by Rhys Nuñez

GREGORIO MACAPINLAC v. MARIANO ALIMURONG, GR No. 5149, 1910-03-22

Facts:

Simplicia de los Santos having died on June  19, 1907, her surviving husband, Gregorio Maeapinlac,  submitted her will to the Court of First Instance of Pampanga for probate. Mariano Alimurong, a nephew of the deceased, opposed the proceedings and... requested that  "the  will  of the deceased, Dona  Simplicia de  los  Santos, be declared null and void for either of the two reasons" which  he expresses,  and which are:

"(1) Because the will was not executed and signed by the witnesses in accordance with the provisions  of the  Code of Civil Procedure now in force.

"(2) Because it was executed under duress and undue and illegal influence on the part of the persons benefited thereby or of a person acting in their interests."

The trial having  been held and evidence adduced, the trial court declared the following facts to be proven:

"(1) That at 6 o'clock on the evening of June 17, 1907, Simplicia de los Santos, who was sick but in full  possession of all her faculties, executed her will, which is the document attached to the record, Exhibit No. 1  of the petitioner.

"(2) That after the execution of such will  on Monday, the testatrix died early on the morning of the following Wednesday.

"(3) That,  as a preliminary act,  a rough  copy of the said will was made up, which rough  copy  was read to the testatrix, and the latter ordered an additional clause to be added thereto, in connection with a legacy that she desired to make in favor of... some of her old servants who  had rendered good service.

"(4)  That, after the rough copy was amended by the addition of the above-mentioned clause, a clear copy thereof was made up and was again read  to the  testatrix, who approved it in all of its parts, and, as she was unable to sign, she requested Amando de Ocampo... to sign for her and the latter wrote the following words  with  his  own hand. 'At the  request of the testatrix D,1 Simplicia de  los Santos, I signed - Amando de Ocampo.'  Immediately afterwards and also in the presence of the same testatrix... and  of each other, the witnesses Jose Juico, Gabino Panopio,  Eusebio Dayao,  Juan Angeles, Jose  Torres, Alejo San Pedro,  and Gregorio Sangil signed at the bottom of the  will.

"In view of the said facts  the lower court concludes - the will executed by Simplicia de los Santos must be admitted to probate.  The provisions of section 618 of the Code of Procedure in Civil Actions and Special Proceedings are fully complied with.  The will... bears the name  of the  testatrix written by Amando de Ocampo  in her presence  and by her express direction, and has been witnessed and signed by more than three trustworthy witnesses, in the presence of the testatrix and of each other."

Issues:

whether  or  not the will was signed in accordance with  the law

Ruling:

It is  shown by the evidence  that the  will was wholly written in the handwriting of the subscribing witness, Gregorio  Sangil, and at the foot thereof the following words appear in a new paragraph and sufficiently apart:

"At the  request of  the testatrix,  Da.  Simplicia de los Santos, I signed.

         "For  Simplicia de los Santos.

                 "Amando de Ocampo."        

As a question of fact, the authenticity of the words "For Simplicia de ]os Santos," prefixed to the signature, is impugned as not having been written  at the time of the  execution of the will.

And, as a question of law, it is claimed that the form of signing for the testatrix "At the request of the testatrix Da. Simplicia de los Santos, I signed: Amando de Ocampo," is not in  accordance with the requirements of the law.

Therefore, it can be considered as nonexistent, and the other as the only form of signature by the testatrix, the authenticity of which has not been impugned or which the trial court admits as conclusive, and is the only one taken into  account in its  findings... of  fact.  Although the said words "For Simplicia de los Santos" be considered as  inserted subsequently,  which  we  neither affirm nor deny, because a specific determination either way is unnecessary, in our opinion the signature for the... testatrix  placed outside of the body of the will contains the name of the testatrix as if she signed the will, and also  the signature of the witness who, at her request, wrote the name of the testatrix and signed for  her, affirming the truth of this fact,... attested by the other witnesses then present.  And this fully complies with the provisions  of section 618 of the Act.

The judgment appealed  from  is hereby  affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant.   So ordered.

Principles: