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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No.

147145 January 31, 2005

In an Order dated 14 August 1981, the RTC-Kabankalan admitted to probate the will of Toray. Since the oppositors did not file any motion for reconsideration, the order allowing the probate of Torays will became final and executory.8 In an order dated 23 November 1990, the RTC-Kabankalan designated Belinda Caponong-Noble ("Caponong-Noble") Special Administratrix of the estate of Abada and Toray.9 Caponong-Noble moved for the dismissal of the petition for probate of the will of Abada. The RTC-Kabankalan denied the motion in an Order dated 20 August 1991.10 Sometime in 1993, during the proceedings, Presiding Judge Rodolfo S. Layumas discovered that in an Order dated 16 March 1992, former Presiding Judge Edgardo Catilo had already submitted the case for decision. Thus, the RTC-Kabankalan rendered a Resolution dated 22 June 1994, as follows: There having been sufficient notice to the heirs as required by law; that there is substantial compliance with the formalities of a Will as the law directs and that the petitioner through his testimony and the deposition of Felix Gallinero was able to establish the regularity of the execution of the said Will and further, there being no evidence of bad faith and fraud, or substitution of the said Will, the Last Will and Testament of Alipio Abada dated June 4, 1932 is admitted and allowed probate. As prayed for by counsel, Noel Abbellar11 is appointed administrator of the estate of Paula Toray who shall discharge his duties as such after letters of administration shall have been issued in his favor and after taking his oath and filing a bond in the amount of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos. Mrs. Belinda C. Noble, the present administratrix of the estate of Alipio Abada shall continue discharging her duties as such until further orders from this Court. SO ORDERED.12 The RTC-Kabankalan ruled on the only issue raised by the oppositors in their motions to dismiss the petition for probate, that is, whether the will of Abada has an attestation clause as required by law. The RTC-Kabankalan further held that the failure of the oppositors to raise any other matter forecloses all other issues. Not satisfied with the Resolution, Caponong-Noble filed a notice of appeal. In a Decision promulgated on 12 January 2001, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Resolution of the RTC-Kabankalan. The appellate court found that the RTC-Kabankalan properly admitted to probate the will of Abada. Hence, the present recourse by Caponong-Noble. The Issues The petition raises the following issues: 1. What laws apply to the probate of the last will of Abada; 2. Whether the will of Abada requires acknowledgment before a notary public;13

TESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE ALIPIO ABADA, BELINDA CAPONONGNOBLE, petitioner, vs. ALIPIO ABAJA and NOEL ABELLAR, respondents. DECISION CARPIO, J.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review 1 assailing the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals of 12 January 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. 47644. The Court of Appeals sustained the Resolution3 of the Regional Trial Court of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, Branch 61 ("RTC-Kabankalan"), admitting to probate the last will and testament of Alipio Abada ("Abada"). The Antecedent Facts Abada died sometime in May 1940.4 His widow Paula Toray ("Toray") died sometime in September 1943. Both died without legitimate children. On 13 September 1968, Alipio C. Abaja ("Alipio") filed with the then Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (now RTCKabankalan) a petition,5 docketed as SP No. 070 (313-8668), for the probate of the last will and testament ("will") of Abada. Abada allegedly named as his testamentary heirs his natural children Eulogio Abaja ("Eulogio") and Rosario Cordova. Alipio is the son of Eulogio. Nicanor Caponong ("Caponong") opposed the petition on the ground that Abada left no will when he died in 1940. Caponong further alleged that the will, if Abada really executed it, should be disallowed for the following reasons: (1) it was not executed and attested as required by law; (2) it was not intended as the last will of the testator; and (3) it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiaries. Citing the same grounds invoked by Caponong, the alleged intestate heirs of Abada, namely, Joel, Julian, Paz, Evangeline, Geronimo, Humberto, Teodora and Elena Abada ("Joel Abada, et al."), and Levi, Leandro, Antonio, Florian, Hernani and Carmela Tronco ("Levi Tronco, et al."), also opposed the petition. The oppositors are the nephews, nieces and grandchildren of Abada and Toray. On 13 September 1968, Alipio filed another petition6 before the RTC-Kabankalan, docketed as SP No. 071 (312-8669), for the probate of the last will and testament of Toray. Caponong, Joel Abada, et al., and Levi Tronco, et al. opposed the petition on the same grounds they cited in SP No. 070 (313-8668). On 20 September 1968, Caponong filed a petition7 before the RTC-Kabankalan, docketed as SP No. 069 (309), praying for the issuance in his name of letters of administration of the intestate estate of Abada and Toray.

