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Article 799, Wills and Succession

G.R. No. 174489 April 11, 2012 Childless and without any brothers or sisters, Paciencia bequeathed all her
properties to respondent Lorenzo R. Laxa (Lorenzo) and his wife Corazon F.
ANTONIO B. BALTAZAR, SEBASTIAN M. BALTAZAR, ANTONIO L. Laxa and their children Luna Lorella Laxa and Katherine Ross Laxa, thus:
MANGALINDAN, ROSIE M. MATEO, NENITA A. PACHECO, VIRGILIO
REGALA, JR., and RAFAEL TITCO, Petitioners, xxxx
vs.
LORENZO LAXA, Respondent. Fourth - In consideration of their valuable services to me since then up to
the present by the spouses LORENZO LAXA and CORAZON F. LAXA, I hereby
DECISION BEQUEATH, CONVEY and GIVE all my properties enumerated in parcels 1 to
5 unto the spouses LORENZO R. LAXA and CORAZON F. LAXA and their
DEL CASTILLO, J.: children, LUNA LORELLA LAXA and KATHERINE LAXA, and the spouses
Lorenzo R. Laxa and Corazon F. Laxa both of legal age, Filipinos, presently
residing at Barrio Sta. Monica, [Sasmuan], Pampanga and their children,
It is incumbent upon those who oppose the probate of a will to clearly
LUNA LORELLA and KATHERINE ROSS LAXA, who are still not of legal age and
establish that the decedent was not of sound and disposing mind at the time
living with their parents who would decide to bequeath since they are the
of the execution of said will. Otherwise, the state is duty-bound to give full
children of the spouses;
effect to the wishes of the testator to distribute his estate in the manner
provided in his will so long as it is legally tenable.1
xxxx
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari2 of the June 15, 2006
Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 80979 which [Sixth] - Should other properties of mine may be discovered aside from the
reversed the September 30, 2003 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), properties mentioned in this last will and testament, I am also bequeathing
Branch 52, Guagua, Pampanga in Special Proceedings No. G-1186. The and giving the same to the spouses Lorenzo R. Laxa and Corazon F. Laxa and
assailed CA Decision granted the petition for probate of the notarial will of their two children and I also command them to offer masses yearly for the
Paciencia Regala (Paciencia), to wit: repose of my soul and that of D[ñ]a Nicomeda Regala, Epifania Regala and
their spouses and with respect to the fishpond situated at San Antonio, I
likewise command to fulfill the wishes of D[ñ]a Nicomeda Regala in
WHEREFORE, premises considered, finding the appeal to be impressed with
accordance with her testament as stated in my testament. x x x12
merit, the decision in SP. PROC. NO. G-1186 dated 30 September 2003, is
hereby SET ASIDE and a new one entered GRANTING the petition for the
probate of the will of PACIENCIA REGALA. The filial relationship of Lorenzo with Paciencia remains undisputed. Lorenzo
is Paciencia’s nephew whom she treated as her own son. Conversely,
Lorenzo came to know and treated Paciencia as his own mother.13 Paciencia
SO ORDERED.5
lived with Lorenzo’s family in Sasmuan, Pampanga and it was she who raised
and cared for Lorenzo since his birth. Six days after the execution of the Will
Also assailed herein is the August 31, 2006 CA Resolution6 which denied the or on September 19, 1981, Paciencia left for the United States of America
Motion for Reconsideration thereto. (USA). There, she resided with Lorenzo and his family until her death on
January 4, 1996.
Petitioners call us to reverse the CA’s assailed Decision and instead affirm
the Decision of the RTC which disallowed the notarial will of Paciencia. In the interim, the Will remained in the custody of Judge Limpin.

Factual Antecedents More than four years after the death of Paciencia or on April 27, 2000,
Lorenzo filed a petition14 with the RTC of Guagua, Pampanga for the probate
Paciencia was a 78 year old spinster when she made her last will and of the Will of Paciencia and for the issuance of Letters of Administration in
testament entitled "Tauli Nang Bilin o Testamento Miss Paciencia his favor, docketed as Special Proceedings No. G-1186.
Regala"7 (Will) in the Pampango dialect on September 13, 1981. The Will,
executed in the house of retired Judge Ernestino G. Limpin (Judge Limpin), There being no opposition to the petition after its due publication, the RTC
was read to Paciencia twice. After which, Paciencia expressed in the issued an Order on June 13, 200015allowing Lorenzo to present evidence on
presence of the instrumental witnesses that the document is her last will June 22, 2000. On said date, Dra. Limpin testified that she was one of the
and testament. She thereafter affixed her signature at the end of the said instrumental witnesses in the execution of the last will and testament of
document on page 38 and then on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 Paciencia on September 13, 1981.16 The Will was executed in her father’s
thereof.9 (Judge Limpin) home office, in her presence and of two other witnesses,
Francisco and Faustino.17 Dra. Limpin positively identified the Will and her
The witnesses to the Will were Dra. Maria Lioba A. Limpin (Dra. Limpin), signatures on all its four pages.18 She likewise positively identified the
Francisco Garcia (Francisco) and Faustino R. Mercado (Faustino). The three signature of her father appearing thereon.19 Questioned by the prosecutor
attested to the Will’s due execution by affixing their signatures below its regarding Judge Limpin’s present mental fitness, Dra. Limpin testified that
attestation clause10 and on the left margin of pages 1, 2 and 4 thereof,11 in her father had a stroke in 1991 and had to undergo brain surgery.20 The
the presence of Paciencia and of one another and of Judge Limpin who acted judge can walk but can no longer talk and remember her name. Because of
as notary public. this, Dra. Limpin stated that her father can no longer testify in court.21

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The following day or on June 23, 2000, petitioner Antonio Baltazar (Antonio) death, she did not suffer from any mental disorder and was of sound mind,
filed an opposition22 to Lorenzo’s petition. Antonio averred that the was not blind, deaf or mute; the Will was in the custody of Judge Limpin and
properties subject of Paciencia’s Will belong to Nicomeda Regala was only given to him after Paciencia’s death through Faustino; and he was
Mangalindan, his predecessor-in-interest; hence, Paciencia had no right to already residing in the USA when the Will was executed.33 Lorenzo positively
bequeath them to Lorenzo.23 identified the signature of Paciencia in three different documents and in the
Will itself and stated that he was familiar with Paciencia’s signature because
Barely a month after or on July 20, 2000, Antonio, now joined by petitioners he accompanied her in her transactions.34 Further, Lorenzo belied and
Sebastian M. Baltazar, Virgilio Regala, Jr., Nenita A. Pacheco, Felix B. Flores, denied having used force, intimidation, violence, coercion or trickery upon
Rafael Titco, Rosie M. Mateo (Rosie) and Antonio L. Mangalindan filed a Paciencia to execute the Will as he was not in the Philippines when the same
Supplemental Opposition24 contending that Paciencia’s Will was null and was executed.35 On cross-examination, Lorenzo clarified that Paciencia
void because ownership of the properties had not been transferred and/or informed him about the Will shortly after her arrival in the USA but that he
titled to Paciencia before her death pursuant to Article 1049, paragraph 3 of saw a copy of the Will only after her death.36
the Civil Code.25 Petitioners also opposed the issuance of Letters of
Administration in Lorenzo’s favor arguing that Lorenzo was disqualified to As to Francisco, he could no longer be presented in court as he already died
be appointed as such, he being a citizen and resident of the on May 21, 2000.
USA.26 Petitioners prayed that Letters of Administration be instead issued in
favor of Antonio.27 For petitioners, Rosie testified that her mother and Paciencia were first
cousins.37 She claimed to have helped in the household chores in the house
Later still on September 26, 2000, petitioners filed an Amended of Paciencia thereby allowing her to stay therein from morning until evening
Opposition28 asking the RTC to deny the probate of Paciencia’s Will on the and that during the period of her service in the said household, Lorenzo’s
following grounds: the Will was not executed and attested to in accordance wife and his children were staying in the same house. 38 She served in the
with the requirements of the law; that Paciencia was mentally incapable to said household from 1980 until Paciencia’s departure for the USA on
make a Will at the time of its execution; that she was forced to execute the September 19, 1981.39
Will under duress or influence of fear or threats; that the execution of the
Will had been procured by undue and improper pressure and influence by On September 13, 1981, Rosie claimed that she saw Faustino bring
Lorenzo or by some other persons for his benefit; that the signature of "something" for Paciencia to sign at the latter’s house. 40 Rosie admitted,
Paciencia on the Will was forged; that assuming the signature to be genuine, though, that she did not see what that "something" was as same was placed
it was obtained through fraud or trickery; and, that Paciencia did not intend inside an envelope.41 However, she remembered Paciencia instructing
the document to be her Will. Simultaneously, petitioners filed an Opposition Faustino to first look for money before she signs them.42 A few days after or
and Recommendation29 reiterating their opposition to the appointment of on September 16, 1981, Paciencia went to the house of Antonio’s mother
Lorenzo as administrator of the properties and requesting for the and brought with her the said envelope.43 Upon going home, however, the
appointment of Antonio in his stead. envelope was no longer with Paciencia.44 Rosie further testified that
Paciencia was referred to as "magulyan" or "forgetful" because she would
On January 29, 2001, the RTC issued an Order30 denying the requests of both sometimes leave her wallet in the kitchen then start looking for it moments
Lorenzo and Antonio to be appointed administrator since the former is a later.45 On cross examination, it was established that Rosie was neither a
citizen and resident of the USA while the latter’s claim as a co-owner of the doctor nor a psychiatrist, that her conclusion that Paciencia was "magulyan"
properties subject of the Will has not yet been established. was based on her personal assessment,46 and that it was Antonio who
requested her to testify in court.47
Meanwhile, proceedings on the petition for the probate of the Will
continued. Dra. Limpin was recalled for cross-examination by the In his direct examination, Antonio stated that Paciencia was his aunt.48 He
petitioners. She testified as to the age of her father at the time the latter identified the Will and testified that he had seen the said document before
notarized the Will of Paciencia; the living arrangements of Paciencia at the because Paciencia brought the same to his mother’s house and showed it to
time of the execution of the Will; and the lack of photographs when the him along with another document on September 16, 1981.49 Antonio alleged
event took place. 31 that when the documents were shown to him, the same were still
unsigned.50 According to him, Paciencia thought that the documents
Aside from Dra. Limpin, Lorenzo and Monico Mercado (Monico) also took pertained to a lease of one of her rice lands,51 and it was he who explained
the witness stand. Monico, son of Faustino, testified on his father’s that the documents were actually a special power of attorney to lease and
condition. According to him his father can no longer talk and express himself sell her fishpond and other properties upon her departure for the USA, and
due to brain damage. A medical certificate was presented to the court to a Will which would transfer her properties to Lorenzo and his family upon
support this allegation. 32 her death.52 Upon hearing this, Paciencia allegedly uttered the following
words: "Why will I never [return], why will I sell all my properties?" Who is
Lorenzo? Is he the only [son] of God? I have other relatives [who should]
For his part, Lorenzo testified that: from 1944 until his departure for the USA
benefit from my properties. Why should I die already?"53 Thereafter,
in April 1980, he lived in Sasmuan, Pampanga with his family and his aunt,
Antonio advised Paciencia not to sign the documents if she does not want
Paciencia; in 1981 Paciencia went to the USA and lived with him and his
to, to which the latter purportedly replied, "I know nothing about those,
family until her death in January 1996; the relationship between him and
throw them away or it is up to you. The more I will not sign them." 54 After
Paciencia was like that of a mother and child since Paciencia took care of him
which, Paciencia left the documents with Antonio. Antonio kept the
since birth and took him in as an adopted son; Paciencia was a spinster
unsigned documents
without children, and without brothers and sisters; at the time of Paciencia’s
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Article 799, Wills and Succession

and eventually turned them over to Faustino on September 18, 1981.55 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING
THAT PETITIONERS FAILED TO PROVE THAT PACIENCIA WAS NOT
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court OF SOUND MIND AT THE TIME THE WILL WAS ALLEGEDLY
EXECUTED63
On September 30, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision56 denying the petition
thus: The pivotal issue is whether the authenticity and due execution of the
notarial Will was sufficiently established to warrant its allowance for
probate.
WHEREFORE, this court hereby (a) denies the petition dated April 24, 2000;
and (b) disallows the notarized will dated September 13, 1981 of Paciencia
Regala. Our Ruling

SO ORDERED.57 We deny the petition.

The trial court gave considerable weight to the testimony of Rosie and Faithful compliance with the formalities laid down by law is apparent from
concluded that at the time Paciencia signed the Will, she was no longer the face of the Will.
possessed of sufficient reason or strength of mind to have testamentary
capacity.58 Courts are tasked to determine nothing more than the extrinsic validity of a
Will in probate proceedings.64 This is expressly provided for in Rule 75,
Ruling of the Court of Appeals Section 1 of the Rules of Court, which states:

On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC Decision and granted the probate of the Rule 75
Will of Paciencia. The appellate court did not agree with the RTC’s conclusion
that Paciencia was of unsound mind when she executed the Will. It Production of Will. Allowance of Will Necessary.
ratiocinated that "the state of being ‘magulyan’ does not make a person
mentally unsound so [as] to render [Paciencia] unfit for executing a Section 1. Allowance necessary. Conclusive as to execution. – No will shall
Will."59 Moreover, the oppositors in the probate proceedings were not able pass either real or personal estate unless it is proved and allowed in the
to overcome the presumption that every person is of sound mind. Further, proper court. Subject to the right of appeal, such allowance of the will shall
no concrete circumstances or events were given to prove the allegation that be conclusive as to its due execution.
Paciencia was tricked or forced into signing the Will.60
Due execution of the will or its extrinsic validity pertains to whether the
Petitioners moved for reconsideration61 but the motion was denied by the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in accordance with
CA in its Resolution62 dated August 31, 2006. the formalities prescribed by law.65 These formalities are enshrined in
Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code, to wit:
Hence, this petition.
Art. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the
Issues end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by
some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and
Petitioners come before this Court by way of Petition for Review on attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence
Certiorari ascribing upon the CA the following errors: of the testator and of one another.

I. The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the
instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and
every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED WHEN IT
be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.
ALLOWED THE PROBATE OF PACIENCIA’S WILL DESPITE
RESPONDENT’S UTTER FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 11,
RULE 76 OF THE RULES OF COURT; The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is
written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof,
or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction,
II.
in the presence of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter witnessed
and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN MAKING and of one another.
CONCLUSIONS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVIDENCE ON
RECORD;
If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall
be interpreted to them.
III.

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Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the known to be insane, the person who maintains the validity of the will must
testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain prove that the testator made it during a lucid interval.
a copy of the will, or file another with the Office of the Clerk of Court.
Here, there was no showing that Paciencia was publicly known to be insane
Here, a careful examination of the face of the Will shows faithful compliance one month or less before the making of the Will. Clearly, thus, the burden to
with the formalities laid down by law. The signatures of the testatrix, prove that Paciencia was of unsound mind lies upon the shoulders of
Paciencia, her instrumental witnesses and the notary public, are all present petitioners. However and as earlier mentioned, no substantial evidence was
and evident on the Will. Further, the attestation clause explicitly states the presented by them to prove the same, thereby warranting the CA’s finding
critical requirement that the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses signed that petitioners failed to discharge such burden.
the Will in the presence of one another and that the witnesses attested and
subscribed to the Will in the presence of the testator and of one another. In Furthermore, we are convinced that Paciencia was aware of the nature of
fact, even the petitioners acceded that the signature of Paciencia in the Will her estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of her bounty and the
may be authentic although they question her state of mind when she signed character of the testamentary act. As aptly pointed out by the CA:
the same as well as the voluntary nature of said act.
A scrutiny of the Will discloses that [Paciencia] was aware of the nature of
The burden to prove that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the the document she executed. She specially requested that the customs of her
execution of the will lies on the shoulders of the petitioners. faith be observed upon her death. She was well aware of how she acquired
the properties from her parents and the properties she is bequeathing to
Petitioners, through their witness Rosie, claim that Paciencia was LORENZO, to his wife CORAZON and to his two (2) children. A third child was
"magulyan" or forgetful so much so that it effectively stripped her of born after the execution of the will and was not included therein as
testamentary capacity. They likewise claimed in their Motion for devisee.70
Reconsideration66 filed with the CA that Paciencia was not only "magulyan"
but was actually suffering from paranoia.67 Bare allegations of duress or influence of fear or threats, undue and
improper influence and pressure, fraud and trickery cannot be used as basis
We are not convinced. to deny the probate of a will.

We agree with the position of the CA that the state of being forgetful does An essential element of the validity of the Will is the willingness of the
not necessarily make a person mentally unsound so as to render him unfit testator or testatrix to execute the document that will distribute his/her
to execute a Will.68 Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. earthly possessions upon his/her death. Petitioners claim that Paciencia was
Besides, Article 799 of the New Civil Code states: forced to execute the Will under duress or influence of fear or threats; that
the execution of the Will had been procured by undue and improper
Art. 799. To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full pressure and influence by Lorenzo or by some other persons for his benefit;
possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, and that assuming Paciencia’s signature to be genuine, it was obtained
unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause. through fraud or trickery. These are grounded on the alleged conversation
between Paciencia and Antonio on September 16, 1981 wherein the former
purportedly repudiated the Will and left it unsigned.
It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to
know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his
bounty, and the character of the testamentary act. We are not persuaded.

In this case, apart from the testimony of Rosie pertaining to Paciencia’s We take into consideration the unrebutted fact that Paciencia loved and
forgetfulness, there is no substantial evidence, medical or otherwise, that treated Lorenzo as her own son and that love even extended to Lorenzo’s
would show that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the execution wife and children. This kind of relationship is not unusual. It is in fact not
of the Will. On the other hand, we find more worthy of credence Dra. unheard of in our culture for old maids or spinsters to care for and raise their
Limpin’s testimony as to the soundness of mind of Paciencia when the latter nephews and nieces and treat them as their own children. Such is a
went to Judge Limpin’s house and voluntarily executed the Will. "The prevalent and accepted cultural practice that has resulted in many family
testimony of subscribing witnesses to a Will concerning the testator’s discords between those favored by the testamentary disposition of a
mental condition is entitled to great weight where they are truthful and testator and those who stand to benefit in case of intestacy.
intelligent."69 More importantly, a testator is presumed to be of sound mind
at the time of the execution of the Will and the burden to prove otherwise In this case, evidence shows the acknowledged fact that Paciencia’s
lies on the oppositor. Article 800 of the New Civil Code states: relationship with Lorenzo and his family is different from her relationship
with petitioners. The very fact that she cared for and raised Lorenzo and
Art. 800. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind, in the lived with him both here and abroad, even if the latter was already married
absence of proof to the contrary. and already has children, highlights the special bond between them. This
unquestioned relationship between Paciencia and the devisees tends to
support the authenticity of the said document as against petitioners’
The burden of proof that the testator was not of sound mind at the time of
allegations of duress, influence of fear or threats, undue and improper
making his dispositions is on the person who opposes the probate of the will;
influence, pressure, fraud, and trickery which, aside from being factual in
but if the testator, one month, or less, before making his will was publicly
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Article 799, Wills and Succession

nature, are not supported by concrete, substantial and credible evidence on testimonies of said witnesses nor challenged the same on cross examination.
record. It is worth stressing that bare arguments, no matter how forceful, if We thus hold that for all intents and purposes, Lorenzo was able to
not based on concrete and substantial evidence cannot suffice to move the satisfactorily account for the incapacity and failure of the said subscribing
Court to uphold said allegations.71Furthermore, "a purported will is not [to witness and of the notary public to testify in court. Because of this the
be] denied legalization on dubious grounds. Otherwise, the very institution probate of Paciencia’s Will may be allowed on the basis of Dra. Limpin’s
of testamentary succession will be shaken to its foundation, for even if a will testimony proving her sanity and the due execution of the Will, as well as on
has been duly executed in fact, whether x x x it will be probated would have the proof of her handwriting. It is an established rule that "[a] testament
to depend largely on the attitude of those interested in [the estate of the may not be disallowed just because the attesting witnesses declare against
deceased]."72 its due execution; neither does it have to be necessarily allowed just because
all the attesting witnesses declare in favor of its legalization; what is decisive
Court should be convinced by the evidence presented before it that the Will is that the court is convinced by evidence before it, not necessarily from the
was duly executed. attesting witnesses, although they must testify, that the will was or was not
duly executed in the manner required by law."73 1âwphi1
Petitioners dispute the authenticity of Paciencia’s Will on the ground that
Section 11 of Rule 76 of the Rules of Court was not complied with. It Moreover, it bears stressing that "[i]rrespective x x x of the posture of any
provides: of the parties as regards the authenticity and due execution of the will x x x
in question, it is the mandate of the law that it is the evidence before the
court and/or [evidence that] ought to be before it that is controlling."74 "The
RULE 76
very existence of [the Will] is in itself prima facie proof that the supposed
[testatrix] has willed that [her] estate be distributed in the manner therein
Allowance or Disallowance of Will provided, and it is incumbent upon the state that, if legally tenable, such
desire be given full effect independent of the attitude of the parties affected
Section 11. Subscribing witnesses produced or accounted for where will thereby."75 This, coupled with Lorenzo’s established relationship with
contested. – If the will is contested, all the subscribing witnesses, and the Paciencia, the evidence and the testimonies of disinterested witnesses, as
notary in the case of wills executed under the Civil Code of the Philippines, opposed to the total lack of evidence presented by petitioners apart from
if present in the Philippines and not insane, must be produced and their self-serving testimonies, constrain us to tilt the balance in favor of the
examined, and the death, absence, or insanity of any of them must be authenticity of the Will and its allowance for probate.
satisfactorily shown to the court. If all or some of such witnesses are present
in the Philippines but outside the province where the will has been filed, WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated June 15, 2006 and
their deposition must be taken. If any or all of them testify against the due the Resolution dated August 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
execution of the will, or do not remember having attested to it, or are No. 80979 are AFFIRMED.
otherwise of doubtful credibility, the will may nevertheless, be allowed if the
court is satisfied from the testimony of other witnesses and from all the
SO ORDERED.
evidence presented that the will was executed and attested in the manner
required by law.

If a holographic will is contested, the same shall be allowed if at least three


(3) witnesses who know the handwriting of the testator explicitly declare G.R. No. L-6801 March 14, 1912
that the will and the signature are in the handwriting of the testator; in the
absence of any competent witnesses, and if the court deem it necessary, JULIANA BAGTAS, plaintiffs-appellee,
expert testimony may be resorted to. (Emphasis supplied.) vs.
ISIDRO PAGUIO, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
They insist that all subscribing witnesses and the notary public should have
been presented in court since all but one witness, Francisco, are still living. Salas and Kalaw for appellants.
Jose Santiago for appellee.
We cannot agree with petitioners.
TRENT, J.:
We note that the inability of Faustino and Judge Limpin to appear and testify
before the court was satisfactorily explained during the probate This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of the Province
proceedings. As testified to by his son, Faustino had a heart attack, was of Bataan, admitting to probate a document which was offered as the last
already bedridden and could no longer talk and express himself due to brain will and testament of Pioquinto Paguio y Pizarro. The will purports to have
damage. To prove this, said witness presented the corresponding medical been executed in the pueblo of Pilar, Province of Bataan, on the 19th day of
certificate. For her part, Dra. Limpin testified that her father, Judge Limpin, April, 1908. The testator died on the 28th of September, 1909, a year and
suffered a stroke in 1991 and had to undergo brain surgery. At that time, five months following the date of the execution of the will. The will was
Judge Limpin could no longer talk and could not even remember his propounded by the executrix, Juliana Bagtas, widow of the decedent, and
daughter’s name so that Dra. Limpin stated that given such condition, her the opponents are a son and several grandchildren by a former marriage,
father could no longer testify. It is well to note that at that point, despite the latter being the children of a deceased daughter.
ample opportunity, petitioners neither interposed any objections to the
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Article 799, Wills and Succession

The basis of the opposition to the probation of the will is that the same was Florentino Ramos, although not an attesting witness, stated that he was
not executed according to the formalities and requirements of the law present when the will was executed and his testimony was cumulative in
touching wills, and further that the testator was not in the full of enjoyment corroboration of the manner in which the will was executed and as to the
and use of his mental faculties and was without the mental capacity fact that the testator signed the will. This witness also stated that he had
necessary to execute a valid will. frequently transacted matters of business for the decedent and had written
letters and made inventories of his property at his request, and that
The record shows that the testator, Pioquinto Paguio, for some fourteen of immediately before and after the execution of the will he had performed
fifteen years prior to the time of his death suffered from a paralysis of the offices of his character. He stated that the decedent was able to
left side of his body; that a few years prior to his death his hearing became communicate his thoughts by writing. The testimony of this witness clearly
impaired and that he lost the power of speech. Owing to the paralysis of indicates the presence of mental capacity on the part of the testator. Among
certain muscles his head fell to one side, and saliva ran from his mouth. He other witnesses for the opponents were two physician, Doctor Basa and
retained the use of his right hand, however, and was able to write fairly well. Doctor Viado. Doctor Basa testified that he had attended the testator some
Through the medium of signs he was able to indicate his wishes to his wife four or five years prior to his death and that the latter had suffered from a
and to other members of his family. cerebral congestion from which the paralysis resulted. The following
question was propounded to Doctor Basa:
At the time of the execution of the will there were present the four
testamentary witnesses, Agustin Paguio, Anacleto Paguio, and Pedro Paguio, Q. Referring to mental condition in which you found him the
and attorney, Señor Marco, and one Florentino Ramos. Anacleto Paguio and last time you attended him, do you think he was in his right mind?
the attorney have since died, and consequently their testimony was not
available upon the trial of the case in the lower court. The other three A. I can not say exactly whether he was in his right mind, but I
testamentary witnesses and the witness Florentino Ramos testified as to the noted some mental disorder, because when I spoke to him he did
manner in which the will was executed. According to the uncontroverted not answer me.
testimony of these witnesses the will was executed in the following manner:
Doctor Basa testified at more length, but the substance of his testimony is
Pioquinto Paguio, the testator, wrote out on pieces of paper notes and items that the testator had suffered a paralysis and that he had noticed some
relating to the disposition of his property, and these notes were in turn mental disorder. He does not say that the testator was not in his right mind
delivered to Señor Marco, who transcribed them and put them in form. The at the time of the execution of the will, nor does he give it at his opinion that
witnesses testify that the pieces of paper upon which the notes were written he was without the necessary mental capacity to make a valid will. He did
are delivered to attorney by the testator; that the attorney read them to the not state in what way this mental disorder had manifested itself other than
testator asking if they were his testamentary dispositions; that the testator that he had noticed that the testator did not reply to him on one occasion
assented each time with an affirmative movement of his head; that after the when he visited him.
will as a whole had been thus written by the attorney, it was read in a loud
voice in the presence of the testator and the witnesses; that Señor Marco Doctor Viado, the other physician, have never seen the testator, but his
gave the document to the testator; that the latter, after looking over it, answer was in reply to a hypothetical question as to what be the mental
signed it in the presence of the four subscribing witnesses; and that they in condition of a person who was 79 years old and who had suffered from a
turn signed it in the presence of the testator and each other. malady such as the testator was supposed to have had according to the
testimony of Doctor Basa, whose testimony Doctor Viado had heard. He
These are the facts of record with reference to the execution of the will and replied and discussed at some length the symptoms and consequences of
we are in perfect accord with the judgment of the lower court that the the decease from which the testator had suffered; he read in support of his
formalities of the Code of Civil Procedure have been fully complied with. statements from a work by a German Physician, Dr. Herman Eichost. In
answer, however, to a direct question, he stated that he would be unable to
This brings us now to a consideration of appellants' second assignment of certify to the mental condition of a person who was suffering from such a
error, viz, the testator's alleged mental incapacity at the time of the disease.
execution of the will. Upon this point considerable evidence was adduced at
the trial. One of the attesting witnesses testified that at the time of the We do not think that the testimony of these two physicians in any way
execution of the will the testator was in his right mind, and that although he strengthens the contention of the appellants. Their testimony only confirms
was seriously ill, he indicated by movements of his head what his wishes the fact that the testator had been for a number of years prior to his death
were. Another of the attesting witnesses stated that he was not able to say afflicted with paralysis, in consequence of which his physician and mental
whether decedent had the full use of his mental faculties or not, because he strength was greatly impaired. Neither of them attempted to state what was
had been ill for some years, and that he (the witnesses) was not a physician. the mental condition of the testator at the time he executed the will in
The other subscribing witness, Pedro Paguio, testified in the lower court as question. There can be no doubt that the testator's infirmities were of a very
a witness for the opponents. He was unable to state whether or not the will serious character, and it is quite evident that his mind was not as active as it
was the wish of the testator. The only reasons he gave for his statement had been in the earlier years of his life. However, we can not include from
were the infirmity and advanced age of the testator and the fact that he was this that he wanting in the necessary mental capacity to dispose of his
unable to speak. The witness stated that the testator signed the will, and he property by will.
verified his own signature as a subscribing witness.
The courts have been called upon frequently to nullify wills executed under
such circumstances, but the weight of the authority is in support if the
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Article 799, Wills and Succession

principle that it is only when those seeking to overthrow the will have clearly know and understand the business in which he was engaged at the
established the charge of mental incapacity that the courts will intervene to time when he executed his will. (See authorities there cited.)
set aside a testamentary document of this character. In the case of Bugnao
vs. Ubag (14 Phil. Rep., 163), the question of testamentary capacity was In Wilson vs. Mitchell (101 Penn., 495), the following facts appeared upon
discussed by this court. The numerous citations there given from the the trial of the case: The testator died at the age of nearly 102 years. In his
decisions of the United States courts are especially applicable to the case at early years he was an intelligent and well informed man. About seven years
bar and have our approval. In this jurisdiction the presumption of law is in prior to his death he suffered a paralytic stroke and from that time his mind
favor of the mental capacity of the testator and the burden is upon the and memory were mush enfeebled. He became very dull of hearing and in
contestants of the will to prove the lack of testamentary capacity. (In the consequence of the shrinking of his brain he was affected with senile
matter of the will of Cabigting, 14 Phil. Rep., 463; in the matter of the will of cataract causing total blindness. He became filthy and obscene in his habits,
Butalid, 10 Phil. Rep., 27; Hernaez vs. Hernaez, 1 Phil. Rep., 689.) although formerly he was observant of the properties of life. The court, in
commenting upon the case, said:
The rule of law relating to the presumption of mental soundness is well
established, and the testator in the case at bar never having been adjudged Neither age, nor sickness, nor extreme distress, nor debility of
insane by a court of competent jurisdiction, this presumption continues, and body will affect the capacity to make a will, if sufficient intelligence
it is therefore incumbent upon the opponents to overcome this legal remains. The failure of memory is not sufficient to create the
presumption by proper evidence. This we think they have failed to do. There incapacity, unless it be total, or extend to his immediate family or
are many cases and authorities which we might cite to show that the courts property. . . .
have repeatedly held that mere weakness of mind and body, induced by age
and disease do not render a person incapable of making a will. The law does
xxx xxx xxx
not require that a person shall continue in the full enjoyment and use of his
pristine physical and mental powers in order to execute a valid will. If such
were the legal standard, few indeed would be the number of wills that could Dougal (the testator) had lived over one hundred years before he
meet such exacting requirements. The authorities, both medical and legal, made the will, and his physical and mental weakness and defective
are universal in statement that the question of mental capacity is one of memory were in striking contrast with their strength in the
degree, and that there are many gradations from the highest degree of meridian of his life. He was blind; not deaf, but hearing impaired;
mental soundness to the lowest conditions of diseased mentality which are his mind acted slowly, he was forgetful or recent events, especially
denominated as insanity and idiocy. of names, and repeated questions in conversation; and
sometimes, when aroused for sleep or slumber, would seem
bewildered. It is not singular that some of those who had known
The right to dispose of property by testamentary disposition is as sacred as
him when he was remarkable for vigor and intelligence, are of the
any other right which a person may exercise and this right should not be
opinion that his reason was so far gone that he was incapable of
nullified unless mental incapacity is established in a positive and conclusive
making a will, although they never heard him utter an irrational
manner. In discussing the question of testamentary capacity, it is stated in
expression.
volume 28, 70, of the American and English Encyclopedia of Law, that —

In the above case the will was sustained. In the case at bar we might draw
Contrary to the very prevalent lay impression, perfect soundness
the same contrast as was pictured by the court in the case just quoted. The
of mind is not essential to testamentary capacity. A testator may
striking change in the physical and mental vigor of the testator during the
be afflicted with a variety of mental weaknesses, disorders, or
last years of his life may have led some of those who knew him in his earlier
peculiarities and still be capable in law of executing a valid will.
days to entertain doubts as to his mental capacity to make a will, yet we
(See the numerous cases there cited in support of this statement.)
think that the statements of the witnesses to the execution of the will and
statements of the conduct of the testator at that time all indicate that he
The rule relating to testamentary capacity is stated in Buswell on Insanity, unquestionably had mental capacity and that he exercised it on this
section 365, and quoted with approval in Campbell vs. Campbell (130 Ill., occasion. At the time of the execution of the will it does not appear that his
466), as follows: conduct was irrational in any particular. He seems to have comprehended
clearly what the nature of the business was in which he was engaged. The
To constitute a sound and disposing mind, it is not necessary that evidence show that the writing and execution of the will occupied a period
the mind shall be wholly unbroken, unimpaired, or unshattered by several hours and that the testator was present during all this time, taking
disease or otherwise, or that the testator should be in the full an active part in all the proceedings. Again, the will in the case at bar is
possession of his reasoning faculties. perfectly reasonable and its dispositions are those of a rational person.

