G.R. No. 1388. March 05, 1904

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3 Phil. 386

[ G.R. No. 1388. March 05, 1904 ]




In a petition dated March 11, 1902, the plaintiff, Silverio Paguia Fernando,
prayed that the defendants be required to make delivery of a will alleged to
have been executed by the late Lucia Villalon, in order that the same might be
annulled; that judgment be rendered against the defendants declaring the said
will null and void; that the estate of the deceased be administered according to
law, and that plaintiff have judgment against the defendants for the costs. To
this effect he alleged that on the 7th of August, 1899, the said Lucia Villalon,
the widow of the late Perfecto Bunag, of whom she was the lawful heir, died in
the town of Bulacan; that the said Lucia Villalon died intestate, leaving no
descendants or ascendants, lawful or natural, brothers, nephews, husband, or
other collateral relatives, with the exception of the plaintiff, who was a first
cousin of the deceased and the only heir to the estate; that Pacifico Santos
Villalon was appointed by the court on the 23d of September, 1901, as
administrator of the estate of the late Victoriano Villalon, who died on the 2d
of September, 1900; that the said Victoriano Villalon, deceased, pretended that
the property of said Lucia Villalon had been bequeathed to him by means of a
holographic will which he alleged had been written in her own handwriting by the
said Lucia Villalon in the barrio of Bagumbayan of the town of Malolos on the
25th of March, 1899; that the said alleged will Avas false, and was not executed
or written by the said Lucia Villalon; that on the 26th of March, 1900, said
holographic will was filed in the office of the notary, Don Genaro Heredia, in
Manila; that the late Victoriano Villalon left four children, to wit: Augusto,
Patrocinia, Teofilo, and Rosalio Villalon, from whom the plaintiff claimed the
property left by the said Lucia Villalon as heirs of Victoriano Villalon,
deceased, by virtue of the holographic Avill alleged to have been executed by
the said Lucia Villalon in favor of their late father.

The holographic will, written in Tagalog, a translation into Spanish whereof
appears in the complaint, reads as follows :

“In the barrio of Bagumbayan, Bulacan, the 25th of March, 1899, I, Lucia
Villalon, of this vicinity, 60 years of age, more or less, widow of Perfecto
Bunag, and legitimate daughter of Paulino and Brigida Mataranos, fearing that
the closed will which I executed on the 16th of this month may be destroyed or
lost, have endeavored to write this present one in witness of the fact that of
all the property I may leave, I institute as my heir my cousin, Victoriano
Villalon, of Mariquina, or his six children, amongst whom is Augusto, to whose
good conscience I leave the fulfillment of my charges in regard to the images of
my saints, masses, and alms to the poor of any place whom he may deem worthy,
since I have no forced heirs or even brothers. In witness whereof I sign.”

On the 22d of June, 1902, the defendants made reply, first, that as to the
facts alleged in paragraph 1 of the complaint, they denied that Lucia Villalon
was the legal heir of Perfecto Bunag; that as to the allegations of the second
paragraph they denied that Lucia Villalon had died intestate, because she had
made a will twice, and denied likewise that the plaintiff was the first cousin
and heir of the testatrix; that as to the third paragraph they denied that the
defendant Pacifico Santos had been appointed administrator of the property of
the late Victoriano Villaon, because the court had made delivery to him of the
said property to which he was entitled by virtue of the will above referred to;
that they specially denied that said holographic will was false, and alleged
that it was written by the testatrix herself as her last will and testament;
that they could not make delivery of the said will because the original was
filed in the public archives and could not be withdrawn therefrom except by
order of a court. The defendants also objected to any change in the
administration of the property of the testatrix, alleging that it was being
administered in accordance with law, praying that judgment be entered in their
favor, declaring said will valid, for judgment against the plaintiff for the
costs, and for any other further relief as to which they might be entitled.

In this case the validity or invalidity of a holographic will is involved,
and it is evident that of the four facts discussed in the litigation, the one
which is to determine the result of the action is the second of said facts,
which is the only real issue, the other facts found in the decision appealed
from being merely secondary.