3. Whether the will must expressly state that it is written in a language or dialect known to the testator; 4. Whether the will of Abada has an attestation clause, and if so, whether the attestation clause complies with the requirements of the applicable laws; 5. Whether Caponong-Noble is precluded from raising the issue of whether the will of Abada is written in a language known to Abada; 6. Whether evidence aliunde may be resorted to in the probate of the will of Abada. The Ruling of the Court The Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the RTCKabankalan in admitting to probate the will of Abada. The Applicable Law Abada executed his will on 4 June 1932. The laws in force at that time are the Civil Code of 1889 or the Old Civil Code, and Act No. 190 or the Code of Civil Procedure14 which governed the execution of wills before the enactment of the New Civil Code. The matter in dispute in the present case is the attestation clause in the will of Abada. Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended by Act No. 2645,15 governs the form of the attestation clause of Abadas will.16Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides: SEC. 618. Requisites of will. No will, except as provided in the preceding section,17 shall be valid to pass any estate, real or personal, nor charge or affect the same, unless it be written in the language or dialect known by the testator and signed by him, or by the testators name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other. 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, on the left margin, and said pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each sheet. The attestation shall state the number of sheets or 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, in the presence of three witnesses, and the latter witnessed and signed the will and all pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of each other. Requisites of a Will under the Code of Civil Procedure Under Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the requisites of a will are the following: (1) The will must be written in the language or dialect known by the testator; (2) The will must be signed by the testator, or by the testators name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction; (3) The will must be attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other;

(4) The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will must sign each and every page of the will on the left margin; (5) The pages of the will must be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each sheet; (6) The attestation shall state the number of sheets or pages used, upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page of the will, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of three witnesses, and the witnesses witnessed and signed the will and all pages of the will in the presence of the testator and of each other. Caponong-Noble asserts that the will of Abada does not indicate that it is written in a language or dialect known to the testator. Further, she maintains that the will is not acknowledged before a notary public. She cites in particular Articles 804 and 805 of the Old Civil Code, thus: Art. 804. Every will must be in writing and executed in [a] language or dialect known to the testator. Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. xxx18 Caponong-Noble actually cited Articles 804 and 806 of the New Civil Code.19 Article 804 of the Old Civil Code is about the rights and obligations of administrators of the property of an absentee, while Article 806 of the Old Civil Code defines a legitime. Articles 804 and 806 of the New Civil Code are new provisions. Article 804 of the New Civil Code is taken from Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure.20 Article 806 of the New Civil Code is taken from Article 685 of the Old Civil Code21 which provides: Art. 685. The notary and two of the witnesses who authenticate the will must be acquainted with the testator, or, should they not know him, he shall be identified by two witnesses who are acquainted with him and are known to the notary and to the attesting witnesses. The notary and the witnesses shall also endeavor to assure themselves that the testator has, in their judgment, the legal capacity required to make a will. Witnesses authenticating a will without the attendance of a notary, in cases falling under Articles 700 and 701, are also required to know the testator. However, the Code of Civil Procedure22 repealed Article 685 of the Old Civil Code. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, the intervention of a notary is not necessary in the execution of any will.23 Therefore, Abadas will does not require acknowledgment before a notary public.1awphi1.nt Caponong-Noble points out that nowhere in the will can one discern that Abada knew the Spanish language. She alleges that such defect is fatal and must result in the disallowance of the will. On this issue, the Court of Appeals held that the matter was not raised in the motion to dismiss, and that it is now too late to raise the issue on appeal. We agree with Caponong-Noble that the doctrine of estoppel does not apply in probate proceedings.24 In addition, the language used in the will is part of the requisites under Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the Court deems it proper to pass upon this issue.