In note, 1 Jarman on Wills, 38, the rule is thus stated: For the reasons above stated, the order probating the will should be and the
same is hereby affirmed, with costs of this instance against the appellants.
The question is not so much, that was the degree of memory
possessed by the testator, as, had he a disposing memory? Was he Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur.
able to remember the property he was about to bequeath, the
manner of disturbing it, and the objects of his bounty? In a word,
were his mind and memory sufficiently sound to enable him to

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

G.R. No. 4445 September 18, 1909 deceased sat up in bed and signed his name to the will, and that after its
execution food was given him by his wife; while the other testified that he
CATALINA BUGNAO, proponent-appellee, was assisted into a sitting position, and was given something to eat before
vs. he signed his name. We think the evidence discloses that his wife aided the
FRANCISCO UBAG, ET AL., contestants-appellants. sick man to sit up in bed at the time when he signed his name to the
instrument, and that he was given nourishment while he was in that
position, but it is not quite clear whether this was immediately before or
Rodriguez and Del Rosario for appellants.
after, or both before and after he attached his signature to the will. To say
Fernando Salas for appellee.
that the sick man sat up or raised himself up in bed is not necessarily in
conflict with the fact that he received assistance in doing so; and it is not at
CARSON, J.: all improbable or impossible that nourishment might have been given to him
both before and after signing the will, and that one witness might remember
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Oriental the former occasion and the other witness might recall the latter, although
Negros, admitting to probate a document purporting to be the last will and neither witness could recall both. But, however this may have been, we do
testament of Domingo Ubag, deceased. The instrument was propounded by not think that a slight lapse of memory on the part of one or the other
his widow, Catalina Bugnao, the sole beneficiary thereunder, and probate witness, as to the precise details of an unimportant incident, to which his
was contested by the appellants, who are brothers and sisters of the attention may not have been particularly directed, is sufficient to raise a
deceased, and who would be entitled to share in the distribution of his doubt as to the veracity of these witnesses, or as to the truth and accuracy
estate, if probate were denied, as it appears that the deceased left no heirs of their recollection of the fact of the execution of the instrument. Of course,
in the direct ascending or descending line. a number of contradictions in the testimony of alleged subscribing witnesses
to a will as to the circumstances under which it was executed, or even a
Appellants contend that the evidence of record is not sufficient to establish single contradiction as to a particular incident, where the incident was of
the execution of the alleged will in the manner and form prescribed in such a nature that the intention of any person who was present must have
section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure; and that at the time when it is been directed to it, and where the contradictory statements in regard to it
alleged that the will was executed, Ubag was not of sound mind and are so clear and explicit as to negative the possibility or probability of
memory, and was physically and mentally incapable of making a will. mistake, might well be sufficient to justify the conclusion that the witnesses
could not possibly have been present, together, at the time when it is alleged
the will was executed; but the apparent contradictions in the testimony of
The instrument propounded for probate purports to be the last will and the witnesses in the case at bar fall far short of raising a doubt a to their
testament of Domingo Ubag, signed by him in the presence of three veracity, and on the other hand their testimony as a whole gives such clear,
subscribing and attesting witnesses, and appears upon its face to have been explicit, and detailed account of all that occurred, and is so convincing and
duly executed in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil altogether satisfactory that we have no doubt that the trial judge who heard
Procedure touching the making of wills. them testify properly accepted their testimony as worthy of entire
confidence and belief.
Two of the subscribing witnesses, Victor J. Bingtoy and Catalino Mariño,
testified in support of the will, the latter being the justice of the peace of the The contestants put upon the stand four witnesses for the purpose of
municipality wherein it was executed; and their testimony was corroborated proving that at the time and on the occasion when the subscribing witnesses
in all important details by the testimony of the proponent herself, who was testified that the will was executed, these witnesses were not in the house
present when the will was made. It does not appear from the record why with the testator, and that the alleged testator was at that time in such
the third subscribing witness was not called; but since counsel for the physical and mental condition that it was impossible for him to have made a
contestants makes no comment upon his absence, we think it may safely be will. Two of these witnesses, upon cross-examination, admitted that they
inferred that there was some good and sufficient reason therefore. In were not in the house at or between the hours of four and six in the
passing, however, it may be well to observe that, when because of death, afternoon of the day on which the will is alleged to have been made, this
sickness, absence, or for any other reason, it is not practicable to call to the being the time at which the witnesses in support of the will testified that it
witness stand all the subscribing witnesses to a will offered for probate, the was executed. Of the other witnesses, one is a contestant of the will,
reason for the absence of any of these witnesses should be made to appear Macario Ubag, a brother of the testator, and the other, Canuto Sinoy, his
of record, and this especially in cases such as the one at bar, wherein there close relative. These witnesses swore that they were in the house of the
is a contests. deceased, where he was lying ill, at or about the time when it is alleged that
the will was executed, and that at that time the alleged subscribing
The subscribing witnesses gave full and detailed accounts of the execution witnesses were not in the house, and the alleged testator was so sick that
of the will and swore that the testator, at the time of its execution, was of he was unable to speak, to understand, or to make himself understood, and
sound mind and memory, and in their presence attached his signature that he was wholly incapacitated to make a will. But the testimony of
thereto as his last will and testament, and that in his presence and in the Macario Ubag is in our opinion wholly unworthy of credence. In addition to
presence of each other, they as well as the third subscribing witness. Despite his manifest interest in the result of the investigation, it clearly discloses a
the searching and exhaustive cross-examination to which they were fixed and settled purpose to overthrow the will at all costs, and to that end
subjected, counsel for appellants could point to no flaw in their testimony an utter disregard of the truth, and readiness to swear to any fact which he
save an alleged contradiction as to a single incident which occurred at or imagined would aid in securing his object. An admittedly genuine and
about the time when the will was executed a contradiction, however, which authentic signature of the deceased was introduced in evidence for
we think is more apparent than real. One of the witnesses stated that the comparison with the signature attached to the will, but this witness in his

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

anxiety to deny the genuineness of the signature of his brother to the will, indeed the evidence of the subscribing witnesses as to the aid furnished
promptly and positively swore that the admittedly genuine signature was them by the testator in preparing the will, and his clear recollection of the
not his brother's signature, and only corrected his erroneous statement in boundaries and physical description of the various parcels of land set out
response to a somewhat suggestive question by his attorney which evidently therein, taken together with the fact that he was able to give to the person
gave him to understand that his former answer was likely to prejudice his who wrote the will clear and explicit instructions as to his desires touching
own cause. On cross-examination, he was forced to admit that because his the disposition of his property, is strong evidence of his testamentary
brother and his brother's wife (in those favor the will was made) were capacity.
Aglipayanos, he and his other brothers and sisters had not visited them for
many months prior to the one particular occasion as to which testified; and Counsel for appellant suggests that the fact that the alleged will leaves all
he admitted further, that, although he lived near at hand, at no time the property of the testator to his widow, and wholly fails to make any
thereafter did he or any of the other members of his family visit their dying provision for his brothers or sisters, indicates a lack of testamentary capacity
brother, and that they did not even attend the funeral. If the testimony of and undue influence; and because of the inherent improbability that a man
this witness could be accepted as true, it would be a remarkable coincidence would make so unnatural and unreasonable a will, they contend that this
indeed, that the subscribing witnesses to the alleged will should have falsely fact indirectly corroborates their contention that the deceased never did in
pretended to have joined in its execution on the very day, and at the precise fact execute the will. But when it is considered that the deceased at the time
hour, when this interested witness happened to pay his only visit to his of his death had no heirs in the ascending or descending line; that a bitter
brother during his last illness, so that the testimony of this witness would family quarrel had long separated him from his brothers and sisters, who
furnish conclusive evidence in support of the allegations of the contestants declined to have any relations with the testator because he and his wife
that the alleged will was not executed at the time and place or in the manner were adherents of the Aglipayano Church; and that this quarrel was so bitter
and form alleged by the subscribing witnesses. We do not think that the that none of his brothers or sisters, although some of them lived in the
testimony of this witness nor any of the other witnesses for the contestants vicinity, were present at the time of his death or attended his funeral; we
is sufficient to raise even a doubt as to the truth of the testimony of the think the fact that the deceased desired to leave and did leave all of his
subscribing witnesses as to the fact of the execution of the will, or as to the property to his widow and made no provision for his brothers and sisters,
manner and from in which it was executed. who themselves were grown men and women, by no means tends to
disclose either an unsound mind or the presence of undue influence on the
In the course of the proceedings, an admittedly genuine signature of the part of his wife, or in any wise corroborates contestants' allegation that the
deceased was introduced in evidence, and upon a comparison of this will never was executed.
signature with the signature attached to the instrument in question, we are
wholly of the opinion of the trial judge, who held in this connection as It has been said that "the difficulty of stating standards or tests by which to
follows: determine the degree of mental capacity of a particular person has been
everywhere recognized, and grows out of the inherent impossibility of
No expert evidence has been adduced with regard to these two measuring mental capacity, or its impairment by disease or other causes"
signatures, and the presiding judge of this court does not claim to (Greene vs. Greene, 145 III., 264, 276); and that "it is probable that no court
possess any special expert knowledge in the matter of signatures; has ever attempted to lay down any definite rule in respect to the exact
nevertheless, the court has compared these two signatures, and amount of mental capacity requisite for the making of a valid will, without
does not find that any material differences exists between the appreciating the difficulty of the undertaking" (Trish vs.Newell, 62 III., 196,
same. It is true that the signature which appears in the document 203).
offered for authentication discloses that at the time of writing the
subscriber was more deliberate in his movements, but two facts Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which
must be acknowledge: First, that the testator was seriously ill, and unquestionably carries with it full testamentary capacity, and that degree of
the other fact, that for some reason which is not stated the mental aberration generally known as insanity or idiocy, there are
testator was unable to see, and was a person who was not in the numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity, and while on one hand
habit of signing his name every day. it has been held that "mere weakness of mind, or partial imbecility from the
disease of body, or from age, will not render a person incapable of making a
These facts should sufficiently explain whatever difference may will, a weak or feeble minded person may make a valid will, provided he has
exist between the two signatures, but the court finds that the understanding memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is about,
principal strokes in the two signatures are identical. and how or to whom he is disposing of his property" (Lodge vs. Lodge, 2
Houst. (Del.), 418); that, "To constitute a sound and disposing mind, it is not
That the testator was mentally capable of making the will is in our opinion necessary that the mind should be unbroken or unimpaired, unshattered by
fully established by the testimony of the subscribing witnesses who swore disease or otherwise" (Sloan vs. Maxwell, 3 N. J. Eq., 563); that "it has not
positively that, at the time of its execution, he was of sound mind and been understood that a testator must possess these qualities (of sound and
memory. It is true that their testimony discloses the fact that he was at that disposing mind and memory) in the highest degree. . . . Few indeed would
time extremely ill, in an advanced stage of tuberculosis complicated with be the wills confirmed, if this is correct. Pain, sickness, debility of body, from
severe intermittent attacks of asthma; that he was too sick to rise unaided age or infirmity, would, according to its violence or duration, in a greater or
from his bed; that he needed assistance even to rise himself to a sitting less degree, break in upon, weaken, or derange the mind, but the
position; and that during the paroxysms of asthma to which he was subject derangement must be such as deprives him of the rational faculties common
he could not speak; but all this evidence of physical weakness in no wise to man" (Den. vs. Vancleve, 5 N. J. L.,680); and, that "Sound mind does not
establishes his mental incapacity or a lack of testamentary capacity, and mean a perfectly balanced mind. The question of soundness is one of

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

degree" (Boughton vs. Knight, L. R.,3 P. & D., 64; 42 L. J. P., 25); on the other
hand, it has been held that "testamentary incapacity does not necessarily
require that a person shall actually be insane or of an unsound mind.
Weakness of intellect, whether it arises from extreme old age from disease, STREET, J.:
or great bodily infirmities or suffering, or from all these combined, may
render the testator incapable of making a valid will, providing such weakness
This appeal involves a controversy over one-half of the estate of Tomas
really disqualifies her from knowing or appreciating the nature, effects, or
Rodriguez, decedent. The appellant, Margarita Lopez, claims said half by the
consequences of the act she is engaged in" (Manatt vs. Scott, 106 Iowa, 203;
intestate succession as next of kin and nearest heir; while the appellee, Luz
68 Am. St. Rep., 293, 302).
Lopez de Bueno, claims the same by accredition and in the character of
universal heir the will of the decedent. The trial court decided the point of
But for the purposes of this decision it is not necessary for us to attempt to controversy in favor of Luz Lopez de Bueno, and Margariat Lopez appealed.
lay down a definition of testamentary capacity which will cover all possible
cases which may present themselves, because, as will be seen from what has
The facts necessary to an understanding of the case are these: On January
already been said, the testator was, at the time of making the instrument
3, 1924, Tomas Rodriguez executed his last will and testament, in the second
under consideration, endowed with all the elements of mental capacity set
clause of which he declared:
out in the following definition of testamentary capacity which has been
frequently announced in courts of last resort in England and the United
States; and while is some cases testamentary capacity has been held to exist I institute as the only and universal heirs to all my property, my
in the absence of proof of some of these elements, there can be no question cousin Vicente F. Lopez and his daughter Luz Lopez de Bueno.
that, in the absence of proof of very exceptional circumstances, proof of the
existence of all these elements in sufficient to establish the existence of Prior to the time of the execution of this will the testator, Tomas Rodriguez,
testamentary capacity. had been judicially declared incapable of taking care of himself and had been
placed under the care of his cousin Vicente F. Lopez, as guardian. On January
Testamentary capacity is the capacity to comprehend the nature 7, 1924, or only four days after the will above-mentioned was made, Vicente
of the transaction which the testator is engaged at the time, to F. Lopez died; and the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, died on February 25, 1924,
recollect the property to be disposed of and the person who would thereafter. At the time the will was made Vicente F. Lopez had not presented
naturally be supposed to have claims upon the testator, and to his final accounts as guardian, and no such accounts had been presented by
comprehend the manner in which the instrument will distribute him at the time of his death. Margariat Lopez was a cousin and nearest
his property among the objects of his bounty. relative of the decedent. The will referred to, and after having been
contested, has been admitted to probate by judicial determination (Torres
and Lopez de Bueno vs. Lopez, 48 Phil., 772).
(Cf. large array of cases cited in support of this definition in the Encyclopedia
of Law, vol. 23, p. 71, second edition.)
Our discussion of the legal problem presented should begin with article 753
of the Civil Code which in effect declares that, with certain exceptions in
In our opinion, the evidence of record establishes in a strikingly conclusive
favor of near relatives, no testamentary provision shall be valid when made
manner the execution of the instrument propounded as the last will and
by a ward in favor of his guardian before the final accounts of the latter have
testament of the deceased; that it was made in strict conformity with the
been approved. This provision is of undoubted application to the situation
requisites prescribed by law; and that, at the time of its execution, the
before us; and the provision made in the will of Tomas Rodriguez in favor of
deceased was of sound mind and memory, and executed the instrument of
Vicente F. Lopez was not any general incapacity on his part, but a special
his own free will and accord.
incapacity due to the accidental relation of guardian and ward existing
between the parties.
The order probating the will should be land is hereby affirmed, with the cost
of this instance against the appellants.
We now pass to article 982 of the Civil Code, defining the right of accretion.
It is there declared, in effect, that accretion take place in a testamentary
Arellano, C. J., Torres, Johnson, and Moreland, JJ., concur. succession, first when the two or more persons are called to the same
inheritance or the same portion thereof without special designation of
shares; and secondly, when one of the persons so called dies before the
testator or renounces the inheritance or is disqualifying to receive it. In the
G.R. No. L-25966 November 1, 1926 case before us we have a will calling Vicente F. Lopez and his daughter, Luz
Lopez de Bueno, to the same inheritance without special designation of
shares. In addition to this, one of the persons named as heir has predeceased
In the matter of the estate of Tomas Rodriguez, deceased. MANUEL the testator, this person being also disqualified to receive the estate even if
TORRES, special administrator, and LUZ LOPEZ DE BUENO, heir, appellee, he had been alive at the time of the testator's death. This article (982) is
vs. therefore also of exact application to the case in hand; and its effect is to
MARGARITA LOPEZ, opponent-appellant. give to the survivor, Luz Lopez de Bueno, not only the undivided half which
she would have received in conjunction with her father if he had been alive
Marcaida, Capili and Ocampo and Camus, Delgado and Recto for appellant. and qualified to take, but also the half which pertained to him. There was no
Araneta and Zaragoza for appellee.

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

error whatever, therefore, in the order of the trial court declaring Luz Lopez provisions of the Code relative to intestate succession
de Bueno entitled to the whole estate. (Manresa, Comentarios al Codigo Civil Español, 4th ed., vol. VII, pp. 310, 311;
id., 34; 13 Mucius Scaevola, pp. 372, 373, 285-287; 16 Mucius Scaevola, 186).
The argument in favor of the appellant supposes that there has supervened Says Escriche: "It is to be understood that one of the coheirs or colegatees
a partial intestacy with respect to the half of the estate which was intended fails if nonexistent at the time of the making of the will, or he renounces the
for Vicente F. Lopez and that this half has descended to the appellant, inheritance or legacy, if he dies before the testator, if the condition be not
Margarita Lopez, as next of kin and sole heir at law of the decedent. In this fulfilled, or if he becomes otherwise incapacitated. . . . (Diccionario de
connection attention is directed to article 764 of the Civil Code wherein it is Legislacion y Jurisprudencia, vol. I, p. 225.)lawphil.net
declared, among other things, that a will may be valid even though the
person instituted as heir is disqualified to inherit. Our attention is next In conclusion it may be worth observing that there has always existed both
invited to article 912 wherein it is declared, among other things, that legal in the civil and in the common law a certain legal intendment, amounting to
succession takes place if the heir dies before the testator and also when the a mild presumption, against partial intestacy. In Roman law, as is well
heir instituted is disqualified to succeed. Upon these provisions an argument known, partial testacy systems a presumption against it, — a presumption
is planted conducting to the conclusion that the will of Tomas Rodriguez was which has its basis in the supposed intention of the testator.
valid, notwithstanding the fact that one of the individuals named as heirs in
the will was disqualified to take, and that as a consequence Margarita Lopez The judgment appealed from will be affirmed, and it is so ordered, with costs
s entitled to inherit the share of said disqualified heir. against the appellant.

We are the opinion that this contention is untenable and that the appellee Avanceña, C, J., Villamor, Ostrand, Johns, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ.,
clearly has the better right. In playing the provisions of the Code it is the duty concur.
of the court to harmonize its provisions as far as possible, giving due effect
to all; and in case of conflict between two provisions the more general is to
be considered as being limited by the more specific. As between articles 912
and 983, it is obvious that the former is the more general of the two, dealing, [G.R. Nos. L-46430-31. July 30, 1979.]
as it does, with the general topic of intestate succession while the latter is
more specific, defining the particular conditions under which accretion takes FRANCISCA ALSUA-BETTS, JOSEPH O. BETTS, JOSE MADARETA, ESTEBAN P.
place. In case of conflict, therefore, the provisions of the former article must RAMIREZ, and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR ALBAY PROVINCE, Petitioners,
be considered limited by the latter. Indeed, in subsection 3 of article 912 the v. COURT OF APPEALS, AMPARO ALSUA-BUENVIAJE, FERNANDO
provision with respect to intestate succession is expressly subordinated to BUENVIAJE, FERNANDO ALSUA, represented by his guardian, CLOTILDE S.
article 983 by the expression "and (if) there is no right of accretion." It is true ALSUA and PABLO ALSUA, Respondents.
that the same express qualification is not found in subsection 4 of article
912, yet it must be so understood, in view of the rule of interpretation above Rafael Triumfante, for Petitioners.
referred to, by which the more specific is held to control the general.
Besides, this interpretation supplies the only possible means of harmonizing Sabido-Sabido & Associates and Madrid Law Office for Private
the two provisions. In addition to this, article 986 of the Civil Code affords Respondents.
independent proof that intestate succession to a vacant portion can only
occur when accretion is impossible.
DECISION
The attorneys for the appellant direct attention to the fact that, under
paragraph 4 of article 912, intestate succession occurs when the heir
instituted is disqualified to succeed (incapaz de suceder), while, under the GUERRERO, J.:
last provision in paragraph 2 of article 982, accretion occurs when one of the
persons called to inherit under the will is disqualified to receive the
inheritance (incapaz de recibirla). A distinction is then drawn between This is an appeal by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals in
incapacity to succeed and incapacity to take, and it is contended that the CA-G.R. Nos. 54492-R and 54493-R which reversed the decision of the Court
disability of Vicente F. Lopez was such as to bring the case under article 912 of First Instance of Albay allowing the probate of the will of Don Jesus Alsua
rather than 982. We are of the opinion that the case cannot be made to turn in Special Proceedings No. 699 and dismissing the complaint in Civil Case
upon so refined an interpretation of the language of the Code, and at any 3068 after declaring the two deeds of sale executed by Don Jesus Alsua legal
rate the disability to which Vicente F. Lopez was subject was not a general and valid. The respondent court 1 denied the probate of the will, declared
disability to succeed but an accidental incapacity to receive the legacy, a null and void the two sales subject of the complaint and ordered the
consideration which makes a case for accretion rather than for intestate defendants, petitioners herein, to pay damages to the plaintiffs, now the
succession. private respondents, the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00), to render
an accounting of the properties in their possession and to reimburse the
The opinions of the commentators, so far as they have expressed themselves latter the net gain in the proportion that appertains to them in the
on the subject, tend to the conclusion that the right of accretion with regard properties from the date of the filing of the complaint up to complete
to portions of an inheritance left vacant by the death or disqualification of restoration plus Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as attorney’s fees and
one of the heirs or his renunciation of the inheritance is governed by article costs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
912, without being limited, to the extent supposed in appellant's brief, by

P a g e 11 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

The antecedent events leading to the filing of these two consolidated actions (b) That all the heirs acknowledge and admit that all the properties assigned
are the following:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library to them as their hereditary portion represent one-half not only of the
conjugal properties but includes the paraphernal properties — waiving now
On November 25, 1949, Don Jesus Alsua and his wife, Doña Florentina Ralla, and forever any complaint or claim they have or they may have concerning
both of Ligao, Albay, together with all their living children, Francisca Alsua- the amount, value, extension and location of the properties that are allotted
Betts, Pablo Alsua, Fernando Alsua thru this judicial guardian Clotilde to each and everyone. They also waive any claim they have or they may have
Samson, and Amparo Alsua de Buenviaje, entered into a duly notarized over the remaining portion of the properties, which spouses reserved for
agreement, Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial (Exhibit 8), over the then themselves.
present and existing properties of the spouses Don Jesus and Doña
Florentina enumerated in a prepared inventory, Exhibit 8-A, the essential (c) That in case of death of one of the spouses, each and everyone of the
features of which are stated in private respondents’ Brief, pp. 26-29, to heirs acknowledge that the properties which are left in the possession of the
wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph surviving spouse, including any amount in cash, are even less than the one-
half that should correspond in absolute ownership as his legitimate
"(1) Basis of the partition: Inventory (Annex A) of all the properties of the participation in the conjugal properties. In consequence they waive any
Alsua spouses, which inventory consists of 97 pages, all of them signed by claim that they have or may have over said portion of said properties or any
the spouses and all the abovenamed heirs in the left margin of every page amount in cash during the lifetime of the surviving spouse, including any
(parafo primero). right or claim they have or they may have over the paraphernal properties
of Doña Tinay in the event the surviving spouse is Don Jesus.
(2) An acknowledgment of the spouses that all the properties described in
the inventory (Annex A) are conjugal properties with the exception of five (d) The spouses on their part in case of death of any one of them, the
parcels of land identified with the figures of 1 to 5 and 30 shares of San surviving spouse waives any claim he or she may have over the properties
Miguel Brewery stock which are paraphernal properties of the late Doña assigned or adjudicated to the heirs under and by virtue of this deed. The
Tinay (segundo parafo). properties which were reserved for them (the spouses) should be
considered as his or her legitimate participation in the conjugal properties
(3) An acknowledgment that during their marriage, they had nine children and the fair compensation of his or her usufruct on the properties that the
but five of them died minors, unmarried (parafo tercero y cuatro). surviving spouse reserved for himself or herself which shall be distributed in
equal shares among the heirs upon his or her death unless said properties
(4) An acknowledgment that on the basis of Article 1056 of the Civil Code of some of them have been disposed of during the lifetime of the surviving
(old) to avoid possible misunderstanding among their children concerning spouse.
the inheritance they are entitled to in the event of death of one of them they
have decided to effectuate an extrajudicial partition of all the properties (e) Any heir who may dare question the validity and legitimacy of the
described in Annex "A" thereto under the following terms and conditions: provision contained herein shall be under obligation to pay to the other
(Parafo quinto):chanrob1es virtual 1aw library heirs, in the concept of damages and prejudice, the sum of P5,000.00 plus
attorney’s fees.
To Francisca Alsua, married to Joseph O. Betts were allotted or assigned all
the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described (f) The provisions of this deed shall bind the successors of the herein heirs.
from pages 1 — 12 of said inventory or, 34 parcels of land with a total land
area of 5,720,364 sq. meters, with a book or appraised value of P69,740.00. (g) In the event of death of one of the spouses, the properties assigned or
adjudicated to each and everyone of the heirs shall be considered as his
To Pablo Alsua, married to Teresa Locsin were allotted or assigned all the share or participation in the estate or as his inheritance left by the deceased
real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described from and each heir shall become the absolute owner of the properties
pages 12 — 20 of said inventory or, 26 parcels of land with a total land area adjudicated to him under this deed.
of 5,679,262 sq. meters, with a book or appraised value of P55,940.00.
On January 5, 1955, Don Jesus and Doña Florentina, also known as Doña
To Fernando Alsua, married to Clotilde Samson were allotted or assigned all Tinay separately executed their respective holographic wills (Exhs. 6-B and
the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described 7-B), the provisions of which were in conformity and in implementation of
from pages 20 — 33 of said inventory or, 47 parcels of land with a total land the extrajudicial partition of November 25, 1949. Their holographic wills
area of 6,639,810 sq. meters, with a book or appraised value of P89,300.00. similarly provided for the institution of the other to his or her share in the
conjugal properties, the other half of the conjugal assets having been
To Amparo Alsua, married to Fernando Buenviaje were allotted or assigned partitioned to constitute their legitime among their four living children in the
all the real properties with the improvements thereon specifically described Extrajudicial Partition of 1949. The wills also declared that in the event of
from pages 33 — 47 of said inventory or, 47 parcels of land with a total land future acquisitions of other properties by either of them, one-half thereof
area of 5,630,715 sq. meters, with a book or appraised value of P58,830.00. would belong to the other spouse, and the other half shall be divided equally
among the four children. The holographic will of Doña Tinay written in
(a) Each and every one of the heirs named above acknowledge and admit Spanish reads, as translated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
that the totality of the properties allotted and adjudicated to the heirs as
described in the preceding paragraph, constitute one-half of the properties "TESTAMENT
described in Annex "A", including any amount of cash deposited.
I, FLORENTINA R. DE ALSUA, 67 years old, Filipina, married to Don Jesus

P a g e 12 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

Alsua, resident of and with postal address in the Municipality of Ligao, On August 14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doña Tinay executed their
Province of Albay, Philippines, being in the full possession of my mental and mutual and reciprocal codicils amending and supplementing their respective
physical faculties freely and spontaneously execute this my last will and holographic wills. Again, the codicils similarly acknowledged and provided
testament in my handwriting and signed by me and expressed in the Spanish that one-half of all the properties of the spouses, conjugal and paraphernal,
language which I speak, write and understand, this 5th day of January, 1955 had been disposed of, conveyed to and partitioned among their legitimate
in the Municipality of Ligao, Province of Albay, and in which I ordain and heirs in the "Escritura de Particion" of November 25, 1949, but that they
provide:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph 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
"First: That in or about the year 1906 I was married to my husband Don Jesus agreement of partition, and that they mutually and reciprocally bequeathed
Alsua and begot nine (9) children with him, four (4) of whom are still living unto each other their participation therein as well as in all properties which
and they are Francisca Alsua, Pablo Alsua, Fernando Alsua and Amparo might be acquired subsequently. Each spouse also declared that should she
Alsua. The other five (5) died during their minority, single and without or he be the surviving spouse, whatever belongs to him or her or would
children. pertain to him or her, would be divided equally among the four children. It
was also declared in both codicils that upon the death of either of the
"Second: That after my marriage to my husband Don Jesus Alsua and during spouses, the surviving spouse was designated mutually and reciprocally as
our conjugal union, and as a result of our efforts and industry, we were able the executor or administrator of all the properties reserved for
to acquire conjugal properties consisting of abaca (abales) and cacao lands themselves.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
and urban lands registered in the office of the Registry of Property of the
Province of Albay and in the City of Manila. The codicil executed by Doña Tinay written in Spanish reads, as
translated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Third: That I institute as my heirs with right to inherit the following: my
spouse Don Jesus Alsua, one-half (1/2) of my properties, real and personal, "CODICIL
and the other half, to my children Francisca Alsua, married to Joseph O.
Betts, Pablo Alsua, Fernando Alsua, married to Clotilde Samson, and Amparo This codicil supplements and amends the preceding testament. That my
Alsua, married to Fernando Buenviaje, in equal parts. It is to be understood, spouse and I have agreed to divide the properties which we have acquired
however, that the other half that corresponds as legitime to my above into 2 parts. The 1/2 that would correspond to me covers all the properties
named children have already been given to them, pursuant to a document that I have partitioned among my children in the Document of Partition
dated November 25, 1949 and ratified on the same day. month and year dated November 25, 1949 before Notary Public Segundo G. Flores, Jr. (Doc.
before Notary Public Segundo G. Flores (Reg. No. 525; Pag. 15; Lib. II; Series No. 525; Pag. No. 15; Lib. No. II; Series of 1949) (and) even as the properties
of 1949) enjoining each and everyone of them to respect and faithfully which by reason of this testament I leave to my husband as his share and the
comply with each and every clause contained in the said document. other half that corresponds to my husband constitutes all the properties that
up to now have not been disposed of, particularly the urban lands situated
"Fourth: That should I acquire new properties after the execution of this in Legaspi, Albay, Ligao of the Province of Albay and in the City of Manila,
testament, the same shall be partitioned among my spouse and above with the exception of that portion that I bequeath to my husband as his
named children or the children mentioned in above par. 3 in the same inheritance and his legitimate.
proportion, that is, one-half (1 1/2) to my spouse; and the other half to my
children in equal parts. That I institute as my heirs with the right to inherit my husband Don Jesus
Alsua and my children Francisca Alsua, Pablo Alsua, Fernando Alsua and
"Fifth: That I name as my executor my husband Don Jesus Alsua without Amparo Alsua. I leave to my aforecited children all the properties described
having to post any bond. in the above mentioned Document of Partition dated November 25, 1949
which correspond to each one of them and in the profits (fruits) expressed
IN VIRTUE WHEREOF, I hereby sign in my own handwriting this testament on in the same, and in the event that the properties granted to one or any of
this 5th day of January, 1955 in the Municipality of Ligao, Province of Albay, my children should exceed in quantity or value those corresponding to
Philippines. another or others, I hereby declare that it is my will that the same be divided
among my children as their inheritance from the free portion of my
(SGD.) FLORENTINA R. DE ALSUA" property.

