposition.”
• In the present case, the will was presented for probate in Cebu, and the attesting witnesses were
living in Manila. The required notice was duly given, and so the depositions would ordinarily be
admissible.
• However, the record indicates that the failure of the opponents to be present at the taking of the
depositions was due to the fact that they were misled by petitioner’s action in seeking a special
authorization from the court. Therefore, in the interest of justice, the depositions should be retaken, to
give the opponents another opportunity to examine the witnesses.
• It must also be noted that when the depositions of subscribing witnesses to a will are taken, a
photographic copy of the will may be presented to them on their examination, and they may be asked
the same original will.

Order reversed. Case remanded.

20. Cabang v. Delfinado

21. Avera v. Garcia


Facts:
Eutiquia Avera instituted proceedings for the probate of the will of Esteban Garcia. Marino Garcia and
Juan Rodriguez, as guardians for the minors Jose Garcia and Cesar Garcia, opposed the same. At the
hearing, Avera introduced one of the three witnesses who testified that the will was executed with all
necessary formalities, and that the testator was at the time in full possession of disposing faculties. The
person who wrote the will at the request of the testator corroborated the witness’ testimony regarding the
testamentary capacity of the decedent. Two of the attesting witnesses were not introduced, nor did Avera
account for their absence.

The trial judge found that the testator at the time of making of the will was of sound mind and disposing
memory and that the will had been properly executed. Thus, he allowed the will to probate.

Issue: Whether the will in question can be admitted to probate, where opposition is made, upon the proof
of a single attesting witness, without producing or accounting for the absence of the other two?

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Held: No. When a contest is instituted, all of the attesting witnesses must be examined, if alive and within
reach of the process of the court. In the present case no explanation was made at the trial as to why all
three of the attesting witnesses were not produced.

But the probable reason is found in the fact that, although the petition for probate of the will had been
pending from 21 December 1917 until 5 April 1919, no formal contest was entered until the very day set
for the hearing. It is probable that the attorney for the proponent, believing in good faith that the probate
would not be contested, went to the court with only one of the three attesting witnesses. Although said
circumstance may explain why the three witnesses were not produced, it does not in itself supply any
basis for changing the rule requiring the presentation of all three witnesses.

However, Garcia and Rodriguez did not raise this point either upon the submission of the cause for
determination in the lower court or upon the occasion of the filing of the motion for a new trial. Thus, this
question cannot now be raised for the first time in this court.

22. Solivio v. CA
Facts. This case involves the estate of the late novelist, Esteban Javellana, Jr," who died a bachelor,
without descendants, ascendants, brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces. His only surviving relatives are:
(1) his maternal aunt, petitioner Celedonia Solivio, the spinster half-sister of his mother, Salustia Solivio;
and (2) the private respondent, Concordia Javellana-Villanueva, sister of his deceased father, Esteban
Javellana, Sr.

During his lifetime, Esteban, Jr. had, more than once, expressed to his aunt Celedonia and some close
friends his plan to place his estate in a foundation to honor his mother and to help poor but deserving
students obtain a college education. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack without having set up the
foundation.

Two weeks after his funeral, Concordia and Celedonia talked about what to do with Esteban's properties.
Pursuant to their agreement that Celedonia would take care of the proceedings leading to the formation of
the foundation, Celedonia in good faith and upon the advice of her counsel, filed a Spl. Proceeding No.
2540 for her appointment as special administratrix of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr.. Later, she filed
an amended petition praying that letters of administration be issued to her; that she be declared sole heir
of the deceased; and that after payment of all claims and rendition of inventory and accounting, the estate
be adjudicated to her.

After due publication and hearing of her petition, as well as her amended petition, she was declared sole
heir of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. Thereafter, she sold properties of the estate to pay the taxes
and other obligations of the deceased and proceeded to set up the "SALUSTIA SOLIVIO VDA. DE
JAVELLANA FOUNDATION" which she caused to be registered in the Securities and Exchange
Commission on July 17,1981 under Reg. No. 0100027.