Nevertheless, Caponong-Nobles contention must still fail. There is no statutory requirement to state in the will itself that the testator knew the language or dialect used in the will.25 This is a matter that a party may establish by proof aliunde.26 CaponongNoble further argues that Alipio, in his testimony, has failed, among others, to show that Abada knew or understood the contents of the will and the Spanish language used in the will. However, Alipio testified that Abada used to gather Spanishspeaking people in their place. In these gatherings, Abada and his companions would talk in the Spanish language.27 This sufficiently proves that Abada speaks the Spanish language. The Attestation Clause of Abadas Will A scrutiny of Abadas will shows that it has an attestation clause. The attestation clause of Abadas will reads: Suscrito y declarado por el testador Alipio Abada como su ultima voluntad y testamento en presencia de nosotros, habiendo tambien el testador firmado en nuestra presencia en el margen izquierdo de todas y cada una de las hojas del mismo. Y en testimonio de ello, cada uno de nosotros lo firmamos en presencia de nosotros y del testador al pie de este documento y en el margen izquierdo de todas y cada una de las dos hojas de que esta compuesto el mismo, las cuales estan paginadas correlativamente con las letras "UNO" y "DOS en la parte superior de la carrilla.28 Caponong-Noble proceeds to point out several defects in the attestation clause. Caponong-Noble alleges that the attestation clause fails to state the number of pages on which the will is written. The allegation has no merit. The phrase "en el margen izquierdo de todas y cada una de las dos hojas de que esta compuesto el mismo" which means "in the left margin of each and every one of the two pages consisting of the same" shows that the will consists of two pages. The pages are numbered correlatively with the letters "ONE" and "TWO" as can be gleaned from the phrase "las cuales estan paginadas correlativamente con las letras "UNO" y "DOS." Caponong-Noble further alleges that the attestation clause fails to state expressly that the testator signed the will and its every page in the presence of three witnesses. She then faults the Court of Appeals for applying to the present case the rule on substantial compliance found in Article 809 of the New Civil Code.29 The first sentence of the attestation clause reads: "Suscrito y declarado por el testador Alipio Abada como su ultima voluntad y testamento en presencia de nosotros, habiendo tambien el testador firmado en nuestra presencia en el margen izquierdo de todas y cada una de las hojas del mismo." The English translation is: "Subscribed and professed by the testator Alipio Abada as his last will and testament in our presence, the testator having also signed it in our presence on the left margin of each and every one of the pages of the same." The attestation clause clearly states that Abada signed the will and its every page in the presence of the witnesses. However, Caponong-Noble is correct in saying that the attestation clause does not indicate the number of witnesses. On this point, the Court agrees with the appellate court in applying the rule on substantial compliance in determining the number of witnesses. While the attestation clause does not state the number of witnesses, a close inspection of the will shows that three witnesses signed it.