(Joint Record on Appeal, pp. 420-423, CA-G.R. No. 54492-R) I leave to my spouse Don Jesus Alsua as his legitime and as his inheritance
the part of the free portion of my property which have not been allocated in
As previously stated, Don Jesus Alsua executed a separate but similar favor of my children in the Document of Partition aforecited and that which
holographic will on the same day, Jan. 5, 1955 in exactly the same terms and should exceed 1/2 of the conjugal property of gains that pertains to him as
conditions as the above will of his wife. above stated, including all those properties which we shall acquire after the
execution of this document.
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 In case it should be God’s will that I survive my spouse, I hereby declare that
their respective holographic wills which were docketed as Special it is my will that any and all kinds of property that pertain to me or would
Proceedings No. 484 (Jesus Alsua, Petitioner) and Special Proceedings No. pertain to me, which have not been disposed of pursuant to the partition,
485 (Doña Florentina Ralla de Alsua, Petitioner). should be divided equally among my above-mentioned heirs after my death.

P a g e 13 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

Ligao, Albay, Philippines, August 14, 1956. signature of the testator was secured by or thru fraud; (c) that the will was
not executed according to the formal requirements of the law; and (d) that
(SGD.) FLORENTINA RALLA DE ALSUA" the alleged will subject of probate contravened the Extrajudicial Partition of
1949 agreed upon by him, his deceased spouse, Doña Tinay, and all his
(Joint Record on Appeal, pp. 423-425, CA-G.R. No. 54492-R) children, Francisca, Pablo, Amparo and Fernando thru his judicial guardian
Clotilde Samson, and also contravened Don Jesus’ own probated
And as stated previously, on the same day, August 14, 1956, Don Jesus holographic will and codicil of 1955 and 1956, respectively, essentially
executed also a separate but similar codicil in exactly the same terms and confirming and implementing the said partition of 1949 which had already
conditions as the above codicil of his wife. Also on the same day of August been partially executed by all the signatories thereto in the partition of the
14, 1956, the spouses Don Jesus and Doña Tinay both filed their respective estate of Doña Tinay in December, 1959.chanrobles law library
supplemental petitions for the probate of their respective codicils in the
probate proceedings earlier filed. On February 19, 1957, their respective On the basis of Francisca’s designation as executrix in the new will dated
holographic wills and the codicils thereto were duly admitted to probate. November 14, 1959, the Probate Court appointed her Administratrix of the
estate of her late father, Don Jesus Alsua. She then filed with the Probate
Upon the death of Doña Tinay on October 2, 1959, Don Jesus was named Court an inventory of the properties of the estate which, according to the
executor to serve without bond in an order issued by the probate court on oppositors therein (the private respondents now) did not include some
October 13, 1959. Letters testamentary having been issued in favor of Don properties appearing in the agreement of November 25. 1949 or in the
Jesus, he took his oath of office and performed his duties as such until July inventory attached thereto as Annex "A" and in the "Escritura de Particion"
1, 1960. of December 19, 1959 as belonging to or should pertain to Don Jesus.
According to the oppositors, these properties consist of thirty-three (33)
Thereafter in the early part of November, 1959, Don Jesus cancelled his premium agricultural lots with a total land area of 1,187,970 square meters,
holographic will in the presence of his bookkeeper and secretary, Esteban P. or approximately 119 hectares and with a total assessed value of P48,410.00
Ramirez, whom he instructed to make a list of all his remaining properties or a probable total market value of P238,000,00 at only P2,000.00 per
with their corresponding descriptions. His lawyer, Atty. Gregorio Imperial, hectare, and four (4) commercial urban lots ideally located in the business
Sr. was then instructed to draft a new will which was duly signed by Don section of Legazpi City including the lot and the building presently occupied
Jesus and his attesting witnesses on November 14, 1959 at his home in Ligao, by the well-known "Mayon Hotel" with an assessed value of approximately
Albay. This notarial will and testament (Exh. A) of Don Jesus executed on P117,260.00 or a probable market value at the time of P469,040.00. It
November 14, 1959 had three essential features: (a) it expressly cancelled, appearing from the new will that these properties were bequeathed to Pablo
revoked and annulled all the provisions of Don Jesus’ holographic will of Alsua and Francisca Alsua-Betts, specifically, 3 parcels of the 33 agricultural
January 5, 1955 and his codicil of August 14, 1956; (b) it provided for the lands to Pablo and the rest to Francisca, the oppositors also raised in issue
collation of all his properties donated to his four living children by virtue of the non-inclusion of said properties in the inventory of the estate of their
the "Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial" of 1949, and that such properties late father. In answer, Francisca claimed ownership over the same, alleging
be taken into account in the partition of his estate among the children; and that she bought the properties from their father and presenting the two
(c) it instituted his children as legatees/devisees of certain specific Deeds of Sale now being assailed, one dated August 26, 1961 purporting to
properties, and as to the rest of the properties and whatever may be show the sale of the 33 parcels of agricultural land to Francisca by their
subsequently acquired in the future, before his death, were to be given to father for the price of P70,000.00 and the other dated November 26, 1962
Francisca and Pablo, naming Francisca as executrix to serve without a evidencing the sale of the four urban lots for the sum of P80,000.00.
bond.chanrobles law library : red Claiming fraud in the sales, the oppositors filed Civil Case No. 3068, seeking
the annulment of the aforesaid two deeds of sale, with damages, which
After all debts, funeral charges and other expenses of the estate of Doña upon agreement of the parties was then jointly heard and tried with Special
Tinay had been paid, all her heirs including Don Jesus, submitted to the Proceedings No. 699 for probate of the Last Will and Testament of Don Jesus
probate court for approval a deed of partition executed on December 19, executed on November 14, 1959.
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, After a joint hearing of the merits of these two cases, the Court of First
1960, the court approved the partition of 1959 and on January 6, 1961 Instance of Albay promulgated a decision on January 15, 1973, the
declared the termination of the proceedings on the estate of Doña Tinay. dispositive portion of which states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

On May 6, 1964, Don Jesus Alsua died. "WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered, to
wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
On May 20, 1964, petitioner herein Francisca Alsua Betts, as the executrix
named in the will of November 14, 1959, filed a petition for the probate of 1. In Special Proceedings 699, the Court hereby APPROVES and ALLOWS the
said new will of Don Jesus Alsua before the Court of First Instance of Albay Will executed by Don Jesus Alsua at Ligao, Albay, on November 14, 1959,
and was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 699. Oppositions thereto were which had been marked as Exhibit A, consisting of nine (9) pages, and orders
filed by Pablo, Amparo and Fernando, thru his judicial guardian Clotilde that the same be made the basis for division and distribution of the estate
Samson, on the following grounds: (a) that Don Jesus was not of sound and of said testator;
disposing mind at the time of the execution of the alleged will; (b) that the
will was executed under duress or influence of fear or threats; or it was 2. In Civil Case 3068, the Court hereby dismisses the complaint and holds
procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the that the sale on August 26, 1961 (Exh. U) and the sale on November 26, 1962
main beneficiaries and of person or persons in collusion with them, or the (Exh. W), are lawful and valid sales and accordingly conveyed title to the

P a g e 14 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

VENDEE thereof. The Plaintiffs in Civil Case 3068, are ordered jointly and still in the Court of Appeals, and We quote:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
severally to pay to the defendant, Francisca Alsua Betts Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000 00) as damages and Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos for "Finally, probate proceedings involve public interest, and the application
attorney’s fees or a total of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) and therein of the rule of estoppel, when it will block the ascertainment of the
to pay the costs."cralaw virtua1aw library truth as to the circumstances surrounding the execution of a testament,
would seem inimical to public policy. Over and above the interest of private
On appeal by herein respondents to the Court of Appeals, the court reversed parties is that of the state to see that testamentary dispositions be carried
the appealed decision in a judgment rendered on April 4, 1977, the out if, and only if, executed conformably to law.
dispositive portion of which states, as translated, thus —
The Supreme Court of New York aptly said in Re Canfield’s Will, 300 N.Y.S.,
"IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, this Tribunal finds itself constrained to set 502:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
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 "The primary purpose of the proceeding is not to establish the existence of
hereby denied; (2) in Civil Case No. 3068, Exhs. U and W and the titles issued the right of any living person, but to determine whether or not the decedent
on the basis thereof are hereby declared null and void, ordering the has performed the acts specified by the pertinent statutes, which are the
appellees Francisca Alsua and Joseph Betts to pay to the plaintiffs in the essential prerequisites to personal direction of the mode of devolution of his
concept of fixed damages, the sum of P5,000.00 and to render an accounting property on death. There is no legal but merely a moral duty resting upon a
of properties in their possession and to reimburse the plaintiffs the net gain, proponent to attempt to validate the wishes of the departed, and he may
in the proportion that appertains to them in the properties subject of and frequently does receive no personal benefit from the performance of
litigation in Civil Case No. 3068 from the date of the filing of this complaint, the act.
up to the complete restoration of the properties pertaining to (plaintiffs)
pursuant to Article 2208 of the New Civil Code, paragraph 11, ordering them One of the most fundamental conceptions of probate law, is that it is the
in addition to pay to the plaintiffs and oppositors the sum of P50,000.00 as duty of the court to effectuate, in so far as may be compatible with the public
attorney’s fees, and the costs."cralaw virtua1aw library interest, the devolutionary wishes of a deceased person (Matter of Watson’s
Will, 262 N.Y., 284, 294, 186, N.E., 787; Matter of Marriman’s Estate, 124
Hence, the petition at bar assailing the respondent court’s decision on four Misc. 320, 325, 208, N.Y.S., 672; Foley, S., affirmed 217 app. Div., 733, 216
assigned errors, to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library N.Y.S., 126, Henderson, S., Matter of Draske’s Estate, 160 Misc. 587, 593,
290, N.Y.S., 581). To that end, the court is, in effect, an additional party to
I. The respondent Court of Appeals erred in not affirming the findings of the every litigation affecting the disposal of the assets of the deceased. Matter
probate court (Special Proceedings No. 699) that private respondents, of Van Valkenburgh’s Estate, 164 Misc. 295, 298, N.Y.S., 219.’"
oppositors to the probate of the will, are in estoppel to question the
competence of testator Don Jesus Alsua. The next issue that commands Our attention is whether the respondent
court erred in not allowing the probate of the last will and testament of Don
II. The respondent Court of Appeals grossly erred in holding that testator Jesus Alsua. Petitioners claim that the disallowance was based on
Don Jesus Alsua cannot revoke his previous will. speculations, surmises or conjectures, disregarding the facts as found by the
trial court. The Civil Court is very clear and explicit in providing the cases
III. The respondent court’s finding is grounded entirely on speculation, where a will may be disallowed under Article 839 which provides as
surmises or conjectures resulting in a gross misapprehension of facts. follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

IV. The respondent court grossly erred in annulling the sales of August 26, "Art. 839. The will shall be disallowed in any of the following
1961 (Exh. U), and of November 26, 1962 (Exh. W). cases:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

On the first issue of estoppel raised in the assignment of errors, We hold that (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with;
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 (2) If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally incapable of making a
by acts of the herein private respondents as oppositors to the will in formally will, at the time of its execution;
agreeing in writing jointly with the petitioner Francisca Alsua de Betts that
their father, Don Jesus Alsua, be appointed by the court executor of the will (3) If it was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear,
of their mother in Special Proceedings No. 485, Testate Estate of Doña or threats;
Florentina Ralla de Alsua and in subsequently petitioning the court not to
require Don Jesus Alsua to file any accounting as executor in the (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the
proceedings, which petitioners claim and was upheld by the trial court as part of the beneficiary or of some other person;
constituting estoppel on the part of the private respondents from
questioning the competence of Don Jesus Alsua. (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud;

The principle of estoppel is not applicable in probate proceedings, a ruling (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he
laid down in the case of Testate Estate of the Late Procopia Apostol. signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto."cralaw
Benedicta Obispo, et al v. Remedios Obispo, 50 O.G. 614, penned by Justice virtua1aw library
J.B.L. Reyes, an eminent and recognized authority on Civil Law when he was

P a g e 15 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

The issue under consideration appears to Us to have been answered by the Mr. Jose Gaya. All the witnesses who testified for the petitioner declared
respondent court itself when it accepted the findings of the trial court on the that Don Jesus was in bright and lively conversation which ran from
due execution of the questioned will and testament of Don Jesus, problems of farming and the merits of French-made wines. At 11:00 o’clock,
declaring:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Don Gregorio made a remark that it is about time to do what they were there
for, and this was followed by a more or less statement from Jesus, who
". . . and going back to the previous question, whether the questioned will said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
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 ‘Precisamente es por lo que he llamado a ustedes que esten presentes para
beginning accepts the findings of the inferior court concerning the question, ser testigos de mi ultimo voluntad y testamento que ha sido preparado por
el abogado Sr. Gregorio Imperial segun mis instrucciones cuyo documento
On October 2, 1959, Doña Florentina died at Ligao, Albay. About 2 weeks tengo aqui conmigo y encuentro que, despues de lo he leido, esta
after said death of his wife, Don Jesus Alsua decided to make a new will, satisfactoriamente hecho segun mis instrucciones, Como saben ustedes
thereby revoking and cancelling his previous holographic will which he made tengo cuatro (4) hijos todos ellos.’ (pp. 43-44, t.s.n., hearing of December 7,
on January 5, 1955 and also its codicil dated August 14, 1956. In the presence 1967, Sarte’.
of his bookkeeper and secretary, Esteban P. Ramirez, he crossed out in ink
each and every page of said page he wrote on each page the word On request of Don Jesus, all of them moved to the big round table on
"cancelado", and affixed his signature thereon (Exh. V-5, V-6, consecutively another part of the same sala for convenience in signing because there were
up to and including Exh. V-14). He then instructed Ramirez to make a list of chairs all around this table. The will which consisted of nine pages, with a
all his properties with their corresponding descriptions. duplicate, and triplicate was laid on the round table and the signing began,
with Atty. Jorge S. Imperial assisting each person signing by indicating the
Meanwhile, Don Jesus Alsua sent for his lawyer, Don Gregorio Imperial, Sr. proper place where the signature shall be written. Don Jesus, as testator,
and the latter came accompanied by his son, Atty. Jorge S. Imperial, who, signed first. After signing the original and the two other sets, the three sets
incidentally, is now a judge of the Court of First Instance of Naga City, were then passed to Mr. Ramon Balana who signed as attesting witness.
Camarines Sur. Don Jesus informed his lawyers that he wanted to make a After Mr. Balana, Mr. Jose Madarieta signed next as another attesting
new will, and accordingly gave more detailed instructions as to how he witness, and when Mr. Madarieta finished signing all the three sets, the
wanted to divide his properties among his four children. He handed to them same were passed to Mr. Jose Gaya who also signed as the third attesting
a list and on the left he indicated the name of the child to whom the listed witness. On each of the three sets, Don Jesus signed ten times, — one on the
properties shall pertain. Atty. Jorge Imperial took notes of the instructions margin of each of the nine pages, and at the end of the instrument proper.
of Don Jesus Alsua. To Don Jesus, Spanish is his major language, as in fact his Each of the three attesting witnesses (Balana, Madarieta and Gaya) signed
conversations with Don Gregorio are always in Spanish. A few days before eleven times on each set, — one on the margin of each of the nine pages,
November 14, 1959, Atty. Jorge S. Imperial showed to Don Jesus the semi- one at the end of the instrument proper and one below the attestation
final draft of the will and after reading it Don Jesus said that it was as directed clause. The original will was marked as Exh. A (or set A); the duplicate as Exh.
by him, and after making a few minor corrections, he instructed Atty. Jorge K (or set K) and the triplicate of Don Jesus, Mr. Balana, Mr. Madarieta, and
S. Imperial to put the will in final form. He further told Atty. Jorge Imperial Mr. Gaya were identified by Mr. Balana, Mr. Madarieta and Atty. (now
that the signing of the will should be at his home in Ligao, in the morning of Judge) Imperial. It was also clearly established that when Don Jesus signed
November 14 1959, and that the witnesses should be Mr. Ramon Balana, the the will, Mr. Balana, Mr. Madarieta, and Mr. Gaya were present and
then Register of Deeds of Albay; Mr. Jose Madarieta who is a friend of the witnessed said signing, and that when each of these three witnesses was
family; and Mr. Jose Gaya who is a sort of employee of Don Jesus. signing, Don Jesus and the two other attesting witnesses were present and
witnessing said signing. The signing by the testator and the attesting
Thus in the morning of November 14, 1959, Don Gregorio and Atty. Jorge S. witnesses having been completed, Atty. Jorge S. Imperial, as Notary Public
Imperial, riding in a sedan, stopped at the Legaspi residence of Mr. Ramon with commission for the entire province of Albay, notarized the will, and
Balana, and informed the latter that Don Jesus was requesting him to be one sealed it with his notarial seal, which seal he brought along that morning.
of the attesting witnesses to his will. Mr. Balana, having a very high regard After all the three sets were notarized, they were all given back to Don Jesus
for Don Jesus, considered it an honor to be so asked, and gladly went with who placed them inside the same folder. At that moment, it was already
the Imperials. They arrived at the residence of Don Jesus at Ligao; Albay, about 12:30 P.M. and Don Jesus invited all of them to lunch, which invitation
almost ten o’clock of that morning, and they were ushered in by Mr. Jose was gladly accepted by all of them. (pp. 474-480, Joint Record on Appeal in
Gaya and the latter requested them to be seated at the usual receiving room CA-G.R. No. 54492-R).
on the ground floor while he announced their arrival to Don Jesus who was
on the second floor. Soon Don Jesus came down, carrying with him the will which findings are supported by the evidence, — it is quite difficult to
to be signed placed inside a cartolina folder. He greeted Don Gregorio, Mr. conclude that the same had not complied with the requirements of Arts.
Balan, and Atty. Imperial and immediately joined them in conversation. Mr. 804-806 of the New Civil Code. . . ." (CA Decision, pp. 13-16, as translated).
Gaya called for Mr. Jose Madarieta, whose residence is just across the road
from the house of Don Jesus. Mr. Madarieta was already informed by Don This cited portion of the appealed decision accepts as a fact that the findings
Jesus himself about the fact of signing the will that morning, and so, on being of the lower court declaring the contested will as having been executed with
advised by Mr. Gaya that the Imperials had already arrived, Madarieta all the formal requirements of a valid will, are supported by the evidence.
proceeded to the residence of Don Jesus, without much delay. With the This finding is conclusive upon this Tribunal and We cannot alter, review or
coming of Madarieta and the coming back of Gaya, there were now six revise the same. Hence, there is no further need for Us to dwell on the
people gathered in the living room, namely: Don Jesus Alsua, Don Gregorio matter as both the lower court and the respondent appellate court have
Imperial, Atty. Jorge S. Imperial, Mr. Ramon Balana, Mr. Jose Madarieta, and declared that these are the facts and such facts are fully borne and

P a g e 16 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

supported by the records. We find no error in the conclusion arrived at that the will, to partition his properties pursuant to the provisions of Article 1056
the contested will was duly executed in accordance with law. We rule that of the old Civil Code. The court further added that jurisprudence is to the
the questioned last will and testament of Don Jesus Alsua fully complied with effect that the partition presupposes the execution of the will that it ratifies
the formal requirements of the law.chanrobles law library or effectuates, citing the case of Legasto v. Verzosa, 54 Phil. 776. Finally,
respondent court held the opinion that the extrajudicial partition of
Respondent court, however, denied probate of the will after "noting certain November 14, 1949 was ratified in the holographic will executed by Don
details which were a little bit difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course Jesus on Jan. 5, 1955 and in the codicil of August 14, 1956.
of things and of life." First was the fact that the spouses Don Jesus and Doña
Tinay together with their four children Francisca, Pablo, Amparo and Again, We do not agree with this ruling of the respondent court. In Legasto
Fernando had executed the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25, 1949 v. Verzosa, supra, the Supreme Court categorically declared the necessity of
(Exh. A) which divided the conjugal properties of the spouses between the a prior will before the testator can partition his properties among his heirs,
spouses themselves and the children under the terms and conditions and and We quote the pertinent portions of the decision:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
dispositions hereinbefore stated and to implement its provisions, Don Jesus
and Doña Tinay subsequently executed separately their respective "The first question to decide in the instant appeal is whether the partition
holographic wills both dated January 5, 1955 and codicils dated August 14, made by Sabina Almadin of her property among her nieces the defendants
1956 with the same terms and conditions as reproduced herein earlier. Both and appellants herein, was valid and enforceable.
holographic wills and codicils having been probated thereafter and upon the
death of Doña Tinay, Don Jesus was appointed executor of the will and in Article 1056 of the Civil Code provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
due time the partition of the properties or estate of Doña Tinay was
approved by the probate court on July 6, 1960.chanrobles lawlibrary : ‘Art. 1056. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act
rednad inter vivos, or by will, such partition shall stand in so far as it does not
prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs.
The respondent court ruled that the Extrajudicial Partition of November 25,
1949 was an enforceable contract which was binding on Don Jesus Alsua as The Supreme Court of Spain, in a decision rendered on June 13, 1903, laid
the surviving spouse, barring him from violating said partition agreement, down the following doctrine:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
barring him from revoking his holographic will of January 5, 1955 and his
codicil of August 14, 1956, and further barring him from executing his new ‘Considering that the language of article 1056 cannot be interpreted to mean
will and testament of November 14, 1959, now the subject of the probate that a person may, by acts inter vivos, partition his property referred to in
proceedings elevated to this Court. the section wherein said article is found, without the authority of a
testament containing an expression of his last will, or the authority of law,
We do not agree with this ruling of the Court of Appeals. We hold that the for, otherwise, a partition thus made would be tantamount to making a will
Extrajudicial Partition of November 25, 1949 is null and void under Article in a manner not provided for, authorized, nor included in the chapter
1056 in relation to Article 1271 of the old Civil Code which are applicable referring to testaments, and especially, to the forms thereof, which is
hereto. These Articles provide as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph entirely different from the legal consequences of a free disposition made by
parents during their lifetime, whereby they give to their children the whole
"Art 1056. If the testator should make a partition of his property by an act or a part of their property;
inter vivos, or by will, such partition shall stand in so far as it does not
prejudice the legitime of the forced heirs. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library ‘Considering that, inasmuch as the second paragraph of article 1271 makes
reference to the aforesaid article, in providing that no contracts may be
"Art. 1271. All things, even future ones, which are not excluded from the entered into with respect to future inheritances except those the object of
commerce of man, may be the subject-matter of contracts. which is to make a division inter vivos of the estate in accordance with article
1056, it is evident that said difference likewise leads to the conclusion that
Nevertheless, no contract may be entered into with respect to future a partition thus made should be on the basis of a testamentary or legal
inheritances, except those the object of which is to make a division inter succession and should be made in conformity with the fundamental rules
vivos of an estate, in accordance with Article 1056. thereof and the order of the heirs entitled to the estate, because neither of
the two provisions could be given a wider meaning or scope than that they
All services not contrary to law or to good morals may also be the subject- simply provide for the division of the estate during the lifetime of the owner,
matter of contract."cralaw virtua1aw library which, otherwise, would have to be done upon the death of the testator in
order to carry into effect the partition of the estate among the persons
Article 1056 specifically uses the word "testator" from which the clear intent interested.’
of the law may be deduced that the privilege of partitioning one’s estate by
acts inter vivos is restricted only to one who has made a prior will or Manresa comments on the same article as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
testament. In other words, Article 1056 being an exception cannot be given library
a wider scope as to include in the exception any person whether he has
made a will or not. ‘A distinction must be made between the disposition of property and its
division; and the provision of article 1056 authorizing the testator to dispose
Respondent court citing the same Article concluded that under both the old of his property by acts inter vivos or by last will, must be understood in
and new Civil Code, a person who executes a will is permitted at the same accordance with this distinction. The idea is to divide the estate among the
time or a little thereafter or even before as long as he mentions this fact in heirs designated by the testator. This designation constitutes the disposition

P a g e 17 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

of the properties to take effect after his death, and said act must necessarily described and in the amount of the encumbrances to be assumed by the
appear in the testament because it is the expression of the testator’s last will donee expressed.
and must be surrounded by appropriate formalities. Then comes the second
part, to wit, the division in conformity with that disposition, and the testator The acceptance must be made in the deed of gift or in a separate public
may make this division in the same will or in another will, or by an act inter writing; but it shall produce no effect if not made during the lifetime of the
vivos. With these words, the law, in article 1056 as well as in article 1057, donor.
which we shall hereafter examine, makes allusion to the forms or manner of
making the partition and not to the effects thereof, which means that, for If the acceptance is made by separate public instrument, authentic notice
purposes of partition the formal solemnities which must accompany every thereof shall be given the donor, and this proceeding shall be noted in both
testament or last will are not necessary. Neither is it necessary to observe instruments.
the special formalities required in case of donations, because it is not a
matter of disposing gratuitously of properties, but of dividing those which This other half, therefore, remained as the disposable free portion of the
already have been legally disposed of.’ spouses which may be disposed of in such manner that either of the spouses
would like in regards to his or her share in such portion, unencumbered by
It is thus seen that both the Spanish Supreme Court and the learned and the provision enjoining the last surviving spouse to give equally to the
authoritative commentator, Manresa, are of opinion that a testator may, by children what belongs or would pertain to him or her. The end result,
an act inter vivos, partition his property, but he must first make a will with therefore, is that Don Jesus and Doña Tinay, in the Deed of 1949, made to
all the formalities provided for by law. And it could not be otherwise, for their children valid donations of only one-half of their combined properties
without a will there can be no testator; when the law, therefore, speaks of which must be charged against their legitime and cannot anymore be
the partition inter vivos made by a testator of his property, it necessarily revoked unless inofficious; the other half remained entirely at the free
refers to that property which he has devised to his heirs. A person who disposal of the spouses with regards to their respective shares.
disposes of his property gratis inter vivos is not called a testator, but a donor.
In employing the word "testator," the law evidently desired to distinguish Upon the death of Doña Tinay on October 2, 1959, her share in the free
between one who freely donates his property in life and one who disposes portion was distributed in accordance with her holographic will dated
of it by will to take effect after his death."cralaw virtua1aw library January 25, 1955 and her codicil dated August 14, 1956. It must be stressed
here that the distribution of her properties was subject to her holographic
We are not in conformity with the holding of the respondent court that the will and codicil, independently of the holographic will and codicil of Don
extrajudicial partition of November 25, 1949 which under the old Civil Code Jesus executed by him on the same date. This is fundamental because
was expressly prohibited as against public policy had been validly ratified by otherwise, to consider both wills and codicils jointly would be to circumvent
the holographic will of Don Jesus executed on January 5, 1955 and his codicil the prohibition of the Civil Code on joint wills (Art. 818) and secondly
of August 14, 1956. Such a holding of the appellate court that a person who because upon the death of Doña Tinay, only her estate was being settled,
executes a will is permitted to partition his properties pursuant to the and not that of Don Jesus.
provisions of Article 1056 of the old Civil Code even before executing his will
as long as he mentions this fact in the will, is not warranted under the ruling We have carefully examined the provisions of the holographic will and
of Legasto v. Verzosa, supra and the commentary of Manresa as quoted codicil of Doña Tinay and We find no indication whatsoever that Doña Tinay
above. We rule, therefore, that the respondent court erred in denying expressly or impliedly instituted both the husband and her children as heirs
probate to the will of Don Jesus dated November 14, 1959; it erred in holding to her free portion of her share in the conjugal assets. In her holographic
that Don Jesus being a party to the extrajudicial partition of 1949 was will, mention of her children as heirs was made in the fourth clause but it
contractually bound by the provisions thereof and hence could not revoke only provided that, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
his participation therein by the simple expedience of making a new will with
contrary provisions or dispositions. It is an error because the so-called "Cuatro. Que si yo adquieriese nuevase propiedades despues de otorgado
extrajudicial partition of 1949 is void and inoperative as a partition; neither ests mi testamento seran las mismas repartados entre mi esposo o hijos
is it a valid or enforceable contract because it involved future inheritance; it arriba mencionada en el parrafo tercero su la misma proporcion o sea: la
may only be given effect as a donation inter vivos of specific properties to mitad (1/2) para mis esposa; y la otra mitad (1/2) para mis hijos en partes
the heirs made by the parents.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary iguales."cralaw virtua1aw library

Considering that the document, the extrajudicial partition of November 25, For purposes of clarity and convenience, this fourth clause provided that
1949, contained specific designation of properties allotted to each child, We "Should I acquire new properties after the execution of this testament, the
rule that there was substantial compliance with the rules on donations inter same shall be partitioned among my spouse and above named children or
vivos under the old Civil Code (Article 633). On the other hand, there could the children mentioned in above par. 3 in the same proportion, that is, one-
have been no valid donation to the children of the other half reserved as the half (1/2) to my spouse; and the other half to my children in equal parts."
free portion of Don Jesus and Doña Tinay which, as stated in the deed, was From the above-quoted provision, the children would only inherit together
to be divided equally among the children for the simple reason that the with Don Jesus whatever new properties Doña Tinay would acquire after the
property or properties were not specifically described in the public execution of her will.chanrobles law library : red
instrument, an essential requirement under Article 633 which provides as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Likewise, the codicil of Doña Tinay instituted her husband as sole heir to her
share in the free portion of the conjugal assets, and We quote that part of
"Art. 633. In order that a donation or real property be valid it must be made the codicil:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
by public instrument in which the property donated must be specifically

P a g e 18 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

"Dejo a mi esposo Jesus Alsua como su legitima y como herencia que se the free portion of the whole Alsua estate is being
sacara de mi cuenta de libre disposicion todos aquellos bienes de los que no contested.chanrobles.com : virtual law library
he dispuesto aun en favor de mis hijos en la escritura de reparticion
precitada y que excedieran de la mitad de gananciales que le corresponde After clearly establishing that only Don Jesus was named as sole heir
tal como arriba declaro, incluyendo todos aquellos bienes que se instituted to the remaining estate of Doña Tinay in her holographic will and
adquiriesen por nosotros despues de otorgado por mi este testamento. codicil resulting in all such properties becoming the properties of Don Jesus
alone, and after clearly pointing out that Don Jesus can, in law, revoke his
"Para el caso de que Dios dispusiera que yo sobreviviera a mi esposo declaro previous holographic will and codicil, by making another will expressly
que es mi voluntad que todas las propiedades de todo genero que me cancelling and revoking the former, the next issue for the Court’s resolution
pertenecen y me pudieran pertenecer, no dispuestas aun en la reparticion, is the validity of the provisions of the contested will. Though the law and
se dividan por igual entre mis herederos mencionados despues de mi jurisprudence are clear that only questions about the extrinsic validity of the
muerte."cralaw virtua1aw library will may be entertained by the probate court, the Court had, on more than
one occasion, passed upon the intrinsic validity of a will even before it had
Again for purposes of clarity and convenience, the above portion been authenticated. Thus We declared in Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA
states:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph 499:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"I leave to my spouse Don Jesus Alsua as his legitime and as his inheritance "The parties shunted aside the question of whether or not the will should be
the part of the free portion of my property which have not been allocated in allowed to probate. For them, the meat of the case is the intrinsic validity of
favor of my children in the Document of Partition aforecited and that which the will. Normally this comes only after the court has declared that the will
should exceed 1/2 of the conjugal property of gains that pertains to him as has been duly authenticated. . . .
above stated, including all those properties which we shall acquire after the
execution of this document. ". . . If the case were to be remanded for probate of the will, nothing will be
gained. On the contrary, this litigation will be protracted and for ought that
In case it should be God’s will that I survive my spouse, I hereby declare that appears in the record, in the event of probate or if the court rejects the will,
it is my will that any and all kinds of property that pertains to me or would probability exists that the case will come up once again before us on the
pertain to me which have not been disposed of pursuant to the partition, same issue of the intrinsic validity or nullity of the will. Result: waste of time,
should be divided equally among my above-mentioned heirs after my effort, expense, plus added anxiety. These are the practical considerations
death."cralaw virtua1aw library that induce us to a belief that we might as well meet head-on the issue of
the validity of the provisions of the will in question. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw
The children, therefore, would only receive equal shares in the remaining library
estate of Doña Tinay in the event that she should be the surviving spouse.
To stress the point, Doña Tinay did not oblige her husband to give equally to The last Will and Testament of Don Jesus executed on November 14, 1959
the children, upon his death, all such properties she was bequeathing him. contained an express revocation of his holographic will of January 5, 1955
and the codicil of August 14, 1956; a statement requiring that all of his
Considering now the efficacy of Don Jesus’ last will and testament executed properties donated to his children in the Deed of 1949 be collated and taken
on November 14, 1959 in view of Our holding that Doña Tinay’s will and into account in the partition of his estate; the institution of all his children as
codicil did not stipulate that Don Jesus will bestow the properties equally to devisees and legatees to certain specific properties; a statement
the children, it follows that all the properties of Doña Tinay bequeathed to bequeathing the rest of his properties and all that may be acquired in the
Don Jesus under her holographic will and codicil became part of Don Jesus’ future, before his death, to Pablo and Francisca; and a statement naming
estate unburdened by any condition, obligation or proviso. Francisca as executrix without bond.

