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Rulings in Special Proceedings (Rules 74-76)

CASE DOCTRINES IN SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS (Rules 74-76)


Prepared by Glenn Rey Anino
University of Cebu

RULE 74. SUMMARY SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE

CASES:

1. Rodriguez v. Tan, G.R. No. L-6044, November 24, 1952 (92 Phil 273)
Section 1 of Rule 74 does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration proceedings, even if the estate has no
debts or obligations, if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an ordinary action of partition. While section 1
allows the heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may see fit, or to resort to an ordinary action of
partition, it does not compel them to do so if they have good reasons to take a different course of action. Said section
is not mandatory or compulsory as may be gleaned from the use made therein of the word may. If the intention were
otherwise the framer of the rule would have employed the word shall as was done in other provisions that are
mandatory in character. Note that the word may is used not only once but in the whole section which indicates an
intention to leave the matter entirely to the discretion of the heirs.
2. Pereira v. CA, G.R. No. L-81147 June 20, 1989 (174 SCRA 154)
Petitioner asks this Court to declare that the properties specified do not belong to the estate of the deceased on the
basis of her bare allegations as aforestated and a handful of documents. Inasmuch as this Court is not a trier of facts,
We cannot order an unqualified and final exclusion or non-exclusion of the property involved from the estate of the
deceased.
The resolution of this issue is better left to the probate court before which the administration proceedings are pending.
The trial court is in the best position to receive evidence on the discordant contentions of the parties as to the assets
of the decedent's estate, the valuations thereof and the rights of the transferees of some of the assets, if any. The
function of resolving whether or not a certain property should be included in the inventory or list of properties to be
administered by the administrator is one clearly within the competence of the probate court. However, the court's
determination is only provisional in character, not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate action
which may be instituted by the parties.
It should be noted that recourse to an administration proceeding even if the estate has no debts is sanctioned only if
the heirs have good reasons for not resorting to an action for partition. Where partition is possible, either in or out of
court, the estate should not be burdened with an administration proceeding without good and compelling reasons.
Thus, it has been repeatedly held that when a person dies without leaving pending obligations to be paid, his heirs,
whether of age or not, are not bound to submit the property to a judicial administration, which is always long and
costly, or to apply for the appointment of an administrator by the Court. It has been uniformly held that in such case
the judicial administration and the appointment of an administrator are superfluous and unnecessary proceedings.
The only conceivable reason why private respondent seeks appointment as administratrix is for her to obtain
possession of the alleged properties of the deceased for her own purposes, since these properties are presently in
the hands of petitioner who supposedly disposed of them fraudulently. We are of the opinion that this is not a
compelling reason which will necessitate a judicial administration of the estate of the deceased. To subject the estate
of Andres de Guzman Pereira, which does not appear to be substantial especially since the only real property left has
been extrajudicially settled, to an administration proceeding for no useful purpose would only unnecessarily expose it
to the risk of being wasted or squandered. In most instances of a similar nature, 16 the claims of both parties as to
the properties left by the deceased may be properly ventilated in simple partition proceedings where the creditors,
should there be any, are protected in any event.
We, therefore, hold that the court below before which the administration proceedings are pending was not justified in
issuing letters of administration, there being no good reason for burdening the estate of the deceased Andres de
Guzman Pereira with the costs and expenses of an administration proceeding.
3. Cease v. CA, G.R. No. L-33172 October 18, 1979 (93 SCRA 483)
If there were a valid genuine claim of Exclusive ownership of the inherited properties on the part of petitioners to
respondents' action for partition, then under the Miranda ruling, petitioners would be sustained, for as expressly held
therein " the general rule of partition that an appeal will not lie until the partition or distribution proceedings are
terminated will not apply where appellant claims exclusive ownership of the whole property and denies the adverse
party's right to any partition."
4. Sampilo v. CA, G.R. No. L-10474, February 28, 1958 (103 Phil 71)
There are two significant provisions in Sections 1 and 4 of Rule 74. In Section 1, it is required that if there are two or
more heirs, both or all of them should take part in the extrajudicial settlement. This requirement is made more
imperative in the old law (Section 596, Act No. 190) by the addition of the clause "and not otherwise." By the title of
Section 4, the "distributees and estate" are indicates the persons to answer for rights violated by the extrajudicial
settlement. On the other hand, it is also significant that no mention is made expressly of the effect of the extrajudicial
settlement on persons who did not take part therein or had no notice or knowledge thereof. There cannot be any
doubt that those who took part or had knowledge of the extrajudicial settlement are bound thereby. As to them the
law is clear that if they claim to have been in any manner deprived of their lawful right or share in the estate by the
extrajudicial settlement, they may demand their rights or interest within the period of two years, and both the
distributes and estate would be liable to them for such rights or interest. Evidently, they are the persons in
accordance with the provision, may seek to remedy, the prejudice to their rights within the two-year period. But as to
those who did not take part in the settlement or had no notice of the death of the decedent or of the settlement, there
is no direct or express provision is unreasonable and unjust that they also be required to assert their claims within the
period of two years. To extend the effects of the settlement to them, to those who did not take part or had no
knowledge thereof, without any express legal provision to that effect, would be violative of the fundamental right to
due process of law.
The procedure outlined in Section 1 of Rule 74 of extrajudicial settlement, or by affidavit, is an ex parteproceeding. It
cannot by any reason or logic be contended that such settlement or distribution would affect third persons who had
no knowledge either of the death of the decedent or of the extrajudicial settlement or affidavit, especially as no
mention of such effect is made, either directly or by implication.
The provisions of Section 4 of Rule 74, barring distributees or heirs from objecting to an extrajudicial partition after the
expiration of two years from such extrajudicial partition, is applicable only (1) to persons who have participated or
taken part or had notice of the extrajudicial partition, and, in addition, (2) when the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 74
have been strictly complied with, i.e., that all the persons or heirs of the decedent have taken part in the extrajudicial
settlement or are represented by themselves or through guardians.
There is nothing in Section 4 of Rule 74, or in its source (Section 596 of Act 190), which shows clearly a statute of
limitations and a bar of action against third person's. It is only a bar against the parties who had taken part in the
extrajudicial proceedings but not against third persons not Parties thereto. In the second place, the statute of
limitations is contained in a different chapter of Act No. 190, Chapter XL, and if Section 596 of the Act had been
meant to be a statute of limitations, it would naturally have been included in the chapter which defines the statute.
5. Amerol v. Bagumbaran, G.R. No. L-33261. September 30, 1987 (154
SCRA 396)
Indubitably, the act of respondent in misrepresenting that he was in actual possession and occupation of the property
in question, obtaining a patent and Original Certificate of Title No. P- 466 in his name, created an implied trust in
favor of the actual possessor of the said property. In this case, the land in question was patented and titled in
respondent's name by and through his false pretenses. Molok Bagumbaran fraudulently misrepresented that he was
the occupant and actual possessor of the land in question when he was not because it was Liwalug Datomanong.
Bagumbaran falsely pretended that there was no prior applicant for a free patent over the land but there was —
Liwalug Datomanong. By such fraudulent acts, Molok Bagumbaran is deemed to hold the title of the property in trust
and for the benefit of petitioner Liwalug Datomanong.
Notwithstanding the irrevocability of the Torrens title already issued in the name of respondent, he, even being
already the registered owner under the Torrens system, may still be compelled under the law to reconvey the subject
property to Liwalug Datomanong. After all, the Torrens system was not designed to shield and protect one who had
committed fraud or misrepresentation and thus holds title in bad faith. Further, contrary to the erroneous claim of the
respondent, reconveyance does not work to set aside and put under review anew the findings of facts of the Bureau
of Lands. In an action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible. What is sought
instead is the transfer of the property, in this case the title thereof, which has been wrongfully or erroneously
registered in another person's name, to its rightful and legal owner, or to one with a better right. That is what
reconveyance is all about.
An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribed in ten years and not
otherwise. A long line of decisions of this Court, and of very recent vintage at that, illustrates this rule. Undoubtedly, it
is now well-settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years
from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. The only discordant note, it seems, isBalbin vs.
Medalla, which states that the prescriptive period for a reconveyance action is four years. However, this variance can
be explained by the erroneous reliance on Gerona vs. de Guzman. But in Gerona, the fraud was discovered on June
25, 1948, hence Section 43(3) of Act No. 190, was applied, the new Civil Code not coming into effect until August 30,
1950 as mentioned earlier. It must be stressed, at this juncture, that Article 1144 and Article 1456, are new
provisions. They have no counterparts in the old Civil Code or in the old Code of Civil Procedure, the latter being then
resorted to as legal basis of the four-year prescriptive period for an action for reconveyance of title of real property
acquired under false pretenses.
It is abundantly clear from all the foregoing that the action of petitioner Datomanong for reconveyance, in the nature
of a counterclaim interposed in his Answer, filed on December 4, 1964, to the complaint for recovery of possession
instituted by the respondent, has not yet prescribed. Between August 16, 1955, the date of reference, being the date
of the issuance of the Original Certificate of Title in the name of the respondent, and December 4, 1964, when the
period of prescription was interrupted by the filing of the Answer cum Counterclaim, is less than ten years.
The respondent also interposed as a deterrent to reconveyance the existence of a mortgage on the property. It is
claimed by the respondent that reconveyance would not be legally possible because the property under litigation has
already been mortgaged by him to the Development Bank of the Philippines. This claim is untenable otherwise the
judgment for reconveyance could be negated at the will of the holder of the title. By the simple expedient of
constituting a mortgage or other encumbrance on the property, the remedy of reconveyance would become illusory.
In the instant case, the respondent being doubly in bad faith — for applying for and obtaining a patent and the
Original Certificate of Title therefor without being in possession of the land and for mortgaging it to the Development
Bank knowing that his Original Certificate of Title was issued under false pretenses — must alone suffer the
consequences.
Besides, given the undisputed facts, we cannot consider the mortgage contracted by the respondent in favor of the
Development Bank of the Philippines as valid and binding against petitioner Liwalug Datomanong. It would be most
unjust to saddle him, as owner of the land, with a mortgage lien not of his own making and from which he derived no
benefit whatsoever. The consequences of the void mortgage must be left between the mortgagor and the mortgagee.
In no small measure the Development Bank of the Philippines might even be faulted for not making the requisite
investigation on the possession of the land mortgaged.
6. Marquez v. CA, G.R. No. 125715, December 29, 1998 (300 SCRA 653)
As such, when Rafael Marquez Sr., for one reason or another, misrepresented in his unilateral affidavit that he was
the only heir of his wife when in fact their children were still alive, and managed to secure a transfer of certificate of
title under his name, a constructive trust under Article 1456 was established. Constructive trusts are created in equity
in order to prevent unjust enrichment. They arise contrary to intention against one who, by fraud, duress or abuse of
confidence, obtains or holds the legal, right to property which he ought not, in equity and good conscience, to hold.
Prescinding from the foregoing discussion, did the action for reconveyance filed by the petitioners prescribe, as held
by the Court of Appeals?
In this regard, it is settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten
years from the isuance of the Torrens title over the property. For the purpose of this case, the prescriptive period shall
start to run when TCT No. 33350 was issued, which was on June 16, 1982. Thus, considering that the action for
reconveyance was filed on May 31, 1991, or approximately nine years later, it is evident that prescription had not yet
barred the action.
To bolster the foregoing position, the Court of Appeal's reliance on Gerona v. de Guzman, is misplaced. In Amerol v.
Bagumbaran, we ruled that the doctrine laid down in the earlier Gerona case was based on the old Code of Civil
Procedure which provided that an action based on fraud prescribes within four years from the date of discovery.
However, with the effectivity of the present Civil Code on August 30, 1950, the provisions on prescriptive periods are
now governed by Articles 1139 to 1155. Since implied or constructive trusts are obligations created by law then the
prescriptive period to enforce the same prescribes in ten years.
While we rule in favor of petitioners, we cannot grant their plea for moral damages and attorney's fees 20since they
have not satisfactorily shown that they have suffered "mental anguish" as provided in Article 2219 and Article 2290 of
the Civil Code.
7. GSIS v. Santiago, G.R. No. 155206, October 28, 2008 (414 SCRA 563)
At the outset, it bears emphasis that the jurisdiction of this Court in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court, as amended, is limited to reviewing only errors of law. This Court is not a trier of facts. Case law
has it that the findings of the trial court especially when affirmed by the CA are binding and conclusive upon this
Court. Although there are exceptions to the said rule, we find no reason to deviate therefrom. By assailing the
findings of facts of the trial court as affirmed by the CA, that it acted in bad faith, the petitioner thereby raised
questions of facts in its petition.
The Court agrees with the findings and conclusion of the trial court and the CA. The petitioner is not an ordinary
mortgagee. It is a government financial institution and, like banks, is expected to exercise greater care and prudence
in its dealings, including those involving registered lands.8 Due diligence required of banks extend even to persons,
or institutions like the petitioner, regularly engaged in the business of lending money secured by real estate
mortgages.
On the issue of prescription, generally, an action for reconveyance of real property based on fraud prescribes in four
years from the discovery of fraud; such discovery is deemed to have taken place upon the issuance of the certificate
of title over the property. Registration of real property is a constructive notice to all persons and, thus, the four-year
period shall be counted therefrom.12 On the other hand, Article 1456 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law, considered a
trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person from whom the property comes.
An action for reconveyance based on implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years from the alleged fraudulent
registration or date of issuance of the certificate of title over the property.
The petitioner’s defense of prescription is untenable. As held by the CA, the general rule that the discovery of fraud is
deemed to have taken place upon the registration of real property because it is "considered a constructive notice to
all persons" does not apply in this case. The CA correctly cited the cases of Adille v. Court of Appeals and Samonte
v. Court of Appeals, where this Court reckoned the prescriptive period for the filing of the action for reconveyance
based on implied trust from the actual discovery of fraud.
Following the Court’s pronouncements in Adille and Samonte, the institution of the action for reconveyance in the
court a quo in 1990 was thus well within the prescriptive period. Having acted in bad faith in securing titles over the
subject lots, the petitioner is a holder in bad faith of certificates of title over the subject lots. The petitioner is not
entitled to the protection of the law for the law cannot be used as a shield for frauds.
RULE 75. PRODUCTION OF WILL. ALLOWANCE OF WILL NECESSARY.

