RSS

Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 

 
 

Tags: , ,

Probate of Will of the late William R. Giberson, G.R. No. L-4113, June 30, 1952.

[PABLO, J.]

FACTS

Lela G. Dalton presented on February 10, 1949 an application with the Court of First Instance of Cebu for the probate of the holographic will of William R. Giberson, a citizen of the State of Illinois, United States, dated April 29, 1920 in San Francisco, California. Spring Giberson, legitimate son of William R. Giberson, presented an opposition alleging that the will is apocrypha (with questionable authenticity), it does not represent the true will of the late Giberson, and has not been granted according to the law.

 

ISSUE

Whether the wills executed outside the Philippines may be probated without being first probated in the country of its execution.

 

RULING

YES.  Section 635 of the Code of Civil Procedure stating that “a will made out of the Philippine Islands… may be proved, allowed, and recorded in the Philippine Islands, and shall have the same effect as if executed according to the laws of these Islands” is still in force and has not been abrogated by Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. Here, the will of William Giberson need not be probated first in the State of Illinois, USA before it may be probated here in the Philippines. The Court opined that Section 635 of the Code of Civil Procedure is substantive in nature and therefore could not have been repealed by the Rules of Court which are only procedural in nature.

 

Tags: , ,

In re: Will and Testament of the deceased REVEREND SANCHO ABADIA, G.R. No.L-7188, August 9, 1954

[MONTEMAYOR, J.]

FACTS

The deceased Father Sancho Abadia executed a holographic will in his own handwriting, numbered and signed by the testator himself and attested by three (3) witnesses on September 6, 1923. He died on January 14, 1943 in Cebu. The will was admitted to probate on January 24, 1952. Some of the cousins and nephews, who would inherit the estate of the deceased if he left no will, filed opposition.

 

ISSUE

What law should apply as to the validity of the holographic will: the old Civil Code when the will was executed or the new Civil Code which could have validated the will?

 

RULING

It should be the old Civil Code. The new Civil Code, which took effect August 30, 1950, provides in Art. 795: “The validity of a will as to its form depends upon the observance of the law in force at the time it is made.” Here, the validity of the holographic will is to be judged not by the law enforced at the time when the petition is decided by the court but at the time the instrument was executed. When one executes a will which is invalid for failure to observe and follow the legal requirements at the time of its execution, just like in this case, then upon his death he should be regarded and declared as having died intestate. This is because the general rule is that the Legislature cannot validate void wills.

 

 

Tags: , ,

Enrile v. Sandiganbayan and People, G.R. No. 213847, 18 August 2015.

En Banc

[BERSAMIN, J.]

FACTS: The Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile, 90 years of age, and several others with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported involvement in the diversion and misuse of appropriations under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Upon voluntary surrender, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital, and his Motion to Fix Bail. Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as matter of right; that it is the duty and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile comes under the exception and cannot be excluded from enjoying the right to bail; that the Prosecution has failed to establish that Enrile, if convicted of plunder, is punishable by reclusion perpetua considering the presence of two mitigating circumstances – his age and his voluntary surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof showing that his guilt for the crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered a flight risk taking into account that he is already over the age of 90, his medical condition, and his social standing. In its Comment, the Ombudsman contends that Enrile’s right to bail is discretionary as he is charged with a capital offense; that to be granted bail, it is mandatory that a bail hearing be conducted to determine whether there is strong evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that entitlement to bail considers the imposable penalty, regardless of the attendant circumstances.

ISSUE: Is Enrile entitled to bail? If YES, on what ground(s)?

HELD: YES, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of right based on humanitarian grounds.

The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is ultimately an incident of the judicial power to hear and determine his criminal case. The strength of the Prosecution’s case, albeit a good measure of the accused’s propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which is to ensure that the accused appears at trial.

The Court is guided by the earlier mentioned principal purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or whenever so required by the court. The Court is further mindful of the Philippines’ responsibility in the international community arising from the national commitment under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:

x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail.

This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those charged in criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon a clear and convincing showing: (1) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2 ) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.

In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered to the authorities upon his being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from this jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utter respect for the legal processes of this country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago when he had been charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a similar personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during the pendency of his trial because he was not seen as a flight risk. With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long years of public service, and history’s judgment of him being at stake, he should be granted bail.

N.B.

Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life would not serve the true objective of preventive incarceration during the trial.

 

 

Zuño v. Judge Cabebe, A.M. OCA No. 03-1800-RTJ, 26 November 2004.

Third Division

[SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.]

FACTS: The instant administrative case stemmed from the sworn complaint of Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuño of the Department of Justice, against Judge Alejandrino C. Cabebe, then Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Batac, Ilocos Norte. The charges are knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, gross ignorance of the law and partiality in a case where: The accused filed a motion to dismiss invoking as ground the right of the accused to a speedy trial; Respondent judge motu propio issued an Order granting bail to the accused; Respondent judge issued the Order without the accused’s application or motion for bail. The prosecution then filed a motion for reconsideration. Instead of acting thereon, respondent judge issued an order inhibiting himself from further proceeding with the case, realizing that what he did was patently irregular. Complainant thus prays that respondent judge be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all benefits and be disbarred from the practice of law. In his comment, respondent denied the charges. While admitting that he issued the Order granting bail to the accused without any hearing, “the same was premised on the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial.” There was delay in the proceedings due to complainant’s frequent absences and failure of the witnesses for the prosecution to appear in court, resulting in the cancellation of the hearings.

ISSUE#1: Is the Judge correct in granting bail sans the application or motion for bail and without conducting a hearing?

HELD#2: NO, the Judge is not correct.

In Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas, we held that jurisprudence is replete with decisions on the procedural necessity of a hearing, whether summary or otherwise, relative to the grant of bail, especially in cases involving offenses punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, where bail is a matter of discretion. Under the present Rules, a hearing is mandatory in granting bail whether it is a matter of right or discretion. It must be stressed that the grant or the denial of bail in cases where bail is a matter of discretion, hinges on the issue of whether or not the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, and the determination of whether or not the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial discretion which remains with the judge. In order for the latter to properly exercise his discretion, he must first conduct a hearing to determine whether the evidence of guilt is strong. In fact, even in cases where there is no petition for bail, a hearing should still be held.

There is no question that respondent judge granted bail to the accused without conducting a hearing, in violation of Sections 8 and 18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure xxx.

[T]he court’s order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence of the prosecution and based thereon, the judge should formulate his own conclusion as to whether the evidence so presented is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused. Respondent judge did not follow the above Rules and procedure enumerated in Cortes. He did not conduct a hearing before he granted bail to the accused, thus depriving the prosecution of an opportunity to interpose objections to the grant of bail. Irrespective of his opinion on the strength or weakness of evidence to prove the guilt of the accused, he should have conducted a hearing and thereafter made a summary of the evidence of the prosecution. The importance of a bail hearing and a summary of evidence cannot be downplayed, these are considered aspects of procedural due process for both the prosecution and the defense; its absence will invalidate the grant or denial of bail

ISSUE#2: Is the contention of the Respondent Judge, in granting bail on the ground that the accused were entitled to their right to a speedy trial, meritorious?

HELD#2: NO. Respondent’s contention is bereft of merit.

There is no indication in the records of the criminal case that the prosecution has intentionally delayed the trial of the case. Even assuming there was delay, this does not justify the grant of bail without a hearing. This is utter disregard of the Rules. The requirement of a bail hearing has been incessantly stressed by this Court. In the same vein, the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be conversant with the law and the Rules and maintain professional competence; and by the very nature of his office, should be circumspect in the performance of his duties. He must render justice without resorting to shortcuts clearly uncalled for. Obviously, respondent failed to live up to these standards.

 

 

Tags: ,