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Category Archives: Case Digests

Laude v. Judge Ginez-Jabalde, et al. G.R. No. 217456, 24 November 2015.

[LEONEN, J.]

FACTS: This involves the celebrated case of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude (Jennifer) killed at the Celzone Lodge on Ramon Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo City allegedly by 19-year-old US Marine L/CPL Joseph Scott Pemberton (Pemberton). A Complaint for murder was filed by Jennifer’s sibling, Marilou S. Laude, against Pemberton before the Office of the City Prosecutor which Information was later filed with the RTC in Olongapo City.

On 19 December 2014, Pemberton surrendered personally to the RTC Judge and was later arraigned. On the same day of Arraignment petitioner Laude filed an Urgent Motion to Compel the Armed Forces of the Philippines to Surrender the Custody of Accused to the Olongapo City Jail and a Motion to Allow Media Coverage. The motion was scheduled on 22 December 2014, 2PM. According to petitioners, they were only able to serve the Motion on Pemberton’s counsel through registered mail. In any case, they claim to have also “furnished a copy of the [M]otion personally … at the hearing of the [M]otion.  On 23 December 2014, the Urgent Motion was denied, as well as its motion for reconsideration.

ISSUE: Are the averments of the petitioner, that the 3-day notice rule should be should be liberally applied due to the timing of the arrest and arraignment, tenable?

HELD: NO. Rule 15, Section 4 of the Rules of Court clearly makes it a mandatory rule that the adverse party be given notice of hearing on the motion at least three days prior. Failure to comply with this notice requirement renders the motion defective consistent with protecting the adverse party’s right to procedural due process.

While the general rule is that a motion that fails to comply with the requirements of Rule 15 is a mere scrap of paper, an exception may be made and the motion may still be acted upon by the court, provided doing so will neither cause prejudice to the other party nor violate his or her due process rights. The adverse party must be given time to study the motion in order to enable him or her to prepare properly and engage the arguments of the movant. In this case, the general rule must apply because Pemberton was not given sufficient time to study petitioners’ Motion, thereby depriving him of his right to procedural due process.

Petitioners admit that they personally furnished Pemberton a copy of the Urgent Motion to Compel the Armed Forces of the Philippines to Surrender Custody of Accused to the Olongapo City Jail only during the hearing. They attempt to elude the consequences of this belated notice by arguing that they also served a copy of the Motion by registered mail on Pemberton’s counsel. They also attempt to underscore the urgency of the Motion by making a reference to the Christmas season and the “series of legal holidays” where courts would be closed. To compound their obfuscation, petitioners claim that the hearing held on December 22, 2014, attended by Pemberton’s counsel sufficiently satisfied the rationale of the three-day notice rule. These circumstances taken together do not cure the Motion’s deficiencies. Even granting that Pemberton’s counsel was able to comment on the motion orally during the hearing, which incidentally was set for another incident, it cannot be said that Pemberton was able to study and prepare for his counterarguments to the issues raised in the Motion. Judge Ginez-J abalde was correct to deny the Urgent Motion to Compel the Armed Forces of the Philippines to Surrender Custody of Accused to the Olongapo City Jail based on noncompliance of procedural rules. To rule otherwise would be to prejudice Pemberton’s rights as an accused.

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Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Procedure, Remedial Law

 

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Gabucan v. Judge Manta, G.R. No. L-51546, January 28, 1980.

[AQUINO, J.]

FACTS

The Court of First Instance of Camiguin in its “decision” for the probate of the will of the late Rogaciano Gabucan, dismissed the proceeding because the requisite documentary stamp was not affixed to the notarial acknowledgment in the will and, hence, according to respondent Judge, it was not admissible in evidence, citing section 238 of the Tax Code, now section 250 of the 1977 Tax Code.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the probate of a notarial will should be denied on the ground that it does not bear a thirty-centavo documentary stamp.

 

RULING

NO. What the probate court should have done was to require the petitioner or proponent to affix the requisite thirty-centavo documentary stamp to the notarial acknowledgment of the will which is the taxable portion of that document. That procedure may be implied from the provision of section 238 that the non-admissibility of the document, which does not bear the requisite documentary stamp, subsists only “until the requisite stamp or stamps shall have been affixed thereto and cancelled.” Thus, it was held that the documentary stamp may be affixed at the time the taxable document is presented in evidence. That the lack of the documentary stamp on a document does not invalidate such document.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Cruz v. Judge Villasor, G.R. No. L-32213, November 26, 1973.

[ESGUERRA, J.]

FACTS

The probate of the last will and testament of the late Valente Z. Cruz was opposed by petitioner Agapita on the ground of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and undue influence, and that it was not executed in accordance with law. Of the three instrumental witnesses thereto, namely Deogracias T. Jamaloas Jr., Dr. Francisco Pañares and Atty. Angel H. Teves, Jr., one of them, the last named, is at the same time the Notary Public before whom the will was supposed to have been acknowledged.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the probate of a will is valid if one of the three instrumental witnessed is the notary public to whom the will was acknowledged.