CASES:

8. Mang-oy v. CA, G.R. No. L-27421, September 12, 1986 (144 SCRA 33)
After examining the musty records, we sustain the ruling-made both by the trial court and the Court of Appeals-that
the will, not having been probated as required by law, was inoperative as such. The settled principle, as announced in
a long line of decisions in accordance with the Rules of Court, is that no will shall pass either real or personal property
unless it is proved or allowed in court. 9
None of these objections is valid in law. The appellants evidently fail to realize that Article 1056 of the Civil Code of
1889 authorizes a testator to partition inter vivos his property, and distribute them among his heirs, and that this
partition is not necessarily either a donation nor a testament, but an instrument of a special character, sui
generis, which is revocable at any time by the causante during his lifetime, and does not operate as a conveyance of
title until his death. It derives its binding force on the heirs from the respect due to the will of the owner of the
property, limited only by his creditors and the intangibility of the legitime of the forced heirs. 'El testador es libre y sus
herederos han de pasar por lo que haga en cuanto no perjudique la legitime de los forsozos. Inutil es sonar en otras
limitaciones que no existen.' (7 Manresa Commentaries, 6th Ed., p. 639.
That such partition is not governed by the rules of wills or donations inter vivos is a consequence of its special nature.
There is no difference in legal effect between Agustin Albela's deed of partition and Old Man Tumpao's "last will and
testament." Both are sustainable under Article 1056 of the Civil Code, which was in force at the time they were
executed Even as Agustin Albela's partition was signed by the two daughters themselves, so was Old Man Tumpao's
"will" affirmed by the beneficiaries in their agreement of September 7, 1937, which reiterated and recognized the
terms of such "will." While not valid as a partition inter vivos under Articles 816 and 1271 of the old Civil Code, it was
nevertheless binding on the parties as proof of their conformity to the dispositions made by Old Man Tumpao in his
"last will and testament."
We may add that the agreement entered into by the parties in implementation of Old Man Tumpao's "will" did not
have to be approved by the Director of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes because the Administrative Code of
Mindanao and Sulu was not extended to the Mountain Province. Moreover, the document was not a conveyance of
properties or property right.
It remains to state that the property in dispute having been registered in 1917, the presumption is that it was acquired
during the second marriage and so cannot be claimed by the respondents as the conjugal property of their mother
and Old Man Tumpao. Hence, they are not entitled to retain the entire land as their exclusive inheritance or to collect
rentals for the lots occupied by the petitioners.
The trial judge, the Hon. Feliciano Belmonte, was correct in ordering the reconveyance to the petitioners of their
respective shares. We affirm his decision in toto.
9. Nufable v. Nufable, G.R. No. 126950, July 2, 1999 (309 SCRA 692)
As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited only to passing upon the extrinsic validity of the will
sought to be probated, the due execution thereof, the testator's testamentary capacity and the compliance with the
requisites or solemnities prescribes by law. Said court at this stage of the proceedings is not called to rule on the rule
on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the will. The question of the intrinsic validity of a will normally comes only after
the court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated.
when Angel Nufable and his spouses mortgaged the subject property to DBP on March 15, 1966, they had no right to
mortgage the entire property. Angel's right over the subject property was limited only to 1/4 pro indivisoshare. As co-
owner of the subject property, Angel's right to sell, assign or mortgage is limited to that portion that may be allotted to
him upon termination of the co-ownership. Well-entrenched is the rule that a co-owner can only alienate his pro
indiviso share in the co-owned property.
The Court of Appeals did not err in ruling that Angel Custodio Nufable "had no right to mortgage the subject property
in its entirety. His right to encumber said property was limited only to 1/4 pro indiviso share of the property in
question." Article 493 of the Civil Code spells out the rights or co-owners over a co-owned property. Pursuant to said
Article, a co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto. He has the
right to alienate, assign or mortgage it, and even substitute another person in its enjoyment. As a mere part owner, he
cannot alienate the shares of the other co-owners. The prohibition is premised on the elementary rule that "no one
can give what he does not have."
Moreover, respondents stipulated that they were not aware of the mortgage by petitioners of the subject
property. This being the case, a co-owner does not lose his part ownership of a co-owned property when his share is
mortgaged by another co-owner without the former's knowledge and consent as in the case at bar. It has likewise
been ruled that the mortgage of the inherited property is not binding against co-heirs who never benefitted.
The rule is that indispensable parties, i.e., parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an
action, shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants; the inclusion as a party, i.e., persons who are not
indispensable but ought to be parties if complete relief is to be accorded as between those already parties, the court
may, in its discretion, proceed in the action without making such persons parties, and the judgment rendered therein
shall be without prejudice to the rights of such persons. Proper parties, therefore, have been described as parties
whose presence in necessary in order to adjudicate the whole controversy, but whose interests are so far separable
that a final decree can be made in their absence without affecting them. Any claim against a party may be severed
and proceeded with separately.
Private respondents do not question the legality of the foreclosure of the mortgaged property and the subsequent
sale of the same to DBP. The subject property was already purchased by petitioner Nelson from DBP and latter, by
such sale, transferred its rights and obligations to the former. Clearly, petitioners' interest in the controversy is distinct
and separable from the interest of DBP and a final determination can be had of the action despite the non-inclusion of
DBP as party-defendant. Hence, DBP, not being an indispensable party, did not have to be impleaded in this case.
10. Nuguid v. Nuguid, G.R. No. L-23445, June 23, 1966 (17 SCRA 449)
In a proceeding for the probate of a will, the Court's area of inquiry is limited to an examination of, and resolution on,
the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testatrix's testamentary capacity and the compliance
with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of the will normally comes only after the
court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated.However, where practical considerations demand that
the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is probated, the Court should meet that issue.