Respondents insist that Don Jesus was bound by the extrajudicial partition Considering these testamentary provisions, a close scrutiny of the properties
of November 25, 1949 and had in fact conformed to said partition by making distributed to the children under the Deed of 1949 and those distributed
a holographic will and codicil with exactly the same provisions as those of under the contested will of Don Jesus does not show that the former had in
Doña Tinay, which respondent court sustained. We rule, however, that Don fact been included in the latter. This being so, it must be presumed that the
Jesus was not forever bound thereby for his previous holographic will and intention of Don Jesus in his last will was not to revoke the donations already
codicil as such, would remain revokable at his discretion. Art. 828 of the new made in the Deed of 1949 but only to redistribute his remaining estate, or
Civil Code is clear: "A will may be revoked by the testator at any time before that portion of the conjugal assets totally left to his free disposal and that
his death. Any waiver or restriction of this right is void." There can be no which he received as his inheritance from Doña Tinay. The legitimes of the
restriction that may be made on his absolute freedom to revoke his forced heirs were left unimpaired, as in fact, not one of said forced heirs
holographic will and codicil previously made. This would still hold true even claimed or intimated otherwise. The properties that were disposed of in the
if such previous will had as in the case at bar already been probated. contested will belonged wholly to Don Jesus Alsua’s free portion and may be
(Palacios v. Palacios, 106 Phil. 739). For in the first place, probate only disposed of by him to whomsoever he may choose.chanrobles law library :
authenticates the will and does not pass upon the efficacy of the dispositions red
therein. And secondly, the rights to the succession are transmitted only from
the moment of the death of the decedent (Article 777, New Civil Code). In If he now favored Francisca more, as claimed by private respondents, or
fine, Don Jesus retained the liberty of disposing of his property before his Pablo as in fact he was, We cannot and may not sit in judgment upon the
death to whomsoever he chose, provided the legitime of the forced heirs motives and sentiments of Don Jesus in doing so. We have clearly laid down
are not prejudiced, which is not herein claimed for it is undisputed that only this rule in Bustamante v. Arevalo, 73 Phil. 635, to wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

P a g e 19 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

". . . nevertheless it would be venturesome for the court to advance its own The Civil Code itself provides under Article 798 that in order to make a will,
idea of a just distribution of the property in the face of a different mode of it is essential that the testator be of sound mind at the time of its execution,
disposition so clearly expressed by the testatrix in the latter will. . . . and under Article 800, the law presumes that every person is of sound mind
in the absence of proof to the contrary. In the case at bar, the acceptance by
It would be a dangerous precedent to strain the interpretation of a will in the respondent court of the findings of fact of the trial court on the due
order to effect what the court believes to be an equitable division of the execution of the last will and testament of Don Jesus has foreclosed any and
estate of a deceased person. The only functions of the courts in these cases all claim to the contrary that the will was not executed in accordance with
is to carry out the intention of the deceased as manifested in the will. Once the requirements of the law. But more than that, gleaned from the quoted
that intention has been determined through a careful reading of the will or portions of the appealed decision, the described behavior of Don Jesus is not
wills, and provided the law on legitimes has not been violated, it is beyond that of a mentally incapacitated person nor one suffering from "senile
the place of judicial cognizance to inquire into the fairness or unfairness of dementia" as claimed by private respondents. From these accepted facts,
any devise or bequest. The court should not sit in judgment upon the We find that: (a) it was Don Jesus himself who gave detailed instructions to
motives and sentiments of the testatrix, first, because as already stated, his lawyer as to how he wanted to divide his properties among his children
nothing in the law restrained her from disposing of her property in any by means of a list of his properties should pertain; (b) the semi-final draft of
manner she desired, and secondly, because there are no adequate means of the contested will prepared by his lawyer was even corrected by Don Jesus;
ascertaining the inward process of her conscience. She was the sole judge of (c) on the day of the signing of the will at his house in Ligao, "Don Jesus was
her own attitude toward those who expected her bounty. . . ."cralaw in bright and lively spirits . . ., leading in the conversation which ran from
virtua1aw library problems of farming and the merits of French-made wines" ; (d) the signing
of the will by Don Jesus and his attesting witnesses was made after a
Respondent court, in trying to rationalize the will of Don Jesus which statement from Don Jesus of the purpose of their meeting or gathering, to
allegedly benefited and favored the petitioner to the prejudice of the other wit:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
heirs who would have been entitled to an equal share under the extrajudicial
partition of 1949, faced two alternatives-one, to consider Don Jesus as a man "Precisamente es por lo que he llamado a ustedes que esten presentes para
of culture and honor and would not allow himself to violate the previous ser testigos de mi ultima voluntad y testamento que ha sido preparado por
agreement, and the other as one whose mental faculties or his possession el abogado Sr. Gregorio Imperial segun mis instrucciones cuyo documento
of the same had been diminished considering that when the will was tengo aqui con migo y encuentro que, despues de lo he leido, esta
executed, he was already 84 years of age and in view of his weakness and satisfactoriamente hecho segun mis instrucciones, Como saben ustedes
advanced age, the actual administration of his properties had been left to tengo cuatro (4) hijos todos ellos."cralaw virtua1aw library
his assistant Madarieta who, for his part received instructions from Francisca
and her husband, Joseph Betts. According to the court, the better Clearly then, Don Jesus knew exactly what his actions were and the full
explanation is the latter, which is not legally tenable. Under Article 799 of implications thereof.
the New Civil Code which provides as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
In rejecting probate of the will, respondent court further pointed out other
"Art. 799. To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full details which, in the words of the decision "are a little bit difficult to
possession of all his reasoning faculties, or that his mind be wholly unbroken, reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of life" such as the fact that
unimpaired, or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause. Don Jesus had sought the probate of his will of January 5, 1955 and his codicil
of August 14, 1956 during his lifetime but insofar as the will of November 14,
It shall be sufficient if the testator was able at the time of making the will to 1959 is concerned, he had no intention of seeking the probate thereof
know the nature of the estate to be disposed of, the proper objects of his during his lifetime, the alleged redundant and unnecessary proceedings
bounty, and the character of the testamentary act," undertaken by Don Jesus in selling the properties under question to
petitioner Francisca Alsua-Betts when the same properties had already been
The test of testamentary capacity is at the time of the making of the will. bequeathed to her in the will of November 14, 1959 and that "nothing,
Mere weakness of mind or partial imbecility from disease of body or from absolutely nothing, could be made the basis for finding that Don Jesus Alsua
age does not render a person incapable of making a will. had regarded his other children with less favor, and that he was more
sympathetic to Francisca so as to disregard or forget the former depriving
"Between the highest degree of soundness of mind and memory which them of benefits already given to them and rewarding the latter with
unquestionably carries with it full testamentary capacity, and that degrees disproportionate advantages or benefits, to such an extreme as to violate
of mental aberration generally known as insanity or idiocy, there are his previous disposition consecrated in the previous extrajudicial partition,
numberless degrees of mental capacity or incapacity and while on one hand Exh. 8."cralaw virtua1aw library
it has been held that mere weakness of mind, or partial imbecility from
disease of body, or from age, will not render a person incapable of making a We agree with the petitioner that these details which respondent court
will; a weak or feebleminded person may make a valid will, provided he has found difficult to reconcile with the ordinary course of things and of life are
understanding and memory sufficient to enable him to know what he is mere conjectures, surmises or speculations which, however, do not warrant
about to do and how or to whom he is disposing of his property. To or justify disallowance of the probate of the will of Don Jesus. The fact that
constitute a sound and disposing mind, it is not necessary that the mind be Don Jesus did not cause his will to be probated during his lifetime while his
unbroken or unimpaired or unshattered by disease or otherwise. It has been previous holographic will and codicil were duly probated when he was still
held that testamentary incapacity does not necessarily require that a person alive is a mere speculation which depends entirely on the discretion of Don
shall actually be insane or of unsound mind." (Bugnao v. Ubag, 14 Phil. 163) Jesus as the testator. The law does not require that a will be probated during

P a g e 20 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

the lifetime of the testator and for not doing so there cannot arise any
favorable or unfavorable consequence therefrom. The parties cannot In the case at bar, We find and so declare that the respondent court’s
correctly guess or surmise the motives of the testator and neither can the conclusion as to the nullity of the contested sales was not supported by the
courts. Such surmise, speculation or conjecture is no valid and legal ground evidence on record and adduced during the trial.
to reject allowance or disallowance of the will. The same thing can be said
as to whatever reason Don Jesus had for selling the properties to his Evident from the records are the following documentary evidence: (1)
daughter Francisca when he had already assigned the same properties to Exhibit U, a deed of sale over agricultural lands executed on August 26, 1961
her in his will. While We can speculate that Don Jesus desired to have by Don Jesus in favor of Francisca for the consideration of Seventy Thousand
possession of the properties transferred to Francisca after the sale instead Pesos (P70,000.00), which document bears the signature of Don Jesus, not
of waiting for his death may be a reasonable explanation or speculation for assailed as a forgery, and the signature of Pablo Alsua as an instrumental
the act of the testator and yet there is no certainty that such was actually witness, again not assailed as a forgery nor alleged as done thru fraud, force
the reason. This is as good a conjecture as the respondents may offer or as or threat. (2) Exhibit "W", a deed of sale over urban lots executed on
difficult to accept which respondent court believes. A conjecture is always a November 26, 1962 for the consideration of Eighty Thousand Pesos
conjecture; it can never be admitted as evidence.chanrobles law library : red (P80,000.00), which document also bears the signature of Don Jesus, also
admittedly not a forgery. (3) Exhibit "F", a document dated August 26, 1961
Now, the annulment case. The only issue raised anent the civil case for and signed by Don Jesus and Pablo Alsua as witness, acknowledging receipt
annulment of the two Deeds of Sale executed by and between Don Jesus of a Bank of Philippine Island Check No. 0252 in the amount of Seventy
and petitioner Francisca is their validity or nullity. Private respondents Thousand Pesos (P70,000.00) for the sale of 33 parcels of agricultural land
mainly contend that the sales were fictitious or simulated, there having been to Francisca under the same date; again, Pablo did not deny the genuineness
no actual consideration paid. They further insist that the issue raised is a of his signature. (4) Exhibit "X", a Bank of the Philippine Islands Check No. D-
question of fact and, therefore, not reviewable in a certiorari proceeding 6979 dated November 26, 1962, in the amount of P32,644.71, drawn and
before the Supreme Court. On the other hand, petitioners herein maintain signed by Francisca, payable to Don Jesus. (5) Exhibit "X-1", a second Bank
that it was error for the respondent court to set aside on appeal the factual of Philippine Islands Check (No. D-6980) also dated November 26, 1962 in
findings of the trial court that the two sales were valid. the amount of P47,355.29, drawn by Francisca and payable to Don Jesus. (6)
Exhibit "X-3" and "X-5", endorsements on the back of the last two checks by
It is true that the jurisprudence of this Court in cases brought to Us from the Don Jesus, again, his signatures thereon were not assailed. (7) Exhibit "A" (in
Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising the errors of law the annulment case), a Bureau of Internal Revenue Receipt (No. 2347260)
imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive; and this same principle dated November 29, 1962 with a notation acknowledging the receipt of BPI
applies even if the Court of Appeals was in disagreement with the lower Check No. D-6980 in the amount of P47,355.29 from Don Jesus Alsua in
court as to the weight of evidence with a consequent reversal of its findings payment of Balance of Transfer of Tax Ass. No. EA-35415-19 plus interest.
of fact. But what should not be ignored by lawyers and litigants alike is the We are convinced and satisfied from this array of documentary evidence
more basic principle that the "findings of fact" described as "final" or that in fact, Don Jesus sold the subject properties to his daughter, Francisca
"conclusive" are those borne out by the record or those which are based for the total consideration of P150,000.00.chanrobles.com : virtual law
upon substantial evidence. The general rule laid down by the Supreme Court library
does not declare the absolute correctness of all the findings of fact made by
the Court of Appeals. These are exceptions to the general rule, where We The claim of the private respondents that the sales were fictitious and void
have reviewed and revised the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals. for being without cause or consideration is as weak and flimsy as the ground
Among the exceptions to the rule that findings of fact by the Court of upon which the respondent court upheld said claim on the basis that there
Appeals cannot be reviewed on appeals by certiorari are:chanrob1es virtual was no need for funds in Don Jesus’ old age aside from the speculation that
1aw library there was nothing in the evidence that showed what motivated Don Jesus
to change his mind as to favor Francisca and discriminate against the other
1. When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, children. The two contracts of sale executed by Don Jesus in favor of
surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil. 257); Francisca are evidenced by Exhibits "U" and "W", the genuineness of which
were not at all assailed at any time during this long drawn-out litigation of
2. When the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible 15 years standing. That the consideration stated in the contracts were paid
(Luna v. Linatok, 74 Phil. 15); is also sufficiently proved as the receipts thereof by Don Jesus were even
signed by one of the private respondents, Pablo Alsua, as a witness. The
3. Where there is a grave abuse of discretion (Buyco v. People, 51 OG 2927); latter cannot now deny the payment of the consideration. And even if he
now allege that in fact no transfer of money was involved, We find his
4. When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts (Cruz v. Sosing, allegation belied by Exhibits "X-3" and "X-5", which show that the checks of
L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); Francisca made payable to Don Jesus were in fact given to Don Jesus as he
endorsed them on the back thereof, and most specifically Exhibit "A" in the
5. When the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590, April annulment case, which proved that Don Jesus actually used Exhibit "X-1" to
30, 1957); and complete payment on the estate and inheritance tax on the estate of his wife
to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
6. When the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues
of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and Private respondents further insist that the sales were fraudulent because of
appellee (Evangelista v. Alto Surety & Ins. Co., L-11139, April 23, 1958; the inadequacy of the given price. Inadequacy of consideration does not
Ramos v. Pepsi Cola, L-22533, Feb. 9, 1967, 19 SCRA 289). vitiate a contract unless it is proven, which in the case at bar was not, that

P a g e 21 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

there was fraud, mistake or undue influence. (Article 1355, New Civil Code). will were called as witnesses, and each declared that the deceased was of
We do not find the stipulated price as so inadequate to shock the court’s sound mind at the time said will was made and fully understood its contents,
conscience, considering that the price paid was much higher than the and signed the same in their presence and that they each signed the will in
assessed value of the subject properties and considering that the sales were the presence of each other, as well as in the presence of the deceased.
effected by a father to her daughter in which case filial love must be taken
into account. The appellant attempted to show that the deceased was incompetent to
make his will because he was blind at the time the same was executed and
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is had been for several years theretofore. There is absolutely no proof to show
hereby set aside. The decision of the Court of First Instance of Albay in that the deceased was incapacitated at the time he executed his will. No
Special Proceedings No. 699 and Civil Case No. 3068 is hereby reinstated, presumption of incapacity can arise from the mere fact that he was blind.
with costs against respondents. The only requirement of the law as to the capacity to make a will is that the
person shall be of age and of sound mind and memory. (Sec. 614, Code of
SO ORDERED. Procedure in Civil Actions.) Section 620 of the same code prohibits blind
persons from acting as witnesses in the execution of wills, but no limitation
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar and Fernandez, JJ., concur. is placed upon testamentary capacity, except age and soundness of mind.

Melencio Herrera, J., concurs in the result. In our opinion the record contains nothing which justifies the modification
of the order made legalizing the will in the present case. The order of the
De Castro, J., took no part. lower court admitting to probate and legalizing the will in question is,
therefore hereby affirmed with costs.

[G.R. No. 6322. February 21, 1912. ]


G.R. No. L-55322 February 16, 1989
DOLORES AVELINO, as administratrix of the estate of Pascual de la
Cruz, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. VICTORIANA DE LA CRUZ, Defendant-
Appellant. MOISES JOCSON, petitioner,
vs.
Buencamino, Diokno, Mapa, Buencamino, Jr., Platon & Lontoc, HON. COURT OF APPEALS, AGUSTINA JOCSON-VASQUEZ, ERNESTO
for Appellant. VASQUEZ, respondents.

Alfonso Mendoza, for Appellee. Dolorfino and Dominguez Law Officers for petitioner.

SYLLABUS Gabriel G. Mascardo for private respondents.

1. WILLS; A BLIND MAN MAY MAKE A WILL, IF OTHERWISE COMPETENT;


MEDIALDEA, J.:
BLIND WITNESSES PROHIBITED. — The mere fact that a testator is blind does
not render him incompetent to make a will. While section 620 of the Code
of Civil Procedure prohibits blind persons from acting as witnesses to the This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
execution of a will, no limitation is placed upon testamentary capacity of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- G.R. No. 63474, promulgated
except that of age and soundness of mind; no presumption of incapacity on April 30, 1980, entitled "MOISES JOCSON, plaintiff-appellee, versus
arises from blindness alone. AGUSTINA JOCSON-VASQUEZ and ERNESTO VASQUEZ, defendant-
appellants," upholding the validity of three (3) documents questioned by
Moises Jocson, in total reversal of the decision of the then Court of First
DECISION Instance of Cavite, Branch I, which declared them as null and void; and of its
resolution, dated September 30, 1980, denying therein appellee's motion for
reconsideration.
JOHNSON, J. :
Petitioner Moises Jocson and respondent Agustina Jocson-Vasquez are the
only surviving offsprings of the spouses Emilio Jocson and Alejandra Poblete,
The present is an appeal from an order of the Honorable George N. Hurd, while respondent Ernesto Vasquez is the husband of Agustina. Alejandra
judge of the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, in which he had Poblete predeceased her husband without her intestate estate being
legalized the will of the said Pascual de la Cruz, deceased. settled. Subsequently, Emilio Jocson also died intestate on April 1, 1972.

The contention of the opponent is that at the time of the making of the will As adverted to above, the present controversy concerns the validity of three
the said Pascual de la Cruz was blind and had been for a number of years, (3) documents executed by Emilio Jocson during his lifetime. These
and was incompetent to make the will in question. documents purportedly conveyed, by sale, to Agustina Jocson-Vasquez what
apparently covers almost all of his properties, including his one-third (1/3)
Against this contention of the opponent, all of the witnesses who signed the
P a g e 22 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

share in the estate of his wife. Petitioner Moises Jocson assails these ng kaunti ngunit dahil sa malaking pagtingin ko sa kaniya
documents and prays that they be declared null and void and the properties ... kaya at pinagbile ko sa kaniya ang mga nabanggit na
subject matter therein be partitioned between him and Agustina as the only pagaari kahit na hindi malaking halaga ... (p. 14,
heirs of their deceased parents. Records).

The documents, which were presented as evidence not by Moises Jocson, as 3) Lastly, the "Deed of Extrajudicial Partition and
the party assailing its validity, but rather by herein respondents, are the Adjudication with Sale, "dated March 9, 1969, marked as
following: Exhibit 2 (p. 10-11, Records), whereby Emilio Jocson and
Agustina Jocson-Vasquez, without the participation and
1) "Kasulatan ng Bilihan ng Lupa," marked as Exhibit 3 intervention of Moises Jocson, extrajudicially
(pp. 12-13, Records) for the defendant in the court a partitioned the unsettled estate of Alejandra Poblete,
quo, dated July 27, 1968. By this document Emilio Jocson dividing the same into three parts, one-third (1/3) each
sold to Agustina Jocson-Vasquez six (6) parcels of land, for the heirs of Alejandra Poblete, namely: Emilio
all located at Naic, Cavite, for the sum of ten thousand Jocson, Agustina Jocson-Vasquez and Moises Jocson. By
P10,000.00 pesos. On the same document Emilio Jocson the same instrument, Emilio sold his one- third (1/3)
acknowledged receipt of the purchase price, thus: share to Agustin for the sum of EIGHT THOUSAND
(P8,000.00) PESOS. As in the preceding documents,
Emilio Jocson acknowledged receipt of the purchase
Na ngayon, alang-alang sa halagang SAMPUNG LIBONG
price:
PISO (P10,000) salaping Pilipino na aking tinanggap ng
buong kasiyahan loob at ang pagkakatanggap ay aking
hayagang inaamin sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito, Now for and in consideration of the sum of only eight
sa aking anak na si Agustina Jocson, na may sapat na thousand (P8,000.00) pesos, which I, the herein Emilio
gulang, mamamayang Pilipino, asawa ni Ernesto Jocson had received from my daughter Agustina Jocson,
Vasquez, at naninirahan sa Poblacion, Naic, Cavite, ay do hereby sell, cede, convey and transfer, unto the said
aking ipinagbile ng lubusan at kagyat at walang ano Agustina Jocson, her heirs and assigns, administrators
mang pasubali ang nabanggit na anim na pirasong lupa and successors in interests, in the nature of absolute and
na nasa unang dahon ng dokumentong ito, sa nabanggit irrevocable sale, all my rights, interest, shares and
na Agustina Jocson, at sa kaniyang tagapagmana o participation, which is equivalent to one third (1/3)
makakahalili at gayon din nais kong banggitin na kahit share in the properties herein mentioned and described
na may kamurahan ang ginawa kong pagbibile ay the one third being adjudicated unto Agustina Jocson
dahilan sa ang nakabile ay aking anak na sa akin at and the other third (1/3) portion being the share of
mapaglingkod, madamayin at ma-alalahanin, na tulad Moises Jocson. (p. 11, Records).
din ng isa ko pang anak na lalaki. Ang kuartang
tinanggap ko na P10,000.00, ay gagamitin ko sa aking These documents were executed before a notary public. Exhibits 3 and 4
katandaan at mga huling araw at sa aking mga ibang were registered with the Office of the Register of Deeds of Cavite on July 29,
mahahalagang pangangailangan. [Emphasis supplied] 1968 and the transfer certificates of title covering the properties therein in
the name of Emilio Jocson, married to Alejandra Poblete," were cancelled
Na nais ko ring banggitin na ang ginawa kong ito ay hindi and new certificates of title were issued in the name of Agustina Jocson-
labag sa ano mang batas o kautusan, sapagkat ang aking Vasquez. Exhibit 2 was not registered with the Office of the Register of
pinagbile ay akin at nasa aking pangalan. Ang mga Deeds.
lupang nasa pangalan ng aking nasirang asawa ay hindi
ko ginagalaw ni pinakikialaman at iyon ay dapat na hatiin Herein petitioner filed his original complaint (Record on Appeal, p. 27, Rollo)
ng dalawa kong anak alinsunod sa umiiral na batas (p. on June 20,1973 with the then Court of First Instance of Naic, Cavite
13, Records.) (docketed as Civil Case No. TM- 531), and which was twice amended. In his
Second Amended Complaint (pp. 47-58, Record on Appeal), herein
2) "Kasulatan ng Ganap na Bilihan,"dated July 27,1968, petitioner assailed the above documents, as aforementioned, for being null
marked as Exhibit 4 (p. 14, Records). On the face of this and void.
document, Emilio Jocson purportedly sold to Agustina
Jocson-Vasquez, for the sum of FIVE THOUSAND It is necessary to partly quote the allegation of petitioner in his complaint for
(P5,000.00) PESOS, two rice mills and a camarin the reason that the nature of his causes of action is at issue, thus:
(camalig) located at Naic, Cavite. As in the first
document, Moises Jocson acknowledged receipt of the 8. [With regard the first document, that] the defendants,
purchase price: through fraud, deceit, undue pressure and influence and
other illegal machinations, were able to induce, led, and
'Na alang-alang sa halagang LIMANG LIBONG PISO procured their father ... to sign [the] contract of sale ...,
(P5,000.00) salaping Pilipino na aking tinanggap ng for the simulated price of P10,000.00, which is a
buong kasiyahan loob sa aking anak na Agustina Jocson consideration that is shocking to the conscience of
.... Na ang halagang ibinayad sa akin ay may kamurahan ordinary man and despite the fact that said defendants
P a g e 23 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

have no work or livelihood of their own ...; that the sale indisputably based on fraud, and undue influence, is
is null and void, also, because it is fictitious, simulated now barred by prescription, pursuant to the settled rule
and fabricated contract x x x (pp. 52-53, Record on that an action for annulment of a contract based on
Appeal). [Emphasis supplied] fraud must be filed within four (4) years, from the
discovery of the fraud, ... which in legal contemplation is
xxx xxx xxx deemed to be the date of the registration of said
document with the Register of Deeds ... and the records
admittedly show that both Exhibits 3 and 4, were all
12. [With regards the second and third document, that
registered on July 29, 1968, while on the other hand, the
they] are null and void because the consent of the
appellee's complaint was filed on June 20, 1973, clearly
father, Emilio Jocson, was obtained with fraud, deceit,
beyond the aforesaid four-year prescriptive period
undue pressure, misrepresentation and unlawful
provided by law;
machinations and trickeries committed by the
defendant on him; and that the said contracts
are simulated, fabricated and fictitious, having been 2. That the aforesaid contracts, Exhibits 2, 3, and 4, are
made deliberately to exclude the plaintiff from decisively not simulated or fictitious contracts, since
participating and with the dishonest and selfish motive Emilio Jocson actually and really intended them to be
on the part of the defendants to defraud him of his effective and binding against him, as to divest him of the
legitimate share on said properties [subject matter full dominion and ownership over the properties subject
thereof]; and that without any other business or of said assailed contracts, as in fact all his titles over the
employment or any other source of income, defendants same were all cancelled and new ones issued to
who were just employed in the management and appellant Agustina Jocson-Vasquez ...;
administration of the business of their parents, would
not have the sufficient and ample means to purchase the 3. That in regard to Exhibit 2, the same is valid and
said properties except by getting the earnings of the subsisting, and the partition with sale therein made by
business or by simulated consideration ... (pp. 54-55, and between Emilio Jocson and Agustina Jocson-
Record on Appeal). [Emphasis supplied] Vasquez, affecting the 2/3 portion of the subject
properties described therein have all been made in
Petitioner explained that there could be no real sale between a father and accordance with Article 996 of the New Civil Code on
daughter who are living under the same roof, especially so when the father intestate succession, and the appellee's (herein
has no need of money as the properties supposedly sold were all income- petitioner) remaining 1/3 has not been prejudiced (pp.
producing. Further, petitioner claimed that the properties mentioned in 41-42, Rollo).
Exhibits 3 and 4 are the unliquidated conjugal properties of Emilio Jocson
and Alejandra Poblete which the former, therefore, cannot validly sell (pp. In this petition for review, Moises Jocson raised the following assignments
53, 57, Record on Appeal). As far as Exhibit 2 is concerned, petitioner of errors:
questions not the extrajudicial partition but only the sale by his father to
Agustina of the former's 1/3 share (p. 13, Rollo). 1. HAS THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
CONCLUDING THAT THE SUIT FOR THE ANNULMENT OF
The trial court sustained the foregoing contentions of petitioner (pp. 59-81, CONTRACTS FILED BY PETITIONERS WITH THE TRIAL
Record on Appeal). It declared that the considerations mentioned in the COURT IS "BASED ON FRAUD" AND NOT ON ITS
documents were merely simulated and fictitious because: 1) there was no INEXISTENCE AND NULLITY BECAUSE OF IT'S BEING
showing that Agustina Jocson-Vasquez paid for the properties; 2) the prices SIMULATED OR FICTITIOUS OR WHOSE CAUSE IS
were grossly inadequate which is tantamount to lack of consideration at all; CONTRARY TO LAW, MORALS AND GOOD CUSTOMS?
and 3) the improbability of the sale between Emilio Jocson and Agustina
Jocson-Vasquez, taking into consideration the circumstances obtaining II. HAS THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
between the parties; and that the real intention of the parties were CONCLUDING THAT THE COMPLAINT FILED BY
donations designed to exclude Moises Jocson from participating in the PETITIONER IN THE TRIAL COURT IS BARRED BY
estate of his parents. It further declared the properties mentioned in Exhibits PRESCRIPTION?
3 and 4 as conjugal properties of Emilio Jocson and Alejandra Poblete,
because they were registered in the name of "Emilio Jocson, married to
III. HAS THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
Alejandra Poblete" and ordered that the properties subject matter of all the
NOT DECLARING AS INEXISTENT AND NULL AND VOID
documents be registered in the name of herein petitioners and private
THE CONTRACTS IN QUESTION AND IN REVERSING THE
respondents.
DECLARING DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT? (p. 2, Rollo)

