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Nera v. Rimando, G.R. No. L-5971, February 21, 1911.

[CARSON, J.]

FACTS

A notarial will was executed in a small room. At the moment when the witness Javellana signed the document, Jaboneta was outside, some eight or ten feet away but was actually and physically present and in such position with relation to Jaboneta that he could see everything that took place by merely casting his eyes in the proper direction and without any physical obstruction to prevent his doing so.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the notarial will is void for the failure of the instrumental witnesses to see each other sign.

 

RULING

NO. The phrase “in the presence” required by law simply means that position of the parties with relation to each other at the moment of the subscription of each signature, must be such that they may see each other sign if they choose to do so. The question whether the testator and the subscribing witnesses to an alleged will sign the instrument “in the presence” of each other does not depend upon proof of the fact that their eyes were actually cast upon the paper at the moment of its subscription by each of them, but that at that moment existing conditions and their position with relation to each other were such that by merely casting the eyes in the proper direction they could have seen each other sign.

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

 

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In the Matter of the Summary Settlement of Estate of Anacleta Abellana, Balonan v. Abellana, G.R. No. L-15153, August 31, 1960.

[LABRADOR, J.]

FACTS

The first page of the will is signed by Juan Bello and under his name appears typewritten “Por la testadora Anacleta Abellana…”, and on the second page appears the signature of three (3) instrumental witnesses Blas Sebastian, Faustino Macaso and Rafael Ignacio, at the bottom of which appears the signature of T. de los Santos and below his signature is his official designation as the notary public who notarized the said testament.

 

ISSUE

Does the signature of another person above the name of the testator comply with the requirements of law prescribing the manner in which a will shall be executed?

 

RULING

NO. The will must be subscribed at the 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 (Section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Here, the name of the testatrix, Anacleta Abellana, does not appear written under the will by said Abellana herself, or by Dr. Juan Abello. There is, therefore, a failure to comply with the express requirement in the law that the testator must himself sign the will, or that his name be affixed thereto by some other person in his presence and by his express direction.

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

 

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In the Matter of the Will of Antero Mercado, Garcia v. Lacuesta, G.R. No. L-4067, November 29, 1951.

[PARAS, C.J.]

FACTS

The will appears to have been signed by Atty. Florentino Javier who wrote the name of Antero Mercado, followed below by “A reugo del testator” and the name of Florentino Javier. Antero Mercado is alleged to have written a cross immediately after his name. The attestation clause failed to state that the testator caused another person to write the testator’s name under his express direction. The herein petitioner argues, however, that there is no need for such recital because the cross written by the testator after his name is a sufficient signature and the signature of Atty. Florentino Javier is a surplusage.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not the will is void on the ground that it failed to state that the testator caused another person to write the testator’s name under his express direction.

 

RULING

YES. The attestation clause is fatally defective for failing to state that Antero Mercado caused Atty. Florentino Javier to write the testator’s name under his express direction, as required by section 618 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is not here pretended that the cross appearing on the will is the usual signature of Antero Mercado or even one of the ways by which he signed his name. After mature reflection, [the Court is] not prepared to liken the mere sign of the cross to a thumbmark, and the reason is obvious. The cross cannot and does not have the trustworthiness of a thumbmark.

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

 

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Suroza v. Judge Honrado, A.M. 2026 CFI, December 19, 1981.

[AQUINO, J.]

FACTS

Mauro Suroza and Marcelina Salvador reared a boy named Agapito who used the surname Suroza. Mauro died and Marcelina became the beneficiary of Mauro’s pension. Years after, Agapito married Nenita. Marcelina executed a notarial will. That will which is in English was thumbmarked by her. Marcelina was illiterate. In that will, Marcelina bequeathed all her estate to her supposed granddaughter Marilyn. In the opening paragraph of the will, it was stated that English was a language “understood and known” to the testatrix. But in its concluding paragraph, it was stated that the will was read to the testatrix “and translated into Filipino language”.