Where the deceased left no descendants, legitimate or illegitimate, but she left forced heirs in the direct ascending
line - her parents, and her holographic will does not explicitly disinherit them but simply omits their names altogether,
the case is one of preterition of the parents, not a case of ineffective disinheritance.

Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them, either because they
are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited."
(Neri vs. Akutin, 72 Phil. 325). Disinheritance, in turn, "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heirs of
his share in the legitimate for a cause authorized by law." (Justice J.B.L. Reyes and R.C. Puno, "An Outline of
Philippine Civil Law", 1956 ed., Vol. III, p. 8, citing cases) Disinheritance is always "voluntary", preterition upon the
other hand, is presumed to be "involuntary" (Sanchez Roman, Estudios de Derecho Civil 2nd edition, Volume 2.o p.
1131).

The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. Pretention under Article 854 of
the New Civil Code shall annul the institution of heir. This annulment is in toto, unless in the wail there are, in
addition, testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of
the same Code, such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs", but only "insofar as it may prejudice the
person disinherited", which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition (III Tolentino, Civil Code of the
Philippines, 1961 Edition, p. 172). Better stated yet, in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate
of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived.

Where the one-sentence will institutes petitioner as the sole, universal heir and preterits the parents of the testatrix,
and it contains no specific legacies or bequests, such universal institution of petitioner, by itself, is void. And intestate
succession ensues.

Legacies and devises merit consideration only when they are so expressly given as such in a will. Nothing in Article
854 suggests that the mere institution of a universal heir in a will — void because of preterition — would give the heir
so instituted a share in the inheritance. As to him, the will is inexistent. There must be, in addition to such institution, a
testamentary disposition granting him bequests or legacies apart and separate from the nullified institution of heir.
If every case of institution of heirs may be made to fall into the concept of legacies and betterments reducing the
bequest accordingly, then the provisions of Articles 814 and 851 regarding total or partial nullity of the institution,
would. be absolutely meaningless and will never have any application at all. And the remaining provisions contained
in said article concerning the reduction of inofficious legacies or betterments would be a surplusage because they
would be absorbed by Article 817 of the same Code.
11. Alvarado v. Gaviola, G.R. No. 74695, September 14, 1993 (226
SCRA 347)
Clear from the foregoing is that Art. 808 applies not only to blind testators but also to those who, for one reason or
another, are "incapable of reading the(ir) will(s)." Since Brigido Alvarado was incapable of reading the final drafts of
his will and codicil on the separate occasions of their execution due to his "poor," "defective," or "blurred" vision, there
can be no other course for us but to conclude that Brigido Alvarado comes within the scope of the term "blind" as it is
used in Art. 808. Unless the contents were read to him, he had no way of ascertaining whether or not the lawyer who
drafted the will and codicil did so confortably with his instructions.
Article 808 requires that in case of testators like Brigido Alvarado, the will shall be read twice; once, by one of the
instrumental witnesses and, again, by the notary public before whom the will was acknowledged. The purpose is to
make known to the incapacitated testator the contents of the document before signing and to give him an opportunity
to object if anything is contrary to his instructions.
This Court has held in a number of occasions that substantial compliance is acceptable where the purpose of the law
has been satisfied, the reason being that the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills are intended to protect the
testator from all kinds of fraud and trickery but are never intended to be so rigid and inflexible as to destroy the
testamentary privilege.
The spirit behind the law was served though the letter was not. Although there should be strict compliance with the
substantial requirements of the law in order to insure the authenticity of the will, the formal imperfections should be
brushed aside when they do not affect its purpose and which, when taken into account, may only defeat the testator's
will.
12. Pastor v. CA, G.R. No. L-56340, June 24, 1983 (122 SCRA 85)
In a special proceeding for the probate of a will, the issue by and large is restricted to the extrinsic validity of the will,
i.e., whether the testator, being of sound mind, freely executed the will in accordance with the formalities prescribed
by law. (Rules of Court, Rule 75, Section 1; Rule 76, Section 9.) As a rule, the question of ownership is an extraneous
matter which the Probate Court cannot resolve with finality. Thus, for the purpose of determining whether a certain
property should or should not be included in the inventory of estate properties, the Probate Court may pass upon the
title thereto, but such determination is provisional, not conclusive, and is subject to the final decision in a separate
action to resolve title.
The rule is that execution of a judgment must conform to that decreed in the dispositive part of the decision.
(Philippine-American Insurance Co. vs. Honorable Flores, 97 SCRA 811.) However, in case of ambiguity or
uncertainty, the body of the decision may be scanned for guidance in construing the judgment. (Heirs of Presto vs.
Galang, 78 SCRA 534; Fabular vs. Court of Appeals, 119 SCRA 329; Robles vs. Timario. 107 Phil. 809.)
Nowhere in the dispositive portion is there a declaration of ownership of specific properties. On the contrary, it is
manifest therein that ownership was not resolved. For it confined itself to the question of extrinsic validity of the will,
and the need for and propriety of appointing a special administrator. Thus it allowed and approved the holographic
win "with respect to its extrinsic validity, the same having been duly authenticated pursuant to the requisites or
solemnities prescribed by law." It declared that the intestate estate administration aspect must proceed " subject to
the outcome of the suit for reconveyance of ownership and possession of real and personal properties in Civil Case
274-T before Branch IX of the CFI of Cebu." [Parenthetically, although the statement refers only to the "intestate"
aspect, it defies understanding how ownership by the estate of some properties could be deemed finally resolved for
purposes of testate administration, but not so for intestate purposes. Can the estate be the owner of a property for
testate but not for intestate purposes?] Then again, the Probate Order (while indeed it does not direct the
implementation of the legacy) conditionally stated that the intestate administration aspect must proceed "unless . . . it
is proven . . . that the legacy to be given and delivered to the petitioner does not exceed the free portion of the estate
of the testator," which clearly implies that the issue of impairment of legitime (an aspect of intrinsic validity) was in fact
not resolved. Finally, the Probate Order did not rule on the propriety of allowing QUEMADA to remain as special
administrator of estate properties not covered by the holographic will, "considering that this (Probate) Order should
have been properly issued solely as a resolution on the issue of whether or not to allow and approve the aforestated
will. "
What, therefore, the Court of Appeals and, in effect, the Supreme Court affirmed en toto when they reviewed the
Probable Order were only the matters properly adjudged in the said Order.
It was, therefore, error for the assailed implementing Orders to conclude that the Probate Order adjudged with finality
the question of ownership of the mining properties and royalties, and that, premised on this conclusion, the
dispositive portion of the said Probate Order directed the special administrator to pay the legacy in dispute.
When PASTOR, SR. died in 1966, he was survived by his wife, aside from his two legitimate children and one
illegitimate son. There is therefore a need to liquidate the conjugal partnership and set apart the share of PASTOR,
SR.'s wife in the conjugal partnership preparatory to the administration and liquidation of the estate of PASTOR, SR.
which will include, among others, the determination of the extent of the statutory usufructuary right of his wife until her
death. * When the disputed Probate order was issued on December 5, 1972, there had been no liquidation of the
community properties of PASTOR, SR. and his wife.
So, also, as of the same date, there had been no prior definitive determination of the assets of the estate of PASTOR,
SR. There was an inventory of his properties presumably prepared by the special administrator, but it does not
appear that it was ever the subject of a hearing or that it was judicially approved. The reconveyance or recovery of
properties allegedly owned but not in the name of PASTOR, SR. was still being litigated in another court. There was
no appropriate determination, much less payment, of the debts of the decedent and his estate.
Under the circumstances of the case at bar, the challenge must be rejected. Grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack of jurisdiction is much too evident in the actuations of the probate court to be overlooked or condoned.
Without a final, authoritative adjudication of the issue as to what properties compose the estate of PASTOR, SR. in
the face of conflicting claims made by heirs and a non-heir (MA. ELENA ACHAVAL DE PASTOR) involving properties
not in the name of the decedent, and in the absence of a resolution on the intrinsic validity of the will here in question,
there was no basis for the Probate Court to hold in its Probate Order of 1972, which it did not, that private respondent
is entitled to the payment of the questioned legacy. Therefore, the Order of Execution of August 20, 1980 and the
subsequent implementing orders for the payment of QUEMADA's legacy, in alleged implementation of the dispositive
part of the Probate Order of December 5, 1972, must fall for lack of basis.
The ordered payment of legacy would be violative of the rule requiring prior liquidation of the estate of the deceased,
i.e., the determination of the assets of the estate and payment of all debts and expenses, before apportionment and
distribution of the residue among the heirs and legatees. (Bernardo vs. Court of Appeals, 7 SCRA 367.)
Neither has the estate tax been paid on the estate of PASTOR, SR. Payment therefore of the legacy to QUEMADA
would collide with the provision of the National Internal Revenue Code requiring payment of estate tax before delivery
to any beneficiary of his distributive share of the estate (Section 107 [c])
The above provision clearly authorizes execution to enforce payment of debts of estate. A legacy is not a debt of the
estate; indeed, legatees are among those against whom execution is authorized to be issued.
It is within a court's competence to order the execution of a final judgment; but to order the execution of a final order
(which is not even meant to be executed) by reading into it terms that are not there and in utter disregard of existing
rules and law, is manifest grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. Consequently, the rule that
certiorari may not be invoked to defeat the right of a prevailing party to the execution of a valid and final judgment, is
inapplicable. For when an order of execution is issued with grave abuse of discretion or is at variance with the
judgment sought to be enforced (PVTA vs. Honorable Gonzales, 92 SCRA 172), certiorari will lie to abate the order of
execution.
Petitioner MA. ELENA ACHAVAL DE PASTOR, wife of PASTOR, JR., is the holder in her own right of three mining
claims which are one of the objects of conflicting claims of ownership. She is not an heir of PASTOR, SR. and was
not a party to the probate proceedings. Therefore, she could not appeal from the Order of execution issued by the
Probate Court. On the other hand, after the issuance of the execution order, the urgency of the relief she and her co-
petitioner husband seek in the petition for certiorari states against requiring her to go through the cumbersome
procedure of asking for leave to intervene in the probate proceedings to enable her, if leave is granted, to appeal from
the challenged order of execution which has ordered the immediate transfer and/or garnishment of the royalties
derived from mineral properties of which she is the duly registered owner and/or grantee together with her husband.
She could not have intervened before the issuance of the assailed orders because she had no valid ground to
intervene. The matter of ownership over the properties subject of the execution was then still being litigated in
another court in a reconveyance suit filed by the special administrator of the estate of PASTOR, SR.
13. Maninang v. CA, G.R. No. L-57848, June 19, 1982 (114 SCRA 473)
Generally, the probate of a Will is mandatory. The law enjoins the probate of the Will and public policy requires it,
because unless the Will is probated and notice thereof given to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his
property by Will may be rendered nugatory.
Normally, the probate of a Will does not look into its intrinsic validity.
The authentication of a will decides no other question than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the
compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not determine
nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency (sic) of the provisions, these may be impugned as being
vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication. The questions relating to these points remain entirely unaffected,
and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated ....
Preterition "consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them, either because they
are not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited."
(Neri vs. Akutin, 72 Phil. 325). Disinheritance, in turn, "is a testamentary disposition depriving any compulsory heirs of
his share in the legitimate for a cause authorized by law." (Justice J.B.L. Reyes and R.C. Puno, "An Outline of
Philippine Civil Law", 1956 ed., Vol. III, p. 8, citing cases) Disinheritance is always "voluntary", preterition upon the
other hand, is presumed to be "involuntary" (Sanchez Roman, Estudios de Derecho Civil 2nd edition, Volume 2.o p.
1131).
The effects flowing from preterition are totally different from those of disinheritance. Pretention under Article 854 of
the New Civil Code shall annul the institution of heir. This annulment is in toto, unless in the wail there are, in
addition, testamentary dispositions in the form of devises or legacies. In ineffective disinheritance under Article 918 of
the same Code, such disinheritance shall also "annul the institution of heirs", but only "insofar as it may prejudice the
person disinherited", which last phrase was omitted in the case of preterition (III Tolentino, Civil Code of the
Philippines, 1961 Edition, p. 172). Better stated yet, in disinheritance the nullity is limited to that portion of the estate
of which the disinherited heirs have been illegally deprived.
As held in the case of Vda. de Precilla vs. Narciso
... it is as important a matter of public interest that a purported will is not denied legalization on dubious grounds.
Otherwise, the very institution of testamentary succession will be shaken to its foundation, ...
Coming now to the procedural aspect, suffice it to state that in view of our finding that respondent Judge had acted in
excess of his jurisdiction in dismissing the Testate Case, certiorari is a proper remedy. An act done by a Probate
Court in excess of its jurisdiction may be corrected by Certiorari. And even assuming the existence of the remedy of
appeal, we harken to the rule that in the broader interests of justice, a petition for certiorari may be entertained,
particularly where appeal would not afford speedy and adequate relief.
14. Coronado v. CA, G.R. No. 78778, December 3, 1990 (191 SCRA
894)
As found by the respondent appellate court, Monterola never claimed ownership over the property in question. As a
matter of fact, one of the deeds of donation executed by Monterola in favor of Leonida Coronado acknowledged that
the boundary owner on the property conveyed to her is JUANA. This is precisely the reason why during the lifetime of
the late Dalmacio Monterola, JUANA had always been allowed to enter and reap the benefits or produce of the said
property. It was only after the death of said Monterola in 1970 that Leonida Coronado prohibited JUANA from
entering it.

Even assuming arguendo that Monterola was indeed in continued possession of the said property for over ten years
since 1934, said possession is insufficient to constitute the fundamental basis of the prescription. Possession, under
the Civil Code, to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right, must be possession under claim of title (en
concepto de dueno), or to use the common law equivalent of the term, it must be adverse. Acts of possessory
character performed by one who holds by mere tolerance of the owner are clearly not en concepto de dueno, and
such possessory acts, no matter how long so continued, do not start the running of the period of prescription.

While it is true that no will shall pass either real or personal property unless it is proved and allowed in the proper
court (Art. 838, Civil Code), the questioned will, however, may be sustained on the basis of Article 1056 of the Civil
Code of 1899, which was in force at the time said document was executed by Melecio Artiaga in 1918. The said
article read as follows:
"Article 1056. If the testator should make a partition of his properties by an act inter vivos, or by will, such partition
shall stand in so far as it does not prejudice the legitime of the forced heir." (Mang-Oy v. Court of Appeals, 144 SCRA
33 [1986])
It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency of the provisions of the will, thus may
be impugned as being vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication. The question relating to these points remain
entirely unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated (Maninang, et al., v. Court of
Appeals, 114 SCRA 473 [1982]). Consequently, JUANA is not estopped from questioning the ownership of the
property in question, notwithstanding her having objected to the probate of the will executed by Monterola under
which Leonida Coronado is claiming title to the said property.
Moreover, the lower court found sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that the property in question is the
same property adjudicated to JUANA under the will of Melecio Artiaga, and that CORONADO has no right
whatsoever to said property (Ibid., p. 20). Such findings are conclusive upon this Court (Reynolds Philippine
Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 220 [1989]).

15. Balanay v. Martinez, G.R. No. L-39247, June 27, 1975


The trial court acted correctly in passing upon the will's intrinsic validity even before its formal validity had been
established. The probate of a will might become an idle ceremony if on its face it appears to be intrinsically void.
Where practical considerations demand that the intrinsic validity of the will be passed upon, even before it is
probated, the court should meet the issue.

The rule is that "the invalidity of one of several dispositions contained in a will does not result in the invalidity of the
other dispositions, unless it is to be presumed that the testator would not have made such other dispositions if the
first invalid disposition had not been made"
The statement of the testatrix that she owned the "southern half of the conjugal lands is contrary to law because,
although she was a coowner thereof, her share was inchoate and proindiviso (Art. 143, Civil Code; Madrigal and
Paterno vs. Rafferty and Concepcion, 38 Phil. 414). But That illegal declaration does not nullify the entire will. It may
be disregarded.
The provision of the will that the properties of the testatrix should not be divided among her heirs during her
husband's lifetime but should be kept intact and that the legitimes should be paid in cash is contrary to article 1080 of
the Civil Code. The testatrix in her will made a partition of the entire conjugal estate among her six children (her
husband had renounced his hereditary rights and his one-half conjugal share). She did not assign the whole estate to
one or more children as envisaged in article 1080. Hence, she had no right to require that the legitimes be paid in
cash. On the other hand, her estate may remain undivided only for a period of twenty years.
Felix Balanay, Sr. could validly renounce his hereditary rights and his one-half share of the conjugal partnership (Arts.
179[1] and 1041, Civil Code) but insofar as said renunciation partakes of a donation of his hereditary rights and his
one-half share in the conjugal estate (Art. 1060[1] Civil Code), it should be subject to the limitations prescribed in
articles 750 and 752 of the Civil Code. A portion of the estate should be adjudicated to the widower for his support
and maintenance. Or at least his legitime should be respected.
It should be stressed that by reason of the surviving husband's conformity to his wife's will and his renunciation of his
hereditary rights, his one-half conjugal share became a part of his deceased wife's estate. His conformity had the
effect of validating the partition made in paragraph V of the will without prejudice, of course, to the rights of the
creditors and the legitimes of the compulsory heirs.
In the instant case, the preterited heir was the surviving spouse. His preterition did not produce intestacy. Moreover,
he signified his conformity to his wife's will and renounced his hereditary rights. .
Testacy is favored. Doubts are resolved in favor of testacy especially where the will evinces an intention on the part
of the testator to dispose of practically his whole estate. So compelling is the principle that intestacy should be
avoided and that the wishes of the testator should prevail that sometimes the language of the will can be varied for
the purpose of giving it effect.
A notice to creditors is not in order if only a special administrator has been appointed. Section 1, Rule 86 of the Rules
of Court, in providing that "immediately after granting letters of testamentary or of administration, the court shall issue
a notice requiring all persons having money claims against the decedent to file them in the office of the clerk of said
court" clearly contemplates the appointment of an executor or regular administrator and not that of a special
administrator.
The probate court's appointment of its branch clerk of court as special administrator (p. 30, Rollo) is not a salutary
practice because it might engender the suspicion that the probate Judge and his clerk of court are in cahoots in
milking the decedent's estate. Should the branch clerk of court commit any abuse or devastavit in the course of his
administration, the probate Judge might find it difficult to hold him to a strict accountability. A court employee should
devote his official time to his official duties and should not have as a sideline the administration of a decedent's
estate.
16. Ajero v. CA, G.R. No. 106720, September 15, 1994 (236 SCRA 488)
Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court provides the cases in which wills shall be disallowed. In the same vein,
Article 839 of the New Civil Code enumerates the grounds for disallowance of wills. These lists are exclusive; no
other grounds can serve to disallow a will. Thus, in a petition to admit a holographic will to probate, the only issues to
be resolved are: (1) whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedent's last will and testament; (2) whether
said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law; (3) whether the decedent had the
necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed; and, (4) whether the execution of the will and its
signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent.
We reiterate what we held in Abangan vs. Abangan, 40 Phil. 476, 479 (1919), that:
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to
avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore, the laws on this
subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also one must
not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a
will. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other interpretation whatsoever, that adds
nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustrative of the testator's last will, must be
disregarded.
For purposes of probating non-holographic wills, these formal solemnities include the subscription, attestation, and
acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code.
In the case of holographic wills, on the other hand, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally
autographic or handwritten by the testator himself, as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code, thus:
A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Failure to strictly observe other formalities will not result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is
unquestionably handwritten by the testator.
A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions
contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the
result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render the whole testament
void.
Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate, notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of
Article 814. Thus, unless the unauthenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the
holographic will or on testator's signature, their presence does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication
will only result in disallowance of such changes.
It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions
appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the
validity of the holographic will (Article 810). The distinction can be traced to Articles 678 and 688 of the Spanish Civil
Code, from which the present provisions covering holographic wills are taken. This separation and distinction adds
support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code — and not those found in
Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code — are essential to the probate of a holographic will.
As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought
to be probated. However, in exceptional instances, courts are not powerless to do what the situation constrains them
to do, and pass upon certain provisions of the will. In the case at bench, decedent herself indubitably stated in her
holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late father, John H. Sand (which led oppositor Dr.
Jose Ajero to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety). Thus, as correctly held by respondent court, she
cannot validly dispose of the whole property, which she shares with her father's other heirs.
17. Acain v. IAC, G.R. No. 72706, October 27, 1987
Preterition consists in the omission in the testator's will of the forced heirs or anyone of them either because they are
not mentioned therein, or, though mentioned, they are neither instituted as heirs nor are expressly disinherited
(Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA 450 [1966]; Maninang v. Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA 478 [1982]). Insofar as the widow
is concerned, Article 854 of the Civil Code may not apply as she does not ascend or descend from the testator,
although she is a compulsory heir. Stated otherwise, even if the surviving spouse is a compulsory heir, there is no
preterition even if she is omitted from the inheritance, for she is not in the direct line. (Art. 854, Civil code) however,
the same thing cannot be said of the other respondent Virginia A. Fernandez, whose legal adoption by the testator
has not been questioned by petitioner (.Memorandum for the Petitioner, pp. 8-9). Under Article 39 of P.D. No. 603,
known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, adoption gives to the adopted person the same rights and duties as if
he were a legitimate child of the adopter and makes the adopted person a legal heir of the adopter. It cannot be
denied that she has totally omitted and preterited in the will of the testator and that both adopted child and the widow
were deprived of at least their legitime. Neither can it be denied that they were not expressly disinherited. Hence, this
is a clear case of preterition of the legally adopted child.
Pretention annuls the institution of an heir and annulment throws open to intestate succession the entire inheritance
including "la porcion libre (que) no hubiese dispuesto en virtual de legado mejora o donacion" Maniesa as cited in
Nuguid v. Nuguid, supra; Maninang v. Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA [1982]). The only provisions which do not result in
intestacy are the legacies and devises made in the will for they should stand valid and respected, except insofar as
the legitimes are concerned.
The universal institution of petitioner together with his brothers and sisters to the entire inheritance of the testator
results in totally abrogating the will because the nullification of such institution of universal heirs-without any other
testamentary disposition in the will-amounts to a declaration that nothing at all was written. Carefully worded and in
clear terms, Article 854 of the Civil Code offers no leeway for inferential interpretation (Nuguid v. Nuguid), supra. No
legacies nor devises having been provided in the will the whole property of the deceased has been left by universal
title to petitioner and his brothers and sisters. The effect of annulling the "Institution of heirs will be, necessarily, the
opening of a total intestacy (Neri v. Akutin, 74 Phil. 185 [1943]) except that proper legacies and devises must, as
already stated above, be respected.
We now deal with another matter. In order that a person may be allowed to intervene in a probate proceeding he
must have an interest iii the estate, or in the will, or in the property to be affected by it either as executor or as a
claimant of the estate and an interested party is one who would be benefited by the estate such as an heir or one
who has a claim against the estate like a creditor (Sumilang v. Ramagosa, 21 SCRA 1369/1967). Petitioner is not the
appointed executor, neither a devisee or a legatee there being no mention in the testamentary disposition of any gift
of an individual item of personal or real property he is called upon to receive (Article 782, Civil Code). At the outset,
he appears to have an interest in the will as an heir, defined under Article 782 of the Civil Code as a person called to
the succession either by the provision of a will or by operation of law. However, intestacy having resulted from the
preterition of respondent adopted child and the universal institution of heirs, petitioner is in effect not an heir of the
testator. He has no legal standing to petition for the probate of the will left by the deceased and Special Proceedings
No. 591 A-CEB must be dismissed.
Special Proceedings No. 591 ACEB is for the probate of a will. As stated by respondent Court, the general rule is that
the probate court's authority is limited only to the extrinsic validity of the will, the due execution thereof, the testator's
testamentary capacity and the compliance with the requisites or solemnities prescribed by law. The intrinsic validity of
the will normally comes only after the Court has declared that the will has been duly authenticated. Said court at this
stage of the proceedings is not called upon to rule on the intrinsic validity or efficacy of the provisions of the will
(Nuguid v. Nuguid, 17 SCRA 449 [1966]; Sumilang v. Ramagosa, supra; Maninang v. Court of Appeals, 114 SCRA
478 [1982]; Cayetano v. Leonides, 129 SCRA 522 [1984]; and Nepomuceno v. Court of Appeals, 139 SCRA 206
[1985]).
The rule, however, is not inflexible and absolute. Under exceptional circumstances, the probate court is not powerless
to do what the situation constrains it to do and pass upon certain provisions of the will (Nepomuceno v. Court of
Appeals, supra). In Nuguid v. Nuguid the oppositors to the probate moved to dismiss on the ground of absolute
preteriton The probate court acting on the motion held that the will in question was a complete nullity and dismissed
the petition without costs. On appeal the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the probate court, induced by
practical considerations.
For private respondents to have tolerated the probate of the will and allowed the case to progress when on its face
the will appears to be intrinsically void as petitioner and his brothers and sisters were instituted as universal heirs
coupled with the obvious fact that one of the private respondents had been preterited would have been an exercise in
futility. It would have meant a waste of time, effort, expense, plus added futility. The trial court could have denied its
probate outright or could have passed upon the intrinsic validity of the testamentary provisions before the extrinsic
validity of the will was resolved (Cayetano v. Leonides, supra; Nuquid v. Nuguid, supra. The remedies of certiorari
and prohibition were properly availed of by private respondents.
As a general rule certiorari cannot be a substitute for appeal, except when the questioned order is an oppressive
exercise of j judicial authority (People v. Villanueva, 110 SCRA 465 [1981]; Vda. de Caldito v. Segundo, 117 SCRA
573 [1982]; Co Chuan Seng v. Court of Appeals, 128 SCRA 308 [1984]; and Bautista v. Sarmiento, 138 SCRA 587
[1985]). It is axiomatic that the remedies of certiorari and prohibition are not available where the petitioner has the
remedy of appeal or some other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law (DD Comendador
Construction Corporation v. Sayo (118 SCRA 590 [1982]). They are, however, proper remedies to correct a grave
abuse of discretion of the trial court in not dismissing a case where the dismissal is founded on valid grounds (Vda.
de Bacang v. Court of Appeals, 125 SCRA 137 [1983]).
Thus, this Court ruled that where the grounds for dismissal are indubitable, the defendants had the right to resort to
the more speedy, and adequate remedies of certiorari and prohibition to correct a grave abuse of discretion,
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, committed by the trial court in not dismissing the case, (Vda. de Bacang v. Court of
Appeals, supra) and even assuming the existence of the remedy of appeal, the Court harkens to the rule that in the
broader interests of justice, a petition for certiorari may be entertained, particularly where appeal would not afford
speedy and adequate relief.