This Court has applied the rule on substantial compliance even before the effectivity of the New Civil Code. InDichoso de Ticson v. De Gorostiza,30 the Court recognized that there are two divergent tendencies in the law on wills, one being based on strict construction and the other on liberal construction. In Dichoso, the Court noted thatAbangan v. Abangan,31 the basic case on the liberal construction, is cited with approval in later decisions of the Court. In Adeva vda. De Leynez v. Leynez,32 the petitioner, arguing for liberal construction of applicable laws, enumerated a long line of cases to support her argument while the respondent, contending that the rule on strict construction should apply, also cited a long series of cases to support his view. The Court, after examining the cases invoked by the parties, held: x x x It is, of course, not possible to lay down a general rule, rigid and inflexible, which would be applicable to all cases. More than anything else, the facts and circumstances of record are to be considered in the application of any given rule. If the surrounding circumstances point to a regular execution of the will, and the instrument appears to have been executed substantially in accordance with the requirements of the law, the inclination should, in the absence of any suggestion of bad faith, forgery or fraud, lean towards its admission to probate, although the document may suffer from some imperfection of language, or other non-essential defect. x x x. An attestation clause is made for the purpose of preserving, in permanent form, a record of the facts attending the execution of the will, so that in case of failure of the memory of the subscribing witnesses, or other casualty, they may still be proved. (Thompson on Wills, 2d ed., sec. 132.) A will, therefore, should not be rejected where its attestation clause serves the purpose of the law. x x x 331a\^/phi1.net We rule to apply the liberal construction in the probate of Abadas will. Abadas will clearly shows four signatures: that of Abada and of three other persons. It is reasonable to conclude that there are three witnesses to the will. The question on the number of the witnesses is answered by an examination of the will itself and without the need for presentation of evidence aliunde. The Court explained the extent and limits of the rule on liberal construction, thus: [T]he so-called liberal rule does not offer any puzzle or difficulty, nor does it open the door to serious consequences. The later decisions do tell us when and where to stop; they draw the dividing line with precision.They do not allow evidence aliunde to fill a void in any part of the document or supply missing details that should appear in the will itself.l^vvphi1.net They only permit a probe into the will, an exploration within its confines, to ascertain its meaning or to determine the existence or absence of the requisite formalities of law. This clear, sharp limitation eliminates uncertainty and ought to banish any fear of dire results.34 (Emphasis supplied) The phrase "en presencia de nosotros" or "in our presence" coupled with the signatures appearing on the will itself and after the attestation clause could only mean that: (1) Abada subscribed to and professed before the three witnesses that the document was his last will, and (2) Abada signed the will and the left margin of each page of the will in the presence of these three witnesses. Finally, Caponong-Noble alleges that the attestation clause does not expressly state the circumstances that the witnesses witnessed and signed the will and all its pages in the presence of the testator and of each other. This Court has ruled:

Precision of language in the drafting of an attestation clause is desirable. However, it is not imperative that a parrot-like copy of the words of the statute be made. It is sufficient if from the language employed it can reasonably be deduced that the attestation clause fulfills what the law expects of it.35 The last part of the attestation clause states "en testimonio de ello, cada uno de nosotros lo firmamos en presencia de nosotros y del testador." In English, this means "in its witness, every one of us also signed in our presence and of the testator." This clearly shows that the attesting witnesses witnessed the signing of the will of the testator, and that each witness signed the will in the presence of one another and of the testator. WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the Court of Appeals of 12 January 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. 47644. SO ORDERED. Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION

Considering then that the probate proceedings herein must decide only the question of identity of the will, its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix, this probate court finds no reason at all for the disallowance of the will for its failure to comply with the formalities prescribed by law nor for lack of testamentary capacity of the testatrix. For one, no evidence was presented to show that the will in question is different from the will actually executed by the testatrix. The only objections raised by the oppositors . . . are that the will was not written in the handwriting of the testatrix which properly refers to the question of its due execution, and not to the question of identity of will. No other will was alleged to have been executed by the testatrix other than the will herein presented. Hence, in the light of the evidence adduced, the identity of the will presented for probate must be accepted, i.e., the will submitted in Court must be deemed to be the will actually executed by the testatrix. xxx xxx xxx

G.R. No. 106720 September 15, 1994 SPOUSES ROBERTO AND THELMA AJERO, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS AND CLEMENTE SAND, respondents. Miguel D. Larida for petitioners. Montilla Law Office for private respondent.

