Echavez v. Dozen Construction

G.R. No. 192916, 11 October 2010, 632 SCRA 594

FACTS:

Vicente Echavez (Vicente) was the absolute owner of several lots in Cebu City, which includes Lot No. 1956-A and Lot No. 1959 (subject lots). On September 7, 1985, Vicente donated the subject lots to petitioner Manuel Echavez (Manuel) through a Deed of Donation Mortis Causa. Manuel accepted the donation.

In March 1986, Vicente executed a Contract to Sell over the same lots in favor of Dozen Construction and Development Corporation (Dozen Corporation). In October 1986, they executed two Deeds of Absolute Sale over the same properties covered by the previous Contract to Sell.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the will is valid.

HELD:

No. Donation mortis causa must comply with the formalities prescribed by law for the validity of wills, “otherwise, the donation is void and would produce no effect.” The Acknowledgment portion does not contain the number of pages on which the deed was written. Also, there was no attestation clause in the will. That the requirements of attestation and acknowledgment are embodied in two separate provisions of the Civil Code (Articles 805 and 806, respectively) indicates that the law contemplates two distinct acts that serve different purposes. An attestation must state all the details the third paragraph of Article 805 requires. An acknowledgment is made by one executing a deed, declaring before a competent officer or court that the deed or act is his own. On the other hand, the attestation of a will refers to the act of the instrumental witnesses themselves who certify to the execution of the instrument before them and to the manner of its execution. In the absence of the required avowal by the witnesses themselves, no attestation clause can be deemed embodied in the Acknowledgement of the Deed of Donation Mortis Causa.

*Case digest by Kharla Angelique B. Ko-Tubat, LLB-IV, Andres Bonifacio College Law School, SY 2018-2019

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