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G.R. No. 176943; October 17, 2008

Petitioners mother Maria Aluad and respondent Zenaido Aluad were raised by
the childless spouses Matilde Aluad and Crispin Aluad. Crispin owned six (6) lots
identified as Lot Nos. 674, 675, 676, 677, 680 and 682. After his death, Matilde
adjudicated the lots to herself.
Matilde executed a Deed of Donation of Real Property Inter Vivos in favor of
Maria covering all the six lots. It states that the donation shall become effective upon the
death of the donor, but in the event that the donee should die before the donor, the
present donation shall be deemed rescinded and of no further force and effect.
Subsequently, Matilde sold Lot No. 676 to Zenaido by a Deed of Absolute Sale of Real
Property. Afterwards, Matilde executed a Last Will and Testament devising Lot Nos.
675, 677, 680 and 682 to Maria and her remaining properties including Lot No. 674 to
Zenaido. Matilde died on January 25, 1994 while Maria died on September 24 of the
same year.
Marias heirs, herein petitioners, then filed a complaint for declaration and
recovery of ownership and possession of Lot Nos. 674 and 676 and damages against
respondent alleging that after the death of Matilde, petitioners succeeded by inheritance
by right of representation from their deceased mother.
The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the petitioners. The Court of
Appeals reversed the trial courts decision hence this petition for review.

Whether or not petitioners are entitled to recover ownership and possession of
the subject lots

No. The Deed of Donation is one of mortis causa, not having followed the
formalities of a will, it is void and transmitted no right to petitioners mother. The will
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 separate from the subscription of the will and the
affixing of signatures on the left-hand margins of the pages of the will.
But even assuming arguendo that the formalities were observed, since it was not
probated, no right to Lot Nos. 674 and 676 was transmitted to Maria. Matilde thus
validly disposed of Lot No. 674 to respondent by her last will and testament, subject of
course to the qualification that her (Matildes) will must be probated. With respect to Lot
No. 676, the same had been sold by Matilde to respondent on August 26, 1991.

G.R. No. 74695; September 14, 1993


On November 5, 1977, the 79-year old Brigido Alvarado executed a notarial will
entitled Huling Habilin wherein he disinherited an illegitimate son (herein petitioner)
and expressly revoked a previously executed holographic will. The notarial will was
testified to by the three instrumental witnesses, the notary public and by private
respondent who were present at the execution. The testator did not read the final draft
of the will. Instead, private respondent, as the lawyer who drafted the eight-paged
document, read the same aloud in the presence of the testator, the three instrumental
witnesses and the notary public. The latter four followed the reading with their own
respective copies.

Meanwhile, the holographic will of Brigido was admitted to probate. A codicil

was then executed changing some dispositions in the notarial will to generate cash for
his eye operation as he was suffering from glaucoma. However 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.

Herein private respondent filed a petition for the probate of the notarial will and
codicil. Petitioner, in turn, filed an opposition on the ground that the deceased was blind
within the meaning of the law at the time the will and codicil was executed and that the
reading required by Article 808 was not complied with hence the probate should be

Whether the foregoing circumstances would qualify Brigido as a blind testator
under Article 808 of the Civil Code


Yes. Since Brigido Alvarado was incapable of reading the final drafts of his will
and codicil on the separate occasions of their execution due to his "poor," "defective," or
"blurred" vision, there can be no other course for us but to conclude that Brigido
Alvarado comes within the scope of the term "blind" as it is used in Art. 808.

This Court has held in a number of occasions that substantial compliance is

acceptable where the purpose of the law has been satisfied, the reason being that the
solemnities surrounding the execution of wills are intended to protect the testator from
all kinds of fraud and trickery but are never intended to be so rigid and inflexible as to
destroy the testamentary privilege.

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.

G.R. No. L-33592 March 31, 1931

Estate of the deceased Victorina Villaranda.
EUSEBIA LIM, petitioner-appellant,
JULIANA CHINCO, oppositor-appellee.

This is a contest over the probate of a paper writing purporting to be the will of
Victorina Villaranda y Diaz, a resident of Meycauayan, Bulacan, who died in Manila, on
June 9, 1929. The deceased left no descendants or ascendants, and the document
produced as her will purports to leave her estate, consisting of properties valued at
P50,000, more or less, chiefly to three collateral relatives, Eusebia, Crispina, and Maria,
of the surname of Lim. The opposition was made by Juliana Chinco, a full sister of the

The deceased was about 80 years of age at the time of her death. On the morning
of June 2, 1929, she was stricken with apoplexy, incident to cerebral hemorrhage, and
was taken in an unconscious condition. Doctor Gaanan, a physician from Meycauayan,
examined the patient and he found her insensible and incapable of talking or controlling
her movements. On the morning of June 5, 1929, she was taken to a hospital in Manila.
The purported will was prepared by Atty. Perfecto Gabriel, whose wife appears to be
related to the chief beneficiaries named in the will. After informing himself 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. The intended testatrix was not able to affix her
signature to the document, and it was signed for her by the attorney.
Upon hearing the cause, 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.

Did the testatrix have testamentary capacity at the time the paper referred to was

No. The testator was in a comatose condition and incapable of performing any
conscious and valid act. This conclusion was proven by the testimony of the witnesses,
specifically the testimony of the doctors, and that of the caretaker and neighbor of the
deceased. The testimony of these witnesses is convincing to the effect 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 forenoon of June 5, 1929, she did not have
sufficient command of her faculties to enable her to do any valid act. In contrast,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. Hence,
the paper offered for probate was properly disallowed.