18. Vda. de Bacang v. CA, G.R. No. L-50143, October 24, 1983
We hold that the appeal is palpably bereft of merit. Petitioners' 1975 action is clearly barred by valid prior judgments
and prescription (See Ramos vs. Ramos, L-19872, December 3, 1974, 61 SCRA 284; Gallanosa vs. Arcangel, L-
29300, June 21, 1978, 83 SCRA 676; Sinco vs. Longa 51 Phil. 507). Private respondents' Torrens titles over the
hacienda have long become indefeasible. Since the grounds for dismissal are indubitable, the defendants had the
right to resort to the more speedy and adequate remedies of certiorari and prohibition to correct a grave abuse of
discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, committed by the trial court in not dismissing the case.
19. Manahan v. Manahan, G.R. No. 38050, September 22, 1933 (58 Phil
448)
The appellant was not entitled to notification of the probate of the will and neither had she the right to expect it,
inasmuch as she was not an interested party, not having filed an opposition to the petition for the probate thereof. Her
allegation that she had the status of an heir, being the deceased's sister, did not confer on her the right to be notified
on the ground that the testatrix died leaving a will in which the appellant has not been instituted heir. Furthermore, not
being a forced heir, she did not acquire any successional right.
In the phraseology of the procedural law, there is no essential difference between the authentication of a will and the
probate thereof. The words authentication and probate are synonymous in this case. All the law requires is that the
competent court declared that in the execution of the will the essential external formalities have been complied with
and that, in view thereof, the document, as a will, is valid and effective in the eyes of the law.
The decree admitting a will to probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution thereof and it cannot be
impugned on any of the grounds authorized by law, except that of a fraud, in any separate or independent action or
proceeding.
The proceedings followed in a testamentary case being in rem, the decree admitting the will to probate was effective
and conclusive against her, in accordance with the provisions of section 306 of the said Code of Civil Procedure.
The appellant could not appeal from the trial court’s order denying the motion for reconsideration and a new trial in
view of the fact that said order was interlocutory in character.
20. Heirs of Fran v. Salas, G.R. No. L-53546, June 25, 1992 (210 SCRA
303)
After the probate court rendered its decision on 13 November 1972, and there having been no claim presented
despite publication of notice to creditors, petitioner Fran submitted a Project of Partition which private respondent
Maria M. Vda. de Gandiongco voluntarily signed and to which private respondent Espina expressed her conformity
through a certification filed with the probate court. Assuming for the sake of argument that private respondents did not
receive a formal notice of the decision as they claim in their Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration, these acts
nevertheless constitute indubitable proof of their prior actual knowledge of the same. A formal notice would have
been an idle ceremony. In testate proceedings, a decision logically precedes the project of partition, which is normally
an implementation of the will and is among the last operative acts to terminate the proceedings. If private
respondents did not have actual knowledge of the decision, they should have desisted from performing the above
acts and instead demanded from petitioner Fran the fulfillment of his alleged promise to show them the will. The
same conclusion refutes and defeats the plea that they were not notified of the order authorizing the Clerk of Court to
receive the evidence and that the Clerk of Court did not notify them of the date of the reception of evidence. Besides,
such plea must fail because private respondents were present when the court dictated the said order.
Lim Tanhu then cannot be used as authority to nullify the order of the probate court authorizing the Clerk of Court to
receive the evidence for the rule is settled that "when a doctrine of this Court is overruled and a different view is
adopted, the new doctrine should be applied prospectively, and should not apply to parties who had relied on the old
doctrine and acted on the faith thereof." 37 It may also be emphasized in this connection that Lim Tanhu did not live
long; it was subsequently overruled in Gochangco vs. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, 38 wherein this
Court, en banc, through Justice, now Chief Justice, Andres R. Narvasa, in reference to what the trial court termed as
"the doctrinal rule laid down in the recent case of Lim Tan Hu (sic) vs. Ramolete," ruled:
Now, that declaration does not reflect long observed and established judicial practice with respect to default cases. It
is not quite consistent, too, with the several explicitly authorized instances under the Rules where the function of
receiving evidence and even of making recommendatory findings of facts on the basis thereof may be delegated to
commissioners, inclusive of the Clerk of Court. These instances are set out in Rule 33, . . . ; Rule 67 and 69, . . . ;
Rule 86, . . . ; Rule 136, . . . . In all these instances, the competence of the clerk of court is assumed.
The alternative claim that the proceedings before the Clerk of Court were likewise void because said official did not
take an oath is likewise untenable. The Clerk of Court acted as such when he performed the delegated task of
receiving evidence. It was not necessary for him to take an oath for that purpose; he was bound by his oath of office
as a Clerk of Court. Private respondents are obviously of the impression that by the delegation of the reception of
evidence to the Clerk of Court, the latter became a commissioner as defined under Rule 33 of the Rules of Court
entitled Trial by Commissioner.

In Santos vs. Castillo 39 and Salazar vs. Court of First Instance of Laguna, 40 decided six (6) months apart in 1937,
this Court already ruled that it is not necessary that the original of the will be attached to the petition. In the first, it
ruled: "The original of said document [the will] must be presented or sufficient reasons given to justify the
nonpresentation of said original and the acceptance of the copy or duplicate thereof."

It is not likewise disputed that the original of the will was submitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit "F". It forms
part of the records of the special proceedings — a fact which private respondents admit in their Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration.

