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Dela Cerna v.

1. The spouses Bernabe Dela Serna and Gerasisa
Rebabca executed a joint will where they gave two (2)
parcels of land to manuela Rebaca, a niece, as they
didn't have their own child. When Bernabe died, the
said will was probated in 1939.
2. Another petition for probate of the same will insofar
as Gervasia was concerned was filed in 1952 but due
to the failure of the petitioner (Manuela) to appears,
the same was dismissed in 1954.
3. The CFI held the petition (Bernabe probate) to be
null and void as it is contrary to law. While the Court of
Appeals reversed and held that the decree of probate
in 1939 was issued by a court of probate jurisdiction
and conclusive as to the due execution of the will.
Hence this appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not the will is valid
RULING: The Supreme Court affirmed the CA decision
and held that Once a decree of probate becomes final
in accordance with the rules of procedure, it is res
judicata. THe final decree of probate entered in 1939 in
the CFI of Cebu is conclusive as to the last will of
Bernabe despite the fact that even then the Civil Code
already decreed the invalidity of joint wills. (There was
an error on the court but the decree has now become
The probate court committed an error of law which
should have been corrected on appeals but which did
not affect the jurisdiction of the probate court, nor the
conclusive effect of its final decision. A decision which
is binding upon the whole world.
Nevertheless, the probate in 1939 only affected the
share of Bernabe and could not include the disposition
of the share of his wife which was still alive then, her
properties were still not within the jurisdiction of the
court. Hence, the validity of the will with respect to her,
must be on her death, be re-examined and adjudicated
de novo -- since a joint will is considered a separate will
of each testator.
Dacanay v. FlorendoWALA ako makita

Ortega v. Valmonte

Two years after the arrival of Placido from the United

States and at the age of 80 he wed Josefina who was
then 28 years old. But in a little more than two years of
wedded bliss, Placido died. Placido executed a notarial
last will and testament written in English and
consisting of 2 pages, and dated 15 June 1983but
acknowledged only on 9 August 1983.
The allowance to probate of this will was opposed by
Leticia, Placidos sister. According to the notary public
who notarized the testators will, after the te
stator instructed him on the terms and dispositions he
wanted on the will, the notary public told them to come
back on 15 August 1983 to give him time to prepare.
The testator and his witnesses returned on the
appointed date but the notary public was out of town
so they were instructed by his wife to come back on 9
August 1983. The formal execution was actually on 9
August 1983. He reasoned he no longer changed the typewritten
date of 15 June 1983 because he did not like the
document to appear dirty. Petiti
oners argument:
1. At the time of the execution of the notarial will
Placido was already 83 years old and was no longer of
sound mind. 2. Josefina conspired with the notary public and
the 3 attesting witnesses in deceiving Placido to sign it.
Deception is allegedly reflected in the varying dates of
the execution and the attestation of the will.
W/N Placido has testamentary capacity at the time he
allegedly executed the will. 2. W/N the signature of
Placido in the will was procured by fraud or trickery.
YES. Despite his advanced age, he was still able to
identify accurately the kinds of property he owned, the
extent of his shares in them and even their location. As
regards the proper objects of his bounty, it was
sufficient that he identified his wife as sole beneficiary.
The omission of some relatives from the will did not
affect its formal
validity. There being no showing of fraud in its
execution, intent in its disposition becomes irrelevant.
2. NO. Fraud is a trick, secret devise, false statement,
or pretense, by which the subject of it is cheated. It may be
of such character that the testator is misled or deceived as to the
nature or contents of the document which he executes, or it may
relate to some extrinsic fact, in consequence of the
deception regarding which the testator is led to make a
certain will which, but for fraud, he would not have
made. The party challenging the will bears the burden
of proving the existence of fraud at the time of its
execution. The burden to show otherwise shifts to the
proponent of the will only upon a showing of credible
evidence of fraud. Omission of some relatives does not affect
the due execution of a will. Moreover, the conflict between the
dates appearing on the will does not invalidate the
because the law does not even require that a notarial
will be executed and
acknowledged on the same occasion. The variance in the dates of
the will as to its supposed execution and attestation was
satisfactorily and persuasively explained by the notary
public and instrumental witnesses