On appeal, the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 63474-R rendered a decision


I.
(pp. 29-42, Rollo) and reversed that of the trial court's and ruled that:

The first and second assignments of errors are related and shall be jointly
1. That insofar as Exhibits 3 and 4 are concerned the
discussed.
appellee's complaint for annulment, which is
P a g e 24 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

According to the Court of Appeals, herein petitioner's causes of action were Secondly, neither may the contract be declared void because of alleged
based on fraud. Under Article 1330 of the Civil Code, a contract tainted by inadequacy of price. To begin with, there was no showing that the prices
vitiated consent, as when consent was obtained through fraud, is voidable; were grossly inadequate. In fact, the total purchase price paid by Agustina
and the action for annulment must be brought within four years from the Jocson-Vasquez is above the total assessed value of the properties alleged
time of the discovery of the fraud (Article 1391, par. 4, Civil Code), otherwise by petitioner. In his Second Amended Complaint, petitioner alleged that the
the contract may no longer be contested. Under present jurisprudence, total assessed value of the properties mentioned in Exhibit 3 was P8,920;
discovery of fraud is deemed to have taken place at the time the convenant Exhibit 4, P3,500; and Exhibit 2, P 24,840, while the purchase price paid was
was registered with the Register of Deeds (Gerona vs. De Guzman, No. L- P10,000, P5,000, and P8,000, respectively, the latter for the 1/3 share of
19060, May 29,1964, 11 SCRA 153). Since Exhibits 3 and 4 were registered Emilio Jocson from the paraphernal properties of his wife, Alejandra Poblete.
on July 29, 1968 but Moises Jocson filed his complaint only on June 20, 1973, And any difference between the market value and the purchase price, which
the Court of Appeals ruled that insofar as these documents were concerned, as admitted by Emilio Jocson was only slight, may not be so shocking
petitioner's "annulment suit" had prescribed. considering that the sales were effected by a father to her daughter in which
case filial love must be taken into consideration (Alsua-Betts vs. Court of
If fraud were the only ground relied upon by Moises Jocson in assailing the Appeals, No. L-46430-31, April 30, 1979, 92 SCRA 332).
questioned documents, We would have sustained the above
pronouncement. But it is not so. As pointed out by petitioner, he further Further, gross inadequacy of price alone does not affect a contract of sale,
assailed the deeds of conveyance on the ground that they were without except that it may indicate a defect in the consent, or that the parties really
consideration since the amounts appearing thereon as paid were in fact intended a donation or some other act or contract (Article 1470, Civil Code)
merely simulated. and there is nothing in the records at all to indicate any defect in Emilio
Jocson's consent.
According to Article 1352 of the Civil Code, contracts without cause produce
no effect whatsoever. A contract of sale with a simulated price is void (Article Thirdly, any discussion as to the improbability of a sale between a father and
1471; also Article 1409 [3]]), and an action for the declaration of its nullity his daughter is purely speculative which has no relevance to a contract
does not prescribe (Article 1410, Civil Code; See also, Castillo v. Galvan, No. where all the essential requisites of consent, object and cause are clearly
L-27841, October 20, l978, 85 SCRA 526). Moises Jocsons saction, therefore, present.
being for the judicial declaration of nullity of Exhibits 3 and 4 on the ground
of simulated price, is imprescriptible. There is another ground relied upon by petitioner in assailing Exhibits 3 and
4, that the properties subject matter therein are conjugal properties of
II. Emilio Jocson and Alejandra Poblete. It is the position of petitioner that since
the properties sold to Agustina Jocson-Vasquez under Exhibit 3 were
For petitioner, however, the above discussion may be purely academic. The registered in the name of "Emilio Jocson, married to Alejandra Poblete," the
burden of proof in showing that contracts lack consideration rests on he who certificates of title he presented as evidence (Exhibits "E', to "J', pp. 4-9,
alleged it. The degree of proof becomes more stringent where the Records) were enough proof to show that the properties covered therein
documents themselves show that the vendor acknowledged receipt of the were acquired during the marriage of their parents, and, therefore, under
price, and more so where the documents were notarized, as in the case at Article 160 of the Civil Code, presumed to be conjugal properties.
bar. Upon consideration of the records of this case, We are of the opinion
that petitioner has not sufficiently proven that the questioned documents Article 160 of the Civil Code provides that:
are without consideration.
All property of the marriage is presumed to belong to
Firstly, Moises Jocson's claim that Agustina Jocson-Vasquez had no other the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it
source of income other than what she derives from helping in the pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife.
management of the family business (ricefields and ricemills), and which was
insufficient to pay for the purchase price, was contradicted by his own In Cobb-Perez vs. Hon. Gregorio Lantin, No. L-22320, May 22, 1968, 23 SCRA
witness, Isaac Bagnas, who testified that Agustina and her husband were 637, 644, We held that:
engaged in the buy and sell of palay and rice (p. 10, t.s.n., January 14, 1975).
Amazingly, petitioner himself and his wife testified that they did not know
Anent their claim that the shares in question are
whether or not Agustina was involved in some other business (p. 40, t.s.n.,
conjugal assets, the spouses Perez adduced not a
July 30, 1974; p. 36, t.s.n., May 24, 1974).
modicum of evidence, although they repeatedly invoked
article 160 of the New Civil Code which provides that ...
On the other hand, Agustina testified that she was engaged in the business . As interpreted by this Court, the party who invokes this
of buying and selling palay and rice even before her marriage to Ernesto presumption must first prove that the property in
Vasquez sometime in 1948 and continued doing so thereafter (p. 4, t.s.n., controversy was acquired during the marriage. In other
March 15, 1976). Considering the foregoing and the presumption that a words, proof of acquisition during the coverture is a
contract is with a consideration (Article 1354, Civil Code), it is clear that condition sine qua non for the operation of the
petitioner miserably failed to prove his allegation. presumption in favor of conjugal ownership. Thus
in Camia de Reyes vs. Reyes de Ilano [62 Phil. 629, 639],
it was held that "according to law and jurisprudence, it

P a g e 25 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

is sufficient to prove that the Property was acquired coverture. We would have ruled that the properties, though registered in
during the marriage in order that the same may be the name of Emilio Jocson alone, are conjugal properties in view of the
deemed conjugal property." In the recent case presumption under Article 160. There being no such proof, the
of Maramba vs. Lozano, et. al. [L-21533, June 29, 1967, condition sine qua non for the application of the presumption does not exist.
20 SCRA 474], this Court, thru Mr. Justice Makalintal, Necessarily, We rule that the properties under Exhibit 3 are the exclusive
reiterated that "the presumption under Article 160 of properties of Emilio Jocson.
the Civil Code refers to property acquired during the
marriage," and then concluded that since "there is no There being no showing also that the camarin and the two ricemills, which
showing as to when the property in question was are the subject of Exhibit 4, were conjugal properties of the spouses Emilio
acquired...the fact that the title is in the wife's name Jocson and Alejandra Poblete, they should be considered, likewise, as the
alone is determinative." Similarly, in the case at bar, exclusive properties of Emilio Jocson, the burden of proof being on
since there is no evidence as to when the shares of stock petitioner.
were acquired, the fact that they are registered in the
name of the husband alone is an indication that the
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED and the decision of the Court of
shares belong exclusively to said spouse.'
Appeals is AFFIRMED.

This pronouncement was reiterated in the case of Ponce de Leon vs.


SO ORDERED.
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, No. L-24571, December 18, 1970, 36
SCRA 289, and later in Torela vs. Torela, No. 1,27843, October 11, 1979, 93
SCRA 391. Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur

It is thus clear that before Moises Jocson may validly invoke the presumption
under Article 160 he must first present proof that the disputed properties
were acquired during the marriage of Emilio Jocson and Alejandra Poblete. [G.R. No. 6625. October 24, 1911.]
The certificates of title, however, upon which petitioner rests his claim is
insufficient. The fact that the properties were registered in the name of JUANA CAGUIOA, administratrix of the estate of the deceased Emigdio
"Emilio Jocson, married to Alejandra Poblete" is no proof that the properties Zarate, Petitioner-Appellee, v. MARIA CALDERON, opponent-appellant.
were acquired during the spouses' coverture. Acquisition of title and
registration thereof are two different acts. It is well settled that registration M. Legazpi Florendo, for Appellant.
does not confer title but merely confirms one already existing (See Torela vs.
Torela, supra). It may be that the properties under dispute were acquired by Pedro Ma. Sison, for Appellee.
Emilio Jocson when he was still a bachelor but were registered only after his
marriage to Alejandra Poblete, which explains why he was described in the SYLLABUS
certificates of title as married to the latter.
1. WILLS; UNDUE INFLUENCE; MENTAL CAPACITY; LAWFUL WILL. — Held:
under the facts stated in the opinion, that the will in question, was duly and
Contrary to petitioner's position, the certificates of title show, on their face,
legally authorized by the deceased, he being of sound mind and memory,
that the properties were exclusively Emilio Jocson's, the registered owner.
and that the same was not executed under threats or fear.
This is so because the words "married to' preceding "Alejandra Poblete' are
merely descriptive of the civil status of Emilio Jocson Litam v. Rivera, 100
Phil. 354; Stuart v. Yatco, No. L-16467, April 27, 1962, 4 SCRA 1143; Magallon
DECISION
v. Montejo, G.R. No. L-73733, December 16, 1986, 146 SCRA 282). In other
words, the import from the certificates of title is that Emilio Jocson is the
owner of the properties, the same having been registered in his name alone,
JOHNSON, J.:
and that he is married to Alejandra Poblete.

We are not unmindful that in numerous cases We consistently held that It appears from the record that the plaintiff, upon the 17th of February,
registration of the property in the name of only one spouse does not negate 1910, presented a petition in the Court of First Instance of the Province of
the possibility of it being conjugal (See Bucoy vs. Paulino, No. L-25775, April Pangasinan, praying for the probation of the last will and testament of
26, 1968, 23 SCRA 248). But this ruling is not inconsistent with the above Emigdio Zarate, deceased, in conformity with section 630 of the Code of
pronouncement for in those cases there was proof that the properties, Procedure in Civil Actions. The petition was accompanied by the original will,
though registered in the name of only one spouse, were indeed conjugal marked "Exhibit A," of said Emigdio Zarate.
properties, or that they have been acquired during the marriage of the
spouses, and therefore, presumed conjugal, without the adverse party Due notice of said petition was given in accordance with law, and the hearing
having presented proof to rebut the presumption (See Mendoza vs- Reyes, for the probation of said will was fixed for the 9th of March, 1910. Later the
No. L-31618, August 17, 1983, 124 SCRA 154). said hearing was transferred to the 16th of July, 1910. On the latter date the
said Maria Calderon appeared, by her attorney, and opposed the probation
In the instant case, had petitioner, Moises Jocson, presented sufficient proof of said will upon the following grounds:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
to show that the disputed properties were acquired during his parents'

P a g e 26 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

"1. That the said Emigdio Zarate was mentally incapacitated at the time he "VIII. The court erred in not holding that all the proof taken together
authorized and signed his will. sustained the claim of the oppositor, Maria Calderon.

"2. That he executed the said will under illegal and undue influence or "IX. The court erred in imposing the costs upon the oppositor."cralaw
persuasion on the part of some persons who acted in behalf of the virtua1aw library
beneficiaries or heirs.
With reference to the first assignment of error above noted, it appears from
"3. That the signature of the testator was obtained by deceit or fraud, for the record that upon the 13th day of January, 1910, Emigdio Zarate executed
the reason that it was not his intention that all that was recorded in the said his last will and testament, the original of which appears in the record and is
instrument should be his will at the time he signed it; for the testator had marked "Exhibit A." Emigdio Zarate died on the 19th day of January, 1910.
informed the opponent, Maria Calderon, before and after the said will had
been signed, that he had not disposed of the one-half of the house and lot From an examination of said Exhibit A it appears to have been signed by
now mentioned in the third clause, letter (a), of the said will, because the Emigdio Zarate and by four witnesses, Sabino M. Sandoval, Esteban
said testator recognized that the house and lot referred to belonged to the Sandoval, George Zarate and Eugenio Zarate. From the record it appears that
said Maria Calderon. the testator dictated his will in the Pangasinan dialect and it was then
translated into Spanish. After the will had been written in Spanish it was read
"Therefore, the opponent prays the court to annul the will alleged to have to the deceased and translated to him in the Pangasinan dialect, and,
been executed by Emigdio Zarate, and to order that its probate be according to the allegations of the appellee, the said Exhibit A received his
disallowed, with the costs against the petitioner."cralaw virtua1aw library approval as his last will and testament.

After hearing the evidence adduced pro and con, the lower court reached The appellant alleges that at the time of the execution of the said alleged
the following conclusion:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph will of Emigdio Zarate, he was not in the full possession of his mental
faculties. This question was presented to the lower court. After hearing the
"It having been proved completely on the part of the petitioner that the will evidence, the lower court found that Emigdio Zarate, at the time of the
in question was executed and signed in entire conformity with all the execution of the said will, was in the possession of his faculties. Two of the
requirements and solemnities set out in the Code of Civil Procedure, the witnesses who signed the will, as well as others who were present in the
court overrules the opposition, sustains the petition, admits to probate house at the time the said will was executed, testified that in their opinion
Exhibit A, holding that the same is legal in all its parts as the last will and Emigdio Zarate was of sound mind and memory at the time he signed the
testament of the deceased Emigdio Zarate."cralaw virtua1aw library said will. Practically the only testimony to the contrary adduced during the
trial of the cause in the lower court was the testimony given by two doctors,
From that conclusion of the lower court, the oppositor appealed to this court one of whom had not seen the deceased for many months before his death,
and made the following assignments of error:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph whose testimony was based wholly upon hypothetical questions.

"I. The court erred in holding that the deceased, Emigdio Zarate, was in the The appellant attempted to show that Emigdio Zarate for some months prior
full possession of his mental faculties at the time of the execution of his will. to his death had been troubled with insomnia, as well as some other physical
infirmities. The hypothetical questions were based upon the question
"II. The court erred in holding that the said Emigdio Zarate executed his last whether or not a person who had been suffering with insomnia for some
will and testament without illegal persuasion or influence on the part of months would have sufficient mental capacity to execute a will. The two
persons working in behalf of the heirs. doctors who appeared on behalf of the opponents testified that insomnia
tended to destroy the mental capacity, but that there were times, even
"III. The court erred in holding that Emigdio Zarate executed and signed his during the period while they were suffering from insomnia, when they would
last will without fraud and deceit being brought to bear upon him. be perfectly rational. Even admitting that there was some foundation for the
supposition that Emigdio Zarate had suffered from the alleged infirmities,
"IV. The court erred in holding that the testator signed his will in the we do not believe that the testimony was sufficiently direct and positive,
presence of four witnesses, Sabino Sandoval, Esteban Sandoval, George based upon the hypothetical questions, to overcome the positive and direct
Zarate and Eugenio Zarate, who, on their part, signed, each of them, in the testimony of the witnesses who were present at the time of the execution
presence of the others. of the will in question. The evidence adduced during the trial of the case,
shows a large preponderance of proof in favor of the fact that Emigdio
"V. The court erred in holding that it was proved that the will in question was Zarate was in the full possession of his mental faculties at the time he
executed and signed in conformity with the requirements and solemnities executed his last will and testament.
set out in the Code of Civil Procedure.
The second and third assignments of error may be considered together.
"VI. The court erred in holding that the document Exhibit A, of the petitioner, Upon the question presented by the said assignments of error, the lower
is legal in all its parts, as the last will and testament of the deceased Emigdio court found from the evidence that Emigdio Zarate executed his last will and
Zarate. testament without threats, force or pressure or illegal influence. The basis
of the claim that undue influence had been exercised over Emigdio Zarate is
"VII. The court erred in rendering judgment in this matter without waiting that a day or two before the said will was made, it is claimed by the
for the written argument of both sides. opponent, Maria Calderon, that the deceased promised to will to her a
certain house (one-half of which seems to belong to her) upon the payment

P a g e 27 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

by her to the deceased of the sum of P300. The P300 was never paid to the
deceased and the said property was not willed to the defendant herein. The
agreement between Maria Calderon and the deceased, if there was an G.R. No. L-41947 January 16, 1936
agreement, seems to have been made between them privately, at least at
the time the will was made the deceased made no reference to it whatever.
Those present at the time the will was made and the witnesses who signed In re Will of the deceased Silvestra Baron.
the same heard no statement or conversation relating to the said VIVENCIO CUYUGAN, Petitioner-Appellant, vs. FAUSTINA BARON and
agreement, between the opponent herein and the deceased. There is no GUILLERMO BARON,oppositors-appellees.
proof in the record which shows that any person even spoke to the deceased
with reference to the willing of the said house to the opponent. There is Pedro Abad Santos, Quirino Abad Santos, Francisco M. Ramos, and Aurelio
nothing in the record to indicate in the slightest degree that any person Pineda for appellant.
interested in the will, or who was present at the time of the making of the Arturo Joven for appellee Guillermo Baron.
same, induced or attempted to induce the deceased not to will the said Vicente J. Francisco and Jesus E. Blanco for appellee Faustina Baron.
house to the opponent herein. The theory of the opponent that the
deceased did not will to her the house in question is a mere presumption BUTTE, J.: chanrobles virtual law library
and there is not a scintilla of evidence in the record to support it.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga
The fourth, fifth, and sixth assignments of error may be considered
denying all the petition of Vivencio Cuyugan for the probate of the will of
together.
Silvestra Baron.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
During the trial of the cause two of the persons who signed the will as
witnesses appeared and testified. They testified that the deceased signed The petition which was filed on February 1, 1933, recites among other things
the will in their presence and in the presence of the other witnesses to the that Silvestra Baron died on January 30, 1933. The death certificate recites
will; that they each signed the will in the presence of the testator and in the that she was eighty-six years of age and died of heart failure. The petition
presence of the other witnesses; that the other two witnesses who were not further recites that she left an estate exceeding in value the sum of P80,000
called also signed the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence which she disposed of by will dated December 17, 1932, that she died single
of each of the other witnesses. There is no sufficient proof in the record to without forced heirs.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
overcome the declarations of these witnesses. We find no reason, therefore, library
for modifying the conclusion of the lower court upon these assignments of
error. The will appointed Vivencio Cuyugan, her nephew, as executor and contains
the following paragraphs which dispose of her estate:
With reference to the seventh assignment of error, to wit: that the court
erred in rendering judgment without waiting for the written arguments of Que despues de pagados todos los gastos quese han de ocasioner desde que
both parties, it may be said that it is customary for courts to wait until the me caiga enferma hasta el entiero de mi cadaver, los bienes y propiedades
parties have presented their arguments before deciding a cause, que he de dejar se repartiran buenamente y en partes iguales mis hermanos
nevertheless, it is not reversible error for a court to decide a cause without Ilamados Guillermo Baron, con exception de todo el dinero en metalico y mi
waiting for written arguments to be presented by the respective attorneys. casa de materiales fuertes construida en el barrio del Pilar, San Fernando,
It appears from the record (p. 102) that the trial of the cause was closed on Pampanga que actualmente habita mi hermano Guillermo Baron, porque
the 5th of August, 1910, and that the decision in the cause was not rendered estos los doy de una manera absoluta como herencia de mi sobrino Vivencio
until the 5th of October, 1910, or until after two months had expired. There Cuyugan.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
is nothing in the record which shows that either of the attorneys during
these two months asked for additional time in which to present their written
Que a la muerte de mis hermanos Guillermo y Faustina Baron, todos los
arguments. It also appears of record (p. 102) that the respective attorneys
terrenos que en virtud de este test tamento les dejo en herencia, los doy
asked for fifteen days’ time within which to present their written arguments.
herencia a mi so brino VIVENCIO CUYUGAN, por lo que, encargo y prohibo a
There is nothing in the record which shows whether they presented their
mis citados hermanos Guillermo y Faustina Baron, que graven o pongan
written arguments or not. If there was any fault for not having the written
cualquiera clase de obligacion sobre los bienes que les dejo en herencia.
arguments presented before the decision was rendered in the cause, it was
clearly not the fault of the judge.
The original of this will is signed "Silestra On" and the copy is signed "Silestra
The arguments heretofore given seem to be sufficient also to answer the Baron" (t.s.n. pp. 170, 171). Both copies are written in the Pampanga dialect
eighth and ninth assignments of error. and consist of one sheet and are witnessed in due form by Vicente David,
Valeriano Silva and Zacarias Nuguid (known to the
Upon a full consideration of the evidence and the assignments of error, we testator).chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
are of the opinion that the will of Emigdio Zarate, deceased, was executed
and signed in entire conformity with all the requirements and solemnities The petition for probate recites:
required by law. Therefore the judgment of the lower court is hereby
affirmed with costs. 9. That on the date of the execution of said will, that is to say, on December
17, 1932, the said testatrix was about 80 years old, more or less, and was
Torres, Carson and Moreland, JJ., concur. found and disposing mind, and not acting under duress, menace, fraud, or

P a g e 28 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

undue influence, and was in every respect competent to dispose of her The evidence shows that the same morning when Silvestra Baron signed the
estate by will. alleged will she suffered a physical collapse of such a serious nature that a
physician and a nurse were immediately called in. By reason of her advanced
The amended oppositions of Guillermo Baron, brother of the deceased, and age and the gravity of her illness, she was unable to do anything for herself.
Faustina Baron, sister of the deceased, allege in substance first, that at the Her grandniece, Epifania Sampang, who reached the house about one hour
time of the execution of the alleged will, Silvestra Baron was mentally and or so after the old lady's collapse, telephoned a message to Vivencio
physically incapacitated for the execution of a will; and, second, that her Cuyugan at San Fernando, some fourteen kilometers distant, that Silvestra
signature and alleged consent to the said will was obtained and the attorney had an attack and was in a serious condition and requested that a doctor be
who prepared the document and the witnesses who affixed their signatures sent immediately, Doctor Teopaco and a nurse arrived at about ten o'clock
thereto.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library and treated the patient with a plaster on her back and ice packs over her
heart and the doctor gave her a hypodermic injection in the arm. As the
doctor and the nurse were leaving, Vivencio Cuyugan, with an attorney and
Upon the issues thus drawn by the pleadings of the judge of the Court of
three witnesses, entered the house prepared to obtain the will of Silvestra
First Instance, after and extended trial and a full consideration of the
Baron. Neither the doctor nor the nurse were presented as witnesses by the
evidence, came to the following conclusion:
proponent. Epifania Sampang, admittedly an intelligent young woman, who
was the first to reach Silvestra Baron and remained throughout the morning
Opinamos que influyeron indebidamente e impropia mente en la voluntad attended to her, testified that when she reached the house she found her
ya debilitada de do�a Silvestra Baron por su avanzada edad la presencia de grandaunt lying in bed, very pale and unconscious; that she called to her but
sus sobrinos Vivencio Cuyugan y Regino Cuyugan durante el otorgamiento she did not answer and only groaned; that her mouth was twisted and her
del Exhibit A; la ausencia de Faustina Baron impedida de presenciarlo por lower lip swollen. She went out to call a doctor but all the doctors in
algunos soldados de la Constabularia y el Jefe de Policia Municipal, Zacarias Magalang were out whereupon she telephoned as stated to San Fernando
Nuguid; la oposicion de Regino Cuyugan a que ella firmase el documento for a doctor.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
preparado por el abogado Narciso declarando que no habia otorgado
testamento el dia anterior a su translado forzoso a San Fernando para que
The subscribing witnesses stated that it was their belief that Silvestra
no se hisciese firmar documento analogo y la presencia del cabo Morales y
understood the alleged will which she signed, but all of them admitted that
del algunos otros soldados, no solamente cuando se otorgo el testamento,
although they were in her house about two hours not one of them
sino cuando ella fue transladada de casa contra su voluntad y cuando se le exchanged a single word of conversation with Silvestra. The subscribing
hizo firmar el Exhibit 10, y por lo tanto, que ella no gozo de una completa
witness Zacarias Nuguid testified in part as follows:
libertad para disponer de sus bienes en testamento, o con pleno
conocimiento del alcance de su contendido. Solo asi se explica el que ella
haya dejado toda la propiedad de sus bienes a sus sobrinos, con quienes P. Desde que los tres abogados Abad Santos, Silva y David y usted y Vivencio
habia estado en pleito, con pretericion de sus hermanos, especialmente de Cuyugan se acercaron a la cama de la finada, hasta que tanto ella como
la opositora Faustina Baron, con quien habia conviviendo durante 40 a�os usteded firmaron el testamento, ha pronunciado ella alguna palabra? ha
. . . .chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library dicho ella algo o no? - R. No recuerdo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
Sentadas las premisas de hecho y de derecho que an teceden, el Juzgado no
puede menos de llegar a la con ser legalizado como el testamento y ultima P. Pero, por lo que usted recuerda, ha dicho ella algo o no ha dicho nada? -
voluntad de la finada Silvestra Baron. Cuando existen pruebas suficien tes R. No recuerdo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
para concencer al Juzgado de que se ha ejercido in fluencia indebida en el
animo de la testadora y que como resultado de dicha influencia indebida P. Usted ha dicho algo a ella? - R.
esta ha otorgado el testamento de la voluntad de la supuesta testadora sino Nada.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
de los que sobre ella ejercieron la influencia indebida.
P. El se�or Quirino Abad Santos le ha dicho algo a ella? - R. Nada. No he
An instrument purporting to be a will executed and witnessed in accordance oido.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
with the formalities required by the statute is entitled to the presumption of
regularity. But the burden of the evidence passed to the proponent when P. Los otros abogados Silva y David le han dicho algo ? - R. No he
the oppositors submit credible evidence tending to show that the supposed oido.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
testator did not possess testamentary capacity at the time or that the
document was not the free and voluntary expression of the alleged testator
P. Ella ha dicho algo a cualquiera de osos tres o a los abogados? - R. No he
or that the will, for any other reason, is void in law. The finding that the will
oido que dijera algo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
was executed under due influence or by the fraud of another presupposes
library
testamentary capacity. In the present case the learned trial judge refused
the probate of the alleged will on the ground that it was executed under the
due influence of other persons and we think the record warrants his findings P. Si ella hubiese dicho algo a los abogados, asi como los abogados hubieran
in this respect. The trial court also made findings of fact tending to show hablado a ella, usted hubiera oido porque usted estaba cerca, no es verdad?
actual lack of testamentary capacity of Silvestra Baron and we have - R. Si se�or, hubiera podido oir.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
preferred to base our conclusion on that finding. The testamentary capacity virtual law library
of Silvestra Baron at the time she executed the said purported
will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
P a g e 29 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

P. Cuando el senor Silva termino de leer el testamento, dijo algo la vieja? - In view of the premises, the judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs
R. No he oido que dijera algo. against the appellant.

There is no evidence that Silvestra Baron took any active part in the Hull and Imperial, JJ., concur.
preparation of the alleged will except that when she was asked if she wished
to include her sister Faustina in the will she said "Yes" in Pampanga. There is
no affirmative evidence that she understood the document when it was read
to her. The person who read the will to her testified as follows:
Separate Opinions
R. Despues de leido el testamento, tuve que entregarlo a do�a Silvestra, y
lo miro algun rato.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
MALCOLM, J., concurring:chanrobles virtual law library

P. Y ella, efectivamente, cogio el testamento de manos de usted? - R. Lo


The main issue in this case, as I see it, is whether or not Silvestra Baron, a
entregue a sus manos.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
woman of advanced years and in a critical state of health, possesses
library
testamentary capacity to make a will. This was an issue of fact, and resolving
it the trial judge reached the conclusion that the testatrix was not of
P. Y ella lo cogio con sus manos? - R. Si disposing mind. My review of the evidence does not permit me to say that
se�or.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library in thus deciding the trial judge was wrong. As was expected, in a case of this
character, the oral testimony was conflicting, but in resolving the credibility
P. Y lo tuvo en sus manos leyendo, mirando? - R. Mirandolo of the witnesses, a judge as experienced as Judge Hermogenes Reyes was in
asi.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library a much better position to do so than we are. However, I may state that I
have been considerably influenced by the testimony of the parish priest,
P. Pero, no lo leia? - R. Lo estuvo mirando por mucho tiempo asi. certainly a disinterested party, who stated on the witness stand that in
response to his question if she had made a will, Silvestra Baron answered:
"There is no will, Father." But from the premise of lack of testamentary
Standing at her bedside was the attorney with three witnesses and the chief capacity, it does not necessarily follow that anything of an unprofessional
beneficiary, Vivencio Cuyugan, and yet so far as this record shows, not a nature should be imputed to the lawyer who prepared the will and the other
word was exchanged between any of them and the suffering old woman. lawyers who acted as attesting witnesses. The first named is the justice of
We don't know what drug the doctor administered but it is clear to us from the peace of San Fernando, Pampanga, and has an excellent reputation,
the evidence that in her dazed physical and mental condition she had no which is not lessened in the least by his acts in this case, and the last named
adequate understanding of what she was doing at that time. She could not are reputable members of the bar.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
even sign her name to the original will properly or correctly, and when this virtual law library
defect was noted by one of the astute subscribing witnesses, he suggested
that they have her sign another copy (t.s.n. page 109) which was
done.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library For these reasons and to this extent, I concur.

