Civil Law

Jose Lopez vs Agustin Liboro

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G.R. No. L-1787 – 81 Phil. 429 – Civil Law – Succession – Pagination of the Will – Witnesses to a Will – Language of the Will – Thumb Mark as Signature 

In 1947, Don Sixto Lopez executed a will where Jose Lopez was named an heir. Agustin Liboro questioned the validity of the said will based on the following grounds, among others:

  1. The first sheet, which is also the first page, is not paged either in letters or in Arabic numerals.
  2. That the witnesses to the will provided contradictory statements.
  3. That Don Sixto used his thumb mark to sign the will.
  4. There was no indication in the will that the language used therein is known by Don Sixto Lopez.

ISSUE: Whether or not the will is valid.

HELD: Yes, the will is valid.

  1. The omission to put a page number on the first sheet, if that be necessary, is supplied by other forms of identification more trustworthy than the conventional numeral words or characters. The unnumbered page is clearly identified as the first page by the internal sense of its contents considered in relation to the contents of the second page. By their meaning and coherence, the first and second lines on the second page are undeniably a continuation of the last sentence of the testament, before the attestation clause, which starts at the bottom of the preceding page. Further, the first pages is captioned “Testamento”.
  2. The contradictions in the testimony of the instrumental witnesses as are set out in  Liboro’s appellant’s brief are incidents not all of which every one of the witnesses can be supposed to have perceived, or to recall in the same order in which they occurred.
  3. Don Sixto affixed his thumb mark to the instrument instead of signing his name. The reason for this was that he was suffering from “partial paralysis.” There is nothing curious or suspicious in the fact that the testator chose the use of mark as the means of authenticating his will. It was a matter of taste or preference. Both ways are good.
  4. There is no statutory requirement which prescribes that it must be expressly placed in the will that the testator knows the language being used therein. It is a matter that may be established by proof aliunde.

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