Suroza v. Honrado
110 SCRA 388 Succession Will Should be Written in
a Language Known to the Testator
In 1973, Marcelina Suroza supposedly executed a
notarial will bequeathing her house and lot to a certain
Marilyn Suroza. In 1974, Marcelina died. Marina Paje
was named as the executrix in the said will and she
petitioned before CFI Rizal that the will be admitted to
probate. The presiding judge, Honrado admitted the
will to probate and assigned Paje as the administratrix.
Honrado also issued an ejectment order against the
occupants of the house and lot subject of the will.
Nenita Suroza, daughter in law of Marcelina (her
husband, son of Marcelina was confined in the
Veterans Hospital), learned of the probate proceeding
when she received the ejectment order (as she was
residing in said house and lot).
Nenita opposed the probate proceeding. She alleged
that the said notarial will is void because (a) the
instituted heir therein Marilyn Suroza is actually Marilyn
Sy and she is a stranger to Marcelina, (b) the only son
of Marcelina, Agapito Suroza, is still alive and is the
compulsory heir, (c) the notarial will is written in
English a language not known to Marcelina because the
latter was illiterate so much so that she merely
thumbmarked the will, (d) the notary public who
notarized will admitted that Marcelina never appeared
before him and that he notarized the said will merely to
accommodate the request of a lawyer friend but with
the understanding that Marcelina should later appear
before him but that never happened.
Honrado still continued with the probate despite the
opposition until testamentary proceeding closed and
the property transferred to Marilyn Sy.
Nenita then filed this administrative case against
Honrado on the ground of misconduct.
ISSUE: Whether or not Honrado is guilty of misconduct
for admitting into probate a void will.
RATIO: Yes. Despite the valid claim raised by Nenita,
he still continued with the testamentary proceeding,
this showed his wrongful intent. He may even be

criminally liable for knowingly rendering an unjust

judgment or interlocutory order or rendering a
manifestly unjust judgment or interlocutory order by
reason of inexcusable negligence or ignorance.
The will is written in English and was thumb marked by
an obviously illiterate Marcelina. This could have
readily been perceived by Honrado that that the will is
void. In the opening paragraph of the will, it was stated
that English was a language understood and known
to the testatrix. But in its concluding paragraph, it was
stated that the will was read to the testatrix and
translated into Filipino language. That could only
mean that the will was written in a language not known
to the illiterate testatrix and, therefore, it is void
because of the mandatory provision of Article 804 of
the Civil Code that every will must be executed in a
language or dialect known to the testator. Had Honrado
been careful and observant, he could have noted not
only the anomaly as to the language of the will but also
that there was something wrong in instituting to
Marilyn Sy as sole heiress and giving nothing at all to
Agapito who was still alive.
Honrado was fined by the Supreme Court.

Noble v. Abaja
450 SCRA 265
The case is about the probate of the will of Alipio
Abada (Not respondent Abaja). Petitioner Belinda Noble is
the administratrix of the estate of Abada. Respondent Alipio
Abaja filed a petition for the probate of Abadas will.
Petitioner Noble moved for di
smissal of the petition for probate. Caponong-Noble points
out that nowhere in the will can one discern that Abada knew the
Spanish language. She alleges that such defect is fatal
and must result in the disallowance of the will.
Should it be expressly stated in the will that it (the
will) was in a language known by the testator?
No. There is no statutory requirement to state in the will itself that
the testator knew the language or dialect used in the will.
[25] This is a matter that a party may establish by
proof aliunde. In this case, Alipio testified that Abada
used to gather Spanish-speaking people in their place. In
these gatherings, Abada and his companions would talk in the
Spanish language. This sufficiently proves that Abada
speaks the Spanish language.