She never saw the alleged will at any time again prior to her death which Vickers, and Recto, J., concur.
occurred forty-four days later. It was immediately taken away by an attorney
who kept it in his possession alleging that she had instructed him to keep it VILLA-REAL, J., dissenting:chanrobles virtual law library
secret. There is, however, credible evidence in the record that before her
death she had denied to several persons that she made any The lower court refused to probate the will of Silvestra Baron on the ground
will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library that when she executed it she was under the undue influence of other
persons; but the majority of this court, while admitting the existence of such
This belief on her part that she had not made any will explains her failure to undue influence, prefers to base its refusal on the ground that she lacked
do any act of revocation in the forty-four days during which she lingered in testamentary capacity at the time of the execution of said
this life. The doctrine that where the testator has had an opportunity to will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
revoke his will subsequent to the operation of an alleged undue influence
upon him but makes no change in it, the courts will consider this fact as The facts constituting the undue influence in the opinion of the lower court
weighing heavily against the testimony of undue influence, has no are summarized in its decision as follows:
application to cases in which there has been an initial lack of testamentary
capacity. It has no application, moreover, where from the day of execution
Opinamos que influyeron indebitamente e impropiamente en al voluntad ya
until the death of the testator his mental condition is such that he cannot
debilitada de do�a Silvestra Baron por su avanzada edad la presencia de
judge the propriety of revoking the will. Nor obviously does it apply to a case
sus sobrinos Vivencio Cuyugan y Regino Cuyugan durante el otorgamiento
where the alleged testator harbors the belief that he had not executed the
del Exhibit A; la ausencia de Faustina Baron impedida de presenciarlo por
will in question.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
algunos soldados de la Constabularia y el Jefe de Policia Municipal, Zacarias
Nuguid; la oposicion de Regino Cuyugan a que ella firmase el documento
preparado por el abogado Narciso declarando que no habia otorgado

P a g e 30 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

testamento el dia anterior a su translado forzoso a San Fernando para que unduly influenced the testatrix in the making of her
no se hiciese firmar documento analogo y la presencia del cabo Morales y will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
de algunos otros soldados, no solamente cuando se otorgo el testamento,
sino cuando se le hizo firmar el Exhibit 10, y, por lo tanto, que ella no gozo The presence of some Constabulary soldiers outside the house and in the
de una completa libertad para disponer de sus bienes en testamento, o con kitchen is also one of the reasons which led the lower court to conclude that
pleno conocimiento del alcance de su contenido. Solo asi se explica el que undue influence was used in making Silvestra Baron sign her will. Silvestra
ella haya dejado toda la propiedad de sus bienes a sus sobrinos, con quienes Baron was not an ignorant old lady. She was a landed proprietress, who
habia estado en pleito, con pretericion de sus hermanos, especialmente de according to the custom prevailing in the Philippine Islands, managed her
la opositora Faustina Baron, con quien habia estado conviviendo durante 40 won property, and in o doing she had to deal with many farm laborers in
a�os . . .. such a way as to make them respect her. The presence of Constabulary
soldiers in towns and barrios is not a rare occurrence, and country people
And the facts constituting lack of testamentary capacity are condensed in are accustomed to seeing them around whether on patrol or quarantine
the opinion of the majority as follows: duty. There is, therefore, nothing in the mere presence of the Constabulary
soldiers in the house of Silvestra Baron at the time of making her will which
The evidence shows that the same morning when Silvestra Baron signed the could have influenced her. Besides, the testatrix must have known the
alleged will she suffered a physical collapse of such a serious nature that a presence of such soldiers before she collapsed, because they had been there
physician and a nurse were immediately called in. By reason of her advanced investigating the assault and robbery committed against her a few days
age and the gravity of her illness, she was unable to do anything for herself. before. There is no evidence that said soldiers were brought to the house for
Her grandniece, Epifania Sampang, who reached the house about an hour or the purpose of guarding the making of the
so after the old lady's collapse, telephoned a message to Vivencio Cuyugan will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
at San Fernando, some fourteen kilometers distant, that Silvestra had had
an attack and was in a serious condition and requested that a doctor be sent The fact that the chief of police of San Fernando, Zacarias Nuguid, was
immediately. Doctor Teopaco and a nurse arrived at about ten o'clock and brought by Attorney Quirino Abad Santos, whom the old lady had requested
treated the patient with a plaster on her back and ice packs over her heart to prepare her will, had no more significance than the bringing of the other
and the doctor gave her a hypodermic injection in the arm. As the doctor attorneys to witnesses to the will. There is certainly no evil in making a chief
and the nurse were leaving, Vivencio Cuyugan, with an attorney and three of police a witness to a will, nor is there any law disqualifying him to be such
witnesses, entered the house prepared to obtain the will of Silvestra Baron. witness.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Neither the doctor nor the nurse were presented as witnesses by the
proponent. Epifania Sampang, admittedly an intelligent young woman, who The alleged attitude of Regino Cuyugan in trying to prevent her aunt Silvestra
was the first to reach Silvestra Baron and remained throughout the morning Baron on December 18, 1932, the day following the making of her will, to
and attended to her, testified that when she reached the house she found sign a document prepared by Attorney Jose A. Narciso revoking her said will,
her grandaunt lying in the bed, very pale and unconscious; that she called to even if it were true, could in no way have influenced her in the making of
her but she did not answer and only groaned; that her mouth was twisted said will which took place the day
and her lower lip swollen. She went out to call a doctor but all the doctors in previous.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
Magalang were out whereupon she telephoned as stated to San Fernando
for a doctor.
The lower court also found that the will of Silvestra Baron was weakened by
old age. In this connection I prefer to reproduce here what is said in 68
Examining now the facts which according to the findings of the lower court Corpus Juris, 440-442:
constituted undue influence, we have in the first place the presence of the
testatrix nephews Regino Cuyugan and Vivencio Cuyugan. There was
Old age. - A person possessing the requisites of testamentary capacity is not
nothing either in the presence of Vivencio Cuyugan or of that of Regino
incapacitated from making a will by old age, although his advanced years to
Cuyugan which could have compelled Silvestra Baron to make Vivencio
be accompanied by infirmity of mind and body. Nor is he incapacitated by
Cuyugan her most favored beneficiary in her will. There is certainly nothing
failing a memory, vacillating judgment, childishness, slovenliness in dress,
ill in nephews being present at the making of a will. The evidence shows that
eccentricities or peculiarities in habit or speech, and even delusions or
these two Cuyugans just stood by while the will was being read to the
hallucinations if they do not affect the execution of the will, and he is not
testatrix and when it was presented to her for her
limited to conventional methods of disposition. The will is not valid where
signature.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
an aged person is so enfeebled mentally as not to understand what he is
doing.
The absence of Faustina Baron, - the sister of Silvestra Baron, in whose
company the latter was living, - who, according to the witnesses for the
If undue influence had been used to compel Silvestra Baron to make the will
opponents, but denied by the witnesses for the proponent, while the will
on the 17th of December, 1932, she could have changed her said will after
was being made, was prevented to come into the house by some
all the circumstances which according to the court below constituted said
Constabulary soldiers and the chief of police of San Fernando, Pampanga,
undue influence had disappeared. After the making of her will Silvestra
Zacarias Nuguid, is another fact mentioned by the lower court as
Baron was left alone in her house in the company of her nephew Regino
constituting undue influence. Even granting that Faustina Baron was
Cuyugan, her grandniece Epifania Sampang and her sister Faustina Baron.
prevented to come to the house while Silvestra Baron was making her will, I
Upon gaining access to the house and learning that her sister Silvestra Baron
fail to see how such act on the part of the Constabulary soldiers could have
had signed some papers, Faustina Baron started immediately to look for
Attorney Jose A. Narciso, and with him went to the house of Attorney
P a g e 31 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

Valeriano Silva who upon being questioned informed the latter that the old 239 Ill., 279; 87 N.E., N.E., 1022; Wickes vs. Walden, 228 Ill., 56; 81 N.E., 798;
lady had signed a will. Thereupon efforts were made to have the will Woodman vs. Illinois Trust & Sav. Bank, 211 Ill., 578; 71 N.E., 1099; Roe vs.
revoked, and to this effect Attorney Jose A. Narciso prepared a document Taylor, 45 Ill., 485.) The evidence failed to establish these requirements. The
which the old lady refused to sign as we have already stated. On the 20th of law does not require that a testator, in making disposition of his property,
December, 1932, the old lady was taken by her brother Guillermo Baron, shall be humane or even just. If he possesses the requisite mental capacity,
one of the opponents, to her own house in San Fernando, Pampanga, he has the right to make an unequal distribution of his property among his
occupied by said Guillermo, and there she stayed for forty days before her heirs or to give it entirely to strangers. (McGrady vs. McGrady, 298 Ill., 129;
death. During that time she signed on two different occasions two 131 N.E., 251.)
documents, one ratifying the making of her will and the other appointing her
nephew Vivencio Cuyugan her attorney in fact. An old lady who after making We have seen that none of the facts which the lower court found to
her will remains in the house of her sister, free from any outside influence, constitute undue influence is such as to cause fear, desire of peace, or any
refuses to sign a document purporting to be a revocation of her will, lives for other feeling which Silvestra Baron was unable to
forty days in her own house in San Fernando, Pampanga, in the company of resist.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
her brother, and there signs two important documents, cannot certainly be
said to have been unduly influenced when the made her
As to the effect of an opportunity of revocation upon an alleged undue
will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
influence, we read in 28 R.C.L., 151, the following rule:

In Brownlie vs. Brownlie (93 A.L.R., 1048), the Supreme Court of Illinois said
106. Opportunity of revocation. - Where the testator has had an opportunity
the following:
to revoke his will subsequent to the operation of an alleged undue influence
upon him, but makes no change in it, the court as a general rule considers
. . . The undue influence which will invalidate a will must be directly the effect of the testimony of the undue influence as destroyed.
connected with the execution of the instrument, be operating when the will
was made, and thereby prevent the testator from exercising his own wish
From the foregoing definition of undue influence, and the existence of an
and will in the disposition of his estate. (Flanigon vs.Smith, 337 Ill., 572; 169
opportunity to revoke without taking advantage of it, I come to the
N.E., 767; Chaney vs.Baker, 304 Ill., 362; 136, N.E., 804; Goff vs.Gerhart, 316
conclusion that when Silvestra Baron signed her will she was not under any
Ill., 513; 147 N.E., 419; McGrady vs.McGrady, 298 Ill., 129; 131 N.E., 251.)
undue influence, and that if she had ever been in such during the forty days
The fact that the beneficiaries of a will are those by whom the testator was
which she survived the making of said will. The fact that not only she had not
surrounded and with whom he stood in confidential relationship at the time
done so but that she made a power of attorney in favor of her nephew
of executing his will is no ground for inferring undue influence.
Vivencio Cuyugan, the chief beneficiary under her will, and ratified the
(Michael vs. Marshall, 201 Ill., 70; 66 N.E., 273; Rutherford vs. Morris, 77 Ill.,
making of said will, is conclusive proof that no undue influence had been
397.) The influence must be directed towards procuring the will in favor of
exerted to compel her to sign her will.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles
certain parties and must be such as to destroy the testator's freedom of will
virtual law library
and purpose. (Pond vs.Hollett, 310 Ill., 31; 141 N.E., 403; Gregory vs.Richey,
307 Ill., 219; 138 N.E., 669; Blackhurst vs.James, 304 Ill., 219; 136 N. E., 754,
Snell vs.Weldon, 239 Ill., 279; 87 N.E., 1022.) Proof of undue influence must Another fact which led the trial court to conclude that undue influence was
be consistent with the exercise of undue influence and also be inconsistent exercised upon Silvestra Baron is that in her will she left most of her property
with its absence. (Cunningham vs.Dorwart, supra; Compher vs. Browning, to her nephews leaving nothing to her brother and sister Faustina Baron
219 Ill., 429; 76 N.E., 678; 109 Am. St. Rep., 346.) except a life usufruct.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
library
In the case of Torres and Lopez de Bueno vs. Lopez (48 Phil., 772), this court
in an opinion written by Justice Malcolm, defines undue influence as follows: In the case of Pecson vs. Coronel(45 Phil., 216), this court said the following:

Undue influence as used in connection with the law of wills, may be defined Although family ties in this country are very strongly knit, the exclusion of
as that which compels the testator to do that which is against the will from relatives, who are not forced heirs, from the inheritance is not an
fear, the desire of peace, or from other feeling which he is unable to resist. exceptional case. The inhabitants of the Archipelago do not appear to be
averse to the freedom to make a will enshrined by article 783 of the Civil
Code, which has been in force in the Philippines since the year 1889. But
In Applehans vs. Jurgenson (67 A.L.R., 857), the Supreme Court of Illinois
even if the appointment of a beneficiary do not seem to be the most usual
said:
and ordinary because the beneficiary is not a relative of the testatrix who
has relatives by blood, this alone will not render the appointment void per
The undue influence which will avoid a will must be directly connected with se.
the execution of the instrument and operate at the time it is made. The
influence must be specially directed toward procuring the will in favor of a
In 68 Corpus Juris, 452, we read the following:
particular party or parties, and it must be such as to destroy the freedom of
the testator's will and render the instrument obviously more the offspring
of the will of another or others that of his own. (Ughetti vs. Ughetti, 334 Ill., The fact that a will may be unnatural, unfair, or unjust creates of itself no
398; 166 N.E., 90; Ray vs.Koenigsmarck, 329 Ill., 588; 161 N.E., 124; presumption that the testator was incompetent at the time of its execution.
Farmer vs. Davis, 289 Ill., 392; 124 N.E., 640; Hurd vs. Reed, 260 Ill., 154; 102 No presumption of mental incapacity arises from the fact that the will makes
N.E., 1048; Larabee vs. Larabee, 240 Ill., 576; 88 N.E., 1037; Snell vs. Weldon, an unequal distribution of property among the next of kin, or that it gives
P a g e 32 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

property to persons other than the natural objects of the testator's bounty. unconscious as the result of said fall she would not have been able to call
Any departure form the usual course in which a person prompted by her sister Faustina by her name, nor could she have given orders to locate
ordinary instincts and natural impulses would have his property go is her. Because her grandaunt did not answer her when she called her, Epifania
presumed to have been made by the testator because of reasons rationally Sampang imagined that she was unconscious. Thus, all the evidence
conceived which were satisfactory to him, and on the probate of a will the concerning the unconscious state of Silvestra Baron in the morning she made
fact the will is unnatural does not shift the burden to the proponent. her will consisted of the testimony of Epifania Sampang alone. The doctor
According to some decisions, however, where a will is an unnatural one it is who attended Silvestra Baron after her fall was the one qualified to testify
the duty of the proponent on the probate of the will to give some reasonable as to her mental condition and not her grandniece. The contestants whose
explanation of its unnatural character. duty it was to call said doctor to prove unconsciousness failed to do
so.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
In the present case there is evidence to the effect that Silvestra Baron
trusted her nephews, specially Vivencio Cuyugan, more than her brother In the case of Torres and Lopez de Bueno vs. Lopez, supra, this court said:
Guillermo Baron and her sister Faustina Baron. Faustina Baron herself
testified that after the assault and robber on December 9, 1932, Silvestra On January 3, 1924, when the testator, Tomas Rodriguez, made his will, he
Baron entrusted to her nephews Ventura Cuyugan and Vivencio Cuyugan the was 76 years old, physically decrepit, weak of intellect, suffering from a loss
combination of the safe where she kept her valuables and documents and of memory, had a guardian of his person and his property, and was eccentric,
gave them the duplicates of the keys to the interior compartments and but he still possessed that spark of reason and of life, that strength of mind
drawers (pp. 254, 255, t.s.n.). That Silvestra Baron did not trust her sister to form a fixed intention and to summon his enfeebled thoughts to enforce
Faustina Baron may be inferred from the latter's own testimony on page 291 that intention, which the law terms "testamentary capacity." Two of the
(t.s.n.) to the effect that before the 17th of December, 1932, she did not subscribing witnesses testified clearly to the regular manner in which the will
dare to suggests to her sister Silvestra Baron to make a will because the was executed, and one did not. The attending physician and three other
latter did not like to hear anything about the matter, but she told Faustina doctors who were present at the execution of the will expressed opinions
that she had already made her will long time ago. If to this we add the fact entirely favorable to the capacity of the testator. Three other members of
that a complaint was signed by Silvestra Baron against her sister Faustina the medical profession expressed opinions entirely unfavorable to the
and the latter's son Emilio Lacson for the assault and robbery committed capacity of the testator and certified he was of unsound mind. Held: That
against her, then we have a full explanation why in her will Silvestra Baron Tomas Rodriguez on January 3, 1924, possessed sufficient mentality to make
bequeathed to her nephews almost all her property leaving to her brother a will which would meet the legal test regarding testamentary capacity; that
and sister nothing but a life usufruct.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles the proponents of the will have carried successfully the burden of proof and
virtual law library have shown him of sound mind on that date; and that it was reversible error
on the part of the trial court not to admit his will to probate.
Passing now to the question of lack of testamentary capacity or disposing
mind, which is the ground preferred by the majority opinion on which to While it is true that in the present case no physician testified as to the
base its rejection of the probate of the said will, we find in the first place the condition of Silvestra Baron's mind when she signed her will, we have
alleged failure of the proponent to call as witnesses the doctor and the nurse however the testimony of three reputable attorneys to the effect that
who attended Silvestra Baron immediately after she collapsed, apparently judging from her appearance and the ways she acted when she signed her
inferring that had they testified their testimony would have been will she was of sound mind. This was corroborated by the fact that when the
unfavorable to the claim of sanity. The burden of proving sanity, which falls next day Attorney Jose A. Narciso, upon learning that she had made a will,
on the shoulders of the proponent of a will, was discharged by Vivencio he tried to make her revoked said will which she refused. This in itself is an
Cuyugan when he put to the witness stand Attorney Quirino Abad Santos, admission that she was of sound disposing mind. The very finding of the
the drawer of the will, and attorneys Vicente T. David and Valeriano Silva, lower court that Silvestra Baron was unduly influenced in the making of her
and the chief of police of San Fernando, Pampanga, Zacarias Nuguid, the will is an implied admission that she possessed testamentary
three witnesses who signed the will. They testified unanimously that when capacity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
testatrix signed her will she was of sound mind, judging from her appearance
and the manner she signed it. "An attesting witness to a will may base an
The preponderance of evidence and the implied admission of the lower
opinion of the testator's mental capacity upon his appearance at the time of
court show, therefore, the when Silvestra Baron made her will she was of
executing the will. (Brownlie vs. Brownlie, 93 A.L.R., 1041.) This testimony
sound disposing mind.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law
was sufficient to make and did make a prima facie case, (68 Corpus Juris,
library
450), and the burden of going forward to show testamentary incapacity
having shifted to the contestants (68 Corpus Juris, 451). It was not therefore
the duty of the proponent to call the doctor and the nurse who attended From all the foregoing considerations, I come to the conclusion that Silvestra
Silvestra Baron when she collapsed to show that she was of sound mind but Baron made her will free from any undue influence and in a sound disposing
of the contestants to show mind, and, therefore, said will should be probated.
incapacity.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

That Silvestra Baron did not become unconscious as the result of her fall is
shown by the very testimony of Epifania Sampang who said, referring to her G.R. No. 6845 September 1, 1914
grandaunt: "Estaba inconsciente, lanzaba quejidos, decia: 'Faustina,
Faustina'; mandaba buscar a la vieja Faustina." If the testatrix was really

P a g e 33 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

YAP TUA, petitioner-appellee, On the 1st day of March, 1910, the court appointed Gabriel La O as
vs. guardian ad litem of said parties. Gabriel La O accepted said appointment,
YAP CA KUAN and YAP CA KUAN, objectors-appellants. took the oath of office and entered upon the performance of his duties as
guardian ad litem of said parties. On the 2d day of March, 1910, the said
Chicote and Miranda for appellants. Gabriel La O appeared in court and presented a motion in which he alleged,
O'Brien and DeWitt for appellee. in substance:

JOHNSON, J.: First. That the will dated the 11th day of August, 1909, and admitted to
probate by order of the court on the 29th day of September, 1909, was null,
for the following reasons:
It appears from the record that on the 23d day of August, 1909, one Perfecto
Gabriel, representing the petitioner, Yap Tua, presented a petition in the
Court of First Instance of the city of Manila, asking that the will of Tomasa (a) Because the same had not been authorized nor signed by the
Elizaga Yap Caong be admitted to probate, as the last will and testament of witnesses as the law prescribes.
Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, deceased. It appears that the said Tomasa Elizaga
Yap Caong died in the city of Manila on the 11th day of August, 1909. (b) Because at the time of the execution of the will, the said
Accompanying said petition and attached thereto was the alleged will of the Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong was not then mentally capacitated to
deceased. It appears that the will was signed by the deceased, as well as execute the same, due to her sickness.
Anselmo Zacarias, Severo Tabora, and Timoteo Paez.
(c) Because her signature to the will had been obtained through
Said petition, after due notice was given, was brought on for hearing on the fraud and illegal influence upon the part of persons who were to
18th day of September, 1909. Timoteo Paez declared that he was 48 years receive a benefit from the same, and because the said Tomasa
of age; that he had known the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong; that she had Elizaga Yap Caong had no intention of executing the same.
died on the 11th day of August, 1909; that before her death she had
executed a last will and testament; that he was present at the time of the Second. That before the execution of the said will, which they alleged to be
execution of the same; that he had signed the will as a witness; that Anselmo null, the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong had executed another will, with all
Zacarias and Severo Tabora had also signed said will as witnesses and that the formalities required by law, upon the 6th day of August, 1909.
they had signed the will in the presence of the deceased.
Third. That the said Yap Ca Kuan and Yap Ca Llu were minors and that, even
Pablo Agustin also declared as a witness and said that he was 40 years of though they had been negligent in presenting their opposition to the
age; that he knew Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong during her lifetime; that she legalization of the will, said negligence was excusable, on account of their
died on the 11th day of August, 1909, in the city of Manila; that before her age.
death she had executed a last will and testament; that he was present at the
time said last will was executed; that there were also present Timoteo Paez
Upon the foregoing facts the court was requested to annul and set aside the
and Severo Tabora and a person called Anselmo; that the said Tomasa
order of the 29th day of September, 1909, and to grant to said minors an
Elizaga Yap Caong signed the will in the presence of the witnesses; that he
opportunity to present new proof relating to the due execution of said will.
had seen her sign the will with his own eyes; that the witnesses had signed
Said petition was based upon the provisions of section 113 of the Code of
the will in the presence of the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong and in the
Procedure in Civil Actions.
presence of each other; that the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong signed the
will voluntarily, and in his judgment, she was in the possession of her
faculties; that there were no threats or intimidation used to induce her to While it is not clear from the record, apparently the said minors in their
sign the will; that she signed it voluntarily. petition for a new trial, attached to said petition the alleged will of August 6,
1909, of the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, and the affidavits of Severo
Tabora, Clotilde and Cornelia Serrano.
No further witnesses were called and there was no further opposition
presented to the legalization of the said will.
Upon the 10th day of March, 1910, upon the hearing of said motion for a
rehearing, the Honorable A. S. Crossfield, judge, granted said motion and
After hearing the foregoing witnesses, the Honorable A. S. Crossfield, judge,
ordered that the rehearing should take place upon the 18th day of March,
on the 29th day of September, 1909, ordered that the last will and testament
1910, and directed that notice should be given to the petitioners of said
of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong be allowed and admitted to probate. The will
rehearing and to all other persons interested in the will. At the rehearing a
was attached to the record and marked Exhibit A. The court further ordered
number of witnesses were examined.
that one Yap Tua be appointed as executor of the will, upon the giving of a
bond, the amount of which was to be fixed later.
It will be remembered that one of the grounds upon which the new trial was
requested was that the deceased, Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, had not signed
From the record it appears that no further proceedings were had until the
the will (Exhibit A) of the 11th of August, 1909; that in support of that
28th of February, 1910, when Yap Ca Kuan and Yap Ca Llu appeared and
allegation, the protestants, during the rehearing, presented a witness called
presented a petition, alleging that they were interested in the matters of the
Tomas Puzon. Puzon testified that he was a professor and an expert in
said will and desired to intervene and asked that a guardian ad litem be
handwriting, and upon being shown the will (of August 11, 1909) Exhibit A,
appointed to represent them in the cause.
testified that the name and surname on Exhibit A, in his judgment were
P a g e 34 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

written by two different hands, though the given name is the same as that make the will dated August 11, 1909 (Exhibit A). Papa declared that he was
upon Exhibit 1 (the will of August 6, 1909), because he found in the name a physician; that he knew Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong; that he had treated her
"Tomasa" on Exhibit A a similarity in the tracing to the "Tomasa" in Exhibit in the month of August; that he visited her first on the 8th day of August;
1; that comparing the surname on Exhibit A with the surname on Exhibit 1 that he visited her again on the 9th and 10th days of August; that on the first
he found that the character of the writing was thoroughly distinguished and visit he found the sick woman completely weak — very weak from her
different by the tracing and by the direction of the letters in the said two sickness, in the third stage of tuberculosis; that she was lying in bed; that on
exhibits; that from his experience and observation he believed that the the first visit he found her with but little sense, the second day also, and on
name "Tomasa" and "Yap Caong," appearing in the signature on Exhibit A the third day she had lost all her intelligence; that she died on the 11th of
were written by different person. August; tat he was requested to issue the death certificate; that when he
asked her (Tomasa) whether she was feeling any pain or anything of that
Puzon, being cross-examined with reference to his capacity as an expert in kind, she did not answer at all; that she was in a condition of stupor, induced,
handwriting, testified that while he was a student in the Ateneo de Manila, as he believed, by the stage of uraemia from which she was suffering.
he had studied penmanship; that he could not tell exactly when that was,
except that he had concluded his course in the year 1882; that since that Anselmo Zacarias, who had signed the will of August 11, 1909, was also
time he had been a telegraph operator for seventeen years and that he had called as a witnesses during the rehearing. He testified that he had known
acted as an expert in hand- writing in the courts in the provinces. Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong since he was a child; that Tomasa was dead; that
he had written the will exhibit A; that it was all in his writing except the last
Gabriel La O was called as a witness during the rehearing and testified that part, which was written by Carlos Sobaco; that he had written the will Exhibit
he had drawn the will of the 6th of August, 1909, at the request of Tomasa A at the request of the uncle of Tomasa; that Lorenzo, the brother of the
Elizaga Yap Caong; that it was drawn in accordance with her request and deceased, was the one who had instructed him as to the terms of the will ;
under her directions; that she had signed it; that the same had been signed that the deceased had not spoken to him concerning the terms of the will;
by three witnesses in her presence and in the presence of each other; that that the will was written in the dining room of the residence of the deceased;
the will was written in her house; that she was sick and was lying in her bed, that Tomasa was in another room different from that in which the will was
but that she sat up to sign the will; that she signed the will with great written; that the will was not written in the presence of Tomasa; that he
difficulty; that she was signed in her right mind. signed the will as a witness in the room where Tomasa was lying; that the
other witnesses signed the will in the same room that when he went into
the room where the sick woman was (Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong) Lorenzo
The said Severo Tabora was also called as a witness again during the
had the will in his hands; that when Lorenzo came to the bed he showed the
rehearing. He testified that he knew Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong during her
will to his sister (Tomasa) and requested her to sign it; that she was lying
lifetime; that she was dead; that his signature as a witness to Exhibit A (the
stretched out on the bed and two women, who were taking care of her,
will of August 11, 1909) was placed there by him; that the deceased, Tomasa
helped her to sit up, supporting her by lacing their hands at her back; that
Elizaga Yap Caong, became familiar with the contents of the will because she
when she started to write her name, he withdrew from the bed on account
signed it before he (the witness) did; that he did not know whether anybody
of the best inside the room; when he came back again to the sick bed the
there told her to sign the will or not; that he signed two bills; that he did not
will was signed and was again in the hands of Lorenzo; that he did not see
know La O; that he did not believe that Tomasa had signed the will (Exhibit
Tomasa sign the will because he withdrew from the room; that he did not
A) before he arrived at the house; that he was not sure that he had seen
know whether Tomasa had been informed of the contents of the will or not;
Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong sign Exhibit A because there were many people
he supposed she must have read it because Lorenzo turned the will over to
and there was a screen at the door and he could not see; that he was called
her; that when Lorenzo asked her to sign the will, he did not know what she
a a witness to sign the second will and was told by the people there that it
said — he could not hear her voice; that he did not know whether the sick
was the same as the first; that the will (Exhibit A) was on a table, far from
woman was him sign the will or not; that he believed that Tomasa died the
the patient, in the house but outside the room where the patient was; that
next day after the will had been signed; that the other two witnesses,
the will was signed by Paez and himself; that Anselmo Zacarias was there;
Timoteo Paez and Severo Tabora, had signed the will in the room with the
that he was not sure whether Anselmo Zacarias signed the will or not; that
sick woman; that he saw them sign the will and that they saw him sign it;
he was not sure whether Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong could see the table on
that he was not sure whether the testatrix could have seen them at the time
which the will was written at the time it was signed or not; that there were
they signed the will or not; that there was a screen before the bed; that he
many people in the house; that he remembered the names of Pedro and
did not think that Lorenzo had been giving instructions as to the contents of
Lorenzo; that he could not remember the names of any others; that the will
the will; that about ten or fifteen minutes elapsed from the time Lorenzo
remained on the table after he signed it; that after he signed the will he went
handed the will to Tomasa before she started to sign it; that the pen with
to the room where Tomasa was lying; that the will was left on the table
which she signed the will as given to her and she held it.
outside; that Tomasa was very ill; that he heard the people asking Tomasa
to sign the will after he was (the witness) had signed it; that he saw Paez sign
the will, that he could not remember whether Anselmo Zacarias had signed Clotilde Mariano testified that he was a cigarette maker; that he knew
the will, because immediately after he and Paez signed it, he left because he Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong and that she was dead; that she had made two
was hungry; that the place where the table was located was in the same wills; that the first one was written by La O and the second by Zacarias; that
house, on the floor, about two steps down from the floor on which Tomasa he was present at the time Zacarias wrote the second one; that he was
was. present when the second will was taken to Tomasa for signature; that
Lorenzo had told Tomasa that the second will was exactly like the first; that
Tomasa said she could not sign it.
Rufino R. Papa, was called as a witness for the purpose of supporting the
allegation that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong was mentally incapacitated to

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

On cross examination he testified that there was a lot of visitors there; that I. The court erred in declaring that the will, Exhibit A, was executed
Zacarias was not there; that Paez and Tabora were there; that he had told by the deceased Tomasa Yap Caong, without the intervention of
Tomasa that the second will was exactly like the first. any external influence on the part of other persons.

During the rehearing Cornelia Serrano and Pedro Francisco were also II. The court erred in declaring that the testator had clear
examined as witnesses. There is nothing in their testimony, however, which knowledge and knew what she was doing at the time of signing
in our opinion is important. the will.

