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Republic Act No. 7170

January 7, 1992


R.A. 7170 or An Act Authorizing the Legacy or Donation of All or Part of a Human Body after Death for Specified Purposes, which was approved on January 7, 1992, legalizes the donation of organs of the human body. The legacy contemplated under this law concerns itself all or a part of a human body vis-a-vis the legacy explained under the new Civil Code of the Philippines, Book III which talks about the giving of personal property. Similarities of R.A. 7170 and Wills and Succession of the Civil Code include the following: A person who may execute a legacy under R.A. 7170 has the same requirement of that under Wills and Succession of the Civil Code: That is any in individual, at least eighteen (18) years of age and of sound mind. Moreover, the transmittal of the right also takes place mortis causa or to take effect after the death of the decedent. Also, the legatee or donee contemplated in both R.A. 7170 and wills and succession under the Civil Code has the right to reject the donation or inheritance. They are not bound to accept it. Differences of these laws include the following: With regards to the person who may execute a will or a donation, under the Civil Code, only the testator himself should freely execute a will and has the right to choose how to dispose of his property after his death, unlike in R.A. 7170 where the: (1) Spouse; (2) Son or daughter of legal age; (3) Either parent; (4) Brother or sister of legal age; or (5) Guardian over the person of the decedent at the time of his death, in the absence of actual notice of contrary intentions by the decedent or actual notice of opposition by a member of the immediate family of the decedent, may donate all or any part of the decedent's body (Sec. 4, R.A. 7170). Also, as per Sec. 06 of R.A. 7170, the law mentioned persons who may become legatees and donees. The following are:

(a) Any hospital, physician or surgeon - For medical or dental education, research, advancement of medical or dental science, therapy or transplantation; (b) Any accredited medical or dental school, college or university - For education, research, advancement of medical or dental science, or therapy; (c) Any organ bank storage facility - For medical or dental education, research, therapy, or transplantation; and (d) Any specified individual - For therapy or transplantation needed by him. With regards to Wills and Succession, the testator should give his compulsory heirs their legitimes (compulsory heir). The testator can also designate a voluntary heir (like a friend), a legatee, if they succeed to a particular personal property or a devisee, if they succeed to a particular real property. Under R.A. 7170, in executing a legacy, the legacy becomes effective upon the death of the testator without waiting for probate of the will. If the will is not probated, or if it is declared invalid for testamentary purposes, the legacy, to the extent that it was executed in good faith, is nevertheless valid and effective. On the other hand, this is not the case in wills and succession because once a will is not probated, or if it is declared invalid then it cannot be given effect. It is a though the testator never made or executed a will. Laslty, under Sec. 12, R.A. 7170 , it states that If the will, card or other document, or an executed copy thereof, has been delivered to a specific legatee or donee, the testator or donor may amend or revoke the legacy or donation either by: (1) The execution and delivery to the legatee or donee of a signed statement to that effect; or (2) An oral statement to that effect made in the presence of two other persons and communicated to the legatee or donee; or (3) A statement to that effect during a terminal illness or injury addressed to an attending physician and communicated to the legatee or donee; or (4) A signed card or document to that effect found on the person or effects of the testator or donor. In wills and succession, since the law is very strict in protecting the interest of the testator, oral statements are not allowed. If there is any amendment to the will, this should be authenticated by the testator through his signature and also dated. Any dispositions made without being signed and dated is VOID.