Granting for the sake of argument that the non-fulfillment of said promise constitutes fraud, such fraud is not of the
kind which provides sufficient justification for a motion for reconsideration or a petition for relief from judgment under
Rule 37 and Rule 38, respectively, of the Rules of Court, or even a separate action for annulment of judgment. It is
settled that for fraud to be invested with, sufficiency, it must be extrinsic or collateral to the matters involved in the
issues raised during the trial which resulted in such judgment. 48
In Our jurisdiction, the following courses of action are open to an aggrieved party to set aside or attack the validity of
a final judgment:
(1) Petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court which must be filed within sixty (60) days after learning of the
decision, but not more than six (6) months after such decision is entered;
(2) By direct action, via a special civil action for certiorari, or by collateral attack, assuming that the decision is void for
want of jurisdiction;
(3) By an independent civil action under Article 1114 of the Civil Code, assuming that the decision was obtained
through fraud and Rule 38 can not be applied. 49
The probate judgment of 13 November 1972, long final and undisturbed by any attempt to unsettle it, had inevitably
passed beyond the reach of the court below to annul or set the same aside, by mere motion, on the ground that the
will is a forgery. Settled is the rule that the decree of probate is conclusive with respect to the due execution of the will
and it cannot be impugned on any of the grounds authorized by law, except that of fraud, in any separate or
independent action or proceeding. 50We wish also to advert to the related doctrine which holds that final judgments
are entitled to respect and should not be disturbed; otherwise, there would be a wavering of trust in the courts. 51
The non-distribution of the estate, which is vigorously denied by the petitioners, is not a ground for the re-opening of
the testate proceedings. A seasonable motion for execution should have been filed. In De Jesus vs.Daza, 57 this
Court ruled that if the executor or administrator has possession of the share to be delivered, the probate court would
have jurisdiction within the same estate proceeding to order him to transfer that possession to the person entitled
thereto. This is authorized under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court. However, if no motion for execution is filed
within the reglementary period, a separate action for the recovery of the shares would be in order.
RULE 76. ALLOWANCE OR DISALLOWANCE OF WILL

CASES:

21. Leviste v. CA, G.R. No. L-29184, January 30, 1989 (169 SCRA 580)
The argument is devoid of merit. Article 1052 of the Civil Code does not apply to this case. That legal provision
protects the creditor of a repudiating heir. Petitioner is not a creditor of Rosa del Rosario. The payment of his fees is
contingent and dependent upon the successful probate of the holographic will. Since the petition for probate was
dismissed by the lower court, the contingency did not occur. Attorney Leviste is not entitled to his fee.
Furthermore, Article 1052 presupposes that the obligor is an heir. Rosa del Rosario is not a legal heir of the late
Maxima C. Reselva. Upon the dismissal of her petition for probate of the decedent's will, she lost her right to inherit
any part of the latter's estate. There is nothing for the petitioner to accept in her name.
This Court had ruled in the case of Recto vs. Harden, 100 Phil. 1427, that "the contract (for contingent attorney's
fees) neither gives, nor purports to give, to the appellee (lawyer) any right whatsoever, personal or real, in and to her
(Mrs. Harden's) aforesaid share in the conjugal partnership. The amount thereof is simply a basis for
the computation of said fees."
The Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the petition for mandamus, for while it is true that, as contended by the
petitioner, public policy favors the probate of a will, it does not necessarily follow that every will that is presented for
probate, should be allowed. The law lays down procedures which should be observed and requisites that should be
satisfied before a will may be probated. Those procedures and requirements were not followed in this case resulting
in the disallowance of the will. There being no valid will, the motion to withdraw the probate petition was
inconsequential.
Petitioner was not a party to the probate proceeding in the lower court. He had no direct interest in the probate of the
will. His only interest in the estate is an indirect interest as former counsel for a prospective heir. In Paras vs.
Narciso, 35 Phil. 244, We had occassion to rule that one who is only indirectly interested in a will may not interfere in
its probate.

22. Rodriguez v. Borja, G.R. No. L-21993, June 21, 1966 (17 SCRA
418)
The jurisdiction of a probate court became vested upon the delivery thereto of the will, even if no petition for its
allowance was filed until later, because upon the will being deposited the court could, motu proprio, have taken steps
to fix the time and place for proving the will, and issued the corresponding notices conformably to what is prescribed
by section 3, Rule 76, of the Revised Rules of Court (Section 3, Rule 77, of the old Rules). The use of the disjunctive
in the words "when a will is delivered to OR a petition for the allowance of a will is filed" plainly indicates that the court
may act upon the mere deposit therein of a decedent's testament, even if no petition for its allowance is as yet filed.
Where the petition for probate is made after the deposit of the will, the petition is deemed to relate back to the time
when the will was delivered.
The power to settle decedents' estates is conferred by law upon all courts of first instance, and the domicile of the
testator only affects the venue but not the jurisdiction of the Court (In re Kaw Singco, 74 Phil. 239; Reyes vs. Diaz, 73
Phil. 484; Bernabe vs. Vergara, 73 Phil. 676).
Where the estate proceedings were initiated in the Bulacan Court of First Instance ahead of any other, that court is
entitled to assume jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, even if it were a case of wrong venue. (Sec.1, Rule
73, Revised Rules of Court)

Intestate succession is only subsidiary or subordinate to the testate, since intestacy only takes place in the absence
of a valid operative will. Only after final decision as to the nullity of testate succession could an intestate succession
be instituted. The institution of intestacy proceedings in Rizal may not thus proceed while the probate of the
purported will of Father Rodriguez is pending.

23. Maravilla v. Maravilla, G.R. No. L-23225, February 27, 1971 (37
SCRA 672)
The variation in the expressions used by the witness is the best evidence that he was being candid and careful, and it
is a clear badge of truthfulness rather than the reverse.

A will may be allowed even if some witnesses not remember having attested it, if other evidence satisfactorily show
due execution (V. Act 190, Section 632), and that failure of witness to identify his signature does not bar probate.
It should be remembered, in this connection, that the test is not whether a witness did see the signing of the will but
whether he was in a position to see if he chose to do so.

In weighing the testimony of the attesting witnesses to a will, the statements of a competent attorney, who has been
charged with the responsibility of seeing to the proper execution of the instrument, is entitled to greater weight than
the testimony of a person casually called to participate in the act, supposing of course that no motive is revealed that
should induce the attorney to prevaricate. The reason is that the mind of the attorney, being conversant with the
requisites of proper execution of the instrument, is more likely to become fixed on details, and he is more likely than
other persons to retain those incidents in his memory.

To be of sound mind, it is not necessary that the testator be in full possession of all his reasoning faculties or that his
mind be wholly unbroken, unimpaired or unshattered by disease, injury or other cause.

