G.R. No. 145545, 30 June 2008, 556 SCRA 569
Herein petitioner is the first cousin of decedent Margarita S. Mayora while respondent is the decedent’s companion since 1929. Margarita died single on April 27, 1987 without any ascending nor descending heirs and she was survived by her first cousins. On February 2, 1987, prior to her death, Margarita executed a Last Will and Testament wherein she bequethed to respondent and other devisees her real properties, left all her personal properties to respondent whom she likewise designated as sole executor of her will. Petitioner filed a petition for letters of administration while respondent filed for a petition for probate of the will; the 2 cases were then consolidated. RTC probated the Last Will and Testament. On appeal, CA affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC.
Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in not declaring the will invalid for failure to comply with the formalities required by law.
Petitioner posits that the will is fatally defective for the reason that its attestation clause states that the will is composed of three (3) pages while in truth and in fact, the will consists of two (2) pages only because the attestation in not a part of the notarial will, the same is not accurate. While it is true that the attestation clause is not a part of the notarial will, the court, after examining the totality of the will, is of the considered opinion that error in the number of pages of the will as stated in the attestation clause is not material to invalidate the subject will. It must be noted that the subject instrument is consecutively lettered with pages A, B, and C which is a sufficient safeguard from the possibility of an omission of some of the pages. The error must have been brought about by the honest belief that the will is the whole instrument consisting of three (3) pages inclusive of the attestation clause and the acknowledgement. The position of the court is in consonance with the “doctrine of liberal interpretation” enunciated in Article 809 of the Civil Code. In fine, the court finds that the testator was mentally capable of making the will at the time of its execution, that the notarial will presented to the court is the same notarial will that was executed and that all the formal requirements (Article 805 of the Civil Code) in the execution of a will have been substantially complied with in the subject notarial will.
*Case digest by Sol Christian C. Sayre, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019