 

ISSUE

Whether or not a will written in another language which is a translation of the language known to the testator is void.

 

RULING

YES. That could only mean that the will was written in a language not known to the illiterate testatrix and, therefore, it is void because of the mandatory provision of article 804 of the Civil Code that every will must be executed in a language or dialect known to the testator. Thus, a will written in English, which was not known to the Igorot testator, is void and must be disallowed.

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

 

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Lawyer by Choice

(As submitted to be part of “Testimonials” of the ARROWS yearbook)

Life is all about choices. A lot of people would want to be a lawyer but only a few will make it. Many would say that being a lawyer was their childhood dream. Some would only follow the steps of their parents or relatives. Others are being driven to become a lawyers by their parents. To a selected few, being a lawyer is a calling. Yet, whatever reason one should become a lawyer, the choice is a requirement. One must choose to become a lawyer.

Law school is no different. The choice of school likewise matters. To be a successful lawyer, one must rise from the education, training, and discipline of a good law school. While some law schools appear to be better than the others, it’s really more because of the kind of students who underwent the rigorous preparations of becoming a member of the noble law profession. But the training is the same. Books and cases are the same. Arellano University School of Law (AUSL) should also be the same. To be first among equals, one must choose to become first.

I choose to be a good lawyer; and I have chosen AUSL to make it happen.

 

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Personal

 

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Baltazar v. Laxa, G.R. No. 174489, April 11, 2012.

[DEL CASTILLO, J.]

FACTS

Paciencia was a 78 year old spinster at the time she executed her will. The same was executed in the house of a certain retired Judge Limpin, was read to Paciencia twice, was signed by her, and was attested to by three credible witness. Petitioner Rosie Mateo, daughter of the first cousin of testatrix, testified that the latter was “magulyan” or “forgetful” because she would sometimes leave her wallet in the kitchen then start looking for it moments later.

ISSUE

Whether or not forgetfulness is equivalent to being unsound mind, hence lack of testamentary capacity.

 

RULING

NO. The state of being forgetful does not necessarily make a person mentally unsound so as to render him unfit to execute a will. Forgetfulness is not equivalent to being of unsound mind. Article 799 of the Civil Code provides for the criteria for soundness of mind. In this case, apart from the testimony of Rosie pertaining to Paciencia’s forgetfulness, there is no substantial evidence, medical or otherwise, that would show that Paciencia was of unsound mind at the time of the execution of the will. The law presumes that every person is of sound mind, in the absence of proof to the contrary.

A scrutiny of the Will discloses that [Paciencia] was aware of the nature of the document she executed. She specially requested that the customs of her faith be observed upon her death.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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Solla v. Ascuenta, G.R. No. L-24955, September 4, 1926.

[VILLA-REAL, J.]

FACTS

Maria Solla died leaving a will in accordance with the laws then in force but was not probated. Maria then instituted grandson Leandro Serrano as universal heir, with the obligation that the latter shall “give or deliver to the parish priest of this town a sufficient sum of money necessary for a yearly novena” and shall “insist that his heirs comply with the same”. The Trial Court ruled that the order mentioned by Maria Solla that Leandro shall “insist that his heirs comply with the same” pertains to both the distribution of the legacies and the pious bequests.

ISSUE

Whether or not the phrase “insist that his heirs comply with the same” pertains to both the distribution of the legacies and the pious bequests.

RULING

NO. In order to determine the testator’s intention, the court should place itself as near as possible in his position, and hence, where the language of the will is ambiguous or doubtful, should take into consideration the situation of the testator and the facts and circumstances surrounding him at the time the will executed. In the present case, it appearing that it was Mari Solla’s intention, in ordering her universal heir Leandro Serrano in her will at the hour of his death, to insist upon the compliance of her orders by his heirs, that the latter should comply with her pious orders and that she did not mean her orders concerning her legacies.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Case Digests, Civil Law, Succession

 

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