PUNO, J.: This is an appeal by certiorari from the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1 in CA-G.R. CV No. 22840, dated March 30, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads; PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision of November 19, 1988 of the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the petition for probate is hereby DISMISSED. No costs. The earlier Decision was rendered by the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 94, 2 in Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, and the instrument submitted for probate is the holographic will of the late Annie Sand, who died on November 25, 1982. In the will, decedent named as devisees, the following: petitioners Roberto and Thelma Ajero, private respondent Clemente Sand, Meriam S. Arong, Leah Sand, Lilia Sand, Edgar Sand, Fe Sand, Lisa S. Sand, and Dr. Jose Ajero, Sr., and their children. On January 20, 1983, petitioners instituted Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, for allowance of decedent's holographic will. They alleged that at the time of its execution, she was of sound and disposing mind, not acting under duress, fraud or undue influence, and was in every respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will. Private respondent opposed the petition on the grounds that: neither the testament's body nor the signature therein was in decedent's handwriting; it contained alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by decedent; and, the will was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue influence. The petition was likewise opposed by Dr. Jose Ajero. He contested the disposition in the will of a house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan Del Norte. He claimed that said property could not be conveyed by decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner. Notwithstanding the oppositions, the trial court admitted the decedent's holographic will to probate. It found, inter alia:

While the fact that it was entirely written, dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been disputed, the petitioners, however, have satisfactorily shown in Court that the holographic will in question was indeed written entirely, dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix. Three (3) witnesses who have convincingly shown knowledge of the handwriting of the testatrix have been presented and have explicitly and categorically identified the handwriting with which the holographic will in question was written to be the genuine handwriting and signature of the testatrix. Given then the aforesaid evidence, the requirement of the law that the holographic will be entirely written, dated and signed in the handwriting of the testatrix has been complied with. xxx xxx xxx As to the question of the testamentary capacity of the testratix, (private respondent) Clemente Sand himself has testified in Court that the testatrix was completely in her sound mind when he visited her during her birthday celebration in 1981, at or around which time the holographic will in question was executed by the testatrix. To be of sound mind, it is sufficient that the testatrix, at the time of making the will, knew the value of the estate to be disposed of, the proper object of her bounty, and thecharacter of the testamentary act . . . The will itself shows that the testatrix even had detailed knowledge of the nature of her estate. She even identified the lot number and square meters of the lots she had conveyed by will. The objects of her bounty were likewise identified explicitly. And considering that she had even written a nursing book which contained the law and jurisprudence on will and succession, there is

more than sufficient showing that she knows the character of the testamentary act. In this wise, the question of identity of the will, its due execution and the testamentary capacity of the testatrix has to be resolved in favor of the allowance of probate of the will submitted herein. Likewise, no evidence was presented to show sufficient reason for the disallowance of herein holographic will. While it was alleged that the said will was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person, the evidence adduced have not shown any instance where improper pressure or influence was exerted on the testatrix. (Private respondent) Clemente Sand has testified that the testatrix was still alert at the time of the execution of the will, i.e., at or around the time of her birth anniversary celebration in 1981. It was also established that she is a very intelligent person and has a mind of her own. Her independence of character and to some extent, her sense of superiority, which has been testified to in Court, all show the unlikelihood of her being unduly influenced or improperly pressured to make the aforesaid will. It must be noted that the undue influence or improper pressure in question herein only refer to the making of a will and not as to the specific testamentary provisions therein which is the proper subject of another proceeding. Hence, under the circumstances, this Court cannot find convincing reason for the disallowance of the will herein. Considering then that it is a well-established doctrine in the law on succession that in case of doubt, testate succession should be preferred over intestate succession, and the fact that no convincing grounds were presented and proven for the disallowance of the holographic will of the late Annie Sand, the aforesaid will submitted herein must be admitted to probate. 3 (Citations omitted.) On appeal, said Decision was reversed, and the petition for probate of decedent's will was dismissed. The Court of Appeals found that, "the holographic will fails to meet the requirements for its validity." 4 It held that the decedent did not comply with Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code, which read, as follows: Art. 813: When a number of dispositions appearing in a holographic will are signed without being dated, and the last disposition has a signature and date, such date validates the dispositions preceding it, whatever be the time of prior dispositions. Art. 814: In case of insertion, cancellation, erasure or alteration in a holographic will, the testator must authenticate the same by his full signature. It alluded to certain dispositions in the will which were either unsigned and undated, or signed but not dated. It also found