Article 688 of the Civil Code, under which the holographic will appears to
have been executed, provides among other things the following: “In order that
this will may be valid it must be drafted on stamped paper corresponding to the
year of its execution, and be written in its entirety and signed by the
testator, giving the year, month, and day of its execution.”

One of the guaranties of the authenticity of a holographic will is that the
same should be in its entirety written by the testator and signed by him, it not
being permissible to intrust to another person the drafting or material
operation of writing it out, because in such an event there would be lacking the
basis for identifying the writing and signature of the will as those of the
testator by comparison with other genuine specimens of his handwriting, which is
the reason for this essential formality, since it is easier to forge the
signature of the testator than the whole text of the will.

It is therefore an indispensable condition that the holographic will shall be
written in its entirety by the person who executes the same, that it be wholly
autographic, as this constitutes an efficient guaranty against all
falsifications or alterations in the will of the testator.

The so-called heir, Victoriano Villalon, on the 8th of March, 1900, presented
the original will of the late Lucia Villalon to the Judge of First Instance of
the district of Tondo, who was authorized by the military government, as per
communication on the 14th of said month from the Chief Justice of the former
Audiencia, to take cognizance of the probate of said holographic will,
as if he were the judge of the locality. The said judge proceeded to take the
evidence required by the law, and examined three witnesses, all of whom affirmed
that the handwriting and signature of said will were those of the late Lucia
Villalon, and that they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the will
was written and signed by her. Thereupon, by an order of the 24th of said month
of March, 1900, it was ordered that the said will be filed in the office of the
notary public, Señor Genaro Heredia, in conformity with the provisions of
articles 688 to 693 of the Civil Code.

During the trial of this action no document has been, introduced written in
its entirety and signed by the alleged testatrix, Lucia Villalon. All the
documents and letters exhibited by the parties appear written by other persons,
and only signed by Lucia Villalon. The four-line note, written on the back of
the document which appears at page 102 of the record, is the only document
which, by reason of its conciseness, may have been written by the said Villalon,
who signed the same, but this can not be regarded as a matter of certainty,
since the hand in which the note is written bears no similarity in outlines or
general appearance to the letters which appear in the signature at the end of
the note.

Enoc Guansing, one of the three witnesses who testified before the judge of
the District of Tondo as to the authenticity of the holographic will in
question, upon being examined during the trial, stated (bill of exceptions, p.
71) that he knew the testatrix and that he had been the lessee of a fish pond
which had belonged to her; that he knew that Lucia Villalon had executed a will,
because he had been one of the witnesses to the filing of the same in Manila;
that he knew the handwriting of the testatrix, because he had in his possession
documents signed by her, which he exhibited, and which were admitted without
objection by the plaintiff (bill of exceptions, p. 72).

Lorenzo Salvador, Leoncio Barcelon, Isabelo Pineda, and Claudio Galves,
witnesses for the plaintiff, testified to the contrary. Salvador said that he
knew the signature of Lucia Villalon, because he had frequently seen receipts
signed by her, some of which he had in his possession; that he was a relative of
the deceased; that neither the writing nor the signature of the will, exhibited
by the notary, Heredia, and which was shown to the witness, were those of Lucia
Villalon; that the latter was unable to write a long document, as she only knew
how to write her name and nothing more; that the signatures on documents marked
2 and 3, were the genuine signatures of the late Lucia Villalon, but that the
signature attached to document No.4 was not genuine. Leoncio Barcelon testified
that he knew the late Lucia Villalon, who, during her lifetime, could hardly
write her own name; he identified as genuine the signatures which appear on
documents marked 3, 4,6, and 7, and said that he had dealt with the deceased
frequently and had seen her write many times. Isabelo Pineda stated that he had
known Lucia Villalon for twenty years, and that during her lifetime she could
hardly write her name—that he did not know whether she was able to write
anything more than her name. Claudio Galves testified that he knew Lucia
Villalon during her lifetime, and had had dealings with her. He stated that he
understood that she was only able to write her name, and testified that the
signature which appeared in document No. 6 was that of the testatrix, adding
that on” the three occasions on which he had seen her sign he observed that she
did so with difficulty.