24. Labrador v. CA, G.R. Nos. 83843-44, April 5, 1990 (184 SCRA 170)
The will has been dated in the hand of the testator himself in perfect compliance with Article 810. It is worthy of note
to quote the first paragraph of the second page of the holographic will, viz:
And this is the day in which we agreed that we are making the partitioning and assigning the respective assignment
of the said fishpond, and this being in the month of March, 17th day, in the year 1968, and this decision and or
instruction of mine is the matter to be followed. And the one who made this writing is no other than MELECIO
LABRADOR, their father. (emphasis supplied) (p. 46,Rollo)
The law does not specify a particular location where the date should be placed in the will. The only requirements are
that the date be in the will itself and executed in the hand of the testator. These requirements are present in the
subject will.
Respondents are in error. The intention to show 17 March 1968 as the date of the execution of the will is plain from
the tenor of the succeeding words of the paragraph. As aptly put by petitioner, the will was not an agreement but a
unilateral act of Melecio Labrador who plainly knew that what he was executing was a will. The act of partitioning and
the declaration that such partitioning as the testator's instruction or decision to be followed reveal that Melecio
Labrador was fully aware of the nature of the estate property to be disposed of and of the character of the
testamentary act as a means to control the disposition of his estate.
25. De Jesus v. De Jesus, G.R. No. L-38338, January 28, 1985 (134
SCRA 245)
This will not be the first time that this Court departs from a strict and literal application of the statutory requirements
regarding the due execution of Wills. We should not overlook the liberal trend of the Civil Code in the manner of
execution of Wills, the purpose of which, in case of doubt is to prevent intestacy.
Thus, the prevailing policy is to require satisfaction of the legal requirements in order to guard against fraud and bad
faith but without undue or unnecessary curtailment of testamentary privilege Icasiano v. Icasiano, 11 SCRA 422). If a
Will has been executed in substantial compliance with the formalities of the law, and the possibility of bad faith and
fraud in the exercise thereof is obviated, said Win should be admitted to probate (Rey v. Cartagena 56 Phil. 282).
The purpose of the solemnities surrounding the execution of Wills has been expounded by this Court in Abangan v.
Abanga 40 Phil. 476, where we ruled that:
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to
avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. ...
We have carefully reviewed the records of this case and found no evidence of bad faith and fraud in its execution nor
was there any substitution of Wins and Testaments. There is no question that the holographic Will of the deceased
Bibiana Roxas de Jesus was entirely written, dated, and signed by the testatrix herself and in a language known to
her. There is also no question as to its genuineness and due execution. All the children of the testatrix agree on the
genuineness of the holographic Will of their mother and that she had the testamentary capacity at the time of the
execution of said Will.
As a general rule, the "date" in a holographic Will should include the day, month, and year of its execution. However,
when as in the case at bar, there is no appearance of fraud, bad faith, undue influence and pressure and the
authenticity of the Will is established and the only issue is whether or not the date "FEB./61" appearing on the
holographic Will is a valid compliance with Article 810 of the Civil Code, probate of the holographic Will should be
allowed under the principle of substantial compliance.
26. Ajero v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 106720, September 15, 1994
(236 SCRA 488)
Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court provides the cases in which wills shall be disallowed. In the same vein,
Article 839 of the New Civil Code enumerates the grounds for disallowance of wills. These lists are exclusive; no
other grounds can serve to disallow a will. Thus, in a petition to admit a holographic will to probate, the only issues to
be resolved are: (1) whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedent's last will and testament; (2) whether
said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law; (3) whether the decedent had the
necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed; and, (4) whether the execution of the will and its
signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent.
We reiterate what we held in Abangan vs. Abangan, 40 Phil. 476, 479 (1919), that:
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against bad faith and fraud, to
avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guaranty their truth and authenticity. Therefore, the laws on this
subject should be interpreted in such a way as to attain these primordial ends. But, on the other hand, also one must
not lose sight of the fact that it is not the object of the law to restrain and curtail the exercise of the right to make a
will. So when an interpretation already given assures such ends, any other interpretation whatsoever, that adds
nothing but demands more requisites entirely unnecessary, useless and frustrative of the testator's last will, must be
disregarded.
For purposes of probating non-holographic wills, these formal solemnities include the subscription, attestation, and
acknowledgment requirements under Articles 805 and 806 of the New Civil Code.
In the case of holographic wills, on the other hand, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be totally
autographic or handwritten by the testator himself, 7 as provided under Article 810 of the New Civil Code, thus:
A person may execute a holographic will which must be entirely written, dated, and signed by the hand of the testator
himself. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of the Philippines, and need not be witnessed.
(Emphasis supplied.)
Failure to strictly observe other formalities will not result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is
unquestionably handwritten by the testator.
A reading of Article 813 of the New Civil Code shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions
contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date some of the dispositions, the
result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such failure, however, does not render the whole testament
void.
Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate, notwithstanding non-compliance with the provisions of
Article 814. Thus, unless the unauthenticated alterations, cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the
holographic will or on testator's signature, their presence does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication
will only result in disallowance of such changes.
It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and dating of dispositions
appear in provisions (Articles 813 and 814) separate from that which provides for the necessary conditions for the
validity of the holographic will (Article 810). The distinction can be traced to Articles 678 and 688 of the Spanish Civil
Code, from which the present provisions covering holographic wills are taken. This separation and distinction adds
support to the interpretation that only the requirements of Article 810 of the New Civil Code — and not those found in
Articles 813 and 814 of the same Code — are essential to the probate of a holographic will.
As a general rule, courts in probate proceedings are limited to pass only upon the extrinsic validity of the will sought
to be probated. However, in exceptional instances, courts are not powerless to do what the situation constrains them
to do, and pass upon certain provisions of the will. In the case at bench, decedent herself indubitably stated in her
holographic will that the Cabadbaran property is in the name of her late father, John H. Sand (which led oppositor Dr.
Jose Ajero to question her conveyance of the same in its entirety). Thus, as correctly held by respondent court, she
cannot validly dispose of the whole property, which she shares with her father's other heirs.
27. Kalaw v. Relova, G.R. No. L-40207 September 28, 1984 (132 SCRA
237)
Ordinarily, when a number of erasures, corrections, and interlineations made by the testator in a holographic Will
have not been noted under his signature, . . . the Will is not thereby invalidated as a whole, but at most only as
respects the particular words erased, corrected or interlined. Manresa gave an identical commentary when he said "la
omission de la salvedad no anula el testamento, segun la regla de jurisprudencia establecida en la sentencia de 4 de
Abril de 1985."
However, when as in this case, the holographic Will in dispute had only one substantial provision, which was altered
by substituting the original heir with another, but which alteration did not carry the requisite of full authentication by
the full signature of the testator, the effect must be that the entire Will is voided or revoked for the simple reason that
nothing remains in the Will after that which could remain valid. To state that the Will as first written should be given
efficacy is to disregard the seeming change of mind of the testatrix. But that change of mind can neither be given
effect because she failed to authenticate it in the manner required by law by affixing her full signature,
The ruling in Velasco, supra, must be held confined to such insertions, cancellations, erasures or alterations in a
holographic Will, which affect only the efficacy of the altered words themselves but not the essence and validity of the
Will itself. As it is, with the erasures, cancellations and alterations made by the testatrix herein, her real intention
cannot be determined with certitude.

28. Vda. de Perez v. Tolete, G.R. No. 76714, June 2, 1994.


The respective wills of the Cunanan spouses, who were American citizens, will only be effective in this country upon
compliance with the following provision of the Civil Code of the Philippines:
Art. 816. The will of an alien who is abroad produces effect in the Philippines if made with the formalities prescribed
by the law of the place in which he resides, or according to the formalities observed in his country, or in conformity
with those which this Code prescribes.
Thus, proof that both wills conform with the formalities prescribed by New York laws or by Philippine laws is
imperative.
The evidence necessary for the reprobate or allowance of wills which have been probated outside of the Philippines
are as follows: (1) the due execution of the will in accordance with the foreign laws; (2) the testator has his domicile in
the foreign country and not in the Philippines; (3) the will has been admitted to probate in such country; (4) the fact
that the foreign tribunal is a probate court, and (5) the laws of a foreign country on procedure and allowance of wills
(III Moran Commentaries on the Rules of Court, 1970 ed., pp. 419-429; Suntay v. Suntay, 95 Phil. 500 [1954];
Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610 [1930]).
The necessity of presenting evidence on the foreign laws upon which the probate in the foreign country is based is
impelled by the fact that our courts cannot take judicial notice of them (Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank v.
Escolin, 56 SCRA 266 [1974]).
Petitioner must have perceived this omission as in fact she moved for more time to submit the pertinent procedural
and substantive New York laws but which request respondent Judge just glossed over. While the probate of a will is a
special proceeding wherein courts should relax the rules on evidence, the goal is to receive the best evidence of
which the matter is susceptible before a purported will is probated or denied probate (Vda. de Ramos v. Court of
Appeals, 81 SCRA 393 [1978]).
There is merit in petitioner’s insistence that the separate wills of the Cunanan spouses should be probated jointly.
Respondent Judge’s view that the Rules on allowance of wills is couched in singular terms and therefore should be
interpreted to mean that there should be separate probate proceedings for the wills of the Cunanan spouses is too
literal and simplistic an approach. Such view overlooks the provisions of Section 2, Rule 1 of the Revised Rules of
Court, which advise that the rules shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties
in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding."
A literal application of the Rules should be avoided if they would only result in the delay in the administration of justice
(Acain v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 155 SCRA 100 [1987]; Roberts v. Leonidas, 129 SCRA 33 [1984]).
What the law expressly prohibits is the making of joint wills either for the testator’s reciprocal benefit or for the benefit
of a third person (Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 818). In the case at bench, the Cunanan spouses executed
separate wills. Since the two wills contain essentially the same provisions and pertain to property which in all
probability are conjugal in nature, practical considerations dictate their joint probate. As this Court has held a number
of times, it will always strive to settle the entire controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear
the seeds of future litigation (Motoomull v. Dela Paz, 187 SCRA 743 [1990]).
The rule that the court having jurisdiction over the reprobate of a will shall "cause notice thereof to be given as in case
of an original will presented for allowance" (Revised Rules of Court, Rule 27, Section 2) means that with regard to
notices, the will probated abroad should be treated as if it were an "original will" or a will that is presented for probate
for the first time. Accordingly, compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 76, which require publication and notice by
mail or personally to the "known heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator resident in the Philippines" and to the
executor, if he is not the petitioner, are required.
This petition cannot be completely resolved without touching on a very glaring fact — petitioner has always
considered herself the sole heir of
Dr. Evelyn Perez Cunanan and because she does not consider herself an heir of Dr. Jose F. Cunanan, she
noticeably failed to notify his heirs of the filing of the proceedings. Thus, even in the instant petition, she only
impleaded respondent Judge, forgetting that a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal
party (Calderon v. Solicitor General, 215 SCRA 876 [1992]).