G.R. No. 76714 June 2, 1994

HON. ZOTICO A. TOLETE in his capacity as Presiding Judge, Branch 18, RTC,
Bulacan, respondent.

Dr. Jose Cunanan and his wife, Dr. Evelyn Perez-Cunanan, who became
American citizens and residents of New York, each executed a will, also in NY,
containing provisions on presumption of survivorship (in the event that it is not known
which one of the spouses died first, the husband shall be presumed to have predeceased
his wife). Later, the entire family perished in a fire that gutted their home. Thus, Rafael,
who was named trustee in Joses will, filed for separate probate proceedings of the wills.
Later, Evelyns mother, Salud Perez, filed a petition for reprobate in Bulacan.
Rafael opposed, arguing that Salud was not an heir according to NY laws. He contended
that since the wills were executed in NY, NY laws should govern. He further argued that
in accordance with NY laws, he and his brothers and sisters were Joses heirs and as
such are 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 laws. But before she could present
evidence to prove the law of New York, the reprobate court already issued an order,
disallowing the wills.

Should the reprobate of the wills be allowed?

The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses, who were American citizens, will
only be effective in this country upon compliance with Art. 816 of the Civil Code. Thus,
proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by NY laws or by
Philippine laws is imperative.
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.
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. 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.
WHEREFORE, the questioned Order is SET ASIDE. 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.


EMELINA and EVELYN, all surnamed REYES, represented by their mother,MARIA
Gr. No. 92436, 26 July 1991, 199 SCRA 646

During his lifetime, Gavino Reyes owned a parcel of land of approximately 70
hectares located at Carmona, Cavite. He sought to bring said land under the operation of
the Torrens System of registration of property. Unfortunately, he died in 1921 without
the title having been issued to him. The application 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. In the
subdivision plan, each resultant lot was earmarked, indicated for and assigned to a
specific heir. It appears therein that two lots, one of which is Lot No. 1A-14 (Exh. "6-A"),
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.
On 1943, Rafael Reyes, Sr. sold a parcel of land to private respondent Dalmacio
Gardiola. According to the vendee, this parcel corresponds to Lot No.1-A-14 of the
subdivision plan aforestated. The deed of sale, however, did not specifically mention Lot
No. I-A-14. The vendee immediately took possession of the property and started paying
the land taxes therein.
In 1967, the surviving heirs gave effect to the subdivision plan created on 1936. They
formally partitioned the property. Therefore, the heirs received their share of this land.
Including Rafael Reyes, Jr. Son of Rafael Sr. TCTs were issued to him representing the
land which should have been received by his father.
Now, the heirs of Rafael Jr. sued Gardiola, saying that they are the true owners of the
land, as shown by the torrens title over the land. Gardiolas defense was that he bought
the land from Rafael Sr. and that Rafael Jr. could not have inherited this land for it was
disposed of by his father way before he inherited it. The trial court ruled in favor of
Rafael Jr.s heirs because there was no evidence that Gavinos children had a written
partition agreement. CA reversed.

Did the CA commit any reversible error when it set aside the decision of the trial
No. The CA correctly held that the partition made by the children of Gavino
Reyes in 1936, although oral, was valid and binding. There is no law that requires
partition among heirs to be in writing to be valid. There is nothing in said section from
which it can be inferred that a writing or other formality is an essential requisite to the
validity of the partition. Accordingly, an oral partition is valid. (this is more of specpro
so no need to write sa digest, I think. Haha)
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 byReyes,
Sr. to Gardiola is his share in the estate of his deceased father, Gavino. 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.
The same did not operate to divest the vendee of the share of Rafael Reyes, Sr. in the
estate of Gavino. 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. Thus, since
he never had any title of 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 Reyes,
Jr.The latter cannot give them what he never had before. Nemo dare potest quod non


G.R. No. L-15388; January 31, 1961
On May 10, 1956, Dora Perkins Anderson, herein petitioner, filed a petition for
the probate of the supposed last will and testament of the late Eugene Arthur Perkins.
On that same day, petitioner filed an urgent petition for the appointment of Alfonso
Ponce Enrile as special administrator of the estate which was approved by the court.
Idonah Slade Perkins, surviving spouse of the deceased filed an opposition to the
probate of the will.
On September 4, 1958, the special administrator submitted an inventory of all the
assets of the deceased and about two years later he submitted a petition seeking
authority to sell or give away to some charitable or educational institution certain
personal effects left by the deceased. Idonah Slade Perkins filed an opposition to the
proposed sale on the grounds that: (1) most of the properties sought to be sold were
conjugal properties of herself and her deceased husband; and (2) that unauthorized
removal of fine pieces of furniture belonging to the estate had been made.
The lower court, notwithstanding the opposition, approved the proposed sale.
Idonah Slade Perkins filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied hence this

Whether or not the court erred in approving the proposed sale of certain
personal effects of the deceased

Yes. The records show that up to the time the proposed sale was asked for and
judicially approved, no proceeding had as yet been taken, or even started, to segregate
the alleged exclusive property of the oppositor-appellant from the mass of the estate
supposedly left by the deceased or to liquidate the conjugal partnership property of the
oppositor-appellant and the deceased. Until, therefore the issue of the ownership of the
properties sought to be sold is heard and decided, and the conjugal partnership
liquidated; or, at least, an agreement be reached with a appellant as to which properties
of the conjugal partnership she would not mind being sold to preserve their value the
proposed sale is clearly premature. There are no reasons of extreme urgency justify the
proposed sale at this time over the strong opposition and objection of oppositor-
appellant who may later be adjudged owner of a substantial portion of the personal
estate in question.