 

RULING

NO. To allow the notary public to act as third witness, or one the attesting and acknowledging witnesses, would have the effect of having only two attesting witnesses to the will which would be in contravention of the provisions of Article 80 be requiring at least three credible witnesses to act as such and of Article 806 which requires that the testator and the required number of witnesses must appear before the notary public to acknowledge the will. The result would be, as has been said, that only two witnesses appeared before the notary public for or that purpose. In the circumstances, the law would not be duly in observed.

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Icasiano v. Icasiano, G.R. No. L-18979, June 30, 1964.

[REYES, J.B.L., J.]

FACTS

Witness Natividad who testified on his failure to sign page three (3) of the original, admits that he may have lifted two pages instead of one when he signed the same, but affirmed that page three (3) was signed in his presence.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not a will can be probated if one of the witness inadvertently failed to sign one of the pages thereof.

 

RULING

YES. The inadvertent failure of one witness to affix his signature to one page of a testament, due to the simultaneous lifting of two pages in the course of signing, is not per se sufficient to justify denial of probate. Impossibility of substitution of this page is assured not only the fact that the testatrix and two other witnesses did sign the defective page, but also by its bearing the coincident imprint of the seal of the notary public before whom the testament was ratified by testatrix and all three witnesses. The law should not be so strictly and literally interpreted as to penalize the testatrix on account of the inadvertence of a single witness over whose conduct she had no control, where the purpose of the law to guarantee the identity of the testament and its component pages is sufficiently attained, no intentional or deliberate deviation existed, and the evidence on record attests to the full observance of the statutory requisites.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Lopez v. Lopez, G.R. No. 189984, November 12, 2012.

[PERLAS-BERNABE, J.]

FACTS

The RTC disallowed the probate of the will for failure to comply with the required statement in the attestation clause as to the number of pages used upon which the will is written. While the acknowledgment portion stated that the will consists of 7 pages including the page on which the ratification and acknowledgment are written, the RTC observed that it has 8 pages including the acknowledgment portion. As such, it disallowed the will for not having been executed and attested in accordance with law.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the discrepancy between the number of pages in the attestation clause and the actual number of pages in the will that would warrant its disallowance.

 

RULING

YES. The provisions of the Civil Code on Forms of Wills, particularly, Articles 805 and 809 of the Civil Code provide that the attestation must state the number of pages used upon which the will is written. The purpose of the law is to safeguard against possible interpolation or omission of one or some of its pages and prevent any increase or decrease in the pages. Here, the will actually consists of 8 pages including its acknowledgment which discrepancy cannot be explained by mere examination of the will itself but through the presentation of evidence aliunde.

 

 
 

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Echavez v. Dozen Construction and Development Corporation, G.R. No. 192916, October 11, 2010.

[BRION, J.]

FACTS

Vicente Echavez (Vicente) was the absolute owner of the subject lots donated to petitioner Manuel Echavez (Manuel) through a Deed of Donation Mortis Causa, sans attestation clause, acknowledged before a notary public. Manuel accepted the donation. Vicente sold the same lots in favor of Dozen Construction and Development Corporation (Dozen Corporation). Manuel filed a petition to approve Vicente’s donation mortis causa in his favor and an action to annul the contracts of sale Vicente executed in favor of Dozen Corporation.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the donation mortis causa is valid despite the non-conformity with the formalities of a will.

 

RULING

NO. A donation mortis causa must comply with the formalities prescribed by law for the validity of wills, “otherwise, the donation is void and would produce no effect.” Articles 805 and 806 of the Civil Code should have been applied. Although the witnesses in the present case acknowledged the execution of the Deed of Donation Mortis Causa before the notary public, this is not the avowal the law requires from the instrumental witnesses to the execution of a decedent’s will.  Hence, the donation is void, while the sale to Dozen Construction is valid.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Taboada v. Rosal, G.R. No. L-36033, November 5, 1982.

[GUTIERREZ, JR., J.]

 

FACTS

In the petition for probate filed with the respondent court, the petitioner attached the alleged last will and testament of the late Dorotea Perez. Written in the Cebuano-Visayan dialect, the will consists of two pages. The first page contains the entire testamentary dispositions and is signed at the end or bottom of the page by the testatrix alone and at the left hand margin by the three (3) instrumental witnesses. The second page which contains the attestation clause and the acknowledgment is signed at the end of the attestation clause by the three (3) attesting witnesses and at the left hand margin by the testatrix.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the will is void for failure to state the number of pages used in writing the will.

 

RULING

NO. This would have been a fatal defect were it not for the fact that, in this case, it is discernible from the entire will that it is really and actually composed of only two pages duly signed by the testatrix and her instrumental witnesses. [T]he first page which contains the entirety of the testamentary dispositions is signed by the testatrix at the end or at the bottom while the instrumental witnesses signed at the left margin. The other page which is marked as “Pagina dos” comprises the attestation clause and the acknowledgment. The acknowledgment itself states that “This Last Will and Testament consists of two pages including this page”.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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