Four months later, Concordia Javellana Villanueva filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order
declaring Celedonia as "sole heir" of Esteban, Jr., because she too was an heir of the deceased. Her
motion was denied by the court for tardiness. Instead of appealing the denial, Concordia filed a civil case
in the RTC of Iloilo for partition, recovery of possession, ownership and damages.

Issue: Whether the RTC of Iloilo had jurisdiction to entertain Civil Case No. 13207 for partition and
recovery of Concordia Villanueva's share of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. even while the probate
proceedings were still pending in the same court;

Held: The Regional Trial Court, lacked jurisdiction to entertain Concordia Villanueva's action for partition
and recovery of her share of the estate of Esteban Javellana, Jr. while the probate proceedings (Spl,
Proc. No. 2540) for the settlement of said estate are still pending in the same court, there being as yet no
orders for the submission and approval of the administratix's inventory and accounting, distributing the
residue of the estate to the heir, and terminating the proceedings.

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It is the order of distribution directing the delivery of the residue of the estate to the persons entitled
thereto that brings to a close the intestate proceedings, puts an end to the administration and thus far
relieves the administrator from his duties.

The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of all the
debts and the remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. The finality of the
approval of the project of The probate court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction to make distribution, has
power to determine the proportion or parts to which each distributed is entitled. The power to determine
the legality or illegality of the testamentary provision is inherent in the jurisdiction of the court making a
just and legal distribution of the inheritance. ... To hold that a separate and independent action is
necessary to that effect, would be contrary to the general tendency of the jurisprudence of avoiding
multiplicity of suits; and is further, expensive, dilatory, and impractical.

23. Manaloto v. Paredes


Florencio Manalo, as guardian of minors Lazaro and Daria, both natural children of deceased Francisco
Villegas filed the present action for mandamus ordering Judge Paredes to order the publication of the
petition for the probate of the will of Francisco Villegas as well as injunction to prohibit the same judge
from proceeding with a prior proceeding for the probate of the same will.

In the previous proceeding, Justina Mendieta the common law wife of Francisco presented the will for
probate. However, upon learning that the will was not executed according to law, she along with the
named executor withdrew their application for probate and entered into an agreement with the wife of
Francisco adjudicating upon themselves shares of the latter’s estate. The court approved said agreement
and distributed the estate accordingly among the legal heirs of the deceased. Subsequently a certain
Gelacio Malihan, who claimed to be the first cousin of the deceased filed for a new application for the
probate of the same will.

The Supreme Court denied the petition for mandamus and injunction reasoning that a proceeding for
probate is an action in rem, and as such the probate court acquired jurisdiction over all the persons
interested through the publication of the notice, including Gelacio Manahan. Being clothed with competent
jurisdiction, the court’s ruling bound all the parties. The proper remedy for any interested party who are
not satisfied with the decision of the court is to appeal and not to file a new application for probate and an
action for mandamus and injunction.

24. Riera v. Palmaroli

25. Manahan v. Manahan


Facts:
Tiburcia Manahan, niece of testatrix Donata and her named executrix, instituted special proceedings for
the probate of the will of the deceased. The will was admitted to probate. 1 yr and 7 mos later, Engracia,
the sister of Donata, filed a motion for reconsideration and new trial praying that the order to probate be
vacated and the will be declared null and void ab initio. Trial Court denied the motions. Engracia, under
the pretext of appealing the last order, likewise appealed from the judgement admitting the will to probate.
She assigns the following errors:
1. That she was an interested party and as such, was entitled to be notified of the probate of the
will

2. That the court did not really probate but merely authenticated the will

3. That the will is null and void as the external formalities have not been complied with

Issue:
W/N Engarcia’s contentions are meritorious?
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Held:
NO.
1. First contention is untenable. She was not entitled to notification of the probate of the will, and
neither had she right to expect it as she was not an interested party- she did not file her
opposition that she was not instituted as an heir. she is not a forced heir, hence no successional
right.

2. Second contention is puerile. There is no essential difference between the authentication of the
will and the probate thereof.

3. Once the will has been admitted to probate, questions as to its validity can no longer be raised on
appeal. The decree of probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution thereof and cannot
be impugned, except on the ground of fraud. Moreover, proceedings in a testamentary case are
in rem, hence it is binding upon her.

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