In view of this testimony this court decided to send for the protocol wherein
the original holographic will, alleged to have been executed by the late Lucia
Villalon, was filed, as well as-the original court records containing documents
and letters with the genuine signature of the deceased. Said protocol, having
been received in the office of the clerk, with the holographic will and the
original record, sent up by the court of Bulacan, a comparison was made of the
signature and writing which appear in the will with the signature and writing in
the original documents filed in the record, which both parties accept as
genuine, special attention being paid to the signatures to the three letters of
the late Lucia Villalon which appear on folios 74, 75, and 76, of the original
record, transcribed at folios 49 and 51 of the bill of exceptions. From this
examination, which was made by each one of the seven members of the court, the
conclusion is reached that the writing and signature of the said will bear no
resemblance to the genuine writing and signature of the late Lucia Villalon. The
outlines of said signatures, which appear in documents of undisputed
authenticity, are quite different.

Therefore the court is convinced that said will was not written or signed by
the late Lucia Villalon, as provided by law, and consequently that it is not
proper to treat said document which was filed in the protocol as an autographic
will of the alleged testatrix, and that it is not proper to admit the said
document as a holographic will capable of producing legal effects with respect
to the descent of the estate of the deceased.

This conclusion is a logical consequence reached from an examination of the
alleged will of the late Lucia Villalon, and of various indisputable signatures
of Lucia Villalon which appear on various authentic documents exhibited by the
parties, as well as from the result of the evidence adduced by both parties as
to the ability of the deceased during her lifetime to write or sign. Four
witnesses presented by the plaintiff affirmed that they knew the late Lucia
Villalon and testified that she was only accustomed to write her name when
signing documents, some testifying that she could hardly write her name, others
adding that they did not know whether she was able to write anything more. One
of the four witnesses mentioned likewise stated that neither the writing nor the
signature which appear in the document filed in the protocol, alleged to be the
will of the late Lucia Villalon, was hers, alleging that the deceased was unable
to write a long document. This appears to be true in view of the fact that the
party interested in upholding the will was unable to present any document or
letter written by the alleged testatrix, and succeeded only in exhibiting a few
documents and letters upon which appear only the signature of the late Lucia

Only one witness, Enoc Guansing—one of the three who testified before the
judge of Tondo, and who then identified the writing and signature of the alleged
will—testifies as to the authenticity of said will, adding that he knew the
writing of the deceased because he had in his possession documents signed by
her, and produced said documents. But this testimony can not overcome the weight
of the opposing evidence or bring about a different conviction from that already
mentioned or change our conclusion that the document filed in the protocol,
alleged to be a holographic will, was not written and signed in its entirety by
the late Lucia Villalon. Moreover, even taking it for granted that the signature
of the alleged holographic will is authentic, it is still invalid because it
does not appear that it was written in its entirety by the testatrix, Lucia

After what has been stated, it is almost useless to take up the three
remaining facts which have been contested and appear set forth in the decision
appealed from. They are as follows:

First. That the testatrix was not in the town of Bulacan on the 25th of
March, 1899, the date of the execution of said will;

Second. That in the same the alleged testatrix declares herself to be the
daughter of Brigida Mataranos, when her mother’s name was Brigida Santa Maria,

Third. That the will has not been drafted on stamped paper but on paper
bearing the stamp of the Philippine Government, which never had a legal

Apart from the fact that this last circumstance as to the kind of paper used
might, perhaps, not authorize the annulment of the will the evidence adduced by
the parties does not show conclusively the truth of the first two facts above
stated, and for this reason, without giving any weight as did the trial court to
the contradictory statements made by the witness Eugenio Paguia, we find that
the said document found in the protocol is not the holographic will of Lucia
Villalon, that it was not executed, written, or signed by her, and consequently,
it being null and void, her estate descended by operation of law to her legal
heirs, who are in consequence entitled to take the property left by her.

For the reasons stated the judgment of the court below is affirmed, with the
costs to the appellant.

Judgment will be entered accordingly twenty days from the filing of this
decision and the case remanded to the lower court for compliance therewith. So

Arellano, C. J., Cooper, Willard, Mapa, McDonough, and Johnson,

Date created: January 17, 2019


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