In rebuttal Julia e la Cruz was called as a witness. She testified that she was III. The court erred in declaring that the signature of the deceased
19 years of age; that she knew Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong during her lifetime; Tomasa Yap Caong in the first will, Exhibit 1, is identical with that
that she lived in the house of Tomasa during the last week of her illness; that which appears in the second will, Exhibit A.
Tomasa had made two wills; that she was present when the second one was
executed; that a lawyer had drawn the will in the dining room and after it IV. The court erred in declaring that the will, Exhibit A, was
had been drawn and everything finished , it was taken to where Doña executed in accordance with the law.
Tomasa was, for her signature; that it was taken to her by Anselmo Zacarias;
that she was present at the time Tomasa signed the will that there were
With reference to the first assignment of error, to wit, that undue influence
many other people present also; that she did not see Timoteo Paez there;
was brought to bear upon Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong in the execution of her
that she saw Severo Tabora; that Anselmo Zacarias was present; that she did
will of August 11th, 1909 (Exhibit A), the lower court found that no undue
not hear Clotilde Mariano ask Tomasa to sign the will; that she did not hear
influence had been exercised over the mind of the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap
Lorenzo say to Tomasa that the second will was the same sa the first; that
Caong. While it is true that some of the witnesses testified that the brother
Tomasa asked her to help her to sit up and to put a pillow to her back when
of Tomasa, one Lorenzo, had attempted to unduly influence her mind in the
Zacarias gave her some paper or document and asked her to sign it; that she
execution of he will, upon the other hand, there were several witnesses who
saw Tomasa take hold of the pen and try to sign it but she did not see the
testified that Lorenzo did not attempt, at the time of the execution of the
place she signed the document, for the reason that she left the room; that
will, to influence her mind in any way. The lower court having had an
she saw Tomasa sign the document but did not see on what place on the
opportunity to see, to hear, and to note the witnesses during their
document she signed; and that a notary public came the next morning; that
examination reached the conclusion that a preponderance of the evidence
Tomasa was able to move about in the bed; that she had seen Tomasa in the
showed that no undue influence had been used. we find no good reason in
act of starting to write her signature when she told her to get her some
the record for reversing his conclusions upon that question.
water.

With reference to the second assignment of error to wit, that Tomasa Elizaga
Yap Cao Quiang was also called as a witness in rebuttal. He testified that he
Yap Caong was not of sound mind and memory at the time of the execution
knew Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong and knew that she had made a will; that he
of the will, we find the same conflict in the declarations of the witnesses
saw the will at the time it was written; that he saw Tomasa sign it on her
which we found with reference to the undue influence. While the testimony
head; that he did not hear Lorenzo ask Tomasa to sign the will; that Lorenzo
of Dr. Papa is very strong relating to the mental condition of Tomasa Elizaga
had handed the will to Tomasa to sign; that he saw the witnesses sign the
Yap Caong, yet, nevertheless, his testimony related to a time perhaps
will on a table near the bed; that the table was outside the curtain or screen
twenty-four hours before the execution of the will in question (Exhibit A).
and near the entrance to the room where Tomasa was lying.
Several witnesses testified that at the time the will was presented to her for
her signature, she was of sound mind and memory and asked for a pen and
Lorenzo Yap Caong testified as a witness on rebuttal. He said that he knew ink and kept the will in her possession for ten or fifteen minutes and finally
Anselmo Zacarias and that Zacarias wrote the will of Tomasa Elizaga Yap signed it. The lower court found that there was a preponderance of evidence
Caong; that Tomasa had given him instructions; that Tomasa had said that sustaining the conclusion that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong was of sound mind
she sign the will; that the will was on a table near the bed of Tomasa; that and memory and in the possession of her faculties at the time she signed
Tomasa, from where she was lying in the bed, could seethe table where the this will. In view of the conflict in the testimony of the witnesses and the
witnesses had signed the will. finding of the lower court, we do not feel justified in reversing his
conclusions upon that question.
During the rehearing certain other witnesses were also examined; in our
opinion, however, it is necessary to quote from them for the reason that With reference to the third assignment of error, to wit, that the lower court
their testimony in no way affects the preponderance of proof above quoted. committed an error in declaring that the signature of Tomasa Elizaga Yap
Caong, on her first will (August 6, 1909, Exhibit 1), is identical with that which
At the close of the rehearing the Honorable A. S. Crossfield, judge, in an appears in the second will (August 11, 1909, Exhibit A), it may be said:
extended opinion, reached the conclusion that the last will and testament of
Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, which was attached to the record and marked First. That whether or not Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong executed the will of
Exhibit A was the last will and testament of the said Tomasa Elizaga Yap August 6, 1909 (Exhibit 1), was not the question presented to the court. The
Caong and admitted it to probate and ordered that the administrator question presented was whether or not she had duly executed the will of
therefore appointed should continue as such administrator. From that order August 11, 1909 (Exhibit A).
the protestants appealed to this court, and made the following assignments
of error:

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

Second. There appears to be but little doubt that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong initials or his full name. It would seem to be sufficient, under the law
did execute the will of August 6, 1909. Several witnesses testified to that requiring a signature by the person making a will, to make his mark, to place
fact. The mere fact, however, that she executed a former will is no proof that his initials or all or any part of his name thereon. In the present case we think
she did not execute a later will. She had a perfect right, by will, to dispose of the proof shows, by a large preponderance, that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong,
her property, in accordance with the provisions of law, up to the very last of if she did not sign her full name, did at least sign her given name "Tomasa,"
moment her life. She had a perfect right to change, alter, modify or revoke and that is sufficient to satisfy the statute.
any and all of her former wills and to make a new one. Neither will the fact
that the new will fails to expressly revoke all former wills, in any way sustain With reference to the fourth assignment of error, it may be said that the
the charge that she did not make the new will. argument which was preceded is sufficient to answer it also.

Third. In said third assignment of error there is involved in the statement During the trial of the cause the protestants made a strong effort to show
that "The signature of Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong, in her first will (Exhibit 1) that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong did not sign her name in the presence of the
was not identical with that which appears in her second will (Exhibit A)" the witnesses and that they did not sign their names in their presence nor in the
inference that she had not signed the second will and all the argument of presence of each other. Upon that question there is considerable conflict of
the appellants relating to said third assignment of error is based upon the proof. An effort was made to show that the will was signed by the witnesses
alleged fact that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong did not sign Exhibit A. Several in one room and by Tomasa in another. A plan of the room or rooms in which
witnesses testified that they saw her write the name "Tomasa." One of the the will was signed was presented as proof and it was shown that there was
witnesses testified that she had written her full name. We are of the opinion, but one room; that one part of the room was one or two steps below the
and we think the law sustains our conclusion, that if Tomasa Elizaga Yap floor of the other; that the table on which the witnesses signed the will was
Caong signed any portion of her name tot he will, with the intention to sign located upon the lower floor of the room. It was also shown that from the
the same, that the will amount to a signature. It has been held time and time bed in which Tomasa was lying, it was possible for her to see the table on
again that one who makes a will may sign the same by using a mark, the which the witnesses signed the will. While the rule is absolute that one who
name having been written by others. If writing a mark simply upon a will is makes a will must sign the same in the presence of the witnesses and that
sufficient indication of the intention of the person to make and execute a the witnesses must sign in the presence of each other, as well as in the
will, then certainly the writing of a portion or all of her name ought to be presence of the one making the will, yet, nevertheless, the actual seeing of
accepted as a clear indication of her intention to execute the will. (Re Goods the signatures made is not necessary. It is sufficient if the signatures are
of Savory, 15 Jur., 1042; Addy vs. Grix, 8 Ves. Jr., 504; Baker vs. Dening, 8 Ad. made where it is possible for each of the necessary parties, if they desire to
and El., 94 Long vs. Zook, 13 Penn., 400; Vernon vs. Kirk, 30 Penn., 218; see, may see the signatures placed upon the will.
Cozzen's Will, 61 Penn., 196; Re Goods of Emerson, L. R. 9 Ir., 443; Main vs.
Ryder, 84 Penn., 217.)
In cases like the present where there is so much conflict in the proof, it is
very difficult for the courts to reach conclusions that are absolutely free from
We find a very interesting case reported in 131 Pennsylvania State, 220 (6 L. doubt. Great weight must be given by appellate courts who do not see or
R. A., 353), and cited by the appellees, which was known as "Knox's Appeal." hear the witnesses, to the conclusions of the trial courts who had that
In this case one Harriett S. Knox died very suddenly on the 17th of October, opportunity.
1888, at the residence of her father. After her death a paper was found in
her room, wholly in her handwriting, written with a lead pencil, upon three
Upon a full consideration of the record, we find that a preponderance of the
sides of an ordinary folded sheet of note paper and bearing the signature
proof shows that Tomasa Elizaga Yap Caong did execute, freely and
simply of "Harriett." In this paper the deceased attempted to make certain
voluntarily, while she was in the right use of all her faculties, the will dated
disposition of her property. The will was presented for probate. The
August 11, 1909 (Exhibit A). Therefore the judgment of the lower court
probation was opposed upon the ground that the same did not contain the
admitting said will to probate is hereby affirmed with costs.
signature of the deceased. That was the only question presented to the
court, whether the signature, in the form above indicated, was a sufficient
signature to constitute said paper the last will and testament of Harriett S. Arellano, C. J., Torres, Carson, Moreland and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Knox. It was admitted that the entire paper was in the handwriting of the
deceased. In deciding that question, Justice Mitchell said:

The precise case of a signature by the first name only, does not G.R. No. L-19142 March 5, 1923
appear to have arisen either in England or the United States; but
the principle on which the decisions already referred to were
In the matter of the estate of Mariano Corrales Tan, deceased.
based, especially those in regard to signing by initials only, are
FLAVIANA SAMSON, petitioner-appellee,
equally applicable to the present case, and additional force is given
vs.
to them by the decisions as to what constitutes a binding signature
VICENTE CORRALES TAN QUINTIN, oppositor-appellant.
to a contract. (Palmer vs. Stephens, 1 Denio, 478; Sanborne vs.
Flager, 9 Alle, 474; Weston vs. Myers, 33 Ill., 424; Salmon Falls, etc.
Co. vs. Goddard, 14 How. (U. S.), 446.) Marcaida, Capili and Ocampo for appellant.
Epimaco Molina for appellee.
The man who cannot write and who is obliged to make his mark simply
therefor, upon the will, is held to "sign" as effectually as if he had written his OSTRAND, J.:

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila There is no direct evidence in the record showing that the publication of the
admitting to probate a document alleged to be the last will and testament time and place of the hearing of the petition for probate has been made as
of the deceased Mariano Corrales Tan. There is no direct evidence as to the provided for in section 630 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the appellant
interest of the oppositor-appellant in the estate in question, though it may, argues that the court below erred in admitting the will to probate without
perhaps, be inferred from the testimony of his wife Maximina Ong that he is proof of such publication. This question not having been raised in the court
the son of the deceased. below will not be considered here.

In his answer to the petition for probate he alleges, in substance, that the Section 630 of the Code of Civil Procedure, speaking of hearings for the
will is incomplete and fraudulent and does not express the true intent of the probate of wills, also provides that "At the hearing all testimony shall be
testator; that the testator acted under duress and under undue influence, taken under oath, reduced to writing and signed by the witnesses" and the
and that at the time of the execution of the will he was not of sound and appellant maintains that the transcript of the testimony of the witness Dr.
disposing mind. N. M. Saleeby, not having been signed by the witness, the testimony should
have been excluded.
We do not think the opponent has succeeded in proving any of his
allegations. There is no evidence whatever showing that the testator acted There is no merit in this contention. When, as in this case, the testimony is
under duress or undue influence and the only question of fact which we taken by the stenographer of the court and certified to by him, the provision
need consider is whether the testator was of sound and disposing mind quoted can only be regarded as directory and a failure to observe the
when the document in question was executed. provision will not render the testimony inadmissible. (Reese vs. Nolan, 99
Ala., 203.)
Upon this point the testimony of Dr. Tee Han Kee, the attending physician,
as a witness for the opposition, is to the effect that the deceased was The order appealed from is affirmed, with the costs against the appellant. So
suffering from diabetes and had been in a comatose condition for several ordered.
days prior to his death. He died about eight or nine o'clock in the evening of
December 26, 1921, and the will is alleged to have been executed in the Araullo, C. J., Street, Malcolm, Avanceña, Villamor, Johns, and Romualdez,
forenoon of the same day. Counsel for the appellant, in his well-prepared JJ., concur.
brief, argues ably and vigorously that coma implies complete
unconsciousness, and that the testator, therefore, could not at that time
have been in possession of his mental faculties and have executed a will.
There are, however, varying degrees of coma and in its lighter forms the
patient may be aroused and have lucid intervals. Such seems to have been
the case here. Doctor Tee Han Kee, the opponent's principal witness, who [G.R. No. 6650. December 5, 1913. ]
visited the deceased in the evening of December 25th, says he
then seemed to be in a state of coma and that in the forenoon of December SANTIAGO GALVEZ, Petitioner-Appellant, v. CANUTA GALVEZ, Opponent-
26th, when the doctor again visited him, he was in "the same state of coma." Appellee.
Maximina Ong, the wife of the opponent, the only other witness for the
opposition, states that on December 26th the deceased could not talk and Eugenio Paguia, for Appellant.
did not recognize anyone. But all the witnesses presented by the petitioner,
five in number, testify that the deceased was conscious, could hear and Antonio Constantino, for Appellee.
understand what was said to him and was able to indicate his desires. Four
of these witnesses state that he could speak distinctly; the fifth, Velhagen, SYLLABUS
says that the deceased only moved his head in answer to questions.
1. WILLS; MENTAL CAPACITY OF THE TESTATOR. — In order to hold that a
That the deceased was in an exceedingly feeble condition at the time the testator, as the result of cholera, was not of sound mind and did not have
will was executed is evident, but if the witnesses presented in support of the full knowledge of his acts and was incapable of executing a valid will, it is
petition told the truth there can be no doubt that he was of sound mind and indispensable that the proceedings disclose conclusive proof of his mental
capable of making his will. And we see no reason to discredit any of these incapacity and of his lack of reason and judgment at the time he executed
witnesses; the discrepancies found between their respective versions of his will in due form. In this case, aside from the evidence by the witnesses
what took place at the execution of the document are comparatively who testified that the mental faculties of the testator were unimpaired, the
unimportant and so far from weakening their testimony rather lend strength contents of the will, and the desire manifested by the latter to rectify an
to it by indicating the absence of any conspiracy among them. error he incurred in the execution of his first will, show that the testator was
of sound mind and perfectly aware of his duties with respect to the legal,
As against their testimony we have only the testimony of Maximina Ong and inviolable rights of his daughter and sole heir.
Dr. Tee Han Kee. The former is not a disinterested witness. As to the
testimony of the latter it is sufficient to say that mere professional 2. ID.; ID.; PHYSICIAN’S TESTIMONY BASED ON A GENERAL RULE. —
speculation cannot prevail over the positive statements of five apparently Statements by a physician who did not see or examine the testator at the
credible witnesses whose testimony does not in itself seem unreasonable. time the latter was making his will, based on the condition and mental state
of a cholera patient in ordinary cases and in the regular course of the
disease, cannot serve as a ground for declaring the testator incompetent

P a g e 38 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

when, notified of an error incurred by him in his firsts will executed a few The other will, written in Tagalog and marked Exhibit A, was presented
hours before, and exhibited in court, he declared his desire to correct the during the proceedings; it was the first one the testator executed on the
same by executing a second will; inasmuch as the testimony of the same date, and, for the purpose of correcting an error contained in this first
subscribing witnesses and of the person who drew up the document, shows will, he executed another will, the second, which is the one exhibited for
that the mental and physical condition of the testator was an exception to probate.
the general rule enunciated by the said physician, since the patient
demonstrated that he had sufficient moral energy and clear intelligence, in Notwithstanding the opposition by Canuta Galvez, the testator’s daughter,
spite of the inroads made by the disease, to have been able to execute his who alleged that her father, owing to his very serious sickness with cholera,
last will and testament in accordance with the requirements of the law. lacked the intellectual capacity and clear judgment requisite for making a
will, and notwithstanding her testimony adduced in corroboration of her
brief, the record sufficiently proved the contrary; the subscribing witnesses
DECISION to the will affirmed under oath that they were present when Victor Galvez,
then such in his house, stated to them that the document read before them
by Lorenzo Galvez contained his last will and testament, and that, as the
TORRES, J. : testator was no longer able to sign, he charged his nephew Lorenzo to do so
in his stead, which the latter did by affixing his own signature to the
document, after having written at the foot of the same the name and
This is appeal was raised by counsel for Santiago Galvez from the judgment surname of the testator, Victor Galvez, who, as these witnesses observed,
of October 25, 1910, whereby the Honorable Simplicio del Rasorio, judge, was of sound mind and in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties; he
denied the petition presented by the said Galvez for the probate of the will, talked intelligently and with perfect knowledge of what was taking place.
Exhibit B, and appointed as adminsitratix of the testator’s estate, the latter’s They further testified that they all, including the said Lorenzo Galvez, signed
only legitimate daughter, Canuta Galvez, under condition that she furnish the will in the presence of the testator, Victor Galvez, who was at the time
bond in the sum of P2,000 for the faithful discharged of the duties of her lying on his bed.
office.
In order to hold that Victor Galvez, on account of serious sickness, was not
Counsel for Santiago Galvez petitioned the Court of First Instance of Bulacan then of sound mind and did not have full knowledge of his acts and,
for the probate of the will which it was alleged Victor executed in the dialect therefore, was incapable to execute a will, it is necessary that the
of the province, on August 12, 1910, in presence of the witnesses Juan proceedings disclose conclusive proof of his mental incapacity and of his
Dimanlig, J. Leoquinco, and Nazaria Galves. This instrument appears also to evident lack of reason and judgment at the time he executed his will in the
have been signed by the witness Lorenzo Galvez, below the name and presence of the witnesses whose signatures appear at the foot thereof, for
surname of the testator. (p. 3, B. of E., translated into Spanish on p.5.) these witnesses positively affirmed that Victor Galvez, on executing his will,
showed that he was in full possession of his intellectual faculties and was
Further on in the same record, pages 6 to 7, there appears another will perfectly cognizant of his acts.
written in Tagalog and executed on the same date by Victor Galvez in
presence of the witnesses Cirilo Paguia, Florentino Sison, and Juan The physician Dr. Vicente de Jesus, in his testimony, referred to the effects
Mendoza. and results of cholera on a patient in ordinary cases and in the regular course
of this disease; but his statements, taken in general, cannot, in the present
In the course of the proceedings various witnesses were examined by the suit, serve as a ground upon which to predicate incapacity, for the reason
petitioner and by the respondent, Canuta Galvez, the only daughter of the that he did not examine Victor Galvez, nor did he even see him between the
alleged testator, and the attorney Antonio Constantino stated that he hours of 12 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon of the 12th of August,
waived the right to present evidence and acquiesced in the petition made 1910, during which period the testator ordered his will drawn up and the
by Santiago Galvez for the probate of the will, in view of a transaction attesting witnesses signed it, Galvez having died at about 6 o’clock that same
entered into by the parties; but the court did not accept the compromise, afternoon. It may be true that cholera patients do, in the majority of cases,
on the ground that it is improper to hold that a will is the faithful expression become incapacitated in the manner described by the witnesses; but there
of the last wishes of a decedent, upon the mere fact of the parties’ may be exceptions to the general rule, and to judge from the testimony of
petitioning to that effect, when such will, as in the case at bar, was assailed the witnesses who saw and communicated with the patient Victor Galvez at
at the commencement of the suit. the time he executed his will, his physical and mental condition mush have
been an exception, since he demonstrated that he had sufficient energy and
After due trial the judgment aforementioned was rendered, from which an clear intelligence to execute his last will in accordance with the requirements
appeal was entered by counsel for the petitioner, Santiago Galvez. of the law.

This case deals with the probate of the second will executed by Victor Galvez Besides the attestation of the aforesaid subscribing witnesses, the contents
on August 12, 1910, and signed in his presence by the witnesses Juan of the will and the testator’s positive determination to rectify the error he
Dimanlig, Nazaria Galvez, and J. Leoquinco, and, as the testator was no incurred in the execution of this first will, show that Victor Galvez was in his
longer able to sign on account of his sickness, Lorenzo Galvez, at his request, sound mind and was perfectly aware of his duties in respect to the legal,
affixed his own signature to the instrument, for him and below his written inviolable rights of his daughter and sole heir, Canuta Galvez.
name. This will, written in Tagalog and translated into Spanish, is marked as
Exhibit B and is found on pages 3 and 5 of the bill of exceptions. Inasmuch as, in the drafting and execution of the second will (Exhibit B),
signed in the name of the testator by Lorenzo Galvez and the witnesses Juan

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

Dimanlig, Nazaria Galvez, and J. Leoquinco, the formalities prescribed by institutions, for while it is true that insane persons are confined in those
section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure were observed, for the testator’s institutions, yet there also enter persons who are not insane. Against the
name appears written at the foot of the will and under this name Lorenzo inference that from said acts the plaintiff pretends to draw, in order to assert
Galvez signed by direction of the testator himself, and the instrument was the mental incapacity of Adriana Carrillo in that time, there is in the record
also signed by the attesting witnesses before mentioned who affirmed that evidence of acts while more clearly and more convincingly show that she
they heard and attested the dispositions made by the testator and witnessed must not have been mentally incapacitated before the execution of the
the reading of the will, that they were present when the said Lorenzo Galvez document sought to be annulled in this action. In January, 1917, her husband
signed the will in the name of the testator and that they signed it in the having died, she was appointed judicial administratrix of the latter's estate,
presence of all the persons assembled in the latter’s house, the conclusion and to his end she took the oath of office, gave the proper bond discharged
is inevitable that Victor Galvez, in executing his will, did so with a sound mind her functions in the same manner and with the same diligence as any other
and the full use of his mental faculties; therefore, the will must be admitted person of knowingly sound mind would have done. Documents, were
to probate. introduced which show complex and numerous acts of administration
performed personally by said Adriana Carrillo, such as the disposition of
For the foregoing reasons, with a reversal of the judgment appealed from in various and considerable amounts of money in transactions made with
so far as it denies the probate of the said will, we hereby hold that the same different persons, the correctness of said acts never having been, nor can it
was duly executed by Victor Galvez and expresses his last wishes, and we be, put in question. We have given special attention to the fact of Adriana
affirm the rest of the said judgment, with respect to the appointment, as Carrillo having executed contracts of lease, appeared in court in the testate
administratrix, of Canuta Galvez, the testator’s daughter and sole heir. proceeding in which she was administratrix, and in fact continued acting as
such administratrix of the estate of her husband until August, 1917, when
Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, and Moreland, JJ., concur. for the purpose of taking vacation, she requested to be relieved from the
office. On November 13, 1918, Adriana Carrillo entered the "Hospital de San
Juan de Dios" by reason of having had an access of cerebral hemorrhage with
hemiplegia, and there she was attended by Doctor Ocampo until she left on
the 18th of December of the same year very much better off although not
G.R. No. L-21015 March 24, 1924 completely cured. Asked about the mental incapacity of Adriana Carrillo
during her treatment, Doctor Ocampo answered that he did not pay
attention to it, but that he could affirm that the answers she gave him were
MIGUELA CARRILLO, for herself and as administratrix of the intestate
responsive to the questions put to her, and that the hemiplegia did not affect
estate of ADRIANA CARRILLO, deceased, plaintiff-appellant,
her head but only one-half of the body. After leaving the "Hospital de San
vs.
Juan de Dios" on December 8, 1918, Adriana Carrillo called at the office of
JUSTINIANO JAOJOCO and MARCOS JAOJOCO, defendants-appellees.
the notary public, Mr. Ramos Salinas, and there executed the contract of sale
in question on the 9th of that month. The notary, Mr. Salinas, who
Crispin Oben and Gibbs & McDonough for appellant. authorized the document, testified that on that day he has been for some
Salinas & Salinas for appellees. time with Adriana Carrillo, waiting for one of the witnesses to the document,
and he did not notice anything abnormal in her countenance, which on the
AVANCEÑA, J.: contrary, appeared to him dignified, answering correctly all the questions he
made to her without inconsistencies or failure of memory, for which reason,
On the evening of December 9, 1918, Adriana Carrillo executed a document says this witness, he was surprised when afterwards he learned that the
of sale of eleven parcels of land, with one-half of the improvements thereon, mental capacity of Adriana Carrillo was in question.
situated in the barrio of Ulong-Tubig, municipality of Carmona, Province of
Cavite, containing an area of 330,409 square meters, in favor of Marcos It must be noted that the principal witness for the plaintiff and the most
Jaojoco for the price of P4,000 which the seller admitted having received. interested party in the case, being the plaintiff herself, was the surety of
Nine days afterwards Adriana Carrillo was declared mentally incapacitated Adriana Carrillo when the latter was appointed judicial administratrix of the
by the Court of First Instance and later on died; and proceeding having been estate of her husband in 1917. It cannot be understood, if Adriana Carrillo
instituted for the administrator and settlement of her estate, her sister was in that time mentally incapacitated, why Miguela Carrillo, the plaintiff,
Miguela Carrillo was appointed judicial administratrix of said estate. In her who knew it, consented to be a surety for her. It must likewise be noted that
capacity as such administratrix, Miguela Carrillo now brings this action for the other witnesses of the plaintiff, who testified to the incapacity of Adriana
the annulment of said contract of sale executed by Adriana Carrillo on Carrillo, also made transactions with her precisely at the time, when
December 9, 1918, against Marcos Jaojoco, the purchaser, and his father according to them, she was mentally incapacitated. In view of all of this,
Justiniano Jaojoco. The defendants were absolved from the complaint, and which is proven by documents and the testimonies of witnesses completely
from this judgment the plaintiff appealed. disinterested in the case, it cannot be held that on December 9, 1918, when
Adriana Carrillo signed the document, she was mentally incapacitated.
The plaintiff has attempted to prove that prior to the year 1918 and specially
in the year 1917, Adriana Carrillo performed acts which indicated that she The fact that nine days after the execution of the contract, Adriana Carrillo
was mentally deranged. We have made a thorough examination of the was declared mentally incapacitated by the trial court does not prove that
character of those acts, and believe that they do not necessarily show that she was so when she executed the contract. After all, this can perfectly be
Adriana Carrillo was mentally insane. The same thing can be said as to her explained by saying that her disease became aggravated subsequently.
having entered the "Hospital de San Lazaro" and the "Hospicio de San Jose,"
in the absence of an affirmative showing to her motive for entering said
P a g e 40 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

Our conclusion is that prior to the execution of the document in question The plaintiff is one of the sons of the testatrix and the complaint has not
the usual state of Adriana Carrillo was that of being mentally capable, and been acquiesced in by Magdalena Hernaez y Espinosa nor Peregrina and
consequently the burden of proof that she was mentally incapacitated at a Victorina Parapa y Hernaez, whose consent plaintiff sought to
specified time is upon him who affirms said incapacity. If no sufficient proof obtain.chanrobles virtual law library
to this effect is presented, her capacity must be presumed.
The action brought is for the annulment of the will upon the ground: (1) of
Attention is also called to the disproportion between the price of the sale the incapacity of the testatrix; (2) the incapacity of the notary, attesting
and the real value of the land sold. The evidence, however, rather shows witnesses, and the interpreter; and (3) a substantial formal defect in the
that the price of P4,000 paid for the land, which contained an area of 33 will.chanrobles virtual law library
hectares, represents it real value, for its is little more than P100 per hectare,
which is approximately the value of other lands of the same nature in the The incapacity of the testatrix according to the complaint is alleged to consist
vicinity. But even supposing that there is such a disproportion, it alone is not in this: That on the 5th of December, 1894, she was over 80 years of age and
sufficient to justify the conclusion that Adriana Carrillo was mentally was so ill that three days before she had received the sacraments and
incapacitated for having made the sale under such conditions. Marcos extreme unction, and that two days afterwards she died; and that prior
Jaojoco is a nephew of Adriana Carrillo, and Justiniano Jaojoco her brother- thereto she walked in a stooping attitude, and gave contradictory orders, as
in-law, and both defendants, who are father and son, had Adriana Carrillo in a result of her senile debility. The incapacity of the notary in that he did not
charge, took her to the "Hospital de San Juan de Dios," and cared for her understand the Visayan dialect, the language of the testatrix. The incapacity
during the time she was there, and for such acts they may have won her of the attesting witnesses is supposed to consist in their not having a perfect
gratitude. Under these circumstances there is nothing illegal, or even knowledge of Spanish, and the incapacity of the interpreter in that he was
reprehensible, and much less strange in Adriana Carrillo's having taken into an amaneunsis of the notary and was the person who wrote out the will. The
account those services rendered her by the defendants and reciprocated substantial formal defect of the will is supposed to consist in the fact that
thereof by a favorable transaction. Having no ascendants and descendents, two physicians were not present to certify to the sanity of the testatrix at
she could, in consideration of all the these circumstances, have even given the time of its execution, and the absence of two interpreters to translate
as a donation, or left by will, these lands to the defendants. the will, because executed in a foreign language.chanrobles virtual law
library
The judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellant. So
ordered. These are briefly, the grounds upon which the action for the annulment of
the will rests, and these were the issues raised at the trial. The evidence
Araullo, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns and Romualdez, JJ., concur. introduced bears upon the issues above stated to which alone the decision
of the court must be limited.chanrobles virtual law library

For the purpose of proving the mental incapacity of the testatrix the plaintiff
G.R. No. 857 February 10, 1903 introduced oral testimony and expert evidence; the oral testimony was for
the purpose of proving the following facts: That the testatrix on the 5th day
of December, 1894, was so ill that she could not speak; that by reason of her
EULALIO HERNAEZ,Plaintiff-Appellant, vs. ROSENDO HERNAEZ,Defendant- age she walked in a stooping position and gave contradictory orders. The
Appellee. priest who was with her during the last hours of her life was called to testify
that on the 3rd day of the same month and year he had administered the
Ramon N. Orozco, for appellant. sacraments to her, and that the patient was at that time so seriously ill that
Ramon Avanceña, for appellee. he scarcely understood her when she spoke. The expert witnesses were
called to testify upon the question propounded: "Could an octogenarian in
ARELLANO, C.J.: chanrobles virtual law library the pathological condition peculiar to that age possess sufficient mental
faculties to permit her to dispose of her property causa mortis?" The result
of the oral evidence is that the testimony of the four witnesses called has
The subject of this action is the will executed by Doña Juana Espinosa, widow
proven one fact, which is, that the testatrix toward the end of her life walked
of Don Pedro Hernaez, on December 5, 1894, in Bacolod, Island of Negros,
in a stooping position. The first witness, Isidora de la Torre, affirmed that
before a notary public, and three witnesses, and with the aid of an
three days before her death she was very ill but answered questions which
interpreter, the testatrix not understanding Spanish. In this will the principal
were addressed her, and only one witness, Ambrosia Sotsing, testified that
dispositions are those relative to the legacy of the third part of the
four days before the death of the testatrix she had been to see the latter and
hereditary estate of free disposal, which the testatrix leaves to her eldest
that she could not speak then because she was suffering from fainting fits,
son, Rosendo, to the betterment of the other third made in favor of this
this witness being the only one who testified that the testatrix had given
same son, and the distribution of the remaining third in six equal parts
contrary order. These four witnesses are, respectively, 78, 75, 60, and 57
among her five children, Rosendo Domingo, Magdalena, Mateo, and Eulalio
years of age. The priest, D. Nicolas Alba, stated that he had administered the
Hernaez y Espinosa, and her two granddaughters, Peregrina and Victorina
sacraments to the testatrix before the execution of the will but was unable
Parapa y Hernaez, in representation of their deceased mother, Clara
to remember the day; that he understood her then when she spoke and that
Hernaez y Espinosa.chanrobles virtual law library
the testatrix frequently confessed even when not feeling seriously ill, and
that when sick she was accustomed to confess in her house (this point is
confirmed by the witness Sotsing who testified that she had been to see the