that the erasures, alterations and cancellations made thereon had not been authenticated by decedent. Thus, this appeal which is impressed with merit. Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court provides that will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases: (a) If not executed and attested as required by law; (b) If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally incapable to make a will, at the time of its execution; (c) If it was executed under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats; (d) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary, or of some other person for his benefit; (e) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud or trick, and he did not intend that the instrument should be his will at the time of fixing his signature thereto. In the same vein, Article 839 of the New Civil Code reads: Art. 839: The will shall be disallowed in any of the following cases; (1) If the formalities required by law have not been complied with; (2) If the testator was insane, or otherwise mentally incapable of making a will, at the time of its execution; (3) If it was executed through force or under duress, or the influence of fear, or threats; (4) If it was procured by undue and improper pressure and influence, on the part of the beneficiary or of some other person; (5) If the signature of the testator was procured by fraud; (6) If the testator acted by mistake or did not intend that the instrument he signed should be his will at the time of affixing his signature thereto.

These lists are exclusive; no other grounds can serve to disallow a will. 5 Thus, in a petition to admit a holographic will to probate, the only issues to be resolved are: (1) whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedent's last will and testament; (2) whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law; (3) whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed; and, (4) whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent. 6 In the case at bench, respondent court held that the holographic will of Anne Sand was not executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law. It held that Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code, ante, were not complied with, hence, it disallowed the probate of said will. This is erroneous. We reiterate what we held in Abangan vs. Abangan, 40 Phil. 476, 479 (1919), that: The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore, the laws on this subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a will. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other interpretation whatsoever, that adds nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustrative of the testator's last will, must be disregarded. For purposes of probating non-holographic wills, these formal solemnities include the subscription, attestation, and acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code. In the case of holographic wills, on the other hand, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally autographic or handwritten by the testator himself, 7 as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code, thus: A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed. (Emphasis supplied.) Failure to strictly observe other formalities will not result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is unquestionably handwritten by the testator. A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render the whole testament void. Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate, notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of Article 814. In the case of Kalaw vs. Relova 132 SCRA 237 242 (1984), this Court held:

Ordinarily, when a number of erasures, corrections, and interlineations made by the testator in a holographic Will have not been noted under his signature, . . . the Will is not thereby invalidated as a whole, but at most only as respects the particular words erased, corrected or interlined. Manresa gave an identical commentary when he said "la omission de la salvedad no anula el testamento, segun la regla de jurisprudencia establecida en la sentencia de 4 de Abril de 1985." 8 (Citations omitted.) Thus, unless the unauthenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on testator's signature, 9 their presence does not invalidate the will itself. 10 The lack of authentication will only result in disallowance of such changes. It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810). The distinction can be traced to Articles 678 and 688 of the Spanish Civil Code, from which the present provisions covering holographic wills are taken. They read as follows: Art. 678: A will is called holographic when the testator writes it himself in the form and with the requisites required in Article 688. Art. 688: Holographic wills may be executed only by persons of full age. In order that the will be valid it must be drawn on stamped paper corresponding to the year of its execution, written in its entirety by the testator and signed by him, and must contain a statement of the year, month and day of its execution. If it should contain any erased, corrected, or interlined words, the testator must identify them over his signature. Foreigners may execute holographic wills in their own language. This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code are essential to the probate of a holographic will. The Court of Appeals further held that decedent Annie Sand could not validly dispose of the house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, in its entirety. This is correct and must be affirmed. As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought to be probated. However, in exceptional instances, courts are not powerless to do what the situation constrains them to do, and pass upon certain provisions of the will. 11 In the case at bench, decedent herself indubitably stated in her holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late father, John H. Sand (which led oppositor Dr. Jose Ajero to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety). Thus, as correctly held

by respondent court, she cannot validly dispose of the whole property, which she shares with her father's other heirs. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 22840, dated March 30, 1992, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, except with respect to the invalidity of the disposition of the entire house and lot in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 94 in Sp. Proc. No. Q-37171, dated November 19, 1988, admitting to probate the holographic will of decedent Annie Sand, is hereby REINSTATED, with the above qualification as regards the Cabadbaran property. No costs. SO ORDERED. Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.