G.R. No. 2002. August 18, 1905

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4 Phil. 692

[ G.R. No. 2002. August 18, 1905 ]




This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of
the Province of Bulacan denying probate of a certain document,
purporting to be the last will and testament of one Esperanza Cecilio,
deceased, on the ground that the name of the said Esperanza Cecilio was
not attached to said document, either by herself or by some other
person for her and at her request.

The name of the deceased is nowhere attached to the instrument, but the concluding paragraph reads as follows-

“In witness whereof, and at my request, on account
of my weakness and inability to sign my name, this document has been
written by Mr. Eugenio Agustines, and after having been executed and
read to me I have caused him to sign it, in this town of Polo, barrio
of Pariancillo, this 6th day of July, 1903—”

And to this is attached the signature of the said Eugenio Agustines,
followed by the usual attesting clause and the signatures of the

It is contended that this is, in effect, and to all intents and
purposes, the signature of the testatrix attached to the document; that
it is in accordance with the usual and legal form by which, under
Spanish law, persons unable to write have heretofore signed all written
instruments; and that it comes fairly within the provisions of the
first and second official translations of section 618 of Act No, 190,
prescribing the mode whereby last wills and testaments must be

We are of opinion, however, that the signature of the deceased is
not attached to the document in question in accordance with the
provisions of section 618 of Act No. 190, and that the form adopted is
not sufficient to authenticate a will. It matters not what may have
been the form usually adopted prior to the publication of this act, or
whether a particular form of signature may be sufficient for the
authentication of an ordinary written instrument. The form which must
be adopted in the signing of wills is expressly prescribed in this act,
and must be followed. The English text is positive, clear, and
explicit, and prescribes, as one of the requisites of a valid will,
that it be “signed by the testator, or by the testator’s name written
by some other person in his presence and by his express direction.”

It is true that the translation found in the first and second
editions of Act No. 190, as published by the Philippine Commission, is
so imperfect as to raise grave doubts as to the meaning of this
section, but section 1 of Act No. 63 provides that—

“In the construction of all acts which have been or
shall be enacted by the United States Philippine Commission, the
English text shall govern, except that, in cases of ambiguity,
omission, or mistake, the Spanish text may be consulted to explain the
English text.”

Counsel for the appellant urges that since it is evident that the
document in question was executed for and as the last will and
testament of the deceased, and as the manner in which the signature
should be attached to a will is a mere formality, the document should
be admitted to probate, even though it be held that the formal
authentication adopted by the deceased was not in exact conformance
with the method prescribed by law. We hold however, that “no proof of
good faith can avail or supply the requisites of the law,” for any
other rule would open the door to mistake and fraud, and tend to
encourage fraudulent imposition in the establishment of spurious wills.
(Neil vs. Neil, 1 Leigh (Va.), 6.)

In some English cases (In re Clark, 2 Curt, 329, and In re
Blair, 6 Notes Cas., 529) it was held that it was “immaterial that the
person signing for the testator sign his own name instead of the name
of the testator,” and this is the contention of the appellants in this
case, but it is to be observed that the English Statute of Frauds (29
Carl. II, chap. 29) and the English Statute of Wills (I Viet, chap.
2(>) under which these English decisions were rendered provide that
a will, to be valid, must be signed “by the testator or by some other
person in his presence and by his direction,” whereas our statute
provides that it must be signed “by the testator, or by the testator’s name written by some other person, in his presence and by his express direction.”

The provisions of the imperfect Spanish translations, to which
our attention has been directed, are strikingly similar, in effect, to
the English statute, and were we permitted to accept those translations
as authoritative we might be compelled to admit the force of the
appellant’s contention, but the English text of section 618 of Act No.
190, and the correct translation thereof, as found in Volume I of the
compilation of public laws enacted by the Philippine Commission,
differs from the English statute in that it is expressly provided
therein, as one of the requisites to a valid will, that when signed by
a person other than the testator it must be signed by the testator’s
name, written by such other person.

The order appealed from is affirmed, with the costs of the appeal
against the appellant. After the expiration of twenty days judgment
will be entered in conformity here-with and the cause will be returned
to the lower court for execution. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, and Johnson, JJ., concur.
Willard, J.,, did not sit in this case.

Date created: April 25, 2014


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