P a g e 41 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

testatrix three times and that on all three of these occasions the communion series of instruments executed before Spanish notaries, and even Filipino
had been administered to her); that when he confessed her some days notaries, unacquainted with the dialect or dialects of the locality in which
before the execution of the will he had also administered the extreme they performed their duties or the special dialect of the party. With respect
unction on account of her advanced age; that at that time she was in the to the attesting witnesses it has been fully proven by the manner in which
enjoyment of her mental faculties but the witness could not state whether they testified at the trial, "without the necessity of an interpreter," as to
she preserved them up to the moment of her death, he not being present those called as witnesses and by conclusive evidence as to the deceased
when this occurred. The expert evidence introduced by the testimony of Dr. attesting witness whose signature and competency have been completely
Lope de la Rama gave the following result: That if the organs are intact the established, that they knew the dialect of the testatrix in accordance with
physiological functions are perfectly performed, and that consequently section 5, article 681, of the Civil Code, and also understood Spanish. As
some men before reaching the age of decrepitude lose their mental faculties alleged, but not proven, their knowledge of the latter language may not have
by the weakening of the brain, either as the result of illness or of abuses, been perfect, but this does not make them incompetent, nor is it a ground
while others preserve their understanding to a very advanced age. It is for annulment. Finally, the prohibition of article 681, section 8, is not
unnecessary to pass upon the oral evidence introduced by the defendant; applicable to the interpreter, of whose services the notary availed himself
the documentary evidence (record, p. 38) shows that the testatrix did not for the execution, drafting and legalization of the will, for the simple reason
die two days after the execution of her will. The will was executed on the 5th that it does not refer to the interpreter but the witnesses, and there is
and her death occurred on the 12th of December, 1894.chanrobles virtual nothing to authorize the extensive interpretation attempted to be made of
law library its precepts.chanrobles virtual law library

It is sufficient to state that neither from the facts elicited by the The presence of two physicians, as required in the case covered by article
interrogatories nor the documents presented with the complaint can the 665, was not necessary. "This precept refers clearly and expressly to the
conclusion be reached that the testatrix was deprived of her mental conditions which must be complied with in order that a demented person
faculties. The fact that on old woman gives contradictory orders, that she may make a will by availing himself of a lucid interval, and is entirely distinct
walks in a stooping position, that she has fainting fits, that she received the from the cases governed by article 685 when the testator has not been
sacraments some days before making her will, are circumstances which even declared demented." (Judgment of June 10, 1897.)chanrobles virtual law
if fully demonstrated by proof could no lead the court to establish a library
conclusion contrary to the mental soundness of a person who is to be
presumed to be in the full enjoyment of the mental faculties until the Had anyone observed any incapacity in the testatrix some time before it
contrary is conclusively proven. The notary in compliance with the would have been easy to have taken the proper steps to obtain a declaration
requirements of article 695 of the Civil Code certifies that in his judgment of the status of incapacity in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code,
the testatrix had the necessary legal capacity and the use of the necessary and then, after a legal declaration of this condition, she could not have
mental faculties for the purposes of the execution of the will. "The Code executed a will unless two physicians had certified that at the time of her
might have adopted either one of two systems [with respect to the mental examination she was in the enjoyment of a lucid interval; but there was no
capacity of the testator] - that of establishing as a general rule the necessity of waiting for a lucid interval when the constant condition was that
presumption of soundness of the mental faculties until the contrary be of lucidity.chanrobles virtual law library
proven, or that of presuming mental weakness in the absence of proof that
the act was performed while the mental faculties were in their normal
Nor was it necessary that two interpreters be present as required by article
condition. Under the first presumption a will made should be declared valid
648 of the Civil Code. This is a requisite for the execution of a will in a foreign
in all cases, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Under the second it
language, and neither by the letter nor by the purpose of this article could it
would have to be considered as void upon the presumption that it was
be required with regard to the will in question. Not by the letter, because
executed by a person demented, unless the contrary is shown. The Code has
neither the testatrix nor the notary expressed themselves in a foreign
adopted the first system as being the most rational, by accepting the
language. Neither the Castilian spoken by the notary nor the Visayan spoken
principle that mental soundness is always to be presumed with respect to a
by the testatrix are foreign languages. Nor is the case within the purpose of
person who has not been previously incapacitated until the contrary is
the law. "The prior laws had not provided for the execution of a will by a
demonstrated and proven by the proper person and the correctness of this
foreigner in his own language. Such a case could not arise under the old law
choice is beyond doubt; in the meantime the intervention of the notary and
because the right to make a will being one inherent in citizenship they
the witnesses constitutes a true guaranty of the capacity of the testator, by
systematically denied to the foreigner the exercise of that right. The
reason of their knowledge of the matter. (Manresa, Commentaries, vol. 5, p.
execution of a will being at the present time based upon natural right, the
344.)chanrobles virtual law library
foreigner is entitled equally with the citizen to make a will. Although it is true
that foreigners, under international law, can make a will before the consuls
It has at no time been regarded as a ground for the annulment of a public of their nation, it is none the less true that they do not always make their
instrument executed before a notary public by a native of these Islands, wills in a town in which an accredited consul resides. For all these reasons it
ignorant of Spanish, that the notary was not acquainted with the dialect of was necessary to provide by law for a special form for the will of the
the party executing the same. If this officer, upon whom the law imposes the foreigner who might be ignorant of the Spanish language and yet have
obligation of drawing the instrument in the official language, that is, occasion to make a will. The form which the law has adopted satisfies the
Castilian, does not know the dialect he can avail himself of an interpreter in most exigent spirit, for the presence of two interpreters, the fact that the
accordance with the provisions of the law itself; hence the fact that the will is recorded in a public instrument in both languages, and that it is signed
notary who legalized the will in question did not know the Visayan dialect by all who take part in the act are the most efficacious guarantees against
spoken by the testatrix is by no means an argument in favor of the nullity of fraud and bad faith." (Falcon, 3 Civil Code, p. 94.) Text writers discuss the
this public instrument, nor has it been for the nullity of any one of the long
P a g e 42 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

application of article 684 to a will executed in one of the local idioms of In view of the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated November 10, 1942,
Spain, considering them to be on the same footing as a foreign language in dismissing the appeal, by virtue of said agreement or compromise, Atty.
a place in which Castilian is the tongue spoken or understood; but we have Lucio Javillonar, claiming to represent Encarnacion Neyra, who had died
no occasion to enter into this discussion, the legal sense and constant since November 4, 1942, and other relatives of hers, filed a petition, dated
practice observed in these Islands being sufficient.chanrobles virtual law November 23, 1942, asking for the reconsideration of said decision of the
library Court of Appeals, dismissing the appeal, claiming that the alleged
compromise or agreement, dated November 3, 1942, could not have been
Upon these grounds we hold that judgment must be for the defendant, understood by Encarnacion Neyra, as she was already then at the threshold
declaring the will executed by Doña Juana Espinosa on the 5th of December, of death, and that as a matter of fact she died the following day; and that if
1894, to be valid and efficacious, without special imposition of it had been signed at all by said Encarnacion Neyra, her thumbmark
costs.chanrobles virtual law library appearing on said document must have been affixed thereto by Trinidad
Neyra's attorney, against Encarnacion's will; and that the court had no more
jurisdiction over the case, when the alleged agreement was filed on
So ordered.ch
November 4, 1942, at the instance of Trinidad Neyra, as Encarnacion was
already dead at the time.

The principal question to be decided, in connection with said petition for


C.A. No. 8075 March 25, 1946 reconsideration, is whether or not said compromise or agreement had been
legally executed and signed by Encarnacion Neyra, on November 3, 1942.
TRINIDAD NEYRA, plaintiff-appellant, Trinidad Neyra maintains the affirmative.
vs.
ENCARNACION NEYRA, defendant-appellee. The voluminous evidence, testimonial and documentary, adduced by the
parties, in this case, has fully established the following facts:
Alejandro M. Panis for appellant.
Lucio Javillonar for appellee. That Severo Nayra died intestate in the City of Manila, on May 6, 1938,
leaving certain properties and two children, by his first marriage, named
DE JOYA, J.: Encarnacion Neyra and Trinidad Neyra, and other children by his second
marriage; That after the death of Severo Neyra, the two sisters, Encarnacion
Neyra and Trinidad Neyra, had serious misunderstandings, in connection
On October 25, 1939, Trinidad Neyra filed a complaint against her sister,
with the properties left by their deceased father, and so serious were their
Encarnacion Neyra, in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila, for
dissensions that, after March 31, 1939, they had two litigations in the Court
the recovery of one-half (½) of the property mentioned and described
of First Instance of Manila, concerning said properties. In the first case, filed
therein, which had been left by their deceased father, Severo Neyra, and
in March 31, 1939, Trinidad Neyra and others demanded by Encarnacion
which had been previously divided equally between the two extrajudicially,
Neyra and others the annulment of the sale of the property located at No.
demanding at the same time one-half (½) of the rents collected on the said
366 Raon Street, Manila which was finally decided in favor of the
property by the defendant Encarnacion Neyra. The defendant filed an
defendants, in the court of first instance, and in the Court of Appeals, on
answer admitting that the property mentioned and described therein was
December 21, 1943 (G.R. No. 8162); and the second is the instance case.
community property, and at the same time set up counterclaims amounting
to over P1,000, for money spent, during the last illness of their father, and
for money loaned to the plaintiff. That Encarnacion Neyra, who had remained single, and who had no longer
any ascendants, executed a will on September 14, 1939, marked Exhibit 16,
disposing of her properties in favor of the "Congregacion de Religiosas de la
After the trial of the case, the court found that the plaintiff was really
Virgen Maria" and her other relatives, named Teodora Neyra, Pilar de
entitled to one-half (½) of the said property, adjudicating the same to her,
Guzman and Maria Jacobo Vda. de Blanco, making no provision whatsoever
but at the same time ordered said plaintiff to pay to the defendant the sum
in said will, in favor of her only sister of the whole blood, Trinidad Neyra,
of P727.77, plus interests, by virtue of said counterclaims.
who had become her bitter enemy; that when the said will was brought to
the attention of the authorities of said Congregation, after due deliberation
Plaintiff Trinidad Neyra appealed from the said decision, to the Court of and consideration, said religious organization declined the bounty offered
Appeals for Manila, alleging several errors, attacking the execution and by Encarnacion Neyra, and said decision of the Congregation was duly
validity of said agreement; and on November 10, 1942, said appeal was communicated to her; that in order to overcome the difficulties
dismissed, pursuant to the to an agreement or compromise entered into by encountered by said religious organization in not accepting the generosity
the parties, as shown by the corresponding document, dated November 3, of Encarnacion Neyra, the latter decided to make a new will, and for that
1942, which was filed in the case the following day, November 4, 1942. purpose, about one week before her death, sent for Atty. Ricardo Sikat, and
gave him instructions for the preparation of a new will; that Atty. Sikat,
In the meanwhile, Encarnacion Neyra, who had been sickly for about two instead of preparing a new will, merely prepared a draft of a codicil,
years, unexpectedly died, on November 4, 1942 at the age of 48, allegedly amending said will, dated September 14, 1939, again naming said religious
from heart attack, as a consequence of Addison's disease from which, it was organization, among others as beneficiary, and said draft of a codicil was also
claimed, she had been suffering for sometime. forwarded to the authorities of religious organization, for their
consideration and acceptance; but it was also rejected.

P a g e 43 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

In the meanwhile, Encarnacion Neyra had become seriously ill, suffering Petitioner Teodora Neyra, half sister of Encarnacion, and
from Addison's disease, and on October 31, 1942, she sent for her religious her young daughter Ceferina de la Cruz, and Presentacion Blanco, daughter
adviser and confessor, Mons. Vicente Fernandez of the Quiapo Church to of petitioner Maria Jacobo Vda. de Blanco, substantially corroborated the
make confession, after which she requested that holy mass be celebrated in testimony of the witnesses presented by Trinidad Neyra, with reference to
her house at No. 366 Raon Street, City of Manila, so that she might take holy the signing of documents, in the bedroom of Encarnacion Neyra, in the
communion; that Mons. Fernandez caused the necessary arrangements to afternoon of November 3, 1942.
be made, and, as a matter of fact, on November 1, 1942, holy mass was
solemnized in her house by Father Teodoro Garcia, also of the Quiapo Teodora Neyra, Presentacion Blanco and Ceferina de la Cruz testified,
Church, on which occasion, Encarnacion Neyra, who remained in bed, took however, that when the thumbmark of Encarnacion Neyra was affixed to the
holy communion; that after the mass, Father Garcia talked to Encarnacion agreement in question, dated November 3, 1942, she was sleeping on her
Neyra and advised reconciliation between the two sisters, Encarnacion and bed in the sala; and that the attesting witnesses were not present, as they
Trinidad Neyra. Encarnacion accepted said advise and, at about noon of the were in the caida.
same day (November 1, 1942), sent Eustaquio Mendoza to fetch her sister
Trinidad, who came at about 2:30 that same afternoon; that the two sisters
But Ceferina de la Cruz also stated that the attesting witnesses signed the
greeted each other in most affectionate manner, and became reconciled and
documents thumbmarked by Encarnacion Neyra, in the sala near her bed,
two had a long and cordial conversation, in the course of which they also
thus contradicting herself and Teodora Neyra and Presentacion Blanco.
talked about the properties left by their father and their litigations which
had reached the Court of Appeals for the City of Manila, the instant case
being the second, and they agreed to have the latter dismissed, on the Strange to say, Teodora Neyra, Presentacion Blanco and Ceferina de la Cruz
condition that the property involved therein should be given exclusively to also testified that Encarnacion Neyra's, thumbmark was affixed to the will,
Trinidad Neyra, that the latter should waive her share in the rents of said only in the morning of November 4, 1942, by Trinidad Neyra and one
property collected by Encarnacion, and the Trinidad had no more Ildefonso del Barrio, when Encarnacion was already dead.
indebtedness to Encarnacion. They also agreed to send for Atty. Alejandro
M. Panis, to prepare the necessary document embodying the said The testimony of Dr. Dionisio Parulan, alleged medical expert, as to the
agreement, but Attorney Panis could come only in the afternoon of the nature of effects of Addison's disease, is absolutely unreliable. He had never
following day, November 2, 1942, when Encarnacion gave him instructions seen or talked to the testatrix Encarnacion Neyra.
for the preparation of the document embodying their agreement, and other
instructions for the preparation of her last will and testament; that Attorney According to medical authorities, persons suffering from Addison's disease
Panis prepared said document of compromise as well as the new will and often live as long as ten (10) years, while others die after a few weeks only,
testament, naming Trinidad Neyra and Eustaquio Mendoza beneficiaries and that as the disease progresses, asthenia sets in, and from 80 per cent to
therein, pursuant to Encarnacion's express instructions, and the two 90 per cent of the patients develop tuberculosis, and complications of the
documents were prepared, in duplicate, and were ready for signature, since heart also appear. (Cecil, Textbook of Medicine, 3d ed., 1935, pp. 1250-1253;
the morning of November 3, 1942; that in the afternoon of that day, of McCrae, Osler's Modern Medicine, 3d ed., Vol. V, pp. 272-279.)
compromise and last will and testament to Encarnacion Neyra, slowly and in
a loud voice, in the presence of Father Teodoro Garcia, Dr. Moises B. Abad,
Dr. Eladio Aldecoa, Trinidad Neyra, and others, after which he asked her if And it has been conclusively shown that Encarnacion Neyra died on
their terms were in accordance with her wishes, or if she wanted any change November 4, 1942, due to a heart attack, at the age of 48, after an illness of
made in said documents; that Encarnacion Neyra did not suggest any about two (2) years.
change, and asked for the pad and the two documents, and, with the help
of a son of Trinidad, placed her thumbmark at the foot of each one of the In connection with mental capacity, in several cases, this court has
two documents, in duplicate, on her bed in the sala, in the presence of considered the testimony of witnesses, who had known and talked to the
attesting witnesses, Dr. Moises B. Abad, Dr. Eladio R. Aldecoa and Atty. testators, more trustworthy than the testimony of the alleged medical
Alejandro M. Panis, after which said witnesses signed at the foot of the will, experts.
in the presence of Encarnacion Neyra, and of each other. The agreement was
also signed by Trinidad Neyra, as party, and by Dr. M. B. Abad and Eustaquio Insomnia, in spite of the testimony of two doctors, who testified for the
Mendoza, a protege, as witnesses. opponents to the probate of a will, to the effect that it tended to destroy
mental capacity, was held not to effect the full possession of mental faculties
Father Teodoro Garcia was also present at the signing of the two documents, deemed necessary and sufficient for its execution. (Caguioa vs. Calderon, 20
at the request of Encarnacion Neyra. Phil., 400.) The testatrix was held to have been compos mentis, in spite of
the physician's testimony to the contrary, to the effect that she was very
The foregoing facts have been established by the witnesses presented by weak, being in the third or last stage of tuberculosis. (Yap Tua vs. Yap Ca
Trinidad Neyra, who are all trustworthy men, and who had absolutely no Kuan and Yap Ca Llu, 27 Phil., 579.) The testimony of the attending physician
interest in the final outcome of this case. Two of them are ministers of the that the deceased was suffering from diabetes and had been in a comatose
Gospel, while three of the attesting witnesses are professional men of condition for several days, prior to his death, was held not sufficient to
irreproachable character, who had known and seen and actually talked to establish testamentary incapacity, in view of the positive statement of
the testatrix. several credible witnesses that he was conscious and able to understand
what was said to him and to communicate his desires. (Samson vs. Corrales
Tan Quintin, 44 Phil., 573.) Where the mind of the testator is in perfectly
sound condition, neither old age, nor ill health, nor the fact that somebody

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

had to guide his hand in order that he might sign, is sufficient to invalidate aphorism — falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. (Gonzales vs. Mauricio, 53 Phil.,
his will (Amata and Almojuela vs. Tablizo, 48 Phil., 485.) 728, 735.)

Where it appears that a few hours and also a few days after the execution of To show the alleged improbability of reconciliation, and the execution of the
the will, the testator intelligently and intelligibly conversed with other two documents, dated November 3, 1942, petitioners have erroneously
persons, although lying down and unable to move or stand up unassisted, placed great emphasis on the fact that, up to October 31, 1942, the two
but could still effect the sale of property belonging to him, these sisters Encarnacion and Trinidad Neyra were bitter enemies. They were
circumstances show that the testator was in a perfectly sound mental banking evidently on the common belief that the hatred of relatives is the
condition at the time of the execution of the will. (Amata and most violent. Terrible indeed are the feuds of relatives and difficult the
Almojuela vs. Tablizo, 48 Phil., 485.) reconciliation; and yet not impossible. They had forgotten that Encarnacion
Neyra was a religious woman instructed in the ancient virtues of the
Presentacion Blanco, in the course of her cross-examination, frankly Christian faith, and hope and charity, and that to forgive is a divine attribute.
admitted that, in the morning and also at about 6 o'clock in he afternoon of They had also forgotten that there could be no more sublime love than that
November 3, 1942, Encarnacion Neyra talked to her that they understood embalmed in tears, as in the case of a reconciliation.
each other clearly, thus showing that the testatrix was really of sound mind,
at the time of signing and execution of the agreement and will in question. It was most natural that there should have been reconciliation between the
two sisters, Encarnacion and Trinidad Neyra, as the latter is the nearest
It may, therefore, be reasonably concluded that the mental faculties of relative of the former, her only sister of the whole blood. The approach of
persons suffering from Addison's disease, like the testatrix in this case, imminent death must have evoked in her the tenderest recollections of
remain unimpaired, partly due to the fact that, on account of the sleep they family life. And believing perhaps that her little triumphs had not always
enjoy, they necessarily receive the benefit of physical and mental rest. And brought her happiness, and that she had always been just to her sister, who
that like patients suffering from tuberculosis, insomnia or diabetes, they had been demanding insistently what was her due, Encarnacion finally
preserve their mental faculties until the moments of their death. decided upon reconciliation, as she did not want to go to her eternal rest,
with hatred in her heart or wrath upon her head. It was, therefore, most
logical that Encarnacion should make Trinidad the benificiary of her
Judging by the authorities above cited, the logical conclusion is that
generosity, under her last will and testament, and end all her troubles with
Encarnacion Neyra was of sound mind and possessed the necessary
her, by executing said agreement, and thus depart in perfect peace from the
testamentary and mental capacity, at the time of the execution of the
scenes of her earthly labors.
agreement and will, dated November 3, 1942.

It having been shown that the said compromise or agreement had been
The contention that the attesting witnesses were not present, at the time
legally signed and executed by Encarnacion Neyra on November 3, 1942, in
Encarnacion Neyra thumbmarked the agreement and will in question, on her
the presence of credible and trustworthy witnesses, and that she
bed, in the sala of the house, as they were allegedly in the caida, is
was compos mentis and possessed the necessary testamentary and mental
untenable. It has been fully shown that said witnesses were present, at the
capacity of the time; the petition for the reconsideration filed by Atty. Lucio
time of the signing and execution of the agreement and will in question, in
Javillonar, on November 23, 1942, on behalf of a client, Encarnacion Neyra,
the sala, where the testatrix was lying on her bed. The true test is not
who had been dead since November 4, 1942, and some of her relatives, who
whether they actually saw each other at the time of the signing of the
have appeared, in accordance with the provisions of section 17 of Rule 3 of
documents, but whether they might have seen each other sign, had they
the Rules of Court, is hereby denied; and the decision of the Court of Appeals
chosen to do so; and the attesting witnesses actually saw it all in this case.
for Manila, dated November 10, 1942, dismissing the appeal, is hereby re-
(Jaboneta vs.Gustilo, 5 Phil., 541.) And the thumbmark placed by the
affirmed, without costs. So ordered.
testatrix on the agreement and will in question is equivalent to her
signature. (Yap Tua vs. Yap Ca Kuan and Yap Ca Llu, 27 Phil., 579.)
Ozaeta, Perfecto, Hilado, and Bengzon, JJ., concur.
Teodora Neyra and her principal witnesses are all interested parties, as they
are children of legatees named in the will, dated September 14, 1939, but
eliminated from the will, dated November 3, 1942.
EN BANC

Furthermore, the testimony of Teodora Neyra and her witnesses, to the


[G.R. No. 47428. April 8, 1941.]
effect that there could have been no reconciliation between the two sisters,
and that the thumbmark of Encarnacion Neyra was affixed to the documents
Testamentaria de la finada Perpetua Albornoz Viuda de Soriano. ALFONSO
embodying the agreement, while she was sleeping, on November 3, 1942, in
their presence; and that her thumbmark was affixed to the will in question, ALBORNOZ, solicitante-apelante, contra. DOLORES ALBORNOZ y JOSE
when she was already dead, in the morning of November 4, 1942, within ALBORNOZ, opositores-apelados.
their view, is absolutely devoid of any semblance of truth. Said testimony is
contrary to common sense. It violates all sense of proportion. Teodora Neyra [G.R. No. 47429. April 8, 1941.]
and her witnesses could not have told the truth; they have testified to
deliberate falsefoods; and they are, therefore, absolutely unworthy of belief. DOLORES ALBORNOZ, solicitante-apelada, contra ALFONSO ALBORNOZ Y
And to the evidence of the petitioners is completely applicable the legal OTROS, opositores-apelantes.

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

Albornoz. Both are brothers of the now deceased Perpetua Albornoz Vda. of
Sres. Santos y Solidum y D. Emilio L. Medina, en representacion de los
apelantes. Soriano who said in their respective cases, be the grantor of the testaments

Sres. Diaz y Lazaro, en representacion de los apelados. and codicil whose legalization they requested.

The Court of North Ilocos who knew of the two files, ordered after the
1. WILLS; LEGALIZATION; MENTAL CAPACITY. - The deceased died on June paperwork of rigor, the legalization of the documents that Dolores Albornoz
25, 1936, around 8 in the morning, in the municipality of Laoag of the had presented as testament and codicil of the aforementioned deceased,
Province of Ilocos Norte, having then 68 years of age. Diarrhea and enteritis and are those that act today in cars as Exhibits A and B (File No. 4017 of the
with complications of myocarditis, from June 3, 1936 until the time of his Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte and CS -RG No. 47429); and I reject the
death which was due only to these causes. Her weakness was accentuated one that presented for the same purpose the promoter of file No. 4054 that
from day to day from shortly after having fallen ill, having contributed to this corresponds to this Court C. S. -R. G. No.47428, Alfonso Albornoz. This made
the absolute liquid diet to which she had been subjected, but her already the Court in a single decision, at the request of the interested parties.
quite advanced age. The prostration that came later was such that the 22 of

the expressed month and year and was delirious and could barely move and In the first case file (Expdiente No. 4017, C. S. -R.G No. 47429), Alfonso
talk; and if he spoke, his words were then incoherent. On the 23rd he Albornoz was an opponent and with him they made the common cause
completely lost his speech, and although his eyes were open, they did not Amador, Alicia, Clara and the brothers of these except Jose, all Albornoz; and
move anymore, noticing that they did not see either; and nothing of what in the other file, that is, No. 4054 (C. S.-R. G. No. 47428) were opponents
surrounded him already caused an impression or reaction. He continued like Dolores Albornoz and Jose Albornoz.
this until death befall him. In these circumstances, it is clear that it was

physically impossible for him to grant as he tried to prove the appellants, his

alleged testament Exhibit A in file No. 4054 (C. S. -R. G. No. 47428). It must
Alfonso Albornoz and those who made common cause with the appeal of
be borne in mind that said document shows in its face, and so the witnesses
the decision issued by the Court in both cases; and in this instance they argue
of the appellants declared, that it was prepared and signed by the deceased
now that he incurred the errors that point in his allegations, substantially in
and by the witnesses who presented, called AQ, AR e 1. SP, at 6 to. m. of the
these terms: chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
day June 24, 1936

The error of having declared that Perpetua Albornoz widow of Soriano had
no mental capacity on June 24, 1936, to grant the testament of that date,
These two files were elevated to us by virtue of the spelling, of some of the Exhibit A, which they presented for legalization in file No. 4054 (CS -RG No.
interested parties, against the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 47428).
Ilocos Norte, because both were of a legalization of two alleged testaments

and codicil in which the properties of the author of them tries to dispose, The one of having stopped giving credit to the testimony of the instrumental
they are worth much more than P50,000. witnesses of the referred testament of June 24, 1936.

In file C. S. -R. G. No. 47428 was the first-party petitioner Alfonzo Albornoz The one of having stopped declaring, without taking into account the clause
(File No. 4054 of the First Instance Court of Ilocos Norte), and file C. S. -R. G. of attestation of the testament that they claimed to be of the late Perpetua
No. 47429 (File No. 4017 of the same Court), the petitioner was Dolores Albornoz widow of Soriano, that the same was duly granted; and that of

P a g e 46 | 48
Article 799, Wills and Succession

having failed to declare at the same time that Dolores Albornoz and Jose S. -R. G. No. 47428). It must be borne in mind that said document shows on

Albornoz, who challenged him, did not present conclusive evidence to its face, and so the witnesses of the appellants declared, that it was prepared

support his contention that the said testament was not of said date. and signed by the deceased and by the witnesses who presented, called

Antonio Quirolgico, Adriano Ruiz and Isaac S. Pedro a 6 a. m. of the day June

That of having allowed the legalization as a testament of the deceased, and 24, 1936

as a codicil of the same, the documents that were presented as such by

Dolores Albornoz in file No. 4017, C. S. -R. G. No. 47429; and finally,

The deceased was not poor and did not lack the means to procure domestic
The one of having denied the motion that they presented to request the services and the care of relatives and friends more or less interested in her
celebration of a new sight. health: she did not live alone or was alone in her house since she became ill,
and less in the mentioned day, this being all the more true since Alfonzo
Albornoz himself, declaring at the hearing of the two files, stated that his
The appellants did not challenge or even make any objection regarding the sister Dolores Albornoz and the friend of this so-called Cunegunda Pe Benito
took special care not to see her; and in fact, the deceased had nine servants
authenticity and due granting as a testament and codicil, of Exhibits A and B and nine servants at her service. If this is true, it is undoubtedly true also, as
Dolores Albornos proves, that the deceased was never without company in
in file No. 4017, C. S. -R. G. No. 47429; and Dolores Albornoz proved, on the
her room during her illness, especially during her last days, because that one
other hand, that the late Perpetua A. Vda. of Soriano granted the same on required continuous care. Therefore, it is incredible that Adriano Ruiz and
the other instrumental witnesses of the alleged testament of June 24, could
April 25, 1934 and June 19, 1936, respectively, with complete freedom,
enter, not already inside the room of the deceased but even inside his house,
being she in the full enjoyment of his mental faculties and in the presence of without being seen or noticed by anyone. The granting of the will in question
could not be done in a short time; It must have taken some time, enough
witnesses whose names and signatures are mentioned and appear in the
time for those in the house to realize that there were strangers in it, at a
testimony clauses of the aforementioned documents. time when it is not customary to visit. Add to all this the expert calligrapher
Arcadio Laperal who made a careful study of the signatures "PERPETUA A.
VDA DE SORIANO that appear in Exhibit A in file No. 4054, which is the same
Exhibit 1 that works in the file No. 4017, comparing the same with the
authenticated ones of the deceased and those that appear in the testament
The deceased died on June 25, 1936, around 8 in the morning, in the and in the codicil legalized by the Court a quo, that were not discussed,
municipality of Laoag of the Province of Ilocos Norte, having then 68 years expressed the opinion that both could not have been written by a same
person, helped or not by another because they differ in all respects We
of age. Diarrhea and enteritis with complications of myocarditis from June believe that the opinion of the aforementioned expert is based on the facts,
especially considering that the deceased could no longer see well, as one of
3, 1936 until the time of his death which was due only to these causes. Her
the witnesses said of the testament being discussed, and yet the signatures
weakness was accentuated from day to day from shortly after having fallen attributed to it are written with much symmetry, rightly, and keeping the
letters together, almost the same distance, even if the deceased had been
ill, having contributed to this the absolute liquid diet to which she had been
helped by another to stamp The signatures would not have gone as well as
subjected, but her already quite advanced age. The prostration that came they appear in the aforementioned document.
later was such that the 22 of the expressed month and year and was delirious

and could barely move and talk; and if he spoke, his words were then
a motion for a new hearing that the appellants filed and was denied by the
incoherent. On the 23rd he completely lost his speech, and although his eyes
Court a quo, not alleging a new fact. They presented it simply proforma, so
were open, they did not move anymore, noticing that they did not see
that the facts can be reviewed.
either; and nothing of what surrounded him already caused an impression
For all the above, and being manifestly unfounded errors attributed by the
or reaction. He continued like this until death befall him. In these
appellants to the Court a quo, hereby, we confirm in all its parts the decision
circumstances, it is clear that it was physically impossible for him to grant as

he tried to prove the appellants, his alleged will Exhibit A in file No. 4054, (C.

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Article 799, Wills and Succession

appealed, with the costs to said appellants, in both instances. That is how it

is ordered.

Avanceña, Pres., Imperial, Laurel, and Horrilleno, MM., Are satisfied.

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