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Widows and Orphans Association, Inc v.

CA (Short title) - Based on the plan and other evidence by ORTIGAS, the TCTs
GR # 91797 | August 28, 1991 albeit reflecting their origins as the OCTs are actually derivatives of
Petitioner: Widows And Orphans Association, Inc (WIDORA) the original that have been issued pursuant to Decree 1425, the
Respondent: CA and Ortigas & Company Limited Partnership (ORTIGAS) mere fact that the original copy of Decree 1425, or a certified copy
(Rule 130, Sections 5-8) thereof, can no longer be located or produced, does not mean that
Decree 1425 covering the lots was not issued.
DOCTRINE - WIDORA argues that CA erred in sustaining the validity of TCTs
Before secondary evidence may be admitted, there must be 1) proof of the despite the absence of a supporting decree of registration and
execution of the original writing and 2) that it has been lost or destroyed or instead utilized secondary evidence.
cannot be produced in court or that it is in the possession of the adverse
party who has failed to produce it after reasonable notice. ISSUE/S
1. W/N CA's grounds and reasoning are baseless in law and fact.
FACTS

- WIDORA filed before the RTC an application for registration of title PROVISIONS
alleging that such is covered by TCT issued in the name of the Rule 130
Mariano San Pedro y Esteban. Section 5. When original document is unavailable. — When the original
- WIDORA then filed an amended application alleging that the land in document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the
Quezon City of 156 hectares was acquired from the heirs of Don offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its
Mariano San Pedro. unavailability without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy,
- ORTIGAS filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the court had no or by a recital of its contents in some authentic document, or by the
jurisdiction for the land have already been registered under the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. (4a)
Torrens System in the name of ORTIGAS. Section 6. When original document is in adverse party's custody or control.
- RTC issued an order directing to prove its contention that the TCTs — If the document is in the custody or under the control of adverse party, he
are not proper derivatives of the original certificates of titles. must have reasonable notice to produce it. If after such notice and after
- ORTIGAS filed an MR alleging that a Torrens title becomes satisfactory proof of its existence, he fails to produce the document,
indefeasible after a year and it becomes conclusive and also that secondary evidence may be presented as in the case of its loss. (5a)
the LRC itself has advised that the property is covered by valid and Section 7. Evidence admissible when original document is a public record.
subsisting titles which CFIs and the CA had sustained in cases. — When the original of document is in the custody of public officer or is
- MR was denied, but set the motion to dismiss for hearing for the recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy
purpose of enabling the applicant to prove its contention. issued by the public officer in custody thereof. (2a)
- The parties presented their testimonial and documentary evidence. Section 8. Party who calls for document not bound to offer it. — A party who
- RTC denied the motion to dismiss holding that the TCTs on their calls for the production of a document and inspects the same is not obliged
face show that they were derived from OCTs pursuant to Decree to offer it as evidence. (6a)
1425; that if there was an error in the correct number of OCT, no
step or measure to rectify the same was taken; RULING & RATIO
- The TCTs were not derived from any decree of registration, and 1. Yes
that the said TCTs being null and void, cannot be used as basis to - The plan, the testimony of the surveyor and OCT submitted by
contest the right of the applicant to apply for registration. ORTIGAS to prove the contents of Decree 1425 are merely
- ORTIGAS filed an MR and alleging that RTC had no jurisdiction. secondary and should not have been admitted.
- RTC denied the MR and set the hearing on the merits for the - Before secondary evidence may be admitted, there must be 1)
presentation of the parties' evidence on ownership. proof of the execution of the original writing and 2) that it has been
- ORTIGAS then instituted an action for certiorari, prohibition and lost or destroyed or cannot be produced in court or that it is in the
mandamus before the CA which granted the petition of ORTIGAS. possession of the adverse party who has failed to produce it after
reasonable notice.
- Private respondent has not shown compliance with the above
requisites which would justify the admission of the secondary
evidence used and erroneously relied upon by the CA.

DISPOSITION
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of respondent court is SET ASIDE
and the orders of the trial court in LRC Case No. Q336 entitled, "In Re-
Application for Registration of Title, WIDOWS and ORPHANS
ASSOCIATION, Inc., Applicant, ORTIGAS & COMPANY LIMITED
PARTNERSHIP and DOLORES V. MOLINA, Oppositors", dated March 30,
1988 and May 19, 1989 are hereby REINSTATED insofar as the denial of
oppositor Ortigas' motion to dismiss and motion for reconsideration,
respectively, are concerned and the case remanded to the trial court for trial
and adjudication on the merits.

NOTES

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